EXPECT DELAYS – Lines of traffic move slowly down Sawmill Creek Road today as a repaving project progresses near the Indian River bridge. (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

June 1, 2020, Letters to the Editor

Silent Vigil Tonight

Dear Editor: A seven-minute silent vigil will be held at Totem Square 7 p.m. tonight in response to the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota. George Floyd was a father, a son, and a friend. He was also a Black man in America who, like so many others, was targeted by the police. A widely circulated video of the unarmed and handcuffed Floyd showed a police officer’s knee on the back of his neck while he cried out for help, asked for his mother, and repeatedly stated, “I can’t breathe.”

George Floyd died shortly after he was taken into custody. The officer was later identified as Derek Chauvin, who has had 18 complaints filed against him since joining the force in 2001. Officer Chauvin has since been arrested on charges of third-degree murder and manslaughter. The three other officers involved have been fired but have faced no criminal charges.

Floyd’s death has been marked by nationwide protests. While we are far from Minneapolis, we are all accountable for the actions of the United States government and police forces around the country. We demand justice for the perpetrators and we stand in solidarity with protests happening nationally and


We will gather to honor and mourn the lives of the countless Black men, women, and children who have been killed by police violence in America. We call for justice, change, and recognition of the victimization of communities of color in this country. We call for the police to be held accountable for their actions.

Please bring your own sign in a show of support, love and peace.

In an effort to maintain community health and safety please bring/wear a face mask and maintain 6 feet of social distance from those who are not a part of your immediate household.

Margot O’Connell,

Eleyna Rose, Michael Mausbach,



Support Thank You

Dear Editor: The Sitka Homeless Coalition continues to offer access to shower and laundry services for needy Sitkans. Recently we have received additional donations of masks and hand sanitizer from Harry Race Pharmacy and an anonymous cash donation. Sitka Subway faithfully supplies us with hot coffee, week after week. We are grateful for this steady support. 

Dorothy Orbison for 

Sitka Homeless Coalition


Black Lives Matter

Dear Editor: Black Lives Matter. If you find yourself defensively retorting that simple sentiment with “all-lives matter” or other dismissive arguments I urge you to think about the weight of your words. The impact of the pain you are undoubtably inflicting on fellow human beings. If you find yourself critiquing protesters, I implore you to think about how you would want to be judged in your pain, in your grief. 

The Black Lives Matter movement is not suggesting that black lives should be valued above others, but rather that black lives are undervalued and often ended tragically and prematurely in America. In addition to the overt and insidious systematic injustices people of color have faced for decades, COVID-19 is disproportionately impacting black, latinx and Native people. These are not separate or new issues that happen to happen in isolation. 

Taking direct action in a COVID-19 era can be challenging and risky – with the added challenge of living in Alaska. We might be geographically isolated from the U.S., but racism is not a “down south” issue. We can center black voices by listening to their specific calls to action, even if those actions are conducted remotely and virtually.

Some actions I’ve been directed to are donating to mutual aids/jail bailouts and calling 612-324-4499 to demand justice for George Floyd. A few organizations you might consider donating to are: Pimento Relief Fund (abepmpls.org) which helps support black business in Minnesota, Women for Political Change (womenforpoliticalchange.org) who holistically invest in the leadership and political power of young women and trans and non-binary individuals throughout Minnesota – to name just a few. These and other suggestions can be found at Reclaim the Block (reclaimtheblock.org). 

As one America screams for the privilege to get a tattoo the other grieves for another unjust loss. As one America demands the luxury of getting a haircut the other is stalked while taking a jog. As one America complains about the lack of happy hours another is murdered, asleep in their home. One America is protesting a luxurious, outdated lifestyle that is literally killing people and the planet, while the other is protesting that their very lives matter. That should enrage and sicken you. 

I’ve been grappling with why I wanted to write this in the first place. I worry that this is just a release for my ego, an outlet for all the guilt and shame that I have been feeling. I worry that I’m just trying to signal loudly and publicly that I’m not one of “them.” I worry that I’m just taking up valuable space to shout “look I can’t be a racist” –  I do and say all the right things, I check all the boxes-please absolve me.

I think all those worries are probably true. I need to do better. We (white people) need to do better.


Callie Simmons, Sitka

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August 5, 2020

A Note To Our Readers

Reopening: Phase One:


On March 30 the Daily Sitka Sentinel began taking precautions against the coronavirus, which was starting to show up in Alaska.

We closed our building to the public and four key employees started working remotely. Home delivery was suspended to protect our carriers from exposure to the virus.

Four months later, the virus is still with us and the precautions remain in effect.

In appreciation for the willingness of our subscribers to pick up their daily paper at drop-off sites, the Sentinel was free to all readers, and subscriptions were extended without charge.

As of August 1 the Sentinel is once again charging for subscriptions, but the present method of having subscribers pick up their papers at designated sites will continue.

The expiration date of all subscriptions has been extended without charge for an additional four months.

We thank our readers for their support in these uncertain times, and especially those who paid for the paper despite the free offer.

We look forward to the time when we can safely resume home delivery.

To check on the expiration of your subscription or to make a payment please call 747-3219. The subscription email address is This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . We also will be mailing out reminder cards.

The single copy price is again 75 cents. The news racks do not require coins to open, but we ask that the 75 cents for a non-subscription single copy sale be paid with coins in the slot.

– The Sitka Sentinel Staff


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Alaska COVID-19
At a Glance

(updated 8-7-20)

By Sentinel Staff

The state Department of Health and Social Services has posted the following update on the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Alaska as of 11:20 a.m. Friday.

New cases as of Thursday: 53

Total statewide – 3,536

Total (cumulative) deaths – 25

Active cases in Sitka – 20 (14 resident; 6 non-resident) *

Recovered cases in Sitka – 15 (11 resident; 4 non-resident) *

The state says the cumulative number of cases hospitalized is 141.

To visit the Alaska DHSS Corona Response dashboard website click here.

* These numbers reflect State of Alaska data. Local cases may not immediately appear on DHSS site, or are reported on patient’s town of residence rather than Sitka’s statistics. 




August 2000

High prices for chum salmon, low pink returns, and record numbers of fish in Deep Inlet have turned the Sitka fishing grounds into Route 66 this summer. “Overall it’s been a fantastic season so far,” said Steve Reifenstuhl, operations manager for the Northern Southeast Regional Aquaculture Association.

August 1970

His Beatitude, Metropolitan Ireney, Primate of the Orthodox Church in America, will head a gathering of Orthodox prelates from North American and abroad in ceremonies canonizing the first American Orthodox saints, Father Herman of Alaska. A group of Sitkans will fly to Kodiak for the event.