ALL IN THE SAME TACO BOAT – Sitkans, many wearing face masks, line up this afternoon at the Sitka Elks Lodge food booth. With the pandemic, most of this year’s Sitka Independence Day events have been modified, but not entirely canceled. The American Legion and Sizzling Chow Cuisine also will have outdoor food booths. While there’s no downtown parade, there is a parade of classic cars that will tour Sitka streets beginning at 1 p.m. at Whale Park. A sing-along and military salute will take place on Totem Square 7 p.m. Friday and a fireworks display will take place 11:30 Friday night over Sitka Channel, with spectators asked to follow social distancing recommendations. The Rotary Club is holding its annual Duck Race on the fourth. (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

June 10, 2020, Letters to the Editor

4th of July Plans

Dear Editor: Sitka’s 4th of July celebration will be different this year, but it doesn’t mean it can’t be great. With the uncertain times we are in and the continued need for social distancing, we will not have our traditional parade. 

This decision was not an easy one for our Board of Directors or members of our community’s Emergency Operations Command. After surveying our business community we found that many of those who traditionally would have parade entries were unable to participate due to various factors related to the COVID-19. As a part of this outreach, we had lots of suggestions for alternative ways to celebrate this holiday. In response, the Sitka Chamber of Commerce has created a special program this year: Share Your Spark. 

Businesses and residents are encouraged to “Share Your Spark” in our community by decorating your storefront and homes in red, white and blue to commemorate Independence Day. Community groups may choose to Share Your Spark by cleaning-up a stretch of road or local beach and individuals or families could plant a tree or help their neighbors. 

The community is encouraged to shop local for their decorations and be creative. Prizes for the decorations will be awarded to: Best Business, Best Non-Profit, Best House and Best Condo/Apartment. All Sparks will be entered into a special drawing. To participate, submit address and a photo of your spark by Monday, June 29, to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or to our page at Be sure to follow our Facebook as Sparks are shared throughout the month.

Call for calendar of events: Businesses, organizations or groups planning to host events during the week of 4th of July (Saturday, June 27-Sunday, July 5) can have their event listed in this year’s schedule. A brief description of the event, including start time, location and contact information should be e-mailed to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by Monday, June 22.

We encourage all groups to follow the CDC’s and State of Alaska’s guidelines to mitigate the risk of spreading COVID-19 in our community. View the latest mandates and alerts for Alaska at When planning a mass gathering, this site is a great resource:

The Sitka Chamber is so grateful to be a part of Sitka and proud of how our business community has weathered this pandemic and cared for the health and safety of each other. We encourage the community to make this 4th of July a special one by spending time with family and close friends, having picnics and enjoying our community. 

Rachel Roy, Executive Director,

Greater Sitka Chamber of Commerce 


Recall Petitions

Dear Editor: Saturday, June 13, from noon to 2 p.m. at the Hames Center there will be a drive-through opportunity for those who have not had a chance to sign the recall petitions for Governor Dunleavy.

If you have not signed the second petition and want to, this is your opportunity. Bring friends if they are interested as you can self-certify your petition and we will mail it off for you, or you can.

Why? My reasons are the destruction of the opportunities for education all the way from kindergarten through college. I believe education is our best economic driver and gives our children the opportunity to stick around. Also, the lack of any support for the Alaska Marine Highway. I could go on. Thank you.

Jeff Budd, Sitka



Dear Editor: One is left wondering what exact words retired Gen. Mattis and, by extension, Senator Murkowski, would recommend the president use to ‘‘unite’’ law-abiding citizens with the looters and thugs plaguing several U.S. cities these days.

Charles B. Dean, Sitka



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Alaska COVID-19
At a Glance

(updated 7-2-20)

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 11:15 a.m. Wednesday.

New cases as of Monday: 39

Total statewide – 1,017

Total (cumulative) deaths – 14

Active cases in Sitka – 8 (6 resident; 2 non-resident)

Recovered cases in Sitka – 10 (7 resident; 3 non-resident)

The state says the cumulative number of cases hospitalized is 68.

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



Welcome to the Sitka Sentinel's web page. In order to make the Sentinel's news more easily available during the COVID-19 pandemic, we have taken down the paywall to access articles on this page. Just click on an article headline to read the story. 

March 23, 2020



For the duration of the COVID-19 disaster emergency declared by federal, state and local authorities, the Sentinel is taking additional measures to reduce virus exposure to its employees and contractors as well as to the public, while continuing to publish a daily news report for Sitka.

To the extent possible, Sentinel news and sales staff will be working from home. For the protection of our carriers, home delivery of the newspaper will be stopped effective Tuesday, March 24.

The Sentinel will continue to publish on its website Access to the website will be free to all users. The Sentinel will also produce a print edition Monday through Friday. It will be available to all readers without charge, at locations throughout town.

Initially, these locations are those where the Sentinel's newspaper vending machines are already in place. The coin mechanisms will be disabled or the doors removed to permit easy access. The Sentinel will work with the stores where the paper is usually sold, to designate a place inside or outside the store where the free edition can be made available.  

Home delivery subscriptions are on hold, and after the end of the disaster emergency, subscriptions will be extended at no charge for the number of days that there was no home delivery.

The Sentinel will make its print edition available to the public as early in the day as possible. with all personnel taking precautions to prevent spread of the virus.

The Sentinel is calling upon its customers to observe the COVID-19 emergency precautions already in place, particularly in maintaining a six-foot social distance from others at newspaper distribution sites.

Following is the statement issued by the Sentinel on March 16, stating the Sentinel's emergency procedures, which remain in effect.

The Sentinel office at 112 Barracks Street is closed to the public. We encourage people to use the phone, email or the U.S. Postal Service as much as possible.There is a slot in the front door of the office for ads, news items and payment checks. Emails may be sent to  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and the phone number is (907) 747-3219.                                                                          

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