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 25, 2020, Letters to the Editor

Foundation Funding

Dear Editor: On behalf of Sitka Legacy Foundation, I’m writing to thank all of our local donors for their continued generosity. Your contributions have allowed us to leverage $346,000 in matching incentives from The Alaska Community Foundation and Rasmuson Foundation since 2013, including $95,000 in 2020 alone. As a result of your support, we have awarded $25,000 in grants to local organizations this year, and we are looking forward to making more awards this fall. 

Sitka Legacy Foundation has received gifts from more than 135 households and businesses in Sitka, and we are grateful to each and every one of you for your past and present support. 

We’d like to thank one donor in particular for a recent contribution. The board of The Island Institute made a gift of $10,000 in remaining assets to Sitka Legacy Foundation. While we are sad to see this organization come to the end of its life, its work of promoting resilient communities and sense of place through conversation, literature and art will live on through their generous gift to our permanent endowment for Sitka. Thank you, Island Institute, and we also appreciate founders Carolyn Servid and Dorik Mechau for your vision.

Finally, thanks to the staff and volunteer board members of all of our local nonprofit organizations who are working hard to ensure that our community sustains critical services during and after the pandemic, including meal programs, child care, youth and elder services, arts programs, and so much more. We are here to support your efforts. To find out more about how we support Sitka, please visit our website, 

Mike Venneberg, Chair,

Sitka Legacy Foundation


Statue Removal

Dear Editor: The removal of obnoxious statues obliterates history. We must remember that Baranof was a genocidal profiteer working for a greedy autocrat. If future generations forget this, they become vulnerable. 

Elizabeth Peratovich was a liberator. Her contribution to social justice was immense. We should give a statue of Elizabeth the prominent position occupied by the scoundrel Baranof. We should keep his statue in a secondary location, so that those who would learn the lessons of history may be reminded of him. 

John Welsh, Sitka


Baranof Statue

Dear Editor: I have lived in Sitka since 1962, graduated from Sitka High, and married my high school sweetheart about 55 years ago. In the past I have worked at First National Bank of Alaska for over 30 years and then worked in real estate. I eventually opened Davis Realty, which was recently sold and I have retired.

My parents, who have passed, were Ned and Betty Blatchley.

Many of you know my past history here, but some do not.

I am writing this tonight with a sad heart after reading the front page of the Sentinel. For some 60 years I have loved this community and the people who live here. I have the greatest respect for the Hameses in taking their time and funds to have the Baranof statue built and installed. I also have the greatest respect for the Native people and their background. I consider all the above as my friends and great citizens of Sitka, and I believe we should all support each other.

I would like to see a Native statue either at Harrigan Centennial Hall or where it feels right for the Native community. Even if history tells us of bad things that happened years ago on both sides, we do not have to and don’t want to relive that.

Here is what I don’t want to see happen. Sitka is a very special place, and fighting and hurtful words on both sides will do so much harm. We are a community and we should treat each other with respect and caring.

History is important, but it happened many years ago. Right and wrong were probably done on both sides.

Please let Sitka not become like what is going on down south, with mean politics and citizens fighting, doing harmful, destructive things, turning to hate in our community.

Please consider the feelings of all Sitkans and let’s do it right. And take care to not change this wonderful city into something none of us want.

Thank you for your consideration.

Nancy Blatchley Davis, 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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