2020 TOURIST SEASON – The 285-foot super yacht Lonian is tied up at the Old Sitka Dock Friday while its support vessel, the 217-foot Hoder equipped with a helicopter and ROV, is seen anchored in the distance. The 14-passender Lonian, which was launched in 2019, is owned by billionaire Lorenzo Fertitta, former owner of UFC. (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

July 08, 2020, Letters to the Editor

Tip of the Iceberg

Dear Editor: If our friends, family and neighbors say that a statue on permanent, public display is a reminder of past, collective trauma and therefore causes regular harm to this day, isn’t it our responsibility to do something to change that? Answer: Yes. 

It is that simple. The Baranov statue should be removed. 

I want to be a part of an equitable and just future for Sitka. I want to be proud of my community for being on the right side of history. If we can’t rise to the simple occasion of removing a statue of a man who perpetrated great violence against the indigenous communities in Sitka and beyond, how can we trust that we have it in us to do anything to continue working towards the liberation of those who have, for generation after generation, been oppressed and marginalized by our systems, language, narratives, and so much more?

This should be an obvious decision.

Lee House, Sitka

 

Thanks, Mary Wegner

Dear Editor: Sitkans Against Family Violence would like to thank Dr. Mary Wegner for her exemplary leadership at the Sitka School District where she served for the last 10 years, first as assistant superintendent and then, for the past six years, as superintendent.

Under Dr. Wegner’s leadership, the district made tremendous progress towards transforming school environments to be trauma informed, culturally responsive, and welcoming for all youths and their families. When SAFV’s prevention coalition, Pathways to a Safer Sitka, approached the district with the idea and resources to further incorporate social and emotional learning practices into the school environment, Mary didn’t hesitate. She saw this as an opportunity to build upon the work the school district was already doing and further advance education equity within the district. Her vision led the district to be eligible for not only statewide but national funding opportunities to advance systems level change and foster an equitable, trauma-informed, strengths-based scholastic environment.

Mary and her administrative team worked tirelessly to establish improved school infrastructures and though there is still work to do, much has been accomplished with her at the helm. SAFV and Pathways to a Safer Sitka looks forward to continuing this important work with the board and leadership team going forward. 

We thank Mary for her continuous efforts to build a positive school climate where all students feel safe and supported and have the opportunity to reach their full potential. SAFV is grateful for her leadership and is honored to have had the opportunity to work collaboratively these last few years. We wish her well and know she will continue creating pathways for equity in education and in communities across Alaska.  

Mary Wegner was recently featured in SAFV’s Everyday Women of Sitka Campaign. Go to www.safv.org to read the full interview.

Julia Smith, Prevention Director,

Sitkans Against Family Violence

 

 

Baranof Statue

Dear Editor: I’m writing to add my voice to the growing call to remove the statue of Alexander Baranof from in front of Centennial Hall. The statue has been controversial since its creation, and it is not ever going to become less controversial.

I hear a lot of moaning and groaning about erasing history and Sitka’s legacy from some parts of the community that I want to address head on. Moving statues has nothing to do with history. The plaque on the statue has no educational value whatsoever, and neither does the bronze image of the slave trader and genocidal fur peddler. History is passed down through oral tradition and through written records. No one is advocating for a book ban and quite the opposite of erasing Baranof from history, the recent conversation around moving his statue has only renewed interest in understanding Baranof and his actions. The Russian Bishop’s House, the Cathedral, Totem park and the Sitka Historical Museum speak volumes to the brief period when Russia maintained a trading post here. The statue is just a symbol.

That brings us to Sitka’s legacy. What is the statue a symbol of? What does Baranof represent? To me, Baranof represents a failed model of business and colonialism. His symbol is a slap in the face to Native people who have had to stand up for their rights and their sovereignty ever since Russia peddled the lie that they owned Alaska. His legacy of warfare, slavery and colonization does not align with the community that Sitka is trying to be today.

If advocates of the statue care so deeply about history, I invite them to join us in our call to have the statue moved to an actual history museum, where it can be discussed in the context of his actual history. It’s time as a symbol of Sitka has come to an end.

 

Matthew Jackson, 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.

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– The Sitka Sentinel Staff

 

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Alaska COVID-19
At a Glance

(updated 8-10-20)

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 1;45 p.m. Monday.

New cases as of Sunday: 69

Total statewide – 3,775

Total (cumulative) deaths – 26

Active cases in Sitka – 21 (15 resident; 6 non-resident) *

Recovered cases in Sitka – 16 (12 resident; 4 non-resident) *

The state says the cumulative number of cases hospitalized is 154.

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. 

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20 YEARS AGO
August 2000

Bring your wand if you’re coming, leave your disbelief at the door (no Muggles allowed), because room 220 at Blatchley is a place where the decorations, outfits and conversations are all very, very Harry Potter. “If you want to levitate, go ahead,” said Lacy Simons addressing the young wizards of the Harry Potter Reading and Writing Club. Simons, a VISTA volunteer, formed the club ....

50 YEARS AGO
August 1970

Photo caption: Youngsters who participated in the summer reading program at Kettleson Memorial Library include, from left, Lari Cook, Nancy Erickson, Yumiko Hayashi, Kyoko Ikenoue, Lu Ann Beidel, Tiffany Rose, Jessica Roth, Gwendolyn Roth, Rhonda Audette, Heather Owen, Susan Kohler, Glenn Oen, David Oen, Eric Oen, Stephen Weddell, Robert Weddell, Randy Turner, Takahiko Hosei, Douglas Henie, Lance Robards and Timothy Von Clasen.

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