EMERGENCY RESPONSE – Members of the Alaska Native Brotherhood and Alaska Native Sisterhood this week organized a city-wide food drive for residents of Angoon and other villages affected by the lack of Alaska Marine Highway System ferry service. Hundreds of pounds of food were collected at Sitka High School and other drop off sites. Thursday night about three dozen people attended a meeting at ANB Founders Hall to discuss the ferry situation and prepare food for shipping. Laurie Serka, outstation manager for Alaska Seaplanes, said Alaska Seaplanes, Sitka Custom Marine and Dr. Sul Ross Thorward donated shipping costs for the perishable food donated by AC Lakeside. Tom Gamble is planning to take a load of food to Angoon aboard his boat. Donations for shipping food to Kake are currently being sought. Contact for the donations is Nancy Furlow, ANS Camp 4 president, 907 227-9102. PHOTOS: clockwise from top left, Laurie Serka, Steve Schmidt and Marjo Vidad of Alaska Seaplanes load food bound for Angoon this morning. Tom Gamble and Chad Titell  deliver boxes of food from Sitka High School to ANB Founders Hall Thursday night. Paulette Moreno, ANS Grand Camp president, addresses volunteers Thursday night. Sitkans gather in a circle at ANB Founders Hall Thursday to brainstorm responses to the lack of state ferry service. (Sentinel Photos by James Poulson)

January 24, 2020, Community Happenings

Climate Connection: Dry Your Eyes

By Leah Mason

When people hear my accent, they tell me how sad they are about the fires that have taken over huge parts of Australia. Several people have told me that the images they are seeing of burned animals is making them cry, and I find myself wondering why it hasn’t struck me in the same way. 

I think it’s because I’ve been in a state of dread about this for longer than some of these people have been alive. There is only so long that you can live with terror before you are forced to do something about it.

One thing we can do about the unprecedented fires overtaking Australia is helping Australians to cope with the consequences. That might mean donating to a fund to support the largely volunteer firefighting groups who’ve been in the field since September 2019 in some cases. They are exhausted, under-resourced, and since most fight fires in their own communities, they are also having to deal with personal losses while fighting to save the life and property of others. Half the people I know in Australia are making pouches to help support the large number of animal orphans that have been created by the fires, while others are doing rehab with injured adult animals. There are also ways to help fund those efforts to keep unique creatures in this world for another generation or two. 

Another thing we can do is help the Australian people motivate their leadership to recognize that this is not normal, and that doing nothing is not an option. How? By working with our own government to ensure that there is a united effort to get our greenhouse gas emissions down to a level that supports life as we know it. We cannot be holdouts because what we do affects everyone and what everyone else does has already begun to affect us. By insisting that our representatives support the actions being taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions we can point the Australian government in the same direction. 

Finally, we can show that we have learned the lesson that these fires have provided for us. Yes, action will cost us something, but the cost of doing not much is becoming much clearer, and much bigger. Alaska has had its own unprecedented fires, and unusual drought conditions. Our own wildlife is suffering, and our subsistence foods are getting harder to come by. A report released in October 2019 estimated that we have until 2032 to go carbon neutral.  That’s a little less than 12 years, which  sounds like a long time, but it’s actually just 144 months or 624 weeks. So, go get a handkerchief, dry your eyes, and let’s get going. Those damnably cute wombats will thank you!



Leah Mason is a member of the Sitka Citizens’ Climate Lobby.

Ferry Delay

The M/V Matanuska has been delayed at Bellingham due to a mechanical issue. The delay will affect Ketchikan, Wrangell, Petersburg, Juneau, Skagway, Haines and Sitka.

The Alaska Marine Highway System anticipates returning to schedule upon leaving Bellingham for Ketchikan 6 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 29. 

All passengers are being notified and rebooked or refunded as necessary. The new sailing schedule is available at www.FerryAlaska.com or at 1-800-642-0066.


Art Show at

Yaw Building

More than 40 art pieces by 30 Sitka artists can be viewed at the Ugly Side of Plastic show 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday through Feb. 19 at the Yaw Building on the SJ Campus.

Call Michelle at 747-2708 for information or to participate.


Sitka LIO Office

To Open Jan. 29

The Sitka Legislative Information Office will reopen 9 a.m. Jan. 29 with a new legislative information officer, Bronwyn Walton.

Permanent Fund Dividend application support will be available 1-4 p.m. daily, Walton said.

Next week, the Alaska Legislature will be taking public testimony on employment tax for education facilities, a constitutional amendment for the number of votes needed for a veto override, the authority of the commissioner of corrections to designate a correction facility, and motor vehicle dealers licensing and insurance. 

Bills now can be tracked by text. Call the Sitka LIO at 747-6276 or visit akleg.gov for more information.

The office is at 201 Katlian Street, Suite 103.


Evening Low-Tide

Beach Walk Slated

Sitka Sound Science Center will have a guided, night-time tidepool exploration at Magic Island 7 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 9.

‘‘Winter in Sitka offers some amazing evening low tides, which allows us the unique opportunity to see some familiar critters in a whole new light,’’ organizers said.

Headlamps and identification cards will be provided.

Space is limited, so pre-registration is required through Sitka Sound Science Center’s Facebook event or by calling 747-8878 ext. 2.


St. Peter’s Sets

Annual Meeting

St. Peter’s by-the-Sea Episcopal Church on Sunday, Jan. 26, will have one service only at 10 a.m. 

A potluck lunch and annual meeting will follow the service. All are welcome. The church is located at 611 Lincoln Street. For information, call 747-3977.


‘Unseen Realm’

Documentary Set

The newly released documentary “The Unseen Realm” will be shown at Calvary Chapel Sitka on Feb. 9 (first half) and Feb. 16 (second half) during Sunday services at 3:20 p.m. 

The movie states that “You will never be able to look at your Bible the same way again.” It is the story of the roots and supernatural beliefs of the Jewish people, from the Hebrew Bible then pouring into Christianity and the present. 

The documentary answers questions such as: Why is there such evil in our world? What does Yahweh want and what is His plan? Are there additional reasons besides man’s salvation that led Jesus to die on the cross? and What is the status of an imager of Yahweh and the Christ?

The group meets at the Methodist Church. Call Pastor Dug at 747-5454 with questions.


BIHA Board

Meets Jan. 29

Baranof Island Housing Authority Board of Commissioners will meet 5 p.m. Jan. 29 at 245 Katlian Street.


Unitarians Meet

Jennifer Carter will present “I’ve Got Tears Like the Raindrops: Freedom,” a program examining Unitarian Universalist reflections on slavery and anti-slavery, at Sunday’s meeting of the Sitka Unitarian Fellowship.

Gathering begins at 10:30 a.m., with the program beginning at 10:45 a.m. Soup and bread follow at noon. The Fellowship Hall is located at 408 Marine Street, with parking behind off Spruce Street. All are invited to attend.  For information, call 747-3702.


Sitka Fish, Game

Advisory to Meet

The Sitka Fish and Game Advisory Committee will meet 6 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 12, at UAS-Sitka Campus.

The committee will consider proposals for regulatory changes for fishing regulations that are being considered in 2020 by the Alaska Board of Fish, AC officer elections, ADFG staff briefings on rockfish and shrimp, and a report on the Citizen’s Climate Lobby.  The proposals for the Board of Fish can be found at the ADFG Board of Game website. 

For information, contact Jon Martin, chair, at 747-7752, jmart118@alaska.edu or Andrew Thoms, secretary, at 747-7509, andrew@sitkawild.org.


Starrigavan Area

Activities Discussed 

At F.S. Open House

The USDA Forest Service will ask for input on watershed and recreation enhancement activities proposed in and around the Starrigavan watershed at a public open house 4:30-6:30 p.m.  Wednesday, Feb. 5, at Centennial Hall, Room 3. 

Sitka Ranger District employees will provide information on the proposals, answer questions, and ask for suggestions, particularly on trail and shelter placement.

For information, contact Mike Mullin at the Sitka Ranger District office at 747-4274. Project information also is available at www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=57497.

For interviews and information to be used for publication, contact the Tongass Public Affairs Officer at 907-228-6201 or paul.robbins@usda.gov. 


I Read Shakespeare

Group to Meet

I Read Shakespeare will next meet  6:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 8, in Room 331 at the Pioneers Home, to begin the play, ‘‘Julius Caesar.’’

Anyone who enjoys reading aloud, and then chatting about what is read, is invited to attend.


Food Safety

Training Slated

Food safety management training will be offered by videoconference Feb. 18 in eight Alaska communities, including Sitka.

 The University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service will offer the workshop 8 a.m.-5:30 p.m.

State regulations require each food establishment to have at least one certified food protection manager on staff to ensure compliance with food safety regulations.

Feb. 4 is the deadline to sign up and receive a study guide before the class. Registration, locations and more information are available at http://bit.ly/cesCFPM. The $200 fee includes one certification exam. For information or to request another location, contact the instructor, Julie Cascio, at 907-745-3677 or jmcascio@alaska.edu.




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