SMILE! – The Pacific High School graduating class poses outside Harrigan Centennial Hall Saturday afternoon prior to their commencement ceremony. Because of COVID-19 concerns the ceremony was not open to the public. Pictured are Eric Alvarado,Chelsea Taylor, Madison Roy-Mercer, Lindsey Bartolaba, Melissa Gibson, Douglas Johnson, Korbin Tugmon, George Stevenson, Jayvan Iya-Kowchee and Elizabeth Newell. Sitka High School will hold its graduation ceremony Monday, May 24. (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

June 19, 2020, Community Happenings


Sitkan Wins Top Honors

At Sealaska Art Show

Tlingit artist Jerrod Galanin of Sitka won Best of Show for “Ch’áak’ Aanyádi” (The High Caste Eagle) at Sealaska Heritage Institute’s 10th biennial Juried Art Show and Competition, June 10.

Galanin’s piece is a copper grease bowl with an Eagle design. It also won Best of Metal Category.

Eighteen artists took top prizes and honorable mentions. The show is being displayed online.

Jurors Deborah Head, or Aanutein, and art historian Steve Henrikson in a written statement said the formline design was expertly designed and beautifully engraved.

“The coloring/patina of the metal is innovative and is an appealing attribute,’’ they wrote of Galanin’s piece. ‘‘Angles are nice and flowing. The treated copper has a stunning effect.’’

Another Sitka artist, Jennifer Younger, and her mother Jennie Wheeler of Yakutat, won Best of Spruce Root Category for “Moon Shadow Basket” in the Endangered Art Division (spruce root basketry and horn spoon categories).

In the Sewing Division (beadwork, regalia and skin and fur categories), former Sitkan Harold Jacobs won Best of Regalia Category for his ermine skin headdress “Dáa Doogú Shadaa.”

Sitkan Chuck Miller’s “Kaagwaantaan Beaded Vest” also was chosen for the exhibit.

Clifton Guthrie won Best of Formline for his drum “Connections,” which the jurors observed had “some unusual aspects to some formline elements (u-forms and the Frog face inside the Raven head), which make the whole more complex and challenging.”

Elaine Jack won the President’s Award, a category new to the competition this year, for her “Beaded Chilkat Wall Hanging.” SHI President Rosita Worl called Jack’s piece “a unique and extraordinary piece of artwork that represents and embodies the highest standards of the Northwest Coast art tradition.”

All awards by division and category are listed:

Carving and Sculpture Division (metal, wood and other media categories): Jerrod Galanin won Best of Show and Best of Metal Category for Ch’áak’ Aanyádi (The High Caste Eagle); James Johnson won Best of Wood Category for “Kéet S’áaxu”; Michael Beasley won Best of Other Media Category for “Mother Wheel”; Lee Burkhart won Best of Division for “Copper Bent Box”; and an Honorable Mention for “Spirit Man.”

2D and Relief Carving Division (paintings, relief carving and print making categories): Clifton Guthrie won Best of Formline and Best of Painting Category for “Connections”; Kenneth White won Best of Division for “Cape Fox Lodge Panel”; and James Johnson won an Honorable Mention for “T’óos’ Sankeit.”

Sewing Division (beadwork, regalia and skin and fur categories): Elaine Jack won the President’s Award, Best of Sewing Division and Best of Beadwork Category for “Beaded Chilkat Wall Hanging”; Harold Jacobs won Best of Regalia Category for his ermine skin headdress “Dáa Doogú Shadaa”; Davina Cole won Best of Skin and Fur Category for her “Seal Skin ‘Paper Boy’ Hat”; and Christy Ruby won an Honorable Mention for her sea otter capelet “Taa Daa.”

Weaving (Chilkat-inspired, Ravenstail and basketry categories): Marlene Liddle won Best of Division and Best of Basketry Category for “Imitation Abalone”; Patrizia Fiorella won Best of Chilkat-Inspired Category for “Chilkat Tunic Fringe Gorget”; Ursala (Kadusné) Hudson won Best of Ravenstail Category for “Tidal”; and Lily Hope won an honorable mention for “Taku Sunrise.”

Endangered Art Division (spruce root basketry and horn spoon categories): Marlene Liddle won Best of Division for “Small Spruce Root Basket”; Jennifer Younger and Jennie Wheeler won Best of Spruce Root Category for “Moon Shadow Basket”; Andrew Tripp won Best of Horn Spoon Category for “Sharing Wealth”; and Austin Tagaban won an Honorable Mention for “Hudson Bay Border Design Bottle.”

Other pieces selected for exhibit included “Crabs in a Bucket” by Alison Bremner; “Eagle Human Bear” by Timber Vavalis; “Chilkat Collage 1” by Lily Hope; “Deisheetaan Shaawádi” by Andrew Tripp; “First Celebration Rattle” by Andrew Tripp;  “Kéet Kootéeyaa or Transforming Killer Whale” by Herb Sheakley; “Lékwaa Kaséikh’w”  by Herb Sheakley; “Ch’áak’ S’áaxu” by James Johnson; “Safe Keeper” by Amy Tessaro; “Ocean Traveler” by Amy Tessaro; “Kaagwaantaan Beaded Vest” by Chuck Miller; “Little Watchman” by Lily Hope; “Ravenstail Apron and Leggings”  by Davina Cole; “A Look into the Past” by Marry Knutsen; “Beach Asparagus” by Vicki Soboleff; “Little Dancer” by Vicki Soboleff; “Haida Spiderweb Basket” by Austin Tagaban; and “Studying Basket” by Ariane Xay Kuyaas Medley. 

Jurors reviewed the pieces blindly, meaning the names of artists who submitted pieces were not disclosed. The show along with exemplary pieces are featured in an online exhibit.


Sealaska Heritage Institute is a private nonprofit founded in 1980 to perpetuate and enhance Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian cultures of Southeast Alaska. 


Catholic Church

Schedule Given

St. Gregory’s Catholic Church has updated its schedule.

Daily Mass is 12:05 p.m. Monday through Friday in the main church.

Private prayer is offered 11 a.m.- 3 p.m. Monday through Friday in the main church.

Saturday’s Mass is at 5 p.m. Confessions are planned 3:30-4:30 p.m. Saturdays or by appointment at 747-8371.

On Sundays, Masses are 8:30 a.m. and 11 a.m.

Updates are being placed on the parish website.

Cloth face coverings should be worn and social distancing is maintained.


Sitka Lutheran


Worships Outside

The congregation of Sitka Lutheran will hold an outdoor worship service Sunday, June 28.


All are invited to Crescent Harbor shelter at 10:30 a.m. for worship and a celebration of the Lord’s Supper. Social distancing will be practiced. Masks will be worn, and communion will be clean. 


Climate Connection:

By Callie Simmons

Yeast and portable batteries make for an unlikely but powerful duo, in a local climate change study. Using relatively low-tech equipment, the largest and longest-term manipulation of climate conditions in a marine environment, to date, is currently underway at John Brown’s Beach in Sitka. Researchers are looking to better understand how intertidal organisms are impacted by stressors related to climate change, by changing the temperature and acidity of a few local tidepools.

Alaska is currently experiencing accelerated and more pronounced impacts of climate change than the Lower 48, but those impacts are not the same across the state. We might not be as concerned about sea-level rise in Sitka, but that does not mean we are immune to the impacts of climate change here either. This ongoing research is important because it helps to illuminate the impacts of climate change that we might feel more locally – like warmer and more acidic oceans.

Researchers from the University of California Irvine (UCI), led by Dr. Cascade Sorte and Dr. Matt Bracken, have been exploring through funding from the National Science Foundation how climate change is impacting coastal marine systems in Sitka. The title of their project, a collaboration with UC Santa Cruz and San Diego State University, is “Effects of multiple aspects of climate change on marine biodiversity and ecosystem functioning.”

To conduct this work, researchers meticulously count and identify intertidal critters whilst simulating conditions projected to occur in tidepools over the next 50-100 years. In total, the Irvine team identified 65 intertidal species overall (sometimes observing 39 species in one tidepool) and collected over 1,700 water samples to be analyzed for pH and alkalinity. 

To create warmer and more acidic ocean conditions in these tidepools researchers had to think creatively about the technology they would use – and the result involved some basic chemistry and hauling lots of batteries. Scientists combined yeast, water, and sugar to produce carbon dioxide (CO2), which was then bubbled into the tidepools to lower the pH of the water. Scientists use pH as a way to measure the acidity of water. Ocean acidification is measured as a decreasing pH level in the ocean and occurs when atmospheric CO2 is absorbed by seawater. The CO2 reacts with the seawater and it creates an acid (carbonic acid) that decreases the ocean’s pH. Marine organisms, such as those that make shells, require the seawater to have a very specific pH or shells begin dissolving. Pumping CO2 into tidepools helps researchers understand how intertidal communities and organisms are responding to this specific stressor in relationship with other stressors, like temperature. The research team also custom designed heaters that raised temperatures in tidepools to mimic projected ocean conditions, creating a hot-tub like effect, but this requires a daily exchange of batteries to maintain the system. 

By raising water temperatures and bubbling carbon dioxide into tidepools, UCI hopes to assess and predict how tide pool communities react to increasing CO2 levels in the atmosphere.

Projects like this showcase the importance of understanding climate change locally and being able to predict community responses to stress.



Callie is a research coordinator at the Sitka Sound Science Center

August 5, 2020

A Note To Our Readers

Reopening: Phase One:


On March 30, 2020, 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 5-17-21)

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 12:45 p.m. Monday.

New cases as of Sunday: 50

Total statewide – 66,814

Total (cumulative) deaths – 358

Total (cumulative) hospitalizations – 1,542

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

The City of Sitka posted the following update on COVID-19 cases in Sitka as of 5 p.m. Friday.

Active cases in Sitka – 7

Hospitalizations (cumulative) in Sitka – 5

Cumulative Sitka cases – 372 (325 resident; 46 non-resident)

Cumulative recovered – 364

Deceased (cumulative) – 1

The local case data are from the City of Sitka website.

• • •


Sitka Vax Stats 

The State of Alaska DHSS reported Monday the following statistics on vaccinations for Sitka.

Partially vaccinated – 4,978 (71.64%)

Fully vaccinated – 4,612 (66.37%)

Total population (16+) –6,949

Sitka has vaccinated (with at least one dose) 1,245 (84.24%) of its senior population (1,478 total), age 65 and older. 

Vaccination data for the City and Borough of Sitka can be found online at:





May 2001

Sitka High boys track team ran to a 2nd-place finish in Juneau while the girls finished fourth. Sitka long-jumper Derek Hirai leapt 19’9.5” for the 2nd highest jump in the state this year. ... Others doing well were Thor Hartwig, Matt Mangini, Damien LaMar, Jeff Loiselle, Logan Wild, Elgin Hollins, Brian Friske, Brian Mork, Mike Bagley, Cody Campbell ....

May 1971

New Loyal Order of Moose officers, installed Saturday, are Earl Arnold, Grant Laiblin Jr., James Gardner, William Wakefield Jr., Eddielee Hodnett, Basil Riley, Lloyd Van Doren, James Firestone Sr. and Lynden Kincaid.