December 12, 2014 Community Happenings

Christmas Dinner

Dear Editor: I am looking for our Sitka heroes who always show up to make our annual Sitka Community Christmas dinner a rip-roaring success. We are in need of some cooks and people to manage the entire kitchen crew. This dinner is a Sitka tradition and we hope to continue it for you.

There almost wasn’t a Christmas dinner this year. The powers that be voted not to have a dinner and the Alaska Native Sisterhood stepped up to sponsor the dinner. I was voted in as chairperson and I promise to do my best to make it a special joyful day for everyone, but I need your help, Sitka.

When I first came to Sitka over 10 years ago, I took my son, who was 5 at the time, to the dinner and when we walked in our hearts were heavy, missing our family in the lower 48.

That heaviness dissipated immediately when we walked in and saw the beautifully decorated stage with a beautiful tree of twinkling lights, holiday music playing and the tables set up in a cheery Christmas motif, with all of Sitka, and that wonderful sound of happy joyful people enjoying each other’s company in that magical ambience. Some come for the delicious meal, some come for the social hour and the chance to see friends and reunite, and some come for all of it. 

Let’s continue this tradition and pull together to make it the best ever. We also need servers, and many more volunteers to pull it off. If you are available to bake a turkey, donate your time in any way, please call me. I need a count of volunteers to properly plan. We will be meeting next Thursday night at 6:30 p.m. at the ANB Founders Hall. Please come, even if you only have a few hours. Spend the morning with your family and come down to the hall and get a dose of that wonderful Christmas Spirit. You will get back double what you give on this very special day. Social hour starts at 1 p.m. and dinner will be served at 2 p.m. We also need sponsors and donations. Come on Sitka, you have never let me down yet! 

Debe K. Brincefield, Chairperson

Sitka Community Christmas Dinner 


Search Thank You

Dear Editor: We would like to thank everyone who offered kind words, prayers, support, and for checking in on me while I was at the fire hall (Bernadette Rasmussen and Barbara Teepe, thank you!). Thank you, AmyJo and Mike Howard for welcoming our daughters into your home during that stressful time. Thank you, Paula, Dale and JR Lindstrom, who were there with me when we began the initial search and continued into the evening. Thank you, Jerrod and Nick Galanin and Erin Kitka, for joining the search. 

Thank you to the Coast Guard, Forest Service, troopers and BIHA for supplying an aerial map for all the search teams to utilize. We would also like to extend a huge thank you to the entire Search and Rescue team (I wish I could thank you each by name), EMT’s (Greg Raschick and Matt Hunter who evaluated him upon rescue) and other volunteers.

It was amazing to see everyone in action while out in the field, and then see what goes on behind the scenes at the fire hall. Also, a big thank you to Tim Hall and Bill Elsner who located Geoff on the Indian River trail, miles away from where we began our family outing. It is the best gift we could ever have asked for, to have Geoff back. Sitka is an amazing community.

We’d also like to extend another thank you to the fire department and search and rescue team for gifting us a Christmas tree. It was so generous and a perfect ending to a story we will never forget.

Geoff, Sherry, Gemma

 and Meadow Diehl, Sitka


Chinese Exchange Students

Dear Editor: This Christmas holiday, two fabulous Chinese girls will be with us in town. They are from Kunming, Yunan province, in the South of China. Kunming is a place called “spring city” because it has four seasons of “spring.” It’s a warm place with flowers blooming all year long. The two girls are exchange students at MEHS. They want to say hi to town and make more friends here. 

One girl’s name is Sally, Chinese name is YANG, Jinglin. 

She says, “My first impression of Sitka is friendliness and enthusiasm started with the first day I came here, which totally drove all my concerns and worries away. I enjoyed the gentle life pace here a lot: the type of life that allows me to sit in a café spending a whole afternoon enjoying a pleasant shaft of sunshine with accompany of a piece of bewitching music. Besides, people here are so warmhearted and helpful; they always try their best to help each other and follow their words. I shall never forget the local concert I watched with Summer and the Radio Theater performance held by Sitka Drama Community, because they were so amazing and made me realize that everyone has its own special way to shine and nothing is impossible with the power of cooperation. 

Worth mentioning, I pretty appreciate I got a chance to play the Chinese Zither for my dear classmates and teachers at MEHS during Thanksgiving dinner. I’ve been learning this traditional Chinese instrument, which is called “Gu Zheng” in Chinese for five years, so I really want to introduce it to everyone due to my deep love with it. I really hope everyone can enjoy my performance. In the Mid-Autumn Festival, it’s my honor to give a presentation to the Chinese classes here in my school to show them the origin of this festival and how do people celebrate it. During Alaska Day, with Summer’s help, I became part of the Chinese Dragon parade wearing traditional Chinese dress, holding the well-designed dragon sign and walking in the crowd. I’m so proud of myself for being a Chinese girl who got the opportunity to live in Sitka.

In a word, for me, Sitka is not only the paradise of humans, but also the silent shelter of dreamers. Most essentially, it is a place that I shall remember forever.”

Another beautiful Chinese girl’s name is PU, Yangxuehe. She wants you know her.

“I’m Yangxuehe Pu, you can also call me Judy. There are 56 nationalities in China. They all have their own culture. I am from one of the ethnic minorities, called “the Hani nationality.” I started traditional Chinese dance when I was six. I really love dancing and singing. When I’m alone, I’d like to listen to the music, and sing along with it. 

Actually, I’m not confident enough when I came here. Soon, I got homesick. Surprisingly, people in Sitka are very nice and friendly. They chat with me, share things with me. When I have problems, they often give me their helping hands. This is my first time to Sitka, Alaska, to experience many different customs. There are many differences between Sitka and my hometown. Sitka is cold to me.

There are snows on the top of mountains even in a sunny day. Kunming is around with mountains, however, Sitka is near to the sea. Many people have their own ships. It is so cool to go fishing in the sea. If I have a chance, I do want to go fishing with them. 

What the most amazing thing is that without too much pollution, the view in Sitka just like the picture that is painted by a famous artist. I’m so glad to come here for the whole school year, and I’m also looking forward to more amazing things that will happen to me in Sitka!”

The two girls will be spending the Christmas vacation in Sitka while most of their MEHS classmates will be going home for the holidays. They would really enjoy the opportunity to meet more Sitka families and to share their Christmas customs and celebrations. If you are willing to invite them to share a little time with your family or at an event that you are attending, I think you will find it a fun and rewarding experience. You can contact me at 738-5092 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Summer Mayo, Sitka


Holiday Lights

Contest on Tap

The Annual Holiday Lights Contest is being planned by the Sitka Chamber of Commerce.

On Monday, Dec. 22, judges will be out looking for the best displays.

‘‘Nominate your own creation, or elect your neighbor’s, but be sure to let us know so that we don’t miss you,’’ the Chamber said.

This year the Chamber will award the President’s Award, the Mayor’s Award, and the Best Business Decorations Award.

Nomination forms can be found at the Sitka Chamber office at 329 Harbor Drive Suite 212 or on our website at


Chinese New Year

Celebration Planned

A Chinese New Year celebration will be held 6 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 21, at Sitka Fine Arts Camp. It will include the dragon dance, a performance, food and games.

Those wishing to perform or needing more information may contact Summer at 738-5092, or see


Dragon Dance

Practices Listed

Dragon dance practices are being scheduled. Those ages 16 to 50 wanting to join the Chinese dragon team, can contact Noah at 738-6624. 


Hunter Education

Class Offered

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game is offering a basic hunter education class in February. The class will run 6-9 p.m. Friday, Feb. 6, and 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 7.

Both days must be attended to complete the class, to be held at the Sitka Sportsman’s Association building.

To register, purchase a $10 study packet with workbook available at the Sitka Fish and Game office. The workbook must be completed prior to the start of class. The course is designed for students age 11 and older.

For materials and information contact the Sitka Fish and Game office at 747-5449.


Blatchley Concert

Scheduled Dec. 17

Blatchley Middle School band and choir students will present a winter program 7 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 17, at the Performing Arts Center.

The event is free and open to the public. Those with questions may contact instructor Mike Kernin at 738-9160 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .


F&G Panel to Meet

Sitka Fish and Game Advisory Committee will meet 6:30 p.m. Dec.18 at the Sitka Sound Science Center.

Agenda items include election for an open charter seat, Board of Fish, and herring, groundfish, salmon proposals. For more information call John at 738-6212.


Letters to Santa::::


Merry Christmas Santa: You are the best. How do you deliver all the presents whith only the night. I want a dog. or a iPod, or a fairy stachoo that is small. or something that is like a dog but it is a stuffed animal that you can countrolle that is at toysRus! I rilly want the pupy that you controlle. From Scarlett Galanin, 7.


Dear Santa: I want a bike with flames and a go car. and a power that can turn me into a transformer. I want a bike and a guitor. From: Elliott Galanin, 5.


To Santa: I want a cat named Ginger. I want a Phonge. I want a big animle for my room. I want a water slide to and my room to be biger and a tunel to moms hous and to arya’s and grandad and grama darling. and I want a puppy like a robot, a furrby. I want a ipad. I want a pool in my room. I want a tunl to Jasmens to Keton’s to Juneau and a buton that I press to make the tonl come and go. From Nova Galanin, 8.


Unitarians Meet

At Sunday’s Unitarian Fellowship meeting Jennifer Carter will present a program on the ‘‘History and Traditions of Hanukkah: The Jewish Festival of Lights.’’

Fellowship begins at 10:30 a.m., with the program beginning at 10:45 a.m. A children’s program is provided. Soup and bread follows the program at noon. The Fellowship Hall is located at 408 Marine Street, with parking behind off Spruce Street.


Sacred Harp

Slated Dec. 14

The Second Sunday Sitka Sacred Harp Sing is set 3:30-5 p.m. Dec. 14 at the Pioneers Home Chapel.

The group will sing Christmas caroles of olde. Beginners and listeners are  welcome. Call 738-2089 with questions.


BIHA to Meet

Baranof Island Housing Authority board of commissioners will meet 5 p.m. Dec. 16 at 245 Katlian Street. The public is invited to attend.


Sitka Health Summit Handed

Award from Municipal LeagueThe Sitka Health Summit has collected the Alaska Municipal League’s “2014 Alaska Community Award of Excellence: Honoring the Best in Local Government Innovation” for its work in citizen-centered community health improvement. 

The award was announced at the Alaska Municipal League’s annual conference in Anchorage, Nov. 19-20, and Sitka Mayor Mim McConnell presented it to Sitka Health Summit at the Dec. 9 Assembly meeting.

Present to accept the award were Sitka Health Summit Executive Director Melissa Marconi Wentzel and Sitka Health Summit Coalition members Angela McGraw (Sitka Community Hospital), Ellen Daly (Public Health Nursing), and Patrick Williams (Sitka Community Hospital). Coalition members not in attendance: Clara Gray (SEARHC) and Doug Osborne (Sitka Community Hospital.)

The Sitka Health Summit promotes citizen-centerd community health improvement through its Citizen Health Initiatives Program. Now in its 8th year, the Summit facilitates an annual community planning session, during which up to 60 citizens brainstorm and select community health initiatives to focus on in the coming year. The Summit then supports citizen action groups as they work to achieve those community health goals. 

The community health initiatives are diverse, and represent the collective vision of a community’s citizens. The vast majority have had a lasting impact on Sitka’s health and wellness landscape, and many have achieved recognition, the summit said. 

This year’s Citizen Health Initiatives are: “Celebrate Katlian St.: A Vibrant Community” and the “Sitka Youth Center.” Past initiatives have included the “Choose Respect Mural,” the “Fish-to-Schools Program,” the “Sitka Farmers Market,” and achieving national bike- and walk-friendly community recognition. The Sitka Health Summit was also recognized as one of 12 national finalists in the 2014 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Culture of Health Prize.

The Sitka Health Summit extended appreciation to its partner organizations: Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium, Sitka Community Hospital and the State Department of Public Health Nursing, as well as its many generous donors and supporters. The Summit also extends its appreciation to the scores of citizens who have donated their time over the years to turn citizen health initiatives into realities.



Nominations Sought fgor

Green Business Awards

The Sitka Global Warming Group is taking nominations for 2015 Sitka Green Business Awards and once again will be working with local businesses and other groups to provide information and education on ways to conserve resources, and then recognize and thank them for using these green business practices through the “2015 Sitka Green Business Award” program. 

Nomination forms are available at or by calling 747-2708. The nomination deadline for the first round of 2015 awards is Jan. 15.  

How can a non-profit group work with local businesses, agencies, not-for-profit groups, schools and other groups to bring and keep more money in Sitka in 2015?  

One way that one local group hopes to give the gift of “green” to Sitka businesses this holiday is by providing useful, easy, proven methods to save energy, money and resources, and by providing recognition, promotion, and advertising for those entities using “green” business practices, the group said.   

Green business practices, like conserving energy, recycling, carpooling, composting, promoting “buy local,” serving organic and local foods, and encouraging use of reusable cups/bags/plates, can save businesses money, increase community sustainability, and benefit the environment. 

 SGWG is also seeking ideas from the public for the 2015 “Special Initiative” awards. Each year a Special Recognition is in the “Ongoing Projects” and “New Projects” categories. Past award winners included Sitka’s fishermen for donating locally caught salmon to the Fish to Schools program run by Sitka Conservation Society and Alaska Longline Fishermen’s Association for their ongoing boat fuel efficiency project.  Ideas should be submitted to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. as soon as possible.

“We are just starting to take ideas for special recognition awards and already have several nominations for the 2015 green business award program,” said Michelle Putz, Green Business Award organizer for SGWG. “An important part of this program is educating businesses about simple ways to save money and save resources.  We hope that our list of green business practices gives people good, proven, easy actions they can take to save their business or other entity money while doing good things for the planet.  The list of green practices on our website can provide ideas on new green practices to start using; it is also what we use to determine awards for 2015. Using that list, we’re taking award nominations now from businesses themselves and their patrons and supporters.”   

SGWG is in its sixth year of awarding Sitka Green Business Awards.  Last year, 31 local businesses, agencies, and other organizations were recognized with Sitka Green Business Awards with 18 of them receiving the highest level award of Platinum. 

Businesses are awarded based on their level of actively implementing green practices:  1-4 green practices – Bronze Award; 5-9 green practices – Silver Award; 10-14 green practices – Gold Award; 15 or more green practices – Platinum Award. 

“Our list of practices has not changed in the last couple of years,” Putz said. “Keeping the same practices on the list makes it simple for business to renew their nomination.  But we also want to learn and improve.  If a business suggests new practices that are practical, economic, good for the community and the environment, and are not covered by another item, we will try to add them through the nomination process.”   

The list of green practices and method for nominating a business can be found on the SGWG/SS website at:  Those interested in more information may contact Putz at 747-2708.



Kettleson Offers

Audio Books 

Kettleson Memorial Library at the Stratton has a variety of audio books on cassette available to the public, while supplies last.

Audio books are not priced, but those taking them are encouraged to make a donation to the Friends of the Library. For more information, call 747-8708 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .


Raffle Benefit

Set for BECCC

Betty Eliason Child Care Center is selling raffle tickets to raise money for  projects including playground equipment and ground cover.

Tickets are $10 each. The raffle will be held on New Year’s Eve. The prizes are all cash, $1,000, $250, $150 and $100. Tickets will be on sale at AC Lakeside and Sea Mart on the weekends in the afternoons, or call the center at 747-5892.


Parents of SHS

Seniors Meet

Parents of graduating seniors are being asked to attend a party planning meeting 7-9 p.m. Monday, Dec. 15, at Blatchley Middle School library.


Tribal Council Meets

The Sitka Tribe of Alaska Tribal Council will meet 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 17, at the Sheet’ka Kwáan Naa Kahídi.

Among the business items on the agenda is the election of officers. For information, contact Kathy Hope Erickson, 747-7352.


SCVB to Meet

The Sitka Convention and Visitors Bureau board of directors will meet 1 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 16, at Centennial Hall. Questions can be directed to the SCVB at 747-5940 or emailed to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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At a Glance

(updated 6-29-22)

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 12:15 pm Wednesday, June 29.

New cases as of Wednesday: 2,123

Total cases (cumulative) statewide – 261,987

Total (cumulative) deaths – 1,252

Total (cumulative) hospitalizations – 3,772

Current Hospitalizations – 87

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

COVID in Sitka

The Sitka community level is now "High.'' Case statistics are as of Wednesday.

Cases in last 7 days – 22

Cumulative Sitka cases – 2,763

Hospitalizations (to date) – 29

Deceased (cumulative) – 6

The local case data are from Alaska DHSS.






June 2002

Photo caption: The ANB team celebrates after winning the Sitka Major League tournament. From left are Billy Allery, Gordon Reeder, Chris Scott, Ross Venneberg, Cole Venneberg, Kale Vilandre, Cedar Mayo, Rhys Kimmel, Leslie Isaacs, Ian Blair, Kory Hansen and Kyle Foot.



June 1972

For the second year in a row, Don Barton Jr., a Washington state logger, has walked off with the All-Alaska Logging Championship all-around logger trophy. Two other former winners, Mike McGraw (1968) and Jack Adams (1970), again placed high.