ON THE ROAD AGAIN – One of The RIDE buses goes down Katlian Street past the city boat grid this morning. After four months of being shut down because of antivirus precautions, the public transportation service resumed operations today. All routes remain the same except the Blue Line bus route, which now turns around at Whale Park instead of the Gary Paxton Industrial Park. (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

Alaska Arts Council Forced to Shut Down

    ANCHORAGE (AP) — The Alaska State Council on the Arts closed its doors Monday, making Alaska the only state without an arts council.
    About 50 people gathered to mark the passing of the organization, the Anchorage Daily News reported .
    Gov. Mike Dunleavy, a Republican who took office in December, used a line-item budget veto to eliminate the council’s funding of $2.8 million. Alaska lawmakers fell short last week in attempts to override the vetoes.
    Sheryl Maree Reily, a member of the council’s visual arts advisory committee, wore a long black dress with a dark lace veil to mourn the loss.
    “This is going to leave a huge vacuum,” she said. “There is going to be no formal mechanism for connecting information, connecting funding.”
    Council Chairman Benjamin Brown said the council was in line for $700,000 from the state’s general fund. Dunleavy’s veto also covered $700,000 in federal funds through the National Endowment for the Arts and $1.5 million in private foundation funds that could not be accepted.
    Reily and others said they wanted to thank outgoing employees who lost their jobs.
    “I came here today to give my support, acknowledge the hard work and the achievements of this organization,” Reily said.
    Keren Lowell worked as the literary and visual arts coordinator. Over seven years, she had also held finance and administrative jobs. Those were less gratifying jobs than working directly with art, she said, but were probably some of the more valuable services the council provided.
    “That’s why this agency is so amazing,” she said. “We had a good handle on how money works and how the arts work in money. We did a good job. I’m proud of what we did.”
    The public may have perceived that the organization was mainly about funding, Lowell said. The council also supported schools, teachers and rural communities, coordinated with other arts organizations and facilitated professional development for artists.
    “All of the other arts partners used us as a pass-through or as a center or as a collection point for all of the activities going on,” Lowell said. “We communicated with people, which led to more opportunities and supported the work that they did.”
    The arts sometimes are perceived as something subsidized with no return, Reily said.
    “I think it’s a misconception,” she said. “They are an economic driver. They are the underpinnings of the tourism industry, secondary to the landscape. People come here for the culture, and they come here for the arts. It’s the stories that people tell in magazines that bring people here that the writers and poets write, the photographs that the photographers take.”



Alaska COVID-19
At a Glance

(updated 7-13-20)

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 10:30 a.m. Monday.

New cases as of Sunday: 60

Total statewide – 1,539

Total (cumulative) deaths – 17

Active cases in Sitka – 4 (2 resident; 2 non-resident) *

Recovered cases in Sitka – 14 (11 resident; 3 non-resident) *

The state says the cumulative number of cases hospitalized is 87.

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. 




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 sitkasentinel.com. 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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