ALL IN THE SAME TACO BOAT – Sitkans, many wearing face masks, line up this afternoon at the Sitka Elks Lodge food booth. With the pandemic, most of this year’s Sitka Independence Day events have been modified, but not entirely canceled. The American Legion and Sizzling Chow Cuisine also will have outdoor food booths. While there’s no downtown parade, there is a parade of classic cars that will tour Sitka streets beginning at 1 p.m. at Whale Park. A sing-along and military salute will take place on Totem Square 7 p.m. Friday and a fireworks display will take place 11:30 Friday night over Sitka Channel, with spectators asked to follow social distancing recommendations. The Rotary Club is holding its annual Duck Race on the fourth. (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

Dunleavy: Will Try For Smoother Budget Effort

By BECKY BOHRER
Associated Press
    JUNEAU (AP) — Republican Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy outlined plans aimed at improving public safety in rural Alaska during a speech Thursday to a major gathering of Alaska Natives that was interrupted by protests.
    The speech during a televised meeting of the Alaska Federation of Natives in Fairbanks touched on plans to address a backlog of sexual assault kits, hire 35 Alaska State Troopers with a focus on serving rural communities and work with tribes on education issues.
    It came during a politically turbulent year for Dunleavy, marked by drawn-out legislative sessions with fights over spending cuts and the size of the check residents should receive from the earnings of Alaska’s oil-wealth fund. Less than a year after taking office, Dunleavy faces a recall effort.
    His speech was interrupted by protesting voices, prompting Will Mayo, co-chair of the Alaska Federation of Natives board, to urge those gathered to be respectful.
    “I respect your right to protest in this way, but I want to ask you, with respect, to please express your views at the voting booth, express your beliefs in a constructive way and don’t come into our house and disrespect our guest,” Mayo said to applause.
    Dunleavy then resumed his speech.
    The conference theme is “Good Government, Alaskan Driven.” The agenda explained that good government refers to how well the state is meeting the needs of Alaskans and said the Dunleavy administration “tested the bounds of this principle in 2019,” with his budget proposal and vetoes.
    Divided lawmakers couldn’t muster support to overturn Dunleavy’s initial vetoes but passed another spending package for him to consider, which required a lower threshold of votes.
    Dunleavy moderated his position on University of Alaska system cuts and accepted restored funding for areas including certain early childhood learning and senior citizen programs.
    He cut money for Medicaid, public broadcasting and other areas.
    Dunleavy has credited his vetoes with forcing Alaskans to talk about what they value. He has said he listened to comments he received.
    In July, Dunleavy announced he was replacing Tuckerman Babcock, a former Republican party chair, as his chief of staff with Ben Stevens, a former state legislator and a son of the late U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens.
    The administration last month said Donna Arduin would be replaced as Dunleavy’s budget office director, but said it was working on terms to have her work on contract as an adviser.
    Babcock and Arduin were lightning rods for criticism.
    In his speech Thursday, Dunleavy said he takes responsibility for his part in this year’s contentious budget process and would work to ensure it is smoother in the coming year. He said he will make “every effort” to incorporate the perspective of “all Alaskans.”
    In a statement, Dunleavy spokesman Jeff Turner said there was limited time for Dunleavy to write his budget after taking office last December and for discussions to occur with lawmakers and feedback to be gathered from the public.
    Dunleavy faces a mid-December deadline for his next budget proposal, which Turner said has allowed additional time to gather input “on ways to maintain core state services and programs while determining a path that leads to fiscal stability.”
   

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Alaska COVID-19
At a Glance

(updated 7-2-20)

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 11:15 a.m. Wednesday.

New cases as of Monday: 39

Total statewide – 1,017

Total (cumulative) deaths – 14

Active cases in Sitka – 8 (6 resident; 2 non-resident)

Recovered cases in Sitka – 10 (7 resident; 3 non-resident)

The state says the cumulative number of cases hospitalized is 68.

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

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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

NOTICE FROM THE PUBLISHERS

TO READERS AND ADVERTISERS

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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