EXPECT DELAYS – Lines of traffic move slowly down Sawmill Creek Road today as a repaving project progresses near the Indian River bridge. (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

June 30, 2020, Community Happenings

Park to Open

Totem Hall

On 4th of July 

Sitka National Historical Park will open the Totem Hall portion of the visitor center noon-4 p.m. July 4 and 5.

Totem Hall will continue to be open noon-4 p.m. Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, beginning July 10. Outdoor, ranger-led programs will be offered at noon and 2:30 p.m. on the same days. Programs will last about 30 minutes.

Visitors are being asked to observe 6 feet of physical distancing from others when attending outdoor programs, and to wear a face covering or mask when entering Totem Hall, the park said.

The current status of other Sitka National Historical Park facilities are: 

–Park trails: open daily 6 a.m.-10 p.m.

–Outside toilet between bridge and east parking lot starting July 4 will be open daily, 6 a.m.-10 p.m.

–Visitor center restrooms, single occupancy only, starting July 4 will be open noon-4 p.m. Friday-Sunday

–Visitor center, exhibits, theater and Cultural Center are closed

–Russian Bishop’s House is closed

–Park film “Voices of Sitka” is not available on site, but is soon to be available on the website, www.nps.gov/sitk.

For additional information visit the park’s webpage or call the visitor center at 747-0132. 


Climate Connection: Feeling Change: Part Six

One of the major challenges to addressing a changing climate is the scope of the problem. It’s vast and touches on almost every aspect of our lives. After all, our physical surroundings are woven into the fabric of everyday life.

Often, our initial reaction to a complicated situation is to break it down,  separate the problem into more manageable parts. But some situations call for us to do something else. Instead of breaking things down, we’re asked to look for connections.

In this pandemic we’ve seen an example of how one event can upend our lives in many ways. It’s shown how much our health and belonging, economic needs and sense of self are all woven together – and exposed things about ourselves and society we might not want to see. Climate change also is doing this, especially as it relates to inequality.

Some have called this the climate change and inequality nexus. The basic idea is that those with fewer advantages are more harmed by a changing climate. Health disparities and chronic disinvestment make some more vulnerable. After change, they then have fewer resources to recover. It’s a vicious cycle that worsens inequality. 

Those with more means can shield themselves from the effects of a changing climate. They can strengthen their homes or move more easily. They may change jobs or rely on bigger networks of people who also have resources.

But there is a deeper way that climate change and inequality relate. They both have roots in a mindset that sees the world as a place of resources to exploit. Instead of feeling ourselves part of a connected web of life, we think the world is split into us and them or it. This is a head without a heart. It is what happens when you separate the mind from the body and us from our surroundings. And most importantly, ourselves from each other.

You get a world where some lives have more value than others. And while most are hurting, that hurt is not being felt equally. People of color are dying at much higher rates from COVID-19. The murder of George Floyd shed another brutal light on which lives do and do not matter in our society. And climate change will continue to lay bare these inequalities.

We look away at our own peril. It may be painful to witness. But these feelings can be a source of energy used to create change. After all, none of us here and now created this world. But what we do now will help determine the kind of world we bring into being.


John Lewis is a behavioral health professional and a member of the Sitka Citizens’ Climate Lobby.


Sitkan Earns

Bachelor Degrees 

Braydon Mingo earned bachelor of science degrees in finance and international business from Quinnipiac University, Hamden, Connecticut, spring semester.

He was named to the spring semester dean’s list.

Quinnipiac is a private, coeducational, nonsectarian institution located 90 minutes north of New York City and two hours from Boston.


On Dean’s List

Megan K. Christner, Jasmine K. Martinez and Katie A. Turner of Sitka have been named to the University of Alaska Southeast dean’s list.



SJ Museum

Closed July 4

The Sheldon Jackson Museum will be closed on Saturday, July 4, in observance of the Independence Day holiday. 

Summer hours will resume on Wednesday, July 8, with a timed entry system and by reservation only as part of a COVID-19 mitigation plan. Summer hours are noon-4 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday. Call 747-8981 or email robert.hoffmann@alaska.gov to schedule a visit.

General admission is $5 for adults and $4 for seniors. Visitors 18 years of age and younger, Friends of Sheldon Jackson Museum, and those with passes are admitted free. Assistance is available for visitors who have special needs.

Guidelines to ensure the safety of the community are:

–Take credit or debit cards for admission; cash-less and receipt-less admissions are encouraged.

–Face coverings are strongly encouraged. Cloth face coverings should not be worn by children under age 2.

–Continue to maintain social distancing of at least 6 feet between individuals and household groups.

–Public programs and guided tours remain canceled.

–Those who are ill are asked not to enter the building.

–Handwashing may be done in the public restroom. Hand sanitizer will be provided when available.

Alaska State Museums is compliant with state mandates pertaining to Alaska State Libraries, Archives, and Museums and plans to re-open in phases. For information on COVID-19 health mandates and advisories, visit https://covid19.alaska.gov/health-mandates/



Fish & Chips, Bake,

Garage Sale July 4

The American Legion Auxiliary will sponsor a sale on July 4 at the American Legion Hall.

Garage and bake sale items will be for sale at 9 a.m., followed by fish and chips at 11 a.m. for $15 an order. Call for delivery at 747-8629.




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August 5, 2020

A Note To Our Readers

Reopening: Phase One:


On March 30 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 8-7-20)

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 11:20 a.m. Friday.

New cases as of Thursday: 53

Total statewide – 3,536

Total (cumulative) deaths – 25

Active cases in Sitka – 20 (14 resident; 6 non-resident) *

Recovered cases in Sitka – 15 (11 resident; 4 non-resident) *

The state says the cumulative number of cases hospitalized is 141.

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. 




August 2000

High prices for chum salmon, low pink returns, and record numbers of fish in Deep Inlet have turned the Sitka fishing grounds into Route 66 this summer. “Overall it’s been a fantastic season so far,” said Steve Reifenstuhl, operations manager for the Northern Southeast Regional Aquaculture Association.

August 1970

His Beatitude, Metropolitan Ireney, Primate of the Orthodox Church in America, will head a gathering of Orthodox prelates from North American and abroad in ceremonies canonizing the first American Orthodox saints, Father Herman of Alaska. A group of Sitkans will fly to Kodiak for the event.