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)

July 1, 2020, Community Happenings

Fireworks, Events Slated


For Sitka’s 4th of July

By Sentinel Staff

Sitka’s Independence Day celebration this week will include a decoration contest, fireworks, food booths and a Freedom Fest.

The Sitka Chamber of Commerce is inviting businesses and residents to “Share Your Spark” for the 4th of July by decorating storefronts and homes in red, white and blue. Prizes will be awarded for Best Business decoration, Best Non-Profit, Best House, and Best Condo/Apartment.

Photos can be seen at the Chamber Facebook page at Facebook.com/SitkaChamber.

Groups also can choose to clean up a stretch of road or local beach, the Chamber suggested, and individuals or families could plant a tree or help neighbors.

The Chamber is encouraging social distancing practices throughout the celebration.

‘‘We encourage all groups to follow the CDC’s and State of Alaska’s guidelines to mitigate the risk of spreading COVID-19 in our community,’’ the Chamber said. ‘‘View the latest mandates and alerts for Alaska at https://covid19.alaska.gov/. When planning a mass gathering, this site is a great resource: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/large-events/mass-gatherings-ready-for-covid-19.html.’’

Scheduled activities include:

Thursday, July 2

–11 a.m.-8 p.m., Filipino food vendors in the back lot of Sizzling Chow Cuisine

–11 a.m.-8 p.m. Food booth at the Elks Lodge, 747-3511.

Friday, July 3

–11 a.m.-8 p.m. Filipino food vendors in the back lot of Sizzling Chow Cuisine, 747-5673

–11 a.m.-8 p.m. Food booth at the Elks Lodge

–7 p.m. Sitka Freedom Fest at Totem Square, planned by a group of Sitkans. The event is “For the people, by the people. A time to recover the sacred honor of Memorial Day and Independence Day as grateful Americans,’’ said Randal Hames, one of the organizers. It will include a military tribute and patriotic sing-along, he said.

–11:30 p.m. Fireworks display over the Sitka Channel by Hames Corp and other donors. Contact Hames Corp. at 747-3209

Saturday, July 4

–9 a.m. Garage and bake sale, American Legion Hall, by American Legion Auxiliary

–11 a.m. Halibut fish and chips, American Legion Hall

–11 a.m.-8 p.m. Filipino food vendors in the back lot of Sizzling Chow Cuisine

–11 a.m.-8 p.m. Food booth at the Elks Lodge

–Noon Barbecue benefit for Fortress of the Bear, AC Lakeside Grocery parking lot

–1 p.m. Old Car Parade starting from Whale Park. Contact Jeff Budd at 738-9417. Parade times are:

–1:15 p.m. turning left on Jeff Davis Street; 1:16 turning right on Lincoln Street; 1:19 turning right on Lake Street; 1:23 turning left on Peterson; 1:24 turning right on Edgecumbe; 1:28 driving down Charteris; 1:38 driving out to Starrigavan; 1:48 return to Sitka Long Term Care at the Old Sitka Hospital; 1:53 drive down Katlian Street; and 1:57 p.m. left on Lincoln Street past the traffic light, to Centennial Hall parking.


–4 p.m. 36th Annual Rotary Club  Duck Race at Granite Creek. Call (818) 207-2993.


Sheldon Jackson Museum

To Host Tsimshian Artist 

The Sheldon Jackson Museum will host Tsimshian artist Abel Ryan as the first artist in this year’s Alaska Native Artist Residency Program. Ryan will be at the museum through July 16. 

Ryan will work most days between noon and 4 p.m. and will offer several virtual public programs. The first will be a virtual artist talk 3 p.m. Thursday, July 2, titled “Stopping and Restarting: My Journey Through the Covid 19 Shutdown.” It can be viewed on Zoom by going to: https://rb.gy/e3dxgv.

A virtual painting class is to be 3-4 p.m. Saturday, July 11, and a virtual recap residency talk 3-4 p.m. July 16.

Ryan was born in Ketchikan but has long called Metlakatla his home. He is a Tsimshian member of the Metlakatla Indian Community and an adopted member of the Wolf Clan. He has a bachelor of arts degree from Sheldon Jackson College and a bachelor of fine arts degree from the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

Ryan studied traditional Tsimshian art under master carver Jack Hudson of Metlakatla and has been carving independently since he was 11. Working in the medium of wood and metal, he produces masks, bowls, spoons, pipes, ladles, plaques, combs, jewelry and other hand-carved and painted items. He is also proficient in two-dimensional graphic design using Northwest Coast formline art. His work may be found in art galleries in Ketchikan, Sitka and Juneau, and in private collections across the country.

The classes and talks are sponsored by the Friends of Sheldon Jackson Museum and will be viewable through Zoom. The link for virtual talks will be published on the Friends of Sheldon Jackson Museum Facebook Page and people who sign up for virtual classes will be emailed the required link. They are free, but in some cases there are student limits and/or student age limits. Some classes do require ordering of materials online in advance. To obtain more details, and materials lists, call  747-8981. To view events related to the Native Artist Residency Program, visit the Friends of Sheldon Jackson Museum Facebook page or the Alaska State Museum website at https://museums.alaska.gov/sheldon_jackson/sjhome.html.

This year’s Alaska Native Artist Residency Program is made possible with an Art Works II Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts and with support from the Friends of Sheldon Jackson Museum, Alaska Airlines, and private donations. 

The museum is currently open by reservation noon-4 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday. Admission fees for adults is $5, $4 for ages 65 and older, and free for youths 18 and younger and  for Friends of Sheldon Jackson Museum or Alaska State Museum members.

The public should call 747-8981 to make a reservation or to inquire about operating hours. 

The museum will be open to the public without reservation noon-4 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday beginning July 8. The public should continue to pay by credit card. The Sheldon Jackson Museum is compliant with state mandates pertaining to Alaska State Libraries, Archives and Museums. For more information on COVID-19 health mandates and advisories, visit https://covid19.alaska.gov/health-mandates/. 


Mariners Alerted to

Whale Entanglement

NOAA Fisheries is asking mariners in the Sitka Sound and surrounding area for assistance with its first reported whale entanglement this season.

Mariners are being asked to be on the lookout for a humpback whale trailing several hundred feet of small-diameter, light tan or white line.

The whale may be accompanied by another whale.

‘‘Please do not approach the whale or try to remove the gear,’’ NOAA said. ‘‘Instead, immediately report the whale location to the U.S. Coast Guard or our statewide Alaska Marine Mammal Stranding hotline at 877-925-7773.’’ 


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. 


ANB to Meet

At Founders Hall

Alaska Native Brotherhood Camp 1 will meet 5 p.m. Thursday, July 9, at the ANB Founders Hall.

‘‘The ANB has decided to close the hall to large public events, until at least September due to the COVID-19 pandemic,’’ ANB President Harriet Miyasato Beleal said. ‘‘We feel this is the safest choice for the community we serve and love.’’

Comments will be limited to three minutes and participants are encouraged to wear facemasks, sanitize their hands and sit six feet apart, Beleal said.

For more information, call Beleal at (907) 744-6910.


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.


Campbell Earns

Doctorate Degree

Graeme Campbell was awarded a doctor of physical therapy degree by the Mayo Clinic School of Health Sciences, College of Medicine in Rochester, Minnesota, in May.

Graeme is a 2011 graduate of Sitka High School and completed his undergraduate degree at Western Washington University. He is currently working in Rochester as a physical therapist and will start an orthopedic residency in January 2021 at the Mayo Clinic.

He is the son of Toby and Norm Campbell.


Online Animation

Course on Tap

Sitka Fine Arts Camp will offer a six-day online animation course with award-winning animator Javier Barboza beginning 2-4:30 p.m. Monday, July 6.

Tuition for the course is $250. For more information and to register visit www.fineartscamp.org.


Scripture Walks,

Prayer Tree Set

St. Peter’s by-the-Sea has added two events to its summer offerings.

The prayer tree table is set up on the front lawn of the church for individuals to stop by and tie a ribbon to the tree while offering a prayer for a loved one.

Scripture Walks in the Park resources – for individuals to use for themselves and their small social circle – will be available for pick up every Wednesday on the same table with the prayer tree ribbons. 

The resources can be emailed to community members, also. To request an email copy weekly, or for any other questions, contact the church at stpetersbytheseak@gmail.com. 

The church and See House remain closed, but services are still held weekly via Zoom at 10 a.m. on Sundays and noon Wednesdays. The church is located at 611 Lincoln Street.

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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.