NEW ROUND – Sitka Fire Chief Craig Warren chats with Patrick and Catharine Weaver this afternoon at the fire hall during a COVID-19 vaccination clinic. The Weavers were waiting fifteen minutes after receiving the Moderna version of the COVID-19 vaccine. About 100 Sitkans were scheduled to receive their first dose today. Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two doses for full efficacy. Sitkans can sign up to receive vaccinations at (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

July 10, 2020, Community Happenings

Theresa VanVeen

Memorial Fund Set

A memorial fund for the Theresa VanVeen family has been set up on Facebook to help with costs associated with her passing.

The link is

Theresa, a lifelong Sitka resident, died July 8 in Anchorage after being medevacked while visiting in Juneau, with complications arising from a heart attack that was triggered by an asthma attack, her family said.

‘‘She had just turned 28 years old, and the loss was sudden, unexpected, and devastating to all those who love her,’’ her family said. ‘‘She was a daughter, sister, niece, cousin, friend, partner, and (perhaps most importantly) mother to Matthew, who will be turning 3 on July 25.’’

Remaining contributions will be used to create a ‘‘future fund’’ for Matthew.

‘‘Thank you so much for the love and outpouring of support from friends, acquaintances, and members of our community. It means so much to us,’’ family members said. ‘‘If you have any memories you’d like to share about Theresa, we would love to hear them.’’

Those who wish to contribute to the family outside of Facebook can call or text Tonia Puletau-Lang at 907-738-8353.


SAFV to Launch Virtual

Fundraiser on Saturday

With large community gatherings no longer possible for fundraising in the age of the COVID-19 pandemic, Sitkans Against Family Violence is trying something new.

Highlighting a weeklong online fundraiser to begin June 11 are five short videos of personal stories of several SAFV staff members, and how they relate to SAFV’s philosophy and values. They will be posted sequentially during the week on Facebook with daily updates on the website

The goal is to raise $20,000 during the week. Credit card donations will be processed through PayPal, or checks can be mailed to P.O. Box 6136, Sitka, AK 99835.

Coronavirus concerns have also altered SAFV’s operations since March 17. Still open for essential services with advocates on duty, other staff members are working from home and using virtual platforms to move the work forward.

“SAFV advocates have continued to work, even when it isn’t easy, to make sure every client is cared for, every crisis call is answered and every food request is filled,’’ said Direct Services Director Tina Bachmeier. ‘‘These incredible people are doing the hard work on the front line.”

SAFV’s mission is to provide empowerment-based safety and advocacy services for victims/survivors of domestic and sexual violence while promoting a community of nonviolence and respect. Persons of all genders are eligible to receive services. The first shelter opened in 1982. In 1995 it moved to its current location which was renovated and expanded last year. SAFV employs a staff of 20 and in 2019 served 201 clients in Sitka, Angoon and Kake.

For more information, contact Natalie Wojcik at


Winter Pistol Leagues Finish Up

After a two-month break in the action due to COVID-19 precautions, the Sitka Sportsman Association’s winter pistol leagues recently finished competition and awards were issued.

In the rimfire (.22 cal) league, Chad Goeden took first place with a 10-week average score of 268.6 out of a possible 300 points. Steve Ramp was awarded the second-place trophy with a score of 253.1, and Bill Peters came in third with a score of 236.8.

Goeden also took first in the centerfire league with a score of 268.3, and Ramp repeated in second place with a score of 251.4.  Cliff Day rounded out the awards in third place, with a score of 246.3.

The Sportsman Association’s next pistol competition will start in early September when the Women’s Pistol League will be held on Sunday nights for 10 weeks. Those desiring information on the league can contact Steve Ramp at 738-7267 or 


Harbor Mountain

Hike on July 11

Sitka Trail Works will lead a hike along the Gavan Hill/Harbor Mountain Trail 9 a.m. Saturday, July 11. Hikers will meet by the Sitka High School Performing Arts Center entrance to Cross Trail.

A mandatory COVID-19 pre-screening questionnaire and a liability waiver must be completed prior to participation, STW said. Go to to fill out paperwork beforehand. Social distancing between different household groups and face coverings are encouraged, the organization said. 

The hike is a strenuous 6 miles and depending on the speed of participants may take about six hours, STW said. Expect extensive stairs, roots, rocks and log or rock steps, which can be slippery when wet. The group will hike up the Gavan side, then past the small shelter, and around to the Harbor Mountain parking area. 

Participants should take their own water, food, hiking poles and appropriate clothing for the weather. Hike leaders will carry VHF radios and a first aid kit. Anyone under age 18 attending must be accompanied by an adult and have a liability waiver signed by their legal guardian, the organizers said. 

STW will not provide transportation down from the Harbor Mountain trailhead this year due to social distancing requirements so participants must arrange to be picked up or stage a personal vehicle at the trailhead. 

For information call 747-7244, or visit 


Sitka’s 4-H Group

Offers 3 Camps

Sitka’s 4-H group is offering several activities this month.

‘‘4-H Bugs & Slugs,’’ a two-day workshop 1-2 p.m. July 16 and 17,   will review native bugs in Sitka, identifying invasive species and how to capture them for the sake of bettering the environment. All ages are welcome and  a competition with a prize is being planned.

‘‘4-H Ukulele Re-Jams’’ camp is scheduled July 13-16. The group will learn new songs and methods of playing. Individuals would not have needed to participate in June to participate. Levels can be selected based on experience.

‘‘4-H Harvest Camp,’’ July 20-23, will explore local foods from salmon to seaweed to not only harvest but also to put cooking skills to work as well as learn about subsistence and foraging laws from a legal expert.

Sessions will encourage outdoor individual exploration and participants will need access to a kitchen space for Zoom meetings. The camp fee includes an activity kit with some specialty items to keep. For information on any of the camps and to register, contact 



Dance Party Set

On Zoom July 17

Dancers and non-dancers alike can  register for the 8-10 p.m. July 17 Friday Night Dance Party on Zoom.

The dance is free and all ages are welcome. Michelle Putz and Perry Edwards will host the dance and provide different genres of music from several decades. 

The dance and Zoom meeting are sponsored by the Sitka Unitarian Universalist Fellowship. 

 To attend, register by Friday morning, July 17, at After registering, individuals will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting. Contact Michelle at 747-2708 for information.


SJ Museum

Offers Native

 Arts Classes

The Sheldon Jackson Museum will host two virtual Alaska Native artist-in-residence-led art classes this month.

The first, taught by current artist-in-residence Abel Ryan (Tsimshian), will focus on painting formline designs; the second will be taught by upcoming artist-in-residence June Pardue (Alutiiq) and will show how to create a pair of fish skin or moosehide earrings with porcupine quill and beaded embellishments. Both classes will be taught on Zoom and are free of charge. Classes require different materials, and have different age limits and recommended age groups.

The virtual painting class by Ryan will be 3 p.m. Saturday, July 11. During this one-hour virtual class, Ryan will teach how to paint formline designs using acrylic paint. To participate, people can go to the link: and enter the meeting ID: 842 1638 0113 and password: 693862. 

The second class, led by Pardue, will show students how to make a pair of earrings using hide (moose or fish skin) and porcupine quills. 

The class will be in two parts – the 2-3:30 p.m. Saturday, July 25, and 2-3:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 28. Students should attend both sessions. The class will be limited to 12 participants ages 17 and up. Pre-registration is required and only people who have registered will be provided the Zoom web link, meeting ID and password information.

Residents of Sitka signing up for Pardue’s earring making class may opt to purchase a kit of the required materials already put together directly from her starting July 24. If interested, plan to go to the museum Wednesday through Saturday between noon and 4 p.m. with cash or a check for $25 made out to June Pardue to cover the cost.

Walk-in visitors may go the museum 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 under or for Friends of Sheldon Jackson Museum or Alaska State Museum members. 

 Those with questions about the Alaska Native Artist Residency Program, artist-led Zoom classes, art class materials, or operating hours and admission fees may call the museum directly at 747-8981.


Life Celebration

For Betty Haws

A celebration of life will be held 11 a.m.-1 p.m. July 19 for Elizabeth Ann Haws (also known as Betty or NahNah) at Pioneer Park shelter.

Betty passed away July 14, 2018, at 86 years of age surrounded by her children and grandchildren. At her request, her ashes will be spread at a halibut hole where she captured some of her favorite memories.

Betty had many Sitka friends and was known for her generosity and smoked salmon skills. She is dearly missed. Betty is survived by her children Rod Beer, Robert and Tammie Beer, Traci and Bruce Bandy, and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

‘‘Please join us to share memories and celebrate and honor Betty where her heart was, at ‘Sitka by the Sea,’’’ her family said. 

Masks and sanitizer will be provided. 


Climate Connection:

Now is better than New

By Leah Mason

It’s the second Friday of the month, so that means that I’m going to talk to you about Drawdown. This is not just the name of a book, or a group that meets to discuss the climate change solutions that the book offers. It’s the idea that we can “draw down” the greenhouse gases we’ve released burning fossil fuels. Drawdown is the point in time where our actions reduce the amount of these gases in our atmosphere. 

You might remember that I mentioned the Drawdown EcoChallenge last month – a competition to see how much we can achieve by focusing on things like reducing food waste and choosing better refrigerators. Well, we delayed the challenge because the actions we plan to take were being reviewed. There are two important ideas from the review that I want to share with you before I reissue my invitation to take on the Sitka Citizens’ Climate Lobby team in the Drawdown Ecochallenge. 

The first idea is that “Now is better than New.” We don’t need to wait for new technology to solve the problems - we can do it with what we have. All we need is commitment to taking action. Or, as we’ve seen during the lockdown, to do some things a lot less!

The second idea is that we can reach the drawdown point faster by working on the problem from two directions. They ask us to imagine that the climate change emergency is like a bathtub overflowing. The “water” is greenhouse gases from burning fossil fuels and the bathtub is the earth’s atmosphere. Unlike an actual bathtub overflow, there’s nowhere for this “water” to go. It will all stay in the bathtub making things different and unpredictable until we find a way to turn off the faucet and “drain” the tub.

So what does this mean for taking action? We need to make a list of the options that we have for turning off the faucet. Not flying and not driving very much showed us some amazing differences this year, but making the move to using 100% renewable electricity for heating and transport will take us even further. We’ll need to do more at home to reduce our energy use too.

As for draining the tub, it’s another mix of action and deliberately NOT doing things. In Southeast Alaska we still have a lot of trees, and that makes us feel like we can afford to lose some of them - but as forests are removed in other places our trees become even more important. Important for storing carbon in their trunks, but also for helping store carbon in the soils. Maintaining and extending wild areas will help the oceans too, which are becoming more acidic as they absorb more carbon dioxide. 

Join us next week for a discussion of what might go into Sitka’s Climate Emergency Action plan, and how we can all start working on it. Contact Leah Mason at to received an invitation to the monthly zoom meeting of the Drawdown Learning Circle on July16 from 5:45 p.m.



Leah Mason is a member of the Sitka Citizens’ Climate Lobby.


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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 1-15-21)

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 10:55 a.m. Friday.

New cases as of Thursday: 296

Total statewide – 49,835

Total (cumulative) deaths – 228

Total (cumulative) hospitalizations – 1,126

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

The City of Sitka posted the following update on COVID-19 cases in Sitka as of 5 p.m. Thursday.

Active cases in Sitka – 17

Hospitalizations (cumulative) in Sitka – 5

Cumulative Sitka cases – 301 (274 resident; 27 non-resident)

Cumulative recovered – 281

The local case data are from the City of Sitka website.




January 2001

Photo caption: Sarah and Jeremy Pickard and Dr. James Brooks show off Lauren Marie Pickard, the first baby born in Sitka this year. She arrived at Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital at 10:05 a.m., Jan. 4, weighing 7 pounds, 8 ounces and measuring 20 inches. She’s the first child for the Pickards,who moved here in May with the U.S. Coast Guard.

January 1971

Mr. and Mrs. Lloyd Foster and daughter Marchele have ended a two-week vacation trip to Idaho. They bought a new Mustang in Seattle, drove it to Sandpoint, Idaho, to visit relatives and stopped in Everett, Wash., to visit Mrs. Foster’s cousin, whom she hadn’t seen in 13 years. Mrs. Foster and Marchele returned by plane and Foster is following with the car, on the ferry.