TREE LIGHTING – Sitkans gather next to a decorated spruce tree across from City Hall Saturday. Scores turned out for the Chamber of Commerce’s holiday celebration that included caroling, a tree lighting hosted by Mrs. Santa Claus, and remarks by Chamber of Commerce member Loren Olsen and City Administrator John Leach encouraging people to shop in town during the holiday season. (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

Chamber Honors Community Supporters

By Sentinel Staff

Sitka Chamber of Commerce presented service awards to state Sen. Bert Stedman and Baranof Realty and, in a surprise move, honored a group of “Community Heroes” at its annual banquet Saturday night.


Past Cossack Cap recipient Jeff Budd, left, stands with Sen. Bert Stedman, after Stedman received this year’s award. (Photo by Tim Shobe) 

The heroes were the responders to the Kramer Avenue landslide last August in which three men lost their lives.

Keith Perkins, who presented the award, said the Chamber wanted to “honor the rescue efforts, and the rescuers,” and described the intensive search and recovery efforts by scores of volunteer and professional responders.

The banquet audience stood and applauded while Fire Chief Dave Miller and several other firefighters and volunteers came forward to accept the award, and continued to stand while Miller spoke briefly.

Stedman, who has represented Sitka in the Senate since 2003, received the Chamber’s Cossack Cap award, and was cited for his “unselfish and extraordinary public service to the citizens of Sitka.”

Stedman has served as co-chair of the Senate Finance Committee and currently is chair of the Health and Social Services Committee. He is a member of the Education Committee and the Labor and Commerce Committee. He was thanked for his work getting funding for such Sitka projects as the Performing Arts Center, the Sitka Library expansion, road upgrades and the Moller Park ballfield.

Last year’s winner, Jeff Budd, presented Stedman with the Cossack Cap.

Travis Vaughan, real estate agent and property manager, collected the Business of the Year Award for Baranof Realty.


Baranof Realty owner Travis Vaughan, left, receives the Business of the Year Award from last year’s recipient Silver Bay Seafoods CEO Rich Riggs.  Riggs is also Chamber Board President. (Photo by Tim Shobe)

Now in its 30th year as a Sitka business, Baranof Realty supports Chamber activities, collaborating in the holiday lights contest, facilitating new businesses, helping develop a youth flag football league and marketing Sitka at a trade show.

Rich Riggs, CEO of Silver Bay Seafoods which received the award last year, made the presentation to Vaughan.


Keith Perkins, left, and Chamber of Commerce board member Ptarmica McConnell, right,  present Sitka Fire Department Chief Dave Miller with the Community Heroes Award.  (Photo by Tim Shobe)

The banquet, with a Brazilian Carnival theme, was held at the Alaska Raptor Center.


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Alaska COVID-19 
At a Glance

(updated 12-3-21)

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 10:21 a.m. Friday.

New cases as of Thursday: 312

Total statewide – 146,558

Total (cumulative) deaths – 853

Total (cumulative) hospitalizations – 3,117

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

COVID in Sitka

The COVID alert rate for Sitka is “high,” based on 13 new resident COVID cases in the past 7 days, a rate of 152.52 per 100,000 population. Case statistics are as of Thursday.

New cases in Sitka – 2

Cases in last 7 days – 13

Cumulative Sitka cases – 1,142

Cumulative non-resident cases – 102

Unique positive cumulative test results in Sitka, as of 11/26/21 – 1,266

Deceased (cumulative) – 5

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

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December 2001

Photo caption: Cathy Hanson shovels snow off the sidewalk in front of Russell’s today. What started as a few flakes Monday evening had mounted to an estimated half-foot by noon today. More was forecast but rain is possible Wednesday.

December 1971 

Several fish fatalities resulted Monday night when a car apparently went out of control, ran off Halibut Point Road and slammed into the rear of Sitka Petland Store. Vibrations shattered fish tanks, and several hundred dollars worth of tropical fish were casualties.