SUMMER FLING – Erika Youngberg and one-year-old son Axel enjoy the light surf at Sandy Beach Saturday as temperatures climbed to 68 degrees under clear skies. The Youngbergs were among some 100 people sunbathing, splashing and swimming to deeper water before the weather turned to showers as was forecast for Sunday. (Sentinel Photo by Reber Stein)





Ruth A. Johnson Dies In Arizona at Age 82

Ruth A. Johnson

Former Sitkan Ruth Adeline (Wahler) Johnson passed away in Sun City, Arizona, on September 5, 2019, from complications of Parkinson’s disease.
She had valiantly fought the disease which took many things away from her, including her voice and special laugh.
She was born June 15, 1937, on a farm in Barney Township, North Dakota, where she learned the importance of hard work and doing the job right. Ruth (Ruthie to her North Dakota family) was working as a waitress when she met her future husband, John Floyd Johnson, and started the adventure. After marrying on November 9, 1955, they made their first home in North Dakota, then on to Montana, Oregon, Idaho, and, lastly, following the call to Alaska. In 1966 they moved to Sitka, with their three young daughters, where Floyd took an electrician job at Alaska Lumber and Pulp Company.
Ruth was first a homemaker and mother and later decided to venture outside the home and work for the school district as a cook and administrative secretary, and then with the Sitka Visitors Bureau. She enjoyed all of the work and developed many close, lifelong friendships.
She was an active member of Sitka Lutheran Church, where she was designated by Pastor Jim Drury as the “minister of joy and laughter.” She volunteered countless hours at the church and White Elephant Shop. If she saw a need, she filled it - helping her family, friends, and neighbors.
Ruth loved her home in Sitka, but in her later years as the Parkinson’s disease began to take hold, she spent time in Sun City, Arizona, which provided better access to meet her medical needs.
She was preceded in death by her husband; parents, Herman and Helen Wahler; stepmother, Ella; and siblings Harold, Elroy, and Marlys, and other family members.
She leaves behind her brother-in-law, Lawrence Heley, of Ledgerwood,  N.D.; sisters-in-law, Delphia Johnson of Flagstaff, Arizona, and Betty Johnson of Minnesota; daughters, Barbara (Patrick) Ebert of Bainbridge Island, Washington, Ellen (John) Dumond of Manhatten Beach, Calif,, and Gail (Ty) Rogers of Poulsbo, Washington; grandchildren Kelly (Jon) Snow, and Josh, Nate and Andy Becker; and great-grandchildren Aiden, Sam, and Chloe Snow.
In addition, she is survived by several nieces and nephews, related family, and close friends around the country.
She was a trusting and caring person who met life’s challenges head-on and always loved a good laugh. Ruth loved traveling, being with family, and visiting with friends over a home-cooked meal.
“Her vibrant, fun-loving, joyous, and generous nature will be missed by all who knew her,” her family wrote. “She remained a mischievous prankster in spirit - almost to the end. Her spirit has now been released from the body that was failing her and she will live on in our hearts and memories and be forever missed.”
A memorial service will be performed at the Sitka Lutheran Church in October on a date yet to be determined. Her ashes will be laid to rest at the Sitka National Cemetery with her husband of 43 years.

August 5, 2020

A Note To Our Readers

Reopening: Phase One:


On March 30, 2020, 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 6-21-21)

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 12:21 p.m. Monday.

New cases as of Sunday: 13

Total statewide – 68,112

Total (cumulative) deaths – 366

Total (cumulative) hospitalizations – 1,602

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. Sunday.

Active cases in Sitka – 4

Hospitalizations (cumulative) in Sitka – 6

Cumulative Sitka cases – 390 (341 resident; 49 non-resident)

Cumulative recovered – 386

Deceased (cumulative) – 1

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

• • •


Sitka Vax Stats 

The State of Alaska DHSS reported Friday the following statistics on vaccinations for Sitka.

Partially vaccinated – 5,340 (72%)

Fully vaccinated – 4,967 (67%)

Total population (12+) – 7,385

Sitka has vaccinated fully vaccinated 77 percent of its senior population (1,478 total), age 65 and older. 

Vaccination data for the City and Borough of Sitka can be found online at:





June 2001

Sitka police and federal authorities are investigating a report three counterfeit $100 bills were passed at a Sitka jewelry store. “It’s difficult to solve it, if you don’t get a good description of them, especially if they are transient or tourists.” said SPD Lt. John Bocza.

June 1971

Photo caption: David Bruce, 10, caught this 64-pound king salmon Saturday fishing with his grandfather, Philip “Peewee” James near Olga Strait. The big fish was 46 inches long with a girth of 32 inches. David and his grandparents live at Mt. Edgecumbe.