PAINTING WEATHER – Downtown Sitka is pictured from the vantage point of commercial painter Keith Fredrickson’s 60-foot man lift today. Fredrickson Painting Inc. was taking advantage of the partly sunny weather to get a coat of paint on the Sitka Hotel, foreground, today. (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

Chuck Benson, Former Sitkan, Dies at Age 64

Chuck Benson

Ernest Charles “Chuck” Benson, of Eagle River, suffered a sudden heart attack and died Feb. 7, 2020, at the Alaska Regional Hospital in Anchorage, with family at his side. He was 64.
Chuck was born October 11, 1955, at Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital. He was Raven, T´akdeintaan, from the Tax’ Hít (Snail House).
His family describes Chuck as the “rock” of the family; a loving and fiercely devoted father to his five children; Kiatcha Palmer (Eagle River), Ryan Benson (Nome), Charles Benson (Eagle River), Kahtayaa “Katie” Benson (Anchorage) and Mara Patterson (Haines), and his seven grandchildren; Damien Derry, Natalia Benson, Ellis Benson, Raven Pangawyi, and Kyran, Nathan and Isabelle Sweet. He took great pride in organizing holiday and other family gatherings; cooking, and bringing everyone together. Throughout his life he was especially close to his sister, Diane Benson (Petersburg).
He worked in Valdez during the Trans-Alaska Pipeline construction as an electrician, fulfilled his duties as a medical lab technician in the National Guard, and retired after more than 30 years of service from the Federation Aviation Administration (FAA) as a highly skilled radar and air traffic control electronics technician. He served FAA in Cold Bay and then Cordova – at the time of the Exxon-Valdez oil spill – before settling in Eagle River where he ultimately raised his children.
He thoroughly enjoyed books and was a voracious reader of history, science and current affairs, and also enjoyed running, hiking, chess, fishing, and traveling. He fulfilled a lifelong dream with two trips to Europe.
Chuck was preceded in death by his father Ernest H. Benson and his mother Eleanor (Williams/Dick) Thomas; uncles Jim, Richard and Eugene Williams, and Clarence, Wilfred and George Dick; aunts Sylvia Carlsson and Juanita Sanborn; and his nephew Peter Williams.
Chuck is survived by his sister Diane, and brothers Dennis Benson, Dale Williams (Sitka), Clifford Thomas (California) and Jeffrey Thomas (Nevada), and aunt Marta Ryman of Sitka.
He also is survived by nieces and nephews Latseen Benson, Anouk and Ian Benson, Eric Thomas, Paul and Lucas Williams; many cousins,  including Marta Coleman, Chastity Dovell, and Karen Dick; and many other extended family members.
A memorial is being planned for June during Summer Solstice, in Anchorage.

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


Login Form



Alaska COVID-19 
At a Glance

(updated 5-8-21)

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 11:50 a.m. Friday.

New cases as of Thursday: 114

Total statewide – 66,120

Total (cumulative) deaths – 343

Total (cumulative) hospitalizations – 1,508

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 – 7

Hospitalizations (cumulative) in Sitka – 5

Cumulative Sitka cases – 367 (321 resident; 46 non-resident)

Cumulative recovered – 359

Deceased (cumulative) – 1

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

• • •


Sitka Vax Stats 

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

Partially vaccinated – 4,898 (70.469%)

Fully vaccinated – 4,486 (64.56%)

Total population (16+) –6,949

Sitka has vaccinated (with at least one dose) 1,249 (84.51%) 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:





May 2001

Richard Nelson, Alaska writer and cultural anthropologist, will be speaker at the University of Alaska Southeast, Sitka Campus, commencement exercises at Keet Gooshi Heen Elementary School

May 1971

The Alaska Dept. of Fish and Game announced today that the 100-ton herring quota in District 13, outside of the Sitka Sound area, has been harvested. The 750-ton quota for Sitka Sound was taken by April 7.