CHECKING IT OUT – Fia Turczynewycz, a visitor from Ohio, walks her dog,  Mani, past the Sitka National Historical Park Visitor Center this morning. Tlingit master carver Tommy Joseph’s newly completed yellow cedar Waas’go pole, pictured in the background, was moved out of the park’s carving shed Thursday to make room for Joseph’s latest project – carving a Tlingit canoe with the aid of an apprentice. Joseph’s Waas’go pole is the third version of the Haida pole in the past century – a reproduction of a reproduction made in the 1930s by George Benson, which is placed inside the visitor center. Rangers are working on approval for a location along the park’s trail system for the new pole. (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

Former Resident of Sitka Hal Taylor Dies at Age 96



Family patriarch, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather Hal Taylor passed away from natural causes peacefully in his sleep Aug. 5, 2020, in Silverdale,Washington. He was 96.

Hal Taylor


Hal was born on Aug. 23, 1923, in Mason City, Iowa, the son of E.G. and Lois (Board) Taylor.  A product of the Great Depression, Hal grew up and spent his youth playing football and baseball, until his graduation from Mason City High School.
While growing up in Iowa in the 1930s and 1940s, the idea of living in Alaska was as foreign as being a man on the moon.  All that changed on Dec. 7, 1941, when the United States was plunged into a war after the bombing of Pearl Harbor.  After graduation from high school, Hal volunteered for duty in the U.S. Navy and was assigned to the 1st Marine Division as a hospital corpsman during some of the most vicious and bloody wartime campaigns in the Marine Corps battle history.  These epic struggles included OP STALEMATE II at Peleliu and OP ICEBERG at Okinawa that yielded 12 Medal of Honor recipients and more than 19,000 American casualties, nearly one-third of all U.S. participants.
Following the war, Hal returned to Iowa and quietly resumed civilian life as a brakeman for the Milwaukee Railroad.  He also married his high school sweetheart, Mae Jean Severson, on Feb. 18, 1946, destined to start family life in the Midwest farmland until Mae Jean’s brother Curt started working in Sitka on the Cathedral Apartments project. Lured by the irresistible attraction of life in Alaska, Hal brought Mae Jean and their three small children to Sitka in the U.S. Territory of Alaska.
As one of the few heavy equipment operators in Sitka, Hal quickly busied himself on major upgrades to Sitka’s infrastructure including construction on the new Sitka Airport, relocation of Coast Guard housing from Annette Island to Japonski Island, bridge abutments for the O’Connell Bridge, and urban renewal of Sitka’s downtown.
In later years, Hal and Mae Jean started the Sitka Shopper and also did job printing, later to become the House of Printing.  They ran this for years out of their 1603 Davidoff Street address.
Hal lived life to the fullest, his perpetual smile, laughter, and sunny disposition always made others feel like part of his extended family.  Generous to a fault, Hal regularly helped financially and emotionally prop up folks down on their luck due to illness, bad fortune, or unforeseen family emergencies.
Hal was preceded in death by his wife of 62 years, Mae Jean Taylor who died Feb. 18, 2008.
Surviving family members include three children, Craig Taylor and Sylvia (Theno) Taylor of Oregon City, Oregon, Sammy Lou Swaim of Sultan, Washington, and Ned Taylor and Judy (Strid) Taylor of Seabeck, Washington; five grandchildren; five great grandchildren; and two great great-grandchildren.

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Alaska COVID-19 
At a Glance

(updated 9-17-21)

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 10:47 a.m. Friday.

New cases as of Thursday: 875

Total statewide – 96,002

Total (cumulative) deaths – 454

Total (cumulative) hospitalizations – 2,207

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

COVID in Sitka

The COVID alert rate for Sitka is “high,” based on 14 new COVID cases in the past 7 days, a rate of 187.73 per 100,000 population. Alert status will be high until the rate per thousand is below 100. Case statistics are as of Thursday.

New cases in Sitka – 5

Cases in last 7 days – 16

Cumulative Sitka cases – 946

Positive cumulative test results in Sitka, as of 9/10/21 – 1,090

Deceased (cumulative) – 3

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

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Sitka Vax Stats 

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

Partially vaccinated – 6,132 (83.03%)

Fully vaccinated – 5,991 (81.12%)

Total population (12+) – 7,385

Sitka has vaccinated fully vaccinated 89.85 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: https://cityofsitka.org

 

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20 YEARS AGO
September 2001

Alaska Pacific Bank has opened an account for donations to be directed to the families of the World Trade Center attack of Sept. 11. The account has been opened with a $2,000 contribution from the bank and an anonymous donor.

50 YEARS AGO
September 1971

At the Sitka Historical Society’s meeting Sunday, Mrs. Esther Billman of Sheldon Jackson College presented a “surprise package” of recent donations to the Sheldon Jackson Museum by Mr. Hugh Brady, youngest son of former Territorial Gov. John Brady.

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