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)

Former Sitkan Avis Murphy Dies at Age 85

Avis Ann Pederson Murphy

Mother, sister and grandmother Avis Ann Pederson Murphy received her angel wings November 15, 2020, with her three daughters by her side. She was 85.

She was born July 11, 1935, in Columbus, Wisconsin, to Alvin H. Pederson and Maxine V. Adams. 

The first three years of her life she spent on the Adams family farm in Gilman, Wisconsin, before taking the train to Seattle, Washington. On her 11th birthday, in 1946, she arrived in Sitka, on the North Sea at 11 p.m. She spent the next 40 years of her life here and made lifelong friends. 

She graduated from Sitka High School in 1955 and soon after married. By 1959 she had three daughters who gave her the most joy in her life. 

When she was living in Sitka, she spent many summers in Seattle with her grandmother, who loved to go to the movies.

She played basketball in high school with her best friends and worked for her uncle at his cab stand. One year she went to Oregon with a friend to pick strawberries, which she called “the hardest work I ever did.” 

After her daughters were all in school, she went out in the work force, as a cook at the schools, restaurants, amusement center and finally retiring in 1986 from the Sitka Pioneers Home. 

In 1986 she moved to Anacortes, Washington, to be close to her father and brothers but still made regular trips to Sitka for class reunions and visits with family. 

She loved to travel with her friends and family but most of all she loved being around her daughters and grandkids. She never missed a holiday or special event and always went in head-first to help with whatever needed to be done. 

When she was at home in Anacortes, she got involved with the Samish Nation Elders where she helped organize table center pieces for the annual luncheons, did some amazing bead and weaving work, and made some fabulous friends. She loved crafting, spent a lot of time putting together albums of photos, searching her roots and traveling. 

One of her many traits was her contagious laugh. She didn’t do anything extraordinary in her life but she was extraordinary. 

Preceded in death were her parents; brother, Charles Pederson; her sons-in-law Kenneth Records and Gregory Borden; her nephews Thomas, Gregory and Judd Pederson; and sister-in-law Joanne Pederson. 

She is survived by her daughters: Robin Records, Shelby Borden and Tally (Steve Allison); and her brothers, Ronald (Julie) and Allen Pederson. Also surviving are her five grandchildren, Tarra, Shantel, Kassie, Dylan and Cody; nine great-grandchildren; and many nieces, nephews, cousins and friends. 

In lieu of flowers the family suggests donations to a charity of your choice. You may send cards to Avis Murphy, 6227 Spradley RD, Anacortes, WA 98221.

A celebration of life is planned in July 2021 depending on the pandemic and to be announced via social media. 


To share memories of Avis, sign the online guestbook at

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 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.