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)

Jose Benson, SHS Grad, Dies in Florida at Age 66

Jose Benson

Jose Benson, 66, of Tampa, Florida, passed away on February 6, 2021, due to complications from Covid-19.

Born in El Tigre, Venezuela, he moved to the United States in 1959, when the family settled in Ridgefield, Hockinson and Battle Ground, Washington.

In 1970 the family moved to Sitka where he graduated from Sitka High School in 1972. He was active in SHS sports including baseball, wrestling and cross country. After graduation he received his associates degree from Northwest Nazarene College in Nampa, Idaho, and later received his bachelor’s degree from National Louis University.

In 1984 he married his wife Betzaida and they moved to Tampa, where he worked for many years for JPMorgan Chase. After leaving that company, he started his own insurance agency, Compass Insurance. 

He was an active member of Wesley Memorial United Methodist Church where he was a part of the men’s group, choir, livestream video team and leadership team. He loved serving the Lord by serving the homeless people of Tampa.

Jose will be remembered for his love of the Lord, genuine kindness, and charming and funny personality. 

Jose is survived by his wife of 36 years, Betzaida, son Brent, 35, and daughter Brenda, 27.

He is also survived by siblings, Vilma Perales (Freddy), Julie Hames (Randal), Iris Uchytil (Rod), Ivan Benson (Nilda) and Roy-Parker Benson;  and many nieces and nephews.

He is predeceased by his father, Ralph Benson, mother Carmen Benson and older brother Hector Benson.

A small funeral was held on Thursday, February 11, 2021, followed by  burial near his mother’s grave at Rest Haven Memorial Park, Tampa.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to the Wesley Memorial United Methodist Church, 6100 Memorial Highway, Tampa, FL. 33615 or to a charity of choice.

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.