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)

Walter Clark Dies in Mont.; Was Blatchley Principal

Walter Clark

Walter Clark, a former principal of Blatchley Middle School, passed away peacefully at his home in Missoula, Montana, on January 20, 2021. He was 79.

He was born in Missoula, Montana, in 1941 to Robert and Ann Clark. He attended both parochial and public school, graduating from Missoula County High School in 1959. He enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps, serving for four years, and making lifelong friendships.

Upon his return, he met and fell in love with Cathy of Whitefish, Montana. They were married in 1966. Walt attended the University of Montana and Northern Montana College, earning both a bachelor’s degree in vo-tech education and a master’s degree in education administration.

Walt dedicated his life to enriching the lives of students in Hardin, Montana, as a teacher of auto mechanics, wood working and welding, and then as a principal in Thompson Falls, Montana; Metlakatla and Sitka, Alaska; and Polson, Montana.

As an educator, he earned numerous awards on both the state and national levels for the programs he implemented at his schools. Among his honors were the Milken Educators Award for the state of Alaska in 1991, while he was Blatchley Middle School principal; and the School Administrator Award issued by the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. 

Walt was always up for a challenge, whether in the role of teacher, administrator, dad or grandfather. It could be building or fixing things, helping his children or grandchildren with a school project or any other grand plan that he or they concocted. He enjoyed fishing, hunting and working in the garage.

Mostly, he enjoyed time with his family and he adored all of his grandchildren. Walt made a difference; he made this world a better place. “He is the best man we have ever known,” his family wrote. “We will miss his quick wit and mischievous smile. He was our rock. He is in our hearts and he will forever be our hero.

Walt was preceded in death by his parents and sister, Barbara Irlbeck of Wake Forest, North Carolina, who died in the fall of 2020, and by his loyal dog, Tucker. 

Survivors include his wife, Cathy, of Missoula; daughters Peggy Reely, Missoula, and Judy and her husband Michael Swiger of Portland, Oregon; grandchildren Evan and Anna Reely and Trystan and Kailey Swiger; sister Janet and her husband Art Davison, Missoula; brother-in-law Bill Irlbeck, of Wake Forest; and many nieces, nephews and cousins.

He will be laid to rest at the Western Montana State Veterans Cemetery. A celebration of life will be held this summe. Anyone wishing to attend, is asked to  reach out to family members with contact information. There will be more family memories posted on Garden City Funeral Home’s website.

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.