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)

Francisca C. Rago Dies; Former Sitkan Was 74


Francisca Castillo Rago


Francisca Castillo Rago, 74, passed away peacefully, after a sudden illness, on July 4, 2021.  

She was born Sept. 10, 1946, in Langiden, Abra, Philippines to Petra (Alejon) and Antonio Castillo. She came to the United States in 1968 where she met and married Robert Moreno Rago Sr., on November 30, 1968.  

She lived in Sitka for 40 years, and worked as a cook/food service worker for the Sitka Pioneers Home for more than 30 years. She retired in 2008 and moved to Anchorage, where she remained until her death.  She was very active with her church choir at St. Anthony’s Catholic church.  She loved gardening and cooking for her friends and family.  

Francisca was preceded in death by her parents, her beloved husband Robert, and eight brothers and sisters.  She is survived by her son, Robert Rago Jr.; her two sisters Antonia Castillo Chong, and Magdalena Castillo; one brother, Frederico Castillo; and many beloved nieces and nephews and several greatnieces and nephews.

The funeral Mass will be held on July 15, at St. Anthony’s Catholic Church. The viewing will be at 10 a.m. with the Mass beginning at 11 a.m.  A reception will immediately follow the Mass.  Flowers and cards can be sent to St. Anthony’s Catholic Church, 825 Klevin Street, Anchorage, AK  99508.

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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.

• • •


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:





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.

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.