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)

Julie White Dies at 53; Was Lifelong Resident

Julie White


Julie White left us on August 5, 2021, leaving a hole in the heart of everyone who knew and loved her.

“She was our shining star; wife, mom, sister, sister-in-law, auntie, step- sister, step-mom, niece and we all miss her dearly,” her family said.

Julie Ann Pruett was born June 4, 1968, to Lee and Bonnie Pruett at Mt. Edgecumbe hospital. Julie grew up in Sitka with sisters Esther and Emily, all attending school there. As the youngest of three, Julie was confident and ambitious from an early age. This confidence helped her tackle many things later in life.

Lee grew up in Bakersfield, California, and ventured to Alaska in the 1960s at the urging of friend Gene Martin of Haines. Logging in Haines and Sitka, Lee was a long time Teamster working on many Sitka projects. Bonnie grew up in Klawock and came to Sitka to attend Mt. Edgecumbe High and Sheldon Jackson. Both Lee and Bonnie were taken in by Russ and Ruth Betterton, who were a dominant force in both their lives.

The Pruetts spent many years early on in Mt. Edgecumbe’s FAA Housing. It was a perfect place for the girls to grow, experience and learn. Favorite pastimes were bull head derbies and chasing crab on and around the boat ramp. Another all-time favorite was making mud pie. 

Ambitious and outgoing, Julie was always up for a challenge. As an avid runner she used that ambition to complete many running races including an ultra-marathon and several marathons and half-marathons. She could be seen running out Halibut Point Road or up Harbor Mountain. Julie loved running so much she went on to co-host the Sitka Cross Trail Marathon. 

A great task and project manager, Julie helped design and decorate three homes that she and Todd built in Sitka. She also loved making Halloween costumes and was a stylish Wearable Art participant.

Julie loved to garden and had quite a green thumb, grooming beautiful flowers and plants for their home on Halibut Point Road. A master shopper, she could fill a Costco cart like nobody’s business. Her mom Bonnie (Nana) likely was proud of that as she was a master shopper herself. Julie was courteous and helpful too; always there for her customers; and ever the auntie, there to babysit anytime.

Julie married Todd White on July 25, 1986, at St. Gregory’s church in Sitka. In Sitka they raised daughter Christine, son Ethan (now a senior at Sitka High) and their youngest son Jaxson (eighth grade).

In 1987 she attended Doug Fox Travel School in Sacramento, California, setting the stage for a journey of helping others. After travel school she was a travel agent at Doug Fox Travel in Sitka. Later she worked in Sitka for the U.S. Forest Service and SEARHC Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital.

She loved to travel and her customer service agent job with Alaska Airlines helped her do all the traveling she could. As an agent, Julie greeted Sitka passengers with a big smile; got folks into wheelchairs when needed.

With a big heart, Julie helped her mom through a lung transplant, helping nurse her back to health. Later on, she and Todd helped one of her coworkers through their final days. Julie made them feel welcome and at home in an apartment connected to their home. She helped care for and comfort them as they worked through that difficult time. Julie went out of her way, again and again, to help others.


Julie is survived by her husband Todd, daughter Christine, son Ethan, son Jaxson and stepdaughter Kara; sister Esther Diaz (husband Abel) and niece Krista (husband Danny), nephews Cody and Mark; niece Valerie, and nephew Eric; sister Emily Howard (husband Ray) and nephew Shane.

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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.