2020 TOURIST SEASON – The 285-foot super yacht Lonian is tied up at the Old Sitka Dock Friday while its support vessel, the 217-foot Hoder equipped with a helicopter and ROV, is seen anchored in the distance. The 14-passender Lonian, which was launched in 2019, is owned by billionaire Lorenzo Fertitta, former owner of UFC. (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

July 21, 2020, Letters to the Editor


Mt. Edgecumbe High

Dear Editor: I wish to share with you my thoughts about opening Mt. Edgecumbe boarding school. Do we need to take on the extreme extra responsibilities for the Mt. Edgecumbe student body during this covid crisis? My hope is to keep both the students and Sitka SAFE! ‘‘Desperate Times Call for Desperate Measures’’; (actions that might seem extreme under normal circumstances are appropriate during adversity.)

I have sent the below text to the Governor, Alaska State Board of Education, Sitka School Board and the Sitka Assembly. If you are concerned, you should send them your thoughts too.

Mt. Edgecumbe Boarding School

I am writing this because I have great concerns about the opening of the boarding school: Mt. Edgecumbe High School.

With COVID-19 spreading through the state the opening of the boarding school puts the whole town of Sitka at an extremely greater health risk. I say this because the boarding school has a very dense, close-quartered population. If there was an infection outbreak there, it would not be one or two or three students. The likely scenario would be 15, 20, 30 students or more before it may be detected. This would put an extreme burden on our local healthcare system. Our local health providers already have to cover a good portion of southeast Alaska. We do not have a large hospital and an outbreak at the boarding school would be a catastrophic disaster for Sitka.

Even if all the students were tested before attending the school and also sequestered to the campus, the infection could quickly be introduced by many different ways. The teachers, resident advisers, maintenance workers, food service workers all leave the campus every day and increase the potential for infection. The risk increases with delivery drivers and food delivery drivers to name a few who all come on campus and have close contact with the students.

I think it would be best for the students and the whole of Sitka to not open the boarding school until COVID-19 is contained. It would be safer for the students to stay home and not condense themselves into a very small cramped environment by attending the boarding school.

There are also questions that if the boarding school were to open, where will all the masks, sanitizers and other safety equipment come from?

Please do not rush into opening Mt. Edgecumbe boarding school. Keep the students and the residents of Sitka safe!

James Moormann, Sitka



Redoubt Lake

Dear Editor: My name is Katie Russell and I am fisheries technician, part of the U.S. Forest Service’s field crew at Redoubt Lake. The Forest Service has a field crew at Redoubt Lake 24/7 in the summer to operate the weir that is in the lake just above the falls to the ocean. This weir is part of a partnership with Alaska Department of Fish and Game.

The weir allows us, the crew, to count and identify every salmon that is returning through Redoubt Lake. The run of salmon in Redoubt Lake is predominately sockeye salmon, and in recent years there have been in the tens of thousands of sockeye returning to Redoubt. We also take length and collect scale samples from some of the sockeye utilizing electro-shocking gloves, as show in the image here. After scales are collected, the sockeye are released to continue their journey to spawn and the scales are sent off to a laboratory for age analysis.

This year there seems to be fewer sockeye returning, but the numbers are still in the thousands. The many salmon returning to Redoubt make it a perfect place for brown bears to feed. Because of the proximity of the field crew to brown bears, we often yell “Hey Bear!” and blast airhorns to alert the bears as part of our safety protocol. 

If you are fishing and hear this near the Redoubt falls, it does not necessarily mean there is a bear in the area, but anyone fishing at Redoubt should be cautious of brown bears. Please be sure to make noise and leave dogs at home, as dogs create a risk for themselves and people in the area due to the bears. Additionally, remember to keep off the weir for your safety. Just a little bit above the falls there is a “No Fishing” line as marked by signs. We ask that you do not fish/dipnet past this line. Fishing past the line can cause the salmon to become stressed, especially after their difficult journey up the falls. Any additional stress could impact the mortality of the salmon and their ability to spawn. We want the salmon to be successful in their spawning so there are many salmon for people to fish in the future.

Happy fishing!

Katie Russell, Sitka






You have no rights to post comments

August 5, 2020

A Note To Our Readers

Reopening: Phase One:


On March 30 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


Login Form



Alaska COVID-19
At a Glance

(updated 8-10-20)

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 1;45 p.m. Monday.

New cases as of Sunday: 69

Total statewide – 3,775

Total (cumulative) deaths – 26

Active cases in Sitka – 21 (15 resident; 6 non-resident) *

Recovered cases in Sitka – 16 (12 resident; 4 non-resident) *

The state says the cumulative number of cases hospitalized is 154.

To visit the Alaska DHSS Corona Response dashboard website click here.

* These numbers reflect State of Alaska data. Local cases may not immediately appear on DHSS site, or are reported on patient’s town of residence rather than Sitka’s statistics. 




August 2000

Bring your wand if you’re coming, leave your disbelief at the door (no Muggles allowed), because room 220 at Blatchley is a place where the decorations, outfits and conversations are all very, very Harry Potter. “If you want to levitate, go ahead,” said Lacy Simons addressing the young wizards of the Harry Potter Reading and Writing Club. Simons, a VISTA volunteer, formed the club ....

August 1970

Photo caption: Youngsters who participated in the summer reading program at Kettleson Memorial Library include, from left, Lari Cook, Nancy Erickson, Yumiko Hayashi, Kyoko Ikenoue, Lu Ann Beidel, Tiffany Rose, Jessica Roth, Gwendolyn Roth, Rhonda Audette, Heather Owen, Susan Kohler, Glenn Oen, David Oen, Eric Oen, Stephen Weddell, Robert Weddell, Randy Turner, Takahiko Hosei, Douglas Henie, Lance Robards and Timothy Von Clasen.