CLOSURE – Amanda Baggen sets a candle on the Indian River foot bridge Tuesday night in memory of her sister Jessica, who was killed 24 years ago at age 17 while walking home through the nearby woods. Dozens of Sitkans turned out to leave candles and flowers on the bridge Tuesday night after Alaska State Troopers and Sitka Police announced earlier in the day they had solved the 1996 murder case using DNA evidence. The suspect, Steve Branch, 66, a former Sitka resident, killed himself at his home in Austin, Arkansas, shortly after being contacted there by officers Aug. 3. Baggen said she thinks this is the last year she will be lighting candles at the bridge, something she, her friends and family have been doing every year for the past 24 years. (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

Alaska Spring Sports Season Canceled

By GARLAND KENNEDY
Sentinel Staff Writer
    With schools around the state shuttered until at least May 1 in order to contain the spread of COVID-19, the Alaska School Activities Association called off the spring sports seasons on Monday.

Sitka Wolves' Chloe Morrison makes an out in a game against Thunder Mountain in 2019. This year's season has been canceled. (Sentinel Photo)


    On its website, ASAA announced the “cancellation of all 2020 spring events, championships, regular season contests and practices. This decision applies to the following: All-State Art, Esports (Spring Season), Solo & Ensemble, Track & Field, Soccer, Baseball and Softball.”
    The state championships for basketball and cheer were canceled last week.
    ASAA was not alone in making tough sports decisions on Monday. The International Olympic Commission simultaneously decided to postpone the Tokyo Olympics to 2021.
    Sitka High softball coach Jael McCarty told the Sentinel that “The girls are pretty heartbroken… (but) we want to do our part to keep the people in our community safe. It’s unfortunate for how it turns out for our girls, but I don’t fault anyone.”
    McCarty acknowledged that the situation is unusual.
    “These are strange times, and you’ve just got to do what you’ve got to do.”
    She encouraged her players to continue studying and keep up their grades despite school closures.
    “We’re just encouraging them to take care of what they need, to take care of regarding distance learning, and just taking care of one another,” McCarty said.
    Sitka Wolves track and field coach Jeremy Strong said he’s sorry  his seniors are losing their last chance to shatter records.
    “I feel pretty disappointed, this was a really strong year for the program. We’ve got a couple seniors going out who won’t get a chance to compete,” Strong said.
    Powerhouse athletes, including Max Johnson, Asa Demmert, and Dominic Baciocco, were set to constitute the backbone of a capable track team.
    “We’ll probably never get a group of runners together like this again,” Strong said. But he added that ASAA’s choice to shut down the season was reasonable.
    “It’s probably the right decision,” he said.
    Other coaches could not be reached for comment.
    In less than a month, Alaskan sports have gone from basketball season as usual to a total shutdown. The situation continues to develop.
    “Of course as coaches, I think we’re disappointed we don’t get to see the kids compete,” Strong concluded. “We hope that everybody is in good spirits and still finds ways to remain active to keep their spirits up. And we’ll get through it.”
    Until then, Strong looks forward to the next cross country season in August.


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

 

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Alaska COVID-19
At a Glance

(updated 8-12-20)

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 11:20 a.m. Wednesday.

New cases as of Tuesday: 62

Total statewide – 3,881

Total (cumulative) deaths – 27

Active cases in Sitka – 22 (16 resident; 6 non-resident) *

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

The state says the cumulative number of cases hospitalized is 164.

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. 

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20 YEARS AGO
August 2000

Classified For Rent ads: 3-bdrm. apt. 1-1/2 baths $800; 2-bdrm trailer $645 plus tax; Unfurnished 2 bdrm. on HPR $735; 1-bdrm. on HPR $588; 3-bdrm, 2-1/2 bath home on Edgecumbe Dr. Excellent view, deck, garage $1,300.

50 YEARS AGO
August 1970

Trollers and their skippers reporting in at Cold Storage Tuesday were Lark Star, John Polivka; Emma, William Sanders; Majestic, George Rohrer; Needlefish, Wayne Westover; The Peasant, Van Baker; The Spencer, Charles Raleigh .... 

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