COLD CASE SOLVED – About 1,500 people turned out on May 12, 1996, for a walk through Sitka National Historical Park in memory of Jessica Baggen. The tragedy raised fears about violence in Sitka, but also revealed the community's capacity for providing sympathy and support, and sticking together in a time of crisis. Police announced today they solved the cold case. (Sentinel File Photo)

Alberta Hemnes, Longtime Resident, Dies at Age 84

Alberta Hemnes


Alberta Hemnes, a longtime Sitka resident, died March 17, 2020, at the Sitka SEARHC hospital. She was 84.

Alberta was born June 12, 1935, in Bissett, Manitoba, Canada, the oldest of five children of Jonas Anderson and Elsie Irene Walker. Her family moved to Calgary during World War II, and her father served in the Army for six years during the war. When she was 16  her mother passed away, leaving Alberta to help raise her siblings.

Alberta attended Langley Prairie High School in British Columbia, Canada, and Berean Bible College in Calgary for three years. Later, she took nursing aide training in Calgary and worked as an aide at a local hospital. 

Alberta began her missionary work  for Gospel Missionary Union in Kansas City, and was there for 10 years. In 1969, GMU sent her to Sitka to work with children in a Bible club program. She and her GMU partner, Elsie Williams, also opened the Bible Book Store, in downtown Sitka.

She met the love of her life, Jakob Hemnes, here, and they were married on August 22, 1975.

Alberta worked as an aide at Sitka Community Hospital and at the Bed and Bath shop for many years. She had artistic talents and loved to paint, and spent many happy hours painting for Becky Martin at Windsong Designs. Her miniature canvas paintings have been featured in the Pioneers Home Gift Shop the past few years. 

Alberta had a very strong Christian faith and will be missed by her church family at the Nazarene Church. Her home for the last two years has been at the Pioneer Home. Alberta was a joy to many and will be missed by them all.

She is survived by two stepchildren, Joyce Hemnes of Sitka and Kurt Hemnes and two step-granddaughters, of Norway.


A memorial service is planned for later in the summer.

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 8-11-20)

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 11:25 a.m. Tuesday.

New cases as of Monday: 45

Total statewide – 3,821

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 161.

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

Photo caption: Park Ranger Harvey Brandt and Russian Bishop’s House volunteer gardener Donna Grota present a program featuring the house’s garden. The current garden is an historical representation of the first one planted at the house, in 1844. ... Master gardener Kitty LaBounty also took part in the program.

August 1970

Sitka Yesterday, August 1950: Arriving yesterday by plane from Bend, Ore., Fred Baughn will manage the Moose Bowling Alley here. ... To celebrate the 11th birthday of Marina Panamarkoff, a party was given at the home of Mrs. Jack Schaefer. After gifts were presented, Mrs. T. J. Cole took all the guests to the matinee at the show.