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)

Local Decisions

Turning away from our ongoing concerns about the federal budget impasse in Washington, it is fitting that over the next few days we focus attention on government issues close to home.
    Election day next Tuesday is when we voters make our major decisions of the year for our hometown.
    The candidates, as usual, are our friends and neighbors. This issue of the Sentinel contains an overview of the election and the ballot proposition, as well as information provided by the candidates themselves, which we hope will assist our readers in making decisions in the polling booth.
    The ballot proposition, particularly, deserves careful consideration by every voter and taxpayer. It proposes a trade-off of funding sources to pay off an old issue of Sitka school bonds.
    There is no doubt that, if approved, it will “free up” several hundred thousand dollars every year that will no longer be needed to pay for these bonds.
    But as in many such situations, there is no free lunch being offered here. The price will come in the form of extra years being added to the term of the temporary 1 percent seasonal sales tax, which is accumulating revenue faster than it currently is needed to pay off other school bonds.
    Other things being equal, this extra revenue could be used to put an end to the seasonal tax earlier than scheduled.
    There is a persuasive argument, however, that since out-of-town visitors contribute to the summertime tax, this is the way to share our burden, since one way or another, the bonds WILL be paid off.
    We leave it to our informed readers to make wise choices in their selection of officers for the Assembly and the School Board, and we endorse passage of the proposition that will allow us to use our local tax resources more efficiently.

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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. 

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20 YEARS AGO
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.

50 YEARS AGO
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.

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