CHEER SECTION – Sitka High and Mt. Edgecumbe High School cheerleaders react to a successful free throw Tuesday night at Sitka High during the cross-town boys basketball game. Edgecumbe boys and girls teams each won their games against Sitka High. Stories on the hard-fought games are on page 4 of today’s Sentinel. The region tournament takes place in Sitka in mid-March. (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

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21 Feb 2024 12:59

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Daily Sitka Sentinel

November 18, 2022, Community Happenings

Climate Connection: Community Energy Plan

On Dec. 13, our municipal electric department and two U.S. Department of Energy laboratories will present the findings from 18 months of technical assistance that was competitively awarded in 2021. One of the conclusions is that our hydro-powered microgrid can accommodate distributed power from additional sources with enough excess to stabilize frequency and voltage without battery storage.

Feasible additional sources include wind energy from two nearby mountain sites currently being monitored on U.S. Forest Service land and solar energy, the cheapest potential energy source, which might be useful at the low point of available hydropower in April and May. Although our electricity from hydropower is all clean, electricity accounts for less than half of the energy used in Sitka. The rest largely comes from fossil fuels for heating, cooking, aviation, and land and marine transport, with a little from wood. Fossil fuel is energy dense. We do not have enough hydropower to substitute for annual fossil fuel use of about 9 million gallons, if we seek to fully decarbonize buildings, transport, seafood processing, and the cruise industry. 

Our public utility anticipates the limits of hydropower, especially during dry years, by giving large energy consumers interruptible rates. Thus, the municipal government pays about a third, 6 cents/kilowatt-hr, compared to our average rate of 17 cents, in exchange for having their electricity supply turned off if supply is inadequate because of drought lowering the water behind the dams, dam penstock maintenance, or transmission interruption. In such cases, large consumers can resort to diesel generators for their electricity needs. This model does not motivate conservation nor efficiency and is hardly reassuring as we prepare for a world without fossil fuels. It keeps the lights on reliably for our residences at a higher fee, but seems out of date for responding to the climate emergency. 

An alternative priority for a community energy policy is to extend the clean hydropower we have with a major initiative on efficiency. If households with resistive electric baseboard heat converted to heat pumps, we could heat three times the number of homes with electricity and save the escalating fuel oil bills that contribute to our cost of living. 

For heat pump households with alternative means of heating, interruptible rates for the heat pump might be an interim incentive for conversion until we can bring more renewable energy on line. Electric cooking results in less indoor air pollution from the leaking methane and combustion products associated with gas stoves. Electric vehicles avoid the outdoor pollution from gas combustion and are cheaper to operate for both fuel and maintenance. Decarbonization is critical for avoiding even worse global warming from increasing levels of greenhouse gases. 

We cannot abruptly solve our energy needs currently met with fossil fuels. We need a community energy plan to guide our public electric utility toward the policies that will create the town we want in this transition. Come to the Assembly meeting to learn more so that we can contribute to policy about our energy priorities. 


Kay Kreiss, Transition Sitka


Open House Set

At Pioneers Home

Sitka Pioneer Home is hosting an open house pumpkin potluck 11 a.m.-noon Wednesday, Nov. 23, in the main lounge.

‘‘We will provide pumpkin pie and warm drinks,’’ organizers said. ‘‘You are invited to bring a pumpkin-themed snack to share.’’


White E Grant

Applications Ready

Applications for White E Grants to non-profits are now available at the store or on FaceBook. Applications are due by Nov. 30.


Adult Spelling

Bee on Feb. 9

The Friends of the Library and the Sitka Public Library will host a fundraising Adult Spelling Bee 6:30-8:30 p.m. Feb. 9 at Centennial Hall.

Teams will consist of one or two people, with one being at least 18 years. The entry fee is $20 per person.

Prizes will be for first, second and third places who will receive gift cards from local businesses. As people sign up the rules will be explained, organizers said. Those with questions may email or call 907-747-4821.

Lifelines may be purchased to assist teams in spelling. Each team may use two lifelines during the bee. No lifelines will be used in the last two rounds, organizers said.


Thanksgiving Eve

Service at St. Peter’s

A service of Thanks-giving and gratitude will be held 5:30 p.m. Nov. 23 at St. Peter’s by-the-Sea Episcopal Church.

The Rev. Sandra Rudd of Sitka Lutheran Church, and the Rev. Julie Platson from St. Peter’s by-the-Sea will lead the prayer service.

All are welcome. For information, send an email to or call (907) 747-3977 and leave a message for a call back.

The church is located at 611 Lincoln Street and is open every day for individuals to stop in for a time of quiet, prayer and rest.


Advent Season 

Offerings Given

St. Peter’s by-the-Sea Episcopal Church is offering special programs and services during the Advent season.

On Nov. 26, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., an Advent Quiet Day Retreat will be held in the church.

A book group will meet via Zoom noon-1 p.m. Mondays, Nov. 28-Dec. 19.

At 5:30 p.m. on Wednesdays, Nov. 30-Dec. 21, an Advent prayer service will be held in the church.

All are invited. For details on any of the offerings, send an email to or call (907) 747-3977 and leave a message for a call back. The church is located at 611 Lincoln Street. It is open every day to stop in for a time of quiet, prayer and rest.


Holiday Brass

Concert Dec. 17

Tickets are on sale for Sitka Fine Arts Camp’s annual Holiday Brass Concert 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 17, at the Performing Arts Center.

They may be purchased at

The concert will feature top brass musicians from around the country. For more information call 747-3085.


Sitka Unitarians

Plan Film Night

Free film night at the Unitarian Hall will host a series of films featuring women.

First up, at 7 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 25, will be “The Highway,” a film from India which has adventure, timeless issues, and a feisty heroine who becomes strong.

All are invited to attend at 408 Marine Street.


Seawalk Project

Scoping Nov. 30

The city, in coordination with Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities, will hold a project scoping meeting 6:30-8 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 30, at Centennial Hall.

The meeting is to discuss Sitka Seawalk Phase 2 to extend the current Sitka Seawalk.

The extension would continue from the Sitka Public Library to the O’Connell lightering facility, and onto Totem Square. Preliminary design and engineering are underway, and the public is invited to attend the project scoping meeting to provide input or by going to the project website


BH Volunteers

Training Dec. 3

Brave Heart Volunteers will host a volunteer training 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Dec. 3.

Sessions, presented by community experts, include ‘‘Body Basics,’’ ‘‘Staying Safe and When to Call 911,’’ ‘‘Cultural Awareness’’ and ‘‘Pioneers Home protocols.’’ Training is free and is recommended for all BHV volunteers, or those who want to volunteer, or interested persons. New volunteers or soon-to-be-volunteers are asked to attend the entire day, seasoned volunteers can join at 2 p.m.

Register at 747-4600 or email

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At a Glance

(updated 9-12-2023)

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 8:57 a.m. Tuesday, September 12.

New cases as of Tuesday: 278

Total cases (cumulative) statewide – 301,513

Total (cumulative) deaths – 1,485

Case Rate per 100,000 – 38.14

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

COVID in Sitka

The Sitka community level is now "Low.'' Case statistics are as of Tuesday.

Case Rate/100,000 – 152.50

Cases in last 7 days – 13

Cumulative Sitka cases – 3,575

Deceased (cumulative) – 10

The local case data are from Alaska DHSS.






February 2004

Photo caption: White Elephant Shop treasurer Ginny Cushing presents a $1,300 check to Monica Bettis, Sitka Community  Hospital long-term care activities director, and Kathy Inman, long-term care manager at the hospital. The donation is to be used to buy a wide-screen TV for the long-term unit.


February 1974

Photo caption: Gov. William Egan presents trophies to the all-tourney team in the Sitka American Legion Invitational Basketball Tournament. From left are Brad Sele, Klukwan; Gene Short, Ketchikan; David Harnum, Sitka Arrowhead Truckers; Terry Friske, Klukwan; and Jay Levan, Sitka American Legion.


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