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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Daily Sitka Sentinel

Christmas Bazaar to Offer Arts, Crafts, Santa

By SHANNON HAUGLAND

Sentinel Staff Writer

Harrigan Centennial will be filled with booths selling arts, handicrafts and gifts of all kinds Saturday with the return of the Sitka Counseling Christmas Bazaar.

It will run 9 a.m.-4 p.m. and Santa will be on hand 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. for photos with kids.

It’s the first time the event, sponsored by Sitka Counseling, has been held since 2019, when the pandemic canceled group activities.

Mt. Edgecumbe Preschool’s Erika Knox, right, fixes ribbons on wreaths held by Letti and Grace Karsunky at the preschool today. The wreaths are among dozens that will be sold during the annual Sitka Counseling Christmas Bazaar Saturday at Harrigan Centennial Hall. (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

“This is our only fundraiser that we do annually,” said Amy Zanuzoski, executive director of the nonprofit counseling organization. “Minus the last few years, it’s been going on 40 years or so.”

There will be more than 70 booths where Sitkans will display their wares. Admission is $2 for those 12 and up, free to those younger. Other income for the fundraiser is from the fees vendors pay for their tables and the donation of a portion of their sale receipts.

Outside, two food vendors will be selling hotdogs, cotton candy and burgers, and a pickup station will be open for those who bought wreaths and garlands in the Mt. Edgecumbe Preschool fundraiser.

Most of the Christmas Bazaar vendors live in Sitka, where they are photographers, woodworkers, knitters, crafters, dollmakers, soapmakers, ceramicists and jewelry makers.

Zanuzoski and April Troup, Sitka Counseling administrative assistant, said they know Sitkans have always enjoyed the bazaar as a chance to get Christmas shopping done early. And often, like this year, it is held on a sales tax holiday.

“Just seeing the talent Sitka has is always fun,” said Troup, “I always like to go to the markets and bazaars to see what people come up with.”

“The creative people in our community are amazing, for them to come out and share their wares,” Zanuzoski said. “And it’s also shopping local.”

Some of the funds raised will go toward gifts such as hats, gloves and ice cleats for some of Sitka Counseling’s treatment program clients.

Funds raised also will go toward running the various Sitka Counseling programs that serve some 300 clients in Sitka and from across the state.

That includes the 12-bed adult residential substance use treatment program; mental health counseling services for adults and youths; case management help for mental health clients; prevention programs for youth; and therapeutic services for children and youth up to 21 who exhibit severe behavioral, emotional, or social disabilities.

On the prevention side, the organization also is working with Youth Advocates of Sitka to reopen the Cloud, a space for teens to hang out. For adults, Sitka Counseling hosts the monthly meetings of the HOPE Coalition - Healing Our People and Environment, which is aimed at gathering facts and providing support to those affected by drug use.

Zanuzoski highlighted the need to support those needing help at this time, particularly due to changes being seen since the start of COVID.

“The impact of COVID-19 on youth mental health: it’s more than one in three that have had poor mental health during the pandemic,” Zanuzosky said, citing national statistics. “Nearly half felt persistently sad or hopeless in the past year, and two in every 10 seriously considered suicide in the past year – that’s a really terrible number. And then one in 10 attempted suicide in the past year.”

The organization is also dealing with turnover and a shortage of qualified staff since the pandemic. But the situation is improving, with new people on board, Zanuzoski said.

“We hope we’re seeing the light at the end of the tunnel,” she said.

Those wanting to sign up for a booth can still do so by calling 907-747-3636. Photos taken with Santa at the event can be selected and paid for at Harry Race Photo.

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AK COVID-19

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.

 

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20 YEARS AGO

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.


50 YEARS AGO

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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