Alaska

Michael Penn | Juneau Empire
                                Ron Lumba, of the Alaska State Capitol’s maintenance staff, adds the Majority Leader plate to the front of the office of Sen. Lyman Hoffman, D-Bethel, on the first day of the Second Special Session of the Alaska Legislature in Juneau on Monday.

Special session starts with a manic Monday

All roads — and planes — may lead to Wednesday.

Michael Penn | Juneau Empire
                                Ron Lumba, of the Alaska State Capitol’s maintenance staff, adds the Majority Leader plate to the front of the office of Sen. Lyman Hoffman, D-Bethel, on the first day of the Second Special Session of the Alaska Legislature in Juneau on Monday.
Judy Cavanaugh stands with others at a rally against the Pebble Mine in front of Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s Juneau office on Tuesday. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)
Judy Cavanaugh stands with others at a rally against the Pebble Mine in front of Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s Juneau office on Tuesday. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)
This map shows the varying levels of drought in Southeast Alaska, as of the week of June 6, 2019.The red portion of the map indicates extreme drought, dark orange indicates severe drought, light orange indicates moderate drought and yellow indicates abnormally dry conditions. (Courtesy Photo | U.S. Drought Monitor)

Southeast experiencing rare drought

The entirety of Southeast Alaska is in some state of drought.

This map shows the varying levels of drought in Southeast Alaska, as of the week of June 6, 2019.The red portion of the map indicates extreme drought, dark orange indicates severe drought, light orange indicates moderate drought and yellow indicates abnormally dry conditions. (Courtesy Photo | U.S. Drought Monitor)
A Coast Guard Station Ketchikan 45-foot Response Boat-Medium boat crew searches for survivors from downed aircraft in the vicinity of George Inlet near Ketchikan, Monday. The Coast Guard, Ketchikan Volunteer Rescue Squad, good Samaritans and multiple other agencies have searched extensively and continue to search for survivors from the crash. (Courtesy photo | U.S. Coast Guard)

Investigators turn to wreckage and passengers for answers

The injured are recuperating and the investigation continues .

A Coast Guard Station Ketchikan 45-foot Response Boat-Medium boat crew searches for survivors from downed aircraft in the vicinity of George Inlet near Ketchikan, Monday. The Coast Guard, Ketchikan Volunteer Rescue Squad, good Samaritans and multiple other agencies have searched extensively and continue to search for survivors from the crash. (Courtesy photo | U.S. Coast Guard)

Measles could be getting off the boat in Juneau

Rash-causing virus is the most prevalent it’s been in 25 years.

Students strike against climate change

Juneau high schoolers hope policy changes faster than the climate does.

Amy Herrick, manager at the Alaskan Kush Company downtown retail store, talks about the possibility of opening an onsite consumption space on Tuesday, April 16, 2019. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Smoke ‘em if you bought ‘em:

Juneau marijuana retailers would like to offer smoking space

Amy Herrick, manager at the Alaskan Kush Company downtown retail store, talks about the possibility of opening an onsite consumption space on Tuesday, April 16, 2019. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)
Abbe Hensley, of Best Beginnings, shows off her phone case during a hearing for SB 6 in front of the Senate Education Committee at the Capitol on Tuesday, April 16, 2019. The bill is to provide money for prekindergarten education. The case reads: Alaskans for Early Education. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)
Abbe Hensley, of Best Beginnings, shows off her phone case during a hearing for SB 6 in front of the Senate Education Committee at the Capitol on Tuesday, April 16, 2019. The bill is to provide money for prekindergarten education. The case reads: Alaskans for Early Education. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)
Sen. David Wilson, R-Wasilla, speaks about his bill to allow residents to donate their Permanent Fund Dividend back to the state’s general fund during a Senate Finance Committee meeting on Monday. Anne Weske, Director of the Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend, right, also spoke to the committee. (Michael Penn/Juneau Empire)
Sen. David Wilson, R-Wasilla, speaks about his bill to allow residents to donate their Permanent Fund Dividend back to the state’s general fund during a Senate Finance Committee meeting on Monday. Anne Weske, Director of the Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend, right, also spoke to the committee. (Michael Penn/Juneau Empire)
Myrna Gardner, tribal partnership specialist for the U.S. Census Bureau, said Alaska’s low census response rate is costing the state millions every year during a presentation at Southeast Housing Summit, Thursday, March 14, 2019. *Ben Hohenstatt | Juneau Empire)
Myrna Gardner, tribal partnership specialist for the U.S. Census Bureau, said Alaska’s low census response rate is costing the state millions every year during a presentation at Southeast Housing Summit, Thursday, March 14, 2019. *Ben Hohenstatt | Juneau Empire)
Data shows the borough’s annual unemployment rate through the years. (Graphic by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)

State employment down slightly

Borough unemployment down from recent years

Data shows the borough’s annual unemployment rate through the years. (Graphic by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)
A black ash cloud from Alaska’s Mount Veniaminof passes the community of Perryville, Alaska, on Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2018. Alaska Volcano Observatory scientists said the overnight ash emissions from Mount Veniaminof generated an ash plume that drifted more than 150 miles (241 kilometers) to the southeast. (Victoria Tague via AP)

Ash from Alaska volcano prompts aviation warning

ANCHORAGE — Residents of a tiny Alaska Native community woke up to a little pre-Thanksgiving excitement Wednesday, with a neighboring volcano spewing a billowing dark… Continue reading

A black ash cloud from Alaska’s Mount Veniaminof passes the community of Perryville, Alaska, on Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2018. Alaska Volcano Observatory scientists said the overnight ash emissions from Mount Veniaminof generated an ash plume that drifted more than 150 miles (241 kilometers) to the southeast. (Victoria Tague via AP)

Celebrating Medicaid Expansion

This week marks the third anniversary since I took executive action to expand Medicaid in Alaska. It opened the door to health care for more… Continue reading

Alaska opioid deaths increased by 77 percent in last decade, report says

The rate of Alaskans who died from opioid overdoses increased 77 percent over the last decade, with the highest overall rate of deaths reported in… Continue reading

Alaska unions clobbered by Supreme Court decision

Alaska’s public-sector unions warned Wednesday that a new ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court will have significant effects across the state. The 5-4 ruling in… Continue reading

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner gives a thumbs up outside the Supreme Court, Wednesday, June 27, 2018 in Washington. From left are, Liberty Justice Center’s Director of Litigation Jacob Huebert, plaintiff Mark Janus, Rauner, and Liberty Justice Center founder and chairman John Tillman. The Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that government workers can’t be forced to contribute to labor unions that represent them in collective bargaining, dealing a serious financial blow to organized labor. (AP Photo | Andrew Harnik)

Alaska unions clobbered by Supreme Court decision

Alaska’s public-sector unions warned Wednesday that a new ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court will have significant effects across the state. The 5-4 ruling in… Continue reading

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner gives a thumbs up outside the Supreme Court, Wednesday, June 27, 2018 in Washington. From left are, Liberty Justice Center’s Director of Litigation Jacob Huebert, plaintiff Mark Janus, Rauner, and Liberty Justice Center founder and chairman John Tillman. The Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that government workers can’t be forced to contribute to labor unions that represent them in collective bargaining, dealing a serious financial blow to organized labor. (AP Photo | Andrew Harnik)
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