In this Oct. 28, 2016, photo provided by the Maniilaq Association, Alex Whiting, left, and Cyrus Harris, right, are observed by Chris Sannito, second from left, and Brian Himelbloom, third from left, of the Kodiak Seafood and Marine Science Center as they trim and clean seal blubber in Kotzebue, Alaska. In January 2021, the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation approved seal oil to be served at a Maniilaq elder care home, believed to be a first for seal oil in the U.S.  (Maniilaq Association via AP)

Cultural ‘big deal’: Seal oil makes menu at Alaska care home

Seal oil is back on the menu for Inupiat elders.

In this Oct. 28, 2016, photo provided by the Maniilaq Association, Alex Whiting, left, and Cyrus Harris, right, are observed by Chris Sannito, second from left, and Brian Himelbloom, third from left, of the Kodiak Seafood and Marine Science Center as they trim and clean seal blubber in Kotzebue, Alaska. In January 2021, the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation approved seal oil to be served at a Maniilaq elder care home, believed to be a first for seal oil in the U.S.  (Maniilaq Association via AP)
Rep. Bryce Edgmon, I-Dillingham, speaks to colleagues on Friday, Feb 12, 2021. Edgmon, who served as speaker of the house in 31st Legislature, was named Monday as a co-chair of the House Finance Committee. A full list of committee assignments is expected soon. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire)
Rep. Bryce Edgmon, I-Dillingham, speaks to colleagues on Friday, Feb 12, 2021. Edgmon, who served as speaker of the house in 31st Legislature, was named Monday as a co-chair of the House Finance Committee. A full list of committee assignments is expected soon. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire)
Gov. Mike Dunleavy speaks at an Anchorage news conference on Dec. 11, 2020. In a Sunday news conference, Dunleavy discussed the end of Alaska’s longtime COVID-19 disaster declaration and what it means for the state’s response to the virus. (Courtesy photo / Office of Gov. Mike Dunleavy)
Gov. Mike Dunleavy speaks at an Anchorage news conference on Dec. 11, 2020. In a Sunday news conference, Dunleavy discussed the end of Alaska’s longtime COVID-19 disaster declaration and what it means for the state’s response to the virus. (Courtesy photo / Office of Gov. Mike Dunleavy)
Amanda Price, Commissioner of the Department of Public Safety, center, is surrounded by Department of Public Safety officials during a press conference on her confirmation to the position at the Capitol on Tuesday, April 16, 2019. (Michael Penn / Juneau Empire File)
Amanda Price, Commissioner of the Department of Public Safety, center, is surrounded by Department of Public Safety officials during a press conference on her confirmation to the position at the Capitol on Tuesday, April 16, 2019. (Michael Penn / Juneau Empire File)
Alaska House Speaker Louise Stutes, center, sits before the start of a brief House floor session in Juneau, Alaska Thursday, Feb. 11, 2021. Rep. Stutes, a Kodiak Republican, was elected speaker on Thursday in a vote coming more than three weeks into the legislative session. (AP Photo/Becky Bohrer)

Lawmakers don’t extend disaster order, ask Dunleavy for help

Thirty-five of the House’s 40 members have signed letters to Dunleavy supporting a new 30-day declaration.

Alaska House Speaker Louise Stutes, center, sits before the start of a brief House floor session in Juneau, Alaska Thursday, Feb. 11, 2021. Rep. Stutes, a Kodiak Republican, was elected speaker on Thursday in a vote coming more than three weeks into the legislative session. (AP Photo/Becky Bohrer)
Becky Bohrer / Associated Press
Alaska House Speaker Louise Stutes (center) sits before the start of a brief House floor session in Juneau on Thursday. Rep. Stutes, a Kodiak Republican, was elected speaker on Thursday in a vote coming more than three weeks into the legislative session.

Alaska House elects Kodiak Republican Stutes as speaker

Stutes has been part of a 20-member bipartisan coalition composed largely of Democrats that also includes independents.

Becky Bohrer / Associated Press
Alaska House Speaker Louise Stutes (center) sits before the start of a brief House floor session in Juneau on Thursday. Rep. Stutes, a Kodiak Republican, was elected speaker on Thursday in a vote coming more than three weeks into the legislative session.
Adam Crum, commissioner of the Alaska state health department, testifies before a state Senate committee on Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2021, in Juneau, Alaska. Crum and other state officials have urged Alaska lawmakers to support Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s proposed extension of a disaster emergency related to COVID-19. (AP Photo/Becky Bohrer)

Questions loom with Alaska COVID-19 declaration set to end

Health and emergency officials warn a failure to extend could restrict the state’s ability to distribute vaccines.

Adam Crum, commissioner of the Alaska state health department, testifies before a state Senate committee on Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2021, in Juneau, Alaska. Crum and other state officials have urged Alaska lawmakers to support Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s proposed extension of a disaster emergency related to COVID-19. (AP Photo/Becky Bohrer)
The Senate Finance Committee, seen here with chair Sen. Bert Stedman, R-Sitka, leading a meeting on Jan. 27, discussed Monday Gov. Mike Dunleavy's propsoal for a $1.4 billion supplemental budget. Most of that money would go to paying out a supplemental Permanent Fund Dividend. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire)
The Senate Finance Committee, seen here with chair Sen. Bert Stedman, R-Sitka, leading a meeting on Jan. 27, discussed Monday Gov. Mike Dunleavy's propsoal for a $1.4 billion supplemental budget. Most of that money would go to paying out a supplemental Permanent Fund Dividend. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire)
The Alaska State Capitol, seen here on Nov. 4, 2020. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire)

Local reps. await House organization

Rep. Sarah Vance, R-Homer, is the only rep. to have prefiled legislation

The Alaska State Capitol, seen here on Nov. 4, 2020. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire)
State Sen. Jesse Kiehl, D-Juneau, has his temperature taken inside the Alaska State Capitol on Jan. 19, 2021. The high tech check-ins have become routine over the past few weeks. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

High tech temp check

Devices with camera, infrared scanner part of lawmakers’ routine

State Sen. Jesse Kiehl, D-Juneau, has his temperature taken inside the Alaska State Capitol on Jan. 19, 2021. The high tech check-ins have become routine over the past few weeks. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)
Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire File
There’s money in Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s bond proposal package for projects like the one taking place at Aurora Harbor, seen here in this Nov. 5, 2020, file photo, but Juneau’s Sen. Jesse Kiehl doesn’t think there’s enough local investment.
Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire File
There’s money in Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s bond proposal package for projects like the one taking place at Aurora Harbor, seen here in this Nov. 5, 2020, file photo, but Juneau’s Sen. Jesse Kiehl doesn’t think there’s enough local investment.
A fishing vessel is drawfed by the Norwegian Cruise Lines' Norwegian Jewel and Norwegian Pearl in Juneau's downtown harbor in September 2014. On Thursday, Canada announced a ban on cruise vessels in Canadian waters through February 2022. (Michael Penn / Juneau Empire File)
A fishing vessel is drawfed by the Norwegian Cruise Lines' Norwegian Jewel and Norwegian Pearl in Juneau's downtown harbor in September 2014. On Thursday, Canada announced a ban on cruise vessels in Canadian waters through February 2022. (Michael Penn / Juneau Empire File)
Members of the House of Representatives leave the chamber Wednesday, Feb. 3,. after failing to elect a temporary speaker, part of a deadlock that was broken Thursday, when Rep. Josiah Patkotak was elected Speaker Pro Tem. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire)
Members of the House of Representatives leave the chamber Wednesday, Feb. 3,. after failing to elect a temporary speaker, part of a deadlock that was broken Thursday, when Rep. Josiah Patkotak was elected Speaker Pro Tem. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire)
Prescriptions drugs, vitamins, hormones, and other drugs left in the drug drop box in the lobby of the Juneau Police Department in September 2019.The drop box gives residents a safe place to disposed of their unused prescription narcotics. The state announced on Thursday it will receive more than $1 million as part of a settlement with a consulting firm accused of “turbocharging” the opioid epidemic. (Michael Penn / Juneau Empire File)

Alaska to receive over $1.3M from opioid settlement

More than 47 states, 5 territories, and D.C. are part of the settlement.

Prescriptions drugs, vitamins, hormones, and other drugs left in the drug drop box in the lobby of the Juneau Police Department in September 2019.The drop box gives residents a safe place to disposed of their unused prescription narcotics. The state announced on Thursday it will receive more than $1 million as part of a settlement with a consulting firm accused of “turbocharging” the opioid epidemic. (Michael Penn / Juneau Empire File)
University of Alaska interim President Pat Pitney told lawmakers the system was an economic driver for the state. The system’s regional campuses, like UA Southeast, seen here on Jan. 26, were more focused on producing graduates in fields in high demand in Alaska. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire)

University’s programs are here to stay, president says

UA head tells lawmakers jobs are school’s priority.

University of Alaska interim President Pat Pitney told lawmakers the system was an economic driver for the state. The system’s regional campuses, like UA Southeast, seen here on Jan. 26, were more focused on producing graduates in fields in high demand in Alaska. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire)
This still image from Gavel Alaska shows Department of Health and Social Services Commissioner Adam Crum as he speaks to a Senate committee on Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2021. Lawmakers questioned Crum on the legality of Gov. Mike Dunleavy's emergency disaster declarations and extensions. (Screenshot)
This still image from Gavel Alaska shows Department of Health and Social Services Commissioner Adam Crum as he speaks to a Senate committee on Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2021. Lawmakers questioned Crum on the legality of Gov. Mike Dunleavy's emergency disaster declarations and extensions. (Screenshot)
This image shows treponema pallidum, the bacteria that cause syphilis. (Courtesy Photo / NIAID)

Syphilis infections are surging in Alaska

A variety of forces are leading to the increased numbers.

This image shows treponema pallidum, the bacteria that cause syphilis. (Courtesy Photo / NIAID)
Lt. Gov. Kevin Meyer, seen here sitting in the Speaker's chair in the Alaska House of Representatives chamber on Monday, Jan. 25, 2021, presided over yet another House session where lawmakers failed to organize. Feb. 1, marked the third straight week of deadlock in the House. Lawmakers will meet again Tuesday morning. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire)
Lt. Gov. Kevin Meyer, seen here sitting in the Speaker's chair in the Alaska House of Representatives chamber on Monday, Jan. 25, 2021, presided over yet another House session where lawmakers failed to organize. Feb. 1, marked the third straight week of deadlock in the House. Lawmakers will meet again Tuesday morning. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire)
This photo shows a sign marking the Division of Motor Vehicles office in the Mendenhall Valley area of Juneau. Department of Administration Commissioner Kelly Tshibaka announced Monday that she was ordering a review of Division of Motor Vehicles’ processes to determine how plates reading “3REICH” were issued. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire File)

State plans screening changes after ‘3REICH’ license plate

“3REICH” was inadvertently overlooked for additional review by an employee going through applications, the report says.

This photo shows a sign marking the Division of Motor Vehicles office in the Mendenhall Valley area of Juneau. Department of Administration Commissioner Kelly Tshibaka announced Monday that she was ordering a review of Division of Motor Vehicles’ processes to determine how plates reading “3REICH” were issued. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire File)
Republican members of the House of Representatives gather in a conference room at the Alaska State Capitol on Thursday, Jan. 28, 2021, to watch the governor's State of the State address. (Peter Segall/Juneau Empire)
Republican members of the House of Representatives gather in a conference room at the Alaska State Capitol on Thursday, Jan. 28, 2021, to watch the governor's State of the State address. (Peter Segall/Juneau Empire)