This undated aerial photo provided by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service shows a herd of caribou on the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in northeast Alaska. The Biden administration is suspending oil and gas leases in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge as it reviews the environmental impacts of drilling in the remote region.(U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service via AP)

Biden suspends oil leases in Alaska’s Arctic refuge

In a joint statement, Alaska Sens. Dan Sullivan and Lisa Murkowski, along with Rep. Don Young and Gov. Mike Dunleavy, criticized the Interior Department action.

This undated aerial photo provided by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service shows a herd of caribou on the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in northeast Alaska. The Biden administration is suspending oil and gas leases in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge as it reviews the environmental impacts of drilling in the remote region.(U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service via AP)
A graphic from the Vaccine Materials in Alaska Native Languages project shows a person who was recently vaccinated against COVID-19. Translated from Tlingit to English, it says “I want us to be among each other, that is why I got the shot. I love the people I am with.” (Photo provided)

Vaccine information available in Native languages

The organizations worked in tandem for two months to make the translation project possible.

A graphic from the Vaccine Materials in Alaska Native Languages project shows a person who was recently vaccinated against COVID-19. Translated from Tlingit to English, it says “I want us to be among each other, that is why I got the shot. I love the people I am with.” (Photo provided)
Photo by Joshua Albeza Branstetter 
A group dances in the street during a Black Lives Matter protest in Anchorage in the summer of 2020.

Capturing history

Alaska photographers share experiences documenting Black Lives Matter protests

Photo by Joshua Albeza Branstetter 
A group dances in the street during a Black Lives Matter protest in Anchorage in the summer of 2020.
In this Juneau Empire file photo, Former Sen. Albert Kookesh, D-Angoon, tells his favorite Dr. Walter Soboleff stories during a celebration of Dr. Soboleff at the Walter Soboleff Center on Thursday, Nov. 14, 2019. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)
In this Juneau Empire file photo, Former Sen. Albert Kookesh, D-Angoon, tells his favorite Dr. Walter Soboleff stories during a celebration of Dr. Soboleff at the Walter Soboleff Center on Thursday, Nov. 14, 2019. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)
The Alaska State Capitol was quiet on Friday, May 28, 2021, as several lawmakers returned to their home districts for the Memorial Day weekend. Negotiations on the state's budget won't begin again until Tuesday, June 1. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire)
The Alaska State Capitol was quiet on Friday, May 28, 2021, as several lawmakers returned to their home districts for the Memorial Day weekend. Negotiations on the state's budget won't begin again until Tuesday, June 1. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire)
In this 2007 file photo, an oil transit pipeline runs across the tundra to flow station at the Prudhoe Bay oil field on Alaska’s North Slope. (AP Photo/Al Grillo, File)

Biden administration defends Trump-era Alaska oil decision

The filing was lauded by members of Alaska’s Republican congressional delegation.

In this 2007 file photo, an oil transit pipeline runs across the tundra to flow station at the Prudhoe Bay oil field on Alaska’s North Slope. (AP Photo/Al Grillo, File)

Anchorage Jewish museum, gay bar tagged with swastika stickers

Written above and below the swastika are the words, “WE ARE EVERYWHERE.”

Residents line the Sterling Highway, in front of Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s office to oppose Pebble mine on Wednesday, June 26, 2019, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)

Corps: Appeal review for Pebble mine could take over a year

A November decision determined the proposed Pebble mine was “contrary to the public interest.”

Residents line the Sterling Highway, in front of Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s office to oppose Pebble mine on Wednesday, June 26, 2019, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)
Members of a bicameral conference committee of lawmakers, seen here at their first meeting on Wednesday, May 26, 2021, met again Thursday to negotiate the final version of the state's budget. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire)
Members of a bicameral conference committee of lawmakers, seen here at their first meeting on Wednesday, May 26, 2021, met again Thursday to negotiate the final version of the state's budget. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire)
Rep. Neal Foster, D-Nome, at center, chairs the first meeting of a bicameral conference committee tasked with negotiating the state's final budget bill in the Senate Finance Committee chambers on Wednesday, May 26, 2021. Lawmakers had said they wanted to finish before Memorial Day, but Foster said that didn't seem like a possibility. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire)
Rep. Neal Foster, D-Nome, at center, chairs the first meeting of a bicameral conference committee tasked with negotiating the state's final budget bill in the Senate Finance Committee chambers on Wednesday, May 26, 2021. Lawmakers had said they wanted to finish before Memorial Day, but Foster said that didn't seem like a possibility. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire)
In this April 22, 2021, photo, signs of spring thaw appear along the Tazlina River in Tazlina, Alaska. The Catholic Church wants to sell 462 acres that once housed the Copper Valley mission school to the Native Village of Tazlina, a federally recognized tribe. The tribe is scrambling to raise the nearly $1.9 million asking price so it can regain stewardship of its ancestral land. (John Tierney/Indian Country Today)

Alaska village eyes return of ancestral lands

A federally recognized tribe is scrambling to raise funds to regain stewardship of the lands.

In this April 22, 2021, photo, signs of spring thaw appear along the Tazlina River in Tazlina, Alaska. The Catholic Church wants to sell 462 acres that once housed the Copper Valley mission school to the Native Village of Tazlina, a federally recognized tribe. The tribe is scrambling to raise the nearly $1.9 million asking price so it can regain stewardship of its ancestral land. (John Tierney/Indian Country Today)
Firefighter medic Andy Tighe snaps a photo of the breakaway plus-class cruise ship Norwegian Bliss while Captain Tracy Mettler operates a fireboat in the Tongass Narrows in Ketchikan, Alaska, on June 4, 2018. President Joe Biden signed into law Monday, May 24, 2021, legislation that opens a door for resumed cruise ship travel to Alaska after the pandemic last year scrapped sailings. (Dustin Safranek/Ketchikan Daily News via AP)

Biden signs bill that may let cruises resume

Canada, amid COVID-19 concerns, has barred cruise operations through February.

Firefighter medic Andy Tighe snaps a photo of the breakaway plus-class cruise ship Norwegian Bliss while Captain Tracy Mettler operates a fireboat in the Tongass Narrows in Ketchikan, Alaska, on June 4, 2018. President Joe Biden signed into law Monday, May 24, 2021, legislation that opens a door for resumed cruise ship travel to Alaska after the pandemic last year scrapped sailings. (Dustin Safranek/Ketchikan Daily News via AP)
From left to right: Sens. Jesse Kiehl, D-Juneau; Gary Stevens, R-Kodiak; Mia Costello, R-Anchorage, and Bert Stedman, R-Sitka, speak on the floor of the Alaska Senate on Monday, May 24, 2021, the first day of one of two special sessions called by Gov. Mike Dunleavy. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire)
From left to right: Sens. Jesse Kiehl, D-Juneau; Gary Stevens, R-Kodiak; Mia Costello, R-Anchorage, and Bert Stedman, R-Sitka, speak on the floor of the Alaska Senate on Monday, May 24, 2021, the first day of one of two special sessions called by Gov. Mike Dunleavy. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire)
COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)

State alert level drops to intermediate

The Kenai Peninsula Borough also remains in the intermediate alert division.

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
File

Heroin overdose deaths increase, officials wonder if it’s pandemic-related

Alaska and other states saw a decrease in opioid overdoses in 2018, an increase in 2019 and then a 165% spike in 2020.

File
This May 2020 photo shows an open sign illuminated on a Juneau business. Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development reports the state has added jobs but has not yet returned to pre-pandemic levels of employment. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire File)

Alaska gains jobs but doesn’t reach pre-pandemic levels

Numbers still lagged what they were before the pandemic, per state report.

This May 2020 photo shows an open sign illuminated on a Juneau business. Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development reports the state has added jobs but has not yet returned to pre-pandemic levels of employment. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire File)
Proclamations from Gov. Mike Dunleavy calling special sessions of the Alaska State Legislature for late May and early August were posted in the otherwise quiet office of the House Clerk on Friday, May 21, 2021. The first special session has started but the Capitol building was quiet as most of the work before lawmakers will take place in committee. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire)
Proclamations from Gov. Mike Dunleavy calling special sessions of the Alaska State Legislature for late May and early August were posted in the otherwise quiet office of the House Clerk on Friday, May 21, 2021. The first special session has started but the Capitol building was quiet as most of the work before lawmakers will take place in committee. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire)
A sticker given out at a COVID-19 vaccination clinic hosted by the Kenai Fire Department in Kenai, Alaska, is seen on March 13, 2021. (Erin Thompson/Peninsula Clarion)

Vaccination rates climb

As of Friday afternoon, 53.7% of Alaskans 16 and up had received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

A sticker given out at a COVID-19 vaccination clinic hosted by the Kenai Fire Department in Kenai, Alaska, is seen on March 13, 2021. (Erin Thompson/Peninsula Clarion)
A row of skiffs and small boats are moored on Friday, May 21, 2021, at the Homer Harbor in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)

USCG National Safe Boating Week reinforces new engine cut-off switch laws

The U.S. Coast Guard and Coast Guard Auxiliary hosts National Safe Boating Week

A row of skiffs and small boats are moored on Friday, May 21, 2021, at the Homer Harbor in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)
Senate President Peter Micciche, R-Soldotna, spoke to reporters in his office on Thursday, May 20, 2021, to discuss next steps after the Senate debated the state budget until just before midnight the night before. Senators voted for a Permanent Fund Dividend of $2,300, the largest in history, but negotiations with the House of Representatives are still to come. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire)
Senate President Peter Micciche, R-Soldotna, spoke to reporters in his office on Thursday, May 20, 2021, to discuss next steps after the Senate debated the state budget until just before midnight the night before. Senators voted for a Permanent Fund Dividend of $2,300, the largest in history, but negotiations with the House of Representatives are still to come. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire)