The American island of Little Diomede, Alaska, left, and on the right, the Russian island of Big Diomede, are seen from the Finnish icebreaker MSV Nordica in the Bering Strait, on July 14, 2017. The Alaska Air National Guard on April 3, 2023, traveled nearly 660 miles to rescue a pregnant woman on a small island two miles from Russia who had severe abdominal pains, a reflection of the challenges patients face in the nation’s largest state where the most remote areas have no roads and hospitals can be hundreds of miles away. (AP Photo/David Goldman, File)

Rescue flight highlights Alaska’s unique challenges

The Alaska Air National Guard this week traveled nearly 660 miles to rescue a pregnant woman on a small island

The American island of Little Diomede, Alaska, left, and on the right, the Russian island of Big Diomede, are seen from the Finnish icebreaker MSV Nordica in the Bering Strait, on July 14, 2017. The Alaska Air National Guard on April 3, 2023, traveled nearly 660 miles to rescue a pregnant woman on a small island two miles from Russia who had severe abdominal pains, a reflection of the challenges patients face in the nation’s largest state where the most remote areas have no roads and hospitals can be hundreds of miles away. (AP Photo/David Goldman, File)
All chairs for minority members of the Alaska State House except for Minority Leader Calvin Schrage are empty during Wednesday’s floor session after absent members fled the Alaska State Capitol over a dispute with the majority about an increase in education funding. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

Education funding fight prompts House minority walkout

Republican-led majority revokes funding increase as minority threatens to withhold CBR vote

All chairs for minority members of the Alaska State House except for Minority Leader Calvin Schrage are empty during Wednesday’s floor session after absent members fled the Alaska State Capitol over a dispute with the majority about an increase in education funding. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
The children’s book “You Are Home With Me,” illustrated by Mitchell Thomas Watley, is shown at a bookstore in Portland, Ore. in this April 5, 2023 photo. Publisher Sasquatch books, owned by Penguin Random House, said Wednesday, April 5, 2023, it has ended its publishing relationship with Watley after he was arrested on allegations of leaving violent, transphobic notes in stores around Juneau, Alaska. Watley told police he was motivated by fear following a deadly school shooting in Nashville that sparked online backlash about the shooter’s gender identity, court records show. (AP Photo/Claire Rush)

Publisher drops children’s illustrator for anti-trans notes

The text on the notes read: “Feeling Cute Might Shoot Some Children.”

  • Apr 5, 2023
  • By Mark Thiessen and Becky Bohrer Associated Press
  • NewsState News
The children’s book “You Are Home With Me,” illustrated by Mitchell Thomas Watley, is shown at a bookstore in Portland, Ore. in this April 5, 2023 photo. Publisher Sasquatch books, owned by Penguin Random House, said Wednesday, April 5, 2023, it has ended its publishing relationship with Watley after he was arrested on allegations of leaving violent, transphobic notes in stores around Juneau, Alaska. Watley told police he was motivated by fear following a deadly school shooting in Nashville that sparked online backlash about the shooter’s gender identity, court records show. (AP Photo/Claire Rush)
COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)

COVID-19: Borough cases hit low not seen in years

Only 12 cases were reported this week, down from 22 last week

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
A map shows the location of the Willow oil field project in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska, where more than 200 drills are scheduled to be drilled during a 30-year period if approved. (The Associated Press)

Oil plan foes lose 1st fight over Willow project

The court’s decision means ConocoPhillips Alaska can forge ahead with cold-weather construction work

A map shows the location of the Willow oil field project in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska, where more than 200 drills are scheduled to be drilled during a 30-year period if approved. (The Associated Press)
Mark Sabbatini/Juneau Empire
Rep. Justin Ruffridge works in the Alaska State Capitol building on March 28 in Juneau.
Rep. Justin Ruffridge works in the Alaska State Capitol building on Tuesday, March 28, 2023 in Juneau, Alaska. (Mark Sabbatini/Juneau Empire)
Rep. Justin Ruffridge works in the Alaska State Capitol building on Tuesday, March 28, 2023, in Juneau, Alaska. (Mark Sabbatini/Juneau Empire)

House bill aims to boost Alaska Performance Scholarship use

The scholarship is awarded to support education after high school graduation

Mark Sabbatini/Juneau Empire
Rep. Justin Ruffridge works in the Alaska State Capitol building on March 28 in Juneau.
Rep. Justin Ruffridge works in the Alaska State Capitol building on Tuesday, March 28, 2023 in Juneau, Alaska. (Mark Sabbatini/Juneau Empire)
Rep. Justin Ruffridge works in the Alaska State Capitol building on Tuesday, March 28, 2023, in Juneau, Alaska. (Mark Sabbatini/Juneau Empire)
This photo shows the Alaska State Capitol. (Clarise Larson/Juneau Empire File)

School staff eye retirement reform

S.B. 88, sponsored by Sen. Cathy Giessel, R-Anchorage, would establish a new defined benefit system

This photo shows the Alaska State Capitol. (Clarise Larson/Juneau Empire File)
Jonathan Parducho, a pharmacist, removes a tray of vials of of the Jynneos vaccine for monkeypox from a box containing 20 doses, in the vaccine hub at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital on Friday, July 29, 2022, in San Francisco. (Lea Suzuki/San Francisco Chronicle via AP)

Only 5 cases of mpox detected in Alaska

An epidemiology bulletin released by the State Department of Health on Wednesday provides a summary of Alaska’s public health response to the 2022 outbreak of… Continue reading

Jonathan Parducho, a pharmacist, removes a tray of vials of of the Jynneos vaccine for monkeypox from a box containing 20 doses, in the vaccine hub at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital on Friday, July 29, 2022, in San Francisco. (Lea Suzuki/San Francisco Chronicle via AP)
Rep. Ben Carpenter, R-Nikiski, speaks during a meeting of the House State Affairs committee on Tuesday, March 28, 2023 in Juneau, Alaska. (Mark Sabbatini/Juneau Empire)

Carpenter, Ruffridge target state finances

The central Kenai Peninsula’s representatives in the Alaska House of Representatives have their eyes on state finances this week. Reps. Justin Ruffridge, R-Soldotna, and Ben… Continue reading

Rep. Ben Carpenter, R-Nikiski, speaks during a meeting of the House State Affairs committee on Tuesday, March 28, 2023 in Juneau, Alaska. (Mark Sabbatini/Juneau Empire)
State representatives Tom McKay, R-Anchorage, and Andi Story, D-Juneau, offering competing amendments to a bill increasing the per-student funding formula for public schools by $1,250 during a House Education Committee meeting Wednesday morning. McKay’s proposal to lower the increase to $150 was defeated. Story’s proposal to implement an increase during the next two years was approved, after her proposed amounts totalling about $1,500 were reduced to $800.

Borough, Soldotna call on Legislature to increase school funding

The City of Soldotna last week became the latest entity to call on the Alaska Legislature to increase school funding when it passed a resolution… Continue reading

State representatives Tom McKay, R-Anchorage, and Andi Story, D-Juneau, offering competing amendments to a bill increasing the per-student funding formula for public schools by $1,250 during a House Education Committee meeting Wednesday morning. McKay’s proposal to lower the increase to $150 was defeated. Story’s proposal to implement an increase during the next two years was approved, after her proposed amounts totalling about $1,500 were reduced to $800.
Legislative fiscal analysts Alexei Painter, right, and Conor Bell explain the state’s financial outlook during the next decade to the Senate Finance Committee on Friday. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

Legislators eye oil and sales taxes due to fiscal woes

Bills to collect more from North Slope producers, enact new sales taxes get hearings next week.

Legislative fiscal analysts Alexei Painter, right, and Conor Bell explain the state’s financial outlook during the next decade to the Senate Finance Committee on Friday. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Expert skateboarder Di’Orr Greenwood, an artist born and raised in the Navajo Nation in Arizona and whose work is featured on the new U.S. stamps, rides her skateboard next to her artworks in the Venice Beach neighborhood in Los Angeles Monday, March 20, 2023. On Friday, March 24, the U.S. Postal Service is debuting the “Art of the Skateboard,” four stamps that will be the first to pay tribute to skateboarding. The stamps underscore how prevalent skateboarding has become, especially in Indian Country, where the demand for designated skate spots has only grown in recent years. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

Indigenous artists help skateboarding earn stamp of approval

The postal agency ceremoniously unveiled the “Art of the Skateboard” stamps in a Phoenix skate park

Expert skateboarder Di’Orr Greenwood, an artist born and raised in the Navajo Nation in Arizona and whose work is featured on the new U.S. stamps, rides her skateboard next to her artworks in the Venice Beach neighborhood in Los Angeles Monday, March 20, 2023. On Friday, March 24, the U.S. Postal Service is debuting the “Art of the Skateboard,” four stamps that will be the first to pay tribute to skateboarding. The stamps underscore how prevalent skateboarding has become, especially in Indian Country, where the demand for designated skate spots has only grown in recent years. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)
Alaska state Sen. Bert Stedman, center, a co-chair of the Senate Finance Committee, listens to a presentation on the major North Slope oil project known as the Willow project on Thursday, March 23, 2023, in Juneau, Alaska. The committee heard an update on the project from the state Department of Natural Resources and the state Department of Revenue. (AP Photo/Becky Bohrer)

Official: Willow oil project holds promise, faces obstacles

State tax officials on Thursday provided lawmakers an analysis of potential revenue impacts and benefits from the project

Alaska state Sen. Bert Stedman, center, a co-chair of the Senate Finance Committee, listens to a presentation on the major North Slope oil project known as the Willow project on Thursday, March 23, 2023, in Juneau, Alaska. The committee heard an update on the project from the state Department of Natural Resources and the state Department of Revenue. (AP Photo/Becky Bohrer)
The Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation building is seen in Juneau, Alaska, in March 2022. The deadline for the permanent fund dividend is coming up fast, landing on March 31, 2023. (Michael S. Lockett / Juneau Empire)

PFD application deadline is next week; state revenue forecasts lower than expected

Alaska North Slope crude oil was estimated to be about $71.62 per barrel on Monday

The Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation building is seen in Juneau, Alaska, in March 2022. The deadline for the permanent fund dividend is coming up fast, landing on March 31, 2023. (Michael S. Lockett / Juneau Empire)
COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)

COVID-19: Cases jump in Kenai Peninsula Borough

No hospitalizations were reported in the Gulf Coast region

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
Bob Schroeder takes an electric chainsaw to a mock credit card during a protest outside the Wells Fargo in downtown Juneau at midday Tuesday. Schroeder cut up three mock credit cards representing three banks in Juneau protesters say are leading funders of fossil fuel development projects. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

Protesters object to banks financing fossil fuel projects

Demonstrators used chain saw to cut up giant credit cards

Bob Schroeder takes an electric chainsaw to a mock credit card during a protest outside the Wells Fargo in downtown Juneau at midday Tuesday. Schroeder cut up three mock credit cards representing three banks in Juneau protesters say are leading funders of fossil fuel development projects. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
The cover of the March 20 State of Alaska Epidemiology Bulletin, “AKVDRS Homicide Victims Update — Alaska, 2011-2020” (Screenshot)

Department of Health: Homicides increased last decade

Homicides accounted for 19% of the violent deaths in Alaska from 2011-2020

The cover of the March 20 State of Alaska Epidemiology Bulletin, “AKVDRS Homicide Victims Update — Alaska, 2011-2020” (Screenshot)
This photo provided by the Alaska Volcano Observatory/U.S. Geological Survey shows the Tanaga Volcano near Adak, Alaska, on May 23, 2021. Diminished earthquake activity led authorities Thursday, March 16, 2023, to reduce the warning level at two volcanoes, including the Tanaga Volcano, on an uninhabited island in Alaska’s Aleutian chain because of the decreased potential for eruptions. (Matt Loewen/Alaska Volcano Observatory/U.S. Geological Survey via AP, File)

Alaska volcanoes now pose lower threat, after quakes slow

The Alaska Volcano Observatory lowered the warning level to “Advisory” status from “Watch”

This photo provided by the Alaska Volcano Observatory/U.S. Geological Survey shows the Tanaga Volcano near Adak, Alaska, on May 23, 2021. Diminished earthquake activity led authorities Thursday, March 16, 2023, to reduce the warning level at two volcanoes, including the Tanaga Volcano, on an uninhabited island in Alaska’s Aleutian chain because of the decreased potential for eruptions. (Matt Loewen/Alaska Volcano Observatory/U.S. Geological Survey via AP, File)
This 2019 aerial photo provided by ConocoPhillips shows an exploratory drilling camp at the proposed site of the Willow oil project on Alaska’s North Slope. (ConocoPhillips via AP)

Willow oil project approval intensifies Alaska Natives’ rift

Two lawsuits filed almost immediately by environmentalists and one Alaska Native group are likely to exacerbate tensions

This 2019 aerial photo provided by ConocoPhillips shows an exploratory drilling camp at the proposed site of the Willow oil project on Alaska’s North Slope. (ConocoPhillips via AP)
Nurse Tracy Silta draws a dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at the walk-in clinic at the intersection of the Kenai Spur and Sterling Highways in Soldotna, Alaska on Wednesday, June 9, 2021. (Camille Botello / Peninsula Clarion)

State officials say influenza and RSV in decline, COVID-19 still around

Though cases are dropping, weekly nationwide COVID deaths reported by the CDC remain around 2,000

Nurse Tracy Silta draws a dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at the walk-in clinic at the intersection of the Kenai Spur and Sterling Highways in Soldotna, Alaska on Wednesday, June 9, 2021. (Camille Botello / Peninsula Clarion)