Mark Sabbatini

This photo shows a Lenco Armored Vehicles BearCat G3. Juneau Police Department is planning to acquire one of the vehicles. Courtesy Photo / Lenco)
This photo shows a Lenco Armored Vehicles BearCat G3. Juneau Police Department is planning to acquire one of the vehicles. Courtesy Photo / Lenco)
Lisa Denny wears "Handmaid's Tale"-inspired garb while holding a sign stating "I stand with Planned Parenthood" during a protest held near the Alaska State Capitol on Tuesday, May 3, following a leaked draft of a Supreme Court decision that would overturn the landmark case Roe v. Wade. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire)

What does the leaked Supreme Court draft mean for Juneau and Alaska?

Abortion access would remain, but elections and appointments would be heated.

Lisa Denny wears "Handmaid's Tale"-inspired garb while holding a sign stating "I stand with Planned Parenthood" during a protest held near the Alaska State Capitol on Tuesday, May 3, following a leaked draft of a Supreme Court decision that would overturn the landmark case Roe v. Wade. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire)
This photo shows a ballot for the City and Borough of Juneau 2021 municipal election. The election was conducted primarily by mail. On Monday, city officials discussed  (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire File)

Assembly to consider changes to election code

Changes include Petition booklets, touch-screen ballots, rules for voting centers and boxes

This photo shows a ballot for the City and Borough of Juneau 2021 municipal election. The election was conducted primarily by mail. On Monday, city officials discussed  (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire File)
City and Borough of Juneau Assembly members Monday night approved drafting ballot language that would exempt food from sales tax, if a 1% sales tax increase during summer months is approved.
City and Borough of Juneau Assembly members Monday night approved drafting ballot language that would exempt food from sales tax, if a 1% sales tax increase during summer months is approved.
A 22-foot healing totem pole carved by master carver Wayne Price, who is Tlingit, is now being installed next to the fishing dock at Twin Lakes (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
A 22-foot healing totem pole carved by master carver Wayne Price, who is Tlingit, is now being installed next to the fishing dock at Twin Lakes (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Eaglecrest General Manager Dave Scanlan explains how the COVID-19 pandemic and abnormally low employee salaries posed challenges during the past year and how the ski area’s budget request for next year can help resolve them during a meeting of the Juneau Assembly’s Finance Committee on Wednesday. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

Pandemic impact, staffing shortages shape budget requests

Ski area, hospital and airport factor into Finance Committee meeting.

Eaglecrest General Manager Dave Scanlan explains how the COVID-19 pandemic and abnormally low employee salaries posed challenges during the past year and how the ski area’s budget request for next year can help resolve them during a meeting of the Juneau Assembly’s Finance Committee on Wednesday. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
A damaged sticker on a door at Thunder Mountain High School reminds people to social distance and wear masks inside the building. The Juneau School District Board of Education on Tuesday voted to make wearing masks optional in schools. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

Masks again optional in Juneau schools

School board unanimously waives normal rules and votes to end brief return to mandated masks.

A damaged sticker on a door at Thunder Mountain High School reminds people to social distance and wear masks inside the building. The Juneau School District Board of Education on Tuesday voted to make wearing masks optional in schools. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)
This photo shows Juneau residents, the City and Borough of Juneau Assembly and CBJ staff in the Assembly Chambers in City Hall  during a Monday night meeting. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
This photo shows Juneau residents, the City and Borough of Juneau Assembly and CBJ staff in the Assembly Chambers in City Hall  during a Monday night meeting. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
This photo shows a Lenco Armored Vehicles BearCat G3. Juneau Police Department is planning to acquire one of the vehicles. (Courtesy Photo / Lenco)

Police plans to buy armored vehicle surprise some city leaders

Concerns raised about “militarizing our police force.”

This photo shows a Lenco Armored Vehicles BearCat G3. Juneau Police Department is planning to acquire one of the vehicles. (Courtesy Photo / Lenco)
Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire 
Amy Purvis, a private security officer who’s been a Juneau resident since 2000, sketches a heart and rose for a piece of woodburning art she hopes to sell to tourists this summer on the still mostly empty pier at Marine Park on Friday.

Modest welcome and big hopes for 1st cruise ship of the season

City officials predicting near-normal season, but many uncertainties linger

Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire 
Amy Purvis, a private security officer who’s been a Juneau resident since 2000, sketches a heart and rose for a piece of woodburning art she hopes to sell to tourists this summer on the still mostly empty pier at Marine Park on Friday.
This August 2021 photo shows a Princess Cruise Line ship docked in Juneau. The cruise line announced this week that a controversial contactless payment method will not be expanded to Alaska in the immediate future. Prior to the decision, MedallionPay was panned by members of the business community.  (Michael Lockett / Juneau Empire file)

Princess puts plans for ’contactless’ MedallionPay system on hold in Alaska

Businesses and municipal officials bristle at proposed no-contact system.

This August 2021 photo shows a Princess Cruise Line ship docked in Juneau. The cruise line announced this week that a controversial contactless payment method will not be expanded to Alaska in the immediate future. Prior to the decision, MedallionPay was panned by members of the business community.  (Michael Lockett / Juneau Empire file)
Audience members listen to Port Director Carl Uchytil present the proposed docks and harbors budget for next year to the City and Borough of Juneau Assembly’s Finance Committee on Wednesday. The public will get an opportunity to comment on the city’s full spending plan at an Assembly meeting at 7 p.m. Monday.(Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Audience members listen to Port Director Carl Uchytil present the proposed docks and harbors budget for next year to the City and Borough of Juneau Assembly’s Finance Committee on Wednesday. The public will get an opportunity to comment on the city’s full spending plan at an Assembly meeting at 7 p.m. Monday.(Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Axel Gillam, inventory supervisor for the Alaskan Kush Company, talks the state of business ahead of 4/20. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau empire)

Regulations, wait time make future of on-site pot consumption hazy

Some retail outlets see sobering loss of sales as first post-COVID 4/20 arrives.

Axel Gillam, inventory supervisor for the Alaskan Kush Company, talks the state of business ahead of 4/20. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau empire)
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Gondola is a go: City agrees to pay $1.33 million for used lift in Austria

Now, the trick is getting it home and installed at Eaglecrest Ski Area.

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Paula Casperson (center) meets Wednesday at JDHS with Amanda Duvall (left) the district’s teacher and learning support coordinator, and Carrie Pusich, an activities assistant for the district. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

A principal of matter: Longtime JDHS leader Paula Casperson named regional principal of the year

Ordinarily parents aren’t thrilled to get a call from the principal…

Paula Casperson (center) meets Wednesday at JDHS with Amanda Duvall (left) the district’s teacher and learning support coordinator, and Carrie Pusich, an activities assistant for the district. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Cassee Olin, director of administrative services for Juneau School District, Superintendent Bridget Weiss and City Manager Rorie Watt participate in a City and Borough of Juneau Finance Committee meeting. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

Budgeting one tough step at a time

Lack of funds, people and certainty add to challenges as city leaders review spending plans.

Cassee Olin, director of administrative services for Juneau School District, Superintendent Bridget Weiss and City Manager Rorie Watt participate in a City and Borough of Juneau Finance Committee meeting. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
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Mix and mask: Administrators, students say ‘variety of strategies’ working well with masking optional

“It seems to be going very well,” said Juneau School District Superintendent Bridget Weiss.

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This screenshot from a video shown during a Juneau School District Board of Education meeting shows Riverbend Elementary School students working on a project. The school may soon have a new name, Kaxdigoowú Héen Elementary School. The name translates to “going back to clear water," in English. (Screenshot)

Renaming Riverbend: School board expresses support for gifted name

Further consideration of Kaxdigoowú Héen Elementary School comes next month.

This screenshot from a video shown during a Juneau School District Board of Education meeting shows Riverbend Elementary School students working on a project. The school may soon have a new name, Kaxdigoowú Héen Elementary School. The name translates to “going back to clear water," in English. (Screenshot)
This map, included in a City and Borough of Juneau Lands, Housing and Economic Development Committee meeting packet, shows the location of a proposed off-road vehicle park. The committee OK’d negotiations between the third party and an enthusiast group seeking to make the park a reality. (City and Borough of Juneau)

Off-road vehicle park gets traction

City pols OK negotiations for park at Mile 35 Glacier Highway.

This map, included in a City and Borough of Juneau Lands, Housing and Economic Development Committee meeting packet, shows the location of a proposed off-road vehicle park. The committee OK’d negotiations between the third party and an enthusiast group seeking to make the park a reality. (City and Borough of Juneau)
This March 2020 photo shows the Juneau’s current City Hall. A lot near Centennial Hall has emerged as a preferred location for a proposed new City Hall. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire File)

Lot next to Centennial Hall emerges as preferred site for new City Hall

Putting chambers for public meetings in convention center to save costs is a possibility.

This March 2020 photo shows the Juneau’s current City Hall. A lot near Centennial Hall has emerged as a preferred location for a proposed new City Hall. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire File)