Mark Sabbatini

Kim Kovol will be the acting commissioner for the new Alaska Department of Family and Community Services which debuts Friday. (Courtesy Photo)

New state department gets new commissioner

Kim Kovol, a longtime social services worker, will head the Dept. of Family and Community Services

Kim Kovol will be the acting commissioner for the new Alaska Department of Family and Community Services which debuts Friday. (Courtesy Photo)
This photo shows Sít' Eetí Shaanáx - Glacier Valley School the evening of Tuesday, June 14. The school is one of three sites of the Juneau School District's RALLY program. On Tuesday, children were served floor sealant instead of milk during breakfast at the school's RALLY site. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

Board takes steps toward probe of ‘milk’ incident

There is debate about whether local or national experts are preferred for investigation.

This photo shows Sít' Eetí Shaanáx - Glacier Valley School the evening of Tuesday, June 14. The school is one of three sites of the Juneau School District's RALLY program. On Tuesday, children were served floor sealant instead of milk during breakfast at the school's RALLY site. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)
Rachel Hightower and Ben Burns present a board showing homes, other buildings and activities near a proposed marijuana dispensary in Douglas, during a Juneau Planning Commission meeting Tuesday. The couple argued the dispensary, which was unanimously approved by the commission, is inappropriate for a neighborhood where there are families with small children and a school. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

First marijuana dispensary in Douglas clears early hurdle

Proposed shop approved by Planning Commission despite opposition from neighbors

Rachel Hightower and Ben Burns present a board showing homes, other buildings and activities near a proposed marijuana dispensary in Douglas, during a Juneau Planning Commission meeting Tuesday. The couple argued the dispensary, which was unanimously approved by the commission, is inappropriate for a neighborhood where there are families with small children and a school. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
This photo shows the old Glory Hall building on South Franklin Street.  (Michael S. Lockett / Juneau Empire File)

Glory Hall’s housing hopes survive

Plan turning downtown homeless shelter into apartments gets 2nd reprieve from Planning Commission

This photo shows the old Glory Hall building on South Franklin Street.  (Michael S. Lockett / Juneau Empire File)
Courtesy Photo / Arena Stage 
Molly Smith directs Brad Oscar and the cast of “Damn Yankees” in 2005 at Arena Stage.

Americana exceptionalism: Perseverance Theatre founder Molly Smith to retire from Arena Stage in Washington, D.C.

Perseverance Theatre founder Molly Smith retiring at Arena Stage after 25 years in Washington, D.C.

Courtesy Photo / Arena Stage 
Molly Smith directs Brad Oscar and the cast of “Damn Yankees” in 2005 at Arena Stage.
City Clerk Beth McEwen directs a fan at City Attorney Robert Palmer, left, and Assembly member Greg Smith as they discuss revisions to a list of proposed projects that will be funded by an extension of a temporary 1% sales tax if voters approve it this fall. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

Initial ‘shopping list’ for 1% sales tax extension drafted

Building maintenance, affordable housing and child care top proposals.

City Clerk Beth McEwen directs a fan at City Attorney Robert Palmer, left, and Assembly member Greg Smith as they discuss revisions to a list of proposed projects that will be funded by an extension of a temporary 1% sales tax if voters approve it this fall. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Courtesy Photo / Office of Gov. Mike Dunleavy 
Gov. Mike Dunleavy on Tuesday signed the budget for the upcoming fiscal year.

Gov. Dunleavy signs budget

PFD of about $3,200, $400 million in vetoes to Legislature-approved items among declared highlights

Courtesy Photo / Office of Gov. Mike Dunleavy 
Gov. Mike Dunleavy on Tuesday signed the budget for the upcoming fiscal year.
The question of whether to exempt unprepared foods from sales tax is likely to be posed to Juneau residents via poll instead of on municipal ballots after Monday night's Committee of the Whole meeting. (Unsplash / nrd)

Food tax exemption to get a survey instead of a vote

Advisory vote during fall election nixed by Assembly members, who say poll will provide better data

The question of whether to exempt unprepared foods from sales tax is likely to be posed to Juneau residents via poll instead of on municipal ballots after Monday night's Committee of the Whole meeting. (Unsplash / nrd)
The Alaska Department of Health And Social Services building in Juneau has no visible signs indicating the department is splitting into two agencies as of Friday. Top officials at the department said many of the changes, both physical and in services, are likely weeks and in some cases months away. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

Little sign of big change for DHSS

No commissioner at new department, other Dept. of Health and Social Services changes may take months

The Alaska Department of Health And Social Services building in Juneau has no visible signs indicating the department is splitting into two agencies as of Friday. Top officials at the department said many of the changes, both physical and in services, are likely weeks and in some cases months away. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire 
Peter Froehlich, a retired Juneau district judge who is now a volunteer tour guide, explains the history of the history of the Kimball Theatre Pipe Organ in the State Office Building to a group of visitors Thursday. The organ has been idle since 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and now needs repairs before regular Friday lunchtime concerts and other performances on the 94-year-old instrument can resume.

Historic organ is in need of tuneup

How much it will cost and who will do it remain up in the air.

Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire 
Peter Froehlich, a retired Juneau district judge who is now a volunteer tour guide, explains the history of the history of the Kimball Theatre Pipe Organ in the State Office Building to a group of visitors Thursday. The organ has been idle since 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and now needs repairs before regular Friday lunchtime concerts and other performances on the 94-year-old instrument can resume.
This photo shows Sít' Eetí Shaanáx - Glacier Valley School the evening of Tuesday, June 14. On Wednesday the Juneau Police Department shared the findings of its investigation into an incident in which a dozen children drank floor sealant when it was served instead of milk during a summer program breakfast at the school. There was nothing to obviously suggest criminal charges are appropriate, but the findings have been sent to the district attorney for review, according to JPD. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

Police: No obvious basis for charges in ‘milk’ incident

Investigation of floor sealant being served at summer youth program being reviewed by prosecutors

This photo shows Sít' Eetí Shaanáx - Glacier Valley School the evening of Tuesday, June 14. On Wednesday the Juneau Police Department shared the findings of its investigation into an incident in which a dozen children drank floor sealant when it was served instead of milk during a summer program breakfast at the school. There was nothing to obviously suggest criminal charges are appropriate, but the findings have been sent to the district attorney for review, according to JPD. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)
An array of “I voted” stickers awaits voters Juneau’s municipal election in October 2020. Residents interested in running for Assembly and Juneau Board of Education seats in this year’s election can start getting schooled with a “toolkit” and workshop scheduled this week. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire File)

School’s in for aspiring candidates

Assembly and school board members offer wise words as toolkit and workshop for local races arrive

An array of “I voted” stickers awaits voters Juneau’s municipal election in October 2020. Residents interested in running for Assembly and Juneau Board of Education seats in this year’s election can start getting schooled with a “toolkit” and workshop scheduled this week. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire File)
This 2018 photo shows downtown Juneau. Commercial property owners filed in 2021 a record number of appeals of a property assessments. (Michael Penn / Juneau Empire File)

Commercial property sees record appeals

The reason for the uproar is assessments for all commercial property were increased 50% for 2021.

This 2018 photo shows downtown Juneau. Commercial property owners filed in 2021 a record number of appeals of a property assessments. (Michael Penn / Juneau Empire File)
Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé graduates toss their caps during graduation last month. The Juneau School District Board of Education approved on Friday a policy formally allowing students to wear regalia during graduation. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

Cultural regalia OK’d for big school events

School board OKs wearing of Native items, and those from other cultures, at public events

Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé graduates toss their caps during graduation last month. The Juneau School District Board of Education approved on Friday a policy formally allowing students to wear regalia during graduation. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
This June 14 photo shows Sít’ Eetí Shaanáx – Glacier Valley Elementary School. School district officials are considering procuring a third-party investigator to look into how a dozen children and two adults were served floor sealant instead of milk during a summer youth program. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

‘Sip before serve’ policy violated in milk mishap

Food company admits missteps; school board seeks 3rd-party investigator.

This June 14 photo shows Sít’ Eetí Shaanáx – Glacier Valley Elementary School. School district officials are considering procuring a third-party investigator to look into how a dozen children and two adults were served floor sealant instead of milk during a summer youth program. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)
A special meeting of the school board will begin with a “discussion with NANA Management Services regarding (the) food services incident,” according to an agenda published by the Juneau School District. Twelve kids and two adults ingested floor sealant when it was served Tuesday morning by the company during breakfast at the RALLY program Sít’ Eetí Shaanáx - Glacier Valley School, shown in this June 14 photo. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

Contractor faces public questioning Friday about ‘milk’ incident

Company that served chemical sealant to children to face Juneau’s school board at special meeting

A special meeting of the school board will begin with a “discussion with NANA Management Services regarding (the) food services incident,” according to an agenda published by the Juneau School District. Twelve kids and two adults ingested floor sealant when it was served Tuesday morning by the company during breakfast at the RALLY program Sít’ Eetí Shaanáx - Glacier Valley School, shown in this June 14 photo. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)
A petition booklet seeking to nullify a requirement Juneau property buyers disclose the sales price is exhibited before it was turned in to the city clerk’s office earlier this month. (Courtesy of Protect Juneau Homeowners’ Privacy)

Petition to nix property sale disclosure price requirement needs more signatures

Group will have additional 10 days starting Friday to gather enough signatures for fall ballot

A petition booklet seeking to nullify a requirement Juneau property buyers disclose the sales price is exhibited before it was turned in to the city clerk’s office earlier this month. (Courtesy of Protect Juneau Homeowners’ Privacy)
Divina Rotano, a cashier for the city, provides two COVID-19 rapid antigen self test kits at the entrance counter of City Hall on Thursday. The city is also making 24,000 tests arriving from the federal government this week available at public libraries, the Juneau Police Department and Juneau Public Health Center. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

More free COVID-19 self-tests arrive as local case spike lingers

24,000 rapid antigen tests available at City Hall, libraries, police station and city health center

Divina Rotano, a cashier for the city, provides two COVID-19 rapid antigen self test kits at the entrance counter of City Hall on Thursday. The city is also making 24,000 tests arriving from the federal government this week available at public libraries, the Juneau Police Department and Juneau Public Health Center. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Jerry Harmon, president of Juneau Gold Rush Days and a miner for more than 40 years, shows some of the nearly 500,000 pounds of heavy equipment being brought to Savikko Field for this weekend’s events. The event has attracted more than 10,000 people at its peak, but was cancelled the past two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

Gold Rush Days returns with strong prospects

Weekend mining and logging event at Savikko Field celebrates 30th year after missing past two years

Jerry Harmon, president of Juneau Gold Rush Days and a miner for more than 40 years, shows some of the nearly 500,000 pounds of heavy equipment being brought to Savikko Field for this weekend’s events. The event has attracted more than 10,000 people at its peak, but was cancelled the past two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
This photo shows Sít' Eetí Shaanáx - Glacier Valley School the evening of Tuesday, June 14. The school is one of three sites of the Juneau School District's RALLY program. On Tuesday, children were served floor sealant instead of milk during breakfast at the school's RALLY site. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

Superintendent: Pouches of milk, chemicals delivered side-by-side

“That’s when the beginning of this mismatch began,” she said.

This photo shows Sít' Eetí Shaanáx - Glacier Valley School the evening of Tuesday, June 14. The school is one of three sites of the Juneau School District's RALLY program. On Tuesday, children were served floor sealant instead of milk during breakfast at the school's RALLY site. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)