Mark Sabbatini

This photo shows a gondola in Austria recently purchased by the City and Borough of Juneau for the Eaglecrest Ski Area. (Courtesy Photo)

City stuck with extra expensive gondola shipping bill

Assembly agrees to pay more than twice the estimated cost for Eaglecrest lift purchased in Austria.

This photo shows a gondola in Austria recently purchased by the City and Borough of Juneau for the Eaglecrest Ski Area. (Courtesy Photo)
Anne Bonino-Britsch, a volunteer, feeds chickens at the Zach Gordon Youth Center. The first case of bird flu tied to a recent outbreak that's killed millions of turkeys and chickens was confirmed in Alaska last week, but local poultry owners said while they're being cautious, they aren't overly concerned. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Anne Bonino-Britsch, a volunteer, feeds chickens at the Zach Gordon Youth Center. The first case of bird flu tied to a recent outbreak that's killed millions of turkeys and chickens was confirmed in Alaska last week, but local poultry owners said while they're being cautious, they aren't overly concerned. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Zuill Bailey, who is a Grammy Award-winning cellist and artistic director for the Juneau Jazz & Classics festival, will be among artists to perform in the six-day event. (Courtesy Photo / Juneau Jazz & Classics)

Sweet sound of freedom: Juneau Jazz & Classics’ 1st post-pandemic festival features 27 visiting musicians

Event includes two military ensembles and first music cruises in four years.

Zuill Bailey, who is a Grammy Award-winning cellist and artistic director for the Juneau Jazz & Classics festival, will be among artists to perform in the six-day event. (Courtesy Photo / Juneau Jazz & Classics)
Blue Shibler, executive director of the Southeast Alaska Association for the Education of Young Children (center), Emily Thompson, Parents As Teachers coordinator for the organization (left) and Nikki Love, Community Engagement and ROCK Juneau Coordinator for AEYC (right) address the City and Borough of Juneau Assembly Finance Committee on Wednesday in the Assembly Chambers in City Hall. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

Community respite funds get serious scrutiny

Glory Hall funds put on hold, heating assistance and park improvements get the OK.

Blue Shibler, executive director of the Southeast Alaska Association for the Education of Young Children (center), Emily Thompson, Parents As Teachers coordinator for the organization (left) and Nikki Love, Community Engagement and ROCK Juneau Coordinator for AEYC (right) address the City and Borough of Juneau Assembly Finance Committee on Wednesday in the Assembly Chambers in City Hall. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
This City and Borough of Juneau chart shows the history of the city's restricted and unrestricted general funds. (Courtesy Image / City and Borough of Juneau)

A big unexpected loss, but a bigger unexpected gain

City’s investments return $4M less than predicted, but an extra $16M is coming from the state.

This City and Borough of Juneau chart shows the history of the city's restricted and unrestricted general funds. (Courtesy Image / City and Borough of Juneau)
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)