Mark Sabbatini

The sun sets on snow-covered boats in Auke Bay on Jan. 10, 2022. On Jan. 1, 2024, most local docks and harbors fees will increase 9%. (Photo by the City and Borough of Juneau Docks and Harbors Department)

Changes in state minimum wage and alcohol laws, local harbor fees and sales taxes coming Jan. 1

Free IDs for released prisoners, lifetime trapping licenses for disabled vets also start in 2024.

The sun sets on snow-covered boats in Auke Bay on Jan. 10, 2022. On Jan. 1, 2024, most local docks and harbors fees will increase 9%. (Photo by the City and Borough of Juneau Docks and Harbors Department)
Indigenous celebrations took center stage in Juneau in 2023, including the debut of the Kootéeyaa Deiyí (Totem Pole Trail), launch of the Hōkūle‘a 47-month Polynesian canoe voyage and Áak’w Rock Indigenous music festival. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire file photos)

Juneau’s top 10 arts and culture stories of 2023

Indigenous events and celebrations took center stage throughout the year.

Indigenous celebrations took center stage in Juneau in 2023, including the debut of the Kootéeyaa Deiyí (Totem Pole Trail), launch of the Hōkūle‘a 47-month Polynesian canoe voyage and Áak’w Rock Indigenous music festival. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire file photos)
A cruise ship visitor prepares to depart Juneau, a view of Telephone Hill from above and a home falls into the flooded Mendenhall River. (Photos by Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire, City and Borough of Juneau, and a screenshot from a video by Sam Nolan)

Juneau’s top 10 news stories for 2023

Mendenhall Glacier issues, hillside areas, unhappiness with local leaders head the headlines.

A cruise ship visitor prepares to depart Juneau, a view of Telephone Hill from above and a home falls into the flooded Mendenhall River. (Photos by Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire, City and Borough of Juneau, and a screenshot from a video by Sam Nolan)
Sean Oliver (11) of Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé and Mande Wanlemvo of Auburn Mountainview High School fight for the tipoff at the start of their first Capital City Classic game Wednesday night at JDHS. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

Tipoff of Capital City Classic goes in both directions for JDHS

Crimson Bears girls open hometown tournament with dominant victory, boys follow with lopsided loss.

Sean Oliver (11) of Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé and Mande Wanlemvo of Auburn Mountainview High School fight for the tipoff at the start of their first Capital City Classic game Wednesday night at JDHS. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
A sign asks visitors to exercise restraint at a food pantry in Eagle River on April 21, 2023. (Mark Thiessen / Associated Press file photo)

Alaska opts out of $40 per-child summer EBT program

Administrative requirements “greatly exceeds the benefit that would be issued to children,” state says

A sign asks visitors to exercise restraint at a food pantry in Eagle River on April 21, 2023. (Mark Thiessen / Associated Press file photo)
A fire hose lies along an uphill driveway to a residence in the 15000 block of Glacier Highway that caught fire early Thursday morning. Firefighters were forced to pull the hose about 100 yards up the driveway to the home because the fire truck was unable to access it due to slippery conditions. (Photo by Capital City Fire/Rescue)

Fire damages front of home near Auke Village Recreation Area

All occupants escape house unharmed, slippery driveway complicates firefighters’ efforts

A fire hose lies along an uphill driveway to a residence in the 15000 block of Glacier Highway that caught fire early Thursday morning. Firefighters were forced to pull the hose about 100 yards up the driveway to the home because the fire truck was unable to access it due to slippery conditions. (Photo by Capital City Fire/Rescue)
The front page of the Juneau Empire on Dec. 30, 2005. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
The front page of the Juneau Empire on Dec. 30, 2005. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
A chart shows gale-force winds of up to 70 miles per hour are expected in downtown Juneau and Douglas on Wednesday. (National Weather Service Juneau)

Gale-force winds of 70 mph expected in parts of Juneau starting Wednesday afternoon

Wet week of snow and rain also ahead as new front moves in, according to forecast

A chart shows gale-force winds of up to 70 miles per hour are expected in downtown Juneau and Douglas on Wednesday. (National Weather Service Juneau)
Police and fire officials respond to an injury accident at the Fred Meyer intersection on Saturday, Dec. 23. Limited safety improvements at the intersection scheduled for completion by Oct. 31 have not been finished due to supply chain and other issues, according to a state transportation department spokesperson. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

Safety upgrades at Fred Meyer intersection still awaiting completion two months after due date

Supply chain issues hamper speed limit signs, weather delays work on turn lanes, according to DOT.

Police and fire officials respond to an injury accident at the Fred Meyer intersection on Saturday, Dec. 23. Limited safety improvements at the intersection scheduled for completion by Oct. 31 have not been finished due to supply chain and other issues, according to a state transportation department spokesperson. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Juneau athletes compete in the state softball title (left), Gold Medal Basketball Tournament (center) and ASAA State Swim & Dive Championships during some of 2023’s local highlight sports moments. (Juneau Empire)

Juneau’s top 10 sports stories of 2023

State titles for many, a historic losing season and death of a coaching icon among headline moments.

Juneau athletes compete in the state softball title (left), Gold Medal Basketball Tournament (center) and ASAA State Swim & Dive Championships during some of 2023’s local highlight sports moments. (Juneau Empire)
Steven Kissack and Jennifer Ross accept pizzas from a person who dropped them off anonymously where they were sitting at the sheltered entrance to a building on Front Street on Sunday evening. Ross and Kissack, accompanied by his dog Juno, were among a group of people gathering at the entrance who said they might spend some of Christmas Eve and/or Christmas Day at the warming shelter south of downtown, but were uncertain about their plans. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

Just a typical Christmas Eve among homeless friends on Front Street

Food, drink, stories and dog adoration share much of the spirit as multitude of gatherings indoors.

Steven Kissack and Jennifer Ross accept pizzas from a person who dropped them off anonymously where they were sitting at the sheltered entrance to a building on Front Street on Sunday evening. Ross and Kissack, accompanied by his dog Juno, were among a group of people gathering at the entrance who said they might spend some of Christmas Eve and/or Christmas Day at the warming shelter south of downtown, but were uncertain about their plans. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
A classified “Operation Gift Force” chart warns people in Southeast Alaska about strong winds expected throughout much of the region on Christmas Eve. (National Weather Service Juneau)

Is Juneau going to have a white Christmas? No. (But expect a peak performance for the holiday)

Rain and wind forecast during Santa’s overnight visit, with both increasing in strength on Monday.

A classified “Operation Gift Force” chart warns people in Southeast Alaska about strong winds expected throughout much of the region on Christmas Eve. (National Weather Service Juneau)
Martha Crockroft (foreground) and Jeff Marks wrap gifts for the annual Adopt-A-Family Christmas Gift Program at the St. Vincent de Paul Juneau complex on Saturday. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

Getting an early start on helping Santa and people in need of good cheer

Hundreds of Southeast families get food, gifts as need, donations high in Juneau’s goodwill efforts.

Martha Crockroft (foreground) and Jeff Marks wrap gifts for the annual Adopt-A-Family Christmas Gift Program at the St. Vincent de Paul Juneau complex on Saturday. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Salmon fisherman stack their nets June 22 in Kodiak. (AP Photo/Joshua A. Bickel, File)

Alaska fishers, consumers likely to see higher seafood prices due to expanded Russian products ban

Political and industrial leaders praise Biden’s order, citing abusive practices by Russia and China.

Salmon fisherman stack their nets June 22 in Kodiak. (AP Photo/Joshua A. Bickel, File)
Kenneth Kitka, 65, is taken into custody following a nearly three-hour standoff with police at a downtown Juneau residence on Thursday. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

Man arrested after downtown standoff faces 10 criminal charges as drugs, cash, handguns seized

Kenneth Kitka, 65, has previous history of drug charges as new case gets first hearing Friday.

Kenneth Kitka, 65, is taken into custody following a nearly three-hour standoff with police at a downtown Juneau residence on Thursday. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Juneau Police Department and FBI officers are deployed outside a downtown residence at midday Thursday, with JPD attempting to serve a search warrant for the house and a person inside. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

Nearly three-hour standoff with JPD, FBI in drug case at home near Capitol ends with man in custody

Streets closed off as officers fire chemical projectiles inside structure.

Juneau Police Department and FBI officers are deployed outside a downtown residence at midday Thursday, with JPD attempting to serve a search warrant for the house and a person inside. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Mila Hargrave pitches for Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé against Sitka High School on June 3 during the ASAA Division II State Softball Championships. (Courtesy of JDHS Softball)

JDHS all-star softball player to pitch for U.S. team at international tournament

Mila Hargrave selected for one of 16 teams at The Cup in the Netherlands next month.

Mila Hargrave pitches for Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé against Sitka High School on June 3 during the ASAA Division II State Softball Championships. (Courtesy of JDHS Softball)
Former President Donald Trump speaks to a capacity crowd at the Alaska Airlines Center in Anchorage on July 9, 2022. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire file photo)

Alaska among states with lawsuits seeking to make Trump ineligible to run

Federal court complaint filed in September gets more attention after successful Colorado challenge.

Former President Donald Trump speaks to a capacity crowd at the Alaska Airlines Center in Anchorage on July 9, 2022. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire file photo)
The front page of the Juneau Empire on Dec. 23, 2005. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
The front page of the Juneau Empire on Dec. 23, 2005. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Juneau City Manager Katie Koester (center) discusses options for additional office space for city workers during a Juneau Assembly Committee of the Whole meeting on Monday night as Deputy City Manager Robert Barr (left) and City Attorney Robert Palmer listen. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

City to yet again consider office space options after voters twice reject new City Hall

Trio of options range from space for all staff to moving just those in one troublesome building.

Juneau City Manager Katie Koester (center) discusses options for additional office space for city workers during a Juneau Assembly Committee of the Whole meeting on Monday night as Deputy City Manager Robert Barr (left) and City Attorney Robert Palmer listen. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)