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Rep. DeLena Johnson, R-Palmer, center, discusses budget legislation with her chief of staff, Remond Henderson, standing, and Reps. Neil Foster, D-Nome, left, and Bryce Edgmon, I-Dillingham on March 20, 2023. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire file photo)

Draft House budget includes $2,272 PFD, $680 per-student education increase, $152 million surplus

Plan boosts dividends $444 by abandoning agreement to put half the amount in reserve fund.

Rep. DeLena Johnson, R-Palmer, center, discusses budget legislation with her chief of staff, Remond Henderson, standing, and Reps. Neil Foster, D-Nome, left, and Bryce Edgmon, I-Dillingham on March 20, 2023. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire file photo)
Peacocks and peahens wander the grounds at Pederson Hill Farm. (Laurie Craig / For the Juneau Empire)

Farming for flowers amongst peacocks, bees and a ‘deer runway’ gives new growth to family tradition

Pederson Hill Farm making the most of manure-rich former horse corral owned by relatives since ‘50s.

  • Mar 25, 2024
  • By Laurie Craig, For the Juneau Empire
Peacocks and peahens wander the grounds at Pederson Hill Farm. (Laurie Craig / For the Juneau Empire)
The Thunder Mountain Falcons boys basketball team poses with their runner-up trophy after falling to East Anchorage 60-34 in the title game of the 2024 ASAA March Madness Alaska 4A Boys Basketball State Championship game on Saturday at Anchorage’s Alaska Airlines Center. (Klas Stolpe / For the Juneau Empire)

Thunder Mountain boys fall to East 60-34 in state title game

Falcons’ historic final season ends after surprising run at championship, but journey will continue.

The Thunder Mountain Falcons boys basketball team poses with their runner-up trophy after falling to East Anchorage 60-34 in the title game of the 2024 ASAA March Madness Alaska 4A Boys Basketball State Championship game on Saturday at Anchorage’s Alaska Airlines Center. (Klas Stolpe / For the Juneau Empire)
Thunder Mountain High School senior Jenna Dobson (5) defends Mountain City senior Morgan Maldonado during the Falcons’ 52-37 loss to the Lions in the 3rd/5th-place game of the 2024 ASAA March Madness Alaska 4A Girls Basketball State Championships on Saturday at Anchorage’s Alaska Airlines Center. (Klas Stolpe / For the Juneau Empire)

Thunder Mountain High School girls end historic final season at state tournament

Falcons battle, but fall 52-37 in third-place game loss to Mountain City.

Thunder Mountain High School senior Jenna Dobson (5) defends Mountain City senior Morgan Maldonado during the Falcons’ 52-37 loss to the Lions in the 3rd/5th-place game of the 2024 ASAA March Madness Alaska 4A Girls Basketball State Championships on Saturday at Anchorage’s Alaska Airlines Center. (Klas Stolpe / For the Juneau Empire)
House Rules Committee Chair Craig Johnson, R-Anchorage, speaks in favor of House Bill 135 on Tuesday, May 16, 2023, in the Alaska House. (James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)

Alaska House votes to give police warrantless emergency access to cellphone location data

Lawmakers pass other bills, on storage rentals, fireworks rules, telemedicine and federal lands.

House Rules Committee Chair Craig Johnson, R-Anchorage, speaks in favor of House Bill 135 on Tuesday, May 16, 2023, in the Alaska House. (James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)
Thunder Mountain High School junior Cailynn Baxter (23) powers a shot against Colony junior Tonya Karpow, freshman Jericho Wuestenberg and junior Alycia Shelley during the Falcons 69-35 semifinal loss to the Knights at the 2024 ASAA March Madness Alaska 4A Girls Basketball State Championships on Friday at Anchorage’s Alaska Airlines Center. (Klas Stolpe / For the Juneau Empire)

Fourth-ranked Thunder Mountain girls fall to top-ranked Colony in state semifinals

Coach Lee says Falcons “built for competition, have earned the right to play tomorrow.”

Thunder Mountain High School junior Cailynn Baxter (23) powers a shot against Colony junior Tonya Karpow, freshman Jericho Wuestenberg and junior Alycia Shelley during the Falcons 69-35 semifinal loss to the Knights at the 2024 ASAA March Madness Alaska 4A Girls Basketball State Championships on Friday at Anchorage’s Alaska Airlines Center. (Klas Stolpe / For the Juneau Empire)
Thunder Mountain celebrates their 48-45 overtime win against the Service Cougars in a semifinal at the 2024 ASAA March Madness Alaska 4A Boys Basketball State Championships on Friday at Anchorage’s Alaska Airlines Center. The Falcons will play East Anchorage for the state championship Saturday. (Klas Stolpe / For the Juneau Empire)

Thunder Mountain boys defeat Service, will play top-ranked East Anchorage for state title Saturday

Sixth-ranked Falcons score second upset of tournament, defeating second-ranked Cougars 48-45 in OT.

Thunder Mountain celebrates their 48-45 overtime win against the Service Cougars in a semifinal at the 2024 ASAA March Madness Alaska 4A Boys Basketball State Championships on Friday at Anchorage’s Alaska Airlines Center. The Falcons will play East Anchorage for the state championship Saturday. (Klas Stolpe / For the Juneau Empire)
Rep. Andrew Gray, D-Anchorage, gestures with his hands as he talks to Rep. Kevin McCabe, R-Big Lake, about an amendment to raise the state’s age of consent on Friday in the Alaska House of Representatives. (Photo by James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)

With handwritten amendment, Alaska House votes to raise state’s age of consent

Decision won’t be final until at least Monday, when House is scheduled to vote on underlying bill.

Rep. Andrew Gray, D-Anchorage, gestures with his hands as he talks to Rep. Kevin McCabe, R-Big Lake, about an amendment to raise the state’s age of consent on Friday in the Alaska House of Representatives. (Photo by James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)
People throw cornstarch of various colors at each other during a Holi celebration in downtown Juneau in 2023. (Photo by Cody Bennett)
People throw cornstarch of various colors at each other during a Holi celebration in downtown Juneau in 2023. (Photo by Cody Bennett)
Mike Bucy, Dzantik’i Heeni Middle School’s band teacher, conducts an ensemble of Taku Winds and DHMS band students during a rehearsal for a concert Saturday at Thunder Mountain High School. (Photo courtesy of Juneau Community Bands)

Sundown showdown of the mild and Wild West featured in concert Saturday at TMHS

Performance by Taku Winds and local students promises brawls, cattle drives and classical concerto.

Mike Bucy, Dzantik’i Heeni Middle School’s band teacher, conducts an ensemble of Taku Winds and DHMS band students during a rehearsal for a concert Saturday at Thunder Mountain High School. (Photo courtesy of Juneau Community Bands)
A broadband tower on a mountaintop that is part of a network providing service to rural Alaska communities. (Cordova Telecom photo provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture)

House rushes to pass rural schools internet bill after veto of comprehensive education bill

Legislators work past midnight as school districts face Wednesday application deadline for program.

A broadband tower on a mountaintop that is part of a network providing service to rural Alaska communities. (Cordova Telecom photo provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture)
Sen. Matt Claman, D-Anchorage, speaks at a Tuesday news conference held by the Senate majority caucus. Claman has proposed a constitutional amendment to lower the threshold needed to override a veto by a governor of a spending bill. (Yereth Rosen/Alaska Beacon)

Alaska senators consider constitutional amendment easing some veto override votes

The Alaska Senate is moving closer to approving a state constitutional amendment that would lower the number of votes needed to override a governor’s veto… Continue reading

Sen. Matt Claman, D-Anchorage, speaks at a Tuesday news conference held by the Senate majority caucus. Claman has proposed a constitutional amendment to lower the threshold needed to override a veto by a governor of a spending bill. (Yereth Rosen/Alaska Beacon)
Rep. Andy Josephson, D-Anchorage, speaks on March 28, 2023. He has sponsored a bill to make vandalism of a church a felony. (James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)

Alaska House votes to make church vandalism a felony; bill goes to Senate

Juneau Rep. Sara Hannan among dissenters in 35-5 vote, cites issues about property vs. hate crimes.

Rep. Andy Josephson, D-Anchorage, speaks on March 28, 2023. He has sponsored a bill to make vandalism of a church a felony. (James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)
Rep. Ashley Carrick, D-Fairbanks, listens to debate in the Alaska House of Representatives on Thursday. (James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)

Alaska House votes to remove some obstacles for birth control prescriptions

House Bill 17 allows women to buy up to 12 months’ worth of birth control pills at a time

Rep. Ashley Carrick, D-Fairbanks, listens to debate in the Alaska House of Representatives on Thursday. (James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)
Participants in a climate rally gather in front of the Alaska State Capitol on Thursday. The event received a permit from the City and Borough of Juneau allowing the street to be closed to vehicle traffic for 90 minutes, although some participants used the gathering to denounce a bill by Gov. Dunleavy to limit unauthorized public demonstrations. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

Rally highlights concerns about global and political climate, including bill restricting protests

Participants at permitted gathering at Capitol denounce proposal aimed at unauthorized gatherings.

Participants in a climate rally gather in front of the Alaska State Capitol on Thursday. The event received a permit from the City and Borough of Juneau allowing the street to be closed to vehicle traffic for 90 minutes, although some participants used the gathering to denounce a bill by Gov. Dunleavy to limit unauthorized public demonstrations. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
The Aiviq icebreaker, targeted by the U.S. Coast Guard for purchase and deployment in Alaska, completes a chartered refueling operation at Davis Research Station in Antarctica. (Kirk Yatras / Australian Antarctic Program)

Juneau-based Coast Guard icebreaker in final budget bill as Congress tries to avoid shutdown

Murkowski, Sullivan say they don’t expect repeat of last minute-deal in ‘22 that sunk vessel’s funds.

The Aiviq icebreaker, targeted by the U.S. Coast Guard for purchase and deployment in Alaska, completes a chartered refueling operation at Davis Research Station in Antarctica. (Kirk Yatras / Australian Antarctic Program)
The front page of the Juneau Empire on March 19, 2004. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
The front page of the Juneau Empire on March 19, 2004. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
The Alaska State Capitol is seen on Wednesday, March 7. (James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)

Anchorage Democrat alleges governor threatened Republicans before veto vote, prompting denials

Two days after the Alaska Legislature failed to override Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s veto of a wide-ranging education bill, the effects of that failure continued to… Continue reading

The Alaska State Capitol is seen on Wednesday, March 7. (James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)
Thunder Mountain senior Jaya Carandang defends Dimond senior Maile Wilcox (5) during the Falcons 58-47 win over the Lynx in the 2024 ASAA March Madness Alaska 4A Girls Basketball State Championships on Wednesday at Anchorage’s Alaska Airlines Center. (Klas Stolpe / For the Juneau Empire)

Thunder Mountain girls open state tournament with 58-47 win over Dimond

Falcons earn season rematch against top-ranked Colony in Friday semifinals

Thunder Mountain senior Jaya Carandang defends Dimond senior Maile Wilcox (5) during the Falcons 58-47 win over the Lynx in the 2024 ASAA March Madness Alaska 4A Girls Basketball State Championships on Wednesday at Anchorage’s Alaska Airlines Center. (Klas Stolpe / For the Juneau Empire)
Thunder Mountain senior Samuel Lockhart (14) passes to senior Kasen Ludeman (13) under pressure from West Valley senior Sawyer Petersen (24) during the Falcons 53-51 overtime win against the Wolfpack in the 2024 ASAA March Madness Alaska 4A Boys Basketball State Championships on Wednesday at Anchorage’s Alaska Airlines Center. (Klas Stolpe / For the Juneau Empire)

TMHS boys rally from 11 down in 4th quarter, open state tournament with OT win against West Valley

No. 6 Falcons top No. 3 Wolfpack, next face second-ranked Service Cougars in Friday’s semifinal.

Thunder Mountain senior Samuel Lockhart (14) passes to senior Kasen Ludeman (13) under pressure from West Valley senior Sawyer Petersen (24) during the Falcons 53-51 overtime win against the Wolfpack in the 2024 ASAA March Madness Alaska 4A Boys Basketball State Championships on Wednesday at Anchorage’s Alaska Airlines Center. (Klas Stolpe / For the Juneau Empire)