Home

State Sen. Jesse Kiehl, D-Juneau, vows a bill boosting state employees pensions will pass “the 33rd Alaska Legislature” during a rally by about 70 union supporters on the steps of the Alaska State Capitol on May 2, 2023. A bill restoring pensions advanced out of the Senate Finance Committee on Wednesday and is likely to get a floor vote during the next couple of weeks, according to Kiehl. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire file photo)

Bill reviving public employees pension system advances to Senate floor

Long-debated proposal would replace 401(k)-style system; House leaders raise questions about cost.

State Sen. Jesse Kiehl, D-Juneau, vows a bill boosting state employees pensions will pass “the 33rd Alaska Legislature” during a rally by about 70 union supporters on the steps of the Alaska State Capitol on May 2, 2023. A bill restoring pensions advanced out of the Senate Finance Committee on Wednesday and is likely to get a floor vote during the next couple of weeks, according to Kiehl. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire file photo)
The Juneau School District is facing a current and future financial crisis, including deficit spending that has resulted in a projected $8 million shortfall for the current fiscal year, with leaders considering school consolidation among many other remedies. (City and Borough of Juneau photo)

Juneau School District’s deficit is ‘only’ $8M instead of $9.5M after further review and initial cuts

Leaders still looking at specific options for school consolidation, asking city to cover some costs.

The Juneau School District is facing a current and future financial crisis, including deficit spending that has resulted in a projected $8 million shortfall for the current fiscal year, with leaders considering school consolidation among many other remedies. (City and Borough of Juneau photo)
State Rep. Craig Johnson (center), an Anchorage Republican, consults with a staff member while chairing a House Rules Committee meeting at the Alaska State Capitol on Saturday to hear Senate Bill 140, which as modified by the committee makes sweeping changes to Alaska’s education system. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire file photo)

Battle lines in massive education bill set by House and Senate majorities

Senate says bill rushed and reckless; House calls it balanced solution to struggling school system.

State Rep. Craig Johnson (center), an Anchorage Republican, consults with a staff member while chairing a House Rules Committee meeting at the Alaska State Capitol on Saturday to hear Senate Bill 140, which as modified by the committee makes sweeping changes to Alaska’s education system. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire file photo)
Looking east on Front Street from near Seward Street. The building in the right foreground painted “C.W. Young” is where Sealaska Heritage’s Walter Soboleff Center gift shop is located today. The Valentine Building is on the left. W.M. Case took the photo on Feb. 3, 1918. (Alaska State Library — Historical Collections P39-0545)

Digging into Juneau’s history of digging out from snow

1918 is particularly memorable, especially with no big snowplows for roads or canopies for roofs.

Looking east on Front Street from near Seward Street. The building in the right foreground painted “C.W. Young” is where Sealaska Heritage’s Walter Soboleff Center gift shop is located today. The Valentine Building is on the left. W.M. Case took the photo on Feb. 3, 1918. (Alaska State Library — Historical Collections P39-0545)
The roof of a building bears the weight of multiple feet of snow following two storms during the past two weeks that have dumped more than 60 inches of snow on some parts of Juneau. (Capital City Fire/Rescue photo)

Structures collapse under snow weight, avalanches triggered downtown as storm nears end

Warnings issued for avalanche zones, buildings under heavy weight loads and travel on icy roads.

The roof of a building bears the weight of multiple feet of snow following two storms during the past two weeks that have dumped more than 60 inches of snow on some parts of Juneau. (Capital City Fire/Rescue photo)
Fruit is displayed at an Anchorage grocery store. (Photo by Yereth Rosen/Alaska Beacon)

The number of Alaskans who use food aid has dropped as state works to reduce backlog

The state government has again made headway in reducing the number of Alaskans waiting for food aid. But national data show the number of Alaskans… Continue reading

Fruit is displayed at an Anchorage grocery store. (Photo by Yereth Rosen/Alaska Beacon)
A state Department of Public Transportation and Public Facilities plow clears heavy snow from a road. The department has closed Thane Road overnight Monday and Tuesday due to the high risk of avalanches. (Alaska Department of Public Transportation and Public Facilities photo)

In-person city and school activities canceled Wednesday, but both offering remote services

Snow expected to end early Wednesday morning, but traffic and avalanche hazards remain high.

A state Department of Public Transportation and Public Facilities plow clears heavy snow from a road. The department has closed Thane Road overnight Monday and Tuesday due to the high risk of avalanches. (Alaska Department of Public Transportation and Public Facilities photo)
A pro-life flag, selected in a design contest, is being flown at some government buildings and other locations, sometimes as a counterstatement to Pride and other flags seen as politically oriented. A flag with the design is currently flying below the official Alaska State Flag at the Governor’s Residence after being hoisted there in recent days. (Photo by The Pro-Life Flag Project)

‘Pro-life’ flag hangs outside Governor’s Residence on anniversary of Roe v. Wade

Flag hoisted in recent days part of national movement, partly in response to Pride and other flags

A pro-life flag, selected in a design contest, is being flown at some government buildings and other locations, sometimes as a counterstatement to Pride and other flags seen as politically oriented. A flag with the design is currently flying below the official Alaska State Flag at the Governor’s Residence after being hoisted there in recent days. (Photo by The Pro-Life Flag Project)
U.S. Rep. Mary Peltola, D-Alaska, dances with others during a campaign event Oct. 24, 2022, at Elizabeth Peratrovich Hall. Peltola, who announced Monday she is seeking a second full term, is scheduled to make a campaign stop in Juneau on Friday. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

Peltola announces reelection bid, plans campaign stop in Juneau on Saturday

Democratic congresswoman among top nationwide targets of Republicans as she seeks second full term.

U.S. Rep. Mary Peltola, D-Alaska, dances with others during a campaign event Oct. 24, 2022, at Elizabeth Peratrovich Hall. Peltola, who announced Monday she is seeking a second full term, is scheduled to make a campaign stop in Juneau on Friday. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
The National Weather Service Juneau office near the Mendenhall Glacier has a snowpack depth of 33 inches as of about midnight Tuesday, following two heavy storms during the past 10 days, according to the station. (National Weather Service Juneau)

Avalanche warnings, closures continue as marathon storm leaves record snowfall

Juneau shatters snow record for Jan. 22; forecaster says avalanches “could begin to endanger homes.”

The National Weather Service Juneau office near the Mendenhall Glacier has a snowpack depth of 33 inches as of about midnight Tuesday, following two heavy storms during the past 10 days, according to the station. (National Weather Service Juneau)
Nadia Wilson, left, and Layla Tokuoka, right, of Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé fight for possession of the ball with Skylar Morris of South Anchorage High School during Saturday’s game at JDHS. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

JDHS boys, girls deliver matching pair of basketball wins for homecoming

Both Crimson Bears teams score on key plays in closing seconds of back-and-forth contests.

Nadia Wilson, left, and Layla Tokuoka, right, of Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé fight for possession of the ball with Skylar Morris of South Anchorage High School during Saturday’s game at JDHS. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Cars and a hillside street in downtown Juneau are buried under thick snow from a storm that began Sunday and is expected to continue until Tuesday. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

Lingering storm may dump more than two feet of snow; avalanche, other warnings issued

City closed, schools continue remote learning again on Tuesday; Thane Road closing at 8 p.m. Monday.

Cars and a hillside street in downtown Juneau are buried under thick snow from a storm that began Sunday and is expected to continue until Tuesday. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Cathy Walling of the Alaska Quaker Friends hugs Jamiann S’eiltin Hasselquist in Kake, while Ati Nasiah of the non-profit Haa Tóoch Lichéesh smiles in the foreground on Jan. 19. (Photo by Shaelene Grace Moler)

Monetary reparations follow Quaker apology to Alaska Native community on Kake Day

An unused U.S. Forest Service building in Kake may soon be a healing center for the community to move forward from generations of trauma after… Continue reading

Cathy Walling of the Alaska Quaker Friends hugs Jamiann S’eiltin Hasselquist in Kake, while Ati Nasiah of the non-profit Haa Tóoch Lichéesh smiles in the foreground on Jan. 19. (Photo by Shaelene Grace Moler)
From left, Bela Pyare, 13, Josie Elfers, 11, Nayeli Hood, 11, and Emily Ferry, a member of the Alaska Association of School Boards, discuss their testimony about a board-based education bill in a hallway at the Alaska State Capitol during a House Rule Committee meeting on Saturday. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

Sweeping education bill advances to House floor despite overwhelming opposition from educators

Bill contains $300 BSA increase, boosts for charter and homeschooling, random audits of districts.

From left, Bela Pyare, 13, Josie Elfers, 11, Nayeli Hood, 11, and Emily Ferry, a member of the Alaska Association of School Boards, discuss their testimony about a board-based education bill in a hallway at the Alaska State Capitol during a House Rule Committee meeting on Saturday. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
An empty classroom at Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé on July 20, 2022. (Photo by Lisa Phu/Alaska Beacon)

Alaska’s schools have among the highest rates of chronic absenteeism

In 2022, only one state, Arizona, had more chronically absent students than Alaska, where more than 45% of students missed enough school to be academically… Continue reading

An empty classroom at Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé on July 20, 2022. (Photo by Lisa Phu/Alaska Beacon)
A plow clears snow from city streets on Sunday. (City and Borough of Juneau photo)

Remote learning day as local schools ‘closed’ Monday due to snowstorm; city and state offices also closed

District announces first “winter” remote classes to prevent excessive cancellations due to weather

A plow clears snow from city streets on Sunday. (City and Borough of Juneau photo)
The Thunder Mountain High School Falcons boys basketball team are shown with their championship trophy after winning the Wolverine Classic Tournament at South Anchorage High School on Saturday. (Photo courtesy TMHS)

Falcons boys top Eagle River for Wolverine Classic championship at South Anchorage

The Thunder Mountain High School boys basketball team defeated the Eagle River Wolves 61-57 to win the championship game of South Anchorage High School’s Wolverine… Continue reading

The Thunder Mountain High School Falcons boys basketball team are shown with their championship trophy after winning the Wolverine Classic Tournament at South Anchorage High School on Saturday. (Photo courtesy TMHS)
Juneau School District Superintendent Frank Hauser (left) and members of the Juneau Board of Education discuss the district’s financial crisis during a public meeting Thursday night at Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé. (Screenshot from Juneau School District livestream)

School district’s former financial officer increasingly blamed for deficit as angry parents ask who’s responsible

“We were appallingly poorly informed about our budget projections,” school board president says.

Juneau School District Superintendent Frank Hauser (left) and members of the Juneau Board of Education discuss the district’s financial crisis during a public meeting Thursday night at Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé. (Screenshot from Juneau School District livestream)
Another winter storm is expected to dump up to 15 inches of snow on Juneau by Monday night. (National Weather Service Juneau)

Another storm arriving Sunday night expected to dump up to 15 more inches of snow on Juneau

However, rain forecast immediately afterward until next weekend, when it may snow again.

Another winter storm is expected to dump up to 15 inches of snow on Juneau by Monday night. (National Weather Service Juneau)
Thunder Mountain High School senior Thomas Baxter and South Anchorage High School senior Larenz Miller were selected Players of the Game after their contest on Friday during the Wolverine Classic Basketball Tournament at SAHS. (Photo courtesy South Anchorage High School)

Falcons boys top South, earn championship game tonight in Anchorage basketball tournament

Player of the Game selection Thomas Baxter scored 22 points to lead the Thunder Mountain High School Falcons boys basketball team to a 60-54 semifinal… Continue reading

Thunder Mountain High School senior Thomas Baxter and South Anchorage High School senior Larenz Miller were selected Players of the Game after their contest on Friday during the Wolverine Classic Basketball Tournament at SAHS. (Photo courtesy South Anchorage High School)