This November 2021 photo shows a poster promoting Narcan, a drug that can reverse opioid overdoses, inside the Juneau Public Health Center. According to statistics shared recently by the state, overdose deaths have been on the rise recently. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire File)

Alaska by the somber and strange numbers

Annual stats report shows life expectancy dropping, COVID, drug deaths up.

This November 2021 photo shows a poster promoting Narcan, a drug that can reverse opioid overdoses, inside the Juneau Public Health Center. According to statistics shared recently by the state, overdose deaths have been on the rise recently. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire File)
Aaron Prussian, a natural resource specialist for the Sitka Ranger District, goes skiing in Tongass National Forest. Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy is proposing to leave large portions of the state’s forests intact from timber harvesting and other industrial activity in exchange for carbon credits to help balance the state’s budget. Such restrictions would not make forests off-limits to recreational use. (Will Sirokman / U.S. Forest Service)

What is ‘monetizing carbon credits’? And how would it work?

How the governor is making a “$900 million a year or bust” bet on Alaska’s financial future

Aaron Prussian, a natural resource specialist for the Sitka Ranger District, goes skiing in Tongass National Forest. Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy is proposing to leave large portions of the state’s forests intact from timber harvesting and other industrial activity in exchange for carbon credits to help balance the state’s budget. Such restrictions would not make forests off-limits to recreational use. (Will Sirokman / U.S. Forest Service)
While nearly $8 million for state disability access projects are proposed on paper for Juneau in Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s budget for next year, in reality those funds are for statewide items administered through a local office. It is among a number of regional budget items where, to the naked eye, money isn’t necessarily going where it first appears. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

Mixed feelings on local items in state budget

Flat funding of ferries, education not a big hit, but governor’s appaent willingness to negotiate is.

While nearly $8 million for state disability access projects are proposed on paper for Juneau in Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s budget for next year, in reality those funds are for statewide items administered through a local office. It is among a number of regional budget items where, to the naked eye, money isn’t necessarily going where it first appears. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire 
Gov. Mike Dunleavy discusses his proposed budget for the 2024 fiscal year during a press conference Thursday at the Alaska State Capitol. He said it features no major increases or reductions compared to the current year’s budget, incurs about a $265 million deficit covered with reserve funds, and includes a “full PFD” projected to be about $3,800

Governor’s budget calls for no major cuts, no major adds and a big new revenue plan

Governor says no major increases or cuts, “full PFD”; bets long-term stability on carbon credits

Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire 
Gov. Mike Dunleavy discusses his proposed budget for the 2024 fiscal year during a press conference Thursday at the Alaska State Capitol. He said it features no major increases or reductions compared to the current year’s budget, incurs about a $265 million deficit covered with reserve funds, and includes a “full PFD” projected to be about $3,800
FILE - Alaska state Rep. David Eastman, R-Wasilla, sits in the House on April 29, 2022, in Juneau, Alaska. Eastman, accused of violating the state constitution's disloyalty clause over his lifetime membership in Oath Keepers, has not condemned the organization in the wake of the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection at the U.S Capitol. "No, I generally don't condemn groups," Eastman, a Wasilla Republican, said during his bench hearing on Thursday, Dec. 15, 2022, his second day on the witness stand. (AP Photo / Becky Bohrer)

Alaska lawmaker won’t condemn Oath Keepers in Capitol riot

“No, I generally don’t condemn groups.”

FILE - Alaska state Rep. David Eastman, R-Wasilla, sits in the House on April 29, 2022, in Juneau, Alaska. Eastman, accused of violating the state constitution's disloyalty clause over his lifetime membership in Oath Keepers, has not condemned the organization in the wake of the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection at the U.S Capitol. "No, I generally don't condemn groups," Eastman, a Wasilla Republican, said during his bench hearing on Thursday, Dec. 15, 2022, his second day on the witness stand. (AP Photo / Becky Bohrer)
This photo shows the TikTok icon on a phone screen. University of Alaska and travel industry officials recently joined forces to attract potential students to employment and learning opportunities in Alaska through the popular app. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

New kids on the Tok

University uses popular app to reach new students as states move to ban it from government devices.

This photo shows the TikTok icon on a phone screen. University of Alaska and travel industry officials recently joined forces to attract potential students to employment and learning opportunities in Alaska through the popular app. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)
Courtesy Photo / JR Ancheta, UAF 
Matthew Wooller kneels in the mammoth tusk collection at the University of Alaska Museum of the North in 2021. Wooller is leading the museum’s Adopt a Mammoth program, which will date and identify specimens at the museum.

UAF partners with Alaska students for a mammoth of a project

“De-extinction” company adopts fossils for Alaska school districts.

Courtesy Photo / JR Ancheta, UAF 
Matthew Wooller kneels in the mammoth tusk collection at the University of Alaska Museum of the North in 2021. Wooller is leading the museum’s Adopt a Mammoth program, which will date and identify specimens at the museum.
The Aiviq icebreaker, seen here towing a mobile drilling rig about 100 miles southwest of Kodiak, is the privately owned vessel likely to be purchased with a $150 million allocation in the 2023 National Defense Authorization Act. Juneau is the preferred home port for the icebreaker, which would be the only such ship stationed in Alaska and would result in about an additional 190 personnel in the city. (U.S. Coast Guard)

Juneau-based icebreaker in final NDAA bill, Sullivan says

Purchase of private ship, which may bring 600 people to Juneau, gets warm support from local leaders

The Aiviq icebreaker, seen here towing a mobile drilling rig about 100 miles southwest of Kodiak, is the privately owned vessel likely to be purchased with a $150 million allocation in the 2023 National Defense Authorization Act. Juneau is the preferred home port for the icebreaker, which would be the only such ship stationed in Alaska and would result in about an additional 190 personnel in the city. (U.S. Coast Guard)
Gov. Mike Dunleavy greets visitors to the annual holiday open house at the governor’s mansion on Tuesday. Hundreds of people indulged in cookies and music by local students during the three-hour event. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

Cookies, carols and quizzes for Christmas

How the governor’s holiday favorites compare to his constituents visiting his annual open house.

Gov. Mike Dunleavy greets visitors to the annual holiday open house at the governor’s mansion on Tuesday. Hundreds of people indulged in cookies and music by local students during the three-hour event. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Alaska Republican state Rep. David Eastman speaks on the floor of the Alaska House on Jan. 31, 2022, in Juneau, Alaska. A lawyer said in opening arguments Tuesday, Dec. 13 in a case against Eastman that the Alaska lawmaker is unfit to hold office because he's a member of the far-right Oath Keepers, a group that has either advocated or engaged in concrete action to overthrow the U.S. government. (AP Photo/Becky Bohrer, File)

Trial starts: Alaska lawmaker with Oath Keepers ties

Trial before will determine whether state rep will be seated in the Legislature next month.

Alaska Republican state Rep. David Eastman speaks on the floor of the Alaska House on Jan. 31, 2022, in Juneau, Alaska. A lawyer said in opening arguments Tuesday, Dec. 13 in a case against Eastman that the Alaska lawmaker is unfit to hold office because he's a member of the far-right Oath Keepers, a group that has either advocated or engaged in concrete action to overthrow the U.S. government. (AP Photo/Becky Bohrer, File)
Gov. Mike Dunleavy answers media questions about his proposed budget for next year and the upcoming legislative session shortly before the annual holiday open house at the governor’s mansion on Tuesday. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

Dunleavy offers holiday sneak peek of budget, agenda

Governor to seek new revenue in budget, abortion amendment, favors motorized Mendenhall access.

Gov. Mike Dunleavy answers media questions about his proposed budget for next year and the upcoming legislative session shortly before the annual holiday open house at the governor’s mansion on Tuesday. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
In this Thursday, Jan. 7, 2016 file photo, dead common murres lie washed up on a rocky beach in Whittier, Alaska. Arctic seabirds unable to find enough food in warmer ocean waters are just one sign of the vast changes in the polar region, where the climate is being transformed faster than anywhere else on Earth. An annual report, to be released Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2022 by U.S. scientists, also documents rising Arctic temperatures and disappearing sea ice. (AP Photo / Mark Thiessen File)

Starving seabirds on Alaska coast show climate change peril

The seabirds are struggling because of climate-linked ecosystem shifts…

In this Thursday, Jan. 7, 2016 file photo, dead common murres lie washed up on a rocky beach in Whittier, Alaska. Arctic seabirds unable to find enough food in warmer ocean waters are just one sign of the vast changes in the polar region, where the climate is being transformed faster than anywhere else on Earth. An annual report, to be released Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2022 by U.S. scientists, also documents rising Arctic temperatures and disappearing sea ice. (AP Photo / Mark Thiessen File)
“I Voted” stickers await Alaskan voters during in-person voting at Mendenhall Mall. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire File)

Congressional winners raise, spend and save big bucks

Murkowski and Peltola have plenty of funds left over after heavy spending sprees to end elections

“I Voted” stickers await Alaskan voters during in-person voting at Mendenhall Mall. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire File)
Santa and Mrs. Claus chat with the flight crew of an Alaska National Guard cargo plane while en route to Nuiqsut, Alaska, on Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2022. Operation Santa Claus, the guard’s outreach program, attempts to bring Santa and Mrs. Claus and gifts to children in two or three Alaska Native villages each year. (AP Photo / Mark Thiessen)

Santa visit brings joy to a frosty Alaska Inupiat village

Once again, it was time for Operation Santa Claus in Alaska.

Santa and Mrs. Claus chat with the flight crew of an Alaska National Guard cargo plane while en route to Nuiqsut, Alaska, on Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2022. Operation Santa Claus, the guard’s outreach program, attempts to bring Santa and Mrs. Claus and gifts to children in two or three Alaska Native villages each year. (AP Photo / Mark Thiessen)
Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire 
A gas pump at Petro One gas station off Egan Drive shows prices on Friday that, at about $4.90 a gallon for regular unleaded, are lower than peaks earlier this year but still far above the national average. The price of Alaska North Slope crude oil dropped to $74.22 a barrel on Wednesday, far below the $87 the state needs to average to break even for the fiscal year, however, consumers have cause for good cheer as nationwide gas prices are now cheaper than a year ago, dropping about one-third from their $5 a gallon average.

Oil hits lowest price of ’22 a week before state budget is due

$74.22 a barrel far below $87 break-even price for FY23; governor mum on how drop may affect FY24

Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire 
A gas pump at Petro One gas station off Egan Drive shows prices on Friday that, at about $4.90 a gallon for regular unleaded, are lower than peaks earlier this year but still far above the national average. The price of Alaska North Slope crude oil dropped to $74.22 a barrel on Wednesday, far below the $87 the state needs to average to break even for the fiscal year, however, consumers have cause for good cheer as nationwide gas prices are now cheaper than a year ago, dropping about one-third from their $5 a gallon average.
Alaska Republican state Rep. David Eastman, standing, speaks on the House floor on Friday, Feb. 4, 2022, in Juneau.  (AP Photo / Becky Bohrer)

Case against state lawmaker with Oath Keepers ties moves to trial

Trial is slated to begin Monday.

Alaska Republican state Rep. David Eastman, standing, speaks on the House floor on Friday, Feb. 4, 2022, in Juneau.  (AP Photo / Becky Bohrer)
Gail Fenumiai talks about some of Alaska’s most unusual elections on Friday, her last day as director of the state Division of Elections in Juneau after a 20-year career with the division. Behind her are congratulatory and farewell plates covering the walls, while her floor was strewn with a “balloon drop” from well-wishers before she arrived. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

Elections director makes a final call

Gail Fenumiai retires and gets her own balloon drop after 20-year career at division

Gail Fenumiai talks about some of Alaska’s most unusual elections on Friday, her last day as director of the state Division of Elections in Juneau after a 20-year career with the division. Behind her are congratulatory and farewell plates covering the walls, while her floor was strewn with a “balloon drop” from well-wishers before she arrived. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Then-Senate President Cathy Giessel, R-Anchorage, sits in her office at the State Capitol in February 2020. After a recount, Giessel has been reaffirmed as the winner of a narrow three-way race for an Anchorage-area Senate seat.  (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire File)

Recount reaffirms former senate president as winner of Anchorage-area race

Cathy Giessel won her bid for a state Senate seat.

Then-Senate President Cathy Giessel, R-Anchorage, sits in her office at the State Capitol in February 2020. After a recount, Giessel has been reaffirmed as the winner of a narrow three-way race for an Anchorage-area Senate seat.  (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire File)
A state court judge is weighing whether to allow a case to proceed to trial that alleges that Rep. David Eastman's ties to the far-right Oath Keepers group disqualifies him from holding office. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire File)

Judge weighs how to proceed on case against Eastman

He said he would aim to issue a ruling by Friday.

A state court judge is weighing whether to allow a case to proceed to trial that alleges that Rep. David Eastman's ties to the far-right Oath Keepers group disqualifies him from holding office. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire File)
In this screenshot from official Senate video, U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan, an Alaska Republican, discusses oil and gas policy during an Armed Services Committee meeting at the U.S. Capitol in May. (Screenshot)

Georgia’s Senate loss unlikely to be Alaska’s

Despite, 51-49 Dem majority, Murkowski and Sullivan likely to keep seats.

In this screenshot from official Senate video, U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan, an Alaska Republican, discusses oil and gas policy during an Armed Services Committee meeting at the U.S. Capitol in May. (Screenshot)