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  • Washington state man charged in 2023 drug overdose deaths in Skagway

    Anchorage Daily News|Jun 12, 2024

    A 32-year-old Washington state man was arrested last week on manslaughter charges linked to the overdose deaths last year of two Skagway residents. Authorities say Jacob D. Cotton, 33, shipped fentanyl to one of the two men who died by overdose in Skagway in January 2023, according to a probable cause statement filed with the criminal charges on June 3. The other man overdosed the next day, the statement said. Skagway police arrested Cotton at the Juneau airport on June 3. According to the Skagway Police Department, Cotton provided fentanyl to...

  • Alaska Airlines plans $60 million in terminal, cargo improvements statewide

    Anchorage Daily News and Wrangell Sentinel|May 22, 2024

    Alaska Airlines has launched a $60 million plan to improve its terminals and other facilities around the state over the next few years. The airline is also expanding its cargo capacity to serve Alaska, company officials said May 16. The projects include upgrades and potential expansions at some of the 13 terminals owned by the airline, in some cases for the first time in decades, Marilyn Romano, the airline’s vice president of the Alaska region, said. “We’ll be taking a hard look at each one,” she said. “The details have not been finalized...

  • State House approves budget with one-time boost in school funding

    Anchorage Daily News and Wrangell Sentinel|Apr 17, 2024

    The Alaska House has sent to the Senate a state operating budget for the fiscal year that starts July 1 with an almost $2,300 Permanent Fund dividend that would be the single largest expenditure in the spending plan. The budget also includes $175 million in additional one-time school funding, raising the total state contribution to school district operating expenses to just over half of what House members voted to spend on this fall’s dividend. The boost in state aid for the 2024-2025 school year, if approved by the Senate and signed into l...

  • PFD set at $1,312; direct deposit Oct. 5

    Anchorage Daily News|Sep 27, 2023

    The 2023 Permanent Fund dividend will be $1,312. Disbursement of the annual payments to Alaskans will begin Oct. 5 and continue over the following weeks, the Department of Revenue said Sept. 21. Applicants who filed electronically and selected direct deposit to their checking or savings account should see the funds in their accounts on Oct. 5. The department will mail paper checks later in October to applicants who did not ask for direct deposit — the same for Alaskans who filed their application by paper instead of online. The dividend this y...

  • Biden will visit Anchorage military base on 9/11 anniversary

    Anchorage Daily News|Sep 6, 2023

    President Joe Biden will visit Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Anchorage on Sept. 11. Biden will participate in a ceremony at the base with members of the military, first responders and families, commemorating those who died in the 2001 terrorist attacks. He is scheduled to travel to India from Sept. 7-10 to attend a summit with other world leaders, followed by a stop in Vietnam, and will stop in Anchorage on his way back to Washington, D.C. Biden landed in Anchorage in May for a brief refueling stop en route to the G-7 Summit in Japan but...

  • Legislature sets Don Young Day to honor late congressman

    Anchorage Daily News|May 24, 2023

    The Alaska Legislature passed a bill May 16 to establish June 9 as Don Young Day, commemorating Alaska’s late congressman, who died in March 2022 after 49 years of service in the U.S. House of Representatives. Young, a Republican known for his gruff manner and bipartisanship, was 88 when he died. He was the longest-serving Republican in the history of the U.S. House. His contributions to Alaska have already been marked in numerous ways, including naming a volcano in the Aleutian chain and a federal office building in Fairbanks after him. Y...

  • ConocoPhillips gets federal go-ahead for North Slope oil project

    Associated Press and Anchorage Daily News|Mar 15, 2023

    The Biden administration on Monday approved an $8 billion oil development on Alaska’s North Slope. ConocoPhillips’ Willow prospect in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska is expected to be one of the largest oil fields developed in the state in decades and could produce oil for 30 years. The administration’s decision is not likely to end the debate, however, with litigation expected from environmental groups. Depending on litigation, first oil could flow before the end of the decade. Peak production, estimated at 180,000 barrels of oil a day...

  • Governor bans TikTok on state-owned computers and smartphones

    Anchorage Daily News|Jan 11, 2023

    Gov. Mike Dunleavy issued a memorandum last Friday prohibiting the use of social media platform TikTok on state-owned devices. In doing so, Alaska follows in the footsteps of more than a dozen other states. Several predominantly Republican-led states have banned the Chinese-owned social media platform on publicly owned computers, tablets and smartphones, citing national security concerns. Former President Donald Trump first attempted, unsuccessfully, to ban TikTok in 2020. Several states began banning the use of the app on state-owned devices...

  • State elections director retires; boss says misinformation takes toll on workers

    Anchorage Daily News|Dec 14, 2022

    Alaska’s top elections administrator left her job and retired last week, after overseeing the state’s first ranked-choice elections. Division of Elections Director Gail Fenumiai, 60, has held the job since 2019, when she was appointed by former Lt. Gov. Kevin Meyer. She previously served as the state’s elections director between 2008 and 2015, and is a 20-year veteran of administering Alaska’s elections. Meyer, who announced his retirement from politics late last year and was replaced by Lt. Gov. Nancy Dahlstrom on Dec. 5, attributed Fenumia...

  • Pierce's running mate drops out, endorses Dunleavy

    Anchorage Daily News|Nov 2, 2022

    Republican lieutenant governor candidate Edie Grunwald is withdrawing from the Nov. 8 election after her running mate, former Kenai Peninsula Borough Mayor Charlie Pierce, was sued over allegations he sexually harassed a former borough employee. Grunwald encouraged Alaskans to vote for fellow Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy. She said "recent circumstances" surrounding Pierce had led her to make the decision to step aside. "I support and advocate for the respectful treatment of women in politics, t...

  • Alaska's senators want to rename Aleutians volcano for Don Young

    Anchorage Daily News|Oct 5, 2022

    WASHINGTON — Alaska’s U.S. senators want to rename an active volcano in the Aleutian Islands after the late U.S. Rep. Don Young. The longtime congressman’s former peers, Republican U.S. Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan, say Young is a fitting namesake for a volcano. The one they hope to rename Mount Young is currently called Mount Cerberus. “My goal is that we not only pay tribute to a great man who did so much for our state, but that it ensures that what he has done for Alaskans is not forgotten,” Murkowski said in a statement. “Don Youn...

  • Typhoon leaves behind extensive flooding in Western Alaska

    Anchorage Daily News|Sep 21, 2022

    The remnants of a massive Pacific typhoon that battered a thousand-mile stretch of Western Alaska dissipated Sunday morning, with floodwaters dropping and communities assessing damage from one of the worst storms on record. The storm left a trail of wreckage across coastal Alaska, with flooding, telecommunications outages and damage to buildings and infrastructure including roads, docks, seawalls and village runways. As of Monday morning, there were no reports of deaths, serious injuries or people missing, said National Weather Service...

  • Winner of U.S. House election will be announced Wednesday

    Anchorage Daily News and Sentinel staff|Aug 31, 2022

    Whether Alaskans and the other 434 members of the U.S. House will be addressing Rep. Sarah Palin or Rep. Mary Peltola likely will be announced late Wednesday. State elections officials plan to announce that day the final vote tally and election winner under Alaska’s new ranked-choice voting system — it’s the deadline for any absentee ballots from overseas to arrive and be added to the count. In-person voting for the election was held Aug. 16. With a near-final ballot count released last Friday evening, more than 190,000 votes had been cast...

  • Anchorage, Fairbanks school districts short of bus drivers

    Anchorage Daily News and Sentinel staff|Aug 10, 2022

    Students return to school soon, and Alaska’s larger districts are facing a shortage of school bus drivers. The Anchorage School District was short 75 bus drivers less than two weeks before classes begin on Aug. 18. The shortage could lead to some bus routes being suspended, the superintendent said. The Fairbanks North Star Borough School District contractor was short bus drivers last month to cover 115 routes, and as of last week was advertising: “We need bus drivers and attendants!” The district last week announced reduced service when class...

  • Early voting opens Aug. 1 for special and primary elections

    Wrangell Sentinel and Anchorage Daily News|Jul 20, 2022

    Early voting will open Aug. 1 for the Aug. 16 special election to fill the unexpired term of the late U.S. Rep. Don Young and the primary election, also Aug. 16, for governor, Legislature, U.S. Senate, and to select the top candidates for a full two-year term in the U.S. House. Voters may cast their ballots between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. weekdays through Aug. 15 at City Hall assembly chambers, said Sarah Merritt, state elections worker in Wrangell. “You never have to give a reason” to vote early, Merritt said. Voters can choose to vote early if the...

  • Wrangell has recorded 20% of COVID cases in past 3 months

    Wrangell Sentinel and Anchorage Daily News|Jul 13, 2022

    Of Wrangell’s 667 COVID-19 cases reported to state health authorities since the count started in March 2020, almost 20% — 128 infections — have been recorded in just the past three months. That is double the statewide average, which shows about 10% of pandemic cases have been reported in the past three months. New variants of the coronavirus are pushing up infection rates across the United States as the nation works through its third year of the pandemic. Alaska’s seven-day case rate per 100,000 people was second highest in the nation as of l...

  • Director of state Democrats arrested for driving under the influence

    Anchorage Daily News|Jul 13, 2022

    The executive director of the Alaska Democratic Party was arrested for driving under the influence early July 2 near Soldotna, according to law enforcement. Lindsay Kavanaugh, 42, faces three misdemeanor charges for driving under the influence of a controlled substance, refusing to undergo a breath test, and unplugging trooper equipment following her arrest. Kavanaugh has served as the executive director of the Alaska Democratic Party since 2019. Prior to that, she worked as a senior adviser to U.S. Sen. Mark Begich. “I am disappointed that m...

  • Fireworks kill 19-year-old in Gustavus

    Anchorage Daily News|Jul 13, 2022

    A 19-year-old from Wyoming died in Gustavus when he was struck by fireworks he had lit, according to Alaska State Troopers. Benjamin Jorgensen of Green River, Wyoming, was reported dead late July 4 to the Gustavus Fire Department, troopers said. Jorgensen lit a commercially produced mortar-style projectile that struck him, killing him instantly, trooper spokesman Austin McDaniel said. Troopers were notified of the death at 11:36 p.m., and National Park Service rangers from Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve responded around 1 a.m. July 5....

  • Alaska's unemployment rate continues downward trend, stressing employers

    Anchorage Daily News|Jun 15, 2022

    Alaska’s unemployment rate reached its lowest level ever for April, two years after it hit a record high during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. The state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dipped to 4.9% in April — the latest data available from the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development. In April 2020, the unemployment rate shot to an unprecedented 11.9% a month after the pandemic was declared, levels that exceeded even the mid-1980s downturn in the state, according to Labor Department data dating back to 1976. Toda...

  • Dunleavy selects Corrections commissioner as his running mate

    Associated Press and Anchorage Daily News|May 25, 2022

    Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy announced Monday that Nancy Dahlstrom will be his running mate as he seeks reelection this year. Dahlstrom, a former state legislator from Eagle River who has led the state Department of Corrections under Dunleavy, submitted her resignation as Corrections commissioner on Sunday, according to a statement from Dunleavy’s office. The campaign announcement came just over a week before the June 1 filing deadline for the August primary. Candidates for governor and lieutenant governor run as a team under a new e...

  • Searchers find body of man who swam near cruise ship

    Anchorage Daily News|May 25, 2022

    The body of a man who had gone missing for a day after swimming near a docked cruise ship in Skagway was found in the water Saturday, according to Alaska State Troopers. The man, whom troopers identified as William Anthony Rodriguez, 32, from Miami, had last been seen in the water near the cruise ship dock around 2:10 p.m. Friday, troopers said in an online report. According to troopers, Rodriguez had jumped into the water, swam to the nearby shore and stayed there a few minutes, then swam in front of the bow of the docked cruise ship. “The ind...

  • Democrat files to run for Murkowski's Senate seat

    Anchorage Daily News and Alaska Beacon|May 18, 2022

    A retired Matanuska-Susitna Borough teacher has filed to run as a Democrat for U.S. Senate in Alaska. Pat Chesbro filed candidacy paperwork with the state Division of Elections on May 11. She would join a crowded field of 16 candidates in the Aug. 16 primary that includes the incumbent, Republican Lisa Murkowski, and Kelly Tshibaka, a Republican endorsed by former President Donald Trump. Murkowski has had a huge cash advantage in the race so far. The filing deadline is June 1. Chesbro’s campaign said she spent a career in education and is on th...

  • House Republicans boot controversial member from their caucus

    Associated Press and Anchorage Daily News|May 4, 2022

    Alaska House Republicans have removed Rep. David Eastman from their caucus, citing tensions with the controversial Wasilla Republican that have built up over time. The decision comes with less than three weeks left in the legislative session that began in January. “I think it’ll help us be more productive as a caucus. Just sometimes, his demeanor gets in the way of trying to be productive,” Anchorage Republican Laddie Shaw said in an interview with the Anchorage Daily News. “They finally said, ‘Enough’s enough,’” said Shaw, noting that freshman...

  • State Senate could vote on new dividend formula

    Wrangell Sentinel and Anchorage Daily News|Apr 27, 2022

    The Alaska Senate could vote this week on a new formula to calculate the annual Permanent Fund dividend, though proposed amendments and lengthy debate are expected and passage of the bill is uncertain. The bill that passed the Senate Finance Committee last Thursday would set this fall’s dividend at about $2,600 per person, putting the same cash in Alaskans’ pockets as the House plan to pay out half that amount as a dividend and half as a one-time energy relief check to help Alaskans paying the price of higher heating fuel, gasoline and diesel b...

  • Alaska two senators split on Supreme Court confirmation

    Associated Press and Anchorage Daily News|Apr 13, 2022

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate confirmed Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court last Thursday, shattering a historic barrier by securing her place as the first Black female justice. Cheers rang out in the Senate chamber as Jackson, a 51-year-old appeals court judge with nine years experience on the federal bench, was confirmed 53-47, mostly along party lines but with three Republican votes. Alaska’s two Republican senators split on the issue. Sen. Lisa Murkowski was one of only three Republicans to vote in favor of confirming Jackson. Oth...

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