Wrangell Sentinel -

Articles written by James Brooks

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 By James Brooks    News    February 1, 2023

Forest Service reverses Trump-era decision, restores roadless rule to Tongass

The Biden administration will ban new logging roads and limit development on Tongass National Forest lands, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced Jan. 25. The decision, which repeals a 2020 U.S. Department of Agriculture action under the... Full story

 By James Brooks    News    February 1, 2023

Governor calls for more money to sue federal government

In his annual address to the Alaska Legislature, Gov. Mike Dunleavy identified successes from his first four-year term in office and called for action on a list of administration priorities, including more funding for a “statehood defense... Full story

 By James Brooks    News    February 1, 2023

State Supreme Court rules legislator met residency requirement to serve

The Alaska Supreme Court has upheld the disputed residency eligibility of Anchorage Rep. Jennie Armstrong to serve in the Legislature. In a decision issued Jan. 13, four days before the Legislature convened, three of the court’s justices voted 2-1... Full story

 By James Brooks    News    January 25, 2023

Governor names Sitka judge to Alaska Supreme Court

Gov. Mike Dunleavy has appointed Jude Pate of Sitka to the Alaska Supreme Court, making him the first justice to come directly from someplace other than Juneau, Anchorage or Fairbanks since 1960. Before Pate, the last justice who met those standards... Full story

 By James Brooks    News    January 18, 2023

State clears up backlog of untested sexual assault exam kits

Alaska’s backlog of untested sexual assault examination kits has all but disappeared after a five-year, multimillion-dollar effort, according to a report presented to the Alaska Legislature. The kits, also known as “rape kits,” are used to... Full story

 By James Brooks    News    January 11, 2023

Alaska House still without leadership coalition a week before session starts

As Americans watched the U.S. House struggle to elect a leader, Alaskans may soon see a similar situation develop in the state House of Representatives. “These proceedings back east, it’s a stark reminder to a lot of us that we could be going... Full story

 By James Brooks    News    January 11, 2023

Birth rate helps make up for loss of residents who left Alaska last year

Alaska’s population rose in 2022 according to new estimates released Jan. 5 by the Alaska Department of Labor, marking a second consecutive year of increases after four years of declines. The new Alaska population estimate, 736,556, is the highest... Full story

 By James Brooks    News    January 4, 2023

Judge says right to free speech protects legislator who belongs to Oath Keepers

An Anchorage Superior Court Judge has ruled that Wasilla Republican Rep. David Eastman’s membership in the Oath Keepers does not violate the Alaska Constitution’s disloyalty clause because of First Amendment protections for free speech. The... Full story

 By James Brooks    News    January 4, 2023

Legislature will pay $6.6 million to turn Juneau office building into housing

A House-Senate committee of the Alaska Legislature has approved spending $6.6 million to renovate a downtown Juneau office building into 33 apartments for legislators and staff. During a Dec. 19 vote on the proposal, lawmakers said the state-owned bu... Full story

 By James Brooks    News    January 4, 2023

State agency will spend millions more to pursue ANWR leases

Alaska’s state-owned development bank is continuing its efforts to open the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas drilling. Directors of the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority voted unanimously last... Full story

 By James Brooks    News    December 21, 2022

Governor proposes largest dividend ever but no funding increase for schools

Gov. Mike Dunleavy introduced a first-draft $7.3 billion state budget last week, meeting a legally required deadline but acknowledging that the spending plan is likely to change significantly as the administration negotiates with lawmakers in the... Full story

 By James Brooks    News    December 14, 2022

Postal delay prevents vote counting in six rural villages

Ballots from six rural Alaska villages were not fully counted in Alaska’s November elections, the Division of Elections said. A division official said the U.S. Postal Service failed to deliver them to the state election headquarters before the... Full story

 By James Brooks    News    December 7, 2022

Alaska's two senators vote to protect same-sex marriages

Alaska’s two U.S. senators joined 10 other Republicans on Nov. 29 in voting to advance legal protections for same-sex and interracial marriages. The Respect for Marriage Act, which passed the Senate in a 61-36 vote, now goes to the House, which... Full story

 By James Brooks    News    December 7, 2022

Permanent Fund holds small exposure to cryptocurrency traders

On Nov. 28, the cryptocurrency bank BlockFi filed for bankruptcy, the announcement coming less than three weeks after the financial implosion of FTX, one of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges. The collapse of free-wheeling and... Full story

 By James Brooks    News    November 30, 2022

Just two people charged with voter fraud in Alaska's 2020 election

A woman accused of voting illegally in both Alaska and Florida during the 2020 elections will face charges in a Florida court on Dec. 8, according to online court records. When Cheryl-Ann Leslie is arraigned on felony counts of casting more than one... Full story

 By James Brooks    News    November 23, 2022

Dunleavy, Murkowski, Peltola headed to victory today

All three incumbents likely clinched victory in Alaska’s statewide elections when the Alaska Division of Elections updated vote count results on Friday with thousands of additional absentee, questioned and early ballots from this fall’s general... Full story

 By James Brooks    News    November 16, 2022

Alaska attorney general listed as director of political advocacy group

Fairbanks Democratic Sen. Scott Kawasaki does not live in his mother’s basement. She doesn’t even have one. And yet, in the final days of his closely fought re-election race against Republican Jim Matherly, Kawasaki had to defend himself and answ... Full story

 By James Brooks    News    November 16, 2022

Republicans win more seats, but may not control Alaska Legislature

Republicans almost certainly will win a majority of the 60 seats in the Alaska Legislature after the Nov. 8 election results are certified later this month. But whether they will control the state House and Senate will come down to which Republicans... Full story

 By James Brooks    News    November 9, 2022

Election officials advise final vote count not until Nov. 23

Results will be slow, even in races that don’t use ranked-choice voting, Lt. Gov. Kevin Meyer and Gail Fenumiai, head of the Alaska Division of Elections, said at a press conference last week. Through Sunday, just two days before the election,... Full story

 By James Brooks    News    November 9, 2022

State sues federal government, claims ownership of land beneath Juneau's Mendenhall Lake

The state sued the federal government one week before Election Day, seeking ownership of part of Alaska’s most-visited tourist destination. Filed Nov. 1 at U.S. District Court in Anchorage, the case asks a federal judge to award ownership of the... Full story

 By James Brooks    News    November 2, 2022

Governor, Peltola request federal aid for crab industry hit by shutdown

Gov. Mike Dunleavy has requested a federal disaster declaration and U.S. Rep. Mary Peltola has requested $250 million in relief funding after the failure of this year’s Bering Sea snow crab and Bristol Bay red king crab fisheries. Last week,... Full story

 By James Brooks    News    November 2, 2022

Alaska's minimum wage will go up to $10.85 an hour in 2023

Alaska’s minimum wage will rise 51 cents, to $10.85 per hour, starting next year. The adjustment, announced last month by the Alaska Department of Labor, is intended to compensate for a 5% rise in the cost of living in Anchorage. Alaska law... Full story

 By James Brooks    News    November 2, 2022

Tshibaka continues attacks on Murkowski in final debate

In the final debate of Alaska's U.S. Senate election, incumbent Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski and her principal challenger, Republican Kelly Tshibaka, argued about contentious issues including... Full story

 By James Brooks    News    November 2, 2022

Gubernatorial candidates give their views on lack of affordable child care

The cost of preschool child care is a growing problem in Alaska, one of 33 states where the annual cost of day care exceeds the cost of college tuition. The University of Alaska Fairbanks charges $9,870 per year; the latest available estimates of... Full story


Years of flat state funding create budget stress for Alaska schools

Years of flat state funding create budget stress for schools across Alaska By James Brooks and Lisa Phu Alaska Beacon The Anchorage School District, which is considering the closure of six elementary schools amid a projected $68 million budget... Full story


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