Articles written by Lisa Phu

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 By Lisa Phu    News    February 8, 2023

Lawsuit challenges use of state funds at private or religious schools

The question is resurfacing, but this time in a lawsuit: Can families enrolled in a state-funded correspondence program use their allotment to pay for private school classes? Last June, the Alaska Department of Education didn’t know the answer, so... Full story

 By Lisa Phu    News    January 25, 2023

State sued over monthslong delays in issuing food stamps

Ten Alaskans are suing the state, saying it failed to provide food stamps within the time frames required by federal law. The complaint, filed Jan. 20 in Superior Court in Anchorage, said the state had failed to provide needed services and “has sub... 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

 By Lisa Phu    News    October 12, 2022

State reports 15th death this year of person in prison custody

Prison reform advocates are calling on Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s administration to order an independent review of the state Department of Corrections. The department recently reported its 15th death this year of a person in custody death. William...

 By Lisa Phu    News    October 5, 2022

Ketchikan assembly member Bynum challenges 4-term incumbent Ortiz for state House

A Republican Ketchikan Gateway Borough assembly member is challenging the four-term incumbent to represent Ketchikan, Wrangell, Metlakatla, Coffman Cove and other communities of southern Southeast...

 By Lisa Phu    News    September 14, 2022

Dunleavy vetoes bill to impose tax on electronic smoking products

Gov. Mike Dunleavy last Friday vetoed a bill that would have raised the minimum age to purchase and legally possess tobacco products from 19 to 21 years old. The bill also included a tax on electronic smoking products that contain nicotine, which is...

 By Lisa Phu    News    August 24, 2022

Murkowski outpolls Tshibaka in primary race to retain Senate seat

As election day results came in late night Aug. 16 and into early the next morning, Alaska’s senior U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s slight lead over Trump-backed Republican challenger Kelly Tshibaka widened. By the afternoon of Aug. 17, with 395 of...

 By Lisa Phu    News    August 3, 2022

State says public funds can help pay for materials, services at private schools

The Alaska Department of Law issued an opinion July 25 saying public money can be spent for homeschool students to attend one or two classes in a private school, but cannot be used for most of a student’s private school tuition. The 19-page...

 By Lisa Phu    News    July 27, 2022

Statewide teachers shortage gets worse every year

Bobby Bolen is trying to fill around 50 teaching positions at the North Slope Borough School District. “This is our focus 24 hours a day right now — to get classrooms staffed for students,” Bolen said. Bolen is the brand-new human resources dir...

 By Lisa Phu    News    July 20, 2022

New 988 mental health crisis line starts up in Alaska

Alaskans who find themselves in a mental health crisis can now call or text 988 to access a trained crisis counselor. Support is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to individuals of all ages. The three-digit number for suicide prevention...

 By Lisa Phu    News    July 13, 2022

Historian traces lineage of Chilkat weavers back to 1850s

It's called Between Worlds. And it features a diving whale. "Peering through the bones of this diving whale pattern is this ancestor with her face and hands pressed against the veil between worlds," A...

 By Lisa Phu    News    July 13, 2022

Both sides of abortion debate in Alaska look to constitutional convention vote

With last month’s U.S. Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade, reproductive rights advocates in Alaska are encouraging voters to vote no on a constitutional convention during the general election this November, while abortion opponents are...

 By Lisa Phu    News    June 15, 2022

Wrangell dancers lead the way at Celebration

Wrangell's 10-year-old Quinn Davies was "super nervous" to dance for the first time at Celebration - a biennial dance-and-culture festival of Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian cultures, held in Juneau last...

 By Lisa Phu    News    June 8, 2022

Unique 360-degree totem goes up at Sealaska Heritage in Juneau

A new totem pole in Juneau is 22 feet tall, almost 4 feet wide at the base and about 7 to 8 feet wide where Raven and Eagle are carved. You have to walk around it completely to see all of the...

 By Lisa Phu    News    June 8, 2022

State trying to decide if public education funds can go to private schools

The issue of whether public school funds can go toward private education is currently being reviewed by the Alaska Department of Law. Specifically: Can families enrolled in a state-funded correspondence program use their allotment to pay for private...

 By Lisa Phu    News    May 25, 2022

Legislature updates 40-year-old definition of consent in sexual assault

On May 18, the last day of the legislative session, the House and Senate voted unanimously to change how sexual assault can be prosecuted by modernizing the definition of consent. “Alaska took a gargantuan step forward in updating our laws,...

 By Lisa Phu    News    May 25, 2022

Legislature creates pathway to try out tribally operated schools

Legislation that creates a roadmap for establishing tribally operated public schools has passed the Alaska Senate and House and is headed to the governor’s desk. Senate Bill 34 directs the state Board of Education to work with Alaska Native tribal...


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