Articles written by Mark Sabbatini

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 By Mark Sabbatini    News    May 8, 2024

Tlingit Haida plans education, cultural campuses in Juneau

Plans to build a 12-acre tribal education campus and a 457-acre cultural immersion park in Juneau were unveiled at the 89th annual tribal assembly of the Central Council of the Tlingit and Haida India...

 
 By Mark Sabbatini    News    May 8, 2024

Tlingit Haida assembly accepts Portland as new tribal community

Declaring the crisis with fentanyl and other deadly drugs its highest priority and accepting Portland as a new tribal community were among the highlights at the Central Council of the Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska’s 89th annual tribal a...

 
 By Mark Sabbatini    News    May 1, 2024

Ferry system cuts back Lower 48 advertising due to poor fleet reliability

Problems with the Alaska Marine Highway System’s operations and aging fleet are so acute that marketing efforts to potential visitors outside Alaska are being intentionally scaled back, Marine Director Craig Tornga said during an online open house o...

 

Juneau plans consolidation into one high school to save money

Facing a multimillion-dollar budget hole, the Juneau school board has approved a plan to consolidate the district’s two high schools into one, close its two middle schools, close an elementary school and rearrange where sixth, seventh and eighth g...

 

SEARHC raises minimum wage to $25 an hour for its employees

A minimum wage of $25 an hour for direct-hire employees is being implemented by the SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium, the Native-run health care organization announced Feb. 7. The change applies to about 85% of SEARHC’s total workforce a...

 

Juneau schools could take out a loan to cover budget deficit

The Juneau school board has approved a series of immediate cost-cutting measures including a hiring freeze, plus exploring the longer-term option of a loan to help deal with an unexpected $9.5 million budget deficit. Members at the Jan. 16 meeting...

 

Sealaska dividend lowest since 2018; Mallott resigns as CEO

Sealaska Corp.’s annual shareholder dividend declined this year for the first time since at least 2014. The payment of $5.85 per share is a drop from $7.67 last year and the lowest payout since $5.40 a share in 2018, according to a statement r...

 

Landmark Lingit-language children's book published

The title translates to "orphan" in English, but people celebrating the release of the Lingít-language children's book "Kuhaantí" emphasized the project is very much a multigenerational family e...

 

State challenges federal roadless rule for Tongass

A legal challenge by the state to the Biden administration’s reinstatement of the roadless rule, banning logging and road building on more than nine million acres in the Tongass National Forest, was filed Friday, Sept. 8, in federal court. The c...

 
 By Mark Sabbatini    News    August 9, 2023

Flooding takes out homes and damages others along Juneau's Mendenhall River

Amanda Arra saw about 50 feet of her Juneau backyard consumed by the Mendenhall River in just a few hours as the waters rose to a record flood level Saturday afternoon, Aug. 5. By evening, as a...

 
 By Mark Sabbatini    News    August 2, 2023

Governor vetoes bill that would have provided clarity for e-bike rules

Gov. Mike Dunleavy has vetoed a bill defining electric-assisted bicycles the same as regular bicycles — which passed the Legislature by a combined vote of 57-2 — because “it creates unnecessary bureaucracy by regulating recreational activ...

 
 By Mark Sabbatini    News    July 12, 2023

Inflation rate in Alaska down to lowest since February 2021

Inflation in Alaska is dropping sharply this year after hitting a 41-year high in 2022, but it still remains unstable overall and uneven in some categories such as housing, according to a report published July 5 by the Alaska Department of Labor. The...

 
 By Mark Sabbatini    News    July 5, 2023

Belated christening for state ferry Hubbard, five years after launch

Nearly a decade after construction started and a month after it was put into service, the 280-foot-long Hubbard was officially christened as the newest ferry in the Alaska Marine Highway System’s fleet on June 26 in Juneau. The Hubbard — first env...

 
 By Mark Sabbatini    News    June 21, 2023

Tlingit artist semi-finalist in state license plate design contest

After launching salmon people into the skies, Crystal Kaakeeyáa Rose Demientieff Worl is hoping to fill Alaska's roads with whale tails. Worl, a Juneau artist who earned national fame for her...

 
 By Mark Sabbatini    News    June 14, 2023

Engine fire knocks small tour boat out of service

An engine room fire on a small cruise ship in Glacier Bay on June 5 resulted in nearly 70 passengers and crew being transferred to a much larger cruise ship nearby, according to the U.S. Coast Guard and the disabled boat’s owner. No significant i...

 
 By Mark Sabbatini    News    April 5, 2023

State says it will be June before backlog of food stamp applications is cleared

The governor last Friday signed an emergency funding bill to help resolve the crisis-level backlog of food stamp applications from needy Alaskans. The Legislature had approved the measure days earlier. The budget bill includes $3.1 million for...

 
 By Mark Sabbatini    News    April 5, 2023

Legislator proposes state sales tax and cutting corporate taxes

Cutting taxes for businesses while also imposing a 2% sales tax on Alaskans got side-by-side consideration last week as part of one legislator’s concept of a fiscal plan. Legislators have been discussing various forms of a long-term fiscal plan f...

 
 By Mark Sabbatini    News    March 22, 2023

House committee holds first hearing on governor's parental-rights bill

The first legislative hearing on Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s proposal to restrict discussion of sex and gender in schools included testimony from only two invited public guests, both supportive of the measure. The bill, which Senate leaders say is u...

 
 By Mark Sabbatini    News    March 8, 2023

State wants to take over wetlands permitting from federal government

State regulators say that taking over what are known as Clean Water Act Section 404 permits will allow more flexibility to benefit businesses and the environment in “Alaska’s unique conditions.” Most construction, resource and community development p...

 

State Senate proposes sizable boost in public school funding

A proposal to boost state funding for public schools by about 17%, increasing the current $5,960 per-student formula by $1,000, was unveiled Feb. 1 by state Senate leaders as the “beginning of the beginning” of a long debate about the future of edu...

 

State director leaves job amid backlog of unanswered food stamp applications

A monthslong backlog in processing food stamps applications is now the responsibility of a new director. Shawnda O’Brien, who had served as director of Alaska’s Division of Public Assistance, departed with no explanation or indication of moving on to...

 

State forecasts continued jobs recovery in Southeast this year

Southeast Alaska saw a “stronger than expected” 6.5% increase in jobs in 2022 compared to the previous year, due to ongoing recovery from being one of the state’s hardest-hit regions during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Alaska Department of La...

 
 By Mark Sabbatini    News    January 4, 2023

State says it will take months to clear backlogged food stamp applications

A months-long backlog of food stamp applications has denied aid to thousands of Alaskans. And although the state plans to add additional employees during the next few weeks to process the applications, the director of the statewide program said Dec....

 

Congress directs Coast Guard to buy used icebreaker until new ones are built

Federal legislation sent to the president for his signature directs the U.S. Coast Guard to spend $150 million to purchase a used, privately owned ice-breaking vessel to help cover operational needs until a fleet of new Coast Guard icebreakers can...

 

BIA accepts Juneau parcel to hold in trust for Tlingit and Haida

A tiny parking lot on a little-traveled downtown side street is now a landmark achievement for Alaska Natives in Juneau, with the federal government approving a “land-into-trust” application last Thursday that paves the way for a range of sel...

 

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