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 By Yereth Rosen    News    January 4, 2023

Alaska teens increasingly substitute vaping for cigarettes

Alaska teens have largely ditched cigarettes over the past two decades, but they have substituted that unhealthy habit with another: vaping. About 25% of surveyed high schoolers reported using electronic cigarettes in the past 30 days, according to... Full story

 

Ketchikan police chief charged with assaulting man at restaurant

Ketchikan’s police chief pleaded not guilty last Friday to charges that he assaulted an intoxicated man while he was off-duty at a resort restaurant, including allegedly shoving the man head-first into a wall and putting him in a chokehold. A...

 
 By Clarise Larson    News    January 4, 2023

Federal funding will pay for commercial driver's license training program in Southeast

Snowplow and bus drivers are exceptionally critical occupations this time of year — but they’re in short supply statewide. A new Juneau-based program may change that. The $1.7 trillion federal spending bill recently passed by Congress includes $7...

 
 By Clarise Larson    News    January 4, 2023

Congress drops funding to purchase used icebreaker for Coast Guard

A late change in the Senate to the $1.7 trillion omnibus spending package passed by Congress last month deleted funding to purchase a privately owned icebreaker that the U.S. Coast Guard said could be homeported in Juneau. A $150 million...

 

Senate Finance co-chair criticizes governor's proposal for larger PFD

Sen. Bert Stedman, co-chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, says Gov. Dunleavy’s proposed $3,800 Permanent Fund dividend in 2023 would mean “starting the year underwater.” “It’s not a prudent way to administer the state’s financial...

 
 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

 

Climate change leads to less food supply, seabird die-offs

WASHINGTON — Dead and dying seabirds collected on the coasts of the northern Bering and southern Chukchi seas over the past six years reveal how the Arctic’s fast-changing climate is threatening the ecosystems and people who live there,...

 
 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

 

Federal investigation faults state treatment of children with mental health issues

A major U.S. Department of Justice investigation has concluded that children in Alaska with mental health issues are “forced to endure unnecessary and unduly long” institutionalization in locked psychiatric hospitals and residential treatment...

 

Haines embezzlement suspect arrested in Utah

A man who allegedly stole $58,000 from a Haines tour operator earlier this fall was apprehended Dec. 6 in Riverton, Utah, according to Haines Police. As of Dec. 13, Charles was in a Utah jail pending extradition to Alaska. Haines Police Officer Maxwe...

 
 By Yereth Rosen    News    December 21, 2022

Damages increase as warming Arctic threatens entire ecosystem

Disruptions in Alaska over the last year, some of them threatening health and safety of people, are part of the ongoing pattern of rapid warming and transformation of the Arctic, said an annual report released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric... Full story

 
 By Yereth Rosen    News    December 21, 2022

Warming seafloor could reduce food for Pacific walruses

There is danger lurking on the floor of the Bering and Chukchi seas for mussels, snails, clams, worms and other cold-water invertebrates, according to a new study led by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration scientists. If climate change... Full story

 

Villages will receive $50 million in federal aid toward relocation

WASHINGTON — Two Alaska Native villages will receive $25 million each from the federal government to help fund their ongoing efforts to relocate to safer ground. The funding from the bipartisan infrastructure law will go to Newtok and Napakiak in...

 

Musk ox kills court services officer in Nome

A procession of emergency vehicles traveled through Anchorage with the body of Court Services Officer Curtis Worland on Dec. 14, a day after the 36-year-old died in a rare attack by a musk ox in Nome, where Worland worked for the Department of...

 

Fish-farm operator appeals Washington state shutdown order

SEATTLE (AP) — Cooke Aquaculture has filed an appeal against Washington state’s decision to end its leases for fish-farming using net pens in state waters. In court documents filed Dec. 14, the New Brunswick, Canada-based seafood giant said that...

 

Regulators approve removing Klamath River dams to open up salmon habitat

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Federal regulators have approved a plan to demolish hydroelectric four dams on a California river and open up hundreds of miles of salmon habitat that would be the largest dam removal and river restoration project in the...

 

State House organization 'at a stalemate' in evenly divided chamber

After last month’s elections, the Alaska Capitol, so far, is split. Voters re-elected conservative Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy, and a centrist, bipartisan coalition is set to take control of the state Senate. The makeup of the House governing... Full story

 

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...

 
 By Yereth Rosen    News    December 14, 2022

Lower 48 tribes join up with Alaska Natives to protect transboundary rivers

Alaska Native tribes seeking better protection from the environmental impacts of Canadian mines have enlisted allies in their flight: Lower 48 tribal governments with concerns of their own about transboundary mining impacts. A delegation of tribal... Full story

 

No confirmed sightings of giant northern hornets this year

BELLINGHAM, Wash. (AP) — Citizen trapping of northern giant hornets in northwest Washington ended Nov. 30 without any confirmed sightings of the hornets this year, state officials said Dec. 6. The Washington State Department of Agriculture also...

 

No deaths in Alaska commercial fishing industry for second year ever

For the second time ever, Alaska went a year without any fatalities in its commercial fishing industry. The U.S. Coast Guard reported that there were no operational fatalities from Oct. 1, 2021, to Sept. 30, 2022, in Alaska’s commercial fishing...

 

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

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...

 

Recount does not change results in tight legislative races

JUNEAU (AP) — A recount of an Anchorage-area state Senate race reaffirmed Republican Cathy Giessel as the winner, while a recount of an Anchorage House race reaffirmed Republican Rep. Tom McKay as the winner. The Senate recount was conducted by...

 

Alaska average wages slide down to 8th highest in nation

The high wages that once coaxed people to Alaska have continued to shrink compared to the rest of the U.S., due partly to a statewide recession before the pandemic and a slow recovery after it, according to a new report from the Alaska Department of...

 

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