James Brooks

A gavel is seen in an undated file photo.

Council picks judge nominees — but which governor will have the say?

The Alaska Judicial Council has picked a list of finalists for judgeships across the state, and now it’s time for the governor to have his… Continue reading

 

Green Elephant Gardens gardener Scott Jones cares for a marijuana plant on Green Elephant’s first day of operation in June 2017. (Alex McCarthy | Juneau Empire file)

Two years on, Alaska’s marijuana industry keeps growing

October collections might set a new record.

 

Hotel workers strike for a wage increase in front of a Marriott hotel Thursday, Oct. 4, 2018, in San Francisco. Alaska’s minimum wage is set to rise to $9.89 per hour on Jan. 1. (Ben Margot | The Associated Press)

Alaska’s minimum wage to rise Jan. 1

Inflation increased, so the wage will rise.

 

An unused sexual assault evidence kit, colloquially known as a “rape kit,” is seen Friday, Nov. 2, 2018. (James Brooks | Juneau Empire file)
                                An unused sexual assault evidence kit, colloquially known as a “rape kit,” is seen Friday, Nov. 2, 2018. (James Brooks | Juneau Empire file)
An unused sexual assault evidence kit, colloquially known as a “rape kit,” is seen Friday, Nov. 2, 2018. (James Brooks | Juneau Empire file)
                                An unused sexual assault evidence kit, colloquially known as a “rape kit,” is seen Friday, Nov. 2, 2018. (James Brooks | Juneau Empire file)
In this Sept. 6 file photo, Democratic nominee for governor of Alaska Mark Begich, right, speaks as Gov. Bill Walker listens during a chamber of commerce gubernatorial candidate forum on Thursday, Sept. 6, 2018, in Juneau, Alaska, On Friday, Oct. 19, Walker announced he was dropping his bid for re-election, though his name remains on the ballot. He threw his support behind Begich, who will face Republican Mike Dunleavy in November. (AP Photo/Becky Bohrer, File)

Walker’s support for Begich is ‘narrow’

When he gave a speech announcing his withdrawal from the election, Gov. Bill Walker told his audience that they should support Democratic candidate Mark Begich.… Continue reading

In this Sept. 6 file photo, Democratic nominee for governor of Alaska Mark Begich, right, speaks as Gov. Bill Walker listens during a chamber of commerce gubernatorial candidate forum on Thursday, Sept. 6, 2018, in Juneau, Alaska, On Friday, Oct. 19, Walker announced he was dropping his bid for re-election, though his name remains on the ballot. He threw his support behind Begich, who will face Republican Mike Dunleavy in November. (AP Photo/Becky Bohrer, File)
Sen. Bill Wielechowski, D-Anchorage, speaks to his amendment to the state’s operating budget to inflation-proof the Alaska Permanent Fund in the Senate at the Capitol on Thursday, April 12, 2018. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire file)

Democratic Anchorage senator declaims pro-Dunleavy ads

A Democratic senator from Anchorage is asking a campaign backing Republican governor candidate Mike Dunleavy to stop using his voice and picture in pro-Dunleavy ads.… Continue reading

Sen. Bill Wielechowski, D-Anchorage, speaks to his amendment to the state’s operating budget to inflation-proof the Alaska Permanent Fund in the Senate at the Capitol on Thursday, April 12, 2018. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire file)
Republican Mike Dunleavy, left, and Democrat Mark Begich, right, are the two leading candidates in the race to replace incumbent independent Gov. Bill Walker. (Composite image)

After Walker quits, governor race now ‘down to the wire’

Mike Dunleavy still leads the race to become Alaska’s next governor, latest poll shows.

Republican Mike Dunleavy, left, and Democrat Mark Begich, right, are the two leading candidates in the race to replace incumbent independent Gov. Bill Walker. (Composite image)
Republican governor candidate Mike Dunleavy, left, and Democratic governor candidate Mark Begich, right, faced each other in their first head-to-head debate just 90 minutes after incumbent independent Gov. Bill Walker announced he was suspending his campaign. (Composite image)

Begich, Dunleavy meet in first head-to-head debate

Begich praised Walker’s decision. Dunleavy didn’t say the incumbent’s name.

Republican governor candidate Mike Dunleavy, left, and Democratic governor candidate Mark Begich, right, faced each other in their first head-to-head debate just 90 minutes after incumbent independent Gov. Bill Walker announced he was suspending his campaign. (Composite image)
Angela Rodell, executive director of the Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation, speaks in July 2018. An APFC spokeswoman said the corporation has declined an invitation to a Saudi investment conference. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File)
Angela Rodell, executive director of the Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation, speaks in July 2018. An APFC spokeswoman said the corporation has declined an invitation to a Saudi investment conference. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire File)
Former state Senate Mike Dunleavy, left, Gov. Bill Walker, center, and former U.S. Senator Mark Begich shake hands after a debate at a Juneau Chamber of Commerce luncheon at Centennial Hall on Thursday, Sept. 6, 2018. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Alaska Gov. Bill Walker abandons election

Incumbent independent throws support behind Democratic candidate Mark Begich.

Former state Senate Mike Dunleavy, left, Gov. Bill Walker, center, and former U.S. Senator Mark Begich shake hands after a debate at a Juneau Chamber of Commerce luncheon at Centennial Hall on Thursday, Sept. 6, 2018. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)
Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott abruptly resigned form office Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2018. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire file)

Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott abruptly resigns

It’s unknown what the ‘inappropriate comments’ were that sparked his resignation.

Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott abruptly resigned form office Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2018. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire file)
Alyse Galvin, independent candidate for U.S. House of Representatives, and Don Young, Republican incumbent candidate for U.S. House, are seen in a composite image using photographs submitted by their campaigns. (Composite image)

Galvin is beating Rep. Young in fundraising

If Galvin were to defeat Young, it would be a colossal upset.

Alyse Galvin, independent candidate for U.S. House of Representatives, and Don Young, Republican incumbent candidate for U.S. House, are seen in a composite image using photographs submitted by their campaigns. (Composite image)

Commerce boss takes leave to campaign for Walker

Mike Navarre, head of the state department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development, has temporarily left his job in order to campaign for incumbent Gov.… Continue reading

Timothy Cole Gallaudet, retired Rear Admiral in the United States Navy currently serving as the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere within the U.S. Department of Commerce, speaks before a town hall event sponsored by NOAA at Centennial Hall on Friday, Aug. 31, 2018. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Alaskans worried by prospect of deep-sea fish farms

In a Centennial Hall listening session, Alaskans raised concerns about federal plans to boost open-ocean fish farms under a new strategic plan for the U.S.… Continue reading

Timothy Cole Gallaudet, retired Rear Admiral in the United States Navy currently serving as the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere within the U.S. Department of Commerce, speaks before a town hall event sponsored by NOAA at Centennial Hall on Friday, Aug. 31, 2018. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)
Elections workers hand count ballots after the 2016 statewide primary election. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Dead Alaskans attempt to vote in Anchorage

The Alaska Division of Elections is investigating why seven dead people requested absentee ballots for the close-fought primary election in Anchorage’s House District 15. The… Continue reading

Elections workers hand count ballots after the 2016 statewide primary election. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)
<span class="neFMT neFMT_PhotoCredit">Courtesy photo</span>
                                A collection of signs confiscated in Juneau is seen at an Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities facility on July 24, 2018 in this image provided by the DOT.

Signs of trouble: ACLU and pro-Dunleavy campaign launch lawsuit against state

They’re the signs of the times, and they’re causing problems. On Thursday, the Alaska chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union joined the group Dunleavy… Continue reading

<span class="neFMT neFMT_PhotoCredit">Courtesy photo</span>
                                A collection of signs confiscated in Juneau is seen at an Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities facility on July 24, 2018 in this image provided by the DOT.
A spawning chum salmon looks to return to the waters of Salmon Creek on Tuesday, July 24, 2018. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Supreme Court approves Stand for Salmon ballot initiative

The Alaska Supreme Court on Wednesday approved the Stand for Salmon ballot initiative for this fall’s elections, but not before deleting some provisions that violate the Alaska Constitution.

A spawning chum salmon looks to return to the waters of Salmon Creek on Tuesday, July 24, 2018. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)
Angela Rodell, Executive Director of the Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation, speaks about the positive results of the fund this year at the APFC office on Thursday, July 26, 2018. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)
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Alaska Permanent Fund continues to beat market, but returns drop slightly from last year

The investment managers at the Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation have once again beaten the market.

Angela Rodell, Executive Director of the Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation, speaks about the positive results of the fund this year at the APFC office on Thursday, July 26, 2018. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)
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Job losses appear to be slowing across state

Alaska’s unemployment rate improved slightly in June, but detailed statistics show job losses continuing. According to figures from the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce… Continue reading

Evacuees gather at Kodiak High School in Kodiak on Tuesday, Jan 23, after an earthquake and tsunami alert. A powerful undersea earthquake sent Alaskans fumbling for suitcases and racing to evacuation centers in the middle of the night Tuesday after a cellphone alert warned that a tsunami could smash into the state’s southern coast and western Canada. (Grigore Ciubotaru via Associated Press)

Shaken System: Alaska’s disaster warning program has critical flaws, documents reveal

On the night of Jan. 23, Alaskans across the Gulf Coast were awakened by one of the most significant earthquakes to hit Alaska since the… Continue reading

Evacuees gather at Kodiak High School in Kodiak on Tuesday, Jan 23, after an earthquake and tsunami alert. A powerful undersea earthquake sent Alaskans fumbling for suitcases and racing to evacuation centers in the middle of the night Tuesday after a cellphone alert warned that a tsunami could smash into the state’s southern coast and western Canada. (Grigore Ciubotaru via Associated Press)