Changing the name of Sitka's Baranof Elementary is easy; choosing the name will be hard

Sitka's Baranof Elementary School appears likely to have its name changed — but what that new name will be, no one is quite sure yet. The Sitka School Board recently decided to send the question of the name change to the Sitka Tribe, in hopes of identifying a "significant local cultural educator." The hardest part about renaming the Baranof Elementary School will be who to name it for. At their last meeting on January 6, Sitka School Board members reported that their email was running near 100

Changing the name of Sitka's Baranof Elementary is easy; choosing the name will be hard

With Red Devil's sewage system at capacity, Tribal members seek to re-establish council

The former mining town of Red Devil sits far upriver on the Kuskokwim. It's a tiny town with a lot of big issues to tackle, and no forms of government to do so. The remote town hasn't had its sewage drained. Ever. The community had septic systems installed and plans were laid for a sewage lagoon, but it was never built. "Because we have no sewage lagoon, we can't pump it out. And this will be the 16th year that none of the 1,000 gallon tanks have been emptied," said Theodore Gordon, one of the

With Red Devil's sewage system at capacity, Tribal members seek to re-establish council

Anchorage ordinance to create government-to-government relationship with Native Village of Eklutna

The Anchorage Assembly unanimously approved Thursday, January 14, 2021, an ordinance that formally establishes a government-to-government relationship with the Native Village of Eklutna. The president of the Eklutna village Tribal council, Aaron Leggett, called the ordinance "a monumental achievement by both governments." "This isn't something that will happen overnight, I think it will be a continually developing relationship and I'm sure that we will find ways to simply have more dialogue on a

Anchorage ordinance to create government-to-government relationship with Native Village of Eklutna

More than 40 percent of Alaska's prisoners have contracted COVID-19 despite strict measures

After months of successfully avoiding COVID-19 in its facilities, more than 40 percent of inmates in Alaska's prisons have now been infected with the disease . That has frustrated advocates and families who point to overcrowding in prisons, inconsistent precautions, and a general lack of transparency about what is happening inside the Department of Corrections. "They have not done nearly enough to mitigate the harm and spread of COVID-19 inside Alaska's prisons," said ACLU of Alaska Advocacy

More than 40 percent of Alaska's prisoners have contracted COVID-19 despite strict measures

Alaska law enforcement has routinely failed to follow DNA collection law

An investigation by the Anchorage Daily News and ProPublica found law enforcement agencies in Alaska have routinely failed to comply with a state law requiring the collection of DNA from some criminal offenders . The DNA is supposed to go into a database that can help police connect offenders to unsolved crimes, including rape and murder. But according to the ADN's reporting , that's not what's happening. Anchorage Daily News reporter Kyle Hopkins spoke with Alaska Public Media's Casey Grove

Alaska law enforcement has routinely failed to follow DNA collection law

Anchorage's pandemic jobs program wraps up, for now

Anchorage's municipal beetle-kill spruce removal team wrapped up work for the season. "Today's actually our last day," Andy Ethington, 26, said as he walked through a warehouse in South Anchorage. "So, we're just cleaning out all the trucks, cleaning out the storage room. This is where we keep all the chainsaws and stuff," he said, pointing inside. Ethington is one of 25 tree removal employees the city hired last August to tackle the widespread issue of beetle-killed spruce trees around

Akiak Technology enters Small Business Administration's business development program

Akiak Technology has been accepted into the Small Business Administration's business development program, according to a news release. The company is an information technology consulting business owned by Akian Native Community, a federally recognized Alaska Native Tribe. The program is designed to level the playing field of federal government contracting for businesses that may be socially or economically disadvantaged. The certification makes the company exempt from competition requirements

Akiak Technology enters Small Business Administration's business development program

Princess and Holland America cancel Alaska cruises through mid-May

Two cruise lines have canceled at least some of their sailings to Alaska in 2021. Princess Cruises announced it was pausing all its operations through at least May 14. Holland America will cancel all Alaska cruises through mid-May, and three additional sailings in early June, the pair of Carnival Corporation subsidiaries said in statements. It's another blow to Southeast Alaska's tourism economy, which accounted for around 18% of jobs in the region in 2019. Most visitors arrived on a cruise ship

In rural Alaska, COVID-19 vaccines hitch a ride on planes, sleds and water taxi

One of the biggest challenges for distributing the COVID-19 vaccine from drug companies Pfizer and BioNTech is keeping it cold. But Dr. Ellen Hodges, contending with sub-zero temperatures on a remote Southwest Alaska airport tarmac last month, had the opposite problem as she prepared to vaccinate frontline health-care workers. "It became immediately apparent that the vaccine was going to freeze in the metal part of the needle," she said. "It was just kind of wild." Distributing the COVID-19

In rural Alaska, COVID-19 vaccines hitch a ride on planes, sleds and water taxi

Washington's attorney general seeks injunction in National Archives building sale

Washington state's attorney general and a legal coalition of 40 Tribes, states and community organizations filed a motion (January 7, 2021) to block the sale of the National Archives building in Seattle . The facility houses an immense collection of historical documents and records, including records about Alaska and the Indigenous peoples of the area. The museum also contains documents regarding the Chinese Exclusion Act, and the Japanese internment camps of World War II. In January 2020, a

Washington's attorney general seeks injunction in National Archives building sale

Haines among 6 DMVs to close if the proposed state budget passes

The Haines DMV is among a half-dozen rural branches on the chopping block in Governor Mike Dunleavy's proposed budget . The administration has suggested Haines residents travel to Juneau — by ferry — so the state can save on employees and offices. Gov. Dunleavy's proposed budget rolled out earlier this month proposes saving money but eliminating state jobs and lease expenses by shuttering six DMVs. Haines is among those. The others are Tok, Valdez, Eagle River, Homer and Delta Junction. Lynn

Hatchery board to revisit Crystal Lake king salmon in March

The board of a regional non-profit hatchery association may change its releases for king salmon from Crystal Lake hatchery south of Petersburg . That's after the Southern Southeast Regional Aquaculture Association lost a portion of its state funding for that facility. The SSRAA board is hoping that funding can be restored. However, in March they'll consider reducing or relocating Crystal Lake king salmon normally caught by the sport fishing fleet if it's not. Crystal Lake, on Mitkof Island south

Sealaska Heritage and Nieman Marcus will settle lawsuit over sale of Ravenstail coat

The lawsuit over Nieman Marcus selling a coat that bears a striking resemblance to a copyrighted, Alaska Native Ravenstail pattern is close to a settlement. Sealaska Heritage Institute and the heirs of the late weaver Clarissa Rizal sued the luxury retailer in April . In addition to violating the copyright, they said Nieman Marcus violated the Indian Arts and Crafts Act by misrepresenting the coat as an Alaska Native craft. In a joint filing in federal court , both sides say they've "agreed to

Sealaska Heritage and Nieman Marcus will settle lawsuit over sale of Ravenstail coat

Scientists look for invasive crab's 'fingerprint' in Alaska waters

Scientists are on the lookout for an invasive crab species expected to move north into Alaskan waters . This year in Southeast Alaska, they added a new tool to the monitoring effort for European green crab, a threat to the state's shellfish and salmon. European green crab or shore crab have been expanding their range north along the Pacific coast. But this year they were discovered just south of the Alaskan border. "This Haida Gwaii occurrence last summer puts them very close to us and I really

Alaska officials silent on KSM's request for more time to court mine investors

Canadian developers behind a proposed massive metals mine 20 miles from the border seek another permit extension from B.C. regulators . If it's built, the Kerr-Sulphurets-Mitchell mine would be larger than the proposed Pebble Mine in Bristol Bay. Seabridge Gold had hoped to be mining copper, gold and other metals by now. The KSM mine received approvals in 2014 on the condition that it break ground within five years. Two years ago it received an extension giving it until 2024 to start work. Now,

Alaska officials silent on KSM's request for more time to court mine investors

Mounting concern prompts state to reopen Silvertip station

The Silvertip Maintenance Station may be small but it covers a well-traveled, 60-mile swath of the Seward Highway, stretching from Moose Pass up through Turnagain Pass and the 17-mile Hope Highway. Facing a dwindling budget, the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities closed the station last winter and relied on neighboring stations to pick up the slack. But an outpouring of pushback from local travelers and Soldotna Republican Sen. Peter Micciche has prompted the state to

BLM proposal opens up millions of acres to development in Western Bering Sea Interior

A final proposal introduced by the Bureau of Land Management, or BLM, earlier this month would make more than 13 million acres of public lands in the Western Bering Sea region open to development . Dozens of Alaska Native Tribes say their concerns haven't been adequately addressed in the proposal. The new and final plan would replace previous land management plans that have been in place since the 1980's. As BLM Alaska State Director Chad Padgett explained, the proposal has been in the works

BLM proposal opens up millions of acres to development in Western Bering Sea Interior

As Alaska legislative session nears, control the House and Senate is still unclear

In many states, it's already clear who will lead the Legislature and what the agenda will be when they meet next year. But not in Alaska. The next legislative session is only a month away. But major differences among Republicans mean Alaskans still don't know who will be in the majorities in both the House and the Senate. Soldotna Republican Sen. Peter Micciche that all 13 Republican senators have met twice, most recently last week. But meetings between smaller groups are happening every day. "I

As Alaska legislative session nears, control the House and Senate is still unclear

Biden's pick for Interior secretary is a passionate foe of drilling in Arctic Refuge

President-elect Joe Biden has chosen Congresswoman Deb Haaland to be the next secretary of Interior . The New Mexico Democrat is a member of the Pueblo of Laguna tribe. If confirmed by the Senate, she would be the first Indigenous person to serve as a cabinet secretary. Indian Country Today editor Mark Trahant said the news made a big splash in Native communities. "Everyone's working at home, yet we could still hear the reaction going across the country, so that gives you a pretty good idea,"

Biden's pick for Interior secretary is a passionate foe of drilling in Arctic Refuge

Debate over fishery management ends in closure

Federal managers voted to close a huge swath of Upper Cook Inlet to commercial salmon fishing , capping a two-year fight over the fate of the fishery and its 500 permit-holders. Those fishermen and representatives from the Kenai Peninsula turned out in droves to the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council meeting to oppose the closure and advocate for lighter conservation measures. But when representatives from Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy's administration said the state was unwilling to manage