Claire Stremple

Claire Stremple

Claire Stremple is a reporter based in Juneau, Alaska. She got her start in public radio, first at KHNS in Haines and then on the health and environment beat at KTOO in Juneau. Her focus for the Beacon is education and criminal and social justice.

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A bill to get nurses licensed more quickly in Alaska faces pushback from unions

By: - May 26, 2023

Alaska’s nurse shortage is widely acknowledged, but there’s less consensus on how to manage solutions. A bill that aims to get nurses licensed and working faster by joining Alaska in a 40-state nurse licensure coalition is mired in pushback. Hospitals and the state’s nursing board support the legislation, but nursing labor unions oppose it.

Catherine Walker shows students how to use an underwater drone at Dimond High School. Walker was named Alaska's 2024 Teacher of the Year. (Photo by Kenley Hampton)

Department of Education names Alaska’s 2024 Teacher of the Year

By: - May 22, 2023

Catherine Walker planned to be a surgeon. She took pre-med classes, interned with a surgeon and was an EMT in college. But after two years teaching in the Peace Corps in Mali, she was hooked. Now, nearly two decades later, the Anchorage science teacher is Alaska’s 2024 Teacher of the Year.

Sen. Scott Kawasaki, D-Fairbanks, talks to fellow senators during a break in Alaska Senate proceedings on Tuesday, May 3, 2022 at the Alaska State Capitol in Juneau. (James Brooks / Alaska Beacon)

Alaska Legislature fails to pass election reform this year

By: - May 19, 2023

Alaska legislators say that election reform is a top priority, but changes to state policies failed to pass this year. That’s despite compromise and consensus between lawmakers from both parties on an issue that’s known for dividing them.

Sen. Bert Stedman speaks about the budget at a news conference on Thursday. Pictured with him are Senate President Gary Stevens and Sen. Bill Wielecowski. (Photo by Yereth Rosen/Alaska Beacon)

Alaska Senate passes major one-time education funding increase

By: - May 18, 2023

The Alaska Senate passed what lawmakers described as the largest one-time education funding increase in state history on Wednesday night. It will cost the state roughly $175 million in a $6.1 billion budget.

Rep. Dan Ortiz, I-Ketchikan, motions to advance Senate Bill 140, an education measure, from the House Finance Committee on Tuesday, May 16, 2023. (Photo by James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)

Alaska Legislature unlikely to pass major education policy changes in session

By: - May 17, 2023

A bill to increase broadband access in rural schools and a major school funding bill were combined in the final days of the session, likely leaving neither in a position to pass.

Sen. Robert Myers, R-North Pole, smiles while talking to another senator on Monday, May 16, 2022, in the Alaska Senate chamber in Juneau. (Photo by James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)

Legislature votes to allow Alaska prisons to issue state IDs

By: - May 16, 2023

​​The state’s prison system could soon issue state IDs to prisoners who don’t have one. A newly passed bill is intended to ease prisoners’ reentry into society after incarceration. The House passed Senate Bill 119 on Saturday with a unanimous vote. The Senate passed it last week. Valid ID is required for everything from getting […]

Bulk food purchased with the $1.68 million Gov. Mike Dunleavy put towards supporting food banks is staged for delivery in Food Bank of Alaska's Anchorage warehouse on April 21, 2023. (Photo by Claire Stremple/Alaska Beacon)

Alaska food banks still ‘inundated’ as state works to fix food stamp backlog

By: - April 29, 2023

Southeast Alaska Food Bank patrons have doubled since last November. Director Chris Schapp said demand continues as high as it’s ever been. A major driver has been the months-long backlog for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, known as food stamps, in the Division of Public Assistance. “We’ve just been inundated with people needing help,” he […]

Bill setting rules for ‘forever chemicals’ advances in Alaska’s Legislature

By: - April 27, 2023

There are hundreds of “PFAS sites” in Alaska—places where the state has documented contamination from a group of chemicals linked to ill health effects like cancer and high cholesterol. They’re called “forever chemicals” because they accumulate in human bodies and don’t break down in the environment. Many of the sites are at and around state-owned […]

An outdoor basketball hoop is seen in Bethel in October 2022. (Photo by Claire Stremple)

Alaska requires change to bar trans girls from girls teams, school sports head says

By: - April 26, 2023

At the direction of the state’s governor-appointed board of education, the state’s high school sports association is poised to change its bylaws to exclude transgender girls from girls’ sports teams next week. But some state lawmakers and legal observers say the board is overstepping its authority. The change would divide contact sports into divisions based […]

The offices of the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services are seen in Juneau on Friday, July 1, 2022.

Months-long backlog for Alaska’s aid programs triggers second lawsuit

By: - April 20, 2023

An Anchorage resident filed a class action lawsuit this week seeking to force the state Division of Public Assistance to get cash assistance to vulnerable Alaskans in a timely manner. 

Blankets and personal items rest on a cot in the Resurrection Lutheran Church basement in downtown Juneau. April 13, 2023. (Photo by Claire Stremple/Alaska Beacon)

Alaska communities scramble to keep unhoused people sheltered

By: - April 20, 2023

At 10:30 p.m. on a misty Thursday night, dozens of people streamed into the basement of Resurrection Lutheran Church in downtown Juneau for a late dinner and a place to sleep. The temperature hovered around freezing. This is an emergency “warming shelter,” a seasonal, stopgap solution to keep the city’s unhoused population from freezing to […]