James Brooks

James Brooks

James Brooks is a longtime Alaska reporter, having previously worked at the Anchorage Daily News, Juneau Empire, Kodiak Mirror and Fairbanks Daily News-Miner. A graduate of Virginia Tech, he is married to Caitlyn Ellis, owns a house in Juneau and has a small sled dog named Barley. He can be contacted at [email protected].

cars drive on a ramp toward the camera

Alaska ferry system’s hiring woes continue and could halt another ship

By: - July 14, 2023

The Alaska Marine Highway System may have to stop some sailings next week as the state ferry system’s hiring woes continue through the peak summer travel season, its top official said Friday. “We’re at risk of shutting the Hubbard down this next week because we can’t get another licensed engineer onboard,” AMHS director Craig Tornga […]

Republican Nick Begich waves at motorists passing through Midtown Anchorage during rush hour on Aug. 16. Begich is one of three listed candidates competing in the state's first ranked-choice election. (Photo by Yereth Rosen/Alaska Beacon)

Republican Nick Begich will challenge Democrat Mary Peltola in Alaska’s 2024 U.S. House race

By: - July 14, 2023

Nick Begich III, a Republican candidate who lost to Democratic Rep. Mary Peltola in last year’s races for Alaska’s lone U.S. House seat, said Thursday that he will run against Peltola again in 2024. Peltola hasn’t formally announced a re-election campaign but has been raising money. “I’m excited about the opportunity to run. I’m out […]

New estimate shows Alaska’s Permanent Fund could be out of spendable money in 3-4 years

By: - July 12, 2023

The spendable portion of the Alaska Permanent Fund is dwindling and could be exhausted entirely within three years, fund leaders were told during a regular quarterly meeting on Wednesday in Anchorage. Deven Mitchell, CEO of the Alaska Permanent Fund Corp., presented the results of limited modeling that estimates the fund’s performance over the next three […]

The Odess Theater is seen on May 22, 2019, on the campus of the Sitka Fine Arts Camp, which operates the former home of Sheldon Jackson College. (Photo by Flickr user Jasperdo/Creative Commons)

Sitka Fine Arts Camp files rare immigration lawsuit in support of theater manager

By: - July 11, 2023

One of Alaska’s premier arts organizations is suing the federal government after immigration officials blocked the hiring of a non-American theater manager. The 50-year-old Sitka Fine Arts Camp filed suit against federal immigration officials on Friday in Alaska District Court, seeking an H-1B visa exemption for Denush Vidanapathirana, a technical theater manager in a year-round […]

Bottles of wine line shelves at a Fred Meyer grocery store in Anchorage on June 29. Per-capita alcohol consumption fell in Alaska in the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic. Drops were in all three categories -- wine, beer and spirits. (Photo by Yereth Rosen/Alaska Beacon)

More outdoor seating is coming at Alaska’s bars, taprooms and restaurants, but it may take time

By: - July 7, 2023

Alaska’s alcohol board voted unanimously Thursday to approve a regulation that allows bar, distillery and winery taprooms to open temporary outdoor seating spaces during the summer. The move follows a separate vote in May that allows licensed businesses to serve alcohol in outdoor seating areas that aren’t directly adjacent to the licensee. Both changes were […]

Alaska campaign regulator fines political group with ties to university official and state attorney general

By: - June 23, 2023

The Alaska Public Offices Commission has fined a group active in last year’s legislative elections $2,525 for failing to properly disclose its financial dealings. The group, Alaska Policy Partners, attacked moderate Republican and Democratic candidates during the election, spending $210,000 with a Utah-based firm called Massey Political Consulting that wasn’t licensed to work in Alaska.  […]

White flowers in a bush are seen in front of the ornamental columns of the Alaska Capitol

Alaska legislators lack the votes to override Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s budget vetoes

By: - June 23, 2023

There will not be an immediate vote to overturn Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s decision to veto half of a significant but temporary funding boost to Alaska’s public schools. The result of an Alaska Beacon poll of all 60 legislators and interviews with leading members of the state House and Senate show insufficient support to call a […]

A transgender pride flag is held in an undated photo. (Getty Images)

State opens public comment period on rule limiting transgender girls in high school sports

By: - June 22, 2023

The Alaska Department of Education and Early Development is taking public comments for 30 days on a proposal that would limit participation on girls high school sports teams to “females who were assigned female at birth.” If adopted, the effect of the new regulation would be to prohibit transgender girls from participating on girls sports […]

Alaska’s top Coast Guard official warns of rising medevac cases as he leaves command

By: - June 20, 2023

As he handed off command of the Coast Guard in Alaska this month, Rear Adm. Nathan Moore said there’s a lot of good things about living in Alaska — including the ability to watch Monday Night Football at a reasonable time. But as Rear Adm. Megan Dean takes command, Moore said, his service is facing […]

The columns of the Alaska Capitol are framed by the green leaves of a tree across the street

Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy vetoes half of proposed funding increase for K-12 public schools

By: - June 19, 2023

Gov. Mike Dunleavy signed Alaska’s $6 billion state budget into law Monday after vetoing more than $200 million from the document approved in mid-May by the Alaska Legislature. The governor’s biggest single cut was half of a $175 million one-time funding boost for K-12 public schools. Lawmakers intended the addition to partially compensate for inflation-driven […]

As Alaska tourism rebounds, state and federal officials crack down on fake Alaska Native art

By: - June 19, 2023

A Ketchikan man agreed to plead guilty this month to federal charges in conjunction with a long-running scheme to sell fake Alaska Native souvenirs manufactured in the Philippines. Travis Lee Macaset’s plea deal follows several other guilty pleas this summer that stem from a scheme to sell mislabeled products from two businesses in Ketchikan.  “It […]

A screenshot showing six artfully designed license plates, arranged in two columns of three rows each

Arts council asks Alaskans to pick a new license plate while DMV rolls out broader changes

By: - June 17, 2023

The Alaska State Council on the Arts is asking Alaskans to pick a replacement for Alaska’s aurora-themed license plate, one of three default options at the Alaska Department of Motor Vehicles since 2017. The winner of the design competition will be announced August 26 at the Alaska State Fair. Small changes are coming to the […]