Author

Lisa Phu

Lisa Phu

Lisa Phu covers justice, education, and culture for the Alaska Beacon. Previously, she spent eight years as an award-winning journalist, reporting for the Juneau Empire, KTOO Public Media, KSTK, and Wrangell Sentinel. She's also been Public Information Officer for the City and Borough of Juneau, lead facilitator for StoryCorps Alaska based in Utqiagvik, and a teacher in Tanzania and Bhutan. Originally from New York, Lisa is a first generation Chinese American and a mom of two young daughters. She can be contacted at [email protected]

An image of a barbed wire fence. (Canva image)

As people die in Alaska prisons, reform advocates are calling for independent investigation

By: - October 6, 2022

Prison reform advocates are calling on Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s administration to order an independent review of the state Department of Corrections. The department recently reported its 15th in-custody death this year. William Hensley III, 34, died on Sunday at Goose Creek Correctional Center in Wasilla after a month in custody. With this death, Corrections […]

A polling place sign at the State Office Building in Juneau on Aug. 15, 2022. (Photo by Lisa Phu/Alaska Beacon)

Important dates leading up to Alaska’s Nov. 8 general election

By: - October 5, 2022

Alaska’s general election is on Tuesday, Nov. 8.  For the general election, voters will be asked to: Rank candidates for U.S. Senator, U.S. Representative, governor/lieutenant governor, state senator and state representative (only House District 40 does not have an election for state senator on the ballot) Vote yes or no on the ballot measure: Shall […]

Jan Bronson of Anchorage and Cathy Walling of Fairbanks, representing the Alaska Friends Conference, apologize to Alaska Native communities for the boarding schools it ran in Alaska and the United States. The apology took place at Sayéik Gastineau elementary school, the former site of a Quaker mission school in Juneau, during Orange Shirt Day, Sept. 30, 2022. (Photo by Lisa Phu/Alaska Beacon)

Quakers formally apologize to Alaska Native communities for residential schools

By: - October 4, 2022

The Alaska Quakers apologized to Alaska Native communities for the boarding schools it ran in Alaska and the United States, which forcibly assimilated and abused Indigenous children, separated them from their families and caused intergenerational trauma. In the 1800s and 1900s, the Quakers ran about 30 boarding schools for Native American and Alaska Native youth […]

University of Alaska President Pat Pitney delivers remarks on June 2 at a board of regents meeting on the UAA campus. (Photo by Yereth Rosen/Alaska Beacon)

University of Alaska administration files unfair labor complaint against faculty union

By: - October 1, 2022

The University of Alaska administration filed an unfair labor practice complaint against the faculty union Friday. The two parties have been negotiating a new faculty contract for more than a year. Speaking on behalf of the administration, associate vice president of public affairs Robbie Graham said Friday that United Academics engaged in “surface bargaining,” or […]

Eechdaa Dave Ketah, originally from Ketchikan, is a teacher and artist in Portland, Oregon. He's taking Lingít language classes at the University of Alaska Southeast. “Having the opportunity to learn the language has been so powerful in my journey,” he says. (Photo provided by Eechdaa Dave Ketah)

His grandmother was forbidden to speak Lingít in school. Now, school is helping him reclaim it.

By: - September 30, 2022

The class assignment was to write a letter to anyone they wanted. In Lingít. Eechdaa Dave Ketah chose his late grandmother, the person who spoke Lingít to him when he was growing up in Ketchikan. “And I was telling her that it’s hard learning the language at this point in my life, and one thing […]

Retired Alaska State Trooper Lieutenant Lonny Piscoya, as seen here in Soldotna on Sept. 27, 2022, is Alaska’s new missing and murdered indigenous persons investigator.

Alaska’s first MMIP investigator stayed 5 months; new one is committing to at least 1 year

By: - September 27, 2022

Retired Alaska State Trooper Lieutenant Lonny Piscoya is Alaska’s new missing and murdered Indigenous persons investigator. He fills the vacancy left by Anne Sears, who went back into retirement in early September after five months on the job. Piscoya, who retired in 2018 after 25 years with the Troopers, is now responsible for leading the […]

This symbol is inside of the Alaska Department of Corrections office on Sept. 7, 2022, in Douglas, Alaska. (Photo by Lisa Phu/Alaska Beacon)

Two more people die after a short time in Alaska Corrections custody

By: - September 27, 2022

Two people died this week after a short time in Alaska Department of Corrections custody, bringing the total number of in-custody deaths this year to 14.  Lewey Matoomealook, 37, was pronounced dead on Sept. 25 at Alaska Regional Hospital after 13 days in Corrections custody, becoming the 13th person to die in the state’s prison […]

A bridge, completed in 2020, over the Nenana River connects to the Nenana-Totchaket Road. State officials have said it opens up access to the Nenana-Totchaket Agricultural Project lands as well as opportunities for recreation and subsistence uses. (Photo by John Whipple/Alaska Division of Agriculture)

Nenana-area tribe opposes state’s 20-mile road expansion

By: - September 26, 2022

Some Nenana-area residents and tribal members say a state road project outside Nenana should be paused after what they describe as a failure by the state to adequately engage the public. The state wants to build 20 miles of new road to open access to agricultural opportunities and improve food security. But tribal members say […]

Public can weigh in on how Alaska should use millions of opioid settlement money

By: - September 23, 2022

The Alaska public has a chance through the end of September to weigh in on how the state should spend its share of a landmark settlement over pharmaceutical companies’ role in the nation’s opioid epidemic. The total amount coming to state and local governments in Alaska is $58.5 million from drug manufacturer Janssen/Johnson & Johnson, […]

ACLU of Alaska launches effort to cut the number of incarcerated people, improve prison conditions

By: - September 22, 2022

The American Civil Liberties Union of Alaska is launching on Thursday an effort to lower the prison population in Alaska and ensure that people in custody are treated with dignity and have access to civil rights.  Alaska Department of Corrections currently has roughly 4,700 people in custody and the prison population has been trending up […]

Republican challenges nonpartisan incumbent in race to represent southern Southeast Alaska

By: - September 21, 2022

A Republican Ketchikan Gateway Borough Assembly member is challenging the four-term incumbent to represent Ketchikan, Wrangell, Metlakatla, Coffman Cove and other communities of southern Southeast Alaska in the state House. In Jeremy Bynum’s first time running for state office, he got 44% percent of the votes in the August primary to Rep. Dan Ortiz’s 52%. […]

Sitka assemblymember and former Hoonah mayor compete for House seat long held by Kreiss-Tompkins

By: - September 17, 2022

A Sitka assemblymember and a former Hoonah mayor are competing for the Alaska House of Representatives seat being vacated by five-term Sitka Democrat Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins. Though nonpartisan candidate Rebecca Himschoot had an edge over Republican Kenny Skaflestad in last month’s open primary – about 54% to roughly 46% – it’s a difference of 373 votes. […]