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]

After Lisa Murkowski, Kelly Tshibaka and Patricia Chesbro, it's not clear who will fill out Alaska's general election ballot for the U.S. Senate seat. (Lisa Murkowski photo is from her Senate page. The Kelly Tshibaka and Patricia Chesbro photos are campaign photos.)

In Alaska U.S. Senate primary, a race to finish fourth

By: - August 1, 2022

The majority of voters going to the polls Aug. 16 will likely be choosing one of three candidates for Alaska’s U.S. Senate seat as their pick-one primary option: incumbent Republican Lisa Murkowski, Republican Party-endorsed Kelly Tshibaka or Democratic Party-endorsed Patricia Chesbro. It’s the top four candidates, though, who will advance to the November ranked choice […]

(Photo by Krisanapong Detraphiphat/Getty Images)

Cost estimates for constitutional convention in Alaska range widely

By: - July 29, 2022

This November, voters will be asked whether or not to call a constitutional convention, which could pave the way for changing the Alaska state constitution. If Alaskans vote ‘yes,’ cost estimates to hold a convention range from a few million dollars to $20 million. One Republican senator said a gathering to propose amendments and changes […]

Alaska joins lawsuit challenging USDA’s prohibition of LGBTQ discrimination

By: - July 28, 2022

Alaska’s attorney general joined 21 others in suing to block the federal government from enforcing a prohibition of discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation. The lawsuit, filed Tuesday, is focused on school meal and other federal food aid programs. It claims the U.S. Department of Agriculture “issued directives and rules that misconstrue the […]

(Photo by Eyecrave Productions/Getty Images)

State OKs public funds for private education to support, but not replace, Alaska public education

By: - July 25, 2022

The Alaska Department of Law issued an opinion Monday saying public money can be spent for home-school students to attend one or two classes in a private school, but can’t be used for most of a student’s private school tuition.  The 19-page opinion says that it’s sometimes legal to use public funds for private school […]

University of Alaska faculty members and supporters march in front of the Alaska State Capitol during a United Academics rally June 22, 2022.

After close to a year of negotiations, university and faculty union still at odds

By: - July 25, 2022

University of Alaska administration and the faculty union have still not come to an agreement for a new contract, after almost a year of negotiations. The parties had three sessions of federal mediation in late June and July. Another is scheduled this week, but there’s a chance the process could be further extended if the […]

An empty classroom at Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé in Juneau, Alaska, on July 20, 2022.

Weeks from restarting, schools across Alaska are struggling to find teachers

By: - July 21, 2022

Bobby Bolen is trying to fill around 50 teaching positions at the North Slope Borough School District. “This is our focus 24 hours a day right now – to get classrooms staffed for students,” Bolen said. Bolen is the brand-new human resources director at the North Slope Borough School District, which has around 2,000 students […]

This image shows someone dialing 988 on a cell phone. The three-digit number for suicide prevention and mental health crisis support is operational in Alaska and across the nation as of July 16, 2022.

Alaskans can now dial 988 to reach mental health crisis hotline

By: - July 16, 2022

Alaskans who find themselves in a mental health crisis can now call or text 988 to access a trained crisis counselor. Support is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to individuals of all ages. The three-digit number for suicide prevention and mental health crisis support became operational in Alaska and across the […]

Gov. Mike Dunleavy speaks on the state budget at a news conference on June June 28, 2022, in Anchorage. (Photo by Yereth Rosen/Alaska Beacon)

Alaskans will get PFD checks slightly earlier this year, governor announces

By: - July 15, 2022

The state of Alaska will begin distributing payments of around $3,200 to eligible Alaskans on Tuesday, Sept. 20, Gov. Mike Dunleavy announced on Facebook Friday afternoon. That amount includes this year’s Permanent Fund dividend as well as a one-time energy relief payment.  Eligible Alaskans who selected direct deposit on their Permanent Fund dividend application are […]

Heidi Teshner is acting commissioner of the Alaska Department of Education and Early Development. Screenshot is from the Alaska Board of Education and Early Development virtual meeting on July 13, 2022.

Alaska school board picks deputy Heidi Teshner as acting commissioner

By: - July 13, 2022

The Alaska Board of Education and Early Development on Wednesday appointed Heidi Teshner acting commissioner for the state’s education department. Teshner, who was most recently deputy commissioner, is filling the department’s top position following Michael Johnson’s resignation June 30. Board chair James Fields said the board wasn’t in any rush to pick a permanent commissioner. […]

Around 200 people attend the abortion rights rally at Marine Park in Juneau on July 9, 2022.

Record number of Alaskans turned out Saturday to support abortion rights

By: - July 12, 2022

More than 4,000 people attended the Planned Parenthood Alliance Advocates Alaska rally in Anchorage this past Saturday, making it the largest abortion rights event the nonprofit has ever held, according to its director. The Delaney Park Strip event was also the largest rally in Alaska against the U.S. Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade to […]

Children pick up their school lunches. (Amanda Mills/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

Universal free school meal program going away for about half of Alaska’s schools

By: - July 7, 2022

During the pandemic, public schools were able to provide free meals to all students, regardless of income, due to federal waivers. Starting this fall, that access is going away for about half the schools in Alaska that participate in the federal school meal program.  Families attending these schools will return to pre-pandemic ways of getting […]

Alaskan Chilkat and Ravenstail Weaver Lily Wooshkindein Da.Áat Hope and weaving assistant Nadezdha Hughes work on a full-size ceremonial Chilkat dancing blanket in Hope’s studio in Downtown Juneau on July 5, 2022.

Tracing a lineage of Chilkat weavers in ‘A Life Painted in Yarn’

By: - July 7, 2022

It’s called Between Worlds. And it features a diving whale. “Peering through the bones of this diving whale pattern is this ancestor with her face and hands pressed against the veil between worlds,” Alaskan Chilkat and Ravenstail Weaver Lily Wooshkindein Da.Áat Hope said. “Because we talk about the Chilkat dancing blanket as the veil that […]