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]

The entrance of the University of Alaska Southeast in Juneau as seen on May 25, 2022.

University of Alaska faculty union ratifies contract

By: - December 6, 2022

The University of Alaska faculty union membership has ratified a tentative contract agreement with the University of Alaska administration. United Academics certified the ratification vote results Monday. The two parties reached the tentative contract agreement at the end of October, ending 14 months of negotiations. The sometimes contentious process resulted in both parties filing unfair […]

Groups supporting abortion rights, on the left with pink signs and clothes, and opposing abortion, on the right with blue signs and clothes, mark the closure of the Planned Parenthood clinic in Soldotna. The last day of operation was May 31, 2022. (Photo provided by Bob Bird)

Alaska activist describes decades dedicated to anti-abortion work

By: - December 2, 2022

Rebecca Hinsberger was raised thinking the right to abortion was a good thing. “My mother was a very outspoken supporter of abortion,” she said. “So I grew up in that atmosphere: that abortion was perfectly OK and shouldn’t be stigmatized.” Hinsberger started adulthood this way. She lived in a yoga ashram for six months. She […]

Dr. carolyn Brown sits outside her obstetric-gynecologic practice in Palmer with the Valley Hospital in the background. This photo was taken sometime in the mid-1980s. (Photo by Sally Mead)

Alaska doctor, once the focus of outrage, reflects on past as abortion provider, with questions

By: - November 16, 2022

Written in large letters across a billboard displayed in the Alaska Right to Life booth at the 1981 State Fair in Palmer was this question: “Does your Doctor kill babies?” Underneath that question was a list of several names – including Dr. carolyn Brown. This billboard along with things published in Alaska Right to Life’s […]

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

Annual death toll of people in Alaska Corrections custody continues to climb as 17th death is reported

By: - November 14, 2022

Khari Wade, 51, died on Nov. 11 at Mat-Su Regional Medical Center, becoming the 17th person to die in the state’s prison system this year, according to an Alaska Department of Corrections press release on Monday. This is the highest number of in-custody deaths Corrections has seen in the past decade, the time period for […]

Voters in Juneau come out of the Elizabeth Peratrovich Hall voting location on Nov. 8. (Photo by Lisa Phu/Alaska Beacon)

In Alaska, voters reject once-in-a-decade constitutional convention question

By: - November 9, 2022

Alaskans went to the polls Tuesday to answer a once-in-a-decade ballot measure question: Shall there be a constitutional convention? Their answer was a resounding “No.” With 96% of precincts reporting, only 30.2% of Alaskans had voted yes, while 69.8% voted against the measure. At a convention, the state constitution may be amended or revised, subject […]

A voter joins a line of voters waiting to cast their ballots on Aug. 15 at the state Division of Elections office in Anchorage. (Photo by Yereth Rosen/Alaska Beacon)

Nov. 8 is the final day to vote in Alaska’s general election

By: - November 7, 2022

Tuesday, Nov. 8, is Election Day and polls across Alaska are open 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.  Voters get to decide several races – who Alaska sends to D.C., who will lead the state as governor, and who will be sent to the state capital. Voters will also weigh in on a once-in-a-decade ballot measure […]

Composite image of House District 6 candidates Ginger Bryant, Louis "Louie" Flora and incumbent Sarah Vance. (Campaign photos)

Lower Kenai Peninsula House candidates differ on abortion, constitutional convention

By: - November 3, 2022

In the race to represent Homer and other lower Kenai Peninsula communities in the Alaska State House, the two main contenders differ on some key issues, like abortion rights, support for a constitutional convention and ranked choice voting. In the August primary, sitting legislator Republican Sarah Vance got 52% of the vote with nonpartisan Louis […]

The University of Alaska Anchorage sign, seen on May 29, stands at the eastern edge of campus. (Photo by Yereth Rosen/Alaska Beacon)

University of Alaska administration and faculty union reach tentative contract agreement

By: - November 1, 2022

The University of Alaska’s administration and its faculty union reached a tentative agreement on a new contract Monday, ending 14 months of negotiations. The sometimes contentious process resulted in both parties filing unfair labor practice complaints, which are still ongoing. Faculty union president Abel Bult-Ito said he’s “relieved” negotiations are over, “but I don’t think […]

What a constitutional convention has to do with abortion rights in Alaska

By: - November 1, 2022

Alaska voters will be answering a yes-no question in the general election next week: “Shall there be a Constitutional Convention?” While the pro-Convention side has emphasized putting the Permanent Fund Dividend in the constitution as the top motivation, those opposed to the convention also see abortion rights as an issue at stake. The right to […]

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

Alaska Corrections reports 16th death of 2022, surpassing previous decade-high number of in-custody deaths

By: - October 26, 2022

Paul Harris, 69, died on Oct. 23 at Goose Creek Correctional Center, becoming the 16th person to die in the state’s prison system this year, according to an Alaska Department of Corrections press release on Tuesday. With this death, Corrections surpassed the highest number of in-custody deaths the department has seen in the past decade, […]

An empty hallway at Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé in Juneau, Alaska, on July 20, 2022. (Photo by Lisa Phu/Alaska Beacon)

Alaska students stay steady in reading but decline in math since pre-pandemic, says national assessment

By: - October 24, 2022

Math scores were down this year for students in Alaska from pre-pandemic 2019, according to results from the National Assessment of Educational Progress released Monday. The change in math scores mirrored a trend seen across the country.  Reading scores, on the other hand, for Alaska students stayed about the same. The national average score declines […]

The front of Abbott Loop Elementary School in Anchorage is seen on Wednesday. (Photo by Yereth Rosen/Alaska Beacon)

Confronting rising bills and flat state funding, Alaska schools say they are at a fiscal cliff

By: and - October 21, 2022

This week, the Anchorage School District announced that it is considering the closure of six elementary schools amid a projected $68 million budget shortfall. Anchorage isn’t the only district facing a major fiscal problem. At the end of the last school year, Fairbanks closed three schools. In Juneau, the school board is considering whether to […]