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]

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, […]

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

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. […]

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

In 12th Alaska Corrections death of the year, man dies after just 10 days in custody

By: - September 14, 2022

James Rider, 31, died on Sept. 9 at Mat-Su Regional Medical Center after 10 days in the custody of the Alaska Department of Corrections, becoming the 12th person to die in the state’s prison system this year. Of the dozen deaths to occur so far this year, several have taken place after only a short […]

Fourth-place finisher Buzz Kelley suspends campaign for U.S. Senate, backs Tshibaka

By: - September 12, 2022

Republican Buzz Kelley, who finished fourth in Alaska’s U.S. Senate primary race, is suspending his campaign and asking his supporters to vote for fellow Republican Kelly Tshibaka.  The 65-year-old retired mechanic from Wasilla got just over 2% of the vote, qualifying him for the ballot behind Alaska’s sitting U.S. Senator Republican Lisa Murkowski, Tshibaka and […]

Jeremy Wong smokes an e-cigarette in 2018 in California. On Friday, Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy vetoed a bill that included a tax on electronic smoking products that contain nicotine. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Alaska governor vetoes bill to tax e-cigs and raise minimum age for tobacco

By: - September 9, 2022

Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy on Friday vetoed a bill that would have raised the minimum age to purchase and legally possess tobacco products from 19 to 21 years old. The bill also included a tax on electronic smoking products that contain nicotine, which is what Dunleavy took issue with. Currently, Alaska has a cigarette tax […]

University of Alaska Anchorage Chancellor Sean Parnell speaks at a Sept. 8, 2022, University of Alaska Board of Regents meeting in Juneau, Alaska. (Screenshot)

University of Alaska regents get preview of employee pay increase, but labor deal remains uncertain

By: - September 9, 2022

The University of Alaska Board of Regents received a preview of a plan to raise pay for employees. But it’s still unclear whether an increase will be a part of resolving ongoing contract negotiations with the university faculty union. The regents met Thursday in Juneau at the University of Alaska Southeast. It was the first […]

Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy (R) speaks at a May 3, 2022 press conference in Wasilla. (Photo by Yereth Rosen/Alaska Beacon)

Watchdog agency considers next step for campaign finance complaint against Alaska Gov. Dunleavy

By: - September 7, 2022

Over the next several days, the staff of the state’s campaign finance watchdog agency could begin investigating a complaint against Gov. Mike Dunleavy and his reelection campaign for alleged violations of campaign finance laws.  Two nonprofits that aim to hold government accountable filed the complaint on Tuesday with the Alaska Public Offices Commission. The complaint […]

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 Department of Corrections reports 11th death in custody of 2022

By: - September 7, 2022

The Alaska Department of Corrections has announced the 11th death of a person in custody this year. Bernie Alexia, 76, died in Goose Creek Correctional Center on Sept. 4, according to a Corrections press release on Tuesday. The department said it was an “expected death.” With about four months left in the year, Corrections has […]

Anne Sears, Alaska's special investigator for cases of murdered and missing Indigenous people, speaks at Gov. Mike Dunleavy's June 28 news conference about the state budget. Sears is a retired state trooper hired in April to lead the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Persons Initiative. She was the first Alaska Native woman hired as a state trooper. (Photo by Yereth Rosen/Alaska Beacon)

Anne Sears is no longer Alaska’s Missing and Murdered Indigenous Persons investigator

By: - September 6, 2022

After five months on the job, Anne Sears is no longer Alaska’s investigator for missing and murdered Indigenous people with the Alaska State Troopers. When the Department of Public Safety hired her in April, the position was the first of its kind in the state. Now, the critical role is unfilled. In late August, Sears […]

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

University of Alaska Southeast begins search for new chancellor

By: - September 5, 2022

The University of Alaska Southeast has started its search for a new leader with Chancellor Karen Carey set to retire at the end of this academic year. The search committee recruiting the next chancellor put out a job description Thursday. Applications and nominations for initial review are due Oct. 30, though the recruitment will remain […]