Alaska Department of Corrections Commissioner Jen Winkelman presents to the House Judiciary Committee on Feb. 1. (Screenshot)

Alaska Corrections head says 18 in-custody deaths in 2022 were ‘too many’

BY: - February 2, 2023

Alaska’s Department of Corrections commissioner told legislators Wednesday that the 18 in-custody deaths in 2022 – seven of which were a result of suicide – were high. “That is too many. I absolutely know that,” Jen Winkelman said while giving an overview of the department to the House Judiciary Committee. “They are somebody’s brother, they […]

Retiring from the high court, Alaska’s chief justice defends its system of selecting judges

BY: - February 1, 2023

In his final speech before retirement, Alaska Chief Justice Daniel Winfree firmly defended the state’s merit-based process for picking judges on Wednesday, telling the state’s 60 legislators that he is aware that some of them don’t want apolitical judges, but he believes it’s an important principle to keep. “With apologies to Led Zeppelin and ‘Stairway […]

U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) speaks as Reps. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) listen during a press conference at the U.S. Capitol on July 15, 2019, in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Alex Wroblewski/Getty Images)

Of more than 7,500 threats against members of Congress in 2022, just 22 prosecuted

BY: - January 31, 2023

WASHINGTON —  Members of Congress receive thousands of threats a year, though just a fraction of the people who call, mail or email will ever be prosecuted — a situation that’s of great concern to the police who guard members. Just 22 of the 7,501 threats lobbed at members during 2022 led to prosecution, the […]

Jessica Clayton and 10-year-old son Mavrick Clayton at the Back to School shoe giveaway event at Northgate Church in Wasilla, Alaska, in August 2022. (Photo provided by Jessica Clayton)

‘Hungry, frustrated and unheard’: With food stamp backlog, Alaska parent struggles to feed son

BY: - January 31, 2023

The last time Palmer resident Jessica Clayton received food stamps to help feed her and her 10-year-old son was Nov. 1. Clayton said Monday she’s feeling “hungry, frustrated and unheard, like I don’t matter, like my kid doesn’t matter.”  She’s been getting by with the help of two different food banks and the generosity of […]

Sun shines through the canopy in the Tongass National Forest. (Photo by Brian Logan/U.S. Forest Service)

USDA says it will restore a ban on most development in the Tongass National Forest

BY: - January 25, 2023

The Biden administration will ban new logging roads and most development in much of Southeast Alaska’s Tongass National Forest, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced Wednesday. The decision, which repeals a 2020 USDA action under the Trump administration, continues a quarter-century of action and counter-action over development in the region, which contains the world’s largest […]

Jim Cockrell, commissioner of the Alaska Department of Public Safety, with Gov. Mike Dunleavy, speaks in Wasilla at a May 3, 2022 press conference on opioids. (Photo by Yereth Rosen/Alaska Beacon)

State troopers, misled by false court order, detained school principal for mental health check

BY: - January 24, 2023

State troopers mistakenly took Alaska’s 2022 Principal of the Year into custody for a mental health examination last week after a family member presented troopers with a document they said was signed by a state judge. That wasn’t true, and Troopers and the Alaska Court System confirmed the mistake Tuesday, six days after Colony High […]

Dunleavy picks Sitka judge for Supreme Court, first justice in decades from small-town Alaska

BY: - January 21, 2023

Gov. Mike Dunleavy on Friday appointed Jude Pate of Sitka to the Alaska Supreme Court, making him the first justice to come directly from someplace other than Juneau, Anchorage or Fairbanks since 1960. Before Pate, the last justice who met those standards was Walter Hodge, who came from Nome and served on the court in […]

A sign for a store that accepts food stamps and exchange benefits transfer cards is seen in this 2019 photo. Ten Alaskans are suing the state over its failure to provide food stamps within the time frames required by federal law. (Photo by Scott Heins/Getty Images)

Lawsuit says Alaska Department of Health exposed thousands to hunger risk by not giving food aid

BY: - January 20, 2023

Ten Alaskans are suing the state, saying it failed to provide food stamps within the time frames required by federal law. The complaint was filed Friday in Superior Court in Anchorage against Alaska Health Commissioner Heidi Hedberg. The lawsuit said that in her role as commissioner of a department that failed to provide needed services, Hedberg “has […]


Making child care more affordable in Alaska is a win-win — the federal Child Tax Credit can help

BY: - January 19, 2023

During my time in service to the people of Alaska, I was mystified year after year that the debate around our support for children and families could often erupt into controversy. My experience showed me that the debates were around the edges when the sound discussions could have been in the middle. It is in […]

Protestors hold signs that read "hate is a virus" and "stop Asian hate" at the End The Violence Towards Asians rally in Washington Square Park on Feb. 20, 2021, in New York City. Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, violence towards Asian Americans has increased at a much higher rate than previous years. (Photo by Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images)

Days after Indiana attack, White House vows to fight hate against Asian Americans

BY: - January 17, 2023

WASHINGTON— The White House on Tuesday announced a multi-agency strategy to help combat anti-Asian American hate, promote language access and improve governmental data collection for the Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander community. “This unprecedented plan builds on the administration’s broader equity agenda,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said during Tuesday’s press briefing. […]

Alaska Supreme Court rules in favor of Jennie Armstrong, clearing her to serve in Legislature

BY: - January 13, 2023

The Alaska Supreme Court has upheld the eligibility of Rep.-elect Jennie Armstrong, D-Anchorage, to serve in the state Legislature. In a summary decision issued Friday, three of the court’s justices voted 2-1 to uphold a lower-court decision in Armstrong’s favor. The justices did not provide an immediate explanation for their decision; one will be published […]

Jim Cockrell, commissioner of the Alaska Department of Public Safety, with Gov. Mike Dunleavy, speaks in Wasilla at a May 3, 2022 press conference on opioids. (Photo by Yereth Rosen/Alaska Beacon)

Report shows Alaska has almost eliminated its backlog of untested sexual assault evidence

BY: - January 12, 2023

Alaska’s backlog of untested sexual assault examination kits has all but disappeared after a five-year, multimillion-dollar effort, according to a report that will be formally presented to the Alaska Legislature on Tuesday.  The kits, colloquially known as “rape kits,” are used to collect physical evidence after a sexual assault. Figures published by the Alaska Department […]