Commentary

The James Webb Space Telescope produced this image, known as Webb’s First Deep Field, a view of galaxy cluster SMACS 0723 and the deepest and sharpest infrared image of the distant universe to date. It was released July 11, 2022. (NASA)

The Webb telescope images remind us who we really are

BY: - July 19, 2022

So much of our collective experience as a country these days involves division and strife, but this week we rediscovered our capacity for unity and awe, occasioned by a picture. On Monday, NASA released the first image from the James Webb Space Telescope, a “deep field” photo that captures hundreds of galaxies, each containing roughly […]

What happens when you have a beef with a judge?

BY: - July 17, 2022

It was not in the menu, but there was a heaping helping of irony served up one evening last week at a restaurant in Washington, D.C. U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh was dining at Morton’s steakhouse. Demonstrators were outside, intent on ensuring he left with indigestion and not just a full belly. At the […]

Protestors hold signs during an abortion-rights rally June 25, 2022, outside the Dimond Courthouse in Juneau, Alaska.

Abortion, morality and the law

BY: - July 14, 2022

Morality is not simple. It’s easy to hold absolute positions in the abstract, but when human realities intrude, what seems straightforward becomes complex. For instance, the Ten Commandments state, “Thou shalt not kill.” No exceptions. Yet the Bible is littered with exceptions, because it isn’t that simple. Our modern laws reflect this. Killing others is […]

A tree in Whale Pass, Alaska, marked for a state timber sale is near a house. (Photo by Katie Rooks)

Small community of Whale Pass sees ‘shut up and take it’ attitude in timber sale bill

BY: - July 12, 2022

During the most recent legislative session in Alaska, the current administration proposed House Bill 98/Senate Bill 85 — a bill concerning how timber sales are conducted in the state. One of the components of the bill was the elimination of an opportunity to appeal by the public. During the hearings regarding the bill, Division of […]

Fire burns on the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta tundra near the village of St. Mary's on June 13. (Photo by John Kern/BLM Alaska Fire Service)

Alaska on fire

BY: - July 8, 2022

Alaska is on pace for another historic wildfire year, with its fastest start to the fire season on record. By mid-June 2022, over 1 million acres had burned. By early July, that number was well over 2 million acres, more than twice the size of a typical Alaska fire season. The Conversation asked Rick Thoman, […]

Sarah Palin speaks and Mary Peltola listens at a March 12 forum of candidates for the U.S. House seat left vacant by the death of Don Young. (Photo by Yereth Rosen/Alaska Beacon)

How Al Gross’ decision affects Alaska’s first ranked-choice elections

BY: - July 7, 2022

Al Gross’ choice to end his campaign could prove to be a decisive move during the height of the special election to fill the remaining term of the late Congressman Don Young. The move could concentrate support for a candidate who is uniquely positioned to connect with rural Alaska and Alaska Native voters, Mary Peltola. […]

Dr. Anne Zink, Alaska’s chief medical officer, stands outside a restaurant on May 6 in Palmer, her home city. In an interview, she reflected on two years of COVID-19. (Photo by Yereth Rosen/Alaska Beacon)

COVID-19 is different in 2022. Here’s how we move forward.

BY: - July 6, 2022

In early 2020, at the beginning of the pandemic, we knew almost nothing about COVID-19. How did it spread? Who would get sick? How could we protect ourselves and each other?   We saw hospitals being built and overflowing, first in China, then Italy and New York. Morgues filled across the world as health care facilities […]

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

University offers certificates to fill Alaska’s workforce needs

BY: - July 5, 2022

Over the last two and a half years, we’ve seen the Anchorage economy transition from being strained by job losses, closures and unemployment to being stressed by a workforce shortage, with unfilled positions across nearly every industry. At the University of Alaska Anchorage, we strive to stay responsive to our state’s needs, which is why […]

A smoke column rises during the Bear Creek Fire No. 4 in June 2012. (Photo by Freddie R. Olin IV)

What it means to be an Alaska wildland firefighter

BY: - July 2, 2022

As wildfire smoke has enveloped much of Alaska in the past few weeks, we can know that hundreds of dedicated, professional, and tough women and men are fighting each fire that may be encroaching on our lives, whether in the wilderness protecting cabins or nearby communities and villages along each river and highway. The anomaly […]

Tlevak Narrows, south of Craig, Alaska, on Prince of Wales Island, is accessed via saltwater. (Photo by Katie Rooks)

Alaska should protect natural resources while allowing sustainable, reasonable utilization

BY: - June 30, 2022

The Alaska Beacon has asked Alaskans to tell us what they would like to hear candidates discuss as they compete for votes this year. Prince of Wales Island resident Katie Rooks submitted these thoughts, which the Beacon is publishing with Rooks’ permission. Email what you would like to hear from candidates to [email protected] I have been a resident […]

The House floor on April 22, 2022, in Juneau, Alaska. (Photo by Rashah McChesney)

Why Alaska lawmakers are calling it quits

BY: - June 29, 2022

This spring, more than one-third of Alaska’s current legislators announced they will not seek reelection. That’s a high number by any standard, even after accounting for retirements and redistricting. Let’s take a closer look at some of the main drivers for this massive opting-out by Alaska’s legislators.  It used to be that legislators could pretty […]

The Biden administration requires health insurers to pay for eight at-home, rapid COVID-19 tests per person. (Courtesy of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services)

The Biden administration said insurers must cover home COVID tests. It didn’t say how.

BY: - June 28, 2022

I read the announcement in January with mixed emotions: The Biden administration would soon require health insurers to pay for eight at-home, rapid COVID-19 tests per person, per month, it said. What a helpful move to improve testing access for Americans whose jobs, schooling and daily lives expose them to the virus, I thought. Especially […]