Wesley Early, Alaska Public Media - Anchorage

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Wesley Early covers municipal politics and Anchorage life for Alaska Public Media. Reach him at wearly@alaskapublic.org.

Anchorage Assembly indefinitely tables advisory vote on Eagle River exit

The question of whether Eagle River, Chugiak, Peters Creek and Eklutna should secede from Anchorage is off the table for the foreseeable future. 
The Anchorage Assembly chambers at the Z. J. Loussac Public Library in Anchorage.

Anchorage Assembly postpones vote on changing how mayoral vacancies are filled

The ordinance would amend the city charter to require a special election between 90 and 120 days after a mayoral vacancy.

New Alaska smartphone feature allows for anonymous reporting of COVID exposure

The service COVID ENX was developed by Apple and Google to allow users to anonymously report that they’ve tested positive for COVID-19. 
A latex glove holding a shot

The flu makes comeback in Alaska amid omicron spike

While 957 flu cases is a lot compared to last year, it’s dwarfed by an average, pre-pandemic, Alaska year. Health officials say a normal year in the state would see around 7,500 cases. 
A dog team mushes by a snowmachine.

Musher Ryan Redington’s dogs still recovering after hit by snowmachine in Wisconsin

On Saturday night, Redington said he was mushing his team on the trail when he saw a snowmachine barreling toward him at a high speed.  
correctional complex

State investigation finds Anchorage corrections officers used excessive force in 2017 pepper spray incident

The incident took place more than four years ago, and investigators say the state corrections department still hasn’t made adequate changes to prevent similar incidents.
sign on a door says 'please wear a face mask'

Return of Anchorage mask mandate uncertain, amid omicron-driven spike

Anchorage’s COVID-19 cases have dramatically increased with the new omicron variant, but that doesn’t automatically mean the city will have a new masking mandate. 
A big hole in a road with water gushing through it.

State amends disaster declaration for Southcentral storm to include Girdwood damages

Anchorage emergency management officials say Girdwood’s Ruane Road, which is the only road to the area’s water utility facility, was damaged by the storm as were the Loveland and Echo Ridge Roads.
a person is sworn in as mayor by another person, and others are watching

Bronson proposes making Anchorage municipal clerk an elected official

Under the mayor’s proposal, the city charter would be changed to have the clerk elected for a three-year term. Other requirements would be that the clerk be an Anchorage resident while in office and be a resident for at least two years prior to the election. 
A concrete sign with an emblem of the Alaska flag and the words "Nesbett Courthouse". A sidwalk and streetlamps are in the background

Bronson creates specialized prosecution unit focused on domestic violence

The unit will focus specifically on crimes like intimate partner violence, child abuse and neglect, as well as animal abuse.
A woman waves as confetti falls.

Alaska’s first Miss America calls response to her historic win overwhelming and heartwarming

“Before I knew it, they were putting a crown on my head and I was just so overwhelmed with emotion," Broyles said the day after she was crowned. "Being the first Miss Alaska to be crowned Miss America means so much.”
a person gives a thumbs up

Anchorage School District to make face masks optional for students starting Jan. 3

Superintendent Deena Bishop says the district is dropping its mask requirements in response to a decline in COVID-19 cases. 
Dave Bronson speaks with the media

Assembly amends Bronson’s changes to executive branch, keeping library as its own department

The Anchorage Assembly on Tuesday approved Mayor Dave Bronson’s proposed organization of the city’s executive branch. But it was not without several changes and a flurry of vetoes and veto overrides.  
a scientist as seen through lab shelves

Alaska reports its first case of omicron variant

The city health department says an Anchorage resident recently tested positive for the omicron variant following international travel.
Dave Bronson speaks with the media

Bronson sues Anchorage Assembly over his right to fire chief equity officer

The lawsuit stems from Bronson’s firing of Clifford Armstrong III in October.
Large white boxes that read "Vote by Mail Ballot Drop Box" sit in a warehouse.

Anchorage Assembly to take public testimony on election code changes next week

The proposed changes come in the wake of reports of "unprecedented harassment" of election workers during the mayoral runoff election in May.

Anchorage Assembly ends its indoor mask mandate

The ordinance mandated that people wear masks in indoor public and communal spaces. 
A man poses for a photo in uniform with a flag behind him.

Bronson announces new Anchorage police chief

Deputy Chief Michael Kerle will be the city's new chief, effective Feb. 2., Bronson announced Tuesday night at an Assembly meeting.

Anchorage School District faces $67M budget shortfall going into next year, officials say

The most recent ASD budget was around $565 million. The district's projections anticipate that revenues will decline by about $20 million and expenditures will increase by about $47 million.

As much as 30 inches of snow could fall in parts of Southcentral Alaska

The National Weather Service is forecasting between 16 and 30 inches of snow in the Upper Susitna Valley, while the area north of Seward along the Turnagain Arm could see between one and two feet of snow.