Wesley Early, Alaska Public Media - Anchorage

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

Was Friday a snow day in Anchorage? Not according to the National Weather Service

Despite over 14 inches of snow on the Anchorage hillside, the precipitation didn't break Anchorage's official record for earliest snow fall, since measurements for that are taken at the Anchorage Airport.

Snow expected: Anchorage could tie 40-year-old record for earliest snowfall

Parts of Anchorage could see up to a foot of snow before Friday afternoon, according to the National Weather Service. 

Anchorage’s new health director wants to ensure access to COVID vaccines without mandating them

Joe Gerace is in his first full week leading the Anchorage Health Department as the city's health care workers contend with a sharp rise in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.

Joe Gerace named new Anchorage health director

Joe Gerace previously worked as the Director of Operations for Visit Healthcare, the municipality's main testing and vaccine provider, and currently serves as chairman of the board of American Red Cross in Alaska.
A white paper sign that says "COVID-19 vaccine" with an arrow pointing into a large white room

Here are the first 2 winners of the state’s $49K COVID vaccine sweepstakes

Carin Kircher of Valdez won $49,000 in cash while Kodiak student Ethan Benton received a $49,000 scholarship.

Anchorage Fire Department lays out plan to cut back on overtime

Anchorage Fire Chief Doug Schrage says the department’s overtime budget is roughly $3.5 million. “To date, we've spent $3.2 million," Schrage said. "We expect by the end of September we will have exhausted our overtime budget.”

Anchorage School District ditches quarantine requirement for asymptomatic close contacts

Now, parents are still notified when their child is a close contact of a positive case in school. But if their child isn't showing symptoms, quarantine is not longer a requirement. Instead, parents can decide whether they want their child to remain in class, quarantine or test for the virus.
a person speaks into a microphone

Recall election for Anchorage Assembly member Zaletel set for Oct. 26

Organizers behind the recall say Assembly member Meg Zaletel disobeyed a municipal health mandate when she participated in an Assembly meeting in August 2020. Zaletel described the recall effort as a waste of taxpayer dollars.
a person behind a podium at a press conference

Anchorage mayor says he won’t require COVID-19 vaccines, pushing back against Biden mandate

Bronson said that the municipality, which has more than 100 employees, would not follow the president’s mandate and that he would not require Anchorage businesses to follow it either.

Anchorage mayor announces new committee to foster economic recovery

The Anchorage Economic Revitalization and Diversification Advisory Committee is chaired by Mike Robbins and tasked with getting the city's economy back on track.
an old photo of a Black woman in a graduation gown

Anchorage School Board adds name of pioneering Black educator to Fairview Elementary

The Anchorage School Board voted unanimously Tuesday night to commemorate the district’s first Black teacher and principal by adding her name to her community‘s elementary school.

Anchorage police identify officer involved in accidental shooting

Anchorage police have identified the officer whose weapon discharged and struck another officer Friday night as Ryan Nigh, a three-year veteran of the department. 
A man wearing a jacket in a boat looks out over sea ice.

Declining sea ice in Kotzebue Sound is shortening subsistence hunt for seals, study finds

The study found that the ugruk hunting season is ending an average of 26 days earlier than normal.

Alaska Federation of Natives postpones convention to December, citing COVID-19 spread

The three-day event was scheduled for October 21-23 in Anchorage. But AFN President Julie Kitka said in a statement Tuesday, “the high-risk factors of holding a 5,000-person indoor meeting, with delegates coming in from across Alaska, make an in-person October gathering out of the question.”

Rare polar bear sighting causes a stir in Kotzebue

Locals in Kotzebue showed a mix of excitement and concern over the weekend in response to reports that a rare polar bear was spotted in the area.
An aerial view of a large building surrounded by mostly green space.

Spike of COVID-19 cases in Noatak leads to lockdown and temporary school closure

Clusters of COVID-19 infections have also led to recent lockdowns in the Western Alaska community of Stebbins and in Metlakatla in Southeast Alaska.
Two men, a woman and a small boy pose for a photograph, smiling.

These Minnesotans were having a great canoe trip with their toddler in Northwest Alaska. Then the rain clouds rolled in.

Last month, Kotzebue had its wettest month on record with more than five inches of total precipitation. As rain drenched Northwest Alaska, a small group from Minnesota floated the Noatak River in a canoe, with a toddler in tow.
Puddles on a gravel parking lot in front of a large white warehousey building

July was the wettest month on record for Kotzebue

This summer saw two instances of high pressure systems near Alaska. One was in eastern Siberia and the other was in Western Canada and Eastern Alaska. Both led to dry weather and numerous wildfires in the area. 
Some bopats on a sandy shore under some low clouds

Kotzebue couple charged with assaulting and starving children in their care

A Kotzebue couple has been arrested and charged with two dozen felonies for allegedly assaulting children in their care, according to court documents.
A woman with a fur parka stands and smiles in front of a fence

Meet this year’s Miss World Eskimo-Indian Olympics: Kotzebue’s Kaliksuna Autumn Madison

As part of the pageant, Madison showcased her traditional Iñupiaq dancing, while drummers played along.