Michael Fanelli, Alaska Public Media - Anchorage

Michael Fanelli reports on economics and hosts the statewide morning news at Alaska Public Media. Reach him at mfanelli@alaskapublic.org or 907-550-8445. Read more about Michael here.
A road with cars

Alaska’s rising minimum wage means more to salaries than you might think

Many hourly employees already make more than minimum wage. But exempt salaried employees must be paid double that rate in Alaska.
A cannabis plant grows indoors.

Alaska hemp producers sue state, saying new ban on products is illegal

Alaska recently banned hemp products with intoxicating THC. The hemp industry says its products are protected under federal law.
A man with orange waders takes a photo of a man holding a bag of crabs right in between two tubs filled with live crabs

Alaska crabbers get creative with pop-up sales, but industry’s fate uncertain

With the Bering Sea snow crab fishery closed for a second year, crabbers are trying to find ways to make up for lost income.
a Petersburg van crash memorial

A Petersburg family is trying to change Alaska’s workers’ comp laws in honor of their daughter

The family wants to hold employers more accountable for negligence, which could affect thousands of Alaskans working dangerous jobs.
A view of Eklutna Lake.

Eklutna Hydro Project owners’ plan would return water to most, but not all of Eklutna River

The plan would bypass the dam and send water back down 11 of 12 miles of the Eklutna River. But some want to see the river fully restored.
Two people in hardhats and safety vests dig a trench.

Report says Alaska’s labor shortage isn’t going away, and employers need to do more to retain workers

State economist says as retention becomes increasingly difficult, good employers have an advantage. And technical trades are in high demand.
North Link Rep speaks at the Groundbreaking ceremony Wednesday, October 11, 2023 (Shiri Segal/Alaska Public Media)

New Anchorage cargo terminal could bring faster packages and industry expansion

The NorthLink Aviation facility will allow cargo carriers to unload and clear customs in Anchorage, which could grow the city’s freight business.
A view of the tipping floor from the observation deck of waste services dumping waste onto the floor.

With new Anchorage waste center, city hopes to help residents minimize trash

The transfer station is a central point for the city’s garbage trucks and residents to dump trash, but also offers opportunities to divert landfill waste.

New AEDC president focused on making Anchorage more attractive to workers

Jenna Wright, the Anchorage Economic Development Corp.'s new head, says the city needs to become more desirable and affordable to workers.
a permanent fund seal in window

Alaska heading toward fiscal ‘brick wall’ that could force end to PFD formula debate

Alaskans are set to receive $1,312 payouts, but the Legislature still can’t agree on how to determine that number in the long term.
A sign reads "Fox Terrance Apartments: No vacancy" outside of a green-colored building.

Alaska rents are up 7%, the biggest increase in more than a decade

A new report from the state finds median rental costs climbed across the board, as much as 16% in one community.
A group of people hold up a giant check while standing behind large batteries

A new e-waste program is recycling tons of batteries from rural Alaska

The Backhaul Alaska program collected and recycled over 145,000 pounds of lead acid batteries and other e-waste from hard-to-reach communities last year.
A crowd of people gather in front of solar panels as those in the front hold a yellow ribbon that is about to be cut by two people holding large scissors.

Mat-Su Borough welcomes Alaska’s biggest solar farm

The 8.5 megawatt solar array is expected to power about 1,400 homes, and has already begun feeding energy into the Matanuska Energy Association grid.
A woman in a colorful patterned shirt sits at a desk.

Anchorage women-owned businesses form ‘Outdoor Alliance’ to help each other succeed

Women have been making inroads in the traditionally male-dominated industry, with female leaders apparently concentrated in Alaska.
A smiling woman holding a small package

A tough choice for Heather’s Choice: Anchorage company considers relocating to grow business

Heather’s Choice makes premium dehydrated meals for hikers or anyone on the go, and is continuing to grow its presence in the Lower 48.
A man dressed in a grey suit with a purple tie discuses the three-year economic outlook at the Anchorage Economic Development Corporation luncheon held at the Dena'ina Center.

Anchorage population expected to increase in 2023, the first time in 7 years

But the increase is small: "a whopping 0.3%," said Bill Popp, president and CEO of the Anchorage Economic Development Corp.

TOTE Maritime Alaska is now powering its ships with natural gas, cutting carbon and other pollutants

The company says it's the first in the world to convert a full fleet to run on the most environmentally friendly fuel available.
A town on a cove as seen from above

Alaska will start monitoring villages for PFAS in anticipation of new EPA rules

The state Department of Environmental Conservation will test the drinking water in 193 Alaska Native villages starting this fall.
a town can be seen from an aerial view out of a plane

In the wake of canceled cruise stops, Valdez official says businesses should focus on in-state tourism

A local official said cruise lines have a history of abrupt cancellations, so tourism companies should cater to more reliable Alaskan visitors.
A woman in a grey shirt describing clothes on a rack.

Anchorage outdoor apparel company Alpine Fit wins small business award

Alpine Fit was recently named women-owned business of the year - the owner credits the accolade to their contributions to domestic apparel manufacturing.