Nathaniel Herz, Alaska Public Media - Anchorage

Nat Herz covers government, politics, environment and COVID-19 for Alaska Public Media. Reach him at

After bruising first year, new Dunleavy budget trades cuts for big PFDs and deficit spending

Alaska Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy proposed a new budget Wednesday that would spend most of the cash left in the state's primary savings account to sustain government services at status quo levels, while paying out record-sized Permanent Fund dividends.
A man in a suit walks down a hallway.

Anxious about Dunleavy’s new budget? Alaska lawmakers will likely temper it, maybe by a lot.

While the Alaska Constitution grants the governor substantial powers over state finances, they’re far from absolute, and the governor’s initial proposal often amounts to an opening offer instead of the last word.

Enstar wants permission to raise gas prices to cover $1 million in earthquake repairs

Anchorage natural gas company Enstar is asking state regulators to allow it to bill its customers to recover $1 million in costs from last year's major earthquake.

Alaska’s once-a-decade redistricting process is about to start

A newly formed committee charged with planning for Alaska's once-a-decade redistricting process will hold its first meeting next week.

NTSB: Pilot inexperience and unfavorable winds factored into fatal PenAir crash in Unalaska

The flight that crashed at the Dutch Harbor airport last month, killing a passenger, landed amid unfavorable but shifting winds, according to an initial federal report released Friday. And it was captained by a pilot with relatively little experience at the controls of Saab-2000 plane he was flying, the report said.

Murdoch-funded group gives major boost to initiative to overhaul Alaska’s elections

An organization funded by the Murdoch family has donated more than a half-million dollars to a campaign to overhaul Alaska’s election laws and establish a system of ranked choice voting, making it easier to elect independent candidates.

Passenger on Unalaska flight recounts crash landing: ‘He’s not going to stop — we’re going into the water’

Patrick Lee, 57, was on the plane returning home with his wife, daughter and granddaughter Thursday night. He said the approach was bumpy, though the pilot managed to get the plane on the ground.

Protest interrupts governor at AFN, reveals fissures over appropriate dissent among attendees

A group of protesters briefly interrupted Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s address to the Alaska Federation of Natives convention Thursday morning, drawing a rebuke from Will Mayo, one of the federation’s co-chairs. Alaska Native groups have feuded...

A new menace for Anchorage dogs: river otters

“If I hadn't intervened," the dog's owner said. "I'm certain that they would have killed her."

Dunleavy administration announces amount of Alaska’s 2019 PFD checks

Each Alaska resident will receive a $1,606 Permanent Fund dividend this year, Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy's administration announced Friday. The payment will be split between 631,000 recipients, and it's each person's share of the $1.013...
A woman poses in a jacket outside.

‘Genetic geneology’ is helping crack cold cases in Alaska. Here’s how it works.

Twice this year, Alaska investigators have cracked cold cases using new DNA technology called genetic genealogy. Steve Armentrout, Parabon NanoLabs chief executive, says it's a new science that's expanding quickly.

When the McKinley fire started, local firefighters took the first calls

Many of the local firefighters are still at the scene, but their initial efforts were especially important, officials said, amid diminished staffing levels at the end of the fire season, and as other wildfires around the state were competing for staff and equipment.

At least 50 structures lost in McKinley fire north of Willow

A 19-mile stretch of the Parks Highway was closed some 80 miles north of Anchorage, as authorities called for the evacuation of a subdivision that only has one road in and out.

Tali Birch Kindred, daughter of deceased state Sen. Birch, takes step toward trying to fill his seat

The daughter of recently-deceased state senator Chris Birch, Tali Birch Kindred, is seeking to replace him, according to documents she filed with state regulators Friday.

PFD fight splits Alaska GOP, leaving some aligned with Democrats

Typically, some of the most intense fights at the Alaska state Capitol are between Democrats and Republicans. But one of the biggest ideological fractures complicating this year's legislative session is within the GOP, and that's creating some strange bedfellows.

Alaska lawmakers’ veto override vote fails in Juneau as protesters occupy GOP session in Wasilla

Alaska lawmakers failed Wednesday to override some $400 million in budget vetoes by Gov. Mike Dunleavy, as fewer legislators were present in Juneau than the 45 votes needed to reverse the governor.

In 4 a.m. emails, demonstrations and in-person ambushes, Alaskans press lawmakers on budget vetoes

Anchorage Republican Rep. Sara Rasmussen was taking her small children out of a bath recently when someone showed up at her door. They wanted to talk about Alaska GOP Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s line-item vetoes...

Constituents use Wasilla special session to lobby Alaska lawmakers on Gov. Dunleavy’s budget vetoes

Monday’s special session in Wasilla wasn't just a meeting for Alaska’s Republican legislators. It also gave road system Alaskans a chance to offer their opinions about the huge dilemma facing lawmakers right now: whether to uphold Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy's major line-item budget vetoes.

Alaska Gov. Dunleavy wields veto pen to attack state Supreme Court over abortion ruling

For years, the Alaska Supreme Court has stymied conservatives' efforts to limit state-funded abortion. On Friday, GOP Gov. Mike Dunleavy employed a new tactic: He vetoed $335,000 from the Supreme Court's budget, in a move that critics say threatens the judiciary's independence.