Nathaniel Herz, Alaska Public Media

Nathaniel Herz is an Anchorage-based journalist. He's been a reporter in Alaska for a decade, and is currently reporting for Alaska Public Media. Find more of his work by subscribing to his newsletter, Northern Journal, at Reach him at

Amid COVID surge, Alaska Airlines is ‘looking closely’ at workforce vaccine mandate

In a prepared statement late Wednesday, the company said the highly contagious delta variant is driving its consideration of a mandate, which would not take effect until at least one vaccine is given full approval by the Food and Drug Administration.
Gov. Mike Dunleavy

Dunleavy delays start of special legislative session

The special session will now begin August 16 instead of August 2, according to an announcement by Dunleavy’s office this week.

Anchorage Mayor Bronson says he won’t push masks or vaccines, hires new top doc

“What I do is my business, and what the individual does is their business,” Bronson said. “I’m not here to tell people to wear masks or get vaccinated. My focus as a government leader is to provide the absolute best information that’s available.”
A white man in a black suit

COVID is spiking and hospitals are filling up. But Alaska leaders aren’t bringing back mandates.

The last time case counts were this high, Anchorage’s city government had a mask mandate, and Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s administration required COVID testing for visitors. But even as cases spike again, officials aren't reinstating those measures, citing the vaccine's availability.

Kikkan Randall is returning to Anchorage to lead the club she grew up skiing in

Randall has been living in Canada, but grew up in Anchorage. She won the U.S.A.'s first cross country ski gold medal in South Korea in 2018 for the women's team sprint.
a person prepares a syringe to deliver a vaccine to another person

Alaska’s rare COVID breakthrough cases are far less worrisome than stalled vaccination rate, experts say

State officials have released a new report of hundreds of cases of COVID-19 in vaccinated people. But those numbers represent a tiny fraction of the 15,000 cases in the similarly-sized unvaccinated population.
A woman in a red and black checkered shirt stands near books.

Bronson’s new library chief, a veteran educator, faces opposition over lack of library experience

Sami Graham's appointment is prompting objections to her confirmation from those who say its leader needs specific experience. Graham’s predecessor in the $120,000-a-year job, Mary Jo Torgeson, had masters degrees in library science and public administration.

As contagious strain rises in Alaska, regions with low vaccination rates raise concern

Vaccination rates vary widely across the state, meaning that the virus presents different risks in each place. But public health officials are still hitting on some consistent messages statewide — namely, that the shots remain the best weapon against the virus.

Dunleavy aide who ran campaign against ranked choice voting returns to lead ‘statehood defense’

Brett Huber, a former top aide to Alaska GOP Gov. Mike Dunleavy, has returned to the governor's office after running last year's campaign against the ballot measure that instituted ranked choice voting and other overhauls to the state's election system.
a person pipettes something into a tray

Delta variant wasn’t detected in Alaska until a few weeks ago. Now it’s 40% of samples.

Officials say that delta’s fast-growing share of the samples analyzed in Alaska tracks with what’s happening across the country, as the substantially more-contagious strain crowds out others.
Image emphasizes home cyber security

Amid national wave of cyber-crime, Anchorage’s cyber-insurance policy spikes 400%

Anchorage's yearly cyber-insurance premium is set to rise to $200,000, from $50,000 under the expiring policy. The city's broker inquired with 33 different insurance companies and only its existing Bermuda-based insurer was willing to offer a quote.

Reborn Ravn eyes launch of Asian routes for 2022

The company, which right now operates solely inside Alaska, would fly between Asian hubs and destinations in the Lower 48, with stops in Anchorage for passengers to clear customs — and, potentially, to visit some tourist attractions.

Bronson’s campaign downplayed COVID-19. But his administration plans few changes to health policy.

While Dave Bronson downplayed COVID-19 on the campaign trail, questioned the existence of the pandemic and hasn't been vaccinated, Anchorage’s new health director says the virus is a very serious threat, and that he’s a “firm believer” in vaccines.

Ravn says it’s eyeing flights to Asia and the Lower 48

Ravn Alaska’s chief executive said this week that the airline is looking to expand its service beyond Alaska to the Lower 48 and Asia, using Boeing 757 jets. The new service, Rob McKinney said in...

Mosquitoes are buzzing in Southcentral Alaska in higher-than-usual numbers

There doesn’t appear to be any methodical tracking of mosquito populations in the region. But two insect experts said they seem to be worse than usual this year, perhaps thanks to snowmelt.
A digital image of a blue lock in a row of red locks

Amid cyberattacks, Alaska’s top cybersecurity official quietly left his job

Mark Breunig now works for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. His departure came as the state spent nearly $500,000 to address a cyberattack on the Department of Health and Social Services.

APOC fines former GOP Alaska Rep. Pruitt for “widespread, serious” campaign finance violations

"Pruitt's testimony before the commission was unconvincing and appeared to be self-serving," the watchdogs wrote in a 12-page order this week. "At best, his reporting and attempted compliance with the law was haphazard. At worst, he engaged in deliberate non-reporting."

Hackers have penetrated multiple Alaska agencies this year. Here’s what we know.

State officials have revealed few details about the attacks -- particularly the one that targeted the health department. While there are still many unanswered questions, here’s what we know — and what we don’t.

With new lawsuit, Alaska Gov. Dunleavy’s administration escalates budget feud with legislators

“When there is a dispute between branches of government, we need the courts to step in,” Attorney General Treg Taylor said in a prepared statement.
Two men stand looking at the camera behind a glass door

Anchorage government forgot to budget money for its mayoral transition. Now that’s being fixed.

Up to now, mayor-elect Dave Bronson's transition team was relying on volunteer labor and donated supplies. Members even brought in printers from home.