Nathaniel Herz, Alaska Public Media

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
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Anchorage Mayor Bronson revokes paid parental leave for city workers

Mayor Dave Bronson’s predecessor had granted non-unionized city employees four weeks of paid parental leave on her last day on the job. Bronson also revoked a policy allowing new parents to bring infants into the office.
The Robert B. Atwood building and neighbors in downtown Anchorage.

Evolving COVID policies for state, Anchorage workforces leave public employees anxious

State workers are worried about catching the virus in offices with unmasked colleagues, while the Anchorage Police Department is allowing unvaccinated officers to return to work after a COVID-19 exposure — as long as they wear N95 masks and social distance when possible.

A frustrated Mat-Su doctor implored Alaskans to get vaccinated. The surprise: They listened.

An emergency room doctor in the Mat-Su gave an emphatic speech last week about the "soul-crushing" workload that doctors are facing amid the latest surge in COVID-19. He was deluged by messages afterward, including a dozen that reported he'd changed people's minds about vaccination.

Without safety net of mandates, Anchorage’s overtaxed, understaffed hospitals brace for more patients

As Alaska hospitals near capacity, health care experts say they're not sure the latest COVID surge will peak quickly, as it did in other countries. They point out that thousands of unvaccinated Alaska children are returning to classrooms this week — many in school districts where masks are optional.
A white man in a black suit

Amid recall effort, lingering budget problems and pandemic, Alaska Gov. Dunleavy will seek re-election

Dunleavy disclosed his bid in an interview Thursday with Alaska Public Media. In it, he reflected on the challenges and lessons from his first term, and offered his outlook on the pandemic, Alaska’s budget problems and other issues facing the state.

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.