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

Alaska officials detect case of COVID-19 strain first found in South Africa that’s less affected by vaccines

A single case of the variant, known as B.1.351, was detected last month in the Anchorage-Mat-Su area. Officials haven't said how the infected person acquired the virus, or whether others may have been exposed.

Alaska DOT: Epic avalanche cascade shuts down Hatcher Pass Road for days

Forecasters with the Hatcher Pass Avalanche Center say that five different avalanches crossed the upper stretch of the road, and one of those extended so far that it hit a second, lower stretch of the road, beneath a switchback. The center said that was the first time such a slide had taken place since the 1980s.

We asked all 60 Alaska legislators if they’re getting vaccinated. Here’s what they said.

A survey of Alaska lawmakers underscores the depth of the state's partisan vaccine divide in Alaska. All but one Democrat said they're getting the shot, while 20 of the 34 Republican lawmakers either refused to answer or did not respond.
a yellow float in a blue ocean

NTSB: Witness says tribal health executive was ‘distracted’ before his helicopter disappeared over Gulf of Alaska

A witness who spoke with a tribal health executive before his helicopter went missing last month told federal investigators that the executive was "distracted, and was not himself," according to a preliminary report published Tuesday.

Anchorage wants to let Alaskans turn smartphones into COVID-trackers. State officials aren’t sold yet.

Anchorage officials say they’re pushing closer to the launch of a smartphone app that could alert people they’ve been exposed to someone with COVID-19, though the initiative is still waiting for Alaska GOP Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s administration to approve it.
people withs masks on and mostly wearing suits in a hotel hallway

Global powers face off in Anchorage, Alaskans barely take notice

The talks made headlines around the world, and Alaska had a stake in the outcome, given its location on the Pacific Rim and its economic links to China in industries like fishing, tourism and aviation. But in the state's largest city, the event barely drew notice.
a vial of covid-19 vaccine

As Mat-Su vaccine appointments go unfilled, fears grow about misinformation and hesitancy

When Mat-Su public health officials organized a mass COVID-19 vaccination clinic Tuesday at the Alaska State Fair grounds, one-third of the 1,000 appointments went unfilled — even after some providers launched a last-minute blitz to promote the event.

‘We got us a dog race’: Iditarod neck-and-neck-and-neck as leaders push toward finish

The Iditarod’s five top mushers were running within two hours of each other Saturday as they started their last push to the finish line, with Aaron Burmeister of Nome seizing the lead in search of his first victory.

Alaska announces four more cases of more-contagious coronavirus strain first seen in Brazil

Health officials say they’ve discovered more Alaska cases of the P.1 variant of the coronavirus that’s devastated Brazil — suggesting that the mutant strain, which is likely more contagious and capable of reinfecting people previously sick with COVID-19, is getting a growing foothold in the state.
a person receives a vaccination

With many Alaska vaccine appointments unfilled, officials want you to know: You could be ‘essential’

After months of tight vaccine supply, the state of Alaska last week made a massive expansion of the groups eligible for shots. But it’s not clear that the expanded criteria are fully registering with Alaskans yet, public health officials said at a briefing for reporters Monday.

Former Alaska tribal executive still missing after his helicopter disappeared near windswept islands

The U.S. Coast Guard called off its search Wednesday for Alaska’s former top tribal health executive, Andy Teuber, a day after the helicopter he was piloting went missing near a windswept archipelago that pilots say is a notoriously tricky area to fly.
A orange and white helicopter flies in front of a mountain

Coast Guard ends search for missing former Alaska health executive’s helicopter

In a prepared statement, the Coast Guard said the debris it spotted Tuesday were "consistent with" debris from Teuber's helicopter, though it did not confirm that that was the case.

Cordova gets a tough lesson in COVID-19 transmission — from its police chief

The story starts with the police chief returning from an out-of-state trip and, instead of quarantining, coaching a wrestling practice. It ends with roughly 10% of Cordova residents in quarantine, school closures and a U.S. Coast Guard cutter aborting a supply mission because some of its crew members were exposed.

Scientists say Alaska has recorded 10 cases of coronavirus strain first found in California

The variant, known as B.1.429, was first identified in Alaska in early January and has since been detected nine more times, according to a report released this week by a consortium of scientists assembled by the state to search for new strains.
a person puts a bandaid on another person

Too young to qualify for a COVID-19 shot? Bring an unvaccinated senior with you.

Alaska health officials this week announced a new way people can qualify for a COVID-19 vaccine: Bring an unvaccinated elder with you, and you can get a shot yourself.

Unscathed: These Alaska villages are reaching herd immunity — without a single case of COVID-19

Alaska's unique geography and isolation have helped at least 10 villages record zero cases of COVID-19. The list of communities stretches from Southeast Alaska to the Aleutian Islands to deep in the Interior, and some of them have vaccinated nearly all of their adults.
a vial of the COVID-19 vaccine

Alaska’s federal allocation of COVID-19 vaccine will nearly double in March

The federal government's monthly shipment of COVID-19 vaccine to Alaska will nearly double in March, rising to 103,000 first doses from the 61,000 allocated to the state in February.

Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s chief of staff, Ben Stevens, resigns to become executive at ConocoPhillips

Stevens will become the new vice president of external affairs and transportation at ConocoPhillips Alaska, Dunleavy's office said in a prepared statement.
A portrait of a man with a half-zipped fleece

Alaska’s top tribal health executive, Andy Teuber, has resigned

The nonprofit consortium is an umbrella group that coordinates health care for Alaska Native people and helps run the Anchorage Native hospital. It's also one of the state's largest employers, with more than 3,000 workers.

Alaska’s governor is quarantining after possible coronavirus exposure

Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy is quarantining at his home in Wasilla after one of his close contacts tested positive for COVID-19, the governor's office said in a prepared statement Monday.