Local First News (News of the North)

A climber from Malaysia, stranded for three days near the summit of North America's tallest mountain, has been rescued, but his partner is dead. Officials say after days of cloudy, windy conditions, personnel were able to rescue the surviving climber at 19,600 feet on Denali. He had been holed up in a snow cave with his deceased partner, Zulkifli Bin Yusof, since late Tuesday. Yusof, who likely died of exposure and altitude-related illness, was 36 years old. The surviving climber has been taken to an Anchorage hospital for further care. Another member of their team had been rescued earlier this week after descending lower on Denali.

The state of Alaska has sued the owners of three Ketchikan jewelry stores, accusing them of defrauding Alaskans and tourists by selling fake made-in-Alaska jewelry. The stores, including Soni Inc. and Colors Fine Jewelry, were found to be operating despite the state’s request for a court order to close them. The lawsuit is part of several recent consumer-protection actions by the Alaska Department of Law. The state's draft operating budget includes nearly $600,000 for new positions in the consumer protection section. These additions were approved by the Alaska Legislature and are awaiting Governor Mike Dunleavy’s signature.

The Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation will keep its Anchorage office open, defying state lawmakers' instructions to shut it down. The Board of Trustees voted 4-2 to continue operating the office, despite legislative opposition and limited funding. The decision followed the publication of leaked emails suggesting board member Gabrielle Rubenstein may have engaged in self-dealing. The board has hired a third-party law firm to investigate the source of the leaks and review six years of interactions between staff and board members. The investigation aims to identify broader issues within the organization and rebuild a high-trust environment.

Bartlett Regional Hospital is facing unsustainable operating losses, prompting significant changes and community discussions to ensure its future independence. As an enterprise fund of the City and Borough of Juneau, Bartlett must be self-sustaining. The hospital has not achieved an operating margin since 2019 and has been losing about $1 million monthly since summer 2020. To address this, the Board of Directors is seeking public input on healthcare priorities and non-core hospital programs. Community Feedback Forums will be held on Tuesday, June 4, and Monday, June 10, at 5:30 p.m. on the hospital campus, with a virtual participation option available.

Juneau city leaders have reached an agreement with cruise lines to limit the number of daily cruise passengers starting in 2026. This decision follows a record-breaking surge in cruise ship tourism post-COVID-19. The new cap will limit passengers to 16,000 on most days and 12,000 on Saturdays, a significant reduction from the current peak of 21,000 visitors. City officials believe this measure will help balance tourism with the needs of the community.

Perseverance Trail will be closed from the Granite Creek intersection to the Upper Red Mill juncture starting today, June 3, for the replacement of the bridge at Gold Creek. Trail Mix crews will begin dismantling and removing the old bridge, with helicopter crews delivering materials later in the week, weather permitting. Trail users can access Granite Creek Basin Trail and Silverbow Basin via the Red Mill Trail. Please follow signed detours and avoid the construction site for your safety.

What is Local First News (News of the North)?

In the heart of Juneau and across Southeast Alaska, Local First News stands as the leading source of news and information. Dedicated to bringing you the most current and impactful stories, we delve deep into the events that shape our communities. From breaking news in Juneau to transformative developments across Southeast Alaska, our commitment is to keep you informed with precise and timely details.

Our dynamic team of journalists is on the ground, ensuring that every story is covered from every angle. Whether it's a local initiative in Juneau that promises to enhance community life, an environmental concern affecting the pristine wilderness of Southeast Alaska, or a cultural event celebrating our rich heritage, Local First News is there.

We understand the pulse of Southeast Alaska. Our coverage not only highlights the issues but also celebrates the triumphs of our communities. With an unwavering commitment to accuracy and immediacy, Local First News is your most reliable source for news that matters to you because when it comes to news in Juneau and Southeast Alaska, we believe in putting Local First.