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July 9, 2019 / This week from The Signal

Where in the world is the Alaska Legislature?
How do Arctic residents feel about Arctic drilling?
And oh look, a parade! Yayyyyy!
Officers Zachariah Brink of Nunapitchuk, Phillip Charlie of Quinhagak and Jess Eggemeyer II of Afognak attend a Rural Law Enforcement Training in Bethel on June 14. For some of the tribal and village officers who attended, the two-week training session was the only formal law enforcement instruction they've ever received. (Photo by Katie Basile/KYUK-Bethel. Story by Anna Rose MacArthur/KYUK-Bethel)

But first… Smoking is harmful to Alaska's health

So last month, KTOO's Adelyn Baxter did a charming story about volunteers in Juneau monitoring the effects of cruise ship emissions on local air quality. Then last week, KTOO's Senior Thinking Aloud In The Newsroom Correspondent Jeremy Hsieh wondered (aloud) if those sensors were picking up the noxious, wildfires-induced haze engulfing the area. The answer is a resounding "you betcha." The sensors picked up unhealthy air quality levels — but still not nearly as bad as in North Pole. I'm gonna be hoping for a little rain this week. 🤞

A tale of two cities

There are two legislative sessions happening right now in two different cities. But more sessions doesn't necessarily mean more legislating.
  • Legislate where?: A majority of the Alaska Legislature decided to meet in Juneau for a special session regarding PFDs and budget vetoes — except that's not where Gov. Mike Dunleavy called them to convene. Meanwhile, at the gymnasium in Wasilla Middle School, the rest of the Legislature has gathered to conduct the same exact business — except they couldn't, because they don't have enough members for a quorum. Rashah McChesney of Alaska's Energy Desk and Andrew Kitchenman of KTOO and Alaska Public Media have a tag-team report covering the first day.
  • Rally here: As (some of) the Legislature met inside the Capitol, a sizable crowd of protesters congregated outside, mostly to voice opposition to the governor's budget vetoes. KTOO's Adelyn Baxter collected reactions from the crowd in Juneau. 
  • Rally there: On the Wasilla side of things, Nat Herz of Alaska's Energy Desk covered the dueling demonstrators outside the Mat-Su city's namesake middle school.

A tale of two villages

Two stories from Alaska's Energy Desk show divergent local opinions on potential oil development in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
  • Drill baby drill: In Kaktovik, the only community inside ANWR, reporter Nat Herz found a fair amount of support for oil drilling there. Residents in favor of drilling cite the benefits of abundant revenue from oil industry taxes, which has helped provide a full-time fire department, flush toilets and a new basketball gym.
  • Nil baby nil: Folks in Arctic Village have a different perspective on ANWR drilling. Reporter Elizabeth Harball tells us that leaders there are concerned about disruptions to caribou herds' migratory patterns — disruptions that could alter a subsistence hunting lifestyle that's been sustained for centuries.

Video of the week

Juneau celebrated the Fourth of July with festivities including the annual parade through downtown Juneau. Watch some of the highlights of the parade courtesy of David Purdy, KTOO's drone video extraordinaire.

Just one more thing…

In Juneau, community groups are challenging Alaska men to spark difficult conversations about masculinity, colonization, trauma, relationships and healing.

KTOO's Jeremy Hsieh attended the groups' "Men's Gathering." In his story, one participant was transfixed by a simple-yet-powerful question brought up during a panel discussion: "What is love?" The 38-year-old participant said no one had ever asked him that question before — a fact he attributed to cultural norms around masculinity.

More news around Alaska

The Signal is written by KTOO digital media editor Ryan Cunningham
and edited by Alaska's Energy Desk reporter Rashah McChesney.

KTOO News is member supported.

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