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April 13, 2021 / This week from The Signal

All the latest news and information from around Alaska.

Before last year, Cathy Carlson of Sitka never imagined she could end up homeless. “I was born and raised here," she said. "And I was kind of in shock that I was homeless. I didn’t have a car. I didn’t have anything." But Sitka has no homeless shelter, despite decades of trying. Now local advocates are working on a plan to fill the gap with a tiny home community on the housing first model. (Photo and story by Erin McKinstry/KCAW).

But first… 

I got my second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine over the weekend. Because I had traveled recently, I had to go to a small room at the entrance of Centennial Hall to avoid being around people. There was a worker there from Greens Creek Mine, who had just traveled, and also like me, was afraid of needles.

This guy commutes to Juneau from the Lower 48 every few weeks for his shift at the mine. And when he gets to town each time he has to quarantine at a local hotel for five days (it used to be for two weeks) before heading to work.

For him, the vaccine means he won't have to quarantine next time he comes to Juneau, and that means less time away from his family back home. As Matt Miller reported last week, the mine operator doesn't have a formal incentive program for him to get vaccinated. They don't have to. The shorter commute and reduced risk of getting COVID-19 from fellow workers in the mine or at their camp seems to be motivation enough.

I had plenty of motivation to get vaccinated, but the same travel incentive the miners have is there for all Juneau residents. If you're fully vaccinated, you don't have to quarantine when you come back  after traveling and you get to skip the five days of social distancing. And you can still take a free COVID-19 test at the airport.

I'm curious: what motivated you to get vaccinated?

-- Jennifer Pemberton, KTOO Managing Editor

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One thing to share...

In 1952, the Polaris opened in downtown Fairbanks. It's still the city's tallest building. The hope was that a vibrant community would grow up around it, and for a time, it was a popular spot. But it didn’t last, and for two decades now, it's stood abandoned and slowly decaying. Watch the story from Alaska Insight.

KTOO Public Media would like to acknowledge the L'eeneidí and the Wooshkeetaan of the Áak’w Khwáan. Our broadcast studios are on their ancestral homeland. Our building sits on fill that was once tideland and part of what is called the Indian Village. The families of the Juneau Indian Village, like their ancestors, cherish and depend upon their immediate connection to the waterfront. KTOO is working to lift up Tlingit voices and the Tlingit language. Please excuse us for our mistakes, and gunalchéesh for your patience as we learn.

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What are you waiting for? For an entertaining inside take on the biggest news in Alaska, try The Signal – just enter your email to get the latest edition delivered every week - it's free, we keep your email safe, and you can easily unsubscribe any time.