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December 10, 2019 / This week from The Signal

What will Gov. Mike Dunleavy's next budget look like?
Where did all the cod go?
And where's the Taku Glacier going?
Mandy Casurella leads a group of third graders and fourth graders through social-emotional learning exercises at Chugach Optional Elementary School in Anchorage. For years, the Anchorage School District has prioritized social and emotional learning in the classroom. Increasingly, educators say those skills are critical for academic success. (Photo and story by Zachariah Hughes/Alaska Public Media)

But first… still time to send Signal Holiday Cheer


Singaliens! You still have a chance to spread holiday cheer as far and as wide as The Signal is distributed. Submit a message of good tidings by midnight on Thursday to be included in a special edition of The Signal next week. You can write anything as long as it's nice — a compliment for a companion, blessing for a buddy, well-wishing for a whale, regards for a raven, extolation for an eagle, ovation for an orca, salute to a salmon, plaudits for a polar bear, or mveneration for a moose. You can also just leave a general note of hope and charity. Thanks to everyone who has submitted so far!

The Signal presents 'Four News Stories'

I'm still trying to decide what to call this section. "Big Four?" "4-2-know?"
  1. Budget 2.0: Gov. Mike Dunleavy is expected to unveil his second budget this week. We won't know what's in it until we see it, but Andrew Kitchenman of KTOO and Alaska Public Media gives us a handy preview of what to expect.
  2. An act of cod: Pacific cod numbers in the Gulf of Alaska have been on the decline for the past few years. Now, for the first time ever, the gulf's federal cod fishery is closing for the 2020 season. Alaska's Energy Desk's Kavitha George asked scientists what's causing the cod collapse — they say marine heatwaves such as "the Blob" are largely to blame.
  3. Ticktock tickTaku: The only glacier from the Juneau Icefield that was actually still advancing was the Taku Glacier — until now. New research shows that the glacier is finally shrinking. KTOO's Matt Miller says that locals and scientists alike saw this coming (very, very slowly) for decades.
  4. The Last Frontier: The national outbreak of vaping-related illnesses has finally come to Alaska: KTOO's Adelyn Baxter says that the state's first suspected case was reported last week. Alaska had been the last state without a reported lung injury from vaping or e-cigarettes. Fortunately, officials say the Southeast Alaska patient seems to be doing well.
The Alaska Department of Revenue released its fall revenue forecast last week. The big takeaway? The department expects $187.3 million less in state revenue this year than it did in the spring. The decrease is based in part on a drop in the price of oil — by 2021, the price is now projected to dip below $60 per barrel. (Story by Andrew Kitchenman/KTOO and Alaska Public Media; graphic by Ryan Cunningham/KTOO)

Just one more thing…

The Cruise Town podcast will be on hiatus until next month, so here are a couple things you can listen to instead:
  • Cruise Town again.
  • Cruise Town again, but this time in triple-speed so everyone sounds like Alvin and the Chipmunks.
  • Cruise Town again, but this time in reverse so you can hear all of the subliminal messages.
  • Cruise Town again, but this time in reverse and in triple-speed so it sounds like Alvin and the Chipmunks are sending you subliminal messages.
  • This playlist from producer Rashah McChesney, which contains all of the music from the series so far. Artists include Beirut, Woods, Hiss Golden Messenger, Radiophonic Jazz, and soft rock sensation Yanni.

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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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.