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February 17, 2021 / This week from The Signal

All the latest news and information from around Alaska.

State Rep. Louise Stutes, R-Kodiak, leaves the House floor after being sworn in on the first day of the 32nd Legislative Session. Stutes was elected House speaker last Thursday, though the House still lacked a working majority until Monday night, when Eagle River Republican Kelly Merrick joined the caucus. (Photo by Rashah McChesney & Story by Andrew Kitchenman/KTOO)

But first… 

One sad thing about tending to a news website is watching a carefully crafted feature story sink beneath a rising tide of breaking news. We've had a lot of breaking news lately, so you might have missed Claire Stremple's terrific Hard Labor series. It's about the challenges women in rural and remote Alaska face when giving birth and getting prenatal care.

Claire wrote about how women in Haines must move to another city with a hospital a month before their due date, how it didn't used to be that way, and why that change is mostly about money. She wrote about the problems of traveling 800 miles from Unalaska to Anchorage — and how things can go when an expecting mother doesn't get off the island soon enough. Finally, she wrote about a St. Paul Island woman's hard choice between spending months of her pregnancy in Anchorage or risking exposing her community to COVID-19.

The stories reach back to explain how childbirth and neonatal care have changed in Alaska, and they look at how the pandemic is making everything harder. It's the kind of in-depth work we would all like to do more of.

Claire has also posted the stories to a Facebook page. If you have a story about health care and pregnancy in rural Alaska, she wants to hear it.

-- Ian Dickson, KTOO Web Editor

Top stories from last week

Stories you may have missed

One thing to share...

Last week, Aliy Zirkle said she will retire from sled dog racing after this year's Iditarod. She's finished either the Iditarod or Yukon Quest every year since 1998. In 2015, Alaka Public Media's Annie Feidt talked to Aliy about knowing her dogs, and about the need for mutual respect between dog and musher. (Watch the video)

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.