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November 26, 2019 / This week from The Signal

How many state ferries aren't working right now?
How many fake $100 bills are there in Wrangell?
And how many of you usually read the third question I put here?
Kodiak-based commercial fisher Frank Miles’ pot and longline vessel, the Sumner Strait. Cod is a major driver of Kodiak’s winter economy, but the fish seem to be declining as the Gulf of Alaska heats up. Cod could still bounce back with the right conditions, but with a new marine heatwave brewing, things might get worse before they get better. (Photo and story by Kavitha George/Alaska's Energy Desk)

But first… check your Benjamins

A fun fact about me: Before I was a Professional Newsperson at KTOO, years ago I was a Professional Sales Clerk at Stores of Convenience. That's why I had so much sympathy for the poor cashiers in Wrangell who recently got duped by some funny money. June Leffler of KSTK-Wrangell reported on the acts of deception partly as a cautionary tale for anyone who handles $100 bills on the regular. The key to sniffing out this batch of fakes is simple in theory: Look for the Chinese-language stamp that reads, "THIS IS FAKE." That's easier if you read Chinese, though.

The Signal presents 'The Ultimate Four'

Similarities with any collegiate basketballing tournaments are purely coincidental.
  1. Logged comments: Last week, citing a report from Alaska's Energy Desk reporter Elizabeth Jenkins, two Congressional leaders asked the USDA to explain why federal grant money typically designated for fire prevention went instead to an Alaska timber industry group. Now Gov. Mike Dunleavy has weighed in. His response? “We see no misuse of funds.”
  2. Incomplete fleet: The Alaska Marine Highway System is down a few boats: CoastAlaska's Jacob Resneck reports that the LeConte is out till May, and the Malaspina and Aurora are laid up for the foreseeable future. The Tazlina was supposed to be shelved this winter, too, but it's been called back into action, according to KHNS-Haines' Henry Leasia. That ferry will come to Angoon — but only if they can successfully lift the ferry dock's broken ramp.
  3. AG said, PFD said: The Alaska-residing spouse of an out-of-state military service member was initially denied a PFD this year because of a state law on same-sex marriage — a law that was struck down five years ago. The incident has led to a high-profile legal dispute, and Alaska Public Media's Nat Herz does a much better job of explaining it than I just did.
  4. Think locally, tax globally: Sometimes buying stuff online is more convenient, but it's hard for any old city in Alaska to collect sales taxes that way. Well, KTOO's Adelyn Baxter says the Alaska Municipal League has a plan for that. Fifteen communities around the state, including Juneau, have signed onto the plan to consolidate online sales tax collection, which the AML hopes will level the playing field for local brick-and-mortar stores.

Video of the week

Over the summer, when Alaska’s temperatures broke records across the state, the Southeast community of Metlakatla was classified as being in an extreme drought. More recent fall rains have eased conditions to moderate drought. Still, the overall lack of rain means the community is having to navigate a different relationship with water than it's used to. (Video by Joey Mendolia/Alaska's Energy Desk; story by Elizabeth Jenkins/Alaska's Energy Desk)

Just one more thing…

The next episode of Cruise Town, which drops on Wednesday, happens to be the episode I worked on. So instead of me writing up my own work, I made Juneau Afternoon co-host Sheli DeLaney do it for me. Thanks Sheli! Here's what she took away from it:

"Episode 4 of Cruise Town looks at how Alaska Native tour guides do the emotional labor of educating visitors to Juneau about their history and culture. It isn’t new to them; they have been doing it since settlers first arrived to colonize the land. It isn’t getting any easier, either. Narrator Ryan Cunningham thoughtfully weaves Tlingit, Haida, and Tsmishian stories of strength and power into the reality for those who take on the role of welcoming more and more travelers to their land each season with patience, warmth and positivity."

More news around Alaska

The Signal is written by KTOO digital media editor Ryan Cunningham
and edited by KTOO managing editor Jennifer Pemberton.

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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.