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February 4, 2020 / This week from The Signal

Will Murkowski vote to convict the president?
When can we ride the ferry again?
And did Biff Tannen correctly predict the Super Bowl?
Senate President Cathy Giessel, R-Anchorage, watches Gov. Mike Dunleavy during his State of the State address last week in Juneau. Giessel and Senate Minority Leader Tom Begich, D-Anchorage, are interested in working on a new permanent fund dividend formula this year. (Photo by Rashah McChesney/KTOO; story by Andrew Kitchenman/KTOO and Alaska Public Media)

But first… none of you like football, and that's OK


Congratulations are in order for Jerry Tracy and "Biff Tannan from Back to the Future 2" (aka Kevin Gullufsen) for correctly predicting that Kansas City would prevail over San Francisco in the Super Bowl. "Biff" was a little closer on the final score, but since he had the benefit of using a sports almanac from the future (which is actually a sports almanac from the past, because "Back to the Future Part II" takes place in 2015, and the almanac in the movie only goes up to the year 2000 — you really didn't think this through, did you Kevin?) I felt that Jerry deserved a shoutout too. There was only one other person who sent me a prediction, and she shall not be named because she picked the 49ers to win — but her name rhymes with Blemma Blaskea. So it's abundantly clear to me that Signaliens are not football fans, which is fine by me. By the way: Baseball season starts in 51 days.

'What are four news stories I should know about?'

… is a question no one ever asks me, but I'll tell you anyway.
  1. Processkowski: The U.S. Senate is expected to conclude its impeachment trial this week, and it seems very unlikely that President Donald Trump will be convicted. Alaska Public Media's Liz Ruskin reports that Sen. Lisa Murkowski, who voted against hearing from witnesses last week, will vote against conviction. The Republican senator's approach to the trial has rubbed some constituents the wrong way.
  2. Repatriated: A charter plane evacuated Americans out of Wuhan, China, last week as the coronavirus continues to spread. Alaska Public Media's Zachariah Hughes says the plane landed briefly in Anchorage to refuel, but no one was doing any sightseeing. All of the evacuees were screened at a closed-off section of the airport and deemed symptom-free.
  3. Matanuskaput: Upper Lynn Canal has had no state ferry service for a couple weeks, and that won't change until Feb. 7 at the earliest, according to KHNS-Haines reporter Claire Stremple. Meanwhile, KCAW-Sitka's Ari Snider says that two Southeast Alaska communities are facing the prospect of no ferries for the entire summer sailing season.
  4. What a month: Remember when the courts told the Recall Dunleavy campaign they could continue collecting signatures, then the courts said they couldn't, but then the courts said that was a mistake and that they still could, and then the courts said OK for real don't? Andrew Kitchenman of KTOO and Alaska Public Media remembers. He says the matter is now in the hands of the Alaska Supreme Court.

Video of the week

Personally, I'm more interested in things when I can eat them. That's what's so great about this 2016 video from Alaska Public Media, which breaks down Alaska's state budget through an extended sandwich metaphor. If you want to know a little more about the state budget and have three minutes to spare, this explainer video still mostly holds up in light of 2020's fiscal challenges.

Just one more thing…

City and Borough of Juneau officials announced a public meeting with Gov. Mike Dunleavy last month. That meeting took place — but not publicly.

So what happened? According to the story from KTOO's Adelyn Baxter, Mayor Beth Weldon said the meeting was advertised "before anybody had a chance to think about what that meeting might be and what it might accomplish." So she and City Manager Rorie Watt talked it over and agreed to make the meeting private. As for whether the city properly followed public notice procedures, an attorney for the city said the requirements are a bit unclear in instances such as this one.

More news around Alaska

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

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.