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December 3, 2019 / This week from The Signal

Why are Alaska health officials worried about the measles?
Why are Alaskans still dealing with last year's 7.1 quake?
And why not say something nice?
Ketchikan Creek swells after heavy rains last month. A month of near-constant downpours has finally lifted the Ketchikan area out of drought after more than a year. But getting all that rain all at once presents an entirely new set of problems. (Photo and story by Eric Stone/Alaska's Energy Desk)

But first… The First Annual Signal Holiday Cheer Exchange

For some reason, I'm suddenly in a generous spirit. I don't know if it's because it's winter or because it's December or because I heard a Mariah Carey song on the radio that I hadn't heard in a while, but I thought it'd be nice if us Signaliens treated each other to some friendly season's greetings. So here's what we'll do: If you'd have something nice and heartwarming you'd like to say, fill out this form. I'll share everyone's messages in a special edition of The Signal on Dec. 17. Let's set the deadline for, oh, how about Dec. 12 at midnight? Yeah? OK! If you have questions, reach me at or @RyCunn on Twitter. I hope this works and isn't a massive failure!!!!!!

The Signal presents 'The Fantastical Four'

Similarities with any popular comic book serials are purely coincidental.
  1. Airborne disease: Samoa is suffering from a deadly measles outbreak right now. And while you'd think 4,500 miles of ocean would be a big enough buffer, Alaska Public Media's Kirsten Swann says Alaska health officials have a couple reasons to be concerned: The state's immunization rates are relatively low, and Alaskans' propensity for air travel is relatively high.
  2. After-aftershocks: Last Saturday marked the one-year anniversary of the 7.1 earthquake that shook Anchorage, and today (probably) marks the anniversary of one of the countless aftershocks. But as Alaska Public Media's Zachariah Hughes points out, many Alaskans are still rattled by financial and bureaucratic aftershocks.
  3. Alaska PD: Next month (next year?!?!), A&E will debut a new reality TV show about law enforcement in Alaska. Kavitha George of KMXT-Kodiak says the show features local police departments around the state, including in Kodiak, where officers are hoping the show boosts recruitment. Kavitha's story includes A&E's teaser video for the show — and yes, it does have footage of bears fighting.
  4. Another A-word: When former KDLG-Dillingham reporter Sage Smiley came to Dillingham, she stayed with the station’s community advisory board chairperson and her husband. Then she found a hidden camera in her room. KDLG-Dillingham's Tyler Thompson helps Sage tell her traumatic story.
The Western Alaska village of Newtok in August 2016. Because of encroaching erosion, the village is in the process of relocating. A new report from the Army Corps of Engineers and the University of Alaska Fairbanks examines how climate change is affecting 187 Alaska communities. It ranks each community according to how badly environmental threats are endangering their infrastructure.(Photo by Eric Keto/Alaska’s Energy Desk; story by Krysti Shallenberger/Alaska's Energy Desk)

Just one more thing…

I hope y'all have been enjoying KTOO's Cruise Town podcast! We've released four episodes so far, and we've gotten more than 143,000 total downloads as of Monday. If you subtract the number of times my mom downloaded my episode last week, it's closer to 135,000. (hi mom)

Cruise Town is about to go on a brief hiatus until a glorious final stretch in January, but not before episode 5 drops Wednesday. The latest episode is all about what happens when things go wrong on a cruise ship. History buffs and disaster nerds alike will definitely want to pay attention. Oh, and Yanni fans too.

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.