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March 9, 2021 / This week from The Signal

All the latest news and information from around Alaska.

Fairbanks rookie Christopher Parker's dogs leap impatiently at the Iditarod starting line Sunday. The race is far different this year, with a shorter course and a host of COVID-19 protocols. “I think everyone is expressing gratitude for the fact that there’s even a race,” Canadian musher Aaron Peck said. “People need this.” (Photo by Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News and story by Tegan Hanlon / Alaska Public Media)

But first… 

This week is both my birthday and the official anniversary of the coronavirus pandemic. I’m anticipating it but also feel very triggered. In psychology, it’s known as the anniversary effect. We can have a sometimes unconscious association between a date or time of year and an emotional memory or trauma. 

There have been all these story call-outs lately. NPR Weekend Edition host Lulu Garcia-Navarro asked people on Twitter to use #TheMoment to share when they realized that things were going to be different at the start of the pandemic. My colleagues at Alaska Public Media are asking the same: What was the moment when you realized everything had changed?

March 11, 2020, was the last time I hosted a party and shared food (finger food!) with friends. A few days later, my son’s preschool closed for what turned out to be months, and I converted my tiny bedroom closet into the nerve center for KTOO News. We promised to ramp up our news coverage last March, and we haven’t looked back. 

The changes are too big, too disruptive and too numerous for me to even reflect on. And I think that’s the short-circuiting I’m feeling in my brain — the complicated emotions that come with that anniversary effect. 

It’s important to guard ourselves against that this week, to be prepared to be triggered, to feel all that disappointment and that loss again. While I get a lump in my throat when I think about my birthday party last year, I find comfort in the incredible work my team has managed to produce from extenuating circumstances all year. I even find comfort thinking about the countless hours, weeks and months I’ve spent under the same roof as my toddler, who somehow stopped being a toddler in the last year. I’m amazed when I think about the skills he’s acquired from this hemmed in space and this surreal year.

How have you expanded in the last year? What can you be grateful for during this time of grief? I’d love to hear from you.

-- Jennifer Pemberton, KTOO Managing Editor

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Singers come together and form a choir from their cars on Saturday, March 6, 2021 in Juneau, Alaska. The choir was led by director Bruce Simonson with participants from the community, including singers from the Juneau Bach Society.

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.