Three men pose outside.

Indigenous metal band riffs on issues affecting Native people

The song titles grab your attention, but guitarist Jacob Tix̂lax̂ Stepetin says the point is to create an opportunity to talk about Indigenous issues.
People in a line outside.

The first U.S. case of the omicron variant has now been reported

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A case in California marks omicron's arrival in the U.S. Cases have been found in more than 20 countries around the world, less than a week after the worrying new variant was first identified.
A man in a police uniform poses in front of flags.

Anchorage Police Chief Ken McCoy says he’ll retire in February

In a statement Tuesday evening, McCoy said his decision came after "much reflection and thoughtful consideration," but he did not provide a specific reason for retiring less than a year after he was named police chief.
Dave Bronson speaks with the media

Anchorage mayor Bronson vetoes most of the Assembly’s budget changes

Bronson cut nearly all of the additions the Anchorage Assembly had agreed to last week when it unanimously passed the spending plan.

Supreme Court considers whether to reverse Roe v. Wade arguments

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An epic argument at the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday: At issue is whether to reverse the court's nearly half-century-old Roe v. Wade decision and subsequent decisions declaring that women have a constitutional right to terminate a pregnancy.

Alaskans should be vigilant, not overwhelmed, with likely arrival of omicron variant, Zink says

As Alaska virus hunters look for sings of omicron in the state, Alaska's Chief Medical Officer Dr. Anne Zink says overcoming coronavirus fatigue is more important than ever.
A light-up star on a mountainside.

Anchorage’s iconic holiday star shines on again after avalanche prompts repairs

Since Friday, airmen have worked to repair the star that’s located about 4,000 feet up Mount Gordon Lyon. They’ve contended with wind chills below zero degrees and snowy skies to get all 350 light bulbs replaced.
A woman talks on a cell phone outside of a beige house.

Alaska expecting infrastructure funds for broadband efforts

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Alaska could receive more than $1 billion from the recently passed federal infrastructure package for high-speed broadband networks, which an official with the Alaska Telecom Association said would be “transformational.”
A brown bear walks on a gravel path near bushes.

If Sitkans keep leaving out unsecured trash, the bears will keep coming, warns Fish and Game

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A domestic chicken has about as many calories as a salmon, and even a greasy pizza box is rich in calories.
Rows of books

12 books NPR staffers loved in 2021

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Here are a handful of books that NPR staffers named as some of their favorites of the year.
A close-up image of a person wearing gloves holding a nasal swab.

As U.S. races to detect and track omicron, patchwork surveillance makes that tough

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What's the U.S. doing to watch out for the omicron variant? Here's the work underway and the challenges that experts say may slow down the country's efforts.
A white and blue building in the middle of the road that says Canada on the side.

Canadian border relaxes COVID testing rules for residents returning from short trips to the U.S.

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Starting Tuesday, Canadians traveling to the U.S. for trips of three days or less will no longer need to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test to cross back into their home country.
People are outside installing a water and sewer line.

COVID bills sent $1.7 billion to Alaska tribes, but distribution favored the smallest

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In two major coronavirus relief bills, Congress sent Alaska tribes huge sums in direct payments. But the bounty was uneven: While the largest Alaska tribe got $6,000 per person, one tribe that reported having only three members received nearly $1 million per person.
a scientist as seen through lab shelves

Alaska health officials say the omicron variant is coming, but the risk is still unclear

The omicron variant of the coronavirus was first reported last week in South Africa and has already led to new waves of travel restrictions around the world. As of Monday, no cases had been detected in Alaska.

Why some researchers think the omicron variant could be the most infectious one yet

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So far, scientists have limited information about omicron. But several red flags suggest that this strain of coronavirus could quickly cause surges in many parts of the world and could be the most contagious one known.
A man in a shirt and tie poses for a photo against a blue background.

Conservative Wasilla Rep. Kurka launches bid for Alaska governor

In an announcement posted on social media, Rep. Christopher Kurka, R-Wasilla, criticized Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s health mandates issued early in the pandemic. 
Travelers exit and airport.

The U.S. restricts travel from 8 countries as omicron variant spreads

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President Biden has restricted travel from eight southern African countries in an effort to slow the spread of the omicron variant.

Interior Department report calls for higher oil and gas royalties. Murkowski objects.

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New report says oil companies aren't paying enough for production on federal lands.
People hold signs next to a busy street

Biden vaccine rule for health workers blocked in Alaska and 9 other states

A federal judge on Monday blocked President Joe Biden’s administration from enforcing a coronavirus vaccine mandate on thousands of health care workers in 10 states, including Alaska, that had brought the first legal challenge against the requirement.
A big white building on a small grassy hill.

Wrangell to survey site of former boarding school for Native children

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There are plans to redevelop the site of the former Bureau of Indian Affairs facility that was open for 43 years. But sensitivity toward the legacy of abuse and trauma and recent discoveries of graves at Canadian boarding schools have caused local officials to tread carefully before breaking ground.