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Unemployment last month held steady with the same rate as in May, at 6-point-seven percent, according to the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development. That’s up a tad from seven months before that that held steady at 6-point-6 percent unemployment, indicating the Alaska economy is slowly responding to the decline in oil prices and production and state budget cuts. Typically, the summer season adds about 16,500 jobs in May and June.

Nationally, unemployment was 4- point -9 percent.

KNBA News - Rain helps firefighters at McHugh wildfire

Jul 22, 2016

Firefighters have gone on the offensive on the McHugh fire, south of Anchorage, aided by cooler temperatures and a light rain that is forecast to become steady and widespread today. Rainy conditions are expected to continue into next week.

Firefighters are working on steep, rocky slopes littered with downed trees. The rain is loosening rocks so the Seward Highway is open but may be closed temporarily from time to time to clear debris.

The fire has not grown since yesterday and remains at an estimated 842 acres. It’s five percent contained.

July 21, 2016

By Joaqlin Estus, KNBA - Anchorage

The rain is just the break needed to change the outlook for the McHugh fire south of Anchorage. Officials are now optimistic they can get the fire under control and protect nearby structures.

The Seward Highway is open but officials say it may be temporarily closed at any time to remove debris. Officials have closed turnouts in the area and ask motorists not to stop to watch or photograph the fire.

By Joaqlin Estus

Through the Alaska Native Science and Engineering Program, or ANSEP, middle-school students learn through hands-on activities that teach them science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). In a two-week academy they learned how to build a computer and test structures in earthquake simulations.

Fifty-six students are wrapping up a 5-day session in which they assemble motors, batteries and controls to create an unmanned aerial vehicle, otherwise known as a drone. Then they test them.

Power outage affects tens of thousands in Anchorage

Jul 17, 2016

Tens of thousands of people in south, west, and midtown Anchorage were without power for less than an hour Sunday evening. Municipal Light and Power spokesperson Julie Harris says the outage started at the Southcentral Power Plant near Minnesota and International Airport Drive.

“The cause of why it tripped is still under investigation,” said Harris.

Electrical power companies along the railbelt from Homer to Fairbanks plug into the same grid. Julie Hasquet, a spokesperson for Chugach Electric spokesperson,  says the system was rebooted to prevent extensive damage.

By Emily Files, KHNS - Haines

A Haines tribe is calling a recent decision by a U.S. Court of Appeals a “historic victory.” The Chilkoot Indian Association was among five plaintiffs in a lawsuit challenging what is known as the “Alaska exception” – which prohibited Alaska tribes from placing their lands into federal trust. After years of litigation, including an appeal from the state, the federal court sided with the tribes. Alaska tribes can now petition for sovereignty over their lands.

By the Associated Press

The Alaska House has asked the Senate to meet in joint session to consider potential overrides of vetoes made by Gov. Bill Walker. House Speaker Mike Chenault says he sent a letter to Senate President Kevin Meyer asking for a joint session Friday. Chenault said he's not sure where the votes might be to try to override any particular veto. But he said there's enough interest on his side to at least hold a session to consider potential overrides.

By Wesley Early, Alaska Public Media

Tribes across the country would have new opportunities to reclaim lost artifacts under a new Senate bill. The Safeguard Tribal Objects of Patrimony, or STOP Act, would prevent the export of cultural and religious items.

Martin Heinrich is the junior senator from New Mexico who introduced the STOP Act to the Senate.

“It’s time to make sure that items that are deeply religious or deeply connected to individual tribes are respected, are not sold on the auction block,” Heinrich said.

Joaqlin Estus / KNBA

Construction is beginning on a Native children’s dental clinic and health services facility in Anchorage. Southcentral Foundation provides statewide dental services to Alaska Native and American Indian beneficiaries of the Indian Health Service. At a ground-breaking ceremony Monday, SCF president and CEO Katherine Gottlieb said the new clinic will add 32 dental chairs to the 15 they have now, and create an environment designed to put children at ease.

by The Associated Press

The owners of the downtown Anchorage legislative office building have filed an administrative claim seeking $37 million in damages following a botched lease deal.

Lawmakers earlier this year mulled buying the building after a state court judge invalidated their lease but Gov. Walker threatened to veto that purchase. The Legislative Council has since decided to pursue office space in another building.