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Stories at Latitude 56: May 15, 2016

KEVIN GADSEY: Described as a 60’s-style “mover and shaker” at the 2011 Ketchikan Visitors Bureau Awards Banquet for his advocacy regarding disability awareness, Kevin Gadsey departed Ketchikan in 2013 to earn his Master of Public Advocacy and Activism from the University of Ireland, Galway. His thesis on the origins and endings of the Civil Rights movement in his home state of Tennessee propelled him to graduate top of his class. After short stays in Maryland and Missouri, Gadsey recently returned home to Ketchikan to serve as the Executive Director of the Ketchikan Wellness Coalition, a volunteer-led group of action-oriented task forces formed in 2007, just after he first arrived in Ketchikan as the new team lead of Southeast Alaska Independent Living’s K-town office.

KARL RICHEY: Karl was born at Swedish Hospital, grew up in San Francisco in the 60’s…ostensibly. Since then he’s been an actor, singer, dancer, bicycle messenger, tree planter, preacher, leather worker, musician, teacher, emergency room physician, commercial pilot, and has done an awful lot of stupid things …, oh yeah, and a dad and grandfather. I also own Alaska’s only jazz club. I know there’s got to be some great stories in there….I’ll try to come up with something interesting….

CHELSEA GOUCHER: Chelsea was born and raised in Ketchikan, AK. She attended school at Lewis and Clark College in Portland, OR before returning to Southeast to be with family and friends. She served as Executive Director for the Greater Ketchikan Chamber of Commerce for over two years before leaving to take her current position as Account Representative for Alaska Marine Lines. She is passionate about promoting a healthy business climate and high quality of life for all Alaskans, and her involvement with various groups and projects in the community of Ketchikan has been a privilege. When she isn’t busy working, Chelsea enjoys hiking, fishing, bonfires, spending time with friends and all the other activities Alaskans are supposed to enjoy!

MATT FITZPATRICK: Matthew is a hospital-based physician at Peace Health. In his spare time he does many loads of laundry, can be seen shuttling to and from ballet rehearsals and tee ball and pretending to read the book his wife bought three years ago. Although you may hear Matt and his entourage coming before you see him, he can easily be recognized by his height or the large coffee in his hand. Matt has collected many degrees from Notre Dame, Johns Hopkins and the University of Minnesota but is most proud of his travels and his brood.

KATHLEEN LIGHT (Host): In 2007 I packed what would fit in a U-Haul and drove from Michigan through Canada to Ketchikan to be the Executive Director of the Arts Council. To describe myself… I love playing the oboe, the oboe has shaped most of my life, most especially playing in small ensembles (wind quintets, reed trios, chamber orchestras), until I got to Ketchikan. I have been employed by non-profits most of my career, but this is my first position as the Director of an Arts Council. It has been my honor to become part of the Ketchikan community and to help facilitate the direction of this extraordinary organization. I believe the arts of Ketchikan are an integral part of who we are and how we see the world as a community.


Stories at Latitude 56:  January 17, 2016

DINY CAPLAND:  Diny is new to Ketchikan, though long a purveyor of adventure, curiosity, and fortitude.  She has never before told a story to an intentional audience but imagines that if this flops she’ll have another great story for listeners trapped at dinner parties.  Diny has a knack for observation and imagination that has been helpful in her early career as a photo editor and instrumental in becoming a psychologist. If she had to pick just one cognitive super power, it would be metaphor!

BILL ELBERSON:  Best sales job … getting married to Laurie and having three amazing kids: Matt, Christine and Karen.  Now the super grandparents of seven.  Forty-two year Ketchikan resident.  Long distance runner, masters swimmer and (when talked into it) Ironman.

GILLIAN MOON: Having lived in big cities for most of my life, the experience of catching my first fish (why would I want to?), falling off my first boat (yes, this has happened more than once), having an up close and personal encounter with a bear and being snotted on by a friendly humpback, has made my life just one huge and delightful bucket list.  I may not have been born and raised here, but my soul recognizes her home. My name is Gillian Moon, a nurse to our community and beyond; a daughter and sister to one; friend to some; supporter of the arts; and faithful companion to a tooth challenged senior pup named Shadow.

WHITNEY WALTERS: I was born and raised in Ketchikan. Left the state to go get my bachelors degree in Marine Biology at Western Washington University after which I returned to my home state to work in fisheries. Met my future husband shortly after moving back and we’re getting married this coming summer. I have a border collie and a miniature Australian Shepherd with whom most of my free time is spent hiking and playing Frisbee.

SUE DOHERTY (Host): Sue’s career has been work, kids, Ironman, husband, family, friends and community–not necessarily in that order.  She recently retired after 34 years + 6 months at Southern Southeast Regional Aquaculture Association (SSRAA).  Her encore career has turned into a Fisheries Consultant, Free-time Adventurer (note the capital letters), puttering in the garden as soon as the sun comes out, and beachcombing on a fluke February day, or so.  Still a kid at heart, Sue can’t resist an empty swing (especially a rope swing over the water), a child hopscotch drawn in the middle of the road or teaching kids to stand on their heads in the grass.  Host Sue was born in Butte, Montana, the fifth of six children and the first girl.  It is easy to understand why she has always considered herself “one of the guys”.  Her summer journey to Alaska 35 years ago continues to be a lifelong adventure.


Stories at Latitude 56:   November 15, 2015

TERRI BURR says, “As a traditional native artist, I have the responsibility and was trained by elders not to benefit myself but to be sure that my culture lives on.  I am mission bound to share our traditional native ways by sharing oral history and culture—putting regalia, stories, language, dance and the potlatch into the proper context. “  She continues, “It’s one thing to learn individual words and memorize phrases, but we need the full picture.  We need to hear the old stories.  We need to hear the history.  We need to feel the humor and the affection and rekindle all those connections, and that will support the language.”  Terri has devoted many years to preserving her language (Shm’algyack-Tsimshian) and is one of several individuals and organizations working in Ketchikan to preserve and revitalize their native languages.  Terri was born in Wrangell but has lived in Ketchikan all her life.

JUDY KNECHT arrived in Ketchikan in 2007 and celebrates 8 years with the finance department at Community Connections in January.  One of Judy’s loves is to write and create stories and articles for grade school and teens with help from her grandchildren and family who continue to be avid listeners.  Her second love is singing a Capella harmony here locally with “Affinity”.  She claims a family full of instrumentalists, jinglers, radio show hosts and singers whose careers span Americana from USO Groups to the Grand Olde Opry.  Judy is President of the Ketchikan Community Chorus and is a regular at the Jazz Cabaret.

DEBORAH O’LOANE dabbled at numerous and sundry jobs in her early adult life which included being a governess, dental assistant, bookkeeper, manager of a guest ranch, fishing guide. and massage therapist, before embarking upon a career as a nurse for the past 35 years.  She relocated to Ketchikan with her husband, Larry, in 2003. She is an accomplished cook, crafty, and enjoys the great outdoors Alaska has to offer.  Deb claims no children but devotes herself to her pets which, at the moment, includes two dogs and two cats.

STUART WHYTE was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois. In high school, he wanted to be one of three things: an actor, a high school German teacher, or a radio DJ. He decided that he didn’t have the patience to be a teacher and that acting would be too hard to make a career in. He chose the “easier” path of getting into radio. This led him to Ketchikan and a job at KFMJ in 2003. Originally not expecting to stay very long, he found that Ketchikan grew on him much like moss. He found the love of his life here and many great friends, and can no longer imagine living anywhere else. In 2014, Stuart started working as the Development Director at KRBD. Stuart’s love of theater, doing funny voices, and making people laugh has not diminished, but, up until his mid-20’s, he had an innate fear of public speaking. It was then that he realized that public speaking is just another type of performance. Ketchikan has given so much to Stuart, and he is looking for as many opportunities as he can to give back to Ketchikan.

ANDY ZINK (Host) was born and raised in the suburbs of Detroit, Michigan. The youngest of three children, he was often plopped down on a stool to “help” while his mother cooked and baked. Thus began his intense association of food, caring and quality time. A two-time graduate of Michigan State University, Andy arrived on the shores of Ketchikan in 2013 to start a new chapter in his life as an OB/Gyn in Southeast Alaska.


Stories at Latitude 56:  September 20, 2015

Listen to the September 20th series:

KIRSTEN BALTZ was born and raised in a Cosmic Hamlet by the Sea (Homer, AK).  She spent 18 years there, growing up in the most cliché Alaskan way.  As soon as she was old enough to bait a hook she spent her summers commercial long-lining with her dad.  Life eventually took her to the University of Alaska Fairbanks, where she learned a lot about the more scientific side of fish and that life without the fresh sea air is no life at all. She moved to Ketchikan in 2011 where she discovered her love for roller derby and rainy weather.

REBECCA BOWLEN”s foray into storytelling and poetry began as a child in southeastern Iowa along the banks of the Mississippi and Wapsipinicon Rivers.  Her desire to see a bit of the world took her to Europe and then to West Africa as a Peace Corps Volunteer.  Rebecca has been teaching for nearly thirty years and now calls this quirky little town in Alaska home.

MATT EISENHOWER is a graduate of Geneva College with a B.S. in Human Biology, an advanced degree in Cardiovascular Technology, and a Masters of Divinity degree from Northeastern Seminary. He and his three boys love the outdoors, especially sport fishing  and exploring the inside waters. Matt serves currently as Director of Foundation and Community Health Development at PeaceHealth Ketchikan Medical Center.

DANA FITZPATRICK  was born and raised in the cold tundra of Minnesota.  Two years ago she and her husband re-assessed their life—two careers, young children and too many meals on the go. . . after some deep reflection they picked up and moved to Ketchikan where they have found a wonderful lifestyle—great community, vibrant arts scene and ample opportunities to almost catch fish. Dana is married to a dashing, young man and together they have four children, a newfie and a fish.  She currently works in healthcare administration and moonlights occasionally as a theater director and choreographer. She is best described as “tall” but also sometimes sarcastic and goofy. And beautiful.  Smart?  did we say that?  Yeah. That too.


Stories at Latitude 56:  February 15, 2015

Listen to the Inaugural Stories at Latitude 56 here!

TOM FOWLER: Tom was born in 1960 in Cordova to a pair of adventurous school teachers.  After the ‘64 Earthquake the family moved to Truth or Consequences, New Mexico.  That only lasted two years as the “call of the north” was still driving his dad.  In 1968 they landed in Ketchikan and resumed “the dream”.   Tom graduated from Ketchikan High in 1978 with a life-long passion for literature and poetry.  He pursued another passion, aviation, for many years after that–before the cycle of failing air taxis sent him into commercial fishing.  In 1987 he took a temporary job with UPS that became permanent at some point.  Tom has been involved with music, acting, and poetry for many years and still finds Ketchikan a wonderful town for the arts and is proud to call it home.

JIM GEUNTHER: Jim Guenther is a writer and visual artist living in Ketchikan. His paintings and sculpture have been displayed in many venues including two one-man shows at the Main Street Gallery in Ketchikan. He has published two books. Turnagain Ptarmigan, Where Did You Go was the recipient of the Forget Me Not award from the Alaska Librarians Association. His recent Show “Painted Poems” was produced in an effort to combine the visual arts of his abstract ink painting and the literature of his poetry. His new book Great Alaskan Shorts is a compilation of short stories and poetry about life and love in the Alexander Archipelago.

DEREK McGARRIGAN: I’m nearly a Ketchikan lifer.  I did the typical young adult thing.  I graduated from Kayhi in ’98 and moved away after high school to try college.  I met Kristy at a wedding and we’ve been married for 12 years.  We came back for work and I became a police officer.  I’ve been with the police department for 12 years.  We have three children:  Hayden 12, Van 10, and Azriah 8.  2002 was obviously  a life changing and busy year for both Kristy and I. Nowadays we stay busy simply trying to balance family life with shift work, coaching, and volunteering with our church’s high school youth group. Nights like tonight [storytelling] are welcome for the reason of simply being able to relax.  Thanks for being here and I hope you enjoy the stories.

AJ SLAGLE: I was born in Juneau and have lived in Alaska for 48 years.  I was a big game guide for 8 years, a charter captain for 12 years and have lived and travelled extensively in remote areas of Southeast, the bulk of that time.  My work experience includes aviation, logging and maintenance at state and borough positions.  I love Southeast and the people and regret not having more time to experience both.

ANGIE TAGGART: Angie Taggart grew up in Ketchikan, and has lived most of her life here. She was the first person from Ketchikan to compete in and complete the Iditarod. Angie loves adventures and, besides completing the Iditarod twice, she has driven 20,000 miles around the United States, hiked the Chilkoot Trail, and kayaked 1,200 miles of the Yukon River. Some of the community activities she  is/has been involved in are: Master’s Swimming, assistant-coaching for the Killer Whale Swim Team, sailing with the Yacht Club,  Robotics, YoungLife, Healthy Futures, and Delta Kappa Gamma, a teachers’ society. She has enjoyed teaching school for 12 years.   Besides teaching school, Angie enjoys hanging out with friends and family, attending church, fishing, boating, hiking, swimming, photography and spending time with her sled dogs!

DANA FITZPATRICK (Host): Dana was born and raised in the cold tundra of Minnesota.  Two years ago she and her husband re-assessed their life—two careers, young children and too many meals on the go. . . after some deep reflection they picked up and moved to Ketchikan where they have found a wonderful lifestyle—great community, vibrant arts scene and ample opportunities to almost catch fish. Dana is married to a dashing, young man and together they have four children, a newfie and a fish.  She currently works in healthcare administration and moonlights occasionally as a theater director and choreographer. She is best described as “tall” but also sometimes sarcastic and goofy. And beautiful.  Smart?  did we say that?  Yeah. That too.