Stories at Latitude 56:  February 15, 2015

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.