Daily Archives: May 14, 2014

Radio waves — KDLL bids adieu to Auxier, welcomes new manager

Photos by Jenny Neyman, Redoubt Reporter. KDLL retiring station manager Allen Auxier, right, meets with incoming manager Ariel Van Cleave, left, and KBBI’s Kathleen Gustafson, center, during the Kenai public radio station’s spring membership drive.

Photos by Jenny Neyman, Redoubt Reporter. KDLL retiring station manager Allen Auxier, right, meets with incoming manager Ariel Van Cleave, left, and KBBI’s Kathleen Gustafson, center, during the Kenai public radio station’s spring membership drive.

By Jenny Neyman

Redoubt Reporter

Allen Auxier is a double rarity in radio.

As station manager of KDLL public radio in Kenai, most of his work for the last nearly 14 years has been done, as would be expected of the position, behind the scenes, rather than behind the microphone. Though his Thursday “Morning Concert” classical music program has been a staple at 91.9 FM for many years, mostly when he’s on air it’s to give the station ID, read announcements, preface tests of the emergency broadcast system and other such nonflashy nuts and bolts of radio work.

Yet to even occasional listeners, Auxier’s has been the voice of KDLL, whether or not they know the name behind it. In part it’s the tone — a resonance honed as an actor belting to the cheap seats above the clash of dishes and rustle of programs. But decibels are useless without diction, and Auxier’s got enunciation as etched as a freshly grooved LP. The usually ignored “h” in where and when, a victim of lazy English palates, is delivered with gusty accuracy. The “a” of that and chat gets the crispness of a mouth used to stretching in pronunciation calisthenics. Auxier’s is the type of voice that is distinguishable from a distance and discernable from the din of a crowded room.

But Auxier is known as more than the voice of KDLL. In a medium where people are heard, not seen, he’s gained the added distinction of being recognizable by sight as well as sound. With the signature beard and handlebar ’stache he’s had since being discharged from the Army in 1972, he’s not just been the face of KDLL, he’s been the moustache of it.

Until Friday, that is, when he took his 40-year career in TV and radio broadcasting off the air, tuning, instead, to retirement.

“Allen’s going to be a tough act to follow. He’s been around for such a long time and he’s so ingrained. He is KDLL,” said Ariel Van Cleave, the new station manager.

It’s been a good run, but a long one, and Auxier is ready for other pursuits with his wife, Mari, who is retiring at the end of June from the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District. House projects (for Allen), gardening (for Mari), traveling (for both), and more time for his hobbies — Friday poker games, volunteering with Rotary, community theater performances and riding his Harley-Davidson Electroglide Classic — are supplanting work responsibilities.

After a 40-year career in radio and TV broadcasting — including 21 in Bethel and just shy of 14 in Kenai, Allen Auxier is retiring to spend more time performing in local theater, riding his Harley-Davidson, and other pursuits.

After a 40-year career in radio and TV broadcasting — including 21 in Bethel and just shy of 14 in Kenai, Allen Auxier is retiring to spend more time performing in local theater, riding his Harley-Davidson, and other pursuits.

“I’ve been looking forward to it for a long time. I’ve been basically working in radio and TV for 40 years, working on Social Security for 52 years — it’s about time to start collecting. And today (Monday) happens to be my 66th birthday, so it was real easy figuring out what my last day of work was going to be,” he said.

His first day of work at KDLL was in June 2000, a newcomer to the Kenai Peninsula but a return to the state, having spent 21 years in Bethel.

Auxier grew up in the Phoenix area, graduating from Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, Arizona, in 1970. That September he was drafted into the Army. Having a minor in Russian language in college, he figured on attending the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center in Monterey, California, and being deployed to Europe.

“I’d learn more Russian and go to Germany and listen to Radio Moscow on the headphones. That is what I figured was going to happen, but somewhere along the line I checked the box that said I enjoy camping and they put me in the infantry and sent me to Vietnam,” Auxier said.

Though a firearms buff — muzzle loading, particularly — and a supporter of veterans, he came back from Vietnam in 1972 with Montagnard bracelets protesting the war, made by Vietnamese craftsmen from old munitions shells. He still wears them today.

After his discharge from the service in 1972, he started working for the U.S. Teacher Corps, producing instructional TV programs for use on the Navajo Nation reservation. His boss at the time was a consultant on starting an instructional TV program at Kuskokwim Community College in Bethel, and mentioned a job opening for a producer/director. On Aug. 22, 1975, Auxier was in Alaska, on a plane to Bethel.

“When I was flying into the place I had that feeling in my heart, ‘I’m coming home.’ It was a great place to live. Horrible weather but really wonderful people,” Auxier said.

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Derby fishers, start your paddles — Human power provides hook in fishing derby

Photos courtesy of the Homer Tribune. Tim Dillon, organizer of the Seldovia Memorial Day Derby, shows off his catch from a rowboat.

Photos courtesy of the Homer Tribune. Tim Dillon, organizer of the Seldovia Memorial Day Derby, shows off his catch from a rowboat.

By Hannah Heimbuch

Homer Tribune

Memorial Day weekend is a favorite launch point for many an Alaska boater, getting gear and vessels in the water after a long winter break. In Seldovia, the holiday harkens a popular fishing derby, with a local twist. The Seldovia Memorial Day Derby is entirely human-powered, drawing fishermen with kayaks, canoes, rowboats and even scuba masks.

For organizer Tim Dillon, starting the derby six years ago was all about sharing a favorite pastime with his community.

“I’ve been paddling and rowing on Kachemak Bay for 33 years,” Dillon said. “I’ve just always fished out of human-powered craft.”

Dillon showing off the 2013 derby winner.

Dillon showing off the 2013 derby winner.

He also sees it as a way to celebrate the region’s rich history of boating, one that reaches back long before motorized crafts were developed.

“I just really wanted to continue that message into the future,” he said. “You can just go right outside of the harbor and catch dinner.”

Mark Janes, of Seldovia, has hit the waves for the derby four out of the past five years, and hopes to be out again come Memorial Day weekend. He’s entered using a hard-shell kayak and an inflatable kayak. Despite the challenge of carting gear and hauling fish in a human-powered craft, the derby is a great time, he said.

“It’s just fun. It definitely gets you out on the water on a day you might not necessarily be going out,” he said. “It’s peaceful.”

The catch has varied over the years.

“I’ve caught (sea stars), I’ve caught some cod. I caught a little halibut,” Janes said.

But that’s not the only interaction he goes for.

“It’s fun to see a whole bunch of little boats out on the bay cruising around, and you’re waving at people,” he said. “It’s usually just a bunch of motor boats cruising out of here.”

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In the market for community — Farmers markets set to sprout up

Redoubt Reporter file photo. As the growing season continues, more and more locally grown produce goes on sale at area farmers markets. Organizers say they haven’t yet seen an end to the rising demand.

Redoubt Reporter file photo. As the growing season continues, more and more locally grown produce goes on sale at area farmers markets. Organizers say they haven’t yet seen an end to the rising demand.

By Joseph Robertia

Redoubt Reporter

Among the sure signs of summer on the central Kenai Peninsula are the return of salmon and the crowds come to harvest them, the grow-while-the-growing’s-good burst of wild foliage, and the efforts of the green thumbed to similarly make the most of what climate, ecosystem and science allow.

Starting soon, the fruits and vegetables of those local labors will be available for customers at a bounty of farmers markets in the area.

One of the most food-oriented of the seasonal markets is the Farmers Fresh Market, opening June 3 and running from 3 to 6 p.m. every Tuesday into September. It’s in the Kenai Peninsula Food Bank parking lot, on Kalifornsky Beach Road and Community College Drive.

“This is a collaborative effort by local growers, the food bank and Kenai Soil and Water Conservation District to promote local sustainable agriculture, provide an outlet for producers of small quantities of products, raise awareness about nutritious local food and provide healthy, fresh, local food to everyone in the community,” said Dan Funk, an organizer for the market. “Our vendors are farmers. We only sell food, plants, flowers — no crafts.”

Cauliflower and tomatoes are just a few of the options on offer at a previous Soldotna Saturday Market. Growers, arts and crafts makers as well as musicians are invited to participate in the seasonal, community-based markets in Kenai, Soldotna and the Kenai Peninsula Food Bank.

Cauliflower and tomatoes are just a few of the options on offer at a previous Soldotna Saturday Market. Growers, arts and crafts makers as well as musicians are invited to participate in the seasonal, community-based markets in Kenai, Soldotna and the Kenai Peninsula Food Bank.

The virtues of buying local produce are many, Funk said, including that food is fresher, lasts longer once purchased and reduces the carbon footprint by not having to ship produce from the Lower 48.

“At the height of the season last year we had nine farmers selling honey, flowers, plants, fruit trees and bushes, lots of different greens, tomatoes, potatoes, onions, cucumbers, radishes, jams, strawberries, raspberries, herbs, cabbage, eggs, squash — you name it. We try to keep what’s available updated on our Facebook page,” he said.

Having the market on Tuesdays gives customers who spend weekends fishing, hiking and otherwise recreating an opportunity to still purchase local goods, as well as those working in town during the week.

“Our farmers picked Tuesday so as not to compete with the weekend markets and make it easier for local restaurants and people on the way home from work to shop there. We did have restaurants and lodges as regular customers and hope to have more this season,” he said.

food farmers market tomatoesThose interested in becoming a vendor can learn more from the market’s policy handbook. Vendors must be willing to sign a statement of intent, agreeing to follow state and local laws governing the use of certified scales, safe food handling, sales tax collection and agreeing to sell only local food, Funk said. There’s a one-time $20 startup fee for advertising, and a minimum weekly $10 donation, in produce or cash, averaged over the whole season for a space at the market. The donation goes to the food bank. Produce is used in the Fireweed Diner kitchen at the food bank.

“We hope customers will also donate to the food bank,” Funk said. “We do ask farmers to commit to the entire season, but I want as many farmers and variety as possible. I haven’t turned anyone away.”

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Plugged In: Snapshots in time — learn from the masters

By Joe Kashi, for the Redoubt Reporter

Now that we’ve concluded our recent digression on the hot coals of the “best” new photo gear, it’s time to return to our overview of prominent photographers.

Although most of these photographers are American, that’s not provincialism on our part. Our list, in fact, was largely suggested by an excellent European overview, “The Photo Book,” published by Phaidon Press in the United Kingdom. Not only was photography a culturally dominant force in the U.S. during much of the 20th century, but a great many European photographers did their best work in the U.S. after fleeing Hitler.

A number of these people led most interesting — in many instances, inspiring — lives and are well worth further reading. Some of the people briefly profiled this week led particularly interesting lives.

  • Dorothea Lange was one of the most widely known and accomplished documentary photographers in the U.S. Working for the Farm Security Administration, Lange and others documented the effects of the Great Depression and the 1930s Dust Bowl upon farm families, with photographers that transcended documentation, and even art, to become cultural icons. Lange’s “Migrant Mother, Nipomo, California” is probably her best-known photograph.

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