Somewhere in the cargo containers you see above (recently unloaded from a massive barge shipment at Nome’s port) are the materials we’ll soon use to continue construction on the Tom and Florence Busch Digital Studios. We so appreciate all who have given their time, talents, and treasure to allow this project to move forward. The empty lot you see pictured at bottom will soon be filled with the skeleton of our new studio annex – thanks to you!
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The morning of our press deadline for this month’s newsletter, the KNOM staff came into the studio building to an unpleasant surprise: no water. None of the faucets, water fixtures, or toilets in the building had any water pressure. Not a drop.
Our local public utility identified the culprit to be a frozen pipe caused by a failed circulator pump (pictured); even in mid-October, temperatures in Nome had already fallen well below the freezing point long enough for frozen pipes to become a problem.
While the water-pressure issue at KNOM was resolved relatively quickly – we had free-flowing water again by late morning – this incident is but a prelude of things to come for so many in our region.
This winter, many of our listeners will face freezing pipes – and in temperatures much colder than those in the fall. In blizzards or deep cold snaps (temperatures of -20°, -30°, or colder), many homeowners will experience problems with their heating systems. Power outages are relatively common, even in winter – although some in our listening range live permanently without electricity or running water.
These daily challenges spur us on to help thousands of families across Western Alaska. Living in the Alaskan bush is not easy – in winter, especially. But we believe that by providing timely weather forecasts, accurate news reporting, and urgent community announcements, we can make a positive difference in the lives of our listeners. You are making that difference, too – every day. Thank you.
A regular part of our mission is to send our hardworking volunteers to the rural, isolated villages in our listening area, especially when events rally those communities together around a particular cause.
Last month, volunteers Eva DeLappe and Lucus Keppel visited one of the communities closest to KNOM: Teller, a village on the coast of the Seward Peninsula (pictured at top). Both went to gather material for their respective jobs at KNOM. Lucus recorded voices and other material to be used in spot production. Eva (as pictured) reported on a news event, a pancake dinner benefit that featured a local author, Claire Kennon, whose novels address a problem that is tragically rampant in rural Alaska: domestic violence. Here’s Eva in her own words:
It was amazing and inspiring to meet such a courageous woman. In her powerful presentation, Claire shed light on the mindset of a domestic violence survivor; the message was that we cannot judge women who stay in harmful situations, but we can help them.
I also did my first interview for Elder Voices (KNOM’s program featuring the stories of respected Alaska Native elders). I spoke with James Okpealuk (ahk-bee-YAH-look), an 80-year-old Siberian Yup’ik man born and raised in the village of Diomede (DYE-yuh-meed). He told me stories about seal hunting, his father’s love of Eskimo dancing, and his own passion for ivory carving. He was kind and generous, and I felt honored to listen to his stories firsthand.
The drive was fun! It was a two-hour drive on a long, quiet dirt road. And we could tell winter is definitely here. We passed half-frozen streams, saw snow-white mountains, and drove through snow flurries.
Thank you for making trips like this possible! (Additional photos, below: artwork in the Teller school celebrating Native culture and decrying domestic violence.)
Lucus Keppel, KNOM’s new volunteer producer, comes to our mission with a breadth of experience in travel, academic study, broadcasting, ministry, and community service.
The Michigan native has lived in Ohio, Maryland, Kentucky, Illinois, and Jakarta, Indonesia, and he’s now happy to call Alaska home. His tenure at our mission is hardly his first experience in broadcasting or technology: from Central Michigan University, Lucus earned a bachelor’s degree in broadcast and cinematic arts with a minor in theatre and interpretation (in 2005) and a master’s degree in electronic media management (2007). He also founded an audio theatre troupe and taught the practice of radio drama to students with little or no experience in the art form.
Most recent among Lucus’ academic achievements is his master’s in divinity from Louisville Seminary. His theological background is a boon to our community: Lucus is active in the Nome Ministerial Association.
At KNOM, Lucus is putting his diverse experience to wonderful use; he writes and produces our inspirational spots. Welcome, Lucus!
Our mission’s new volunteer news reporter, Margaret DeMaioribus, arrived at KNOM in late summer and has hit the ground running. On weekdays, our listeners hear her voice in weather forecasts and news reports on the latest developments happening in their communities.
Margaret has a diverse background. She graduated in 2009 from West Chester University of Pennsylvania with a bachelor’s in exercise science with minors in nutrition and psychology.
Before coming to KNOM, she spent a year of service in Cleveland, Ohio at Maggie’s Place, a home for pregnant mothers and babies in need.
She’s also driven across the USA and snorkeled on the Great Barrier Reef.
As for her self-described “fun facts,” Margaret has a 2nd-degree black belt in Tang Soo Do (a Korean martial art form) and has “mascot experience,” having worked in costume as Elmo, Dora the Explorer and the Pink Panther.
In her free time, you’re likely to find Margaret hiking, reading, or singing at Sunday Mass. She says it’s been her dream to live in Alaska, and we’re thrilled to have her fulfill that dream at KNOM. Welcome, Margaret!
In this season of giving thanks, we begin our (November 2012) newsletter with gratitude and a humble request for prayers – in both cases, directed towards KNOM’s spiritual advisor, the Reverend Armand Nigro, SJ.
Father Armand has been a priest for nearly seven decades. In that time, he has been an active fixture of the Catholic faith, leading retreats in the Anchorage area and throughout the state of Alaska. There are so many whose lives have been touched by the kindness of Fr. Armand, and at KNOM, we’re honored to be among them.
We respectfully ask for your prayers at this time, as Fr. Armand faces challenges to his health. We so appreciate all who join us in wishing him good health, peace, and strength.
The temperature is dropping, and the days are getting shorter. Although Thanksgiving is weeks away, we continue to count our blessings and be thankful for our amazing KNOM family.
Today, in a special way, we remember KNOM friend and founder Tom Busch, who passed away on this day in 2010. Today is also the 65th anniversary of Tom’s birthday. We miss Tom dearly and are so appreciative for all he did for our mission and for the people of Western Alaska.
It’s a simple testament to Tom, who, along with his wife Florence, established KNOM as a positive presence to young and old alike. Thank you, Tom and Florence. You made a world of difference in the lives of generations of Western Alaskans.
November 6, 1990
One or two swings with a sledgehammer are enough to take down entire four-foot sections of the walls of the old volunteer women’s dormitory nicknamed the “Crooked House.”
With most of the wall structure gone, Br. Ray Berube, FIC, hopes to pull over the sagging roof. However, the building is weaker than he thought, and it begins to lean perilously in the direction of St. Joseph Church, just eight feet away. Nome resident Jim West, Jr. leaps to the rescue. With a small bulldozer, he nudges the building toward an open area, and it collapses into several pieces.
The snow covers mountains, hills, and the tundra. On clear nights, we are blessed with colorful auroras as the night sparkles with stars and planets. The scenic majesty of bush Alaska is breathtaking during the day and at night. As the seasons change and the thermometer falls towards zero, we thank all who help us make a positive difference every minute of every day.
Soon, the Bering Sea will turn to a slushy soup of ice crystals. Then the shore ice will fasten itself to the beaches (and the rivers, as pictured above) and the light will fade, declining about six minutes each day. As the seasons change, KNOM is constant in broadcasting critical weather, news, information, inspiration, and entertainment. We owe so much to so many who have helped us for nearly five decades: from planning to engineering, construction, and operation. We are truly blessed!
October 19, 2006
In Anchorage, doctors wait as long as they can, but they can’t wait long, and they deliver 2-pound 4-ounce Sophia Woyte, 28 weeks premature. Tom Busch takes pictures of mother and baby and e-mails them to Lynette Schmidt in Nome, who prints and gives them to Sophia’s small worried siblings, to assure them everything’s okay. At the age of one day, Sophia and mother Robyn are visited by John Woyte, whom the National Guard has flown home from Iraq. Little Sophia holds her own and is home by Christmas.
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