Thursday, October 30, 2008

High Bongo tonight

Tune in tonight at 6, or join us at KAXE for High Bongo, performing live on Centerstage Minnesota.

High Bongo is KC Johnson and Pat Downing. They are a great duo, and Pat is sure to tell a good story or two.

This performance is free and open to everyone. There won't be member checks at the door, but we hope you either are already a member of KAXE or that you will become one soon. KAXE depends on its members to keep going strong.

You know the numbers: 218-326-1234 or 800-662-5799.

Thank you!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

What is Real?

By Jennifer Poenix

Today is day 3 of the "Northern Observer" fundraiser on KAXE. Thank you to everyone who has pledged!

There's been a lot of stories floating around about KAXE's volunteers and staff both on the air and here. Maybe some of them are real, maybe some of them are not. (Just so you know, I did not throw away any Beatles records.)

Other KAXE fundraisers have included things that people have wondered about. Did Heidi really walk across the Mississippi River on a tightrope? Did Dan and Maggie really visit Pluto two years ago? Did Rev Dave and Doug MacRostie really shoot my son out of a cannon?

These things are fun to imagine, but when you get down to it, KAXE is as real as it gets. When you listen to KAXE, you know that there are real people behind it. Real people who put a lot of thought into the music you hear. Real people who cheer everytime someone makes a pledge to support this radio station. Real people who work hard to ensure you are getting authentic local radio every day of the year.

If you believe in real radio, do your part to support it, and become a member of KAXE. You can pledge online or call (218) 326-1234 or 800-662-5799.

Thank you!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Happy Jim Columbus Day!

By Jennifer Poenix

This morning may not have been Columbus Day to you, but here at KAXE, it was Jim Columbus Day. So, we celebrated the best way we know how: with food. (See, I just can’t not blog about food.)

Cooks John Bauer, Heidi Holtan, and Penny Holcomb were busy in the KAXE kitchen when I arrived with my son Zane at 7:30 this morning. Maggie and Dan had already cooked up a storm yesterday afternoon. I brought fruit salad (yes, that fruit salad). We also had pancakes, two kinds of sausage, two kinds of egg bake, plus milk, coffee, and juice.

The guest of honor, Jim Columbus, arrived with 7 of his coworkers just as the first pancakes were coming off the griddle.

If you don’t know who Jim Columbus is, I will tell you. Jim works for the city of Grand Rapids, in the public works department. Jim and his crew are very devoted to KAXE. They listen to KAXE when they’re driving their snow plows and even communicate to one another about things they hear on their CB radios.

Ever since KAXE moved to our building on the Mississippi River, Jim and the guys have been very helpful. KAXE is spelled out in bricks on the sidewalk out front thanks to them. They brought us a lot of mulch when we put our rain garden in this summer. Then, when there was leftover mulch, they placed it around all the spruce trees we have. They make sure the fine details are taken care of when we have an event, like the 91.7 KAXE Mississippi River Festival.

In late August, KAXE was without water for three weeks. The details as to why are now fuzzy, but I do know that this was not Jim Columbus related. It was the other guys. When multi-daily trips to the Grand Rapids Area Library for water got to be too much, who was the person who helped us out? That’s right. Jim Columbus.

Thank you Jim Columbus and to your mighty crew for all you have done for KAXE!

"Just think," Jim said this morning, "if my last name was Carlson, none of this would be taking place." Not true, Jim. We think you're a great guy whatever your last name is.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Officer Jon Baker on CHiPs

By Stephanie Rose

I’m sure if you’re reading this blog [and/or you know what blogging means] you’ve heard of the social networking website, Facebook. Several of KAXE’s staff and volunteers have Facebook pages, and there’s even a KAXE group on Facebook.

A couple of weeks ago, I noticed that Larry Wilcox has a Facebook page. Before I could stop myself, I invited him to be my Facebook friend! And he accepted! I immediately called everyone in my immediate family [it’s just mum, dad, and baby seester]: “Larry Wilcox is my friend! And he said happy birthday to me!” Everyone congratulated me a lot. It was an enormous achievement for me. Also, it doesn’t take too much to make Stephanie’s family proud.

Some history on Larry Wilcox: He grew up in Rawlins, Wyoming, just like I did, and graduated from Rawlins High School, just like I did, and he starred as Officer Jon Baker on the greatest TV show ever, CHiPs, which I faithfully watched with my dad [who is still enjoying his own illustrious career in law enforcement] when I was a little girl!

Almost 30 years later, at my Rotary Club meeting yesterday, I said, “You guys. Larry Wilcox from CHiPs is my Facebook friend!” Jaws dropped. My friend Jeff Borg said, “No way!”
“Way,” I said. “Officer John Baker. From CHiPs.”
Someone else said, “What? Erik Estrada?”
“No!” I snapped. “The other guy! Not Ponch. Jon! Larry Wilcox! We went to the same high school! He’s older than I am, though.”
All the Rotarians at my table were pretty impressed. Especially when Jeff asked how Jon – I mean Larry – I mean Jon – turned out to become a highway patrolman after Rawlins High School, and I explained that my dad had generously pulled some strings for him, leaving out the detail that Larry Wilcox is an actor who played a highway patrolman. That’s just excruciating minutiae.

After Rotary, back at KAXE, I said, “You guys. Remember that show, CHiPs?”
Heidi Holtan said, “No way! We were just talking about CHiPs this morning! Erik Estrada?”
“No! The other guy! Larry Wilcox” I yelled. “He is my Facebook friend!”
“Whoah! The Larry Wilcox?!” Heidi was so overcome by sheer amazement that she had to sit down quickly. “How’d you get him to be your friend?”

Hurray for Facebook. Hurray for high school [check out Heidi Holtan’s Between You and Me on Saturday morning at 10:00 on KAXE, by the way]. And hurray for Larry Wilcox!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

This blog is about food...

By Jennifer Poenix

So, here I am, talking about food again.

I have a sign-up sheet at my desk for anyone who feels like bringing food during our fall fundraiser, which is coming up October 20-31. Right now, it's blank because I just put it up.

Fundraisers are a great time at KAXE and one of the reasons is the food. Most days around 11AM, various staff members peer over me to look at the sign-up sheet, wondering who is bringing lunch. Of course, KAXE's staff is very capable of eating on their own both during a fundraiser and when it's not a fundraiser. However, it's so nice to know that there is food waiting in the kitchen when everybody has been busy gonging in pledges and adding up totals. There's a good feeling that goes on when we all get together and eat when it's fundraiser time. If you bring food, you get to be part of that. Even if you don't bring food, you are welcome to drop by and eat with us.

I know that a lot of folks don't live near enough to drop by or bring food. That's fine. We understand completely. We hope you feel like you're part of things by listening to KAXE.

If you are able to bring food, that would be great! It doesn't have to be fancy. We aren't too hard to please (just remember to provide a meatless alternative if you're bringing a meal). It can be homemade, from a take-out place, or even snacks. Really, any kind of food that shows up here will be greatly appreciated!

We are also in need of folks to answer the phone to take pledges. The times we need people most include early mornings, evenings, and the weekend (October 25 and 26), especially during Green Cheese from 7-9PM on Saturday.

If you can help with either food or phones, please contact me by either email: or phone 218-326-1234 or 800-662-5799.
Thank you, thank you, thank you!!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Minnesota Grown is Still Hot, Hot, HOT!

By Stephanie Rose

We just got a nice letter from the folks at the Minnesota Grown program, thanking us for being a top distributor of their Minnesota Grown Directory. We were really pleased to help the 675 participating producers spread the word about their goods, beginning early this spring.

KAXE and Minnesota Grown were proud to be able to partner with Goods from the Woods Up North Marketplace, Grand Rapids Farmers’ Market, Lakes Area Growers’ Market, Lavalier’s Berry Patch, North Country Farmers’ Market, Uncle Joe’s Berry Patch, and others, to help connect our listeners to locally grown products.

And Maggie and Scott chat with local food producers at around 7:10 every Wednesday morning – all year – about all sorts of delicious ideas about things that were produced around our neighborhood.

Now, even with summer winding down, these Directories are still very relevant. Remember that the Directory includes orchards, Christmas [wait – let’s not think about that yet] tree farms, meat providers, wineries, and more. If you’d like a copy – or extra copies – of this important Directory, just let me know.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Performers Sparkle at First Friday Coffeehouse in Bemidji

by Maggie Montgomery

The Northwoods Folk Collective’s First Friday Coffeehouse is back, in a new location at the Mask and Rose Theater in the Masonic Temple across from the Bemidji Community Arts Center on Bemidji Avenue. Last Friday October 3rd was the second coffeehouse of the season.

The new space is a strange mix of art, theater and freemasonry, but somehow it all comes together to feel warm and welcoming. Two rows of chairs covered in red velveteen—with some larger chairs in the center of each row (are they thrones?)—line the sides of the main hall. Some coffeehouse attendees sit in these soft seats. Others prefer the folding chairs directly in front of the small stage. Individuals pay a $2 admission; $5 for families. The Folk Collective splits the fee with the Mask and Rose Theater in return for use of the space.

Drew Warne-Jacobsen provides the sound system. He offers the performers videos of their performances for a small fee. The acts last Friday included poetry and prose with a large dose of music. Some performers traveled from as far away as Longville and International Falls. Their ages varied widely.

One of the strengths of the Folk Collective Coffeehouses is that audiences and performers come together in a respectful space. Performing at the First Friday Coffeehouse isn’t like seeing an act in a bar. People really listen! Last Friday night even the most experienced performers seemed a little unnerved by the audience’s attentiveness.

Dennis Montgomery has been the master of ceremonies for the first two coffeehouses. He’s in charge of musician sign-up (at 6:30 on coffeehouse night). “People have various theories about how to assign performance times. I just think about what goes together; what will flow for the audience.”
Here is a link to photos of the performers and an art show upstairs from the open stage. The next Northwoods Folk Collective First Friday Coffeehouse is November 7th. The music starts at 7:30.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

What's a Dinner-Rama???

It’s a dinner--of any type--at your house or a community center.

Give your dinner a good name and invite some guests. On November 15th you and your friends sit down (or…maybe you float in a hot tub—that’s entirely up to you!) for a fabulous meal.

You can all play a special, all-nature version of Green Cheese trivia on KAXE, then pass the hat for phenology. You can call sometime during the Green Cheese program to tell us about your meal and report the fundraising total for your Dinner-Rama.

Then we celebrate…HOORAY!

You can cook the dinner yourself, you can plan a Dinner-Rama with another friend, or it could be a potluck. That's up to you. It’s fun!

About 6 years ago KAXE members held Dinner-Ramas to raise funds for KAXE’s new building. Here are some of the themes from the 2002 event:

Breakfast Bash Dinner-Rama
Roadkill Chili Hillbilly Dinner-Rama
KAXE Soup Kitchen
“Gypsies, Tramps at Steve’s” Czechoslovakian Dinner-Rama
Authentic Local Slow Meal Dinner-Rama
Hot Tubs and Martinis Dinner-Rama
Sauna, Suds, Soup, Salad
Guthrie Community Center Potluck Dinner-Rama
Greek Gourmet Club
Known Only Locally “Thanksgiving for KAXE” Dinner-Rama
Soup, Sourdough, Salad, Suds and Sparkly Dinner-Rama
Hibbing's Famous Sons and Daughters Italian Dinner-Rama
East Indian Dinner-Rama
Dinner-Rama at the Screaming Pines
Polka Palace Dinner-Rama
Brainerd Area DNR Employees’ Fish and Game Dinner-Rama
Hot fudge ice cream brownie-Ramas

On November 15th, 91.7 KAXE is holding this Dinner-Rama to celebrate and support the 25th Anniversary of the Phenology program. We’re raising $25,000 to help KAXE’s phenology activities—teaching phenology in 12 classrooms across our region, building the rain garden and martin house at KAXE, helping pay travel so John Latimer can speak to more community groups, and buying phenology promotional materials.

We believe it is good for our children to spend time outdoors observing nature. We also believe that all the people who comprise the phenology network--who participate in and contribute their observations to the Phenology Show--are providing a great service to all of us. What better way to celebrate the 25th anniversary than to do something to keep the Phenology Network strong?

If you can help by hosting a dinner, or if you’d like to find a dinner to attend, please call us: 218/326-1234

GQ bookends

Available for speaking/modeling engagements. Have your people contact their people. Or call, that will work too.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

StoryCorps in a nutshell

There is really not a nut big enough to decribe our experience with StoryCorps. They pulled into town, parked the Airstream trailer, and became a part of our lives.

They biked, hiked, swam, laughed, ate, boated, were on the radio and most importantly, LISTENED to what we, as Northern Minnesotans, had to say.

A portion of the recordings done in Grand Rapids were given to KAXE - so in the weeks and months ahead you will hear the intimate stories that people told, under the comfortable lights of the StoryCorps booth. People talked about wild ricing, raising children, losing family members, jobs, heartbreaks, achievements... you name it, we talked about it!

Thanks so much to Sara, Alex, Sasha, Naomi and Carl for being a part of our lives, and listening to our stories. These will all be sent on to the National Archives at the Library of Congress as a record of what it is like to live here at this time.

Check out the StoryCorps facilitator blog to see what they thought of us!

KAXE - A Community's Radio Station
The Ham Shack
Rainbow Ranch
The Phenology Guy
Bob Dylan's English Teacher
Minnesota Nice

The booth moved to Peoria, Illinois last week and our loss is their gain. We miss you guys! Come back anytime!

If you had a chance to be a part of StoryCorps while they were here, let us know what you thought...and let us know if you think KAXE should carry on the tradition of StoryCorps in the future...