Thirty years ago, during a guided naturalist walk on Canada’s Prince Edward Island, Betty Siegel fell in love with birding. From then on, she knew she wanted to pursue it — and pursue it she has.
Since 1991, Siegel has birded all over the world, including Alaska, Costa Rica, Trinidad and Tobago, Thailand, Bhutan, Antarctica, Africa, India, Panama, Mexico and Guyana.
In Alaska, over the course of 12 consecutive years, she explored the Kenai Peninsula, Denali, Denali Highway, Nome, Dalton Highway to Deadhorse, the Pribilofs, Attu and the Arctic Refuge.
Every year, Haven House honors women who demonstrate outstanding leadership and who are generous and compassionate in their efforts to make the community better. These are the Haven House Women of Distinction.
Nominated by fellow community members and chosen by Haven House board members, this year’s Women of Distinction winners are Martie Krohn – Woman of Distinction, Mary Lou Kelsey – Woman of Wisdom and Zoe Story – Young Woman of Distinction.
In addition, Haven House staff selects one individual as a Hero of the Heart. This year’s hero is Doug Koester.
The Woman of Distinction award honors women who go above and beyond in their endeavors, inspire others to be their best, volunteer in the community and have a passion for life.
How many people can say that they’ve lived inside a gigantic Twinkie and worked inside an even bigger potato? Denise Jantz can and she has pictures to prove it.
After receiving a degree in communications and journalism and then tramping around Europe for six months, Jantz was living in Chicago, but dreaming of life in Alaska.
“When I was a child, a family from Fairbanks moved in down the road from us,” she said. “I listened to stories of how dark the winters were and how light the summers were. I thought it must be a very magical place.”
In the spring of 1992, Jantz and a friend packed up her truck and headed north.
At just 10 years old, Emmet Meyer began composing original, classical music.
“Emmet began home schooling in second grade, and made it clear that the first topic he wanted to study was classical composers,” said Emmet’s mom, Kate.
In his early years — age 7 — he started taking piano lessons with teacher Gabriela Husmann’s. With Husmann’s guidance, Meyer wrote his first two compositions for piano at the age of 11. He played them from memory at a piano recital while dressed as Mozart.
While Meyer appreciated his teacher’s support, he wasn’t smitten with the piano. He switched to the cello when he was 12, and for the next seven years, took lessons from Lisa Schallock.
A descendant of a family forced to flee Spain during the Inquisition — and an immigrant himself — Jack Oudiz has always been drawn to the plight of those who are exploited and oppressed, as well as issues of social justice.
Born in Cairo, Egypt in 1949, Oudiz’s early life was one of privilege.
“My dad was an engineer and we lived a pretty cushy life,” he said. “We belonged to the country club and I attended a private French school.”
When he was seven years old, the life Oudiz had become accustomed to came to an abrupt end. The Suez Canal Crisis began, and the army came to his family’s home and told them they had to leave the country the following day.
Catriona Lowe has experienced moments of exhilaration, joy and adventure. She has also experienced moments of violence and abuse. But, rather than seeing herself a victim, Lowe has actively chosen a life of self-empowerment and community involvement.
Lowe was born in Lancashire, England. Her fondest childhood memories are of times she spent at Cronkould Farm on the Isle of Man. It was here that she found refuge from her father’s temper and violence.
To walk through the doors of the Kachemak Bay Family Planning Clinic is to be treated like family. The grassroots, member-supported organization greets everyone with a warm smile and a hot cup of tea, and provides high-quality, low-cost reproductive healthcare and education services to women, men and families on the south Kenai Peninsula.
“At the heart of what we offer is a warm, supportive, confidential and client-centered setting, where we strive to deliver the most current evidence-based care,” said clinic manager Catriona Lowe.
Geoff Coble loves fossils. He loves to collect them. He loves to talk about them. He loves to lead hikes to look for them. He also realizes that others may not share his enthusiasm and may actually find fossils to be gray and lifeless.
“I thought one way I could get people interested in the importance and significance of fossils and the geological history of Kachemak Bay, would be to curate an exhibit,” he said.
On Feb. 1, Coble’s inspiration comes to life when the Pratt Museum presents, “The Living Tertiary.” Beyond featuring local fossils, the exhibit compares local fossil remains to similar plants and animals found both nearby and around the world, drawing comparisons on geologic processes, paleontology and climate change.
“Goat lost 12 miles out East End Road.” “Ride needed from Homer to Anchorage for two big men and one small dog.” “This message is for Snookie in Petersen Bay: we love you and miss you. There’s moose meat waiting for you in the freezer.”
These are just a few of the messages you might hear during KBBI AM 890’s daily “Bush Lines.”
Homer community members proudly display KBBI bumper stickers, drink coffee from mugs featuring artwork by local artists, volunteer at memberships drives and Concert on the Lawn and eagerly tune into favorite local programs like “Coffee Table” and “Slack Tide,” as well as national programs like “Car Talk” and “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me.”
As recipient of this year’s Homer Council on the Arts award for Art Education, Cody Davidson inspires and empowers local youth by sharing his love of music.
“Cody reaches an audience that is often overlooked and can benefit from being able to express themselves in the arts,” said Diane Borgman, HCOA Board President.
Davidson moved to Homer in 2001, and started Youth on Record Alaska in 2011. He provides quality music instruction to Homer’s youth through weekly classes supported by Haven House and Kachemak Bay Family Planning Clinic’s R.E.C. Room.
The program is open to youth aged 13 to 19, and requires no musical background; only a love of music.