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KAXE Staff - John Latimer

John Latimer was once accused of being part of the worst ten minutes on radio. "So what did management at KAXE do?" he asks. "Doubled my time on the air, apparently hoping I would get tired and quit. Fifteen and a half years later I'm still coming in on Tuesday mornings to do my air shift. I guess I'm beginning to be the old man at the station, having survived several changes of staff and management."

John Latimer is not only KAXE's official Staff Phenologist, but also a rural mail carrier. The rain, sleet, snow, dead of night axiom certainly applies on the dirt roads of northern Minnesota. John breathes dust all summer, bounces through axle deep ruts during mud season, and slogs through snow and ice in winter. "I had one really bad day this winter. Had to get a running start to get up this one hill. It was so slick I didn't make the corner at the top. Took out a mail box and wound up with two flat tires." Fortunately his circuitous route through the woods and sloughs and countryside also gives John ample time to observe nature.

John confesses that he is a person of many habits. He swims three days a week. "That's a habit that's been part of my life since the mid-eighties. It was also about that time I discovered Carhartt logger jeans, now another habit. The Carhartts almost border on a uniform," John continues, "and except for the months without an ‘r' in them they are my steadfast companions. Lots of pockets for my stuff: hand lens, knife, coin purse and of course my lucky turtle. The turtle is a symbol of age and wisdom. I'm gaining some of the former but as to the latter I don't possess it in any appreciable quantities so the totem will have to carry me until I do."

John Latimer talks to listeners on the radio the same way he would talk to a friend. "It really feels like a conversation to me. I try to imagine just one other person with whom I am having a friendly chat. I hope the person listening will come away from the show with a little more appreciation for the natural world that we live in, a heightened awareness of how it all fits together."

John traces his phenological interests to an early penchant for travel, a search for something that was never quite defined. "Once I returned home I resolved to learn as much as I could about the world that was now my backyard. All the little things I had previously overlooked had to be discovered and, once discovered, assembled into a whole picture. It could take a lifetime but then what better way to spend my allotted moments? Sharing the whole process of discovery is just frosting on an already wonderful cake."

 
 
 
 
 
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