14 MILES EPISODES AND SHORTS
14 MILES EPISODES
We live in a time of dramatic changes and media coverage—politically, ecologically, socially, economically. But what do these things mean for everyday people? What do new policies, weather patterns, migration changes, and gun laws mean for smaller communities? We are investigating what might get passed by, even on a small island town in Southeast Alaska with only 14 miles of road from one end to the other.
We know how the last year of climate events, elections, laws, and legislation affect the country on a large scale. How can people find local connections and ways to give back? Here is one example. Thanks to Alaska Dave and the Salvation Army Corps. We're curious to hear about other examples in our community and beyond.
On this episode of 14 Miles, we talk with former Sitka City Manager Mark Gorman about his experience in government. What does it mean to be a engaged in a community? What should a community expect of its citizens? These are the complicated questions we're exploring.
This episode of 14 Miles raises the challenges of making ends meet in Sitka and the possibilities of starting a new business. How do new Marijuana laws impact the economy of a small town? How does the fast-growing cost of living influence who leaves and who stays?
How do we participate in and build community? How do we support each other? The song featured in the Native American Heritage Month and Veteran’s Day parade, "Tsu héidei shugaxhtootaan (Celebration Entrance Song)," was composed by Harold Jacobs Jr. It is based on a speech by elder George Davis and gifted to the Sealaska Heritage Institute. It is based on the words, “We will open again this container of wisdom.”
Before the Curtain looks at Sitka School of Dance's annual Nutcracker preparations. This year, the school will present an Alaska-themed Nutcracker, featuring dancers as eagles, herring, bears, and crab. Outside of Sitka, what are your community's winter traditions? How do they reflect the geography of the place you live? How do they change as your community changes?
The Fortress of Bears is a non-profit rescuing and caring for orphaned bears. When the sanctuary was first proposed, many Sitkans disliked the idea of wild animals in captivity. But now it is a main tourist attraction, with more than 20,000 visitors a year. What places in your community do you feel uncertain about? What would prompt you to go there and learn about them firsthand?
The transition to a New Year provokes reflection on the past year and what’s ahead. New Year’s resolutions tend to about self-improvement, but in 14 Miles-style, we also got locals reflecting on the community. What resolution-like ideas do you have for your community? How do your personal goals match with the goals of the community?
One of the fun parts of this project is spending time in new places within our small community. We’ve also have been thinking about the challenges and possibilities of operating a small businesses on this island. What corners or parts of your community have you never explored? What does it take to run a family business?
In this episode, we spend time with Karla, a teen with a strong spirit and a story she was willing to share. These are large broad questions, but ones we will be touching on again in 14 Miles: What challenges do young people face in your community? How does the community provide support to them? Karla’s story was made with the help of Youth Advocates of Sitka, KCAW Raven Radio, and the Sitka Pioneer’s Home.
For this episode of 14 Miles, we asked you to submit videos telling stories of how people reacted when you told them you’re from Alaska. The responses ran the gamut from the stereotypical (“do you live in igloos?”) to the unexpected (watch to see!). Have you had similar experiences? Are there stereotypes and reactions that we missed? How do people generalize the region where you live?
We traveled around town to watch the last moments of preparation of the 10th annual Sitka Wearable Art show. We explored what it means to be involved in the show with one’s personal influences, challenges, lessons, and creative process. How does a project like this bring people together? Who gets to decide what something means: artist or viewers? What does it mean to the community?
Made with students and teachers at at Keet Gooshi Heen Elementary as part of an artist in schools residency, 4th and 5th graders learn documentary skills, interact with local adults, and reflect on what it means to contribute to the community. This is Artist in the Schools project, supported by a grant from Alaska State Council on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts with additional funding from the Rasmuson Foundation.
In this episode, we jump into the fray with Southeast Alaska salmon #trollers fearful about their future. They're concerned about the state’s strategy for renegotiating the Pacific Salmon Treaty, a formal agreement between the U.S. and Canada to cooperate in conservation and harvest sharing arrangements. It is a complicated story and our episode, “Whose Fish?” is a snapshot, resonating with questions about resource allocation, the negotiation of international treaties and livelihoods under stress.
Our 14 Miles crew likes to go behind the scenes. In this episode our focus is on the beloved thrift store, the White Elephant. We learned a lot about “stuff” and how much this local non-profit donates back to the community. If you don’t live in Sitka, what kind of place like this would you tell a story about? If you do, what other places like the White E do you think we should tell stories about?
Sitka National Historical Park, also known as “Totem Park” is a treasured place to both locals and visitors. In one of the first compacting agreement of its kind, Sitka Tribe of Alaska has started to co-manage the park's historical interpretation with the National Park Service. As a model for other parks across the country, the partnership brings up questions about the ownership of narrative, especially over time in locally significant, shared spaces.
#14Miles collaborated with Raven Radio - KCAW, Sitka for their series "The Cost of Living in Series" to shed light on the growing need for shelter in Sitka. Both Juneau and Ketchikan opened a men’s emergency warming shelter in 2017. Should Sitka should follow suit? Sitka does not have an overnight shelter for men. Gayle Young wants to change that. She and other members of the Sitka Housing Coalition are looking for a place where men can spend the winters nights. Temperatures are dropping and some Sitkans are without a place to sleep. At the 2018 Project Homeless Connect event, 25 Sitka men and 6 Sitka women reported themselves as unsheltered. Young estimates the homeless population may be closer to 35.
Can you afford a home in Sitka? The math doesn't pencil out for most. One third of the population makes less than $25,000 a year. "If our median home is around $350,000, a good portion of our community cannot rent or buy a home with our income levels," says former planning director Michael Scarcelli. What to do? 14Miles collaborated with Raven Radio - KCAW, Sitka for their series "The Cost of Living in Sitka" to dive deeply into the lack of affordable housing in Sitka and possible solutions. What do you think of accessory dwelling units? What about becoming a landlord and renting units in your house? What housing solutions should Sitka focus on and which should it abandon? We want to know.
This 14 Miles episode celebrates the RIDE, our local public transportation service. We packed the bus and turned it into a musical around town!
While Sitka's 14.3 miles of road is a distance easily crossed in a car, individual cars distance us from community. The RIDE creates both a traveling (and in our case, dancing) community AND a positive environmental impact. Transportation (including vehicle ownership and other costs) is one of the highest expense category for Americans, second only to housing. How do cost, environmental impact, and community factor into how you get around town or wherever you live?
“Little Tokyo” is frequented by tourists and locals alike for its sushi, but it also doubles as the working nook for its staff: Sitka's small Korean population. What does it mean for people from different cultures to come out to, and make a living on this island in Alaska or other remote places? What are the communities within Sitka or where you live, whose day-to-day lives have yet to be highlighted and explored?
In this 14 Miles episode we meet Ariadne, a library page who recently headed off for college. Our conversation touched on questions such as: What does it mean to grow up rooted in one community, as well as one workspace—in this case, the Sitka Public Library? How can the horizons of adulthood, independence, and moving away shape one’s perspective towards the place they’ve called home?
What’s your first memory of going to a public library? Can you imagine your community without one?
Sitka's annual Ramshackle Cabaret show is coming up February 15th and 16th! Each year's production brings local talent to the stage creating an adult variety show featuring comedy, dance, burlesque and more, with proceeds going to Alaskan organizations that support reproductive & sexual health. In this episode, we're reflecting on last year's show with the cast and crew. How does the Cabaret push boundaries with art and instigate conversation on 'taboo' subjects? What does it mean when a community project like the Cabaret creates space for voices that are traditionally marginalized? How can we challenge body shaming and encourage body positivity?
Sitka’s youth are not the leaders of tomorrow…they’re the leaders of today. This 14 Miles episode takes us to the podium with Ella Lubin from Sitka High, Killian DeTemple from Pacific High, and Alexis Rexford from Mt. Edgecumbe High School. Against the backdrop of the Juliana vs. US Government rally, these teen leaders are finding the courage to speak on issues they care about—like climate change in Alaska, We explore how Ella, Killian, and Alexis’ love for the environment influences their involvement in a school ecology club and aspirations for college and their children. What do the youth in your community stand for? How can you help them find their voice? How does climate change impact where you live?
In Alaska, winters can seem long and dark. Sitkans transition between seasons and sunsets by finding their own ‘light’ be it metaphysical, sharing their dislike of dark and cold times, or a gentle appreciation of the relationship between their selves, the weather, and the environment in which they live. In this 14 Miles episode, the diversity of the responses to the darkness mirrors the diversity of languages in which the responses were formed—English, Tagalog, French, Spanish, Thai, Bosnian, and Tlingit, How do you get through the winter? How do you experience light? How does the language you speak shape your understanding of experience?
In this #14 Miles episode, we go behind the scenes with the Sitka Tribe of Alaska and Office of Children Services. They’re working together to take down the boundaries between agencies and to recognize their own traumas and habits so they can strengthen their service to families and the community. Our questions with this episode: What do we sweep under the rug? How does historical trauma interplay with developing traumas in your personal life and community? What coping mechanisms, habits, or characteristics do you use to promote resilience? Why do we—or should we—discuss this wherever we live?
In this 14 Miles episode, we spend time with Jamie, a local Sitkan empowered, through the help of service organizations like Brave Heart Volunteers, to live in her own home and live her life the way she want to. What does independence mean to you? How is it tied to your idea of home? Human connection? What daily actions do you have the privilege to do without without an extra thought? How does your landscape facilitate or inhibit accessibility for yourself and others?
14 Miles gets damp and curious looking at tide pools with 3 to 5 Preschoolers, their parents, and their teachers. We wanted to make an episode that reflects on how kids connect to place—what’s it like to be a child with tide pools in your backyard? What’s it like to perceive everything with newness and wonder? How can we learn and connect with our place the way the kids do?
n this episode, 14 Miles spent time at the Sitka Pioneer Home, an assisted living community, with some of its 75 residents from all over Alaska. We explored what it means to ask people about who they are, rather than just what they've lived through. As Madeline L'Engle says, "The great thing about getting older is that you don't lose all the other ages you've been." What moments define a life? How do we bear witness to the complexity that people were and still are? How multigenerational is the community you interact with daily? How often do we think of age as a form of diversity?
In the realm of news, information and journalism, there is a lot to think about. Our press, a free press, is such a cornerstone of democracy and also of community.
In this episode, 14 Miles and the Sitka High Communications class took some time to think about what the Sitka Daily Sentinel, our local newspaper, means to this small town. Who do you rely on for your local and national news? What is the significance of “news deserts” in rural or isolated parts of the country?
Moments from 14 Miles. Two years into our experiment with short documentaries about a time and place. 29 episodes in, we’re curious about what the glimmers we’ve taken add up to and how we can inspire others to take on similar projects.