Ten years ago, during what was instantly labeled as the “Great Recession” by those who make up such monikers, my company moved me from Dallas, Texas, to Honolulu, Hawaii. One of our kids was just about to graduate high school and enter the Marines. But my middle son was a rising junior and my daughter was in middle school.

In other words, it was not the best time to move.

But I explained to them that the year 2010 was a good time for dad to have a job. I wanted to continue to be able to put a roof over their heads, food on the table and clothes in their closets, and maybe even smartphones by their nightstands. They bought into the idea.

So began our four-year Honolulu adventure. We enjoyed many things about Oahu — amazing food, natural beauty, time on the beach and the friends we (finally) made.

The problem for us, as we came to realize, was we were a Caucasian family in a culture where most white people had a military connection, and their own groups of friends through work and neighborhood arrangements. Locals, meanwhile, often were surprisingly resentful of “another haole family” moving to their islands. We learned quickly that we were not “Hawaiian,” and we never would be.

I am so glad Alaska is different.

Please allow me to introduce myself: My name is Kevin Bumgarner, and I am the new publisher of your Kodiak Daily Mirror, which can still be found in print five days a week as well as 24/7 at kodiakdailymirror.com. My wife and I, and our Southern-born-and-bred beagle named Sadie, arrived on island last summer.

I’ll be using this space on a regular basis to write about any number of things, and to engage you on those topics through our Facebook, our website and other formats we decide to take advantage of over time. Perhaps I’ll even ask you to join me on some of my personal social media platforms, as I already have done on yours.

But first, I want to let you know a little bit more about what I am already enjoying about my second experience on island living. After spending most of my adult life in the South, I am enjoying Alaska’s cooler weather. Friends on the mainland tried to tell us we’d be too cold. But your weather — our weather — has been perfect.

And I love Kodiak’s natural beauty; my wife and I already have been everywhere Kodiak Island’s known roads will take us. And we have attempted several moderate hikes so far as we build up our legs — and our confidence. So far, we still haven’t seen our famous Kodiak bear, even though in the summer and fall we went to many places where friendlies assured us these beautiful creatures hang out. I know most bears are taking their winter siestas right now, but we haven’t given up finding one — or two, or three — when they become active again.

Mostly what I love about Kodiak Island is the warm welcome we have received, even in the midst of a COVID epidemic. I’m going to go into a little bit more detail about that in my next column, so please join me back here next week and let me know if you’ve had similar experiences.

Another thing I already have come to appreciate about Kodiak is the strong bond that readers of the Kodiak Daily Mirror have to our products. That is great news. We currently are running a Reader Survey in our Friday print editions. Please fill it out and return it so that we can get more information about our readers and understand the kind of news and information that fits you best.

We will be making some changes in 2021 in an attempt to attract readers who don’t yet know what they’re missing while still trying to keep our existing readers happy. That will be a fine line, but your ongoing engagement with me through this column and when we bump into each other on a trail or at Safeway will help ensure I know what you want.


Kevin Bumgarner is publisher of the Kodiak Daily Mirror print edition and kodiakdailymirror.com. He and his wife, Melanie, have three grown kids and a beagle named Sadie. They moved from Florida to Kodiak during the summer of the 2020 pandemic. He can be reached at kevin@kodiakdailymirror.com.

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