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Episode 42: Finding love in Nome

By KTVA Alaska 7:40 AM February 15, 2016

We hope you enjoy our special Valentine’s Day edition of Frontiers. We found lots to love about Nome and are sure you will, too.

Years of living in the Bush gave me a new appreciation for some of those finer things in life like fresh flowers, which in recent years have become more available.

When you think of the thousands of miles flowers must travel to places like Nome, it’s remarkable that this Bering Sea community even has a flower shop, probably one of farthest North in the United States.

From our story, you can see Trinh Johnson clearly enjoys running her flower shop, bringing that splash of color and sweet fragrance to the Arctic. She tells us she plans to open one in Kotzebue this spring.

Nome, as you will see in this week’s program, is full of heart. You’ll have a chance to meet the new mayor, the irrepressible Richard Beneville. Even though he’s in his 70s, he’s still on the go and says his love affair with Nome is stronger than ever.

We also went looking for affairs of the heart from long ago — and found one in a collection of photographs taken by Wilfred McDaniel, a miner who arrived in Nome with his brother Edwin in 1900.

Six years later, he would meet Lottie Renny at a roadhouse near Nome and become totally smitten. He proposed again and again. And she said, “No,” again and again.

Eventually they went their ways. But later in life, at a sourdough reunion in California, a chance meeting took place.

You’ll have to watch the show to find out what happened. A word of warning: it’s a story that just might break your heart.

Special thanks to Jeff Kunkel, author of Alaska Gold, for bringing the story of Lottie and Will to life with both his amazing research and commentary on photographs, which are part of the McDaniel collection at the Carrie M. McLain Museum in Nome. The museum is currently in the process of moving to its new home, so perhaps someday the story of this gold rush couple will find its way into a new display.

We also want to give thanks to a local singer and songwriter, Jake Hamaker, who performed Ernie Sheldon’s 1964 tune, “Bring Me a Rose.”

Jake and his band Red Handed, which includes Harrison Jennings on violin and Ian Wahl on mandolin, gave the song just the right touch of tenderness we were looking for.

The instrumental, “Minor’s Swing,” was performed by Mike and Matt Faubion.

One other note, our photographer and editor for this program, Will Mader, spent a marathon number of days in the editing bay, just to bring you send you this little Valentine from Frontiers. Enjoy!

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