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KAXE Receives Grand Care Award for Dedication to Community Health

Heidi and Kari awarded the award by Dr. Simon Lick
KAXE receives the Grand Care Award: Left to Right: Kari Hedlund, Heidi Holtan, Dr. Simon Lick

On June 23rd, 2022, the Medical Staff at Grand Itasca Hospital and Clinic honored KAXE for our dedication to community health during the Covid 19 pandemic in northern Minnesota. Click the player above to hear Heidi Holtan and Kari Hedlund interview Dr. Simon Lick of Grand Itasca.

With the vast amount of information available to the public during the pandemic, often providing contradictory advice, Dr. Lick commended KAXE for its dedication to community health. "Having a healthy and thriving community is not just about healthcare, but also about the other organizations that support community health," Dr. Lick said. "KAXE is a big part of that and we wanted to say thank you."

The Grand Care award is a new award that came to be in response to the outpouring of support for healthcare providers over the past two-plus yeas of the pandemic. "We felt like we needed to support the specific organizations that make this region such a vibrant and thriving area to live," Dr. Lick said, "not so much from a personal health point, but from a community health standpoint. KAXE has been so vital in our community's health during Covid and has been such a pillar that we had to present an award."

At the start of the pandemic and ongoingly, KAXE as provided its listeners with credible and authoritative information to help them navigate the pandemic. With such a large listener base around northern Minnesota, airing specific information about each county's Covid rates was one way KAXE supported the health of the northern Minnesota community. Airing the weekly updates from Governor Tim Walz and interviewing other public health officials on the KAXE Morning Show were intended to keep people informed and safe.

"I never thought about my job here as being about community health before the pandemic, and that we had a role to play at that time," KAXE News and Public Affairs Director Heidi Holtan said. "It was great to be able to call up Grand Itasca if something was going on and ask if we could talk. We needed the information and we needed people to know what the real information is."

Beyond the important Covid-related information KAXE shared on-air, Dr. Lick also noted the important role that community radio played in the connectivity of the community. "We now see how much engagement and connectiveness creates a healthy ecosystem for people," he said. "And radio, especially KAXE creates that connection and that is very unique. You don't get that from a spotify playlist. And having people that you go to for information is a key part in community health."

To hear more from the good Doctor's conversation with Heidi and Kari, including updates on Covid vaccines for children under 5-years old and how to stay healthy in the hot hot heat of the summer, click the player above.

Dear KAXE Team, The Grand Itasca Medical staff is pleased to present you with this Grand Care Award in recognition of your contributions and support of the community. We are so appreciative of your ongoing partnership and commitment to the delivering news and information to the people of the communities we both serve. Your efforts contribute to the health and wellbeing of the community as a whole. It takes partnership and collaboration to ensure our community thrives and your contributions do not go unnoticed. Sincerely, Grand Itasca Medical Staff

Heidi Holtan has worked at KAXE/KBXE for over 22 years. She currently helms the Morning Show as News and Public Affairs Director where she manages producers, hosts local interviews and programs, oversees and manages web stories and establishes focus areas of programming like phenology, clean energy, Indigenous voices, Strong Women, local foods, clean energy, economic development and more. Heidi is a regional correspondent for WDSE/WRPT's Duluth Public Television’s Almanac North. In 2018 Heidi received the “Building Bridges in Media” award from the Islamic Resource Group for her work on KAXE/KBXE hosting conversations about anti-Muslim movements in rural Minnesota. During the pandemic, Heidi hosted 14 months of a weekly statewide conversation on COVID-19 for the AMPERS network.
Kari (CAR-ee) is originally from South Dakota … a state often referred to as the land of infinite variety. As Music Director at Northern Community Radio, Kari has taken that theme to heart with her ability to feed a community of listeners hungry for an infinite variety of music and ideas. Along with her trademark lipstick and husky voice … Kari also raises a family … and Baguettes when time permits