NEWS AND VIEWS
          February 01, 2010

Mike and Laurel Kohl
S-9141 State Road 23
Plain, Wisconsin   53577-9612



February 01, 2010

Time really DOES fly when you're having fun, or ridiculously busy.  We've been most of the latter.  I did get a 45 foot semi trailer nearly filled with odds and ends between early October and Thanksgiving, but it only managed to hold a lot of my old bulky inventory, spare parts, and other large things deemed "too valuable to throw away".  It would truly surprise me if I could not fill another three full sized 26 foot moving trucks with what has yet to be moved from Wisconsin.  But then I would have to first have a place to put it (like already be in a new house in Minnesota), rent more storage space near Fergus Falls (a definite possibility), or have an offer on our house.  Still a bunch of things that need to be done (landscaping and painting) before putting it on the market, and hopefully things will go smoothly as Spring arrives.

I lost track of the number of consecutive weeks that I drove 425 miles each way for what amounted to a rushed Friday taking care of any serious business at Global Communications, Saturdays for a trip to Madison, and somewhere between Friday morning and noon on Sunday, get time to either do yard work, get more things ready to move, or fix another "emergency".  This went on for nearly six months, until about Thanksgiving week.  The weather finally forced me to consider the insanity of my commuting, and back it off to every other week.  I now have an extra day off every 2 weeks, with a normal Saturday-Sunday weekend off in Fergus Falls on the weekend that I stay there.  So I am probably being more productive than before, and not meeting myself somewhere on the highway as often!

My September column chronicled a large number of celebrity deaths throughout the summer.  Well, the subject has hit home since of my nieces in Bismarck lost her life in a tragic senseless automobile rollover on Halloween night.  North Dakota still has loopholes in their driver laws that can theoretically have some teenagers on the road with full privileges as early as age 14-1/2.  That's way too young for inexperienced drivers to be taking the wheel with their friends, and the stupidity of a 15 year old driving a borrowed vehicle too fast on a gravel road after dark has cost my youngest sister one of her daughters.  It should not have happened, and will now have to be a life lesson for a number of people about how quickly that things can change without warning.  That 15 year old will have a lifetime to ponder not only that her inattentive driving at high speeds killed someone, but also caused serious injuries to two others, at least one of which may result in the individual being crippled for life.  Most other states restrict nighttime driving of teenagers until age 18, and perhaps my home state of North Dakota may soon realize the error of their ways in giving young people a bit too much freedom.  

In a passing on that had been expected, my mother Ivedelle Kohl left us in early January at age 81.  She left her mark on all five children that she raised with my father, and in my opinion did a pretty good job.  I consider myself fortunate to have been raised in the Upper Midwest in less than financially great circumstances by parents that gave what little they had to their children, and instilled some values that stuck, practicing by good example.  It built a foundation that allowed all of us to thrive in a tough world.  I doubt that I would have considered going to Alaska without having first been raised in the harsh climate of North Dakota.  But I came back to the Midwest in 1991 to be closer to my roots, making it possible to assist my parents when their life was turned upside down in 1997, as their neighborhood was destroyed in a flood.  Nobody complained about the hardships encountered;  it was just another lesson in character building.  But I know that Mom appreciated having all of her children come to the rescue and assist in picking up, relocating to a new house, and rebuilding their lives.  This transition was rough on both of my parents, who were in their early 70s as this happened, and it did not help their health.  My father hung on until April 2005, after a battle with pancreas cancer prevailed.  Our mother needed to move to an assisted living facility, with Bismarck being chosen because of the proximity to where two of my 3 sisters now live.  She slowly progressed into dementia, and other complications with her health.  I feel blessed that most of my last visits with her were on "good" days when she had the ability to recognize who I was, and remember moments from the past.  If any of you are entering a similar situation, make it a point to visit your parents as often as you can while they still have most of their mental abilities.  Memories are precious, and you might consider interviewing them repeatedly to hear old stories from their past life.  Even those with dementia or Alzheimer's disease have moments of clarity, and it is usually about the distant past.  If you have the opportunity to "mine" for any recollections of their experiences, especially things that may not have been discussed when you were young, it will well be worth the effort.

Since the start of 2010, I am now officially an employee of Skyvision, and technically a resident of Minnesota.  It has been a long road getting this to happen, complicated by the existence of our business and household in Wisconsin, which must be transferred to this new location.  Until we have a permanent house in Minnesota, Laurel will continue to take your orders from Wisconsin, and generally be able to be reached during office hours on weekdays.  I will now be in Wisconsin about 7 days a month, continuing to slowly take care of moving details, etc. as the time progresses.
If you need to contact me directly, please Email
.  I normally get to Emails within 24 hours, and try to check things every evening.  Laurel can be reached by Email at    

It appears that we will continue to do a radio show from 8 to 10 pm Friday evenings, hosted by Ralf Black in New Orleans, on the Access America network, transmitted via satellite on the Ku-band side of GALAXY 19 at 97 West.
One week will be from Fergus Falls, and the other from Wisconsin.  There may be occasions when the show may be preempted, such as if either of us has pressing business that prevents us from being on the air live.  

Our catalog has been shrunk a bit, in anticipation of rolling our operations into the Skyvision camp.  Anything that is listed in the Skyvision catalog can be ordered through us at the same price listed---we appreciate taking the order because it will give us a commission from the sale.  This will give you a more direct connection into some of the unique items that Skyvision handles, which we previously did not carry, including the Ice Zapper devices for melting snow from solid metal offset dishes up to 4 feet in diameter.  Some items have been discontinued, mostly as former suppliers have exited the satellite business, or reduced the number of products that they make or sell.  We're in this business for the long haul, and will try to keep you informed of any developments through our weekly show, as well as updates such as this column.  Another method would be to Email me at to be added to Skyvision's Email list of preferred customers.  Periodic mailings are sent to a select group of customers by Email, and if you formerly received printed catalogs in the mail from Skyvision, this can keep you in touch.  Printed catalogs have not been done in nearly 2 years, but there is now a monthly updated catalog on the Skyvision website at which can be downloaded and/or read directly, with your computer mouse actually turning pages on your computer screen.  (High tech that I never had with our small business).

Next time we will try to get caught up on the comings and goings of various services, with some updates on both MPEG-2 and MPEG-4 offerings.  There are ALWAYS changes in this fast moving technology.  In the meantime, check our channel charts, which will appear on February 1st this month within our MPEG-2 free to air section.

Until next month,