Dear Friends

  Y2K Why bother?


Try as we might, staff at High Country News encountered no major glitches as 1,000 years petered out. On the first day of the new millennium, a staffer leaving Philadelphia spotted airline monitors all flashing the date 1900, and closer to home in Paonia, we can report that six houseguests were victimized by a toaster that wouldn't toast. Not least, for a few hours this paper's home page on the Web sported the date Jan. 1, 1910. But it seemed a mundane event, this turning over of 10 centuries. More wondrous was the arrival of pillows of snow - just a week or so late to hearten deserted ski resorts.





Viva Las Vegas


Board members of High Country News, who live in towns all over the West, meet for the first time in 2000 in Las Vegas, Nev. The get-together begins Friday, Jan. 21, with a 6:30 p.m. potluck at the Las Vegas Valley Water District building, 1001 S. Valley View Road. All readers who live in the region or who happen to be in the neighborhood are invited; just give Aileen Truax a call at 970/527-4898 to confirm. Please bring a potluck dish to share. We'll provide drinkables and guarantee no speechifying.





Welcome, interns


A native of nowhere in particular, new HCN intern Catherine Lutz drifted to Paonia after freelancing for the paper for several months. She says her passion for Western issues began three years ago, when she moved to Boulder, Colo., after living in the Midwest, Northeast and Southeast.


"I grew up in the flatlands near Chicago, frequently visiting the West to go skiing and hiking," she says. "I quickly fell in love with its physical beauty and endless recreation possibilities. But I hadn't realized what complex and unique natural-resource issues dominate the region until I moved here."


Catherine has also lived, traveled or studied in France, Spain, Canada and South America. She credits her French father and Czech mother for her interest in exploring cultures, and would like to write about it all someday. With a working knowledge of four foreign languages, Catherine is hoping to perfect her English while at High Country News.


New intern Robyn Morrison just traded one apple valley for another. Most recently from Wenatchee, Wash., "The Apple Capital of the World," she hopes to see spring apple blossoms in western Colorado - frost permitting. But she's in no hurry for the snow to melt: The past nine years as an alpine ski coach have given her a love of long winters and deep snow.


After graduating from Occidental College in Los Angeles, Robyn returned to her hometown of Casper, Wyo., where she planned to spend a winter coaching the local race team before entering the post-college job search. One winter turned into five and led to her living in the Northwest. Between racing seasons, Robyn says, she worked at an apple-packing shed and now has strong opinions concerning the tastiest varieties - Jonagold and Braeburn are her favorites.


Robyn says her decision to come to High Country News sprang from learning to love wild lands while growing up in Wyoming - and from a love of writing.


* Betsy Marston for the staff