Dear friends

 

SUMMER BREAK

Every year, the editorial staff takes an issue off during midsummer to escape the heat and head for the hills, so this will be the last issue of High Country News you’ll receive for a month. Watch your mailboxes again around July 19.

A GREAT MEAL, AND A GOOD QUESTION

At the end of May, a small but merry group of HCN readers, staff and board members gathered in Carbondale, Colo., for a potluck dinner, a bit of Frisbee-chasing and some wide-ranging conversation. The food was outstanding and the company was not to be beat. Thanks to Principal Leslie Emerson for hosting the dinner at the Carbondale Community School, a place that made all in attendance wish we were in first grade again. Thanks also to Casey Kjolhede and the crew at New Belgium Brewery for providing the beer.

At the potluck, one reader asked if we had changed our policy on real estate ads. Well, no and yes. Unlike other newspapers, whose bread and butter is advertising dollars, High Country News is funded largely by your subscriptions and donations. We like it that way; it means that we answer to you, not to any advertiser. As a result, we’ve limited ads to one or two pages, and treated them as a service to our readers, focusing on jobs and educational opportunities.

We’ve accepted real estate ads, but only from subscribers, and only if they owned the property they were trying to sell. We’ve also reserved the right to cut out superlatives such as "Gorgeous view!" and limit ads to just the facts. Only one rule has changed: You no longer have to be a subscriber to advertise in the paper. Subscribers get discounted rates, however, so almost everyone who advertises is a subscriber, or becomes one.

Also, as we’ve expanded the newspaper, we’ve expanded the ad section as well. Our longer, 24-page issues contain up to four pages of ads. In this issue, for example, you’ll see space dedicated to new books. We’ve also included a half page of ads for conservation properties — a free service HCN is providing to Western land trusts until the end of September, made possible by a gift from the R.H. Brown Foundation.

We still limit the ads to around 15 percent of the paper and corral them in the back of each issue. And we still depend on all of you to keep us afloat: This year, ads will bring in around $60,000 of our roughly $1.5 million budget, while your subscriptions and donations to the Research Fund will make up a little more than $1 million. (Most of the remainder will come from grants, fees from newspapers that syndicate HCN articles and Writers on the Range essays, book and T-shirt sales, and investments.)

TWO CENTS, AND THEN SOME

Speaking of our generous readers, in the last issue, I asked for your "two cents" on HCN’s recent political coverage. We’ve been receiving mountains of mail on the subject — some positive, some negative, but almost all of it thoughtful and thought-provoking. We’ll print a page or three of your letters in the first issue in July.

MANY THANKS

Thanks to everyone who helped organize the fund-raiser for High Country News in Salt Lake City in May. HCN board member David Nimkin led the charge, with help from Lynn and Patrick deFreitas, Steve Trimble, Yae Bryner, Brad Barber, Ralph Becker and Chip Ward. To quote a famous duo, we’re just not worthy of your kindness.

CLARIFICATIONS

Reader Phil Mickeywrote to say we were deceptive with our front-page photo caption last issue, when we wrote "a new Wal-Mart Supercenter lies at the foot of the Colorado National Monument" (HCN, 6/7/04: Wal-Mart's Manifest Destiny). While the monument is visible behind Wal-Mart, it’s about four and a half miles from Wal-Mart to the monument’s boundary, according to Chief Ranger Ron Young.

In the same issue, we stated that Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., leads the House Committee on Education and the Workforce. The committee chair is John Boehner, R-Ohio.