Dear friends

by Greg Hanscom

VISITORS

A mild late fall/early winter has brought a few snowflakes to Paonia, and a flurry of visitors to the HCN headquarters. John Slone dropped in from Montrose, Colo. Subscribers David and Catie Karplus came through from Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks in California, where David works in utilities and grounds, and Catie studies the impact of pack animals on wilderness meadows.

Suzanne and Hawk Stone also dropped in. As the Rocky Mountain field representative for Defenders of Wildlife, Suzanne helps ranchers cope with the reintroduced wolves now running wild across Idaho, Montana and Wyoming. She says wolves are a "drop in the bucket" in terms of their impact on livestock, but you wouldn’t know it from reading the newspapers: "Every time a wolf kills a sheep, it’s on the front cover of the local paper." Hawk is a biologist who does stream surveys for the state of Idaho.

Paonia reader Maggie Shishim stopped in with her cousins, Michael and Susan Peake, who live off the west coast of Scotland on the Isle of Arran, population 4,500. The Peakes said they are as displeased with British Prime Minister Tony Blair as some Americans are with President Bush, but we have one thing going for us: term limits.

Severine Fleming signed up for a subscription on her way back to Mount Baldy, Calif., from Santa Fe, where she had been working on the John Kerry campaign. She drives a biodiesel-powered truck and promotes the use of vegetable-based fuels.

Finally, Bend, Ore., subscriber John Flannery sent us a picture of his outfit, Bend Cycle Cab, which offers residents rides around town on people-powered tricycles. He says he’s also starting a biodiesel shuttle and tour company in an effort to open people’s eyes to the many different forms of alternative energy.

LET FREEDOM RING

Helena, Mont., subscriber Kim Schleichersent us a follow-up on our report about Florida Gulf Coast University rescinding its speaking invitation to Utah author Terry Tempest Williams, because she’d been critical of President Bush (HCN, 10/25/04: Dear Friends). Student groups, including the College Republicans and the College Democrats, re-invited Williams and raised enough money to cover her expenses, according to the Miami Herald. Williams waived her $5,000 speaking fee, and spoke as planned about the freedom of expression. "Oppression of any kind depends on obedience," she told a crowd of 300 students. "Thank you for your civil disobedience."

CORRECTION

We mislabeled a highway in a map accompanying the story about young people in Idaho’s Wood River Valley (HCN, 11/8/04: A new breed of 'ski bums' is anything but). Highway 75 runs up the valley and through Ketchum.

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