A VISITOR

Newspaperman Bob Wick stopped in at High Country News recently. Wick, who lives in Sierra Vista, Ariz., and his brother co-own almost 40 small newspapers across the country, including the nearby Montrose Daily Press. Wick is an environmentalist as well as a publisher, but what seems to consume him most is sculpture: He makes monumental bronze works that house live native plants and echo the landscape around them. Wick told us his inspiration nearly always "comes out of the great, majestic natural creations of the West."

CONGRATULATIONS

Congratulations to Editor Paul Koberstein and the rest of the crew at Cascadia Times, who just landed the 2004 John B. Oakes Award for the nation’s best environmental journalism. Cascadia, on the Web at www.times.org, comes out only occasionally, when its shoestring budget allows. The award was for the fall 2003 issue headlined "Plundering the Pacific," about how the federally appointed committees that oversee U.S. fisheries are rife with conflicts of interest, and are actually damaging the seas they are supposed to protect. Joan Konner, former dean of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, who presented the award, called the story "an example of how a small, underfunded, independent publication can make a difference."

HCN Contributing Editor Michelle Nijhuis received some recognition for her July 19, 2004, cover story about bark beetles, "They’re here: Global Warming’s Unlikely Harbingers." The National Association of Science Writers and the National Press Foundation gave her an honorable mention for the 2004 Evert Clark/Seth Payne Award for young science journalists. They praised Michelle for, among other things, her "ability to make beetles and climate forecasts interesting and scary, without sensationalizing the topic."

Kudos to former HCN intern and current Douglas County News Press reporter Alex Pasquariello, who garnered two awards from the Colorado Press Association in February. A story about Colorado’s "First Bite" law, which allows dog-bite victims to file civil lawsuits, won him third place in the "Best News Story" category for weekly newspapers with more than 4,000 readers. He also won second place in the "Best Agricultural Story" category for a profile of three teenagers who raise prize-winning steers. "I woke up at 4:30 a.m. to get to these kids’ ranch in time to see them do their morning chores with the animals," writes Alex. "Quite a feat given my penchant for REM sleep in the morning."

The Wirth Chair at the University of Colorado, Denver, will present former HCN publisher Ed Marston with its "distinguished service" award in April. The university’s Tom McCoy says the award isn’t just for the 20 years Ed put in at HCN, "but for his commitment to the West and to Colorado, for his many written works, and for the fact that he is still thinking and talking about issues that are fundamental to our shared existence."

And finally, this from writer John McPhee, regarding Betsy Marston’s column, which appears on the back page of each issue of HCN, and in papers around the region: "Please tell Betsy that ‘Heard Around the West’ is one of my favorite things."

CORRECTION

In our Feb. 7 "follow-up" column, we made two goofs in a blurb about the beleaguered — if not quite endangered — desert tortoise. The tortoise is listed as "threatened," not endangered, and it is the Bureau of Land Management’s job to plan for the protection and recovery of the species, not the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s.