Dear friends

by Jodi Peterson, Laura Paskus and Matt Jenkins

ANIMAL PLANET

Here in Paonia, we’ve been having various critter adventures. JoAnn Kalenak, our production assistant, recently adopted a beagle named Darcy. In mid-March, though, the dog disappeared while chasing rabbits. Three weeks later, a neighbor called to say that Darcy had been vacationing at her farm a few miles away the entire time. Meanwhile, Jodi Peterson’s ailing Australian Shepherd, Torrey, has been convalescing in the editorial department, where he’s done an excellent job of finding all the stray crumbs under our desks. And one of our interns, Hilary Watts, was startled while house-sitting when a hungry black bear, fresh out of hibernation, tried to push through the dog door. At another farm, an over-protective rooster attacked Hilary. Undaunted — and with help from Rita Murphy in circulation — Hilary learned how to castrate lambs and band their tails.

INFLUENTIAL VISITOR

Without Boulder, Colo., subscriber Leslie Glustrom, this issue’s cover story would probably have been written years from now. Glustrom, a biochemist-turned-activist, has kept fighting Xcel Energy’s proposed coal-fired power plant outside of Pueblo, despite the fact that most of the state’s environmental groups have settled with the utility. She’s also continued to travel the state, hounding reporters to cover coal-fired plants and how they affect global warming — and we’re grateful that HCN didn’t escape her sights.

CORRECTION

Robert Abbey, state director of the Bureau of Land Management in Nevada, wrote in response to our article regarding Lincoln County land sales (HCN, 3/21/05: BLM land sold without study):

"The article is seriously inaccurate. Two environmental studies analyzed the impacts of the sale of public lands in Lincoln County. A 1999 environmental impact statement (EIS) identified certain lands as important habitat for the desert tortoise. Some other lands that did not provide quality habitat were identified for disposal. In 2000 Congress enacted the Lincoln County Land Act, which directed BLM to sell specific lands in southern Lincoln County. These lands were already identified in the EIS for disposal, and the likely impacts from land sales were analyzed in that document. Before the sale, BLM prepared an environment assessment in 2001 that tiered off the 1999 EIS."

Abbey is correct, and HCN apologizes for the error. One point does merit elaboration, however: In March 2004, U.S. District Court Judge David Hagen ruled that the BLM could not sell the Lincoln County land until it carried out a full environmental impact statement, rather than a less-rigorous environmental assessment. The EIS was never completed, however, because the Lincoln County Conservation, Recreation, and Development Act of 2004, which President Bush signed on Nov. 30, directed the BLM to sell that land within 75 days after the act became law.

READER POTLUCK AND SURVEY

Join us for a potluck dinner to celebrate our 35th anniversary with fellow readers and the HCN staff and board, on May 14, from 6 to 8:30 p.m. at the Paonia Town Park, corner of Fourth Street and North Fork Avenue. To RSVP, call Jason at 970-527-4898 or e-mail jcn@hcn.org.

Also, the HCN annual reader survey and Research Fund appeal was sent out recently. Completed surveys (and checks) have been pouring in. Many thanks to those of you who’ve contributed. If you haven’t sent your survey back yet, please do so soon — we really do read each one.

© High Country News