Dear friends

by Paul Larmer and Jodi Peterson

NEW BLOG ON THE BLOCK

A new online experiment for HCN, or the last best place for a nuclear waste dump ... you decide. We’ve got our own blog now, where Paolo Bacigalupi, our Web editor, comments daily about what’s happening in the West. Check it out at http://blog.hcn.org/goat and send comments, tips and suggestions to paolob@hcn.org.

HCN BOARD MEETING

You know you are going to have a lively event when people start showing up a half-hour early. That’s what happened Jan. 28 at our reader potluck held at the Tucson Botanical Gardens. More than 100 readers came and shared a bounty of food, conversation and story ideas with board and staff members.

Many thanks to Nancy Laney, the director of the botanical gardens, for making Tucson’s green oasis available for a wonderful event.

The evening capped off a daylong board meeting that focused largely on HCN’s intern program, which each year brings six aspiring journalists to Paonia, Colo. Our interns don’t just answer the phones and open the mail; they are integral members of the editorial team, and their work appears in almost every issue of the news magazine, including this one.

The board discussed ways to provide more financial support for the intern program, and to make it more attractive to ethnic minorities. Increasing the diversity of the interns is a natural way to diversify High Country News as a whole, because the interns tend to stay connected with the organization. Three board members — Florence Williams, Mark Harvey and president Caroline Byrd — are former interns, as are the executive director, five of the editors, and at least a half-dozen active freelancers.

With this in mind, the board appointed a board/staff committee to come up with a fund-raising campaign that incorporates a plan for widening the net HCN casts for interns. It also made diversity the main topic of discussion for the next meeting, which will be held here in Paonia in May.

Finally, we’d like to extend a big thank you to new board member Luther Propst and fiancée Elizabeth Storer for hosting a delicious dinner for board, staff and guests on Friday night.

CORRECTION AND CLARIFICATION

Our recent cover story about Yellowstone’s buffalo called them "the world’s last free-ranging herd of bison" (HCN, 2/6/06: The Killing Fields). One reader said that a herd that is subject to slaughter when it ranges outside of Yellowstone National Park can hardly be called "free-ranging." Several others pointed out that there are also free-ranging bison in Utah’s Henry Mountains and in Teton County, Wyo., as well as in Alaska and Canada.

George Armstrong Custer, mentioned in our recent essay "Living with the ghosts of the Indian Wars," attained the rank of brevet major general during the Civil War and is typically referred to as a general (HCN, 2/6/06: Living with the ghosts of the Indian Wars). At the time of the Battle of the Little Big Horn, though, his rank was officially lieutenant colonel.

© High Country News