Dozens of friends attended our open house on Dec. 12; thanks to all of you who came by. For the last two weeks of December, we won't be putting out a news magazine; instead, we'll be catching up around the office and enjoying a bit of holiday cheer. Look for the next issue of HCN around Jan. 21.

A PILOT, A VULCANOLOGIST



LightHawk, a nonprofit group that flies people over remote lands to educate them about environmental issues, held its annual fly-in in Boulder, Colo., on Oct. 5. Volunteer pilot Greg Bedinger and companion Jan Mulder attended the fly-in and visited friends in Denver, then came by to say hello on the way home to Bainbridge Island, Wash.

Five professionals from the city of Hyderabad and environs in southern India toured the office in early October. They were all Rotary Club members on a month-long exploration of western Colorado, hosted for two days in Paonia by our local Rotary Club. HCN staffer Betsy Marston had the fun of putting up the women of the group, television broadcaster Gali Pragathi, whose news shows reach 30 million people, and Meena Karimi, a childhood disabilities specialist who works for a nonprofit. Other Rotarians in the group included Cherukuri Sreenivasa Rao, an agricultural scientist specializing in bugs, Malladi Vasudev, a lawyer, and Mahesh Joshi, an emergency room doctor who noted that lots of Americans have discovered India's inexpensive "medical tourism."

Barbara and Carl Popp from Socorro, N.M., stopped by. Carl was last in the area more than 40 years ago, on a hunting trip with a college roommate, and the couple decided it was time to return and see the leaves changing.

Michael Harper, a former Forest Service employee who worked at the agency's Paonia office, came back for a visit. After a stint with the Yampa Valley Land Trust in Steamboat Springs, Colo., Michael jumped on his motorcycle for a trip around the region before returning home to Gypsum. Also on bikes were brothers Steve and Gil Rone of Peoria, Ill., who capped a month-long Harley tour of the West with a visit to the office.

Stephanie Kyriazis, a vulcanologist by training and a geology master's student at Cal State Northridge, dropped by on her way to Denver for the Geological Society of America's annual conference. Stephanie spent summers working at Bryce Canyon National Park and the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, where she learned firsthand about the West's geology.

John Firor, 1927-2007



Longtime director of the National Center for Atmospheric Research and an early proponent of climate change research, John Firor died Nov. 5 in Pullman, Wash. Firor authored The Changing Atmosphere: A Global Challenge, in 1990. The Crowded Greenhouse: Population, Climate Change, and Creating a Sustainable World was co-authored by his late wife, Judith E. Jacobsen, who once sat on the High Country News board. Firor spent much of his life in the West, and directed the Boulder, Colo.-based NCAR from 1968 until 1980. He also served on the Environmental Defense Fund board for 30 years.