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for people who care about the West

Dear friends

MORE KUDOS FOR RAY

  Senior editor Ray Ring's cover story "Disposable Workers of the Oil and Gas Fields," April 2, 2007, received an Honorable Mention in this year's Heywood Broun Award contest. The top winners were Dana Priest and Anne Hull of the Washington Post. The award, from the Newspaper Guild, recognizes journalism that helps bring about social change.

VISITORS

Dick and Laurie Cullory stopped in to say hi on their way back to Fort Collins, Colo., from Canyonlands and Arches national parks in Utah. Dick is a retired sixth-grade teacher and Laurie is a school counselor. HCN is "the only publication I read cover to cover," says Dick.

Michele Barone, husband Neil Smart and their grandson, Joe, all from Coal Creek, Colo., dropped by after some late-season cross-country skiing on nearby McClure Pass. They were vacationing during Joe's spring break. Michele and Neil are both self-described computer geeks who volunteer at KGNU, Boulder's public radio station. While they were here, they toured the beautiful, recently renovated studios of our local public radio station, KVNF.

From Colorado Springs, Colo., came Jim and Patty Benskin, with daughter Bonnie and friend Megan Johnson, daughter of HCN Associate Publisher for Marketing Lisa Wolf Johnson. Jim retired from a career in entomology and now raises orchids in an urban greenhouse, and Patty is a software developer and programmer. Bonnie and Megan are freshmen at CU-Boulder and were enjoying spring break before they return to their studies.

OUR FIRST NATIONAL PARK, IN POETRY

Award-winning photographer, writer and HCN contributor Lynne Bama has just published a book of poetry entitled Yellowstone Rising (Pronghorn Press, $16.95). Illustrated with Lynne's luminous black-and-white photos of the park, the poems celebrate hot springs and cliffs, bison and swans, trappers and Native Americans. "It's been hard for me to accept that poetry is the best way for me to approach this huge subject," writes Lynne, "because a lot of people are scared to death of poetry and never read it."

SECRETS OF LONGEVITY

Mary Bear Volk, one of our town's longtime residents, celebrated her 99th birthday March 15, enjoying tributes at the Paonia Senior Citizen Center, Thomas Waldo's Bar and the American Legion. She and her late husband, Rudy, a rancher and then a coal miner, celebrated 75 years of marriage before he died in 2001. We can share some great gossip about "Aunt" Mary: She still loves to polka, and while she's never smoked a cigarette in her life, she says there's nothing wrong with "taking a snort now and then." Her mother, Margaret Bear, lived until she was 103.