High Country News welcomes new assistant editor Cally Carswell. Cally has spent the last nine months here as a multimedia fellow after completing an internship; now, she'll continue her excellent work reporting and writing stories, editing articles, and producing video and audio as a permanent staff member. Born in New Mexico but raised in Chicago, Cally says she's been itching to plant herself back in the Southwest since she was a little girl. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin, Madison with a degree in geography in 2004, worked at Chicago Public Radio, studied documentary journalism in Portland, Maine, and lived for two years in Minneapolis, where she worked in public radio and for an environmental law and policy group, and developed an affinity for mukluks.
Jessica Spencer, an HCN employee since 1992, recently moved on to a new life in Hugo, Colo., not far from the Kansas border. Jessica was a stalwart in the mailroom and had recently joined the business crew in the front of the office; now, she'll join her husband, Todd, who found a job in construction. We wished Jessica all the best as she told us what had to fit into her car for her move: two children, Jaden, 11, and Tirrell, 14, five cats, seven houseplants and 10 chickens. Happy trails, Jessica; we'll miss you.
U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., and his family visited the High Country News headquarters in Paonia while touring western Colorado just before Labor Day weekend. He and wife Susan Daggett are longtime subscribers. They were on their way to Telluride for some quiet relaxation with daughters Caroline, Anne and Halina. Sen. Bennet asked about our production schedule with sympathy for our end-of-week crunch time; his brother, James Bennet, is editor in chief of The Atlantic.
Fresh from what was billed as a "hippie reunion" of some 200 people who once lived or still live in the Paonia area, clinging happily to a countercultural view of the world, longtime subscriber Francis Stanton toured the HCN office. He recalled the old days 30 years ago when he worked across the street in a tiny office, developing and printing photos for the Ed and Betsy Marston's regional paper, Western Colorado Report, which got blended into High Country News when that paper moved from Wyoming to Paonia in 1983. Francis honed his map-making skills here, leading him to found a business in Madison, Wis., that he still operates, Eagle Eye Maps.
Longtime subscribers Dan Olson and Diane Sheets, of Madison, Wis., made a pit-stop in Paonia during a visit to the Western Slope. They proudly talked up Diane's son, Logan, who starts college this fall with a keen interest in journalism and the West -- we hope his HCN subscription, a gift from Dan, serves him well. And thanks, Dan, for your Research Fund donation in Logan's name!
After a visit to Mesa Verde National Park, Julie Abbott of Brighton, Colo., dropped by. Julie, who's originally from Kentucky, has often visited the West over the years. She finally moved here permanently from Florida last March, drawn mainly by her family, especially her 6-year-old twin nieces. An avid outdoorswoman, she is "super happy to be in Colorado." Julie has worked for both corporations and nonprofits, and is now hoping to find permanent employment at one of Colorado's national parks. She enjoyed visiting our office, which she said was "much bigger than I expected!"