A visit from our Bulgarian bureau chief

At the HCN headquarters, young poets and seasoned reporters.

  • Vern and Melinda Hill stopped by our offices on an afternoon roadtrip around the Western Slope.

    Brooke Warren
 

What promised to be a snowy white winter has quickly devolved into rain and mud here in Paonia, Colorado, where High Country News is headquartered. The trails above town are a sloppy mess, and the mountains themselves are already showing patches of dirt and mud. The days have switched from rainy and gray to balmy and bewildering, given that it’s only February. The deer are happily sharing hay meadows and cornfields with the cattle, and there are reports of sandhill cranes already passing through — way early.

Of human migratory visitors, we’ve seen but a few in recent weeks. Readers Vern and Melinda Hill from Grand Junction, Colorado, dropped in to see the office in mid-February. The two retired teachers came out for a drive on a sunny day, visiting Hotchkiss and Dominguez Canyon before winding up in Paonia. Jim Matusoff, a new reader, also came by in February. Jim made the move to the Western Slope of Colorado just last year after working in communications in Tucson, Arizona, and is now enjoying the retired life in Paonia. Thanks for subscribing and coming by, Jim!

As busy as we are with our normal biweekly publishing schedule, HCN staffers somehow find time for other projects and community efforts.

Managing Editor Brian Calvert was recently a judge at the Aspen Words Fourth Annual Youth Poetry Slam in Carbondale, Colorado, which featured the original poetry of middle and high school students from the Roaring Fork Valley. Twenty-three students from around the valley competed, sharing work that ranged from angry, fearful anti-Trump verse to heartfelt expressions of teen angst and poems about love and empowerment. “It was really inspiring to see young poets courageously take the stage and bare their souls,” says Brian, who is currently working on an MFA in poetry from nearby Western State Colorado University. “I asked to be invited back next year.”

Our farthest-flung contributing editor, Jonathan Thompson, who is currently living in Bulgaria, stopped by for a rare visit. Jonathan was in Denver as a featured guest for the premiere of Beyond Standing Rock, a documentary on tribal sovereignty, where he discussed the recently designated Bears Ears National Monument in Utah — the subject of his feature story “A Monumental Divide” in HCN’s Oct. 31, 2016, issue. From Paonia, Jonathan headed west to Utah to say hello to some red rock before returning to Bulgaria. Always good to see you, Jonathan!

We also have an update on Lisa Song, former HCN intern from the 2010 cycle. Lisa, who won a Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting in 2013, will be moving on from InsideClimate News to ProPublica, to work as a reporter covering the environment, energy and climate change. And to think she started off in Paonia! Good luck to you, Lisa, you make us proud.