Dear friends

 

Spring visitors

Subscriber Ed Moreno took the scenic route from Denver, where he was visiting his parents, to Santa Fe, where he is an assistant commissioner in the New Mexico State Land Office. His boss is Ray Powell - one of the West's most innovative public land commissioners.

Freelance writer Peter Shelton, a resident of Ridgway, Colo., made the rounds of Paonia, stopping at the local public radio station (KVNF), the local health food store (Sunnyside), and finally the local regional Western newspaper (High Country News). Peter writes for ski magazines, Men's Journal, and the Telluride Daily Planet on a regular basis.

Larry Henderson came through on his way back to his job as superintendent of Guadalupe Mountains National Park near Salt Flat, Texas. We don't know why he was in Colorado because he visited on Sunday, and all we found was his business card inviting us to Texas and praising the "candor of the coverage" in HCN.

Lynn Bornholdt couldn't visit, but sent a card from Medford, Ore., saying that after many years she had come to realize that "HCN was my hometown paper wherever I lived. You're the only newspaper I regularly read."

Arthur Proteau of Paonia came by with a press release criticizing the springtime practice of burning irrigation ditches and fields. We explained that we didn't cover local issues, and sent him to the nearby North Fork Times, all the while hoping he wouldn't smell the smoke on our clothes from our just-completed early-morning burn.

For all we know, Betsy and Fred McGee are still inching their way toward Montana, hoping that if they drive circuitously enough, winter will be over by the time they reach Bozeman. (Of course, if they take too much time, Montana will be back in winter.) One of their detours on the way home from Mexico was through Paonia, where they stopped in mid-April to renew a lapsed subscription.

Former HCN intern and outdoor educator Ross Freeman came by, on his way, more or less, from Moab, Utah, to Peru. He tells us his next step is graduate work in conservation biology at the University of Wisconsin in Madison.

A visitor from really afar - Marcie Teas, who does food distribution work in Cambodia - came by. With her was a threesome: Grand Junction water attorney Marge Miller and her children, Claire and Alex.

Steve Hannon of Denver came through. He runs Kokopelli Books, which not coincidentally will soon publish his novel, Glen Canyon.

Feedback

Phil Hixson writes from Walla Walla, Wash., in response to Evan Cantor's memorable "Venison is not an option" (HCN, 3/3/97) to say that he protects the fruit trees in his small orchard with Irish Spring soap bars - one to a tree. Except for the fact that "it looks a little strange and our dogs love to pull the soap down and chew it," Irish Spring is the answer to marauding deer.

We're accustomed to being pushed to cover California. Now comes subscriber Maggie Anderson with a flanking action, urging HCN to cover the tall-grass prairie states.

Maggie manages the Agassiz National Wildlife Refuge in the far northwest corner of Minnesota, and she called soon after she and her crew had spent days on round-the-clock patrols of the dikes that protect the refuge from the Mud and Thief rivers. "We have 41,000 acres of wetlands," she said, though at the moment, there's considerably more than 41,000 acres of wetlands in the area. "Today," she said, "all the farms around us are sheets and sheets of water."

Maggie, who says she's from the East Coast, but who sounded a lot like that wonderful police officer in the film Fargo, didn't want to tell us too much about the flooding. "You need to come see it for yourself, and then write about this area."

Originally, she hadn't intended to talk about the flooding at all, except to say that it had worked its way north with the spring, like a slow-moving but implacable freight train. What she really wanted was 10 extra copies of the April 28 issue. Over and over, she has heard people justify their draining of marshes and wetlands by saying that God gave man dominion over the land. The next time someone talks dominion, Maggie said, she is going to hand them a copy of the article on Christian evangelicals so that they can learn about stewardship.

She might also want to show them pictures of the flooded "farms" around the refuge, which were once year-round wetlands, and talk about common sense.

We mistakenly listed an e-mail address rather than a Web site for the Evangelical Environmental Network in our last issue, and even that had a typo. The correct e-mail address is [email protected] The EEN Web site is at http://www.libertynet.org:80/~esa/een/index.html. We regret the error.

Come to the potluck

Saturday, May 31, High Country News board members from around the West will converge on Paonia, Colo., for the second of this year's three meetings. All readers from the area, which we define as within 100 miles or so, are invited to join us for a 7 p.m. potluck. We'll be at the historic Ray Bruce house, which was built with bricks made on site in the early 1900s. Please bring a dish to share; we'll provide beverages and everything else except blankets if it snows. Children are welcome but no dogs, please. For directions and to RSVP, call Mary or Linda at 970/527-4898.

- Ed Marston for the staff

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