Dear friends

  • Mud fun: Endearing and enduring photo by Paul Bousquet


Out of the hot

Kay Firor and Kent Osterberg, accompanied by their children, Brent and Lissa, all of Cove, Ore., came through town. Kay teaches math at Eastern Oregon University, and Kent swears that he is a metrologist - a specialist in the measuring of things.

The Red Robin Bike Tour of Colorado, a benefit for the Make A Wish Foundation, pedaled through Paonia, and among the 900 bikers were several HCN subscribers. Kathy and Eric Pierson of Durango, Colo., were first to arrive. He takes care of Durango's computer system and she teaches elementary school. They were followed by Francie Jacober, of the Aspen Country Day School, and her friend from St. Louis, Larry Saguto. The mostly skinny wheelers had come from Glenwood Springs that day, a mere 70 miles and one 8,500-foot mountain pass away. Most of them made it by lunchtime, and by early afternoon had pitched a sea of tents on the high school football field.

He wasn't on a bike, but Bill Bussmann of Truth or Consequences, N.M., also found us. He was driving a sag wagon for his wife and several friends, who were biking around the San Juan Mountains. He stopped in to say hello, and to tell us about a copper mine planned for his backyard.

Gene and Margo Lorig, long-time subscribers from Eagle, Colo., stopped by. The pair was active in the effort to stop Fred Kummer's Adam's Rib ski project. With that done, they are moving to Paonia. We presented them with a list of things that need stopping here, but they said they have sworn off meetings for the moment.

Subscribers Karen Levy, a science teacher, and Dylan Keon, a graduate student in plant ecology at Oregon State University in Corvallis, stopped by on their way to a wedding in Lake City, Colo. We also chatted with Randy Campbell of Fort Collins, Colo., who is an avid historian of his state.

Andrew Wallace of Flagstaff, Ariz., came in out of the warm. He is a professor of history at Northern Arizona University and a fan of the repertory theater performed at Creede, Colo.

Writer Martin Murie of Moose, Wyo., stopped by with a copy of his just-published novel, Losing Solitude, set in the intermountain West. A long-time HCN reader, Murie taught life sciences at Antioch College and elsewhere before turning to fiction.

The Sierra Club's national board and some staff gathered last month in nearby Crested Butte, Colo. Dropping in afterward were Lois Snedden, vice president for conservation, and Ann Ronald, author of Earthtones: A Nevada Album. The two Reno, Nev., residents said that Gene Reedy, Paonia's car guru, assured them that an intermittently flashing light signifying 4-WD was not a problem. We've yet to hear differently.

Logging protester Ramon (Bob Amon) did not reappear outside the office in his huge Cove-Mallard bus, but he did write from a beach somewhere in Mexico that the Great American Novel is under way. Between rewrites, he reports, he pores over HCN "so I can copy the names of foundation sponsors and ask them for money for Cove-Mallard."

Lee Schussman, who practices family medicine in Ogden, Utah, made a housecall in our Paonia office to see his son Alan, an intern who is improving HCN's Web site (

As we were putting out our July 7 issue, just before taking a bit of time off, a stream of readers descended on our offices as if to wish us a good vacation. Bob and Lynda Fanning, readers from Spearfish, S.D., in the Black Hills, came through the office after doing some camping around Crested Butte.

Mark Stromberg, a zoologist and head of the University of California-Berkeley's Hastings Natural History Preserve in Carmel Valley, Calif., dropped by on his way to help a friend "put up a fence."

And Cara and Steve Priem of Boulder, Colo., came through town for Paonia's July 4 Cherry Days festival, and to do a little mountain biking.

Readers Paul Bousquet and Edith Blakeslee from Boulder, Colo., dropped by en route from Mesa Verde to the Maroon Bells. Paul looked around and discovered that he has been "hung" at High Country News, in the form of a photo on our wall that he took of two laughing women covered by San Juan River mud.

In other news

Now and then a freelance writer will tell us: "My paper won't let me write for High Country News - it's biased." Or, he or she will say, "If I write for you, other (i.e. conventional) papers won't take my stuff."

Luckily, no one has told Nevada writer Jon Christensen that HCN is a career buster. For 10 or more years, Jon's work has appeared in High Country News (his latest was a Roundup about a Las Vegas water grab). Now it is appearing regularly on the front page of The New York Times business section. His latest Times story, in the July 6 issue, profiled casino owner Steve Wynn, and his successful fight to ban oil-spewing jet skis from Lake Tahoe.

Speaking of writers, Aspen resident Hal Clifford will be retracing the Dominguez-Escalante expedition of 1776 through New Mexico, Colorado, Utah and Arizona for a book he's writing on (what else?) the changing West. He'd appreciate hearing from newcomers and those well-rooted who might be willing to meet with him in coming months to share their stories. He can be contacted by e-mail ([email protected]), phone (970/925-8489), or the old-fashioned way at Box 12204, Aspen, CO 81612.

The voice of Howard Berkes will be missing from National Public Radio news shows for the next year. The Salt Lake City reporter has received a Nieman Fellowship, which means he will be auditing courses at Harvard and looking at the West from the shores of the Charles River. Congratulations.

* Ed Marston for the staff

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