Dear friends

  • Rita Murphy, Andy Lenderman and Linda Bacigalupi stuffing papers

    Cindy Wehling

The Research Fund

The real burden of the Research Fund falls on the "gang of five," a tenacious crew that is sitting in our central area putting together the letters that will determine HCN's fate over the next year. It's an especially tough job because ours is an open office, and so they can't listen to the radio, although they can, and do, chat.

The letters they are assembling and labeling ask for tax-deductible contributions to the Research Fund. This is the fund that underwrites the paper's freedom from advertising, from a large "parent" organization, and from the need to chase upscale "demographics."

If you have already sent a gift to the Research Fund during this year, you won't find a letter in your mailbox. We hope you don't feel left out.

The nightmare

There was a recent exception to the "no radio" rule. The September 29 issue of HCN came back from the printer with an unacceptable typographical error on the front page. And so staff and mail crew stopped everything, stripped the offending 4-page sheet from the paper, and folded the remaining three sheets into a newly printed front sheet. It took two days, required a lot of pizza and pop, shattered everyone's schedule, cost more money than we care to think about, and made the papers we finally mailed look as if they'd been napped in, if not slept in. But the typo was gone.

The Board

The board of the High Country Foundation met in Paonia on Sept. 20. As usual, they reviewed the paper's circulation (down slightly) and finances (on budget). They also talked about HCN's just-launched special project: Writers on the Range, whose ambition is to put op-ed columns on the pages of every newspaper in the West. WOTR head Paul Larmer wasn't there; he was in Wisconsin promoting the weekly set of three columns to a national meeting of editors, but the board was pleased with the progress thus far. It is still in start-up, but is going much better than expected. It has been made possible through seed capital provided by a far-sighted group of donors.

Much of the meeting was devoted to editorial policy. The board of directors is not an editorial board "- that responsibility lies with the staff - but board does set broad policy. And so staff and board talked about the balance the paper strikes between articles dealing with traditional near-term threats - clear-cutting, proposals to build new dams or mines, Grand Canyon overflights - and articles about the ongoing evolution of the West, typified by reporting on the service economy, management of the new national monument in Utah, and consensus/collaboration.

The board also discussed marketing alternatives to direct mail, and heard from Steve Mandell of Grand Junction, Colo., who is a former vice president for marketing at Midas International in Chicago.

After the meeting, much of the board attended the 20th anniversary dinner-dance of the Western Slope Environmental Resource Council, held in nearby Hotchkiss.

Board members at the meeting were president Tom France of Missoula, Mont., Caroline Byrd of Lander, Wyo., Andy Wiessner of Vail, Colo., Rick Swanson of Flagstaff, Ariz., Dan Luecke of Boulder, Colo., Maggie Coon of Washington, D.C., Emily Swanson of Bozeman, Mont., Suzanne P. Van Gytenbeek of Salt Lake City, Utah, Farwell Smith of McLeod, Mont., Karl Hess Jr. of Boulder, Colo., and Diane Josephy Peavey of Carey, Idaho.


Thanks to Mildred Walton, of Richland, Wash., for sending us the Tri-Cities regional telephone book, and to Valerie Kaminski and Joel Gladstien for the Casper, Wyo., book.

In response to the same plea for directories, Nelson Kempsky of Sacramento, Calif., sent us a CD-ROM which appears to have every individual and business in the United States on it. He also wrote: "There are some aspects of modern technology which can be useful rather than a pain in the neck. This seems to be one of them."


Subscribers Hillary Brick and Lee MacDonald came through on a vacation from Fort Collins, Colo., where she is in marketing and he teaches in the Earth Resources Department at Colorado State University. Lee also wanted to tell us that land-grant universities are much more progressive and capable than we gave them credit for in a recent series. We agreed to disagree.

Caryn and Peter Boddie, along with Robin and Crystal, all of Littleton, Colo., are updating their Hiking Colorado, a.k.a. Hiker's Guide to Colorado. They stopped by HCN's office on their way to climb Lone Cone. Also heading for a peak experience were Sally and Doug Bostrom of Steamboat Springs, Colo. Their destination was Handies Peak, outside of Lake City.

Chris Liggett, who works for the Forest Service in Denver, and who lives in Silverthorne, stopped by with a remarkably well-behaved dog. They were heading for Mesa Verde National Park.

Duane and Gay Smith of Durango, Colo., said hello. He teaches history at Fort Lewis College and is the author of Mining America: The Industry and the Environment, 1800-1980, published by the University Press of Kansas.

Russ Walker of the environmental science program at Mesa State College in Grand Junction was in town to visit a student working at a nearby coal mine.

Ellen and Jim Eckels from Salt Lake City were just out "enjoying life" when they dropped by in early September. Jim remembers setting type for his father's business in the 1930s on a "Multigraph," so he was impressed by technology that lets HCN production manager Cindy Wehling lay out pages on the computer.

We also had a visit from subscriber Art Latta and his wife, Alice, from Littleton, Colo. Art is a "pastoral psychotherapist" in Denver and an Episcopal priest at a church in Golden. He says he helps people set realistic goals and figure out how to reach them.

Late September brought Bob and Nora Copeland, librarians from Fort Collins, Colo. Nora spent the summer bailing out the Colorado State University library hit by a flash flood last spring. Ten feet of water in the basement swamped 425,000 volumes, she said. The library shipped the books off to Texas for "freeze-drying." Nora expects 80 percent to survive, but it may be two years before things are back to normal.

Charles Fisk, a retired water rights engineer from Aurora, Colo., stopped by, and left a little poorer: He subscribed and bought the HCN collection of articles titled Water in the West.

Tom and Mary Ann Kerwin of the Denver area stopped by while on vacation. They renewed for three years, and brought some sad news: George Murphy, a Chicago banker who for a while was a Paonia banker, died recently.

Reader Esther Bentz came in to say she was trading one small town for another; in this case Enterprise, Ore., population 1,500, for Paonia, population 1,400, where she'll work as a news intern at the local public radio station, KVNF.

We heard from Guy Bigelow in Green Valley, Ariz., that he'd found a definitive answer to the burning question: How did Paonia get its name? The WPA Guide to 1930s Colorado says: "Paonia derives its name from the peony common in the region in early days." Those early days began in 1884 when the town was founded by fruit growers.

* Ed Marston for the staff

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