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Know the West

Dear Friends


A class act

Circulation staffer Kathy Martinez recently traveled to Las Vegas to attend the USPS National Postal Forum; there she learned that HCN is a very small fish in a very large ocean. According to Kathy, "When I told one postal official how much we spend on postage a year, she just turned away from me to talk to someone else."

But what we lack in volume, Kathy says, we make up in diversity (and class). "Most of the people at the convention specialized in one kind of mailing. But we do every kind there is: first class, second class, third class, fourth class, nonprofit. You name it, we do it."

One of those many mailings will go out in early April: a reader survey and a Research Fund request in a single, paper-saving envelope, as third-class/nonprofit mail. The survey seeks information that staff uses to better understand how to serve our readers. And the Research Fund seeks tax-deductible contributions to do the serving.

Subscription income pays HCN's basic costs: heating the building, paying the staff, buying newsprint, and so on. The Research Fund puts words, photos and drawings on the newsprint by paying our writers, photographers and artists. At a normal publication, advertising would pick up these costs. Here, there is the Research Fund.

This issue illustrates the synergy between the survey and the Research Fund. The lead story was prompted by a question from a reader in the last survey: "Who are these guys at the Southwest Center for Biological Diversity, with all their lawsuits? How about a story?"

Lynda Taylor

After almost 10 years of valuable service, Lynda Taylor is going off the board of the High Country Foundation. Lynda joined the board in June 1989 at a meeting in Boulder, Colo., which was devoted to creating HCN's first long-range plan. She was then, and is now, a staff member of the Southwest Research and Information Center in Albuquerque, and specializes in the state legislature and border issues.

During her time on the board, she organized an HCN board meeting/pot luck in Santa Fe, suggested scores of potential news stories, pushed on her fellow board members to establish staff benefits, and brought to the board Luis Torres from Santa Cruz, N.M.

In her spare time, she married Robert Haspel and adopted a daughter. We will miss her.


We read in The New York Times about Britain's Guardian, known to some of its readers as the Grauniad because of its propensity for error. Recently, in a step unprecedented among Brit papers, the Grauniad launched a "Corrections and Clarifications" column. The Sunday Times of London, however, is sticking to its gnus: "Corrections waste space," a spokesman said. "If you say that someone is Mr. S. Biggles and he's really Mr. Y. Biggles, it gets very boring." According to The New York Times article by Sarah Lyall, British newspapers also have an affection for "the fact too good to check."

High Country News believes in correcting errors, but sometimes we come on an error that might be better off left alone. We got a postcard saying that the recent lead article on wild horses used "colt" instead of "foal" to refer to young horses. "A colt is only a male foal," we were told. That's probably true among horse people. But Webster says a colt is (a) a foal, and (b) a young male horse. So we blame our unhorsing on the dictionary.

Speaking of the Times, if you missed the two-part series by Timothy Egan on Indian Sovereignty in the March 8 and 9 issues, you missed a journalistic masterpiece.


Bud Stanley stopped by from Steamboat Springs, Colo. A new subscriber, he calls HCN the "Christian Science Monitor of the Rockies." And Patrick Huber of Gunnison, Colo., passed through on his way to a camping trip on the Uncompahgre Plateau.

Former intern Gingy Anderson showed us daughter Rory, who weighed in on Feb. 7 at 5 1/2 pounds. Rory arrived a month early and a little light, but is gaining weight fast. Rob Molacek is her dad.

Rudolf Knirsch writes from the Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universitèt in Frankfurt am Main to say that he just published a book about environmental issues in the American West and that "HCN has been a very important source." Unfortunately, we will not get to see that for ourselves because the book is in German. However, Rudy was good enough to send us a translated table of contents and chapter synopses of A Paradise on Recall. The book seems aimed at dispelling the romantic haze through which Germans, raised on books by Karl May and movies by Hollywood, view the interior West.

For more information, Professor Knirsch can be reached at his U.S. address: 2307 E. Eastland, Tucson, AZ 87719.

Our favorite activist, Ramon, who spent years trying to stop the logging at Idaho's Cove/Mallard, has now fully recovered from his brain tumor operation, and is finishing his book - tentatively titled Treehuggers - in La Paz, Mexico. Under the letterhead ANCIENT FOREST BUS BRIGADE, he writes, "If it's not finished by June, I'm going to throw it, and me, into the nearby Sea of Cortez."

Leslie Nichols and Paul Rodriguez, who teach at Paonia High School, came by to talk water in preparation for an interdisciplinary course they are giving on water conservation. Their students will pursue a variety of research topics, but they will all read Edward Abbey's The Monkey Wrench Gang.

Garth Hammond of Denver, Colo., sent us several 1950s and early "60s issues of Arizona Highways. "I grew up with these. They opened a door for me. But when I look through them now I feel a rage at my species that I cannot even describe, coupled with a sadness and sense of loss that can haunt me for days."

He doesn't say why he sent them to us - we're guessing so that he wouldn't have to look at them anymore - but he says that if we don't want the magazines for our library, "compost them." We wouldn't do that. But if anyone has a specific use for old Arizona Highways, let us know.

Packing it in

Jon Christensen has decided that after two years and seven issues, it is time to stop publishing Great Basin, a quarterly he edited out of Carson City, Nev.

The final issue looks surprisingly robust for a final issue. Its 32 pages include an article on "Jefferson's Farewell to Nevada" by Clay Jenkinson, as well as fiction, poetry and other articles. Back issues are $2.50 each from Great Basin Magazine, 6205 Franktown Road, Carson City, NV 89704.


We were reminded that goodbyes aren't forever when Dustin Solberg walked through the door last week. We recently invited Dustin, who interned with us two years ago, back as an assistant editor. He says plenty remains the same since his last stay in Paonia: walking about town, he still sees the same people (and dogs and horses). Dustin, 26, comes to us from the Moscow-Pullman Daily News in Idaho, where he reported on environmental issues and health care. The Grand Forks, N.D., native tells us the orchards on the sagebrush mesas ringing Paonia are a fair trade for the rolling wheat fields of the Palouse country he left behind. Dustin is a graduate of the University of Montana, where he studied geography and journalism.

* Ed Marston for the staff