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for people who care about the West

Dear friends


Energy efficient

The U.S. Department of Energy has decided that High Country News walks its talk. HCN is one of seven recipients of the agency's National Energy Awards. The newspaper was selected because its retrofitted building - once a feed and auto parts store - demonstrated admirable energy efficiency. The building was designed by architect Peter Dobrovolny of Basalt, and built by Keystone Construction of Montrose.

Marriages and visits

We hear that former intern and writer Ann Vileisis has wed writer Tim Palmer. Congratulations to them. And congratulations to Ray Wheeler of Salt Lake City, who writes too occasionally for HCN. His bride is Amy O'Conner of the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance.

Former intern Diane Hackl also chose the summer of '94 for nuptials. Her groom is Jeff Crane. Both are outdoor educators living in nearby Hotchkiss.

Tim Rohrer and Michele Pinkow from Ward, Colo., were on their way to their own wedding when they came through our office. He's a philosopher at the University of Oregon; she is a sociologist.

Subscriber Jan Standish popped in from nearby El Jebel to say traffic to and from Aspen, where she works at the Hotel Jerome, gets denser every day.

Helping to increase that density by driving from Aspen to Ridgway, Colo., through Paonia was New York television producer Howard Weinberg, who stopped by with his wife, Stephanie, an attorney. Howard, who worked for Bill Moyers, now produces documentaries for a CBS morning news show.

Telling us his students love High Country News, but that "it drives ag students crazy," was James Stewart, vacationing director of the Rural Development Institute at the University of Wisconsin. On the same day, journalism and English teacher Karen Risch said a quick in-person hello on her way from Lakewood, Colo., to a cabin in the mountain town of Ouray.

We also got to give an office tour to the Ashby family: Paul, who heads recruitment for the Foreign Service of the Department of State, his wife, Holly, and Nicholas, 7, and Katie, 3. They were, circuitously, heading for their home in Virginia, from Switzerland, which has great mountains, the couple said, but little personal freedom.

Corrections and emendations

Steve Johnson, public lands consultant for the Humane Society of the United States, says we need to clear up a misconception in the July 25 article on state school trust lands. The issue is whether federal agencies allow subleasing for a grazing permit. Johnson writes:

"While the Forest Service will cancel a grazing permit if the permittee does not own both the land and the livestock, the Bureau of Land Management requires only that the permittee own or control land and/or livestock." The BLM allows subleasing, Johnson adds, "meaning that the agency only cares that they are paid the subsidized federal grazing fee."

With regard to the same article, forestry professor Jon Souder of Flagstaff tells us he has no way of knowing if Jon Marvel would be a "good lessee" of state school lands in Idaho. What interests him, Souder writes, is the light that is beginning to shine on these lands; he says it allows the exploration of whether state lands have higher values than present use, which is mainly grazing.

Keep commenting

The Interior Department has extended its public comment period on Rangeland Reform '94 until Sept. 9. The extension was requested by Wyoming Gov. Mike Sullivan, who has chosen a panel to develop an alternate model. Send written comments to: Rangeland Reform '94, Box 66300, Washington, D.C. 20035-6300.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will accept comments until Oct. 11 on easing the status of the bald eagle from endangered to threatened in most of the lower 48 states. Send comments to: Chief, Division of Endangered Species, Fish and Wildlife Service, 1 Federal Drive, Whipple Federal Building, Fort Snelling, MN 55111-4056.

It's not too late to comment on the Forest Service's revised plan for recreation on Colorado's Grand Mesa National Forest northwest of Paonia. The agency wants to restrict motorized vehicles to designated roads and trails on the 351,000-acre forest, a proposal that has raised the ire of off-road enthusiasts (HCN, 2/7/94). Send comments by Sept. 14 to Grand Mesa Travel Plan, 2250 Highway 50, Delta, CO 81416 (303/874-7691).


Scholar, writer and legal authority Charles Wilkinson spent a day and evening at High Country News, helping the staff peer into the future and entertaining the community with a reading from his book in progress on the Colorado Plateau.

Charles, a professor of law at the University of Colorado, had earlier performed a similar function for the Oregonian daily newspaper, which is rethinking its coverage of the Northwest.

We would be giving away the lead articles in our next several issues were we to fully describe what Charles had to say on public-land issues in the West. But he also struck a larger theme. He has become more and more convinced, he said, that unless the underlying issue of population is engaged, all the work on water, mining, logging, air pollution and the like will be for naught.

 - Ed and Betsy Marston for the staff