Dear Friends

  • Paul Bousquet

    Marion Stewart
  • Paul Bousquet

    Michelle Nijhuis
  • Paul Bousquet

    Betsy Marston
  • Paul Bousquet

    Gabriel Ross
 

Bright eyes

When photographer Paul Bousquet of Boulder, Colo., told us he'd be spending time in our valley taking pictures of organic vegetable farms for an upcoming book, we decided to snag him for a lunchtime seminar. Gathered in our production room, we picked his brain about taking better photos of new interns and other subjects, and learned that you never cut people off at the wrists or other jointed parts of the body, and that you do try to find an "anchor" for every picture. An engaging speaker who never took time out even for a slice of pizza, Paul also shared his thoughts about composing a photo, lighting it and designing a page. Now, we'll see if anything he said takes.

Ted Turner unleashed

Those who know the media mogul who founded Cable News Network in 1980 said his performance Oct. 9 was "vintage Turner." The featured speaker at the 8th annual get-together of the Society of Environmental Journalists, Ted Turner worked the crowd of 300 in Chattanooga, Tenn., like a Southern preacher. And his audience loved it. His major point: There are way too many people in our limited world, which may host 6 billion in just a few years. Turner said he pinned his scant hopes for dealing with density and the increase in environmental pressure on the "disorganized smart people" who care about population issues.

Turner was nothing if not down-home, speaking to journalists as if they were sitting next to him at a noisy baseball game. He confided, for instance, his consternation when a "fellow billionaire," wanted to upgrade his sailboat to battleship size. "He could go to war in that!" Turner yelled. He also complained about Time-Warner putting him up at ritzy hotels where, invariably, he spent 10 minutes going from room to room, turning off unnecessary lights. Then he said he'd make the rounds again to turn down all the thermostats on the air conditioning. If there was any irony to these inconveniences, Turner didn't bother to note it; instead, he talked to the group as if it were composed of collaborators in a grand scheme - that of reforming a world that needs shaping up.

There were questions about Turner's avocation of raising 17,000 bison. Turner said ranching gave him pleasure because working outdoors was hands-on: "I can see it," he said with relish. As to how much land was enough for him and his wife, Jane Fonda, he replied with a shouted-out promise: "I haven't bought all of it (the West). But I'm working on it!"

The saga of Margaret Ray

Margaret Ray, 46, sometimes lived in nearby Crawford, Colo., pop. 300, and sometimes she lived on the road, hitchhiking all over America while dogging her obsessions. On Oct. 5, she killed herself by kneeling in front of an oncoming train in Hotchkiss, 10 miles from here. Pulling 100 cars loaded with coal, the train was unable to stop. Ray had lived quietly in the area, surprising locals when she began to make news in the 1980s by stealing David Letterman's car and repeatedly breaking into his house. She once told police she was Letterman's wife and pointed out one of her five children as his.

Then her attention turned to an astronaut, and such were her brains and persistence that she penetrated the walls of NASA and interviewed a few people - until a press representative called High Country News. We confirmed what they'd begun to suspect: Margaret Ray was not one of our freelancers, and the "high" in High Country News referred to mountains, not the upper atmosphere.

On Oct. 13, a tribute was paid to Ray on KVNF, Paonia's and the Western Slope's public radio station. She was remembered warmly as several of her friends read from her rhymed poetry. She was highly intelligent, the women agreed, though Crawford resident Liz Lilien recalled that sometimes in conversation, Ray would "go into some other galaxy." And there, she said, no one could follow her.

* Betsy Marston for the staff

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