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Know the West

Dear Friends


Join us in Utah

Readers in southern Utah and southern Nevada are invited to a High Country News potluck Friday, Jan. 22.

Board members of this nonprofit newspaper plus several staffers will be on hand at the St. George Community Arts Complex, in the Pioneer Center for the Arts, 47 E. 200 N., St. George, Utah, at 7 p.m. We'll provide plates, cutlery and drinkables; just bring a dish to share and call 970/527-4898 to tell us you're coming. The more the merrier.

Everyone gets a reading break as we skip an issue over the holidays; the next edition of High Country News will be datelined Jan. 18, 1999.

We were saddened to hear of the death of former Arizona Rep. Morris K. Udall, who spent 30 years in the U.S. Congress fighting for environmental causes with humor and tenacity. His death occurred just as this issue was going to press, but the first High Country News of 1999 will review his life and work.

Congratulations to Michael Frome, columnist, educator, and author of numerous books, the latest Green Ink: An Introduction to Environmental Journalism, published by University of Utah Press (801/585-9786). Michael makes no bones about a reporter's right to care intensely about a story; his chapter titles include: "There is no Dispassionate Objectivity," "Be Literate, and a Risk Taker, Too," and "It's More than Reporting and Writing, But a Way of Living."

Frank Popper has a droll sense of humor. He's the New Jersey professor who said the emptying-out part of middle America might someday revert to a buffalo commons where bison again roam. The Fargo Forum clipping that Frank Popper relayed to us notes that Buffalo Commons has become a reality in the rural town of Mott, N.D., but not quite the way the couple envisioned. It's the name of a new asphalt plant expected to add five jobs. One of the owners said he chose the name to make a point: "Someday, we hope to bring Mr. Popper out here to check out the Buffalo Commons situation and see our progress."

Winter wins

In early December, a few days after reporter Allen Best told us the weather in the high country had been so balmy that he'd spent the weekend climbing three of Colorado's 14,000-foot mountains - Sherman, Sheridan and Yale - a cold snap camped out in our mountain valley. Winter at last deigned to stay; now snow squeaks, car doors freeze shut and in the Denver area, we read, cars traveling on snowy interstates spin out and aim for each other. On our less-frequented roads, drivers can skid and slide, but usually we worry more about sailing over cliffs, colliding with deer or bumping into a coal train.


A water quality expert from Greeley, Colo., Ravi Srivastava, tells us that staff reporter Michelle Nijhuis mixed up two rivers in a sidebar to her lead story on New Mexico water. The Rio Puerco de Chama is not the Rio Puerco that picks up heavy metals and radionuclides, he says, and we thank him for pointing that out.

From Michael "Buffalo" Mazzetti in Tonasket, Wash., we hear that his Okanogan Highlands Bottling Company does not yet bottle water from Buckhorn Mountain (HCN, 8/31/98). Because it takes $500,000 to open a facility on the mountain, he says, for the next two years the company will probably continue to get its water from Cedar Canyon Bottling in Oregon.

* Betsy Marston for the staff