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  • REZ REPORTER: Cate Gilles

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At our invitation, writer Cate Gilles stopped in for lunch and an informal seminar about reporting on Indian reservations. Cate wrote for the Navajo-Hopi Observer and the Navajo Times - and freelanced for High Country News - before heading to the University of Colorado in Boulder as a Ted Scripps Fellow in environmental journalism.

Many Native Americans are suspicious of journalists from the "outside," she told us, because many papers write horror stories about sex scandals or mischaracterize traditional ceremonies like the Sun Dance, without considering the harm their writing can do. "A writer comes in and takes something that isn't his," she said. "That's really the way (Indian) people see it." One bit of advice: "Don't always assume that all the experts are off the reservation."

Move over, Rush

In general, the AM spectrum has been ceded to Rush Limbaugh and his colleagues. But Scott Shalaway, a birder from Cameron, Va., hopes to change that. Scott does a two-hour, drive-time interview show weekdays on Pittsburgh's 730 WPIT, a Christian radio station.

We know about Scott because he interviewed HCN publisher Ed Marston for an hour on April 22, and the paper's 800 number rang off the hook with calls from the Eastern part of the nation. Scott opens each Birds and Nature show by playing bird songs, talking about the birds he saw that morning, and reading commercials for binoculars and birdseed. He then moves on to a one-hour interview, usually with representatives of environmental groups from his region. Scott is an HCN subscriber, and that's how the interview came about.

In the radio interview, Scott asked about a recent HCN lead article on trapping. He said, "I'm an advocate of hunting, but I have real problems with trapping."

Speaking of radio, independent radio producer Barbara Bernstein of Portland, Ore., came through, as part of her tour of the interior West. She is doing 35 interviews for a two-hour documentary on The Malling of the West.

Heading into summer

Mark Leachman stopped in after dropping off eight high-school seniors at farms and ranches in western Colorado. The students will spend two weeks with rural families as part of senior field studies at Bear Creek High School in Lakewood, Colo. "We drive them out and drop them off," he said, "and I sit home and hope nothing happens."

Leachman, who has headed the program for 22 years, says the students pay $800 each to do everything from visiting with Buddhist monks and Denver politicians to camping in the desert. For more information about how he makes the program work, call him at 303/982-8855, after July 20.

Tom Macy and Christine Quinlan, who work for the Conservation Fund in Boulder, Colo., dropped in and told us about a deal they were completing that will turn three ranches in Dolores County into a 11,000-acre state park. The ranches were up for sale when the state decided they should be added to a list of its "crown jewels."

"We worked as the intermediary, the deal maker, working on behalf of state parks," says Macy, who adds that the ranch owners will get $6.3 million in state funds for the land. Macy and Quinlan were looking at a place near the Black Canyon of the Gunnison River for another conservation save, but couldn't tell us more. "You have to tiptoe into this stuff," Macy says.

From the Albuquerque, N.M., area came reader Libby Atkins and Martha Jo Trolin, who are both active in the Coalition for Equality in New Mexico. They said they were not pleased with the development plans in New Mexico of radio "shock jock" Don Imus. Imus had disclosed elaborate plans for drilling wells, which made many of his neighbors nervous about their water supply.

Two recent graduates of the University of Denver said hello: Skylar Mineshima and Matt Agren. They were on their way to a family vacation.

Writer and naturalist Craig Childs came by for an office tour and staff potluck. Childs, author of Crossing Paths: Uncommon Encounters with Animals in the Wild, was accompanied by Prescott College (Arizona) students Greg Glass, Maree ReMalia, Amy Johnson, Nathan Pundt, Wren Farris and Matt LaVoir. In addition to exploring a local underground coal mine, the traveling classroom watched as Craig was interviewed on Radio High Country News. The hour-long show is broadcast on community radio station KVNF, whose storefront studio is a block from the paper.


Wrong number: We listed a fax number for Wild Earth magazine, which can be hard on the ears when the screeching begins. The correct number is 802/434-4077.

In other news ...

Snow fell June 5 as four staffers from this paper joined two dozen hikers and horse people wielding Pulaskis and other tools on a high-altitude trail. The crew was assembled by the nonprofit North Fork Trails Network to repair a 4,000-foot path up 11,400-foot Mount Lamborn, Paonia's patron mountain. Though the snow failed to stick, it turned a three-mile trip to the trailhead into a slick slide of a ride.

Overheard at the Paonia Post Office: A man in his 40s gave his P.O. box key back to a clerk, saying he was cancelling. Did he want a refund? No. Did he want to leave a forwarding address? No. "I'm trying to get ahead of junk mail," he allowed. Are you disappearing? came the clerk's next question. "Yes," was his answer. No one has seen him since.

Thanks to readers Marty and Denise Stecher of Mancos, Colo., who sent us an E-Z Reacher (shown at left), a four-foot-long grabber that allows you to pick up debris from a highway without actually touching the stuff or even bending over. Our Adopt-a-Highway crew will argue over who gets to use the Reacher this fall.

Congratulations to writer Steve Stuebner, author of several books about mountain biking in Idaho. He recently won a Governor's Take Pride in Idaho Award for helping to promote recreation in Idaho. Congratulations, too, to writer Tim Palmer for being named 1998 River Conservationist of the Year by the kayak company Perception Inc. Palmer has written a dozen books about rivers, the latest called Lifelines: The Case for River Conservation.

Coming up: You can hear and see our Washington columnist Jon Margolis interviewed about his new book, The Last Innocent Year: America in 1964, on C-SPAN's "Book Notes." The hour-long show airs June 27.

We were saddened to hear of the suicide of David T. Hays, a former local newspaper publisher of Last Chance, Idaho. His book of essays, Passion Below Zero, revealed a vivid and quirky writer. "Passion is a huge word meant only for the last places," he wrote; "it means both great suffering and great desire. The mountains will hold such a word, perhaps especially in winter. Stars against the cheek, the wind always coldly near. Fire and ice; the place where the heart needs to warm itself against another needing heart."

- Betsy Marston for the staff

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