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for people who care about the West

Dear Friends

 

Spring visitors

Glen Miller, a retired geologist from Grand Junction, came by to say hello and to talk about how guilty he felt because he'd let his subscription lapse. We're always interested in why people drop their subscriptions, but he couldn't tell us. "It just happened," was as close as he could come. We could have prompted him with the usual explanation: "We didn't have the time to read them and they piled up." Or worse: "It was all too depressing."

Longtime subscribers Janet and Dave Robertson of Boulder, Colo., came through on their way back from a few days of backpacking with three other couples in Utah's canyon country. Janet is a well-known mountaineer and is the author of The Magnificent Mountain Women: Adventures in the Rocky Mountains and Colorado Traveler: Day Hikes on the Colorado Trail.

Goodbye, hello

Tom Kenworthy of the Denver Bureau of USA Today overnighted in Paonia, and got to attend a going-away party that staffer Paul Larmer and spouse Lisa Cook gave. The departing trio are Aileen Truax, HCN's development director, and interns Robyn Morrison and Catherine Lutz, whose four-month tour of duty ended on April 28.

Aileen and her husband, Eric, who ran KVNF community public radio in Paonia, really are leaving, for Austin, Texas. But Robyn is just moving to a new desk at HCN, as development associate. And Catherine is remaining in Paonia to work as a freelance writer, and to watch the glorious spring crop of buds become fruit, climate and God willing.

Statute of limitations?

Jared Farmer wonders if there is a statute of limitations on being "a former High Country News intern," since the Ph.D. student at Stanford was so identified in our review of his book on Glen Canyon Dam.

He is not alone in having trouble living down his past. Ernie Atencio, whose news articles and book reviews have been published here recently, was identified as follows: "Ernest Atencio is an anthropologist, writer, activist and native of the Rio Arriba region. The former HCN intern lives alongside a 200-year-old acequia in Arroyo Hondo, New Mexico."

Katharine Collins, who was an intern 15 years ago, and who is a veteran Wyoming journalist and the mother of two grown sons, was, of course, identified as a former intern in her recent review of a book by Annie Proulx. On the opposing page in the Dec. 6, 1999, issue was a review of a book about the South Canyon Fire in Colorado. The review was by David Frey, an AP reporter in Nashville, and, of course, a former HCN intern. Just last issue we published the essay on Kartchner Caverns State Park by, of all people, Karen Mockler, former HCN intern, now at the Daily Astorian.

And then there's the editorial staff: ex-interns all. Paul Larmer, Michelle Nijhuis, Greg Hanscom and Rebecca Clarren may go on to win Pulitzer Prizes. But when HCN writes up that welcome news, we will identify them high up as former interns. Down low in the story we may mention the newspaper they were with when they won the Pulitzer Prize.

We can see that it's obnoxious, on a par with "my son, the doctor." Except, in our case, it's "our intern," the creator of Grist, the reporter with the Anchorage Daily News, the director of the Mesa County Land Trust, the lawyer in (name any number of Western cities), the staffer at Forest Guardians, the owner of the Paradise movie theater in Paonia, the director of the Western Slope Environmental Resource Council, the director of Montana Trout Unlimited, the photographer for National Geographic and on and on.

Although we know it's in bad taste to boast, we also know that the heart of this operation is its interns, and so it is hard not to mention their heritage. When, finally, an intern gets to be secretary of Interior or occupies the less important position of president of the United States, we are sure that the staff of the moment will identify her or him as "a former intern of High Country News."