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for people who care about the West

Dear Friends


Errare humanum est ...

Reader Robert Stuart asks: "I wonder if columnist Jon Margolis misquoted the statement 'oderint, dum metuant' - 'let them hate, provided that they fear.' I thought this statement was made by Caligula, not Cicero ..."

In a story Feb. 14 we referred to a "Sandia National Forest." Gary Schiffmiller tells us the correct name is Cibola National Forest. Trish Claire called to say the word "exotic" is tricky. In his story on the Yellowsone River, Alan Kesselheim called the pallid sturgeon an exotic fish species; because the fish is a native, she suggests a better word would have been "rare." And in Paul Larmer's story about the early days of 30-year-old High Country News, we neglected to credit the photo we reproduced of rifle-raising Leroy Keams, a member of the American Indian Movement. Marc Gaede was the photographer in 1971, during what some say was the first modern environmental protest. The target was coal strip-mining on the Navajo and Hopi reservations.

Gaede says, "Right after I took the picture, the dragline turned on us, operated by a West Virginia strip-miner. He first tried to crush us with the bucket ... and those things are big! Finally we got away - only to be arrested by the Navajo Police." Gaede says the protest was organized by AIM and the Black Mesa Defense Fund, one of whose volunteers was Dave Foreman, co-founder later of EarthFirst! Our thanks to Marc Gaede and all who get in touch when we err.

Summer interns

Born and raised in the pulp and paper-mill town of Longview, Wash., new HCN intern Kayley Mendenhall first became interested in environmental issues when working summers at a local mill. There she stuffed frozen-food boxes with three-layered, corrugated liners and drove a delivery truck for the mill's storeroom. Kayley says she came to appreciate both the need for manual labor and her luck at getting to leave in September.

In March, she graduated with a degree in environmental studies and journalism from Western Washington University in Bellingham. Kayley worked for several school publications, including The Planet magazine - recently awarded "most outstanding environmental science magazine" by the American Scholastic Press Association and "best all-around magazine" by the Society of Professional Journalists.

Kayley escaped the mill for good last summer and headed east to work in Washington, D.C., for the Center for Environmental Citizenship. There she wrote stories for its National Environmental Wire for Students and helped organize the week-long Environmental Journalism Academy for nearly 100 students.

"I thought since I had spent one summer in a large city, I'd try small-town life for a change," she says. So far, she likes Paonia and "the incredibly friendly people."

When she was growing up, Katie Oppenheimer loved listening to public radio. She was 13 years old when she began disc jockying at Paonia's own public radio station, KVNF. Now, five years later, she's taken a break from school to assist Adam Burke, producer of Radio High Country News. To ground her in Western issues, Katie has plunged into an abbreviated internship with the paper, reading papers and writing "briefs."

As for college, she may go back, she says, but for now, "it just seemed so fake to me. I thought, I could be sitting here listening to someone talk at me, or I could be out in the world experiencing life." Katie says she's excited to be a part of producing the paper's weekly show.

Budding journalists

Accompanied by their writing teacher, Darlene Johnson, the entire fourth grade of Paonia Elementary School - some 50 students - descended on High Country News over three days in early May. The eager students discussed with staff the ins and outs of journalism, practiced using the Internet as a research tool and watched the production staff lay out a mock page of the paper, complete with stories by the students and a class photograph. "It was nice to have someone else telling the students that writing is important," Johnson told us.

Water in the desert

High Country News invites all readers in the neighborhood and passers-through to a reading and slide show Thursday, June 1, by Craig Childs, who, when he stays put, lives in nearby Crawford. Craig's latest book is The Secret Knowledge of Water, published by Seattle's Sasquatch Books. A sample : "There are two easy ways to die in the desert: thirst or drowning. This place (the mouth of a slot canyon in Utah) is stained with such ironies, a tension set between the need to find water and the need to get away from it. The floods that come with the least warning arrive at the hottest time of the year, when the last thing on a person's mind is too much water..." Childs will talk at Paonia's Blue Sage Community Center, 228 Grand, starting at 7 p.m.

Hats off to Hornby

The energetic William Hornby began his career in 1957 at the Denver Post, which just announced it will go into joint operation with its arch-rival, the Rocky Mountain News. Hornby went on to a 40-year career with the daily, working as everything from editor-in-chief to columnist, writing Western history in his spare time. But now he has to sit still while Colorado Preservation Inc. throws a big dinner and presents him with its Excellence in Historic Preservation Award on May 31. We send him congratulations from the other side of the Rockies.