Dear Friends

  • Book cover of Bitterbrush Country


Sympathy from all over

It appears that it's the rare town, city or school that didn't come up with a creative way to respond to the Sept. 11 attacks in New York and Washington, D.C. Penny drives have been popular in the West, and displays of letters from kids to police and firefighters were shared in libraries and other public places. Typical was this response from a fifth-grader at West Park Elementary in Moscow, Idaho, quoted by Idaho Sen. Larry Craig: "You should never be scared of terrorists because if you are, the terrorists will win."

At an information center in Winthrop, Wash., a firefighter's big yellow coat was mounted on a sidewalk stand, then covered with "messages of thanks to all fire and rescue heroes - those close to home as well as those on the nation's opposite shore," reports the Methow Valley News.

In Denver, D'Evelyn High School's Homecoming celebration featured a "Superhero Day." You could spot a Batman and a few princesses, but for 12 seniors, their superheroes were firefighters. So they came to school wearing plastic helmets and red suspenders. One wore pants belonging to his firefighter-brother. "To be anything else wouldn't have made sense to us," Andy Dominick told the Denver Post.

In Grand Junction, Colo., reports the Daily Sentinel, some local charities had begun to fear a drop-off in their support. Not to worry, say specialists in philanthropy: Giving will continue at or even above historic rates.

Three books, three cheers

So many books, so little time, it's true, but three by writers well known to High Country News call out for reading. Delicate: Stories of Light and Desire by Mary Sojourner is a wonderfully eclectic gathering of short stories, many of which are set in the American Southwest. Sojourner's ability to draw characters ranging from angst-ridden teenagers to burned-out Vietnam vets is astonishing. Bitterbrush Country: Living on the Edge of the Land, by Diane Josephy Peavey, features essays originally written for Idaho public radio about her life on a sheep ranch "24 dirt-road miles from town," while Philip L. Fradkin's latest book, Wildest Alaska: Journeys of Great Peril in Lituya Bay, is a fascinating account of bears, Tlingit tales and a wave so enormous at 1,740 feet high that it beheaded a glacier. Sojourner's book is self-published and can only be bought at independent bookstores, or Peavey's book is published by Fulcrum; Fradkin's publisher is University of California Press, Berkeley.

Humoring us

Staffers here were gratified to read that HCN has made the Bear Deluxe's top 12 list of environmental publications. The irreverent, creative magazine out of Portland, Ore., placed HCN at number 3, just below Earth Island Journal and Audubon Magazine and just above Orion. That's rarefied company, though we'll try and take to heart the review's advice to HCN:more humor, please.


Although they dropped in after 5 p.m. on a Friday afternoon, Richard Ballantine and Susie Meyer said they found a hard-working staff on hand to show them around. Richard is the publisher of the Durango Herald and Susie is the editor and general manager of the Cortez Journal, both located in southern Colorado. They were on their way home from a meeting of the Colorado Press Association.

Al Moscarella of El Prado, N.M., interrupted his motorcycle tour of western Colorado long enough to say hello. The retired thoracic surgeon is gearing up for another season as an instructor at Taos Ski Valley.

Jim Spehar, who is coordinator for the Rural Resort Region - a coalition of recreation-dependent counties in central Colorado - stopped by to say his group held an interesting annual meeting on the question of foreign workers in ski towns.

Hank Deutsch, who once served as the Public Affairs Officer on the Gunnison-Uncompahgre-Grand Mesa National Forest here, and now lives in Hot Springs Village, Ark., left us an encouraging note: "Keep up the HEAT! Go HCN!" Hank knows heat. He worked on the Gunnison during its hottest days, when AMAX in the early 1980s was attempting to open a huge molybdenum mine outside the ski town of Crested Butte. Then-mayor W. Mitchell ran a global campaign against the global firm and successfully delayed the mine until moly prices plummeted and made the project uneconomic. The ore body is still there, however.

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