Dear friends

  • Amy Alanko and Ann Ulrich Miller

    JoAnn Kalenak

We’re back!

Following a two-week hiatus, the High Country News staff is back on the job, looking a little sunnier, and feeling refreshed. Temperatures on Colorado’s Western Slope have been rocketing over the 100-degree mark every afternoon, so it’s good to be back under the swamp cooler.


Truckloads of HCN subscribers have ducked in out of the heat to say hello in the last few weeks. Cassandra Noble was down from the Tri-Cities area of southeast Washington with her friend and fellow attorney, Sylvia Tarkenton Cornish. Cassandra had just spent a few days with a group of Sierra Clubbers on the Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge, tearing down fences — relics from the days when livestock grazing was allowed on the refuge.

Longtime subscriber Larry Hendrickson stopped in while scouting out a new home base for life after he retires from his job as botanist at California’s Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. Erik Mohr, Allie Grow and Joanne Cucinotta of Fort Collins, Colo., were in town doing some environmental consulting for the nearby Bowie Coal Mine. John Milligan from Gallup, N.M., and Philip Ceriani from Paonia, Colo., dropped in to renew their subscriptions and say hello. We also visited with Brian Higgins of Seattle, Wash., but missed Kris Schmidt of Valencia, Calif., who was in Colorado on a kayaking expedition, and tucked a card under our door.

Jack and Marcie Sosebee, who have been getting HCN for about 20 years, made the trip to Paonia from their home in Denver, Colo. Andy and Mary Gantenbein from southwest Michigan were in Colorado for their daughter’s wedding when they found us. Bill Grant, a former professor at Bowling Green State University in Ohio, who now lives in Grand Junction, Colo., dropped in. Finally, proving that not everyone is afraid of a little heat, Sugandha Brooks of Boulder, Colo., stopped by on her way back from a soak in the hot springs in Ridgway.

Farewell, Amy, welcome back, Ann

HCN is sad to say goodbye to longtime staffer Amy Alanko. Amy started her stint here in 1996 as a member of the much-loved “Mail Crew” — the gang that, until a few years ago, labeled, bundled and bagged each issue of the newspaper, then delivered it to the Paonia Post Office for mailing. (Now most of that is done in Denver, but we do have a small crew here that does special projects and mailings.) Three years ago, Amy accepted a part-time position in the circulation department, where she has done everything from recording your responses to the readers’ survey, to working with the companies that print our mailings and literature. She’s leaving HCN to work with her husband in a local machinist shop — “I won’t be welding,” she says. “I’ll be in the office.” — brush up on her Spanish, and, for the first time in many years, have a day at home each week. We wish her well.

Stepping into Amy’s shoes will be Ann Ulrich Miller, who worked for HCN for more than 13 years before leaving last fall to start the Cochetopa Weekly Shopper in southern Colorado’s San Luis Valley. Ann says she put out 20 issues before packing it up and heading back home. “My heart was in Paonia,” she says.

Um, just kidding

A few readers have wondered about the articles advertised on the cover of our June 23 issue: “Elvis spotted in Seattle; UFOs in Santa Fe.” Sorry for the confusion. It was just a (snide, we admit) reference to one reader’s comment that the new design makes HCN look like a “supermarket checkout-stand tabloid.”

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