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Know the West

Dear Friends



When Nancy LaPlaca first became a subscriber to High Country News, she sat in her apartment in Tempe, Ariz., and wondered where Paonia was. Now, 16 years later, she knows exactly where it is: Nancy moved here in July to become HCN’s marketing associate.

No stranger to environmental causes, Nancy has worked on everything from air-quality regulations for power plants to lawsuits to save the San Pedro River in Arizona; she’s also worked as a staffer for Arizona Reps. Mo Udall and Karan English.

Here in Paonia, Nancy is focusing on spreading the news about HCN to the local and national environmental and citizens’ groups whose work we cover. She’s working to spread Writers on the Range and our syndicated news stories farther and wider, as well.

Nancy also wields a mean folk guitar: She’s been singing, playing and writing songs for 20 years, and she already has a weekly gig at the local pizza joint.


For some unknown reason, former HCN staffers have been descending on Paonia en masse. Maybe it’s the ripening peaches. Heather Abel, a former staff reporter, came through from New York City, where she’s nearly done with an MFA, teaching creative writing, and working on “a fiction project.” Former assistant editor Elizabeth Manning stopped in with her son, Bennett, and her husband, John Pearce; she now reports for the Anchorage Daily News. And Gabe Ross, Radio HCN-producer-turned-lawyer, stopped by en route to Alaska, where he’ll be clerking for the chief justice of the state’s Supreme Court (and, he hopes, finally removing the two pairs of skis that have been clamped to the roof of his car since he lost the key to the lock).

Three “Great Old Broads for Wilderness” dropped in after a hike on Colorado’s Roan Plateau, where they heard from local environmentalists about the push to develop coalbed methane wells in the still-wild area (HCN, 9/1/03). Ronni Egan, executive director of the 2,000-member, Durango, Colo.-based group, came with program director Rose Chilcoat and longtime member MB McAfee. The group will hold a “Broadwalk” Sept. 25-27 at Arch Canyon in southern Utah to “bear witness” at an ATV gathering expected to attract almost 2,000 riders.


Come join the staff and board of High Country News for a potluck party in Moose, Wyo. The gathering will be held Saturday, Sept. 27, at 5:30 p.m. at the Chuckwagon at Dornans. Please bring a dish to share and something warm to wear; beverages will be provided. The party will go on, rain or shine. Please RSVP to Gretchen A-P at 970-527-4898, or e-mail [email protected]

And on Nov. 7-9, Western State College in Gunnison, Colo., will host the 14th Headwaters Conference. The conference, titled “Environment, Democracy and Media,” will take a retrospective look at how HCN, under the leadership of Ed and Betsy Marston, has shaped the West. Speakers will include the Marstons, HCN Executive Director Paul Larmer, Professor Laura McCall of Western State College, columnist Ed Quillen, University of Colorado Law Professor Charles Wilkinson, the Center for the Rocky Mountain West’s Dan Kemmis, ranchers Doc and Connie Hatfield and former Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt. To register, visit www.western.edu/headwtrs or call WSC Professor George Sibley at 970-943-2055. Come to Gunnison and give us a piece of your mind.