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Know the West

Dear Friends



The season’s beginning to change here in Paonia, and with crisper days we’ve also got fresh editorial blood for the fall. Hailing from tropical Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, new HCN intern Pua Mench moved to Hawaii’s “polar” opposite to attend Carleton College in Northfield, Minn., where the temperatures dipped to minus-40 degrees. Eventually, she learned to stay warm, and she even spent a winter after graduation snowboarding not too far from Paonia in Crested Butte, Colo.

Last year, Pua returned home to work as a paralegal for the Legal Aid Society of Hawaii. Once back on the Big Island, she noticed the increasing impacts of cruise ships, golf courses, continental billionaires and certain mainland cappuccino chains — as well as higher competition for the island’s limited water and desirable real estate. Pua worked with a statewide alliance to educate the public about increased cruise ship pollution around the islands, and taught yoga in her spare time.

If her internship at HCN doesn’t sell her on a life of journalism, Pua plans to combine her legal and environmental interests by pursuing a degree in environmental law. For now, she’ll be content to haul her snowboard up the mountains for some mainland thrills when the first snow falls.

From punk bands to pork-processing plants, new intern Josh Garrett-Davis brings a wide-ranging background to HCN. A South Dakota native, Josh says that from his adolescence he was “eager to escape the Midwest.” But at Amherst College in Massachusetts, his Plains roots beckoned, and Josh majored in American studies, with a concentration on the West. His senior thesis focused on the controversy over the Yankton Sioux Tribe’s 1970s-era attempt to become part of the outside economy by building a pork-processing plant on that reservation.

After graduation from college and a brief stint at an organic apricot orchard in Italy, Josh went on to the not-so-organic Big Apple. While living in the city, he worked for a medical screening program for World Trade Center rescue and cleanup workers, and performed the occasional “anti-folk” show in East Village clubs, playing punk-style guitar solo. Though Josh is now separated from South Dakota by a 10-hour drive, he says he’s happy to be grounded west of the 100th meridian and is eager to explore the mountains.


For years, HCN has focused some of our coverage on the growing number of people and organizations that attempt to use the tools of collaboration and consensus to resolve natural resource conflicts in the West. Now there is a new Web site dedicated to providing people with background information, case studies and breaking stories on collaboration efforts. The site, www.redlodgeclearinghouse.org, is the brainchild of the Claiborne-Ortenberg Foundation, which hopes to nurture the consensus-and-collaboration movement.


We’ve also had a steady flow of subscribers dropping by the office. Jeremy Miller came by while on a trip west to photograph the Black Canyon of the Gunnison River, out HCN’s back door. Shirley and Warren McNall stopped in from New Mexico’s San Juan Basin, and Josh and Ben Gubitz swung through en route to the Aspen Jazz Fest.

New subscriber Sheelagh Williams came by to visit; she and her husband, Scott, are on the board of directors of CalBeach Advocates, which works to protect the beaches and bluffs of California.