Dear friends

  • Frank Kinder and Gracie

    JoAnn Kalenak


The letters have been pouring in to HCN, and so have the people — folks like Minneapolis subscriber Larry Weisner, who is traipsing across the West, and Flagstaff subscriber Jeff Latham, who is on the initial leg of a motorcycle trip to Alaska.

Colleen Nunn, who works in the Western History/Genealogy Department at the Denver Public Library, dropped by en route to a bird-watching convention. Mary McCracken of La Grande, Ore., stopped in with Zillah the dog while out this way to visit her old stomping grounds of Aspen.

Heather Tischbein of Vancouver, Wash., came by while visiting her brother, Geoff, who recently retired from the Colorado Division of Wildlife. Heather and Geoff then headed to the Cimarron Mountains in the hopes of getting snowed on one last time.

We also got a visit from former Rhode Island Congresswoman Claudine Schneider, who now lives in Boulder, Colo. Mark Easter, a botanist from Colorado State University, and Jan Moraczewski, a health educator, stopped by from Fort Collins. They’ve been subscribers for 10 years. Patricia and Willis Gerrish, who’ve been reading HCN for 20 years, stopped in from Salt Lake City.

Colorado Springs subscriber Frank Kinder and his dog, Gracie, popped in after planting grapes on a friend’s farm in Delta, Colo., and Steve Borton, a science teacher and active member of the Uinta Mountain Club, visited us after making the jaunt over Baxter Pass from Vernal, Utah.

We missed him, but subscriber John Figler of Lakewood, Colo., was in Paonia to celebrate Memorial Day. Photographer Kevin Moloney also said hello while on assignment for a New York Times story about the coal boom in Somerset, just up the valley from Paonia.

And we got a visit from Philip Corbin and his dog, Shadow. Several years ago, Corbin sold his house in Portland, put his stuff in storage, and hit the road. Since then, he’s been ranging across the West, talking with ranchers, and studying Tibetan Buddhism. The journey, he says, has restored his faith in America: "When they’re not in their cars, Americans are pretty nice people."


In a June 21 "Uncommon Westerners" profile of Montana rancher Karl Rappold, it was incorrectly stated that Hugo Johnson is a member of the Blackfeet Tribe. He isn’t, although his wife, Melvina "Bing" Johnson, is. We also neglected to extend our appreciation to one other person who made the May fund-raiser in Salt Lake City such a success: HCN board member Suzanne Knibbe.

What big media?

We’re happy to note that efforts to keep small, independent media alive in the West seem to be working. Earlier this year, the Moab, Utah-based Canyon Country Zephyr (circulation 15,000) celebrated its 15th anniversary. Publisher Jim Stiles wrote that the Zephyr, which has carried on the feisty rabble-rousing spirit of Edward Abbey, "is still a cut-and-paste operation" — and Stiles still drives the 260-odd miles from Moab to Tooele, Utah, every other month to get the paper printed.

Meanwhile, in Cortez, Colo., HCN contributor Gail Binkly and a crew of four staff writers and contributors are putting out issue number 11 of the Four Corners Free Press. Every month, the new paper serves up a hearty mix of news, ranging from what may be the world’s funniest crime blotter to passionate soul-searching about the limits of growth in the arid West.

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