Dear friends

  • Paonia architect Robert McHugh, left, with Blake Chambliss, who is walking around Colorado talking about affordable housing

    Dan Wilcock


In mid-July, Blake Chambliss came through Paonia while out on a 800-mile walk around Colorado. The retired architect is trying to raise awareness of the state’s "affordable housing crisis." Housing is considered affordable if it eats up less than a third of your monthly paycheck, he said. A quarter of Colorado residents can’t find affordable housing, and the problem affects everyone.

Here in Paonia, about 15 people showed up to talk about everything from affordable housing to homelessness. One local builder told us about his low-cost hogans, while a group of older women told us about their vision for a mixed-generation assisted living community.

Local architect Robert McHugh helped organize the Paonia visit. To learn more about the People’s Walk for Housing Justice, visit or call 303-825-3604.


Longtime subscriber Cathy Craig stopped by the office with photos from the June rampage of the disgruntled business owner who destroyed or severely damaged 13 buildings in Granby, Colo., including the town’s library. When asked how the community is doing now, Craig says you definitely need a sense of humor: "If anyone needs one, I know where they can get a 70-ton armor plated bulldozer." If you’d like to donate to the Granby Library Building Fund, send your contribution c/o WestStar Bank, P.O. Box 439, Granby, Colo. 80446.

Readers Tom and Paz Taylor of Mesa, Ariz., regaled us with tales of weaving, and of watching runners and burros race over long distances and high mountain passes. They had just watched a pack-burro race in Fairplay, Colo., that covered almost 30 miles. The Taylors are big supporters of the Bureau of Land Management’s "Adopt a Burro" program, which you can learn more about at .

Michael Smith, a reader and associate professor of natural resources at Northern California’s Humboldt State University, dropped by the office. He told us that his research shows that old-timers and newcomers in most communities are often not very far apart in their desire to control growth, but fail to come together because "the perception of polarity is there."


We were sad to hear of the recent passing of Charlie Butcher, a businessman and philanthropist from Boulder, Colo. A local newspaper described Charlie as a "pioneer in socially responsible business practices," who distributed $18 million to the employees of his floor-care products company after he sold it in 2000. Charlie gave generously to High Country News — he got our Writers on the Range opinion service off the ground in 1997. Activism runs in the family: Charlie’s widow, Jane, is a founder of the Women of the West Museum, the co-chair of the Colorado Conference on World Affairs and co-chair of the Foundation for National Progress, the parent nonprofit of Mother Jones magazine.


The Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in Carlsbad, N.M., stores transuranic waste, not low-level waste, as we’d stated in the Aug. 2 "Follow-up" column. And we apologize to reader Jim Nielson of Cody, Wyo. We credited him for a letter in the July 19 edition that was actually written by Jim Nielsen of Long Lake, Minn. Please include your full name and home town with letters — it will help us avoid such goofs in the future.

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