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Know the West

Dear friends



The summer has been a fruitful one — and not just for farmers growing sweet corn, cherries, peaches and tomatoes. Within only 15 days, we were graced with two new members of the High Country News family. On July 30, Lydia Kestrel Puckett was born to our development director, Gretchen Aston-Puckett, and her husband, Jeremy Puckett. And bright and early on Sunday, Aug. 15, Tara Thomas and editor Greg Hanscom became the proud parents of Lucia.


Bruce Plenk says he started subscribing to HCN "at least one move and two cover mascots ago" — back when the paper was based in Lander, Wyo. Plenk is a renewable energy consultant in Tucson, Ariz.; he swung through Paonia for a visit and a crate of fresh apricots on his way home from a visit to Aspen, Colo.

Bob Ranney of Denver said hello while he was in town for the annual BMW motorcycle rally, which packs the Paonia town park with bikes and tents and food and music for a long weekend each summer. He says he sends his copies of HCN to his son Chuck when he finishes with them. Chuck is doing an internship at Phelps Dodge’s Rosarita Mine near Silver City, N.M.

Ron, Kim and Vivian Mink also dropped in.


We were tickled to read a recent issue of Rock & Ice magazine. The rock climber’s glossy gave HCN a big "thumbs down" last winter for our cover story on the environmental impacts of the young sport of bouldering (HCN, 7/7/03: Invasion of the rock jocks). But in the June issue, Senior Editor Alison Osius writes that unlike the old days, climbers today are getting their start in the gym, rather than outdoors — and when they do take the sport outside, they sometimes create a mess. She praises an effort started by climbers in Joshua Tree, Calif., to teach upstart rock jocks to take better care of the land. For more information about the "Boulder Clean" initiative, check out www.boulderclean.org.


A belated — but heartfelt — "thank you" to the McCune Charitable Foundation in Santa Fe, N.M., for funding three stories in our summer essay issue, including Adam Burke’s story on fire in the Lincoln National Forest, Paul Krza’s story on Governors Bill Richardson, D-N.M., and Dave Freudenthal, D-Wyo., and Craig Childs’ essay about following Chacoan roads through New Mexico. McCune has generously supported HCN since 1998, and we appreciate executive director Owen Lopez’s confidence in and support of the newspaper and organization.

And reader John L. Heywood, who hails from Ohio and calls himself a misplaced Westerner, pointed out an error in our Aug. 2 issue: Within our lead story about the Great Plains, we included a map that flipped the labels for the states of Illinois and Indiana. "Illinois is farther west than Indiana and borders the Mississippi River," wrote Heywood in an e-mail. "It’s hard keeping track of these smaller, more numerous Eastern states."