Dear friends

  • Maria Fernandez-Gimenez, back in Paonia for a visit

    Greg Hanscom


If you’re flipping through this paper in search of election results, stop. Due to a fluke in our print schedule, we’re sending the issue to press on Oct. 29 — four days before election day — but it won’t hit your mailbox until Nov. 8, almost a week after the vote. We’ll include election results from around the West in the next issue, which will get to you in another two weeks.


It’s only a squirt, or maybe a spark, of electricity — enough for 40 homes. Unless you’re a nut about saving electricity, like former HCN intern Auden Schendler, in which case it’s enough for 80 homes.

Auden, who is now director of environmental affairs for the Aspen Skiing Co., was the force behind creating a new, small-scale hydroelectric power generator high on Snowmass Ski Area last summer. In the winter, water out of Sheer Bliss Reservoir on West Brush Creek flows into pipes that feed the water cannons that make snow. But in spring and summer, the water now plummets 800 feet within a pressurized pipe to turn the dynamo in a Pelton Turbine.

The resulting 115 kilowatts of electricity, which come out of a metal shack beneath a ski lift, are bought by Holy Cross Electric Co-Op, which sells them to Roaring Fork Valley residents who voluntarily pay a dab more for clean energy as a part of their monthly bill. The project is about something more than renewable energy, says Auden: "It ended up being about community."


Somebody who knew the paper when it was across the street in a crowded two-room office came by to say hello and marvel at our airy headquarters on Paonia’s main drag. We last saw María Fernández-Giménez in 1989, when her then-significant other and now-husband, Devin Odell, was an intern at the paper. He is now a lawyer in Fort Collins, Colo., where the couple lives with their two young children, and María is an assistant professor of rangeland ecology and management in Colorado State University’s department of forest, rangeland and watershed stewardship.

In mid-October, longtime subscriber and University of Denver geomorphology professor Donald Sullivan stopped by the office with 11 students after spending a cold, snowy night on nearby Grand Mesa, elevation 10,000+ feet. The students were drilling for core samples in lake beds as part of a study on long-term climate change. According to Sullivan, a close look at the vegetative muck that has settled in these lakes for thousands of years is a great way to detect changes in temperature and precipitation. Next, the unusual field course is headed to warmer climes: the coast of Baja California.

Santa Fe, N.M., subscribers Phil Vergamini and Nora Haskins dropped in. The pair founded the nonprofit Permaculture Credit Union, which offers loans for fuel-efficient cars, solar heating and rainwater collection systems, and organic farms, among other things. For more information, go to

Larry Hendrickson, a botanist with the Colorado Desert District of the California State Parks, also said hello.

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