On election day, the phones at High Country News headquarters grew silent and the office seemed as still as a tomb, so we were delighted to chat with a visiting sculptor-pilot from Telluride, Colo. Richard Arnold told us he’d been a longtime reader, but what brought him to Paonia was the Zimmerman Foundry. There, Arnold was completing a life-size bronze sculpture of a 13-year-old girl, which will soon be on public display outdoors in Telluride. Arnold demonstrated what his sculpture looks like — the teenager grasps her books close to her chest, her chin is high and she looks serenely self-possessed.
In his spare time, Richard volunteers for Project Lighthawk, the nonprofit group that flies conservationists and reporters who need a bird’s-eye view of the land. He also mentioned, perhaps because it was Nov. 2, that he and another Vietnam veteran from Telluride, Jim Russell, recently met John Kerry in Denver. "A decent and sincere man," Arnold said of the presidential candidate.
Speaking of politicians and Telluride, we hear that a longtime friend of HCN, Art Goodtimes, fared better on Nov. 2 than Kerry did, winning a third term as a San Miguel county commissioner. Colorado writer Allen Best calls the Green Party member and former Haight-Ashbury hippie "a study in surprises." "He wears his hair and beard long, is prone to wearing colorful robes that call to mind sorcerers, and drives a pickup truck that is painted mushroom-style … red with white spots. But he is also a calculating politician, who constantly walks a delicate line to embrace both the liberal, up-valley newcomers and the conservative, down-valley old-timers of his county."
In response to election results that left many friends gloomy, HCN’s copy-editor, proofreader, map-maker and cow cartoonist, Diane Sylvain, sent around an e-mail exhorting people to "LOOK ON THE BRIGHT SIDE." Among her reasons: "HCN is NEVER going to run out of interesting stories to cover now, because the environment is going to be going to hell in all kinds of new & fascinating ways," and "four more years of really great (political) cartoons." She ended her note with a poem from Seamus Heaney:
History says, Don’t hope
On this side of the grave.
But then, once in a lifetime
The longed-for tidal wave
Of justice can rise up
And hope and history rhyme.
So hope for a great sea-change
On the far side of revenge.
Believe that a further shore
Is reachable from here.
Believe in miracles
And cures and healing wells.
In October, the Society for Environmental Journalists awarded HCN Editor in the Field Ray Ring third place for "outstanding beat reporting" for his 2003-2004 coverage of the American West. "On topics ranging from wildfires to an anti-environmental shock jock, Ring presents fascinating insights into the region’s unique blend of natural wonders and human foibles," according to the society’s press release. Second place went to Andrew C. Revkin of The New York Times for his coverage of climate change, while Seth Borenstein of Knight Ridder Newspapers took the top prize.
The staff of High Country News cordially invites all readers and friends to HCN’s holiday open house at our Paonia, Colo., office at 119 Grand Ave. on Monday, Dec. 6. Knock back a few eggnogs with the entire HCN crew between 5 and 7:30 p.m. Feel free to bring a treat to share. We’ll provide drinks.