Dear friends

  • Sarah Bishop and Pete Kolbenschlag at the HCN holiday open house



This will be the last issue of High Country News that you receive for a month. The staff will take an issue off to spend time with family and friends, and to frolic in the white stuff that’s been falling consistently for a week now. The next issue should hit your mailbox Jan. 24. Speaking of the holidays, a crowd of 50 or so friends and subscribers ducked out of the snow Dec. 6 for HCN’s annual holiday open house. Thanks to all who attended for the conversation and mirth, and also to the following businesses, which donated food and drink: Hardin’s Natural Foods, Big B’s Juices, Pizza My Heart and The Flying Fork Café and Bakery.

Western Colorado readers should also know that longtime HCN contributor and Western State College journalism professor George Sibley will read from his new book, Dragons in Paradise: On the Edge Between Civilization and Sanity, on Friday, Jan. 14, at 7 p.m. at the Blue Sage Center for the Arts in Paonia. For details, e-mail [email protected]


High Country News will kick off its 35th anniversary year with a board meeting and potluck dinner/shindig in Boulder, Colo., Saturday, Jan. 15. Subscribers and friends are invited to meet the staff and kick up your heels at the Chautauqua Community House, on Morning Glory Drive, just off of 900 Baseline Drive, from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Please RSVP by calling Gretchen A-P at 970-527-4898 or sending an e-mail to [email protected] Bring a dish to share. Drinks and entertainment will be provided.


We mistakenly painted the California Legislature red in one of our election result maps (HCN, 11/22/04: Election Day surprises in the schizophrenic West). Democrats hold 25 of 40 seats in the State Senate and 48 of 80 seats in the State Assembly.

Loveland, Colo., reader Craig Jump wrote to tell us he was disappointed in our choice of a headline for that story: "Election Day surprises in the schizophrenic West." "Mental illnesses are probably the most terrible of all diseases," he wrote. "Your headline displays both an ignorance of the meaning of schizophrenia (which is not split personality) and a disregard for the millions of people suffering from the disease."

Wye Hale-Rowe of Aurora, Colo., added this: "If you checked a text on psychopathology, you would conclude that (schizophrenia) is a psychosis marked by delusions, hallucinations, paranoid suspicions, shallow feeling and bad judgement, among other behaviors. The West’s response to the election was pretty crazy sometimes, but not really schizophrenic, I think you will agree."

Subscriber Warren Anderson wrote to say that a description of the 1988 Yellowstone fires in our cover story, "Keepers of the flame," was a little simplistic (HCN, 11/8/04: Keepers on the flame). We’d called the fires a "prescribed natural fire event," implying that they had been sparked naturally, but had been allowed to burn. "Not true," writes Anderson. "The whole ‘they let it burn’ myth was started by disgruntled people in the tourist business in gateway communities who were worried about making less money because of the fires."

Yellowstone National Park fire suppression specialist Andy Mitchell cleared things up for us, explaining that of the seven major fires that burned in the park, two started as prescribed natural fires. Park Service officials eventually made the decision to suppress all the fires, but in the end, the two they had initially allowed to burn were responsible for roughly a third of the scorched acres, he says. "I’m amazed that after almost 20 years, and all we’ve learned and seen, that feelings still run very high in some quarters regarding those fires."

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