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Know the West

Dear friends



The High Country News board of directors met in Santa Fe in late September, bidding farewell to two longtime members, and inviting five new people to join.

Leaving the board are Emily Stonington and Michael Fischer. Emily, a state senator who raises sheep outside Helena, Mont., was one of the main forces behind the Spreading the News Campaign, which brought in over $1 million for HCN’s new media projects. She also helped steer the organization through its important transition to a new publisher. Michael, whose environmental career has ranged from the Sierra Club to the Hewlett Foundation, and who lives in Mill Valley, Calif., was a font of sage advice. We offer them both our sincerest thanks.

New board members include Tutti Skaar of Bozeman, Mont., a financial manager for D.A. Davidson by day and a smart-growth and land-preservation proponent by night. Seattle resident Dan Stonington joins the board fresh out of Yale with a master’s degree in environmental management. And Florence Williams, a Helena, Mont., writer and former HCN editor, has agreed to squeeze us in between freelance projects and parenting her two small children. We’ll introduce the other two once we’re sure they’ve accepted the charge.

Thanks to all of those who attended the potluck dinner following the board meeting and brought scrumptious food and great story ideas.


Rubén Martínez and Angela Garcia were our guests during the board’s lunch break. Rubén is the author of the 2002 book Crossing Over: A Mexican Family on the Migrant Trail. He is currently working on a new book about the Border, which, he said, "is not a micro-region of the West. It is the line between the rancher and the environmentalist, between the double-wide and the ranchette, between the migrant dying of thirst on the Cabeza Prieta (National Wildlife Refuge) and the guy teeing off on the 14th hole, not 10 miles away."

Angela is a doctoral candidate in anthropology at Harvard, working on a dissertation about northern New Mexico, an area that many people consider sacred. The region also has the highest rates of heroin addiction and overdose in the United States. While newspapers have splashed this across their front pages, Angela said, no one has taken time to find the cause of the epidemic. She has some fascinating theories, which you’ll read about in an upcoming issue.


On a warm autumn evening in late September, at the La Posada hotel in downtown Albuquerque, HCN Southwest Editor Laura Paskus married her sweetheart, Hollis Lawrence. The two got to know each other when they were working as field archaeologists on a dig outside of El Paso, Texas. At the wedding, Laura was radiant, and when the celebration was over, the duo made off in Hollis’s 1965 Cadillac Calais, which was decked out in shaving cream and sunflowers, and trailing clackity strings of crushed soda cans. We wish them the very best.