Dear friends

  • Dennis Weaver at his Earthship home, near Ridgway, Colorado



Pick up a pre-2003 copy of High Country News, and you might find it hard to believe that you’re looking at the same publication. It was in ’03 that we ditched the black-and-white, pick-it-up-for-a-quarter-at-the-local-diner design that had been the paper’s signature since its founding in 1970. We shrank the size of the pages, got a heavier cover stock, and splashed color across the cover. Two years later, we spread color to the inside as well. Although a few readers griped that the new look was too flashy, we have worked hard to maintain our unique homegrown feel, while giving it more quality and a little more edge.

In late February, we learned that our new design efforts, coupled with a drive for serious photojournalism, have landed HCN two "awards of excellence" in an international newspaper design competition. "The Gangs of Zion," designed by HCN Art Director Cindy Wehling and featuring the work of freelance photographer JT Thomas, won under Special News Topics (HCN, 8/8/05: The Gangs of Zion). In the Redesigns category, HCN won for its Uncommon Westerners page. The pages will have a spot — alongside the likes of the L.A. Times, The New York Times and Le Monde — in the Best of Newspaper Design Annual produced by the contest’s sponsor, The Society for News Design.


Matthew Lewis, from San Francisco, Calif., came by on his way to Aspen to work with HCN board member Mark Harvey on a documentary about split-estate problems with oil and gas production. Matthew is a program director with ResourceMedia, a nonprofit that works to improve coverage of environmental issues.


The Black Mesa Trust, which successfully fought to keep Arizona’s Black Mesa Mine from pumping Hopi groundwater, is closing its Flagstaff office (HCN, 1/23/06: The end of an era on the Colorado Plateau). Leonard Selestewa, the trust’s president, is stepping down; work will continue under the direction of founder Vernon Masayesva. "For a Hopi it is hard to go to a level of activism," Selestewa said in the Navajo-Hopi Observer. "We are a quiet and respectful people."


Dennis Weaver, actor and environmental activist, passed away Feb. 24 at his home in nearby Ridgway, Colo. Weaver, 81, was perhaps best known as TV’s Detective Sam McCloud, but his true legacy lies in his philanthropic work. With his wife, Gerry, he founded the Institute of Ecolonomics in 1993 to promote the link between a healthy ecology and a sound economy. "You destroy the environment, you destroy jobs," Weaver said. "People don’t seem to get this."


Our story on public-land sale proposals in the president’s 2007 budget reported that the public comment deadline was March 31, a tentative date that the Forest Service provided (HCN, 3/6/06: Public acres for sale). The agency has just announced a comment deadline of March 30.

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