Dear Friends

  • Winter interns Erin Halcomb and Michelle Blank



This winter, Erin Halcomb is trading in her chain saw for an HCN intern’s computer. Erin, a Colorado native, spent the past five winters in Oregon, thinning trees and teaching environmental education. During the summers, she worked as a fire lookout. Erin first came to Oregon in 2001, when she joined an AmeriCorps crew after graduating from Emory University: “We were cheap labor for land-management agencies. We worked on trails, fire, fuels reduction projects. … I loved it!”

Several summers on a mountaintop gave Erin time to think about the value of writing. Last winter, she did some reporting for the Ashland Daily Tidings. With her double major in creative writing and environmental studies, she hopes HCN will provide an ideal niche.

New winter intern Michelle Blank likes to climb craggy peaks: For the past two summers, she roved Washington’s North Cascades National Park as a wilderness ranger, and this fall, she trekked glaciated volcanoes in Ecuador and Peru. The Idaho native grew up perusing her parents’ copies of HCN. While earning a bachelor’s in political science at Carleton College, she played on an Ultimate Frisbee team that took second place in the 2004 national championships. In 2005, she graduated and completed an internship with the Student Conservation Association. Now, Michelle will spend her weekdays developing journalism skills. “I’m excited to use my writing in a more practical, constructive way,” she says. But on the weekends, she plans to head for the high country, biking western Colorado’s mesas and skiing its peaks.


HCN just received the 2006 Utne Independent Press Award in the local/regional coverage category. Utne recognized publications that are “carving out niches of coverage, making information accessible and elegant, challenging and inspiring their readers.” Judges called HCN “(a) go-to source for coverage of the West’s public lands” relied on by policymakers and national journalists.

But you knew that.


Crystal Zevon, former wife of the late rock star Warren Zevon, stopped in during our holiday break while visiting her sister (who didn’t want her name printed). Crystal Zevon has written a book about her ex-husband. I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead: The Dirty Life and Times of Warren Zevon will be published by HarperCollins this spring.


Pahrump, Nev., has a population of about 33,000, not 1,300 as reported in “Heard Around the West” (HCN, 12/11/06).

The term “periwinkle” usually refers to a type of snail, but in the Pacific Northwest, it’s also used for caddisfly larvae (HCN, 11/27/06). Adult caddisflies have two pairs of wings, not one.

In our “Snapshot” of population change, we put the wrong legend on the map (HCN, 10/30/06). The percentages given for the fastest-growing counties are correct, however.

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