Dear friends

  • Fall interns Christine Hoekenga and James Yearling



Fall intern Christine Hoekenga is happy to be back home in the West. The Boulder City, Nev., native earned a double major in environmental science and rhetoric and media studies from Willamette University in Salem, Ore. While there, her passion for scuba diving led her to a semester abroad in the Turks and Caicos Islands, where she surveyed the health of coral reefs.

She then headed east to Washington, D.C., and worked for environmental nonprofit groups. After three years, she grew tired of the politics and decided to pursue journalism. She's about to complete a master's program in science writing at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Christine comes to Paonia possessing not only an appetite for reporting, but also a new engagement ring. She plans to use her HCN experience to help launch a career in print journalism or radio.

New intern James Yearling is glad to be sleeping in a bed again. After graduating with a degree in magazine writing from the E.W. Scripps College of Journalism at Ohio University, James took the long way to Paonia. He hit the road for a month, camping in Wyoming, Colorado and Utah.

James had learned about High Country News from one of his professors, and after devouring a stack of back issues, decided an internship was the perfect way to spend the fall. Although he grew up in an Ohio farming community, he's traveled to the West several times.

James is excited about the chance to write stories that draw connections between local happenings and the lives of readers around the country. He hopes to stay in the West and combine his favorite pastimes: writing, music, travel and outdoor recreation.


Andy and Lynn Blair of Stevensville, Mont., lived in Denver for 40 years, but have become snowbirds since retiring and now spend summers in Colorado, near Pikes Peak. They decided to take "the back way" to their property so they could stop by the HCN offices.

From Pagosa Springs, Colo., came Doug Large, who owns Arrowhead Solar Projects, a solar installation company. Doug was in Paonia for a wind-power course at Solar Energy International. "This is two years of vocational school in two weeks," Doug said. "Your ears bleed at the end of every day."

Reader Kyle Sonnenberg of Fayetteville, N.C., stopped by on his way to a sculpture convention in Loveland, Colo. Five years ago, Kyle says, he went to the Marble Marble Symposium, held in the tiny nearby hamlet of Marble. There he was given a block of stone from the local quarry (which also supplied the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier) and chiseled out a bear, which now sits in his garden.

Mary Ljung of San Luis Obispo, Calif., visited Marble more recently, for some hiking and fishing. She and her husband, a retired geologist, are spending the summer in nearby Grand Junction.


Several alert readers pointed out that despite what we claimed in "Heard Around the West" (HCN, 8/20/07), Arizona does indeed harbor a handful of native palm trees. Oddly enough, they're California fan palms.

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