Dear Friends

  • Summer interns Diane Kelly and Shea Andersen

    Cindy Wehling
  • Fellow Rick Keister near the swollen North Fork River

    Cindy Wehling

Skipped issue

Librarians especially should note that there will be no July 10 issue. This annual break allows readers to catch up on articles they haven't read, and to get out into the great outdoors while it is still great.

Getting into the higher outdoors is difficult around Paonia. Kebler Pass, which links us to Crested Butte and is usually open by Memorial Day, is blocked by snow and will not open until June 30. Our backyard Mount Lamborn, a mere 11,300 feet high, is still snowpacked, and the roads leading to it are new riparian areas.

Scientific research is also on hold. A visitor from the Rocky Mountain Biological Lab outside Crested Butte told us his ants are "under five feet of snow." Normally, he would be peering at them this very moment.

We do a triathlon

High Country News engaged in a triathlon over the June 16th weekend. Board, staff and subscribers had social events, a long long-range planning session and a regular board meeting.

The long-range planning session was facilitated by Cam and Mary Lou Peterson of Boulder, Colo. Staff and board spent Friday afternoon and all Saturday discussing circulation, financial and editorial goals for the next five years.

Board members emphasized coverage of Western stories out of Washington, D.C., and continued growth in the quality of lead stories. They also expressed satisfaction with the paper's improved appearance.

At the Sunday board meeting, staff expressed concern over a recent drop in Research Fund gifts. Board members said the results look healthy to them, but promised to contact some donors. Board and staff also discussed the appropriateness of HCN investing its reserves in stock and bond mutual funds. Finally, staff suggested that meetings ought to be held in Paonia at least once a year to increase interaction between staff and board. When board meetings are held elsewhere, only a few staff members can attend.

Board also advised the staff on the upcoming 25th anniversary celebration, to be held in Lander, Wyo., over the Sept. 9th weekend. The event will feature a "conversation" on the past and future of the West, a foot race, a reunion among former staff and interns, and a dinner. Please put it on your calendar.

In the ceremonial part of the meeting, the board presented outgoing board president Karil Frohboese of Park City, Utah, with a gift of appreciation for her work, and welcomed incoming board president Dan Luecke of Boulder, Colo., to his one-year stint.

The board also bade a reluctant good-by to senior editor Ray Ring, who is heading for Bozeman, Mont., to resume the novel-writing he interrupted in July 1994 to come to HCN. He will continue to do some writing and editing for the paper, thanks to E-mail. The Rings, who had lived in Tucson for over 10 years, have grown fond of cooler weather. Ray said that while house-hunting in Bozeman, he tried to interest spouse Linda Platts in British Columbia.

A search for a senior editor to replace Ray was called off last month. HCN has hired intern Elizabeth Manning as a staff reporter.

The potluck in the Paonia park was lively, well attended and filled with coincidences. Board member Michael Ehlers of Boulder, Colo., and subscriber Steve Mandell of Grand Junction, Colo., learned that the other had worked in U.S. Steel's (now USX) South Works Steel Plant in Chicago. Michael, who lasted over a year at the plant, was amazed that Steve had lasted seven. Michael now sells art items to bookstores; Steve has an ad agency.

Also in the small-world department, Joe Wiedman, who has just retired from a planning job in Flagstaff, Ariz., ran into Tom Morse of Paonia, whom he hadn't seen since they each lived in Flagstaff. Joe not only found a long-lost acquaintance, but Tom and Allee invited him home for the night. Two former interns also showed up at the potluck: Peter McBride and Mark Harvey, both of the Aspen area.

Steve West and Sherry Lynch came farthest - from Carlsbad, N.M., in part for the food, and in part to tell us about the Chihuahuan Desert Conservation Alliance and its work on behalf of the desert.

Finally, in addition to Karil Froh-boese, Dan Luecke and Michael Ehlers, board members attending were Maggie Coon of Seattle, Wash., Tom France of Missoula, Mont., Geoff O'Gara of Lander, Wyo., Emily Swanson of Bozeman, Mont., Lynda Taylor of Santa Fe, N.M., and Andy Wiessner of Vail, Colo.


HCN's staff takes pride in editing and writing for a very knowledgeable readership. That impression was reinforced last week when two readers, both historians of the West, received MacArthur Foundation "genius' grants. Our congratulations to Patricia Nelson Limerick of the University of Colorado, Boulder, and Richard White of the University of Washington, Seattle. If you have not read Patty's Legacy of Conquest and Richard's It's Your Misfortune and None of My Own, you are in for treats.

Welcome summer staffers

Our Visiting Fellow this summer is Rick Keister, who says he left Washington, D.C., for Paonia to "get a little attitude." Rick is on a three-month leave of absence from the National Association of Counties where he directs a project that promotes the building of affordable housing.

For 14 years Rick worked as a public-lands lobbyist for the National Association of Counties; before that he was a consultant.

"As an avid reader of the paper for 20 years, I find this is a dream opportunity," he tells a disbelieving staff. Rick will be joined by his wife, Carole, and daughter, Lauren, 15.

After three seasons on a Forest Service fire crew, new intern Shea Andersen decided to try a job that "used my brain cells a little more."

With his entire apartment crammed into his pickup, the Colorado College graduate came to Paonia for a summer of reporting, writing, and rewriting. Shea says he's used to life in a small town, having spent the last three summers in Elk City, Idaho, population "about 200 people, three or four hundred dogs, twenty horses and two or three itinerant moose."

Life on the fire crew meant not always knowing where he would be spending the night, whether in the bunkhouse or perched on some smoked-out hillside. "You get to see a lot of the Northern Rockies country," Shea says, "but it just might happen to be on fire." He's hoping that a stint at HCN will give him some perspective on the world of journalism; up to now his writing has been mostly short stories.

After an educational odyssey that has taken her from Evergreen, Colo., where she mostly grew up, to New Hampshire by way of Ireland and Boston, new intern Diane Kelly is back in her home state seeking "real world" experience in environmental journalism.

"It's great to be in the Rockies again," says Diane, who started feeling homesick for the Western landscape while earning a master's degree in English at Boston College. She remained in the East for several more years, entering a second master's program in environmental studies at Antioch New England Graduate School in 1993. A two-week field trip to the Sonoran Desert four months ago solidified her decision to return West.

Diane has held summer jobs or internships at Rolling Stone magazine and Earthwatch magazine. Next goal: a full-time job with a nonprofit environmental group or publication here in the West.

* Ed and Betsy Marston for the staff

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