• Matt Jenkins

We're taking a two-week publishing hiatus in late December, like we do every year. We'll be working on new stories, saying farewell to our latest excellent crop of interns, and singing carols. Our traditional Open House won't be held this year, though -- another victim of the economic meltdown. Enjoy the holidays and look for the next issue to arrive around Jan. 19.

The economy may also be to blame for the fact that no one's come to visit our Paonia offices in some weeks now. Or perhaps the word has spread that our cleaning person quit and we need volunteers to scrub the coffeemaker. At least you're still sending us mail.

Rachel Lindenberg of Palo Alto, Calif., wrote: "Today I saw your annual report in brochure format. I was so excited! There is no need for the high-cost glossy annual report that most nonprofits waste $ on. Cheers to your cost-effective, eco-friendly method to achieve transparency." Her note was on a full-color, glossy, oversized -- and recycled -- postcard.

An 83-year-old reader from Glendale, Ore., Maurice McKinney, sent a handwritten multi-page missive. "I'm a gold miner, gem miner, builder, nurseryman and grower," he wrote. Maurice told us about working in an emerald mine in Colombia, a copper mine in Chile, and silver and amethyst mines in Mexico. Describing his years of panning gold in rivers, he wrote, "This is called gold fever. It is not a sickness." We got the feeling his wife might disagree.

Sydney Bacchus of Athens, Ga., wrote in response to a quote from writer Kim Barnes in "River and vision" in our Sept. 15 issue: "One of my family's favorite sayings is, 'Lord willing and the creek don't rise.' " Sydney explained, "It's my understanding that the quote is attributed to the early European settlers.  The original saying reportedly was, 'Lord willing and the Creeks don't rise.' Rather than a river, as Ms. Barnes implied, it referred to the Creek Indians of the Southeast, who were annoyed by the actions of the settlers and would "rise up" and attack them."

One of our overseas readers, Carl J. Haefner of Zell-Schaeftlarn, Germany, wrote: "I like to express my respectful appreciation to your outstanding efforts fighting the damages and conflicts of our common civilization. In particular your critical contributions regarding the issues of waste of water, loss of soil and wild nature, also disrespect against minorities helps me to understand your nation better. I traveled the U.S. frequently and met so many humble people, who represent the warm, golden heart of your country."

From Santa Fe, N.M., Danny Katzman sent us this note: "I really like the new format and especially appreciate what must be an improvement in print quality. After a sunrise soak in my hot tub today, I forgot to bring in the latest issue that was left resting on the edge of the tub. A couple of hours later, I found the issue in 1,000+ water-logged flakes swirling in the tub. After initially bumming on the loss, I was able to celebrate that no ink was coming off the paper. I guess I'd call that 'sticking to the issue.' "   

Finally, we heard from Laurie Mercer of Honeoye Falls, N.Y. "Writer Matt Jenkins did a fine job on his Sept. 1 'Mog Squad' story about the Unimog (or 'Oh My God') firefighting truck," she wrote. "Worth adding is the 'Tipper's Club' which you get to join once you manage to put a Mog on its side," she added. "Think of rolling a woolly mammoth."

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