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Know the West

National visit-your-parents-in-Paonia week?


Lars Lange of Pittsburgh, Pa., stopped by the office after spending time with his father and mother, Ulrich and Inge Lange, subscribers who moved to HCN's hometown about four years ago. They signed him up, too, and he's been hooked ever since, he says. Lars used to work in coal mining, then went to law school. Now he sells wood stoves and is trying to build a renewable energy business. And longtime subscriber Dorothy Lorig came in while visiting her parents, Margo and Gene Lorig, (who are also longtime subscribers as well as faithful contributors to the Research Fund). Dorothy lives in Golden, Colo., where she co-owns the bulk food warehouse Golden Organics. She also helped start the Green Jobs Interfaith Coalition, which employs folks from marginalized communities to do energy efficiency retrofits at some 40 Front Range churches.

Ronni Egan and Rose Chilcoat of the advocacy group Great Old Broads for Wilderness came to say hello. They were in the area to inventory potential wilderness and meet with the group's new local chapter, the Roaring Fork Broadband, before returning to their Durango, Colo., home. From Lakewood, Colo., came Candace Taylor, a self-described "support groupie" for the week-long "Ride the Rockies" bicycle tour, which rolled through town in mid-June.

Sci-fi author (and former HCN Web editor) Paolo Bacigalupi just won two major awards. His collection Pump Six and Other Stories received the 2009 Locus Award for Best Collection and for Best Novelette (for the title story "Pump Six"). "The story focuses on endocrine disruptors," writes Paolo, "and was inspired by a talk that local scientist Theo Colborn gave at one of HCN's board meetings. It seems like I get all my best stories from HCN." Apparently, the environmental problems of the West are so weird nowadays that they're inspiring great science fiction. It's the silver lining of the HCN cloud of doom.

Congratulations also to HCN contributor Ana Maria Spagna, who received the 2009 River Teeth Literary Nonfiction Prize for her book Test Ride on the Sunnyland Bus: A Daughter's Civil Rights Journey, which will be published next year by the University of Nebraska Press.

Other HCN contributors have been busy with their own writing. Christopher Cokinos, author of Hope is the Thing with Feathers: A Personal Chronicle of Vanished Birds, has a new book out: The Fallen Sky: An Intimate History of Shooting Stars. To be published by Tarcher, the book is part natural history, part meteor-hunting memoir. Author Susan Tweit recently released her memoir, Walking Nature Home: A Life's Journey (University of Texas Press). Her second-latest book, Colorado Scenic Byways: Taking the Other Road, with photographer Jim Steinberg, just took the gold award as ForeWord Magazine's Book of the Year in the travel category. Another new memoir, Gringa: A Contradictory Girlhood by Melissa Hart, is coming out this fall from Seal Press. It's a "touching, reflective look at one girl's struggle with the dichotomies of class, culture and sexuality."

Laura Pritchett and Stephen J. Lyons, names that have often appeared in the pages of HCN, also show up in The Sun Magazine's recent anthology, The Mysterious Life of the Heart: Writing from The Sun about Passion, Longing, and Love. Stories from The Sun have won the Pushcart Prize, appeared on National Public Radio, and been included in Best American Essays and Best American Short Stories.