Wanted: A few good board members
The High Country News Board of Directors and several staff members met in late September in Reno, Nev. They approved a new budget and discussed everything from HCN's editorial coverage and the new technologies shaping the media industry to the composition of the board itself; currently, it has 10 members and is actively looking for a few new -- and passionate -- Westerners with skills in new media, marketing and fundraising. Please feel free to contact Executive Director Paul Larmer (firstname.lastname@example.org) to suggest nominees. The meeting took on a more somber tone when the news spread of a major crash at the National Championship Air Races held just outside town. Despite the tragedy, the community of HCN readers put on a splendid potluck at San Rafael Regional Park, where several dozen folks regaled staff and board with local history, story ideas and some pointed criticisms, while enjoying some tasty regional fare, including green chile casserole and "icky" beer from Great Basin Brewing Company (named after Nevada's official state fossil, the ichthyosaur).
Taking notice of "Accidental Wilderness"
David Wolman's HCN feature "Accidental Wilderness" just received recognition from the 2011 Knight-Risser Prize for Western Environmental Journalism. The May 17, 2010, story got one of two "Special Recognition" awards for its "first-person exploration and contemplation of an amazing re-generation around some of the U.S. government's most contaminated nuclear sites." Congratulations, David!
More grist for the mill
Former editor-in-chief Greg Hanscom (who held various positions at HCN between '96 and '06) is now in Seattle, Wash., as special projects editor for Grist.org. Grist, founded by Chip Giller, who interned at HCN in fall 1994, serves up environmental news and commentary with wry humor. Greg will be in charge of Grist's urban sustainability coverage (which he describes as "biking, urban farming, mass transit, green building/redevelopment, etc."). He was also on the city beat at his most recent gig, in Baltimore as editor of Urbanite. Welcome back to the West, Greg!
Farewell to A Great Fighter
Elouise Cobell, the Blackfeet banker who in July won a historic settlement for Indian landowners cheated by the federal government, died of cancer Oct. 16 in Great Falls, Mont. She was 65. Cobell v. Salazar represented a half-million Indians from 150 tribes; it alleged that the Bureau of Indian Affairs owed them more than $170 billion for royalties for oil and gas development, logging and grazing on their lands that it had collected over the past century but not distributed. The 15-year case resulted in one of the nation's largest class-action settlements, $3.4 billion. "I spent a lifetime trying to get justice," Cobell told HCN writer Paul VanDevelder after the decision. For her work, she received many awards, including a MacArthur "genius" grant in 1997 and an International Women's Forum award in 2002, and was nominated for the Congressional Gold Medal this summer. "When it came to standing up for Indian rights she was a fighter like none other, but she was also someone who could rise above the divisions everyone likes to exploit to bring diverse people together for the good of the land, for her people, and most of all for future generations," writes Jamie Williams of The Nature Conservancy, who worked with Cobell on the creation of an Indian land trust.