Cy-board meeting

  • HCN's cleaning angels.

    Stephanie Paige Ogburn
  • Gretchen Aston-Puckett, HCN's longtime development director, is moving on.

    Gretchen Aston-Puckett

In late January, the High Country News board of directors met via Web and phone. With a headset and a smile, Board President Florence Williams marched more than a dozen board and staff members through an agenda that included finances, editorial direction, marketing capacity and what skills the board would like to add to its ranks in the coming year (fund raising and new media). Though cyber-meetings will never match the effectiveness of in-person meetings, they do a fair job of keeping the board up to date, while saving costs on travel, lodging and food.

As is her custom, Florence started the meeting with three numbers: Seven (­the number of editorial awards HCN won in 2010); 18 (the amount in thousands by which HCN exceeded its donations and grants budget for the first quarter -- thanks, dear readers, to you!); and nine (the number of years that HCN's talented development director, Gretchen Aston-Puckett, has worked here. At the end of this month, Gretchen will move herself and her many skills one block down the street to KVNF, our local public radio station. We will all miss her dedication, wry humor and encyclopedic knowledge, but are delighted that she will not be too far away. In the meantime, if you need any assistance with making a donation to HCN (always highly recommended), please contact Development Associate Alyssa Pinkerton, who now oversees donor services, at 970-527-4898 ext. 37 or [email protected]

At, our online articles have a brand-new look. Images for each story are now larger and easy to browse, and we've added easy-to-find links to related videos, audio and sidebars. We've also improved the online display of our infographics and made it simpler for you to share our articles with your friends, thanks to a new sharing toolbar at the top of each story.

We're also happy to announce that it's now easier than ever to leave a comment on our website. To encourage you all to join in discussions, we've made the commenting system more straightforward and eliminated anonymous comments (which were sometimes less than civil). So don't be shy, post your thoughts on our coverage.

HCN development associate by day, office cleaning lady by night, staffer Alyssa Pinkerton decided to put her alter-egos together and contact the Bissell company to see if it could aid us in acquiring a better vacuum cleaner. "Our current vacuum cleaner sucks," Alyssa confided to a company representative, and Bissell generously donated a spiffy new machine, a high-reach duster, and some carpet cleaner. Our thanks to Bissell for helping High Country News fight grime.

Former HCN intern Ariana Brocious (summer/fall 2009) spent this summer working as a program assistant for Paonia's radio station, KVNF. That position turned into a full-time job in January: Ari is now the local host of NPR's All Things Considered. She also produces daily news, feature stories and interviews, maintains the station's social media contacts, and does programming tasks and some outreach and fund raising. "I keep meaning to pitch stories to HCN," says Ari, "but it's hard finding time outside of work!" Excuses, excuses.


The map accompanying the "County Kickbacks" snapshot in the Feb. 7 issue may have been unclear due to color-coding issues. See the improved version online at

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