Spring fever, skipped issue

  • The members of the award-winning Hotchkiss High School Physics class with their “client,” HCN Executive Director Paul Larmer.

 

In mid-March, as the snow melts and the crocus pop up here in Paonia, Colo., the HCN crew will be taking one of our four annual publishing breaks. Look for the next issue to hit your mailbox around April 18. In the meantime, be sure to visit hcn.org for news, blog posts, and other Web-only content.

Look, ma, no hands!
Over the past several months, HCN Executive Director Paul Larmer has trekked to nearby Hotchkiss High School to help the 8 a.m. physics class prepare for a national competition sponsored by the Junior Engineering Technical Society. The competition challenged high-schoolers to create a device to assist a disabled person in the workplace, and Paul, who has been on crutches his entire life, agreed to be the client. The six students in the class (including Paul's son, Zachary) came up with The Caboose -- a strapping system that allows people to pull wheeled luggage without using their hands. In February, the team took first place for best overall design and most marketable design at the finals held in Washington, D.C. Paul is now looking forward to smoothly "caboosing" through the West's airports, especially those long corridors at Denver International.

Amy Goodman comes to town
The host and executive producer of Democracy Now, a syndicated radio and television news show with an unabashedly leftward view, stopped by HCN's hometown of Paonia on March 5 to address a packed crowd at the Paradise Theatre. Amy Goodman was on a three-day Colorado blitz to raise money for HCN and for a half-dozen radio stations that carry her show, and to promote her book, Breaking The Sound Barrier. Goodman's talk rallied citizens around the dramatic battles of our time. She tied together the protests in the Middle East, the budgetary showdowns over public employee unions and public-funded media, and the expensive wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Goodman urged progressives to organize vibrant movements that force President Obama to make the right decisions -- and provide him with the political cover to do so.

Visit from a wandering reader
In late February, HCN subscriber Dave Hoover of Taylorsville, Ind., stopped by to say hi while traveling around the West. This was the first winter he's spent stateside in years, he said; usually, he passes the season in the warm, sunny clime of Nicaragua. Lucky guy!

New books
HCN contributor Tracy Ross (who wrote "Alaska's 'Abundance Management' " in our Feb. 21 issue) has had her first book, The Source of All Things: A Memoir, published by Free Press. Ross describes how her love of wilderness helped her come to terms with the childhood abuse inflicted by her stepfather. The book has been widely hailed for its honesty and courage; Ross writes, "I am both overwhelmed and humbled by these responses, not only because I hope the story will be appreciated as a work of strong narrative writing, but because child abuse continues to be so widespread and pervasive."

One of our most-read stories ever, "The Silence of the Bees" (in the March 21, 2007 issue), described the crisis in modern beekeeping and the collapse of honeybee colonies around the West. Now, the author, HCN contributor Hannah Nordhaus, has written an engaging and informative book based on that story. The Beekeeper's Lament: How One Man and Half a Billion Honey Bees Help Feed America is due out in May from Harper Perennial.

Clarification
In our Feb. 21 "What in the well?" infographic listing chemicals in fracking fluid, the column labeled "carcinogen" should have been labeled "cancer promoter or carcinogen." Sodium chloride, at certain doses, is a suspected cancer promoter, but it is not an initiator of cancer.

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