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Know the West

Craig Childs is HCN's latest contributing editor


We're excited to announce that author Craig Childs has just joined our list of contributing editors. Many of you are already fans of Craig's work, which appears regularly in these pages and in The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Men's Journal, Outside and Orion. His writing focuses on natural sciences, archaeology and his remarkable personal journeys into the wilderness, and he's published more than a dozen critically acclaimed books. Childs joins an already notable group of High Country News contributing editors, including science journalist Michelle Nijhuis; Western water guru Matt Jenkins; economics and community writer Jonathan Thompson; and energy and policy specialist Judith Lewis Mernit.

Some of you have been frustrated during the past few months when you've tried to phone our office in rural western Colorado -- either the call rings a few times and then disconnects, or you leave a message that we never receive, or if you do get through, the sound is fuzzy. These problems are all symptoms of a West-wide issue with rural telephone service, according to the Federal Communications Commission. Apparently, rural carriers often pay higher-than-average charges to local telephone companies to complete calls, and some carriers, trying to minimize those costs, use cheaper third-party routers that drop or degrade calls. The FCC recently adopted reforms aimed at fixing the problem. If you've had trouble reaching us by phone, you can send us an email ([email protected]) or fill out the contact form on our website (www.hcn.org/contact-info). If all else fails, just keep trying -- 970-527-4898 or 1-800-905-1155.

Dave Frey stopped into the HCN office in late January to visit with staff. Frey was an intern 19 years ago and now works as a reporter and writer in the Roaring Fork Valley, just over the West Elk Mountains from our hometown of Paonia. He was in town to write about the Living Farm, a local organic establishment that supplies residents with great veggies, meat and eggs year round. This month, Dave plans to move to D.C. where he'll be the Washington correspondent for Aspen Public Radio -- a project he hopes to see expand into a public radio bureau that reports on Western issues in play in the capital.

Former intern and editorial fellow Emilene Ostlind (June 2010-June 2011) was just hired as the public relations coordinator for the Environment and Natural Resources Program at the University of Wyoming. She'll be writing newsletters and press releases, updating social media, and making Web videos on topics such as bark beetles, brucellosis, produced water from coalbed methane development, and conservation projects. "I'm sure my journalism experience as an HCN intern and fellow was the main factor in their decision to hire me," says Emilene. We think it probably had a lot to do with her skills and talents, too.

The Jan. 23 issue contained a few goofs: "Billboards vs. Democracy" referred to Los Angeles Mayor Rocky Delgadillo. Antonio Villaraigosa is actually the mayor; Delgadillo is a former city attorney. Our story "Detente in the grazing wars?" stated that "one of the first congressionally authorized buyouts came in 1998, in what was then Arches National Monument." Arches became a national park in 1971. The story also referred to "Rep. John Barrasso"; he's actually a senator. HCN regrets the errors.