Dear friends

  • Phil Shabecoff, from center of Paonia, Colo., to Washington, D.C.

    Elizabeth Manning
 

A Beltway correspondent

High Country News has just opened a bureau in Washington, D.C. It will be manned by Philip Shabecoff, the creator and publisher of an electronic publication named Green Wire and a 32-year veteran of The New York Times. He spent 1977 to 1991 on the environmental beat out of Washington, D.C. Before that, Phil covered the Nixon and Ford presidencies, economics, labor, and was a foreign correspondent in Tokyo and Bonn.

His first story, as a cub reporter, was a big one: He broke the U.S. - Soviet grain deal, which came at a time when the two nations only communicated with each other by rattling sabers. He is the author of A Fierce Green Fire: The American Environmental Movement, published in 1993 by Hill and Wang. Due in early 1996 is A New Name for Peace: Environment, Development and Democracy.

Phil visited HCN's offices in mid-September, so he could see our scale and location. His reporting begins later this month.

The bureau is a result of several dozen phone calls board member Andy Wiessner made to HCN subscribers, seeking funds. Andy said the money was relatively easy to raise: "Everyone feels the same sense of urgency I do about what's happening in Washington."

Research Fund

Speaking of fund raising, subscribers should receive, more or less coincident with this issue, a letter asking your support for the 1995-1996 Research Fund. It is the Research Fund that pays the paper's writers and photographers, as well as such "incidentals' as telephone bills and travel. It is literally true that without the Research Fund there is no High Country News.

Anniversary

The paper's Sept. 8 and 9 celebration of its 25 years went off without an operational hitch. For the first time, the several crews who had founded and nurtured HCN in Lander from 1970 to 1983 and the people who have run it in Paonia from 1983 to the present saw each other en masse. Perhaps more important, the Lander people - who are scattered to the several winds - reunited, also for the first time.

The event was very Wyoming. Coloradans felt as if they were back in their old West (the 1970s), driving through a state where gas stations are 100 miles apart and towns are even more separate. The celebration took place in a wonderful facility - the Lander Community Center - which is also very Wyoming; it is the only community center many of us have seen with a full bar.

The 5K running/walking race was fun, although the better-trained athletes were a bit disappointed at the competition. The signs along the route - "SLOW Footrace in progress" - were accurate.

While we were running and walking through Lander's green and quiet streets early Saturday morning, University of Colorado history professor Patricia Nelson Limerick was on a race of her own, from Albany, N.Y., where she had given a talk the day before, to Riverton, Wyo., the commercial airport closest to Lander (a mere 30 miles away). She started before dawn and arrived about 3 p.m. We would have thought it a good time for a nap before her evening keynote; instead she polished and repolished her text.

Her talk was the last event of the two days, and it was a fitting close. Professor Limerick has always been both a forceful and subtle speaker, capable of conveying ideas on several levels at once. But on Saturday evening, Sept. 9, in Lander, Wyo., she was more powerful, more combative, more subtle, and funnier than we have ever heard her. The gathering of 150 clapped and clapped; if you don't believe this, a sound recording of her talk will soon be available from HCN.

- Ed Marston for the staff

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