The staff had great news to pass on to the High Country News board of directors during our winter board meeting (held in cyberspace) Jan. 25th: Over the holidays, you all sent in a record number of gift subscriptions and Research Fund donations, along with several substantial grants supporting HCN's editorial work and the upgrade of our work on digital platforms. The surge pushed our financial reserves into healthy territory and lifted our overall circulation to more than 24,000 for the first time since 2007. We are deeply thankful for your support and can't wait to pay you back with a great line-up of stories in the coming months.

Visitors with questions
Visiting our Paonia, Colo. headquarters recently, local resident and subscriber Sandy Chetnick-Norris, brought along two very tall young men with lots of questions about High Country News. They were her son, Samuel, an Ohio University student whose business thesis is on corporate social responsibility, and his friend, Kevin Lenahan, who somehow manages to combine college classes with flying helicopters for the Marines. Both wondered how a magazine that covers the entire West ended up in a small Colorado town like Paonia; we were happy to explain HCN's long and storied past. (No word as to whether they were sorry they'd asked.) For a bit about our history, see hcn.org/about/mission.

New and noteworthy books
Former HCN Associate Editor Peter Chilson has a new ebook out about conflict in Mali, West Africa. Produced by Foreign Policy Magazine/Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, We Never Knew Exactly Where: Dispatches from the Lost Country of Mali is described as "a masterful blend of reportage and history from one of the world's newest front lines in the war on terror." (See peterchilson.com.) Peter, who teaches writing and literature at Washington State University, spent several months in Mali last year.

A longtime HCN subscriber and professor emeritus at the University of Wyoming, Duane Keown, has published a book titled Thirteenth Year in Zion: Mormons Confront the Twenty-First Century (Xlibris). Duane taught biology and science in Utah for many years. In the book, described as a story of science, modernism and multiculturalism versus fundamentalism, he "recalls his experiences as an educator in an environment steeped in religious intolerance, and the hardships his family faced when their different beliefs clashed with that of the Mormon majority."

Self-described "writer, editor, bullshitter, Mountain Gazette resurrector" (and HCN contributor) M. John Fayhee has two new titles out. The Colorado Mountain Companion: A Potpourri of Useful Miscellany from the Highest Parts of the Highest State (West Winds Press) is just what it sounds like: "a treasure trove of everything you could possibly want to know about Colorado's Mountain Country, (including) skiing, fishing, avalanches, geology, historic districts, Superfund sites and strange festivals." Smoke Signals: Wayward Journeys through the Old Heart of the New West (Raven's Eye Press) collects 22 of John's monthly columns for the outdoor journal Mountain Gazette. The book "juxtaposes highly unlikely misadventures with tender tales about losing a beloved dog, about the scars that define people in the High Country and about friendships forged in the most remote parts of the American West."