An award, and a whole lot of visitors

  • Brothers Tim and Bruce Plenk (from left) live in Massachusetts and Arizona, respectively, and met in the middle here in Colorado to visit family – and HCN's office in Paonia.

    Krista Langlois

"The Tree Coroners," by HCN contributing editor Cally Carswell, just received one of the Society of Environmental Journalists' 2013-2014 Awards for Reporting on the Environment. The Dec. 9, 2013, feature story took second place in the category "Kevin Carmody Award for Outstanding In-depth Reporting, Small Market." Congrats, Cally!

So many readers pass through Paonia, Colorado, on their summer travels that we're starting to wonder if High Country News headquarters has made it into a guidebook as "best place to discuss wonky land use issues on the Western Slope." Nelson Vore, a Denver physics teacher, came through while photographing the Black Canyon of the Gunnison. Vore de-stresses after a long school year through nature photography, he said. "It's a much more Zen way of moving through a place. When you have a camera around your neck, you're forced to slow down."

Speaking of physics, Bill and Val McCabe of Alma, New Mexico – former employees of  Los Alamos National Laboratory – came by after a family reunion at nearby Avalanche Ranch. Their son, reader Kevin McCabe, gave them a subscription five years ago; they've been renewing ever since. Bill worked on a particle accelerator; Val was, among other things, a technical writer in the aerospace industry. After retiring, they bought a general store, gas station and cafe in remote Alma.

Tucson subscriber Bruce Plenk, a solar consultant, visited us with his brother Tim Plenk of Cambridge, Massachusetts, while en route to Boulder to see grandchildren. Bruce, who's been subscribing since we were based in Lander, Wyoming, had one question: Another longtime subscriber once slyly asked if he'd "been subscribing since before Tom Bell had an eye patch." Bruce was stumped. (For the record: Bell, a rancher and veteran, lost his eye in WWII, long before he founded HCN in 1970.)

Back in June, Colorado State Senate candidate (and subscriber) Kerry Donovan visited because she loves High Country News – and happened to be out stumping in District 5 with campaign manager Shad Murib. Kerry, who raises Highland cattle on her family's ranch in Edwards and served on Vail's town council, hopes to replace outgoing Democrat Gail Schwartz. She was inspired, she says, by her parents' and grandparents' informed political engagement; all are avid readers of HCN. Coincidence? We think not.

Steve Hinchman, an HCN staff writer and special issues editor in the early '90s, stopped by with his family, who were in town for the wedding of daughter Carin Clary. Steve now lives in Maine and is an environmental lawyer.

For the second time in two years, longtime subscribers Joan Groff and Al Schroder of Tucson stopped by on their way to Pennsylvania to visit Joan's 95-year-old father. They enjoyed fresh cherries from associate editor Brian Calvert's backyard before heading off to camp along the road to Crested Butte.

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