« Return to this article

Know the West

See you in July

A skipped issue, a former editor publishes a book and visitors galore


Here in western Colorado, an unusually cool, wet spring has finally made room for some sunshine and toastier temperatures. It’s high time for us to take off for the mountains or steal away from the office to stuff ourselves with local apricots and cherries (assuming there are any this year; you never know). So we’re skipping an issue, part of our 22-issue per year publishing schedule, but we’ll be back in early July. Our special issue on outdoor recreation should arrive mid-month.

The drenching we got this spring didn’t help Lake Mead; in early June, its water level was only a foot and a half above the threshold that triggers mandatory water cutbacks in Arizona and Nevada. But what’s bad news for desert dwellers might be good for book sales. Paolo Bacigalupi, HCN’s former Web editor, has a new sci-fi novel out, The Water Knife, set in a Southwest beset by never-ending megadrought. The thriller, which sprang from a short story originally published in HCN (“The Tamarisk Hunter,” 6/2/06), chronicles the increasingly deadly struggle for water — between states, between rich and poor — and follows the exploits of a “detective, assassin and spy” for the Southern Nevada Water Authority. The L.A. Times lauded Bacigalupi for making “water politics sexy.” Write on, Paolo! See our recent interview.

Werner Hanicke came all the way from Germany to visit his old friend, longtime Paonia resident, Ulli Lange. In 1988, a year before the Berlin Wall fell, the East German government allowed the British-born rock star Joe Cocker to perform in Dresden. Cocker, who died last year, lived in Crawford, Colorado, just down the road from Paonia, in the ’90s.  He dedicated that concert to freedom and made a huge impression on the two Germans, who later helped dedicate the park where he played with a placard identifying it as Cockerwiese, or “Cocker Meadow.”

Deane and Debra Fehrman dropped by on their way to Cedaredge, down valley from Paonia. Subscribers for over 20 years, they prefer to savor Western news late at night, on a full stomach. After a mind-numbing day at work, Deane, an auto appraiser, says he likes the “time to reflect.”

Gerald Espinosa, who stopped by after Memorial Day, visited us once before. In April, he met office manager Kathy Martinez, who was pulling weeds outside our office. She gave him a couple issues of the magazine and talked to him about life in Paonia. Instead of moving to Denver as planned, the 20-something Gerald decided to stick around. “I’m making a go of it,” he says. He picked up work on a farm and at Solar Energy International, a local nonprofit. Welcome to town, Gerald! The Paonia Youth Retention Committee is always accepting applications.