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Farewell to a valuable staff member


For the first time in several years, the blossoms on the apricot trees at the High Country News headquarters in Paonia survived the spring frosts, and bright green nascent fruit is already weighing down the branches. Throughout the valley, all the fruit seems to be thriving — from peaches and nectarines to apples and wine grapes. Now, legions of hummingbirds fill the air with their buzz as the tiny birds make their way toward the high country.

Here at HCN, big changes are afoot. We said goodbye to associate publisher Alexis Halbert in May — but not before a sunny send-off with an abundant potluck and HCN-style frivolity at the local brewery. Alexis has relocated to Denver to begin working as a senior program officer with the Orton Family Foundation, where she will continue to pursue her passion for rural community development. We’re sad to see you go, Alexis. Good luck!

Coming up, HCN board member John Belkin hosts former Interior Secretary Ken Salazar in Crested Butte, Colorado, on June 22, with a reception starting at 5:30 p.m. Salazar will discuss energy, environmental, natural resources and tribal issues. Drinks and hors d’oeuvres will be served; suggested donation is $75. For more information, see www.hcn.org/CBevent. To RSVP, call 970-527-4898 or email [email protected] We hope to see you there!

We’ve had some especially interesting visitors recently, including a group from the Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research at the University of Colorado at Boulder that was in town for an air-quality project. As part of that effort, Katya Hafich, Ashley Collnet, Daniel Knight, Erik Hotaling, and Mike and Galileo Hannigan spent time working with Delta County High Schools on pollution education and installing air-quality monitors. Katya and gang stopped by HCN to see what we were up to, then ended their visit to the valley with a poster-making session at Delta High School.

We were also delighted to meet former magazine publisher Elaine Leass, fresh off a recent trip to Kunming, China. Before heading home to Colorado’s Front Range, Elaine added Paonia and the Black Canyon of the Gunnison to her travel schedule. Being back in a newsroom brought on some nostalgia; Elaine is the former owner and publisher of the now-shuttered Rocky Mountain Oyster, which she sold in 2007.

One correction: In “Under Water,” published May 30, we misplaced Hetch Hetchy. It is north of Yosemite Valley, not south. Our regrets.