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for people who care about the West

Our photo contest is underway!

A heat wave, staffing changes, and more dear friends.


It’s been a hot July at High Country News headquarters here in Paonia, Colorado. Post-work dips in the North Fork of the Gunnison and weekend trips to cooler, higher ground have kept us sane — as have visits from our friends.

Liz Cohen and Randy Sclar came from Evergreen, Colorado, on a road trip. Liz writes grants for Colorado Parks and Recreation, and Randy co-owns a primary care clinic. They’re first-time HCN readers, so we sent them home with a stack of recent issues to dive into.

Subscribers Lauren and Mike Amundson (and Tessa, their adorable dog) stopped by while taking the scenic route home to Flagstaff, Arizona. Lauren is an archivist at Lowell Observatory, and Mike uses HCN in his history classroom at Northern Arizona University. Thanks for letting us pepper you with questions, Mike! We love hearing about students working with our stories.

Gail Peters from Clarkdale, Arizona, came through on day three of a two-and-a-half-month wander. Gail founded Friends of Arizona Rivers back in the 1980s and appreciated our circulation crew’s friendly reminder to renew her subscription. (Hint, hint!)

Don Cushman dropped by on his way to a music camp in Breckenridge, Colorado, from Jackson, Wyoming. An avid musician who plays baritone sax, trombone and trumpet, Don started a community band in Jackson 28 years ago. He’s now retired, but his day jobs included work as a naturalist at Grand Teton National Park and outdoor recreation planner at National Elk Refuge near Jackson.

Logan Strenchock of Budapest, Hungary, and Tom Figel of Denver visited on a sunny Friday. Tom, who works for a solar nonprofit, was giving Logan a whirlwind tour of Colorado before Logan headed to the University of California, Irvine, to spend the summer as a sustainability fellow.

Erik Moeller from Pueblo, Colorado, stopped in while he and his wife were roaming the western side of the state. They crossed Independence Pass for the first time and were headed toward Crested Butte. Erik’s been reading HCN since 1984, and he even wrote a few stories for us in the early 1990s. Once a reporter for the Durango Herald, he became an attorney. Now he’s closed his practice in Pueblo and hopes to write again. We look forward to seeing his work!

Our annual photo contest is now underway, with the theme “Show us your backyard!” Send us images of the people, creatures and landscapes outside your back door, wherever you live. See www.hcn.org/photos17 for details.

Lastly, we’ve said a couple of bittersweet goodbyes. Our finance manager, Beckie Avera, found a job closer to her home in Grand Junction, and we wish her the best of luck. Circulation assistant Kati Johnson, whom many of you know from her friendly voice on the phone, has moved to Nebraska to be near family. Kati was with HCN for half a decade, and she’ll be greatly missed.