Coming home to the West

Old friends swing by our offices, and we say a few sad goodbyes.


This is Kalen Goodluck, signing on to write my first “Dear Friends” as an editorial fellow on the Tribal Affairs desk. I recently left a small studio apartment in Manhattan, where I lived for two years, to meet up with the HCN crew at the editorial satellite office in Gunnison, Colorado, and then moved on to Albuquerque, New Mexico, where I grew up. The move back West was a reminder that out here, the air is thinner, the views are wider, and people on the street are capable of friendly eye contact.

Speaking of contact, the summer has brought many visitors to High Country News, both in Paonia, Colorado, our headquarters, and elsewhere in the West, where our editorial staff is dispersed.

Charles Olmsted of Greeley, Colorado, made the trip to the Paonia office for a tour. He’s been a subscriber since the 1970s, when he lived in Lander, Wyoming. In 1976, Charles answered an HCN ad that landed him a role the following year as assistant professor and coordinator of an environmental studies program.

Zach Miller, an avid reader since 1971, stopped by the editorial offices in Gunnison, Colorado, recently. Zach is an environmental lawyer who credits HCN with getting him interested in the field. To his wife’s dismay (but to our delight), Zach has 40 years of High County News stacked in his garage, and he says he’s having a hard time parting with them. Another Gunnison visitor was John Walsh, former U.S. attorney for the District of Colorado, who is preparing for a Senate run in 2020. Walsh, a longtime HCN reader, left with a “West Obsessed” bumper sticker, which, we are told, he promptly affixed to his vehicle.

Emily Stonington, who served on HCN’s board of directors from 1991 through 2005, was renowned for her sharp wit, bright blue-eyed smile, and a no-nonsense practicality that effectively crossed the political aisles. She passed away on June 26.
From the HCN video: The Voice of the American West

It’s with sadness and regret that we mourn the loss of Emily Stonington, who passed away at the end of June. In addition to being a devoted HCN board member, she had an expansive career as an educator and director of the Montana Wildlife Federation. She served two terms in the Montana House of Representatives, one as minority leader, and one term in the Montana Senate. We will remember her laughter, determined leadership and her staunch support of the HCN intern program.

HCN is likewise saddened by the passing of Edwin Dobb, who died at the age of 69 in late July. A longtime writer for Harper’s Magazine and many others, he was especially known for his literary essays on his hometown of Butte, Montana. One of his last pieces for HCN was a 2010 essay, “Immersed in the Wild,” about open-water swimming. In it, he wrote: “The longing to swim ever farther out remains, an instinctive response that I neither control nor fully comprehend. Even more intense, especially now that I’m 60, is the desire to continue swimming — swimming robustly — for all of my remaining days.”

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