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No Place Like Home
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January 1, 2021

In our first issue of 2021, we dive into the concept of home, leading off with an in-depth feature about second-home owners in Gunnison County, Colorado, who fought back after county officials asked them to leave when COVID-19 arrived. Throughout the West, we learn how small towns with already-overheated housing markets are seeing a staggering increase in prices during the pandemic as the Zoom boom sends workers flocking to more desirable locations. Our cities are changing, too, as is shown by a unique research project in Seattle that details the many ways in which COVID-19 is transforming urban landscapes. In many places, evictions are on the rise, but in Pima County, Arizona, some of the constables charged with enforcing evictions are finding ways to help tenants stay in their homes. In Juneau, Alaska, an 80-year-old tugboat reveals a very different problem: the abandoned vessels that are littering the West coast. We talk to interesting people like Danielle Geller, a trained archivist who researches her mother and ponders the meaning of family, and former EPA program leader Mustafa Santiago Ali, who wants to help communities go from merely surviving to thriving. We also meet Nick Tilsen (Oglala Lakota), whose arrest for protesting President Trump at Mount Rushmore links him to a long history of Indigenous resistance. Finally, in her Bell Prize-winning essay, Kimberly Myra Mitchell describes how she found solace from grief in the midst of fighting wildfires.

Feature

When COVID hit, a Colorado county kicked out second-home owners. They hit back.
When COVID hit, a Colorado county kicked out second-home owners. They hit back.
How a group of nonresident homeowners tried to influence a rural Colorado election.

Reportage

Tracking the seasons of pandemic response in Seattle
Tracking the seasons of pandemic response in Seattle
Disaster researchers take a Prius-eye view of how COVID-19 is changing the city.
Drowning the derelicts: Yesterday’s boats are today’s problems
Drowning the derelicts: Yesterday’s boats are today’s problems
States and municipalities from Alaska to California struggle to dispose of old vessels without federal support.
A little fish that’s mighty as a mountain
A little fish that’s mighty as a mountain
Pupfish Peak in Nevada’s Amargosa Valley is named for the endangered Devils Hole pupfish.
Will California finally fulfill its promise to fix the Salton Sea?
Will California finally fulfill its promise to fix the Salton Sea?
Decades have passed and millions of dollars spent, yet little has been done to restore the lake. California officials say it’s all been leading up to this moment.
Students and faculty urge deeper look at land-grant legacy
Students and faculty urge deeper look at land-grant legacy
University officials face pressure to address their history as the recipients of dispossessed Indigenous land.
The battle for the Black Hills
The battle for the Black Hills
Nick Tilsen was arrested for protesting President Trump at Mount Rushmore. Now, his legal troubles are part of a legacy.

Editor's Note

The West’s homescapes are shifting
The West’s homescapes are shifting
2020 has redefined what many call ‘home.’

What Works

Rebel eviction-enforcers are helping tenants stay in their homes
Rebel eviction-enforcers are helping tenants stay in their homes
In Tucson, a group of constables went rogue and stopped enforcing evictions.

Facts & Figures

How the Zoom boom is changing the West
How the Zoom boom is changing the West
Remote workers are flocking to Western towns.

Essays

Through wildland firefighting, finding a space to heal
Through wildland firefighting, finding a space to heal
A grieving daughter encounters solace in an unexpected place.

Conversation

From boxes of memorabilia, sifting out a life
From boxes of memorabilia, sifting out a life
In her debut memoir, Danielle Geller researches her elusive mother — and the meaning of family.
Mustafa Santiago Ali describes the path forward for environmental justice
Mustafa Santiago Ali describes the path forward for environmental justice
Former EPA program leader shares ideas for federal action in the Biden administration.

Review

A high school football team’s wartime resistance
A high school football team’s wartime resistance
In ‘The Eagles of Heart Mountain,’ Bradford Pearson renders the lives of incarcerated Japanese Americans during World War II in three dimensions.

Heard Around the West

Offensive Montanans; a stubborn turkey; landlubber remembrance
Offensive Montanans; a stubborn turkey; landlubber remembrance
Mishaps and mayhem from around the region.

Dear Friends

Reflecting on HCN in the 1990s
Reflecting on HCN in the 1990s
Monuments, growth and the Marstons marked this era of the magazine.

Letters

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