High Country News3 min letti
The Zoom boom
IN THE SPRING OF 2020, FIS Worldpay, a payment-processing company, sent more than 200 of its Durango, Colorado-based employees home to work remotely, in order to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus. Even when pandemic-avoidance measures were loo
High Country News2 min letti
HCN In The 1990s
When President Bill Clinton took office in January of 1992, the West’s “Big Three” industries of logging, ranching and mining — dubbed the “Lords of Yesterday” by historian Charles Wilkinson — were already in decline. A new service economy based on t
High Country News7 min letti
HCN Readers: Funding Our Work For 50 Years
THANK YOU. Readers pay for about 75% of what it costs to produce High Country News. You can join our supporters here by donating $50 or more. Mail a check to P.O. Box 1090, Paonia, CO 81428; call 800-905-1155; or contribute online at hcn.org/support.
High Country News2 min letti
A Red Pen And Rosy Lenses
We can’t talk about HCN during the 1990s without talking about the Marstons and their extraordinary legacy. Ed and Betsy, New York transplants, ran the paper from 1983 to 2002, a time when HCN moved beyond its early years of straightforward environme
High Country News1 min letti
High Country News
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR/PUBLISHER Greg Hanscom INTERIM EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Katharine Lanpher ART DIRECTOR Cindy Wehling FEATURES DIRECTOR McKenna Stayner DIGITAL MANAGING EDITOR Gretchen King ASSOCIATE EDITORS Emily Benson, Paige Blankenbuehler, Graham Lee Br
High Country News29 min letti
Second Citizens
APRIL 2020, AND THE NOVEL CORONAVIRUS was spreading through the United States. As businesses closed and hospitals filled, Jim Moran found himself sheltering in place in Colorado, at his second home. His mansion has dark wood siding and a jutting pati
High Country News2 min letti
Homescapes
“HOME” IS OUR FOCUS this month — how shelter and connection to place define our lives and the lives of the people around us. This feels especially compelling right now, with a global pandemic forcing us to stay inside, or perhaps, if we’re essential
High Country News6 min letti
From Boxes Of Memorabilia, Sifting Out A Life
AFTER HER MOTHER DIED, Danielle Geller defaulted to what she knew. Tucked away in her Boston apartment, she spent entire days writing about her life — her earliest memories of her mother, sister and father; her childhood and the grandmother who raise
High Country News1 min letti
Featured Contributors
Nick Bowlin Gunnison, Colorado @npbowlin Jessica Douglas Oregon @jessicadd29_ Nick Estes Albuquerque, New Mexico @nickwestes Kimberly Mitchell Bell Prize Winner Davis, California Mark Olalde Palm Springs, California @MarkOlalde Victoria Petersen Anch
High Country News3 min letti
A Space To Heal
I WRITE THIS ON OCT. 25, as another fire-weather watch is declared over Northern California. I can hear the wind screaming past the windows, straining the trees. I know from experience that this wind can make a spark rip through dried grass and brush
High Country News3 min letti
Letters
Good work on “Divided Prospects,” December 2020. Uinta County, Wyoming, keeps trying to figure out a way out of the boom-bust business. I always said that if I ever moved back to Wyoming, I’d pick Evanston. Close enough to Salt Lake City, to skiing a
High Country News3 min letti
Resistance On The Gridiron
MOST BOOKS ABOUT WAR center on heroes. By choosing a few actors and following their progress, a writer can briefly untangle the decisions that drove the course of events, bringing clarity and purpose to what might have been a senseless trauma. This a
High Country News4 min letti
The Rebel Constables Of Tucson
ON A WARM NOVEMBER AFTERNOON, Kristen Randall, a red-haired woman in a blue button-down shirt, knocked at the door of a rundown apartment in Tucson’s east midtown. After three rounds of patient knocking, a woman named Angie Bevins opened the door. Ra
High Country News3 min letti
Heard Around the West
When you’re called out for smearing Vice President-elect Kamala Harris on social media as a “hoe,” you ought to apologize. But after Montana Rep. Kerry White, R, an advisor to Montana Republican Gov.-elect Greg Gianforte, called Joe Biden and Kamala
High Country News3 min lettiMedical
Capturing The Seasons Of A Plague
JUST BEFORE 7 on a cool, misty Seattle morning, Jacqueline Peltier stands alone on the University of Washington campus. Nearby, squirrels and rabbits frolic in the morning dew. Peltier, part of a National Science Foundation-funded research team, will
High Country News1 min letti
#iam The West
Community activist, LA Más Los Angeles, California I am a child of Chinese immigrants who met in California, and I grew up in the Elysian Valley, nicknamed “Frogtown,” which, in the ’80s, was a primarily Latino and Asian working-class neighborhood. I
High Country News6 min lettiCrime & Violence
A Reset For Environmental Justice
A CAP-AND-TRADE system to cut toxic air emissions; a bipartisan agreement to strengthen the Clean Air Act; a federal program to ease the unjust burden of pollution in minority communities: All this sounds like an environmental to-do-list for Presiden
High Country News6 min letti
Students And Faculty Urge Deeper Look At Land-grant Legacy
WHEN HIGH COUNTRY NEWS published “Land-Grab Universities” last April, the two-year-long investigation shed new light on a dark open secret: One of the largest transfers of land and capital in the country’s history had masqueraded as a donation for un
High Country News1 min letti
Pupfish Peak
In the spring of 2016, three Nevada men got drunk, broke into a gated enclosure guarding a deep limestone cavern, and plunged into the warm water of Devils Hole, a unit managed by the National Park Service. While trampling around the fish’s only habi
High Country News12 min letti
The Battle For The Black Hills
FROM A DISTANCE, the green pines and the blue-gray haze that gently hug the valleys of the Black Hills merge into a deep black. The Lakota name “He Sapa” — meaning “black ridge” — describes this visual phenomenon. This is a place of origin for dozens
High Country News8 min letti
Sea Change
RED FLAGS FLUTTER outside the schools in Salton City, California, when the air quality is dangerous. Dust billows across the desert, blanketing playgrounds and baseball diamonds, the swirling grit canceling recess and forcing students indoors. Visibi
High Country News3 min letti
Abandoned Boats Pose Problems Above And Below The Waves
THE LUMBERMAN, a 107-foot World War II-era steel-hull tugboat, has been floating at the quiet cruise ship dock in Juneau for months, awaiting a watery grave. Abandoned for nearly a decade, the Lumberman was moored in Juneau’s Gastineau Channel in the
High Country News5 min letti
Unaccounted For
IN MID-JUNE, THE RURAL COASTAL towns in Lincoln County, Oregon, experienced a COVID-19 outbreak. In a week, the county’s cases went from five to at least 124, all of them linked to a seafood-processing warehouse in Newport. It quickly became Oregon’s
High Country News6 min letti
Looking For Fresh Reads? Western Authors Weigh In.
THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC may have disrupted much of what boosts new book releases — bookstores, events and author signings, attention spans — but Westerners need good reading material as much as ever. Fortunately, writers have obliged, with new works
High Country News11 min lettiAmerican Government
Divisions And Diversity
It’s fitting that a year that has lasted decades should culminate in a weeks-long Election Day. Perhaps the only truly bright spot was the political engagement: Over 150 million voters turned out in 2020, the highest percentage of the electorate in m
High Country News5 min letti
Lessons From Digging A Grave
THE ONLY PERSON I’ve ever buried was a stranger. It was a chilly afternoon in mid-November, the kind of weather you’d expect at a funeral. Crisp oak leaves rattled softly in a steady breeze. It wasn’t raining, but the ground was damp, the air thick w
High Country News6 min lettiAmerican Government
When You Can’t Drink The Water
WHEN SARA GALLEGO* turns on her faucet, she’s never sure what will come out. “In the mornings, it’s the color of coffee,” she said. At other times, “It’s super yellow.” Gallego is one of the roughly 1,900 residents of the Oasis Mobile Home Park, a co
High Country News3 min letti
Heard Around the West
Mike Healy of Hailey, Idaho, says the semi-weekly Idaho Mountain Express runs a “Miscellany” section in its classifieds that’s eagerly scoured by connoisseurs of local oddities. People give shout-outs or complain about everything from a braying donke
High Country News10 min letti
A Whistleblower Speaks Out Over Excavation Of Native Sites
IN 2009, WHILE EXCAVATING prehistoric artifacts in California, graduate student archaeologists from the University of California-Davis found Indigenous funerary objects and fragments of human bone. But despite what the law requires, according to inte
High Country News1 min letti
#iam The West
Artist Santa Clara Pueblo, New Mexico We grow our food in the Earth. We build our homes with the Earth. We build our art with the Earth. Other places, you don’t have this direct relationship to dirt — to the actual ground. I’ve traveled a lot, but I
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