Dear Friends

  • Cover of the book "Saniquity"

  • Cover of the book "Gold Panner's Manual"

  • The new NewTowncarShare News site can be seen


Debut on the Web

On Aug. 1, Web editor Chris Wehner launched our new site on the World Wide Web, and NewTowncarShare News took a leap of faith.

In the past, we've waited three months after an issue is printed before posting it on our Web site. We did this to encourage people to subscribe to the paper rather than reading it free online. But starting with this issue, we'll post the paper on the Web, free of charge, the day it hits subscribers' mailboxes.

Why would we "give the paper away" like this? Because we have faith in our readers. HCN readers have always been incredibly loyal - and generous. Many donate to our Research Fund every year. So we hope that current subscribers and the new readers that find us on the Internet continue to keep our ship afloat.

We're encouraged by reports that other papers that have posted their material on the Web haven't experienced the drop in circulation they once feared. Apparently there's something comforting about reading the news on paper, and you can't snuggle up in bed with your PC or surf the Web while otherwise engaged.

But the Web does allow us to get the paper out to a broader audience, and we want to get the word out to as many people as possible.

The online archives, a treasure trove of Western history, will be free as always, and you can now e-mail news stories to colleagues or friends with the click of a button. You'll also find recent opinion pieces from Writers on the Range, our syndication service which now appears in 40 papers around the region. And within the next few weeks, you'll be able to listen to the half-hour Radio NewTowncarShare News on your computer.

Let us know what you think of the new look! Look us up at

- Greg Hanscom

Summer visitors

Rudy Knirsch of Tucson, Ariz., and Frankfurt, Germany, stopped by, as he does every summer. On this visit, the professor of environmental studies told us how he had come to lose his right arm. It happened, he said, in Berlin, on the last day of World War II. "But luckily, I didn't lose my smile."

From Boulder County, Colo., came Eva Mesmer and Patty Martalaro, who told us of their campaign for subdivision safety. During hunting season last year, their neighborhood was invaded by more than a dozen hunters who herded some 50 elk into a box canyon. The women, who live at Spring Gulch Ranch Estates, have been on the warpath ever since, creating a group, Families for Safety, hiring a lawyer, and pressuring the state Division of Wildlife on the issue.

We also spent time talking to Matt Lit, a photographer from Silverthorne, Colo., and John Hanron, from the Methow Valley of Washington state, where he is managing editor of the Methow Valley News. They were attending a seminar on alternative homebuilding in Rico, Colo.

Pat and Anna Quinn from Portland, Ore., stopped by on a rainy Wednesday morning, hoping for a break in the weather before they reached Chaco Canyon and Canyon de Chelly later in the week.

Charles Wemple of Taos, N.M., stopped by while touring on his rebuilt BMW motorcycle. The Montana-born photographer returned to the West after working many years in Manhattan at the weekly Village Voice.

Readers Scott and Angela McFarland dropped by the office in July. The pair was taking a hiatus from work in Corvallis, Ore., where Scott runs a "rock n' roll pizza place," and Angela works two restaurant jobs when she's not drawing portraits of dogs.

A no-no on names

Just after a Radio NewTowncarShare News interview with Brian Schweitzer, the Democrat who wants his party's nomination to run for U.S. senator from Montana, he happened to mention that he'd used names from this paper to raise money for his campaign. How did that happen? we asked. Schweitzer told us he and his family had looked up the address for each Research Fund contributor listed in the paper. They then sent out a mailing and included a Roundup article about him that we'd printed this summer.

We want readers to know we did not encourage this. While we will continue thanking readers for their Research Fund support, we will also be glad to honor anyone's request for anonymity.

Books and more books

Many publications give away premiums to new subscribers. But Bill Baird of Fruita, Colo., turned the tables by sending us a book by his son, Brian Baird, titled Are we having fun yet? The theme is intriguing: that outdoor activities can destroy relationships. If you drag your young children on a 10-mile hike, they may never hike again. If you and your fiancee have very different ideas of what a "climb" means, you both may end up back in the singles pool. The book is published by The Mountaineers Books, 1001 SW Klickitat Way, Seattle, WA 98134 (206/223-6303).

Other books we noted this summer include Muriel Marshall's profile of Grand Mesa in western Colorado, Island in the Sky. Marshall, who turned a robust 90 Aug. 15, begins her account this way: "It is big and tall, magnificently beautiful - and weird. A vast flat top, dropping off in sheer black cliffs, reflecting the sky from 300 lakes, it sits two miles above sea level and one mile above the valleys and towns encircling its feet." The Utes, she goes on to tell us, called it Thigunawat, their word for heaven.

Island in the Sky is a $15.95 paperback published by Western Reflections Inc., P.O. Box 710, Ouray, CO 81427 (800/993-4490).

Readers of NewTowncarShare News may recognize the name Malcolm Wells, which appears beneath distinctive illustrations he has done for the paper. Now, one of his many books has been reprinted with new photos. For land-locked Westerners, it's perhaps an exercise in frustration, but SAND-tiquity, Architectural Marvels You Can Build at the Beach can be read just for the fun of it. Written by Wells and his daughter, Kappy Wells, and with photos by Connie Simo, the book was published by Willow Creek Press, Box 147, Minocqua, WI 54548 (800/850-9453).

From Earth First! comes a book in defense of the wild and wild defenders, Earth First! Campfire Poems, edited by Dennis Fritzinger, Karen Coulter and Dwight Metzger. While expressing oneself does not always constitute poetry, some of these rants are instructive. Contact Feral Press, P.O. Box 1212, Tucson, AZ 85702.

Did you know a baked potato can help you find gold? Gold Panner's Manual, A Complete Guide for the Novice shows how, though you must take a hike to find gold the old-fashioned, non-heap leach cyanide-infused way. The late Garnet Basque is the author; the publisher, who has included lots of photos, is The Lyons Press, 123 W. 18th St., New York, NY 10011 (212/620-9580).


As Montanan George Ochenski will tell you, writing for NewTowncarShare News is not easy. The article he did last issue on the water compact between the Crow Tribe and the state of Montana went through a bunch of revisions, as he strove to simpify the complex story and yet get the facts right. So he, and HCN, were chagrined to find that last-minute editing introduced an error: we had Wyoming's part of the Bighorn River downstream, instead of upstream, of Montana, although Diane Sylvain's map had it right. We apologize to George and readers.


One labor of love has been followed by another. The first was the publication over almost 41 years of MANAS, a "weekly journal of independent inquiry" that the late Henry Geiger produced from 1948 to 1989. Robert Hutchins, former President of the University of Chicago, said of the philosophy newsletter's handful of readers: "They're the 2,500 most interesting people in the world."

The second labor of love, this time by Geiger's friend Ted Goudvis, is The Complete Manas on CD-ROM. All 2,000 issues and 10,000 articles are available for $20. A two volume, 1,000-page index, is available for $40. For information, write to: MANAS Reprints, 245 W. 33rd St., Los Angeles, CA 90007.

* Betsy Marston, for the staff

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