When he was too young to remember, Matt Bartmann’s family moved from Chicago to the foothills west of Fort Collins and built a cabin. Somehow, he survived, having had a very long leash at a very young age.
When old enough, Matt attended Stove Prairie Elementary School, and enrolled in 4-H, raising geese, turkeys, chickens, goats, rabbits, and studying bugs, among other projects. And playing with toy cars.
Both his parents being artists, Matt was always exposed to the arts, both visual and literary.
Prior to middle school, Matt and his family moved to town. He maintained ties to the lands at higher elevation to the west, spending weekends in the mountains.
After graduating from high school in Fort Collins, Matt embarked on a long, 15 year career of pizza delivery, usually driving cars that were older than he was.
In 1999, he and his brother started an Internet business focused on magnets, science, and alternative energy, especially wind and solar. He no longer has an ownership interest in that business, but it remains a subject of practical interest to him.
In 2001, Matt and two partners bought a property near where he grew up, which is now his home. He and naturalist Sally Roth met online in 2009 and finally met in person in 2010. Both loving the Pacific Northwest, their first date was a spontaneous road trip to Oregon.
They were married in 2012. In their time together, they have collaborated on several book projects under their own non-profit publishing company Happy Crab Press, as well as other writing and photographic ventures, now including The North Forty News, a publication that they both love and are glad to now be a part of.
Blaine Howerton is an award-winning program creator and producer, and news photojournalist. His mission is to create and communicate compelling stories, and to provide a vehicle for storytelling.
The television bug bit Howerton in high school, where he worked on Rangeview’s (Aurora, Colo.) weekly newscast. He tried to shake that passion while attending Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colo., pursuing a dream of becoming a forest ranger. It didn’t work. He soon found himself working for a small television news station out of Farmington, New Mexico, as a news stringer covering news in the Four Corners Region. From there, he made his way to Colorado State University to earn a degree in Technical Journalism, leading the Campus Television Program that received accolades.
From there, Howerton worked in the television news industry in Salt Lake City, Utah as a news videographer, and microwave live truck engineer. In 2000, Howerton came home to Denver, Colo., to join the start-up team for KDVR Fox 31. At the time, that station’s first newscast was the most successful launch of a Fox Owned and Operated station in history. It was at KDVR that Howerton created the station’s first Commercial Production Department, and later became the Technical Operations Manager.
Howerton has created original television shows and produced more than 80 live festivals and performances (including New Year’s Eve fireworks along Denver’s 16th Street Mall, and 4th of July with the Symphony in Denver’s Civic Center Park). In fall 2017, Howerton branched out into publishing. He purchased the North Forty News, a beloved local paper that covers Northern Colorado communities. The publication doubled its distribution in the first few months. Soon after, NFN acquired the New Scene Magazine, dedicated to covering music, concerts, and events.
Blaine Howerton is President of the Regional Emmy Awards (Heartland Chapter) and serves on the Governing Board of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. He lives in Fort Collins, Colo. with his wife and two sons.
Libby James has been a freelance writer for North Forty News for more than a decade. She especially enjoys getting up into the mountain communities and writing features about people. She has been a freelancer for Triangle Review, former weekly in Fort Collins, editor for an older version of Fort Collins Magazine and also for Greeley Style Magazine. She has written two middle grade novels and text for a picture book Muffin Magic. White Shadow is her first venture into adult historical fiction. I guess she must like having homework. When she’s not writing, she makes notecards from used teabags and runs in an incredibly small age group. She has four children and twelve grandchildren. Some of them run and some of them write. None of them are interested in used tea bags.
When little Marty Metzger pulled away from her mother at a stalled parade to tightly wrap her arms around the leg of a mighty draft horse, it was irrefutable: she was horse-crazy (Marty prefers horse-sane). Her terrified mother looked on in dread until the wagon driver’s assistant pried the 2-year-old loose from the 2000-pound object of her affection. Marty sobbed like her world was ending.
It nearly did when, just three years later, her father died. Subsequently, money became as scarce as horse feathers… and horses even scarcer.
Now the closest she could get to her beloved animals were the occasional themed toy or library book— until she realized she could write and draw her own horse-filled stables! No limit to herd size, no zoning worries, no financial restrictions. Over subsequent decades, Marty bought many dozens of real horses that joined her paper ones. She paid their way by working at riding facilities where she boarded.
As things usually do, one led to another. Marty moved from Ohio to Colorado in 1982 with her beautiful Appaloosa mare, Darby, and Darby’s 3-month-old filly, Chelsea, in tow. Creative ways to supplement full-time jobs kept everyone eating. First published in 1967 in Horse Lovers magazine, she now sought out a rural or local publication.
The Fence Post newspaper was seeking freelance writers in 1987. Perfect! A few full-time newspaper positions followed, including with the Triangle Review and The Forum. Like a tree, Marty branched out to Business World Magazine, Style, and published a fiction feature story in Young Rider.
She’s written feature stories and served as a reporter for the North 40 News since shortly after its inception by founder JoAn Bjarko, and is excited to be part of the paper’s new direction.
Marty also still regularly contributes to the Fence Post, is fervently involved with horse rescue, and sells antiques and collectibles.
Award-winning author/illustrator/graphic designer, Gary Raham, has written science columns and designed ads for the North Forty News for over ten years. He’s watched Wellington grow from a town of 1,200—where everyone made U-turns on Cleveland Avenue—to a community of 8,500+ learning to play nice with three traffic lights. Raham helped raise two amazing daughters with his astounding wife, Sharon.
Author of 18 books of both science fact and science fiction and a former biology teacher, Raham loves getting people excited about science and nature. As an illustrator, he also enjoys creating images that tap into people’s sense of wonder.
Raham is a member of the Colorado Authors’ League, Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, the Guild of Natural Science Illustrators, and Science Fiction Writers of America. He volunteers actively with both the Poudre School District and the City of Fort Collins Master Naturalists’ program, introducing others to the local opportunities to explore nature and science.
Raham’s goal with the North Forty News is to create eye-catching ads for local businesses and to translate what’s happening in the world of science with accuracy—and just a dash of humor.
Ten years ago, lifelong naturalist and gardener Sally Roth completely uprooted her normal-person life and moved to a small, entirely off-grid cabin high in the foothills of north-central Larimer County, where she lives happily with her husband, Matt Bartmann. Plenty of seclusion, wild nature all around…and, yay, satellite wifi! She is thrilled to be writing for the North Forty News, which she’s read and loved ever since she moved to Colorado.
A plant nut/bird nut/moth nut/anything-outside nut, Sally is the author of The Backyard Bird Lover’s Bible, a New York Times bestseller, and more than 20 other books about birds, butterflies, hummingbirds, gardening, garden design and other topics near and dear to her heart.
Sally’s a contributing editor of Birds & Blooms and former contributing editor of Fine Gardening. She’s written for Organic Gardening, Country Living, Better Homes and Gardens, the Old Farmer’s Almanac, and many other magazines. She’s worked in every aspect of publishing, from writing code way back in the dinosaur days of COBOL to layout, design, page makeup, proofreading, editing and managing.
“Wanna see something cool?” is something Sally says a lot, because she just can’t resist sharing the fun of nature. She’s been a keynote speaker at Cornell University, the Marchand International Horticulture Conference, the University of Wisconsin, regional Master Gardener conferences, and many other symposiums; a guest on national TV and radio shows; and a consultant to HGTV, Hearst, Time Inc., Reader’s Digest, and American, British and Australian publishers.
When she’s not learning online (or, shhh, playing on Facebook), Sally watches birds for science and pleasure and gardens obsessively, despite the “help” of pocket gophers, chipmunks, ground squirrels, and the occasional moose. But then again, she also loves to complain.