Contact Us

A new newspaper for Huerfano County

HUERFANO-The Huerfano Journal is a weekly newspaper published by Animas Del Oeste, LLC, and is owned by Brian and Gretchen Orr. Gretchen is a fifth-generation Huerfano, and her dad is Sig Sporleder. Her mom, Ruth Henry Sporleder, passed away in 1988. She grew up on her dad"s ranch along the Huerfano River, graduated from John Mall High School and went on to attend Dartmouth College, where she double-majored in Geography and Native American studies. She did a year of post-graduate work at the University of Waikato in New Zealand. She then worked for a national publishing company, first in Salt Lake City, and then their Boston office.

Brian grew up in Denver and attended Colorado State University, were he majored in graphic design. After graduation, he backpacked around the world for close to a year. Brian has been involved with newspapers ever since he started his first paper route when he was 13. He worked on his junior high school newspaper, his high school newspaper, his college paper, and for regional newspapers in southern Colorado and northern New Mexico. He draws a daily cartoon strip, 40 Acres and a Modem, which has been running in national newspapers since 1999. Yes it will be running in the Huerfano Journal as well- one of the perks of publishing your own newspaper is you get to put in your own stuff.

Gretchen and Brian married in 1990, and have four children- Ruth, Conor, Thomas and Liam. They are both civically involved; Gretchen is the co-director of El Fandango dance troupe and is a local Girl Scout troop leader, and Brian is a former Captain with the Huerfano County Fire Protection District, is a certified First Responder and is the Art Director for the Spanish Peaks International Celtic Music Festival.

The couple have been involved in publishing since 1992, when they took over publishing Spirit Magazine– an annual publication promoting Huerfano County and southeast Colorado. Over the next eight years, the magazine expanded to cover all of southern Colorado and northern New Mexico; and area artificially split by state borders. The main focus of Spirit was the unique beauty and culture of our area, detailing its history and attractions, for tourists and locals alike. The publication grew from 10,000 copies to 80,000 copies, and jumped from once a year to three times a year. As life grew more complex with the addition of more children, Brian and Gretchen closed down Spirit in 2000. It had become apparent that juggling diapers with travel across two states for ad sales was too much.

Brian went into journalism and free-lance graphic design, and Gretchen became the Office Manager for DATCO Insurance, and more recently the Gallery Manager for Tims Art Quilt Gallery and Studio in La Veta. They missed, however, working together, and being their own bosses. With the children all in school, the opportunity for going back into business together was too good to pass up. With their combined talents of design, management, publishing and reporting, and seeing the need for a well-run newspaper, starting the Huerfano Journal was a logical decision. "We see Huerfano County"s future is bright- limited only by how big it can dream," Gretchen said. "We want to be part of that future."