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  • This article by Betsy Marston originally appeared in the Nov 29, 2012 issue of High Country News.
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Topic: Culture & Communities     Department: Heard Around the West     Comments: 0

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Western Colorado wingnuts?

News: Nov 29, 2012
by Betsy Marston

Nice rack

COLORADO: Hey, nice rack! Courtesy Dennis Slifer

NORTH DAKOTA

A woman named Donna recently called Fargo, N.D., radio station Y94 to air a problem so bizarre, the station's hosts were almost speechless. Her complaint? Deer-crossing signs placed along busy highways were "irresponsible" because they simply encouraged the animals to cross there, and that was why she'd smacked her car into deer not once, not twice, but three times. "You'd think they'd put deer-crossing signs at school crossings where it would be safer," she said indignantly. "Why place the signs on busy interstates?" When told the signs were warnings to motorists to drive carefully, Donna just couldn't accept it. The government could move signs wherever it wanted, she insisted, and it should stop erecting signs at dangerous places on roads where they "attracted" deer. It took several minutes before Donna -- reluctantly -- saw the light, though she never admitted that she believed deer could read.

COLORADO

How embarrassing for rural Delta County in western Colorado: A file containing the names of a couple of dozen "sovereign citizens" -- residents declaring themselves free of pesky taxes, laws or regulations by governmental authorities -- was labeled "Wingnuts" by one staffer. That title became public when a reporter for the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel wrote a front-page story about the anti-government folks, headlined "Watchdogs or Wingnuts?" A week later, red-faced county commissioners apologized.

MONTANA

The Rev. Rick Page, pastor of the First Christian Church in Lewistown, Mont., is convinced he's found a sure-fire way to lure men to Thursday night services during hunting season: Offer churchgoers the chance to enter a raffle to win a rifle or a crossbow. "I don't think there's too many places around the country where you could do something like this," he told the Missoulian. But it works, he says, pointing to Libby, Mont., which attracted 800 people last year with a similar emphasis on hunting. To help hunters feel at home in his church, Page says the auditorium and fellowship hall will be festooned with mounts, including deer heads, a full-sized bear, two mountain lions, bull elk, moose and some pheasants. Page also intends to hit a hunting theme hard in his sermons. He started with the Apostle Paul, he says, because "before his conversion, he hunted down Christians until God hunted him down." No mention of what kind of ammo the Lord might have used.

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