The Wayward West

  After five years of ambivalence, the Animal Damage Control unit has changed its name. The U.S. Department of Agriculture agency, whose main job is to kill or remove animals such as coyotes that prey on livestock, is returning to its 1948 handle, Wildlife Services. According to a spokesman, the name change reflects a shift in the agency's duties since its inception in 1931 as the Division of Predator and Rodent Control. These days, for example, the agency prevents birds from fouling up air traffic control ...


When Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan flew to a barbecue in Independence, Calif., to celebrate the long-term water agreement between Los Angeles and the Owens Valley, protesters greeted him with placards. One read, "L.A. Kids - Swimming Pools; Inyo Colony Kids - Lung Disease," pointing to the area's high rate of cancer and breathing disorders that have been linked to chemicals in dry and dusty Owens Lake. The Los Angeles Times reports that after chatting with the protesters, Riordan said, "I have never met more beautiful, wonderful people. This must be a great place to live." ...


In 1989, Jeff DeBonis, a Forest Service employee on Oregon's Willamette National Forest, started a renegade newsletter, Inner Voice. Its call for a greener Forest Service grew into the nonprofit Association of Forest Service Employees for Environmental Ethics. He then left AFSEEE to found the broader-based Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility. Now, DeBonis has resigned as PEER's executive director; program director and counsel Jeff Ruch has stepped into the job ...


The environmentalist-timber coalition backing grizzly reintroduction into Idaho's Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness has already split environmentalists (HCN, 5/13/96). Now an article in the People for the West newspaper suggesting that grizzly reintroduction can work if it is kept strictly in local hands has split the other side, including PFW. Despite the article by staffer Dave Skinner, the group is opposed to grizzly reintroduction under any terms.


A Phoenix, Ariz., public magnet school's uniform dress code demands students look traditional - but not too traditional. Zakkare Garrett, an Indian first-grader who wears his hair long in the custom of his culture, was told to cut it, braid it or find a new school. His do did not fit into the school's mandate that kids look "neat, like they did in the old days, as our parents and grandparents would say," says a Phoenix School District spokeswoman. Garrett is looking for a new school.


*Heather Abel