drought has gotten so serious that some golf courses are replacing
grass with crushed rock. But course managers aren’t ripping
out their turf without casting verbal stones at homeowners, who use
65 percent of the area’s water, spraying three-quarters of it
outdoors, according to The Associated Press. Golf courses are just
the "visible offenders," protests Stan Spraul, a director of the
Nevada Golf Course Owners Association. "It’s a very easy
target to say, ‘Hey, look at that big ol’ green thing
there.’ " Meanwhile, Lake Mead, the source of southern
Nevada’s drinking water, has dropped 60 feet to its lowest
level since 1972. But officials say water shortages won’t
halt development of booming Las Vegas.
Forget grass and gravel for
greens; why not hit those little white balls on artificial turf?
Golfers can try out the fake fairways later this summer at
what’s said to be the world’s first artificial-grass
course at Echo Basin Guest Ranch in Mancos, in southern Colorado.
The Mancos Times reports that the 18-hole course needs no
fertilizers, herbicide or other polluting chemicals that can run
off into streams. It’s also fire-retardant, won’t
appeal to hungry deer or pooping Canada geese, and best of all, the
faux fairways will never require watering or mowing.
is happening in Wyoming, and that may be a good thing, according to
a travel consultant from Texas. In Casper, Peter Tarlow told
Wyoming’s annual Governor’s Hospitality and Tourism
Rendezvous that in these insecure times, rural Wyoming could make
itself a Western "Shangri-La." His advice seems to make sense: Sell
what makes you different. Rachel, Nev., for instance, has become a
destination for tourists by marketing itself as "the Capitol of
Nothing." Tarlow said Wyoming could invite urban people who never
see the stars to come and look at the Milky Way. "What is normal to
you could be fantastically interesting to someone else," he said.
industry is becoming obsolete on icy mountain roads in the Sierra
Nevada. "Chain monkeys" — about 400 of them, mostly
construction workers and loggers — would spend hours
"shivering along the sides of the state’s snowiest roads,"
poised to help travelers wrap their tires with chains to help gain
traction, reports the Los Angeles Times. The job came with hazards
like frostbite and the tendency for drivers to run over chainers.
These days, SUVs and 4-wheel drive cars don’t require chains,
and the state has begun to plow more mountain roads. "We’re a
dying breed," mourns Chris Lotito. "I’m really the last of
the mountain men."
Panhandlers will need a license to operate on street
corners in Salt Lake City, if officials there have their way. But
this begs the question: If panhandling is a profession, what
standards should apply to its practitioners? Laurie J. Wilson, a
columnist for the Salt Lake Tribune, points out that teachers have
to get a certificate before they can teach. That might make sense
for panhandlers, too: "Certainly, they are in the same income
bracket as Utah’s teachers."
Enraged after hearing a
speech by President Bush, Jody Mason chained himself to a
government building in Olympia, Wash. Unfortunately, he attached
himself to the wrong door. Instead of the federal Department of
Energy, Mason padlocked himself to the door of the Washington State
Grange, a nonprofit advocacy group for rural residents, reports the
individualism lives on in The Big Sky state. Defying Gov. Judy
Martz, the state Legislature defeated a bill that would have banned
drinking while driving. Bill Muhs, a leader of the state’s
Mothers Against Drunk Driving chapter, told the Los Angeles Times
it was a cultural thing. "There’s still people here who
measure distances in six-packs," he says. Bozeman to Billings, for
instance, is a six-pack trip, while "crossing the state would be a
whole case." One result: According to the LA Times, the state is
second only to Mississippi for alcohol-related traffic deaths.