Heard Around the West
the Dubious Achievement category, let’s send the
2003 Biology Award to Texas A&M;’s vet school, which just
cloned a white-tailed deer with a rack measuring 230 points on the
Boone and Crockett scale. The lead researcher told the Houston
Chronicle that the trophy buck is a "conservation tool." The
bottle-fed deer, dubbed Dewey, joins a menagerie of copies at the
vet school, including a calico cat, pigs, cattle and a goat.
UTAH Then there’s the category
of Stupid People Tricks. The Hogle Zoo in Salt Lake City
features a display of objects that people have tossed into animal
enclosures, including knives, cigarettes, combs and bullets.
Zookeepers now can add the lethal, adult-size blue fleece glove
that killed Andy, the "vivacious" polar bear that ate it. The glove
lodged in the bear’s intestines, reports the Salt Lake
Tribune, causing death in a matter of hours. Andy was only 14,
middle-aged for polar bears, which can live to age 30. The
zoo’s only polar bear, he was a favorite of its 770,000
COLORADO Talk about
stretching the truth! In a Denver Post insert, Neumann
Homes boasts about the "sweeping mountain vistas" you can see from
its new homes outside Denver. Well, maybe if you’re an eagle
and it’s a very clear day. Coloradan Brad Snyder noticed that
the "panoramic view" on the flier is clearly of the Grand Teton
Range in northwestern Wyoming.
Workers at a potato chip plant in Salem, Ore.,
were feeding potatoes into a sorting machine designed to eliminate
anything unpotato, when a 3-pound bomb bounced out. Luckily, the
bomb, and a second bomb that followed it, were duds, reports
Capital Press. "They find them all the time" on the Pasco, Wash.,
farm that the potatoes came from — a former practice bombing
range. The potato sorters also found a cell phone once. Says a
plant manager: "If it’s a muddy day when they’re
harvesting, everything’s covered in mud."
UTAH All 2,000 residents of
Monticello, Utah, were honored last month when the city
council named everybody in town "Citizen of the Year." Facing
terrible drought, with no water reserves, the council severely
restricted water use last year. But townspeople came through,
reports the San Juan Record, cutting their water consumption in
half. Everybody found themselves honored at the annual Monticello
High School holiday music concert.
It’s hard to exaggerate how rural Wyoming
is, but The New York Times has managed to do it. In a
Dec. 14 story on natural gas drillers in Sublette County, reporter
Felicity Barringer wrote that the county "is so rural that it does
not have a single stop sign." Actually, the 4,882-square-mile
county has plenty of stop signs, just no stoplights.
UTAH Most of us automatically delete
e-mailed penis-enlargement offers from unknown spammers.
But reader Greg Woodall was fooled into opening one recently. Why?
It claimed to come from "The Bureau of Land Management."
WYOMING Wyoming Gov. Dave
Freudenthal, D, recently revealed a surprising amount of
humility for a public official. Chafing at the "gubernatorial cone"
that enveloped him in his office, Freudenthal started traveling the
state to talk to people who work for nonprofits and other groups.
"If they have a good idea," he told the Jackson Hole News &
Guide, "I take it in a heartbeat." He added, "The thing
that’s apparent, 11 months after the election, is I’m
no smarter than I was before, but I have a lot more problems."
COLORADO What do grizzly bears and
cows have in common? They really don’t like anyone
getting between them and their babies. A jogger who encountered a
protective cow on land leased by Boulder, Colo., last year, is now
suing the city for $25,000. Elaine Kingston told the Denver Post
she wasn’t aware mother cows were a problem — until one
locked eyes and then "head-butted" her, sending her airborne and
breaking her pelvis.
Betsy Marston is editor of Writers
on the Range, a service of High Country News in Paonia, Colo. Tips
of Western oddities are always appreciated and often shared in the
column, Heard around the West.