Heard around the West

 

CALIFORNIA

If Arnold Schwarzenegger has his way, gas-powered cars will be terminated in 10-15 years. The media-savvy governor recently drove a hydrogen-powered Toyota to a press conference in Davis, where he championed hydrogen as a replacement for gasoline, reports the San Francisco Chronicle. Schwarzenegger, who has played an unstoppable robot from the future, predicted the building of as many as 200 hydrogen-fueling stations — costing a half-million dollars each — along California freeways. Hydrogen is used to power a fuel cell that makes electricity. But there’s a catch: It takes energy to produce hydrogen. Schwarzenegger is putting some money where his mouth is: Sierra magazine says he’ll spend $35,000 to convert one of his five, gas-guzzling Hummers to run on hydrogen. That’s unlikely, reports The Associated Press. David Caldwell, a spokesman for the Hummer division of General Motors Corp., says, "We would never do a Hummer on any energy source that would not perform like a Hummer is supposed to perform."

THE WEST

Political correctness can sometimes get out of hand. The Tucson Weekly reports that a perfect example occurred at The Los Angeles Times, when a reviewer described a 19th century opera by Richard Strauss as "pro-life." The reviewer meant that it celebrated and affirmed life. An over-zealous editor followed the newspaper stylebook’s recommendation, and changed "pro-life" to "anti-abortion," giving the opera a whole new theme.

COLORADO

Dog walkers in Telluride, a high-altitude resort town, have been advised to get a leash and hang on tight. In April, coyotes attacked an 80-pound dog that wandered away from its owner and into a wetlands. The dog emerged with "a three-to-four-inch gash on its side and several puncture wounds," reports The Telluride Watch.

COLORADO

Does height matter? Sen. Doug Lamborn, a Republican from Colorado Springs, wants to change 14,148-foot-tall Mount Democrat — named over a century ago — to Republican Mountain, renaming the current Republican Mountain — a mere 12,386-footer — Mount Democrat. "I think it’s appropriate that the higher mountain be named for the Republicans," he says. Senate Democratic leader Joan Fitz-Gerald says she won’t ask the U.S. Board on Geographic Names to make a switch: "We’re not going to give any ground," she told the Rocky Mountain News.

NEW MEXICO

Republican Sen. Pete Domenici was shocked that salespeople didn’t realize that a thief had been using his credit card to buy hundreds of dollars' worth of clothes and groceries. "Geez," he complained to a business group, "you thought everyone knew me." New Mexico’s senior senator lost his identity after he lost his wallet, reports the Albuquerque Journal.