Heard around the West
UTAH The Davis County
Library in Layton has a neurotically uptight patron,
reports the Salt Lake Tribune. The unknown
reader has been changing every "hell" and "damn" in certain mystery
novels to "heck" and "darn," doing the deed with a purple pen. So
far, only books based on the Murder, She Wrote
TV series have been bowdlerized, a class B misdemeanor in Utah.
Librarians are on the lookout for purple-stained fingers.
OREGON A lot of people in Portland
insist on buying organic food grown locally, so it was a
shock when Willamette Week revealed that
Tillamook’s organic "Oregon Coast Cheese" comes from farther
away — Wisconsin, to be precise, where a Tillamook subsidiary
is based. "Deceitful," commented one patron, though a company
spokeswoman had an explanation for the outsourcing. Oregon Coast
Cheese is a "slogan used for brand recognition, not to signify the
product’s origin," said Tillamook’s Christie Lincoln.
COLORADO Delta County
resident John "Bud" Castoe likes to talk tough about
"his" private property rights, and he sometimes threatens to use
firearms as a method of enforcing them. Despite an anti-junk
ordinance adopted by the county last year, Castoe insists
he’s still free to stock his 40 acres in western Colorado
with three decades’ worth of wrecked mobile homes, totaled
trucks and other debris. Flanked by a Libertarian Party member and
a Democrat running for county commissioner, Castoe recently told
the Delta County Independent that he’d
continue to resist any attempt to control what he does with his
land. There’s just one catch: Castoe doesn’t own the
property he talks of defending. In fact, his mother has twice tried
to evict him, reports the Grand Junction Daily
Sentinel. She wants Castoe to clean up his mess and move
to the undeveloped 20 acres behind her property that he does own.
Beer-makers must be thrilled by the free product
endorsement: A black bear ripped into campers’ coolers at the
Baker Lake Resort, selected 36 cans of Rainier Beer, and then
proceeded to down them all. The Associated Press says the bear
gouged open one can of Busch Beer with teeth and claws — but
only one: "He didn’t like that (Busch)," said wildlife
enforcement Sgt. Bill Heinck. The bear tried to sleep off its drunk
on the lawn of the resort; when chased, it climbed a tree and
passed out for another four hours. But Washington state wildlife
officers were ready for the bear when it returned the next day.
They lured it into a trap using "doughnuts, honey, and in this
case, two open cans of Rainier."
COLORADO Besides beer, bears have
hibernation on their minds, so they’re coming down
from the hills to plunder garbage cans and break into cabins and
cars containing food. Near Fairplay, southwest of Denver, the
"coffee creamer cubs" are back, damaging refrigerators and cabinets
in their hunt for the sweet white stuff. In Aspen, bears have
invaded the town because of a failed berry and acorn crop, reports
the Aspen Times. One homeowner said she felt
like a hostage in her own home, while the mayor of Aspen, Helen
Klanderud, admitted that she locks all doors and windows to keep
bears at bay. Because businesses in Aspen store garbage in steel
cans, they have a better chance of repelling bears. Home-owners are
more at risk because they are still allowed to use plastic
trashcans, which are easy as pie for bears to rip open.
MONTANA The gubernatorial campaigns
of both major political parties are paying homage to the
Second Amendment in the Big Sky state. Republican candidate Bob
Brown, secretary of state, said he has 16 firearms, two of them
antiques. "I grew up in gun culture. I’ve always owned guns,"
he boasted. Not to be outgunned, Democratic candidate Brian
Schweitzer, a farmer, told the Missoulian, "I
have more (guns) than I need and less than I want."
COLORADO In most news stories, it is
mining, development or some other human activity that
threatens prairie dog colonies. Not so in the Craig Daily
Press. The president of a gas company, Fred Julander,
says that anecdotal evidence shows that oil and gas development
have had a "neutral or beneficial impact on prairie dog
populations." So the Press headlined the story:
"Prairie dogs threaten gas development."
Marston is editor of Writers on the Range, a service of
High Country News in Paonia, Colorado. Tips of
Western oddities are always appreciated and often shared in the
column, Heard around the West.