Movies about Nevada's casino life always seem to revolve around gangsters, call girls and stool pigeons. In a shocking reversal of that trend, pigeon stools brought down the marquee of the Golden Spike Casino in Carson City this month.
"We are concerned about it,"
casino co-owner Jim Bawden told the Reno Gazette-Journal in an
article sent in by helpful reader Patrick Williams. A crushing load
of pigeon droppings caused part of the casino's marquee to collapse
onto a heavily traveled sidewalk. No one was hurt, and workers plan
to shore up other parts of the marquee bowing under the weight of
what the Journal described as "years of pigeon poop."
Bawden and co-owner John Serpa optimistically
continue to search for new tenants for the building, which has
stood empty for 11 years and is considered by many one of Carson
City's worst eyesores.
open to any suggestions," said Bawden.
Also standing empty, for the first time writer
Jim Stiles can remember, was Arches National Park in Utah. Back
when he was a ranger, Stiles fantasized about finding true solitude
there. In November he realized his long-time dream, thanks to the
shutdown of the federal government. Stiles crossed a barricade to
enter the park's 70,000 forbidden acres. Then he romped past the
Devil's Kitchen, took a nap on the empty highway near Balanced
Rock, photographed himself in front of a "road closed" sign, and
generally tried to get arrested. But nothing happened. "I couldn't
find a ranger anywhere," he wrote in the Canyon Country Zephyr. "In
fact, I concluded it's almost as hard to find a ranger when the
park is closed as it is when the park is open."
What Arches lacked in park rangers, the
surrounding county made up for with game wardens - or people
claiming to be game wardens. Grand County Councilman John Maynard
recently pleaded guilty to impersonating a warden during the fall
archery hunt. The eagle-eyed councilman scolded three hunters
sitting in a pickup truck with their arrows out of their quivers.
From his perch in a nearby tree, he informed them what they were
doing was illegal and told them he was a game warden. Suspicious,
they drove up the road to a truck they thought was Maynard's and
looked back to see the councilman "sneaking around on his belly."
Maynard later told the Salt Lake Tribune that he had no intention
of deceiving the men. "I was just upset."
In another masquerade, the newly Republican
Colorado Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell lashed out at a "vile,
sophomoric and sexist" attack on him during a Democratic dinner in
La Plata County. To the delight of the assembled Democrats, a
female impersonator in a Harley Davidson cap mocked the
party-switching, motorcycle-riding senator, proclaiming, "I am
having an identity crisis."
senator fumed that the "gross personification of me, "proudly
displaying false breasts' as the Durango Herald reported, is
horribly crude and demeaning to women."
Jennifer Kessner of Crested Butte, a Democrat, questions Campbell's
feminist credentials. In a letter to the Herald, she described an
event held at the annual Ironhorse Motorcycle Rally, which the
senator sponsors. The event, called the "weenie pull," involves hot
dogs, motorcycles and women. We'll leave the details to our
your imaginations warm? Then you may be able to conceive of Idaho's
militia movement cozying up to state legislators to talk politics,
give money, and perhaps discuss the relative merits of cowboy boots
and jackboots. Samuel Sherman and friends want to form a Political
Action Committee. This is the same Samuel Sherman who was quoted in
the Boise Weekly as saying, "Go up and look legislators in the
face, because someday you may have to blow it off." Some
legislators are understandably lukewarm at the prospect of getting
together over coffee, or anything, for a chat.
In other news from Idaho, Republican Rep. Helen
Chenoweth blasted grizzly bear reintroduction in a column in the
Washington Times. Chenoweth, always good for a fresh viewpoint on
ecology, wrote that reintroduction might bar people from 5,500
square miles in Idaho and
"To minimize conflict
between man and the grizzly, vehicle travel, camping, hiking,
hunting, fishing or any other kind of human activity will likely be
restricted, if not eliminated," she wrote.
Koch of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service demurred. "That is
completely false," he told the Idaho Statesman. "All you need to
recover grizzly bears is not to kill them."
In an apparent attempt to minimize conflict
between man and the cow, a herd of seven Herefords from Alberta
lumbered away from a Canadian customs checkpoint into the
hinterlands of northern Idaho last summer. Frustrated, their owner
gave up the search in November, declaring open season on the
renegades. The efforts of local hunters to bag a bovine were
equally fruitless. It took a pair of visiting New Yorkers who were
hunting deer to find six of the cattle on Harvey Mountain, north of
believe what we were seeing," Greg Niewieroski of Watertown, NY,
told the Spokane Spokesman-Review. "We looked at each other and
said, "Holy cow!" "
Then they each dropped a
1,500-pound cow, New York style - with a shot to the
The thought of large
moving objects disappearing into thin air naturally leads us to
Denver International Airport. This month's tragicomic episode
highlights traffic control.
"You've never lived until
you've got 10 or 15 airplanes pointed at each other at 400 miles
per hour, and the screen goes blank," Michael Coulter, president of
the Denver chapter of the air traffic controllers union, told The
Denver Post. Radar systems at the new airport broke down on 135 out
of 181 possible days, according to tower logs obtained by the Post.
Among the failures: Airplanes taxiing on the ground disappeared
from sight, while weather tracking screens sounded alarms that
couldn't be shut off or flashed a big red X that obscured all other
information. Perhaps the four Herefords, thought to be at large in
Idaho, are actually somewhere on DIA's runways, being mistaken for
Lisa Jones and Diane Sylvain
Heard around the West invites readers to get involved in the
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