Going with the flow
things are hopping. A cold snap wiped out up to half the fruit
crop, and police say a "little old lady" mistook where the reverse
gear was and plowed into the Paonia Post Office, demolishing three
newspaper stands and a concrete wall. Both events were not novel.
Fruitgrowers have always confessed their occupation is a lot like
gambling, and postal workers here have been run-up on twice before.
At least this time the plate-glass window held. The good news is
the inexorable march of spring, witnessed by snowmelt filling up
and flowing through irrigation ditches. On the face of the town's
closest mountain, 11,000-foot Mount Lamborn, the line of white
recedes daily, except when a cold front drops off new snow
overnight. But the dusting doesn't stick; these days its pull is
downward, toward rivers.
Board and staff of High Country News will join for one of our
thrice-yearly meetings Saturday, May 18, in Grand Junction, Colo.
Readers in the area are invited to a potluck dinner, beginning at
6:30 p.m., which also includes the board and staff of the Colorado
Environmental Coalition. We hope interested readers will join us
all at the newly renovated White Hall, 600 White Ave., across from
City Hall. It's a former church, and it's also hosting a chamber
music gathering that weekend. Please bring a dish to share; we'll
provide everything else - except speeches.
A Hotline April 29 mistakenly
identified dams set for demolition on the Elwha River in Washington
as built by the Bureau of Reclamation. Readers Ann Root and Tim
Randle point out that the dams were privately constructed (69 and
82 years ago) to supply power to paper mills in Port Angeles; they
are currently owned by the Daishowa/James River
Words from the
"Artistic geezer" and
cowboy poet Cactus Chris Buethe of Las Cruces, N.M., tells us he
was so inspired, or depressed, by our story about gambling's effect
on Deadwood, S.D., that he composed a poem, "The Deadwood Cowboys."
The last part goes like this:
"Ain't real cowboys that you
see there by the gamblin's queen,
fellers smellin" sweet and wearin" creased blue
No miners, "pokes, or ranchers or common
with these new rich and famous who
want "Deadwood Resort."
The city's change to be
like Las Vegas makes me sore,
Why can't I find a
cowboy in Deadwood any more?"
cowboys, three poets who celebrate ranching, farming and other
forms of hard physical work dropped in to tell us about the Grand
Junction Cowboy Poetry Gathering, which drew close to 2,000 people
April 19-20. Ronna Lee Sharpe, who helped organize the event for
the Museum of Western Colorado, her husband, Tom, and friend Ray
Lashley said essayist and poet Vess Quinlan was one of the
standouts. Vess, a former truck driver who is back on the ranch in
San Acacio, Colo., likes to tell the story of his rocky debut as a
writer. A writing teacher told him: "This stuff is not as bad as it
ought to be nor as good as it could be."
Osborn isn't a cowboy exactly; he's a doctor in Spokane, Wash., an
environmentalist and co-author of a book, Railroads and Clearcuts,
that documents the transfer of railroad grants intended for
homesteaders to corporations. When that book was published a year
ago, Osborn stood in front of the Frederick Weyerhaeuser mansion in
St. Paul, Minn., to call attention toWeyerhaeuser's role in the
clearcutting of the Northwest's forests.
April 16, Osborn got more personal. In Washington, D.C., he bearded
the nine directors of the Weyerhaeuser Corp. at their annual
shareholders' meeting. He told them that by clearcutting their
corporate holdings so heavily they were in part responsibile for
the controversial "salvage logging" rider affecting public land.
Then he handed each director a copy of his book and introduced a
resolution requiring the election of directors each year - six
directors serve three-year terms now. Osborn, perhaps resembling
the lone cowboy facing a street full of better-armed opponents,
lost. But not by much. The vote of shareholders was 62 million
shares in favor, 82 million opposed.
from Idaho reporter Rocky Barker that some word-packing Western
residents have formed a group to "gently nudge the West, which they
love, from a past of reckless land use, federal dependency and
warring interests, toward a future of environmental responsibility,
ecumenical self-governance and good neighbors." A tall order, but
the group, Writers on the Range, includes Barker, Karl Hess, Linda
Hasselstrom, Ed Quillen, Dave Foreman, Tom Wolf, Randal O'Toole,
Bill Reibsame, Steve Bodio, Judy Blunt, Drum Hadley, John Baden,
Penelope Reedy, Philip Brick, Christina Nealson, Don Snow, Mary
Chapman, Gus DiZerega, Maria Varela, Dan Whipple and Ed Marston.
One book is due to emerge from the group, another is expected next
year and a syndicate, Range News Service, is under way. For more
information write Writers on the Range, P.O. Box 2014, Idaho Falls,
ID 83403 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Odds and ends
We won't write
someone smoked a "fragrant Havana," hewed to "dame fashion," or
died when "a bullet crashed through his brain." We won't use these
terms because we now possess Grant Milnor Hyde's Handbook for
Newspaper Workers, and the textbook tells us to avoid these
clichés, well, like the plague. We thank Jane Baxter, a reader
in San Anselmo, Calif., for sending HCN this 1926 text, used by her
father at the University of California.
thank reader Bob Stevens for sending us the Helena phone
Wildflowers, bats and butterflies all
fascinate Kent Woodruff and others involved in the Methow
Biodiversity Project. The group has just published the first
edition of The Methow Naturalist, an 8-page newsletter in Winthrop,
Wash. It's an all-volunteer effort, and Kent welcomes personal
accounts of wildlife observations, art, poetry and news of events
in the Methow Valley. Write The Methow Naturalist, Box 175,
Winthrop, WA 98862.
" Betsy Marston,
for the staff