Canada geese may not enjoy reading, but one pair has definitely become territorial about the Harmony Library on the campus of Front Range Community College in Fort Collins, Colo. When library patrons try to enter or exit the main door, the 10-to-14-pound geese hiss and flap their wings -- an "intimidating" experience for little kids in strollers who find themselves at eye level with the angry birds, says the Coloradoan. Yet the migratory birds' bad behavior has been tolerated for some years and even become "something of an annual tradition" during the spring, so library staff merely post signs that warn: "Aggressive geese. Keep walking!" Of course, visitors occasionally break into a run when the geese get their dander up, and it's advisable to step carefully, since the geese leave sizable calling cards on the sidewalk. Still, as one unflappable visitor put it: "They're just acting like geese. I'm just amazed they pick this spot."
In Wyoming's southeast corner, the Niobrara Shale oil play is big business with energy companies combing the area hoping to snap up leases. But though the pressure is intense on local people to lease their mineral rights, not everybody succumbs. Leslie Waggener, an archivist with the University of Wyoming's American Heritage Center, has been collecting oral histories from residents to chart the progress of this latest energy development. One day, she met an "aginner" named Harry "Bud" Rogers, who says he turned down so much money he couldn't believe he'd done it, reports the Casper Star-Tribune. But Rogers said he'd "bought this property to pass on to my kids," and that was that. The oral history archive is available at http://digitalcollections.uwyo.edu:8180/luna/servlet/uwydbuwy~51~51.
Even billboard-hating drivers in the college town of Logan, Utah, probably don't get angry when they pass an unusual sign on the corner of 700 North and Main. Its giant message isn't selling anything but niceness: "BE KINDER THAN NECESSARY." A couple of years ago, the billboard appeared for the first time on Interstate 15 in the town of Tremonton, the gift of an anonymous donor suffering from a terminal illness. He wanted "to pass on an uplifting message to fellow citizens," reports the Herald Journal. Since then, the Headrick sign company, at the suggestion of salesman Mike Watts, has kept the message alive at new locations, all at company expense. n
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HCN in the outhouses of the West
From my Alaska trip: I flew into a small town that is not reachable by road, then hopped on a motorboat and drove across lakes and rivers for 2.5 hours to reach the scientists' camp way out in the boondocks -- out there they have a few rough cabins and a generator that makes electricity only in the evening and two outhouses -- and lo and behold, for reading material in the outhouses they have issues of the Economist magazines and HCN -- amazing to discover HCN readers way out there!
Ray Ring, HCN Senior Editor