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for people who care about the West

The Wayward West

  Albuquerque, N.M., Mayor Jim Baca, always outspoken, is hopping mad. President Clinton recently signed an emergency spending bill that included chopping 8 1/2 acres out of the city's Petroglyph National Monument. It's "dishonest and cheating," Baca told the Albuquerque Journal, "but that's life in Washington." The deleted acreage will go for a road extension to new homes; opponents, including Baca, say they still hope to stop the road.

When picking replacements for the board of the Central Utah Water Conservancy District, which oversees the $2 billion Central Utah Project, Utah Gov. Mike Leavitt passed over an environmentalist and a lawyer with "environmental leanings," writes the Salt Lake Tribune. Instead, the governor selected two real estate developers.

Two young men have died from hantavirus recently, the first fatalities since 1993, when more than a dozen people died during an outbreak of the airborne disease. The Cortez Sentinel reports the victims were a 17-year-old near Colorado Springs, Colo., and a 23-year-old man in the Four Corners area of New Mexico.

Rural residents in eastern Colorado say they're going to take their fight against gigantic hog farms to the state's voters. Calling themselves STENCH, which stands for Stop the Environmental Nuisance of Corporate Hogfarms, the group has begun gathering signatures to get pig-farm regulations on this November's statewide ballot.

Another thing to blame on El Niûo: Killer bees have made it from South America to Nevada, their farthest point north so far, says AP. The ill-tempered bees tend to attack in swarms and have been blamed for killing 1,000 people since 1956.

The nays have it: the U.S. Department of Agriculture will revamp its proposed standards for what constitutes organically grown food (HCN, 4/13/98). Some 200,000 people told the agency that its organic label was too permissive about allowing irradiation, sewage-sludge fertilizer and bioengineering.

* Betsy Marston