Heard around the West

  • SUBTLETY: Southeast of Dubois, Wyoming

    Mike McClure photo
  In the West, people sometimes find bears scrounging for food in the kitchen or cougars pacing the deck. In the East, a chubby house cat can spook the neighbors. Residents of Bensalem, Penn., became alarmed when they saw what they thought was a 50-pound wildcat or worse, a "mysterious monster," reports The Denver Post. Seven fearful homeowners called police, who then mounted a search for the furry predator, even sending digital photos of its paw prints to the Philadelphia Zoo for analysis. Then came the embarrassing denouement: Someone was opening a lot of cans of cat food. "It was basically a big, overgrown pussycat, about 20 pounds or so," said the town's deputy director of public safety.


A snowmobiling couple in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, won their case against a farmer who came upon them in his field and "just lost it," according to the judge. The way farmer Grant Scheideman came unglued was dramatic. He flattened the trespassing snowmobile with his 15-ton tractor and plow blade. "The farmer claimed it was driver's error prompted by a balky transmission," reports the Edmonton Journal. But the judge believed witnesses who heard Scheideman say, "Maybe I'll put it in the wrong gear," minutes before his tractor stomped the Ski-Doo. The snowmobilers said from now on, they'll stick to the mountains. Scheideman, fined $1,000, asked, "What can landowners do? This just proves that we have no rights."


Vigilantism was condemned recently by the Arizona Republic. The paper was reacting to an anonymous brochure that invited snowbirds to bring RVs, halogen spotlights and infrared scopes to take part in "Neighborhood Ranch Watch" on the Arizona border. While it is true that the number of undocumented Mexicans apprehended in Douglas, Ariz., alone has escalated to 22,000 a month, the paper said, any suggestion that this is a good time to "hunt immigrants' is wrong and not funny. "These aren't tears of laughter we're wearing on this issue," the paper editorialized.


Santa Fe New Mexican columnist Denise Kusel says she has a great idea for the Psychic Network, which hired 15 New York City welfare recipients for $10 an hour, plus bonuses, and also offered on-the-job training in tarot card reading. Since New York pulled the plug on placing its unemployed in the psychic industry, Kusel urges the network to come to Santa Fe instead. Not because residents have any particular aptitude for prophecy - it's the bigger paycheck. In Santa Fe, she says, some employers still pay their workers only $6.25 an hour, yet they have never figured out "why they can't hire dedicated people who might want to spend the rest of their life flipping burgers."


Wanna-be doctors at the University of Colorado Medical School take a final exam that's a hoot for professors but a strain for students. Actors play sick people while medical students have 20 minutes to make a diagnosis, and instructors get to watch it all unfold on television monitors. Bellicose "Nathan," for instance, comes in complaining that he's losing weight even though he eats up a storm. A second-year student then has to give him the news that he needs a rectal exam to rule out colon cancer, reports The Denver Post. "They use a kind of microscope with a camera," the student explains." What's a scope?" Nathan asks. "It's a wire that can take pictures," says the female student. "They're going to put some kind of wire in my butt?" The toughest part of the test for medical students may be keeping a straight face.


To the animal protection group, PETA, which stands for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, cowboys can be cruel, especially in rodeos where they ride horses and bulls that have been cinched to make them buck. So Virginia-based PETA sent a letter to Wyoming Gov. Jim Geringer recently, asking him to delete the image of a bucking bronco and rider from the state's license plates. The group said the logo should be "replaced with a symbol exhibiting a 21st century understanding of animals," reports The Denver Post. The copyrighted symbol, adopted more than 80 years ago, isn't riding off anywhere soon, said Wyoming officials.


Heard around the West invites readers to get involved in the column. Send any tidbits that merit sharing - small-town newspaper clips, personal anecdotes, relevant bumper sticker slogans. The definition remains loose. Heard, HCN, Box 1090, Paonia, CO 81428 or [email protected]

High Country News Classifieds
  • GRAND CANYON DIRECTOR
    The Grand Canyon director, with the Grand Canyon manager, conservation director, and other staff, envisions, prioritizes, and implements strategies for the Grand Canyon Trust's work...
  • ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT
    Great Old Broads for Wilderness seeks a part-time Administrative Assistant to support the organization's general operations. This includes phone and email communications, office correspondence and...
  • HISTORIC LODGE AND RESTAURANT - FULLY EQUIPPED
    Built in 1901, The Crazy Mountain Inn has 11 guest rooms in a town-center building on 7 city lots (.58 acres). The inn and restaurant...
  • ONE WILL: THREE WIVES
    by Edith Tarbescu. "One Will: Three Wives" is packed with a large array of interesting suspects, all of whom could be a murderer ... a...
  • PROGRAM DIRECTOR, SALAZAR CENTER FOR NORTH AMERICAN CONSERVATION
    The Program Director will oversee the programmatic initiatives of The Salazar Center, working closely with the Center's Director and staff to engage the world's leading...
  • WILDEARTH GUARDIANS - WILD PLACES PROGRAM DIRECTOR
    Salary Range: $70,000-$80,000. Location: Denver, CO, Portland, OR, Seattle, WA, Missoula, MT or potentially elsewhere for the right person. Application Review: on a rolling basis....
  • RIVER EDUCATOR/GUIDE + TRIP LEADER
    Position Description: Full-time seasonal positions (mid-March through October) Organizational Background: Colorado Canyons Association (CCA) is a 10 year old nonprofit organization fostering community stewardship of...
  • BOOKKEEPER/ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT
    Position Description: Part-time, year-round bookkeeping and administration position (12 - 16 hours/week) $16 - $18/hour DOE Organizational Background: Colorado Canyons Association (CCA) is a 10...
  • LAND STEWARD
    San Isabel Land Protection Trust seeks a full-time Land Steward to manage and oversee its conservation easement monitoring and stewardship program for 42,437 acres in...
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    Ventana Wilderness Alliance is seeking an experienced forward-facing public land conservation leader to serve as its Executive Director. The mission of the Ventana Wilderness Alliance...
  • COMMUNICATIONS AND DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR
    The Quivira Coalition (www.quiviracoaltion.org) is a Santa Fe-based nonprofit that builds resilience on arid working lands. We foster ecological, economic, and social health through education,...
  • GRANT WRITER
    "We all love this place we call Montana. We believe that land and water and air are not ours to despoil, but ours to steward...
  • DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR
    The Development Director is responsible for organizing and launching a coherent set of development activities to build support for the Natural History Institute's programs and...
  • WILDLIFE PROJECT COORDINATOR
    Founded in 1936, the National Wildlife Federation (NWF or Federation) is America's largest and most trusted grassroots conservation organization with 53 state/territorial affiliates and more...
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    The Cinnabar Foundation helps protect and conserve water, wildlife and wild lands in Montana and the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem by supporting organizations and people who...
  • TRUSTEE AND PHILANTHROPY RELATIONS MANGER,
    Come experience Work You Can Believe In! The Nature Conservancy in Alaska is seeking a Trustee and Philanthropy Relations Manager. This position is critical to...
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR AT FRIENDS OF CEDAR MESA
    -The Land, History, and People of the Bears Ears Region- The Bears Ears and Cedar Mesa region is one of the most beautiful, complex, diverse,...
  • CONSERVATION SPECIALIST
    Position will remain open until January 31, 2021 Join Our Team! The New Mexico Land Conservancy (NMLC) is a non-profit land trust organization dedicated to...
  • OLIVERBRANCH CONSULTING
    Non-Profit Management Professional specializing in Transitional Leadership, Strategic Collaborations, Communications and Grant Management/Writing.
  • GREAT VIEWS, SMALL FOOTPRINT
    Close to town but with a secluded feel, this eco-friendly home includes solar panels, a graywater reuse system, tankless hot water, solar tubes, and rainwater...