Heard around the West

 

Two Wyomingites are trying to set the record straight about "real" cowboy attire. Studying old photos, mail-order catalogs and interviewing relatives of early range-riders, Tom Lindmier and Steve Mount conclude that the big-hatted denim look popularized by Hollywood is all wet. Their book, I See By Your Outfit, says that 19th century cowboys were more likely to sport hippie-length hair, corduroy hunting caps and pink underwear. Union suits, worn to cut the chill on the High Plains, were available in assorted colors, including pink, reports the Denver Post. The idea for the book was sparked 12 years ago, when Lindmier and Mount presented their research at a museum in Los Angeles. A dozen costumed enthusiasts in attendance were so horrified that they walked out.

Where can you be really, really alone - far from traffic, chain stores and annoying people on cell phones? There is one place in the Lower 48 states, says Cartographic Technologies in Vermont, and that place is the Thorofare Ranger Station in the southeast corner of Yellowstone National Park. Ranger Lloyd Kortge says it's a 32-mile ride by horseback for him to go to work, but once there, close to Wyoming's Teton Wilderness, what he sees are "meadows and a big, wide valley," reports Associated Press. The second-most remote spot? The Bob Marshall Wilderness in Montana, 18 miles from a road.

"In my estimation," says a junior high principal in Centerville, Utah, "putting a gun in a student's hand would not be appropriate." But for years, local seventh-graders have gotten real guns - though loaded with blanks - which town policemen allow them to shoot at a video enactment of a crime taking place. The police-supervised course is called "Shoot, Don't Shoot" and the point is to teach kids responsible gun behavior, reports the Deseret News. For some reason, few had been aware of the course; now, people are up in arms. The head of the education association says she thinks having children handle guns in school is "wildly inappropriate" and "makes me sick to my stomach." What surprised principal Jane Muna was that the school didn't even see the parental permission letters. They were handled by the Centerville Police Department. A school district official says, "I think our plan is to revisit those lessons, especially since we say we don't allow guns in schools."

A company created to prove New Jersey academics wrong turned out to be sadly wrong itself. Buffalo Commons Corp. is no more in Mott, N.D., pop. 900. Two lawyers in town named their manufacturing company ironically, hoping to challenge professors Frank and Deborah Popper, who predicted that the region's depopulation would mean a return of the bison that once commanded the plains. "Someday," promised attorney David Crane in 1996, "we hope to bring Mr. Popper out here to check out the Buffalo Commons situation and see our progress." A local banker said there had been progress of a sort: Up to eight workers were employed making road-repair equipment. But sales failed to keep up with expenses, reports Associated Press.

For Margaret Dotson of Eugene, Ore., driving along at midnight, the shock was seeing two mountain lions racing across Interstate 5 in front of her. Dotson missed the first cougar, reports the Register-Guard, but hit the second, a 110-pound male, which later had to be killed. Seeing lions and black bears in unexpected places this summer has become common as dry weather drives animals into human territory in search of food. Then there's the curious report from Adams, Mass., about the black bear sitting in Margaret Lowry's garden. A police car's siren didn't budge it, and even a noisemaker that sounded like a firecracker failed. "Finally," reports Associated Press, "an officer gave the bear a poke with a long prod." That's when they discovered the four-foot bear was stuffed.

It's not easy having it all: "Do you often feel embarrassed, guilty or ashamed of your wealth?" asks the Idaho Mountain Express. If the answer is yes, then Myra Salzer, a counselor specializing in "wealth angst," may be the expert for you. "Poor people can take risks and have nothing to lose," Salzer believes, "whereas someone who has inherited $10 million tries not to screw up what's given to them." While her assumptions seem debatable, Salzer says she always tries to teach two lessons to the suddenly rich: How to answer the question, "What do you do for a living?" and how to avoid feeling obligated to help worthy causes. What's really hard for the new inheritor, Salzer says, is realizing that people usually relate better to their money than to them.

The grasshopper was only doing what comes naturally - hopping through the grass in Coulee City, Wash. But when it bounded onto an electric fence, reports Associated Press, it became a "flaming grasshopper," and the blaze it ignited burned 3,500 acres before firefighters could stop it.

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
  • MEMBERSHIP DIRECTOR
    Job Announcement: Membership Director Job Title: Membership Director Supervisor: Executive Director Classification: Full-time exempt Location: Boise, ID Job Overview Winter Wildlands Alliance is seeking a...
  • IMPROVED LOT
    Private road, hillside, views. Well, pad, septic, 99 sq.ft. hut. Dryland permaculture orchard. Wildlife. San Diego--long growing season
  • STEWARDSHIP SPECIALIST
    San Isabel Land Protection Trust seeks experienced person to manage its 133 conservation easements in south-central Colorado.
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    Executive Director Position Announcement POSITION TITLE: Executive Director ORGANIZATION: Friends of Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument REPORTING TO: Board of Directors LOCATION: Ashland, OR POSTING CLOSES: March...
  • ARIZONA CONSERVATION CORPS PROGRAM DIRECTOR
    Arizona Conservation Corps is seeking a Program Director in Flagstaff or Tucson
  • UNIQUE INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITY
    Profitable off-the-grid business located 2 miles from Glacier National Park. Owner has 6 years operating experience. Seeking investor or partner for business expansion and enhancement....
  • NEW MEXICO PROPERTY - SILVER CITY
    20 acres, $80,000. Owner financing, well, driveway, fencing possible, very private, sensible covenants, broker owned. Contact - 575-534-7955 or [email protected]
  • 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...
  • COMMUNICATIONS COORDINATOR
    ABOUT US: "This thriving citizens organization exemplifies the ideal of public involvement in public processes." - Billings Gazette At Northern Plains, we believe that true...
  • ST. LAWRENCE UNIVERSITY - ASSISTANT DIRECTOR IN THE OUTDOOR PROGRAM
    To view the complete position description please visit: http://employment.stlawu.edu. St. Lawrence University is an Equal Opportunity Employer.
  • TRAIL CREW & ASSISTANT TRAIL CREW LEADERS
    SEEKING TALENTED TRAIL WORK LEADERS The Pacific Crest Trail Association, headquartered in Sacramento, California is dedicated to protecting, preserving and promoting the Pacific Crest National...
  • SEASONAL SAN JUAN RANGERS
    Seeking experienced crew members to patrol Colorado's most iconic mountain wilderness.
  • REMOTE SITKA ALASKA FLOAT HOUSE VACATION RENTAL
    Vacation rental located in calm protected waters 8 miles from Sitka, AK via boat with opportunities to fish and view wildlife. Skiff rental also available.
  • DEVELOPMENT AND ADVOCACY DIRECTOR
    Provide stewardship and protection for the Great Burn wildlands along the Montana-Idaho stateline. This position is based in Missoula, MT, where a river runs through...
  • LISA MACKEY PHOTOGRAPHY
    Fine Art Gicle Printing. Photo papers, fine art papers, canvas. Widths up to 44". Art printing by an artist.
  • WILDERNESS CONSERVATION CORPS - OREGON
    The Siskiyou Mountain Club is hiring interns for the 2020 Field Season. Interns utilize non-mechanized tools to complete trail restoration and maintenance while gaining job...
  • EXPERT LAND STEWART
    Available for site conservator, property manager. View resume at http://skills.ojadigital.net.
  • CONSERVATIONIST? IRRIGABLE LAND?
    Stellar seed-saving NGO is available to serious partner. Package must include financial support. Details: http://seeds.ojaidigital.net.
  • CANYONLANDS FIELD INSTITUTE
    Colorado Plateau Natural & Human History Field Seminars. Lodge, river, hiking options. Small groups, guest experts.
  • WESTERN NATIVE SEED
    Specializing in native seeds and seed mixes for western states.