Heard around the West

  • CAFFEINE FIX: Sign at the edge of Monticello, Utah

    Stephen Trimble

The Seattle-Post Intelligencer tries to be conscientious during election season, interviewing by its count more than 100 candidates. Perhaps surreptitiously, the staff of the daily also write down the silliest comments from would-be public servants. Among the paper's top 10:

  • I was born into leadership - period.
  • Give the Indians Food Stamps to buy salmon.
  • I have fairly oily skin; my glasses slip down on my nose.
  • Mountain people love freedom more than people on this side of the state.
  • There's nothing dumber in the world than a 16-year-old boy.

"And the most on-point comment," says editor Kimberly Mills,

  • Have I answered your question? I have a tendency to talk around things.

Here's the scoop on economic differences between people who claim to be either Republicans or Democrats. A media Metrix survey of Web users followed the clicks of Republican voters and found they went right to brokerage houses or financial sites. Democrats, on the other hand, "tended to flock to places where they could get free stuff."

In Portland, Ore., Sunshine Dairy Foods tries to do the right thing by cows and the environment, taking milk only from farmers who eschew hormones and don't let their animals walk in creeks. This isn't enough for the Animal Liberation Front, which recently sabotaged the company's refrigerated trucks, doing an estimated $3,000 damage, reports the Oregonian. The dairy's owners were nonplussed: "We are the smallest dairy in Portland," complained co-owner Sam Karamanos. "We're the guys who are introducing sustainable milk. We're like the environmentally responsible dairy, and they hit us. So you tell me why these guys hit us." An answer of sorts came from ALF spokesman David Barbrash, who lives in British Columbia: "Forcing cows to give milk is animal cruelty," he said. "The goal of the ALF is not reform, not welfare, but complete abolition of animal abuse." The FBI lists the front as a domestic terrorist group.

Short takes:

  • Outside of Golden, Colo., where Coors beer is brewed, a wrong switch was flipped, Associated Press reports, sending 77,500 gallons of beer into a creek. Thousands of fish promptly dropped dead.
  • A bumper sticker just outside Boulder, Colo., was spotted by reader Walter Williams; it read: "You are all sheep." That reminded us of the jaded election observation: "Every four years the sheep pick a new shepherd."
  • The Nevada Appeal added a day to every paid subscription because it made a mistake in an issue. The mistake was "publishing an incorrect mug shot," which might seem minor, indeed. But publisher Jeff Ackerman seems to have become fed up: He confessed it was at least the third time his Carson City daily had made that same mistake.
  • The Minnesota Wild, a new hockey expansion team, found that it couldn't market jerseys with its name on the front because the word "wild" was taken. The Canadian Wildlife Federation had trademarked the word, reports the Wall Street Journal. The wildlife group said it might relent if the hockey team agrees to some joint promotion.
  • In Aspen, a typical real estate week isn't your five and 10-cent deal. Browsing through real estate transactions in the Aspen Times we found July 27-Aug. 2 not unusual; it included the sale of a lot in a subdivision called Preserve for $6.4 million, the sale of two lots in town for $2.35 million, and a couple of dozen other sales for a grand total of $41 million changing hands - in just one week.
  • If you're a green activist and like ice cream, you'll love flavors at the nonprofit Restoration Creamery in Moab, Utah. Mountainfreak says sales of Abbey's Rocky Road and Brower's Bear Claw go toward ripping down Glen Canyon Dam, the goal of the nonprofit Glen Canyon Action Network.
  • And in Sitka, Alaska, you can rent a "two bedroom island home" for just $800 a month, but you'd better come prepared: "Must provide own skiff," says the weekly Sitka Soup.

State wildlife agencies have used deer and elk decoys for years, luring hunters who should know better to plug away at night or from their truck, and then wonder why the animal never falls over dead. It's a great way to teach a lesson, biologists say, even if some hunters cry entrapment. Now, a grizzly bear decoy with a movable head may save the lives of grizzly bears in western Montana, reports AP, where five of the federally protected animals were killed this year. The realistic fake was given to the state by a Missoula conservation group, Brown Bear Resources Inc., in hopes it will help nail poachers and also teach trigger-happy hunters that a grizzly is not the same as a black bear.

Somebody tried to kill another federally protected animal - a gray wolf - near Polebridge, Mont., and the bullet connected, though not with the animal. Biologists checking the four-year-old female found that her radio collar had a bullet hole in its transmitter, reports Associated Press. "I'm not sure it was somebody aiming for the little black box, or a bad shot, or a lucky wolf," said Ed Bangs, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's wolf recovery coordinator.

Wolves near Dubois, Wyo., have been knocking off family dogs recently, so the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is trying something new rather than death or a new address for the animals. The agency has given rancher Jon Robinett bean bags. The beans, though, are BBs; wrapped in the bag, and fired from a 12-gauge shotgun, they should sting a wolf but not penetrate its skin. "It's intended to be a real nasty experience - painful - to do something other than make noise," says the agency's Mike Jimenez. Robinett is the first person to receive a federal permit to shoot wolves with bean bags.

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