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Know the West

Heard around the West


Boing, boing, boing ... Ridgway, Colo., sculptor Clifton Barr looked up from work in his metal and wood studio and saw a large, antlered deer "jumping like a bucking horse" in the neighbor's yard, reports the Ouray County Plaindealer. Barr did a double take and took off his glasses just to make sure, but when he walked outside the deer was still bouncing. On a trampoline. "He gave me one look and with a leap" - this one off the trampoline - "he was off and running."

Dogs often make the lives of mail carriers difficult, but if you're walking the streets of Newton, Calif., watch out for the wild turkeys. A 30-pound bird seems to have declared war on mailman Tim Hoban, according to the Los Angeles Times. "He sees me," Hoban says, "hunches up his back, spreads his wings, goes gobble, gobble and charges right at me." Hoban, who at 5 feet 9 inches is only 15 inches taller than his nemesis, has been told by his supervisors that he doesn't have to deliver mail to 20 homes in the big bird's territory.

If you're a national environmental group asking for support, perhaps it's best not to immediately assume the worst in Washington, D.C., just because a Republican administration moved in. Wilderness Society fund-raisers found that out when they started calling some lapsed members in Kansas. "After all," the pitch went, "we have to fight Bush and Norton." Is that so, responded one couple, who then revealed that they were the parents of new Interior Secretary Gale Norton. According to the Denver Post, Norton's parents said they were proud of their daughter and saw no need for battle. The Wilderness Society "still hopes (the Nortons) will renew their membership."

Here's a lobbying tip from an aide to Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden, D. Josh Kardon says the "group-fire" e-mails sent by activist-group members to elected officials in Washington, D.C., are pretty much "politically worthless." Testing his theory, Kardon added a name to the 30,000 on a petition urging legislators to oppose the nomination of John Ashcroft as attorney general. The name he added was George W. Bush. Kardon says the group behind the petition immediately thanked him for his support and, no doubt, added his name to their database. But they never questioned his claim to be Dubya, or even Dubya's doppelganger. If you want results, Kardon told Willamette Week, better take the time to write an old-fashioned letter, or contact a legislator's Web site yourself.

Do you want cheese on that? Maybe not, but what's a Wyoming town to do when a New York artist decides to drape a local house, inside and out, with 10,000 pounds of melted cheese? If you're the administrator of Powell, pop. 5,300, you work out an agreement with the artist, Cosimo Cavallaro, and strongly urge him to time his flowing art for cool weather. "I'm suggesting a fall date," administrator Jim Wysocki told the Billings Gazette, "to avoid things like odor as much as possible." Keeping the house as an objet d'art through the summer might strain the tolerance of neighbors, although local mice and squirrels will likely grow in their enthusiasm. Cavallaro plans to return to the Big Apple when the project's done, leaving the Big Cheeseball behind. Which is why Wysocki wants the city to reserve the right to tear down the house of cheese before it can be nibbled away.

The Utah Legislature, it has been said, is an "irony-free zone." That could be. Last month, on one side of the Capitol, senators rejected a bill that would have increased penalties for crimes committed out of bias or hate, voting it down by 16 to 12. "They could not stomach singling out certain groups for special protection against racist groups or violent bigots," reports the Salt Lake Tribune. But it would seem they had no trouble at all singling out one particular group for special protection: They readily passed a bill targeting animal-rights extremists for "acts of terrorism" against ranchers and farmers. The sponsor of the hate-crimes bill, Rep. Pete Suazo of Salt Lake City, called its defeat "a defining moment in our state's history." It signaled "that our sense of justice is limited only to those who are like us, who believe what we believe and look the way we look," Suazo said. But he hasn't given up on the legislation or his fellow legislators. He'll try to pass his bill again.

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]