Heard around the West

  • MONTANA: Snow-jogging in Helena

    TOM KILMER
 

NEVADA AND THE WEST

Some call it pork, the 11,000 or so local projects stuffed into the $388 billion spending bill just passed by Congress. Others, such as the Democrats’ new minority leader, Nevada Sen. Harry Reid, call it money well spent and brag about it. Thanks to Reid’s clout, Nevada was awarded nearly $200 million for projects such as a $500,000 hospice unit and $100,000 for a domestic-violence safe house, reports the Las Vegas Review-Journal. But it was a little grant — for a mere $25,000 — that got Clark County schools onto the "pork barrel" list compiled by Taxpayers for Common Sense. The $25,000 grant will fund mariachi band instruction as an alternative to chorus and regular band.

CALIFORNIA

Environmental opponents of the scanty-panty company, Victoria’s Secret, have dogged the firm’s nationwide promotional tour billed as Angels Across America. In Los Angeles, critics from the nonprofit ForestEthics donned angel wings and unfurled a banner reading, "Victoria’s Secret: Their catalogs destroy endangered forests." The activists said the company was responsible for logging old-growth trees, particularly in Canada: Every year, it mails 395 million catalogs, with the average customer receiving 24 of them annually.

COLORADO

A pizzeria owner and town councilman from the two-block, western Colorado town of Paonia, population 1,500, is going head-to-head against Starbucks. After the king of caffeine (8,200 coffeehouses) announced it would move into bars, restaurants and liquor stores to sell its brand-new sweet and alcoholic Starbucks Coffee Liqueur, Zach Mann, the father of a teenage girl, created his own Web site called Stardrunks.com. Mann told the Rocky Mountain News that he and his supporters also spent $5,000 to rent a vacant lot in Denver near a Starbucks. The lot was crowded with over 2,000 crosses to represent young people from 15 to 20 who’d been killed in car accidents that involved underage drinking. "I have no problem with alcohol," said Mann, who sells wine and beer at his pizzeria, Pizza My Heart. "I have trouble with irresponsible use of alcohol and … irresponsible marketing of alcohol."

WYOMING

Two preachers who should have known better got nailed in Wyoming for a "poaching spree" that resulted in three deer being killed secretly and then hidden on a rancher’s property. The pastors — from Buhl, Idaho, and West Jordan, Utah — recently pleaded guilty to violations that included hunting without a license and trespassing, reports the Casper Star-Tribune. "They should have hunted by the book," said Wyoming Game and Fish Department spokesperson Lucy Wold. "Honesty is the best policy."

COLORADO

Officers also nabbed poachers in Colorado’s remote La Garita Wilderness, ending bow-and-arrow elk-poaching careers that began almost two decades ago. Division of Wildlife staffers did their sleuthing the hard way — camping without fires and setting up hidden video cameras and digital voice recorders during the three-year investigation. "We’re not just driving around in our trucks drinking coffee and whistling cowboy songs," said Brian Bechaver, the district wildlife manager who led the investigation. "This case was solved through a combination of old-time warden woodsmen skills … and modern technology." In a plea bargain, the three poachers from Kansas agreed to pay fines totaling $45,000. They also lost their hunting privileges.

WYOMING

The "Blotter" of the Jackson Hole News&Guide likes to report solved crimes as well as the latest infractions. So we note that the disappearance of a homeowner’s outdoor chaise lounge was more of an unintentional borrowing than a theft: Neighbors spotted a bull moose wearing the wooden lounge on its impressive rack. The paper also reported that a wallet thought stolen in the Rancher Bar was found in the mouth of a rottweiler named Suzy, who was chewing on it in a corner of the bar. Meanwhile, town police say it’s time for Suzy and the estimated 5,200 other local dogs to be leashed while out in public. The U.S. Forest Service says it’s distressed by what’s been happening at two popular areas near town: Dogs are depositing an estimated 80 pounds of unscooped poop on trails every day.

Betsy Marston writes Heard around the West and is also editor of Writers on the Range, a service of High Country News in Paonia, Colorado.

High Country News Classifieds
  • 10 ACRES OF NEW MEXICO HIGH DESERT
    10 Acres of undeveloped high desert land in central NM, about 45 minutes from downtown Albuquerque. Mixed cedar and piñon pine cover. Some dirt roadways...
  • WATERSHED RESTORATION DIRECTOR
    $58k-$70k + benefits to oversee watershed restoration projects that fulfill our strategic goals across urban and rural areas within the bi-national Santa Cruz and San...
  • CUSTOMER SERVICE ASSISTANT - (PART-TIME)
    High Country News, an award-winning media organization covering the communities and environment of the Western United States, seeks a part-time Customer Service Assistant, based at...
  • OPERATIONS DIRECTOR
    We are a Santa Fe-based nonprofit that builds resilience on arid working lands. We foster ecological, economic, and social health through education, innovation, and collaboration....
  • COMMUNITY ORGANIZER
    Come work alongside everyday Montanans to project our clean air, water, and build thriving communities! Competitive salary, health insurance, pension, generous vacation time and sabbatical....
  • CAMPAIGN MANAGER
    Oregon Natural Desert Association (ONDA), a nonprofit conservation organization dedicated to protecting, defending and restoring Oregon's high desert, seeks a Campaign Manager to works as...
  • HECHO DEPUTY DIRECTOR
    Hispanics Enjoying Camping, Hunting, and the Outdoors (HECHO) was created in 2013 to help fulfill our duty to conserve and protect our public lands for...
  • REGIONAL REPRESENTATIVE, COLUMBIA CASCADES
    The Regional Representative serves as PCTA's primary staff on the ground along the trail working closely with staff, volunteers, and nonprofit and agency partners. This...
  • FINANCE AND OPERATIONS DIRECTOR
    The Montana Land Reliance (MLR) seeks a full-time Finance and Operations Director to manage the internal functions of MLR and its nonprofit affiliates. Key areas...
  • DIRECTOR OF CONSERVATION
    The Nature Conservancy is recruiting for a Director of Conservation. Provides strategic leadership and support for all of the Conservancy's conservation work in Arizona. The...
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    The Amargosa Conservancy (AC), a conservation nonprofit dedicated to standing up for water and biodiversity in the Death Valley region, seeks an executive director to...
  • BIG BASIN SENIOR PROJECT PLANNER - CLIMATE ADAPTATION & RESILIENCE
    Parks California Big Basin Senior Project Planner - Climate Adaptation & Resilience ORGANIZATION BACKGROUND Parks California is a new organization working to ensure that our...
  • SCIENCE PROJECT MANAGER
    About Long Live the Kings (LLTK) Our mission is to restore wild salmon and steelhead and support sustainable fishing in the Pacific Northwest. Since 1986,...
  • NEW BOOK BY AWARD-WINNING WILDLIFE BIOLOGIST, BRUCE SMITH
    In a perilous place at the roof of the world, an orphaned mountain goat is rescued from certain death by a mysterious raven.This middle-grade novel,...
  • MOUNTAIN LOTS FOR SALE
    Multiple lots in gated community only 5 miles from Great Sand Dunes National Park. Seasonal flowing streams. Year round road maintenance.
  • RURAL ACREAGE OUTSIDE SILVER CITY, NM
    Country living just minutes from town! 20 acres with great views makes a perfect spot for your custom home. Nice oaks and juniper. Cassie Carver,...
  • A FIVE STAR FOREST SETTING WITH SECLUSION AND SEPARATENESS
    This home is for a discerning buyer in search of a forest setting of premier seclusion & separateness. Surrounded on all sides by USFS land...
  • CARPENTER WANTED
    CARPENTER WANTED. Come to Ketchikan and check out the Rainforest on the coast, HIke the shorelines, hug the big trees, watch deer in the muskeg...
  • CAUCASIAN OVCHARKA PUPPIES
    Strong loyal companions. Ready to protect your family and property. Proven against wolves and grizzlies. Imported bloodlines. Well socialized.
  • ENVIRONMENTAL GEOPHYSICS
    "More Data, Less Digging" Find groundwater and reduce excavation costs!