Dear Friends

 

Now playing at the Cheyenne Opera

HCN poetry editor Chip Rawlins recently traveled from his home in the small town of Boulder, Wyo., to the Wyoming Capitol to take a peek at his tax dollars at work. To his amazement, Chip found himself watching an opera he thinks was called The Merchants of Menace. He didn't catch it all, but took notes on one act involving a group called the Tax Break Committee. His excerpt follows:

GILLETTA (A PEASANT GIRL):
I weep and I shudder, I tremble and quake:
I can't flush my toilet, for fear of the state.
MR. TRIMMER OF THE DEPT. OF ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY:
It just may be true that small businesses fear us.
That saddens me deeply (the big ones revere us).
To support this bill, you've compelled me to whine,
but I can't find a record of a Small Business fine.
REP. PASSABUCK:
Off with his head? (I can't say that? Oh ba-a-a-a!)
How can we rescue Small Business, tra-la?
REP. SHIFTY:
Wonderful! Truly! Let's push it and speed it.
Can we vote for it now? Or must we all read it?
LOBBYIST FOR AMOK MINING:
Relax, Mr. Chairman, we considered all things,
When we wrote bill 96 for Colzi to sing.
CHAIRMAN PORK:
We thank thee, Amok, for help and good service.
For ink is so costly and the voters might swerve us
from our heartfelt commitment and true loyalty,
to Big Mining, Big Oil and Big Money, all three.
JOHN Q. PUBLIC (FROM THE WINGS):
If we all love Small Business, then why not just limit
the law to Small Business, and the good people in it?
SEN. COLZI:
O Horror!...

Although he was born in Wyoming, Chip tells us he'd never seen legislators perform an opera before, "but I think we elected some real stars - except for some Democrats who wouldn't sing along. But we don't need them since the Republicans all know their lines and never miss a cue."

Corrections and emendations

In Florence Williams' Dec. 26, 1994, story about citizen action to disembowel planning efforts in Montana's Flathead County, Jess Quinn was identified incorrectly. He says he is not a member or organizer of a citizens' militia, although he does support any citizen's effort to uphold the Constitution of the United States of America. He also says he did not speak against planning but against the newly created county building department.

Reader Roland James of Phoenix, Ariz., wrote to tell us that in the same issue writer Bruce Selcraig erred in his comparisons of water consumption. James says Phoenix residents consume at least as much water as Albuquerque, N.M., residents - around 250 gallons per day.

The vagaries of electronic mail put a different byline on a story about the return of wolves to Yellowstone. Former HCN intern Dan Egan, who now reports for the Idaho Falls Post Register, deserves the credit for writing about the media's fascination with the story. For the above and all other errors we haven't yet been told about, we apologize.

Is winter over?

Unseasonably warm weather has local fruit-growers nervous, but it made it easier to visit this mountain town until big snowstorms hit last week. Richard Sims, director of the Museum of Western Colorado, based in Grand Junction, stopped in after talking to some 50 Friends of the Paonia Library about historic and contemporary Ute Indians. Staff also visited with Sandra Tassel, who works for the Trust for Public Land in Santa Fe, N.M.

We didn't see former intern and staffer Steve Ryder, but a letter from him has been circulating. He's been teaching a class in natural resources politics while working on a doctorate at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, which he calls one of the state's "growth machines." Steve writes, "I'm consulting my California phrase book quite often in my attempts to understand the new arrivals."

* Betsy Marston for the staff

High Country News Classifieds
  • STEWARDSHIP COORDINATOR
    Join Skagit Land Trust (the Trust), a not-for-profit conservation organization based in Mount Vernon, Washington, and help protect land for people and wildlife. Skagit Land...
  • 2022 SEASONAL SCIENCE EDUCATOR
    The Mount St. Helens Institute Science Educator supports our science education and rental programs including day and overnight programs for youth ages 6-18, their families...
  • POLICY DIRECTOR
    Heart of the Rockies Initiative is seeking a Policy Director to lead and define policy efforts to advance our mission to keep working lands and...
  • CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER
    Self-Help Enterprises seeks an experienced and strategic CFO
  • CONSERVATION SPECIALIST - LAND PROTECTION FOCUS
    View full job description and how to apply at
  • RIVER EDUCATOR & GUIDE
    River Educator & Guide River Educator & Guide (Trip Leader) Non-exempt, Seasonal Position: Full-time OR part-time (early April through October; may be flexible with start/end...
  • LAND AND WATER CONSERVATION DIRECTOR
    The Land and Water Conservation Director is a full-time salaried position with the Mountain Area Land Trust in Evergreen, CO. The successful candidate will have...
  • FOOD SYSTEMS ENVIRONMENTAL FELLOWSHIP
    If you were to design a sustainable society from the ground up, it would look nothing like the contemporary United States. But what would it...
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    The Rio Grande Headwaters Land Trust (RiGHT) is seeking an Executive Director who will lead RiGHT toward a future of continued high conservation impact, organizational...
  • COMMUNITY ORGANIZER
    Help protect Montana's water quality, family farms and ranches, & unique quality of life. Work hard, meet good people, make the world a better place!...
  • VERDE RIVER PROJECTS TECHNICIAN
    The Verde River Projects Technician (VRPT) provides technical assistance to Verde River Program staff in implementation of the Verde River Streamflow Monitoring Protocol. This consist...
  • 8 FIELD PROJECT SPECIALISTS (POSITION FORMERLY TITLED TRAIL CREW TECHNICAL ADVISOR)
    Are you passionate about environmental conservation and connecting people to the outdoors? The Pacific Crest Trail Association (PCTA) is looking for someone with outdoor leadership...
  • SOUTHWEST REWILDING ADVOCATE
    WildEarth Guardians is seeking a full-time advocate in our Wild Places Program to advance a new paradigm of forest management and protection based on the...
  • NEW BOOK:
    True Wildlife Tales From Boy to Man. Finding my voice to save wildlife in the Apache spirit. 365+ vivid colorful pictures. Buy on Amazon/John Wachholz
  • CHIEF OPERATIONS OFFICER
    with Rural Community Assistance Corporation. Apply here: https://www.marcumllp.com/executive-search/chief-operations-officer-rcac
  • 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...
  • WATER PROJECT MANAGER, UPPER SAN PEDRO (ARIZONA)
    Based in Tucson or Sierra Vista, AZ., the Upper San Pedro Project Manager develops, manages, and advances freshwater conservation programs, plans, and methods focusing on...
  • WADE LAKE CABINS, CAMERON MT
    A once in a lifetime opportunity to live and run a business on the shore of one of the most beautiful lakes in SW Montana....
  • PROFESSIONAL GIS SERVICES
    Custom Geospatial Solutions is available for all of your GIS needs. Affordable, flexible and accurate data visualization and analysis for any sized project.
  • GUIDE TO WESTERN NATIONAL MONUMENTS
    NEW BOOK showcases 70 national monuments across the western United States. Use "Guide10" for 10% off at cmcpress.org