Heard around the West

  • A sign big enough for bears to read at Bozeman Pass in Montana

    Hobie Hare
 

IDAHO

Travis Steele, a 31-year-old college student, was a pizza-delivery man in Lewiston, Idaho, until someone’s complaint to his boss cost him his job. Steele’s offense? His bumper sticker read, "Darwin loves you," a play on the slogan, "Jesus loves you." In a letter to the Lewiston Tribune, Steele said he was given a "choice" by his employer: "covering my offensive sticker or taking an estimated $3-per-hour cut to work inside the store." A science major, Steele said he thought the $2 sticker was "mildly funny" when he put it on his vehicle a year ago; now, he’s fighting mad that an overzealous fundamentalist Christian sought to silence him. Lewiston Tribune columnist Tom Henderson agrees. In his column headlined, "Biddies attack, freedom loses," Henderson asked: "Who wants their pizza delivered by an evolutionist? The anchovies might walk off the plate." Henderson said the "whiny busybody" probably wondered what Jesus might do, deciding that "of course, he would make sure Steele — a married man with two children — got canned. That’ll teach him to mess with the Prince of Peace."

CALIFORNIA

Why do chickens cross the road? The answer to that age-old question is disputed in Johannesburg, a mining community of 50 some 220 miles northeast of Los Angeles, where chickens coexist uneasily with the off-road vehicle enthusiasts who roar through town. Recently, a deputy sheriff ticketed a couple of chicken owners for failing to prevent some of their flock from crossing the street, reports The Associated Press. The couple, however, say they were cited because they’ve complained that the sheriff’s department does nothing about dust and noise caused by the ORVers. Sheriff Sgt. Francis Moore begged to differ: "The chicken thing has nothing to do with the motorcycle thing."

CALIFORNIA

Speaking of chickens, police from nine counties and the Humane Society raided an alleged biweekly cockfight near Fiddletown, reports the Fresno Bee, confiscating 58 roosters, arresting 28 people, and picking up $4,000 that someone dropped while running away. The property owner, Richard Warren Bohn, insisted that nothing untoward was going on: "I have chickens. You know why? They taste good." Bohn does own a lot of chickens. Authorities found 800 on the 10-acre farm, including 350 fighting cocks. It wasn’t easy counting all those chickens, said an undersheriff: "They’re birds with an attitude."

ARIZONA

A concatenation of errors, including sloppy typing, at the Arizona Department of Revenue made some taxpayers unexpectedly richer this year: They were overpaid a total of $5.5 million, says the Arizona Republic. Keyboarding was just part of the problem; the state says computer glitches, old records and other mistakes brought an early Christmas to more than 1,300 taxpayers, including a married couple who received an overpayment of $1.5 million. The state has gone to court to get its money back and to straighten out its books before it makes more undeserved refunds. How did the hapless Revenue Department learn of its expensive errors? Honest taxpayers contacted the state. An assistant attorney general representing the department said, "People were calling in and saying, ‘I think you are giving me too much.’ And that led them to do a complete investigation."

COLORADO

To make a long but amazing story short about a tall young man who became shorter: Kyle Martin, 21, always wanted to fly, and now the Air Force Academy cadet can. But he underwent a lot of unwanted trauma to fit his 6-foot-5-inch frame into a pilot’s seat without special waivers from the Air Force, says The Denver Post. During a climb of a 65-foot cliff in Boulder Canyon, Martin accidentally kicked out a piece of equipment and fell some 50 feet to the ground, where he landed feet first. Martin spent months recuperating, painfully progressing from his bed to a wheelchair, and then to standing and walking. But the good news from doctors is that the fall caused him to lose an inch of height, and at 6 feet 4 inches, "he can fly any aircraft in the Air Force."

NEBRASKA

A curious deer entered a Wal-Mart in Norfolk, Neb., bypassing the store’s greeter and toppling once on the slick floor before it scurried down several aisles. "The deer was tackled by a customer," reports the AP. Others then tied the animal’s legs so it wouldn’t kick, "placed it in a shopping cart and pushed it outside." The deer was released in a nearby park.

Betsy Marston is editor of Writers on the Range, a service of High Country News in Paonia, Colorado. Tips of Western oddities are always appreciated and often shared in the column, Heard around the West.

High Country News Classifieds
  • COMMUNICATIONS AND OUTREACH ASSOCIATE
    Communications and Outreach Associate Position Opening: www.westernlaw.org/communications-outreach-associate ************************************************* Location: Western U.S., ideally in one of WELC's existing office locations (Santa Fe or Taos, NM, Helena,...
  • FREELANCE GRAPHIC DESIGNER & PROJECT COORDINATOR (REMOTE)
    High Country News (HCN) is seeking a contract Graphic Designer & Project Coordinator to design promotional, marketing and fund-raising assets and campaigns, and project-manage them...
  • FILM AND DIGITAL MEDIA: ASSISTANT PROFESSOR OF INDIGENOUS MEDIA, CULTURAL SOVEREIGNTY AND DECOLONIZATION (INITIAL REVIEW 12.1.21)
    Film and Digital Media: Assistant Professor of Indigenous Media, Cultural Sovereignty and Decolonization (Initial Review 12.1.21) Position overview Position title: Assistant Professor - tenure-track Salary...
  • REAL ESTATE SPECIALIST
    To learn more about this position and to apply please go to the following URL.
  • ENVIRONMENTAL GEOPHYSICS
    "More Data, Less Digging" Find groundwater and reduce excavation costs!
  • RARE CHIRICAHUA RIPARIAN LAND FOR SALE
    40 acres: 110 miles from Tucson: native trees, grasses: birder's heaven::dark sky/ borders state lease & National forest/5100 ft/13-16 per annum rain
  • CENTRAL PARK CULTURAL RESOURCE SPECIALIST
    Agency: Oregon Parks and Recreation Department Salary Range: $5,203 - $7,996 Position Title: Central Park Cultural Resource Specialist Do you have a background in Archaeology...
  • STAFF ATTORNEY
    Come live and work in one of the most beautiful places in the world! As our Staff Attorney you will play a key role in...
  • ARIZONA GRAZING CLEARINGHOUSE
    Dedicated to preventing the ecological degradation caused by livestock grazing on Arizona's public lands, and exposing the government subsidies that support it.
  • OPERATIONS MANAGER
    Position Summary: Friends of the Inyo (friendsoftheinyo.org) is seeking a new Operations Manager. The Operations Manager position is a full-time permanent position that reports directly...
  • WATER RIGHTS BUREAU CHIEF
    Water Rights Bureau Chief, State of Montana, DNRC, Water Resources Division, Helena, MT Working to support and implement the Department's mission to help ensure that...
  • 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...
  • DEVELOPMENT & OUTREACH ASSOCIATE
    Southeast Alaska Conservation Council is hiring! Who We Are: The Southeast Alaska Conservation Council (SEACC) is a small grassroots nonprofit based out of Juneau, Alaska,...
  • DESERT LANDS ORGANIZER
    Position Summary: Friends of the Inyo seeks a Desert Lands Organizer to assist with existing campaigns that will defend lands in the California desert, with...
  • IDAHO CONSERVATION LEAGUE
    Want to help preserve Idaho's land, water, and air for future generations? Idaho Conservation League currently has 3 open positions. We are looking for a...
  • LUNATEC ODOR-FREE DISHCLOTHS
    are a must try. They stay odor-free, dry fast, are durable and don't require machine washing. Try today.
  • EVENTS AND ANNUAL FUND COORDINATOR
    The Events and Annual Fund Coordinator is responsible for managing and coordinating the Henry's Fork Foundation's fundraising events for growing the membership base, renewing and...
  • EDUCATION DIRECTOR
    Position Description: The Education Director is the primary leader of Colorado Canyons Association's (CCA) education programs for students and adults on the land and rivers...
  • 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...