Heard around the West

  • Kimberly Lovely, left, and Laura Lewis push as 'Filthy Fill' steers 'The Stool Shed' in the outhouse races in Virginia City on Oct. 9, 2004

    Reno Gazette-Journal
 

THE WEST

If you like nothing better than a good pun, check out the "Endangered Feces" T-shirt that’s advertised on several Web sites for environmentally oriented companies. Twenty scats from wild animals are pictured on the front of the shirt, including the substantial contribution of a grizzly bear, the dainty deposits of a New Mexican ridge-nosed rattlesnake and the curvaceous droppings of a black-footed ferret.

THE WEST

A different kind of T-shirt got an airline traveler in a whole lot of trouble recently. Lorrie Heasley of Woodland, Wash., thought she’d give her parents a laugh when she got off a plane at Portland, Ore. So she chose a shirt that featured photos of President Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, along with a motto similar to the title of the movie Meet the Fockers. "I thought it was hilarious," she said. She never got the chance to find out if her parents agreed, because she never arrived at the airport. During a layover in Reno, Nev., some passengers complained to employees of Southwest Airlines that her T-shirt was offensive. Heasley agreed to cover up with a sweatshirt, but after it slipped, "she was ordered to wear her T-shirt inside-out, or leave," reports the Reno Gazette-Journal. That tore it: Heasley, 32, a lumber saleswoman, walked off the plane with her husband. Next time, she says, she’ll pick a different airline.

OREGON

A 25-member Geographic Names Board has begun eliminating the word "squaw" — a word offensive to many tribes — from 180 places in Oregon, as mandated by the state Legislature in 2001. But picking new monikers for those peaks, valleys and 89 creeks is anything but easy, reports The Oregonian, and some replacements are proving challenging to pronounce. If a federal board approves, for example, Squaw Creek near the town of Sisters will become Whychus Creek, derived from "the place we cross the water" in Sahaptin, one of the languages of the Warm Springs tribes. Other Native American names on tap: Qochyax, pronounced "coke-yaw," and Moohoo’oo, which sounds exactly like what it is, the Paiute word for owl. Maret Pajutee, the Forest Service ecologist leading the agency’s effort to rename sites in central Oregon, says of Moohoo’oo Mountain: "Some people think it’s clever. Some think it’s irritating."

NEVADA

Until we read the Reno Gazette-Journal recently, we didn’t know that outhouses took trips, much less competed for prizes. Now we know that Virginia City, population 900, is in its 10th year of hosting the annual "World Championship Outhouse Races." Pushed, pedaled and pulled, one-holers are raced down the former mining town’s historic C Street to the cheers of some 1,000 watchers. Privies come from all over for the event. And the winner for 2005? The Oletyme Classic, beating by a nose (tightly held between two fingers) the Urinator.

IDAHO

An 89-year-old man in central Idaho with a penchant for digging has begun to rent out caves to tourists. The caves are definitely not fancy: They lack electricity and offer few amenities besides wood stoves and mattresses. But they are cheap, renting for $5 a night or just $25 a month, and they have a nice view overlooking rapids on the Salmon River. The cave developer is Richard Zimmerman, a former construction worker known as "Dugout Dick" to locals in nearby Salmon. A loner, Zimmerman has spent decades carving out a dozen or so caves that extend up to 100 feet into the hillside. Now he’s decided that it’s time to stop digging and start promoting tourism in this remote mountain area. Two tourists — one from England and one from Spain — have tried a cave stay, but they failed to relish the experience, Reuters reports. "It’s not for everyone," Zimmerman admits, but "I expect the trade will pick up anytime now."

WYOMING

Vandals struck the night before a home tour opened in Jackson Hole, stealing 40 signs and changing the words on some from "Parade of Homes" to "Parade of Wealth." Many of the homes cost $1 million or more, according to the Jackson Hole News&Guide.

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
  • CLIMATE EDUCATION AND STEWARDSHIP (CES) COMMUNICATIONS DESIGNER
    Seeking an individual to design and develop marketing and support materials for a 1-year, 30-hour per week, grant-funded climate education program. Based in Durango, CO....
  • WYOMING OUTDOOR COUNCIL OFFICE MANAGER - BOOKKEEPER
    The Wyoming Outdoor Council is seeking an office manager-bookkeeper to join our team. The office manager-bookkeeper supports the program and administrative functions of the Wyoming...
  • HEALTHY RIVERS SENIOR STAFF ATTORNEY
    WRA seeks a passionate attorney to join our Healthy Rivers team. The Senior Staff Attorney will research and advocate for wiser water management and updated...
  • CONSERVATIONIST? IRRIGABLE LAND?
    Stellar seed-saving NGO is available to serious partner. Package must include financial support. Details: http://seeds.ojaidigital.net.
  • CONSERVATIONIST? IRRIGABLE LAND?
    Stellar seed-saving NGO is available to serious partner. Package must include financial support. Details: http://seeds.ojaidigital.net.
  • PROGRAM MANAGER
    Applications will be reviewed on an ongoing basis and will be accepted until: February 03, 2020. Overview Conservation Voters for Idaho (CVI) protects Idaho's environment...
  • WRITING SKILLS TUTOR FOR HIRE!
    Fort Collins, CO college students welcome. Meet on your college campus!
  • CANYONLANDS FIELD INSTITUTE
    Colorado Plateau Natural & Human History Field Seminars. Lodge, river, hiking options. Small groups, guest experts.
  • REALTOR NEEDS A REMOTE ASSISTANT
    This is a business assistant position, The working hours are flexible and you can chose to work from anywhere of your choice, the pay is...
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    Central Oregon LandWatch is seeking an Executive Director to advance our mission and oversee the development of the organization. Job Description: The Executive Director oversees...
  • WESTERN NATIVE SEED
    Specializing in native seeds and seed mixes for western states.
  • MEDIA DIRECTOR
    Love working with the media? Shine a spotlight on passionate, bold activists fighting for wild lands, endangered species, wild rivers and protecting the climate.
  • STAFF ATTORNEY - NEVADA
    The Center for Biological Diversity is seeking an attorney to expand our litigation portfolio in Nevada. Come join our hard-hitting team as we fight for...
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    The Montana Wildlife Federation seeks an energetic leader to advance our mission, sustain our operations, and grow our grassroots power. For a full position description,...
  • HISTORIC COMMERCIAL OPPORTUNITY IN DOWNTOWN NOGALES
    Nogales. 3 active lower spaces and upper floor with lots of potential. 520-245-9000 [email protected]
  • CHUCK BURR'S CULTUREQUAKE.COM BLOG
    Change will happen when we see a new way of living. Thinking to save the world.
  • COMING TO TUCSON?
    Popular vacation house, furnished, 2 bed/1 bath, yard, dog-friendly. Lee at [email protected] or 520-791-9246.
  • SPLIT CREEK RANCH
    Spectacular country home on 48 acres with Wallowa River running through it! 541-398-1148 www.RubyPeakRealty.com
  • OJO CALIENTE COMMERCIAL VENTURE
    Outstanding location near the world famous Ojo Caliente Mineral Spring Resort. Classic adobe Mercantile complete w/living quarters, separate 6 unit B&B, metal building and spacious...
  • EVERLAND MOUNTAIN RETREAT
    Everland Mountain Retreat includes 318 mountaintop acres with a 3,200 square foot lodge and two smaller homes. Endless vistas of the Appalachian mountains, open skies,...