Heard around the West

  • Two tired dogs

    Wendy Keefover Ring
 

NEW MEXICO

A mouse living in the house of 81-year-old Luciano Mares of Fort Sumner did not take kindly to being set on fire. Mares said that after he caught the intruder, he threw it outside onto a pile of burning leaves. The burning rodent, however, got its revenge by running back to the house and setting it on fire. Everything inside the house was burned up, reports the Santa Fe New Mexican. No injuries were reported, except for the mouse.

MONTANA

A 1,200-pound heifer also didn’t take kindly to the prospect of imminent death at Mickey’s Packing Plant in Great Falls. The cow leaped over a gate and went on the lam, leading pursuers on a wild chase that lasted six hours. Del Morris, manager of the slaughterhouse, told Reuters that the cow he dubbed Molly B. did "things that are just not possible for a cow." They include dodging both a semi tractor-trailer and an oncoming locomotive, shaking off the effects of not just one but three tranquilizer darts, and most wondrous of all, plunging into the ice-cold Missouri River and swimming to the other side. " I was totally amazed she was able to swim the river," said Morris to The Associated Press. But her freedom couldn’t last, and Molly B. was finally captured in a makeshift pen. The cow’s determination to escape won her admirers, including employees at Mickey’s slaughterhouse, who voted 10-1 to keep her alive. Now, reports Reuters, town residents will decide through a telephone poll whether Molly B. will live out her life pastured near the packing plant or at a Seattle animal sanctuary.

COLORADO

Four heifers successfully hid out for several months high in the mountains around Aspen — so high, at nearly 12,000 feet, that they would not have survived the winter. A backcountry skier spotted the hungry bovines, setting off "a series of feeding forays where skiers carried flakes of hay bales on their backs," reports the Aspen Times. Finally, at Christmastime, a helicopter rescued the heifers, airlifting them off the mountain and back into captivity.

NEVADA

At this year’s Miss America Pageant, Miss Nevada had some controversial advice for her fellow Nevadans. During her interview with the judges, Crystal Wosik of Las Vegas said that spent nuclear fuel from the nation’s power plants should come to Yucca Mountain in Nevada because it was the "best-built facility in the country," reports the Reno Gazette Journal. Then the judges asked, according to pageant director Nancy Ames, "But what if people could die?" To which Wosik answered, "We just have to take one for the team." Miss Nevada did not make it into the finals of the week-long contest.

ARIZONA

It was a novel try, but a judge ruled out a woman’s claim that her pregnancy made her eligible to drive in a carpool lane. Candace Dickinson, 23, showed the judge pictures of her newborn son to prove that she’d been pregnant at the time she was ticketed for driving solo in a high-occupancy vehicle lane. Arizona criminal law defines an unborn child as a person, she argued, so, "Why should it be any different under the traffic code?" reports the Arizona Republic. Judge Dennis Freeman replied that in this civil case, the unborn just didn’t count: "A person is defined as someone who occupies a distinct seat in a vehicle."

THE WEST

It’s happening on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, but Western ranchette-owners take note: Pioneering breeders are raising miniature cattle one-third the size of regular 1,200 pound cows for "people who have these little three to five-acre farmettes, and they’ll fence in an acre, buy a calf and more or less keep ’em as pets," reports AP.

COLORADO

A couple celebrating 65 years of marriage in Cedaredge, a small town in western Colorado, revealed that the bride was only 13 when she eloped with her 20-year-old groom, a foreman at a West Virginia coal mine. They "told their parents they were going to a movie but instead got married," reports the Delta County Independent. Bessie Stepp said her widowed mother was shocked when she found out, and Bob Stepp recalled, "It was the first time I saw my father cry." But the Great Depression had forced people to work hard and grow up fast. The couple met because their siblings were friends, and also because Bessie’s early morning paper route included a stop at the Stepp family’s house, where she and her sister would warm up by the fire. Although Bessie Stepp was quick to say now that no girl should marry as young as she did, she took her husband’s hand in hers and said of their long marriage, which has produced 29 great-grandchildren, "We still love each other after all these years."

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
  • DEPUTY DIRECTOR
    The Methow Valley Citizens Council has a distinguished history of advocating for progressive land use and environmental values in the Methow Valley and Okanogan County...
  • ACTING INDIGENOUS AFFAIRS DESK EDITOR
    High Country News is seeking an Acting Indigenous Affairs Editor to oversee the work of our award-winning Indigenous Affairs Desk while our editor is on...
  • GRANTS PROGRAM DIRECTOR
    The Cinnabar Foundation seeks an enthusiastic, team-oriented and knowledgeable Grants Program Director to work from their home in Montana. Established in 1983, the Cinnabar Foundation...
  • ARTEMIS PROGRAM MANAGER
    The Artemis Program Manager will work with National Wildlife Federation sporting and public lands staff to change this dynamic, continue to build upon our successful...
  • ALASKA SEA KAYAK BUSINESS FOR SALE
    Well-known and successful sea kayak, raft, hike, camp guiding & water taxi service. Sale includes everything needed to run the business, including office & gear...
  • MEMBERSHIP AND EVENTS PROGRAM COORDINATOR
    Great Old Broads for Wilderness seeks a detail-oriented and enthusiastic Membership and Events Coordinator to join our small, but mighty-fun team to oversee our membership...
  • PROGRAM DEVELOPMENT FACILITATOR
    ABOUT THE HIGH DESERT MUSEUM Since opening in 1982, HIGH DESERT MUSEUM has brought together wildlife, culture, art and natural resources to promote an understanding...
  • LAND STEWARD, ARAVAIPA
    Steward will live on-site in housing provided by TNC and maintains preserve areas frequented by the visiting public and performs land management activities. The Land...
  • DEVELOPMENT WRITER
    Who We Are: The Nature Conservancy's mission is to protect the lands and waters upon which all life depends. As a science-based organization, we create...
  • CONNECTIVITY SCIENCE COORDINATOR
    Position type: Full time, exempt Location: Bozeman preferred; remote negotiable Compensation: $48,000 - $52,000 Benefits: Major medical insurance, up to 5% match on a 401k,...
  • EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT
    ArenaLife is looking for an Executive Assistant who wants to work in a fast-paced, exciting, and growing organization. We are looking for someone to support...
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    The Mountain Lion Foundation is seeking an Executive Director. Please see our website for further information - mountainlion.org/job-openings
  • WASHINGTON DC REPRESENTATIVE
    Position Status: Full-time, exempt Location: Washington, DC Position Reports to: Program Director The Western Organization of Resource Councils (WORC) is seeking a Washington, DC Representative...
  • REGIONAL CAMPAIGN ORGANIZER
    Position Title: Regional Campaign Organizers (2 positions) Position Status: Full-time, exempt Location: Preferred Billings, MT; remote location within WORC's region (in or near Grand Junction...
  • STAFF ATTORNEY
    Western Watersheds Project seeks a Tenth Circuit Staff Attorney to bring litigation in the interests of protecting and restoring western watersheds and wildlife, particularly focused...
  • DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR
    Driggs, ID based non-profit. Full time. Full job description available at tvtap.org. Submit cover letter and resume to [email protected]
  • ENVIRONMENTAL AND CONSTRUCTION GEOPHYSICS
    - We find groundwater, buried debris and assist with new construction projects for a fraction of drilling costs.
  • SPRING MOUNTAINS SOLAR OFF GRID MOUNTAIN HOME
    Located 50 miles northwest of Las Vegas, Nevada in the pine forest of Lee Canyon at 8000 feet elevation. One of a kind property surrounded...
  • MAJOR GIFTS MANAGER - MOUNTAIN WEST, THE CONSERVATION FUND
    Cultivate, solicit and steward a portfolio of 75-125 donors.
  • NATURE'S BEST IN ARAVAIPA CANYON
    10 acre private oasis in one of Arizona's beautiful canyons. Fully furnished, 2123 sq ft architectural custom-built contemporary home with spectacular views and many extras....