Heard around the West

  • Shotgun editing

    Greg Woodall
 

UTAH

Lake Powell, now at just 52 percent of capacity, might as well be called The Incredible Shrinking Reservoir: Its twice-extended boat launch at Bullfrog "resembles a tilted airport runway — a concrete slab more than a quarter-mile long," reports The Associated Press. Multiple bathtub rings are visible everywhere along the shore, and when the deeper channels get crowded, as they did on the Fourth of July, small boats are apt to topple in the wakes of bigger ones. Yet the drought that began in 1999 brings benefits, says interpretive ranger Terry Bell, who works for Glen Canyon National Recreation Area: "Scenery-wise, it’s better, and you have more beaches for camping." Rich Ingebretsen of the Glen Canyon Institute, which wants to un-dam the Colorado River, also sees a bright side: The reservoir has begun to drain itself. "You can only store surplus water," he points out, "and there’s no surplus water."

NEW MEXICO

Weekly papers in the West’s rural towns used to feature "Doings with Dotsie"-type columns, confiding who motored where to shop or eat dinner, which lanky kid just won the state track meet, and the really fine news that a quarter-inch of rain has just fallen. Today, if you pick up a copy of the weekly Lincoln County News, published in Carrizozo, N.M., you can still read an old-style gossipy column about the tiny Corona area. The news-gatherer and writer is 98-year-old Geraldine Perkins, who is blind, almost deaf and recuperating from a stroke. For more than three decades, reports the Albuquerque Journal, she has worked the phones to relay the minutiae of her community. She’ll feature the woman who got thrown off an all-terrain vehicle by a butting cow, thus landing her name on the "hurting list," and she’ll pass on the fascinating tidbit that "a big bull snake, with head held high, fully five feet in length, was going down the road Friday …" Perkins, who had hoped to be a surgeon, was studying pre-med when an eye disease abruptly changed her plans. After teaching public school for a while — an occupation, she jokes, that made her turn to drugs — she became one of the state’s first female pharmacists, in 1929. Perkins started writing her column in the 1970s, and now dictates it to her 65-year-old daughter, Sherrill Bradford, who types it into a computer. Bradford often tries to persuade her mother to change a word or add a comma, but rarely wins a point. Has Perkins ever run a correction? Her indignant answer: "You mean, did I ever say somebody killed somebody and they didn’t?" As for the question she asks everyone, it hasn’t changed: "What do you know?"

NEVADA

A bear cub with a he-man appetite and no concern about cholesterol amazed some 30 people in a parking lot on the south shore of Lake Tahoe. The animal climbed into the front seat of a 1964 Buick convertible, opened a cooler in order to dig out (and swill down) a vodka and tonic, a beer and a Jack Daniel’s mixer, and then scarfed down a pizza topped with barbecued chicken and jalapeño — all the while leaning against the car’s blaring horn. "People were screaming at him, the horn was going off, but he was completely unaware," resident Jerry Patterson told the AP. At times, the bear put his paws up on the dashboard as if ready to go for a ride. But 20 minutes later, after his messy meal was consumed, the bear jumped out of the vintage car and loped off.

WYOMING

Denver Post columnist Rich Tosches bemoans the many tourists to Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming who arrive clueless about wildlife. Last year, the drivers of motor homes and cars ran over 130 elk, bison and deer. "Australians might throw a shrimp on the barbie," Tosches quips, "but in these parts, a lot of people throw a large mammal on the grille."

IDAHO

A 12-foot-long Burmese python failed to distinguish an electric blanket from a rabbit and so devoured both in Ketchum, Idaho, reports The New York Times. The snake’s owner said the blanket was used to keep the 60-pound snake warm; unfortunately, the blanket became entangled with the python’s dinner. Two doctors made a foot-and-a-half incision in the snake to extricate not only the queen-size blanket, but also its control box and plug. The python was expected to live to eat another rabbit.

OREGON

When a handsome patrolman comes to your door — even if only to check on a complaint from neighbors that you’re too noisy — you have to take action to bring that "cutie pie" deputy back, right? Wrong, if you call 911 to do so. The 45-year-old woman who just wanted "the cutest cop I’ve ever seen" to pay her another visit was arrested in Aloha, Ore., on charges of misusing the emergency dispatch system, reports AP.

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
  • CANYONLANDS FIELD INSTITUTE
    Colorado Plateau Natural & Human History Field Seminars. Lodge, river, hiking options. Small groups, guest experts.
  • NATURE EDUCATION DIRECTOR
    Our mission is to inspire a life-long connection to nature and community through creative exploration of the outdoors. We are seeking an educational leader who...
  • DEVELOPMENT AND MARKETING DIRECTOR
    The Development and Marketing Director is a senior position responsible for the execution of all development and marketing strategies to raise funds and increase public...
  • DEVELOPMENT COORDINATOR
    Coordinates all Wyoming Wildlife Federation philanthropic activities. Tasks include identification, recruitment, and retention of donors, organizing fundraising events, and assisting with grant writing.
  • 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...
  • CORPORATE & GRANTS PARTNER MANAGER
    Forever Our Rivers Foundation Corporate Partnerships Manager February 2020 www.ForeverOurRivers.org Forever Our Rivers Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, was formed in late 2016 with the mission...
  • 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.
  • DIRECTOR, TEXAS WATER PROGRAMS
    The National Wildlife Federation seeks a Director to lead our water-related policy and program work in Texas, with a primary focus on NWF's signature Texas...
  • 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...
  • NEW MEXICO GILA NATIONAL FOREST HORSE RANCH
    43 acres in the Gila National Forest. Horse facility, custom home. Year-round outdoor living. REDUCED to $999,000, 575-536-3109.
  • 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,...
  • COPPER CANYON MEXICO CAMPING & BACKPACKING
    Camping, hiking, backpacking, R2R2R, Tarahumara Easter, Mushroom Festival, www.coppercanyontrails.org.