Heard around the West

  • PRESCOTT, ARIZONA

    GREG WOODALL
 

CALIFORNIA

Sometimes you can be too vigilant. Someone who spotted a black bag on the side of a road in eastern California reported that it had a suspiciously “foul odor.” A sheriff’s deputy investigated, says the Grass Valley-Nevada City Union. Inside the bag, wrapped in a blue towel, was a dead fish.

 

WASHINGTON AND CALIFORNIA

For the U.S. Navy, you can never be vigilant enough. Officials say they need to move 30 dolphins and sea lions from San Diego to Seattle, to defend submarines and ships from “terrorist swimmers,” reports The Associated Press. Patrolling dolphins will drop a beacon if they detect a person in the water, while sea lions, carrying special cuffs in their mouths, get up close and personal: “If the animal finds a rogue swimmer, it can clamp the cuff around the person’s leg.” A rope attached to the cuff then lets the Navy reel in the potential perpetrator for questioning. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals thinks all this is a terrible idea. The animals are kept in small enclosures and sent out to work in much cooler water than they’re used to. What’s more, said PETA biologist Stephanie Boyles, we can’t depend on them to protect us; they don’t understand the importance of their mission. Someday, said a Navy spokesman, machines will take over underwater security, but for now, dolphins make good soldiers. They’ve searched for mines in Umm Qasr, an Iraqi harbor, and in 1996, they patrolled San Diego Bay during a Republican convention. No waterborne attackers were apprehended.

 

MONTANA AND ALASKA

A big bad wolf killed more than 120 sheep in eastern Montana last year, but don’t blame one of Yellowstone’s wild wolves, says the Billings Gazette. The culprit was a domestic animal, the product of “human-manipulated breeding” combining genes from wolves in the Great Lakes region, Alaska and the Lower 48 states. “You just don’t see that Heinz 57 hodgepodge in wild wolves,” said Carolyn Sime, head of Montana’s wolf program. No one has a clue about where the voracious sheep-eater came from, she added, since the domestic wolf business is a “closeted industry.” Meanwhile, in Juneau, Alaska, a lone black wolf dubbed “Romeo” by locals loves to romp with dogs on frozen Mendenhall Lake; he’s even allowed people to touch him. The Juneau Empire newspaper ran pictures of Romeo loping off with a pet pug in his mouth, as if the dog were a rabbit. The wolf finally dropped the pug — apparently unharmed — on its back. Because animals that lose their fear of humans often end up shot, state biologists may pepper the friendly wolf with beanbags or rubber bullets to teach it to back off.

 

COLORADO

Right message, wrong illustration: The Boulder, Colo., Daily Camera recently featured a front-page picture of a solar panel array to illustrate its story on the benefits of alternative energy. But as Jane and Russ Monson point out in a letter to the editor, the photo actually revealed an extravagant waste of resources. The solar panels heat a new 1,528 square-foot garage complementing a new 7,150 square-foot house. What that picture really shows, said the Monsons, who live behind the property, is the “hypocrisy that has infiltrated much of our concern toward the future of our planet.”

 

THE NATION

You might have felt déjà vu all over again while reading the Casper Star-Tribune’s account of a House oversight hearing on the Interior Department: Inspector General Earl Devaney said its culture is “replete with a lack of accountability.” When staffers — usually political appointees — get caught awarding contracts to their friends, for example, they might be scolded or counseled to take ethics classes, but often an offense is ignored. This comes as no surprise to Robin Nazarro of the Government Accountability Office. Fifteen years ago, she told the House Natural Resources Committee, GAO officials testified about the “same persistent management problems.”

 

IDAHO

“The ski bum is dead in Sun Valley,” I.M. Chauncey told the Idaho Mountain Express. “All I have to do is turn out the lights when I leave.” For 11 years, Chauncey has lived poor in order to go telemark skiing, but now, he says, that kind of dedication is gone. Not quite, says Jeff Smull, who manages to sell real estate while putting in 100 days a season on the slopes. He figures the breed has evolved: “We’re not professional ski bums,” he says. “I think the new ski bum has a retirement package.”

 

NEVADA

As the Salt Lake Tribune put it, “Not everything done in Vegas stays in Vegas.” The Utah-based online genealogy service Ancestry.com recently posted marriage and divorce records for Las Vegas from 1956 through 2005, so celebrity groupies can now look up the unions and disunions of everyone from Elizabeth Taylor to Elvis Presley.

High Country News Classifieds
  • COMMUNITY OUTREACH MANAGER
    High Country News (HCN) is looking for a Community Outreach Manager to reach and forge new relationships with individuals and groups who represent communities historically...
  • 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
  • CLIMATE JUSTICE FELLOW
    High Country News, an award-winning magazine covering the communities and environment of the Western United States, seeks applicants for a climate justice fellowship. The fellowship...
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    The Wild Rockies Field Institute is seeking a visionary Executive Director to lead the organization in Missoula, Montana. Individuals with a proven track record in...
  • 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...
  • ARIZONA PROGRAM MANAGER
    National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA), the nation's oldest and largest national parks nonprofit advocacy organization seeks an Arizona Program Manager. The Arizona Program Manager works...
  • CROWN OF THE CONTINENT COMMUNITY CONSERVATION SPECIALIST
    THE WILDERNESS SOCIETY is seeking a Community Conservation Specialist, for the Crown of the Continent DEPARTMENT: Conservation CLASSIFICATION: Grade 6 Specialist/Representative (Low of $54K) REPORTS...
  • ASSISTANT FARM DIRECTOR
    About The Organization Building community through fresh vegetables is at the heart of the Sisters-based non-profit, Seed to Table Oregon. Based on a four-acre diversified...
  • 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...
  • DYNAMIC EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    VARD is seeking an Executive Director to lead a small legal & planning staff dedicated to the health and sustainability of Teton Valley Idaho and...
  • 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...
  • CAMPAIGNS DIRECTOR
    Southeast Alaska Conservation is hiring. Visit https://www.seacc.org/about/hiring for info. 907-586-6942 [email protected]
  • FINANCE & GRANTS MANAGER
    The Blackfoot Challenge, located in Ovando, MT, seeks a self-motivated, detail-oriented individual to conduct bookkeeping, financial analysis and reporting, and grant oversight and management. Competitive...
  • 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....
  • CONTRIBUTING EDITOR, BOOKS, CULTURE AND COMMENTARY (PART-TIME, CONTRACT)
    High Country News is seeking a Contributing Editor for Books, Culture and Commentary to assign and edit inquisitive, inspiring, and thought-provoking content for HCN in...
  • STATEWIDE COMMUNITY ORGANIZER
    ABOUT US Better Wyoming is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy organization that educates, organizes, and mobilizes Wyoming residents on behalf of statewide change. Learn more at...
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    TwispWorks is a 501(c)3 that promotes economic and cultural vitality in the mountainous Methow Valley, the eastern gateway to North Cascades National Park in Washington...
  • CLEAN ENERGY ADVOCATE OR DIRECTOR
    Location: Helena, Montana Type: Permanent, full time after 1-year probationary period. Reports to: Director of Policy and Legislative Affairs. Travel: Some overnight travel, both in-state...
  • 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.