A friend to crows, a foe of climate change and a scourge on man buns.

Mishaps and mayhem from around the region.

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    Greg Glassman

Mikelis Beitiks, 32, is running for the U.S. Senate in California on a platform with just one plank: He promises to do nothing but “monomaniacally create and support legislation that combats climate change.” After all, as he says on his website, iwillnotdonothing.org, none of the other issues — ISIS, Obamacare, Russia, immigration reform — really matter “because we’re all going to die.”

Eight-year-old Gabi Mann befriended a murder of crows and some pigeons a few years ago and fed them daily. In return, reports the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, they left her “gifts of beakable bits of refuse collected from the posh central Seattle neighborhood.” But as the birds communicated with other birds about the free food, some of Gabi’s human neighbors began to complain about what they left behind — messy droppings covering houses, cars and lawns. Recently, 51 homeowners signed a petition against the bird feedings, and two neighbors sued Gabi’s parents, citing the 1963 film The Birds: “No one wants to be trapped living inside an Alfred Hitchcock horror movie.”

In Colorado’s Roaring Fork Valley, which links Aspen, Carbondale and Glenwood Springs, there’s a growing income gap: Some residents are lucky enough to own three homes, reports the Colorado Post-Independent, while others are forced to work three jobs. The weekly called its five-part series on the issue “The Price of Paradise,” and one of its more startling findings was that a two-career family who moved from San Francisco could not afford a house in the Roaring Fork Valley. Meanwhile, commuting time keeps getting longer. Whew.

Colorado Outdoors magazine shared some great tips for “wapiti wooing.” (“Wapiti,” if you’re wondering, probably derives from the Shawnee word for “white rump.”) For bull elk, for instance, it helps to grow the biggest rack possible, even though antlers get shed and regrown every year. Bigger is apparently always better in the eyes of discerning cows: “It certainly can pay to carry 40-plus pounds of bone on your head.” But corralling and mating with cows is tough work, and bulls may lose up to 20 percent of their body mass from their battles with wannabe suitors. Not surprisingly, those fought-over females tend to have a longer life span than their lovers.

If you’re a male student at Brigham Young University, Idaho, don’t even think of sporting a “man bun,” the hairstyle that features a topknot flanked by shaved hair on the sides of the head. It’s not a conventional look and therefore considered “an extreme hairstyle,” according to Tyler Barton, a student honor administrator. “It’s just something that deviates from the norm.” The Scroll, the student newspaper, reports that the bun ban applies to employees of the private college, too.

When wildfire ravaged the land around the central California town of Jackson, population 4,600, the Jackson Rancheria and Casino Resort prudently asked its guests to leave. But the hotel didn’t stay empty for long, says resident Ruth Cornell. “They then opened the hotel to evacuees from the Butte Fire, set up a buffet for meals, and fed 1,000 people three meals a day for a week, ending Sept. 19.” Entertainers scheduled to appear at the hotel pitched in, too, and entertained the displaced families, some of whom camped in the hotel’s RV Park and parking lots. Members of the community and local churches also donated so much, from tents, fresh produce and clothes, that the excess was sent to people fleeing from the Valley Fire, north of San Francisco. “I thought this story was worth telling,” says Cornell.

Those who fear “mayhem around the corner,” whether fire, ice or a government takeover, should talk to real estate broker Theresa Mondale in western Montana. Her specialty is finding homes so remote that residents can weather the worst modern life can throw at them. Or so they fervently hope. “Survival property isn’t just for fanatics,” Mondale insists. “Still, it’s a business where deals are done with guns holstered at the hip and locations are often undisclosed,” reports the Missoula Independent. Some of the properties Mondale handles are accessible only by boat, while others lie underground; she just sold one near Hamilton that was billed as an “extreme survival complex,” with a state-of-the art, 1,780-square-foot bunker hidden beneath a dull metal building. “For a lot of people,” Mondale says, “that’s their fantasy world-reality.” Preparedness is the byword of these buyers, who call themselves “preppers.” Meanwhile, those of us who see the world through a slightly less dire lens are mere “sheeple,” pawns of “the system” who are oblivious to the coming Armageddon. As Mondale puts it, “My personal opinion: The zombie apocalypse, it’s here right now.”


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