Garden gnomes stolen; shipping container homes for sale

Mishaps and mayhem from around the region.

  • OREGON Ready for roadside chow.

    Emily Jane Davis
 

THE WEST
Massive solar plants are springing up like dandelions in California, Nevada and Arizona. “Rapid growth” doesn’t do it justice: According to the Center for Land Use Interpretation, based in Culver City, California, more than a dozen huge installations, ranging up to 500 megawatts each, are under construction, each one ranking among the world’s largest. With the help of a drone, the center’s winter publication, The Lay of the Land, provided breathtaking photos of some of the area’s existing photovoltaic power plants. Their scale is startling, as ranks of solar panels stretch endlessly across flat valley land. Seen from high up, some look remarkably like the Nazca lines, Peru’s ancient desert geoglyphs. Two neighboring plants in the remote Carrizo Plain of California — the Topaz Solar Plant and California Solar Ranch — cover close to 10 square miles and together can produce a total of 750 megawatts. Driving this regional solar boom is California, whose Legislature has mandated a cutback on fossil fuel dependence.

 

WYOMING
It didn’t start out as a fight between equals, reports the Jackson Hole News&Guide, though it became a fight to the death. The aggressor was a lion, true, but a small, 40-pound feline that had already survived frostbitten ears as well as a vicious attack by an eagle, while its intended prey was a waddling porcupine more interested in chewing bark and digging for fungi and bulbs. Mark Elbroch, Teton Cougar Project leader, said that though porcupines sometimes survive lion attacks, the big cats usually win. One young lioness he studied killed 24 porcupines in less than three months: “One of her techniques was to climb trees and throw porcupines to the ground, injuring or stunning them enough for her to attack their vulnerable bellies.” This particular encounter, however, ended like the fifth act of a Shakespearean tragedy: Both animals died, the lion eventually succumbing to quills that worked their way into one lung. As the Bard might say, “The rest is silence.”

 

UTAH
Bicyclists celebrated last September when the Salt Lake City Council passed an ordinance requiring businesses with drive-thrus to serve two-wheelers along with four-wheeled vehicles. That seemed like a reasonable idea to many, but take-out parity ended abruptly when the Utah Legislature recently voted 20-6 to override the city’s ordinance. Why did hungry bikers get the shaft? According to the Salt Lake Tribune, one business owner cited employee safety: “Workers at the order window may become targets of harassment from customers on bikes who have neither sedan door nor seatbelt to restrain them.” Derek Smith of Presidio Insurance had another rationale, if you can call it that: “When people are doing illegal drugs and they get the munchies, they approach the drive-thru.”

 

THE NATION
When New York Times columnist Timothy Egan gets on a roll, Katy bar the door. His target recently was Utah, which “is to the dietary supplement business what Northern California is to marijuana” — a $13 billion business based on charlatanism and well-connected lobbying. Egan specifically scolded Republican Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch, because Hatch, back in 1994, “midwifed through Congress a new industry protected from all but minimal regulation.” By law, supplements can’t claim to cure disease, but they can claim to make you healthier in some sort of “natural” way. Recent studies in this country and Canada, however, revealed that the ingredients of many expensive supplements were nothing more than grass clippings or other fillers you could more accurately label “junk in a pill.”  If you still trust supplements, Egan concludes, “go buy some possible Ginkgo biloba-free Ginkgo biloba, and thank Orrin Hatch for the unfettered right to be a sucker.”

 

COLORADO
Pink flamingos, religiously themed grottos and chubby, bearded gnomes are certainly matters of individual taste (or lack thereof), but few of us feel the urge to “liberate” them from other people’s yards. Yet someone in Boulder, Colorado — with tongue firmly in cheek — has formed a Gnome Liberation Front to free these particular statuettes from lawn service. The revolution began when a gnome abandoned longtime resident David Smith, who seemed puzzled, noting that his missing statue was merely “your typical tacky-looking kind of gnome.” The gnome-napper, as the Boulder Daily Camera dubbed him, explained in a poem left behind that Smith had failed to appreciate the gnome’s long service, so now, its days of “guarding your yard like a Roman slave” were done. “In one sense, it’s kind of amusing, but in another sense, it’s a little bit unnerving,” Smith said. The “violation of property” was bad enough, he said — “and then the taunting.”

 

MONTANA
Would you like to live in a well-designed can? A Missoula company called Montainer buys metal shipping containers for $3,000-$5,000 and turns them into complete 192-square-foot homes, each with bathroom, kitchen and washer-dryer. The $65,000 “housette” is called the Nomad 192, and its shell, says CEO Patrick Collins, is “corten steel” and will never rust.

High Country News Classifieds
  • UNIQUE, ENERGY-EFFICIENT HOME ON ACREAGE NEAR MOSCOW, IDAHO
    Custom-built energy-efficient 3000 sqft two-story 3BR home, 900 sqft 1 BR accessory cottage above 2-car garage and large shop. Large horse barn. $1,200,000. See online...
  • OUTDOOR ADVENTURE BUSINESS FOR SALE
    Missoula Outdoor Learning Adventures (MOLA) - established and profitable outdoor adventure & education business in Missoula, Montana. Summer camp, raft & climb guide, teen travel,...
  • OJO SARCO FARM/HOME
    A wonderful country setting for a farm/work 1350s.f. frame home plus 1000 studio/workshop. 5 acres w fruit trees, an irrigation well, pasture and a small...
  • STEWARDSHIP COORDINATOR
    Join Skagit Land Trust (the Trust), a not-for-profit conservation organization based in Mount Vernon, Washington, and help protect land for people and wildlife. Skagit Land...
  • 2022 SEASONAL SCIENCE EDUCATOR
    The Mount St. Helens Institute Science Educator supports our science education and rental programs including day and overnight programs for youth ages 6-18, their families...
  • POLICY DIRECTOR
    Heart of the Rockies Initiative is seeking a Policy Director to lead and define policy efforts to advance our mission to keep working lands and...
  • CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER
    Self-Help Enterprises seeks an experienced and strategic CFO
  • CONSERVATION SPECIALIST - LAND PROTECTION FOCUS
    View full job description and how to apply at
  • RIVER EDUCATOR & GUIDE
    River Educator & Guide River Educator & Guide (Trip Leader) Non-exempt, Seasonal Position: Full-time OR part-time (early April through October; may be flexible with start/end...
  • 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...
  • FOOD SYSTEMS ENVIRONMENTAL FELLOWSHIP
    If you were to design a sustainable society from the ground up, it would look nothing like the contemporary United States. But what would it...
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    The Rio Grande Headwaters Land Trust (RiGHT) is seeking an Executive Director who will lead RiGHT toward a future of continued high conservation impact, organizational...
  • COMMUNITY ORGANIZER
    Help protect Montana's water quality, family farms and ranches, & unique quality of life. Work hard, meet good people, make the world a better place!...
  • VERDE RIVER PROJECTS TECHNICIAN
    The Verde River Projects Technician (VRPT) provides technical assistance to Verde River Program staff in implementation of the Verde River Streamflow Monitoring Protocol. This consist...
  • 8 FIELD PROJECT SPECIALISTS (POSITION FORMERLY TITLED TRAIL CREW TECHNICAL ADVISOR)
    Are you passionate about environmental conservation and connecting people to the outdoors? The Pacific Crest Trail Association (PCTA) is looking for someone with outdoor leadership...
  • SOUTHWEST REWILDING ADVOCATE
    WildEarth Guardians is seeking a full-time advocate in our Wild Places Program to advance a new paradigm of forest management and protection based on the...
  • 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
  • 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...
  • 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...