Putrid spillage; New Mexico fisticuffs; the year, in quotes

Mishaps and mayhem from around the region.

  • CALIFORNIA Someday, the start of “Anthropocene Park.”

    John Ferrara
 

THE WEST
Messy truck spills for the year 2016
were mapped by an innovative website called -Atlasobscura.com, and the West hosted quite a few outstanding mishaps. In Utah, dozens of live pigs were “launched” onto the road near St. George, and in Colorado, 60,000 pounds of expired Miller Genuine Draft beer “almost flew out of the side” of a semi-truck onto Interstate 70. In Montana, 30,000 pounds of used cooking grease and 200 gallons of fuel splashed all over a road near Helena, while in Whitewater, California, an August accident resulted in $5,000 worth of ice cream melting rapidly on the hot black asphalt. In Washington, 27 tons of chicken manure sent cars skidding until workers could clean up the mess and sand the road, while a frozen food truck near Burns, Oregon, literally spilled the beans after a train rammed it from the back. A crash on Interstate 25 in New Mexico exploded a full load of soda “out of the front of the tractor trailer.” But Mesa, Arizona, takes the cake, or maybe the caca, for a “putrid scene.” After a truck transporting Porta-potties and a septic tank full of human waste crashed and rolled over, a mess of nasty liquids got sloshed all over the road. If only a tractor-trailer carrying 29,000 pounds of toilet paper and paper towels had happened by! And in fact there was an accident that dumped those very paper products on the highway. Unfortunately, it happened too far away to help; the paper products were spilled near Elk Grove, California, after a tractor-trailer hydroplaned and crashed.

NEW MEXICO
It happened during an executive session
about a proposed rate increase, so we may never know what triggered the fisticuffs in the Taos boardroom of the Kit Carson Electric Cooperative. But a disagreement became so heated that two elected representatives took it out into the hall, reports the Albuquerque Tribune. Then things really got hot. Virgil Martinez, 62, who had reportedly yelled, “I will kill him!” during the meeting, received a bloody lip, nosebleed and black eye, while Chris Duran, 44, suffered injuries after two religious medals were ripped from his neck. In an email afterward, board member Bob Bresnahan said the chaotic scene left everyone else there “in shock.”

THE WEST
Before we end 2016, we’d like to share
some of the year’s best quotations, about everything from polar bears befriending dogs to the difference between God and the Forest Service.

Utah Republican Gov. Gary Herbert told the Salt Lake Tribune that he didn’t think that a new registry for refugees was drastically needed. The Beehive State has taken in over 1,000 refugees since last February, and as Herbert put it: “They’re not the terrorists, they’re the ones running from terrorism.”

In The New York Times recently, Timothy Egan reprised a choice remark about our nation’s faithless relationship with Native Americans: “Consider how Jon Stewart once described the national holiday just passed. ‘I celebrated Thanksgiving in an old-fashioned way. I invited everyone in my neighborhood to my house, we had an enormous feast, and then I killed them and took their land.’ ”

Also on a holiday note, Grand Canyon educator Marjorie “Slim” Woodruff tells us that she’s spent the last 20 Christmases at -Phantom Ranch, at the bottom of Grand Canyon on the Colorado River. When a friend asked if she should take her 8-year-old son down the 9.3-mile-long Bright Angel Trail this winter, Slim says, “I told her I started taking my son when he was 4. But he never comes home for Christmas any more, so she could make of that what she wished.”

In Texas, Craigslist helped a house-trained bison named Bullet find a new home, reports the Dallas Morning News. Karen Schoeve, a court reporter, said her 1,100-pound pet had a great personality and acted more like a dog than a bison. What’s more, “She’s hardy, unlike those sissy longhorns.” Sold for $5,950, Bullet now lives in a pasture with two cows for companionship.

A video of a chained-up polar bear in Canada petting a friendly dog went viral. This was probably unfortunate, said wildlife biologist Tom Smith in the Washington Post, as it might give viewers the wrong impression about how this budding relationship is likely to end. “To me, it’s like trying to see if the food’s ready or not. It’s not surprising that it would try to explore this dog … but I guarantee if you left that bear there long enough, it would say, ‘I wonder what this dog tastes like?’ I’d be sorely disappointed in a bear that didn’t ultimately eat that dog.”

And in Colorado Central Magazine, John Mattingly recalled an old saw about a government agency frequently accused of hubris: “The difference between God and the Forest Service is that God does not think she is the Forest Service.”

Tips and photos of Western oddities are appreciated and often shared in this column. Write [email protected] or tag photos #heardaroundthewest on Instagram. 

High Country News Classifieds
  • CHAPTER DIRECTOR - IDAHO SIERRA CLUB
    Idaho could lead the nation in the transition to clean energy, and the Idaho Sierra Club is committed to making that happen. We seek to...
  • SEASONAL SAN JUAN RANGERS
    Seeking experienced crew members to patrol Colorado's most iconic mountain wilderness.
  • ENDANGERED SPECIES STAFF SCIENTIST
    The Center for Biological Diversity seeks a staff scientist to advocate for the conservation of endangered species. General position overview: The position will involve working...
  • STAFF ATTORNEY - ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH PROGRAM
    The Center for Biological Diversity - a national nonprofit organization dedicated to the protection of imperiled plants, animals and wild places - seeks a dynamic...
  • STAFF ATTORNEY
    The Center for Biological Diversity seeks a Staff Attorney to join our team of attorneys, scientists, campaigners who are working to protect America's public lands...
  • SOUTHWEST CONSERVATION ADVOCATE
    The Center for Biological Diversity seeks a Southwest Conservation Advocate to join our team of attorneys, scientists and campaigners who are working to protect America's...
  • OCEANS PROGRAM CAMPAIGNER
    The Center for Biological Diversity seeks an experienced campaigner for its oceans program. The aim of the position is to campaign for the protection of...
  • CLIMATE LAW INSTITUTE ATTORNEY
    The Center for Biological Diversity's Climate Law Institute is looking to add an attorney to its team and will consider applicants at both staff attorney...
  • FULL-TIME CAMPAIGN DIRECTOR
    The Center for Biological Diversity seeks a full-time Campaign Director in our Climate Law Institute to join our campaign for progressive, urgent government action to...
  • WESTERN WATER PROJECT MANAGER
    National Wildlife Federation is hiring NM-based position focused on riparian corridors, watershed health. Learn more and apply online: https://www.nwf.org/about-us/careers
  • ASSOCIATE PROGRAM DIRECTOR
    Position Title: Associate Program Director Location: New Mexico; flexible in state Position reports to: Senior Program Director Position Closes: March 13, 2020 GENERAL DESCRIPTION: The...
  • DEAN, W. A. FRANKE COLLEGE OF FORESTRY AND CONSERVATION, UNIVERSITY OF MONTANA
    Dean, W. A. Franke College of Forestry and Conservation, apply http://bit.ly/2548umjobs. AA/EEO/ADA/Veterans Preference Employer
  • GRAPHIC DESIGNER
    Western Resource Advocates (WRA) seeks a creative and driven graphic design professional to design high quality print and digital collateral. The Graphic Designer will bring...
  • STEWARDSHIP SPECIALIST
    San Isabel Land Protection Trust seeks experienced person to manage its 133 conservation easements in south-central Colorado.
  • CAMPAIGN REPRESENTATIVE
    Sierra Club's Beyond Dirty Fuels Campaign is hiring an experienced campaigner to lead our work challenging the oil and fracked gas industry on the Gulf...
  • AG LANDS PROGRAM DIRECTOR
    Oregon Agricultural Trust (OAT) seeks passionate relationship builder experienced in coordinating agricultural conservation easement transactions.
  • REMOTE SITKA ALASKA FLOAT HOUSE VACATION RENTAL
    Vacation rental located in calm protected waters 8 miles from Sitka, AK via boat with opportunities to fish and view wildlife. Skiff rental also available.
  • FINANCE DIRECTOR
    Mountain Studies Inst (MSI) is hiring 4+ positions: Finance Director; Coms/Engagmnt Mngr; Dev/Engagmnt Dir; Americorps vol
  • COMMUNICATIONS AND ENGAGEMENT MANAGER
    Mountain Studies Inst (MSI) is hiring 4+ positions: Finance Director; Dev/Engagement Dir; Coms/Engagement Mngr; & Americorps volunteer
  • SEASONAL TRAIL CREW LEADERS
    Lead the nation's premier volunteer-based trail crew programs on the spectacular Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail. This is a great career-building opportunity for rising professionals....