Heard around the West


A man living near Red Lodge, Mont., not that far from Yellowstone National Park, was heading home with a "Road Kill" hot pizza loaded with plenty of extra meat and cheese when he saw what looked like a wolf. So he did what anyone would do: stopped and fed the animal a few slices of pizza, and then he caught it. The Bozeman Daily Chronicle reported that "he actually had it eating out of his hand."

Federal officials in charge of wolf recovery, who know the Yellowstone wolves in some cases better than they know their children (it's been a tough few months), swear it is not one of theirs. It's a tame wolf, they say, or a wolf-dog hybrid. (The owner, when he showed up a few days later, said it was a Husky.)

The Chronicle suggests that you don't need a DNA test to prove an animal isn't a wild wolf.

"When you capture a genuine wolf with pizza, there will be undeniable evidence - like an empty sleeve."


Speaking of empty sleeves, when the Crow Nation ceded away most of its territory, including what is now the Big Horn National Forest in Wyoming, it got the following privilege written into its 1868 treaty:

"... they shall have the right to hunt on the unoccupied lands of the United States so long as the game may be found thereon, and as long as peace subsists among the whites and Indians on the borders of the hunting districts."

Now, according to Indian Country Today, the federal 10th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that those rights are kaput. The judges ruled that the founding of the Big Horn National Forest means the land is now occupied, even if no one lives there.


Also in the spirit of fair play, the Casper Star-Tribune reports that fathers of three football team members in Lyman, Wyo., offered their sons $100 for each opponent they put out of the game during the state playoff against Glenrock.

Two things happened: School officials prohibited the parents from attending local athletic events for an entire month, and Glenrock won 14-6.


Who could be more different than Sen. Alan Simpson and Rep. Pat Schroeder. He's from Wyoming, she's from Colorado. He's tough on senior citizen groups that support high Social Security benefits. She passionately defends Social Security.

But behind those superficial differences lies a sameness: After retirement in December, neither will get a check from Social Security. Their golden years will be paid for by a very generous congressional retirement plan, says the National Taxpayers Union Foundation. Schroeder, in Congress since 1973, will receive estimated lifetime benefits of $4.1 million while Simpson scrapes by on $1.6 million in benefits, or about $7,700/month.

Opinion editor Charles Levandosky writing in the Casper Star-Tribune, says the congressional pension plan has an unfunded liability of more than $500 billion. He writes, "You and I pick up the tab - to borrow Simpson's colorful language - for the "geezer" comforts of our self-styled budget-conscious members of Congress."


Speaking of Wyoming and Colorado, writer Linda Hasselstrom swears she overheard the following in Denver's Pelican Restaurant on Jan. 13:

Woman to dinner companion: "Where is Jackson, I mean in relation to Wyoming?"

Man: "Honey, Jackson is right next to Wyoming."

Is he ignorant, or was he just telling her what many in Wyoming already think: Jackson isn't exactly in Wyoming.


Finally, good news from Denver International Airport.

A taxi driver, frustrated by his three-hour wait for a fare, told his passenger that DIA "was the most awful thing to happen to Denver." He also said Stapleton airport had been "just fine," the Denver Post reported.

His passenger, he learned to his sorrow, had been Denver City Councilwoman Polly Flobeck. She lost no time reporting him to airport officials, and they lost no time plotting to put spies, posing as fares, in cabs to monitor cabbie conversation.

When he learned about the spies, Denver Mayor Wellington Webb said: "The idea doesn't make any sense, and is terminated."

So the good news is that we will continue to hear the bad news while paying $40 or so to ride from DIA into Denver.

Heard around the West invites readers to get involved in the column. Send any tidbits that merit sharing - small-town newspaper clips, personal anecdotes, relevant bumpersticker slogans. The definition remains loose. Heard, HCN, Box 1090, Paonia, CO 81428 or [email protected]

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