Heard around the West


At least once a day, High Country News is mistaken for the local High Country Shopper. In the Shopper you can find goats, chain-link fence, slightly used wedding dresses and the like for bargain prices. Depending on your blood sugar level, the headlines for ads in the Shopper can seem anything from commonplace to hallucinatory (our favorite, which spent a month on the office bathroom mirror, was "KITTENS: BIG ENOUGH TO EAT"). A sampling of this week's headlines:


Respectively, the ads were for gardening help, a Cadillac and scientific equipment.

Competition between the Shopper and the News is pretty much limited to the Paonia Chili Cook-off, where we go head-to-head in the newspaper division once a year. Relations are not so pleasant between Denver's two major dailies, since they are duking it out in a nasty circulation war.

The Rocky Mountain News, which recently stopped circulating in rural Colorado, sent a brochure to prospective advertisers which emits a mooing noise while being opened. It features two cows standing in a pasture. "Before placing your next ad (in the Denver Post, which circulates state-wide) , consider that the lack of opposable thumbs makes flipping pages difficult," it reads.

Rural Coloradoans were not amused. State Rep. Tim Foster, R-Grand Junction, called the ad "outrageous."

"They're saying we can't read and we don't have thumbs," he told the Post. "It shows their Cincinnati-based company doesn't get more than 5 miles out of the city." The News is owned by Scripps-Howard.


Speaking of competing for a livelihood, if you're a woman in Wyoming, it's no contest. Women make only 51 cents for each dollar earned by men in the state, far below the national average for women of 70 cents to a dollar. (After all, it isn't called the Cowgirl State). Katherine Jensen, an associate professor of sociology and women's studies at the University of Wyoming, told the Casper Star-Tribune that national trends favoring male breadwinners are exacerbated by the isolation of Wyoming's small towns, where, if women decide to work, they usually have few options beyond minimum-wage jobs.


It's not just women who are scrounging for pennies; so are wilderness rangers. Since 1984, Kari Gunderson and Joseph Flood have opened trails, cleaned firepits, hauled out garbage and promoted low-impact camping in Montana's Mission Mountains.

Because of the husband-and-wife team's work, the area's dozen or so grizzly bears have kept away from campsites - and trouble. The bears are the only link between the grizzlies in the Bob Marshall Wilderness and the population that may be reintroduced in the Bitterroot Mountains. But this year the Flathead National Forest didn't renew Gunderson and Flood's contract because of budget problems. So a local chapter of Wilderness Watch raised enough money to send them into the backcountry in early July. More money is needed, however, to keep them out there. Contact Friends of the Missions, P.O. Box 1341, Condon, MT 59826, 406/754-2347.


During an otherwise predictable meeting on persistent growth in the Northern Rockies, Utah-based resort planner Myles Rademan salted his presentation with one-liners, reports the Casper Star-Tribune. Among them:

A description of the "Ralph Lauren Westerner:" "Someone who spends a whole year saving so he can dress like a Forest Service employee."

Politics in his home state: "Utah is the only state that has two senators who are to the right of one another."

A bumper sticker in northern Arizona said: "So many snowbirds, so little freezer space."


Despite the Rocky Mountain News' attitude about the boondocks, big city papers can still get the scoop out in the country. The New York Times recently reported from Jordan, Mont.:

"Two members of the Freemen, a militant anti-government group that has held off law enforcement officials near here for almost three weeks, turned themselves into Federal Bureau of Investigation agents late this afternoon."

The New Yorker magazine's quip on the report: "If you can't beat 'em ..."

As for the Freemen, they turned themselves into captives this month.

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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