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letters, opinions, editorials
Stereogram, by Gary Priester. Can
you “read” the hidden image? Relax your eyes and look
“through” the image, not focusing on the foreground.
Let your brain work the magic.
re: One-way frontage road? No way.
In response to Michael Sare’s “Gauntlet” letter
[July 2007 Signpost] about getting the truck traffic redirected
to the Algodones exit, it’s not possible, according to S.U.
Mahesh, Public Liaison Officer for the state transportation office.
It can’t happen because the frontage road is a state road
which, by law, is open to all vehicles. Asked if it could be made
one-way only, he said it can’t. When the same question was
posed to one of the Louis Berger Group’s representatives who
did the recent US 550 Connectivity Study, I was told that making
all truck traffic use the Algodones exit would not be fair to the
residents of Algodones. Calls to Jerry Trujillo at the District
3 State Department of Transportation have not been returned. Looks
like there’s pretty much of a road-block on that idea.
—CHRIS HUBER, Placitas
re: soaked at the Placitas 4th of July Parade
What did you all think of this year’s parade? Kind of short,
huh? The Placitas Fourth of July parade used to be one of the best
I have ever seen! My groups loved participating in it. It was a
wonderful experience and it was fun because Placitas used to be
a proud community of polite, respectful people who supported children.
For over ten years, my dance teams, our Placitas Brownie Troop,
and now our Rio Rancho Girl Scout Troops have participated. It had
become a tradition. We looked forward to sharing candy, singing,
etc. Spectators cheered the groups on, respecting all the hard work
that goes into the decorations, and shouting words of encouragement
and support, holding themselves to a higher standard. It was awesome!
Recently though, spectators and parade participants bring BIG
SOAKERS and buckets of water. What probably began as little water
guns operated by children (which could be tolerated as a prank)
has grown to the big soakers operated by adults and children alike.
Anything that moves (or not) is a fair target.
In 2005, one of my seven-year-old Brownie Girl Scouts was knocked
off her chair on the float by an unexpected blast from a Big Soaker
shot by an adult who laughed as she fell. She could have been injured
badly had she tumbled off the float and gotten run over. Over the
years, expensive equipment and decorations have been ruined by these
blasts of water. Think about it. What if this was your child/loved
one and he/she got hurt? What if it was your equipment/decorations
that got ruined?
We did not participate this year. It was too big a risk to take.
However, I attended and watched as people (mostly adults) soaked
the parade participants (children, pets, nice vehicles and, yes,
even vehicles that weren’t in the parade). A young participant
screamed concern for her little dog as she and it were soaked. The
adults shooting at them didn’t stop. Do you want to teach
children that it’s okay not to respect other people or their
property? What will it take to stop this dangerous behavior? Perhaps
a fatality! This should be a celebration of our freedom, a time
to honor troops who are putting their lives on the line for you
CHALLENGE! Leave the Big Soakers and water buckets home. Let’s
see if we can salvage this parade for future residents and your
neighbors to enjoy!
—STELLA HOKANSON, Bernalillo
re: Sandoval Broadband
I attended the Sandoval County Commission meeting tonight. Netlogix
(yet another out-of-state contractor with no stake in the community),
the firm hired by the County to evaluate the Broadband ‘project,’
reported the following:
They could only find equipment on about three towers (they saw
five towers in total, one appeared to be working). Equipment is
‘low-end’ and not carrier-grade. Total value: maybe
$1,000. That’s it, no other equipment anywhere. $2.6M spent
so far, and taxpayers got about a thousand dollars of stuff—which
does not work.
The consultants were asked what it would cost to ‘start
over.’ They stated: To build just a ‘backbone’
network to Cuba would cost about $1.1M. This would not bring service
to anyone. Two additional network layers would need to be built,
the distribution layer and the access layer. They did not venture
a guess as to what this might cost. Netlogix estimates it will cost
$16,000 per month to maintain such a backbone.
Next came a Commission vote to develop an RFP to build such a
backbone network. It was approved unanimously. But wait, there’s
more—they voted to rob an education fund of $1M to pay for
it! They voted on an extremely aggressive timeline to get the RFP
out, and to give the bidders only eight days to respond.
By anyone’s standard of measure, the contractors on the
‘project’ committed complete and total fraud. Out of
$2.6M or so, only about one thousand dollars of equipment can be
By anyone’s standard of measure, the County is guilty of absolute
and utter negligence in presiding over the loss of this money.
So tonight, the Commissioners unanimously voted to spend another
million to build just a backbone network which will not provide
a single person with anything (remember, no plan for the distribution
layer and the access layer). There is no plan (that has been publicly
revealed) or budget to fund the build-out of the other layers.
Oh, by the way, Cuba and the Pueblo already have broadband access,
I believe. The schools have T-1s. They are $2,800/month each. The
County could buy the school in Cuba another T and the Pueblo another
T (doubling their bandwidth) and pay for it for the next twelve
years with the money they approved tonight to spend on a new contract
‘backbone’ project which provides nothing in and of
Something is very wrong with the Commissioners, in my opinion.
You don’t put five people together in a room and get them
to unanimously decide on anything, much less a vote to continue
a project that has failed by all accounts. The purpose of a governing
body is that it will self-regulate and any one person’s agenda
will be balanced by others. This is not the case here. The commissioners
are acting as one unit, coming to these votes already pre-agreed
to vote in unison.
Given the ongoing Auditor’s investigation, a prudent governing
body would table such a project, say for six months until the smoke
clears, then revisit it next year.
The population of Cuba is maybe six hundred, the population of
the Pueblo maybe one thousand? Say two thousand folks are out there.
It is reasonable and conservative to assume maybe ten percent of
the population will actually use such a network, assuming it were
to ever be built. So, we are looking at serving at best a few hundred
souls with this $4 million backbone. You could run two buses a day,
seven days a week to bring these people to the Bernalillo library
to use the Internet there and you could run these buses for ten
years with the $4 million.
The Commissioners are, in my humble opinion, acting irresponsibly
at best, criminally at worst—failing in their fiduciary duty
to protect taxpayer treasure. Normal democratic checks and balances
have utterly failed due to collusion and human folly, or perhaps
more sinister underlying causes. The Commissioners must be stopped
by someone in state government and/or Sandoval County residents.
It seems this huge windfall of Intel money was too tempting to leave
Hector [State Auditor Balderas], help! This is, money-wise, one
of the government’s biggest fraud, waste, and abuse stories
to come to light in New Mexico since the Bernalillo Courthouse scandal.
I call upon the masterminds at the County—Hays and possibly
one or two Commissioners who dreamed up this bogus project—to
immediately resign. Do yourself and your constituents a favor, instead
of furthering the cover-up and furthering the financial loss, show
some integrity and go away now. Do the right thing and make yourself
—BOBBY BOUNDS, Placitas
re: mindlessly wasting water?
While driving through Anasazi Trails at around 3:15 p.m. the other
day, I noticed several long-throw sprinklers (the whirling kind
that send a spray of water about ten to twenty feet) going full-blast
at one of the newly completed homes. Even worse, the temperature
was in the nineties, which means that most of that water will quickly
evaporate. This is New Mexico, people! A desert. The average rainfall
for Placitas is only about ten inches per year. This kind of thoughtless
water waste is simply not appropriate for this area. Replace those
long-throw sprinklers with a good drip system. Your plants (and
your water-conscious neighbors) will be a lot happier.
—GARY W. PRIESTER, Placitas
re: pull over and let others pass
A man writes to the Signpost that he has a problem with what he
perceives are tailgaters. I don’t know if I’ve ever
been behind him, but I know his ilk: the globs of cholesterol clogging
the main transportation artery of our community, insisting they
are doing the speed limit when in fact, they are puttering along
well below it. Speeding up slightly. Slowing down. Speeding up slightly.
Slowing down. I’ve been the caboose on somebody’s power
trip train many times. The letter writer proudly proclaims that
when a “sixtyish woman” passed him, he “flipped
her the bird and called her a bleeping bleep.” Wow, what a
man to raise his middle finger erection to a “sixtyish woman.”
I doubt he would have been that bold had he been passed by a car
full of menacing gansta’ types, lest they whip out their stolen
Glock and pop him. Then he is incredulous that he was flipped off
for his speed-up-slow-down stunt by a woman in a minivan with a
baby in a car seat. And he doesn’t see a trend?
I guess it never occurred to him that some people actually have
more urgent things to do than creep up and down Highway 165 behind
him. Maybe the “sixtyish woman” was hurrying home to
a family emergency. Maybe she just had to pee. Perhaps the woman
with the baby was rushing the child to the doctor.
Perhaps another tailgater was a physician rushing into Albuquerque
to perform life-saving surgery. Maybe a husband was trying to get
his pregnant wife to the hospital before she gave birth. Who knows?
And who is he to judge?
The ridiculously low and changing speed limit on Highway 165 is
more about keeping it a profit center for Sandoval County than safety.
The sheriff’s deputies will be there to bust you for going
three miles per hour over the speed limit but not to provide assistance
if, say, you’re rushing a dying pet to the emergency animal
hospital or trying to make it to the bedside of a critically-ill
loved one. Clearly, it never dawned on the letter writer there actually
are legitimate reasons to be in a hurry besides “expressing
arrogance” and “being impatient and stupid.” Many
of us know it can be an agonizingly long way into Albuquerque when
you have a real emergency, particularly when there are clogs slowing
traffic to a crawl, fearful their car might tip over if they hasten
through the S-curves at anything over thirty-five.
Ironically, the tailgate complainer doesn’t recognize himself
when he states that he is “reminded that, to some degree large
or small, each human being thinks that he or she is the center of
the universe.” So, I’ll aim your “simple plea”
to “please cease all tailgating on Route 165” right
back at you. If you keep having this problem, maybe, just maybe,
it’s YOUR PROBLEM. So take responsibility for your problem
by simply pulling over and letting others pass. It’s the courteous
thing to do if you find driving over forty to be too terrifying.
Rather than self-righteously anointing yourself as the traffic re-education
specialist—which you clearly demonstrated that you believe
you are from your lament: “she had learned nothing from the
bird I had flipped her”—let law enforcement take care
of traffic problems. They do a very overzealous job of it.
—SUSAN BLUMENTHAL, Placitas
re: Another day of enchantment
To Friends Back East:
I’ve just received your very brief letter inquiring as to
my status, i.e. “What’s new in the Land of Enchantment?”
Well, we still seek to make progress every day. Yesterday morning,
for example, my spouse allowed me to construct the grocery list
prior to my solo execution of the actual hands-on shopping process.
She was taken aback, however, when I informed her I had seventy-three
individual items on my list. She insisted on examining my creation,
thereby threatening my always-fragile sense-of-self. But, I had
to agree, it would have been a shorter, more manageable list had
I not listed each bottle of water individually.
Yes, there is a tell-tale increase in our bottled water purchases
and it has to do with the summer temperatures. Those same temperatures
also drive us into the movie theaters with greater frequency, including
yesterday afternoon following my four-hour solo shopping gig.
An interesting event occurred in that small, dark, wonderfully
cool theater. A young man and his date—late high school or
early college age—arrived late and took adjoining seats directly
in front of us during a very quiet moment in the film. As the young
man bent over, he produced approximately two-and-three-quarters
seconds of a most regrettable and noxious bodily issuance. The accompanying
sound, familiar to anyone over the age of one hour, was comparable
to slightly muffled automatic weapon fire. Nobody could misidentify
the event or its precise origins nor miss the downward trend in
atmospheric quality. Snickers and gasps emanated from nearby patrons.
Then, desperately hoping to convince us that the sound was caused
by the lowering of the seat, he said in a shaky, overly loud voice,
“Gee, needs oil doesn’t it!” The snickers then
turned to guffaws as the couple sat silent, rigid, unmoving—petroglyph-like.
Had the lights been on, the young man’s face would surely
have burned chile pepper red out of embarrassment for himself and
his girlfriend who may never wish his company again. Need I tell
you they had our sympathy?
But when things settled down, we witnessed the best part. The
young lady shifted discreetly in her seat, leaning her shoulder
so it lightly touched his. Then we saw her slowly take his hand,
place it on the armrest and hold it in both of her own for a good
long time. An enchanting performance, we thought, and apparently
a happy ending.
Eliminating automatic, non-thinking, knee-jerk, fearful, angry,
stubborn ego-based behavior can lead to an endless number of happy
endings for one and all if only we could master it. Not many can,
although our cat Patrick did so at birth.
Happy trails, Amigos.
—YOUR FRIEND, HERB, Placitas, New Mexico
Our future here in New Mexico will hang on what we do now. Never
before in history has it been so obvious we must plan and work hard
at meeting the challenge that stares us in the face. Climate change
has arrived, and is most likely to be, according to Dr. David Gutzler,
Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences at UNM, about twice the
effects here as elsewhere. Our snowpacks, which we now depend on
for most of our water for use, are likely to disappear in all but
the highest ranges. This could mean drastically less water available
for us. History does not favor us, as few civilizations have survived
that suddenly faced major resource problems. Even when warnings
were evident, the inexorable impulse of society snuffing out any
recognition that there might be a problem, kept people oblivious
until it was too late. Is there anything we can do to give people
a chance to save our water and the future?
The Middle Rio Grande Water Assembly, a citizen volunteer group
founded to draft a water plan for the region, has been grappling
with how to ensure a water supply into the future. A daunting, difficult,
task, for sure, but one that attracts a lot of energy, dedication,
enthusiasm, hope, optimism, debate, research, inquiry, study, discourse,
and of course, lots of argument. We have a Plan, and most of it
has been approved by all of the entities that adopt such things.
Some of us complain the child has not been so welcomed as hoped
in these chambers of local government, but to have come this far
is no small accomplishment. This was one endeavor where all disparate
entities in the region came together and had it out, for once. Some
left, without any water for their ambitions, and some have made
it their life’s reason for existence. The Plan will not, in
itself, solve our water problems, but is a very necessary first
Lately, we have been very frustrated by inaction, and negative
action, that does not comply with the Plan, and continues a very
self-destructive pattern that has marked the rapid urbanization
of our region. Whatever we do, it doesn’t get much traction.
The Plan was written by as diverse a group as could be assembled
and had full and open public input. Unfortunately, it has been put
on the shelf of local government to keep good company with all the
regional plans of the past, the “ignore this” shelf.
Why? It’s because we have hit a wall in our odyssey to save
ourselves from ourselves. What to call this wall could be the subject
of a contest, but “ethics” lies just on the other side.
Ethics is the ingredient that makes the recipe work, and there’s
little to buy and transfer. There’s such a paucity of recognized
ethics out there, we are going to have to find our own.
In truth, most of us retain a good sense of ethics internally.
Since we haven’t done much public discourse on the subject
lately, they aren’t so well defined and plugged in, but they
are there, healthy and waiting for attention. Ethics are, after
all, what is right, and what is wrong, and what doesn’t apply
to either. The mission of the Middle Rio Grande Water Plan is to
“balance use with renewable supply.” This is an ethic.
Doing otherwise is wrong, and doing so is right. Not leaving a healthy
water resource for future generations is wrong, and leaving them
the gift of clean and sufficient water will get us into heaven,
if there is one. That was easy, right? Well, the story of humanity
is we don’t often go beyond what’s easy. And, doing
the right thing is very scary and threatening to a lot of people.
Those that are scared of not making a lot of money are the most
terrified and most likely to act out on their fears, snuffing out
any recognition there is a problem. The politicians, terrified of
not receiving campaign funds from those terrified, endlessly offer
the non-ethic of growth as our salvation. Most of us are busy and
don’t pay attention, and the water resource bears further
Someday soon, we won’t be too busy to pay attention, maybe
all our attention, to the problem of sustainable water resource
management, as it will be for all resources. The ethic will be one
of devoted stewardship. Stewardship has two sides. A resource must
be nurtured. And, restraint towards it must be shown. Nurturing
is instinctual, and lots of water resource nurturing is going on.
New Mexicans are uniquely blessed that there are people here whose
ancestors were taking care of the water thousands of years ago and
we have the distillation of just as many thousands of years of water
management throughout western civilization’s history in our
acequias. We don’t have to reinvent the wheel, only to look
to and understand the priceless wisdom of our inheritance as New
Mexicans to learn how to take care of our water.
Restraint is more difficult to realize from ethics. We usually
look to the law for restraint. Many find restraint a virtue in their
faith. But restraint that comes from within and from the self, and
is part of stewardship, well, that is nearly a lost art. To quote
economic philosopher John McClaughry, there is “a need for
some limiting principle, to enable a society at some point to legitimately
say ‘enough!’” These principles exist and are
well employed in New Mexico, we only need to find them and use them
when making decisions over our water. We have to develop a sense
of right and wrong over water use, and not only be concerned with
whether we use it or not. We need to develop a better regard for
each other, and realize we all depend on each other, so we can take
care of our world, together. In the future, economics will not enter
into water resource stewardship. We will do it as we breathe air,
grateful there is water to take care of, and air to breathe. New
Mexicans have always prided themselves in the ability to make comfortable
lives out of little. We are the richer for it. If we do what is
right for the water, perhaps we will win back some of the lost grace
and serenity New Mexicans used to possess in abundance.
Water does move uphill toward money
—LISSA JAMES, HIGH COUNTRY NEWS
Now that I'm out of college, I thought it was time to ask my elders
for advice about investing in the stock market. They must have seen
how confused I looked, because a week later, an investment letter
arrived that promised to answer all my questions, and, incidentally,
make me rich, fast.
The letter featured a Nevada water company that's guaranteeing
to make millions by pumping rural water to Las Vegas. The identity
of the water company was not disclosed; to get the real skinny,
I had to pay $49.50 to the creators of the newsletter. That's more
money than I wanted to spend, but as I read the newsletter, a novel
idea occurred to me: Just as the people who got rich during the
Gold Rush were merchants, the people getting rich from Nevada's
water deals won't be small-time investors but those who enable them.
That led me to comb through the newsletter to decipher what made
it tick, and I'm happy to share with you—for free!—the
gist of what I learned:
• This may come as no surprise, but many of us are greedy.
The Nevada water come-on promises that investors will "pocket
381 percent in the short run." This may sound too good to be
true, but people want to believe.
• All of us are bored. Create excitement about your investment
by making it seem dangerous. The Nevada water solicitation does
this perfectly by telling potential investors that tensions in rural
Nevada are so high, "ranchers are toting rifles." The
image of gun-toting ranchers reminds people of the Wild West, a
region practically built by speculators. Reporting that the Arizona
Republic "calls it a classic Western showdown" will make
the historical connection clear, and since no one knows what "it"
is, they can't prove you've misquoted anything.
• Investors yearn to feel smart. Play up the secrecy surrounding
the deal by telling your readers that they're part of an elite group
that includes politicians and executives. Include quotations from
well-respected publications to create an air of authority, which
then allows you to be vague on details like dates and names. Another
tactic is to choose words that sound like they're part of a lexicon.
Examples include like "a mountain of cash hitting the books"
and referring to Wall Street as simply "The Street." Your
readers will feel so smart they won't bother to double-check the
information you do give them.
• Nobody wants to know the downsides. The creators of the
water investment guide never once mention the birds, fish and other
animals whose habitat is threatened by groundwater pumping, or the
rural areas that will dry up and blow away. They tell us that Nevada
is one of the driest places on earth, but only so that we understand
that water is valuable. They also mention that "city planners
are fighting to quench the growing population," but notice
how cleverly this is written: Are the city planners trying to control
growth or enable it? It's fine to create ambiguities, as your audience
will interpret them however it desires.
• Most of us feel helpless. Make the deal seem like it's
inevitable, and you will encourage this sensation of helplessness,
which most people feel anyway when faced with environmental catastrophes.
The water come-on includes water-transfer permit numbers, reassures
us that all environmental impact plans have been approved, and guarantees
that all the wells and infrastructure for transferring the water
are already in place. It even quotes a county engineer's office
on the progress of the pipeline (although it doesn't bother to specify
which county, (see principles #3 and #4). This final principle is
designed to win over anyone who suspects that pumping water from
rural Nevada to fill suburban swimming pools is a terrible scheme;
not worth supporting financially. The goal is to get them to figure
that since they can't stop it, they might as well benefit from it.
(This ties in nicely with Principle #1; People are greedy.)
I was so inspired by this get-rich-quick scheme that I've written
my own book, "How to Turn Catastrophe into Cash," which
will provide you with all the information you need to make big bucks
during drought, hurricanes, floods and the global climate change
that's predicted to cause deadly heat waves throughout the West.
Don't be a victim; exploit what's coming! Mail me a check for $19.99,
and get started getting rich.
Lissa James is a contributor to Writers on the Range, a service
of High Country News (hcn.org.) She waits to get rich while working
on her family's oyster farm in Lilliwaup, Washington.
Heard around the West
—BETSY MARSTON, HIGH COUNTRY NEWS
Would you stop your car at a clearly marked crosswalk if Santa Claus
were strolling across the street? Would you even slow down or get
off your cell phone to gawk at a walking gorilla? The University
of New Mexico wanted to investigate pedestrian safety at crosswalks
in Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Gallup and Las Cruces, and got federal
funding to test drivers with scenarios just like these. Well, abysmal
doesn’t begin to describe the driving habits of folks in those
four cities, reports the Denver Post. “People drove right
by Santa Claus,” said Las Cruces police officer Chris Miller.
“We had people say they saw the gorilla trying to cross the
street, but they didn’t think they had to stop for him.”
In Santa Fe, police tried to be explicit, placing orange cones well
ahead of crosswalks and posting signs that warned of a safety crackdown.
Nobody stopped. “The first few times they went right by me,
I couldn’t believe it,” said police officer Anthony
Rivera, who was dressed in plainclothes as he tried to cross the
street. Las Cruces officer Kiri Daines found that even when she
dressed up as Spider-Man, “I literally had to tap on the hoods
of cars as they stopped an inch away from me. I’m in the intersection,
and they’re almost running over me.” Hundreds of scofflaws
were nailed with $51 tickets, but it’s an open question whether
fines have any impact on drivers determined to keep moving.
Some residents of one of the more expensive ZIP codes in Phoenix
have alarmed homeowners with their “brazen” behavior,
reports the Arizona Republic. Coyotes are the interlopers, and one
was so ill-mannered it grabbed a leashed bichon frise by the neck
and tried to run off with it. Luckily, Lexy, short for Lexus, was
saved by its owner, who yanked the little dog free. But the shameless
coyote held its ground, said the owner. “He would not budge.
It was like I was infringing on his territory.” That’s
actually the truth, since the Biltmore area of Phoenix has expanded
onto turf that was once the exclusive domain of wildlife. Darren
Julian, an urban wildlife specialist with the state Game and Fish
Department, considers coyotes invading Biltmore the “ultimate
opportunists.” His advice: Feed pets indoors. Keep garbage
in cans. “Don’t allow these animals to become comfortable
in the human arena,” he says. “Be rude to them. Yell.
Timothy Egan pointed out in a recent New York Times op-ed that the
two creators of every American’s birthright—our 565
million acres of public lands—were privileged men with democratic
convictions: They wanted everyone in the country to share in its
wealth of natural beauty. The two men, who were friends, were also
manly to the max: Gifford Pinchot, the first chief of the Forest
Service, had his valet wake him up each day with a splash of cold
water to the face; President Theodore Roosevelt, who created the
federal agency, considered it bracing to swim naked in the Potomac
River. We may still own our birth- right, Egan said, but the public-lands
legacy of George W. Bush has been a tawdry “cash-out”
that leaves wildlife refuges without staff and national forests
like slums: “Roosevelt had his place on Oyster Bay. Pinchot
had a family estate in Pennsylvania. Bush has the ranch in Crawford.
Only one of them has never been able to see beyond the front porch.”
Outdoor writer Jim Zumbo really messed up when he posted a hostile
blog entry about the increasingly popular black matte semiautomatic
guns. He called the AR-15s “terrorist rifles” and said
they ought to be banned from hunting. The result: Zumbo was “terminated,”
as he told the New York Times, from the magazine he worked
for, Outdoor Life, and his cable TV show lost sponsors and went
off the air. But Zumbo was game to learn more about the lethal-looking
assault weapons, so he accepted an invitation from rocker and gun-lover
Ted Nugent to visit him in Waco, Texas. Nugent owns dozens of the
weapons and insists there’s nobody “who doesn’t
have two in his truck.” Zumbo found that the assault rifle
was certainly versatile: It can be easily accessorized by adding
a grenade launcher, flash suppressor, pistol grip, detachable magazine
and bayonet mount, among other expensive military doodads. “Chastened”
by the outcry over his blog posting, Zumbo says he came away from
his time with Nugent believing that, like it or not, “black
rifles are now mainstream.”
Let’s hope the gun owners stay calm: The small town of Olathe,
in western Colorado, sports its share of rusting vehicles and other
junk, which spurred community-minded people to propose a town-wide
cleanup. Lots of people supported the idea, convenience store owner
Pam Bernhartdt told the Montrose Daily Press. “But then you
have the other half that are the ones that need to be cleaned up
that are one step away from bearing guns to their backyard.”
College crasher Azia Kim, 18, fooled not only Stanford University
into thinking she was a bona fide student for eight months, she
also fooled the Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC)
at Santa Clara University. Kim took military science classes there
and earned pretty decent grades on tests given in class. She also
provided her teachers a fake transcript from Stanford that showed
grades so high they earned her “a special ribbon for her uniform,”
reports the San Francisco Chronicle.
News releases go forth into the void, and politicians often wish
they didn’t. After Colorado Senatore Wayne Allard, R, introduced
a resolution designating Sept. 25 as National First Responder Appreciation
Day; someone on his staff sent out a press release explaining his
motivation: “First responders in Colorado have recently provided
critical services in the face of blizzards and tornados. Since I
don’t think first responders have really done anything significant
in comparison to their counterparts who have dealt with real natural
disasters, I have no idea what to say here.” In a quasi-apology
sent out later, Allard said, “Please pardon my typo.”
Betsy Marston is editor of Writers on the Range,
a service of High Country News in
Paonia, Colorado (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Tips of Western oddities are always appreciated and often shared
in the column, Heard around the West.