Columns

Writers on the Range

THE WEST
In happy wildlife news, a pair of bald eagles near Big Bear Lake in Southern California’s San Bernardino National Forest hatched two baby chicks in February after a 35-day incubation period, during which the big birds took turns fluffing up and perching on the eggs to keep them warm. “The whole world was watching,” reports ABC News, thanks to an online streaming webcam, and thousands of people commented about the new family on the Institute for Wildlife Studies’ website. The fluffy little white chicks will fatten up in the nest for the next two to three months, reports The Associated Press.

A less happy event occurred in Utah’s Wasatch County when the state’s Division of Wildlife Resources tried to capture a cow elk with a net and haul it off by helicopter. Suddenly, reports the Salt Lake Tribune, the elk jumped up and hit the helicopter’s tail rotor, almost severing it. “Not something you see everyday, when an elk brings down a chopper,” said a crew member. No people were hurt, though the elk did not survive.

Meanwhile, chances of seeing an all-white raccoon are said to be one in 750,000. But in western Colorado, south of Durango, a family found a rare, 35-pound albino animal. Unfortunately, reports the Durango Herald, it was already dead.

THE WEST
Although Bob Marley, the famous reggae singer, died in 1981, his estate made $20 million last year, putting him at No. 5 on Forbes’ list of top-earning deceased celebrities. (Dead celebrities ranking ahead of him include Michael Jackson and Elvis Presley, while Marilyn Monroe and John Lennon come in right behind.) Now, a Seattle equity firm, Privateer Holdings, has big plans to make Marley the “Marlboro Man of marijuana,” reports the Financial Times. Besides marketing “heirloom Jamaican cannabis strains,” Privateer’s subsidiary, Marley Natural, plans to sell marijuana-infused skim creams and lip balms.

In other pot news, for the first time in Aspen, Colorado, legal marijuana sales of $11.3 million last year topped liquor store sales of $10.5 million, reports the Aspen Times. The town has six pot shops and five liquor stores.

And in a pairing as natural as milk and cookies, as The Cannabist put it, “The Girl Scouts of Colorado have decided it’s now cool to peddle their baked goods outside marijuana dispensaries: Munchies, meet Thin Mints, Tagalongs and Samoas.” With safety as their top concern, troop leaders this year are free to choose just about any location likely to help budding entrepreneurs sell lots of boxes of cookies. Besides pot shops, that now includes tattoo parlors, bars, liquor stores and casinos.

Betsy Marston is the editor of Writers on the Range the opinion service of High Country News (hcn.org).

About the author

Betsy Marston