Tuesday, February 26, 2008

How's this for short writing

Falling moose nearly takes out trooper
By Beth Bragg
McClatchy Newspapers
ANCHORAGE, Alaska - Motorists here have seen the highway signs that warn of falling rocks, and they've seen the ones that warn of moose crossing.
Now Howard Peterson of the Alaska State Troopers wonders if they need a new sign:
Watch for falling moose.
A swing-shift trooper based in Girdwood, Peterson was cruising the Seward Highway the night of Feb. 2 a couple miles north of McHugh Creek when something big and black fell from the sky, landing about 20 feet from his car.
"Falling rock!" he thought, ready to steer clear if it bounced onto the highway.
When the rock didn't roll or shatter, Peterson's brain came up with a crazy image:
"Falling moose?"
An adult moose, wandering rocky terrain more suitable to the Dall sheep that populate it, plunged to its death from the tall cliffs that hug a highway famous for its scenery and wildlife.
The animal landed on the side of the road just a few yards in front of Peterson, who figures it fell 150 feet, maybe farther. He snapped a couple of photos and called one of the charities that salvage road kill to tell them there was a moose available at Mile 113.
Then he started wondering what happened. Did the moose jump?
"How would you say it-moose-icide? He probably thought he was the only moose, with all those sheep around," Peterson said.
More likely, though, something spooked the moose and it fell. It was windy that night, Peterson said, so maybe a gust startled it.
Or maybe the moose merely misstepped.
"I'm sure the moose didn't jump," state wildlife biologist Rick Sinnott said. "They occasionally have bad days like the rest of us. They slip and fall. Maybe he was reaching for a branch and the snow just gave way."
In his years on the job, Sinnott has seen many moose die in many ways. He's heard tales of them breaking through ice and drowning, jumping off railroad bridges at the sound of a train, falling off small banks. Once he saw the remains of two bulls that died together during a rutting battle when their antlers got hooked together by a single piece of barbed wire.
But a plunge from a tall cliff? Sinnott doesn't think it happens often.
In 1995, a moose calf slipped off a cliff and fell 100 feet to its death in nearly the same spot, but flying moose remain an oddity.
As for Peterson, he's been a trooper for five years and has seen lots of things fall from cliffs while on patrol-rocks, snow, mud, even cars.
But he always figured moose held steadfastly to the earth.
He knows better now.
"They can fly and they can land," he said. "Just not very well."

By Norm Maves Jr.
The Oregonian Staff
Saturday, October 10, 1992

Annette Wyatt's eyes moved slowly from the bottom of the panel as she absorbed yet another swatch of a tapestry of hate Friday morning.

The eyes did not cry. If Anne Frank could hang onto hope, so could she. But Wyatt, a Linfield College senior, could not keep her head from moving slowly side to side every so often. The movement cried out in disbelief.

``The proportion of it all . . .,'' she said quietly. ``What I'm trying to understand is how society accepted it -- what part of us accepts this, and allows it to go on.

``I just don't know how I can accept all this myself.''

The exhibit ``Anne Frank In The World: 1929-1945'' had the same effect on many of its first visitors when it opened at the First United Methodist Church in Portland. They passed silently before each of the 76 panels that told of the journey of Otto Frank's family from its turn-of-the-century roots through Nazi Germany to its heartbreaking end in the Holocaust.

They saw the video that explained the ordeal. They paused at Devorah Sperber's powerful sculptures and the writings, drawings and murals of local schoolchildren.

Most of them have heard the story of Anne Frank through her famous diary. Few had seen it translated into documents and pictures, then blended into the panorama of the Jewish plight in Europe during the violent era of Nazi Germany.

The exhibit lasts through Nov. 9. Significantly, that day will be the 54th anniversary of Kristallnacht, the government-ordered terrorizing of Jews in Germany in 1938.

It opened quietly Friday, which was a good thing. The church recently received four anonymous telephone calls denouncing the exhibit as a hoax. Vandals on Thursday defaced a signboard at the Artists' Repertory Theatre advertising the play ``The Diary of Anne Frank.''

The incidents moved the exhibitors to hire round-the-clock security.

``As long as it doesn't get beyond telephone calls,'' said Wendy Leibreich, the exhibit coordinator, ``it will be all right.''

There was no evidence of a problem during Friday's opening hours. Visitors came individually; some brought their children. Teachers took advantage of Friday's in-service day to come in by the busload.

Dick Strycker came up from Grants Pass, where he teaches instrumental music and geography at Fleming Middle School. It was tough, he said, but he managed to control his emotions as he saw the story unfold in front of him.

``I'm a musician,'' he said, ``so emotion is my life. I had a whole lot of feelings about this. It brought back so much.

``What I really wanted to do was sit down in front of it and cry.''

Strycker talked about an experience he had as an 8-year-old in Portland in 1942. He had Japanese neighbors, but one day, in the aftermath of Pearl Harbor, they were gone.

``I asked my dad what happened,'' he said. ``My dad said he didn't know. But I could see that he was frightened. And he usually wasn't frightened by anything.''

Strycker was standing near the exit as he spoke. Above him, on the archway overlooking the exhibit, was a sign: ``You Are the Living Spirit of Hope.''

And just to his right, on the corner of a table, was a guest book. Some visitors signed their names. Some took advantage of a space reserved for comments.

They read, in part: ``We must remember.'' ``Impressive reminder.'' ``Never again!''

And to the right of Dick Strycker's name was a single word.


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