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By Stephen Browne
Stephen Browne
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By Stephen W. Browne
April 26, 2014 11:37 a.m.

An abandoned coal mine on a mountain road leading to Red Lodge, Montana.

An abandoned coal mine on a mountain road leading to Red Lodge, Montana.

I am settling in in my new job in Cody, Wyoming, a town founded by Buffalo Bill himself, at a newspaper founded by the legendary showman.
This is some of the most beautiful country I’ve even lived in. I live among the mountains of the Big Horn, Owl Creek, Bridger, and Absaroka ranges. The Shoshone River flows through town in a deep gorge. One way out of town takes you to high plains covered with sagebrush. Another takes you into the mountains of Montana where I came across this abandoned coal mine where in 1939 73 men died in one of the biggest mine disasters in American history.
Mornings and evenings deer graze on the lawns in town and bears have been known to wander across the golf course across the street from my apartment.
Who’d have thought I’d have to have the Bear Talk (“Those bears aren’t cuddly like Chubby honey”) before the Boy Talk (“This bear spray works on boys too”) with my little girl?
I’m doing the same general kind of reporting, local government, but the issues are different. In less than a month I’ve seen the hot button issue around here is about land use in the immense national parks and forests – the first thing I learned was the difference between the two is important!
People are as friendly as can be here. Walking down the street we’ve had complete strangers start conversations and welcome us to town.
In the meantime, things are heating up in Eastern Europe. Russia is doing what Russia does and friends of mine in Poland and the Baltics are worried. Someday I may have to return to tell their story, perhaps once too often, in the possibly vain hope people in this rich, fat, happy country will take heed.
In the meantime, this is a great place to settle with my children.

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