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White House to ... Colorado? 

Today we'll discuss an actual proposal by one of our civic-minded villagers to move the nation's capital from Washington, D.C., to the far-eastern Colorado plains town of Cheyenne Wells (motto: "We're Not in Kansas Anymore, Thank You Sweet Jesus.")

Cheyenne Wells, which is 135 miles east of Colorado Springs, became famous a few years back when the school board president burst into the town newspaper office and dumped a five-gallon bucket of fresh horse poop onto the reception counter. Despite that actual story and the Washington-related theme of this column, we will try not to combine them into jokes, such as:

Q: What's the difference between a five-gallon bucket of steaming horse poop and President George W. Bush?

A: The bucket.

Instead, let's focus on the plan offered up by David Fernandez in a letter to the Independent. (Unlike the Range Ledger newspaper in Cheyenne Wells, the Indy is not filled with horse poop. Unless you count this column. And, of course, executive editor Ralph Routon's column.)

Fernandez, a Colorado Springs resident for many years, has watched it grow from a small, backward cow town into what it is today: a large, backward cow town. He says the move to Cheyenne Wells, with so many military installations in the region, will provide a safer place for our government leaders, including the highly esteemed members of Congress who today seek shelter from terrorist threats by huddling inside Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens' gigantic new kitchen, paid for by the Tooth Fairy.

The idea of Cheyenne Wells becoming the U.S. capital has folks pretty darn excited. I asked Cheyenne County Undersheriff Don Roberts if there was a vacant lot where we could put the White House.

"Well, I think it's about the same size as the town," he said. "So I guess we'd just put the entire White House right on top of us."

(Lowering something enormous on top of something very small is not without precedent, such as the times Monica Lewinsky climbed aboard Bill Clinton.)

More from Fernandez: "Current residents [of Cheyenne Wells] would be bought out and strongly urged to relocate. Intelligent and productive ranchers and farmers could remain after passing tough loyalty and patriotism exams."

Questions would include: What are the three branches of government? Who was our first president? True or false: John McCain now spends his days banging a slightly used $900 Saks Fifth Avenue woman's shoe against his forehead while muttering, "What the $%^& was I thinking?"

The point here is that the staggering logistical issues in moving our nation's capital uprooting the branches of government and relocating them to the vast prairie lead to the obvious question: The school board president actually dumped fresh horse doo-doo inside a newspaper office?

Yes, in 2002, after the Range Ledger criticized Sam Mitchek for banning public comment at board meetings. Publisher Nancy Bogenhagen told reporters, "He came in and said, 'This is a bunch of horseshit' and dumped this big bucket on the counter."

I called the Range Ledger to ask about the relocation of ... OK, to ask about the bucket of poop. A woman answered and would not give her name, but she did say she was the publisher and a Cheyenne County commissioner.

After exhausting research that took about a minute, I learned the publisher is still Nancy Bogenhagen. And Nancy Bogenhagen is also a county commissioner.

So anyway, the mysterious woman said this about moving the nation's capital to Cheyenne Wells: "If you wanna tame wild pigs, put corn in a field and they come to eat, and every day you put out more corn and they keep coming back. One day, you put up one side of a fence and they notice, but they want the free corn so they keep coming back. Eventually you pen them in, and you put up a gate and they go right through the gate to get the free corn, and they've forgotten how to forage. And the wild pigs are now domestic, tame pigs."

I'm not really sure what that had to do with the question. But I do believe I speak for most of us when I look at the recent huge government bailouts using our money and I say, in a proud American voice, "Oink!"

rangerrich@csindy.com

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