Jon Gosch

Novelist, Journalist and Freelance Editor

From the Blog

Discover Snoqualmie’s Supremely Talented Songwriter

Payson's Self-Titled Debut is Rich, Rootsy and Reminiscent of Paul Simon

I discovered him quite serendipitously one recent Sunday. Killing time in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle, I wandered into a bar known as Conor Byrne that gives local musicians the opportunity to play a three-song set during their weekly open mic. Midway through the evening, a tall, shaggy-browed musician was introduced and Payson walked up and took a seat at the edge of the stage. The audience was restless and talkative, but as he began to croon his images of sweet melancholy, a hush came over the room, the spectators spellbound into silence. He had won them over completely.


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A Young Liberal’s Hunt for Manhood

Illustrations by Eric Priestley

In my family you are not considered a man unless you hunt. You may be endowed with all the distinguishing anatomical features, but in the Gosch clan you are not a man merely because you possess a pair of testicles. You must hunt. Those who do not are looked upon as effeminate aberrations, begrudgingly allowed to attend birthday parties and Thanksgiving dinner, but beyond that discredited and ignored. Even the Gosch women have a disdain for the non-hunting men, as if they weren’t quite worth all the birthing pain and breast milk.

At twenty-four years old, I was still considered a borderline case. Sure, I’d played varsity sports and raced stock cars in high school. I’d brought home pretty girls and could hold my own at the poker table, but on the other hand I couldn’t fix a transmission or boast of any knockout punches. Where the other men were boisterous, bawdy and imposing, I was quiet, reserved and suspiciously well informed on the virtues of universal health care. Most of all though, I’d yet to have my hands bloodied in the guts of something wild, and in the end that would determine my final standing. And so it was in the fall of that year I finally attempted my rite of passage.


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Citizens Express Profound Distrust of Fish and Wildlife Officials, Herbicide Spraying and Safety of Elk Meat

Multiple Accusations of Negligence at Recent Hoof Disease Working Group Meeting

RCW 9A.08.010
General requirements of culpability.

A person is reckless or acts recklessly when he or she knows of and disregards a substantial risk that a wrongful act may occur and his or her disregard of such substantial risk is a gross deviation from conduct that a reasonable person would exercise in the same situation.

A person is criminally negligent or acts with criminal negligence when he or she fails to be aware of a substantial risk that a wrongful act may occur and his or her failure to be aware of such substantial risk constitutes a gross deviation from the standard of care that a reasonable person would exercise in the same situation.

The following is a partial transcript of the public testimony segment of the Elk Hoof Disease Public Working Group meeting on May 21st in Kelso. A full recording of the meeting will gladly be shared with anyone who is interested.

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Local Farrier’s Research Connects Herbicides to Hoof Disease in Elk, Horses

WDFW Invites Her to Make Formal Presentation, Senior Scientist with Forest Law Center Finds Research "Compelling"

Krystal Davies with Her Horses, Jameson and Tucker | Photo by Shauna DeSpain

Herbicides Linked to Chemically Induced Endocrinopathic Laminitis in Elk

Authored by Krystal Davies

I believe I understand why the elk in southwest Washington are being affected by the mysterious hoof disease, namely hoof rot. I have credible evidence and can provide a plausible diagnosis, source of disease, a detailed route and manifestation of the pathogen, as well as a cure. My findings also link Leptospirosis, Treponema Pallidum, numerous other bacterial infections, and the use of pesticides and herbicides into one, highly interconnected, evidence based theory. The hepatic selenium and copper deficiencies discovered by Washington State University will also play an important role in returning the elk to a healthy state. My findings suggest that all of the current theories presented play an important role in the health of our local elk herds.

First, a little about myself. I am a farrier and have been studying equine hooves for over a decade. I specialize in the treatment and prevention of pathologies, including laminitis. Currently my efforts are being steered toward the local elk. But this runs deeper and a little more personal for me and my family. I have been controlling for known causes of hoof diseases in my own personal horses. However, since moving my little herd to Mt. Pleasant, in Cowlitz County, I’ve noticed a steady decline in their hoof health. They are showing subclinical signs of laminitis. This has led me to dig deeper into the situation and eventually brought me to research the local elk’s mysterious hoof disease. In my opinion the elk are being affected by the same thing as my horses as the signs and symptoms are strikingly identical to laminitis.

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Infected Elk May Pose Serious Health Risk to Humans

Parasitology Expert Believes Elk Are Contagious, Bacteria Potentially Fatal

On February 12th, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) officials concluded their most recent Hoof Disease Public Working Group Meeting with a sadly familiar message – they still did not know what was causing the crippling hoof disease that some have estimated is now responsible for half of all elk deaths in southwest Washington.

I was at the meeting as a hunter, a conservationist and a writer, and I was still bitter about my family’s bleak, unsuccessful hunting season that past fall. I was searching for answers and so far there weren’t any.

Before the meeting was adjourned, however, members of the public were allowed a chance to speak for three minutes each. First up was Boone Mora, a Doctor of Public Health from Skamokawa, Washington. Articulate and spry for his age, Dr. Mora stood and addressed the group.

Since I have so little time I’ll tell you I think I know what causes the disease. I think I know how to cure the disease, and I think I know how to prevent the disease. I spent ten years studying this disease. I was a guest researcher at the Center of Disease Control in Atlanta and I did a dissertation in this. I can tell you leptospirosis fits it better than anything else I can imagine. And leptospirosis hasn’t been investigated, certainly not exhausted. And I would like to do that. It won’t cost you anything. I’ll do it for nothing. The symptoms of this disease are as broad as symptoms go. This is why they are not diagnosed. People die from it.

And so began my plunge down the rabbit hole.

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