Two ranches are featured in today’s U.S. headlines:
(1) Yearning for Zion Ranch — “Women return to Texas polygamist ranch”:
A group of women from a polygamist sect’s Texas ranch returned to the compound Monday after authorities separated them from the 400-plus children now in state custody.
Rhonda Jeffs, mother of two of the children and a spokeswoman for the other women, said mothers of children 5 and older were told they could not remain with the children but could go back to the ranch or to a women’s shelter. . . .
Earlier in the day, CNN reporters were given rare access to the compound, owned by the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints — a rogue Mormon sect.
A woman from the ranch told CNN’s Anderson Cooper that the mothers feel “persecuted” after having no choice about leaving their children.
“The state of Texas has confiscated our children on an allegation that has no foundation,” said Kathleen, who asked that her last name be withheld. “We want the children back.”
“This nation is so prejudiced against us — they have a false image of what we are,” she added.
Meanwhile, authorities moved the children from a crowded shelter at the Fort Concho historic site Monday afternoon in a caravan of 19 buses.
(2) Chicken Ranch — “College field trip visits legal brothel”:
Amouri was one of a dozen Randolph College students who took a tour last week of the Chicken Ranch, a legal bordello in the desert 60 miles outside Las Vegas. The class trip, which included seminars from the working girls, capped a course on American consumption and “the ideas that consume us.”
“I think it’s fascinating, this is fun for me,” said Amouri, a junior at the private liberal arts school in Lynchburg, Virginia, that until last year admitted only women. “Not many people get to do this.” . . . .
Alexis, 38, and Alicia, “over 30,” sat on white folding chairs in front of the young, earnest women in the brothel’s Victorian-style parlor, usually the setting for the “lineup.” They would not give their last names. The group took close notes as a handful of television cameras and reporters looked on.
A blonde in jeans and platform boots, Alexis talked about the job’s flexibility and the free time it has allowed her to write a book about her life. Alicia wore a black-and-white gingham nighty and a tattoo on her left breast that read “Famous.”
“I enjoy giving back what some people don’t get in their lives, as far as companionship, time, just the touch of a woman,” she said. The job allows her to take care of her mother and grandmother. She’s also in real estate.
Desert ranches are all the rage in the media these days.