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New West Daily Roundup for Sept. 30, 2016

Today in New West news: OnXmap’s ROAM app, MSU celebrates new Ivan Doig acquisitions, an update on Rare Element Resources, and Utah genealogy company releases Portuguese language version of site.

Missoula-based tech company OnXmap, which specializies in mapping, has announced the release of their ROAM app, which can turn your smartphone into a multi-purpose GPS and allows users to customize their maps. Included in the app are hiking and biking trails, ski and snowmobile routs, campgrounds, fishing and water access points, and information on public lands/open spaces/National Park/Forest Service lands. From a OnXmap press release:

“We like to say where Google Maps ends, onXmaps begins,” said onXmaps founder Eric Siegfried. “The app is for anybody who needs great maps while off the pavement.”

With ROAM, you can turn on ‘layers’ of data sets over a single map for a comprehensive picture of where you can and cannot bike, fish, hike, hunt or camp. ROAM can also overlay weather, wind, and wildfire maps. It’s a product that allows hikers, bikers, paddlers and explorers to have a powerful digital map – and therefore a safety measure – when they are in the country’s most remote corners.

ROAM is now available for iOS and Android users; both are available for $10/year.

Keeping with Montana, according to the Bozeman Daily Chronicle, Montana State University is celebrating the acquisition of the late Ivan Doig’s papers, which are now available through the library’s special collections. Doig, born in White Sulphur Springs, passed away in Seattle at the age of 75 after battling cancer; he left behind an immense body of work—13 novels and three nonfiction books, all intimately related to the American West—and established himself as one of the most preeminent Western writers of the 20th century.

According to the Chronicle, Doig’s widow Carol heard other offers from Stanford University and the University of Washington, but both failed to match the intensity of MSU’s offer, which included pleas from 20 western writers and university figures, including MSU President Waded Cruzado. From the Chronicle:

“I said, ‘They will not let me put it anywhere else,’” Carol Doig said with a laugh. Her husband had also received an honorary doctorate from MSU in 1984, five years after publishing his first memoir, “This House of Sky,” a finalist for the National Book Award.

MSU President Waded Cruzado called the selection of the campus “a match made in Big Sky heaven.”

Cruzado said when she met Ivan Doig in 2010, she felt she already knew him from his writings, his sharp but wry sense of humor and “his keen insights into the soul” of Montana.

She repeated Doig’s quote on “what an achievement a book is – a magic box simultaneously holding the presence of the author and the wonders of the world.”

MSU has already placed a digital version of thousands of Doig’s papers online (at ivandoig.montana.edu). Objects – like his manual typewriter – are kept in the Renee Library’s Special Collections.

The online collection includes thousands of photographs, some of which were shown on large screens at Monday’s event.

There were photos of the Doig homestead and log cabin, and a fading 1937 black-and-white photo of Ivan and his brother with horses and rifles. There was a photo of Doig, the bearded writer, smiling with Norman Maclean, author of “A River Runs Through It.” Writers like her husband, Maclean and Jim Welch got along well and respected each other, Carol Doig said, adding there was “no backbiting.”

Recordings of Doig’s voice are also part of the online collection. MSU is pairing some of his words with its audio archive of the sounds of Montana. And MSU seniors are already starting to use the Doig collection in their capstone classes.

Over in Wyoming, we reported earlier this year and late last year that Rare Element Resources Ltd., which has been trying to establish a rare earth mine in the Bear Lodge area of Wyoming, had to suspend activities due to a weak market and lay low and await for an ideal market environment. Now, according to the Wyoming Business Report, the company has reemerged from nonactivity to announce they’re still waiting for an ideal market environment:

Rare Element Resources (RER) released a company update today that shows the company plans to continue its ongoing care-and-maintenance program at least through the end of this year, with a focus on “strategically positioning” its Bear Lodge Rare Earth Project northwest of Sundance in order that it can quickly move forward “once market conditions improve.”

“The world’s political dynamics and technical advancements continue to drive demand for critical rare earths and we believe, when the time is appropriate, the Bear Lodge Project will be the next U.S. domestic source of critical rare earths,” the company said in a statement.

In January of this year, the company announced that it had received a long-awaited draft Environmental Impact Statement that opened the way for further development of the project. However, within weeks RER announced that it was suspending all permitting and licensing activities in what it called a “cash conserving” move prompted by the “substantial ongoing cost of the permitting process” and “challenging markets’ for rare earth elements.

Since the suspension of its permitting efforts and the implementation of cost-conservation and care-and-maintenance measures at the Bear Lodge Rare Earth Project, the company said it has been focusing on “engaging in joint venture and investment partner discussions,” as well as the “monetization of non-core assets during the ongoing challenging capital markets for rare earth companies.” Currently, RER controls 100 percent of the Bear Lodge project.

“(This) has been a transition year for Rare Element, as we have implemented measures designed to assist the company in reaching the point where our overhead and expenses are manageable for a longer period of time while we focus our efforts on pursing strategic alternatives, including off-take agreements, asset sales, joint ventures or other partnerships that will allow the Bear Lodge Project to progress once both capital sources and market prices support its development,” said Randall Scott, RER president and CEO. “The world’s political dynamics and technical advancements continue to drive demand for critical rare earths and we believe, when the time is appropriate, the Bear Lodge Project will be the next U.S. domestic source of critical rare earths.”

The company’s stock continues to be listed on the over-the-counter trade market (OTCQB) and it said it plans to release its third quarter Form 10-Q on schedule in early November.

Finally, over in Utah, Salt Lake City-based Legacy Tree Geneaologists has announced it is now offering its genealogy services in Portuguese. According to Utah Business, the announcement comes after months of preparation and development—to ensure a smooth transition:

Already translated in Spanish, the website aims to provide resources for those searching for their ancestors who may feel overwhelmed or have hit a brick wall in their personal research, uniting them with a worldwide network of professional genealogists who can help them find the answers they seek.

“Our team of genealogists is hand-picked, experienced, and trained to work efficiently and carefully in uncovering our clients’ family stories. They have expertise in areas ranging from finding rare international records to genetic genealogy and DNA analysis,” said Legacy Tree president, Jessica Taylor. “We have established a reputation as the best research firm in the world based on client satisfaction. We cite all resources and provide documentation, so you can feel comfortable knowing that the information you receive is verified and accurate.”

Taylor, a graduate of Brigham Young University’s Family History program, founded Legacy Tree Genealogists in 2004, and has seen tremendous growth in the family history arena within the past 12 years, rising to a multi-billion-dollar industry.

“People have an innate desire to know where they came from,” said Taylor. “The question of who we ¬¬are is as old as time itself, and with the advancements in technology and genetic genealogy, these answers are more readily available than ever before.”

Taylor added his interest in Brazil stems from a mission trip taken for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to Brazil between January 2001 and July 2002.

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