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New West Daily Roundup for Oct. 26, 2015

Today in New West News: Wyoming provides the background to Pixar’s new film, Colorado politicians divided over Clean Power Plan lawsuit, Bozeman’s getting another brewery, and Colorado drops plans to ramp up mountain lion hunting.

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New West Daily Roundup For Sept. 25, 2015

Downtown Denver

Here’s the latest in New West news: Denver International Airport drops out of the top five busiest airport rankings, Oskar Blues is expanding to Austin, Texas; some Denver marijuana inspectors see their consulting plans go up in smoke, a retail hub in Santa Fe, New Mexico will be replaced with a new art school campus, and Bozeman, Montana is receiving ...

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New West Daily Roundup for Sept. 21, 2015

Triple Creek Ranch

What’s new in the New West: Colorful John McAfee backs a Denver security startup, Montana State snares a major nanotechnology research grant, and Montana’s Triple Creek Ranch named best hotel in the nation.

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David Mas Masumoto Pays the Price for Perfect Peaches

Wisdom of the Last Farmer by David Mas Masumoto Simon & Schuster, 238 pages, $25 David Mas Masumoto's Wisdom of the Last Farmer will make you want to go out and pay a farmer more than the asking price for his produce at a market. Masumoto grows organic peaches, nectarines, and grapes on his farm in California's central valley, carrying on in the tradition of his family. His grandparents emigrated from Japan over a hundred years ago with the dream of buying land. Because they weren't native born Americans, laws forbade them from purchasing land, so instead they worked in other people's fields and suffered through internment in the Arizona desert during World War II. But they persevered and eventually their sons established the 80-acre farm that Masumoto now runs with his wife and children. Masumoto is on a mission to preserve flavorful heirloom peaches that his family has grown for decades, varieties most farmers have abandoned because of supermarkets' demands for harder, redder peaches with longer shelf life and transport durability. Masumoto wants people to experience the "Sun Crest peach, a fat and juicy gem with a stunning, honeyed flavor." If people could try it, he thinks, they probably wouldn't settle for the fruit that's sold as peaches today. In Wisdom of the Last Farmer, Masumoto, a columnist for the Fresno Bee and the award-winning author of several previous books, discusses his father's decline in the wake of a stroke, and how their hard work in pursuit of a perfect peach breaks their bodies and spirits down. "Organic farming is not simple or easy," Masumoto writes. "It's easy to want to be environmentally responsible, but it's a damned hard thing to achieve. I cannot replace tedious labor with faster technology or equipment when things go wrong." David Mas Masumoto will be in Utah to present his book in Salt Lake City at the King's English Bookshop on Thursday, October 22 (5:30 p.m.). On October 23 and 24, he will participate in the Moab Confluence "Eating the West" literary festival, and on October 25 he will visit Denver's Tattered Cover (Colfax, 2 p.m.) as a part of the Rocky Mountain Land Library reading series.

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New Cancer Drug Donation Program Will Help Patients, Fill Needs

Nearly everyone's lives have been touched by cancer. A new state law effective October 1 establishes a cancer drug donation program to help cancer patients get drugs they cannot afford by distributing thousands of dollars of unused medication to patients, instead of destroying the drugs. In the last state legislative session, House Bill 409 created a way for unused, unopened cancer drugs to be donated to participating pharmacies and care facilities and re-dispensed to qualifying patients, who otherwise could not attain them because of their astronomical cost.

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Green Building and the Triple Bottom Line

When a business calls itself green, what does that mean? The answer may vary from energy-efficient to local or even socially responsible. According to business schools and thought leaders, the definition is boiling down to a new bottom line: the triple bottom line. This triad can be described in several ways: people, planet and prosperity; economy, environment and equity; or, economic, ecological and social responsibility. Regardless of terminology, the successful businesses of tomorrow are embracing sustainability as a fundamental element. It should not be separate from business strategy and operations; it is about integrating social and environmental concerns into business strategy and operations. The benefits of a more sustainable approach for a business range from lower operating costs to increased sales, more productive workers, improved brand image and even lower risk. In a comparison of trash and recycling rates for businesses in the City of Boise, a 3 cubic yard recycling dumpster costs $49.60 per month versus $68.31 for the same size trash container. This equates to paying 38% more for trash. Reducing waste in a business has solid economic benefits, conserves resources and preserves land. Energy-efficiency improvements can also lower operating costs as well as qualify for a range of incentives and often have hidden benefits of health, safety and thermal comfort. Leaky ductwork and heating equipment not only wastes significant energy, but can draw contaminants into the indoor air we breathe. Inefficient lighting wastes electricity and produces unwanted heat yet could be qualifying for incentives from Idaho Power. Their “Easy Upgrades” such as light bulbs, fixtures and sensors as well as a wide range of building retrofits can result in payouts of up to $100,000 per year. Combine these incentives with federal ENERGY STAR tax deductions and lower utility costs and the ROI just gets better and better.

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Mulch Obliged: Missoula Volunteers Vow to Plant 1,000 New Veggie Gardens

Got lawns? Yep, most homeowners do, in Missoula and nearly everywhere else. Thanks to a national lawn obsession that has roots deeper than leafy spurge, America holds about 40 million acres of lawns and turf, a vast green carpet that’s a huge source of wasted water, CO2 and air pollution (thanks to gasoline-powered mowers), and toxic run-off from pesticides, insecticides and fertilizers. Enter former Missoula Redevelopment Agency director Geoff Badenoch, who had an idea this February during a meal with Max Smith, a freshman at the University of Montana: Why not get a group of gardeners, a generous bunch at heart, to help other people grow foods instead of lawns? The notion took root and grew. By April 26, dozens of volunteers for a new group, 1000newgardens, held a “Dig Day” and helped transform 10 local backyards into food plots.

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Downtown Missoula Starbucks Grinding to a Halt

Here's the skinny: the Starbucks coffee shop in downtown Missoula is slated to close. The three-year-old business in the Trailhead building is the only one of the five Starbucks in the area that will shutter its doors owing to the global financial slowdown, which (apparently) no amount of caffeine has been able to cure. Last summer the company announced it would close more than 600 stores in the U.S.; this winter, it announced it would close an additional 300 locales in the U.S. and abroad, due to lackluster performance.

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Stop and Enjoy Western Birds

As an unofficial birdwatcher – the kind who doesn’t carry a little notebook and camera while tramping through woods – I sometimes get a geeky thrill out of the visitors to my backyard bird feeders. Last week a neon-yellow and red Western Tanager stopped by for thistle seed. Out on a dogwalk, more of them sang in the trees along the Boise river. Zing! went the strings of my bird-lovers heart. This morning, the Idaho Statesman’s outdoor writer Pete Zimowsky informs us that the tanagers are migrating, and other Rocky Mountain western states are enjoying the migration, too. I thought it was just my optimist's mind imagining a dramatic increase in bird life along the streams and in the trees of my riverfront neighborhood, but Zimo says it's everywhere. We are awakened every morning now by birdsong, and instead of the usual two or three chirpers, there are dozens, singing and trilling and calling and scolding. Keep your eyes open for the Tanagers, not to mention the state bird of Montana and Oregon, the yellow Western Meadowlark, Idaho’s Mountain Bluebird, and Colorado’s Lark Bunting.

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Toss Those Smelly Children Into the Garden

Let’s face it - we’re going to have more time at home this summer, what with gas prices, airline tickets and pretty much everything else too expensive for us to leave. Which is too bad, because the kids are out of school about now, and lots of parents – except those obnoxious saintly types - are dreading a long summer of trying not to have to amuse them. Restricted driving = fewer opportunities to get their stinky feet out of your house and off to….somewhere else. Of course, they may turn into little videogame robots, which in a way could be a relief – especially if you have a soundproof basement with its own refrigerator – but we all know modern kids have a nature deficit and it’s up to us to do something about it. Even the governor of Idaho is all het up about this. June is “Great Outdoors Month,” as declared by Gov. Butch Otter, who said last week that it concerns him that young people spend half as much time outdoors as children 20 years ago, and too much time on electronic media. Didn’t you know you’re supposed to be outdoors with them, tossing worms around? Don’t despair, though; I have a once a week project for them that has all sorts of benefits: they can spray your garden with milk.

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