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Small western towns that fall victim to the boom and bust cycles of mining or oil and gas often try to reinvent themselves through tourism or other lower impact industries.
But in the latest issue of High Country News, reporter Marshall Swearingen tells the story of one South Dakota mining town that's refashioned itself as a center for cutting edge physics research.
KDNK's Nelson Harvey spoke to Swearingen for the latest edition of Sounds of the High Country, and he learned that while scientific research may not pack the economic punch of the mining industry, it has all sorts of unintended educational benefits.
As Colorado voters consider a new education funding mechanism with Amendment 66, a decade-old law in Alaska is closing rural schools. On this episode of Sounds of the High Country, our collaboration with the High Country News, KDNK's Eric Skalac talks to Krista Langlois--in the most recent issue of the High Country news, Langlois writes about the law and about how school closures are affecting rural Alaskan communities.
September's massive flood devastated the front range town of Lyons, and recovery efforts there and in other affected communities are ongoing, even as a partial government shutdown threatened to pull National Guard members from essential work repairing roads and bridges.
For the latest edition of Sounds of the High Country, KDNK's Eric Skalac talks to writer and radio-reporter Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock. In an essay in the current issue of High Country News, Hitchcock tells the story of Twiggley Island--one of a series of islands formed when the St. Vrain river jumped its banks and flooded Lyons. Hitchcock, her family and many other residents were temporarily stranded on those islands for several days.
The debate over the new gas drilling technique known as hydraulic fracturing is heating up this fall, as several cities along Colorado's Front Range prepare to vote on fracking bans or moratoriums.
In a story in the current issue of High Country News, the writer Josh Zaffos documents the groundswell of Front Range opposition to fracking, and he also describes how some of Colorado's more rural communities actually want to loosen fracking rules.
As Zaffos told KDNK's Nelson Harvey in the latest edition of Sounds of the High Country, voters on both sides of the drilling debate are jockeying for more local control over gas exploration in Colorado.
For many workers left jobless or underemployed after the recent economic recession, the domestic oil and gas boom now sweeping the U.S. seems like a quick ticket to high paying work.
For the latest edition of Sounds of the High Country, KDNK's collaboration with the environmental magazine High Country News, KDNK's Nelson Harvey spoke with Sandy Gebhards, an Idaho woman who found work driving an oil truck in North Dakota's Baaken oil fields. He also talked to Sierra Crane Murdoch, who profiles Gebhards in the current issue of the magazine. And as he found out, in a high-risk industry like the oil business, things don't always go exactly as planned.
President Obama's proposed budget for firefighting next year is up 27 percent over this year's levels, but as KDNK's Nelson Harvey reports in this episode of Sounds of the High Country, at least one prominent wildfire expert doesn't think its all money well spent.
The years since the economic crash of 2008 haven’t exactly been easy ones for conservationists in the west. Arguments about the job creating potential of extractive industries like oil and gas are more convincing when other jobs are scarce, and for many people, human welfare takes clear priority over the protection of other species or ecosystems.
For the latest edition of Sounds of the High Country, KDNK’s Nelson Harvey talks to the writer Hal Herring about how the future looks for so-called “nature freaks” like himself, and why he’s still fighting to protect his rugged Montana landscape from oil and gas development.
The problem of being unable to live where you work is one that plagues people in resort communities across the west. For the latest edition of Sounds of the High Country, KDNK's look inside the current issue of High Country News, Nelson Harvey spoke with the magazine's senior editor, Ray Ring, about the housing woes now afflicting Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and the delicate balance of protecting a pristine environment while housing the people who work there.
The electrical grid in the U.S. is a vital part of the country’s circulatory system. Today, its structure and capacity are already affecting efforts to switch from fossil fuels to renewable sources of energy.
For this edition of Sounds of the High Country, a look into the pages of the Paonia-based environmental magazine High Country News, KDNK’s Nelson Harvey spoke with senior editor Jonathan Thompson about his cover story on the western electrical grid, it’s vulnerabilities and ongoing efforts to make it smarter.
Electrical buzz courtesy of lonemonk, freesound.org; car horns courtesy of RobinHood76, freesound.org; yell courtesy of stephsinger22, freesound.org; wind turbine courtesy of Andy-Gardner, freesound.org.
The political polarization now gripping the United States didn't originate in Washington D.C. It took root in small communities across the country, places that over the last several decades have been populated by people with increasingly homogenous and extreme political views.
For this episode of Sounds of the High Country, KDNK's ongoing collaboration with the Paonia-based environmental magazine High Country News, Nelson Harvey asked Sierra Crane Murdoch about her cover story on the radical conservative politics of northern Idaho, and what happens in a place where a single political party has complete control.