Posted tagged ‘Colorado’

Dolan Media Pre-Christmas Rush

12-17-07

Before you break out your favorite Christmas movies, here’s a delectable selection of news morsels from around Dolan Media….

green-river-formation.jpgShell Oil Company wants to extract oil from the Green River Formation, which contains one of the largest oil shale deposits in the world. According to the Colorado Springs Business Journal’s Amy Gillentine, the government’s permitting process runs on a different track than Shell’s research on how to squeeze the goo from the rocks.

Shell submitted the application a year ago, but withdrew it when the company realized that research was going to lead in another direction, said Tracy Boyd, spokesman for the Mahogany Project, the name for the oil shale research work being conducted on 17 acres in the Colorado back country near Rifle.

“But that doesn’t mean that we’ve stopped anything,” he said. “It’s a delay, but other things are going on at the site. We’ve finished building the freeze wall test and it’s 100 percent online now. They’re working on heating tests elsewhere on the site.”

The next step, which requires combining both the freezing and heating elements into one big test to see if Shell can really wring oil from the rocks, is causing the delay.

“It takes about a year to process the application, and things in this research are changing so fast that knowing exactly what you want to do in a year is difficult,” Boyd said. “We’re learning a lot more all the time. We’ll resubmit the application a year or so down the road when we have better information to know exactly what kind of integrated test we want to do.”

Shell, which has secured 200 patents for oil-shale extraction technology, is the only oil firm working this problem on such a massive scale. As one might expect, the whole shale-oil enterprise has its critics and skeptics. (more…)

Friday Dolan Media on My Mind

11-16-07

Long Island Business News’ publisher John Kominicki uses the announcement of FTC fines against telemarketers that defy the Do-Not-Call list to illustrate the maxim No good deed goes unpunished:

To be honest, it’s the not-for-profits that bother me the most. My wife and I give to many causes, but we like to do it locally and as anonymously as possible. Our thanks is often a steady stream of calls asking for more.

Let that be a warning to you: Give a dollar over the phone to the vets, Civil War widows or public television and you will be hounded without mercy.

The typical call goes something like this:

“Hello, Mister … Kernacko? No, wait … Kamikoko?

“It’s Kominicki.”

“Yes, I’m calling on behalf of Channel 437. Last year, Mr. Kackinocki, you pledged $250 and we sent you the fabulous three-DVD set Judy Garland: The Demerol Years.”

“Yes, I remember that. But I already sent you $250 this year – just last month, I believe.”

“Oh yes, Mr. Kimchinicki, but you know the cost of providing wonderful, commercial-free programming like ours goes up and up and we’re wondering if you’d be willing to send us an additional $500.”

“Didn’t Ray Kroc’s widow just leave you, like, $700 billion?”

“Thank you, Mr. Komatahari. We’ll charge the credit card we have on file, and as our way of saying thank you, we’re going to send you the new Yanni CD.”

“Yanni has a new CD?”

“Thank you again for supporting Channel 437. We’ll be sure to call next year.”

Meanwhile, New Orleans City Business‘ publisher Mark Singletary warns the Orleans Parish school system, faced with a massive post-Katrina reconstruction project to “be on the lookout for the infamous New Orleans ‘consultants.’ These ‘consultants,’ woven into the fabric of nearly every New Orleans public contract, have long stifled progress and promoted corruption.” Singletary urges that the new schools to “conform to community standards–hopefully another community’s standards….”

Minnesota Lawyer Blog is following a highly politicized controversy over U.S. Attorney Rachel Paulose, with the most recent posts here and here. Blogger Marc Cohen’s view is Paulose’s youth and inexperience has left her vulnerable to cagey veteran prosecutors who know how to play the media to make their boss look bad. The Paulose case has become a national story, with the young prosecutor seen by the NY Times as a symbol of ex-A.G. Alberto Gonzalez’ reign….

In Portland, according to DJC, some 257 architects and designers entered the Courtyard Housing Design Competition, which is what it sounds like. To enter, you draw a design for housing that includes a courtyard. Courtyard housing is “a style deemed more attractive to families with children than stacked condos without open spaces would be.” The winners were announced Wednesday night….

The University of Idaho’s Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival was honored yesterday by President Bush, reports the IBR. The festival was one of seven winners of the National Medal of Arts. Among this year’s other honorees: Legendary jazz guitarist Les Paul. The festival goes back to 1967 and has featured jazz legends as well as a student jazz competition….

Is this normal? Next Tuesday, the University of Colorado’s Presidential Search Committee will hold a meeting in Colorado Springs, according to CSBJ blog, to find out what kind of president residents want after the incumbent retires next spring….

Today, Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens celebrates his 87th birthday, reports Kimberly Atkins in DC Dicta, making him the second-oldest person to serve on the nation’s highest court. Click here to see who was older….

No Business Like Snow Business

11-01-07

vail-snow-10-22.jpgForests might be burning in California, glaciers might be melting at the poles, but take heart: In the Rocky Mountains, there’s already two feet of snow, according to Colorado Springs Business Journal’s Amy Gillentine. That’s a big business story for U.S. tourism:

With millions of dollars spent for renovations and improvements, Colorado’s ski resorts are counting on early snow reports to bring tourists from around the world to the slopes this winter.

With early snowfall amounts at some resorts nearing two feet — and with the help of artificial snow at some of the ski slopes — two resorts are open, and many more are preparing for big opening days during the next two months.

“We had two feet of snow in the past week,” said Kristen Rust at Aspen Ski Resort, which includes four mountains. “That’s always a really good sign. Whenever you have a nationally broadcast football game in Denver, and they’re talking about snow — that gets the phones ringing.”

Apparently, Mother Nature was listening to some good marketing advice:

Big snow storms are the best publicity, she said. And the earlier in the season they come, the earlier the resort bookings begin.

“It’s still pretty warm on the East Coast,” Rust said. “So people are looking at the Rockies, hearing about the snow and booking winter vacations.”

Aspen relies on out-of-state visitors and international travelers for much of its clientele. Last year’s warm winter on the East Coast and dry European weather led to strong sales at Aspen.

Amy’s story has lots of details about conditions and new features at an array of Colorado resorts, including Vail, Breckinridge, Copper Mountain, Monarch Mountain — all of them happy campers so far.

(Photo credit: Colorado Springs Business Journal)

Drying Up Southern California

10-16-07

Colorado Springs Business Journal reporter John Hazlehurst is almost finished with his comprehensive, six-part series about the Colorado River and how western states’ dependence on it is increasingly untenable due to persistent drought.

Part 5 is about Southern California, the bête noire of water geeks. For years, the region’s water wholesaler, the Metropolitan Water District, took more than its share of Colorado River water. In 2001, MWD agreed to stop doing that in return for rights to surplus water from Lake Mead.

But climatologists say there will never be a surplus from Lake Mead again. What was once thought of as drought is “the new normal” for the Colorado River basin. So…

Southern California, which relies upon imported water for more than 60 percent of its drinking and agricultural supplies, is uniquely vulnerable to a decline. Without substantial, reliable new sources of water, the region’s future will be very different from it past.

The Imperial Valley, threatened both by the needs of municipalities and the drought in the Colorado River Basin, might no longer be able to support irrigation-intensive agriculture. And throughout Southern California, the lush, water-intensive suburban lifestyle that has drawn so many to the region will disappear.

These interlocking crises threaten the prosperity, and even the sustainability, of one of America’s greatest cities.

The growth and prosperity of Los Angeles could end in less than a generation, as snowfalls diminish on distant mountain ranges and water that once flowed down the Colorado River to nourish orange groves, lettuce fields and the manicured lawns of movie stars is no more — vanished in the heat, gone with the wind.

Later this week, Hazlehurst wraps it up with a story about what Colorado Springs is doing to wean itself from the river.

(The Colorado Springs Business Journal is a Dolan Media Company publication.)