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A sample of my work



Cover stories and features: 

Haywired: This is my epic poem on the electrical grid. Okay, not a poem at all. Rather, it's an attempt to write everything there is to know about the electrical grid -- which is a lot -- in a mere 6,000 words or less. Perhaps I bit off more than I could chew. But it was fascinating to research, and I have many more words to write on the topic. 

Red State Rising: (Winner of the 2013 Society of Professional Journalists Top of the Rockies Contest, Political Reporting) Utah's economy, not to mention their overall approach to land use planning, is different than that of its neighbors, and quite surprising. It "includes a healthy dose of all levels of government involvement, and impressive influence from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, building on a long history of strong centralized planning and rebellion against unfettered capitalism and the Western frontier individualist ethos. 'To the very desirable assets of the Western landscape, they've added good policy," says Mark Muro, co-director of the Brookings Mountain West think tank. 'It's not a big government, but they're doing smart things. It's a planning-oriented, smart, lean government.'" Includes a sidebar about Brigham Young's collectivist ethos. 


Land Art, the sublime and the Anthropocene: This was an unusual sort of story for me, focused on art, but also the environment and the overall culture of the West. It was fun to report and to write. It includes a strange video I made.

The Global West: Even as the rest of the economy falters, the extractive industries of the West are booming. That's thanks to demand -- and investment -- from China and other emerging economies. Along with a map showing foreign investment in the West, and a sidebar about how the U.S. coal industry is exploiting China's hunger for energy.

The Ute Paradox: A once beleaguered Indian tribe, squeezed onto a sliver of land in southwestern Colorado, takes on the oil industry, the federal government and a culture of colonial-style resource exploitation. And it wins, becoming an energy titan and a financial powerhouse. But has it gone too far? Accompanying infographic.

Wind Resistance: In Wyoming, which has long been the fossil fuel energy colony of the nation, a wind power boom is on. But both environmentalists and the petrocracy are standing in its way. This piece earned a Risser Prize special citation in 2010. Slideshow: Wyoming wind woes. Sidebars: The battle for the core of Wyoming and The messy mix of energy and sage grouse.

Reluctant Boomtown: Superior, Ariz., was once a bustling mining town. Now, the mines are gone, and the town is busted. But when a multi-national mining conglomerate goes after one of the biggest copper deposits in the world, promising to make Superior boom once again, some locals -- including old miners -- are ambivalent.

Contradiction: How a Colorado cow and college town became a microcosm of the nationwide debate over immigration. This was one piece of a special issue on immigration that I spearheaded and edited. Here's my introduction to the special issue.

An Auslander in Berlin:

Woman in a Burqa: On integration, immigration and being an Auslander.

Berlin's Supersized Community Gardens: Urban ag before it was cool. 

IKEA and me: How the Swedish big box has changed shopping, and wrecked a lot of marriages.

My first winter in Berlin, and how I survived (so far)

More at my gin & gelato blog

Shorter pieces and editor's notes:

Moving on up in the Oil Patch: One of the last bastions for upward mobility, it turns out, is the energy fields of the West. This story got a lot of play.


The Paradoxical Call of the Wild: Editor's note on the Wolf's return to Colorado.

Exploring the shrinking marvel of Lake Powell: A little op-ed essay inspired by a kayaking trip.

Slumdog U.S.A.: Editor's note accompanying a piece on tent cities in the West.


No surprises, no solutions, in immigrant raids: Op-ed about crackdown on undocumented immigrants in the U.S.

It's the population, stupid? A short critique of "populistas" that accompanied a piece by Charles Bowden that I edited.

Reborn: Introduction to a package on the nuclear renaissance in the West.

Gunning with the in-laws: An essay about my first time shooting a gun. 

Feral dogs and feral Westerners: An essay about Western culture.

Lakeside City: High Country News rarely runs fiction. But they did publish this little short story on line.

Putting lipstick on a Cheney: An op-ed in which I question Sarah Palin's popularity in the West.


Whose sovereignty is it? An analysis of the conflict between tribal sovereignty and environmental protection.

Heard Around the West: As editor at HCN, I occasionally filled in for Betsy Marston and wrote the humorous look at news around the region.


Politics and religion a bad mix: My treatise on the separation of church and state.


Desperate Measures: An infographic showing strange ways Westerners have come up with to squeeze more water out of an arid land.

Fiction and other miscellany:

Lakeside City: A short piece about a visit to the Salton Sea and the wasteland of the West

Sacrifice for the Sun: On solstice and other tragedies

Pears and Polaroids: How does one find his art?