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Today's word on journalism

March 17, 2009

Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 1863-2009

"Can Seattle's oldest newspaper be successfully transformed into a child of the information age? The Northwest is a land of big dreams. With the demise of the Soviet Union, one quipster noted that Puget Sound is now home to three empires still bent on global dominion: Microsoft, Amazon.com and Starbuck's. If the stars align properly and with a quality product, Seattle will show the way to a new model for journalism of the written word."

--Joel Connelly, columnist, in today's final print edition of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer

Editorial Comment: And when the newspapers die. . . .

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Two USU professors help kick start a new industry in Utah

Two USU Jon M. Huntsman School of Business professors played a key role in the launching of a wind power plant at the mouth of Spanish Fork Canyon in 2008.

Their research shows that the construction alone generated more than $4 million in economic output to the state of Utah. The project supported 38 jobs with a total payroll of almost $1.4 million.

"Wind power can create attractive economic opportunities for a local community in terms of new jobs, lease payments to landowners and new property tax revenues," said Cathy Hartman, marketing professor and one of the co-authors of the study.

In 2009, the wind power plant is expected to generate more than $74,000 in land lease payments to Spanish Fork landowners. It will also generate more than $112,000 in local property taxes for Utah County, of which approximately $84,000 will support the Nebo School District, the study concludes.

The report, "Generating Economic Development from a Wind Power Project in Spanish Fork Canyon, Utah: A Case Study and Analysis of State-Level Economic Impacts," is available from the U.S. Department of Energy Web site. http://www.windpoweringamerica.gov/filter_detail.asp?itemid=2124

The economic impacts were estimated using the Job and Economic Development Impact (JEDI) model developed by the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colo. Sandra Reategui, a USU graduate, and Edwin Stafford, Huntsman marketing professor, were co-authors of the study.

"The developers faced obstacles at every turn and had to break new ground on many fronts," said Stafford. "The report includes a case history of the four-year struggle to establish the project, a process that required backers to adapt to changing municipal, state and federal policies."

It includes a description of the sitting issues encountered, how a power purchase agreement with Rocky Mountain Power was negotiated and how developers addressed objections raised by some local residents.

"Wind developers in Utah need to be persistent, flexible and responsive to community concerns," Stafford said. "Energy policy also needs to be consistent to expedite wind development as well."

Spanish Fork has paved the way for more wind power development throughout the state, according to Hartman.

"This will bring both economic and environmental benefits and foster a rural renaissance across the state," she said.

The Spanish Fork wind project is owned and operated by Edison Mission Energy based in California, but Stafford and Hartman said some people often refer to it as "their project."

"We were so excited," Hartman said. "We feel like we are a part of it and the broader renewable energy movement in the state."

Others have recognized their role too. When it was dedicated, Hartman and Stafford were guest speakers at the opening celebration. They are also sought out on a weekly basis by reporters who are interested in what they have to say about green marketing and wind power.

"Our expertise is in the marketing of clean technology," Stafford said. "What we have here is a case study that Cathy and I have witnessed over the last four years of all the policy barriers, and the market barriers and the cultural misperceptions that had to be overcome to get this project off the ground. In many respects, Cathy and I feel honored that we helped kick start a whole new industry in the state."

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