Serving Southern Jefferson County in the Great State of Montana

Articles written by Dave Marston


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  • Creative Builders Get Rural Housing Done

    DAVE MARSTON, Writers on the Range|Oct 25, 2023

    Here’s a statistic to be unhappy about: Colorado and Utah host the fifth and sixth most expensive housing markets in the country, according to Bankrate.com. Montana is not far behind as the ninth most expensive. But here’s the good news: two rural housing champions in those states have found creative ways to build affordable housing. Moab, Utah, sited along the Colorado River, draws at least 5 million tourists annually for mountain biking, rafting, four-wheeling, and visiting two nearby national parks. But the town’s real estate has long been...

  • The "Energy Gap" Nobody Wants to Tussle With

    DAVE MARSTON, Writers on the Range|Jan 4, 2023

    Many Western states have declared they will achieve all-renewable electrical goals in just two decades. Call me naïve, but haven't energy experts predicted that wind, sun, and other alternative energy sources aren't up to the job? Alice Jackson, a former CEO of Xcel energy's Colorado operation, was blunt at a renewable energy conference in February 2020: "We can reliably run our grid with up to 70% renewables. Add batteries to the mix and that number goes up to just 72%." Grid experts now say...

  • When No Home is Affordable, Where Do You Live?

    DAVE MARSTON, Writers on the Range|Oct 19, 2022

    It’s a common story: Candace McNatt of Durango, in southern Colorado, kept losing bidding wars to buy a house. She finally settled on a tiny home of just 350 square feet. McNatt works as an operating room nurse and is a single mother of two teenagers, one about to go to college. Though she landed on the home ownership ladder at one of its lower rungs, she’s relieved. “But this is not how I saw myself approaching the age of 40,” she muses. The rent on her home lot is $650; her mortgage just $604. Combined, that’s about half of what she had b...

  • Ditches Are a Vanishing Paradise

    DAVE MARSTON, Writers on the Range|Jul 27, 2022

    Annette Choszczyk lives in rural western Colorado these days, but when she was a kid, the Highline Canal in Denver was her summer paradise. “To us, it was river and a playground, complete with rope swings, swimming holes, crawdads and a trail alongside it that adults and kids could walk on to the foothills or far out into the prairie.” They always called it a ditch, this 71-mile-long canal that carried water all over Denver. Throughout the West, thousands of ditches that snake for miles through semi-arid country are nothing less than bel...

  • Tips for a New Code of the West

    DAVE MARSTON, Writers on the Range|Jul 13, 2022

    It’s not always easy living in the rural West, with customs so entrenched that everybody takes them for granted. What makes it hard for the newest newcomers is that they’re caught up in a mysterious culture. Learning the Old West code was easy decades ago. Novelist Zane Gray’s “Code of the West” told men to wear a hat only outdoors, to never wave but nod at someone on horseback, and to treat women with chivalry. You — and you were always presumed to be male — were also advised to take your gun belt off before sitting down to eat. But here we a...

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