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coal ash dirty hand
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How widespread are coal ash dumps and who’s working to prevent spills?

News has been coming thick and fast the last few weeks, so you might have missed the uproar over the coal ash spill in North Carolina.  According to the Raleigh News & Observer, coal ash – a byproduct of burning coal for energy production – escaped from a Duke Energy storage facility on Feb. 2 […]

CES 2013 demonstration
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Annual CES show serves up story ideas far beyond Las Vegas

In addition to “Auld Lang Syne,” the Rose Bowl and diet resolutions, one of the rituals of early January is the big gadget convention in Las Vegas produced by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA). The International CES (formerly known as the “Consumer Electronics Show”) is a four-day extravaganza of new product launches, hundreds of speeches […]

gift cards
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Holiday quicktips: Seasonal trash, the economy, and other tie-ins

The reindeer seem to be in overdrive this year, and Christmas Eve is approaching at what seems to be warp speed.  Still, there is plenty of time left in the next couple of weeks for interesting and informative holiday-driven business features.  Here’s a stocking full of ideas: Performers.  My inboxes, snail and electronic, have been […]

Pizza with lots of cheese
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Dear Reader: The farm bill, pizza and you

Editorials from the heartland are growing increasingly pessimistic about the prospects of farm billpassage before Congress decamps for holiday break.   And with the giant omnibus law back in the headlines — including the specter of $7/gallon milk, if the bill’s expiration automatically makes an old law kick in — you might want to dig around […]

Poinsettia tree
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Spotlight holiday horticulture for a fresh seasonal story

As we wait for Congress to return from vacation and take up the stalled farm bill — or perhaps pass an extension – there’s another aspect of agriculture that, aside from Christmas trees, often gets overlooked this time of year:  plants and flowers for seasonal décor. Live or real Christmas trees still are a $1 […]

Surviving Christmas
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From ‘buy nothing’ to retro toys: Contrarian Christmas movement

Fourth-quarter sales at retailers, and consumer spending on other goods and services like holiday feasts and travel, are important components of the economy and legitimate stories for business writers. But every once in a while you get that contrarian urge to rustle up something a bit different.   So with the annual shopping and consumption frenzy […]

Death Inc BusinessWeek
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Delving into the business of death

It’s that eerie time of year again when mortality is in the air, thanks to this week’s holidays, Halloween, Dia de los Muertos (the Mexican Day of the Dead celebration) and the religious All Souls Day. It’s an annual excuse for a look at the business of death, which is a consumer story none of us can […]

Boy splashing in water
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Water, water, everywhere: Environment, health, big business

Sometimes you just have to go with the flow, so to speak, and between Colorado’s tragic floods, killer amoeba in Louisiana’s water system causing deadly brain infections, and Mrs. Obama’s new campaign to get people to drink more water, good old H20 is at center stage these days. And with World Water Monitoring Day (an […]

ebay college football players signatures
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Football season means game on for business of sports stories

Ready or not, the 2013-2014 football season is upon us, and that means plenty of topics for financial writers hoping to tackle business of sports stories. College football kicks off on Aug. 29, according to this ESPN schedule, and the National Football League pre-season is already underway, with the official 2013 fall season scheduled to start on Sept. […]