Don Brunell

Finding balance with bottled water industry | Sound Off

Later this month, most facilities in Yellowstone National Park close for the winter. The year’s visitor total is likely to top last year’s 3.5 million people. It may beat the all-time total of 3.64 million set in 2010.


Mining contaminated waters could bank gold | Guest Column

The next billionaire may be the entrepreneur who figures out how to turn contaminated mine water into drinking water. In the process, they would make part of their fortune recovering chemicals and metals we use in our everyday lives.


Bringing space age technology to Earth

Designers of the International Space Station (ISS) had to make it self-sustaining because, once aboard, astronauts had no way to get water or discharge sewage and no connection to Earth’s power grids.


We have reasons to count our blessings | Guest Column

It’s that time of year when we count our blessings. In America, they are abundant, especially this year.

BMW takes center stage in Munich | Guest Column

There is a new look to Bavarian tourism these days.

There’s another side to the saga that is fossil fuels

For decades, radio newsman Paul Harvey gave us a side of the news that we either hadn’t heard or hadn’t considered.

Are the benefits worth the cost of going ‘green’?

Reducing mankind’s carbon footprint has become the defining issue of our time and rightly so. Virtually every level of government has policies to reduce greenhouse gases by regulating everything from industrial CO2 emissions to cow flatulence.

North and South Dakota providing fruitful jobs

If you are looking for a family-wage job these days, there is no better place to look than the Dakotas … but for entirely different reasons.

Independence means curbing dependence

While much of today’s news deals with America’s decline, there is hope we can stimulate our economy, create manufacturing jobs and pay down our national debt by increasing our manufacturing and energy production.

Transportation is an essential | Guest Column

All too often, our network of highways, pipelines, railroads, barges, ship terminals and airports goes unnoticed unless there is an accident.

Former governor Lowry risked political capital for his beliefs | Guest Column

These days, too much of our politics is agenda-driven, with little regard for the impact on “real people.” Politicians proclaim their concern for the little guy, but they hang around with rich folks, celebrities and power brokers. Former governor Mike Lowry isn’t like that.

Americans don’t appreciate our dependence on fossil fuels

Let’s face it. We’re spoiled. Even in our tough economy, most Americans enjoy a myriad of conveniences we take for granted. We awake to a warm house, turn night into day with the flip of a light switch, jump into a hot shower, get dressed and grab a cup of fresh brewed coffee before heading to work in our car or on the bus.

It’s irresponsible to keep borrowing more money

An enterprising Associated Press reporter put the cost of the recent $1.1 trillion federal spending bill in perspective. At 370,445 words long, it works out to just under $3 million per word – and it funds government operations only through September. Congress begins a debate on increasing the debt ceiling again this month.

Lawmakers need to know business to make regulations | Guest Column

With the ongoing debate about income inequality and increasing the minimum wage, it’s important to revisit the basics. In order to demand a wage increase, you must first have a job. In order to have a job, someone must create that job. In order to create that job, someone must start a business. But now, when our economy desperately needs more — and better — jobs, a major study shows that starting a business in the United States is more difficult than ever.

We need a solid plan before using only renewable energy | Guest Column

This summer, the nation sweltered in a deadly heat wave. High temperatures hovered near 100 degrees, the heat buckled highways in several states and firefighters in Indianapolis evacuated 300 people from a senior living community when the air conditioning failed. Cities from New York to Seattle set up cooling centers.

Preserve affordable health insurance in Washington state | Editorial

Washington State Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler made national news when he quickly rejected President Obama’s call for insurers to extend individual health insurance policies which were cancelled because of the Affordable Care Act, or ACA, also referred to as Obamacare. While five million insurance policies have been cancelled to date, the Obama administration estimates that as many as 18 million of these policies will be cancelled because of the ACA.

Americans need to be thankful for what we have | Guest Column

It is human nature to take things for granted. When you’ve always had something, when it’s been around your entire life, it’s only natural to overlook it, to think it will always be here. But that’s not the case, and this time of year reminds us to be appreciative of what we have. I’m not talking about creature comforts like plentiful electricity, clean water, electronic gadgets or the family car.