Stories by Jim Moscou

  • How a Cemetery Saved an Iraq Veteran’s Life

    Before being deployed to Iraq in 2003, Andrew Alonzo worked as a caretaker at one of the nation's largest military cemeteries. When he came home, that graveyard helped save his life.
  • Ethanol Boom Saps Water

    Ethanol is supposed to be good for the environment. But producing green fuel can cost a lot of water.
  • Utah Mine Disaster Hit One Family Hard

    An entire community was crushed by the deadly Crandall Canyon mine disaster in Utah, but for the Allred family, the losses were almost too much to bear.
  • Dark Journey to Utah Mine Collapse

    I stepped into the mine at 8:30 p.m. Wednesday night. It was nearly two full days after tons of coal crashed down in a deep tunnel of the Crandall Canyon mine near Huntington, Utah, trapping six miners and sparking a frantic, round-the-clock effort to reach the men. Now I was the only print reporter among a group of five journalists rescuers led on an exclusive journey into the mine. It was unprecedented access in the history of modern coal-mining accidents.Robert Murray, CEO of Murray Energy Inc., and part owner of the mine, agreed to the trip so that a small group of reporters could watch as rescuers resumed drilling, suspended Tuesday night as too dangerous, after a second cave-in wiped out nearly 300 feet of progress and almost killed rescuers.(Update: On Saturday, officials reported that efforts to gain contact with the miners had failed to locate signs of the six trapped men. Richard Stickler, assistant secretary of the Department of Labor for Mine Safety and Health announced...
  • Ward Churchill Reacts to His Firing

    He will go down in history as the guy who called the victims of September 11 “little Eichmanns”—a reference to the notorious Nazi bureaucrat who helped ship hundreds of thousands of Jews to concentration camps. Ward Churchill’s comment, included in a long-forgotten essay dug up by an enterprising journalism student, stirred a national debate about the power of unpopular words—and the proper consequences for those who use them.But the saga of the tenured University of Colorado ethnic studies professor grew more complicated in 2006, after allegations surfaced that Churchill had plagiarized, falsified or misrepresented some of his other scholarly work (Churchill denies any wrongdoing). An investigation was launched, and a panel of peers pored over his work. By May 2006, the panel had reached some damning conclusions, saying some of Churchill’s questionable writings fell into the category of academic misconduct. But the five-person panel was split on whether Churchill should be fired....
  • TV: Did HBO Mangle 'Wounded Knee'?

    Somewhere inside the U.S. Interior Department in Washington, D.C., a trust account with $600 million in the name of the Lakota, or Sioux, Indians has been sitting uncollected for more than 30 years. Considering the living conditions of the Sioux, it is hard to believe the money has not been tapped. The tribe, spread out among a group of reservations in the Northern Plains, is home to six of the 10 poorest counties in the nation. Unemployment, mortality rates and social ills resemble the worst conditions in the poorest developing countries.This Sunday, HBO premiers an original film that explains why this struggling but proud tribe would shun such an enormous sum. The film, “Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee,” is a two-hour drama based on the 1970 best-selling book of the same name by historian Dee Brown. That sweeping narrative explained how the United States government in the late 19th century systematically destroyed Indian culture, if not the tribes themselves. It was a campaign that...
  • A New Controversy in the Shadow of Columbine

    Last Tuesday, as Blacksburg, Va., was reeling from the slaughter at Virginia Tech, the city council of Littleton, Colo., reached out in sympathy. “We wanted to send a message of hope,” the town’s mayor, James Taylor, says softly in a telephone interview. Taylor paused for a moment, adding in exasperation: “I just don’t know how you stop this kind of stuff.”The “stuff” Mayor Taylor is talking about is a pain Littleton knows all too well. Eight years ago today—on the morning of April 20, 1999—the world watched in horror as Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris, students at the nearby Columbine High School, unleashed a flurry of violence as random and incalculable as the Virginia Tech massacre this week. Twelve students and a teacher were killed. Twenty-four were wounded. For the residents of Littleton, a tight-knit Denver suburb of 42,000 that bore the brunt of that day’s carnage, the gunfire left an awful legacy that resonates to this day.So, on Tuesday, Taylor and his six colleagues on the...
  • The Uranium Market Heats Up

    Deep in the snow-dusted hills along the Colorado-Utah border, George Glasier arrives to inspect the refurbishing of his Whirlwind Mine, a 3,500-foot sloping hole that is as unremarkable as it is remote. Inside, past the mine's rusted gates, Glasier's small crew has been working to shore up critical support beams left to decay after Union Carbide Corp. abandoned the operation more than 20 years ago. The work, he notes, is slow going. "Uranium has been down so low, for so long," Glasier says with a cowboy's patience, as he points to rotting wood. "Well, you just can't bring it back very fast."Refurbishing the Whirlwind Mine may take time, but the commodity Glasier is aiming to bring to the surface is blistering hot. Uranium--the natural ingredient of nuclear reactors and bombs--is back, and bigger than ever. From Namibia to New Mexico, thousands of abandoned uranium mines are being reopened as billions of dollars pour into a decrepit industry that just a few years ago was left for...