Best of the West: West is best for small business; wildlife managers go high tech; California tests cryptocurrency

The Western Governors' Association keeps you updated on news of the West. Here are the western stories for the week starting Aug. 20, 2018, that you don't want to miss. Image: Denver, Colorado

Western states stand out among the best places to start a small business, according to FitSmallBusiness. After compiling and analyzing public data, the researchers compared metrics for all 50 states across categories such as cost of starting a business, quality of life, and labor market.

The results reveal that seven of the top ten states in the U.S. to start a small business are in the West. Wyoming took third by performing well for relief in taxes, per capita income, access to education and more.

South Dakota and North Dakota made impressive jumps in this year’s rankings, moving from 20th to 5th and 29th to 6th, respectively. The high plains states stand out for their strong potential workforce due to local universities and high quality of life.

Strong performances in the venture capital and per capita income categories earned Colorado the number eight spot in the rankings. According to the study, Denver yields 380 new entrepreneurs out of 100,000 adults each month.

Walk on the Wild Side: Land and wildlife managers are going high tech to learn about elk, mule deer and mountain lion migration. In Utah, NASA satellite imagery is being used to study how animals are moving into urban areas, and at the Grand Canyon in Arizona, an elk management plan will be created using data from GPS collars.

Closing the Digital Divide: Access to high-speed internet is a challenge for many rural Montana schools. In June, Gov. Steve Bullock signed a bill into law designed to bring the state “closer to closing the (broadband) connectivity gap in our state’s schools.” Learn how the state is taking steps since then to improve its infrastructure.

Berkeley’s Bet on Digital Currency: If you’re confused by cryptocurrency and befuddled by blockchain, read this explainer by Governing and learn why Berkeley, California aims to become the first municipality in the country to wade into “cryptobonds” as a way for the city to raise money for various civic projects.

Off the Market: The iconic Pike Place Fish Market in Seattle, Washington is under new ownership, which thankfully, should look a lot like the old ownership. After more than 50 years and despite other offers, the owner decided to sell the market to four long-time employees.  

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