English: Australian Brangus steer (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
LUBBOCK, Texas (AP) – The highest beef prices in almost three decades have arrived just before the start of grilling season, causing sticker shock for both consumers and restaurant owners – and relief isn’t likely anytime soon.
A dwindling number of cattle and growing export demand from countries such as China and Japan have caused the average retail cost of fresh beef to climb to $5.28 a pound in February, up almost a quarter from January and the highest price since 1987.
Everything that’s produced is being consumed, said Kevin Good, an analyst at CattleFax, a Colorado-based information group. And prices likely will stay high for a couple of years as cattle producers start to rebuild their herds amid big questions about whether the Southwest and parts of the Midwest will see enough rain to replenish pastures.
DENVER, CO — At 8 a.m. on New Year’s Day, in an industrial area a few miles from downtown Denver, a former Marine named Sean Azzariti walked into a giant store and bought a bag of weed. Legally. To smoke just for fun, if he’s so inclined.
Mr. Azzariti’s transaction Wednesday — 3.5 grams of Bubba Kush for $40 and 50 mg of Truffles for an additional $9.28 — was the first in the state’s grand experiment in legalizing marijuana for recreational use.
The first-in-the-nation law was greeted with long lines at retailers and a lot of “Rocky Mountain High” jokes. But beyond the buzz, the measure represented the institution of a major new public policy in America — one opponents fear will turn the state into a dangerous land of debauchery and that backers hope sets a nationwide precedent.
If Colorado is able to successfully legalize marijuana without causing a social backlash, the tourism, tax and other considerations are likely to compel several other states to quickly follow suit.
Blockbuster said it will close about 300 of its U.S. stores in the coming weeks, thinning the once ubiquitous video rental chain’s bricks-and-mortar presence.
The closures will result in the loss of about 3,000 jobs and leave the company with about 500 stores in the nation, said John Hall, a spokesman for parent company Dish Network Corp. in Englewood, Colo.
Last week, Blockbuster’s British unit entered into administration, a version of bankruptcy, and said it would close 160 stores there, according to the administrator, accounting and consulting firm Deloitte.