Money mag’s really moody methodology

Money magazine released its annual “Top 100 Best Places to Live in America” last month and, in case you missed it, decided Fort Collins deserved no better than the 70th spot.

Six short years ago, the city ranked No. 1 on the same list.

In 2010, the Fort earned the No. 6 spot. Last year, we didn’t even make the top 100.

So what happened to knock us down so far in the rankings?

Did crime skyrocket? Or school scores plummet? Or, gasp, did New Belgium pack up and leave?

The Eye decided to look into it.

Since 2006, crime has stayed relatively level and the city’s schools still test above average in both math and language. In fact, most of the city’s quality of life stats have stayed fairly flat, if not improved on the scale Money uses. And after some investigating, the Eye can happily confirm New Belgium is still here.

One of our go-to economists, John Green, suggested that perhaps the lack of rainfall and higher temperatures this year contributed to our decline. But then the Eye looked twice and noted that Castlerock, Colo. – in a relatively similar climate but dare-we-say much less vibrant city — earned the 16th spot.

Which is confusing, if not demoralizing for Northern Colorado.

So what’s with the demotion?

As it turns out, Money doesn’t rely completely on quantitative data, but also considers additional, more subjective categories like “community spirit” and anecdotal evidence from its reporters when ranking the nation’s best.

Meaning Fort Collins’ place in line could have more to do with a moody reporter stuck in Mason Street construction traffic than with the city’s actual health.

The Eye’s advice? Buy more subscriptions of the Business Report and maybe read Money online.

Semper fi, Otters

Even the Marine Corps is getting aboard the OtterBox train.

In its September edition, Leatherneck, the magazine for The Few, The Proud, The Marines, recently ranked iPad cases, asking Marines at Camp Pendleton, Calif., to test various cases to see which protected best against dropping and dirt.

Problems like heat, cold, bumps and rain were also factors, but were not weighed as heavily.

In total, four cases were reviewed, with OtterBox coming in as the Marines’ second choice, behind the Gumdrop Military Edition.

Leatherneck noted that the Marines found only one difference between Gumdrop’s “military” version and its regular product, and that difference was merely the color of the case.

OtterBox’s Defender case was tested and “showed great strength,” according to Leatherneck.

The magazine went on to say that many Marines are already using OtterBox’s case for their cell phones and lauded the company’s full line of watertight cases.

Is ‘Having it All’ even possible?

In the Atlantic’s July/August cover story, Anne-Marie Slaughter describes stepping down from a high-level State Department position at Princeton in an effort to spend more time with her sons, and the tension she feels between her role as mom and her role as Professor Slaughter.

The article quickly became one of the magazine’s most-talked about, claiming hundreds of blog posts and even its own twitter hashtag (#havingitall).

No, this isn’t the plot line for the latest Sarah Jessica Parker movie. This is a real woman, with a real job and real children, forced to decide between what it best for her career and what is best for her household. And wondering whether the two must always conflict.

We’d like to know more about what that tension looks like in Northern Colorado, straight from the women who live it everyday.

If you’re willing to talk honestly about motherhood and career and how the two fit together (or don’t) in your life, then please contact reporter Maggie Shafer at mshafer@ncbr.com.

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