Independence, MO – Despite a wintry forecast of freezing rain and dropping temperatures, shoppers continued to hurry in and out of Independence Center this week. Just inside the mall's automated doors, KCUR intern Annie Walsh met Daniel Blanton, a volunteer bell-ringer for The Salvation Army. Despite the downturn in the economy, Blanton told Annie that the iconic little red kettle has been full at the end of each of his shifts this season.
Kansas City, Missouri – Thousands of autoworkers in the Kansas City area are watching the Washington debate over the proposed bailout closely, wondering what it will mean for their jobs. The Fairfax General Motors plant in Kansas City, Kansas, is already feeling the pinch. The company has added an additional two weeks to shut-down orders which would've kept the plant closed through mid January. Now workers won't be going back until February 9th.
Kansas City, MO – The commercial baking industry is watching closely as Interstate Bakeries Corporation creeps back out of bankruptcy. It was a shock when the Lenexa-based company filed for Chapter 11 bankcruptcy four years ago. The owners of Hostess and Wonder Bread, among other familiar lines, had long been the largest commercial bakery in the United States.
Kansas City, MO – A partnership involving Kansas Speedway and the Cordish company have pulled their bid to build a state-owned casino in Wyandotte county. Kansas Entertainment announced it was withdrawing it's application for the 705 million dollar casino and entertainment complex this morning, hours before a state deadline to finalize the project. Speedway spokeswoman Kelly Hale says group wanted to change the proposal by building the casino first and hotel and retail later.
Kansas City, MO – In the wake of the current financial crisis, KCUR's Gina Kaufmann set out to understand how money is supposed to work. After a visit to the Money Museum at the Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank, and an interview with an anthropologist, she came to some truly frightening conclusions.
Newton, Iowa – These days, if you've got something in your home from Iowa, it's probably in a kitchen cupboard, or in the refrigerator. But for a long time it likely was the refrigerator, or the washing machine, or the dryer. Maytag and Amana once two of the largest appliance companies on Earth, sprang from little Iowa towns. Now those communities are scrambling to deal with that industry's sharp decline, and to capitalize Iowa's emerging alternative energy business.
Kansas City, MO – The Kansas City Star publisher Mark Zieman moved from the editor's role to that of publisher earlier this year, a position that has forced him to make very difficult decisions. The Star recently laid off 50 employees in the face of decreasing advertising revenue. KCUR's Sylvia Maria Gross sat down with Mr. Zieman to discuss the future of the paper and the industry at large.
Kansas City, MO – The Kansas City city council set the wheels in motion for a comprehensive shared-use trails program yesterday, and resolved to develop more consistent parking policies to minimize downtown tow-aways. But a projected budget shortfall of $60 to 80 million loomed throughout their two meetings.
Federal Reserve economist George Kahn told the council members that fourth quarter sales will likely be down, and real recovery from the recession won't begin till the second half of 2009.
Kansas City, MO – We've seen more discouraging signs in the economy this past week, but Monday, November 17th marks the start of Global Entrepreneurship Week. That's right. Some experts argue that this period of economic downturn may be a good time to start a new business - as long as you're careful. KC Currents' Susan B. Wilson sat down with the Kauffman Foundation's FastTrac program director Monica Doss to find out how it's possible.
Kansas City, MO – In an effort to find out how money is supposed to work, KCUR's Gina Kaufmann put in a call to anthropologist Bill Maurer at University of California-Irvine . Maurer specializes in the anthropology of money. While American money used to be backed by gold, Maurer explained, it is now backed by faith in the system. Which begs just one question.
Kansas City, MO – This week, international trade leaders from the United States, Mexico and Canada met in Kansas City for the annual North America Works conference. Since NAFTA took effect in 1994, some local leaders have been trying to promote Kansas City as a hub for international trade.
NAFTA has its critics from both the left and the right, and the election of Barack Obama may change the direction of the US trade policy.
Kansas City, MO – The troubled economy is driving thousands of people into food pantries for the first time ever this year. At the same time donations to those pantries are drying up and some have run out of food entirely, even here, in the nation's breadbasket. But while the economic hard times are pummeling food pantries, they're doing great things for another service catering to the poor thrift stores. KCUR's Frank Morris reports.
Kansas City, MO – City and other local governments have been put in their own credit crunch by the crisis on Wall Street. They can't find anyone to buy their municipal bonds. That's how cities normally pay for everything from sewer upgrades to a new city hall. But the market has dried up, and Kansas City, for one, has put tens of millions of dollars of water projects on hold as it waits for the municipal bond market to shake out. KCUR's Maria Carter reports.
Kansas City, Mo. – Opponents to the Missouri Casino initiative, Proposition A have started their drive. Most people think the measure on next month's ballot would only take away the limits on gambling losses. But Evelio Silvera of the group calling itself Casino Watch committee says it would also make it harder to identify those banned from gambling, often underworld figures or unsavory characters. Still, it's the loss limit that strikes a chord. Some fear new Kansas casinost that are going to be built will take away Missouri business and jobs.
Kansas City, MO – Kansas City-based H&R Block, Inc. has been recognized as one of the 10 best companies in America supporting the arts in 2008.
The Business Committee for the Arts, or BCA, was founded in 1967 by David Rockefeller as a way to bring business and the arts together. BCA's top 10 list for this year's companies showing significant support for the arts included H&R Block, Inc.
Kansas City, MO – The heavy machinery has already been on site, but Tuesday the formal groundbreaking took place on the new arena in eastern Independence.
Its primary tenant will be a minor league hockey team from the Central Hockey League. But Mayor Don Reimel of Independence says, as a multi-purpose facility, it will also have "entertainment by the stars that are on their way up and stars on their way down. They all have a cycle (laughter). Kind of like elected officials (more laughter)."
Overland Park, KS – With energy at the top of the political agenda, representatives of state energy offices are in Kansas City hitting all the hot button issues. More from Laura Ziegler.
An economist with the National Petroleum Institute told member of the National Association of State Energy Offices that the average household could expect to see their heating bills go up by several five to six hundred dollars this winter because of higher fuel prices.
American Airlines will keep some form of an overhaul base at KCI into the near future. The mayor and a top airline vice president say so after a 90-minute city hall meeting.
Financially wounded American Air will honor its million-dollar-a-year lease with the city, which owns the base. The contract calls for keeping 700 jobs there. However, neither side will address whether the jobs requirement is still intact in the 25-year contract term.
Kansas City, MO – It's hard enough managing your own money as a single person, but how do you negotiate with a partner or spouse about your financial future? KCUR's Susan Wilson recently explored this subject with financial planner David Jackson.
David Jackson is a certified financial planner with Waddell and Reed.
OVERLAND PARK, KS – After almost a year and a half of research and input from thousands of residents, the city of Overland Park and a team of consultants will reveal a new "vision" for Metcalf Avenue on February 21.
The plan gives this important Johnson County artery a massive face lift, including bus rapid transit and pockets of revitalized mixed-use development along key stops between Johnson Drive and 123rd Street.
Kansas City, MO – David Jackson discusses estate planning in the final segment of a 6-part series on achieving financial independence. Jackson is a Certified Financial Planner with Waddell and Reed and a columnist for the Kansas City Call.
Kansas City, MO – Host Delores Jones talk to David Jackson, a Certified Financial Planner with Waddell & Reed and a columnist with The Kansas City Call. Jackson defined financial independence in the first of a series on KC Currents.