9:07 am
Tue August 24, 2010

Local Bankers Tell Congressional Subcommittee Financial Reform Will Cost Them

Congressman Dennis Moore studying during his hearing \"Too Big Has Failed: Learning from Midwest Banks and Credit Unions.\"
Laura Ziegler

Johnson County, Kansas – Local bankers and credit union officers told a Financial Services Subcommittee hearing in Johnson County yesterday that the recent financial reform bill would place local banks at a competitive disadvantage.

David and Mariner Kemper, cousins, and CEO of Commerce Bank and UMB respectively, said their institutions have survived , and thrived, because they stuck to conservative, traditional banking practices. They both said they were community-based and emphasized relationships with their customers.

Read more
5:11 pm
Fri August 13, 2010

KC Foreclosures Leap

photo by dan verbeck

Kansas City, MO – Home foreclosures in the Kansas City metro region rose 11 percent from June to July. That's an additional 19 hundred homes, according to the Kansas City Business Journal.

Nationwide, foreclosures rose 4 percent in July, far fewer than the KC metro jump.

Jackson County had the most with one in every 281 houses, followed by Wyandotte County, one in every 294 homes. Johnson was lowest. it saw 283 foreclosure filings. The Business Journal reports that amounted to one in every 767 homes.

Read more
9:59 am
Wed August 11, 2010

Coal Plant Controversy Rekindles

Salina, KS – The Kansas Department of Health and Environment is once again on the hot seat. Sunflower Electric Power Corporation is seeking a permit for construction of a coal-fired power plant near the southwest Kansas town of Holcomb. The proposal, in one form or another, has been stirring up debate since 2006. Plans for the plant have been radically scaled back. But as Bryan Thompson reports, the issue still seems to pit environmental concerns against economic growth.


Read more
7:40 am
Fri August 6, 2010

Nixon Outlines Rural High Speed Broadband Expansion

Kansas City, MO – Governor Jay Nixon outlined a $49 million federal award yesterday to expand rural high speed broadband access.

The state of Missouri is partnering with Big River Telephone Co., Finally Broadband, and Socket Telecom to bring the last mile of fiber optic line to rural homes, businesses, and hospitals.

Read more
10:00 am
Mon August 2, 2010

Power Plant Draws Ire, Support

The passion for and against a coal fired power plant in western Kansas has been evident, as the Kansas Department of Health and Environment held the first in a series of public hearings. The event was in Johnson County where some 400 people were ready to give comments.

It's an ongoing fight extending over years and gaining interest, as noted by Christi Pankratz of KDHE.

Read more
12:14 pm
Fri July 30, 2010

Feds To Truckers: Time For A Gut Check

Truckers are more likely than average Americans to be overweight, which can lead to health problems including sleep apnea, which disrupts sleep and causes fatigue, contributing to thousands of crashes a year. No one knows for sure because the government has never required that drivers be tested.

'I've Gained 100 Pounds'

Read more
5:05 pm
Mon July 26, 2010

KCI: Getting There is Hardest Part

Terminal B construction as drivers encounter it.
photos by Kathleen Hefner, KC Aviation Dept.(click to enlarge)

Frustrations some KCI air travelers found over the weekend will recur next Saturday and Sunday. Commercial flyers using "B" terminal are being told to leave home early and bring patience.

The aviation department decided to cram roadwork around terminal B into two weekends rather than draw out the inconveniences. It affects those using Southwest and Delta.

At times yesterday and last Saturday there was no direct curb access for Delta customers. People had to be dropped off and picked up "upstream" from construction.

Read more
2:19 am
Thu July 15, 2010

Council Members Comment on P & L District Subsidy

The crowd listens to a band Wednesday night at the Power and Light District.
Photo courtesy of KMBC, TV-9. Click to enlarge.

Kansas City, MO – City Manager Troy Schulte's comments to the Kansas City Star that the city will have to pay millions of dollars for up to ten years to subsidize Power and Light District TIFs prompted responses from several Kansas City council members Wednesday.

Read more
1:14 am
Thu July 15, 2010

Tax Breaks on the Table, Missouri Waits on Ford

Workers celebrate auto industry tax breaks.
Photo: Frank Morris

Kansas City, MO – "It's a great day for all working people in the state of Missouri!" said Jim Wells, regional director for the Autoworkers union reflecting a pretty upbeat mood across the street from the Claycomo plant. Workers and politicians celebrated as governor Nixon signed the measure granting auto makers, and their suppliers up to 15 million dollars a year in tax breaks, for 10 years if they invest here.

"We are committed to making sure that Missouri is an automotive (manufacturing) state for years to come", said Nixon.

Read more
5:03 pm
Fri July 9, 2010

Air Tickets Too Cheap To Be Legit

Air ticket, i.d. theft scam ranged across the U.S. and Canada.
photo by dan verbeck

Kansas City, MO – A laptop stolen five years ago in Overland Park has led to federal charges of a custom, stolen-to-order airline ticket scam that ranged through 28 states and Canada. Secret indictments were opened today describing thousands of identity thefts.

Read more
4:56 pm
Thu July 8, 2010

President Obama: Thank You Smith Electric Vehicles

Kansas City, Missouri – President Obama came to Kansas City to thank workers and executives of Smith Electric Vehicles for helping stimulate the economy with the production of electric trucks.

Smith Electric has received $32 million in stimulus funds in the form of grants from the Department of Energy.

Read more
KCMO City Hall
3:07 am
Thu June 10, 2010

Committee Approves Option On Convention Hotel Site

Kansas City, Mo. – A city council committee is recommending that the city council allocate a quarter of a million dollars on an option to buy the block that contains the Power and Light building for a downtown convention hotel.

The planning and zoning committee is sending the full council resolutions to continue studying the possibility of a 1,000 room hotel and to pay New York's Gailord Enterprises $250,000 to take the property off the market for the year or so that study is expected to take.

Read more
5:45 pm
Wed May 19, 2010

The Country's Largest Tax Preparer Shrinks

Kansas City, Mo. – Low-income working people tend to qualify for tax refunds, to get their taxes done early and to buy lucrative "refund anticipation loans". Until recently, H&R Block expanded aggressively to grab that business.

But Block's tax preparation work dove 5 percent this year. CEO Russ Smyth says the mounting popularity of tax preparation software cuts into their business, but that double digit unemployment among the working poor cuts deeper.

Read more
9:18 am
Wed April 21, 2010

GM Spends Big In KCK And Pays Off Government Loan

Kansas City, Mo. – Last summer General Motors was clinging to life, bankrupt, propped up only by a massive infusion of government cash. Wednesday, though, money was flowing the other way. The company announced that it's sinking a lot of cash into its Fairfax plant in Kansas City, Kansas. It also trumped the fact that it has repaid a massive federal government loan, way early. Those two announcements in Kansas City lead to some rare, bi-partisan praise for the auto industry relief plan.

Read more
KC Currents
12:59 pm
Mon April 12, 2010

UMKC Physicist Uses Hubble Images To Study Galaxies

Kansas City, Mo. – Galaxies, black holes and supernova: for most of us, they are the mysteries of our universe. For UMKC physics professor Daniel McIntosh, it's his life's work. He is part of a team of over 100 scientists, led by University of California scientist Sandra Faber, who will be using the newest and most advanced version of the Hubble Space Telescope to survey the heavens during a three year period.

Read more
9:03 pm
Wed March 31, 2010

Electric Vehicle Company Hopes To Expand With DOE Dollars

Kansas City, Mo. – The Department of Energy has awarded the Smith Electric Vehicle Company in Kansas City another significant grant to continue research and development of electric delivery trucks.

Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill got a tour of the Smith Electric Plant yesterday from executives and workers, after announcing DOE would add $22 million to the $10 million it had already given Smith.

The company manufactures delivery trucks, with electric engines.

Read more
12:15 pm
Wed March 10, 2010

Researchers Say Collaboration Is Key To Success In Research And Marketplace

Kansas City , Mo. – Scientists and business people are sharing research among institutions and across disciplines. That was the message at this weeks Life Sciences Summit sponsored by the University of Missouri campuses.

Collaborating is already happening . Working together has produced some tremendous breakthroughs in animal and human health.

Read more
5:21 pm
Mon March 8, 2010

Legal Assault On Financial Fear, Greed

Landon Rowland of Local Investment Commission joins attack on bogus fixers of foreclosures.
photo by Dan Verbeck

Kansas City, Mo. – The Attorneys General from Missouri and Kansas are teaming with the Federal Trade Commission to counter growing confidence games used against holders of foreclosed mortgages.

It's the work of sharks in the quasi financial world. Kansas had no complaints about companies offering to fix foreclosures---and didn't-- in year 20007. Attorney General Steven Six counts it at 171 last year and into the hundreds this year.

Read more
6:52 pm
Thu February 18, 2010

Bannister Complex Air Safe, More Tests to Come

Behind this wall at the soon-to-be retired Bannister Federal Complex is a defense plant that used toxic solvents.
File photo.

Kansas City , Mo. – The old Bannister Federal Complex passed round one of EPA testing for hazardous pollution this week, but there are more tests to follow.

The environmental agency remained silent until the results were in. Volatile solvents, some of them carcinogens, have left no traces at the old Honeywell plant that pose a health hazard from breathing the air inside the buildings.

Read more
5:30 pm
Thu February 18, 2010

Where The Living Is Awful, The Flying Is Great

Kansas City, Mo. – Kansas City got one high five and one gutter rating today. Forbes magazine rates it 13th among the 20 worst cities to live. But the airport is wonderful.

Forbes cites high crime and taxes, but says terrible sports teams really drag down the city. Now, the airport is a different story. It is rated best in the country among medium size cities.

Read more
12:09 pm
Sun February 14, 2010

Health Care Training Opportunities Abound: Full Employment Council Gets $5 Million Stimulus Grant

Kansas City, Mo. – The Full Employment Council in Kansas City has been awarded $5 million in stimulus money for a new program to prepare some 1,500 people for jobs in the fields of long-term care and allied health.

During a conference call where U.S. Labor Secretary Hilda Solis made the announcement on Friday, Congressman Emanuel Cleaver said the award is great news for this area, especially as the population ages and the need for health care rises.

Read more
5:33 pm
Tue February 2, 2010

Worse Than The Numbers Show

Kansas City, Mo. – Some of the nation's top economics bloggers have a breathtakingly pessimistic outlook. The findings come from the respected Kauffman Foundation on February 2, 2010.

Economic growth numbers from the last quarter of 2009 may look promising but they don't impress many of 200 economics devotees surveyed by The Kauffman group. Tim Kane is senior fellow with the foundation and engineered the first-of-its-kind study for the organization.

Read more
3:48 pm
Mon February 1, 2010

Kansas Sees Results Of Expanded Gaming Act

Jesse Urtiaga came up from Amarillo, Texas to check out the new casino in Dodge City. Photo by Bill Elder.

Dodge City, Kan. – Two years ago, Kansas lawmakers passed the Expanded Gaming Act, which would legalize gambling at four new casinos, all state-owned. Now that Kansas is facing a $ 400 million dollar budget deficit, it could use the casino revenue more than ever. But the only casino that's opened so far is in Dodge City.

Read more
The Economy Project
1:36 pm
Fri January 29, 2010

Job Clubs: For the Unemployed and By the Unemployed

Overland Park, Kansas – This story aired as part of a series we've been doing on the local economy. Johnson County, Kansas has some of the fastest growing and affluent cities in the country. Thousands of layoffs at local corporations like Sprint/Nextel and smaller technology companies have created unemployment Johnson County isn't accustomed to.

Read more
6:02 pm
Thu January 14, 2010

Disputed Nuke Plant Gets Tip Of Hat

Kansas City, Mo. – Plans for a half billion dollar nuclear weapons parts plant are
moving toward a vote of the Kansas City Council. The Transportation and Infrastructure Committee of the council today recommended full council approval of a development agreement.

The committee heard from anti nuclear weapon activists, from contractors and school districts, from health advocates and others representing individual viewpoints and groups.

Read more
10:49 am
Tue January 5, 2010

Tough Recession Comes Late to Commercial Real Estate

Kansas City, MO – Ask just about anybody in the commercial real estate field in Kansas City how business has been affected by the recession, and very early on, they will emphasize that the market here has not been affected as severely as in some other cities.

Read more
6:23 pm
Fri December 4, 2009

Kansas Bioscience Park In Olathe: Part II

Olathe, Kansas – Now there are officially two centers under construction at the Kansas Bioscience Park in Olathe. The Kansas Bioscience Venture Accelerator officially broke ground this afternoon on a windy field adjacent to the K-State extension campus that will become The Olathe Innovation Center. Both are part of the Kansas Bioscience Park aimed at promoting the biosciences in the region.

The public-private Kansas Bioscience Authority plans for The Venture Accelerator to turn research into products and take those products to the market.

Read more
6:10 pm
Fri December 4, 2009

Kansas Bioscience Park In Olathe: Part II

Olathe, Kansas – The Kansas Bioscience Park in Olathe got a jump on its second main part this afternoon with the groundbreaking of the "Venture Accelerator." It's to be an incubator for business ideas and strategies that will take research and turn it into profit.
The center is to be located next to an extension campus of K-State where officials plan to do cutting edge reserach on food safety, food security, and animal health.

Read more
3:26 pm
Thu December 3, 2009

Architects Selected For Green Building Project In Johnson County

Kansas City, MO – A Kansas City-based architecture firm has been awarded a $1.2 million contract to design a new, and green, public works facility in Johnson County, Kansas. KCUR's Laura Spencer reports.

Out of a field of six finalists, 360 Architecture, Inc. was selected to design the new $14 million Johnson County Public Works facility in west Olathe, Kansas. It will replace a small, and aging, building from the 1960s.

Read more
8:06 pm
Tue November 24, 2009

$24-Million Federal Grant Powers Smart Grid Plan

One version of a new smart grid digital home electric meter. The meters are equipped to connect with other display and computer equipment, and offer two-way communication.
Photo courtesy of the U.S. Department of Energy.

Kansas City, MO – Congressman Emanuel Cleaver and officials of Kansas City Power and Light announced a $24 million federal grant for the Green Impact Zone on Tuesday. The money will be used to develop a state-of-the-art "smart grid" electrical power system in the central east-side district.

The stimulus money will pay half the cost of a $48 million project that aims to install the new technology in what has been a disadvantaged area of the city.

Read more