Friday, June 18, 2010

New Big 12 Will Be More Competitive

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The Big 12 has officially been saved as a conference, and the new make-up of the league should make for increased competition and a tougher road to a conference championship. Should the league continue as a ten team league, which seems to be the most likely outcome after the upcoming departures of Nebraska and Colorado, the new ten team league will be more difficult for both football and basketball, and could make a stronger conference overall.

The New Big 12’s football scheduling will likely be similar to the Pac 10’s conference scheduling: each team will play three non-conference games and then nine conference games. With the elimination of a north and south division, this will assure a much harder schedule, especially for the north teams. Kansas State coach Bill Snyder, well-known for his preference for scheduling cup-cakes before getting into the tough conference games, warns that while the conference will be stronger overall, the schedule may be too much for some teams to overcome (see all of Snyder’s comments here: North teams like Kansas State, Kansas and Iowa State will now face Texas, OU and Texas Tech every season, which makes the odds for a BCS game run (like Kansas achieved in the 2007 season) difficult.

Big 12 basketball will also be much tougher in conference play, as the schedule will likely now feature an 18 game schedule in which every team plays every other team once at home and once on the road. Increased road games could provide problems for perennial favorite Kansas, who despite winning the league six strait years, has struggled mightily in Austin and Stillwater since the league’s inception. The increased road games and revenge opportunities teams will face should help the league’s schools once the NCAA tournament starts.

The new Big 12 schedules will increase the difficulty to win the league in both football and basketball. While ten teams should make for a more competitive conference, the lack of parity could be problematic, especially for the former north schools.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Budget Cuts in Missouri Could Impact Schools

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The state of Missouri is facing more cuts to the state budget, which could impact Kansas City, MO schools. Today, Governor Nixon announced over $300 million dollars in tax cuts, which will decrease college scholarships, mental health services and school transportation.

The cuts to school transportation may be the most significant reduction to the state budget, as the reported $70 million being cut for transportation is 45 percent of the overall budget. Nixon said the cuts were made to preserve funding for classrooms.

While Nixon’s efforts to improve education are commendable, slashing the school’s transportation budget nearly in half will likely have significant consequences. If schools continue to cut transportation, working parents may lose bus options for their children and be forced to find other options. If the school districts cannot cut transportation further, other areas of education may be negatively impacted.

It is important for the state to try to cut education as little as possible. If budget cuts are necessary in the future, hopefully legislation can find ways to reduce spending without impacting education. In our present economy, however, this may not be possible.

KCPL Attempts to Increase Rates in Kansas City

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KCPL is attempting to raise rates for power in Kansas City in relation to a new power plant they intend to build in Weston, Missouri.

The estimate to build the new plant is at a whopping $98 million dollars - $20 million over KCP&L's original estimate.  The new plant will be a coal-fired 850 megawatt plant which will be 73% owned by Great Plains Energy, KCP&L's parent company.

So who do you think KCP&L will expect to pay for this new plant?  That's right, the consumers.  David Springe, head of the Citizens' Utility Ratepayer Board in Kansas, has been anticipating that rates will increase by 50 percent.  Springe said it's important for regulators to scrutinize the plant's cost to see whether any of it is imprudent."We'll see if the management and shareholders can absorb some of the cost instead of just dumping it on consumers," he said.

The good news is, a ruling came down today from the Kansas Corporation Commission stating that KCP&L should not only be denied the $50 + million dolar rate increases, but should actually cut their revenues by $9 million per year.  The KCC claims that the consumer should not have to pay for KCP&L's new plant, nor the $4 million they are seeking to improve their current headquarters in Kansas City.

Well, all we can say is, it must be nice to have a MONOPOLY based company that can raise it's rates whenever they feel like it.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Kansas City Picked to Host 2012 MLB All-Star Game

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Kansas City has been officially selected to host the 2012 Major League Baseball All-Star game. The decision was announced by MLB commissioner Bud Selig today before the Royals’ inter-league game against the Houston Astros. The official announcement ends over a year’s worth of speculation that Kansas City would be picked to host the event in 2012.

The recent renovations made to Kauffman stadium were a boost to Kansas City’s chances of landing the game. Kansas City approved a $225 million bond issue to fund stadium renovations, which were completed before the 2009 regular season.

Kansas City has not hosted an all-star game since Kauffman Stadium’s opening season in 1973. The event, which features the all-star game as well as a full week of festivities including the home run derby, will generated an estimated $60-65 million dollars in revenue.  This means great things for Kansas City Restaurants and most likely The Power and Light District.

Anaheim, CA will host this season’s event. Current ticket prices for the 2010 event are starting at well over $400, which signals an expensive experience for any Kansas City locals who are interested in attending. Phoenix, AZ will host the all-star week during the 2011 season.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Kansas City Hit Hard by Flooding

Bookmark and ShareKansas City area homes and business continue to be damaged by on-going flooding. Up to four feet of water has been reported in some areas, as heavy overnight rains have pushed creeks and rivers out of their banks and into business and residential areas.
The National Weather Service has reported that areas near the state line between Kansas and Missouri have been hit the hardest. Leawood, Mission Hills, Prairie Village all were victims to the most significant flooding that came primarily from Indian Creek.
Many homes and businesses have experience power loss as well. The combined effects of the water damage and loss of power have caused some businesses to permanently close, while many residents have been forced to relocate.
Several major highways in Kansas and Missouri have had closings as well, which has caused traffic problems for other highways. While many of these issues are being resolved, the forecast for rain throughout the month of June could signal more problems in the future.


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