Almost a year after they made their first splashy announcement, Google began construction last week on its long-awaited ultrafast Internet service. While the company says they’re now laying fiber in KCK, they declined to say which neighborhoods they would be working in. When they arrive, the one gigabit-per-second Internet connections will offer steady downloads about 100 times faster than most Americans can get in their homes with existing broadband services. In just a moment, we’ll get an update on the project from Mike Burke and Ray Daniels who are leading the Mayors’ Bi-State Google Innovation Team. But first, we wanted to show you how the Kauffman Foundation is now envisioning what a Google future might mean for Kansas City.
Local Productions .
Many of you may have been watching the Grammy Awards over the weekend. What you missed in the primetime CBS broadcast is the Grammy Award being presented for Classical Solo Performance. That was among the awards not handed out on TV from the Staples Center. The award went to Prairie Village native and international opera star Joyce DiDonato for her performance Diva Divo. She performs alongside the Kansas City Symphony at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts next month. If you weren’t able to secure a ticket, don’t fret. The performance is being recorded to run nationally on PBS as part of the summer arts series this July. KCPT recently began production on the documentary “Homecoming” which will be featured in the PBS Arts special.
Here’s a behind the scenes look at the making of Diva Divo:
You didn’t get to see them pick up their Grammys during the big prime-time telecast over the weekend, but congratulations are in order for the Kansas City Chorale who snagged two Grammys in Sunday’s pre-show awards.
The Chorale’s 2012 album, “Life & Breath: Choral Works By René Clausen,” received Grammy Awards for Best Choral Performance and Best Engineered Classical record.
Here is a look at the big announcement:
Here’s more info about the winning album:
If you head along I-70 through Wyandotte County in Kansas, you’ve no doubt seen signs for the National Agricultural Hall of Fame. It’s been there for more than 50 years thanks to a federal charter by an act of the 86th Congress and signed by President Dwight D. Eisenhower on August 31, 1960. Chances are good that you may never have stopped inside. In fact, attendance in recent years has been so poor that the attraction, which celebrates agriculture and the American farmer, was almost shuttered three years ago. Now a new board of directors is breathing new life into the museum about two miles west of the Kansas Speedway in Bonner Springs. Producer Justin Bond takes us on a tour.
In 2002, the Missouri Department of Conservation opened a unique facility on Troost Avenue in the heart of Kansas City designed to get young people in urban neighborhoods more connected with nature and the outdoors.
This week, The Anita Gorman Discovery Center is celebrating its 10th anniversary. For many visitors, The Discovery Center at 47th and Troost continues to be their first introduction to nature.
Surrounded by 10 acres of gardens, forests, wetlands and prairie, the Discovery Center beckons urban residents to visit and to learn. Randy Mason spoke with Stacey Davis, the center’s manager.
With another season of destructive storms having already begun, and the one year anniversary of the EF5 tornado that tore though Joplin, MO coming up on May 22, communities are on alert.
This Friday also marks five years since a devastating EF5 tornado leveled the small town of Greensburg, KS, destroying homes, businesses and lives- but not spirits. Even in the face of such a disaster and tragedy, a community bonded together and with bravery and resilience, and have worked to rebuild their town bigger and better through the use of innovative green technologies.
The Local Show screens a segment from the AARP’s television program, My Generation, which looks at how Greensburg has used green energy- recycled materials and renewable power sources – to rebuild itself and serve as an inspiring model for towns everywhere.
Local architecture firm BNIM and its Founding Principal Bob Berkebile are renowned as experts and pioneers in the sustainability and green design movement. Berkebile, a winner of the 2009 Heinz Award from Theresa Heinz and the Heinz Family Foundation for his role in promoting green building design and for his commitment and action towards restoring social, economic and environmental vitality to America’s communities through sustainable architecture and planning, sits down with Randy Mason to discuss lessons to be learned from places like Greensburg, KS and post-Katrina New Orleans, Kansas City’s Green Impact Zone, and the important benefits of green building design.
Finally this week we take a modern spin on a vintage art form. Head with us inside the craft-tastic world of Hammerpress, a letterpress, print and design studio in Kansas City’s crossroads neighborhood.
Producer Tony Ladesich captures artist Brady Vest’s handiwork as he brings us into the meticiculous and exacting world of typography.
Author Gretchen Rubin was born and raised in Kansas City and three years ago, she hit the big time when her book The Happiness Project: Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun made the number one spot on the New York Times non-fiction bestseller list. Rubin is now winding down what she calls her second happiness project. The book Happier At Home: Kiss More, Jump More, Abandon a Project, Read Samuel Johnson, and My Other Experiments in the Practice of Everyday Life.
Happier at Home is not another interior design book. In fact, she say she hates “house and homey” magazines. The Kansas City author who now resides in a Manhattan apartment shares her guide to domestic bliss with Local Show guest interviewer Kathy Quinn.
This week we finish up with the tale of Gertrude, an injured turtle that found safe passage to Kansas City’s Sea Life Aquarium a couple months ago. Our friends Dave Simmons and Tom James followed Gertrude’s progress from Florida to the Midwest.
Health Care ReformKey Provisions That Take Effect Immediately
- SMALL BUSINESS TAX CREDITS—Offers tax credits to small businesses to make employee coverage more affordable. Tax credits of up to 35 percent of premiums will be available to firms that choose to offer coverage. Effective beginning calendar year 2010. (Beginning in 2014, the small business tax credits will cover 50 percent of premiums.)
- NO DISCRIMINATION AGAINST CHILDREN WITH PRE-EXISTING CONDITIONS—Prohibits new health plans in all markets plus grandfathered group health plans from denying coverage to children with pre-existing conditions. Effective 6 months after enactment. (Beginning in 2014, this prohibition would apply to all persons.)
- HELP FOR UNINSURED AMERICANS WITH PRE-EXISTING CONDITIONS UNTIL EXCHANGE IS AVAILABLE (INTERIM HIGH-RISK POOL)—Provides access to affordable insurance for Americans who are uninsured because of a pre-existing condition through a temporary subsidized high-risk pool. Effective in 2010.
- ENDS RESCISSIONS—Bans insurance companies from dropping people from coverage when they get sick. Effective 6 months after enactment.
- BEGINS TO CLOSE THE MEDICARE PART D DONUT HOLE—Provides a $250 rebate to Medicare beneficiaries who hit the donut hole in 2010. Effective for calendar year 2010. (Beginning in 2011, institutes a 50% discount on prescription drugs in the donut hole; also completely closes the donut hole by 2020.)
- FREE PREVENTIVE CARE UNDER MEDICARE—Eliminates co-payments for preventive services and exempts preventive services from deductibles under the Medicare program. Effective beginning January 1, 2011.
- EXTENDS COVERAGE FOR YOUNG PEOPLE UP TO 26TH BIRTHDAY THROUGH PARENTS’ INSURANCE—Requires new health plans and certain grandfathered plans to allow young people up to their 26th birthday to remain on their parents’ insurance policy, at the parents’ choice. Effective 6 months after enactment.
- HELP FOR EARLY RETIREES—Creates a temporary re-insurance program (until the Exchanges are available) to help offset the costs of expensive premiums for employers and retirees for health benefits for retirees age 55-64. Effective in 2010.
- BANS LIFETIME LIMITS ON COVERAGE—Prohibits health insurance companies from placing lifetime caps on coverage. Effective 6 months after enactment.
- BANS RESTRICTIVE ANNUAL LIMITS ON COVERAGE—Tightly restricts the use of annual limits to ensure access to needed care in all new plans and grandfathered group health plans. These tight restrictions will be defined by HHS. Effective 6 months after enactment. (Beginning in 2014, the use of any annual limits would be prohibited for all new plans and grandfathered group health plans.)
- FREE PREVENTIVE CARE UNDER NEW PRIVATE PLANS—Requires new private plans to cover preventive services with no co-payments and with preventive services being exempt from deductibles. Effective 6 months after enactment.
- NEW, INDEPENDENT APPEALS PROCESS—Ensures consumers in new plans have access to an effective internal and external appeals process to appeal decisions by their health insurance plan. Effective 6 months after enactment.
- ENSURES VALUE FOR PREMIUM PAYMENTS—Requires plans in the individual and small group market to spend 80 percent of premium dollars on medical services, and plans in the large group market to spend 85 percent. Insurers that do not meet these thresholds must provide rebates to policyholders. Effective on January 1, 2011.
- COMMUNITY HEALTH CENTERS—Increases funding for Community Health Centers to allow for nearly a doubling of the number of patients seen by the centers over the next 5 years. Effective beginning in fiscal year 2011.
- INCREASES THE NUMBER OF PRIMARY CARE PRACTITIONERS—Provides new investments to increase the number of primary care practitioners, including doctors, nurses, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants. Effective beginning in fiscal year 2011.
- PROHIBITS DISCRIMINATION BASED ON SALARY—Prohibits new group health plans from establishing any eligibility rules for health care coverage that have the effect of discriminating in favor of higher wage employees. Effective 6 months after enactment.
- HEALTH INSURANCE CONSUMER INFORMATION—Provides aid to states in establishing offices of health insurance consumer assistance in order to help individuals with the filing of complaints and appeals. Effective beginning in fiscal year 2010.
- HOLDS INSURANCE COMPANIES ACCOUNTABLE FOR UNREASONABLE RATE HIKES—Creates a grant program to support States in requiring health insurance companies to submit justification for all requested premium increases, and insurance companies with excessive or unjustified premium exchanges may not be able to participate in the new Health Insurance Exchanges. Starting in plan year 2011.