The city thinks maybe it could.
Kansas City is one of six national locations trying out a Home Energy Affordability Loan pilot program. The city describes it as blending quality of life with corporate environmental responsibility.
The pilot program was designed by the Clinton Foundation’s Clinton Climate Initiative and has been underway for more than four years in Arkansas with employers like hospitals, manufacturers and municipalities participating.
The pilot program is funded and implemented by the City of Kansas City, Mo., and managed by the Metropolitan Energy Center.
“This program is among the first of its kind in the United States,” said Dennis Murphey, the City’s chief environmental officer, said in a press release. “Its goal is to motivate companies to view home energy efficiency analysis and upgrades as a benefit for employees.”
Several local employers are participating in the pilot program, which is funded with $400,000 from the City’s EnergyWorks KC program.
Under the program, the Metropolitan Energy Center will provide a home analysis and plan for improving a home’s energy efficiency, and if owners choose to make improvements, they can be financed through a payroll deduction.
Employers interested in participating in this pilot program are advised to contact the Metropolitan Energy Center at 816-531-7283 as soon as possible, as funding for additional participants is limited.
Barbeque, fountains “on par with Rome,” jazz and blues, and walkable neighborhoods like the Plaza, Westport and the Crossroad Arts district earned the city a number six rating by Lonely Planet.
It comes after Time magazine last week rated Missouri No. 1 state for drinking because of lax state drinking laws.
“There’s no better place in the country to get your drink on than the Show-Me state,” Time said. “Missouri has no restrictions against open containers, and the only places it’s illegal to be drunk in public are occupied schools, churches or courthouses. While localities can pass laws banning public intoxication, it’s prohibited for cities and towns to require arrests for such offenses.”
Interestingly, the city that Lonely Planet rated No. 1 to visit next year was Grand Rapids and Lake Michigan’s Gold Coast, thanks largely to great drinking opportunities.
“Grand Rapids, Michigan’s second-largest city, was voted best beer city in the US by the national Beer Examiner blog in 2012 and 2013, and its beer-tourism revolution rages on,” Lonely Planet said.
It also praised Grand Rapids for a great arts scene.
Law enforcement officials with the No Violence Alliance (NoVA) depend on intelligence information to do their job, but health-based workers with Aim4PEACE are not sharing it.
The problem surfaced Monday when officials in both groups reported to the mayor and city manager.
The problem: Aim4PEACE is a city public health operation that practices client confidentiality. It mediates east side conflicts and provides education and resources to help at risk people.
NoVA is a law enforcement group that tries to reduce homicides by helping suspects escape crime with social services or jailing them if that fails.
Their model relies on extensive intelligence to link groups of suspects and interrupt their activities.
Mayor Sly James told Aim4PEACE officials, “You don’t share information with police – who are the bad actors?”
Police Major Mike Corwin said, “What we need is the intelligence…if we don’t connect all those dots, that’s where we’re going to fail.”
Police suggested that failing to share critical intelligence is why the 9/11 attacks were not stopped.
Rex Archer, city health director, said their health approach requires confidentiality, trust and relationship building.
Police Major Anthony Ell, who works with Aim4PEACE, said he believes the group can help police more by sharing general information on conflicts that is not confidential related to individuals.
Mayor James, an attorney, noted that defense lawyers must keep client information confidential but are required to report it if a client is about to commit a crime.
“There has to be a point when confidentiality ends because the confidentiality becomes secondary to public safety,” he said.
As we reported earlier, the state Supreme Court today voted to uphold the Missouri student transfer law, a potential blow to the Kansas City School District.
Superintendent Stephen Green has sent out a letter reacting to the decision. Here’s what he had to say:
Today the Supreme Court voted to uphold the accreditation transfer law. Upon receiving this ruling, we were disappointed but not surprised based on previous court decisions. We fully intend to comply with state law and cooperate with our neighboring school systems as we move forward in this process.
Based on DESE guidelines, we do not expect any transfers to take place before the 2014-2015 school year. At this moment, we do not know how many students may opt to transfer. We do not know the eventual cost of student transfers, as that is to be determined. We are hopeful our students will stay with us and continue their journey but in the end, we are fully committed to educating the students.
As always, our primary concern is for the welfare of our nearly 16,000 students.
They deserve a healthy, stable and caring school within their neighborhood. This ruling, along with an inadequate transfer law, has the potential to rip that away from thousands of urban students. That flies in the face of our community’s crystal clear desire for stable schools.
That stability is vital to effective teaching and learning. The ruling affirms our urgency in seeking an immediate administrative action by DESE – a change in our accreditation classification – as a means to protect that stability. The inaction to date has already been devastating and threatens every accomplishment made made by our students. The constant threat of student transfers, the recent revelations from DESE, and the incessant uncertainty for our families are the most present symptoms.
Despite this, we have waited patiently for action, keeping our focus solely on increasing student achievement, and we have been demonstrably successful in improving outcomes for students. Something needs to be done. Our children deserve stable schools and the time for greater action is near.
This ruling is fresh in our minds, and I’ll sit with our Board members in the upcoming days to determine our next steps to protect the integrity of classrooms and the education afforded to our students. We’re keeping all of our options on the table. We will protect the integrity of our schools, and we will place greater focus on obtaining our third year of increased achievement.
R. Stephen Green
Superintendent of Schools
The Missouri Supreme Court today upheld the student transfer law, which could force the unaccredited Kansas City school district to pay tuition and transportation for students to go to other districts.
According to the Kansas City Star, the ruling puts pressure on legislators and policy makers to either fix or eliminate the law.
In St. Louis, the law has already strained two unaccredited districts as 2,500 students are moving to neighboring districts at their expense.
Steve Green, Kansas City Public Schools superintendent, said in September that a similar transfer in Kansas City could cost the district $150 million of its $238 million budget.
Mayor James reacted to the ruling this afternoon, urging the Missouri General Assembly to alter the existing transfer law early in the 2014 legislative session.
He says the experience in St. Louis shows there are flaws in the student transfer statute because it requires families to work harder to find quality schools. Instead, he said in a statement, “we need a system where quality schools are guaranteed in each neighborhood so that no student needs to transfer into a better situation.”
“Families don’t have to choose between living in Kansas City and sending their children to excellent schools. The two are not mutually exclusive evidenced by the fact that 15 different school districts exist within our city limits and each district has their own high-performing schools,” the mayor says. “Every student deserves a quality school in their neighborhood. I urge the General Assembly to address this transfer issue holistically as soon as session convenes.”
The mobile app, called “KCMO 311 Service Request,” may be downloaded for free for Apple and Android devices in Apple’s App Store and Google’s Play Store.
The city says this is its first mobile app, and it is just one step in allowing residents to interact with the city through mobile devices.
Users can use the app to report abandoned cars, illegal dumping, missed trash pickup, potholes, zoning violations and more. When the report is made, the app’s GPS system locates the user’s current location on a map and even shows whether someone else has already made a report. The person making the report can monitor the app for progress on the complaint.
The city already allows residents to submit 311 requests by phone, website, Twitter, fax, email and in person.
The Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce, which is actually located in Union Station, commissioned a holiday ornament of the station.
The chamber says the Union Station ornament takes its inspiration from the Nelson Atkins Museum of Art’s Burnap Collection of English pottery. It was designed by ceramics artist Irma Starr, a graduate of the Kansas City Art Institute who works in the same 17th Century slipware method. Her other work includes pieces for the Smithsonian’s Renwick Gallery, the White House, the KC Central Library, and private collectors.
Union Station will celebrate its 100th< anniversary next year.
“The upcoming anniversary has the KC Chamber reflecting on our leadership in the bi-state effort to save Union Station. This ornament is a fitting way to celebrate the occasion, the holiday season, and honor the place we are so lucky to come to work each day,” says Jim Heeter, president and chief executive officer of the KC Chamber. “Additionally, we’re glad to once again be working with the talented Irma Starr, a local artist who continues to make this community proud. From our home to yours, happy holidays.”
The Jackson County Legislature on Monday passed a $296.3 million budget for next year.
It is almost $4 million less than this year’s budget and is the seventh straight year the operating budget has been reduced, officials said.
It includes no increase in the county property tax, but does provide funding for renovations to the county courthouse annex in Independence and relocation and renovation of the county sheriff’s headquarters.
This budget is an example of the county’s “sensible and fiscally responsible government,” county executive Mike Sanders said in a press release.
“Rather than asking the citizens for more, we instead have committed ourselves to hard work, collaboration, and innovation in order to meet the challenges we face today as well as the priorities that we must address for our future,” he said.
The Kansas City No Violence Alliance worked this year to greatly reduce homicides in one of the nation’s most violent cities, but that won’t come easy.
As of Monday, the yearly total stood at 103 and will likely end up above the 106 average, police said.
That is in spite of NoVA’s massive intelligence data, arrest sweeps and call-ins intended to help suspects and persuade them to leave crime.
The massive scientific data compiled so far that links criminal suspects in groups is a blessing but also a curse, police said.
“We now have so much horsepower aimed to point people in the right direction,” said deputy chief Robert Kuehl, but police are still learning how to use it.
In an interview, police Capt. Joe McHale, project manager of NoVA, said they still have not fully implemented their model and must gather more intelligence.
“We think we have the groups covered but we don’t have the capacity right now to overlay which groups are feuding with other groups,” he said.
At the same time, national experts on the program model summoned NoVA leaders to New York City last week and were impressed by the data police and UMKC researchers had compiled, McHale said.
The expert group, the National Network for Safe Communities out of John Jay University, had wanted $250,000 to advise NoVA early in the year but did it for free last week after hearing of its work, he said.
They suggested some changes that will be explored but gave the project good reviews, McHale said.
In its social service component, the project has helped about 45 people and is screening 90 others, he said.
Mayor Sly James said citizens will not measure success by the number of suspects saved.
“The way I measure success is the same way Joe Blow on the street probably looks at it – how many murders did we have on the street – 100? Didn’t we have 100 last year?” James said.
“I don’t think we have 20 years to do this,” he added. “If anything it is 20 months.”
Councilman John sharp, chairman of the public safety committee, said NoVA will succeed and “it’s so much more sophisticated than anything we’ve done up to this point.”
Much has failed. Kansas City’s murder rate has historically been high and stands at almost 23 per 100,000 people – far above the 15.9 percent rate for violent Chicago and the 4.8 percent rate nationwide.
Sharp said, “We didn’t get where we are overnight, we won’t get out overnight.”
- NoVA anti-violence effort expanding its new approach
- NoVA KC gets $1 million to reduce violent crime
- “New day in KC” – teaming up against criminal networks
- Dozens arrested on gun and drug charges
- Technology helps UMKC professor track criminals
- No Violence Alliance offers targeted violent offenders help – or jail
- As homicides rise, new anti-crime program begins arrests
St. Therese Little Flower Catholic Church is putting out an invitation for all to attend the annual Mass for Kansas City police officers who have died in the line of duty.
The Mass is scheduled Jan. 1 at 10 a.m. at 5814 Euclid. There will also be the dedication of a bench to Officer John J. O’Sullivan by The Ancient Order of Hibernian Padraig Pearce Division.