Thursday, April 23, 2015

Throwback Thursday

Today, we're going back to 1970.  Can you guess which Kansas town this is?  Post your guess in the comment box below.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Happy Earth Day put together 10 easy things people can do which are good for the Earth.  One of the things the article recommends is biking or walking because neither mode requires fossil fuels or electricity.  And they can save you some money.  If you want to take advantage of this, please click here to get a map of Kansas bike routes and other helpful information for walking or biking in our state.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Gov. Brownback vetos Uber bill

 Gov. Sam Brownback has vetoed a bill that may have driven Uber Technologies Inc. out of the state.  Uber allows users to request a car service via mobile app.  It has drawn criticism from cab companies because Uber drivers are not licensed. Advocates argue it offers a cheaper alternative to cab service, which benefits consumers.

In his veto message to the Kansas legislature, the Governor said:

“While I appreciate the legislature’s hard work on this legislation, I believe this bill is premature. To overregulate or improperly regulate an emerging industry before the marketplace actors make proper arrangements is to invite more, problems, not less.

“Kansas should be known as a state that embraces economic growth and innovation. The jobs created by this new industry can bring opportunity to many Kansas families.  An open and free marketplace often results in higher quality products at a more affordable price.

“This will allow companies like Uber to continue and expand operations in Kansas, where they otherwise would not be able to do so.

“I applaud the discussions that have taken place nationally between the emerging ride-sharing industry and insurance companies.  Similar discussions now need to take place with the banking community, which understandably wants to ensure its financial interests are also protected.

“I also applaud the legislature’s interest in protecting the safety of our citizens.  I strongly support background checks for ride-sharing drivers.  However, the ride-sharing industry believes the background requirement as currently written, weakens rather than strengthens, the level of scrutiny placed on its potential drivers.

“Therefore, I believe more time, more collaboration, and more discussion will ultimately result in a better public policy product for Kansas.  In the meantime, local municipalities will regulate the ride-sharing industry just as they have always done with traditional passenger transportation companies.  At this moment in time, they are better equipped to understand the unique and emerging challenges and opportunities the ride-sharing industry brings to their communities.

“Though I am vetoing this bill, I am also calling upon ride-sharing companies, insurers, banks and credit unions, to work with our legislature to resolve their differences. These discussions have already begun among Uber and many major insurances companies. The same should begin with banks and credit unions. I look forward to reviewing a new bill that results from these conversations.

"Pursuant to Article 2, Section 14(a) of the Constitution of the State of Kansas, I hereby veto House Substitute for Senate Bill 117."

Monday, April 20, 2015

How expensive was this winter?

Not to jinx the arrival of spring, but it appears that winter weather (at least large-scale winter weather) is over and the cost of the winter of 2014-15 is about $8 million less than last year.
This winter’s cost of materials, manpower and equipment is $14.6 million.  That compares to about $22 million spent last year, the most expensive year since 2008.  Here are some of the other numbers for this year:

Winter 2014-15 by the numbers*
591                 Dump trucks
1.4 million       Miles treated/plowed
281,000          Labor hours
78,500            Tons of salt
49,000            Tons of sand
4 million          Gallons of brine

Annual winter expenses
2008   $23.7 million                        $9.10 per registered vehicle
2009   $11.3 million                         $4.30
2010   $20 million                            $7.70
2011   $17.9 million                         $6.90
2012   $6.9 million                           $2.70
2013   $18.6 million                         $7.20
2014   $22.6  million                        $8.50
2015   $16 million*                          $5.71*

*Estimated costs

Friday, April 17, 2015

Morning Buzz

A semitruck carrying honeybees scattered hundreds of hives when it overturned on a highway north of Seattle this morning.  The accident happened after the driver, who was not injured in the incident, reportedly lost control of the vehicle.  Beekeepers are at the crash site to help recover as many bees as possible.  Clean up is expected to be lengthy.  To learn more, click here.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Throwback Thursday

The photo above shows the construction of the Kansas Turnpike between Emporia and El Dorado.  Can you guess what year it was?  Let us know your guess in the comment box below.