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Archive for Thursday, September 22, 2011

University value

A college or university — especially a major university like Kansas University — is a major economic and cultural asset to the city in which it is located.

September 22, 2011

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Recent news reports paint a fairly discouraging picture of the Lawrence economy. By one measure, Lawrence’s overall economy grew by one of the slowest rates in the entire country in 2010.

This being the case, consider how fortunate the city is to be home to Kansas University. What would Lawrence be like, what would its economic situation be without the university?

It’s difficult to measure, but the presence of the university with its faculty, students, support staff, university-related activities, maintenance and building expenditures, research dollars, the money left in Lawrence by hundreds of thousands of visitors to KU each year, plus many other sources of money entering the Lawrence economy, all show how important the university is to the welfare of the community.

Consider what a home football game at KU means to the Lawrence economy, particularly in times such as these when many merchants are struggling to stay afloat. Try to figure out how much KU students spend in Lawrence in addition to those expenses tied directly to their schooling at KU.

“University cities” are blessed in many ways, and local residents should be quick to do whatever they can to help and strengthen the university. Kansas cities such as Lawrence, Manhattan, Wichita, Hays, Emporia, Pittsburg, Ottawa, Baldwin City, Topeka and others are fortunate to be the home of a university or college, no matter what its size. These schools are a great stimulus to each community, and the faculty and students at these schools bring vitality and enthusiasm to the host cities.

As noted above, Lawrence residents should be strong, effective and positive spokespeople for the university, and university officials should be aware of the importance of helping the city when possible. It’s a two-way street. One hopes that KU and University of Missouri officials will keep that in mind when it comes time to sign contracts for the location of the annual KU-MU football game.

Comments

Ray Parker 2 years, 7 months ago

Related: Four Northern Arizona University officials and a police officer descended on a group of students handing out American flags in remembrance of the treacherous Muslim attacks of 09/11/01, accusing them of hindering foot traffic and lacking an advance permit, and demanding that the students move to where they would not be seen. University officials insisted that their policy is to allow free speech and academic freedom on their campus, but in a time, place, and manner designated by them.

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KU_cynic 2 years, 7 months ago

Yes KU is very important to Lawrence. A blessing and a curse, as Saturday Night Live's Mrs. Loopner might say.

Between KU, USD 497, the city, and county governments government employment -- broadly defined -- accounts for one-quarter of GDP and probably much more than that in indirect spillovers. When KU prospers, the city prospers. But, with state revenues stagnant, funding for KU and USD 497 essentially flat in real terms, KU tuition now pretty much matching that of peer institutions, and the echo baby boom demographics that have pumped up enrollments now fading, how is KU going to expand and grow? And if KU only holds steady or shrinks in terms of economic footprint, then how can Lawrence grow?

The economic model of reliance on government-funded employment has been relied upon for far too long in Lawrence. What this town needs is a meaningful effort at increasing diversity in the economy, not a doubling down on its bets on KU, USD497, and the bureaucrats in city hall that are in the pockets of special interests.

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ThePilgrim 2 years, 7 months ago

Talking about "what would Lawrence be like without KU" is useless idle talk.

I would like to see them advertise "Lawrence - the bedroom community for Topeka".

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fu7il3 2 years, 7 months ago

Is this going to be something like Yellow House where these posts show up on random stories?

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Les Blevins 2 years, 7 months ago

Here is a letter to the Editor I submitted last month that the JW refused.

Aug. 19, 2011

To the Editor;

The US has tied its yearly record for billion-dollar weather disasters with over four months of the year remaining and the cumulative tab from floods, tornadoes and heat waves has hit $35 billion, according to the National Weather Service. Add to this the losses from things like oil spills and we can begin to see about how much it’s costing the U.S. to avoid creating millions of new jobs in the clean energy industry, jobs that could be created if we simply declared war on the human induced climate change that weather scientists say tends to either produce or make stronger many of the extreme weather disasters. So how much is it costing the American economy not to declare war on climate change and create those several million jobs? I estimate, although I have little data to back up my conclusions, that it is costing the American economy around $50 to $60 Billion annually to avoid the economic recovery we all hope to see coming and that if realized could pump another $50 to $60 Billion into the U.S. Treasury that could be used to reduce our national debt. So I say that would amount to about $100 Billion to $120 Billion annually it’s costing the American economy to put off what we need to do. Why do we do this? Because the monopoly fossil fuel and power generation industry holds our elected representatives in Washington and in Kansas in the palm of their hands with the power of all the money they extract from the American public. Les Blevins 1207 N 1800 Rd. Lawrence, Kansas 66049 785-842-1943

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Les Blevins 2 years, 7 months ago

It is high time Kansas take a leading position with regard to developing Community Energy to solve its own energy generation and economic issues and create thousands of jobs in helping itself and helping the nation adopt Community Energy. "Community energy" projects are generally defined as those between one and 20 megawatts (MW). This is a sector that is often overlooked because smaller-scale renewables like solar photovoltaic, and larger-scale renewables such as commercial scale wind, receive far more attention. The advantage of community energy projects is communities can develop a biomass, waste-to-energy or small wind project themselves, and with local funding, and add significant amounts of renewable energy to their local grid without waiting for outside developers. There are many ways businesses and local governments can join forces to build community energy projects. First, most states now have "net metering," which allows utility customers to build a renewable energy system to meet up to 100% of their electricity needs and receive credit, on an annual basis, for any excess power produced. For example, if a system is installed that produces too much power for the customer in the summer, but not enough power in the winter, the utility will credit the excess produced in the summer back to the customer, allowing for the system to cover up to 100% of the customer's electricity needs on an annual basis. California's net-metering law only allows systems up to one megawatt, however. New Jersey allows up to two megawatts.

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Les Blevins 2 years, 7 months ago

In today's news is the dreadful story that the state of Georgia has killed an almost certainly innocent man simply because the Georgia Supreme Court could not admit the fact that he had not been fairly judged and admit their system had erred. Lawrence leaders and the Journal World are just as stubbornly attempting to hold to an equally unwise course and kill an almost certainly very beneficial technology that could help this nation repower with cleaner and more secure energy sources and create tens of thousands of jobs in the process. Senator Sam Brownback pointed to growth in technology industries as a path out of the state’s budget woes during his recent campaign. Speaking to the Lawrence Technology Association Brownback said; “the state should seek to attract new opportunities in wind power, other renewable sources of energy and the aviation industry.” Brownback, who was running for governor, said; "the state needs to invest in these areas to position itself well for the future, and help to recruit new businesses to the state." He added; “We need that person who has that entrepreneurial spirit who says, I’ve got a dream, and I know how to get things done.” What I’m saying is that I know how we can get things done but so far Gov. Brownback won’t admit this could be true and discuss how we can work together.

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Les Blevins 2 years, 7 months ago

This JW writer points out that; "Recent news reports paint a fairly discouraging picture of the Lawrence economy" and it seems to me the words "and national" should follow the word Lawrence. Would someone wake up the writer and point out that all the discouraging news isn't about Lawrence these days. In fact for the past 4 years most of it has been about the national economy and all the horrible weather related events. Lawrence leaders should take a long look in the mirror if they want to see the reason Lawrence doesn't enjoy a much better economy. I’ve offered to help Lawrence build up the local economy by developing a distributed energy technology that Lawrence and thousands of other communities could use to turn locally generated trash into cleaner locally generated heat, power and biofuels. All this could begin with a simple letter from Lawrence leaders backing the idea so that I could take that letter to KU and show them that it would be better for KU and for Lawrence if KU would stop protecting the big coal and oil interests and be involved in solving the problems of humanity instead of fuming about who’s not going to be in the big 12 sports arena. I don't know if it is the Koch brothers and big coal companies or who it is but someone has the bridle on Lawrence and KU's leaders as well as those who were elected to represent the people in Topeka like our own Rep. Tom Sloan and for some reason the Journal World isn't telling this story like it should.

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Bob Forer 2 years, 7 months ago

"A college or university — especially a major university like Kansas University — is a major economic and cultural asset to the city in which it is located."

Wow! No kidding?.

Next editorial: Bears defecate in the woods.

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