Heard on the Hill: Rural business program gets national attention; KPR to feature ‘Christmas in July’; KU to be recognized for transgender education

Your daily dose of news, notes and links from around Kansas University.

• A new KU program that matches retiring rural business owners with potential buyers in the pool of recent KU business graduates got some attention this week from Bloomberg’s Businessweek.

The program, which we have written about as well, is called “Red Tire,” and stands for “Redefine your Retirement.”

Wally Meyer, director of entrepreneurship programs at the KU School of Business, came up with the idea on a drive back from Goodland.

In the Bloomberg article, he estimated that Kansas has 13,500 businesses whose owners plan to retire in the next five years but don’t have any succession plans in place. The program is hoping to attract applications from about 4,000 of those businesses with revenue of at least $750,000.

The students and alumni would put up about 10 to 20 percent of the financing, with banks providing the rest. Retiring business owners would also be required to mentor the new owners for up to three years.

• It may not make my electric bill any lower, but credit Kansas Public Radio for doing all it can to make us feel a little cooler this week.

Today, KPR’s local music programming will all have a wintry feel as it will play secular holiday music and other winter selections during its “Christmas in July.”

Think Vivaldi’s “Winter” Concerto and Vaughan Williams’ Sinfonia Antarctica to “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” and “Winter Wonderland.”

You can tune in at 91.5 FM in Lawrence and at other stations all over the state, or stream it live on KPR’s website.

• The Kansas Statewide Transgender Education Project will present KU with its second annual “K-STEP Key” award at an awards banquet on Aug. 24.

KU Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little is scheduled to accept the award on the university’s behalf, according to a release I received from the organization.

The non-profit organization is an all-volunteer group that formed in August 2010 with the goal of bringing an end to discrimination against transgender people and their families through education. The award recognizes the university’s support of transgender education.

The organization also will recognize several university professors and instructors.

The banquet is scheduled from 6:15 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Maceli’s at 1031 N.H. It is open to the public, but $15 tickets with a reservation are required. The price of a ticket includes a meal. To make reservations or for more information, contact Stephanie Mott at 785-215-7436 or stephanieequality@yahoo.com.

• I can’t guarantee it will make you any colder, but be sure to keep sending in those tips for Heard on the Hill to ahyland@ljworld.com.