Mission’s costs for Johnson Drive, Martway projects drops from early estimates

first_imgUtility crews have been working since last summer to relocate utilities in anticipation of the Johnson Drive rebuild in 2014.The total cost to the City of Mission for the extensive street projects on Martway and Johnson Drive extending into 2014 have dropped substantially in the last several months.Between May and November, the total cost to the city on both projects has been lowered as the Martway construction actually wrapped up and the Johnson Drive project, which will run through next summer, took construction bids last week.The initial Johnson Drive construction bid came in nearly $684,000 less than the engineer’s estimate. Some additional subcontracts will be awarded in January that will round out the bids. The city had already seen its costs drop from May estimates, mostly as a result of increased participation from Johnson County road funds. That accounted for the bulk of a $1.6 million reduction in what the city is expected to pay.The Johnson Drive rehabilitation, including a significant storm water project, still will cost approximately $10 million, but the city’s share is expected to be less than $4.5 million. The Martway project, which concluded this summer, cost about $300,000 less than predicted in May for a total of just under $3.3 million. The city’s share was less than $1.3 million.The Johnson Drive cost estimates had been a point of concern at city council meetings because the cost of acquiring easements and right of way access for sidewalks, parking and roadway were approximately double early estimates.  The council defeated a resolution to increase the project funding based on the May estimates.In some cases the city did not own easements, going back decades, for sections that are part of the street. In a twist on that scenario, it was discovered that the city easement actually extended into the Verizon building. That is being corrected by vacating the easement for the building owner.The Johnson Drive project will rebuild the street from storefront to storefront next summer. Utility work in preparation for the project has been under way for months.last_img read more

History of northeast Johnson County will come to life with interpretive signs along Indian Creek Trail

first_imgHenry Fortunato doing what he does often – walking. Photo courtesy of Ann Dean Photo.Henry Fortunato walks.He walks miles each day. He has walked across Kansas.Now he wants to give others the chance not only to exercise their bodies while walking, but to exercise their minds as well, and get a sense of the history of Johnson County. On June 4, National Trails Day, Fortunato will unveil four sets of new outdoor exhibit panels featuring original historical narratives about the derivation of the names of the streets that cross or intersect with the Indian Creek Trail as it runs through Overland Park.[pullquote]Indian Creek Interpretive Signage ProjectUnveiling 9 a.m. to noon June 4Roe Park 10400 Roe Ave.[/pullquote]Two of the first four panels feature stories that are specific to northeast Johnson County. One tells the history of the Roe family – a name embedded in NEJC – and another the history of the Shawnee Indian Mission.The four panels, which will be shown at Roe Park, 10400 Roe Ave., are the first four of a contemplated 15 to 20 new exhibit panels. The project brings together history, hiking and health and wellness, Fortunato said. The panels are developed by Fortunato’s Sunflower Republic LLC working with the Johnson County Museum.Many people will know Fortunato as the former public affairs director of the Kansas City Library who brought an intense and rich programming schedule to the library. Before his nine years at the library, he already had immersed himself in a major history project, developing the history of the University of Kansas – a project still accessible.Fortunato grew up on New York’s Long Island, went to Georgetown University and worked as a magazine editor in Washington, D.C. before a corporate communications job brought him to Kansas. After leaving that job, he began walking every morning on the Indian Creek Trail near his home, thinking about what he would do next at age 42. “The light bulb went on,” Fortunato said, and he headed to KU for a master’s in American history. “I got hooked on Kansas as a really interesting place. I fell in love with Kansas.”“I have this vision of Kansas being a place where people can go for great walks,” Fortunato said.The June 4 event begins at 9 a.m. with refreshments and remarks at the park where the panels will be on display. Historian Bill Worley will portray the Rev. Thomas Johnson, the founder of the Shawnee Indian Mission and the namesake of Johnson County. The event includes two guided three-mile loop walks along the Indian Creek Trail starting at 10 a.m.The Indian Creek Trail Interpretive Signage Project is intended to enhance the trail experience by providing engaging commentary illustrated with old photographs and other archival images to examine the history of Johnson County.“The Indian Creek Trail,” Fortunato said, “is about to be transformed from a walk through Anywhere, USA into a hike through history.”The panel on the Roes.The Mission and Roe panels will be two of the four displayed on June 4.last_img read more

Shawnee hosts first ‘imagineering’ session to collect public input on future of city

first_imgShawnee’s first imagineering session took place Monday night at Transport Brewery downtown.The city of Shawnee on Monday night conducted the first of three imagineering sessions as part of a visioning process for the city’s first ever strategic plan.Their initial findings: Many residents like the city’s sense of community and amenities, and many others want to see economic development and better infrastructure.Residents filled Transport Brewery in downtown Shawnee and broke off into groups to discuss the city’s strengths, opportunities and what they like about Shawnee, while deliberating on its weaknesses, threats and areas where they would like to see change.The city established a steering committee to help facilitate the imagineering sessions as well as focus groups and city staff engagement. Ultimately, the committee will use the collected data to provide a comprehensive summary to the city council. The council will use the report to work on a strategic vision for the city during their retreats and work sessions later this year.“This is our first ever strategic plan; the city has never had a long-term vision or plan,” said Assistant City Manager Caitlin Gard, adding that city staff has considered working on a strategic plan for a number of years. “Moving forward, the council created this as a priority.”Shawnee residents worked together to share their ideas on the future of the city.Mike Mowery with Strategic Government Resources (SGR), the city’s consultant for the strategic visioning process, said the goal of the imagineering sessions is to receive public input from residents on what they want for the future of Shawnee.SGR is one of a few contractors providing services for completing the strategic plan, parks master plan and community/business survey. The council in April agreed to spend no more than $225,000 on these projects.At the first imagineering session, many residents said they loved the sense of community and small town feel of Shawnee, as well as parks and recreation opportunities, a variety of housing (in terms of price points), and also accessibility and commute to the rest of the Kansas City metro area. Residents also praised the city’s public safety and public works departments.On the other hand, several residents at the session said they would like to see more businesses and destination areas as well as economic development, redevelopment opportunities of blighted areas and planned growth in the city, especially to grow the city’s tax base. Residents also cited concerns with aging infrastructure such as roads and pipelines and especially had concerns with a “divide” between the eastern, older side of the city and its western, new side.“I am so excited about the turnout and the response because it’s all about public engagement,” said Mayor Michelle Distler. “That’s how we create a community for everyone, is by having everyone involved in the vision for our future.”Members of the steering committee include:City staff members Caitlin Gard, Nolan Sunderman, Stephen Powell and Julie BreithauptMayor Michelle Distler, councilmembers Lindsey Constance and Matt ZimmermanPlanning commissioners Dennis Busby and Les SmithParks and recreation advisory member Matthew SchieberKevin Bennett, Tammy Green and Jake AkehurstShawnee Chamber president and CEO Ann Smith-TateSchool district representatives Alvie Cater and Christy ZieglerTwo other imagineering sessions take place in August and September. Here are the dates:Saturday, Aug. 17 from 9 to 11 a.m. at Erfurt Park, 24135 W. 71st St.Thursday, Sept. 12 from 6 to 8 p.m. at Tomahawk Hills Golf Course, 17501 Midland Drivelast_img read more

Preschoolers Outsmart College Students In Figuring Out Gadget

first_imgNPR:Ever wonder why children can so easily figure out how to work the TV remote? Or why they “totally get” apps on your smartphone faster than you? It turns out that young children may be more open-minded than adults when it comes to solving problems.Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley have found that 4- and 5-year-olds are smarter than college students when it comes to figuring out how toys and gadgets work.Read the whole story: NPR More of our Members in the Media >last_img read more

Red Sneakers and Sweatshirts: The Surprising Upside Of Standing Out

first_imgThe Huffington Post:The casual outfit that Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg sported in front of elegantly dressed bankers and investors just before his company went public generated much clamor in the media. While some observers judged the young entrepreneur’s choice to wear his typical hoodie and jeans on such an official occasion as a mark of immaturity, others defended it as a sign of boldness that helped spread publicity about the deal.Why is the “CEO Casual” look sported by Zuckerberg, Apple CEO Steve Jobs, and certain other business leaders interpreted as a sign of status, while other professionals in casual dress would be laughed out of a job interview? Our research explores the conditions under which nonconforming behaviors, such as wearing red sneakers in a professional setting or entering a luxury boutique wearing gym clothes, lead to attributions of enhanced status and competence rather than social disapproval.Read the whole story: The Huffington Post More of our Members in the Media >last_img read more

Study finds urban centers can serve as flu virus sources

first_imgNov 15, 2011 (CIDRAP News) – New seasonal flu viruses can launch from one of many world urban centers, not just from tropical areas in Southeast and East Asia, as previously thought, a research group reported yesterday.The international team of scientists also found that any of the urban centers can be the source of flu viruses for any other area. Their findings were published yesterday in an early online edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).To gauge seasonal dynamics and migration patterns from 2003 to 2006, they analyzed RNA sequences of influenza A (H3N2) samples from Australia, Europe, Japan, New York State, New Zealand, and Southeast Asia. They also included 105 newly sequenced viruses from Hong Kong.Phylogeographic analysis showed that flu virus populations in tropical Southeast Asia and Hong Kong had relatively low levels of genetic diversity and no seasonal fluctuations when compared with viruses responsible for outbreaks in more temperate regions.They found high rates of viral migration between different urban centers, the group reported.Gavin Smith, PhD, the study’s senior author and associate professor of the Duke University–National University of Singapore (NUS) Program in Emerging Infectious Diseases, said in a press release that urban centers are a network connected by air travel, which can contribute to a series of flu epidemics that overlap in time.He noted that other examples of global virus movement facilitated by air travel include the SARS epidemic and the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic.Viral population persisted across time in Southeast Asia and Hong Kong, and infection patterns were influenced by viruses from temperate regions that have distinct flu seasons. “Larger regions with greater connectedness may potentially contribute more to the global diversity of influenza viruses circulating,” he said.According to the analysis, multiple lineages of a virus could seed yearly flu epidemics, with the ability of each region to function as a possible source.Justin Bahl, PhD, lead author of the study and assistant professor in the Duke-NUS Program in Emerging Diseases, said in a press release that current flu strain selection strategies are generally effective, but that the group’s findings might improve the process by shedding new light on virus migration and connections between regions.The researchers say they plan to expand on their study by including new data from areas that currently have little or no genetic information available. Bahl said this work is part of a larger effort to better understand the patterns and mechanisms of respiratory virus transmission in humans.Other studies over the years have proposed different theories regarding the spread of flu, including flu virus migration between the Northern and Southern hemispheres, from tropical areas, or from China. In 2008 a group from Cambridge University analyzed 13,000 H3N2 samples from six continents in 2002 to 2007 and suggested that new variants appear in Asian countries first.The World Health Organization’s (WHO’s) flu vaccine selection advisers meet twice a year to recommend the three seasonal flu strains to include in upcoming seasonal flu vaccines. They meet in September to make the recommendation for the Southern Hemisphere and in February to issue the same type of guidance for the Northern Hemisphere. They base their decision on year-round analysis of virologic and epidemiologic data and surveillance forecasts.In June 2010 the WHO held an information consultation to improve the influenza vaccine virus process. It will hold a follow-up meeting on the topic Dec 7 to Dec 9.According to background materials on the meeting, experts are slated to discuss ways to improve surveillance data, new assays and modeling approaches, the relationships between virus characteristics and vaccine efficacy, and regulatory considerations. The agenda also notes that the group will discuss new bioinformatics tools for genetic analysis and vaccine virus selection.Bahl J, Nelson MI, Chan KH, et al. Temporally structured metapopulation dynamics and persistence of influenza A H3N2 virus in humans. Proc Natl Acad Sci 2011 Nov 14 [Full text]See also:Nov 14 EurekAlert press releaseApr 16, 2008, CIDRAP News story “Study: new seasonal flu strains launch from Asia”WHO background informationlast_img read more

High tech paint booth for Hitachi plant

first_imgUK: The 31 m by 9 m paint spray booth oven built to accommodate rail vehicles at Hitachi Rail’s Newton Aycliffe rolling stock plant has been designed by Junair Spraybooths to optimise running costs while complying with safety requirements. The iSystem touch control is pre-programmed with bake cycles and a list of coatings, ensuring the most efficient cure profile is automatically used and paint jobs are not over-cured or under-cured. This also balances the air pressure within the cabin to ensure compliance with safety regulations. Two Junair pneumatically powered Alfa-Lifts are fitted inside the spray booth to provide access to all areas of a vehicle’s painted surfaces. The controls are inside the cage, with three levers allowing the operator to manoeuvre the platform on three axes to provide the optimal working position.The spray booth has 32 Junair QADs auxiliary air movement towers designed to improve drying times by agitating air during flash-off and cure cycles, with automatic variable speed drives adjusting the airflow to suit the process. The full airflow rate is only required for spraying, and all other activities can be carried out with reduced airflow to lower running costs. The fuel saver mode provides full fresh air intake for paint application, and automatically switches to recirculation when in idle, loading, preparation, flash off and bake modes, thus reducing air heating costs. There are high, mid and low level LED lighting within the booth, and a bespoke paint mix room and ventilated mixing bench were also supplied.last_img read more

The Millennial Financial Crisis

first_imgWhat the millennial generation needs to do now to secure their financial futureNearly one in three millennials have no money saved for retirement, and a quarter of millennials – people between the ages of 18 and 34 – report owing more money than they have currently saved, according to a survey released by the Indexed Annuity Leadership Council (IALC). So, how can millennials with nothing saved for retirement get started? Here are some basic tips to get started.Every penny counts When you’re young, you have time on your side, so put as much money aside as you can. This might mean skipping a night or two on the town or packing your lunch more often. While this doesn’t seem like much, making one or two small changes can add up to considerable savings.Take free money Consider contributing to your company’s 401(k) plan or any employer-sponsored available plan. Think of any plan your employer is willing to match as “free money.”Balance your portfolio As a young professional, you have the luxury to put some of your money into high-risk investments, since your retirement is seemingly far away. However, for the safety of your future, it’s important to also add more conservative savings products like health savings accounts or fixed indexed annuities to balance your retirement portfolio.Start now! Don’t wait. It’s crucial to start saving for retirement as early as you can. The earlier you start saving, the more likely you are to meet your retirement goals. Even if you can only contribute 1 percent of your salary, anything is better than nothing, and it can add up quickly.last_img read more

Namibian mining town uses drone to monitor lockdown violations

first_imgMoroccan protestors clash with police in poor mining town Investors flock to Cape Town to laud African Mining Industry A Rwandan police drone fitted with a megaphone speaker flies in a residential neighbourhood to enforce a lockdown to stem the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Kigali, Rwanda April 15, 2020. Picture taken April 15, 2020. REUTERS/Jean Bizimana A Rwandan police drone fitted with a megaphone speaker flies in a residential neighbourhood to enforce a lockdown to stem the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Kigali, Rwanda April 15, 2020. Picture taken April 15, 2020. REUTERS/Jean BizimanaA small mining town in western Namibia said Wednesday it was deploying a drone to monitor if residents are complying with COVID-19 lockdown regulations.The drone will take aerial pictures which are used by law enforcement officers to punish those violating lockdown regulations, Irene Jacobs, spokesperson of the Arandis town, told local media.“This is in fact an efficient and inexpensive intervention that will not call for additional resources, cost or cause any disturbances,” Jacobs said.Namibia has recorded 16 cases of COVID-19, of which eight cases have recovered. The government has extended the country’s lockdown until May 4 to slow the virus’ spread.Relatedcenter_img Morocco jails 16 over protests in impoverished mining townlast_img read more