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Rebuilding Prospect, Revelations Of Ancient Peru, Remembering Past World’s Fairs

Veteran businessman Kenneth Bledsoe with his wife and son.
Susan B. Wilson
Veteran businessman Kenneth Bledsoe with his wife and son.

The show for April 8, 2012. Click "Listen" to hear the entire show; see below for individual stories.

Funding NBAF: As Congress Waits, Will Kansas Dollars Continue

With federal funding more at risk than ever for Manhattan’s National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility, Kansas Governor Sam Brownback recently said the state could expect what he called “a fight” for the next five years. The state has promised more than $200 million in direct payments and in-kind supports for the lab and has already spent almost a third of that on the site.

Payday Loans: Credit Option Or Debt Trap?

During the past month, activists around Missouri have been gathering signatures for a ballot initiative to cap interest rates on payday loans at 36 percent. Currently, payday lenders in Missouri charge an average of 444 percent APR, about 30 times the average interest rate on credit cards. On Thursday, the petitioners’ effort was set back when a circuit court judge rejected the petition because pages of it did not contain the official ballot title. Instead, signers were given a summary written by Robin Carnahan’s office. The petitioners vow to push forward with their effort. Just before the petition was thrown out, KBIA’s Jacob Fenston reported on the battle brewing between consumer advocates and the payday lending industry.

Long-Time KCMO Businessman Holds Hope For Prospect Renewal

One veteran business person along Prospect took a very personal interest this week as a celebration took place of a multi-million dollar community development project along in his blighted strip of the boulevard. Kenneth W. Bledsoe went to work with his father right out of Central High School at Bledsoe’s Rental Company at 50th and Prospect. The business was founded in1945 thanks to start-up property and inventory provided by Mr. Bledsoe. Managers eventually bought the spinoff businesses from Bledsoe--no franchise fees or reimbursement required. Bledsoe’s 50-year-old son was murdered during a daytime robbery at the store last spring, but that only heightens his optimism about the corridor’s potential turn around. This week the Blue Hills Community Services Center kicked off a 3.1 million dollar Community Center project just down the street from Bledsoe, one of several new projects along Prospect.

MU Professor Discovers Giant Animal Mounds In Peru

These days, you can use the internet to do some pretty amazing stuff. You can watch just about any movie or read any book anytime you want. You can video-chat with someone on the other side of the world. Or, if you are retired MU professor Robert Benfer, you can discover the massive structures left behind by an ancient Peruvian civilization using Google Earth.

Innovation The Key To World's Fair Exhibition

The first World’s Fair was held in London in 1851. It's a tradition that continues today; there's one coming up next month in South Korea. A new exhibition at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Inventing the Modern World: Decorative Arts at World's Fairs, 1851 - 1939, highlights the ongoing importance and influence of innovation at the World’s Fairs.

A native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Susan admits that her “first love” was radio, being an avid listener since childhood. However, she spent much of her career in mental health, healthcare administration, and sports psychology (Susan holds a PhD in clinical psychology from the University of Pittsburgh in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania and an MBA from the Bloch School of Business at UMKC.) In the meantime, Wilson satisfied her journalistic cravings by doing public speaking, providing “expert” interviews for local television, and being a guest commentator/contributor to KPRS’s morning drive time show and the teen talk show “Generation Rap.”
As a health care reporter, I aim to empower my audience to take steps to improve health care and make informed decisions as consumers and voters. I tell human stories augmented with research and data to explain how our health care system works and sometimes fails us. Email me at alexs@kcur.org.
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