Daily Archives: April 24, 2008

Wild West World’s MySpace page

As a true maverick – I detest American Idol and I don’t have a MySpace page – I retained the right of skepticism when friends told me you can find anything on MySpace.

But as this Wild West World entry proves, they were right.

Somewhere in cyberspace there lurks a fan of the two-month misadventure in prepackaged Western entertainment that has ended in bankruptcy.

It’s interesting and a little reassuring, frankly, to see that the park mattered to someone besides the legions of workers and vendors who didn’t get paid out there. If the author’s out there,  please get in touch with us. You’d make a good story.

This is a guy who knows his stuff

One of the major goals of any university is to have world-renowned researchers among its faculty, and K-State just scored big in that department.

Bikram Gill, distinguished professor and guru of all things wheat genomic, has been listed on ISIHighlyCited.com as one of the world’s most influential researchers in the site’s plant and animal science category.

Gill’s work was cited 2,177 times from 1984 to 2003, officials with the Web site said, putting him among the top half of 1 percent of all publishing authors.

At K-State, he heads a team responsible for mapping the genome of the wheat plant so breeders can create new varieties able to resist disease, produce higher yields or be used for biofuels.

Here’s a shocker: We’re in a recession

Thanks to FedEx Kinkos, we now know small-business owners are concerned about the economy.

The company released its national “Signs of the Times” small-business survey today, which also found that 66 percent of those polled foresee flat or falling profits in 2008.

Sounds like bad news all around. However, there is a silver lining, at least for the newspaper industry: Some 92 percent of small-business owners say they will either keep the same or increase spending on marketing and advertising budgets it this year.

FedEx Kinkos was kind enough to offer some marketing tips to help you through it.

Whoa, Nellie! Slow down that aging process!

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego — ranked 14th in the nation for research among medical schools by US News and World Reportare trying to find causes and cures to the afflictions that burden those of us heading into our golden years.

They’re driven by a $2 million grant from the Larry L. Hillblom Foundation to study how processes such as cellular damage, inflammation and gene activity may be linked to the aging process and its accompanying disorders.

But they’re also driven by these startling projections: People aged 65 or older will make up 25 percent of the population by 2030 — a staggering 76 million people — according to U.S. Census Bureau projections.

That’s certainly way more people than our medical system can effectively handle at once.

Say San Diego researchers:

As a result, more and more individuals will be living with chronic and debilitating conditions such as diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular disease and Alzheimer’s. It has been suggested, however, that if the basic aging process itself could be slowed by five to 10 percent, this would have dramatic affects on the health of older adults and significantly decrease the number of individuals living with disease and disability.

So what’s the answer? Do we slow down the aging process or do we train all docs in geriatric medicine?

Boeing shareholders meeting

dreamliner1.jpg

Boeing will hold its 2008 shareholders meeting Monday at Chicago’s Field Museum at 1400 S. Lake Shore Drive. The meeting starts at 10 a.m.

Where in the world is Thomas Etheredge?

Looking for a way to increase your business profitability? Seeking a cash flow boost? There reportedly are seminars available south of here, taught by a guy who knows all about cash flow issues – Thomas Etheredge.

The Wild West World founder is out of sight in San Antonio – or rather, somewhere near an alpaca – but he remains a focus of state securities investigators and the FBI.

Both agencies continue a labor-intensive look at Etheredge’s financial activities as he built Wild West World, and there is no timeline for either to conclude their work. There are two centerpiece issues, sources close to the probes say: whether Etheredge’s private investors knew his park essentially was insolvent when they invested in late 2006 and early 2007, the focus of the state; and whether Etheredge provided his lenders an accurate picture of his finances, the focus of the feds.

Some of those banks have received subpoenas for financial documents in the Wild West World case. Some of his private investors, though, are directing their blame at God rather than Etheredge for the loss of their money. And no, Terry Fox isn’t among them.

Coffee break

Gas or Starbucks? Gas or Starbucks? Both are overpriced commodities. One you can live with and one you can live without. It might be time to give up the unnecessary one. Guess I’ll have to start walking to work.

  • Fortune Magazine has a pretty impressive slide show that looks at Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner, including some shots from Spirit AeroSystems in Wichita. There also is a video on the Dreamliner.
  • Entrepreneurial activity among women dropped sharply in 2007, according to a study from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation that was released today.
  • It looks like Wichita-based Lodgeworks is building a Hyatt Place hotel that will be part of a $100 million development in Fort Worth.
  • Rep. Todd Tiahrt and his colleague from Washington, Norm Dicks, have been recognized for their work to try to get the Air Force tanker award overturned. Although the “Porkers of the Month” award probably isn’t an honor they were seeking. Then again, maybe it was.

Paying business success forward

One of the best things about this job is the ability to meet accomplished business executives and find out what makes them tick.

The past month has yielded two of the most astute, altruistic business success stories I’ve run across: Wichita real estate magnate Herb Krumsick and Linda Alvarado, a Denver construction company, baseball and pizza restaurant owner.

They sound different, don’t they? They’re not: Herb and Linda are cut from the same success story. Work hard, surround yourself with good people and then pay what you’ve learned forward.

In an era of grandiose business entitlement – I couldn’t help but be struck by oil company execs telling Congress this month that they deserve windfall profits because the business was tight a decade ago – it’s both refreshing and reassuring to find people like Herb and Linda who understand success, their role in it and their responsibility to seed that kind of success in their industry.

Linda’s in town tonight, speaking at the Hispanic Chamber’s annual dinner at the Airport Hilton. I hope some of you have a chance to meet her.