Monthly Archives: October 2009

Moran corrects broadcasters on flu name

Rep. Jerry Moran has sent a letter to major news broadcasting companies requesting that they stop referring to the H1N1 virus as “swine flu.” He noted that the labeling has “magnified” the pork industry’s ongoing economic woes, which is expected to grow to $1.89 billion in losses by the end of the year. In 2008, Kansas’ gross swine market was $406 million, 10th in the U.S.

On the brighter side for pork, the National Pork Producers Council announced today that China has lifted its ban on U.S. pork imports. China implemented the ban in late April in wake of the outbreak of H1N1 flu. China was the No. 3 destination for U.S. pork in 2008, when nearly 400,000 metric tons worth nearly $690 million was exported to the Asian country, according to the NPPC.

Sandwich chain prospecting for franchisees

Sandwich chain Potbelly is prospecting for franchisees in Wichita. The chain has 216 company owned restaurants in the eastern part of the country and is looking for a cheap way to move west.

The chain’s plan is generally for one owner per store, and  hasn’t said how many it wants to put here.  Its gimmick is that its a quirky, authentic neighborhood sandwich place complete with potbelly stoves and live music reminiscent of the original Potbelly antique store in Chicago that started selling sandwiches to boost traffic. For more info, go to www.potbelly.com.

Hey, Chris: The horses are out of the barn

The following blog includes translation captions:

Chris Dodd, the day-late and dollar-long U.S. senator from UConn land, has stepped to the plate with a bill to freeze credit card rates immediately – a month or more after those moneychangers stepped out of their temples long enough to jack the rates up to loan sharking levels.

At the risk of causing the heads of all our free market pals to explode, Dodd’s bill, while doubtlessly well-intentioned (Editor’s note: Well-intentioned, meaning “a meaningless cosmetic action designed to fool the electorate into thinking we’ve done something”), is predictably dead on arrival in the Senate, where the poor, unfortunate banks – some of them flush with TARP funds – have convinced senators (read: sent contribution checks) they need more time to comply with the stringent new regulations (read: blast our card holders into bankruptcy to help cover our bad loans).

It evokes memories of President Obama’s pledge to reel in financial derivatives and oil speculators – which has now been quietly replaced by a Barney Frank bill to help both continue running amok.

As does my cynicism about this extremely belated piece of legislation from Sen. Dodd.

More on ‘hoarding’

An interesting read from the Web on the subject of speculators.

Coming, of course, a day before oil ended its nine-day slide despite no discernible decrease in supply or increase in demand.

Corporate profit is our friend

WICHITA — Corporate profits lead to corporate jets, and the good news from a survey released by the National Association of Business Economists is that more companies are reporting growing profits than shrinking profits for the first time  in more than a year.

The bad news is that it will take perhaps 18 to 24 months for that to start showing up in the aircraft makers’ order books.

What next at WaterWalk? A TIF tiff?

I’ll say this for the long-struggling WaterWalk development: Its latest call to the bullpen has summoned the Mariano Rivera of Wichita entrepreneurs.

And we’re going to find out soon how much fastball Jack DeBoer has left, because the bases are loaded down there on the east bank and WaterWalk has nobody at all out. And the fans in the stands are hot under the collar, pointing fingers all the way.

DeBoer’s got a ton of challenges on his plate: The public’s angry about their investment and the lack of progress at the development, retailers and restaurateurs are running, not walking, from leases in this credit environment. His one retailer down there  has a front door pointing the wrong way.

And perhaps most significantly, as we’ve seen this week, the only support he’s going to get from City Hall – the same building where the 2003 budget cuts that doomed the project got their start – is moral. This city council certainly wants DeBoer to succeed. But they’re out of money.

City Manager Bob Layton on Friday professed his confidence in DeBoer, which is more than some of the city’s commercial development crowd voiced this week. Some fear that the development will fail, leaving a financially strapped City Hall on the hook for $41 million in infrastructure scheduled to be paid back by the tax revenues WaterWalk has yet to generate.

DeBoer is a brilliant man, a fountain of ideas that he maps out on his trademark legal pad.  He’ll need all of them to strike out the side down on the east bank.

But don’t bet against that happening quite yet. It’ll be fascinating to watch DeBoer’s work in the bottom of WaterWalk’s ninth inning.

Update: Bon Jovi to play Intrust Bank Arena on March 11

Bon Jovi is on its way to Intrust Bank Arena. The band’s tour will bring it to Wichita on March 11.

Bon Jovi’s 2010 “The Circle World Tour” North American Itinerary

February 19 Seattle, WA KeyArena
February 22 San Jose, CA HP Pavilion
February 24 Phoenix, AZ Jobing.com Arena
February 26 Anaheim, CA Honda Center
March 02 Sacramento, CA ARCO Arena
March 04 Los Angeles, CA STAPLES Center
March 06 Las Vegas, NV MGM Grand Garden Arena
March 08 Denver, CO Pepsi Center
March 09 Omaha, NE Qwest Center
March 11 Wichita, KS INTRUST Bank Arena
March 13 Fargo, ND Fargodome
March 15 Kansas City, MO Sprint Center
March 17 Detroit, MI The Palace of Auburn Hills
March 19 Montreal, QC Bell Centre
March 20 Montreal, QC Bell Centre
March 23 Philadelphia, PA Wachovia Center
March 24 Philadelphia, PA Wachovia Center
March 29 Washington, D.C. Verizon Center
April 07 St. Paul, MN Xcel Center
April 10 Dallas, TX American Airlines Center
April 13 Tulsa, OK BOK Center
April 15 Atlanta, GA Philips Arena
April 17 Tampa, FL St. Pete Times Forum
April 18 Ft. Lauderdale, FL BankAtlantic Center
April 21 Nashville, TN Sommet Center
April 22 Charlotte, NC Time Warner Cable Arena
May 26 East Rutherford, NJ New Meadowlands Stadium
May 27 East Rutherford, NJ New Meadowlands Stadium
July 15 Edmonton, AB Commonwealth Stadium
July 17 Winnipeg, MB Canad Inns Stadium
July 20 Toronto, ON Rogers Centre
July 24 Foxboro, MA Gillette Stadium
July 28 Regina, SK Mosaic Stadium at Taylor Field
July 30 Chicago, IL Soldier Field

From earlier:

Could Bon Jovi be on its way to Intrust Bank Arena?

We don’t know for sure, but we got an interesting release this morning from Beth King, who handles public relations for the arena. According to the release, there will be “a special announcement of interest to fans worldwide” during an 11 a.m. webcast at BonJovi.com.

So far, there are three known concerts scheduled for the arena, which opens in January. Country star Brad Paisley is the first on Jan. 9. Ventriloquist Jeff Dunham is scheduled for March 12, and singer Taylor Swift is set for April 1. Also scheduled for the arena are the Harlem Globetrotters (Jan. 22) and the Professional Bull Riders (May 7-8). The Wichita Thunder hockey team will start playing there Jan. 23.

Brewer on Fox Business Network

Wichita Mayor Carl Brewer appeared on Fox Business Network today to talk about aviation and the Wichita economy. He was this week’s guest on the network’s Mayor Monday segment.


A call to action

Interestingly, a little more than a half-hour of this morning’s brainstorming in Chattanooga was devoted to the “vocal minority,” a group of Wichitans who oppose public-private partnerships to redevelop downtown.

There were several calls to action, including one from Mayor Carl Brewer, who said, “We cannot be intimidated.” Others called out Wichita blogger Bob Weeks and one near the front of the room, away from me, said bluntly, “We have to watch who we elect.”

Quite clearly, the information battle on downtown redevelopment has been joined. I’ll have more on the brainstorming sessions, including the focus on the anti-tax crowd, in Saturday’s Eagle.

Photos from the Visioneering trip to Chattanooga, take two

Bill Wilson snapped a few photos from the Visioneering trip to Chattanooga. Thursday’s tour included a boat tour of the Tennessee River:

Wichita City Council member Lavonta Williams, Mayor Carl Brewer and Goddard Mayor Marcey Gregory view the Tennessee River during a Thursday afternoon boat tour.

Wichita City Council member Lavonta Williams, Mayor Carl Brewer and Goddard Mayor Marcey Gregory view the Tennessee River during a Thursday afternoon boat tour.

From left, Pete Gustaf of WATC and Bob Hanson of the Greater Wichita Sports Commission talk to the Wichita Chamber's Susie Ahlstrand, back, during a boat tour of the Tennessee River Thursday afternoon.

From left, Pete Gustaf of WATC and Bob Hanson of the Greater Wichita Sports Commission talk to the Wichita Chamber's Susie Ahlstrand, back, during a boat tour of the Tennessee River Thursday afternoon.

The Visioneering Wichita members talk during a boat tour of the Tennessee River Thursday afternoon.

The Visioneering Wichita members talk during a boat tour of the Tennessee River Thursday afternoon.

Create Here co-founder Helen Johnson talks with Assistant Sedgwick County Manager Ron Holt and Mary Eves of the Orpheum.

Create Here co-founder Helen Johnson talks with Assistant Sedgwick County Manager Ron Holt and Mary Eves of the Orpheum.

Spirit's Debbie Gann talks with WDDC board member Joe Johnson at Miller Plaza in downtown Chattanooga.

Spirit's Debbie Gann talks with WDDC board member Joe Johnson at Miller Plaza in downtown Chattanooga.

Clay Bastian, Pete Gustaf, Goody Clancy's David Dixon and USD 259 Superintendent John Allison cross the Walnut Street Pedestrian Bridge on Thursday afternoon in downtown Chattanooga.

Clay Bastian, Pete Gustaf, Goody Clancy's David Dixon and USD 259 Superintendent John Allison cross the Walnut Street Pedestrian Bridge on Thursday afternoon in downtown Chattanooga.

The intangibles of economic development

Hamilton County Mayor Claude Ramsey and Chattanooga Chamber chief Tom Edd Wilson are at the lecturn, talking about how they landed a Volkswagen plant.
It gives you an appreciation for the capriciousness of economic development.
A site selector gets lost, and you drop into third place. The Germans who run Volkswagen hate mosquitoes. And tornadoes.
And they’re not excited about cynical citizens – and especially cynical members of the print and electronic media.

Preparing for development

Here’s one statistic that struck me this week in Chattanooga:

Staff at the RiverCity Company, which oversees the local revitalization effort: 12.

Staff at the Wichita Downtown Development Corp., the point organization for Wichita’s growth plan: 3, and sometimes 4.

One of the thoughts percolating through the Visioneering Wichita delegation Thursday was WDDC staffing. President Jeff Fluhr will need more bodies as the effort ramps up.

Philanthropy is going to be essential to get Wichita’s downtown program going. Chattanoogans talk a lot about “motivated local money.”

And one good starting point for a Wichitan who’d like to buy into downtown’s future would be to fund an increase in the WDDC staff.