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News Briefs 5/3

Author Visits East

Tanner Colby, author of Some of My Best Friends Are Black, discussed racial integration in the Kansas City area in an assembly. He was joined by playwright Nathan Jackson and radio host and East parent Steve Kraske, who mediated the discussion on April 18.

After the assembly, Colby accompanied a group of East, Wyandotte and Raytown students to the Johnson County Library to continue the discussion about segregation in Kansas City.

“Going to the library was a really cool experience, because even though we are all really different, we were all together for the same reason, which was to talk about the neighborhoods in Kansas City,” ” junior Taylor Stover said.

In Colby’s New York Times Best Selling novel, he studied and wrote about the development of Kansas City and the resulting impact on the city’s diversity. He explored the lasting effects of segregated cities and what has caused them. He explains that the segregation of Kansas City dates back to J.C. Nichols’ original layout of the city.

The assembly and field trip were made possible with the help of community partners from the Johnson County Library and East Principal John McKinney, who helped set up the event. The discussions were part of East’s ongoing effort to make students more knowledgeable about their community, and the diversity within it.

Truce Called on ‘Border War’

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback called on Missouri lawmakers to bring a truce to the economic “border war” between Kansas and Missouri. He proposed legislation curtailing a business incentive program called Promoting Employment Across Kansas (PEAK).

The PEAK program incentivizes businesses to move or expand their company into Missouri with the hopes of promoting economic growth in the state. The program promises the elimination of 95 percent of income tax for any company’s employees. However, this means a loss of tax money for both states.

Two years ago, Missouri passed similar legislation curtailing a similar program called Missouri Works. The goal of this was to eliminate the poaching of businesses across state lines. Since 2009, 5,702 jobs have moved into Kansas using PEAK incentives and 3,998 jobs have moved into Missouri with Missouri Works incentives. However, because of the promised elimination of taxes, this job growth does not bring in any income tax revenue to either state.

Brownback’s new directive calls for the elimination of all incentives in the counties surrounding the state line, including Jackson, Johnson, Wyandotte, Platte, Clay, Cass, Ray, Leavenworth and Douglas counties. However, under his new proposal, incentives will still be made to companies that invest $10 million into a new building.

“The governor offered a workable plan to end the border war that would have benefited both states by leveling the economic development playing field in the Kansas City area,” said Brownback spokeswoman Eileen Hawley in a statement to the Kansas City Star.


Solar Plane Completes Trip

An experimental airplane without a drop of fuel successfully completed a two and a half day journey across the Pacific. On April 24, Solar Impulse 2 landed in Mountain View, Calif. at 3 a.m. eastern time. This concluded the Pacific leg of copilots Bertrand Piccard and Andre Borschberg’s attempt to navigate the aircraft around the world.

The plane has the wingspan of a Boeing 747, or 196 feet, but weighs about as much as an SUV and travels at about the same speed of a car, compared to 600 miles per hour for most planes. It completed the journey from Hawaii to California in less than three days, flying in the air for 62 hours.

This leg of the expedition was the riskiest yet, according to Piccard, because of the lack of emergency landing sites in the Pacific. The pilots also had to avoid clouds during flight because the plane needs clear skies to recharge its solar powered batteries.

“Solar power technology has developed a lot since the 80s, so it now actually has the power to truly power stuff, like this plane,” said Environmental Club President, Kyle Baker. “The whole idea of that is really cool and exciting.”

Because the sun ultimately dictates the schedule of Solar Impulse 2’s journey, there has yet to be a set schedule for the remainder of the journey across the world.

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Courtney McClelland

Sophomore Courtney McClelland is an opinion page designer for the Harbinger. Read Full »

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