With the arrival of flu season, you may be worrying more about the high costs of prescription drugs — especially if you don’t have health insurance. The Green Impact Zone recently learned about a prescription drug card program called the “Kansas Drug Card” that can help save as much as 55 percent off retail prescription prices. It’s free for everyone, and there are no eligibility requirements or applications to fill out. The card is accepted at more than 56,000 pharmacies nationwide. Even though it’s called the “Kansas” Drug Card, the program’s coverage has recently expanded to include both the Kansas and Missouri sides of the bistate Kansas City area, including the Green Impact Zone. Click here for more details and get your pre-activated discount card.

Congratulations to Kenneth Alexander, a recent graduate of the Green Impact Zone’s Essential Employability Skills (EES), on his new job!

The Green Impact Zone hosted an interview fair for EES graduates on Sept. 17. One of the participating firms, New Horizons LLC — a Kansas City-based company that provides a comprehensive range of environmental services, including asbestos, lead and mold remediation — hired Kenneth as a laborer/asbestos worker the following week.

“New Horizons was pleased to participate in the Green Impact Zone interview fair,” said Stephanie Isaacson, New Horizons president. “We appreciate what the Green Impact Zone is doing for the community’s underemployed and unemployed residents. The zone spent an entire week training these individuals in life/job skills that they need to be successful in their future careers, and also pre-screened these individuals to make the interview fair a most valuable experience for New Horizons. We were able to hire one person from this experience and look forward to using the Green Impact Zone as a recruitment source for future hiring needs.”

The Green Impact Zone will hold its next EES training in October. EES is a free, week-long training for unemployed and underemployed residents. It provides a refresher on basic skills for job seekers, such as a strong resume, a professional appearance, interviewing skills and a good work ethic. EES is designed to complement the ‘hard skills’ training and job placement services provided by organizations such as the Full Employment Council and Institute for Workforce Innovation.

Those who successfully complete the zone’s EES program are entered into a jobs pipeline. The Green Impact Zone staff keeps them informed about job openings and connects them with employers and other job placement service providers.

The Green Impact Zone provides each EES graduate with a certificate of completion and continuous job leads, but participation does not guarantee graduation. In order to graduate, participants must arrive on time, dress in business attire and demonstrate professionalism each day. For more information, contact the Green Impact Zone at 816-936-8803.

When Google announced details about its ultra-high-speed Internet service on July 26, all of Kansas City was excited.  Here at the Green Impact Zone, we were particularly excited about the potential for free connections at the schools and public institutions that serve our neighborhoods.  We were also excited about Google’s plan to help shrink the digital divide by offering free Internet connectivity for seven years (at lower speeds) for a minimal installation charge. 

Google came up with a demand-based plan to determine where the fiber service would go and who would get it first. They divided the city into “Fiberhoods” and set a goal for how many residents had to pre-register (by paying a $10 fee online) to qualify each neighborhood for the service.

A few days later, it was clear to see where Google Fiber was definitely going to be installed. On Google’s Fiberhood map, neighborhoods west of Troost — the city’s historic racial dividing line — were meeting their goals very quickly, while east of Troost the registrations were much slower.

Our Green Impact Zone staff knew immediately that the problem wasn’t lack of demand, but lack of education.  We didn’t want our neighborhoods and residents to be left behind, so we contacted the Google Fiber Team and met with them.  We explained the Green Impact Zone’s mission of community transformation and talked about how Google Fiber could help our efforts. For example, we learned from the Fiber team that just having a house wired for Google Fiber could raise the property value anywhere from $3,000 to $5,000! The schools and libraries in our communities need free high-speed Internet, and our lower-income residents could definitely benefit from having free Internet access, too.

We asked the Fiber team how they calculated their pre-registration goals for each Fiberhood, and made sure they understood some of the unique challenges in our neighborhoods, such as the large number of vacant properties and the high percentage of renters.  We worked hard to make sure that Google understood the concerns of the neighborhood associations and residents in Green Impact Zone neighborhoods.

Then we got busy!  We helped organize door-to-door engagement of residents using volunteers from the neighborhoods to share information about all of our Green Impact Zone strategies and about Google Fiber.  We helped the Fiber team schedule informational events at churches and other locations in the zone.

Shontrice Patillo, our office administrator, used her contacts to get detailed data about vacant lots and structures in the zone.  This data supported our contention that Google’s initial numbers for our neighborhoods were high, and as a result of Shontrice’s efforts the registration goals for most of the Fiberhoods in the zone were lowered. 

But even with lower goals and all of our outreach efforts, many of the zone’s neighborhoods were still a far cry from meeting their goals as September began, with the registration deadline just a few days away. Without enough time to educate all of our residents about the importance of Internet connectivity — how it could help schools, public institutions and individuals — we needed help. Zone staff reached out to Paint the Town Green, an effort launched by the Social Media Club of Kansas City to help urban core neighborhoods qualify for Google Fiber. With help from Paint the Town Green and our neighborhood leaders, we were able to connect with funders who were willing to pay the $10 registration fee for residents who were interested in Google Fiber but either couldn’t afford the fee, didn’t have a debit card to pay online, or didn’t have access to a computer to sign up.

With help from a team of volunteers, we began a final push, registering hundreds of residents on the Google website.  This was a tedious process that took the better part of a week and a large amount of patience — from those of us doing the registrations and from our families and friends.

In the end, we’re pleased to announce that all of the Fiberhoods associated with the neighborhoods we serve in the Green Impact Zone met their pre-registration goals! 

While the Green Impact Zone doesn’t recommend one Internet provider over another, we want our residents to have the same range of options available to them as other neighborhoods.  Thanks to all of these efforts, zone residents will now have the option to access Google Fiber in their homes — and ultra-high-speed Internet will be available for the schools and public institutions that serve our residents!

Tuesday, August 7, marks the date for Missouri primary elections. As a non-partisan organization, the Green Impact Zone recognizes the power of informed voting and even contributes to voter registration efforts. The purpose of the primary election in August is to narrow the field of candidates for elected positions before the general election in November. Several positions are up for election at the federal, state and local levels, including: U.S. Senator, Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, Attorney General, State Senator, State Representative, Prosecuting Attorney  and Sheriff.

The primary ballot will also feature three issue items. Issue items aim to solve local or statewide matters. Voters in Missouri will vote on Constitutional Amendment No. 2, and residents of Kansas City, Mo., will decide the fate of Questions 1 and 2 (see text below). Links to state and local government sources for more information are also provided.

STATEWIDE BALLOT ISSUE:

CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT NO. 2
Proposed by the 96th General Assembly
(First Regular Session) HJR 2
Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to ensure:

  • That the right of Missouri citizens to express their religious beliefs shall not be infringed;
  • That school children have the right to pray and acknowledge God voluntarily in their schools; and
  • That all public schools shall display the Bill of Rights of the United States Constitution.

It is estimated this proposal will result in little or no costs or savings for state and local governmental entities.

Source: http://www.sos.mo.gov/elections/2012ballot/

KANSAS CITY BALLOT ISSUES:

QUESTION 1

Shall the City of Kansas City, Missouri:

  • Prohibit the renewal of the expired annual $12.50 per motor vehicle fee,
  • Cease billing and collecting the trafficway maintenance tax by setting its assessment at $0.00,
  • Cease billing and collecting the park and boulevard maintenance tax by setting its assessment at $0.00,
  • Cease billing and collecting the boulevards and parkways front foot assessment by setting its assessment at $0.00,
  • Enact as a replacement a parks sales tax of ½-cent authorized by Section 644.032 of the Revised Statutes of Missouri for the purpose of providing for the maintenance and operations of local parks, parkways, boulevards and community centers,
  • Establish a dedicated fund to be used exclusively for street maintenance, and
  • Transfer no less than 7.5% of the net annual earnings tax receipts to the dedicated street maintenance fund effective January 1, 2013 and each following year for as long as the parks sales tax is in effect?

QUESTION 2

Shall the City of Kansas City, Missouri issue sanitary sewer system revenue bonds in the principal amount not to exceed $500,000,000 for the purpose of extending and improving the sanitary sewer system of the City, including compliance with the federally mandated Consent Decree for the Overflow Control Program, with the principal and interest of the bonds to be payable solely from the revenues derived by the City from the operation of its sanitary sewer system?

Source: http://www.kcmo.org/CKCMO/Depts/DeptCityClerksOffice/Election/Election2012/index.htm

 

The Kansas City Region’s TIGER grant — Transportation Investments Generating Economic Recovery — includes $26.2 million for improvements in the Green Impact Zone. We’re documenting progress on TIGER projects with videos, and want to share with you our latest episode, which focuses on improvements to the Troost Avenue bridge and other parts of the Green Impact Zone. It specifically highlights a pedestrian bridge/walkway that will be built soon along Brush Creek, funded by the region’s TIGER grant.

Watch the four-minute video at http://www.marc.org/TIGER/video.asp.

We hope to see you Saturday night at the “Meet Me at the Bridge” street festival at 48th and Troost, from 5 to 11 pm. Congressman Emanuel Cleaver will dedicate the new bridge and Mayor Sly James will serve as master of ceremonies. Join us for live jazz, food and family fun. Admission is free and KCATA is doubling up service on the Troost Max and #25 bus, running every 15 minutes from 6 to 11pm. More information online at http://www.bccp.org.

Last weekend, the Make It Right Foundation — a lead partner in the redevelopment of the Bancroft School in the Green Impact Zone — took a group from Kansas City on a tour of the work they’ve done in New Orleans’ Ninth Ward.

After Hurricane Katrina, actor Brad Pitt founded the Make It Right Foundation to help build safe, sustainable and affordable homes for working families. In the coming months, the foundation will work with local developers in Kansas City to do the same in the Manheim Park neighborhood, converting the historic Bancroft School building into affordable housing units and community space. The project, which will also include new townhomes on the school grounds, will meet LEED silver standards for environmentally sensitive design. Make It Right sees the Bancroft project as a catalyst for further housing development in the Green Impact Zone. They invited the Kansas City delegation to see what the foundation has done in New Orleans and learn how sustainable, affordable home design can be incorporated into urban neighborhoods.

The delegation included representatives from BNIM Architects, Dalmark Corporation, J.E. Dunn, the Green Impact Zone and other community organizations, along with elected officials from several levels of government: U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, Fifth District, Missouri; Missouri State Senator Kiki Curls; Kansas City Mayor Sly James; and 3rd District Councilman Jermaine Reed.

Thanks to Councilman Reed for sharing this photo of the group at a home in the Ninth Ward:

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Are you a Green Impact Zone resident looking for work? Or a contractor looking for business? We have some opportunities for you!

  • Green Jobs Training: The Green Impact Zone, EnergyWorks KC and Metropolitan Community College will host free training classes in March and April for deconstruction, lead and asbestos abatement certification, and OSHA-10 safety training for care and handling of hazardous substances. Those who successfully complete the course will be considered for work on the city of Kansas City, Mo.’s new crime lab campus construction project at 27th and Paseo. Learn more>
  • Contractor meeting for 5008 Prospect: Blue Hills Community Services is holding a preregistration and informational meeting for construction-related contractors to discuss the renovation of 5008 Prospect. This will be a substantial renovation that will meet LEED Silver Standards. All trades welcomed. City-certified Section 3 business concerns, Section 3 residents, MBE and WBE businesses are strongly encouraged to attend. Preregistration is not mandatory but encouraged. Meetings will be at the Robert J. Mohart Multipurpose FOCUS Center at 3200 Wayne Avenue, Kansas City, Mo. 64109 on Monday, Feb. 27, and Thursday, March 8, from 3:00 to 4:00 p.m. For information call or email Cliff Pouppirt , 816-769-6811.

If you’re thinking about buying a home instead of renting — or even planning now to buy a home in a year or two — our March 3 Homebuyer Information Fair is just what you need. Buying a home is a big step, and many first time homebuyers aren’t sure where to start. We can help put you on the path to home ownership.

Join us on Saturday, March 3, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Green Impact Zone Office, 4600 Paseo, Kansas City, Mo. Meet and get to know the lenders, real estate agents and other service providers who can help you in the homebuying process. You’ll learn what you should look for as you shop for a home, how to apply for a mortgage and much more.

Attend the March 3 workshop and you can also reserve your spot on a tour of homes available for sale in the Green Impact Zone that we’re planning for July.

Call 816-936-8803 to sign up. Please register by March 1. Questions? Contact Twana Hall Scott, tscott@marc.org, 816-936-8802, or Cokethea Hill, chill@marc.org, 816-936-8807. The Homebuyer Information Fair is sponsored by the city of Kansas City, Mo., the Bank of Kansas City, Capitol Federal Savings Bank and U.S. Bank, and hosted by the Green Impact Zone and the Housing Authority of Kansas City, Mo.

That’s how much concrete has been poured to repair sidewalks and driveway entrances in the Green Impact Zone – along with 9.2 miles of new curbs. And we’re not done yet!

These infrastructure improvements are part of our TIGER grant — Transportation Improvements Generating Economic Recovery — for transportation infrastructure improvements. The U.S. Department of Transportation awarded this $50 million grant to the Kansas City region in 2010. The grant includes $26.2 million for improvements in the zone, including the sidewalk and curb replacements already underway, as well as street resurfacing, traffic signal and transit improvements and a pedestrian walkway under the new Troost Bridge. The remaining funds will support improvements to transit facilities in other parts of the region.

Visit our TIGER tracker at www.marc.org/tiger. And be sure to go to www.marc.org/TIGER/zoneprogress.asp to see the latest maps illustrating what projects are completed, underway, or still to come in the Green Impact Zone.

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