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Some Kansas City, Kan., businesses showed messages of support on their electronic signs for the Kansas City Royals on Tuesday.
Some Kansas City, Kan., businesses showed messages of support on their electronic signs for the Kansas City Royals on Tuesday. (Staff photo)

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Kansas City, Kan., City Hall in blue. (Photo by Edwin Birch, UG public information officer)
Kansas City, Kan., City Hall in blue. (Photo by Edwin Birch, UG public information officer)

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Both Kansas City, Mo., and Kansas City, Kan., were featured in the launch of Next Century Cities, a bipartisan, city-to-city initiative dedicated to ensuring the availability of next-generation broadband Internet for all communities.

Next Century Cities is an initiative of 31 cities nationwide joining together to recognize the importance of leveraging gigabit-level Internet to attract new businesses and create jobs, improve health care and education, and connect residents to new opportunities, according to a spokesman for the project.

Next Century Cities, in collaboration with both cities, will support communities and their elected leaders, including mayors and other officials, as they seek to ensure that all have access to fast, affordable, and reliable Internet, a spokesman said. Participating cities will work with each other to learn about what works – and what doesn’t – so that every community has access to information that can help them succeed. Cities will also work together to raise awareness of this important issue to all Americans.

“We know that the young creative minds we are seeking to attract to our community want access to high speed Internet more than they want to own a car. This type of collaboration is the next step in solidifying this region as a high tech leader,” Kansas City, Mo., Mayor Sly James said. “Furthermore, collaborating with groups like Next Century Cities sends a clear signal Kansas City is the place to be if you want to in the middle of high growth, high impact opportunities.”

“High-speed internet is no longer a luxury, it is a utility. Job applications, educational opportunities, sources of entertainment, even the healthcare industry – these things are all found online. It is our duty to work with all partners to develop and expand the delivery of Internet service to close the digital divide here in Kansas City,” Kansas City, Kan., Mayor Mark Holland said.

In May 2011, Google Fiber announced Kansas City, Mo., and Kansas City, Kan., would become one of the first Google Fiber regions in the nation. Its purpose was to spark growth in entrepreneurship and economic development. Kansas City, Mo., supported the project with waivers of permit fees, access to right-of-way and city-owned property and coordinated project management. In exchange, Google Fiber is providing 300 city-owned buildings, community centers and schools with free gigabit internet services.

The Unified Government of Wyandotte County-Kansas City, Kan., which was the first city announced for the project, is working with Google Fiber and other organizations to support and grow the small business community. Recently, the UG joined with Code for America to develop a marketing and learning application for entrepreneurs called BizFriend.ly. The UG is also developing an “open data” initiative to streamline processes and make the agency more transparent and efficient.

“Across the country, we’re seeing cities hungry to deploy high-speed Internet to transform communities and connect residents to better jobs, better health care, and better education for their children,” said Deb Socia, executive director of Next Century Cities. “Mayor Holland and Mayor James are joining with other leaders across the country to roll up their sleeves and get the job done. Next Century Cities is committed to celebrating these successes, demonstrating their value, and helping other cities to realize the full power of truly high-speed, affordable, and accessible broadband.”

Founding city leaders agreed on the importance of next-generation broadband for thriving 21st century communities. The launch event in Santa Monica, Calif., also featured a group discussion among additional mayors, a demonstration of the potential of gigabit Internet connections for cities, and a panel with leading technology officials. For more information on Next Century Cities, including the full list of all cities involved, visit www.nextcenturycities.org.

– From a news release from both KCK and Kansas City, Mo., mayors’ offices

Kansas City Kansas Community College athletes donated blood recently  for the Community Blood Center. (KCKCC photo)
Kansas City Kansas Community College athletes donated blood recently for the Community Blood Center. (KCKCC photos)

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by Kelly Rogge

For the first time, blood drives were held on both the Kansas City Kansas Community College main campus as well as KCKCC-TEC, a plan that worked out well for the student athletes at KCKCC and the Community Blood Center.

“The athletes and nursing students are our biggest supporters when it doesn’t conflict with their practices, games or nursing clinicals,” said Linda Sutton, director of student activities at KCKCC. “Valerie Stambersky (women’s basketball coach at KCKCC) contacted me and asked if the time could be extended because her team wanted to donate, but had missed the time (on the main campus) because of practice.”

In addition to Stambersky, Sutton said KCKCC baseball coach Steve Burleson had sent me an email stating that his team could not donate because they had a game on the original day of the blood drive. After speaking with the Community Blood Center and discovering that it was not possible to extend the day beyond the allotted time, Sutton said they came up with an alternative day, Oct. 17.

“The mini blood drive was a huge success,” she said. “The athletes donated 24 units (of blood) in a three-hour period.”

During the Oct. 15 blood drive, KCKCC collected 53 units, bringing the combined donations of the main campus and the student athletes to 77 units of blood. Sutton said the goal for the main campus was 54 units. The total units from the TEC are not yet available.

“The college has partnered with the Community Blood Center for over 35 years because they are the main provider of blood for the 75 hospitals in the area,” Sutton said. “They (the Community Blood Center) were impressed that our athletes would spend their Friday afternoon donating blood.”

Sutton said she is thankful to all of the coaches, athletes and the entire KCKCC Athletic Department for stepping up to donate “life-saving blood.”

“Also, a big thank you to Jeff Sixta and the Buildings and Grounds staff for their quick setup and getting the room ready for the mini blood drive,” she said. “And most of all, we were proud to dedicate these blood drives to Kelly Fehlhafer, who is currently receiving platelet transfusions. Kelly is the wife of Tom Fehlhafer who works at the TEC campus.”
Kelly Rogge is the public information supervisor with Kansas City Kansas Community College.

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