Westar gets Kansas OK to sell green energy direct to businesses

first_imgWestar gets Kansas OK to sell green energy direct to businesses FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享The Topeka Capital-Journal:Westar Energy launched a new program this week that its leader called “a powerful economic development tool” that will allow businesses access to wind energy.On Tuesday, the Kansas Corporation Commission gave its stamp of approval to the Direct Renewable Participation Service. That opened the way for Westar to announce Wednesday that it had reached a 20-year agreement with an affiliate of NextEra Energy Resources LLC to purchase energy from a new 300 megawatt wind farm that is being developed in Nemaha County.“The KCC unlocked a powerful economic development tool. Many large companies want affordable green energy when they choose sites for expansion or new facilities,” said Terry Bassham, president and CEO of Evergy, which operates as Westar Energy and KCP&L. “We are harnessing Kansas wind to attract and grow Kansas businesses. Wind energy boosts our local economies starting with the new wind farm jobs and the lease payments to landowners hosting the wind farm all the way to the communities that grow as businesses choose Kansas.”The program offers businesses a way to meet their sustainability goals by tapping into Kansas wind energy, said Westar spokeswoman Gina Penzig. “There are a lot of large companies that when looking either expanding their facilities or looking at new facilities, they’re really interested in affordable, renewable energy,” she said, adding that having a direct connection to a Kansas wind farm offers a tangible opportunity for those companies.Businesses that participate will be able to claim a portion of the energy generated by the wind farm, to be called the Soldier Creek Wind Energy Center, as their own. The new program is aimed at large commercial customers, she said.“It provides a direct access,” Penzig said. “First of all, the pricing is based on the price agreed to with the wind farm developer. So they’re getting to see some of the great prices available from Kansas renewables today. In addition, they are able to tell their stakeholders that they have a direct piece of Soldier Creek Wind Farm in Kansas. They don’t have an ownership share, but there’s a portion of the wind energy produced at that wind farm that is dedicated to them and is going to their operations.”More: In the wind: Westar launches push to meet business green energy needslast_img read more

Bambi Meets Godzilla, Bubba Meets Jesus

first_imgOne area in the New, Bubba City, got its name because prolific climber Kenny Parker and friends thought some other climbers took route naming too seriously. “In climbing, as in all sports, everyone thinks their attitude is the best. We were just having fun, and we never thought what we were doing had any greater meaning,” says Parker, who has almost 30 years of New River Gorge first ascents. At that time, he says, “Staying out of the line of fire with the locals, laying low, was always a strategy.” He says back in the 80s and early 90s, much of the land, like Endless Wall, was still privately owned. If one wanted to continue to climb there, standing out or directly disrespecting the locals was nonsensical. The Legend of Bubba How did iconic rapids and climbing routes get their names? Names have long been used to either nod or jab at others. Advocates for two styles of climbing, traditional (trad) and sport, have butted heads since the latter was invented. Trad climbing requires gear like cams, nuts, and sometimes hexes, which the climber must place in natural cracks for protection as they climb upward. Sport climbing allows for bolts to be drilled into the rock every few feet so that climbers only have to bring quickdraws to clip into the bolts as they lead. The trad-or-die tribe believes that sport climbing defaces the rock and allows for the first-ascensionist to rappel down the face, drilling bolts in preparation for a ground-up push. Sport climbers see their preferred process as an inevitable evolution of climbing, opening up more diverse rock that would otherwise be inaccessible.  The Hookup Spot Rapids often get their names from happenstance or a comical turn of events. Lost Paddle, one of the Big Five rapids of the Upper Gauley, found its label during a 1969 trip devoted to naming the river’s rapids. In a 2017 piece for Highland Outdoors, editor and raft guide Juniper Rose relays pioneer Gauley kayaker Jim Stuart’s account of the naming trip. “Crew member Barb Brown’s paddle was launched from her grip in the class V rapid just below the confluence with the Meadow River.” Brown swam, her paddle gone. Miraculously, “years later, Brown’s paddle was found with her name engraved on it. It was returned to her, but by then, the name Lost Paddle had been imprinted in the legend of the Gauley,” Rose writes. Others still, like Kenny, might have resisted it in the past but came to see the benefits of each. “Ethics wars between trad and sport were huge in the 90s; people got into fights over it,” he says. “Still, there was a lot more seriousness to the famous areas [like Yosemite]. Here, some people got serious about it, but most of us had a life and jobs outside of climbing and not enough personal energy to crusade.” This story is told in part by Saved from the Blasphemers, a route which was put up on trad gear. When someone returned to bolt it as a sport route, they were stopped by local trad climbers.  Flip through any climbing guidebook today, and you’ll find a range of colorful, silly, or cryptic route names: Pudd’s Pretty Dress, Death by Chewing Insects, I’m So F’in Hungry, and Eye of the Narwhal. Names of rapids can be just as out there but are often more candid. Iron Ring on the Gauley River is named for a big iron ring embedded in the rocks above the class V rapid. The four drops of Pipeline on the James River in Virginia were creatively dubbed First, Second, Third, and Fourth Drop. Not all river feature names are as universally accepted as climbing routes, either. Want to start an afternoon-long debate with some James River paddlers? Ask whether one break in an old Richmond dam is called Grummans or Suckers.  Outside of the sport itself, names also point to paradigm shifts in the history of regional recreation and external tension that inevitably arises from priorities competing for the resource. A lifelong James River paddler, Charles Ware recounts the fight against hydroelectric power in the early 80s. One firm’s proposal became a serious threat to river ecology and recreation, prompting Coastal Canoeists and American Whitewater to establish a group to oppose the plan: the Virginia Rivers Coalition.  Sometimes, two threads of regional climbing history come together in one weird name. Kenny Parker relays that when he was younger, many climbers started at Seneca Rocks before the New matured into a hotspot. At Seneca, they looked up to one of the most impressive climbers of the day, the late Cal Swoager. A Vietnam War veteran, Cal partied hard and climbed harder. As one story goes, after staying up late then finally topping The Bell, establishing perhaps the first 5.12 at Seneca, he bent over and emptied his stomach off the other side of the cliff.  A short profile of Parker in Williams’s New River Rock Vol. 2 guidebook, appropriately titled Kenny Never Wore Lycra, highlights his desire to blend in rather than stand out like many neon-clad climbers of that era. “Bubba” became tradition, and today it lives on in dozens of route names, from Peanut Bubba and Jam (a 40-feet 5.8 trad route at Bimbo Buttress) to Hubba Bubba (a 60-feet 5.9 sport route on the Head Wall). center_img Trad vs. Sport One of them, let’s call him Mark, had the unfortunate habit of sleeping in the buff. Mark had gotten up in the night to use the bathroom donning only boots and birthday suit. Kenny says, “I get woken up to someone outside; I’m like, ‘Mark, what the hell is going on?’ He had gotten caught outside naked by these two girls,” who were supposedly there to bait guys meeting up for other reasons. Kenny, after getting dressed, exited his tent to deal with the situation.  The intentionally-misspelled Travisty is another example of trad-sport tension. This route’s origin story is told by Mike Williams in an article published on his blog “Mike’s Ironclad Beta” in 2012. When a visiting climber named Travis bolted a hard climb at Beauty Mountain, he drilled some holds in the rock to make it easier. “After his departure, the holds were filled in with epoxy and when Harrison Dekker completed the climb [in 1991] in its natural state, he couldn’t resist the opportunity to exploit the unfortunately-named equipper. Years later, an inferior, traditionally protected variation to the route was done and dubbed the Tradjedy.” “Next thing I know, a car comes rolling up, and it’s their boyfriends. One guy gets out, but the girls talk him down, having figured out I was fine.” Parker proffers a beer as a peace offering, but the second man wants to start a fight. “I’m getting shoved while the girls try to break it up.” Eventually, things simmered down. “I think I hung out with them for awhile, and they went away. But the very next weekend, with the same group at the exact same spot, we were woken up again by the same girls,” this time asking for Parker. They hung out for awhile, locals and climbers. When asked what route name arose from all that, he says, “A number of them.” Visitors to the Blue Ridge often remark that the names of our mountains are imaginative, if not abstract: Reddish Knob. Old Rag. Little Stony Man. Used as landmarks, these peaks’ straightforward, descriptive monikers made sense. But as future generations began using the landscape less for orientation and more for chasing its many world-class crags and rivers, naming traditions evolved to tell the exciting, hilarious, and tumultuous histories of climbing and paddling in the region. Another unforgettable Kenny tale revolves around one unofficial campsite. Apparently unbeknownst to climbers, a certain bridge was a known local spot for covert coitus. Because of its proximity to a popular crag, it also became a logical spot for visiting climbers to camp. “We would drive up and sleep at pull-offs in the gorge. There had been incidents involving law enforcement,” Parker describes, “but it was sort of under the radar. We had encounters where locals thought we were there [for hookups].” He describes how one time a group of climbers were camped out at the spot, some in tents or just sleeping bags, some in trucks.  Mike Williams, a climbing guide and author of the New River Rock guidebooks, has been climbing in the New since 1998, establishing many of the most popular routes. He points out that “a lot of tall tales” characterize the region and climbing in general. “It’s an oral history. Someone puts up a new route, and they might note all the things that happened that day,” like who was with them and what they were thinking. Any of those factors could contribute to the new route’s name, but some climbers take it more seriously than others.  A ‘Travisty’ Swoager was welcoming and encouraging to budding climbers and sent routes with Kenny at Seneca. Some time later, he became a born-again Christian and part of the development of climbing at the New. His passion for his religion fed into nearly every route he established, from the ever-popular Leave it to Jesus to Team Jesus and Never Alone (all first ascents in 1985). Later routes began to play off the legendary Swoager’s love for the cross, and routes like Bubba Meets Jesus, a 60-feet 5.11a established by Dave Merritt, were born.  To increase awareness of the issue and publicize local river recreation, they conceived of an urban whitewater race day and sought sponsorship. The first downriver race in 1983 was roughly eight miles long and included the infamous Hollywood rapid, with a take-out at Ancarrow’s Landing, well below the Falls of the James. It was essential that everyone run through one particular dam, in the middle of downtown Richmond, correctly, and while local participants knew the maneuver well, the Coalition thought visiting competitors should have a visual marker. Just before the race, the river was low enough to allow Ware to paddle out to the dam in a canoe and spray paint two giant Xs on the bridge pillar ruins that abutted the proper line. The paint, supplied by a utility opposed to the power proposal (imagine that!), was said to wash out in a few days. But there the Xs remained for ten years, until they were updated to skulls and crossbones. The name of the line, Xs, was given in the 1985 race and has stuck ever since. As for the electric proposal, it was foiled. The descendants of those regional pioneer paddlers, like Ware’s son John, continue to run the James’ class I-IV rapids, while other rivers around the world continue the fight against hydroelectric dams. Names or rapids and routes can be steeped in mythology. When asked what mythology in climbing means to him, Mike Williams puts it succinctly: “Mythology doesn’t have to be true. It’s an oral history, often based on a sort of campfire mythology.” Embellished details, memories fogged by both time and intoxication, different versions of the same event… Humans are adept, if not objective, storytellers; we’ve named everything since the dawn of language. The mountains and rivers couldn’t care less what we call them, but no matter what’s in a name, the act of naming lets someone leave their mark on history, cement in some small, symbolic way their side of a great story.last_img read more

Child advocate wants proper correctional facility for juveniles

first_img Share Share Sharing is caring! Tweet 18 Views   no discussionscenter_img LocalNews Child advocate wants proper correctional facility for juveniles by: – April 7, 2012 Share Fr. Franklyn Cuffy.An advocate for children’s rights want has called for authorities to swiftly address the issue of a proper correctional facility for young offenders in Dominica.Fr. Franklyn Cuffy believes that the lack of such facility could be a major contributing factor for the increase in criminal activities among juveniles. “I think our constitution says when a young person commits an act they should be sent to a training center but we send them to the state prison. To my mind this is a violation of the constitution, a violation of the rights of the young person,” he said.Cuffy said justice is not being done hence the reason for the increase in violence.“People do not want to feel insecure. People do not want to feel humiliated, people do not want to feel rejected so they are taking it into their own hands and this is one of the reasons why this ugly picture of violence is showing its face in Dominica”.He noted his elation however at the number of youths who participated in a National Youth Rally last weekend in Mahaut.“Over 100 young people showed up on the grounds of the Mahaut School on Palm Sunday. They displayed their talents, they prayed, they had clean fun,” he said.Cuffy believes that the nation needs to continue to put their trust in the youth to help motivate and encourage them to engage in positive and socially acceptable behavior.“We need to encourage them to display and share the gifts and talents that they have, if we can do that there will be less violence among our young people,” he explained.Dominica Vibes Newslast_img read more

Effect of Social Benefit Programs Chronically Underestimated by Public

first_imgShare64TweetShare5Email69 SharesNovember 2, 2015; Washington Post, “WonkBlog”On the 50th anniversary of President Johnson’s War on Poverty, there’s new evidence that social safety net programs are working better than most people believed. The new understanding comes from looking at experiential data.The Washington Post explains what’s behind a series of stories that have appeared over the past several months. In the Post story, Dr. Bruce D. Meyer, a professor at the Harris School of Public Policy at the University of Chicago, describes how he and a colleague matched data from the Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey against actual service data from the State of New York:“We’re talking about a huge gap,” said Meyer, whose findings are in a recently published National Bureau of Economic Research paper. “When the numbers are corrected, we see that government programs have about twice the effect that we think they do.”Dr. Meyer’s paper is also the basis for a CityLab story, “The Benefits of Housing Vouchers Have Been Grossly Understated.” Earlier this year, the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities had a similar story that found that Housing Choice Vouchers (HCV) were “the most effective tool to help homeless families with children find and keep stable housing.” The article by Douglas Rice, “Major Study: Housing Vouchers Most Effective Tool to End Family Homelessness,” was based on a HUD study of a range of HUD funded efforts to prevent homelessness. Then, this past week, the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities issued a new report designed to urge Congress to expand the HCV program in the 2016 budget. “New Research Reinforces Case for Restoring Lost Housing Vouchers” builds on another study by Harvard’s Raj Chetty, who analyzed HUD’s Move to Opportunity (MTO) data. Douglas Rice of CBPP writes:Children whose families moved to low-poverty neighborhoods when they were young were more likely to attend college and less likely to become single parents as adults than control group families that did not receive an MTO voucher; they also earned significantly more as adults.What ties all these stories together is that the studies are based on real experience,, not opinion or ideology.So why does the Washington Post describe the discovery of program effectiveness as having “serious implications for the poor”? After all, these new analyses make the case that some social welfare programs are doing better than policymakers thought at reducing or preventing poverty. The danger, the Post article suggests, is that decision-makers might conclude that things are not so bad and they can relax efforts to remediate the poor. Citing Dr. Meyer, the Washington Post writer Roberto A. Ferdman observes:The official poverty rate now is higher it was three decades ago, but by almost any measure the poor are better off than they were then. Meyer believes that a more accurate gauge would show that things are better or, at the very least, not worse.However, if the message is that some programs are working, Congress seems not to be getting it—at least, not yet. Just this summer, Representative Jeb Hensarling, chair of the Housing Financial Services Committee, which oversees HUD authorizations, invited Americans to offer alternatives to the 50 years of failure of HUD programs. “For whatever good HUD does, it clearly has not won the War on Poverty. Only economic growth and equal opportunity can do that.” What if the data now show clearly that the some programs do reduce or prevent poverty? What if the limiting factor is, as Center for Budget and Policy Priorities argues, that the programs deserve more funding in order to achieve more success?There’s another interesting angle to the Washington Post’s story. Dr. Meyer’s explanation of “the growing problem” has an eerie resonance in the context of the repeated political polling failures of the past year:The truth is that surveys in general are becoming problematic. They are widely used in social science, and regularly relied upon in public policy, but they are fickle things. When people tell the truth and eagerly take part, as Americans did for many years, they tend to be wonderfully accurate. When people grow tired of answering questions, when they shy away from sharing truthful information about themselves, the gap between what surveys suggest and what is actually true begins to grow.This hypothesis seems to be relevant to the recent failures of political polling in the Israel, United Kingdom, and Canadian parliamentary elections, and, most recently, the statewide races in Kentucky, Mississippi, and Ohio. Pollsters are struggling to explain to the media this pattern of failure on all sorts of technical breakdowns. Pollsters’ credibility and livelihoods could be on the line, but the idea that respondents are lying to pollsters has the ring of common sense.While the hidden impact of social programs seems like good news, social service progressives may want to step lightly for now. Overpromotion of some preliminary findings has a way of backfiring as academic researchers sift through more and more experiential data. Also, it’s important to understand that using data based on experience, some HUD programs did not show great success. Still, there’s a strong argument that some social programs can’t be simply dismissed as being ineffective boondoggles. Can you imagine if Congresspersons were required to distinguish between social initiatives based on real data, not opinion or ideology?—Spencer WellsShare64TweetShare5Email69 Shareslast_img read more