October 31, 2014

Former state fairgrounds emerging as Innovation Campus (AUDIO)

Nebraska Innovation Campus under construction on the old state fairgrounds in Lincoln

Nebraska Innovation Campus under construction on the old state fairgrounds in Lincoln

Nebraska Innovation Campus is taking shape on the former state fairgrounds.

Two buildings are occupied. Others are under construction.

University of Nebraska-Lincoln Chancellor Harvey Perlman has high hopes for Innovation Campus.

“I think it does place us clearly in a lead toward the commercialization of innovation and I think it’s becoming an attraction for both students and faculty,” Perlman tells Nebraska Radio Network.

Construction crews have been erecting new buildings on the campus next to the Devaney Center, but the campus also retains some of the flavor of old State Fair buildings.

Perlman suggests the campus is coming full circle, with the innovation it proposes advancing agriculture around the globe.

Perlman calls it a 25-year project that shows steady progress, which will depend in large part on how successful the campus is on attracting private partners.

“The university is moving its food science department out here, but that’s pretty much the extent to which we will occupy the campus,” Perlman says. “Our objective is to have at least 75% of the buildings occupied by private-sector companies.”

Innovation Campus hopes to become a hub for global initiatives on food, water, and fuel.

Eventually, the campus will sprawl over 2.2 millions square feet, with 500,000 square feet completed within five years.

Buildings will be designed to foster interaction and stimulate ideas for the up to 5,000 people who could one day work and study on Innovation Campus.

AUDIO:  Brent Martin reports [:50]

Nebr. Dept of Labor / Offutt Career Fair Thursday

Those in eastern Nebraska looking for work need to mark Thursday, October 30th on their calendar.

Deb Christensen with the Nebraska Department of Labor says they are teaming with the Family & Readiness Center at Offutt Air Force Base in Bellevue for a career fair with 140 employers taking part.

Christensen says every business has to have at least one opening to participate. She says there are dozens of fields ranging from IT, health care, insurance and finance to manufacturing and production.

Christensen says that while this job fair is geared toward current and former military members, it is open to civilians as well.

The career fair is at the Lied Activities Center at 2700 Arboretum Drive in Bellevue from 10 am until 2 pm.

A lighter hand leads to more participation in wellness programs (AUDIO)

Methods have changed and it seems more employees and school children are participating in wellness programs.

More and more businesses offer wellness programs, help with exercise and diet, to improve employee health and reduce insurance costs.

Tara Smydra runs the program for Norfolk Iron and Metal Company and says a change in tactic increased employee participation.

“We really don’t have a lot of resistance, which is great,” according to Smydra. “When we pushed, we did have some resistance, but now that we’re opening it up and allowing them, we don’t have it.”

Smydra admits that the company’s enthusiasm for the program went a bit too far at first. Success spurred Norfolk Iron to push too hard. When the company ease up, participation went up.

The company began explaining the benefits, both physically and fiscally, to employees. Employees who saw great results sold the program to fellow workers. The company gathered focus groups and asked what programs would better motivate employees.

Even school children need encouragement to exercise, a fact that catches Betty Seim at Grand Island Central Catholic School a bit off-guard, admitting it seems odd to have to encourage kids to play.

“It does, having grown up in my generation,” Seims says. “We played outside for hours upon end and watched TV a little.”

Seims says the sedentary lifestyle of schoolchildren these days, with televisions, computers, video games, and cell phones at the ready, has led to a rise in obesity. She says the school has had success when it attempts to moderate, not eliminate, screen time while it increases activity.

Both Norfolk Iron and Central Catholic were 2014 recipients of the Governor’s Wellness Award.

Nebraska businesses can apply for the Governor’s Wellness Award online at nebraska.gov/wellness. The award program is a partnership of the Office of the Governor, the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, and WorkWell/Nebraska Safety Council. The Nebraska Worksite Wellness Toolkit can be found at worksitewellness.ne.gov.

AUDIO:  Brent Martin reports [:45]

TransCanada denies Energy East is alternative to Keystone XL

A TransCanada executive denies an ambitious new project by the company is being undertaken as an alternative to the Keystone XL pipeline.

Approval of Keystone XL has been delayed for years. TransCanada now awaits a decision on its route through Nebraska from the state Supreme Court.

Vice President for the Keystone Pipeline Project, Corey Goulet, says the proposed 3,000 mile oil pipeline, dubbed Energy East, that would span Canada is not a replacement for Keystone XL.

“We’ve received commitments from different customers to ship on each of these pipelines,” Goulet tells Kevin Thomas, host of Drive Time Lincoln on Nebraska Radio Network affiliate KLIN.

Some have suggested that TransCanada proposed the cross-Canadian pipeline after being rebuffed for years by the United States in building the northern portion of Keystone XL.

Goulet says if there is an alternative to transporting oil through Keystone XL, Energy East isn’t it.

“Well, certainly, we’ve seen one of the alternatives to Keystone and that’s that our customers, the oil producers, are shipping more crude by rail,” according to Goulet. “That’s increased dramatically, both in Canada as well in the U.S., the last couple of years as everyone knows.”

Goulet says oil will be shipped, one way or another; both crude from oil sands in western Canada and from the Bakken oil fields in the Dakotas. He says the most efficient, least disruptive, and most environmentally friendly way to ship it is through pipelines.

And Goulet claims the oil sands of western Canada won’t go away even if Keystone XL never receives approval.

“Certainly that oil will be produced and the producers will continue to develop their projects that they have for the oil sands and they will find a way to get that product to market.”



Stock Market showing signs of recovery Friday

After six straight days of losses the Stock Market is showing signs of recovery Friday.   Darrell Bryant is the owner of D. Bryant Retirement Strategies in Omaha and says what we experienced this week was a correction. Most of the indexes dropped 8% to 12%.

Bryant says, “This is not a full fledge bear market. That would require a loss of 20% over six months or more but there are some global fears. The dollar is really strong and a lot of people don’t realize that makes for great vacationing. You can buy a bunch of stuff in Russia right now with the dollar but it makes our stuff a bit more expensive here.”

He says if this does turn into a bear market that will have an impact on those considering retirement right now.

This is a case of never putting all your eggs in one basket. Bryant says everything will make money over time – the question is what time.