Tuesday, April 25, 2006
Why Kentucky and technology don't mix, in seven paragraphs
Just when you thought the state of Kentucky may be coming out of the dark ages when it comes to economic development, it does something to firmly reentrench itself again. To me, this seven paragraph story says it all:
From 14WFIE.com - Fletcher Cuts $370 Million From Budget
Kentucky Governor Ernie Fletcher's pen got a workout Monday, when he cut $370 million in construction projects from the state budget.
That includes more than $18 million in western Kentucky projects.
One of the casualties is a $14 million appropriation for the second phase of the Tech Center in Owensboro. The funding would have allowed construction of the facility to be completed including classrooms, business incubators and an expansion of Western Kentucky University.
The story goes on to state that. . .
And on Tuesday, he'll make a stop in Muhlenberg County, where Greenville officials announced a new industry. Gourmet Express LLC will invest more than $7 million in the Commonwealth to move its manufacturing operation from Gridley, Illinois. It will mean 200 new jobs within two years.
sigh. . . I understand that Kentucky is having some budget issues, a state having budget issues is not something new. And OK, one of those cuts was $14 milliion for a technology center in Owensboro. A center with plans to have programs to educate students and workers for the technology industry. A center with plans to serve as a business incubator for startup tech companies. Hey, these are tough times, maybe we'll get that money next budget.
What sets me off is the last part of the story (and thanks to the writer, I don't know if she meant to or not but she really gave me a good set-up). The story goes on to state the the Governor will be coming to Muhlenberg county to welcome Gourmet Express LLC's manufacturing operations. For those of you not familiar with Kentucky, Muhlenberg county is a pretty poor county. Now I'm not trying to knock Gourmet Express but the last thing Western Kentucky needs is another 200 low paying jobs (somehow, I don't think a job packaging frozen vegetables is going to pay that much). For some reason, the governments (state, local, etc. . .) of Kentucky seem to think that quantity is better over quality. All communities need a couple of large employers to help drive the economy. But thousands of low paying jobs don't put you at the forefront of economic development. When moms and dads work all their lives in these low paying jobs and scrabble enough money to send their sons and daughters to college to get a better education where the heck are these kids supposed to go? Back to digging coal or welding car frames?
So I've ranted. Taken separately I could probably handle these two pieces of information. But putting them in the same story just shows how screwed up Kentucky can sometimes be. We had to cut several million in projects from the budget including some economic development projects because our economy is cold but hey! we recruited another low paying employer to the region (sorry Gourmet Express LLC, I'm sure you are a fine company to work for that will pay lots to the state in taxes, didn't mean to just single you out). If Kentucky wants to see what happens when you rely to heavily on manufacturing and jobs that don't require a professional workforce, just look at what is happening in Michigan now that the auto industry is in a funk. Oh well. . .
Wednesday, April 19, 2006
Wha, where am I, oh yeah. . . its my blog
Ice Fishing I had the chance a few weeks ago to do a little ice fishing for smelt. It was cold but fun. Didn't catch a darn thing, not even a bite, but oh well.
Music If you are ever in the mood for some Newfoundland folk music, check out Great Big Sea. It is definitely a different style of music. Got to say, you don't get alot of celtic whaling songs in Kentucky, much less songs about horses falling through ice.
BANJO The ole 1985 Goldstar GF-200W is out of its case, restrung and getting used to regular use again. I can't believe I've neglected my banjo for so long. I forgot how enjoyable a little pickin' and grinnin' can be.
How about something Biochem/PMP related? Neah. . . no really, I don't have anything to say right now. . .ok maybe a little. If you want some PMP news, check out the PMP site of Ag Moment. It is spring, which means PMP news should be sprouting like the corn is in Kentucky (it's still a little too cold up here in Michigan for planting corn, but the farmers are getting itchy, and the beets are in the ground). It will be an interesting year for PMPs, what with the LSBC bankruptcy and the sparkle kind of wearing off the whole plant-made pharmaceutical industry. I think we will hear more from the plant cell culture guys (Dow Agrosciece for one). Dow seems to be investing a good bit of money lately. The Duckweed (Biolex) approach seems to be doing alright. The whole plant guys (if you want to call them that) need to find their niche, the inexpensive production platform is showing quite a few holes, I think you will be hearing more about products that can be made in plants that can not be made in other systems (e.g. whole antibodies). I would say VCs will be pretty tight with their money this year, we will see.
The job front No job yet. No comment on prospects right now, but I'm working on a pretty good deal (darn PMP industry, it just keeps sucking me back in). Let's just say that there would be many more banjo pickers where I would have to relocate for this job, maybe thats why I'm brushing up on the 5 string.
Alright, enough for now. Thanks to all for stopping by every so often. I'm going to try to post at least weekly from now on.