Front Page PM 5/4/12

May 7, 2012

Every community in the country has been impacted by the down economy.  Many, like Murray, Kentucky, have had a rough time of it, coping with shrinking resources and growing budget shortfalls.  Other cities, including one almost identical to Murray, have fared better with their finances.  We’ll talk about why, and what lessons cities like Murray could learn, with the mayor of that parallel community, today on Front Page P.M. from WKMS News.

(1.) ROUGH BUDGET TIMES FOR MURRAY -- The shaky economy has led to cutbacks in government at all levels, from the federal budget all the way down to the city of Murray. The city’s finance committee is currently considering cuts for various community groups, including Murray Main Street and Playhouse in the Park. Shelly Baskin reports on what form the cuts could take and what they would mean for the affected groups. 

(2.) OXFORD MAYOR 2-WAY -- As we’ve just heard, the city of Murray faces an all-too-common problem these days: a steady demand for services while facing the necessity of budget cuts.  For other communities in the country, the outlook isn’t quite so grim.  And what they’ve done, or not done, could be instructive.  So, we looked for a city similar to Murray and came up with Oxford, Mississippi, home of the University of Mississippi.  Both cover 10 square miles; they were incorporated within seven years of each other; and both are located in counties south of another county named Marshall.  Oxford’s population is just a thousand higher; and both Oxford and Murray sit at about the same height above sea level.  But there are differences.  While Murray wrangles with a budget gap, Oxford is booming.  Tourism there is on the rise and their unemployment rate is one and third points below the national average, and falling.  By contrast, Murray’s unemployment rate is half a point below the U.S. average.  What is Oxford doing right?  And what could Murray learn from its Mississippi doppelganger?  To find out, I spoke with Oxford Mayor George Patterson. 

(3.) PHILANTHROPY 360 -- Not long ago there was an eye-opening report about the transfer of wealth that aging baby boomers would create, and non-profits took note.  Next week there’s an educational program in Murray about the latest trends in philanthropy and how to harness them to enrich the quality of life in our area for generations.  Kate Lochte has more. 

(4.) CHANGES IN BETTING TECH -- The racing industry almost universally recognizes it’s repeatedly missed the technological boat, beginning with television, all the way through betting on Facebook.  So why did racing stick its head in the sand - and how is it attempting to catch up?  From Public Broadcasting’s Innovation trail project on Track Tech, Kentucky Public Radio’s Jacalyn Carfagno reports. 

(5.) RICK SHANKLIN 2-WAY -- La Nina is over, according to the National Weather Service.  The weather pattern based on central Pacific Ocean temperatures has been to blame for some of the unseasonable weather we’ve had over the course of a few years.  We’ve gone from the wettest April’s on record in 2011 to a very dry April this year.  To discuss some of our weather pattern oddities Chad Lampe/I spoke with Warning Coordination Meteorologist Rick Shanklin.