Blaze owner Sandra Hunnewell will be the new owner of another U.S. Cellular Coliseum tenant, the Bloomington Edge indoor football team. (WJBC file photo)
By Ryan Denham
Five Things You Should Know for Friday, Oct. 12, 2012:
It now appears that Bloomington Blaze owner Sandra Hunnewell will be the new owner of another U.S. Cellular Coliseum tenant, the Bloomington Edge indoor football team. Current Edge owner Jim Morris announced publicly after last season his intentions to sell the team. The move will mark the third ownership group for the Edge since the team's inception in 2006, when local homebuilder Ed Brady owned the team. We hear that the Blaze front office has its act together much more than last year, for obvious reasons, and I know that discounted season-ticket promotion got some attention. And by owning two teams, Hunnewell should theoretically be able to find some efficiencies between the two front offices. But I can't imagine there's a whole lot of money to be made in indoor football -- even if it's operated cheaply. And because no one on earth is passionate about indoor football on its face, then why bother getting into the business? I'm confused.
Vice President Joe Biden loves to smile. That was one of the big takeaways from Thursday night's vice presidential debate between Smilin' Joe and his Republican challenger, Paul Ryan. The media could not help but notice Biden's grin on the split-screen whenever Ryan made a point he even barely disagreed with. I can attest how noticeable this was: At 8:16 p.m., my Dad texted me this message: "Biden has got to stop smiling so much!" NBC's David Gregory discussed the two sides to that coin, that either Biden came off as condescending or confident. “I think supporters of the president and Joe Biden will say, hey this was refreshing. He was feisty, he was aggressive, he was seeking in some ways to belittle Ryan as a challenger here in the arena and that was something we didn’t see out of the president," Gregory said. I would agree.
Just a few weeks away from Election Day, Daniel Petrella with the Springfield Journal-Register takes a look at how some Central Illinois counties are publicizing what's on the ballot. He finds that while many counties do put sample ballots online for convenient browsing, "Cass, Christian, Morgan, Schuyler and Scott counties rely on decidedly 20th-century methods to get ballot information out to voters." That means they appear only in local newspapers, county offices or in the mailbox. I've always been fascinated with local governments in Central Illinois and how poor, even to this day, their Web presence can be. In McLean County, it's still mind-boggling that we can't have civil litigation court records live online. Cass and Scott counties, for example, can't really post their ballots because the counties themselves don't even have websites. Yes, rural America uses the Internet less than urban America. But "less" isn't the same as "doesn't." Let's fix this.
Walmart announced that its 1.4 million employees will be eligible for free heart and spine surgeries at six big-name health centers, part of a novel health insurance model. The goal is for Walmart to line up bundled pricing from health care organizations like Cleveland Clinic and Mayo Clinic through direct-to-employer service agreements. "The doctors are not paid per-procedure, so they have no financial incentive to operate and may find other less invasive, less expensive ways to treat patients," Reuters reports. And that means workers will find their own costs reduced because they don't have to pay for such procedures. "It's a growing trend and an important new aspect of employers' ability to manage quality and improve their value proposition," said Michael McMillan with Cleveland Clinic. "We see more and more large employers asking about this kind of approach."
Russell Brandom with Buzzfeed has an interesting story about two Navy SEALs who have created an iPhone app called Silent Circle, designed to offer military-level encryption for phone calls, texts, email and video. "The general rule has always been, don't say something on a phone that you wouldn't say in a crowded room," ex-soldier Vern Abila told Buzzfeed. "Silent Circle will change that." It's a pretty slick idea. Plus, the app lets you send self-destructing text messages and photos ala "Mission: Impossible." Down the road, this app will certainly be embroiled in some sort of legal fight as the government tries to crack a user's encrypted calls and messages. But as Brandom notes, "all the encryption happens on the iPhone, rather than leaving it to be done on an outside server." So for those of you paranoid about the NSA listening to your calls, this might be a winner. Though I've got a feeling that $20 isn't going to be enough to buy much more than sorta-privacy.
Ryan Denham can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.