Missouri Minute: LaunchKC announces health accelerator; Springfield teachers get pay boost

Good morning, MBA readers,
The weekend is almost here, although it won’t likely bring the relief sought by St. Louis County property assessment officials, who are voicing concerns about a broken system and burdensome caseload. On the other side of the state, the Kansas City Council is mulling a proposed office tower that would be the first of its kind in 30 years. Meanwhile, Mercy Health and CoxHealth have declared they would not certify patients for medical marijuana. Read on for more Missouri business news of the day.

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State auditor may run for governor
Missouri Auditor Nicole Galloway is “very serious” about running for governor in 2020, according the executive director of the Missouri Democratic Party. If Galloway runs, she would face state Sen. Scott Sifton of St. Louis County in the primary. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

MU researchers land $8.6 million NIH grant for swine research
The grant will help establish a new national research center focused on translating swine research into treatments for human diseases. (MBA)

Appeals official quits over St. Louis County assessment process
Board of Equalization member Keith Kramer stepped down this week and said the system of appeals for inaccurate property assessments “really isn’t working.” With thousands of appeals expected this year, Kramer predicts the three-person board will have to consider up to 600 cases a day. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

Mercy, Cox ‘not recommending’ medical marijuana to patients
The two health systems said late Wednesday they would not recommend medical marijuana to patients, citing federal prohibition and “insufficient” research on the benefits and risks of cannabis use for medical purposes. (Springfield News-Leader)

Springfield teachers get $7.2 million boost to pay, benefits
Springfield Public Schools, which has nearly 4,000 employees, will get a $286 million operating budget for the upcoming school year that includes a higher starting salary for teachers. (Springfield News-Leader)

Wash U to raise minimum wage to $15 by 2021
The transition, which would affect about 1,200 workers and contractors, will involve gradual annual increases the next three years. (St. Louis Public Radio)

LaunchKC unveils new health accelerator
Launch Health Accelerator will provide a minimum of $50,000 funding, business support and mentorship for health care startups. With Leawood’s Nueterra Capital as an investment partner, the Kansas City-based accelerator’s inaugural cohort is expected to begin this summer. (Startland News)

Ex-DST employee pleads guilty to embezzlement
Russell Fotovich, a former facilities engineer for the company now called SS&C Technologies Holdings, admitted Wednesday he redeemed scrap metal for the company and pocketed about $388,000 of the redemption value. He also pleaded guilty to tax fraud and faces up to eight years in federal prison. (Kansas City Business Journal)

Speaking Startup

Funding talk with Kelly Sievers of the Women’s Capital Connection
The latest episode of our entrepreneurship podcast features a conversation with Kelly Sievers from the Women’s Capital Connection in Kansas City. She hosted an event this week focused on helping founders raise capital for their businesses, and we caught up with her afterward. Plus, hear an excerpt from our new Pitchin’ podcast, startup headlines and more.

Say that again

“It’s reasonable to expect that as states make it even more difficult for people to access clinic-based abortion care, more people will seek alternatives including self-managed abortion.”

That’s Jill Adams, executive director of reproductive rights group If/When/How. Women who do not want or cannot afford to carry out a pregnancy are looking to abortion pills sold online as states like Missouri impose strict limits on physician-assisted abortions, Reuters reports.

Go figure

$184.4 million
That’s how much Wildwood-based Peak Resorts made in total revenue for fiscal year 2018, marking a 29% boost from a year earlier, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. The company released its earnings Thursday, beating Wall Street expectations and sending shares up nearly 13 percent. Peak Resorts, which operates 17 ski resorts across the U.S., reported an 81% increase in ski instruction revenue and a 21% increase in season pass sales.

Hello, my name is

A Kansas City Council committee has advanced this 250,000-square-foot office tower project Tuesday for discussion before the full council in two weeks, the Kansas City Business Journal reports. The $94 million project is backed by H&R Block, which received development rights in 2004. If the plan is approved by the full city council, the city would pay $27 million for construction and take a 28% revenue stake in the building, according to KCUR.

It’s been a pleasure doing business with you this morning. Have a fantastic weekend.


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