Missouri Minute: Wash U advances COVID-19 research; KC considers renaming Nichols monuments

Hello, MBA readers,

A landmark that has been an epicenter of recent protests over racial injustice is now at the center of a campaign for a name change, motivated by a history of racial injustice. The landmark, the J.C. Nichols Memorial Fountain on Kansas City’s Country Club Plaza, bears the name of the Kansas City real estate developer J.C. Nichols, who developed the retail district and nearby residential neighborhoods. But, in light of Nichols’ use of restrictive covenants to prevent minorities from living in those developments, some local officials want to rename the fountain and a street named for him. Elsewhere, a familiar name in Missouri politics has resurfaced. Former Gov. Eric Greitens, who resigned from office amid scandal, has filed paperwork to run for an undisclosed statewide office. Plus, an effort by groups seeking to remove a Medicaid expansion measure from Missouri’s August ballot has been dismissed by the state’s highest court.

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Missouri Supreme Court dismisses appeal to remove Medicaid expansion from ballot
The Missouri Supreme Court rejected an appeal by conservative group Americans for Prosperity, officially ending that effort to take the measure off the August ballot. (Missourinet)

Wash U researchers advance COVID-19 research with mouse model
A team at the St. Louis university has developed a model of COVID-19 that mimics the human version of the illness in mice. It’s expected to accelerate the development of a COVID-19 vaccine. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

KC parks board to consider landmarks named for developer
Chris Goode, a member of the city’s parks board, wrote to other board members asking them to consider renaming the city fountain and street named for J.C. Nichols, a Kansas City developer who prohibited minorities from living in neighborhoods he developed. (Associated Press)

MU to start classes Aug. 24
The University of Missouri announced that it will start the school year in late August after debating an earlier start date. New coronavirus-related precautions will be put in place, including for residence halls and dining services. (Columbia Missourian)

KC black-owned businesses speak out
Many black business owners have supported protests against police violence by posting on social media, donating or participating themselves. Some cite frustration over racism and the pace of change among their reasons for vocalizing support. (Kansas City Star)

Greitens files paperwork for 2024 run
Former Gov. Eric Greitens, who resigned amid scandal in 2018, has filed paperwork to form a committee to run for statewide office in 2024. (Springfield News-Leader)

State mental health department, Liberty nursing home report COVID-10 cases
The Missouri Department of Mental Health has reported 102 employees and 51 patients testing positive for COVID-19. At Pleasant Valley Manor Care Center near Liberty, there are 52 new cases and two deaths from the virus. (MissourinetKCUR)

Springfield bank ranks No. 6 on Forbes list
Great Southern Bancorp ranked sixth among U.S. banks on the World’s Best Banks list compiled by Forbes. Banks were judged on factors including general customer satisfaction, digital services and financial advice. (Forbes)

Columbia housing sales drop in May, show potential for rebound
Though sales fell 21% in May, houses currently under contract surged 26%, indicating that there could be a rebound in sales coming in the next few months. (Columbia Missourian)

KC developers seek approval for $65 million mixed-use project
3G Development and the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority want to build a mixed-use development on 1.8 acres in the River Market. The project could include apartments, a hotel, retail space and a multimodal bus stop. (Kansas City Business Journal)

Springfield store adopts ‘no mask’ policy
Managers of Park Central Market said the policy was put in place because of security risks, saying cameras would not be able to identify a masked person if an incident were to occur. (Springfield News-Leader)

St. Louis Arch Riverboats to reopen under new guidelines
The riverboats were closed in March as a result of the pandemic, but will now open with an hourlong tour option, a reduction of their normal scale of services. (St. Louis Business Journal)

Say that again

“We are a tourist community, and if people act responsibly, there are plenty of things to do here. We have plenty of room for people to social distance.”

That’s Russell Burdette, owner of Your Lake Vacation, a property management company at the Lake of the Ozarks. He said his properties sold out over Memorial Day weekend for the first time ever, and he envisions a busy summer for the lake as vacationers think about more regional travel amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The lake drew national attention over Memorial Day for scenes of crowded bars and pools where people were not observing social distancing guidelines, but locals were largely unperturbed by the attention, Kaiser Health News reports. Many at the lake anticipate a busy summer for the tourism industry after the expiration of springtime stay-at-home orders.

Go figure

$240 million

That is the amount of CARES Act relief funding the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has granted Missouri hospitals that serve all patients, regardless of their health insurance status, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. There are 21 qualifying hospitals in the state, including Truman Medical Centers in Kansas City and University of Missouri Healthcare in Columbia. This funding comes at a time when hospitals around the state have announced massive layoffs and pay cuts to staff. An April Missouri Hospital Association report showed losses of roughly $1 billion each month due to the decline caused from patients canceling non-essential procedures.

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Comedic jabs like this one, bemoaning the price of ballpark beers, proliferated on Twitter after St. Louis Cardinals Chairman Bill DeWitt Jr. said in an interview with 590 The Fan that “the industry isn’t very profitable, to be honest.” Dewitt continued: “I think (the players) understand that. They think owners are hiding profits. There’s been a bit of distrust there.” DeWitt’s comments come as labor negotiations continue between Major League Baseball owners and players about restarting the sport. While the National Basketball Association and Major League Soccer have both reached agreements to begin playing again, baseball remains at an impasse.

Hello, my name is


This Chesterfield-based company has assisted gyms adapting to the new norms dictated by the coronavirus pandemic, the St. Louis Business Journal reports. The company, which previously provided software for managing and billing, has pivoted to assist with contact tracing in gyms and enabling hybrid fitness classes for those wanting to exercise but not ready to come back to the gym. The software allows members contactless methods for gym check-in, while tracking the number of people in the facility so as not to exceed capacity limits. ClubReady also offers services to gyms that have not reopened, such as email marketing to inform customers of reopening plans.

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


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