Missouri Minute: Centene plans North Carolina expansion; AMC postpones reopening

Good morning, MBA readers,

Centene’s continued growth reportedly has the Clayton-based health insurer planning a big expansion in North Carolina. Centene, the largest managed care provider in the U.S., is said to be undertaking one of the biggest economic development investments in that state’s history, with plans to add more than 3,000 jobs. There’s no word yet on what ripple effects that move might have in Missouri. As Centene plans to open a new facility, AMC Theatres has announced its properties will remain closed for two more weeks. The cinema chain, based in the Kansas City area, will push back the planned reopening date for its theaters because of surges in coronavirus cases. And as businesses and institutions across the state continue to grapple with reopening against the backdrop of increasing case counts, the University of Missouri has outlined its plans for an August return to in-person instruction. Among the highlights are the requirement of face coverings in classrooms and the creation of special lodgings on campus for students who test positive for the virus.

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Centene plans North Carolina expansion
The Clayton-based health insurance company is expected to bring more than 3,000 jobs to Charlotte as it opens a new office there, according to unnamed real estate sources. (Charlotte Business Journal)

AMC Theatres postpones reopening
After recent spikes in new confirmed cases of COVID-19, AMC Theatres has postponed its reopening by two weeks, until July 30. This comes just weeks after the Leawood, Kansas-based company expressed “substantial doubt” about its future. (Kansas City Star)

Southwest Missouri poultry plant sees surge in COVID-19 cases
Tyson Foods announced 291 workers at its plant in Noel have the disease. Of those, 249 showed no symptoms prior to being tested. (KY3)

Regulators approve $17.3 billion casino deal
The Federal Trade Commission has approved the purchase of Caesars Entertainment by Eldorado Resorts. The deal will result in new owners for two Kansas City-area casinos, with Eldorado acquiring Harrah’s North Kansas City and selling off Capri Casino Kansas City. (Kansas City Business Journal)

Parson to decide on special taxing district bill
Local officials from across the state are lobbying Gov. Mike Parson over a proposal that would change the way special taxing districts are created. The decision was complicated by many different provisions being added to the bill in a rush legislators faced due to COVID-19. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

St. Louis mayor under fire for disclosing residents’ information
In a live stream Friday, Mayor Lyda Krewson revealed the names and addresses of people who had written her letters to encourage defunding the police. This prompted a weekend protest outside her house, calling for her resignation. In the process, a neighboring couple drew national attention by pointing guns at protesters as they marched. (Associated Press)

Wyandotte County, state of Kansas to adopt mandatory mask policies
The county encompassing Kansas City, Kansas, will join with Kansas City, Missouri, in requiring masks in public, effective Tuesday evening. The entire state of Kansas will require masks beginning Friday. (Kansas City Star)

St. Louis Regional Chamber to look for new CEO
The current president, Tom Chulick, will step down at the end of the year. Chulick was tapped for the job in 2018 and is leaving to pursue opportunities he put on hold after the abrupt resignation of his predecessor, Joe Reagan. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

University of Missouri outlines plans for fall reopening
Students returning in the fall can expect to wear face coverings in all buildings and see changes to class structure, as some will be online and some a hybrid of in-person and online. There will be isolation areas for students who contract the virus while living on campus. (Columbia Missourian)

St. Louis PrideFest moves entirely online
The event will be held in a virtual format this year on Aug. 15. After losing corporate sponsors due to the businesses’ own financial issues, the festival hopes that donations from attendees will help it stay afloat. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

MU landscaping jobs will not be outsourced
The University of Missouri did not accept the bid to outsource about 30 landscaping jobs. This issue has sparked protests by MU staff members. (Columbia Missourian)

Torch Electronics makes $90,000 donation to Missouri Growth PAC
The Wildwood-based operator of digital slot machines made the donation to a political action committee connected to Steve Tilley, an ally of Gov. Mike Parson. The gaming machines, found in gas stations and bars across the state, face multiple legal challenges. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

KC developers plan $40 million apartment project
Sunflower Development Group and Platform Ventures are set to build a new 200-apartment complex in Kansas City’s Brookside East neighborhood. (Kansas City Business Journal)

Microsoft announces store closures
Shifting to online storefronts, the software company will permanently close its 83 stores, including single locations in the Kansas City and St. Louis areas. (St. Louis Business Journal)

Say that again

“If you’re noticing that a student’s emotional or behavioral functioning has significantly changed for the worse compared to previous school years, that’s a red flag.”

That’s Dr. Simone Moody, a pediatric behavioral specialist, speaking on possible red flags that could become evident when Kansas City schools resume, KCUR reports. There has been a drop in calls to child abuse hotlines since the beginning of the pandemic, which Moody said could be due to the fact that kids were no longer in contact with mandated reporters, such as teachers or counselors, who are required by law to report signs of abuse. Schools reopening have created a number of debates over precautions as COVID-19 cases also spike in the area. Some parents feel children should return to their routine, while others fear it is still too dangerous.

Go figure

$7 million

That’s the amount of CARES Act federal relief funds the city of Independence will receive, though it requested $30 million, The Kansas City Star reports. Many cities in Jackson County will receive significantly less funding than they asked for from the county’s $122.6 million in federal aid. Kansas City will get $19 million, about one-third of the $54.6 million it requested. Though the funding amounts are less than desired, Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas said he was glad the funding would be coming soon. Frustration had grown over the timeline, and many local officials felt it was taking too long to divvy up the aid. Independence Mayor Eileen Weir complained publicly two weeks ago that the county needed to move faster. Now cities will receive funding, even if not as much as they hoped.

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That’s the Kansas City Health Department commenting on announcements from local businesses Up-Down Kansas City and Trezo Mare that they will close for the time being due to coronavirus-related difficulties. Kansas City has seen a recent surge in confirmed coronavirus cases, and the city recently made wearing masks mandatory while in public spaces, The Kansas City Star reports. Some states, such as Texas, that had previously reopened are now rolling back those reopenings or halting their progress because of spikes in coronavirus cases. Kansas City’s health department is drawing attention to the fact that if Missouri does not abide by proper precautions, it could be among states forced to reinstate certain aspects of lockdown.

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The St. Louis-based financial technology company is one of 10 startups that has been selected for the INV Fintech accelerator program, the St. Louis Business Journal reports. The five-month program is run in collaboration with Fiserv, one of the largest companies in the financial services technology. SwipeSum launched in 2018 and has developed a platform designed to lower credit card processing fees. The accelerator was particularly interested in SwipeSum’s software that uses artificial intelligence to read processing statements for banks and financial institutions.

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


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