Missouri Minute: Springfield hospitals struggle amid COVID-19 surge; St. Charles venues suspend dancing

Hello, MBA readers,

In the latest example of the toll the coronavirus pandemic has taken on local budgets, Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas is calling for $60 million in additional cuts to his city’s spending plan. This is the second wave of cuts proposed by Lucas, following $50 million in reductions in August. The mayor cited a slowdown in tax revenue in requesting the cuts. In the southwest part of the state, Springfield hospitals are seeing their capacity tested amid a surge in COVID-19 hospitalizations. The city’s two major health systems, CoxHealth and Mercy, are both experiencing the highest rates of hospitalization and death since the onset of the pandemic. Despite that, initial unemployment claims in Missouri have reached their lowest level since the pandemic hit. The latest figures for the state show that about 8,100 people filed for benefits last week.

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Springfield hospitals struggle amid COVID-19 surge
The city’s two main hospital systems are near capacity as record numbers of COVID-19 patients are hospitalized, overwhelming emergency rooms and inpatient staff. (Springfield News-Leader)

St. Charles venues suspend dancing to discourage crowds
In a move Mayor Dan Borgmeyer said feels “a little bit like the movie ‘Footloose,'” clubs and bars announced a temporary ban on dancing and DJ music after 11 p.m. Main Street in St. Charles has seen large crowds amid COVID-19 restrictions on nightlife elsewhere in the St. Louis area. (Associated Press)

Parson administration pays UAW as allies criticize union’s contributions
A political action committee backing Gov. Mike Parson over Auditor Nicole Galloway for governor has criticized Galloway for accepting contributions from the United Auto Workers, which is facing a corruption probe. However, the governor’s administration has paid the union nearly $770,000 since 2018 for job training assistance. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

Push to reform tax-subsidized development in KC gains momentum
Amid criticism of incentives fueling economic inequality, the Port Authority of Kansas City has submitted a proposal that suggests public subsidies should be administered by a new nonprofit. (Kansas City Star)

Black & Veatch doubles grant goal for COVID-19 accelerator
The Kansas City-area engineering firm is increasing the amount it plans to provide in grants and in-kind services to participants in its IgniteX COVID-19 Response Accelerator, from $250,000 to $500,000. (Kansas City Business Journal)

Missouri unemployment claims trending down
Workers submitted about 8,100 unemployment claims in Missouri last week, which is the lowest number of new claims in the state since the pandemic began in March but still higher than historical levels. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

St. Louis startup receives $2.2 million to develop Alzheimer’s blood test
C2N Diagnostics has received new funding from the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation to advance clinical validation of its testing method. (St. Louis Business Journal)

Clayton apartments sold to Chicago firm for $70 million
The sale of the 229-unit Barton apartments to Covington Realty Partners is one of the St. Louis region’s largest apartment transactions of 2020. (St. Louis Business Journal)

Developer plans $50 million residential community in Lebanon
OHM Developing is scheduled to begin construction on the project, which could bring 500 new homes to the southwest Missouri community, in 2021. (Springfield Business Journal)

Clayton money management firm Moneta to open Kansas City office
It is the company’s second major expansion in 18 months. Last year, Moneta opened an office in Denver. (St. Louis Business Journal)

Missouri ordered to sell parts of planned park on Eleven Point River
An Oregon County circuit judge ordered the state to sell parts of the planned park in southern Missouri because it would disrupt the scenic nature of the area. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

Say that again

“It was two weeks of constant people. I felt like I was on an assembly line for heads.”

That’s Krisda Butler, manager of a Fantastic Sam’s hair salon in St. Charles County, speaking about the influx of customers when her shop reopened this spring after initial pandemic shutdowns, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. However, following that initial rush, the amount of customers declined to roughly half of pre-pandemic levels. The same rang true at hair salons across the St. Louis area, as a lack of events to attend and limits on social gathering caused many to forgo their normal appointments. While salons contend with diminished revenue, they also face the increased costs of additional sanitization measures. It has forced some businesses to get creative in order to survive, with one taking a non-traditional approach and beginning to offer appointments outside.

Go figure

$60 million

Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas is asking city departments to trim $60 million more from their budgets, The Kansas City Star reports. The planned cuts come as a result of tax revenue losses driven by the coronavirus pandemic. This cut is equal to about 11% of the city’s current budget, and was preceded by a $50 million cut in August. The previous cut caused a reduction in police and fire department budgets, among others.

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Payne’s Valley, a golf course near Branson created by Bass Pro Shops founder Johnny Morris and golf star Tiger Woods, has officially opened to the public, following the special Payne’s Valley Cup tournament on Tuesday, the Springfield Business Journal reports. The course was named after the late Payne Stewart, who was a professional golfer from Springfield. Woods and Morris began planning the project in 2017.

Hello my name is

Amazon 4-Star

The St. Louis Galleria mall welcomed the Amazon 4-Star store this week. It’s the e-commerce company’s first brick-and-mortar store in Missouri, the St. Louis Business Journal reports. Products featured in the store have all received at least a four-star ratings from online Amazon shoppers, and the location features a section with items that are trending in the St. Louis area. Every item has a digital price tag that shows not only the price of the item, but also the exclusive price offered to Amazon Prime members. The location has already hired 20 employees.

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


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