Missouri Minute: Parson releases $281 million in state funding; St. Louis holding mayoral primary

Hello, MBA readers,

After restricting more than $400 million from the current state budget as Missouri braced for economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, Gov. Mike Parson on Monday announced that the final $281 million of what he initially held back has been released to cover various expenses — largely education. As administration of COVID-19 vaccines continues, Missouri’s supply of doses will get a boost. Health officials have announced that the state will receive 50,000 doses of the recently approved Johnson & Johnson vaccine, increasing the state’s total vaccine supply by one-third. In St. Louis, voters are casting ballots Tuesday in the city’s mayoral primary, looking to whittle the field of four candidates down to two. It marks the first non-partisan mayoral primary in city history.

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Parson releases $281 million in state funding 
Citing an economy that has outperformed expectations, Gov. Mike Parson released the final portion of more than $400 million withheld at the start of the state fiscal year because of the pandemic. Some $123 million of that funding is allocated to K-12 public schools. (Springfield News-Leader)

St. Louis to narrow mayoral field with Tuesday primary
St. Louis voters will cut the field from four candidates to two ahead of the April 6 general election. The candidates are Aldermanic President Lewis Reed, City Treasurer Tishaura Jones, Alderman Cara Spencer and utility executive Andrew Jones. It’s the city’s first non-partisan mayoral primary. (MBA)

St. Louis eviction moratorium extended through April 5
The moratorium applies only to nonpayment of rent. Landlords can still evict tenants for other violations of their leases. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

Columbia removes restaurant and bar curfews, caps on gatherings
The city is loosening pandemic restraints, allowing businesses to resume normal operating hours and gatherings and events to increase capacity. (Columbia Missourian)

Nonprofit Great Circle to lay off 117 after program closure 
The Webster Groves-based organization that provides mental health services to children and families announced last month that it would close a residential treatment program. Great Circle has been investigated for alleged abuse and fraud in recent years. (St. Louis Business Journal)

Core & Main completes acquisition of Texas company
The St. Louis-based distributor of water, sewer and fire protection equipment announced it has closed its deal for Triple T Pipe & Supply, another waterworks distributor. It’s Core & Main’s 12th acquisition since 2017. (St. Louis Business Journal)

Schnucks partners with DoorDash to deliver food 
The St. Louis-based grocery chain will partner with the delivery service to bring prepared foods like deli sandwiches to customers near select stores. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

Columbia startup among five picked for Stadia Ventures accelerator
Healium, which makes virtual reality experiences to reduce stress, is part of the spring cohort for Stadia, which focuses on sports-related startups. With Stadia, companies receive up to $100,000 and take part in a business development program. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

Arch Apparel to open Ballpark Village location
With locations in Brentwood and St. Charles, the St. Louis-area clothing retailer is now expanding to the downtown entertainment district near Busch Stadium. (St. Louis Business Journal)

PlanIT Impact hires new CEO
Brett Krug will take over for founder Dominique Davison, who transitions to chief sustainability officer. The Kansas City company makes software for construction and architectural firms. (Kansas City Business Journal)

Say that again

“What I do represent for people of color, especially Black people and Black women, is a person who decided, ‘I’m going to do something, and I’m going to learn something, and I’m going to bring other people with me.'”

That’s Marion Pierson, operator of her own urban apiary, called MO Hives KC, speaking about her work as a beekeeper and her hopes of inspiring other Black people to embrace urban agriculture. Pierson and other Black entrepreneurs in Missouri have adopted urban agriculture in a move that could alter the demographics of farming in the state. Currently, only about 2% of Missouri farmers are Black, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. But Pierson and others who practice urban agriculture express a desire to inspire others to start their own operations.

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$600 million

AMC Entertainment reduced its debt by $600 million when the company’s shares surged amid a recent trading frenzy fueled largely by social media users, the Wall Street Journal reports. Over the course of 72 hours, the Kansas City-area theater operator saw its stock price increase by 467%. That rally led private equity firm Silver Lake, which held $600 million worth of AMC bonds, to liquidate the whole amount, taking debt off the company’s books. The frenzy also helped AMC sell out of shares it was marketing through an “at-the-market” offering, raising cash for the company. It was a well-timed incident for the cinema chain. AMC has struggled to survive the pandemic amid widespread theater closures, and the threat of bankruptcy loomed. Following the recent infusion of funds, Adam Aron, AMC’s chief executive, was awarded a $3.75 million bonus by the board of directors, the Kansas City Business Journal reports.

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Following emergency authorization of Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine over the weekend, Missouri has announced it expects to receive 50,000 doses by Wednesday, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. This addition to Missouri’s vaccine supply will increase the number of available doses by one-third. State health officials have reported that demand for vaccines has significantly exceeded supply, so the addition of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine will help to bridge that gap.

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This Kansas City-based technology startup has raised $8.2 million in an oversubscribed seed round, Startland News reports. Dolby Family Ventures led the round, which included investment from Kansas City-area investors KCRise Fund and Flyover Capital. Launched in 2019, TripleBlind makes digital privacy software that’s designed to allow users to send and receive sensitive data through encryption. After the onset of the pandemic, the company worked on a system to track the spread of COVID-19 using mobile devices while maintaining users’ privacy.


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