Hello, MBA readers,
As Missouri continues to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic and undertake a widespread vaccination effort, the state’s top medical official has stepped down. Dr. Randall Williams, director of the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, resigned Tuesday after four years and multiple controversies. Gov. Mike Parson did not offer a reason for the resignation. Robert Knodell, Parson’s deputy chief of staff, will take over as acting director. Knodell has played a leading role in the state’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout, which has drawn its own share of criticism. As one official exited office Tuesday, another stepped into a new role. Tishaura Jones was sworn in as the mayor of St. Louis, becoming the first Black woman to hold the position. Jones has advocated for a fresh approach to the office, although she acknowledged that changes will not come overnight. Tuesday brought an outpouring of responses after a Minnesota jury found former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin guilty of second-degree murder in the death of George Floyd. Activists, elected officials and others in Missouri responded to the decision with reactions ranging from relief at the outcome to frustration over persistent systemic problems. Said Kansas City civil rights attorney and activist Stacy Shaw: “Finally, there’s some sense of justice in America when a Black man is killed.”
Missouri’s top health official, COO resign amid cabinet shake-up
Dr. Randall Williams, director of the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, resigned Tuesday. He has drawn scrutiny during his tenure, notably for his support of Gov. Mike Parson’s coronavirus pandemic response. Drew Erdmann, the state’s chief operating officer, also stepped down. (Columbia Missourian, St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
Missouri activists welcome Chauvin verdict
After former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was convicted of second-degree murder Tuesday in the death of George Floyd, elected officials, activists and social justice organizations in Missouri characterized the verdict as a step in the right direction but said change is still needed. The May 2020 death of Floyd, a Black man, set off protests across the state and country, brought calls for police reform, and increased attention on racial injustice. (Kansas City Star, Columbia Missourian)
Indiana pharma company plans to expand St. Louis-area facility
Inotiv, which does contract work in drug discovery and development, plans to buy its facility in Maryland Heights and add more office and lab space there. (St. Louis Business Journal)
Proposed KC tower requires FAA approval to proceed
Flaherty & Collins Properties is planning a $74 million, 12-story apartment tower in Kansas City’s River Market. But, because of its proximity to an airport, the project needs an exception from the Federal Aviation Administration. (Kansas City Business Journal)
Black businesses face uncertainty after sale of KC office building
Reports suggest that the new owner of Kansas City’s Citadel Office Building plans to raze the structure to make way for an apartment project, but the building’s 150 mostly Black tenants have struggled to get answers about the future. (KCUR)
Columbia City Council votes to buy Ameren land
Officials voted to buy a 2-acre property in the city’s North Village Arts district for $950,000. The land was previously a gas plant owned by Ameren Missouri. (Columbia Missourian)
Canadian National Railway has offered $325 per share for Kansas City Southern bumping up its total offer to $33.7 billion, the Associated Press reports. The move represents an escalation in a bidding war for the Kansas City-based railroad company. Canadian Pacific agreed last month to acquire Kansas City Southern for $25 billion. Both agreements involved cash-and-stock offers. Canadian National offered $200 cash and 1.059 shares of Canadian National common stock for each share of Kansas City Southern. The combination would create a rail line running from Canada to Mexico. In response to the news, Kansas City Southern stock rose 15% Tuesday.
Saint Louis, today is for you.
I am proud to be your Mayor. I am proud to be the People’s Mayor. ❤️ pic.twitter.com/gAnnoYOZXn
— Mayor Tishaura O. Jones (@saintlouismayor) April 20, 2021
Tishaura Jones was inaugurated Tuesday as the new mayor of St. Louis, becoming the first Black woman to hold the position. The former state lawmaker and St. Louis treasurer enters office with close ties to other leaders around the state, including Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas and St. Louis County Executive Sam Page, St. Louis Public Radio reports. Both politicians spoke to the strengths that Jones will bring into office and voiced hope for the future of the city under her leadership. Jones outlined ambitious goals but acknowledged that the city won’t experience a quick transformation, and that wholesale changes will require time to implement and take effect.
Hello, my name is
California-based software company Netreo has acquired Kansas City-area startup Stackify for an undisclosed amount, Startland News reports. Both companies make systems for monitoring the performance of information technology. Netreo and Stackify were included in the latest Inc. 5000 list of the fastest-growing American companies. Stackify founder and CEO Matt Watson facilitated the deal and will be joining Netreo as CTO. This is the second time Watson has sold a startup that he helped found. In 2011, Watson sold startup VinSolutions for $147 million.
Say that again
“They’re going to take away our sunset.”
That is Jenni Koch, a resident of unincorporated Miami County, voicing concern about development plans near her home on the outskirts of the Kansas City area. Koch and other neighbors in unincorporated parts of Miami and Johnson counties have proposed the creation of a new city to push back against Logistics Park Kansas City, a multi-modal logistics park that was established in 2013 and continues to grow, The Kansas City Star reports. The city of Edgerton, Kansas, has annexed increasing amounts of land to allow for more warehouses and distribution centers near the logistics park, which is a major source of jobs and tax revenue for the area. Residents hope that, by forming a city, they will have a municipal government that gives them more voice and might provide an opportunity to prevent the continued encroachment of industrial buildings and truck traffic in their neighborhoods.