Enrollment for fall challenging in Hickman Mills School District

School districts are swamped with enrollment right now. COVID-19 has caused additional challenges in getting students to sign up for classes.

In-person or online, no matter the format, just enrolling students for school is challenging because of the pandemic.

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“Many may not be thinking about school right now. They may be thinking about, ‘How do I get my next meal? How do I find some shelter going forward?'” said Yaw Obeng, Hickman Mills’ superintendent.

At Hickman Mills, of the expected 5,600 students, so far only 69% have registered. Classes begin online Aug. 24.

“They are not registered in schools, so we don’t have any access to communicate with them and support them through this, as well,” Obeng said.

“Schools really rely on student enrollment for their funding,” said Tricia Johnson, of the United Way of Greater Kansas City.

Financial stress, housing, transient families and social distancing from COVID-19 drive the low numbers. Others families could be weighing their options or have switched to home schooling.

“A lot of our students will already be behind and, if they don’t enroll, this is just going to exacerbate the academic disparities,” Johnson said.

In addition to the normal “summer slide” of forgetting past lessons, the United Way said this year there’s COVID slide. Many students missed 30% of school last year.

“Even if it takes us until September, October, we’ll make an effort to connect with all the students that we’re aware of and try to get them to school,” Obeng said.

Students can register online or in person. Every student at Hickman Mills will get a device for online learning. The school district provides free meals. Students who need Internet hot spots can get those from the district as well.

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Kansas City to receive nearly $19 million in federal Coronavirus relief funding from Jackson County – KMBC Kansas City

More than two months after Kansas City’s mayor requested the city’s portion of federal funding for Coronavirus relief in Jackson County, the money is making its way to city hall. Mayor Quinton Lucas tweeted his frustration Sunday, “In Missouri it appears that even when we have billions to spend on public health, we can’t get around to it. I hope all our counties see the light before we waste another three months when we should be fighting the spread and impact of COVID-19.” In May, the city requested $54.5 million of the nearly $123 million Jackson County received from the federal government as part of the coronavirus relief bill to fight the virus. That request included $11.7 million in funding for contact testing and tracing for the Kansas City Health Department but it was not approved. In June, Jackson County Executive Frank White proposed distributing half of the federal funds to communities by population based on the most recent U.S. Census data. That plan would have allocated $27 million to Kansas City. By the end of June the Jackson County Legislature approved a total of $18.8 million for Kansas City to meet unanticipated costs necessary in connection with the fight against the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. In a statement, Mayor Lucas wrote, “Kansas City’s ability to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, keep our economy moving and reopen our schools will be largely supplemented by the CARES Act funding we receive from each of our counties—particularly from Jackson. This funding will be used to pay for vital PPE, testing and contract tracers for our Health Department.”“We’ll continue working with each of our counties to ensure Kansas City receives its portion of CARES Act funding, and with our Congressional delegation to ensure any future stimulus package includes direct aid to cities,” he added.An ordinance allocating the Jackson County funds will be heard in Kansas City’s Finance, Governance and Public Safety Committee on Wednesday. If passed, it will be heard by the full city council as soon as Thursday.County Administrator Troy Schulte said Kansas City only submitted a CARES Act budget for review last week which is a requirement before the funds can be released. As that review is completed, the funds will be wired to the city. He expects the wire to occur later this week.In March, four community organizations established its own Regional COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund. Together, Greater Kansas City Community Foundation, United Way of Greater Kansas City, LISC Greater Kansas City (Local Initiatives Support Corporation), and the Mid-America Regional Council (MARC) raised $18 million. Nearly $11 million have gone to over 260 non-profit organizations supporting impacted communities – particularly those that are disproportionately affected by the pandemic. LISC Greater Kansas City Executive Director Geoff Jolley says their initial rounds of funding were primarily focused on community-based health organizations and those addressing food insecurity. As federal funding comes in, they are meeting with stakeholders around the metropolitan area to identify the best use of the remaining philanthropic funds. “Our hope is that our elected officials will invest those CARES Act funding really, in a continued health focus, to support our schools, address some of the issues, like digital inequities, and ultimately then to address the pending eviction problem and housing issues that we know are forthcoming.”

KANSAS CITY, Mo. –

More than two months after Kansas City’s mayor requested the city’s portion of federal funding for Coronavirus relief in Jackson County, the money is making its way to city hall.

Mayor Quinton Lucas tweeted his frustration Sunday, “In Missouri it appears that even when we have billions to spend on public health, we can’t get around to it. I hope all our counties see the light before we waste another three months when we should be fighting the spread and impact of COVID-19.”

This content is imported from Twitter.You may be able to find the same content in another format, or you may be able to find more information, at their web site.

Although we started asking in late April, Kansas City has still not received any funds to help 380,000 of its citizens in Jackson and Platte Counties through health funding for better contact tracing, faster testing, and efforts to support schools dealing with the pandemic. https://t.co/8rkRGovGWE

— Mayor Q (@QuintonLucasKC) August 2, 2020

In May, the city requested $54.5 million of the nearly $123 million Jackson County received from the federal government as part of the coronavirus relief bill to fight the virus. That request included $11.7 million in funding for contact testing and tracing for the Kansas City Health Department but it was not approved. In June, Jackson County Executive Frank White proposed distributing half of the federal funds to communities by population based on the most recent U.S. Census data. That plan would have allocated $27 million to Kansas City. By the end of June the Jackson County Legislature approved a total of $18.8 million for Kansas City to meet unanticipated costs necessary in connection with the fight against the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

In a statement, Mayor Lucas wrote, “Kansas City’s ability to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, keep our economy moving and reopen our schools will be largely supplemented by the CARES Act funding we receive from each of our counties—particularly from Jackson. This funding will be used to pay for vital PPE, testing and contract tracers for our Health Department.”

“We’ll continue working with each of our counties to ensure Kansas City receives its portion of CARES Act funding, and with our Congressional delegation to ensure any future stimulus package includes direct aid to cities,” he added.

An ordinance allocating the Jackson County funds will be heard in Kansas City’s Finance, Governance and Public Safety Committee on Wednesday. If passed, it will be heard by the full city council as soon as Thursday.

County Administrator Troy Schulte said Kansas City only submitted a CARES Act budget for review last week which is a requirement before the funds can be released. As that review is completed, the funds will be wired to the city. He expects the wire to occur later this week.

In March, four community organizations established its own Regional COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund. Together, Greater Kansas City Community Foundation, United Way of Greater Kansas City, LISC Greater Kansas City (Local Initiatives Support Corporation), and the Mid-America Regional Council (MARC) raised $18 million. Nearly $11 million have gone to over 260 non-profit organizations supporting impacted communities – particularly those that are disproportionately affected by the pandemic.

LISC Greater Kansas City Executive Director Geoff Jolley says their initial rounds of funding were primarily focused on community-based health organizations and those addressing food insecurity. As federal funding comes in, they are meeting with stakeholders around the metropolitan area to identify the best use of the remaining philanthropic funds.

“Our hope is that our elected officials will invest those CARES Act funding really, in a continued health focus, to support our schools, address some of the issues, like digital inequities, and ultimately then to address the pending eviction problem and housing issues that we know are forthcoming.”

‘Buy Black Kansas City’ movement supports black-owned businesses – KMBC Kansas City

In the midst of the Black Lives Matter movement, there is another movement catching on in a show of support. It’s called Buy Black Kansas City.Business is steady at Ruby Jean’s Juicery at 30th Street and Troost in Kansas City.Some new customers were drawn here because of posts on social media to Buy Black Kansas City. It’s a movement urging people to show solidarity by supporting black-owned businesses.Owner Chris Goode said he appreciates the response.”When you buy black and you’re tangibly, intentionally saying, ‘I’m going to put dollars into a disenfranchised community,’ whether I’m white, Asian, Hispanic or whatever the case may be. That’s saying something,” Goode said.Goode grew up in the area and started his business here. He said it is all about unity. He said he has also lived the pain that is now spilling over into protests.He said the community support for black businesses is good, but he prays for bigger changes.”More than the emotional and pain of today, what I’m interested in is the progress and sustainable movement for tomorrow and the day after that, and the months and the years to come,” Goode said.Ruby Jean’s mission is painted on the wall: Health is freedom. Goode said he has always believed that health is something that ties us all together.”It was painted at the very beginning because that’s what we stand for. That’s what we want to represent — progress that speaks to the pain of black people,” he said.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. –

In the midst of the Black Lives Matter movement, there is another movement catching on in a show of support. It’s called Buy Black Kansas City.

Business is steady at Ruby Jean’s Juicery at 30th Street and Troost in Kansas City.

Some new customers were drawn here because of posts on social media to Buy Black Kansas City. It’s a movement urging people to show solidarity by supporting black-owned businesses.

Owner Chris Goode said he appreciates the response.

“When you buy black and you’re tangibly, intentionally saying, ‘I’m going to put dollars into a disenfranchised community,’ whether I’m white, Asian, Hispanic or whatever the case may be. That’s saying something,” Goode said.

Goode grew up in the area and started his business here. He said it is all about unity. He said he has also lived the pain that is now spilling over into protests.

He said the community support for black businesses is good, but he prays for bigger changes.

“More than the emotional and pain of today, what I’m interested in is the progress and sustainable movement for tomorrow and the day after that, and the months and the years to come,” Goode said.

Ruby Jean’s mission is painted on the wall: Health is freedom. Goode said he has always believed that health is something that ties us all together.

“It was painted at the very beginning because that’s what we stand for. That’s what we want to represent — progress that speaks to the pain of black people,” he said.

Federal Reserve Bank of Boston Releases Main Street Lending Program Updated FAQs and Program Documentation Package – The National Law Review

On May 27, the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston (the “Boston Fed”)—which is tasked with administering the Federal Reserve’s Main Street Lending Program (the “MSLP”)—released the agreements and forms for participants in the MSLP, along with associated explanatory materials and an expanded Frequently Asked Questions (the “FAQs”). Previous statements by the Federal Reserve have indicated the expectation of launch of the MSLP by the end of May or early June. While this release does not provide an exact launch date, we expect the publication of the documentation will allow interested market participants to begin negotiating and documenting loans intended for purchase under the program.

We have included below a description of the MSLP loan documentation package as released by the Boston Fed and a description of selected updates to the FAQs. For a summary of the terms of the MSLP facilities, please see Polsinelli’s previously-published Main Street Lending Program Whitepaper, available here. If you have additional questions about the MSLP, please reach out to the listed authors or your regular Polsinelli contact.

Documentation Components:

Lender Registration Materials — To participate in the Main Street Lending Program, potential lenders must register with the Boston Fed by filling out and returning the Lender Registration Certification and Covenants and the Lender Wire Instructions. This is a program-level registration that would not need to be repeated for each individual MSLP loan made by the lender. The release does not make clear when lenders can begin submitting registration materials, but the forms are available on the Boston Fed website.

  • The Lender Registration Certification and Covenants is a pre-printed form to be signed by both the principal executive officer and principal financial officer of the lender (or individuals performing similar functions). There does not appear to be a concept of senior officers within a lending division, as opposed to the entity as a whole, which may be problematic for larger institutions. The document includes certifications that the lender is an “Eligible Lender” pursuant to the MSLP terms, that it is eligible under the CARES Act conflict of interest provisions, that it is solvent, and the document includes covenants that the lender will promptly notify the Boston Fed upon any of the certifications becoming untrue. The form also includes acknowledgments relating to liability for misrepresentations, potential for lender information disclosure and a recordkeeping requirement.

  • The Lender Wire Instructions relate to payments owed by the MSLP SPV to the lender under the participation agreements or servicing agreements. It is required to be completed and signed by the lender’s principal financial officer (or individual performing similar functions).

Participation Agreement – The economic details of a participation being sold to the MSLP SPV are intended to be recorded in the Loan Participation Agreement Transaction Specific Terms (the “Transaction Specific Terms”). This is akin to a term sheet and would be filled out and signed by the lender. It incorporates by reference the Loan Participation Agreement Standard Terms and Conditions (the “Standard Terms”), which sets forth the substantive contractual provisions governing the participation. Since it is incorporated by reference in the Transaction Specific Terms, the Standard Terms would not need to be separately executed or delivered. Below are some significant features of the Standard Terms:

  • The Standard Terms includes an express disclaimer of any obligation to repurchase a sold participation, regardless of any default or misrepresentation by seller.

  • There is a “big boy” representation that each party may have material information not known to the other, and an express waiver of any claims related to a failure to disclose that information (except as otherwise required in the transaction documentation). The implication is that lenders are expected to originate loans within their existing underwriting and approval process, and lenders must provide the information required in the documentation package, but lenders are not required to disclose any other potentially adverse information in their possession.

  • The buyer and seller bear their own respective legal and other costs of documenting and selling the participation, but the MSLP SPV is required to reimburse the seller for its share of any out of pocket expenses and disbursements related to administration of the participation and the credit agreement and related credit support documents.

  • The Standard Terms includes a defined term “Core Rights Act”, which are significant lender decisions with respect to the loan. These actions could only be taken at the direction of the MSLP SPV as majority lender, or pursuant to a voting mechanism with other holders in the case of the MSELF where the MSLP SPV may not be the majority holder. There is a concept of deemed consent if the lender proposes to take a Core Rights Act but the MSLP SPV does not respond.

  • The originating lender is not a fiduciary, but is required to exercise the same duty of care it would exercise for loans solely in its own portfolio. Absent bad faith, gross negligence, willful misconduct or breach of any express provisions of the Standard Terms, the lender will not be liable for its actions or inactions.

  • The Standard Terms contains an “elevation” process for the MSLP SPV to be elevated from participant to assignee, and therefore a direct party to the credit agreement upon certain events. This would occur pursuant to an Assignment in Blank that is required to be executed by the originating lender.

Co-Lender Agreement – The Co-Lender Agreement is intended to be used for bilateral loans under the MSLP and it functions to build in mechanics to accommodate multiple lenders within a previously bilateral credit agreement. It is not a requirement in syndicated facilities as in that case the loan documentation should already contain the relevant mechanics. The Co-Lender Agreement is an agreement between the borrower and the lender (in both its capacity as participant and Administrative Agent), but is not initially effective and would only become so upon an elevation of the MSLP SPV to direct lender pursuant to the Participation Agreement.

Servicing Agreement – The Servicing Agreement governs the role of the originating lender as servicer of the loan—though the substantive obligations and standards around that role are primarily contained within the Participation Agreement, or, to the extent applicable, the Co-Lender Agreement. In addition to the pass-through of borrower communications required under the Participation Agreement, the Servicing Agreement requires the originating lender to keep records related to the loan documentation package and make them available upon reasonable prior notice. It also obligates the lender as servicer to provide specified information to the MSLP SPV on a quarterly and annual basis. The quarterly and annual information is listed on Schedule I to the Servicing Agreement, and includes borrower financial information, collateral value reporting and covenant default/cure reporting. The quarterly reporting requirements are more extensive for Main Street Expanded Loan Facility loans than for loans under the other two facilities.

Borrower and Lender Transaction Specific Certifications and Covenants – The MSLP documentation package includes Transaction Specific Certifications and Covenants in standalone forms for each of the borrower and lender, and with separate forms for each of the MSLP facilities. These forms document the certifications and covenants that are required pursuant to the previously-issued term sheets for each of the facilities. For lenders, this is separate and in addition to the Lender Registration Certification and Covenants, and would be required to be delivered with respect to each participation to be sold to the MSLP SPV. These documents are required to be executed by the principal executive officer and principal financial officer of a borrower (or individuals performing similar functions), and by an authorized signatory for a lender. As with the Lender Registration Certification and Covenants, this document contains an instruction and guidance portion, along with the actual form that should be executed and returned as part of the documentation package.

Other Loan Documentation – The Boston Fed did not publish a standard credit agreement or related documentation, and lenders are expected to utilize their existing loan documentation as modified for eligibility under the MSLP facilities. The updated FAQs contains an Appendix B which lists the covenants and other provisions that would be required to be incorporated into loan documentation.

Highlights of updated FAQs:

  • An affiliated group of companies can only participate in one MSLP Facility (and may not participate in the Primary Market Corporate Credit Facility), and the affiliated group’s total participation is capped at the maximum that the affiliated group would be eligible to receive on a consolidated basis. This restriction leverages the Small Business Administration’s expansive concepts of affiliation and aggregation, and could limit the eligibility of private equity portfolio companies or other investor-owned businesses.

  • A U.S. subsidiary of a foreign parent is eligible as long as it otherwise meets the U.S. nexus test, however the proceeds of the loan may not be used for the benefit of the foreign parent or affiliates.

  • Borrowers are required to certify that they are unable to secure adequate credit accommodations from other sources. This relates to a statutory requirement for the Federal Reserve Act provision under which the MSLP is authorized. The FAQs clarifies that this can be because the amount, price, or terms of credit are inadequate for the borrower’s needs, and that borrowers are not required to document rejections or receipt of unsatisfactory terms.

  • The FAQs note that the Federal Reserve does not expect to utilize the Participation Agreement “elevation” process in the ordinary course, even in borrower financial distress, but may do so where (i) the economic interests of the MSLP SPV and the originating lender are “misaligned” or (ii) the loan amount is relatively large in comparison to the MSLP SPV’s portfolio.

  • Since the Participation Agreement introduces the concept of MSLP SPV control over Core Rights Actions, the FAQs clarifies that the MSLP SPV will make commercially reasonable decisions to protect taxpayers from losses on MSLP loans and will not be influenced by non-economic factors when exercising its voting rights.

  • A significant open issue with the MSLP is whether severely distressed borrowers, who are most in need of financing, will be eligible for MSLP loans given the underwriting requirements. A newly-added FAQ notes that lenders are “encouraged to work with” borrowers affected by the pandemic and related shutdowns, and that lenders may “originate or expand” loans to those borrowers. However, the FAQ goes on to state that the lender must satisfy itself as to the borrower’s ability to repay and that the lender should apply safe and sound credit risk management policies and practices. It is unclear based on this question to what degree distressed borrowers who may not meet underwriting standards for non-MSLP loans would qualify for MSLP loans.

  • Lenders are allowed to make loans under any of the MSLP facilities and fund them prior to MSLP submission, or to make funding contingent on the loan or tranche being funded by the MSLP SPV.

The documentation and updated FAQs are available on the Boston Fed’s website here.

© Polsinelli PC, Polsinelli LLP in CaliforniaNational Law Review, Volume X, Number 150

A Sales Tax Hike For Firefighters Is Likely To Be Decided By A Tiny Fraction Of Kansas City Voters – KCUR

Kansas City voters will decide on June 2 whether to raise taxes for the fire department. But with the COVID-19 pandemic overshadowing all other civic matters, it may be a very low turnout election for a crucial issue affecting the city’s fire protection and tax burden over the next 15 years.

The proposal is to raise the existing quarter-cent fire sales tax to a half-cent sales tax through 2036. It would generate an estimated $21 million more per year, or more than $300 million over the life of the tax, to pay for new ambulances and fire trucks, fire station upgrades and protective safety gear.

“We’ve got to find new revenue sources,” said Kansas City Firefighters Union President Tim Dupin, adding that the sales tax is the best available option. “We believe the citizens see the value of having the fire department adequately funded.”

The fire department also gets about $157 million per year from the city’s general fund, mostly for personnel, although that amount might be somewhat reduced if voters approve the sales tax increase.

Critics worry Kansas City’s tax burden is already too high, especially for low-income residents. And, they say, the economic downturn during the pandemic makes any additional tax even more oppressive.

“We’re already at a saturation point with our sales tax,” said Kansas City resident Angie Lile, who has opposed taxpayer subsidies for luxury housing and other lucrative developments in the city.

Lile said she is very supportive of Kansas City’s fire department but believes now is not the time for a tax increase.

“Thinking about hiking the sales tax at a time when our most vulnerable are affected by that, it’s just not right,” she said.

The overall sales tax in Kansas City is already nearly 10 cents on the dollar in most places. That includes the city’s dedicated 3-cent sales tax, plus the state and county sales tax and various community improvement or transportation levies.

Fire officials say the tax increase is crucial now because the city must replace its aging ambulance fleet, fix fire stations that have numerous maintenance issues, and provide life safety equipment for both first responders and citizens.

“It’s expensive,” conceded Fire Chief Donna Maize when she addressed a city council committee back in January. “You know, we look at all the things to keep our responders safe, keep them healthy, and be able to provide the best service to our residents. Personal protective equipment is a huge issue.”

Every firefighter costs about $80,000 with pay, pension, benefits and equipment.

Maize outlined $4 million in personal protective equipment needs, and that was even before the coronavirus was on everyone’s radar. A partial list of other needs includes $14 million for other safety equipment, $17 million for new ambulances, $26 million for new pumpers and nearly $9 million for fire station remodels. A new training academy, to replace the current 1960s-era facility, will cost an estimated $75 million.

Kansas City Finance Director Tammy Queen told the council that, if the tax is approved, finance officials would work with the fire department to figure out what is the best way to stretch those additional dollars.

The city council approved the ballot measure for April, but Gov. Mike Parson ordered the election postponed due to stay-home orders this spring.

Lynn Horsley

Kansas City Firefighters Union President Tim Dupin (right) and union representative Daniel Heizman are advocating for passage of an increase to Kansas City’s fire sales tax.

Most council members supported the tax proposal. Mayor Quinton Lucas was absent for the vote to put it on the ballot and had not stated a position about the merits of the tax. But his spokeswoman said in an email to KCUR that Lucas will endorse the fire tax ballot measure.

Voters typically have been supportive of resources for the fire department. The quarter-cent fire sales tax was first levied in 2002, and voters renewed it in 2014 to extend through 2036.

Councilwoman Katheryn Shields said she is a strong proponent of the tax increase. “I believe now more than ever, the situation we’re in has shown the importance of having our first responders properly equipped,” she said.

Jan Parks, spokeswoman for the Coalition for Kansas City Economic Development Reform, said her group has not taken a formal position and there is no organized opposition to the tax. But she said she personally has concerns.

“It certainly is not that we don’t think public safety is essential,” she said. “But I think right now we are overtaxed, and so much has been diverted to affluent developments.”

Dupin said firefighters pay the tax too and he’s not unsympathetic to those concerns. But he said the fire department is not responsible for the city’s approach to developer tax incentives.

“I think people realize in the community that the fire department is more than just fighting fires,” he said. “I think they’ve seen the importance of firefighters throughout this pandemic. We don’t shy away from the community when they are hurting, and we are actually their safety net.”

With about 1,300 positions, the department already gets a huge chunk of the city’s general fund. Whatever it gets from the city, the police department usually also wants. The city also has a quarter-cent public safety sales tax earmarked for police equipment and facilities, which is set to expire in 2026.

Some people have said the fire department should try harder to save the city money. They point to other fire departments, such as the one in Oklahoma City, which covers a larger geographic area but has 1,030 positions and an annual budget of $164 million, compared to the $194 million budget this year for the Kansas City Fire Department.

Maize told the city council that the department has spent the sales tax money responsibly so far, using $47 million of the funds to repair or replace 12 fire stations and other sales tax funds to extend the life of the vehicles as long as possible.

“We attempt to utilize it to our best advantage,” she said.

Still, no tax increase is an easy sell in Kansas City. In 2019, voters rejected, by a nearly 2-1 margin, a proposed three-eighths-cent sales tax increase for early childhood education.

This election could be decided by a small percentage of voters.

Kansas City Election Director Shawn Kieffer said turnout could be less than 10% and possibly as low as 6%, although absentee ballots have been coming in steadily.

Metro Kansas City Business Owners Struggle With How To Reopen In A Changed World – KCUR

Statewide stay-at-home orders in Kansas and Missouri, set in place to curb the spread of COVID-19, are set to expire on May 3. That means many business owners are preparing to welcome customers for the first time in almost two months.

But cities and counties are still allowed to impose stricter rules about who can open and when, so conflicting guidelines are at play throughout the metro region. Kansas City, Missouri’s order remains in place through May 15, but some surrounding counties have decided to ease restrictions on May 3.

All of which has led to mixed feelings throughout the metro.

Johnson County, Kansas

Confusing directions for how and when to reopen keep Laura Laiben awake at night. She owns the Culinary Center of Kansas City, which is located in Overland Park, Kansas.

Will people feel comfortable coming to a cooking class? Once they do re-open, how can she best protect her thirty employees? And what about the events they’re planning to cater at the end of May?

Laura Ziegler

Laura Leiben owns The Culinary Center of Kansas City in Overland Park, Kansas. She’s shifted cooking classes online for the duration of stay-at-home orders.

Since they closed in mid-March, Laiben said, some of their online courses have been popular.

“We recently hosted an online macaron making class that was gangbusters,” she said. “Our plans change daily, as it does with everybody else. But as of today, we are going to have our first on site class resume on May 16.”

She added that classes will likely be “demo only,” instead of their usual hands-on approach.

Cass County, Missouri

Cara Beck, who manages The Missouri Mud Company in Raymore, is also rethinking how they’ll do business once they open on Monday.

“We’ll have seating maybe at every other booth, and just let people sit on the patio, but I don’t think there will be a lot of people running in to do it,” she said.

Picture of a young woman wearing a neon yellow t-shirt and a black face mask handing a bag of food to someone inside a car

Frank Morris

Cara Beck delivers an order to a customer outside her mom’s deli, The Missouri Mud Company, in Raymore, Missouri.

The deli has been a part of Beck’s life for a long time. Owned by her mother, “The Mud,” as it’s called by locals, will celebrate its 21st birthday in October.

“I’m ready for people again. I miss the customers and having a line to the door,” Beck said.

Wyandotte County, Kansas

Also missing customers is Ana Medina, who owns Moda Bella in downtown Kansas City, Kansas.

The dress shop focuses mostly on dresses and decorations for weddings and quinceañeras, and while she plans to open her dress shop on Monday, she doesn’t expect it will help recover much lost business.

Medina typically packs most of her annual sales into the months between March and August, when most quinceañeras are held.

Picture of a women wearing a black hat standing in a shop full of quincenera dresses

Chris Haxel

Ana Medina worries that her dress shop, Moda Bella, won’t make enough sales this year to cover all the bills.

But Moda Bella has been closed for about 40 days. And many celebrations are either canceled or delayed until sometime after the pandemic.

“We’ve had no business all year,” Medina said. “It’s not enough to pay the bills.”

Government loans for small businesses have helped her stay afloat, she said. She also hopes to salvage some business from people ordering dresses for next year.

“We have to continue to have faith in the Mexican people,” she said. “Because we make a lot of celebrations!”

At Mariscos El Pirata on Central Avenue in Kansas City, Kansas, owner Josefina Saenz isn’t necessarily excited to re-open the restaurant for dining right away.

“I heard that (Wyandotte County) will allow us to open to customers next Monday,” she said. “But I decided to wait two or three weeks.”

Picture of a woman in a black apron and wearing a blue face mask standing in a restaurant

Chris Haxel

Mariscos El Pirata in Kansas City, Kansas, would be allowed to open as early as May 3rd, but Josefina Saenz worries for the safety of her customers and employees.

Saenz is worried about the safety of her customers — with room for only a handful of dine-in tables, it would be nearly impossible to maintain social distancing in her current space.

Clay County, Missouri

Similarly, Amy Abbiatti is still trying to figure out when to open the Manor Thrift Shop she manages in Liberty, Missouri. Her store relies on volunteers, many of which are older, so she’s hesitant to open Monday.

“They are like family. A lot of them have been here since the store opened back in 1982,” Abbiatti said. “So that’s my biggest consideration. What am I bringing into the store that would not be good for them?”

Abbiatti said she’s looking at the guidelines for the county and wants to talk to her local Chamber of Commerce before making the call.

“As much as we want to get back on our feet and ready to go, we want to do it safely for everyone involved,” Abbiatti said.

The store could open as early as next Tuesday, or closer to the middle of May, when nearby Kansas City’s stay-at-home order ends, but Abbiatti stressed that it’s still up in the air.

In the meantime, she’s been checking in with her volunteers to see what they are comfortable with.

“I’ll just wait and see who I get back and who I don’t, and I won’t blame anybody for any of this because it’s way uncharted territory,” Abbiatti said. “We don’t know.”

Wondering which stay-at-home ordinance applies to you? We created a guide to the complicated orders from states, counties, and cities.

‘We’re a damn big deal’ KC is an underground fintech hub says Zach Pettet – Startland News

Editor’s note: Zach Pettet is the Fintech Strategist at nbkc bank, with which Startland News has partnered on an upcoming Innovation Exchange event. Opinions expressed in this commentary are the author’s alone.

Kansas City is the United States’ underground financial center.

‘We’re a damn big deal’ KC is an underground fintech hub says Zach Pettet – Startland News

Pettet

Over the years, many financial juggernauts have been born and grown up in Kansas City. From H&R Block to DST Global to American Century, these firms have made hay over the past century.

But as investor Marc Andreessen said, software is eating the world. Not only is Kansas City ready for this shift towards technology, but our humble Midwestern city is at the forefront of fintech innovation.

After EyeVerify (now Zoloz) sold to Ant Financial for more than $100 million, I vividly remember Jeff Shackelford of Digital Sandbox stepping on stage at 1 Million Cups to rally the troops around Kansas City being a “fintech hub.” He wasn’t scheduled to present, he just asked for the mic and hopped on the stage. He outlined the public and private resources available for fintech companies in Kansas City and went on a rampage naming all the promising upstarts in the space. C2FO had established itself as one of the best-funded fintech leaders in the nation, blooom had just raised a Series B investment round, and a number of other firms were starting up.

At this point, I was working at blooom and I was a bit confused as to why Jeff really needed to say this to the crowd. It seemed clear to me — from my vantage point inside of a venture-backed startup — that we had a lot to be proud of as a city.

So why isn’t Kansas City nationally known for its fintech prowess?

Call it, “Kansas City nice.” Call us humble Midwesterners. Call us whatever you want, but I contend that we aren’t loud enough as a city about our successes. When we talk about large fintech exits in town, most folks bring up EyeVerify’s recent sale to Ant Financial, but there are others.

For example, eSmartloan.com started as a skunkworks project inside nbkc bank. Two entrepreneurs approached the bank in the early 2000s with an idea to do second mortgage home loans online. The entrepreneurs had floated the idea to a few local banks, but the perceived risk profile of “something new” was just too much for the established players to stomach. It didn’t fit inside the box that the bankers had deemed acceptable, so the idea was cast aside.

nbkc bank looked at the opportunity a bit differently and supported the firm. The bet paid off, as eSmartloan.com was profitable in its second month and ended up selling to Capital One for more than $145 million five years later.

Despite it being a wildly successful story, most of Kansas City has never heard of eSmartloan.com. Despite the talent and capital resources we have in Kansas City’s financial technology sector, we rarely hear the success stories. Startland has detailed our humble and kind nature as a city, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t occasionally stand proudly on a rooftop and scream, “This is Kansas City and we’re a big damn deal!” That’s right — exclaim it!

We’ve self-imposed the moniker of “most entrepreneurial city in America,” and we’ve grown into it in many ways. But now, it’s time to narrow our brand position. Kansas City has the resources, support system, and cost of living to make it the easiest city in the United States to build a fintech company.

Why? Well, there are several reasons.

Cost of living.

Someone making $50,000 in Kansas City would need to make $94,637 to maintain their quality of live in San Francisco, as an example.

Cost of talent.

The average web developer salary in Kansas City is $81,946, according to Indeed. Whereas, the average salary for the same job in San Francisco is $103,297. This doesn’t take into account other variables like turnover and how often bay area companies have to train and retrain new hires.

Cost and access to experienced management talent.

With the likes of Cerner, Sprint, Garmin, and the steady increase of native Kansas Citians returning to Kansas City for the second act of their career, the cost of top-flight operations and management talent is lower here than anywhere on either coast. Joe McConnell from blooom and Spencer Hardwick returning to join Teach For America Kansas City are both examples.

Midwest bias is gone. The old story of venture capitalists on Sand Hill Road that only invest in companies that they can bike to is disappearing. The smart investors are looking for alpha in new places — the smart ones are realizing that the Midwest is one of the most important “emerging markets” to pay attention to. Most well-funded startups in Kansas City have a number of Bay Area and NYC investors on their cap table by this point.

Corporate support.

There are 68 banks chartered in the Kansas City region alone – that’s more than the entire state of Arizona. Between the banks and the sheer volume of large corporate organizations, the potential for strategic partnerships and basic vendor relationships never ceases to grow.

The case for Kansas City’s fintech future is strong, but there’s still work to be done. If we can focus-in and rally around fintech as a point of dominance for Kansas City’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, then we will set ourselves apart from the crowd and start drawing financial startups from around the world.

Kansas City is America’s underground financial center — our next step is to move above ground and plant the flag as the United States’ primary fintech hub.

If you’d like to chat, ask or argue about any of this, register here for the coming Innovation Exchange at nbkc bank.

 

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Kansas City Airport May Be Renamed After Martin Luther King Jr. – KCUR

Published May 20, 2018 at 9:07 PM CDT

 

Updated 5:45 p.m., Friday: After weeks of discussing which street to name after Martin Luther King Jr., an advisory group is recommending not renaming a street at all — but the Kansas City International Airport.

Mayor Sly James clarified at a press conference Monday, if the idea is approved by City Council, the new single-terminal would be renamed, not the entire Kansas City International Airport. But, he said that doesn’t make the proposed gesture any less significant.

“To put his name on something … To show that, on the biggest, most expensive building that we’ve ever built, to say, ‘Welcome to Kansas City’ … I can’t think of anything bigger,” James said.

Just over a month ago, James appointed the committee to gather public input and make an official recommendation on what revealed itself as a “surprisingly controversial” issue in Kansas City, according to committee co-chair Donna Simon, pastor at St. Mark Hope and Peace Lutheran Church.

Each committee member was allowed two choices, the first tallied as two points, the second as one point. With seven committee members selecting the airport terminal as their top choice, and one as their second choice, the airport terminal was the winner.

With 63rd Street and Paseo Boulevard nearly tied 8 to 7, Simon advised the group to hold a second vote, so they could submit a second choice to the mayor. Renaming 63rd Street took a clear lead in round two, getting six of nine votes.

Last Wednesday, a few of the committee members met with high school students from Generation Rap, a group of students who host and produce a weekly radio show on Hot 103 Jamz at KPRS. Committee member Eric Wesson, who mentors the students, said they latched onto the “bold” idea of naming the airport terminal after King, but they also liked the idea of renaming 63rd Street.

“They felt it brought people together, because it crosses racial boundaries,” Wesson said. “They hope [whatever it is] that it will reduce violence and segregation.”

Roger Williams, the group’s co-chair and an employee of the Hickman Mills School District, said he sees this as an opportunity for both recommendations.

“It doesn’t have to stop here,” Williams said. “We don’t just have to have one symbol. I think it makes a great statement that the airport is named, but if we decide to do 63rd Street later, I would have no objection to that.”

Committee member Wesley Fields, chairman of the local chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, said the outcome of this will not impact the SCLC’s petition to rename Paseo Boulevard in honor of King — a movement they started after Kansas City Parks and Recreation expressed opposition to the idea. After missing the deadline for the August ballot, they are still aiming to get the issue on November’s ballot.

The mayor’s staff will weigh both recommendations and determine what steps each choice would require. James said he also plans to reach out to King’s family to find out how they feel about the gesture. He expects to present his findings to City Council in a few weeks.

Correction: Roger Williams’ employment information was wrong in an earlier version of this story. It has since been corrected.

Andrea Tudhope is a reporter for KCUR 89.3. Email her at andreat@kcur.org, and follow her on Twitter @_tudhope.