South KC News / Member News

  • 24 Jan 2019 10:43 AM | Vickie Wolgast (Administrator)

    On a recent Friday afternoon, for just a moment, an audience at Swope Health Central hit the “pause” button to think about what life was like in 1995. The reason? The unsealing of a time capsule placed in the wall of the building by members of the Swope Health Board of Directors and staff members that year. They offered mementos and messages for a future audience.

    Fast forward 25 years. That “future audience” of current staff, board members, patients and community representatives were on hand to witness the opening of the time capsule as part of the kickoff of Swope Health’s 50th anniversary year.


  • 17 Jan 2019 8:55 AM | Vickie Wolgast (Administrator)

    South  KC Chamber President, Vickie Wolgast spoke with Fox 4's Rebecca Gannon about changes on 103rd and Stateline. 

    "The area at 103rd and State Line in South Kansas City was once considered a dying area. Businesses left. Store fronts stood empty.

    But that’s all changing.

    During the Wednesday lunch rush at Cacao, the tables were full, and the servers were busy.

    The restaurant opened in July at State Line Shopping Center on the northeast corner of 103rd and State Line. And already, business is heating up.

    Twenty years ago, Afonso Esqueda worked in this shopping center with his Uncle Victor. In fact, it was next door at what was then Guadalajara Cafe.

    “For several years, it was empty," Esqueda said of the shopping center back then. "I mean, this area, all the spaces were empty.”

    Even Guadalajara Cafe left in 2012. But in 2018, the Esqueda family came back with Cacao because commerce came back.

    “They are trying to renew the area,” he said. “For us, it’s that right moment.”

    The Tesla dealership is slated to move from the Plaza to the State Line Shopping Center. New restaurants with new concepts (like a Panera Drive-Thru) are moving in.

    The South Kansas City Chamber of Commerce President Vickie Wolgast said the development isn’t limited to 103rd and State Line. It spreads south to Red Bridge and Holmes, to Martin City and even Raymore.

    Wolgast credits Cerner for bringing a campus to South Kansas City. It’s 6 miles from 103rd and State Line, and the campus is predicted to bring as many as 15,000 people to the area.

    "I think that has really gotten people really excited about being out here," Wolgast said, "and moving businesses out here that can service those employees.

    She also noted several other employers are now located in South Kansas City area, including Honeywell and Burns and McDonnell.

    "It really is a rebirth for Kansas City," Wolgast said, "and we’re seeing a lot of great development out here."

    Businesses like Cacao find that very appetizing.

    But other businesses nearby have had to adjust. Just down 103rd toward Wornall is a place hit hard by flooding, twice, in 2017.

    The strip mall and two surrounding buildings have been purchased by the city of Kansas City. City crews plan to demolish the three buildings this spring or early summer. It will turn the area into a Greenspace, along with a small parking area at the Indian Creek Trailhead."

    Watch the Video.....

  • 04 Jan 2019 10:48 AM | Vickie Wolgast (Administrator)

    (Kansas City, MO – December 27, 2018) –St. Joseph Medical Center started accepting patients on a $1.6 million, 23-bed Senior Behavioral Health Center on Thursday, December 21, 2018.  

    “The services our Senior Behavioral Health Center offers are in high demand. This new unit is in response to an important community need,” said Jodi Fincher, Chief Executive Officer of St. Joseph Medical Center. “We are looking ahead, and as the baby boomer generation ages, the need for this service will grow. This unit will also complement our Senior Care Services program that includes geriatric accredited emergency department, a comprehensive senior inpatient program and Sister Margaret’s Senior Clinic.”

    “Additionally, we are excited to welcome our Senior Behavioral Health Medical Director, Dr. Andrew Kerstein,” said Jodi Fincher. Andrew H. Kerstein, D.O completed his undergraduate education and post-baccalaureate pre-medical education at the University of Maryland, College, Park. He went on to complete his Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine Degree at Nova Southeastern University's College of Osteopathic Medicine in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. He then completed an Osteopathic Traditional Rotating Internship at the University Hospitals System in Cleveland, Ohio.  Dr. Kerstein then went on to complete a four-year allopathic Psychiatry Residency at the University of Kansas, Wichita Psychiatry Residency Program in Wichita, Kansas. Dr. Kerstein has been a Diplomate of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology since 2014. He is a member of the American Psychiatric Association and the American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry.  He has worked continuously in Geriatric Psychiatry since 2011 which has included his moonlighting as an affiliate staff physician at Newton Medical Center, in Newton Kansas his last two years of residency.

    Dr. Kerstein has been practicing in Kansas City since 2013. His professional interests include not only Geriatric Psychiatry and Dementia Syndromes, but Electroconvulsive Therapy, Psychodynamic Psychotherapy, as well as Adult and Child-Adolescent Psychiatry. Dr. Kerstein has been a teaching attending for Psychiatry Residents and medical and allied health students during much of his time in Kansas City. “I am honored to be the Medical Director of the Senior Behavioral Health Center at St. Joseph Medical Center. We have a comprehensive team of highly trained professionals to provide high quality Senior Behavioral Health Services,” said Dr. Kerstein. 

    According to Fincher, patients are expected to come from as far away as Eastern Kansas and Western Missouri. “Most have been diagnosed with mental health issues, including dementias such as those caused by Alzheimer’s disease, major depression, anxiety, grief reactions, confusion or thoughts of suicide. Many of these patients experience difficulty living on their own, with family, or in nursing facilities,” Fincher says.

    The Senior Behavioral Health Center which will be a self-contained unit for patient safety, will feature dedicated clinical staff specially trained to understand the diverse and complex needs of the older patients they serve. The staff includes psychiatrists, internal medicine physicians, psychiatric nurses who also are experienced in caring for medical/surgical patients, social workers, and physical/occupational/recreational therapists.

  • 02 Jan 2019 3:09 PM | Vickie Wolgast (Administrator)

    The Department of Economic Development announced recently that it would award $7.57 million through its Neighborhood Assistance Program to nonprofits across Missouri for community development projects.

    First Call Alcohol/Drug Prevention & Recovery located in South Kansas City is one of thirty-six other organizations across the state that will benefit from NAP, which helps not-for-profit organizations raise private-sector funds by providing partial state tax credits to businesses that make contributions to approved community improvement projects.

    First Call will utilize NAP tax credits to provide drug and alcohol addiction services, including the How to Cope, Caring for Kids, and How to Care programs. Services include personalized treatment plans, group therapy sessions, and educational programs featuring evidence-based curriculum.

    Businesses can donate cash, materials, supplies or equipment; technical assistance and professional services; labor; real estate; or stocks and bonds. Credits can equal up to 50 percent of the total amount contributed or up to 70 percent for projects located in the most rural areas.

    Click here for a list of the projects approved in the latest round of the program.

  • 30 Nov 2018 1:10 PM | Vickie Wolgast (Administrator)

    Last week the Missouri Department of Labor announced that the state minimum wage rate for 2019 has been established, according to state law, and will be $8.60 per hour, effective January 1, 2019.

    All private businesses are required to pay at minimum, the $8.60 hourly rate, except retail and service businesses whose annual gross sales are less than $500,000. Pursuant to Proposition B, which was approved by Missouri voters November 6, 2018, the minimum wage will increase 85 cents per hour each year through 2023. Missouri law does not apply to public employers, nor does it allow the state’s minimum wage rate to be lower than the federal minimum wage rate.

    Compensation for tipped employees must also total at least $8.60 per hour. Employers are required to pay tipped employees at least 50 percent of the minimum wage, plus any amount necessary to bring the employee’s total compensation to a minimum of $8.60 per hour.

    A printable version of the updated minimum wage poster is available for businesses at

    To learn more about minimum wage, visit

  • 01 Nov 2018 3:21 PM | Vickie Wolgast (Administrator)

    The Chamber is excited to begin working on our 2019 Community Guide & Membership Directory in partnership with MetroMedia Publications.

    As in past years, this full color magazine will highlight the amenities available to those seeking information about visiting, living or doing business in South Kansas City.  Among other things it will include information on recreation, shopping and dining, health care, education, and housing and will also provide important contact information for city services and utilities.

    The Membership Directory portion of the publication will provide all members with two listings at no charge including:

    · Alphabetically

    · Buyer’s Guide

    In addition to the free listings there will be opportunities for businesses to advertise their products and services through display ads.  In the coming weeks Monic Knowles, our sales representative from MetroMedia, will be contacting you to discuss these advertising opportunities and provide more information.  You can also contact Monica at 913-951-8433 or

    The Community Guide/Membership Directory will be distributed to all Chamber members, included in relocation packages and available at local businesses. In addition to our printed publication, we have developed an enhanced digital edition that we will be emailing out to all members and their employees. The digital edition will present all the stories and content in a format just as easy as reading the actual publication. No zooming or pinching.

    If you have any questions please call or email me at 816.761.7660 or

  • 01 Nov 2018 3:14 PM | Vickie Wolgast (Administrator)

    The General Election on November 6th is quickly approaching and there are many important issues on the ballot!  The Chamber is encouraging everyone to be an informed voter and educate yourself before you go to the polls.  Below is a brief description of each issue.  You can view the Sample Ballot to see the ballot language and the candidates running for office.


    Constitutional Amendment No. 1

    If passed this would make changes to the state’s lobbying laws, campaign finance limits for state legislative candidates and the legislative redistricting process. Learn more

    Constitutional Amendment No. 2

    If passed this would legalize marijuana for medical purposes, tax marijuana sales at 4 percent and spend that tax revenue on healthcare services for veterans.  Learn more

    Constitutional Amendment No. 3

    If passed this would legalize marijuana for medical purposes, tax marijuana sales at 15 percent and spend that tax revenue on a Biomedical Research and Drug Development Institute.  Learn more

    Constitutional Amendment No. 4

    If passed this would lower the time required that someone is a member of an organization to manage a bingo game for that organization from two years to six months and remove the constitutional ban on organizations advertising bingo games.  Learn more

    Proposition B

    If passed this would increase the state’s minimum wage each year until reaching $12 per hour in 2023 and then making increases or decreases based on changes in the Consumer Price Index. Learn more

    Proposition C

    If passed this would legalize marijuana for medical purposes, tax marijuana sales at 2 percent and spend that tax revenue on veteran’s services, drug treatment, education and law enforcement.  Learn more

    Proposition D (VOTE YES)

    If passed this would increase the gas tax by 10 cents per gallon, (2.5 cents per year for 4 years) providing $288 annually to the state road fund and $123 million annually to local governments for road construction and maintenance.  This would also exempt prizes for Special Olympics, Paralympics and Olympics from state taxes. Learn more


    Question #1

    If passed this would amend the county charter to provide term limits for members of the county legislature to two four-year terms.  The measure would also give pay raises to the legislators and eliminate the county executive’s power to veto an ordinance passed by the count legislature.  Learn more

    Question #2

    If passed this would amend the county charter to provide term limits for the county executive.  The county executive would be limited to two four-year terms. Learn more

    Question #3

    If passed this would amend the county charter to provide term limits for the county sheriff.  Learn more

    Question #4

    If passed this would amend the county charter to provide term limits for the county prosecuting attorney. Learn more

    Question #5

    If passed this would amend the county charter to grant the county legislature the power to remove the county counselor. Learn more

    Question #6

    If passed this would amend the county charter to modify the qualifications for appointment as judge of the County Municipal Court. Learn more

    Question #7

    If passed this would amend the county charter to bar a current office holder of any federal, state or municipal elective office from filing as a candidate for county elective office.  Learn more


    Library Question

    If passed this would authorize the city public library to levy a 8-cent property tax increase to fund the renovating and replacing of library facilities.  Learn more

  • 01 Oct 2018 2:59 PM | Vickie Wolgast (Administrator)

    We are excited to welcome Angela Alesi to the South KC Chamber team! Angela began her duties in August 2018 and is serving as the Administrative Assistant at the South KC Chamber.

    Angela comes to the Chamber from Unity Village where she previously supervised weddings and events for seven years.

    "We're so excited to have Angela join us," said South KC Chamber President, Vickie Wolgast. "She has already demonstrated great organizational skills and her experience in hospitality and event planning will be a great asset to the South KC Chamber."

    Angela and her family moved to the Kansas City area in 2004 from San Diego, California where she worked in the hospitality industry for eight years selling and planning conventions, meetings, events, and catering.

    She has been married to her high school sweetheart for 29 years and has three boys - 27, 24, and 13.

    Members can contact Angela at the South KC Chamber at 816-761-7660 or by emailing

    Welcome Angela!

  • 28 Sep 2018 2:42 PM | Vickie Wolgast (Administrator)

    (September 27, 2018) KANSAS CITY, MO – New York Times bestselling author and inventor, William Kamkwamba will deliver the 2018 Harry S. Truman Distinguished Lecture on October 24, 2018, on the campus of Avila University. Kamkwamba will speak on his inspired autobiography “The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind,” which tells the story of human inventiveness and its power to overcome crippling adversity.

    Born in Malawi, a country where magic ruled, and modern science was a mystery, Kamkwamba grew up in a land of drought and hunger where hope and opportunity were hard to find. Then Kamkwamba discovered a book about windmills. He dreamed big. Kamkwamba was going to build a windmill that would bring electricity and water to his village and change his family's life forever. Mocked him and called "crazy," by members of his village, Kamkwamba shows them, and all of us, what grit and ingenuity and hope could do. 

    Kamkwamba will speak in Avila University's Goppert Theatre on the Bill and Jean Buchanan Stage at 5:30 p.m. and the public is invited. Following the lecture, Kamkwamba will be available to sign copies of his book. Avila University is located at 11901 Wornall Road, Kansas City, Missouri. Prior to the lecture, there will be a panel on environmental sustainability at 3:30 p.m.  and community reception. For event information and to RSVP for this free event, please visit the Harry S. Truman Distinguished Lecture page.

    In 1971, former President Harry S. Truman gave his stamp of approval for Avila University (then Avila College) to offer a lecture series in his name. Later that year, the first Truman lecture was delivered by David E. Bell, vice president of the Ford Foundation and Truman’s first administrative assistant. The 2017 Truman Lecture featured by Reyna Grande, author of “The Distance Between Us.”

  • 26 Sep 2018 2:44 PM | Vickie Wolgast (Administrator)

    Missouri’s roads and bridges are the foundation of our economy. In fact, transportation infrastructure is a leading factor influencing business to relocate and expand. 

    In the Missouri Chamber’s Missouri 2030 study conducted by Gallup, business leaders and site selectors identified infrastructure—primarily transportation—as one of four top critical areas. Only 37 percent of them were satisfied with Missouri’s current infrastructure.

    Our state’s central position is a powerful asset that has driven industry growth.

    Missouri is within 500 miles of 41 percent of total U.S. buying power, 44 percent of U.S. wholesale trade, 44 percent of all U.S. manufacturing plants, and seven of the top 25 U.S.-located international cargo hubs. 

    This is unique to Missouri and our location. But we are not doing enough to take advantage of these strengths.

    We have been severely under-funding Missouri’s transportation infrastructure for years. Crumbling roads are hindering the growth of our economy and making it harder to attract new jobs to our state.

    “As a service industry, our entire business operates on the road, and with a fleet of vehicles, fuel expense is definitely an important part of our budget.” said Stella Crewse, CEO of Morgan Miller Plumber. 

    “At first glance, an increase in the gas tax will certainly affect our bottom line. Upon closer consideration, the state of the roads is so important to our business, that we cannot afford to continue to ignore their state of disrepair. I truly believe that, in the end, we would pay more in increased vehicle maintenance and tires due to poorly maintained roads than we would pay in additional gas taxes for our fleet. No one likes more taxes, but we cannot afford to continue to turn a blind eye to this issue.”

    Prop D provides a straightforward solution. Our state fuel tax is among the nation’s lowest and it hasn’t been increased since 1996. Raising it 2.5 cents annually for the next four years is a simple and reasonable measure that will generate an estimated $288 million annually — plus $122 million annually for local transportation construction projects.

    “Adequately funding Missouri’s transportation infrastructure is crucial to attracting new business to our area and keeping the ones we have,” said Vickie Wolgast, South KC Chamber President. Kansas City’s location in the center of the United States is a huge asset to future growth and development and the passage of Prop D is important to help maintain that asset.”

    We can’t afford to let Missouri’s advantage as a central state diminish any further due to poor funding. This November, Missouri voters need to take action to drive our state forward and we need your help to get the message out! 

    If you would be interested in more information about Prop D to share with employees, please contact the South KC Chamber at 816.761.7660.

South KC Chamber of Commerce

406 E. Bannister Road, Suite F
Kansas City, MO 64131-3028

Phone: (816) 761-7660
Fax: (816) 761-7340





South Kansas City is one of the fastest growing areas in the KCMO metropolitan area. Millions of investment dollars are being spent in this region, which makes it a prime location for businesses to grow and prosper. 

The South KC Chamber is dedicated to working with KCMO's city leadership, our business members, and local community organizations to create a positive, growth-oriented business environment in South Kansas City. We would love to support your company's growth too! 


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