Recent News

  • 18 Jan 2017 3:56 PM | Anonymous

    Senior Star at Villa Ventura and Senior Star at Wexford Place are proud to announce today that they have each been awarded a three-year term of accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF).

    This decision represents the highest level of accreditation that can be awarded to an organization and demonstrates Senior Star’s substantial conformance to more than 1000 CARF standards for quality and pursuit of excellence. Senior Star at Wexford Place was awarded this honor in the following programs: Assisted Living, Dementia Care Specialty and Independent Senior Living. Senior Star at Villa Ventura has maintained CARF accreditation in Assisted Living for the past 12 years and now also holds this honor in Independent Living. This distinction places the two communities as the only organizations in the state of Missouri to be CARF accredited for Independent and Assisted Senior Living and places Senior Star at Wexford Place as the only senior living community in Missouri to be CARF accredited for a Dementia Care Specialty program.

    Achieving the high standards required to becoming accredited and continually raising the bar with a focus on excellence is the hallmark of Senior Star’s culture. As an organization that provides direct services to people, Senior Star believes it has an obligation and responsibility to deliver the best in care, services, business operations and support to older adults and their families. To follow through on that obligation, seeking CARF accreditation was a priority.

    Choosing to be accredited by CARF is voluntary and a testament to Senior Star’s unwavering commitment to improve the quality of lives for the older adults and families in their care. The teams at both communities went through a rigorous peer review process, which confirmed that their wide range of programs and services are measurable, accountable and of the highest quality. “This accreditation really validates our commitment of providing exceptional services to aging adults and ensures we always exceed best practice industry standards,” said Marsha Rufener, executive director of Senior Star at Wexford Place. “It means that families can expect excellence from our team,” said Tom Inderhees, executive director of Senior Star at Villa Ventura.

    For more information about Senior Star at Wexford Place, call (816) 587-5700 or for more information on Senior Star at Villa Ventura call (816) 941-0525 or visit the website at

    For more information about CARF accreditation requirements, visit the website at

  • 16 Jan 2017 12:33 PM | Anonymous

    Jodi Fincher, RN, BSN, MBA, CCRN, FABC has been named Administrator of St. Joseph Medical Center. Before joining St. Joseph Medical Center, Fincher was the Regional Director of Nursing, Midwest Division for Prime Healthcare.

    Fincher started her career as a nurse tech in the Emergency Department at Saint John Hospital Leavenworth KS, in 1987 while attending nursing school at Kansas City Kansas Community College. Upon completion of her Associates in Nursing Degree (ADN), she went to work in the Intensive Care Unit at Providence Medical Center where she worked for the next 11 years specializing in the care of post open heart patients. During that time, she advanced her degree, earning a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing (BSN) from the University of Kansas and achieving her Critical Care Nursing Certification (CCRN) which she maintains to this day. In 1999 she accepted the position of Director of Nursing at Saint John Hospital where she worked for the next 10 years while also continuing to work in the ICU. During this time, she completed her Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Saint Mary. In her spare time, Fincher also coached women’s high school and AAU basketball, which was an extension of her love of teaching. Fincher became active in the Kansas City Critical Care Association, teaching multiple courses in cardiac pathophysiology, EKG interpretation, Advanced Cardiac Life Support, Basic Life Support, Trauma Nurse Certification, and Pediatric Life Support. Eventually, she accepted the positon of Director of Education for Providence Medical Center and Saint John Hospital. In 2013, upon the sale of the hospitals to Prime Healthcare, Fincher accepted the position of Chief Nursing Officer and Administrator of Saint John Hospital. In 2015 she was promoted to Regional Director of Nursing for Prime Healthcare, overseeing clinical operations and regulatory readiness for nine Midwest Prime hospitals. Fincher enjoys traveling with her husband, their five children and one grandson. She has a love for the outdoors, running, snow skiing and all things sports.

    Randell G. Nyp CEO of Providence Medical Center, Saint John Hospital, and Interim CEO of St. Joseph Medical Center has been named Regional CEO of the all KC Metro Prime Healthcare Services Hospitals.

  • 09 Jan 2017 12:31 PM | Anonymous

    Dr. Dennis L. Carpenter, currently Hickman Mills School District superintendent, will serve as the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District’s 2017-18 superintendent, according to a Jan. 9 announcement by the Board of Education. Board members and Dr. Carpenter are finalizing the new superintendent’s contract and expect to approve it by the Jan. 19 Board of Education meeting.

    “We are fortunate to have a leader of Dr. Carpenter’s caliber, experience and integrity joining our school district,” said Bob White, Lee’s Summit R-7 Board of Education president. “He has a solid record in improving student achievement as well as extensive experience in strategic planning and facilities and budget management.”

    Dr. Carpenter has served as superintendent of the Hickman Mills School District since 2013 and previously served as deputy superintendent of operations and the associate superintendent for human resources for Newton County Schools in Covington, Ga. An award-winning district, Newton County Schools includes approximately 20,000 students in a growing community southeast of Atlanta. In addition, he has worked as an assistant superintendent for support services in Baxley, Ga.; and as an elementary school principal and middle school assistant principal, both in Georgia school districts. He has nearly 21 years of experience in public education.

    “We believe we have found the perfect fit for Lee’s Summit R-7,” Mr. White said. “Our Board of Education was especially impressed with Dr. Carpenter’s extensive experience in instructional leadership, student success, fiscal management, operations and school renovation/construction.”

    Under Dr. Carpenter’s leadership, Hickman Mills School District has made significant improvements in areas such as student attendance, graduation rates and ACT composite average scores. The district’s annual performance report increased by 18.9 percent in 2014, the largest increase of any K-12 urban or suburban school district in Missouri during that year.

    Additional accomplishments in Hickman Mills under his tenure have included implementation of full-day pre-kindergarten for all district 4-year-olds, school renovation projects, a successful community-wide strategic planning effort, successful passage of a 19 million dollar bond issuance, and a substantial increase in the district foundation’s fundraising efforts.

    "I am both humbled and honored to be selected by the Lee’s Summit Board of Education to serve as superintendent of a district with such a rich history of academic and extracurricular excellence,” Dr. Carpenter said. “I trust that my commitment to student-centered, inclusive leadership will assist in furthering the district’s commitment to an equitable educational experience for all students.”

    Dr. Carpenter will begin his new job in Lee’s Summit R-7 on July 1. Dr. Dave Benson, who is serving as interim superintendent from Sept. 1, 2016, through June 30, 2017, will be working with Dr. Carpenter to ensure a successful transition.

    The Board of Education began its search for a permanent superintendent in summer 2016 and has worked with BWP and Associates. The search process emphasized community involvement with more than 750 staff members and citizens participating in focus groups and an online survey. During the survey and focus groups, participants were asked to help identify critical attributes for the district’s next superintendent.

    “We have been grateful for the involvement and support of our community during this search process,” Mr. White added, “and believe this feedback and support helped us select an outstanding leader for our schools.”

    Darrell Curls, president of the Hickman Mills Board of Education, shared his Board members’ thoughts regarding the announcement. “As a Board we want to congratulate Dr. Carpenter on his plans to take the next step in his career. We are grateful to Dr. Carpenter for his four years of service to our district and its children. We have made significant progress under his leadership. Lee’s Summit is the recipient of a great leader who cares about all children.”

    Dr. Carpenter earned his bachelor’s degree in early childhood education from Georgia Southern University, his master’s degree in educational leadership from Augusta State University, an education specialist degree and a doctorate degree in educational leadership and educational administration, both from Georgia Southern University. Georgia Southern University is a land grant college located in Statesboro, Ga., and part of the University System of Georgia. The university is classified as a doctoral and research university by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and has been recognized as a top undergraduate and graduate university by both U.S. News and World Report and Forbes magazine. Augusta State University, located in Augusta, Ga., is also part of the University System of Georgia. The university is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

    He has received the South Kansas City Alliance Innovative Educational Program Award, received the Friend of the Council for Exceptional Children Award, was named Phi Beta Sigma Educator of the Year in Savannah, Ga., and was named an Emerging Leader by the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

    In addition, Dr. Carpenter has been a presenter at numerous state and national educational conferences on topics such as STEM education, student achievement, racial equity, professional development and parent/community involvement. Dr. Carpenter is married to Dr. LaQuanda Carpenter, and they have two children, Landen Drake and Layla Dee.

    The Lee’s Summit R-7 School District is recognized as one of the top educational systems in this region. The district has grown steadily throughout its history with current enrollment at 17,927 students. The district employs 2,652 staff members. The 117-square-mile district includes the cities of Lee’s Summit, Greenwood, Lake Lotawana and Lake Winnebago as well as unincorporated areas of Jackson County. The district’s mission is “We prepare each student for success in life.”

  • 21 Nov 2016 12:58 PM | Anonymous

    Southeast Enterprises, a local nonprofit sheltered workshop that employs over 160 adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, will partner with over 180 locations throughout the Kansas City area to provide drop-off sites where the public can bring their non-working holiday lights for recycling. Once collected, most of Southeast’s employees will work to prepare the lights for recycling.

    November 13, 2016, through January 7, 2017, collection containers will be placed at participating locations throughout the Greater Kansas City Area for drop-off. Sponsors/Partners, include but are not limited to Fox4, Black & Veatch, Mid-Continent Public Library, Two Men and a Truck, Minuteman Press, Walmart, Ecco Select Corporation, Greater Horizons, KCPL, Black & McDonald, Ecto Development Corporation, Hallmark, Mr. Longarm Inc., City Scrap Metal, UMKC, Jackson County, Missouri and the cities of Blue Springs, Lee’s Summit and Raytown, Missouri and Overland Park, Kansas.

    Southeast is excited to build on its success and collect over 50,000 additional pounds of lights with the help from many sponsors and partners. Southeast appreciates each and every one of our Sponsors/Partners and is looking forward to this year’s drive.

  • 01 Nov 2016 5:09 PM | Anonymous

    Adult undergraduate and graduate programs will be the focus of an open house on Thursday, November 17 on the campus of Avila University. The Avila admission staff will be speaking with adults interested in furthering their education and careers from 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm in the Whitfield Conference Center.

    Graduate representatives will be on hand from the departments of education, management, organizational development, psychology and MBA. In addition, undergraduate representatives will be available to discuss the business administration, corporate communication, healthcare management, human resources, psychology and RN to BSN programs.

    Avila University offers flexible and convenient scheduling, with most programs offering evening and online class options designed specifically to fit the needs of busy, working adults. Financial aid, tuition reimbursement and flexible payment options are available to those who qualify.

    Financial Aid and Career Services representatives will also be available at the event. Hors d’oeuvres will be served.

    RSVP at

    Avila University is located at the corner of 119th and Wornall Road in south Kansas City.

  • 20 Sep 2016 11:37 AM | Anonymous

    Everything is turning up pink at St. Joseph Medical Center as the Breast Center at St. Joseph prepares for its FREE Positively Pink Party marking Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Don’t miss the fun Tuesday, October 4, 6-8 p.m. in the Medical Mall of St. Joseph Medical Center.

    Grab your friends and come enjoy food, beverages, chair massages, skin and makeup tips, shopping and more--you can ever buy a pink hair extension. Plus, talk with our breast center specialists about the latest in detection and treatment of breast cancer.

    The event is free, but reservations are encouraged. Call 816-943-2345 to make your reservation.

  • 09 Sep 2016 3:18 PM | Anonymous

    Colleen Ellis, President of J.M. Neil & Associates, a personnel consulting and staffing solutions company, was presented the 2016 Missouri Governor’s Woman-Owned Business of the Year Award on September 8, 2016, at the 2016 Missouri Governor’s Conference on Economic Development Awards Luncheon, at the Sheraton Kansas City Hotel at Crown Center, according to Pam Fields, Ellis’ Human Resource Administrator.

    The Missouri Governor’s Woman-Owned Small Business Award is presented annually to a business owner who has demonstrated outstanding success through the contributions her enterprise has made to Missouri communities and the economy. The award selection is based on the following criteria: the business must be 51% owned, operated and controlled by a woman who is a Missouri resident and have 100 or fewer employees, be in business a minimum 3 years in Missouri, be a viable for-profit company and successful in business, maintain a responsible and rewarding workplace environment, and give back to the community through volunteerism, contributions or in-kind services.

    Founded in 1986 by Ellis’ mother, JoAnne Mina, Ellis began working alongside Mina at JMN in 1994, and purchased ownership in 2007 after the passing of her mother. Under Ellis’ leadership, and the building of a strong management team, several significant milestones were charted for JMN in the last decade These includes its evolution into a world class agency offering commercial staffing, government staffing, project planning and both contract and permanent hire options. JMN decided to pursue technology business segments in the Midwest, acquiring seven new clients and placing more than 250 people in contract positions.

    JMN has successfully partnered with federal and commercial clients in the U.S. and internationally to provide contingent and temporary solutions, professional search, workforce management services, and outsourced project solutions for over 30 years. Clients include global corporations, technological companies, financial institutions, engineering firms, manufacturing and the wireless industries.

    In addition to personnel consulting and executive search services, the agency has added staffing options into the areas of aeronautics, avionics, telecommunications, transportation, electrical engineering, and information technology. “We are aggressively expanding our market focus and evaluating the latest trends and technologies,” adds Ellis. “Our goal is to achieve double digit growth in revenue and profits in 2017, while continuing to expand the portfolio of services we offer.”

    Colleen Ellis holds accreditation as a Certified Personnel Consultant (CPC), a professional designation earned through the National Association of Personnel Services, and is a current member of NAPS. Since 2010, Ellis has been a member of the Helzberg Entrepreneurial Mentorship Program (HEMP). Other organizations in which JMN is actively involved include the National Contract Management Association (NCMA), the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce and the South Kansas City Chamber of Commerce

    J. M. Neil & Assoc., Inc. is a certified Women Business Enterprise (WBE) through the Women Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) and the National Women Business Owners Corporation (NWBOC). JMN currently has 14 corporate employees.

    J.M. Neil and Associates is located at 9734 Wornall Rd, Kansas City, MO 64114. For more information about, refer to their website at, or contact Colleen Ellis at (816) 941.4997 or by email at

  • 26 Aug 2016 9:58 AM | Anonymous

    Dennis Carpenter, Ed.D., Superintendent of the Hickman Mills School District, is the Missouri Association of School Administrator’s (MASA) Greater Kansas City Region President for 2016-2017.

    As a regional president, Carpenter will organize monthly meetings for superintendents in the Kansas City area. The goal of these meetings is to provide superintendents with the latest local, state, and national education information, as well as provide professional development opportunities that will allow them to positively impact the lives of the students they serve.

    Roger Kurtz, MASA executive director, said, “Our regional presidents are leaders of leaders. Carpenter and the other regional presidents play a vital role in the execution of our association’s strategic plan to develop innovative, future-focused leaders in every Missouri school district. We are grateful to Carpenter for sharing his leadership skills with the association.”

    Carpenter said he was honored for the opportunity.

    "I would like to thank my superintendent colleagues in the area for entrusting me with the opportunity to lead our esteemed group, as we continue to embrace our collective mission of enhancing the learning and lives of our region's children," said Carpenter.

    MASA is the only statewide association in Missouri that exists for the purpose of serving the needs of school superintendents and central office administrators with an interest in the superintendency. Learn more about MASA at

  • 03 Aug 2016 4:09 PM | Anonymous

    Shelley Zimmerman has been named Chief Nursing Officer of St. Joseph Medical Center.

    Before joining St. Joseph, Zimmerman served as Vice President of Operations and Assistant Chief Nursing Officer for HCA/Research Medical Center. Throughout her career, Zimmerman has served in various leadership roles in behavioral health, trauma services, emergency medicine and correctional facility medical services.

    Zimmerman earned a master’s of Public Health Administration and a master’s of Health Services Management degrees from Keller Graduate School of Management. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Chamberlain College of Nursing in St. Louis, Mo. and an Associate Degree in Nursing from John Wood Community College in Quincy, Il. She is a member of the American College of Healthcare Executives and a member of the Emergency Nurses Association.

    “Shelley stood out among our candidate pool as highly qualified for the position,” says Robert Erickson, CEO, St. Joseph Medical Center. “Her background, experience, leadership style and excitement about leading St. Joseph forward are a perfect fit for this vital leadership role.”

  • 22 Jul 2016 10:03 AM | Anonymous

    Food Equality Initiative (FEI) and Community Assistance Council (CAC) are pleased to announce a partnership allowing families with food allergies and Celiac Disease more access to the foods needed to maintain their health. Beginning Friday, July 22, 2016, pantry services will begin for diagnosed families living in Missouri.

    Emily Brown, Chief Executive Office of FEI, says, “After opening our first location in Overland Park, Kansas, we quickly realized the transportation barrier for families in Missouri to reach our pantry. Common interests connected us with CAC, and talks began, resulting in a partnership to establish CAC-SAFE.”

    CAC-SAFE is the designation for those allergy-friendly and gluten-free foods that will be distributed through CAC. “A separate pantry name was needed, to help our staff and volunteers become cognizant of dietary requirements. SAFE stands for ‘Suitable Allergy Friendly Edibles’, and is a quick reference to those families using these services,” Carol Bird Owsley, Executive Director of CAC explained.

    Pantry services begin July 22, 2016, and appointments will be required. All families are screened through FEI. Eligibility requirements include income guidelines (at or below 250% of federal poverty level), a doctor’s diagnosis, and a physician’s signed diet order. At this time, services are only available to families diagnosed with food allergies or Celiac Disease.

    “Families experiencing these chronic allergies and Celiac Disease learn firsthand how expensive required foods are to purchase. Providing pantry options for them to shop for these foods takes away barriers that keep them from living healthy lives,” Ms. Brown states. “Especially for families first diagnosed, there is a huge learning curve regarding what is good for their family member, and what is bad. The stress can be overwhelming.”

    Ms. Owsley agreed, “Any way we can help a family—such as offering services closer to their homes, will enable them to better deal with the other concerns in their lives. We love this partnership, where we can use FEI’s expertise and knowledge, while helping Missouri families improve their situation.”

    CAC offers a variety of services to area residents, including a food pantry, clothes closet, rent/utility assistance and a host of seasonal programs. As the only social service agency physically located in south Kansas City, Missouri, they will be celebrating 40 years of service in September.

    A formal ribbon cutting ceremony for CAC-SAFE is planned for Tuesday, August 2, 2016, at Community Assistance Council, for the formal opening of the pantry. A presentation of the need and impact to the community will be made with tours available.

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

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





VISION:  South Kansas City will be recognized as a premier location for businesses to prosper in the metropolitan area.

MISSION:  The Chamber is dedicated to promoting and environment for business prosperity and community pride in South Kansas City.

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