M4A to help guide customers through new insurance exchanges
The statewide health insurance exchanges established under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will open their doors at the start of October, and the Missouri Association of Area Agencies on Aging will be there to help exchange customers make informed decisions. The M4A is one of two organizations in the state that have been tapped by the federal Department of Health and Human Services to serve as “navigators” for the new program.

Columbia consulting firm named one of top 100 places to work in health care
Primaris, a Columbia-based health care consulting firm, has been named one of the best places to work in health care by Modern Healthcare magazine; Primaris is one of only three companies in Missouri and 100 nationally to make the list. Primaris employs about 100 workers in mid-Missouri.

“At Primaris, we invest in our people,” CEO Richard A. Royer says. “Quality health care improvements — better health, better care and lower costs — could not happen without quality people.”

The company, which focuses on helping health care companies improve quality of care, is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year.

CoMo Edward Jones associates selected for advance training
Local Edward Jones employees took part in a high-level training session at the company’s headquarters in St. Louis. Financial adviser Kathy Lou Neale and branch officer administrator Celeste Wassenaar were among the 180 associates (out of more than 12,000) invited to the Advanced Practice Management Forum where they met with other top associates and learned about industry best practices.

Ellis Fischel Cancer Center puts on fundraising gala
Held Aug. 24 at The Lodge of the Four Seasons in Lake Ozark, the annual Ellis Fischel Gala is the hospital’s largest fundraising event and, this year, funds raised will go toward building an outdoor green space for patients and conducting clinical research trials.

“Since 1997, this gala has been the largest fundraising endeavor for Ellis Fischel,” says Dr. Paul Dale, interim medical director of Ellis Fischel Cancer Center and chief of surgical oncology. “This annual event has raised more than $1.4 million, and that money directly benefits our patients, who come from every county in the state.”

Local businesses play golf to benefit Ronald McDonald House
Teams from Shelter Insurance, Manor Roofing & Restoration and Mpix.com, among others, competed in the 15th annual Fore the House Golf Tournament benefitting Ronald McDonald House Charities of Mid-Missouri, which works to provide “homes away from home” for families of children getting medical treatment in Columbia.

Westminster College opens second campus in Mesa, Ariz.
Westminster College has expanded out of Missouri and into the southwest by opening a second location in the new Mesa Center for Higher Education in the Phoenix suburb. Westminster will share the space with another liberal arts school, Wilkes University of Pennsylvania. Both schools have signed a five-year lease on the property, which houses 13 classrooms, specialized science and computer labs and faculty and staff offices.

The state of Arizona only has one currently operating liberal arts college, which made the expansion attractive for Westminster and the City of Mesa, which is building a light rail extension to help students commute to the new campus.

“The Mesa area has thousands of students every year who seek higher education,” Westminster President Dr. George B. Forsythe says. “Yet those students have been forced to go out of state if they wanted the different approach that a liberal arts education offers: small class sizes; individualized instruction; development of the whole person; and an emphasis on knowing, reasoning and valuing that prepares students for a lifetime of learning and service. This fall we will make the opportunity for a liberal arts education possible right here in Arizona.”

Patents generate Missouri research universities more than $11 million in 2012
A new report from the Association of University Technology Managers shows that among the four UM System campuses and Washington University in St. Louis, the state’s research universities brought in about $11.6 million in gross income from their intellectual property, whether through licensing fees and royalties or new startup businesses.

“Colleges and universities are generating new patents, cutting-edge technologies and productive intellectual properties,” David Russell, Missouri commissioner of higher education, says. “As a state, we get a huge return on our investment in higher education.”

True Media named to Inc. 5000 list
True Media, a Columbia-based media strategy and communications company, has been named to Inc. Magazine’s list of the 5,000 fastest-growing private companies in a recognition of the company’s 153 percent growth between 2009 and 2012.

“One of the things I’m most proud of is that much of our growth has come from current clients who are seeing positive results from the work that we do on their behalf,” True Media President Jack Miller says. “Those clients have been the fuel to many referrals and have allowed us to expand our offerings and services to provide an even more robust service.”

In total, 59 companies from around the state of Missouri were named to the list.

Missouri housing market trending up
According to data recently released by Missouri REALTORS, more homes are being sold faster for higher prices than they were a year ago. Comparison of the data from July 2013 and July 2012 shows a 16 percent increase in the number of homes sold, a 9 percent decrease in the time a house spent on the market and an increase of more than $20,000 in the average sale price and $15,000 in the median sale price.

State Farm to lease South Providence offices
Rumors have been swirling for some time about State Farm Insurance potentially closing its Columbia operations center on Providence Road on the city’s south side, and when word got out that the company was selling off land around its facility, those rumors went into overdrive.

But in August, the company decided to shift from owning the building to leasing it. The new lease is set for 15 years, but there are two five-year options for renewal. This switch brings the Columbia center into line with the national company’s real estate policy, which focuses on leasing, not owning, office space, says State Farm spokesman Jim Camoriano.

Ellis Fischel to offer after-hours mammograms
On Oct. 4 and 5, MU Health Care’s Ellis Fischel Cancer Center will offer mammograms outside of regular hours. The “mammothon” will take place from 6 p.m. to midnight on Friday and from 7 a.m. to noon on Saturday. To receive an examination, women must be either 40 years or older or have a doctor’s order.

“We want to make it easy for women to receive life-saving breast cancer screenings,” says Debra Deeken, manager of Ellis Fischel’s breast center.

Updated McDonald’s up and running shortly
Columbia’s first McDonald’s was demolished in August, but the location on Business Loop 70, chosen by the restaurant’s founder, Ray Kroc, will see a new Mickey D’s with updated amenities as soon as the end of October.

Eastside Tavern’s celebrates 16
Downtown’s Eastside Tavern celebrated its 16th anniversary at the end of September with live music and a dance party.

A new view in town
Central Dairy’s new mural downtown reinforces its brand while enlivening the area in a way only public art can. Find out more about the mural and how Central skirted signage regulations on our website.

Five stars
The Bank of Missouri has received a five-star, superior rating from bank rating company Bauer Financial for the seventh consecutive quarter.

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