New stores opening at Legends Outlets

The Legends Outlets will add Rack Room Shoes this summer, according to a spokesman for the center.

The new 5,700-square-foot store will be the first Rack Room Shoes in the Kansas City area, according to the spokesman. It is part of a national chain.

The store will carry footwear for men, women and children, with national bands and exclusive private labels, according to the spokesman. The shoes will range from casual, dress, comfort and athletic styles.

While there is not an exact date yet for the store opening, special sales and giveaways are planned for the opening weekend, the spokesman said.

The new Rack Room Shoes will be in Suite T-107, on the east end of the shopping center, near Eddie Bauer Outlet and Old Navy Outlet.

Michael Kors Outlet also opened recently, according to the spokesman. The only area Kate Spade Outlet and HomeGoods opened at Legends Outlets earlier this year.

The Michael Kors Outlet opened Thursday, June 28, with a designer, upscale luxury handbag and accessory line, the spokesman said.

Most of the Michael Kors Outlet items are women’s accessories and handbags, according to the spokesman. The new store is on the west end of the center, in one of the newly constructed spaces near the Kate Spade and Coach stores.

There are a lot of new sights to see at the Legends Outlets, including a new video board that is up and running near the west side of the shopping center, the spokesman said.

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Column: Businesses need qualified workers

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Opinion column

by Murrel Bland

Gov. Jeff Colyer said that as he travels the state of Kansas, the number one concern he encounters from business owners and managers is the severe lack of qualified employees.

The governor, who spoke at a luncheon meeting of the Congressional Forum Friday, June 15, at Children’s Mercy Park, said he has appointed a Governor’s Education Council to face this issue. He praised Kansas City Kansas Community College and its Technical Education Center that is training people and issuing certificates in critical skill areas. The governor said there presently are 52,000 job openings in the state.

Gov. Colyer said that to meet the challenges that businesses require, schools will have to reinvent themselves. He said this will require schools to examine many things including what and when they teach. It also will require an emphasis on soft skills such as showing up on time.

The governor said the state is at the “intersection of Kansas smart and Kansas nice.” He said the state is in the middle of the country, a strategic location that is a very definite advantage. Earlier that day, he was at an industrial park in Edgerton and told of the Kubota tractor company which has located there because of the central location.

The governor also talked about 74 opportunity zones including census tracts in the eastern part of Wyandotte County. A federal law, passed last year, allows qualified businesses to build in these areas and be exempt from capital gains taxes. He said he has talked to Mayor David Alvey and potential developers about such areas.

Gov. Colyer told about an innovative success story concerning an opportunity zone in downtown Goodland, a city in northwestern Kansas. They are training people who write software code, starting in kindergarten and continuing through community college. They have attracted software companies that pay 30-year-olds $75,000 a year.

Craig Gaffney, the chairman of the Kansas City, Kansas, Area Chamber of Commerce, thanked the governor for recently meeting with a delegation from the chamber and listening to its legislative agenda.

Colyer became governor on Jan. 31 this year when Sam Brownback resigned to become the U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom. Colyer is a medical doctor who served in the Kansas House of Representatives and Kansas Senate. He also is a volunteer who serves with the International Medical Corps. He and his wife Ruth have three daughters.

Murrel Bland is the former editor of The Wyandotte West and The Piper Press. He is the executive director of Business West.

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KCK Chamber supports 3/8-cent public safety sales tax renewal

The Kansas City, Kansas, Chamber of Commerce announced today that its board of directors has voted to support renewal of the 3/8-cent public safety and neighborhood infrastructure sales tax.

“After recent presentations from Unified Government of Wyandotte County, Kansas City, Kansas Mayor-CEO David Alvey and County Administrator Doug Bach at both the Legislative Affairs Committee and the Chamber Board meeting regarding the importance of the renewal of the Public Safety and Neighborhoods Infrastructure Sales Tax, a survey of our Chamber membership reflected an overwhelming 92 percent voice of support for the sales tax renewal,” said Craig Gaffney, 2018 KCK Chamber board chair, in a news release. “Based on those results and Mayor Alvey and Administrator Bach’s presentations, our Chamber board unanimously approved supporting the renewal of the sales tax.”

“Given the recent significant increases in property valuations, not only in Wyandotte County but across the state of Kansas and the impact it will have on our Chamber members’ property taxes, our Chamber board thought it was appropriate to have significant discussion around the sales tax renewal,” Gaffney said in the news release. “It is our belief there is a real desire on Unified Government officials’ part to continue working to reduce the mill levy to lighten the impact of property tax increases and at the same time partner with our Chamber leadership to have a voice in Topeka on phasing in any significant property tax increases that occur across the state due to significant increases in property tax valuations.”

The 3/8-cent sales tax is used for such items as police department expenses, fire trucks, roads and sidewalks. The sales tax produces $10 million per year and originally was approved in 2010. The tax expires in 2020, and if approved this year, it would be in effect from 2020 through 2030.

Mayor Alvey and Administrator Doug Bach are supporting the renewal of the sales tax. The UG Commission voted unanimously on April 26 to put it on the primary election ballot. At the time, UG officials said a “yes” vote would not be an increase in taxes, since residents already are paying the 3/8-cent sales tax.

Mayor Alvey, in his State of the Unified Government speech on June 5, said he supported holding down property taxes. The UG administrator is scheduled to present his proposed budget, with a proposed property tax rate, on July 12. The UG Commission then may alter the budget, and a final vote to adopt the budget is scheduled to take place on July 30.

Voters will be asked to renew the 3/8-cent sales tax in the Aug. 7 primary election.

The UG has posted more sales tax information online at http://www.wycokck.org/SalesTax. More information about the Chamber is at www.KCKChamber.com.

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