KCK Chamber to hold fireside chat Thursday with Gov. Kelly and JPMorgan Chase Foundation president

Gov. Laura Kelly
Janis Bowdler
Mayor David Alvey

The Kansas City, Kansas, Area Chamber of Commerce will feature a fireside chat with Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly and Janis Bowdler, president of JPMorgan Chase & Co. Foundation on Thursday.

Part of the chamber’s annual meeting, the fireside chat will take place at a luncheon from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Thursday, April 4, at the Reardon Convention Center, 5th and Minnesota, Kansas City, Kansas. Mayor David Alvey will moderate the discussion.

The event’s theme is “Building Equitable Cities.”

“We are excited at the opportunity to hear Ms. Bowdler’s global, corporate perspective as it relates to our emerging region,” said Daniel Silva, president and CEO of the KCK Chamber, in a news release. “Part of our mission at the Chamber is to propel economic growth and sustainability through strengthening our workforce, empowering small businesses and improving the lives of individuals throughout our region. We are also thrilled to hear Gov. Kelly’s state perspective as the highest ranking elected official in Kansas.”

It will be the first time Gov. Kelly has given a speech to the KCK Chamber.

JPMorgan Chase & Co. recently announced it would expand their branches into nine top U.S. markets, including the Kansas City region. While the firm has had commercial banking clients in the region for decades, as well as more than 454,000 consumer customers and 15,000 business banking customers, their branch presence will be new.

The KCK Chamber event has sold out, with more than 820 guests expected to attend.

Bowdler is the co-author of “Building Equitable Cities: How to Drive Economic Mobility and Regional Growth.” The book offers practical ideas on growing the local economy and increasing opportunity.

The idea of the “equitable city,” where urban areas empower the people to build up their cities, fits in well with what the KCK Chamber and local government are trying to do here, said Katelyn McInerney, the KCK Chamber’s director of marketing and events.

McDonald’s to raise funds for flood victims tonight

Tonight, McDonald’s will hold a fundraiser to help flood victims and relief efforts.

McDonald’s restaurants in the Kansas City metropolitan area and in St. Joseph, Missouri, are participating in the fundraiser from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday, March 27.

Twenty percent of the sales generated between those hours will be donated to local American Red Cross chapters in Missouri, Nebraska and Iowa, and other organizations that help flood victims. The proceeds will go to help communities devastated by Missouri River flooding.

The goal of the fundraiser throughout the area is $100,000 for flood relief efforts.

“I’m just pleased to have this opportunity to help,” Cassandra Savage, a McDonald’s owner-operator, said. She owns two McDonald’s restaurants in Kansas City, Kansas, one in Roeland Park, Kansas, and six other McDonald’s restaurants.

None of the local restaurants was affected by flooding, but communities such as St. Joseph, Missouri, Omaha, Nebraska, and along the Missouri River in other locations have suffered devastating losses from the flood.

“We were fortunate enough not to have any devastation at all,” Savage said. “That’s why we feel we are in a position to help them.”

BPU offers community solar program for commercial customers

The Board of Public Utilities has opened its BPU Community Solar Farm to commercial utility customers.

The solar farm has nearly 4,000 photovoltaic solar panels.

Commercial customers now will be able to have access to solar energy through the BPU’s solar farm program, that makes it affordable and accessible to everyone, a spokesman stated.

Previously, the community solar farm program was available only to residential customers.

“We are pleased to now offer BPU commercial customers the option of utilizing renewable solar energy that is produced right here in Wyandotte County,” said Don Gray, general manager of BPU, in a news release. “The Community Solar Farm provides simple, affordable access to solar energy for the entire community, with participants benefiting from reduced costs on their electric bills and the knowledge that they are reducing their individual carbon footprint.”

The BPU scores high on the renewable energy scale, with 45 percent of its power generation from renewable energy sources including wind, hydropower, landfill gas and solar.

Each of the 3,780 individual solar panels in BPU’s 1,000 KW Community Solar Farm will eliminate 12 tons of CO2, according to the spokesman. That’s the equivalent of reducing single automobile emissions of 23,500 miles, planting 278 trees, or recycling 37 tons of waste versus placing it in a landfill.

Commercial BPU customers will be able to lease from one to 500 solar panels over a multi-year period depending on the size of that commercial customer, while receiving a credit of approximately $3.20 a month for each panel on their utility bill. An initial one-time lease fee of $470 applies throughout the 25-year life of the farm, with the user option of selling the individual panel back to BPU if a participant moves out of the service area.

For more information on this new program, go to www.bpu.com/solar, call 913-573-9997, or email BPU at solarpanels@bpu.com.

The BPU also will hold a free solar seminar for Kansas City, Kansas, residents on Tuesday, April 16.

The seminar will take place at the West Wyandotte Public Library, 1737 N. 82nd St., Kansas City, Kansas. Two sessions will take place, from 4 to 5:30 p.m. and from 6 to 7:30 p.m. April 16.