DeGoler’s acquired by major drug store chain

This 2003 feature covered the 75th anniversary of DeGoler’s Pharmacies in Kansas City, Kansas. DeGoler’s, which was sold recently, was 90 years old this year.


Opinion column

by Murrel Bland

DeGoler’s, an independent pharmacy that has served Wyandotte County for about 90 years, was sold recently to CVS. The company can trace its roots to 1928 when Pharmacist Harvey DeGoler founded the company.

His son Jim, also a pharmacist, explained that his father’s drug store was at 552 Minnesota Ave., near the intersection where passengers got on and off the street car. The store was also a meeting place for business and political leaders. One of the regulars who could be found there was Lacy Haynes, the longtime bureau chief for The Kansas City Star. He was also a legendary political kingmaker.

Jim expanded the pharmacy as Kansas City, Kansas’, population moved west, opening locations at Indian Springs, the Midtown Medical Office Plaza, the Family Medical Group and the Alpine East Building. Jim died in 2014.

Jim was a business and civic leader serving as chairman of the Chamber of Commerce and the Board of Trustees of Bethany Medical Center. He was also president of the Kansas City, Kansas, School Board.

Glenn Harte joined DeGoler’s in 1995 and later purchased the company from Jim. He continued to expand the company by acquiring pharmacies in Bonner Springs and Manhattan. He also opened new pharmacies in Piper and Leavenworth.

One of the issues facing independent pharmacies is the fees from preferred network drug plans offered by insurers and pharmacy benefit managers. Direct and indirect fees have been rising in these popular plans, according to a recent article in The Wall Street Journal. The article told of surcharges that come along after the patients have received and paid for prescriptions. Pharmacies must eat these surcharges.

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


Opinion column: Congressman defends immigration stance

Opinion column

by Murrel Bland

Note: U.S. Rep. Kevin Yoder is the chairman of the House Homeland Security Subcommittee under the Appropriations Committee. Last week the subcommittee approved a bill that includes $5 billion for the border wall between the U.S. and Mexico, $126 million for border technology upgrades and related infrastructure, 375 new border officers and 140 canine teams for the border.

When U.S. Rep. Kevin Yoder, R-Third Dist., speaks at the Congressional Forum, the questions from the audience are usually issue-oriented and rarely get into harsh criticism. Most persons who attend the forum are “good ol’ boy” Republicans or Democrats who are business-friendly. The Kansas City, Kansas, Area Chamber of Commerce sponsors the forum. It is in its 50th year.

It was somewhat different when the forum met Friday, July 20, at the Children’s Mercy Park in Kansas City, Kansas. About 75 persons attended the luncheon meeting. A person, who did not identify himself by name, said he works with documented and undocumented immigrants; he said most of these immigrants are productive workers and responsible citizens. Rep. Yoder bristled when this person lumped the Congressman into the broad category with President Donald Trump’s administration.

Rep. Yoder said that he sponsored legislation that would allow children of undocumented immigrants who meet certain qualifications to remain here for two years. This is called DACA legislation, which stands for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. DACA would allow these recipients to come out of the shadows and obtain driver’s licenses, enroll in college and secure jobs. President Trump campaigned during the recent election against DACA.

Rep. Yoder said he favors a secure border. He said that human smugglers receive $7,000 a person in exchange for passage into the United States. He said that illegal drugs continue to come into this country. He has visited the border to better understand the issue. He said more personnel are needed along with more sophisticated surveillance equipment.

In other matters, Rep. Yoder said that the national economy continues to do well as 213,000 new jobs were created during June and unemployment is at 4 percent. He said he is concerned about tariffs on agricultural products imposed by the Trump administration.

A medical doctor said he is concerned that the Federal Drug Administration prohibits pharmacists from compounding drugs that patients need. Rep. Yoder said he would investigate the issue.

Rep. Yoder said he has introduced a bill that would provide federal landmark status for the Quindaro Ruins. He said he arranged for Marvin Robinson to come to Washington, D.C., to testify. Robinson is a longtime advocate for recognition and restoration of the Ruins.

Murrel Bland is the former editor of The Wyandotte West and The Piper Press. He is executive director of Business West. Any opinions expressed here are those of the author and not of the Wyandotte Daily.


Opinion: Letter to new superintendent

July 2, 2018

Dr. Charles Foust
Union County Public Schools
400 N. Church St.
Monroe, N.C. 28112

Dear Dr. Foust,

First, congratulations on your selection as the next superintendent of the Kansas City, Kansas, School District. It is an extremely important job.

I have lived in the district for nearly 50 years. One of the most important things the district does is educate students who will be ready to join the workforce. Frankly, it is falling way short in that area. The graduation rate is only about 67 percent. And, in looking at those who are awarded high school diplomas, many have to take basic reading and mathematics classes at the community college. Some of these students in remedial classes are graduates of Sumner Academy. Sumner used to be considered one of the best high schools in Kansas. Some graduates went on to earn Phi Beta Kappa honors. Some became medical doctors, engineers, lawyers and doctors of philosophy. From everything learned, it is not the school it was.

The new school board members have chosen you because they believe you are the necessary agent of change. I hope board members made the right decision. The number one concern among business owners and managers in Wyandotte County is the lack of qualified workers. Jobs such as machinists and welders, paying $40,000 a year or more, go begging. I know, this problem is nationwide. However, Dr. Foust, I live and work here. The Kansas City, Kansas, School District spends more than $12,000 a year per student. Simply stated, taxpayers don’t get their money’s worth.

Looking at the history of the district, it generally has had a history of strong leaders in the superintendent’s position. Some of the superintendents have been promoted from within; others have come from the outside. An outsider has a challenge because he or she is unknown. The past few weeks have seen strong support for an internal superintendent candidate, Dr. Jayson Strickland, the deputy superintendent. That will be something to overcome.

In talking with teachers, they are concerned about two basic issues— authority in the classroom and “social” promotions. Until those issues are resolved, I doubt that much improvement will be made.

I watched the presentation that you made when you visited here. I am concerned that you may not move your family here. That would be unfortunate. Living here would set an example in encouraging other educators and their families to live in the district.

Among urban districts, there are some positive aspects in Kansas City, Kansas. Voters recently overwhelmingly approved a capital improvement bond issue. Unlike many urban districts, our physical plants are in good shape and our enrollment is growing.

I look forward to meeting you.


Murrel Bland
Executive Director
Business West