Morning headlines: Carnahan and Shinseki meet today about Cochran VA, degree programs cut at Mo. colleges, meeting to discuss control of Jennings police tonight, major step in sale of St. Louis Brewery
- Congressman Russ Carnahan is meeting with the Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki today to discuss problems at the John Cochran VA Medical Center in St. Louis. The St. Louis democrat says he is calling for an independent, thorough review of the facility in the wake of reports that it canceled all surgeries last week after evidence of a possible new sterilization problem. Last June, Cochran announced that sterilization problems in its dental clinic had potentially exposed over 1,800 veterans to hepatitis and HIV. Carnahan is on the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs.
- More than 100 degree programs will be eliminated at Missouri colleges and universities as part of a cost-savings review ordered by Gov. Jay Nixon. The state Department of Higher Education issued a report Wednesday outlining the 116 academic programs slated for deletion at two-and four-year schools because few students pursue degrees in those subjects. The school with the most cuts planned is the University of Missouri-Columbia, with 19 on the chopping block. The state defines "low-producing" programs as those awarding fewer than 10 bachelor's degrees a year on average. The cutoff is five graduates for master's programs and three graduates for doctoral programs.
- According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, a town hall meeting will be held tonight to discuss whether the city of Jennings should contract with St. Louis County police to handle police services. St. Louis County police have been overseeing the Jennings Police Department since November when the police chief retired. The department was under investigation for misuse of money meant to pay for drunken-driving checkpoints. The Post-Dispatch reports a contract with St. Louis County would cost about $2.8 million. The city currently has budgeted $3.1 million for operation of its own department. The meeting will be held tonight at 7 p.m. at the Jennings Police Station.
- The St. Louis Post-Dispatch is also reporting that a dozen St. Louis investors have signed confidentiality agreements allowing them to review the books at St. Louis Brewery. This marks the first major step toward the sale of the maker of Schlafly beer. Last June, the St. Louis-based craft brewer announced it was looking for a buyer. The Post-Dispatch reports that St. Louis Brewery founders Tom Schlafly and Dan Kopman said this week they expect negotiations to pick up speed in April, with a formal transaction possibly taking place this year. Schlafly owns about 75-percent of the company and says he has no family interested in running the business. He says he is selling in order to ensure an orderly transition. The co-founders are only considering local investors.