■ It looks like there will be six medical marijuana dispensaries in Jefferson County – one in House Springs, one in Imperial, another in Hillsboro, one in Pevely and two in the Festus area. On Jan. 24, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) announced it had awarded licenses for those six dispensaries. See Tony Krausz’s Page 1 story.
■ After about four decades working as a physician, mostly in Jefferson County, Dr. Indu Patel has retired. While she closed her practice at 7105 Metropolitan in Barnhart at the end of December, Patel, 76, of Festus isn’t hanging up her stethoscope anytime soon. “My plan is to move to Atlanta, Ga., where some of my family is,” said Patel, an internal medicine specialist. “I’m going to do some free clinic work and also work with Doctors Without Borders (an international charitable medical care organization).” See Kevin Carbery’s story.
■ The Crystal City School District will shift to a four-day school week at the start of the next school year. Currently, Crystal City students attend classes Monday through Friday. But, when students resume classes on Aug. 25 for the 2020-2021 school year, they will attend just Tuesday through Friday. Crystal City will be the third Jefferson County school district to make the switch to a four-day week. The Grandview R-5 and Sunrise R-9 school districts made the change in August, at the start of the current school year.
■ With decreased enrollment and a related $700,000 drop in state funding, De Soto School District officials have been looking for ways to cuts costs, including possibly eliminating some teaching jobs.School officials discussed possible cost-cutting measures at a regular meeting school board meeting Jan. 16 and a special board meeting on Jan. 20.
■ Fox C-6 school officials have decided to place a $40 million bond issue on the April ballot to fund improvements at buildings around the district. Board of Education members voted 5-0 Jan. 21 to put the measure on the April 7 ballot. Board members Jim Chellew and Dawn Mullins were absent from the meeting. The bond issue, called Proposition P, which stands for “Promise, Purpose and Progress for our Students,” requires a four-sevenths (57.14 percent) vote for approval. See Tony Krausz’s story.
■ A giving spirit can carry the message of goodness, regardless of nationality and language barriers. And Jefferson Countian Airi Kaponen Cohoon is doing her best to spread that message, one plate of freshly baked cookies at a time. After more than a half century of living in the United States, the spry, 85-year-old still speaks in a thick Finnish accent, her bubbly laugh always threatening to break out. The diminutive Cohoon, who lives in Festus, has been a U.S. citizen for nearly 30 years. She came here in the 1960s with her then-husband. See Laura Marlow’s Page 1 feature story.
■ The April 7 election will be lively, with five candidates filing for two seats on the Jefferson County Health Department Board of Trustees and races for seats on the county 911 Dispatch board. The Northwest, Festus, Fox, Sunrise, Windsor, Grandview and Jefferson R-7 school districts all have races for seats on their boards, and there are several municipal contests, too. See the filing list for your geographic area.
■ In the Editorial section, Gordon Bess writes a column about his misgivings upon reaching the age of Medicare.
■ Sports editor Russell Korando writes in his column about the departure of senior Grant Pauli from the Windsor wrestling team, after Pauli made two trips to the Class 3 state tournament.
*** Finally – groundhog time.