Missouri Minute: Great Plains-Westar propose new merger; Cerner’s Neal Patterson dies at 67

Here are today’s top business headlines from across Missouri:

Great Plains now wants no-cash merger with Westar

Great Plains Energy Inc. and Westar Energy Inc. announced new plans on Monday to keep the benefits of combining without a massive debt load for Great Plains. The companies announced plans for a merger of equals. That means no cash for shareholders of Westar, the Topeka, Kansas-based utility, and no transaction debt for Great Plains, the parent company of Kansas City Power & Light. Read more

Cerner CEO Neal Patterson dies from cancer at age 67

Neal Patterson, co-founder and CEO of Cerner Corp. and a principal owner of Sporting Kansas City, died Sunday at age 67, according to a statement from Cerner. Cerner’s statement said that Patterson died of unexpected complications from a soft-tissue cancer for which he had been treated previously. Read more

State ag agency issues temporary ban on dicamba herbicide

As complaints of damage from dicamba spiral ever higher across multiple states, officials in Missouri and Arkansas enacted bans Friday on the herbicide blamed for vaporizing and injuring crops without genetically engineered resistance. The more than 130 cases of suspected dicamba drift reported in Missouri this year already eclipse last year’s totals, when many farmers saw heavy losses for crop yields in the Bootheel region of southeast Missouri. Read more

Teamsters retirees to meet with Treasury Secretary Mnuchin over failing pensions

A group of 25 Teamsters pensioners, including three from Missouri and Kansas, will meet Tuesday in Washington with U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin about failing pension plans. Each comes from committees created to fight a proposal last year to slash current retirees’ checks in an effort to rescue the failing Central States Pension Fund. Read more

Education revolution taking shape at Maryville University

At Maryville University, a small, private school in suburban St. Louis, leadership is taking an approach to running the school that’s data- and market-driven, merging the attitude of a for-profit college with old-school academia. Rather than look to other universities, Maryville leaders look at companies like Apple for inspiration. They call students customers. And enrollment numbers suggest that their approach is working. Read more

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