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How to Lower Your Property Taxes

An Alternative to Knee Replacement

Make Your Home a Smart Home

Does Your Home Have Hail Damage?

CountyLivingMag.com CountyLivingMag @CountyLivingMag

Discover the Pleasures of Outdoor Living

A Better Option for Home Exteriors


Ranked #1 in the Midwest by Travel and Leisure Magazine

Championship golf, inviting accommodations and world-class amenities overlooking Table Rock Lake.

800.225.6343 | BIGCEDAR.COM SPRING 2017 | COUNTY LIVING magazine | 3






08 RANDOM MUSINGS from Gerry Mandel


10 Discovering Pleasures of Outdoor Living 12 Homeowner Discovers a Better Option than Painting 14 Does Your Home Have Damage from Wind or Hail? 16 Relax, Refresh, Rejuvenate with Your Own Natural Water Habitat 18 Great Room Comfort 22 Add Beauty, Intrigue and Enjoyment to Your Home and Yard 23 Keeping Wooden Roofs Beautiful



24 When Hearing Aids Are Not Enough 26 Assisted Living Where Quality of Life Is the Difference 27 Hypnosis Can Be Your Key to Change 28 The Proven Alternative to Knee Replacement Surgery 30 Improve Your Performance and Enjoyment of Sports 31 An Effective Solution for an Uncomfortable Problem 32 Scientific Breakthrough for Strength, Balance and Bones



34 Spring Activities & Events Calendar 36 Get Away from It All, Together at Innsbrook 38 Discovering a Hidden Treasure in a Sinkhole 40 Something Old, Something New by John Robinson


42 Make Your Home a Smart Home 43 Stone and Tile Floors Looking Dull? Ugly Grout? 44 The Basement Egress Window 45 Radon is a Silent Killer 46 How is Your Home Performing? 46 Custom Closet and Home Office Solutions 47 Mold in Your Home Can Threaten Your Health


48 What to Do about Common Computer Related Problems 50 A Book that Should Be in Every Home in St. Louis 51 How to Lower Your Property Taxes

40 46

Publisher’s Message

on the cover




staff PUBLISHER/EDITOR Todd Abrams CREATIVE DIRECTOR Fran Sherman GRAPHIC DESIGN Eric Null PRINTING ADVISOR Creative Printing Services DISTRIBUTION DATABASE Target Marketing Technologies

Innsbrook has been a favorite “over the river and through the woods” getaway for St. Louis-area families for nearly 40 years. Located 30 minutes west of Chesterfield, Innsbrook is best known for its recreational A-frame chalets, but also offers residential and vacation homes, contemporary cottages, low-maintenance condominiums and golf course villas. With more than 7,500 wooded acres and 100 lakes, Innsbrook offers families the perfect place for natural relaxation close to St. Louis. There's plenty to do, no matter your taste or pace: sailing, hiking, cycling, fishing, tennis, swimming, horseback riding or public golf and dining at the Clubhouse Bar & Grille. Innsbrook also offers an extensive activities program that includes outdoor concerts, kids’ camps and workshops and adult learning opportunities. S ee the article about Innsbrook on page 36. You can learn more at www.ibkconnect.com or call 636.928.3366 x9199.

FOR INFORMATION REGARDING ADVERTISING CALL County Living Publications 314-432-1171 phone 314-569-3380 fax P.O. Box 411036 St. Louis, MO 63141 CARTOON CREDITS: The New Yorker Collection/ The Cartoon Bank Robert Mankoff * Charles Barsotti William Haefeli www.CountyLivingMag.com County Living Magazine is published quarterly by County Living Publications and distributed to select homeowners in the St. Louis area. Articles are selected to provide useful information about home, lifestyle, health, travel and recreation. Opinions expressed in articles and editorials are those of the authors, and do not necessarily reflect the views of County Living Publications. While every effort is made to assure accuracy, we are not responsible for how information found in County Living Magazine is used. We are very interested in reader comments or suggestions. Correspondence should be sent to the address above or to editor@CountyLivingMag.com.

Reproduction of content of this magazine without permission is prohibited. All submitted materials, including images, logos and text for advertising, articles and editorials are assumed to be the property of the contributor, and County Living Publications does not take responsibility for unintentional copyright infringement. County Living Publications has the right to refuse advertising and content not deemed appropriate for this publication. Circulation is verified by U.S. Postal receipts. 6 | COUNTY LIVING magazine | WWW.COUNTYLIVINGMAG.COM

Arts & Thoughts




ofof Year 武蔵屋呉服店 and Spring Fashion: AAColorful ColorfulTime Time Year pring arrived early this year in St. Louis. You probably remember that first day of spring when the temperature hit 86°, following a winter of virtually no snow. I have three unopened bags of ice melter in my garage to prove it.

S Spring arrived early this year in St. Louis. You probably remember My subject today, however, is not weather, climate change or the end of humanity. It’s Fashion. To be more specific, Hawaiian shirts, aka Aloha shirts. This is the time of year when we put the woolens and insulated garments away and bring out the lightweight cottons, rayons and silks, right? And nothing says spring faster than a colorful Hawaiian shirt. I’m happy to say that these distinctive garments are still in style, as long as you’re open-minded about style. I used to wear Hawaiian shirts frequently in college and my carefree single years. Then I got married and was gradually weaned away from them. It’s difficult to explain the style’s longevity. Some sources trace its origins to the early 1900’s, but there’s general agreement that the shirt began hitting full stride in 1935 out of a shop in Honolulu run by a Japanese gentleman named Miyamoto (that’s his name up there in the title). While looking for information to add credence to these musings, I discovered a most impressive website. It’s The Museum of Hawaiian Shirts (themohs.org). Really. Their mission statement: “To celebrate the history, art, and design of Aloha shirts.” These obviously are much more than shirts. They are works of art, collectors’ items, clothing of rare vintage and cultural significance. By the way, this isn’t only a “guy” thing. Women wear these shirts as well, the only difference being a lower cut, y-neck style. My first exposure to Hawaiian shirts was negative. My dad had a friend named Sid. He smoked cigars, talked like a bookie (which he was), and wore Hawaiian shirts. My mom hated him. As a result, I hated him, even before I had ever met him. When I finally did, he was smoking a cigar, talking like Tony Soprano and wearing a bright blue shirt emblazoned with big-busted women and palm

trees. I’ve never been able to shake that image of him. It when the temperature hit 86°, following a winter no snow. took years for me to overcome of that virtually early influence and develop a fondness for this colorful garb - sans cigar and bags of ice melter in my garage wise to prove guy talk. it. When I Googled “Hawaiian Shirts,” a world of color and opened up to me, a virtual “Open Sesame” of style. or the e My subject today, however, design is not weather, climate change Also a world of prices. You can order a shirt for as little as $5 (plus shipping) or as much $179. And shirts. if you’ve This i Fashion. To be more specific, Hawaiian shirts, akaasAloha got really big bucks, consider a rare “Map of Hawaii” Reyn Spooner shirt for only $2,500. What is a Reyn Spooner, put the woolens and insulated garments awayyouand bring out the lightwe ask? It’s a fashion design company that was founded in silks, right? And nothing says spring faster than colorful sh 1956. a I have no idea whatHawaiian makes this one shirt so special. If I was I’m happy to say that these distinctive garments are Istill init.style, as in Trump’s cabinet, could buy If you need a shirt right away, several stores here carry them. minded about style. I used to wear Hawaiian shirts frequently in colleg The Mother Lode of Aloha Shirts, however, hangs in the from re-sale them. years. Then I got married and was gradually weaned away shops. Used clothing, if you will. I visited Salvation Army, GoodIt’s difficult to explain the style’s longevity. Some sources trace its will, and the ScholarShop, though are others, such as Plato’s 1900’s, but there’s general agreement that thethere shirt hitting full s Closet andbegan Avalon Exchange. Also garage and yard sales. You in Honolulu run by a Japanese gentleman named his get not only low, low prices, butMiyamoto a built-in “spirit” of(that’s the previous owner, a sense of transferred joie de vivre that certainly enhance your outlook on the world. I get the While looking for information towilladd credence to these musings, I disc feeling that these shirts were donated by grieving widows who cleaned out late hubby’s closet ASAP. But that’s just website. It’s The Museum of Hawaiian Shirts (themohs.org). Really. T my imagination working overtime. Here’s a closing fashion tip: Add some color to your life. “To celebrate the history, art, and of Aloha shirts.” obvio Guydesign or gal. Go Hawaiian this Spring. And shout These “Aloha.” You’ll be amazed at how good it makes you feel. shirts. They are works of art, collectors’ items, clothing of rare vintage Gerry Mandel is a free-lance writer and video/biography producer.Women He also writes two blogs, which shirts he By the way, this isn’t only a “guy” thing. wear these as invites you to enjoy. HeyYouHoser.blogspot.com, and Your combeing a lower cut, y-neck style. TimeWithCharlieChaplin.blogspot.com. ments are welcome. clm My first exposure to Hawaiian shirts was negative. My dad had a f 8 | COUNTY LIVING magazine | WWW.COUNTYLIVINGMAG.COM

SPRING 2017 | COUNTY LIVING magazine | 9

Landscapes & Exteriors

Discovering Pleasures of Outdoor Living It’s about the outdoor spaces now most desired by homeowners


recent survey of American homeowners and those actively looking for a house produced some surprising findings. One of the biggest was the desire for outdoor living spaces. It was the No. 1 “must-have,” even among those who live in climates where outdoor areas can’t be used completely year-round. Here in St. Louis, our weather allows you to live outdoors for more than half the year, plus those winter days when we wonder if spring is arriving early! These outdoor spaces are not just patios, decks or gardens. They are furnished outdoor retreats, providing convergence between indoor and outdoor living. They are similar in size, design, features and quality materials to the adjacent indoor spaces that feel both expansive to nature and intimate at the same time. To maximize year-round enjoyment, many additions can be made such as: covering outdoor areas, adding ceiling fans, installing outdoor fireplaces and fire pits, cozy seating, and often can include complete outdoor kitchens. Full wall-size screens and solar shades protect from bugs and the sun, and then can be retracted to open up completely to the outdoors. In the St. Louis area, one company that has been leading this trend to creative outdoor living spaces is Heartlands Building Company. Since 2002, Heartlands has become known as a designer and builder of custom outdoor living areas, with over 2,000 satisfied customers. Their success is fueled by their passion for delivering quality. Larry Brost, founder of Heartlands, focuses on listening to customers and working with their ideas for how they would like to use outdoor living areas. “Customer thoughts and desires are compiled into a design document and eventually into building plans. They can’t always visualize the final product, but they can describe how they plan to enjoy their outdoor areas, ranging from date nights to barbecuing to entertaining family and friends.” Customers are pleasantly surprised that their design is exactly what they wanted. Larry believes in fully integrating outdoor

living spaces into the existing home. These outdoor retreats are constructed for frequent high traffic use, and to be worryfree long after completion, Heartlands uses the most durable exterior rated products. This passion for quality is shared by co-owners Dick O’Brien, Adam Twellman and Jake Halloran. Heartlands Building Company has enhanced many of St. Louis County’s finest homes, and will work closely with you to develop a design, work plan and a fixed price for your dream project. You can call Heartlands for a free an-home consultation or an appointment at their showroom in Chesterfield Valley at 636-728-0003. You can learn more about them and view a gallery of their screen rooms, decks, homes and additions at www.heartlandshome.com. clm WHAT HEARTLANDS CUSTOMERS HAVE TO SAY “I had a vision in my mind of what we wanted, but as much as we’ve enjoyed this room, it has exceeded our expectations. I don’t think we’ve ever spent this much time outside as we have since we had the room built. When we come home from work we go out to our screen room and relax. It’s like coming home to a mini vacation.” – Bob and Marty Lutter “We’ve never seen any other outdoor living area that really compares to ours. We have a wonderful addition to our home that meets all our needs and wants. We absolutely love everything about it and receive so many compliments on it. It's such a fun and relaxing place to be and we couldn't ask for anything better!” – Brett and Missy Lewis “We visited the Heartlands website and showroom, met with owner Larry Brost, and were immediately impressed. It gave us hope that we could achieve our backyard dreams. We just love to spend time in the backyard now. It’s so relaxing! We never imagined how dramatic the difference would be.” – Matt & Rhonda Liesenfeld




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SPRING 2017 | COUNTY LIVING magazine | 11

Landscapes & Exteriors

Homeowner Discovers a Better Option Than Painting Friends’ advice made a big difference for two of his homes



hris Berry and his family had lived in the stucco and stone home they built in Sunset Hills about 11 or 12 years when it again came time to paint the exterior. As he was planning to have the job done, Chris learned from some good friends about an alternative to painting that they encouraged him to consider. One couple lived in an older home nearby that he had always admired. And his sister and her husband had a condominium at Lake of the Ozarks with a lot of exterior cedar siding that previously had required repainting every few years. What these friends had in common was that instead of having to paint on regular basis, they had discovered a better solution that is warrantied for 25 years. It is a different product and a different process for exterior finishes, a very durable ceramic coating called Rhino Shield. Chris really liked the idea of not having to paint his home again, and he found the warranty very appealing. So he called Rhino Shield for an inspection and estimate. He was impressed by their comprehensive approach to not just coating, but fully protecting his home. Once they started the job, Chris really gained an appreciation of the Rhino Shield difference. First they completely power-washed the exterior, replacing boards as needed. He liked that he didn’t have to separately hire a carpenter to do repairs needed. They then coated every crack with a 60-year elastomeric caulk. They thoroughly masked all of the stone surfaces before applying an adhesive prime sealer to the stucco that waterproofs and also bonds to the coats of durable ceramic finish. Chris said that when the job was finished, the home looked brand new. He never knew that painted stucco could look that good. There is a clean crisp vibrancy to the finish, a thicker, richer look than paint. He also had comments from friends and neighbors who complimented him on the appearance.


As it turned out, Chris and his family moved from that home just a few years later, so they personally didn’t get the full benefit of the 25-year warranty. However, when they sold their home, not only did it still look great, but they found that the transferrable Rhino Shield warranty was an impressive selling point. They moved to a townhome complex nearby, and soon Chris was recruited to join the homeowners’ board. One immediate project they faced was the need to restore the exteriors of their Tudor style buildings. They had been thinking about adding siding, but were concerned about the cost. Chris suggested that they consider Rhino Shield. The other board members had seen his previous home and liked the look and quality of the job. So they got bids on painting, siding and Rhino Shield. The other board members decided not to use siding, and they really liked being able to get out of the cycle of repainting every few years. They agreed that Rhino Shield would be a sound investment, and hired them to do the exterior coating. Chris was especially pleased that the same crew that had worked at his house would be doing the work on the townhomes. He had found them to be very methodical, respectful and responsive to his requests. That project is currently underway, and should be completed by the time you read this. When it’s time for an exterior finish for your home that will really last, you can call the professionals at Rhino Shield for a free inspection and estimate at 877-257-4466. They are rated A+ with the Better Business Bureau, and consistently win Super Service awards locally and nationally. You can visit their website www.87725RHINO.com for videos, photos and testimonials from other homeowners in this area who have discovered the difference Rhino Shield makes on their homes and also commercial properties. clm


SPRING 2017 | COUNTY LIVING magazine | 13

Landscapes & Exteriors

Does Your Home Have Damage from Wind or Hail?

A Consumer Advocate works for you, not the insurance company.







Consumer Advocate gives you a voice in the claims process by assessing and informing you of the true condition of your home’s exterior, before you file a claim. They also offer assistance when you believe the insurance company has missed damage, or if they have devalued or minimized your claim. Homeowners in the St. Louis area are certainly aware of the severe weather we have experienced over the past few years. It is important to understand that damage to homes and businesses is not always obvious and may not be easily detected by the average homeowner – especially high on the roof.

DAMAGE FROM HAIL AND SEVERE WINDSTORMS Photos on this page show typical damage that can occur from hail and severe windstorms. Impact holes and tattered edges of cedar shingles, denting on a roof vent cap, a dented gutter downspout and a torn window screen help verify hail impact. Hail damage to asphalt roof shingles includes tattered edges, shingle loss, extreme granule loss and penetration holes. Damage from severe winds to asphalt roofs includes lifting, tearing and even missing shingles. A driving hailstorm can also dent the fins of an air conditioning unit. When the wind gets under asphalt shingles and lifts them, it can pop the glue tabs and nails, causing shingles to tear, not lie down and re-adhere. Damage to shingles can reduce their useful life and also expose cracks where water can penetrate, making the roof vulnerable to future leaks and more severe exterior and interior damage. If the roof is compromised in this way, it is important that it is completely replaced rather than patched or partially replaced, since there are very likely other areas where the damage is not as obvious. Damage to gutters can cause leaks that rot the soffits where they are attached or cause water to pour down to the foundation or fill window wells, causing further problems.



Damage to air conditioning fins can impair operation, reducing airflow and raising the refrigerant temperature, leading to lost performance and reliability. IMPORTANCE OF A SECOND OPINION To determine damage, insurance companies will send an inspector to your home, right after the storm or up to several months later. Inspectors often miss these signs of damage, causing claims to be denied or limited to only what the inspector has seen. It is important that homeowners have an advocate who can provide a “second opinion” in the event that their insurance company denies or limits their liability to lesser damage than actually exists. Someone who can guide you through the claim process to make it easier, and assist in getting the maximum benefit your policy allows. Aspen Touch is a roof restoration, consulting and design company. It is a local, third-generation contractor and advocate for homeowners, with expertise in storm damage and repair, including not just roofs but also siding, gutters, windows and more. Aspen Touch helps homeowners streamline the insurance process, while assuring that you get the maximum benefit your policy allows. Many homeowners have found that damage to their roofing, siding and gutters have met their insurance companies’ criteria to authorize full roof replacement. Before contacting your insurance company, you can contact Aspen Touch for a free evaluation and consultation on your home’s exterior and any storm damage. They are fully insured, and have helped numerous homeowners acquire new roofs, siding, gutters and repairs to their properties affected by storms. You can reach their experienced inspectors at 636-458-8878 or by email at aspentouch.rick@gmail.com. You can learn more on their website www.aspentouch.com. clm


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Landscapes & Exteriors

Relax, Refresh, Rejuvenate Create a Natural Water Habitat that will enhance your lifestyle


magine yourself swept up in a daydream, trying to escape the frustrations of the day. You close your eyes and fill your head with thoughts of that favorite vacation to the lake, the ocean or the mountains. The tranquil sounds of nature and the water sooth your soul and instantly melt away all your stress. The memory is so vivid you can actually hear the trickling movement of the water, and dragonflies singing in your ear. You slowly open your eyes and realize that those sounds of nature are echoing from your own personal aquatic paradise. You look around your yard in amazement at your gorgeous waterfall and flowing stream cascading into the pond below decorated by a variety of luscious aquatic plants. The majestic Koi seem to almost float through the crystal clear water as they eat from your hand. You think to yourself. . . This is Paradise! . . . Life is Good! Nothing brings people together more than water. Having a professionally designed, eco-friendly, low maintenance water feature installed at your home not only improves the environment, but also your lifestyle. The next time you need a break from the rat race, consider enhancing your life with a custom aquatic paradise of your own. And it gets even more relaxing than that. As you imagine your lush water feature, picture yourself and your family right in there yourselves, communing and swimming with nature. These are not murky, smelly ponds, but lush waterscapes where plants thrive, beautiful koi playfully swim, and are pristine enough that you can get in and enjoy a swim. The water quality of these swim ponds, when designed and built correctly, and with minimal maintenance, makes them a great alternative to a traditional swimming pool that will give you enjoyment all year round. Welcome to the world of natural swimming ponds, where growing plants and natural filtration make it possible to enjoy

a safe dip in clean, fresh water. A recreational pond is an eco-friendly alternative to building a traditional pool, and one that is integrated with nature and pleasing to look at year-round. And unlike a pool, a pond becomes the centerpiece of a backyard paradise that can breed biodiversity, attracting wildlife including birds, dragonflies, frogs, butterflies and hummingbirds. Chris Siewing is owner and president of Nature’s Re-Creations, nationally recognized

as Master Certified Aquascape Contractors, first place winner of the North American Pond/Waterfall Competition and named by Aquascape as Artist of the Year in 2012. Nature’s Re-Creations stays on the cutting edge of technology and installation techniques to continually improve their projects and the environment. To discuss a water feature project, you can contact Chris Siewing at 314-220-3841 or check out their gallery at www.RecreateNature.com or their portfolio at Facebook.com/NaturesReCreations. clm


SPRING 2017 | COUNTY LIVING magazine | 17

Landscapes & Exteriors

Great Room Comfort

Many homeowners complain about excessive heat and glare from the sun


reat rooms, with their large windows and b eautiful views, provide a wonderful open feeling and their large windows provide great views of the outdoors. For many homeowners the great room was the feature that convinced them to purchase their home, and is the room they enjoy the most. However, many homeowners with great rooms complain about excessive heat from the sun and glare they experience during hours of direct sunlight. And the problem is not only during warm weather months. During winter the sun is actually lower in the sky, meaning that it shines more directly into the great room. Now there is a new generation of exterior shading products that dramatically reduce heat and glare, especially in great rooms, without requiring a change to the beauty of the interior craftsmanship. These solar screens shade from the outside. If you can stop the harmful rays from passing through your window with an outdoor solar screen, you will eliminate the inside greenhouse effect which captures and retains the excessive indoor heat. Outdoor Shade is so much more effective than the best windows, tinting, or blinds. You will stop the heat, stop the glare and stop the fading. Great Room Solar Screens cover windows from the outside, while still permitting light to come through, maintaining outdoor views. They are motorized and easy to operate with either a hand-held remote control or a wall-mounted remote control. When the sun is not blazing through the window, you can simply retract the solar screen into its discreet, overhead cassette. The smaller screens are fully wind resistant and the larger ones are rated for winds of 40 miles per hour (and winds seldom exceed 40 mph on sunny days). Adding to the convenience is the option of having a sun sensor that automatically extends the solar screen dur-




BALLWIN 10' X 9'

ST. CHARLES 12' X 8'


ing times of intense sunlight and then retracts the solar screen during dim lighting or cloudy conditions. You can reduce air conditioning and fading of furnishings and woodwork by blocking undesirable heat and ultraviolet light. During cooler weather you can retract them to allow the warmth of the sun to enter your home, keeping your heating costs down. For more information on this new generation of Great Room Comfort, you can contact Shade Your World. Entering their 25th summer of business, this company has provided more

retractable awnings than any other company in this area, as well as a full range of outdoor shading products. Their mission is to Shade Your World and Brighten Your Day. Each product is custom designed to your individual specifications and will be built and installed within three weeks. Now you can shade your windows like never before. To learn more about shading products from Shade Your World, or for a free in-home estimate, you can call them at 314.740.5100 or visit their website at ShadeStL.com. clm


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Landscapes & Exteriors

Create a Garden that Attracts the Most Attractive Butterflies BY STEVE CALLOWAY




One of the pleasures of the warm weather months in St. Louis is seeing graceful, colorful butterflies fluttering across your yard. If you enjoy these visits, you can attract a bountiful number of the largest and most beautiful butterflies common to our area, the monarch and swallowtail. Two types of plants are essential for butterfly life. Host plants have leaves that butterfly caterpillars feed on and where they form their chrysalis, or pupa. Nectar plants provide butterflies with nourishment. The monarch butterfly is the only insect that migrates to a warmer climate 2,500 miles away each year. Monarchs arrive here in mid-summer looking for food, lay their eggs, and in few days caterpillars emerge. They migrate to Mexico in October to hibernate in oyamel fir trees there. The favored host plant of monarch caterpillars is swamp milkweed. Their preferred nectar sources are butterfly milkweed and whorled milkweed. By having these plants in your garden, you can fulfill the lifecycle of monarchs, and they will come back to your yard year after year. Swallowtail butterflies are active here from April through October, and do not migrate. All swallowtail species found in Missouri hibernate as pupa, which lays dormant through the winter. The caterpillar emerges in spring and feeds on leaves of their favored host pants – zizia or aurea. Plum or cherry trees are hosts for tiger swallowtails. The favored nectar plants of swallowtails are golden Alexander, a low-growing ornamental with yellow cone-shaped flowers in late spring and early summer. Other swallowtail nectar sources include liatris, black-eyed Susan, purple coneflower Ansonia, astors and penstemon, a white flowering plant that attracts hummingbirds as well. By selecting these attractive native perennials, you will have colorful foliage and also plenty of butterflies visiting throughout the growing season. Steve Calloway is owner of Garden Green Horticulture Service. They help homeowners select the plants, trees and shrubbery that best meet their aesthetic desires and that will thrive in their sunlight, soil and moisture conditions. They also work to revitalize and restore gardens, to help homeowners with the changes that will make their yards better year after year. You can call or email Steve for a complimentary consultation in your yard, to identify your plants and advise on how to keep them healthy and looking their best. You can reach Steve at 314288-5036 or garden_green@live.com. clm 20 | COUNTY LIVING magazine | WWW.COUNTYLIVINGMAG.COM

SPRING 2017 | COUNTY LIVING magazine | 21

Landscapes & Exteriors

Landscape and Architectural Lighting Add Beauty, Intrigue and Enjoyment to Your Home and Yard


ou have undoubtedly had the experience of driving down suburban streets on dark nights and seeing in the distance, dramatically standing out against the dark sky, the glowing image of a home beautifully lit by outdoor lighting. As you get closer, you see the highlighted architectural features gracefully showcased by precise accent lighting, or sparkling foliage in the yard – glowing trees, bushes, plantings, water features, or softly lit pathways. As much as you might appreciate how gorgeous these lighted homes look, to really understand the appeal of custom outdoor lighting, you should talk to homeowners who have it at their homes. They will tell you that the lighting provides a magical experience they enjoy every night and also early in the morning before the sun comes up. Custom outdoor lighting highlights a home’s special features, adding curb appeal, intrigue and enjoyment for the homeowner, visitors and those who drive by. The lighting becomes part of the unique signature of the home; it changes with seasonal foliage and evolves as the plantings grow over the years. Here are some ideas to inspire you to take advantage of the benefits of custom outdoor lighting at your own home. ARCHITECTURAL LIGHTING Architectural lighting emphasizes the unique built features of your home and yard. Targeted lighting can accentuate entryway arches, door frames, and columns. Lighting can call attention to statues, sculptures, outdoor gazebos, water fountains, all normally enjoyed in daylight but that become truly magical when highlighted at night. GARDEN, LANDSCAPE & PATHWAY LIGHTING Have you ever enjoyed your garden in the evening? With landscape lighting

you can. Flowers have a different glow, pathways feel majestic. Up-lit trees and bushes look like glowing sculpture, and with seasonal changes and movement in the wind they become living pieces of art. Shrubs, flower beds and paths can be softly illuminated at ground level. Or “moonlighting” - lights high up in trees aiming down onto walkways, patios or yards provide dramatic effects and improve safety and security for visitors and family. DECK AND PATIO LIGHTING Entertaining at night is more festive with landscape lighting, and having your deck or patio well lit allows the party to last longer and makes the evening more memorable. Steps are safer and guests are more at ease. SUBMERSIBLE LIGHTING The sounds of a waterfall, pond, or stream are relaxing and refreshing. Now imagine lights dancing off the reflections, or the glow coming from a pond. And your swimming pool,

with improved lighting in and surrounding it becomes your own private Blue Lagoon. When it comes to landscape and architectural lighting for your home, experience counts. Jeff Mitchell Lighting is the St. Louis area’s most experienced professional outdoor lighting provider. Since 1997 they have installed and maintained lighting systems at many of the finest homes and most visible public attractions in the St. Louis area. They also provide turnkey service installing, removing and storing custom Christmas lighting. Jeff Mitchell Lighting has excellent references from their enthusiastic customers, and their passion for providing quality fixtures, creative designs, professional installation and customer service continues to show year after year. You can learn more about them at www.jeff-mitchell-lighting.com. If you would like to schedule a design consultation or simply need information, you may call Jeff Mitchell Lighting any time at 314-665-2500. TS7 clm


Keeping Wooden Roofs Beautiful Periodic treatment preserves & protects


o other exterior building material compares with wood for its warm, natural look, resilience and versatility. Cedar shake roofs, oak or pine log or cedar walls, down to redwood decks, a wooden home has a distinctive look that improves with age. However, to keep wood exteriors looking their best and prevent deterioration that can lead to costly repairs, it's important to periodically treat wood surfaces that start to dull or darken with mold, show signs of mildew or have lost protection from the elements. Wood surfaces that are unprotected degrade from exposure to ultraviolet light from the sun. These harmful rays turn bare wood dark, dull and uneven in color. Rain penetrates the wood, causing it to swell. Then blistering heat from the sun dries it. This cycle can cause wood to warp, splinter and crack. Moisture also can make cedar and other woods conducive to mold and mildew. Unlike most other building materials, however, wood exteriors can be restored and maintained through proper care and treatment. Preserving wood protects it from moisture and sunlight, and helps it last twice, even three times as long. This extended life makes cedar roofs, wood siding and decks cost-effective building solutions. The experts at Aspen Touch Cedar Restoration & Installation have more than 25 years of experience in preserving, repairing

and replacing wood roofs, natural wood siding and decks on St. Louis’s finest homes. Th eir re storation pr ocess us es a hi ghpressure wash to remove algae, moss and lichen, returning wood to its natural color. Shingles are repaired, replaced and nailed as needed. Finally, a quality sealer/stain is applied. This restoration is also effective for asphalt roofs. Aspen Touch is also expert in installing new cedar shake roofs, siding and decking. They c an h elp y ou m ake i nformed d ecisions about preserving the beauty and value of your wood exteriors. You can call them at , email aspentouch.rick@gmail.com or visit their website www.aspentouch.com. clm

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Health & Fitness

When Hearing Aids Are Not Enough



There are alternatives that can make a real difference

s As Baby Boomers age, many of us have to strain to hear when others talk, especially on the phone or in noisy environments. We think others are mumbling when they speak, or they complain that we have the TV or radio turned up too loud, or that they have to repeat themselves. Thirty to thirty-five percent of 65 year olds have some hearing loss, and this figure rises to 40-50% of individuals over 70 years. If you or someone you know has to strain to hear when someone talks or needs to watch a speaker’s lips closely to follow a conversation, then it is time for a hearing evaluation. It is important to visit a medical specialist who can make an educated diagnosis of your specific hearing issues and prescribe appropriate treatment based on the significant advances that have been made in options for treatment. Today’s hearing aids are smaller and more advanced than ever before. Technology has also made them more user friendly. A physician who treats hearing disorders will have a qualified audiologist available to recommend the best hearing aids for you, program them and teach you how to use them.

Cochlear Implants

Patients with severe to profound hearing loss who are unable to hear with traditional hearing aid amplification may benefit from a cochlear implant, an electronic device that bypasses the damaged parts of the inner ear by electronically stimulating the inner ear directly. It is surgically implanted and works in conjunction with an external device worn behind the ear. Advances in electronics and programming technology and research with patients have shown that a growing range of hearingimpaired individuals can take advantage of the benefits offered by cochlear implantation. Although they do not restore natural hear-

ing, most individuals with cochlear implants have achieved significant gains in sound awareness and speech understanding. While 500,000 patients worldwide have received cochlear implants, this number represents only a small fraction of those with hearing impairment who may benefit from implantation and can be identified through testing. If there are no medical contraindications, candidates of any age may be implanted. Unlike hearing aids, Medicare often covers cochlear implants for qualified candidates.

Other Surgical Options

There are a number of other surgical options that address specific conditions that compromise hearing. These procedures include repairing perforations of the tympanic membrane or replacing the small sound-conducting middle ear bones with prosthetic materials. Chronic infection or congenital abnormalities can result in absence of the middle ear bones, which can be replaced to restore normal hearing. Stapes surgery treats hearing loss caused by a problem called otosclerosis, which causes a buildup of bone around the stapes, or stirrup bone, the smallest bone in the body. This keeps this bone from moving normally, resulting in conductive hearing loss. Stapedotomy places a prosthetic bone so that sound can again be transmitted from the eardrum to the inner ear. This surgery provides a significant alternative to conventional amplification, and can restore normal hearing in more than 90% of patients who suffer from otosclerosis. If you or someone you know is not hearing as well as you once did, your first step should be consulting a health care specialist with experience in diagnosing and treating the full range of hearing disorders. Jacques Herzog, M.D. established the Center for Hearing and Balance Disorders at St. Luke’s hospital in 1993. He is certified by the American Board of Otolaryngology and is a Fellow of the American Neurotology Society and the American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery. Dr. Herzog is an Assistant Professor of Clinical Otolaryngology at Washington University School of Medicine. He has previously served on the Board of Managers at Central Institute for the Deaf. Currently, he is a member of the Editorial Board of Otology and Neurotology, the world’s leading scientific journal of the specialty. Dr. Herzog has lectured extensively both nationally and internationally on various disorders of the ear and related structures. You can learn more about Dr. Herzog’s practice at www.stlouisear.com, and to arrange for a consultation, you can contact the Center for Hearing and Balance Disorders at 314-453-0001. clm


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edar siding, roofs and decks can lose virtually all of their natural preservatives and oils in as little as five years in the Midwest weather. Oak and pine log homes and redwood decks can also show premature aging from the effects of the weather. But all these exterior wood surfaces can be restored and protected through proper care and treatment, often doubling or tripling the remaining life. Call the experts with more than 25 years of experience caring for, repairing and replacing cedar roofs, natural wood siding and decks. We are also experts in installing new cedar shake roofs, siding and decking.

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Health & Fitness

Assisted Living Where Quality of Life Is the Difference The Village at Cape Albeon was created for residents’ health, safety and enjoyment


s the population in the St. Louis community ages, many of our elderly are affected by chronic conditions such as arthritis, hypertension, heart disease or memory impairment that make it difficult to live independently. When an elderly family member needs increasing levels of help in everyday living, the option for assisted living care comes into focus. And in response to this growing need, many new assisted living facilities are opening in our area. For families that have a loved one with a need for assisted living, it’s not always readily apparent what distinguishes one facility from another. Especially for those that have recently opened that may not have an established history or available references from families based on experience with them. One assisted living community located in the heart of St. Louis County that is well established, with a 17-year heritage and longterm staff providing loving care is The Village at Cape Albeon. Unlike the large, multi-story assisted living facilities located on busy thoroughfares, The Village offers assisted living all on one level in its own one-story building. This means no steps or elevators that can be safety hazards. The Village is on a quiet lane on the Cape Albeon campus, in a natural setting with two lakes. The Village offers comfortable living in a beautiful environment. The dining room, living room, chapel, enclosed courtyard, outdoor lake scenery and wildlife encourage gathering, social interaction and quiet contemplation. A full calendar of activities and events on the Cape Albeon campus, as well as group outings to points of interest contribute to the quality of life and provide residents with plenty to look forward to. The cuisine is a true point of distinction, and family members often bring friends to enjoy meals with them in private dining rooms available for those occasions. Karen Lynn has been a licensed practical nurse at Cape Albeon for 16 of the 17-year history of the Village. She supervises

aides who attend to the needs of assisted living residents, and is the person responsible for the condition of residents. Karen strongly believes that assisted living is not the end of enjoyment and quality of life. By encouraging residents, pushing them a bit, the staff actually empowers them to do more and enjoy life more. As a Life Plan Community, they are able to accommodate changing needs of residents over the years they are there. Karen has a personal relationship with each of the residents that enables her to be sensitive to their well-being and responsive to their individual needs. She says, “I feel that I know them so well that I can just tell if something’s not right with them, if they don’t seem like themselves.” She and the other staff provide a home-like atmosphere and become very attached to residents. As she puts it, “When I come to work, I feel like I am coming home, and in fact I do spend more time here than with my own family.” And it has been like home for Karen, since all five of her grown children have worked at Cape Albeon. Karen embraces the mission of Cape Albeon that always puts residents’ needs first, as a faith community that welcomes all faiths, and a not-for-profit organization that never has to cut corners to make a profit. Cape Albeon is a beautiful, caring community that also offers retirement apartments, independent living cottages and topquality transitional memory and respite care. Cape Albeon is a member of the St. Andrew’s Resources for Seniors family, a highly respected senior service provider founded in 1961. Cape Albeon is located just west of the intersection of Big Bend and Dougherty Ferry Roads. To learn more about Cape Albeon, you can call (636) 861-3200 to arrange a visit and tour, and you can visit their website at www.CapeAlbeon.com. clm


Hypnosis Can Be Your Key to Change would like to take the mystery out of hypnosis as an effective therapy for enabling behavior change, by explaining how it works. Your c on s c i ou s mind contains your active thoughts, and the subconscious mind contains information that you act on. The unconscious is like a big filing cabinet that holds a record of everything you’ve ever experienced. All BY JOAN KRUEGER, your habits, behavCERTIFIED HYPNOTHERAPIST iors, responses, reactions, memories and emotions are stored there, as though there is a file for each. Hypnosis is the process of communicating with the subconscious mind. Before a hypnosis session, your therapist should ask specifically what behavior you would like to change. This identifies the file that you are currently working from. Hypnosis gets the subconscious part of your mind to open up so that a new file can be added about how you want to function. For instance, if you want to be a nonsmoker, change your eating habits, or be more confident. After the session, your mind has new information to begin to work from instead of working from the old information. With hypnosis you can’t make someone do something they don’t want to do. For hypnosis to work, the subject must willingly accept the change, because the conscious mind is still very aware of what is going on. At all times, the subject has complete power of selectivity, reacting only to suggestions that are reasonable and pleasing to them.


Joan Krueger has a private practice with an office in Kirkwood. Many individuals have achieved their goals, both personally and professionally, through guidance they have received in her hypnosis sessions. About 80% of people who Joan hypnotizes to stop smoking will quit after just one session. You can contact Joan to discuss how hypnosis could help you achieve positive change in your own life by calling her at (314) 962-7558, or visiting her Web site at www.jfkhypnosis.com. clm SPRING 2017 | COUNTY LIVING magazine | 27

Health & Fitness

Is Knee Pain Making Your Life Miserable? Consider the Proven Alternative to Knee Replacement Surgery What causes osteoarthritic knee pain?

It is critical to address the underlying causes of knee pain. Osteoarthritis is the most common chronic joint condition. It occurs when the cartilage or cushion between joints breaks down, leading to pain, stiffness and swelling. Sometimes called degenerative joint disease, the arthritic process begins for many people as the joint fluid of the knee starts to break down with age. Like the oil in your car’s engine, joint fluid lubricates and protects the tissue within the joint as well as the cartilage that covers and cushions the ends of knee bones. As lubrication decreases, friction increases and the cartilage starts to break down and wear away. Once bone is exposed, bone spurs can develop as the body attempts to heal itself. The knee joint no longer glides as it should, making simple movements difficult and painful. If nothing is done to increase the quality and quantity of joint fluid, the breakdown of the cartilage accelerates—leading to disabling bone-on-bone arthritic knee pain. The Alternative to Knee Replacement There is one proven treatment program available in the St. Louis area that has helped area residents reduce or eliminate their pain without surgery or long-term pain medications -- even for those who have sought treatment elsewhere without success. Associated Physicians Group provides a nationally acclaimed, evidence-based and patented program that has been used to treat more than 7,800 patients, many of whom already had bone-onbone osteoarthritis and still found real relief without surgery. Their program has an 87% success rate, defined as significant or complete reduction of pain with no knee replacement needed. The Associated Physicians Group program has three phases: Accurate Diagnosis This begins with a detailed medical consultation, orthopedic exam, X-rays and an evaluation performed by a licensed physical therapist specializing in knee arthritis. Pain Relief Your treatment team identifies the best pain relief modalities for each individual patient. One example is the unloader brace, which provides stability, support and dramatic pain relief by unloading pressure from the bone-on-bone side of the knee. This enables patients to once again participate in activities they

have been unable to do. This brace also opens up the joint space to make treatment more effective. Prevent & Restore In addition to relieving pain, APG’s program aims to inhibit further deterioration of the knee joint, restore function and build strength, so patients can participate in activities they enjoy. Viscosupplementation is a procedure in which lubricating fluid is injected into a joint. It stimulates the natural production of thick viscous joint fluid in the knee that enables long-term pain relief and restored quality of life. Unlike steroid injections that simply provide short-term pain relief, viscosupplementation injections remain in the joint and improve internal conditions within it. At APG, these injections are visually guided using a fluoroscope (live motion x-ray) and dye, to ensure that the fluid is precisely placed into the proper joint space. APG’s licensed therapists also use physical therapy to enhance the beneficial effects of the viscosupplementation. This helps develop a thick joint fluid that cushions the knee, inhibits accelerating joint damage, and reduces pain and inflammation. Their specialized progressive physical therapy works synergistically with the fluid injections to improve range of motion and strength. This course offers progressive improvement in movement and flexibility with decreasing pain and inflammation. Increased motion in turn stimulates the natural lubrication of the knee. While it does not eliminate osteoarthritis, it can significantly reduce pain—which in turn reduces stiffness – enabling patients to return to activities they enjoy. Associated Physicians Group is a health care practice focused on improving patients’ quality of life. Their team approach combines the expertise of medical providers, licensed physical therapists and advanced high-tech rehabilitation equipment. Physicians from leading medical institutions across the US have come to APG for training on this program. APG accepts almost all major insurances, including Medicare, TriCare and Essence. Associated Physicians Group is located at CityPlace 5, 845 N. New Ballas Road Suite 120 in Creve Coeur. You can reach them to schedule your free consultation at 314-200-0997, and you can learn more about this program at www.associatedphysicians.com/programs-services/knee-pain/ clm


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Health & Fitness

Improve Your Performance and Enjoyment of Sports BY BRET KLIETHERMES


A personal trainer can make the difference.

hether you are a “weekend warrior” at golf or tennis, or a serious runner, you may find you have reached a plateau where your game or times aren’t improving as you would like. Or that the weekly activity leaves your muscles more sore than when you were younger, and those extra pounds you’ve put on also aren’t helping your performance. There is an important step you can take that is guaranteed to improve your performance, and will also make you feel and look better. By adding to your weekend sports just a couple focused training sessions during the week, you can improve your strength, flexibility and balance that can drive improved athletic performance. And being in better shape can also increase your energy, alertness, appearance and enjoyment. Think about golf or tennis. As we get older, we lose muscle mass and flexibility that limit range of motion. Sometimes when you see older players they seem to chop at the ball, instead of having a smooth long stroke that requires greater range of motion. Focused strengthening and stretching routines with a trainer can meaningfully improve your strength, range of motion and balance, for longer drives, more powerful tennis strokes and greater mobility overall. Improving leg muscle strength increases endurance and ability to run greater distances. But being successful is not just about "trying" to get more exercise, joining a health club, or buying some miraculous new piece of exercise equipment or dietary supplement. What you really want is expert training that will put your through the specific motions that will improve your performance. Most people just don’t have the expertise or discipline to know how to accomplish these goals by themselves. As with any really important endeavor, many things you

don’t know can keep you from getting where you want to go. There are techniques to help you get started and to make real progress on a balanced exercise program. These will enable you to see and feel results early in the process, without becoming discouraged or hurting yourself. An effective coach gives you hands-on supervision, encouragement and also a sense of accountability that make sure you stick with your program in the critical first weeks when you will start to see and feel results. With the right guidance, you very soon get in the groove where the new habits become self-perpetuating and you have the momentum to keep going to achieve your goals. Bret Kliethermes is owner of Strong Human Fitness LLC, a personal training company that offers Complete Fitness Programs to help his clients reach their personal health and fitness goals. Bret has a Bachelors of Science in Health & Wellness Promotion from Missouri State University, is a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist and Professional member of the National Strength and Conditioning Association. Bret offers private and semi private training to fit all budgets and schedules. For a no obligation, no pressure consultation to discuss your goals and their programs to help you achieve them, you can call Bret at 314-691-9040, email bret@stronghumanfitness.com, or visit www.stronghumanfitness.com. Bret works with clients in private and semi private training at The Fitness Partner Inc., a boutique gym located in the Corporate Plaza Building at 14528 South Outer 40 Road, Chesterfield 63017. For 22 years they have offered members a private alternative to the large box gyms that are often noisy and overcrowded. Owner/operator Randy Stone has more than 25 years of personal training experience, knows all members by name, and can be found in the gym 6 days a week. They offer 3, 6 and 12-month memberships to fit your needs. clm


An Effective Solution for an Uncomfortable Problem Infrared coagulation is a painless, lasting treatment for hemorrhoids.


lmost everyone suffers from hemorrhoids at some time in their lives. Hemorrhoids are normal “cushions” of tissue filled with blood vessels at the end of the rectum. If enlarged, they can cause unpleasant symptoms. If left untreated, surgery may be required, which can be painful and require BY BETSY CLEMENS, M.D. days in hospital and at home. Treatment options depend on the size of the hemorrhoids and severity of symptoms. Topical medications can relieve itching and shrink mild hemorrhoids. But for enlarged or bleeding hemorrhoids, options for longer-term relief have been limited to sclerotherapy, involving injections similar to those for varicose veins, rubber band ligation, stapling and surgery. Each of these can have varying results, cause days of discomfort and additional bleeding. But another option is available, an outpatient procedure called infrared coagulation (IRC). It provides long-term relief and is a minimally invasive, non-surgical procedure that many studies have shown to be the optimal non-operative treatment of choice. It is fast, effective, well tolerated by patients and has fewer complications than other options. The IRC treatment focuses infrared light on hemorrhoidal tissues. This coagulates blood vessels, causing the hemorrhoid to shrink and retract. Scar tissue formed holds nearby veins in place so they don’t become enlarged. The IRC procedure does not require anesthesia or special preparation, and is covered by most insurance plans. Patients may feel a slight warm sensation but it usually is painless, and most patients return to work the same day. Betsy Clemens MD is owner and medical principal at Midwest Hemorrhoid Treatment Center, located at 450 North New Ballas Road in Creve Coeur. They are the St. Louis area leaders in infrared coagulation treatment, which received FDA clearance in 1984. Dr. Clemens is a board-certified physician licensed to practice medicine in Missouri. She received her medical degree from Southern Illinois University School of Medicine and completed her residency at St. Johns Mercy Medical Center. For an appointment at the Midwest Hemorrhoid Treatment Center, you can call 314384-5710. To learn more about them and about IRC, you can visit MWHTCmissouri.com. clm SPRING 2017 | COUNTY LIVING magazine | 31


Health & Fitness

A Scientific Breakthrough for Strength, Balance and Bone Density Research Shows: Ten-minute weekly sessions provide measurable results


mpr o v i n g v i t a l i t y a n d strength after age 30 is almost unheard of. At best, we hope to slow the musculoskeletal atrophy that comes with aging through rigorous exercise and a healthy diet. But what if science discovered a way to actually reverse bone loss, increase strength, and improve balance and agility well after age 30? What if this technology could benefit all ages and were possible in just 7 to 10 minutes of sweat-free effort per week? Would you want to know about it? This is not just a scientific theory, or some interesting piece of research, it is actually here now. In fact, it has caught the attention of world-famous speaker and philanthropist Tony Robbins. He has personally experienced this system and he says at age of 57 he’s in the best shape of his life after adopting it. For over a century it has been believed that simple weightbearing exercise would increase bone strength, and could help prevent osteoporosis. Recent research, however, shows that standard exercise isn’t nearly as effective as had been traditionally believed for strengthening muscles and bones. A peer-reviewed study in 2012 determined that to increase bone density faster than one is losing it requires osteogenic loading, which is resistance of at least 4.2 times one’s body weight. Did you ever think you would be able to achieve resistance 4.2 times your body weight? When done properly, osteogenic loading also triggers muscle development that is qualitatively different than from conventional exercise. Myofibrils are proteins within muscle cells that are responsible for contracting muscles. Only structural fatigue of muscle cells through high-resistance loading stimulates increased density of myofibrils, thereby strengthening

the structure of muscle cells. Based on this research, Dr. John Jaquish in 2011 designed devices that could create the ideal set of resistance triggers to achieve these results. His patented machines provide brief osteogenic events that together take less than 10 minutes a week, yet are powerful enough to stimulate new bone and muscle tissue growth. This can yield improved bone density, muscle strength and balance. What’s more surprising is that it works for people of all ages. In 2012, wellness company OsteoStrong began offering Dr. Jaquish’s patented osteogenic loading system in centers across the US. To date thousands of people have experienced the benefits. A ten-minute sweat-free session in four different positions — loading the chest, leg/ hips, core and spine - triggers an adaptive flexing response in bones and connective muscles. This is done in safe positions self-imposed for maximum effect. The system improves overall strength, balance and posture, without fatigue or soreness. Tony Robbins has taken a big interest in OsteoStrong and is convinced it will become a global phenomenon. He believes that nothing else can develop strength of the bones and muscles with such minimal effort. Athletes, weekend warriors, and those well into their senior years are all benefiting greatly from the OsteoStrong system. The first OsteoStrong center in the St. Louis area is now open in Creve Coeur at 12333 Olive Blvd, just west of Highway 270. You can call them at 314-300-6902 to schedule your free first session, which includes a complimentary HydroMassage. For those looking to prevent fractures and increase bone density, OsteoStrong may be the answer. You can learn more about OsteoStrong, view members’ testimonials and schedule your complimentary session at http://www.osteostrongstlouis.com. clm

Tony Robbins Partners with OsteoStrong Entrepreneur, author and self-help guru Tony Robbins is also known for his dedication to fitness. Tony has been a long-time user of osteogenic loading, and is now a partner with OsteoStrong. Tony says, “I’ve improved my body’s strength by 164% in the past 10 months, and I am in better shape than I have ever been.” In addition to making a commitment to help grow the brand, he has contracted to open three OsteoStrong facilities of his own.


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SPRING 2017 | COUNTY LIVING magazine | 33


County Living Magazine

Spring Activities & Events T

ake advantage of these wonderful annual events. Make this the season you get out beyond your own neighborhood and enjoy the special festivals and entertainment events across the St. Louis metro area.

Bark in the Park

Circus Flora Time Flies

First Day of Summer Wednesday, June 21 St. Louis Water Gardening Society Pond-O-Rama Tour

Saturday, May 20 Cricket Field, Forest Park hsmo.org/bark

June 1-25 Grand Center circusflora.org Webster Arts Fair

Taste of Maplewood various locations June 24 & 25 saintlouiswatergardeningsociety.org Saturday, May 20 Sutton Blvd maplewood-chamber.com

June 2-4 Webster Groves webster-arts.org

St. Louis Triathalon

Laumeier Sculpture Park Free Member Tour

Sunday, May 21 Creve Coeur Park stlouistriathalon.com

1st Saturday June, July, Aug laumeiersculpturepark.org

Memorial Day Monday, May 29

Innsbrook Ultramax Triathalon

The Winter’s Tale Shakespeare Festival

Fair St. Louis

July 2-4 Art Hill in Forest Park fairsaintlouis.org Independence Day Tuesday, July 4

June 10 Innsbrook Resort innsbrook-resort.com May 31-June 25 nightly ex. Tuesdays Shakespeare Glen in Forest Park sfstl.com

Fathers Day Sunday, June 18 34 | COUNTY LIVING magazine | WWW.COUNTYLIVINGMAG.COM

Contemporary Indian Art Show July 8-9 Cahokia Mounds cahokiamounds.org


SPRING 2017 | COUNTY LIVING magazine | 35


Get Away from It All, Together at Innsbrook


s we experience life, we learn to not cut corners when it comes to investing in our family, health or happiness. In the recreational lake community of Innsbrook, just 30 minutes west of Chesterfield, there are no shortcuts to the magical memories created by family togetherness. A community that you can grow with, Innsbrook has evolved to suit the needs of today’s young families, busy commuters, active retirees and all those in between, yet has always kept a firm hold on its roots – those anchored in family and nature. Hike one of the numerous nature trails for an invigorating walk through the woods, or let the kids splash around in the new community swimming pool overlooking the outdoor concert field. Fish the day away or simply sit back and enjoy the view from the privacy of your own deck. Inspired by the picturesque ski chalets sprinkled through the hills of Aspen, Colorado and infused with family and nature-centric Midwestern values, Innsbrook is becoming the premier getaway opportunity for more and more St. Louis area families with every passing summer. Spacious and custom built or cozy and rustic, there is something for everyone at Innsbrook, including unique recreational A-frame chalets that are reminiscent of treehouse living, contemporary cottages, luxurious year-round or sec-

ondary homes, and maintenance-free condos. You can find a retreat for all ages, budgets and lifestyles in this secure and serene Midwest getaway. Innsbrook offers fun on the water at a tranquil pace, with its more than 100 lakes and plenty of opportunities for paddleboarding, fishing and peaceful pontooning, made possible by the community’s no-gas-powered boating rules. Hide away with your loved ones and create your own fun with a nature-themed scavenger hunt, family fishing tournament or campfire stories by the lake. Or, leave the entertainment up to Innsbrook’s “professionals of fun” who put together a thrilling summer music series, engaging kids’ camps and workshops, and art and learning opportunities for adults. So get ready to sit back, relax and cast a line with an escape to Innsbrook, where data plans are optional, but family time is required. Get a glimpse of the Innsbrook experience today by booking a trip to a vacation condo, playing a scenic round of golf, visiting a new dining destination or viewing an open house – all options at Innsbrook that are available to the public. Explore Innsbrook online at www.ibkconnect.com or come out for lunch at the Clubhouse and tour their open houses held every weekend. clm


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SPRING 2017 | COUNTY LIVING magazine | 37



Discovering a Hidden Treasure in a Sinkhole


fter a sinkhole opened up atop a golf course at Big Cedar Lodge’s Top of the Rock Ozarks Heritage Preserve in May of 2015, noted conservationist and Bass Pro Shops founder Johnny Morris is deep into a treasure hunt that may well reveal a hidden natural wonder buried deep within the Ozarks. The collapse occurred after heavy rainfalls throughout the Ozark region, resulting in the creation of a large sinkhole spanning 70 feet across and running 40 feet deep. It occurred directly adjacent to the meticulously landscaped Tom Watson-designed putting green and drew worldwide media attention to Big Cedar Lodge and Top of the Rock Golf Course, just south of Branson, Missouri. After considering filling the hole with large boulders and restoring the golf course to its original design, Morris instead chose to explore it, in hopes of finding a secret passageway and uncovering a massive cave system underneath the golf course and surrounding area. "A treasure hunt is underway and we hope to one day discover a new natural wonder lying below,” said Johnny Morris, who has been overseeing the big dig. “It’s been an exciting few months here at Top

of the Rock and we hope the best is yet to come.” Water from the sinkhole drained out from a cave about one mile away that Morris personally discovered 23 years ago, leading him to believe the two may be connected by a long cave system. Morris's exploits were documented in a National Geographic feature story in April 1998. Five years of excavating and several dead ends later, they revealed a cavern, home to beautiful rock formations National Geographic described as, “an underground chapel.” Morris always wondered if the cave was linked to a more comprehensive underground system. After water rushed out from the mouth following the new sinkhole implosion, his interest was renewed and the treasure hunt was on once more. Visitors don’t have to wait for a new cavern to be discovered to enjoy a cave experience at Top of the Rock, however. The Lost Canyon Cave and Nature Trail, a self guided golf cart adventure, offers guests an opportunity to drive through another nearby cave that hints at the wonder that may be hiding just a few hundred feet away. Golf also continues at Top of the Rock, which is hosting the PGA TOUR’s Bass Pro Shops Legends of Golf Tournament this spring.


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Arts & Thoughts


Missourians can't help it. They keep tearing Lawrence down.


pologies to the good people of Lawrence, Kansas--both of them--but there's bad blood between them and us. In fact, the Civil War really began along the border between Missouri and Kansas, long before the first shots rang out at Fort Sumter. The first time Lawrence got torched was in 1856 during the Bleeding Kansas conflict. Jesse James was only eight years old, so it's doubtful his mom let him make the trip. Seven years later, he likely missed the second burning of Lawrence, too. But brother Frank was there, along with William Quantrill, Bloody Bill Anderson, Archie Clement and a cadre of Bushwhackers. Ang Lee's movie, Ride with the Devil, wasn't the first celluloid treatment of the 1863 burning of Lawrence. But he was the first to use an old abandoned Missouri town as the movie set. Lee found the perfect torchable town in Old Pattonsburg, Missouri, a town so ravaged by floods that the inhabitants moved out of the Grand River valley, up the hill and established a new Pattonsburg. Left behind, venerable old brick buildings–a church, a post office, mercantile stores--stood empty along Old Pattonsburg's main street.

With Hollywood skill, Lee transformed the old ghost town, made it look like Lawrence, and torched it again. Ang Lee's circus of actors and technicians and trailers added a cash infusion to the local economy. Motel rooms sold out for weeks as movie crews spent money in local stores on food and booze and gas and stuff. After Lee's movie, folks were excited

that a burgeoning movie industry might take a foothold in this old ghost town, which could be dressed up to look like anytown main street from the 1850s to the 1950s. With low overhead that would compete with the Canadian film industry, the town was poised to nickname itself Movie Set, Missouri. Instead, local authorities finished off what Bushwhacker actors had left standing. After Ang Lee’s carnival left the old ghost town, locals razed the solid old buildings on Main Street. They just tore them down. According to more than one source, the county couldn't afford liability insurance. Plus, law enforcement authorities worried that kids would party in the empty streets and buildings. Legitimate concerns. But with one big movie under its belt, Old Pattonsburg had street cred. It could have provided the small-town backdrop for movies about any era from Twain to Truman. Film a movie on the lot once every ten years, and you could reap enough income for liability insurance, two deputies to chase out the vagrants, and enough money left over to pay a few teachers’ salaries. It was a forfeiture of forward thinking. Kansans had the last laugh. They rebuilt Lawrence. Old Pattonsburg bit the dust. But if there's ever a living testament to the phrase "Life goes on," it's new Pattonsburg. When the citizens of Old Pattonsburg got tired of the floods and planned their new shining city on a hill, they designed a new school in the shape of a geodesic dome. They built a modern business district, with artifacts from Old Pattonsburg. In a new Pattonsburg store I found a mural commemorating Ride with the Devil. The scene, painted by Elanor McMahall, is a reminder of Old Pattonsburg's last days, when Ang Lee brought his Hollywood carnival to town, dressed her up like Lawrence and set her ablaze. It’s a vivid story of a tragic time set in a Missouri ghost town that had endured her own turbulence. Rest in peace, Old Pattonsburg. You went out with a bang. More of John's travel stories are available at http://johndrakerobinson.com/ clm


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SPRING 2017 | COUNTY LIVING magazine | 41

Home Remodeling

Make Your Home a SMART Home

Control all from your smart phone, tablet or smart watch. THE FUTURE IS HERE Welcome to the future’s smart home, today. Advance Security & Technologies utilizes the Alarm.com platform, the leader in Smart Home Security, giving you solutions to monitor, protect and automate your home. More than a smart app or a cool thermostat, it seamlessly connects the key devices in your home on one platform – so they work together, and work smarter. Every solution can be easily customized to your home’s unique configuration and your needs. Upgrade your smart home with simple control and intelligent automation across all of your connected devices, all in one totally integrated system. With Advance Security & Technologies, you don’t have to worry about how to install a new device, or how to get your security system and lights to work together. Their professionally installed systems are configured to your home and controlled in one app. This platform also integrates with Lutron, Apple TV and Amazon Echo, making the possibilities seem endless.


FINDING THE RIGHT SECURITY PROVIDER As one of the most experienced security companies in the St. Louis area, Advance Security & Technologies brings twenty years of experience to homeowners, applying the dedication and expertise that they also apply to the school districts and retailers throughout the St. Louis area. Unlike national alarm companies with out-of-town monitoring, all Advance Security & Technologies security monitoring is performed right here in St. Louis County by a Five Diamond Certified monitoring center, providing quicker and more knowledgeable response. They also offer the most competitive pricing for technology features, and an all-inclusive monitoring fee, without adding costs for add-on features, such as thermostat control or garage door automation. For a free estimate of a custom-designed security and control system for your home or business, you can call Advance Security & Technologies at 314-287-6330 or by email at info@aststl.com. They are proud members of the Kirkwood/Des Peres Chamber and BNI Mid America, as well as MBE Certified, and they are happy to provide excellent references. You can learn more about them at www.ASTSTL.com. clm

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Stone and Tile Floors Looking Dull? Ugly Grout?


ost stone or tile damage can be corrected. Whether it’s dull, stained, suffering water spots, cracks or chips, the problem can be addressed. A true stone professional will work with you to assess the root cause and to formulate a strategy to avoid a recurrence. For the stone or tile surfaces in your home, it makes sense to contact a local specialist to discuss what can be done to restore them, and how to maintain them day-to-day. A brief dialog can extend the life of your stone and tile and save you from costly errors. The good news is that most problems are repairable and cost substantially less than replacement. Proper selection and application of a sealer can reduce or prevent damage from stains and water. A ColorSeal treatment of your sanded grout can not only restore your original grout color but also topically seal it to better resist future stains. Many glass and tile cleaners will actually dissolve grout, leaving a rough spot. Fortunately, even this can be repaired. Grout repair and sealing are part of the repair and restoration process. Experienced stone and tile craftsmen can provide pointers on how to maintain your stone and tile surfaces to keep them looking like the day they were installed. Your ceramic, porcelain, marble, granite, terrazzo, limestone or travertine will look new when your great-grandchildren come to visit generations from now. Don’t give up on your stone, tile or grout. For expert advice and restoration, you can call the professionals at MARBLELIFE-Groutmasters at 888-254-9488 or visit their website at www.marblelife-stlouis.com. clm SPRING 2017 | COUNTY LIVING magazine | 43


Home Remodeling

The Basement Egress Window Adds safety, appeal and value to your home

inishing your basement is the most efficient way to add useable space to your home. If you have or are planning sleeping rooms downstairs, you need to make sure that there are two exits for emergencies. If your home does not have a walk-out basement, this usually requires an escape, or egress window. It is important to know your local residential building codes for egress. St. Louis County building permit requirements state that all basement bedrooms must have one window for emergency escape with a sill no more than 44 inches above the floor and a minimum clear opening area of 5.0 square feet. The emergency escape window must be operable from the inside without need for special knowledge, tools, or extra force beyond that required for a normal window. But don’t just think of the basement egress window as a requirement. It can also add natural light and ventilation and with an expanded window well it can be an attractive feature, with flowers and plants on the terraced steps. The overall enhancements of safety, light, ventilation and more attractive appearance add to the value of your home. One company that is expert in structural basement improvements is Woods Basement Systems. They will be happy to give you a free estimate to install a basement egress window in your home. You can call them at 866-735-1890 or learn more at betterbasementvalue.com. clm




You can’t see, smell or taste it . . . and it may be in your home.


adon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas produced by the breakdown of uranium in soil, rock and water. Radon is drawn into homes from the surrounding soil, through foundation cracks and other openings. Radon gas decays into radioactive particles that can get trapped in your lungs when you breathe. These particles can damage lung tissue and lead to lung cancer over the course of your lifetime. It’s estimated that radon causes over 21,000 deaths each year in the U.S, and it is now the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States. About one in three homes in the Midwest has detectable levels of radon, but you can protect the future of your family’s health by addressing radon risks now. RADON TESTING You can purchase a do-it-yourself testing kit, or hire a radon measurement specialist to do it. If you are buying or selling a property, it is recommended that a licensed professional conduct the test to furnish a certified radon level report.

RADON MITIGATION If your radon levels are found to be elevated, the Environmental Protection Agency recommends that you have a qualified radon mitigation contractor reduce your radon levels. Air drawn through cracks in your foundation that contains radon needs to be redirected. One or more holes are drilled in the concrete basement floor and connected to a PVC pipe that directs the air up to a fan unit that draws and vents it safely away from your home. Other cracks, spaces and joints are sealed to keep radon from entering. Within thirty days, retesting is done to make sure that the system is effectively removing any radon from your home. A leader in radon mitigation in our area is Woods Basement Systems, Inc. They can provide you a radon testing kit for just $22.00, including lab fees. Woods is also is certified to provide radon mitigation, to make your home a healthier, safe environment. You can call them to discuss radon at 866-735-1890, and you can learn more about their radon services at www.betterbasementvalue.com. clm

Finest Custom Table Pads at Factory-Direct Prices The way to assure perfect fit for table pads is for the provider to visit your home to accurately measure and show you sample colors and textures to match your table and décor. Custom Table Pads & Linens, an independent St. Louis dealer, provides the finest custom Americanmade table pads at factory-direct prices. They measure at your home or business, and show you a choice of 23 vinyl tops and 5 velvet bottoms. Perfect fit is guaranteed. Pads are heat resistant to 550 o, moisture and warp resistant. Patented hidden magnets minimize separation and slippage on your table. Custom Table Pads & Linens also sells country club quality table linens and accessories in hundreds of colors and textures, with the look and feel of cotton linen at a fraction of the cost.

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SPRING 2017 | COUNTY LIVING magazine | 45

Home Remodeling

How is Your Home Performing? Solutions for Increasing Comfort and Reducing Energy Bills


chieving these improvements starts with proper evaluation and testing. A Home Energy Evaluation identifies causes of comfort problems and high energy consumption, and suggests cost-effective remedies. A Blower Door Fan draws outside air into the house to detect and diagnose air leaks. Thermal Scanning with an infrared camera that “sees through walls” can measure how effectively your insulation is working. Solving the Problems Based on the findings, a proposal is developed that identifies steps to reduce energy use and increase comfort. Recommendations are provided that can have the biggest impact on energy use, comfort and savings. Common recommended improvements often include: Air Sealing - Your home may be leaking air, resulting in drafts and rooms that don’t heat or cool effectively. Air sealing

is the first step to a more comfortable and energy-efficient home. Insulation is also important to an energy-efficient home. Find out how much insulation you have, how it’s performing and whether you need more. Crawlspace Sealing - Cold floors, poor air quality and energy inefficiency can be

caused by unsealed crawlspaces below. Sealing prevents moisture and air infiltration. In the St. Louis area, one long-established company is helping solve home performance problems. Dr. Energy Saver STL, part of the Woods Basement Systems organization, performs the Home Energy Evaluation at no charge – totally free - to help you discover where your home is using, losing, and wasting energy. Dr. Energy Saver also can perform the critical home energy-saving services needed to address the specific problems identified, such as adding insulation, sealing air leaks in your home, crawl space encapsulation and more. The results will show up in lower energy bills. To schedule a no-obligation Home Energy Evaluation in your home, you can call Dr. Energy Saver at 866-7351890, or you can learn more about them at www.betterbasementvalue.com.

Custom CLOSET AND HOME OFFICE SOLUTIONS For better-organized storage and work spaces


t seems that when most homes were built, little thought was given to wardrobe, storage or at-home work needs of families who were going to live there. Maybe that’s why most of us have closets where there never seems to be room to put everything or ways to find anything. And according to the National Association of Home Builders, a walk-in closet rated number one in the amenities builders planned to include in homes they were building in 2015. Fortunately for homes built before 2015, today there is the opportunity for closet systems and other space solutions that are customdesigned to meet specific and changing needs of each member of the family. For closets and workspaces that are more functional and enjoyable to use, it pays to consider a custom system. A professional designer can provide a solution that will work best for your specific needs, and flexibility to adapt as needs change over time.

The process starts from scratch with the designer creating an organizational portrait of family members who will use the space, asking about their needs, accurately measuring and inventorying items that need to go in it. And to make it your own, offering choices of hardware, materials, specialized accessories and finishes. The leader in custom-designed storage and workspaces for the home is Closet Factory. They emphasize customization in every step of their process, which begins with a free in-home consultation by an experienced designer. You’ll be presented with a selection of drawers, shelving, handles and knobs in an extensive array of the finest materials and finishes, from basic laminates to dramatic solid woods. Once you’ve approved every feature and finishing touch, each piece is manufactured to specification in their own factory. For your own custom consultation, you may call Closet Factory at (314) 227-1936. clm


Mold In Your Home Can Threaten Your Health Don’t delay addressing the problem, or it could get worse.


old has received a great deal of media attention in recent years. The effects of mold on our bodies are just now being understood and while rare, serious health effects from exposure do occur. Black mold can cause allergic reactions that include runny noses, itchy and watery eyes, coughing, sneezing and throat irritation. This can develop into asthma and obstructive pulmonary disease. When moisture is present, molds can grow on virtually any substance, and people are more susceptible to the health effects when it occurs indoors. Prompt attention to water damage or visible mold can often keep a minor problem from becoming major. It is important that experts in interior mold are called in when it is first suspected to determine the scope of the damage as well as action plans for removal. One company with extensive experience in mold inspection and remediation is St. Louis Cleaning & Restoration, formerly known as Steamatic of St. Louis. Their technicians and environmental professionals have the experience and tools to assess mold damage and also the cause, including ambient moisture and humidity problems. They will determine if a loss is indicated, the scope of work required and a cost estimate for removal. Once the estimate is accepted, work can begin quickly. St. Louis Cleaning & Restoration has experience working in collaboration with insurance companies and has earned their trust and respect. They use only the highest quality HEPA filtration equipment and state-of-the-art technology to treat and abate fungal contamination.

Technicians will first stabilize the environment to control moisture levels if necessary. Areas with heavy mold growth will be cleaned, sanded, HEPA vacuumed or removed as necessary. If there is microbial growth within your air system, their technicians will use their proprietary equipment

to clean and treat the system with an antimicrobial solution. If you suspect a mold problem in your home or place of business, you can call St. Louis Cleaning & Restoration at 314-3845707, and you can learn more about their services at www.stlcandr.com. clm

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SPRING 2017 | COUNTY LIVING magazine | 47

For Your Information

Common Computer Related Problems



And what to do about them

ver the last 20 years, there has been a great proliferation of technologies that are now common in most of our homes – Internet, wireless networks, cloud computing, smart phones, high-definition TV, streaming entertainment, virtual reality, and of course computers that are much more powerful than ever. While these technologies are becoming more user-friendly, that doesn’t mean they are without glitches, difficult-to-understand setup instructions, frustrations when they don’t work, and even some malicious online parties that are out to take your money with the threat of losing your functionality or data. In this column, I will be discussing common problems that you have probably encountered, and helping you deal with them. After you have tried to handle such problems on your own, it may be a better use of your time to call professionals who can help get you beyond the frustrations and on the path to enjoying your technology and having it working more productively for you. Dede Catsavis is founder and owner of Computer Tutors. For 20 years they have provided computer services to thousands of satisfied, happy customers. Computer Tutors comes to your home or office to work on Windows and MAC computers, set up home networks, eliminate viruses and can help with any of your other electronics. You can reach them by phone at 314-608-7920, and you can learn more about them at www.computertutors.net. clm

HERE ARE QUESTIONS OUR CUSTOMERS ARE ASKING US, AND SOME ANSWERS THAT I HOPE WILL HELP: My Wireless Network (Wi-Fi) only works on some of my devices, or in limited areas of my house. Factors that can limit Wi-Fi effectiveness include how your home is built and objects that can block signals – steel or concrete construction and objects like air vents or aquariums, as well as interference from neighbors’ networks and other gadgets. These can all affect your signal strength and coverage. The placement (and type) of your router also can affect Wi-Fi coverage and signal strength. Some easy maintenance you can do yourself can help. But to get at the cause and solve these problems, we can analyze your network and determine how to extend wireless coverage, eliminate dead spots and speed it up. How do I know whether to have my computer or printer fixed, or is it better to just get new equipment? When problems come after the warranty expires, you are faced with decisions about each component: whether it is worthwhile to repair it, upgrade it or purchase new. Furthermore, some problems – like software issues – are not covered by your warranty. As new technologies get much better, the price of repair goes up and the price of new comes down, for many items such as printers it just isn’t worth fixing the old equipment, especially as parts become unavailable or more costly. We can help you weigh the pros and cons of fix/repair/upgrade vs. purchasing new equipment. From time to time I get alerts on my screen that my computer has been blocked, my data or files are in danger. A phone number is provided for me to call have the problem fixed. DO NOT call a phone number on your computer screen, and DO NOT let them connect remotely to your computer. These messages are NOT legit. They are from scam operators, often from outside the US, who try to get you to pay unnecessary charges and give them your credit card information. They may say they are from “Microsoft” or “Apple” or “AT&T” or a tech support company. What you should do when this happens is turn off your computer and call a reputable service company. We can make sure your computer has not been compromised, and help prevent these unwelcome hackers from getting access to your computer in the future.


SPRING 2017 | COUNTY LIVING magazine | 49

Not Your Typical Road Trip County Living columnist

John Drake Robinson won an


for his unique travelogs based on his books.

Coastal Missouri and A Road Trip Into America’s Hidden Heart

In this age of interstates and instant gratification, Robinson took the long way around the state, with his only constant companion: his car. “. . . we’ve dodged rabbits and turtles, texters and drunks. We’ve slid sideways in sleet, jumped curbs and low-water crossings. We’ve passed every pun on every roadside marquee, every time and temperature sign, every clip joint and carny barker and corn dog vendor, every barbeque shack and TexMex taco stand. And we’ve stopped at most of ‘em.”


Available at: Left Bank Books and other fine bookstores. Or on Amazon.com

For Your Information

This Book Should Be in Every Home in St. Louis


any of us who have lived in the St. Louis area our whole lives don’t know much about our own history. We learn in school about world history, US history and facts about Miss ou r i gover nment, but very little is taught about the history of our own county. And newcomers to St. Louis generally know even less about the area. To help all of us feel more connected to our own community, County Living Publications has re-published The History of St. Louis County, Missouri by William Lyman Thomas, a 100-year old book that documents our history from the earliest settlers through the Civil War and into the first decade of the 20th century. It documents what life was like 100 years ago here - the towns, neighborhoods, schools, churches, social societies, government, businesses, transportation and amusements of the period, and thousands of the people who were active in these endeavors. This is a quality softbound book of over 500 pages, with more than 100 historic photographs. Now available at: Amazon.com Barnes & Noble Stores Book House in Maplewood Campbell House in Downtown St. Louis Left Bank Books The Louisiana Purchase Gift Shop at Missouri History Museum Main Street Books in St. Charles Museum of Transportation Gift Shops in Kirkwood The Novel Neighbor in Webster Groves Rose’s Book House in O’Fallon St. Louis Genealogical Society in Maplewood Subterranean Books in University City World News in Clayton For more information, you can visit www.StLCountyHistory.com clm

Read more stories at johndrakerobinson.com/blog 50 | COUNTY LIVING magazine | WWW.COUNTYLIVINGMAG.COM

How to Lower Your Property Taxes BY STEVEN A. WEBER

Thousands of Home Owners Receive Tax Reductions. Will You Get Yours – and As Much As You Deserve?

CHANCES ARE THAT YOUR PROPERTY TAXES ARE TOO HIGH. All St. Louis City and County properties will be reappraised by the County Assessors in 2017. This value is used to determine your property taxes for 2017 and 2018. This appraised value is supposed to represent the market value of your home as of January 1, 2017. St. Louis County residents will receive a Change of Assessment Notice from the Assessor in May of 2017 only if the “appraised” value on your home has increased. Even if the Assessor lowers your appraised value, or keeps it the same, we have found that for many properties inaccuracies in their records mean their appraised value is still too high based on recent sale prices of comparable homes. SINCE 2009 WE HAVE FILED OVER 10,000 APPEALS IN ST. LOUIS COUNTY ALONE RESULTING IN OVER $7,000,000 IN TAX SAVINGS TO HOMEOWNERS. The simple fact is – assessors make mistakes. They utilize computer based mass appraisal techniques, market averages and neighborhood models to determine property values, which may not accurately reflect your property value. These errors and miscalculations end up costing you money year after year. A NO-RISK RESOURCE FOR HOMEOWNERS. You now have the opportunity to have your appraised value professionally reviewed to determine if you are being fairly taxed. We base our opinion of market value not on mass computer modeling like the Assessor does but on real comparable sales in your neighborhood. Our firm, PAR Residential, does all the work and only earns a fee if we are successful in lowering your taxes. All costs of the appeal are paid by PAR Residential including legal fees (our attorney bills us at $250/hour) and appraisal (an independent appraisal

6. Fee. Only if we are successful in achieving a reduction in your property’s appraised value will we earn a fee, sharing equally in the tax savings (50/50). All of our work is performance based: NO SAVINGS, NO FEE. There are no additional costs to you for any of our work. We pay all costs of the appeal including legal and appraisal. Our invoice will be sent to you once tax rates are set in the fall of each year arriving about the same time you receive your reduced tax bill. would cost you $350). Here’s how it works: 1. Set up a file. PAR will gather information from you and County records, including the assessor’s “appraisal”, and set up a case file on your home. 2. Determination of Fair Value. PAR Residential will determine a fair appraised value for your property based on real comparable sales in your neighborhood. We will then compare our appraised value to the assessor’s appraised value to determine whether an appeal is necessary. 3. Notification. We will notify you of the results of our review of your new appraised value. If we determine the assessor’s appraised value is fair no appeal will be filed. There will be no cost to you for our time and efforts. 4. File your appeal before the July 10 deadline. If we determine that your property is over-valued by the assessor, our attorney will, at our expense, file an appeal on your behalf and provide the required information to the Board of Equalization. 5. Board of Equalization (BOE) hearings will take place July through August. The PAR Residential Team will attend the hearing and argue your case. We will send you the official BOE results to you in September and let you know if your appraised value has been reduced to a fair and appropriate amount, or if we need to continue your appeal to the State Tax Commission of Missouri. SPRING 2017 | COUNTY LIVING magazine | 51

You can learn more about saving money on your real estate taxes, the assessment and the appeal process by visiting our website www.parresidential.com. Interested in signing up? The enrollment process is quick and easy, visit our website and sign up online today! Specific questions can be answered by emailing them to info@parresidential.com or by calling PAR Residential at 314-454-0505 from 9am to 5pm Monday through Friday. clm Steven A. Weber is Partner – Director of Valuation at Property Assessment Review and PAR Residential. His team of experts has the experience, market and legal knowledge to achieve the biggest tax reduction possible on residential properties. He has been reducing property taxes for 30 years, and before that was a Senior Appraiser for St. Louis County for five years. Property Assessment Review is the leading property tax consulting firm in St. Louis, saving over $100 million for some of the region’s largest commercial taxpayers – the St. Louis Galleria, Solon Gershman, Duke Realty, Mills Properties and US Bank. In 2008, PAR created PAR Residential to represent home owners in St. Louis County. PAR’s residential clients have saved over $7,000,000 in real estate taxes since 2009 with over 80% of appeals resulting in tax savings.

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52 | COUNTY LIVING magazine | WWW.COUNTYLIVINGMAG.COM ©2017 Closet Factory. All rights reserved.


Profile for County Living Magazine

2017 Spring Issue  

2017 Spring Issue