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WINTER/EARLY SPRING 2017
8 RANDOM MUSINGS from Gerry Mandel
HEALTH & FITNESS
10 What is Keeping You from Achieving Your Fitness Goals? 11 Open Upright MRI: A Rare Experience in Missouri 12 Scientific Breakthrough for Strength, Balance and Bones 14 An Effective Solution for an Uncomfortable Problem 16 Hypnosis Can Be Your Key to Change 17 Mold In Your Home Can Threaten Your Health 18 Lakeside Cottage Living at Cape Albeon
20 High Tech Home Inspections 21 The Basement Egress Window 22 Stone and Tile Floors Looking Dull? Ugly Grout? 23 Make Your Home a Smart Home 24 Custom Closet and Home Office Solutions 26 How is Your Home Performing? 27 Radon is a Silent Killer
28 Spring Activities & Events Calendar 29 Avalon Waterways Changes Travelers’ Views 30 Big Cedar Lodge Named #1 Resort in Midwest 32 A Theatrical Train Robbery by John Robinson
LANDSCAPES & EXTERIORS
34 Does Your Home Have Damage from Wind or Hail? 36 The Pleasure and Beauty of Professional Landscape Lighting 38 Great Room Comfort: Eliminate Excessive Heat and Glare 40 Relax, Refresh, Rejuvenate with Your Own Water Habitat 42 You Can Have a Garden that Deer Won’t Destroy 44 Keeping Wooden Roofs Beautiful 45 Save Money by Renewing Your Outdoor Furniture
FOR YOUR INFORMATION
46 How to Lower Your Property Taxes 48 Technology Is Great, Except When It Doesn’t Work 49 If Your Business Accepts Credit Cards, You Could Save a Lot of Money 50 A Book that Should Be in Every Home in St. Louis 51 Help for Trustees and Condo Boards for Their Communities
COUNTYLIVING I have always loved reading magazines. Maybe that’s why I started and publish this one. One of my favorite magazines of all is The New Yorker. And one of the features I have always been attracted to in that magazine is their cartoons, or as one of their former editors insisted on referring to them, “the drawings.” Since 1925 they have published the best cartoons you will find anywhere. Most of them elicit at least a smile and sometimes a chortle. I love sharing them with friends.
I am happy to tell you that starting with this issue, our publication is featuring cartoons from The New Yorker. We have access under license to the best from their collection. I hope you enjoy them, and I am interested in hearing what you think of having the cartoons in this magazine. We’re also asking you to vote for your one favorite cartoon is in this issue. In addition to a few chortles, you could win an Adventure Pass for two and $50 toward dinner at Big Cedar Lodge in the Ozarks – see the ad on page 31. Todd Abrams
F R E E ROOF INSPECTION FOR HAIL AND STORM DAMAGE
VOLUME 17 | WINTER/EARLY SPRING 2017
staff PUBLISHER/EDITOR Todd Abrams CREATIVE DIRECTOR Fran Sherman GRAPHIC DESIGN Eric Null PRINTING ADVISOR Creative Printing Services DISTRIBUTION DATABASE Target Marketing Technologies
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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 Weber * Donald Reilly Peter Steiner * Leo Cullum
on the cover
An Elegant Replacement Roof Adds Value to Your Home
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.
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When you need a new or replacement roof - cedar shake, slate, composite, tile or asphalt shingle – call St. Louis Slate & Shake Restoration Consulting & Design, the third-generation St. Louis contractor and consumer advocate for homeowners. PHOTO BY RICK PETERS
There is nothing quite like the beautiful look of a fresh cedar shake roof - either newly power-washed, stained and sealed, or a brand new shake roof like shown in this photo. This beautiful home in St. Albans shows off taper-sawn, hand-split oldgrowth Canadian cedar shingles. In this area, St. Louis Slate & Shake, formerly Aspen Touch, is the expert team with more than 25 years experience installing, caring for, repairing and replacing cedar roofs, Brava tile and asphalt roofs, as well as natural wood siding. You can call them for a free estimate at 636-220-7700, and learn more about them in articles on page 34 and 44, and their ad on page 7. 6 | COUNTY LIVING magazine | WWW.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.
Whether the need is from normal wear or wind or hail damage, we have the experience to determine whether your roof can be restored or needs replacing. Our company is the St. Louis expert in roof restoration, replacement, cleaning and sealing.
We are consumer advocates for homeowners, helping guide you through the insurance claim process and assisting you in getting the maximum benefit your policy allows. Before contacting your insurance company, contact us for a free evaluation and consultation on your home’s exterior and any storm damage. We are fully licensed, bonded and insured. Call or email today for a free inspection and no-obligation estimate.
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Arts & Thoughts
musings FROM GERRY MANDEL
You Call is Important To Us. Really.
t all began in 1896 when Mr. Bell spoke into a strange looking device. “Mr. Watson, come here. I want to see you.” Watson heard and came running, quite excited. Over the past 120 years, we have evolved to the point where the leader of the free world tweets his thoughts to millions from his smart phone. I guess that’s some form of progress.
Yes, the telephone is one of the most powerful and versatile tools ever invented. Better than the microwave, power steering, and even the cotton gin. I’m not sure what the cotton gin is but my history book said it was important. I was going to add Slinky in here, since I saw one at a History Museum exhibit recently. But Slinky has limited uses. Like one. I imagine a segment of our population doesn’t know what a dial telephone is. In fact, they may not even be familiar with the word “telephone.” They use smart phones, iPhones, cell phones, Galaxy, and things I’ve never heard of. Whatever you call it, whatever is in your pocket or within reach is still, at heart, a telephone. A communication device. Also a recording device. Sound and picture. Here’s what got me into this telephone frame of mind. Recently I learned something about phone calls that surprised me. Pay attention. This is important. Your phone call can be recorded without your knowledge or approval. That’s right. Forty-two out of fifty states, including Missouri, legally permit the other party to record your phone conversation. I started thinking about this when I called a credit card company about an item that showed up on my statement, an item I didn’t remember buying. I dialed (strange word, “dialed”) the 800 number, which took me efficiently through my options, which I made note of because “the menu had changed recently.” How often do they change these menus? Seems like every 48 hours. This was after I pressed “1” because I don’t speak Spanish, except for “la cerveza” and “donde esta el bano?” (“Beer” and “Where’s the bathroom?”). When I got to my destination, I was greeted with this news: “This call may be recorded for quality and training purposes.” You’ve heard that before, right? We’ve known of it for several years. Only now, after I completed my inquiry
- it was for two bags of Irish oatmeal, called porridge, that I bought on Amazon - I hung up. That’s also a quaint notion. “Hang up,” as in “Replace the receiver on the cradle.” Anyway, I began to wonder about my recording session. How would they use my call for “quality purposes”? I talk pretty well on the phone but I wouldn’t call it quality conversation. Maybe they look for unusual attitude or unexplained hesitations. Is it my quality they listen to, or their employee’s quality? And what about that “training purposes” thing? “Training who?” I wondered. I picture a classroom full of eager “sales associates” hanging on my every phrase, the instructor replaying my words while pointing out how nervous I sound underneath my glib remarks, obviously worried if someone has hacked my credit card or I was overcharged and had no chance to get a refund. You never know. But mainly I wondered if they had the legal right to do this. If perhaps they needed my agreement to be recorded. A few minutes with Google and I had my answer. Yes, they can. And only one party need agree. I also found out the real reason for this intrusion. It is to insulate the company from lawsuits. “Quality and training purposes” sounds a lot friendlier than, “If you’re thinking about suing us, don’t. You’ll lose.” Look, I’ve got enough things to worry about besides my recorded calls. In a way, it’s nice to know I’m creating some kind of legacy. Maybe they will issue a “Best Phone Calls of the Year” someday. I’m sure mine will be included. Especially the one about porridge. Gerry Mandel is a free-lance writer and video/biography producer. He also writes two blogs, which he invites you to enjoy. HeyYouHoser.blogspot.com, and TimeWithCharlieChaplin.blogspot.com. Your comments are welcome. clm
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Health & Fitness
What Is Keeping You from Reaching Your Weight Loss and Fitness Goals? BY BRET KLIETHERMES
The three solutions to helping you achieve your health and weight loss goals.
et’s face it: most of us would like to improve some part of our health and fitness, with weight loss usually being at the top of the list. We have been conditioned to believe that a pill, fad diet or a special machine will solve all of our weight loss problems in no time flat. You and I both know it’s simply not that easy. If you’re looking for a “real” way to reach and maintain the goals you want then follow these three solutions: 1. Incorporate a complete exercise and nutrition program and commit to it. Eat 4 to 6 small healthy meals per day and perform a combination of aerobic and resistance training exercise for 40 to 60 minutes 3-6 times a week. Take out your calendar right now and mark off these days each week for the next 12 weeks for when you will commit to your training. Then do it!.
Trish Burton lost 42 lbs and 19 inches in 20 weeks!
still walking compared to just 2% of the second group. The results show that weekly accountability increases the likelihood of sticking to your exercise program by 2200%! I have discovered that the ultimate secret to getting the results you want is finding a coach who understands you and provides you with an effective weight loss and exercise program, guidance, motivation, support… but most of all, a coach who holds you ACCOUNTABLE! I’ve proven it over and over again. On this page are two of my clients who have had great success. Bret Kliethermes is a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist with a Bachelors of Science in Health & Wellness Promotion from Missouri State University. He provides complete fitness programs to help his clients reach their personal health and fitness goals. Bret offers both private and semi private training to fit all budgets and schedules. For a no obligation, no pressure consultation to discuss your goals and programs you can call Bret at 314-691-9040, email email@example.com, or visit www.stronghumanfitness.com.
2. Get a professional to help you. A coach is an experienced and trusted counselor who shares their knowledge and experience to help streamline the process to reaching your goals. It’s inevitable that you Gary Stein lost 22 lbs & 7 inches in 12 weeks! will come up against hard times, uncertainties and questions on your path to losing weight and Bret works with his clients at The Fitness Partner Inc., a bougetting fit. A coach will guide, motivate, educate and support tique gym located in the Corporate Plaza Building at 14528 South you with everything that goes into a complete exercise and Outer 40 Road, Chesterfield 63017. For 23 years the Fitness Partnutrition program. ner has offered its members a more private alternative to the large box gyms that are often noisy and overcrowded. Owner/operator 3. The BIGGEST solution: Accountability. Randy Stone has more than 25 years of personal training experiIn a recent study at Virginia Polytechnic University, research- ence, knows all members by name, and can be found in the gym 6 ers started a walking program with two groups. Every week, in- days a week. The Fitness Partner is also a proud supporter of the dividuals in Group 1 got a phone call asking how their exercise Joshua Chamberlain Society, a grassroots 501c3 that provides long program was coming along. Group 2 got no calls. At the end term support to severely wounded veterans and their families from of 24 weeks, 45% of the individuals from the first group were the greater Saint Louis area. clm 10 | COUNTY LIVING magazine | WWW.COUNTYLIVINGMAG.COM
Open Upright MRI: A Rare Experience
For some, the confined space inside the MRI “tube” can make a doctor-ordered procedure impossible to complete.
laustrophobia or even panic can bring a traditional MRI scan to a halt. But now there is an alternative. The Open Upright MRI is the only one of its kind in Missouri. Patients travel hundreds of miles to the heart of St. Louis to get their MRI at Open Upright MRI of Missouri. This unique scanner is visibly different than a traditional MRI, with nothing in front of the patient’s face for most exams. Often patients can complete their MRI while watching TV. In addition to being open, the Open Upright MRI also offers positional imaging capabilities – patients can be scanned sitting, standing or in other positions in which they won’t feel pain. The scanner also accommodates patients who weigh up to 500 pounds. “An MRI is a crucial step to providing doctors with all of the diagnostic information needed to deliver the best care possible to their patients,” said Kishan Yalavarthi, M.D., Open Upright MRI of Missouri medical director. “For patients who are claustrophobic or who otherwise would not fit in a traditional MRI, the ability to sit comfortably and relax by watching television makes all the difference in helping them get through their exam.” Appointments at Open Upright MRI of Missouri are available Monday through Saturday at 11737 Olive Blvd., Creve Coeur, MO 63141. Patients with a doctor’s referral may schedule an appointment by calling 314.291.6736. You can visit Open Upright MRI of Missouri's website at OpenUprightMRIofMissouri.com for more information. clm WINTER/EARLY SPRING 2017 | COUNTY LIVING magazine | 11
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
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Health & Fitness
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 14 | COUNTY LIVING magazine | WWW.COUNTYLIVINGMAG.COM
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Health & Fitness
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.
OPEN UPRIGHT MRI if you are:
• Claustrophobic • Unable to lie down due to pain or body type • In need of Positional Scanning 11741 Olive Blvd. Creve Coeur, MO 63141 314.291.6736 (OPEN) OpenUprightMRIofMissouri.com
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
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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 anti-microbial solution. If you suspect a mold problem in your home or place of business, you can call St. Louis Cleaning & Restoration at 314-384-5707, and you can learn more about their services at www.stlcandr.com. clm WINTER/EARLY SPRING 2017 | COUNTY LIVING magazine | 17
Health & Fitness
Lakeside Cottage Living at Cape Albeon
Residents Tell Us about Their Unique Senior Living Experience
s you drive through the Cape Albeon retirement community, you feel like you have been transported to a beautiful village in New England. Picturesque cottages line both sides of the road, and they back up to two beautiful lakes. It is such a unique setting that we were curious to talk with some residents and get their impressions of living there. Jane Farrell, 95 years young, still drives and lives an active life. She and her husband moved into a lakeside cottage in 2006, and after his passing four years ago, Jane still loves her cottage. When they considered retirement living options they really wanted to be in a house rather than an apartment. From the very start, their cottage felt like home. Jane says she has the best of both worlds – she loves the independence of her own home, and she also appreciates the support of the Cape Albeon community. With a full kitchen, she prepares most meals in the cottage, but also enjoys fine dining in the beautiful dining room in The Harbor building right up the road. There are frequent outings to places of interest, and transportation is provided to shopping destinations. Jane’s family also enjoys her cottage. Her grandson, his wife and their dog spent the night with her recently, and her son in California sometimes stays in the cottage when he comes to visit. One of her favorite features is the gas log fireplace, which fires up at the flip of a switch. Joe Marino moved into a cottage at Cape Albeon last May from his home in South County. His family saw right away that this was the place for Joe, and they set up everything in the cottage just as it was in his home. He likes the quiet and comfort of lakeside living, which he says is like living at a resort in the country.
Joe spends most of his time in his four-season room with his dog. But he also appreciates the benefits of being part of the Cape Albeon community. Following recent knee surgery, he is able to do water exercises in the indoor pool. He also enjoys the happy hours and special breakfasts at The Harbor, and excursions like going to view migrating eagles in winter. Charlotte and Dwight Smith moved into their cottage two years ago. When they decided to sell their home in Chesterfield, they considered buying a villa. But they decided that they didn’t want to have to move a second time in a few years if they need more services. Cape Albeon came to their home, packed them up and moved them into their cottage. Charlotte feels that it is a great value. A number of services are included that other retirement services charge extra for, like parking, meals and worry-free maintenance and housekeeping service. They have made good friends and they really enjoy the food at The Harbor. Charlotte also enjoys entertaining in the cottage – on Christmas Eve they had sixteen relatives for dinner. Dwight likes to barbecue on their back patio. And their great grandson who lives nearby likes to come over to fish in the lake. Cape Albeon is a beautiful, caring community that also offers retirement apartments, full-service assisted living and topquality transitional memory and respite care. Cape Albeon is a not-for-profit retirement community and 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, with complimentary lunch or dinner, you can visit their website at www.CapeAlbeon.com. clm
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MD FLOORING RESIZE COMING
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High-Tech Home Inspections BY PAUL MACNEILL
Today’s Forensic Investigations Can Save You Money and Headaches
hen most homeowners see a stain or experience a leak in their home, they call a contractor and most of the time that works. However, sometimes the condition returns, meaning that the source of the leak was not found. Repeated repairs and remediation can be very costly. But today’s forensic investigations bring new scientific tools to the tasks of home and commercial building inspection. An infrared camera sees conditions hidden in walls, assists in finding the source of leaks and significantly reduces the scope and overall cost of repair. Even more important, an infrared inspection can also help avoid hazardous conditions that could threaten the safety or health of your family. Here are some examples of how an expert with this valuable tool can provide peace of mind and help you avoid costly problems while effectively maintaining your home: • Reveal unseen problems: There are conditions not visible during a traditional home or building inspection that will likely be a complete surprise to the owner, and will certainly be a surprise to a new owner later. The homeowner was either just not aware of the condition, such as moisture leaks in a basement or from plumbing leaks, didn’t see it or it was hidden behind finished surfaces and not visible at the time of inspection. The example below is from a finished basement. The standard photo showed no problem; however, the infrared camera image shows significant moisture present behind surfaces.
• Coldest room in my home: Do you have a cold or humid room in your home, or does moisture form on a wall? An infrared camera can find a void in insulation, or a leak where the air comes in. If you have these conditions, an infrared inspection can help you focus on the precise cause of this condition. • Flat roof homes and commercial buildings: Do you have a flat roof with moisture intrusion, causing ceiling stains? Finding the source of the leak on a flat roof using traditional methods is very hard. Water takes the path of least resistance, so it may show in one room when the actual leak source is somewhere else. An in-
frared camera mounted on our sUAS (small Unmanned Aircraft System, or drone) provides a scan of the roof surface to pinpoint the areas of moisture entry and entrapment. We can also use a noninvasive moisture meter to assist in the investigation.
• Other services we can provide with a drone: Aerial photography can add a Wow factor for selling your home or commercial property, providing bird’s eye views from above. Our drone can also provide before and after photos of home additions or landscaping renovations, or just some cool pictures of your home and property. As with other professional services, when considering a home or building inspector you need to know what you’re getting. Unlike other states, there is no licensing of home inspectors in Missouri. So, it is important to find an experienced inspector who has the knowledge, training and experience, as well as the latest forensic technologies needed to provide you with accurate, educated opinions. Paul MacNeill is owner of Apple Infrared Consulting. He is a certified Forensic Investigator and is also FAA sUAS certified. He is a former president of the St. Louis chapter of the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI). Apple Infrared is fully insured and inspections can be customized to fit your needs. You can learn more about their services at www.AppleInfrared.com or reach them by phone at 314-800-5731. clm
20 | COUNTY LIVING magazine | WWW.COUNTYLIVINGMAG.COM
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
WINTER/EARLY SPRING 2017 | COUNTY LIVING magazine | 21
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.
Stone and Tile Floors Looking Dull? Ugly Grout?
Custom Table Pads & Linens 314-752-5577 | email@example.com
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 22 | COUNTY LIVING magazine | WWW.COUNTYLIVINGMAG.COM
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. They
are proud members of the Kirkwood/ D es Peres C hamber 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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Visit our HUGE outdoor showroom We’ve Been Building Fun Since 1961
WINTER/EARLY SPRING 2017 | COUNTY LIVING magazine | 23
Custom CLOSET AND HOME OFFICE SOLUTIONS
Give Your Home a Fresh New Look this Year Kathy Arnold Painting & Remodeling is a professional full service painting company. We provide exceptional interior and exterior painting, kitchen cabinet refinishing and remodeling.
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
Give New Life to the Furniture You Love
Do you own quality furniture, but are ready for a change? Or does a favorite piece need restoration? Experienced craftsmen can repair and refinish fine wood, and skilled upholsterers can fashion the look and feel you want in your choice of fabric and trim. Custom Furniture Works has twelve experienced craftsmen on staff to provide quality work in a timely manner, taking your job from planning to completion. They also create custom furniture from scratch. Pickup and delivery services are available. Call today for a free estimate, or visit their website to see examples of their work.
We have over 30 years experience and are considered one of the best residential painters in St. Louis. Let us bid on your project to help give your home a new personality, c ha r m a nd a t r u ly d i s t i nc t ive appea ra nce. We a r e happy to provide excellent references.
Call for a free estimate
314.324.6255 See more examples of our work at
GREAT ROOM, ENTRY AND ACCENT WALL
KITCHEN CABINET REFINISHING
Wildlife and Native Landscaping Bring the delight of perennial wildflowers and native grasses to your own yard. Butterflies, hummingbirds and migratory birds will follow. GARDEN GREEN provides landscape design and installation of annuals, perennials, trees, shrubs, soil, stone and mulch. Offers maintenance and renovation of residential and commercial properties; spectacular gardens, identification and removal of invasive plants, rainscaping, deerresistant gardens and more.
Early spring is a great time to plant. Call or email today for a free consultation.
Custom Furniture Works
314-644-0460 6727 Manchester (just east of McCausland) www.customfurnitureworksstl.com 24 | COUNTY LIVING magazine | WWW.COUNTYLIVINGMAG.COM
WINTER/EARLY SPRING 2017 | COUNTY LIVING magazine | 25
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. clm
Radon is a SILENT KILLER
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
Call About Our Pre-Season Offer
26 | COUNTY LIVING magazine | WWW.COUNTYLIVINGMAG.COM
WINTER/EARLY SPRING 2017 | COUNTY LIVING magazine | 27
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.
Community Associations Institute Trade Show
March 7 Sheraton Westport Lakeside Chalet CAIHeartland.com/TradeShow Builders Home & Garden Show
Cardinals Home Opener
April 2 Busch Stadium cardinals.com St. Charles Home Show April 7-9 St. Charles Convention Center stlhomeshow.com/stcharles
Art Fair at Laumeier
May 12-14 Laumeier Sculpture Park laumeiersculpturepark.org Art on the Square
GO! St. Louis Marathon & Family Fitness Weekend March 9-12 America’s Center First Day of Spring March 20 Greater St. Louis Jazz Festival
April 8 & 9 Forest Park gostlouis.org
May 19-21 Belleville, IL artonthesquare.com
St. Louis Earth Day Festival Mother’s Day May 14 March 20-22 Touhill Performing Arts Center gsljazzfest.com
Humane Society of Missouri Bark in the Park April 23 Forest Park, Muny Grounds stlouisearthday.org
World Eagle Day Greater St. Louis Book Fair
March 26 World Bird Sanctuary worldbirdsanctuary.org
May 4-7 Greensfelder Complex - Queeny Park stlouisbookfair.org
May 22 Cricket Field Forest Park hsmo.org/bark
28 | COUNTY LIVING magazine | WWW.COUNTYLIVINGMAG.COM
Avalon Waterways didn’t change history. Only the way their travelers see it.
eeing great views is why we travel. That’s why Avalon Waterways has redefined the views for river cruisers worldwide. Their Panorama SuitesSM feature beds that face the windows and the incredible sights river cruising is famous for. In fact, on two full decks of every Suite Ship® in Europe and Southeast Asia, Avalon Waterways offers travelers a unique point-of-view: One where the view is the whole point. On other carriers’ ships, travelers face a never-changing view of the wall. On Avalon’s Suite Ships, they angled the beds to face a wall of windows so guests can enjoy the breathtaking views passing by. And in doing that, they opened their rooms up to give travelers more stateroom and bathroom space. And in focusing on both space and views, Avalon Waterways did something else that’s totally unique. Instead of offering travelers a small – often very cramped – balcony, their Open-Air Balconies® in every Panorama Suite make full use of the intended balcony experience – in any weather condition, in any season – without compromising room space. How? Avalon Waterways created the innovative Open-Air Balconies by pushing each room all the way out to the end of the ship. Then they made a whole wall of windows (with a giant, 7-foot opening). In front of the wall-to-wall windows, travelers have a love seat, chairs and table. The result is a space where they can slide the doors wide open and enjoy the feeling of sitting comfortably “outside” as the amazing views of castles and villages, rolling green hills and ancient cities pass by. Avalon Waterways is the only river cruise company that’s figured out how to give cruisers everything they want – more space, indoor/outdoor living and huge views in the comfort and privacy of their rooms. To learn more about Avalon Waterways or to book a cruise you can contact the professionals at TravelPlex, the St. Louis-based leaders in leisure travel whose journeys always exceed their clients’ expectations. You can reach them at 314-858-9077, by email at vacations@ travelplex.com, or visit them on the Web at www.TravelPlex.com/countyliving. clm
REDEFINING THE WINDOW OF OPPORTUNITY.
The last we checked, people still traveled to see. Which is precisely why we made our Panorama SuitesSM on our Suite Ships®, 30% larger than the industry standard, and created an expansive opening that blurs the line between outside and in—and yesterday and today. Our wall-to-wall and floor-to-ceiling windows open wider than any other window, creating river cruising’s one and only Open-Air Balcony®—an open invitation to discover and dream. And speaking of dreaming, we turned our beds to face the window, giving you a bed with a view for the sweetest visions ever. Of course better views are just the beginning when you sail with Avalon.
CONTACT THE AVALON WATERWAYS EXPERTS TODAY! TRAVELPLEX 31.858.9077 • www.travelplex.com/countyliving 726 North New Ballas Road, Creve Coeur, MO 63141 278 Mid Rivers Center, St. Peters, MO 63376
WINTER/EARLY SPRING 2017 | COUNTY LIVING magazine | 29
Big Cedar Lodge named Travel+Leisure’s Number One Resort in the Midwest
With honesty and integrity our goal is to provide you with the very highest quality and longest lasting copper work possible. We believe it truly matters, so all of our work is done by our own team.
CHAMPIONSHIP GOLF ach year Travel + LeiBig Cedar Lodge is home to sure, one of the most two world-class golf facilities respected destination that offer a rich golf experience authorities, asks readers to to attract visitors from across the share their opinions on desnation. Already acclaimed as the tinations around the world. region’s top golf course, Buffalo Hotels and resorts are rated on Ridge Springs is a championtheir facilities, rooms, location, ship course that has been transservice, food and drink and HORSEBACK RIDING formed by the guiding hands of overall value, and then ranked conservationist Johnny Morris in the World’s Best Awards. and renowned golf course arIn 2016, Big Cedar Lodge in chitect Tom Fazio. southwest Missouri was named Top of the Rock features the the Number One Resort in the PRIVATE CABINS BASS PRO COTTAGE INTERIOR first-ever par-3 course to be ineleven-state Midwest region. cluded in a PGA TOUR event, Perched high in the Ozark a true celebration of nature, Mountains and overlooking the Ozarks, and the game of 43,000-acre Table Rock Lake, golf. The experience includes the family-friendly Bass Pro a Jack Nicklaus 9-Hole SigShops resort is a destination for nature Course and an Arnold families from across the counPalmer Driving Range. Two new try who love the outdoors. With courses are currently being con4,600 acres of reserve land, Big ARNOLD PALMER DRIVING RANGE structed at Big Cedar Lodge – an Cedar Lodge offers horseback riding, hiking, biking, championship golf Owned and operated by the not-for-profit 18-hole course designed by Bill Coore and and world-class fishing. Amenities and of- Dogwood Canyon Foundation, Dogwood Ben Crenshaw and a family-friendly short ferings have been expanded and refined Canyon offers miles of streams that flow course designed by Gary Player. throughout their nearly 30-year history, and through spectacular limestone canyon now offer a truly first-rate resort experience. wilderness, and the pristine natural envi- COMING SOON Set to open in 2017, Big Cedar’s AcThere is plenty to do for the less adventur- ronment provides for an array of activious, including the 18,000-square-foot spa ties and wildlife sightings. The Nature & tivity Center will feature a state-of-thewith saunas, steam rooms, fireplaces, pri- Conservation Center offers interactive art arcade, ropes course, underwatervate open-air showers and a candle-lit grotto learning with hands-on plant and animal themed bowling alley, Kids’ Adventure pool. Guests can embark on a sunset cruise demonstrations. This center connects to Club, restaurant and bar, and NASCARon Lady Liberty, a 65-foot luxury yacht, an immersive two-story tree house with a themed electric go-kart track. The allnew Wonders of Wildlife National Musewhile enjoying live music and hors d’oeuvres. swinging bridge. um and Aquarium in nearby Springfield, Missouri will be one of the largest, most BIG CEDAR LODGE TOP OF THE ROCK With friendly Ozarks hospitality and Top of the Rock is a nature-based heritage immersive conservation attractions in unmatched attention to detail, the resort preserve and majestic extension of the re- the world. The 315,000-square-foot adfeatures a collection of lodges, cottages and sort experience at Big Cedar Lodge. A true venture inspires visitors to enjoy, love, cabins rooted in rustic elegance, complete celebration of the land, animals, and people and conserve the great outdoors and is with modern comforts and amenities. The that came before us, Top of the Rock hon- connected to the flagship Bass Pro Shops resort offers three restaurants, world-class ors the alluring landscape and rich history “Granddaddy” store. Big Cedar Lodge located in southspa, five swimming pools and dynamic land of southwest Missouri. The preserve offers and water adventures, including hiking, guided adventures through ancient lime- west Missouri near Branson, a beautibass fishing, water skiing and much more. stone canyons, remarkable restaurants with ful drive less than four hours away. To awe-inspiring views, and at the heart of it book your wilderness adventure, or DOGWOOD CANYON all, a 35,000-square-foot history museum for more information about Big Cedar Nearby Dogwood Canyon Nature Park featuring the foremost collection of Native Lodge, you can visit www.bigcedar.com or call 1-800-225-6343. clm is a 10,000-acre nature lover’s paradise. American art and artifacts ever assembled. 30 | COUNTY LIVING magazine | WWW.COUNTYLIVINGMAG.COM
LOST CANYON CAVE
ENTER TO WIN At Big Cedar Lodge In the Heart of the Ozarks ADVENTURE PASS FOR TWO FOR
LOST CANYON CAVE & NATURE TRAIL AND ANCIENT OZARKS NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM AND $50 DINING CREDIT AT TOP OF THE ROCK. OSAGE RESTAURANT AT TOP OF THE ROCK
TO ENTER Just VOTE FOR YOUR FAVORITE CARTOON in this issue of County Living Magazine at: facebook.com/countylivingmag
WINTER/EARLY SPRING 2017 | COUNTY LIVING magazine | 31
PHOTO BY BETH PIKE
Arts & Thoughts
A Theatrical Train Robbery BY JOHN DRAKE ROBINSON EMMY-WINNING TRAVEL WRITER
Borrowing from Bernhardt and the Bard
rank James knew his lines. “I am joined with no foot landrakers, no long-staff sixpenny strikers, none of these mad mustachio purple-hued malt-worms; but with nobility and tranquillity, burgomasters and great oneyers; such as can hold in, such as will strike sooner than speak, and speak sooner than drink, and drink sooner than pray: and yet, zwounds, I lie; for they pray continually to their saint, the Commonwealth; or, rather, not pray to her, but prey on her, for they ride up and down on her, and make her their boots.” Upon boarding a railroad car at Gads Hill, Missouri, Frank quoted Shakespeare, announcing to railroad passengers his justification for robbing them. But just the rich, mind you. Not the working poor, with calloused hands. No women. No children. In Henry IV Part I, the Bard describes the fat-kidneyed Falstaff and a gang of highwaymen, on the “Road by Gads Hill.” The wellread Frank James may have favored that scene because it fit his disdain for fusty fat cats who rode the rails. So why not stage a train robbery at Gads Hill, Missouri, conve-
niently located in the middle of nowhere? That's one theory, anyway. Since the bandits' faces hid behind bandannas, witnesses and historians can't be sure who quoted Henry IV during the robbery. Nor can they be sure what specific lines were quoted. That's okay. Nobody is quite sure who wrote Shakespeare, either. After a full meal and even fuller conversation at the Ellington Senior Center, I climbed into Erifnus--my trusted ride--and motored to that spot where the words of William Shakespeare and Frank James intersect. Oh, and Charles Dickens, too.
Gads Hill is a wide spot along the highway as it unfolds beside the tracks of the St. Louis & Iron Mountain Railroad. Some say the town is named for the English estate of Charles Dickens, Gads Hill Place. But long before Dickens, the Bard knew that the Road by Gads Hill was a hangout for highwaymen who robbed travelers. Often as not, trains didn't stop in 1870s Gads Hill, Missouri. They just slowed to snag the mail sack from a trackside saloon. But on this afternoon, the southbound Little Rock Express planned to stop and discharge a passenger, even as the gang prepared to force it to stop. Sarah Bernhardt would've chuckled, the way the robbers played the passengers, including Frank's soliloquy on robbing nobility. At the conclusion of the plunder, one of the outlaws, likely Frank, handed over a written statement describing the robbery, muttering that newspapers had misreported details in some of the outlaws' earlier exploits. Frank was a contemporary of Sarah Bernhardt, the hottest act in show business at the time, and a damn capable self-publicist. It's probable that Frank watched the success of Sarah Bernhardt's self-promotion. It worked for Sarah; Frank could do it too. This first-ever press release from a bank robber described the outlaws' appearance, and lied about the direction of their getaway, thus forever casting doubt on the veracity of billions of subsequent news releases. Evidence suggests the gang escaped by heading west, following the Black River, then the Current River. Eventually, Frank's younger brother Jesse made it back to his betrothed and they used their cut of the loot to honeymoon on the Texas Riviera. Nowadays, there's not much at Gads Hill. A sign marks the spot where the outlaws stopped the train. The old saloon is gone, and a succession of local watering holes have come and gone, including a pub owned by a publicist. Somewhere, Sarah Bernhardt is smiling. More of John's travel stories are available at http://johndrakerobinson.com/ clm
32 | COUNTY LIVING magazine | WWW.COUNTYLIVINGMAG.COM
YOUR HOME DESERVES A GREAT LOOKING DRIVEWAY Patch • Repair • Overlay • Complete Tear-Out • New Construction
Since 1976, Fontana Paving has provided complete asphalt paving services for the finest homes, schools, churches and clubs in the St. Louis area. • Driveway replacement and repairs • Patching, crack filling and sealing • Embedded river and trap rock option • Subdivisions • Surface, subsurface drainage
For free on-site quote, call or email us:
EMBEDDED GRAVEL FINISH
WINTER/EARLY SPRING 2017 | COUNTY LIVING magazine | 33
Landscapes & Exteriors
Does Your Home Have Damage from Wind or Hail?
A Consumer Advocate works for you, not the insurance company.
DENTED VENT CAP
DAMAGED AIR CONDITIONER FINS
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 condition-
ing 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. St. Louis Slate & Shake, formerly Aspen Touch LLC, is a roof restoration, consulting and design company. It is a local, thirdgeneration contractor and advocate for homeowners, with expertise in storm damage and repair, including not just roofs but also siding, gutters, windows and more. St. Louis Slate & Shake 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 St. Louis Slate & Shake 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 636-220-7700 or by email at email@example.com. You can learn more on their website www.aspentouch.com. clm
34 | COUNTY LIVING magazine | WWW.COUNTYLIVINGMAG.COM
Who Knew that Concrete Could be
POLISHED, DYED & SEALED RETAIL FLOOR
MARBLELIFE’s EnduraCrete craftsmen can transform your dull and dusty concrete into an attractive, functional floor that adds beauty and value to your home or business.
REFLECTOR EPOXY COATING
EnduraCrete concrete services include honing, polishing, staining and sealing, to deliver a customized floor designed to meet your desired look and feel.
GARAGES • PORCHES • BASEMENTS • SUNROOMS • DRIVEWAYS • POOL DECKS Call today for a free in-home estimate
(888) 391-6980 www.enduracrete-stlouis.com
WINTER/EARLY SPRING 2017 | COUNTY LIVING magazine | 35
Landscapes & Exteriors
Discovering the Pleasure and Beauty of Professional Landscape Lighting
alph Damiano and his family have lived for fifteen years in their home in Ladue that is over 100 years old. They have done extensive remodeling and renovation over the years to create the home of their dreams, and they plan to be there forever. Shortly after they moved in, they used an irrigation company recommended by the previous owner to provide some outdoor lighting, a few lampposts in the large circular driveway, and some pathway lights. Last year Ralph was too busy to put up his own Christmas lights, and so he decided to have them installed professionally. A friend had recommended Jeff Mitchell Lighting for that work. Ralph was impressed by the job Jeff did on the Christmas lighting, his approach to the work, passion for lighting and the professionalism of his crew. So Ralph then asked Jeff to take a look at his landscape lighting. The Damianos like to entertain at their home, and with the minimal lighting on their driveway it was difficult for their guests to navigate their way. Ralph considered other providers of landscape lighting, but says that Jeff listened to what the Damianos wanted, and gave them different options to achieve their goals. He was also impressed by Jeff ’s passion for lighting, and his knowledge of the business. Jeff pointed out that from the street the lighting of their home was spotty, and he showed how properly placed lights could showcase the distinctive architecture of the house and fully light the driveway. Ralph was thinking of adding down lighting from the tall trees, but Jeff showed him how up-lighting them instead would create a beautifully diffused shimmering effect. Ralph is still amazed by the results, which he feels adds real beauty to their home. Jeff showed the possibilities in in-
TIRED OF UGLY CONCRETE? SET IT IN STONE. NO TEAR OUT REQUIRED! THE EPOXY/PEBBLESTONE RESURFACING SYSTEM IS • An Affordable Solution to repair or improve old concrete • Requires no tear-out • Provides dramatic improvement without yard damage • Natural river rock in 12 color options • Ideal for residential & commercial, interior or exterior
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crements, and the final installation achieved was very different from what they had planned. They are delighted with the results, and as time goes by they enjoy it even more. They have received many compliments from guests on the beauty of their home and grounds at night. The new controls that were installed are activated by light, and are much easier to use than what they had before. Next they plan to have Jeff convert the landscape lighting in their back yard to achieve the same up-lighting effect in the trees. 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 turn-key service installing, removing and storing custom Christmas lighting. They have excellent references from their enthusiastic customers, and their passion for providing quality products, 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. TW7 clm
36 | COUNTY LIVING magazine | WWW.COUNTYLIVINGMAG.COM
WINTER/EARLY SPRING 2017 | COUNTY LIVING magazine | 37
Landscapes & Exteriors
Great Room Comfort
Many homeowners complain about excessive heat and glare from the sun
reat rooms, with their large windows and beautiful 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 during 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 ultra-violet light.
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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
38 | COUNTY LIVING magazine | WWW.COUNTYLIVINGMAG.COM
WINTER/EARLY SPRING 2017 | COUNTY LIVING magazine | 39
Landscapes & Exteriors
Relax, Refresh, Rejuvenate
Create a Natural Water Habitat that will enhance your lifestyle
Outdoor Living Spaces l u f i t Beau
Bringing Friends and Family Together . . . One Backyard at a Time
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
Deck & Patio Living creates outdoor living spaces you will love - great for dining, entertaining or simply relaxing - so you can enjoy the outdoors come rain or shine. Decks • Under Deck Ceilings • Retractable Awnings • Louvered Roofs • Solar Shades • Sunrooms FREE Lighting & Electrical Package
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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
40 | COUNTY LIVING magazine | WWW.COUNTYLIVINGMAG.COM
Mold, mildew, fungi and algae not only make your roof look bad, but they cause premature deterioration.
We use low-pressure power wash with no chemicals to clean the roof, but leave embedded granules
Mold and mildew inhibitor and sealer preserve your roof and keep it looking good for 3-5 years.
Call oror email today for a no-obligation estimate. Call email today for a Midwest Restoration We answer 24 hours/day, 7 days/week Division of Aspen Touch Restoration Replacement & Design no-obligation estimate.
WINTER/EARLY SPRING 2017 | COUNTY LIVING magazine | 41
Landscapes & Exteriors
You CAN Have a Garden that Deer Won’t Destroy
ore homeowners these ter, showing unique spiky white flowers that attract orbitdays complain about ing skipper butterflies. BY STEVE CALLOWAY the proliferation of False dragonhead is a hardy plant with good, whimsideer in their comcal growth and pink flowers that bloom in late summer munities, and how every year they turn their lavish and early fall. Lilacs and American beautyberry are also colorful perennial gardens into half-eaten, run-down deer-resistant colorful flowering shrubs. Beautyberry has p atche s . T he y are its greatest effect in the discouraged seeing fall. Glossy metallic their beautiful hospurple berries retain tas, day lilies, roses, their color until winter, black-eyed susans and deer just don’t like and even evergreens the way they taste. eaten or stomped There are also deerinto the ground. resistant grasses that Based on research are attractive all year INDIAN GRASS BOTTLE BRUSH and years of experilong, like sedges, beak ence, I would like to grain, prairie dropshare with you ways seed, bottle brush and that my company GarIndian grass, all hardy den Green is planning native plants in differand planting attractive ent heights with beaucolorful gardens that tiful seedpods. can minimize the devAnother way to deastation from deer in ter the damage from your yard. deer is in s elec ting MONDARDA JACOB KLEIN BRADBURIANA AND QUININE There are two ways the size of trees and we approach the shrubs. It is better to problem. First, for buy those that are beestablished perennial yond saplings, with gardens of vulnergood bulk. Deer like able plants includto feed on the juveing those mentioned nile growth of smaller above, we place deer saplings, and they are deterrent plants along more easily trampled. BEAUTYBERRY borders, or at entry This is just a small points to discourage deer from entering. sampling of our solutions for lavish, colorful gardens even For instance, Native American flowering plants in the ge- where the deer seem to be feeding on everything in sight. nus monada give off a bee balm, a powder that deer don’t like to brush up against. Monarda bradburiana has a pink flower Steve Calloway is owner of Garden Green Horticulture that blooms in late spring. Monarda dittima blooms in early Service. They help homeowners select the plants, trees and summer; monarda fistulosa is a taller plant that can toler- shrubbery that best meet their aesthetic desires and that will ate more sunlight, and blooms in mid-summer. Strategically thrive in their sunlight, soil and moisture conditions. They planting these around your garden can keep deer away. also work to revitalize and restore gardens, to help homeThen there are deer resistant plants; those that have a owners with the changes that will make their yards better fragrance or taste that deer are known to avoid, or berries year after year. that don’t agree with them. These include native American You can call or email Steve for a complimentary consultaplants like quinine, with serrated leaves and white flowers tion in your yard, to identify your plants and advise on how that bloom in late spring, skullcap, whose elegant bluish to keep them healthy and looking their best. You can reach white flowers bloom in late summer, and rattlesnake mas- Steve at 314-288-5036 or email@example.com. clm 42 | COUNTY LIVING magazine | WWW.COUNTYLIVINGMAG.COM
NOT ANYMORE... We have been transforming plain and boring concrete to beautiful, durable surfaces for over 32 years. Let us design and install a masterpiece at your home.
Here’s what our customers say about working with Decorative Concrete Resurfacing: “Wow! We came back from vacation yesterday and were so pleased with the work you all did while we were gone. Makes us wish we had done it years ago!” – Cathy Milton
See over 50 live video testimonials of our customers and their projects www.youtube.com/user/DecorConcreteStLouis
“Thanks for a job well done. We think it’s beautiful.” – Joe Stangl “Your company was easy to work with, did a great application and cleanup. Everything handled professionally, and the patio looks great!” – Steve and Ann Proscino
Our 33rd Anniversary Special: Save up to $500 off your job. Savings based on 10% off of DCR work. New clients only. One offer per customer. Must be presented at time of estimate. Offer expires 4/30/17.
Call for a FREE estimate: 314-558-6955 • www.PrettyConcreteSTL.com WINTER/EARLY SPRING 2017 | COUNTY LIVING magazine | 43
Landscapes & Exteriors
Keeping Wooden Roofs 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 St. Louis Slate & Shake Cedar Restoration & Installation, formerly Aspen Touch LLC have more than 25 years of ex-
Save Money by Renewing Your Outdoor Furniture
perience in preserving, repairing and replacing wood roofs, natural wood siding and decks on St. Louis’s finest homes. Their restoration process uses a high-pressure 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. St. Louis Slate & Shake is also expert in installing new cedar shake roofs, siding and decking. They can help you make informed decisions about preserving the beauty and value of your wood exteriors. You can call them at 636-220-7700, email aspentouch.rick@gmail. com or visit their website www.aspentouch.com. clm
44 | COUNTY LIVING magazine | WWW.COUNTYLIVINGMAG.COM
f your outdoor or patio furniture has strapping, slings or cushions that are worn, stretched or faded, you don’t have to spend the money for new furniture. Instead you can select your own fabric or vinyl strapping for a new custom look that will give you many more years of use and save the cost of new. Apple Tree Custom Sewing specializes in renewing fine outdoor furniture by custom-making new strapping, slings and upholstered cushions. They have hundreds of fabrics to choose from or you can bring in your own. They will pick up your furniture and bring it back ready for summer with a whole new look. Many of the leading outdoor furniture stores in St. Louis rely on Apple Tree Custom Sewing for their repairs. With over 30 years experience, their expert sewing technicians can provide complete sewing repairs as well as custom designs made to your personal specifications. clm
APPLE TREE CUSTOM SEWING • 5116 Hampton Avenue St. Louis, Missouri 63109 • 314-752-8733
WINTER/EARLY SPRING 2017 | COUNTY LIVING magazine | 45
For Your Information
How to Lower Your Property Taxes BY STEVEN A. WEBER
St. Louis Slate & Shake Formerly Aspen Touch
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
But all these exterior wood surfaces can be restored and protected through proper care and treatment, often doubling or tripling the remaining life.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
46 | COUNTY LIVING magazine | WWW.COUNTYLIVINGMAG.COM
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.
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.
Cedar Roof and Siding Restoration & Installation Call for a FREE Estimate 636-220-7700
Fully Insured • References Available On Request
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Call for a Free Estimate
www.hmaconstruction.com WINTER/EARLY SPRING 2017 | COUNTY LIVING magazine | 47
For Your Information
Technology Is Great – Except When It Doesn’t Work! If you’ve had home computer problems and found it difficult to get them solved, here’s an innovative solution.
Twenty years ago, frustrated with how poorly her new home computer was working, Dede Catsavis looked for someone that could come out to her home to fix her computer and set it up properly so it would work the way it was supposed to. Unfortunately, Dede could not find any business that provided that service. In fact, every repair place that she contacted wanted her to lug her desktop computer (and all its parts) into their store and leave it there for several weeks to get it fixed. That’s when Dede decided to take matters into her own hands, realizing that there was a need for speedy in-home computer repair. Shortly thereafter She formed Computer Tutors – the first local, woman-owned, on-site computer repair service. The hallmark of Computer Tutors is to provide clients with much-needed convenient in-home computer repair that also
provides troubleshooting, diagnostics, maintenance, installations and training. They not only work on computers, but in addition they can help with any of your tech devices like smart phones, TVs and more. Their services are convenient because they come directly to your home – days, evenings or even weekends at no extra charge. For you, this means convenience: there’s no driving, hauling, waiting or frustration, only to find that sometimes things aren’t fixed. They come to your house and fix things on the spot. Since 1997, Computer Tutors has provided onsite computer services to thousands of clients. Well over half of the Computer Tutors clients have been with them for over a decade because they know they can trust them with their computers and in their homes. When you call Computer Tutors, you’ll talk directly to the owner or to one of their three patient and proficient DEDE CATSAVIS is founder computer techs, withand owner of Computer Tuout a bunch of recorded tors. For 20 years they have messages or outsourced provided computer services to phone support. Their thousands of satisfied, happy techs give you their cell customers. phone numbers and they Computer Tutors works take calls from clients. on both Windows and MAC They will even help you computers, setting up home over the phone for free networks, eliminating viruses if possible. If not, then and also will help with any of they offer same or next your other electronics. day service and will alYou can reach them by ways solve your problem. phone at 314-608-7920, and you can learn more about them Finally there’s a service at www computertutors.net. that takes your frustration away! clm
48 | COUNTY LIVING magazine | WWW.COUNTYLIVINGMAG.COM
If Your Business Accepts Credit Cards, And You Haven't Looked Closely At Your Fees Lately
BY LAURA & ED ABILEZ
. . . You Could Probably Save A Lot Of Money With A Broker
f you have a business that accepts credit cards, you are probably getting several calls daily from different card processors claiming they can save you money. How do you decide which processor is the best fit for your business? Doesn't each processor offer the same thing? We are the owners of St. Louis Merchant Services, brokers with over 20 years’ experience in the card processing industry, and we work with all of the top credit card processors such as First Data, Chase Paymentech, Global, and TSYS, to name just a few. As brokers, we remain unbiased, and therefore provide a huge advantage for business owners because our loyalty is to our clients, not to one particular processor. Every processor has their advantages, their quirks, and most important, their own incentives. Why do all of the research on your own? There is no fee for our research. We will do an analysis for you and compare the rates across the top processors mentioned above and more. We can recommend the right processor that is the best fit for your needs. We can also recommend the best way to electronically capture a credit card transaction, such as a terminal, POS system, online Gateway, virtual terminal, mobile pay, pay at the pump, or “Pay at the Table” devices. Over the years, we have discovered what merchants like and dislike about the big banks, as well as the processors. We have designed our business model the way we would want to be treated: “interchange plus” pricing, consistent pricing (month after month, year after year), no long-term contracts (we earn your business every month), no leases, no hidden fees, and most importantly, secure payment transactions. If your merchant services agent is through your bank, or an affiliate of your bank, is very likely that you see significant additional fees on your credit card transactions every month. These institutions have considerable overhead, and they look to maximize charges and fees to generate more income. By contrast, an independent expert who is unbiased and more selective in choosing the processor and technology your business wants can serve your needs at a considerably lower cost. Currently, one of the biggest problems in the credit card processing industry is surcharging. St. Louis Merchant Services does not surcharge. If you think you may be paying surcharges, or just
paying too much, we are here to help. We are committed to your company’s success. We work for our merchants 24/7/365 for all customer service and technical support needs, whenever you need it. Let us help you grow your business by finding you the best processor for your company, while you focus on running your business. We are here for you. We have no exit fees, so we are earning your business every day. If you like your current processor or POS system but do not have a local representative and would like one, please call us and we will be happy to work with you! You can call Ed or Laura Abilez to schedule a no-obligation, face-to-face meeting to go over your card processing statement in order to determine potential savings by having St. Louis Merchant Services represent your company for credit card processing. You can reach Ed or Laura at (636)591-5885 or (636)541-5455, and you can learn more about their services at: www.StLouisMerchantServices.com. clm St. Louis Merchant Services offers complete payments solutions: • Credit/Debit/EBT Card Terminals • Pay at the Table Terminals • POS Systems • Virtual Terminals • E-Commerce Gateway • MOTO Transactions • Mobile Payment Devices • Check Guarantee • Franchise Pricing • Charity Pricing • Gift/Loyalty Cards • Next Day Funding • Pay at the Pump • Contactless Payments: Apple Pay/Google Wallet • Merchant Cash Advance
WINTER/EARLY 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.”
PHOTOS BY CHERYL ROBINSON
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
Trustees, Condo Boards are Not Alone In Maintaining and Improving Communities The Community Associations Institute provides support to community leaders and managers
e usually think of representative government as elected officials at the federal, state and municipal levels. There are also representatives even closer to the people. Trustees, directors and board members of subdivision and condo associations are among the most important representatives in our community, but do not seem to get the support or attention elected officials do. These uncompensated volunteers usually have little if any staff or resources and can feel very alone in the work they do. Though these men and women act in the best interest of their communities, they can be exposed to frustration, confusion and even legal liabilities as they carry out their duties. The Community Associations Institute (CAI) is a not-forprofit organization dedicated to supporting volunteer community leaders as well as professional community managers. In Missouri, the Heartland Chapter of CAI serves the St. Louis Metro, Lake of the Ozarks/Branson and Kansas City Metro regions. CAI Heartland provides training for community leaders on topics such as law, property management, landscaping, parking, insurance, liability and swimming pool maintenance. Throughout the year CAI Heartland provides seminars for community leaders such as the upcoming Contract Negotiations Program, to be held Wednesday, April 5, 2017 at the Lodge at Des Peres. Topics will include legislative changes affecting community associations. Similar seminars and events will be held throughout 2017. For more information about upcoming events, you can visit www.caiheartland.com/events
Volunteer leaders who are members of CAI Heartland report feeling relief knowing that they are not alone in the challenges they face, from mitigating disputes between neighbors to managing assessments for community improvements. For more information about CAI Heartland, you can visit their website CAIHeartland. com, or contact the executive director Cathy Roth-Johnson at (314) 423-8859 or email@example.com. CAI Heartland, in partnership with St. Louis County, is sponsoring a trade show to both provide training and bring trustees and professionals serving community associations together to meet face to face. See below. clm
Subdivision Trustees & Board of Directors Be Our Guests - 2017 Greater St. Louis Trade Show Tuesday, March 7, 2017 Sheraton Westport Lakeside Chalet Hotel Complimentary drinks, appetizers and prize drawings • 4:00 - 5:15 p.m. Educational Session “When the Grass is NOT Greener on the Other Side” Presenter: Jon Sanner, Esq. • 5:00 - 7:00 p.m. Trade Show Meet vendors who specialize in community associations
Learn More at: CAIHeartland.com/TradeShow WINTER/EARLY SPRING 2017 | COUNTY LIVING magazine | 51