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H O M E + H E A LT H + R E C R E AT I O N


Baker Pool Construction

// IT’S TIME TO GET ORGANIZED c a b i n e t s • s h e l v i n g & r a c k s • ove r h e a d s to r a g e • f l o o r i n g


314.914.0009 | w w w.G a ra g eS o l u t io n s St Lo u i s .co m

Return to Summer – Finally!




HOME 10 The Green Home Coach


12 Waterproof Ways to Remodel Your Basement

20 Creating the Ultimate Staycation Destination

33 Are You Ready to Own Your Own Health?

12 If Your Home Is Settling, Don't Panic

22 Making Our Water Feature Dream a Reality

34 A Personal Trainer Is the Key to Achieving

14 Keeping Your Marble Looking Spectacular

24 The Basement Egress Window

Your Goals

16 Functional, Attractive Garage Storage

26 Does Your Home Have Uneven Concrete

35 Overcoming Phobias through Hypnosis

18 Kitchen Cabinets: Reface Instead of Replace


36 Breathe Easier with Salt Room Therapy

26 Fountains, Pottery & Plantings for Your Home

37 An Effective Solution to an Uncomfortable

19 More Attractive Garage and Basement

H E A LTH & F ITN E S S 32 Listen to Your Brother (If You Can Hear Him)

27 Outdoor Living for the Ages


28 Native Plant Conversion for Problem

38 Improving Bone Density, Muscle Strength and






39 Keep Your Dog Safe This Summer

42 Activities & Events Calendar

54 Protecting Your Business Assets

40 A Hidden Fence Protects Your Dog and

43 Amazing Vacations!

55 Considerations for Selling Your Business


Adds Convenience

44 Innsbrook: Your Nature Getaway

56 What is a Grey Divorce?


48 On the Road with John Drake Robinson

57 This Book Should Be in Every Home in

8 Random Musings from Gerry Mandel

50 He Creates Bold New Worlds on Bare Stages 53 A Place in the Country

St. Louis

58 Are You and Your Home Smart Enough for Smart Devices?

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Todd Abrams

For information regarding advertising, call: COU NT Y LIVING PU B LICATIONS


314-432-1171 phone 314-569-3380 fax P.O. Box 411036 St. Louis, MO 63141

Michael Kilfoy, Studio X ACCOU NT E XECUTIVE

Carol Kindinger Walsworth Fulton

To see this issue and archived articles online with links to resources, visit




Cover photo by Michael Kilfoy

Insight Marketing

ON THE COVER This beautiful oasis in Kirkwood features a formal dining porch with chandeliers, white bead board ceiling and large format stone floor. It steps down to a wide-open pergola patio, complete with a large stone fireplace and outdoor kitchen overlooking a putting green and swimming pool. The pergola patio is paved with 2 by 3 ft Coastal Blue Limestone, trimmed in St. Louis Used Brick pavers. The fireplace and outdoor kitchen counter are built with Wisconsin Limestone veneer, and the countertops are Phenix Limestone with a leathered finish. The kitchen features built-in stainless steel grill, icemaker, beverage and storage drawers and a Kamado Joe smoker. This entire project was completed by Luna Builds StL. They are a St. Louis owned and operated company that works in a turnkey approach with homeowners to provide innovative design and construction. You can see more of their work and learn more about them in their ad on page 23 and an article about them on page 27, or on their website To create your own outdoor oasis, you can call or email Dan Head, hands-on owner of Luna Builds, at 314-575-2791 or

Todd & Daisy

Michael & Callie

Carol & Mia

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, 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 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.






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GERRY MANDEL writes plays, short stories, essays, blogs and an occasional novel. He also plays blues and boogie, which you can enjoy on Facebook. Enter his name in the Facebook Search.

Whatever Happened to Those Second Bananas?







passed a diner recently in Washington, Missouri. Wimpy’s Sandwich Shop. I didn’t stop but the name stayed with me as I continued driving, headed back to St.

Wimpy. Here was one of the great characters of the comics, Popeye’s buddy. I assume Popeye is still around, in one media format or another. But Wimpy seems to have faded away, remembered only by his hamburgers. Frankly, I could never understand this duo: Popeye was energetic with big muscles and ate spinach from the can. Wimpy was overweight, wore ugly ties, picked up discarded cigars, and ate hamburgers. Still, they were buddies. Wimpy was Popeye’s straight man. He was the “Second Banana.” I love that designation: Second Banana. As compared to Top Banana. The term originated in burlesque as a designation for comedians. The Second Banana’s role was to make the Top Banana look good. That set me wondering about other forgotten or discarded Second Bananas. I’m sure you know Porky Pig. But do you remember his girl friend? If you said “Petunia,” you win a pound of bacon. Introduced in 1937 by animator Frank Tashlin at Warner Brothers, Petunia went from co-star to minor roles to a discarded has-been several years later. A sad story indeed. I think Porky had feelings for her, but wonder if he still thinks of his lost love. I hope Petunia has found happiness playing bridge or bingo

with friends at a pig-friendly retirement facility.

Which brings me to a most interesting group of Second Bananas - the Seven Dwarfs. When Snow White met these little guys, they assumed an important role in this beloved story, made popular by Disney in 1937. But how did it all end? Snow White and The Prince get together and ride into the sunset on a magnificent steed, leaving behind her seven little friends. “So long, it’s been good to know ya.”? Sorry, Snow. Not acceptable.

Remember their names? Happy, Bashful, Sneezy, Grumpy, Doc, Sleepy and Dopey. Minnie Mouse fared much better. Maybe Those were the names Walt gave them because Disney had a more compassionate anyway. In the original story of Snow heart than Jack Warner. I was not a big fan White, the Brothers Grimm didn’t name of Minnie but was pleased to learn that she the little fellows. I don’t know the back and Mickey got married, in 1933. Unfortustory on these guys. Maybe a bowling team nately it didn’t happen on-screen. But Walt or folk-rock band. But they got together in attested to their tying the knot, off-screen. that mine and were a supportive group for Seemed the American thing to do back Snow. Seven Second Bananas. They gave in those days. I’m still waiting for news of each other purpose in that cute cottage. My their children. Assuming they had them. thoughts are with the dwarfs occasionally, Mice are prolific. as I try to imagine what life brought them later. They had a cameo in a couple of the Other Second Bananas come to mind: Robin (Batman), Elmer Fudd (Bugs Bunny), “Shrek” movies, but nothing after those. Barney (Fred Flintstone), BooBoo (Yogi Today I can see them at Golden Mines Bear), Tigger (Pooh). And the list goes on. Manor, “Assisted Living for Retired MinThey all helped further the careers of the ers.” Though much older now, with a hint Top Bananas but somehow got lost in the of memory loss for Grumpy and Sleepy, dust of memory and they are in relatively good health. Once a competition. month they get together and sing for the residents. “Hi-Ho” is the most requested tune, followed by “Who’s Afraid of the Big, Bad Wolf.” Dopey has written his autobiography, “Hear Me Talking: Stories from the Mines.” Sneezy and Bashful recently took first place in the Manor’s pickle ball tournament. Happy felt jilted by Snow and is now dependent on anti-depressants. But he looks happy. Doc learned to play the banjo and is a big hit at the monthly manor gatherings. “Snow White” is a name they rarely speak, but each day they look for a post card, a letter, anything from “those magical days.” The life of a Second Banana is a lesson for us: Enjoy your lot and just be glad you got in the game.

The Green Home Coach BY MARL A ESSE R CLOOS

MARLA ESSER CLOOS, NAHB Master Certified Green Professional, and LEED AP, is the principal of Green Home Coach where she uses her “superpowers” to help home professionals and inhabitants to discover and create better homes for healthier, more comfortable lives. Making simple swaps to green and sustainable choices helps create better homes – a bit at a time in existing homes or all at once for new and remodeled homes. Find more at and @greenhomecoach on FB and IG.

Incremental Green: LE T TH E S U N S H I N E I N – TO P OWE R AN D LI G HT U P YO U R H O M E ! Have you ever thought about how many songs have “sun” in them? Dozens! I looked it up. My favorite is the Beatles’ “Here Comes the Sun.” The sun is such an important part of our daily lives, our culture, and our weather. We really do center around the sun. Learning how to capture even a tiny amount of the power of the sun is literally lighting us up! The sun brings power that we convert to electricity and natural light to our homes and buildings.

of clean energy. As a Certified B Corporation, StraightUp Solar places people and planet above profit and commits to high standards of social and environmental performance, transparency, and accountability. Solar energy is sustainable, renewable, and plentiful. Every year, the cost to produce electricity from solar goes down and many more of us switch to solar for at least some of our electrical power. The Smithsonian Magazine website states, ”Installing solar is also more affordable now, due to installation costs dropping over 70 percent in the last decade.”





Sunlight has been a part of human history well, forever. Using it to provide electricity is a somewhat new technology. The photovoltaic effect was discovered in 1839 by French physicist Edmond Becqueral, yet it was well over 100 years later when the University of Delaware was credited with creating one of the first solar buildings in 1973. It used a combination of solar thermal and solar photovoltaic power. Now power in our homes from the sun is not only a reality, it’s becoming more popular and convenient. A few years ago, I had the opportunity to interview Dane Glueck, the founder of StraightUp Solar in St. Louis. Dane talked about utilizing solar to save energy, help the environment, and grow a “solar tribe.” I got the feeling that the company was as much a movement as a business, as they work to help people see how solar is a part of the bigger picture

With electricity being such a vital part of our society, adding solar power makes sense. The lower utility bills are a major draw of home solar panels, and they are viewed as upgrades like a remodeled kitchen, so they will likely increase your home’s value. And while many of us think solar is limited to the sunnier parts of the U.S., in fact, they will work almost anywhere, and the U.S. has enormous solar potential. To learn more: solar-energy-pros-and-cons.html Solar photos are from StraightUp Solar

SUNLIGHT AND WINDOWS For millennia, humans have relied on the sun for light to see by and to set the pace of our days. As humans have found better ways to build shelter, we have also found ways to use the sun for light and heat. It’s kind of crazy that we work so hard to build a structure to protect us from the elements – wind, rain, heat and cold – only to punch a hole in it to let in light. Yet, that natural light is so important to our health and well-being. We’ve learned how much natural light impacts our circadian rhythms for sleeping and waking. We’ve experienced the power of natural light on our psyche and moods. Natural light just feels good. Window technology has come a long way from the days of “Little House on the Prairie” when Pa carefully transported the precious panes of glass for the windows in their city house. Today’s modern, energy-efficient windows let in the wonder of natural light, while controlling the heat and drafts from the sun and wind. Ah, a win-win. Windows today use the science of materials, physics, and chemistry to create a window assembly to provide ample light with more comfort. Windows are a vital part of a home’s building envelope – the skin of the home protecting the occupants and the structure from the elements. Combining these advanced technologies offers advanced window assemblies that fit your home, your climate, and the way your live. Look for the ENERGY STAR certification to know that you are getting the most energy-efficient windows for your home. To learn more about energy-efficient windows: energy_efficient_windows.pdf mechanical-systems/choosing-the-rightwindows


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Waterproof Surfaces Transform Your Basement into Finished Living Space You Can Enjoy


f you have been hesitant to remodel your basement to more livable space for your family because of dampness and discomfort, there is a set of solutions that you should know about. The EverLast System from Total Basement Finishing. Their wall panels, flooring, and ceiling tiles are all specially designed for comfort and beauty in the basement. All EverLast products are warrantied to resist water, moisture, and mold. They provide insulating qualities, dampen noise, and can be customized to fit your basement

finishing decor. EverLast wall panels provide solid, durable and long-lasting surfaces. They come with 2 ½ inch high-density foam insulation, ½ inch of hard cement board, and a decorative vinyl covering that will never need to be painted. EverLast flooring isolates your floor surface from the cold, hard, damp concrete, making basement floors dryer and more comfortable. Total Basement Finishing has a ceiling system uniquely suited for basements. Their drop ceiling tiles are non-sagging and mold resistant and come with a 30-year warranty. You can transform your unfinished, or previously

finished basement into a comfortable living space with the award-winning Total Basement Finishing basement remodeling system installed by Woods Basement Systems, Inc. They are the highest-rated, most reviewed contractor in their industry and your source for “All Things Basementy.” Their experts will give you a free estimate for improving your basement at your home. You can call Woods Basement Systems at 866-735-1890 to discuss your basement remodeling plan with their specialists or learn more about their services at



oundation problems can affect your home’s safety, appearance, and value. If you have wall or floor cracks, bowing walls or doors and windows that don’t close as they should, these are signs that your home may be settling.




Settlement is the movement your home experiences when changes in the soil below cause it to no longer be able to support the weight of your home, or parts of it. This can be soil that is drying and shrinking, usually after long droughts; soil that remains wet and softens, usually from heavy rain or flooding where there is poor drainage; or compression of poorly compacted fill soil, often where new building lots are developed.

Even if you haven’t seen changes in your home recently, more settlement may occur. Continuing wet and dry cycles can cause soil changes, and settlement is not over unless steps are taken to fix the problem. SOLUTIONS THAT WORK

The most effective way to fix a settling home is to pier it. Steel push piers are driven deep to bedrock or a stable soil layer. They can be installed inside or outside your home to

lift it back to its original position, closing cracks and improving the operation of doors and windows. The solution is quick, and the problem is solved. On lighter structures such as stoops or decks, a helical pier or screw pile may be more effective because the structure may not be heavy enough to drive push piers to a sufficient depth. If you see cracks in walls or floors, inside or out, or doors or windows that don’t close as they should, don’t delay doing something about it. These signs of settlement may get worse if you ignore them. You can call Woods Basement Systems, the highest-rated, most reviewed contractor in their industry, for a free inspection. Their experts can restore your home to safe, functional condition. You can call Woods Basement Systems at 866-735-1890, or learn more at

Keep Your Marble Looking Spectacular





arble, granite, terrazzo, limestone, travertine and other natural stone are luxurious architectural elements. These quality materials provide refined surfaces for your home, whether in the foyer, living room, kitchen, bathroom or fireplace. But homeowners can diminish the natural beauty of these surfaces by failing to properly maintain them.

Natural stone is a strong and durable material; however, it’s not indestructible. It is still susceptible to stains, spills and damages from everyday occurrences like steady foot traffic and even the use of inappropriate cleaning products. A little pebble caught in a guest’s shoe sole can cause scratches all over the floor. The good news is that when marble and other natural stone surfaces are scratched or stained, they can regain their natural lustrous appearance with professional cleaning, restoration and protection. Whether it’s a marble or granite floor cleaning or shower, vanity or countertop restoration, with

proper care and maintenance, the potential for future damage can be minimized. Regardless of what problems you may encounter with your stone surfaces, there is a solution. Scratches, dull spots and etches caused by chemicals and sharp objects can be honed and polished to their original shine. Amazingly, even cracked or chipped areas can be color matched to blend perfectly into the existing floor. Because most problems are repairable, properly maintaining natural stone costs substantially less than replacing it. A common part of the restoration process is repairing, cleaning and sealing grout,


restoring it to its original color while also providing superior spill resistance. It’s essential to use the proper application of stone cleaner and sealer to prevent or reduce future damage. True stone craftsmen have the expertise and experience to restore the appearance of your natural stone surfaces, and can provide valuable advice for keeping them as beautiful as the day they were installed. They will work with you to determine the cause of damage and devise a plan to avoid a recurrence. A local stone professional can advise on the maintenance procedures that are suitable for your specific surfaces. They can help extend the life of your stone’s finish for years and regain the elegant appearance you love. Also, ask if they can also provide you with products that are safe for everyday use in cleaning stone surfaces. To contact a company that specializes in natural stone restoration, maintenance and cleaning, you can call the professionals at MARBLELIFE at 888-254-9488 , or visit online at


World Outdoor Emporium

We have the area’s largest nursery & selection of garden statuary, planters and fountains of all sizes

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Fountains and Statuary only. May not be combined with other offers. Limit one coupon per customer per visit. Expires 8/31/21 Coupons may not be applied to delivery charge.

$200 OFF $1,000 Purchase We carry everything from natural stone edging, retaining wall blocks, decorative gravel, mulch, topsoil, compost, erosion control products, concrete statuary, fountains, birdbaths, pond supplies and more. We provide delivery, setup, fountain service and winterization.

Shop over 20 acres at our 2 locations

Greenhouses, trees, shrubs and flowers exclusively at our Wentzville location 1307 Granville Dr. Wentzville, MO 63385

4230 St. Peters Parkway South St. Charles, MO 63304



Fountains and Statuary only. May not be combined with other offers. Limit one coupon per customer per visit. Expires 8/31/21 Coupons may not be applied to delivery charge.

Hours Mon-Sat 7am-4pm Sundays 10am-4pm Follow us on Facebook



$350 TO $1500 OFF Savings relative to size of project Minimums apply. Excludes jobs in progress. Not valid with any other offer. Expires 8/31/21.

CABINETRY The next garage storage consideration is cabinetry. Garage storage cabinets are the most secure and accessible solution for a crowded garage. They eliminate clutter and help to convert a messy garage into an attractive and useable space. Garage cabinets can be used to store lawn and garden supplies, tools, sports equipment, workbenches, trashcans, even golf bags.

Storage Solutions for a Functional, Attractive Garage


SOLVING THE GARAGE PROBLEM he garage is the most cluttered and messy room in most homes. Now more than just a place to park vehicles, it carries all the overflow of stuff from the rest of the house. In effect, the garage has become a large disorganized and overstuffed cabinet. And because most garages are not really designed as storage space, it is inevitable that they become quite cluttered, crowded and disorderly. H O M E




Fortunately, with garage organization planning and the help of some clever storage solutions, your garage clutter problem can be readily solved. You can have custom systems in your garage to utilize walls, ceiling and floor to maximize usable space and order. OVERHEAD STORAGE One very practical solution is overhead garage storage. The lofts or overhead racks usually are lightweight but heavy-duty metal

frame that can carry moderate loads and bulky items. They are suspended from the ceiling, which has clear advantages. By freeing up the garage floor from clutter, you have space for more easily parking cars, a work or hobby area and heavier items that should be stored on the floor. Another advantage of overhead storage is easy accessibility. Seldom used or seasonal items like holiday décor are stored overhead out of the way and easily reached when you need them. Overhead garage compartments also keep potentially hazardous items out of children's reach. And now you can access your garage storage with a touch of a button. New overhead racks utilize Bluetooth motors that smoothly lift and lower your items through an app on your smartphone. There's no longer a need to get out a ladder to grab heavy items stored up top.

Common household chemicals and other hazardous substances can also be safely stored in secure cabinets. The proper cabinets can also protect workshop tools and supplies from moisture and dust. Lockable garage cabinets can keep dangerous items away from children. It will also protect your personal belongings when you leave your garage open. ATTRACTIVE GARAGE FLOOR OPTIONS And once everything is up off the floor, so you can actually see it, consider a more attractive floor than oil and paint-stained concrete. Epoxy floors have the look of granite, are durable and resist oil and other stains. Flooring tiles are available in a variety of colors and textures and can be used to create custom patterns. CALL THE PROFESSIONALS Like a custom kitchen or bath, there are advantages of complete garage storage and flooring designed and installed by professionals. The Organized Garage of St. Louis offers the most attractive, durable and customizable shelves, racks, cabinets and flooring available. Their 3D Rendering service will give you an accurate depiction of what your finished garage remodel will look like. Trained professionals will create your perfect garage with their 3D design software, a complimentary service that requires zero money or obligation. For a free consultation, you can call The Organized Garage at 314-914-0009 or email them at theorganizedgarage@gmail. com. You can also learn more at their website


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Surround Your Home with the Landscaping It Deserves We can enhance your home with creative landscape design and installation: patios, walls, walkways, water features, rock gardens, firepits & fireplaces, stone and mortar. Also, erosion and drainage control and bio-swale solutions. All lawn care, plant bed maintenance, mulching and leaf clean-up. Snow plowing and ice management. Let us create a custom design and maintenance plan for your unique needs.


636-220-4911 See our gallery at


cabinet dimmable LED lighting. Ask about the build-up option that allows us to add to the top of your cabinet to make a standard 30” cabinet into a 42” tall wall cabinet.

Consider Refacing Instead of Replacing


f you’re looking for a fresh new look for your kitchen, you may not need to go to the expense and mess of tearing out and replacing your old cabinets. If they are structurally sound, you can get a completely new look in a much less time and at a fraction of the cost by refacing all visible surfaces of the cabinets instead of building new ones.

Custom counter tops and tile backsplash combine to offer a complete package. A totally new and updated kitchen.



You will have literally hundreds of door styles and colors to choose from, and many options to explore. A few of the most popular options include crown molding, pull out storage in the base cabinets, glass door fronts, and under-


Cabinet refacing provides a neat, clean installation, and is usually less than half the cost of a total tear out remodel. In most cases the cabinets can be refaced, counter top replaced, and a new backsplash installed in one week. Many of us have friends that have had total tear out remodels. Ask them how long it took for the remodel. Then ask the cost. Classic Kitchen Refacing LLC has been the St. Louis area’s leader in cabinet refacing for years. They can help you make all the decisions in design and selection of coordinating countertops and hardware to give your kitchen a completely new look. You can call them for a free in-home estimate at 314-470-5010.

In refacing, doors are replaced and all exposed surface are covered with matching ¼ inch hardwood or panels. Additional cabinets can be added. With all new doors, new soft close hinges and all new handles or knobs, your kitchen will be completely updated.







Recapture your Eliminate Stains Original Color No Dust Ease of Cleaning Beautiful Again!

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The Newer, Better Way to Make and Keep Garage and Basement Floors Attractive


f you are tired of your old, gross concrete garage or basement floor, you should know about the new generation of attractive coatings that go right over your concrete to give you a fresh, attractive shiny surface that stays looking great because it is much easier to maintain than a dull concrete surface.

You have probably heard of and seen epoxy coatings, but may not be familiar with a newer product called polyaspartic. It is similar in appearance, but there are advantages of the newer material, which until now has been used primarily in commercial settings. Polyaspartic

coatings were first developed for steel bridges for their corrosion-resistant properties. In addition to greater strength, two advantages of polyaspartic concrete coatings are their quick drying time and nearly odorless emissions after application. These innovations make them more versatile than traditional epoxy. The coating has a clear, glossy finish and decorative color chips are added for a bolder look and traction materials are added for a non-slip texture. Unlike epoxy, polyaspartic is always formulated to be colorfast, so the color won’t fade or yellow, even after extended exposure to UV rays. That means your garage will keep looking great longer.

Polyaspartic coatings can be applied in a variety of weather and temperature conditions, so you won’t need to wait. They cure within 30 minutes to an hour vs. about 16 hours for epoxy, so you can more quickly get back to your life. Polyaspartic dries hard, but maintains some flexibility, which helps keep a stain, abrasion, chip and scratch-resistant finish. It is also chemical, mold, mildew and salt resistant. Archway Industrial Coatings, Inc. is a St. Louis-based company with many years of experience in quality concrete coatings, both commercial and residential. They are leaders in polyaspartic flooring solutions that withstand the test of time, while meeting their customers’ installation schedules and budgets. Archway is committed to doing the highest quality work at the lowest cost. Their installers are employed directly by Archway, the highly trained “Dream Team” craftsmen who know the difference between a job and a job well done. They are accredited by the Better Business Bureau. You can now take advantage of their Summer Discounts. For a free estimate you can call them at 636-946-6464 and learn more about them at

ORNAMENTAL IRON Call us for a free estimate

314-230-0484 Showroom conveniently located at 1315 S. VANDEVENTER, ST. LOUIS, MO

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investing their money into something that their family will be able to use and enjoy for many years to come. TAILORING POOL DESIGN TO EACH SPECIFIC CUSTOMER

At Baker Pool Construction, every pool is custom designed and, therefore, unique. “We tailor each and every project to the customer,” says lead designer Rob Warren. “The yard may lend itself to certain design possibilities, but the homeowner is the ultimate influence. No two customers have the exact same needs and desires, and so no two projects ever turn out exactly alike.”




Creating the Ultimate Staycation Destination with Baker Pool Construction




hroughout history, there have been numerous significant events that have helped to shape modern life as we know it today. However, it’s safe to say that very few, if any, of these events have had the same widespread impact on the world as the COVID-19 pandemic. In the early months of 2020, COVID-19 spread like wildfire around the globe and rapidly changed our perception of “normal, everyday life.”

As the number of cases continued to grow into the summer of 2020, it quickly became evident that COVID wasn’t going to be a short-term obstacle. With no end to the pandemic in sight, people realized that any vacation plans they had made were now futile. They began thinking about other alternatives and ways to keep their families busy and entertained while stuck at home. The idea of a staycation destination suddenly became very enticing and, for many people, downright necessary. And with travel no longer a viable option, many families had the extra funds available to invest in such home-remodeling projects.


Almost as soon as the first lockdown went into effect, the phones at Baker Pool Construction began ringing off the hook. “We went from receiving three to five bid requests per day to 20, sometimes 30 per day,” says office administrator Jennifer Hacker. “The increase in demand was drastic and happened basically overnight. It’s definitely a challenge to keep up with at times, but we’re also extremely grateful to have so much business during such a tumultuous time.” Those leads have slowed a bit since last summer, but demand for new construction is still much greater than it was prior to COVID. Of course, while homeowners are eager to get started on projects as quickly as possible, they also want to make sure that they are

The design process begins when sales manager Ken Mikes first meets with the homeowners. During this initial consultation, Ken is able to visually assess the backyard and get a feel for what the clients are looking for out of the project. “I’ve been with Baker for over 15 years now, and so I’ve learned what questions to ask people to get them thinking and to open their eyes to all the different possibilities,” says Mikes. “Many of our clients want more than just a traditional swimming pool. They want to create a relaxing environment where they can spend time together and create lasting family memories.” Baker specializes exclusively in custom concrete swimming pools, and so the design options are virtually limitless. Have a small backyard or a boundary easement that limits where you can build? With concrete, you can build any size or shape pool imaginable. Backyard not completely flat, or even steeply sloped? In most cases, a pool is still possible with some grading work and possibly the addition of a retaining wall or two. ADDING ELEMENTS ENHANCES THE POOL EXPERIENCE

When determining what depth to build a swimming pool, it’s important to think about how the customer plans to use the pool. If they have small children, then they will probably want a substantially sized shallow end. Large tanning ledges are also popular with families with young children, as they provide room for the kids to comfortably sit in the water and play. If a slide or jump board

is included in the design, then you will need a deeper area to ensure safety when sliding or diving into the pool. Alternatively, if you plan to add a basketball hoop or volleyball net, then you probably want to include a large, level area where players can easily stand and move around in the water.

include outdoor kitchens, sound and entertainment systems, and even private putting greens or sport courts. Some Baker clients even choose to incorporate additional structures, such as pavilions or pool houses, into the plans for their outdoor space. While structures are one of the few things that Baker doesn’t handle in-house, they work very closely with other local contractors, such as Heartlands Building Company and Aesthetic Design & Build, to accommodate these requests.

Once size, shape and depth have been determined, it’s time for the homeowners to start thinking about what other elements they would like to include in their design. While it’s of course not a requirement, many Baker clients choose to add additional features to their pool to further boost aesthetics and enjoyment. Concrete spas, either connected Once the design is finalized, clients to or located near the pool, are a common then visit the Baker showroom to request. Water features such as bubblers, select the various materials that will scuppers and sheer descent waterfalls add be used to construct their project. visual interest as well as the soothing sound This includes components such as tile, of continuously flowing water. Custom any stone needed for coping or raised boulder water features, constructed of or exposed walls, and the finish for weathered limestone, are always an impresthe interior of the pool. Once again, sive addition and add this gives homeowners a more natural feel to the opportunity to “Many of our clients the pool. customize the pool to Along with water features, fire features can also create a dramatic statement. Gas powered fire bowls add excitement and intrigue without creating any irritating smoke. They’re easy to operate and tend to cultivate feelings of nostalgia and perhaps even romance.

want more than just a traditional swimming pool. They want to create a relaxing environment where they can spend time together and create lasting family memories.”

“It’s really all about what type of ambiance the customer is trying to create,” says Warren. “Is this pool meant to be a playground for the kids or a relaxing haven for adults? For many of our clients, it’s both and it’s the job of myself and our other designers to meld that all together and design a pool that’s the perfect blend of everything they’re hoping to achieve.” OUTDOOR LIVING SPACES AND LANDSCAPING

At Baker Pool Construction, projects often include more than just the swimming pool itself. Many customers choose to extend the decking around the pool to create additional seating and lounging areas. Fire pits and outdoor fireplaces are extremely popular, as they encourage conversation and spending quality time together with family and friends. They also allow your outdoor spaces to remain useable year-round, which is an especially appealing benefit for many homeowners. Other prevalent features

fit their personal tastes and, if they so desire, to match the exterior of the home itself.

If they choose to, clients may also utilize Baker’s in-house landscaping company, Flora Design & Landscape, to develop a landscape plan for the pool area and any other areas of the yard that they wish to include. A thoughtful landscape design is extremely important, as these finishing touches really tie everything together and make the space feel complete.

“We’ve found that our customers really appreciate the fact that we can handle all, or at least close to all, aspects of their backyard renovation,” says project manager Matt Vodicka. “They feel more comfortable knowing that we can act as the general contractor to coordinate and make sure that everything goes according to plan. Installs tend to go a lot smoother when everyone involved is constantly communicating and working together.” Once construction wraps up, clients have not just a new pool, but an entire new outdoor space to enjoy. While many have always longed for these types of home additions and their popularity is certainly nothing new, COVID seems to have intensified the appreciation that homeowners

have for these amenities. After all, spending days and days on end confined to your home is much more manageable when you have a resort-worthy retreat right in your own backyard! To schedule a consultation to discuss the possibilities for your own backyard, you can call (636)519-POOL or visit their website at

Making Our Water Feature Dream a Reality BY LORI STRING E R & G E RI ROSE N

CHRIS SIEWING is owner and president of Nature’s Re-Creations, nationally recognized as a Master Certified Aquascape Contractor, Missouri’s first Water Garden Excellence Member, first-place winner of the North American Pond and Waterfall Building Competition and in the elite group of Aquascape Artists of the Year recipients. Nature’s Re-Creations is the area’s leading designer and installer of custom water features. For over 15 years, they have been committed to high quality design, workmanship and customer satisfaction. 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. or their portfolio at NaturesReCreations.


met Chris at the St. Louis Home & Garden Show. After talking to him we went home and started to visualize (dream) about how we wanted our backyard to look and sound. We originally had a 12’x 20’ fiberglass pool that because of substandard installation had warped and cracked. We had put in a waterfall, stream and holding pond ourselves using stones found on the side of the road, and it would no longer hold water.

Originally, we were only going to have Nature’s Re-Creations replace the pond and waterfall we built ourselves. We had dreamed of replacing the pool as well but thought it would be too expensive to turn it into a natural swim pond that resembled Chris’s style of water gardens. We wanted our yard to resemble the cliffs and streams you often find while driving through the country or walking in the woods. After checking out Chris’s backyard we knew we had found the right guy. Our poolto-pond project was immediately followed by the fishpond redesign and renovation. The best part of the project for me was that any design idea I had, while watching the project come together, Chris and his crew already had the same

idea as if they were reading my mind and were happy to figure out to make it happen. We were able to observe the work ethic and character of the Nature’s Re-Creations crew. They were considerate, conscientious and very hard working. It was obvious they cared about the project and our family. They closed up the fence every night so we could let our dogs out in the yard. They swept and picked up the debris, rock and dirt each night. They didn’t block mailboxes or neighboring driveways even though our lot was on a cul-de-sac. They even brought our trash cans in when we had to go out of town. If you want to see some video of what went on in our back yard that fall, go to YouTube and search MsBear2327 or call us. Chris has our number, and I gave him permission to give it out if anyone would like to talk about the project. We’d love to tell you how great and unique Nature’s ReCreations is and answer your questions as best we can. Nature’s Re-Creations is the “Holmes on Homes” of water features and landscaping. No short cuts - no shortchanges. Not only are our ponds and falls fabulous, but a drainage problem that was affecting our nextdoor neighbor was also corrected. We know we got a bargain. BEST working relationship with a contractor - EVER!

Luxury Outdoor Living From Luna Builds Luna Builds designs and constructs outdoor living spaces, patios, facades, screen rooms, outdoor kitchens and more, creating completely unique and experiential spaces for each client. We provide a turnkey approach, utilizing only the best practices, materials, applications and trade professionals to coordinate a seamless experience throughout.

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Our craftsmen create custom designs that will last a lifetime. Using only the finest appliances inside our precise stone and concrete structures, we construct the most perfect outdoor living spaces for your enjoyment. Our ability to match your home’s materials, down to the mortar color, is unequaled. Luna Builds understands our clients’ higher expectations and our designs will “wow” guests of your home for years to come. Exceptional references provided on request. Call or email today for a consultation at your home.

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The Basement Egress Window



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

Upgrade Your Fence This Year

For improved appearance, safety, durability or privacy, we have the fence and gate for you JB Fence offers a selection of top quality, low maintenance poolgrade fence and gate options. Fence material options include galvanized steel, aluminum, vinyl and wood. All are manufactured in the USA.


Montage is a leading ornamental steel fence product from Ameristar, with an E-coat maintenance-free finish and a lifetime limited warranty. Montage Plus is a heavier option. Both come in black or bronze. Echelon is the highest quality residential ornamental aluminum

fence in the industry and Echelon Plus is their heavier option. Echelon has a maintenance free, durable finish that offers a lifetime limited warranty. Both come in black, bronze or white. Photo in lower left is a Legends Decorative vinyl fence by Master Halco. Vinyl fencing is made in traditional picket style, closed picket and privacy fencing. Legends products have a limited lifetime warranty. Custom fabricated ornamental iron fencing and gates can be provided upon request. Call or email today for a free estimate.



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Fountains, Pottery and Plantings DISTINC TIVE FE ATU RES ADD B E AUT Y AND E NJOYME NT


here are many ways to enhance and enjoy your yard. Consider adding distinctive features that offer beauty and pleasure for your guests - family, friends and neighbors.

FOU NTAINS AN D STATUARY, either classic

or contemporary, provide focal points for planted beds or patios in your yard. The glimmering sights and pleasing sounds of trickling water on a fountain offer continuous, natural welcome to all who visit. Garden sculpture and statuary make a long-lasting and elegant addition to any landscaping or garden. Birdbaths bring the beauty and sounds of a great variety of feathered friends throughout the year. NATU R AL STON E B U B B LING BOU LDE RS are a great addition to any

landscape. Pick a boulder and have them drill holes for a custom look or choose from a vast selection of predrilled natural stone. CE R AMIC POT TE RY AN D PL ANTE RS

add interest to your indoor and outdoor plantings. Glazed decorative planters add bold color and height for annual or perennial flowering plants, greenery and ferns that bring them closer to enjoy more. A variety of styles, colors and sizes are available to complement any decor.




that create outdoor gathering areas you can enjoy beyond the warm weather months. TRE ES , SH RU BS , AN N UAL S AN D PE RE N NIAL S should be added to freshen your

yard and provide variety in the landscape. They can be selectively placed for shade and privacy. WORLD OUTDOOR E M PORIU M is your one-stop destination for everything outdoors. With over 20 acres they have the largest selection of fountains and ornamental yard décor in the Midwest. They also carry everything from natural stone and concrete edging, retaining wall blocks, decorative gravel, mulch, topsoil, compost, erosion control products, pond supplies and more. Their St. Charles location is at 4230 St. Peters Pkwy South 63304, and their Wentzville Garden Center at 1307 Granville Drive 63385 offers a large selection of annuals, perennials and lawn care products. You can learn more about World Outdoor Emporium at, and by phone at 636-441-9779 in St. Charles and 636-327-6000 in Wentzville.



Does Your Home Have Uneven Concrete Surfaces? –WALKS , STEPS , PATIO, POOL DECK OR DRIVEWAY?


hese are unsightly and also tripping hazards that could cause injuries.

You may have tilting concrete steps or sidewalks, driveways or patios where a seam has turned into a step, or repeated cracking in sections of concrete slabs. These problems are often the result of a shifting or a weak soil base or erosion.

In the past, contractors relied upon mud jacking or slab jacking to level concrete that had settled over time. This involves pumping concrete slurry under the settled slab to raise it, hoping that the settlement

won’t continue. But that requires large holes in the concrete - about the diameter of a soda can. It can take an entire day to cure and the mixture itself is heavy – about 100 pounds per cubic foot, which can lead to further sinking. There is now a great alternative called PolyLEVEL™, which uses a lightweight polyurethane mix that expands to fill the void beneath sunken concrete. This not only results in a solution that lasts longer, but also it looks better because it is less destructive to the applied surface. PolyLEVEL requires a much smaller hole – about the diameter of a penny, cures in 15 minutes and weighs much less – about two

pounds per cubic foot. It lifts concrete slabs to a level position with less weight and disruption than the legacy mud jacking or slab jacking process. The result is a safe, secure and level concrete slab. In the St. Louis area, Woods Basement Systems is the authorized contractor for PolyLEVEL concrete lifting. They will inspect your concrete walk, steps, pool deck, patio or driveway and provide an estimate to have your sunken concrete slab lifted with PolyLEVEL. To meet with one of their concrete repair experts, you can call them at 866-735-1890 or learn more at

While our climate doesn’t allow us to spend time outdoors every day of the year, there are ways to extend our outdoor enjoyment to eight months a year, and add those days in winter when there is a break in the weather. Covered outdoor living rooms can be enjoyed in the rain, and with shade and a ceiling fan they make hot days comfortable. A fireplace in an outdoor living room or firepit outdoors makes cooler days enjoyable. Lighting, TV, surround sound, directional fans, as well as power screens, and built-in heaters allow for use of the cozy spaces, day or night. And, of course, outdoor living wouldn’t be complete without

One company in the St. Louis area that specializes in extraordinary outdoor living spaces and continues the great masonry tradition that St. Louis is historically known for is Luna Builds StL. They are a St. Louis owned and operated design-build company, working in a turnkey approach with homeowners to provide innovative design and construction. Let Luna Builds StL handle the entire process with their in-house craftsmen and management team, and trusted partners and suppliers. To create your own outdoor quality of life and priceless memories at home, you can call Dan Head, hands-on owner of Luna Builds, at 314-575-2791 or email at You can learn more about them and see more examples of their work at


The best outdoor living spaces work structurally and aesthetically with the existing


great food and refreshing drink. Outdoor kitchens feature gas grills, smokers or pizza ovens, and beverages in refrigeration or on tap. All surrounded by comfortable gathering areas to entertain friends and family.



ome people define their quality of life by how much time they are able to spend outdoors. It’s relaxing and refreshing to commune with nature in the fresh air right in the comfort of your own back yard. And with most of us spending more time at home than ever these days, enhanced outdoor living options make an enjoyable “stay-cation” possible.

But what really makes for the best in outdoor living is the quality of design, building materials and construction. These provide durable spaces that stand up to a lot of everyday use, are timelessly inviting and will last for decades. This work calls for skilled masonry craftsmen and carpenters who create with solid natural materials like stone, brick and wood.

27 CLM

Outdoor Living for the Ages

home. Factors like exposure to sun and weather have to be evaluated in the layout and design, to be fully usable and enjoyable. There needs to be a natural flow between indoor and outdoor spaces, and privacy.

Native Planting Conversions are Solutions for Dull or Problem Landscapes TH OS E AR E A S B ECO M E B E AUTI F U L S E LF - MANAG I N G NATU R E SC AP E S


Instead, you can convert that part of your lawn to a naturescape meadow, an expanse of native plant varieties that doesn’t require mowing, chemicals or even watering. Create a diverse array of perennial plantings, including beautiful wildflowers that bloom from April through October and come back better year after year. This organic, self-managing meadow eliminates exhaust emissions, air and ground pollution, herbicides and pesticides. And your natural







f there is a section of your lawn that needs to be mowed, fertilized and weed killers applied, and after all that is still just ordinary, uninteresting lawn, there is an alternative that is worth considering.

prairie will absorb water and reduce erosion problems. The result of this conversion is an ever-changing naturescape that improves your quality of life by attracting birds, butterflies, hummingbirds and other pollinators, attractions that enhance your home’s connection with nature. If you have sections of lawn under trees where grass just doesn’t seem to consistently grow, or that are over-exposed to sun where grass burns out, you can convert them to mulched perennial gardens. You can eliminate the frustration of seeing

grass in those areas that may start out looking nice in the spring, but by mid-summer has worn away to bare dirt where crabgrass and weeds quickly fill in. Instead, you can have creative arrays of bluebells, groundcover ginger, Ohio horsemint, white anemone and other native perennials that will thrive and with just once-a year composting will burst out of the ground into a beautiful variety of colors and shapes year after year. There are also economic benefits: in those areas you have eliminated mowing, fertilizing, weed killers and upkeep. And, real estate professionals will confirm that these plantings increase property values. If you have wooded borders that are overgrown with honeysuckle, kudzu and other invasive species, you can replace those with attractive native shrubs and flowering trees. Eliminating these dense clusters of gnarled plants will open up areas of your yard to sunlight, providing more pleasant views and a neater appearance for your yard. You will be amazed at the difference a professional crew can make in tackling these areas, and how attractive they can become with planting of native shrubs and flowering trees.

STEVE CALLOWAY is owner of Garden Green Horticulture Service. They revitalize and restore gardens, and convert areas of ordinary lawn or problem growth with beautiful native plantings that will make landscapes better year after year. Steve also helps homeowners select the plants, trees and shrubbery that best meet their aesthetic desires and that will thrive in the sunlight, soil and moisture conditions in their yards. You can call or email Steve for a complimentary consultation in your yard, to identify your plants and advise on how to keep them healthy and looking their best. You can reach Steve at 314-288-5036 or



County House Washing & Painting Keeps Homes Looking Their Best Award-winning service for over 30 years. The wide variety of services we offer at County House Washing & Painting are all A-rated and award winning. Our own skilled staff of painters, power washers, handymen and carpenters all take great pride in their finished product – exterior siding and concrete, decks, fences, roofs and fine interiors. Commercial as well as residential. We are locally owned, fully insured, an A+ Rated Accredited Business with the Better Business Bureau, and an Angie’s List Super Service Award winner in five categories. We are happy to share many references from our customers.


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or too long I had ignored all those telling me I should do something about my hearing. I prided myself on the fact that when I was upstairs in our house, I could still hear the coffeemaker down in the kitchen. Boy did I have a lot to learn.



A good friend finally convinced me that it was time to have my hearing tested professionally. I had heard (and read) good things about the locally owned Miracle-Ear clinics, so that is where I went. And I really did learn a lot. First, I was not in a “hearing aid store” but it was a medical clinic fully equipped to diagnose my hearing deficiency. One of the first things I learned is that not all sounds are created equal. Low tones, like the sounds of the coffeemaker, actually travel farther than higher pitched sounds, which I guess is why the “whomp, whomp” is all you hear from those cars next to you with the huge speakers blasting music. The cochlea, the spiral part of the inner ear that transfers sound vibrations to the brain, actually hears low frequencies more easily. And as we age, the part of the cochlea that hears higher pitched sounds is the first area that wears away. After this explanation and showing me the model of the inner ear and how sound

is transferred to the brain, it was time for my hearing test. But not quite yet. First, to make sure nothing was interfering with my hearing, I got a thorough ear cleaning and gentle removal of wax, which I learned is actually skin particles that flake off in the ear canal. They had a tiny video camera that let me see the difference before and after the cleaning, and for the first time in my life I actually saw what my ear drum looks like. Once I was in the sound-proof booth, I was asked to respond for each ear to a series of tones high and low, as well as calibrated spoken words. The chart on this page shows the printout from the test. My hearing loss is in the higher frequencies (on the right), where the red line (right ear) and blue line (left) dip down below the acceptable range. In that higher frequency range is where much of spoken conversation is. But the most compelling hearing test for me was when my auditory instructor simply

45 50








held a folder up to her face so I couldn’t MCL UCL read her lips. She spoke a series of ten 70dB words very clearly and asked me to repeat 80dB 75/75dB them. Words like “teeth”, “cable” and “fake.” To me they sounded like “chief ”, “table” and “cake.” I only got five of them right! As shown on the hearing chart, specific consonant sounds like k, t, f, s and ch are lower in volume than vowels, and especially hard to hear correctly for those (like me) with hearing loss in the higher register. The good news was that my hearing loss is still in the mild to moderate band, which is a good time to correct hearing because that is where there are the most options and potential savings for hearing correction. There was more important learning. Below this hearing loss range is auditory deprivation, in which the brain actually loses the ability to distinguish certain sounds because it has been so long since they were heard that they are forgotten. And these changes are not just perceptions. In a recent study published by Johns Hopkins Medical School, brain scans show that hearing loss may contribute to a faster rate of atrophy in the brain than would normally be seen due to aging. So now, equipped with the evidence of my hearing loss, and convinced that I should do something about it, it was time to look at the options for correcting it. We will pick up the story there in the Fall issue of County Living.

If you would like a free, no-obligation hearing test like the one described here, you can schedule a thorough examination at any one of the 13 locally owned Miracle-Ear clinics in the St. Louis metro area. Just call 314-789-5202

Are You Ready to Own Your Own Health? THE MOST ACCURATE WAYS TO KNOW YOUR BODY IN 2021 ou see a lot of promises for reducing weight and body fat, increasing lean muscle and bone density. You’re probably taking control of your health with exercise and better diet. But how can you really know how you’re doing?


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There is now a solution that provides you scientific data and images to assure you’re getting results and improving your health. At one location there is a full range of advanced body assessment technologies that affordably provide you the tools, knowledge and power to Know Your Body and Own Your Health. BODY ANALYTICS is a non-medical clinic offering the most accurate body composition results possible. Body Analytics enables you to set and monitor progress toward your health, fitness and disease prevention goals. Their technologies include: STYKU offers the fastest non-invasive measures of body fat composi-

tion, a major indicator of potential health risks. In just 35 seconds, a full body scan extracts hundreds of measurements with unparalleled accuracy. No humiliating fat calipers, measuring tapes or risk of human error. Styku provides simple graphics to track how your diet and hard work are benefiting you. DXA is a 15-minute comprehensive snapshot of your exact bone den-

sity. This is the Golden Standard used to determine Osteoporosis and Osteopenia. DXA can also provide a full-body composition image. Very weak x-ray beams detect composition percentages, including visceral fat, providing an advanced image of your entire body and insight into potential health risks. KORR assessment is a simple 10-minute test that measures how much food, or energy, is required to maintain basic body functions in a state of rest. This enables you to take control over your metabolic health and stop the guesswork of modifying caloric intake for weight gain or loss. KORR will give you a clear picture of how your weight loss program is impacting your metabolism, ensuring that your diet is maintaining your metabolic rate.

Body Analytics is now offering their Introductory 8 Week Challenge. For one low price, you will receive 3 DXA scans, 3 Styku scans and 3 measures of resting metabolic heart rate. To take advantage of this special offer and book a session at Body Analytics, you can call them at 314-471-5373. You can learn more at about what they offer. They are located at 4290 Telegraph Road 63129, just 12 minutes from Manchester and 270.


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A Personal Trainer is the Key to Achieving Your Goals


BRET KLIETHERMES is owner of STRONG HUMAN FITNESS LLC, a personal training company that offers Complete Fitness Programs to help his clients reach their personal health and fitness goals. Bret has a Bachelor of Science in Health & Wellness Promotion from Missouri State University, is a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist and Professional Member of the National Strength and Conditioning Association. Bret works with clients at The Fitness Partner, Inc., a boutique gym located at 14528 South Outer 40 Road, Chesterfield 63017. For 25 years, owner/operator Randy Stone has offered a more private alternative to the large box gyms that are often noisy and overcrowded.



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 or visit


here are important reasons why people want to start an exercise and nutrition program. To lose weight, get strong and healthy, look and be their best for an upcoming event, or to simply be a positive role model for their family. These reasons take on personal importance that is unique to each individual.

What is not unique, however, are the three major barriers to success that my clients faced when they tried to reach these goals on their own. These issues are exactly why they turned to me to achieve the success you see in the examples on this page, and why you may consider doing the same if you are having a hard time reaching your health and fitness goals: NOT KNOWING HOW TO PUT A COMPLETE PROGRAM TOGETHER. A com-

prehensive health and fitness program should consist of all the following with the proper amounts/ratios related to your specific goals: Nutrition, Supplementation, Resistance Training, Cardiovascular Exercise, Flexibility or Mobility Work and Proper Rest. If this seems a little overwhelming, you’re not alone.

NOT HAVING A WORKABLE PLAN OF ACTION. You can try the latest and greatest

diet and exercise program known to man, but if it doesn’t fit into your schedule or physical capabilities, as well as integrate all the components listed above, then you’re simply wasting your time. A health and fitness plan must be “doable” for the individual - otherwise it is useless. NOT HAVING A PROPER SUPPORT SYSTEM IN PLACE. Making changes in

your routine necessary for achieving specific health and fitness goals can be extremely challenging. It’s inevitable that you will come up against frustrations, uncertainties and questions along the way. Having someone there to guide, motivate, educate, support and hold you accountable to what you have committed to do for yourself will prove to be one of the best ways to reach your goals. If you are struggling with one or all of these problems on your path to improved health and fitness, then I would recommend not to waste another single day. I have helped dozens of clients achieve their goals and I can help you as well!





JOHN BOYLE, down 15 lbs and 3 inches in

pounds so far and still losing!

waist - and not finished yet!


Do You Have a Phobia Keeping You from Activities You Would Like to Enjoy? BY J OAN K R U EG E R , CE R TI FI E D H Y P N OTH E R AP I ST

JOAN KRUEGER has a private practice with an office in Kirkwood. Many individuals have achieved their behavior change goals, both personal and professional, through guidance they have received in her hypnosis sessions. 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, emailing her at or visiting her website

I outdoors.

t’s that time of year when we want to go outside and experience nature. However, some people have fears and phobias about things in nature like snakes, bugs, bees, and flying insects that keep them from enjoying the

About 20 years ago a woman came to me with a massive fear of snakes. She was pregnant and realized that if she didn’t conquer this fear, that she would miss camping trips and outdoor activities with her son as he grew up. During the session I showed that her mind could enable her to create changes in her outlook and behavior that she didn’t know she could. I gave her a suggestion that her arm was beginning to feel so heavy she wouldn’t be able to lift it. She was amazed when she couldn’t do it. A couple other suggestions showed that her mind could create changes for her. We then went into suggestions about being free from her fear of snakes. She responded very well.

When her son was about a year old, she took him to the zoo. One of the zookeepers had a large snake draped over his shoulders. She wheeled her son’s stroller over and asked the man if she could touch the snake. She was overjoyed that it was something she could do with ease. She actually called her husband and asked the zookeeper to tell him what she had just done. They were both amazed. Periodically, I see this woman and she vividly recounts the story to me and anyone else within earshot. She is profoundly grateful that she was able to overcome her phobia and participate in outdoor activities with her son. Hypnosis can be so helpful in eliminating extreme fear that comes with phobias. It may never make you comfortable enough to pet the object of your fears, but it can free you from phobia keeping you from activities you would like. If you have a phobia and would like to be free of it, you can get in touch with me.

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Breathe Easier Using Salt Room Therapy


hen Clay Juracsik started The St. Louis Salt Room over 10 years ago, it was partially as a therapy for his daughter. She had severe asthma and he saw that it was taking a toll on her health. He was looking for something that could help her and make her less dependent on the drugs she needed to take. Clay had studied halotheraphy and learned of its many benefits, and even traveled to Europe and Russia to visit other salt spas to learn everything he could about them.

Her breathing improved quickly and after several months found that she was able to cut the need for her meds by 90%. “Halotherapy has made her lungs much healthier. It made a huge difference. It made me more of a believer than I already was,” Clay said. “She hasn't needed medication in a long time.” A HISTORY OF BENEFIT

Halotherapy chambers have been popular in Europe and are now seeing popularity in the United States. Salt has been used for

thousands of years to treat a long list of common ailments.

It was discovered in the mid-1800s that people who worked in the salt mines of Poland and surrounding countries had a remarkably low rate of respiratory illnesses. Soon a clinic was placed within one of these salt mines, which is still in operation today. In order to simulate the therapeutic effects within salt mines, spas emulating salt caves were built on the surface, where people would visit routinely to breathe the air which was saturated with beneficial salt particles and negatively-charged ions.  Recently, engineers created a device called a Halo-generator, which not only simulates the conditions in salt mines, but accelerates the effect.  A salt aerosol fills the air with tiny particles, which have been clinically proven to deliver the most optimal results.  FOR ADULTS & CHILDREN

Halotherapy is beneficial to people of all ages, and actually children often experience the

greatest results. Salt Therapy is recommended for those who suffer from respiratory ailments like Asthma, Bronchitis, Sinusitis, and even allergies. Many people use it to lower their stress and relieve fatigue and depression. Athletes use it to optimize their breathing and improve circulation. ST. LOUIS’ FIRST SALT SPA

The St. Louis Salt Room was the first Salt Spa in the Midwest (fifth the in the U.S.) and has many regular clients, including some doctors, nurses and other medical personnel. They are located at 2739 Sutton Blvd. in Maplewood, just 3 blocks south of Manchester. To learn more about how the St. Louis Salt Room can help you, visit You can call (314) 647-2410 to schedule an appointment.




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, deer-resistant gardens and more. Summer is a great time to plant. Call or email today for a free consultation.



BETSY CLEMENS MD is owner and medical principal at Midwest Hemorrhoid Treatment Center, located at 450 North New Ballas Road in Creve Coeur. Dr. Clemens has specialized in evaluating and treating anal/rectal disorders for over 10 years and has performed over 28,000 IRC procedures. Prior to opening MWHTC, Dr. Clemens had a very busy family medicine practice and she remains board certified in family medicine. She has a comprehensive understanding of the body and uses a systematic approach to the diagnostic and treatment process. 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 314-384-5710. To learn more about them and about IRC, you can visit




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 days to weeks of recovery.

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 possibly cause complications, some of which are severe. 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 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. The IRC procedure does not require anesthesia or special preparation. Patients may feel a slight warm sensation, but it usually is painless, and most patients return to work the same day. IRC received FDA clearance in 1984 and is covered by most insurance plans.


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Can You Really Improve Your Bone Health?


he skeletal system is the foundation for your body and provides more than just strength and protection. We tend to think of adult bones as fixed, rigid structures that don’t change much before they begin to deteriorate as we get older. But the truth is that like the rest of our bodies, the skeleton is constantly replacing itself, and over several years it is replaced completely.

Old bone is broken down by cells called osteoclasts and replaced by bone-building cells known as osteoblasts. But when we hit middle age this renewal process slows down, so our bones get thinner, which is how osteoporosis can set in. But many people in St. Louis, across the US and around the world are benefiting from the discovery that a targeted weekly stimulus can actually trigger growth of healthy new bone tissue. The required resistance is difficult for most people to achieve







“Before I joined OsteoStrong I was having terrible leg and hip pain. I struggled to do any type of daily activity without being in pain. By the end of most days, I had such severe leg pain it was difficult to fall asleep. I would often wake up through the night with more pain and leg cramps. My doctor ran blood tests and evaluated my pain, but couldn’t offer any answer and she suggested vitamins. I saw an advertisement for OsteoStrong and immediately called for their free trial offer. What was I to lose since it was free? My pain! I got my legs and my life back! I felt relief after my first visit! I have been going for five weeks and it has made such a difference in my life. My body feels stronger, I have more energy, my balance as improved, and I love going each week because the trainers and other clients are so friendly and supportive! Can’t wait to see how my body feels after another five weeks!" CATHY

"I have been going to OsteoStrong for over a year . I am feeling improvement in general health already. The two important markers I have noticed are in my bone density scan result and in my HbA1C (blood sugar). The bone density numbers have come out to be well outside the ‘panic’ range and my A1C has kept going down from 6.4 to 6.1 and just recently to 5.9. Thank you. I hope to keep on going like this as long as I can." RON “Before OsteoStrong, I had to go up stairs one step at a time because of the weakness in my legs - I now can walk upstairs in a normal way! I also notice that I can stand in the middle of the room and put on my slacks without leaning on something or sitting down. The staff at OsteoStrong are very friendly, make me feel confident and are always complimentary. Overall, I've seen a great improvement in my strength and it's also easier to stand up out of a chair." MARY

with just regular exercise. But for nearly five years St. Louisans have taken advantage of specialized centers here that make it easy, safe and without pain to achieve forces at this level and beyond for nearly all ages and fitness levels. The proprietary Spectrum System is offered exclusively at OsteoStrong, with 10 facilities servicing the St. Louis and St. Charles area. Sessions are once a week and take less than 15 minutes. Many members of OsteoStrong experience improved bone density, posture, balance and athletic ability. Also, less joint and back pain, helping them feel more confident in their daily life. The most compelling evidence is what OsteoStrong members themselves have to say about their experience!

"I am 77 years of age, and for the last 3 years, due to various health issues I have lost a lot of muscle strength. I was reluctant to try OsteoStrong but so glad I did! I have noticed that I'm able to do some of the things I couldn't before - for example lifting my heavy standup mixer from the bottom of the cabinet to the top of my counter! My balance is much better, and I definitely feel stronger - which is exactly what I was hoping for!" SHIR LE Y

ALL OSTEOSTRONG CENTERS ARE NOW OPEN, BY APPOINTMENT ONLY. We are following St. Louis County and St. Charles County health guidelines. To schedule a complimentary session, or for more information, you can call 314-270-2005. And you can learn more about OsteoStrong at

The Smarter Technology to Protect Today’s Dog Freedom, Safety & Peace of Mind.

DogWatch offers important benefits over other hidden fences: More reliable and safe signal Customized to your dog & yard Lower cost, longer life battery (up to 2 yrs) Locally owned, professional installation, service & training Lifetime warranty & guarantees Programmable by users Indoor & outdoor solutions Made in the USA Can convert other systems to DogWatch Call or email for a free estimate

(314) 965-9209 To learn more visit

(inset here of Smart phone & copy)

SmartFence TM connects to Internet for text alerts


Keep Your Dog Safe This Summer


ummer is officially upon us, and here in Missouri that means heat, humidity, and ticks! But it’s not just us humans that struggle when the mercury rises; our furry friends feel it, too. Follow these tips to make sure your pup stays safe and has fun this summer:

n LEARN THE SIGNS OF OVERHEATING. Rapid panting, excessive drooling, and a bright red tongue are all signs your dog is too hot. Take them indoors or get to some shade, give them water, and apply a cool, wet towel to their paw pads, chest, and belly. If your dog starts vomiting or has diarrhea, get them to a vet immediately. n GIVE YOUR DOG PLENTY OF WATER. Just like people, dogs get dehydrated more quickly in hot weather. Take extra water on all your adventures.

n WATCH OUT FOR HOT SIDEWALKS. Before your walk, test the heat of the sidewalk with your hand. If it’s too hot to hold your hand there for ten seconds, it’s too hot for your dog’s paw pads. Opt for a walk through the grass instead. n NEVER LEAVE YOUR PET UNATTENDED IN THE CAR. Even on a mild day, your car can heat up to over one hundred degrees in less than thirty minutes. Either take your pet with you when you get out of the car or leave them at home altogether. n BE MINDFUL OF LAKES AND RIVERS. Some aquatic plants and algae are toxic or even deadly to dogs. Do your research before letting your dog swim or wade in natural water sources. n KEEP YOUR DOG’S PREVENTATIVES UP TO DATE. Summer is tick season, so talk to your vet about the right flea and tick preventative for your dog. n THINK BEFORE YOU SHAVE. Some dogs use their thick coats to regulate their body temperature. For breeds like huskies, golden retrievers, and Australian shepherds, shaving them does more harm than good. Ask a groomer which summer cut is best for your dog. Photo: Michael Kilfoy

A Hidden Fence Protects Your Dog and Adds Convenience for You


f you would like the convenience of letting your dog out of the house any time, day or night, without worrying they will wander off your property, there is a great solution. A hidden fence is an underground pet fencing system that uses a radio signal to keep your dog in a designated containment area, or out of an area, such as a swimming pool, patio, or garden. They can also create indoor boundaries to keep your pet off a couch, out of a room or away from a kitchen counter.

HOW A HIDDEN FENCE WORKS A ‘boundary wire’ is buried a few inches underground around your property. The buried wire carries a harmless, low lev-

(also called a “correction”) from the receiver collar. Through a training program, your pet learns to recognize his fence boundaries and to stop at the warning signal. With an indoor system, the hidden wire runs around your couch, under the lip of the counter, around the trash or across a doorway or wherever you need to create a containment area tor an “off-limits” area. There are also wireless indoor units that do not require placement of a boundary wire. TRAINING IS KEY

el radio signal from a transmitter installed in your house or garage. Your pet wears a lightweight, waterproof receiver collar that recognizes the radio signal. As your pet approaches the buried wire, the receiver collar emits a warning signal (audible or vibration). If your pet travels further, he will receive a mild but safe stimulation

Training is an important part of the process. This includes teaching your pet to recognize the containment area boundaries. Your pet learns that if he continues beyond the warning alert, he will receive a mild correction (a stimulation from the collar) that is unpleasant, but it will not “burn” or injure your pet. It is similar to the static shock you receive after walking across a carpet in your socks. After training, dogs usually stop before the warning signal to avoid the correction. To learn more about a hidden fence for your property, you can contact DogWatch Hidden Fences of St. Louis at 314-965-9209 or by email at

When You’re Away, I Will Stay! Don’t leave your pets lonely, scared, bored or having to hold it in for a long time. I will:

S T. L O U I S A R E A

Pet Friendly Restaurants and Hotels According to, there are 155 pet friendly restaurants in the St. Louis area that welcome dogs at their outdoor tables. And for your out-of-town visitors who want to bring their dogs, there are 94 pet friendly hotels here. For lists to choose from, with detailed description of each restaurant, along with pictures and reviews from other dog owners, and a list of hotels for your pooch visitors, visit

Let them out Take them Stay overnight at your for rides home so they can be in Walk them their own safe, comfortTake them Feed them able surroundings to the dog park Entertain them I’ve been a homeowner for 45 years and know how to keep your home clean and tidy. I’ll take in your mail and newspaper, water your plants, brush your pets and sweep up the fur. Plus, I’m bonded, insured, discrete, reliable conscientious and fun! Iris Salsman 314-495-3017 Find me on Facebook The Pet Nanny St. Louis

Oxygène Landscape Design

Our passion is to design and deliver inspirational environmental spaces. We approach each project from an artistic position, providing site-specific designs to improve your outdoor living experience. We create designs specific to the personality of your home and property. Some of Our Services: Landscape Design & Consultation Softscapes & Hardscapes Patio, Decks, Firepits Custom Wood Fences Rock Gardens Greenhouses

Jamey Edgerton Mobile: 314.773.9208 More about us:

Bringing West Coast Vibes & Designs to Mid-West Outdoor Living

Exceptional Interior Painting and Refinishing Kathy Arnold Painting & Refinishing is a professional full-service painting company. We provide extraordinary interior painting, kitchen cabinet refinishing and carpentry. We have over 35 years’ experience and are considered one of the best residential painters in St. Louis. We can add architectural features like crown molding, fluted columns and picture frame trim, to give ordinary surfaces new dimension and interest. Let us give your home new personality, charm and a truly distinctive appearance. We are happy to provide excellent references.


Late Summer Activities & Events Take advantage of these wonderful events. Make this the year you get back out and enjoy the special festivals and entertainment events across the St. Louis metro area.

PLEASE NOTE: These events were still scheduled as of press time. Check websites for updates.


April 17-October 10 Missouri Botanical Garden STL COU NT Y PAR KS FOOD TRUCK FEST & LIVE M USIC

Evenings 5-8pm JULY 21

Whiskey Raccoon Creve Coeur Park Soccer Complex AUGUST 6

Hudson and Friends Laumeier Sculpture Park SEPTEMBER 3

PowerPlay Laumeier Sculpture Park SEPTEMBER 14


August 20-22 Blanchette Park


Labor Day Weekend MO Botanical Garden ST. LOU IS TRIATHALON

September 5, 2021 Tremayne Shelter, Maryland Heights L ABOR DAY



September 17-19 Kirkwood Park OLD WE BSTE R JA ZZ & B LU ES FESTIVAL

September 18 Downtown Webster Groves

Skylark Brothers Creve Coeur Park OPE N HIG HWAY M USIC FESTIVAL



September 10-12 Downtown Clayton

Stages St. Louis Sept 24-Oct 24 Kirkwood Performing Arts Center

August 5-8 Chesterfield Amphitheater ALWAYS . . . PATSY CLIN E

Stages St. Louis August 6-Sept 5 Kirkwood Performing Arts Center


September 17-19 Historic North Main Street St. Charles

Monday, September 6

RetroBand Tilles Park




September 17-18 Central Fields in Forest Park

Amazing Vacations! W I T H J O E L A N G T R AV E L E X T R A O R D I N A R Y V A C AT I O N S B E G I N WITH EXPERIENCE, EXPERTISE AND KNOWLE DG E . One of the most popular luxury vacations is river cruising. Today’s modern river cruise ships traverse major waterways across the globe, creating a boutique luxury cruise experience, a relaxed pace of travel, and access to authentic local culture. Unlike a large ocean cruise ship, most river cruises offer mostly exterior cabins, featuring large floor to ceiling windows or balconies. But it’s not just your room that’s different. River cruises include daily guided shore excursions, as well as wine, beer and other drink options at lunch and dinner, and spend most of their time in port docking in the heart of historic cities and small villages along the river. And your luxury accommodations travel with you. Selecting the right river cruise for your style comes down to four primary choices: The Season, The River, The Cruise Line, and The Cruise Ship. That’s where it can get more complicated, since there are hundreds of river cruise ships and itineraries to choose from that change each year. Which is where our experience can help. Joe Lang Travel has been planning trips for our valued clients for nearly 30 years. No matter where in the world you want to go, we will help get you there. We take the time to answer your questions and listen to your ideas, before making expert recommendations that fit your specific travel needs and requests. We believe that extraordinary vacations begin with careful planning; that's why I am personally devoted to ensuring the best possible experience, before, during, and after the trip. When you’re ready to plan your trip, there’s only one call you need to make. Whether it’s river cruising, ocean cruising, an African safari, tours of European cities, or trips that are on your bucket list, we will take care of every detail for you. You can reach me at 314-985-5642 (office) or 314-614-0443 (cell phone) or by email at You can learn more about us at

Exquisite River Cruise – Paris to Northern Fr ance Join County Living for an inspiring tour of Paris, Normandy and highlights of the Seine River aboard AmaWaterways, March 24-31, 2022. Paris always sizzles, while Normandy beckons with its stunning coastline, incredible food and artistic beauty. The charming harbor town of Honfleur will inspire you, as will the unforgettable beaches of Normandy where Allied forces landed during D-Day. The grandeur of Chateau de Bizy, “the Versailles of Normandy,” add culture, art, architecture and timeless landscapes, and you have Northern France. You will enjoy an extensive lineup of included tours - bike tours, hikes and Special Interest Tours. A variety of activities provide daily discovery and wonder. Our French-class ships melt stress away in the sauna or whirlpool. Savor breathtaking views from well-appointed staterooms, most featuring a French balcony. Enjoy These Features on Your Cruise: Panoramic Lounge with piano and dance floor Walking track, whirlpool, fitness room Hair salon and massage

Complimentary Wi-Fi, high-speed internet, movies, music and TV The Chef’s Table restaurant, tasting menu Regional cuisine at breakfast and lunch buffets

Afternoon tea, all-day tapas menu and coffee station La Chaîne des Rôtisseurs Dinner, Captain’s Cocktail, Gala Dinner Spacious River view staterooms and suites, marble bathrooms

Please contact Joe Lang Travel for complete details and to sign up for this extraordinary river cruise.

Joe Lang Travel, LLC

A Nexion and Travel Leaders Group Affiliate

12135 Royal Valley Drive St. Louis, Missouri 63141 Office: 314-985-5642 Cell: 314-614-0443

the great room, providing a breathtaking view of the valleys below, while resting on steel beams lifted 4-12 feet in the air.

Innsbrook: Your Nature Getaway with All the Comforts of Home





magine being able to live in a place where every day is the weekend and relaxation is required. Just a hop, skip, and a jump from St. Louis (about 30 minutes from Chesterfield) sits an almost-magical place where your residential dreams become a reality. Whether your perfect weekend is ultimate adventure or ultimate relaxation – you can customize your piece of paradise at Innsbrook, which offers more than 100 lakes, sandy beaches, nature trails, a fitness and aquatics center, a remodeled, upscale Clubhouse Bar & Grille, a newly renovated championship 18-hole golf course, and family events for all ages. It’s the best of both worlds for those who want to be in sync with nature, but with all the comforts of home within reach.

In the past year, more than ever, families took refuge in the resort’s private, secluded environment and chose to adopt the unmatchable Innsbrook lifestyle. As popularity of the community increases, new developments are on the horizon. In expanding the Innsbrook community, those seeking a life of leisure can buy their desired lot now, and build later. As our expert construction and design team help plan and execute your dream home, you can enjoy all the amenities Innsbrook has to offer before and during your build. Innsbrook’s newest venture comprises of an expansion on the southwestern side of the

Innsbrook’s natural charm leaves a lasting impression on visitors and residents. From quaint cottages and rustic chalets nestled in the woods, to cozy condos and custom homes perched on the water’s edge, Innsbrook is the natural choice for living your best life. Being a favorite close-tohome sanctuary for 50 years, families can enjoy all the amenities lake lifestyle offers throughout the year, including open-air concerts, kids’ camps, tennis, pickle ball courts and more. Property owners can also retreat to their secluded private dock, or entertain guests on their wrap-around deck overlooking the forest or lake. The kids can skip stones, roast marshmallows, track wildlife, or build forts - harkening back to days when having fun meant freedom to get dirty while exploring nature’s wonders. Picture your perfect family weekend or couple’s getaway,

property, surrounded by 1,500 acres of beautiful forests and lakes in the new Tyrolean Region. Discover a panorama of woodland dreams and rich valleys with a unique treehouse development coming soon. Treehouse models are designed to elicit the whimsical feeling of floating amid lofty tree tops while being embraced within exceptional natural scenery the Innsbrook landscape provides.

Listen to the calming sounds of the creek alongside the bluff as you gaze over the entirety of the Innsbrook property from afar. By growing the new development out of the organic curves of the land, these one-of-a-kind properties create a place of peace and privacy, where you can escape from the busy everyday life year round, or have a serene oasis for the weekend. With 146 acres of terrain below, treehouse owners will have easy access to nearby hiking trails and are able to explore the peaceful Midwestern forests and unique wildlife that resides within Innsbrook’s gates with ease. Ranging between 1,000 and 1,600 square feet, the one, two, and three bedroom treehouses will each boast the same exterior layout, with maintenance-free siding options, intended to put a modern twist on a home hidden within nature’s shadows. Elongated windows will line each side of

Photo by Tom Berger

a retreat to a place where you can enjoy the great outdoors or just cuddle by the fire. As Innsbrook celebrates 50 years of closeknit community and family values, we welcome you to become a part of the next half century and discover the Innsbrook lifestyle and tradition that has been passed down by many generations. Despite having to navigate through the pandemic challenges within the past year, the Innsbrook community continues to provide a baseline of normalcy and peace within its gates. Innsbrook’s 7,500 acres of spacious, secluded property and amenities allow you to safely live life with little interruption. To join the Innsbrook family today, contact one of Innsbrook’s expert agents at 636.928.3366 ext. 9199 or property@ Or, explore Innsbrook without an appointment from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., seven days a week, or virtually at




JOIN US ON WEEKENDS to sample wines and enjoy live music AUGUST 14 Of Sea and Stone SEPT 11 Savana

Fridays 4-9PM (Happy Hour) Saturdays 12-8PM and Sundays 12-6PM (Live Music)

*Open until 9pm for Sunset Events

JULY 10, SEPT 26 OCT 16 Horse-drawn wagon ride, wine tastings, wood-fired pizza lunch To purchase tour tickets:

8901 Hwy YY, New Haven, MO 573-459-6123

No Space for the Cars You Have . . . and the Cars You Want? We have the solution: Wildfire Lifts Wagner Door is the exclusive St. Louis area installer of Wildfire Lifts, the highest quality, safest and most attractive car lifts available. These unique 4-post lifts are designed by structural engineers for car enthusiasts to offer much greater stability and comfort than other lifts, at a very affordable price.

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On The Road


Read more road tales in John’s first two books – A Road Trip Into America’s Hidden Heart and Coastal Missouri – available at Left Bank Books. This excerpt is from John’s latest book, Souls Along the Road, available now. More of his stories are at

Sin, Shoes and Barbecue


unklin is Missouri's tallest county, standing almost 44 miles from its sole to its crown, and shaped like the left side of an hourglass, seemingly stuffed with cotton, mostly, until I scratched a little deeper.

performer until he retired to Hornersville and opened a general store, he not only sold Buster Brown shoes, in 1900 he convinced the Brown Shoe Company to make him spokesman for the brand. At 40 years old, Major Ray became Buster Brown. He died


I rolled into Morris State Park. Its beech trees and cherry bark oaks straddle Crowley's Ridge, a geologic backbone jutting diagonally across the Bootheel, offering safe passage past the swamps for early settlers headed to Texas. Peach orchards surround the park, their sappy aroma reminding me of healthy food choices.



Latching on the rim of this massive Arkansan dearth of spirits, Missouri entrepreneurs sit like vultures, just a bunt from the Arkansas line. An archipelago of liquor stores stretches across Missouri’s southern border, along the most unlikely outpost roads, in the middle of cotton fields and nothing else. There, capitalism takes root, with prime commercial frontage along the battle lines of sin. Fagus is one such outpost, sitting on the map like the head of a cobbler’s nail in the instep of the Bootheel. It used to be a timber town, until they cut all the trees down. The whole zip code that surrounds this little town shows only thirty-one people. Yet the town’s solitary business thrives. “It’s odd to see a store out here in the middle of nowhere,” said the young woman who rang the cash register at Robison & McIver. “But Clay County [Arkansas] is dry.” Indeed, in many Arkansas counties, voters still defeat the local sale of liquor. So stores perch on Missouri’s borders like eighty-proof ATMs to service the needs of Arkansan back-door Baptists who drive sixty feet into Missouri to buy enough hooch to wet their whistle. They come from neighboring Piggot and Rector and Corning.

But in this neck of the woods, my culinary antennae point to Holcomb, in the tiny waistline of this corseted county, where Strawberry's Bar-B-Que ribs await. Barbecue is religion. And when people try to crown the king of barbecue joints, the witness protection system swells. That’s okay. I stand strong in my belief that Strawberry’s is the best BBQ in Missouri. I pushed south. Down near the border, just three miles from Arkansas I uncovered an icon from my childhood. Southwest of Hornersville, down a dirt road, a cemetery holds the remains of Buster Brown. Most kids who grew up wearing Buster Brown shoes probably thought Buster was a kid. Not so. He was born Major Ray back at the beginning of the Civil War, and he stopped growing when he reached 44 inches tall. A circus

ago, Missouri holds one potent advantage over neighboring Arkansas: the powerful economic benefit of sin. Many Arkansas counties still ban the sale of liquor, a virtue Missouri counties abandoned about the same time Pat Nixon’s husband abdicated the throne to Betty Ford’s husband.

in 1936, and sometime thereafter, folks erected a tombstone with his likeness, dressed as Buster Brown. He's a memory now, same as the empty shoe factories that dot the Bootheel landscape. In an area that has been depressed since the shoe factories shut down a generation

“They used to not sell lottery tickets, either,” she notes about her good Arkansas neighbors. “But now they do.” So that’s cut into her business. No matter. John Barleycorn still provides a good living, down here in the land of cotton, and the mindset of Cotton Mather.

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ORFEO Yale Baroque Opera. 2019. University Theater, Yale University Directed by Toni Dorfman Lighting by Solomon Weisbard Projections by Camilla Tassi

He Creates Bold New Worlds on Bare Stages

Set Design by Patrick Huber Philip Boehm at Upstream Theater hired me for this show, with a larger budget than any I had done. The shop that built and painted the set does scenery for Broadway shows and major films. I was playing with the big boys. The show was staged at the Yale University Theater MainStage. The concept of the show was that it was being performed by the passengers and crew of an 18th century French sailing ship.





atrick Huber and I sat in his backyard in University City on a beautiful spring afternoon recently to talk about his impressive career as a theatrical scenic and lighting designer. As I sipped my La Croix grapefruit bubbly with a splash of agave juice - his favorite refreshment - I looked around at his exquisite garden and bird feeders and realized I was sitting in an outdoor set that was perfect for Patrick. He admitted that his wife, Emily, is really the brains behind it.

If you have ever seen a play at one of the smaller theater companies here, then it’s a sure thing you’ve seen Patrick’s work. He is a master of scenic design and lighting design. Yes, those are two separate crafts, but they work together to create the world of the play or musical. Scenic and lighting design are frequently unnoticed by the audience, except when the curtain or lights go up and they get their first look at the stage. That’s always been a magical moment for me. I know I’m about to spend the next two hours in this temporary but fully realized world. After that, I accept it as a reality.

The actors take me through their story, the mood enhanced by the lighting cues and accents that carry me along until the final curtain. I must admit I am a theater junkie and especially love the productions of the smaller companies in St. Louis. That’s one of the pleasures I have missed most during this long COVID intermission. Maybe you’ve seen one or more productions by those companies. It’s an impressive list, and all of them are on Patrick’s resume’. They include - hold on, it’s a long list - St. Louis Actors’ Studio, Upstream, Max and Louie, the St. Louis Shakespeare Festival, Orthwein

Theater Company, Union Avenue Opera, Washington University Opera, Hothouse, Shattermask, and - reaching back to 1983 - City Players. That’s an impressive resume, covering almost forty years. And he’s not about to slow down. Last year, Patrick won the St. Louis Theater Circle Award for Best Lighting Design for the play “Indecent.” In 2019, Union Avenue Opera Company won that award for “La Boheme” as “Best Production of an Opera,” for which he designed the scenery and lighting. It all began when he was a teenager. Patrick grew up in South St. Louis, and learned through school and church that it’s disrespectful of all religions to try to practice just one view. He lives that today. He needs ritual, and a time and space, to be sacred. From the saying you’ve probably heard about “people who are gathered in my name,” he believes that’s where the spirit lies and is at the core of theater. Patrick views theater as a community. Actors, directors, wardrobe, scenery and lighting designers, sound design, carpenters and painters, tickets and programs - and the audiences. These are large and small communities. The one quality that brings

NABUCCO Union Avenue Opera. 2018. Union Avenue Christian Church Directed by Mark Frieman Set and Lighting Design by Patrick Huber Scott Schoonover, the producer at Union Avenue Opera, is fearless in the operas, right up to a 4 -year production of Wagner’s Ring Cycle. I have a nice model of the sanctuary at Union Avenue Christian Church that I fill with the operas we produce there. This is a model for the 2018 production of “Nabucco,” with which we worked out complex levels, paint treatments, and the head of Bel, the pagan god who is smote by the God of the Isrealites.

it all together is a common goal. “It’s a clear, shared mission we all value,” he says. “The director takes the lead in this endeavor, the main driving force.” Everyone has to have faith in the director.

That’s when he went to work, developing the skills and imagination that would eventually place him in the top tier of designers in the St. Louis pantheon. The Fox Theater was undergoing renovations at the time, a beautiful show palace saved from demolition by Mary and Leon Strauss. Patrick did anything and everything there, from box office to running the backstage elevator. The mystique and history of the Fox fulfilled him. For awhile. When the rehab crew finished in St. Louis, they moved to restore the Chicago Theater, and Patrick went with them. There he learned a lot about the business of theater, from box office to replacing light bulbs. He broadened his horizons in Chicago by working at several small theater companies. The city was the scene of a vibrant theater community, providing him with the opportunity to hone his skills and meet new challenges. Then his career took a hard right turn. To Coral Gables, Florida and Frank Sinatra. It seems Sinatra had a lot of money in the

Mary Institute and St. Louis Country Day School. 2000. Vincent Price Theater Directed by Patrick Huber Scenery and Lighting by Patrick Huber Steve Martin’s play is set in the Montmarte section of Paris at the end of the 19th century, and spends a lot of time talking about art. You and I spoke the other day about using the work of an established artist as inspiration for a set design. This is the most obvious example I have of basing a design on a work of art. In this case, it was Van Gogh’s “Night Café.”


Patrick’s educational path took him from St. Louis U. High to St. Louis U. to the University of Missouri and eventually to Webster University, from which he graduated with a degree in scenic and lighting design. That was not his original intent. He would have gone to journalism school, which is why he picked Mizzou, but a couple of pre-requisites - accounting and economics - told him otherwise. After graduating Webster, he received a graduate degree in Dramatic Literature from Washington University.


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The director is one of the two critical components that draws Patrick to a production. The other is the script. Years ago, an actor taught him how to read a script. Now, when he reads one, he can run it in his head. “I can see it, and I know what it can be… and how it could be even better.” He experienced that two years ago with “Indecent” for Max and Louie Productions, a highly acclaimed theater company here. Working with Stellie Siteman, founder of Max and Louie, he liked what he read and the people he knew in the company. Those were the keys that brought him in.

Chicago Theater, with a front man to protect Frank as the silent partner. Patrick was offered the job of bookkeeper for the company that helped manage the talent and schedules of Sinatra, the Rat Pack, Liza Minelli, and other celebrities. It was a fascinating job, which included supplying the song lyrics, printed on a large sheet to Mr. Sinatra who, it seems, had begun to experience memory problems and couldn’t remember the lyrics.


Patrick soon returned to St. Louis to begin building an impressive resume with a variety of theater companies. I asked him who his main influences were in his craft. He named two, both teachers at Webster University: Peter Sargent, in lighting design, and John Ezell in set design, he said without hesitation. He credits these two men with showing him what could be done with an empty stage to make the script come alive.



Working with St. Louis Actors’ Studio over the years, Patrick has created a lengthy and impressive list of productions. One of the more adventuresome theater companies in St. Louis, Actors’ Studio was founded by William Roth in 2006. William envisioned a company that brought a fresh vision to theater here by exploring the endless facets and various themes of the human condition. “I began collaborating with Patrick in 1992, when I was acting at the Orthwein Theater Company,” says William. Situated at MICDS, the OTC offered cutting-edge plays with sterling casts and directors. “When I started Actors’ Studio, the first person I contacted was Patrick,” he says. “He is egoless and selfless, and his sets are second to none.” Patrick was always there to collaborate, to look for input, to make the set work beautifully. He was an important member of that team. The stage at the

LIT TLE FOXES St. Louis Actors’ Studio. 2018. Gaslight Theater Directed by John Contini Set and Lighting Design by Patrick Huber I’ve designed the majority of the shows that have been produced in the Gaslight

Gaslight Theater is a confined space, just 18 by 18 feet, with more vertical space above the stage. Patrick makes imaginative use of that. “I trust him. I just say ‘do your thing.’” Audiences at the Gaslight have continued to be blown away by his imaginative sets and lighting. “I cherish my relationship with Patrick,” says William, “and hope it goes well into the future.” Another strong influence in Patrick’s life was Milt Zoth. “I met Milt at City Players,” says Patrick, pulling up a couple of names from St. Louis theatrical history. City Players was once the flagship of St Louis theater companies, training ground for an impressive list of actors and directors. Milt Zoth, who was a director and guiding light for St. Louis theater for many years, taught drama at Kirkwood High School. He was a father figure to many before moving to Austin, Texas several years ago. Patrick went to work with Milt at MICDS, and designed sets and lighting for many productions of the Orthwein Theater Company at MICDS. The OTC legacy remains as one of the most adventuresome companies. Patrick had been told that the architecture instructor at MICDS was quitting and was offered the job. He took it, even though architecture wasn’t high in his skill set. But he was a quick learner. How did it all work

Theater. In the process, I’ve learned a lot about what can be done in a cube that is 18’ on a side. There’s no negotiation, no cheating. You get 18’. I’ve learned a lot about what can be made to fit in such a space, including an antebellum sitting room and a staircase that has to support the most dramatic moments of the show for “Little Foxes.”

out? “I’ve been teaching there for thirty years,” says Patrick. Patrick never says, “I can’t.” His attitude is “I can do this.” And he does. Whether it’s theater or education, whether he’s designing sets and lighting or showing students what is possible in theater and in life, Patrick brings imagination and energy to whatever he does. “There is nothing as exciting as theater,” he says. “From that first glance at a script to the audience applause at the end of a play. I can’t ask for any more out of life than that.”

As the potential for a healthy, new theater season approaches, I urge you to check out the following websites to see what magic these companies will offer.

A Place in the Country BY BILL ZIE RCH E R

Bill Ziercher is the founder of Select Properties Real Estate. He has been active in building, buying, selling, and managing rural real estate and income property for over 25 years. For a free consultation on marketing your rural property, you can contact Bill at 314.412.3966. and for copies of previous “A Place in the Country” Articles you can email him at

at·trac·tion: the action or power of

evoking interest, pleasure, or liking for someone or something to The Country.

There is the music of songbirds in the morning, coyotes at night or the sound of water falling. The design, colors and symmetry of Balance is noble in most wildflowers things in life. In my cannot fully be Bill and sons Kyle and Kameron at mind one thing that is reproduced in Lizard Head Wilderness, Colorado out of balance in large images or on parts of our society is canvas. The tracts of your own property provide greater technology as a way to poetry of forests, hunting opportunities. Owning your own experience everyday sunrises and place also appeals to the left brain because living, as opposed to ducks landing on land is a very sound long-term investment realism. As an example, water still one’s and as I ask, “When was the last time you people (especially our heart. To truly or your family could enjoy a portion of children) are not made experience the your 401K or stock portfolio as much?” Or, to spend hours every day Sunrise at White Mountain Wilderness, heavens at night “When you die, do you want to leave more in front of a screen or New Mexico above . . . and moonset below you must be away money or more shared memories with your iPhone. I am not proposfrom city lights. kids and grandkids?” ing people live an AmishThere are multiple ways to experience My brother and his family live in Durango, like lifestyle, rather a little more balance of nature, and it certainly is both qualitative Colorado. They have a rustic cabin just “virtual” with realism. John Paul II provides and quantitative, meaning you cannot fully South of Telluride on a small lot that overa healthy view of technology where he appreciate the great outdoors with just looks Trout Lake on the San Juan Skyway, says machines are “man’s ally because they momentary immersions in the country. the Uncumpahrge National Forest is on his facilitate his work, perfect, accelerate and Why buy the cow when you can get the back doorstep and the Lizard Head Wilaugment it.” (1) milk for free? We are blessed in the United derness is just across the highway. One of Christina Ianzito, an award-winning travel States to live in a country the key attributes is that door-to-door from writer, cites studies that that has more public home to cabin is under two hours. Likewise, show nature is a good access to fishing, hunting in the St Charles/St Louis region a little prescription for physical, and recreational activiincremental drive provides a much greater mental and emotional ties than any other place return: buying a place an hour and a half (2) well-being. We live on earth. For those who out vs. an hour provides a lot more bang for longer, are more comcan afford owning a place your buck, but 2 hours or much further you fortable, well-fed and in the country there and your family are less likely to get there live largely peaceful lives are additional benefits. to enjoy it as often. from the fruits of the Roots and family mem1 Laborem Exercens natural sciences. On the ories, the freedom to use 2 Nature: The Prescription for Better other hand, what would the land how and when Mental Health life be without the Arts you choose, and larger


and Philosophy, Music and Poetry? Nature and rural time evoke those in a very real way, not faux, virtually or as some artificial environment.

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his article is a little more philosophical than usual. The subject is the attraction or better yet immersing yourself in a rural getaway, or even moving there and adopting it as a way of life.

Protecting Your Business Assets

entrepreneur, a DAPT is an alternative to a pre-nuptial agreement. In fact, Missouri is ranked among the top states to create a DAPT. A Spousal Lifetime Access Trust (SLAT) is perfect for the vacation home. Estate planning needs to meet your family and financial goals. As a business owner, you have even more at stake.




Holding assets solely in LLCs is not the best solution. Multiple LLCs is not an estate plan. You are missing out on estate planning solutions. An LLC certificate is not the only necessary step to form a company. Operating agreements become important. Many business owners have incomplete or poorly structured operating agreements in place. If improperly structured, the operating agreement leaves behind is a financial headache for your family.


ust off the cobwebs of the COVID19 year. It’s time to get back into the game of business, or even step up for a new mile marker of achievement. However, it’s not just time to take care of business. It’s time to take care of your estate plan. What is the connection between your business and your estate? How does estate planning protect you as a business owner? Estate planning solutions in asset protection exist for business owners to help protect business assets and the bottom line.







A Last Will and Testament is basic estate planning. A will takes assets belonging to one person through Probate Court. Probate costs and attorney fees increase as the estate value increases. However, for small business owners or even a family-owned business, a Last Will and Testament is simply not enough to protect a family, a business, or the owner. A will is not a viable solution. Even for a single person, a will is basic, but better options exist. If you are a single business owner, consider a Revocable Living Trust. Revocable allows changes and revocation before death. A married couple may consider a Qualified Spousal Trust (QST). The QST is a powerful living trust that offers creditor protection. The basic plan needs to be in place before we can protect more with advanced estate planning, especially with proposed tax laws.

would require inheritors to pay tax on the increase in value during the benefactor’s ownership. Capital gains tax may increase from 29% to 43%. Valuation discounts are on the chopping block. What does that mean for you? More tax. Why Now: Moderately wealthy families may start paying taxes never paid before. Business owners may not have adequate plans in place to prepare for these changes. Proactive planning is critical now before the tax laws change. Let’s look at possible wealth management solutions. WEALTH MANAGEMENT Wealth management works for the individual and for the business owner. Current tax proposals will impact your estate, gifting, and capital gain tax dollars. Strategies such as the Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust (ILIT), a Domestic Asset Protection Trust (DAPT), or a Grantor Retained Annuity Trust (GRAT) may meet your financial goals. The ILIT is a powerful tool to reduce estate and gift tax. For a single

Viable solutions help the family-owned business. A family limited partnership (FLP) or a family limited liability company (FLLC) is created to retain family business interests and manage family wealth. The FLP or FLLC allows you to maintain management over the business while offering creditor protection and reducing gift and estate taxes. An Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust (ILIT) removes money from the estate and avoids gift tax. A separate trust can hold your intellectual property. A DAPT offers creditor protection. Wealth management solutions in estate planning complete your business plan. It’s time to put all the pieces together. BOTTOM LINE Asset Protection is wealth management. The key to starting is this: you must have a basic estate plan in place. Then, you can add advance planning to protect your assets. There is a short window of opportunity. Seriously, the time to put a plan in place is now, before you pay more in taxes. After all, it’s your bottom line to save.

PROPOSED TAX ISSUES The 99.5% “Act” proposals reduce the tax exemption to $3.5 or $5 million per individual with a progressive estate tax rate. A reduction equals an increase in estate taxes. Instead of paying $0, a $5 million will pay a tax of $675,000. The STEP Act will tax transfer of property, even at death. The stepped-up basis at death value is possibly being eliminated, which

SHERI TUCKER, ESQ. is the Founder and Owner of TUCKER LEGAL SERVICES, LLC. She has been licensed in Missouri since 1992. Sheri worked as a contract attorney with Monsanto, and started her own firm in St. Louis. She is an experienced estate planning and elder law attorney, a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, and WealthCounsel. Sheri is your “personal care attorney” for peace of mind in estate planning. To set up a complimentary consultation you can call or email Sheri at 314.332.0011 or

When is the Best Time to Sell Your Business? D I D YO U WAIT TO O LO N G? BY J E F F BACH

Many people would have liked to sell in 2009 or shortly after but had to work as many as five additional years to recover value lost during the recession. Just like in 2009, the recent pandemic we have experienced created another missed opportunity for some who missed the premium timing. Your broker should be able to help you determine if your industry is one that should delay in selling now or if purchasers are specifically

While some industries are performing better than others, today’s business acquisition market is still very strong. If you anticipate selling in the next five years or so, you should begin to research the possibilities soon. Buyers are confident, and there are more buyers than there are good businesses for sale right now. The economy will recover! Buyers are in an advantageous position to purchase. Banks are lending money to qualified deals. And the SBA is even offering incentives for acquisition loans! Selling prices based on multiples of sales and profits are up in many categories. Ask a business broker if your business and life situation make this a good time to take advantage of these trends and consider selling your business.


JEFF BACH is a leading broker at Fusion Business Services, along with the other top brokers in this area. Fusion Business Services combines the highest levels of technology, marketing and professional experience for your needs. With access to their large network of qualified buyers, Jeff offers the best opportunity to help you successfully sell your business. He only gets paid when you sell your business. Valuations are free and are the starting point to knowing when it is the right time to sell your business. Jeff can also help qualified buyers find and buy a business that meets 55


And when the valuation of a business doesn’t match the owner’s expectations, they may be tempted to hang on too long, which also means missing out on enjoying many of the experiences that they worked so hard for after a sale. Investment specialists can tell you how many years you will be able to afford to live at reduced income after a sale. Waiting too long can not only decrease the time you enjoy in retirement, but also the quality of how you can live. Your business broker can advise you as to what it would take and how long it would take to change the value of your company.


All too many business owners wait too long to sell or put a succession plan in place. Burnout can create apathy that leads to decreased sales and profits, and a business is easier to sell and worth more while sales and profits are solid. Waiting a few years while you turn things around could yield a higher selling price, but not if the business loses value while you wait. Often decreases in sales and profits are completely out of the owner’s control. Health problems, family issues, industry downturns and a new competitive mix can change everything.

more interested in your particular field. While not the highest net opportunity, there is also an uptick in bargain hunters with cash that are looking to bail sellers out today.

their goals. You can contact Jeff for a free, confidential, no-obligation discussion about selling your business or buying a business at 314-941-8530, or by email at



very business owner at some point needs to be prepared to move on. Whether prompted by retirement, relocation, health issues, burnout or changing markets, there is a life cycle to every business. A business broker can help you decide if selling your business is the best exit strategy for you, and when the right time to sell could be. Even if you believe that time is fairly distant in the future, it is never too early to start learning and preparing.

HOOMA SHAH ESQ. is the Founding and Principal Attorney at THE SHAH LAW FIRM, LLC in Clayton. She is an experienced Family Law Attorney and serves clients in both Missouri and Illinois. Before opening her own practice, she clerked for two Family Law Judges in Pennsylvania, which exposed her to a broad range of family law issues and taught her how to analyze a case from a judge's perspective, which is highly beneficial in procuring a successful outcome on behalf of her clients.

What is a Grey Divorce? BY HOOMA SHAH , ESQ .







ho can forget Bill and Melinda Gates’ recent bombshell announcement that they are divorcing? In 2010, everyone was surprised when Former Vice-President Al Gore and his wife Tipper Gore announced their separation after 40 years of marriage. These divorces illustrate an emerging trend in the world of family law—that of “grey divorces.” Over the last several years, the divorce rate for middleaged and older couples, particularly celebrities and politicians, has increased significantly. One can’t help but ask, “Exactly what is a grey divorce?” “Why are grey divorces trending?” WHAT IS A PRE-NUPTIAL THE AGE OF GREY DIVORCES In the past, grey divorce described the break-up of a 40 plus year marriage of a couple in their 60’s. Today, it refers to a man or woman who is over the age of 50 and is divorcing. Usually, the marriage is at least 20 years old, and the children are young adults or older. Instead of children facing parental divorce, it is married children with their own families, experiencing the divorce of the “grandparent” age.

old initiated two out of three divorces. So, what is responsible for this upward trend? A variety of reasons exist as to why people are people divorcing later in life. In the past, couples usually stayed together for financial security. In the past divorced women lived in poverty while divorced men increased their standard of living. However, over the last several decades women have made significant gains in education, independence and autonomy. Thus, they are less fearful of becoming impoverished. Sometimes people lived in unbearable conditions to avoid the stigma of divorce. Often religious views kept couples together, especially when it came to raising the children. How often have you heard, “I’ll divorce my husband as soon as the youngest turns 18?” Once the children leave home, couples suddenly realize they have nothing in common. Today, that is one reason for the increase of senior divorces.


Age brings new health challenges and maybe a partner wants a younger model. Perhaps, people just grow apart. Today there is an increase of Seniors who want to experience a better chapter in life. Rather than hanging on for different reasons, older couples are splitting apart.

Divorce among Generation X and Millennials has decreased. Younger generations are either marrying later in life or bypassing marriage entirely.


In 2010 one in four people over the age of 50 divorced. By 2017, women over 50 years

Consider where you and your ex-spouse


are in your careers. Alternatively, did one of you (usually the woman) give up your career to stay home and raise the children? This can impact the duration and amount of maintenance a party owes, and the other party receives. 2. ASSETS AND LIABILITIES: Have

you and your spouse accumulated pre-marital, non-marital and/or marital assets? What about debt? The longer you have been married, the more there will be to work through. 3. INHERITANCE: Have either you or

your spouse received any inheritance? If yes, it may be subject to division in a divorce. 4. SOCIAL SECURITY BENEFITS: Are

you or your spouse receiving or entitled to social security benefits? What about Veteran’s Benefits? If yes, these particular benefits might be at stake in a divorce. 5. LIFE INSURANCE: Do you and/or

your spouse have a life insurance policy? Do you know if it has a cash surrender value? Who is the beneficiary of the policy? These are all things that you need to consider when you are going through a divorce. 6. PENSION PLANS AND RETIREMENT ACCOUNTS: Have you and/or

your spouse accumulated these benefits? Are you aware of the impact that divorce can have on your retirement plans and benefits? 7. COLLEGE: Do you have children who

are planning to attend or are currently in college? Have you discussed if you or your ex (or both) will be paying for your child’s college tuition? YOUR GREY DIVORCE ATTORNEY It’s essential to work with a family law attorney who understands your new change in life during a grey divorce. If you’re in the age to start over your new chapter in life, you can call me at 636-299-0250 to book a consultation with me now.

Take a fresh road trip. County Living columnist

The stories along these roads reflect life’s uneven rhythms. Fun. Fear. Breakdowns and revelations. The beauty of violent storms. The scents of September sycamores and campfires, forest fires and kitchen fires. His stories serve up tastes and touches and sounds you can’t coax from a tweet. You probably shouldn’t read this during church. Available at fine bookstores everywhere. Or email John at Read more stories at Photos by Cheryl Robinson


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 Missouri government, 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: Campbell House in Downtown St. Louis The Louisiana Purchase Gift Shop at Missouri History Museum Left Bank Books Main Street Books in St. Charles Museum of Transportation Gift Shops in Kirkwood St. Louis Genealogical Society in Maplewood World News in Clayton For more information, you can visit


John’s Newest Book, Souls Along The Road, Is Hot Off The Press

This Book Should Be in Every Home in St. Louis



for his unique travelogs based on his books.


won an

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You May Own SMART Devices, But Is Your Home - and Are You Smart Enough to Use Them? WE CAN HELP YOU AND YOUR HOME GET (OR STAY) SMART!

B Y D E D E C AT S AV I S COMPUTER TUTORS is a local, woman-owned small business founded in 1997. DEDE CATSAVIS is the founder and owner. For 24 years they have provided computer services to thousands of satisfied, happy customers. Computer Tutors works on Windows and MAC computers, sets up home networks, eliminates viruses and also will help with any of your other electronic devices. You can reach them at 314-608-7920, and at


“SMART” device is any electronic device that connects and interacts with other devices and with the user via Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and several other wireless protocols. Benefits to the homeowner are greater convenience, security and a wider array of information, entertainment, comfort and practical applications just a touch away.

These days most households have multiple electronic devices, many of which are “SMART”. Learning how to operate each one can be difficult at first, such as being

Finest Custom Table Pads at Factory-Direct Prices The way to insure perfect 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, an independent St. Louis dealer, provides the finest custom American-made 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 550o, moisture and warp resistant. Patented hidden magnets minimize separation and slippage on your table.

able to switch back and forth between cable TV and streaming programs over the Internet on a smart TV. The need for multiple controllers, and switching back and forth often seem to make using smart TVs more challenging than rewarding. Our company specializes in patiently helping people make the transition to smart devices, and use them very confidently. The challenges can multiply when you have several smart devices that you want to be able to control and to interact with each other. The key is to simplify control not by adding more controllers, but by using those devices you

Recently, we helped a client connect eighty (80!) smart devices in her home. All of her light switches, smart plugs, door locks, security system, washer, refrigerators, TVs, phones, music system, doorbell, thermostat, garage door and ceiling fans were capable of being monitored and controlled by her cell phone and her laptop. First, we upgraded her network speed by helping her switch to a faster internet plan. Then we upgraded her Wi-fi network equipment to allow not only greater speed, but better coverage and security. The upgraded network was able to handle all her smart devices as we systematically installed and tested multiple apps on her phone and computer to control and monitor each device. It was quite a project with so many devices, but the end result was a very successful SMART home transformation.

Make Your Home Look Great, Feel Great, Perform Great It’s possible to do all three—without breaking the bank! Marla Esser Cloos, the Green Home Coach in her book Living Green Effortlessly: Simple Choices for a Better Home provides simple steps that can save you money now, increase your home’s value, and make your home healthier for you, your family—and the environment.

“Marla does a wonderful job simplifying what can often be an overwhelming subject. I found her action steps easy to understand (and more importantly...implement). In addition, she provided a TON of tips, tools and checklists that any homeowner would find invaluable. Overall, I found the content to be well organized and can see myself using this as a resource time and time again!” -M. Fies, Homeowner

CUSTOM TABLE PADS OF ST. LOUIS Phone: 314-752-5577 Email:

already carry with you and use all the time, your smart phone and laptop or tablet.

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Bring nature home with your own Water Garden We provide expert custom design and installation of ponds, recreation ponds, streams and waterfalls. These sustainable ecosystems can be used to harvest rainwater and control storm water runoff. We are Master Certified Aquascape Contractors, first place winners of the North American Pond/Waterfall Competition and St. Louis’s first Certified RainXchange Professionals. Named by Aquascape as the 2012 Artist of the Year, and ranked #4 among all Certified Aquascape Contractors worldwide. For an on-site consultation or private water feature tour, please call Chris at 314-220-3841 Visit our portfolio at NaturesReCreations

Live Better at Home

A new way to design and remodel

“We are about living, not just a

project or product.” Says Dana King,

“homes should work for people.”

Dana King Design Build Remodeling excels in cohesive and collaborative design, tackling all aspects of home beyond what most providers do. The team manages the details and eliminates the hassles typical of most home improvement projects. Dana brings passionate professionals with skills and

certifications in WELL Standards for healthy living, Universal Design to make spaces function for a wide range of abilities, Smart-home technology to provide connectivity, and organization to make life seamless

for busy families. Projects range from home furnishings to home additions. They answer the perplexing feasibility questions such as what improvements create the best value, how to phase the projects and options to fund the project.

Visit DANAKING.COM to view our projects and to schedule an inspiring in-home or virtual consultation, or call


NARI Certified Remodeler – committed to excellence in design, quality, on-time delivery, cleanliness and communication. Over 200 online reviews.

Profile for County Living Magazine

Summer 2021 County Living Magazine  

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