The Russo family talks about 60 years of building relationships and how their picturesque Piazza Messina property is more than just a popular wedding venue www.piazzamessina.com
A Family Business Grows Roots in Cottleville with a Special Blend of Food and Fun story page 10
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St. Charles County Municipality Mayors Dan Borgmeyer, Saint Charles 636-949-3268 email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org Len Pagano, Saint Peters 636-278-2244, ext. 1233 LPagano@stpetersmo.net Bill Hennessy, O’Fallon 636-379-5500 email@example.com Nick Guccione, Wentzville Nick.Guccione@wentzvillemo.org 636-639-0354 Kathy Schweikert, Lake St. Louis 636-561-4366 firstname.lastname@example.org
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TABLE OF CONTENTS Volume 5 - Issue 3 Winter 2020 FocusOn Magazine 5377 State Hwy N Cottleville, Missouri 63304
www.FocusOnMagazine.ONLINE 636-566-0004 contact@FocusOnMag.com Advertising Information Patty@FocusOnMag.com © 2017 OpenBeast, LLC
Distribution Cottleville • O’Fallon Lake St. Louis • Dardenne Prairie Weldon Spring • Wentzville St. Peters • St. Charles New Town
St. Charles County Municipality Mayors.....................page 3 Advertiser Directory..................................................page 4 Publisher’s Note | Meet the Team.............................page 5 Safe & Sound Animal Rescues...................................page 6 Russo Family - Piazza Messina.................................page 10 Time Traveler - The Face of Freedom ........................page 12 Sustainable Living - The Holidays.............................page 14 Tapped - Todd Wood & Taphouse.............................page 16 Happy Thanksgiving...............................................page 20 St. Nick’s Day........................................................page 23 TOP BITES with Kelly Gardner.................................page 30 First Responder - Captain Dave................................page 32 Medical Corner with Dr. Emily Johnson, D.C.............page 36 New Business Listings.............................................page 40 Health & Wellness - Protien Shakes...............................page 38 Business - Off Line Marketing In an Online World.......page 42 Local Music Scene - A Young Man follows his roots....page 45 Chasing the Dragon - A Father’s Journey.....................page 46 Movie Reviews - 80’s Movies...................................page 49
Advertiser Directory AmFam Insurance................ page 18 Ample Storage.................... page 27 Bemo’s................................ page 52 Berry Construction................ page 44 Big J Express....................... page 35 Bookbase............................ page 38 Brrr Bash............................. page 24 Cottleville Wine Seller ........... page 9 Crown Luxury Resale............ page 24 Dermatologic Surgery........... page 29 Eagle Exteriors..................... page 10 Faith Through Fire................ page 39 Flower Shop........................ page 25 Get Connected.................... page 49 GLO Beauty & Tan............... page 26 Hairy Elephant....................... page 3 Jo’s 5th Street Pub.................. page 3 4 | fo foc cus usOn On Magazine
KFAV Hot Country................ page 37 Kristy Flood Reakty............... page 25 Law Enforcement Magazine.. page 31 Lime Light Events.................. page 28 Mannino’s Market................ page 22 Mud Jacking.......................... page 3 Photography by DeClue........ page 37 Print Shop, The.................... page 19 Public School House............. page 27 Screens OnSite.................... page 38 Spectrum Glass.................... page 41 State Farm Insurance............ page 25 Terri’s Travel........................ page 26 Turners Carpet & Flooring....... page 7 Turtle Creek Pub & Grill ......... page 8 Unique Heating & Cooling...... page 2 USA Mortgage.................... page 26
As FocusOn Magazine enters its fourth year of publication, I would like to offer a word of thanks to our readers, our contributors, advertisers and our team for their continuous support. Launching a new print magazine, especially at this fast-phased online era, is no small feat and we indeed achieved a good measure of success. As always, we are committed to our key vision of adding value to our local businesses. On the same spirit, I would like to update that our new collaborative animal rescue effort with Unique Heating & Cooling, Safe and Sound (page 6), is getting traction and special thanks to our readers spreading the word. Our cover for this edition features my favorite folks, the Russo’s brothers. We are so proud to showcase and support their new venture, Piazza Messina (page 10). Wisdom and reflection from Captain Dave on page 32, is sure to make anyone pounder about life in general. To get things exciting, Kelly Gardner’s TOP BITES is all about top sips, and yes, you heard it right (page 30)! Medical corner has always been our highly valued section and Dr. Emily Johnson’s 4 WAYS TO SLEEP LIKE A WINNER, on page 36, is just brilliant. It is our goal to present our county with a magazine that captures the spirit, lifestyle and as well highlight social issues of its diverse readers. Many thanks for your continued interest if you are joining us again - and if this is your first time to pick up an issue of FocusOn, cheers and welcome.
Until next time Stephen Thompson, Ph.D. Publisher
Stephen Thompson, Ph.D. Publisher/Owner
shopping | dining | entertainment | news
St. Charles County is Tapped
Doug Bouldin Medical Corner
Debbie DeClue Photographer
Darlene Fischer Chasing the Dragon
Skip Stephens First Responder
Music & Special Events
Dorris Keeven-Franke Historian
Pat Callihan Sports Zone
Director of Ad Sales
Kaylee Adams Social Media
foc fo cus usOn On Magazine | 5
Safe & Sound
bringing awareness to shelters in st. charles county sponsored by UNIQUE HEATING & COOLING - Michele Gnau
Due to Covid Events in the are HAVE BEEN CANCELED
SO A R
Stray & Orphaned Animal Rescue
City of St. Charles Animal Control Services 2835 W Randolph St. St Charles, MO www.stcharlescitymo.gov/132/Animal-Control
Stray and Orphaned Animal Rescue is a 501(c)3 non-profit group committed to helping the most needy, as well as the readily adoptable, canines looking for new homes in our community.
We are a 100 % volunteer operated organization dedicated to restoring the dogs under our care to physical and emotional health as they await placement in loving, responsible homes. We are a small foster based organization with one location in O’fallon, Missouri and another small chapter in Denver, Colorado.
OUR FEATURED GUESTS
This is Sabrina- she is a sweet little Yorkie and is 10 years old. She came to us after being hit by a car. Sabrina luckily had no broken bones, but did have a nasty cut across back. She had surgery to clean it all out and is healing great. She has had her teeth cleaned, and now has a clean bill of health for a 10 year old girl! She is a very sweet girl that weighs around 17 lbs. She gets along great with other dogs, and kids, cats unknown. She is a very sweet and affectionate girl who loves people. She sleeps at night on a dog bed in her fosters bedroom. She walks great on the leash, but definitely prefers short walks as she is a little slow in her older age. Meet Jadzia Dax! She came to SOAR from Animal Control after being found as a stray and was terrified of people and had terrible skin condition (non contagious demodex) that is being treated. Now that she is feeling better she is ready to move onto her new home. She is around 15lbs, under two years old, plus dog and cat friendly. She is shy of new people but when she bonds with you she is a LOVE BUG who gives sweet kisses. Because she is shy to new people she would do best in a home with older kids or only adults. She also loves to play with squeaky toys and is big and small dog friendly. We are currently working on potty training and crate training. Meet Milo! He is about 10 months old and only 35 pounds- we don’t think he will exceed 40 pounds full grown. He is the cutest little mix of all things! We are thinking aussie/terrier mix? He is great with all other dogs he has met! He is in a foster home with cats, and does chase them- but once they stop he ignores them. He loves to go for walks and give you cuddles. He is working on his potty training and does well in the crate. He knows how to sit, and is learning basic manners. He is a very easy going boy and would do well in any family situation. He also is good with kids.
For more information about these pets and others go to
314-660-4430 • StrayandOrphanedAnimalRescue@gmail.com
6 | fo foc cus usOn On Magazine
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3829 Veterans Memorial Pwky. St. Peters, MO 63376 636-442-1333 story by: Katy Kruze photos courtesy of: Kemberly Perkins
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128 Triad Center West, O’Fallon, MO 63366 • 636-294-3458 8 | fo foc cus usOn On Magazine
By: Linda J. Maynard
Thank you for the time spent with us in 2020... looking forward to seeing you again in 2021!
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A Family Business Grows Roots in Cottleville with a Special Blend of Food and Fun “This is a word of mouth business,” stresses Mark Russo. “People put their trust in us to provide a perfect, memorable experience for them. It doesn’t matter the size of the event; every plate, every detail is our reputation. Families coming back to us year after year is the greatest compliment.” Anyone who knows the Russo family (and boy, do a lot of people know a Russo), can attest that the hardworking owners never sit still. Ever. The brothers who run the expanding Russo’s organization likely get that trait from the 93-year-old matriarch, Fran (nee Messina) Russo as well as being raised around the back-breaking catering business founded by their late dad, Matteo Russo. Digging into their latest project in quaint Cottleville, the winery-like property they named Piazza Messina (in honor of their mom), was a task the Russo boys were ready to tackle. Brothers Mark, Tom, and Mike had often dreamt of owning a property, adding to their portfolio of over 50 event spaces and a large catering operation they already managed. The idea of a place to call “home” was appealing through, and they had been eyeing the 14 acres on Highway N for several years. In January 2016, the Russos met with a consulting firm to see if the site was even feasible for their build. “The first company said they would run away,” Mike Russo laughed. “Turns out there would be some extremely challenging excavation needed.” They eventually settled on a firm to help bring the vision to life, knowing they would continue to expand over time. When the Piazza Messina project began, Mike was assigned the lead, working with contractors on the interior/exterior design, and with the help of architects and plenty of family chiming in, they watched the Tuscan-inspired main building take shape. The build meant all three brothers were going to have to juggle even more than they were already handling. “We met constantly throughout 2016 and ‘17, daily pouring over the plans, and talking through every decision” Mike recalls. “I will always be proud of the way we collaborated to make this happen. This property was a dream for us.”
Where it all Began The Russo family got its start in the ’50s when Matteo and 10 | fo foc cus usOn On Magazine
Frances Russo ran an iconic spot in North County called Greenlee’s. It was a favorite hangout that featured ice cream, burgers, and family-recipe sweets. A move to Clayton came in 1961 when the couple started Meramec Catering.“My dad’s philosophy was the catering business was more solid than a restaurant because you always knew how many plates you were going to serve that night,” explained owner Mark Russo. They operated out of the old Creve Coeur Country Club, where they worked countless weddings and banquets. When Matt Russo died in 1979, Fran and oldest son, John Russo (since retired), took the reins. During the early years, it was all hands on deck. Then 19-year-old Mark worked while going to night school. Linda Russo, the only sister, was a customer-favorite bartender. The family changed the name to Russo’s to honor their dad, and having all been raised with an admirable work ethic, slowing down was never an option.” Everybody was in the kitchen,” Mark explained. “We used dad’s recipes and worked events everywhere we could.” Soon after, Tom and Mike joined, and in ‘89 Russo’s Gourmet Express division was added to make eating in the office more like a restaurant; now hundreds of daily deliveries of box lunches and hot buffets arrive at businesses across the area. Over the last 20 years, the company continued to hone its solid reputation, earning top recognition and awards from St. Louis Magazine, The Knot, Wedding Wire, St. Louis Business Journal, The Riverfront Times, and many more. Russo’s will celebrate their 60th anniversary next year.
Piazza Messina is the New Hot Spot In July 2018, Piazza Messina hosted its first event, and has been booked solid ever since. News of the site spread quickly and brides were immediately drawn to the open-air feel of the spacious main building, pretty grounds, and the homey “brides” cottage; so much so that many booked their wed-
ding after just eyeing the renderings. “Everything about the response proved we chose the right spot, and we could not be happier to be a part of the Cottleville community,” Mark said. Soon Executive Chef, Tom Russo, was looking toward the vast lawn with its newly finished four-acre lake (complete with a pair of swans named Franceso and Matteo) and envisioning more. “We had just built a stellar commercial kitchen to augment our catering operation,” Tom said. “But I knew we could be a dynamite destination for a retail (restaurant) operation on the days we weren’t holding weddings,” he added. “That’s how Sunday Sips, and later Sunset Sips, came to be.” A pergola with the lake and fountain backdrop was an addition that quickly became popular with brides, but on plenty of afternoons and evenings, it doubles as a stage for local bands. “We’ve created a winery vibe, without the drive,” explained Tom. “These events have allowed us to get creative with our culinary offerings. We’re constantly adding fresh selections, we’re growing herbs, and sourcing ingredients from local growers. We’re expanding our wine
Mark, Mike & Tom Russo family-friendly entertainment topping the list. “By trying out new concepts, we’ve discovered an amazing following who love it here as much as we do,” Tom said. “Our Sunday and weeknight business has helped us connect with the community in a whole new way because we’re meeting them one-onone instead of at a large event,” he added. When businesses are ready to host teams or clients again, Piazza Messina will provide a welcome space for retreats, with lake and lawn games, customized food, and entertainment options beyond what a standard event space can offer. “We love that people know us for fantastic food and service, but there is so much going on behind the scenes that our customers rarely see,” Mike explained. “We try to make it look simple, but this is a business of a thousand moving parts. We all agree, our 100+ employees are family too, and every day we’re working alongside each other. It truly is a big family with a huge job to do,” he added.
and beer selections, adding weekly signature drinks, and customers are loving it,” Tom added. When you visit now, you’ll see the large outdoor bar, spacious patios, and colorful planters. What you won’t see are the extended family pitching in to build a new pergola, or owner Mark Russo manning the weed-whacker in between directing his event planning team during set-up. Or the spouses pitching in; the wives all lend their talents, whether it’s décor or customer service, and you’ll often see Russo offspring behind the bar or busing a table. The Russos haven’t let this past year slow them down; in fact, the Covid crisis pushed them to create new experiences for their customers. “We were glad to have the chance to offer a safe place to dine out,” Tom said. “We had already implemented an easy, online ordering system to take food orders and payment, which proved to be a natural progression to Covid-safe food delivery,” Tom added. Most importantly, they were able to keep their employees working by opening up Piazza Messina for all kinds of events, from Family Fun Nights to Piazza Palooza music festivals, all with unique menus and spread out across the lawn and three-season patios. The list of special events is always expanding, with
One constant is Mama Russo, Fran. “I get excited telling her about our projects and improvements we’re making,” said Mark. “But she’s brutally honest,” added Tom. “She’ll tell you what she likes and you never know when she’ll pop in the kitchen to critique my cooking.” “Being out here feels so much like the old days in North County,” Mark reminisces. “Everybody knows each other and it’s just become our home.” They all seem to be waxing nostalgic. Chef Tom has resurrected the old candy recipes and enjoys treating guests to the ‘50s era sweet treats (hint: watch for Fran & Matt’s candies to make an appearance at a Sips event soon!) “Sometimes I’m out there at night with nobody around, noticing the different pieces Mark or Tom or I added,” Mike said. “I just pinch myself that our dream is a reality and we did it together.”
foc fo cus usOn On Magazine | 11
Time Traveler By: Dorris Keeven-Franke
“The Face of Freedom”
The guardhouse at the railroad bridge over the Peruque Creek with the Union troops. Photo courtesy Dorris Keeven-Franke
When Archer Alexander arrived in Dardenne Prairie in Saint Charles County on October 8th in 1829, he was 23 years old. Born in 1806, his parents Aleck and Chloe were the property of the Alexander family. He was owned by James Alexander of Rockbridge County, near Lexington, in Virginia. His wife Louisa, born property of the McCluer family, was part of the dowry of James’ wife Nancy. Together Archer and Louisa would have ten children, Ralph, Nellie, Wesley, Eliza, Mary Ann, Archer, Jim, Aleck, Lucinda, and John. By 1835 both of their owners James and his wife Nancy had succumbed to the cholera epidemic. James Alexander’s final Will expressly demands that absolutely none of his slaves are to be sold, but to be rented out for the support and to pay for the education of his four small remaining children that were now orphans. The Alexander children, John, William, Agnes and Sarah would return to Rockbridge County Virginia, where they were raised by their relatives Alexander B. and Elizabeth (Alexander) Stuart. The orphans’ property, including Archer and Louisa, would be under the control of the Estate’s Executor and Administrator, William Campbell. James’ youngest son William would return to Missouri when he was grown, sell all of his property including his slaves, and become a law partner with his cousin William Campbell. Rockbridge County Virginia On August 20, 1829 William M. Campbell would write his first entry in his travel diary “ I started from Lexington, Virginia on a journey to the state of Missouri. My own object in going to that remote section of the Union was to seek a place where I might obtain an honest livelihood by the practice of law. I travel in company with four families containing about fifty individuals, white and black. The first family is that of Dr. McCluer, his wife (my sister) and five children from six months to thirteen years old and fourteen negro servants. Two young men, McNutt and Cummings, and myself form a part 12 | fo foc cus usOn On Magazine
of the traveling family of Dr. McCluer. Dr. McCluer leaves a lucrative practice and proposes settling himself in St. Charles County Missouri on a fine farm which he has purchased about 36 miles from St. Louis. The second family is that of James H. Alexander, who married a sister of Dr. McCluer, with five children and seven negro slaves. Intends farming in Missouri. Third family, James Wilson, a young man who is to be married this night to a pretty young girl and start off in four days to live one thousand miles from her parents. He has four or five negroes. Fourth family, Jacob Icenhoward, an honest, poor, industrious Dutchman with several children and a very aged father in law whom he is taking at great trouble to Missouri, to keep him from becoming a county charge. He has labored his life time here and made nothing more than a subsistence and has determined to go to a country where the substantial comforts of life are more abundant. Our caravan when assembled will consist of four wagons, two carryalls, one Barouche and several horses, cows and fifty people. Two of Dr. McCluer’s children are in Charleston, Kenahwa, with their Uncle Calhoun. Our caravan will not start until the 25th of August. But I, with my sister and nurse will proceed forthwith in the Barouche to Charleston, Kenawha, where we will await the arrival of the caravan. This evening we left Lexington, our native town; possibly never to see it again. I bid adieu to numerous friends and acquaintances, all of whom professes to wish me well. Many of them sincerely, some of them from the bottom of their hearts, some deceitfully and others with indifference. I parted from many whom I respected and esteem highly. I left a numerous tribe of relatives and many old friends. Many requested me to write to them and give them an account of the country and numbers intimated a hope of coming to Missouri in a few years. We came three miles to the residence of my aged father and mother with whom we stay all night, perhaps for the
last time. Tomorrow morning we will start in our barouche for Warm Springs…* Missouri Missouri became a state in 1821. The French had brought “the black code” which was their laws regarding slaves, with them back in the 1760s when they had settled St. Louis and St. Charles. By the time America purchased the Louisiana Territory in 1804, families like Daniel Boone had already settled there with their slaves. And by 1821, the great compromise of Henry Clay would allow the continued institution of slavery, brought by families like Bates and Pitman. The Alexander, Campbell and McCluer family were all cousins and had purchased their property in Dardenne Prairie, along the Boone’s Lick road prior to their arrival in 1829. At first log cabins would serve as shelter for both the black and white families. But as the families prospered, and their land ownership grew, so did their residence. In 1835, work continued on a house, that William Campbell would be the first to reside in. Under the direction of two stonemasons, Archer and the blacks would erect a beautiful home reminiscent of the family residence in Ireland. After the stone house was completed in 1836, the log buildings would become the dwellings of Archer and the other enslaved people. Archer, who had worked in the brickyards of St. Louis prior to his owner James Alexander’s death in the cholera epidemic of 1834, had been brought by William Campbell to Dardenne Prairie to be in charge of the other enslaved property. An excellent carpenter, Archer’s skills would be useful in building not only this house, but several other local residences, including that of his future owners, the Pitman family. Campbell, who was editor of a St. Charles County newspaper, and had been elected to serve in Missouri’s House of Representatives, turned to Archer because he had proved himself trustworthy in the position of manager. This relationship also helped establish Archer Alexander among the other owners in the neighborhood, including the Bates and Naylor families, as someone they could depend upon. The Civil War By 1863, this area was a mixture of not only Confederate sympathizers from the south, but German immigrants who had begun arriving in the 1830s. Germans were pro Union, and strong abolitionists, and sympathetic to the plight of Archer and other blacks. In February, Archer had overheard some of the area’s Confederate men discussing how they had undermined the local railroad bridge. The men who were southern sympathizers, had
stored guns and ammunition in the Campbell icehouse for an attack when the bridge, which was a vital link for the Union Army, collapsed. Archer would risk his life to warn the Union troops stationed at the bridge five miles away. He would inform them what he knew was about to happen. Almost immediately suspicion fell upon Archer as being the informer, and a lynch mob set out after him. Archer, availed himself of the area’s established underground railroad to make his way to St. Louis, where he would be taken in by a Unitarian minister who was also a member of the Western Sanitary Commission, William Greenleaf Eliot. Eliot would secure an Order of Protection from the local Provost Marshall.
Dorris Keeven-Franke and Archer Alexander descendant Keith Winstead at the Emancipation Monument in Lincoln Park in Washington DC.
Washington, D.C. Archer’s bravery would secure him a place in Eliot’s home, and on the Emancipation Monument with President Abraham Lincoln in Washington, D.C. The Emancipation Monument, also known as Freedom’s Memorial or the Lincoln Statue was dedicated in Washington, D.C. on April 14, 1876. It was paid for solely by donations from emancipated citizens and Black Union soldiers. Archer would die December 8, 1880 and was buried near his second wife Julia, in the St. Peter’s German Evangelical Cemetery, in a common lot grave. Eliot would write the story of Archer’s life From Slavery to Freedom, in 1885, using pseudonyms for many of the characters. This is how Archer Alexander, who spent over 30 years of his life in St. Charles County, would become the face of freedom in Washington, D.C. with his emancipator, President Abraham Lincoln. If you would like to know more about Archer Alexander or read William Campbell’s Journal of the journey from Virginia to Missouri go to my blog https://archeralexander.wordpress.com/ or please contact me if you are a descendant of the McCluer or Alexander families, or one of Archer Alexander’s children. Here is a great video about the Emancipation Monument https://archeralexander.wordpress. com/2020/09/26/hidden-history-of-the-emancipation-monument/ *The journal of William Campbell can be found in the Archives of the Washington & Lee University in Lexington, Virginia. foc fo cus usOn On Magazine | 13
Sustainability During the Holidays The holidays get a lot of flak for being unsustainable because overall, it is. Every year, Americans throw away 25% more trash between Thanksgiving and New Yearâ€™s Eve which is about 1 million extra tons of garbage per week. If becoming more sustainable during the holidays is important to you, here are some things that you can do to achieve that goal. Give more by buying less stuff. Around this time, we spend a lot of money, get together, and give gifts as a way of showing our love for each other. Activities and experiences such as spa dates and dinners are perfect for avoiding buying physical gifts that your recipient may not even want and just end up in their junk drawer, and eventually, in the landfill. There are plenty other ideas for gifts that are not tangible and zero-waste such as tickets, memberships and subscriptions. Gift green and local. There are also many creative options for tangible gifts. Bring more thought and intention into the way that you spend your money rather than going online last minute hoping for an expedited shipping. Our community has local crafters and potters who would love your support during the holidays, which is so much better than buying from the big box companies. Gift with an environmental message such as reusable bottles, canvas tote bags, battery rechargers, 14 | fo foc cus usOn On Magazine
Michelle Andaya Co-owner and Project Coordinator at IM Sustainable (im-sustainable.com) and content creator at IM Digital (im-digital.us)
solar powered products, (or ones that require no power at all), and/or items made from recycled materials. If someone in your list loves candles, avoid the traditional ones made from paraffin wax which releases toxins into the air. Beeswax candles release negative ions that neutralize particles from air pollution. Find alternative ways to wrapping paper such as old newspapers, magazines and reusable bags. Maybe even look into Furoshiki, a Japanese traditional style of wrapping using fabric. If every American. Remember, too that not all material gifts have to be store-bought. Homemade cards and do-it-yourself gifts such as soaps, candles and jams are more examples of fun, more thoughtfully-created and equally love-filled alternatives. Truly think about the people that you are buying gifts for and the creative ways that you can spend less money yet give a more personal gift. Give to your loved onesâ€™ favorite charity. Maybe it is for water and food security, causes for mothers and kids, and/or efforts to protect our national parks. When donating to charities, it is important to do a family wrapped just three presents in reused materials, it would save enough paper to cover 45,000 football fields. research on the actual impact of their operations to the community and the environment.
Choose a live tree. Fresher, more fragrant, biodegradable, local, and not shipped from another continent! Incorporate more eco-friendly holiday practices. Take the opportunity to reconnect with nature during the holidays by starting a new family tradition such as family nature hike, holiday bird count, and decorating a tree for the birds with seed bells, pine cones with peanut butter, etc. Consume mindfully. Be smart about how and where you spend for yourself and other people. Ask yourself, “Do I need this?” Can you wear it through multiple seasons and for multiple occasions? Is there a longerlasting, better quality option? What is still good that does not actually need to be replaced? What can you cut back on? It is a great time of year to practice mindful consumption. “Remember that holidays are best experienced when you focus on fun, relationships and real connections as o posed to mindless collection and consumption of actually unimportant stuff.”
Resolve to make an impact. Goal-setting for the next twelve-months is nearing and that is always a nice idea. Go into the following year thinking about the impact that you would like to make on the world around you. Let’s examine that goal of losing those annoying last few pounds. Maybe if we focus that amount of energy into something like container gardening to produce some of our own food, volunteering, or anything that actually gives back to the people in your community and which will truly fulfill you, would that not give you ten times more joy and selfworth than losing those last few pounds? The more we do for the world around us, the better people we become. You can make the world a better place as you celebrate the holidays. With little effort and imagination, the holiday season is actually the perfect opportunity to make people aware, educate about how our choices affect our bodies and the environment, and instill sustainable values to our children, family and friends.
For inquiries, contact the author at (636) 362-6503 or email email@example.com. foc fo cus usOn On Magazine | 15
St. Charles County is...
CRAFT BEER PUBS & BREWERIES by: Steve Naugher
9015 Veterans Memorial Parkway O’Fallon, Missouri 63366 I recently stopped in Taphouse, a small local pub, in O’Fallon. I was greeted by the bartender, Brittney... “Hi Steve.. Bud Select?” Ok I confess, I’ve been to Taphouse a few times. The owner, Todd Wood, was in the back cooking. Taphouse not only has 20 craft beers on tap and all the popular domestics they also have an amazing menu, which I looked through while I waited for Todd. Cold beer and awesome food... how can you go wrong. Todd came out and we sat and chatted. It had always been a dream of Todd’s to open a restaurant/ bar. In early 2013 Todd saw his opportunity. “A friend’s father had lost his tennant and was having trouble leasing the building so that is what ulimately brought me out to O’Fallon.” Todd said. 16 | fo foc cus usOn On Magazine
In November of 2013 Todd teamed up with a friend/business partner the beer started flowing. Todd has always had a passion for cooking and over the years has compiled quite a few recipes. He remembers looking at this commercial kitchen and thinking... “Now is the time to put all those recipes to work!”
With any business we have always heard the phrase “ location, location, location!” Taphouse’s location is kinda off the beaten path but it’s all about the building. Todd says..”There is so much history in this little building.” He loves to tell stories and, if you ask, he will fill you in on the friendly ghost named Rich that hangs out there. Sounds like a good “Halloween Drinkfest” to me.
There is always something happening at Taphouse. Monday Nights Taphouse hosts Xtreme Bingo. This is Bingo on steroids! The Xtreme Jackpot Starts out at $1,000 and each week the jackpot is not hit they raise the jackpot one ball and $500 until we get a winner! So far our largest jackpot has been $5500! Karaoke fans this is the place to be on Tuesday nights. The atmoshere is non-indimidating and everyone, singers and the audience, have a great time. Have I sang Karaokle at Taphouse? Yes I have. Dennis runs the show and does a great job.
Poker players listen up... FREE poker games on Thursday nights. If you like Stand-up Live Comedy Taphouse has you covered with shows on Friday and Saturday nights. Enoy food, drink and the best live comedy this side of the river. When is Happy Hour you ask? That would be Monday through Friday 3pm - 6pm. Everything on the menu is awewsome and I highly recommend the Buffalo Shrimp.
20 Beers on Tap Also Serving Lunch & Dinner “Awesome Food - Cold Beer”
Anyone looking for a venue to host an event? Look no further. Tap House is a great place to host your next event. Whether it is casual grazing or a sitdown meal, they got you covered. They can accomodate groups of up to 50 guests Monday through Saturday. Their dining area is situated around a fireplace and has a very inviting atmosphere for any sit-down event, any time of year. Or the mix of sit-down and stand-up tables in their game area allows guests to mindgle and relax in small groups. The game area also opens up to our patio, allowing guests the chance to enjoy the fresh air and a change of scenery. On Sundays, for events of 75 or more people, your group can have the run of the place... yes the entire facility! The bar, dining area, game room, and patio to yourselves for a fully “private party.” You will work directly with our owner, Todd Wood, to plan your event and craft the perfect menu for your guests. Reserving it is simple. To get started or you need more info, just shoot Todd an email at Todd.Wood@TapHousePub.com
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Thanksgiving Day is a national holiday in the United States, and Thanksgiving 2020 occurs on Thursday, November 26. In 1621, the Plymouth colonists and Wampanoag Indians shared an autumn harvest feast that is acknowledged today as one of the first Thanksgiving celebrations in the colonies. For more than two centuries, days of thanksgiving were celebrated by individual colonies and states. It wasn’t until 1863, in the midst of the Civil War, that President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national Thanksgiving Day to be held each November. Thanksgiving at Plymouth In September 1620, a small ship called the Mayflower left Plymouth, England, carrying 102 passengers—an assortment of religious separatists seeking a new home where they could freely practice their faith and other individuals lured by the promise of prosperity and land ownership in the New World. After a treacherous and uncomfortable crossing that lasted 66 days, they dropped anchor near the tip of Cape Cod, far north of their intended destination at the mouth of the Hudson River. One month later, the Mayflower crossed Massachusetts Bay, where the Pilgrims, as they are now commonly known, began the work of establishing a village at Plymouth. Throughout that first brutal winter, most of the colonists remained on board the ship, where they suffered from exposure, scurvy and outbreaks of contagious disease. Only half of the Mayflower’s original passengers and crew lived to see their first New England spring. In March, the remaining settlers moved ashore, where they received an astonishing visit from an Abenaki Indian who greeted them in English. Several days later, he returned with another Native American, Squanto, a member of the Pawtuxet tribe who had been kidnapped by an English sea captain and sold into slavery before escaping to London and returning to his homeland on an exploratory expedition. Squanto taught the Pilgrims, weakened by malnutrition and illness, how to cultivate corn, extract sap from maple trees, catch fish in the rivers and avoid poisonous plants. He also helped the settlers forge an alliance with the Wampanoag, a local tribe, which would 20 | fo foc cus usOn On Magazine
endure for more than 50 years and tragically remains one of the sole examples of harmony between European colonists and Native Americans. In November 1621, after the Pilgrims’ first corn harvest proved successful, Governor William Bradford organized a celebratory feast and invited a group of the fledgling colony’s Native American allies, including the Wampanoag chief Massasoit. Now remembered as American’s “first Thanksgiving”—although the Pilgrims themselves may not have used the term at the time—the festival lasted for three days. While no record exists of the first Thanksgiving’s exact menu, much of what we know about what happened at the first Thanskgiving comes from Pilgrim chronicler Edward Winslow, who wrote: “Our harvest being gotten in, our governor sent four men on fowling, that so we might after a special manner rejoice together, after we had gathered the fruits of our labors; they four in one day killed as much fowl, as with a little help beside, served the Company almost a week, at which time amongst other Recreations, we exercised our Arms, many of the Indians coming amongst us, and amongst the rest their greatest king Massasoit, with some ninety men, whom for three days we entertained and feasted, and they went out and killed five Deer, which they brought to the Plantation and bestowed on our Governor, and upon the Captain and others. And although it be not always so plentiful, as it was at this time with us, yet by the goodness of God, we are so far from want, that we often wish you partakers of our plenty.” Historians have suggested that many of the dishes were likely prepared using traditional Native American spices and cooking methods. Because the Pilgrims had no oven
and the Mayflower’s sugar supply had dwindled by the fall of 1621, the meal did not feature pies, cakes or other desserts, which have become a hallmark of contemporary celebrations. Thanksgiving Becomes a National Holiday Pilgrims held their second Thanksgiving celebration in 1623 to mark the end of a long drought that had threatened the year’s harvest and prompted Governor Bradford to call for a religious fast. Days of fasting and thanksgiving on an annual or occasional basis became common practice in other New England settlements as well. During the American Revolution, the Continental Congress designated one or more days of thanksgiving a year, and in 1789 George Washington issued the first Thanksgiving proclamation by the national government of the United States; in it, he called upon Americans to express their gratitude for the happy conclusion to the country’s war of independence and the successful ratification of the U.S. Constitution. His successors John Adams and James Madison also designated days of thanks during their presidencies.
Thanksgiving Traditions In many American households, the Thanksgiving celebration has lost much of its original religious significance; instead, it now centers on cooking and sharing a bountiful meal with family and friends. Turkey, a Thanksgiving staple so ubiquitous it has become all but synonymous with the holiday, may or may not have been on offer when the Pilgrims hosted the inaugural feast in 1621. Today, however, nearly 90 percent of Americans eat the bird—whether roasted, baked or deepfried—on Thanksgiving, according to the National Turkey Federation. Other traditional foods include stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie. Volunteering is a common Thanksgiving Day activity, and communities often hold food drives and host free dinners for the less fortunate.
In 1817, New York became the first of several states to officially adopt an annual Thanksgiving holiday; each celebrated it on a different day, however, and the American South remained largely unfamiliar with the tradition. In 1827, the noted magazine editor and prolific writer Sarah Josepha Hale—author, among countless other things, of the nursery rhyme “Mary Had a Little Lamb”—launched a campaign to establish Thanksgiving as a national holiday. For 36 years, she published numerous editorials and sent scores of letters to governors, senators, presidents and other politicians, earning her the nickname the “Mother of Thanksgiving.”
Abraham Lincoln finally heeded her request in 1863, at the height of the Civil War, in a proclamation entreating all Americans to ask God to “commend to his tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife” and to “heal the wounds of the nation.” He scheduled Thanksgiving for the final Thursday in November, and it was celebrated on that day every year until 1939, when Franklin D. Roosevelt moved the holiday up a week in an attempt to spur retail sales during the Great Depression. Roosevelt’s plan, known derisively as Franksgiving, was met with passionate opposition, and in 1941 the president reluctantly signed a bill making Thanksgiving the fourth Thursday in November.
Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Parades have also become an integral part of the holiday in cities and towns across the United States. Presented by Macy’s department store since 1924, New York City’s Thanksgiving Day parade is the largest and most famous, attracting some 2 to 3 million spectators along its 2.5-mile route and drawing an enormous television audience. It typically features marching bands, performers, elaborate floats conveying various celebrities and giant balloons shaped like cartoon characters. Beginning in the mid-20th century and perhaps even earlier, the president of the United States has “pardoned” one or two Thanksgiving turkeys each year, sparing the birds from slaughter and sending them to a farm for retirement. A number of U.S. governors also perform the annual turkey pardoning ritual. Thanksgiving Controversies For some scholars, the jury is still out on whether the feast at Plymouth really constituted the first Thanksgiving in the United States. Indeed, historians have recorded other ceremonies of thanks among European settlers in North America that predate the Pilgrims’ celebration. In 1565, for instance, the Spanish explorer Pedro Menéndez de Avilé invited members of the local Timucua tribe to a dinner in St. Augustine, Florida, after holding a mass to thank God for his crew’s safe arrival. On December 4, 1619, when 38 British settlers reached a site known as Berkeley Hundred on the banks of Virginia’s foc fo cus usOn On Magazine | 21
James River, they read a proclamation designating the date as “a day of thanksgiving to Almighty God.” Some Native Americans and others take issue with how the Thanksgiving story is presented to the American public, and especially to schoolchildren. In their view, the traditional narrative paints a deceptively sunny portrait of relations between the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag people, masking the long and bloody history of conflict between Native Americans and European settlers that resulted in the deaths of tens of thousands. Since 1970, protesters have gathered on the day designated as Thanksgiving at the top of Cole’s Hill, which overlooks Plymouth Rock, to commemorate a “National Day of Mourning.” Similar events are held in other parts of the country. Thanksgiving’s Ancient Origins Although the American concept of Thanksgiving developed in the colonies of New England, its roots can be traced back to the other side of the Atlantic. Both the Separatists who came over on the Mayflower and the Puritans who arrived soon after brought with them a tradition of providential holidays—days of fasting during difficult or pivotal moments and days of feasting and celebration to thank God in times of plenty. As an annual celebration of the harvest and its bounty, moreover, Thanksgiving falls under a category of festivals that spans cultures, continents and millennia. In ancient times, the Egyptians, Greeks and Romans feasted and paid tribute to their gods after the fall harvest. Thanksgiving also bears a resemblance to the ancient Jewish harvest festival of Sukkot. Finally, historians have noted that Native Americans had a rich tradition of commemorating the fall harvest with feasting and merrymaking long before Europeans set foot on their shores.
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Time to put those shoes out! St. Nick’s Day is...
Do You Know The Story Behind St. Nick’s Day? For those who celebrate Christmas, this is the most magical time of year for kids and adults alike. Dec. 25 is the big finale, but half the fun is the season leading up to the big day. From Advent calendars and the Elf on the Shelf to decorating and visiting Santa at the mall, there’s plenty to do throughout the month to prepare for the holiday. One of the most beloved pre-Christmas traditions is St. Nick’s Day on Dec. 6. This isn’t a holiday observed by every family who celebrates Christmas, but for those who do, it means children wake up to a special treat in their shoes. It also tends to mark the “official” start of the Christmas season for these families. So how did this pre-holiday holiday start? What is its history? Turns out the legend of Santa Claus himself begins with a real saint, St. Nicholas. Born all the way back in the third century, St. Nicholas was known for his generosity to those in need and his love for children, according to the St. Nicholas Center. The name Santa Claus actually comes from St. Nicholas’ Dutch nickname, Sinter Klaas. Thanks to St. Nick, the idea of Santa Claus became popular all over the world, with the man in the red suit known as Christ Kind or Kris Kringle in Switzerland and Germany, according to history.com.
dition of receiving small gifts from St. Nicholas began with Dutch children, who put out their shoes the night before so St. Nicholas could leave the gifts in them. This tradition was brought to America in the 1700s, according to biography.com. So how is St. Nick’s Day celebrated today? A lot of people keep it old school and simply leave gifts in children’s shoes for them to wake up to in the morning. The St. Nicholas Center is full of other ideas from real families, such as making cookie plates for those who need a pick-me-up, throwing a neighborhood party, opening stockings filled with treats on this date instead of Christmas Day and performing small acts of kindness, to name a few. Try out a craft like a printable St. Nick ornament like this one from Catholic Icing. Or bake up some traditional St. Nicholas spice cookies with this recipe from the Kitchen Stewardship. If you’re feeling lazy, curl up on the couch and watch the Veggie Tales flick “St. Nicholas: A Joyful Story of Giving,” available on Amazon. There’s no wrong way to celebrate St. Nick’s Day, so have fun!
So how did St. Nick become the jolly, round fellow who comes down the chimney on Christmas Eve? You can partly thank Clement Clarke Moore, who wrote a Christmas poem for his daughters called “An Account of a Visit from St. Nicholas.” No doubt you know the famous lines: “’Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house; Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse; The stockings were hung by the chimney with care, in hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there.” So why celebrate St. Nicholas Day on Dec. 6? In the Catholic Church, St. Nick’s feast day is celebrated on the anniversary of his death, which is Dec. 6. The trafoc fo cus usOn On Magazine | 23
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with kelly gardner
St. Charles County Top Sips With Covid 19 wreaking havoc on the restaurant and bar business alike, sometimes you just need a drink. In this issue we will highlight some of the best places to imbibe in St. Charles county. If you’re looking for a great beer selection in a no frills and friendly environment, look no farther than Exit 6 Brewing. At Exit 6 you can get their own quality beers including the popular Ryane’s Red Ale, and a seasonal selection of interesting beers from cream ales, to raddlers and IPA’s. They also have rotating taps from some of the best craft beer makers in the country and Jeff and team will help you find something that fits your taste profile. To encourage adventure, beers are available in 3oz and 6oz pours. Exit 6 also has some tasty bar bites including pizzas and sandwiches with fun names and beer friendly ingredients. If wine is your thing, head down Highway N in Cottleville about a half a mile and you’ll find one of St. Charles’ best outdoor patios and wine selections at Cottleville Wine Seller. A massive outdoor patio allows plenty of room for social distancing and taking in live Music Thursday through Sunday during the season. The Wine Seller has mixed drinks, home-made sangria, and beer, but true to their name, wine is the star here. Whether you like white, rose’ or red, sweet or dry, you’ll find something you’ll like here. For those that are looking to expand their palate from sweet wines to dryer wines I would recommend the State of Mind Riesling, a Washington dry Riesling that’s acidic, tropical and has a hint of sweetness, it’s a great “bridge” between sweet and dry. If you’re not in the mood for alcohol, right next door to the Wine Seller is Upshot Coffee, with some of the best coffee drinks and natural house made juices in the area. Nick Zotos of Beets and Bones has created an exciting breakfast and lunch menu to compliment the latte’s and juices, as well as creating healthy, delicious bone broths to take home as well. Conor VanBuskirk has taken his popular coffee shop to a second location in St. Charles and both locations have a booming business for breakfast and lunch hours. Get the Activated Charcoal Lemonade, with 30 | fo foc cus uson on Magazine
activated charcoal, lemon, probiotic powder, cayenne, orange oil and raw honey, it’s good… and good for you. Finally, when only a shot will do, head over to Lulu’s where their pickle shots have proven to be so popular that they are actually bottling pickle juice. I was late to the pickle shot “trend”, but the spicy pickle shot at Lulu’s is tart and spicy with that undeniably briny pickle flavor that sounds really weird, but tastes really great.
kelly’s Insider 1. Know your limit & plan ahead. 2. Eat food before and while you drink. 3. Sip your drink (slow down). 4. Skip a drink now and then and substitute with non-alcoholic drink (another great tip is to have a glass of water with your drink, and sip on that between sips of your drink). 5. Beware of unfamiliar drinks. 6. Appoint a designated driver. 7. Respect the rights of individuals who do not wish to drink. 8. Keep track of how many drinks you are consuming. 9. Space your drinks. 10. Drink for quality vs. quantity. 11. Avoid drinking games. 12. Plan ahead for transportation — don’t drink and drive! 13. Never accept a drink from someone you don’t know. 14. When ordering a drink at the bar, watch the bartender make your drink so you can know how much alcohol you will be having.
Would you like to your restaurant featured in TopBites? Contact us to for details.
FocusOn Magazine supports our local and state law enforcement. YOU CAN TOO! Missouri Peace Officers Association
LAW ENFORCEMENT MAGAZINE Advertising in Law Enforcement Magazine lets our members know, while traveling throughout state, which businesses support Missouri Law Enforcement. In the early days of our magazine, Law Enforcement, (pre-internet), the magazine provided information on upcoming events, promotions, job openings, and deaths within the law enforcement community. There were very few informational articles written by Missouri law enforcement officers in the magazine It was strictly informative. Now with social media and emails, that information is sent out quickly and the magazine has evolved into information regarding trends in law enforcement such as, legal decisions can change quickly and affect how agencies conduct business; keeping the membership, especially smaller depts, up to date on these and other issues is imperative. The articles in each magazine focus on a topic such as officer health â€“ physically and mentally, the latest equipment, crime trends, officer safety, and much more.
FocusOn Magazine is the representaive for St. Louis, St. Charles, Lincoln, Warren, Jefferson, Washington and Franklin Counties. By placing an ad in the magazine you will be recognized state wide as a supporter of Missouri Law Enforcement. Supporters will also receive a window cling and certificate to hang in your home or business to show you support Missouri Peace Officers and Law Enforcement Magazine. If you would like to show your support for Missouri Law Enforcement please contact: Steve Naugher at... (636) 642-4275 or email@example.com foc fo cus usOn On Magazine | 31
The First Responder Police • Fire • EMS
by: Skip Stephens, Fire Chief - Cottlevile Fire Department
Wisdom and Reflection from... Captain Dave In November, Captain Dave Carrow of Cottleville Fire Protection District will begin his 38th year of service with the District. Dave, a 2-time survivor of cancer, sat down with me to share a little bit of his wisdom and life advice, while reflecting on the early days of his career. The computer mouse had just been invented, the movie Tootsie was in the box office, and Loni Anderson was the sex-symbol of the day. That was when Dave Carrow began his service with Cottleville Fire Protection District. Dave was one of the first firefighters to be hired and is still proud to be getting on and off the firetruck at the age of 62. Skip: Tell me about Cottleville Fire Protection District in 1983. Capt. Carrow: It was different to say the least (laughs). We had only 2 stations back then, (Now CFPD has 4). Mid Rivers Mall Drive didn’t exist. Hwy K was a twolane road. O’Fallon Road was gravel. There were a lot of fields and farm land. There were stop lights on Hwy 40/64. If fact, the stop light at Hwy 40 and Hwy K caused a lot of serious motor vehicle accidents. Highway 40 was a freeway in St. Louis County but when cars crossed the river and entered our District, it became a 2-lane country highway, so the stop light caught a lot of people by surprise. Also, the Hwy 40 bridge was 3 lanes and the middle lane changed directions with each rush hour so there where a lot of head on collisions because of people going to wrong way. Fortunately, we had one the first Hurst tools (known as Jaws of life) in the area and we got really good and vehicle extrications. Of course, back then we ran less than 100 calls in a year and now we run about 4000. Skip: Let’s talk about some of the calls. Tell me about some of the “good” and some of the “bad” calls that you have responded to since 1983. 32 | fo foc cus uson on Magazine
Capt. Carrow: One that bothered me was a vehicle rescue that involved a two-year-old. (details removed). That one has troubled me. I was the first person to the car. We wrapped the child in my coat to keep him warm. For the longest time, every time I looked at my coat, I thought of that kid. That was a rough one for me. But I’ve had worse calls than that. A really hard one was very recently with a 4-month-old baby that didn’t survive. Anytime kids are involved, it’s really tough. I can remember every single kid that died…every one of them. I would say my favorite calls have been any of those when the people come up to the fire station to say thank you at some point later. It could be someone we saved from a cardiac arrest or sometimes a family whose house we saved from fire. I had a picture of me and a family on the station refrigerator for years. Their fire happened late December and they told us that we saved their Christmas (laughing). It always feels good to see
the fruits of your labor when they come back to say thank you. Skip: You were in the group of the first 6 firefighters hired at Cottleville Fire District. What happened to the other 5 guys? Capt. Carrow: Well, Doug left to go to another department, Ryan is in our front office, Barry left the fire service as he wasn’t cut out to be a firefighter, Steve of course is still a captain with us, and Mike Boehle died in the line of duty. Skip: What advice do you have for new firefighters? Capt. Carrow: The new guy that just got hired asked me that exact thing. I told him that you are going to see some bad stuff. The biggest thing I can tell you is that you didn’t cause the problem. You will try to mitigate whatever situation you are facing. You will always do your best, but sometimes you won’t have good outcomes, but you cannot personalize it. You must remember you did not cause the problem. Then he asked me how I deal with it. And for me it’s through my savior Jesus Christ. That’s my counselor and how I have gotten through 37 years in the fire service.
Bottoms. I climbed into an upside-down SUV and there was so much blood everywhere. I came out of that car and I looked like I was Carrie from that movie. I was just covered in it. I had my gloves and PPE on, but blood was pooled and this woman needed out of that car, so I did whatever it took to get her out. I’m sure that is where I contracted the HPV virus that gave me throat cancer. Capt. Carrow and his wife Tammie have been married for 38 years and share a daughter and one grandchild. Dave became a great firefighter and leader of the District in no small part because of his Dave’s inner strength and determination to which he credits Jesus Christ. These attributes are also what helped Dave overcome the many challenges he has conquered since 1983 including cancer twice and his recent bout to return to the firetruck after missing the last 6 months with a work-related injury.
Skip: What wisdom or life lessons would you share with anyone? Capt. Carrow: Life is short, live every day like it’s your last. Life is a gift, don’t let any day go by without….my daughter turns 33 this year, and there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t send her a text message that says ‘I love you babe’. Skip: You are a two-time cancer survivor. Tell me about that. Capt. Carrow: The first one was really tough. It was quite an impact. All these years later, I am still dealing the after-effects of radiation. I had throat cancer and because of the radiation, I don’t have working salivary glands, so I am always drinking something to keep my mouth moist. I always have a sore throat. I can’t swallow a bite of food without a drink of water. I got most of my taste buds back, but I also have a loss of smell. I do believe my throat cancer was caused by work. I can’t prove it, but I do know that it was caused by the HPV virus. Not many people don’t know that the HPV virus causes throat cancer in men. I’ve been married for a long time, and trust me, I was never cheating on my wife. So, I had a long conversation with a woman from the CDC and she gave me a time frame in which I contracted the virus. There was a call that fits that time frame. It was a car wreck we ran in the Chesterfield
Thank you, Captain Dave Carrow, for all of your 37 years of dedicated servant leadership! foc fo cus usOn On Magazine | 33
Cottleville firefighters have met the challenge of a growing District for decades but this November we’re going to need your help. Our community’s population has nearly tripled in the last 20 years and our Fire District has added staff to keep pace. Between this growth and the rollback of taxes, our retirement benefit has lost crucial funding. The voter-approved pension helps our firefighters retire healthy and provide industry competitive benefits. Your ‘yes’ vote on Proposition Health will maintain the current retirement benefits for our firefighters. Over a third of our firefighters are 50 years or older. Our pension doesn’t have the funding to provide the benefit that they expected 20 years ago when the original pension tax was approved. Without Proposition Health, many Cottleville firefighters will need to stay on the truck until they are 63 years old. We need to fund this retirement benefit so that our firefighters can retire with dignity at an appropriate age. Longer careers also mean more health concerns. We’re injured on the job at 3 times the rate of most professions and we are twice as likely to develop cancer. Before we have the resources to retire, most of us will become permanently injured on the job, leave the emergency work for an administrative position, or die of job-related illnesses. Your support this November will help our team retire in fair health. Recruiting and retaining the next generation of firefighters is going to be critical to our future success. The aspiring heroes that used to fill our academies are seeing the challenges ahead of first responders and many are turning away from the field. We need to maintain our retirement benefit to ensure employee retention and attract qualified candidates to our District. On November 3rd, you will have the opportunity to support the future of the Cottleville Community Fire District. A ‘yes’ on Proposition Health will impact the lives of firefighters that have provided decades of service. Your approval will also ensure the continuation of a desperately needed benefit for the next generation of firefighters. Please help us remain competitive and retire healthy. Garrett Ryan Cottleville Professional Firefighter
“We passed Prop Health with 53%! Thank you for your support!” 34 | fo foc cus usOn On Magazine
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medical CORNER with Dr. Emily Johnson, D.C.
4 WAYS TO SLEEP LIKE A WINNER! CHIROPRACTIC ADJUSTMENTS Chiropractic adjustments are amazing for helping people sleep; one reason is they can lower cortisol levels, which thus helps you unwind and feel more relaxed before bed. The cool thing about chiropractic adjustments is the effects are cumulative! This way you’ll feel and sleep great right away and have lasting results with continual care!
LIGHTS OUT! Your brain requires darkness to secrete the chemicals necessary to start the feelings of drowsiness. Unnatural light (light not from the sun) block that message from being communicated and simulate daytime, preventing a natural drift to sleepiness.
DUMP YOUR UPPERS AND DOWNERS It makes perfect sense why you wouldn’t consume a stimulant such as caffeine or nicotine before bedtime. What many use to bring on a state of drowsiness may be doing more harm than good, such as alcohol. Drinking heavily (more than 4 ounces of liquor) before bed not only robs you of a deep, quality sleep but can contribute to plenty of other health problems. The sugar in alcohol can wake you up 3-4 hours after you get to sleep and leave your brain to run wild with all your to-dos for tomorrow.
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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT PROTEIN SHAKES The fitness industry - and many coaches/personal trainers - make it seem like protein shakes are THE WAY to get results. They all talk about the shake they drink, and how it’s the reason they have melted fat and gotten all the muscle gains. But is that REALLY why they are getting those results? Will it work that way for you? Let’s talk about this.
Here’s the thing you need to understand; protein powder is NOT a requirement, or a necessity, when it comes to weight loss, leaning out, toning up, or really anything. Protein shakes have been massively misrepresented in the fitness industry, and I want to shed some light on this topic. Protein shakes do not have any kind of magical properties or special ingredients that are going to be THE magic potion to help you lose fat and gain muscle. That just isn’t true, and it’s not backed by science either. No matter what supplements you are taking, you are still going to have to put in work. There will be discipline, there will be dedication, and there will be the need for self-control in your life. The truth is that a protein shake is just that - protein. Which means that you can get the same benefit from simply eating protein filled food, like chicken or tuna. One can easily argue that the benefits from food-based protein even outweigh those of a protein powder, because it is in the most natural form, and comes with a multi-nutritional punch when you think about all the other benefits associated with a particular food. However, I do believe there are instances where using a protein shake is something to consider: 42 | fo foc cus usOn On Magazine
1. You struggle to hit your daily protein macros - if you are working on strength, you are super athletic and very active, or have some other specific goal, your protein target will be quite high. There may also be certain foods your body is sensitive to and doesn’t tolerate well. For me, I am dairy free, which means common protein items like cheese or Greek yogurt are not options for me. I also can’t have nuts, so almonds or peanutbutter are off the table too. Therefore, a protein shake can be very helpful in hitting that protein macro goal, without having to eat chicken 5 times a day. 2. You are on a budget - per serving, protein powder is relatively cheap compared to some high protein foods or meats. Of course, there are many price points when it comes to protein powder, so be sure to shop smart and consider overall value when looking for one. 3. You need convenience - protein shakes are portable, quick, and easy. If you are a busy working mom, like me, having a protein powder you can keep with you and shake up with some water can be a life saver. I can travel for work and bring it, I take it to work, I can have it in the car, even drink it during church instead of drinking coffee if I need to. It’s a good alternative when I need a snack quickly that will keep me on track with my goals. There are several ways you can consume protein powder. The most obvious way is drinking it as a shake. But if you are someone who gets bored or doesn’t like to “drink your food”, and still want the benefit of the extra protein, consider mixing protein powder into a healthy pancake batter or into your oatmeal. You can find a ton of recipes online for adding protein powder into other foods!
I don’t want to spend a lot of time talking about all the different protein powders out there, because that would take FOREVER… there are so many! Instead, I’m going to talk about my personal favorites, and why I love them. Please understand - yes there are protein powders out there with questionable chemicals, artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives, and more. But there are also protein powders out there that are very clean. It’s up to you to decide how clean you want to go! Just like with all your other food choices. Ultimately, it’s your decision, and you should consider your budget, your food philosophy, and your goals. First up, PROMIX Performance Whey Protein Powder in Indonesian Vanilla! It comes in at about $19 per tub, which is about 13 servings. Amazon is where I typically grab this one. Why I love it: it’s very cheap, and it’s very clean! It as BCAAs in it, and it tastes great just shaken with almond milk, but also blends great with fruits or leafy greens if I want to make a protein smoothie. I love that it is so high in protein, but still low in carbs. I would rather save my carbs for other food! Drawback: the serving size on this is TWO scoops and it’s 13 servings in a tub, so to make it through a full month, you would need to buy 2 tubs. Even with that, it’s still a reasonably priced clean protein powder option, at under $40 for the month! Calories: 135, Protein: 25 grams, Carbs: 6 grams, Fat: 2 grams Next, I am a big fan of Gainful! It comes in at about $40 per bag, which is 30 Servings. You can order it on their website. Why I love it: It is fully customizable! If there are certain ingredients you can’t have (like dairy, or whey) you simply create your powder without it! They take you through a series of questions to help you customize your powder blend, and it’s very easy to do. They base it off your goals and your nutrition habits (if you’re vegan, gluten free, etc.) It’s also EXTREMELY clean in its ingredients, and you literally will know
exactly what’s in it since you are custom creating it! I made mine very high protein and very low carb, and kept out dairy, using plant based protein sources instead! Drawbacks: depending on how you create yours (what ingredients you do or do not use) the taste may not be great. The first one I made was awful - but I will say I messaged them about it, and they sent me a new bag, with their recommended changes, for free! And that one was better. However, it’s still not one I would just shake with water and drink it unless I had no other choice. I usually blend it with almond milk, half a banana, and cinnamon. The numbers will vary depending on how you customize it, but for the one I made: Calories: 110, Protein: 23 grams, Carbs: 3 grams, Fat: 1 gram The next one I’m going to talk about is not really a “protein powder”, but it does sort of fit into this category and it’s a product I LOVE, so I’m going to give it an honorable mention. Shakeology. It comes in at about $130 a bag, giving you 30 servings. Please note: I am not a Beachbody coach, but I do love this product and recommend it! Why I love it: It is NOT “just” a protein powder. This meal replacement shake is packed full of $40 worth of produce in each single serving, giving you all the vitamins and minerals you need, along with prebiotics, probiotics, adaptogens, and more. It’s completely clean with no artificial ingredients of any kind, ever. It’s also something I can fully share with my kids to help fill the gaps in their nutrition as well! Because the fact is, no matter how well we THINK we are eating (or our kids are eating) there are always gaps. Our food supply isn’t as nutrient dense as it used to be. And Shakeology helps that. It also has many flavor options, all of which are amazing, and it comes in vegan options too. In fact, my favorite flavor is vegan vanilla! Drawbacks: the price can be off-putting, but because it’s actually meant to be a meal replacement, at $4 a serving it’s actually cheaper than most meals. My clients that choose this shake take it out of their grofoc fo usOn us On Magazine Magazine | 43 fo foc ccus usOn On
cery budget because they can buy less food, and see no monthly budget affects overall! I also have clients that will use half a scoop as a snack each day rather than a full scoop as a meal, making the bag last 2 months. The only other drawback is that it is higher carb and lower protein than actual protein shakes that are focusing on protein. They are good healthy carbs, but higher carb regardless. If you are trying to do a low carb nutritional method, this may not be a good option for you until you move to a different nutritional phase. It will depend on your method! Calories: 130, Protein: 16 grams, Carbs: 14 grams, Fat: 2 grams
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Lastly, I want to give a shout out to my current protein shake, Muscle Pharm COMBAT. I order this on Amazon for about $29, which gives you 27 servings. Why I love it: It has an extremely attractive price point, which for me works out well because I happen to buy several supplements, which can really add up. I also love that I can get it on Amazon and have it in 2 days if I realize I’m running low! I always order chocolate, and to be honest, it’s probably the most delicious chocolate protein shake I’ve ever tasted. It literally tastes like a delicious, creamy, decadent glass of chocolate milk! Even more than that, I absolutely love how high the protein is, and how low the carbs are. Drawbacks: I honestly can’t think of any drawbacks for this one! It’s my all-time favorite! Calories: 130, Protein: 25 grams, Carbs: 3 grams Fat: 1.5 grams So there you have it! Hopefully this helps you realize that a protein shake is NOT a requirement, no matter what your goals are. At the same time, it can be a very useful tool in reaching your macro goals or other health goals.
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Local Music Scene
A Young Man Follows His Roots...
Story by: Steve Naugher Since our interview with Billy Berry in June of 2017 a lot has changed. His music has been played countless times around the world. His videos, Save Me, Built to Last and Win Place Show have also been viewed world wide. “I am looking to shoot more videos for the songs that mean the most,” Billy said when asked if he has any plans to continue feeding his fan base. “As long as people keep watching my videos and radio stations keep playing my songs I will continue. My energy to write, perform and put out my music solely rests on people’s interest in my songs.” Billy has also opened William Berry Publishing, “The phone keeps ringing”, he exclaimed. At the same time as opportunities to sing and record keep coming in, Billys’ Construction Company continues to grow. Berry Construction Storm Repair is now a household name in St.Charles County, and soon around the St Louis Metro area. Billy has more projects in the works and stays in touch with the “Big Boys” in Nashville. His partners are producing an album for the Moonshiners, a Discovery Channel television series, which is a direct result of the incredible Turtleman Strong album which is set to be released next Spring. He mentioned in an interview that “The Moonshiners album is in the making like most projects in Nashville.” Billy is also working with his nephew Owen Berry….named after himself William Owen Berry. “I see a young man with a lot of potential.” Owen grew up in Henry County, Kentucky and is currently living right here in O’Fallon. At the ripe age of 19 Owen went to work for Berry Construction Storm Repair as a Field Consultant. While Owen’s interests are in songwriting, trav-
eling, and work, he is a valued part of the construction legacy that bears his name. Owen was quoted as saying “My love is yours.” which could be the name of his first album. Billy added, “I’ve spent so many years, months, days, hours and money to break down the doors to “Nashville”. I want to share this with Owen and let him see how far he can go!” Billy’s son, Bryce Berry, has joined the team of Berry Construction Storm Repair. While he is working to finish his Bachelor’s degree he has worked this Summer as a Sales Representative and participating in project management. Billy said, “I am really proud of Bryce’s dedication to getting his degree and his commitment to be a valued member of this company. He recently started to learn the guitar and has a wonderful voice. He might be doing more in the music business someday. Who knows?” Billy has another son, Branden Berry, who is a United States Marine. He is currently serving our country while stationed in Camp Lejeune working in a division of the military police. “Believe it or not, he plays the guitar and also sings,” Billy said as he chuckled. Billy is currently booking acoustic shows around the area to show off his nephew’s talent and play for his fans that want another chance to hear his music live. I thanked Billy for his time and asked for him to give me a closing statement, and he said……….”YeeeeHaw”.
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Chasing the Dragon: The Heroin Epidemic is Here! A Father’s Heart Breaking Journey with Addiction by: Kevin Ziegemeier
The day was going to be just another average Sunday. I woke up without any itinerary in mind, just going to enjoy the day off with my family. I got out of bed around seven or so and went downstairs to watch the news, do a little reading, and eat breakfast. My wife Lisa came downstairs about 8am and joined me in the living room. We chatted for a little bit before I went outside to do a couple chores. When I was outside, I could hear my wife knocking on Melanie’s bedroom door to wake her up.
I could hear the concern in Lisa’s voice as she was knocking louder and more frequent. I heard her call Melanie’s name several times to tell her it was time to get up. Finally, she came outside to ask me to unlock Melanie’s bedroom door. Melanie very rarely locked her door, but this did not appear out of the ordinary to me. She often stayed up late reading or watching movies and slept until late morning.
Melanie was our 28-year-old daughter who had been living with us for the last couple months. She was having some personal issues at the time and was staying with us to give her some time to work them out. She had come home the previous night at about 11pm. We talked for a few minutes before she went to her room for the night to watch a movie.
November 18,2018. 9am. Our beautiful Melanie was gone.
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I went upstairs with the key to unlock her door. I opened the door and saw her on the bed. I was immediately concerned because of the position she was in. She was seated on the edge of the bed, but her upper body was face down on the mattress. I went over to her and shook her a couple times and said her name. Panic and fear started to enter my body. She was unresponsive, her body was cold and stiff, and I could not find a pulse. I immediately told Lisa to call 911. I picked her head off the bed and her beautiful face was flat and distorted. There was a little vomit on the comforter. I started to cry, to beg, to plead for her to wake up. This cannot be happening. This cannot be real.
Melanie was born on August 26, 1990 at 9:03am. She was the first of our two children. From the moment I saw her, I loved her unconditionally. I knew I was going spend the rest of my life raising her, protecting her, loving her, and making her happy.
Growing up, Melanie was a happy little girl. Lisa was a stay at home mommy and Melanie had the benefit of having a strong, stable home environment. When I was at work, Lisa and Melanie would often go to her grandma and grandpa’s house to spend time with her aunts, uncles, and cousins. When Melanie was six, we were blessed with another beautiful little girl to complete our family. We were very happy. As Melanie got older, she was able to enjoy many life experiences. We went on many family vacations and Melanie went on several trips with her grandparents. She made friends and played well with others. Melanie was also fearless. She would always go on the fastest roller coasters and the tallest rides. She had a beautiful voice and always did solos at church in front of the entire congregation. When she was nine, she got up in front of an entire restaurant full of strangers to sing the KISS song Beth on karaoke. She loved music, loved to read, loved to watch movies, and loved her family. As Melanie entered middle school, something started to change. She was just an average student through elementary school, but we had hoped her grades would improve as she got older. Unfortunately, not only did she continue to struggle academically, she was also starting to struggle emotionally. She was not having any behavior issues in class nor did she have any issues with any of her classmates. She just did not seem happy. This behavior continued through high school. She got involved in school activities; sang in the choir, made the tennis team, and participated in after school clubs. She had more than a few good friends and continued her love of books, music, and movies. However, throughout her high school years, her grades got worse and her mood appeared to be more and more unstable. When she entered her senior year, she realized that she was not going to have enough credits to graduate with her class and made the decision to drop out. Although we were opposed to this decision, we felt that she needed some time to find something to make her happy. On October 22, 2011, we thought Melanie found her happiness. She gave birth to a son, our grandson. Several months earlier she had married her boyfriend and
was looking forward to becoming a wife and mommy. Melanie was a stay at home mommy. She loved her son and loved being with him. She spent all her time playing with him, protecting him, and loving him. Unfortunately, this still did not seem to be enough to make her happy. It was time to get some professional help. She went to her primary care physician and over the next few years, was prescribed various forms of anti-depressants and anxiety medications. As much as we hoped this would be the solution, the meds were unable to achieve what Melanie needed. She complained that they made her tired and fatigued, not a good combination for a mommy with a small child. .
Sometime in early December of 2017, we got a call that Melanie had overdosed and was in the hospital. Melanie spent a lot of time on social media and met a few people in some group chats that were big advocates of self-medicating. For years, Melanie smoked marijuana and believed that it was good for her. It was with this thought that she believed it was a good idea to try Fentanyl that these friends recommended. They came over on a Sunday afternoon and had her try the drug. Her heart stopped and she required a Narcan shot to be resuscitated. When we got to the hospital, I asked her if she knew what she was taking. She said, “yes daddy, I just wanted to find something to make me feel better”. Fentanyl is a very addictive drug. I do not know how many other times she had taken the drug, but it did not take much for her to get to a place where she was unable to stop. Because of this, she lost custody of her son. Fortunately, Lisa and I were able to be our grandson’s legal guardian and he lived with us while Melanie was going through the steps to get well. But Melanie could not get well. From the time her and her husband lost custody of her son in February 2018 through September 2018, Melanie would go in and out of deep depressions all the while continuing to use Fentanyl. It was a cycle to could not control. She used because she was depressed. She was depressed because she was not allowed to see her son. She could not see her son because she was using. She could not break out of the cycle. Finally, at the end of September 2018, we had no other choice but to check Melanie into a rehab facility. She had a couple auto accidents and was losing an extreme amount of weight. This was not sustainable. It was painful for us because she believed we had turned against her. She would not admit to herself that her addition had taken over her life. foc fo cus usOn On Magazine | 47
After a week in rehab, Melanie returned home. We were encouraged that she had a plan to get clean and she seemed excited to follow the steps necessary to get well. But because her and her husband had separated, she had nowhere to live when she got out. Since her son lived with Lisa and I and she only had limited supervised visits with a social worker, she could not live with us. She lived with a friend for a couple weeks, but we felt she needed to live with us to stay clean, going against the rules implemented by the social worker.
deserve compassion. They want understanding. They need help. This could happen to anyone. Melanie had a loving, supportive family and had all the resources to get better. It still was not enough.
We felt we were making good progress. Melanie stayed at home most of the time. We went to the movies, had family dinners, and played games. She seemed happy. She would hang out with some of her high school friends and they would practice songs they were planning to perform at their old high school choir teacher’s upcoming church Christmas program. On Saturday, November 17, 2018, Melanie told us she was going to hang out with friends. At that time, we had no reason not to believe her. We were in contact with her throughout the day and she came home around 11pm. When she arrived home, she was in a good mood and talked to Lisa and me for a few minutes. She said she was going to her room to watch a couple movies. She told us goodnight and she loved us. That was the last time we saw her alive. Melanie passed away sometime in the middle of the night of a Fentanyl overdose. She was 28 years old. Melanie was a good girl. She was smart, funny, and loving. Even when she was at her worst, at her lowest point, she was still trying to be a good mommy. I am not here to make excuses for her actions that ultimately took her life. However, it is important to understand, being an addict does not make you a bad person. It makes you a person that needs help. She did not steal money. She did not disappear for days at a time. She did not put her family in danger. She made the mistake of thinking she could self-diagnose and self-medicate. I have seen people on social media condemn addicts, going as far as saying that if they die, they die. Just thinning out the herd. What they do not see is that for every addict, there is a family who is in pain, suffering, trying to do whatever they can to help their loved ones. They 48 | fo foc cus usOn On Magazine
They say that time heals all wounds. Well, whoever believes that has never lost a child. Lisa and I do not feel any different today than we felt a week after she died. The pain never goes away. I saw a post on social media today that says it all. “If you cannot understand why someone is grieving for so long, consider yourself lucky that you do not understand”. The emptiness is never filled. Our hearts are broken. We will never be the same. We loved her unconditionally. We will never let the way she died diminish how much we loved her. This experience has not given me more insight or make me better equipped to answer the question on what needs to be done to stop this epidemic of drug addiction and overdose. However, we can all start by being present. Be present for your children. Be present for your family. Be present for your friends, your neighbors, your community. Be present for the people who are depressed, lonely, or addicted. And be present for the people who have lost loved ones to addiction. Don’t just offer thoughts and prayers. Listen to them, show compassion, and offer empathy and understanding.
Top 10 Movies of the 80’s
80’s Movies You Really Need to Watch
Coutesy of TimeOut
1. Blue Velvet (1986)
As fresh-feeling as a movie about the rot that festers below white-picket suburbia could ever be, David Lynch’s opus offered the Reagan era an American nightmare to chew on. Kyle MacLachlan is the Alice in this dark wonderland, as he’d be again in TV landmark Twin Peaks, encountering a villain for the ages in Dennis Hopper’s nitrous-chugging Frank Booth. Its success enabled the most daring director of his generation to pursue his wildest dreams.
2. Blade Runner (1982)
In a doomy 2019 L.A., Harrison Ford is the chilly dispatcher of android “replicants,” many of whom have more soul than he does. The forefather of this authenticity paranoia is source author Philip K. Dick, who saw Ridley Scott’s film shortly before his death and approved. But credit the director (and key collaborator Vangelis, who stirred the synths) for envisioning it all in a glinting, glitzy valley of self-regard, where women in nightclubs wear veils and humanity mourns itself.
3. E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)
Spielberg’s childlike wonderment has no better conduit than this magical adventure, the essence of the director’s way into an audience’s heart. More subtly, E.T. is not simply a film about believing in dreams and wishing on stars. It’s a tale concerned with learning how to say goodbye and own your pain: Elliott is a young man by the end.
4. The Shining (1980)
From a certain perspective, all of Stanley Kubrick’s movies are horror films: 2001’s terrifying cosmic loneliness, Dr. Strangelove’s cheery annihilation, the death duels from Barry Lyndon. Which is all a way of saying that when the director finally got around to making a proper thriller, he paradoxically produced the ultimate comic satire on the American family. With blood in elevators. Essential.
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5. Ghostbusters (1984)
As long as SNL launches new comedians into the stratosphere, it will have to contend with this ingenious transitional vehicle, the movie that gave improvisational skit humor a loony sci-fi sheen and turned NYC into a paranormal playground. Director Ivan Reitman doubles down on the earthy cheering crowds, the hot-dog vendors and a distinctly Kochian mayor.
6. Aliens (1986)
James Cameron would go on to be able to claim the two highest-grossing movies in cinema history, but right here is the crux of his reputation. Aliens was an impossible assignment: Make a sequel to a revered sci-fi classic while adding your own imprint on the material. Cameron did that and more, turning Sigourney Weaver’s Ripley into an enduring feminist icon, amping up the military action and producing the most exhilarating roller-coaster ride of the decade.
7. Hannah and Her Sisters (1986)
Woody Allen had a late-period resurgence with movies like Blue Jasmine and Midnight in Paris, but looking back over his pre-scandal career, there was no other filmmaker on the planet who, during the ‘80s, blended high and low comedy with such confidence. This one is as towering as Annie Hall: a serious inquiry in neurotic Manhattan lifestyles, touched by philosophical grace and punk spirit.
8. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
Steven Spielberg spent the early part of his career honing the template for the blockbuster. As perfect as 1975’s Jaws is, it’s Raiders of the Lost Ark where all the pieces come together in an unparalleled action classic. The movie’s DNA is taken from Hollywood’s forgotten cliffhangers, but the spirit is wholly modern: Keep up with this guy in the hat if you can.
9. Raging Bull (1980)
Is it Martin Scorsese’s finest film? It’s certainly a strong contender (ba-dabing!), and there’s little doubt that Robert De Niro’s performance is one of the all-time greats—not just for the remarkable physical transformation, but also for his embodiment of male sexual jealousy presenting itself as rage.
10. The Breakfast Club (1985)
“When you grow up, your heart dies,” says Ally Sheedy’s goth loner in this essential ‘80s teen drama—no other words spoken in a John Hughes picture are as emblematic of his unerring sympathy for a young generation finding its footing. The Simple Minds song doesn’t hurt either.
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