Our Town: August 2021

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Our Town Volume 12 | Number 8 AUGUST 2021 Published by the Community News, Our Town is a monthly news magazine covering the cities of Creve Coeur, Maryland Heights, and Olivette. Circulation is 7,000 monthly through over 105 monitored newsstands guaranteeing 100% pickup. Additional issues are distributed online, and a free online subscription is available at www.mycnews. com

PUBLISHER/EDITOR IN CHIEF Mathew DeKinder PUBLISHER EMERITUS/ GENERAL MANAGER Bob Huneke PRODUCTION Becky Brockmann Melissa Nordmann CONTRIBUTORS Avalanche, David Finkelstein, Cindy Moore STAFF WRITERS Brett Auten Charlotte Beard

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Around Town

A St. Louis business woman’s story of success in the construction industry is featured in a new children’s book and more.

Feature Feeding our veterans The Kaufman Fund will host its third Food for Vets event Sept. 24 to distribute food to veterans and their families. Award By Charlotte Beard

Our Thoughts Moore on Life author Cindy Moore does battle in the shopping aisle while Avalanche reflects on the trials and tribulations of rural living.

Lifestyle 2021 Dodge Charger raises the bar for modern muscle cars in Automobile Alley. Remembering ‘Superman’ and ‘Goonies’ director Richard Donner in Entertainment. Add powerful pairings to your plate in For the Love of Food.


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In Depth The Oasis Intergenerational tutoring program pairs adults over 50 with students grades K-3 in over 25 school districts throughout the St. Louis Metropolitan area.

Events Calendar

Staff Writer – Charlotte Beard Cover Photo – Submitted

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New chief

City of Creve Coeur appoints new chief of police The city of Creve Coeur announced that Lt. Jeffrey Hartman has been appointed to serve as the new Chief of Police for the Creve Coeur Police Department at the city council meeting on June 28. Hartman has been a commissioned officer with the Creve Coeur Police Department for more than 24 years and has been serving as Lieutenant of the Patrol Division since 2017. His career began with the Creve Coeur Police Department in 1997 as a patrol officer, and he has since served in all facets of the department including Detective of the Investigations Division, Sergeant of the Patrol Division and Lieutenant of the Community Oriented Policing and Problem Solving (COPPS) Division. “Lieutenant Hartman’s well-rounded professional experience, leadership, communication and problem-solving skills will enable him to effectively lead the Creve Coeur Police Department going forward and maintain the high level of service which our community expects,” said City Administrator Mark Perkins. During his 24-year career with the department, Hartman has demonstrated leadership with more than 10 years of supervisory and command-level experience. His collaborative leadership style is evident in his most recent position as Lieutenant of the Patrol Division where he maintained command of 34 employees, developing a collaborative team environment through coaching and mentoring. “After a five-month long national search with many qualified

candidates, it was clear that Lieutenant Hartman best embodied the qualities expected in a chief of police,” said Mayor Bob Hoffman. “His years of dedication to the department have proven his ability to lead with high standards of integrity and his commitment to building community relations, earning the respect of the officers, city staff and citizens of Creve Coeur.” The recruitment process for chief of police included a survey to seek input from the community and staff on what characteristics, strengths and accomplishments a chief of police should have. The position was advertised nationwide, and the city utilized a third-party firm, GovHR USA, to conduct an assessment center process with top candidates. “I feel very blessed to have the opportunity to lead this great police agency,” said Hartman. “I look forward to building on the great legacy of professional police service that this agency has demonstrated through the decades.” Hartman currently serves as Deputy Commander of the Greater St. Louis Major Case Squad, partnering with neighboring police departments to investigate crimes in the greater St. Louis region. Hartman has received a B.A. in psychology from the University of Missouri-Columbia and an M.A. in management and leadership from Webster University. He is a 2017 graduate of the FBI National Academy and has received several law enforcement certifications and trainings, including a Criminal Justice Certificate from the University of Virginia and a Law Enforcement Leadership & Organizational Change Certificate from St. Louis University. Hartman assumed the role of chief of police beginning July 19.

Book sale is back JCC announces return of used book sale After a yearlong hiatus, the Jewish Community Center announces the return of its biannual Used Book Sale, Aug. 22-26. Choose from more than 30,000 books in every genre, including mystery, fiction, nonfiction, children’s, self-help, cookbooks and much more. Aug. 22 is Preview Day, from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. with $10 admission; free admission begins Aug. 23. Hours are 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. Monday-Wednesday, and on Aug. 26, Bag Day, customers can fill a bag for $5 between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. The sale will be held in the Arts & Education Building at the Staenberg Family Complex (Schuetz & Lindbergh) in Creve Coeur. Questions may be directed to Hilary Gan, hgan@jccstl.org or 314-442-3294. The J regrets that it is unable to take book donations until after the sale. 4 | OUR TOWN | AUGUST 2021


Diaper dandy St. Louis County Executive tours St. Louis Area Diaper Bank through a network of 56 community, nonprofit, educational and health care partners serving low-income women and children. These diapers are obtained via local diaper drives, in-kind donations, and by purchasing diapers directly with donated funds. To date more than 5.1 million diapers have been distributed in St. Louis including nearly 900,000 diapers during the height of the pandemic. “We were honored to have Dr. Page tour our headquarters and learn more about our mission to help families in need,” said St. Louis Area Diaper Bank Executive Director Muriel Smith. “We discussed many opportunities – from focusing on reaching potential partners to discovering possible funding streams – to assist our organization during the summertime and beyond.” Founded in 2014, the St. Louis Area Diaper Bank provides diaper access to the region’s low-income families, as well as raises community awareness about

the causes and consequences of diaper need. The nonprofit is a member of the National Diaper Bank Network, a nationwide nonprofit dedicated to eliminating diaper need in America. For information, call 314-624-0888 or visit their website.

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The St. Louis Area Diaper Bank recently welcomed St. Louis County Executive Dr. Sam Page to its 6141 Etzel Ave. headquarters. St. Louis Area Diaper Bank Executive Director Muriel Smith gave Page a tour of the Diaper Bank where he learned about the nonprofit’s history, as well as how it assists the community with both emergency and long-term diaper distribution. Page shared how St. Louis County can assist the organization with diaper allocation partnerships and financial assistance through the county’s grant programs. Page met members from the National Charity League (NCL) who volunteer in the Diaper Bank’s warehouse every Thursday afternoon. NCL is a philanthropic organization of mothers and daughters who volunteer nearly three million hours annually to more than 6,000 charities in the U.S. The St. Louis Area Diaper Bank collects, stores, and distributes 250,000 free diapers per month to struggling families

Pictured is Dr. Sam Page (center) with St. Louis Area Diaper Bank staff and board members including (from left) Carrie Crompton, Reggi Rideout, Julia Moss, Muriel Smith, Melanie Tobin and Jerrica Franks.


BOSS WOMAN J. C. Sykes, co-owner of 90 Degree Construction, is featured in the new children book “Boss Women: Seven African-American Women Who Built Their Businesses From the Ground Up.”

A St. Louis business woman’s story of success in the construction industry is featured in a new children’s book BY CHARLOTTE BEARD A St. Louis woman in the construction industry has recently sparked national attention. In March 2021 J. C. Sykes, coowner of 90 Degree Construction, was one of 59 women in the United States featured as a “Tradeswoman Leaders” in the ConstructionDive publication for the construction and building industry. Most recently, she is featured in Hous-

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ton, Texas author Gwen Richardson’s children book – “Boss Women: Seven African-American Women Who Built Their Businesses From the Ground Up.” Sykes shared that Richardson had thousands of women of various industries from which to choose to spotlight in her book. Richardson became aware of Sykes through the pub-

AroundTown licizing of Sykes’ own books—“Bugging a Bug” (children’s book) and “My A.R.R.A.: Growing into Me.” According to Sykes, she was among one of the most influential interviews for Richardson’s platform and the only woman in construction. “To make the top seven is pretty cool,” states Sykes. Growing up, Sykes did not have a goal to become a business owner or be part of the construction industry. “When I was in high school, I took a woodshop class,” stated Sykes. “I loved it; it was the best class that I had taken.” Sykes explained that after that interest in high school she never pursued it further. “I didn’t know that what I was doing was called carpentry because the class – they called it woodshop,” she stated. “I never knew the term ‘carpentry.’ Fast forward 20 years later, I was a single mom on Section 8.” At this time her future husband whom she had not yet met was a contractor for the property where she lived. “He came over to replace some doors,” stated Sykes. “We exchanged information and we started to date. (One day) I pulled up on one of his job sites where he was working, and he was framing a roof. (Astonished) I said, ‘What did you say you do again?’ And he said, ‘I am a carpenter.’ And I said, ‘Well why are you on the roof?’ He (asked), ‘What do you think carpenters do?’ I said, ‘You make carpets, don’t you? It is in the title.’ That is really what I thought. He laughed. He said, ‘No, look it up.’ Sykes further explained that she Googled ‘carpentry’ and was “blown away” by all the functions of a carpenter. She didn’t realize that her initial introduction to carpentry work took place in high school. Sykes told Robi, the man that she had begun dating, that she wanted to learn how to do what he does. He agreed to teach her, but he also advised her that it was dangerous work and she needed to learn how to use the tools. Sykes shared that she has always been a “hands-on” type of female – doing things that most people feel females should not do. “(Robi) showed me some stuff (and) I loved it,” she stated. “We started 90 Degree Construction in 2012. We have thrived and tripled our income using our very own hands.” Sykes shared that she had worked under

the carpenters union for approximately a year before she left it. “I quickly learned the carpenters union was no place for a black woman,” stated Sykes. “There is a language that has not changed in over 100 years, and I didn’t like it, so I left the carpenters union.” Sykes explained that she initially joined the union for the commercial experience. “I got to build Ballpark Village Hotel from the ground up,” she stated. “I got to work on the Ballpark Village high-rise, and BJC West hospital on Olive. When I left (the union) I (desired) to teach other women to do what I do without all the racial biases, hazing and abuse women receive on the job site in the carpenters union. Sykes started Black Girls Build, Inc. (BGB) in January 2020 and it became a nonprofit in October 2020. BGB was birthed out of Sykes’ desire to educate women when she left the carpenters union. She began conducting $400 workshops, but she stated most women expressed the workshops were too expensive, resulting in no more than two or three women in attendance. After someone suggested that she create a nonprofit to fulfill her goal of helping women, she went through the necessary process and received funding to create a two-day workshop. “The workshops we are doing now are phenomenal,” stated Sykes. “These women who take the workshops are serious. We teach five years old and up; there is no age limit. I have had women over 60 (years old) in my workshops successfully complete it. I think the thing that makes me feel the greatest about what I do is that these women learn the skill that I am teaching, and they actually use it when they leave my workshop.” Sykes went on to share women leave her workshop inspired to buy the tools they have learned to use during her workshop for use on their own projects. “BGB is not a contractor,” she stated. “BGB does not take on personal projects. We teach women the fundamentals of construction by hands-on projects.” Sykes explained that BGB workshops are conducted on 90 Degree Construction job sites. Currently the business is constructing a subdivision of 30 houses. “We are about to start house number five,” Sykes explained. “I host my workshops on these job sites so that I can walk each woman through what it takes to build

a house. This is how it starts; this is the process; this is the scale on which you charge someone by linear (and) square foot. I am giving them ‘the game’ so that if they need to hire a contractor, they will know what they are looking at.” Sykes further explained women have a better idea of estimated costs for repairs and other home projects after completing a workshop. She also stated that she offers mentorship to women for two weeks after they have completed a BGB workshop. Sykes states the children’s workshop is for ages five-to-13 and the adult workshop is for ages 14 and up. There are plans for a “teenagers only” workshop. For more information visit https://www.bgb2.org. Sykes shares that in the past she always wanted to be a doctor; her father was a doctor. She attended college and studied to become a nurse. “I did that for 12 years before I ever touched a hammer,” stated Sykes. “I just got tired of watching people die. I was a chemotherapy radiation nurse. I completely left that side of my life and went to work at General Motors for two years building the motor.” Sykes further shared that when she grew tired of working for other people she decided to come from behind the scenes and devote herself full time to working with her husband Robi in their 90 Degree Construction business. For more information about 90 Degree Construction follow them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/builtby90.

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Cool camp Covenant House Missouri (CHMO) and Wyman have partnered to provide a unique camp experience to the youth at CHMO, who are facing homelessness. Camp Rise Up for Hope gives these young people the opportunity to experience all Camp Wyman has to offer: connections, exploration, learning, challenges, friendship, inclusion and growth. “At Covenant House Missouri, we recognize that camp is a transformational experience for building relationship skills, independence, responsibility, appreciation for differences, and a sense of belonging,” said Jessica Erfling, CEO of Covenant House Missouri. Over the course of three days in June, the youth engaged in camp programming facilitated by Wyman’s highly trained staff. The young people participated in canoeing, climbing, target sports, fishing, swimming, and teambuilding. They enjoyed a campfire program filled with stories and music by Kunama Mtendaji, and a dance in Wyman’s Dining Hall. Through their entire camp experience, the young people were given the space to

challenge themselves, learn more about their peers, and celebrate the important milestones they have achieved throughout the year. “It’s easy for us to get so overwhelmed by everyday life that we forget to just have fun,” said a CHMO youth (whose name is omitted to protect their privacy). “Being at Camp Wyman reminded me that we are all friends going through life together. I really felt a sense of belonging and support from my peers and the staff.” The historic, 80-acre Camp Wyman is an integral part of meeting Wyman’s priorities of empowering teens through powerful, transformative, and fun experiences; equipping adults who serve youth to improve their skills and relationships with teens and strengthening systems to create more equitable opportunities for all teens. “We are really excited about this partnership with Covenant House Missouri and were thrilled to welcome their young people to camp,” said Claire Wyneken, President and CEO of Wyman. “Wyman is always looking for opportunities to align camp programs and services to our own mission throughout the year. Our


Wyman and Covenant House Missouri partner on Camp Rise Up for Hope

partnership with CHMO is a step in that direction. We look forward to deepening our partnership with CHMO and continuing to offer our camp to their young people.” The three days CHMO youth spent at camp culminated with a special achievement celebration and closing ceremony, acknowledging all that the youth have achieved. “This was a perfect opportunity for CHMO youth to enjoy outdoor activities with their peers,” said Erfling. “It is incredible to have a strong partnership with a fellow long-standing organization in St. Louis, and we are already looking forward to next year’s trip.”

Digital warriors

Maryville University captures inaugural Gateway Legends Collegiate Invitational title The esports team at Maryville University added another championship title to its honor roll at Fair Saint Louis’ inaugural Gateway Legends Collegiate Invitational, held at Ballpark Village in downtown St. Louis, July 2-4. The round-robin tournament featured 16 top collegiate esports teams from across the country competing in League of Legends for a prize pool of $10,000. Maryville went undefeated in the tournament, sweeping Winthrop University in the championship round to secure the trophy. Making the win even sweeter, the Gateway Legends championship game was a rematch of the 2021 League of Legends College Championship, in which Winthrop defeated Maryville. 8 | OUR TOWN | AUGUST 2021

“We’re proud to have helped solidify St. Louis’ spot on the map within the booming industry of esports,” said David Estes, General Chairman, Fair Saint Louis. “Congratulations to Maryville University, and thank you to all 16 teams, our fans, our partners and our sponsors for an unforgettable Gateway Legends Collegiate Invitational.” Gateway Legends was the first in-person, collegiate esports tournament of 2021, building on St. Louis’ reputation as a celebrated sports town while showcasing the city as one of the most vibrant technology hubs in the U.S. It was produced by the Fair St. Louis Foundation and sponsored by The Centene Charitable Foundation. Nerd Street Gamers oversaw tournament operations.

In addition to live gameplay, Gateway Legends Collegiate Invitational featured celebrity casters, esports panels, educational sessions, live music and more. Through a partnership with the Saint Louis Science Center’s Youth Exploring Science (YES) program, regional high school students had the opportunity to contribute to in-game broadcasting and experience STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics) at work in esports. Big Brothers Big Sisters of Eastern Missouri and the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater St. Louis also brought their esports teams to the tournament to watch live gameplay. Gateway Legends games can be rewatched via Nerd Street Gamers’ Twitch channel at twitch.tv/nerdstreetlol.


Explore STL ‘Board & Explore St. Louis’ this summer with $5 Metro Day Pass The “Board & Explore St. Louis” summer-long campaign is in full swing and Citizens for Modern Transit (CMT), Metro Transit and St. Clair County Transit District (SCCTD) are reminding residents about the availability of the $5 Metro Day Pass, which provides an affordable means to explore all the area attractions accessible via MetroLink and MetroBus. A coupon redeemable for a free, $5 Metro Day Pass is included in the “Your Tickets to Board & Explore St. Louis” educational booklets developed by the partners to help residents and visitors learn what attractions can be accessed from various Metro Transit centers. The $5 Metro Day Pass can also be purchased on the Transit app, at Ticket Vending Machines at any MetroLink Station or Transit Center, or by visiting the MetroStore at 8th and Pine in downtown St. Louis. A “Your Tickets to Board & Explore St. Louis” booklet can be digitally downloaded at www.cmt-stl.org or picked up at one of nearly 200 local businesses, attractions and hotels. Those interested in having one mailed to their attention can call Citizens for Modern Transit at 314-231-7272 or email their name and mailing address to info@cmt-stl.org. These booklets, along with oversized “Board & Explore St. Louis” artwork displayed at many of the Metro Transit Centers, promote area attractions near public transportation and feature a QR code with walking directions from the transit stops to these destinations. Individuals can also use QR code or go directly to www.cmt-stl.org to enter to win gift cards to these and other area hot spots over the summer months. “This campaign provides a valuable opportunity for the partnering organizations to interact with riders, strengthen relationships and reinforce their collective commitment to a safe, comfortable, customer-focused transit experience,” commented Kimberly Cella, executive director of Citizens for Modern Transit. “We encourage area residents to get out and explore all the community has to offer via transit.” The “Board & Explore St. Louis” campaign runs through Aug. 31. To learn more, visit www.cmt-stl.org, www.metrostlouis.org or www.scctd.org.

Voted North County’s Best Senior Living Community

French flicks The 13th Annual Robert Classic French Film Festival takes place in August The 13th Annual Robert Classic French Film Festival — presented by TV5MONDE, sponsored by the Jane M. & Bruce P. Robert Charitable Foundation, and produced by Cinema St. Louis (CSL) — celebrates St. Louis’ Gallic heritage and France’s extraordinary cinematic legacy, offering a revealing overview of French cinema. The Robert Classic French Film Festival is the first CSL in-person event since the COVID-19 pandemic. The host venues — Washington University on Aug. 13-15 and Webster University on Aug. 20-22 and 27-29 — have not yet determined whether capacity limits or masks will be required. Details will be announced on the CSL website when available. The fest annually includes significant restorations, and this year features a quintet of such works: Melvin Van Peebles’ “The Story of a Three-Day Pass,” Diane Kurys’ “Entre Nous,” Joseph Losey’s “Mr. Klein,” Jacques Deray’s “La piscine,” and the extended director’s cut of Jean-Jacques Beineix’s “Betty Blue.” The fest also provides one of the few opportunities available in St. Louis to see films projected the old-school, time-honored way, with Agnes Varda’s “Vagabond” screening from a 35mm print. As part of CSL’s year-long Golden Anniversaries programming, which features films celebrating their 50th anniversaries, the fest includes a pair of films from 1971: François Truffaut’s “Two English Girls” and Claude Jutra’s French-Canadian “Mon oncle Antoine.” Completing the fest is a pandemic-delayed tribute to the late Anna Karina, who died in December 2019: Jean-Luc Godard’s essential “Vivre sa vie.” Every program features introductions and discussions by film or French scholars and critics. All films are in French with English subtitles (“The Story of a Three-Day Pass” is in both English & French). TV5MONDE serves as the fest’s presenting sponsor, and the Jane M. & Bruce P. Robert Charitable Foundation is the event’s title sponsor. For more information call 314-289-4150 or visit cinemastlouis. org.

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AUGUST 2021 | OUR TOWN | 9

FEEDING our VETERANS The Kaufman Fund will host its third Food for Vets event Sept. 24 to distribute food to veterans and their families.

SUBMITTED PHOTOS The Kaufman Fund distributes food to veterans and their families at a recent Food for Vets event.

BY CHARLOTTE BEARD The Kaufman Fund (TKF), a nonprofit organization in support of veterans, will host its third Food for Vets event Sept. 24 on the campus of Operation Food Search (OFS), a distributor of food, located at 1644 Lotsie Blvd. in St. Louis. The Kaufman Fund in collaboration with OFS will distribute food to veterans who preregister at www.thekaufmanfund.org for the food boxes from 9a.m. to 12 p.m.

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The fund hopes to have registration available on the site approximately Aug. 15. The in-take will consist of basic recipient information, not limited to how many people are being served in the veteran’s household. “Operation Food Search needs some data to report to the USDA, which helps provide some of the food to (them),” stated Steven Rosenblum, The Kaufman Fund Vice President. “So, ev-

erybody has their own responsibility. We get the information because we want to build our database of veterans who are facing food insecurity. We ask them for their email address so that we can let them know when we have these events if they need (it).” Rosenblum stressed that veterans do not need to provide their DD214 or other veteran documents to receive food via the Food for Vets program. “We do it on the honor system and feel that people are not going to ask for food that don’t need it,” shared Rosenblum. “We really only publicize (the program) to attract veterans.” According to Rosenblum, veterans will receive two sealed boxes of non-perishable food courtesy of OFS. The boxes will include vegetables, fruit, proteins and pasta. Rosenblum states that there will be enough food to last recipients one week. He added that for recipients larger than a family of four people, more boxes may be provided to meet the need. Veterans can also expect representatives from the Veterans Administration to attend the drive to provide resource information for other needs. TKF volunteers will be in attendance to pass out information about its free programs and services, as well as OFS information, as cars pass through. TKF hopes to serve 250 veteran families at OFS’ headquarters. TKF’s newly created program served almost 50 families at its drive on March 20 at the Harvey Kornblum Jewish Food Pantry. The nonprofit reported having 66 veteran families registered for its second event on June 19 at the Arnold Food Pantry.

“As partners (with Operation Food Search) our goal is to give the veterans that are in need, the food, and the information (for) the listing of pantries that Operation Food Search supports,” stated Rosenblum. “(Veterans) can go to the most convenient, local food pantry where they live and sign up and get food on a continual basis.” To reach more veterans with the upcoming food drive, Rosenblum shared that TKF is partnering with the St. Patrick Center to recruit volunteers who will drive food boxes to homes that are shut-in or without transportation. Rosenblum states, “Delivery will be limited; it will be dependent on where the veterans live, and we have resources to make those deliveries. We have not done (this before). We don’t know our capacity, but our goal is to have some ability to deliver food to the veterans that are unable to get (here).” In addition to TKF welcoming volunteers who would like to sign up to deliver for this or a future event, volunteers are also needed to assist in planning the food drives. People who are interested in volunteering in any capacity may call Ken Weintraub at 314-680-2905. Veterans who do not have access to the internet for the food drive pre-registration or who are not computer savvy, may also call Ken Weintraub at the number above. TKF plans to host its next food drive at the Urban League in Fairview Heights on November 6. Visit www.thekaufmanfund.org for more information.

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Left holding the bag

Shopping is a great stress reliever for me. If I ever need to decompress I just grab a friend (her name’s VISA) and we go out on the town and soon feel lots better. On the way we picked up my annoying Aunt Fiona. She had asked me to go out to lunch with her the week before, but I made up a lame excuse about having to water the lawn. She quickly reminded me that I had an automatic sprinkling system. Darn her photographic memory! I was forced to repent and reschedule. We soon stopped at one of my favorite stores along the way. It’s an outlet and carries all kinds of interesting one-of-a-kinds. If you find something you better grab it because it won’t be there the following day. We split up then met later. Fiona was having a great time, better than me apparently. Her shopping basket was half full while I could still see the bottom of mine. “What’s the matter dear?” she asked. 12 | OUR TOWN | AUGUST 2021

“Not having much luck?” “Hmph,” I muttered. “I’ve got my eye on a few things.” She was always trying to one up me on something. We rounded the corner when something caught our attention mid-shelf—an adorable bag. We both grabbed onto it at the same time. I smiled so she could see I was clearly the better person, but tightened my grip just the same. She grinned as well, but clenched her teeth and gave the object of our desire a forcible tug. Hmm, the old girl was going to play tough, huh? Well I wasn’t about to release my grasp either since her cart was half full and I deserved the item much more than she did. I saw that her will was strengthening as well as her hold. I had to think fast. I gave the object a wicked twist; her poor arthritic hands could not withstand such a maneu-

MOORE ON LIFE BY CINDY MOORE ver. I won the battle and came home the victor. My husband spied my purchase and examined it closely then chortled, “What in the name of all that’s ridiculous do you need a cat-carrying bag for?” I pretended I knew exactly what it was. “Oh calm down. Aunt Fiona’s birthday’s next week.” I guess she’d won after all. Cindy Moore is the mother of three superlative kids, servant of two self-indulgent felines and wife to one nifty husband. Her ficticious occupation? Archeological Humorist: someone who unearths absurdity and hilarity in strange and unusual places including public restrooms, the lint filter, and church meetings. Most recently, she excavated a find in her neighbor’s bird feeder.


A great place to live,

but it takes a lot of work

The choice to live in rural areas is generally driven by a value system that prioritizes peace and quiet over convenience and crowds, proximity to wide-open countryside over proximity to shopping, dining and medical care, and a short commute for recreation versus a long drive to work. All true, but those of us in the less-travelled regions tend to gloss over the extra work that it takes to live and stay here. Basic services such as water and sewer are rarely considered when living in a planned community located in a larger metro area, except when it comes time to pay the monthly bill, and during those rare occasions when those services are interrupted. A phone call to utility company usually takes care of any outages. Out here, we provide our own services, and pay the sometimes steep price to keep things running. Just a few months ago I looked out of my bedroom window into the backyard and saw what appeared to be a gopher hole that had appeared as the snow melted. I knew that was not a good place to see such an opening, as it was where our concrete septic tank was located. Sure enough, the hole in question was evidence of the decaying condition of our sewage tank. Once the problem was identified, and the necessary permit obtained, getting a good, reputable excavator out here to perform the work took another three months. Many of the local contractors prefer to work up in the large resort areas, where there are restaurants open for lunch, cell phone service and a well-heeled clientele to pay a premium for their services. We’re working class out here, and our heels – and bank accounts – are less well. Our tank repair bill came in at about two gallons of gas less than five figures, even with me moving materials with my skid steer loader; so much for the down payment for a new truck. This year, it’s not just the waste water disposal issue – the adjacent neighborhood had to replace their community water supply tank. With only 10 homes in the HOA, it took two years to come up with the funds for the tank. A power line had to be moved to accommodate the new tank, a process nearly as tedious and convoluted as moving a state highway. Once the tank components were on site, their neighborhood had to conjure up the manpower to assemble the tank in place. Five guys working on the project meant that half the households have sweat in the project. I can hear the sounds of construction going on as I type this. They’ll be relieved to have a good supply of the wet stuff on hand, as they’ve only had one day’s worth of water on hand at any given time for over two years. Management of water, from storage to disposal isn’t the only issue this season. Exceptional drought conditions and temps into the mid-90’s every day have once again decreased our water supply to meager levels. We’re fortunate to have one of the oldest decreed water rights in the state, so we don’t have to curtail our use to accommodate a senior user ahead of us. Having said that, our water supply is roughly 1/3 of what we have a right for, and it’s still summer time. Flows this low are less than what typically runs during the winter. While most folks are very cognizant of the limitations on our resource, a few residents have required more than one strongly-worded letter to accept the fact t h a t it’s not 1979 here, when there was an abundance of water and few people to use it. There is no more new frontier, this is it. Keeping the water flowing to all the properties, not just a select few with giant green yards, has taken quite a bit of effort this summer. So, my commute (normally a walk) to the local turkey hunting grounds was pre-empted this season by utility work. Backpacking and hiking season, well under way for most (also within walking distance) hasn’t begun for me due to similar tasks. As I explain to potential real estate buyers here, it’s a great place to live, but it takes a lot of work.

Avalanche is a functional illiterate who left the St. Louis area three decades ago in search of adventure. He enjoys motorcycling and all things outdoors. He lives with his wife and dogs.


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OurLifestyle increased tire patch contact with the road. The front fascia was reworked to provide the most direct outside air mapping to travel into the radiator and maintain ideal operating temperature. This widebody is also featured with a two piece SRT Hellcat Redeye fender badge, with a Black Chrome finish and a sinister-appearing, red jewel eye hallmark garnish. The comfortable seating is certainly a welcomed enhancement, as is the custom trim look of the interior. Noteworthy, is their standard Launch Control, Launch Assist and Line Lock personalized component. Launch raises the bar for modern muscle cars Control manages tire slip to achieve consistent straight-line acceleration, Launch Assist helps govern wheel hop and Line Lock keeps the vehicle stationary in order to carry out burnouts with the rear tires. Both 2021 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat and SRT Hellcat Redeye models feature a newly designed yet ominous fully functional performance hood that is engineered to “force feed” air into the engine. All models come with a convenient Available for 2021, the Dodge Charger sion comes equipped with the award win- and immense size trunk. The Hellcat Redis offered with unprecedented assertive ning 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 engine, rated eye delivers excellent braking performance horsepower. Without question, if you have at 300 horsepower. The model line-up with its massive racing inspired standard a craving for overwhelming acceleration, with this six cylinder powerplant is offered Brembo high performance six-piston (front) this four-door automobile is in a class of in the Charger SXT, SXT AWD, GT and GT and four-piston (rear) brake calipers and its own. It raises the bar as the world’s first AWD models. The all-wheel-drive versions vented steel rotors at all four corners. And mass-produced, high-performance sedan. include the segment’s most technologically as expected, all HEMI V-8 Chargers feature advanced AWD system. And with a bit more a standard 2.75-inch electronically conThat testimony in itself is immeasurable! I recently evaluated the Charger SRT insight regarding the engines offered, they trolled active exhaust system, delivering a Hellcat Redeye that has a performance rat- also make available the legendary 5.7-liter signature Dodge muscle car rumbling note ing of just scarcely under 800-horsepower. HEMI V-8 with 370 horsepower on the R/T that helps support the car’s level of power. The 2021 Dodge Chargers have a startWith premium fuel, EPA figures show 12- models and a naturally aspirated 392 HEMI mpg city/21-mpg highway. What’s this all V-8 with best-in-class 485 horsepower, con- ing price of $30,570, the Hellcat Redeye mean to an outsider within the automo- tributing to the most horsepower per dollar shows an MSRP of $81,270. The base wartive cosmos? How about a factory top end of any sedan in the industry. Additionally, ranty is 36-months or 36,000 miles. “warp speed” of 203-MPH, and accelerates a 717-horsepower, 6.2-liter supercharged from 0-60 MPH in just slightly over three HEMI SRT Hellcat V-8 is also featured. This all helps to set the stage for their aforemenseconds. BY DAVID FINKELSTEIN This comfortable, road-worthy modern tioned new 797-horsepower supercharged David Finkelstein is a Master/ muscle car translates to confident driving 6.2-liter HEMI high-output V-8 on the SRT Skill Automotive Service Techmannerisms and a sure-footed sensation. Hellcat Redeye. nician and a shop owner. He’s All engine combinations are linked with It’s also featured with electric power steeralso invented garage service ing for improved steering dynamics. This an eight-speed innovative and cutting edge tools for mechanics and has head-turning, five-passenger automobile automatic transmission. Charger Hellcat served on both National and starts with being manufactured on their Redeye also features a contemporary yet local Automotive Trade Industry global platform shared with the Dodge aggressive, radical widebody exterior with Boards. He pioneered “Car Talk Challenger. From there, engineers refined fender flares integrated into the front and this thunderous automobile to overtake rear fascia assemblies. This adds some 3.5 Radio” starting out with KMOX/CBS Radio and hosted inches of width over the wider alloy wheels “Auto Talk” on KFTK/FOX News Radio for 15-years. David much of the competition. But let’s take a moment to briefly recap and Pirelli high performance tires. This for- tests and evaluates new vehicles weekly and does some the Charger product mix. The base ver- mula translates to sure footed traction and consulting with various auto manufacturers.


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OurLifestyle ‘Superman’ and ‘Goonies’ director Richard Donner passes away at age 91 Although Stan Lee and Marvel Studios typically receive credit for the cinematic superhero bonanza, Richard Donner arguably started the ball rolling with 1978’s “Superman.” Donner, who passed away on July 5 at the age of 91, directed films ranging from 1976’s terrifying “The Omen” to the hilarious pairing of Mel Gibson and Danny Glover in the “Lethal Weapon” franchise. Those who came of age in the 1980s will no doubt remember “The Goonies,” a youthful adventure that spoke to those of us who didn’t quite fit in. Donner even directed the inimitable Bill Murray in the hilarious holiday-themed film “Scrooged.” Prior to 1978, men and women in capes, masks and tights were more common on television than the big screen. A tongue-in-cheek version of “Batman” became a small-screen hit in the late 1960’s thanks to its colorful villains and catch phrases. Nicholas Hammond, the actor who played Friedrich in 1965’s “The Sound of Music,” starred in the CBS live action series “The Amazing Spider-Man” in the late 1970’s. Around the same time, actor Reb Brown played Captain America in two TV movies (Chris Evans’ more recent portrayal of Steve Rogers wiped out all prior versions of the character). Donner and his crew quickly set the bar high for superhero films. He and his crew shot the original film and the sequel at the same time, but, according to Wikipedia, tensions with the producers temporarily halted work on the second film. The late Christopher Reeve skillfully played both mild-mannered Clark Kent and his heroic alter ego in four films. Reeve embodied Clark perfectly and could become Superman as easily as he took off his glasses. Despite the other men who wore the cape and tights, many fans believe that Christopher Reeve is the one true Superman. Looking at his credits, it’s clear that Richard Donner managed radically different films throughout his career. His sense of humor permeated his work, especially the “Lethal Weapon” movies. Under his direction, Mel Gibson played Martin Riggs, a policer officer on the edge who becomes partners with straightlaced homicide detective Roger Murtaugh (Glover). Gibson kicks off the film with a drug deal scene that is both funny and incredibly violent at the same time. In the first sequel, the outrageous Joe Pesci plays a federal witness who gives the detectives a crash course in money laundering. On the heels of “Lethal Weapon,” the director’s funny bone made “Scrooged” a huge holiday hit. Before “Ghostbusters II” hit the big screen months later, Bill Murray played a television executive in this retelling of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol.” Murray’s character, Frank Cross, must examine his past and present behavior with the help of a few abusive spirits. Donner’s direction and the inspired casting of Bill Murray and Carol Kane made this film a holiday classic. Richard Donner left a legacy of great films for movie fans. Rest in peace, Mr. Donnor, and thank you for your life, work and humor. You will be missed. (From top) Richard Donner at the 2019 Producer Guild Awards, ‘Superman’ photo courtesy Dovemead Films; ‘Lethal Weapon’ photo courtesy Warner Bros.; ‘Goonies’ photo courtesy Warner Bros.


Born and raised in South St. Louis, Steve Bryan is now based in Anaheim, California, and has been allowed access to movie and television sets to see actors and directors at work. Though his writing has taken him far from St. Louis, Steve is, at heart, still the same wide-eyed kid who spent countless hours watching classic movies at neighborhood theaters. FEBRUARY AUGUST 2021

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PAIRINGS to your plate

Ingredients: 2 cups vegetable broth 2 cups water 1 cup whole-grain sorghum 2 tablespoons olive oil 1 tablespoon minced garlic 1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon zest 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon pepper 1 pork tenderloin (16 ounces), trimmed of fat 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces 1 cup kidney beans, rinsed and drained 1/2 cup dried cranberries 1/2 cup pecan halves

Lemon-Garlic Tenderloin with Warm Sorghum Salad Recipe courtesy of the United Sorghum Checkoff Program, National Pork Board and USA Pulses Prep time: 25 minutes | Cook time: 70 minutes | Servings: 6 (2 ounces pork, 3/4 cup sorghum salad)

Directions: Preheat oven to 425 F. In medium saucepan, combine vegetable broth and water. Bring to boil. Add sorghum. Reduce heat to simmer and cook, covered, 45-60 minutes, or until tender.

In medium bowl, combine olive oil, garlic, parsley, lemon zest, salt and pepper. Drizzle half oil mixture on pork; rub in with fingers. Place pork in shallow roasting pan. Add sweet potatoes to bowl with remaining oil mixture. Toss to coat and set aside. Roast pork, uncovered, 10 minutes. Arrange sweet potatoes around pork and roast 15-20 minutes, or until pork reaches 145 F

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internal temperature and potatoes are tender. Remove pork from pan. Cover; let stand 10 minutes. Stir roasted sweet potatoes, beans, cranberries and pecan halves into cooked sorghum and heat through. Slice pork tenderloin and serve with warm sorghum salad. Nutritional information per serving: 436 calories; 15 g total fat (2 g saturated fat); 55 mg cholesterol; 369 mg sodium; 55 g total carbohydrates (8 g dietary fiber, 16 g sugars); 25 g protein; 2% vitamin D; 6% calcium; 20% iron; 20% potassium; 377 mg phosphorus (30%).

OurLifestyle Mediterranean Grain Bowl with Pork Skewers Recipe courtesy of the United Sorghum Checkoff Program, National Pork Board and USA Pulses Prep time: 45 minutes, plus 2 hours marinate time | Cook time: 75 minutes | Servings: 6 (1 pork skewer, 2/3 cup sorghum, 2 tablespoons hummus)


Red Lentil Hummus:

1 1/3 cups water 1/3 cup dried red lentils 1 tablespoon olive oil 1 tablespoon tahini 1 tablespoon lemon juice 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic 1/2 teaspoon cumin 1/4 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon black pepper


12 ounces pork loin roast, trimmed of fat 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided 2 teaspoons minced garlic 1 teaspoon lemon zest 1 teaspoon ground cumin 1 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon black pepper 1 sweet onion, chopped 3 cups no-salt-added chicken stock 3/4 cup whole-grain sorghum, rinsed and drained 1 cup canned garbanzo beans (chickpeas), rinsed, drained and dried with paper towels 1 1/2 cups halved cherry tomatoes 1 cup arugula 1 cup chopped cucumber 2/3 cup crumbled feta cheese 1/2 cup kalamata olives

Directions: To make Red Lentil Hummus: In small saucepan, combine water and dried red lentils; bring to boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes, or until lentils split and become soft. Cool and transfer to food processor. Add olive oil, tahini, lemon juice, minced garlic, cumin, salt and black pepper; process 3060 seconds, or until smooth, stopping to scrape down sides as needed. Transfer to airtight container and store in refrigerator up to 5 days until serving time.

stir 6-8 minutes, or until tender. Add stock and bring to boil. Add sorghum. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, 45-60 minutes, or until sorghum is tender, stirring occasionally.

Cut pork loin into 1-inch cubes. Place in resealable plastic bag set in shallow dish. In small bowl, combine 3 tablespoons olive oil, garlic, lemon zest, cumin, salt and black pepper. Pour half olive oil mixture over meat, reserving remaining half. Seal bag; turn to coat meat. Marinate in refrigerator 2 hours, turning bag occasionally.

Drain meat, discarding marinade. Divide among six wooden or metal skewers. Arrange skewers on wire rack on baking sheet and bake 10 minutes, or until meat is slightly pink in center, turning once halfway through.

In medium saucepan, heat remaining olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onion, cook and

Preheat oven to 400 F. Arrange chickpeas on foil-lined 15-by-10-by-1inch baking pan. Drizzle with reserved olive oil mixture; toss to coat. Roast 20-30 minutes, or until chickpeas are toasted and crispy, stirring occasionally. Remove from oven and increase oven to 500 F.

To serve, divide cooked sorghum between six shallow bowls. Top with tomatoes, arugula, cucumber, feta cheese, olives, chickpeas and Red Lentil Hummus. Serve with pork skewers.

Nutritional information per serving: 505 calories; 28 g total fat (8 g saturated fat); 14 mg cholesterol; 528 mg sodium; 43 g total carbohydrates (8 g dietary fiber, 6 g sugars); 23 g protein; 1% vitamin D; 15% calcium; 19% iron; 16% potassium; 361 mg phosphorus (29%).


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Bridging generations through education



The Oasis Intergenerational tutoring program pairs adults over 50 with students grades K-3 in over 25 school districts throughout the St. Louis Metropolitan area BY CHARLOTTE BEARD An educational nonprofit dedicated to enriching the lives of adults ages 50-plus has partnered with these same constituents in enriching the lives of children in grades K-3 for almost long as it has been in existence through its intergenerational tutoring program. Oasis Institute is seeking 500 retired volunteers for fall 2021 assignments to place in local school districts. According to Paul Weiss, President of the Oasis Institute, the Oasis Intergenerational tutoring program partners with over 25 school districts throughout the St. Louis Metropolitan area. The participating school districts are not limited to Clayton, Ferguson-Florissant, Jennings, Kirkwood, Normandy, Pattonville, and St. Louis Public Schools. 18 | OUR TOWN | AUGUST 2021

“The (Oasis Intergenerational Tutoring program) has been out of schools now since early March 2020,” stated Weiss. “We have tutors that may be reluctant to go back into schools or may have decided not to continue tutoring. We have an increased need for academic support in schools for elementary age kids, particularly in the school districts where the kids were more likely to struggle with distance learning because of access to high-speed broadband and technology skills.” Since the program began in 1989 the focus has always been on grades K-3. “There is a tremendous amount of evidence that kids who do not have good reading and comprehension, and literacy skills by the end of third grade


Oasis Institute is seeking 500 retired volunteers for fall 2021 assignments to place in local school districts. school districts throughout the St. Louis Metropolitan area.

they really struggle to keep up with other subjects as they age throughout the upper elementary years,” stated Weiss. “We consider our literacy tutoring program to be a foundational learning program for kids (kindergarten) through third grade.” “Students need extra help right now,” stated Mary Click, National Intergenerational Tutoring Director. “This is an important moment in time, where we can harness the great wealth of experience and knowledge among our older adult population and bring one-on-one help to students in the classroom. We are excited to be able to connect our seniors and our students in an impactful way.” To date, at least 4,500 tutors are registered to volunteer in 82 school districts nationwide, but many more are needed. Weiss states that during school hours tutors meet with students that teachers have determined would most benefit from the program. “Our tutoring commitment is that at minimum (tutors must) commit a full school year, go every week, and tutor at least one child at least one day a week,” he stated. “Most of our tutors (assist) more than one child.” Weiss explained that because one-on-one tutoring sessions are during school hours, up to an hour, teachers determine the best time for a student to have a tutoring session. “For example, kids may have a period during the day where they are reading together, or they are individualized reading as part of their school day,” explained Weiss. “If there is a child or a group of children that need special support for that time to be productive, usually the reading specialist at the school or the curriculum specialist will pull those kids into our tutoring so they can have an enhanced experience that keeps them up with the other kids.” Weiss states that their program has career teachers and educators who do curriculum design for Oasis, and tutors complete two-day training before they go into schools. He further stated that tutors are provided books and curriculum

The Oasis Intergenerational tutoring program partners with over 25

plans to use with students. “We provide multiple books and curriculum packets across the year for tutors that give examples of how to engage a child with a book,” Weiss stated. “(In addition), we do inservices which cover all sorts of different important skill sets for tutors during the year.” Post-COVID lock downs, the intergenerational program offers seniors a way to stay connected to their community. Oasis shares that the National Poll on Healthy Aging conducted by AARP and Michigan Medicine in June 2020 reported 56 percent of respondents over the age of 50 sometimes or often felt isolated, more than double the number in the same study from 2018. “You don’t have to be a teacher to be a great tutor,” states Weiss. “Most of our tutors are not teachers. If you are interested in tutoring do not (say) I am not a teacher; we really help you do that, and we have lots of support materials to make it easy to be a tutor. We teach best practices to help children acquire literacy skills that are powerful. One of the results we hear from teachers all the time is that this (program) affects kids’ self-esteem and level of engagement. So, the most important thing a teacher can do for a child is to be really excited to see them. It is transformational for a child when an adult who is not a family member and not their teacher, is excited to see them and can be counted on to be there every week. That love of reading is blended with feeling appreciated by an adult in your life who is a special adult or grandparental adult who gives this clear message – you are important to me, and I am going to be here every week.” To inquire about becoming a tutor call 314-995-9506 or complete an online application at https://tutoring.oasisnet. org/become-a-tutor/. School districts can apply to participate in the program by calling 314-862-2933 ext. 251 or filling out an online form at https://tutoring.oasisnet.org/ provide-tutoring-in-your-district/.


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August 4 Coast Guard Birthday 7 Purple Heart Day 19 National Aviation Day 21 Senior Citizens Day 26 Women’s Equality Day

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