Brentwood is mulling over consolidating its emergency dispatch services within the East Central Dispatch Center (ECDC), which encompasses the cities of Clayton, Maplewood, Olivette, Richmond Heights, Shrewsbury and Webster Groves. While cities combine such services to cut costs and increase efficiency, some people worry it could also negatively affect response time. This does not seem to have been the case for Creve Coeur, Frontenac, and Town & Country, which a few years ago combined dispatch operations as West Central Dispatch Center. Nor have we seen reports of such problems at ECDC. But the issue is top-of-mind for many in our area since a recent address mixup after a 911 call to Central County Dispatch may have caused additional damage to a home in Florissant: firefighters first were sent to the wrong home, with a similar address, in Ferguson. More than 10 minutes elapsed before they were dispatched to the correct address. Officials hope that system alarms to alert dispatchers of possible duplicate addresses in their area may be forthcoming.

[central west end]
More than 100 names of church workers accused of sexual abuse over the last 20 years must be released to the female plaintiff in a civil lawsuit against the Archdiocese of St. Louis, the Missouri Supreme Court has ruled. The suit has been dragging on since 2011, when a woman, 19, accused a priest at a St. Louis parish of abuse that allegedly began when she was 5. The suit claims that the priest, who had been convicted of abusing an 11 year-old boy at another parish many years before, was then transferred to the parish in the city (he has since been defrocked). The archdiocese had held that release of the names also would expose victims and others who wanted to remain anonymous, but the list is to be released only to the woman and her attorneys in this case. In a statement, the archdiocese states it will release the names, “Although we share the disappointment of the many innocent individuals who will be affected by it.”


A three-legged dog is teaching kids how to be whole. The yellow lab was rescued from an animal hoarder in Marshall, Mo., with a front left leg so infected it had to be amputated. Cyndi Willenbrock of Clayton adopted Marshall, who has helped the inveterate runner slow down a little, at least to walking two dogs instead of running with one. The rewards have been profound. Willenbrock was there when an Alzheimer’s sufferer, mute for two years, spoke to the dog. She’s witnessed withdrawn autistic children laugh and interact with him. Meanwhile, Marshall (‘The Miracle Dog’) has become somewhat of a spokesdog against bullying in area schools. Once terrified of other dogs after having been penned together with 60-some other canines in awful conditions, Marshall is now a certified therapy dog. He works his magic at schools and The Humane Society in programs to prevent bullying and animal cruelty. (Marshall also has a deep scar on his face.) Willenbrock has hooked up with Girls In The Know, a program to help mothers and their pre-teen girls through the tough years leading up to (gasp) middle school. She’s also written a book and created a video featuring Marshall with help from Ladue and Lindbergh school kids. (Have tissues ready if you search YouTube or scan the QR code at right). Does Marshall look familiar to you? You may have seen the celebrity canine on area billboards.

Morphine mixed with water—and mouthwash? County prosecutors have charged a former nurse at an Ellisville nursing home with felony stealing of a controlled substance after she was caught administering the diluted doses. Her coworkers had noticed the liquid looked and smelled odd, and some patients had complained. Fortunately, no one was seriously harmed, although elderly patients whose pain was not being managed properly must have suffered needlessly. Authorities believe the nurse, 27, already was addicted to a similar opiate and was stealing partial doses of the powerful painkiller for herself.

Two men and two women were arrested recently after trying to flee a robbery outside the White Castle where one of the suspects was employed. Cops say two of the perps, one who had a gun, approached three men in the restaurant’s parking lot and relieved them of their cash and cell phones. Then, it must have looked like a couple of cops-and-robbers shows spliced together, because two of the suspects wound up taking off for St. Louis in one getaway car, the other pair hightailing it all the way out to High Ridge, where some cash and one stolen phone were recovered. The women and men, none named either Bonnie or Clyde, are adjusting to a new wardrobe, perhaps cheery bright orange jumpsuits just in time for spring, at our county jail. Bond for each is $100,000. That would buy a whole mess of sliders, although at least one of the alleged crooks might not be able to stomach those anymore.

St. Louis

[saint louis]
Rejoice, citizens of the Show-Me and Prairie states—the ‘Stan the Man Span’ officially has opened … although not by that name. Legislators and the other powers-who-be haggled over and finally worked out the toll issue (there won’t be any charge to use the bridge), but the one thing Missouri and our neighbor on the eastern bank of the Big Muddy couldn’t agree on was a legal name. So, it’s a mouthful: The Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge.

They didn’t ask you, and they didn’t ask me, but I think a better compromise would have been to pause and look a few miles south toward renaming the ‘J.B. Bridge’ the Jefferson Barracks Veterans Memorial Bridge; after all, one of the nation’s finest veterans cemeteries is minutes away from the western end. Then, Stan could have stood on his own, just as he did for the Cardinals from 1941 to 1963, with some time off to serve in World War II. Well, to be sure, the mighty Musial, forever No. 6, was a veteran himself. So there, I guess.

From the start, Missouri and Illinois had squabbled over how to pay their respective parts of the nearly $1 billion bridge ($700 million, actually, including federal Department of Transportation funding). At times, it looked as though they wouldn’t agree on anything. And they didn’t, really, right down to the one ephemeral detail that didn’t cost anything: a name. Married couples would divorce if it took so long to settle on a name for their new child.

At the ribbon-cutting, it was time for guvs Jay Nixon and Pat Quinn to stand side by side on the deck to kiss and make up. And they did, at least during the grip-and-grin.

The new bridge and interchanges were designed to relieve the Poplar Street and other downtown river crossings of the Interstate 70 traffic that has overburdened them in recent years. Thankfully, the Poplar’s bumpy, irregular pavement was repaired over the summer.

[university city]
Peacocks will strut their stuff in U. City, after a fashion, by next summer, since city officials have given the go-ahead to a conditional-use permit for the Peacock Diner. Alcohol is to bless or to blame, depending on your perspective. Joe Edwards, irrepressible force behind the Loop since the early 1970s, had long hoped for a 24-hour eatery in the Delmar Loop. While some officials fretted over a bar downstairs from student housing in the burgeoning Washington U. mixed-use development, others noted that his other establishments, including Halo Bar at The Pageant, do well to police minors trying to get served. So, why the peacocks? No, Edwards doesn’t have a fetish for NBC. But he does love the flamboyant birds. Fittingly, the counters will call to mind peacock plumage in shape and color. The diner is set to open in August, around when the university welcomes back students, many of whom will live in the nearly 260 Loop apartments planned for the $80 million Lofts at Washington University project. Street-level retail is set to be anchored by Global Foods Market.

[webster groves]
Some may not lament the departure from nearby Shrewsbury of Value Village, the department store of thrift stores, but many high school and college kids in Webster Groves, Maplewood and environs are practically in mourning. Where else could you get, for 5 bucks, a Hart, Schaffner Marx suit that almost fits? Or a $400 pair of Italian loafers for your dad, for $6? Young folks still staring down college loans have managed to spend only $25 for a sofa sleeper, recliner and swivel chair…combined. Owners of Value Village are hoping to find another location for the store, which has been booted from the neighborhood to squeeze in the area’s latest, sorely not-needed, Walmart. The big-box behemoth from Bentonville, Ark., finally made it in, but not before squabbling with city fathers over this and that—including taxpayer support via TIFs, of course—for nearly three years. Ah, yes: Always low prices—and wages.