Busted in Ballwin? On the lam in Olivette? Wanted in Warson Woods? If you’re just a little bit of a crook, now’s the time to get off the hook. Municipal courts throughout the metro are participating for the remainder of the year in a holiday ‘abatement’ program, through which anyone with an outstanding warrant may have that warrant recalled and a new court date set—for one cool Benjamin ($100). This program, which is in partnership with the nonprofit Better Family Life, is for nonviolent crimes, mind you. And there are exceptions among the county’s 66 municipalities, so minor miscreants should contact the respective municipal court or check the website just in case their case isn’t included in the amnesty program. Finally, for anyone keeping count, please note that we have not used the word ‘knucklehead’ in this brief.


Chesterfield already has gotten some great props thanks to a Spelling Bee champ (well, first runner-up) who hails from there. Now it can lay claim to a Rhodes Scholar, one of only 32 nationwide named this year: Anisha Gururaj, a senior chemical/biological engineering major at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has a perfect academic record, but it’s her other accomplishments that have gathered plaudits. She plans to use the scholarship at Oxford University in England to further her research into developing affordable medical devices. She and three student colleagues have worked on designing a low-cost blood warmer that could save the lives of soldiers who might otherwise die on the field from hypothermia. She published an investigative report on the experience of trauma surgeons following the Boston Marathon bombings. She also founded the M.I.T. chapter of Circle of Women, which works globally to expand secondary education for girls. And lest you think Anisha is all work, she also performs Indian classical dance and served as president of her a cappella singing group.

[des peres]
At least when it comes to wine, Scott Monette gives 100 percent. A former CFO in the corporate world, Monette has parlayed his business savvy into 100 Percent Wines, from which every penny of profit goes to help people with disabilities find meaningful work. Monette, of Des Peres, is the proud father of Matt, a teenager with disabilities who Monette says “never has a bad day” and inspires him to do more. 100 Percent Wines and its companion foundation, the 100 Percent Wine Project, a 501(c)3 organization, were founded this fall and offer a 2013 Sauvignon Blanc and a 2012 red blend from the Lodi region in California. The white was awarded 98 out of 100 points at JustWinePoints.com. The red is a blend of four wines, including Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Malbec and Teroldego. Is your palate amused? The wines are available at Straub’s, Garland Wines, St. Louis Wine Market and The Smokehouse, and can be enjoyed by the glass at The Libertine (Clayton) and The Wolf (Ballwin).

And then there was one. Now there’s a solitary Lester’s in St. Louis, the original location at 9906 Clayton Road in Ladue, which opened in 2007. The sports bar had made forays into Chesterfield six years ago and to the Central West End three years back. But the latter two closed last month, within weeks of each other. Lester’s is the brainchild of Lester Miller, a former plastics magnate and current developer who moved heaven and earth, plus $10 million and change, to revamp Busch’s Grove in 2005. He sold that property for a reported $1.5 million in 2008.

We weren’t sure whether to characterize this O’Fallon home invasion story as heartbreaking or just plain stupid, but it’s really a little bit of both. A terminally ill cancer patient was victimized by two teens who broke into his house and stole items, including his pain meds and oxygen tanks. Plus alcohol, of course. Police say the perps broke a window with a rock to enter the home, and upon encountering the resident, struck him and pushed him to the floor. He was not seriously hurt and received treatment at the scene. Meanwhile, mug shots show youths who appear amused by all the attention. Disgusting. There was a third suspect, but apparently criminal mischief runs in the family of the two arrested. They are cousins.

[st. louis]
Some call South Grand, the commercial district that runs south from Arsenal Street at Tower Grove Park, ‘grand’ South Grand. And grand it is. Merchants and restaurateurs responded with equanimity to the chaos that erupted in the street following the announcement that Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson would not be indicted for shooting Michael Brown. The morning after a South Grand pawn shop, drugstore and furniture boutique (at least) were looted, windows of a dozen other shops and restaurants were boarded up. But that morning, the community was out in force, smiling, hugging … and working. Most businesses were open. Neighborhood volunteers carrying brooms swept up any glass left on the sidewalks. And art was the chief reprisal: Murals were painted on the plywood of boarded-up, broken windows. Painters, some of them shop employees, added bold swaths of color and life-affirming words. After the second night and early morning, there was no evidence of more hooliganism. In contrast to the Dec. 8 New Yorker cover depicting an incomplete Arch, one side black, the other white, the painting on a boarded-up post office window depicted black and white hands clasped at the top. Rooster was a veritable art gallery, with the exhortation, ‘Break eggs, not windows’ on the plywood sheets covering one side. A fleur-delis appeared next to the front door, perhaps borrowed from the City of St. Louis flag—two rivers converging into one—painted nearby. Replacing the flag’s fleur de lis was a peace sign. Months ago, probably before Ferguson, signs started appearing in shop windows: ‘A Neighborhood for Everyone … Respect All Voices.’ But clearly, grand South Grand does not acknowledge the voices of those who would use a tragedy to commit crimes of opportunity. (Pictured, above).

[town & country]
Amy Rhodes, the new major gifts officer at Westminster Christian Academy in Town & Country, didn’t have to move her stuff very far. Her previous stint was as director of major and planned gifts at MICDS. Rhodes, a communications major at DePauw University, graduated with a bachelor’s degree from the Greencastle, Ind., school in 2004. Prior to her time with MICDS, she worked two years with Crossroads College prep school in the city and three as a territory sales rep for United States Gypsum.

Webster Groves

[webster groves]
The winsome wooden reindeer that have populated select locations throughout Webster Groves for the past few years have been joined by snowmen. Let’s just call each of them ‘Heavy’ the Snowman. The reindeer were fashioned from the logs, branches and twigs harvested by city workers, and could be picked up and easily absconded under one arm by anyone unfazed about winding up on Santa’s ‘naughty’ list. But the snowmen are likely to stay put. Each is built with three massive cuts of tree trunk stacked atop one another, perhaps only the heads small enough to fit inside the average fireplace. Many are topped with a hat, a scarf wrapped around the thick neck, and branches reaching out from both sides à la Frosty and his more-spherical brethren. ‘Carrots’ carved of wood and painted orange jut out of faces, whose other features (eyes and mouth) appear to be created from walnut shells and other suitable found objects; no coal (or charcoal) was evident. Since they certainly won’t melt, Webster’s sturdy snowmen will probably stay put until muscle-bound workers, let’s hope aided by heavy equipment, hoist them into a truck bed. But many, apparently, already have been unclad. Grinchly folks without the holiday spirit, much less respect for snowmanity, have made off with a scarf here and a hat there. Humbug!

Think snow! That’s what investors in a recent IPO are certainly thinking. Hidden Valley, the winter playground in Wildwood for skiers, boarders and tubers, was part of a stock offering made recently by parent company Peak Resorts. Peak operates 12 other resorts, chiefly located within 100 miles of major metro areas, including NYC, Philly, Boston and Cleveland. The IPO offered 10 million shares at $9 apiece and raised $82 million, closing Dec. 1. Now available on the NASDAQ under the ticker symbol SKIS, let’s hope the shares ride up on a lift and never slide downhill.