Meth is a mess. It messes up users’ lives, and it also leaves behind a nasty residue that is the devil to clean up. A woman who was supposed to be house-sitting for neighbors while they were vacationing left behind more than $35,000 in damage to the home after she let friends in to cook methamphetamine. She also was supposed to be taking care of the cat. Cops say Lauren Stephens, 34, an admitted user of the drug herself, bought some of the recipe’s main ingredient: pseudoephedrine, a cold and allergy medicine that once was available off the shelf but now must be bought directly from a pharmacy employee. Police say a home-restoration company reports the ‘cook’ ruined most of the downstairs furnishings, cabinets, plumbing, walls and other surfaces, and that repairs and/or replacement would be needed before the home could be declared inhabitable. The cook and other kitchen helpers aren’t on the hook for the property damage, however, due to lack of evidence. But the would-be house sitter has been charged with felony property damage, her bond set at $20,000. No word on the cat’s well-being.

Now the festivals are moving to the suburbs. Well, two of them, anyhow. Taste of St. Louis will be held Sept. 19 through 21 in Chesterfield, taking advantage of the city’s Central Park and amphitheater. The 10th annual edition of the festival is wooing celebs from various shows on The Food Network, and with the theatrics necessary for some of said celebs’ food preparation—did we just hear someone mutter style, not substance?—organizers felt the amphitheater would be a better draw. Up until now, the
event, with its ‘restaurant row’ near Soldiers’ Memorial along Market Street, has presented parking challenges, as does any downtown event, and there will be no worries in Chesterfield about competing with the last few Cardinals games for spots. Bluesweek will be the second event to grace the park and amphitheater in Chesterfield, although it comes up first, on May 24 and 25. Organizers say expenses dictated they’d either have to move it from downtown, or not have it at all.

[creve coeur]
Ahhh, knuckleheads. We love writing about ’em, and hope you love reading about ’em. This latest installment of the Knucklehead Chronicles comes thanks to a hockey-mom-turned-supersleuth in Creve Coeur, when her sons had a few grand in gear stolen from the garage. Moms are diligent in writing names inside apparel, but this woman knew her kids’ stuff right down to the stickers her three boys had affixed to their helmets. So she gave an exhaustively detailed list to the cops, including sizes and other ephemera unique to the gear. The good guys alerted sports equipment resale shops in the area to be on the lookout for bad guys with the goods. Bingo: the knuckleheads, some of whom obviously have played for years without a helmet, showed up at the Play It Again Sports store in Kirkwood with some equipment they were eager to, well, fence. Employees stalled the thieves long enough for cops to arrive and arrest them. Hockey mom shoots… she scores!

Officials and residents hope that concessions made to fast-food giant McDonald’s regarding its Kirkwood location will persuade the company to remodel the restaurant to its new design, doing away with the oh-so-yesterday mansard roof (with whatever those white dividers are), replacing the façade with stone and incorporating the new golden ‘arch.’ So stylized that it looks more like a curved, swooping line, it’s astonishing to me that it was approved by architectural review types at the company. Some visitors were excited when the Webster Groves store in Old Orchard was remodeled …for about 15 minutes, or however long it took to realize the colors, materials and silhouette appeared to be a companywide standard. In Kirkwood, city officials relaxed requirements for a fence along the northern side of the property, lowering it from 8 to 6 feet in height. The company’s request for a second entrance, from Taylor Avenue and the residential neighborhood to the east, was voted down. Let’s hope that position sticks, at least. No one is happy about picking up Happy Meal remains and other McDebris from their yard or the street.

[rock hill]
For many long months after the Market at McKnight Place was completed, in the teeth of the recession, it stood mostly vacant. Outlying restaurant spaces filled up, then a Stein Mart moved in. Soon there will be a second anchor tenant, another out-of-town grocer banking on our area’s yen for healthier, less-processed foods: Lucky’s Market. Based in Boulder, Colo., with another store in nearby Longmont, the grocer is building its third here in the Gateway City. Lucky’s is a second alternative for shoppers not eager to pay Whole Foods prices. We mentioned Fresh Thyme Farmers Market last issue: The first Fresh Thyme will take up a goodly portion of the southeast corner of Manchester’s intersection with Kirkwood Road (aka Lindbergh Boulevard). That’s just a couple of clicks to the west of where Lucky’s will have established itself. Lucky’s also has its sights set on Kentucky, Ohio and Montana. Meanwhile in River City, it will be interesting to see what these fresh developments will mean for our town’s more conventional grocery chains—Dierbergs, Schnucks, Straub’s and Shop’n Save—all of which have placed more emphasis on this segment to a greater or lesser degree over the last few years.

[university city]
Another rapper is busting out of U. City, and his subject is not hot women and fast cars, nor the other way around: Heir Jordin is 5. He raps about how proud he is of his black history, and in scenes from the Delmar Loop, you see him with the bronze statue of Chuck Berry above, and looking down at Tina Turner’s star on the Walk of Fame. Close-ups of ragtime genius Scott Joplin’s and Cards pitcher Bob Gibson’s stars also are featured. The video had received 9,000-plus views at last count. At first, you can’t help but notice how cute this kid is. Then you may be impressed by how effortless his delivery seems to be—it’s smooth. But it’s the name-dropping he does that’s most compelling, from Dred Scott and Harriet Tubman to Miles Davis and Jackie Joyner-Kersee, whether he ‘drops’ the words or you see them onscreen. Lyrics are by Heir’s dad, rapper Ramel Prince (aka RT-FaQ), a member of the group Doorway. Black History Month may have come to a close Feb. 28, but this little guy might be writing a new chapter for himself. To experience Proud History, search YouTube for “Proud History.”

[webster groves]
A suit pitting Webster University and Eden Seminary against the City of Webster Groves continues over a conditional-use permit the city had granted to allow Webster U. to shift some operations to former Eden facilities across Lockwood Avenue. The permit was withdrawn following opposition from neighbors, whereupon the city tweaked its zoning ordinance. Whoever wins this one, everyone stands to lose plenty of money in legal fees, and the county judge presiding has asked both parties whether a settlement is possible. We’ll see. If not, the outcome is sure to be appealed, and both sides will continue leaking money for who knows how long. Webster U. has owned Eden’s former Luhr Library and two other buildings for some time now, but has not been able to move forward with plans to house some administrative operations there, plus a new home for its national champ chess team. One of the two buildings would be razed in favor of green space and additional parking. While neighbors aren’t happy about the latter plan, they also worry about future encroachment by the university.

St. Louis

[st. louis city]
‘It was 20 years ago today / Sgt. Pepper taught the band to play…’ Library patron 1: “Shhh… this is a library.” Library patron 2: “Get over your stodgy self.” This is THE library, and the Not So Quiet! concert series begins in a few weeks with a re-creation of the Beatles’ early days gigging in bars in Hamburg, Germany. It’s also a celebration / re-creation of the Fab Four’s arrival in the States, and the better-than-ever Central Library kicks off its 2014 series with Ticket To The Beatles, a four-piece that’s been recreating the sounds, if not the sights, of the legendary band for a sweet 16 years now. They haven’t gone to great pains to look like the band (well, one fellow looks like Ringo, sort of, but he plays guitar; a chrome dome plays drums) but have honed their skills to approximate the instrumental and vocal stylings of John, Paul, George and that lovable drummer who was born Richard Starkey. Admission is free to the one-hour show, which starts at 7 p.m. in the library auditorium on Thursday, March 20. The following month (the third Thursday in April), Harmonee takes the stage with its mixture of soul, gospel, jazz and doo-wop. Singer-songwriter Lizzie Weber closes the series May 15. It’s also a Thursday: the third Thursday. Dig the pattern, luv? Meanwhile … it was 50 years ago that the Beatles took America by storm? Bloody incredible.

By Bill Beggs Jr.