Talk of the Towns: 4.29.15
A tip of the police officer’s cap (hey, do they even wear them anymore?) to the fair suburb of Ballwin. The West County municipality has been ranked the 35th safest city in the nation, and considering there are no other Missouri cities on this year’s list (compiled by neighborhoodscout.com), that’s quite an accomplishment. While the country’s most dangerous municipalities tend to be the industrial and sometimes impoverished satellites of major cities, the relocation website’s 100 safest cities are mostly a different kind of urban satellite: the bedroom community. NeighborhoodScout compared the safety of cities of different sizes across the country by deriving a rate for individual types of crime per thousand residents. The site’s ranking of most dangerous cities is based on violent crimes, while this ranking is about safety from all crimes, both violent and property. Types of crimes taken into consideration are: burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft, homicide, rape, armed robbery and aggravated assault. FYI: You also can use the site to get crime, school and real estate reports for any address.
The arts have found a permanent home in Chesterfield, at the intersection of Highway 141 and Olive Boulevard. Summer classes are scheduled to start at Chesterfield Arts’ new building on June 1. Kids as young as 3 will be able to make a glorious mess, getting their hands in on painting, pottery and more. And high-school upperclassmen now will be able to earn college credit on a university campus via a new partnership the city has with Lindenwood University in St. Charles. For adults, there will be workshops and classes year round. That ought to get everyone’s creative juices flowing!
Scamboree. Now, there’s a clever name for a program designed to help seniors resist the nasty schemes dreamed up by dirty, rotten scoundrels involving scams, fraud and identity theft. Scamboree will be presented at 6 p.m., Wednesday, May 6, at St. Louis County Library Headquarters, 1640 S. Lindbergh Blvd. The free program is offered by the library and the Mid-East Area Agency on Aging (MEAAA) and geared to help folks avoid being hoodwinked, mainly by the slick fraudsters who populate the Internet and/or seem to have all the time in the world to persistently practice their pushy powers of persuasion by phone. Learn how to protect yourself and your loved ones from Medicare fraud, identity theft and other scams. Art Maines, author of Scammed: 3 Steps to Help Your Elder Parents & Yourself, and Rona McNally of the Missouri Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP), will provide useful tips on how to protect personal information, plus detect and report fraudulent practices. (To wit: How alarmed were you that someone else already had filed a tax return for you, a relative, friend or neighbor?) Trained MEAAA and SMP representatives will be on hand with info on additional resources. Come early: Free document shredding will be available on-site from 4 p.m. until the Scamboree begins. (Disclaimer: County Library HQ technically is in Ladue, but we couldn’t omit this very important service announcement, so we took the liberty of fudging on the border just a wee bit. And besides, the library is right across the street from Plaza Frontenac, further muddling the whole border issue!)
How can you tell it’s spring in Ladue? Hint: It starts with a ‘D’ and ends in ‘wood.’ Well, yes, dandelions are in full bloom, honking off homeowners and making honeybees happy. But so are dogwoods, so it’s time once again for the Dogwood Parade & Festival. This is the 16th annual iteration of the event, which took a hiatus for about seven years because of I-64 / Hwy. 40 construction and that annoying little economic downturn in the late ’aughts, then came back in 2014. Cardinals GM and Ladue resident John Mozeliak is slated to be grand marshal of the parade, which hits the thoroughfares (well, Clayton Road) a week from Saturday. The parade kicks off 10 a.m. May 9 at Ladue Horton Watkins High School and heads east to wind up at Ladue Middle School … which is where the festival will be in full swing with food, drink, games and entertainment. Kids will enjoy an obstacle course of inflatables, face painting and the Bubble Bus. Prizes will be awarded in several categories. And, lunch is served—‘Taste of Ladue’ food booths include favorite Ladue eateries. Meanwhile, Clayton Road merchants are participating in a coupon event (coupons are available with purchase of festival tickets). Although a party here usually entails valets, a courtesy shuttle will cart celebrants between the two schools on Dogwood Day.
Ladies and gentlemen, start your mouse! Um, mice? Mouses? Oh, nevermind, as long as you do it. ‘It’ is a web-based, one-day-only, regional charitable effort slated for next Tuesday, May 5. The inaugural Give STL Day, a unique online effort to support nonprofits in our region, raised $1.1 million for 528 groups last year. This year, nearly 800 local nonprofits have registered to participate. With more than 10,000 people pointing, clicking and donating to a cause last year, there are plenty of places to spread the love. Visit GiveSTLday.org to search for the nonprofits of your choice. So, St. Louisans, let’s see how many worthy groups we can add to our shopping carts that day. Just remember how much stuff you piled in your cart last time you visited, say, amazon.com. Mouse-clickers, start your engines!
Laumeier Sculpture Park’s $10 million capital campaign is called Sculpting the Future, and as of March 1, there was but $800,000 left to sculpt … er, raise. And the future is just about here: The new Adam Aronson Fine Arts Center, under construction and set to open this summer, is developing into a modern marvel that contrasts with the park’s historical buildings. The building will serve as Laumeier’s new public focal point, featuring a spacious indoor gallery, reception area, and space for collections storage, conservation and events. Laumeier’s 1917 Estate House—formerly used for exhibitions, the Welcome Center and Museum Shop—has been renovated into studios and meeting spaces for classes, lectures, workshops and other programs to begin this summer. Also, over the summer, the park will celebrate the momentous changes through a variety of grand opening events and activities for donors, friends and visitors.
Road work ahead! If you haven’t run into it by now, you probably will eventually, so please be advised: Construction of The Loop Trolley has begun. For real. As of April 20, DeBaliviere Avenue has been reduced from four lanes to two from Delmar Boulevard South to Pershing Avenue for the trolley tracks to be installed. Trolley tracks?!? If that is your response, you must’ve been under a rock the past few years. And although curmudgeons may still say it’s a boondoggle, for the time being, they can just curb their mudgeon. The long-awaited, much-ballyhooed trolley system from the Delmar Loop south to the History Museum in Forest Park is happening. For real. Two-way traffic has been routed to the east side of DeBaliviere, and the two west lanes have been closed. Officials expect that access to businesses along DeBaliviere will be kept open at all times. Traffic signals have been disabled, and temporary stop signs are in place at the DeBaliviere intersections with Kingsbury Place, Waterman Boulevard, and Pershing Avenue. Meanwhile, for those who still aren’t trolley aficionados, the St. Vincent Greenway is being expanded. Throughout construction, DeBaliviere will remain two lanes—and, once the expanded greenway and trolley tracks are complete, the new DeBaliviere alignment will be two lanes, one in each direction with an intermittent turn lane in the middle.