We noted awhile back that Ballwin has been named one of the safest communities in the nation several years running by a relocation website. However, that certainly doesn’t make the city immune to bizarre, random crime. Fortunately, when Michael V. Pona II, 34, started firing at other cars in his unexplainable shooting spree along TT-Ballwin.6-27-15a stretch of Manchester Road a few weeks ago, no one was hit by bullets. Cops allege Pona shot into an SUV, one round lodging in a seat near a child. Yikes! He also pulled alongside a Mustang and fired a shot that shattered the passenger’s side window, cops say. And on it went: Pona drove to an auto dealership, where witnesses told police he fired a few shots into the air, then briefly laid down on the parking lot. He drove to the Walgreens at Manchester and New Ballwin roads, then pulled out of the parking lot in front of a woman, who suffered a broken wrist and bruises in the accident—and he left the scene. Pona took off on foot and ran into a creek. Police say he wasn’t done yet. They had to Tase him. Of course, that must have made him even madder than a wet hen. He bit, kicked and scratched all the way to the hospital. They say no good deed goes unpunished? Authorities say he kicked a nurse and bit a security guard when he got there. Sgt. Jim Heldmann of Ballwin P.D. was scratching his head over the freakish series of events, noting that bond was set at $150,000 for Pona, who was charged with offenses ranging from unlawful use of a weapon to leaving the scene of an accident and several counts of assault. Authorities weren’t sure whether drugs or alcohol were involved. Does it matter? And btw, how does someone like this get, and keep, a gun?

Some of you may have decided to slide down a couple blocks of Market Street— without getting road rash—when ‘Slide the City’ sloshed and squirted through town recently. But that’s just it: Blink, and it’s gone, unless you catch it when it sets up in O’Fallon next month. Wanna fly instead? Get the feel of skydiving without the inconvenience of having to go up in a plane, then jump out of it? You can do that at Aerodium, a new (temporary) attraction in Chesterfield Valley near the baseball fields; and you don’t have only a few weekends to do it. If you chicken out the first time, just c’mon back. Aerodium is a wind tunnel that allows humans wearing goofy-looking, colorful jumpsuits to fly. Sort of. You float in the wind stream about 3 meters off the ground, feeling all the sensations that real flyers, aka skydivers, have felt: ecstasy, freedom, even lack of shame at wearing a goofy-looking jumpsuit. If you’re a kid younger than 5, just keep dreaming awhile … you have to be older to book a flight. Not sure what your time in the air looked like? You’ll be able to purchase photos or video. Concerned about being blown from here to K.C.? Not to worry: Aerodium is a vertical wind tunnel, albeit with hurricane-force winds and safety nets. You’ll be able to float this way and that, but not too awful far—until Aug. 2, that is, when Aerodium moves on to the next location. Anyone looking for a corporate team-building event that doesn’t involve fishing gear, golf clubs or Dave & Buster’s? Float this one past management. (Pictured, above)

A second Starbucks, this one with a drive-thru, is being considered for north Kirkwood in Greentree Center, at 10300 Manchester Road. Maybe the world’s biggest coffee retailer should mull over what happened a few years ago in Webster Groves, where a second Starbucks was built that, not long afterward, closed and became a Jet’s Pizza. That was back when the economy was really sour and even Starbucks, which has more retail locations than McDonald’s, pulled in its horns nationwide. It made sense on the surface for there to be two stores on Lockwood Avenue on opposite ends of town, one in Old Orchard and the other in Old Webster (now Jet’s). At least one did a robust business. But that’s down the road a piece, in Statesmen territory. Back to Pioneer land. The store already in Kirkwood is at 343 S. Kirkwood Road. It’s fairly cozy, while the store under consideration would be 1,900 square feet. Hmm. Let’s have some coffee, and talk about whether there’ll ever be one in Des Peres.

To address a troubling need that persists throughout the metro, Burroughs students formed ‘Performing for Pencils’ in the fall of 2013 to help the more than 90,000 kids who go back to school without adequate supplies. Last year, a group of student singers, dancers and actors staged the first such variety show for charity, which netted more than $10,000 in donations of cash and school supplies. They’re hoping to top that this year, and will be rehearsing over the summer to put on the second installment Aug. 15 at Burroughs. (There is no charge for admission to the talent show, but you’re encouraged to bring along school supplies to donate, and why not bring your checkbook too?) Will there be singing? Check. Dancing? You bet. Unicycling? Why not? And anyone expecting a hula-hooping contortionist will not be disappointed. (My goodness, is this Circus Flora? Not quite. Kids were recruited from more than 30 area high schools. Many are veterans of community theater, as well as of school productions.) This year, Miss Black America, Jasmin Alexander, will serve as emcee. And performers from all over the StL will participate. Acts have been discovered at Soldan, Hazelwood, Central Visual and Performing Arts, Priory, Visitation Academy, Grand Center Arts Academy and Crossroads, among others. And an aside from inside the tent: There may not be sword swallowing, but there will be juggling.

[saint louis]
The rich are different than (some of) you and me. In the late 19th century, America’s well-heeled would embark on ‘The Grand Tour,’ visiting Europe’s centers of culture for months … maybe years. They’d bring back artifacts and send home postcards. They took photographs and kept journals. The Campbell family of the Campbell House Museum took its own grand tour in 1867, probably to shake off the latest unpleasantness (The Civil War). Campbell House and the Central Library have partnered to give the Lou a glimpse of what life was like here and across the pond in those halcyon days. The Grand Tour Exhibition runs through Aug. 11 in the library’s Great Hall.

[des peres]TT-Des-peres
Über trainer Keath Hausher found himself simmering in hot fat after poking fun at a heavy woman consuming mass quantities during a Cardinals game a few weeks ago … on Facebook. The city then put the kibosh on a fitness ‘boot’ camp that had been slated for the city park and Des Peres Lodge after a firestorm erupted on social media—and in the real media—about his ‘fat shaming’ stance. Yeah, we consume too many calories as a nation. A trip to McDonald’s might even give you the idea that some people are obese. But to single someone out, very publicly, when you have no idea of their back story? Well, that’s just snarky … OK; sharky. Shark Fitness is the name of Hausher’s business, and its logo is an aggressive shark with two 100-lb. weights and a six-pack. (He’s not a beer drinker, evidently. He just has tight-looking abs. Well, maybe he is a beer drinker, and he’s just holding his stomach in.) The post was taken down, and Hausher a few days later issued an apology.

[university city]
Ladies and gentlemen, the Loop Trolley is on track. If you’ve started hearing jackhammers and/or other construction racket, it’s because installation of trolley track began last Monday (June 15) along Delmar Boulevard. So instead of cursing automotive traffic along a stretch of the heavily traveled boulevard from Cicero’s to Fitz’s, you can blame that quaint ’lil train that will run east along Delmar from the roundabout to DeBaliviere Avenue, then south to the History Museum. Kingsland Avenue is to remain open throughout, but the DeBaliviere Bridge will be closed over the weekend (June 19 through 21) to install beams. Sounds complicated. Anyhow, businesses along Delmar are trumpeting that ‘The Loop Is Open’ and enticing shoppers and diners via an ongoing contest. Desire a new streetcar? Who doesn’t … but that’s not one of the prizes. Giveaways will include two $50 gift certificates each week from participating businesses. Block parties will take place to unveil track and/or celebrate construction milestones. Want to meet Judy Garland? Well, you can’t. But you can enjoy imagining what life here must have been like before the turn of the century. The last century … you know, the one before anyone complained about their plane being late.