Talk of the Towns: 6.2.21
the metro | If you thought Pokémon Go already came and went, it’s alive and well, but maybe just not as much of a mad fad as it was 17 minutes ago. But finding hidden treasure using your wits, with the help of geographic coordinates arrived at via GPS, is really going to be a thing this summer starting July 1, thanks to Wildlife Command Center (WCC). The center’s Cash Quest, July 1 to Aug. 31, is a treasure hunt for cash and prizes! This may sound to some readers like something that requires wearing camouflage, but it’s not like that. Not even a camo hat is necessary. In any case, any individual or team that finds and recovers 10 of the 12 hidden treasures will be eligible to win the grand prize of $10,000. Michael Beran, WCC owner and avid fan and player of Pokémon Go, created Cash Quest. Beran noticed how much fun kids were having at a local Easter egg hunt, and it inspired him to develop an activity that could get whole families outdoors again. Safely. “I rescue people from wild animals daily,” says Beran, who spent much of his boyhood in the Louisiana swamps. He may not typically remove gators or bears, but he knows his way around both. “I’m in tune with nature; I read animal body language and animal signs.” Bringing nature back to the public, and vice versa, has been a key to WCC’s success. The center is committed to humane wildlife rescue: Beran and his team have relocated thousands of animals such as bats, squirrels, skunks and hawks since the center was established. Pigeon problem? Not for much longer. Angry beavers? They’ll move ’em on out. With several locations nationwide, WCC also serves the entertainment industry. As an aside, and just speaking for ourselves, if he’s one of those dudes who catches catfish with his bare hands, he can just keep them all for himself. But that’s just us. Find complete contest details on wildlifecommandcenter.com.
You conscientiously separate the trash and nasty, stinky garbage from your rinsed recyclables, put them in separate bins, and roll them to the curb. At least you do in U. City. We can’t say that about certain lesser municipalities where residents must collect their recyclables in handy blue plastic bags, for heaven’s sake, and drag them outside. We know where you live. So, where does all that junk go, anyhow? No, smarty-pants, the haulers don’t drive to a landfill, look around to make sure nobody’s watching, then just dump it all. It goes to a Republic Services facility in Hazelwood, where it is automatically or manually sorted, baled and sent to buyers, 98% of whom are domestic. (Company officials say Republic won’t sell to domestic buyers that ship overseas.) So, here are some end uses for all of that stuff:
- Mixed paper—cereal-box type paperboard; wallpaper; corrugated cardboard, tissue or paper towels
- Cardboard—new cardboard
- Clear plastic beverage bottles (PET No. 1)—carpet or plastic banding
- White or opaque plastic containers (HDPE No. 2)—paint buckets and drainage pipes
- Plastic containers (Nos. 3-7)—various grades of thermoplastic resin for industrial uses; at present all No. 6
plastic (polystyrene) is landfilled
- Metal food and beverage containers— sold to and reprocessed at regional steel mills
- Glass—new bottles; road and pipeline aggregate, fiberglass insulation
- Aluminum cans—new cans, aircraft manufacturing
- Food and beverage cartons—paper towels, other paper products
With all that dreck we save from the landfill, who knows why recycling bins are typically smaller than garbage bins? Hmmm. One thing we do know: No matter what anybody says, some dummy will toss dirty diapers in the recycling bin.
A car traveling at a high rate of speed went out of control on Legends Parkway in Eureka, left the road, bounced off a tree, tumbled down an embankment, became airborne and plunged halfway through the roof of a house. No one was hurt, neither the two men who managed to wriggle free nor the residents, who were in the nearby master bedroom, asleep. That was, of course, until one heck of a racket woke them up. This was around 2 a.m. on a Sunday morning, so a cynical journalist might have concluded the driver of the formerly white Chevy Malibu had been drinking, but firefighters who worked the accident say alcohol didn’t appear to be involved. It was oh so close to being a tragedy, but looks mostly to be a mess for insurance companies to finish cleaning up. That is, sometime after the car has been removed, the occupants’ nerves have recovered and repairs are made to the building. The accident happened May 23, so we surmise the vehicle has been extracted; photos show a crane at the scene. Insurance for the driver will surely—please pardon the pun—go straight through the roof. Cars land on roofs every so often; the last time we know of was in February in Iowa. That house was unoccupied. And 12 years ago, a speeding German motorist broke through a barrier, hurtled up a bank and flew more than 100 feet to crash into a roof. Of a church. By now, we hope and pray, the driver has healed, and all is forgiven. Neither of the last two accounts mentioned alcohol. But raging stupidity wasn’t noted in any of the mishaps, either.
Susan Colangelo is an artist who does embroidery. Stories from the news have inspired her to stitch. But when two young women were shot on their front porch in a U. City drive-by and one of them died, she found that she came up short. “It popped me right out of my bubble,” Colangelo says. She was frightened for her city, she got mad, she got focused, and she and her artists collective, Saint Louis Story Stitchers, have stayed busy since 2013, the year after Destinee Clemons died and her older sister was wounded in the arm on Plymouth Avenue. Destinee, who was working part-time at Target in Brentwood and applying to Harris-Stowe State University, would have been 26 today. (Our incessant string of tragedies, of course, is no respecter of age: A random web search for ‘4-year-old shot’ provided a grim reminder. Last year, a 4-year-old hit by a stray bullet in north city on the Fourth of July later died. We learned of an accidental shooting in the city of a girl, 4, by her 5-year-old sister … in April. Upon finding another, in Union last month, we stopped.) Motivated youth are one way to stem the tide, Colangelo insists. Thus the makeup of her collective: Nine mentor artists work hand in hand with youth and young adults. Nationally renowned artist and local gallery owner Katherine Bernhardt has worked with a younger crew to paint a vibrant mural in the Wellston loop. Emeara Banks, Branden Lewis and other 16- to 24-year-olds form a community of artists, dancers, musicians and podcasters intent on keeping hope alive for people whose lives could be snuffed out in a second. They tell stories through their art, music and dance—stitching together a tapestry, as it were, of their own life experiences or those of loved ones. “I think that if artists do it, something will get done,” Colangelo notes. And they’ll be able to do even more in 2021 and beyond: The collective this year received the Lewis Music Prize, a $500,000 accelerator grant; the ‘big idea’ is to build a youth center. Meanwhile, Saint Louis Story Stitchers have recorded an album, The Why of My City, which is available on iTunes: “Who’s ready? We ready … we ready for the violence to stop …” is a lyric in a hip-hop soul tune. (Compelling youth choir.) And ready they
are. Banks and Lewis are two of the four part-timers who worked with mentoring artists in 2020 to serve 112 non-repeating youth with 170 program activities … yes, during our least favorite year. They’ve done 45 podcasts so far this year. Colangelo is the full-time executive director—she’s a volunteer, working alongside 13 board members. Spending time outside, in nature, is key to wellness for people who’ve known little but cracked asphalt, broken concrete and crumbling brick. Dance battles are one way, and camping every year in Shaw Nature Reserve another, to rise above a sense of despair. Want to know, see, hear and feel more? Experience the Peace in the Prairie video presentation June 15 to 29 at Laumeier Sculpture Park; it’s reprised July 3 at the National Blues Museum. Their jazzy rearrangement of “America the Beautiful” is moving. Download The Why of My City. And definitely visit storystitchers.org.