Knuckleheads still walk the earth, doing things that most self-respecting dinosaurs wouldn’t think of doing. OK, dinosaurs probably didn’t think, so let’s just say cavemen and get those low-brow characters all riled up instead. But head-scratching, what-were-they-thinking activity continues apace in Ballwin and Manchester, to wit: Two pairs of Blues tickets disappeared from the kitchen counter of a Ballwin home. Luckily the fans were able to get replacements, only to go to the game and find their seats occupied by people who’d bought the original tix on Craigslist. The alleged seller? A woman who’d been hired to clean the fans’ home. Although it appears the gloves stayed on and things worked out between the actual seat holders and the folks who bought their tickets, the house cleaner got the smack down: She was charged with stealing and held on $7,500 bond. Meanwhile in Manchester, a bank teller made off with $3,500 via some fancy accounting that really was just a new spin on the old shell game. But the teller, 19, only managed to hold on to the loot for a while. Next morning, co-workers discovered a resignation letter … and that his drawer was a couple Benjamins short. Now, isn’t this a job where the drawer has to count down to the penny at the close of business? Anyhow, he confessed. We surmise the resignation letter was moot.

Last month Mercy Health broke ground on what will be the first dedicated ‘virtual care center’ in the country, according to health system officials. The facility, set to open next year near the intersection of Interstate 64 and Clarkson Road in Chesterfield, represents a bold step in telemedicine—monitoring patients around the clock via data flow, video and audio. Officials say critical, time-sensitive information will be available across Mercy and shared with other providers through partnerships, as well as with large employers. The four-story command center, an investment of more than $50 million, will accommodate 300 physicians, nurses and other healthcare workers dedicated to serving patients remotely; many are rural and/or elderly with conditions (e.g., diabetes) that a medical team can keep tabs on via electronics, without necessitating a visit to a hospital or doctor. The new complex will house the only single-hub eICU anywhere in the country. For patients and the provider, cost savings may be incalculable for the estimated 3 million televisits expected over the next five years. Impersonal? Try scheduling an appointment with an overbooked, harried doctor on any given day. Didn’t someone once say an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure?

Photo: Coolfire Studios
Photo: Coolfire Studios

[webster groves]
nts to put together outfits for a single mother intent on a career as a pharmacist. How’d the show link up with the school for this episode (to air Aug. 12)? It was a ‘who you know’ kind of thing In their never-ending quest to show us how to make practically nothing really look like something, Thrift Shop Divas visited a Webster Groves High School fashion design class last month. The online reality show, shot in St. Louis, has a very special twist: The clothes and accessories come from Goodwill. And the ‘models’ are people without much discretionary income who need a wardrobe to start a new phase in life. Selecting the clothing is one thing; the divas helped a man with autism shop for a snappy outfit he could wear for a presentation about his life challenges. One of the divas is an ‘upcycler’— she transforms alley finds into suitable furniture, for practically nothing besides elbow grease. In the episode assembled at WGHS, the divas worked with stude: Susannah Newman (the feisty one) is a 2002 WGHS grad. Local shop Coolfire Studios is behind the show, which can be found on YouTube. If you haven’t seen an area billboard advertising the venture, you’re driving with your eyes closed.

[creve coeur]
Monsanto is no stranger to protests. Gatherings ranging from a handful to hundreds of people have made their displeasure known to the agrochemical giant. On May 24, a large group protested against genetically modified foods, also alleging the company is largely responsible for declining honeybee populations, among other malfeasance. Protesters say the contingent outside the company’s global headquarters in Creve Coeur was just one of nearly 300 demonstrations against the company held nationwide that day. One poster read, “We are not science experiments.” The demonstration was peaceful and there were no arrests, cops say. But there have been in recent months, in the wake of a new ordinance that has made gatherings in the Olive Boulevard median illegal. City officials ruled that the median is part of the roadway. Basically, keep your business out of the street. Meanwhile, a statement from the company: “(Monsanto is) committed to having an open dialogue about food and agriculture—we’re proud of the work we do, and we’re eager for people to know more about us. We’re also proud of our collaboration with farmers and partnering organizations that help make a more balanced meal accessible for everyone. Our goal is to help farmers do this using fewer resources and having a smaller impact on the environment.”

The clock may be ticking on the historic U.S. Route 66 bridge across the Meramec River just north of Interstate 44 near Eureka. Not only is this Warren deck truss bridge one of only three remaining in Missouri, it’s also the only connection between the east and west sections of the Route 66 State Park, established in 1999. But it’s inaccessible to pedestrians and vehicles and may come down next year. MoDOT closed the bridge in 2009, cutting off a museum in the beautiful period road house and lodge on a bluff to the east from the interpretive center in Times Beach. Plenty of history here, from the Mother Road to the notorious dioxin scare that cleared that river town. Plus, it’s scenic. MoDOT used part of its demolition budget to remove the concrete deck, paving the way for investors or organizations to rehab the circa-1932 structure. What a cool route for cyclists and pedestrians it could well be again. Alas, the bridge has landed on Missouri Preservation‘s Most Endangered Historic Places list for 2014 … which, come to think of it, might not be a bad thing after all. Perhaps it could be the claxon call for a would-be rescuer. Sure sounds to us like a project for those superheroes in green capes at Great Rivers Greenway District.

Come next year, the kids at Community School in Ladue will be able to fully appreciate what had been partially hidden behind construction fencing for a year: The $4 million Centennial Arts Center. Construction began in June 2013 and was completed in April, running throughout the school’s yearlong 100th anniversary celebration. During construction, kids were treated to tours of the project, which was completed a few weeks before the close of this school year. The addition has an auditorium that seats 500; the performance space already has hosted two theatrical productions. Adjacent classrooms support the school’s Integrated Arts Education program. Drama, art, music, band, a multipurpose room and small break-out rooms provide ample space for faculty and students to learn and create. Did we say ‘ample’? It’s 19,300 square feet of ample.

[saint louis]
By the time the humane s ociety rescued him, the puppy’s head was so swollen that he looked like an extra in an episode of Scooby Doo. Some cruel person or persons had wrapped and tightened a bungee cord around his neck. But less than a week after he was picked up in North City by Humane Society of St. Louis personnel and subsequent emergency veterinary care, the little trouper’s head had pretty much returned to normal size. Meanwhile, they dubbed him Wilson, for the volleyball so essential to Tom Hanks’ character in the movie Cast Away. A few leads came in about who may have done such a heinous thing to the little lab-looking fellow, but most callers were curious as to when he would be put up for adoption. The good news? Soon. The bad? That things like setting a dog on fire or swinging a cat against the wall (to cite only two other recent examples of animal cruelty) ever happen in the first place. Such acts are often characterized as ‘thoughtless.’ Quite the contrary, we say. Twisted thinking went into it.

[sunset hills]
Mark Furrer, new mayor of Sunset Hills, was a write-in candidate who upset incumbent Bill Nolan in April. Neither one could have been more surprised. Furrer ran, essentially, on one issue: To stop QuikTrip from building a new gas station and C-store on a popular commuter parking lot at Gravois and Interstate 270. Well, the will of the people has been done. Already. Following a meeting with Furrer scarcely a month after he took office, QT withdrew its proposal to build on the spot. What’s next for this wunderkind—a force-field to keep tornadoes from touching ground in his municipality?

By Bill Beggs Jr.