Talk of the Towns: 7.12.23

cwe | River City Outdoors (RCO), a nonprofit based in the CWE, has opened a Gear Lending Library that makes outdoor equipment more accessible, so metro residents can enjoy outdoor recreation. Located at the Big Muddy Adventures Guide Shop, 4662 Washington Blvd., this unique ‘library’ lends outdoor equipment for hiking, camping, paddling, bikepacking and more. Kayaks or canoes are not available, but pretty much anything else necessary for a serious float or camping trip is in stock unless it’s on loan. At present, the library is open only to RCO network member organizations serving St. Louis youth, their families and school groups. After a trial period, RCO hopes to expand the gear library to the public. RCO staff provides free training to borrowers on how to properly use and care for the equipment. “A barrier we see to getting kids and families outside is the availability of and access to quality gear,” says Rebecca Weaver, RCO director. Funding for the project was provided in part by a grant from the U.S. Forest Service’s Urban Connections program, an initiative that helps urban residents get into nearby national forests, providing opportunities for historically underserved groups to get outside. Inventory and check-out services are available at

delmar loop
St. Louis-born boxing brothers Leon and Michael Spinks have punched themselves into the St. Louis Walk of Fame on the sidewalk of the storied Delmar Loop. Leon and Michael made history in 1976 as the first brothers to win Olympic gold medals in the same year. They later became the first brothers to win the world heavyweight championship as pros. In 1981 Michael won the WBA light heavyweight title and in 1983 began his reign as the undisputed world light heavyweight champion. He moved up to the heavyweight class in 1985 and won that championship. Powered by his ‘Spinks Jinx’ dynamite right hand, he won 31 of 32 fights, 21 by knockout. Leon Spinks, in just his eighth pro fight, became the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world in 1978. His defeat of Muhammad Ali for the crown was one of the most monumental upsets in boxing history. However, by floating like a butterfly and stinging like a bee, Ali snatched it back later that same year. Last month, Michael was on hand for their star dedication ceremony at 6217 Delmar, just west of Skinker. Leon died in 2021 at 67 of prostate cancer. Tragically, before his death, Leon started slurring his words, and doctors said his brain had suffered damage from boxing. See who else is among StL luminaries with a brass star on the Walk:

the metro
Please, pay no attention to the byline. It’s a pseudonym for Mavis Wanczyk of Boston, Massachusetts, winner of the $758.7 million Powerball jackpot! Now I live in Cambridge, but formerly as a woman of modest means in a rough Beantown neighborhood, I know what it’s like to live paycheck to paycheck. I bit my nails to a nub just trying to scrape together enough to pay the utilities—so broke, in fact, I fished around for cigarette butts with maybe a few puffs left. Anyway, here’s the deal, since I can’t even spend half the interest I’ve earned since my picture was taken with a big honkin’ facsimile check in 2017, I’m giving the first 300 people who contact me $100,000 each. I know you can’t believe it, so I’ll just need your bank account numbers to make your first deposit. Oh, and you’ll just need to transfer a $100 handling charge for me to start—some of my money is held in offshore accounts, and they tax me to make each U.S. donation. One cool Benjamin for a thousand of them in return isn’t a bad risk, right? O.K., dear reader, we’ll come clean. This Ms. Wanczyk is a fake. Other bona fide lottery winners whose names also are used illicitly include: Dave Johnson, Michael J. Wiersky (or Michel Wiesky), Cristy (or Christy) Davis and Kelsey Zachow. The kingpin of a Jamaican lottery scam, which bilked millions from mostly elderly victims, faced 40 years in prison but it was reduced since he pleaded guilty and cooperated. Authorities seized cash, jewelry and other property, which will be divided among dozens who fell for the ruse. A caveat: Dead giveaways should be the various name spellings or atrocious grammar in the pitch. Crooks aren’t known for their familiarity with grade-school knowledge, but they sure know how to cheat, lie and steal. You must not respond to one of these or many other attempts to cheat you via phone or social media. There. You’ve been warned.

notable neighbors
Sasha Marx is a typical American woman. Well, mostly. She speaks English. But she’s also fluent in Russian. And Marx used to run a little, but didn’t really like it. So, she became a pole vaulter, competing at the high-school and collegiate levels. After graduating from Ladue Horton Watkins High School, Marx started at SLU in pre-med, but found that she loved to write and finished up with a bachelor’s in English. (Still with us, dear readers?) Intent on writing about medical topics, because medicine remains absolutely fascinating to her, she sensed she could make a bigger difference in the world with such a unique tool kit—as a senior, Marx started interning at PALM Health in Ladue. She soon became a part-time employee. Now content coordinator, she does everything from in-depth blogging to ensuring communications have the consistent, appropriate voice for a prestigious med spa—open since 2016, PALM now boasts more than 1,980 members. (Longtime residents of the Lou know it as most of the former Busch’s Grove, legendary onetime stagecoach stop at Price and Clayton roads.) So, what eased Marx’s transition from medical aspirations to writing and communications? “It wasn’t right for my personality type and skills,” Marx says, with a smile. “Having been brought up in a half-Russian household really influenced and contributed to my appreciation for language and communication.” Add to that talent, intellect and a keen focus. Plus, a singular ability to take life’s twists and turns in stride. Talking about twists, turns and strides brings us to pole vaulting. She’s still coaching. Although she may yet be averse to running, she must coax vaulters to run, carrying the fiberglass pole up to the slideway to position it in the ‘box’ at the start of the vault itself. Why’d she try out in high school for something so complex? This discipline, with its steep learning curve, actually started out as a joke among Ladue sophomore girls standing around on the field wondering what to do with themselves at track tryouts. “It’ll be funny,” said one. “Plus, track is a no-cut sport!” So, even though she thought she’d probably quit, she wandered over to watch the pole vaulters. Marx has stuck with the sport through high school and all four years of college, still working on her technique today at a specialized training center in St. Peters. In school, what she hadn’t bargained for was traveling every weekend for meets. There’s never enough time for anybody to do everything they want and need to do, but it may be especially so for Marx. So, she takes advantage of PALM Health services on her days off; cryotherapy, for one. Plus, along with picking up Russian from her mom, she grew up with social media, now a major part of her job. Videography? Self-taught. The long-form writing it takes for serious blogging? Natch. Marx seems to have found her niche, which is good both for her and for PALM. “Acquiring the right voice for the company has been extremely important,” she notes. “Functional medicine is an up-and-coming discipline, so it’s a very cultivated voice.” You’re curious, right? Visit

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