When responding to a house fire, firefighters first make sure all human occupants are safe and sound. They wear oxygen tanks to ensure they can thoroughly search a burning house for anyone who may have been overcome by smoke. They also have oxygen masks on the truck to treat any family member suffering smoke inhalation—but what about Fido? He’s family, too. Ladue’s firefighting finest now have three oxygen masks engineered specifically to fit over a muzzle and bring the breath of life back to the mutt. The masks were donated by the Invisible Fence franchise based at Kennelwood. Invisible Fence, of course, has made a business of keeping the dog in the yard and out of the street, electronically. But these masks are strictly old school … analog, that is. U.S. fire industry sources indicate that as many as 150,000 pets may die in fires every year, most from smoke inhalation. And the Invisible Fence people have embarked upon ‘Project Breathe,’ an effort to equip U.S. and Canadian fire stations with pet oxygen masks. And yes, feline fanciers—the masks are of different sizes and shapes, so one or the other could be used to revive a stricken cat, as well. Or a ferret. Even a cavia porcellus (a guinea pig).

st. louis
Grand Center is about to become even grander—a fabulous parking garage is to be built across from the Fox Theatre, and soon. For many, this will mean not having to be eagerly flagged into the parking lot of a nearby Chinese restaurant for the next really big shew (Ed Sullivan-speak for ‘show,’ for those of you too young to recall). Fox Associates will invest $9.1 million in the project, at 3637 Washington Blvd., to be completed by next April. The garage will accommodate 603 vehicles— and 20 bicycles—on five levels. Construction is set to start this month. To trim construction time, 570 precast pieces will be used. Driving lanes will be 4 feet wider than is typical so that you and your vehicle don’t have to feel claustrophobic negotiating your way up and in, then down and out. There will be two entrances on Washington and one in the alley that will separate the garage and Grande Theatre. For those non-Chinese-restaurant parkers, this may also mean no longer having to test, in a Range Rover, the parallel-parking prowess you may have lost since moving out of the city (and a Honda Civic).

sunset hills
To mark its 40th anniversary, Laumeier Sculpture Park has installed Alexandre da Cunha’s 2013 work Mix (Americana). The large-scale piece is well-traveled, having TT-Sunset-Hillsbeen donated to Laumeier’s permanent collection by the Brazilian artist and CRG Gallery in New York following its exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago (MCA) as the fifth MCA Plaza Project. The sculpture now is on view in Laumeier’s Museum Circle, visible from the lower entrance parking lots. Mix (Americana) is a full-scale cement mixer. Polished and painted in a patriotic red, white and blue, the sculpture has been relieved of its mixing duty on the back of a truck and staged instead as a functional sundial. When viewers peer inside the hollow steel chamber, light gently reflects and refracts, creating an intricate web of shadows and shapes, giving splendor and mystery to the industrial barrel. Within the context of Laumeier’s green space, Mix (Americana) inspires discussion about the suburban landscape and the complex juncture of natural and man-made environments. The artwork is “a sly commentary on how we now orient ourselves in the landscape using the concrete constructions of the urban world,” says Marilu Knode, Laumeier’s executive director. Indeed, the juxtaposition of various artificial artworks … and those made with earth, wood and other all-natural ingredients … is what lends the park much of its charm. In 2015, Laumeier closed its first major capital campaign, Sculpting the Future, culminating in the renovation of the late Henry and Matilda Laumeier’s donated estate house (1917) into the Kranzberg Education Lab and the construction of the adjacent Adam Aronson Fine Arts Center for exhibitions, programs and events. Laumeier’s 105 rolling, wooded acres have been part of the St. Louis County parks system since July 7, 1976.

university city
It’s getting closer to the day that trolley bells will again ring-ring-ring along a 2.2-mile route under construction from U. City to Forest Park. The ‘fleet’ of cars that will run on the Loop Trolley line are vintage vehicles that have been adopted from left coast cities that once had vibrant streetcar systems. Two trolleys that once ran on the George Benson Waterfront Streetcar Line in Seattle have arrived in St. Louis for starters. A third Seattle trolley was shipped to Iowa, where it will be renovated and refurbished, along with two Portland electric cars. The three retooled trolleys will be put into service here in spring 2017, according to Joe Edwards (pictured), who heads up our local trolley/transit development district. Edwards proudly points out that the cars have accouterments like wood-paneled interiors and brass hardware. (All riders will need to complete the trolley’s turn-of-the- (last)century look are flat-topped straw boaters for guys, bustles for gals.) Interestingly, the cars that ran in Seattle, manufactured between 1923 and 1956, first operated in Melbourne, Australia. The two former Portland trolley cars were designed to look like 1903 models but actually were built in the 1990s for that city’s ‘vintage’ line. Meanwhile, it is anticipated that the intersection of DeBaliviere Avenue and Forest Park Parkway will remain closed a week or so longer for the last piece of track to be installed and the roadway to be reconfigured for efficient automobile flow. Also, during that interval the parkway will be closed to all but local traffic from Skinker to Des Peres and from Vandeventer to Kingshighway.

Greenhaw and Lawler

webster groves
Eden Theological Seminary in Webster Groves has launched Walker Leadership Institute, an initiative designed to build a bridge between faith and business. Not only do the religious leaders of today need to run their churches more like a business, but businesspeople need to pay closer attention to time-honored moral precepts, officials say. George and Carol Walker donated $1 million to found the institute, which will offer a Master of Arts in Community Leadership, among other degree and certificate programs. It aims to develop men and women for effective work with nonprofits and demonstrates the close relationship that has been forged between Eden and Webster University, which are situated on the north and south sides, respectively, of Lockwood Avenue. George Walker is a former board chair of the university trustees, while Carol is an alumna of Eden and presently a board member. The Rev. Steve Lawler, the institute’s founding director, has a CV worthy of this noble effort, serving as rector of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Ferguson and holding both an MBA from the Olin School of Business at W.U. and a Master of Sacred Theology from Yale Divinity School. Since 2004 his consulting firm has worked with corporate entities as diverse as Ingersoll Rand and BJC HealthCare. He has taught courses at W.U. in subjects ranging from leadership and organizational development to sustainability. Dr. David Greenhaw, Eden’s president, says the institute plans to bring in church leaders from around the country to lead seminars that address balancing noble efforts toward the greater good with sound business principles. Seminaries nationwide face declining enrollment coupled with large, aging campuses and have to find ways not only to remain relevant but also to retain financial stability, Greenhaw emphasizes.