Mid Rivers Newsmagazine 11-15-23

Local news, local politics and community events for St. Charles County Missouri.

Local news, local politics and community events for St. Charles County Missouri.


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Vol. 20 No. 22 • November <strong>15</strong>, 20<strong>23</strong><br />

midriversnewsmagazine.com<br />

Happy<br />

Thanksgiving<br />

PLUS: Coupon Savers ■ The Wish Book ■ Build Out of Augusta Slows




A time for truth<br />

in America<br />

Over the last week, one conservative<br />

Republican rose up, and one conservative<br />

Republican stepped down.<br />

Former Vice President Mike Pence, a<br />

consistent and unwavering Christian and<br />

constitutional conservative, announced the<br />

termination of his presidential campaign,<br />

saying, “It’s become clear to me; this is not<br />

my time.”<br />

A few days earlier, another consistent<br />

and deeply rooted Christian and constitutional<br />

conservative, Rep. Mike Johnson<br />

(R-Lousiana), emerged from seemingly<br />

hopeless and interminable Republican<br />

chaos, to be chosen, on one decisive ballot,<br />

as the new House speaker.<br />

Regarding the former vice president, The<br />

Wall Street Journal summed it up well. He<br />

would be “a good president,” their editorial<br />

board said, but “MAGA voters wouldn’t<br />

forgive him” for not cooperating to overturn<br />

the 2020 election and “anti-Trump<br />

voters wouldn’t forgive his four years as<br />

Mr. Trump’s loyal number two.”<br />

About Johnson, some say Democrats are<br />

celebrating, convinced that his Christian<br />

conservatism will drive voters into their<br />

camp.<br />

But it well could be exactly the opposite.<br />

These days are not “business as usual” days.<br />

The horrors committed by Hamas terrorists<br />

against Israeli civilians has shocked<br />

and appalled decent Americans. Suddenly,<br />

we are reminded that indeed there is good<br />

and evil.<br />

Decent Americans recognize conflict.<br />

But we see this is not conflict. This is<br />

depravity.<br />

There has always been rhetoric about the<br />

bond between our country and Israel. Usually<br />

this is framed as Israel being the only<br />

democracy in the <strong>Mid</strong>dle East.<br />

But we see now it is much more.<br />

Both Israel and America go to war when<br />

there is no other option. American soldiers<br />

and Israeli soldiers fight and kill enemy<br />

soldiers because all other options have<br />

failed. But Americans and Israelis do not<br />

celebrate death and do not take joy in killing.<br />

And for sure, American soldiers and<br />

Israeli soldiers do not commit atrocities.<br />

Perhaps most shocking and appalling for<br />

decent Americans nationwide – beyond<br />

the reports of rape, desecration of bodies,<br />

beheadings – is to see students at our elite<br />

universities supporting this depravity and<br />

accusing the Israeli victims to be the cause.<br />

We are further appalled at the reticence<br />

of the administrations at these elite universities<br />

to condemn these activities.<br />

Only now is the president of Harvard<br />

speaking out against antisemitism after<br />

initial woke-framed remarks about free<br />

speech and bringing all sides together.<br />

The encouraging news is alumni at these<br />

schools are reacting and pulling their funds.<br />

In a recent Pew Research survey, 9% of<br />

Americans ages 18-29 agreed that “U.S.<br />

stands above all other countries in the<br />

world” and 43% agreed that “Other countries<br />

are better than the U.S.”<br />

The generation leading our future, raised<br />

in a culture of meaninglessness and materialism,<br />

now hates its own country, founded<br />

and built on the very values it rejects.<br />

So now we have a major wake-up call in<br />

front of us.<br />

For those who think restoring awareness<br />

about good and evil is not a viable political<br />

platform, we have history to prove otherwise.<br />

“But we must never forget that no government<br />

schemes are going to perfect man.<br />

... There is sin and evil in the world, and<br />

we’re enjoined by Scripture and the Lord<br />

Jesus to oppose it with all our might.”<br />

President Ronald Reagan spoke these<br />

words in March 1983 in the speech in<br />

which he called the Soviet Union an “evil<br />

empire.”<br />

Fifty-two American hostages were held<br />

prisoner in Iran for 444 days during the<br />

Presidency of Jimmy Carter. They were<br />

released days after Reagan captured the<br />

presidency from Carter and took office in<br />

January 1981.<br />

Then the Soviet Union collapsed and the<br />

Berlin Wall was torn down as a result of<br />

Reagan’s leadership.<br />

Reagan was reelected president in 1984,<br />

winning 49 of 50 states. Something we can<br />

hardly imagine today.<br />

Truth, and the courage to stand by it,<br />

works. Our nation badly needs it today.<br />

• • •<br />

Star Parker is president of the Center for<br />

Urban Renewal and Education and host of<br />

the weekly television show “Cure America<br />

with Star Parker.”<br />

© 20<strong>23</strong> Creators.com<br />

Read more on midriversnewsmagazine.com<br />

November <strong>15</strong>, 20<strong>23</strong><br />


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6 I OPINION I<br />

November <strong>15</strong>, 20<strong>23</strong><br />





Shake it off<br />

To paraphrase the great poet Mick<br />

Jagger, you can’t always get what you<br />

want, but you can get what you need,<br />

you know, sometimes. On the other<br />

hand, the more contemporary scribe<br />

Taylor Swift reminds us that if we make<br />

the same mistakes every time, bridges<br />

burn and we never learn.<br />

Either way, we are careening toward a<br />

presidential election that nobody wants.<br />

The majority of Democrats want someone<br />

other than Joe Biden to run in 2024,<br />

yet there is no viable alternative. Six out<br />

of ten Republicans want Donald Trump<br />

to run again, but only because there<br />

isn’t a viable alternative. Just a quarter<br />

of the Republican party is staunchly<br />

pro-Trump.<br />

In other words, we aren’t going to<br />

get what we want, we aren’t going to<br />

get what we need, but we just now find<br />

that we will this time make the same<br />

mistake again no matter who wins. We<br />

never learn.<br />

Roger Daltrey wrote that we won’t<br />

get fooled again. Boy, was he off base.<br />

It’s almost like we shouldn’t take U.S.<br />

political advice from octogenarian British<br />

rock stars.<br />

The recent New York Times/Siena College<br />

poll was really, really bad for Joe<br />

Biden. You’ve probably heard about it.<br />

It shows Biden trailing Trump in five<br />

out of six swing states. It shows Biden<br />

losing ground with Black voters, Hispanic<br />

voters, young voters and female<br />

voters, aka the majority of the Democratic<br />

party. That leaves the incumbent<br />

president going head-to-head with<br />

Trump for the hearts and minds of old,<br />

white men. That will not end well for<br />

Biden.<br />

Meanwhile, in Republican land, the<br />

last “presidential” candidate debate was<br />

held last week. Trump wasn’t there. Did<br />

you watch? Yeah, neither did we but we<br />

can recap pretty easy:<br />

Nikki Haley made strong, salient,<br />

sane but moderate arguments on all the<br />

key issues. That won’t move the MAGA<br />

needle. Ron DeSantis came off as competent<br />

with all the charisma of a ficus<br />

tree. Vivek Ramaswamy is your annoying<br />

kid brother who keeps interrupting<br />

your birthday party and never knows<br />

when to shut up. Tim Scott was present.<br />

Chris Christie was bitter. None of it<br />

matters because our oft-indicted former<br />

president has more than lapped the field<br />

and will almost certainly end up the<br />

nominee.<br />

So there you have it. Trump vs. Biden<br />

in 2024. It’s an inescapable collision<br />

course. The players are gonna play, play,<br />

play. The haters are gonna hate, hate, hate.<br />

Can we shake this one off? Not in our<br />

wildest dreams.<br />

Roughing the passer<br />

Since we undoubtedly made you (and<br />

us) feel very old with all the Taylor Swift<br />

references above, we thought we would<br />

pour some salt into that wound. During<br />

the week 9 slate of games in the NFL,<br />

for the first time ever not a single starting<br />

quarterback was born before 1990.<br />

1990 was like a month ago. Embryos are<br />

now starting at quarterback in the NFL.<br />

Taylor Swift, by the way, was born in<br />

1989. She’s too old to start in the NFL<br />

now.<br />

Founder<br />

Publisher Emeritus<br />

Publisher<br />

Managing Editor<br />

Associate Editor<br />

Staff Writer<br />

Features Editor<br />

Business Manager<br />

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Joe Ritter<br />

Sheila Roberts<br />


Fixing America<br />

To the Editor:<br />

As a senior citizen, I have witnessed the<br />

decline of the Christian moral structure<br />

that this great nation was founded upon.<br />

We all grew up in a society where family<br />

was our foundation and school was where<br />

we learned. We all knew right from wrong.<br />

We knew the difference between good<br />

and evil. We respected authority and had<br />

national pride because we had faith in our<br />

government.<br />

Our nation was and is the greatest<br />

nation that ever existed, but history has<br />

shown that every great society has collapsed<br />

from internal demise.<br />

As we look at our country today it’s<br />

hard to recognize it as the country of our<br />

childhood.<br />

The Christian moral compass is hard to<br />

find. There are so many negative issues<br />

from defunding the police and opening<br />

borders to the legal destruction of human<br />

life through abortion. Where do you start<br />

to fix it? What do we pray for? How do<br />

we stop the demise of this great nation?<br />

Well, there is a possible answer but is<br />

not easy. The answer is to fix the problem<br />

that started all the problems.<br />

Thomas Sowell (who was published<br />

in <strong>Mid</strong> <strong>Rivers</strong> <strong>Newsmagazine</strong> until he<br />

retired) gave an answer that was short<br />

and to the point. In 1964, Lyndon Johnson<br />

won the presidential election in this<br />

country by promising the electorate that<br />

any woman who became pregnant and<br />

the father didn’t accept responsibility<br />

would be taken care of by the federal<br />

government. That promise made it profitable<br />

to have children out of wedlock and<br />

destroyed the family as we knew it.<br />

Children of fatherless families are creating<br />

more children without any family<br />

structure. This has become the breeding<br />

ground for almost all the problems that<br />

exist in our nation today.<br />

If we, as a group, want to pray for something,<br />

let’s pray for a new honest government<br />

in the next 2024 election.<br />

The current president has weaponized<br />

the DOJ, FBI, CIA, IRS, news media,<br />

HLS, the department of energy, department<br />

of education and the high-tech<br />

social media all against the American<br />

public. This administration has divided us<br />

in every imaginable way – by race, politics,<br />

religion, heritage, economics, gender,<br />

education and indoctrination.<br />

Larry Inchiostro<br />


Submit your letter to: editor@newsmagazinenetwork.com • 636.591.0010<br />

Jessica Baumgartner<br />

Bethany Coad<br />

Suzanne Corbett<br />

Robin S. Jefferson<br />

Reporters<br />

DeAnne LeBlanc<br />

John Tremmel<br />

Sue Zimmerman<br />

754 Spirit 40 Park Drive<br />

Chesterfield, MO 63005<br />

(636) 591-0010<br />

midriversnewsmagazine.com<br />

Please send<br />

Comments, Letters and Press Releases to:<br />

editor@newsmagazinenetwork.com<br />

<strong>Mid</strong> <strong>Rivers</strong> <strong>Newsmagazine</strong> is published 24 times per<br />

year by 21 Publishing LLC. 35,000 distribution (direct<br />

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editorial copy are not necessarily those of <strong>Mid</strong> <strong>Rivers</strong><br />

<strong>Newsmagazine</strong>. No part of <strong>Mid</strong> <strong>Rivers</strong> <strong>Newsmagazine</strong><br />

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editing for content and length. <strong>Mid</strong> <strong>Rivers</strong> <strong>Newsmagazine</strong><br />

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submission. © Copyright 20<strong>23</strong>.

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8 I NEWS I<br />

November <strong>15</strong>, 20<strong>23</strong><br />




NEWS<br />

BRIEFS<br />

O’FALLON<br />

City reduces sewer rates, looks<br />

to reduce property tax rates<br />

Existing O’Fallon ordinances would have<br />

increased sewer rates by 6% for the years<br />

2024 through 2027. However, at its Oct.<br />

26 meeting the City Council unanimously<br />

passed Bill No. 7595 to voluntarily reduce<br />

that rate increase to 3% instead of 6%.<br />

Additionally, after 2027, instead of rates<br />

increasing 4%, the increase will be 2%.<br />

These rate revisions are the result of<br />

the city’s cost-saving measures implemented<br />

over the past few years and a careful<br />

review of the sewer system’s Capital<br />

Improvement Plan.<br />

This change in rates still accomplishes<br />

all necessary projects in the sewer fund and<br />

preserves a healthy fund balance. With the<br />

lower rate, the fund balance is projected<br />

to be greater than $2 million in fiscal year<br />

2024 and by 2027 this balance is expected<br />

to grow to be in excess of $3.5 million.<br />

O’Fallon had established a 20<strong>23</strong> general<br />

property tax levy rate of $0.2917 per<br />

$100 assessed valuation. However, the<br />

city’s assessed property value after Board<br />

of Equalization review increased by<br />

$7,462,882 as compared to the information<br />

used to calculate the initial tax levy rate.<br />

Consequently, O’Fallon has proposed Bill<br />

No. 7598 that would reduce the general tax<br />

levy rate to $0.2909 per $100 assessed valuation.<br />

The higher valuation and the lower rate<br />

will yield the same amount of tax revenue.<br />

The debt service tax levy rate portion of the<br />

property tax would remain the same.<br />

If typical process and timing are followed,<br />

this bill will receive a second reading<br />

and vote for passage at the next council<br />

meeting on Nov. 16.<br />

White Magnolia CID approved<br />

At its Sept. 14 meeting, the O’Fallon<br />

City Council approved the record plat<br />

for Bryan Road Commercial, a 9.04-acre<br />

property on the east side of Bryan Road,<br />

north of White Magnolia Drive and south<br />

of the Starbuck’s near Veterans Memorial<br />

Parkway. Tree-clearing, grading and site<br />

preparation work has started for the multibuilding<br />

commercial development.<br />

At its Oct. 12 meeting, the council gave<br />

a first reading for Bill No. 7590, sponsored<br />

by Mayor Bill Hennessy, which would<br />

establish a White Magnolia Community<br />

Improvement District (CID) encompassing<br />

the 9.04-acre property.<br />

The CID Petition outlines a plan to use<br />

a 1% sales tax within the boundaries of<br />

the district for a maximum of 20 years to<br />

help fund an estimated $3.5 million for<br />

site grading, street/curb pavement, parking<br />

improvements, sanitary/water utility<br />

improvements, stormwater improvements,<br />

lighting improvements, right-of-way<br />

improvements, and professional fees<br />

(architectural, engineering, legal).<br />

At its Oct. 26 meeting, the council conducted<br />

a public hearing for (revised) Bill<br />

No. 7590.1.<br />

Lisa Johnson, attorney, and partner at<br />

Amundsen Davis law firm in St. Louis, represented<br />

the CID applicant and answered<br />

council questions. Council member Jeff<br />

Kuehn (Ward 4) asked Johnson to clarify<br />

for what the CID funds would be used.<br />

Johnson then said they would cover what<br />

the applicant has paid and will pay for elements<br />

of infrastructure only for the benefit<br />

of the public. That includes funds paid for<br />

improvements to Bryan Road and design<br />

plans for a roundabout at that location.<br />

Kuehn then reiterated those points.<br />

The one public comment speaker, Arnie<br />

Dienoff, said he objected to the CID<br />

entirely, for numerous articulated reasons.<br />

He especially was against what he called<br />

corporate welfare and the use of the CID<br />

special tax funds for infrastructure the<br />

developer should pay for. After closing the<br />

public hearing, the council unanimously<br />

voted to approve the bill.<br />


Ameren tower<br />

installation approved<br />

The St. Charles County Council has<br />

authorized a conditional use permit (CUP)<br />

to install and operate a <strong>15</strong>4-foot telecommunication<br />

tower and ground equipment<br />

on agricultural-zoned property at 1894<br />

North Pointe Prairie Road. The tower and<br />

ground equipment will be used to bring inhouse<br />

the system and hardware for monitoring<br />

Ameren’s electric transmission lines.<br />

The 9.9-acre property is located east of<br />

North Pointe Prairie Road and south of<br />

Hwy. 61, adjacent to the cities of Wentzville<br />

and Flint Hill in unincorporated St.<br />

Charles County. Owned by Ameren Missouri,<br />

the location currently is used as an<br />

electrical substation.<br />

At its meeting on Oct. 30, the council<br />

approved Bill No. 5<strong>23</strong>5, sponsored by<br />

council member Matt Swanson (District<br />

1), by a vote of 9-0. The bill authorizes the<br />

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Open enrollment: Nov. 1 – Jan. <strong>15</strong><br />

To schedule your free consultation,<br />

call 855.488.4855.<br />

Learn more at:<br />




November <strong>15</strong>, 20<strong>23</strong><br />


I NEWS I 9<br />

Special election results<br />

Nicholas Brockmeyer received<br />

92% of the vote to remain serving as<br />

a St. Charles city municipal judge. He<br />

ran unopposed for the position he was<br />

appointed to fill when a vacancy came<br />

up earlier this year. The term expires<br />

in April 2027.<br />

• • •<br />

An additional 3% sales tax on all<br />

retail sales of adult-use marijuana<br />

sold in the city of St. Charles was<br />

approved by 74% of voters. This tax<br />

will not be imposed on medical marijuana.<br />

St. Charles joins St. Charles<br />

County, O’Fallon, St. Peters and Wentzville<br />

in charging this additional tax<br />

on recreational marijuana.<br />

CUP for the tower and ground equipment,<br />

as well as setback exceptions.<br />

Extension Council members and MU<br />

Extension faculty act as educational brokers,<br />

putting the interests and concerns of<br />

local people together with the resources of<br />

the land-grant university.<br />

Those elected are expected to:<br />

• Understand and advocate for the goals,<br />

aspirations and concerns of county residents.<br />

• Provide regular, thoughtful participation<br />

in MU Extension programs and assist<br />

MU Extension faculty and educators in<br />

reaching their goals.<br />

• Be an advocate for access to education<br />

that empowers people.<br />

• Learn about the wealth of resources provided<br />

by MU and the University of Missouri<br />

System.<br />

• Assist with council elections.<br />

• Work with MU Extension faculty and<br />

others to generate support from outside<br />

sources.<br />

• Secure and administer the county’s<br />

share of funding for MU Extension programming<br />

in collaboration with the legislature<br />

of your county and other outside<br />

resources.<br />

• Advise and consult with MU administration<br />

concerning the assignment of<br />

Extension faculty to your county.<br />

• Commit 3-5 hours per month to attend<br />

monthly council meetings, committee<br />

meetings and training opportunities.<br />

Nominations are due no later than Dec. 7.<br />

To fill out a nomination form, visit extension.missouri.edu<br />

and search “Become a<br />

council member.”<br />

CORRECTION: In two articles in<br />

the Nov. 1 edition of <strong>Mid</strong> <strong>Rivers</strong> <strong>Newsmagazine</strong>,<br />

Scott Ellinger was mistakenly<br />

referred to as the owner of The Brass Rail.<br />

While Ellinger is the restaurant’s original<br />

owner, its current owners (since April<br />

2022) are Ryan and April Hammer.<br />

Freezing weather is coming!<br />

New access point proposed<br />

for Blueway<br />

St. Charles County Parks Director Ryan<br />

Graham has proposed an intergovernmental<br />

agreement with St. Peters to construct a<br />

new access point on the Dardenne Creek<br />

Blueway, with a new landing at Woodlands<br />

Park in the city of St. Peters.<br />

In a background document, Graham said<br />

since opening in May 2022, the first section<br />

of “Blueway Trail” from <strong>Rivers</strong>ide<br />

Landing Park to 370 Lakeside Park has<br />

become a very popular feature because it<br />

enables people to access the water for recreation.<br />

In cooperation with St. Peters, the county<br />

then opened a new section and another five<br />

miles of Blueway from 370 Lakeside Park<br />

to Lone Wolff Park.<br />

The proposed new agreement would add<br />

another access point and allow the county<br />

to begin working on opening future sections<br />

of the Blueway from Woodlands Park<br />

to Lone Wolff Park.<br />

At its Oct. 30 meeting, the St. Charles<br />

County Council introduced Bill No. 5240,<br />

sponsored by council member Terry Hollander<br />

(District 5), that would authorize<br />

the agreement.<br />

If typical process and timing are followed,<br />

the bill will receive a vote for final<br />

passage after press time at the council<br />

meeting on Nov. 13.<br />

Extension members sought<br />

St. Charles County residents are invited<br />

to nominate themselves for election to the<br />

University of Missouri Extension Council.<br />

As a member of the Extension Council,<br />

residents can put any issue, interest or concern<br />

on the local educational agenda and<br />

work toward developing programs and<br />

resources to help their neighbors. County<br />

Slips and falls affect us all.<br />

Frost, ice and snow are particularly dangerous for our seniors.<br />

If you slip, give us a call!<br />

95% of our rehab residents return to home.<br />


gardenviewcarecenter.com<br />

636-240-2840 | O’FALLON<br />

636-537-3333 | CHESTERFIELD<br />

636-861-0500 | DOUGHERTY FERRY

10 I NEWS I<br />


November <strong>15</strong>, 20<strong>23</strong><br />


Transformation of Augusta slows<br />

Council member says company is causing its own delays<br />

Since 2021, the Hoffmann Family of<br />

Companies has been piloting a large, figurative<br />

container ship filled with $<strong>15</strong>0 million<br />

of ambitious vision toward a goal of<br />

making Augusta<br />

“the NAPA Valley<br />

of the <strong>Mid</strong>west.”<br />

During 2021 and<br />

2022, sailing<br />

toward that goal<br />

was generally<br />

smooth and fast. However, beginning in<br />

spring 20<strong>23</strong>, the Hoffmanns may have<br />

encountered “the winds of November,”<br />

forcing slowdowns and new navigation<br />

for its multi-million dollar project on the<br />

Missouri.<br />

Beginning in January 2021, Washington,<br />

Missouri, natives and business<br />

owner billionaires David and Jerri Hoffmann<br />

began buying, renovating and<br />

upgrading numerous businesses, buildings<br />

and properties in the Augusta area.<br />

Originally planning to spend about $100<br />

million, the company quickly upped that<br />

figure to around $<strong>15</strong>0 million.<br />

Beginning in spring 2021, the company’s<br />

progress was clearly visible. Old<br />

The former Emmaus House site was under contract as of Oct. 31.<br />

and historic buildings were preserved<br />

and renovated, with several of them<br />

subsequently housing new businesses.<br />

Numerous overgrown bushes, shrubs,<br />

plants and scruffy trees were removed<br />

and trimmed, giving the downtown environs<br />

a clean, open feel. Every companyowned<br />

building received new paint and<br />

vintage 1950s pickup trucks sporting<br />

corporate logos sprouted at various<br />

Hoffmann properties. Wood fencing was<br />

installed along stretches of Hwy. 94 and<br />

Jackson Street and trolleys began carrying<br />

customers from one Hoffmann property<br />

to another.<br />

(John Tremmel photo)<br />

Additionally, new, non-Hoffmann<br />

businesses opened, including B&Bs and<br />

craft shops.<br />

On the Missouri River, the Miss<br />

Augusta, a 105-foot Skipperliner Yacht<br />

with three decks, was launched. Berthed<br />

in a new boat dock at Klondike Park, it<br />

is used for sightseeing lunch and dinner<br />

cruises, specialty cruises and private<br />

charters.<br />

The company’s most significant focal<br />

points for Augusta are a 5-star luxury<br />

hotel near downtown and an amphi-<br />

See AUGUSTA, page 30<br />

Area school boards consider student restroom, locker room policies<br />


The Francis Howell board of education<br />

is set to vote at their Nov. 16 meeting on<br />

a policy that defines how students use<br />

restrooms and locker rooms in the district.<br />

Wentzville’s board of education is considering<br />

three similar policies and will discuss<br />

them again at their Nov. 16 meeting.<br />

This comes after Missouri State Senator<br />

Nick Schroer (R-District 2) posted an<br />

open letter to St. Charles County Board<br />

of Education members on his Facebook<br />

page on Sept. 14, urging them to implement<br />

policies addressing restroom and<br />

locker room usage.<br />

In his letter Schroer claims that parents<br />

and families in the area school districts<br />

are concerned about the “potential of<br />

group use, coed facilities for minors.”<br />

Twelve other state legislatures signed<br />

Schoer’s letter in support.<br />

“Therefore, before it becomes an unnecessary<br />

issue for our parents, students and<br />

families within the county to deal with,<br />

the undersigned respectfully urge the<br />

school districts in our county to initiate<br />

immediate action to assure families that<br />

these types of facilities will not be forced<br />

on students in St. Charles County. We<br />

must remain steadfast and unambiguous<br />

in our commitment to resolving this issue<br />

and providing clarity to our constituents<br />

about the steps we intend to take. Locker<br />

rooms, bathrooms and areas where students<br />

are exposed in a vulnerable state<br />

have an expectation of privacy that absolutely<br />

must be protected.”<br />

In Francis Howell, the proposed policy<br />

falls under its nondiscrimination and student<br />

rights section and is titled Privacy<br />

in Locker Rooms and Restrooms. If the<br />

policy is approved, it would require<br />

every school building in the district to<br />

provide at least one single-use restroom<br />

for any student to use, and that students<br />

must otherwise use restrooms and locker<br />

rooms that match the sex written on the<br />

student’s birth certificate. Several members<br />

of the community were in attendance<br />

at the Oct. 26 meeting to express<br />

concerns and praise over the policy. Amy<br />

Easterling, former Francis Howell parent,<br />

questioned the board’s motivation behind<br />

implementing a restroom usage policy.<br />

“Since April … we’ve seen a lot of policies<br />

which represent not only an overreach<br />

of this board, but a not-so-subtle<br />

desire to sow discord and create distrust<br />

of our teachers and our administration,”<br />

Easterling said. “(This policy) puts our<br />

transgender and gender non-conforming<br />

students in the crosshairs of a manufactured<br />

culture war. Are some of our nonpartisan<br />

school board members following<br />

the directions of the Republican party?”<br />

Easterling referenced the letter<br />

Schroer and other Republican state legislators<br />

sent to local school board members.<br />

Easterling also questioned how<br />

the policy would be enforced and said<br />

she worries it will increase bullying of<br />

transgender students rather than reduce<br />

it. As long as there is not a restroom<br />

usage policy in place, requests for restroom<br />

and locker room accommodations<br />

from students and families are made on<br />

a case-by-case basis.<br />

The policy states that parents and<br />

guardians may request a reasonable<br />

accommodation for their student to<br />

change clothing before or after physical<br />

See SCHOOL BOARDS, page 26<br />



‘No Hunger Holiday’<br />

donations sought<br />


The 20<strong>23</strong> No Hunger Holiday was proclaimed<br />

at the Oct. 26 St. Peters Board<br />

of Aldermen meeting. Alderman Melissa<br />

Reimer (Ward 3) read the proclamation<br />

stating, “One of the most pressing needs<br />

in our society is for generous assistance<br />

in providing food for those in need. And<br />

one of those most ennobling causes is the<br />

support of such programs.”<br />

Tuesday Nov. 21 is designated as this<br />

year’s No Hunger Holiday for local residents.<br />

Hosted by the Knights of Columbus,<br />

Harvester Council #9625, the event<br />

is the largest Thanksgiving food program<br />

in the county.<br />

Knights of Columbus member Mike<br />

Narkawicz, noted that this program<br />

began in 1991 when it aided between 120<br />

and <strong>15</strong>0 families. Since then, the annual<br />

program has aided countless families.<br />

“We provide a turkey and stuffing, potatoes,<br />

cranberry sauce, corn, green beans,<br />

apple pie, rolls, butter (and) milk – a<br />

complete meal that (recipients) can make<br />

and prepare in (their) own home. We provide<br />

also for special needs, for example,<br />

some people don’t have an oven they can<br />

make their turkey in, so we might give<br />

them a canned ham.”<br />

Narkawicz went on to describe how<br />

the program also helps families with<br />

individualized special needs.<br />

“Some people, they can’t have high salt,<br />

and we make sure that the vegetables in<br />

the can are low salt for them. We’ve had<br />

many times when we have infants, and<br />

they’d have special needs for formula<br />

that we’d have to go out and provide for,”<br />

he explained. “One of the most challenging<br />

we ever did was a vegan Orthodox<br />

Jewish family and so we had to do a little<br />

research, ‘Oh what do you give them?<br />

What can they eat?’ and we did it.”<br />

Residents are urged to participate and<br />

bring Thanksgiving food items to the<br />

Knights of Columbus Harvester chapter<br />

in order to help provide a holiday meal<br />

for families in need. The organization<br />

expects the number of needy families to<br />

go up this year due to the economic hardship.<br />

Donations can be brought to the<br />

Cottleville Knights of Columbus Hall,<br />

located at 5701 Hwy. N, starting on<br />

Thursday, Nov. 16 through Monday, Nov.<br />

20. Collection hours are from 4-7 p.m.<br />

on weekdays and 9 a.m.-5 p.m. on the<br />




November <strong>15</strong>, 20<strong>23</strong><br />


I NEWS I <strong>11</strong><br />

Hydrogen in Wentzville: Manufacturing begins at Rankin site<br />


Aerial view of the BayoTech Hydrogen Hub<br />

California based hydrogen producing<br />

company BayoTech hosted the ribbon<br />

cutting of its first hydrogen hub on Nov.<br />

2. Located on the campus of Ranken<br />

Technical College at <strong>11</strong>49 Mexico Road<br />

in Wentzville, the hub is the first step in<br />

BayoTech’s vision of making hydrogen<br />

more accessible to consumers across the<br />

country that are wanting to reduce their<br />

carbon footprint and use hydrogen as<br />

their fuel. When hydrogen combines with<br />

oxygen inside a fuel cell, its only byproducts<br />

are water and heat.<br />

“Transporting hydrogen is expensive,”<br />

Catharine Reid, senior vice president of<br />

marketing for BayoTech, said. “Growing<br />

the network of hubs will lower the cost<br />

of hydrogen because it won’t need to be<br />

transported as far.”<br />

The Wentzville hub is the first of three<br />

national hubs planned by BayoTech, she<br />

said. The hub will produce 350 tons of<br />

hydrogen per year for customers operating<br />

zero-emission fuel cell equipment and<br />

hydrogen-intensive industrial processes.<br />

BayoTech officials said the hub will generate<br />

hundreds of thousands of dollars<br />

annually in taxes and create ten local fulltime<br />

jobs.<br />

Reid said this location on Ranken’s Wentzville<br />

campus was made possible after<br />

Ranken’s President Don Pohl met with<br />

the business to propose the partnership<br />

that would give Ranken students hydrogen<br />

workforce training. Emerson was the technology<br />

partner on the project that supplied<br />

the automation software for the hydrogen<br />

(Photo provided)<br />

plant. The fourth partner in this endeavor<br />

is Nikola. Nikola has designed and is currently<br />

producing the only hydrogen fuel<br />

cell electric vehicle, which is a class 8 truck,<br />

and will be the main consumer of the hydrogen<br />

produced at the hub. In turn, Reid said<br />

BayoTech will use Nikola’s zero emission<br />

trucks to transport the hydrogen fuel cells<br />

on trailers.<br />

“This landmark achievement represents a<br />

significant step forward in our company’s<br />

mission to establish a network of localized<br />

hydrogen production hubs throughout the<br />

United States. BayoTech takes immense<br />

pride in its role as a pioneering force to<br />

make hydrogen supply more localized,<br />

accessible and reliable for our customers,”<br />

BayoTech’s CEO Mo Vargas, said. “These<br />

hubs will not just produce hydrogen; they<br />

will produce opportunities, jobs, local<br />

investment and a cleaner local community<br />

for generations to come.”<br />

The site provides opportunities for educational<br />

development through innovative<br />

training and educational programs. The<br />

hydrogen hub is primed to equip the future<br />

workforce with the skills needed to support<br />

and improve the hydrogen industry.<br />

“Hands on learning is what we do,” Pohl<br />

said. “Hydrogen is the future of a diesel<br />

mechanic. Here they can learn first hand<br />

the process of producing hydrogen and<br />

servicing the hydrogen fuel cells and<br />

trucks.”<br />

As the inaugural hydrogen hub, this<br />

facility helps meet demand for hydrogen in<br />

the region while placing Wentzville at the<br />

forefront of the hydrogen economy, Reid<br />

said.<br />

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12 I HEALTH I<br />

November <strong>15</strong>, 20<strong>23</strong><br />


You deserve extraordinary care.<br />

For care that is convenient, comprehensive,<br />

and completely about you, call 636-928-WELL<br />

to find a physician near you.<br />

Practicing a few expert-recommended strategies for self-care can help<br />

you avoid physical and mental burnout this holiday season.<br />

(Source: Adobe Stock)<br />

HEALTH<br />



Make self-care a priority<br />

for a healthier holiday<br />

Does the approaching holiday season<br />

make you feel a combination of excitement<br />

and anxiety, eagerness and dread? If<br />

so, you’re far from alone.<br />

Previous research from the National Alliance<br />

of Mental Illness (NAMI) shows that<br />

a majority of adults – 63% in fact – feel<br />

they’re under too much pressure during<br />

the holidays. Then there’s “The Christmas<br />

Holiday Effect,” a well-documented rise in<br />

cardiovascular problems as well as deaths<br />

due to heart attacks during late December<br />

and early January each year. Stress can be<br />

a primary contributor to these problems as<br />

well – along with lack of sleep, unhealthy<br />

eating binges and weight changes, overconsumption<br />

of alcohol, and more.<br />

Caring for yourself physically, mentally<br />

and emotionally can go a long way<br />

toward minimizing both the physical and<br />

mental impacts of holiday stress, according<br />

to experts from the Mayo Clinic Health<br />

System. Here are a few simple tips they have<br />

provided for making the holiday season a<br />

healthier one, for both body and mind.<br />

• Plan ahead, both for activities and<br />

spending. Commitments of all kinds pile<br />

up during the holidays, whether it’s shopping,<br />

decorating, attending family or work<br />

gatherings or hosting one yourself. Make<br />

a plan for which ones you can comfortably<br />

handle and which you can’t. If hosting<br />

a party in your home, create a menu to<br />

help you stay organized and make grocery<br />

shopping easier … and get help prepping,<br />

serving and cleaning up.<br />

Likewise, when it comes to spending on<br />

holiday gifts, set a budget in advance and<br />

stick to it. Splurging on items you can’t<br />

afford won’t make the holidays more meaningful,<br />

but it will rob you of peace of mind.<br />

• Maintain healthy habits. A short walk or<br />

workout each morning, even on the busiest<br />

days, can help you feel more balanced and<br />

positive all day long. Eat balanced meals<br />

and healthy snacks most of the time; that<br />

includes having a healthy a snack like fresh<br />

fruit or vegetables just before you leave<br />

for a holiday party, which can help reduce<br />

temptations. When you indulge in holiday<br />

treats, by all means have your favorites …<br />

just limit the portions.<br />

At those parties, pace your alcohol consumption<br />

at one drink per hour, with water or<br />

another nonalcoholic beverage between each<br />

one. Needless to say, never drink and drive.<br />

• Be realistic and take breaks. Remind<br />

yourself that you are only one person, and<br />

be realistic about how much you can do.<br />

Don’t put aside your own needs for downtime<br />

- take a nap, go for a short walk, meditate,<br />

read a book or watch a funny movie<br />

– laughing relaxes the whole body, and can<br />

quickly relieve tension and stress.<br />

• Learn to say no, and to ask for help.<br />

With so many holiday obligations, chores<br />

and events, it is OK to say no without feeling<br />

guilty. Try sharing your to-do list with<br />

other family members, and engage them to<br />

help with the most time-consuming tasks.<br />

MU scientists working to extend<br />

flu vaccines’ effectiveness<br />

Typically, when people are infected with<br />

a virus, their bodies’ immune systems<br />

work to not only clear the infection but<br />

also develop a memory of the pathogen<br />

St. Luke’s achieves top cardiac, vascular surgery rankings for 2024<br />

St. Luke’s Hospital recently was<br />

named by Healthgrades as one of America’s<br />

50 Best Hospitals for Vascular Surgery<br />

for 2024 as well as one of America’s<br />

50 Best Hospitals for Cardiac Surgery for<br />

6 years in a row (2019-2024). It was the<br />

only hospital in Missouri to receive this<br />

distinction from the independent ratings<br />

organization in its newest rankings.<br />

These achievements place St. Luke’s<br />

in the top 5% of hospitals nationwide for<br />

cardiac surgery and in the top 10% for<br />

vascular surgery and surgical care.<br />

To identify top performers, Healthgrades<br />

evaluated patient mortality and<br />

complication rates for 35 common conditions<br />

and procedures at approximately<br />

4,500 hospitals nationwide. Its 2024<br />

analysis also noted that the variation in<br />

performance among U.S. hospitals is<br />

widening, making it more important than<br />

ever for patients to seek care from toprated<br />

facilities in a particular specialty.<br />

“These impressive distinctions serve as<br />

that caused it. Then, if that same pathogen<br />

comes around again, the body has an “army”<br />

of white blood cells called T-cells ready to<br />

attack. These cells are able to recognize<br />

and destroy the recurrent pathogen before it<br />

spreads, preventing another infection.<br />

That’s why T-cells are a critical part of<br />

immunological memory… and they’re<br />

also a critical part of vaccine effectiveness.<br />

Scientists at the University of Missouri-<br />

Columbia are one step closer to making the<br />

T-cell army stronger when it comes to flu<br />

shots in particular. In a recent study, they<br />

found that by manipulating one molecular<br />

signaling pathway in the T-cells that help<br />

to clear influenza virus in the lungs, both<br />

the strength and length of immunological<br />

memory produced can be improved.<br />

They say this finding can potentially<br />

support future development of more effective,<br />

long-lasting vaccines and therapeutics<br />

to combat influenza and other respiratory<br />

infections.<br />

“Immunologists like myself have always<br />

wondered why T-cells in the lungs after<br />

influenza infection disappear so quickly,”<br />

said Emma Teixeiro, Ph.D., an associate<br />

professor in the MU School of Medicine<br />

and the study’s co-leader. “This research<br />

can help us solve that problem by increasing<br />

the amount of T-cells that can fight<br />

against infection.”<br />

While the influenza virus was the focus<br />

of this particular study, she added, gaining<br />

knowledge of the underlying mechanisms<br />

and signaling pathways that regulate<br />

See HEALTH, page 21<br />

testaments to the dedication and quality<br />

of our entire St. Luke’s Hospital Heart &<br />

Vascular Institute, Surgical Care, and Gastrointestinal<br />

teams,” said Andrew Bagnall,<br />

St. Luke’s president and chief executive<br />

officer. “St. Luke’s commitment to excellence<br />

and innovation is matched only by<br />

the compassionate and patient-centered<br />

care our team members provide.”<br />

Complete information about the<br />

organization’s rankings is available at<br />




20<strong>23</strong><br />


Friday, Nov. 24 • Noon-8:30 p.m.<br />

Open Weekends through Dec. 24<br />

Highlights Include:<br />

Santa Parade • Battle for the Land of Sweets<br />

A Celebration of Caroling • “A Christmas Carol” Stroll<br />

Photos with Santa • Santa Send-Off on Christmas Eve<br />


14 I THE WISH BOOK I<br />

November <strong>15</strong>, 20<strong>23</strong><br />






His & Hers<br />

What’s the best part of the car-buying experience? Yes!<br />

It’s the smell and feel of climbing into a pristine vehicle.<br />

And that’s exactly the gift you can give with a gift card<br />

to Auto Spa Etc. - Ellisville. The Complete Detail package<br />

includes upholstery cleaning, carpet cleaning, Auto<br />

Spa’s signature Interior Super Clean,<br />

engine detailing, hand waxing, mat<br />

shampooing and a Platinum Wash.<br />

When the team at Auto Spa is finished,<br />

your gift recipient’s car will<br />

feel and look brand new again. Gift<br />

cards for car washes also make great<br />

stocking stuffers. Learn more at<br />

autospaetc.com/ellisville.<br />

You might be surprised by the<br />

great gifts you can get at familyowned<br />

Seliga Shoes. Of course, you<br />

can get gift certificates for slippers<br />

and shoes, but in the store, located at 2530 S. Brentwood<br />

Blvd., and online at seligashoes.com, you’ll also find<br />

Shokz headphones, artful Anuschka bags for the woman<br />

who likes to make a stylish statement, and fashionable<br />

frames (a.k.a sunglasses) from goodr.<br />

“Jewelry has the power to be the one little thing that<br />

makes you feel unique.” So says Hollywood legend<br />

Elizabeth Taylor. It’s good advice, especially when it<br />

comes to gift-giving. The experts at Glenn Betz Jewelers,<br />

<strong>11</strong>776 Manchester Road in<br />

Des Peres, can help you find<br />

the perfect piece to make<br />

her – or him – feel truly<br />

special and accentuate<br />

their personal style.<br />

2. Who said it?<br />

“Seeing isn’t<br />

believing.<br />

Believing is<br />

seeing.”<br />

Soccer fans will get a kick out of the unique<br />

CITY SC apparel available at Arch Apparel<br />

in West County Center. The St. Louis-inspired<br />

streetwear company has designs that can’t be<br />

found anywhere else. For officially licensed<br />

merch from college teams to the pros, check out<br />

Rally House, with locations in Ballwin, Chesterfield<br />

and Des Peres.<br />

All the looks she wants, all the help you<br />

need. That’s what you get when you shop<br />

at a locally owned boutique rather than<br />

online or at a large department store. Stop<br />

in at Marta’s Boutique in Ellisville and<br />

let Marta’s experienced staff help you find<br />

the perfect gift from clothing to jewelry.<br />

If you’re looking for a handmade gift<br />

but you’re just not handy, leave the creative<br />

endeavors to April and<br />

Aidan Baker, the dynamic<br />

mom and son duo behind the<br />

new Magnolia Soap and Bath Co. Located<br />

in Wildwood Town Center at 2448 Taylor<br />

Road, the store features luxurious and colorful<br />

hand-crafted bath soaps, bath bombs<br />

and steamers, plus body butter, beard balm<br />

and shower oil. Packed with pure ingredients<br />

such as plant-based oils and shea<br />

butter, Magnolia soap and bath products are<br />

designed to richly moisturize her skin or his.<br />

Got a foodie on your list? For 45<br />

years, Favazza’s on The Hill has<br />

been the place for steak, seafood,<br />

and obviously, authentic Italian<br />

cuisine. Plus Favazza’s gives a<br />

great return on their gift cards.<br />

When you buy $100 in gift<br />

cards, you get a $30 card<br />

for yourself to enjoy! Buy<br />

online at favazzas.com<br />

and have the cards mailed<br />

to you or directly to your<br />

gift recipient.<br />

1. What Christmas song,<br />

originally written for<br />

Thanksgiving, was the<br />

first song broadcast<br />

from space?<br />

Fine tea has been sipped<br />

for centuries and is the most<br />

popular beverage worldwide.<br />

Black, green, red, white<br />

or herbal tea – the options<br />

are limitless. Whether your<br />

gift recipient enjoys a bold<br />

organic tea as their morning<br />

pick-me-up, a flavored green tea for a midday break, or a<br />

soothing herbal tea to wind down the night. Olde Town<br />

Spice Shoppe has a wide variety of tea options.<br />

Selfies are fun, spontaneous and sometimes even<br />

print-worthy but they can’t compare with a professionally<br />

shot portrait – and you know that’s what mom wants.<br />

Tim and Jill Gray, owners of Higher Focus Photography<br />

in Wildwood, have been capturing family memories<br />

since 2010. Check out their work at higherfocus.net to<br />

learn more about the services they offer.<br />

Nothing says, “Season’s<br />

greetings” quite like the gift<br />

of a new grill – and a collection<br />

of seasonings, of course!<br />

Choose from charcoal, electric<br />

or gas grills in all shapes and<br />

sizes. For extra holiday pizzazz,<br />

smoking woods come in<br />

festive flavors like pecan, plum<br />

and maple. And don’t forget the<br />

marinades, sauces and rubs for a truly seasoned greeting.<br />

Frank Schmer at St. Louis Home Fires, <strong>15</strong>053 Manchester<br />

Road in Ballwin, can help you pick the perfect grill – or<br />

the perfect fireplace to cozy up any room.<br />

Check out all the possibilities in-store<br />

and online at stlouishomefires.com.<br />

The latest trend in cycling,<br />

especially for leisurely riders of a<br />

certain age, is electric bikes. At<br />

Pedego St. Charles thoughtful<br />

shoppers can find a variety<br />

of electric bikes ranging from<br />

mountain bikes to city commuters<br />

and cruisers to fat tires<br />

and more. With an electric bike,<br />

riders can choose how much, and<br />

how often, they would like to pedal<br />

with pedal assist, which gauges the<br />

rider’s cadence. If hills have been<br />

your nemesis, they won’t be anymore.<br />

Stop in to try out before you<br />

buy at 603 S. Fifth St. in St. Charles.



Home<br />

& Garden<br />

Ah, gifts for the home, especially this<br />

time of year, are all about comfort. There<br />

is a long winter ahead where families<br />

will nestle in, cuddle up and enjoy the<br />

pleasures of home.<br />

Comfy, Cozy, Color & Style<br />

Gifts that add to that homey ambiance<br />

are sure to be welcome, like scented candles,<br />

warm throws or decorative pillows.<br />

The trick is finding something that compliments<br />

the recipient’s home style, like<br />

a vase, a figure, a lamp, a shelf, or maybe<br />

coordinating picture frames so they can<br />

get those photos off their phones and into<br />

the real world.<br />

Sustenance<br />

Or consider their passions! Do they<br />

love coffee? How about an Expresso<br />

machine, or a basket of mugs, good<br />

coffee and treats. Does a man in your life<br />

love his bourbon? How about his favorite<br />

brand and a decanter set for those neat<br />

two finger pours. Or how about a basket<br />

filled with a variety of preserves, crackers,<br />

cookies and a selection of teas for<br />

the whole family, or a heartier holiday<br />

collection of cheeses, meats and crackers.<br />

Finally, (as far as food is concerned)<br />

create a great evening for the family at<br />

home with a gift card for their favorite<br />

takeout.<br />

Heirloom<br />

Want something long-lasting, a gift<br />

that keeps on giving through the years.<br />

Find a bench for their foyer or a rocker<br />

for their porch, or maybe a chest that provides<br />

much needed storage. Visit Union<br />

Furniture and Flooring,<br />

21 S. Washington Ave.<br />

in Union and see their<br />

wide selection of beautiful<br />

furniture. Perhaps, a<br />

home office that needs a<br />

new desk or filing cabinet<br />

is in order. Union<br />

Furniture has those too.<br />

Home is where the<br />

heart is. Choosing a holiday<br />

gift that provides the<br />

comfort of home couldn’t be nicer.<br />

Gardens may now be in their seasonal<br />

sleep, but gardeners are counting seed<br />

catalogs and dreaming of spring. Cheer<br />

the plant people in your life with tools,<br />

pots or maybe some garden art so they<br />

can bear the winter doldrums and look<br />

forward to spring.<br />

Garden Kneelers<br />

How about a little help for those knees<br />

with a garden kneeler and seat for the<br />

new season? Most of these lightweight,<br />

foldable devices provide a thick pad to<br />

cushion gardeners’ knees while they are<br />

planting and weeding with handles for<br />

help getting up. Turn it over and the knee<br />

pad is now a seat to sit in for other gardening<br />

tasks. They come from a variety<br />

of companies often with attached garden<br />

tool caddies.<br />

Plants & Pots<br />

Pots! Big and small, short or tall, plant<br />

lovers like pots. And you will find all<br />

kinds of beautiful and interesting pots<br />

here at local nurseries. Size and materials<br />

vary. There are plant-healthy terracotta<br />

pots, pretty glazed ceramic pots<br />

and polyresin lightweight pots that resist<br />

cracking outdoors year round. Know<br />

your pots because some will weather the<br />

outdoors and others will have to make a<br />

home for houseplants.<br />

Home & Garden suggestions<br />

continue on page 20<br />

November <strong>15</strong>, 20<strong>23</strong><br />


I THE WISH BOOK I <strong>15</strong><br />

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16 I THE WISH BOOK I<br />

November <strong>15</strong>, 20<strong>23</strong><br />


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Holiday<br />

Happenings<br />

Children may write Santa a letter<br />

using the provided template at wentzvillemo.gov.<br />

Drop off your letter at one of the<br />

special mailboxes at Progress Park Recreation<br />

Center, around downtown historic<br />

Wentzville, or at the Kolb Building during<br />

Santa Saturdays. Mailboxes will be up in<br />

late November.<br />

• • •<br />

Holiday Bazaar Art Show is on display<br />

through Dec. 24 at the St. Peters Cultural<br />

Arts Centre, 1 St. Peters Centre Blvd. Original<br />

art is available for purchase and can be<br />

picked up Dec. 21-<strong>23</strong>.<br />

• • •<br />

A Turkey Toss Disc Golf Tournament<br />

is from 5:30-7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Nov.<br />

18 at Indian Camp Creek Park, 2679 Dietrich<br />

Road in Foristell. To register, visit<br />

sccmo.org/ParksRegistrations.<br />

• • •<br />

The Moolah Shriners Feztival of Trees<br />

and photos with Santa runs from 10 a.m.-8<br />

p.m., Nov. 18-Nov. 25 at the Moolah Shrine<br />

Center, 12545 Fee Fee Road in Creve Coeur.<br />

More than 40 decorated trees are loaded<br />

with gifts and available for raffle. Winners<br />

will be drawn on Nov. 25. Raffle tickets are<br />

$1 each. Admission for adults is $2. Kids<br />

age 12 and younger are free.<br />

• • •<br />

Holiday Night Lights is from 5:30-9:30<br />

p.m. on Friday, Nov. 24 through Saturday,<br />

Dec. 30 at Rotary Park, 2577 W. Meyer<br />

Road in Wentzville. Enjoy a one-mile light<br />

display that features large illuminated commercial<br />

scenes and tunnels of twinkling<br />

lights. The cost is $10 per vehicle with up<br />

to six passengers, plus $1 per additional<br />

passenger. Display is closed Dec. 3, <strong>11</strong> and<br />

25. For details, visit wentzvillemo.gov.<br />

• • •<br />

Celebration of Lights is from 6-9 p.m.<br />

nightly beginning Friday, Nov. 24 through<br />

Saturday, Dec. 30 at Fort Zumwalt Park,<br />

1000 Jessup Lane in O’Fallon. This festive<br />

one-mile route of holiday light displays<br />

was designed and funded by local organizations,<br />

churches and businesses. Drivethrough<br />

tickets are $14 per vehicle and<br />

must be purchased in advance at ofallon.<br />

mo.us/COL, or by calling (636) 474-2732.<br />

Closed to vehicles on Nov. 27 and Dec. 3, 4,<br />

5 and Dec. <strong>11</strong>. The entire display is closed<br />

on Christmas Day. The City Train tour of<br />

the park takes place on Monday, Nov. 27<br />

and Monday, Dec. <strong>11</strong>. Each carriage holds<br />

up to five adults and five children. Reservations<br />

are required. Bring a blanket to<br />

stay warm during the ride. To schedule a<br />

ride, visit ofallon.mo.us/<br />

celebrations-of-lights.<br />

• • •<br />

A Holiday Remembrance<br />

Candlelight<br />

Memorial is at 6 p.m. on<br />

Thursday, Nov. 30 at Baue,<br />

O’Fallon; at <strong>11</strong> a.m. and 2<br />

p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 2<br />

at Baue, Cave Springs;<br />

and at 6 p.m. on Monday,<br />

Dec. 4 at Baue in St.<br />

Charles. Remember loved<br />

ones with a name-reading<br />

ceremony, music, light refreshments and a<br />

candle-lighting ceremony. To register, visit<br />

baue.com/events/holiday-remembrance or<br />

call (636) 328-0874.<br />

• • •<br />

Merry Makers Market is from 5-8<br />

p.m. on Friday, Dec. 1, and from <strong>11</strong> a.m.-5<br />

p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 2 at the Foundry<br />

Art Centre, 520 N. Main Center in Saint<br />

Charles. Artists and other vendors will be<br />

selling their wares. Additional details at<br />

foundryartcentre.org/merry-makers-market.<br />

• • •<br />

The Augusta Candlelight Christmas<br />

Walk featuring over 1,000 luminaries<br />

is from 5-10 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 1 and<br />

Friday, Dec. 8 at 5577 Walnut St. in downtown<br />

Augusta. For details, visit augustachamber.org.<br />

• • •<br />

The Choral Arts Singers presents “A<br />

Season of Joy” at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Dec.<br />

2 at Troy United Church of Christ, 725 S.<br />

Main St. in Troy; at 3 p.m. on Dec. 3 at Friedens<br />

United Church of Christ, 313 E. Main<br />

4. Written in 10<br />

minutes in 1934, this<br />

song inspired 100,000<br />

orders for its sheet<br />

music the day after<br />

its radio show debut.<br />

What song is it?<br />

St. in Warrenton; and at 3 p.m. on Sunday,<br />

Dec. 10 at The Chapel of Assumption Catholic<br />

Parish, 403 N. Main St. in O’Fallon.<br />

The concerts are free; donations are appreciated.<br />

Visit concertarts.org or Facebook @<br />

Choral Arts Singers for concert details and<br />

to learn about the choir.<br />

• • •<br />

The Holiday Night Lights 5K and<br />

Fun Run is from 5-8 p.m. on Sunday,<br />

Dec. 3 at Rotary Park, 2577 W.<br />

Meyer Road in Wentzville. The cost<br />

for the 5K is $35 and Fun Run is $20.<br />

Each runner will receive a custom fleeceblend<br />

crew sweatshirt, finisher medal and<br />

post-race snacks. Register by calling (636)<br />

332-9<strong>23</strong>6 or visit wentzvillemo.gov.<br />

• • •<br />

Holiday Cookie Decorating is from<br />

6:30-8:30 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 4 at<br />

Memorial Hall in Blanchette Park. All participants<br />

will learn and use different decorating<br />

techniques and will take home their<br />

cookies. For ages <strong>15</strong> and over. Cost is $50<br />

per person; supplies included. To register,<br />

visit stcharlesparks.com.<br />

• • •<br />

St. Peters Police invites the public to<br />

help trim their holiday tree from 6-8 p.m.<br />

on Friday, Dec. 8 at the<br />

St. Peters Justice Center,<br />

1020 Grand Teton Drive.<br />

Guests can make their<br />

own ornament for placing<br />

on the tree. The<br />

tree trimming is recommended<br />

for kids ages<br />

3-12, but all ages are<br />

welcome. Hot cocoa and<br />

cookies will be available<br />

for refreshments, and no<br />

reservations are needed.<br />

• • •<br />

A “Do You Want to Paint a Snowman?”<br />

workshop is from <strong>11</strong> a.m.-noon<br />

on Saturday, Dec. 9 at The Foundry Art<br />

Centre in St. Charles. Celebrate the snowy<br />

season by creating a one-of-a-kind snowman<br />

painting on canvas. Children, ages<br />

5-12 will receive step-by-step painting<br />

lessons to create a frosty masterpiece. Supplies<br />

are included in the registration fee of<br />

$35. For details, visit foundryartcentre.org/<br />

kids-classes.<br />

• • •<br />

Christmas Trivia Night is from 6-9:30<br />

p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 9 at Augusta<br />

Harmonie Verein, 5333 Hackman Road.<br />

Tables of eight are $120 per table or $<strong>15</strong><br />

per person. The best-dressed table wins<br />

$120. The theme is “Ugly Sweater.” Bring<br />

your own food. Drinks will be for purchase.<br />

To RSVP, call (314) 605-2200.<br />

• • •<br />

Chanukah on Main Street is at 5 p.m.<br />

on Sunday, Dec. 10 in Berthold Square<br />

Park in Historic St. Charles. Featured are<br />

the lighting of a giant Menorah, a gelt drop,<br />

Jewish music, the Dreidel Man and hot<br />

latkes. Everyone is welcome.<br />

• • •<br />

The Snowball Blizzard Blitz is from<br />

6-7 p.m. on Friday, Dec. <strong>15</strong> at the Renaud<br />

Center, 2650 Tri Sports Circle in O’Fallon.<br />

Participants will have a blast with snowball<br />

fights and winter games. Must pre-register<br />

by Dec. 6. Cost is $<strong>15</strong> for residents and<br />

$18 for non-residents. For ages 5-12. For<br />

details, visit ofallon.mo.us.<br />

• • •<br />

Ugly Sweater Bingo is from 7-9 p.m.<br />

on Friday, Dec. <strong>15</strong> at Memorial Hall in<br />

Blanchette Park, 1900 W. Randolph St. in<br />

St. Charles. Registration can be made as<br />

either an individual or a group of eight per<br />

table. Cost is $20 per person. For ages 21<br />

and up only. Cost includes admission, all<br />

Bingo rounds, beer and soda. Guests may<br />

bring in their own food. To register, visit<br />

stcharlesparks.com/programs/events-withparks/ugly-sweater-bingo.<br />

• • •<br />

Winter Wonderland on Ice Show is at<br />

5 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 16 and at 2 p.m.<br />

on Sunday, Dec. 17 at the St. Peters Rec-<br />

Plex, 5200 Mexico Road. Tickets are on<br />

sale on Nov. 27 at the Rec-Plex front desk.<br />

For details, visit stpetersmo.net.<br />


The O’Fallon Tree Lighting Ceremony<br />

is from 6-8 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. <strong>15</strong> at<br />

O’Fallon City Hall, 100 N. Main St. Children’s<br />

activities, musical performances,<br />

holiday vendors and Santa. Canned or<br />

boxed food and/or personal care items will<br />

be collected for local food pantries. For<br />

details, visit ofallon.mo.us.<br />

Saint Charles Christmas Traditions<br />

opens at noon on Saturday, Nov. 25 at<br />

Frontier Park and continues on historic<br />

Main Street on weekends through Dec. <strong>23</strong>.<br />

For a complete schedule of activities, visit<br />

discoverstcharles.com/events/christmastraditions.<br />

• • •<br />

Santa Saturdays begin Nov. 25 and<br />

continue through Dec. <strong>23</strong> at the Kolb<br />

Building in Rotary Park, 2577 W. Meyer<br />

Road in Wentzville. For details, visit wentzvillemo.gov.<br />

• • •<br />

The St. Peters Tree Lighting Ceremony<br />

is at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 1 at St. Peters<br />

City Hall, One St. Peters Centre Blvd. This<br />

free event includes festive musical performances<br />

from the Childbloom Guitar Program<br />

of St. Charles County, Lindenwood’s<br />

Voices Only, a performance by Butch Wax<br />

& The Hollywoods, and an appearance by<br />

Santa Claus. For details, visit stpetersmo.net.<br />

• • •<br />

Santa’s Winter Wonderland is from<br />

9:30-<strong>11</strong>:30 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 2 at the



Krekel Civic Center, 305 Civic Park Drive<br />

in O’Fallon. Join Santa as he celebrates<br />

the holiday season with a candy cane hunt,<br />

workshop activities, cookies and milk, and<br />

photos. For ages 2-12. Cost is $20 for residents;<br />

$24 for non-residents. Register by<br />

Nov. 5 at ofallon.mo.us.<br />

• • •<br />

Snaps with Santa plus Paws & Claus<br />

is from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 3<br />

at the O’Day Lodge,<br />

<strong>11</strong>00 O’Day Park<br />

Drive in O’Fallon.<br />

Kids and fur babies<br />

can enjoy treats and<br />

get photos taken<br />

with Santa. The cost is $8 per family (up<br />

to five people and two dogs). Register by<br />

Nov. 28 at ofallon.mo.us.<br />

• • •<br />

A Candy Cane Hunt is from 1-2 p.m.<br />

on Sunday, Dec. 3 at Gould Building at<br />

Wapelhorst Park, 1875 Muegge Road in<br />

St. Charles. Expect a visit from Santa and<br />

hot cocoa. Cost is $<strong>15</strong> per person (ages<br />

14 and younger.) Bring a bucket or bag to<br />

collect the candy canes. For details, visit<br />

stcharlesparks.com/programs.<br />

• • •<br />

An Old-Fashioned Holiday Stroll is<br />

nightly from 6-8:30 p.m. on Sunday, Dec.<br />

3 through Tuesday, Dec. 5 at Fort Zumwalt<br />

Park, 1000 Jessup Lane in O’Fallon.<br />

5. How many branches does<br />

a Chanukah menorah have?<br />

Fireworks start at 7 p.m. and 7:45 p.m.<br />

each night. Tickets must be purchased in<br />

advance. Tickets are $5 per person. Ages<br />

2 and under are free. To purchase tickets,<br />

visit ofallon.mo.us/old-fashioned-holidaystroll.<br />

There will be no sales at the gate. All<br />

sales are final.<br />

• • •<br />

Breakfast with Santa is from 9-<strong>11</strong> a.m.<br />

on Saturday, Dec. 9 at the Rec-Plex, One St.<br />

Peters Centre Blvd.<br />

in St. Peters. Children<br />

ages 2-8 will<br />

enjoy a continentalstyle<br />

breakfast, crafts,<br />

a hot chocolate and<br />

donut bar, and Christmas Carols with Santa<br />

and his elves. The cost is $9 for member<br />

adults (ages 9 and over); $14 for member<br />

children (ages 8 and under) and $<strong>11</strong> for<br />

non-member adults; $16 for non-member<br />

children. Advanced registration required at<br />

stpetersmo.net.<br />

• • •<br />

Storytime With Santa is from 6-7 p.m.<br />

on Sunday, Dec. 10 at Webster Park Community<br />

Building, 2201 S. River Road in<br />

St. Charles. Children are welcome to wear<br />

pajamas and bring a blanket and pillow to<br />

get comfortable during storytime. Each<br />

child will have the chance to get their photo<br />

taken with Santa. Cost is $<strong>15</strong> per person.<br />

To register, visit stcharlesparks.com.<br />

November <strong>15</strong>, 20<strong>23</strong><br />


I THE WISH BOOK I 19<br />



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In reality, yes. Horse riding lessons at Ridgefield Arena,<br />

1410 Ridge Road in Wildwood allow your young<br />

equestrian to test drive their desire to learn the art of<br />

riding well – without mom and dad actually<br />

have to buy the horse. Ridgefield<br />

has an indoor, heated arena<br />

during winter months and outdoor<br />

arenas for warm weather lessons.<br />

Plus, for those families who<br />

do own horses, Ridgefield<br />

offers training sessions.<br />

Learn more by visiting<br />

ridgefieldarena.com.<br />

November <strong>15</strong>, 20<strong>23</strong><br />


Kids & Families<br />

Backyard playsets are the quintessential<br />

holiday gift for kids age 12 and younger.<br />

Built for climbing, swinging, sliding and<br />

most importantly, imagining, a playset<br />

is the ultimate gift of wonder – and it<br />

gets the kids out of the house and away<br />

from screens of all sizes. Explore the<br />

offerings of Dream Play Recreation<br />

in their massive showroom at 17373<br />

Edison Ave. in Chesterfield or online<br />

at dreamplayrec.com. There you’ll<br />

also find trampolines and basketball<br />

hoops that can provide fun<br />

for the whole family.<br />



6. According to Graham<br />

Williams of the Fifth<br />

London Rifle Brigade,<br />

which Christmas carol<br />

was sung in English and<br />

Latin by British and<br />

German soldiers during<br />

the so-called “Christmas<br />

Truce of 1914?”<br />

Home & Garden suggestions continued from page <strong>15</strong><br />

Arts & Fancies<br />

Every gardener knows that gardening is an art but some<br />

also use art piece to embellish their flower beds, lawns,<br />

walkways and even their vegetable gardens.<br />

Traditional choices are statuary<br />

and fountains<br />

Another excellent choice<br />

is beautiful, locallymade<br />

art poles. These<br />

colorful square posts<br />

painted with messages<br />

like Love your<br />

garden, Live simply, or<br />

Let it Be from the famed<br />

Beatles song. Timberwinds<br />

Nursery, 54 Clarkson Road in Ellisville is a great source<br />

for these fanciful gifts.<br />

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Items that attract birds and butterflies are wonderful additions<br />

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a bird arrives with a notification to<br />

your phone. It then will take a picture<br />

of the bird, identify it with AI<br />

technology and send a postcard<br />

of the bird to you. Pricey<br />

at $299, the bird feeder<br />

does everything a<br />

birder could want<br />

(mybirdbuddy.com).<br />

If you want to keep it<br />

simple, get a squirrelproof<br />

feeder and a bag<br />

of seed.<br />

Keeping it Neat<br />

We wish it wasn’t so, but somebody<br />

has to keep the garden neat and<br />

tackle the tough jobs like mowing,<br />

trimming and pruning. Fortunately,<br />

at Schneider True Value, 9 Main<br />

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FAV<strong>11</strong>17VR07S<br />

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1. “Jingle Bells”<br />

2. Judy the elf in<br />

“The Santa Clause”<br />

3. A dreidel. Its four sides bear<br />

one letter each for Nun, Gimel,<br />

Hey and Shin, which form an<br />

acronym for the Hebrew saying<br />

“Nes Gadol Hayah Sham,” referring<br />

to the miracle of Chanukah.<br />

4. “Santa Claus Is Coming<br />

to Town”<br />

5. Nine. Eight to hold a candle for<br />

each night of Chanukah and one<br />

for a shamash, or helper candle,<br />

from which the other<br />

flames are lit.<br />

6. “Oh Come All Ye Faithful/<br />

Adeste Fidelis”<br />

Celebrating<br />

45 Years!<br />

Celebrating<br />

39 Years!<br />

Give the Gift of Good Taste<br />

This Holiday Season,<br />

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HEALTH, from page 12<br />

memory in tissues could also be helpful to<br />

improve therapeutics for cancer, autoimmune<br />

diseases or other types of infections.<br />

Today’s young Americans can expect<br />

to spend roughly half their lives taking<br />

prescription medicines, a recent study<br />

found.<br />

(Source: Adobe Stock)<br />

Today’s kids to spend half their<br />

lives on prescription meds<br />

Americans born in 2019 will spend<br />

about half of their lifetimes taking one or<br />

more prescription drugs, according to new<br />

research from Penn State University.<br />

If they are male, they will likely spend<br />

approximately 48% of their lives on prescription<br />

medicines, said Jessica Ho, an<br />

associate professor of sociology and demography<br />

at Penn State. That number jumps to<br />

60% of the average lifespan for females.<br />

“The years that people can expect to<br />

spend taking prescription drugs are now<br />

higher than they might spend in their first<br />

marriage, getting an education or being in<br />

the labor force. It’s important to recognize<br />

the central role that prescription drug use<br />

has taken on in our lives,” Ho said of the<br />

study recently published in the journal<br />

Demography.<br />

Ho used nationally representative surveys<br />

conducted by the Agency for Healthcare<br />

Research and Quality (AHRQ) and<br />

the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention<br />

(CDC) to study decades of prescription<br />

drug use across the U.S. Most<br />

respondents allowed these agencies to<br />

verify their prescriptions with their pharmacies,<br />

allowing high levels of accuracy.<br />

She found that the majority of American<br />

men are taking prescription drugs by age<br />

40, while most American women are taking<br />

prescription drugs at a much younger age<br />

of about <strong>15</strong>.<br />

On average, a newborn boy in 2019<br />

can expect to take prescription drugs for<br />

approximately 37 years, while a girl born<br />

at the same time could expect to take them<br />

for approximately 47.5 years, the study<br />

found.<br />


OCTOBER <strong>15</strong> th - DECEMBER 7 th<br />

St. Louis Bread Co.<br />

6185 <strong>Mid</strong> <strong>Rivers</strong> Mall Dr.<br />

St. Peters, MO 63304<br />

All meetings start at 10:00 am<br />

November <strong>15</strong>, 28, 29<br />

December 5, 6<br />

Walnut Grill<br />

4401 Highway K<br />

O’Fallon, MO, 63368<br />

All meetings start at 2:00 pm<br />

November 16, 30<br />

Old Town Donut Shop<br />

3941 <strong>Mid</strong> <strong>Rivers</strong> Mall Dr.<br />

St. Peters, MO 63376<br />

All meetings start at 2:00 pm<br />

November <strong>15</strong>, 28, 29<br />

November <strong>15</strong>, 20<strong>23</strong><br />


I HEALTH I 21<br />

On the calendar<br />

St. Luke’s Hospital sponsors an annual<br />

Spirit of Women event, All Decked Out,<br />

on Thursday, Nov. 16 from 6-8 p.m. at the<br />

DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel St. Louis –<br />

Chesterfield, 16625 Swingley Ridge Road.<br />

The cost of $30 per person includes two<br />

drink tickets, appetizers, “swag bag” and<br />

more. Register at stlukes-stl.com.<br />

• • •<br />

Schnucks and St. Luke’s Hospital offer<br />

an Eatwell Market grocery store tour on<br />

Wednesday, Nov. 29 from 2-3 p.m. at Eatwell<br />

Boones Crossing, 220 THF Blvd. in<br />

Chesterfield. Take a wellness-focused tour<br />

through Eatwell Market by Schnucks with a<br />

St. Luke’s dietitian. Participants will receive<br />

a $10 gift card to use at Eatwell Market. The<br />

cost is $5; space is limited and registration<br />

is required. To sign up, visit stlukes-stl.com.<br />

• • •<br />

St. Luke’s Hospital and Macy’s cosponsor<br />

a Winter Wellness Event on<br />

Saturday, Dec. 2 from <strong>11</strong> a.m.-2 p.m. at<br />

the Macy’s location in <strong>Mid</strong> <strong>Rivers</strong> Mall,<br />

1600 <strong>Mid</strong> <strong>Rivers</strong> Mall Drive in St. Peters.<br />

Learn about St. Luke’s women’s health<br />

and wellness resources and take advantage<br />

of free health screenings. Gifts with<br />

purchases will be available at select cosmetic<br />

counters; the event also includes a<br />

scavenger hunt and storewide discounts,<br />

light refreshments and gift basket drawings.<br />

Register online at stlukes-stl.com.<br />

• • •<br />

St. Luke’s Hospital presents Vitamin<br />

ZZZ … Steps to Sounder Sleep on Tuesday,<br />

Dec. 5 from 6:30-7:30 p.m. at the<br />

St. Luke’s Hospital Institute for Health<br />

Education, 222 S. Woods Mill Road in<br />

Chesterfield, Rooms 1 and 2. Good sleep<br />

is essential for optimal health. Learn more<br />

about sleeping better at this free, in-person<br />

class. Register at stlukes-stl.com.<br />

• • •<br />

BJC presents a Family and Friends<br />

CPR virtual course on Wednesday, Dec. 6<br />

from 6:30-8:30 p.m., live via Teams Meeting.<br />

This class uses the American Heart<br />

Association curriculum to teach hands-on<br />

CPR skills (this course does not include<br />

certification upon completion). The cost is<br />

$50. Registration for a seat in this class is<br />

for two people. Register online by visiting<br />

bjc.org/cpr-class.<br />

• • •<br />

BJC St. Louis Children’s Hospital sponsors<br />

a Babysitting 101 in-person class on<br />

Saturday, Dec. 9 from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. at the<br />

SLCH Specialty Care Center West County,<br />

13001 N. Outer Forty Road in Town &<br />

Country. This interactive class is a great<br />

introduction to the basics of babysitting<br />

and is recommended for ages 10 and above<br />

is $25 per child. Register online at bjc.org/<br />

babysitting-class.<br />

<br />

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YOUR<br />

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If you need to enroll in Medicare for the 1st time or are contemplating a change<br />

in your Medicare Plan for 2024, please call me to RSVP for a local meeting or<br />

schedule a home visit. Bring your questions and bring your friends.<br />

I am a local broker representing multiple plans.<br />




David L. Brown<br />

636-219-2508<br />

davidlbrownandassociates.com<br />

A salesperson will be present with information and applications.<br />

Offer valid on John Deere 1-5 Series Compact Utility Tractors, Mowers and Gators.<br />

Free pickup and delivery within 30 miles of an SNPartners location and must be scheduled by 12/30/<strong>23</strong>.<br />

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22 I SCHOOLS I<br />

November <strong>15</strong>, 20<strong>23</strong><br />




Christian <strong>Mid</strong>dle creates fidget<br />

blankets for seniors with dementia<br />

At Lutheran High, we’re proud<br />

there's a little bit of Jesus in everything we do<br />

of our champions in basketball, cheer, dance, robotics,<br />

and track<br />

to welcome our largest student body in school history<br />

Learn about how we Grow + Serve In Christ<br />

Enrollment for the 2024-2025 School Year<br />

opens on November 27th!<br />

Let our family take care of your family's heating and cooling needs.<br />



A whole-home humidifier is the answer.<br />

$<br />

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Ask about other offers.<br />

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Tweens have a lot of experience with<br />

the concept of fidgeting. Having to sit in<br />

school day after day, learning to control<br />

themselves and their bodies all while<br />

absorbing huge amounts of information<br />

can seem overwhelming. But they’re<br />

not the only ones who fidget when overwhelmed.<br />

Turns out that adults, especially<br />

those with dementia, also find comfort in<br />

fidgeting.<br />

That knowledge was recently brought<br />

to the attention of students in Christian<br />

<strong>Mid</strong>dle’s Family And Consumer Science<br />

(FACS) class. While learning about<br />

proper function and development, and<br />

supporting others, they<br />

discovered the need for<br />

calming stimulation for<br />

residents with dementia<br />

at memory care facilities<br />

who also struggle<br />

with fidgeting. Born out<br />

of that realization was<br />

the fidget blanket.<br />

“A fidget blanket is<br />

a blanket full of fun<br />

things to mess with and<br />

keep someone occupied,”<br />

explained eighthgrade<br />

FACS student<br />

Cassie Wagner.<br />

Residents in memory<br />

care can struggle with<br />

anxiety, worry and boredom,<br />

which can lead<br />

to unhealthy sensory<br />

habits.<br />

With the help of Charity Sharity, a local<br />

nonprofit organization that receives donations<br />

of fabrics, yarn, sewing supplies<br />

and equipment for the purpose of serving<br />

others, the class went to work. Armed with<br />

various objects such as zippers, buttons,<br />

beads, spools, pockets, string and other<br />

such sensory materials, the students created<br />

45 fidget blankets.<br />

“My greatest challenge was getting the<br />

zippers stitched on the blankets,” Wagner<br />

said. The fidget blankets were made in<br />

many parts.<br />

“We received the blankets already sewn<br />

together and just had to add some dazzle<br />

and fun and being able to pull and tug on<br />

them without breaking was pretty accomplishing,”<br />

Natalie Ficklen said.<br />

As the blankets took shape, the students’<br />

minds began to open to the concepts of<br />

empathy and compassion.<br />

“It really is crazy how such simple things<br />

can solve a problem,” Ficklen said.<br />

Riley Barclay said that she thought the<br />

blankets, with their different textures and<br />

embellishments, could potentially give<br />

someone “a grounding feeling” – one that<br />

connected them to earlier memories.<br />

Autumn Brooks was great value in the<br />

blankets as she has first-hand experience<br />

with someone who struggles with memory<br />

loss.<br />

“My grandpa has dementia, and he really<br />

doesn’t know what to do with things,”<br />

Brooks said.<br />

She feels the blankets are important<br />

because they help people stay entertained<br />

and not worry as much.<br />

Each student who worked on the project<br />

came away with a new sense of their own<br />

worth as well.<br />

FACS students learn to attach fidgets safely.<br />

(Source: Christian School District)<br />

“I really enjoyed helping others and<br />

making a difference in others’ lives – even<br />

if it’s only a slight difference,” Makynli<br />

Ball shared.<br />

Noelle Ficklen said she feels that the<br />

project has expanded her worldview by<br />

showing her what caring for others can do<br />

for them and for herself.<br />

“It brings me joy to be able to make<br />

others happy,” she said.<br />

Small nuggets of truth came to light with<br />

each tug of the needle. A consistent theme<br />

was the realization that some people’s lives<br />

are very different from their own.<br />

“Not all people are going through the<br />

same things, so just be kind and helpful,”<br />

Brooks advised.<br />

“I never really thought about not remembering<br />

my whole life,” Barclay said. “I<br />

feel like doing this project was a grounding<br />

moment about how lucky I am for my<br />

memories and life.”<br />

Once finished, the blankets were handed<br />

back to Charity Sharity for delivery to<br />

memory care facilities.





Spring Term starts Jan. 22<br />

Spring Accelerated Term #1 starts Jan. 22<br />

Spring Accelerated Term #2 starts March 25<br />

February Start starts Feb. 5<br />

May Mini Session starts May <strong>15</strong><br />

stchas.edu<br />

636-922-8000<br />

SCC is an equal opportunity employer/program.

November <strong>15</strong>, 20<strong>23</strong><br />


SSM Health is moving ahead to meet the needs of St. Charles County<br />

As one of the fastest growing counties<br />

in Missouri, change is a way of life in<br />

St. Charles County, but SSM Health is<br />

keeping pace, making the investments<br />

to provide the best possible healthcare<br />

for county residents, close to home.<br />

“Healthcare has continued to change<br />

and evolve, and as it has evolved, St.<br />

Joseph Hospital – St. Charles has continued<br />

to evolve to meet those needs,”<br />

said Jake Brooks, president of SSM<br />

Health St. Joseph Hospitals in St.<br />

Charles and Wentzville.<br />

Meeting needs means understanding<br />

what those needs are and investing<br />

resources to address them, he said. SSM<br />

Health’s care for the community has led<br />

to a $60 million investment in medical<br />

facilities to provide excellent healthcare<br />

where it is needed most. Included in<br />

the projects are a new state-of-the-art<br />

surgery center, an SSM Health Outpatient<br />

Center now under construction,<br />

an expansion of St. Joseph Hospital in<br />

Wentzville and improvements to SSM<br />

Health St. Joseph Hospital – St. Charles.<br />

Those projects are tailored to the communities<br />

they serve, Brooks said, and<br />

include some of the latest technology.<br />

St. Joseph Hospital in St. Charles has<br />

made an investment in providing the ser-<br />

for Patient Safety, Quality, and is a CMS<br />

4-star hospital, Brooks said.<br />

“It’s not just the excellent care we<br />

provide,” Brooks said. “But also the<br />

things we’re focused on. For example,<br />

we recently installed a Da Vinci Xi<br />

Robot and doctors performed the<br />

first ever robotic thoracoscopy in<br />

St. Charles County. Doctors control<br />

the robotic equipment from across<br />

SSM Health St. Joseph<br />

the room, almost like a video game,”<br />

Hospital – St. Charles<br />

Brooks said. “Using the robot actually<br />

reduces the length of a patient’s<br />

vices patients need for heart and<br />

Jake Brooks<br />

vascular care. On the eastern<br />

hospital stay because it makes smaller<br />

side of the county, the focus is on an aging incisions, so there is less pain and the<br />

population. St. Joseph Hospital in St. Charles patient’s quality of life is increased.”<br />

has the busiest cardiac cath lab and vascular St. Joseph Hospital in St. Charles is also<br />

platforms in St. Charles County, Brooks said. getting a new look with an upgraded exterior,<br />

new entrance and landscaping.<br />

According to U.S. News and World<br />

Report, St. Joseph Hospital in St. Charles A state-of-the-art surgery center at the<br />

is a high performer in treating heart attack, SSM Health Outpatient Center off of<br />

heart failure, kidney failure, stroke and Kisker Road was completed in May. The<br />

COPD. The 329-bed acute care hospital is surgery center with a three-room operating<br />

also a Joint Commission-certified Primary suite works as a valuable partner with the<br />

Stroke Center and a STEMI Center which medical offices there – urgent care, cancer<br />

means they excel at treating the most care and other SSM Health services available<br />

at that location.<br />

severe type of heart attack.<br />

Recently recognized in Healthgrades as Coming soon will be the new 66,000<br />

a Critical Care Excellence Award Winner square foot SSM Health Outpatient Services<br />

building scheduled for completion in<br />

for 20<strong>23</strong>, SSM Health St. Joseph Hospital<br />

– St. Charles has also received awards the fall of 2024. The new center, located<br />



near the Streets of Caladonia and focused<br />

on young families, will provide primary<br />

care services for OB-GYN. There will be<br />

an urgent care center and an imaging suite<br />

to provide CT, MRI, ultrasound, x-ray and<br />

mammography. There will be a retail pharmacy<br />

and lab. Partnered with SSM Health<br />

Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital, the<br />

center will also be a primary care platform<br />

serving children with pediatricians and<br />

some specialty services, although which<br />

specialties have not yet been designated by<br />

Cardinal Glennon, Brooks said.<br />

In addition, SSM Health recently<br />

enlarged its medical emergency department<br />

at SSM Health St. Joseph Hospital<br />

– Wentzville from eight beds to <strong>15</strong>.<br />

“St. Joe’s, St. Charles has been here in<br />

this place 138 years,” Brooks said. “We<br />

plan to be here another 138 years. The<br />

steps we take together are what allows us<br />

to continue to provide exceptional, high<br />

quality, low cost healthcare, which is what<br />

our patients deserve.”<br />

SSM Health St. Joseph<br />

Hospital – St. Charles<br />

300 1st Capitol Drive, St. Charles<br />

(636) 947-5000 • www.ssmhealth.com<br />


O’FALLON, MO<br />


THROUGH December 30<br />



VISIT www.ofallon.mo.us/COL FOR DETAILS.



November <strong>15</strong>, 20<strong>23</strong><br />


I BUSINESS I 25<br />

ELV8 Golf-Lake Saint Louis held its ribbon cutting on Nov. 8 with the<br />

Western St. Charles County Chamber of Commerce.<br />


BRIEFS<br />

PLACES<br />

ELV8 Golf-Lake Saint Louis held its<br />

ribbon cutting on Nov. 8 with the Western<br />

St. Charles County Chamber of Commerce.<br />

Located at 290 Parkway Industrial Drive<br />

in Lake Saint Louis, Elv8 Golf is led by<br />

PGA Teaching Professional, Zach Conlin,<br />

and his team to evaluate and train golfers.<br />

For more information visit elv8golf.com.<br />

• • •<br />

The Western St. Charles County Chamber<br />

of Commerce hosted a ribbon cutting<br />

for DB2 Regeneration Clinics at 1200<br />

HRC Plaza Drive in Lake Saint Louis on<br />

Nov. 10. DB2 Regeneration Clinics’ mission<br />

is to share the science of regenerative/<br />

longevity medicine and the art of healing<br />

by assisting patients in experiencing less<br />

pain, improved mobility, optimal weight<br />

and increased energy levels. For more<br />

information visit db2regeneration.com.<br />

• • •<br />

The O’Fallon Chamber of Commerce<br />

and Industries hosted a ribbon cutting for<br />

Taste Buds Kitchen located at 367 Winding<br />

Woods Drive Center in O’Fallon. They<br />

offer cooking classes and parties for kids,<br />

families and adults ages 2-99. For more<br />

information visit tastebudskitchen.com/<br />

ofallon.<br />

• • •<br />

Food industry redistributor Dot Foods<br />

donated $30,000 worth of food and other<br />

necessities to the O.A.S.I.S. Food Pantry<br />

in St. Charles through its Neighbor to<br />

Neighbor program. The donation will<br />

serve six area food pantries with products<br />

from Dot’s current inventory. Each food<br />

pantry selected products from a shopping<br />

list of items in Dot’s inventory that would<br />

best address their specific needs. Dot<br />

employees will help the food pantry staff<br />

and volunteers in receiving and unloading<br />

their donations at each location.<br />

• • •<br />

The Crystal Cottage opened on Nov.<br />

10 at 205 S. Main St. in historic St.<br />

Charles. The shop features a selection of<br />

raw, carved and polished crystals, along<br />

with <strong>15</strong>0 varieties of mineral specimens,<br />

books, fossils and certified organic white<br />

sage. They are closed on Tuesdays and<br />

Wednesdays. For more information<br />

search Crystal Cottage, St. Charles on<br />

Facebook.<br />

• • •<br />

Schaefer Autobody Centers raised<br />

$80,000 for St. Louis Children’s Hospital<br />

through its Annual David Ian Charity Golf<br />

Tournament held Sept. 25 at Greenbriar<br />

Hills Country Club in Kirkwood. The tournament<br />

is a tribute to the late son of Scott<br />

and Sarah Schaefer.<br />

• • •<br />

The Boeing Company has made a<br />

donation of $100,000 to support Wings of<br />

Hope’s Soar into STEM program in the<br />

company’s continuing support of aviation<br />

and education.<br />

PEOPLE<br />

Jason Hughes, president<br />

of T.R. Hughes<br />

Homes, has been elected<br />

the 88th president of the<br />

Home Builders Association<br />

of St. Louis<br />

and Eastern Missouri.<br />

Hughes<br />

Hughes has worked in<br />

many capacities within the home building<br />

industry for nearly three decades. The<br />

HBA is a local trade association of nearly<br />

600 member firms representing the residential<br />

construction industry.

26 I SCHOOLS I<br />

November <strong>15</strong>, 20<strong>23</strong><br />




—<br />

The — Education Report —<br />

A year in review<br />


This past year the Education Report series<br />

broke down some of the big topics that are<br />

affecting students and families, stakeholders<br />

and staff members in education. We<br />

looked at how the industrial model of public<br />

schools is shifting to a more individualized<br />

and hands-on approach where possible,<br />

especially at the high school level. Partnerships<br />

with area technical schools, community<br />

colleges and businesses are giving high<br />

school students new and exciting opportunities<br />

for their future careers.<br />

Technology has transformed how students<br />

learn, both inside and outside of the classroom.<br />

Every public school student has a<br />

laptop or iPad that they use for schoolwork.<br />

These devices became a necessity during the<br />

COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic taught<br />

everyone how to learn and work remotely.<br />

With assignments posted online during<br />

the pandemic, and teachers coming into<br />

students’ homes via Zoom, families saw<br />

first-hand what, and how, their students<br />

were learning. Returning to school in person<br />

with special rules in place for student and<br />

staff safety, like facemask mandates and<br />

social distancing, controversy was sparked<br />

and many other issues were placed under<br />

a microscope. Issues like what books are<br />

on the shelves in school libraries and how<br />

teachers approach subjects relating to diversity,<br />

equity and inclusion were challenged<br />

by some parents and stakeholders. These<br />

issues became, and still are, hot button<br />

topics that challenge school board members.<br />

Before the school board election in April,<br />

we looked at the role non-partisan, volunteer<br />

board of education members play in<br />

making policies for school districts. These<br />

elected officials serve to make decisions<br />

about what is best for all students.<br />

Several versions of a “Parent’s Bill of<br />

Rights” circulated the state legislature,<br />

but none were passed this year. The issue<br />

of transgender athletes on school teams<br />

was also addressed by the state legislature<br />

where they passed a state wide law mandating<br />

that athletes must play on sports teams<br />

with the gender that matches the gender on<br />

their birth certificates.<br />

Changes are also in the works for how students’<br />

learning is measured. Long multiple<br />

choice tests might not be the best way to see<br />

if students are learning. A new standardsbased<br />

way of evaluating is being developed<br />

in the state of Missouri and some school<br />

districts are participating in the trial to see if<br />

students showing what they know through<br />

demonstration is a better measure that they<br />

understand what they are being taught.<br />

Two young adults shared their story of<br />

how they are navigating what comes after<br />

high school. While a four-year university<br />

is the typical next step for the majority<br />

of high school students, it’s not always<br />

the right fit. Having the courage to realize<br />

that and shift course is something to<br />

be admired. Some students said they feel<br />

pressure from family and friends to go to<br />

a university right after high school, even if<br />

they don’t know what they want to study,<br />

hoping to figure things out as they go. That<br />

comes with a hefty price tag most students<br />

and their parents, can’t afford. For the<br />

recent high school graduates we spoke to,<br />

gaining life experience through different<br />

jobs and trying out different classes at the<br />

local community college is a better option.<br />

Mental health issues like depression,<br />

anxiety and suicide among students are up<br />

since the pandemic. While this is concerning,<br />

staff members we talked to said it’s<br />

also bringing more attention and action to<br />

try to help adolescents and children with<br />

mental health issues.<br />

We reported that the number of students<br />

who are homeschooled since the pandemic<br />

is estimated to be double what it was<br />

before. This increase might be in part due<br />

to the restrictions placed on schools during<br />

the pandemic, along with parents wanting<br />

to be in more control over how and what<br />

their children learn. Regional co-ops exist<br />

to help parents organize their child’s studies<br />

and activities and to help make sure<br />

they follow state requirements.<br />

We explored how staffing shortages are<br />

impacting schools. While teaching and<br />

administrative positions are nearly full,<br />

support staff positions like cafeteria workers,<br />

custodians and bus drivers are still<br />

understaffed. Some of the biggest changes<br />

were school bus routes being consolidated<br />

to make up for the bus driver shortage.<br />

Even though pay was raised, the positions<br />

are still difficult to fill across the board.<br />

The most recent Education Report told<br />

the stories of two moms who have children<br />

who are receiving special education<br />

services. They shared what they’ve learned<br />

about federal law mandates and their rights,<br />

along with their student’s right to a free,<br />

appropriate public education and what that<br />

(Adobe Stock)<br />

looks like. Special services are different for<br />

every child and parents should know they<br />

are never alone. Organizations can help<br />

advocate for students’ needs. A trusted<br />

team is a must, that includes the child’s<br />

doctor, therapists, teachers and parents.<br />

While much in education is changing as<br />

it evolves, the expectation that every student<br />

will graduate high school with what<br />

they need for their next step in life, either<br />

a university, community college or trade<br />

school, is still the same.<br />

Parents and stakeholders can become<br />

informed about what is happening in their<br />

assigned school district by attending board<br />

of education meetings. Additionally, parents<br />

of students enrolled in school can volunteer<br />

their time with the school’s parent teacher<br />

organization, attend the volunteer group’s<br />

meetings and attend parent teacher conferences<br />

to get to know their child’s teachers.<br />

Did you miss an Education Report?<br />

Read it online at<br />

midriversnewsmagazine.com,<br />

search “Education Report.”<br />

SCHOOL BOARDS, from page 10<br />

education class that may include early or<br />

late access to the locker room before or<br />

after PE class or use of a changing area<br />

other than the male or female locker room,<br />

such as the nurse’s office.<br />

Francis Howell patron Vivian Gandhurst<br />

voiced her support for the policy, saying it<br />

removes uncertainty for students and staff.<br />

“(This policy) ensures the preferences of<br />

transgender students are respected,” Gandhurst<br />

said. “If they do not wish to use the<br />

bathroom of the biological sex on their<br />

birth certificate, it mandates that every<br />

school provide a single-use bathroom.”<br />

Easterling questioned the convenience<br />

of having only one single-use bathroom<br />

available in a large high school building.<br />

“Will there be one on every floor,” Easterling<br />

asked school board members. “Because<br />

if not, you’ve created an unfair situation and<br />

probably potential for a lawsuit.”<br />

Gandhurst said she commends the school<br />

board the way they presented the policy.<br />

“(This policy) also defends the privacy<br />

and safety of everyone else who abides by<br />

the biological sex on their birth certificate,”<br />

Gandhurst said. “It does not prevent transgender<br />

students from dressing the way they<br />

want or being called by whatever name<br />

they want. It doesn’t prevent them from<br />

belonging to any clubs including a gay<br />

straight alliance chapter that is available at<br />

all high schools. All students can be their<br />

authentic selves without being intimidated,<br />

embarrassed or confused about the simple<br />

act of using a bathroom or locker room.”<br />

Easterling wrapped up her comments by<br />

urging concerned stakeholders to vote in<br />

the annual school board elections in April.<br />

“I want a serious school board that cares<br />

about serious issues like fiscal responsibility,<br />

retaining our teachers and making sure<br />

every single student is prepared to be successful<br />

in the world. I do not want people<br />

who are willing to bully our transgender<br />

kids for some manufactured culture war.”<br />

The Nov. 16 Francis Howell School<br />

Board meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m.<br />

in the boardroom of the administration<br />

building located at 801 Corporate Centre<br />

Drive in O’Fallon. Wentzville’s school<br />

board meeting is also scheduled for 6:30<br />

p.m. on Nov. 16 at 280 Interstate Drive in<br />




November <strong>15</strong>, 20<strong>23</strong><br />


I 27<br />


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St. Luke’s: Dedicated to providing exceptional care to every patient, every time<br />

For more than <strong>15</strong>0 years, St. Luke’s<br />

and its extensive network of top docs<br />

has made exceptional patient care their<br />

primary focus.<br />

St. Luke’s first patient was admitted<br />

on Feb. 28, 1866, at its original location<br />

near present-day Interstate 55 and<br />

Russell Boulevard. Today, St. Luke’s<br />

provides health services to patients<br />

looking to access compassionate care<br />

and medical innovation throughout the<br />

metropolitan St. Louis area – at physicians’<br />

offices, urgent care centers, the<br />

Mr. and Mrs. Theodore P. Desloge, Jr.<br />

Outpatient Center, its Heart & Vascular<br />

Institute and two hospitals.<br />

For the sixth year in a row, St. Luke’s<br />

was the only hospital in Missouri<br />

named one of America’s 50 Best Hospitals<br />

for Cardiac Surgery by Healthgrades,<br />

an independent healthcare<br />

ratings organization. The honor places<br />

St. Luke’s among the top 50 U.S. hospitals<br />

for superior results in coronary<br />

artery bypass grafting procedures and<br />

heart valve surgery. But it is not the<br />

only area of expertise for which St.<br />

Luke’s is nationally known.<br />

St. Luke’s Hospital in Chesterfield<br />

also has a 13-year history of achieving<br />

the Outstanding Patient Experience<br />

(St. Luke’s photo)<br />



Award by Healthgrades.<br />

This spring, St. Luke’s Hospital in Chesterfield<br />

and St. Luke’s Des Peres Hospital<br />

received an ‘A’ Leapfrog Safety Grade.<br />

This national distinction recognizes the<br />

hospitals’ achievements in protecting<br />

patients from preventable harm and error<br />

– and it’s not the first time St. Luke’s has<br />

received the honor.<br />

The Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade is<br />

the only hospital ratings program based<br />

exclusively on hospital prevention of<br />

medical errors and harm to patients. The<br />

grading system is peer-reviewed, fully<br />

transparent and free to the public.<br />

Additionally, St. Luke’s network of affiliated<br />

physicians routinely make it onto Top<br />

Doc lists both locally and nationally.<br />

Dedicated to providing patients with<br />

personalized, high-quality care, St. Luke’s<br />

Medical Group has a network of physician<br />

offices across the region to provide a team<br />

approach to meet every patient’s unique<br />

healthcare needs.<br />

St. Luke’s offers a wide range of primary<br />

care and specialty physicians that<br />

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surgery, and wound care.<br />

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campus or at a convenient location near<br />

them. It’s easy to learn more about medical<br />

group members online at doctors.stlukesstl.com<br />

or by calling the referral line at<br />

(314) 205-6060. With access to nearly<br />

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area residents are sure to find dedicated<br />

specialists offering personalized services<br />

based on their medical needs, insurance<br />

plans and personal preferences.<br />

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754 Spirit 40 Park Drive • Chesterfield, MO 63005



November <strong>15</strong>, 20<strong>23</strong><br />


I EVENTS I 29<br />


12/1 from 5pm to 8pm & 12/2 from <strong>11</strong>am to 5pm<br />

foundryartcentre.org<br />

LOCAL<br />

EVENTS<br />


Twilight Market is from 3-7 p.m. on the<br />

second Saturday of each month through<br />

November at 301 Main St. in Old Town St.<br />

Peters. Artists, vendors, musicians, food/<br />

drink and more. Free to attend. Details at<br />

stpetersmo.net.<br />

• • •<br />

St. Charles Flea and Artisan Market<br />

is from 8 a.m.-2 p.m. on the second Saturday<br />

of the month through December at<br />

the Saint Charles City Hall parking garage,<br />

200 N. Second St. in St. Charles. Details at<br />

stcharlesflea.com.<br />

• • •<br />

The “Being Jewish in St. Charles” art<br />

exhibition is now through Saturday, Nov.<br />

18 at the Foundry Art Centre, 520 N. Main<br />

Center in St. Charles, featuring portraits<br />

Discount Air Show<br />

tickets on sale Nov. 27<br />

A limited number of tickets to the<br />

2024 Spirit of St. Louis Air Show &<br />

STEM Expo, presented by Boeing,<br />

will go on sale to the general public on<br />

Monday, Nov. 27.<br />

These limited tickets will be available<br />

for $25. Prices will increase once<br />

these tickets are gone, and will continue<br />

to increase closer to the event.<br />

General admission tickets prices in<br />

June 2024 will be $50. Active-duty military<br />

members in uniform will continue<br />

to enjoy free admission, and numerous<br />

Veterans organizations in the area will<br />

receive free tickets for distribution to<br />

service members in uniform.<br />

Previous guests and registered subscribers<br />

will have access to a 2-day<br />

advanced pre-sale beginning Nov. 25.<br />

In addition, for the first time, general<br />

admission kids 12 and under will be<br />

admitted free.<br />

and stories showcasing the Jewish people<br />

living and working in St. Charles. Visit<br />

foundryartcentre.org.<br />

• • •<br />

St. Charles Riverwalk Market is from<br />

7:30 a.m.-1 p.m. on Saturdays through<br />

November 25 at the Foundry Art Centre,<br />

500 N. <strong>Rivers</strong>ide Drive in Saint Charles.<br />

Choose from various foods, goods, crafts<br />

from local vendors, live music and more.<br />

Details at discoverstcharles.com.<br />

• • •<br />

St. Charles County Youth Orchestra<br />

will be accepting video auditions for new<br />

students through the month of December.<br />

All levels of string, wind, brass and percussion<br />

are invited to apply. Rehearsals will<br />

begin Jan. 6. For details, contact sccyomusic@gmail.com<br />

or visit sccyo.org.<br />


The Francis Howell Central Golf Cart<br />

Raffle is now through noon on Friday,<br />

Dec. 1. Single tickets are priced at $30 or<br />

four tickets for $100. The winner will be<br />

selected at noon on Dec. 1 and will receive<br />

a brand-new golf cart. All funds will go<br />

toward giving students a drug and alcoholfree<br />

celebration on graduation night. To purchase<br />

tickets, visit fhcparentclubraffle.com.<br />


Family Story Time is at 9:30 a.m.<br />

and 10:30 a.m. on Mondays and Thursdays<br />

weekly at the Spencer Road Branch<br />

Library, 427 Spencer Road in St. Peters.<br />

Stories, songs and activities intended for<br />

children ages 6 and younger. Free event.<br />

Register at attend.mylibrary.org/events.<br />

• • •<br />

Family Fridays are from 2-4 p.m. on the<br />

second Friday of every month at the Heritage<br />

Park Museum, 1630 Heritage Landing<br />

in St. Peters. Each session has games<br />

and crafts, storytime, or hands-on displays.<br />

Free event. Details at stccparks.org.<br />

• • •<br />

Kids’ Korner is from 8 a.m.-noon and<br />

4-8 p.m. Monday-Friday and from 9 a.m.-2<br />

p.m. on Saturdays (2-hour daily limit) at<br />

the Renaud Center, 2650 Tri Sports Circle<br />

in O’Fallon. $3 per child, per visit. For<br />

ages 3 months-9 years. Closed on Sundays.<br />

For details, visit ofallon.mo.us.<br />

• • •<br />

Art Start is at 10 a.m. every Tuesday<br />

at The Foundry Art Centre, 520 N. Main<br />

Center in St. Charles. Children create<br />

small art projects that pair with a story.<br />

Free event. For ages 2-5 with a caregiver.<br />

For details, visit foundryartcentre.org.<br />


The Cavesprings Toastmasters Club<br />

offers in-person and online meetings from<br />

8 a.m.-9 a.m. Wednesdays at the St. Charles<br />

Ambulance District, 2000 Salt River Road<br />

in St. Peters. Improve public speaking and<br />

communication skills by gaining confidence<br />

when speaking in front of others. RSVP to<br />

cavespringstoastmasters@gmail.com.<br />

• • •<br />

Public Stargazing is at sunset or 7<br />

p.m. on Friday nights at the Broemmelsiek<br />

Park Astronomy Site, <strong>15</strong>93 Schwede<br />

Road in Wentzville. Join the Astronomical<br />

Society and discover the planets,<br />

stars, constellations, nebulas, and galaxies<br />

on clear Friday nights through the<br />

largest public-viewing telescope in Missouri.<br />

Advanced registration is requested<br />

for groups of 10 or more. For details,<br />

email outreach@asemonline.org or visit<br />

asemonline.org.<br />

• • •<br />

St. Peters Lions Club meets on the first<br />

and third Tuesday of the month at The<br />

Lions Club House, 9 Park St. in St. Peters.<br />

Being a Lion is about leading by example,<br />

building relationships and improving the<br />

world through kindness. For details, email<br />

lionsclubstpetersmo@gmail.com.<br />

• • •<br />

The Rough Writers meet from 7-9<br />

p.m. on the second Tuesday of the month<br />

at the Crossroads Arts Center, 310 W.<br />

Pearce Blvd. in Wentzville. Join this writing<br />

group to share your writing, encourage<br />

others, and improve your writing<br />

skills. Any kind of writing is welcome.<br />

For details, contact Deborah Bowman at<br />

deborahbowman12@yahoo.com.<br />

• • •<br />

Cottleville/Weldon Spring Rotary<br />

Club meets at noon on Wednesdays at<br />

Bemo’s, 5373 Hwy. N. Details at cwsrotary.<br />

org. RSVP to Toddrasche01@gmail.com.<br />

• • •<br />

St. Charles Swing Dance Club<br />

Monthly Dance is at 7 p.m. on Saturdays,<br />

Nov. 18 and Dec. 2 at Dardenne Prairie<br />

Hall, 2199 Post Road. Dance the night<br />

away to the band Garden Party on Nov. 18<br />

and to deejay Rob Guignard. Free dance<br />

lessons with paid admission from 6:<strong>15</strong>-7<br />

p.m. Bring snacks and drinks. For details,<br />

email dinamaria1@outlook.com.<br />

• • •<br />

Golden Hour Hike is from 3-4:30 p.m.<br />

on Wednesday, Nov. 29 at Klondike Park,<br />

4600 S. Missouri 94 in Augusta. Enjoy a<br />

2-mile ranger-guided hike and experience<br />

the most beautiful hour of the day. Dress<br />

for the weather. Visit stccparks.com to<br />

register.<br />

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theater and a 12-hole par 3 golf course at<br />

Balducci Vineyards. Helicopter rides and<br />

tours were also part of the company’s<br />

original plans.<br />

According to the company website, the<br />

Hoffmanns now own about 700 acres and<br />

more than 50 buildings, and employ more<br />

than 500 people in Augusta and Washington.<br />

In nearby Marthasville, a boutique hotel,<br />

winery and employee housing was planned<br />

at the former Emmaus House campus,<br />

which the Hoffmann Family of Companies<br />

bought during those first two years<br />

of whirlwind of activity. The 50-acre site<br />

held eight buildings, some dating back to<br />

the 1800s. The company initially cleared<br />

200 to 300 trees, cleaned up the property<br />

and demolished two buildings that were<br />

deemed unsalvageable.<br />

Then, in the last few months, the winds<br />

of change arrived – sinking some of the<br />

company’s plans and delaying others.<br />

This fall, the Hoffmann Family of Companies<br />

put the Emmaus House property up<br />

for sale, with an asking price of $999,900.<br />

David Hoffmann’s only comment was that<br />

the property presented challenges to redevelopment<br />

and no longer fits into the company’s<br />

immediate plans for the Augusta area.<br />

As of Oct. 31, the Emmaus House<br />

campus had a sign out front indicating the<br />

property is jointly listed by MO Realty<br />

and Trophy Properties. The sign also says<br />

“sold.” On Nov. 1, realtors Tony Schulte<br />

(MO Realty) and Eric Merchant (Trophy<br />

Properties) confirmed the property already<br />

is under contract. However, the buyer and<br />

terms of sale were still confidential as of<br />

press time.<br />

Last June, the Hoffmann Family of Companies<br />

put its 12-hole, par-three golf<br />

course at Balducci Vineyards on hold<br />

because of the “rough terrain” found<br />

in the hills around the vineyard. Company<br />

representatives said the plan is to<br />

still build a golf course somewhere in<br />

Augusta, but the location could change.<br />

In late summer and early fall, the<br />

company said its 500-seat amphitheater<br />

at Balducci Vineyards was on track.<br />

Work at the site included the placement<br />

of numerous large and heavy stones<br />

on terraced ground in the rough basic<br />

shape of an amphitheater. However,<br />

that work appears to have stopped.<br />

In 2021, the Hoffmanns said their<br />

luxury 5-star hotel “Hoffmann Lodge &<br />

Spa,” was planned to be open in 20<strong>23</strong>.<br />

The hotel was planned to have 65 rooms,<br />

a conference center, a pool, tennis courts<br />

and a spa. However, the plans are still not<br />

finalized. The company has said that large<br />

projects sometimes take extra time.<br />

Originally planned helicopter tours<br />

of the area and along the Missouri River<br />

also are on hold for now, in favor of other<br />

bigger and higher-priority projects.<br />

As plans change and morph, area residents<br />

have speculated as to why. In several<br />

cases, challenges with the county have<br />

been suggested.<br />

In 2021, the hillside in front of Montelle<br />

Winery was fully wooded and the huge<br />

wrap-around wood deck was shaded by<br />

trees. Later in 2021, much to the consternation<br />

of locals and long-time metro area<br />

customers of Montelle, the Hoffmanns<br />

removed all of the trees from the hillside<br />

and from the entire deck area. For shade<br />

on hot days, the tables on the deck now<br />

use umbrellas and cloth sunshades. Word<br />

among locals was that the hillside originally<br />

was planned to have a hotel built<br />

into it, but after the trees were cleared, the<br />

Hoffmanns learned the hillside soil and<br />

rocks were not suitable for a hotel. But the<br />

trees already were gone.<br />

When asked about rumblings that<br />

plans and approvals for Hoffmann projects<br />

are being slowed down or delayed<br />

by the county, St. Charles County Council<br />

member Joe Brazil (District 2) said,<br />

“That’s B.S. There are no difficulties. That’s<br />

completely false.”<br />

Asked specifically about the proposed<br />

5-star luxury hotel near downtown<br />

Augusta and 500-seat amphitheater at Balducci<br />

Vineyards, Brazil said the company<br />

“(has) not followed the rules and (has) not<br />

submitted plans” to the county’s Planning<br />

and Zoning Commission (P&Z) “for those<br />

projects or for any projects.”<br />

“They just are doing what they want out<br />

there,” said Brazil, whose district includes<br />

Augusta.<br />

Brazil said David Hoffmann “believes<br />

it’s just easier to do it and then ask permission<br />

or pay the fines later, rather than<br />

follow the rules and the process just like<br />

everyone else must do. He likes to get his<br />

permissions through the media by just<br />

announcing what he is going to do.”<br />

Before speaking to Brazil, <strong>Mid</strong> <strong>Rivers</strong><br />

<strong>Newsmagazine</strong> reviewed all of the P&Z<br />

meeting agendas and minutes from October<br />

2022 through November 20<strong>23</strong> and<br />

found nothing mentioning a Hoffmann<br />

Family of Companies or Augusta project.<br />

“That’s because they have not submitted<br />

anything,” Brazil said.<br />

In regard to the company’s changing<br />

plans, he mentioned “the luxury hotel<br />

announced to the media at different times<br />

to be 53 rooms, 60 rooms, 65 rooms, and<br />

then to a Washington, Missouri, newspaper,<br />

102 rooms.”<br />

“None of that was submitted to P&Z and<br />

no permits were discussed,” Brazil said.<br />

Asked about the 500-seat amphitheater,<br />

Brazil said, “They didn’t apply to P&Z for<br />

that, either.”<br />

“You can’t just drop a 500-seat amphitheater<br />

out there without considering roads,<br />

traffic, water, sewer and other infrastructure,”<br />

Brazil said. “They actually went<br />

ahead anyway (doing work on it without<br />

P&Z and without any permits). When asked<br />

about it, Don Simon (Hoffmann CEO for<br />

Missouri Operations) said he didn’t know<br />

he needed a permit. Then Simon told us it<br />

was going to be a wine garden.”<br />

Brazil also said the golf course planned<br />

commenced without county involvement.<br />

“I don’t mind a golf course, but you do<br />

need to follow the county P&Z and planning<br />

department rules,” Brazil said. “I<br />

have been on the county council for <strong>23</strong><br />

years, and I have never met David Hoffmann<br />

or talked to him and have not been<br />





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November <strong>15</strong>, 20<strong>23</strong><br />


I 31<br />

approached by anyone from the Hoffmann<br />

Companies to ask how to get things done<br />

and expedited through the county process.<br />

“So, any rumblings or hints that the<br />

county is slowing things down are simply<br />

not true. The Hoffmanns are slowing<br />

things down by not doing what they need<br />

to do. They are causing their own delays.”<br />

Asked with whom the Hoffmanns are<br />

working, particularly for the Balducci<br />

Amphitheater and the 5-star hotel, Mike<br />

Hurlbert, the county’s director of community<br />

development, said, “Community<br />

development department staff is reviewing<br />

applications for a land disturbance<br />

permit and site plan to install an outdoor<br />

landscape feature so that patrons of the<br />

Balducci Vineyard’s restaurant can view<br />

bands who regularly play at the winery.”<br />

“In 2021, the county council granted<br />

zoning approval through a conditional<br />

use permit (CUP) to construct and operate<br />

Hoffmann Lodge in unincorporated St.<br />

Charles County. No permit applications<br />

have been submitted for the Hoffmann<br />

Lodge and that CUP approval has since<br />

expired,” Hurlbert said.<br />

Hurlburt said, “St. Charles County staff<br />

strives to be proactive with developers<br />

and landowners to ensure a quicker and<br />

simplified review process towards compliance<br />

with permit requirements and county<br />

codes. However, when applicants are not<br />

as open to that effort it can often lead to a<br />

reactive and somewhat inefficient approval<br />

process, such as this case where work was<br />

started without any county consultation or<br />

permit approval.<br />

“Meeting the county’s development<br />

regulations is important for the protection<br />

of patrons and employees of these establishments,<br />

as well as adjoining property<br />

owners and the community as a whole.<br />

Our staff consistently seeks a proactive<br />

approach with all applicants to help<br />

eliminate non-compliant issues before our<br />

review process begins.”<br />

As with prior man-on-the-street interviews,<br />

Augusta area residents were willing<br />

to discuss town developments, but reluctant<br />

to divulge their names.<br />

One resident commented on the challenge<br />

the Hoffmann face and the reality of<br />

life without the company.<br />

“How do you upgrade the town’s buildings,<br />

infrastructure and businesses, and<br />

grow the economy, without destroying<br />

what makes Augusta so attractive in the<br />

first place?” the resident asked. “People<br />

want to come to Augusta to enjoy the country<br />

and the small town feel, so how do you<br />

build up the capacity for more people and<br />

customers to come here without destroying<br />

what makes it attractive?<br />

“Without the Hoffmanns’ huge investment,<br />

what would have happened to the<br />

town? Who would pay to maintain the<br />

streets and other infrastructure, while also<br />

keeping the wineries and other businesses<br />

financially sound for the future?”<br />

The resident also said the Hoffmanns<br />

“must strike a difficult and delicate balance<br />

between attitudes, perspectives and needs of<br />

residents whose families have been here for<br />

generations with other residents who have<br />

been here only 20 to 25 years, and with<br />

others who are even newer to the area. How<br />

fast and how big can changes be without<br />

being too much, too soon? Yet, if growth<br />

and income do not generate sufficient<br />

returns on a $100 million to $<strong>15</strong>0 million<br />

investment, how can the Hoffmanns justify<br />

those investments? This is not an easy situation<br />

for any of the stakeholders. Everyone is<br />

right from their own perspective.”<br />

Another resident lamented some of the<br />

new businesses, including a clothing store<br />

and a jewelry store, asking, “Who around<br />

here can afford to buy what they are selling?<br />

The prices are so high. Customers<br />

for those types of stores will not be from<br />

around here.”<br />

In regard to the hotel and amphitheater,<br />

another resident commented that “the town<br />

does not have current water system and<br />

sewer infrastructure capacity to support<br />

such large developments. The county must<br />

be picky and pursue those water supply<br />

and sewer system and permitting details<br />

before anything is built, and not surprisingly,<br />

that takes time.”<br />

Another 20-plus-year resident complained,<br />

“The Hoffmanns decided to buy<br />

the wineries, buildings and businesses, and<br />

then just did it. They never asked what we<br />

want or need. The Hoffmanns did all of<br />

this buying and making rapid changes in a<br />

matter of months, and we didn’t even know<br />

about it until the last minute. We were not<br />

involved in any of the changes up front.”<br />

But still another resident noted, “No one<br />

was forced to sell (their wineries, businesses,<br />

or buildings). They chose to sell to<br />

the Hoffmanns.”<br />

Asked about plans and work on the<br />

renovated, reimagined Town Square<br />

Park, Town Board member and Director<br />

of Public Works, Randal Oaks (resident<br />

since 1994), clarified that contrary to other<br />

media reports, “The Hoffmanns are not<br />

leading the Town Square Park project.”<br />

“The project is being led by the Town<br />

Board, the Augusta Chamber of Commerce<br />

and several residents,” Oaks said.<br />

He said that the park reimagining team<br />

approved the concept design and now workers<br />

are redoing the park from the ground up.<br />

“In fact, some of that work, such as on<br />

the merry-go-round, is a labor of love by<br />

the contractors because they actually had<br />

played in the park and on that merry-goround<br />

as children,” he said. “Those workers<br />

continue to go above and beyond with<br />

their work because they really care.”<br />

The park changes are being done in<br />

phases, with fundraising needed for each<br />

major step.<br />

Oaks said the Hoffmanns are funding the<br />

gazebo and installation of some of the new<br />

playground equipment, “but the town still<br />

is leading and doing fundraising for Phases<br />

1, 2, and 3. This is a community project.”<br />

Regarding when the park will be ready,<br />

Oaks said they have a goal to have Phase<br />

1 done in time for the Augusta Christmas<br />

Walk, which takes place from 5-10 p.m.<br />

this Dec. 1.<br />

The Hoffmann Family of Companies<br />

was contacted for this story but Chief<br />

Marketing Officer Suzanne Jacob replied<br />

that the company did “not wish to provide<br />

comment.”<br />





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