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THE SPORTING CROWD

The holiday party for board members of the St. Louis Amateur Baseball Hall of Fame at Miller’s Crossing salutedLee Thomas, the former Beaumont star and Cardinal and Philadelphia g.m., who has just been named to the Baltimore Orioles’ front office staff. Toasting Thomas were Ron Edgar, Jerry and Les Mueller, Larry Donovan, Brian Korbesmeyer, Lee Engert, Ray Cliffe, Pat Sweeney, Brian Richardson, Jay Mason, Nate Crump, Rich Barr, Hank Greifzu and Keith Schildroth.

ALBERT PUJOLS REDUX

Media relations wizard Scott Charton of Charton Communications fame: “I’m advising St. Louis clients to make any bad news announcements today – it’ll never get daily media attention amid the Pu-nami of Albert the Angel coverage.” Albert Pujols’ defection to the Angels got a ho-hum reaction from some guests Thursday night at the Covenant House fundraiser in the Khorassan Room of the Chase.  “The Cardinals could get three good players with the money offered to Pujols,” opined City Hall’s Jeff Rainford.  Red Schoendienst: “Don’t know why he left. He won’t get our town’s atmosphere there.” Jeff Aboussie, exec secretary/treasurer Building and Construction Trades Council: “The Cardinals’ should take the money it would have paid Pujols and start Ballpark Village tomorrow, putting to work 1,000 construction workers.” Other voices: “I wouldn’t run for office until 2016,” insisted former U.S. Attorney Catherine Hanaway, partner in the Ashcroft Group law firm. As for the firm’s business, she offered, “It’s too good!” Jack Martorelli, mainstay of Guns ‘n Hoses: “The recent event will bring in more than $300,000 for BackStoppers.”  Rex and Jean Sinquefield hosted the party of which Jean giggled and pointed out, “We’re giving the party and guests have to pay.”

Covenant House's Diane Compardo, Paul Kindl, Sue Wagener

Pay they did for Covenant House of Missouri, whose exec director Sue Wagener said that 5,300 youth were served last year. The non-profit agency empowers homeless, runaway and at -risk youth to become independent and contributing members of the community. With Wagener were board chairman Paul Kindl, finance chief Diane Compado.

Rex Sinquefield was inducted into the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame for his promotion of chess.(a sport?) Gillian and James Harris were front and center.

Sharon and Kim Tucci with music maker Al Oxenhandler

Then, it was onward to Tucci & Fresta’s Trattoria & Bar in Clayton, where we found co-owner Kim Tucci coochie-cooing with diners including Barbara and Barry Beracha. former exec with Sara Lee (their son,Brad, owns nearby Araka Restaurant).

Barbara and Barry Beracha

 

 

 

 

Later, we learned that Lambert Airport director Rhonda Hamm-Niebruegge is no longer considered as a candidate to succeed Dick Fleming at the RCGA. On another note, St. Louis Ald. and mayoral hopeful Lewis Reed has just bought a new car, raising eyebrows at City Hall.

Ray Wagner and State Rep. Tim Jones

AT&T prez John Sondag and John TemporitiRay Wagner and State Rep. Tim Jones

Bob, Susan and Mike Kelley with Donna Wilkinson

RUMORS ARE FLYING

That Delmar Gardens honcho Gabe Grossberg is a heavy investor in the development of houses in the Enclave Bellerive. . . That the Cardinals are searching for a new radio station to anchor its broadcasts after 2010 and it just might be 101 ESPN. . . That the FDIC
has requested bids to buy Champion Banks. . That Rolla, Mo., barrister Stephen F. Gaunt is repping plaintiffs against Purcell Tire and Rubber for alleged age discrimination.

MEDIA MIX

Tom Klein has defected from the Post-Dispatch to join the Cardinals.  He was sports copy editor at the daily and is expected to ditto on the baseball club’s publications. . .

The St.Louis Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists will bestow honors on those inducted to its Print Hall of Fame at a luncheon on March 11.  The inductees are: former broadcast scribe and commentary page editor Eric Mink, St. Louis magazine’s Ray Hartman and Print Hall of Fame founder Frank Absher – all of whom will participate in a panel discussion on their careers and the journalism industry of today.  Mark Vittert, another inductee to the Hall of Fame, never a journalist, but his financial support made possible the birth and operation of The Riverfront Times and the Biz Journal. The bash is at noon at the Lucas Park Grille.

COLUMNIST BIDS A FOND FAREWELL TO 2009!

The columnist has made hundreds of New Year’s resolutions over the years – for himself and on behalf of many of you.  Some have taken: some have not.  For himself, the columnist vows better attention to health; more acceptance of the limits of medicine; greater patience with the pace of healing; and a more heartfelt gratitude to doctors, nurses, billing clerks, insurance companies, and (especially) to well-wishers.  He also vows greater attention to correct spelling, accurate timing, complete quoting, standard punctuation, organized note-taking, credible attribution, flattering photography, and graceful corrections.  Of course, that is an annual resolution, made with little real intention of doing anything about the habits of a lifetime gossipist. On your behalf, the columnist attributes (with no foundation and with relatively little malice) the following fantasy resolutions:

  • From President Barack Obama: I’ll do my Christmas vacation next year with Claire, Joe, and their family in St. Louis, as long as Claire promises not to Tweet about it and Joe pays for the Pi.
  • From Governor Jay Nixon:  I’ll ask Peter Kinder, who practically lives there, to tell Georganne the best places to eat, shop, and stay in St. Louis.
  • From Archbishop Robert Carlson:  I’ll make more good news with Catholic Charities than bad.
  • From SLU president the Rev. Larry Biondi:  I’ll commission a statue of a naked Rick Majerus for Bannister House if the Billikens make the NCAA Tournament.
  • From Sen. Kit Bond:  I’ll use my final year to find jobs for all my staff.
  • From County Executive Charlie Dooley:  I’ll ask the nice Greg Boyce for a couple of lumps of clean coal to put into a certain former staffer’s Christmas stocking.
  • From Mayor Francis Slay:  I’ll give a Key to the City to Lady GaGa.
  • From KMOV GM Alan Cohen:  I’ll do infomercials 24/7.
  • From “Donnybrook” founder Martin Duggan:  I’ll start a blog. What’s a blog?
  • From Emerson CEO David Farr and celebrated attorney Linda Martinez:  We had no idea we were named “man and woman of the year” by the Variety Club until we read it in Berger’s column. We hope he’ll be seated with us at the April 24th dinner.
  • From Congressman Lacy Clay:  I’ll check “finally single”  on my Census form next year.
  • From former GOP consultant Rod Jetton: I’ll use the hot air
  • From the Robin  Carnahan campaign to fill a bouquet of green balloons.
  • From Gateway Foundation donor M. Peter Fischer:  I think I’ll do another two blocks.
  • From Build-A-Bear boss Maxine Clark:  I’ll stuff the first marketing person who suggests a children’s video on national health care reform, immigration, or gun control.
  • From former Engineered Air’s Mike Shanahan:  Since that fancy country club in Naples, Fla., has blackballed me and sent me a check that bounced, I think I’ll remain at Old Warson.
  • From the St. Louis Beacon’s Bob Duffy:  We now have our own space in the KETC-TV offices and hope we’ll open an Illinois bureau in Pontoon Beach.
  • From television reporter Alex Fees:  Maybe I can get Donna Wilkinson to follow Steve Schankman on my “Conversations with. . .” in January on HEC-TV – if her stockings aren’t falling.
  • From Congressman Russ Carnahan:  I’ll use my frequent flier miles to send mouthy Ed Martin on a long trip to country without the Internet.
  • From Blues owner Dave Checketts:  I’ll play Ed Goltermann in goal for home games.
  • From Gerard Craft:  I’ll open a Niche on every corner.
  • From WashU chancellor Mark Wrighton:  I’ll get that Top 10 ranking back.
  • From Chief Tim Fitch:  I’ll find a new badge for Floyd Warmann.
  • From KSDK GM Lynn Beall:  I’ll retire or replace any face viewers might conceivably recognize.
  • From Rams owner Chip Rosenbloom:  I’ll fire the coach if he blows our number one draft choice by actually winning another game.
  • From Bob Baer:  I’ll ride the last Metro bus to Chesterfield if the County tax campaign fails in April.
  • From would-be Rams owner Rush Limbaugh:  I’ll buy the Arch Rival Roller Girls instead.
  • From north St. Louis developer Paul McKee:  I’ll mow all my yards and rake yours too.
  • From entrepreneurs Mike and Steve Roberts: We’ll suggest changing the name of St. Louis City to Roberts St. Louis City.
  • From Symphony music director David Robertson:  I’ll buy KFUO and program it with hip-hop, uh. . .classical music.
  • From Cardinals president Bill DeWitt III:  I’ll change the name of Ballpark Village to Holliday Haven.
  • From the Loop’s Joe Edwards:  I’ll open a successful venue on the actual Moon.
  • From Lee CEO Mary Junck:  I’ll improve morale by signing a good contract with the Newspaper Guild.
  • From AmerenUe officials:  I’ll use the phrase “a warm holiday glow” in our next filing with the Public Service Commission to soften them up on a nuclear power rate increase.
  • From Art Museum honcho Brent Benjamin:  I’ll expand.
  • From AB Inbev boss Carlos Britto: I’ll find out if Clydesdales go better with a little lime.
  • From grocer Greg Dierberg:  I’ll open the most popular grocery in a decade and call it. . .Culinaria Too.
  • From the Caseyville and Collinsville police:  Next time we hope we’ll get it right. (At Teezers Bar in Collinsville, a guy walked in with a silver handgun over the holidays and fired off a few rounds and marched out.  Police began looking for a 70 year-old man known to them and after much searching, they decided that the gunman they really needed to look for had the same name but was just 52.  Then, the Caseyville police gave their Collinsville counterparts an entirely different suspect’s name. The guy, who allegedly committed the explosive act, was none of the above: he had been hiding out all that time at Jessi’s Hideout in Collinsville.)
  • From restaurateur Sam Kacar: I hope to open a third Trattoria Branica in Chesterfield Valley by mid-January and then focus on a fourth in the CWE or Webster Groves.
  • From former airport director Dick Hrabko: I’m going to get those slots installed at the Spirit of St. Louis Airport.
  • From Wind Capital exec Tom Carnahan:  I’ll use the hot air
  • From the Roy Blunt campaign to generate electricity.
  • From uber-flack Joan Quicksilver:  I’ll nominate Jerry Berger as Media Person of the Year.
  • From affable CVC’s Kitty Ratcliffe:  I resolve I’ll ask for another convention center. (The woman has garnered kudos for signing such major confabs as the Church of God in Christ, that brought 40,000 here and has inked its convention for St. Louis in 2011 and 2012 – away From Memphis.
  • From all of this column’s many sources: We’ll not turn a blind eye to any item that might amuse St. Louis in Jerry Berger’s website.

Caveat lector and Happy New Year!

UNSIGHTEM

It happened Sunday as KTVI-TV, Channel 2 aired the Phoenix Cardinals-Chicago Bears game played in Chicago. Just after half-time, the station suddenly switched to the Tampa Bay-Green Bay game. A viewer phoned the station and the person on the other end said they’ve gotten many calls. “We have nothing to do about it,” she said. “We were told by New York that the Cardinals-Bears game would be dull and they chose to switch to the other game in progress.” Then, the viewer phoned Fox in NYC and could only get recordings… Has Pinnacle Gaming dropped Mark Levison as legal counsel? That’s the word from sources in Jeff City. (Levison did not return phone calls for a comment.). Contrary to advice offered to then Pinnacle CEO Dan Lee by the company’s chief of government relations that he NOT make any direct contact with local elected officials in St. Louis county, let alone attend the council meeting, Lee was apparently persuaded by Levison to attend and voice his displeasure. The net result, as has been reported, is that the gaming commission is investigating Lee’s interaction with Councilman Steve Stenger and that Lee suddenly announced his “retirement” after seven years with the company. Prior to Lee’s appearance, the company was represented at the zoning hearings by local PR/lobbyist Mack Bradley in an “observe, do not speak” capacity. Bradley strongly advocated that Lee NOT attend or address the council meeting…

Meanwhile, attorney Chet Pleban, who represents St. Louis Police officer Bobby Garrett, is not pleased these days. Garrett was indicted by the federal government for misconduct and entered a plea of guilty to certain charges pursuant to a plea agreement. On Tuesday, Garrett was sentenced to 28 months in federal prison. Pleban noticed that someone posted a comment on the STLtoday.com, suggesting that one of Pleban’s “checks to the judge bounced” and that is why Garrett is going to jail for a couple of years for a lifetime of crime. “I wrote to the editor seeking the identity of a person who made the defamatory comments,” says Pleban. “Although they took the posting down, they would not voluntarily disclose the identity of the poster claiming that it was against the policy to provide identifying information. I was not pleased with the response and am currently exploring potential causes of action against not only the poster, but the newspaper as well.”

OF OUR 20,000 MEMBERS, 4,000 ARE OUT-OF-WORK, SAID TERRY NELSON, EXECUTIVE SECRETARY-TREASURER OF CARPENTERS DISTRICT COUNCIL OF GREATER ST. LOUIS AND VICINITY.

Gladys Kandel-Reeves at the Delmar Gardens family of 20 facilities

Gladys Kandel-Reeves at the Delmar Gardens family of 20 facilities

PITCH & CATCH: It doesn’t take a doctor (though there were plenty of them at Busch Stadium on Thursday afternoon) to diagnose the condition of patient Cardinal Nation. The Nation is suffering from acute Cardinal fever. The all-too-obvious symptoms include a preoccupation with a certain Magic Number, a preference for the color red, an aversion to a team from Chicago, and a willingness to skip more usual pastimes (including actual work) to sit in Busch Stadium drinking $8 malted beverages. While examining the patient, this columnist collected plenty of fastballs, a couple of curveballs, and a wicked brushback pitch or two.

***

SWEET SUITES: “I’m going to lead a delegation to Cuba on Sept. 20 to try and open up a dialogue about travel opportunities,” said US Representative Jo Anne Emerson, who was in a suite with US Rep. Lacy Clay and some other colleagues. “President Barack Obama will drop a bombshell in a joint session on September 9 on health insurance reform,” said Clay, who brags out that he occasionally hears from the President by telephone. Nearby, fellow Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-9) had a bone to pick with Clay about barbeque. Cohen favored Memphis’s Rendezvous, while Clay (and other locals in the suite) spoke up the ribs for our town’s C&K . . . Nearby was Mike DuBois, a legislative assistant to US Senator Christopher “Kit” Bond, and the new father (with wife, Linda) of 2-month-old Ryan Patrick. DuBois mentioned that, while Bond was recently in Japan, our town’s Roy Pfautch, who spends a lot of time in Japan, arranged a sumptuous feast for Bond and ministers of the Diet. DuBois had this to say about Clay and Bond: they get along very well “despite what you hear.” Sen. Claire McCaskill? Not so much, apparently. “Claire brings nothing to the people,” remarked a bystander (not named DuBois or Clay). “She just tells staff members each morning to get her on television.”. . .David Steward, founder and chairman of World Wide Technologies, said his company is expanding with facilities in China, the Netherlands, Sao Paulo and Singapore. “In 2008, we grossed almost $2.6 billion and are buying $1.5 billion worth of network equipment,” said Steward. “We’re in a tech revolution and thinking about the next level. We’re still hiring.” . Elsewhere, Brenda and Jim Talent were entertaining. “I’m doing public policy stuff and have become a consultant to Fleishman-Hillard,” said the ex-senator.

***

WITH THE WORKING STIFFS: Carpenters Union bossman Terry Nelson said, “For $12,000 a week, we are getting groceries to the unemployed in the union.” How many, Terry? ” Of our 20,000 members, 4,000 are out-of-work. But, I’m sure that we’ll pick up after the first quarter of 2010.” As Hemingway’s Jake said in “The Sun Also Rises”, “Isn’t it pretty to think so?”

***

IDIOT BOX BOX: In the Fox Midwest Sports box, account exec Tim O’Connor did the honors for a select Steak ‘n Shake crew. Anchoring the group were Brad Manns, head of franchising, and Springfield, Mo., franchisee Gary Leonard, who tipped us that the 420 restaurants in the chain will soon bow a new entry on the menu: a combination called Pico De Gello, a chilled combination of peppers, onions, tomatoes, lime and lemon juice and cilantro served up on either a steak burger or a steak frank.

***

David Steward with US Rep. Lacy Clay and Corbin

David Steward with US Rep. Lacy Clay and Corbin

INVESTORS CORNER: “The Post-Dispach is too episodic,” insisted investments guru Joe Schlafly in the Merrill-Lynch suite. (A charge that a newspaper published daily would find it hard to rebut.) “I invested my own money and got Bill Danforth to contribute seed money for the St. Louis Beacon. We need responsible journalism.” (The St. Louis Beacon is a news/features website staffed primarily by former employees of the episodic P-D.) . . .Between pitches, Ralph Gaia, an IT’er with Centene Corp. raved non-stop about the company’s topper, Mike Neidorff. Why does Gaia love his boss? “I was so impressed that he conducted an ethics meeting, and that he’s arranged a golf tournament for employees at the Bogie Club a week from Friday,” said Gaia . . . Nestle/Ralston Purina makes the best-selling Fancy Feast cat food. That’s the best I could get from the company’s CEO, Patrick McGinnis. “This is my day off and we don’t need any publicity,” he barked when he noticed my notebook . . . Stuart Shelp of the RCGA probably should have listened to McGinnis. “We don’t get along with them (the Regional Business Council) and we got them started.” (Does anybody know RBC exec director Kathleen T. Osborn’s email address?) . . . Brian Rhame, head of institutional advancement, and Mike Loyet, president, of St. John Vianney High School, got my congratulations on the 50th anniversary of their school — and quickly dropped names of some illustrious alums.

***

THE GOLDEN YEARS: It’s a great time to be young, in an area that hasn’t quite grown up yet, in a world on the brink of disaster. But, still poised for the future is optimistic visionary Gladys Kandel-Reeves, who has toiled for more than four decades at the Delmar Gardens family of 20 facilities, which stretch from here to Atlanta, and including Omaha, Kansas City and Las Vegas. And now, the glamorous woman is touting the company’s fifth retirement center in O’Fallon, Mo., the Garden Villas of O’Fallon, that opens in November with a bowling alley, no less. . .

***

PINHEADS: St. Louis Sheriff’s Deputy Charles Kraft has been accused of threatening a couple with a gun during a dispute about a parking spot at a Shrewsbury bowling alley. His subsequent legal problems in St. Louis County have drawn the support of his friends, including managers in his department and judges. A recent fundraiser to help pay his lawyers was hosted by the St. Louis Sheriff Lt. Ray Harris, and Deputies Charles Russo and Kathy Kraft, sister of Charles. Wonder what the St. Louis County prosecutor thinks about that?

***

COMINGS & GOINGS: Cop talk (no, not CopTalk) says that Governor Jay Nixon will dump the decades long tradition of being escorted through St. Louis by a special detail of the Metropolitan St. Louis Police Department. The guv is rumored to be considering using the state patrol to take over the duty. Is this an early indication of how the guv is leaning on the contentious issue of surrendering state control of the city’s police force? . . . One of my all-time favorite news anchors, Deanne Lane, sent a note to set the record straight. “I was not fired. I resigned from KSDK (Channel 5), because I no longer wanted to work at night.” Could she still be working in TV? “Among the offers I’ve had was one from KMOV (Channel 4),” Lane penned from Centene Corp, where she is listed as media contact . . .David Bonetti, sharp-tongued art critic with the Post-Dispatch has written that he “took advantage of advanced age and a benefits package and decided to retire.” He further stated, “Although some of the Cherokee Street clique would like to think that I was fired by an enlightened management that wants reviews of inept artists showing their woeful attempts at self expression in vanity galleries, that is not the case”. . . Z. Dwight Billingsley, whose most recent column for the Post-Dispatch compared President Obama’s national healthcare prescriptions to bad public education policies, has penned his last column for the newspaper. (Will Z. Dwight now follow familiar migration patterns and end up in the St. Louis Beacon?). . .Speaker of the U.S. House Nancy Pelosi will be special guest on Oct. 3 at the Chase-Park Plaza for the fifth annual gala with Rep. Russ Carnahan. For more info or to RSVP call 314-534-2004. Former Post-Dispatch editor Ellen Soeteber still has her CWE condo and regularly visits her mom, Norma Soeteber, in Shiloh, Ill., as well as other family and friends. But, she and her husband, Dick Martins, are enjoying being back in South Florida, where multiple cultures and lifestyles are the happy norm.  When not in our town, she misses her family, her friends, and former colleagues at the Post-Dispatch and the Missouri Biotanical Garden. Christine Bertelson has ankled the Post-Dispatch for what she hopes will be a brighter future with Guv. Nixon’s office, beginning Tuesday. A media maven mentioned to her how nice Nixon’s state fair speech was on Aug. 13, while still in the paper’s employ. She is rumored to have replied, “I wrote it” The maven also suggested, that her dealing with Nixon while in the employ of the P-D, got other staffers’ noses out-of-joint. Bertelson served a number of posts at the paper, including editorial page editor, colyumnist and features editor…

***

HELLO?: The announcement that the local telco will no longer have to deliver its White Pages directory to customers will deprive some of us a favorite pastime: playing the Name Game. One favorite: the St. Louis directory contains a Hitler (and a bunch of Hittlers), a Tojo, two Roosevelts, nine Trumans and 12 Churchills. (There are also eight Schmucks and eleven Dierbergs – but, that’s not a food fight, not a World War.)

***

BURY MY HEART: David Simon, family service guy at Kriegshauser Mortuary West, is tub-thumping the firm’s pre-arranged funeral services.

John Smoltz, Michael Jackson and August Busch IV meet in premiere column.

Al and Nancy Malnik with Michael Jackson

Al and Nancy Malnik with Michael Jackson

DON’T STOP THE PRESSES; THEY MAY NEVER START AGAIN!: The Post-Dispatch’s Tony Messenger was bylined in a page-one scoop, outlining the connection of erstwhile Democratic campaign consultant Milton “Skip” Ohlsen to the investigation of the 2008 bombing in a private Clayton parking garage, that injured an attorney. The article sourced “a search warrant obtained” by the newspaper. That raises a couple of Berger-worthy questions:: who gave the search warrant (and several supporting documents) to the newspaper? and which local news managers are now kicking themselves for not pursuing the lead as assiduously as the tireless Messenger? If you have answers, let me know.

* * *

WARREN RAPP HAS SOLVED THE MYSTERY, THAT HAS ENTHRALLED CARDINAL NATION:”(Cardinals pitcher) John Smoltz told me, that in his first practice session with the Redbirds, Chris Carpenter confided in Smoltz, that he tipped his hand by the way he held his glove,” said Warren Rapp, general manager of Il Bel Lago Restaurant. Smoltz continued to admit, that he knew which pitch was coming and had the best outing of the year. Stoltz dined with his uncle, St. Anthony’s wunderkind Dr. Anthony Tensigni.

* * *

WHEE, THE PEOPLE: Banker Joe Imbs is brushing up on syntax of a speech he’ll deliver in 2010, when he becomes the Mysterious Majesty of Khorassan or the Veiled Prophet. .The lilting language of the prince of prose has returned to your screen with a bon mot about Michael Jackson from the late icon’s frequent host in Palm Beach, Al Malnik. Former St. Louisan, businessman and philanthropist Malnik said that when Jackson houseguested at Al and Nancy Malnik’s Palm Beach estate, “he could compose two songs at once. He could write a song in five minutes,” recalled Malnik. . .Gregg Wurm, yesteryear Ladue police chief-turned-secuirty chief has been bounced from his $200,000 a-year job at Centene Corp. Centene is also where former KSDK, Channel 5 anchor Deanne Lane is rumored to be toiling. . .Over in Forest Park, rumors are rife, that Broadway vet and frequent Muny headliner, Lee Roy Reams, may be paged to succeed productions chief Paul Blake. Muny officials are still burning over Blake’s 20-minute onstage eulogy for performer Gretchen Wyler a few seasons back. “Ninety-nine percent of the audience had never heard of her,” commented an angry official. Also at the Muny, beloved boxoffice guardian George Walsh retired after a 69-year gig there. . .The beleagured Dr. Bill Landau of WashU med center’s neurology dept. has not only been ousted from the ACLU for uttering the “n” word, but also faces a number of angry docs. The contentious Landau harps about the dearth of “secretaries” at clinical staff meetings and frequently uses his battle cry, “I’ll sue.” After the meetings, docs complain they have double-digit numbers of cases to Landau’s few. Another kind of brouhaha took place years ago there, when the department’s chief Dr. Dennis Choi threatened to evict Landau. Choi backed off after Landau threatened to sue. . .And, August Busch, IV, is telling pals, that he “has left Dodge City for the Ozarks” where he is spending most of his time these days.

* * *

THREE-DOT JOURNALISM, CONT.: Retired P-D reporter Bill Lhotka has scribed a tome about crime in our town, “St. Louis Crime Chronicles: The First 200 Years,” featuring 50 historic events. Among the stories is the one about the murder of Native American Chief Pontiac in Cahokia, Ill., who was buried around Broadway at Chestnut St. The pageturner is due to hit the stalls in October from Reedy Press. .Sam Koplar was spotted checking out the Clayton real estate market with what friends say is a possible move of Koplar Enterprises from its downtown Jello-tower of indecision. . .Carlene Goddard Mazur is now a permanent resident at Delmar Gardens on outer US-64. The unfortunate woman collapsed from a stroke in her kitchen and was left unattended for three days. . .Don’t invitems to the same party: electrical wizard David Payne and wife, Amy, and Sugo Restaurant bossman Michael Del Pietro – all over the eatery’s outstanding debt of $60,000. . .Are the former Harriet Cella and hub Doug Marshall getting separate mail?… Celebrated chef/owner of Niche Gerard Craft, is eyeing the purchase of the venerable Chez Leon in the CWE

* * *

NO ENNUI AT SLU: Prez of St. Louis University the reverend Lawernce Biondi, SJ has been the butt of a few jokes. Some of the administrators refer to the Jesuit priest as “L.B.J”

* * *

TO PONDER: Why the shakedown at our fancy shmancy markets? I mean, they’re touting Kobe Beef, when actually the meat is Kobe mixed with American cattle. A customer was overheard telling a meatcutter at Straub’s, “Real Kobe would be about $400 for six sirloin steaks.” The butcher shot back, “Is there a real American car?”

* * *

Bogart and Bacall

IT’S ONLY MONEY: And, the top-grossing mom & pop restaurant in our town (as opposed to a chain operation) has to be Annie Gunn’s out in Chesterfield, which rang up $6 million last year, according to an insdier.  For this columnist, Annie Gunn’s is a marvelous retreat and the house disease is nostalgia. It’s the kind of place I would imagine could be a fanatastic movie set. Lauren Bacall and Humphrey Bogart might have been embracing in one of those private hutches near the bar. Mixologist Eve Perlmutter excused herself from the brokers and broken  to create whiskey sours for the twosome. Bogie got a tic in his upper lip as he had in “The Maltese Falcon,’ in which he played private eye Sam Spade.  He said to Perlmutter, “In a paternity case, it’s always her child; in a divorce, it’s her children.

* * *

ALL OF MY WASTED LIFE I’ve never seen so many new buildings that are studies in sterility and lone cranes no longer hoisting girders out of a sea of mortgages. There was a time, when topping off of a new building downtown became the lead story. In those days we’d gather for a 35-cent dinner at Garavelli’s on Grand at Olive Street, our baseball heroes were the Browns at Sportsman’s Park on Grand at Dodier Street, where we entered with a Knothole Gang card. I wonder if nostalgia attracts many living people these days. But, back then, anyone worthwhile wore Threadneedle Street shoes from Boyd’s (packaging chief Bob Ragsdale still has a few like-new pairs) and then there were crewcuts. My crewcut appeared as if I had been readied for a prefrontal lobotomy.!


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