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A letter from Charlie Clagget today announces that Colleen Starkloff, widow of dignity rights activist Max Starkloff, and David Newburger, Commissioner on the Disabled for Mayor Francis Slay, have formally succeeded Max as directors of The Starkloff Disability Institute.  Both Starkloffs and Newburger co-founded the institute in 2003. According to Clagget, the two co-directors will be pushing The Institute’s newest initiative (The Next Big Step”), a collaboration with Centene, Enterprise Bank, Maritz, Enterprise Holdings, Monsanto, Nestle Purina, and SSM Healthcare to “help change attitudes and enable employment for people with disabilities.”  Max Starkloff, a fixture of Berger columns for decades, died of complications from the flu on Dec. 27, 2010.


“The cops are giving us s—, because of our last name as well as their racism,” said Nick Trupiano, 29, who, with his family owns the dance club, Lure, on Washington Avenue. One night each week, the club caters to African-Americans, that triggered one police officer, according to Trupiano, to ask him, “Do you like niggers?” Nick is the son of Marlene and the late Mike Trupiano, who served time in prison for playing cards. Mike was always perceived as a gangster by law enforcement, perhaps because he was the nephew of the notorious Tony Giordano. And now, Nick said that Mayor Francis Slay’s office and the St. Louis Police Department are trying to revoke the club’s liquor license over its clientele. Also, Trupiano pointed out that shots were recently fired two blocks away, which might have factored in the efforts to pull the club’s license. “The cops are trying to tie us into that only because of the blacks, who come here,” insisted Trupiano. “We pay about $75,000 a year in taxes to the city and state.” He added, that the family has hired former mayor and attorney Freeman Bosley, Jr., to represent them in the matter.


While Jim Buford, honcho of the St. Louis Metropolitan Urban League (UL) held the
attention of the 1,200-member audience at the Millenium Hotel, Marc Morial, the UL’s  national prez, took a shot at the U.S. Congress.  Morial pushed President Obama‘s concept of a vote up or vote down on the Health Care Reform bill and then called the lack of action by Congress “troubling.”  Meanwhile, local pols lined up to glad-hand Morial on the 100th anniversary of the New York-based UL. Hizzoner Slay spoke of Morial’s insightful leadership skills, when the two were colleagues with the Conference of Mayors. Morial was then mayor of New Orleans. Slay proclaimed the month of March as “The National Urban League’s Empowering Communities and Changing Lives” month.  Not to be outdone, Charlie Dooley and Alvin Parks did their ceremonial pitches after which Mark A. Kern, chairman, St. Clair County, mused, “I will proclaim it the national Urban League of the Century,” which got a rousing cheer.  Awards were presented for accomplishments in helping people in the African-American community to:  the Rev. Michael T. Jones; Cheryl Heard of Racial Harmony; Citi Corp., Faye Robinson and Habitat for Humanity.  The city unit of the league welcomed to its board Thomas Irwin of Civic Progress at which time some hisses were heard.  On hand for the gambol were:  Col. Bill and Cheryl Young; Susan Buford; U.L. chairman and former Veiled Prophet Stephen C. Jones; Emily Pitts; Melanie DeLeo; Frankie M. Freeman; the Rev. E.D. Shields; Katherine Osborn; Johnny Furr; Dr. Karl Wilson; John and Emma Moten, Jr.,; Henry Givens; Zelema Harris; Dennis Golden; Debra Denham; Christine Chadwick; the Rev. Sammie Jones; Metro Evening Whirl’s Gentry Trotter and St. Louis American’s Donald Suggs. After he was introed to revenue collector Greg F.X. Daly, Morial joshed, “Hey, I don’t owe any taxes.  I’m all paid up!”  And, head table guests eyeballed what some described as a 5-carat diamond ring on St. Louis Comptroller Darlene Green‘s finger.  Word was that she recently got hitched to businessman Melvin Hayes.


The odd couple of Mayor Francis Slay and County Exec Charlie Dooley seemed to be auditioning for prme time.  They joined Cong. Lacy Clay and United Way prez Gary Dollar and members of the Gateway Earned Income Credit Community Coalition (GECC) at the Metropolitan, Education and Training Center (MET Center) to alert the public on the availability of earned income tax credit (EITC) and free tax preparation services. After they were introduced by Clay, Dooley began presenting the county proclamation. “Unlike my good friend Mayor Slay, I am not going to bore you by reading this long document, but he will,” joshed Dooley.  Slay then thanked Clay and Dooley and said, “Thanks Charlie and by the way, I have no plans to read this proclamation. I’m just going to proclaim it EITC Day in the city. . .and the county. And, if you’ve noticed, my proc is not only bigger than Charlie’s, but it has a nice decorative frame.”


Looks like someone thinks the local residential real estate  market is beginning to move again., the real estate
website (not like!) reported on Monday that Mayor Slay and his wife have listed a home in Lindenwood Park for sale.  The 4 BR ranch-style house on Oleatha Avenue was built in 1940 and is being  peddled by hizzoner’s bro Tom Slay of Slay Realty. Asking price:  $369,000.  The mayoral Slays now live near Carondelet Park.


Kudos to Geoff Whittington, who has settled in a challenging job at, where he conducts computer and reference book research throughout the U.S. He focuses on where notables once lived and writes about them. His byline was recently found in the San Francisco Chronicle real estate section in which he wrote about a house, where the photographer of the Iwo Jima flag raising once lived. . .

Having developed a specialty in communications strategy using social media tools, Allison Collinger has been up and running her AHC Consulting business that has been booming. The former Rams exec is now facing audiences in packed rooms to hear her seminars on the topic and speaking/training engagements in the area. . .

Hometowner Steve Church is tub-thumping his kids television series project, “Safe at Home,” “starring and co-produced by Joe Torre and co-created by myself and John Goodman.” Church, now on the left coast, says Penny Marshall is directing and it is co-developed by Ed Goren, prez of Fox Sports. He added that he and Goodman are partnered with Tony Ponturo‘s Leverage Agency. . .

Another L.A. talent and hometowner, Lara Csengody, has struck success as a comedienne and writer and is fielding countless offers these days for her stand-up routines. . .

According to an email from St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay, the City of St. Louis’s Public Safety Dept. is now sending emergency text messages to subscribers of the data service


City of St. Louis and county religious leaders, law enforcement types and community leaders helped bring new hope into 2010 by promoting safer streets throughout the region at the New Year’s Candlelight Services at St. Bethel Church of God in Christ in north St. Louis.  It’s become a tradition in keeping memories alive of homicide victims, while promoting the need to reduce criminal violence in the years to come.  Officials encouraged the audience participating in the Families Advocating Safe Streets project to teach children common sense, intervene when they are falling into the wrong crowd, provide a strong foundation and set a good example of outstanding citizenship.  On hand were St. Louis Police Chief Dan Isom, Mayor Francis Slay, Jeanette Culpepper, founder of Families Advocating Safe Streets and St. Louis county Police Chief Tim Fitch.


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!


Rev. Fred Phelps, the Kansas City pastor who has picketed funerals of soldiers to draw attention to his wacky theology, has selected a new target and a new battleground.  Phelps and his micro-congregation have announced plans to turn up as scheduled at the Jan. 7 performance of pants-impaired Lady Gaga at the Fox Theatre.  A press release from the rev. denounces Lady for being a “hussy”  and for “seducing a generation.”  A national pop-culture website, www.popeater,com drew this comment from buttoned-down and gay-friendly mayor Francis Slay: “I respect his right to protest, but this instance seems more like pop music criticism than a political protest.  I hope her fans have fun and spend lots of money here.  Other than that, there’s ‘Nothing Else I Can Say (eh eh).”   – an amusing nod, notes the writer, to Lady Gaga’s song, ‘Eh, Eh (“Nothing Else I Can Say).”  But will hizzoner, who once famously refused to honor an alleged wife-batterer like Ike Turner, turn up for Lady Gaga’s show?…  Mayor Slay was on a roll with a visit by U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, who had planned to fork over a $15 million grant to allow the city to replace the South Dock at the Municipal River Terminal, which the mayor said will also preserve jobs.  In the lobby fast-talking PR types were politely pushing TV camera crews to raise up their camera stands since Locke is much shorter than Slay. Slay then gave Locke a tour through the inner sanctum and rattled off a litany of White House visitors with grant monies

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NEWSOME TWOSOME: Charlie Gitto’s downtown stop was where Dani Wehmer was feted on her birthday at a party tossed by her soulmate Ricky Dicker of Wedge Tire fame. Not only was she presented an engagement ring but also a proposal for marriage. She accepted. A September marriage is now in the works. . . Barrister Gentry Sayad is clocking out at Armstron Teasdale to head up the Asia office of Minneapolis-based Fredrikson Baron. His office will be in Shanghai.

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HAPPY HOLLYDAYS: Howard Hayes, the St. Louis Land Reutilization Authority (LRA) chairman, said that about 200 people each year buy city property on which to build. “We’re rebuilding one block at a time,” he said. “The city owns about 8,000 acres.” Hayes was among the party-goers at the Democrats’ holiday frolic at the IBEW hall in south city. As far as Paul McKee‘s plan in north St. Louis, Hayes opined, “If you don’t like his plan, where’s yours?” County Exec Charlie Dooley sang “My Girl” for fellow-Dems, when not glad-handing the folks in the crowd that included state reps Jake Zimmerman, Mike Corcoran, Jack Hummel, Michele Kratky and Sue Schoemehl.  County council members celebrating were Babara Fraser and Kathleen Kelly Burkett and U. City mayor Joe Adams, St. Louis city aldermen Stephen Gregali and Jennifer Florida, Hazelwood mayor Matt Robinson, Missouri state sen. Joe Keavney collector of revenue Gregg Daly and Florissant councilman Keith Schildroth, a 2010 candidate for the 76th Dist. in the Missouri House. “My strength as a councilman has been my work by old-school politics,” said Schildroth. “I go to residences and talk to the people.”  Others in the crowd were Jeannie King, Mickey McTague, Mary Elizabeth Dorsey, Doug Clemens, Sean Weller, Marianne Solari, Byron DeLear, John Gwaltney, Rhoda Womack and Eileen and Leo McGeoghegan.  One of the most sought after figures there was marketing baron David Woodruff of Blue Pear media and political campaigns. His client list consists of among others: Mayor Tommy Sowers (Rolla) for Congress (8th Dist.); Joe Adams for state senate (14th Dist.); Rep. Michael Corcoran for state senate (24th Dist.); Marty Zuniga for the house (100th Dist.) of Oakville. Woodruff also does consulting and fundraising for St. Louis Ald. Shane Cohn, Sue Schoemehl and Michele Kratky.

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WORKING THE ROOMS, CONT: The Greater St. Louis Labor Council’s feedbag at the Machinists Hall drew Bob Soutier, former guv Bob Holden and Roger Wilson, Plumbers and Pipefitters’ brass Dick and Pat Kellet, Gas Workers’ rep Pat White, roofers’ rep Dan O’Donnell, the IBEW duo of Tom George and Tom Sansevere and Monsignors Vince Bommarito and Sal Polizzi.  Then, seen at the St. Louis Building and Construction Trades bash at the Operating Engineers hall were: Jerry Feldhaus; senator Tim Green; county councilman Mike O’Meara; PRIDE exec director Jim LaMantia; mayor Francis Slay; secretary of state Robin Carnahan; board of aldermen prez Lewis Reed; Dick Mantia; Bob Kelley and Tom Kickman.  Retirement? Not for Lashly & Baer barrister Don Beimdiek, who with his beloved Carolyn, were front ‘n center at the gambol hosted by Mike and Steve Roberts at their Indigo Hotel on Lindell Boulevard. Don has repped the Roberts Companies’ real estate issues for 20 years. The Beimdieks ticked off the achievements of their heirs:  Bevy Beimdiek is a public defender on capital cases; Lynn Morris is an artist; Karen Baratz is a media relations guru promoting television shows in the Beltway; Steve Beimdiek is a litigator with Lashly & Baer. Wayman Smith, III., got kudos on his and ex JoAnn Adams’ grandbaby, born to mom and pop Kym and Chuck Emmanuelle. Bank of  America’s Pat  Mercurio attempted to command Whirl  photographers as to whom to shoot, until she was checked by publisher Gentry Trotter, who told her to run her bank and not his photographers. She laughed it off while she said, “I’d like to run the St.Louis Baseball Cardinals,” within earshot of owner Fred Hanser.  He gladly got the green light and jumped in a photo with her. Mike Jones, chief-of-staff to Charlie Dooley, got some laughs from friends as he told some off-color wise cracks about a group of nursing home residents.  Others in the crowd were: Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder; Sheila Bader; Earl Wilson; Dr. James Knight and Donna Knight; Dennis Reagan; Circuit Judge Donald McCullin; St. Louis American’s Donald Suggs; James Neely, Jr.; Harold Antoine; Anthony Sanders; Fredrick Scott and the Roberts brothers’ parents, Dolores and Victor Roberts.

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FURTHERMORE: St. Louis county police commish Greg Sansone – steady as he goes – with Elisabeth Ottolini of cutsie Ceylavie Catering in Chesterfield, spotted over lunch at Annie Gunn’s. . . Don’t stop Adriana Fazio – too busy making stuffed sirloin meatloaf and pistachio cake at her Adriana’s on The Hill. . . After about a year, Mike Fiala continues to eye the former Coco’s space on Lindbergh Boulevard for another Talayna’s. . .Yesteryear Balaban’s chef David Timney is ditto-ing at Mangia Italiano, where pals say he’s providing pasta for Dierbergs and Straub’s. . .The SLUTS (St. Louis Urban Traders) may just end the year with twinkie rewards.  SLUTS’ membership is limited to gay men. . . Pediatric ENT specialist Dr. James Forsen and his wife, Janis, are beaming with word that their daughter, Libby Forsen, was chosen as a junior maid at the Veiled Prophet Ball. . . Plaudits for Geile-Leon Marketing and John O’Connor, who support Project Restore on a pro-bono basis.  The Edwadsville, Ill.,-based agency has provided much-needed drinking water for the Ugandan villages of  Namulonge, Buso and Kasambia for use this winter.  The Project Restore team has traveled to Uganda this month to install new rain harvesting systems to holding tanks. . .

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BOTTOMING OUT: Bride to husband: “The best things I cook are meat loaf and peach cobbler.”  Husband to bride: “Which one is this?”

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St. Vincent Home for Children got a $45,000 boost the other night from donors at the Four Seasons Hotel.  That’s where hosts Jeanne and Rex SinquefeldRachel and Travis Brown of Pelopidas and Laura Slay of Slay and Associates plied hundreds of guests with a dinner and music by a Motown-sound band (Arvell & Company).  Sinquefeld and his brother, Jerry, lived at St. Vincent in the 1950s, after their family fell on hard financial times following the death of their father. Rex said to guests, “This organization has an important job.  And, with families struggling in a down economy, our task becomes even more urgent.  The children who come through the center need every bit of tender loving care, and every second of recreational, social, emotional therapeutic and spiritual help we can give them.”  Donors on hand included: Mayor Francis Slay; County Exec Charlie Dooley; Lt. Gov. Kinder; Vince Mannino of R.G.Construction and his wife, Patti; Charlie Brennan of KMOX; Diana Bourisaw of Midwest Charter Solutions; Mark Carlie of Stone Carlie & Co.; Dan Mehan of the Mo. Chamber of Commerce; Sam Fox of the Harbour Group and his wife, Marilyn; Lauren Herring of IMPACT Group; Bob Duffy of The St. Louis Beacon; Antonio Segovia of Monsanto and Guy McCormack of the University of Missouri-Columbia and his wife, Norma.

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