Saturday, July 30, 2005

Tailors to a worldwide clientele

I needed to pick up something to do some work on a guitar today, so took a drive over to the venerable old Huelsing's music on Watson. Sadly, the owner has closed the doors for good. So I was sitting in my car in the empty parking lot, thinking where to go, and Guitar Center out near Crestwood Plaza pops into my head as the obvious choice. But there had to be someplace closer...

That's when I remembered Eddie's Guitars on Manchester in the heart of old town Maplewood. A short drive down Arsenal to Southwest to Manchester and I'd be there.

Eddie's Guitars caters to a high-end clientele. His buyers tend to be collectors as much as players. They have a private area in the back of the store which features exotic, custom built amps.

The owner mentioned that many of their buyers travel from Europe to shop their selection. They carry models of both guitars and amps unavailable to most dealers, including Guitar Center.

A photo on the wall reveals an interesting piece of St. Louis history. Eddie's Guitars roots go back to the corner of Tower Grove and Manchester, in the same building that has houses an on-again, off-again community pottery center. Tower Grove Music was in that spot way back in the mid-1960s.


Friday, July 29, 2005

Living Good in the Neighborhood

When we first lived in St. Louis, from 1986-1989, we lived in an apartment out in West County near Olive and 270. We fell in love with St. Louis, but there were a lot of things we missed about our home state of California. Fresh fish, good Mexican and Asian foods, and sour dough bread were a few.

In 1989, a job offer from a real estate developer enticed us to return to California. Going against our better judgement (a side-by-side comparison showed St. Louis a better place to live than Northern California), we decided to accept the California offer.

Three years later, we were pregnant with our son Matt. We decided we wanted to raise him in St. Louis - the City. So, with Kerri 8 months pregnant, we moved back to St. Louis and purchased our first home, a 2-bedroom, story and a half bungalow in South City.

That was 12 years ago, and have things sure changed in St. Louis. Most of the things we missed most about California, especially things like fresh fish, ethnic restaurants, and hand crafted breads are now widely available here.

Best of all, now we're exporting our local brand of breads to California...


Thursday, July 28, 2005

Overstating the case?

St. Louis: "The Soul of America?"

This description pretty well sums it up.


Rhythm and Rhyme and Harmony

Slow in gaining national recognition, the STL music scene is one of our most underappreciated civic assets.

It shouldn't be. STL is the heart of the Mississippi Valley's evolution of American music.


Like a Giant Oyster...

...opened skyward on the edge of downtown, the new ballpark is beginning to whet the appetite of Cardinal Nation...

The massive brick and steel presence, the Eads Bridge inspired arches, the reality of downtown baseball for another generation, all adding up to a summer of anticipation, sweetened by the possibility of another Cardinal's World Series bid on the horizon...


Downtown Famous will be a Macy's

Just announced. Good news for downtown.

No word on fate of Papa Fabarre's...


SLACO Organizes Neighborhood Leaders Roundtable

To reinforce the efforts of its annual Neighborhoods Conference, SLACO, the St. Louis Association of Community Organizations, is sponsoring the formation of a Neighborhood Leaders Roundtable.

A meeting of the Roundtable was held last night at the beautifully renovated Visitor's Center at Forest Park. Approximately 50 people attended from neighborhoods across St. Louis. The purpose of the Neighborhood Leaders Roundtable is to strengthen the efforts of neighborhood organizations, encourage neighborhood collaboration, and ultimately strengthen St. Louis communities.

SLACO plans to conduct quarterly meetings of the Neighborhood Leaders Roundtable. For more information, contact SLACO .


Updated: Magdalen Boys Win Game One, 5-4, Towards City-County Championship

Sunday, July 31

The 6th grade boys baseball team from St. Mary Magdalen Catholic Church on South Kingshighway won the first game of their CYC City-County Championship tournament at St. Martin of Tours Field at Ripa and Telegraph in South St. Louis County.

Clutch hitting, team defense, and solid pitching carried the Magdalen boys. Games two and three of the tournament will be played next weekend.


Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Ped/Bike Bridge Readies to Span River Des Peres

Bike trail and regional park system taking shape

You can see it now. The new trail features quality construction and extensive stonework at the various entry points.


Dog-Friendly St. Louis

Is there a dog park coming soon near your neighborhood?

St. Louis Dog Parks home page

Dog Parks in the works

There are presently efforts to bring new dog parks to the Southwest Garden neighborhood and possibly Wilmore Park.

Do you own a dog? Have you ever used a dog park? Would you use one of these?


Tuesday, July 26, 2005

St. Louis: One of the "Most Underpriced US Housing Markets"

St. Louis Underpriced Housing Market Information

We know it: St. Louis is a great choice as a place to live...

And, it's underpriced to boot. We need the rest of the world to know it!


Nottingham Community Center Plan

A group of 16th ward volunteers has grown to over 100 in efforts to bring a new CID (Community Improvement District) to the ward to fund commercial district improvements, neighborhood public safety, and a community center and swim facility.

Households funding the CID, estimated to cost $250 per year, will have access to the community center, and the opportunity to join the swimming pool on an annual basis at an additional cost.

The preferred location for the community center and swim facility is at the SW corner of Donovan and Nottingham, across from Francis Park. Currently the site is home to a city public high school for about 100 special education students. In order for the project to proceed, the school district would need to find an alternative location for the special education high school and agree to a sale of the property.

Proponents have developed a preliminary design for the community center, which features many of the design elements of homes in the St. Louis Hills neighborhood.

Approval of the CID would require 51% of property owners within the CID to sign a petition in support, and then approval by the Board of Aldermen.

Other parts of the city have established CIDs, including Downtown and South Grand.


Monday, July 25, 2005

Top Amateurs Play Tonite at Renovated Heine Meine Field

At 5:00 and 8:00 PM tonite, down at Heine Meine Field in Lemay, some of our region's top amateur baseball players will be competing in the annual "Metro Collegians" baseball tournament.

Many of these players have big league dreams. If you're a fan of the game, and want a chance to see high-caliber baseball, without the high food and ticket prices, tonite's your opportunity.

Heine Meine Field, one of the most historic ballparks in the St. Louis area, is located in near-South St. Louis County, just across the River Des Peres at Lemay Ferry Road, directly behind the St. Louis Baseball Fast Pitch Academy.

Courtesy of the Cardinals Care Foundation, Heine Meine Field has just undergone massive field renovations, while still maintaining it's historic ambiance.


Arch Beer Garden?

KMOX's Charlie Brennan has started a campaign to have an outdoor dining venue opened on the Arch grounds. One of our local restauranteurs might be tapped to operate the facility.

However, federal officials including the Arch superintendent, note that such uses are not allowed at national monuments.

Personally, I favor the idea. For comparison, if you've been to the Eifel Tower, are there similar outdoor food and drink places up close to its base?


Sunday, July 24, 2005

High Latin Masses at St. Francis DeSales

Today we began our mission of exploring some of the different churches around the city, attending the High Latin Mass at St. Francis DeSales Church on Gravois-the “Cathedral of South St. Louis”.

This is one of those historic settings in the City that make you feel more like you’re in Europe than the Midwest.

Everything was very ceremonial. The priest changed his vestments about six times. Many of the women and young girls were wearing veils. There must have been at least sixteen altar boys helping serve at the Mass. The interior of the church is glorious.

The Arch Diocese moved the Latin Mass from St. Agatha to St. Francis DeSales in an effort to preserve St. Francis DeSales. St. Francis DeSales has made it to about the twenty-percent mark in its million dollar plus renovation fund drive.

Latin Masses are held at 10:00 am Sundays at St. Francis DeSales, and are worth attending even if you’re not Catholic.


Saturday, July 23, 2005

Lawn warriors

Just finished mowing my sister's lawn down in near South County-Bella Villa to be exact. You know the place, it's the tiny municipality famous for the speed trap on Bayless between Lemay Ferry and I-55.

Man, do they have big lawns down there! You need an RV-sized mower on some of them. You could fit two or three city-sized homes just on the lawn area that separates my sister's house from her neighbors'.

Just think, when homes are built closer together, there's less lawn to mow, more people to do it, land is conserved, and less gas is sucked up into all those power mowers.

Maybe I've just gotten spoiled mowing our modest-sized city lawns all these years...


Friday, July 22, 2005

East Side Geyser

The other day we were riding through East St. Louis, when an East Side friend offered to drive by the base of the towering East St. Louis fountain.

It was a little after 2:00 pm and the giant fountain was asleep. You get to the fountain complex by driving under the spaghetti maze of elevated east side highways. You exit downtown ESL, and follow the old street grid past many overgrown vacant lots.

Eventually you come upon the fenced yard of the fountain. There, sitting at the center of a small reservoir, you see what looks like an upside-down version of the exhaust baffles from the old Apollo rockets. When the fountain is on (a little past noon), a 500 (+) foot tall column of water shoots straight up in the air out of the holding pond.

Drive a little further and you're at the ESL levee; make a right, and you're on the river side of the Casino Queen Casino hotel. Soon, the geyser site will be the center of a new east side regional park.

Next time, I'm going to visit when the fountain is ON.


It's the water

I grew up in the parched regions of Northern California. Every summer we would go through another fire season. Sometimes the fires would burn in the fields right next to our subdivision.

I've never seen a forest or grass fire burn in Missouri. And we never worry about water rationing in the City of St. Louis. We get our water right out of the Mississippi River. Even with a drought in much of Missouri, the Mississippi is flowing strong.

The city has its own water treatment plant in North St. Louis, and St. Louis has some of the best tasting public water anywhere.

No need to spend your money on trendy bottled waters. Just tap ours!

Rick Bonasch

Thursday, July 21, 2005

STL Rising

Welcome to STL Rising, a blog dedicated to the renaissance of St. Louis. Here you are welcome to share your thoughts and ideas about the continuing revitalization of the great historic city of St. Louis.

For over two centuries, St. Louis was a stopping off point on the way to a further destination. Now, things are rapidly changing, and St. Louis is becoming a destination of choice for more and more of people of various backgrounds.

If you share a love of St. Louis, STL Rising is a place to share your thoughts and ideas about this great metropolis in the heart of the Mississippi Valley.

Rick Bonasch