Neighborhood Caretaker Alert
Response Center

Citizens can use the Neighborhood Caretaker Alert (NCA) form to anonymously notify the City of issues or concerns.  The NCA form is available in paper form only at City Hall, 139 S. Kirkwood Road; at the Kirkwood Community Center, 111 S. Geyer Road; at the Kirkwood Public Library, 140 E. Jefferson Avenue; and at ALL THREE Fire Houses (137 W. Argonne, 11804 Big Bend, and 1321 W. Essex).  If you have completed a form previously, you can find the results of your anonymous Neighborhood Caretaker Alert form here - click on the link and then enter your form number:

All Aboard:  Blog Archive, May to October 2011

Tuesday, October 25, 9:45 a.m.  We are all very sad today at City Hall.  We lost a colleague on Sunday.  Sanitation Division Director Gary Forshee was killed while riding his motorcycle on Sunday.  He was 63 and had been with the City for 22 years.  He leaves behind three children.  Click here for the full obituary.

Quick Update, Friday, October 21, 3:45 p.m.:
  It's been a busy week in Kirkwood so I haven't had much time to touch base with all the Kirkwood bloggees out there, but if you subscribe to the E-News, you'll get lots of Happenings in today's edition.  Also, we've compiled a three-page Q&A on the parking lot / building purchase under consideration by Council.  You can download a copy here.   Have a great weekend - see you next week!!

READER COMMENTS, Monday, October 10:

From Dan Terpstra:
  "I think it's too bad that more effort isn't made to encourage people to park at Station Plaza and walk the few blocks to local stores and restaurants. I know there are a few signs, but perhaps more could be done to encourage its use. Even if the city goes ahead with the purchase and demolition of this prime commercial real estate, perhaps some consideration should be given to better signage for Station Plaza parking such as putting signs along Argonne and Jefferson directing drivers across the tracks.  While on the subject of parking, when is Kirkwood going to follow the example of WG and put in racks where a person can lock up their bicycle when coming to downtown Kirkwood. I end up having to use a street sign post or a median tree to lock my bike to."

Beth's Response:  Thanks, Dan.  Very thoughtful comments.  Station Plaza would seem to be a good parking alternative, but there are several reasons why we suspect people don't park there.  First, Kirkwood is a destination city for visitors from around the region, and visitors may not know about the garage.  Signage might help, but it's not a sure bet people will want to park that far away from the main downtown area.  I agree with you that it's not a far walk, but if you're older or disabled or a woman walking in heels (or a woman walking alone at night - the garage is dark), you're probably going to want to park closer to your destination.  (By the way - great suggestion about the bike racks.  I am passing that on to Council.)

From Robin Hudson:  I agree that we need more parking in downtown Kirkwood, since our lots always seem to be full. I would prefer to see a parking garage be built on one of the exisiting lots rather than purchasing and tearing down buildings.  I hate to see our cute downtown buildings torn down, since it takes away the charm of our downtown area, and large surface lots don't add any charm at all. Parking garages are not exactly attractive, but if designed well, could fit nicely with our surroundings and would
provide far more parking than just another surface lot.

Beth's Response:  Thanks, Robin!   City Council gave that option serious consideration, but this is what they learned:   The cost to build a garage on the parking lot owned by the City would have exceeded $2.25 million, and the net gain, at best, would have been 59 parking spaces (probably fewer) because you can’t build very high in the downtown area (probably only two levels).  Plus, the gain in parking spaces wouldn't be where the greatest need is.  The estimated cost right now to buy the buildings on West Jefferson, tear them down, and build the lots is about $1.425 million (it could be less if construction bids come in lower), and the net gain will be 46 spaces (all regular size, not sub-standard, and ADA compatible).  Also, the gain will occur where it is most needed:  West of Kirkwood Road

From Tim Prosser:  Just following up on the question posed by Bette Miller and featured on your blog. The official press release doesn't say who currently owns the buildings to be acquired. The purchase prices seem very high for tear-down and the cost per parking space is breathtaking.  While I have not conducted a proper survey, of course, I will say that I have yet to speak with even one person who thinks this purchase seems wise (given the timing, the overall economic situation and, especially, the very high purchase prices). Something doesn't feel right about this situation.  More discussion, more transparency and the articulation of a pressing need to buy THESE two properties at THIS TIME would help reassure me (as a Kirkwood resident) that this is a reasonable step by the City.

Beth's Response:  Thanks, Tim!  One thing to keep in mind is that after the City purchases these buildings, they will become City assets.  And they will be assets that are never going to depreciate in value.  We used an outside consultant to evaluate the buildings and our purchase offer, and they said we were getting a very good price for the two buildings, based on the sale price of other buildings in the downtown area.  We are still technically in the negotiating phase, so until the deal is completely done, we're not sure we can release the report we received, but as soon as we can, we will make it available for residents (check back).

It can be very tempting to look at the purchase of these buildings in terms of the per-parking-space cost.  However, that kind of assessment doesn't take into consideration that this will be a City asset, that the asset will appreciate in value, and that additional parking will result in additional downtown sales revenue for many years to come.

I'm sorry you think this has not been a transparent process.  As the Public Information Officer for the City, I take my responsibility very seriously, and I work really hard to give you guys as much information as I can.  I can tell you that the early part of the purchase process was done in a closed session.  You probably read the press release so you know why we did that - to avoid a bidding war and get the best possible price, just as you would do when purchasing a home.  You probably also know that the City is allowed to do that under state law.  No laws were broken.  We used the same process when we purchased the land for the new Avery Drive Park just a few months ago.

Once a contract was accepted by the seller, however, the process became public.  The Council discussed the appropriation (funding the purchase) at its October 6 meeting.  It also heard from Kirkwood residents and business owners at that meeting, and you can listen to that discussion here (audio recordings of council meetings - scroll down, and click on October 6).  The appropriation will also be on the agenda on November 3 at the regularly scheduled 7pm Council meeting.  I hope you can all attend.

1:30 p.m. Update to this response:  The Mel Bay family estate owns both properties.

From Cheryl Hemann:  I've been reading about your plans to turn two empty, downtown buildings into parking lots. Recently I've been discussing that with neighbors to better understand what some of the local objection is to that proposition. One of the biggest "complaints" reflected in various media sources is the lack of downtown parking. Yes, parking areas are full when you go out to eat at a local restaurant. But parking is available. You may need to walk a block or two - but most people are capable of that. So maybe the issue is truly - is there limited parking close to the restaurant an individual may be going to in an evening. Still, if the parking shortage is such a common complaint, additional parking at that location near so many restaurants seems a bonus. Especially when you look around neighboring storefronts and see so many vacancies! Ideally we aim to be a vibrant community that sustains a wide variety of businesses, limiting vacancies to few and of short duration. So seeing two vacant (or soon-to-be-vacant) buildings of little significant architectural or historical value doesn't seem to pose a barrier to demolition for parking. I think the primary issue is the cost of the purchase of the property and where will the city obtain the finances. With so much public complaining aimed toward governments and school districts these days, the fiscal portion of this prospect is significant. If taxes are raised as a result of money shortages or needs in the next 10 years - this purchase will be questioned - was this a prudent use of taxpayer money.  It appears to me to be a good decision - but I don't have the financial knowledge about the city's finances and projections. That too has to play a role in this decision.

Beth's Response:  Cheryl, all good points!  These two buildings will be paid for out of the City's "General Reserve Fund."  This is money the City has saved over the years.  Here is what the ICMA textbook, Management Policies in Local Government Finance, says about the use of a City’s reserves (also referred to as a “fund balance”) for this kind of purchase:  “They allow the locality to meet current cash flow requirements, temporary shortfalls in revenues, or unexpected expenditure demands without suddenly adjusting tax rates or cutting expenditures during the budget year.  Also, fund balances can help municipalities avoid short-term borrowing, thereby saving interest costs.”  In summary, this is exactly the kind of thing for which the City’s reserve funds can and should be used.  The purchase of buildings for parking use is very much in line with the purpose of a municipality’s reserves.  Moreover, Kirkwood’s own Citizens’ Finance Committee has made recommendations as to the level of reserves they believe the City ought to maintain, and after the purchase of these two buildings, the City will still be within the parameters of those guidelines.

One additional note on the reserves:  It is precisely because of the excellent fiscal oversight provided by the Citizens' Finance Committee and the City Council over the last several years that the City has this money in reserve.

From George Sallwasser:  It seems to me that the cost of the additional parking spaces is very expensive. Kirkwood downtown certainly could use more parking but there are a lot of other things we need. Is there any offsetting income to recoup the capital cost and the lost taxes? If not, I would not be in favor of the project.

Beth's Response:  Thanks, George!  On average, the City estimates that just one medium-sized restaurant can add $29,000 in additional yearly sales tax revenue to the City. I hope all of the other information I provided above answers your questions and concerns.  If not, please email me with any additional questions.  Thanks very much to everyone who wrote!

THANK YOU to all our readers who sent in comments.  Tomorrow we will answer some of these questions and concerns!!

From Bette Miller:  "Why don't you ask residents for input on the proposed City purchase of the 2 buildings on W. Jefferson??  That might make for some interesting conversation.  I thought a blog allowed for comments for all to read.  Am I incorrect?"

THANK you, Bette, for your comment.  No, you are not incorrect (sorry for the double negative there).  We LOVE comments here.  And I'm glad you asked about the parking lot and the building purchase.  There seems to be a lot of misinformation out there about what's going on.  I'm going to attach here at the end of my comment a copy of the press release we sent to local media this week.  It pretty much covers everything.  But if any of our readers still have any questions after reading the press release, please email me with your comments or questions, and I will post your comments here AND try to get you an answer.

Here is the official press release in a PDF. 

Thursday Update:  CAT ALERT: 
Kirkwood resident Nancy Luetzow emailed me just now about her missing cat.  She lives in the Craig Woods subdivision and her cat has been missing since Monday.  Here's a flyer with a picture and contact information if you see a cat roaming around!  Thank you.

Thursday, October 6, 10:00 a.m.:  It's a dark day in the technology world today.  RIP Steve Jobs: 1955-2011.
  For us writers and those of us who make our living using technology, it's an especially sad day.  In my lifetime, I have moved from manual typewriter (a 1924 Underwood Standard, during college) to memory typewriter to personal computer to smartphone, and a lot of that movement has been the result of technology and engineering developed by Steve Jobs and Apple.  The first computer I used was a mainframe, with just a keyboard.  The first PC I used (1986) also introduced me to email, but it had no mouse.  Today, I can make updates to this Website on my phone (not an iPhone, but Android-based, built to compete with Mr. Jobs' creation).  If you'd like to read a little bit about Mr. Jobs and the development of the mouse and the graphical user interface, click here for a great article by Malcolm Gladwell in the New Yorker (from May).

Of course, the news of his death comes on the heels of another death of an inspiring and innovative creator, Bob Cassilly, last week.  I was just reading an article about Mr. Cassilly in the Post-Dispatch, and apparently Our Man Bob is THE guy who stopped the crazy man who was smashing Michelangelo's Pieta with a hammer in 1972 from completely destroying it (by punching him out).  I was a freshman in high school when that story went 'round the globe (meaning, I remember when it happened), but I had no idea until this week that the guy responsible for giving my children so much joy and fun at the City Museum was also the hero who helped preserve one of the greatest works of art ever created.  What a guy.  He will be missed.

In Other News, there's a bunch of fun stuff going on this weekend.  All week long, it's been "restaurant week" in downtown Kirkwood, with participating restaurants offering some great $20.11 specials.  For all the details, visit the downtown Kirkwood Website.  Culminating the week is this Saturday's Fall Festival of Local Flavor.  Lots of great exhibits and specials all over downtown.  Friday night, of course, is the annual Pumpkin Carving, sponsored by our very own Parks & Recreation department. Teams are already set up but come on by to watch them do their thing!  Friday night, Farmers' Market Greenway, 5:30-8:00 p.m.   But that's not all:

The Mississippi Valley Train Show is happening this weekend (Oct 8 and 9) at the Community Center (111 S. Geyer):  Saturday 10am to 5pm, and Sunday 11am-4pm. Admission $5 (12 and under free with an adult).

St. Louis HELP (Health Equipment Lending Program) is hosting another Equipment Drive this Saturday, October 8, 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., at participating Schnucks and Dierbergs stores.  For a full list, visit their Website.  They are looking for the following:  Wheelchairs, scooters, canes, crutches, walkers, shower chairs, grab bars, elevated toilet seats, portable commodes, lift chairs, seating cushions, back supports, folding ramps - just about any type of medical equipment (except oxygen) you might have on hand and no longer need.  On a personal note, after my mother died, we had several of these kinds of things that we ended up throwing in a dumpster because there was no organization at the time doing this kind of work.  PLEASE:  If you have anything like this in your home that you no longer need, or if you have a family member or neighbor who needs to get rid of some equipment, this is a GREAT way to do something good with it.  THANK YOU.

That's all for now.  I gotta go work on the e-newsletter for tomorrow ("Friday Happenings" - send me an email if you wanna sign up to get all this GREAT information in your inbox).  I'll check back here soon for another post.  Meanwhile, if you want to leave a comment here, just send me an email.  Have a great weekend!!

Wednesday, September 28, 9:00 a.m.  NEW!! 
"C'est la vie, say the old folks, it goes to show you never can tell."  Those lyrics are carved in stone in the University City Loop as part of a new monument to local rock and roll legend, Chuck Berry.   I'm a HUGE Chuck Berry Fan (see photo, below, taken just this past weekend), so I was excited to get the news release from the Kirkwood Public Library that came in yesterday (too late for this Friday's Eye on Kirkwood, so we'll print it here):   HARRY WEBER VISITS THE KIRKWOOD PUBLIC LIBRARY.

Nationally acclaimed sculptor Harry Weber, creator of bronzes at Busch Stadium and the recently unveiled Chuck Berry statue in the U City Loop, will visit the library on Thursday, October 6, at 7:00 p.m.  Weber will discuss his work as a sculptor and master draftsman.  Weber says about his work:  "I want to capture the wonder of what human beings and animals can achieve when they're at their very best."   When I saw the statue this weekend, I was particularly amazed that the whole thing pretty much rests on the heel of Mr. Berry's right foot, which you can see in the photo, and which captures his whimsical on-stage presence pretty accurately.  So if you're a fan of Chuck's, or you love art and sculpture, come hear Mr. Weber!.   FREEAt Kirkwood Public Library, 140 E. Jefferson, 7:00 p.m.

Tuesday, September 27, 3:00 p.m.:  COFFEE LOWERS RISK OF DEPRESSION IN WOMEN.  
First they told us dark chocolate and red wine were good for us and now coffee fights depression.  Well, life just keeps getting better and better!   According to a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, women who drink two cups of coffee a day have a 15% reduced risk of depression compared to women who drink one cup or less per week.  One cup a day reduces your risk too, but not by as much.  So what does that mean?  Buy stock in Starbucks today!  But seriously, we have several coffee shops in Kirkwood that would love to help you reduce your risk for depression - Starbucks, Kaldi, and of course, St. Louis Bread Company (my apologies if I'm missing any).   Here's a link to the whole article, which you can read on your smart phone while you enjoy your morning cup of coffee!

We're Talkin' BUSY:  September in Kirkwood is always a busy month (you'll note by the fact that I have not written a blog post since September 2).  Now that Greentree is over, and Fall is officially here (as of Friday, September 23), with October just days away, the event season is in full swing.  First up:  Kirkwood-Oakland's "Day Out" is this Saturday, October 1, at the Police Department,131 W. Madison,  noon to 4pm.  The national "Night Out" event is typically held in August, but the heat is so awful that the sweethearts at the Kirkwood Police Department decided to move the City's event to October.  The high for this Saturday is supposed to be below 70 so bring a jacket, come meet some local organizations, take a tour of the Police Department, and have lunch on us (while food lasts).  Here's a flyer that talks all about this year's event!

Italian, Middle-Eastern, or Mexican food?  What's your favorite?  You like them all?  Well then, downtown Kirkwood is the place to be next week because it's DINE DOWNTOWN KIRKWOOD WEEK:  October 2-8.  Participating restaurants will offer dinner specials for $20.11, and some specialty food shops will offer $2.11 specials.  UJ & the Downhome Blues Band will play from 5:30 to 8:00 p.m., Friday night, October 7, at Station Plaza.  The week culminates in:

FALL FESTIVAL OF LOCAL FLAVOR, October 8:  This annual event is a celebration of all things homegrown, locally owned, and environmentally friendly. Visitors who SHOP KIRKWOOD FIRST can spend the day shopping the sales and specials - just in time to pick out some great holiday gifts - and then finish off the day at your favorite downtown Kirkwood restaurant.  For full details on BOTH events, please visit the Downtown Kirkwood Website.

That's all for now, but check back periodically this week because there's LOTS MORE TO TELL YOU ABOUT!

September 2:  SWEATER WEATHER???  I don't know about you, but I am counting down the hours until our three-day weekend starts today at 5pm (don't forget - all City offices are closed on Monday - see note below about sanitation).  It's supposed to be hot tomorrow (and thunderstorms are expected!), but Sunday is supposed to be comfortable, and Monday, believe it or not, may actually be a bit cool.  My brother is having us over for barbecue, and he has joked that he may need to get the fire pit out to keep us warm if it drops into the 60s Monday evening, as expected.  Hard to believe it was 100 degrees for five days in a row just a few weeks ago.  But that's St. Louis weather!

Last Day at the Pool:  Of course, the pool closes for the season at 6pm on Monday (click here for holiday weekend hours), but don't forget to bring your furry, four-legged friends to the Dog Pool Parties on Tuesday, September 6 (5pm-7pm) or Thursday, September 8 (6 to 8pm).  No Sanitation Collection on Monday:  There will be no sanitation collection on the holiday, and all routes will be delayed by one day next week - Monday routes get picked up on Tuesday, Tuesday routes move to Wednesday, and so on.

Sweater weather brings many good things with it, including the Kirkwood Greentree Festival, on September 16, 17, and 18.   Also on the agenda in the coming weeks:  "Gear Up for Biking," with the Kirkwood Public Library, September 24, 10am to noon - visit for details; the first-annual Children's Book Fair to benefit the Friends of the St. Louis County Library Foundation, Saturday, September 10, 9am-4pm, at Whole Foods Market, southwest corner of Clayton and Woods Mill in Town & Country; and the Human Rights Commission's October 22 Symposium on Diversity (click here for the flyer).   Lots to do.  If you haven't signed up for the E-News Friday Happenings, you're missing lots of stuff and goings on in the community.  Wanna sign up?  Just send me an email!

Have a GREAT, SAFE Labor Day weekend!

August 29:  DID YOUR DUCK WIN?  
Did your duck win at the annual KenDUCKY Derby this past Saturday?  The annual event to benefit the Kirkwood Historical Society was a big hit with young and old alike. has posted some fun photos of the event here.  If you haven't heard of Patch, here's some background: is an online community news site that focuses mostly on local news, sports, and features.  Wanna know how the Kirkwood Pioneers are doing so far this season?  Read all about it on the Patch!  When they first launched in our area, it was with a shared Webster Groves/Kirkwood focus.  However, due to increasing demand for news and stories about the region, they have split into two entities, which means Kirkwood now has its own Patch - at and today's lead story is a feature on none other than Kirkwood's own "50 Trees" gurus, Kathy Paulsen and Nancy Luetzow.

August 9, 12:15 p.m.  Reading, Writing, and 'Rithmetic...SCHOOL STARTS SOON! 
The first day for students in the Kirkwood School District is August 17.  That's just a week and a day from today.  While kids are probably moaning, parents are undoubtedly ready.   If you live close to the Keysor or Robinson elementary schools, you've probably noticed some construction going on and you may be wondering about how the construction will affect parking for the schools.  We talked to Jim Wall, the district's director of buildings and grounds, and this is what he said.
~ Keysor:  A shuttle buss will provide transportation for teachers to and from a temporary parking lot at Kirkwood High School.
~ Robinson:  Teachers will use temporary parking at St. Louis Community College at Meramec.
ALSO:  The administrators at both schools will contact parents about parking and pick-up/drop-off issues.  If you have any questions about parking, please contact Jim Wall at 314-213-6185 or by email:

August 5, 10:30 a.m.  New Traffic Sign Signals Change. 
I am something of a creature of habit.  I take the same route to work every day from my home in Olivette - 170 to 40 to Lindbergh (aka Kirkwood Road) to West Essex to Clay to Madison - without really ever giving it a lot of thought.  Until the day a few months ago when, on the reverse drive home, I noticed our street crews had added a left-turning lane from West Essex onto Kirkwood Road.  How cool is that, I thought!  This will make things a lot easier for the evening commute home (i.e., I can make a left turn without stopping all the traffic behind me wanting to make a right turn).

Still, it took another few weeks before I realized that the right turn from southbound Kirkwood Road onto Essex had also changed.  One morning I was sitting at that intersection, stopped behind several cars, wondering why nobody was turning right (they all had right-turn signals on).  Looking up, I noticed what had probably been there for a while:  "No Right Turn On Red."  I mentioned I'm a creature of habit, right?  Sometimes you have to hit me over the head with a sledgehammer to get me to notice.  Then at last night's Council meeting, an ordinance to make the no-right-turn-on-red sign a permanent addition to that intersection was passed, and I thought, wait, it's been there for months.  Why are they voting on it now?  Turns out that it was in test mode for months.  Wanna know more?

How Traffic Light Changes Happen (akin to "How a Bill Becomes a Law"):  I talked to Captain Brian Murphy, and he gave me the history on this particular traffic signal change.  About a year ago (in August 2010), the City received a citizen request to add a left-turn lane from West Essex onto northbound Kirkwood Road. Before the lane could be added, however, a sewer problem had to be fixed. The lane was added in March of this year, after the sewer fix, but within just a few days, we started to receive complaints that drivers turning right onto Essex from Kirkwood were making wide turns into the oncoming traffic lane (probably due to the degree of the turn there).  In April, the No-Right-Turn-on-Red sign was added as a trial posting, at about the same time as the "no parking" designation on Essex was extended to allow for the left-turning lane.  We have received several "thank yous" from residents.  Apparently, this is a situation that needed to be fixed for a while, and thanks to the thought and care of just one citizen (who initiated the process), we now have a much safer intersection. Council heard and approved the first reading last night of an ordinance to make the turning lane and "no right turn" sign permanent.  A final vote will take place on August 18.  If you know of a traffic situation that could be improved, please give Captain Murphy a call at 822-5858.

August 3, 3pm: 
It's a hot August afternoon as I sit down to write my first blog post in almost two weeks.  Sorry about that.  Busy times at City Hall. Planning for the Greentree Festival in September soldiers on (Save the Date: September 16, 17, 18).  I'm also on a Chamber of Commerce committee planning their first-ever Holiday Boutique (Save that Date too:  November 2, "Happy Holidays Boutique," at the Holiday Inn Southeast Viking, more details to come - it's gonna be FUN!!).   Actually, with the current heat and humidity, it is extremely pleasant to be planning a holiday boutique for November.  Just thinking about cooler temperatures is great for one's temperament!

The Pitfalls of Email:  If you've read the home page, you also know that City staff are suffering right now through an email outage.  We are in the middle of a transition from our old email service (GroupWise) to our new one (Outlook/Exchange).  This involved moving to new servers (done earlier in the summer) and will allow us to do lots of things better and more efficiently, but shortly after installation, the entire system crashed.  Our hardy and talented (but tired, at this point) MIS staffers are working on getting it back up and running, but in the mean time, we've still got phones, so if you need to reach City staff, please give us a call.  (The E-Newsletter will go out as well - that's through a third-party and is unaffected, as long as we don't lose our Internet connection again. Yep, that happened too, but it's back up.)

In Other News, 4:45pm:  The 50-Trees folks are at it again.  They are requesting site nominations for this year's campaign.  If you missed it last year, the "50 Trees for 50 Years" campaign commemorated the 50th anniversary of the Greentree Festival last year by collecting (through donation) and planting 50 trees in and around Kirkwood.  They're doing it again this year.  To nominate a site, please download the form (which will be available on the home page of our Website as soon as email is back up...sorry), and mail it to the address on the form or email your nomination to  They also need volunteers to help plant the trees.  This year, the planting will happen on Saturday, October 29.

Well, that's all for now - more news in tomorrow's post.  Don't forget - if you want to post a comment, send me a note!!   Stay cool out there!!

July 21, 10:50 a.m.:
  I have loved to read my whole life.  I was an English major in college, so I've probably read hundreds, if not thousands, of books over the course of my life.  I love a good novel, but ever since about fourth grade, I've also been a big fan of biographies.  My first biography was Helen Keller, and that was quickly followed by biographies of Robert Goddard and Amelia Earhart.  As an adult, I've added bios of Judy Garland and Golda Meier to that list.   So I was thinking about all of this as I read the Tweet this morning from St. Louis County Library:  " Summer reading clubs for kids & teens wrap up July 30! There's still time to cram in a few more books & win more prizes!"  And I'm thinking: Really?  Summer Reading Clubs are finishing up?  Where did the time go?  It seems like just yesterday that we were waiting for the pools to open.  (Speaking of pools, it's another 100-Degree-Day at the Pool today, which means half-price admission, and yes,we love giving you these great deals, but we're as sick of the 3-digit temps as anyone!!)

So, what did you read on YOUR summer vacation?  I finally finished Daniel Silva's The Rembrandt Affair, and after watching the last Harry Potter movie, I decided to re-read Deathly Hallows.  What's on your summer reading list??  Send me your suggestions for end-of-summer reading and I'll post them here!

Stay Cool Out There!!

July 20, 11:00 a.m. 
Yesterday when I rolled out of bed at 5am, my atomic clock/thermometer said it was 99 degrees.  After sticking my nose outside, I realized it was wrong, but it still squelched any desire I had to get into my running clothes and head to the park.  Snooze!  Today, however, I determinedly did not look at the temperature, got into my running gear, and headed out, full steam ahead.  I managed just under 2.5 miles before calling it quits.  There is simply nothing like St. Louis humidity to dampen one's exercising spirits.  I hope you all are managing to stay active, but safe, in this mind-numbing weather.  For the second day in a row, we're offering half-price admission at the Pool due to the high temperatures (100-Degree Day at the Pool - see below for details). 

Weather Patterns Continue:  According to the National Weather Service, and based on weather fronts and patterns, unless the jet stream changes, we should expect high heat through most of August and into early September.  I know that's not what you wanted to hear, but it's best to be prepared.  If you plan to be outside, please take water with you.  It's important to stay hydrated and wear appropriate clothing.  If you have elderly or disabled neighbors or family members, be sure to check on them during the high-heat period and make sure they are cooling off successfully.

Big Bend Street Work:  St. Louis County Highway Department will begin overlay work on Big Bend between Lindbergh and I-270 sometime in August.  More details will follow in Eye on Kirkwood next week!

Got a comment or question for the Blog?  Send it to me!

July 15, 8:30 a.m.  
TGIF and Greetings!  As I mentioned in the e-newsletter (going out later today), it's kinda hard to believe it's July 15, which to me signifies the mid-point of summer.  If I still had kids in school, I'd be looking for back-to-school sales right about now. 

Of course, before we get back to school, we have to get through the rest of the summer.  An Excessive Heat Watch has been issued by the National Weather Service. It starts tomorrow (Saturday, 7/16) and extends through next Thursday. The heat index is expected to be between 105 and 115 for several days in a row.  So stay cool (Harry Potter opens this weekend - movies are a great way to stay cool!) or go to the pool!  Don't forget about the 100-Degree Days at the Pool.  If temperatures are forecast to be triple-digit, admission to the Kirkwood Aquatic Center is half price (regular ID card admission policies apply). 

But before the bad heat starts, the Sidewalk Sale this weekend in Downtown Kirkwood should be a blast!  Lot of great sales going on.  Blush Boutique is offering 50 to 80 percent off (cash only) on selected items. Cornucopia will be demonstrating new tools, such as a peach divider, corn silk remover (THAT would be great to have), corn stripper, and a mandoline slicer.  Ginger & Mary Ann (what a great name for a shop) will be serving "Arnold Palmers" (whatever those are).  And Red Mango will have free yogurt and smoothie samples from 11am-3pm.  Visit Downtown Kirkwood's Website for more details about the sidewalk sale and the PEACH FESTIVAL!! 

Le Quatorze Juilliet:  For all you Francophiles out there, if you're like me, you were singing the Marseillaise yesterday.  A friend who lives out in St. Charles told me (too late for me to go) that Kirkwood's own Cafe Provencal celebrated Bastille Day yesterday by offering a 3-course dinner for $17.89 (1789 being the operative year), and you got a free glass of wine if you could sing the Marseillaise (my friend managed to remember all the words).  I'm putting it down on my calendar for next year!

July 11, 2:00 p.m.
  Just got my issue of "Chapter and Verse" from the Friends of the Kirkwood Public Library.  Have you gotten yours?  Books & Beyond, the gift shop in the renovated library, is about to celebrate its first birthday. They plan a five-day celebration to mark the event, July 19-23, with daily specials and discounts on books, crafts, and gifts.  On Saturday, July 23, they will serve light refreshments and have drawings for books and gifts.   On one of my visits, I was particularly impressed with the beautiful, hand-painted wine glasses on display.  This is a very cool little gift shop if you haven't checked it out yet.

Speaking of the Kirkwood Public Library, I also today got my monthly e-newsletter from them, with a great article about KPL's new blog.  Their blog serves a two-fold purpose.  First, you can read about books the library staff has read and maybe get some ideas for books for yourself.  Second, the staff is competing with other library staff across the state to see who can read the most books.  It was actually an idea that started with the U City Public Library.  Staff there started a blog and competed to see who read the most pages, and inspired by UCPL's blog, librarians across the state created the Missouri Book Challenge:  Libraries create a blog, and their staff post to the blog about what they're reading. Scoring the blogs is based on ten factors, including number of books and total pages read. Kinda cool, huh?  Looking for a new book to read at the pool?  Check it out!

July 11, 10:30 a.m.:  It's a "100-Degree Day" at the Pool:  Half-Price Admission!  Whenever the forecast temperature is in the triple digits, admission to the Kirkwood Aquatic Center is half-price, and that means TODAY!  (Regular residency and ID card requirements apply.)  So if you're looking for something to do to stay cool, head on over to the Pool (open until 7:30 tonight!).

July 8:  Harry Potter News:  Like a lot of mothers, I have read all the Harry Potter books (some several times), and so have my kids (now 22 and 18).  We've seen all the movies and even own a few.  We read the final book with great trepidation (the only one I've not re-read) and now await the final movie with the same mixture of anticipation and sadness.  We didn't want the story to end, and now that we know how it ends, we're not sure we want to see it on the big screen.  I won't spoil it for you if you haven't read the final book, but we do lose a few of our very favorite characters, and personally I'm not sure I'm up for seeing that in movie form.

What about you and your family?  Have you read all the HP books?  Seen all the movies?  Can't wait for the final movie, which premieres on July 15 nationwide?  Well, if you said "yes" to all of the above, you may want to check out the HP events being hosted by the St. Louis County Library at Oak Bend.  Oak Bend will host a Harry Potter Movie Marathon, beginning at noon on Thursday, July 14.  The last three HP movies will be shown, and movie snacks will be provided.  So if you want to review the story line before seeing the final movie, this may be just the ticket.  On Saturday, July 16, Oak Bend will host a "Harry Potter's Hogsmeade Adventure" party to celebrate the release of the final movie.  The fun begins at 2pm and is recommended for witches and wizards ages 7 to 11. Registration required (call 314-994-3300).  The Oak Bend branch is located at 842 S. Holmes Avenue.

Road Work on Taylor. 
If you haven't driven by there or visited our Road Closings page here recently, here's an update on Taylor Road Work:   Pavement removal began Thursday, July 7.  The work started at Manchester and will proceed south. Right now the work is on the west side, proceeding to Maple. Workers will remove the northern half of the intersection at Maple for vehicle access. Both entrances to Kirkwood Plaza will also be removed. Entry to the plaza will be from Manchester. The work on Taylor is expected to take about two months.  FRIDAY UPDATE:  The City concrete contractor was having problems with traffic on Taylor and did not finish with the first section of pavement removal on Thursday.  Therefore, northbound traffic will be detoured over Sarah to Kirkwood Road.  Southbound traffic can still enter from Manchester. Taylor is open for local traffic and emergency vehicles north of Sarah.  Please try to avoid Taylor if at all possible. Thank you! Check out our Road Closings page for periodic updates on this and other road work.

July 1.  How do you spell summer exercise?  H.O.T.  Due to several factors this week that resulted in loss of sleep hours, I have been avoiding my usual early morning exercise (in favor of sleep), and the penalty I forced on myself was to walk at lunch time.  On Wednesday and Thursday, this was a fairly pleasant experience.  Walking through downtown Kirkwood and the nearby historic neighborhoods is always lovely, and the weather was accommodating.  Today was a different matter.  The heat index was expected to reach +105 today, so I packed some exercise clothes this morning and at lunch time headed over to Powder Valley, where the trees make the walk a lot more tolerable.  My RunKeeper phone app tells me I walked 1.3 miles, with a 148-foot climbing elevation (read: Powder Valley is a heck of a work-out).  The steep uphills work your legs and lungs, while the downhills are eerily steep and tricky.  Overall, though, it's a great place to squeeze in a mid-day work-out if you want to be outside but outside is an inferno.  Take your water and your cell phone, preferably one with a camera (I saw three deer today!). While Powder Valley is not in Kirkwood (it's in our backyard so we give it honorary status), we heartily recommend it, but of course, Kirkwood proper has many parks and miles and miles of walking paths.  Do you have a favorite walking or hiking place in Kirkwood?  Or maybe you just have a great way to get your exercise in on super hot days.  Tell us all about it! 

Are You Ready for Some Fireworks!!  Yep, we are all ready for the always-magnificent Kirkwood fireworks display at the annual Kirkwood Community Freedom Festival.  Go to the home page of the Website for full details, and don't forget that Adams will be closed between Geyer and Couch starting at about 7:30 p.m.

Holiday Stuff:  City offices will be closed on Monday, so that your loyal City employees can have fun eating barbecue with their families.  We'll be back and open for business on Tuesday morning bright and early (that's 8am for City Hall).  Don't forget that there is no trash collection on Monday, and all next week, we're on a holiday schedule (all routes are pushed back a day).  And check out the holiday road and traffic information below from MoDOT.

Have a FUN and SAFE Fourth of July!!


Flooding Information for Independence Day Travelers.  With rain, runoff, and reservoir releases contributing to flooding along the Missouri River, MODOT is partnering with Iowa, Kansas, and Nebraska to provide road closures and detour information to travelers who may be heading across the nation's heartland this Fourth of July.  Click here for info.

Drivers Urged to Cross Missouri River at Kansas City
Flooding along the Missouri River has caused MoDOT to urge travelers headed east or west across the heartland to cross the river in Kansas City.  Click here for more information.

MoDOT Aiming to Minimize Delays and Keep You Safe this Independence Day
This Fourth of July, MoDOT will suspend all routine construction and maintenance for the long weekend to open the roads as much as possible to holiday travelers and improve safety. Click here for full details.

June 20:
It's Monday. What's on your agenda this week?  Are you a baseball fan who really likes the history of the game?  You might want to go see Edward Achorn this Thursday, June 23, at the County Library (Headquarters branch) at 7:00 p.m.   He will be speaking and signing his book, Fifty-Nine in '84, which chronicles our national past-time during a simpler era.  In 1884, pitcher Charles "Old Hoss" Radbourn won 59 games, including all three games of Baseball's FIRST World Series.  Achorn, a Pulitzer Prize finalist, is the deputy editorial page editor of the Providence Journal.  He has written a portrait of this legendary player and the era in which he played.  Books will be available for purchase.  The HQ branch is located at 1640 S. Lindbergh.  Doors open at 6:00 p.m. For more information, call 314-994-3300.

Did you know that June is Men's Health Month?  Currently, one in five American men has heart disease, and three in four are overweight. Men are dying at higher rates than women from largely preventable diseases such as diabetes, cancer, and heart disease. Men are also more likely to be hospitalized or disabled due to long-term, worsening complications from these diseases, according to the CDC.  What can you guys do to stay healthy, prevent disease, and live a long life?  For starters, go to the doctor for a check-up. Men are notorious for not wanting to take the time to do this, but it’s really important for your health.  Screening tests may be called for, no matter how healthy you are, so talk to your doctor about them (cholesterol, blood pressure, colorectal cancer, etc.).  For more information, visit the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Website.

City Hall Flower Beds:  They're baaaaaack.  Due to the bad weather this spring, everybody's a little late with planting flower beds, including the Missouri Botanical Gardens apparently.  Kirkwood City Hall is no exception, but this week Bill Ruppert and his Kirkwood-in-Bloom volunteers are hard at work getting those beautiful, and environmentally friendly, flower beds planted.  Click here for some photos.  Check back later today and we'll have a full list of plants, courtesy of Bill!

1:30 p.m. Update on City Hall plantings, as promised.  Bill Ruppert says the volunteers who installed today's plantings were from Sundown Landscaping Company.  They are:  David Haring (owner), Jeff Haring, and Greg Miles.  Here is a full description of what was planted.


June 13:  Monday, Monday....Can't trust that day.
  We woke up to some wonderfully cool temps this morning, only to find ourselves in the middle of thunderstorms just a few hours later.  Still, we'll take the 78 degrees while we can.   On the agenda this week:  Stages' A Chorus Line opened June 3 at the Community Center and continues through July 3.  Get your tickets now!  Call 314-821-2407 for tickets.

Responses to this spring's Community Survey have been thoughtful and detailed:  THANK YOU.  See some of the FAQs below to get a feel for the kinds of questions and comments the City has received - and let us know what you think!  City Council and department heads have been meeting and discussing the survey results as part of their ongoing strategic planning this spring and summer.  More details on the strategic planning will be coming in the weeks and months ahead. 

Friday, June 10:  Are we sick of the cicadas yet?  Drown it out: 
The St. Louis Wind Collaboration will open the season for the "Making Music" summer concert series this weekend, jointly sponsored by the Kirkwood Area Arts Council and the Kirkwood Parks & Recreation department.  The show begins Saturday night (June 11) at 7pm, in the Lions' Amphitheater in Kirkwood Park.  FREE.  Take a break from the cicadas' musical chorus and join us on Saturday night!  (And don't forget to get your shaved ice at Tropical Moose - in the park, at the concession stand - before taking your seat!!)

At the Pool:  River Walk Club, Saturday mornings, 8:45-9:45 through August 6:  Walk the Lazy River AGAINST THE CURRENT, for a GREAT work-out.  Residents, $50; Nonresidents, $73.  Or: Buy a 10-admission card for $25 (residents) or $35 (nonresidents).  For other times, call 822-5855 or visit the aquatics page of this Website.

I-64 / 40 CLOSURE:  All westbound lanes of I-64 downtown, and some eastbound lanes, will be closed this weekend, starting at 8am Saturday.  Some westbound lanes will reopen Sunday, but MODOT cautions you to avoid this stretch of highway and the Poplar Street Bridge if at all possible.  Click here for more information.

More Community Survey Questions (and Answers!!)  Thank you to everyone who returned a Community Survey (mailed out with utility bills in April).  We will use this valuable data in our five-year strategic planning process, currently underway.  However, we also thought some of the questions posed were thoughtful and the answers would be helpful.  Here are a few more for your reading enjoyment.

Why is the City spending money on brick crosswalks?  A:  Several crosswalks that look like brick are being added to roads as part of a bike trail project by the Great Rivers Greenway. The crosswalks are not actually brick.  They are a stamped, colored-asphalt composite. The stamped pattern causes drivers to slow down, and the color contrast with the surrounding pavement draws the attention of drivers to notify them they are entering a crosswalk.  This type of crosswalk design also meets newer ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) construction guidelines. We are happy that they have caught so many people's attention - that's exactly what they are designed to do!

Q:  Kirkwood utilities continues to send payment envelopes to auto-pay customers. What a waste.  A:  The City of Kirkwood uses bulk mailing to get the best postage rates.  If a customer receives a paper bill, we have to include the return envelope, no matter what method of payment the customer uses.   This is because bulk mail rules require that all pieces of mail in a mailing weigh the same.  If the Post Office tests the batch and every envelope does not weigh the same, we would lose our prepaid, bulk mail discount. Most customers who receive the envelopes either return them or recycle them. It would be far more wasteful to lose our postage discount.

Q:  Why doesn't the City make trash pick up free now that you are reportedly making a profit from recycling?  A:  Sometimes people confuse "revenue" with "profit."  Yes, we are now getting revenue from the sale of recyclables collected at the curb.  However, it is too early to tell if those revenues are offsetting the cost of providing the service (including the rising cost of fuel) sufficiently for the City to make changes in how sanitation services are priced.  Sometimes, a new program is embraced enthusiastically and then participation drops off.  We hope that does not happen with curbside recycling, but we would like to examine a year's worth of results (revenue versus expenses) before recommending any changes to the City Council for their approval.

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Wednesday, June 1:  I've been away soooo long.
   I am finally back from the college graduation and the holiday (and several days of illness at my house)...and there's much to tell you!!

Movie-in-the-Park:  First off, do you LOVE the movie, "The Sound of Music"?   Well, this year's MOVIE-IN-THE-PARK is "The Sound of Music."   NEW THIS YEAR:  A concert by the Kirkwood Children's Chorale.  Everyone is invited to join in the singing. THIS FRIDAY, June 3.  "Doors" open at 7:30pm. Chorale performance at 8pm. Movie at 8:45. Tickets are $3 each and can be purchased in advance at the Community Center, 111 S. Geyer Road, or at the door.

THIS JUST IN:  From the St. Louis County Library at Oak Bend - Upcoming Teen Zone Events:  HENNA ART tonight, Wednesday, June 1, 7:00 p.m.  Learn about the art of henna and walk away with a temporary tattoo of your own! Limited to 15 participants. Grades 6-12. Registration required.   Next Week:  Build a Bubble Powered Rocket.  Wednesday, June 8, 7:00 p.m. Build and launch a rocket using just paper, a film canister, and fizzing tablets. Registration required.  For more information, call 314-994-3300

Kirkwood Whistle Stop:  Union Pacific's Steam Locomotive will be stopping here in Kirkwood tomorrow, June 2, for 15 minutes, at about 12:35 p.m.  Bring the kids!!  A full schedule is posted on the UP Website.

Scheduled Water Shut-Downs:   We are doing a lot of water main replacements these days.   Sometimes this means we have to shut off water to an area.  If your area will be affected, you WILL get a door hanger a day or two ahead of time.  The doorhanger will be left on your FRONT DOOR.  We will also post a list of the affected addresses on the home page of the Website a day ahead of time whenever possible.  The shutdowns will usually last from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Thursday, May 19:  It's a FESTIVE WEEKEND IN KIRKWOOD.  The Downtown Kirkwood Festival of Food and Flowers is this weekend.  For details and a full schedule, visit the SBD Website. 

Other News:  Just one week until the pool opens!!  I know it's not warm yet, but IT WILL BE.  I absolutely GUARANTEE that it will get hot sooner or later.  And when it does, you'll want to be at the pool!!  If you don't have your pool pass or your Kirkwood ID yet (or if you have every intention of signing up for the infamous River Walk but have not yet done so), visit the Aquatics page on this Website, or give the Parks & Rec staff a call at 822-5855.    This year's Summer Movie In the Park is "The Sound of Music."  And NEW this year:  The movie will be accompanied a Kirkwood Children's Chorale concert (and sing-along!!).  Details are right here in this clever little flyer our good friend Jason Valvero (Parks Superintendent) designed for us!

Well, that's it for today, and actually that's it for a few days as your fearless editor will be heading off to Connecticut to see her daughter graduate from college.  While I'm at it: CONGRATULATIONS to all of you Kirkwood families with high school and college kiddos graduating this month.  Time really flies, huh?  Until next time.......

[Got a Question or Comment about Kirkwood or this Website or ANYTHING?  Send me a note and I'll post it here and respond!]

Monday, May 16:  Recycling Idea #523:  Have you recently replaced carpeting in your home but don't know what to do with it and don't want to throw it into a landfill?  You're not alone.  Resident Leslie Eischer tells us she found a solution:  She advertised it on CraigsList.  She had both carpeting and carpet padding, and in her ad she said it was free and anyone who wanted it had simply to come pick it up.  She had no trouble getting both carpet and pad "recycled" in this manner. 

What's your best recycling idea?  Send it to me and I'll post it here!

Wednesday, May 11: Kirkwood Park Gets Ready for SUMMER!
  You may have heard the news, but if not, there's a new kid in town at the Park:  Tropical Moose will be the vendor this summer at the Kirkwood Park Concession Stand.  Today (Wednesday) through Friday, they will be open from 4:00-8:00 p.m., but starting Saturday, May 14, their regular hours go into effect: 11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.  They will still be open at Farmers' Market - same hours.  Read more about it on 

But that is definitely not all.  The Tennis Courts in Kirkwood Park have re-opened after a six-month period of re-construction.  If you are a Kirkwood resident (with ID card - get one at the Community Center), you can enjoy the courts for $4 per day or you can purchase a season pass for $30 or a 10-use punch card for $36.  Nonresidents play for $5 per day, or they can purchase a season pass for $60 or a 10-use card for $45.  Call 14-822-5855 for details.

Do you like trains?  (Silly question, right?)  The Union Pacific Steam Locomotive will visit Kirkwood on June 2, at about 1:25 p.m. Bring the kids to see this historic train as it makes a Whistle Stop in Kirkwood!   You can visit the UP Website for the full schedule.

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Monday, May 9:  It's National Women's Health Week!! 
May 8 to 14 is National Women’s Health Week.  Here's what the fitness gurus want all of us women to do:   Get at least two and a half hours of moderate physical exercise each week.  (That breaks down to a 30-minute walk five days a week - on your lunch hour maybe?).  Get one hour and 15 minutes of vigorous physical exercise every week.  (That breaks down to just 75 minutes each week of aerobics class, bicycling, swimming, running, or tennis.  Check out the Kirkwood Parks & Recreation Guide for some great possibilities!)  Eat a nutritious diet.  Visit a health care professional to receive regular checkups and preventive screenings.  Avoid smoking and not wearing a seat belt.  Get enough sleep, and manage stress.  Sounds simple, right?  (Okay, sometimes those last two are hard to manage.) do YOU manage stress?   Let us know!!

Friday, May 6:  Thank God it's (that day of the week again). 
What are YOUR plans for the weekend?  Do you like trains?  (Okay, who doesn't love trains - especially if you live in Kirkwood!!)  Well then, come on down to the Kirkwood Train Station for National Train Day, tomorrow, Saturday, May 7, from 9:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m.  It's a national event but lots of local folks will be on hand (the Kirkwood Fire Department and Historical Society, among others).

Hands On Stuff:  Our Station Manager Bill Burckhalter and his friends at the Kirkwood Police Department have fun stuff planned, including:
  • Historic railroad motorcars from the First Iowa Division motorcar club of NARCOA (North American Railcar Operators Association)
  • An operating model layout from the Mississippi Valley N-Scalers Model Railroad Club
  • A telegraph display and demonstration from the Morse Telegraph Club
  • Displays from the National Museum of Transport, and MORE!!!
Don't miss it!  It's FREE and open to train lovers of all ages.  Amtrak will have a drawing for two sets of tickets to Chicago or Kansas City (or points between).  Kirkwood American Legion Post 156 will have food available for purchase. 

What else, what else...what about METEORITES?  If you love trains, you might also like meteorites.  Or at least hearing about them.   Saturday night, seating at 7:30 p.m.  Presentation about how and why meteorites are collected in Antarctica, and then on to stargazing!  Presenter is Dr. Ryan Zeigler.  Where:  Kirkwood Park, Amphitheater.  FREE.  Questions?  Call 314-822-5826 or send Ron an email at:

And on Sunday, May 8:  Happy Mother's Day to all you Kirkwood Moms!!

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May 3 Plastic Pot Recycling Update:
  If you have black plastic flower pots that are relatively clean and you don't have dozens of them, you CAN place these in your curbside recycling cart.  However, if you operate a business or have a LOT of these pots for some other reason, please use one of the recycling locations listed on the Botanical Garden's Website (link below).  If you do place a few black pots inside your cart, please make sure you clean them first.  A big thanks to Karen Bettlach Fuerman for pointing out that we do take some of these!!

May 2:  It's Gardening Time!!  Although a frost is expected for tonight (you knew that was coming), most of us are already out in our yards weeding, planting, and transplanting.  If you're like me, every year you end up with tons of plastic gardening pots that just go in the trash.   Unfortunately, we can't accept them for single-stream recycling inside your Kirkwood curbside carts.  However, we did track down a couple local places that will accept them.  Here's the scoop:  The Missouri Botanical Garden not only accepts pots for recycling; they also provide helpful information and a list of other recyclers that may be closer to you.  Here's a link to their Website with that information.  If you know of any other places, please let us know! 

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