28 November 2009

FCC Petition to Deny Sale of KFUO-FM Filed

A group of citizens have filed a "Petition to Deny" the sale of KFUO-FM, Classic 99 (99.1FM), from The Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod (LCMS) to Gateway Creative Broadcasting, Inc., with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

The station, Classic 99, is St. Louis' only Classical music format station, having been owned and operated by the LCMS since it went on the air in 1948, the FM station which has been on the air the longest time in St. Louis. It is a Class C0, 100-kilowatt FM signal that can be heard for around 100 miles in all directions away from St. Louis.

Gateway Creative Broadcasting, Inc., is a locally-0wned group which operates two radio stations in Missouri, one licensed to Bowling Green and another in Potosi, both which play Contemporary Christian Music as "JoyFM". The group plans to take over 99.1 FM and air the CCM format, thus eliminating the only classical music on the radio in the metropolitan St. Louis area. Documents filed with the FCC show that an attempt to secure an HD-2 channel as part of the sale of the radio station exists, but is not etched in stone and can be set aside without reservation.

The Radio Arts Board of Classic 99 had hoped to be given a chance to purchase KFUO-FM from the LCMS, but the LCMS Board of Directors put one of their own, attorney Kermit A. Brashear, a member of the LCMS Board of Directors, to be the sole negotiator in the sales process. He remains uncooperative with other members of the LCMS who have petitioned him to discuss the situation. Brashear has made statements that he is the only person allowed to comment upon the sale of KFUO-FM, and in so doing, has made almost no statement regarding the sale which can be construed as helpful to the media covering the sale. In short, Brashear has run blocker for himself and only given anyone squat.

There have been rumors that someone in the LCMS may file a lawsuit to block the sale of the radio station. Meanwhile, the LCMS chairman has made at least one statement which is in conflict with Brashear's public statements. Also, there are charges that Brashear and the treasurer of the LCMS, Thomas Kuchta, who maintains that the process was open to the public and not secretive as has been stated by members of the Board of Directors, have conspired to sell the radio station quickly, and not sell the license at a time when the assets of the station would bring in much more money. The market for a 100-kilowatt radio station is down considerably from ten years ago, and even five years ago a station like Classic 99 could have been sold for nearly twice the $18-million price given in the filed public papers. Given the current economy, radio station prices are at a low, with an expected increase in prices within the next three to four years. Local radio professionals have commented that this is NOT the time to be selling a station off as an asset. They say now is the time to hold off on a sale, or to be the buyer.

Earlier, the LCMS board had voted to sell the station, then asked Brashear to represent them in a process which would give all potential buyers a chance to negotiate. Brashear held a short session with the Radio Arts Board and then excluded them in all subsequent negotiations after a brief meeting with the members of Gateway Creative Broadcasting.

Those who filed the petition to deny the sale allege Brashear is involved in an act of collusion, and thus denied entities in the community an opportunity to bid through a selection process. And some members of the LCMS agree with that assessment, having commented on blogs and through some correspondence with reporters in St. Louis.

The citizen petitioners is asking that anyone who wants to file their own comments with the FCC do so quickly. The deadline for comments to the FCC is Monday, November 30, 2009.

The email address for the FCC is fccinfo@fcc.gov

Anyone who wishes to affix their names on the submitted petition to deny is asked to contact buzzmusicmedia@gmail.com with their name and address.

The mailing address for the FCC is:

Federal Communications Commission
445 12 Street SW
Washington, DC 20554

06 October 2009

Alton: Busy Week Where Lights May Shine

What will the weather do? Rain? Dry? Clouds? Sun? Cool? Warmth? In one area city, everyone is hopeful that the weather will be good enough this Friday to have an afternoon be labeled "good" or even "prize-winning".

Brett Stawar of the Alton Regional Convention and Visitors Bureau has had a busy year in 2009, but the busiest part may not be over just yet as he works with officials from the city of Alton, Principia (College in Elsah IL), The Hayner Library, and KMOV-TV to get the News4 crew into Alton's Lincoln-Douglas Square, as well as Alton's Public School Stadium, this Friday.

KMOV/News4 St. Louis has been "On The Road" on Friday evenings the past several weeks, featuring Kirkwood and Belleville the past two weeks on their 5 and 6 o'clock evening news broadcasts. This week their destination is Alton, which is why Brett Stawar, Matthew Asselmeier in Alton City Hall, and news producer Diane Duenez of Channel 4 have been three of the busiest people in the region. It's their job to coordinate much of the activity focused around the broadcast, including helping one another get key interview segments set and ensure the placement of people milling around Lincoln-Douglas Square in downtown Alton where the makeshift studio is scheduled to be set up on Friday. This week, they want "red tape" to mean colored duct tape and not a problem for the potential broadcasts.

Lincoln-Douglas Square may not be an immediate destination for most people who visit the city of Alton, Illinois, but it is one stop that thousands of residents pass every day when going through downtown Alton, at the corner of Broadway, Piasa Street and Landmarks Blvd. It is where the city hosted a debate between Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas as the two men ran for U. S. Senate in 1858. And whereas a "live" television broadcast is not normal from this spot, but it has been a corner where camera crews have set up in the past. In 1993, during the Great Flood, the corner was likely a bit difficult for an entire set, but crews from all over the world set up near the landmark to get video of the waters invading downtown Alton. For some videojournalists the area near Lincoln-Douglas Square was almost their home away from home during the summer of 1993, while other news crews were there as part of their tour of the midwest where The Great Flood impacted Americans.

Alton residents are being asked to do something simple for the Friday afternoon activity: show up and have fun. The Riverbend region is abuzz with those who see the opportunity to give non-residents a chance to see why they pick the area to live and work, as well as reasons for tourists to visit the Alton area. KMOV has scheduled a "meet and greet" time (1 to 4 p.m.) for those interested in meeting some of the personalities and producers, including time for a few autographs. It may be the "be seen" event for those who would like to mingle with those who are influential in the Riverbend area.

In fact even without a TV newscast scheduled, on Friday there is already a chance that Alton is where the spotlight may shine on a visitor. In a 1 p.m. event this Friday, the Riverfront Amphitheater hosts Nobel Peace laureate nominee Greg Mortenson, author of Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission To Promote Peace...One School At A Time. And Mortenson may be awakened in the early morning by someone with the news of the Nobel Prize --- the announcement is set for 9 a.m. GMT, or about 4 a.m. CDT, and he could wake up a winner. If so, the speaking engagement at Riverfront Amphitheater would be Mortenson's first public appearance after the annoucement is made. The stage is set, and will belong to Mortenson, no matter the outcome from the Nobel Foundation in Stockholm, Sweden.

All around Alton, for all involved, it's a week of making sure things are "GO" for the live broadcast on KMOV. But it's also a time to see the possibilities and perhaps celebrate the live broadcast showcasing the city of Alton --- and maybe a Nobel Prize winner.

Now, if only the weather forecast comes out favorable for Friday.

22 July 2009

Cards Trading, Moving, Shaking It Up

It's late in July and fans of the St. Louis Cardinals are starting to wonder what General Manager John Mozeliak has up his sleeve for the next few weeks. In the past three weeks, the Cardinals' GM has made two key moves to bring change to the lineup, including the acquisition of veteran utility player Mark DeRosa for young pitcher Chris Perez, and swapping a struggling Chris Duncan for recently-designated-for-assignment infielder Julio Lugo from the Boston Red Sox.

Duncan and Rick Ankiel have been splitting time in left field over the past couple of months since Colby Rasmus gained fulltime status as the Birdos center fielder, following a dramatic injury to Ankiel at Busch Stadium in May.

What's next on the agenda for Mozeliak? Speculation has been ongoing that the Cardinals might be in the hunt for Toronto Blue Jays ace Roy Halladay. However the price to make that trade is steeper than most ballclubs are willing to entertain. That stream of thought probably includes the Cardinals, as the rumored trade would have St. Louis sending Joel Piniero and at least one top prospect and one major leaguer in addition to taking Halladay's remaining pay for the season. Piniero has been the victim of poor run production behind him, but has been excellent on the mound, giving up the fewest walks of any major league starter over the past 10 weeks, and even single-handedly winning his last start with an RBI double which drove in the winning run.

The stage is set for Mozeliak to push another club for a trade. But the question is will he be able to grab a pitcher from another major league team? The Cardinals' Todd Wellemeyer, the worst pitcher in the past ten weeks, could be the trade bait --- but to whom and for whom?

Speculation that a recently demoted major league starter is available may have some in Redbird Nation curious when they look deeper at the reasons behind the demotion --- and even moreso if they see the statistics since Ian Snell, a Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher for the past five seasons. Snell was 2 - 8 with the Pirates this season before being sent down to AAA Indianapolis where he has been pitching better than he had for Pittsburgh --- except for the walk-to-innings-pitched ratio. Snell has a 2 -1 record in Indianpolis, giving up only two runs in 32.1 innings pitched, making his ERA 0.56 in that span --- but he has given up nine walks in the past two games. Pittsburgh General Manager Neal Huntington has been less than pleased because Snell commented about his status to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review and said he felt that the Pirates were making him the scapegoat for their troubles. Huntington meanwhile says that Snell's comments make the pitcher an unlikely candidate to return to the Pirates.

Does this sound like two pitchers who could use a change of scenery?

Could Ian Snell be another Dave Duncan reclaimation project, or is Snell too wild for the Cardinals' pitching coach and manager Tony LaRussa to tame.

We'll have to wait and see if Mozeliak and the Cardinals can make a deal with Huntington and the Pirates --- and if such a swap would make sense.

28 April 2009

Soulard Oktoberfest Seeks Public Response

Officials with the SOULARD OKTOBERFEST are seeking comments from area residents regarding the festival and how it is handled as well as perceived by the public.

Organizers from the SOULARD OKTOBERFEST, run by the Soulard Oktoberfest Benevolent Association, met with officials from the city of St. Louis on Monday. The city Parks, Recreation and Forestry Division as well as Ald. Phyllis Young expressed concerns over the rowdiness of the Oktoberfest crowd and asked for some concessions from the Oktoberfest regarding its festival. Oktoberfest officials told the city they would gladly address these concerns by May 31st in hopes of coming to a compromise so that the 2009 edition of the SOULARD OKTOBERFEST would be allowed to continue in its current location at 8th and Lafayette - from 7th and Lafayette to 9th and Lafayette, over to Carroll Street from 9th to 7th St - around Soulard Market and the park along Lafayette Avenue. An official with the Soulard Oktoberfest tells News St. Louis that they were encouraged by the Parks, Recreation and Forestry Division to keep in touch with that arm of city government so that the festival may be able to continue in its current configuration in 2009.

The Soulard Oktoberfest is hoping to secure enough support from the neighborhood residents and business owners, as well as the St. Louis public in general, to help shore up the notion that they have been running a good old-fashioned German heritage festival in a responsible manner.

Soulard Oktoberfest officials hope that those concerned about the well-being of the festival contact Ald. Phyllis Young at the city of St. Louis. Her email address is: pyoung@stlouiscity.com

Contact information for the Soulard Oktoberfest is available on their website: http://www.soulardoktoberfest.com
or more directly: http://www.soulardoktoberfest.com/dev/index.php?option=com_contact&Itemid=3

Those who wish to volunteer time or other resources can contact the organizers of the Soulard Oktoberfest.

21 April 2009

Euna Lee And Laura Ling Are Held By North Korea; Roxana Saberi Imprisoned In Iran

When trying to write something, I generally find a topic which is easily related to most St. Louisans. But today, this is aimed at a target segment --- a niche audience --- and it is NOT St. Louis news, but a national and international story. Iran just sentenced a journalist --- not just any journalist but a female journalist who grew up in the United States and has been living in Iran for the past six years --- to eight years in jail. It is said to violate Iran's own human rights laws to hold her after investigators looked into her activities. Saberi was raised in Fargo, North Dakota, lived a rather normal life as a child in America, enjoyed her freedom like any other American, and decided she should seek out more in her Iranian roots and return to the land of her lineage and work in her chosen field of journalism. But as anyone with American ties and family in a strong-minded middle east country can no doubt tell us, someone who is raised in the United States is subject to immediate scrutiny and harsh judgment --- which is what has happened to Roxana Saberi. Thus far, Americans are largely ignorant of this story unless they heard it during network news over the weekend or got their hands on a newspaper with international news stories sometime in the past three days. Hearing international news on the networks is what used to be normal, but now Americans don't hear or read international stories because of many factors, not the least of which is newspapers are going away and radio stations don't bother to carry network news the way they used to carry it 25 years ago.

That's the starting point for the rest of this story, as I am keeping up the appearance of someone who is "in the know" but not following international stories closely enough to make myself appear but another ignorant American. So --- here's the focus on something international which I have been following a bit more closely through an internet contact.

Journalists Laura Ling and Euna Lee are being held captive by North Korea.

This story probably does not ring a bell with most Americans, but it should. This isn't truly a NEW NEWS STORY. These two women have been held --- illegally --- by the North Korean government for FIVE WEEKS after they were walking, to their knowledge, about a mile or so from the border with China and, as the story goes, were captured by soldiers of the North Korean government. They were quickly brought to a military sight where they were detained, questioned, and thrown into jail for being on North Korean soil. Thus far, the two women --- both working for Current TV --- have received only ONE visitor, and are not allowed any freedoms. As far as anyone can gather information to this point Laura Ling and Euna Lee have not been allowed sunlight and fresh air.
This treatment is far beyond the comprehension of most people. It violates simple human rights to hold them in this manner --- but if nobody does something about it, it goes unchecked.

It is a war-like attitude to take a human and subject them to jail for walking NEAR a border. It is North Korea who is keeping up appearances that they are doing right by their citizens by kidnapping two women who were unarmed and harmlessly doing their jobs as journalists and not even allowing foreign attorneys the opportunity to meet with them to discuss their case, or discuss the charges being leveled against them with anyone in the local or state government. Clearly, Euna Lee and Laura Ling were in the wrong place at the wrong time --- if only because on March 17, 2009, they were too close to the border for the North Koreans to ignore their presence. Or perhaps, as at least one story has suggested, they were being misled by a guide who promised them a story of human trafficking along the border of North Korea and China and the two women were more or less delivered to North Korea by someone who was paid off by the Kim Jong Il goverment. It's difficult to ascertain from the other side of earth what happened that day, but these two American women are being held on charges of illegal entry and hostile acts. And with the style of goverment in North Korean, it is easy to see that since the state news agency there has said Laura Ling and Euna Lee are going to be tried on those charges they will likely be convicted and sentenced to jail in much the same manner as Roxana Saberi in Iran.

The question remains open: will the Obama administration do anything at all to help American journalists being held in foreign countries?

Here's the blog commentary part of this story:
The world is so small with the internet, but the world of international politics is but a minuscule piece of our daily lives. Think about it: we cannot afford to idly stand by and think "well, how does their misfortune impact my life enough?"
Americans must see such injustice played out upon an international stage. But it starts with one or two more conversations at work and home to get the scope on a story which is largely being ignored. I encourage you to look for news stories on this subject, read as many of them as you can, and please do something other than keeping up the appearances that you care: please make the time to send out one email to someone who matters in the media (TV shows on the major networks can put this story on the minds of everyone, any newspapers or wire services) and if not to the media please send that email or snail mail letter to someone in the different governmental bodies where you think it will become an impact story.
If you wish to make a difference in the lives of two women who are being held captive on trumped up charges, you can do it.

I'm not keeping up appearances today. I've written this story and I'll forward information to others I know in hopes that it becomes a greater discussion, and both Euna Lee and Laura Ling become the topic of many Americans water cooler chats.

I hope this story is being talked about in the west wing of the White House, as it deserves both attention and action by the U.S. Government on behalf of its citizens --- two of which are Euna Lee and Laura Ling who are, for now, detainees in North Korean, and the jailed third U.S. citizen Roxana Siberi who may spend eight years imprisoned in Iran.

18 March 2009

Greater St. Louis Jazz Festival 2009

April is Jazz Appreciation Month in the U.S. and it appears that the truly American art form of music will have its day - or days - in St. Louis this year.

The official announcement is in --- and it looks pretty good for jazz afficianados in the metro St. Louis region for 2009 --- the Greater St. Louis Jazz Festival has a nice home at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, and it appears to pack some punch with great headliners like a St. Louis favorite in the John Pizzarelli Quartet, trumpet extraordinaire Jon Faddis (wow, those are some chops!), legendary saxophonist Lou Marini (Saturday Night Live, and The Blues Brothers) and quintessential drummer Peter Erskine (Weather Report, and a Grammy Award winner), as well as several groups with a local and regional flavor, April 16th through 18th.

The Blanche M. Touhill Performing Arts Center on the UM-St. Louis (UMSL) campus is where much of the focus will remain during the Greater St. Louis Jazz Festival in 2009, with workshops for those up-and-coming jazz musicians held throughout the festival at the Touhill A + B halls as well as in the Lee Theatre.

Quoting from the jazz festival's press release: "Over 750 students representing 45 groups from 33 schools will flock to the festival, in addition to teachers, parents and local jazz enthusiasts." UMSL jazz studies and artistic director Jim Widner says “The interest from participating schools has exceeded our expectations,” adding, “...as in previous years, we have had to start a waiting list.”

On Thursday, April 16th, the initial gathering will include bands from throughout the region representing the high school, colleges/universities, and professional levels. The Thursday schedule includes large ensemble and combo clinics critiqued by world-renowned adjudicators, three master classes and high school band performances. All of the daytime artist clinics, master classes and band performances are FREE and open to the public. These will be located at the Lee Theater and the Blanche M. Touhill Performing Arts Center.

On Friday, April 17th, following more than a baker's dozen performing in the Lee Theatre, there will be clinics including a drum clinic at Noon by two-time Grammy ® Award winning drummer Peter Erskine. At 8 p.m. in the Touhill Performing Arts Center (TPAC), it's Lou Marini, performing a mesmerizing set on tenor sax. His ability to switch genres is because he consistently performs with "chameleon-like adaptability" in jazz, rock, blues and classical. Also on the bill that evening is drummer Peter Erskine, brining his sophisticated rhythms and versatility to the stage. Ticket prices range from $10-$15-$25, and may be purchased at the Touhill Performing Arts Center ticket office by calling (314) 516-4949, toll-free (866) 516-4949 or online at www.touhill.org.

Saturday, April 18th, in the TPAC, John Pizzarelli Quartet entertains along with Jon Faddis. Tickets for that evening's performance range in price from $10-$15-$25, and may be purchased at the Touhill Performing Arts Center ticket office by calling (314) 516-4949, toll-free (866) 516-4949 or online at www.touhill.org.

For five (5) years at the UM–St. Louis, the Greater St. Louis Jazz Festival has brought jazz masters together with middle school, high school and university students to share and celebrate jazz, rightly heralded as a truly American art form of music.

13 March 2009

Dilution Of News In St. Louis

This is a commentary, not a news story.

But, this is also a story about news - more specifically a news wire service which many who deal with St. Louis media are familiar, but those outside news may never have come across the particular source for local news of which I write today.

I announce this because some may look at this site purely as someone searching for news stories. And, yes, that is a point to this blogsite --- to produce some news for St. Louis area residents to read. But, there are reasons to blog --- we've all read that somewhere before --- and blogs are quite often just commentary. Today, this entry is more than commentary or just a news story. It is a story that may be overlooked if not documented.


More than a few dozen people have been associated with a news wire service in St. Louis which was once of local origination. One service with which many in the broadcasting industry are familiar is METRO NETWORKS - the wire service known as METRO SOURCE.

Recently, Westwood One announced that it was planning to consolidate its offices into "pods" and lay off hundreds of people from one of its --- if not MOST --- profitable subsidiary...Metro Networks. The author/chief editor of this blog sends condolances to the many people who have already been laid off from work at the St. Louis office of Metro Networks over the past several months and years.

For more than 16 years, the news staff at the St. Louis office --- of what has been known for 15 of those years as Metro Networks News --- was one of the best sources and providers of local news, primarily for radio. More recently because of staffing reductions forced upon them by corporate orders, a smaller staff was producing the local news. Within the past several weeks, although those who staffed the Metro office in Clayton knew this, most local news was not even gathered in St. Louis, but by a news desk in Phoenix.

This is not a new movement. Although Associated Press continues to operate a St. Louis office, it has worked with a smaller staff than a mere 25 years ago. Other news sources have done similar layoffs, including --- across the board --- radio newsrooms, television newsrooms, and newspapers. Metro Networks had done well because throughout the first two-thirds of the 1990s it was BUILDING UP a network of offices, staffed with reporters and editors who were in their local communities gathering information, pooling it, and distributing it throughout its network. In the days leading up to Westwood One's acquisition of Metro Networks from its founder David Saperstein, and shortly thereafter, Metro Source was becoming the premier news wire service, especially for radio. In fact if one were to read the various "local news feeds" from a Metro Networks METRO SOURCE computer just six years ago, the amount of news generated was astounding. Local news in Boston, Houston, St. Louis, Detroit, Chicago, San Diego, Baltimore, and dozens of other markets was out daily, some markets putting out two to four feeds per day. The "network" news office in Phoenix would do an hourly newsfeed, which was used by radio and television stations --- and occasionally other news-intensive media --- to inform its audience with the latest national news. Back then, if there was a train wreck and massive cloud of toxic gas somewhere in the country, with a "Metrosource" computer the news spread all over within minutes. Then, Westwood One was talking a good game, but was already distancing itself from the way it had inherited the Metro Networks product. In essence a part of the CBS and Viacom umbrella, Westwood One felt it knew better than Metro Networks and started looking more at the costs than at the wealth and breadth of production. News (and traffic) product suddenly became secondary to making a few extra dollars to make the shares of Westwood One stock go up. And if one was within the heirarchy of Metro Networks OUTSIDE of New York after Westwood One acquired Metro...you were soon eliminated from your position. It was not three full years after Westwood One purchased a well-run, productive and money-making company, that the main builders of the product were summarily dismissed from Metro Traffic and/or MetroSource management positions.

Naming names of the Metro Networks managers wouldn't matter except to those who knew these men and women...but they are real. They were humans who cared about the product, were determined to make it better, as accurate as possible, and showed their faces at the various offices throughout the United States. In St. Louis, it was NOT unheard of to see founder Saperstein, his son-in-law, and several upper-level managers stop in to make a personal show that they truly did appreciate the workers and the work being done by those people. Even after Westwood One acquired Metro in the late 1990s several of those managers would come to see the gateway city. And there was clearly one reason why they did so: prior to Metro Traffic's existence in St. Louis the news and traffic service they bought had a very good reputation.

The St. Louis wire service had been begun in the early 1990s as Brad Hildebrand's CompuTraffic and NewsPlus with a growing news staff inside a small office in Overland. When Metro Traffic bought the rights to the St. Louis area in the mid-1990s, several meetings involving St. Louis personnel helped spur the "local feed" idea to spread, and in a few months Metro Traffic had local news bureaus in numerous local markets --- another way to spread product and grow revenues through the commercials used in connection with the newscasts. Now you can connect the origin of this local news source LONG before Westwood One was involved. The newsroom and local wire service had already grown to include nearly two-dozen affiliates before Metro's initial purchase. Within a six-year span, it had gone from a small operation with one early morning news feed to a fully staffed newsroom including sports coverage, business and political coverage, producing three feeds daily plus bulletins.

Well, it seems that a legacy of local service actually does not matter to bottom liners who run big corporations. So, Westwood One declared its full authority over the local markets which have had fully staffed "Metro Source" local bureaus. St. Louis is not alone in losing it's local news gathering. Several dozen bureaus are being "consolidated" - downsizing hundreds of people out of jobs over the past several months. That is the new way of doing business, right?

Here comes the problem with the "new way" of doing business at Westwood One's Metro Source:

No local news staff means no immediate news.

It's not that MetroSource will stop feeding St. Louis area news. It won't go away, but the amount and quality of Metro Networks MetroSource news will suffer in the bi-state region. What once housed ten to twelve reporters and editors now houses no local news. Why? The local news bureau ceased to exist this month. As mentioned, the actual news feeds have been produced --- for several weeks --- in Phoenix. This means that those in St. Louis CAN get news from MetroSource --- but those who MAKE NEWS have to be in contact with an editor in Phoenix and practically spoonfeed the story to that newsdesk for it to make it onto the "St. Louis Feed".

As for those dozen or so reporters and editors in St. Louis who spent many years gathering, reporting, and feeding news to radio with NewsPlus and Metro Networks --- it's off to find other jobs at the height of an economic nightmare.

03 March 2009

You KHAN Get A Free Lunch

Not often does one read "free lunch" and NOT automatically think "cheapskates" or "poor man's food" or simply say "there has to be a catch." But if you're willing to try out an offer of a "free lunch" on Thursday, 5 March 2009, it could turn out to be something you catch and enjoy.

Genghis Grill - the Mongolian Stir Fry - opens at the corner of Clayton and Clarkson in the Fountain Plaza center with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 10 a.m. on Thursday, followed by a grand-opening event: they're giving away hundreds of bowls of Mongolian Stir Fry to those who come, in hopes that the crowd will be generous with monetary gifts to the group Saint Louis Ovarian Cancer Awareness [Foundation], or SLOCA, who will serve the customers between 11 AM and 2 PM. A three-hour free lunch, and the benefits go to all!

Oh, and --- it is a SMOKE-FREE restaurant.
[Well, except for the food-grilling, I suppose.]

Owners Jeff and Brian Durbin, like everyone else, are struggling to open a business during these tough economic times, but wanted to honor a charity that is very near and dear to their hearts on the March 5th grand opening day.

Seeing the possibilities here, I think I'll go build a bowl. The problem is trying to figure out which ingredients I want to use --- this is a "pick your food" place, and I am notorious for being slow in figuring out which ingredients I want when there are dozens from which to choose. Yikes! Either way, it sounds like a good combination: freshly prepared food, custom-picking what goes into the bowl, and a "free" lunch with a chance to help out a good cause.

WHAT: "Free Lunch" during the Grand Opening of Ghengis Grill
WHEN: Thursday, March 5th, 2009
WHERE: Ghengis Grill - 15819 Fountain Plaza Drive - at the corner of CLAYTON at CLARKSON
WHY: Showcase the restaurant and benefit SLOCA Foundation
WHO: Owners Jeff and Brian Durbin. Other who: You, me, friends, acquaintances, others who show up - get to try a "first" in St. Louis and feel good about giving to a good charitable cause during a free lunch.

01 February 2009


Have you found yourself looking through many sources for news and thinking to yourself that there are too many hours in the day to continuously go looking through them?

Yes, that's my problem, too. In fact, in creating this blog, I arguably made this problem worse. As I look at the News St. Louis blog, inevitably I find myself looking at the numerous sources for news along the side, going to the Pentagraph (Bloomington IL), local newspapers in the metropolitan area, and several others which are initially RIGHT HERE.

Okay, there are reasons for my having done so, including the fact that if I read my own blog I will feel compelled to actually write something for whomever may be my audience - real or perceived. Lately, I've been keeping myself too distant --- in fact I have come to realize how many stories that I have not been following. Not just missing details of stories, but the story itself in many cases. If there is one thing that I have learned, it's that keeping informed makes me feel better connected to life. So, I will make a few more attempts (I write this as the Super Bowl is on TV...funny aside is that I am not watching it and STILL managed to put a sports metaphor into a sentence without knowing I was about to do so) at finding and writing some stories which may compel someone to do some reading of this site.

Upcoming articles include an interview with someone who was part of the Inauguration of the 44th President of the United States of America, a look at some politically active situation, and music in the region.

If you pray, please pray that I can remember to do my blog some kind of proper justice.