Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Dock May Be Opened For Overlook & Fishing

A suggestion brought forward by Councilman Bob Kneemiller may soon become a reality. At a previous city council meeting the Mayor was trying to get the city council to allocate $120,000 to build an overlook on the riverfront towards the north end of Main Street across from the city restrooms which are next to a building she owns with her husband. The overlook was quashed by the city council despite objections from the Mayor and Councilman Veit.

Then Councilman Bob Kneemiller suggested that the dock in Frontier Park that cost the taxpayers $1.5 million be opened to the public and be used for a overlook and for fishing. After the story appeared in the First Capitol News the Mayor and a group of councilmen visited the dock. From discussion at the city council meeting last night it seems like the idea is going to move forward.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Defendant In Murder Trial Attacked In St. Charles Court Room

Gregory Wadlow, 60, on trial for the murder of his wife, Kelly Wadlow was attacked in a St. Charles Country Circuit Courtroom Tuesday, June 3, 2008.

At the completion of opening arguments the brother of the victim, Lonnie Hiavaty, began shouting obscenities and jumped Wadlow and held him in a headlock.

St. Charles County Deputy Sheriffs used a stun gun to subdue Hiavaty who they then arrested.

The victim, 40 year-old Kelly Wadlow was murdered four years ago.

Later that afternoon Wadlow entered a plea of guilty to second-degree murder. Sentencing by Judge Schneider will be in August.

Man Charged In Shooting Of His Wife

Dale J. Range, 47 of Gettysburg Landing in the Heritage subdivision, has been charged with felony domestic assault and armed criminal action in the shooting of his wife June 2. According to reports, Range shot his wife in her lower back with a handgun.
The wife called 911 and told police she was shot. Upon the arrival of St. Charles County Deputies, Range was found asleep in the home. The wife is at an undisclosed hospital where she is being treated for a life threatening injury. Police have not yet been able to interview the victim.
Range is being held on a $500,000 bond in the St. Charles County Corrections Center.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

FCN Front Page - May of 2008 Volume 4


City Council Gives $1 Million $20,000 Settlement To Sellenschuetter and his MJ Developers

By Tony Brockmeyer

At a recent executive (closed) meeting of the St. Charles City Council they approved a stettlement of $1 Milion $20,000 to Michael Sellenschuetter and his MJ Developers.

Voting for the settlement on a motion made by Cuncilwoman Laruie Feldman and seconded by Councilman Erv Ermeling were Councilmen Ermeling, Feldman, Ron Stivison, Richard Veit and Michael Weller. Voting No were Councilmen Bob Kneemiller, Mike Klinghammer, Larry Muench and Dave Beckering.

The settlement agreement called for immediate payment with the city to make a wire transfer of the funds.

Sellenschuetter had filed the lawsuit after a previous city council had refused to allow him to hook up his Oak Ridge Condominiums Subdivision, located outside the city limits, to St. Charles City water and sewers. Councilman Brown, Ward three had led the fight reasoning that the development did not meet city building codes and was built too close to a creek in violation of numerous laws.

Sellenschuetter then went to St. Charles County Circuit Court who then issued a Writ of Mandamus ordering the city to issue the permits to allow the hook up.

During the last municipal election Sellenschuetter spent thousands of dollars in his successful attempt to have members of the previous council defeated. He made generous donations to the election campaigns of Mayor York, Councilman Laruie Feldman, and Councilman Richard Veit.

Councilwoman Feldman told the First Capitol News she voted for the settlement because, “I determined it was in the best interests of the City to settle this case. The cost to defend the case at trial, the risk of losing at trial, and the cost of an appeal supported the decision to settle, along with our insurance carrier’s concurrence to the settlement.”

When asked if she should have excused herself from voting on the settlement because of the donations Selenschuetter made to her campaign she stated, “There is no law which prohibits me from voting on a matter which involves a person who made a political contribution.”

We asked for comments from Councilmen Veit, Stivison and Ermeling but they did not respond to our requests.

Additional Information on the lawsuit and Sellenschuetter can be found in our archives at

St. Charles City taxpayers paid $720,000 of the settlement and the balance was paid by the city’s insurance carrier.

Sources at City Hall told the First Capitol News the council approved the settlement even though a special CPA, who was hired to review the suit, advised them he believed they owed Sellenschuetter nothing.

We were also told that during closed meetings, the attorney defending the lawsuit for the city also advised the council he believed the city owed Sellenschuetter nothing.

The earlier city council had also refused to allow T.R. Hughes to hook up his St. Andrews subdivision, located outside of the city limits, to city water and sewer but then State Representative Tom Dempsey passed a state law in one day that allowed Hughes to hookup.

Law Suit Flied In Dispute Over Home In New Town Subdivision

(click on image to enlarge)

By Tony Brockmeyer

Joseph D. and Vicky E. Riley have filed a lawsuit in St. Charles County Circuit Court against Whittaker Builders Inc. charging Whittaker with Fraud, Negligent Misrepresentation and Violation of the Missouri Merchandising Practices Act.

According to the petition the Rileys in early 2005 contracted with Whittaker Builders to purchase a lot and custom home in Whittaker’s subdivision, the New Town at St. Charles. They claim that Whittaker agreed to sell the residence for an amount to be calculated based on Whittaker’s actual cost to construct the residence. They further claim that contrary to a plat map they had been provided by Whittaker the lake and lake-wall encroached onto the lot they had contracted to purchase. In October of 2007, after significant construction of the residence Whittaker provided the Rileys with a survey dated April 12, 2006, which showed the encroachment of the lake and lake-wall onto the lot.

After construction, they claim they learned that air-conditioning units installed to service the residence encroached onto the neighboring property and that Whittaker, without informing them of the encroachment, entered into negotiations with the neighbor to attempt to obtain an easement to permit the encroachment.

Whittaker informed the Riley’s that the purchase price of the residence was One Million One Hundred Forty-Six thousand Dollars (A$1,146,000). Riley’s informed Whittaker that the list of charges for the construction of the residence did not appear to accurately reflect the amounts incurred by Whittaker. During further discussions with Whittaker Builders the price went to $967,400, to $950,000 and finally to $928,000.

The Rileys further claim that they requested documentation from Whittaker to support Whittaker’s calculation of the alleged purchase price; Whittaker however, failed and refused to provide such documentation. The Riley’s claim that without their consent Whittaker scheduled a closing on the Residence at Lewis and Clark Title Company and that because of not receiving proper documentation, the demanded purchase price and the encroachment issues they did not appear at the closing. They also claim that LC Title Company owns Lewis and Clark and that Greg Whittaker is a member of LC Title Company, LLC.

The Rileys are asking for damages because of Fraudulent Misrepresentations. They claim the sales price was not based on the actual costs incurred by Whittaker to construct the residence and Whittaker knew such representation to be false. That prior to entering into the contract Whittaker represented that the lake and lake-well were adjacent to the lot and that at the time Whittaker knew such representations to be false.

They are asking for damages for Negligent Misrepresentation and for Missouri Merchandising Practices Act. They claim Whittaker utilized deceptions, fraud, false pretense, false promise, misrepresentations, unfair practice, and/or concealment, suppression or omission of material facts in connection with the sale and/or advertisement of the lot and residence including, but not limited to, demanding Rileys close on the purchase of the Residence at a title company affiliated with Greg Whittaker in an attempt to conceal numerous issues, including, but not limited to, encroachment of the air-conditioning units onto a neighboring property and encroachment of the lake and lake-wall onto the lot.

The petition asks for damages, punitive damages and attorneys’ fees along with prejudgment interest.

We contacted Whittaker Builders for their comments on the lawsuit. Spokesperson Lisa Mall informed us by e-mail that it is their policy not to comment on any pending lawsuit.

David Hamilton and Nicholas Komoroski of the Hazelwood & Weber law firm are representing the Rileys and Brad Goss is representing Whittaker Builders, Inc.

St. Charles County Circuit Court Presiding Judge Ted House Addresses Boys State Participtants

St. Charles County Circuit Court Presiding Judge Ted House Addresses Boys State Participtants

The Honorable Presiding Judge of St. Charles County Circuit Court, Ted House, addressed high school juniors from St. Charles and surrounding counties, at St. Charles American Legion Post 312, who will be attending the American Legion Boys State Program on the campus of Central Missouri State University in Warrensburg from June 14th to June 21, 2008.

During the week, which is billed, “A WEEK TO SHAPE A LIFETIME”, almost 1,000 high school uniors from across Missouri will receive hands on instruction in the workings of local, county and state government.

In just one week every thing that hapens in real life Missouri government will be re-created by these high school uniors.

Larry DuFour is the American Legion Chairman, Ninth District Department of Missouri.

RAMBLING WITH The Editor Tony Brockmeyer

Our publisher taught me something worthwhile the other day. Did you ever pull into a service station and forget what side of the car your fuel cap was located? She told me that since 1998 the manufacturers had solved that problem. If you look at your fuel gage with your key turned on you will see a small arrow on eighter side of the graphic of a gas pump. That arrow is pointing to the side of the car where your fuel cap is located. That is especially good to know if you are driving a rental car or an unfamiliar vehicle.

A small group of people are still trying to stop the First Capitol News from publishing. They send anoymous letters to our advertisers with vieled threats. We hope that you will continue to support us and please let our advertisers know that you appreciate them advertising in the First Capitol News.

The First Capitol News is getting a great number of hits each day on our web page, We are making plans on updating it on a daily basis so please be sure to check back every day or so to catch up on the local news of St. Charles

Soon to be featured on the web site will be information on how the city council and mayor are spending your tax dollars. With a struggling economy, we believe you will be surprised on how your tax dollars are being spent. Be sure to check frequently.

We would like to wish Bob Scott well after his recent surgery.


THE CITY DESK - Rory Riddler

They Want To Build It Where?

Proposed Community Center Site Robs The City’s Economic Future

It’s not easy for me to throw cold water on the latest headlong rush to build a new Aquatics and Community Center at Interstate 70 and 94. After all, I would like the City of St. Charles to one day enjoy the benefits of its own Community Center. But in this case, not only is the $30 MILLION taxpayers are being asked to fund a far too expensive option, the trade-off of a prime commercial piece of property robs the city of one of our best future economic development sites.

Now that the First Capitol and I-70 Interchange is so vastly improved, access to this commercial area is no longer a negative to its private development. Several years ago, the old K-Mart site was estimated to be worth $4 million, at least double the cost of an alternative site that was under consideration for a Community Center next to Blanchette Park.

Since that time, a similar size site of the old Noah’s Ark sold first for approximately $18 million. Then coupled with surrounding residential properties that had been assembled, and a TIF granted by the City of St. Charles, the property was sold to a large national developer for a rumored $60 million. The planned commercial and high-rise residential development planned for the site is in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

Now, just one exit away, and under vastly improved highway access as I mentioned before, the Mayor believes the “highest and best” use of this property is to take it OFF THE TAX ROLLS and make it a public non-profit aquatics and recreation center. It’s time to get out of the hot tub.

Most communities that have community centers, don’t build them on prime commercial development ground. They tend to be in existing parks or near residential areas where the ground is less expensive. So why the drive to have this one occupy such a prominent location?

The answer is that it isn’t being built as a true “Community” Center. It is being built to attract users from outside the City of St. Charles. Show-Me Aquatics, the would-be partner the City would own the center with, is a non-profit organization building a regional facility to serve the needs of its client base from throughout the St. Louis Metro Area and further.

Their business plan always called for selling memberships to those without the special needs of their main client base as a way to underwrite operational costs. They need a high profile location to sell private memberships to non-residents. Apparently they need the financial backing of the taxpayers of St. Charles as well.

So while the City might promise a bigger and better facility than we might have had on our own, it comes with strings attached.

First, they want to sell off the naming rights to the facility for $2.5 million. Most community centers are named after the communities they are in. It is called community pride and we use to have a lot of it in St. Charles. Some of us still do. We don’t need a local community center named after a beer, diet soft-drink, a casino, the cable company, my cell phone provider or the electric company.

Second, we will be sharing the proposed facility with lots of non-residents, so it might be harder to book that volley-ball court when your group wants it or enjoy time in a pool with the grandkids when it is crowded with buses full of group sales coming from miles and miles faway.

Third, since Show-Me Aquatics is in the business of operating such a facility, it seems unlikely our own local Parks Department or Parks Board will be in charge. We lose control.

Fourth, the Show-Me business model was primarily an aquatics facility with some other recreational amenities thrown in. But a community center can be so much more. Will the facility be designed primarily to meet the needs of the residents of St. Charles or to satisfy the needs of Show-Me’s client base? One of our greatest needs, for youth sports, is more gymnasium space. I didn’t see that touted in the press releases.

We are told in the Mayor’s press release that Show-Me has $10 million to invest in the development and would pledge another $10 million towards the “operational shortfall”. As they will be setting the prices and marketing the facility it doesn’t seem to me that there is much risk of an operational shortfall. But the sticker shock of using the facility might just price median income St. Charles families out of the market.

And while it is nice that Show-Me would pledge $10 million, remember that it was the City that made the land they set aside for their facility at Noah’s Ark, far more valuable to sell to the current developer. How much are they getting for the sale of that tax subsidized property?

We also believed that if the developer got that TIF that Show-Me would finally be able to get their facility built. It didn’t happen. Now, apparently it will $30 MILLION in taxpayer dollars to make fly at this proposed new site.

None of what I am writing should be taken as a reflection on the goals or honesty of the Show-Me Aquatics people. They have an important mission and I wish them well in meeting it. But that doesn’t mean they are the best to help own and operate a community center for the residents of this city.

The Blanchette Park site received 54% voter approval when it was on the ballot. As a large portion of the no votes were likely opposed to any location or community center, the fact is that the vote was not a referendum on the location. At that time, however, some Council members asked what the center of the City was, believing Blanchette to be too far North.

The answer is that the population center of the City is somewhere near Hardin Middle School on Elm Street and the geographic center is on the rear of the Lindenwood University Property along Duchesne. So now the proposed site at 70 and 94 is further South from the geographic and population centers of the city than the Blanchette site was North of it.

But by far, the major reason to oppose this particular site is simply that we would be trading away land that could be worth hundreds of millions in private development to us in the future. For anyone out there still saying, oh that land will never be worth anything like that, just drive less than a mile East on I-70 and look around.

If voters are given the opportunity, as they were promised, to weigh in on this issue, they might want to make sure the pool holds water before diving in.

THE PEOPLE SPEAK - Letters To The Editor

Copy of a letter sent to St. Charles City Council members. I took my case to the council after I was gassed - again - near my house on North 3rd Street Monday night.

To the St. Charles City Council,

Thank you for listening patiently to my view on the dangers of the City’s ineffective mosquito abatement program at last night’s council meeting (5/6/08).
Like many others, I recommended that the city 1. Increase the use of larvacide, and, 2.Employ a public relations campaign to encourage residents and businesses to be proactive in eliminating mosquito-breeding area on their properties. I’d like to add - and encouraging the use of non-toxic mosquito dunks, which can be purchased at local hardware stores.
This information is not news to Community Development and Code Enforcement staff. They’ve heard the suggestions, but won’t follow through.
Despite the growing body of research and controversy over using the product, they seem dedicated beyond reason to using Anvil, which is toxic, causes a host of public health problems, and kills all insects, amphibians and is probably harming birds and bats that eat poisoned insects.
It’s a very sweet deal for the pesticide companies. If they sold us a product that worked, they’d go out of business.
But Code Enforcement only does what it’s told. For whatever reason, City staff finds one excuse after another for not using larvacide, as other communities do. Staff, of course, knows very well how beneficial larvacides are, because the city has used them before.
Yet now Code Enforcement is dedicated to only fumigating our neighborhoods with Anvil, which does not address mosquito larvae. Worse, Anvil kills off all beneficial insects that eat mosquitoes. So our mosquito problem is worsening. It also kills off all butterflies, fireflies, ladybugs, bees, etc. And toads, frogs, fish, tadpoles, snails and more.
Seems to me that the older neighborhoods near Lindenwood and along the riverfront are being targeted in a number of ways that have dropped this area’s quality of life significantly.

Over-spraying of mosquito spray, and doing so against EPA regulations that are on the label, is just one example.

That’s why I asked you, the members of the City Council, if you have seen any mosquito trucks this year. If I understood you all, none have.
It’s very different in Frenchtown. For going on three years, we’ve been sprayed so frequently - and this is true -- I wonder if the  the City could be setting itself up for legal action due to EPA violations.

Forgive me, but I am wondering what the city’s agenda is. Because public health does not appear to be on the list, if  common sense and federal law in pesticide application are not being followed.

It makes me wonder, could excessive code enforcement activity and closing neighborhood schools have replaced eminent domain as a means of clearing out neighborhoods?

Peggy Whetzel

CASE IN POINT by Joe Koester

Honest bread is very well, it’s butter that makes the temptation.

-Douglas William Jerrold

You may have heard about a statewide petition drive that asked to increase the casino tax by 1%. Enough signatures were collected to put the matter to a vote in August. Signatures were collected by a company hired out of Michigan and under the pretense that the main goal of the petition is to raise money for schools. Who hired the Michigan firm to collect signatures for the cause? Well, the casino industry did, of course. Didn’t you know that the generous folks who run the gaming business in Missouri would like to voluntarily pay 1% of their income to support our kids? I’m betting there’s something rotten in the state of Denmark. As you may have learned, the casino industry would like to have the loss limits removed in Missouri so that you are free to hand over more than $500 per gaming period. Each of us can make up his or her mind whether or not we think this law is good or bad; however, in my opinion the casino industry used deliberate obfuscation in its petition drive. It talked up the 1% increase for schools while saying nothing about removing the loss limit in our state.

If you did sign the petition and would like to have your name removed, you may contact the Missouri Secretary of State’s Office and they will give you the address where you can send a notarized letter requesting your name’s removal.

I have a question regarding the casino industry – what happened to the original promises made when the industry came to our state? Do you remember that the casinos were to be on the river and cruise and I’m pretty sure they were to be voted on once every ten years for their re-approval? Those who fought against their entry to our state can certainly say, “I told you so.” Imagine the ability of the people every ten years to decide whether or not they wanted to keep this industry or not. Wow, that would be a pretty powerful bargaining chip in the hands of the people of the state. Heck, we could even raise the taxes they pay to 33% and I bet they’d still be making money hand over fist.

Maybe someone should start a statewide petition drive to go ahead and ask for 12% increase in taxes to support education. The casino industry has shown that they are willing to increase their taxes in order to help out our schools, so let’s allow them a chance to really shine. Maybe we should demand that the casinos cruise the rivers per original intent – I want to see Lumiere Place in Saint Louis gracefully sailing along on the Mississippi.
A further petition drive worthy of consideration is one that requires all the local ordinances to apply to the casinos without exception. If smoking is banned in restaurants, then it’s banned in the casinos too. Or inversely, any exceptions made to casinos would apply to local businesses. If the casino can have a 3AM liquor license, then a local bar can too. I guess that would make things a little too fair for an industry that likes to keep the odds overwhelmingly in their favor.

A recent look was given to the biking situation in Missouri and it made me think about the trail plan for Saint Charles. The council got a glimpse of the plan a few years ago and I was excited about the proposed trail system throughout the city and hope that these plans are moving forward. One hope I had was to work towards greening up Saint Charles in the coming years. In my second term it was my wish to see the city consider several environmental issues that would make our town more environmentally friendly such as municipal tax rebates on CFL lights and a reduced utility tax to homes meeting energy star compliance. I believe too that a tax break for housing putting in better insulation may be a good use for the local utility tax. If the tax is going to stay on the books, it would make sense for it to promote energy savings.

A further project that might be helpful is for the city to promote removal of asphalt where it has been shown unnecessary and replaced by trees and grassy areas that do not require extensive maintenance. At least two places come to mind: 1) the back half of the Target parking lot (which is actually the lot closest to Interstate 70) and about half of the former Target parking lot on Truman. Both of these projects would be voluntary with incentives built in. Actually, there are many lots around town that could be reduced, albeit smaller in scale, but all the same. I think that a lot more things could be considered – these are simply a couple things that come to mind. Of course, incentives are often better received than mandates but cooperation between business and city hall could result in a win-win.

Speaking of greening up - I hope all of you have a good spring and enjoy the warmer weather (when it arrives).

The View From The Cheap Seats by Jerry Hafferkamp

It has raised its ugly head again. Although the population of Missouri has rejected it, the purveyors of poverty feel that with the Republican majorities in the Missouri Senate and House, they have a good chance of imposing fraud on our citizenry.
What is this injustice? It is the infamous Right to Work for Less legislation.

The perpetrators of this fraud try to tell you they care about the poor, browbeaten worker that is “forced” to join a union in some areas of employment. No one forces this person to join a union and get decent wages and benefits. There are plenty of jobs they can have where the workers work for less and have no benefits. That’s their choice.

Rep. Steve Hunter ( R ) (naturally) of Jasper County, Missouri introduced this legislation. Here are a few stats that make me believe Mr. Hunter should do a 180 degrees turn in his thinking. In his home county, the median household income in 2004 was $7,962 below Missouri average. The per capita income was $3,709 below the state average in 1999. The persons living below poverty were at 17%, opposed to our state’s average of 13%.

Compare these figures with those of St. Charles County where there are large numbers of families benefiting from union wages and benefits. Our median household income was $23,696 above the state average in 2004. Our per capita income was $3,656 above the state average in 1999. St. Charles families living below the poverty level were at 5.4% as opposed to the state level of 13%.

I lived for a short time in Jasper County, and I can assure you that union jobs are few and far between there. Apparently their State Representative would like for all of Missouri to share the misery of the Jasper County residents. I guess if we all live in poverty, his district’s figures would look a lot better.

Being a lifelong Republican and former official in two unions, I wonder why the Republican Party continues this assault on union members. Most union members carry Republican values. More than you may realize vote Republican. Even more would if this assault on them were stopped. They believe in strong national security. They believe in the right to bear arms. They believe in less government control of their lives. And yes, they believe that executing innocent children whose only crime is that they haven’t escaped the womb is still murder.

Right to Work states have lower standards of living, fewer families with healthcare and more people living at below poverty levels. That is a fact. RTW states like Mississippi and Arkansas are prime areas for mobile home sales. Is there any wonder why? Workers can’t afford traditional homes on poverty wages.

The proponents of this legislation don’t give a damn about the poor little helpless worker as they claim. Their goal is to destroy unions so all workers live like the people do in the poverty-ridden Right to Work for Peanuts states. Most proponents were born with the proverbial “silver spoon” in their mouths

They long for the “good old days”. They would like nothing better than to sit on their verandas, sipping iced tea, counting their money and watching you and me pick their cotton.

That’s not just the view from the cheap seats, that’s a fact.


Tony Viviano is a man who can sell a song. He can sing with true feeling, as he was taught by the best in the business, Tony Bennett. He was awarded with the honor of The Best of St. Louis’ Entertainer and Lounge Act by The Riverfront Times 2003.
One of St. Louis’s most ambitious and versatile performers of the last 30 some odd years, and has the self assurance to prove it. Tony is a very marketable talent. He deserves a wider audience. He custom tailors his performance for your special occasion.
He always has the right musicians and female vocalist for the repertoire of each event.
People of all ages appreciate Tony’s music. Tony offers more. From peppy cocktail music, to soft sophisticated romantic dinner music, to keeping the crowd always on their feet dancing the night away. Viviano pays attention to detail. He and his band set the mood and create an atmosphere of fun.
He is ubiquitous in St. Louis. Viviano comes highly recommended by many major corporate clients and is known to thrill audiences at community parks, college concerts, to weddings and rehearsals, Italian events, fundraisers, festivals, restaurants / night clubs, dances and special events of all kinds.
Many think of him as someone who does tributes to Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Bobby Darin, Dean Martin and Louis Prima. But he entertains the younger set and all generations with many weddings and private engagements.
According to Charley Brennen of KMOX radio 1120 a.m. St. Louis. “Tony Viviano sounds more like Tony Bennett than Tony Bennett, and Tony can sing any song be it Jazz, Swing, Rock n’ Roll, Mo-Town, Disco, Island Music, Blues, Folk, Country and anything else he wants ’cause he can do it all - and he does it very well.”
Another quote from Don Wolff who announces many Jazz concerts said “Tony Viviano and Tony Bennett sound so much alike that they must have got their voices at the same city in Italy”.
If you want to know about how much a real entertainer loves to bring his performance to the stage more than anyone, you must see the Tony Viviano Show, a thoroughly enjoyable evening!
Tony was born to entertain. He has determination and most of all perseverance to put together the right combination of tunes that create the right mood for a successful show performance.
Beginning at age five he overheard and learned two unique styles of music coming from his family living room. First was from his older brother Joe who would be singing songs with the record player (Victorola) while swinging his arms to the smooth sounds of the great Frank Sinatra. To cool!!!
Second was from his next oldest brother Sal who would be singing songs of the then current
generation of Rock n’ Roll Artist’s like Jerry Lee Lewis, Fat’s Domino, Little Richard, Chuck Berry and Ricky Nelson. To much fun!!! But these were just stepping stones to the many songs that Tony still brings to the microphone today.
Viviano is a showman who connects with his audience. His forte is solid entertainment and his show is very well paced with humor.
We are fortunate that we don’t have to travel to Las Vegas or the East Coast to see this quality of entertainment, when we can see it right here.
Join Tony at these up coming public performances. The Tony Viviano Band will be performing:

 #2  THE BOULIVARD  (across from The Galleria)


AT WEST PORT PLAZA (Blues & Jazz Concerts) 6:00 P.M. to 9:00 P.M.
Outdoors West Port Plaza Courtyard



To book your next event with The Tony Viviano Band visit
e-mail 636-256-8833

Comments & Commentary by Charles Hill

Petty politics still exists in St. Charles city hall. The Mayor has made it her business to stop business on Main Street. Many of us merchants on Main Street had planned to create a memorable wedding, bridal event on Main Street. The plan was to advertise all the shops that wanted to participate in a wedding event. The shops would open their stores to brides and grooms show them what our individual shops had to offer for weddings. This daring marketing was going to be paid for by the shops and not from the tourism department or any city funds. The Convention and Visitors Bureau called the creator of this Bridal Showcase to a meeting. There she was told that the event could not go on without the completion of a 39-page permit application and the payment of numerous fees to the city. When she explained this was nothing more than an advertising program by the merchants to bring new business to the street she was told it didn’t matter. Complete the application, pay the fees or be shut down. We later learned that the order to shut it down came from the Mayor’s office. The Mayor would not support this event and wanted it stopped. Why? Because the advertisement would be done in the First Capitol News. Even though this was free enterprise. Even though this would have brought in new visitors and customers for the merchants. Even though this would have created an event that could be replicated year after year, Petty Patty told the businesses no and threatened other events if they went through with the plans.
Now I’m not one to hold grudges, but to punish the hard working business owners just because the First Capitol News prints the truth about you doesn’t sit well with me at all. How do I know it’s the truth, just look at Petty Patti’s actions on this event. Her actions should tell everyone that she is a just a facade of a person. Deep down she is petty, petty, and petty.
Another example of Petty Patty in action was written about in the last column and the Foundry Board listened. They went to the Council and asked them if they would give them $30,000 they had promised that the Mayor was holding up and blaming the council. Now the council is going to give the Foundry $100,000 instead. Dick Sachs needs to re-examine his belief that the Mayor has the ability to tell him the truth. Sachs was the one voice saying no to going to the council and trying to use his connection with the Mayor. My feeling is she was holding the money because Grace Nichols was on the board along with Rory Riddler. More petty politics.
I’m happy the Foundry is going to get the money. I have only one request, make the Foundry use St. Charles catering companies. This money is being given on the backs of the hard working families of St. Charles. The Foundry should help pay that back by requiring those using caterers to choose from the local eateries that are willing. This keeps the money in St. Charles and helps pay that gift of $100,000 back to the taxpayers. So council, give them money but make the money stay in the city.
Lastly, since we are talking about money staying in the City. The tourism tax is still existence and we all pay this tax whenever we eat in the city. That money is then collected and spent everywhere but in the city. Every publication that we have been advertising in for many years still gets their yearly advertising. The same out state TV and radio stations still get paid. We have marketed this city the same way for 20 years now and still haven’t figure out that we aren’t getting any money back.
I would like to put the CVB and Mayor on notice. If you don’t start looking for other ways to effectively spend our tourism dollars others and I will begin a petition drive to dissolve the tourism tax. This tax has been squandered and you all need to be on notice. If you think it would be impossible to get the signatures, think again. There are few people in today’s economy that wouldn’t sign.

Kratzer's Corner by Mel Kratzer

Is There A Better Place to Put the New Post Office?
In about two years the Fifth Street St. Charles Post Office will be attempted to be “relocated” near the First Capitol and Kingshighway intersection subject to a land deal being worked out with Lindenwood College. This whole scenario seems pretty “iffy” to me not to mention the
 plan leaving the St. Joe’s Hospital expansion in limbo waiting on the St. Charles Post Office to move so they can construct their new addition. 
 I’d be wary of this possible land deal with Lindenwood. The last time a big land deal emerged the St. Charles Taxpayers were taken for a ride when a right curve on First Capitol was taken out only to put a left curve on it. Lindenwood College ended up with a bunch of land and the City of St. Charles over a hundred thousand dollars poorer.
And the Postal Service’s real estate track record is pretty dismal in itself, too. Their last huge reality acquisition on Washington St. in downtown St. Louis had them purchase a building eight million bucks over cost.  Just saying that something more “surefire” is needed or else the St. Charles taxpayers and the Postal Service will be taken for another “ride” holding an exorbitant  bill muttering to themselves, “what the heck happened?”
 Seems to me a quicker, better more exact solution in relocating the Fifth St. St. Charles Post Office can be achieved. What about moving the Fifth St. Post Office to the giant warehouse on 2nd St. north of Clark? After some hustling and bustling on the remodeling, the “PO” could move right in while St. Joseph’s could start promptly on their expansion.

Another location for the new Fifth St. Post Office could be that massive parking lot right next to Chuck E. Cheese just on the south side of Hwy 70 slightly west of First Capitol. Think about this scenario: mail off your packages at the new post office then go next door and eat pizza while watching that overgrown rat amuse the six year olds.

An ideal new location for the new Fifth St. Post Office would be the old abandoned Pundmann Ford dealership building at Duchesne and Raymond. Its smack dab in the middle of St. Charles and with a tad of building construction, a new postal service building could be serving St. Charles citizens faster than a cruise missile attack.          

Or maybe a better spot for the new Post Office would be the old St. Charles Police Station Its collecting dust since it closed a few years ago. After some inside rearranging you’d have a serviceable place to conduct mail business with maybe a few leftover jail cells to house hostile unruly postal customers or disgruntled letter carriers.


Show Me Aquatics has changed plans again! DEAL OR BAD DEAL!

Show Me Aquatics has changed plans again! DEAL OR BAD DEAL!

The St. Charles City Council approved a bill calling for an August election for a bond issue to build a community center on ground to be owned by ShowMe Aquatics and then turn the center over to ShowMe Aquatics to be used by non-residents from around the metro area. They say St. Charles residents, who will be paying the majority of the cost, will be given a discount at the center.

After choosing a site at Friedens Road and Highway 94 in 2000, ShowMe Aquatics switched in July of 2003 and inked a deal to purchase nine acres of land in O’Fallon at Winghaven. At that time Sue Schaeffer, founder and board president was quoted in the Post Dispatch as saying, “We had been looking at that site for a long time.” Needless to say that site is not the home of the “Freedom Center”. An aquatic center that is intended to remove all barriers for those with special needs. They had hoped to break ground in fall of 2004 and open in 2005.

In January of 2004 Show Me Aquatics began discussions with the City of St. Charles to partner with them on the construction of an aquatic center. It was reported by the Post Dispatch that “O’Fallon Mayor Paul Renaud said he didn’t know about ShowMe’s talks with St. Charles...”I’m confident we have a commitment for them to build in O’Fallon,” Renaud said.”

In March of 2004 ShowMe was negotiating to purchase the old Noahs Ark Site in St. Charles City for a new location. Sue Schaeffer was quoted as saying the board thought the Noah’s Ark site was the organizations board’s “absolutely preferred site.” At this time the City was discussing partnering with ShowMe. ShowMe found out May 19, 2004 that the City of St. Charles would not be a partner in the development and Sue Schaeffer was quoted by the Post Dispatch,”It’s important to leave an open door, but we’re moving forward.”

ShowMe Aquatics did move forward at the Noah’s Ark Site. They partnered with Greg Whittaker to create a “New Urbanist” development with ShowMe as one of the anchors. ShowMe and Whittaker both convinced the City to pass the largest TIF in St. Charles County history and one of the top 10 TIF’s in State history. Since, Whittaker sold out to Cullinen and now it appears ShowMe’s “absolute preferred site” is no longer that absolute. The massive TIF is still in place even with ShowMe and Whittaker both backing out.

As of May 9, 2008 the Show Me Aquatics web site still boasted that the future “Freedom Center” was going to be located at the old Noahs Ark site at Highway 70 and 5th Street. This was until the new “ideal” site of the old K-Mart located on the outer road at 70 and First Capitol was unveiled. ShowMe Aquatics has finally found a partner that will invest $30 million of taxpayer funds to their $10 million. The administration of St. Charles Mayor Patti York

ShowMe Aquatics has never had a building to manage. This will be the organizations first and they will be in control of the daily operations. The center will be built in conjunction with the City of St. Charles and is supposed to serve as the long debated community center. In a press release Mayor York is quoted as saying,”We are excited to announce this landmark project today, not only for the people of St. Charles, but for the entire St. Louis region.” In most communities the city builds a community center for those who live in the community to gain a sense of community. This center is intended to be a draw for those in the entire region and will be funded by the residents of St. Charles. Deal or Bad Deal. Let us know what you think.

City Purchases Property For Fire Station $47,000 More Than Appraised Value - Less Than Mile From County Station

(Click on image to enlaage)

On A Motion by Councilman Klinghammer The City Council Approved taking Property By Eminent Domain If Property Owner Refused Their Offer

By Phyllis Schaltenbrand

The city of St. Charles has purchased the property at 2795 Zumbehl Road for construction of a Fire Station. The property is on the western edge of the city and there is a Central County fire Station less than a mile from this location.

The city had the property appraised and the appraisal was $158,000. In October the city offered $170,000 for the property and the owner countered offered $240,000.

The city council at a meeting on December 4, 2007 raised their offer to $205,000. Councilman Michael Klinghammer made a motion that; in the event the owners of 2795 Zumbehl Road did not accept the offer of $205,000 staff commence the procedure for eminent domain. Councilman Bob Kneemiller seconded the Motion. Councilmen Muench, Reese, Stivison, Veit, Beckering, Klinghamer and Kneemiller voted in favor of eminent domain. Councilman Ermeling voted No. Weller and Feldman were absent from the meeting.

First Capitol News Sports - Mike McMurran Sports Editor

(click on image to enlarge)
Top photo First Capitol News Photographer Bob Barton with World Boxing Promoter Don King
Bottom photo First Capitol News Sports Editor Mike McMurran with Leon Spinks, former world heavyweight champion.

By Mike McMurran, First Capitol News Sports Editor

Today’s column will deal with two points. One, I talked to Leon Spinks lately, and he remembers the two times he knocked me out. Now I’m not certain that is something I should be proud of, nor am I even completely convinced he knew of what I was talking about, but he said he did. He even agreed to have our picture taken together as a memento of the occasion – fortunately for me, Bob Barton had camera in hand and was ready to shoot, as he usually is.

I’ve two Barton photos framed and hung on the wall in my class; the one published in today’s edition of me and the former World Heavyweight Champion of the World, and one with my son, Daniel, and Don King. That’s what I really want to discuss today, Barton’s photos, and how he got to a position in his life where he is one of, if not the most recognized boxing photographer in the St. Louis Region.

Before I go any further, I must share that I have known Bob for over 31 years. Back in the late 70’s we were pretty close, then as often times happen, our life took separate courses. After 25 years we were reunited and our friendship took on a different meaning – yet, it was if we had been best friends the entire time.

Bob started taking pictures when he was 13 years-old – and has been going strong ever since. By his own recollection, he has taken over 350,000 photos. He attended Hazelwood High School, back in the days when there was only one Hazelwood. It seems Bob had a small problem with authority, or, if you will, had a problem with people telling him what he could and couldn’t do. Hence his high school career was rather short lived. Back in those days, if you didn’t finish high school, the powers to be would always suggest, “Join the military, they’ll straighten you out.” In Bob’s situation it didn’t make a whole lot of sense to join the military, what with his problem with being told what to do and all. Didn’t matter, Bob enlisted in the Navy. Lasted all of 42 days as he was released for “failure to adapt to military life.” Even a blind-man could have seen that one coming.

After being released from the Navy, Bob got a job with St. Louis County Department of Highways and Traffic, a career from which he retired this past winter. For a high school drop-out, Bob didn’t do too badly for himself. At the age of 27 he enrolled in school and earned a Civil Engineering technology degree. With his new degree in hand, Bob started road construction inspection work, working his way up to the lead inspector on the Metro Link project. All the while Bob was taking pictures, hundreds of thousands of pictures – mostly for his own pleasure.

Some five years or so ago, when I started writing for Tony, it became painfully clear to me that I was a much better writer than I was photographer. Luckily for me, Bob’s youngest child, Jessie, had just gone away to college, and Bob had a large void in his life. It was bad enough Jessie was living in Cape while attending SEMO (from which she has since graduated), her older brother, Bobby was living in Fulton and attending Westminister (he too has since graduated). Bob and I became a team, writing for and taking pictures for Tony and the First Capitol News. It was something we both took seriously and hoped would open other doors for us. For Bob it worked, I, on the other hand have not had such luck.
Since he was first “published” in the First Capitol News, Bob’s photography career has really taken off. In addition to being the St. Louis American’s primary boxing photographer, Bob has been published in The St. Louis Post Dispatch, Commerce Magazine, Crossroads Magazine, The Community News, The Army News, The Hard Hat News, Rumble Time Promotions, and The Fox Network. All the while, Bob declares his allegiance as well as loyalty to Tony and the FCN. Oh wait, did I mention Bob is the staff photographer for Jessie Finney’s Shamrock Promotions? He is!

Ladies and gentlemen, believe me, in the Saint Louis Region, when it comes to the boxing world, Bob Barton is a very respected person – and I mean very respected. At the most recent Corrie Spinks fight, downtown at the Savvis Center, I left it up to Bob to secure our media credentials. Was I ever surprised when I took my seat and found FOX, KMOV, KSKD and the mighty KMOX all seated behind me. The only writer present with better seats than I was the writers for the Post. Bob knows the fight world. At the pre-fight press conference with Devon Alexander, when Alexander entered the room, the first person he walked up to was Barton. He gave him a big hug!

Of all of Bob’s accomplishments, nothing brings him more pride and joy than his family. He has been married to his wife Kitty for over 25 years now, and after 25 years she remains his best friend. I’ve traveled often with Bob, and his favorite topic of discussion is his family. After that, it’s photography. Not just the button pushing, getting the right amount of light, or being in the right place at the right time – but rather the journey. The sleeping in tents during a blizzard to get the right shot of a herd of elk in the mountains. Yeah, that’s the crazy kind of stuff he does to get his pictures.

Bob has been compensated thousands of dollars for his pictures. One of the things that makes Bob so special is what it is he does with the money he earns from his pictures. Whether it be The First Capitol News, the St. Louis Post Dispatch, or pieces sold from Framation Art Gallery on Main Street, Bob donates all the money he gets from his pictures to charity. As Bob puts it, “I think the best charity given is anonymous,” so his charity of choice will in fact remain anonymous. I do know the charity recently received an anonymous thousand dollar donation, as Bob sold eight or so of his fight pictures, which will adorn the office of a local fight promoter.

Congratulations Bob, on your recent retirement. More importantly, on your life; on your life as a husband, a father – and from the perspective from which I know you best – a friend.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Front Page First Capitol News February 9 - 22, 2008

(Click on image to enlarge)

You can read the main stories of the February 9 - 22, 2008 issue of the First Capitol News by scrolling down or if you want the entire edition including all the stories and ads please go to

Bass Pro Must Have Trailer-Pods Removed From Lot By March 7

By Phyllis Schaltenbrand

More than 80 pods (trailers sitting on the ground without wheels) must be removed by Bass Pro from their parking lot in the Mark Twain Mall by March 7, 2008.

A public hearing was held at the city council meeting Tuesday evening on a request by Bass Pro for a conditional use permit to put up a 7200 square foot temporary tent. They were requesting that they be allowed to have the tent from February 22 to March 17. It will be used in conjunction with their Spring Fishing Classic.

One of the conditions for the conditional use permit requires the storage pods to be removed by March 7, 2008.

In the November 10, 2006 edition of the First Capitol News we reported that a local business owner was complaining that the city would not allow a 2 x 3 foot banner at his business but allowed other businesses special privileges. We reported in the story, along with photographs, that there were more than 80 pods being used by Bass Pro on the parking lot. We also reported that the pods have been there for over three years.

After the story ran we asked Bruce Evans, the Director of Community Development, if the pods were illegal and why was Bass Pro being allowed to have their parking lot covered by them. Mr. Evans told us he would look into it.

The General Manager of Bass Pro told the council Bass Pro had acquired an additional 10,300 square feet of storage space and the items in the pods were being moved into that space.

He said that racking was being installed and the pods would be gone by March 7.

He said he had already began contacting the companies telling them to remove their pods

Censorship & Intolerance Still Alive In St. Charles 20 Years Later?

Pictured above is a scene from the Heart of the Beholder movie with actors and actresses reinacting the protesters who were at Ken Tipton’s Video Library store in St. Charles 20 years ago.

School Superintendent Orders Movie Company To Cease Using School Name

By Tony Brockmeyer

St. Charles Schools Superintendent Randall Charles has ordered a Hollywood Production Company that includes several graduates of St. Charles High School to cease the use of the name of the school district in a promotion that was being held to raise money for the high school drama department.

Dr. Darlene Lieblich, Exective Producer of the controversial movie, HEART of the BEHOLDER, received a e-mail from Superintendent Charles ordering her to, “immediately cease the use of the name of the City of St. Charles School District or St. Charles High School and/or any other district school. He further wrote that the district has no interest in benefiting financially or in any other way from the promotion, sale or distribution of the film.

HEART of the BEHOLDER is based on the true story of a young St. Charles couple. (Ken Tipton and his wife Carol) chasing the American Dream by risking their live savings and opening the very first videocassette movie rental business in St. Charles about 20 years ago. They lost their multi-million dollar chain of video stores, their home, and almost their lives fighting Reverend Donald Wildmon’s National Federation for Decency.

(Since 1988 it has been called People For The American Way - American Family Association over the video rental of Martin Scorsese’s controversial movie, The Last Temptation of Christ.

According to Ms. Lieblich, a veteran network television exeutive and former Daytime Emmy Chairman, “People claim our movie trashes Christians and they haven’t even seen it. It is about censorship and the abuse of power - both religious and political corruption. That’s why our second Best Feature Film award came from an all Bible Belt Christian audience in Kentucky.”

The writer/director of HEART of the BEHOLDER Ken Tipton, along with cast and crew members Avis Taylor, Larry Ruebling, and Patrick Kieman are all former St. Charles High School sutdents who got their start in the entertainment industry on the stage at SCHS. When Joseph Hosea, the St. Charles High School’s Drama Department head let it be known that their school productions, equipment, and theater were in dire need of renovation, Executive Producer Darlene Lieblich offered a promotion to raise funding using HEART of the BEHOLDER.

A free showing of the movie scheduled to be held at St. Charles Wehrenberg 18 Cine where the Executive Producer and Director were going to be available for questions was cancelled after receiving the cease order from Superintendent Charles. Other aspects of the promotion were also cancelled.

Ms. Lieblich wrote the Superintendant the following e-mail but has not received a reply:

I am deeply saddened that you so firmly maintain your opposition to the benefit screening of our film HEART of the BEHOLDER. As you have not responded to any of my questions, I still have no idea what basis you are using for your decision or if you have even seen the film yourself before taking an action which will deprive the St. Charles High School Drama Department of a potentially large donation.

I have worked as a professional network television censor for over 30 years so I am keenly aware of the political forces that rise up when it comes to material that routinely sparks debate. The core element of our movie’s story is censorship and intolerance which is a topic that I am passionately against.

Every school in your district has at some time had fundraisers for many worthy causes and used many different incentives and promotional materials. Our free screening and promotional drive has been under discussion for several weeks so your order to cease confuses me.

Have you seen our movie?

What is it about our movie that you find objectionable?

Did you live in St. Charles when the story happened?

Do you want us to cancel our February 2 screening?

Would it help if 100% of the funds generated were donated to the school?

I appreciate the opportunity to resolve these issues as soon as possible. I suggest that we postpone the screening and fundraiser until Feb. 23 when I will be in town again. I would then send you copies of the DVD so you could have adequate time to make an informed decision.

Dr. Darlene Lieblich
Executive Producer

The First Capitol News was able to contact Superintendent Charles at a conference he was attending. He said, “I didn’t cancel the promotion. I advised them they were not to use the name of the district or the high school and they went ahead and cancelled the promotion on their own.”

HEART of the BEHOLDER, written and directed by 1971 SCHS graduate Ken Tipton, is based on his family’s true story of how they stood up to religious censorship, intolerance, and political corruption. The movie is currently screening on the independent film festival circuit and has won more Best Feature Film awards than any independent movie ever.

HEART of the BEHOLDER stars many well known performers such as John Dye from “Touched by an Angel”, Michael Dorn who plays Worf on “Star Trek”, Greg Germann from “Ally McBeal”, Jason Wiles from “Third Watch”, 3-time Emmy winner Sarah Brown, Matt Letscher from”Mask of Zorro” with Antonio Banderas, Anne Ramsay from “Mad About You” and “The L Word”, Tony Todd from “Platoon” and “Candyman”, Arden Myrin from “Mad TV”, Oscar nominee Patty McCormack, and Priscilla Barnes from “Three’s Company”.

Darlene Lieblich can be contacted at:

THE HEART of the BEHOLDER Website is:

RAMBLING WITH The Editor Tony Brockmeyer

The Mayor’s right hand man, in this case woman, is under fire by the St. Charles City Council. Karen McDermott, Finance Director, is the target of tirades over the finances and procurement processes in the City. Allan Williams hired McDermott during his first stay in St. Charles in the early 90’s. She has been a bone of contention by city councils for years. McDermott is considered by many as an obstructionist in city hall. Her staff has lived in fear for years and none have been empowered to take any initiative. McDermott has ruled with an iron fist around the tax money unless it was for something the Mayor or Allan Williams determined worthy. The fact is the city council and City Administrator Michael Spurgeon hasn’t a chance to unseat her. She knows where all the dead bodies are buried. She knows the scheme to pay Glennon Jamboritz for his efforts in the recall of two previous council members. She knows the truth about the Mayor using the tax coffers as her own spending account.
In the past the council had a finance and audit committee that tried to reel in her power. Mayor York and her administration rebuked those efforts. The council uncovered the fact that McDermott hadn’t paid the cleaner’s bill for cleaning police uniforms. The committee identified the fact that McDermott hadn’t paid for the fuel for the police cars and one weekend some of our finest had to pay for gas using other methods because the city’s credit had been shut off. McDermott held up payment to the parks board, and held up the police getting winter coats. Keep in mind all these expenditures had been approved by the council.
McDermott had an employee that stole from the city and was never prosecuted and the city council would have never found out if someone on the inside hadn’t told them. Each year she has paraded into the city council chambers with the Mayor praising her for an accounting award she receives. The dirty little secret there is the award is bought and paid for by the taxpayers of St. Charles. McDermott doesn’t have a problem paying her membership or for her awards but when it comes to the needs of the employees she says NO!!!
At the meeting on Tuesday evening the council was working to get credit cards for employees to help streamline work. The previous council asked for the same thing, who got credit cards? The Mayor, City Administrator and the city clerk. If you really want to see why McDermott won’t be replaced, ask to see the Mayor’s Credit Card Bill. Even the state audit called Mayor York out on her spending $400 on a dinner at a downtown St. Louis restaurant. One of the guests at one of her high priced dinners was the previous Mayor of St. Peters, Shawn Brown, who is now confined to a federal detention facility. Maybe they were trading secrets and the room was too loud and Shawn misunderstood what she told him.
 Each city council has complained yet nothing ever changes. The city budget is impossible for an average resident to read and understand. The money is hidden in line items that disappear from public view, yet, McDermott knows where the money is. I used to watch and listen to York and McDermott say they found the money. Yes, they should be able to find it, they hid it in the first place.
Good luck to council in their adventure to control the finance director. If they are able to do anything in the next two years, replacing her would be a job well done.

Residents visiting Ameristar Casino over the weekend told us of an apparent celebration being hosted by developer Michael Sellenschuetter. According to our sources, it was attended by Mayor York, Council President Kneemiller and Councilman Mike Weller, among others. Wonder what they were celebrating? Perhaps the $1 million offer to settle Sellenschuetters lawsuit against the city. In executive session Tuesday evening the vote was 6 for and 4 against making an offer of settlement.

It also appears there is movement afoot to replace Councilman Bob Kneemiller as Council President.

THE PEOPLE SPEAK - Letters To The Editor

To the Editor,

In a letter to a local newspaper, Stephanie Bollinger complained that the criticism of her father, St. Charles school board president Dennis Hahn, was insulting.
She called her father “a true public servant.” Many, many people wish that were true. You can’t be considered a “public servant” if you close popular neighborhood schools and lie about the reasons.
Using the district’s own information, it’s crystal clear that financial difficulties are not, and never were, the true reason for closing Benton and Blackhurst schools.  Plus, busing students is costing them more and more money – as predicted. Likewise, judging by figures on the state’s website, neither was low enrollment the true reason for closing these particular schools. What, then, was the board’s motivation? Why won’t it listen to the public?
Private interests would like to have our public school buildings. Parochial school officials are being wooed with visions of tuition vouchers.
Please consider and draw your own conclusions:
Most, perhaps all, school board members and St. Charles school foundation members (past and present) have strong ties to either Lindenwood, local parochial schools or their churches, or both. In other words, there are conflicts of interest.
All the schools chosen as candidates for closing are near Lindenwood, a privately owned university. The only schools that had low enrollment were on the western side of the district, but they were not candidates for closing.
Some of Lindenwood’s “campuses” at other sites (seen on their cable access, Channel 26) are older school buildings. Homeowners near St. Charles High School have already been approached about selling their homes to Lindenwood, which is as much in the real estate business as in the business of education.
School board president Dennis Hahn is a member of Veterans for Bush.  Not a single Republican official stood up for keeping Benton open. They can’t –it’s against current Republican Party policy.
How so? I believe the Bush administration’s policy is to replace public schools with charter or private schools. That’s the true agenda of the No Child Left Behind Act, which puts every public school on instant probation. Forever.
Private and parochial schools and home-schoolers are not bound by No Child Left Behind test requirements. (Not yet, anyway.)
But for public schools to get federal funds, students must pass more and more difficult tests each year.
Finally -- and this is going on in St. Louis -- schools are closed, teachers fired, and students get vouchers (paid by taxes) to attend elsewhere. Anywhere that will take them, that is.
That’s a pretty odd “repair,” isn’t it?
Has anyone asked private school parents if they want their children to attend school with kids whose beliefs and backgrounds they don’t share?
The St. Charles school board and district administrators are working against their own students by:
Closing schools. It can take months to a year to acclimate to a new school; meanwhile, students’
grades suffer.
Busing certain children clear across town. Kids lose sleep having to get up much earlier and
grades suffer. Kids wait for buses at 6:30 a.m.! Also, buses are prime sites for bullying, which
makes the ride scary for many kids. More stress! And diesel fumes are unhealthy; other districts
have converted their buses, but not St. Charles.
Sending kids to overcrowded classrooms. Grades surely suffer. (Officials said, “Oops, we
miscalculated!” But parents didn’t – they warned officials.)
Getting rid of 18 - 22 (I’ve heard different numbers) experienced high school teachers, including
many of the best and brightest.
Hiring principals who’ve developed reputations for not being able to handle unruly kids, so there’s
chaos in the classroom and police using tasers at school. 
Beginning the St. Charles High School day earlier and ending it later, and requiring teachers to
crack down on tardiness. Sleepy teens have a harder time in school.
Changing or cutting gifted programs so gifted kids lose out. (In “The Genius Problem,” Time
magazine Aug. 2007, John Cloud blames the No Child Left Behind Act.)
Cutting a popular high school program, Seminar, which helped kids study and get help from
teachers; now teachers are not as available as before. 
Threatening, intimidating, and failing to support teachers; it’s hard to give 100% at work if there’s
a hostile environment.
Last spring and summer, others and I circulated petitions to keep Benton open. It was fun because people from all walks of life and political persuasions were happy to sign, including those with kids and grandkids in private schools. It was surely the most popular petition ever to hit the streets of St. Charles. When a school foundation member doubted that claim, I invited him to come with me and see for himself. He declined.
Let’s come full circle to fathers. One of the most touching comments I heard came from a dad addressing the St. Charles school superintendent during the January meeting at Benton.
“I moved here so I could walk to worship, and walk my children to school,” he said. He spoke for many in the room.
It’s possible that the board members of the school district, parochial schools, city officials and Lindenwood’s board members and overseers sincerely do believe they are doing the right thing in dismantling the school district. But by keeping their agenda secret from the public and even from people in their own institutions, they’ve shown that they are not public servants or public-minded. The evidence points to conflicts of interest.
The wisest recourse for the various boards is to allow Benton and Blackhurst to re-open.
They need to do right by local children, their families and our historic neighborhoods.
Otherwise, every one of them should step down.
Their “free” service is costing us dearly.
Peggy Whetzel

To The Editor,

You did a great job of bidding farewell to Mr. Dengler and Mr. Scott, the photo cover of Mr. Dengler was a nice touch.

I would like to respond to Mr. Dakes letter by saying that his allegations regarding our meeting are absolutely false. He neglected to mention that while he was picketing, which is his right, he was honking a hand held horn directly under my residence. At the time two of my front windows were open and I was watching a football game on television and the noise from his horn honking was interfering with my enjoyment of the game. All I said to him was
, “Hey, Please knock off the horn honking I’m trying to watch a game!”. I was looking out my front window at Mr. Dake and a young lady that he was holding hands with at the time and she screamed that I should go and smoke some more drugs. “What?” I said.
Mr. Dake yelled up at me that I should “shut up and go put on some donkey ears!”
“Just stop with the horn and move along!” I said.
“You move along!” Mr. Dake said.
I returned to my recliner to finish watching the game. Just as I sat down Mr. Dake bellowed 
“See,” Mr. Dake said, obviously trying to impress the girl he was holding hands with,”A real man would come down here and say that to my face!”
I went down to the street and said, “Well, I’m going to ask you again please stop with horn! What’s with that girl yelling about drugs and what not?” I said.
“Don’t worry about her she’s with me!’ Drake said.
While I was talking with him I asked him what’s his problem Councilman Veit? He said that he was upset with the City because sidewalks in his neighborhood were not accessible for people with disabilities and this was wrong and needed to be addressed. I agreed, I also appologized for yelling at him to knock off the horn blowing. We shook hands and I bid him good day. He asked for a score of the game and I told him. 
That is what happened.

I have eaten at The Vine several times and it was really good. I must say that they have the only decent cheese plate in town. Thank You for taking the time to read this.

Bryan Audrey

Editor First Capitol News
Sherborn Lane was closed at the end of Hanover subdivision by John Gieseke (former Councilman).  The developers promised the homebuyers that the street would be closed to thru traffic. 
Immediately after being elected Mike Klinghammer reopened the street. He must have had a political debt to pay. He also got the dept of public works to waste taxpayer’s money by painting white stripes on the sides of the street, installing street narrowing signs and reflectors on the street.  This was supposed to calm traffic, a complete foolish and ineffective idea.

I emailed Mike Klinghammer, the Mayor and the dept of public works director on Jan 3 and asked how much all that work cost the taxpayers.  No one answered.  Evidently the mayor or her supporters don’t like to be asked about how much things cost the taxpayers.  The markings on the street are a total waste.  The mail carriers the UPS delivery men and and others ask what they are all about.   Also I have had a police car parked in front of my house since last Friday.  This is also an ineffective means of controlling speeders.  There is very little traffic on the street and the police car could be more effectively used in patrolling high crime or high-speed areas.   Do we have an oversupply of police cars that we can let one set vacant on a street for over six days and who knows how much longer.
I think you should investigate this situation and publish it in your paper.  It is the only way citizen of St Charles will know how foolish our councilman and the administration are.

 Thank you
Richard Perry



Dear Editor,

Recently at a celebration on the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr, Mayor York was allowed to read excerpts from Dr. King’s speech delivered in Selma. Having her read his words is with out doubt a travesty to not just the memory of Dr. King but to all those who died during the confrontations that occurred in Alabama. It is a travesty to all who really understand what the celebration of Dr. King’s life is by proclaiming a national holiday in his honor.

York hasn’t the conscious or moral capacity to comprehend the meaning of the words she read. King’s words moved a nation to understand that we are all created equal and all are God’s children. Those who organized the celebration should have done some simple homework.

York is part of an establishment that hasn’t fully grasped the idea of equal rights for all. Look at her administration’s department heads, it reminds you of one from the south in the 60’s. Her support of the purchase of housing stock in Powell Terrace by Lindenwood took needed housing away from those whose only crime was to be poor. Can York read the lines and words, yes, can she fully comprehend the meaning, not a chance.
The topper of all this is the fact that York doesn’t fully recognize the holiday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. York closed City Hall but the city employees all have to work. Those who participated in the celebration most likely didn’t realize the hypocrisy of their civic leader. The facts are simple and true; York hasn’t the needed intellect to fully grasp the idea of one nation. Her only dream was one of self-promotion by excepting to speak during the ceremony. In the future if we are really looking to keep King’s dream alive wouldn’t it be appropriate to have leaders who understand what the dream is, and have the humility to understand their roll.

P Johnson

To The Editor,

You did a great job of bidding farewell to Mr. Dengler and Mr. Scott, the photo cover of Mr. Dengler was a nice touch.

I would like to respond to Mr. Dakes letter by saying that his allegations regarding our meeting are absolutely false. He neglected to mention that while he was picketing, which is his right, he was honking a hand held horn directly under my residence. At the time two of my front windows were open and I was watching a football game on television and the noise from his horn honking was interfering with my enjoyment of the game. All I said to him was
, “Hey, Please knock off the horn honking I’m trying to watch a game!”. I was looking out my front window at Mr. Dake and a young lady that he was holding hands with at the time and she screamed that I should go and smoke some more drugs. “What?” I said.
Mr. Dake yelled up at me that I should “shut up and go put on some donkey ears!”
“Just stop with the horn and move along!” I said.
“You move along!” Mr. Dake said.
I returned to my recliner to finish watching the game. Just as I sat down Mr. Dake bellowed 
“See,” Mr. Dake said, obviously trying to impress the girl he was holding hands with,”A real man would come down here and say that to my face!”
I went down to the street and said, “Well, I’m going to ask you again please stop with horn! What’s with that girl yelling about drugs and what not?” I said.
“Don’t worry about her she’s with me!’ Drake said.
While I was talking with him I asked him what’s his problem Councilman Veit? He said that he was upset with the City because sidewalks in his neighborhood were not accessible for people with disabilities and this was wrong and needed to be addressed. I agreed, I also apologized for yelling at him to knock off the horn blowing. We shook hands and I bid him good day. He asked for a score of the game and I told him. 
That is what happened.

I have eaten at The Vine several times and it was really good. I must say that they have the only decent cheese plate in town. Thank You for taking the time to read this.

Bryan Audrey

THE CITY DESK - Rory Riddler

Is This Really How
The World’s
Democracy Picks A

Super Tuesday is all over but the shouting. The Republican field for President has narrowed dramatically, all the way down to almost one, with John McCain the presumptive front-runner. Mike Hukabee takes the silver medal by holding tenaciously on to the Bible Belt. And Mitt Romney discovers that money can’t buy him love.

The Democrats, with Valentine’s Day fast approaching, seem stuck between two lovers. Will Clinton or Obama get the red roses or end up with a “we’re just friends” card?

I didn’t even get to vote for my favorite candidate for President, John Edwards. He dropped out the week before. He would, I believe, have done well in Missouri. Both my wife and I had arrived at the same choice independently of each other to support Edwards.

While voting at Memorial Hall Tuesday, I had the chance to visit with Republican activist Roland Wetzel. He was bemoaning that he had to settle for his second choice also as Fred Thompson had likewise bowed out before getting to Missouri.

Likewise Giuliani backers had to be upset their main man went down in Florida the week before. He had the local endorsements of Mayor York and the Dempsey machine. But their dream candidate just wasn’t meant to be, along with whatever Presidential appointments that might have brought.

Which only goes to prove that the best laid plans of mice, men and political pundits often go awry. As the host of Project Runway is fond of saying, “One day your in and the next day (dramatic pause) you’re out.” What is true for the world of fashion is true for the world of Presidential politics. Here perception is reality and the fashionable candidate to be seen wearing their political gear, can fade as quickly on an icy Tuesday in February as last year’s Spring Collection.

So wither Fred Thompson, wither Rudy Giuliani, wither John Edwards, wither the dozen or so other smart and talented men who gave it their best shot. Like a reality survival show, in the end, there can be only one.

It seems only yesterday that a handmade sign was hung from the Fairgrounds overpass, asking the question, “Who is Ron Paul?” The signs got bigger and better, and even billboards sprang up. But he hovered around 3% and nobody seemed to much care who he was after all. But those 3% of the voters we saw waving signs were darn serious about their candidate.

So too are the Mike Huckabee supporters. I know that I’m not suppose to like the guy because of his politics, but he’s just so darn irrepressible. He tells jokes about himself. He’s the kind of person you could go bowling with. Romney, Hillary, Obama and McCain would probably throw a lot of gutter balls.

Huckabee had a good evening Tuesday, even if his victories were all in the south and the fact that he nearly tied with McCain in Missouri. He’s sitting on some rather valuable real estate today.

Romney just couldn’t catch fire. I blame the dumb red foam catcher’s “mitts”. Somebody said, hey you nickname is mitt …let’s associate you with an attention getting cheap foam product more appropriate for baseball venues.

If Mike Huckabee had employed the same marketing geniuses, they might have had him waving Huckelberry Hound puppets at rallies.

Romney was also a bit blatant about buying the election. That might impress the Real Housewive’s of Orange County, but it doesn’t play in the Heartland very well. Meanwhile, Mike Huckabee just carried around his own suitcase and didn’t need to spend much in comparison. Not that I’m completely fooled by the “aw shucks” feel of his campaign. They had a very nice commercial touting his plan to abolish the IRS. Now that’s an issue to unite people.

Hillary overcame the Kennedy endorsements of Obama, which proved to have little value. People really don’t care who else likes you. They have to like you themselves. But Obama kicked her donkey in caucus states, where enthusiasm and volunteers carried the day big for him. He also showed surprising strength among white voters in the more cosmopolitan Georgia of the New South.

I knew Obama would do well. You could hear it in the streets. I found myself eating a few days ago across from where a big Clinton rally was. All of her workers were coming into the restaurant sporting her sweatshirts, stickers and signs. But they all looked like a caricature of the Democratic Party.

Tuesday evening I was eating in the St. Louis Bread company, just down the road from where Clinton had been two days before. All of the young people behind the counter and in the kitchen were excitedly asking each other, did you vote? Did you vote for Obama today?

In the end, Obama won a razor thin victory over Hillary in Missouri, and had a good night overall. He secured the victory despite Hillary running three ads to his one, sending out two mailers to his none and (wink) making a personal call to leave a message on my home answering machine. How does she find the time?

Obama has the next generation of voters excited about politics and what happens in Washington again. They are excited about the power of his words. They believe that change is possible and that political activism means something again…like it did to my generation in the early 70’s. That’s the most hopeful news I’ve heard in a very long time.

I also like a lot of what John McCain stands for, but as I kidded a Republican friend of mine, would it really be fair to have two Democrats on the ballot in November. They didn’t find that amusing. Neither do most of the conservative talk show hosts.

So did Super Tuesday live up to the hype? Is this any way to pick a President? Probably not, but it somehow works for us. It humbles the proud, rewards the meek, empowers the student, motivates a congregation, keeps us entertained for months and is a wild ride of thunder and fury. Throw a football among the field of candidates and let’s just call it the Presidential Super Bowl.
(Click on image to enlarge)
Jeff and Terri Wilson, owners of Ozella’s Pizza located at 630 North Kingshighway in St. Charles, holding the Ozella’s frozen pizzas that they have made famous. First Capitol News Photo by Tony Brockmeyer

Story and photograph By Tony Brockmeyer

In the morning and at lunch the restaurant is known as Lady Di’s. After 4 pm it becomes Ozella’s Pizzeria.

The Wilson family has been in the pizza and pasta business since 1955, It started with grandfather Red, then Jeff’s parents, Ron and Judy Wilson with Ozella’s on Highway 67 across from the old North Drive-In and now, after selling 6,000 frozen pizzas from their home in a year and a half, they are operating a sit down-carry out restaurant at 630 North Kingshighway in St. Charles.

Terri and Jeff are proud of their products and rightfully so. All their products are made from scratch from the old family receipes that they discovered several years ago in the basement.

“We are famous for our pizza, pasta, onion rings and italian hamburgers,” said Jeff. “Our salads are very popular and we make all our salad dressings,” said Terri. “Our meatballs and vegetable beef soup is also very popular.”

“We make all our own ingredients including the pizza dough, sauce and sausage” Jeff commented. “We are especially proud of our frozen pizza. It can be found in many of the bars and markets in the area and we always have it available at the restaurant.”Ozella’s Pizza offers seven kinds of frozen pizza for carry out and offers 12 different kinds of pizza prepared for eating in or carry out.

“We offer old style north St. Louis Pizza with thin crust,” said Terri. When Jeff’s parents operated Ozella’s on Highway 67 they were also known for their fried chicken. We are now offering the family recipe fried chicken on Saturday and Sunday.

Terri and Jeff met 25 years ago when they were both working at Ponticello’s Pizza in north St. Louis County. She was a bus girl and he was a cook.

“Dianne was very kind to allow us to share her restaurant. She closes at 1:30 p.m. and it was just sitting empty,” Jeff said. Now we come in about 2:00 p.m. and start preperation for our 4:00 p.m. opening.

Ozella’s restaurant is open from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. They are open until 10:00 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. Closed on Mondays.

I knew Jeff’s parents, now deceased, and dined at their restaurant in Jennings several times a week. I was never much of a pizza eater but could not get enough of their fried chicken. I had an opportunity to try one of their frozen pizzas and it was the best pizza I have ever eaten.

Terri and Jeff want to continue to increase their frozen pizza business and eventually would like to open Pizzeria Express locations.

Stop by and give them a try.

Here’s The Story About Koch Road Controversy

By Jacob Bittle

There is seldom a signal reason behind the decisions elected officials make. First there is the publicized reason which is invented to create the perception an elected officials wishes to plant in the citizen’s mind. Then there is the real reason which is usually based upon political connections, favoritism, payback and the garnering of controlled power.

St. Charles County Executive Steve Ehlmann recently appointed former County Councilman Bob Schnur as the county’s Finance Director. Why?
There are many qualified people in St. Charles County capable of performing the finance officer’s duties.
Mr. Schnurs trustworthiness and reliable responsibility for maintenance of a system which allows him to process all Accounts Payable of St. Charles County including accepting request for payment of goods or services, approving such request if they are within the guidelines of the department’s budget and issuing of payment must be questioned. One Mr. Schnur’s former duties as a St. Charles County councilman per the County Charter, Article 2, Section 2.520 was to “Take and hold property in trust and provide for the administration thereof.”
Property held in trust would include St. Charles County roads. Mr. Schnur failed to uphold his duty to protect the citizen’s property. Mr. Schnur’s political and financial supporters in the development industry received a gift from Mr. Schnur in the form of an illegally vacated road which of course financially benefited his supporters.
Here’s the story;
On May 13, 2006 residents who used (old) Koch Road, a county road in O’Fallon, woke up to find the road destroyed. Without warning and without any legal authority a builder and developer began tearing out the road beginning on a Friday evening. Those responsible for protecting the residents, St. Charles County and O’Fallon, were willing co-conspirators. Here is how it happened:
June of 2003-OFallon approves an area plan for a new subdivision called Hyland Green. The subdivision includes (old) Koch Road and the area plan shows (old) Koch as being vacated with houses where the road once ran. The plan required that (old) Koch be vacated before work began but since (old) Koch was a county road O’Fallon had no authority to vacate the road.

May 27, 2005-A group of 12 residents filed a petition in St. Charles County asking that (old) Koch Road be vacated.

May of 2005-A letter was issued by O’Fallon informing the builder that building permits would not be issued until (old) Koch was vacated.

June 13 ,2005-38 residents filed a protest against the vacation of (old) Koch Road. This is known as a remonstrance and required a hearing before the County Council.

June 20, 2005-Under the direction of O’Fallon Mayor Donna Morrow, Todd Criswell, the head of Community Development, sent a letter to Steve Groeper (Hyland Green/Foresight Development, Schnur contributor) and David Jones of McBride & Sons (the builder) informing them that the city would not issue building permits on 21 lots until (old) Koch Road was officially vacated by the County.
September 20, 2005-St. Charles County sent a letter to Foresight Development informing Foresight that it could not disturb (old) Koch Road because the vacation was still pending. It should also be noted any work on (old) Koch would be a violation of the area plan and a criminal act under Missouri law which makes it a crime to obstruct a public road.

November 21, 2005-Mayor Morrow received a fax of the proposed ordinance of St. Charles County which would vacate (old) Koch Road once two conditions were met. The most important of these was that New Koch Road be completed, inspected, approved and accepted by O’Fallon. Once this was done the County would then file a certified copy of the ordinance with the Recorder of Deeds, officially vacating Koch Road. The acceptance of New Koch was for maintenance in that the county did not want to tear up an existing road without a publicly maintained road to replace it. Remember though that this was still only a proposed ordinance.

January 19, 2006-The hearing is held before the St. Charles Council on the request to vacate (old) Koch. The law requires that the road cannot be vacated unless it is “useless”. The evidence submitted by the developer proved conclusively that (old) Koch is not useless. Prior to New Koch being built 1100 vehicles a day used (old) Koch and after New Koch was opened 850 vehicles a day used (old) Koch. These traffic counts were from the developer’s own expert.
On January 23, 2006, Mr. Schnur contacted one of his political supporters, who just happened to be invested in the Hyland Green development (Jeff and Janice Kolb of Dave Kolb Grading), via e-mail with the following statement.
Dear Jeff and Janice, the evidentiary meeting was concluded about 10:30 that evening and will not be continued. Each side has until February 20 to submit their findings and conclusions, so I expect the Council to vote on this at our February meeting. Based on the evidence presented I support the road vacation.
If I can be of further assistance, please let me know.
Bob Schnur, District 3

Note that by Schnur’s on admission all the findings and conclusions had not been submitted but he already made his decision and contacted his political support.
Schnur was also presided over this hearing.
March 27, 2006-The County Council votes to pass bill # 2715 which provides that (old) Koch Road will be vacated once certain conditions are met (again, that New Koch Road be completed, inspected, approved and accepted by O’Fallon was one of the conditions) at which time a certified copy of the ordinance was to be filed with the Recorder of Deeds. In fairness it should be noted that District 4 county councilman Joe Brazil voted against the roads vacation.
April 17, 2006-The parties opposed to the potential vacation of (old) Koch Road filed an appeal to the Circuit Court of St. Charles County challenging the County’s decision.
May 12, 2006-On a Friday night work began to illegally remove (old) Koch Road. The work was continued the next day (a Saturday) so that (old) Koch Road was no longer available for public travel. Residents who called St. Charles County about the destruction of the road were told the work was being done for utility easements and that this was only temporary. According to O’Fallon officials the road was destroyed by Foresight and McBride. Remember this happened while the issue was yet undecided in the circuit court.
April 4, 2007-Judge Lucy Rauch issues an initial order that the County’s decision to vacate Koch Road was in violation of the law.
June 18, 2007- Judge Lucy Rauch issued her final Judgment which set aside the County Ordinance vacating (old) Koch Rd. Judge Rauch also found that (old) Koch Rd was destroyed before it was vacated.
If Mr. Schnur is not capable of protecting the citizen’s property he held in trust as a councilman how can Mr. Schnur be relied upon to protect the citizen’s financial interest as St. Charles County’s Finance Director.