Friday, August 26, 2005

FIRST CAPITOL NEWS Page One August 27, 2005

FIRST CAPITOL NEWS - The St. Charles Newspaper (click to enlarge)

FRAUD AT CITY HALL “Cesspool Overflows”

By Phyllis Schaltenbrand

It was reported to The First Capitol News that an attempt to set up and frame Mark Brown has failed. On Thursday, August 18, Councilman Brown received a phone call from a St. Charles employee who told him to be careful; “They (City Hall) are out to get you.” The next day, City Administrator, Allan Williams, returned Councilman Brown’s call. Councilman Brown asked Mr. Williams, “Do you have any idea what’s going on?” Williams responded, “I have a file that I am getting ready to send out that says you owe the city $225, and you have refused to pay (this bill) after numerous requests since July 21st of 2000.” Administrator Williams told Brown that according to the file he had, “…it shows that the city made several attempts to collect this money, and you have failed to pay. The file also shows that you never received a final occupancy permit to move into the house where you live at 476 Pearl Ridge.”

Councilman Brown stated, “I was dumfounded and beside myself. I said ‘Dr. Williams, that’s impossible. When I ran for office in April of 2004, they did a complete check with the state, county, and city governments, and the city clerk even made me pay a water bill that wasn’t due yet before I could file. The city clerk cleared that I had no outstanding debt to the city. How can they now say I owe them $225 from the year 2000?’” Brown says Williams told him, “I have a letter in front of me (Williams); in July 27, 2000,(See Exhibit B on Page 12) where the city warned you that you owe $225 for a sewer tap and the letter states that they will not give you a final occupancy permit until you pay the amount in question.” Williams went on to tell Brown that he also had a final occupancy inspection in which there is mention of six items that needed to be taken care of before the city could give him an occupancy permit. Williams noted, “The final item states, ‘Carol said that Mark Brown still owed the $225 difference in his sewer tap cost. Must be paid before clear final is given(See Exhibit C Page 12).’” Williams went on to say that there was an unsigned handwritten note in the file. This note stated that the city had contacted Brown by phone, and Brown said he would pay the bill if he got around to it. Brown told Williams, “This is impossible, and this is obviously a set-up to damage my character and create negative publicity for me and my family.” Brown said, “I know Williams has been acting as the mayor’s campaign manager instead of our city administrator; but, I can’t believe Williams would be involved in this type of unethical conduct.”

What Brown didn’t know is that according to the city charter, any elected official in default must forfeit his office. Williams forwarded a copy of the file to Councilman Brown. Councilman Brown stated, “When I started looking through the copies in the file, it was a joke.” Brown stated the final occupancy inspection that the city released to certain media just two weeks before, didn’t have the note on it that stated that he owed $225 (See Exhibit D on Page 12).

It was apparent that the note had recently been added, because it was much darker than the rest of the copy on the form. He stated that, “The letter that was fabricated and put in the file dated July 27, 2000, was sent to 476 Pearl Ridge, and there were no homes on Pearl Ridge on that date (See Exhibit B on Page 12).” Councilman Brown showed the First Capitol News numerous letters that were sent to him from the city postmarked from July through November of 2000, and all of them were addressed to his place of business on Page Avenue. Brown also showed the First Capitol News itemized receipts for fees and building permits for his home dated July 7, 2000 and another dated August 21, 2001, which show each permit that was applied for and a total balance due of $0 (See Exhibit E on Page 12).

Brown said, “Armed with this information, on Monday morning, I contacted Councilman Koester to go with me to City Hall and be a witness.” Brown said he showed all the discrepancies to City Administrator Allan Williams and demanded he bring the original file to the office so that he could prove that the occupancy inspection form had been altered which became clear as day once the files arrived. Councilman Koester stated that, “The dates and documents were pretty shocking and it was evident that things in Mr. Brown’s files had been tampered with.” Even the Chief Code Enforcement Officer, John Benisch, stated, “We don’t do final inspections unless all permits and fees are paid in full.”

Williams told Brown that he made some good points and that he was very concerned that one of their employees may have altered forms within the city. Williams said that he planned to do a full investigation concerning this matter. Williams went on to tell Brown that he wished he’d just pay the $225 and put this issue behind us. Brown responded, “That’s out of the question, and I want to know who forged this information and put it in my file.” Brown said he then left the City Administrator’s office and went to the City Clerk’s office where he asked to see the minutes from the meeting where the $225 recoupment fee that they were trying to charge him was approved.
Brown said, “When Marilyn McCoy, the City Clerk, handed me the ordinance, and it was signed into law November 21, 2000, I almost fell off my chair”(See Exhibit A Page 12). Brown stated, “How could they write me a letter on July 27, 2000, stating that I owe money for a fee which wasn’t even put into law until November 27 of 2000? (See Exhibit A Page 12).” Brown went on to say, “I could understand if the letter they claim they sent was dated November 27, 2000 and they were trying to write a letter making the fee retroactive, but this phony letter was dated four months before the ordinance had even been signed.” Brown said, “This is the most damaging evidence to prove conspiracy to commit fraud on the city’s behalf.”

Just before going to print we received a call from Councilman Mark Brown who stated “I just received a call that these unscrupulous characters took these forged documents to the county prosecutor and the state attorney general’s office to try and get me removed from office. I was informed neither office planned to take action.

When asked who he thought was responsible Brown replied, “I know the mayor and her developer friends have been out to get me since I was elected. I have learned that one of her Campaign supporters, Ken Kielty,” who Brown described as a wannabe Republican, “had recently asked for and received from City Hall, a resolution from 1984 about a councilperson who forfeited his office because of residency problems. Kielty also requested ordinances regarding removal of an elected official from office. I was also told Kielty and his sons had a private meeting, a few weeks prior with Attorney General Jay Nixon at Stegton’s in St. Charles.”

Kielty, is one of the chairmen of the Mayor’s Legal Defense Fund along with Millionaire Developer, T.R. Hughes.

Brown went on to say, “This is what happens to innocent people who stand up for the residents in the city who are being taken advantage of by large developers and builders. This proves this administration will go to any extent to protect narrow interests that do not serve the majority of our city residents. If you stand in their way, these desperate people will do whatever they can to take you out.”

“I said before, this administration is a cesspool, and it appears that this cesspool is starting to overflow.”

Brown went on to say, “I am concerned for the average citizen in this city. If our administration will do this to an elected official, what will they do to the average citizen who has a complaint against one of their fair-haired builders or developers?” Brown said, “I want something done about this.”

City Administrator Williams has not responded to our requests for comments.

MURDER in St. Charles

BY Lynndi Lockenour

The St. Charles Police Department is currently working a homicide involving the death of an 87-year-old female. The victim was identified as Theresa Lovasich, a new resident at Parkside Meadows Independent Living Community who moved there in July. The elderly woman was found deceased, lying fully clothed in the bathtub of her apartment. Her nephew, Archie Scott discovered the body.

Scott said his aunt lived in Forest Park, Illinois and earlier this year expressed a desire to move closer to him. “I began looking for a retirement community and decided on Parkside Meadows because of its stellar reputation,” he said. Lovasich moved to Parkside in early July and Scott said he knows of no reason why someone would do this to her. “She was still getting adjusted to living there,” he said.

A preliminary investigation was conducted at the scene and the body was released to medical examiner Dr. Mary Case who then conducted an autopsy and determined the death a homicide. Captain Gerry Pollard of the St. Charles Police Department would not release information concerning the actual cause of death but did say there was no sign of forced entry into the victim’s apartment.

Scott and a friend went to Lovasich’s door at 9 a.m. Sunday morning with coffee and doughnuts to pick her up, but Lovasich did not answer the door. Scott said his son and other family members had come in from out of town to attend the Festival of the Little Hills. “She loved going to this festival, so the plan was for all of us to go to the festival together,” he said.

When his aunt didn’t answer the door, Scott and his friend looked around the premises, but not having a key to go in and finding nothing, the two left. Scott returned at 11 a.m., this time with his key, and upon entering the apartment found his aunt in the bathtub and said he called 911.

During investigations at the police station, Scott revealed that his aunt had a massive insurance policy, which encompassed several recipients. However, when questioned about the insurance policy, Scott denied knowing anything about it. “I’m not familiar with any such insurance policy at this point,” he said.

Though the Major Case Squad would usually be called in to conduct an investigation of this sort, Captain Gerry Pollard said they aren’t going to be included in this case. “We don’t think this case involves suspects from outside the St. Charles area,” he said. “Therefore we are leaving it up to the detectives in the area.” Pollard said the detectives in St. Charles were capable of handling the case and they weren’t going in the direction of using the Major Case Squad.

Executive Director for Parkside Meadows, Harold Bliggenstorfer, said nothing like this has ever happened at the center since it’s opening in 1977. “The worse thing we’ve ever had happen is someone falling down. Bliggenstorfer stressed that the section of housing Lovasich lived in was “independent living,” which he says means people are free to come and go as though it was a regular apartment. “We don’t have anyone on lock down here,” he said.

After speaking with residents, Bliggenstorfer said he gets the general impression that residents aren’t overly worried about their safety after this week’s occurrence. “I actually spoke with some ladies today who lived in the same building as Ms. Lovasich and they didn’t express a concern to me about feeling unsafe.”

Bliggenstorfer also stressed that Parkside Meadows is not a large cooperation and he said he hopes business is not affected by this devastating event. “We are like a family here,” he said. “I would really hate for one incident after 28 years to influence that family-like feel.” He said the police have been incredible in their efforts to help. “We couldn’t have asked for them to be nicer,” he said.

As for Scott, he simply hopes whoever did this to his aunt is caught. “I hope they give everyone a lie detector test until they figure out who did it,” he said. “I’d even be willing to take one myself if it might help.” Scott described the death of his aunt as a “sad situation” saying he just can’t believe it actually happened.


This past weekend, I was watching the Disney classic Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs with my niece while we enjoyed a lovely Saturday afternoon. Actually, I napped through most of the movie, but that’s our little secret since I was officially babysitting.

Later that weekend, I caught a replay of the St. Charles City Council Meeting on cable access television and I also nodded off but not without noticing an alarming number of similarities in the cast of characters. I fell asleep with an interesting tale developing in my mind…

Darling Dottie and the Seven Dwarfs…

Once upon a time, there lived a lovely little Princess Councilmember named Darling Dottie. Her vain wicked Stepmother, Mayor Perilous Patti, feared that someday Darling Dottie’s popularity would surpass her own. So she directed her terrorized subjects to drum up a recall effort against Darling Dottie. She disgraced Darling Dottie and sent her to the dungeon of City Hall to shred files.

Perilous Patti did all she could to maintain control over her subjects and her land. She used a Magic Mirror named Kneemiller to help her target her enemies. The Mirror could magically see the entire land and always told Perilous Patti what it saw. As long as Magic Mirror Kneemiller told her the truth, she could dispatch her dark knights, Terrible Tom Hughes and Krazy Ken Kielty to do her bidding and attack her enemies. In order to maintain her supremacy over Darling Dottie, Perilous Patti spoke to Magic Mirror Kneemiller each day.

One day Perilous Patti asked the Mirror that fateful question…”Magic Mirror Kneemiller on the wall, who is the most popular politician of all?” Alas, Magic Mirror Kneemiller could not tell a lie, and Perilous Pattie was enraged. It seemed that Perilous Patti was losing her grip on the minds of her subjects and it appeared to be Darling Dottie’s fault.

Darling Dottie was banished to the hundred year floodplain at once and left to wander with the waterfowl. There she was found by an unlikely group of seven little men who took her into their home. The leader was Doc Rory Riddler, a smart and capable leader who kept everyone on task and had the solid backing of some of the dwarfs including Happy John Gieseke, and Sneezy Mark Brown. Unfortunately for Doc Riddler, he had a few dwarfs who thought Perilous Patti was pretty neat or just did their own thing including Sleepy Mike Weller, Grumpy Bob Hoepfner, Bashful Jerry Reese and Dopey Larry Muench (who is mute at least).

The dwarfs and Darling Dottie enjoyed themselves for a time and things seemed to be going well in their floodplain cottage. Doc Riddler was especially happy to have a solid voting block of four with Darling Dottie weighing in on his side. But he dreamed of a day when he would have five solid votes. And Darling Dottie dreamed of a prince who would help her vanquish Perilous Patti.

Perilous Patti remembered to check in on Darling Dottie sometime later when she realized her block of five votes (which included a mirror for goodness sake) was weak and city government was not running as she commanded.

Then Darling Dottie innocently asked how much Perilous Patti was paying out of the kingdom’s treasury to her personal bodyguards. Perilous Patti was outraged. She decided to handle the matter herself.

After skipping her appointment at the salon to let her hair color go natural, she transformed into the old hag she really was. With a poisonous apple provided by Terrible Tom in her basket, she set off for the floodplain to surprise Darling Dottie. Using her evil powers of persuasion, Perilous Patti enticed Darling Dottie to eat the poisonous apple. Darling Dottie fell into a deep slumber. Even though Perilous Patti could not recall Darling Dottie without the requisite number of signatures, Darling Dottie would cause no more trouble.

The dwarfs were heartbroken when they found Darling Dottie. They warded off the ducks who had attempted to nest on her sleeping body and built her a beautiful duck blind for her deep slumber.

Many duck hunting seasons came and went as Darling Dottie was protected in her duck blind. The dwarfs had almost given up hope, when Darling Dottie’s prince arrived.

Prince Joe Koester had come to save Darling Dottie. As he kissed her hand, she came back to life with the enthusiasm she always had and the extra vote needed to vanquish Perilous Patti and her reign of terror.

Darling Dottie and Doc Riddler led the Fabulous Five back to City Hall. And the dwarfs lived happily ever after…sort of.

I woke with a start and I realized it was time to mow the lawn. I had to leave the comfort of my fairy tale and return to the real world. Too bad, I would have liked to wonder more about the fate of Perilous Patti…

The End



Page 12 First Capitol News August 27, 2005 (click to enlarge)


Greer recall effort using threats and intimidation to garner support

Recently a car came to a halt in front of a home in Ward 7. Two longhaired teenagers exited the car. They knocked on the door of a home and demanded the elderly woman to sign a recall petition against Dottie Greer. She refused and the two began to get belligerent. The woman was fearful for her safety, shut and locked the door behind her, and prayed the two would just go away.

Dottie Greer is under attack from a group of paid petitioners. These petitioners have brow beat and threatened people in Ward 7 in an effort to get voters to sign the petitions. Who is paying these teenagers for each signature? Who is paying for the computer generated telephone calls telling people to sign the petition? Most of all why are those in opposition to Greer spending tens of thousands of dollars to get her out of office?

Each and every resident in Ward 7 and the City should ask these questions. This City is under attack by outside interests that are attempting to corrupt our government for their own financial gain. We are witnessing the results in O’Fallon and St. Peters. These people will stop at nothing to gain control of the City so they can run rough shod over the average citizens.

It is time for all the residents to fight back; the FCN’s is fighting back by exposing these modern day hooligans who have found it is easier to buy politicians than to buy lawyers after they break the law. They buy politicians who change the laws so their plots to deceive will be legal.


We filed a Freedom of Information Request asking details about the Mayor’s Bodyguard. We asked for the cost, the dates, the locations, and the name of the officers the Mayor used. As of press time the City has not provided the information. When the City Council asked for it the other evening they were told it would take a lot of work and time to compile. We thought the City’s payroll was automated. How are they paying the officers for overtime if they can’t determine the cost? Why are they delaying providing the information? Maybe they don’t want the public to know that the Mayor used a St. Charles Police Sergeant to drive her to Venice, Illinois for the swearing in of a Chief of Police.

Just in case they are not aware I would like to remind the City that the City of O’Fallon settled a Sunshine Law violation law suit the other day for $12,000. It would be less costly to the taxpayers if the requested information was provided rather than wait for a suit to be filed and have to pay a fine plus attorney fees.

We’ll be back September 10th.

THE CITY DESK - City Council President Rory Riddler

Rollback Of Property Tax Rate Measure Of Economic Stability

They say an optimist is someone who looks at a glass with water to the halfway point and says it’s half full. A pessimist looks at the same glass and observes that it’s half empty.

Then there are those other folks. The ones who observe:

There’s no ice. The glass is dirty. I think I see a crack. I wanted tea. You didn’t use a coaster.

Such people have few friends, the result of offering way too much advice on their personal wardrobe, home furnishings, raising children and social etiquette. They burn the same bridges at work. After a while, they are left with one outlet for their compulsive behavior…local government.

Such people are nearly impossible to please, but being an optimist, I keep trying. I believe all elected officials are natural born optimists. It’s what keeps us from going crazy. That and leaving half full water glasses sitting around to drive pessimists crazy.

In local government we often have to deal with controversial topics. Fortunately there are times when things are not that tough. Tuesday the Council passed a bill which came about as close to pleasing everyone as it gets. It was my pleasure as Council President to sponsor the bill. No one spoke in opposition at a public hearing the week before. There was no debate. It had the unanimous support of the Council and the Mayor was expected to sign it immediately.
What generates that kind of unanimity? Bill 8666 rolls back the City property tax rate. The current rate is 97 cents and passage of this bill lowered it 5 cents to 92 cents.

But before breaking an arm patting myself on the back, I have to admit State Law requires us to do it. Local taxing entities in Missouri must adjust their property tax rate each year to generate the same amount of revenue as the previous year, with an adjustment for new construction.

Some communities see little growth. We are among the more fortunate. Our assessed valuations went up 13.3% in one year or nearly $127 million. Our total assessed value (a percentage of overall value) broke a BILLION dollars for the first time in the history of St. Charles!

I know that receiving a higher property tax assessment is never fun. It is particularly worrisome for those Seniors on fixed incomes. Fortunately, there are safety nets for those who qualify under the Circuit Breaker Law or, under the Homestead Act, for those Seniors who want to go through the trouble of applying for a credit against next years tax bill for any increase over 5%. Doesn’t sound easy does it?

But higher property assessments also have an up side. They tell us the investment we made in our homes was a sound one. Real estate returns more on the dollar than many other investments people can make. Increasing property values add to our personal wealth. Increasing property values also mean people want to live in our community and are a sign of stable neighborhoods.

St. Charles City also experienced an overall increase in our tax base of over $20 MILLION from new construction in one year. Developers and businesses are investing in our community. Part of the reason is the pro-growth policies of your City Council. We may disagree on some issues, but by-in-large the Council is united when it comes to cutting edge innovation, helping new industries, encouraging redevelopment of older commercial districts, improving our streets, upgrading public utilities and creating a business friendly environment.

To further put the proposed property tax rate rollback in perspective, the City Finance Director presented the Council with a comparison of the top four communities in our County. To make for a fair comparison you have to add the Fire District tax being paid in these other communities, since St. Charles provides its own. Here are the numbers for each community:

City of St. Charles $ .9200
City of O’Fallon $ 1.4541
City of St. Peters $ 1.4675
City of Wentzville $ 1.5290

The City of St. Charles has been able to keep its property tax rate low for a variety of reasons. Of course we have gaming revenues. Along with all of the public infrastructure improvements we’ve been able to do, we have been able to keep taxes down as well. When I hear someone ask what benefit the gaming money has had, I can start with the fact our City property tax rate averages 53 cents “less” than what our neighbors to the West are paying for their city services and fire protection combined.

The pessimists among us will point out the economy is still sour, gas prices are outlandish and sales tax revenues sluggish. But as an optimist, I have to believe things are going to get better and that these numbers reflect some strength in our local community. Go ahead and pour yourself a glass of water to celebrate...just not all the way to the top

A Reporter Tells All: An Intern’s Summer With FCN

Lynndi Lockenour

Getting kicked out of a tavern, speeding down the Mississippi in a police speedboat, interviewing beauty queens and investigating homicides has all been part of my days work at First Capitol News. Some people probably wondered who the new girl with the funny name was when they saw my byline the first few weeks in May. Truth is, I find my name just as interesting as the next person and amusing since I’m named after an African American woman who was a contestant on Wheel of Fortune the day I was born.

I’m originally from Salem, Indiana, but attend Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana where I’m double majoring in Journalism and Gender Studies. I’ll be heading back to the Hoosier state in a few days, but thought it might be fun to write about my experience this summer here in St. Charles.

The first time I spoke with Tony was last winter when calling to inquire about an internship with FCN. I’d never read the paper, not being from the area, but was eager to find a position. Tony informed that this was a very controversial newspaper and asked if I had a problem with that. I laughed . . . why you may ask? Well I spent my senior year of high school in the principal’s office because of the articles I wrote in our school newspaper, The Cub.

I was opinion editor and had my own column, but was too honest for most of the administration’s liking. My articles about teen pregnancy, the childish faculty and treatment of gay students were a few of their favorites. I stood my ground, despite limited support from our journalism advisor. Nothing was ever done to me for writing the articles, save a few evil looks and comments from classmates, but on graduation day the superintendent shook my hand and said, “Give em’ hell, Lynndi, you’ll be all the better for it.”

After that, I promised I would always be an honest reporter and not let fear get in my way. Coming to St. Charles helped to strengthen that promise with myself. When Tony assigned me to the ghost voter’s story, I was a little worried, but started working on it anyway. Little did I know that two days later I would be kicked out of a tavern because the owner didn’t want to talk to me. That same story brought in several calls to the paper and I had my second experience at defending myself as a journalist.

I really feel as though I’ve learned a lot this summer at FCN, especially about talking to people. I’ve always been a bit on the shy side, which is not a good attribute to have when being a journalist. However, this summer my stories have led me to interview everyone from people on the street, to City Councilmen, and even a couple Hollywood movie directors. Not only am I now more comfortable with interviewing sources, but also in just talking with people on a daily basis.

My biggest challenge definitely came in May when I first moved to the area. To those of you who have lived your lives in St. Charles, it probably doesn’t seem like a large place. But for a country girl from southern Indiana, I was a bit out of my comfort zone. Harnessing my navigation skills and knowing whom to call were a bit difficult, but after some “tough love” from Tony, I managed to learn the way.

Tony still says I’m not tough enough, but I’m working on that. A friend once quoted a movie, who’s title escapes me now, but it says “Sometimes being a bitch is all a girl’s got.” That bitchiness is something I guess I need to work on, not necessarily to be that way on a daily basis, but to learn when and where to use that power.

I never thought I’d find a town with a government quit as corrupt as Salem, Indiana. I was wrong. St. Charles could definitely hold it’s own if the two were to duke it out. Maybe the reality is that by its very design government is messy, especially when you consider the types of people who become politicians. We often elect the crummiest people to be the leaders of our towns, states and country. Despite their fake smiles and ability to afford designer suits, they are still weasels and the citizens need to recognize them for what they are, acknowledge the mistake and vote differently next time.

Prior to my internship with FCN, I ran screaming in the opposite direction of political news. While I’m not the first in line to cover it now, I am beginning to understand the importance of it and the difference between name-calling and a legitimate story. I plan on continuing to write periodically for the FCN throughout my junior year, so you may see my name again. And with a little luck I’ll be back next summer to wreak more havoc on the city that feels like a small town and has easily become my home.

I’ve met some wonderful, and some not so wonderful, people this summer. As is my experience, everyone I encounter teaches me something about life; some about the person I want to be and others about the person I don’t. My goal in coming here was to inform . . . and to have a great time doing it. I know I had a blast; my only hope is that I was able to accomplish my goal of informing. You don’t have to like what I say, but if you have an opinion about my article, it means you read it and that’s enough for me.

THE PEOPLE SPEAK - Letters To The Editor

Dear Chief Swope,

Where have all of the Police Officers gone? I can drive around this town for a good week and go without seeing a single Police car. I write this letter today because two times on my way to work this morning drivers ran stop signs right in front of me as I was pulling up to the intersection. This is not the first time, it is a regular occurrence. You might as well take down all of the speed limit signs, most streets have become substitutes for St. Charles Speedway, with drivers going as fast as they want. I lived in Florissant for over 30 years and you couldn’t drive more than a few minutes without seeing a Police car. You also saw the officers issuing tickets for traffic violations; you don’t see that around here. If the cats away, the mice will play. Due to the lack of traffic enforcement in this city, the drivers have begun to ignore most, if not all, of the traffic laws. Because they can. Someone is going to get hurt or even worse killed and part of the blame will lie on the shoulders of you, Chief Swope, for not enforcing your officers to do their job, which is to enforce the law.

Here’s an idea. Instead of using overtime pay to protect the Mayor, why not put the money to better use by putting more patrol officers on the street to protect the citizens. There is a greater danger of getting T-boned at an intersection than someone mugging the Mayor.

Thank you for your time.
Concerned Tax Payer

Letter To The Editor
First Capitol News

Re: Booneslick Road Construction Costs

For the benefit of those City St Charles residents who desire TRUTH, not lies and distortion of facts, that are being spread by the “Advertising” (Publication) that is inserted in the St Charles Journal every other week, this article will refute their misstatement of facts regarding the Booneslick Road reconstruction project. On numerous occasions it has been stated erroneously by other individuals that the cost to the City was 20% with 80% coming from grants. In actuality it has cost the City 52.2% for phases 1 and 2 and 30% for phase 3 with an average of 43.15% for the entire project. The actual reimbursement the City received from Federal Grants through the East West Gateway Council was 56.85% of the entire project (Phases 1, 2 and 3) of a total project cost totaling $1,966,248. These figures have been provided by City officials from the Public Works Department and Finance Department. I hereby challenge the people who have stated 80% was provided without cost to the City to produce their proof to substantiate their misstatement of fact or print a retraction of their statement.

Folks please do not be fooled by what you read or are told without verification of the true facts. Since a member of the Council and the Mayor have read the definition of certain words “to just clarify the issue” I would like to give the Webster Dictionary definition of “Advertising” and “Publication”. Advertising - “The practice of offering goods or services to the public through announcements in the media.” Publication - “The act of bringing before the public.” When I first learned that the Journal was treating the bi-weekly insert as “advertising” not a “publication” I was astonished. After all what goods or services are offered? After first considering the appearance of treating it as a publication would in fact be granting some amount of credence to it. I decided that if an advertisement is simply some ones ideas to sell their products or services, then maybe that is exactly what this advertisement is trying to do with their untruths, hateful and sarcastic written statements.

We must clarify truth from untruth, fact from fiction. If the statement appears to be sensationalism then check it out and determine the truth for yourself.

Rich Greer
Dear Editor,

In the recent Council meeting and the news much has been said about the Mayor’s bodyguard. I understand why the Mayor has a body guard, Mayor Francis Slay has one so she needs one. I find it interesting the Mayor now feels she needs a body guard after 5 years in office. The major change in her life is her closeness to Francis. In the past there have been conflicts on the council floor yet she felt okay.

She blames it on her back being to the audience, does that mean in the past she felt the City Clerk, City Attorney and City Administrator were expendable. Now that she sits with them off the dais she needs the protection. I was at a meeting since the bodyguard has been employed, don’t let them tell you this is for the council. This bodyguard follows the Mayor from her office to the chambers and anytime the Mayor moves so does the bodyguard.

Mayor you were right when you said it was never needed before, it is not needed now. Your level of self importance is really showing.

S. Ryan

Dear Editor,

I am very disappointed in the council for not stopping the wasteful spending for the Mayor and her bodyguard. I am a 60 year old women who lives alone. I am much more vulnerable to any type of violent act compared to the Mayor. She sits in a chamber with 12 men around her, the police chief behind her, the fire chief and many other city staff members. Is she fearful of a mutiny on the council floor. From what I can see on tv the meetings are not that full, not like Presidential visit where there are thousands.

This Mayor has always felt that she was the queen of the city, for her a bodyguard and for us let them eat cake.

I AM Madd

CASE IN POINT By Joe Koester, Councilman Ward 9

Labor Day is coming up soon, so it’s appropriate to discuss our economy. Many in the media tout a recovery and many still even speak of a “jobless recovery,” but I don’t think the picture is all sunny skies and smiles. Those of us here in the shrinking middle class, at least, can see the dark cloud in spite of the silver lining that has been thrust in front of our eyes by the current administration in Washington. I, for one, think the very idea of a “jobless recovery” is corporate mumbo-jumbo that’s supposed to make us feel okay about the fact that our manufacturing jobs are heading to China, India, or Mexico.

Just look at the recent unemployment numbers, it doesn’t look bad by that account. Numbers never tell the whole story though, but they can tell most any story you want them to. Here are two points that need to be considered along with the numbers: 1) How many people have dropped off of the unemployment radar because they have given up their job search 2) How do the wages of those who have found work compare with their previous pay scale? I think that the latter point is made by a sad fact — Wal-mart is now America’s largest employer!

Certainly, many readers have followed the numerous charges brought against this corporate giant and many more know that their “predatory pricing” helps close up independently owned and operated shops from coast to coast, or better said nowadays, from meridian to meridian!

Did the man or woman who is trying to support his or her family give up a job with a living wage, health insurance, and a retirement to work part-time with insurance that is not affordable with the wage they earn and not even available to them for two years? The facts seem to show that indeed this is the case.
Shamefully, we now speak of, “the working poor” in this country. We cannot help but speak of working poor when you consider that an employee making $7.50/hour and working forty hours per week will GROSS $15,600! Americans have always believed that those willing to put in a full week’s work should be able to get ahead, but “ahead” for many is just keeping their heads above water and living with the constant threat that the slightest negative change in their situation will cause them to drown into poverty.

Some would say, “If Wal-mart” can sell its products cheaper, well, that’s just free-market capitalism. Ah, if that were only the case! The fact of the matter is these giant corporations use our own tax money to subsidize their low prices and lousy wages and are always ready to threaten removing their big box presence if they don’t get the subsidies they demand in order to undercut our local grocers, auto repair shops, gas stations, pharmacies, banks, (you name it, they are ready to provide you that service...”cheaper”). Furthermore, they use their massive size to enable them to use “predatory pricing” to close down small competitors. Do you need to drive a couple shops out of business? Not a problem, simply sell your goods at cost or even below cost until they fold. After mission accomplished, simply readjust pricing.

Consolidation of ownership in our country continues to occur in most areas of business and commerce to be sure, but Wal-mart seems to be the one that sticks out so clearly in our towns. Wal-mart has also driven out those businesses that many of us considered in our reach to maybe own and run one day...the business supply shop, the car repair shop, the grocery shop, pharmacy, and so on. Most of us are less concerned with the merger of huge accounting firms but all of these corporate mergers eat away at the ability of locals to have ownership in their communities.

Here is a way of thinking about the situation — we all agree that a homeowner usually takes better care of his property than a renter does of the landlord’s. These corporations are renting our markets and have little long-term interest in our communities. When they decide we no longer serve their purpose, they will pack up and leave us with the bill of cleaning up behind them. How long has the old K-mart building sat vacant? How long will Wendy’s sit boarded and decaying?

So, what are we to do about things?
First of all, start worrying about these issues once again! Too long have we squabbled about abortion when we should be striving for better education, better living standards and health insurance that will make abortion unnecessary! We have to remain pro-family beyond this one issue! People of Faith seek Justice on all counts!

If we agree that we want to stand up for local ownership in our economy, then we can demand from Congress a federal law ending tax giveaways to corporate America; federal laws that prevent offshore accounting in order to avoid paying taxes; federal laws that forbid wheeling and dealing with our tax money just to do business in our communities. No one state, county, community can end their potential competitive edge over their neighbors, but Washington can put an end to the practice of pitting state against state, and town against town. If the corporations move shop overseas, place a penalty on them for moving and heavily tax the goods they wish to sell back to us within our own borders (Protectionism? You bet! I want to protect our living standards more than I want to guarantee a larger golden parachute for the corporate raiders!).

Demand stiffer punishment for predatory pricing! If you are caught selling under your own cost then let’s make the fine sting all the way back to HQ!
Demand that social costs be added into corporate pricing! If a forty hour work week leaves an employee without affordable health insurance, then allow the corporations to pay into an account that provides this insurance. If a big box retailer abandons a shop, force them to return the property to a natural state if the property isn’t filled with another business within twelve months!

Let us use our clout in the U.N. to demand better wages and working conditions worldwide so that our workers can better compete. Would as many corporations do their business in China if they had to pay a living wage complete with health insurance and part of each workers retirement?
Finally, make Labor Day your starting point to think about where you spend your money. There aren’t many local shops left, but choose “It’s A Grind” coffee shop over Starbucks, “Main Street Books” over Borders, and for the brave, make a resolution not to set foot in Wal-mart, Sam’s, or any other business who pays poverty-level wages!

Little Hills Winery Producing Their Own Wine

By Tony Brockmeyer

Dave and Tammy Campbell purchased the Little Hills Winery at 501 South Main Street in March of 1998. Dave and Tammy are very excited as they are now beginning to produce their own wine. “For many years we had a subcontractor bottle all our wines,” said Dave. Since we have been in business eight years we figured that it was about time we bring wine production back into St. Charles.”

Over the past year and a half the Campbells purchased wine production equipment from two small wineries. One here in St. Charles and one in Washington, Missouri. “We have about a 3000 gallon capacity at this point,” Dave said. “We look forward to really beginning to get back to being a full service winery.”

In addition to the Little Hills Winery Restaurant at 501 South Main, Dave and Tammy also own and operate the Little Hills Wine Shop at 710 South Main. “The Little Hills Wine Shop is our bonded winery. We have our barrels down there and we are also producing some wine in the man-made caverns at Second and Water Streets,” Dave told the First Capitol News. “Our plan is in three to five years to be able to produce between six and seven thousand cases of fine wine. We purchase our grapes in the St. James and Southern, Missouri, Mountain Grove areas.

We will eventually plan on growing our own grapes. At this time we do not have vineyards but as we grow we certainly are looking at purchasing vineyards in the future.

When asked what makes Little Hills Winery unique Dave replied, “We make a great wine and that makes us stand out from the rest. We have a great winemaker who is an artist when it comes to wine making. We will always be unique in only selling our Little Hills wine here at the restaurant and at the wine shop and on the Internet.” Little Hills Winery can be found on the Internet at

As their production grows Dave and Tammy hope to grow the restaurants and open a few Little Hills Restaurants in other areas. “That would be our plans and eventually we will create another label to sell in the stores but you will never see Little Hills wine sold in the supermarkets or grocery stores. They will be unique to our restaurants and winery.”

Currently Little Hills Winery produces a Norton, a St. Vincent, Rivers Bend and a Chardonel. “Our Chardonel is a fine dry wine and it also makes a very nice semi dry and sweet wine. We also have a Concord,” Dave said.

Presently the wine production areas are not open to the public. All the wine is made by hand. There is no automation. Dave and Tammy hope to eventually bring some folks down for tours or private tastings but at this point the areas are just for production of their fine Little Hills Winery Wine.

The Little Hills Winery Restaurant serves lunch and dinner on a daily basis. They serve a full breakfast buffet on Saturday and Sunday beginning at 8 am. Monthly wine dinners are also offered. According to Dave, “We host a monthly, Meet The Wine Maker. Our fine winemaker talks about certain wines. Our clients taste them along with a little appetizer. We also try to hold a monthly wine and cheese event. Reservations only are required for these events and there are small costs associated with them.

The Little Hills Winery Restaurant offers live music on Friday. There is a Jazz group that comes in once a month. Dave describes the music as very low key casual.

Space for private parties is available. “Up in our loft we can accommodate 50 to 55 people,” Dave said. “We try to keep our parties to that size although we can accommodate much more outside. The weather factor dictates how large a party we can hold. We have in the past rented out the whole facilities for parties for100 plus but we try to concentrate on parties of 50 and under.”

Dave describes the menu as, “Something for everyone’s pallet. We have limited fried foods more wraps, salads for lunch. For dinner we have some steaks, some good seafood. We change the menu twice a year and will be doing so within the next few weeks for the fall season.”

The Little Hills Winery is open Monday through Thursday 10am to 10 pm. Fridays 10am to 11pm, Sat 8am to 11pm, Sunday 8 am to 8 pm.

The restaurant has a great outside patio area where guests can sit and enjoy the weather and watch the activities on historic downtown South Main Street. Fire pits and fountains are prevalent throughout the patio area. “We try to keep patio seating open all year as long as the weather is not too extreme. In the winter we have guests who love to sit outside around the fires and enjoy their meals. We are very prideful of keeping our patio open every day.

At our bar we have basic well drinks plus beer and wine. We can make probably 80 percent of your liquor drinks but we try to stay away from the extreme bar atmosphere.”

The Little Hills Winery Restaurant has been through recent remodeling. “Changed out tables and chairs and the interior and we plan on doing the carpet. We are going to be bringing some of the outside elements inside as our customers enjoy sitting outside with the water fountains and the fire pits and trees and shrubs. We are going to begin to bring some of those elements inside the restaurant. When the weather isn’t conducive to sitting outside, they can enjoy the winery with that atmosphere in the inside.”

Dave and Tammy are very proud of the Little Hills Winery Wine Shop just down the street from the restaurant at 710 South Main Street. “We offer the largest wine accessory collection in the area. Anywhere from wine racks to wine decorating accessories for your home, picnic accessories, wine jewelry. About anything to do with wine we should have it or are able to get it for you. We can sell them a bottle and cheese and crackers. If they want wine and/or food to go, anything on our menu is available for carry out.

We also carry some wines exclusive just to Little Hills. We also provide personalized wine labels on bottles for occasions like getting married. We can place their names on the label or congratulations. There is no minimum number of bottles that must be ordered.

Dave believes, “Not only is the atmosphere on historic South Main Street outstanding, certainly the food and experience on South Main Street offers much more than just a winery. There is so much more down here on the street for everyone to enjoy outside of just coming and enjoying the wine experience.

Dave and Tammy invite you to visit their Little Hills Winery Restaurant at 501 South Main or their Little Hills Winery Wine Shop at 710 South Main in historic downtown St. Charles.



The 11th annual MOsaics Missouri Festival for the Arts will be held September 16, 17 and 18, 2005 on North Main in Historic Saint Charles. The free, family-friendly art festival runs from 4 p.m. - 9 p.m. on Friday, 11 a.m. - 9 p.m. on Saturday and 11 a.m. - 5 p.m. on Sunday and offers art, children’s activities, exhibits, food and music.

MOsaics features more than 100 artists from across the state, region and country who exhibit, discuss and sell their artwork. Paintings, sculptures, photography, glass, digital art, metal and woodwork are just a sampling of the media represented. Performing artists for the three-day festival include the Buckhannon Brothers, Poor People of Paris, Mark Biehl, native American flutist Mark Holland, and the trombone quartet Original Boneheads. The St. Charles County Symphony will perform on Saturday, 3:00 p.m. at the Foundry Art Centre, 520 North Main Center, as a part of the festival.

Children’s activities include the Children’s Village, a hands-on art experience for children; pottery wheel demonstrations where children can learn to throw a pot; “Art for Youth” gallery hosted by Lindenwood College where children 17 and under can pay just $5 and select a piece of art donated by festival artists; and the “Mentor Me” exhibit, which displays art created by metropolitan area art students and teachers. Beginning September 13th, the Ninth Annual “Mentor Me” exhibit will be on display at the Foundry Art Centre, with a closing reception from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday, October 9th.

Visitors will sample a taste of St. Charles at outdoor caf├ęs sponsored by participating North Main Street restaurants.

MOsaics brings art enjoyment, awareness, appreciation and education free of charge to the Saint Charles and St. Louis region, and gives residents and visitors to Saint Charles the opportunity to interact directly with the artists.

The Foundry Art Centre is a fine arts gallery overlooking the Missouri River at 520 North Main Center, in the Frenchtown district of Historic St. Charles. The Foundry features a Smithsonian-caliber art gallery hosting juried exhibitions plus 20 working artist studios where visitors can watch the creative process and buy art directly from the artists. This nonprofit organization also provides community meeting rooms, event space and a children’s art gallery. Hours are Tuesday from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m., Wednesdays from 10 a.m. until 9 p.m., Thursday through Saturday from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. and Sunday from noon until 4 p.m. Admission is free, but donations are welcome. For more information on the Foundry, call (636) 255-0270 or visit

For more information on MOsaics, call (636) 255-0270 or the Greater Saint Charles Convention and Visitors Bureau at (636) 946-7776, or visit

MY COLUMN - Mike McMurran Sports Editor

Its all relative, the older I get the more I understand exactly what that means. There are no, or shall we say there are few “black and whites,” rather most all is some shade of grey. I am making reference to last week’s column where I was “much too political” for a sports writer. Agreed and point taken – but that doesn’t insure it will not happen again. For now though, over, done with, gone!

Thank you to all of those who inquired as to how my son “Dee” was doing. He is, and will be just fine. A very special thank you to the reader who hooked me up with the gentleman from St. Clair, MO – who now has another dog on his 175 acres. Yes, Buddy is now singing the tune from the movie “Born Free.” My seven year old son Joe insures me Buddy is happier now than he ever was with us. “Dad, he spent most of the day sitting in the chair looking out the window. He needs to be an outside dog.” And now he is.

A special welcome to Louis J. Launer who will be covering minor league sports for the First Capitol News. Louis wrote some letters to me concerned about the lack of up to date coverage of the Otters and Rascals. He shared with me his anger about all minor league coverage going to the Rage – and he was right. My response to him was something along the lines of “if you can do better.” Well, he can, and hopefully he will. Lewis has done some coverage for the UHL and now will cover the Rascals and Otters exclusively, at least exclusively, locally, for the FCN. Welcome aboard.

On a related note, very soon we hope to expand the Sports Section to three pages of coverage. I have spoken to Tony and Phyllis about it and they are supportive. Louis will concentrate on minor league coverage, Mike Thompson will give his take on the Rage, and if all goes well our high school coverage will expand. Of course yours’ truly will continue with this column, and of course Bob Barton’s pictures will cover all three pages. Nothing is too good for our readers.

Finally, question number two for St. Charles City residents Ryan Wallace and Corey Nesslage, who will face each other at St. Charles High on September 2 in both their debuts as head coach, was too late to make the deadline. However, these two young men are both bright beyond their years – in all aspects of their lives. Here is how they responded to the following question: Many say offense wins games, but defense wins championships. Both of you played offense in high school and college, and both of you are former offensive coordinators. Please share your thoughts on that saying.

Wallace: “I never liked that saying.  It undermines the concept of “team”.  You have a football team, not an offense and then a defense.  Moreover, a championship is nothing more than a it not?  You gotta have players on the field that love to play the game of football and understand the concept of team.  As long as your players understand that the objective for the offense is to score points and the objective for the defense is to stop the opposition from scoring points......I’m comfortable.”

Nesslage: “The one thing that I think, and I am sure a lot of coaches think the same way is that if you can’t stop people, it doesn’t really matter what you do on offense. I also think the defensive side of the football can really set the tempo especially from a physical standpoint. We as a staff at St. Charles High are constantly preaching to our kids to out hit the opposing team. Again, we are stressing to set the tempo on the defensive side of the football.

So as much as I like the offensive side of the football, I understand that the defense can really define a personality of a team and that is what we stress to our kids.”

Yeah, I guess what I am doing is hyping the game on September 2 as much as I can. Wallace will be bringing his Jennings Warriors to town for what I think will be one heck of a game.

Once again, thanx for the concern for my son Dee; it means the world to me. See you next week.

Clowns And Friends Will Say Goodbye To Main Street

Clowns And Friends Will Say Goodbye To Main Street

Lynndi Lockenour

A ceramic clown sits patiently in the window, waiting for the perfect buyer to come along, but according to owner Gwen Davis and her husband Jim, that buyer may never come. Clowns and Friends, located at 307 South Main, opened six years ago, but Davis said business has been going downhill since the tragedies of 9/11. “We used to have an influx of foreign travelers to this area, but it’s just not happening anymore,” she said.

Another major contributor to the decline in business for Davis is the nearby casino. “People gamble their disposable income down the drain,” she said. “Then they are left with nothing to go shopping on Main Street.” Like Cheri Brownlee of Crafty Ladies, Davis also mentioned the $50 kickback the casino offers tour bus drivers for dropping off tourists at the casino. “We can’t compete with that,” she said.

The price of gas is another factor for Davis when considering the decline in business. She said people are now forced to use their disposable income to pay high prices at the pump. “That little extra money each week goes into the gas tank and not toward shopping on Main Street,” she said. Davis herself is from Eureka and said she spends $60 a week commuting to and from the shop.

But the largest problem for Davis, more than gas, the casino and a decline in foreign travelers, is the lack of advertising conducted for Main Street. Davis says more needs to be done by the city with travel agents to get people into the area. “They talk about the hotels and the casinos, but they leave us out,” she said. “I think the city needs to do something about that.” Davis said the majority of shopping is conducted in strip malls as opposed to Main Street. “People still have this notion in their head that it’s too difficult to get down here, but that’s just not the case anymore.”

Davis said customers often compliment her on how neat the store is and ask how long she’s been here. “Six years and still no one knows about me,” she said. “I wish I could take it to the bank every time someone says that to me and maybe I wouldn’t be going out of business.”

Earlier this summer a meeting was conducted between Allan Williams, the City Administrator for the City of St. Charles, and the merchants on Main Street. At the meeting Davis said she felt as though Williams was just a bobbing head, nodding his head to everything the merchants said. “I think he was just saying what we wanted to hear and not actually listening to our concerns,” she said.

Davis loves the area and said she hates to be leaving. “My inheritance went into getting this place started,” she said, “and now it’s gone.” Davis is planning to keep the store open through late September if possible. Afterward, she will return to craft shows and do what is needed to make a living. “In the past when things have gotten bad, I’ve always gone back to the sewing machine,” she said.

Starting over is never easy, but that’s what Davis said she’ll have to do. “My dream is to eventually move into another store,” she said. “But reality may be different.” When she first opened for business, Davis said things were much better. “Now people are only coming in because everything is marked down so much,” she said. Davis said people complain because her items are too expensive. “They don’t have problem buying from Dillard’s or Famous Barr, but they think my stuff costs too much,” she said. “I can give people a break, but I can’t give it away.”

Davis said she really thinks the key to getting back the vitality on Main Street is advertising. “Most people find this place [Main Street] accidentally or were sent her by a friend in the area,” she said. Those who do see advertisements, Davis said, weren’t overly impressed. “I’ve had a few people say they saw a sign at a rest stop somewhere, but the advertisement itself isn’t overly impressive.”

The Monday after the Festival of the Little Hills, Jim said customers from Kansas City were asking why all the businesses on Main Street were closed. “I told them it was because everyone was worn out from the festival,” Jim said. “They replied by asking me ‘what festival?’ and had no idea it was even going on. Jim said this is proof that the advertising isn’t sufficient. “Our point is that apparently the festivals and activities aren’t being advertised enough if someone in our own state doesn’t know about them.”

Another problem, Davis said, is that merchants plan to make it on tourism alone. “That’s just not going to happen,” she said. “If we want Main Street back then we need to encourage locals to buy on Main Street as well as the tourists.” Many people tell Gwen and Jim how much they love the store, but she said they leave empty handed. “We aren’t a museum,” she said. “We are real people trying to make a living and the problem here is that people are use to Wal-Mart and Dollar Store prices and we just can’t compete with that.”

Five questions with Corey Nesslage and Ryan Wallace

BY: Mike McMurran
Sports Editor

On Friday, September 2, two St. Charles City residents will make their high school coaching debut, against each other. Both young men grew up in St. Charles County; Nesslage graduated from St. Charles High, Wallace from Fort Zumwalt South. Both young men teach in the school in which they coach, and both live in the City limits. I had the chance to sit down recently with these two up and coming young coaches. Originally I had hoped to field five questions for each of them. Both coaches are currently preparing their teams for football jamborees on Friday August 26 as well as their contest against each other on September 2, so time was limited to two questions. We will publish one question this week and one next week prior to their contest.

FCN: No one accidentally becomes a high school head football coach. Kindly discuss what led you to this point in your life. Feel free to mention mentors, coaches, and parents.

Nesslage: “Becoming a head football coach is something that I am have been thinking about ever since the first day I stepped onto a practice field at Lindenwood University. I got to work under a great person in the name of Dan Kratzer. I have never learned so much football in such a short time than I did that year working under him.

I always had a passion for the game, but that is when I fell in love with the coaching of the game. I love the details that go into a weekly game plan, I love the way kids look at you and expect you to have the answers of how we are going to get something accomplished. I love the competition. I love the adversity that can happen in a 48 minute time frame of a high school football game and how you react to that adversity will usually determine the outcome of the game.

When you say mentors, I have had plenty, but it all started with my mom and dad. They have instilled in me the confidence to be the person I am today. Both my mom and dad have preached to me 1. When you take a job or when you start something, finish it. 2. While you are doing it, you might as well do it right the first time.

Mike Thorne, the former head coach here at St. Charles High, he taught me how to be consistent and fair when dealing with teenagers, if you are not, they will pick up on that very quickly.

I have had plenty more, but far too many to mention them all, but throughout all of them I have learned in order to be successful in anything, you have to totally commit yourself to it, and don’t ever look back. You have to be fair, consistent, sincere, and patient. And most of all you have to be a good communicator. It doesn’t matter how much knowledge you have as a head coach, if you can’t communicate it to your staff and players.

Then the two people that put it all in perspective for me are my wife, Angie, and my son Kannon, who is 2. No matter what happens on a practice field or game field on Friday night they are still my biggest fans. It doesn’t matter if we win by 4 touchdowns or lose by 1 in double over time, my son still comes up running……. to give me a big hug.

Wallace: I always appreciated my years of being a high school student athlete. My high school teachers and coaches at Fort Zumwalt South High School made the experience for myself and so many other student/athletes something that they would never forget. 

Aspiring teachers and coaches often say that they want to give back what was given to them.  I believe this whole-heartedly.  My high school and college coaches serve as some of the most influential and dynamic characters in my life outside of immediate family.  I thought from the age of 15 how awesome it would be to have the same career as Bob Groff, Larry McDevit, Bob Cliffe, Mark Hale, Bob Meyers, Reed Huffman and th late Brad Hill.  These guys were incredible motivators on the field and more importantly in the classroom.  I think about them everyday.

RAGE by Mike Thompson

By Mike Thompson

The finest line any professional sports franchise will ever walk is the line between the concept of fans believing the entity to be only a sport and the reality of most owners who realize it to be a business venue as well. It’s a delicate balance, with owners, hopefully, doing all they can to keep the cost of tickets at an attractive price for the fans, and yet relying on a profit margin to not only meet payrolls, cover travel costs, pay taxes, and all of the other plus and minus day-to-day ledger activities that keep the team afloat from one season to the next. It’s a sport. Fans come to River City Rage football to see exciting indoor football action, games played under intense conditions by top-notch athletes in their prime. Sure, the pre-game activities, the fun, the cheerleaders, the motorcycles on the field all add to the family entertainment aura the team has strived to provide, but first and foremost, sports fans, FOOTBALL fans, are there to enjoy their favorite sport. It’s 3 hours of rooting for The Rage to slam into the dasherboards any opposing team foolish enough to believe it can take victory away from us at ‘Our House’. And, this past season, of course, no one could. Our Atlantic East Division Champions were a perfect 8 and 0 at home!

But here is another side to it all, the second 25 yards of the field, so to speak. It’s also a business. And the lessons of that business were sometimes a harsh reality for Rage Majority Owners Tye Elliott and Scott Wilson in their first trip through the league in 2005. Both put their heart and soul and certainly, their time, into making the River City Rage a successful franchise both on and off the field, but it was tough at times, no doubt about it! They raised the bar with media coverage and community participation, hired the people needed to make that happen, worked with Coach Wyatt and Operations Manager Morris Groves to put in place positive themes for all eight home games, structured the ticket prices to keep the emphasis on family entertainment, and all the while, sometimes even unbeknown to myself and others in the organization, labored behind the scenes with corporate sponsors and community leaders to ensure success for the team now and in the future. Successful team; successful business; a positive first mark for the team, the fans, the community and the NIFL. With your help, we made our mark, but now the bar is raised again, and again, The Rage rise to the challenge.

Introducing Matt Jones, the new Vice President of Sales and Marketing for the River City Rage, thus named by the Rage ownership on August 22nd, 2005. The coming season will be Matt’s 16th working in professional sports. A graduate of Northern Iowa University (great football school!!) with a degree in Business Administration, Matt came to the area in 1998 to work for the River City Rascals, first as Stadium Operations Manager, then as Assistant General Manager for two years, before being promoted to General Manager of the Rascals in January of 2002, a position he held for three years before leaving to become the General Manager of a minor league team in Arizona. While with the Rascals, Matt oversaw the Group Sales Department, managed all aspects of the concessions operations, and was instrumental in the team’s off-season sales and marketing efforts. During his tenure as G.M. of the Frontier League franchise, Jones was named the 2002 Executive of the Year and added greatly to the attendance figures and the overall success of the team.

Now, citing The Rage as “one of the most overall successful team the NIFL has to offer” Matt Jones says he’s happy to be returning to the St. Louis area and looks forward to working with corporate sponsors and smaller businesses alike and showcasing The Rage as an venue for “exciting, fast-paced football and a fun place for families to enjoy sports and entertainment at an affordable price, a really enjoyable time on weekend nights, and a team and organization that will make the community proud to call it their own.”

So, there is and has to be room for both. It’s a’s a business, and now thanks to all the combined efforts of everyone in the River City Rage organization, and with the addition of Matt Jones, it’s a new outlook for fans and the Rage in 2006!! It’s gonna be fun!

River City Rascals Have a Chance for the Postseason

River City Rascals Have a Chance for the Postseason
Kirk McConnell Could Be a Key Player
By Louis J. Launer

The River City Rascals still continue to struggle in the stretch run of the Frontier League. They remain 4 games behind West Division leaders Rockford Riverhawks and the Kalamazoo Kings. On Monday, the Rascals began a three-game series against the Windy City Thunderbolts of suburban Chicago at T.R Hughes Ballpark. The Thunderbolts from the beginning of the first game of the series dominated.

Windy City pitcher Mike Renery had a perfect game through 4 innings. In the bottom of the 5th, Rascal outfielder Michael Conner led off the inning by doubling to center field. Rascal infielder Nick Saunders batted next, right to the Windy City first baseman who bobbled the ball and could not throw it to Renery covering first. Catcher Jon Williams flied out, but
gave Connor the chance to tag up at third base and score, ending a perfect game and a shutout in the fifth inning.

Unfortunately Windy City’s bats were loud all game, including Justin Schuda’s solo home run over the center field fence, giving the Thunderbolts a convincing 12-2 victory.

Later this week, the Rascals played six games (three 7-inning doubleheaders) in Columbia against the Mid-Missouri Mavericks. Three of those games were make-up games from three rainouts suffered at T. R. Hughes Ballpark the weekend before.

One Rascal rookie known for his drawing in the dirt before his at-bat has made some fans notice. Kirk McConnell is a graduate of Southwest Missouri State University and has played for the Rascals all season soon after graduating from SMS. His .306 batting average, 11 home runs and 41 runs
batted in have become quite impressive numbers. At the beginning of the season in June, McConnell was 13 for 25. Four of those were home runs and he batted in 16. At the same time, the Rascals were in a three-way West Division race with Kalamazoo and Rockford. By the All-Star Break, the Rascals had a one game lead over the other two Western contenders.

“I have been struggling over the last week,” McConnell said. “But I’m working my way back to what I did back in June.”

The native of Magnolia, Arkansas enjoys playing in Missouri and enjoys being in the greater St. Louis area.

“I feel fine being here,” he said. “We’ve got a good group of guys this year. Coach Jack Clark and (Manager) Randy Martz have been really helpful. We’ve all been learning from each other and we’ve been a good team.”

McConnell’s honors at SMS included being named to the American Baseball Coaches Association/Rawlings All-Midwest Region second team. He admitted that playing in the Valley Conference is a tough college conference.

“The best performance I remember was winning the last 11 games in a row in my senior year,” he said. “What was even better was beating the University of Missouri on their home field.”

McConnell finds T. R. Hughes Ballpark to be just as friendly of a field compared Columbia, where the Mid-Missouri Mavericks of the Frontier League play their home games at the University of Missouri’s baseball stadium.

“We would go into Columbia and just beat up on the Tigers,” McConnell said. “They didn’t have good teams the last few years.”

The Mid-Missouri Mavericks of the Frontier League occupy last place in the Western Division.

McConnell’s performances in his Rascal rookie season have been quite impressive. After the Frontier League All-Star Break, McConnell didn’t have a good road trip to play Eastern Division teams. The road trips to Ohio and Pennsylvania did take their toll as the Rascals started sliding from the top two in the Western Division and started to trail both Rockford and Kalamazoo by as many as seven games.

“Those road trips can be quite long,” McConnell said. “We’ve been struggling. Those Eastern Division teams are very good. We’ve had to play them really tough and we’ve been lucky we could salvage a few games and avoid sweeps.”

McConnell’s hometown of Magnolia is 50 miles from Texarkana, Texas, where lots of competitive baseball is played.

“In high school, we would play teams from northwest Louisiana and east Texas,” he said. “Baseball is taken very seriously in that part of the country.”

As a Rascal rookie, McConnell has been noticed in the statistics compared to two-year veteran and popular fan favorite Mike Madrid in both batting average and runs batted in. McConnell hopes to stay in greater St. Louis and play for the Rascals as long he as can. McConnell’s contribution to the Rascals this season has kept the team in a very tight race, despite a slump during late July.

The Rascals have a three game series at T. R. Hughes Ballpark against the Kalamazoo Kings beginning this Sunday. They travel to Rockford to play the Riverhawks beginning on Wednesday and running through Friday. Labor Day weekend will be the final home series for the Rascals this season as they play cross-metro rival Gateway Grizzlies. Should the Rascals finish in the top two of the Western Division, the playoffs would begin on Wednesday, September 7.

Resolution Celebrating Labor Day

Resolution Celebrating Labor Day

Introduced before the St. Charles City Council by Councilman Joe Koester

Whereas, Many Americans have fought and even died for the right to unionize;
Whereas, These rights have been recognized by our Federal Government for its citizens to create and belong to unions;
Whereas, union workers bring training and experience to their respective jobs;
Whereas, union work has helped elevate the standard of living for the Greater Saint Louis area, including Saint Charles by providing workers with: expertise, health insurance, unemployment insurance, safe workplaces, living wages, over time pay, vacation and recreation time, dignified retirement; and
Whereas, Saint Charles City Government recognizes and supports the rights of unions to help guarantee these hard won workers’ rights; now, therefore be it

Resolved, That The City of Saint Charles, Missouri supports the rights of all of its citizens to create and belong to the workers’ union of their choice;

Resoved, That the City of Saint Charles, Missouri, honors these rights by observing Labor Day on September 5, 2005.



According to Sergeant Michael Gravemann, The St. Charles Police Department will be participating in a nationwide campaign to crackdown on impaired drivers. The enforcement effort runs from August 19 through September 5, 2005. Officers on overtime will patrol locations where alcohol related traffic crashes have occurred. Funding is provided by a grant through the Missouri Department of Transportation’s Highway Safety Division.

“There will be no warnings,” said Sergeant Michael Gravemann of the Traffic Safety Division. “Our message is simple. You Drink and Drive. You Lose.”

“Impaired driving is one of the most often-committed violent crimes, randomly killing or injuring someone in Missouri every one and one-half hours,” said Sergeant Gravemann

Motorists are encouraged to report impaired drivers to the nearest law enforcement agency. The phone number for the St. Charles Police Department is 636-949-3300.