Monday, May 31, 2010

June St. Charles Calendar of Events

Thursday, June 10
Debunk the Myths of Aging
Kathryn Linnemann Branch Library
10-11:30 a.m.
Enjoy a lively discussion about the myths of aging, how they shape society and our own attitudes. Exchange ideas on problems created by these myths and strategies to overcome them. Presented by Barnes-Jewish St. Peters.

Saturday, June 12
Passport to St. Charles County Parks Walk
Bangert Island Park Trailhead
9 a.m.
County Parks staff will guide participants through the Louis H. Bangert Memorial Wildlife Area to learn about riverside ecosystems and birding opportunities. Wear comfortable shoes and bring insect repellent.

Tuesday, June 15
Medication Matters
Middendorf-Kredell Library Branch
10-11:30 a.m.
Learn about medication management, how to read labels, drug interactions, and foods to avoid or include when taking medication to get the most benefit possible. Presented by Progress West. Call 636-344-2273 to register.

Saturday, June 19-Sunday, June 20
The Great Rivers Towboat Festival
Grafton, Illinois
10 a.m.-5 p.m. on Saturday and noon-5 p.m. on Sunday
Catch a rare glimpse inside the giant towboats that travel our great rivers and can transport a barge cargo of 1,500 tons with 10,000 horsepower. Enjoy classic folk, bluegrass and Americana music, children’s activities and model boat exhibits by the St. Louis Admirals Club. Chef Ralph Smith will demonstrate how to properly eat crawfish and shrimp, plus barbeque. More than 70 vendors selling wares from antiques to old-fashioned junk. For more information, check out the Towboat Festival website or call 618-786-3494.

Thursday, June 17-Saturday, June 19
Friday, June 25 and Saturday, June 26 at 6:30pm
Sunday, June 27 at 2 p.m.
A Midsummer’s Night Dream presented by the Riverside Shakespeare Company
South end of Frontier Park
Enjoy one of William Shakespeare’s most beloved comedies performed by the Riverside Shakespeare Company and supported by the St. Charles Arts and Culture Commission. Bring a picnic basket or try local food and craft vendors. The Monkey Tales Theatre will present Past Imagination at 6:30 p.m. with the Midsummer Night curtain at 7 p.m. For more information, go to the Riverside Shakespeare website.

Sunday, June 20
Father’s Day KATY Family Bike Ride
KATY Trail from St. Charles to Defiance
11 a.m.-3 p.m.
Communities along the KATY Trail celebrate the 20th anniversary with a Father’s Day ride to benefit prostate cancer research at the Siteman Cancer Center. Food, festivities and a dedication of the newly completed Defiance bicycle loop.
$10 per rider donation, $15 day of ride, children under 12 are free. Register online for the ride, and for many more KATY Trail events, check out the visit the trail website.

Saturday, June 26
The Great American Backyard Campout
First Missouri State Capitol
In conjunction with the National Wildlife Federation’s Great American Backyard Campout, the First Missouri State Capitol hosts the campout here. Families may bring tents and activities include a hot dog roast, s’mores, crafts, camp cooking demos, a bonfire and a fireside breakfast. To register and for more information, call 636-940-3322.
$25 per family

Saturday, June 26
Archeology Day
Center for American Archeology, Route 100
Kampsville, IL
10 a.m.-4p.m.
Tour a 2,000-year-old excavation site, learn how to identify artifacts and see a flintknapping demonstration. There’s a kid’s activity area, and special exhibits at the Visitors’ Center and Museum. For more information, call 618-653-4316 or visit the Archeology Day website.

Written by Myra Vandersall

Thursday, May 20, 2010

First-time homebuyer credit is extended for military personnel and some federal employees

The $8,000 first-time homebuyer tax credit program has been extended to allow military personnel to take advantage of this home ownership opportunity. The new deadline for qualified service members is April 30, 2011, with the property closed no later than June 30, 2011. The extension also includes the $6,500 tax credit for repeat buyers.

Qualified service members include members of the U.S. military uniformed services, the U.S. Foreign Service and employees of the intelligence community on official extended duty. The top income limits of $125,000 for single tax payers and $225,000 for married taxpayers remains the same, but other requirements have changed to accommodate military personnel. Military buyers will not have to repay the tax credit if geographically reassigned before the three-year residency requirement.

To qualify for the military tax credit:
  • An individual must have serviced on extended duty inside or outside the United States for 90 days or more and at least 50 miles from the principle residence and after December 31, 2008 through May 1, 2010.
  • Only one spouse must be on official extended duty to be eligible for the 2011 extension, purchase a residence and claim the tax credit.

More than 350,000 military personnel and federal employees may be affected by this extension and will be able to own a home, plus receive the income tax credit. “Congress recognized that many service members may have missed out on the home buyer tax credit due to being posted overseas,” says Bob Jones, National Association of Home Builders chairman. “It’s only fitting that our service members be given another year to take advantage of this opportunity.”

For detailed information on the military first-time homebuyer tax credit extension, go the Internal Revenue’s website.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Lightning and thunderstorms can put you, your family and property at risk

Learn how to use common sense tips to avoid tragedy

With the advent of summer, thunderstorms and lightning are sure to follow. Unstable weather in the St. Louis area has almost become commonplace this year and during the latest round of thunderstorms, lightning was suspected to start a hotel fire in O’Fallon, Illinois.

May is designated National Electrical Safety month by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and gives us the opportunity to offer suggestions to keep you, your family and home safer this season. When a storm approaches…

  • Unplug all appliances and electrical devices, including computers, and turn off the air conditioning. The fewer electrical connections active can mean less damage should your home be struck. And, you can avert harming your computer system.
  • Don’t talk on a corded phone while a storm is in process. That small electrical current running through the phone line puts you in contact with a potential strike zone.
  • During a storm is not the time to wash dishes, decided to take a shower or do laundry. Water is an excellent electrical conductor and again puts you and your family at risk.
  • Stay away from windows and doors to avoid potential flying glass.

The NFPA estimates that lightning fires in the United States caused more than $213 million in direct property damage during the past seven years, more than half of that in residential homes. Since a single lightning bolt can register 50,000 degrees Fahrenheit, the likelihood of fire is high.

Don’t underestimate the power of lightning–the National Weather Service School For Weather notes that lightning kills more people each year in the United States than tornadoes or hurricanes. Only floods claim more lives. To learn more about how to keep you and your family safe from lightning, check out these tips and enjoy a more carefree summer.

Written by Myra Vandersall

Monday, May 10, 2010

Home maintenance from top to bottom is a spring ritual

By sticking with a seasonal maintenance routine, you’ll catch those little problems before they become big headaches.

The weather is delightful in the St. Charles area now and the urge to get outside before the sweltering July heat and humidity come is undeniable. This is also the season for your spring home maintenance checks to insure a trouble-free summer.

While you’re outside enjoying the weather, take a look at your roof, the soffits and guttering. We don’t recommend climbing on your roof–one slip of the foot could result in much more than you bargained for–but get some binoculars for a safe view. While you’re at it, check the attic and rafters for water damage. Staining will show you exactly where the leaks may be located.

Go the professional route to repair any loose shingles or major roof problems. And while your roofing specialist is there, ask them to clean the gutters and check downspouts.

We’ve had a lot of rain this spring; that moisture will show in the attic and in the basement if you have problems. Now’s the time to go down below, peer in the nooks and crannies to look for foundation cracks, pools of moisture and missing tuck pointing. Consumer Reports recommends marking the cracks with tape, then check back again in a few months to assess any damage. Most likely you can fill the cracks with epoxy, but for any major problem, call a structural engineer.

Before it’s 95 degrees outside and you have a major meltdown, make an appointment to get your air conditioner up and ready for summer. You can do your part too by changing the filters on a regular basis and removing dust from around the grills and ductwork. Not only will these tasks insure a cool summer, but also save you money on the cooling bill.

Decks are where family and friends gather for summer parties and barbeques. This outdoor living space requires regular maintenance for a safe, beautiful appearance. Check the railings and supports to make sure they are stable and secure. A guest falling off the deck is not an option. While you are inspecting, keep an eye out for wood rot and termite colonies that might lead to structural damage.

Power washing is the next step for spring deck maintenance. Be careful not to use too much force, which could damage the wood or composite decking. High volume, low pressure is the way to go. Allow a minimum of 24 hours for the deck to dry before adding the final step. Apply the stain during the cooler part of the day and let dry another 24 hours before using the deck. The final step? Invite friends and family to celebrate on your beautiful deck.

Home maintenance is an ongoing project, whether you are getting you home ready for sale or just staying put. Following a regular schedule will make your home a better place to live or sell, and make your life much easier and worry-free.

Written by Myra Vandersall

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The housing market expected to begin recovery this year

Jobs, continued low interest and a variety of housing choices encourage potential buyers

Positive signs are beginning to indicate an upturn in the real estate market. The Labor Department announced a decline in unemployment filings as layoffs ease and hiring slowly increases. Economists are encouraged that the economy is getting closer to generating job gains, which will boost the housing market as people show more confidence and buy homes. Realtors are looking for a burst of activity in late April, May and June as potential buyers don’t have to buck bad weather to see properties.

In the Midwest home sales jumped almost 10 percent, year-to-year, in February, according to the National Association of Realtors. Nationally, year-to-year sales were up 8 percent. First American CoreLogic and its LoanPerformance Home Price Index Forecast indicates a housing price decline into early spring, but that will stabilize and recover modestly for the remainder of the year.

Even though the federal government will stop purchasing mortgage-backed securities on March 31, as planned, it looks like interest rates will continue to be low, at least for the foreseeable future. Rates on 30-year mortgages have fallen to around 5.05% from 5.28% at the start of this year.

Frank Nothaft, chief economist for mortgage investor Freddie Mac, sees what he calls "a very steady, quarter to quarter growth" pattern ahead. He also expects total housing sales of existing resales and newly constructed sales to be near six million by the end of 2010 and higher in 2011.

Written by Myra Vandersall

Saturday, May 1, 2010

St. Charles County Calendar

Sunday, May 1
Run, Walk, Roll Away From Violence
Frontier Park
7-11 a.m.
Sponsored by Bridgeway Behavioral Health Foundation, this event will benefit the domestic violence and assault programs. The event features a warmup, a competitive 5k race and a 5k fun walk and roll. To register, visit the Bridgeway website.

Sunday, May 1
The Vino Fondo, Missouri’s Grand Fondo Bicycle Race
Begins in Augusta at Mt. Pleasant Winery
8 a.m.
A traditional pairing of challenging riding and a tour of some of Missouri’s best and oldest vineyards. Fully supported with three different ability rides. Proceeds from registration will benefit Trailnet. The ride is sponsored Big Shark Bicycle and Mt. Pleasant Winery. For more info go to the Trailnet website or call Big Shark at 862-1188.

Sunday, May 1 – Monday, May 31

Antique Quilt Show
Frenchtown Heritage Museum, 1121 N. Second Street
Wednesday - Saturday: 12-3 pm
This special exhibit of antique doll quilts and beds as well as quilts from the past centuries on display for you to enjoy. A special viewing will be held Mother's Day Sunday, May 9th from 12 pm -3 pm.
For more information call 636-946-8682.

Thursday, May 6
Concert in the Park
St. Peters City Centre Amphitheater
7-8:30 p.m.
For the St. Peters centennial celebration in 2010, the city hosts a series of concerts. This week the Kelly Band, a traditional and contemporary Celtic band will entertain concert goers.

Friday, May 7, Saturday, May 8
Some Enchanted Evening
Lindenwood University’s J. Scheidegger Center for the Arts
7:30 p.m.
The Theater Department presents a revue of production numbers from the musicals of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein, including “Oklahoma,” “Carousel,” “South Pacific,” “The King and I” and “The Sound of Music.” For information or to order tickets call 636-949-4433 or online at the Center for the Arts website.

Saturday, May 15
Historical Children’s Festival
First Missouri State Capitol Historic site, South Main St.
10 a.m.-4p.m.
Modern day kids can live and play as children did in the 1820s. Hands on activities include butter churning, quill pen writing, cow milking, candle dipping, baby farm animals, and storytelling about Missouri’s struggle for statehood. For information call 636-940-3322.

Saturday, May 15 –Sunday, May 16
Lewis and Clark Heritage Days
Frontier Park
Historic St. Charles Downtown District
9:30 a.m.-8 p.m. on Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. on Sunday

This annual festival features an authentic reenactment of Lewis & Clark's encampment in 1804 prior to their journey up the Missouri River. Also featured are re-enactor encampments, Fife and Drum Corps demonstrations, boat replicas, museum tours,19th century crafts and period food.
For more information call 1-800-366-2427 or visit the Heritage Days website.
FREE, some activities charge a fee

Saturday, May 15 –Sunday, June 6

Greater St. Louis Renaissance Faire
Saturdays, Sundays and Memorial Day only

Wentzville Rotary Park 10 a.m.-6 p.m.

Travel back to a 16th century French village and thrill to the exploits of jousting knights; roam the village shops; enjoy stage acts performing comedy, music and daring feats; and interact with colorful villagers, nobles, and peasants. There will be food and fun for the entire family.
$13; seniors, students, $11; 12 and under, $8
For more information call 636-916-1643 or visit

Friday, May 21-Sunday, May 23
Friends of the St. Charles City-County Library book fair
St. Charles Convention Center
9 a.m.-9 p.m. Friday, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday
As one of the largest book fair in the metro area, attendees can choose from more than 250,000 hardback, paperbacks, set, records and magazines. Proceeds benefit the Library.
FREE, except on Friday-$5 admission or Friends membership. For information call 838-441-2300 or visit the Friends’ website.

Sunday, May 23
Mountain Biking 101
St. Charles County Parks and Recreation Broemmelsiek Park, Shelter 2
Learn the basics of mountain biking and maintenance with experts from the Gateway Off Road Cyclists. Following each session is a guided ride. All ages and abilities welcome. Participants should bring their own bikes and helmets.

Written by Myra Vandersall