Working as a pediatrician in 2004, Dr. Joe Cangas noticed that many local children didn’t wear helmets while riding their bicycles. Concerned for their safety, he began talking to children at local schools and founded Helmets First! as his mission grew. As the Helmet Doctor, he conducts regular talks at neighborhood schools, clubs, and community centers, teaching youth about the importance of wearing helmets. His organization also runs events where it distributes free helmets to youth from low-income backgrounds after measuring their heads for the proper fit. Only with a proper fit are helmets effective at preventing traumatic head injuries. Since its inception, Helmet First! has donated more than 14,000 helmets to local youth.
Located in one of the new art spaces at Crestwood Court, award-winning artist Jeane Vogel's 4,000-square-foot gallery and studio showcases both her traditional and alternative-process photography. Black-and-white and color photographs of haunting, foggy morns and vibrantly hued beaches are displayed alongside dreamlike infrared photographs that capture a spectrum of light invisible to the eye of man, woman, or Sauron. Hand-altered Polaroid paintings (from $45) lend an impressionistic quality to a vintage medium generally employed in snapping covert shots of ghosts, whereas mixed-media paintings (from $245) use soft pastels to extend Polaroid images beyond their confining white borders. For beautiful images that tickle your earlobes as much as your brain lobes, Vogel's Art to Wear jewelry collection displays her Polaroid paintings in miniature as dangle-able glass or porcelain pendants (earrings from $44, necklaces from $25).
Cheers rise whenever the home team scores a point at Pepper's Grill and Bar. Maybe it's a 30-year history that gives the space its space swagger. Pair that with 27 HDTVs, and almost every table has a good view of the action. Abiding by the tenets carved into the stones of the original basketball rule book, Pepper's pairs its spectator sports with burgers, pizzas, and its signature pepper bites. Most impressive on the menu is the Cowboy burger, which is piled with bacon, onion rings, cheddar, and barbecue sauce. This combination of atmosphere and edibles earned Pepper's Grill and Bar accolades from the readers of the Riverfront Times, who awarded it the Best Neighborhood Bar (City) in 2011.
Beneath The Patch Tavern’s yolk-yellow ceiling, bar-biters can peruse a menu bulging with burgers as they sip drinks from the full liquor bar. Chefs arm the 6-ounce grilled patty of The American stuffed burger with bacon spaulders and pickle lances ($6), preparing it for combat against the brown-gravy-stuffed burger girded with mushrooms and shielded by swiss cheese ($6). Appease salt-craving taste buds with crispy french fries ($1) or send mutinous digits a tasty warning with the chicken fingers ($4.50).
Heyde Sewing Machine Company needs every inch of its 5,500 feet of retail space: shelves groan under the weight of more than 5,000 bolds of cloth, and in addition to sewing notions and quilting supplies, the store stocks machines from brands such as Brother and Pfaff. This wealth of fabric and needlework necessities sets the stage for classes on subjects ranging from basic sewing-machine operation to advanced undertakings such as quilting or navigating embroidery-lettering software. In addition to friendly instructors, the staff includes skilled technicians ready to repair sewing machines of any make or model and sharpen shears dulled by snipping obnoxious neighbors’ power lines. The store’s encouraging embroidery and quilting clubs, as well as its library of patterns, make for a creatively fertile atmosphere that brings crafters back again and again.
St. Louis County Parks and Recreation awakens the active side in community members with a bevy of sites and facilities dedicated to sports, outdoor exploration, and kid-friendly fun. Families splash away the summer heat with trips to the pool at the Kennedy Recreation Complex or the St. Vincent Community Center water park, where adults can swim laps in two 25-yard lanes while tykes descend an open water slide and practice their manners at underwater tea parties. The six recreation complexes serve as hubs for everything from fitness classes to ice-skating, and offer a diverse blend of indoor and outdoor activities. For more relaxing amusement, the stewards of the parks and recreation department maintain multiple museums and historic sites as well as outdoor trails, where voyagers can get in touch with nature and add to their collection of acorns that resemble former presidents.