"Humans of St. Louis" Transforms New York Idea into Celebration of Local Lives

Categories: Community

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Humans of St. Louis
"What are you doing? Taking pictures?" "Yeah." "Will you take my picture?"
The idea seems simple: Take someone's picture, ask a few questions and post a photo and a quote online. In the hyper-visual, emotionally demanding world of the Facebook news feed, the right portrait-quote combo can strike viral gold.

But there's a secret ingredient -- a breath of inspiration -- the lack of which can doom wannabes and imitators. Call it taste. Call it perspective. Call it heart.

Whatever it is, Humans of St. Louis has it.


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Potato Salad Fundraising Success Inspires Lawyer to Start Kickstarter to Help Homeless

Categories: Community

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Eric Fogleman
Thomas Harvey has an idea for Kickstarter that's not potato salad.
If one guy in Ohio can raise $70,000 in a week for potato salad, then surely a St. Louis non-profit can raise $15,000 in a month to help the homeless, right?

That's what Thomas Harvey, founder of Arch City Defenders, is hoping.

After Harvey saw the Kickstarter campaign for potato salad that went uber-viral this week, he bought a tub of Schnucks potato salad and launched a Kickstarter of his own.

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St. Louis Room Escape Volume 3 Set for August: Can "Harmony" Defeat Devious Puzzles?

Categories: Community

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Tom Carlson
Some of the puzzle boxes from Enigima Productions' Trapped, Volume 2.
Nir Chezrony is still waiting for a team to actually win Trapped: A St. Louis Room Escape.

The baffling mental gauntlet is returning for its third run on August 20, and Chezrony, the show's creator and puzzle designer, is banking on new puzzles and a new theme to attract just the right collection of brainiacs. Their challenge: Escape a locked room before the 60-minute timer hits all zeros.

In April, Trapped: Volume 2 churned through 26 teams before one group -- the very last full team to attempt the devious game -- managed to solve the final puzzle accidentally. Similarly, November's Trapped: Volume 1 featured a "winning" team that attained victory on a technicality after a magnetized key got stuck inside the final puzzle.

"I tried to remove any randomness from this next room. They're not going to be able to solve it without going through every single puzzle and solving it correctly," says Chezrony, who works as a biomedical engineer at Philips when he's not devising brain-stumping obstacle courses. "Beyond that, I think I made the puzzles a bit easier."


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STL250: St. Louis' Year-Long Birthday Party Slows Down After Halfway Mark

Categories: Community

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Steve Truesdell
St. Louis celebrated its 250th birthday withThe Burnin' Love Festival Tuesday, February 18, on Art Hill in Forest Park.
St. Louis' year-long birthday celebration is halfway over, and the stl250 campaign is starting to wind down.

Stl250's executive director Erin Budde has stepped down from her paid position to accept a new job at the United Way, leaving the group without any paid staff. Budde says stl250's biggest projects -- such as the birthday party on Art Hill in February -- are completed.

"If there were a full-time staff person, just given what needs to be done, they'd probably be underutilized," Budde tells Daily RFT. "We're pretty much done with our heavy lifting. It's a good time for a transition."


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PHOTOS: St. Louis Is Building Its First Legal Skateboarding Park

Categories: Community

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Photos courtesy of Theresa Sonnenschein, unless noted
The Peter Mathews Memorial Skate Park.
The Peter Mathews Memorial Skate Park, St. Louis' first legally sanctioned skate park, is almost finished.

St. Louis was one of the few major American cities without a free, public spot for skating until a band of local skateboarders changed everything. The group, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit known as the Kingshighway Vigilante Transitions (KHVT), held community meetings and fundraisers, earned support from local politicians, found a gardening club to partner with and even got a leading skate-park building company to volunteer to build the south-city park for free. And KHVT's work thus far has impressed a man who knows a thing or two about pouring concrete: St. Louis streets director Todd Waelterman.

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The 8 Worst Places to Park in St. Louis

Categories: Community, Lists

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Flickr/JerameyJannene
If there is a hell, it probably looks like a parking lot.
It's no secret that St. Louis has car problems. On one hand, many drivers here are schmucks who ignore turning lanes and treat pedestrians like Mario Kart powerups. This summer, however, it's parking infrastructure that's put city officials and Fair St. Louis organizers into a panic.

The construction of the new Gateway Arch grounds has already forced Fair St. Louis to relocate to Forest Park, and last month the city announced that all street parking in Forest Park would be completely closed during the festival (July 3-5). As for the city itself, the treasurer's office is hiring an outside consultant to sort out of the mess of meters and parking downtown.

So in preparation for what could be the most parking-afflicted summer in recent memory, we present the eight worst places to park in St. Louis city and county. (If you've got your own list of horrible parking spots, let us know in the comments section.)


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19 Hard-To-Spell Words That St. Louisans Know By Heart

Categories: Community

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Doug Wertman on Flickr, cropped
Can you spell Anheuser-Busch without looking it up?
Gokul Venkatachalam, a thirteen-year-old boy from Chesterfield, had an impressive showing in the Scripps National Spelling Bee, correctly spelling "bamboche," "abaisse" and "eryngo." (It was "Kierkegaardian" that did him in; he won third place.)

In honor of Venkatachalam's achievement, Daily RFT has been pondering hard-to-spell words right here in our own back yard.


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Goldie Taylor to Produce Crowd-Sourced Documentary About East St. Louis

Categories: Community

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Facebook/Goldie Taylor
During the 2012 presidential race, Saturday Night Live had a skit in which clueless millionaire candidate Mitt Romney (played by Jason Sudeikis) said he had never felt more at home than in East St. Louis, to which Mayor Alvin Parks (played by Keenan Thompson) responded: "Are you kidding me? This place is a hellhole!"

The skit created a bit of controversy, but like most internet-oriented debates, all that was soon forgotten. However, the problems that have pervaded East St. Louis still went on like they had been for decades -- and the people living there were still affected by them. That's why journalist Goldie Taylor is making "The Other Side of Grace," a documentary about her hometown that she hopes will give people a better understanding about a beleaguered city that has been described as the most dangerous in the United States.

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Give STL Day: St. Louis' First All-Day Fundraising Give-A-Thon Is Today

Categories: Community

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APA of Missouri
The Animal Protective Association says it will use donations from Give STL Day to help dogs like Gia here find forever homes.
If you've ever thought about donating to help a local cause, today's the day.

Give STL Day is St. Louis' first 24-hour marathon fundraiser aimed at promoting more than 500 local community-betterment organizations. From midnight on Tuesday to midnight on Wednesday, organizers will be taking donations, keeping a tally of raised funds and awarding prizes to contributors and to nonprofits.


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Grant's Farm To Open 60th Season With New Paddle Boats, Hard Cider

Categories: Community

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Dave Herholz on Flickr
Clydesdale are amazing and all, but where else in St. Louis do you get to bottle-feed goats?
The sun is out, the birds are chirping and the gray drudgery of the past few months seems like a bad dream -- and for families looking to get out of the house this weekend, there's no more more wholesome an attraction than Grant's Farm in south county.

First opened in 1954, Anheuser-Busch is celebrating the farm's 60th anniversary by expanding its attractions to include swan-shaped paddle boats, a parakeet aviary and new beverage selection. Of course, there's also the iconic stables where the Budweiser Clydesdales live.

"Grant's Farm is difficult to categorize," says general manager Andy Elmore. "We're part U.S. history, St. Louis history, Busch family heritage and a zoo."

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