Trip Date: 2017-02-27
Trip #50
GPS: Address: 5025 Pattison; 63110 (at Kingshighway and I-44)
Search Words:  Chocolate Factory Tours

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Surprisingly, Saint Louis has a high concentration of award winning chocolate makers; probably due to our immigrant roots. There are many chocolate destinations worth visiting in Saint Louis, but the Chocolate, Chocolate, Chocolate Company has the “best” chocolate tour in Saint Louis for kids, only because it’s the shortest and the sweetest, and thus the easiest for busy families to visit.  This is a 20 minute “tour” with a piece of chocolate waiting at the end.  The tour is free.  Over 50,000 people come from all over the world visit this chocolate factory every year.

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Drive to the GPS address at Pattison Avenue listed above, and wind around to the front lobby, which is right up against the highway.  Inside awaits an oasis of delights.

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Tours launch every 30 minutes from the spacious ‘Chocolate Shoppe’, and everyone is required to wear a “hairnet,” which doubles as a rather cool souvenir.  Guests get a little giddy as they gather, and then enter through the doors marked “Chocolate Heaven”.

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Chocolate, Chocolate, Chocolate is a third generation family business started by the Abel family in 1981, near the famous Ted Drewes ice cream stand on Route 66. They moved to the current location in 2012 in order to accommodate their expanding business. This is a Greek family who got their start with help from another Greek family, and are thus now continuing the American Dream.

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Chocolate, Chocolate, Chocolate uses the term “clean chocolate” to describe their products. Listen carefully when they list their ingredients:  chocolate is sourced from the Ivory Coast, vanilla comes from Madagascar, sugar from Belize.  Anything worth doing, like making chocolate, is worth doing well, and making fine chocolate is harder than it looks.

Doing Well

Take special note of the solar panels on the roof, the LED lights throughout the factory floor, and the Goodwill employees to packaging the finished chocolates.  Ask about the creation of jobs, as local jobs increase the multiplier effect of money — basically meaning that money circulates throughout the local economy instead of whooshing away and into the pockets of people who are already rich. Handcrafted local chocolate is an example of “Slow Food”;  every chocolate you buy brings you closer to a “Less but Better” world.

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Keep an eye out for Oompa Loompas on the factory floor.

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Back inside the “Chocolate Shoppe”, be sure to ask about specialties and sample any award winning chocolates. Also ask which holiday drives the most sales.  Don’t miss the “Oops Shelf” which is full of perfectly imperfect chocolates.

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The science of happiness is a relatively new field, but it’s really, really true that some things make you happy.  It’s not the weather, or your salary, or your kids that make you happy, but rather flowers, dinner with friends and adventures to new places that bring happiness. Take your friends and family on a tour of a chocolate factory, and follow Green Spiral Tours in enjoying all the goodness that Saint Louis has to offer.

Happiness

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Scouting Mission: 2017-Jan-06

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The Old Courthouse, in downtown Saint Louis, is a magnificent building, and the best time for locals to visit is on Epiphany, (the Twelfth Day of Christmas), which falls on January 6th of each year. On this day, the Old Courthouse comes alive with the sounds of music and dancing from 1767, hosted by re-enactors in period military dress and fancy long gowns.  The event is called the Twelfth Afternoon Ball, and it comes complete with little cakes and cookies for visitors to enjoy.

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Visitors are invited to join in the merry dancing, and the party culminates with the “King’s Cake” which has been baked with three beans.  Gentlemen eat the cakes, and whoever gets the bean, gets to be King, which means the honor of throwing the next party.  It’s a jolly festive atmosphere, but the real reason for a family adventure visit, is to climb the stairs of the magnificent rotunda, and get some exercise in winter.

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Explore until you find the staircase on the side halls, and climb each balcony to hunt for the next hidden set of stairs, until you’ve reached as high as you can go.  The Old Courthouse was crafted by hand, at enormous expense, and it is impossibly beautiful and grand by today’s standards.

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The skylight at the top of the cupola is called the “eye”, and allegorical figures are painted on the walls depicting law, liberty, justice and commerce. Some of the columns are made of cast iron and some are made of wood. Knock on them to see which is which!

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Look down on the dancers below, and peek inside the courtroom doors.

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The Old Courthouse is a National Park, and stands as a touchstone for the courageous struggle for freedom and justice, as it was the setting for the famous Dred & Harriet Scott case, which in part, sparked the Civil War. Be sure to visit the Dred Scott exhibit and add something new to your understanding about the battle for individual rights gone awry. Dred Scott eventually did become a free man, shortly before he died.

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Be sure to visit the gift store, which has an excellent selection of books on Lewis and Clark, as well as possibly the best collection of children’s books on African American history.  Step out on the East Steps, to see the Arch and stand on the spot where slaves were sold, along with such items as the Eads Bridge (to your left) and the St. Louis Dispatch to immigrant Joseph Pulitzer.  This is a good spot for a family photo.

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Because of the delightful dancing and music, not to mention easy parking, Epiphany is a great time for local citizens to visit the Old Courthouse, to get some exercise and cultural appreciation. The event is free and suitable for all, from toddlers to grandparents. On your way out, hunt for the turtle motif on the fence, an homage to a quirky custodian who once kept a turtle in the fountain.

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Every kid should visit the Old Courthouse at least once, to touch a monument to the dream of American equality, and to reinforce in the next generation the shared value of governance by the rule of law, without which we surely would be ruled by tyrants. Go anytime your schedule allows, but if you go to the King’s Ball on Epiphany, or perhaps the President’s Ball near President’s Day, the adventure is twice as fun.

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Urban Wild Adventures – Trip Date: May 31 & June 2 2016

To know your city is to love your city, and Green Spiral has long known Saint Louis to be home to some of the most amazing parks and playgrounds in the country. As the world becomes a more hectic place, nature places and quiet oasis will play an increasing role in the identity of this Great City.

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We have many treasured parks in Saint Louis, but the crown jewel of parks is certainly Forest Park, recently named the #1 Best City Park in America: https://www.thrillist.com/travel/nation/the-15-best-city-parks-in-america.

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World class destinations like the Zoo, Art Museum, History Museum and Muny are easy to find in Forest Park, but for those of you looking to get off the beaten track, here’s a short loop we’re calling the “Crawdaddy Walk”.  It’s a two hour excursion at a very leisurely pace, suitable for all ages, including the stroller set.

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Park and meet your playgroup at the Inclusion Playground next to the Visitor Center, and be sure to pack your own water, unless you like paying $2 for bottled water.  Know that the playground is the first inclusion playground built in the city and there is a secret pollinator’s garden nearby.

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Call up Jean Turney, education coordinator at Forest Park Forever, and have her meet you at the blueberries growing right next to the building. Jean’s job is to help folks learn how to use the park for fun and educational purposes, and she organizes Teacher Academies in the Summer.  561-3287

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Begin your walk between the parking lot and the tennis courts and head for the Mary Orr MacCarthy Bridge, or the “Love Lock Bridge”. On your way, you can have kids pick clover; tie them together to make some clover crowns!  Know that there is a famous bridge in Paris, the Pont des Arts, which has grill-work laden with locks.  Lovers carve their initials into padlocks, affix the locks to the bridge, and throw the key into the river, thereby sealing their love forever.  Looks like we now have a “Love Lock Bridge” in Forest Park, so if you’re a lover, go ahead and affix your lock, it’s the “good kind of trouble” to get into.

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Continue walking along between the creek  and the Boathouse, an area we call “Cottonwood Corridor”.  If you travel through in June, the cotton puffs will be floating through the air like snow; see if kids can catch some cottonpuffs.

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Stop and sample the service berries growing on bushes to your right.  Service berries are important bird food, and edible for humans too.  The service berries ripen in early summer, and get their name from the “olden days” when the ground was too frozen to bury the dead.  When the service berries came ripe in late May, the ground was warm enough to excavate a deep hole, and a service could finally be performed. Thus the name” service-berry.  Thank you Bellefontaine Cemetery for the story!

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Continue following the path until you find the water-play area on your right.  This is a great area to play in the water.  Our creeks and waterways are in bad shape, and questionable for young children for a multiplicity of reasons including sewage and radioactive contamination. But because the River des Peres was long ago used as an open sewer and buried under the park in advance of the World’s Fair in 1904, the surface water in Forest Park today is pretty close to tap water, and the cleanest natural water-play area we can find for kids.  It’s kind of sad that we’ve contaminated so many waterways as a society; therefore, it’s important to educate yourself and thus join the fight to clean up and protect our waterways, if nothing but our own enjoyment. Technically, there is “no swimming” in Forest Park, but Green Spiral happens to know that the park rangers will turn a blind eye towards kids frolicking in the water.  If you do get in trouble, put big tears in your eyes, and say “…but I want my kids to touch a creek at least one time in their lives before they grow up,” and put on your best and most sad pouting face…  Back to the self-guided tour:

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“Crawdaddy Cove” is a great place to fish for crayfish.  Bring a paperclip on a string, and fix some cheese to the open “hook” of the paperclip.  Drop the paperclip in the water, and when a crawfish clamps on to it, hoist the little feller out of the water. We forgot our paper clips, but did find a dead crayfish. By the way, Missouri is a hot-spot for crayfish biodiversity, due to our plethora of magnificent spring-fed rivers.

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“Crawdaddy Cove” is a great area for a family picnic, and you can almost always find frogs, turtles, minnows, green herons and egrets. This is the best place for spying wildlife with kids that we’ve found in Forest Park so far. Remember to bring your hand sanitizer and sun protection. This is a wonderful destination for a picnic dinner in the evening, thus avoiding the “witching hour” at home. On the official map, this place is really called the “Post Dispatch Lake Riffles”, but we think “Crawdaddy Cove” is more romantic.

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When you are ready to depart, walk towards the main road, and over the “Bridge of Swallows”, which has lots of swallow nesting under it.  Continue walking past the Dwight Davis Tennis Center, and ultimately back to your car.  This is about a two hour adventure, conducted at a leisurely pace. Many thanks to talented nature guide Angela Wildermuth for scouting and leading this adventure with her Spring series of adventures called “Urban Wild Adventures”, which takes families on nature hunts at parks and playgrounds all over the Saint Louis area.

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Now here’s your homework:

  1. Count how many creatures you can find on your walk and have the kids make a note in a journal you keep in the car.
  2. See if you can name any plants, or make a crown made of clover.  Simply tie them together as you would make a “daisy chain.”
  3. Come back to the Visitor Center someday and ask for the free ipod walking tour that teaches you about the history of Forest Park, and walks you past the Art Museum and Picnic Island. It’s very well done; many thanks to the Trio Foundation.
  4. Comment below with your observations and improvements on the map and adventure for the benefit of others.
  5. Love your City. Get out and get to know it. To know it, is to love it.

TripDate: Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Use this Green Spiral Map

along with the blogpost from

“Becoming a Wild Family”

to explore Shaw Park

in Clayton.

2016 Shaw Park Map

This is part of the

Spring Series of

“Urban Wild Adventures”

featuring fabulous nature guide

Angela Wildermuth

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Becoming a Wild Family

We went on our weekly park tour today!

Kentucky has their horse derby 🏇and we have the leaf race 🍃…

… Read on to find out who won…. 😉

We began the tour of Shaw Park at the playground. It’s quite a fun park that tries to draw upon the aesthetics of nature!

Angela always engages the kids right away by telling them what the park has in store for them!  She quickly drew the kids’ attention to the Sensory Garden.


She passed around samples of the plants that could be found in the sensory garden and had everyone touch and smell the leaves and flowers.

She also had a scavenger hunt list for the kids to check off.

Simone was in charge of our family’s findings.

She took the hunt very seriously…

The boys listened and hunted but in a much less organized way.

Some of…

View original post 488 more words

This is Angela Wildermuth. She’s an amazing family nature guide.

Her last name means “wild spirit”.

2016 Angela Notepad

Angela is inspired to take families “into the wild” places at the edges of parks and playgrounds all over the Saint Louis area.  Green Spiral has now hosted two series of playground adventures that we are calling “Urban Wild Adventures”.

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In the wilds of Maplewood…

 

This blog debriefs “Winter Wild Adventures” in hopes of getting kids outside in all kinds of weather. You definitely need proper clothing, and friends, to help keep you warm, and overcome that indoor inertia.

If you can find REAL felt or alpaca foot inserts for kids (NOT polyester), and put them inside standard wellie-type rain boots, you’ve just created a pair of warm kid boots for a fraction of the cost of snow boots. Wear wool socks for extra measure.  Buy rain boots a size too big in fall, and as kids grow, take out the wool inserts for spring and summer.

Fit for a prince...

Fit for a prince…

The weather is not likely to settle down anytime in the near future, and families who follow Green Spiral know all about raising resilient kids.  Green Spiral field trips are not for everybody; they’re kind of like “Outdoor Leadership School” for toddlers, kids and families.  But for those who do follow the wild spirit into the woods, the magic and the misadventure makes every extra effort worthwhile.

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The colder the winter the sweeter the spring, and even rain feels nice compared to ice. Getting outside in cold weather is good for you — and here’s an introduction to the fairly new concept of “brown fat”.  Brown fat is abundant in hibernating animals and newborns, it’s function is to keep the body warm.  But “brown fat” has also recently been discovered in adults as a response to cold exposure.  Brown fat keeps you warm, and it also burns “white fat”.  In short, being outside in winter causes you to build brown fat, which eventually keeps you warmer, WHILE, it makes you thinner!

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Nature doesn’t hibernate in winter, and there is plenty to do. The first three “Urban Wild Adventures”, to the Webster Sculpture Garden, Memorial Park and Tower Grove Park were cold, cold, cold. Kids have less body mass than adults, and thus get dangerously cold faster, so bundle little ones up well, wrap babies close to the body, and bring warm drinks in a thermos for when you get back to the car.  As the old saying goes, “There’s no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing.”

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Memorial Park in Brentwood (near the YMCA), is a fabulous destination for a short cold weather hike, as the secret paths are easier to find in winter, mulched with recycled Christmas trees.  Be careful not to fall into the creek when crossing the stepping stones, and make your way to the bridge with the arch.  Keep your eye on the creek — we had a magical moment when we spotted a great blue heron! It’s nice to have a tour guide who carries along bird books, and that nature guide could be you.

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Along with a moment of magic, every trip has a misadventure; the misadventure on this trip was the sad realization that trash along creeks is highly visible in winter.  On a positive note, mothers can’t stop themselves from cleaning up this pretty planet:  the moms found a lost garbage bag, spontaneously started cleaning up the place, and the kids jumped right in. The nice thing about winter hiking is that you don’t have to wash hands, just mittens! Panera would be your closest cozy stop, across the street in the same shopping center as Whole Foods.

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Here’s your map should you want to catch up with Green Spiral Tours, or simply organize your own playgroup adventure.

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The Tower Grove Park trip was even colder, with one or two misadventures. But know that Tower Grove has a secret natural playground, and Angela took us there. Our destination was these “gnarly knee trees” underneath a bald cypress tree.  This type of natural wonder cannot be landscaped – they’re very old and only grow in the wettest ground.

BUT! it snowed, covering up the gnarly knee destination! And, sadly, one of the cars got broken into —  so always remember “Adventure School Rules #3” – remain aware, and always lock valuables away and out of sight.

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HOWEVER! Tower Grove has a pony! Who knew? AND, it was early February, so we saw the earliest sign of spring: witch hazel in bloom.

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Tower Grove is a known birding destination along the “Mississippi Flyway”, so you might want to  return around Mother’s Day, with a picnic, when the songbirds pass through. We learned that a bird sanctuary is planned to be installed in Tower Grove Park soon. By the way, Hartford Coffee is a nice place to warm up, with quality coffee or hot chocolate.

 

Mr. Cypress Tree

Blackburn Park in Webster Groves is an amazing park to explore, and Angela & the families ventured forth in the rain, which seemed like  fun after the first three cold trips. Blackburn is famous for it’s sinkholes, and the kids had a blast jumping in and out of them; but be careful, what happens if the sinkhole doesn’t let you out? Remember, these are true off-the-beaten adventures and not sanitized, canned experiences, so you have to stop and assess the risks and hazards.  Fortunately, most kids have highly developed survival skills, and in this world, they need to be encouraged to take more risks, not fewer.  As always, use your own judgement.

Sink into the goodness...

Sink into the goodness…

By the way, ponchos are better for kids than umbrellas, because ponchos are cheaper and last longer than umbrellas, plus, nobody gets poked in the eye! Here’s a darling blog by a “Wild Mom” which tells you all about the adventure to Blackburn Park, and how to become a “Wild Family”. Imho, wild families have more fun, AND they are going to save this beautiful earth:

Becoming a Wild Family

The trip to Lindberg Park in Maplewood resulted in a great horned owl sighting as well as the welcome sight of wild purple crocus flowers — the first wink of spring! Also found: rabbit fur from owl hunting, as well as multiple groundhog burrows.  Teach kids to look up, down, and all around.

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Kids don’t learn about nature by osmosis or by magic; they must be taught directly how to pick up trash and put on wool socks.  Schools are not particularly set up to teach kids about nature, so the amazing nature teacher in your life is likely to be you. Hopefully this blog inspires you to get outside and shake off the winter doldrums.  As a tip to future trip leaders, it works well to meet your playgroup at the playground, to get the ya-ya’s out, so when the nature hike begins, everyone is in a calm mood of ready awareness.

Think on these things?

Think on these things?

In short, Winter Urban Wild Adventures, are good for you, good for kids, and good for Saint Louis. Be inspired to launch your own trips with the maps provided, or follow Angela Wildermuth on future “Urban Wild” adventures, by watching for future Green Spiral emails or following the Green Spiral Facebook Page.

Now here’s your homework:

  1. Go to your favorite park and get off the beaten track.  Look along the edges, where the wild things might be.  Look up, look down.  Collect nature items as you go, and arrange them in an interesting way at the end of your explorations.  Take a picture of it, along with the kids, for your photo journal.  Mark it with the date and location. This is a “Goldsworthy”; following in the footsteps of famous artist Andy Goldsworthy.
  2. Buy wool socks, rain boots & ponchos, and train your family to get outside in all kinds of weather.  Get your friends to come with you. Tell yourselves how resilient and awesome you are becoming with each passing day.
  3. Create a winter terrarium by collecting a small sample of soil, plus a small patch of frozen moss.  Put it inside a pretty jar with a lid, spritz it with water and set it on the kitchen table.  Prepare to be amazed at the tiny creatures and ferns that unfurl as the terrarium warms. Toss the soil and moss into the compost pile when the tiny riot of life has played itself out.
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TripDate: 1-Nov-2015

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We often get into trouble with Green Spiral Tours, and our trip to Bellefontaine  Cemetery was no exception; the trick in life is to figure out the right kind of trouble to get into.  Visiting a cemetery with kids is the right kind of trouble.

We got in trouble for bringing too many kids.

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Kids weren’t always banished from cemeteries. During the Victorian age, newer thinking moved cemeteries from churchyards & family plots into landscaped gardens, which also served as children’s playgrounds. Families would spread out a picnic blanket after church, near their deceased loved ones, and the children would play hide and seek among the grave stones.

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Bellefontaine (pronounced Belle Fountain) Cemetery is a wonderful destination for families longing to stretch their legs under a wide open sky. It’s not only a cemetery, it’s also an arboretum and haven for wildlife. Keep it in mind for when you need a quiet place to go, and just “be”.   We ventured forth with several families on the day after Halloween, as a cure for our “Halloween Hangover”.

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Start your trip at the Welcome Center by picking up maps and bottled water. Beautiful restroom facilities are on your left.  If you rendezvous with more than 8 people, keep it on the quiet, or notify Dan in advance at 314-381-0750.

Bellefontaine Cemetery is historic, culturally dense and rich with art and nature; they offer lots of interesting tours of all kinds (but none for children), which you can see here:  Bellefontaine Guided Tours

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Use your maps or simply turn right when you enter, and find your way to the lakes and the Columbarium, a beautiful column fountain and final resting place for cremated remains. Obviously, children will need to be respectful, but a little skipping and hopping between the rocks is part of the quiet celebration of life, not unlike the lilies, dragon flies and butterflies that frequent the same place.

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Drop kids off at the top, at Cypress Lake, and let them hop and skip their way past the Columbarium, all the way down to Cascade Lake. Stay and play for a while.

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Enjoy.

Here’s a Green Spiral Adventure Map for you to download and use as a guide. Put it on a clipboard and let the kids color it in as you invent your own adventure.  Switch between the Arboretum, Cemetery Tour and Green Spiral map as you explore the cemetery.

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2015-11-01 Beer Baron Tour logo SQ SmWhen you’ve had enough time at the lake, jump back in the car and drive along the rolling hills of the cemetery.  Be sure to see the Wainwright Tomb, and look for a variety of “Beer Baron” tombs.  Come back (without kids) in October for the “Beer Baron Tour,” complete with local food, trolley tours and local beer tasting. It’s fabulous!

Be sure to find your way to the oldest part of the cemetery, down the ravine near #18 and on your way to William Clark’s resting place at #16, and marvel at all the really old mossy gravestones.

Know that “Evergreen Meadow” on your map is one of the few resting places in the country that offers a green burial option.

From William Clark’s grave, refer to your Arboretum Map or your Green Spiral Map to find your way to the giant red mulberry tree, which we have named “Mother Mulberry.”  She makes a great climbing tree.  This is a nice place to spread out a blanket and have a little nap or a snack.

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Calvary Cemetery is across the street, and SLU is studying the bees in that cemetery.  Turns out, Calvary Cemetery hosts the greatest bee biodiversity in the region; and by the way, city bees are healthier than rural bees because city folks use fewer pesticides than the farmers do.  Kinda scary, huh?

Rock hopping, a winding drive and a picnic at Mother Mulberry will probably use up all your time, so be sure to use the restrooms on the way out, recycle your maps and make a plan for your return visit. Best of all, a visit to Bellefontaine Cemetery is free! Saint Louis is rich with free destinations for kids.  Let’s keep it that way.

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Now, here’s your homework:

2013 The Dead Bird

While uncomfortable at times,  death, like sex, is something that children are curious about, and families are learning how to normalize conversations about these difficult topics, from a young age.

Find age-appropriate books for your personal library, for that inevitable moment when someone, or something, dies. The author of “GoodNight Moon” wrote a classic titled, “We Found a Dead Bird.” I’m Jessie, and I used this book quite a lot while teaching, as we would often find dead birds on the playground. There are lots more contemporary books on the market. Post your favorites, and the ones that have helped you, or your family, in the comment section, below:

 

 

Easter, 2017

west lake landfill overlayA “fire” at the #West Lake Landfill is headed towards a huge amount of radioactive waste that was illegally dumped as part of the Manhattan Project about forty years ago.
There is a lot of uncertainty about both the location of the fire and the location of the nuclear waste, and at this point they seem to be about ? 300 – 750 feet apart ?
The smoldering fire is a chemical reaction below the surface that has been burning for more than five years; it’s the size of several football fields and will not go out by itself.  No one has ever successfully put out a landfill fire, and no attempts are being made to put the “fire” out.
The fire is being monitored by the State of Missouri, the landfill is owned by waste hauler Republic Services, and the EPA has jurisdiction over the West Lake Landfill, making for a very complicated tangle of legalities, responsibilities and liabilities.  The West Lake Landfill is the worst Superfund site in America, and Superfund Rules mean that the “responsible parties” must agree on a plan before the plan takes action.  The Responsible Parties include Republic Services, a large nuclear company that keeps changing names, and the federal government. All these players have all been talking about this SuperFund Site for over forty years, and no forward movement has ever been made. By the way, SuperFund started out as a good idea, a “polluter pays” system to clean up environmental messes, until Papa Bush grabbed the $4b in funds, and effectively gutted the program. Remember the Love Canal and the mom who fought for justice?  That was Lois Gibbs; the SuperFund Program was started because of her. Moms are amazing.
Both the EPA and Republic Services have long insisted that there is little or no threat to the public, that the landfill should be “capped” with a layer of dirt, and that nothing will happen should the fire meet the nuclear waste.  In addition, the landfill company has launched a sophisticated misinformation campaign called, “The Coalition to Keep Us Safe”.

While the EPA has always maintained that there is “no imminent danger” to the public, Rolling Stone calls the unfolding scenario a “dirty bomb”.  One blogger calls it “the mother of all dirty bombs”.  Erin Brokovich tweets about America’s “worst” environmental disaster as it unfolds, and previous Attorney General Koster called it a “potential Chernobyl event”;  he sued Republic Services on behalf of the State of Missouri for over 800+ violations.  Class action environmental lawyers have stood up in public and said it is clear that our governmental is paralyzed at every level. The local government of Bridgeton is operating behind closed doors, and both Missouri Senators, and a few House Reps have close ties to nuke money.

No one knows what might happen should the fire meet the radioactive waste.  The best guess is there won’t be a mushroom cloud;  more likely an invisible smoke plume.  The Pattonville Fire Department is standing valiantly by, and will do what needs to be done, but you can tell the firemen didn’t sign up for this.

The site does not seem to be well monitored, data is difficult to get your hands on, the local news can be misleading, and there have been at least two or three “real” fires at the landfill.  In February 2014, a mother was driving home from church on a Sunday morning, saw this smoke emerging from the landfill, and took a picture of it with her cell phone.  The incident was not reported, no readings were taken and nothing was reported in the news media.

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Then again, in October 2015, a utility pole sparked a grass fire within a few feet of radioactive waste, which was noticed by a passing motorist, who drove down the street and alerted the fire department.  Emergency sirens have long been missing from the area, and one has only recently been installed.  For those living in Saint Louis: how would you possibly know if a toxic smoke cloud were suddenly drifting over your head?

Below is a link to the emergency plan and contact information.  The current plan is to shelter in place until instructed otherwise. If you study Chernobyl, Three Mile Island or Fukushima, in no circumstance has any government ever alerted their citizens in any kind of timely manner in the event of any nuclear disaster.

State of Missouri Emergency Plan: WordPress Site 

Mark Diedrich, (314) 615-9500. Email: mdiedrich@stlouisco. com

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The third week of October 2015 began a dramatic string of escalating events: Schools nearest the landfill sent contingency plans home to parents, causing the West Lake Landfill Facebook Page to swell to 18k, while international media, nuclear activists & health experts from around the world began to tune in.  Also that week: the landfill began leaking vast amounts of leachate, (“landfill juice”), beginning a long string of pump failures & leachate problems that have not stabilized since. The leachate is highly corrosive, and probably radioactive, and the landfill is releasing 2 million gallons of it per week.  Some of it must surely be escaping into the river and into the downstream drinking water supply.  The leachate is known to be flowing down a pipeline and overwhelming a sewer treatment plant in North Saint Louis.

The landfill is technically two contiguous landfills that run together — the Bridgeton and the West Lake Landfill —  they are contiguous and not separate or separated by any kind of barrier in any way, even if the media sometimes gets it wrong unintentionally or if the misinformation campaign purposefully misleads the public.  The landfill is holding 20x spent uranium as Fukushima, and 163x Chernobyl  — more spent waste than three of the biggest nuclear dumps in America, combined.  It’s almost 50,000 tons of nuclear waste (barium sulfate) mixed with dirt:  think of it as the size of a Nuclear Arch.  Actually, it’s the size of three Nuclear Arches. If you’ve ever visited our Arch in Saint Louis, well, it’s really, really enormously big.

Nobody knows exactly what’s in the dump, but what is known is not good. A truck driver has been recorded on broadcast TV describing exactly where he drove two semi-trucks down a ramp into the landfill, abandoned them at dusk, and watched as they were covered up. Also in the dump: uranium from a German submarine, captured by the Americans on it’s way to Japan during WWII.  And don’t forget, this is already a Super Fund Site, currently incinerating all sorts of chemical nasties into the neighborhood through a flare system. The press has long tried to localize the issue to the city of Bridgeton, by focusing on the “bad smell”; but if you know anything at all about how bad it is to breathe burning plastic or chemicals, then you know it’s bad before adding radionuclides into the picture.

Meanwhile – A handful of moms and environmentalists lost complete faith in the EPA long ago, know that the situation is not safe by any stretch of the imagination, and want the Army Corps of Engineers to remove the radioactive waste, before the fire makes contact, through a program called FUSRAP, operated by the Army Corps of Engineers.  The Army Corps of Engineers can be ordered to service only by the President, or an act of Congress.  We can all guess how well that’s going at this point, with both the EPA and the Department of Energy actively being dismantled.

Every time you dig deeper, the story gets worse: the landfill is located in the floodplain of the Missouri River, just upstream from two intake facilities that provide drinking water for the City of Saint Louis.  This is an old, unlined, unregulated landfill, and toxic waste flows freely into the groundwater; the EPA recently named the groundwater under the landfill as it’s own new Superfund site (OU3).  As beloved local Rabbi Susan Talve so eloquently stated: “If toxic waters contaminate the Missouri & Mississippi Rivers, there is not enough bottled water in all the world to save any of us”.

In short: Seriously Not Good.
Disclaimer: I am “just a mom” and a nature guide, not a scientist, doctor or investigative journalist.  I have synthesized the information available to me to the best of my ability, and summarized it above.  The situation is complicated, technical and somewhat confusing; it takes hours of dedicated effort to put the bigger picture together and keep up with quickly unfolding events.  The media is fragmented or sometimes outright misleading, the “mom’s” Facebook Page can be chaotic, and governmental offices take your calls but provide little or no information in return. It would be impossible to figure out what’s going on by relying on the media alone, especially local media.
Most of my knowledge comes from going to meetings, reading technical documents and calling up real people on the phone; so consider my summary to be “roughly right” and do your own homework.  My name is Jessie Hoagland and I started Green Spiral Tours to help connect families with their place on their planet.  I live 10 miles (downwind) from the landfill and  discovered the nuclear fire several years ago, while picking strawberries with families on a field trip.

Spring 2017 Update: In the wake of the surprise election of the current 45th President, the “Moms” who have done so much to raise awareness and lobby their elected officials for a solution, have pulled back to a State level, and have now successfully pushed SB22 through the Missouri Senate.  SB22 buys the houses located within a one mile radius around the landfill so that the families can move with their equity intact. The “Moms” were able to accomplish this great feat by securing independent and expensive scientific testing of air, soil and dust in a seven mile radius around the landfill.  Turns out, one particular and highly toxic isotope (Thorium) was found in enormous quantities in dust samples behind people’s refrigerators in their kitchens.  This was scientific data that the EPA denied providing in the past, but was unable to be denied in the end. The bill is currently being considered by the House.

Again, “Moms are Amazing.”

Do your own homework: Thus ends the shortest summary I can muster for a super complicated and technical topic.  Read on for a hodge-podge of links, maps and more detailed information about drinking water, testing and nuclear radiation in general. Here’s where I’m parking links for my own use, below.  Almost every major media outlet in the world has gotten a hold of this story, and yet (through no fault of their own) most people in Saint Louis remain strangely unaware of this very serious situation, and the drama unfolding just a few miles from their homes.

My favorite links:

Calculate your distance from the landfill:  As the Crow Flies
(GPS address of the landfill site: 13570 St. Charles Rock Road, Bridgeton, MO 63044)

Here’s a real time wind map; in the event of an evacuation, drive sideways to the wind:  Real Time Wind Map

12105760_1044106342300861_9104968689752184120_nThis one is particularly important:
– the emergency response network –
This is how you might be alerted should something happen at the landfill; text your zipcode to 888777, and get emergency text updates, in addition to frost warnings and siren tests. You should definitely sign up for it.
Ten Mile Radius Map – includes Clayton, Ladue, Chesterfield and Wash U, St. Peters, Florissant and Ferguson. Helen Caldicott, Nobel Prize Nominee and physician, says that nobody should live within 75 miles of a nuclear dump this size, even when it’s not on fire.
10 mile west lake landfill radius
Brushfire on 24-Oct-2015 located within a few feet of the rad waste:

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The smoldering fire:  Around Easter 2016, the EPA came out with an announcement that new locations of radiation have been detected, and the fire was now “hundreds of feet” from the radioactive waste. The moms think it’s about 500 feet, some people think the fire is 300 feet, while others think the fire is already burning through the nuclear waste. At this point, Easter 2017, nobody knows where either the fire is burning nor the nuclear waste is buried, because the data is being destroyed and dark forces have been able to obfuscate the data from the monitoring devices, which were never installed properly in the first place, probably on purpose.  It’s all kind of creepy.

You can read the most recent and tedious EPA report here: EPA Region 7

Or watch this funny 2 minute video here: Cool Google Map

Here’s a 20 minute video that ties things together nicely: Ticking Time Bomb

Sample Map: Here’s a typical cancer cluster map from the “Just the Facts” Facebook Page. Turns out, this same Manhattan Project waste was secretly thrown in over 100 locations all over Saint Louis, mostly in a northern arc from Illinois to the airport to Weldon Springs, including Cold Water Creek.   Cold Water Creek runs past the airport; nuclear waste was stored in open air barrels at Latty Avenue near the airport for over 40 years, and radioactivity dribbled into the creek.  Residents  who live along the creek got a weird feeling when they went to a High School reunion, and noticed everyone was sick.
Moms on Facebook: As a result, some moms started putting pieces of the puzzle together on Facebook. One mom (Karen Nickel) started the “Just the Facts” Page about Cold Water Creek, and another mom (Dawn Chapman) started the Page about the West Lake Landfill. It’s all the same nuclear waste from the same uranium for the first atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima in WWII.  The many cases of weird cancers popping up in Saint Louis cannot be denied, and health studies and legislation will lag the health danger by decades. There is little if any hard science on chronic low-level exposure to ionizing radiation, and the statute of limitations to seek reparations is five years.  Watch for weird or rare pancreatic, brain, or appendix cancers. Also watch for anemia, cysts on the ovaries, and lupus. As an intimidation tactic, the moms have been subpoenaed by Republic Services for starting a Facebook Page, and required to produce hardcopy of every post equaling thousands of dollars. These are moms who live in three bedroom houses that share one small bathroom. The intimidation, the corruption and the media collusion are scarier than the actual nuclear fire. Nobody who knows what’s going on at the Westlake Landfill is surprised at all by what’s going on in world events right now.
Here are some links related to health:
West Lake Landfill Facebook Page: West Lake Landfill
Just the Facts: Cold Water Creek
Have your hair tested: Includes radioisotopes
Were you exposed? Join the Health Study
Report on Odor in the Log: Missouri Department of Natural Resources
Physician Faisal Khan: Director STL County Public Health
Just the Facts: About Cold Water Creek
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* Down the Rabbit Hole *
Here’s where we fall down the rabbit hole, and it starts with trying to locate radiation detection monitors & a variety of data.
Radiation detection monitors – Looks like the EPA radiation detection monitor went silent in July 2015.  And then again March 2016. This is a monitor that is about 20 miles away from the landfill and located in South Saint Louis at 44 & Grand. Citizen scientists report that the detector was turned back on two days after the October EPA meeting. Lately it got turned off again. There seems to be a huge amount of confusion and controversy about the data, and where data comes from. The “War of Data” is now being turned into a “War On Data” and on Science.  Looks like radiation detection monitors are being turned off all over the country, which might have something to do with the on-going Fukushima disaster.  Good luck with your data hunt.
The Missouri DNR (Department of Natural Resources) is in charge of monitoring the air around the landfill and you can find their data here: http://dnr.mo.gov/env/swmp/facilities/BridgetonSanitaryLandfill-RCP.htm.   As I understand it, “the moms” basically pitched a fit, and forced the DNR to do a proper job of monitoring the fire and the air around the landfill. Lately, the DNR has popped up and said “oops, our monitors are not sensitive enough, and we’ve had the wrong ones for the past two years”.  Again, data is hard to come by, and sometimes highly suspect.  The EPA doesn’t do their own testing, for example.  They get their data from Republic Services, who contracts testing with their vendor of choice. Remember, if there is no data, then there is “no evidence” of any kind of problem. If you watch for these two phrases, you’ll see them used a lot by the EPA and various politicians: no evidence and no imminent threat. Maybe it’s not an entirely bad thing that the EPA is being dismantled by the Trump Administration.
Here’s the Saint Louis EPA monitor:  EPA radnet
Nuclear Hotseat, about EPA monitors: Why do they turn them off?
The moms have one donated geiger counter: (NETC.com)
(The username is justmomsstl and the password is fusrap)
Another geiger here: RadCast.org
Another citizen science group: Radiation Network
SafeCast is a citizen monitoring group from Fukushima: http://blog.safecast.org/
Here’s where you can test your own air filters: RadTest4u filters
Cute YouTube explaining Geiger Counters: What’s a Geiger Counter?
EPA report Oct 2015: EPA Site
Air Monitoring – Here’s a data chart people are worried about, because of the thorium & uranium particles that have “somehow” escaped the landfill and made their way into nearby villages and fire station monitors.  It’s not that Saint Louis is going to get nuked, it’s rather citizens nearest the landfill have already been getting nuked for years. Thorium 230 is the signature fingerprint of the unique Belgian Congo uranium used in the Manhattan Project; it equals plutonium in toxicity and is 60,000x more times radioactive than uranium. This particular uranium is freakishly high in radioactivity, which is why it was picked to make the first nuclear bomb in the first place. Because it has a unique fingerprint, it’s easy to track.
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About the Water – In a 2015 October meeting, EPA representatives confirmed radioactivity in the groundwater, traveling in a northwest direction, adding that it posed no threat to the drinking water supply. (They also said not to swim or fish in the river). Later, the groundwater under the landfill was named it’s own SuperFund site – OU3.  Contaminated groundwater is expected to meet the river in 57 years, and the starting point was 40 years ago, so the radioactivity will reach the river before today’s children graduate from high school.

Kay Drey, well known authority on Saint Louis nuclear waste, and the godmother of the environmentalist movement in Saint Louis, says not to drink the city water, which includes North Saint Louis.   And remember that leachate?  Unconfirmed Facebook posts trace a pipeline from the landfill across North Saint Louis to where it dumps into a creek near Charlack in North Saint Louis, where Ferguson is located. Other Facebook posts claim that leachate trucks are dumping landfill juice into the river at Earth City. You could write a whole book on the environmental justice aspect alone.  After initially being ridiculed, State Representative Maria Chappelle-Nadal  has made the WestLake Landfill her number one priority, and was able to muscle SB22 successfully through the Missouri Senate for a win.  Now the bill moves to the House.

Water Safety – There’s sort of a scramble among citizens to understand the drinking water, leachate and sewage situation right now, and the city water is most suspect. On March 4th, 2015 Green Spiral Tours took a learning group to the water treatment facility operated by Missouri American Water, and then again in March of 2016.  A tour of the drinking water facility with the “Moms” is scheduled for sometime in 2017.

2016 Best Photo

The facility we visited is the water intake and treatment facility at Hog Hollow, located upstream from the landfill. It is operated by Missouri American Water, the largest private water treatment company in America; this treatment serves the County and delivers about 80% of the area’s drinking water.

After the tour, twelve reasonably skeptical and reasonably informed citizens unanimously agreed that the Saint Louis County water supply seemed to be reasonably “safe”.

See the “Drinking Water Tour” blog under separate Green Spiral post, and watch for a Green Spiral tour of the city water facility soon.  On a positive note, in a worst case scenario, the City of Saint Louis has the capability to pull water from the river upstream from the landfill, as the city and county systems can swap water on the fly.  As a nature teacher, I would state our obvious moral responsibility not to contaminate the river for those living downstream, and well as a moral responsibility to life forms such as fishes, turtles and birds living in the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers.

Assorted links:

Green Spiral Drinking Water Tour post: Mostly Safe?

Radioactivity Report  http://www.amwater.com/ccr/STLSTC_rads.pdf

Pump Station Failure

Dec – Pump Station Failure Results: Where’s the data?

Saint Louis citizens as experiment? DOE Watershed Experiment 1993

Missouri American Water Test Results

Nuclear HotSeat podcast on West Lake Water Situation: 6-Jan-2016

Soil Study – Here’s a peer-reviewed science paper that came out in January 2016, and it looks like the soil is contaminated in a  4 square mile radius surrounding the landfill.  This is real science, and particularly damning information:
Wall Street Journal: Wall Street Journal 3-Jan-2016
This explains it in plain English:  The Examiner Dec 28, 2015
Journal of Environmental Radioactivity: Science Direct
Erin Brokovich & Lois Gibbs – People often say that Erin Brokovich should get involved. Well, Erin came to Saint Louis and was about to give a speech about the West Lake Landfill to raise awareness when the Mike Brown got shot in 2014.  Journalists told the moms that they only had room for “one story coming out of Saint Louis at a time”.  Erin Brokovich knows all about the nuclear fire in Saint Louis, and won’t come within 10 miles of it due to her asthma.  She often tweets about the West Lake Landfill to get the President’s attention. More importantly, Lois Gibbs, the “Mother of the SuperFund”, is heavily involved in the fight to clean up the nuclear waste. A UN Human Rights Violation Tribunal was held in January 2016, and Lois is helping the moms navigate their way around Washington DC. Both Erin and Lois have said that this is “the worst environmental disaster” they have ever seen, by far. It’s heart-breaking to attend community meetings and see people who are sick, dying, have dead children, can’t move, or have moved to the area only to watch their kids get sick, requiring them to quit work to take care for them, etc.; the people in Bridgeton are fundamentally sick, and stuck; through no fault of their own.
Here’s the Human Rights Violation Tribunal link: Human Rights Violation Tribunal
Here’s what Erin Brokovich says about Flint: We Are All Flint
Here’s CHEJ, the organization by Lois Gibbs:  Let’s Put the Super back in SuperFund!
 ♥
Do Your Homework
What started out as a short list of purposeful links:
West Lake Landfill Facebook Page: West Lake Landfill
St. Louis Radioactive Waste Legacy: http://www.stlradwastelegacy.com/
The first Nuclear Hotseat* Podcast #227: Nuclear HotSeat – 30 mins
Just the Facts: About Cold Water Creek
20 minute video summary: Ticking Time Bomb
The ‘mother’ of all dirty bombs: West Lake and the Money
Nuclear Hotseat Debrief on Nuclear Symposium in Feb:  #244 Atoms Next Door
Missouri Coaliton for the Environment (MCE) Ed Smith*:  MCE Facebook
Rolling Stone article 2013*. Which outlines underlying problems
Something’s Burning: Earth Island Feb 2016
Attorney General Koster calls it a Chernobyl event: cbs news Sept 2015
Mother of SuperFund talks about poisoning children: Lois Gibbs 2016 jumival=16414#.V08xTCqrYPF.facebook
Bill Gates, Hiroshima & Ferguson: Seattle Newspaper April 2016
The Alvarez Paper*: Radioactive Legacy 2013
State of Missouri Emergency Plan: The plan to Shelter in Place
Names of Coalition to Keep Us Safe: Names of people
Escalation of the misinformation campaign: 15-Dec-2015 St. Louis Post Dispatch
Senator Roy Blunt Facebook Page: Senator Blunt
Senator Claire McCaskill Facebook Page: Senator McCaskill
Local print article by Veronique DiCapra: Saint Louis 20-Oct-2015
National NPR Radio by Veronique a week later*: National NPR Radio 3-Nov-2015 4 minutes

The LA Times Article in October: Officials Squabble

And here’s CBS but you really can’t figure out what’s going on: CBS 28-Oct-2015
Japan is watching us: 08-Oct-2015 Japan Times
So are the Koreans:  Dec 2015
Aljazeera’s got it: Weldon Springs and Kay Drey
The black folks get it: Saint Louis American 31-Oct-2015
The nuns on Channel 5: Franciscan Nuns of St. Mary
Russian Times: 31-Dec-2015 RT
Post Dispatch Editorial:Politics of Keeping Us Safe
The man behind the misinformation campaign: But You Don’t See Him
Media Literacy Lesson by Don Corrigan: Environmental Echo
Right to Answers when babies die: RFT 2001
Student YouTube Video: Forbidden Knowledge
Timeline of all Saint Louis Public Radio Posts: stlpublicradio
Funny but alarmist video about Nuclear Waste (4 Minute): Truth is Stranger than Fiction
Cold Water Creek Facts: Cold Water Creek Facts
No safe exposure to radiation: Union of Concerned Scientists
Toxic Legacy Map by the WSJ: Wall Street Journal Map Nov 2015
Toxic Waste will bring down kids’ grades: Bloomberg May 2016
Radiation doesn’t care if you are rich or poor: Missouri Pollution map 2016
Background information by citizen journalist: 1995 First Secret City
Infomercial for nukes by Post Dispatch: May 2016 STL Post Dispatch
Democracy Now and the Plutonium Files: Thank you Amy Goodman
Why nuclear waste should never be stored underground: Counter Punch
Caves, Sinkholes, Karst & Groundwater: The ecology of caves
Belgian Congo Uranium: UK Telegraph 4-Nov-2015
Manhattan Fallout: And Cold Water Creek
Alarmist, but hard to find anything untrue: A Green Road – Blog
Independent Technical Analysis: Beyond Landfilling
Fairewinds on censoring:  Arne and Maggie Gunderson
US secretly sprays own population at Pruitt-Igoe: 1950/1960 Secret Spraying
Two Moms Wage War on the Federal Gov’t: Vice June 2016
Citizen Journalism on corruption in STL: 2016 stlreporter
The hopeful legal Recall Clause* 4-Nov-2015 Examiner by Byron DeLear
Rabbi Susan Talve lights the Hanukkah candles: at the White House
Rabbi Talve Writes in Huffington Post: 2016-02 From Washington DC
The buried semi trucks: KSDK Jan 20137
Safe Side of the Fence Documentary: showing around the country
Missouri Coalition for the Environment**: Radioactive Landfill Fire Risks
WashU Students are involved: Student Life WashU
Garbage, Gangsters & Greed Video by New York Kids: 60 minute video by High Schoolers
EPA/ASTDR Air & Water Data: 16-October-2015
Easter Egg Hunt along Cold Water Creek: 2 minute YouTube
Nuclear Energy primer: A really stupid way to boil water
Who’s Who of anti-nuke activists: Beyond Nuclear
Casualties of War: Earth Island Feb 2016
Rolling Stone insight to Missouri Politics: No limits on campaign donations?
What Monsanto burned at West Lake in 1969: More Bad Stuff
Searchable database money in Missouri politics: StlToday 12-July-2016
Landfills and smoldering fires: Can’t put it out May 2016
PopVox is a civic engagement tool for tracking bills: PopVox
The Hill: Policy Blog
Assorted EPA Links:
About the new Facilitator: April 2016 The Examiner.com
EPA Region 7: Region 7 EPA
EPA Facebook: EPA Region 7 F
Whatever you do, don’t google: What’s Wrong with the EPA?
Aljazeera report on the EPA barrier: Too Little Too Late
Recent Washington Post: “Don’t Worry” says EPA
Buyout from SB22 in StLouisPost Dispatch: April 2017 St. Louis Post Dispatch

Take Action
Do Your Homework: Study the situation, and go to the meetings by the Community Action Group in Bridgeton. This thing is super complicated!  It takes about three levels of expertise to dig up technical documents, interpret them and then put them into layman’s terms so the average person can understand what’s going on. You really need someone to explain it to you.
Watch Twitter and the Facebook Pages: Journalists are on Twitter and Facebook and you can see them gathering information. You often get to find out what’s happening before it reaches the news outlets. The Facebook Page started by the moms is basically a giant learning community where citizens try to problem-solve their way out of danger.  To learn the most, rivet your attention to the  West Lake Landfill Facebook Page. Oh, and by the way, somebody on Facebook was censoring and removing posts from anti-nuclear activists, but I guess now that we’re overrun with Russian trolls and bots, I guess we’re no longer surprised.
Go see “First Secret City” and “Safe Side of the Fence”  These are excellent documentaries and it’s the fastest way to get up to speed quickly. If you can believe it, they used to dispose of nuclear waste by rolling tankers onto the airport tarmac at night, dumping the nuclear waste, and letting the airplane wheels roll it away the next day.  Nice, huh?
First Secret City:  September 14th at UMSL at 7 pm
Safe Side of the Fence: Facebook Page
Go to an education event: Maria Chappell-Nadal is holding educational events in North Saint Louis:  Maria Chappelle-Nadal Fb

Community Action Group:  A commUnity is organized around “the moms” and holds educational events about once every two weeks:

Monday, April 20 at 6:30 pmFacebook Invite

Tell your family and friends about the nuclear dump and fire at the #westlakelandfill.  Interestingly, I have found that people will take you more seriously…   …if you whisper.

 

Call legislators – Get on the JustMoms email list and follow the “call to action” where citizens call either the President, Governor, Senators, EPA or legislators in a coordinated fashion. If a legislator gets even five phone calls a day on any particular issue, that’s a big deal, so know that every call matters. JustMoms Email Sign Up

Senator Blunt:  (202) 224-5721
Blunt sits on important military and environmental committees. By the way, Roy’s son is a lobbyist for Exelon, a nuclear giant and one of the “responsible parties” that will bear a big portion of the clean up cost, should jurisdiction switch from the EPA to FUSRAP.  If you start poking around into which politicians get nuke money, and who their sons and wives work for, you probably won’t be surprised, or comforted.  Currently, there is a squabble about having enough money to remove the waste, and Blunt has a lot of say in those matters. Both Missouri Senators voted to decrease FUSRAP spending this year, and the FUSRAP budget is already laughably small. Again, not comforting. Blunt’s Chief of Staff for 6 years (Greg Hartley) left to join “Cloakroom Advisors”, a lobbying firm hired by Republic Services, which gave them $80k, probably to fight the FUSRAP legislation.

Thank Congressman Lacy Clay: 202-225-2406.

Congresswoman Ann Wagner:  She championed HR4100 and Bill Otto is running for her spot

Senator Claire McCaskill: 202-224-6154

Thank Senator McCaskill for pushing SB2306 through the Senate.  Claire has breast cancer.  Send her your wishes for wellness.

 ♥
Tell Your Story:  The West Lake Landfill story is complicated and everyone interprets it   differently; in the end, you tell your story and do what’s best for you. This blog is my attempt to make sense of a situation that makes no sense, and alert the people in my sphere of influence to the potential danger.  The Moms started a Facebook Page to educate the community around them.  Some people write songs. Other people are investigative journalists. Young people produce videos, podcasts and info-graphics.  If you’re a screenwriter, contact me, I’ve got some interesting plot twists for the future movie. If you live in Saint Louis, find a way to engage that makes sense to you, for we have now inherited a world where “Polite People get Poisoned.”

In short: If you read and digest all the above links, it’s impossible to escape the conclusion that we are sitting on “a domestic dirty bomb” in Saint Louis —  and furthermore, the fuse is lit and the clock is ticking.  The stakes are high, the future is uncertain, and it’s basically a small band of moms with sick kids and no money, versus well-funded special interest groups who are intent on keeping the nuke waste in the ground.  The misinformation campaign even has a fake mom on twitter  (@mommentator).
Voodoo Tale:  At long last,  let me to leave you with this African voodoo tale about Madame Kipisee, who lives in the uranium hole left behind in the Belgian Congo.  She was cheated of her dark treasure rock by white men from the north, who robbed her blind in a bad deal.  Now she rouses from her slumber and seeks revenge by destroying the earth and all the earth’s children in a wanton rage that spares no living thing. We must put Madame Kipisee back to sleep in the ground, and not let her be cheated again. What goes around comes around, and the “Fat Man” we dropped on Hiroshima is coming back to haunt us, as a reminder that everything you do, always comes back to you.
The message and the messenger – So after a roller coaster of events, it’s now basically a race between public pressure, and the fire.  In the end, the nuke waste must be removed, nearby citizens must be evacuated, and the moms must claim victory for Saint Louis. (Not that escaping nuclear catastrophe is a “victory”).  The fate of Saint Louis is in the hands of the American Congress, and we’ll now see just how high, or how low, special interest money will go.  I am your messenger; take what resonates, and do with it what you will.  Below are “the moms”, who, along with many others, are making a valiant stand in the face of a nuclear fire, and to whom Saint Louis will owe a great future debt of gratitude.
The Moms
westlakemoms@gmail.com
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Dawn Chapman and Karen Nickel

“This is serious, it’s always been serious, and
we still have time to get FUSRAP to remove the radioactive waste.”
Dawn Chapman and Karen Nickel
JustMomsSTL
Dawn Chapman is the administrator of the
West Lake Landfill Facebook Page
Karen Nickel is the administrator of
Just the Facts, about Cold Water Creek

You can donate to the JustMoms,

by clicking here

Logo Green Spiral

About Me:

While I am primarily a mother,

I also ride horses, motorcycles & mountain bikes,

ski out of bounds,

walk through questionable parts of town at night,

scuba dive with sharks, walk on train bridges,

and run a family adventure school

with kids climbing trees and poking each other with sticks.

I feel I am good at calculating risk.

The situation is serious

and people need to sit up and pay attention.