■ Solid plans for Missouri Kids Unplugged, a Dittmer-based organization that aims to wean kids off electronic entertainment, were hatched during a kitchen table session five years ago. “We talked about what we wanted to be and what we didn’t want to be,” said Rodney Bickel, the nonprofit organization’s vice president. Since then, he estimates Missouri Kids Unplugged has touched at least 10,000 lives. He said he and Tony Krieg, president and founder, work hard to keep up with the demand for events at the organization’s Dittmer property and on-the-road recycling shows. Their goal is to interact with at least 3,000 people per year, and Bickel said Missouri Kids Unplugged has been meeting the mark. To celebrate the five-year milestone, the organization held an open house Saturday on its Dittmer property. More than 50 people attended.
■ After a total of about five hours of discussion over two meetings, the Crystal City Council voted 7-1 Monday to renew a permit for Midwest LLC and the Ruth Yeida Trust to allow two more years of sand mining at the quarry at 2540 N. Truman Blvd. However, the council added some conditions to the mine’s conditional-use permit designed to better monitor blasting at the site. Local residents have complained about the blasting associated with the mining operation, and about 25 people attended Monday’s meeting, a far larger turnout than at most Crystal City Council meetings. See Kevin Carbery’s story.
■ JeffCo Express, Jefferson County’s nonprofit bus service, will celebrate its 10th anniversary on Wednesday, Oct. 30. The agency will enter its second decade without Dennis Murphy, who has overseen the service for the Jefferson County Community Partnership since it started.
Murphy, 65, who started with the partnership in 2008, announced he will retire, effective Nov. 1. See Steve Taylor’s story.
■ Byrnes Mill Ward 1 Alderperson Bob Prado has stepped down from the board and Terry Keehn has been appointed to fill the vacancy. Prado, who first was elected to the board in 2011 and reelected in April, resigned by email earlier this month. See Katelyn Mary Skaggs’ story.
■ Arnold Chamber of Commerce executive director Terri Starwalt began to wonder when people would arrive at its Trunk-or-Treat event, held Oct. 19 at Fox Elementary School. That was a new location for the event, and instead of seeing a line forming an hour or more before the event was to start, like in previous years, Starwalt didn’t see anyone and was starting to worry. But in all, the event drew about 2,000 people, Starwalt said. See Tony Krausz’s story.
■ About 340 people turned out to hear Pulitzer Prize-winning author Caroline Fraser speak about her book, “Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder,” Jefferson County Library director Pam Klipsch said. “We are really pleased with that turnout,” Klipsch said.
Fraser spoke at three events held over two days, Oct. 16-17. “It turned out really well; we were all really excited to have her,” Klipsch said. Fraser won the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for her biography that takes a close look at Ingalls Wilder, who survived a harsh childhood during the pioneer days on the Great Plains and grew up to write the best-selling “Little House on the Prairie” series.
■ Editor Peggy Bess discusses the case of Princess Pickles the potbellied pig in the Oct. 24 Editorial section. The pig shows up in the letters to the editor, too.
■ The I-55 Conference is whole again. After Crystal City announced in September its intentions to leave the league next year, officials moved swiftly to fill the void by adding Bayless to the conference. Jefferson athletic director Jason Dreyer said a two-year contract was signed between Bayless and the league and the Bronchos will begin play in 2020. See sports editor Russell Korando’s column.
*** Come to the Jefferson County Job Fair, set for 3-7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 23, at the Fox C-6 Service Center, 849 Jeffco Blvd., Arnold. It will be a great place to job-shop.