We applaud this year’s WOMEN OF ACHIEVEMENT honorees, who will be fêted during a May 17 awards luncheon at The Ritz-Carlton. The 2012 class includes CAROLYN COTTA (Youth Dedication), SANDRA LAUSCHKE (Health Concerns), KIMBERLY RITTER (Human Welfare), MARSHA RUSNACK (Cultural Enrichment), BARBARA SHUMAN (Community Service), CAROL STAENBERG (Spirit of Giving), THELMA STEWARD (Social Responsibility), CAROL VOSS (Community Betterment), MARY PILLSBURY WAINWRIGHT (Health & Arts) and LISA ZARIN (Youth Advocate). For tickets and more information about the awards luncheon, call 421-2005 or visit woastl.org.

SHAKESPEARE FESTIVAL ST. LOUIS has announced its cast for this season’s Othello. Playing the lead will be Broadway actor BILLY EUGENE JONES, along with Saint Louis University alum HEATHER WOOD as Desdemona and JUSTIN BLANCHARD, who made his St. Louis debut in Hamlet, will play Iago. Performances run May 25-June 17 at Shakespeare Glen in Forest Park. BRUCE LONGWORTH will direct.

Two local organizations serving people with developmental disabilities will be merging. Effective July 1, Life Skills and TouchPoint Autism Services will become one, operating under the name, LIFE SKILLS. The TouchPoint brand will continue to be used to identify the line of autism services provided by the combined nonprofit. WENDY SULLIVAN, formerly the president of Life Skills, will serve as CEO of the new organization; and RON EKSTRAND, former CEO of TouchPoint, will serve as president and COO.

Bravo to a quartet of young musicians from WEBSTER UNIVERSITY’s COMMUNITY MUSIC SCHOOL, the recipients of the first place prize in the String Division and First Overall in the Open Division at the Midwest Young Artists Fifth Annual Discover National Chamber Music Competition. They are: REBEKAH HECKLER (violin), JULIA SON (violin), SEAN BYRNE (viola) and NOMIN ZOLZAYA (cello). The quartet performed the Shostakovich String Quartet No. 10, Op. 118, II. Allegro furioso, and the Brahms String Quartet in a minor, Op. 51, No. 2, I. Allegro ma non troppo at the competition in Highland Park, Il.

Author and U.S. Memory Champion JOSHUA FOER will be in town for a book signing at the St. Louis County Library. His book, Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything, combines the latest research, cultural history and tricks to broaden the understanding of human remembering. His March 13 appearance at library headquarters begins at 7 p.m.

One of LN’s 2012 Most Dynamic People, author SUSAN MCBRIDE, will be discussing and signing copies of her latest book, Little Black Dress, during an appearance at the St. Louis Public Library’s Schlafly Branch. McBride, who lives in Brentwood, is the author of The Cougar Club, as well as the award-winning Debutante Dropout Mysteries. She and Losing Clementine author Ashley Ream will make a joint appearance at the Schlafly library on March 15 at 7 p.m.

A can’t miss…LN design editor ALAN E. BRAINERD and our town’s ‘Titanic’ hostess, MARY STRAUSS, are partnering to bring you a presentation on Edwardian entertaining. The Wednesday, March 14, event at Neiman Marcus begins at 10:30 with a ‘meet and greet’ followed by a presentation. Reservations are recommended, 994-5053.