Special arrival…Children at RANKEN JORDAN PEDIATRIC SPECIALTY HOSPITAL recently received a very special visitor! Members of the Maryland Heights Police Officers Association personally escorted Santa to the hospital campus, bringing gifts and cheer to the children there.

    A sweet ride…ST. LOUIS COUNTY CAB/YELLOW CAB were also in the holiday spirit. They treated patients at SHRINERS HOSPITAL FOR CHILDREN and their families to a stretch limo tour of Winter Wonderland at Tilles Park!

    Several books with local connections have been published recently. Snippets of St. Louis, by historian and tour guide ADALBERT DIETZ, is a pocket compendium of historical attractions and highlights ranging from the Gateway Arch to the Wainwright Building. St. Louis in Watercolor, by renowned artist MARILYNNE BRADLEY, is a collection of scenes of architecturally significant places, past and present. Another prominent local artist, BILLYO O’DONNELL, has collaborated with KAREN GLINES to produce Painting Missouri: The Counties en Plein Air. O’Donnell spent seven years painting 114 Missouri counties and the city of St. Louis. The result is a collection of more than 100 of his watercolor images, accompanied by descriptions of each region written by Glines.

    Happy birthday! Seven residents of DELMAR GARDENS WEST NURSING AND REHABILITATION CENTER were inducted into its ‘Century Club.’ Ranging in age from 100 to 104, the residents, families and guests celebrated with champagne and birthday cake.

    Attention parents! Expert ROSALIND WISEMAN, author of the best-selling books Queen Bees & Wannabes and Queen Bee Moms & Kingpin Dads, is coming to MICDS Jan. 6 at 7:30 p.m. for a parenting lecture, “Surviving the Hive: Improving Relations with the Adults in Your Child’s Life.” For more information, visit MICDS.org.

    Happy days at CENTRAL INSTITUTE FOR THE DEAF. The nonprofit recently received two big grants: $13,000 to fund its musical and art programs from The Arthur and Helen Baer Charitable Foundation and  $10,000 from The William R. Orthwein, Jr. and Laura Rand Orthwein Foundation to support the school’s Joanne Parrish Knight Family Center.

    Kudos to STEVE SCHANKMAN, founder and president of Contemporary Productions, who recently pledged $50,000 to his alma mater, the Department of Music at UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI-ST. LOUIS. The gift will enhance jazz studies and the annual St. Louis Jazz Festival.

    Congrats to PETER RAVEN, president of the MISSOURI BOTANICAL GARDEN, who recently received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Council for Science and the Environment. The award was presented during a special ceremony in Washington, D.C. Raven is recognized as one of the world’s leading botanists and advocates of conservation, biodiversity and a sustainable environment.

    Have you checked out the new Straub’s yet? The 40,000-square-foot Ellisville location is the first new store for the Straub family in more than 40 years.

    Big news at the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis! At its fifth Anniversary Gala this spring, renowned artists TOM FRIEDMAN and ERNEST TROVA, both St. Louis natives, will be the night’s honorees. The event will be held April 18 at 7 p.m. at the Four Seasons Hotel in St. Louis.

    A facelift…THE SHERATON CLAYTON PLAZA HOTEL recently marked the completion of its multi-million dollar renovation project with a ribbon cutting ceremony. All 259 guest rooms have been updated, as well as the restaurants, banquet rooms, and the pool and fitness center.

    Special delivery…BUILD-A-BEAR WORKSHOP associates recently visited ST. JOHN’S MERCY CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL to hand out more than 170 donated bears in a drive organized by employee Jeff Kimsey.

    A happy ending…last month, LYDIA’S HOUSE partnered with L’ECOLE CULINAIRE to host a gingerbread house competition at Plaza Frontenac to raise money for the women and children served by the nonprofit. After judging, the houses were auctioned off to the highest bidder. Kudos to VIRGINIA and DAVID JONTES, who paid $4,000 to purchase all the houses and arranged for them to be donated and displayed at Lydia’s House, Annie Malone Children’s Home, Haven of Grace, Ranken Jordan, Shriner’s Hospital and the Missouri Veterans Home.