The locally based Blessing Basket Project is upping its operations in Uganda by 240 percent, thanks to a $50,000 grant from Monsanto Fund. The organization works to alleviating poverty worldwide by purchasing and importing artisan baskets from impoverished countries and selling them in the U.S. Since 2004, it has placed some $1.6 million directly into the hands of artisan weavers and their families.

    Meanwhile, in the heart of the Ladue Marketplace, Giddyup Jane will be springing up in mid-April next to MACS Designs. Owner Jane Lavey is promising ‘cowgirl cool’ clothing and accessories like belt buckles, boots and home furnishings.

    Gather the family…The grand opening of the Jewish Community Center’s new family fitness complex is scheduled for May 3. Named after Michael and Carol Staenberg, the facility features a state-of-the-art family fitness center on the I.E. Millstone Jewish Community Campus in Creve Coeur. Opening festivities include face painting, balloon sculpting and a hula-hoop contest. All are welcome.  

    Clear the air…CARDWELL’S AT THE PLAZA is now smoke free! Smoking is still allowed on the outdoor patio, but is off-limits inside. Owner Bill Cardwell’s second restaurant, BC’s KITCHEN in Lake St. Louis, is also smoke free. Let’s hope this trend continues!

    A day of remembrance…Hundreds of St. Louisans will fill the sanctuary at SHAARE ZEDEK SYNAGOGUE at 4 p.m. April 19 for a community-wide HOLOCAUST REMEMBRANCE DAY in tribute to the people who risked their lives to heroically rescue others during the Holocaust. Local survivors, their children and witnesses will share personal testimonies.

    Start your engines…The KEMP AUTO MUSEUM is hosting a special exhibit of rare Jaguars now through the end of April. The cars, including a very rare 1930 Swallow (which preceded the Jaguar mark), are on loan to the museum from numerous collectors in the St. Louis area., including Jim and Lisa Hendrix, Bob and Jeri Herold, Ben and June Hilliker and Les and Pat Rich.

    For he’s a jolly good fellow…Congrats to local radio personality GUY PHILLIPS, host of the Phillips & Company Morning Show on Y-98, who is celebrating 30 years at the station! He started in March of 1979, and has been a fixture on the dial ever since.

    Say cheese! Local orthodontist DR. JACQUELINE DEMKO, along with national health and fitness expert HEATHER HAWK, radio personality MCGRAW MILHAVEN and St. Louis Rams DAVID VOBORA and CLIFTON RYAN, are hosting CODE: SMILE. The character-building event for middle and high school kids focuses on weight and health issues, mood changes and self-confidence. It takes place April 15 at 6 p.m. at AMINI’S HOME RUGS AND GAME ROOM in Chesterfield.  Visit for more information.