Hats off to the ST. LOUIS ARTS AWARDS recipients of 2010, including COCA founder STEPHANIE RIVEN, this year’s Lifetime Achievement in the Arts awardee. Other honorees are: Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra music director DAVID ROBERTSON (Excellence in the Arts), DR. WILFRED and ANN LEE KONNEKER (Excellence in Philanthropy), BEVERLY WHITTINGTON (Art Educator of the Year), AMEREN (Corporate Support of the Arts), CITYGARDEN (Arts Collaboration Award), and REGIONAL ARTS COMMISSION (Champion for the Arts). The awardees will be feted at a Jan. 25 dinner at the Chase Park Plaza.

    The Saint Louis Art Museum is starting the New Year with the much-anticipated groundbreaking of its $130 million expansion project. Con struction is expected to take approximately two years and will add new galleries, public space, a parking garage and a new entrance on Fine Arts Drive. Museum director BRENT BENJAMIN will be joined by noted British architect DAVID CHIPPERFIELD, as well as St. Louis Mayor FRANCIS SLAY, County Executive CHARLIE DOOLEY and other dignitaries at the Jan. 19 event. In addition, six lead donors who have contributed $10 million or more during the capital campaign will be recognized during the festivities. They include EMILY RAUH PULITZER, ALVIN and RUTH SITEMAN, JACK TAYLOR, JOHN and ANABETH WEIL, GARY WERTHS, and an anonymous donor.      

    St. Louisan ERIC GREITENS could very well be our town’s answer to 24’s Jack Bauer: The 34-year old is a 12-time marathoner, champion boxer, aspiring mountaineer, Rhodes Scholar, Truman Scholar, Oxford University graduate, author, photographer, White House fellow and college professor. And did we mention he’s a Navy SEAL who served tours in Iraq, Afghanistan, Southeast Asia and Africa? He’s also received a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star. His ‘desk job’ is chairman/CEO of The Mission Continues, an organization he started using his own combat pay to help empower wounded and disabled veterans to continue their service to the country and community. Beginning this month, Greitens’ name will be featured as ‘Chief Inspiration Officer’ on the masthead of Outside magazine after the publication picked him as its first-ever Reader of the Year. Outside awarded him the honor after reviewing more than 600 nominations from all over the country.

    Saint Louis University’s DR. L. JAMES WILLMORE is the newest recipient of the American Epilepsy Society Service Award. Willmore, a professor of neurology, pharmacology and physiology and associate dean of admissions at SLU School of Medicine, was recognized for his extraordinary dedication to the study of epilepsy. Prior to coming to St. Louis, Willmore served as the founding director of the Texas Comprehensive Epilepsy Program at the University of Texas and trained a number of young physicians and scientists about treating the disorder.

    Congratulations to the Center of Racial Harmony’s Phenomenal Women honorees, among them Southwestern Illinois College president GEORGIA COSTELLO, Center founder CONSTANCE ROCKINGHAM and writer/educator KATIE HARPER WRIGHT. The ladies were recently recognized for their work in promoting the Center’s mission of understanding, cooperation and communication among all races and ethnic groups.

    Want to start the New Year doing something worthwhile? DISCOVERING OPTIONS is looking for adults to mentor a fourth or fifth grader in the St. Louis Public Schools. The nonprofit has developed after-school programs proven to prevent gang violence and drug and alcohol abuse, and promote healthy lifestyles. There are currently 20 children waiting for a mentor. If you can help, visit


    Mr. Moon River and me…A recent trip to Branson by Holocaust Museum & Learning Center curator/education director DAN REICH brought him face to face with entertainer ANDY WILLIAMS. The two chatted backstage following Williams’ holiday show at the Moon River Theatre. Both men are supporters of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

    Like many of us, you’ve probably resolved to be a healthier person this year, but will you actually go through with it? A new book by St. Louisan DR. STEVEN WILLEY encourages you to at least try. Fitness Medicine is billed as a comprehensive guide to achieving good health through lifestyle changes like the right combination of exercise, sleep patterns, positive outlook and proper nutrition. Willey is a graduate of Northwestern University and Stanford University.