A sad farewell…Inspir a tional entrepreneur, author and philanthropist JACK ORCHARD has lost his fight with ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. Orchard passed away July 4 at age 41. He founded the Jack Orchard ALS Foundation to raise money for ALS research and the service organization Extra Hands for ALS, which recruits young adults across the country to help families affected by the disease. Orchard chronicled his journey living with ALS in a 2007 book, Extra Hands: Grasping for a Meaningful Life. A memorial service is planned for 2 p.m. Sunday, July 26, at JOHN BURROUGHS SCHOOL. Memorial contributions may be made to the Jack Orchard Fund, a community service fund established at Burroughs.

Congratulations to new WEBSTER UNIVERSITY president DR. ELIZABETH STROBLE, who officially began her administration this month. Stroble previously served as senior VP and provost and COO at University of Akron.

Newly appointed KENNEDY CENTER INTERNATIONAL COMMITTEE ON THE ARTS co-chairs MICHAEL AND NOEMI NEIDORFF recently returned from Istanbul, Turkey, as part of their mission to promote arts and culture around the globe. The committee, based in Washington, was established to encourage international arts exchange and strengthen the Kennedy Center’s international initiatives.

Need to get away, but not too far away? Five top cultural institutions, Missouri Botanical Garden, Missouri History Museum, Saint Louis Art Museum, Saint Louis Science Center and Saint Louis Zoo, are giving St. Louisans a chance to win a family stay-cation. The giveaway, now in its second year, includes admission to all five attractions, passes to special exhibits, private Art Museum collection tour and a two-night stay at Drury Inn & Suites Forest Park. Interested? Visit any of the attractions to register. Two winners will be drawn at the end of the month.

ST. LUKE’S HOSPITAL in Chesterfield is a recipient of this year’s Women’s Health Excellence Award. The recognition is given to the top five percent of hospitals nationwide for providing quality healthcare to women, according to HealthGrades, an independent healthcare ratings group.

The place to be…The St. Louis County Library headquarters in Frontenac will be hosting two New York Times bestselling authors this month: Dorothea Benton Frank is holding a discussion and signing event for Return to Sullivans Island on Monday, July 20 at 7 p.m. The novel is her follow-up to 1999’s Sullivans Island, which now has more than a million copies in print. Meanwhile, international suspense master DANIEL SILVA will appear at the library on July 29 to promote his latest spy thriller, The Defector, the sequel to Moscow Rules.

Come one, come all…WESTBOROUGH COUNTRY CLUB will be unveiling its yearlong, $5.5 million renovation at an open house tomorrow, from noon until 4 p.m, at 631 South Berry Road. The facility’s brand new, state-of-the-art fitness center, along with golf course improvements and dining room additions, will be on full display.

Hats off to the SAINT LOUIS ART MUSEUM’S BRENT BENJAMIN, who is marking his 10th year as director. Joined by parents DR. ROGER and NANCY BENJAMIN of Minnesota, Benjamin was recently feted by close friends and museum staff at a cocktail reception to celebrate the milestone.

Four local youngsters headed to Capitol Hill last month, joining pop superstar NICK JONAS of the JONAS BROTHERS, to lobby Congress on behalf of the JUVENILE DIABETES RESEARCH FOUNDATION CHILDREN’S CONGRESS. Six-year-old MANDY SCHMIDT of Ballwin, 13-year-old VICTORIA LIU of Frontenac, 15-year-old TURNER RAPP of Ladue, and 15-year-old LIZZIE KUROWSKI of Metro East were among a group of 150 children nationwide diagnosed with type 1 (juvenile) diabetes who made the trip to Washington.

Shop talk…KMOX RADIO is the winner of two NATIONAL EDWARD R. MURROW AWARDS for 2009. The awards, handed out by the Radio-Television News Dir ec tors Association, were for Best Newscast (the day after the Kirkwood City Hall shootings) and for Continuing Coverage (2008 floods). KMOX is also the recipient of five first-place honors at the annual MISSOURI BROADCASTERS ASSOCIATION awards banquet.