By next fall, look for plenty of activity in the space commonly referred to as the Upper Muny Lot in FOREST PARK. As part of the Forest Park Master Plan, FOREST PARK FOREVER has revealed preliminary design plans to transform the area into a sustainable, vibrant festival and parking plaza to better meet the needs of its half-million annual users. The space is normally used by Muny patrons, as well as festivals, charity runs and other special events. Plans call for a smarter pedestrian and vehicular flow, visitor benches and drinking fountains, high-efficiency LED lighting, safer parking and new landscaping. Construction is set to take place in late September and will continue through May 2015.

Next week, THE SHELDON will present Greatest Hits of 1764 featuring concertmaster DAVID HALEN and members of the ST. LOUIS SYMPHONY. The concert opens the Sheldon Classics series in conjunction with STL250’s year-long celebration of the founding of St. Louis. Halen will lead symphony musicians in Mozart’s Symphony No. 1, written in 1764 (the same year St. Louis was founded) when the composer was only 8 years old. The Wednesday, Jan 29 performance begins at 8 p.m. For tickets, call 533-9900 or visit

Also in conjunction with STL250 events, the MISSOURI HISTORY MUSEUM has announced plans to showcase a year-long, 6,000-square-foot exhibition, 250 in 250: 50 People, 50 Places, 50 Moments, 50 Images, 50 Objects. The exhibit will show how the Gateway to the West was won through 250 fascinating stories that reflect the richness, diversity and complexity of St. Louis’ unique history. The exhibit opens Feb. 14 and will run through February 2015.

We’re told BOB COSTAS will be among those on the guest list of celebrity roasters for THE PRESS CLUB OF METROPOLITAN ST. LOUIS’ Media Person of the Year gala honoring veteran Post-Dispatch columnist RICK HUMMEL. The 23rd annual event on Tuesday, Jan. 21, will be held at the Edward Jones Headquarters in Des Peres. In addition, Lifetime Achievement Awards will be presented to longtime sports broadcaster and former Cardinals player BOB UECKER, and lifelong journalist and founder of the St. Louis Beacon BOB DUFFY. For tickets, call 449-8029 or visit

Best-selling author and broadcast journalist JANE PAULEY is coming to St. Louis for a discussion and book-signing of her latest work, Your Life Calling: Reimagining the Rest of Your Life. She’ll appear at St. Louis County Library headquarters on Saturday, Jan. 11, at 7 p.m. for a program that is free and open to the public. Pauley, who served as co-host of The TODAY Show for almost two decades and anchored Dateline NBC for 11 years, became a New York Times bestseller with her memoir, Skywriting: A Life Out of the Blue.

Congratulations to STEVE SCHANKMAN and CAROL VALENTA, who recently were honored during commencement ceremonies at the University of Missouri-St. Louis with honorary degrees for enriching the lives of St. Louisans. The two were recipients of honorary doctor of humane letters degrees from the university. A lifelong musician, Schankman became one of the most successful event and concert promoters in the country after establishing Contemporary Productions with a business partner in the 1960s. In addition, he developed Riverport Ampitheatre and co-developed The Pageant, among other achievements. His company is involved in what he calls “events with a purpose,” helping nonprofits raise much-needed funding. He continues to play trumpet for his band, the Fabulous Motown Revue.

Recently retired, Valenta came to St. Louis in 1996 to lead scientific education programs at the Saint Louis Science Center. As chief scientific officer, she is credited with helping place the center as a global educational leader by creating partnerships and funding opportunities. One of those partnerships resulted in SciFest, which attracted 75,000 participants to learn about the science of chocolate, the physics of rock and roll and the future of cancer research with scientists from around the world.