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The struggle is real to keep a top high school marching band rolling

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The struggle is real to keep a top high school marching band rolling

ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. – Transportation troubles threaten to leave the Lindbergh High School Band stalled and stranded.

Two box trucks have hauled the band’s gear across the St. Louis region, even to Georgia and Florida over the past 15 years. They’re each from the 2004 model year and approaching 200,000 miles.

Bandmembers and parents are now raising money to replace at least one of the trucks.

The Lindbergh Bandstanders parent support group uses the trucks to haul instruments, props, and stages. The trucks were donated to the band.

“They keep getting louder and louder. They’re really, really, loud inside the cab when you’re trying to drive,” said Matt Seeker, a Bandstander who is also among the pool of truck drivers.

The band nearly missed the River City Showcase band competition on Oct. 9 when one of the trucks broke down.

“Somebody ran in and said there’s been a problem with one of the equipment trucks,” said band director David Wyss.

After one truck was loaded, it wouldn’t start and had the other truck blocked in, he said.

Parents scrambled and rented another truck. The band made the competition and won three trophies.

“We were really, really, uncomfortably close to missing our times,” said Bandstander Heather Herbold.

“A marching band, it comes with a price tag…the point of a marching band is to perform. We do that quite a bit. We have to do this loading thing and traveling a lot. Without these trucks we’re a practicing band,” Wyss said.

The band has played in the Tournament of Roses Parade three times since 2005. The school district is very supportive but the trucks and their growing repair costs are now above and beyond the standard budget.

There is concern about making it to upcoming commitments, including a performance in Orlando, Florida over Spring Break.

“We’re not doing the Rose Parade this year so we’re taking the kids down to Orlando, Florida, we hope, fingers crossed,” Herbold said.

Even more than that, getting new trucks is about safeguarding the Lindbergh High School Band tradition for students to come.

“We’re all such a family and we all love each other so much,” said Lindbergh High School senior Mie Heuberger, who is the band’s spirit chair and flute section leader. “I know that I am really dedicated to the band program. I love everyone in there. I want to make sure freshman and future classes are also able to have stuff working for them and have an amazing experience like I did.”

The band, by far, had been the best part of her high school years, she said.

“We want to have this type of equipment that we need,” Seeker said, “to support our schools and our kids; to show everybody else, we’re proud of Lindbergh. We’re proud of being part of the band.”

The Bandstanders parents group is taking donations, selling advertising, and holding a 50/50 raffle with the winner guaranteed $10,000.

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Jeffrey Epstein pilot says he never saw sex acts on flights

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Jeffrey Epstein pilot says he never saw sex acts on flights

By LARRY NEUMEISTER and TOM HAYS

NEW YORK (AP) — A longtime pilot for Jeffrey Epstein told a jury Tuesday at Ghislaine Maxwell’s sex trafficking trial that he never saw evidence of sexual activity on planes as he flew his boss and others — including a prince and ex-presidents — for nearly three decades.

Lawrence Paul Visoski Jr., the trial’s first witness, was responding to questions by a defense lawyer when he acknowledged that he never encountered sexual activity aboard two jets he piloted for roughly 1,000 trips between 1991 and 2019.

He said he stayed in the cockpit for the majority of flights, but would sometimes emerge to go to the bathroom or get coffee.

Although he was called as a witness by the government, Visoski’s testimony seemed to aid the defense of Maxwell as he answered questions posed by Maxwell attorney Christian Everdell about what he saw when he straightened up the aircraft after a flight.

Visoski didn’t hesitate when Everdell asked him if he ever saw sexual activity when he went for coffee or found sex toys when he cleaned up.

“Never,” the pilot answered to both questions. He said he never saw used condoms either.

And when he was asked if he ever saw sex acts with underage females, he answered: “Absolutely not.”

The pilot said Epstein never warned him to stay in the cockpit during flights and also encouraged him to use a bathroom near the rear of the plane that would require him to walk past the plane’s couches.

He said he never saw any children on his planes who were not accompanied by their parents.

When Everdell asked him about a teenager who prosecutors say was sexually abused by Epstein before she became an adult, Visoski said he believed she was “mature” when he was introduced to her.

He also acknowledged that Clinton was a passenger on a few flights in the 2000s and he had piloted planes with Britain’s Prince Andrew, the late U.S. Sen. John Glenn of Ohio — the first American to orbit Earth — and former presidents Donald Trump and Bill Clinton, “more than once.”

Visoski said Epstein gave him 40 acres of land to build a house on the financier’s New Mexico property and paid for his daughters’ college education.

Epstein’s plane was derisively nicknamed “The Lolita Express” by some in the media after allegations emerged that he had used it to fly teenage girls to his private island, his New Mexico ranch and his New York City townhouse.

Flight records, made public as part of civil litigation, also showed that Epstein had used the plane to fly celebrities, influential academics and politicians around the globe.

Luminaries who flew with Epstein have had to beat back speculation that their presence on the flights meant they must have been aware of the millionaire’s crimes. Clinton, like others who took rides from Epstein, has said he was unaware of any misconduct.

Maxwell, 59, traveled for decades in circles that put her in contact with accomplished and wealthy people before her July 2020 arrest.

Asked by Assistant U.S. Attorney Maurene Comey where Maxwell stood in the hierarchy of Epstein’s world, Visoski said Maxwell “was the Number 2.” He added that “Epstein was the big Number 1.”

The testimony supports what Assistant U.S. Attorney Lara Pomerantz told jurors in her opening statement Monday when she said Epstein and Maxwell were “partners in crime.”

Pomerantz said Maxwell recruited and groomed girls for Epstein to sexually abuse from 1994 to at least 2004.

Maxwell has pleaded not guilty and one of her lawyers said in an opening statement Monday that she’s being made a scapegoat for Epstein, who killed himself in his Manhattan jail cell at age 66 in August 2019 as he awaited a sex trafficking trial.

Visoski testified briefly on Monday before beginning Tuesday on the witness stand.

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Arc’teryx climbs out of Cherry Creek

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Arc’teryx climbs out of Cherry Creek

Arc’teryx is venturing out of its Cherry Creek space.

The 3,500 square feet the Vancouver-based outdoor apparel and gear company occupies at 250 Columbine St. is being marketed for lease, according to materials obtained by BusinessDen.

Arc’teryx did not confirm when it plans to move out of its only Denver retail store.

“Our team is still in the midst of finalizing details for this location, but we are committed to having an Arc’teryx location in Denver,” a spokesperson told BusinessDen.

Courtesy of Legend Partners

The Arc’teryx store in Cherry Creek opened in 2018.

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No final ruling over St. Louis County mask mandate after latest court hearing

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No final ruling over St. Louis County mask mandate after latest court hearing

ST. LOUIS – There is still confusion over whether a mask mandate continues to exist in St. Louis County. 

That after no final rulings were made this morning by the Judge overseeing the controversial St. Louis County mask mandate court case. 

Judge Ellen “Nellie” Ribaudo held about a half-hour hearing with lawyers for Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt and attorneys for St. Louis County. 

A key issue in the hearing was the impact of a ruling last week by Cole County Judge Daniel Green that bars local governing bodies from imposing COVID-19 health orders like mask mandates. 

We’re told the ruling does not officially go into effect until later in December. 

An attorney for St. Louis County, Neal Perryman, said county officials are still working through the ruling. 

Perryman conceded that county officials took the masking order off the county website following the ruling by Judge Green and that the St. Louis County masking order could now be moot. 

But Perryman would not go so far as to say that a mask mandate no longer exists in St. Louis County. 

An attorney for Missouri Attorney General’s office, Jeff Johnson, argued it’s not enough that the order was taken down from the website because St. Louis County Executive Dr. Sam Page said just yesterday that the mask mandate was still in effect in St. Louis County. 

A spokesperson for AG Schmitt says Schmitt wants a preliminary injunction officially ending the second St. Louis County mask mandate announced by County Executive Dr. Sam Page back in September. 

Officials with the AG’s office have filed a lawsuit contending the mandate is illegal under state law. 

Judge Ribaudo set another meeting for December 9th so that attorneys on both sides could meet and try to work out the various issues that are still outstanding. 

Meanwhile, the latest COVID numbers from the St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force show local cases rising again. 

The seven-day moving average of hospital admissions is at 48. The Task Force wants that number below 40. 

The total number of COVID patients hospitalized is nearly 400. Earlier this month there were just above 250. 82 confirmed COVID patients are now in ICUs. 

Less than three weeks ago that number was 53.  And there are now 52 confirmed COVID patients on ventilators. Two weeks ago there were just 32. 

Tragically 10 more people died from COVID in the latest numbers. 

That has pushed our region into double-digit COVID deaths in a single day for the first time in more than two months. 

The Pandemic Task Force is expected to address the latest COVID developments later today. 

The mask mandate controversy is also on the agenda for tonight’s St. Louis County Council meeting. 

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