Q. What happened to Claire Kellett, who co-anchored the 4:30-7 a.m. morning news on KMOV-TV?
— D.C., of Swansea
A. Like me many years ago, Claire found herself needing more of a life. So, her bosses obliged by letting her join the “Great Day St. Louis” team with Matt Chambers and Kent Ehrhardt, which is seen from 10-11 a.m. weekdays on Channel 4.
If you’re of a certain age, you likely remember that back in the 1970s, the BND was still an afternoon paper. I started in sports, so that meant rising before the roosters to meet a 9 a.m. deadline — not to mention all of the Friday and Saturday night games throughout the fall and winter. If you don’t eat, drink and sleep sports, that routine eventually gets really old.
Waking up in the wee hours every morning apparently got to Claire, too. On Jan. 5, she made her “bittersweet” announcement that she was starting her final week as an anchor on the station’s early morning news show. As you’ve probably noticed, Emily Rau has taken her place on “N4TM.”
“While I will miss working with the morning team so very much (especially Andre Hepkins),” Claire wrote on her Facebook page the next day, “I’m ecstatic about my new adventure and thrilled I will actually be able to see my fiance, Jared, during the week with my new schedule.”
If you didn’t know, Claire is a hometown St. Louis gal who graduated from Nerinx Hall and (also like me) the University of Missouri before becoming an Emmy-winning journalist at KMOV. She says she likes running, country music, power naps, all things BBQ, sports, tulips, Gus’ Pretzels — and, of course, “asking way too many questions.”
Helpful tip: I’m not trying to put myself out of a job, but if you like certain local news celebs, I’d follow them on Facebook or Twitter, where you’ll likely have a 99 percent chance of staying up-to-date with their comings and goings at a moment’s notice. In fact, after a coming vacation, I’ll try to start posting regularly at #RogerAnswer.
Grave concerns: I know readers sometimes complain about my overly detailed answers, but it usually turns out that no matter how long the column, I still often have to leave out interesting facts.
Such was the case again last Sunday. In a column on East St. Louis cemeteries, several readers pointed out that I failed to mention two cemeteries in which blacks were buried. I did so because they weren’t in East St. Louis proper, so let me briefly rectify that omission.
The first cemetery literally came up again nearly 50 years ago when I-64 was being constructed by the old Assumption High School (now the Southwestern Illinois Correctional Center) near Washington Park. There, on what would become the southeast quadrant of I-64 and Illinois 111, the state found itself dealing with the 25-acre Douglas-Lawnridge Cemetery.
It once had been a popular burial ground for East St. Louis blacks but had been virtually abandoned since World War II. As a result, the state had to pay Keeley Bros. Construction Co. nearly $1.7 million to move 3,000 graves to two cemeteries near Centreville, according to a News-Democrat article on Aug. 19, 1968.
One of those two cemeteries was the Booker T. Washington Cemetery, which, according to the East St. Louis Journal, was started in 1920 by East St. Louis funeral director Charles Green at a time when blacks were not permitted to be buried alongside whites. Eventually, about 5,000 people, including many from well-to-do East St. Louis black families, were buried. For the past 20 years, preservationists periodically have cleaned up the roughly 10-acre site, which is on Illinois 163 about a half-mile east of Illinois 157 and a bit west of the Sunset Gardens of Memory.
In the same article, I left Tom Galvin scratching his head when I said East St. Louis had been founded in 1820. Again in trying to condense my story, I failed to explain that it was East St. Louis township that had been organized on June 6, 1820, but that the city, once known as Illinoistown, was not incorporated as East St. Louis until 1861.
Groovy choices: Thanks also to the people who “needled” me about forgetting two metro-east stores that still deal in those old-fashioned vinyl LPs.
Just two months ago, Rich’s Record Emporium opened in the old Simon Jewelry store at 131 W. Main St. in Collinsville. It’s named for Rich Faigle, who is running it until his friend Mark Cartier moves back from New York in August. Cartier, who served at Scott Air Force Base for 11 years and also owned Audio By Us in Belleville, will offer both records and the equipment to play them on. Find out more at www.richsrecord
emporium.com or call 200-9287. (Note: You may need to dial 618.)
And, sadly, Slackers slipped my mind after they left the old Circuit City complex in Fairview Heights, but the store is still going strong at 10900 Lincoln Trail (394-7777), 150 Junction Drive in Glen Carbon (655-0940) and at 317 Homer Adams Parkway in Alton (462-2005) or www.slackers.com.
Which state had the most representatives when the U.S. Congress first met in 1789?
Answer to Thursday’s trivia: You may not always get what you need, but if you try sometimes, you can come up with a winner. That’s what English art director John Pasche found when he designed the famous tongue-and-lip design that originally was seen on the Rolling Stones’ “Sticky Fingers” album in 1971. Now about to turn 70, Pasche wound up working for the Stones from 1970 to 1974 and later turned out work for artists ranging from Jimi Hendrix and The Who to The Bay City Rollers. In August 2008, an online poll chose the Rolling Stones as having the best band logo of all time. See more of his work at johnpasche.com.