Answer Man

Worn-out sneakers get new life

Q: I’m trying to donate old shoes — and I mean old, worn-out sneakers and sandals. I know there are groups that take usable shoes that are sold to developing countries in return for clean water, but mine are way beyond that. I seem to remember someone taking old shoes and grinding them up to use on playgrounds or something like that. I have several pair of shoes (and singles that have lost their mates) that need a new life (and, more importantly, get out of my way in the closet). Ideas?

Diane, of Belleville

A: Those sneakers of yours may have died long ago, but their soles can live on to bring happiness and comfort to both dedicated athletes and weekend jocks.

Ever since Nike started its Nike Grind program, the company has recycled 28 million pairs of old sneakers, enough, it says, to cover about 632 million square feet — or nearly the entire borough of Manhattan in New York. Better yet, the company accepts all brands, so don’t worry if they don’t have the familiar “swoosh.”

The company uses the entire shoe, not just what happens to be left of the rubbery bottoms. Your shoes will be split into three parts. The “outsole” is used for track surfaces, interlocking gym floor tiles and playground resurfacing. The midsole will find its way into tennis and basketball courts along with other athletic fields. But even the upper fabric can be used for athletic surface padding — even equestrian surfacing.

“We wanted to be the first college to have a 100-percent Nike Grind field, and we achieved that,” said Matt English, athletic director for Concordia University in Portland, Ore. “The field is aesthetically pleasing, environmentally preferred and receives an overwhelming thumbs up from Concordia athletes. They love it!”

However, recycling your shoes will take a bit of doing. The only store listed as accepting recyclable items is Nike’s factory store in the St. Louis Premium Outlets Mall, 18521 Outlet Blvd., in Chesterfield, Mo., (, but maybe during your Christmas shopping you might make a run out that way — or know someone who will. You also might want to ask your shoe retailer if they could somehow accept your donation and forward them to its Nike distributor. For more information or how to get a quote on getting a Nike Grind field, go to

I have not found recycling alternatives for worn-out leather shoes, etc., but I am open to suggestions.

Q: Please tell me what has happened to Jasmine Huda at KMOV-TV. I hope she isn’t gone, but I haven’t seen her for weeks.

Dennis G., of Fairview Heights, et al.

A: Maybe it’s just faulty childhood memory, but local anchors seemed to almost become part of the family years ago.

My family favored then-KMOX Channel 4, so we always invited Max Roby, who was there from 1958 to 1973, along with Walter Cronkite to join us for supper. At then-KSD Channel 5, Chris Condon came aboard to anchor the station’s 10-minute news broadcast in 1961— and stayed for 23 years.

Now, in many (but not all) cases, it seems we almost need a scorecard to keep track of the comings and goings of new anchors and reporters. Although Larry Conners became a KMOV institution, the station has watched both Vickie Newton and Sharon Reed leave in the past three years. Now, I am sad to report, Jasmine Huda has joined the list of Channel 4’s dearly departed as officially announced by the station on Sept. 30.

Ever since she joined rival KSDK in 2007, I thought that, when it came to new faces, the Ladue High School grad was one of the most professional, no-nonsense, thorough, clear-voiced anchor-reporters to enter the St. Louis TV market recently. Apparently, those in the know agreed with me. After she moved to KMOV in 2010, the talk was that she already was one of the leading candidates to take Newton’s job after Newton moved back to her Arkansas roots in the summer of 2012.

Ultimately, Sharon Reed came in to earn the job, but Huda was given a new three-year contract to keep her in the fold. Then, when Reed vamoosed to Atlanta last May, Huda moved into Reed’s old anchor slot for the 6 and 10 p.m. newscasts, although the station was still deciding on a permanent replacement.

Word is that days before Huda married on Sept. 5, she was told that she would not be filling the anchor chair for the station’s two most important newscasts. Within days of returning from her honeymoon on Sept. 14, she was no longer seen on camera and she soon released a statement that she was resigning.

“I have decided it is time to leave KMOV,” she wrote tersely. All the station would say is that it wished Huda “tremendous success.”

The station has replaced her with with Alissa Reitmeier, a Weldon Spring, Mo., native and a graduate of Villa Duchesne High School and Southern Methodist University, who returns to St. Louis after stints in Louisiana and Florida. She is joined on the anchor desk by Steve Savard, the station’s former sports director.

I don’t know Huda’s current plans, but just as I was writing this column Monday morning, she tweeted, “Thanks for thinking of me! Cannot say anything yet, but everything is great. Stay tuned.” She ended with a smiley-face emoji.

Whatever her prospects are, I hope they’re in St. Louis.

Today’s trivia

What European country first turned geothermal energy into electricity and when?

Answer to Monday’s trivia: Before she started earning meatier roles in such films as “Ghost,” “Margin Call” and “G.I. Jane,” Demi Moore almost sacrificed a few pounds of her own flesh in “Parasite,” a schlocky 1982 3-D horror flick. In just her second major role, the 20-year-old Moore (who was born in Roswell, N.M.!) starred as a small-town resident who teams up with a scientist to destroy a leachlike monster with nasty-looking teeth who became supersized after a nuclear war. It did not overwhelm sci-fi fans, who give it only a 3.4 rating on the Internet Movie Database, although a sequel reportedly was planned until Embassy Pictures collapsed.

Roger Schlueter: 618-239-2465, @RogerAnswer