Talk Of The Town

Fred Venturini’s new book, “The Heart Does Not Grow Back,” cracks BuzzFeed’s top 15 highly anticipated books from (mostly) small presses in 2014, makes Apple’s iBooks “Best of November” list, and is getting glowing reviews from The New York Times, Booklist, Kirkus and more.

VenturiniBig things are happening for Aviston’s Fred Venturini, whose debut novel “The Heart Does Not Grow Back” (inset) has been published by Picador and released Nov. 4. He is pictured at Left Bank Books in St. Louis during a launch party for the book on Nov. 6. It’s available from large and independent booksellers across the country or at    He may not possess any superhuman powers and he’s certainly not the cause of any supernatural phenomena, but Fred Venturini has survived being lit on fire as a child, a neck-breaking car accident and being chewed up by a pit bull. Beyond that, book readers across the country are finding out what Venturini, an Aviston resident who grew up in Salem and Patoka, does possess is an extraordinary talent when it comes to writing.
    “The Heart Does Not Grow Back,” his debut novel published in paperback by Picador, an imprint of Macmillan Publishing, was released Nov. 4. And in his own words, the response to the book, has been “beyond expectations.”
    The Internet news company BuzzFeed put the book on its list of top 15 “highly anticipated books from (mostly) small presses” in 2014, and Apple iBooks listed the book among its 20 “best of November” new fiction releases, ranking among the likes of Stephen King and Michel Faber.
    “It’s all out there percolating,” Venturini said. “I want to make an impression on people so that they have fun and they’re entertained. Every chapter has to be a story, and every chapter has to end with a cliffhanger that makes you want to read more.” 
    Booklist, the online book review site, gave it a starred review: “Venturini’s melancholy but fascinating first novel is an invitation to think about altruism, ethics and the tangled precincts of the human heart.”
    “The Heart Does Not Grow Back” tells the story of Dale Sampson, who is used to being a nonperson at his small-town Midwestern high school, picking up the scraps of his charismatic lothario of a best friend, Mack. He comforts himself with the certainty that his stellar academic record and brains will bring him the adulation that has evaded him in high school. But when an unthinkable catastrophe tears away the one girl he ever had a chance with, his life takes a bizarre turn as he discovers an inexplicable power: He can regenerate his organs and limbs.
    When a chance encounter brings him face to face with a girl from his past, he decides that he must use his gift to save her from a violent husband and dismal future. His quest takes him to the glitz and greed of Hollywood, and into the crosshairs of shadowy forces bent on using and abusing his gift. Can Dale use his power to redeem himself and those he loves, or will the one thing that finally makes him special be his demise? 

GuardUp    Ki-Do Karate will hold free self-defense classes on Monday, Nov. 24 and Tuesday, Nov. 25.  These classes are designed for anyone over the age of 16, and are a great, fun way to learn basic self-defense.  Instructor Zach Rakers said, “This will be great training for those getting ready for the shopping season.” Rakers encourages attendees to bring a friend to the classes as well. The classes are held from 8 to 8:45 p.m. both evenings, and anyone interested should call (618) 526-8272 to reserve a spot.  Ki-Do Karate is located at 529 N. First St. in Breese.

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StRose firedepartment

    With loyalty and dedication from the beginning, the St. Rose Fire Department has grown. The firemen celebrated their 50th anniversary on Nov. 15 with Mass at St. Rose Church and a dinner with entertainment at the firehouse. There were about 140 people in attendance to mark this special occasion. An open house and celebration for the public was held in October.

StRose 20yrsservice    These active St. Rose firemen received awards for 20 years of service with the St. Rose Fire Department: (from left) Dan Trame, Rodney Henrichs and Ken Wilke with directors Mike Schumacher, Mike Gall and Maurice Buehne.



StRose 15yearsservice    These active St. Rose firemen received awards for 15 years of service with the St. Rose Fire Department: (from left) Ken Henrichs, Cliff Schuette, Dan Diekmann, Maurice Wiegmann and Dave Grapperhaus with directors Mike Schumacher, Mike Gall and Maurice Buehne. Not pictured is Justin Detmer.


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Breese, IL, US

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