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The civil engineer who drew the plans for the addition of sidewalks on Holmes Avenue between Argonne and Adams avenues needs to rethink his or her future in that vocation. If you enjoy the game of Dodgems, this strip of pavement is a training ground to sharpen your skills.
By making the street narrower so that any parked car is very close to the double yellow striping, cars have to cross over that double stripe which has been inculcated in us as illegal. If cars are parked on both sides of the street, the only alternative is to go through the narrow passage between the two cars straddling the double stripe.
How could anyone allow this plan to proceed causing steering to be a slalom-like ride with oncoming cars backing up with good cause. What a shame to have wasted taxpayer funds!!
January 12, 2017
I took great interest in Don Corrigan's Jan. 6 column on Betty the Bra Lady's business, since I have in the past designed, patterned and sewn bras as part of my profession. I moved to St. Louis in 1970 to design for Miss Elaine (they are still in business and located on Heege Road) doing sleepwear and loungewear.
St. Louis once had two sleepwear businesses at that time, Miss Elaine and Barad and Company. Later in my career, I went to work at Fancee Free. They produced sleepwear and maternity sleepwear, bras and girdles. I discovered I had to be as much of an engineer as a designer or pattern maker. Sizing was an eyeopener — number and cup.
Eventually Fancee Free became almost exclusively a bra company specializing in large sizes. Unfortunately, they are no longer in business.
Not sure how deep you wish to dig into this bra thing, but this is an uplifting profession in any case.
January 12, 2017
Kirkwood Youth Hockey (KYHA) has allowed our family to experience real joy in sport. New to the program, in a short time we have seen what makes KYHA a model for youth sports: honesty in talent evaluation, fair competition and genuine encouragement and teaching from the coaches.
KYHA gives girls and boys unbiased honest talent evaluations, carefully places them on teams with similar players and finds opportunities to compete against teams with comparable talent. This is done in a spirit of being one organization where players can see that, yes, there are different levels of talent but each can encourage the other and enjoy not only their own successes but the success of the program as well.
The result is that the sport is made super fun for the kids and the families involved. Thank you to all those with KYHA that make this a reality.
January 12, 2017
I was extremely disappointed to read in the Jan. 6 Webster-Kirkwood Times that the city of Webster Groves is attempting to raise taxes again with a levy to increase the amount of retirement funds paid by the city to its employees. What data provided the basis for this decision?
As many of us have said for a long time, we cannot continuously keep raising taxes. That business model is not sustainable. We need to do some things differently. In this case, a new business model would include the following items:
1. The city needs to go to a fixed contribution rather than fixed benefit retirement system. Most businesses and governments have already followed this model. The employee would contribute to an account which would be matched to a certain level by the employer. This would save the city a considerable amount of money.
2. Merging governmental functions with other cities would save money and improve professionalism. I understand that police officers and firefighters move on to communities with higher employee benefits. That is because Webster Groves does not have a sufficient tax base to pay a relatively high wage. A merging of function with other communities would help solve this problem.
3. We need to create a much better business climate. This would include hiring a full-time economic development director. This individual, if successful would bring to the community tax dollars far in excess of his/her salary. We need to look to Maplewood as a model of a community which had less going for it than Webster Groves which has now left us in the dust.
I hope our elected officials take my concerns seriously. This ill-conceived attempt at a tax increase is doomed to failure.
January 12, 2017
Before you assume the office of President of the United States, I would like to know if you will be a good teacher to the young people who will be modeling themselves after you as you execute your duties? Will you be honorable? Will you be honest? Will you safeguard the rights of all of the citizens of the USA?
Will you be an example for tolerance? Will you be sure to teach our youth about learning how to communicate peacefully with people whether or not you agree with one another?
Will you teach them the fine art of negotiation that does not include using derogatory language and is based on good research and facts?
Will you teach them that being President of the United States means that you must put the needs of the nation before your own wants and needs?
Will you teach them that personal profit is not the job of the President of the United States?
I know that you will hold everyone accountable for their actions. Will you be accountable for your actions?
Your oath says: "I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."
I hope and pray that you not only abide by your oath, but that you honor it and at the same time honor the people of the United States of America.
January 12, 2017
The Affordable Care Act never was affordable. Average premiums for Obamacare premiums will go up 25 to over 100 percent this year. Health insurance companies are dropping out of the exchanges left and right, leaving five states and about a third of all U.S. counties with only one option to buy insurance. And let's not forget about the 17 Obamacare CO-OPs that failed, leaving hundreds of thousands of Americans without insurance and costing taxpayers billions.
Since 2010, Republicans have promised and campaigned on full repeal, and voted over 60 times to repeal parts or all of this disastrous law. Now that the American voters gave Republicans unified control of the government, there are no more excuses. The so-called "two budget" repeal strategy is the best path forward.
Congress should begin this process in January by passing the fiscal year 2017 budget that failed to pass earlier in the year. That generic budget would also allow them to use a filibuster-proof process known as budget reconciliation to pass a simple, one-sentence repeal of Obamacare with 51 Senate votes and have it ready for President-elect Trump to sign after inauguration.
Once Obamacare is repealed, Congress should pass a second budget for fiscal year 2018 that lowers spending levels and then pass a series of conservative health care reforms that enact consumer choice, strengthen the doctor-patient relationship and lower costs.
This two budget strategy will ensure that momentum for Obamacare repeal does not stall. It also provides ample time for individuals who have insurance through the Obamacare exchanges to transition back to the individual market without losing coverage. The American people are close to taking back their health care. Our Republican leaders in Congress must heed the voters' mandate. No more excuses.
January 12, 2017
Many thanks to Bob and Libby Reimers Carpenter for their letter commending honeysuckle removal work at Emmenegger Nature Park (Mailbag, Dec. 23). And to Jay Doty for his informative follow-up letter regarding the ecological damages of shrub honeysuckle (Mailbag, Jan. 6).
It is true that wherever you see honeysuckle infestation a forest will disappear in 10 to 30 years as new generations of trees lack the light and space to grow. Because too little is being done to control this epidemic locally, honeysuckle marches on to consume and destroy pristine forest ecosystems in the Ozarks and beyond.
What can you do? First, get rid of the honeysuckle shrubs on your own property. Then please join us in volunteering to help save parks and natural areas! A group of regular volunteers have been working at Emmenegger Park as part of the Kirkwood Parks Assistance Corps "adopt-a-park" program. We love the fact that outdoor exercise can simultaneously help nature. We also find it fun. And maybe you would too. Our work resumes the first Sunday in March. Please join us.
For instructions on removing honeysuckle at home or info on joining us at Emmenegger, email email@example.com. Hope to see you soon!
January 12, 2017
In Louis Swallow's Dec. 23 reply to my previous Mailbag commentary it certainly appears that he has not read my letter carefully. I said that the Electoral College SYSTEM got us into this mess, not the electors. The mess is the election of an ill-informed narcissist, con artist and publicity hound as president.
Trump invites Vladimir Putin to "let it be an arms race" with the same unconcern as he tweets about Alec Baldwin's parody of him on Saturday Night Live.
The Electoral College was put in place for two main reasons. First, the Founding Fathers didn't think that average citizens in such a large country with slow access to news would have the information (probably true) or the judgment (probably not true) to wisely pick a president.
Second, they did not want to lose the South for the new country. The colonial South was sparsely populated with voters but if they could count their slaves as three-fifths of a person, they could use the Electoral College to give their states more clout.
The country now has news networks 24/7 and the internet, the slaves were freed and their descendants count as a whole person, the voting franchise is no longer restricted to white male property owners (even women can vote!) and early in the last century we began to directly elect Senators.
It is time to rid ourselves of an anachronism that gives Wyoming voters three times more importance than voters in California. I think Mr. Swallow will agree unless, of course, he doesn't believe in one person, one vote.
January 05, 2017
We are against "residential use" in the form of multi-unit row housing that is overcrowded, unattractive and out of character for the surrounding area.
We don't need "phased progression," we need the single family homes rebuilt. Court Drive is/was a very private street that until Dec. 31, 2010, was so secluded it went completely unnoticed.
New single family home sites just as easily provide an "important revenue base" without compromising the residential integrity of Sunset Hills.
This "alliance" will still receive a very profitable residential rate for their lots. Despotis should never have assumed, or promised the Alliance, a commercial value for a residentially zoned lot.
Certainly 20 attached housing units and a 24-hour drive-thru bank squeezed in on these eight residential lots will have a significant impact on traffic and safety – how could it not?
There is nothing wrong with the aesthetics of this area, other than the two neglected, vacant homes owned by Despotis — in his continued attempt to exploit the "tornado stricken" area. How is his mixed use development an aesthetic improvement over rebuilding our single family home neighborhood?
We have the right to protect our neighborhood and property values. As neighbors to the west, we too suffered "the calamity" of December 2010 and have been threatened, harassed and bribed by this commercial developer, who now threatens to confiscate our privately owned street for the purpose of building his undesirable, unattractive row-house/bank development.
Dr. Despotis, who really is being victimized here? You do not live here, you did not suffer the "calamity" of that December day. You have taken advantage of a very traumatic event for your own personal gain. I can't believe that these are the "ethical directives on equality or fair" that your Mother had intended.
Sunset Hills, Friends of Court Drive
January 05, 2017
Caleb Friz's complaint that Lindbergh School District's sex education curriculum has "religious overtones" would be laughable if it wasn't such a sad indicator of the cultural and spiritual state of our country.
The story goes that Mr. Friz is an atheist and does not want his children influenced by any "religious" viewpoints, including abstinence education. Never mind that Missouri state law, common sense and science agree that abstinence is the only way to guarantee no teen pregnancies and no STDs.
Mr. Friz may also be interested to know that public education itself was begun on this continent to teach children to read the Bible for themselves. He may want to check his history book on that one (Old Deluder Satan Act of 1647). I believe (no pun intended) that this qualifies as a "religious overtone."
Perhaps Mr. Friz and his children would be more comfortable in a country like China or Uzbekistan where Christianity is officially suppressed. With activists like him crying foul about all things remotely Christian, it won't be long before the Declaration of Independence, with its references to our Creator, will be on the chopping block as well.
January 05, 2017