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Readers: Some Public Schools Must Be Closed Due To Declining Enrollment

March 4, 2020 Education, Featured Comments Off on Readers: Some Public Schools Must Be Closed Due To Declining Enrollment
The former John Marshall School remains unsold, continues to deteriorate.

The population of St. Louis has been shrinking for decades, so has the enrollment in St. Louis Public Schools.

Superintendent Kelvin Adams laid out a data-heavy case for why SLPS needs to overhaul how, and where, it educates 21,500 students across 68 buildings.

SLPS once educated more than 110,000 students and has been closing buildings for nearly three decades to keep up with a student population and overall shrinking city. Meanwhile, more independent charter schools have opened in the last 20 years and educate a third of public school children.

Having fewer students across more buildings, Adams said, “does not make sense, at least in my math.” (St. Louis Public Radio)

Adams is right, too many buildings for too few students. The problem is in deciding which to close. North St. Louis is more sparsely populated than South St. Louis, but some schools should stay open regardless. How many and where?

Former Arlington School in North St. Louis converted to residential in 2013.

In the recent non-scientific Sunday Poll more than half of readers think some schools do need to close.

Q: Agree or disagree: St. Louis Public Schools needs to keep the remaining schools open. Vacant schools harm neighborhoods.

  • Strongly agree: 12 [21.05%]
  • Agree: 4 [7.02%]
  • Somewhat agree: 9 [15.79%]
  • Neither agree or disagree: 0 [0%]
  • Somewhat disagree: 6 [10.53%]
  • Disagree: 13 [22.81%]
  • Strongly disagree: 12 [21.05%]
  • Unsure/No Answer: 1 [1.75%]

It’s inevitable, schools will need to close. No matter which schools do close there will be people who are unhappy about it. I just hope the process is fair and transparent.  The neighborhoods with newly closed schools will need to help market the properties so they don’t sit vacant for decades. Of course, neighborhoods that are already struggling will find this harder to do.

— Steve Patterson

 

Cancer Update: Treatment Is Working!

March 2, 2020 Featured, Steve Patterson Comments Off on Cancer Update: Treatment Is Working!

I first disclosed my cancer diagnosis last Halloween, on this blog’s 15th anniversary. Updates followed at the end of November and December.

To catch you up, I have stage 4 kidney cancer — which means it originated in a kidney but has spread elsewhere. I will never be cancer-free, treatments are about preventing the growth of tumors and further spreading.

My treatment isn’t chemotherapy or radiation, it’s immunotherapy.

Immunotherapy, also called biologic therapy, is a type of cancer treatment that boosts the body’s natural defenses to fight cancer. It uses substances made by the body or in a laboratory to improve or restore immune system function. Immunotherapy may work by:

  • Stopping or slowing the growth of cancer cells
  • Stopping cancer from spreading to other parts of the body
  • Helping the immune system work better at destroying cancer cells (cancer.net)

My treatments are two different drugs administered intravenously, one after another, now every four weeks. As part of a clinical trial I also take a 3rd drug orally every day — though it might be a placebo.

In early February tests revealed my first three treatments managed to stop the growth of my tumors. Today I’ll be back at Siteman Cancer Center, receiving my 5th treatment.

Side effects have varied, but minimally invasive. The worst has been increased fatigue. I’m fortunate to be on disability, not have to work. Initially I was too cautious, thinking I couldn’t do what I’d been doing. I’ve realized now that other than needing an extra nap, my life continues as before. My life just now includes one day with IV treatments every 4 weeks.

Reduced appetite is another, losing weight which is not something my doctor wants. I now eat throughout the day, every day. The dietician encourages me to consume as many calories as I can. This is the opposite of how I’ve been living in the 12+ years since my stroke. Last July, after a year of going to the gym, I managed to get below 200lbs. I went from being obese to overweight. Now I’m on the verge of going from overweight to normal weight.

I’m grateful for Food Outreach, where we get prepared food every two weeks. I still grocery shop and cook, but having frozen foods in small portions enables me to eat 5-6 times per day. I have salmon nearly every day now, a little too often.

When I’m at Siteman Cancer Center I’ve noticed just how busy it is. It’s clear that cancer impacts every part of society. Fellow patients represent all races, ages, economic classes, and geography — some drive many miles to be there, I take transit. We’re all treated equally, those with lots of money wait with a buzzer like the rest of us to be called back to a treatment pod.

Selfie on Saturday driving back home from a Target trip, the day after my 53rd birthday. I only drive about once a week.

Last month we did our annual trip to Chicago for the Chicago Auto Show, my first overnight travel since diagnosis & treatment. It went well enough I’m planning my first bucket list trip next month. In April I’m going to do a two week solo trip to Chicago with a side trip to Milwaukee, WI. This extended time will allow me immerse myself in Chicago and visit the state of Wisconsin for the very first time.

In Milwaukee I plan to see where a freeway was replaced by a boulevard, the Bronze Fonz, try their frozen custard, and ride their modern streetcar & a couple of bus routes. A future bucket list trip will include returning to Wisconsin to tour Frank Lloyd Wright architecture throughout the state.

My current treatment plan will continue as long as it is working. Once it stops, my oncologist will try another. In the meantime, I’m trying to enjoy the passage of time.

— Steve Patterson

 

Sunday Poll: Should Some City Schools Close or Remain Open?

March 1, 2020 Featured Comments Off on Sunday Poll: Should Some City Schools Close or Remain Open?
Please vote below

The superintendent of St. Louis Public Schools, Kelvin Adams, wants to close more schools.

Up to 20 of the district’s 68 schools could be considered for consolidation or closure. Adams said Saturday he has not yet identified any schools for the chopping block and doesn’t anticipate having to lay off teachers and staff.

Adams said the key factors in deciding which schools to close are low enrollment, academic performance, building condition, residential and business development and population trends. (Post-Dispatch)

This is the subject of today’s poll.

Today’s poll will close at 8pm tonight.

— Steve Patterson

 

St. Louis Board of Aldermen: Week 34 of 2019-2020 Session

February 28, 2020 Board of Aldermen, Featured Comments Off on St. Louis Board of Aldermen: Week 34 of 2019-2020 Session

The St. Louis Board of Aldermen meet at 10am today, their 34th meeting of the 2019-2020 session. As previously noted, they have the first two meetings labeled as Week #1, so they list this as week/meeting 32.

Because we’re so close to the end of the session, today’s  agenda includes no new bills. It does include “perfecting” a bill to put it to a vote to reconsider reducing the size of the board from 28 to 14.

The Board of Aldermen meeting begins at 10am, past meetings and a live broadcast can be watched online here. See list of all board bills for the 2019-2020 session.

— Steve Patterson

 

Readers Happy To Have Professional Football Back In St. Louis

February 26, 2020 Featured, Popular Culture Comments Off on Readers Happy To Have Professional Football Back In St. Louis

Professional football is back in St. Louis and many couldn’t be happier.

The St. Louis BattleHawks kicked off their XFL home schedule in style Sunday, blowing by the New York Guardians 29-9 before an inspiring crowd of 29,554 at The Dome at America’s Center. (Post-Dispatch)

Football fans parked as far north as 7th just before Cass Avenue during the first home game.

Here’s a more colorful quote:

After some 1,530 long, excruciating days, St. Louis football fans were finally able see their sport of choice at the Dome again, no thanks to the NFL or a certain toupee-sporting team owner who shall remain nameless.

Yes, February 23, 2020 will forever be remembered as the day Ka-Kaw Nation was truly born, thanks to St. Louis’ new XFL franchise, the mighty BattleHawks. As early as 8 a.m. beer-thirsty Hawkamaniacs were setting up grills and rolling out coolers; by 9:30 a.m. the parking lots and even the top levels of some of the parking garages located around the dome were filling up with rowdy tailgaters. (Riverfront Times)

Those who responded to the recent non-scientific Sunday Poll were generally enthusiastic.

Q: Agree or disagree: I’m excited the St. Louis BattleHawks are playing their first home game today.

  • Strongly agree: 5 [27.78%]
  • Agree: 2 [11.11%]
  • Somewhat agree: 4 [22.22%]
  • Neither agree or disagree: 5 [27.78%]
  • Somewhat disagree: 0 [0%]
  • Disagree: 1 [5.56%]
  • Strongly disagree: 1 [5.56%]
  • Unsure/No Answer: 0 [0%]
Event workers outside the Dome during the BattleHawk’s first home game.

I’m glad to see the Dome getting used, and compensated. It appears, initially at least, that promoter Vince McMahon has a modest hit with the reboot of the XFL.

Week 4 will be important. The NFL has taken back the news cycle with the scouting combine happening this week. The XFL is getting to the point of the season in which the novelty has worn off, yet it’s too early to hype up a stretch drive for the postseason. It will be a real test to reverse the ratings decline.

The XFL is doing better than expected through three weeks. The numbers still compare favorably to other options on the sports menu. But the challenge will always be to retain most of the audience that has had only three weeks to get used to a new football league. (Yahoo Sports)

Hopefully for the St. Louis fans the XFL will do well enough to continue.

— Steve Patterson

 

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