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Sunday Poll: Should Smoking Be Allowed or Banned Outside?

December 1, 2019 Featured, Smoke Free Comments Off on Sunday Poll: Should Smoking Be Allowed or Banned Outside?
Please vote below

We’ve had an indoor smoking ban for a number of years now. For the most part everyone has adjusted.

I’m now spending quite a bit of time visiting Siteman Cancer Center, part of the Washington University School of Medicine. Their campuses have been smoke-free since July 2010.

The university strictly prohibits all smoking and other uses of tobacco products within all university buildings and on university property, at all times.

This policy applies to all, including students, faculty, staff, patients, contractors and visitors.

For the purpose of this policy, “tobacco” is defined to include, but not limited to, any lit cigarette, cigar, pipe, bidi, clove cigarette, electronic cigarette (e-cigarette), personal vaporizer and any other smoking product; and smokeless or spit tobacco, also known as dip, chew, snuff or snus in any form. (Washington University)

Other area universities also have smoke-free campuses.

Today’s poll question applies to campuses but also areas like restaurant patios, transit centers, public parks, etc — outdoor areas either public or privately owned. Good policy or overkill?

This poll will close tonight at 8pm. My thoughts and results on Wednesday morning.

— Steve Patterson

 

Thankful For Modern Medicine — A Cancer Update

November 29, 2019 Featured, Steve Patterson Comments Off on Thankful For Modern Medicine — A Cancer Update
My favorite color is orange so I’m pleased with the ribbon.

At the end of last month, which happened to be this blog’s 15th anniversary, I also shared that I have kidney cancer.  See 15th Anniversary of UrbanReviewSTL.com; Future Uncertain Due To Cancer Diagnosis. 

Since then I’ve met with my cancer team (Oncologist, nurse coordinator, research coordinator, and social worker) twice. I’ve also seen a urologist, had a number of EKGs, cat scans, and an MRI. My blood has been drawn countless times.

The good news is my future is measured in years, not months. Stage 4 of cancer means it has spread beyond the original source. Mine is continuing to spread, though it hasn’t reached the brain — a place where kidney cancer like to go for. Whew.

A “tumor board” of doctors reviewed my case and the conclusion was rather than surgically remove my left kidney now I should begin immunotherapy and see how my tumors respond to treatment, hopefully stopping them from spreading further. I’ll receive my first treatment Monday, side effects are potentially similar to chemotherapy.

I’m taking part in a clinical trial receiving immunotherapy intravenously every 3 weeks plus a daily pill. Half will take a pill that’s helped with other cancers, the other half will take a placebo. Not even my team will know which group I’m in.

Despite the advancements in cancer treatments, my oncologist doesn’t think I’ll be ever be free of tumors. They hope to get my cancer to a point where it can be considered a chronic condition, giving me years of decent life.

When I had my massive hemorrhagic stroke in February 2008 I was certain I was going to die there on my cold floor. The one thing I didn’t do was suddenly become religious — yes, there are atheists in foxholes! But I blacked out so my time thinking about death was short.

Lately I’ve spent weeks thinking about death — my death. I’ve finally completed a  healthcare power of attorney. I’ve resumed working on the will I began in 2010. It’s still years away, but the clock is ticking.

Though some have suggested it, I’m still not turning to religion. Instead, I’ve looked to more enlightened views. One is the late Carl Sagan, who died at age 62 of cancer-related pneumonia:

As an atheist I don’t believe in an afterlife, so I don’t have a fear of it like people in this video.

Words and phrases I don’t use include:

  • Rest in peace (RIP).
  • He’s in a better place.
  • Meet his maker.

No rest, just dead. That’s it, finished. In 2010 I’d arranged to have my body donated to Washington University’s School of Medicine for research, so no body to deal with. No viewing, no funeral.

For me it’s important to make the most of my remaining years. For this I frequently turn to James Taylor’s words:

The secret of life
Is enjoying the passage of time.
Any fool can do it,
There ain’t nothing to it.
Nobody knows how we got
To the top of the hill.
But since we’re on our way down,
We might as well enjoy the ride.
The secret of love
Is in opening up your heart.
It’s okay to feel afraid,
But don’t let that stand in your way.
‘Cause anyone knows
That love is the only road.
And since we’re only here for a while,
Might as well show some style.
Give us a smile.
Isn’t it a lovely ride?
Sliding down, gliding down,
Try not to try too hard,
It’s just a lovely ride.
Now the thing about time
Is that time isn’t really real.
It’s just your point of view,
How does it feel for you?
Einstein said he
Could never understand it all.
Planets spinning…
See the video here. Though my life has been different than I imagined it would be decades ago, I’ve mostly enjoyed the passage of time.  I’ve got a list of future events I’m looking forward to:
  • January 2021: the 46th president being sworn into office (hopefully)
  • August 2023: my husband’s 40th birthday
  • June 2024:  our 10th wedding anniversary
  • October 2024: this blog’s 20th anniversary
  • February 2027: my 60th birthday
At this point I’m not optimistic about anything beyond those. That’s ok, even if I were to die tomorrow I’ve been happy with my life and my accomplishments. I’ve had more time than many.
Earlier this month Broadway star Laurel Griggs died of an asthma attack at age 13. Many St. Louis youth have died this year.  These young people missed out on so many experiences.
Apple co-founder Steve Jobs was just 56 when he died of pancreatic cancer. In 1989 comedian/actress Gilda Radner lost her long battle with ovarian cancer, she was only 42. Musician Bob Marley was just 36 when he died of skin cancer in 1981.
The next update will be at the end of December. By then I’ll have had two treatments and will know the side effects.
As the headline indicates, I’m thankful for modern medicine.
— Steve Patterson
 

Slight Majority of Readers Okay With Red-Light Cameras Returning to St. Louis Intersections

November 27, 2019 Featured Comments Off on Slight Majority of Readers Okay With Red-Light Cameras Returning to St. Louis Intersections

In 2015 the Missouri Supreme Court ruled against three municipal traffic camera ordinances — in St. Louis, St. Peter’s, and Moline Acres. The latter two dealt with assessing points or not. St. Louis had been sending red-light tickets to the registered owner of the vehicles that went through a red light.

The court will allow red-light cameras that can take photos of the driver. It’s unclear to me how the city would know who the driver is from a photograph, or maybe they’d expect the owner to identify who was driving their car through a red light.

I’d love to see red-light cameras at Cole & 7th. Of course, if the signals on Cole were timed better perhaps so many people wouldn’t run this light.

Obviously we’re talking about more sophisticated equipment than what the city had before. I’m personally fine if the bulk of the revenue goes to the vendor — my goal would be to reduce people running red lights — this would be safer for bicyclists and pedestrians.

One comment received was also correct — the timing on the city’s lights is so horrible people feel compelled to run lights to get anywhere. I’d like to see an independent audit of traffic lights & pedestrian signals.

More than half who voted in the recent Sunday Poll appear to support brining cameras back.

Q: Agree or disagree: Red-light cameras are unconstitutional, so they shouldn’t return to St. Louis

  • Strongly agree: 3 [10.71%]
  • Agree: 6 [21.43%]
  • Somewhat agree: 1 [3.57%]
  • Neither agree or disagree: 1 [3.57%]
  • Somewhat disagree: 1 [3.57%]
  • Disagree: 7 [25%]
  • Strongly disagree: 8 [28.57%]
  • Unsure/No Answer: 1 [3.57%]

Let’s get the signals fixed and bring back red-light cameras to dangerous intersections.

— Steve Patterson

 

New Book — ‘Scenes of Historic Wonder: St. Louis’ by Jaime Bourassa & Cameron Collins

November 25, 2019 Books, Featured, History/Preservation Comments Off on New Book — ‘Scenes of Historic Wonder: St. Louis’ by Jaime Bourassa & Cameron Collins

Local publisher Reedy Press comes out with many great books every year, usually on a specific subject.  For example 2015’s ‘Downtown St. Louis’ by NiNi Harris (a 2nd edition was just released). Today’s book is different, the subjects are varied. The only common element is they’re oddities.

Quirky, provocative, awe-inspiring, and just plain bizarre describe the scenes captured in this often comical, always fascinating pictorial. The images in this singular collection depict one-of-a-kind moments that we’ll never see again, mainly because they reflect a specific place in time in history. Glimpses of everyday work, family, and public life not to mention scenes of leisure, sport, and entertainment convey what made each period unique. Informative captions place each scene in context and give substance to moments that range from mundane to wondrous and, in some cases, downright wacky. (Reedy Press)

Here’s a list of how the many topics are organized:

  • Old St. Louis
  • Transportation
  • World’s Fair
  • Sports
  • Industry and Innovation
  • Fun and Games
  • Education
  • Everyday Life
  • Hard Times
  • Brews and Food

In flipping through this book the last couple of weeks I’ve learned new things about St. Louis’ history, seen pictures I’d not seen before.

Here’s a small fraction of the subjects covered:

  • Mound City, the opening subject is Native-American mounds that used to exist on the Missouri side of the Mississippi River.
  • Kayser’s Lake, at  9th & Biddle, was one of many stagnant ponds to eventually be drained to get rid of disease and make room for development.
  • The Campbell House Museum opened in the 1940s, but they didn’t have a good record of what the interior looked like in the past — but in 1973 a photo album from 1885 was found!
  • In 1910 a biplane flew under a span of the Eads Bridge (obviously not during flooding).
  • The 1906 demolition of the Farris wheel used in the 1904 World’s Fair, which had been used in 1893 fair in Chicago. Residents at the time considered it an “eyesore.”
  • A steeply-banked wooden motordrome (motorcycle race track) used to exist at Grand and Meramec — that I new. The photograph, however, it not one I’d seem before.
  • I also knew the zoo’s original location was on the east end of  our current Fairgrounds Park (Grand & Natural Bridge), but the photo used is new to me.
  • 3-story outhouse for tenements. Yes, a great photo of a 3-story outhouse structure with walkways to adjacent tenement buildings.
  • St. Louis’ historic Chinatown area, commonly known as Hop Alley, razed in the 1960s for parking for the new baseball stadium.
  • Homer G. Phillips Hospital, for African-Americans, was the result of segregation. It helped train thousands of black doctors and nurses. The photo used isn’t a building exterior shot, but a group of professionals inside working.
  • Four Courts Building, 1870-1917, occupied the block bounded by Clark, 11th, Spruce, 12th (Tucker).

If you’re a St. Louis history buff this book needs to be on your coffee table or bookshelf.

— Steve Patterson

 

Sunday Poll: Should Red-Light Cameras Return To St. Louis?

November 24, 2019 Crime, Featured, Politics/Policy, Sunday Poll, Transportation Comments Off on Sunday Poll: Should Red-Light Cameras Return To St. Louis?
Please vote below

Last week we heard the city is interested in bringing back red-light cameras:

We haven’t seen red-light cameras in St. Louis for a few years, but now the city is considering bringing them back — and the tickets that come with them.

“We’re looking for a tool that can help us save lives,” Director of Operations Todd Waelterman said.

He said police are short-staffed and have too much on their plate, so they’re exploring other options to make the streets safer. (KSDK)

This is the subject of today’s poll.

This poll will close at 8pm tonight. More information, my thoughts, and results Wednesday morning.

— Steve Patterson

 

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