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Weekly Poll/Trivia: Which FOUR (4) of the following are part of unincorporated St. Louis County, NOT a separate village/town/city

August 24, 2014 Featured, St. Louis County Comments Off on Weekly Poll/Trivia: Which FOUR (4) of the following are part of unincorporated St. Louis County, NOT a separate village/town/city
Please vote in the poll, located in the right sidebar
Please vote in the poll, located in the right sidebar

The poll question this week is really a trivia question. In the poll, right sidebar, I’ve listed 16 areas in St. Louis County; four, 25%, are part of unincorporated St. Louis County. The other 12 are among the 90 incorporated villages, towns, and cites in St. Louis County. Without doing any research, I’d like readers to pick the four they think are unincorporated.

Here’s a hint: one of the four that’s unincorporated was a village until becoming part of unincorporated St. Louis County in 2012.

On Wednesday September 3rd we’ll see how everyone did and I’ll share some thoughts on fragmentation in the St. Louis region, particularly St. Louis County.

— Steve Patterson

 

In 2012 A Resident Had To Fight With Ferguson Officials To Keep His Front Yard Vegetable Garden

The post is a repeat of my post A Front Yard Vegetable Garden In Ferguson Missouri from August 2012:

In July one modest house in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson got the attention of many:

A Ferguson resident has won a battle with city officials that could be considered a matter of taste.

The resident, Karl Tricamo, had been feuding with the city for months over the vegetable garden he had planted in front of his house in the 300 block of Louisa Avenue.

The city saw the garden as a blot on the landscape and issued Tricamo a citation demanding he uproot the corn, tomatoes, sorghum, peppers and other crops sprouting there and, instead, seed the yard for grass. The garden measures 35 feet by 25 feet. (stltoday.com)

Other resources:

Numerous pictures were circulated on Facebook & Twitter as front yard gardening advocates celebrated this victory. But all the pictures concentrated tightly on the garden, I wanted to understand the context. I went to Google Maps but no streetview was available just an aerial.

The 45 degree view of the house in Ferguson, before the lawn was replaced with the garden. Click image to view in Google Maps.

I knew I wanted to see the garden and street in person but it’s a 12+ mile drive — and I don’t have a car. So I caught a bus at the North Hanley MetroLink station and I was within blocks.

ABOVE: The MetroBus dropped me off at Suburban Ave and S. Clark Ave, this is looking north on Clark
ABOVE: Looking west on Louisa St from Clark., nice but well-maintained homes. No manicured lawns.
ABOVE: Continuing on Louisa looking for the house & garden on the right.
ABOVE: I’m visiting on Monday August 20, 2012. The garden looks good to my eye given how dry it has been and how late in the growing season it is.
ABOVE: Lawn remains between the sidewalk and driveway
ABOVE: Another view

In an older neighborhood with mature trees locations for a vegetable garden are often limited, most vegetables need full sun.  I applaud Tricamo for fighting the City of Ferguson so he could grow food for his family.

— Steve Patterson

 

Weekly Poll: Two Questions About Michael Brown and Ferguson MO

Please vote in the poll, located in the right sidebar
Please vote in the poll, located in the right sidebar

More than a week ago a young man lost his life, shot by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson:

His mother, Lesley McSpadden, said the shooting took place as her son was walking to his grandmother’s residence.

Piaget Crenshaw, 19, said she was waiting for a ride to work when she saw a police officer attempting to place Brown in the squad car.

She then said she saw the teen, hands in the air, attempt to flee. Several shots hit Brown as he ran, Crenshaw said. She complied with a request that she give photos of the scene to authorities. (stltoday)

In selecting this subject for the poll this week my hope is to gauge reader sentiment.

The first question this week is:

Which of the following do you think happened in Ferguson MO on Saturday Aug 9th?

  • Michael Brown, an innocent unarmed teenager; was murdered by Ferguson PO Darren Wilson.
  • Michael Brown, an unarmed teenager, forcefully stole cigars from a convenience store a half mile away; was killed by Ferguson PO Darren Wilson who used excessive force
  • Michael Brown, an unarmed teenager, forcefully stole cigars from a convenience store a half mile away; was killed by Ferguson PO Darren Wilson who used appropriate force
  • Unsure/No Opinion

Note that the above will be presented in random order  in the poll in the upper right sidebar on the desktop layout.

The second question is: Which two of the following officials has displayed the BEST leadership regarding Ferguson? (PICK 2) See poll for list, they’ll also be presented in a random order.

Please discuss in the comments below.

— Steve Patterson

 

Ferguson, Missouri

The last events of last weekend were tragic, inspiring, confusing, and disappointing. Noon Saturday an unarmed young man, Michael Brown, 18, was shot by an unnamed Ferguson police officer, he died at the hospital. That night numerous protests & vigils were held. On Sunday evening more were planned, the family asked for them to be peaceful.

The photos & videos showed a large/vocal, but peaceful, crowd Sunday evening; likely the largest such event ever held in Ferguson.   I wasn’t there to see who & how it went from peaceful to lawless, including rioting, looting, and arson. Monday morning everyone is trying to make sense of the events, even though reconciling them is hard for most everyone.  Sadly, racist views often come out at times like these.

Yet we should all remember, looting & rioting takes place all over the world. It happens after major sporting events, natural disasters, and injustices. Some examples:

In 1979 people in San Francisco were upset with the light sentence Dan White received for shooting Mayor Moscone & Supervisor Milk:

Dan White, Milk’s assassin, was acquitted of murder charges and given a mild sentence for manslaughter, partly as a result of what became known as the “twinkie defense.” His attorney claimed that White had eaten too much junk food on the day of the killings and thus could not be held accountable for his crimes. He was sentenced to less than eight years in prison on May 21, 1979—the day before what would have been Milk’s 49th birthday—igniting what came to be known as the White Night Riots. Enraged citizens stormed City Hall and rows of police cars were set on fire. The city suffered property damage and police officers retaliated by raiding the Castro, vandalizing gay businesses and beating people on the street. (Harvey Milk Foundation)

From 1992:

German gangs smashed windows, looted shops and assaulted Dutch fans in 12 hours of violence surrounding Holland’s 3-1 victory over Germany in the European Championships in Goteborg, Sweden.

Riot police with horses and dogs repeatedly chased mobs of Germans through the center of Goteborg. The gangs dispersed and formed again, seeking openings through police lines to get at crowds of celebrating Dutchmen, but officers averted serious fighting.

Policeman Lasse Hansson said 23 were arrested, all Germans except for one Dutchman. He said charges against them included inciting riot, possession of weapons and resisting arrest. (Seattle Times)

Also in 1992, the LA Riots:

The LA Riots are mostly associated with the beating by police of Rodney King, but have a deeper and more complex background than that. We will start by looking at the background of Rodney King and the other causes to the LA Riots. (South Central History)

From 1998:

After the Denver Broncos defeated the Green Bay Packers to win Super Bowl XXXII, 10,000 fans went a little overboard and tears of joy became tear-gas-induced tears when people began flipping cars, looting and destroying the Mile High City. The Broncos’ victory and the following riot were selected as top news stories of 1998 by newspaper and broadcast members of the Associated Press. (source)

Earlier this year:

$25K in damage done to Historic century-old Pioneer Square pergola during out-of-control jubilation. About six people arrested after midnight when crowd began throwing bottles at police. Crazed students lit furniture on fire and made bonfires. Thousands throughout Seattle took to the streets to revel in the Seahawks’ victory, the city’s first major sports championship in more than 30 years. Drivers honked their horns, fans launched fireworks and at least one bonfire was blazing near the University of Washington. (NY Daily News)

But why?

The idea that people in crowds act differently — more violently, more passionately and perhaps, with a compromised moral compass — than individuals acting alone is not new. LeBon and Freud proposed it way back in early 20th century and others have since built on the theory.

But is that really the main motivation at play here?

Some, like Columbia University’s Tory Higgins don’t think so. Higgins, a professor of psychology who studies motivation, believes that riots such as the these typically occur when people feel “ineffective.” “In situations like this, there is a long period prior to the riot of feeling that you’re not in control of your own life. It may either be financial, like unemployment or a low-paying job, or political,” he says. “They basically don’t feel respected or that they’re making a difference.” (Huffington Post)

There’s so much we don’t know, particularly about the shooting on Saturday. Hopefully an impartial & transparent investigation will be conducted, and the community will accept the findings.

Burnt out QT at 9420 West Florissant on Monday Aug 11, 2014, 9:37am
Burnt out QT at 9420 West Florissant on Monday Aug 11, 2014, 9:37am
The word "SNITCH.."  was painted on the sign
The word “SNITCHER” painted on the sign

Why Quik Trip? It seems, based on internet hearsay, Michael Brown visited the store right before returning to the apartment complex where his grandmother lives.

Yesterday I rode the #74 MetroBus from 14th & Washington north to St. Louis Community College — Florissant Valley and back. From the Quik Trip north, for 2 miles along West Florissant, I saw busted windows, shattered bus shelters, closed businesses, and police.   The Taco Bell my husband ate at in June, about a half mile north, had a busted window. The Walgreens at West Florissant & Chambers I passed in my wheelchair in April had a boarded window, and was closed. A guy on the return bus trip was saying the Walmart 2 miles north on West Florissant was closed.

Monday morning traffic was busy on West Florissant as people wanted to see the damage
Monday morning traffic was busy on West Florissant as people wanted to see the damage
We saw police investigating where a car had rear-ended a truck in the heavy traffic
We saw police investigating where a car had rear-ended a truck in the heavy traffic

The destroyed Quik Trip was built in 1989, I remember stopping there in the fall of 1990 on my way to visit a work supervisor who lived in the subdivision behind. QT may have been considering rebuilding the location, though they had likely updated the building in the last 25 years. It’s not hard to imagine Tulsa-based QT deciding to not rebuild this location.

The Walmart & Sam’s Club 2 miles north, both looted Sunday, were also built in 1989.

QT built this larger location at 10768 West Florissant in 2013, just off I-270
QT built this larger location at 10768 West Florissant in 2013, just off I-270, across from Walmart & Sam’s Club
The  McDonald's at 10873 West Florissant, built in 1993, was recently razed for a new building.
The McDonald’s at 10873 West Florissant, built in 1993, was recently razed for a new building.

The issues of the officer who shot Brown, the looters, etc should get resolved through investigation and the courts. The long-term implications for West Florissant can go any number of ways:

  1. Business owners see the looting as a one time thing and resume business as usual.
  2. Businesses remain but begin planning their exit strategy.
  3. Businesses don’t reopen.

Hopefully we’ve seen the worst of the rioting & looting. I want Michael Brown’s family to get the justice they seek.

— Steve Patterson

 

Accessing Yorkshire Village Shopping Center

In March I took MetroBus out to the suburban Yorkshire Village shopping center to meet my then-fiancé, now husband, for lunch. I hadn’t been in this area since I sold my car and the Sappington Farmers Market closed, both in 2012. Although the parking lot had been improved with planted islands in the last decade, I didn’t think a pedestrian access route existed. I’d looked at an aerial and at Google’s Street View, but I know for sure after a personal visit.

Google's Street View in March 2014 showed a spot where I could access the parking lot from the bus stop, no designated route. Click image for map link
Google’s Street View in March 2014 showed a narrow spot behind the bus shelter where I could access the parking lot, no designated route though. As of today the aerial is updated to show demolition of the old corner, the Street View remains the one I saw in March. Click image for map link

Based on a friend’s recommendation, we planned to meet at a newish place called Fuzzy’s Taco Shop, located on the far west end of the shopping center. When I arrived on March 21st what I encountered was very different than what I had expected, the entire corner of the old shopping center was gone, with a new building going up.

View from the bus stop
View from the bus stop, my only option was to head to Laclede Station to try to enter that way.
The construction zone separated the two wings, preventing me from reaching my destination that way. I ended up rolling along the Watson Rd shoulder until reaching an auto drive.
The construction zone separated the two wings, preventing me from reaching my destination that way. I ended up rolling along the Watson Rd shoulder until reaching an auto drive.
The new building is a CVS. Disclosure: we'd bought a small number of shares a month earlier when they announced they'd stop selling cigarettes.
The new building is a CVS. Disclosure: we’d bought a small number of shares of CVS a month earlier when they announced they’d stop selling cigarettes.
After lunch I got as close as I could to the construction, wondering if they'll provide an access route to the bus stop, connect the new separate buildings.
After lunch I got as close as I could to the construction, wondering if they’ll provide an access route to the bus stop, connect the now separate buildings.
When I passed by the new entry while on the shoulder I didn't see any evidence of a public sidewalk or access route to the shopping center
When I passed by the new entry while on the shoulder I didn’t see any evidence of a planned public sidewalk or access route to the shopping center
Across Watson waiting for a return bus you can see the overview.
Across Watson waiting for a return bus you can see the overview, and a pedestrian walking on the shoulder as I had to do.

It’s the suburbs and during construction everyone will be inconvenienced. My husband returned to Fuzzy’s a couple of times since our initial visit, after he said construction was completed we decided to meet again on Friday July 11, 2014. What would I encounter?

Looking west there was no public sidewalk along Watson
Looking west there was no public sidewalk along Watson
I was so pleased to see a proper access route, in concrete to contrast with the asphalt paving!
Looking inward I was so pleased to see a proper access route, in concrete to contrast with the asphalt paving! The planter helps to protect the route from vehicles.  Bravo!!
I quickly checked and found a great connection to the north building across the drive through lane
I quickly checked and found a great connection to the north building across the drive through lane
So I head west alongside the new CVS. so far so good.
So I head west alongside the new CVS. so far so good.
And a connection to the west...but what's that I see?
And a connection to the west…but what’s that I see?
A new curb!?!
A new curb!?! Not sure who’s fault this is: engineer/architect, contractor, or owner, but someone screwed up an otherwise adequate access route.
I had to roll behind 13 parking spaces to reach a ramp, one car nearly backed into me.
I had to roll behind 13 parking spaces to reach a ramp, one car nearly backed into me.
Looking back from in front of the shops you can see the new concrete, this could've easily sloped to provide access.
Looking back from in front of the shops you can see the new concrete, this could’ve easily sloped to provide access. Again, nobody caught the mistake.

Had it been done right initially the cost would’ve been zero, no different than what they spent.  Did the drawings show it correctly but the contractor missed it? Why didn’t Webster Groves’ inspectors catch it? I can’t answer these questions but I’ll be emailing a link to this post to Matthew Stack at Koch Development Co and Webster Groves, the various parties can figure out who’s responsible for the costs to bust out the new concrete and redoing it correctly.

Koch Development originally built Yorkshire Village shopping center in 1951.

— Steve Patterson

 

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