St. Louis Board of Aldermen: New Board Bills Week 16 of 2018-2019 Session

 

 The St. Louis Board of Aldermen will meet at 10am today, their 16th meeting of the 2018-2019 session. Today’s agenda includes four(4) new bills: B.B.#116 – Navarro/Spencer/Green/Rice – An ordinance defining the term“honored guest” as the term is used in City of St. Louis Board of Aldermen Rules, as an individual, …

Opinion: We Must Demand Less Waste Be Produced

 

 Growing up in the 70s/80s we recycled — aluminum cans. Once the container in the garage filled with flattened cans we were off to the metal recycler to sell them. Though other items were often reused, nothing else was recycled. It all went into trash cans that I often had …

From Municipal Auditorium to Enterprise Center

 

 Buildings used to be named after a person, usually a man, that had the building built or perhaps as a memorial to a prominent figure. The first nine years it remained Municipal Auditorium, but in 1942 2-term (1913-25) former mayor, a Republican, Henry Kiel died at age 71. The building was …

Sunday Poll: Is Recycling Worth The Trouble?

 

 Recycling, like many businesses, is changing. Recycling has worked well for the last 40 years because recycled waste was valuable and in high demand in countries around the world. The United States has historically sold most of its recycled goods to China.  But new restrictions from the Chinese government on …

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Readers: Fireworks Bans Should Apply to Adults & Minors

July 4, 2018 Events/Meetings, Featured Comments Off on Readers: Fireworks Bans Should Apply to Adults & Minors
 

More than half the respondents in the recent non-scientific Sunday Poll support bans on adult use of fireworks. I agree, the last thing we need is inebriated adults playing with pyrotechnics.

Here are the poll results

Q: Agree or disagree: Municipalities/counties should not ban adults from using fireworks on the 4th of July.

  • Strongly agree 5 [20.83%]
  • Agree 3 [12.5%]
  • Somewhat agree 0 [0%]
  • Neither agree or disagree 3 [12.5%]
  • Somewhat disagree 0 [0%]
  • Disagree 4 [16.67%]
  • Strongly disagree 9 [37.5%]
  • Unsure/No Answer 0 [0%]

Really, a third sport lifting bans on adult use?

Some will ignore bans or go to parts of the region where they’re not banned, so here are some safety tips:

  • Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks.
  • Avoid buying fireworks that are packaged in brown paper because this is often a sign that the fireworks were made for professional displays and that they could pose a danger to consumers.
  • Always have an adult supervise fireworks activities. Parents don’t realize that young children suffer injuries from sparklers. Sparklers burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees – hot enough to melt some metals.
  • Never place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse. Back up to a safe distance immediately after lighting fireworks.
  • Never try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have not ignited fully.
  • Never point or throw fireworks at another person.
  • Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire or other mishap.
  • Light fireworks one at a time, then move back quickly.
  • Never carry fireworks in a pocket or shoot them off in metal or glass containers.
  • After fireworks complete their burning, douse the spent device with plenty of water from a bucket or hose before discarding it to prevent a trash fire.
  • Make sure fireworks are legal in your area before buying or using them.

Not on the list — make sure your pets are safe, preferably indoors:

For many Americans, the Fourth of July means fireworks. For many dogs, those fireworks mean nothing short of terror.

People who have seen their otherwise good dogs cower in fear at the thunderous claps or whistling sounds that accompany modern pyrotechnics will probably not be surprised to know that about 45 percent of dogs have a fireworks phobia, according to a study published in the journal Applied Animal Behaviour Science. (Huffington Post)

Like so many other things in life, fireworks are best left to the professionals.  The Belleville News-Democrat has a list of fireworks show in the metro East, the Post-Dispatch has a rundown on downtown/Arch fireworks shows (Also great from Malcolm Martin Park in Illinois) and Fox2 has a list of fireworks shows on both sides of the river.

— Steve Patterson

 

Entrance To Gateway Arch Should Have Faced Downtown From The Start

July 2, 2018 Downtown, Featured, Parks Comments Off on Entrance To Gateway Arch Should Have Faced Downtown From The Start
 

On Thursday morning last week I made my first visit to the Arch since the new downtown-facing entrance opened recently. Before we get into the nw entry I need to take you back to how it was for decades.

At the base pf each leg of the Arch the walkway would slope down to the entrance was an entry/exit to the underground visitor’s center. These remain.
When security was added it was just inside the door — so the line was outside in the cold, rain, or heat.
Looking out fro the old entry/exit points. These will now be exit-only. But first you had to get here.
For many visitors that meant driving to the 1980s parking garage that was located on the North end of the grounds, then walking to the North Arch entry.
Others coming from Laclede’s Landing North of Eads Bridge or MetroLink got to walk through the 80s garage.
For those already downtown this 2010 photo showsthe highway separating downtown (left) from the Arch grounds (right). When the Arch was first planned this was the at-grade 3rd St Parkway, but it became a high speed interstate “depressed” below grade. Depressing indeed.
Construction on the “lid” over the highway, July 2014
By October 8, 2015 the entire area was closed for major construction.
Same day, same camera location, looking more tossed the Arch/river
A year later Luther Ely Smith Square was finished but work on the new Arch entry continued.
The accessible platform allows to peak over the concrete barrier & chain link fence

For so long it was just a big dirty hole, but slowly it began to take shape. Recently the entry was opened for visitors, but last week was my first visit to this entrance.

The approach to the new Arch entry feels so natural, it’s a shame it wasn’t like this 50 years ago.
Approaching from the North or South the new dug into the hill entry gradually appears.
A small plaza with water feature is in the center, forcing you to either side
Going around the center plaza will take you down to its level or go further to the outside of the circle fore the wide ramps leading to the entrance.
The center plaza
Looking back West from the center plaza
Both outside ramps lead down to the entrance — with revolving door. power operated doors tex to it for strollers, wheelchairs, etc.
From the center just inside.
Looking West from inside, very inviting! You can see ramps going off to each entry.
To the left (North) is restrooms & tickets for the trams, movies, etc. Admission to the museum is free.
To the right (south) is the entrance to take you down to the museum. This is like airport security. Unlike the old entry, this line is indoors!

The lower level was open, though the museum wasn’t — it opens tomorrow. The lower level also has the gift shop, a new restaurant, a movie theater, etc. I decided to wait so my husband could help me get through security, help with bags, wallet, etc. I’m excited by the new entrance, it’s clear to me downtown has not capitalized on the millions who’ve visited over the last half century.

Local journalist/author Jm Merkel is out with a 2nd edition of his book The Making of an Icon: The Dreamers, the Schemers, and the Hard Hats Who Built the Gateway Arch.

With his fourth book from Reedy Press, The Making of an Icon, Jim Merkel captured the spirit behind the conception and construction of one of America’s most distinctive and beloved national monuments. More than two million visitors stand in awe at the Gateway Arch each year, and the stories behind it were unearthed in breathless detail in the first edition. Back with even more lore and the addition of beautiful color images, Merkel brings new information on the Arch grounds and museum to this updated and revised second edition. Now expanded, his book includes more stories compiled from interviews with the visionaries, finaglers, protesters, and intrepid workers who built the arch while one misstep away from a fatal fall. Merkel’s book will help us appreciate the relentless pursuit, innovation, and toil that raised the Arch to the sky. (Reedy Press)

As beautiful as the Arch is, I still think razing 40 city blocks was a huge blunder that we’re still suffering from today.

— Steve PattersonT

Sunday Poll: Should Fireworks Bans Apply Only To Minors, Not Adults?

July 1, 2018 Featured, Sunday Poll Comments Off on Sunday Poll: Should Fireworks Bans Apply Only To Minors, Not Adults?
 
Please vote below

As a kid I have vivid memories of 4th of July fireworks — with the only house on our block with a wood roof we had to make sure others’ bottle rockets and such didn’t set our house on fire. When I was a teen we reproofed with asphalt shingles so that concern dissipated.

Now fireworks seems to be a passive event, something you watch.

If you’re looking to set off a few fireworks over the Fourth of July weekend, your best bet for not breaking the law is on the Missouri side of the Mississippi River in St. Charles, Franklin and Jefferson counties.

Illinois bans the use of most consumer fireworks, including bottle rockets, firecrackers, Roman candles and pinwheels. In Missouri, the law is a little more lenient; any firework sold legally with the labels UN0336, 1.4G or novelty are OK to use.

However, counties and municipalities in both states might have further restrictions.

Consumer fireworks, which do not include sparklers and smoke bombs, are illegal in St. Louis and St. Louis County. (Post-Dispatch)

Today’s non-scientific poll is about fireworks, specially municipal/county bans on them.

This poll will automatically close at 8pm tonight,

— Steve Patterson

St. Louis Board of Aldermen Week 11 of 2018-2019 Session: Airport Privitization

June 29, 2018 Board of Aldermen, Featured Comments Off on St. Louis Board of Aldermen Week 11 of 2018-2019 Session: Airport Privitization
 
St. Louis City Hall

The St. Louis Board of Aldermen will meet at 10am today, their 5th meeting of the 2018-2019 session.

Today’s agenda includes new bills:

  • B.B.#93 – Spencer ? An Ordinance requiring a City?wide vote to approve any proposal aimed at or having the effect of privatizing the Lambert St. Louis International Airport (the “Airport”) by the sale, lease or transfer of the Airport, either in whole or in part, from the City’s ownership or control as may be permitted by the FAA’s Airport Privatization Pilot Program (49 U.S.C. §47134; Section 149) and the Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 (P.L. 112?95) and in accordance with all other applicable state and federal laws and regulations, and the Revised Code of the City of St. Louis; and containing a severability clause and emergency clause.

The meeting begins at 10am, past meetings and a live broadcast can be watched online here. See list of all board bills for the 2017-2018 session — the new bills listed above may not be online right away.

— Steve Patterson

Except Where Banned, Conversion Therapy Still Peddled to “Cure” LGBT

June 27, 2018 Featured Comments Off on Except Where Banned, Conversion Therapy Still Peddled to “Cure” LGBT
 
Top of the Civil Courts building in rainbow colors for PrideFest2013

I know many of you didn’t like the recent Sunday Poll, I haven’t liked hearing for decades that I wasn’t born gay — I made a lifestyle choice. The only choice I made was to recognize who I am and live my life accordingly. Coming out in Oklahoma in 1983 wasn’t easy — but it was such a huge relief.

Here’s the non-scientific poll results:

Q: Agree or disagree: People aren’t born homosexual/bisexual/transgender — that’s a lifestyle choice.

  • Strongly agree 0 [0%]
  • Agree 0 [0%]
  • Somewhat agree 1 [3.57%]
  • Neither agree or disagree 0 [0%]
  • Somewhat disagree 0 [0%]
  • Disagree 4 [14.29%]
  • Strongly disagree 20 [71.43%]
  • Unsure/No Answer 3 [10.71%]

I was relieved only one answered “somewhat agree”, usually about 15% take the opposite view each week. So why did I pick this phrasing for Pride Sunday? Because many people still think those of of us who’re LGBT make a choice to be so. Look at recent news stories:

Before the Palm Beach County Commission in December passed a law banning therapists from trying to convince gay youths they can become heterosexuals, County Attorney Denise Nieman warned her bosses they were inviting a lawsuit.

Her predictions were borne out this week when a conservative Christian group sued the county and the city of Boca Raton over their separate bans on so-called conversion therapy. In the suit filed in U.S. District Court, the Liberty Counsel claims the measures unconstitutionally restrict free speech and infringe on people’s religious beliefs. (Palm Beach Post)

The Texas Republican party just adopted their platform:

As it did in 2016, the platform says the party believes in “self-sufficient families, founded on the traditional marriage of a natural man and a natural woman” and calls for the overturning of the U.S. Supreme Court’s marriage equality ruling. And it repeats language from previous platforms about so-called conversion therapy: “No laws or executive orders shall be imposed to limit or restrict access to sexual orientation counseling for self-motivated youth and adults.” (Advocate)

Of course, conversion therapy and the belief it could work is nothing new:

In 1899, a German psychiatrist electrified the audience at a conference on hypnosis with a bold claim: He had turned a gay man straight.

All it took was 45 hypnosis sessions and a few trips to a brothel, Albert von Schrenck-Notzing bragged. Through hypnosis, he claimed, he had manipulated the man’s sexual impulses, diverting them from his interest in men to a lasting desire for women.

He didn’t know it, but he had just kicked off a phenomenon that would later be known as “conversion therapy”—a set of pseudoscientific techniques designed to quash LGBTQ people’s sexuality and make them conform to society’s expectations of how they should behave. Though it’s dismissed by the medical establishment today, conversion therapy was widely practiced throughout the 20th century, leaving shame, pain and self-hatred in its wake. (History.com)

More from the same article:

There were plenty of theories as to why people were homosexual. For Eugen Steinach, a pioneering Austrian endocrinologist, homosexuality was rooted in a man’s testicles. This theory led to testicle transplantation experiments in the 1920s during which gay men were castrated, then given “heterosexual” testicles.”

Others theorized that homosexuality was a psychological disorder instead. Sigmund Freud hypothesized that humans are born innately bisexual and that homosexual people become gay because of their conditioning. But though Freud emphasized that homosexuality wasn’t a disease, per se, some of his colleagues didn’t agree. They began to use new psychiatric interventions in an attempt to “cure” gay people.

Some LGBTQ people were given electroconvulsive therapy, but others were subjected to even more extreme techniques like lobotomies. Other “treatments” included shocks administered through electrodes that were implanted directly into the brain. Robert Galbraith Heath, a psychiatrist in New Orleans who pioneered the technique, used this form of brain stimulation, along with hired prostitutes and heterosexual pornography, to “change” the sexual orientation of gay men. But though Heath contended he was able to actually turn gay men straight, his work has since been challenged and criticized for its methodology.

An offshoot of these techniques was “aversion therapy,” which was founded on the premise that if LGBTQ people became disgusted by homosexuality, they would no longer experience same-sex desire. Under medical supervision, people were given chemicals that made them vomit when they, for example, looked at photos of their lovers. Others were given electrical shocks—sometimes to their genitals—while they looked at gay pornography or cross-dressed. (History.com)

The methods have changed, but the efforts to change LGBT people continue.  To counter this, Hawaii just became the 12th state to ban conversion therapy for minors. Other states are working on legislation to ban it. Religious groups that promote conversion therapy fight bans at all levels.

This is a current issue, the fight continues.

— Steve Patterson

 

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