My Absentee Ballot Has Been Received

 

 As a disabled voter I’ve been on the St. Louis Board of Election Commissioners absentee ballot list for years. However, they don’t just mail me a ballot. They mail a ballot request form which must be signed and returned. Once received, they mail the ballot to me. New this year …

Landscaping That Narrowed Public Sidewalk Cut Back

 

 In the nearly 16 years I’ve been blogging I’ve written a lot about sidewalks, and items that can block them. Examples include parked cars in driveways, dumpsters, cafe tables & chairs, business signs, etc. Today’s item narrowing a sidewalk is…was…landscaping. I use 7th Street often when heading into downtown. For …

St. Louis Businesses Ordered To Shut Down — 102 Years Ago Today

 

 The city’s health commissioner has just ordered many businesses to close, effective tomorrow. That was the order on October 7, 1918. City Health Commissioner Max B. Starkloff announced that public gathering places would be closed immediately to prevent the spread of influenza, which was just then becoming an epidemic in …

Four St. Louis High-Rise Public Housing Projects Replaced With Low-Rise Developments

 

 Today’s post is about HOPE VI projects. You may have heard that term before, but if you’re unfamiliar here’s an introduction: HOPE VI is a program of the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development. It is intended to revitalize the worst public housing projects in the United States …

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A Trip To The Nearest Park

March 27, 2020 Featured, Parks Comments Off on A Trip To The Nearest Park
 

On Wednesday I went outside, the temperature was nice and I’d been in our apartment for three full weeks — 21 days! I was going stir-crazy.

I decided that rather than just walk a few feet outdoors I’d take my power wheelchair to the closest public park. On the way there a man was sitting on his front porch. I said “Hello” and he replied the same. He was at least 10 feet away, no social distancing violation. He was the first person besides my husband I’d spoken with in person in three weeks.

The main entrance to Fr. Filipiak Park off the SW corner of 10th & O’Fallon. Patrick Henry Elementary is seen on the left.

Here’s the short text from the city’s page on this park:

In 1979, the Rev. Edward Filipiak, for whom the park is named, was a one-man pastorate on a mission to save his church, built in 1844, from demolition. Archdiocese leaders planned a new building nearby but backed off after some former parishioners organized the Friends of St. Joseph, and the National Register of Historic Places designated the twin-spire structure a landmark.

What you’ll see at this park is a grassy knoll of rolling berms and a few shade trees complete with benches and plaques in honor of Fr. Filipiak and those who’ve lost their lives in the line of work. https://www.stlouis-mo.gov/government/departments/parks/parks/browse-parks/view-park.cfm?parkID=41&parkName=Father%20Filipiak%20Park

What’s not mentioned is Father Filipiak was brutally murdered in September 1979. His findagrave entry has his photo and a few more details. His murder saved the church, but the 19th century houses that faced 10th Street and backed up to the side of the church weren’t so lucky.

Looking North. A father was playing ball with his two kids. We spoke briefly and from a distance. 
Looking North & slightly East
A plaque honoring Father Filipiak

I think about him and his fight to save the church. If he hadn’t been murdered would the church still be here today?  Or the houses that occupied the land where this park exists — would they still exist.  Anyway, it was just very nice going outside and speaking to other human beings.

Today I’ll be out again but I have to worry about touching stuff and then not touching my face.

— Steve Patterson

Readers: Local Stay at Home Orders Are Good Public Policy

March 25, 2020 Featured, Politics/Policy Comments Off on Readers: Local Stay at Home Orders Are Good Public Policy
 
Source: Food & Drug Administration

Missouri, like most backwards states, didn’t issue a statewide stay at home order. That meant Kansas City, St. Louis City, and St. Louis County had to act on their own.

In a matter of days, millions of Americans have been asked to do what might have been unthinkable only a week or two ago: Don’t go to work, don’t go to school, don’t leave the house at all, unless you have to.

The directives to keep people at home to stunt the spread of the coronavirus began in California, and have quickly been adopted across the country. By Tuesday, more than a dozen states had called on their residents to stay at home as much as possible, with many cities and counties joining in.

This means at least 167 million people in 17 states, 18 counties and 10 cities are being urged to stay home. (New York Times)

It should’ve been nationwide, but President Trump is already discussing easing guidelines and reopening the country by Easter — over the objections of health professionals.  If this is going to end we’ve to stop it from spreading. That means reducing human interactions.

In the recent non-scientific Sunday Poll an overwhelming majority agrees, this is what governments should do to keep us safe.

Q: Agree or disagree: St. Louis City & County issuing stay at home orders is government overreach.

  • Strongly agree: 5 [10.64%]
  • Agree: 2 [4.26%]
  • Somewhat agree: 1 [2.13%]
  • Neither agree or disagree: 1 [2.13%]
  • Somewhat disagree: 2 [4.26%]
  • Disagree: 10 [21.28%]
  • Strongly disagree: 26 [55.32%]
  • Unsure/No Answer: 0 [0%]

I’m too tired to write anymore.

— Steve Patterson

A Difficult Three Weeks, But We Have Toilet Paper

March 23, 2020 Featured, Popular Culture, Steve Patterson Comments Off on A Difficult Three Weeks, But We Have Toilet Paper
 

My most recent immunotherapy treatment was three weeks ago. Since then I’ve been especially tired and have had almost no appetite. Normally I’d be baking bread, making dinners from scratch, etc. I’d been eating so well I gained 5lbs my last visit. I’ll lose wait again my next treatment day, a week from today.

The last three weeks have been anything but normal, for anyone. Very surreal.  Seeing photos of stores being out of toilet paper made me regret not buying more on our trip to Costco last month.

My last time outside of our apartment was Saturday March 7th, we went to ALDI for our regular monthly trip. They had toilet paper, but we didn’t buy any — though I later wished we had.

My husband is a home health aide, so he’s out most days helping his clients in their residences. This includes doing their grocery shopping for them. After he finished one day last week he stopped at a nearby Costco to pick up items on the list I’d given him. Normally we’d go together, but I was too tired and I didn’t want to be exposed to other people.

My husband took a few pics, like crates at the entrance to demonstrate social distancing.
A sign on a crate lists items that are out of stock — like toilet paper.

As we’re putting away what he’d purchased I hit the jackpot. On the very top of our tall pantry shelves…six rolls of toilet paper!

This package of 6 rolls is part of a larger bundle of 30 rolls.

Yeah, there go my fears of running out.  Of course, we don’t know how long all this will last.

— Steve Patterson

 

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Sunday Poll: St. Louis Stay at Home Order Good Policy or Overreach?

March 22, 2020 Featured Comments Off on Sunday Poll: St. Louis Stay at Home Order Good Policy or Overreach?
 
Please vote below

Yesterday the leaders of St. Louis City & County issued a joint stay at home order effective Monday:

St. Louis city and county goverments will enact stay-at-home orders beginning Monday, officials said Saturday.

St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson and St. Louis County Executive Sam Page tweeted Saturday that they plan to implement mandatory stay-at-home orders starting Monday.

The restrictions “will ensure that residents can meet their basic needs and that essential services will still be provided,” Krewson and Page said in a joint press release.

Residents will be allowed to go to grocery stores, pharmacies and “take a walk in a public park” in the city and county, they said. 

The order is the result of collaboration with leaders from St. Charles, Franklin and Jefferson counties that are also considering “additional restrictions,” the press release said. (Post-Dispatch)

This is the topic of today’s poll.

This poll will close at 8pm tonight.

— Steve Patterson

St. Louis Has Faced Deadly Epidemics Before

March 20, 2020 Featured, History/Preservation Comments Off on St. Louis Has Faced Deadly Epidemics Before
 

My last three posts had nothing to do with Coronavirus — not an easy task! While I’ve given you a break here it’s nearly impossible to escape news on new infections, closures…and deaths.

Watching the news as this epidemic worsens I’ve been thinking about earlier epidemics St. Louis has faced. Namely the cholera epidemics of 1849 & 1866.

The first known cholera in St. Louis was in 1832. More than 300 people died that summer, and more died during each of the following three summers. However, it was the epidemic of 1849 that wiped out nearly 10 percent of the city’s growing population. That epidemic occurred between April and August. Immigrants were arriving in St. Louis by the steamboat-load, and neither the boats nor the city had any sewer system. The combination was deadly. One source says more than 120 people died of cholera in April. The Missouri Republican newspaper normally reported five or six deaths a week, but during the epidemic, weekly deaths ranged from 150-640. On July 18 alone, 88 burials were reported — not by name, but by how many were buried in each cemetery.

The number of deaths dropped dramatically in August. The official death toll from cholera is 4,317 but is probably not accurate as many people were buried outside the city limits.

While cholera was trying to kill St. Louis with disease, another tragedy struck May 17 of that year that almost wiped out the entire town. (NewsTribune)

Wow, 1849 was a tough year in St. Louis with a fire destroying most buildings and boats plus cholera killing 10% of the population. Fewer were killed in 1866, though still in the thousands.

Prior to 1849 St. Louis leaders realized the need for a rural cemetary beyond the city limits. It opened just in time.

Bellefontaine Cemetary contains many beautiful mausoleum, such as the Wainwright Tomb.

St. Louis was hit by the cholera epidemic in June of 1849, creating an even greater crisis as the death toll rose and land for burials diminished. The city’s rural cemetery, established just prior to the epidemic, could not have been timed more appropriately. By the early part of July, the epidemic had so alarmed the community that everyone who was financially able to do so, except the mayor, fled from St. Louis with their families. By the end of August, a whopping 4,317 people — nearly seven percent of the city’s population — had perished. (Bellefontaine Cemetary)

Glad cholera is a thing of the past….but it’s not.

From October 2018:

Many people think of cholera as a 19th century disease. This is true for high-income countries. But elsewhere, cholera never went away. The current pandemic – the 7th that has been recorded – has been ongoing since 1961. It is the world’s longest running pandemic.

Over the last year, cholera (or suspected cholera) outbreaks have struck in Algeria, Angola, Bangladesh, Burundi, Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, India, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, Niger, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, United Republic of Tanzania, Uganda, Yemen, Zambia, and Zimbabwe, while the long-running outbreak in Haiti continues.

Cholera sickens approximately 2.9 million people every year, and kills 95 000. The disease is endemic in more than 47 countries across the globe. In Africa alone, more than 40 million people live in cholera “hotspots” where outbreaks are a regular occurrence. Factors driving the outbreaks include climate change, forced migration, prolonged conflict, urbanization, population growth, and poor access to health services. Fundamentally though, cholera is the result of a lack of adequate water and sanitation.

Cholera is spread when people consume contaminated food or water. To put it bluntly, cholera spreads when people have no choice but to eat food or drink water that contain faeces. It is an acute diarrhoeal disease that can kill within hours if left untreated. Today more than 2 billion people worldwide drink water from sources contaminated with faeces, and 2.4 billion are without basic sanitation facilities. (World Health Organization)

Ongoing since 1961. Perspective.

Yes, our routines have been changed. Some will face financial hardships. Be thankfully we don’t have feces in our water supply.

And hopefully due to modern science this won’t be as bad as prior epidemics & pandemics.

— Steve Patterson

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