15th Annual Look at St. Louis’ Dr. Martin Luther King Drive

 

 This is my 15th annual look at St. Louis’ Dr. Martin Luther King Drive, but my first as a resident living North of the street named for the civil rights leader. It’s hard not to get depressed by the lack of investment in this corridor. — Steve Patterson

Sunday Poll: Should Leaders Prioritize St. Louis’ Central Corridor?

 

 The City of St. Louis stretches a long distance from the Northern-most tip to the Southern-most tip, following the curve of the Mississippi River. St. Louis radiated out in all directions from its starting point on the riverfront, but the most coherent and focust development happened along a spine running …

St. Louis Board of Aldermen: New Board Bills Week 29 of 2018-2019 Session

 

 The St. Louis Board of Aldermen will meet at 10am today, their 29th meeting of the 2018-2019 session. Two bills were introduced last week that weren’t on version 1 or 2 of that agenda.  See BB 220 (Redevelopment Plan for 5467-5559 Delmar) and BB 221 (Redevelopment Plan for 5539-5551 Pershing) Today’s agenda includes ten …

Readers Mixed on Road Conditions Following Snow Storm

 

 I left our new apartment briefly Friday morning, before the snow arrived, using power wheelchair. I didn’t leave again until Sunday morning, driving our car this time. On Sunday we went to Creve Coeur, Brentwood, and a few other places. By then roads were generally acceptable, but I can imagine …

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

September 21, 2018 Board of Aldermen, Featured Comments Off on St. Louis Board of Aldermen: New Board Bills Week 16 of 2018-2019 Session
 
St. Louis City Hall

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, or their representative, who is being honored by the Board of Aldermen through a Resolutionon that day’s meeting agenda, and such honoree’s immediatefamily members and friends, and immediate family members of the members of Board of Aldermen.
  • B.B.#117 – Arnowitz – An Ordinance authorizing and directing the Director of the Department of Human Services, by and through the St. Louis Area Agency on Aging and, to accept funding from the Missouri Association of Area Agencies on Aging (in the amount of $120,000 over the next Five fiscal years. The amount for the current fiscal year is $30,000.) and to expend those funds for the 2018 Anthem Commercial Care Transition Project as set forth in the PCHP, LLC, Statement of Work to the Grant Award Agreement; and containing an Emergency Clause.
  • B.B.#118 – Spencer – An ordinance approving a Redevelopment Plan for 3520-3522 Arkansas.
  • Res.#119 – Kennedy – An ordinance authorizing and directing the Director of Public Safety, on behalf of the Mayor and the City, to enter into and execute an Intergovernmental Agreement with the United States Marshal Service for housing and related services for United States Marshal detainees housed within the Division of Corrections, providing for appropriation of these funds paid by the United States Marshals Service in accordance with the Intergovernmental Agreement, authorizing the expenditure of such appropriated funds by entering into contracts or otherwise upon approval of the Board of Estimate and Apportionment, and containing an 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

Opinion: We Must Demand Less Waste Be Produced

September 19, 2018 Environment, Featured Comments Off on Opinion: We Must Demand Less Waste Be Produced
 
We use yard/leaf bags for recycling, pinned on the wall is guidelines from our recycling company.

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 to drag out to the curb. In the 30 years since I’ve lived on my own I’ve tried to recycle more and more.

Sorting used to be the thing, then single stream. Now a common word is contamination.

Today, the average contamination rate among communities and businesses sits at around 25%. That means that roughly 1 in 4 items placed in a recycling container is actually not recyclable through curbside programs, and this creates enormous problems for the recycling economy.

Problem one: contamination significantly increases the cost to process recyclables. Add this to the fact that commodity prices for recyclables has fallen significantly and the financial sustainability of recycling is at risk. To put another way, not only are plastics lighter, and packaging more complex, recyclables derived from those items are being sold for less and at a higher cost to process. Those are some big economic hurdles.

Problem two: Recycling contamination has a direct impact in the quality of recyclables entering the commodity markets. For example, when foods or liquids are placed in a recycling container they will ultimately saturate tons and tons of otherwise good paper and cardboard that they come into contact with. When paper and cardboard loses its quality, it also loses its ability to be recycled. It becomes trash.

Now, imagine that all taking place at an enormous scale, and not just with food and liquids but with all contaminants. Trash entering the recycling stream impacts the quality of recyclables entering the commodity markets. The higher the recycling contamination, the less we can recycle – that is the challenge we are all facing, and it is a global problem.

In response to these quality issues, China – a major importer of recyclables – recently issued new rules on the types of materials it will accept, including a 0.5% max on recycling contamination. That means that the 25% contamination rate we see today at the curb must reach virtually zero for those items to be recycled. Anything above that 0.5% contamination will be trash. (Waste Management)

China’s decision to no longer purchase & process our contaminated materials means recycling must change. We must adapt to this change.  In May the St. Charles County Council rejected a proposed trash transfer center.  Besides, landfills are filling up quickly.

One of the first things you can do is attempt to reduce recycling/waste by buying products in minimal packaging. Buying larger sizes of something will reduce the total packaging needed. Buy large refill bottles. Buy spices in refill packages rather than a new plastic/glass bottle.

Those rare times we have a pizza box, my husband has the pleasure of cutting out the greasy cardboard so the non-greasy parts (lid, sides) can be recycled. Sure it’s extra work, but by doing so more than half will be recyclable.  We have stainless steel straws for when we go out for shakes, not using straws otherwise.

Still plastics remains a major problem. A costly experimental effort is underway to begin to reduce the size of one of the five floating garbage patches in the world’s oceans.

We need to gather the political will to do better:

Legislators could make laws that incentivize and facilitate recycling, like the national bottle deposit and bag tax bills that were proposed in 2009. These bills would have created a nationwide five-cent deposit on plastic bottles and other containers, and a nonrefundable five-cent charge on plastic bags at checkout. The U.K. launched a similar charge on all single-use grocery bags in 2015 and announced a nationwide bottle deposit requirement in March of this year. Within six months of the plastic bag charge being in place, usage dropped over 80 percent. Similarly, in Germany, where a nationwide bottle bill was put in place in 2003, recycling rates have exceeded 98 percent. In the U.S. these actions would go a long way toward recovering the estimated $8 billion yearly economic opportunity cost of plastic waste. (Scientific American)

Those who profit from plastics, however, don’t want anything to change.  You might be thinking “What could replace plastics?” Mushrooms!

From 2010:

Companies are now beginning to use regional agricultural byproducts to reduce the use of plastics in their packaging & products:

Mushroom-based packaging went mainstream when the furniture giant, IKEA, announced that it will replace Styrofoam packaging with EcoCradle for all its products. Ecocradle decomposes within weeks as against Styrofoam packaging that can take centuries to decompose. Moreover, it’s cost-effective to produce and almost as durable as plastic. Ecocradle has also proved to be as insulating and flame-resistant as polystyrene. IKEA’s ingenious initiative is bound to be a motivating factor for other commercial outfits that aim to give back to the society and environment where they exist. IKEA’s Head of Sustainability, Joanna Yarrow, said this was the retailer’s small yet significant step towards reducing waste and conserving ecological balance. Dell, Coca Cola, P&G, and many other brands have switched to eco-friendly alternative packaging. (Medium)

I love the idea of tossing packaging into a compost pile to decompose instead of into the trash/recycling.

Here are the results of the recent non-scientific Sunday Poll:

Q: Agree or disagree: Recycling is too much trouble to bother with.

  • Strongly agree: 3 [10.34%]
  • Agree: 2 [6.9%]
  • Somewhat agree: 1 [3.45%]
  • Neither agree or disagree: 0 [0%]
  • Somewhat disagree: 3 [10.34%]
  • Disagree: 5 [17.24%]
  • Strongly disagree: 15 [51.72%]
  • Unsure/No Answer: 0 [0%]

As cities in the St. Louis region scramble to maintain recycling we need to do our part by demanding stricter laws on the production of plastics, let manufactures know they need to reduce/eliminate plastics.  If we don’t adapt quickly the recycling will begin piling up — before being dumped into dwindling landfills.

— Steve Patterson

 

From Municipal Auditorium to Enterprise Center

September 17, 2018 Downtown, Featured Comments Off on 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.

Opened in 1934 as the Municipal Opera House/Municipal Auditorium, the building was bounded by Market on the North, Clark on the South, 14th on the East and 15th on the West. This 1934 photo was by Charles Trefts, click image for source.

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 quickly renamed after him.

The arena, completed in 1934, at a cost of $6 million, seated 9,300 and was built by Fruin-Colnon Construction. It was originally named the Municipal Auditorium, but was renamed in honor of former St. Louis Mayor Henry Kiel in 1943. A unique feature of the auditorium was that it was split into two; the front of the building was the Kiel Opera House. It was possible to use both sides at once as the stages were back to back. President Harry Truman gave a speech there in which both sides were opened to see his speech. (Wikipedia)

Both sides of the Kiel closed in 1991 as the auditorium portion on the South was demolished to make way for a new sports arena.

In 1992/3 the convention hall at the back was razed to construct a new sports arena

Construction on the new Kiel Center moved quickly.

The arena opened in 1994 to replace Kiel Auditorium, where the Saint Louis University college basketball team had played, which was torn down in December 1992. The Blues had played in the St. Louis Arena prior to moving into Kiel Center in 1994; however, they would not play in the arena until January 1995 due to the lockout that delayed the start of the 1994-95 season. The first professional sports match was played by the St. Louis Ambush, an indoor soccer team. (Wikipedia)

The city, via the Treasurer’s office, built a parking garage to the West.

Today it’s still called Kiel Center Parking.

Meanwhile, a new company was formed in the St. Louis region.

Savvis was founded in November 1995 under the name DiamondNet by CTO/COO Timothy Munro Roberts and CEO Andrew Gladney. The two had met in the St. Louis area in 1994 where both lived, with Roberts working for a computer store and Gladney a customer. Gladney put up the initial capital ($600,000 or $1 million, according to different sources) for a 75% stake in the startup, with Roberts’ stake the remaining 25%.

Gary Zimmerman, recruited by Roberts from SBC Communications Inc. to become Vice President of Engineering at Savvis in November 1995, built out Robert’s first national network design. The original network design was unique within the industry at the time it became fully operational, and there was significant coverage and discussion in the trade press regarding both the network and its architect, Roberts. In 2001, the last year in which Robert’s original design was in use, Savvis was ranked the #1 fastest Backbone Network by Keynote Systems, an independent network ratings service. (Wikipedia)

After being acquired by another company in 1999 it was spun out on its own in 2000. That year Savvis inked a 20 year deal for the naming rights — making the Kiel Center the Savvis Center.  However, in 2006 they changed their minds:

The agreement had been set to expire in 2020. But Savvis paid $5.5 million to back out of the deal.

Savvis says the Kiel Center Partners still have the option to keep Savvis’s name on the arena.

The company says it is not having cash flow problems.

Savvis had originally agreed to pay $62 million in annual installments for the naming rights. (St. Louis Public Radio)

That same year, 2006, the RFT named former Savvis CEO Robert McCormick as Best Local Boy Gone Bad:

Hometown network provider Savvis Inc.’s stock price may have been in free-fall, but that didn’t stop Robert McCormick from rolling high. During a 2003 outing to a Manhattan strip club, the lusty CEO and father of three allegedly racked up a $241,000 tab on his corporate AmEx card and then, when the bill came due, welshed. McCormick, who’d ultimately tender his resignation over the matter, didn’t deny visiting the New York pleasure dome on the night in question but insisted he couldn’t have spent more than $20,000. And ever- attentive to the line between business and pleasure, the CEO never asked Savvis to reimburse him for the trip. (RFT)

Savvis’ stock value was also related to the end of the naming rights deal, apparently they paid for the rights in stock. Savvis is still local, now a subsidiary of a Louisiana-based company.

Looking north toward the Scottrade Center at 14th & Clark

In September 2006 local brokerage firm Scottrade stepped in to rename the facility Scottrade Center. After a decade Scottrade announced it was being acquired by Omaha-based TD Ameritrade. By September 2017 TD Ameritrade completed the acquisition of Clayton-based Scottrade. No surprise, a company from Omaha Nebraska isn’t going to keep paying to sponsor a facility in another city.

St. Louis-based Enterprise had been looking to sponsor a local sports facility:

Enterprise’s National Car Rental brand was slated to be the sponsor of the proposed St. Louis riverfront football stadium in 2015 as National Car Rental Field. The St. Louis Rams football team ultimately moved to Los Angeles and the football stadium was never built. The 20-year naming rights agreement would have been worth $158 million. (Post-Dispatch)

After the Blue’s and Enterprise announced the deal in May 2018 the Scottrade name was quickly removed.

September 1st very little had changed, an Enterprise banner had been added on the SW corner but smaller sponsors remained, though one was covered.
On September 6th the names of smaller sponsors were being removed.
And Enterprise Center was installed.

The current deal is for 15 years — until 2033. Will Enterprise still be a St. Louis company? Hopefully private ownership and long family roots will keep the company here. I’d say the odds are good this 15-year deal will last until the end.

— Steve Patterson

 

Sunday Poll: Is Recycling Worth The Trouble?

September 16, 2018 Environment, Featured, Sunday Poll Comments Off on Sunday Poll: Is Recycling Worth The Trouble?
 
Please vote below

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 imported recyclables have demanded that the materials have very, very little contamination, or in the case of paper, that it is processed into pulp before reaching their shores. 

Typically, contamination is a people issue. Plastic or paper with food remnants on it — like your greasy pizza box — cannot be recycled because those contaminants would mess up the refining process.

Contamination levels in America are at 25 percent right now, meaning 1 out 4 items in a recycling bin should actually be thrown in the trash, according to Waste Management. But China wants the contamination levels down to 0.3 percent, which is effectively code for “we will not be accepting any imported recyclable materials.” (Mashable)

Kirkwood, a suburb of St. Louis, had decided to end its curbside recycling program after it learned rather than making money on each ton — it would now be charged.

After residents complained about the plan to end curbside recycling, city officials pledged on Thursday to continue the program, which had been set to end next month.
Bill Bensing, public services director, said the city would use sanitation department reserve funds to sustain the current single-stream recycling program and absorb extra costs for six to 12 months until more economical, sustainable alternatives are found. Kirkwood, unlike many other cities, operates its own sanitation department.
Single-stream recycling allows a variety of recyclables — plastic, cardboard, paper and aluminum — to be mingled together in a single residential cart. (Post-Dispatch)

Today’s poll is about — you guessed it — recycling.

This poll will close at 8pm tonight, I’ll have the results and thoughts on Wednesday morning.

— Steve Patterson

St. Louis Board of Aldermen: New Board Bills Week 15 of 2018-2019 Session

September 14, 2018 Board of Aldermen, Featured Comments Off on St. Louis Board of Aldermen: New Board Bills Week 15 of 2018-2019 Session
 
St. Louis City Hall

The St. Louis Board of Aldermen will meet at 10am today, the 15th meeting of the 2018-2019 session.

Today’s agenda (version 1 as of 10am yesterday includes seven (7) new bills:

  • B.B.#109 – Muhammad – An Ordinance for the creation of a disconnected youth task force to study the obstacles to education and employment to disconnected youth in the City, and requiring said task force to compile a report of their findings and recommendations to be submitted to the Mayor and a Board of Aldermen standing committee to be designated by the President of the Board of Aldermen, within one (1) year following the first meeting of the task force.
  • B.B.#110 – Williamson -An ordinance recommended by the Board of Estimate and Apportionment authorizing the issuance and delivery of not to exceed Fifty Million Dollars ($50,000,000) principal amount of General Obligation Bonds, series 2018,
    for the purposes of paying the costs of the project and the costs of issuance of such bonds, all for the general welfare, safety, and benefit of the citizens of the City; containing a severability clause; and containing an emergency clause.
  • B.B.#111 – Howard – An Ordinance recommended by the Planning Commission, to change the zoning of property as indicated onthe District Map, from “A” Single-Family Dwelling District and “F” Neighborhood Commercial to the “F” NeighborhoodCommercial District, in City Block 5177 (5347-53 Nottingham); and containing an emergency clause.
  • B.B.#112 – Coatar – An Ordinance establishing a three-way stop site at the intersection of Missouri Avenue and Ann Avenue regulating all traffic traveling southbound on Missouri at Ann and regulating all traffic traveling eastbound and westbound on Ann at Missouri, and containing an emergency clause.
  • B.B.#113 – Vollmer – An ordinance approving a Redevelopment Plan for the 3201 Morgan Ford.
  • B.B.#114 – Davis – An ordinance approving a Redevelopment Plan for 2811-15 Locust.
  • B.B.#115 – Kennedy – An ordinance approving a Redevelopment Plan for 408 – 410 N. Sarah.

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

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