More Frequent Bus Service Should Begin Next Year

 

 A year from now transit service in St. Louis City & County will likely be different than it is today. Metro, AKA Bi-State, has held informational meetings and hearings on their new plan they call Metro Reimagined. Light rail (MetroLink) will be largely the same, the plan focuses on the …

Sunday Poll: Was the Greitens Affair Consensual?

 

 Last week a special House committee released a report on its investigation into the affair Eric Greitens had before he became Missouri’s governor: He blindfolded and bound a woman to exercise equipment, spanked her, and tried to kiss her without her consent. Those are among the scandalous allegations against Gov. …

Pruitt-Igoe’s William Igoe Died 65 Years Ago; St. Louis Board of Aldermen Started New Session This Week

 

 Sixty five years ago today the person for whom the intended white section of failed Pruitt-Igoe public housing project was named died at age 73: William Leo Igoe (October 19, 1879 – April 20, 1953) was a United States Representative from Missouri. Igoe was born in St. Louis to Irish immigrants. He attended the public and parochial schools …

A Decade Since Developer Pyramid Construction Collapsed; Guidelines Needed for Development Incentives

 

 A decade ago I was about four hours from St. Louis, still in a rehab hospital after my February 1st stroke. I got a call from a friend, a former Pyramid Construction employee, telling me he heard the heavily-leveraged company was shutting down that day. I immediately called someone still employed at …

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Sunday Poll: Should St. Louis End Development Incentives?

April 15, 2018 Featured, Sunday Poll Comments Off on Sunday Poll: Should St. Louis End Development Incentives?
 
Please vote below

Today’s poll is about the controversial topic of incentives to spur development. In December 2017 a report from Comptroller Darlene Green said, for the 2017 fiscal year that ended in June, tax abatements resulted in forgoing about $17 million dollars in revenue — St. Louis only receives about 19% of property taxes.

St. Louis municipal operations, therefore, did not receive about $3.3 million in property taxes that property owners would have paid last fiscal year absent the incentives. The school district missed out on about $10.3 million. The remainder would have gone to other tax-supported entities, such as the Zoo-Museum District, the St. Louis Public Library and the Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District.

For the city, the forgone revenue is a drop in the bucket of its $1 billion budget. And economic development officials argue that tax abatement can help revitalize distressed properties, potentially attracting new residents who also pay city sales taxes and earnings taxes to make up for the property tax break. (Post-Dispatch)

So here’s today’s poll question:

This poll will close automatically at 8pm tonight. Wednesday I’ll share my thoughts and the non-scienitific results.

— Steve Patterson

 

 

Our First Visit to Mau Haus Cat Cafe & Lounge

April 13, 2018 Featured, Local Business, Retail, St. Louis County Comments Off on Our First Visit to Mau Haus Cat Cafe & Lounge
 

Last weekend David and I were going to be in Maplewood, so we decided to visit Mau Haus — a cat cafe & lounge. We have some food & beverage while spending an hour in a room with 18 cats and about 15 strangers. It was a wonderful time, we’re ready to go back. You’re probably asking yourself what a cat cafe is…

A cat cafe is a combination of all things good; cats, coffee, and a relaxing cafe environment. You can relax and pet cats, and it’s great socialization for them too! The cats are adoptable, which means if you fall in love, you can apply to take them home!

A cat cafe is perfect for cat lovers who need a feline fix. Whether you can’t have cats at home, or you’ve already got some and are looking for more, we’ve always got great cats here!

We partner with Stray Haven Rescue for all adoptable cats at the cafe. All cats are up to date on shots, spayed / neutered, and microchipped. Learn more about their mission and how you can get involved here. (Mau Haus contact page)

The space is a typical urban corner storefront. Because they don’t wan the cats to get out the old main entrance is now an emergency exit only. The side entry is the only public entry — and it’s wheelchair accessible. There are no cats in the ordering section or kitchen. After you’ve signed the waiver, ordered, and space is available you go through the double door vestibule into the main area.

Inside Mau Haus the cats can climb on many areas designed just for them
This is Loreli — one of two resident cats. Click image to see the adoptable cats and Loreli’s brother Taylor — he’s huge!
The bookcase wall lacks books but it does have steps and holes for the cats
While she were there one cat climbed way up top by the front window
David takung a pic of one cat that jumped up on our table.
Crates near the entrance had new adoptable cats getting acclimated ro other cats, humans, etc.

Mau Haus is located at 3101 Sutton Blvd in Maplewood.  Note that reservations are recommended:

Reservations to spend time in the cafe are highly encouraged. We do allow walk-ins, but it’s likely that you will have to wait for a spot to open up. There is a minimum spend or donation of $5 for all walk ins. A reservation ensures that there will be a spot waiting for you!

There is a $10 per person reservation fee that gets you an hour in the lounge. It helps us cover the cost of maintaining the cat lounge and caring for the cats. As a bonus, you will get a free beverage (per person) and 20% off any food or additional beverages purchased. (Man Haus reservations page)

Just being in this space with strangers and lots of friendly cats was very relaxing, we’re looking forward to going again. We told our neighbor down the hall when we saw them at the elevator. Her first question was “does it smell?” No, the entire place smells like any cafe and the place was just as clean.

— Steve Patterson

Race For St. Louis County Executive Will Be Decided On August 7th

April 11, 2018 Featured, Politics/Policy, St. Louis County Comments Off on Race For St. Louis County Executive Will Be Decided On August 7th
 
Northwest Plaza is part of the debate in this race, September 2013 photo

Despite seven candidates from four political parties, the race for St. Louis County Executive will be decided in the August 7th primary — between the well-funded incumbent and the well-funded newcomer — both Democrats. Only some sort of scandal after the primary would mean one of the other three might win.

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

Q: Seven candidates are running to become the next St. Louis County Executive, which one would you LIKE to see win in November 2018?

  • Mark Mantovani (D) 9 [45%]
  • Steve Stenger (D) 6 [30%]
  • Daniel Sampson (R) 2 [10%]
  • 3-WAY TIE:  1 [5%]
    • Paul Berry, III (R)
    • Nicholas (Nick) Kasoff (L)
    • Bill Ray (D)
  • Andrew Ostrowski (C) 0 [0%]

After the poll began I realized I forgot to include “unsure” option, resulting in lower than usual responses.

Hopefully voters will research all the candidates, attend debates, and really know each before voting. Hat tip to Andrew Ostrowski — the only one of the seven to contact me after the poll concluded.

— Steve Patterson

We Bought a Newer Car With Lots of Technology

April 9, 2018 Featured, Transportation Comments Off on We Bought a Newer Car With Lots of Technology
 
The 2007 Honda Civic EX we bought in April 2014.

Last month my husband David and I bought a newer used car to replace the 2007 Civic EX we bought four years ago, see No Longer Car-Free.  This is my 15th car in the 35 years I’ve been driving. I’ve seen a lot of new automotive technology be introduced end become mainstream.

I took my drivers exam in 1983 in my mom’s 1974 Dodge Dart. It had manual windows, door locks. I don’t think it even had a right side mirror. It was 9 years old but it seemed ancient. At 15 I bought a 1974 Mustang II  — sold it before I turned 16. After I got my license I began driving my brother’s 1971 Dodge Demon — nothing like today’s Demon.

Here’s a summary of when I got new automotive technology

  • 1983: power seat & moonroof in a 1975 Mercury Monarch
  • 1984: power windows, flip up sunroof in a 1979 Ford Fairmont Futura
  • 1986: manual transmission, front wheel drive in a 1984 Dodge Colt (Mitsubishi)
  • 1993: central locking, manual steel sunroof, turbo, 4 wheel disc brakes, fuel injection in a 1987 Volvo 740 Turbo
  • 1998: Side marker  turn signals on two 1986 Saab 900S — one S 4-door and one Turbo 3-door
  • 2000: ABS brakes, airbags, remote locks in a 2000 VW Golf
  • 2004: All wheel drive in a 1999 Audi A4 Avant

There were many more cars, but they didn’t offer any new technology that I hadn’t had before. Basically new cars have added one or two new things. Last month we got lots of new tech all at once.

Our newish car in front of Broadway Oyster Bar

Our 2015 Sonata is the top trim level — Limited — with both optional packages: tech & ultimate. The only option ours doesn’t have is a more powerful turbo engine.

We first saw this car at the 2015 Chicago Auto Show. The primary feature we wanted was memory seat & mirrors.  Since we share one car we’ve spent the last 4 years adjusting the driver’s seat and both mirrors each time we get into the car after the other drove it.  Competition like the top level Accord has had a memory seat since 2013, but no memory mirrors even in 2018 models.  The Camry still doesn’t have either.

David has experienced many of these before via Enterprise CarShare and rental cars. For me, these are very new:

  • Proximity “key” allows me to open car doors without removing the fob from my pocket. Approaching the locked trunk and waiting a few seconds will open the trunk lid. Some cars require you to wave a foot under the back of the car — I couldn’t physically do that. Inside the fob stays in my pocket. This lets me use my one good hand to worry about my cane.
  • On a related note, when you press the off button the seat moves back to give you more room to exit — very helpful for me.
  • Still adjusting to the back up camera and how the rear view mirrors tilt down while in reverse.
  • The rear cross traffic alert is helpful when backing out of parking spaces. It detects vehicles and pedestrians.
  • The blind spot detection warning is amazing. Whenever a vehicle is in a blind spot an orange light displays on the appropriate side mirror. If you signal to get into a lane with someone in the blind spot the car beeps at you. Last year we test drove a 2013 Honda Accord EX-L with Lane Watch. We weren’t impressed with Honda’s blind spot system — nothing on the left and for the right you don’t look at the right mirror — you look at the center screen to see if there’s a car. Huh?
  • Lane departure warning is good on well marked roads when it’s dry out.
  • Front collision warning will beep at you to stop before hitting something in front of you. David says it went off when a car changed lanes right in front of the car in front of him. Impressive. What baffles mw is Hyundai didn’t include emergency braking in case the driver doesn’t hit the brakes in time — this was added the next year.
  • I used the adaptive cruise control for the first time yesterday — driving to/from St. Charles, Remarkable.  While using the cruise control it van automatically stop the car, so I’m told.

For more on my first time driving this car see a feature on Curbed.

The amount of new tech is a bit overwhelming. The list above isn’t complete, there is more. As I get more miles behind the wheel I’ll post addition thoughts. I’ll also compare the car to competition and tech offered from other manufacturers. In addition to lacking emergency braking, I wish it had start/stop technology. The hybrid version of the current generation Sonata didn’t come out until the next year, 2016. When we replace this car in about 5 years I hope to get a plug-in hybrid.

— Steve Patterson

Sunday Poll: Which of the Seven Candidates for St. Louis County Executive Would You LIKE to Win in November 2018?

April 8, 2018 Featured, Politics/Policy, St. Louis County Comments Off on Sunday Poll: Which of the Seven Candidates for St. Louis County Executive Would You LIKE to Win in November 2018?
 
Please vote below

You’ve likely been seeing political commercials in the race for St. Louis County Executive. The primary for Republican & Democratic candidates will be held August 7th — just over 3 months from now. We already know the unchallenged Libertarian & Constitution candidates will win their primaries.

The seven candidates from four political parties, listed in alphabetical order:

Today’s poll asks which of these seven candidates you’d like to see win in November. Not who you think will win — who you’d like to see win.

This poll will close automatically at 8pm, but will be closed earlier if voting irregularities are detected — such as campaigns to make a candidate the winer by emailing supporters to vote in the poll.

— Steve Patterson

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