New Book | The Great Uprising: Race Riots in Urban America during the 1960s by Peter B Levy

 

 I was alive during the 1960s…but only the last few years. As such, I have no memory of the many cultural changes that took place between 1960-1970. I asked my oldest brother, 67, about becoming a teenager in the 60s…in our hometown of Oklahoma City. His reply: Race Riots, rampant …

Sunday Poll: More Gun Control or Just Enforce Existing Laws?

 

 Last week’s shooting in Florida has sparked heated debate about solutions to the rising number of mass shootings: More than a dozen school shootings have already occurred so far in 2018. According to non-profit organization Everytown for Gun Safety, a total of 17 shootings have occurred on school campuses across the United States …

St. Louis Board of Aldermen Week 34 of 2017-2018 Session

 

 The St. Louis Board of Aldermen will meet at 10am today, their 34th week of the 2017-2018 session. NEW BOARD BILLS ON THE AGENDA* FOR INTRODUCTION TODAY 2/16/18: *Note that just because a bill is on the agenda doesn’t mean it’ll be introduced, similarly, bills not on the agenda might be introduced …

Readers Would Prefer A Less Commercialized Valentine’s Day

 

 In the recent non-scientific Sunday Poll more than half of the responses supported a more traditional celebration of Valentine’s Day over the current commercialized day. Q: Agree or disagree: Valentine’s Day has become too commercialized, we should return to a traditional celebration. Strongly agree 5 [21.74%] Agree 5 [21.74%] Somewhat agree …

Recent Articles:

St. Louis Board of Aldermen Week 32 of 2017-2018 Session

February 2, 2018 Board of Aldermen, Featured Comments Off on St. Louis Board of Aldermen Week 32 of 2017-2018 Session
 
St. Louis City Hall

The St. Louis Board of Aldermen will meet at 10am today, their 32nd week of the 2017-2018 session.

NEW BOARD BILLS ON THE AGENDA* FOR INTRODUCTION TODAY 2/2/18:

*Note that just because a bill is on the agenda doesn’t mean it’ll be introduced, similarly, bills not on the agenda might be introduced if they suspend the rules to do so. This information is based on the published agenda as of yesterday @ 8am:

  • B.B.#251 – Howard ? An Ordinance establishing a two?way stop site at the intersection of Alfred Street and Bingham Street regulating all traffic traveling northbound and southbound on Alfred Street at Bingham Street, and containing an emergency clause.
  • B.B.#252 – Boyd ? An ordinance recommended by the Board of Public Service authorizing the 2018 St. Louis Works and the 50/50 Sidewalk Programs City Wide, appropriating $5,300,000.00 from the Street Improvement Fund; containing sections for description of the work, approval of plans and specifications, work and material guarantees, estimated costs from City funds and supplemental agreements and reversion authorizations, applicable state and federal wage rate requirements, equal opportunity provisions, the Mayor’s Executive Orders, contract advertising statutes, and a public work emergency clause.
  • B.B.#253 – Roddy ? An ordinance pertaining to parking within “Talmage Residential Parking District”; containing definitions, a penalty clause and an emergency clause.
  • B.B.#254 – Williamson ? An ordinance approving a Redevelopment Plan for 1301 Union.
  • B.B.#255 – Coatar ? An ordinance promoting the use of energy efficient heating through the connection to the Downtown Steam Distribution system; requiring the continual use of the Downtown Steam Distribution System for any development project occurring in Downtown St. Louis seeking Municipal Financial Incentives; prohibiting the Clean Energy Development Board of the City from approving financing for any project that would result in a commercial building disconnecting from or no longer using the Downtown Steam Distribution System for heat; a portion of the net profits be remitted to the SWMDC and containing a severability 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.

— Steve Patterson

One Decade Since My Hemorrhagic Stroke

February 1, 2018 Featured, Steve Patterson Comments Off on One Decade Since My Hemorrhagic Stroke
 
Steve Patterson a week after his stroke.

Ten years ago today I thought I was going to die on my cold concrete bedroom floor. It was the afternoon and I thought I suddenly got a headache. I laid down on the bed then decided to go into the bathroom and take an aspirin. That’s when I realized I wasn’t going to be able to remain standing, so I lowered myself to the floor. I thought I should call 911 but I couldn’t think of where my phone was. I began vomiting…a lot. I pulled the comforter off the bed for some warmth.

I heard my phone ringing, it was in the kitchen. I couldn’t move.

I began realizing that I was likely to die — one month to the day after my dad. I thought about loose ends I hadn’t taken care of. Then I must’ve blacked out. The next morning my close friend Marcia used the emergency key I gave her to check on me. Apparently I was conscious and told her to grab my phone so she could call my brothers.

It was Saturday February 2nd — the big Mardi Gras parade meant the emergency room was busy. Marcia and other friends waited amongst the ill party goers. I was at St. Louis University hospital for more than 3 weeks. In that time I had many visitors, though I was sedated most of the time.

My friends Rich & Andrew, from Seattle & Kansas City, respectively, arrived a week after my stroke. Thankfully Rich documented his visit and my condition.

This is a good place to discuss the types of strokes:

All types have one thing in common: a loss of blood to part of your brain. That causes big problems.

Your brain cells need the oxygen that’s carried by your blood. So when a stroke cuts the supply, some of the cells start to die. And that sets off trouble like memory loss, confusion, and numbness on one side your body.

There are two main types of stroke:

  • Ischemic
  • Hemorrhagic

If you have signs of any of them, call 911 right away. The sooner you get treated, the less likely you are to have long-term effects. (webMD)

Ischemic, caused by a blood clot, is far more common than the type I had, hemorrhagic.

My first memory after February 1st is of waking up on February 25th. I’d been transported to St. Mary’s on Clayton Rd to begin therapy, a cousin and one if my brothers was there. Two trips in an ambulance and I have no memory of either!

On the 25th I had a trachea (voice box) in my throat, initially I thought it was permanent. Even once I knew it was only temporary I would pull it out — nurses had to restrain my right arm to prevent me from interfering. No need for them to strain my left side — I had zero movement. After nearly 41 years as a leftie I would need to become right-handed.

By the 28th I was allowed to eat foods and drink liquids — I had to pass a swallow test first.

Therapy (physical/occupational/speech) should begin within hours/days after a stroke — but it was several weeks in my case. Before leaving St. Mary’s on March 21, 2008 friend Antonio French stopped by to document my progress.

On March 21, 2008 one of my brothers drove me to a now-closed state rehabilitation facility in Mt. Vernon MO. There I continued to work on physical, occupational, and speech therapy. On April 30, 2008 myself and a few others from the St. Louis region were taken to our respective residences.

During these first three months after my stroke I wasn’t sure what my future would be like. I didn’t know I’d be able to live well on a fraction of my prior income. I didn’t know just 5 years later I’d find love. I didn’t know I’d be forced to narrow my focus and rethink my priorities.

Ten years ago today I thought I was going to die — but it was the day I really began to live!

— Steve Patterson

Free Options For Filing Your Taxes

January 31, 2018 Featured, Taxes Comments Off on Free Options For Filing Your Taxes
 

The question in the recent non-scientific Sunday Poll was a bit of a trick. Let’s see the results and then I’ll explain:

Q: How will you file your 2017 taxes?

  • Free File via online software 5 [20%]
  • Free File via fillable forms 0 [0%]
  • Manually on printed forms 1 [4%]
  • Software 7 [28%]
  • Accountant 6 [24%]
  • Service like H&R Block, Liberty Tax Service, etc 5 [20%]
  • N/A — don’t need to file 1 [4%]
  • Unsure/No Answer 0 0%

The IRS’ “Free File” page is largely a listing of 12 different online software sites that offer, to those who qualify, a free option. The criteria varies, for those with an adjusted gross income over $66,000 the IRS offers free fillable forms.

Source: IRS

In the poll those who selected “software” are likely using one of the 12 listed by the IRS, though their incomes may disqualify from using them for free.

The following are the 12 Free File Software Offers:

Free Tax Returns.com
Receive a free Federal return if:

  • Your Adjusted Gross Income is $66,000 or less, AND
  • Your age is 70 or younger, AND
  • Live in any state, except: FL, NV, TN, TX, WA or WY
  • Same criteria apply for free state return(s) for some states

FreeTaxUSA® Totally Free SM
Receive a free Federal return if:

  • Your Adjusted Gross Income is $51,000 or less, AND your age is between 17 and 61
  • Same criteria apply for free state return(s) for any state

1040NOW.NET
Receive a free Federal return if:

  • If your Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) is $66,000 or less
  • You live in one of the following states: AL, AR, AZ, CA, GA, IA, ID, IN, KY, MI, MN, MO, MS, NC, ND, NY, OK, OR, RI, SC, VA, VT or WV

OR

  • Your AGI is $66,000 or less and you are 60 or younger and
  • You live in one of the following states: CO, CT, DC, DE, HI, IL, KS, LA, MA, MD, ME, MT, NE, NJ, NM, OH, PA, UT or WI
  • Same criteria apply when filing with a foreign address

H&R Block’s Free File
Receive a free Federal return if:

  • Your Adjusted Gross Income is $66,000 or less, AND your age is between 17 and 50, OR
  • Same criteria apply when filing with a foreign address
  • Same criteria apply for free state return(s) for any state

eSmart Free File Edition
Receive a free Federal return if:

  • Your Adjusted Gross Income is $66,000 or less, AND your age is 54 or younger

Online Taxes at OLT.com
Receive a free Federal return if:

  • Your Adjusted Gross Income is between $14,000 and $66,000
  • All Ages
  • Same criteria apply when filing with a foreign address
  • Same criteria apply for free state return(s) for any state

1040.com Free File Edition
Receive a free Federal return if:

  • Your Adjusted Gross Income is $60,000 or less, AND your age is 52 or younger, OR
  • You are eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit
  • Same criteria apply when filing with a foreign address
  • Same criteria apply for free state return(s) for any state listed above

TaxSlayer
Receive a free Federal return if:

  • Your Adjusted Gross Income is $66,000 or less AND your age is 52 or younger
  • Same criteria apply when filing with a foreign address
  • Same criteria apply for a free GA state return

TaxAct®Free File
Receive a free Federal return if:

  • Your Adjusted Gross Income is $53,000 or less AND your age is 56 or younger, OR
  • You are eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit
  • Same criteria apply when filing with a foreign address
  • Same criteria apply for free state return(s) for any state

FileYourTaxes.com
Receive a free Federal return if:

  • Adjusted Gross Income is between $9,000 and $66,000 or less, AND your age is between 15 and 65
  • Same criteria apply when filing with a foreign address
  • Same criteria apply for free state return(s) for some states

ezTaxReturn.com
Receive a free Federal return if:

  • Your Adjusted Gross Income is $66,000 or less, AND you live in any of these states: AL, AR, AZ, CA, CO, GA, IL, LA, MA, MD, MI, MO, MS, NC, NJ, NY, OH, PA, SC, VA or WI
  • All Ages

TurboTax ® All Free SM
Receive a free Federal return if:

  • Your Adjusted Gross Income is $33,000 or less, OR
  • You are eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit
  • All Ages
  • Same criteria apply when filing with a foreign address
  • Same criteria apply for free state return(s) for any state

I personally use TurboTax ®, but another might work best for you. Too many choices? The IRS has a tool to help you decide. Out of curiosity I put in our info and it showed me 6 software sites with free federal & state returns, and listed the remaining 6 with free federal only.

With the possibility of another government shutdown next week and scammers filing fraudulent returns I wouldn’t delay.

— Steve Patterson

Our Visit To St. Louis’ Shake Shack

January 29, 2018 Central West End, Featured Comments Off on Our Visit To St. Louis’ Shake Shack
 

I love trying new restaurants, though I usually wait months to give them time to work out any kinks. However, last month my husband really wanted to try the new Shake Shack that opens on Monday December 11, 2017. No way was I willing to brace the cold on opening day, but that Friday I had a few hours between appointments at the Center for Advanced Medicine. That day my husband, a home health aide, would finish with his morning client at 10:30am and had the rest of the day off.

We agreed to meet at Shake Shack for lunch, the first to arrive would get in line.We’d discussed where my husband would park beforehand, both agreeing the Argyle Garage a block North would be the easiest. My first appointment ran longer than expected, though I enjoyed seeing the X-ray of all the metal hardware in my left wrist. The line was around the corner from the Euclid entrance, so on the Pine sidewalk.

11:03am we’re in line.
11:20 we’re in the door, the line now split into 2. I think we got into the slower of the 2. Just glad to be inside where it’s warm.
11:32am: While my husband fished up our order and paid, I went and found a table. I usually like leaving my wheelchair in a corner and sitting in a regular chair, there was no empty space anywhere. A nice person moved to a different table so I could roll up to a 2-seater. It seemed noteworthy the table tops were made from old bowling lanes, which got me thinking about the numerous lanes razed in my 27+ years in St. Louis.
11:39am: my husband returns with our food after the buzzer went off
My Shroom burger looks good — it was excellent
Our lunch was quick & delicious, but $35+? Ouch!
12:05pm: When ew left the line was still around the corner on Pine. In warmer weather they’ll have outdoor seating in the dark area on the right.
The Euclid view with work still being done on the sidewalk and building. While we were eating the building’s fire alarm went off, which can happen during construction.

Before visiting Shake Shack I argued it was kinda a big deal. Even though I don’t see us going back anytime soon because of the high cost, I still think it’s a big deal. A restaurant from an international chain in a mixed-use building with no parking lot is a very good thing.

The weekend before we did our annual December visit to Crown Candy Kitchen — another place where you have to wait in line — for a table. We each had a sandwich with a huge shake — our bill with tax and 20% tip was $28. Our eating out budget isn’t big, so I’d rather patronize places where I know the owner than one I can buy stock in.

I’d like to see more local places learn from the big guys:

  • List calories on their menu
  • Have smartphone apps to place to-go orders
  • Though I like servers, consider the order first model. Yes, local places like Porano Pasta do this.

We may return to Shake Shack this Spring or Summer so we can enjoy our expensive meal outdoors while people watching. Perhaps in the evening so I don’t feel as bad about spending nearly $35.

— Steve Patterson

Sunday Poll: How Will You File Your Taxes?

January 28, 2018 Featured, Sunday Poll, Taxes Comments Off on Sunday Poll: How Will You File Your Taxes?
 
Please vote below

The federal government is reopened. at least temporarily, so the IRS will be anticipating your 2017 tax return. The tax season begins tomorrow:

Although the IRS will begin accepting both electronic and paper tax returns on January 29, 2018, paper tax returns will be processed later, in mid-February, as system updates continue. The IRS strongly encourages people to file their tax returns electronically for faster refunds

The filing deadline to submit 2017 tax returns is April 17, 2018.  That’s because April 15 falls on a Sunday in 2018. That would normally result in a move to the following Monday (April 16, 2018). However, Emancipation Day falls on Monday, April 16 this year. Since that’s a legal holiday in the District of Columbia, the tax filing deadline will be pushed ahead for all individual taxpayers to Tuesday, April 17, 2018. (Forbes)

In years past I’ve had to file extensions, now I file as soon as I get all our W-2s & 1099s. Today’s poll isn’t about when you’ll file — but how you’ll file. The options are numerous:

The answers above are presented in a random order. this poll will close at 8pm tonight.

— Steve Patterson

 

 

Advertisement



FACEBOOK POSTS

Archives

Categories

Advertisement


Subscribe