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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New Cafe Will Train Disabled Persons For Work In Hospitality Industry

April 6, 2018 Featured Comments Off on New Cafe Will Train Disabled Persons For Work In Hospitality Industry
 

Very likely many of you have had periods of unemployment — you get your resume out there and get a new job. For disabled Americans it isn’t as easy, resulting in a significantly higher rate of unemployment — or, conversely, a lower rate of employment:

The portion of working-age disabled Americans who are employed averaged 29.3% last year, up from 26.8% in 2013, figures from the Labor Department and Moody’s Analytics show. That’s still far lower than the 73.5% of non-disabled Americans who were working, though the latter has not increased as sharply. The unemployment rate for disabled people is 8.8%, down from 16.9% in 2011, but more than double the U.S. jobless rate. (USA Today)

The problems are numerous — just getting in the door to gain needed experience can be difficult. To address this need Paraquad, through a Missouri Foundation for Health grant, has opened a new cafe.

The Bloom Café is a social enterprise of Paraquad, The Disability Experts, designed to help people with disabilities prepare for employment. The program has three stages:

  1. Training Program: Students complete a 12-week, skills-based curriculum where they study topics, such as food handling and preparation, and learn soft skills, such as .customer service and workplace etiquette.
  2. Paid Internship: Students progress to a short-term paid internship in the Bloom Café and other restaurants to build skills and experience.
  3. Job Placement: When interns are job-ready, Paraquad assists them in finding and maintaining jobs in the community.

Paraquad believes that everyone should be able to live and work independently. At The Bloom Café, we help make that possible. Students in our program take the first steps in building a career.(The Bloom Café)

Paraquad held the ribbon cutting on the first day of Spring — very appropriate.

The building that houses The Bloom Café and Paraquad was built in 1972. Paraquad has occupied the West end of the building for years, but Horner & Shifrin’s main office was on the East end until they moved near Union Station.
Inside Bloom Café has a contemporary feel, the space is flooded with natural light.
The primary facade faces North toward I-64 and Forest Park.
Like many places, you order at the front counter.
I got a selfie with Paraquad board chair, Paralympian, and former neighbor Kerri Morgan. I first met Kerri at Paraquad in early 2007 — before I became disabled from my stroke. Click photo to view the Wikipedia entry on her.

I wasn’t able to stay to try out any of the food the morning of the opening, but I will return soon to try it. Bloom Café is open for breakfast & lunch Monday-Saturday.  It is conveniently located at 5200 Oakland Ave — between the Science Center and Forest Park Community College.

As mentioned above, the building was built in 1972 — nearly 2 decades before the American’s with Disabilities Act of 1990. Because we tend to design only for automobiles —  unless forced to consider pedestrians — there was no pedestrian route from the public sidewalk into any building entrance. The only option for pedestrians. like me, who arrived via public transit was to risk getting hit in the auto driveway. I’ve given Paraquad trouble about them not having corrected this.

November 2010
March 2012

So I was very happy to see they finally corrected the 1972 design.

A new walk now leads you from the public sidewalk/bus stop to Paraquad’s entry on the West side of the building.
The old straight-in parking has changed to angled parking to give room for a walkway between the building and parked cars.
To reach a ramp was added along Oakland Ave at the bus stop.

I’m very glad to see this change — still thousands of other properties that also need to be updated. We also need to stop building like this — an example is the Starbucks on Chippewa.

 

— Steve Patterson

Opinion: Region Needs A Major Restructuring

April 4, 2018 Featured, STL Region Comments Off on Opinion: Region Needs A Major Restructuring
 
The last time anyone looked at the region was Harland Bartholomew’s 1947 plan, which called for 25 airports un the St, Louis region!

The recent non-scientific Sunday Poll was about a statewide vote to change the Missouri constitution to let the City of St. Louis back into St. Louis County. If you didn’t figure it out, it was an April Fool’s Day joke. The issue, however, is no joke.

Given the St. Louis metropolitan area is falling behind other regions in growth I don’t think doing nothing is a sound strategy.The entire region needs to act quickly or we’ll continue dropping in rankings of metropolitan areas. We’re good at lip service and doing little things that don’t change the big picture — just give us the illusion we’re progressing.

It’s time to end the fragmentation that exists on both sides of the river. Redraw political boundaries so the region can compete. We’ve got to attract immigrates and others to the region — not just get people to leave St. Louis City & County for St. Charles County.

Politicians must give up their little fiefdoms, which is why the needed change probably won’t happen.

Here are the results from the AFD poll:

Q: Agree or disagree: Missouri voters will approve Constitutional Amendment A on August 7th, placing St. Louis back inside St. Louis County

  • Strongly agree 4 [12.5%]
  • Agree 3 [9.38%]
  • Somewhat agree 8 [25%]
  • Neither agree or disagree 3 [9.38%]
  • Somewhat disagree 1 [3.13%]
  • Disagree 3 [9.38%]
  • Strongly disagree 6 [18.75%]
  • Unsure/No Answer 4 [12.5%]

Please…someone prove me wrong.

— Steve Patterson

St. Louis’ First Public School Opened 180 Years Ago Today

April 2, 2018 Education, Featured, History/Preservation Comments Off on St. Louis’ First Public School Opened 180 Years Ago Today
 
Couldn’t find an image of the first school, so here’d an early school:
Dumas Public School was located on Lucas just west of 14th, all razed when 14th was extended to Washington. Sanborn map via UMSL Digital Library

Free public education in St. Louis began 180 years ago today — 74 years after the city was founded:

The city was founded by the French in Spanish territory in 1764. French fur traders Pierre Laclede and Auguste Chouteau founded St. Louis on high land just below the confluence of the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers. (Explore St. Louis)

The city’s population in 1830 was 4,977, but by 1840 was 16,469:

The children of St. Louis responded for the first time to the call of a public school bell. Private schools had long operated in the city, but until the Spring of 1838 there was no free general education. Land grants for schools were provided through the Louisiana cession and a board of school trustees was formed in 1817.Confusion over titles of the so-called “school lands” delayed the establishment of a school for several years. In 1831 a new school board was organized under an act of the Missouri legislature, and in 1837 plans were completed for two schoolhouses.

The first, Laclede Primary School at Fourth and Spruce streets, opened its doors April 2, providing elementary education for both boys and girls, and requiring tuition only from those who could afford to pay. The second school opened a few days later, and in 1841 the Benton School followed. Male teachers received a salary of $900 per year and female teachers received $500. (St. Louis Day by Day by Francis Hurd Stadler, page 62)

Well. poor white kids were now getting a basic education in this time before the Civil War. Keep in mind St. Louis University was founded two decades earlier, in 1818 — so only those who could afford private schools would’ve attended for decades. Washington University in St. Louis, also private, was founded 15 years after the first public school, in 1853.

I wanted to know more so I began searching:

In July 1837, the board agreed to build two school buildings, known as the North School and the South School, respectively located at the northeast corner of Broadway and Martin Luther King Boulevard (then Cherry Street) and at the southwest corner of 4th and Spruce streets. In December, the board met to purchase supplies and to interview potential teachers, and by March 1838, they had selected two candidates, David Armstrong and Miss M.H. Salisbury. The South School, later named Laclede Primary School, opened on April 1, 1838, with Edward Leavy and Sarah Hardy as co-principals.A third school, later named Benton School, opened in January 1842 at the northwest corner of 6th and Locust. The North School, for which the Board initially could not find a teacher, was abandoned and sold shortly after construction of Benton School due to the encroachment of a nearby market.

With the growth of the city, the school building campaign continued at a rapid pace. Between 1840 and 1860, more than twenty new schools were built by the Board, while several others occupied rented space. Among these new schools was the first high school in St. Louis, which opened inside Benton School in February 1853. Approximately 70 students enrolled in the school, and its first principal was Jeremiah D. Low. Courses offered included higher arithmetic, grammar and composition, basic and advanced algebra, geometry, trigonometry, surveying, navigation, and the Latin and German languages. The high school proved very popular among all social classes, and it encouraged attendance at lower level schools. After two years of construction, the first high school building, known as Central High School, opened on Olive Street in July 1855.

In 1848 William Greenleaf Eliot, the Unitarian clergyman in Saint Louis, was elected chair of the school board. He had a passion for creating schools. He and his congregants worked on a campaign to fund the expanding district. Only weeks after the St. Louis Fire of 1849, St. Louis voters approved a 1/10 percent property tax to support the district, and three years later, the Missouri General Assembly passed a school tax, which set aside 25 percent of state funds for education and provided schools with money depending on their enrollment. During the 1850s, it became a St. Louis school tradition for students at each school to “go a Maying”, which was to take an excursion into the countryside.[29] These early field trips were more for recreation than for learning, but school administrators regarded them as healthy trips.

School closed six weeks early in 1861 due to a lack of operating funds and the outbreak of the Civil War. After the Civil War, in 1866, the district opened three schools for African American students.

The St. Louis Public Schools also opened the first public high school for black students west of the Mississippi, Sumner High School, in 1875.

St. Louis Public Schools opened the first public kindergarten in North America in 1873 under the direction of William Torrey Harris, then Superintendent of Schools, and Susan Blow, who had studied the methods of Friedrich Fröbel, the founder of the kindergarten system.

By the end of the 19th century, the district had 95 schools and employed more than 1,600 teachers. (Wikipedia)

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Sunday Poll: Will Missouri Voters Approve Constitutional Amendment A Returning the City of St. Louis to St. Louis County?

April 1, 2018 Featured, Missouri, Politics/Policy Comments Off on Sunday Poll: Will Missouri Voters Approve Constitutional Amendment A Returning the City of St. Louis to St. Louis County?
 

Please vote below

Missouri Secretary of State John Ashcroft has verified a citizen petition for an amendment to the constitution for the statewide August 7th primary ballot. If approved it would make the City of St. Louis a municipality within St. Louis County — reversing the Great Divorce of 1876. A simple majority os needed to pass.

Official Ballot Title
Constitutional Amendment A

[Proposed by Initiative Petition]

Official Ballot Title:

Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to:

Strip the City of St. Louis of status as an “independent city”; 
Redraw the boundaries of St. Louis County so the City of St. Louis is fully within said boundaries;
Eliminate county-level offices in the City of St. Louis;  

Fair Ballot Language:

A “yes” vote will amend the Missouri Constitution to make the City of St. Louis a municipality within St. Louis County. 

A “no” vote will not amend the Missouri Constitution regarding the City of St. Louis and St. Louis County.

If passed, this measure is expected to lower taxes.

Today’s poll is about this effort.

Today’s poll will close at 8pm.

— Steve Patterson

St. Louis Bike/Pedestrian/Smoke-Free Advocate Martin Pion (1936-2018)

March 30, 2018 Bicycling, Featured, Smoke Free, Transportation Comments Off on St. Louis Bike/Pedestrian/Smoke-Free Advocate Martin Pion (1936-2018)
 
Martin Pion’s Facebook profile pic

This week St. Louis lost a great advocate, visitation was last night.

Martin Pion, 81, passed away on Tuesday, March 27, 2018 at his home.
Dear husband of Joyce Pion; dear father of Jerome (Sarah) Pion; Loving grandfather of David and Katie Pion; beloved uncle of Nicola (Kim) Teoh, Stephan (Jenny) Williams and Karen (Stacey) Williams dear great uncle to James and Andrew.
Martin and his family came from England in 1977. He loved the environment, bicycling and was a founding member and president of GASP (Group Against Smoking Pollution).
Memorial visitation will be Thursday, March 29, 4-7pm at HUTCHENS Mortuary, 675 Graham Rd, Florissant.
In lieu of flowers donations may be made to charity of choice. (Hutchins)

Martin and I shared many interests including bicycling and smoke-free environments. Though we didn’t always agree, our disagreements were some of our best conversations. More often, we did agree — because of our shared beliefs we both supported Sen. Bernie Sanders in the 2016 primary.

I first met Marin in the late 90s when I took his Road 1 bicycling course — he was the only instructor certified by the League of American Bicyclists teaching in the region. Later, while we were both serving as board members of the now-defunct St. Louis Bicycle Federation, he got me and other board members to also become certified instructors.

Martin in Ferguson, 2012

Even after my 2008 stroke he pushed me to not give up on cycling. I went to their home in Ferguson where he filmed me riding one of his English trikes.

Martin helped get me on the trike then used my iPhone to record the video. Afterwards, to get me off the trike, he had to tip me over onto a bed of ivy them help me up. We determined it would take a trike made from a bike with a very low cross bar to work for me.

We also spent many hours discussing technology and blogging. I got him to move from a static website to a WordPress blog — see ThinkBicycling!

Martin invested in cameras and posted numerous videos to YouTube and Vimeo. Martin was a huge advocate of bicycling within traffic, not being pushed off into inadequate bike lanes. Both videos below feature mutual friend Karen Karabell.

And a look at the protected bike lane on Chestnut.

It’s so great to hear Martin’s soft voice. Here’s how he described himself on Vimeo:

Scientist, majoring in Physics & Math., with environmental interests and sustainability, including promoting smoke-free air and proficient on-road bicycle transportation.

You’ll be missed friend.

— Steve Patterson

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