St. Louis Board of Aldermen: New Board Bills Week 20 of 2018-2019 Session

 

 The St. Louis Board of Aldermen will meet at 10am today, their 20th meeting of the 2018-2019 session. Today’s agenda includes ten (10) new bills, including a few on candidates & elections: B.B.#138 – Roddy – An ordinance approving a Redevelopment Plan for 4328 Swan B.B.#139 – Arnowitz – An ordinance relating …

Opinion: Larry Rice Should Not Reopen Homeless Shelter

 

 As a resident of the City of St. Louis for 28+ years I’ve interacted with homeless persons on many occasions, mostly in the last 11 years (as of next month) I’ve lived downtown. I’ve talked to many, bought beverages/food for some, and two have been to my loft for a …

Sidewalk Cleaning Is Important, Yet Not All Do It

 

 For nearly fourteen years now I’ve posted about many topics, often minor & obscure in nature. The little things, however, can also be important. First impressions can be lasting. Often conventioneers stay across the street in the Marriott St. Louis Grand hotel. They power wash their sidewalk along Washington Ave …

Sunday Poll: Should Larry Rice Be Allowed To Reopen His Homeless Shelter?

 

 Last month a 2nd court ruled against Larry Rice and his downtown homeless shelter: The Missouri Court of Appeals upholds a lower court ruling that found the city of St. Louis acted properly when it shut down the New Life Evangelistic Center homeless mission in April of 2017. The center’s director, …

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Sunday Poll: How Is Your Vision?

August 19, 2018 Featured, Sunday Poll Comments Off on Sunday Poll: How Is Your Vision?
 
Please vote below

Most of us experience cities through all our senses, primarily visually. For those with reduced visibility/blindness the city experience is different.

Navigating a mega-city like London on foot can be a fraught experience no matter who you are. But as a sighted person living in a sighted world, it’s nearly impossible to imagine what that experience can be like with a visual impairment.

Take, for example, the ubiquitous pedestrian crossing. While many in London are outfitted with tactile pavements to indicate where to cross and a protruding “cone” device at the bottom of the control box, it can easily take a blind person 10 seconds to orient themselves enough to safely enter the street. In that time, dozens of sighted Londoners may have already crossed the street without giving it much thought. (The Guardian)

It’s no surprise the public fears vision loss:

A recent study from researchers at the Wilmer Eye Institute at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine found that most Americans regard loss of eyesight as the worst ailment that could happen to them, surpassing such conditions as loss of limb, memory, hearing or speech, or having H.I.V./AIDS. Indeed, low vision ranks behind arthritis and heart disease as the third most common chronic cause of impaired functioning in people over 70, Dr. Eric A. Rosenberg of Weill Cornell Medical College and Laura C. Sperazza, a New York optometrist, wrote in American Family Physician. (NY Times)

Today’s poll relates to vision.

This poll closes at 8pm tonight. Wednesday I’ll share the non-scientific results and some personal news on the subject.

— Steve Patterson

Where Am I? Facebook Page Cover Image Contest

August 17, 2018 Featured, Site Info Comments Off on Where Am I? Facebook Page Cover Image Contest
 

I’ve often changed the cover image of the UrbanReviewSTL Facebook page, but now I’m asking “Where Am I?” for most images.

Click image to go to Facebook page to comment on cover photos.

In the above example, which will ne uploaded this morning, three buildings are visible. The best answer will identify all three.

The reward for getting the first correct answer? Zip, nothing, etc. If this interests you like the page and look for notifications of new cover photos.

Have a great weekend!

— Steve Patterson

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Economic Impact of PGA Championship Won’t Be Felt Where Needed Most; St. Louis Looked Favorable To A Wide Audience

August 15, 2018 Economy, Featured, St. Louis County Comments Off on Economic Impact of PGA Championship Won’t Be Felt Where Needed Most; St. Louis Looked Favorable To A Wide Audience
 

When it comes to economic impact estimates I’m largely a skeptic. Such was the case with last week’s PGA Championship:

The 100th PGA Championship Aug. 9-12 is expected to have an economic impact felt well beyond Bellerive Country Club’s picturesque course, up to $100 million, according to some estimates. Hotels are filling up downtown, nearly 20 miles from the course that’s situated in a mostly residential area with few hotels nearby. (Post-Dispatch)

Two key words: “Up to…” OK, so $100 million is the estimated maximum impact. What’s the very minimum? $10 million? $25 million? $50 million?   And “bel beyond?” I seriously doubt it’ll be felt in the region’s poorest zip codes.

I took a photo of my TV on Sunday

I’m not the only one questioning these estimates.

This month’s PGA Championship in St. Louis will generate $102 million in economic benefits for the state of Missouri.

Actually, it won’t. But inevitably, many fans watching or reading about the PGA Championship will hear or see that figure thrown about.

As in every sport these days, big events bring big claims of economic windfalls for the host cities. Tourism officials on Long Island projected the U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills would generate $120 million in economic benefit. (Or maybe it was $130 million. Who’s counting?) A similar number was floated by the Angus (Scotland) Council this year with regard to the British Open at Carnoustie. Over the years, the Masters has been said to bring in a comparable nine-figure haul to Augusta, Ga. (GolfWeek)

The reasons are numerous. A lot of the fans that crowded into Bellerive Country Club were local. The money they spent on tickets, merchandise, food, etc would’ve likely been spent within the region anyway. Much of what they spent will leave the region, Visitors to St. Louis did spend money, hotels corporations will enjoy the profits. Some local businesses, such as those near parking venues, saw an uptick in business.

The 47,000 square-foot Championship Shops merchandise venue is located at the Main Entrance along the spectator walkway. This merchandise shopping experience offers men’s, women’s, and children’s apparel and headwear from major brands including Ralph Lauren, Nike, Adidas, Cutter and Buck, Under Armour, FootJoy, Travis Mathew, Forty Seven Brand, New Era, and many more! The Championship Shops also offers a major selection of exclusive accessories, gifts, and memorabilia. (PGA)

Hopefully the new money added to our economy meets or exceeds the money leaving our economy. Though I view televised golf as an event that too often delayed the news or 60 Minutes, I know championship events likely never benefit low income areas. How would they?  Golf and say North St. Louis have no connection. Oh wait…

Bellerive Country Club began in 1897 in north St. Louis as a nine-hole course with 166 members. In 1910, the membership incorporated as Bellerive Country Club, naming the club after Louis St. Ange De Bellerive, the last French commander in North America.

That same year, Scotsman Robert Foulis designed the “new Bellerive” in Normandy where the club remained for 50 years.

Led by Hord Hardin and Clark Gamble, the membership decided to move west in 1955, and allowed renowned architect Robert Trent Jones, Sr. to pick a prime farm location for the new site.

The “Green Monster of Ladue” opened on Memorial Day, 1960. (Bellerive Country Club)

I wanted to know more, so I dug deeper:

The club opened 121 years ago in 1897 as The Field Club, founded by several St. Louis sportsmen who wanted a place for golf and other leisure activities. Northwest of St. Louis, the course featured nine holes until another nine were added some years later. It was built on land leased from the estate of War of 1812 war hero Daniel Bissell.

In 1910, the club moved to nearby Normandy and renamed the Bellerive Country Club after Louis Groston de Saint-Ange de Bellerive, the last French governor of Illinois Country in 1765. With a Georgian-style clubhouse, Bellerive’s first notable event was the 1949 Western Amateur Championship. Four years later, it hosted the PGA Tour’s Western Open, won by E.J. “Dutch” Harrison.

In 1957, Bellerive put its 125-acre (0.5 km2) Normandy site on the market for $1.3 million. At the same time, the Normandy School District began discussing the need for establishing a junior college as an affordable alternative to the privately-owned Washington University and Saint Louis University. The club lowered the price to $600,000 and the Normandy Residence Center opened in a renovated clubhouse in 1960 with classes taught by the University of Missouri; the campus became the University of Missouri–St. Louisin 1963 and the nearby village is Bellerive. (Wikipedia)

A local site offers a little more specifics:

1897 St. Louis Field Club builds a 9 hole course near the Bissell Mansion. Triple A Club is organized. The First City Championship is held and E.E. Steedman of The Country Club is the winner. (STLGolfHistory)

I did find one more document with some great info:

ST. LOUIS FIELD CLUB.—On the Burlington Railroad, near St. Louis; a Field Club station is on the links. Organized and incorporated, 1897. Entrance fee, $25. Annual dues, $25. Membership, 127. The course consists of nine holes, which were laid out in October, 1897, by D. O. Ives and A. L. Kenneth.

President, D. O. Ives; vice-president, Harry S. Cullin; secretary, F. R. Bissell, 306 Wainwright Building, St. Louis; treasurer, Jno. S. Carter; governing committee, above officers and A. T. Perkins; greenkeeper, Ed. McNamara. (Official Golf Guide 1899)

At first I thought perhaps it became O’Fallon Park, but it opened in 1908.  I’d love to know a specific location for the course and train station. If anyone knows please comment oj this post on Twitter or Facebook.

Back to the recent PGA Championship — the television ratings, thanks to Tiger Woods, were impressive:

PGA Championship TV ratings are in and you won’t be surprised to learn that CBS is extremely happy with how they turned out. The network is the latest to reap the benefit of Tiger Woods’ latest comeback, announcing a 6.1 rating for Sunday’s final round, up 69 percent from 2017. Woods finished runner-up, but stole the show with a 64 that included a dizzying three-under par front nine in which he failed to hit a single fairway.

The final round peaked between 7:00-7:15 p.m. ET with an 8.3 rating. And St. Louis, where Bellerive Country Club is located, was the No. 1 market during the broadcast with an 11.5. The 6.1 also tied for the highest non-Masters TV rating since the final round of the 2012 U.S. Open. (GolfDigest)

I was one of those who tuned in (briefly) on Sunday.

While I’ll like to see more realistic numbers and an attempt to share the wealth through the region, I cannot stress enough how valuable it was for golf fans worldwide to see St. Louis in a positive context. Not sure if that’ll lead to anything, but can’t hurt how we’re perceived by those outside the region.

— Steve Patterson

Me To Restaurants: “No Straws Please”

August 13, 2018 Environment, Featured Comments Off on Me To Restaurants: “No Straws Please”
 
The set of 8 wide stainless steel straws we bought online.

In March 2016 I planned to order stainless steel straws for when my husband and I go out for shakes, see Reducing Use of Plastic Disposable Straws Good for the Environment.Unfortunately, I didn’t get them ordered until very recently. We now have four in our car, four at home.

Recent straw bans prompted me to finally order reusable straws.

Several countries, in the name of combating plastic pollution in the ocean, have begun banning various plastic products: utensils, bottles, and bags that often get thrown away after one use. In the United States, these efforts have centered on the plastic straw.

On July 26, the Walt Disney Company announced that it would eliminate single-use plastic straws and stirrers in all its locations by mid-2019 as part of its “journey of environmental stewardship.” Disney also plans to reduce other plastic products in its hotels and cruise ships as well as plastic shopping bags and styrofoam cups.

Starbucks made a similar announcement earlier this month, saying it would transition to a new lid for cold drinks that many have likened to an “adult sippy cup.”

The company has said it will introduce these lids in Seattle and Vancouver this fall, and continue with the rollout in the US and Canada next year, with the goal of taking them global. Eventually, this will mean eliminating more than 1 billion plastic straws per year.

Seattle, the home of the mega coffee company, became the first major US city with a plastic straw ban on July 1. New York City has proposed legislation to ban plastic straws in the city by 2020. Malibu and San Luis Obispo, California, and Miami Beach and Fort Myers, Florida, have similar efforts in the works.

There’s also a trending hashtag, #StopSucking. Chelsea Clinton, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Russell Crowe, Tom Brady, Sonam Kapoor, and Tom Felton have all pledged to “just say no” when handed a plastic straw. (VOX)

Why straw bans all of a sudden?

When reality-TV star Kim Kardashian West told her 115 million Instagram followers that her household had stopped using plastic straws, the head of an environmental nonprofit responded in disbelief.

“I thought, ‘Did we culture-hack this?’ ” said Dune Ives, executive director of Lonely Whale, whose #StopSucking social-media campaign advocates banning single-use plastic straws. “Did we change the conversation around straws?”

This is the summer of the plastic-straw ban. Bans on straws have swept through U.S. cities, businesses, restaurants and even sports venues at a surprising speed. In recent months, officials in cities including New York, San Francisco, Miami Beach, Fla., Santa Barbara, Calif., and Portland, Ore., have either proposed or passed bans on single-use plastic straws. Last month, Seattle became the first major U.S. city to put a ban into effect. (Wall Street Journal)

The above article goes on to talk about how going up straws gives some “moral licensing”, they’ve done their part so they can do other things that are bad for the environment. I personally am always trying to reduce waste. reduce using plastics. reusing things as many times as possible. My indoor compost bin was a failure, but my kitchen scrap stock has been great. My homemade laundry detergent works great, but dishwasher detergent not so much — switched to Costco pods earlier this year. In the 30+ years since I moved out of my parent’s house I’ve bought maybe 1-2 rolls of paper towels. Not 1-2 rolls per year, 1-2 rolls in 3 decades!

I want to do more — consume less. I want to make sure I’m sending evrything to recycling that I can. I want to make sure I’m sending stuff to recycling in a way it’ll get provided — not rejected and sent to a landfill.

At restaurants I’m thinking I need to bring our own cloth napkins. I rarely eat out at places that use plastic flatware, but bringing my own flatware wouldn’t be that difficult. Reducing items we consume…consumes an increasing amount of my brain’s time. Saturday night we wet out to eat and I remembered to tell the person who took our drink order “no straws.” I have to get ahead off them because once it comes to the table it is waste whether I use it or not.

My hope is local restaurants will cease bringing water to the table with a straw before giving me the chance to tell them we don’t need straws.

— Steve Patterson

Sunday Poll: What Impact Will The PGA Championship Have On Our Regional Economy?

August 12, 2018 Economy, Featured, STL Region, Sunday Poll Comments Off on Sunday Poll: What Impact Will The PGA Championship Have On Our Regional Economy?
 
Please vote below

With the exception of Tuesday’s primary the news last week was dominated by the 100th PGA Championship held at Bellerive Country Club in suburban St. Louis County.

I’m not a golf fan, so my thoughts turned to economics:

The 100th PGA Championship Aug. 9-12 is expected to have an economic impact felt well beyond Bellerive Country Club’s picturesque course, up to $100 million, according to some estimates.

Hotels are filling up downtown, nearly 20 miles from the course that’s situated in a mostly residential area with few hotels nearby. (Post-Dispatch)

For today’s poll I’d like you to think about the economic impact on the regional economy.

This poll will close at 8pm tonight.

— Steve Patterson

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