Checking Out New Pedestrian Bridge Over I-70 Connecting Old North St. Louis and Near North Riverfront Neighborhoods

 

 In December 2018 MoDOT temporarily closed I-70 to remove an old pedestrian bridge at North Market Street. A similar pedestrian bridge was removed from over I-44 at Marconi Ave, and at other locations.  Yesterday I checked out the new ADA-compliant replacement over I-70. Before getting into the new bridge we …

Checking Out Giant Touch Screen Information Kiosks

 

 Way back in January I saw a news story that interested me, but it was too cold out — eight new information kiosks had gone online. The vertical touch screen information centers provide visitors and residents with information on restaurants and attractions as well as local resources and services. Kyle …

A St. Louis Statue to be Proud of: Frankie Freeman in Kiener Plaza

 

 Recently there have been renewed calls for the removal of statues honoring confederates. Just yesterday: On Wednesday, the House took a pivotal first step in an overwhelming vote to remove a bust of the fifth chief justice of the United States and Confederate statues from public display in the U.S. …

A Look at 207 North Sixth Street, Charlie Gitto’s Pasta House Since 1978

 

 When I first saw Charlie Gitto’s restaurant at 207 North 6th Street many years ago I imagined a small business owner fighting Famous-Barr department store parent company, The May Department Stores Company, to keep its small downtown restaurant open. Sounds good, right? But it was way off. My first clue …

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Sunday Poll: Is The St. Louis Region Prepared For The Coronavirus?

March 8, 2020 Featured, STL Region, Sunday Poll Comments Off on Sunday Poll: Is The St. Louis Region Prepared For The Coronavirus?
 
Please vote below

It’s a common joke that the first hint of a storm St. Louisans head to the store to buy bread, milk, & eggs. Now expand that globally.

Rationing supplies. Overwhelmed delivery workers. Toilet paper protected by security guards.

This is the new reality for some retailers, who are having to take drastic action to limit the number of toilet paper rolls, face masks and hand sanitizer bottles each person can buy as customers stockpile goods over fears of the novel coronavirus outbreak.

The epidemic has infected more than 97,000 people and killed 3,300 globally, leading to growing alarm that has resulted in mass bulk buying around the world. (CNN)

I’m not clear on how toilet paper is going to protect you from COVID-19. Last night the first case in Missouri was announced:

Gov. Parson said a St. Louis County woman in her 20s had traveled to Italy and was tested positive for COVID-19. The woman tested positive at a Mercy hospital in the St. Louis County area. The sample was sent to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

A total of 26 people were tested for COVID-19 including the positive case. Three additional tests remain in progress. (KMOV)

Today’s poll isn’t about our personal stockpiles of supplies, but how our region will respond now that the Coronavirus has arrived.

This poll will close at 8pm tonight, assuming I have all the settings correct to deal with the start of Daylight Saving Time.

— Steve Patterson

St. Louis Board of Aldermen: 12th Ward Alderman Larry Arnowitz Resigned, Indicted

March 6, 2020 Board of Aldermen, Featured Comments Off on St. Louis Board of Aldermen: 12th Ward Alderman Larry Arnowitz Resigned, Indicted
 

At the St. Louis Board of Aldermen meeting last week all 28 seats were occupied.

Not today.

Alderman Larry Arnowitz, who abruptly resigned Tuesday afternoon, has turned himself in to federal authorities Wednesday, officials said.
Arnowitz’s brief letter of resignation cited “personal reasons.”

On Tuesday, defense lawyer Patrick Conroy said Arnowitz, 66, would turn himself in to federal authorities Wednesday morning to face a federal fraud charge.
“He made a mistake,” Conroy said. “We anticipate that the government’s going to allege that the alderman converted some monies from his campaign fund for personal use,” he said.
(Post-Dispatch)

Arnowitz was first elected in 2011, narrowly defeating incumbent 12th ward alderman Fred Heitert, a Republican, in March 2011. He was challenged in the 2015 primary, but easily won. Last year he had two primary challengers, both easily defeated.

I immediately thought of former 6th ward alderman Kacie Starr Triplett.

She was one of the city’s youngest politicians when she was first elected in 2007 — just 26 years old, poised and energetic about serving the city. Then she abruptly left office, announcing that she’d taken another job. Months later, it finally came out that Triplett was also pretty energetic about looting her campaign coffers and using the cash for personal expenses. The money went to pay her mortgage, for her credit-card bills, her salon and spa visits, and for her clothes, shoes and jewelry. The amount was somewhere between $8,000 and $18,900. (Riverfront Times)

Arnowitz was on the board when Triplett resigned, but he didn’t learn from her mistakes.

The Board of Aldermen meet at 10am today, their 35th meeting of the 2019-2020 session. As previously noted, they have the first two meetings labeled as Week #1, so they list this as week/meeting 34.

Since the current session is almost over, today’s agenda has no new bills. The Board of Aldermen meeting begins at 10am, past meetings and a live broadcast can be watched online here. See list of all board bills for the 2019-2020 session — the new bills listed above may not be online right away.

— Steve Patterson

Readers: Some Public Schools Must Be Closed Due To Declining Enrollment

March 4, 2020 Education, Featured Comments Off on Readers: Some Public Schools Must Be Closed Due To Declining Enrollment
 
The former John Marshall School remains unsold, continues to deteriorate.

The population of St. Louis has been shrinking for decades, so has the enrollment in St. Louis Public Schools.

Superintendent Kelvin Adams laid out a data-heavy case for why SLPS needs to overhaul how, and where, it educates 21,500 students across 68 buildings.

SLPS once educated more than 110,000 students and has been closing buildings for nearly three decades to keep up with a student population and overall shrinking city. Meanwhile, more independent charter schools have opened in the last 20 years and educate a third of public school children.

Having fewer students across more buildings, Adams said, “does not make sense, at least in my math.” (St. Louis Public Radio)

Adams is right, too many buildings for too few students. The problem is in deciding which to close. North St. Louis is more sparsely populated than South St. Louis, but some schools should stay open regardless. How many and where?

Former Arlington School in North St. Louis converted to residential in 2013.

In the recent non-scientific Sunday Poll more than half of readers think some schools do need to close.

Q: Agree or disagree: St. Louis Public Schools needs to keep the remaining schools open. Vacant schools harm neighborhoods.

  • Strongly agree: 12 [21.05%]
  • Agree: 4 [7.02%]
  • Somewhat agree: 9 [15.79%]
  • Neither agree or disagree: 0 [0%]
  • Somewhat disagree: 6 [10.53%]
  • Disagree: 13 [22.81%]
  • Strongly disagree: 12 [21.05%]
  • Unsure/No Answer: 1 [1.75%]

It’s inevitable, schools will need to close. No matter which schools do close there will be people who are unhappy about it. I just hope the process is fair and transparent.  The neighborhoods with newly closed schools will need to help market the properties so they don’t sit vacant for decades. Of course, neighborhoods that are already struggling will find this harder to do.

— Steve Patterson

Cancer Update: Treatment Is Working!

March 2, 2020 Featured, Steve Patterson Comments Off on Cancer Update: Treatment Is Working!
 

I first disclosed my cancer diagnosis last Halloween, on this blog’s 15th anniversary. Updates followed at the end of November and December.

To catch you up, I have stage 4 kidney cancer — which means it originated in a kidney but has spread elsewhere. I will never be cancer-free, treatments are about preventing the growth of tumors and further spreading.

My treatment isn’t chemotherapy or radiation, it’s immunotherapy.

Immunotherapy, also called biologic therapy, is a type of cancer treatment that boosts the body’s natural defenses to fight cancer. It uses substances made by the body or in a laboratory to improve or restore immune system function. Immunotherapy may work by:

  • Stopping or slowing the growth of cancer cells
  • Stopping cancer from spreading to other parts of the body
  • Helping the immune system work better at destroying cancer cells (cancer.net)

My treatments are two different drugs administered intravenously, one after another, now every four weeks. As part of a clinical trial I also take a 3rd drug orally every day — though it might be a placebo.

In early February tests revealed my first three treatments managed to stop the growth of my tumors. Today I’ll be back at Siteman Cancer Center, receiving my 5th treatment.

Side effects have varied, but minimally invasive. The worst has been increased fatigue. I’m fortunate to be on disability, not have to work. Initially I was too cautious, thinking I couldn’t do what I’d been doing. I’ve realized now that other than needing an extra nap, my life continues as before. My life just now includes one day with IV treatments every 4 weeks.

Reduced appetite is another, losing weight which is not something my doctor wants. I now eat throughout the day, every day. The dietician encourages me to consume as many calories as I can. This is the opposite of how I’ve been living in the 12+ years since my stroke. Last July, after a year of going to the gym, I managed to get below 200lbs. I went from being obese to overweight. Now I’m on the verge of going from overweight to normal weight.

I’m grateful for Food Outreach, where we get prepared food every two weeks. I still grocery shop and cook, but having frozen foods in small portions enables me to eat 5-6 times per day. I have salmon nearly every day now, a little too often.

When I’m at Siteman Cancer Center I’ve noticed just how busy it is. It’s clear that cancer impacts every part of society. Fellow patients represent all races, ages, economic classes, and geography — some drive many miles to be there, I take transit. We’re all treated equally, those with lots of money wait with a buzzer like the rest of us to be called back to a treatment pod.

Selfie on Saturday driving back home from a Target trip, the day after my 53rd birthday. I only drive about once a week.

Last month we did our annual trip to Chicago for the Chicago Auto Show, my first overnight travel since diagnosis & treatment. It went well enough I’m planning my first bucket list trip next month. In April I’m going to do a two week solo trip to Chicago with a side trip to Milwaukee, WI. This extended time will allow me immerse myself in Chicago and visit the state of Wisconsin for the very first time.

In Milwaukee I plan to see where a freeway was replaced by a boulevard, the Bronze Fonz, try their frozen custard, and ride their modern streetcar & a couple of bus routes. A future bucket list trip will include returning to Wisconsin to tour Frank Lloyd Wright architecture throughout the state.

My current treatment plan will continue as long as it is working. Once it stops, my oncologist will try another. In the meantime, I’m trying to enjoy the passage of time.

— Steve Patterson

Sunday Poll: Should Some City Schools Close or Remain Open?

March 1, 2020 Featured Comments Off on Sunday Poll: Should Some City Schools Close or Remain Open?
 
Please vote below

The superintendent of St. Louis Public Schools, Kelvin Adams, wants to close more schools.

Up to 20 of the district’s 68 schools could be considered for consolidation or closure. Adams said Saturday he has not yet identified any schools for the chopping block and doesn’t anticipate having to lay off teachers and staff.

Adams said the key factors in deciding which schools to close are low enrollment, academic performance, building condition, residential and business development and population trends. (Post-Dispatch)

This is the subject of today’s poll.

Today’s poll will close at 8pm tonight.

— Steve Patterson

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