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15th Anniversary of UrbanReviewSTL.com; Future Uncertain Due To Cancer Diagnosis

October 31, 2019 Featured, Site Info, Steve Patterson Comments Off on 15th Anniversary of UrbanReviewSTL.com; Future Uncertain Due To Cancer Diagnosis
Me pre-stroke in the December 2006 issue of St. Louis Magazine. Photo by Dillip Vishwanat

I don’t normally post on a Thursday, but today is not just any Thursday.

It was 15 years ago today, Halloween 2004, when I registered the domain UrbanReviewSTL.com and began posting my thoughts on urban planning and architecture in the St. Louis region.

I initially began this blog to distract myself from my father’s recovery from a heart attack on the first of October ’04. I had no plan for longevity, I just needed something else to focus my attention on at the moment.

Within a few months I was the first openly-LGBT candidate for the St. Louis Board of Aldermen. I lost, but the experience was great and it increased attention to this blog. I was motivated to make a difference.

In 2006 my mom passed away, later that year St. Louis Magazine named me the 50th most powerful person in St. Louis. In these early years I posted about a variety of topics including buying/riding/parking a 50cc Hondas Metropolitan Scooter, valet parking, Loughborough Commons, etc.

In late November 2007 I moved into a loft in Downtown West, just as my father went into the hospital in Oklahoma City. On January 1, 2008 my father died. Within a couple of weeks I was driving a friend of a friend, and her two cats, to Providence Rhode Island. After a night there I spent a day & night in Boston, flying back to St. Louis from there. I didn’t know it at the time, but it would be my last walking/exploring trip.

On a cold & snowy Friday, February 1, 2008, I had a hemorrhagic stroke at home alone. It was 15-16 hours before a worried friend found me the next morning. After 3 months in 3 hospitals I retuned home on April 30, 2008. Read more on my post about the 10th anniversary of my stroke.

In the nearly 12 years since my stroke I’ve posted a lot about obstacles encountered while using my power wheelchair, my increased use of public transit, meeting & marrying my husband, etc.  I’ve been working out at the downtown Y (YMCA) and, between July 2018 and July 2019, managed to get below 200 pounds for the first time in decades — lost nearly 40 pounds in a year of working out. Felt so great to achieve that goal.

And now, the reason why the future of this blog is uncertain.

For a few years I’ve had an enlarged thyroid. Each year I’d go to the Center for Advanced Medicine (CAM) for a CT scan, once also getting a biopsy to test the tissue. Nothing.

The chest x-ray at my annual physical this year spots were seen that weren’t there last year.  My doctor thought it was cancer, so back to CAM for a CT. Yep, spots that weren’t there before. Next up was Barnes Hospital for a CT biopsy of my right lung. The results showed metastatic renal cell carcinoma (RCC) — kidney cancer that has spread to my lungs.  It might be another type of kidney cancer, but RCC is most common. Interestingly it’s unrelated to my enlarged thyroid.

My favorite color is orange so I’m pleased with the ribbon.

I meet with an oncologist next week at Siteman Cancer Center to discuss diagnosis and her proposed treatment plan. My plan is to continue posting four days per week (Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday), but I can’t predict how the cancer treatment will affect me. My research has shown a lot of drugs, combined with chemotherapy, have good success with advanced kidney cancer. I’m optimistic about my odds.

I’m still working out at The Y, still going about my life as usual. You’ll still see me out and about, but don’t be surprised if I begin crying — I have pseudobulbar affect as a result of my stroke. I greatly appreciate positive thoughts, well wishes, and such. However, please don’t tell me you’re praying to your deity on my behalf — that’s about you not me! When I was certain I was going to die while experiencing a stroke I didn’t suddenly cease being an atheist/humanist.

“Humanism rejects dependence on faith, the supernatural, divine texts, resurrection, reincarnation, or anything else for which we have no evidence. To put it another way, Humanists believe in life before death.”  ? Greg M. Epstein, Good Without God: What a Billion Nonreligious People Do Believe

Pray if you like, just please don’t think sharing that information with me will bring me comfort — it won’t.

So many blogs have come and gone over the last 15 years — it’s a lot of work so I understand why many ceased being published. I’ll post updates on my health on social media, and a post likely on Friday after Thanksgiving (11/29).

— Steve

 

Sunday Poll: Should Strikes Be Limited By Law?

October 27, 2019 Featured, Sunday Poll Comments Off on Sunday Poll: Should Strikes Be Limited By Law?
Please vote below

The 2019 worker strike against General Motors has ended with a new 4-year contract.

The longest auto workers’ strike in 50 years is officially over.

General Motors employees voted overwhelmingly in favor of a deal struck by the United Auto Workers union and company executives. Nearly 48,000 workers who were on strike will return to work on Saturday.

The vote ends a painful work stoppage that has lasted six weeks, costing GM nearly $2 billion in lost production and employees nearly $1 billion in lost wages. (Vox)

The St. Louis region has only one vehicle manufacturing plant remaining, a GM truck plant:

The members of the local auto workers union approved a new deal with General Motors as part of a nationwide vote to end a five-week strike.

Exactly 3,300 members of United Auto Workers 2250 cast ballots on Thursday; 20 ballots were voided.

The local UAW were in favor of the agreement by a final tally of 2,115 to 1,185 votes. (Fox2)

Local transit workers haven’t voted to strike, but they’ve had some days where many called in sick.

Bi-State Development and the Amalgamated Transit Union 788 have been negotiating for more than a year. The existing contract’s one-year extension expired at the end of June. A new contract would affect the wages and benefits of more than 1,500 workers across St. Louis-area transit systems in Missouri and Illinois, including vehicle operators and mechanics. (St. Louis Public Radio)

So today’s poll is about strikes.

This poll will close at 8pm tonight. My thoughts and results on Wednesday morning.

— Steve Patterson

 

Sunday Poll: Will Paul McKee’s Urgent Care, Hospital, and Medical School Open By June 2023?

October 20, 2019 Featured, North City, NorthSide Project, Sunday Poll Comments Off on Sunday Poll: Will Paul McKee’s Urgent Care, Hospital, and Medical School Open By June 2023?
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On Friday the St. Louis Board of Aldermen approved a bill (103aa) worth $8 million in incentives for developer Paul McKee:

The bill, which passed on a 23-2 vote, will help fund a three-bed urgent care center at Jefferson and Cass avenues that, along with infrastructure improvements, will cost about $21 million.

Under a revised plan negotiated with city development officials, developers must prove by the end if 2021 that they have financing for a larger second phase beyond the initial three-bed facility in order to qualify for all the tax-increment financing, or TIF, subsidies.

That second phase — a $73 million, 103,000-square-foot hospital with a medical school  — would have to be completed by June 2023 before some  subsidies are paid. (Post-Dispatch)

Today’s poll is about this subject.

This poll will close at 8pm tonight.

— Steve Patterson

 

Sunday Poll: Should St. Louis City & County Help The Loop Trolley Co.?

October 13, 2019 Featured, Sunday Poll, Transportation Comments Off on Sunday Poll: Should St. Louis City & County Help The Loop Trolley Co.?
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The Loop Trolley, a short tourist ride featuring historic trolley cars, hasn’t met projected ridership numbers, causing budget problems. They’re asking for financial help.

The struggling Loop Trolley Co. is facing insolvency if it can’t come up with $200,000 by November and another $500,000 to operate into next year, its president said Saturday.

St. Louis County Executive Sam Page told the County Council in a letter on Friday that the trolley company asked the county for the funding after the city of St. Louis refused to provide it.

The trolley will also reduce service starting Thursday to help make up for budget shortfalls, John S. Meyer Jr., the trolley board president, said in an email on Saturday. (Post-Dispatch)

Today’s poll is about this topic.

This poll will automatically close at 8pm tonight. Results and my thoughts Wednesday morning.

— Steve Patterson

 

Sunday Poll: Do You Have A ‘REAL ID’?

October 6, 2019 Featured, Sunday Poll, Travel Comments Off on Sunday Poll: Do You Have A ‘REAL ID’?
Please vote below

In 2005 congress passed the REAL ID Act, but adoption has been slow. Missouri just began issuing REAL ID-compliant licenses this year. Three states (New Jersey, Oklahoma, and Oregon) still aren’t compliant.

What’s the big deal?

On October 1, 2020, travelers will need a “REAL ID-compliant” driver’s license, US passport, US military ID or other accepted identification to fly within the United States.

The REAL ID Act established minimum security standards for the issuing of state licenses and their production.
It also prohibits federal agencies from accepting licenses from states not meeting those minimum standards for certain activities. That includes boarding federally regulated commercial aircraft, entering nuclear power plants and entering federal facilities.

To get a REAL ID-compliant state driver’s license, the US Department of Homeland Security requires applicants provide documentation showing their full legal name, their date of birth, their Social Security Number, two proofs of address of principal residence and lawful status. (States may impose more requirements.) (CNN)

The REAL ID Act faced widespread opposition from numerous groups, states.  The final deadline is now less than a year away. If you have a passport, however, you can fly after October 1, 2020 without a REAL ID.

Today’s poll is very straightforward:

This poll will close at 8pm tonight. Wednesday morning I’ll share how you can tell if your license/ID is REAL ID-compliant or not.  Can’t wait?

— Steve Patterson

 

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