Friday, December 14, 2007

THE PEOPLE SPEAK - Letters To The Editor

Dear Editor,

For several years, we have enjoyed walking the asphalt trails around the lakes at Fountain Lakes Nature Park in St. Charles. These trails go around several lakes which host abundant birdlife and other wildlife and are a source of good exercise and pleasure to many St. Charles City residents.

The asphalt surface has developed cracks and needs maintenance; however, we were astonished when the city replaced the hard surface paths around the north lake with packed gravel. This gravel surface makes it difficult for those who have to navigate wheelchairs to the handicapped-accessible fishing docks as well as for those who enjoy in-line skating and biking. What was once a nice all-weather surface for walking, similar to Creve Coeur Park paths, has now become a dusty, sometimes muddy, and uneven walking surface. We cannot imagine why the Parks Department thought it needed to grind up a mile and a half of existing asphalt surface rather than repair 10-20% of the surface.

We understand the Parks Department also has plans to grind up the paths around the south lakes and replace them with gravel as well. We would hope they would reconsider the purpose of the paths and type of usage they get and just repair the asphalt rather than chopping up the whole thing and replacing it with dusty, dirty gravel. Perhaps our Parks Department could check with the St. Louis County Parks Department to see how they are able to maintain user-friendly paths without destroying the hard surface when the paths need repair.

When we called the Parks Department, their representative told us they do not have the funds to maintain the asphalt paths that the city received as part of a TIF at Fountain Lakes. What has happened to all the money we receive from that Golden Goose down on our riverfront? Has it come to the point where we now do not have funds for basic maintenance of our green space? On the other hand, could this be a matter of poor management on the part of our Parks Department and our City leaders? We certainly hope they will reconsider and retain/repair the existing hard surface around the south lakes.

Larry & Eleanor McCune, St. Charles

Dear Tony,
I’m thinking about Veterans’ Day.
I got a phone call from Baghdad a week or so ago. A young man recruited into the Army fresh out of high school was trying to connect with my daughter.  Joining was his choice, but he was just a kid when he made it. He still is. The Army promised him he’d not be sent to Iraq.
I realized I haven’t done a damned thing about the war except surrender my tax money. So yesterday, I went to meet with a representative from US Senator Claire McCaskill’s office. She was a kind-looking woman who sat at a table taking notes and listening to people who wanted the senator to intervene on their behalf. I asked the staffer to tell the senator that we need to support our troops by bringing them home, and that I was speaking for many people in saying so. Which is  true. The man next to me blurted out something like, “Yeah? What about rising gas prices?” I said, “That’s actually a blessing, because we need to curtail our CO2 emissions, and high gas prices help us do that.”  I added, “I’d like to talk to you about all that, but we don’t have time right now.” The staffer was due to leave in five minutes.
 Then I asked the staffer to tell the senator that we need national health care, too. I asked her to encourage the senator to get  discussions going alerting the public to the electronic voting machines which are sucking off the vote and killing democracy, and told her I believed it had happened locally.  “And we need more veterans’ benefits.”  “Are you a veteran?” she asked. “No,” I said. “But veterans need them.”  And future veterans. Bush keeps cutting benefits. And there’s not enough medical staff overseas.  Later, I told my husband, Jim, about the “rising gas prices” remark.
I understood then, that despite all our education, children — ours and those in countries at war— are still being thrown into the volcano to pacify the gods. And we’re letting it happen. We allow recruiters in our high schools! If we can’t do better than that, what are we doing? We’re hunkering down in fear, that’s what. We’re afraid to talk to people about what most needs talked about, to speak up. Whatever “side” you’re drawn to, however you feel, exchanging thoughts is what needs to happen.
Calmly. Respectfully. Talk. Listen. Write. Think. Please put hands to the wheel of democracy. And ask for a receipt when you vote.
 Peggy Whetzel

Dear First Capitol News,
The ugliest block of North Second Street has one of the most insulting sights in town – an American flag is used as a curtain in a warehouse owned by Kelly’s Heating and Cooling.
Since every window in the cement-block building is curtained off, it looks as if the owners, Jerry Kelly and Steve Miles, are hiding behind the flag.
Guys take the flag out of the window and fly it properly, please.
More appropriate, how about putting a pirate flag in its place? It’s the perfect statement, considering the thousands of dollars you poured into getting Richard Veit on the City Council, and now it’s payback time – he’s working for you to industrialize Frenchtown.
As for Frenchtown, maybe it should succeed from St. Charles, because Councilman Veit has stripped every single Frenchtown-dedicated dollar from the city budget for years to come, even money for park benches. They probably don’t want any tourists or shoppers lured to Frenchtown’s upcoming industrial zone.
Call 636-946-4313 and tell Jerry and Steve how you feel.
Media Jane