Friday, January 18, 2008

RAMBLING WITH The Editor Tony Brockmeyer

We had occasion to spend the holidays in Aruba. One of the most memorable aspects of spending New Years Eve on Aruba is the unbelievable display of firecrackers and fireworks throughout the island.

The tradition of lighting firecrackers and fireworks (Klap) on New Year’s Eve is firmly entrenched in the Aruban cultue.

Individual families and companies by tradition purchase numerous pagaras at the end of each year in Aruba.

Pagara is a long row of firecrackers, tied together on a string and finished with more firecrackers packed together for extra loud noisiness. They are used to ward off any kind of remaining evil spirits (fuku). Pagaras come in various lengths with the largest having 2 million firecrackers and lasting about 30 minutes. The first time we heard one we thought that a fireworks stand had exploded. A Pagara that size sells for $800 U.S.

While Aruban families light the pagara right before the midnight hour, saving the biggest bang for last. The Aruban companies traditionally light their Pagaras before closing their doors for the last time that year. According to Aurubans, the size and length of the Pagara roll usually corresponds to how well that particular company did that year.

The vast majority of families and businesses will throw a Pagara at some point before midnight. The longer the Pagara the more powerful it is.
We were on the roof of our building, fourth floor, and had a view of the entire island. It is an awesome sight to hear Pagaras and see aerial fireworks displays coming from all around the island. It lasted nonstop for several hours.

Councilman Richard Veit was on television explaining his proposed new liquor ordinance which prohibits among other things, dancing on tables and profane language in bars and restaurants. Veit said that he did not want families walking down historic downtown St. Charles streets having bar patrons on decks showering them with profane language. That was especially interesting because we received a phone call from Jim Dake a resident of Ward One, Veit’s ward. Dake told us he was walking Main Street carrying a sign critical of Veit and his proposed liquor bill. He said that when he was in front of Big A’s Bar and restaurant a man yelled at him from a window on the second floor using profane and obscene language. The man, who Dake identified as Bryan Audrey, came onto the street with several other men and berated him with every other word being an obscene word. Audrey identified himself as Councilman Veit’s Campaign Manager.

Dake continued his walk and Audrey and the other men apparently went back into the apartment above Big A’s.

If Veit is really concerned with profane and obscene language being yelled on Main Street he might want to start with his campaign manager.

Historic Preservationist Claims Mayor Owns Bar On North Main Street And That It Is Being Operated Illegally.

Main Street Historic Preservationist and owner of several Main Street buildings, Penny Pitman, in an interview with KMOX Radio last week said that in 1996 the city passed an ordinance not to allow any more bars on Main Street. (Editor’s note – they must have 51 percent food sales to be licensed). She said that in 2005 the city began issuing liquor licenses that were illegal. According to Pittman the profane language bill was just window dressing According to KMOX News Pittman said that six bars on North Main Street were operating illegally and one of the bars was owned by Mayor Patti York. The KMOX interviewer said they contacted Mayor York who was vacating in Italy and York told KMOX News she would talk about this later.

The bar Pittman was referring to as being owned by the Mayor is probably the one that is in the basement of a building owned by York and Her Husband at 218 North Main Street.