Letters

Week of September 10, 2003

Only in St. Louis
Rock On:Regarding "Red Rocks" in the August 20 Unreal column: Fuckin' A, man. This is the shit I like to see in your rag! Sammmyyy fuckin' rulessssssss!
Kevin Booker
Labadie

Puny Muny
At Least We Have Our Memories:Bravo to Dennis Brown for taking executive producer Paul Blake to task on the "safe" and oft-repeated Muny selections ["Muny Musings," August 20]. Well said. Wish it could make a difference. I recall fondly all those B'way shows brought in the '70s -- Promises, Promises and Follies among them.

The Muny schedule renders little excitement anymore, with the same shows over and over and just a few new names thrown in. There are some of us who want to see Into the Woods on the Muny stage.

Thanks again for your efforts.
Lynn Venhaus
Fairview Heights, Illinois

Blame It on the Kids:I've only been to the Muny once and that was to see Angela Lansbury in Gypsy, so my visit was a real treat. Whenever I am in St. Louis (where I started my theatergoing with 1776 at the American Theater in 1970), it's always disappointing to see what theater fare is being offered. The last time I was there was in 2001, when what was offered was Miss Saigon (not much of a classic there). I have heard the weak choices the Muny has offered are due to having to hire "Muny Kids." To have a number of youngsters in the cast will mean many parents, grandparents, etc. will buy tickets to the production!
Dale Hopson
New York, New York

Another Tangerine Segment
A Satisfied Customer:I found Rose Martelli's review of Tangerine rather unfortunate ["High Society," August 20]. While she eventually got around to mentioning that the food was good, it was generally lost in the writer's need for drama and disdain for a particular ambiance she left behind in Manhattan. Perhaps NYC has a multitude of this genre of eatery, but Tangerine is unique in St. Louis and we love it because of this.

The review also does a disservice -- by erroneously informing and perhaps discouraging the uninitiated -- to a Washington Avenue institution that has stuck it out through desolation and destruction with style and humor, all the while serving us a damn good meal.
Alan Brunettin
St. Louis

Nuclear Fallout
So Far, So Good:I am a retired analytical chemist with 37 years of experience with Mallinckrodt and Boeing/McDonnell-Douglas [Geri L. Dreiling, "Nuclear Half-Lies," August 13]. I worked at Mallinckrodt's Weldon Spring plant for six years, from 1960 to 1966. I have W-2 forms that clearly identify my income for those years as from Mallinckrodt Chemical Works, Uranium Division. I also have Social Security records. But Mallinckrodt has no record that I was an employee.

I handled a lot of uranium and related compounds, but so far no ill effects have been detected. I suppose you could say I have been fortunate so far.
Lowell Lueders
St. Charles

Department of Amplification:Geri Dreiling's otherwise excellent article, in which I was quoted, contained several errors and miscues.

I was quoted about death certificates, but it was not mentioned that I am particularly qualified to know about causes of death because I am a pathologist, an M.D. and an associate professor of pathology and immunology at Washington University's Medical School. I directed the Autopsy Pathology Service there from 1981 to 1987.

Second, in referring to Dr. Thomas Mancuso, also an M.D., it should be stated that Mancuso never published a peer-reviewed article on the Mallinckrodt workers. Nor, for unexplained reasons, did his colleague Alice Stewart (also mentioned by Dreiling), whose fascinating story was chronicled in Gayle Greene's biography The Woman Who Knew Too Much. Mancuso and Stewart are the only two semi-independent, qualified investigators who had any access to the full radiation-exposure data files on Mallinckrodt Uranium Division workers. It is not clear today why neither of them published this crucial data to counterbalance Oak Ridge Associated Universities' (ORAU) Department of Energy-sponsored results. This remains part of the untold story of Mallinckrodt's uranium division during the Cold War.

The only published articles on Mallinckrodt's uranium-division workers are those referred to (but not cited specifically) by Dreiling. Dr. Elizabeth Dupree-Ellis of ORAU, as lead author, published a 1980 brief abstract in the American Journal of Epidemiology, a peer-reviewed article in the journal Epidemiologyin 1995 dealing with internal exposures due to breathing radioactive dust particles and another peer-reviewed article in the July 2000 issue of the American Journal of Epidemiology dealing with external radiation exposures. This last only dealt with cancers and nephritis (inflammatory kidney disease caused by uranium) in 2,542 white male former workers. Approximately 800 nonwhite males and all women workers were omitted from the Dupree-Ellis ORAU mortality analysis.

Dreiling writes that all three Mallinckrodt uranium-division sites dealt with "spent uranium" that had been previously irradiated in a nuclear reactor. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) in 1999 began a program to track mass flow of recycled uranium (abbreviated RU), the official term the federal agency uses to define what Dreiling refers to as spent uranium, throughout the atomic-weapons complex. This point could be confusing to some readers, who might also be interested to know that the DOE's project manager at the Weldon Spring Superfund site, Pamela Thompson, denies her site ever received the 74,000 metric tons of recycled uranium that DOE Ohio field office records show they received. Those Ohio records also document that approximately 70,000 metric tons of RU were shipped from Weldon Spring to other atomic-weapons sites such as the plant in Fernald, Ohio. This latter site received most of Mallinckrodt's uranium and other radioactive materials after plant closure in 1966.

Readers also may be interested in visiting the United Nuclear Weapons Worker Web site at www.unww.info.
Daniel W. McKeel, Jr., M.D.
Board member, UNWW
St. Louis

Thanks to Brock:I wish to thank Geri L. Dreiling for an article that 1) is very complete and fills in some gaps in our knowledge of this government cover-up (one of many, I'm afraid to say), and 2) alerts the general public to this example of injustice to hard-working, patriotic citizens.

My wife is the one who suffers from the results of corporate greed and bureaucratic featherbedding. She was struggling through the process, getting nowhere, receiving very little feedback from our Congressman and Senators. Thank God for Denise Brock; my wife has been working with her for some time now, and she has saved us so much time and effort by putting out so much of her time and effort. She is a strong, intelligent person and I hope she can keep it up. Maybe it is time to turn this over to the lawyers. I know I will rethink the way I vote in the coming elections and hope the others involved and their families will do the same.
Joseph G. Stuckenschneider
Ballwin

Won More Time!
During a ceremony at Washington University this past Saturday, the Greater St. Louis Association of Black Journalists announced the winners of its 2003 Excellence in Communications Awards for work of importance to African-Americans in St. Louis. In the print division, among papers with circulations upward of 100,000, Riverfront Times writers were honored in two categories. Staff writer Geri L. Dreiling topped the General News category for her January 8 cover story "Left Behind," about asbestos in a north county neighborhood. And in the Spot News category, staff writer Bruce Rushton was recognized for his April 23 news story "Hell No, They Won't Go," which examined the increasing prevalence of "protest zones" to contain political demonstrators.

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