Letters

Week of December 8, 2004

Unsolved Mystery
Still haunted after all these years:When I saw last week's cover, I said out loud, "It's got to be the case of the beheaded little girl" [Chad Garrison, "The Case That Haunts," December 1]. It was with great regret that I read your article and realized that the case that haunted me as a young child has yet to be solved.

Thank you for highlighting this case once more. Jane Doe deserves more than our world has given her.

Have the police considered running Jane Doe's DNA against the criminal database? Couldn't it be possible that a relative or parent is or has been in the criminal-justice system? It might break the case open if a link to someone could be made. Also, have they considered running Precious Doe against Jane Doe? Or Precious Doe's DNA against the criminal database?

Just some thoughts. Thanks again for writing about such a tragic topic with balance and detail.
Pamela J. Merritt
St. Louis

Pee Yourself
Urinalysis:Thanks to Ben Westhoff for "Hell on Wheels" [November 24]. I have a somewhat unique perspective on this situation as, while an eighth-grade student, I was involved in a similar situation in which a friend and I would sneak into the bathroom at the end of the school day and fill up zip-lock baggies with water, which would then be hurled at passing autos on our way home. We thought it was great fun until one of our water bombs blew a hole in the windshield of a truck.

Needless to say the police were involved, and we not only made financial restitution for the damage, but paid a heavy price in flesh as well, after our parents were through with us. Now a special-education teacher of students with severe behavior disorders, I too observe all manners of dangerously reckless driving by bus drivers, and misconduct by students, and have also tried to personally intervene when I have observed these situations.

Unfortunately, I have also received similar responses to that of your subject. It's a shame this man has to repeatedly attempt to defend himself by trying to discount the "crotchety old man" persona when his concerns about the safety of the children and himself are legitimate. Perhaps a follow-up article would be the publishing of local contact numbers people could call if they observe unsafe driving or student misconduct on the bus. People who call with concern to the bus companies may or may not receive responses, but it would be a start.
Tom Clark
Caseyville, Illinois

Paint It Anything But Black
Bill Kohn's legacy:Thanks so much to Ivy Cooper for honoring Bill Kohn [ "Kohn's Colors," November 24]. Though I did not know him well on a personal level, I am a good friend of his son, Josh, and know that he will be dearly missed by all who knew him. He was a kind and humble man, and so very talented. His contribution, I hope, will continue to be appreciated by all now and in the future. My only regret was not having had the priviledge of having him as a professor.
Mary Ann Russum
St. Louis

Cohn with a "C"
Speaking up:Thanks to Mike Seely for his great article, "Mindy Cohn's Diary" [November 17]. We need more media people like Seely who aren't afraid to speak up and tell it like it is. That's real journalism!
Pat Ballard
Nashville, Tennessee

Liquored Up
A molotov cocktail: It is a shame that the quality of your reporting has dropped even further into the depths of literary hell. Ben Westhoff's about the David Sherman Corporation, is terribly inaccurate [ "Proof It!" November 10]. I assume you just rounded up some interns (likely minors at that) and instructed them to taste liquor they had no idea how to evaluate.

David Sherman not only produces quality imitation and original liquors, but is also a St. Louis company capable of spending a great deal of advertising money with your rag of a paper. So how do you respond? By insulting their employees and mocking their whole operation. At least this company positively contributes to the local economy, while you mock such success. No wonder your paper is free: Who would pay for such garbage? I wouldn't line my cat's litter box with this rag.
Jeffrey Deters
Maryland Heights

Cheers!Many thanks to Ben Westhoff for his coverage of the David Sherman Corporation. I thought the manner in which your team evaluated our products was fun and entertaining -- it sounds like you had a great party. And it's not often that we get to see a bottle of Everclear on the cover of a publication. Well done!

I enjoyed meeting with Mr. Westhoff and showing him around our facility, which was founded in one room with a hand-bottling line in 1958 by my father, Paul Lux. We have a great success story of which we are all proud. And while I appreciate Ben's prerogative to offer his opinion, I feel that a few of his remarks were inaccurate, derogatory toward our employees and had little to do with his story. We hardly ever have "dogs wandering around" the offices -- and never in the factory. And our employees are thoroughly professional. Without the dedication and pride of our 100-plus employees, we would never have been as successful as we have been.

At the David Sherman Corporation, we are committed to integrity, service and teamwork -- which is our company motto. We will continue to grow our business both nationally and internationally, and this is only possible through a dedicated staff delivering quality products on time, consistently.
Donn S. Lux, president and chief operating officer
David Sherman Corporation
St. Louis

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