"Intimacy is not the same, and I no longer wear thongs.

"I feel as if some of my female dignity has been stolen."

Letters, April 5, 2007

Jujitsugate What it is: In response to Rob Miley's letter, Molly Langmuir's article on Jermaine Andre was exactly that ["Bow to Your Sensei," March 29]. It was meant to be a history of a local fighter/teacher and the trials and tribulations that he went through. To argue that the article was disrespectful to Brazilian jujitsu is absurd. Everyone who is a fan of mixed martial arts has or will eventually run across the fact that without Royce Gracie, this sport would not be what it is today.

"Bow to Your Sensei" was about Jermaine, his school, his students, Skip Ohlsen's promotion, and not meant to be an all-inclusive history of the UFC. Rob Miley, I understand that you may feel disrespected that BJJ was not mentioned, but Jermaine primarily teaches Muay Thai and Sambo. That is how his students won their fights.
Matt Norris, O'Fallon, Illinois

News Real, March 22, 2007

Thong Goodbye She's still shaken: I am one of the victims mentioned in Kristen Hinman's article "Thong Bandit." I'm the young lady who caught him in my laundry facility wearing my thongs and masturbating. This has been a very difficult situation to face, and I am so glad that someone finally decided to speak out about it.

Since this happened in December 2006, I have been unable to think of anything else, I am very much paranoid to leave my apartment and I always feel as if I'm being watched. Intimacy is not the same, and I no longer wear thongs. I feel as if some of my female dignity has been stolen. Unfortunately, I am still living in Cypress Village. In order for me to feel safe, I have invited family members to live with me until I find a new place to call home. I would hate for another young woman to experience this, as I have many females in my family. I would be willing to share my story in further detail with Kristen Hinman, as I know police reports may give vague impressions of how truly devastating it was.
Name withheld by request, Bridgeton Somebody needs to do something: It was very informative and almost a relief that someone is actually addressing one of many security problems at Cypress Village Apartment Complex. When I personally have asked for better security here, their response is that they have rented to various police officers and offer them rent discounts for living here. However, there is rarely any police patrolling or presence until after a crime or incident. It amazes me that this complex apparently continues to be awarded apartment management of the year awards. The Berkshire Management Co. is apparently only interested in the bottom line and not the overall safety of one of their many communities and the people who live in it. Thanks for bringing all of this to light. Maybe the bad publicity on one of their problems will give them a wake-up call. One can only hope! Thank you.
Name withheld by request, Bridgeton Not funny: Thank you for Kristen Hinman's rather scary article on the sexual predator in the Cypress Village area. However, I think the article title, "Thong Bandit," the subtitle, "A Bridgeton intruder has women's panties in a knot," the "evidence" photo, the quote from Laina Ayala ("My thong was in pain") and especially the cover of the RFT all contributed to giving the story a lighthearted and almost amusing spin. There is nothing amusing about sexual assault — even at the current level of the guy at Cypress Village.
Peter Wollenberg, St. Louis
And the price of tea in China...: Kristen Hinman strikes again. Last go-round, in her news article on Valley Park ("Taco Whoever," March 15), she tells us who's a truck driver and living unmarried (gee, in a state of sin?) with his girlfriend — like that's so uncommon these days. This week's "news," the Thong Bandit crime wave, has to throw in the totally irrelevant cost of rent at the Cypress Village Apartments. Would there be more coverage if the rent was $1,200? Maybe because more of the lost panties would have come from Victoria's Secret? What about a lower rent — wouldn't that imply less coverage, since low-income tenants might be buying from Kmart, or even Dollar General? What hack coverage! Please try to find writers who know what real news and real issues really are. By the way, the various comments and opinions about Valley Park employers and landlords becoming "immigration police" if they have to check documents is at best disingenuous, and at worst a load of bovine manure. Employers are currently required, and have been for some time, to check potential employees' documents and to see if they are authorized to work in the U.S. Check it out yourself: What really are the lists of documents one must show an employer? Try passport, driver's license, birth certificate, state-issued ID card, etc. — or a combination: one from List A, or two from List B, or two from C and one from B, etc. In any case, being an "immigration cop" is already here for employers.
Chris Byrne, south St. Louis County


Letters, March 22, 2007

Valley Volley An awkward position: Langen Neubacher, you put me in the awkward position of defending Kristen Hinman. I did a pretty thorough (and scathing) critique of her feature "Trick or Treatment" last year, but I have to say, the one who sounds biased here is you. Are you suggesting that being a trucker makes you a de facto "redneck?" I seem to remember a lot of statistical facts referred to in Hinman's article, but what is most telling is your response: "Hey, she's attacking us!" Just like most small-town folk, good or bad, when someone, some "outsider," points out their town's flaws, you knee-jerk into a defensive posture.

You're right about racism not being confined to any one 'burb or neighborhood. I know of at least two areas in St. Louis where you simply will not be allowed to live if you're black. The landlords don't rent to you, and the sellers won't sell homes to you. Period. The difference is, the aldermen, mayor, city council or neighborhood associations did not pass unconstitutional ordinances or bylaws in support of their bigoted positions. Your mayor and your alderman in your town did. As a "liberal, politically active and intelligent college student" who disagrees with what Jeffery Whitteaker is doing, I hope you and all the Valley Parkers who feel the same way will make your feelings known at the next mayoral and aldermanic elections. If Jeff and his cronies are "racist-pig Mexican-hater(s)" who "keep getting elected," as he so succinctly put it, maybe you'll find out a little more than you want to know about your town.
Bradley Veltre, St. Louis

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