Danger Lurks

From the city's sidewalks to the NFL.

News Short, September 20, 2007

Fix the damned sidewalks, already: Thanks for Kathleen McLaughlin's article, "City of Bad Shoulders." This is exactly the kind of attention that will allow this issue to remain on the radar screens of the Missouri Department of Transportation and the City of St. Louis. My sister Elizabeth's death in 2005 focused significant attention on the absence of curb cuts and deteriorated sidewalks (dangerous even for walking pedestrians) in her St. Louis neighborhood. Some of those conditions have been corrected, but when I was in St. Louis a few months ago, I was astonished and horrified to find that her disabled neighbors still had to travel in the street on Delmar Boulevard because other sidewalks and intersections had, inexplicably, been left unimproved. Delmar had been repaved not long before the accident in which my sister died, but the City of St. Louis has not seen fit to create curb cuts during that work, even though it would've seemed a logical time to do so.

You would think that an accident resulting in loss of life, and the potential for legal action based on the event, would be sufficient incentive for the city to correct the conditions that caused the accident. You would be wrong. We are discovering that the legal process is ineffective, because Missouri law limits the city's financial exposure after an accident such as Elizabeth's. Simply stated, it is less expensive for the city to settle a lawsuit resulting from such an accident, even one resulting in a death, than to make the improvements required under the Americans with Disabilities Act to create a safe environment for its citizens, whether they have a disability or not. Ongoing media attention and public outrage seem to be the only forces that will create enough pressure on government to finally do the right thing. For your role in that, I thank you.
Peter Bansen, Truckee, California Feature, September 13, 2007

Help is on the way: Thank you for Justin Kendall's story, "End Zone." I played high-school football under a coach who was a former NFL player and now suffers from severe Alzheimer's-type dementia, probably because of his many concussions. A couple of his other former players and I have created a trust fund for him and a Web site about him and the controversy surrounding concussions in the NFL. It is online at www.ralphwenzeltrust.org.

Andrew Goldsmith, New York, New York ERRATUM Under the impression that the restaurant offered a limited food menu as late as 1 a.m., we awarded Terrene "Best Late Night Dining" in this year's edition of Best of St. Louis. In fact, Terrene's kitchen is open no later than 11 p.m. We still love 'em, though — and we stand by our "Best Outdoor Dining" pick!

Riverfront Times' editorial department is looking for a painstakingly literate smarty-pants to pinch hit as a proofreader and also to help us maintain our listings database. This part-time position includes a quarterly component heavy on the phone calls, as well as a goodly portion of crucial — if not exactly glamorous — data-entry work. On the other hand, it provides the proverbial Foot in the Door. Applicants must be willing to submit to our legendary copy-editing test, which has reduced many a linguistic whiz to incoherent, tearful blubbering.

E-mail résumé and propeller beanie size to kristie.mcclanahan@riverfronttimes.com, or mail to: Kristie McClanahan
Riverfront Times
6358 Delmar Boulevard, Suite 200
St. Louis, MO 63130
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