You Say You Want A Resolution

RFT asks an eclectic mix of St. Louisans to imagine how we can get our act together in 2008.

If my leprechaun granted me any wish it would, of course, be to have all of the work on Highway 40 finished completely and beautifully — and in one night — so that a highway shutdown would not be necessary! Do leprechauns exist in St. Louis? I suppose that I have to be more realistic and realize nothing that I can do can change what will happen regarding the construction. But what we can all improve on is the way that this issue is handled. First, we have to be sensitive to how we deal with the impact that it has on our commute to work, our trips to retail outlets and restaurants, and our social interaction patterns. Road rage, chronic complaining to work colleagues and/or family and friends won't help anyone. It certainly won't endear us to anyone with whom we are in contact. For the St. Louis CVC, it is important that friends, family and business associates from outside St. Louis are not discouraged from visiting our community during this time period. So I hope that we will all use this as an opportunity to explore new routes, instead of being stuck in our old ones. I hope we will look on this as a necessary infrastructure improvement and not an unnecessary inconvenience.

Albert Watkins, attorney, Kodner Watkins Muchnick in Clayton

St. Louis needs a new police chief, one who stands behind the blue shirts.

Matt Strauss
Jennifer Silverberg
Matt Strauss
Linda Weiner
Jennifer Silverberg
Linda Weiner

Jenna Bauer, artist and founder, South City Open Studio and Gallery for Children

We should improve upon tolerance, acceptance and the embracing of our racial and cultural differences by creating more opportunities for connecting with one another. How? One way could be creating partnerships and exchanges between primarily African-American schools and Caucasian schools. We could offer incentive programs for groups and organizations that strive to or succeed in ending destructive tendencies that racism causes in St. Louis. We need to focus on appreciating our universal commonalities.

Mike Ocello, secretary, Mehlville school board

I would love to see the complete involvement of the community with public education. People always say that education is so important, yet as we see so many times, actions speak louder than words and officials don't make it their first priority. I think it should start at the governor's office and work way down through the entire political system. Education is so important to the vitality and future of St. Louis and all the surrounding communities. The success of the schools is often a great indicator of the success of the entire community.

Susan Slaughter, principal trumpet, Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra

My New Year's resolution is more of a message to all St. Louisans. In spite of the closing of Highway 40, let's all resolve that life will go on as usual, and that includes attending events at the symphony, Fox Theatre, Black Repertory Theater, cathedral concerts. These organizations are vital to our city and your continued attendance is vital to their survival.

Michael Anders, director, Michael Anders Prison Ministry in the Central West End

I would like to see society be a little bit more forgiving toward people coming back into our communities. We should reach out more to them during their transition back into society with more job and housing opportunities so we can help them to remain crime free and drug free. And when we do this, guess what? Everyone comes out a winner.

Joni Karandjeff, co-chairwoman, Greater St. Louis Book Fair

We need to get the airport back as a hub. Since we've lost 200 TWA/American flights per day, we don't get as many entertainers or authors coming to St. Louis. Traveling is much more challenging, with many flights connecting through Chicago or Dallas. It can take longer to get from Chicago to St. Louis than it takes to get from Europe to Chicago. Planes are crowded, and flights are frequently delayed or canceled due to the weather in Chicago. The new runway has been built and there are plans to renovate the airport, but we need the airlines and the business to make it worthwhile.

Shandi Finnessey, Miss USA 2004, raised in Florissant

There has been construction in the St. Louis International Airport parking garage for as long as I can remember. For people who travel in and out of the city often (I'm typically back home about once a month), it can become quite a hassle. I know they didn't build Rome in one day, but surely the parking structure would have been finished by now! I don't know what the holdup is, but you can see buildings go up overnight almost in many metropolitan cities. They should put an emphasis on finishing up something that is so used and important.

Julie Longyear, candlestick maker and owner, Irie Star in the JeffVanderLou neighborhood

I would create more aggressive, easily accessible, publicly or privately funded programs for low- and middle-income city residents to acquire a home, improve their property, get vocational experience and start businesses. Home-ownership and rewarding, stable occupations give people a reason to do the right things in life and be proud of themselves. My business is at a really great point right now where I get to offer jobs to others. I intend to use my business as a format to mentor others as I grow. I'd love to be an example of what you can accomplish if you think outside the box. Maybe that American dream is still possible after all?

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