Hair-Raising Experience

Week of January 23, 2002

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Hair-Raising Experience
Why he's stuck in the Lou: About four years ago, I took my daughter, then age 11, to Donnal the hairdresser [Jeannette Batz, "Scissor Hands," Jan. 9]. She has extremely frizzy, curly hair. She wanted straight, nonfrizzy hair. When Donnal first saw my daughter, he exclaimed, "Who did this to her hair?" There was nothing wrong with her natural hair. This man simply makes a living scaring people into believing they need a dramatic, wild change to their hair. The bill came to $275. Twenty-four hours later, her hair was back to its frizzy, curly look. I called Donnal and told him our problem. Reluctantly, after much pleading, he allowed me to bring her back to him. He did not straighten my daughter's hair on our return trip. In fact, he did not alter it at all. He did find the time to pause in front of my 7-year-old daughter who was waiting with me, to look her in the eyes, and to say to her, "Your eyes are big, too big -- too big for your head." This man is an overpriced bully who will always be known to me as "Donald," not Donnal. He's probably right about one thing when he states in your article, "The artists all eventually leave [St. Louis] because St. Louis is going slower than any state in the country." That is why "Donald" is still stuck in St. Louis!
Michael Szerzinski
via the Internet

Lead-Pipe Cinch
RFT right on target: As a whistleblower in the University of Missouri-Rolla scandal involving a low-alpha lead direct smelter on the campus, I can relate to much of what is felt by Herculaneum residents. In Rolla, just as in Herculaneum, we labored away, ignorant of the danger we faced. Doe Run and the university administration were aware of the risks and chose to keep employees ignorant and offered no training. Knowledge is dangerous. Contamination occurred on the UMR campus in 1997 and 1998. We are now in 2002, and lead levels just as high as those in Herculaneum have been found in buildings and remain today. I begged for help from the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, U.S. Sen. Christopher Bond, U.S. Rep. Jo Ann Emerson, then-U.S. Sen. John Ashcroft, the EPA, the Missouri Department of Health -- you name it, I begged for help. No one but environmentalists came to my aid.

It is sad that in this country, such a great nation, that people should have to beg for justice and receive none. Since my experience with the various agencies, I have been attending the meetings in Herculaneum to try and lend my experiences. State agencies tend to only respond to public humiliation and embarrassment for not doing the job. I think the Riverfront Times article was right on target as far as agencies, especially the state health department, are concerned [Roland Klose, "Heavy-Metal Racket," Dec. 26]. Dennis M. Diehl, in a letter published in your Jan. 16 issue, tries to defend the Jefferson County Health Department. While attending the community-advisory-group meetings in Herculaneum, I have learned from testimony straight from the mouths of employees that the health department has never done a proper blood study in Herculaneum. It has always been the case that people have not been counted and private physicians failed to report elevated blood-lead levels.

Several months ago, the state health department released preliminary and inaccurate numbers. These same inaccurate values have been repeated in other major papers across the U.S. It has been said that in the absence of the truth, people believe what they are told. You have heard the truth. Bull's-eye, Riverfront Times.
Bob L. Lunsford
University City

The Other White Meat
A disgrace to the species: The article entitled "When Pigs Fly" outraged me [Geri L. Dreiling, Jan. 16] -- not the article but the actions of the American Airlines pilot, Butch Gorman. If the accusations are true, this man is a pig. He is a disgrace to the male species and to a special breed of people we are a part of: pilots who fly professionally and recreationally.
Charles Sheldon
O'Fallon, Mo.

Great Sax
A gentleman's gentleman: Willie Akins is not only a great musician but a gentleman's gentleman [Jeannette Batz, "The Ballad of Willie Akins," Jan. 2]. I say thank you to Willie Akins for bringing good jazz to St. Louis, and thank you for the in-depth article on this truly talented man.
Bernice Atwater
St. Louis

Stand-Out Person
The exception to the rule: Kim Mulkey writes about her People Project figure, "I worked extensively with the sponsor of my piece to construct a figure that satisfied everyone involved and ended with a well-crafted piece" ["Letters," Jan. 16]. As soon as I read this, I knew which one Mulkey was describing, because only one of the 80-plus People Project figures I saw fit that description. Sure enough, checking the Web site, I found "A Penny for Your Thoughts" by Kim Mulkey and Brian Young (alphabetized under "Young"). It was indeed a clever and impressively fabricated piece, and Mulkey is to be congratulated. Sadly, however, her unique experience does not necessarily invalidate Eddie Silva's conclusions about the project as a whole.
Esley Hamilton
University City

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