Week of December 31, 2003

Dec 31, 2003 at 4:00 am
Stolo Moments
Finally, a cover that isn't repulsive! Finally, a cover that isn't repulsive [December 17]!

The subject matter is tragic, but the rendering of this week's cover story illustration is extremely well done. It explains the heart of the story in one glance, with compassion and subtlety.

After so many weeks of exceedingly ugly covers, you were overdue. I have been consistently amazed at your choices for cover art, which have ranged from routine to absolutely revolting for months now.

Congratulations to artist Brian Stauffer, and to the editors who assigned this subject to him.
Lee Fischer
St. Louis

The other side of town: Tonight, as I was leaving work, I grabbed the Riverfront Times. I don't get to read it that often, and I had not been keeping up, until tonight. I don't even know why I picked it up this time. I've passed by so many issues. I saw the cover page and read your article when I got home.

I read the entire cover story, surprised at the stunning detail [Geri L. Dreiling, "Stolo Street," December 17]. You could see what was going on when you read this story. You could see two girls in a store and hear Annalyn's whispering voice. The voice of the article creates a compassionate atmosphere for the reader; you can't read this story and not feel anything. I must commend Geri Dreiling's writing. It's not the little paragraph you see in a newspaper countless times, about this very same issue.

I think it's about time someone made a story like this front-page news. Being so busy in school, I'll admit I don't pay attention to the news as much as I should, and I did not know about this incident.

It's sad, but there are a lot of people who don't care very much about the things that happen, especially on the other side of town, where the houses and schools aren't as nice. It's not their concern. But if they could just read this story, they might change their minds.
Azizat O. Danmole
St. Louis

Scandalmongers R Us
On to the next scandal: Even though I co-chaired the Press Club gala you so glibly skewered on your Unreal page December 17, I was really happy when I read the item ["Post Toasties"]. That's because it confirmed my sense that the Riverfront Times is dedicated to only one thing: controversy. That probably explains why the paper published hearsay as fact and why it resorted to the kind of inflammatory coverage that viable publications abandoned a century ago.

In response to the accusations that the union members in attendance received no "choco-disc" table favors, were seated in the back of the room and were "made to stand together where everybody came in," I say: Grow up. The union's was the very last table purchased, which explains its remote placement at an event planned for 500 but expanded to 527 guests. As for the chocolates -- which were not discs at all but elaborate five-by-seven-inch Weatherbirds -- I heard quite a different story, so there.

Both our program chair, Marci Rosenberg, and Ritz-Carlton banquet captain Jill Symmonds report that there were chocolates at every table. In fact, one of them says she saw Newspaper Guild of St. Louis members hide their treats -- ostensibly so they could claim they were discriminated against. But that's hearsay, so you might not want to publish that. (Oops, that's exactly why you would want to publish it.)

On to the attire. You know those signs in restaurants that say "No shoes, no shirt, no service"? Well, I guess you could compare the dress code at our black tie optional event to those signs. By the way, those poor, offended guild members were admitted in spite of their T-shirts -- and in spite of how inappropriate both their attire and their sentiment were at an event launched to honor the object of their derision. We decided it was OK to offend the other 517 guests.

As for PR "flack" Joan Quicksilver, could you be any more insulting? She's not a flack and she wasn't "overruled" by Bob Cohn. She is the person who three years in a row donated her time and considerable efforts to raise money for media scholarships. Those of you at the RFT who let the "Post Toasties" column go to print without a little more effort in the fact-finding department obviously have never given of yourselves in this way. The chairmanship of a gala is all-consuming for most of the year that precedes it. And Joan's circumstance made the effort even more notable, since her husband is in the midst of chemo sessions and recently spent a week in the ICU -- the reason she "could not be reached for comment."

Well, I guess that covers it -- except for the real victim of your "reporting": the Press Club's scholarship program. Let's see, after the grief caused this year, who do you think will step forward next year to chair the event? But of course, that's not your problem. The RFT is long gone, and on to the next scandal.
Dorothy Weiner
editor-in-chief, Ladue News, and
immediate past president, Press Club of Metropolitan St. Louis

Holt Everything
Pulling at the skirt: I liked about 80 percent of Mike Seely's "Happy Kwanzaa, Earl!" [November 26], but I get pissy when the thing has a tone of "liberals good; conservatives bad," and you did pull at that skirt a few times.

My take on Earl Holt? While, hey, this is America, and you can speak your mind; you can be damn sure I'd never take anything coming out of Holt's mouth or keyboard seriously. Pure opinion and invective couched in some facts about black people and jail. Lovely. Mr. Holt, are you sure that IQ isn't 129.5 and you're bluffing for effect? I'd hate to think we have something in common beyond -- yawn -- the color of our skin.
Heather Noggle
Maryland Heights