Letters to the Editor

Published the week of September 20-26, 2000

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To say Bob Cassilly is a visionary is a monumental understatement ("There He Goes Again," RFT, Sept 13). Bob is almost the Aristotle of our time!

What better place to rejuvenate the area than the old Portland Cement plant? Almost right next to where the Chain of Rocks Amusement Park used to exist. Literally on the new bike trail along the Mississippi River, just down from I-270, with plenty of parking. Wow!

Just think what he could have done with the Arena on Oakland Avenue! Has anybody talked with him about the Old Post Office?
David E. Hutchings

I loved your article on Bob Cassilly and his ideas for developing the old Portland Cement plant located partly in North City and in North County.

I am an alderman for the city of Bellefontaine Neighbors, and we were all very excited about the project in the article. The plant is located on the border of our fair city. In the beginning, when it was built, the plant was a state-of-the-art facility, but that old cement plant was also a prime source of pollution. In the most recent years since it has been shut down, it has been a breeding ground for mosquitoes and an eyesore. Indeed, it is an important part of our history, and some of that history will stay alive with the new project, which will bring education, entertainment and interest to our little corner of the world.

Many thanks to Bob Cassilly for seeing the potential for the old plant and also for having the faith in North County to make a commitment. Thanks also to the RFT for passing on the word. Too often, the North County area is passed over. Plans for projects like this, the StreamTeach project, the Highway 367/I-270 industrial court, the I-370 shopping and entertainment area and many other projects are all testimony that North County is still alive and well and getting better all the time!
Shirley D. Paro

I would just like to point out that our album isn't quite as "clumsily titled" ("Radar Station," RFT, Sept. 13) when you actually quote the title correctly!
Brian of Rocket Park

Mr. Tom Markowski, I find it very disturbing that you would boast your ignorance in a public forum ("Letters," RFT, Sept. 6). I do not choose to discuss your opinion on the matter of Tom and Suzi Wahl; whether I agree with you or not isn't the issue. What I find incredible is the uninformed, incongruent argument you present. Did we receive different copies of the RFT? Did you even read the article? "Choose to file criminal charges against people because of their sexual behavior behind closed doors"? If I'm not mistaken, the media, along with their audiovisual equipment, were invited to make this a public event. You are worried the police are "peeking into" your bedroom? Again, I don't know what article you read, but the media were invited to peek. I enjoy reading the letters to the RFT editor; however, I am hard-pressed to remember such an uninformed, unintelligent responder. If you'd like to express your opinion, I for one would certainly welcome the opportunity to read it -- but have one, a cogent one.

I would also be interested to know exactly how far your education went down yonder in Booger Holler. Men marry women for sex and women marry men for financial reasons? First I laughed, then I thought I would advise your wife to run for her life. Then I realized, you have just accused me and every other married women of prostitution -- i.e., of being whores. I know of no other name for trading sex for money. I know of no other name for someone of your level of intelligence but completely and utterly clueless.
Beth Woods

Thanks to The Riverfront Times and writer Jeannette Batz for a wonderful and timely story on Lindenwood University's leadership ("The Talented Mr. Spellmann," RFT, Sept. 6). The low point of Lindenwood's history wasn't when the college was offered to the local community-college district for a dollar. It was when that offer was refused. The fine private college I attended would have died that day. But at least an institution might have emerged of genuine public service, some public accountability, meaningful state regulation, some respect for quality over quantity and respect for the rights and privileges of the faculty. Instead, we have ... well, your story had it right.

It's too late, I think, to revive anything meaningful from the Lindenwood legacy. I'm afraid the current deedholders will continue to trade on the name if it still has $100 of market value to be milked. But I'd really rather that they delivered the coup de grace and renamed the place Spellmann University. That way, a lot of alums could feel proud again to have the Lindenwood name on our résumés.
Marc Cutright

There are plenty of giant money-machine universities to choose from. There are plenty of egotists who build buildings in their own names. There are few colleges that stand for something more elusive and certainly less profitable. Lindenwood used to be a college that produced individuals with thoughts and goals that were perhaps not mainstream but valuable nonetheless. It is a shame that Lindenwood could not have been guided by a finer visionary who could have marketed its strengths instead of disemboweling it. I'm sorry Lindenwood College is dead, replaced by one more vast institution. Business is business, and it does prevail. This is clear. Dennis Spellmann is a man of small dreams. He has mistaken wealth for money, and so have those who follow him.
Laura Gould
Class of '74
Yorktown Heights, N.Y.

As a graduate of Lindenwood in the late '70s, I was distressed to read the article regarding Mr. Spellman. Lindenwood needed some financial shots in the arm during my time there, and they needed a proper focus on education. It sounds as though they still need a focus on education. All I read about are land deals and numbers.

Numbers are important to any institution. So is land. Just ask St. Louis University, Webster University and Washington University. I'm sure you could find some deals with those schools also. It just seems as though Lindenwood is so blatantly aggressive in their approach. It also seems as though Spellman is the type that sees only his vision. Degrees are like widgets: The more they turn out, the better; just cast the bad ones off into the scrap heap. The problem is, degrees are not widgets. They belong to people. I fear for Missouri if my alma mater is graduating 10 percent of the people in the state with their apparent lack of standards.

I was only an average student, but I learned the discipline of my major, and I still adhere to the lessons learned at Lindenwood during my time. What are the graduates under the Spellman era going to take from their Lindenwood experience?
Name withheld upon request

As a resident of a St. Charles neighborhood, I thank you very much for the insightful article regarding Spellmann and Lindenwood. I do not know if your article will change the mindset of our mayor and most of our City Council and city departments, but it is a good beginning.

Yes, right here in River City, our city officials play right into Spellmann's hand. Lindenwood has become nothing more than a greedy business with a nonprofit status. All Spellmann really cares about is the bottom line. He does not care about the poor quality of education he serves these students, nor does he care about the city around him. He sees the students as dollar signs and the stable neighborhoods around Lindenwood as land to be grabbed. According to a newspaper article written several years ago, he wants to "make St. Charles a college town." He fails to realize that St. Charles is a town with a college in it, not a college town.

I guess my children were among those "who don't need teaching." One of them had a scholarship to Truman State University, and the others had to meet the standards of the state universities in order to be accepted. Along with that, they purchased books, studied and had respect for academia. Academia is apparently something of the past to Lindenwood, since a dollar amount cannot be attached to it. It sounds like the religious foundation of the school needs to be revisited and the soul truly needs to be saved.
Kathleen Egger

I had to write to say how impressed I am with Mr. Spellmann. What he's done is not saved a college but created a new one. A new school demands a new name. I strongly urge the board and the powers that be to consider renaming the school Spellmann University to acknowledge his accomplishments. Let's give credit where credit is due.
D. Wegmann

Spellman is an innovative businessman who recognizes the financial needs of the university and the academic needs of the student. Seems that nobody's bitchin' but the hired help. I sure hope the University of Missouri-St. Louis reads the article. They could use a huge dose of Spellmann.
Mark Hall

I stand and applaud all who had the courage to participate in the Lindenwood exposé, even if under terms of anonymity. The lack of an academic standard has enabled Spellmann to financially turn the school around, but now there's little worth saving. Many faculty members don't hold to their own syllabi and guidelines out of fear the students will appeal to administration, which is the kiss of death.

When I was a child, my father told me it was OK to make mistakes if I learned from them; however, if I could learn from another's mistakes, it could save me a lot of time and problems. I implore anyone seriously seeking an education to learn from my mistake. By the time I found out about the school, I was too far into the program to leave. Save yourself some time and a lot of problems.

As for the local politics involved around LU, I would ask Mayor Patti York to resign from her position, as her employment at the school is an obvious conflict of interest. Mayor York, I believe the RFT would offer you adequate space should you choose to rebut.
Name withheld upon request

Please convey my deepest gratitude for the coverage of the 2000 St. Louis Trivia Championship, which I directed ("Brain Bowl," RFT, Sept. 6). Financially, the tournament was a huge success. I made a net profit of $1,160, and every penny was turned over to Joe Regenbogen, the chess coach of the Parkway North Senior High School chess team. This money will pay for the motel rooms the team will need when they play in the 2001 National High School Chess Championships in Kansas City, April 26-29. I am quite sure they will represent St. Louis in championship fashion.

As Mr. Kerman stated in his column, this trivia championship was not for the faint of heart. It was indeed a war. Numerous "professional" trivia teams were left in the dust. After just one round, an entire eight-person team left the hall in disgust when they could not get even one answer correct in the first category, "U.S. Presidents." As he went by me, the captain of this team got nose-to-nose with me and screamed at me that my questions in that first category "sucked." I advised this gentleman that perhaps his anger was being directed to the wrong person. I suggested he hire a good attorney and file suit against his high-school history teacher.

By the way, the winning team, with 130 points out of a possible 240, was a team of current and retired teachers from Ritenour High School captained by Burt Boxerman. Each person on that eight-person team received a brand-new $100 bill.
Bill Moushey

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