Learn Something New
The Education Writers Association (EWA) announced the winners of the 2006 National Awards for Education Reporting last week, and Riverfront Times staff writer Kristen Hinman took top honors in the Investigative Reporting category.
Hinman was honored for "Basketball by the Book," her series about Vashon High School's boys' basketball team. Examining data obtained from the St. Louis Public Schools dating back to the late 1990s, Hinman found that in case after case, players appeared to have provided false information to the district, in apparent violation of local and state regulations that govern school attendance and athletic competition.
For the latest twist in the Vashon story, see page 12. To read the "Basketball by the Book" series, visit www.riverfronttimes.com.
You Are Here
Lover of Lane: I had never paid attention to the Riverfront Times. Sure, I knew it was there, but never once did I even think about opening one. Newspapers of any sort never gripped my attention, and I figured the RFT would be the same thing: meaningless stories about the fruitless performances of the local public. However, while working at a gas station a while back, an RFT happened to saunter its way over to me somehow, and I soon found myself flipping through it.
What I found was one of the most awe-inspiring things I have ever read, the You Are Here piece by Timothy Lane (this particular 2005 edition had his work "The Atheist" in it). I was taken aback, struck speechless where I stood. It was the most wonderful thing I have ever read in a very long time. The descriptions, the story, the amazing writing he manages to fit into those few paragraphs is brilliant. I cut it out and saved it, and I now have close to 50 of Timothy Lane's You Are Heres cut out and stored in my room to read for quick inspiration when I'm writer's blocked.
Timothy Lane is the only reason I ever picked up an RFT, and is the only reason I ever will. Sure, I browse the articles, but You Are Here is the sole reason for my addiction. I was so stunned I showed all my friends his article, and we now wait in anticipation for the next You Are Here each week so we can talk about how and pardon my French fucking remarkable it is.
So Tim, my hat's off to you, as a fellow writer and an English major you have helped inspire me to continue to write, to try to capture everyday meetings with new people and visits to new places in the colorful and magnificent way you do.
Darren Murphy, St. Louis
Feature, February 8, 2007
For all they do...: Thank you for Ben Westhoff's "Doomsday Disciples," paying tribute to St. Louis' own Zombie Squad! I can say from experience that this committed group is a pleasure to work with, responsible and fun. They offered their time and services as security for every one of our [Arch Rival Rollergirls] bouts for the 2006 season and did an excellent job. Their skills and training served us well.
We love and support the Zombie Squad!
Nicole Hunt, St. Louis
The Zombies are coming! Great article concerning the current fascination regarding "zombies" of all types. In this post-9/11 world we inhabit, it appears that dystrophic themes rule the day. The book World War Z is set to be adapted for movie theaters sometime in 2008. There was a bidding war between Brad Pitt's company, Plan B, and Leonardo DiCaprio's company, Appian Way. Pitt's company eventually won the rights to produce the movie.
World War Z's Web site can be visited at www.randomhouse.com/crown /worldwarz/.
Dexter Zaring, St. Louis
Film, February 8, 2007
Ridley not funny: Jim Ridley's line comparing The Messengers to "Jaycee haunted house horseshit" is extremely offensive to the Jaycee organization. The Jaycees are volunteers raising money for their communities. I don't know what Ridley's experience is, but I found his statement a little brutal for a group of volunteers donating their time and efforts to better their communities.
Just for your information, the organization was started here in St. Louis in 1920 and is now in over 120 nations. The organization is trying to survive today, but has had a major influence on this country. The Jaycees were a major factor in getting Alaska and Hawaii statehood. The organization worked with members involved in aviation e.g. Charles Lindbergh setting up landing strips across the country and getting airmail set up. The name on his plane, Spirit of St. Louis, came from the connections he made through the Jaycees, from whom he received financial backing to complete his trip.
I think you could have left the Jaycees out of your review and made the same point. If you believe what you say about Jaycee haunted houses, you must believe it about the majority of haunted houses, because they are all basically the same. The only exception is that most haunted houses are for individual profit, whereas the Jaycees donate profits to charitable organizations. I really hope you reconsider making negative remarks about charitable organizations.
Brian Buchholz, Florissant Valley Jaycees
Last week's Unreal item about Samwell's "What What (In the Butt)" erroneously stated that Mike Stasny (a.k.a. Giorgio) produced the video for the song. Stasny produced the song; the video was produced by Milwaukee-based Brownmark Films.