Puppy Love

Week of September 4, 2002

Puppy Love
No pennies for Jerry Falwell: Your article about Debi Baker and Missy Horton was very disturbing to me [Jeannette Batz, "Best in Show," August 21]. I've known Debi since 1994. I have never loaned her any money. I also don't send money to TV evangelists or buy cancer remedies by mail. I think for your next article you should canvass all those stupid people who gave Debi money and find out who else they give money to. She lives in a very small house in Kirkwood that is badly in need of repair. She has hand-me-down furniture and appliances. Every penny she and Missy can spare -- and some they can't -- goes to medicine, food, vet services for neutering and spaying and a long list of other animal-related expenses. This is the dirty side of animal rescue -- there aren't many people willing to do it. I'm sure Debi may have had questionable business dealings in the past. But I also know how much good she does. I know ... she has gone out in the middle of the night to pull kittens out from under abandoned houses and out of storm drains and collected dogs from people who told her they would shoot them if she didn't come get them right now. What chance would any of these animals have had if those people had called you? Would you have left your home and gone out in search of them? How many of the people you interviewed for the article would have? A few, I'm sure, but not most. Debi may not have much in the way of business acumen, but she has more than made up for it in her hard work and dedication to saving the lives of not just dogs and cats but lions, tigers, turtles, bears, wolves -- any animal in need. I surely don't think this is an example of good journalism or fairness.
Gloria Reiss
St. Louis

Same name, different outfit: I had to write to clear up any confusion from last week's cover story about Debi Baker and her Rainbow Ranch Project. My Rainbow Ranch Inc. petting zoo and exotic farm just opened this summer in July. We're on the other side of Belleville, outside of Nashville, Illinois, about 45 miles east of St. Louis. It is a USDA-licensed roadside petting zoo with llamas, donkeys, pigs, sheep, goats, horses, cows and even a camel. I wanted to clarify that I'm in no way connected with Ms. Baker and her organization. I am definitely a for-profit facility and invite people to come out and take a tour.
Alan Blumhorst
Rainbow Ranch Inc.
Nashville, Illinois

Switch Hitter
Digging deep with the Worm: I couldn't agree more with the comments of state Senator Bill Kenney in the Worm column last week [August 21]. He wants to repeal the naming of Interstate 70 after Mark McGwire. McGwire's flash-in-the-pan record was broken as quickly as it was made. I'm sure McGwire doesn't even feel the naming was appropriate and wanted to get out of a town where he can't stand to be treated like a god. If you want to rename it after any athlete, look no further than Number 28, Marshall Faulk. He just set an NFL record, gaining 2,000 yards from scrimmage for four consecutive years. This [is] ... much more of a team record [than McGwire's]. Faulk will also be in St. Louis at least ten years. As a black man who grew up in an urban area, he has much more in common with the community this very highway runs through. He raises money and supplies for the area and is a role model for youth. While I don't know if any highway should be named after an athlete, if [I-70] in North St. Louis has any name, it should be Marshall's.
Todd Swope
St. Charles

Twisty Valentine
The People's Republic of Jill: Let it be known that I love Jill Posey-Smith like I have never loved another human being. I absolutely do not want to live in a world where there is no her. At best, we all pale in our poseurdom compared to her preach-it-sister realness. Yes, my spirit aches. Yes, truth and beauty are cool. Yes, my heart is heavy to the ground from the cultural mediocrity we are force-fed everyday. But the real point is that this is groundbreaking writing. Who writes about food like this? Who writes like this anymore? Somebody give her a column in the New York Times. Somebody give her a book deal. Or her own country.
Kristeen Young
New York City

Father's Defense
Quit whining and produce: This letter is in response to your article on Lawrence Biondi [Eddie Silva, "Father Knows Best," August 14]. I don't doubt that the Reverend Biondi is autocratic and given to remembering slights from subordinates. He may even have questionable taste when it comes to his selection of artwork. However, as one who spent seven years on the St. Louis University campus in the business and law schools during a period well before his arrival, I can only say his contributions to the school and its reputation have been highly significant. I don't agree with many of the things the Reverend Biondi has done. And I don't know if selling the hospital was the best course of action or not. What I do know is that the Reverend Biondi took action and made many hard decisions. Trying to get consensus and a clear course of action from a bunch of professors and academics is like trying to herd cats. It's not It's not Biondi. It's not the administration. It's the professors.
Stan L. Deptula