Week of October 8, 2003

Best Augmentation
You forgot to thank the Academy: I was thrilled and delighted with your pick of the Hi-Pointe as Best Movie Theater ["Best of St. Louis," September 24]. Of course, as house manager of the Hi-Pointe, I reluctantly concede that I may have a bias. We spent all last Wednesday pinching ourselves. (Well, more accurately, I spent all last Wednesday randomly pinching the staff. You know, to keep them motivated.) The Hi-Pointe has always been obliged to be the bridesmaid to our beloved sister theater (you know the one), and we're really grateful for your recognition of our humble theater.

I'd like to take a moment to get awards-show on you and thank my tireless, devoted staff of dynamic young go-getters, all shining exemplars of the best their generation has to offer: Amanda, Brady, Charles, Ingrid, Kate, Lindsay, Mary, Matt A., Matt M. and Tiffany. Thanks also to my co-manager and mechanical wizard Travis, saintly patient boss Laura and, lastly but certainly not leastly, my mentor and friend, Dale. Clap, clap, clap.

We encourage your readers who haven't already done so to come visit us to see what the ruckus is about, and (in the name of enlightened if shameless self-interest) we certainly encourage them to vote for us in next year's Readers' Poll. We'll treat you like royalty, or at least like some kind of high-ranking dignitary. RFT, we salute you!
Paul Faur, house manager
Hi-Pointe Theatre
St. Louis

Maybe next year: For the Best View of Downtown, try the top of the Thomas F. Eagleton building. It is a government building, so it's free, the building is close to the height of the Arch, the ride up is on a comfortable elevator and you will be the only person there if you go during the week.
Jack Mauro

The secret is out: My God man, I love the RFT. Y'all hit it on the head right here with Best-Kept Secret. I had to leave my city at thirteen and couldn't return till I was damn near forty. I missed the big changes and can only see the result. Your write-up here sends chills down my spine.

No wonder this place impressed the hell out of me at thirteen...and inspires me at forty-four. Thanks.
Patrick McGraw
St. Louis

Comics Relief
Alt weekly, art weekly -- what's the difference? That piece by Kevin Huizenga, Ted May and Dan Zettwoch was phenomenal ["Comics Takeover!" September 17]. Aren't you guys supposed to be an alt weekly, not some goldurned art mag? Apparent crisis of identity aside, y'all did yourselves proud.
Chris Lanier
San Francisco

Prepare for Takeoff
Flying fibs: Way to go, RFT! Once again we see the deceit that is the basis for the Lambert Airport expansion plan [Bruce Rushton, "Tailspin," September 10]. Throughout the article we are again reminded that what is said by Lambert and St. Louis officials usually contains a dose of truth-bending.

If more of the deceit were exposed, it would be the basis for airport director Colonel Leonard Griggs to resign or be fired. As a past official of Bridgeton Air Defense, which opposed the expansion from the start, I have documented many truth-bendings that Griggs used to further the need for the expansion. Griggs has outlived his usefulness at Lambert. While it is running into budget problems, ignoring the plight of residents who need to be bought out now instead of using limited funds to complete the runway and facing probability of cost overruns, it is time for Griggs to get out and let a real administrator take over. An administrator who can be straightforward with the public, instead of one who is a constant lighting rod.
Rowan C. Raftery

He's for rail: Bruce Rushton's excellent analysis of Lambert Airport's billion-dollar runway dilemma raised one big question for me: Will we ever develop an efficient national transportation policy that involves something besides planes?

We have dislocated hundreds of families from Bridgeton and are spending $1.1 billion on a new runway. Even if American Airlines had not decided to cut back flights to Lambert, the runway's overall impact on travel to and from St. Louis would have been minimal -- a few more landings in bad weather. Rushton is right when he says St. Louis will not attract another hub carrier, and this new runway will do nothing to improve options for travelers.

The cost of this runway is more than three times the entire subsidy Amtrak received from the federal government last year. Might it not have been more prudent to invest a billion dollars to make St. Louis the hub of a high-speed rail network connecting major Midwestern cities?

New Acela rail service between Washington and Boston is only relatively high-speed, but it has been so successful that more passengers now travel by rail than by airline shuttles. A rail network in the Midwest would eliminate enough short-haul flights to make a new runway unnecessary and would provide quick, comfortable travel that is impervious to all but the most extraordinary weather conditions.

Isn't there a private investor or a legislative body that can make this happen?
Charles E. Bouchard
St. Louis

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