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Week of September 26, 2001

A Distorted Picture
Residential treatment has plenty of success stories: Elizabeth Vega's article about the adoption of a child from residential care touches on many areas of concern affecting those of us who work daily to provide the proper level of care and treatment to children with severe psychiatric illnesses ["Dead Wrong About Frank," Sept. 12]. The issues surrounding the struggle to provide that therapeutic care are extremely complex, often affected by decisions made at the state and local level over which the provider homes have little influence.

The child-caring community rejoices in the hope of a secure future for the child in the story. My concern is that the picture painted of life for a child in residential treatment is harsh and inaccurate. Recovery rates for children in these circumstances actually reflect a high rate of success for the majority of those in treatment.

Thousands of caring individuals throughout the state and nation work every day under terrific stress to help these children come to terms with their terrible histories. These children have little hope of recovery without the network of mental-health professionals who provide that care and treatment and who do so with very inadequate resources due to underfunding of state programs mandated to care for them.

The picture is extremely distorted and does not reflect the dedication of thousands of individuals who care enough to work under these conditions because they care about the children.
Susan S. Stepleton
Executive Director
Edgewood Children's Center
St. Louis

Born in the USA
Olive skin doesn't mean I'm an immigrant: Thanks for the column [D.J. Wilson, "Pledging Allegiance," Sept. 19]. One point of fact: in the fifth paragraph you started with "The Muslim clerks at 7-Eleven weren't the only anxious immigrants subjected to scrutiny" and then went on to mention my interview [on KMOV-TV].

I am not an immigrant. I was born, raised and hold the coveted blue passport of the U.S. Not everyone with olive skin is an immigrant. I just felt the need to clarify that one point.
Arsalan Iftikhar
St. Louis

More Heat Than Light
Dangerous times call for thoughtful responses: I realize that your editorial was written, as you say, three hours after the most ungodly terrorist attack in the history of the world [Ray Hartmann, "An Act of War, Not a Crime," Sept. 12]. Congratulations, Ray, you did it and the papers came out on time. Now that you've accomplished that feat, how about a little reflection on the notion of journalistic responsibility?

Here is my point: People come to easy conclusions and do not then easily progress to more reasoned positions. First thoughts and impressions count most. These are dangerous times, and all of us ought to be thinking very carefully about what we say and do (and even feel) before sharing those views with (or inflicting them upon) others. Journalists, in particular, should appreciate the awesome power they have to influence the thoughts of many, and they should treat that power with great care and responsibility. Ray, sometimes I can't tell you from the worst of them.
John Upwood
St. Louis

Stars, Bars and Cars
Dale Earnhardt would be proud: While schools, newspapers and TV worship the U.S. flag, they all maintain a double standard toward the Confederate flag [Wm. Stage, "Rebel Yell," Sept. 19]. I'm glad to see the Riverfront Times expose this instance of crypto-fascist thinking by official America.

Hey, the kid's a Dale Earnhardt fan, and NASCAR sprouted from the South.
Charles Everett
Bridgewater, N.J.

Misplaced Ire
Frank reviews are essential: Restaurants are not the first thing on my mind this week, but after reading Karin Ransden's inexplicably vitriolic letter to the editor and Dick Bruce's somewhat more polite attack, I have to write in support of Melissa Martin ["Letters," Sept. 12].

St. Louis (and, particularly, the Central West End) has some terrific restaurants, but it also has some miserable ones. If restaurant reviewers are not going to be frank, what good are they? I have sometimes found Martin and Joe Bonwich more generous than I might be, but I've never caught either of them trashing a restaurant that deserved better.

I live in the CWE and eat out here frequently. C. Whittaker's is not on my long list of good neighborhood places to eat, for good reasons. I'd be delighted if its proprietors responded appropriately to Martin's candid review and cleaned up their act.
L.E. Fox
St. Louis

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