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Yellow Snow 

Week of January 30, 2002

Yellow Snow
Off-key and only in the shower: I just read your review of Snow Dogs in the Riverfront Times [Luke Y. Thompson, "Bad Dogs," Jan. 16], and I am furious. How dare you call it the worst movie of 2002! My husband and I saw it Saturday evening, and it was delightful. It was clean, funny, with lots of fun action and most importantly, a happy ending. The theater was full of families, and they had a great time. They weren't concerned if the adaptation from the book was correct or not. You probably don't enjoy a movie unless it has a lot of sex, blood and gore. As for calling Michael Bolton the "great white dope," how well do you sing?
Norma J. Benton

All Horn, No Hype
The quiet cool of Willie Akins: This was such a poignant article [Jeannette Batz, "The Ballad of Willie Akins," Jan. 2] about one of our stars! We have an abundance of good musicians in St. Louis, and I feel very lucky to live in this little big town. Thank you for featuring this man who would prefer to just toot his horn in a most excellent manner than spend the time promoting himself. This kind of humility tends to let a good artist pass through life unnoticed by the public at large.
Donna Eckberg
via the Internet

Bad, Baaaaaaad Dog
Radar dis: The article that I am completely disgusted with is Radar Station [René Spencer Saller, Jan. 9]. I can't believe your thoughts of the Best Buy staff in the media department ("miserable teenage dumbfuck[s] working for minimum wage"). I think this is totally uncalled for! I have always had very good luck with the personnel at Best Buy. Maybe you ought to take a good look at yourself! I think you owe an apology to Best Buy for your unkind remarks. I totally think the description of the help at Best Buy sounds like the quality of your staff. Shape up and write articles without slamming others.
Name withheld by request

Temporal Saint?
A champion for the poor: I have been watching the events unfold in the news media regarding Mr. Khatib Waheed [D.J. Wilson, "Short Cuts," Jan. 16]. I am one of the people that Mr. Waheed helped when my son had a drug problem. The advice and counseling he gave to me resulted in resources that enabled my son to receive good-quality drug-rehabilitation care -- the end result is that my son is now clean, productive and a contributor to society.

The St. Louis Board of Police Commissioners missed an opportunity to bring decency, commitment, integrity, respect and new creative ideas to their board by not having Mr. Waheed as a member. I believe there is something greater in store for Mr. Waheed, and the locked-in-time good-old-boy way of doing things and the politics of the board would only have weighed heavily around his neck and prevented him from rising to a higher level.
Gladys Smith
St. Louis

Slanted Lead Science
Truth and its close cousins: In his letter to the Riverfront Times, Dennis Diehl of the Jefferson County Health Department is correct in his boasting of the JCHD's participation in four blood-lead studies in Herculaneum, Mo. ["Letters," Jan. 16]. Diehl mentions: "Some of the contamination identified, especially dirt and dust, likely originates from the smelter." In fact, a 2001 lead-isotope study completed by the federal Agencies for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry proved the source of lead poisoning in Herculaneum children is the Doe Run smelter. Notably, Diehl failed to mention that study. In regard to the blood studies that he did mention, Diehl remarked: "It would be virtually impossible to report incorrect results."

Given that Doe Run has organized and funded virtually every blood "study" in Herculaneum and, as a result, has owned the lab data, it would be relatively easy to report incorrect results. In addition: In every study, Doe Run has changed at least one significant element in the original design of the study -- such as labs used (changed in every study), control populations, numbers of those tested per distance or proximity to smelter, number of total people tested, type of tests done, etc. -- thereby completely altering the findings of each successive study. It appears as though Doe Run has, in fact -- with assistance from the JCHD and the Missouri Department of Health -- deceived citizens and public officials as to the extent of lead poisoning in the community of Herculaneum. The JCHD was aware of the results yet did little or nothing to protect the children of Herculaneum. It's clear to many why the JCHD is reluctant to assign blame -- they perhaps share responsibility for the decades-long deception.
Tom Kruzen
People at Risk

Hat Trick
Now, that's entertainment: Roy "the performer" Kasten's mean-spirited odyssey through open-mic culture ["Open Season," Jan. 23] left me scratching my head. His notion of music journalism as "participatory observation" is nothing more than a thinly veiled excuse to lambaste fellow musicians he finds irritating. I kept reading for his considered opinion of the "mores, habits and music of this unique cultural formation" but instead found rant upon rant aimed at those who ply their musical talents for free. The fact that Kasten was paid for his sub rosa observations is all the more galling. Perhaps, next time out, "the performer/journalist" Kasten can check one hat at the door.
Kevin Mills
St. Louis

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