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Week of October 10, 2001

St. Louis Shines
Your paper makes St. Louis seem interesting: I've been away from St. Louis for about a month, and I recently came across Chicago's version of a "Best of" edition in one of the city's independent newspapers. While there is indeed a whole lot more to do in Chicago, a comparison of your "Best of" edition [Sept. 26] to the Chicago compilation makes St. Louis seem infinitely more interesting. Credit your staff for their witty and well-written entries. The Chicago edition, with authors who write as if they're fresh out of high school, is completely unfeeling, and all attempts at humor fail miserably ("Best Reason to Wear Headphones and Avoid Eye Contact"). Chicago might be considered the more refined of the two cities, but it lacks the cohesiveness of St. Louis and the sense of hometown that the Riverfront Times' "Best of" edition so wonderfully captures. Simply put: Your paper has got a lot more heart. Sure, I'm biased. I didn't grow up in Chicago. But I love both places, and I think I can be objective enough to say you do a much better job of capturing the spirit of your fine city.
Name Withheld by Request

We're proud of our pool: It was quite a surprise to open the paper and find our pool listed as Best Lap Pool. I would like to thank you for singling out our facility. The lifeguards, instructors and I are very proud of this pool, and the recognition only reinforces our belief that this is a special environment for swimming. I am happy to see that others are as impressed as I am by its uniqueness and charm.
Ed Redmond
Aquatics Coordinator
Downtown YMCA

A ludicrous comparison: Many thanks for mentioning New Line Theatre several times in your "Best of St. Louis" edition, but I was surprised by one of your comments -- that if you're not in the first rows at the ArtLoft Theatre, you might as well be at the Savvis Center. What on earth does that mean? The ArtLoft Theatre, at its fullest, seats about 150 people, and for some shows it seats as few as 80. The first row is usually 3 or 4 feet from the stage, sometimes closer. There are rarely more than eight or 10 rows of seats total, often fewer, and they're almost always on risers to ensure good sightlines for everyone. It's the most intimate professional theater in the area. To compare that to the tens of thousands of seats in the Savvis Center, where you're frequently sitting several city blocks from the stage, is ludicrous. At a time when St. Louis is trying to revitalize downtown, it's irresponsible to print untruths about the only theater operating in the downtown area.
Scott Miller
Artistic Director
New Line Theatre

Now you know: Thanks for the commendation regarding the Zipatoni spots on KDHX. I'm glad you liked them. I liked them, but, then again, I would, because I wrote and produced them for Zipatoni. Had to use KDHX's talent. Had to use their equipment. Couldn't use sound effects or music. And then there was a whole raft of stuff the FCC wouldn't let us do. As for what Zipatoni does, they're a promotion agency. They do all the promotional work for Miller, Bacardi and others.
Martin Bihl
Edwardsville, Ill.

Skip is truly unique: Congratulations on another fantastic edition of the "Best of St. Louis." In particular, I couldn't agree more with your selection of Skip Erwin as the top sports-broadcast personality. Skip has a unique personality, and he combines knowledge from the past and present to give listeners an informative show every Monday night.
Keith Schildroth
St. Louis

Giving credit where credit is due: On your selection of the headmaster's residence at Principia as Best New Building: While Adrian Luchini was the designer, he was selected to design the Isabel House by the architect of record, Metropolitan Design & Building. In addition, the "serpentine bench" that you mentioned was not designed by Adrian Luchini but by Jeff Clark, principal in charge of project, Metropolitan Design & Building. On the selection of Remy's women's bathroom as Best Restaurant Restroom: The bathroom was not designed by the owner of Remy's but by -- guess who? -- Jeff Clark, Metropolitan Design & Building. While we are quite flattered that you have chosen two of our projects to include in "Best of St. Louis," the lack of proper credit leaves us with a bittersweet taste in our mouths.
Marla K.H. Griffin
Director of Marketing
Metropolitan Design & Building

Support your local bakery: I am disgusted that once again, not only the Riverfront Times staff but also the majority of its readership picked Krispy Kreme for having the Best Doughnuts in St. Louis. People, please wake up! Don't be fooled by imitations! Leave Krispy Kreme for the suits and try shopping the city. Abandon the chains, go exploring and discover fine places such as St. Louis Hills Donut Shop (6917 Hampton Ave.) and Missouri Baking Co. (2027 Edwards Ave.), both family-run and serving only the highest-quality baked goods in town. Support your local independent businesses, or, someday, there will be no choice. What price convenience?
Michael Allen
St. Louis

Eating Disorder
Your reviewer may have been too nice: I was intrigued to read Melissa Martin's review of C. Whittaker's: An American Bistro ["Dead End," Sept. 12]. She was on the money. If she could be criticized in any manner, it would be that she erred on the side of compassion. My family's experience was characterized by sloppy, patronizing, unskilled and aloof personnel, coupled with food which, at best, could be called mediocre. I wrote the owner a letter. His response was the same as the amount of pleasure I received at his restaurant -- none.

A service establishment's treatment of its customers is a direct reflection of the owner's attitude toward the public.
Jack Neuman
via the Internet

No Free Riders
The city can't afford to do everything: I think that someone should tell Joe Fredericks, Charley Lane and the other police officers who are suing the city of St. Louis over the cost of their medical insurance to count themselves lucky [D.J. Wilson, "Broken Promise," Oct. 3].

The retired civil-service employees and retired firefighters have to pay 100 percent of the cost of their insurance. The cheapest rate is $194.10 for those under 65 and $141.65 for those over 65.

The article mentioned that many retired officers still had kids to support and put through college. Sounds to me like they should have kept working rather than retire. They had better hope that when their lawsuit gets before a judge, they don't get Judge Robert H. Dierker. According to Judge Dierker, the word "shall" does not mean "mandatory"; rather, it means "optional." That was his opinion is a ruling not too long ago.

I support Eddie Roth and the rest of the police commission in their decision to make the retirees pay for a portion of their insurance. The retired officers need to wake up and realize that the city cannot afford to do everything that everyone wants them to do.
Vincent S. Scherr
St. Louis

Strike a Balance
What if the shoe were on the other foot? Why move two entire wards, unless, of course, there are no people left in them [D.J. Wilson, "More Than Just Race," Sept. 12]? Why not instead just move the North Side wards gradually southbound to even out the current population? Has anybody wondered how the South Side aldermen would react if their wards were suddenly moved to the North Side or even reduced to the number half of the current members of the Board of Aldermen?
Mike J. Chesnut

Correction: Sue Dill is the chef at Sidney Street Café. Her name was incorrect in "Best of St. Louis" [Sept. 26].

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