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UMSL Won't Play Ball

Week of May 21, 2003

UMSL Won't Play Ball
Coach class: Thank you for the story on the UMSL baseball program and the way athletics are horrendously handled at UMSL [D.J. Wilson, "Foul Ball," May 14]. As a graduate and former soccer player at UMSL (1979-80), as well as living in the neighborhood all of my life and attending their athletic programs as a fan, I'm extremely embarrassed by the way the university treats their coaches and programs since the past athletic director, Chuck Smith, retired. The UMSL spirit and competition are way behind St. Louis University and Washington U. I could write the history of UMSL athletics, and believe me, it is at an all-time low.

The administration is part of this good-ol'-boys' club that could give a hoot about sports at UMSL. The proof is in the way they treat their own coaches and programs. There is no other coach more dedicated and hardworking than Jim Brady, and the UMSL administrative staff that oversees athletics treats him like mud. Since this new dictatorship at UMSL has taken root, the coaches and athletic staff are walking around with slumped shoulders. More kudos to Jim Brady for battling this evil empire.

I wish the current coaches and players were able to have the environment I experienced when I played at UMSL. UMSL athletics will never be the same as long as this current administration exists. How embarrassing can it be when an athletic program is sued by its own coaches? An athletic department should provide a family-type atmosphere for its fans, coaches and players. The current athletic atmosphere makes you feel like you're going to the UMSL Penitentiary to cheer for the Rivermen.

Please wake up, University of Missouri Board of Curators, and return some glory and respect to UMSL!
Patrick Williams

A Whole Can of Beans
Don't eat the fish: In "The Star-Spangled Bender," Randall Roberts and Mike Seely rated VFW and American Legion posts on food, beer, ambiance, etc. [ May 7]. I was a bit surprised to find American Legion Post 444 rated so high. I have been there and, let me tell you, I will probably not be back anytime soon. The whole place reeked of cigarette smoke, the fish tasted like they just took it out of the box and fried it and their "barbecue" beans had no flavor to them. They just came right out of the can and got heated up, then served.

In addition to the lack of good food, the character of the place is in serious question. Scattered in various places across the dining room are trash cans for both trash and aluminum cans. I love how each bin for aluminum cans proudly displays the word "CNAS" on the side of each one. Trust me on this one, folks: Save your money and go to Long John Silver's. It would be a hell of a lot better than that dump.
Ryan Grass

Let's Hear It for St. Charles
Brick by brick: I find it unbelievable that Rose Martelli could visit an authentic historic district and find it "calculated" and "done ... in red brick" ["Trying Times," April 16]. Evidence dating back to the 1760s shows the early settlements of the City of St. Charles. The city of St. Charles, first known as les Petites Côtes, is the oldest permanent Euro-American settlement on the Missouri River. The only two settlements in Missouri older than the city of St. Charles are Ste. Genevieve and St. Louis, both located on the Mississippi River.

The structure in which Martelli found herself dates back to pre-1869, not even one of the oldest structures standing on Main Street today. The first business in that structure was a jewelry store, opened in 1866. The street in front of the structure is constructed of brick pavers. Further south on Main Street, closer to the "bombast of the Ameristar Casino," Ms. Martelli should have found herself driving over the original brick road, had she been paying attention to her surroundings. The "historic" atmosphere on Main Street is authentic, not calculated, nor can any "civic" planner take credit for its success. Main Street continues to thrive because of the merchants and residents striving to maintain, not re-create, the accurate history of St. Charles. The structures on this street were not "done" in red brick. The red brick used to construct these structures was hand-made, on-site, from clay found here in an area currently known as West Clay Street. The settlers and founders of St. Charles were fortunate to have and use their own natural resources to construct the buildings and streets still standing and being used here today.

With a little more time and interest, perhaps Ms. Martelli could have explored the area and learned a little about the rich history that exists in St. Charles. Next time you decide to drive the dreaded highway and cross over the Missouri River, try taking a walk, talking to the people who own businesses on Main Street, finding out what their grandmothers, grandfathers, mothers and fathers did here in St. Charles. Pick up a book and educate yourself before you exude any more ignorance upon your readers.
Jacqueline Sprague, city planner
St. Charles

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