Wednesday, September 30, 2009

A False Sense of Security?

One of our neighbors, a long-time Soulard resident, property owner and observer of the neighborhood scene, tries to inform people of problems with their vehicles. Some of us do this. If we see a car with an almost flat tire, we let the driver know before the tire is ruined. If somebody leaves their auto lights on, we try to alert the owner before the battery is drained. It seems to be common courtesy.

At approximately 6:30 a.m., while driving east on Victor on her way to work, our neighbor passed one of the Hi-Tech “security force” cars parked on the south side of Victor pointing east. The cross streets, which dead end here at the Boy’s Club, were Menard and South 10th streets. The motor was running and the lights of the vehicle were on, which was appropriate since this was sometime between March 10 and 20, as near as she can place the event. After passing, she observed in her rear view mirror that one of the headlights of the security vehicle was out. This is a safety issue.

Out of habit and to inform the driver of the headlight problem, she did a turn-around and pulled up on the north side of the street, now facing west, and honked her horn. The driver was in the car with the window up. She then realized that he was asleep.

After honking a couple of more times and getting no reaction, she dialed the number on the side of the car and reported to the “dispatcher” that their security patrol was sidelined because the officer was sleeping in his vehicle with the engine running. She informed the dispatcher that she was not particularly impressed by the devotion to duty being displayed. Hi-Tech was hired under the auspices of the Soulard Special Business District to bolster Soulard security, and the bills are paid from a special add-on to property taxes.

In fact, there are several people who report seeing police officers sleeping in the Hi-Tech security cars. Madame Chouteau does not perceive that this is an end of the earth sort of situation. However, it does call into question the effectiveness - and integrity - of the security program.

Our neighbor sums up the situation: “Why are we paying extra taxes for a service that seems questionable?” Madame Chouteau would certainly like to hear some discussion of this issue, some evaluation of the benefits of the program, other than creating what may be a false sense of security.

In a recent e-mail, Cindy Harrison, Chairman, Soulard Special Business District, the organization that handles the expenditure of the special tax funds - announced that “we will be reviewing some of the accomplishments of the patrol at the district forum. If you would like more information, I suggest you attend.” The forum is scheduled to be held Sept. 30 at 7:30 p.m. at the Soulard Preservation Hall.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Pierogi Selection Available at Soulard Farmers' Market

Frozen pierogi - a Polish version of ravioli - now can be purchased at Krystyna’s European Food stand at the Market. Cabbage, meat, potato and cheese, cheese, plum and blueberry pierogi are available at the stand.

The pierogi is in addition to smoked Polish sausage, Kielbasa Weselna, Slaska brand sausage, Jalowcowa Juniper Berry Smoked sausage, duck pate, Szynka Polish style ham, dill pickles and other products.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

SRG to take over Soulard/CIN site

The Communications Committee of the Soulard Restoration Group has announced plans to take over the front page of the Soulard/City Information Network (CIN) web site, substituting a different front page to direct visitors to the SRG site. The Soulard/CIN site has been tended by Clark Rowley for almost a decade.

Billy Tomber, head of the committee, board member and editor of The Soulard Renaissance, commented on Friday, Sept. 4 that "when people want information about Soulard, then our site should come up." He added that "our organization speaks for the vast majority of Soulard residents. I can say that with great assurance," and he explains that taking over the Soulard/CIN front page has recently been added to the objectives of the Communications Committee.

"Control of the Soulard/CIN site is desired by the membership of the Soulard Restoration Group," he stated. "The present Soulard/CIN site is not representative of the neighborhood," he believes. "It has served the neighborhood, but not any longer," he says.

Under Billy’s plan, the front page of the SRG website at will be substituted for the existing front page on the CIN site at Under this plan, all visitors to the city sponsored site will be directed to the pages of the SRG site. Without a directory, access to the remaining pages of the Soulard/CIN site will be difficult or they will be deleted.

The switch was made in the middle of August after Billy e-mailed the CIN staff requesting the change. Clark was never told about the plan, nor was he consulted by Billy or anybody in the SRG. When the page change cropped up, Clark changed it back, thinking it was some practical joke. When Billy learned of the switch, he contacted the CIN staff and was told he should talk with Clark.

When asked why he had not contacted the person who created the site, Billy said that he did not know that Clark was the webmaster of the Soulard/CIN site. "When the Communications Committee met in July, we decided that this was one of our objectives" - to take over the Soulard/CIN site. He noted that the Soulard Restoration Group speaks for the neighborhood and is "the largest group in Soulard."

He boasted that the SRG site receives contributions from everyone - "our site is open to everyone," and he added that if "anyone does not like something about the SRG, then they can join the organization and work to change it. We are a democratic organization."

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Minding our Pets, Displaying Courtesy

The following comments are from a Soulard neighborhood e-mail blaster

Hello all,

I am still somewhat new to the neighborhood and getting acquainted with how things work around here. So far living in Soulard is fantastic, but I am having some issues with folks not cleaning up after their animals in front of my home on 11th st. This has happened several times over the past couple of months. I have never seen the culprit(s) so I can't ask them to stop or to pick up the mess. Is anybody having or had the same and how have you dealt with it? If you know someone who knowingly leaves there animal droppings on other people's property please pass this along as it very discourteous and they should begin to clean up after there animal.


Domenic Marcello

And a response:

I second that emotion. I always clean up after my animals when I walk them, whether it is on sidewalks, in tree lawns, public parks or the dog park (if there has been a time I haven't, it's because I ran out of bags during the walk, but I always try go back after and pick it up as soon as possible....)

It is both irresponsible and just plain rude to leave your animal's waste, no matter the size, etc., on public property or some other person's private property.

Even if it is in the tree lawn, the homeowner whose property is adjacent to that tree lawn is responsible for maintaining it, e.g. cutting the grass, and it is very frustrating to have to pick up some other person's pet waste prior to mowing the tree lawn. Sometimes I really consider putting the asphalt back that was there before I bought the house so I won't have to deal with it...

Dana Brackeen