Thursday, June 24, 2004

City Arsons

According to crime statistics on the Ninth District Business Association web site, arson is up dramatically in both McRee Town in South St. Louis and JeffVanderLou in North St. Louis.

Arson is up 1700% in the McRee Town neighborhood, from this time last year. In 2003, there were four arsons the entire year. In 2004, there have already been 18.

Arson is up 700% in the JeffVanderLou neighborhood, from this time last year. In 2003, there were 10 arsons the entire year. In 2004, there have already been eight.

A quick search on the Safe City web site and a Channel 11 news report from January suggest the arson wave may be expanding across I-44 into the Shaw neighborhood.

According to the four-month snapshot of data available on Safe City, these are not the only areas in which a large number of arson cases have occurred:

McRee Town
April 26 - 3900 blk Folsom and 4000 blk McRee
May 19 - 4100 blk McRee

May 17 - 3900 blk Castleman
June 2 - 3800 blk Shaw

Mar 28 - 3700 blk Lincoln
June 2 - 3100 blk N Grand
June 10 - 2400 blk Bacon

The Greater Ville
Feb 28 - 4100 blk E Lexington
Mar 18 - 4100 blk W Lexington
Apr 11 - 4200 blk W Lexington
Apr 28 - 3900 blk Greer

Mark Twain
Mar 30 - 5000 blk Claxton
Apr 18 - 4900 blk Harney
Apr 28 - 5300 blk Union
Apr 28 - 4900 blk Arlington
May 16 - 4900 blk Rosalie
May 28 - 5300 blk Arlington
May 31 - 5300 blk Arlington

Although these figures may pale in comparison to the number of burglaries happening in the City, they are still an indicator of blight and distress in many neighborhoods.

McRee Town has gotten much of the attention given the suspicious nature of these fires in a proposed redevelopment area. One wonders if arsons will start to break out at the new houses under construction, or if instead, there is a more nefarious plot with tacit approval of the developer and its supporters.

Monday, June 14, 2004

"Required Reading"

The final draft of "Raising Student Achievement in the St Louis Public Schools" was posted on the SLPS web site on Thursday, June 10th.

In a press release dated May 5th, Mayor Slay called this very report "required reading for anyone who cares about the education of children."

Funny how long it takes for such an important document to reach the reading public.

Also worth a look is the SLPS MAPattack web site set up for the priority schools that need the most improvement in test scores. Oddly the web pages for each school are not linked from the main list of schools. Indeed, many of the priority schools have only very basic information on their regular web pages.

Also very interesting:
  • School Report Cards for SLPS and St. Louis charter schools;

  •, a national site including parent reviews of some SLPS and charter schools.
  • Thursday, June 10, 2004

    Olympic Torch Route Longer, More Diverse This Time

    On Thursday, June 17th, 2004, the Olympic Torch visits St. Louis.

    In 2002, the Olympic Torch came through St. Louis on its way to the Winter Games in Salt Lake City. The Torch Relay Route then did not reach North St. Louis City.

    The 2004 Olympic Torch Relay global route is noteworthy because - for the first time - it will pass through Africa and South America, thus visiting all five of the continents symbolized by the Olympic logo. Australia also gets a visit, since it has hosted the Summer Games twice. Likewise, all cities that have hosted the Summer Games are included, in commemoration of the return of the Olympics to Athens, Greece.

    In St. Louis, the Olympic Torch will pass through or next to dozens of city neighborhoods and suburban communities, traveling from the Arch to Art Hill in Forest Park:

    1. Downtown

    2. Downtown West

    3. Lafayette Square

    4. King Louis Square

    5. LaSalle Park

    6. Soulard

    7. Benton Park

    8. Benton Park West

    9. Tower Grove East

    10. Gravois Park (just barely, at an edge)

    11. Tower Grove South

    12. Shaw

    13. Compton Heights

    14. Tiffany

    15. The Gate District

    16. Midtown (with a stop at St. Louis University)

    17. Grand Center

    18. JeffVanderLou

    19. Fairgrounds (just at a corner)

    20. The Greater Ville

    21. O'Fallon

    22. Penrose

    23. Kingsway East

    24. Mark Twain/I-70 Industrial (also, just at a corner)

    25. Kingsway West

    26. Fountain Park

    27. Academy

    28. Central West End (with a stop at St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church)

    29. Forest Park Southeast

    30. Kings Oak

    31. The Hill

    32. Southwest Garden

    33. Clifton Heights

    34. Lindenwood Park

    35. Ellendale

    36. Maplewood

    37. Shrewsbury

    38. Webster Groves (with a stop at City Hall)

    39. Rock Hill

    40. Brentwood

    41. Richmond Heights

    42. Clayton (with a stop at Washington University Francis Field, site of the 1904 Olympic Games, and a stop for both the 1996 and 2002 Olympic Torch Relays)

    43. University City

    44. West End (just at an edge)

    45. Skinker-DeBaliviere

    46. Wydown-Skinker (at a corner)

    This extensive route should provide great opportunities for St. Louisans from all around to show their support for the Olympic spirit, and celebrate the centennial of the St. Louis games.

    Friday, June 04, 2004

    Aldermanic Car Wash

    From Jim Shrewsbury:


    City aldermen are rolling up their sleeves tomorrow (Saturday) to raise money for cancer patients living in St. Louis.

    As you know, two of our colleagues, Colleen Sondermann and Dan Kirner, battled cancer earlier this year and their deaths have touched all of us at the Board.

    Money raised from our car wash benefits the Peregrine Society, which provides much-needed assistance to thousands of other St. Louisans fighting cancer.

    I hope to see you tomorrow in supporting this important cause.

    CAR WASH (Minimum $7 donation please)
    11 am to 1 pm
    (1419 Hampton Ave., between highways 40 & 44)


    (Editor's Note: It's worth noting that Alderwoman Phyllis Young fought off cancer two years ago, and is sponsoring a team called Phyllis' Pacers during next weekend's Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. Also the Peregrine Society's executive director is Alderman Fred Wessels. So this is sort of a family event for the aldermen.)

    Wednesday, June 02, 2004

    Police Matters

    Given the recent flap over the creation of a civilian police review board in the City of St. Louis, it is worth noting the info about the next Board of Police Commissioners meeting.

    Wednesday June 23rd
    7 pm
    North Patrol
    4014 Union Blvd.