Tag Archives: community

All News Stories Mentioning the Gun Fight in Front of Our Loft

5 Oct

I scoured the news to try to find out what happened at our lofts. There was one article and 4 peripheral mentions of the gun fight at our lofts.

Here is my story of what I observed that night for comparison:

St. Louis hopes solution to summer crime is combo of enforcement, youth programs

ST. LOUIS — City officials on Thursday outlined a plan to combine enforcement and funding to deter crime in the summer months.

The city will devote $1 million in Community Development Block Grants to provide summer programming for children and teens, including camps, pop-up events and three meals a day, officials said at an event with community partners at the O’Fallon Park Rec Complex YMCA.

At the same time, police patrols are being increased, said Heather Taylor, deputy director for the Department of Public Safety. The police department will use data to determine when and where officers should patrol to help reduce crime downtown and in the Downtown West neighborhood.

The dual tactics come amid concerns about an uptick in crime in the downtown area recently and as students are wrapping up classes ahead of summer. Taylor said keeping kids engaged and providing them resources is critical in creating a safer city and a better future. “I actually grew up in St. Louis city, and rec centers are why I’m here,” Taylor said. “… I grew up in the ’90s where homicides were at their highest in the city of St. Louis. If it wasn’t for rec centers, having that outlet and those resources available to me, I wouldn’t be a college graduate.”

The city and St. Louis Public Schools worked together to create Summer Fun STL, a series of youth camps, programs and pop-up events that will take place at seven locations from June 6 through July 29. The offerings also will include three meals a day for kids ages 5 to 17. City officials hope to serve about 700 kids with the programs. The locations are: Nance Elementary, Oak Hill Elementary, Ashland Elementary, Walbridge Elementary, Patrick Henry Downtown, Yeatman Middle School and Peabody Elementary School.

The Gateway Region YMCA also will provide programming with funding from the Prop S Youth at Risk Program. More information on the city’s youth summer programs is available at www.stlouis-mo.gov.

Paired with the new programming, the city is boosting police enforcement efforts. Officers will work 12-hour shifts on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. And during peak crime hours — 7 p.m. to 3 a.m. — the city will increase traffic enforcement, air support, specialized units, park rangers and deputy marshals. A collaboration with the St. Louis Sheriff’s Office also will provide an increased police presence on Washington Avenue and Market Street.

The city began increased patrols of downtown about a month ago, and this week announced they have worked with rentable electric scooter companies to shut down the service at 7 p.m. in the downtown area after residents complained of safety hazards created by the scooters.

Additionally, Lt. Col. Michael Sack announced the city’s public safety department has developed an incident mass notification system in partnership with federal authorities, highway patrol and local agencies, to help the city investigate large-scale violence and mass shootings. Sack is the commander of the Bureau of Community Policing but will take over as interim police chief next month when Chief John Hayden retires.

6.) https://www.stltoday.com/news/local/crime-and-courts/st-louis-hopes-solution-to-summer-crime-is-combo-of-enforcement-youth-programs/article_b50b0c28-9379-582a-afff-77077a3d8763.html

Downtown ambassadors in St. Louis act as ‘eyes and ears’ to spot trouble, offer help

ST. LOUIS — On a warm June night in downtown St. Louis, a woman walked frantically around Kiener Plaza. She spotted two men in bright orange vests, ran up to them and asked if they’d seen a man with two small children. The kids were her godchildren, she explained, and the man had called to say they were stranded downtown, with no car. His phone had then died. The men in the vests, part of the Downtown Youth Ambassadors, had been paying attention. One asked if a child in the group had curly hair and a grayish shirt. Yes, the woman replied, in relief. “I think I saw them that way, but I’ll keep a lookout,” said the ambassador, pointing west toward Citygarden. When asked by a reporter if similar situations happen often, he nodded. “All the time,” he said, as he and his orange-vested partner continued walking throughout downtown.

The Youth Ambassadors program was created a year ago through the Downtown St. Louis Community Improvement District, a special taxing district that pays for cleaning, security and other services in the city’s entertainment and employment hub. A group of ambassadors, who are mostly school resource officers, patrol the streets every weekend to help visitors, answer questions and spot trouble. One of the primary objectives of the program was to help address mayhem and crimes that have occurred downtown, especially among teens. The ambassadors’ roles drew heightened attention this spring, as large groups of juveniles roamed the streets on electric scooters, with some occasionally breaking into fights. On the first Saturday in June, two teen girls were wounded when gunfire erupted as two groups of juveniles began fighting around 8 p.m. In 2022, at least one teen has been injured by gunfire in downtown every month.

On some nights, the ambassadors witness the aftermath of shootings and fights. Sometimes they rush to help victims of violence. They communicate with police, even when they just sense trouble may be brewing. They also serve as deterrents, stepping in to talk with teens, some of whom they recognize, before mischief turns more serious. Other days are much calmer. Ambassadors will give out directions to visitors trying to find their hotels after sightseeing near the Gateway Arch, or dish out restaurant recommendations to Cardinals fans. “We’re just eyes and ears here to make sure everything is going OK,” said Janice Dickerson, one of the ambassadors.

Forming the program, recruiting ambassadors

The Youth Ambassador program is similar to one started years ago by the Downtown St. Louis CID, but the new version was crafted by Ron Johnson, a retired Missouri Highway Patrol captain. Johnson was appointed by then-Gov. Jay Nixon to head security in Ferguson after the police shooting of Michael Brown in 2014. He retired in 2018 after three decades in law enforcement and launched a security consulting firm. St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kimberly Gardner hired Johnson’s firm in 2019 on a one-year contract to serve as a liaison between her office and police.

Kelli McCrary, executive director for Downtown St. Louis CID, brought on Johnson’s firm to help improve safety downtown.

The neighborhood organization has allocated about $100,000 to the Downtown Youth Ambassador program. McCrary says there may be room to grow the program in the future.

Last summer, Johnson drove around for nearly eight weeks and spotted a trend: large groups, sometimes 30 or more youths, on Washington Avenue and along the grassy park areas along Market Street, from Memorial Plaza to Kiener Plaza. His next step, he said, was trying to address how to break up the “youthful” large crowds, which he noted sometimes included older teens and young adults. “I didn’t take the approach ‘Well how do we stop our youth from coming downtown?’” he said. “I didn’t take the approach of ‘Well how do we arrest ourselves out of an issue? But how do we make sure that we can all exist and enjoy the treasures of downtown?’”

Johnson met with Kelvin Adams, superintendent of St. Louis Public Schools, to ask for recommendations from the district’s resource officers, who are trained in de-escalation and crisis intervention, and to help form the team of ambassadors.

Today, most of the ambassadors are resource officers who roam school hallways with students and often recognize those students while working downtown. There are also a few other school employees and retired police officers in the program. “I just love kids. You just have to for this job,” said Cortez Ward, one of the program’s supervisors and a resource officer at Gateway Middle School. Ward is one of about 40 ambassadors working part time on weekends.

The ambassadors are instructed not to disarm people, and they do not have authority to make arrests. They are equipped with vests and radios — and their experience working with youths. “When the kids can see themselves in you, that’s how you form a relationship with them,” Johnson said. “You see them and they see you, and they can begin to put themselves maybe in their position. And when you’re trying to talk to him or her, that’s a better opportunity for them to listen.”

‘You can’t stop everything’

Ambassadors believe they can earn the trust of youths and other residents. Nancy James, an ambassador and former police detective, says some kids will come up to her to warn of trouble. “They’ll point out who has a gun or who is starting a fight,” James said. When trouble does hit, the ambassadors often have to intervene.

One night in May, James took cover when shots rang out near Kiener Plaza. She then calmed a young girl who had a graze wound on her back. James said she connected to police by radio and helped get in contact with the injured girl’s mother.

The ambassadors say that parents have a role to play, pointing out, for example, that they’ve seen adults drop off large groups of kids and then drive off. Police and city officials in recent weeks have pleaded with parents to supervise kids more carefully downtown; some ambassadors say those pleas may help explain why downtown on recent weekends has been calmer.

Others say the city’s ban on scooters downtown has sent a message to kids that they should avoid the area.

Johnson, the program director, says the youths heading downtown are not coming from just one neighborhood, or even just the city. He believes regional leaders, from across St. Louis County and the Metro East, need to work together to establish activities and events for youths on weekends.

One ambassador, Carole Dent, a former police officer and currently a parole officer for the Department of Corrections, says some “terrible” incidents have overshadowed the downtown experience. Dent says a small group of “bad actors” is usually at the center of trouble, with most other teens just running around scared. But she added that she has just as many good memories as bad, recalling teens taking prom pictures downtown in the spring. “You can’t stop everything,” she said. “You don’t know how much we’ve stopped either.”

7.) https://www.stltoday.com/news/local/crime-and-courts/downtown-ambassadors-in-st-louis-act-as-eyes-and-ears-to-spot-trouble-offer-help/article_bdd90261-0d06-52d4-a51f-96ae414cf2bd.html

100 Shots Fired Between Downtown St. Louis Rentals

It’s not the first shooting at a downtown short-term rental this year

By Benjamin Simon on Wed, Jul 20, 2022 at 3:04 pm

Short-term renters fired up to 100 shots at each other Wednesday morning. Nearly 100 shots were fired during a shootout between short-term renters early Wednesday morning, according to the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department. Around 1 a.m. in the Downtown West neighborhood, an argument broke out between parties staying on the 1900 block of Washington Avenue and on the 400 block of North 20th Street. Shortly after, a nearby resident told KSDK that they’d heard shots similar to “machine fire” for two to three minutes.

Initially, witnesses stated to police that the shooting took place between separate Airbnb renters. They have since clarified their statement to say that the shooting took place between “short-term rentals.” An Airbnb spokesperson confirmed to RFT there are no active or recent reservations at either property on 1920 Washington or 411 N. 20th Street.

Two people were injured, according to the police’s incident report. The police noted that they arrested two suspects and seized “a large quantity” of narcotics and firearms in one of the rental units. This is the most recent incident in a slew of deadly shootings this year at short-term rental units in the downtown area.

In early March, a 16-year-old was shot and killed in the Ely Walker Lofts. A few weeks later, two teenagers were killed at a birthday party at Cupples Station Loft Apartments. Both were thought to happen at short-term rentals.

During the police department’s weekly crime update on Wednesday morning, Lieutenant Angela Dickerson said she doesn’t believe there’s an “ongoing problem” with violence in downtown-area short-term rental units. Police spokeswoman Evita Caldwell said the violence stems from a few “bad actors” who are “doing things they aren’t supposed to do or doing things they are not disclosing to [short-term rental] owners.”

In March, LaShana Lewis, chair of the St. Louis Downtown Neighborhood Association, told KMOV that the area was looking into restrictions on downtown rentals. “Given recent events … people seem to be now making sure that we have some sort of wrap-around [for] requirements for having [short-term rentals], especially in downtown,” Lewis said.

This story has been updated to remove all references to Airbnb on July 21 at 11:57 a.m.

1.) https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.riverfronttimes.com/news/100-shots-fired-between-downtown-st-louis-rentals-38139252%3Fmedia%3DAMP%2BHTML

Police: 100 shots fired in Downtown West neighborhood, 2 injured

One resident said the shots sounded like a machine gun and lasted for as long as two or three minutes.

Author: Alex Fees (KSDK), Elyse Schoenig

Published: 8:07 AM CDT July 20, 2022

Updated: 5:40 PM CDT July 20, 2022

ST. LOUIS — Dozens of shots were fired in St. Louis’ Downtown West neighborhood early Wednesday morning. One resident said the shots sounded like a machine gun and lasted for as long as two or three minutes.

Police said the shootings happened at around 12:30 a.m. near 20th Street and Washington Avenue. Police said their mobile reserve units reported hearing “a hundred” gunshots. Officers believe there were groups at separate parties involved and people were feuding and shooting at each other. 

Police said a 20-year-old woman was found in the area of 20th Street and Washington Avenue. Police said she was a passenger in a car that was hit by gunfire near the scene of the shooting. She was taken to the hospital for treatment. The driver was not injured.

Officers found another victim with a gunshot wound to his foot. He was also taken to a hospital for treatment. Police said he was also one of the suspects in the shooting.

5 On Your Side spoke to several people in the area who say they’re at the point of wanting to move out. “This honestly has to stop,” area business owner Nicole Jenkins said. “I grew up in the City of St. Louis and I’ve never seen it like this.” Jenkins’s concerns were echoed by many of the other area business owners. “It’s disheartening because you want your customers to feel safe,” Ashanti Moorehead said. Jenkins said she wants more action, like increased police presence, and more surveillance. “I think there needs to be officers on feet for what needs to take place and occur here,” Jenkins said. At the end of the day, she said her passion is serving her clients. She said if her safety and theirs are at risk, it’s time to take her passion and move it somewhere else.

“I caution the investigation is very preliminary at this juncture,” said St. Louis Police Lt. Mathew Karnoski. “There were two groups of individuals shooting at each other. We are in the midst of recovering dozens and dozens of shell casings and so far, we have recovered three firearms and arrested two people.”

Police said witnesses said the parties were hosted at Airbnb rentals.

A spokesperson for Airbnb noted there were no active listings or reservations at either property.

Karknoski said two handguns were recovered at the scene.  “One has been outfitted with a device to make it a fully automatic weapon, and we’ve also recovered a 223 AR-style pistol,” he said.

Police also seized a “large quantity” of suspected narcotics from the scene.

Downtown resident Dale Carney lives at the intersection. “I was almost asleep and heard the gunfire,” said Carney. “I basically dove under the bed. I called 911 right away and got through in a second, luckily. I told the lady 20th and Washington, gunfire. Lots of gunfire. When I was talking to them, it was still going off, so I’m sure they probably heard it over my phone.”

9.) https://www.ksdk.com/article/news/crime/shots-fired-shooting-airbnb-downtown-west-st-louis/63-116543b2-253b-488f-86d6-42599cf2f3cd

This is our police report:

There are literally 13 people aressted for our incident, ages ranging from 16 to 47!

Here’s some pictures where I marked where we were (mostly circles) in relation to where the most major shooting occured (the line on the sidewalk 4′ under our window and the x’s and *):

And I think the spaces between demographics and heading of “State of Missouri” in that police report means an officer (“special victim”) might have been involved.

From what I saw, it was probably cross fire, because the police were not close during the actual altercation. I think it would be plausible that one of the gunmen with his back to our loft, and shooting across our parking lot an another young person (also armed and shooting) may have clipped a police car or something like that.

The “x” are where police cars finally came to, after the shooting was mostly over. Maybe 1-3 shots happened after I saw police.

This is how Saint Louis news described our gun fight involving 13 people and possibly an officer:

It’s weird that a whole-ass, multi-person gun fight is being framed as cars being shot??! The one article (the ONLY one that talks specifically of the gun fight we witnessed) directly addressing 7-13 people shooting automatic weapons was reduced to ballistic damage on 15 cars. It is hardly accurate or reflective of what actually went on–and nobody cared to gather information or report what actually occurred.

I’ll post the Reddit chain about our gun fight in a different entry.

2.) https://fox2now.com/news/missouri/15-vehicles-damaged-overnight-during-rapid-gunfire-in-st-louis/

a “special victim” is defined as:

Downtown violence, 12-hour shifts, dwindling roster stressing St. Louis police

Some commanders have shared their feelings about the current state of affairs in memos obtained by 5 On Your Side.

Author: Christine Byers (KSDK)

Published: 5:56 PM CDT August 1, 2022

Updated: 6:26 PM CDT August 1, 2022

ST. LOUIS — Hundreds of shots fired, two innocent people caught in the crossfire, bullet holes in multiple cars and buildings downtown this past weekend.

All of it comes at a time when the city is forcing officers to work 12-hour overtime shifts, which have led to impassioned memos from commanders scrambling to fill cars as the police union estimates 102 officers have left the force so far this year.

Mayor Tishaura Jones stood with Maj. Renee Kriesmann during a weekly downtown safety briefing Monday, and cited a December 2020 study paid for by the Regional Business Commission when asked what her plan is to retain and recruit officers.

“(The study) showed St. Louis actually has enough officers, they just need to deploy them in the right way,” Jones said. “And so we have been looking at our deployment strategies, along with the Center for Policing Equity, to make sure that we can deploy our officers in a smarter way and also making sure that we’re deploying our alternative responses. “So we have Cops and Clinicians, we have a diversion program that takes a little bit of that burden off of officers responding to every call.” She also said St. Louis isn’t alone in its struggle to find officers, which she found out while attending an event sponsored by the National League of Cities. “There wasn’t one mayor at the table who also isn’t experiencing an officer shortage,” she said. “So it was not just St. Louis, it’s Tacoma, Washington, it’s Jackson, Mississippi, it’s Union, Georgia, it’s Savannah, Georgia, it’s Montgomery, Alabama. “These are all cities, including more that are experiencing an officer shortage in the midst of a nationwide labor shortage.” Maj. Renee Kriesmann outlined the weekend’s violence, and added: “It’s not a big secret that we are short some officers, however, what we’re trying to do is use the officers that we have to keep them visible.”

Internally, some commanders have shared their feelings about the current state of affairs in memos obtained by 5 On Your Side.

On July 13, Lieutenant Michael McAteer wrote to the Technological Solutions & Investigations staff, letting them know he would be calling on as many as 10 of them to return to the streets. The unit typically works at headquarters on technology-based policing at the Real Time Crime Center, monitoring cameras during incidents, ShotSpotter calls and other intelligence-based investigations. “I am afraid that I must ask your help in making some extremely difficult decisions as we move forward,” he wrote. “As a good supervisor, I am sure each of you has paid attention to the agency’s staffing crisis, and have anticipated the potential impact this might eventually have upon our division. What comes next cannot be of any great surprise at this point.”

He told his staff he met with Interim Chief Michael Sack during the first week in July.

“He was quite candid in sharing staffing issues: 124 officers removed from the manning table last year; down another 140 officers from there, minus another 75 on various forms of long-term leave/sick/limited duty. Altogether, it can be safely estimated approximately 340 fewer cops than the Department fielded just seven years ago. Sadly, I cannot say that we have reached bottom. As other agencies step up their recruitment efforts and fill their vacancies, it is only common sense that they would seek out seasoned officers from the St. Louis Police Department. Unfortunately, even with mandatory staffing requirements, the districts continue to struggle with properly staffing patrol vehicles. In essence, this staffing issue has now become an officer safety concern.” He assured his officers he argued to keep the staffing level in the Intelligence Unit as is, arguing the unit provides a high-tech approach to crime strategies, moving officers out of the unit will cost the department specialized training and experience and the unit’s stats speak for themselves. “While these arguments have prevailed in helping us avoid cuts in past situations, the scope of the department’s existing crisis most certainly overpowers everything,” he wrote.

Sack wrote to a memo to sergeants and officers Friday, in which he talked about crime summaries officers read every day. “What they don’t contain is equally important. That is, they don’t note the efforts each of you takes to serve. Incidents seem to pile up, one upon another. Call, followed by call, followed by report writing, maybe a booking and an email to the (Circuit Attorney’s Office) mailbox. Each day you come to work and go through your shift. Some shifts may seem like a repeat of the previous day. I know this is difficult for you. I know the 12-hour shifts are a strain – not only on you, but your families as well. We watch each week as our officer-peers leave for other agencies or retire. We encounter challenging situations and endure it all with professionalism and compassion. Our Department is not unlike others. Other agencies struggle to retain and attract officers. While we may not be able to control retention, we can control our response to the challenges we face each day. This is a difficult time for law enforcement. Please know that I appreciate your efforts and that what you do makes a difference in the lives of many in our community…I humbly ask you to continue to carry on as best you can, to work hard and do the right thing. The community is counting on each of us. Please keep focused on your service and perform your duties proudly and safely. Thank you for what you have done, and what you will continue to do as we serve in this challenging time.”

Barely more than 24 hours after that memo went out, officers at Central Patrol reported hearing about 100 gunshots just past 2 a.m. Saturday. Calls then came into 911 soon after reporting shots fired near the Architect Stunning Lofts in the 700 block of N. 21st Street. There, police found 15 cars damaged by gunfire and 50 shell casings.

A few hours later, two people were dropped off at a hospital with gunshot wounds, and police believe they were involved in the shooting.

At 3:14 a.m. Sunday, a 78-year-old woman and a 55-year-old man were struck by gunfire in the 1300 block of Convention. Both survived their injuries, but police found 100 shell casings at the scene along with nine apartment windows and five cars damaged by gunfire.

Police also reported between 200 to 300 juveniles congregated in and around a new event space called The Den in the 1300 block of Convention around that time.

When asked whether the 12-hour mandatory overtime shifts may continue in the fall months, she said department leaders evaluate that question every week. So do the officers.

3.) https://www.ksdk.com/article/news/local/st-louis-downtown-violence-police-department/63-927ca100-a7c5-40a9-b47a-6055745d9d8d

Cool’s Interview:

4.) https://www.kmov.com/2022/08/01/downtown-west-residents-asking-city-leaders-police-intervention-after-violent-weekend/

Teen shot, killed inside transit station on Monday in St. Louis

“It’s just so scary to think that this happened inside a bus and train station where so many people were,” said a woman whose brother tried to buy a ticket.

Author: Robert Townsend

Published: 5:30 AM CDT August 2, 2022

Updated: 5:30 AM CDT August 2, 2022

ST. LOUIS — “It’s scary to think that this would happen in a station like this where it’s really business,” said a concerned woman, who asked that her identity be released.

Witnesses told police in mid-afternoon Monday a mask and hoodie-wearing, young guy stormed through the front entrance at the St. Louis Gateway Transportation Center at south 15th and Poplar Streets near Enterprise Center. Within moments witnesses said the gunman shot a teenage boy in his head and killed him.

Police say the boy was sitting in the lobby.

“It was just so crazy. We saw the young man’s body just lying there on the floor. That could have been one of my family members. It’s just sickening,” the woman told 5 On Your Side’s Robert Townsend.

Multiple police officers rushed to the scene, put up crime scene tape and started talking to witnesses. The station was packed with dozens of travelers at the time. The woman, who spoke with 5 On Your Side, says her brother was trying to buy a train ticket just minutes before. She asked that her name not be revealed. “The witnesses said the young man who was murdered was sitting in a seat in the lobby. The guy came in the building, stood behind him and said ‘what’s up now,’ pulled a revolver out of his pants and shot him” said the woman.

Greyhound and Amtrak operate out of the station. Customers say ticket counters for both companies temporarily shut down after the deadly shooting.

It happened after a violent weekend in St. Louis.

Police say early Saturday morning two innocent people were caught in the crossfire when hundreds of gunshots were fired near north 21st Street.

Back at the St. Louis Gateway Transportation Center a frustrated Jhordy Sanchez couldn’t buy a bus ticket to Columbia. “I’m just going to go to the airport and catch a shuttle bus. This is such a big inconvenience It’s bad publicity for Greyhound and bad publicity for St. Louis,” said Sanchez.

Nobody else was hurt. Police quickly took a teenager into custody thanks to eagle-eyed witnesses. “These people were very helpful that when they saw that, they remembered and provided us with a lot of information,” said Major Ryan Cousins with the Metropolitan St. Louis Police Department. 

However, that’s little comfort for this weary woman. “I’m tired of the violence and I’m ready to get my family out of town and move,” she said.

Hours after the shooting, both Greyhound and Amtrak were once again selling tickets and running again.

5.) https://www.ksdk.com/article/news/crime/teen-shot-killed-inside-greyhound-station-st-louis-missouri/63-f9ee95fa-dd35-49ae-a77c-8ad9d4fc2cb7

Downtown leaders to city: Spend more to make downtown St. Louis safe

ST. LOUIS — Downtown business leaders want City Hall to spend more money making the area safer. And they say if that doesn’t happen, the whole city could suffer.

Officials with Greater St. Louis Inc., the region’s business development organization, said Thursday they want city leaders to use part of an unprecedented haul of federal aid to put up more surveillance cameras, upgrade street lights and take steps to slow down traffic on roads like Fourth Street, Broadway and Tucker Boulevard.

The request follows more than a year of problems with high-profile shootings, drag racing and late-night mayhem that has at times fostered a sense of lawlessness in the heart of the region. Residents have complained they can’t sleep at night. Some business owners have worried the bad headlines will scare clientele away, and others have considered relocating themselves.

“A catalytic infrastructure investment from our city government is critical to restoring confidence,” said Jason Hall, Greater St. Louis Inc.’s CEO.

A spokesman for Mayor Tishaura O. Jones was noncommittal Thursday. “We will absolutely take a look at their recommendations,” said the spokesman, Nick Desideri. “Our administration remains committed to improving public safety in downtown St. Louis.”

The city has worked to dampen downtown troubles: It shut down a troublesome nightspot on Washington Avenue last summer, reassigned more police to the area in the fall, and banned electric scooters in June after reports of roving bands of unsupervised youths. Jones also convened a public safety task force with city officials and business executives to monitor progress downtown and respond to problems.

But on Thursday, some of those same executives were asking for more.

Hall spent the first part of a press conference Thursday talking up downtown’s strengths as a hub for high-income employment and tourism, with a growing residential population and plenty of redevelopment potential. He also noted reasons for optimism: The new MLS stadium. The plan to revive the vacant Butler Brothers building. A tech startup’s announcement Wednesday it’s opening an office on troubled Washington Avenue for more than 200 employees.

But Hall also conceded the pandemic took a hefty toll. The number of jobs downtown has dwindled. Office vacancy rates are up. Sidewalks are crumbling, graffiti is covering buildings and high-voltage wiring is hanging out of light poles, Hall said. “We cannot compete as a global city if we allow this to be our front door,” he said.

8.) https://www.stltoday.com/business/local/downtown-leaders-to-city-spend-more-to-make-downtown-st-louis-safe/article_459821d7-5e58-510d-b9e7-9ec3a4bf398c.html

Police investigate after man was shot near Downtown St. Louis

By Kelsee Ward

Published: Aug. 15, 2022 at 6:12 AM CDT

ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) – Police are investigating after a man was shot near Downtown St. Louis early Monday morning.

The shooting happened near Washington Avenue and North 18th Street at around 3:14 a.m. Police said the man was shot in the chest when they arrived on the scene.

The investigation is ongoing.

Copyright 2022 KMOV. All rights reserved.

11.) https://www.kmov.com/2022/08/15/police-investigate-after-man-was-shot-near-downtown-st-louis/

St. Louis City police, public safety leaders address recent uptick in homicides

By Gabriela Vidal

Published: Aug. 22, 2022 at 8:46 PM CDT

ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) – As summer winds down, the City of St. Louis Is facing a growing crime trend in homicides. “Unfortunately, we were slightly ahead of where we were last year,” said Public Safety Director Dr. Dan Isom. The City of St. Louis currently has 129 homicides. At this same time last year, the city recorded 121 homicides. The last four happened on Sunday night in a span of five hours. “Any homicide, any loss of life is distressing, but when it happens in such a short period of time, [it] is certainly cause for concern,” said Isom. “Also, in addition to the fact that we don’t find any connection between the four.” Isom said St. Louis police believe the homicide that happened off Grand and Broadway was the result of an altercation between several people, and police have some potential leads on who the suspects could be.

During Monday’s downtown public safety briefing, Isom addressed questions as to why St. Louis is experiencing an uptick in violent crime, he attributed it to several factors. “One, we’ve had a serious explosion in these stolen KIAs and Hyundai’s, which I think offer availability for mobile crimes, and they are being used in certain violent crimes,” said Isom. “This is one issue that has changed and accelerated in the last month or so.” Two, he says it could also be the rise in dangerous weapons on the street. “Meaning guns that can be transitioned to fully automatic. Of course, a gun that is fully automatic is going to be way more lethal than one that’s not,” said Isom. “I think our primary focus right now is enforcement in trying to slow down the violence that’s happening in this community through physical presence, through intelligence, through trying to close these cases as quickly as possible to hold people accountable.”

As of August 20, only 54 percent of homicides have been solved in the City of St. Louis.

“It has been reported that our numbers are down somewhat significantly from last year as well in terms of officers,” said Isom. “However, we have been doing the 12 hour shifts to compensate for that.”

News 4 checked in with the St. Louis Police Officers Association on what they think has contributed to the rise in recent violent crime. President Jay Schroder believes the ongoing shortage of police officers is among the issues that has taken a toll on the community. Right now, he says the department is about 300 positions short. “We’re drastically underpaid compared to departments all around. We used to be one of the better paying departments and now we’re $20,000 dollars behind our people in St. Louis County, so we’re not competitive. We’re not keeping up with the rest of the folks around us,” said Schroder. “It’s going to be a team effort for everyone. it’s going to have to be the police department and the city, they’re going to have to get behind their policemen, to pay their policemen. And they’re going to have to show the guys that ride the streets every day that people actually care.”

Earlier this June, SLMPD institute 12-hour mandatory shifts on the weekends for police across the city to address some of the growing crime trends over the summer, but that policy is expected to end at the end of the month. However, Isom says the city’s focus will still be having police presence in high crime areas. “We will continue to look at personnel and our manpower and try to adjust it to the areas we think will have the most impact,” said Isom. “We have worked officers very hard for the last couple of months working 12-hour shifts, and it certainly has helped, but we have to recognize that we have to give officers a break as well.”

“I’m really hoping that in St. Louis we’re able to say from this point on, we will begin to scale up what works, because we can get out in front of this,” said James Clark, Vice President of Public Safety for the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis. Clark tells News 4 that for years he has been saying the solution is prioritizing education and outreach in communities and homes where the crime is taking place. “It starts with the neighborhoods, and it starts with resources in the neighborhood,” said Clark.

Yet, amid violence this past weekend, there was a new symbol of hope on display in the city. A peace sign is now up on display on the wall off 4230 Manchester Avenue in the Grove. Kyle Holbrook, a Miami-based muralist who created the artwork, tells News 4 this is part of an anti-gun violence initiative he started over a year ago. “It’s bringing awareness to the issue, an epidemic that we are in as a city and as a country of gun violence, but it’s not anti-gun,” said Holbrook. St. Louis marks the 42nd city he’s been to in the country to create one of these murals, and he hopes to reach all 50 states by sometime next year. It is especially important to him after losing 46 friends to gun violence over the course of his life. “And the intent is families will know and friends of lost loved ones will know that this is done with their lost loved one in mind,” said Holbrook.

Copyright 2022 KMOV. All rights reserved.

10.) https://www.kmov.com/2022/08/23/st-louis-city-police-public-safety-leaders-address-recent-uptick-homicides/

Article Weblinks:

1.) https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.riverfronttimes.com/news/100-shots-fired-between-downtown-st-louis-rentals-38139252%3Fmedia%3DAMP%2BHTML

2.) https://fox2now.com/news/missouri/15-vehicles-damaged-overnight-during-rapid-gunfire-in-st-louis/

3.) https://www.ksdk.com/article/news/local/st-louis-downtown-violence-police-department/63-927ca100-a7c5-40a9-b47a-6055745d9d8d

4.) https://www.kmov.com/2022/08/01/downtown-west-residents-asking-city-leaders-police-intervention-after-violent-weekend/

5.) https://www.ksdk.com/article/news/crime/teen-shot-killed-inside-greyhound-station-st-louis-missouri/63-f9ee95fa-dd35-49ae-a77c-8ad9d4fc2cb7

6.) https://www.stltoday.com/news/local/crime-and-courts/st-louis-hopes-solution-to-summer-crime-is-combo-of-enforcement-youth-programs/article_b50b0c28-9379-582a-afff-77077a3d8763.html

7.) https://www.stltoday.com/news/local/crime-and-courts/downtown-ambassadors-in-st-louis-act-as-eyes-and-ears-to-spot-trouble-offer-help/article_bdd90261-0d06-52d4-a51f-96ae414cf2bd.html

8.) https://www.stltoday.com/business/local/downtown-leaders-to-city-spend-more-to-make-downtown-st-louis-safe/article_459821d7-5e58-510d-b9e7-9ec3a4bf398c.html

9.) 9.) https://www.ksdk.com/article/news/crime/shots-fired-shooting-airbnb-downtown-west-st-louis/63-116543b2-253b-488f-86d6-42599cf2f3cd

10.) https://www.kmov.com/2022/08/23/st-louis-city-police-public-safety-leaders-address-recent-uptick-homicides/

11.) https://www.kmov.com/2022/08/15/police-investigate-after-man-was-shot-near-downtown-st-louis/

Nobody Wants to be THAT Silent Bystander that Could Have, but Didn’t, Prevent Tragedy

25 Mar

Walking about-July 2012 030Today, when I went to class I saw something a little unusual.

I drove to the parking lot and parked, and saw a man walking through the lot.  He was around 50 years old, so not your traditional student.  And he was wearing a green army jacket–not typical of faculty.  He didn’t seem to be DOING anything in particular, I just thought he looked out of place.  But really, I probably wouldn’t have thought twice under normal circumstances.  The real thing that caught my attention was what he carried.  He didn’t have a back-pack or a brief case or any kind of binder of notebook, or even a rake or something that screamed student, staff, or maintenance.  All he had was a crow bar.  And he walked down the row of cars, and sort of meandered further into the middle of the parking lot, instead of the road or exit he had initially been approaching.

And I thought he looked like he could try to break into cars, smash windshields, or worse shoot up a campus.  He just didn’t seem to fit the environment.  And I thought some desperate homeless person or veteran with terrible PTSD could have come from the train tracks behind us or from downtown very nearby the campus.  I didn’t especially WANT to find out what he was doing, and being the only person in the vicinity I did not want to become victim #1, so as I walked I kept an eye on him.  Even through he was now sort of behind me, I just ignored the flashcards in my hand and glanced back every few steps.  And he watched me too.  So I was a little suspicious and unnerved.

I didn’t want to over-react in any way, and certainly I was not alarmed at this point.  BUT if the guy was up to something or intended on some horrible crime, I didn’t want to be that person that everyone interviewed afterward who looks all dumb.  Dumb because they saw something that wasn’t right, realized it, then ignored it and let tragedy ensue.  So I planned on reporting the incident (or non-incident as the case may be) to the front desk when I got inside the school.

But before I made it, there were 2 guys who looked like part of the school’s landscaping crew.  I said excuse me and asked if there was a third man working with them–which confused them greatly.  So I just mentioned the unusual man carrying the crow bar through yellow parking.  I didn’t want a scene or anything, in case the man had been doing something perfectly legit, but I didn’t think it would hurt for someone to ask him what was up either.  And I think landscaping headed over there to check it out, but I’m not sure if they followed up.  So I didn’t report it to anyone else–that felt like over-kill.  And luckily, no one shot up, bombed, or vandalized the school that I know of.

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Color Me Rad

19 Jun

june 2013I saw this on 125’s blog and knew I HAD to do it.  It was running, but more importantly, it was rainbow colors and 1980’s.  What’s not to like?  I also knew I couldn’t do it alone.  Lame.Not knowing anyone in Spokompton made it difficult though.  My Nevada and Missouri friends are too far away.  My Aunt–too old, shy, and out-of-shape.  Cool.  Honestly can be a real dud when it comes to physical activity or crowds.  Especially in combo.  Convincing her to run with me would be a chore.  Co-workers–well have to WORK.  Especially if I’m not there.  And speaking of that ALL of these races (and every fun public activity) falls on Saturday.  And I work every Saturday morning.

So the odds were stacked against me from the start.  But I traded my life away at work and the other tech agreed to take my color blast 2race Saturday (5 hours at MOST) and birthday Saturday (open for 3 hours)  if I worked a Wednesday (9 hours if I’m lucky) and Thursday (a Forster day which would make me have to work 4 days in a row) for her.  I got the short end of the stick, but both Saturdays were that important to me.

Next, I tried to convince Cool.  And of course, she was having no part of any run, colored or not.  So I bought my $30(!) admittance.  This secured me a shirt, sunglasses, my number, 1 color color blastpacket to throw, and a fun-run.  I worked and worked.  And worked on Cool, really trying to talk up the race, guilt, and coerce her.  What finally got her?  I asked her to line dance with me.  Apparently, running is a better choice than cowgirl line dancing. . .  Good to know.  By the time (6 weeks later?) I got her to come with me, the price had gone up to $50!  Bummer, and ouch–but it was going to be fuuunnnn.

I’m not certain what all that money goes toward.  A charity WAS involved, but I have a hard time believing they saw all of color bomb 2my $80.  And the shirt?  Royal blue–not good for color-running purposes.  The white ones?  Extra$$$.  More color packets?  More extra dough.  There was also other merch and you could buy photos of yourself running.  And buy food.  And beer–though I never saw any that wasn’t just the raceway’s concession domestics–ick.  So I deemed it over-priced greatness.

The packet pickup was a well-oiled machine.  Like a huge amount of volunteers, computers, tables.  Order.  Which never happens.  Everything was well-marked, and we did not have to stand in line for 1 second–despite 1500 people being confirmed to run.

lame

They asked us to be there at 7AM.  And they were out of town, in the boonies, and charged $5 to park.  So we parked in the Casion’s lot next door.  Free.  Yay for us smart-cookies who scouted out the scene 2 days early!  Anyway, 7AM in Spokompton is chilly.  And I got the impression that the organizers had us gather early and corral right by all the for-sale merch–to stimulate us to BUY.  There was also a “party.”  They had dancers on a stage–like choreographed dance movements and all, and I was mostly embarrassed for them.  I also wondered if those people were from Spokane, or traveled around the country doing these parties???  I never did find out.  They also had a DJ trying to generate enthusiasm.  I was put-off when he said something to the effect of, “Ladies, show me what you’ve got for some color packs!!!”  Gross.  It felt a little contrived. Like they were trying too hard to be cool.  Maybe this goes over better in actual cities like New York, or places where people are–drunk.

costumes

I did, however, enjoy seeing the costumes–I KNEW people would wear them!!!  And also people-watching was amazing–sorostitutes always make me laugh–especially old-in-the-face ones.  One of them looked to be trying to hold it all inside, but couldn’t contain herself during some horrible rap song.  She was mouthing the words and doing small dance moves to what was probably her “jam.”  Extra-lame.  Next time we do a color run I have an excellent costume idea.  And I tried to get Cool to do it with me this year, but it was difficult enough just getting her there.  And you can’t be the ONLY one wearing a costume.  But I want to get a bunny-rabbit suit.  Full on head and everything.  And would start the race as the white rabbit, I’m late, I’m late from Alice in Wonderland–and end as the Trix rabbit!  So awesome!  I hope nobody else thinks of it before we get to do it.  Because it’s not at neat once someone has already done it.

4113512-R1-054-25A
-As we were run/walking, assorted stations were throwing environmentally-friendly colored corn starch at runners.  Of course, the goal is to get as much color as possible, so we came close to the volunteers.  Who were there specifically to throw colors on people.  And after the pink 1K–I was still all white.  So at the purple station, I really slowed down.  And got the littlest bit, from off of someone else.  I thought maybe I looked RBS–resting bitch face syndrome, so made an effort at green to smile.  Still, no one wanted to throw at me.  Hmmmm.  So at the final orange station, I did bird wings, ran up smiling, and slowed down directly in front of each of the 3 volunteers.  And got nothing at all.  No orange was thrown at me.  I am apparently too good at disengaging, as the volunteers were reluctant to throw color on me–even though I was 80’s-style and even when I was smiling and spirited.  Weird scene.

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But we both had a lot of fun, and got some color, and pelted each other with more color.  And Cool is a 5K convert and would be open to doing another themed event.  Oh–and we got astounding pics with the waterproof disposable we purchased prior to the event (genius idea) to (over)post on Facebook.  Which is the whole point of these theme races anyway.  We would like to do a mud run or foam run, but this can never occur since I work every Saturday morning.  BUT we will certainly keep our eyes peeled for such things after we’ve moved to Colorado!!!

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Aside from being all about money, my one complaint about the race was they did not have trash cans (bomb-prevention my boss suggested) but they did have plastic baggies and plastic water bottles littering the raceway.  I guess this could have been a raceway regulation or WA law or something, but I felt weird dropping trash on the ground.  But other than that, it was a good event for a birthday weekend!

Volunteerism–That’s the Ticket!

27 Dec

Actually, that’s kind of the wrong word, because though I would be helping others my motivation is not purely altruistic.  And I think it’s crummy when people “volunteer” to write it down.  And no one should go around telling people they’re volunteering if they have ulterior motives or hope to gain something from it.  I guess being up front about what I’m doing is the important point.  I realize I’m not going for angel-status, here.  This is mostly for ME.  My endeavor is more like work.  Unpaid work.  Much like I do now at the vet hospital–I joke.  They do pay me a little.  So Unpaid Work–That’s the Ticket!

uphill battle

Because of THIS year’s botched scholarship attempt, I have been searching the internet at large for more opportunities.  Because of my undergrad loans, there is never enough money.  If I could get scholarship funding, that loan money that I still have to take out every semester, can be used to pay undergrad loan payments, instead of current tuition.  I hardly hope to cut back any more on employment hours, or stop working all-together.  Just make ends meet.  And maybe I could take a third class each semester–which would help this seem career entry seem less dragging.  Except, most scholarships are awarded to those who do a lot of community service.  They require a certain amount of hours (which I have) but they require them from the prior year.  Which in the last 5 or so years I do not have.  Probably not a single hour in this last 5 years has been devoted to helping others.  Sad.

Not only do I miss doing community service–I got 8 scholarships in high school, and all my volunteer hours didn’t hurt in getting those–volunteering can look great on school applications.  When it comes time to apply to the AuD and back-up plan of SLP grad school, along with the 4.0 GPA, service would look good.  I just have to remember not to let the service get in the way of the grades. Meaning, I have to do this unpaid work during breaks from school.

Which is ideal, really.  Because my program doesn’t offer any of the pre-reqs I need in the summer (or breaks from school).  And sure, I could take electives or classes through the community college, but not only would it be less effective excuse to miss work, that costs more money.  And not loan money either–not enough credits or a degree program to count as loan funding.  So volunteering could take up that time, which will still allow me to work part time.  And that saves my psyche.

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Working full-time makes me stressed, depressed, and anxious.  I don’t like what it does to me, and I want to avoid those negative feelings without making huge life changes–which getting a new job would entail.  So volunteerism is my way out.  Besides, I feel if I’m not getting, and not eligible to get full-time benefits such as vacation, health insurance, and paid holidays, then why should I kill myself working those full-time hours?  It’s just better this way.

And I can help people.  As an aside to my own personal goals, I would actually be helping.  Maybe I can get more in touch with Spokane’s community, meet new people, or whatever.  Plus, I’m looking at volunteering for the V.A. and for the Spokane Public Library.  Both organizations I believe in, and as a bonus, both organizations having something to do with the Speech and Hearing Sciences.  Though that isn’t why I picked those places, they will allow me to get a glimpse of the types of people that I might be working with in my future field.  Volunteering will give me a view of future career possibilities–and that’s great.

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So unpaid work is good, good, good from what I can see.  I can rack up some hours that will help me get the scholarships, build the application to impress, take time in the summer when I’d otherwise be working and going insane, and see my future.  Oh and help people.  I don’t see a problem with that at all.  Solutions.  This is the new me.

Shoddy Police Work

13 Nov

Better late then never.  Here’s the dramatic conclusion of the murder in my neighborhood:

I really trusted them when the Spokompton police said the murderer was probably a transient. Also, they said they canvased the area and still had a (plain-cloths) presence in this area. What a load of crap.

They absolutely couldn’t have
A] knocked on doors in the murder victim’s apartment complex.
Because this guy matching the description she gave before she died–was her neighbor.

B] They did not even do a search of people with prior convictions in her own complex or in a one mile radius of the attack.

This dude was kicked out of a correctional school, threatened to kill several people including his mother and the at-risk horse therapist, and was charged with harassment just this year. He was in the system.

C]  Couldn’t have been anywhere near the Centennial Trail where the stabbing happened, the park nearby, or our neighborhood.  Because this guy stuck a couple more times.

Before she died, McGill gave a description of her attacker, “Black man in his thirties, with a funny eye.”  Pretty specific.  How many black men with funny eyes could possibly be running around Spokompton?  And yet, when a women was attacked with a mellet right on the Cinntinneal trail less then a mile from where the fatal stabbing had occured–well, the police seemed as surprised as anybody when the attacked matched McGill’s description.  And I should mention–the police weren’t the ones who found or stopped the dude.  Some good semaritan heard the screams of mallet victim, chased the bad guy, and basically handed him over to the police.

And NOW the police are saying Avondre Graham was questioned within 3 days of the McGill stabbing.  I call bull-$hit.  Because if that were true, they would have realized back in May that this dude matched her description, lived right in her apartment complex, frequented the trail, and had a criminal history.  Nothing confusing about that.  So I suspect the police are trying to cover their ass by saying they already knew of this dude.  And they are saying they JUST now got enough evidence to charge him with the murder.  Ah-maz-ing timing if you ask me.  And this evidence–has to remain secret!  Even more convenient. . .

Oh, and the police are all irate that certain witness with-held info or obscured the truth, delaying the investigation.  Duh–the guy’s mother and uncle will corroborate his alibi   Why wouldn’t they?  But why in the world would you believe the family?  Well, yes, police–if people have something to hide they will lie.  You shouldn’t base your entire flippin case on witnesses in the community.  Maybe had you ACTUALLY canvassed the neighborhood  starting with criminals IN her building, you might have come across someone matching that very specific description. . .  Idiots.

And their shoddy work put me in danger.  Avondre was out on the trail this whole time.  Attacking a Gonzaga jogger, robbing and using a mallet to attack a walker, and stabbing someone to death while she was walking her dog.  Well done, Spokompton, well done.

Take Away the Gay

7 Mar

Deafness and homosexuality are similar. The world sees these groups as handicaps. Sure there are pitfalls to being deaf, such as poor educational opportunities and not being able to hear alarms.  And there are disadvantages to being gay like the high rate of substance abuse and no marriage rights. Both groups are stigmatized or forgotten all-together. In this hetero-normative, hearing world, these minorities have to fight to be acknowledged. Both have in-groups that are wary of society at large. In order to protect themselves from harsh reality, the hearing impaired and the gays have formed tight circles of like people. Both groups have a tendency to not interact with people that aren’t in their group. And both groups would have an easier time if they could ad-hear to the standards of the wider society.

If some bigot came to me now, told me to pray the gay away–firstly, I would be angry. Not to mention that particular correction does not work. My sexuality is not deviant, it isn’t wrong, and it shouldn’t hinder me in any way. I do not need fixing. This is society’s problem–not mine.  I think it’s similar with being deaf.  The deafness isn’t the inherent problem–everyone in the entire world would be better off if they learned sign language.  It is a universal means of communication, that even babies can do.  People with no hearing eventually learn how to cope, and can manage fine.  Why try to correct it, when it’s really everyone else’s problem?

But what if someone (scientist or doctor) could legitimately make me straight? Well, I guess my answer would depend on the age at which I was approached. If someone came to me now, I would turn them down. My sexuality has made me who I am today. I found my soul-mate in Cool and wouldn’t want to lose that now.  Besides, I already went through most of the most horrible stuff that comes with being gay–Douche and questioning and coming out are at the top of the list, so changing would be pretty pointless.  I am happy in my life, and wouldn’t want to “remedy” anything just to appease society. If they came to me/my parents in infancy, and said later on I would have these different feelings, and have to deal with a harder life, and they could give me less worry, less headache, and fewer hardships in life–well, I think I would do it in a heartbeat.

And so, if I hadn’t already lived through the bad times, and hadn’t already made choices in my life–I would accept the correction to become straight. I would have had more dating opportunities–since 90% of people are straight. I would have had less depression. There would be less stigma in my life. I could post engagement photos without a second thought about who might get riled up and how much of a political statement it was.  I would be granted more rights.  Marriage.  Tax and insurance benefits.  All of the sickness/end of life stuff.  Why not take the chance for an easier life with more opportunity? Even at the risk of not appreciating gay culture. Having a bigger dating pool and less hatred would make ignorance of drag shows and trannies, dyke drama and AIDS well worth it. And just because I was straight wouldn’t mean I would have to neglect these areas. Just as a deaf person with cochlear implant could eventually learn sign language and educate themselves on deaf culture.

So there’s that.  If I had the opportunity to be made straight at a young age, before my life was so impacted by my sexuality, I would have taken it.  Because it would have granted me an easier path and more choices.  That impacts my thinking about the cochlear implant and deaf culture.  So after a break for Women’s Day, tomorrow, I’ll discuss my final thoughts on the issue.

Audiology: Why I’d Be Great

18 Oct

-My Dad has hearing loss

–one of my earliest memories is grocery shopping while he struggled to hear

—I was simultaneously embarrassed and motivated to help him

-I am practiced at nonverbal communication

–I have worked with animals my whole life, and “reading” them is a requirement

–high volume vet clinic taught me to quickly evaluate and work with different temperaments.

—I have worked with cats, dogs, horses, cows, sheep, primates, birds, rodents, and reptiles

—-each species and individual has a different way of communicating

—-I can easily become attuned to most styles

—noting aggression before it occurs

—seeing if a pet is scared

—noticing pain when they can’t tell you

—looking for signs of health/behavioral/comfort issues

-I have compassion for working with people with disabilities

–again, my work with animals proves this

–I also donated my eggs to infertile couples

-I am capable to working with the public/people

–communicate to crowd through clogging performances

–taught clogging to all age groups

–convey crowd control, motivate players, and show school spirit during cheerleading

–cheerleading youth camps

–volunteered at elementary Christmas party for 2 years

–volunteered at Senior Citizens Prom for 3 years.

–I got an A+ in my college speech communication class

–I volunteered with LGBT youth and other organizations

–I talk to owners about their pets when I take vitals/history/phone calls

-As in vet med, I like to have a different kind of day all the time

–this is good for working with youth, hearing deficit, and senior citizens

Jaycee Lee Dugard [posted 9-2-09]

17 Jan

Here is a half-poem/half list of my feelings on the Jaycee Lee Dugard story:


Infuriated with the case of Jaycee Lee Dugard.  Mostly because it never should have happened.

.. ..

Saddened that Phillip Garrido’s first wife didn’t press charges for battery or for the time when he tried to gouge her eyes out with a safety pin.

.. ..

Horrified he kidnapped a woman, dragged her across the California-Nevada state line and repeatedly raped her in his “sex palace.”

.. ..

Terrified that Phillip was calm and collected when a Reno police officer stumbled upon his rapist’s lair.  He told the officer she was his girlfriend, as she screamed for help in terror.

.. ..

Exasperated the judge in the Callaway-Hall kidnap/rape case ruled to exclude the first attempted kidnapping, meaning Garrido was not on the books as a repeat offender.


Astonished that “Crazy Phil” only did 11 years of a 50 year sentence when he did such a violent crime, and had prior offenses.

.. ..

Angered that Nancy, (obviously disturbed) married Garrido while he was in a Kansas prison.

.. ..

Incredulous that Garrido was transferred, mid-sentence, from a maximum security facility in Kansas to Carson City, where they so obviously dropped the ball.

.. ..

Astounded that Carson City not only released Garrido on his 4th parole attempt, but they let him leave the state and go live with his mother in California.

.. ..

Furious staying away from children was not a term of Garrido’s parole, because the woman he raped for 5 hours straight was 25 at the time.

Pissed that Garrido drugged and raped a 14 year old (4 years prior to Jaycee), and was released because she didn’t testify against him.

.. ..

Disturbed that an 11 year old Jaycee Lee Dugard was grabbed (by a woman) from her bus stop, in the sight of her father.

.. ..

Alarmed that the Garridos swiped a child in plain daylight, then were able to just drive home in the same car without lawful intervention.

.. ..

Amazed that with the palpable fear in Lake Tahoe, neighbors who saw Jaycee Lee didn’t recognize her as a missing child.

.. ..

Startled that neighbors or law enforcement had no idea of the “secret backyard,” when it was visible on google maps.

.. ..

Disheartened that nearby residents left well enough alone, and learned to live with tents and sheds, weird noises, and children in the backyard of a known sexual predator.

.. ..

Shocked that Garrido masturbated while looking at children in parks, schools, restaurants, and drive-ins.

.. ..

Stunned Garrido’s mother and his wife stood by while Phil harbored and raped a child.

.. ..

Flabbergasted that a parole officer checks a sex offender with a sketchy, kidnapper’s past, but does not walk through the entire house and yard on every visit.

.. ..

Staggered that Nancy Garrido still kept Jaycee Lee captive when her husband was thrown back in prison for a parole violation.

.. ..

Infuriated that a person could get a 50 year sentence, be released on parole after only 11 years, BREAK the terms of that parole, then be re-released in a matter of months.

.. ..

Dismayed to think about the emotional, and physical damage that must have occurred when Phil made Jaycee Lee pregnant at 14 years old, then made her give birth in a filthy tent–twice.

.. ..

Troubled that when children and prostitutes were disappearing near a known sex offender’s home and work, nobody thought to connect the dots and investigate.

.. ..

Affronted by the fact Jaycee Lee Dugard worked for Garrido’s printing business, met with clients, spoke with them on the phone, and wrote e-mails, yet no one recognized her as anyone but “Alyssa.”

.. ..

Disappointed the system lost track of Garrido’s sex offender status when someone DID call the police on Phil.

.. ..

Upset that people thought “Crazy Phil’s” crazy behavior and religious ranting were harmless.

.. ..

Confused at how Garrido (a registered sex offender, who wore a GPS monitor) was able to parade 2 young girls around town, and even take them to a birthday party, and no one sensed anything out of the ordinary.

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Wonders if anyone in Antioch reads the news when I hear stories of Jaycee going to the store or a college campus with Garrido.  Especially when her kidnapping was all over the news in Nevada, a whole state away.

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Anxious to think “Crazy Phil” was only caught because he wanted to be.  Why else would he bring a kidnapped girl and two children of rape to a college campus and a parole meeting?

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Revolted at the audacity it takes to not only plead innocent to 18 years of crimes, but to call the story “heartwarming.”

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Annoyed when I hear the media call Nancy Garrido the “true” monster because she allowed this to happen.

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Upset some members of the media are blaming the victim for not escaping or trying to reach out in some way.

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Tired of hearing psychiatrists and media diagnose Dugard with Stockholm Syndrome, despite never meeting her.

Hungry for more facts about the case and all the people involved.

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Disgusted that informants are now requesting the media pay for any information.

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Eager to see what Jaycee Lee Dugard looks like today, after having grown up seeing her missing posters.

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Excited to hear what Jaycee Lee Dugard has to say about the entire situation.

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Suspenseful to find out if the Garridos will get the maximum sentence and really suffer for what they did.

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Hopeful that Jaycee Lee Dugard and her two (unfortunately named) children, Angel and Starlight can fully recover from their ordeal.

 

Traumatized [posted 9-1-09]

17 Jan

I’m not certain why I feel so invested in the Jaycee Lee Dugard case.  Maybe the event traumatized me in my childhood.  Maybe it’s because it could have easily been me.  Maybe I feel so strongly, because it was the first really terrible thing I knew about–it was the end of my innocence.

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I remember when Jaycee Lee Dugard was kidnapped.  She was 11 and I was 6.  I identified with the girl:  We were both blond, both petite girls who were in elementary school, both had slightly big front teeth, both of us loved cats, both had a sprinkling of freckles, both of us had unusual names.  When she was taken, Jaycee Lee was wearing an outfit I regularly wore—pink stretch pants and a pink shirt.  She was snatched from Tahoe—I went to Tahoe with my family often.  The face on that poster haunted me.  It was familiar, and reminded me of what could happen—how vulnerable I really was.  She was taken while her father watched—how could I possibly feel safe again?  I felt as if she was just a little more unlucky than me—that time.  I suppose everyone felt this way.  Most little girls fit that description, no little girl thinks she will be taken away from everything.

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I also remember the resulting panic in the community.  The event was splashed all over the news, everyone was talking about it, parents in the area went into protective mode.  Fear was palpable.  There were pink ribbons and “missing” posters, featuring that little girl, on every doorway, window, and bulletin board in Lake Tahoe.  I don’t think there is a single person from Northern Nevada or the nearby California area (1991 to 1995, especially) that wouldn’t recognize Jaycee’s smiling face.  For years afterward, Tahoe looked for any sign of Jaycee Lee.  Every young girl (and her parents) worried SHE could be next.

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Things changed when Jaycee Lee Dugard disappeared.  The area was no longer a rural area free from sickos and predators.  Fun at the lake or on the slopes was no longer as carefree as it had been.  Kids were no longer safe to go anywhere (even the bus stop) alone.  They weren’t even particularly safe if their parents were watching.  I had to constantly hold someone’s hand when we visited Tahoe or Reno.  New reports gave suggestions on kidnap avoidance, stranger danger.

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I ALWAYS wondered what happened to Jaycee Lee Dugard.  The case was close to my heart, and also piqued my curiosity.  When I found out some answers, I was relieved.  Not especially relieved she was alive (because maybe death would have been a blessed end to her suffering) but relieved to KNOW.  Now, I’m troubled at the circumstances that led to her miserable 18 years of captivity.  That’s the next blog though.