The week in comments: brick streets, Proposition B, Missouri football, re-introducing elk to Missouri

Sunday, September 19, 2010 | 7:18 p.m. CDT; updated 7:22 p.m. CDT, Saturday, October 9, 2010

Every week, readers of offer their opinions on the news and the Missourian's coverage of it. Here, we offer you a digest of some of the conversations we found most interesting.

Missouri football comes back to beat San Diego State 27-24

Comments: 2/Commenters: 2

Len Goldman wrote about Missouri's T. J. Moe's late-game reception and 68-yard touchdown that gave the Tigers a 27-24 win over San Diego State on Saturday.

To Brian Kriete, the Tigers need to toughen up. He wrote, "Why must we always have these close games against much weaker non-conference foes. I'm getting tired of the mental meltdowns and the poor tackling." Greg Martin disagreed, saying San Diego State wasn't a pushover. He said, "They had the sixth ranked offense in the nation and are picked to win their conference this year. ... The defense was tough when it really mattered and it was a great test."

Preservation leader wants downtown Columbia's brick streets restored

Comments: 5/Commenters: 4

Kelsey Kennedy wrote about Brent Gardner's hopes to see a downtown lined with brick streets. He wants to brick streets to begin at Eighth Street,  and earlier this month, he presented a plan for Eighth Street to the Historic Preservation Commission, of which he is vice chairman. He says he will continue his efforts with proposals to the Avenue of the Columns Committee and the Downtown Columbia Leadership Council. "What really needs to happen is for the city to be behind it,” Gardner said.

Ellis Smith wrote, "I grew up in a city where the older streets were brick. On more than a few of them motorists definitely needed to slow down - or risk an unscheduled visit to a suspension and alignment shop." Smith also questioned the quality of today's bricks as well as the financial soundness of the plan. Bill Fisher commented on the unfriendliness of brick streets on bicycle tires and added, "Either Gardner is trying to make downtown impossible for cyclists to travel through, or he hasn't thought this plan out well enough. Either way, it's a terrible idea."

Accessibility argument threatens to derail Columbia dinner train

Comments: 6/Commenters: 5

Alejandra Quintela Sanchez reported about disagreements over whether a dinner train should be accessible to people with disabilities have stalled the project. City officials and representatives of Central States Railroad Associates had hoped the Columbia Star Dinner Train would begin making its trips to Centralia and back this month. Advocates for people with disabilities, however, are insisting that the train have at least one car that complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Central States argues that vintage trains are specifically exempt from the ADA and that creating a compliant car would cost about $175,000, making it economically impossible for now.

Ray Shapiro questions if the Chamber of Commerce and the City of Columbia sought input from Services for Independent Living, or any other professionals who represent people with disabilities. He posed the question: "How would you feel if you were told that you were an after thought or that there's no place for you on the train ... even if you could afford a ticket and wanted to be included?" and added that a compromise seems to be in order. Phil Wilkinson and Bill Fisher both questioned the need for the trains be ADA compliant now, when, if allowed to operate, the train could generate funds for future renovations to meet the ADA regulations. Ed Ricciotti said the city needs to take a proactive approach to the situation, and added: "All taxpayers should have access to a business running on 'their' track."

Smoking banned on Columbia Public Library grounds

Comments: 10/Commenters: 5

Pavan Vangipuram wrote about the Daniel Boone Regional Library Board's vote 10-3 in favor of banning smoking on Columbia Public Library grounds.

In his comments, Gregory Brown suggested the coffee kiosk can sell nicotine gum to enable temporary puff respites and John Erkle  argued "they have created a fear that is based on nothing" when it comes to secondhand smoke. Ray Shapiro took exception to Erkle's statement, writing: "Whether it's fear, concern, or just addressing common courtesy and good sense towards nonsmoking adults and children, I and others find inhaling cigarette smoke from the mouths of strangers as offensive, negligent, and an intrusion on my person and senses."

Missouri will soon decide whether to reintroduce elk

Comments: 2/Commenters: 2

John McLaughlin wrote that the Missouri Conservation Commission plans to decide next month on a recommendation to restore the state's elk population. Groups such as the Missouri Farm Bureau oppose the effort because of the possibilities of property damage and disease transmission. Gov. Jay Nixon said he supports the "continuation of a native species" and said the resulting tourism and hunting revenues would help the state economy.

Ted Meyer said he is excited elk might be brought back to Missouri, but he suggested the state research how people use dogs to chase deer in Shannon County in case that might affect the elk. Ray Combs, on the other hand, called the proposal "a big mistake." Combs said, "Elk will devastate crops, eat our hay, damage property and expose motorist to terrible accidents when these big animals cross roadways," and he warned that government intervention usually ends in "big bucks and lots of grief."

Humane Society president urges passage of Proposition B

Comments: 37/Commenters: 23

Kyle Deas reported on a Monday evening speech by Wayne Pacelle, the president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States, in which he made an appeal for passage of Proposition B, formally known as Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act. It is  an initiative that supporters claim would end inhumane treatment of dogs by large-scale breeders in Missouri. It would require commercial breeders who own more than 10 dogs to follow specific care, feeding and shelter guidelines.

The comments on this story illustrate a range of emotions and some confusion about the content and range of the proposed legislation. Far more comments were posted by people against Proposition B than by people for it, with many questioning the right to own and breed animals, the elimination of jobs in Missouri, the cost of the campaign to support the legislation and possible future ramifications.

David Teeghman asked for a yes vote on Proposition B and wrote, "Finally, Missouri can end the embarrassment of producing 1/3 of the nation's dogs in these shameful puppy mills." Linda Hopper said, "HSUS and PeTA will do anything and everything to pressure and restrict our rights and to kill as many dogs as possible." Mary Preston urged a no vote on Proposition B and added: "Don't be fooled by animal rights propaganda that will take away your rights to own a pet." Jason Carter  predicted the law, if passed, would devastate an already weak economy. "Dogs eat dog food that is processed in Missouri. Corn and soybeans and meat are the core ingredients. What do you think this will do to agriculture? This will put hard working families out of business. Thus unemployement." Kara Crass points out that this proposition is also opposed by many organizations, including the Missouri Veterinary Medical Association, the Farm Bureau, the Dairyman's Association, the Cattlemen's Association, the Corn Growers of Missouri, the Missouri Department of Agriculture and "many, many of our state legislators."

TODAY'S QUESTION: What do you think about Proposition B?

Comments: 21/Commenters: 17

Carla Jimenez wrote about Proposition B, formally known as the Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act, aims to prohibit cruel treatment of dogs in large breeding operations and requires proper nourishment, shelter and veterinary care for them.  Supporters of Proposition B gathered Monday to hear Wayne Pacelle, the president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States, speak about the statute's importance. He argued that there had never been a more important dog protection measure in the history of the United States.

Like the comments on the story Humane Society president urges passage of Proposition B, commenters on the Today's Question were also split on the issue with many taking a personal stance based on their experiences as pet owners.

Mike Whitworth wrote, "I don't know how any rational or reasonably compassionate person could oppose this bill. It simply requires breeders to give the dogs the minimum comforts and shelter that any animal deserves." As an attorney, Whitworth also questioned some commenters' interpretation of the proposed law.  He wrote, "All of you fear mongers against this bill either are incapable of ascertaining the meaning, or are just trying to spread false propaganda to confuse the issues." JR Martin said he worried the proposition eventually could lead to the Humane Society dictating how many animals cattle and pork producers could own, which he said "sounds like government control to me." Kathleen Summers supports Proposition B saying it will give dogs the basic protections they deserve. "The puppy mill industry doesn't want to admit that they are against better conditions for dogs so they come up with nonsense about HSUS and cattle," she writes. Leonard Audsley , who described himself as a Missouri farmer and dog owner, said, "If it passes, this ballot initiative will insure that the true "Puppy Mills" will thrive with higher puppy prices, while the majority of the legal breeders will be forced out of business. Sounds crazy, but it will actually HELP the bad guys."

J. KARL MILLER: 'True Grit' will remain a John Wayne film

Comments: 5/Commenters: 5

Columnist J. Karl Miller wrote about the tendency for film and television studios to remake — and corrupt — classic works. He called the upcoming "True Grit" remake "a move reminiscent of demeaning motherhood, apple pie and the flag."

Gary Dobbs said that as a fan of Westerns, he hopes the remake does well. John Bliss said Hollywood simply doesn't have any more original thinkers, and Tim Kilgore said, "I am happy that they are at least doing a big-budget western since they are so rare these days."

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Ellis Smith September 19, 2010 | 10:02 p.m.

When did I question the quality of modern paving bricks? There's nothing wrong with modern day pavers! I do question the financial soundness of the plan.

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