Words of praise, and some other thoughts, too

Friday, October 5, 2012

First, a few words about Stan.

That's Stan Grimm, whose life was remembered in an uplifting way during Monday's memorial service at a packed St. Andrew Lutheran Church.

So many good things have been said about Stan -- appropriately.

Some of you have known Stan Grimm a long time, perhaps since he moved to Cape Girardeau as a young lawyer. Others of you have known Stan for only a while. I'm in the latter category.

But this is what I can say about Stan that everyone who has known him could also say: No matter how long we knew him, it wasn't long enough.

Our lives have been enriched in so many ways because we have had Stan Grimm as a model whose words and actions set such high standards.

And now a few words about the Cape Girardeau City Council.

Also on Monday, the council adopted an ordinance that sets standards for rental property in the city.

It's been a good while since my wife and I have been renters. Our first apartment after we were married was in the attic of a two-story house. We had to take outdoor stairs (a fire escape) to the second floor and then another set of indoor steps to the apartment. The stairs, as I recall, took up more space than the tiny apartment.

Over the years we've had our experiences with landlords, including the one in New York City who tried to charge us when we painted the walls of our apartment, which was supposed to have been done before we moved in. Thank goodness New York City has had strict apartment regulations for decades, so the landlord's demands evaporated when we demonstrated we knew the telephone number of the proper city agency.

Although I haven't been a renter for years, I have in recent months met many renters, mostly low-income, who seek assistance from local food pantries.

I quickly learned, before handing out food, to ask if (a) they had an apartment, (b) if the apartment had a working stove or microwave and (c) if the apartment had a working refrigerator.

You would be surprised how many didn't have a way to store perishable food, or a way to cook anything.

Imagine trying to give appropriate food to someone in this situation.

Imagine being such a renter with no recourse.

Imagine how I feel about the new rental ordinance.

And, finally, a few words about one of my favorite topics: our friends in the Bambi clan.

The city council, in a split vote, refused (appropriately, in my opinion) to repeal the city's deer-hunting ordinance, which prompted a petition drive that gathered some 4,000 signatures.

As a result, city voters will be asked to decide the ordinance's fate at a special election in April.

Never mind the $25,000 cost of the election. The city spends way more than that on doodads all the time.

But keep this in mind: Deer are gateway drugs for the mountain lions moving into our area. First they devour a fawn or two, and then they go for the big bucks. Once the lions see how much fatter the city deer are, they start creeping into our backyards and alleys and parks and school yards and soccer games where there's always a straggling tot or two ripe for picking off. Pretty soon, the mountain lions are addicted to our young -- and maybe an occasional lame senior citizen.

Not to worry. I'm sure if the ordinance fails in April the group that worked so hard to defeat it will strive equally hard to come up with a Just Say No to Kids campaign.

For the lions, that is.

Joe Sullivan is the retired editor of the Southeast Missourian.

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