Plog: "Death of Cyclist Costs Company Millions," September 1

Safety First

Thanks to Carolyn Szczepanski for her Plog item on the $2 million settlement in the wrongful-death lawsuit filed by the family of cyclist John Triggs against the Fordyce Concrete Company and truck driver Jason Driskell. Thanks for the publicity you gave this story and the safety of bicyclists. The family is very grateful.

Denise Henning, Kansas City, Missouri

Burnt Ends: "Power and Flight," September 4

Take a Tip

I have always admired The Pitch for being a champion of the little guys. You always keep big businesses honest and support local businesses enthusiastically when deserved. But I have to cry foul at the Burnt Ends map of downtown restaurants that closed around the arrival of the Power & Light District. It is a stretch to imply that it was the cause of their demise. I have worked around downtown for 12 years as a server, bartender and manager. Within minutes, I came up with several reasons of my own.

1. Skybox was the locale of many violent acts.

2. Tanner's and Fred P. Ott's had bad food and worse service.

3. At the Mango Room, substandard service and inconsistent food were as much to blame as construction.

4. The Studio delayed its opening so many times, it was doomed from the start.

5. The kids who hung out at Jilly's wouldn't be caught dead at the P&L.

6. Bar Natasha has been serving $9 vodka drinks for all five of its years.

7. Paddy O'Quigley's had the atmosphere of a high school gymnasium.

8. Casa Grande and Jared Allen's were in the same building; Casa Grande closed almost a year ago, and Jared Allen's closed immediately after he was traded.

I know that the local guys need to work extra hard to compete, but when I go out, I want good food, a relatively clean space to hang out and service that makes me feel wanted. I work in a local restaurant downtown, and we're usually full, and we all make a ton of money. It's because we have great service and excellent food.

Name withheld by request

Whine and Cheese

The Power & Light District has had its name buzzing in the media for months now, and the silly people whining about it actually think they are doing something worthwhile. Wake up, folks. It's just media coverage, and you are playing the part of the babbling idiot. If you don't like the dress code someplace, don't go — easy as that. If they restrict their clientele too severely with dress codes and rules, they will wither and die; that is basic supply and demand. So either pull up your britches and come play, or stand on the corner with your homies and rag about it. It is possible to make yourself look stupid while complaining about someone trying to run a business with a few rules that promote decency and safety for everybody. If you don't like thug discrimination, don't be a thug.

Can we all stop bitching now and just have a good time?

Name withheld by request

State Lines, "McCain Girl," September 4

Kmart Special

I thoroughly enjoyed Alan Scherstuhl's article about Sarah Simmons. It captured her so well. I've known her since 1992 — she is my sister-in-law. Her Kmart days were not foreign to me. I think I even saw her don a red vest once or twice. The first time I met her, I went to a double-header track meet and band concert of hers.

Sarah is one of the most committed and intelligent women I've ever come across. She is the role model you want your kids to follow; I'm glad to have her as family for that reason alone. As a lifelong New Yorker, I also appreciate her embodiment of Midwestern values and pluck. It definitely runs in the family.

Thank you for entertaining me and making me feel so proud of her!

Amy Simmons, Port Chester, New York

Feature: "Home Sweet Parking Lot," September 4

No Place Like Home

I just read Nadia Pflaum's article on homeless men in Johnson County who spend the night in well-lighted parking lots. I truly applaud you for educating your readers about the "invisible" poor in the midst of affluence. I think, however, that your article missed an opportunity to further educate the public about homelessness. Social scientists are studying the growing "feminization of poverty." Single mothers have seen social supports (e.g., TANF, SSI, Medicaid, food stamps) reduced or even disappear in the aftermath of welfare reform.

The Homeless Services Coalition has a good local Web site at hscgkc.org. Once again, thank you for providing much-needed information for the public.

Rick Folker, Kansas City, Missouri

Music, August 28

Honky-Tonk Hero

It was great to see C.J. Janovy's article on Fred Wickham's rescue of Waylon Jennings' tour bus. In 1975, I spent Christmas Eve on the bus riding around the parking lot of the Executive House Apartments in Nashville, Tennessee. Way­­lon's driver and the guy who sold his merchandise on tour lived there and, like me, had no place to go for Christmas. We started drinking beer and riding around the apartment complex, and before long we had a bus load of folks drinking and singing Christmas carols. If we had spotted Santa Claus, we would have given him a ride also. It was a great Christmas!

Leo Waters, Nashville, Tennessee

Correction: Crystal K. Wiebe's September 11 Buckle Bunny column misidentified Paper Head — who also went by DollarHead — as a rapper.

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