Letters for the week of June 19

Martin, “All Aboard,” May 29

Let’s Get Moving

Having recently moved here from the Washington, D.C., area, I can attest to the advantages of a metro commuter-rail system. Kudos to David Martin for a clear and logical plan — of course it makes sense to use the railroad infrastructure already in place. In Maryland, commuter trains run on CSX lines from West Virginia, stopping throughout Maryland, into downtown D.C. and Union Station. Trains also run between Baltimore and D.C., connecting the two cities and BWI Airport. In Virginia, Virginia Railway Express runs from Fredericksburg to Union Station on CSX railroad lines. And the D.C. metro connects the closer-in suburbs with the urban core and one part of the city with another. The net effect is a more vibrant city with a mobile population.

D.C.’s metro system incorporates D.C., Maryland, Virginia and parts of West Virginia — yes, two states present challenges, but a connected community is generally in everyone’s best interest.

When I hear about Johnson County’s mass-transit phobia, I suggest that Johnson County officials talk with the county executives of Montgomery County, Maryland, and Fairfax County, Virginia, and ask whether they have any misgivings about the metro running through their respective counties.

Michelle Matthews, Kansas City, Missouri

Feature, “You’re Fired, Love Hallmark,” May 15

Heir the Wealth

Mr. Hall must be turning over in his grave. I worked for the Hall family until 1988, when I believe this whole thing started, and was let go for unspecified reasons, though I speculated that profit-sharing was the reason. The heirs did not want to share the wealth.

The story is much beyond what you reported.

Name withheld by request

Glory Days

I am 74. My wife and I met, married and graduated from the Kansas City Art Institute. And I am a proud Hallmark alum. Your article grieves me more than you can imagine.

I was working in the Contemporary Department in 1960 when our daughter was born. We were just out of school, broke and with no insurance. R.B. Hall, Joyce C. Hall’s brother, left an envelope on my desk with $300 in it and a note simply saying, “Congratulations.”

I worked there until we left in 1978 to open an art gallery in Sedona, Arizona. I still have the note from Don Hall wishing us the best of luck.

J.C. Hall continues to be one of my role models. I was given more opportunities to explore new ideas than you can imagine. And there were no strings attached or penalties if I failed.

I know times change, we have to move on and you can’t go back, etc. Well, my wife and I have just sold our two galleries in Sedona to our children. They will continue to practice and profit from the lessons I learned from the Hall men: treat people with respect, encourage initiative and reward creativity. We fund two yearly cash awards at KCAI to encourage students to experience some of the opportunities Hallmark gave me.

Byron McKeown, Sedona, Arizona

Feature: “The Teacher,” February 21

The Teacher Speaks

For too long, certain streets have divided Kansas City. This is true of our jurisdictional boundaries for the School Board districts as well as the City Council districts. We have drawn lines through our community and allowed these lines to dictate our interactions and politics. On June 19, the Kansas City Election Board will select a new set of boundaries for the Kansas City, Missouri, School Board districts. Of the four submitted options before the election board, Kansas Citians who choose to stand united for educational achievement support the Unity Option.

The Unity Option (see map No. 3 at kceb.org) calls for each of the six school-board districts to span the full width of the city, and, in so doing, to no longer contribute to the historical boundaries of race and class. We must support the Unity Option because what we’ve been doing hasn’t worked to create a school district that provides educational achievement for all students, and it’s time for a new strategy. As a city, we must give up pretending that the reasons for the shortcomings of our school district lie on the other side of the line from us.

Without your input, the election board appears inclined to support a status-quo option. To advocate for the Unity Option, please send an e-mail to both kceb@kceb.org and cspears@kcmsd.net, call the election board at 816-842-4820 or attend the June 19 meeting, where election commissioners will vote on this issue (see kceb.org for further info).

Airick Leonard West, member, Kansas City, Missouri, School Board

Summer Guide: “Summer Reading,” June 5

Hot Type

I just read “Summer Reading” in The Pitch — what an awesome story! I loved it, and I’ve already made plans to read the books that Chris Packham mentioned.

I’m a bookworm by nature, but I hadn’t heard of some of the books because I’m not terribly familiar with the genres (for example, the detective book Ron Megee recommends). What a great opportunity to try out some new flavors!

Andi Enns, Lee’s Summit

Correction: In last week’s Janovy column, Tiger Cardarella’s name was misspelled.