letters from the week of October 4

Martin, “Scoop of Poop,” September 6

Bite Back

During the 12 years I have lived next to Sunnyside Park, my neighbors and I have lobbied, not always successfully, to improve the area. We have asked for speed bumps on Summit Street, for improvements to the storm-water and sewer systems, for more lighting, for video surveillance to curb illegal dumping, for construction of a shelter and for more police presence. When the issue of the dog park is finally settled, we will continue our efforts in making Waldo a better place to live.

As far as the idea that a dog park will make Sunnyside Park safer, one must only look to Penn Valley Park. Despite the presence of an off-leash dog area, tennis courts and a skateboard park, residents of the area are installing gates to help stem the tide of vagrancy, drug and alcohol use, public sex, illegal activity and at least two assaults.

In contrast to Penn Valley Park, Sunnyside is quite safe. During the Waldo Neighborhood Association meeting on September 20, police representatives said there was little to no evidence of crime in the park. Most of the illegal activity consists of drinking by teens who flee at the first sign of the police. There is one homeless man who frequents the park. While he is, unfortunately, mentally challenged, he is also quite harmless and he will move along when asked politely to do so.

As a dog owner and a volunteer for the Heart of America Humane Society, I recognize the need for more off-leash dog areas in Kansas City. However, these dog parks need to be built in the right parks for the right reasons. Sunnyside Park is not the right place, and public safety is not the right reason.

Michael Prater, Kansas City,

Feature: “Let’s Go Prospecting,” September 20

Good Prospects

I really liked Carolyn Szczepanski’s article showcasing the Prospect corridor. It is good to show the metro area that there is more to the inner city than just crime.

I do wish you would have expanded the article to show the faith-based organizations on Prospect. We are making a difference, one person at a time. It is a slow process, but it is time to change perceptions and improve the outlook of Kansas City. I know, with the expanded efforts of the Jackson County prosecutor, we are making strides attacking drug abuse without the penalty of a permanent police record through the Drug Court, but the real problem is cutting the snake off at the head. The drug dealers did not make the drugs they peddle, and they did not fly them into the country. If we dry up the source of illegal drugs, paraphernalia and guns, this area will not only preserve the retail- and faith-based organizations there now but will grow and flourish as it did in the past.

The Rev. Ed Stevenson, Kansas City Missouri

Feature: “Holy Kitsch,” August 30

Kitschen Sink

Thanks for a good article on Branson. You forgot to mention that the scenery consists of motels, restaurants and souvenir shops selling garage-sale trinkets. I wish I had read your article before I went there last weekend. Branson sucks. If someone offers you free show tickets, don’t walk — run!

Steven Driever, Roeland Park

“The Perfect Score,” August 30

Barrel Fever

Regarding Robert Wilonsky’s review of King of Kong: I appreciate his time, as I do everyone who chooses to write about me in regards to the film. Incredibly interesting that so many emotions can be created by a film that had an original spoken intention by the producer of being lighthearted, humorous and even poke fun at the competitive world of gaming.

I am very sorry; please accept my apology for having offended Wilonsky or anyone for the manner by which I was portrayed in the film. Unfortunately, the movie failed to show so many positive interactions and situations that were captured on- and off-camera. One example is the extremely friendly phone conversations (each lasting more than one hour) that took place between Steve Wiebe and me, as well as times I invited Steve and met with Steve and shared personal or family stories with Steve. The idea that Steve and I hate each other is ridiculous. I don’t know him well enough to make such a statement, and I never would. However, all this makes Good Hollywood.

It is not stated in the movie that I have a family with a wife and three kids. I was hoping that they would get their Hollywood debut. Too bad the producer did not deem it appropriate to show that I, too, have a family and career. Had the producer chosen to reveal this, then people could see for themselves that video games are actually a very small part of an extremely satisfying world that I live in.

I hope the very best for you, and you are always welcome to contact me. I never lose my sense of humor for this or any experience.

Sincerest regards. Never surrender. Never.

Billy Mitchell, Hollywood, Florida