Scoop Dreams

Reading is fundamental: With his piece on former basketball player Kevin Ross, Greg Hall has proven to be both a sucker for a sob story and a journalist who doesn’t spend much time checking facts (“Post Graduate,” April 11). While I’m delighted to learn that Ross is now reading and helping kids, it’s too bad he’s still trying to play the role of victim — a role that places the blame on everyone but himself.

Did Creighton University exploit him for his basketball skills all those years ago? Probably. Did Marva Collins exploit him by wedging him into a child’s desk and inviting the press in to photograph him? You bet she did, and the publicity she gained brought her more rewards than she may have deserved.

“I was the type of kid that wanted to learn,” Ross says now, but that’s a load of rubbish. At the time Creighton settled the lawsuit, the school sent to alumni a fact sheet on the case that detailed the efforts they had made to help Ross when he was enrolled — the tutors he didn’t bother to meet with, the special classes he didn’t attend, etc. I tossed my copy away years ago, but a contact with the university might have gotten Hall an accurate account of their side of the story.

The fact that Ross made his way through the school system without learning to read certainly says something about the system. But it also says something about the failure of Ross and his parents to exercise any personal responsibility or to accept any blame.

Dan Nastali

Kansas City, Missouri

Black Market

Fowl play: I read with interest Kendrick Blackwood’s Kansas City Strip (April 4). My husband and I visited the City Market last Saturday to see if their were any improvements, new vendors, etc. To my horror, there was a vendor there with chickens and baby goats crammed into small crates. That can’t be legal, can it? I can’t imagine that this “vendor” had anything that any humane individual would want. Furthermore, why would Mr. Steele allow anyone who is so cruel to a living thing set up shop in City Market?

I can’t believe that I am the only person who feels this way. I would invite you to go to the market this weekend and see what I saw. It was disgusting, and I will not spend another dollar in the City Market if Mr. Steele and others involved in the City Market think it is OK to treat living things in that manner. The plants for sale had more room to breathe than these poor creatures did. Shame on me for not making a scene right then and there, and shame on anyone else who doesn’t think this is a big deal.

Helen Miller

Kansas City, Missouri

Nine to 5

TV muse: Regarding Joe Miller’s “Anchors Away” (April 4): When it came to political corruption in Wyandotte County’s Unified Government and its inane attacks upon Sheriff Leroy Green Jr., all the stations covered the controversy. But it was KMBC Channel 9 that opened up the story with an interchange between hard-nosed Micheal Mahoney and an emotional Sheriff Green. Reporters like Mahoney and Kris Ketz are true newshounds who have come to terms with the ephemeral nature of their medium. Anthony Powell at KSHB Channel 41 is another excellent reporter who really wants to get to the essence of a story.

A solid reporter at KCTV Channel 5 that Miller failed to mention is Betsy Webster. With the rest of the Kansas City crowd, she was at the Federal Courthouse when the U.G. filed against the sheriff. Webster was also out in the streets of Westport during the move by the Westport Merchants to privatize the streets there. By the time Dave Helling got the story, his analysis devolved to the old “something has to be done about these kids” routine. Channel 5 seems to live up to its country-club image by soft-peddling hard news.

When an antiwar rally was staged on October 11, the day the Afghanistan air strikes began, Channel 5 was the only station that didn’t show. Channel 5 has a hit-and-miss record on political coverage, which I attribute to a conservative editorial policy. Regardless wherever news breaks, this town needs more political coverage and analysis. But as Helling could tell you, asking hard questions isn’t as important as the color of his ties.

Patrick Sumner

Kansas City, Missouri

Editor’s note: Joe Miller’s story noted that Channel 5 reporter Betsy Webster was instrumental in breaking the Piper plagiarism story.

Food Fights

Time out: Charles Ferruzza’s “Time Honored” (March 28) was a real bore. We learned more about the tasteless food critic’s many biases and bad manners than we did about the restaurant or the food he was critiquing.

Give us all a break, Charles. “Fiftysomethings” can still hobble out of their houses to have dinner. You may be more comfortable eating at McDonalds — that’s where all the rest of the children like to eat.

Michael Roberts

Kansas City, Missouri

Take me out of the ball game: I found Charles Ferruzza’s “Shake and Take” interesting (Mouthing Off, April 4), and since I have a family member who owns a restaurant, I have heard the stories of people stealing anything they could. It is a shame.

I never thought I would see what I did on opening day at the “K” this year. Around the stadium, there were red, white and blue banners with the Royals symbol on them. I saw three men take this banner down in front of them and then roll it into a ball. They were going to steal it. An usher spotted them and took it away. A group of us yelled at them that they should be ashamed, but they just looked at us like we were the crazy ones.

Another sign that the world is going straight to hell. Thanks for your article.

Diana Miller

Blue Springs