Ralph Echtinaw: An Introduction

  I’d like to introduce myself as a candidate for mayor of St. Louis. I’m 64 years old (in August anyway) and have been a St. Louis resident since 2011. I earn my living with a one-man window cleaning business called I Feel Your Pane and am editor and publisher of an online newspaper called the St. Louis Sentinel . Window cleaning takes less than 10 hours a week, on average, so I should have plenty of time left over to dedicate to the city. My newspaper work in St. Louis (since 2017) has left me fairly knowledgeable about city government, so I can hit the ground running, if elected. In my opinion, city government is already close to being a well-oiled machine, and major reform is unnecessary. As a newspaperman whose bylines go back to 1987 I’ve covered many township boards, school boards, county commissions and city councils. And St. Louis government is among the least controversial and best run that I’ve seen. I’d like to see the city continue to replace old sewer and water lines and

Uncle Ralph made the ultimate sacrifice

By Ralph Echtinaw Editor and Publisher I was named for my mother’s oldest brother, Ralph C. Weting, the son of Hazel and Howard Weting of Hazel Park, Michigan.   Born in 1922 Uncle Ralph was drafted by the Army in 1942. He became a top turret gunner on a Martin B-26 Marauder bomber with the 585th Squadron of the 394th Bomb Group. The 394th began flying missions over German-occupied France in March 1944. Uncle Ralph’s pilot, Lt. Donald E. Ihle, named his plane the Sassy Lassy. His crew was co-pilot Buford Bowen, bombardier Leonard Collen, radioman Walter C. Schaefer, tail gunner Eugene B. Klinzing and Uncle Ralph. “As long as I’m flying with (Ihle) you never need worry about me,” Uncle Ralph wrote in a letter dated April 24, 1944. Through 47 combat missions the Sassy Lassy crew was “scared as hell” a number of times, according to Collen (whom I personally interviewed by phone in 1997), but never in dire straits. Wartime censorship forbade Uncle Ralph from d

Three examples of why I love small towns

I’ve lived in Alma and St. Louis, Michigan for 10 years now, and small town moments occur so often now that I rarely think twice about them. But three that happened this week stand out. On Monday a man walked into Sportsman’s Barbershop in St. Louis after I washed windows there and said a dog was following him. Sure enough, a friendly dog was right behind him. Carla the barber called the cops. An officer showed up less than ten minutes later, looked at the dog and said it belonged to a friend of his. The guy’s got an invisible fence, but the dog didn’t have his special collar on. The cop put the dog in his cruiser and took it home. Never happen in a Detroit suburb. Tuesday I was in St. Johns and had just finished washing windows at Silvestri Paint. In the process of getting paid, I noticed for the first time in ten years of doing windows there that owner Mel Wieber is missing most of the pinkie on his left hand. How did that happen? I asked. Years ago in high school shop class, Mel s

Star Trek fiction

Here's a short story about the Deep Space Nine cast that was intended to be part of a full-scale Star Trek novel. (And one day may be yet.) The premise is that an intergalactic arms dealer finds primitive worlds at war and sells weapon designs to both sides. In the novel it would already be established that Chief O'Brien and Julian Bashear have learned to fly World War II era airplanes in the Holosuites. O'Brien and company eventually have to steal a real B-26 Marauder and attack a plane carrying an atomic bomb. And that's where this passage begins: Five figures glittered and took form as the away team beamed into a small tool room in the corner of the hanger. At Chief O'Brien's suggestion, Sisko, Dax, Kira, Jaskin, Bashear and himself wore flying apparel as similar to that of the Kalotions as Starfleet replicators could produce. Underneath the disguises they wore federation body suits of Bowex, which since the 22nd century had surplanted everything else ever