Benefits of wind power

A recent article reported the exciting contributions that wind farm developments in the region are making to keeping the St. Joseph Regional Port thriving. Upgrades to the port infrastructure have allowed Transport 360 to do robust business unloading the massive blades and turbines for wind projects across the Midwest.

This is clear evidence of the potential for economic renewal that renewable energy can offer us. Hauling wind turbines by barge spares our highways, revitalizes our river ports and provides badly needed new jobs in the region. Renewable Energy is a win-win: we can save people from the health impacts of polluted air, stop contributing to an overheating globe and build our local economies at the same time.

It is time to stop wasting time in fruitless arguments that only benefit the few, and pursue solutions that serve all of us: solutions like wind farms, which direct badly needed cash flow into the Midwest and grow well-paying jobs, while preserving the healthy planet for generations of the future. Companies like Transport 360 and the revitalized Port of St Joseph show us how we can all participate in a renewable energy future.

Christine Harker

Kirksville, Missouri

The Robidoux’s first Black guest

There’s an historical sidebar to Terry Jordan’s interesting Sunday column about world-renowned entertainer Jack Benny’s 1945 visit to St. Joseph. It led to Hotel Robidoux having its first overnight Black guest.

When discussions originated about a possible visit here by the Benny troupe, the entertainer was advised St. Joseph’s premier hotel, the Robidoux, would host his group, with one exception. Suitable accommodations would be arranged in a private home for Rochester, one of the stars and the only Black in the traveling party. In effect, Benny said, “No way. We all stay together or we don’t come.” The pressure forced the Robidoux to accommodate Rochester, and he became the first Black guest.

The Robidoux policy had been so rigid that it did not accept Joe Louis, the heavyweight boxing champion of the world, when he earlier came to St. Joseph to promote war bonds. He spent the night in a sleeper at Union Depot.

As a community, we obviously have a long way to go in improving race relations. But we’ve come a long way since those days in the 1940s when Blacks couldn’t enter the Missouri Theater and when the rules for the Mary Park wading pool were whites on Wednesday through Sunday, Blacks on Monday, closed on Tuesday for cleaning. That was St. Joseph in that era.

I have no idea of when the Robidoux accepted its next Black guest, but Rochester was the first.

Bob Slater

St. Joseph