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February 20th, 2010:

Fran Lee, Pooper-Scooper pioneer, dies [Great American Patriot]

Curb Your Dog - 1We often take things like dog poop-free streets and free toilets for granted. But these advances were the result of the hard work and dedication of great American patriots.

One such patriot, Fran Lee, who helped push through New York City’s strong Pooper-Scooper Law, passed away earlier this week. She was 99. The New York Times has the story.

In the early ’70s she founded Children Before Dogs, a group whose aim was the elimination of all such waste from city streets. As she explained often in interviews, Toxocara canis, a tiny roundworm found in dog feces, poses health risks, especially to children. At its most severe, it can cause blindness.

In staunch contrarian fashion, Ms. Lee initially fought the city’s plan to enact a pooper-scooper law. By her lights, such laws were far too lenient. In the world of which she dreamed, no dog would be allowed to besmirch the city’s streets for even a moment: instead, it would attend to its affairs at home, on newspaper, before padding outside. She envisioned, as she told The Times in 1972, a battalion of city “poodle maids,” who would prowl New York issuing summonses to the masters of dog offenders.

Ms. Lee’s stand put her at the forefront of the pitched battle over dog excrement that raged in the city for much of the ’70s. When she appeared in public, outraged dog owners hurled invective; occasionally they hurled the subject matter of the debate itself. Ms. Lee had no qualms about responding in kind.

Our streets are safer and our shoes are cleaner because of her work.

The 1968 Detroit Olympics [video]

Do Vancouver’s gleaming towers and vibrant waterfront that they keep showing during NBC’s Olympic coverage remind you of Detroit? No. Me neither.

But back in the day, just before the city entered its downward spiral, Detroit too made a bid for the Olympics.  It was America’s candidate city for the 1968 summer games. They were eventually awarded to Mexico City, but Detroit put together a pretty snazzy presentation to market itself. Thanks to the interwebs we can still see those promo videos.

The videos, narrated by Detroit Mayor Jerome Cavanaugh, show the city circa 1965 and its (kind of creepy) modernist vision for itself. As someone who grew up in Metro Detroit, I found these videos amazing. They are a little long, but worth watching, particularly if your mental image of Detroit looks like this.

Here are some more videos of Detroit’s presentation to the IOC that detail the proposed venues and Olympic Village.

And remember, “the city on the straights welcomes you to share that vision as it continues to plan, to build and yes, to dream.”

[the D spot]

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