Public Safety Director's Spotlight - Dec. 23

Winter Getaway, Kwanzaa and New Year's Eve Events

December 23, 2010 | 4 min reading time

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year” if you agree with the popular Christmas song written in 1963 by Eddie Pola and George Wyle. I hope that this Holiday Season has found you and your family in good health and good spirits and that the coming New Year will ring in a year of peace and prosperity. There are a number of exciting events planned for the remaining days of 2010, but before I highlight a few of them, I want to pass along several winter tips.


Winter officially began on Tuesday, Dec. 21. For some members of our community, the cold days of winter present a challenge, and they may feel the need to resort to dangerous methods of heating their homes, such as barbecue pits, space heaters and stoves in order to stay warm. But heating with these may lead to carbon monoxide poisoning or a fire hazard. Remember, safety always comes first. If you or someone you know needs assistance with a heating bill, there is help available through Heat-Up St. Louis. Either call the resource hotline at (314) 241-7668 or go online at .


Listed below are a few neighborhood events that you, family and friends may find of interest. I encourage you to stop by those in your neighborhood as well as consider exploring neighborhoods new to you. They are perfect places to meet friends and neighbors or go to in support of worthy causes. See you in the neighborhood!


Winter Getaway


The Missouri History Museum in Forest Park will be hosting Winter Getaway from Monday, Dec. 27 through Thursday, Dec. 30. Daily activities start at 10:30 a.m. and include family films, crafts, tours of the museum and entertainment. The event is free. For more information, call (314) 746-4599.




The word “Kwanzaa” comes from the Swahili language and means first fruits. This African-American holiday focuses on the produce of the harvest. The Missouri Botanical Garden will hold Kwanzaa: Festival of the First Fruits on Wednesday, Dec. 29 from Noon to 4 p.m. Events include a ceremony, storytelling, craft and jewelry displays, authentic African drumming and musical performances. The event will take place in the Ridgway Visitor Center, 4344 Shaw, and price is included with garden admission. For more information, call (314) 577-5100.


New Year’s Eve Candlelight Memorial Service


The 19th Annual New Year’s Eve Candlelight Vigil to commemorate those who lost their lives to violence in 2010 will be held at 4 p.m. Friday, Dec. 31 at El Bethel Church of God in Christ, 4020 Page Blvd. The names of homicide victims from St. Louis City and County will be read. Join Families Advocating Safe Streets in supporting the families that are hurting this holiday season because they have lost a loved one.


First Night


This year, the Grand Center District will be transformed into a “Fanta-sea” for First Night® - Saint Louis 2011. The mysterious beauty of underwater life will be the background for the many artists that will perform on New Year’s Eve. The opening ceremony will begin at 6 p.m. Dec. 31 on the main stage on Grand just north of Lindell. Early fireworks at 9 p.m. Countdown to the New Year will begin at 11:30 p.m. with fireworks finale at Midnight. For more information, visit .


Tip of the Hat


My last Tip of the Hat for 2010 goes to The Hill neighborhood. In case you didn’t see it, USA Today recently recognized The Hill as one of our country’s 10 top places for Italian food. Congratulations!





The Department of Public Safety’s City Emergency Management Agency (CEMA) provides free emergency alert service through Through the Nixle service, you will receive our informative and timely text messages on your cell phone and/or as e-mails on your computer. If you haven’t already done so, I invite you to visit the Nixle webpage and sign up for the service today. Note: in addition to CEMA, you may also sign up to receive messages from other St. Louis area entities that are on Nixle. If you have any comments about the service, please let me know.


Having an event in your neighborhood that we can support? Either e-mail the information about it to me at or to Cathy Smentkowski at


And remember, if you see something in the neighborhood that just doesn’t look right, REPORT IT!



Best wishes for a safe and happy holiday celebration with your family and friends!



Charles Bryson

Director of Public Safety

City of St. Louis


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