Public Safety Director's Spotlight - Jan. 5, 2011

Storm recovery, St. Louis goes smoke-free, recognizing neighborhood leaders

January 5, 2011 | 6 min reading time

Happy New Year!  I hope 2011 is a healthy and prosperous year for you.


For the first Spotlight of 2011, I want to take this opportunity to thank all City employees, especially those in the Department of Public Safety, who went above and beyond the call of duty when the severe storms hit St. Louis on Friday, Dec. 31.  It is truly a miracle that no one was killed, and I attribute that to the fact that our outdoor warning system gave people ample notice to take cover.  Thanks also go to our partners, the American Red Cross, the United Way of Greater St. Louis and the Salvation Army for all their assistance, helping people deal with the aftermath of the storm.  Mayor Slay’s Office is working closely with state and federal emergency management officials to secure funds for the uninsured whose homes were damaged as a result of the storm.  Restoring things back to normal on the blocks that were hit will take time, but assistance is only a phone call away at either 2-1-1 or (314) 622-4800.


Thanks to Mayor Slay and the Board of Aldermen, if you patronized any local restaurant or drinking establishment this week, you know that the City of St. Louis has gone smoke-free.  The City’s new smoking ordinance prohibits smoking in all enclosed public places and enclosed places of employment.  Health Inspectors began enforcement on Sunday, Jan. 2.  To report a violation of the St. Louis Smoke Free Air Act, you may call the Citizens’ Service Bureau at (314) 622-4800 or send a tweet to @stlcsb.


One more bit of information that I want to pass along is our Office of Special Events reported to me this week that a number of St. Louisans got engaged to be married during the holidays.  How do they know?  Many of the brides-to-be made inquiries about the use of the City Hall Rotunda for either the wedding or the reception.   If you are planning a special event in St. Louis in 2011, be sure to touch base with our Office of Special Events.  For more information, visit the City’s new website at .


A number of exciting, fun events are on the schedule for St. Louis in 2011.  Listed below are a few neighborhood events this weekend 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!



12th Night to Kick Off Mardi Gras Season in Soulard


The traditional start of Soulard Mardi Gras, 12th Night, will begin at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 6 at Johnny’s, 1017 Russell Boulevard.  The procession will stop at various bars in the neighborhood to toast the season, then head to Soulard Market Park to unfurl the Mardi Gras flag and view a fireworks display.  More details of Soulard Mardi Gras events will appear in the Spotlight as we get closer to them in February and March and information may also be found at

25th Annual Dr.MartinLutherKing Jr.State Celebration Kick-Off


The Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. State Celebration Commission will hold its 25th Annual Dr.MartinLutherKing Jr.State Celebration Kick-Off at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 8 at Harris-Stowe State University in the Main Auditorium, 3026 Laclede.  For more information, call (314) 340-3390.


St. Louis Community Farmer’s Market


Missing going to a farmer’s market on the weekend?  On the second Saturday of each month from now through April, you can stop by the winter market at St. John’s Episcopal Church, 3664 Arsenal in the Tower Grove South neighborhood.  Anywhere from 15 to 23 vendors will be there from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 8 selling everything from spinach, lettuce, figs, meats, cheeses, jams, breads, eggs, salsas, coffee and more.  For additional information, call (314) 375-6836. 


G.E.D. Classes


Maybe one of your New Year’s Resolutions is to get your G.E.D. or help someone you know get his or her G.E.D.  According to a recent article in the New York Times, nearly 40 million Americans are in dead-end jobs because for one reason or another they did not finish high school.  A G.E.D. provides you with the equivalent of a high school diploma and increases your chances in the job market.  Nearly 500,000 people pass the exam each year.  The St. Louis Public Library offers a free G.E.D. program to anyone age 17 or older.  You can attend classes or study online at your own pace.  Questions?  Call (314) 539-0365.


Tip of the Hat


My first Tip of the Hat in 2011 goes to several individuals who have demonstrated their commitment to making St. Louis a great place to live, work and do business and who have been recognized with 2011 South Journal Awards.  Caya Aufiero and her husband, John Chen, own Urban Eats Café on Meramec Street in Dutchtown. Urban Eats is much more than just a restaurant.  The venue is used for reading programs, mentoring sessions, neighborhood meetings, charity fundraisers and more.  The couple also started the Downtown Dutchtown Business Association and is working to build the community and promote local shopping on Meramec.


Tim Bolt is a dedicated community gardener in the Holly Hills neighborhood.  Just about every weekend, you can see Bolt somewhere in Holly Hills trimming, pulling, planting and otherwise tending the many green spaces in the neighborhood.


Congratulations on the Award and keep up the good work!




Have you signed up for free Nixle service yet?  The Department of Public Safety’s City Emergency Management Agency (CEMA) provides free emergency alert service through   When you sign up, you will receive our informative and timely text messages on your cell phone and/or as e-mails on your computer.  I invite you to visit the Nixle webpage and sign up for the service today.   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! 



Charles Bryson

Director of Public Safety

City of St. Louis



Related Stories

Was this page helpful?      

Comments are helpful!
500 character limit

Feedback is anonymous.