Public Safety Director's Spotlight - Winter Energy Saving Tips

Glassblowing, Holiday Traditions, Poetry Slam, Family Sundays, one jumbo-sized Birthday Party, Extreme '14 and more!

December 19, 2013 | 5 min reading time

Save on Winter Energy Costs

I want to begin this two-week edition of the Spotlight by passing along some winter energy saving tips from the Team.  In the winter, when many people turn on their heaters and put up holiday lights, gas and electric bills can be much higher than usual.  According to the U.S. Department of Energy, a family spends more than $1,900 a year on electricity bills and other utilities.  A big part of those costs come from wasted energy during those cold months.

You can save on winter energy costs if you make some changes in certain areas of your home:

  • Improve the lighting in your home and save energy.  For example, replace traditional light bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs, turn off any lights that aren't in use, and consider LED lights for Christmas decorations.  These use 90 percent less energy than the standard Christmas lights.
  • Install a programmable thermostat for your home's heating system.
  • Frequently change the filters in your furnace.
  • Set the thermostat on your water heater to 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Use power strips to plug in portable heaters, televisions, and cell phone chargers.  That way, you can turn off the power switch when the devices are not in use.
  • If you're thinking of replacing your appliances, make sure they have an Energy Star logo.  Energy Star products are more energy efficient.
For more information, visit the web site.

Upcoming Events

Dec. 20 – Third Friday Party, Third Degree Glass Factory, 6 p.m.

For holiday fun, stop by the Third Friday Party at Third Degree Glass Factory, 5200 Delmar Boulevard, this Friday from 6 – 10 p.m.  Visitors will be able to watch glassblowers make art from molten glass, work with instructors to make their own creations, participate in a holiday sweater contest and at 8 p.m. enjoy the folk, rock and holiday favorites performed by "Rosewood."  Need more information?  Call (314) 367-4527.

Dec. 20 – Friday Evening Tours, Contemporary Art Museum, 6 p.m.

Take advantage of Contemporary Art Museum's late hours on Friday evenings and stop by for a special 30-minute tour of the exhibition this Friday.  The event is free and open to the public.  Invite your family and friends to join you for a fun evening.  The Museum is located at 3750 Washington Boulevard in Grand Center.  For more details, call (314) 535-4660.

Dec. 21 – Historic Holiday Traditions, Old Courthouse, Noon

The Rotunda of the Old Courthouse in Downtown St. Louis is decked out in authentic Victorian décor for the holidays, and everyone is invited to stop by this Saturday at Noon for a celebration of Historic Holiday Traditions.  Visitors will experience music, dancing and food from significant eras in St. Louis' history.  Volunteers in period clothing will assist guests in discovering how early St. Louisans celebrated the holidays.  Call 1-877-982-1410 to learn more.

Dec. 22 – VerbQuake Indie Poetry Slam, Missouri History Museum, 5 p.m.

If you enjoy poetry, then mark your calendar for the VerbQuake Indie Poetry Slam this Sunday from 5 – 7 p.m. in Lee Auditorium at the Missouri History Museum in beautiful Forest Park.  The teen performance poetry competition is open to the first 20 high school students who sign up to participate.  The top four poets will advance to the Third Annual VerbQuake Grand Slam to be held in April 2014.  The event is free and open to the public.  To learn more, visit the web site.

Dec. 22 – Family Sundays, St. Louis Art Museum, 1 p.m.

During the month of December, the St. Louis Art Museum in Forest Park will highlight winter celebrations at its Family Sundays Series.  Bring your family in from 1 – 4 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 22 and Dec. 29 and enjoy art activities inspired by Diwali, Hanukkah, Our Lady of Guadalupe, and Christmas holiday traditions.  Each week will include special treats, performances, and scavenger hunts that teach about these cultural groups.  The Family Sundays event is free and open to the public.  To learn more, visit the web site.

Dec. 26 – Free Movie, Central Library, 6:30 p.m.

The December Central Library Cinema Series is featuring films that highlight lifestyles during prohibition."The Great Gatsby" will be screened on Thursday, Dec. 26 beginning at 6:30 p.m. at the Central Library, located at 1301 Olive Street.  For more information about activities at the Library, visit the web site.

Dec. 27 – Raja's 21st Birthday, St. Louis Zoo, 11 a.m.

Raja, the St. Louis Zoo's Asian bull elephant, will turn 21 years old on Friday, Dec. 27.  Invite your family and friends to join you in singing "Happy Birthday" to the proud papa while he opens enormous presents and enjoys special enrichment activities.  For a list of all the activities planned for the day, visit the web site.

Now through Dec. 28 – Holiday Lights Experience, Anheuser-Busch Brewery, 6 p.m.

This year, for the first time ever, the iconic holiday lights that adorn the Anheuser-Busch Brewery at 1127 Pestalozzi in the Soulard neighborhood can be enjoyed close-up as part of a new walking tour filled with fun, family-friendly activities.  This free event offers live holiday music, fire pits, s'mores and complimentary beer samples for adults 21 and older.  The walking tours will take place from 6 – 9 p.m. each Friday and Saturday night in December.  Invite your family and friends to join you for a fun evening at the A-B Brewery.  For more details, visit the web site.

Now through Dec. 30 – U.S. Bank Wild Lights, St. Louis Zoo, 5:30 p.m.

Everyone is invited to walk through the St. Louis Zoo's holiday wonderland of spectacular light displays beginning at 5:30 p.m. on the evenings of Dec. 20-23 and Dec. 26- 30.  Admission is $4 per person for members; $5 per person for non-members.  Children under 2 are free.  Free parking will be provided on the Zoo's South Parking Lot on Wells Drive.  Questions?  Call (314) 781-0900.

Now through Dec. 31 – Central West End Window Walk, 10 a.m.

The 4th Annual Central West End Window Walk is taking place now through Tuesday, Dec. 31.  The event showcases the Central West End retail and restaurant merchants' creative holiday window displays.  Shoppers and visitors can vote for their favorite windows at participating businesses during regular business hours.  Enjoy time with friends and family away from the hustle and bustle of the malls!  Visit the CWE all month long, vote on your favorite window and be entered to win a $50 gift certificate.  Go to the web site for more details.

Dec. 31 – First Night, Grand Center, 6 p.m.

The theme for First Night 2014 is Extreme '14, and what a celebration it is going to be!  This family-friendly, fun, non-alcoholic event will feature indoor and outdoor performances and entertainment, ice carving shows, fireworks and will kick off the celebration of the 250th anniversary of St. Louis.  The opening ceremony will begin at 6 p.m. on the Main Stage located at Grand and Lindell.  Performances will take place from 6 – 11:45 p.m.  The PNC Bank Countdown to the New Year will begin at 11:30 p.m. on the Main Stage.  The midnight Fireworks Show has been choreographed to music to ensure that revelers will dance their way into the first moments of 2014.  Adult First Night – Extreme '14 buttons cost $10; buttons for children cost $5.  For the complete schedule of activities, visit the web site.

Save the Date

Jan. 3—First Friday, International Photography Hall of Fame & Museum, 11 a.m.
Jan.4 – The Wedding Show, America's Center, 11 a.m.
Jan. 4 – Historic Holiday Traditions at the Old Courthouse, Noon

Promoting Your Neighborhood Activities

Is there a neighborhood event on the schedule that you would like noted in the Spotlight? If so, you may email the information about it to me at or to Cathy Smentkowski at for consideration. You may also post it on the City's Calendar of Events on the City's web site: The link to submit an event is on the home page. The listing is free. I encourage you to take advantage of this free way to promote your event.

Nominations Sought

The St. Louis Women of Achievement Award is the oldest, ongoing program in the area whose sole mission is to honor and recognize the volunteer leadership of women.  The Women of Achievement organization is calling for nominations for the 2014 Class of Honorees. The deadline for receipt of nominations is midnight January 13, 2014.  For a nomination form, go online at or call (314) 421-2005.

Happy Holidays to you and yours and best wishes for a prosperous New Year!

Charlene Deeken
Director of Public Safety
City of St. Louis

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