Public Safety Director's Spotlight - Dec. 28

New Year's resolutions, St. Louis City is going smoke-free, and annual Fun Without Guns New Year's Eve campaign

December 28, 2010 | 5 min reading time

As 2010 draws to a close, thoughts turn to ringing in the New Year and making those infamous resolutions. While there is the normal eat healthier, exercise more, and spend more time with our families, I encourage you think about the changes you want to make in your life and ways to help others as well.


Through various Mayor Francis Slay initiatives, City departments are working hard to make St. Louis a healthier place to live. On Nov. 9, 2009, Mayor Slay signed an ordinance making the City of St. Louis smoke-free starting Sunday, Jan. 2, 2011. Our Interim Health Director Pamela Walker considers this step the most significant health improvement for the City of St. Louis in the past 50 years. The City’s new smoking ordinance prohibits smoking in all enclosed public places and enclosed places of employment. Health Inspectors will begin enforcement on Jan. 2. To report a violation of the St. Louis Smoke Free Air Act, call the Citizens’ Service Bureau at (314) 622-4800 or send a tweet to @stlcsb.


There are also growing movements to first and foremost get healthy and fresher food in neighborhoods without good grocery stores and to also increase the viability of neighborhood based corner convenience stores. You will be hearing more about this endeavor in the months ahead.


In this week’s Spotlight I am once again highlighting St. Louis’ First Night celebration on New Year’s Eve. It is a great, family-friendly event every year. I encourage everyone to attend.


But New Year's Eve in St. Louis also has the traditional discharging firearms into the air. This can cause serious injury, and even death. That is why I am joining Mayor Slay and Police Chief Dan Isom in encouraging you to have fun without guns. If you are even thinking about ringing in the New Year in this way, please think again. Quelling the improper use of firearms begins at Midnight on Jan. 1, 2011.


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!



Celebration of Kwanzaa


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 about this event and all the exhibits and shows at the Garden, call (314) 577-5100.


Winter Getaway Underway


The Missouri History Museum in Forest Park is hosting its Winter Getaway from now 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.


Candlelight Memorial Service on New Year’s Eve


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 of those who lost their lives to violence this year.


First Night


For First Night® - Saint Louis 2011 the Grand Center District will be transformed into a “Fanta-sea”. The mysterious beauty of underwater life will be the backdrop 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. With entertainment taking place both indoors and out, First Night is a fun way to have your family all together to celebrate the end of the old year and the start of 2011. For more information, visit .


YMCA Open House


The Carondelet Park Rec Complex at 930 Holly Hills Avenue in Carondelet Park and the South City Family YMCA at 3150 Sublette Avenue will each hold an open house from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on New Year’s Day. If one of your New Year’s resolutions is to get more exercise, then stop by the open houses to see what each facility has to offer. For more information, visit .




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 prosperous New Year!


Charles Bryson

Director of Public Safety

City of St. Louis


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