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Poll: Will Area Businesses Be Ready On January 2nd For New Smoke-Free Laws?

December 26, 2010 Smoke Free, STL Region 26 Comments

nosmokingsymbolOne week from today, Sunday January 2, 2011, new smoke-free laws will begin in the City of St. Louis and St. Louis County.

In the city it is ordinance 68481, the St. Louis City Smoke Free Air Act of 2009.  There are a few notable exceptions, small bars in particular:

7. Bars in existence on the effective date of this ordinance in which only persons aged twenty one (21) years old or older are permitted to enter the premises, the square footage of the entire floor area of the level of the building on which the bar establishment is located is two thousand (2000) square feet or less. The square footage shall not include kitchen areas, storage areas and bathrooms. The bar shall prominently displays outside of the premises at each entrance and above the bar the following sign in lettering that is black bold Arial font at (ninety-eight) 98 point size: “WARNING : SMOKING ALLOWED HERE”. This exemption for bars shall expire five (5) years after the effective date of this ordinance.

So a place that is 2,200 square feet with 400sf of that in kitchen & bathrooms cannot be exempt? I can see a lot of confusion over this exemption.  But clearly places that believe they are exempt need to post a sign outside indicating as much. On January 2, 2016 their exemption goes away.

Conversely all other establishments are required to indicate they are smoke-free:

SECTION NINE. Posting of Signs

1. “No Smoking” signs or the international “No Smoking” symbol (consisting of a pictorial representation of a burning cigarette enclosed in a red circle with a red bar across it) shall be clearly and conspicuously posted in every public place and place of employment where smoking is prohibited by this Ordinance, by the owner, operator, manager, or other person in control of that place.

2. Every public place and place of employment where smoking is prohibited by this Ordinance shall have posted at every entrance a conspicuous sign clearly stating that smoking is prohibited. Every vehicle that constitutes a place of employment under this Ordinance shall have at least one conspicuous sign, visible from the exterior of the vehicle, clearly stating that smoking is prohibited.

3. All ashtrays shall be removed from any area where smoking is prohibited by this Ordinance by the owner, operator, manager, or other person having control of the area.

I can imagine many smoke-free businesses failing to indicate they are smoke-free as required.

St. Louis County’s law has similar requirements for signs:

Signs clearly stating smoking is prohibited must be prominently displayed on the outside of the establishment at all public and employee entrances. A person having control of a place shall clearly and conspicuously post “No Smoking” signs or the international “No Smoking” symbol (consisting of a pictorial representation of a burning cigarette enclosed in a red circle with a red bar across it) near all entrances where smoking is prohibited pursuant to this chapter. Such signage shall consist of letters not less than one inch in height. (605.050)

St. Louis County has a different exemption for bars:

Drinking establishments which are in operation on or before the effective date of this chapter; provided, however, that no smoke infiltrates into areas where smoking is otherwise prohibited, and further provided that each such drinking establishment has posted in a place visible to the public from its exterior a certificate of exemption issued by the Department of Revenue. Click here to apply for this exemption.

Confused yet? Take the poll this week (upper right) on how ready you think area businesses will be next week.

– Steve Patterson

 

New Resource Room For Area Homeless

December 17, 2010 Homeless, SLU, STL Region 5 Comments
ABOVE: New resource room at The Bridge
ABOVE: New resource room at The Bridge

On Wednesday a new Community Resource Room was opened at The Bridge, “a drop-in center providing a variety of services for the sojourners in downtown St. Louis, MO who are currently living without a home of their own.” The Bridge provides many services, including “in excess of 3000 meals per week.

So when Bridge Executive Director Kathleen Wilder posted plans for the ribbon cutting on Facebook, I knew I had to be there. Here is a short video from Wednesday afternoon:

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RLk2AxVHkfc

Saint Louis University Social Work student Jessica Mueller led the project, transforming a room once piled with stuff to an attractive room with books and six new computers.  This project was her practicum. Unfortunately, demand for services exceeds supply.  If you have time and/or money please consider helping out.

– Steve Patterson

 

South County Connector Revisited, Open House 3pm-7pm Today 12/9/2010

sccmap
ABOVE: Study area looks at connecting Hanley (upper left) to the River Des Peres (lower right)

A “Public Open House” will be held today, December 9, 2010, from  3:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. to get feedback on the latest proposal for a South County Connector:

“St. Louis County has interviewed several consultant teams for conducting the Location Study and Environmental Document for the South County Connector. Negotiations will begin shortly with the selected team, and the study will begin in early 2010.

The South County Connector facilitates access between the central core of St. Louis County and South County and South City. The multi-modal aspect of the South County Connector corridor promotes the joint Livable Communities initiative of the U.S. DOT, HUD, U.S. EPA and other Federal agencies. It will help citizens gain better access to affordable housing, more transportation options and healthier communities and will promote sustainable development and economic growth.”

The open house will be held at the  Affton White-Rodgers Community Center located at 9801 Mackenzie Road St. Louis, Mo. 63123.

– Steve Patterson

 

Please Shop Local Small Businesses On Saturday

November 26, 2010 Big Box, Economy, Retail, STL Region 2 Comments

If you are like many people you are going out to a mall and/or big box store today, Black Friday.  I’m not going to try to talk you out of it, but I am going to suggest you patronize locally owned small businesses in your area tomorrow,  November 27, 2010 – aka Small Business Saturday.

sbslogoFrom the FAQ page:

What is Small Business Saturday?
More than a dozen advocacy, public, and private organizations are joining American Express OPEN, the company’s small business unit, in declaring the Saturday after Thanksgiving as Small Business Saturday. This year, Small Business Saturday is November 27, 2010.

Is Small Business Saturday designed to get people to stop shopping at larger businesses or online?
Absolutely not. Small Business Saturday recognizes the importance of small businesses to the overall economy and local communities. It’s a day to support the small, independently owned businesses we can’t live without.Who can get involved in Small Business Saturday?
Anybody. Anywhere. Now through Small Business Saturday, November 27.

How can I get involved in Small Business Saturday?
There are a number of ways for you to get involved. First and foremost, it’s about helping raise awareness about the importance of small business to our communities. For example, you can visit www.facebook.com/smallbusinesssaturday where you ca”like” Small Business Saturday and syndicate news feeds about the day to your personal, virtual networks. There, you can also spread the word about the day and your favorite businesses by giving a shout-out to your favorite local shops and restaurants via Facebook and Twitter.

You can also support Small Business Saturday by patronizing the local, independently owned small businesses in your neighborhood. That could mean anything from having dinner on your way home from the mall during the holiday shopping season or reserving a part of your holiday gift budget to spend at a local small business.

The event is sponsored by American Express which isn’t a small business.  But I think they realize the importance of small businesses.

sbs1sbs2sbs3sbs4A good places to start are local advertisers helping to support this blog and BUILD St. Louis’ members.

-Steve Patterson

 

Twenty Years in Saint Louis

It was 20 years ago, August 1990, that I first arrived in St. Louis from Oklahoma City.  I was just out of college, 23 and optimistic about St. Louis’ future.  I drove up I-44 with a friend, she and I were going to be roommates in Washington D.C. Her mom lived in a renovated townhouse on Lemp in Benton Park, a block from Venice Cafe. We arrived on a Saturday and the next day her mom gave us a tour of the city.

ABOVE: Former fountain on Maryland Plaza, August 1990
ABOVE: Former fountain on Maryland Plaza, August 1990

I was immediately sold on St. Louis for my new place of residence, it felt right. Of course, earlier that year the Census had counted over 396,000 residents.  I put my stuff I had in her car and put it in her mom’s basement.  After my first visit to D.C., I took the train & bus back to Oklahoma City to get my car and more stuff.  I stayed with her mom for a week or so until I got a job and an apartment.

My first place was in The President on Lindell, next to Boatman’s Bank (now U.S. Bank).  It was an 8th floor studio with a view of the building to the east. The annual gay pride parade was on Euclid in those years so for me it was the place to be.  But in late 1990 I attended a seminar for developers at the St. Louis Development Corporation (SLDC).  At the time their offices were in the building bounded by Olive, 15th, Locust and 14th. At this seminar I met a woman living & rehabbing in Murphy-Blair; now known as Old North St. Louis.

At age 24 I moved to Old North from Lindell & Euclid.  My rent went from $425/month for the studio to $75/month.

ABOVE: My 3-room flat in Old North at 1422 Sullivan
ABOVE: My 3-room flat in Old North at 1422 Sullivan

In my first decade I saw the population drop over 48,000 people, my initial optimism was fading.  During the 1990s there were several times I considered moving. Seattle? Portland? East Coast? Sure, all were considered but ruled out for various reasons.  I’ve long stopped considering leaving, I like how St. Louis is shaping up.  Plus, I enjoy playing a role in the future of this city.

I’m sure I’ll see as much change in the coming 20 years as I did in the last 20 years. I’ll let you know in August 2030.

– Steve Patterson

 

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