Police reports reveal trend in vehicle break-ins, News Briefs
City moves forward with Loehr building renovations
Plans to renovate facilities used by the Ballwin Board of Aldermen and the city’s municipal court in the Donald “Red” Loehr building on Park Drive will mean activities of both will be held elsewhere while the work is being done.
City Administrator Robert Kuntz told the Board at its Feb. 11 meeting that bids for the renovation likely will be sought by the end of this month and a contract awarded in April. Once started, the work is expected to take 60-90 days, he said.
Employee compensation changes delayed
Decisions on Ballwin employee compensation issues are still on hold.
Alderman Richard Boerner (Ward 4) asked for an analysis of overall costs and how they compare with other area communities, and his motion passed on a 7-1 vote.
Alderman Frank Fleming (Ward 3) opposed the motion. And while he didn’t explain his vote, Fleming had said at an earlier Board retreat that he knew of no reason why a proposed increase in city employees’ pensions shouldn’t be approved, along with a pool of funds that would boost overall employee payroll by about 3 percent.
Aldermen had decided at the Board retreat, albeit on a split vote, to shelve the pension increase to provide more money for employee salary hikes. That decision rankled Fleming, who said that votes on specific issues had not been taken at earlier Board retreats.
After the Board’s Jan. 28 meeting where the analysis was requested, Alderman James Terbrock (Ward 1) said he agreed with Fleming’s objection to the vote. At the retreat, Terbrock abstained from voting on the pension issue, saying he didn’t have enough information to make a sound decision.
Boerner stated at the recent regular meeting that he would support an increase in pension benefits if employees were required to contribute to the program. He said he had learned that a number of area communities already has that requirement in their retirement plans.
Provisional judge, prosecuting attorney appointed
Mayor Scott Douglass is pleased to announce that the city of Clarkson Valley has appointed April Porter to fill the position of provisional judge and Chris Graville to fill the position of prosecuting attorney, effective immediately.
Porter is currently an assistant prosecuting attorney for St. Louis County and has nine years experience in that role.
Graville serves as prosecutor for six cities and villages.
Application available for RainScape rebates
Creve Coeur residents are eligible to participate in the RainScape Rewards rebate program – a voluntary program financially assisting landowners wishing to landscape their yards to improve storm water management. Applications are available on the Deer Creek Watershed website and in the front lobby of the Creve Coeur Government Center. The application deadline is March 1.
The maximum rebate per site is 75 percent of documented expenses up to $2,000. Rainscaping ideas include planting a rain garden, installing a rain barrel, amending soil, and/or replacing lawn grass with trees, shrubs and low-maintenance ground cover.
For questions about the rebate program, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or Call (314) 246-9670.
Unwanted bicycles in any condition are being sought for Recycle that Bicycle, a free event taking place from 9 a.m. to noon on April 6 at Wildwood’s Town Center on Plaza Drive.
All donated bicycles, tricycles and bicycle parts will be reconditioned by the non-profit BicycleWORKS organization and donated to area residents in need.
Donations are tax deductible.
For more information, contact email@example.com or call 458-0440.
New fire marshal named
West County EMS and Fire Protection District has named Dan Bruno as its new fire marshal. The district’s Board of Directors approved the hiring at its Feb. 18 meeting on the recommendation of Fire Chief Ernie Rhodes.
Noting Bruno’s training and background as a professional engineer, Rhodes termed the hiring “a new approach” for the fire marshal position.
Bruno comes to the West County post after almost seven years as a project manager for Delcan Corp., an engineering firm with offices in the U.S., Canada and several overseas locations.
He holds a degree in civil engineering from Missouri University of Science and Technology.
In comments to the Board, Bruno said he wants to make the fire marshal position “a conduit for public safety and public outreach.”
The Central County Emergency 911 Board of Directors has accepted a proposal from Charter Communications to install a fiber, wide-area network communications system that will facilitate the dispatching of fire and emergency medical personnel and equipment in the Ellisville-based operation’s expanding service area.
Acceptance of the Charter proposal is based on final approval of a contract covering the various provisions in the original bid. The only other company to submit a proposal was AT&T, but Central County officials determined that bid did not meet the requirements spelled out in the request.
Charter’s proposal included network installation costs of $250,000 and monthly service charges of $48,780. The AT&T bid set monthly charges at $49,675 but did not spell out its installation costs.
At its Feb. 19 meeting, the Central County Board also approved hiring Network Technology Partners to provide supervision of the dispatching agency’s computer-based operations for a six-week period. The action stemmed from a two-week notice given by a Central County staff member in charge of those activities that he was resigning.
In addition, the Board approved an earlier reviewed contract to provide dispatching services to the Crestwood Fire Department effective July 1. The approval leaves the Eureka Fire Protection District as the only agency served by South County Fire Alarm that hasn’t signed an agreement with Central County. South County will cease operations on July 1.
Police reports reveal
trend in vehicle break-ins
A purse containing numerous personal items, credit cards and eyeglasses was stolen out of an unlocked vehicle while it was parked in an open garage in the 1500 block of Buckhurst Court on Feb. 15, according to a Ballwin Police report released on Feb. 21. The estimated loss was $1800.
Alone this item is not exactly newsworthy, but across West County police reports seem to be revealing a trend of items being stolen from cars that are usually unlocked.
On Feb. 13, Capt. Gary Hoelzer of Town & Country Police reported a theft from an unlocked vehicle in the 400 block of Cheshire Farm. Taken was a silver Apple MAC laptop computer. Several other Town & Country thefts occured in the same time frame.
Recent police reports from Creve Coeur and Chesterfield also show similar thefts.
Hoelzer said that over the past three years, thefts from vehicles has been trending down with 44 in 2010, 37 in 2011 and just nine in 2012.
“That being said we just had three vehicles broken into. And the common denominator in all of those was that the vehicles were unlocked,” Hoelzer said.
He predicted that 95 percent of thefts from cars would not occur if people locked their cars and the other 5percent could be prevented if people didn’t leave valuables in plain sight.
“It’s pretty simple,” he said.
But he noted that as often as law enforcement repeat that advice, it’s up to citizens to follow it.
“Here’s the problem with leaving your vehicle unlocked in your driveway,” Hoelzer said. “Often the garage door opener is in the unlocked vehicle, providing a would-be thief with access to your garage and potentially your home.”
Hoelzer speculated that one of the reasons numbers trended down in 2012 was that Jeremy Burkhalter “was doing hundreds of these before he was arrested by one of our officers.”
Burkhalter was arrested in June 2011. At the time of his arrest, he was wanted for 50 incidents of burglaries, car break-ins and thefts in Ballwin alone, and had warrants out for the same type of crimes throughout West County.
“He’s due to get out of prison next month,” Hoelzer warned.
Rep. Ann Wagner opens office
Missouri’s new, recently elected Member of Congress from the 2nd District, Ann Wagner, wants people to know about her local office.
The office is in Suite 201at 301 Sovereign Court, just north of the Manchester-Weidman Road intersection. The phone number is 779-5449.
Voter ID bill passes House
The Missouri House passed a new voter ID bill HB 48 & 216 and constitutional amendment HJR 5 & 12 during the week of Feb. 10 to require voter ID at the polls.
The constitutional amendment must be passed by a vote of the people. Ballot language appearing on the April 2 ballot, will be:
“Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended so that it will be permissible under the Constitution of Missouri for the General Assembly to enact a general law requiring voters to show valid photo identification in order to vote in person at a public election?”
HB 48 & 216 is the enacting language that spells out how a photo ID will work in Missouri.
A provision in the bill requires that “the state and all fee offices shall provide one such form of the personal identification required to vote at no cost to any otherwise qualified voter who does not already possess such identification and who desires the identification in order to vote.”