Each week, we do our best to help you stay on top of the news in the County. We're thrilled that so many people find this newsletter a useful resource! (Please share with your friends, who can sign up here: https://bit.ly/3nijXBs).
NOTE: Because we have new subscribers each week (welcome!) we will continue to highlight some items that have appeared in past issues. However, to make it easier for those of you who read What Happened Last Week each week (hello!) we will indicate new or edited content with two asterisks ** and a highlight. We hope that's helpful!
A few reminders, and then we'll turn to this week's updates.
Live Briefings: Dr. Page's press briefings are broadcast live on his County Executive facebook page; they are generally held at 8:30am on Mondays and Wednesdays. (https://www.facebook.com/
County Council Meeting: The St. Louis County Council holds its meetings at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesdays; during that meeting Dr. Sam gives his weekly County Executive Report. You can now attend the meeting in person at 41 S. Central Avenue, or watch online: http://ow.ly/zXey50E1DpC The public forum will be limited to in-person and emailed comments only. In-person sign up happens outside of the chamber doors from 6-6:28 p.m. To send a comment by email, go to https://stlouiscountymo.gov/
This Week's Updates:
**Delta Variant: Unfortunately, Missouri has been in the news a lot this week – with cases of the highly-transmissible Delta variant of COVID-19 spreading quickly through areas with lower vaccination rates. As Dr. Faisal Khan, the Director of the St. Louis County Department of Public Health, emphasized in a recent editorial, our best tools in the fight against this variant are the safe, free, and highly effective vaccines that are available at across the County at vaccine events, pharmacies, libraries, public health departments and more. Read more here: The Covid Crisis Isn't Over Yet Please Get Vaccinated
Vaccine Scheduling: The Department of Public Health accepts walk-ins for vaccinations at all three of its health clinics – the John C. Murphy Health Center in Berkeley, South County Health Center in Sunset Hills, and North Central Community Health Center in Pine Lawn. The Vaccine Event page on STLCorona.com also lists vaccine events, including popup and walk-in events, of which there are many! Check it out at https://stlcorona.com/
Vaccination Rates: An estimated 48.2% St. Louis Countians (483,000 people) have received at least one vaccine dose and 42.7% (424,000 people) have completed their vaccinations!
Vaccine Partnerships: To increase vaccine access, the county health department is focusing on smaller vaccine events at community organizations, churches, businesses and labor unions. If your group can provide adequate space and recruit individuals to get vaccinated, the county will bring the vaccine and the vaccinators. If your organization would like to be part of this effort, click here: https://stlcorona.com/
St. Louis County's partnership with libraries to increase access to COVID-19 vaccines has been a rousing success. Future events will be at the Indian Trails Branch (8400 Delport Drive St. Louis, MO 63114 11:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. Saturday, July 10, Saturday, July 31, Saturday, August 21), Natural Bridge Branch (7606 Natural Bridge Road St. Louis, MO 63121, 11:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m., Saturday, July 3, Saturday, July 24), and Rock Road Branch (10267 St. Charles Rock Road St. Ann, MO 63074, 11:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m., Saturday, July 17, Saturday, August 7). Appointments can be made at www.stlcorona.com, but walk-ups will also be accepted.
Free COVID testing: The Saint Louis County Department of Public Health provides free COVID tests to the general public via its two clinics or at pop-up testing events. St. Louis County has administered over 1,000,000 COVID-19 tests! Make an appointment through DPH online at https://bit.ly/306heAX or by calling 314-615-0574.
Emergency Rental Assistance: St. Louis County Department of Human Services is partnering with St. Louis County Library, St. Patrick Center, and The Salvation Army St. Louis to help people apply for the Emergency Rental Assistance Program. The following locations will provide help with the application process: Bridgeton Trails Branch (3455 McKelvey Rd.
Bridgeton, MO. 63044 Fridays: 9:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m.); Florissant Valley Branch (195 New Florissant Road, S. Florissant, MO 63031 Fridays: 9:00 a.m.–1:00 p.m.); Lewis & Clark Branch–Beginning June 29
(9909 Lewis-Clark Blvd. St. Louis, MO 63135 Tuesdays: 9:00 a.m.–1:00 p.m.); Natural Bridge Branch (7606 Natural Bridge Rd. St. Louis, MO. 63121 Tuesdays: 9:00 a.m.–1:00 p.m.); Weber Road Branch (4444 Weber Road St. Louis, MO 63123 Mondays: 1:00– 4:00 p.m.). Please share this information with family, friends and neighbors! Applications can also be completed online here: https://stlouisco.onlinepha.
**CARES Act Funding Town Hall: On Wednesday, the CARES Act team held a two-hour public town hall to address any public questions about CARES Act funding. You can watch a recording of the town hall here: https://youtu.be/CQ0WE-
** City, County Join in Lawsuit to Block Law Nullifying Federal Gun Laws: Last week, the County and the City of St. Louis filed a lawsuit to block as unconstitutional a recently-enacted law that prohibits local police from enforcing federal gun laws. Dr. Page said in a statement that “We can’t expect people to stay in St. Louis or to move their businesses here if we don’t do everything we can to reduce gun violence in the region, but this new law sends the opposite message to our residents and business community." The Department of Justice previously informed the State of Missouri that the law is unconstitutional. You can read the 15-page lawsuit for yourself here: https://www.
**State Senate passes clean FRA; Legislation now goes to State House: Governor Parson has called a special session to pass Federal Reimbursement Act (FRA) legislation, a tax that is critical to Missouri's Medicaid funding. The FRA has been extended with no controversy 16 times since 1992, but did not pass during this year's regular legislative session. During the special session lastweek, a group of state senators introduced a version of the FRA that would ban Medicaid coverage for certain contraceptives, and ban Planned Parenthood as a Medicaid provider. Ultimately the FRA passed the state senate without these restrictions. The bill now goes to the state house, which can approve the bill as adopted by the senate or make its own changes.
On Friday, Dr. Page noted that the St. Louis County Department of Public Health "provides contraceptive services for free for Medicaid patients and on a sliding scale for others" and that the County was watching the General Assembly's actions carefully. Banning coverage for certain kinds of contraceptives would directly impact DPH, and the DPH's patients whose care is insured by Medicaid. If you do not believe there should be Medicaid coverage bans on certain types of contraceptives, or that Planned Parenthood should be banned as a Medicaid provider, please contact your State Representative. (You can find out who your representative is at: https://house.mo.gov/
**Jamestown Mall Development: Last week, the St. Louis County Port Authority, which owns the Jamestown Mall site in North St. Louis County, announced it will issue a request for proposals to demolish the former mall building. That decision comes after Councilwoman Shalonda Webb, who represents the district where the Jamestown Mall site is located, announced that her constituents overwhelmingly opposed a developer's proposal to turn the site into a warehouse. Demolition is an expensive process, but it is necessary to attract buyers because the mall building is damaged beyond repair. Councilwoman Webb joined St. Louis County Port Authority Chairman John Maupin and Rodney Crim, CEO and president at the St. Louis Economic Development Partnership, to announce the changes, pledging that "[w]e will work together … as we reimagine the vision for Jamestown Mall property."
**PRIDE Month: This week is the culmination of Pride month. Last week, President Biden signed legislation designating the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, a national memorial, to honor the 49 people killed in a 2016 mass shooting. He also called upon Congress to pass laws protecting civil rights of LGBTQ+ people. We are proud that here in St. Louis County, the County Council passed a sweeping resolution in 2020 that recognized that LGBTQ+ rights are human rights, and committed to pursuing and advocating for inclusive policy changes. During this month, Pride flags have flown at the County buildings, showing the County's commitment to inclusion and acceptance. While those flags will come down at the end of the month, the committment to LGBTQ+ rights and inclusion continues.
Road Project Highlight: Bayless Avenue resurfacing and bridge replacement!
The St. Louis County Department of Transportation is planning to improve Bayless Avenue between Union Road and Lemay Ferry Road (Route 267). The project includes: Reconfiguration of existing intersection at Avenue H and Bayless Avenue into new four-way signalized intersection; Reconstruction of the Bayless Avenue bridge over Gravois Creek to include improved motorist, bicycle, and pedestrian accommodations' Sidewalks will be constructed around obstacles such as utility poles that currently inhibit pedestrian access. For more on this project, click here: http://ow.ly/sBrG50EFHek
Swimming safety: There have been far too many water-related fatalities in the St. Louis region just this month, including a 14-year old boy and a woman who slipped while she was wading in a river. Swimming is prohibited in St. Louis County Parks streams, ponds and lakes, and is very dangerous. St. Louis County Parks Ranger Sgt. Cheryl Fechter explained that "[R]ivers are not like a pool. It’s not clear, you can’t see the bottom, and the current is always changing,” she said. “A river might be a couple inches deep and then the next foot it goes down to 10-15 feet deep.”
And, with low visibility, dangerous debris can be right under the surface. Fechter said there is no shoreline of any river in St. Louis County where she considers it safe to swim.
Please be safe when swimming or wading. If you swim or wade in any natural body of water this summer, wear a well-fitting lifejacket that is rated to your weight, or make sure there is a flotation device nearby.
St. Louis County Library News:
St. Louis County Libraries are open for browsing without an appointment. Learn more at www.slcl.org/reopening.
Design a Bookmark Contest: Have an aspiring artist at home? Encourage them to enter the library's Design a Bookmark Contest! Entries will be accepted through July 10th. Details: https://www.slcl.org/design-a-
St. Louis County Library and Operation Food Search provide drive-thru food pick-up for children from 10:00 a.m. -12:00 p.m. at 10 SLCL branches. Participating branches provide two shelf-stable breakfasts and two lunches Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Boxes of fresh produce are available on Wednesdays. Family Meal Boxes are available on Fridays. Details: www.slcl.org/drive-thru-meals.
Period supply kits: Flow kits from St. Louis Alliance for Period Supplies are available at four SLCL branches during drive-thru meals or curbside hours. Details: www.slcl.org/period-supplies
Emergency Diapers: St. Louis Area Diaper Bank and St. Louis County Library have partnered to provide families with emergency diapers. Families can pick up a one-time supply of 50 diapers and receive a referral to a local agency for help with ongoing support during curbside services hours. Learn more at https://www.slcl.org/curbside-
Chromebook and Hotspot kits available for check out! Each kit contains one Chromebook and one hotspot and can be checked out for two weeks on any adult SLCL card. Learn more: www.slcl.org/computerkits.
Events and Classes: The St Louis County Library has many events, classes and workshops each week! Check out the online calendar to see what’s happening this week. https://www.slcl.org/events
St. Louis County Parks news:
The Spring/Summer Activity Guide is available! Learn more about special events, day camps, swimming lessons, outdoor programs and more: http://ow.ly/my0Z50DQ9n5
Greensfelder Park Expansion Ribbon Cutting! The ribbon cutting for the expansion of Greensfelder Park was held on Thursday! The Conservation Fund worked in partnership with the County Parks Department staff to secure a contract to purchase the land for the 155 acre expansion. Currently, Greensfelder Park has 1,582 acres and 32 miles of trails. The new property includes grasslands, oak woodlands, cedar groves, successional woodlands, a 1.4-acre pond and a small cave. It will be used by the Parks Department as a passive recreation site with emphasis on land proection and natural enhancement.
**Congratulations to St. Louis County Parks Recreation Supervisor, Carolyn Fuchs, on winning the Aquatics Section - Outstanding New Professional Award from Missouri Park and Recreation Association! Learn more about why Carolyn was chosen for this award here: http://ow.ly/8myA50EWUhu
Day Camps: Many camps are offered through St. Louis County Parks - from fishing to craft to Pokemon. Check them out and find registration information at: https://bit.ly/3tRrOte
St. Louis County Parks have over 165 miles of trails to explore. Find a trail near you at: https://bit.ly/3fuXjmr Need some inspiration? Check out this A-Z guide of hiking trails and parks in and around St. Louis County: https://bit.ly/3qANsRl
To say this is a challenging, fast-paced time is an understatement, but we hope updates like this will help you keep track of what's going on week-to-week.
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Dr. Sam's Team