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News Briefs: Forty-two immigrants take citizenship oath

Kiwanis members (from left) Pete Mihelich, Lee Sommer, Wendy Rackovan, Melissa Caputo and Tiffany Ermeling with the club’s Ronald McDonald House donations.

Kiwanis members (from left) Pete Mihelich, Lee Sommer, Wendy Rackovan, Melissa Caputo and Tiffany Ermeling with the club’s Ronald McDonald House donations.

Taking care of kids in need

The Kiwanis Club of St. Charles recently toured the Ronald McDonald House on the campus of Mercy Hospital in Creve Coeur.  Along with a guided tour of the facility, members of the St. Charles Kiwanis Club brought donations to the house as part of a service project. The donations will benefit families utilizing the house.

Ronald McDonald House Charities of St. Louis provides a home-away-from-home for families of seriously ill children and also supports organizations that serve the needs of area children.



Forty-two immigrants take citizenship oath  

St. Charles Community College students hosted a naturalization ceremony on Oct. 25, where 42 immigrants became U.S. citizens.

“This was service learning at its best,” said Ron Chesbrough, Ph.D., SCC president. “Students tasked with organizing this event practiced management and leadership skills. They learned the intimate details of this rite of passage to citizenship, and they exposed those in attendance to an event that they might otherwise never have attended and people they might not otherwise have met.”

In a naturalization ceremony, immigrants take the Oath of Allegiance to complete the process of becoming U.S. citizens. Due to the success of the celebration, SCC plans to host an annual naturalization ceremony on the last day of the week-long Democracy Days event held around Constitution Day each September.

“It was a demonstration of the college’s commitment to the community,” said Ron Pettus, associate professor of political science at SCC.


Food drive benefits local needy families

In an effort to reach those who need support from the community, O’Fallon’s Volunteer Services Department recently launched its 14th annual Cornucopia of Care food drive. Collection canisters located at various sites around the city are set to receive donations of non-perishable canned and boxed food and personal care items through Saturday, Dec. 13.

“Increasingly, we find that many of those needing assistance have low wage jobs or have recently become unemployed, requiring them to stretch their limited funds to pay utility bills, housing, transportation and medical needs,” said Kathy Halstead, the city’s manager of volunteer services. “That means that sometimes they go hungry.”

Individuals, organizations and businesses are welcome to drop off donations of non-perishable canned and boxed food and personal care items during regular business hours at the following locations:

• O’Fallon Municipal Centre (city hall), 100 N. Main Street

• Renaud Spirit Center, 2650 Tri Sports Circle

• Lindell Bank, 4521 Highway K

• Fox’s Pizza Den, 1120 Technology Drive


City invites resident input on 2015 Action Plan

O’Fallon’s 30-day comment period regarding the city’s Fiscal Year 2015 Annual Action Plan for the Community Development Block Grant Program will end on Dec. 5.

The plans can be viewed at O’Fallon City Hall, located at 100 North Main Street, and the public can submit comments to jhawkins@ofallon.mo.us.

The city held a public hearing on Nov. 5 concerning the action plan, but O’Fallon Director of Public Relations Thomas Drabelle said the city received no comments from residents during the hearing.

After the Dec. 5 deadline, Drabelle said the city will analyze any comments, and prepare a draft of the plan to go before the City Council for approval.


O’Fallon chicken ordinance shot down

An ordinance that would have allowed residents to keep chicken hens in their backyards failed in a 7-2 vote before the O’Fallon City Council.

The proposed ordinance had passed through several work session discussions and a first-round reading by the council unscathed, but was ultimately rejected by the council at a meeting on Nov. 13.

As written, the legislation would have allowed citizens in single-family residences to keep up to four chickens. Owners would be prohibited from slaughtering the poultry in public view, and would have been required to keep their chickens in a well-constructed enclosure.

Councilmember Jim Pepper (Ward 2) voted against the ordinance, and said that he opposed the legislation for several reasons. First, Pepper said he was concerned that the chickens could attract vermin and other pests to subdivisions. Pepper said his second concern was that, as many subdivisions belong to homeowners’ associations with their own set of rules, the chicken ordinance could have created unnecessary complications for the residents and HOA officials.
“I think it would cause more confusion than it would benefits,” Pepper said.

The chicken ordinance had support among some O’Fallon residents, with one resident regularly appearing before the council at each meeting to voice support for the legislation. A Facebook group called O’Fallon Residents for Urban Poultry garnered almost 600 likes, and a non-scientific city survey of 869 residents showed 52.7 percent supporting allowing chickens at residential homes.




City considers way-finder signs 

Signs, signs, everywhere a sign? Not yet, but city officials are considering a way-finder sign program that will help motorists find different locations in the city.

The city’s Board of Aldermen discussed establishing a sign program at various locations in the city at a Nov. 3 work session.

City Administrator Paul Markworth said the program to post directional signs along roads and at intersections is similar to programs in other cities.

Markworth said the signs would feature arrows pointing the general direction to different locations in the city, such as the police department or city hall, but not specific stores or businesses.

“It’s a way of branding different locations in the city,” Markworth said.

For example, one idea might be signs that highlight specific areas of the city. The northern part of the city, for example, might be called the “Uptown” area, although the board has taken no action on that name, Markworth said.

The city has four possible locations for signs at major intersections near the Shoppes of Hawks Ridge shopping area and has budgeted about $4,000 for the program for now.

Other nearby communities also have begun extensive branding efforts. O’Fallon is planning a series of signs throughout the city over the next several years and has already installed several large city signs at major interstate intersections such as Hwy. K at Interstate 64.




Crider Health Center hosts Season of Giving

Crider Health Center is accepting donations throughout the month of November for its Season’s of Giving program, which includes a coat drive for those in need of warmth during the winter months.

Donations are accepted at Crider Health Center locations and other drop-off points throughout the area. For more information or to make a donation, contact Shaunna Shaw at 332-8352.


Scouts help beautify city park

A local Boy Scout troop helped city staff plant more than 1,000 flower bulbs at Weldon Spring City Park on Nov. 1.

For the third year, Boy Scout Troop #353 – along with parents and siblings– helped plant the bulbs throughout the 13-acre park. Next spring, visitors can walk the trail within the park and enjoy the daffodils, iris, crocus, hyacinth and many other species of flowers planted by the group.

The smoke shed, located in the wedge adjacent to the park, also will receive a little beautification. City staff said an informational plaque soon will be installed on the small building that was part of the Triesch Family Homestead. The city took possession of the building in 2009.

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