St. Charles County Connection Header
A Publication of St. Charles County Government - November 2019

for Helping Your St. Charles County Parks Reach a Record 2 Million Visitors Already This Year!

Top Five
Things to Know About St. Charles County This Month

1. County PD's S.T.A.R.T. Program Gains Popularity

START Lesson

Community Education Officer Chad Thorpe helps students complete a lesson in their S.T.A.R.T. workbooks.

From drugs to bullying, our youth today often encounter tough situations. But thanks to help from the St. Charles County Police Department (SCCPD), students are getting the tools needed to make the right choices and other law enforcement agencies are taking note.

In 2017, the SCCPD launched the Substance Tobacco Alcohol Resistance Training program, or S.T.A.R.T., for fifth and sixth grade students. S.T.A.R.T. is a comprehensive and adaptable substance abuse prevention curriculum taught by the department’s Community Education and School Resource officers.

“S.T.A.R.T. is extremely focused on the issues officers see affecting youth in our county,” says St. Charles County Chief of Police David Todd. “Each year, officers review and edit the curriculum based on situations they responded to, as well as emerging trends.”

Word about the quality and content of the program has spread and other police departments have requested to use the S.T.A.R.T. curriculum. The County Council recently passed an ordinance to allow the SCCPD to share the program content with other law enforcement agencies.

Approximately 5,600 students across St. Charles County have graduated from S.T.A.R.T. Every SCCPD Community Education Officer and School Resource Officer is trained to teach S.T.A.R.T. and is certified through the National Association of School Resource Officers. The program meets the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) requirements.

2. Warming Centers Help Serve Citizens in Need

Warming Center Card
Having a warm and safe place to sleep at night during the winter can be a struggle for individuals who are homeless or have severe financial challenges. Fortunately, there is help from St. Charles, Lincoln and Warren County Continuum of Care (CoC), also known as Tri-County Continuum of Care.

Led by the Community Council of St. Charles County, CoC is a coalition of several local organizations and agencies, including St. Charles County Government, that work together to address homelessness in our community. From Nov. 16 through March 13, CoC activates an Emergency Weather Response (EWR) program to provide warming centers with sleeping accommodations when temperatures are predicted to be 20 degrees or below overnight. This is the fifth year for the program and it is helping save lives. In the 2018-2019 season, EWR was activated 18 nights and served 122 guests, including men, women, families and pets.

The centers operate from 9 p.m. to 7 a.m., and each is equipped to serve 20 guests. Accommodations are determined on the day of predicted low temperatures and typically are at select churches in St. Charles and Wentzville. To locate the nearest warming center, citizens can call 636-395-0492.

EWR is always looking for additional church hosting sites to serve as warming centers, as well as volunteers. Those who are interested can contact Kathy Thompson of LINC at 636-332-5127, ext. 222. 

3. Eagles Soar at The Family Arena 

Eagles at Stadium

The Family Arena holds concerts, comedy shows, sports events…and eagle training? Yes, that’s right – eagle training.

For the past three years, the World Bird Sanctuary has used The Family Arena, which is owned by St. Charles County, to train four bald eagles on its Eagle Flight Team. The team performs at a variety of events in stadiums across the country; the eagles fly from end to end to impress audiences with their beauty, majesty and grace. The practice runs at The Family Arena are important for the birds to build their flight muscles and comfort in a large arena environment.

“It’s hard to find a good space to exercise a large bird like a bald eagle,” says Daniel Cone, Assistant Director of the World Bird Sanctuary and leader of the Eagle Flight Team. “There are not many facilities around the area where we can do this, and The Family Arena is the only facility in the area that has allowed us to train.”

The Eagle Flight Team performs an average of seven to eight events annually all over the country, from professional sporting events to commencement and Veterans Day ceremonies. A month before each event, they train at The Family Arena for half an hour, three days a week to prepare. Three handlers train with each eagle.

“This schedule gives them enough practice going from the floor up into the stands so that they get a good workout and are ready to perform,” explains Cone. “After each event, the eagles get a month off to take a break before training for the next event.”

The Eagle Flight Team was started in 2005 by Walter Crawford, the founder of the World Bird Sanctuary. “He was a Vietnam Veteran and wanted to do something special for veterans,” explains Cone. “So he started the Eagle Flight Team to perform at veterans events. Over the years, the team started doing other types of events.”

Visit the World Bird Sanctuary’s website to learn more about the Eagle Flight Team. 

4. Pet Adoption Center Connects Animals, Homes for 20 Years

Pet Adoption Center
Happy birthday to the St. Charles County Pet Adoption Center, aka PAC! The facility is celebrating its 20th year this month, and it has “grown up” to be a tremendous resource for sheltering and adopting animals, reuniting lost pets with families, and educating the public on animal welfare.
Located at 4850 Mid Rivers Mall Drive in St. Peters, the PAC operates under the St. Charles County Department of Public Health’s Division of Humane Services. When it opened in 1999, the county’s population was approximately 280,000. The facility had two dog kennels with 36 indoor kennel runs for strays and one dog kennel room for adoptions that had 20 indoor kennel runs. There were only two adoptable cat rooms with 15 kennels each.
Today, the county’s population is nearly 400,000, and through the years, adjustments have been made to keep up with that population growth: More people means more pets. The facility now has 122 dog kennels and 159 cat kennels, along with a food pantry and numerous programs. The foster pet program has placed more than 5,000 animals over 20 years, the trap-neuter-return program for feral cats has altered approximately 7,000 cats in the 15 years it has been in operation, and the facility has a low-cost spay and neuter program. It’s an extremely busy operation!
In addition to a staff of 20, dedicated volunteers contribute to the PAC’s success. Since 2012, volunteers have provided more than 35,200 hours of service in a variety of tasks, from bathing and grooming, to walking and playing with animals, to helping visitors meet animals designated for adoption.
“The staff loves caring for animals,” says Division Director Katie Willis, “or we wouldn’t be here. We have, of course, seen a lot of dogs and cats over the years, but, every once in a while, we get an animal brought in that’s a bit of a surprise – like a sugar glider or a tarantula. That will break up your day!”
The PAC has dogs, cats and other animals of all ages, sizes, colors and activity levels. The $60 adoption fee for dogs and cats includes a health examination, initial vaccinations, spay or neuter, microchipping, and other services that are not always included when adopting elsewhere. For hours and to view pets available for adoption, visit the PAC’s website or stop by the facility.

5. Amazing Crowd Makes County PD's Trunk or Treat a Success

Police Trunk or Treat

Officer Steve Keeven and Officer Eric Macalady (center) help give out candy to Trunk or Treat attendees.

The Invisible Man, Barbie and The Incredibles will be excited to know that plans already are being made for the St. Charles County Police Department (SCCPD)'s second annual Trunk or Treat. Despite the cold weather on Halloween, those characters were among the 2,500 guests for this year’s inaugural event, aimed at giving families a fun and safe alternative to house-to-house trick-or-treating.

“As with most first-time events, we had no idea how many would attend,” says SCCPD Public Information Officer Val Joyner, who coordinated the event. “But I can tell you we never, in our wildest dreams, expected the number we had. It was amazing!”

The bad weather meant the department quickly went to Plan B and had the event – all but three food trucks – inside. Instead of decorating car trunks, organizations and businesses decorated tables for trick-or-treating. The department showed movies and had games in the lobby and briefing room. Police Academy cadets and staff members greeted those waiting in line with candy, and children and their families met SCCPD Community Education officers, Crime Scene Investigators, Patrol Commanders, Cyber Crime detectives and, of course, Chief of Police David Todd. There were a lot of pictures taken, and a lot of candy!

“This event was powered by the community,” says Police Chief David Todd. “We get more and more requests to attend events like this one, and we don’t have the resources to participate in all of them. The response to this event was a great demonstration of how incredible St. Charles County is and why it’s a great place for families.”

On SCCMO-TV in November...

Click on the images below, visit the SCCMO-TV YouTube, or download our Roku Channel (search for SCCMO-TV) to watch recent County Council meetings, hear the latest local news and helpful information on County News Updates, see what's happening in County Parks, and more. Also, check out Job Source for career opportunities in the area.

To view agendas and minutes from Council meetings, visit

County News Update
County Council Meetings
Job Opportunities

County Executive Steve Ehlmann

A Look Back with the County Executive

St. Charles County was no different than every other part of America during World War II. The draft and concerns over air raids after Pearl Harbor weighed on the minds of every family. Citizens also pulled together during this difficult time to support the troops and work to keep farms and companies in business. This month in the first of a two-part series, we’ll look at the impact this war had on our community...MORE                 

Council Comments

Councilman Mike Elam

Mike Elam, District 3

Every Nov. 11, our nation celebrates Veterans Day. It is a chance to pause and recognize all who put on a uniform and served our nation. As a veteran, I was honored to emcee the Veterans Day Ceremony and opening of the Veterans Memorial Garden at Veterans Tribute Park in Weldon Spring on Nov. 10. I am proud that this special place of reflection, education and remembrance is in my district and encourage you and your family to visit the park and memorial during this month of “Thanksgiving” to give thanks to those who served...MORE


Calendar, Reminders and Directory

  • County Government offices will be closed Thursday, Nov. 28, and Friday, Nov. 29, for Thanksgiving.

  • Tax bills for 2019 are available online and expected to be mailed near Thanksgiving by the Collector of Revenue. Please consider helping local agencies that serve homeless and indigent citizens by donating $1, $5 or $10 on your tax bill to Project CARE. Thank you!

  • For more information on County events or meetings, visit our website.

  • To schedule a speaker for your group, visit our Request a Speaker page.

  • Sign up to receive emergency notifications and more through SCCMO AlertMe.

  • View the St. Charles County Government Directory for a listing of departments and contact information.

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