By Ralph Echtinaw
Santa Claus has been given his walking papers, as St. Louis city councilmen cancelled the Dec. 3 Christmas parade Tuesday.
City manager Kurt Giles recommended cancelling the parade over “everything that’s occurred in the last few days,” referring to reports of increased China virus cases in Mid Michigan and Sunday’s emergency orders from the Whitmer administration.
Councilmen concurred with very little discussion.
“I think it’s a wise choice,” said George Kubin.
“I do, too,” said Mayor James Kelly.
Councilman Bill Leonard made the motion to cancel the parade. Tom Reed seconded the motion, which was approved unanimously.
Clapp Park surveillance
Police Chief Richard J. Ramereiz Jr. gave an update on his research into the cost of putting a second surveillance camera in Clapp Park in the wake of increased vandalism there.
Ramereiz has been in touch with the Rehmann Group, which assisted the city in installing the lone surveillance camera that is already in Clapp Park.
The cost of adding a second camera would be $4,272 plus a $9 monthly fee. However, that doesn’t include the cost of laying cable for the camera, which would have to be done by another company and has yet to be determined.
Ramereiz said he reached out to the St. Louis Schools’ information technology person but has not received a response. He said Superintendent Jennifer McKittrick said that sort of thing is “not in her wheel house.”
DPW Superintendent Mark Abbott reported in October that Clapp Park vandalism was getting worse. “Youth have kicked spindles out of the gazebo and been seen standing and sitting on the railing, hanging from the rafters, etc,” he wrote in his monthly report. “Gum has been stuck to the wall of the pavilion and picnic tables carved up and graffiti in various places, as well as quantities of garbage being thrown on the ground even though cans are readily available. I recently took photos of approximately eight youth standing and jumping up and down on the merry-go-round.”
The lone Clapp Park camera was installed in 2015 for a cost of $8,000. The camera doesn’t cover the whole park, and it’s almost impossible to identify anyone in the park at night.