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County Council addresses Kratom, other issues

The St. Charles County Council on June 10 once again tabled a decision on whether or not to add Kratom and related substances to an existing ordinance banning the sale or use of illegal smoking products containing synthetic cannabinoids. The council, having grappled with this issue for a month, postponed a decision on the matter until June 24.

At the request of County Executive Steve Ehlmann, the council previously considered at length the possibility of banning the sale of Kratom, a supplement primarily used as a pain reliever, within the boundaries of St. Charles County. The proposal brought many citizens to the meeting on May 28, most of whom opposed the ban. After hearing testimony from experts and advocates of both positions, the council tabled the issue until June 10.

Toward the close of the June 10 meeting, the council as promised took up the matter again but without consensus. Council member Mike Elam [District 3] proposed tabling the matter once more, though his reasoning suggested a resolution was near. Elam said St. Louis County and neighboring Jefferson County were interested in partnering with St. Charles County on a regional approach to the issue. Everyone seemed to agree that a combined effort was better than simply going alone, and the board tabled the issue until its June 24 meeting.

In other actions, the council addressed problems regarding staffing county government and paying employees accordingly. The personnel department spelled out its organizational needs, and also noted the difficulty of getting and keeping capable people, in light of a strong economy with abundant job openings. Council member Joe Cronin [District 1] said he took note of these facts but pointed out that future county revenue and expenditure projections portend trouble ahead in the near future. He advised the need to consider this in all county budget questions.

The council also issued a formal congratulatory commendation on June 10 to the County Crime Laboratory, for its invaluable assistance in helping to crack the Angie Housman murder case. The lab technicians gave a brief synopsis of their efforts and received an ovation from the gathering along with their commendation.

Regarding current flooding, the Sheriff’s Department updated the council on problems primarily in the northeastern section of the county where West Alton, Portage Des Sioux and Orchard Farm remain largely under water.

The department noted an upsurge in calls for burglaries and trespassing, as the waters rose. Those difficulties were exacerbated by the arrival of river pirates on the waters, who work to steal what they can easily take. The department said it had restored order effectively, with assistance from the Missouri Highway Patrol’s water division, which is now patrolling the rivers, turning away sightseers and gawkers, and generally keeping the peace.

The department reported that the troubles would continue as the waters recede and the massive job of cleaning up begins.

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