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posted: 7/16/2013 5:30 AM

St. Charles activates liquor commission, eases mosquito fears

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On a night when St. Charles officials activated a new commission tasked with solving the city's liquor problems, one of the city's newest employers also found himself defending his business plan.

Aldermen on Monday night officially appointed four members to join Mayor Ray Rogina on the city's new Liquor Control Commission.

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The commission's main job will be to review liquor license applications and make disciplinary recommendations to the city council when license violations occur. Aldermen Rita Payleitner and Maureen Lewis will serve on the council. Citizen members Charles Amenta and Robert Gehm will round out the commission.

Rogina said he recommended Amenta and Gehm because they are two of the more vocal residents in his own Third Ward. They were also vetted by the city council during the search for a replacement alderman in the Third Ward when Rogina became mayor.

"These men were very impressive before council committees," Rogina said.

Also looking to reinforce a good impression was the president and CEO of Clarke, J. Lyell Clarke III. Clarke is a global mosquito control company that just inked an incentive deal with city officials to move its corporate headquarters and research and development facility to St. Charles. The deal is worth up to $275,000 over five years.

When residents learned a research facility was coming to town, city phone lines and email boxes saw an influx of questions and fears. Residents wanted to know exactly what kinds of scientific research would occur at the new facility.

"No mosquitoes will be released," Clarke told aldermen Monday. "There will be no outside field trials of any kind at this facility. This is strictly laboratory work."

Clarke said the lab will resemble a school science room or a hospital lab. Any chemicals used in the research will be disposed of in steel drums placed into larger plastic drums and then transported off-site to a qualified chemical disposal company, Clarke said. The company breeds mosquitoes at the facility, but they will all be kept in a fully contained environment.

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