Saturday, Feb. 14

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County deliberates on
increasing drinking hours
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[FEB. 14, 2004]  County representatives are spinning the hands on the clock to determine if the time should be rolled back for when alcohol sales may begin on Sundays. Currently, county ordinance stipulates that business hours for serving liquor on Sundays are from 1 p.m. Sunday to 1 a.m. Monday.

The issue is under consideration because one drinking establishment, the Lawndale Tap, has requested that the hours be expanded to begin at 11 a.m. and continue until 1 a.m. Their request was made for just one Sunday, for a special NASCAR race. They say their patrons would like to be able to order an alcoholic beverage while watching the races.

However, due to procedures, it is not even possible to issue the permit in time before the event.

Terry Werth, who serves on the liquor committee, said that you really can't offer a permit like that to just one business for one time either.

It does raise the question of allowing establishments that fall into the category of serving alcohol to all be allowed to begin serving at 11 a.m. rather than 1 p.m. so that patrons who are there to watch sports and would like to order an alcoholic beverage may.

In June 2002 Lincoln alderman voted to roll back their hours based on that same request, that patrons coming into businesses to watch sporting events on the big screen be able to order alcohol if they wished. ["Earlier Sunday drinking issue brings controversy to the council"]

The request to the county elicited a variety of responses from board members.

It was stated that Lincoln's hours were changed, and Lincoln represents the largest city in the county and is half the population of the county.

Vickie Hasprey said that they did it at Logan Lanes last year, and it hasn't been a problem. They have a number of patrons come in to watch sports on Sunday mornings, and just the same a few order alcohol and they never abuse it at that hour. They have families there at that hour too. It makes no difference, but that it makes it available to those who would enjoy it.

 

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John Stewart from Mount Pulaski suggested that this might discriminate between one business that sits inside a city limits and another that is outside the city limits. Customers might choose to go to the businesses that are allowed to serve earlier under the less restrictive county law.

Dick Logan said that even though he uses alcohol himself, he thinks there should be some respect given and that it conflicts with Sunday church hours.

A straw vote showed six against, five in favor and one abstaining (due to conflict of interest) on changing the time to 11 a.m. to begin serving alcohol on Sundays.

The only way the request could be approved would be to modify the county ordinance. If the measure were to gain approval, it would take several months, as it would need to go through several processes. It would need to get on the agenda, a notice to the public would need to be posted, and then it could be discussed and voted on.

By the time it is passed, it will be well past the opening of the NASCAR season and no longer pertinent to the specific request that has been made. [NASCAR schedule]

However, the matter will be opened for discussion on Tuesday night. The board would like to hear from you. Call any member or your district representative. [Board members]

If you would like to express your opinion, you may write to ldneditor@lincolndailynews.com.

[Jan Youngquist]

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