(Neb)-Sheridan County Board Meetings Today On Whiteclay Licenses Listen
RUSHVILLE - The Sheridan County Commissioners meet this morning at 10:00 in Rushville to discuss the liquor licenses held by the four stores in Whiteclay that sell beer - the Arrowhead Inn, State Line Liquor, D&S Pioneer Service, and Jumping Eagle Inn.
The board held 50-minute hearings on all 4 last Thursday, then took the issue under advisement with each of the 3 commissioners reviewing testimony over the weekend.
The Nebraska Liquor Control Commission last fall ordered that instead of simple renewals, the stores would have to reapply for their liquor licenses because of concerns raised on the question of whether there's adequate law enforcement in Whiteclay.
County Commissioner James Krotz says it's important to remember that the final decision on licenses rests with the Liquor Commission.
Last week's hearings attracted between 40 and 60 people for each one with 35 different people testifying, 19 against the licenses and 16 in favor.
The four Whiteclay stores sold the equivalent of 3.5-million cans of beer last year, nearly all to residents of the adjacent and officially dry Pine Ridge Indian Reservation and license opponents generally focused their testimony on that issue.
Most cited the health and other alcohol-related problems they said were being caused on the reservation by beer sold in Whiteclay, with some injecting racial issues into the dispute. Others pointed to safety issues caused by the sales and public intoxication as well as the cost to Sheridan County taxpayers...including trials and jail sentences...of crime related to Whiteclay beer sales.
Supporters generally said that the real problem was alcohol addiction and that closing the stores would simply lead alcohol buyers "down the road" to stores in Rushville and other towns, increasing the danger of drunk drivers on 2-lane Highway 87.
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