County Board recommends beer license approval in Whiteclay

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RUSHVILLE, Neb. (KNEP) - Sheridan County commissioners give the green light to continued beer sales in Whiteclay.

After taking public comment on the four beer-only licenses last week, the 3-member panel discussed the new license applications during Tuesday's meeting.

Last Thursday the commissioners heard four hours of testimonies.

“Having carefully considered that testimony, I’ve concluded that there have been no material changes in the circumstances under which those licenses were granted by the Nebraska Liquor Control Commission,” said Commissioner James Krotz.

Those against the licenses discussed deficiencies in law enforcement, but Commissioner Krotz disagrees.

“It’s my opinion that the Sheridan County Sheriff’s Department does provide adequate law enforcement,” Krotz said.

“Whether I believe there is adequate law enforcement or whether anybody that offered testimony believes there’s adequate law enforcement, first we need to define what is adequate," said Commissioner Jack Andersen.

Commissioner Loren Paul says alcoholism and supply are two separate issues.

“I think alcoholism, there’s no doubt it’s a disease, I think we cannot approach it and look for a single rifle bullet one thing is gonna make it better,” said Paul.

Paul says it would not be fair to deny livelihood for the liquor store owners.

“I don’t think you can be the most effective by denying people to pursue a livelihood in a legal business no more than I can deny who sells John Deere tractors or Ford tractors or Ford cars, we can’t do that, not in America,” said Paul.

State officials forced the owners of D & S Service, Stateline, Jumping Eagle Inn and Arrowhead Inn to submit long-form applications, the same process as required for new license applicants.

The county board's recommendation for approval of each license will be forwarded to the state Liquor Control Commission, which will have the final say on whether the businesses will be allowed to continue selling beer in Whiteclay.

In a statement released after the board's decision, John Maisch, one of those who testified last week against the license applications, said the recommendation was "based on fear, not facts." The former Oklahoma Alcoholic Beverages Law Enforcement Commission Prosecutor said application supporters made speculative arguments in favor, while opponents presented empirical and anecdotal evidence, first-hand accounts, and county-by-county spending comparisons. Maisch says that "Fortunately, a local governing body’s recommendation is only one of ten factors that the Nebraska Liquor Control Commission is required to consider."