Archive for Thursday, August 25, 2005

Clergymen oppose expanded liquor sales

August 25, 2005

While some in the wake of new state liquor legislation have welcomed the possibility of a package store or Sunday beer sales in Eudora, others are speaking out against it.

Three such people came before the Eudora City Council Monday on a night when Casey's convenience store representatives sent a letter requesting information on the steps they would have to take to sell beer on Sundays.

The Rev. Waylon Ingle of the Eudora First Southern Baptist Church, the Rev. Glenn Weld of Eudora Assembly of God and the Rev. Charles Neifert of Hesper Friends Church gathered to officially give their thoughts to the council.

"The way I understand is that our city is about to be opened up to packaged liquor and Sunday sales," Ingle said. "I would like to say that I believe while some believe alcohol will be a benefit to our community, I think just a couple minutes on your computer or on any Web site (and) you can pick up a lot of numbers that can enlighten you on the cost of alcohol on our community."

Weld proceeded to quote statistics after quantifying the damage alcohol could cause to society. The ministers told the council its use could lead to mental illness, depression, suicide and domestic abuse.

Ingle then spoke from his own experience.

"I remember some years ago in my rather colorful background, I was a policeman for three or four years," Ingle said. "It was my experience in nearly every domestic situation there was alcohol involved."

Ingle said alcohol played a role in many of the auto accidents he worked.

"It really opened my eyes as a police officer to see that," Ingle said.

After Ingle's words, Weld stood at the podium and quoted another list of statistics gathered from Mothers Against Drunk Driving and the Martin Institute.

"I believe if we allow additional sales in our community these stats will only go up," Weld said.

He summed up his and Ingle's position to the council.

"We just feel like if we do not allow any additional sales of alcohol in our community, that's something we can do," Weld said.

He then asked Eudora Mayor Tom Pyle and the other gathered council members to give their opinion on the liquor issue.

Before they responded, Weld brought up one more example to the council. Producing a recent newspaper article on what colleges are doing to crack down on underage drinking, Weld challenged the city to take similar steps.

"This issue is an opportunity that you and I have to address, to do something about it," Weld said. "I would just like to see our community say we don't want to promote alcohol in our community anymore."

The council, however, stood by the current legislation.

"It's not up to the city to vote on this. The Legislature has already passed it into law," Pyle said.

Citizens would have to write a petition to bring the change to a vote, Pyle said. If nothing happens, the new liquor legislation would go into effect.

"Right now the ball is not in our court," Pyle said.

City Attorney Jerry Cooley recommended the ministers study the legislation.

That was a similar response the city officials gave Casey's concerning Sunday beer sales.

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