Underage bar ban

Tuesday, May 4, 2004

A Storm Lake woman takes her concerns to the city council, proposing a new ordinance...

Should Storm Lake enact an ordinance to keep underage people out of the bars in the city?

Susan Rice thinks so and after visiting one of the city's bars thinks such an ordinance could prevent a tragedy on the city's streets.

Speaking before the Storm Lake City Council Monday night, Rice said she came forward to ask the city to do something about underage drinking in the city's saloons, in particular, Malarky's Pub.

"An acquaintance was threatened with getting shot after they tried to break up a fight at Malarky's," Rice said.

Rice told the council that she would like to see Malarky's return to its one night a week alcohol free evening or Teen Night, or she asked the council, would it be possible for the city to institute an ordinance banning underage people from places that serve alcohol.

"Malarky's staff told me that they weren't doing Teen Night anymore because, basically, 'a buck's a buck," Rice told the council. "It seems it is more profitable to sell alcohol."

Rice also told the council that "it doesn't matter how many times St. Mary's or the high school has a demonstration of what happens when teens drink on prom night, the same thing could happen any night when Malarky's closes."

Although bar staff try to I.D. everyone, stamping those too young to drink but who can now be in the bars legally, Rice feels it is impossible to completely police a busy scene with lots of drinking going on.

"They know, like everybody else, that the kids just go into the bathroom and wash it off," Rice said.

"Why don't they get a different ink or stamp the 21 and over people?"

City Councilman Denny Vaudt spoke to the question of an underage ordinance, saying he didn't know how it would work since even the city is in the business of selling alcohol at the country club when underage people are present.

"What would we do when there is a wedding at the country club or the Knights of Columbus?" he asked. "I don't mean this isn't a serious subject, but we need to talk about it and discuss it as a council."

Vaudt when on to say he thought the council should have a working group in which they brought together all of the liquor license holders in the city to try and work something out regarding underage presence in places where alcohol is served.

In other business the city approved:

* A date of May 17, 2004, for the public hearing of the Storm Lake budget amendment

* the planned work for the 2004 airport apron improvement project with a preliminary cost including engineering services and contingencies is $164,851

* resolution for phase 2 and 3 of the airport runway rehabilitation project. The project is projected to cost $328,841 of which $38,550 was budgeted from the Local Option Sales Tax of the 2004-05 budget.

Assuming no change orders for this project the city's portion of the project will be 5 percent or $16,442. The city has secured and will soon bring for approval a contract outlining the conditions of a grant for 95 percent federal funding of this project

* a resolution authorizing the sale of food products, the closure of certain parking slots, the placement of a dumpster on a business district sidewalk and related noise variances to be issued in conjunction with the 'Taste of Storm Lake' events for 2004, beginning June 12 and running until Oct. 30 on Saturday's and Thursday evenings

* a stop sign at the intersection of West 7th Street and Vestal Street for westbound traffic. This was approved on third reading after the second reading was waived.

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