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Paynesville Press - March 1, 2006

Sunday liquor back on the ballot in November

By Michael Jacobson

Allowing on-sale liquor sales in the city of Paynesville will be back on the ballot at the general election in November. The Paynesville City Council approved putting the measure to a referendum again at their meeting last week.

Doris and Tom Wendlandt, owners of Queen Bee's Bar and Grill in Paynesville, brought the matter to the council again. They asked the council to put the measure on the ballot in November.

The council agreed to put the question to a referendum again without requiring the Wendlandts to collect signatures on a petition. Council members agreed that the Wendlandts have shown the ability to gather the signatures necessary to force a referendum on the issue and the general election seemed like a good time to get input from city residents on the issue.

The referendum will decide whether on-sale liquor - alcoholic drinks to be consumed at a bar or restaurant - will be allowed in the city of Paynesville. On-sale liquor sales in the city are currently prohibited. (Off-sale liquor sales - such as at the municipal liquor store - are prohibited on Sundays by state law.)

The Wendlandts have argued that this prohibition keeps them from operating their business on Sundays and that other local municipalities allow on-sale liquor on Sundays.

An addition is planned at Queen Bee's Bar and Grill, and they would like to put the issue of Sunday liquor before the voters again in November, Doris Wendlandt told the council last week.

On-sale liquor on Sundays has been denied three times by city residents in the past six years.

In November 2000, at a general election, it failed 534-508. In July 2001 and in February 2004, at special elections, it failed by votes of 262-184 and 181-160 respectively.

This year, the general election will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 7.

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