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Paynesville Press - May 30, 2001

Sunday liquor will be put to a vote again

By Linda Stelling

In July, voters will get another chance to allow on-sale liquor to be served on Sundays in the city of Paynesville.

The question was put before voters last November and failed by a margin of 26 votes 508 for to 534 against. The November vote was the first time the question had been put before city voters.

Doris Wendlandt, owner of Queen Bee Bar and Grill, submitted a 220- name petition to the city council calling for a vote by the city, which the council discussed at their meeting on Wednesday. Her petition was not valid because each page did not have a description of the petition. Wendlandt indicated she would circulate another petition if needed but asked the council to consider a resolution.

The council voted 3-2 on whether to approve a resolution for a special election. Harlan Beek and Jean Soine voted in favor of the resolution calling for a special election, and Dennis Zimmerman and Dave Peschong voted against. Mayor Jeff Thompson broke the tie by voting to hold the election by resolution.

Peschong said since the first petition wasn't done in a proper manner, he would like to see the petition process followed through. "It was done once by resolution and defeated. Let's try another route," he said.

Beek felt a special election would be called no matter which route was taken, so he proposed calling for the election by resolution.

Mayor Thompson looked at the issue with mixed emotions. "There are a lot of places that don't have Sunday liquor for religious reasons. However, we need to look beyond that as many individuals do not observe Sunday," Thompson said.

According to state law, the city can vote on Sunday liquor every six months.

The cost of a special election is about $1,200. If the city did not set a special election, the next general election date would be in the fall of 2002.

After the meeting, Wendlandt said the close vote of the first election showed a large interest in the issue. She feels customers want the opportunity to purchase both food and alcohol. If the vote passes, Wendlandt will expand her business to be open on Sundays.

Lucy Hoppe, American Legion manager, said the Legion would only sell liquor on Sundays for special occasions like wedding anniversary parties. The Legion would not be open on a regular basis. udents qualified to compete at the state DECA competition from March 4-6 in Minneapolis.

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