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Paynesville Press - October 25, 2006

On-sale Sunday liquor back
on the city ballot this November

By Michael Jacobson

Allowing on-sale liquor sales in the city of Paynesville will be back on the ballot at the general election on Tuesday, Nov. 7.

Only by city referendum can on-sale liquor - that is, liquor sold and drunk on site, at a bar or restaurant - be legalized.

The Paynesville City Council approved putting the measure to a referendum again at their meeting in March following a request by Doris and Tom Wendlandt, owners of Queen Bee's Bar and Grill in downtown Paynesville.

On-sale liquor on Sundays has been denied by city residents at referendums three times in the past six years. In November 2000, at a general election, it failed 534-508. In July 2001, at a special election, it failed by votes of 262-184. And in February 2004, again at a special election, it failed again 181-160.

Proponents of allowing on-sale liquor sales on Sunday argue that the prohibition keeps city businesses from operating on Sundays and that other local municipalities allow on-sale liquor on Sundays already.

In Paynesville Township, for instance, on-sale liquor sales have been allowed since township residents approved the measure 95-84 in March 1973. (The same measure had failed in the township in March 1972 by a vote of 166-151.)

Opponents of allowing on-sale liquor sales on Sunday, apparently feeling that alcoholic beverages are sufficiently available without having bars open on Sundays, have prevailed and defeated the measure in three straight votes.

The council agreed to put the question to a referendum again without requiring the Wendlandts to collect signatures on a petition, since 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.)

This year, the general election will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 7. Polls for the city of Paynesville are held at the Paynesville Area Center (located at 1105 Main Street West, behind the municipal liquor store) and are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on election day.

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