Crawford to vote on beer and wine sales

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Posted: Wednesday, April 30, 2014 12:01 am

Voters in Crawford will decide next month whether to allow the sale of beer and wine for off-premise consumption.

Even as surrounding areas decided to sell alcohol after Prohibition ended in 1933, Crawford remained dry. Crawford residents could change that if the measure passes in the May 10 election.

Local business owners and employees have been pushing for the measure to pass. Robbie Mace, a cashier at Crawford Food Store, was among the residents to gather the 125 signatures needed for a petition to get the issue on the ballot.

She said Crawford should allow the sale of beer and wine because it will keep money in the city, generate taxes and increase safety because residents won’t have to drive the approximately seven miles to Valley Mills or McGregor to buy alcohol.

But gathering signatures for the petition was more difficult than she thought it would be.

Mace said there is a generational divide in Crawford — the younger residents want the alcohol measure to pass, and the older generally don’t. But some who want it to pass did not want to sign the petition or show support with a yard sign because they are afraid of what their family, friends or neighbors will think, she said.

“There are some people who have been in Crawford forever, and generation after generation it has been the same, so a lot are stuck in their ways,” Mace said.

To get out the vote, Mace put a sign in the window of the store and bagged items in paper sacks with voting information taped to them.

Across the street from Crawford Food Store, Patti Buble, a nail technician and councilwoman-elect, manicured the nails of Jaime Faichtinger, a cashier at Crawford Coffee Station. Both are proponents of the sale of beer and wine.

Faichtinger said Crawford Coffee Station would sell alcohol if the measure passes.

“It would be wonderful,” Faichtinger said. “We would benefit quite a bit from it.”

Buble said she thinks the tax revenue generated by the sales could be used to give the city a “face-lift,” such as maintaining the local park.

Mayor Brent Meyer said he is neutral on the issue, but agreed that the tax revenue would be helpful to Crawford.

“There are a lot of opinions and mixed emotions, but we’re losing revenue (when residents buy alcohol from surrounding cities), and it would help local businesses,” Meyer said.

Some residents think the bad would outweigh the good of opting to sell alcohol. Talley Barnes, who played dominoes with friends just down the road from the salon, was one such citizen.

Barnes said he doesn’t see the need for Crawford to become wet because McGregor and Valley Mills are both so close. He said alcohol sales would generate tax revenue, but not enough to be of any use. He also raised concerns about littering.

“The tax they bring in will go to a city employee who they’ll have to hire to pick up all the beer cans,” Barnes said. “That’s the only thing it’ll do.”

A block away from the domino hall, Police Chief Clayton Burton weighed in on the issue outside the police station.

Burton said he didn’t foresee the sale of alcohol in Crawford significantly affecting crime in the area. He said residents who want to drink already can obtain alcohol relatively easily.

“I don’t have a problem with it,” Burton said. “I see it as helping Crawford by bringing in more revenue, and that’s what Crawford needs.”

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