Volume 106, Number 13 - March 26, 2009
brought to you online by Pinedale Online
Town Council hears liquor complaints
A recent string of alcohol charges brought against employees at five Pinedale businesses almost impeded the request for all liquor license renewals at Pinedale’s Town Council meeting Monday evening.
“The Sheriff’s office has started cracking down on sales to underage (kids),” said resident Kathy Anderson. “And as a result of that, there were six citations issued.”
Of the six citations issued in the past month or so, five were written at businesses here in Pinedale, to employees at the Corral Bar, Country Lane Liquor, Cowboy Bar, Rock Rabbit and Stockman’s.
All businesses that hold town liquor licenses must renew them every year on April 1, which is why Anderson voiced her concerns at Monday’s meeting.
“As far as I can tell, there is no fallout to liquor license holders,” said Anderson. “I think that before their license is renewed, (the businesses where citations were issued) should be required to take part in TIPS training.
“I think it would behoove us, as a community, to say that we’re not going to tolerate this type of thing, and these are areas they have to improve.”
The TIPS program is a free Wyoming course that trains employees in proper serving techniques, and is touted as “one of the best ways to prevent alcohol-related problems from happening,” according to the Web site.
Currently, Pinedale does not have a trained TIPS educator, which means that anyone interested must travel out of town to attend the class. There is a resident, however, that is taking the necessary training to become a TIPS educator, which would allow the classes to be offered locally.
Councilwoman Nylla Kunard, who was acting mayor in Stephen Smith’s absence, wondered what language could be used to make such a requirement.
“Before we’d issue the liquor license, they would have to attend a TIPS meeting on the ones that had citations?” she asked town attorney Ed Wood as a potential requirement.
For Wood, the lack of frequency was an issue to be considered.
“One incident is one incident,” he said. “It’s not a series of behavior, or a course of behavior.”
Mike Gilmore, who owns Country Lane Liquor, was also on hand and echoed Wood’s assessment.
“I’ve been the owner for over six years, and this is our first offense,” said Gilmore, who subsequently fired the employee cited. “(Firing is) the only way to deal with it. Everybody should know that’s the only way we do things at our store…but my license is up April 1st. I need to have the renewal.”
“My feeling is, we don’t really have grounds for denying,” said councilman Dave Hohl. “We do have reason for maybe encouraging to the best of our ability the businesses to get this training.
“But I suggest we take up the discussion of the TIPS program for another time, and I move we approve the renewal of liquor licenses.”
With that, the three present council members voted to approve the renewal of liquor licenses for all Pinedale businesses, as well as issuing a new one to Moose Creek Catering, located at 1220 Wilson Street.
— A few area residents voiced their concern over Mayor Smith’s use of the town credit card during his trip to the presidential inauguration, as well as the use of the town vehicle.
“Can you tell me where the town vehicle was during the third week of January ’09, during the inauguration?” asked Gary Heuck, opening up Citizens’ Concerns.
“I believe it was in Denver, at the airport,” replied town clerk Patti Racich.
The mayor took the inauguration trip as part of a last-minute offer from Senator Mike Enzi. At the time, the mayor was in Cheyenne and called Wood to ask about the legality of taking the vehicle.
“The mayor asked my opinion when he was in Cheyenne on town business, whether it would be appropriate to travel in the town vehicle and back, if he compensated town in full for that,” said Wood. “I said, ‘Well, let’s use a little common sense. Rather than you drive from Cheyenne to Pinedale, and from Pinedale to Denver, let’s use common sense… I see no problem with it.’”
The residents also questioned the legality of the executive session that was called at the March 9 council meeting, when councilman Dave Smith made a motion for an executive session to discuss “town finance.”
“A motion was made and it was in error, so therefore, those records are public records,” said Heuck.
“No, not in my opinion,” replied Wood, who cited the intent of the executive session instead of the incorrect wording used. “I let it slip by because I was anticipating what the purpose was for, and it’s on my shoulders. I made the mistake.”
The contingent of residents was not satisfied and wanted access to the minutes.
“If you’re going to use taxpayers’ money, I think it ought to be in the open,” concluded Heuck. “The taxpayer wants to know what you guys are doing with his money, and this is one way we’re going to find out.”
Kunard told the residents to wait until the next meeting, when the mayor and the rest of the council were all present, and then the issue can be discussed in greater detail.
— Resolution 2009-03 was presented to the council by Wood to address the reimbursement options for residents in southwestern Pinedale who had frozen pipes this winter.
The council opted to forego a decision until all members could be present, so they could decide both the maximum amount to be paid to a qualifying resident and the percentage of the total bill that would be paid.
— Every Sunday, from Memorial Day to mid-October, a half-block section of North Tyler St. may be closed off from vehicles to provide a new location for the Pinedale Farmers Market.
Maggie Palmer presented members of the council with plans for the location, which would be open from 11a.m. until 2 p.m. every Sunday.
The council is going to wait until organizers secure proper insurance before taking action, though all present voiced their support.
— The Airport Board voted to terminate the hangar lease of IXP Inc. after the company failed to make lease payments since last summer.
— A new laptop is now available and located in Town Hall for any residents wanting access to Pinedale maps and zoning materials.
— A Woodstove Change-Out Program is being funded by the Jonah Interagency Office (JIO) for residents who wish to exchange their old stove with a more energy-efficient model.
Every approved application will receive $3,500 for the removal of the old stove, as well as the purchase and installation of the new stove.
— Carmel Kail is hoping to secure $10,000 in grant money from the JIO in order to offer 100 trees to Pinedale residents at a reduced price. She is also seeking $5,000 from the town of Pinedale to facilitate the grant’s approval.
The 6-ft trees would have to be planted within 20 feet of town property so that all residents could benefit.
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