Possible Booze Ban

By Ben Wolf
Wednesday August 6, 2006

Pick a brand of beer. There's a good chance you'll find one of its broken bottles at the Lowndes County Civic Center.

Alcohol abuse, fighting, vandalism, and littering at the center have set the stage for a commissioner’s vote to ban alcohol sales.

"I feel like you can have good parties without alcohol and everyone goes home feeling better," said Myrna Raney.

"I wouldn't even go up there. There's no point to it. It's not a party if there's no alcohol in it," said Nick Flaherty.

During events, fire marshals and sheriff's deputies provide crowd control. The sheriff's department says while alcohol does cause problems, more security must be requested for better crowd control.

The county commissioner’s office, however, says it has had enough problems with the booze. Still, some members of the community say this move is too drastic.

"I don't think it should be banned totally. I think it needs to be regulated more. Obviously there's been problems with it in the past and I think it has to be regulated so as police, people clean up after themselves," said John Schmidt.

Others say if the ban exists it's potentially bad for the county.

"It's their loss. I guess a lot of people rent it out to drink and have parties there. It's probably a good facility. They're losing money," said John Haunso.

A representative from the county says the venue is not a bar, rather a civic center.

Civic center events include everything from weddings to livestock shows to even ultimate fighting matches. Commissioners will vote on the alcohol ban next Tuesday.