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Booming beer sales away from Whiteclay no surprise
Congress “kicked the can down the road” with the overnight failure to repeal or replace Obamacare, but Nebraska officials are in no position to point fingers at Washington.
To no one’s surprise, the closing of four beer stores in Whiteclay has been a boon to the beer business in adjoining cities as Pine Ridge Reservation residents drive to places like Gordon, Hay Springs, Chadron and mainly to Rushville.
The Lincoln Journal Star cited Nebraska Liquor Control Commission figures that showed beer sales more than tripled in Rushville, from 3,729 gallons in April to 12,962 gallons in June, with smaller increases in the other towns.
Law enforcement was one of the driving forces in the move to close the Whiteclay stores, where drunkenness, fights and vagrancy were a problem.
The larger communities are better able to police those issues, supporters of the ban contended.
Hobert Rupe, the Liquor Commission’s executive director, said it’s too early to establish a pattern, and there have been fewer complaints like those that occurred in Whiteclay. It will also be interesting to track the number of drunk driving arrests in the area in the coming years.
Whiteclay store owners have a point in that Pine Ridge residents will still get their alcohol, and the owners have a hearing before the Nebraska Supreme Court on Aug. 29. One or more hearings on allegations the stores sold to bootleggers will be conducted in the coming months, according to Rupe.
The ban on alcohol on the reservation turned out about the same way Prohibition did in the entire United States — a disaster.
Someone should pick up the beer can from the road and deal with it once and for all.
Opening up the reservation to alcohol, with all its problems, would provide the resources to deal with those problems instead of pretending prohibition works.