Our View: More work to do

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Craig Editorial Board

  • Bryce Jacobson, newspaper representative
  • Jennifer L. Grubbs, newspaper representative
  • Bridget Manley, newspaper representative
  • Allan Reishus, community representative
  • Chris Runyan, community representative
  • Ken Wergin, community representative

— The party's over.

Decisions made by Craig City Council members Oct. 14 indicate they are very serious about putting a stop to alcohol sales to minors.

By a four-to-three majority, the council denied renewing retail liquor licenses to all three Kum & Go locations in Craig, two of which were caught selling alcohol to minors three times in one year.

Yes, these stores served their punishment for their mistakes. But sometimes, repeat offenses call for more than just normal sanctions.

We commend the Council members who supported Kum & Go's license non-renewal because it reflects the seriousness of the violation.

After all, could slap-on-the-wrist policies in the past have contributed to this disregard for the law?

Don't get us wrong. We understand the pressures that bartenders, servers and cashiers face when trying to determine if a purchaser is of age. Customers get antsy when they have to wait; some ID cards are hard to read; things get hectic.

And we understand that employers can't always prevent their employees' mistakes.

But the law's the law. For Pete's sake, slow down when you're looking for a birth date on a driver's license, even if the next table over is clamoring to be served.

Here's another suggestion: If your company wants to keep selling alcohol in Craig, show up to City Council meetings when your liquor license comes up for renewal.

Especially if you've been caught selling alcohol to underage kids in the past.

Liquor licenses for the east and west Kum & Go locations were suspended earlier this year after they were found selling alcohol to an underage purchaser during a compliance check in May.

Although a representative from the west Kum & Go appeared at a June City Council meeting, one from the east location did not.

And when councilors met Oct. 14 to discuss renewal of Kum & Go's license to sell 3.2 percent beer, no one from any of the stores showed up.

We think this is inexcusable.

Even if you don't agree with the process, make an appearance. Defend your actions, if you can, or give suggestions to help make compliance checks better.

Don't pull a disappearing act.

Finally, although we agree that the City Council is doing a good job to ensure alcohol stays out of our youths' hands, we believe there's something else councilors can do to meet that end.

We believe that by making Training for Intervention Procedures, or TIPS, mandatory for all employees either serving or selling alcohol, further underage sales can be prevented.

Right now, City Council can mandate TIPS to businesses found selling alcohol to minors. However, there's no local ordinance making TIPS mandatory for businesses.

Employees at restaurants, liquor stores and other alcohol retail outlets don't have to attend a course to get TIPS certification. But they can now obtain TIPS training online at www.gettips.com/eTIPS.shtml, making it more convenient for business owners and employees alike.

We think it should be mandatory for businesses to take advantage of TIPS, either online or through a class.

Often. Perhaps quarterly.

Going the online route, employees can refresh their training every 90 days or so, logging their time with their employers and possibly even the city or Craig Police Department. We think they should.

We've come a long way toward quashing underage alcohol sales. But we can't be content with how far we've come

There's still more we can do.

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