Council approves Kum & Go liquor licenses

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After meeting with regional Kum & Go officials face-to-face, as well as 12 local employees, the Craig City Council unanimously approved renewing 3.2 percent beer retail liquor licenses for the company's three Craig stores.

Councilors also complimented Marcia DeWall, Kum & Go district supervisor for Colorado and Wyoming, for a new system her stores will introduce to the community to help keep alcohol out of minors' hands.

The stores will spend about $3,000 on three new driver's license scanners, which DeWall said can tell fake licenses from real ones and let a cashier know instantly whether a license is for someone of age or not.

"We don't want to sell alcohol to minors," DeWall said. "We also don't want to sell tobacco. I'm excited about using this tool. Underage drinking is horrible, and we have to do something about it."

Councilor Gene Bilodeau said he was happy the Kum & Go's would be implementing a system that makes it easy for employees to tell an adult from a minor.

He added it would be nice to see other businesses in town follow the company's lead and take on the same system.

"It's a small price to pay, I think," he said.

DeWall also apologized for not appearing at the initial renewal date Oct. 14. During a council meeting that night, the city board voted down renewing the stores' liquor licenses because two stores were previously cited for selling alcohol to minors, and no one representing the stores appeared to discuss what they would be doing differently.

DeWall said she never intended to miss a scheduled meeting with the city. What it came to was no one with Kum & Go was ever notified of the council meeting date.

"I hope you know : I wouldn't miss a meeting if I knew it was on the agenda," she said.

Councilor Bill Johnston, in wanting to clear up any confusion, told DeWall the city does not notify any businesses.

City Clerk Shirley Seely said businesses are notified of their date with the council when they submit the renewal application.

However, no one from local Kum & Go stores files renewal applications, DeWall said. They are sent from the company's corporate offices, which may cause a glitch in the normal system that applies to local businesses.

Kum & Go has operated this way for some time. Until the council Oct. 14 meeting, it was common that no one from businesses applying for a renewal would appear at council meetings and the renewal was approved, dependent on Craig Police Department recommendations.

The Police Department showed no cause for denial regarding Kum & Go's applications either Tuesday or Oct. 14.

There was some confusion and disagreement about what other methods the city uses to notify liquor retailers about an upcoming council appearance, but Councilor Terry Carwile said they were essentially moot.

"This is a corporate communication issue," Carwile said, and emphasized that whoever at corporate offices oversees liquor licenses needs to keep better contact with local Kum & Go officials.

DeWall did not disagree. She said she was there to show the council that her stores are committed to working with the city to stop underage drinking.

She added she may require her staff to come to council every year for liquor license renewals because she thought they learned how serious the issue is.

The council will not take underage drinking lightly, Johnston said, and people will learn that sooner or later.

"We are serious," he said.

Collin Smith can be reached at 875-1794 or cesmith@craigdailypress.com

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