County bars pass check on compliance

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 22, 2000

The newest decoration in 19 restaurants and bars in Mower County will not be a neon beer sign.

Wednesday, November 22, 2000

The newest decoration in 19 restaurants and bars in Mower County will not be a neon beer sign.

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Instead, it will be a gold-plated plaque, announcing "We Value Youth."

The 19 businesses, serving alcoholic beverages, all passed the third annual compliance check. They were tested last June by teen-agers attempting to purchase alcoholic beverages and all were compliant with Minnesota’s "no-serving-liquor-to-minors" law.

The businesses were Windrift Lounge and the Old Mill, Austin; Mapleview Lounge, Mapleview; The Keg, Brownsdale; Woody’s, Rose Creek; American Legion Post No. 146, PJ’s Bar and Grill, Adams; Chief Taopi Bar, Taopi; Tubby’s, Hotel LeRoy/Sweets Bar and Grill, Municipal Liquor Store, LeRoy; Woody’s Liquor, Grumpy’s Grand Meadow; 7th Rib, Racine; Holland Lounge, Oasis Bar, Dexter; The Port, Elkton; Cheer’s Bar, Waltham; Sound End Bar and Grill, Lyle.

Because of a police officer staffing shortage in the Austin Police Department, bars and restaurants in Austin were not checked.

The Mower County Chemical Health Coalition and Mower County Sheriff’s Department teamed to create the "We Value Youth" recognition for the complying businesses. The plaques will be delivered in the next couple of weeks by representatives of the Austin High School CHOICE group, Ellis Middle School’s We Oppose and Resist Drugs (WORD) group and Grand Meadow Public Schools’ Chemicals Hurt Individuals Every Few Seconds (CHIEFS) group.

Mower County Sheriff Barry J. Simonson praised the Health Coalition in ceremonies held Tuesday morning at the Austin-Mower County Law Enforcement Center.

"Every place we checked passed," said Simonson, who called the members of the Health Coalition the "driving force" behind the compliance checks.

While the compliance checks have been done for three years, there were places that failed – only a few, according to the sheriff – in 1998 and 1999, making this year’s perfect mark even more satisfying.

Jennifer Ronne and Brittany Stejskal of the Grand Meadow CHIEFS organization, Amanda Amick and Alex Clasen represented the EMS WORD organization and Megan Edstrom and Krystal Jochumsen represented the AHS CHOICE organization.

Amick said it was important for the Health Coalition’s members to promote smart decision-making among their peers "or they won’t know what will happen to them if the drink alcohol and take drugs." Clasen agreed, adding that it’s important for leaders in teen groups to also be role models.

According to Grand Meadow’s Ronne and Stejskal, a CHIEFS-sponsored Halloween dance was a success in promoting awareness for the group and a mock car crash next May also will help publicize the organization’s efforts.

Law was impressed with the membership, the Health Coalition’s member-organization have attracted. WORD has 130 members at the Austin middle school, AHS’s CHOICE has 20, Grand Meadow’s claims 25 and a similar organization at Southland has 50.

Law said the recognition program "affirms the positive" and that the plaques displayed in drinking establishments will serve as a visible reminder to both servers and patrons of the law "If we believe that as a community we do this as adults and teens together, it will be an even greater deterrent and a more successful project for everyone," said Maryanne Law, executive director of the Parenting Resource Center of Mower County Inc.

When the Austin Police Department’s staffing problems are addressed, Police Chief Paul M. Philipp said the department would be willing to participate in a compliance check of city bars and restaurants serving alcoholic beverages.

"We believe this is worth doing," Philipp said.