Workshops for liquor license holders planned

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 18, 2003

Of the 30 Austin liquor establishments that recently underwent compliance checks, 43 percent failed.

In aims to decrease the numbers of failed checks, the city of Austin and the Mower County Chemical Health Coalition are co-sponsoring a day of training for Austin's liquor license holders.

"It was very disappointing to see those results and we hope that through education and training they can get the message," said Mickey Jorgenson, 1st Ward council member.

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The community relations committee met with MCCHC and decided to address the issue by offering the workshops. The committee was set to address this kind of task because it affects the community, Jorgenson said.

The compliance checks, which are funded by the state, are done by the police department once or twice a year.

"We use juveniles under the age of 21, who clearly look under 21, and send them into a bar or liquor store to try to buy alcohol," Police Chief Philipp said.

Those trying to buy the alcohol use their own license, which states that they are underage.

"There is no intentional deception," Philipp said.

If the vendor checks the identification and refuses to sell any alcohol, the establishment passes the checks. If the person checks the ID and still sells or does not check the ID, the establishment fails the check.

Currently, if a establishment fails a check, a licensing sanction is given to the liquor license holder.

"Then there will be some kind of penalty like a fine or being shut down for day," Philipp said.

The chief pointed out that the city council is in the middle of establishing new penalties for the failed checks and reviewing and rewriting tobacco and alcohol ordinances.

Two workshops will be held at 1:30 and 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Austin Public Library.

"We planned two separate sessions so everyone or at least someone from the 38 liquor license holders can attend," Jorgenson said.

Brian Kringen, liaison officer of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, Alcohol and Gambling Enforcement Division, will direct the two workshops. Kringen will be teaching how to effectively identify minors.

"This will be giving them the tools to recognize a minor, how to tell what is false and what is not," Jorgenson said.

The compliance checks help to understand what is going on in a day to day basis, Jorgenson said. She said the checks demonstrate who does and does not know the tools of identifying a minor.

There is no charge to attend the workshops and light refreshments will be served. To reserve a spot call 437-9944. However, reserving a spot is not necessary.

Roxana Orellana can be reached at 434-2214 or by e-mail at