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W'bago won't be selling liquor

February 15, 2012
Jodelle Greiner - Staff Writer , Fairmont Sentinel

WINNEBAGO - The city of Winnebago will not be selling liquor.

The City Council decided "to drop the subject" on Tuesday.

Councilman Scott Robertson, who raised the idea of buying Schooter's Bar and Grill last month, said he had looked into the matter more.

"We have to make it feasible for the city and, at this point, I don't know if it is," he said, pointing out there is a state law requiring a waiting period of one year before the city could open a liquor store.

He said the purchase price is another problem.

Councilman Chris Ziegler suggested tabling the issue last month to get more input from the public.

"I have not had one person speak in favor of the city purchasing it," said Ziegler, adding that he believes the city would be "curtailing private enterprise" if it went ahead.

Councilwoman Stacy Huntington-Scofield thought it was a good idea, but "I might be the only one."

"If we didn't have an off-sale, that would be one thing, but we do," said Councilman Rick Johnson. "I think the city should keep their nose out of it."

Turning to another matter, the council fielded questions about the $25 tickets for parking overnight on the street that some residents have received. The city forbids parking overnight on certain streets between Nov. 15 through April 15 to facilitate snow removal.

Alberto Rosillo said he has received two tickets and wanted to know why the parking prohibition was not being enforced evenly. He said some people were not being ticketed.

Jerry Johannsen said he had received one as well. He knew some out-of-town visitors who received tickets and said it would create a bad impression of Winnebago.

"This goes deeper than a $25 fine," Johannsen said. "It causes a lot more ill will than that $25 you get out of it."

He suggested writing a warning first.

Police officer Mike Beletti said the overnight parking restriction is a long-standing law, but police hadn't been enforcing it earlier because the winter has been so mild. Once it snowed, snowplow drivers complained because so many vehicles were in the way, so officers began writing tickets. Since Jan. 1, 28 citations have been written, Beletti said.

"We've had good response with people paying tickets," said Beletti, adding that the parking prohibition has been well-publicized.

"We need to enforce it from the first," Ziegler said. "If we're talking about the letter of the law, then let's follow the letter of the law."

"The ordinance has been in place a long, long time," Johnson said.

The council took no action on the topic.

In other business, the council:

o Approved buying a pool lift for $5,127 because the city can't open its pool without it. The Americans with Disabilities Act created new standards for handicap accessibility for swimming pools, requiring two handicap options. Right now, the steps at the pool qualify as one. To get a second one, the city has to buy the lift or build a sloped entry.

o Approved purchase of new Jaws of Life equipment for the fire department. The current gear does not cut through the metals in newer cars. The new equipment, which can cut the metals, will reduce the time required to extract people. Total cost for the new Jaws of Life is $24,000. Fire Chief Jesse Haugh said the department will serve a pancake breakfast Feb. 25 to help cover the cost.



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