Cumberland Times-News

Local News

December 20, 2013

Liquor board requests Sunday sales referendum

MCHENRY — Debbe Owston, administrator to the Garrett County Liquor Control Board, requested that local legislators support a referendum vote for Sunday liquor sales both on and off premises. Numerous establishments have on-premise sales for alcoholic beverages and can sell an alcoholic beverage with a meal on Sunday between 1 and 10 p.m., and the vote would allow other establishments to do the same.

“There are several precincts or election districts that can’t do that and they compete with the other establishments that can,” said Owston during a public prelegislative meeting Thursday evening at Garrett College. “We have had zero complaints about Sunday sales in a restaurant with a meal. This is the first time the liquor board has proposed a referendum vote.”

The vote would be for districts and precincts of a district, according to Owston.

The off-premises sales would allow package stores to sell take-out alcoholic beverages from 1 to 10 p.m.

Jim Laskaris, owner of Deep Creek Beverage; Gary Sisler, owner of Exxon in McHenry; and Richard Stuck, owner of the Exxon in Grantsville, Oakland Oil & Propane, and several other businesses spoke in favor of Sunday sales.

The Sunday sales would increase tax revenue in the state and county, according to Laskaris.

 “I think it will increase our tourism in this area quite a bit,” said Laskaris.

 The cashiers at Exxon counted that 2,417 customers were turned down for Sunday alcohol sales from the beginning of the year until Dec. 15, according to Sisler. If each customer spent $30 it would have yielded a gross revenue of $72,510.

“We turn a lot of people away on Sunday. We are not only losing alcohol sales, we are also losing in-store sales,” said Sisler. “Two years ago the alcohol tax went up 3 percent from 6 to 9 percent and that 3 percent goes to education.”

One package store would yield $27,500 in Sunday alcohol sales that would go toward education, according to Sisler.

Stuck read a letter from his son that stated “the law prohibiting Sunday alcohol sales has a significant unintended negative financial consequence. We need to stop sending our revenues to West Virginia, and our first step is to get Sunday alcohol carry-out placed on the ballot in the next election.”

The Garrett County Chamber of Commerce also supports Sunday sales for alcoholic beverages, noted Nicole Christian, president and CEO of the chamber.

Delegate Wendell Beitzel noted that the Sunday sales for alcoholic beverages needs to come before the voters and the county commission before it could be introduced as legislation.

Package stores in Garrett and Allegany counties are the only stores in the state that don’t have Sunday sales of alcoholic beverages, according to Owston.

In the past, a county-wide referendum vote for Sunday sales was proposed and it didn’t go anywhere and then it was done on district basis a few times, according to Sen. George Edwards.

Also during the meeting, there were two requests for bond bills. Robert Huebner, representing the board of directors of Garrett Cooperative Ministry doing business as Christian Crossings Thrift Shop in Oakland, requested $99,500 to go toward a $1.1-million new facility. Christian Crossings has over $1 million, half of which is cash from operations, and $500,000 from a grant. They are in the process of constructing a 10,200-square-foot building that will replace a building that is more than 100 years old.

“The building that we are in now is inefficient and is not handicapped-accessible,” said Huebner. “We are badly in need of this.”

Christian Crossing Thrift Shop is a volunteer not-for-profit organization that sells donated household items for nominal amounts.

Michael Pellet, president of HART for Animals, requested a $150,000 bond bill for a new shelter adoption center on Bumblebee Road. HART has raised $2.4 million and is working on completing Phase I of the adoption center, which consists of a boarding facility and will be complete in February, according to Pellet. In 2011, HART held its groundbreaking ceremony for the first phase of construction. Phase II, the adoption center wing, will be complete this summer.

The delegation will work with the county commissioners to prioritize the list of legislative requests.

About 20 people were in attendance at Thursday’s meeting.

Contact Elaine Blaisdell at

Text Only
Local News
  • Cemetery group’s efforts revive Oak Hill grounds Cemetery group’s efforts revive Oak Hill grounds

    After you drive Alexander and Furnace streets then navigate a couple of switchbacks on Cemetery Road, you’d figure there would be no more uphill.

    April 17, 2014 2 Photos

  • Proposed county budget holds most agencies flat

    After taking into account an income tax shortfall, Allegany County Finance Director Jason Bennett said he’ll propose a budget that holds most outside agencies to flat funding and funds the Board of Education at what county officials say are maintenence of effort levels for 2015.

    April 17, 2014

  • RYAN WOLF Wolf named 2014-15 Garrett Teacher of the Year

    Southern Garrett High School teacher Ryan Wolf has been named the 2014-15 Garrett County Teacher of the Year.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Rep. Delaney discusses congressional gridlock Rep. Delaney discusses congressional gridlock

    While giving a civics lesson at Frostburg State University on Thursday, U.S. Rep. John Delaney, congressman from Maryland’s sixth district, told students that the polarization in Congress is due primarily to redistricting and a poorly designed Congressional schedule.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Fourmile Ridge wind project approved, moves forward

    The Federal Aviation Administration has approved the Fourmile Ridge wind project in eastern Garrett County and site preparation started April 7, according to Frank Maisano, a wind industry spokesman. The current notice listed on the FAA website for the project is for a small change in turbine location.

    April 17, 2014

  • Oakland back to normal after toppled tanker closes business district

    The town of Oakland returned to normal activities Thursday, one day after a tanker full of liquid propane overturned in the heart of the business district.
    Shortly after 8 p.m. Wednesday the toppled tanker was removed and its 10,000-gallon load transferred to another tanker.

    April 17, 2014

  • Students back Southern Middle School renovation

    Students from both Southern and Northern middle schools presented a list of reasons why Southern Middle needs to be renovated during the Garrett County Commission meeting Tuesday.

    April 17, 2014

  • Trial run Trial run

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • 72nd anniversary of Doolittle Raid on Tokyo 72nd anniversary of Doolittle Raid on Tokyo

    Friday, April 18, has another special meaning for me besides Good Friday.
    April 18, 1942, proved to be a pivotal day for American morale, following the deadly air attack and destruction conceived and executed by Japanese Adm. Isoroku Yamamoto.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Lara Courrier seeks re-appointment to Mineral school board

    I, Lara Courrier, am seeking re-election to the Mineral County Board of Education to continue the work I’ve done the last four years. Having served as a school counselor at the Burlington Center School and the Chick Buckbee Juvenile Center for nearly six years, as well as approximately 20 years total working with children, I have insight into the needs of kids and the importance of the actions of the school board. Having three sons and several nieces and nephews in Mineral County schools, I have an added incentive to continue to work hard to ensure the efficient running of our school system. 

    April 17, 2014