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Controversy continues at Nevis municipal liquor store

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Detroit Lakes, 56501
Detroit Lakes Minnesota 511 Washington Avenue 56501

NEVIS - Foul language in the Nevis Liquor Store continues to plague and polarize the city.

At Monday's meeting Heidi Schmeichel resigned as liquor commissioner, in response to remarks made to her mother, bartender Barb Hanson.

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And liquor store profits are in negative territory. The muni showed a loss of $8,787 in March, with a year-to-date net income of negative $4,305.

Schmeichel had posted "Be good or be gone" signs, but to no avail, and apparently rankling the ranks.

Geri Naylor, arriving to share an experience at the liquor store, told the council a patron began using "the word" continually over about a 15-minute period. They asked him to modify his vocabulary but the foul language continued.

They requested Hanson's intervention. But the party became argumentative.

"Now the pool players won't come in," Naylor said of the incident, apparently sparking anger. "I'm asking Barb be vindicated."

Liquor store manager Kathy Plumley said she'd not heard the story or complaints on the matter.

But after the meeting, Schmeichel said the incident has affected her mother's health.

Her resignation, she said, is "in protection of my mother."

Mayor Dave McCurnin, who will assume the liquor commissioner post, said "the issue has been blown out of proportion.

"I think we're dealing with third and fourth graders," he said, (to which elementary school teacher/council member Paul Schroeder objected).

On-sale liquor profit in March dropped nearly $2,700.

"We need to get this turned around," McCurnin said.

And to that end, he's suggesting events to expand the customer base. Proposals include a 75th "birthday party" for the liquor store in July, a '50s and '60s party, pig races July 5 and a summer customer appreciation day, tentatively set for June 13.

"We have to turn this around," he reiterated.

McCurnin has contacted a dram shop outreach consultant "to get a handle on this." The procedure, he said, will include interviewing council members and liquor store employees to determine possible modifications.

"This is a town of 364 people," he said of the impact liquor store sales have on city finances. "We budget $50,000 a year (profits). "We've got to try to turn this around."

The council approved implementing the Municipal Beverage Association outreach program and switching the dram shop insurance carrier, at a $2,000 cost savings.

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