Dan Limke photo
There's been a bit of reporting lately about a new Dry County Coalition aimed at pressuring the legislature to roll back the law that has expanded private club permits at restaurants in dry counties and also aimed at pressuring the ABC not to approve the permits.
A group with similar feelings rallied at the state Capitol today. The Times' Dan Limke happened to be on hand with camera. He reports that about 700 turned out, many from Cleburne County where they are upset about a new private club drink permit in Heber Springs. Lawyer and newspaper columnist Richard Mays explains the local issue in depth.
Dan's report on the rally:
About 700 supporters, mostly from Cleburne County, gathered at the steps of the Capitol to rally for the replacement of the state Alcoholic Beverage Control board. Led by the Little Red River Baptist Association's Larry Thomas, the group is angry over a private club opening next to a city park in Heber Springs.
"It's no further away from a children's playground than that flag right there," Thomas said, adding the group has been promised a meeting with Gov. Beebe to suggest changes in practices and procedures of the board. "We want the ABC board replaced, and the governor has the power to do that," Thomas said.
During the rally, Thomas asked for a show hands of everyone who has known someone with a drinking problem, and most of the retirement-aged crowd did. "That's why we're here, Thoms said. "We have enough of an alcohol problem even in the dry counties."
Thomas said the group has the ear of District 59 Rep. Lance Reynolds, who is encouraging residents to "call and email and create a groundswell of support." Thomas added that Reynolds has pledged his support to Thomas, as well as the Cleburne county sherrif, mayor, and police chief David Smith, who attended the rally and complained of shabby treatment by the board.