THE WAY I SEE IT: It’s time for Jamestown to join the 21st century
In July 19 issue, Russell County News By Barbara Sharp Zimmerman, Columnist
Several years ago when the wet-dry issue was up for a vote in Russell County, a church-going businessman told me if the county was voted wet, there'd be a drunk on every corner and the streets would not be safe for women. Little did I know at the time, the businessman had a side business; he was hauling in booze by the crate every weekend.
Other than to note the hypocrisy in such statements, my point is this: there already is plenty of beer and other alcoholic beverages here for people to get drunk on; check the jail any weekend night - and most other nights, too. Our doughboy's demise offers ample evidence of the availability of "getting drunk" liquor.
What we're missing out on is the economic benefit of having 100-seat or more restaurants serve beer, wine and cocktails. Tourists who come here from Louisville, Lexington, cities in Indiana, Ohio and other states are accustomed to having wine with dinner and cold beer on the lake. Our larger restaurants would have even more business - and pay more taxes - if they could serve the wine and beer people like to drink with dinner.
It is often said that the only people opposed to the legal sale of alcoholic beverages are bootleggers and preachers.
The bootleggers obviously have a monetary interest in keeping the sale of packaged goods out, but that's not what's being considered here. Rather, a moist vote would allow the sale of beer, wine and mixed drinks by the glass, and restaurants selling such drinks would have to make most of their money on the sale of food in order to be allowed to sell alcoholic drinks with dinners.
In other words, they could not become saloons or bars. And having wine with dinner is not how people get drunk. Not voting Jamestown moist will not make for fewer drunks, but it could well lead to fewer good restaurants.
Preachers, on the other hand, are opposed to "demon rum" on any basis. Like conservative legislators, they seem to think it's their business to tell people how they should conduct every phase of their lives from the dining table to the bedroom.
They also seem to forget that Jesus drank wine, and even turned water into wine for the benefit of people. A Baptist church over at Windsor wants Jamestown to say "NO" to any form of alcohol; it's not enough just to keep Windsor dry, I guess.
Well, brothers, I must respectfully tell you again that booze is already here; it's just not out in the open - nor would it be if Jamestown were voted moist.
Currently, Jamestown receives no economic benefit from the sale of alcoholic beverages whatsoever. But there are dozens of local residences where one can enjoy alcoholic beverages. It's all over the lake.
I know a respected businessman who makes his own private label wine (it's pretty good, too). I myself enjoy wine with dinner and regret that I must go somewhere else, such as Burnside, for that enjoyment when eating out.
We risk driving business away from here because a lot of people want to be able to have wine or beer with their meals.
We are surrounded by localities that sell and serve liquor legally and lots of the stuff is being brought in here on a regular basis. It makes no sense to preach the evils of alcohol hysterically because everything is evil in excess.
Smoking lots of cigarettes is bad for people, causing emphysema and cancer. Overeating leads to obesity, which leads to heart disease and death.
Driving too fast causes wrecks. And don't tell me that these things only affect the character involved; second-hand smoke kills, too, and there is much heartache and misery in the loss of people who smoke, overeat and drive with a lead foot.
We need to think rationally about this issue - not emotionally.
We're going to have drunks and drunken driving whether alcohol is legal here or not, and making it legal by the drink in bigger restaurants will not make us have more drunk people out and about. In fact, restaurants I am familiar with are cautious about serving persons who are approaching drunkenness.
It's time to bring our city into the present day instead of driving tourists and others who would like a glass of wine with dinner to other places where drinking is legal.
I'll sign the petition to make Jamestown moist, and I'll vote for the measure if it's on the ballot.
The Times Journal is a weekly newspaper issued on Thursdays. It was first published on October 13, 1949, by Andrew J. and Terry Norfleet.
P.O. Box 190
120 Wilson St.
Russell Springs KY 42642
Russell County News is a weekly newspaper issued on Saturdays, and is mailed free to every address in Russell County, Ky. It was first published on February 1, 1913.
404 Monument Square
Jamestown KY 42629