Lancaster Referendum Could Turn Town Wet

LANCASTER — Temperance crusader Carry A. Nation, who campaigned against alcohol and took a hatchet to saloons in the late 1890s and early 1900s, was born in 1846 near Herrington Lake north of here, reports the Lexington Herald-Leader in its Sunday edition.

Nation wasn't shy in voicing her feelings about alcohol. She was often jailed for ”hatchetation,“ her term for the destruction of drinking places.

By contrast, locals say they've had a hard time gauging what the outcome will be Tuesday, when voters in the city of Lancaster will decide whether to allow the legal sale of alcohol, reports the Herald-Leader.

No one in the town of 4,500 can confidently predict which way the vote will go, not even Lancaster Mayor Don Rinthen, who supports going ”wet.“

”It's been one of the most quiet things,“ Rinthen said. ”There hasn't been much talk negatively or positively — to me anyway — about the subject.“ Likewise, Michael York, interim pastor of Lancaster Baptist Church, also said ”it has been quiet.“

He is an organizer and spokesman for CALL, or Citizens Against Legalized Liquor, a coalition of churches and residents who oppose alcohol sales, the newspaper reports.

”As a minister, I worry that people tell me what they think I want to hear,“ York said. ”But if the people who have spoken to me and told me that they are going to vote against it, if the people who have stood up stay diligent, I feel really good about it.“

If yard signs and banners are any indication, many more citizens express opposition to alcohol sales than support. CALL has ”vote no“ signs all over town, reports the newspaper.

One property owner on the east side of town displays a sign that says ”Save Gas, Vote Yes,“ a reference to the fact that Garrard residents must drive to Richmond or Nicholasville or even Lexington to legally buy alcohol for home consumption.

What's at stake: This election is different from some recent referendums in Kentucky.

What's at stake isn't just the sale of alcohol in restaurants, which nearby towns such as Danville and Harrodsburg have approved. Such limited sales have proven easier to swallow for voters who desire alcohol with a meal but who don't want bars.

But if Lancaster goes ”wet,“ an unlimited number of retail stores could sell beer, according to the state Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, reports the Lexington Herald-Leader.

Copyright - The Lexington Herald-Leader

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