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Petition drive seeks liquor referendum in Somerset

People who live in Somerset received a letter in their mailbox recently asking them to sign a petition that could lead to an alcohol referendum.

Somerset is a dry community yet restaurant only sales are allowed in nearby Burnside and alcohol is also legal in Corbin and London.

Businessman David Weddle is sponsoring the petition drive. He hopes to get just over 500 signatures to put the question on the ballot. Weddle says he would like to see Somerset go completely wet, meaning there would be both alcohol sales in restaurants and packaged store sales.

"The real economic benefit of this, is to be able to generate probably $20 to $30 million a year, in alcohol sales, if you look at other communities of this size," said Weddle of the Progress Somerset, Inc. group.

Yet the issue is sure to be controversial. Some say alcohol sales brings too many problems.

"This has been a unique community.It's been a dry area, for a number of years. A great place to raise a family. I just know this brings other things that people don't understand," said Rev. Gary Phelps of Oak Hill Baptist Church, who says his church has a problem that helps people who get addicted to alcohol.

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