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Liquor license issue still sore spot for Somerset Village Board

The Village of Somerset Board meeting on Tuesday, July 19, revisited an old discussion.

On the agenda was a request to approve Rebecca Kappers, manager of the Apple River Liquor Store, as the agent for Apple River Solution LLC.

"The recommendation died at the committee level," said Greg Sayers, chairman of the public safety committee. "The committee has no recommendation for the board."

"You know how I feel about this," began Dave Carufel, board member. "We shouldn't be granting this in the first place." Carufel was one of two board members who opposed the village transferring the liquor license from the 235 Main St. property (formerly known as MacDaddy's Bar) to Chad Schmitt, who had leased the building from the Macalus family to open Bootlegger's Bar in February 2010. It has since closed.

At the June village board meeting, the board determined that the license belonged to the signature, not the property. Schmitt then requested that the license be transferred to 520 Main St., the site of the Apple River Liquor Store. That site had previously been covered under Float-Rite's liquor license.

In a 5-2 vote, the board had approved.

Since one site cannot be covered by two liquor licenses, Float-Rite Inc. requested at the July meeting to amend their liquor license premises to exclude 520 Main St. The board approved.

Carufel still had a question for the board.

"I'd like to know if Marcalus (owner of 235 Main St.) comes in and asks the village board to help support him in a way to get his license back, is this board going to give money to help him?"

After a few moments of silence, Carufel explained his question.

"We spent money, hired an attorney and let them (Float-Rite) split a license - why would the village spend tax dollars to hire an attorney to go out and investigate all that? We had an attorney. We should make sure we are unbiased if we get another request like this," he said.

John Montpetit, owner of Float-Rite Inc., was in the audience and said that the village was sued by the Vanassee family and that required the village to get an attorney.

Jeff Johnson, village president, brought the discussion to a close by saying that the two issues are completely different.

"Everything was done legally," said Johnson. "The expansion of the Float-Rite liquor license was identified that it was capable to do what it did do. Now it became another site, now it will stand on its own.

"In area of supporting MacDaddy's (Fred Macalus) to get another license: that is not an obligation on the village's part," continued Johnson. "We are obviously under state statute and we cannot issue any further licenses. He (Macalus) is welcome to pursue it, but offering any money or services to Macalus would be a waste of effort."

The board approved issuing Kappers, as the Apple River Solutions agent, a new "class B" beer and liquor license in a 5-2 vote.

In other news:

• The board approved Cedar Corp. taking bids for a salt storage shed.

• Discussion regarding paving/patching Somerset Lane was tabled until the August meeting.

• The board approved spending $4,337 to purchase three mobile and four portable narrow-band radios for the public works department.

• The board approved a temporary Class B beer license for the Somerset Youth Hockey Association July 29-31 event starting at 7 p.m. in the Village Park.

• The board approved a picnic beer license for the Apple River Cruizers annual car show on Saturday, Aug. 6, from 8 a.m. -4 p.m. in the Village Park.

• The board approved spending $2,900 for an upgrade to the Depot Street warning siren.

• The board approved signing up with Nixle Wire, a community notification system, for its free basic package. The program will enable those who sign up to get text and email messages if there are traffic problems or alerts.

• The board approved SMC erecting five temporary mobile home structures by its warehouse shipping dock to act as offices while the company undergoes expansion.

The Village of Somerset board meetings are the third Tuesday of each month at the Village Hall at 7 p.m. The public is welcome to attend.