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Hartselle Enquirer

Booze battle brewing

Phillip Hines of Hartselle Church of Christ addresses the group formed to keep alcohol out of Hartselle. He was joined by area residents and ministers.

Families for a Safe Hartselle reforms

The proposed legalization of alcoholic beverage sales in Hartselle became a hot button local issue last week after proponents filed a petition calling for an election while another group met and launched an opposition campaign.
The “wet” petition was placed in the hands of City Clerk/Controller Rita Lee on Thursday afternoon by Ruth Carlin, representing Hartselle Citizens for Economic Development.  She said it contained 1,800 names.
Lee said she would run a check on the names using a current Morgan County voter list. Only 717 registered voters are needed to meet state law with respect to a wet-dry referendum.
The petitioners are asking for a referendum in the Nov. 2 general election.
Meanwhile, Families for a Safe Hartselle conducted an organizational meeting at the Grady and Margie Long Softball Complex on Friday morning with about 80 people in attendance.  Many of them were volunteers in a successful “vote no” campaign waged in 2002. In that election, “no” voters outnumbered “yes” voters 62 to 38 percent.
The meeting was conducted by Phillip Hines, minister of Hartselle Church of Christ.
He reported the “vote no” committee had been working for four to six weeks because “we wanted to be ready when the petition was presented.”
He invited prospective volunteers to fill out a registration card and consider making a donation and buying a $10 “Vote No” T-shirt.
“If you’re willing to help, we’re ready to put you to work,” he said.
Andy Priola was introduced as a new resident who will work for the campaign as a contact person.
“My wife and I and our three sons have lived in Hartselle for three years,” Priola said. “We chose Hartselle as the place we wanted to live and raise our sons because it is a safe, clean community that promotes strong family values.  One of the facts that influenced our decision is there are no alcoholic beverages legally sold here and we want it to stay that way.”
“Hartselle is experiencing progress and there are times when change is needed. But in this case, change is fool’s gold,” said the Rev. Robert Sparkman, pastor of Hartselle First United Methodist Church. “My wife and I pledge to you that we’ll work hard to keep Hartselle safe.”
“My family has lived here for 11 years and I’ve never served the Lord in a place I loved more,” said the Rev. Walter Blackman, pastor of East Highland Baptist Church. “ One of the reasons people move here is the quality of our schools. Legalizing liquor would hurt Hartselle drastically. That’s not the kind of change we want.
“I love Hartselle and I want to keep it dry. I hope you’ll join me in working to keep it that way.”

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