Henagar Alcohol Referendum heats up
August 17, 2016
Southern Torch (3238 articles)
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Henagar Alcohol Referendum heats up

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By: Joseph M. Morgan, Editor and Publisher

HENAGAR, Ala.—Over the past weeks, a quiet storm has been brewing over the city of Henagar regarding the upcoming alcohol sales referendum—a vote to legalize the sale of alcohol within the city limits of Henagar, or to continue the ban on alcohol that has been in place in Henagar since the community was settled in 1855.

As election day has grown nearer, slowly and quietly a debate has emerged regarding a petition that was circulated through the community and its origins, and the resulting alcohol referendum which will be voted upon in Henagar on Aug. 23. Tensions have been mounting. Sides have been chosen. Battle lines are being drawn. But up until late last week, these events have transpired quietly.

That all changed last Thursday when a group of citizens opposed to legalizing alcohol sales in Henagar fired the first shots, finally forcing the issue into the public eye and shattering the silence that has cloaked debate of the matter for weeks.

Henagar Slider2Newly posted signs began to appear on Thursday throughout the city of Henagar that express the sentiment of the group’s position with a simple 5-word message: “Vote No! To Alcohol Sales.” The professionally printed and designed candidate-style yard signs clearly indicate a well-orchestrated, organized campaign assembled to defeat the referendum.

Brother David Hairston, pastor of Henagar Baptist Church helped organize the yard sign campaign.


The “Vote No!” signs could be seen in the front yards of residences, businesses and churches all over town—until this week, that is. Hairston said 40 to 50 of the signs were stolen and taken down early this week. On the same day the “Vote No!” signs were stolen, proponents of legalized alcohol sales posted signs of their own with the message, “Let’s Keep the Money Here. Vote Wet!” confirming that the supporters of going wet are equally as organized as the opposition. 

IMG_0781Hairston said among the 40 to 50 signs stolen were two 4 ft by 8 ft “Vote No!” signs, one of which was stolen directly from the Henagar Baptist Church front lawn. Hairston said video surveillance at the church captured footage of vehicles stopping in front of the church and individuals taking down the 4 ft by 8 ft and other signs. Hairston said they have a good idea of who the culprits were, but unfortunately the identity of the individuals could not be clearly confirmed on the video playback, or the church would have pressed charges.


“Without being able to clearly prove the identity of the people that stole the signs, we decided not to pursue with filing charges or a report,” Hairston said. “We probably would have pressed charges if we could have proven who stole the signs though.”

Henagar Police Chief Randall Smith said that even though the church chose not to file a report, police are still working diligently to catch the sign thieves.

“We’ve been out beating the bushes looking for them (the culprits),” Smith said. “I would love to catch them. We’ve had complaints of sign thefts from both groups. It doesn’t matter which side you’re on, stealing is stealing.”

 IMG_3109There is clearly a division among the citizens of Henagar as to whether or not they want alcohol to be sold in their city. It is an issue that could very likely impact the outcome of the mayoral and council elections that will be held on the same day, Aug. 23, as the vote for legalized alcohol sales.

Interestingly, in each contested race—this applies to both the mayor’s race and the council race— Southern Torch has confirmed that in all the races, one candidate is pro-alcohol sales (they signed the petition to hold a referendum), while his opponent is anti-alcohol sales (refused to sign referendum petition or has stated opposition to referendum).

But the question remains, will a voter’s stance on legalizing alcohol sales affect how that voter chooses candidates for mayor and council? Without doubt, that question will be answered on Aug. 23.

 

 

Southern Torch

Southern Torch

Comments

  1. Linda Guffey
    Linda Guffey May 18, 12:53
    If it attack once it will attack again it might be your baby or grandbabies

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