Wesson News

Wesson News PO Box 1028 Wesson, MS 39191 Volume 7, Number 3 “Good News You Can Use” March 12, 2019 PRSRT STD U.S. POSTAGE PAID WESSON, MS PERMIT NO. 3 INSIDE: Area Arts............................................... 2 Healthy Living ...................................... 3 Community Calnedar .......................... 4 Tending Your Garden .......................... 6 News Nuggets...................................... 9 Sports Shorts..................................... 12 Black History Month Fete Page 8 601-835-2661 750 Hwy. 51 SE, Brookhaven MS (next to Bobby's Alternator & Starter) Family owned and operated: Ryan, Candice, Josh and Sissy Strange. GUNS · AMMO · ACCESSORIES · ELECTRONICS · JEWELRY · PET SUPPLIES · TOOLS · APPLIANCES & LOTS MORE Open Monday-Friday 8 am-5pm Sat 8 am -12 noon. Come see us! Like us on Facebook! WessonNews Shoppers and patrons of restaurants and cafes can now legally purchase beer and light wine in Wesson. But not on Sundays. Last month, the Wesson Board of Aldermen unanimously approved an implementing ordinance defining the parameters of beer and light wine sales in town following a referendum in which 70 per cent of voters consented to its legalization. Thirty percent of the electorate voted 187-78 to authorize sales of beer and light wine within the Wesson corporate limits in the special election on January 15. Town officials are eyeing important economic impact from the vote to help make up for the tax loss sustained when Newmans liquor store moved to Brookhaven after the city legalized hard liquor and wine sales. With hard liquor and wine sales legal throughout Copiah County for some fifty years, authorized Wesson stores have benefited and generated significant tax revenues for the town. Wesson lost close to $4,000 per month of these tax revenues, however, with Newmans' relocation. A decision by Lincoln County Chancery Court Judge to allow Wesson to annex a strip of Highway 51 that extended the town's corporate boundary to three miles north of Brookhaven cleared the way for the vote under a state law that permits municipalities with populations of at least 1,500 to legalize beer and light wine sales if they are within three miles of another municipality in which they are legal. At the Board of Aldermen meeting, a number of visitors contended over provisions of the implementing ordinance. Many of them, citing their religious beliefs, argued for varied restrictions on beer and light wine sales, including limitations on sales hours, the distance of sellers from certain buildings and public areas and, particularly, outlawing Sunday sales, while others countered their opinions. Conceding he did not speak for his congregation, and that the Bible did not necessarily support his viewpoint, the Reverend Brandon Halford from Decell UnitedMethodist Church -- the only local clergyperson present, urged Aldermen to consider respect for holy days as well as economic issues in shaping the ordinance. Wesson businessman Larry Ashley, on the other hand, warned Alderman that prohibiting Sunday sales would mean "a significant economic loss," and distance restrictions could severely limit the number of establishments able to sell beer and light wine, noting that "500 feet is more than one and one half football fields" Whether or not those advocating the sales restrictions influenced the vote on the ordinance, the Aldermen were unanimous in opposing Sunday beer and light wine sales. Alderman Stephen Ashley said other clergypersons had told him that they and members of their congregations opposed Sunday sales. "Sunday sales are too radical for the community at this time, and we need to ease into beer sales," Alderman Michael King said. Aldermen Larry Beer now for sale in Wesson WAC Hall-of-Famers Hall and Billy Ellison said they believed their constituents did not want Sunday sales. Alderman Jarrad Ashley, a businessman, did not vote or participate in discussion because of conflict-of-interest consideration. The Aldermen also voted to: • Prohibit sales of beer and light wine within 250 feet of any church, school, funeral home, public library, day care center, public park or kindergarten in a commercial or industrial zone and within 500 feet in other areas; • Limit sales of beer and light wine to between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. in grocery, variety and convenience stores and 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. in restaurants and cafes. Mayor Alton Shaw said the most important restrictions "maintained the character of the community" -- namely, limiting sales of beer and light wine to grocery, variety and convenience stores that derive 50 percent or more of gross sales from merchandise other than alcohol and restaurants and cafes with 50 per cent of gross receipts from prepared food and prohibiting (1) service at the curb outside an establishment, to visibly or noticeably intoxicated individuals and to persons of ill repute and (2) licensure of sellers with "lewd, immoral or improper entertainment" and gambling and that permit loud, boisterous or disorderly conduct. "Wesson will be the same," says Shaw. "The town will not have bars on every corner. The ordinance incorporates existing local and state laws related to alcohol, such as those covering open containers and the legal drinking age." Special to Wesson News Four students have been chosen by the faculty and staff of Wesson Attendance Center (WAC) to be inducted into WAC's Hall of Fame. They are (left to right) Jim (LJ) Guess, Melody Ashley, Elizabeth Shirley and Will McInnis. The outstanding seniors -- five percent the Wesson High School Class of 2019 -- were honored for academics, character, service, and leadership.