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Lamar City Council Okays Special Event and Premise Modification Applications

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The Lamar City Council held three public hearings during their Monday night meeting, May 23rd, beginning with the application for a temporary modification of premises request from Jay Gruber, owner of the Buzzard’s Roost for the June 11-12 annual Country Jam and the September 17-18, 2016 Annual Road Jam. A portion of Hickory Street in front of his business is fenced off to traffic to accommodate the bands and audience. Gruber told the council the majority of his employees have undergone TIPS training regarding the serving of alcohol, but he anticipated that more will be included in the program in the near future. This will mark the 5th year the Country Jam has been held and the 10th year for the Road Jam. Police Chief Kyle Miller stated that these events are controlled and have, for the most part, been trouble free. The request was passed on a unanimous vote.

A special event permit was granted to the Prowers County Fairboard for their second annual beer garden, hosted during the August Sand and Sage Fair. The public hearing specified the days and hours of the expanded garden which is planned for August 5-6 from 5pm to midnight and August 11-13 at the same hours. Mark Carrigan, President of the Fair Board said they plan to expand the beer garden activities to coincide with a new bull riding event being held at the fairgrounds on August 5th. “It was a great success for us last year and we’ve tweaked some of the process from what we learned from the first year. It helped us earn some money for the fair board and we hope to continue that,” Carrigan told the council. He added, “We know there has been drinking in past years around the fairground’s events, but the beer garden lends some control to that happening. It’s where we can watch it.” By another unanimous vote, the council approved the request.

It was a closer vote on the final hearing before the council which was for a special event permit requested by Lamar Partnership Incorporated for a fund-raiser beer garden for July 8, 2016 from 6pm to midnight and July 9th from 11am to midnight during the 26th Annual Windmill Tournament held at the ball fields along Savage Avenue. This is an adult-league tournament for persons at least 18 years of age and who are high school graduates. This is the first time this permit has been requested for the event. Lisa Carder and Tera Binder, President and Vice-President of LPI addressed the council with their request. The council had some concerns about the control of the sale of beer at the site. City Administrator, John Sutherland, stated that wrist bands will be issued for those in the beer garden. In years past, players from the 15 teams could be issued permits to drink at the park.  Parks and Recreation Director, Rick Akers, told the council that those persons have controls set up for them beforehand. They can drink around the field, but not on the field, and beverages must be in cups. Carder and Binder said the garden will be in a fenced area. They added that this is the only fund raiser held right now for the organization which works to foster increased local shopping for downtown merchants. Pastor Galen Burnett spoke against issuing the permit, as he did during the earlier two public hearings. Burnett has been against the consumption of alcohol at public events of this nature for a number of years. Charlie Austin, a young Lamar resident, also voiced his opposition to the request. The vote was four to three in favor of the request. Voting no were Lamar Mayor Roger Stagner, and councilpersons Oscar Riley and Anne-Marie Crampton.

By Russ Baldwin

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