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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Judge rules on wet/dry issue

Thursday, September 25, 2008

"The court is well aware that local issues on wet/dry matters are very emotional," Judge Phillip Smith said during the hearing on the matter Sept. 22. Two local men who attended the hearing proved this to be true. The men, who had a difference of opinion on the issue, attracted an audience in the hallway of the courthouse after the hearing. In a heated discussion both men stated their points firmly while the crowd witnessed the back and forth argument. Photo/Amanda Powers
Update: Judge Phillip Smith ruled the wet/dry issue will not be on the November ballot.

Judge Smith decided to accept the testimony of Document Examiner, Dawn Reed and also the testimony of Notary Public, Linda Thompson. With these testimonies, the judge ruled that 461 signatures on the petitions are invalid, making the number of signatures on the petition fall short of the requirements.

The petitions certified by the clerks office had 251 signatures over the necessary number to be placed on the ballot.

More information on Judge Smith's ruling will be in the Oct. 1 edition of the "Villager Journal."

The courtroom was divided Sept. 22 when the two sides of the wet/dry issue in Sharp County came together.

The Sharp County courtroom was filled with an attentive crowd who anxiously awaited Judge Phillip Smith's decision Sept. 22 on the wet/dry issue. The crowd filed out of the courthouse after Judge Smith continued the hearing for 9 a.m. Sept. 23. Photo/Amanda Powers
Circuit Judge Phillip Smith chose to hear the cases filed against the wet/dry petitions which would place the issue of whether voters want to allow alcohol sales in Sharp County on the November ballots. Judge Harold Irwin issued a temporary injunction after two Sharp County residents contested the petitions' validity.

Yota Shaw and her attorney David Blair, contested the petition on the grounds that it was not presented to the people in proper form. Morris Street who was represented by David Ethridge and co-council Bonnie Copeland, opposed the petition due to questionable signatures.

Blair argued to the court that the petitions stated the voters were signing for an ordinance to be passed, when in fact it has nothing to do with the county's decision.

Blair explained that an ordinance is something passed by the county that is also monitored and controlled by the county.

Using a truck as a picket line. Photo/Amanda Powers
"The quorum won't even know the decision (if brought to a vote) until they hear it from the media," Ethridge said. If Sharp County is voted wet the county will have nothing to do with the regulations, it will all be controlled by Arkansas' Alcoholic Beverage Control board (ABC). Ethridge said the people who signed this petition were misled by the term, ordinance.

R.T. Starken, who represents Save Energy Reap Taxes (SERT) a group who supports a wet Sharp County, argued Ethridge's point. Starken said while the petition may not have followed the strict compliance for the format of a petition it was very clear what the petition was for. Starken also stated that while he understands there is a compliance to be met, there is also a "very small box" to do so.

"If we issue a summons that is not done exactly the way the statute says the summons is not valid," Ethridge argued. He said this petition is not done in compliance with the statute.

Blair in agreement with Ethridge said, "The law is very clear that petitions must be very clear as to what they are voting on." He went on to say, "This petition is very, very confusing."

While the court was in recess for Judge Smith to review the case, spectators gathered outside the courtroom to discuss their opinion.

"I am speaking for myself and all the vets I have spoken to in this area, I have fought and given blood for that flag and I take offense that they tell me I can't vote," Rocky Smith said. "I feel like they are saying we aren't smart enough to know what we signed and that offends me too." Smith said he doesn't drink at home very often but it would be nice to be able to go out and visit while enjoying a drink.

Jerry Montgomery was among the crowd gathered at the courthouse during the hearing. "I am against a wet city. I moved here two and a half years ago from West Memphis, which as you know is wet, and the crime rate," Montgomery said as he shook his head. "It (Sharp County) was voted dry and it has worked all these years, if it's not broken let's not fix it."

"The court is well aware that local issues on wet/dry matters are very emotional," Judge Smith said. "Some support or oppose it because of economic issues, some typically oppose wet issues on moral bases, tourism comes into play in some issues, or in this case, which I have never heard before, environmental issues," Smith continued. "None of these things will enter into whether the petition will stand."

"The court finds that portion of the petition (stating an ordinance) is invalid," Judge Smith said. Smith then said the petition may have been misleading in stating it was an ordinance but that is nothing that can't be fixed and worded correctly on the ballot.

Judge Smith instructed the election commission to remove the language referring to an ordinance on the ballots. "I don't feel the flaws are so misleading that people cannot understand," Smith said.

Judge Smith then said because of the other cases scheduled for the day he would proceed with the case Sept. 23 at 9 a.m.

Judge Smith allowed for a relaxation of the injunction for the purpose of having the ballots printed in time for elections.

"This in no way means the injunction is lifted. I will hear more of the case tomorrow and it could take a couple of days but we will proceed until it is finished," Smith said. "If it is ruled that the injunction stands, the ballots will simply not be counted for this issue."

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Good to see that the right decision was made in this case, and we can continue as we were, without being bombarded with liquor all over the county.

-- Posted by rebelman on Fri, Sep 26, 2008, at 3:35 PM

Sorry to burst your bubble, Rebelman, but you do know this is a temporary setback, don't you? This will be tried again and again until it is done right and on the ballot. At that time, which could be next year or the year after, it will go to a vote, and if current sentiment is any measure, it will surely pass. I'm not a drinker, but I do believe in freedoms, the right to vote on an issue if properly brought to the table, and I also believe this liquor issue is so overblown on the anti side, in the end, will be a big anti-climax when passed.

What I am saying is, is that liquor sales in Sharp County will not be the catastrophe you make it out to be. It is inevitable. I think you know that, Rebelman.

See you at the polls in due time, in due time.


-- Posted by MarkinSharp on Fri, Sep 26, 2008, at 8:00 PM

GOD WINS Markinsharp dont go against GOD!!!!!!!!!

Two years or not there are more against it then for it.

Our vote counts too!

and sense you only had a little over 38% of what was required and 461 signatures are questionable due to the lack of honesty on the evildoers end shows how it will go.

oh yeah that still leaves 62 percent that is against a wet county how can you answer that with your 38 percent.

Now as for where I went to school doesnt matter but I will say this I have more logic in my little toe then you do your whole brain I graduated years before you Mr 2004


-- Posted by dry on Sun, Sep 28, 2008, at 1:00 PM

I graduated from a state university in 1977. I am 54 yrs old.

Ruth Reynolds is not evil.

The polls clearly show an overwhelming support of going wet in Sharp County. It is not arguable. That is a fact. Your 62/38 argument holds no water as it was only about getting a certain number of registered voters to sign, which she did. Your argument would hold some water if every single registered voter is the county was asked to sign the petiton and only 38% of them did, but that did not happen. It wasn't required. That shows your lack of comprehension skills and your ability to add properly. You cannot and you certainly are not being very logical. End of story.

What you are is clear. You are very emotional over this issue, and you claim that anyone who is pro wet is evil. That just shows how irrational you are and how ridiculous you appear to level headed people. It is pointless to argue with someone who is clearly mentally and socially unstable as you have come across on this subject. I think, sir, that you are the one who needs to grow up.

You are embarrassing yourself.

-- Posted by MarkinSharp on Sun, Sep 28, 2008, at 1:55 PM

How sad, that some people are so scared of the inevitable, because it will happen sooner or later. Going wet will not be the disaster some people are afaid of, it will bring tax revenue and hopefully more restaurant to our area..


-- Posted by adysmom on Sun, Sep 28, 2008, at 2:01 PM

Two recent online polls as of this moment that I know about:

1. From the Villager Journal right here on this website.

How do you feel about the temporary injunction to prohibit the wet/dry issue from the November ballot?

* I agree with the injunction: 18.6% (44 votes)

* I don't agree with the injunction: 78.8% (186 votes)

* Other, Please Comment: 2.5% (6 votes)

236 votes cast

2. From the www.cherokeevillagear.net/forum

How would you vote if the wet/dry issue makes it to the ballot?

I would vote YES to allowing sales of alcohol in the county

43 votes


I would vote NO to allowing sales of alcohol in the county

28 votes


Total votes : 71

As you can see, those two polls are not reflecting what you are trying to lie about. Please come to the table with some facts.

-- Posted by MarkinSharp on Sun, Sep 28, 2008, at 2:49 PM

First of all polls are not accurate at all think about it!

If I had 6 people vote for one thing on a poll and 3 of the 4 vote same and one didnt and two people never voted the POLL I can say 75% of the county votes for this HELLO how accurate is that when not everyone took a vote on that DUH! DUH! oh and DUH!

polls dont count only actual vote does!

-- Posted by dry on Sun, Sep 28, 2008, at 3:14 PM

TAX REVENUE that is the biggest hypocritical lie around when all together you will have to add additional police officers to police dui, dwi, and so on and each officer added and car is just a close number about 45,000 dollars extra a year so where did them tax revenues go

QUIT ignoring the obvious cost here by saying look at the taxes.

not everyone voted on the so call website polls does nothing for proof

you got shot down accept it!

what will is the vote on paper thats the only one that counts!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

now sense this has been shot down for 2 years anyway later until we defeat you again

-- Posted by dry on Sun, Sep 28, 2008, at 3:20 PM

Dry, you are too ignorant to deal with and you continue to embarrass yourself. There's an old rule of thumb that says when someone is making a jackass out of himself, step back and let them continue. I am willing to do that.

So I say to Dry, keep it up. Keep opening up that trap of yours and tell us all those bright ideas theories you have. I'd like to hear more.

Please continue in that 2nd grade level grammar of yours of how we're all so very evil. It makes for some good comedy.

-- Posted by MarkinSharp on Sun, Sep 28, 2008, at 7:38 PM

and once again you are so mad you attack areas of no concern my grammer has nothing to do with this

only the fact that you have been defeated! chew on that

and they are only theories to you because you are too scared to put it to the test and do your own research on the matter little boy!

You can argue with me and anyone else you like but that dont make you right child

so when you have had at least 10 years of logic and been humbled a few times then come back here and we might care to listen to your TRAP!

-- Posted by dry on Mon, Sep 29, 2008, at 6:02 AM

It has been on there before and not passed, so I do not see that it will happen. Even if it gets on there, is no proof that it will pass.

-- Posted by rebelman on Tue, Sep 30, 2008, at 10:25 PM

There is still hope and as I suspected there is a lawyer who is going to represent Freigy and the people who want it wet at Arkansas' Supreme Court. It is good to know that there are people that still have that fire that they will not settlefor defeat. Within the next two weeks, a lawyer is going to file briefs and have them expedite the process so it can be voted on 2 weeks before Nov 4 and on Nov 4 (2 weeks for early voting.)


-- Posted by plandguy on Thu, Oct 2, 2008, at 7:01 AM

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