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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

"Wet" group dissolves, citing "Mission Accomplished"

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Photo by Tammy Curtis Save Energy Reap Taxes (SERT) the group responsible for collecting the signatures for the Sharp County Wet/Dry initiative that was recently passed by area voters met Nov. 14 to dissolve the group due to meeting its objective. Pictured from left are group members Kerry Evans, Jerry Adams, Stu Freigy, Pete Demma, Organizer Ruth Reynolds, Mariann Badler, Bernadette Freigy, Merlyn Lind and Dan Badler. [Order this photo]
After six years of hard work and a few setbacks collecting signatures to allow a wet/dry vote on the Sharp County ballot, Save Energy Reap Taxes, a 501C3 organization, dissolved on Nov. 14 citing, "Mission Accomplished" as the reason.

Organizer Ruth Reynolds and nine other Sharp County residents -- people with personalities and beliefs as different as night and day -- accomplished something that hasn't been done in the county in nearly 70 years, making the dry county wet.

The group met for a final time at Bob and Sandy's Beach Club Barbecue for lunch, as a treat from co-organizer Kerry Wayne Evans. Evans thanked Reynolds and all the teammates for their hard work and determination.

The ten people who comprised the SERT group will have an indirect effect on over 7,000 people in the county. The business meeting began with a conference call from member Stu Freigy. He made a motion to dissolve SERT because the objective was met. The motion passed unanimously, and members agreed the remaining funds in the account would go to Reynolds for her fuel expenses.

Members took an opportunity to talk about the six year battle and some of the things they encountered during their journey, collecting signatures and speaking with residents all over Sharp County.

Present for the meeting, besides Reynolds and Evans, were Jerry Adams, Pete Demma, Merlyn Lind, Mariann and Dan Bader and Stu and Bernadette Freigy.

Most of the members said their Christianity had been questioned while collecting signatures. Two said they had been told by those unwilling to sign the petition that they hoped they burned in hell. The most opposition came from the south end of the county, near Cave City. Mariann Bader shared a story in which an elected official took out his cell phone and passed around photos of drunk driving accidents in the polling location near Cave City, encouraging those who hadn't voted to vote against the issue.

With Sharp County passing the iniative, Reynolds, who favored a wet vote to reduce air pollution instead of to buy alcohol locally, said she was relieved that voters were finally heard on the alcohol issue. Several businesses and a restaurant in the county have already applied for their licenses to sell alcohol. According to the Alcohol Beverage Control Board Director, those should be acted on by the third week in January. The process of selecting locations and owners of four liquor stores authorized by the vote will probably take until next summer to complete.

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