Liquor and Tobacco Sales in the Twin Cities-OPINION

Historically, alcohol and tobacco sales have not been allowed within Colorado City or Hildale City limits. This has forced businesses to set up shop outside city limits thus forcing alcohol drinking residents to travel just beyond Colorado City limits to purchase their boozy wares. Bee’s Marketplace, the closest purveyor of alcoholic beverages, is literally a stone throw beyond city limits (with a good throwing arm).

According to the National Alcohol Beverage Control Association, in a new report, Arizona and Utah state law prohibit dry counties. A dry county is a place where the sale of alcohol is illegal despite state and national law. There are, however, several examples of dry cities in Utah, although Hildale is not listed among them. Blanding, Utah recently considered the issue in a public referendum which failed to overturn the prohibition. Alcohol sales have been prohibited within city limits since the early 1900’s. I was unable to find any dry towns in Arizona, aside from Colorado City. Increasingly there have been attempts by active and prospective businesses to persuade both Councils to allow the sale of alcohol and tobacco, with very little success.

The Hildale City council tabled consideration for consent to a beer and tobacco sales license on January 16, 2018, until next month, pending the completion of appropriate paperwork. According to statements at the meeting, the request, made by the Border Store, has been denied several times. The issue was raised in the last Colorado City Town Council meeting as well. The Dollar General store brought a request before the council that was unanimously denied. The only business to successfully navigate the waters of approval for alcohol sales is the Edge of the World Brewery, which has yet to open. They were able to get approval for a microbrewery license, allowing them to serve beer in their taproom, despite the unanimous no vote from the Colorado City Town Council.

The arguments for allowing the sale of alcohol within city limits, as expressed by Jim Provenzano, District Manager for Dollar General, at the December 11th, council meeting follows a reasonable line of thinking. According to the minutes from that meeting, “DG wanted to sell alcoholic beverages as part of the bigger business plan and noted the increased tax revenue to the Town. He noted that other stores in the area just outside of the Town were selling and felt that with the location it would be a good fit for their store.” They determined that the location was not near a church or school and clarified that they only wished to sell beer and wine, not hard liquor. It was determined that they expected both local and highway traffic sales and that around 90 percent of DG stores sold alcohol. Mr. Provenzano also stated that there would be increased revenue for the town due to increased sales. DG also made clear that there are procedures and infrastructure in place to ensure that age verification requirements are met, as it is with their tobacco sales.

The Mayor requested that Marshal Jerry Darger comment on the issue. According to the minutes, “Marshal Darger voiced his concern with having alcohol readily available and noted that although abolition does not work, as alcohol becomes more readily available, there is an increase in DUI and Domestic Violence police calls and that in his opinion, the quality of life tends to go down. He also noted several major accidents and deaths that involved juveniles and alcohol.” The minutes also indicate that Mayor Allred voiced his views, “Mayor Allred stated that his personal opinion is that alcohol does about as much good for society as tobacco which is not any good to society, so he is not in support of it. He stated that the detriment to the country from alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, etc. is great. He also noted that the ultimate decision will be made by the State Liquor Board.”

In the case of Edge of the World Brewery, the State Liquor Board granted the license, no word on whether they have granted it for DG. The Council ultimately voted unanimously, recommending disapproval. The state of Utah is a little different. It does not appear that they are willing to override the wishes of local governments.

What are your thoughts? Should the local governments of Hildale and Colorado City approve the sale of alcohol within city limits? What about granting restaurants the ability to serve alcohol?


Antelope Cave

In a 1974 publication of the Kingman Daily Miner, an article by Roman Malach details a trip to Antelope Cave, which is located south of Colorado City, AZ, on the Arizona Strip. The author of the article was led to the site by two Colorado City locals, one of them a law enforcement officer, and the other the school superintendent. I stumbled upon this article, and subsequent others, after reading about small tobacco pouches found inside Antelope Cave. I was surprised to learn of a great many scientific findings based on the artifacts that have been extracted from this site. Many from the area have traveled to the cave, which is now closed off to protect the remaining archeological evidence and to prevent potential injury due to its unstable geological nature.

Many fail to fully appreciate the voluminous history tucked into nearly every corner of the land. With a keen eye, it is not hard to find middens of pottery shards, petroglyphs, arrowheads, and stone structures from bygone eras. I certainly failed to appreciate this. There were many times in my youth that I denounced my homeland as culturally destitute, with no history beyond the one I was presented, which related to my direct heritage.

All of that changed when I stumbled upon my first set of pictographs while hiking alone. Coming face to face with this living history, invoked the same sense that you get visiting a museum with artifacts from the far-flung corners of the world. It’s easy to overlook your own home as disinteresting, while viewing other places as far more exotic.

Wupatki National Monument near Flagstaff, Arizona, was the first place to really give me a sense of the grandeur of the civilizations that used to inhabit this part of the world. There are magnificent red sandstone structures, many of them beautifully preserved, that testify to the rich cultural inhabitance, that predated European settlement. They are essentially castles in the middle of the desert. These experiences sparked an intense personal interest, leading me to look more closely for evidence of these cultures at home, a never-ending source of amusement.

The history of Antelope Cave is fascinating. It contains evidence of it being a shelter to various groups spanning a 4000-year timeframe. Some artifacts suggest that the earliest visitors of Antelope Cave came around 2000 B.C. To put that into perspective, the Great Pyramid at Giza was built around 2500 B.C.

Among the artifacts that have been found are: projectile points dating to the archaic period, corn, squash, beans, fiber sandals, rabbit fur blankets, ceramics, bows and arrows, and baskets. Each of these artifacts are tied to a specific group of people from specific times, each of them using Antelope Cave for shelter in their turn. The evidence of human activity comes right up to the current day, with the illicit activities of looters and vandals leaving the most recent marks.

Numerous studies of the contents from this site give insight into the way these groups of people lived. It appears that each historic group to inhabit the cave used it as a temporary shelter during hunting expeditions. One group of inhabitants, the Virgin Anasazi, used it as a seasonal dwelling along with their dogs. They are believed to have dwelled at larger settlements along the Virgin River as well.

Research from the artifacts left behind by them, have given insights into the diets that they relied upon and the diseases that they may have suffered from. Evidence of ticks in coprolite samples suggest that they could have been subject to Rocky Mountain spotted fever and tularemia. There is also research into how their diets may give insights into diabetes and other metabolic diseases.

Many of the inhabitants relied upon jackrabbits for food, and there are insights into the ways they prepared them, often roasting or quickly stewing them, while also extracting marrow from the bones. Because of the sparse meat on the carcasses, and few other viable protein sources, they resorted to several methods to get as much out of it as they could. They also relied upon wild seeds and cactus as food sources. Some groups farmed corn and beans nearby the cave. The nearest water source is miles away from the cave.

One of the most interesting studies of the contents of this cave centers on small fibrous pouches called quids. Quids have been found in many archeological sites, but they were thought to be simply wads of fiber that had been chewed by natives to extract nutrients from corn stalks, agave and other plants. Researchers found that there was tobacco inside some of the over 300 quids that were discovered at Antelope Cave. There are two types of wild tobacco that are known to grow on the Arizona Strip, coyote tobacco and wild desert tobacco. The possible uses for these tobacco containing quids ranges from ceremonial (nicotine can induce altered states of consciousness in large doses), hunger abatement, food, and in this case, pleasure. The researchers determined that, due to the construction materials (yucca), and the way they were scattered around the cave, that there was no ceremonial purpose and that they likely used them in the same way many people use chewing tobacco today.

Some may wonder why this is important. Perhaps they would say, “So what, they used tobacco just like we do” but the reality is that this adds to our store of scientific understanding. Understanding of our history can, and often does, lead to advancements in science and technology, leading to a standard of living that is far better than our ancestors could have dreamed of. But beyond that, it also teaches us a valuable lesson. That lesson is that we are merely temporary occupants of this place and the marks we leave on the land may one day be the subject of great wonder to our descendants (direct or otherwise). Those marks may constitute small windows into the past, freezing a snapshot of our identity in time. I wonder what they may think of our alcohol consumption and firearm use, what with all the discarded beer bottles and spent shells scattered across the area surrounding Colorado City and Hildale. Perhaps they will surmise that a great society of drunken war like individuals inhabited the place.


OPINION- Why You Should Vote “Yes” on the Bond Elecection

The Colorado City Unified School District is seeking voter approval for a bond to fund the construction of a new gym facility.

The Colorado City Unified School District is seeking voter approval for a bond to fund the construction of a new gym facility. The sports programs at the school have outgrown the current gym facilities. Due to safety concerns, administrators and school board members have decided that a new gym facility is essential for the immediate and long-term needs of the school and the community at large.

For those who don’t know what a bond election is, it is one of the options schools have at their disposal to fund necessary projects, beyond the basic funding from the state. This allows schools to borrow money, in the form of bonds sold to investors, which are then repaid through an increase in property taxes.

This bond proposal will not exceed 2 million dollars and will amount to a 1.33 % property tax increase for those within the school district. While this increase may sound undesirable to some, there are good reasons to support the increase. The previous bond that the school district paid off just last year, put the tax rate at 1.78% above current tax rates. While there would be an increase, the tax rate would still be lower than in previous years.

The current gym facility at El Capitan High School serves multiple purposes. It is the cafeteria space for the school, which poses challenges in the maintenance of the gym floor. It also leads to difficulties in administering physical education classes because they must be scheduled around cafeteria services. The space facilitates many local community functions, including, local sports leagues, performances, and ceremonies. The sports program at El Capitan High School has grown continuously since its humble beginning in the early 2000’s, and the gym is almost always packed during home games, leading to safety concerns.

The school district is proposing the bond to build a new and separate gym facility that meets high school regulation standards. The current space is sized for junior high school sized events. It was built at a time when the school’s administration didn’t intend for the district to have a sports program. The proposed space would seat up to 700 people and would give the school much greater latitude in meeting the needs of their athletic and physical education programs, facilitating long-term growth of the sports program, accommodating smaller school’s athletic programs, and providing much-needed community space for recreation and events.

According to the informational pamphlet, there were no arguments submitted against the bond proposal. In the long term, this initiative will help the school district meet its current safety and education requirements and provide an opportunity for growth well into the future.

For specific information regarding the bond election, an informational pamphlet has been mailed to voters as well as the ballots themselves. If you need a copy of the pamphlet, they can be obtained by contacting either the school or county.

Vandalization- Re-Post from FB- Harvey Dockstader Jr.

This message goes out to the troubled people who are vandalizing our peaceful valley…
There’s a group of very dedicated people who’ve spent thousands of hours in volunteer and community activist activities to restore peace and harmony to this valley. We ARE Making a HUGE difference as evidenced by the many families who are coming back, reclaiming homes and actively participating in healing and restoration… WE ALL KNOW how damaged this valley has been over the last couple decades and now that we’re making REAL progress, we have somehow attracted a criminal element into our ranks… WHOEVER YOU ARE, PLEASE get some help. Crime is NOT the answer to your problems and eventually you’ll pay dearly for your choices. You may get away with it for awhile, you may feel a RUSH from the experience and pride yourself on how well you cover your tracks but the one person you’re not considering is YOU. YOU will carry the burden until you make it right!