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Church State Issues

Battle over booze waged on private land within reservation

May 16, 2014

Arizona republic

If Apache County Supervisor Barry Weller and Lorenzo Curley think liquor is the tool of the devil then I suggest that they shouldn't drink it or sell it!!!!

But other then that they should shut up and leave other people alone who chose to drink or sell liquor.

Sadly most of our problems are cause by busybodies like Supervisor Barry Weller and Lorenzo Curley who want to use the government to force their version of religious morality on everybody else.

Battle over booze waged on private land within reservation

Stephen Root, 12 News | 6:07 p.m. MST May 15, 2014

The community of Sanders is in the middle of a nasty fight over the sale of alcohol there. Sanders sits on private land surrounded by the Navajo Reservation, where alcohol sales are illegal.

Community leaders are putting pressure on state officials to stop them from renewing a Sanders liquor-store owner's liquor license, which expires at the end of the month, while the owner himself sits in jail on drug charges.

"I don't think he cares about anybody except himself," said Antoinette Antone of Gary McDonald, owner of the three businesses she's hoping to shut down.

If there's anyone who knows how deadly alcoholism can be, it's Antone. She watched her mother Della drink herself to death.

"She just came up to me, gave me a real big hug and said, 'Take care of your father,'" she told us.

Della's body was discovered outside one of the liquor stores owned by McDonald.

"When she was really intoxicated, they would serve her," Antone said.

McDonald is currently behind bars accused of being involved in a large meth operation. But his lawyer, John Lee, says his client hasn't be convicted of anything and has every right to have his liquor licenses renewed. He says the businesses are a fixture.

"Did you put the fire out in their hair on it?" Lee asked during a telephone interview. "Good grief, those people...I guess they don't mind gambling, but they don't like liquor sales. Really? It's just sad to see the politics take a bad turn against a business owner that's been there for decades."

Char James is one of the community activists trying to get alcohol out of the community and away from schools.

"If we don't do anything about it, these kids will be growing right into that kind of a family," she said. "Then they're going to be just the same."

"I want you to look at the location, right there's the school, up on the hill," said Apache County Dist. 3 Supervisor Barry Weller, also pointing out another school nearby. "This is a major state highway, and this is causing tremendous problems to the community."

James also says now is the time to act. And that's why citizens like she and Lorenzo Curley, who's a delegate of the Nahata Dziil chapter of the Navajo Nation, are asking the state to close McDonald's three establishments.

"We want this to be a clean community," Curley said, one businesses will want to relocate to. "They will not do that as long as we have the nuisance created by this establishment."

Antoinette Antone says she hopes to see the license go unrenewed and Gary McDonald and his stores gone for good.