Judge could rule soon to let beer stores keep licenses

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The four have always been accused of looking the other way as the equivalent of three-and-a-half million cans of beer a year cross the state line and end up in the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota, which officially bans the sale and possession of alcohol. The appeal was filed late Monday, April 24, 2017, in Lancaster County District Court. The stores sell millions of cans of beer annually next to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.

The reservation, where alcohol possession and sales are banned, is located within walking distance across the Nebraska-South Dakota border from Whiteclay, an unincorporated village of nine residents.

The Nebraska Liquor Control Commission ruled last week that it would not renew the stores' licenses, citing a lack of adequate law enforcement in the area.

"We're looking into all of our options" for how to respond, said Andrew Snyder, a Scottsbluff-based attorney for the stores.

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But late on Thursday the Nebraska Attorney General's office filed an appeal of Judge Jacobsen's ruling, therefore upholding the NLCC's order.

Wiebusch said the NLCC's stance remains that more law enforcement resources need to be in Whiteclay before they renew the liquor licenses for those stores.

Bob Batt of Omaha, who chairs the liquor commission, said he was disappointed but respected the judge's ruling.

Frank LaMere, a Native American activist from South Sioux City who has called for the closing of the Whiteclay stores for 20 years, said that the Oglala Sioux Tribe will be angered by the ruling.

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Brewer says he doesn't want to be too judgmental about the ruling.

"As a Nebraskan I am troubled. Is this what you think of our people?"

The court has said the state must automatically renew licenses when a licensee is qualified to hold one, when the premises haven't changed and the premises are still suitable for sales.

Milissa Johnson-Wiles, an assistant attorney general representing the liquor control commission, said regulators found the stores were a threat to public health and safety.

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