Grovetown approves Sunday alcohol sales referendum

Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2011 8:50 PM
Last updated Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2011 5:24 AM
  • Follow Elections

Grovetown residents voted Tuesday to make the city the only place in Co­lumbia and Richmond counties to buy packaged alcohol on Sundays.

Noah Williams prepares to cast his ballot at Grovetown Middle School. Voters on Tuesday chose Jennifer Jones and Dale Stoddard to fill two City Council seats.  Jim Blaylock/Staff
Jim Blaylock/Staff
Noah Williams prepares to cast his ballot at Grovetown Middle School. Voters on Tuesday chose Jennifer Jones and Dale Stoddard to fill two City Council seats.

The referendum, which passed with 59.9 percent of the vote, allows package, grocery and convenience stores to sell packaged malted liquor and distilled liquor, including beer and wine, on Sundays.

Gov. Nathan Deal signed legislation in April allowing local governments to allow voters to decide on alcohol sales in stores between 12:30 and 11:30 p.m. on Sundays.

But merchants can’t immediately begin selling alcohol on Sundays.

“It means that we’ll have to now do an ordinance,” said Mayor George James, who ran unopposed on the ballot for his second four-year term.

He expects the ordinance and the required two public readings to be completed by early next year.

James said he doesn’t expect Sunday sales to be a big revenue-maker for the city, but the provision might draw a few extra customers from surrounding areas.

Harlem officials opted not to put the referendum on their municipal ballot. The issue has not been presented to voters in Augusta and Columbia County, as neither held elections Tuesday.

“There’s nowhere else that sells it,” Councilwoman Jennifer Jones, said. “People might come out here on Sunday to buy (alcohol) if they just really want it.”

Jones, who retained her position on the Grovetown City Council with 352 votes, was one of three people vying for the two available seats. She served one year after filling the unexpired term when former city councilmen Barry Davis and Robert Newman resigned in January. Jones will begin her first four-year term in January.

Dale Stoddard, brother of current City Council member Bruce Stoddard, won the second seat with 168 votes.

In Harlem, incumbent City Councilman Tom Bla­lock, who has served nearly eight years on the council, earned another term with 163 votes. Assistant Fire Chief Gregg Stokes was elected to fill the seat being vacated by Robin Root with 186 votes.

Richmond County was relatively quiet, with elections for city seats in Hephzibah and Blythe.

In Hephzibah, Sissi Car­roll Dozier defeated Jeff L. Rowe, 340 votes to 160, for the Hephzibah Commission seat held by Charles Dillard, who did not run. Incumbent Hephzibah Commissioner A. Frank Williams easily beat challenger Jeffrey Malcom by a count of 380 to 128.

In Blythe, incumbent James G. Adkins and newcomer Troy Harwell captured the two available City Council seats, with Adkins picking up 87 votes and Harwell 65. Incumbent Daniel Martin (65 votes) and newcomer Gary D. Thomas (13) lost.

McDuffie County voters approved a five-year extension of the 1-cent sales tax for schools. The estimated $18 million proceeds cannot be spent on personnel costs. In Thomson, voters retained Kenneth Usry as mayor and the Rev. John Smalley as a city councilman.

Garth Snow of Morris News Service contributed to this article.

Comments (44) Add comment
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augusta citizen
9006
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augusta citizen 11/08/11 - 10:23 pm
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Too bad.

Too bad.

Vito45
-2
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Vito45 11/08/11 - 10:53 pm
0
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I think I might go over there

I think I might go over there Sunday and buy a six-pack just to see how it feels. I seems odd when I've been to other states where you can buy liquor 24/7 at the grocery store, and in the south there are all these rules about who can sell what, where and when. I know at least one state (CA) that has had Sunday sales in grocery stores for at least 30 years. (unless repealed in the past few)

Augusta Jacket
17
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Augusta Jacket 11/08/11 - 11:21 pm
0
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Grovytown!

Grovytown!

Taylor B
5
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Taylor B 11/08/11 - 11:50 pm
0
0
In your face, Jerry Luquire!

In your face, Jerry Luquire!

ladytowtruckdriver
0
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ladytowtruckdriver 11/09/11 - 12:29 am
0
0
its about time these southern

its about time these southern holy rollers got stepped on with their nonsense. there are 700 religions on this earth, and if you believe in God and that bible then you oughta know that Jesus was a support of drinking after all he did turn water into wine for his mom. hallif000inglealuah.

bjphysics
36
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bjphysics 11/09/11 - 12:48 am
0
0
In LiberalTopia

In LiberalTopia (Massachusetts) they still only sell alcoholic beverages in liquor stores, not any other store type; they had a ballot initiative a couple of years ago to sell (like Florida) beer and wine in grocery stores – soundly defeated.

It is not just a Southern thing, look at Pennsylvania.

cityman
-6
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cityman 11/09/11 - 12:59 am
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Hot dog..drive to G Town and
Unpublished

Hot dog..drive to G Town and get liquored up on Sunday!

Vito45
-2
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Vito45 11/09/11 - 01:23 am
0
0
Packaged alcohol is primarily

Packaged alcohol is primarily purchased to drink at home, so if anything, this should keep a few more drinkers off the road who've done their Sunday drinking in front of the TV instead of at the bar.

Riverman1
81575
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Riverman1 11/09/11 - 05:55 am
0
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Preachers are going to be

Preachers are going to be sending some people to the bad place this Sunday they'll be so upset.

Techfan
6461
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Techfan 11/09/11 - 06:50 am
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"trash in Grovetown"? Anyone

"trash in Grovetown"? Anyone have any figures on what percent of Grovetown is military? A slight rush to judgement there, I'm Back.

InChristLove
22454
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InChristLove 11/09/11 - 07:00 am
0
0
Probably pay more for the gas

Probably pay more for the gas to drive to and back from Grovetown than what the six pack of beer will cost you. Sells won't start till sometime early next year and after the newness and excitement wears off I don't think Grovetown can expect much revenue from Sunday sales.

Techfan
6461
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Techfan 11/09/11 - 07:06 am
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0
It's not about revenue, it's

It's not about revenue, it's about freedom to buy a legal product when you want it.

TrukinRanger
1748
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TrukinRanger 11/09/11 - 07:13 am
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Someone hasn't been to
Unpublished

Someone hasn't been to Grovetown in a while. It has grown in leaps & bounds. There are a good many nice neighborhoods there now.

sugarbutton
757
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sugarbutton 11/09/11 - 07:24 am
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0
With a town populated by

With a town populated by active duty military and many retirees it just means they don't have to drive on base on Sunday. It won't change that much except you may possibly have a few more dui's. Anyone who drinks and wants to drink on Sunday is going to do so anyway. It was bound to happen. There are lots of issues that are more worthy of a bigger stance from the public...ie: child abuse, physical violence, bullying. So much more out there to deal with than Sunday sales. I will add that I'm a big advocate of drug testing for any state aid...YES~

InChristLove
22454
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InChristLove 11/09/11 - 07:37 am
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Techfan, I never said it was

Techfan, I never said it was about revenue. I was only repeating what the major stated in the article. You've always been allowed to buy your "legal product" on Sunday....just not in a grocery store or a convenience store.

nanowerx
1306
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nanowerx 11/09/11 - 08:32 am
0
0
Please leave the bible

Please leave the bible thumping to your own household. Stop trying to push beliefs on others. Regulating Alcohol to six days a week, but excluding this one specific day is asinine. Either all or nothing, leaving one day out for religious reasons is not part of the constitutional amendment re-legalizing Alcohol.

Rock on, Grovetown! Even though I am usually stocked for Sunday anyway, I will definitely be heading to Grovetown the Sunday this goes into effect and grab me a 12-pack, just to show support.

david jennings
571
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david jennings 11/09/11 - 08:33 am
0
0
I don't live in Groovetown

I don't live in Groovetown but I know the people there work hard and have as good a town as any. You can find trashy people everywhere,like me, I live in So.Augusta and am aware of the stigma of that. I work and live well within my means, it does wonders for my self esteem.

seenitB4
84543
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seenitB4 11/09/11 - 08:37 am
0
0
Just don't drink &

Just don't drink & drive...btw...Grovetown is great with a bunch of wonderful people...

david jennings
571
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david jennings 11/09/11 - 08:46 am
0
0
And Christ love, I agree with

And Christ love, I agree with you about non believers. I know someone who says there is no God, I think it eases thier conscience and they can just do any way they want. No I'm not perfect, but at least I'm conscious of it.

dstewartsr
20389
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dstewartsr 11/09/11 - 09:22 am
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0
To the usual suspects having

To the usual suspects having an opinion on Grovetown's roll back of 200+ years of Southern Baptist imposed fatwah's against where alcohol can be sold: Do you live there? Does it affect you? I very much doubt it. I do; I voted for the proposition. Frankly, I buy mine on post, but I am tired of organizations that put nothing into the pot telling the rest of us how to live.

Next thing that should go is the church's leeching off the rest of us; by not paying their property taxes, we support these churches, and should be telling THEM where they should be opening. I would vote to see the abolition of all the laws preventing lawful business from being established near churches; at least until they are full taxpaying partners in the community.

seenitB4
84543
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seenitB4 11/09/11 - 09:34 am
0
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Stewart happens to be some of

Stewart happens to be some of the wonderful folks in Grovetown.......great going on the vote!
AJC headlines....Loud Yes To Sunday Sales..

Ashleyn1
44
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Ashleyn1 11/09/11 - 09:47 am
0
0
I am honestly shocked by the

I am honestly shocked by the approval, but I don't see where it's bad. It won't increase DUI's...people who drink buy extra on Saturday for Sunday, so there will be no differance in the consumption by the public. I think too many people are getting all up in arms over this. Yes, it's Sunday, yes, that's the Lord's day and if you don't like the sale on Sunday then don't buy it. It's that easy!

TParty
6003
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TParty 11/09/11 - 09:59 am
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0
Thank god!

Thank god!

InChristLove
22454
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InChristLove 11/09/11 - 10:15 am
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dstewartsr, so I suppose all

dstewartsr, so I suppose all the money the church gives towards missions, homeless, housing, day care, soup kitchens, abuse centers, elderly organizations, etc.....doesn't count for anything. You want the government to run the church, fine, then they can take on the monetary support the church willingly donates. Not just monetary value but the volunteer time....wonder what it would cost for the government to hire people to do what the church volunteers do for the homelss and poor. Then the church can have a say so in how the government is operated. We get a voice on what is taught to our kids in school, what they are exposed to in public, etc.....do you really want to go down that road?

Chillen
17
Points
Chillen 11/09/11 - 10:18 am
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0
One less ridiculous

One less ridiculous government regulation on the books.

allhans
23471
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allhans 11/09/11 - 10:40 am
0
0
Oh my!

Oh my!

Iwannakno
1533
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Iwannakno 11/09/11 - 10:50 am
0
0
You should be able to buy
Unpublished

You should be able to buy alcohol on Sunday anyway. Stop these stupid blue laws based on religious beliefs!

Vito45
-2
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Vito45 11/09/11 - 11:16 am
0
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I think you nailed it on why

I think you nailed it on why it passed Iwannako. I really don't think stores will see a lot of activity on Sundays, as most probably bought their weekend booze on Friday.
People passed it because they didn't want others telling them they couldn't without any logic to back it up.
I totally respect those who think the sabbath should be a day of rest, and I encourage them to practice that as they see fit, just don't try to dictate to others who may not see it the same way.

ETA- For those merchants who feel they must follow the pack to compete, take a look at Chick-Fil-A. Truett Cathy is a Christian and believes the sabbath should be observed as a day of rest, so his stores are closed. I think they make up for Sunday business the other 6 days. It can be done.

happychimer
16622
Points
happychimer 11/09/11 - 11:46 am
0
0
It is better to buy it and

It is better to buy it and drink it at home than to drink it in a resteraunt and drive home.

TakeAHike
186
Points
TakeAHike 11/09/11 - 12:04 pm
0
0
Hopefully that's the catalyst

Hopefully that's the catalyst for the rest of the regional governments to stop imposing others' religious beliefs on me. I rarely drink, but a lot of my favorite recipes have a wine or spirit in the sauce. Before moving here, I was used to buying any wine, beer or spirit in the grocery store. Very convenient since I plan and cook for the week on Sunday afternoon. I've found it extremely frustrating when I've changed my plan to take advantage of an in-store meat sale, buy the fresh herbs and other ingredients to go with it and go home to find out I didn't have the wine or spirit necessary to cook the recipe after all. At that point there's nothing I can do about it except chunk everything into the freezer until next week. It's a stupid law and honestly I don't know how it is constitutional.

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