Court reduces beer sale ban for market

By Thomas Wilson

STAR STAFF
twilson@starhq.com

   A local convenience market will be banned for selling beer for 90 days following a ruling handed down in Carter County Chancery Court on Wednesday.
   The Roadrunner Market #141 located on U.S. Highway 91 was required to remove all beer from its location by midnight Wednesday, according to the ruling by Chancellor Richard Johnson. The market is owned by Mountain Empire Oil company, which also holds the market's permit to sell beer.
   The Beverage Board suspended the market's off-premises permit to sell beer for 180 days in Dec. 2001 following the market's fourth violation of selling beer to an under age consumer in two years. Attorney, Richard Pectol, representing Mountain Empire Oil, appealed the Beverage Board's ruling.
   At the hearing, Johnson reduced the suspension of six months to approximately 90 days beginning at midnight Thursday and continuing until midnight on March 31. In addition, Mountain Empire was ordered to pay courts costs in the case.
   The beverage board issued the market's beer permit to Ralph Fellers and Warren K. Broyles of Mountain Empire Oil, 3583 W. Market St., Johnson City, on Dec. 12, 1997. Employees of the market have been cited by Elizabethton police on four occasions for selling alcoholic beverages to under age consumers.
   The board imposed a $250 penalty and three-day permit suspension for the first violation on Dec. 9, 1999. The permit holders received a $750 civil penalty on July 20, 2000, and another $1,500 penalty for the third violation on Sept. 13, 2001.
   The fourth violation reportedly occurred in Sept. 2001 just six days after the board imposed the $1,500 penalty.
   Pectol requested that the store's coolers not be chained closed. Johnson advised that all of the beer must be removed from the store to avoid chaining the coolers closed. All signs advertising beer must also be removed from the store as part of the order.
   Johnson also strongly suggested that Mountain Empire make a $2,000 donation to the D.A.R.E. program of the Elizabethton Police Department, but he did not make that a part of the order.