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Beach Park means business when it comes to liquor sales

Updated: December 19, 2012 11:55AM

Old habits apparently die hard, as is the case in Beach Park. Despite previous warnings from Mayor John Hucker, two stores were cited again for selling liquor to underage decoys in a sting set up by the Lake County Sheriff’s Department.

“As frustrating as this has been for me and the business owners as well, this is something that is so important to me and the whole board — you don’t sell alcohol to minors,” said the mayor.

The latest operation was conducted Sept. 18 using the help of a 20-year-old decoy who attempted to purchase alcoholic beverages at several area stores.

Cited were Hoeksema’s mini-mart, 38975 N. Lewis Avenue; and Anna’s Market Place, 38512 N. Sheridan Road. This was the first time Hoeksema’s received a citation for selling to an underage customer, said the mayor. Anna’s was among five other village businesses to face similar citations in August following sheriff’s stings in March and May. At that time, fines imposed ranged from $500 to $2,500.

According to Hucker, who is both mayor and village liquor commissioner, a hearing for

Hoeksema’s and Anna’s will take place at the village hall Oct. 24. At that time, fines could be imposed. “I want to hear the details and any testimony,” said the mayor, who will handle the liquor licensing.

Because the law was broken, tickets from sheriff’s deputies were issued to the clerks who sold the liquor to the underage decoy “on the spot,” said the mayor. The state’s attorney’s office has been notified and the clerks are scheduled to appear in circuit court separately.

“Both of the clerks never asked for age identification,” said Hucker. “Some communities require for every sale (of liquor) to ask for an I.D. We don’t have that in Beach Park. But how hard is it to look at a person’s drivers’ license?”

Waukegan attorney Tim Evans will be prosecutor for the cases at the village hall later this month. Beach Park village attorney Rudy Magna will work alongside the liquor commissioner/mayor. The business owner has the right to retain an attorney of their own.

Noting the recent citations for underage liquor sales is something the village was “not targeting” specifically, the mayor said he is encouraged about the tireless enforcement by the sheriff’s department. “I first and foremost really appreciate what they are doing,” said Hucker.

In another issue related to liquor sales in Beach Park, the village board recently approved an ordinance amending the village code establishing a new F-1 classification for liquor regulations which limits the time alcohol can be sold at convenience stores and gas stations with mini-marts.

The new F-1 ordinance, which is to replace the former F license, stipulates liquor can only be sold from 6 a.m. to midnight in those stores.

There are 14 businesses in Beach Park that currently have liquor licenses, including taverns, restaurants, mini-marts, and from packaged good sales.

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