'Wet Bethel' petitions garner signatures

Posted: Sunday, July 19, 2009

BETHEL - Bethel City Clerk Lori Strickler says those hoping to loosen alcohol restrictions in Bethel have enough valid signatures to put their measure on the ballot.

If the City Council validates the proposal language at its July 28 meeting, Bethel voters could decide this fall whether to remove a restriction that outlaws alcohol sales.

In 1977, Bethel voted by a 3-to-1 margin to go "damp" but not "dry."

Residents are prohibited from selling liquor, but they are able to legally import limited quantities each month. Many have it shipped from liquor stores in Anchorage.

Strickler said Friday that petitioners had 346 valid signatures; they only needed 271.

Many Alaska villages have chosen to go completely dry because of the devastating effect alcohol has had in rural areas of the state.

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