At 2:10 p.m. on October 22, 2012, customers at the Five Star Marathon purchased the first case of beer in the city of Murray.
After much deliberation earlier that year on July 17, the residents of Murray voted to allow packaged alcohol sales. Now, more than a year later, the city has seen increased revenue among other changes.
ALCOHOL AND THE CITY
The Murray City Council voted last week to make several changes to the city’s alcohol ordinance so it would allow regular sale hours on Election Day, as well as some other new rules.
Alcoholic Beverage Control Administrator Kendra Clere said Senate Bill 13 recently changed the statute that barred alcohol sales on Election Day. The city’s Public Safety Committee recommended changing the ordinance to reflect the change at the state level.
Clere said SB 13 also condensed the previous 88 alcohol license types into 44 types. She said there have been issues with people trying to purchase alcohol after the cut-off time of midnight.
Another change to the ordinance would be that businesses would have to display signs stating there are no Sunday sales or sales between midnight and 6 a.m.
City council members also discussed the possibility of allowing alcohol sales until 1 a.m. instead of the current cut-off time of midnight.
Clere said the total driving under the influence charges decreased in the second quarter, April through June, to 36 compared to 38 during the same period in 2012.
Public intoxication charges increased in the second quarter for 2013 by 13 incidents.
She said charges increased because bars close at midnight and people risk drinking and driving instead of waiting for a cab.
ALCOHOL AND THE UNIVERSITY
Judy Lyle, interim associate director of Health Services, said one way the University is trying to figure out the drinking habits of students is through an online alcohol education program.
“Back in March we got the opportunity to approach the city regarding an allocation from the alcohol sales tax for education on our campus,” Lyle said. “I wanted to use the money not only to educate our first-year students, but to approach both high schools in the county, as well.”
According to a July study from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, each year an estimated 1,825 college students between the ages of 18-24 die from alcohol-related injuries.
The Murray State Student Life Handbook, by which every student is expected to abide, states the University prohibits the use or possession of alcoholic beverages in residential colleges.
Students are not permitted to possess, for any reason, containers of alcohol empty or full, in the residential colleges or College Courts.
Alcohol use or intoxication is prohibited in outdoor areas on University property, and in classrooms and instructional buildings, administrative offices, cafeterias, and in any other facilities to which the general public and student population have access such as the CFSB Center, Wellness Center, Roy Stewart Stadium and the William “Bill” Cherry Expo Center.
Health Services offers the Coalition for Alcohol Risk Education program, which is made up of students, faculty, staff, parents, community members and the Regional Prevention Center to help raise awareness of the dangers associated with alcohol use.
Along with CARE, the Murray State Police Department also offers an alcohol awareness program to help educate students on the dangers that are associated with alcohol.
Lyle said she thinks the education process has gone fairly smoothly and she is excited for what the future holds with alcohol education and the University students.
Story by Meghann Anderson, News Editor