North Lufkin Residents are Concerned About Alcohol Sales - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

12/07/06 - Lufkin

North Lufkin Residents are Concerned About Alcohol Sales

by Ramonica R. Jones

Alcohol retailers have often been accused of over-advertising in poor neighborhoods. Alcohol prevention experts in East Texas are worried that could start happening in Angelina County.

"They also target the minority community, and that's something that really concerns me, because you've got people who wanna look at that after the fact," said Alcohol & Drug Abuse Council Director, Phyllis Grandgeorge.

For years, the people who live and work in North Lufkin have been trying to renovate, revitalize, and refurbish their community. Now, many of them believe that will be even more difficult when beer and wine stores start opening in their neighborhoods.

"I think that it's a sad day for the Lufkin communities when we can support alcohol as opposed to promoting safety for our children," said North Lufkin resident, Linda Pendland. "I feel like we should do more to encourage [not] drinking than to encourage drinking."

Caceena Brooks no longer lives in North Lufkin, but grew up there and spends a lot of time in the community. She knows alcohol outlets mean more money for the city, but believes other options would better improve the quality of life in her old neighborhood.

"I think there's many more ways to fix up North Lufkin, rather than adding liquor stores, such as adding more parks or more places where the kids can go after school," Brooks said.

The city has not adopted a distance ordinance for beer and wine retailers, but they want everyone to remember alcohol outlets can't just set up shop anywhere. The new business will need to be in a commercial zone, or the issue will go before the Planning and Zoning Commission and the city council.

Several Angelina County businesses are closer to getting beer and wine in their establishments, but the City of Hudson has other plans.

Church leaders there are filing a petition to keep their town dry. They only need 351 valid signatures to get a special election in May.

Providence Baptist Church is one of four churches that will start gathering signatures this Sunday, but religious leaders said they are not forcing politics on their congregations.

Providence Pastor Bryan Lipscomb said, "I think politics are a place that we should not shy away from as Christians. We should be voicing what we believe, and I believe that our religious leaders, our founders of this country, were political. They were religious men, and they wrote the Constitution, and they used the word of God in order to do that."

he final petition must be turned in on February 6th.

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