Ordinance to limit hours for liquor sales fails

In an effort to curb public inebriation on Front Street, the Nome Common Council proposed in September an ordinance that ultimately failed in last Monday’s regular Nome Common Council meeting. The ordinance was to limit the hours for liquor sales between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. at store locations south of 6th Avenue. The arguments against the ordinance ranged from not wanting to meddle in businesses hours, as argued by councilmembers Adam Martinson and Mark Johnson, to the argument that prohibition seldom works, as brought forth by councilwoman Jennifer Reader. “We need to address the people, not so much the alcohol,” she said.
Councilman Jerald Brown tried to save the ordinance by proposing an amendment but both the amendment and the main motion failed to pass.
In public comment Mike McNally, store manager, pointed out that the store formerly known as Nome Liquor has changed its name to Kwik Stop. He said the company policy now is to have a mandatory ID check and he commented that he would welcome an increased police presence in those problem areas.
The Council voted in favor of two other ordinances that were on the agenda: one dealing with renaming the Nome Municipal Cemetery back to its original name of Belmont Point Cemetery, and a clarification to the one-year residency requirement for councilmembers to reflect that it is the year immediately before taking office, not sometime in the past.
In other business, the Council heard the request from Acting City Manager John Handeland to use the NSEDC annual Community Benefit Share of $167,000 for improvements to public safety. Councilwoman Reader commented that those funds were distributed to Nome’s non-profit organizations in the past as they have seen city contributions to their causes shrink. Handeland suggested that for the city public safety is the number one priority and that it could use the funds to go towards improvements at this time. Reader made a motion to allow organizations, including City departments, to submit letters of request for a share of the NSEDC funds, for the Council to decide how to divvy it up. The motion carried.
Acting City Manager Handeland also reported that the body cams for Nome Police officers have arrived and he hopes to implement their use for the first of the New Year.
Handeland also informed the Council that he has changed the police complaint form to a citizen concern and comment form. He said prior reports were submitted to the Chief of Police. This has now changed. Reports are now submitted to Handeland and a small committee of trusted individuals, Sharon Sparks and Pastor Charles Brower, “who also share the desire and attitude they want Nome to be a good, safe and better place,” Handeland said.
“Together we will review the reports, insuring that no one feels they are being swept under the rug,” he said.
In personnel changes he noted: David Barron is now acting building inspector; two police dispatchers have quit; one new investigator, Robert Pruckner was hired, and Paul Kosto was hired to work as a part time temporary evidence custodian at NPD.

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