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Tiskilwa debates alcohol ordinance

TISKILWA -- Tiskilwa Village Board members will invite owners of two bars in town to December's meeting to get their input on an ordinance that would require them and their bartenders to take an educational program about liability issues associated with serving alcohol.

Trustee Steve McKinney said he wasn't sure why there is a need to earn a certificate when many issues deal with common sense.

Mayor Randy Philhower said the Illinois Liquor Control Commission is "strongly encouraging" bar owners and bartenders to be educated. "I think it is a worthwhile thing to get behind," said Philhower.

Beverage Alcohol Seller/Server Education Training (BASSET) is designed to encourage sellers/servers of alcohol to serve responsibly and stay within the law. Philhower said this training isn't required in Illinois, but he feels it may be in the future.

McKinney said he talked with the two bar owners in town and said he empathizes with them because there isn't anything they can do to prevent someone from leaving their bar if they are intoxicated.

Philhower said if this program saves one person from being hit by an intoxicated driver, it is worth it to him.

The class is four hours long and costs $25 for each participant. Philhower thought this wasn't a major burden to bar owners or bartenders.

Philhower said Princeton has an ordinance requiring bar owners and two employees to have this training. No other town in Bureau County besides Princeton has this requirement, Philhower said, saying Tiskilwa would be the second town in the county to require this training if the board approves an ordinance.

Trustee David Wright said he isn't in favor of an ordinance, saying there is too much governmental regulation now.

Addressing Wright, Philhower asked him if he thought it would be a good program if one of his grandkids was hit by a drunk driver.

Philhower, who is also the fire chief, said there are more alcohol issues than people realize, saying he has seen a lot of accidents throughout the years in his involvement with the ambulance service where people who are intoxicated are involved.

Trustee Dan Acker said he doesn't see any downside to requiring this training.

Trustee Eric Paull said he wants to discuss this issue with the bar owners before making a decision. He wants to talk with the people who would be directly impacted by the board passing an ordinance requiring this training.

Trustee Gene Gustafson said he has no opinion on the issue.

Philhower said he would invite the owners of the Indian Valley Inn and Kelly's Place to the village board's meeting in December to discuss the issue.

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