8/21/2014

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Wapato's alcohol abuse continues with no end in sight

Wapato's alcohol abuse continues with no end in sight
WAPATO, Wash. -- The ongoing alcohol problem in Wapato isn't getting any better.

Last spring the city council was planning to work with the Liquor Control Board to crack down on the problem.

KIMA learned that those plans are now off the table.

"It's actually pretty bad around Wapato because sometimes you just see some drunk people lying on the ground somewhere, and you just see a lot of bottles and its not good cause they're going to be around kids also," said Jerwin Garcia from Wapato.

Alcohol abuse has long been a problem for Wapato. Earlier this year city council had plans to turn to the Liquor Control Board for help in getting the upper hand.

City officials drafted plans to create an "Alcohol Impact Area." If approved this would have forbid businesses in several blocks near center city from selling high alcohol drinks to go.

The other plan was to forbid alcohol sales before noon in the city.

"They don't care a heck about Wapato you know, they just throw their bottles around and I don't think that's right," said Philip Vasquez from Wapato.

However, city officials told me that council decided to never submit the plans to the Liquor Control Board at all.

KIMA called the mayor and showed up at Monday's city council meeting to ask city officials why they changed their mind.

No one was able to give an answer.

They told Action News the city is not doing anything about the issue right now.

The people from the town that KIMA spoke with felt that even if a ban on alcohol in certain areas was in effect, those that wanted to drink would still find a way.

Making a solution to this problem a tough one, and from the businesses perspective, at the least the money is staying in town.

"A majority of the people that come in here late at night when they're coming home from work and everything they want to grab a beer, and I see a lot of people go up to the check stand with it, if they were to stop selling it we would get a lot less customers," said C.J. White Killer, from International Market in Wapato.

So for now the alcohol abuse continues with no end in sight.

Last year, Wapato officials asked store owners to voluntarily stop selling high alcohol drinks to go, which did not work.
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