Four liquor stores which sell the equivalent of three-and-a-half million cans of beer a year on the doorstep of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota would retain their licenses under a recommendation made today by the Sheridan County Board of Commissioners.
The board has voted 3-to-0 to recommend the Nebraska Liquor Control Commission renew their liquor licenses.
Commissioner reached the decision a little less than a week after a four-hour public hearing on whether the stores should be allowed to retain their liquor licenses.
Beer sales in Whiteclay have been in the spotlight for years, with officials from the Pine Ridge reservation complaining that most of that three-and-a-half million cans of beer sold in northern Nebraska makes its way to the reservation, aggravating a troubling alcoholism.
Liquor licenses for the four stores were up for automatic renewal until the Nebraska Liquor Control Commission ordered them to reapply. The commission said concerns had been raised about law enforcement in the small village.
Activists at the hearing called for the licenses to be denied. They say they not only contribute to alcoholism on the reservation, but fuel violence and vagrancy in Whiteclay.
Store owners responded by stating problems on the reservation should not hamper their ability to run their businesses in Nebraska.
Jerry Oster, WNAX, contributed to this story.