Residents of Henagar voted Aug. 23 to allow private alcohol sales in town — a change from the last 161 years of its existence.
With a total of 388 (57 percent) votes to go “wet” and 290 (43 percent) votes to stay “dry,” Henagar joins more than 50 other towns in the state that now sell packaged beer and wine at private vendors.
At press time there were no official details about the approved measure in Henagar.
David Hairston, pastor of Henagar Baptist Church, participated in a “Vote NO to alcohol sales” yard sign campaign prior to the vote.
Spreading the word
“We really think (legislation) tried to get it going without us knowing about it,” Hairston said. “But once we did know, we didn’t have a lot of time or money but tried to contact all the local pastors and asked them to talk about it (in their churches).”
The “Vote NO” signs themselves even saw opposition, with several being stolen and several vandalized with the word “yes” spray-painted over the original “no.”
“We’re very sad,” Hairston said of the vote’s outcome. “We try hard to present a good moral stance in our community. We hate that it’s so convenient for our local young folks to get (alcohol).”
Joe Godfrey, executive director of Alabama Citizens Action Program (ALCAP), told The Alabama Baptist he was disappointed “that another community has been misled into believing that alcohol will raise their standard of living.
“The fact is that the social costs far outweigh the revenue from alcohol sales, but no one ever wants to talk about that,” Godfrey said. “Our culture continues to become more and more addicted to alcohol and governments continue to become more and more addicted to the revenue it produces without counting the costs.”
‘Wealth of information’
ALCAP’s website has a “wealth of information” on the risks of alcohol and many communities often download and use the resources to help promote “dry” counties and cities, Godfrey said.
“It took Henagar over 161 years to decide they wanted to allow alcoholic beverages to be sold. I hope it doesn’t take them that long to realize what a bad decision that was and reverse their vote,” he said.
Meanwhile in Lexington, in Lauderdale County, voters recently rejected the alcohol referendum, voting 259–227 in favor of keeping the town “dry.” Trinity, in Morgan County, also voted to go “wet” with 296 “yes” votes and 247 “no” votes.
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