I was out of town last week in Casper for an extended training course. On Tuesday morning, Feb. 26th, I went down to the hotel lobby for coffee and to check the newspapers. To my surprise, on the front page of the Casper Star Tribune was a picture of the Corral Bar. The headline read “We’ve Got a Big Problem.”
The article goes on to say that local bar owners and patrons are on edge because of an increase in drunken driving arrests. The article also states that patrons are afraid to come in and have a drink or two, which in turn is contributing to a slump in business. I doubt very seriously that someone who has had only one or two drinks is being arrested for a DUI.
Further, the bar owners point to the bust in the local gas fields as a major contributor to the business slump. One owner goes so far as to say that the sheriff’s department has nothing better to do than patrol the bar and pull people over on frivolous charges. The local bar owners have decided to help start a local taxi service as a solution. This has been tried here before. There was no talk about changing their business model or becoming more family or business friendly.
Also, according to the article, the local bar owners had a meeting with “top cop” Dave Lankford. To Mr. Lankford’s credit, he held his ground and emphasized that keeping drunk drivers off the road was a priority of the department. In my own opinion, I honestly believe that the sheriff’s office would be happy if they never had to make a drunken driving arrest ever again.
The most shocking thing to me about the story was its timing. The article appeared two weeks to the day that a local man was found dead from alcohol poisoning and exposure in a ditch here in town. By all accounts, the last people to see him alive were a bartender and patrons of a local bar. The dozen or so bar owners should be ashamed of themselves for complaining to the sheriff’s department for doing a good job. For the complete article see the 03-08-2013 issue.
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