The entire community has a great deal riding on the success of the new Hospitality Resource Panel recently formed by the law enforcement and restaurant/bar industry communities. The panel’s goal is to rein in the growing problem of people in Steamboat Springs who consume alcohol in excess.
Extreme intoxication leads to other social ills, including domestic violence.
The challenge of deterring people from consuming alcohol to the point of drunkenness.
Hospitality industry is wise to partner with law enforcement.
Should the Hospitality Resource Panel not succeed in reversing this trend, we all may be headed down the expensive path to building and maintaining a detox center over and above the services already supplied by Yampa Valley Medical Center and the Routt County Jail. And, regardless, we think the community may need to begin thinking about how to establish a local drug and alcohol rehab center.
For those reasons, the principals involved in the new panel, including police Captain Jerry Stabile, Mainstreet Steamboat Springs General Manager Tracy Barnett and leaders in the restaurant and bar community have our full support in this effort.
Steamboat Today editorial board — June to December 2013
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- Lisa Schlichtman, editor
- Tom Ross, reporter
- David Baldinger Jr., community representative
- Lisa Brown, community representative
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Not only do we share the goal of helping people to refrain from binge drinking to the extent they need to go to detox, we strongly feel there is a need to preserve our historic downtown commercial district as a safe place for all guests to enjoy a safe evening on the town.
In an effort to avoid over-serving, bar owners and bartenders have begun using radios to communicate with one another and identify people who are becoming intoxicated. That’s a step in the right direction.
And police say bar owners can expect the state Liquor Enforcement Division to increase its undercover checks on bars to observe whether over-serving is taking place.
Stabile told the Steamboat Today this week that as of Oct. 31, there had been 88 cases of people being taken into protective custody primarily so they could sober up safely in detox at the jail. That’s on top of 91 DUIs.
There is another aspect to this problem that cannot be overlooked, and that’s the fact that our city government has issued a significant number of liquor licenses, and unavoidably, that is a factor in this issue.
City Clerk Julie Franklin confirmed this week that there are 85 active liquor licenses in the city, with another five pending. That includes 10 existing retail package liquor stores.
We understand the majority of restaurants need to be able to offer a drink with dinner in order to be competitive. And we realize there may not be a direct correlation between the number of liquor licenses and the relative handful of people who become intoxicated in the extreme. But we must confront the reality that we are a community that promotes drinking.
The Steamboat Springs Police Department is to be commended for the proactive approach it already has undertaken by putting officers on foot patrol on downtown sidewalks, and we continue to think this is the best approach to deterring drunks.
Now, it’s up to business owners to succeed in their well-intentioned efforts to avoid over-serving.