Business owner wants compliance checks decriminalized
An employee at Chapati served someone under age during a compliance check by the Northfield Police Department. It’s the second offense and the rules state the owner, Norman Butler, gets a $500 fine and cannot serve liquor for 3 days. Butler asked for a public hearing. It was started at Council’s last March meeting and continued last week. Mayor Graham said, “to their credit, they accept the penalties” because that’s the current law. They also dismissed the employee. The hearing was a chance for them to start a conversation about changing the way compliance checks are done. Police use underage adults to see if they’re served liquor. Co-owner Diane Burry spoke saying the set up is adversarial, “what message is being said when the police recruit a young person to go into a place and attempt to commit a crime. Is it okay if the police tell you to do this? Is it situational ethics? Are you telling the youth that the police are actually out there trying to get people?”. She then said she does not believe that’s what Chief Nelson’s goal is, adding, “so what is the real message, what is the goal? Is the compliance check meant to be instructive and preventative or to be punitive?” The suggestion was to decriminalize it and use “of age” young looking adults. DeLong suggested just checking all id’s. Chief Nelson has agreed to take a look at it and see what other communities are doing.
Rice Co. drug court sees first graduate
Rice County had their first drug court graduate. Attorney John Fossum said the young woman was in drug court for just over 16 months, “she had just a tremendous success turning her life around”. She became fully employed, working her way up and also taking care of her daughter. Fossum said, “I think it just shows the effectiveness of the program”. Rice County has 8 participants with a capacity of 10 due to the level of personnel available to supervise the program. Fossum said they want to expand it to those high risk and high need, those who would most benefit from drug court and who would benefit the County, “so instead of spending $30,000 a year to put somebody in prison, instead of spending money to keep their children in foster care, we’re spending money to keep them in the community”. They expect those in drug court to be employed. He said, “and so it’s a net benefit for all of us if we can help people turn their life around and not clog up the prisons”. The funding comes from the State and there’s a bill to set funding at number of participants. Right now, Rice County would not meet their qualifications.
Nisbit hearing on evidence
There is a hearing today for Jason Nisbit. The Faribault man accused of First degree murder in the death of Chelsea Martinez last August. Fossum said they’ll be talking about the admissibility of some evidence, there’s a witness that the defense is trying to disqualify. He thinks that will be the bulk of the hearing. Rice county is also still waiting on Nisbit’s attorney’s motion for a change of venue. Fossum says that will be down the road. In the meantime, Nisbit remains in the Rice County jail on a million dollar bail.
Construction begins at CR 86 and Hwy 52
Construction is scheduled to close the ramps to and from Co. Rd 86 at Hwy 52 today. A detour will be posted using 56, 19 and 20. Harry Avenue access to and from Co. Rd. 86 and northbound hwy 52 will also close today. Work at the intersections is scheduled to last into mid summer. Hwy 52 will remain open.
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