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Council votes to suspend restaurant's liquor license

WORTHINGTON -- The owner of a local restaurant had his liquor license suspended for 60 days and fined $1,000 as a result of action taken Monday night by the Worthington City Council.

Council members voted unanimously to suspend owner Thomas O'Meara's license to sell alcoholic beverages at Michael's Restaurant, effective 12:01 a.m. today. The decision concurred with a recommendation made by the city's liquor committee.

Director of Public Safety Mike Cumiskey provided background regarding the rationale behind the liquor committee's recommendation. He indicated that O'Meara had recently violated a state statute regarding liquor sales for a third time, and that the committee elected to wait until the state's decision on a penalty before taking further action.

Cumiskey explained O'Meara has been on and off the state's tax delinquency list over the last two years. An individual on the list must purchase liquor wholesale, and not at retail, as O'Meara was recently cited for doing a third time.

City Attorney Mark Shepherd added that O'Meara was fined twice by the state during 2004 for violating the statute pertaining to liquor purchases at retail. Following the second violation, the city council hosted a public hearing at which O'Meara was ordered to pay charges for the hearing but not face additional reprimand.

Shepherd reminded council members that O'Meara had told them at the hearing that he would no longer violate the state statute, and that he was in the process of selling the restaurant to an interested party in Kansas City, Mo. O'Meara did not attend Monday's meeting, and Shepherd read an e-mail O'Meara had faxed to him that stated the potential sale of Michael's to the same party remained a possibility -- and that a liquor license suspension could complicate the transaction.

Council members, as well as Mayor Alan Oberloh, were unswayed.

"To me, it's three strikes and you're out," Oberloh said.

In another matter, the council approved 2006 summer recreation fees, as well as this year's outdoor swimming pool fee schedule.

Fees for youth programs -- including Fun and Adventure ($32), tennis ($24), track ($24), girls' softball ($27), rookie baseball ($29) and junior baseball ($34) -- were each increased by $1 from the 2005 rate. Fees for adult softball ($225 per team), VFW, Legion and Cubs baseball ($325 per team), traveling girls softball ($325) and Worthington Soccer Association ($2,000 flat fee) were unchanged.

The cost of an individual season pass for the swimming pool was increased $2 from 2005 to $52. Family season passes were increased between $1 and $4, depending on the number of family members, while daily fees and fees for private parties remained unaltered.

The city's summer recreation programs, adult softball and outdoor swimming pool are managed by a contract with the Worthington YMCA. The YMCA is responsible for the promotion and collection of fees and the hiring of staff.

In additional business Monday, the council approved:

- Plans for the 2006 Sewer and Water Extension improvements, which include water main and sanitary sewer extensions on Castlewood Drive and an unnamed street off South Crailsheim Road as well as storm sewer reconstruction on Tower Street. Bids are expected to be awarded next month.

- Authorization of professional services to resume the initial phase of a city flood study begun a few years ago. The study had been disrupted by the discovery of irregularities in the city's aerial mapping, which have since been resolved.

Barr Engineering of Jefferson City, Mo., will resume the study at an initial cost of $5,000.

- A resolution designating polling places for the 2006 election. Rather than every precinct have its own polling place, four polling locations will now be shared by two precincts apiece as a result of required new voting technology.

- A resolution supporting a language change in the proposed Motor Vehicle Excise Sales Tax state constitutional amendment. The resolution notes that the amendment can be interpreted to allow as much as 100 percent of dollars to go to transit while at the same time restricting transportation funding to 60 percent.

Ryan McGaughey

I first joined the Daily Globe in April 2001 as sports editor. I later became the news editor in November 2002, and the managing editor in August 2006. I'm originally from New York State, and am married with two children.

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