The bar's owners may appeal the decision.
By JOHN W. GOODWIN JR.
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
YOUNGSTOWN -- A local nightspot, popular with underage drinkers and college students, will soon no longer be able to serve alcohol, after the state refused to renew a permit.
Julie Ehrhart of the Ohio Department of Public Safety's investigative unit, said Ernie McDoogell's Bar, at Elm Street and West Rayen Avenue near Youngstown State University, has had a series of problems, including numerous arrests for underage drinking, that led to the license denial.
She said the order was handed down Oct. 18, but it is still unclear when it will go into effect, because of the possibility of appeals.
What's wrong: According to a case inquiry by the investigative unit, the bar obtained a liquor license in January 1997 and has had 12 violations of serving alcohol to minors since that time. The most recent recorded violation was Nov. 2.
The Ohio Department of Public Safety has been investigating illegal alcohol sales at the bar with the use of undercover agents. Ehrhart said the number of violations at McDoogell's is high compared with similar establishments.
"This business has only had their liquor license since 1997, and that is a pretty lengthy violations history for that period of time," said Ehrhart.
According to Patty Haskins of the Ohio Department of Commerce, the bar's owners applied for a license renewal in 2000, despite an objection from Youngstown City Council. According to department of commerce papers, the request was denied because its renewal would interfere with public decency, sobriety, peace and overall good order, and it said the business has operated in a manner that demonstrates a disregard for the laws, regulations and ordinances of the state.
McDoogell's appealed the decision to the liquor control commission and was again denied. The decision to refuse the business a renewed license was also upheld by the Common Pleas Court of Franklin County in a decision issued Oct. 18.
Appeal possible: The bar owners have until Nov. 18 to appeal that decision to the state and request a stay of the decision until future court action, said Ehrhart.
Representatives of local law enforcement agencies said the business has more than just underage drinking problems. Sgt. Mike Cretella of the YSU police said the department would be happy to see McDoogell's close.
"It's not that you want to put someone out of business who has a good business, but you would have to see what goes on there to believe it," said Cretella. "I mean fights, brawls, assaults -- you name it, it has occurred there. There is just no excuse for it."
Cretella also said the business taxes YSU police staffing. He said officers would be assigned strictly to patrol the parking lots and other YSU property along Lincoln Avenue to prevent assaults, vandalism and other problems.
Youngstown, Boardman: Youngstown police also have had problems with the bar. The department of commerce lists in its records a situation in which a man was cut in the face with a broken bottle during a fight at the bar and needed about 100 stitches.
Boardman police have said underage drinking at the bar has resulted in accidents in the township. Boardman police officials have contacted the Ohio Department of Public Safety twice about the business.
In one case, reports say an 18-year-old township man was said to have been drinking at "Ernie's" before crashing into a tree along Maple Avenue in late October.