Taps dry: No beer tent at Celebrate Poland this year

Staff photo / J.T. Whitehouse Luke Schuster spoke to Poland Village Council after he was unable to get an alcohol type “F” permit signed to have beer at Celebrate Poland.

POLAND — A heated dispute that began earlier this month at a village council meeting over having a beer tent at this year’s Celebrate Poland event came to an end Tuesday after several sides were heard.

Celebrate Poland Director Cindy Best spoke at the April 2 meeting regarding a temporary “F” permit for a beer tent. She told council members at that meeting she did not want any alcoholic beverages at Celebrate Poland.

Council President Michael Thompson said the issue would be added to Tuesday’s agenda and told police Chief Don Lambert not to take any action on the liquor license until that meeting.

At Tuesday’s meeting, a resolution was on the agenda addressing temporary liquor permits at community events. Because of the nature of the resolution and the number of people attending the meeting, Thompson asked the resolution be taken out of order and dealt with early in the meeting.

The first one to speak out at the meeting was Luke Schuster, who was involved in requesting the temporary permit under the nonprofit Task Force 20 that raises funds for veterans. He claimed council members had a secret meeting to tell the police chief not to sign the permit.

“What you tried to do in a secret meeting was not right,” he said. “We thought long and hard about this. and we have decided not to pursue the permit, but we do have the right to have alcohol at the American Legion Post.”

Schuster said he could have asked the state for the permit without the police chief approving it. However, village Solicitor Jay Macejko said the permit application must have the property owner and the local law enforcement (city police chief, township police chief or county sheriff) head’s signature.

“There was a case in Wood County where the sheriff would not sign the application, and the permit was refused by the state,” Macejko said.

Schuster closed by saying, “We will be planning a full event to raise funds to help veterans suffering from PTSD. I pray we don’t get any slack for that event.”

Best said, “Celebrate Poland has not changed the way we feel. We’ve held the event for two decades without alcohol. We don’t want the liability.”

Jeff Vrable of American Legion Post 15 said he wanted to set the record straight.

“First, I want to say that none of the village council members are veteran haters,” he said.

He went on to say that the American Legion Post has not applied for a liquor permit during Celebrate Poland.

“We can’t have a permit because we are so close to a school,” he said. “Also, we are a 501C19 and cannot apply for liquor permits.”

He said the American Legion has always supported the community and he told Best the post would be donating $200 to the Celebrate Poland event.

Nancy Muscat, president of the Poland Junior Women’s League, told the council her organization is planning fundraisers and looked at serving alcohol. She said the resolution on the agenda is a blanket one, covering all village events. She asked that it be reconsidered.

Thompson said, “I live in the middle of all these events. I recall movie night got a permit for a beer tent. I didn’t know what to think, but nothing happened at the event. That said, Celebrate Poland needs to be respected and I respect the choice to withdraw the application.”

Councilman Samual Moffie said he would like to rewrite the resolution to read that only Celebrate Poland would not permit alcohol. All agreed to remove it from the agenda. Macejko said he would prepare the new resolution for the next council meeting that only referred to Celebrate Poland.

Have an interesting story? Email J.T. Whitehouse at jtwhitehouse@vindy.com.


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