Roaring Spring voters OK alcohol at vets clubs

Roaring Spring voters overwhelmingly backed a measure Tuesday to let veterans clubs sell alcohol in the otherwise dry borough.

The ballot item, backed by officials at the Murray Appleman American Le­gion Post 147, sought approval for local chapters of national veterans groups to seek liquor licenses. While the measure did not specify the American Legion post, it would likely be the only club impacted by the rule.

Vote tallies posted Wednesday show 319 voters backed the change and 98 opposed it. It would not immediately allow groups like the American Legion to sell liquor; they would still have to obtain state liquor licenses.

Stephen Metzger, an American Legion official who was among those circulating petitions for the vote, did not return a message seeking comment Wed­nesday.

Roaring Spring Mayor Ronald Glunt said he was pleased to hear of the vote’s outcome.

“I don’t see any harm in it at all. There’s a lot of good guys that belong there,” Glunt said.

Glunt stressed that the American Legion wouldn’t serve as a public bar. Only members and those within legal bounds would be allowed to drink there.

Supporters of the liquor measure circulated petitions earlier this year, ultimately drawing 350 signatures from borough residents — more than the 267 required for the motion to appear on the primary ballot.

The move for a liquor license comes about two years after state authorities raided the American Legion post, accusing it of operating as a “speakeasy.” Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement officers raided the site and seized 55 gallons of beer and 25 liters of liquor.

Glunt disputed the club’s characterization as a criminal enterprise, arguing that the nearly century-old group has never caused trouble.

“I’ve never seen any fights, any drunks, never, nothing. They were responsible people,” he said.

The group is responsible for fundraising and community work throughout Roaring Spring, including recent renovations to a community gym.

If a veterans organization secures a state liquor license, it would represent a change for the borough, which otherwise hosts no bars or stores that sell alcohol. Attempts to introduce alcohol sales have been controversial in other parts of Morrisons Cove.

Mirror Staff Writer Ryan Brown is at 946-7457.