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Essex County votes no on beer tent

Essex County Sheriff Richard Cutting (back) and District Attorney Kristy Sprague (middle) both spoke at the Essex County Board of Supervisors May 7 on the topic of a beer tent at the Essex County Fair. The resolution, which had passed the Ways and Means Committee, was defeated.

Essex County Sheriff Richard Cutting (back) and District Attorney Kristy Sprague (middle) both spoke at the Essex County Board of Supervisors May 7 on the topic of a beer tent at the Essex County Fair. The resolution, which had passed the Ways and Means Committee, was defeated. Photo by Keith Lobdell.

Several Essex County supervisors reversed their course as a resolution to allow a beer tent at the Essex County Fair fell May 7.

The resolution for a one-year trial beer tent to be positioned in the horse barn area of the grounds passed through the Public Woks and Ways and Means Committee meetings, but fell when brought before the full board by a 1,687 - 1,117 weighted vote.

Tom Scozzafava (Moriah), David Blades (Lewis), Michael Marnell (Schroon), Ed Hatch (Willsboro) and Joyce Morency (St. Armand), who voted against the resolution at the Ways and Means level, were joined by Sharon Boisen (Essex), Gerald Morrow (Chesterfield), William Ferebee (Keene), Ronald Moore (North Hudson), Debra Malaney (Ticonderoga) and Randy Preston (Wilmington).

Boisen had abstained from voting in the Ways and Means Committee, while Morrow was absent from the April 30 vote. All others had voted yes before the full board meeting.

Voting yes for the resolution were Charles Harrington (Crown Point), Margaret Bartley (Elizabethtown), Randy Douglas (Jay, board chair), Sue Montgomery-Corey (Minerva), Roby Politi (North Elba) and Daniel Connell (Westport). Newcomb Supervisor George Canon was absent from the meeting.

The vote came after three addresses to the board, one by a mother of a 4-H participant, and the others from the Essex County Sheriff and District Attorney.

“I am here with a concern for the possibility of a beer tent coming back to the Essex County Fair,” Robin Severance of Westport said. “I remember the impact of a beer tent well. I remember 4-H leaders sleeping with a pitch fork when there was an active beer tent at the fair.”

DA Kristy Sprague said that she had recently talked with one of those parents, current state Assemblywoman Teresa Sayward.

“She told me that she did spend nights sleeping with a pitch fork overnight,” Sprague said. “I am here as a public safety officer and my job is to promote whatever is going to be best for the public safety of the county. Whenever you introduce alcohol to an event, you are going to increase the risk. To support an opinion in favor of a beer tent goes against everything that we stand for in public safety.”

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