VALORIE EVERSOLE - Daily Union Reporter
SHELBYVILLE, IL. —
Stewardson voters will have a chance to decide whether or not to allow the sale of alcohol within the village limits.
A referendum on the November 6 ballot asks “Shall the sale at Retail of Alcoholic Liquor be prohibited in the Village of Stewardson?”
During the days of Prohibition (1920-1933), the manufacturing and sale of alcohol was deemed illegal by the 18th Amendment to the Constitution. When the amemdment was repealed by the 21 Amendment, local government bodies needed to decide whether to stay “dry” or allow sales of alcohol and be declared “wet”.
“Stewardson has been essentially ‘dry’ since 1910,” said village president Lowell Moomaw. “They voted ‘dry’ in 1910 and revoted ‘dry’ in 1918. For a short time in the ‘30s beer was sold when a pool hall was open, but that was just for a short time.”
Moomaw noted that ordinances from 1918 to 1940 are missing from the records, so knowing whether the village ever voted ‘wet’ is unknown.Holland Township voted to be “wet” years ago.
Stewardson does not have any businesses that sell alcohol, but Vahling Vineyards is able to manufacture and sell wine because it is in the township, not within village limits.
“This would allow the service station to sell alcohol if it wanted to. It’s always been discussed a little bit in the winds, but not seriously considered until now,” Moomaw said. “The town board has taken no position on it one way or the other. We decided to let the voters make the decision.”
Moomaw said that after consulting the State Liquor Commission on the wording, the referendum was submitted for placement on the ballot.
Shelby County Clerk Kathy Lantz noted that there are other areas that are still considered dry
“There may be some looking at this issue that may be on future ballots,” Lantz said.
Voters need to be cautious on the vote because of the wording of the referendum. A “Yes” vote means Stewardson will stay “dry” and no retail alcohol sales will be allowed. A “No” vote would repeal the prohibition and the village would be “wet”.