Liquor Commission to discuss Unofficial

Despite cancelling its monthly meeting Thursday, the Champaign Liquor Advisory Commission will still hold a meeting in early March to discuss Unofficial St. Patrick’s Day. At the discussion, the commission will critique and review the Champaign Police Department’s Unofficial St. Patrick’s Day report.

Teri Legner, deputy liquor commissioner, said Unofficial was not a factor in the timing of the meeting’s cancelation. The meeting was canceled, she said, because there were no agenda items for the committee to discuss or present.

“The liquor advisory commission is just that, an advisory body made of representatives of liquor businesses, the University, of the City Council and etc.,” Legner said. “For this meeting, there are no new issues to bring forward.”

As in previous years, Champaign Mayor Gerald Schweighart will send out an order enclosing provisions for the annual event. Schweighart said he is confident regulation of Unofficial would be successful this year.

“Last year was relatively successful, and we’re sure this year will proceed similarly,” Schweighart said. “We’ve enforced laws so that if bars are found not following regulations, they are fined or put on suspension. However, we are focusing on patrolling drinking happening in privately-owned property.”

Thomas Bruno, Council member-at-large, said over–consumption of alcohol in the community is a delicate issue to deal with. Like Schweighart, Bruno said an increase in patrol of private parties is critical for this year’s Unofficial St. Patrick’s Day.

More officers will monitor major apartment complexes. Champaign police and realty management companies such as JSM apartments work together to promote safe behavior for the event.

Like last year, the bar-entry age will be raised during certain hours on Unofficial. At 11 a.m. Friday the entry age will increase to 21. It will return to 19 at 2:30 a.m. Saturday morning.

“We just have to accept the responsibilities of having lower bar-entry age standards compared to other campuses,” Schweighart said. “Most other campus-towns require a person to be of 21 years of age, while we have a minimum cutoff of 19 years old.”

The critique of the event will be prepared by Champaign Police Chief R.T. Finney. The report will include multiple items, such as the number of offenses that took place and the number of fines handed out. The Liquor Advisory Commission will look over the statistics to determine the relative success of this year’s patrol.