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Alcohol is on the ballot for King and Rural Hall voters

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KING — Voters in King and Rural Hall will cast ballots Tuesday whether to allow the sale of mixed alcoholic beverages in both communities.

In King, voters will decide whether to permit the sale of mixed beverages in hotels, restaurants, private clubs, community theaters and convention centers, according to a King city document.

King voters also will decide whether an ABC store will be located in the southwestern Stokes County municipality.

In Rural Hall, voters will decide only on allowing the sale of mixed beverages in its hotels, restaurants, private clubs, community theaters and convention centers, according to a Forsyth County sample ballot.

Jane Cole, a member of the King City Council, said Friday that she supports King citizens casting ballots on the city’s liquor-by-the-drink referendum. Cole declined to reveal her position on the issue.

“That’s a personal matter on whether you are opposed to it or in favor of it,” Cole said. “I wanted the citizens to have the opportunity to express their opinions about it. Whatever way it goes, I’m fine with it.”

The King City Council voted, 3-1, Jan. 3 to put the referendum on the Nov. 8 ballot.

Before its vote, the council discussed the potential of additional tax revenue for King from the sale of alcoholic beverages, according to the minutes of the Jan. 3 council meeting.

There are many signs in the King residents’ yards and along city streets that support and oppose the referendum. The signs say, “Vote No on Liquor!” and “Vote Yes on Liquor.”

Another sign says, “King Referendum Liquor by the Drink: Vote Yes; Your right – Your Choice.”

In smaller print, the sign further says, “No one should take away your choice to have a drink or not with your meal. You don’t want Liquor by the Drink, then don’t drink. That’s your choice.”

At the King Public Library Friday, a man said he is opposed to the sale of alcoholic beverages in King and Rural Hall. The library is an early voting site in King.

“Alcohol is poison,” the man said. “It poisons people slowly.”

The man, a Rural Hall resident, declined to identify himself because he wants to maintain his privacy.

Mike Rogers, a Republican candidate for the Stokes County Board of Education, said he agreed with the King’s liquor-by-the drink referendum being on the ballot. However, Rogers declined to discuss his position on the issue.

“The citizens who are directly impacted should have their voices heard,” Rogers said. “Let the citizens make the decision.”

Destiney Griffin, the manager of K4 Tobacco and Vape, said she supports the alcoholic beverage referendum because it will bring more business to King. Her store is in the King Shopping Center off South Main Street.

“I like it,” Griffin said. “I want them (the voters) to pass it.”

A sign near the shopping center’s entrance says, “Say No to ABC Stores in King. Protect Our Children.”

Salvatore Looz, the co-owner of Little Italy Pizza Restaurant in King, said he supports the liquor-by-the-drink referendum in Stokes County’s largest town.

“I hope they (voters) will pass it, but I’m not going to put a bar in my restaurant because I’m not set up for that,” Looz said.

The sale of mixed drinks in King will be good for the city’s restaurants, Looz said.

Several months ago, the Rural Hall Town Council voted unanimously to put the mixed-beverage referendum on the town’s Nov. 8 ballot, said Terry Bennett, a council member.

“We were looking to extend the growth for the town,” Bennett said.

Town leaders also wanted King to receive tax revenue generated by the local sale of alcoholic beverages, Bennett said.

“Without, we would not have the chance for large restaurants,” Bennett said. “It opens up opportunities for that type of business.”

George Kontos, a co-owner of Coronet Seafood Restaurant in Rural Hall, said he and many of his customers are opposed to the mixed-beverage referendum on Rural Hall’s ballot.

His restaurant, which is at 431 Bethania-Rural Hall Road, is a family-oriented business, Kontos said.

“I am opposed to alcohol,” Kontos said. “That’s my belief. I have to follow my beliefs, and I will not serve alcohol.”

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@jhintonWSJ

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