COLUMN: Local Meeting Roundup
Ultra Mart liquor license suspended for five days
GRAFTON - Citing the store's second violation in the past year, the Board of Selectmen last night suspended the liquor license of the Ultra Mart Convenience Store, 215 Worcester St., for five days for selling a six-pack of beer to a 20-year-old man on Oct. 21.
Along with the suspension, all alcohol has to be taken off the shelves of the store for the five days that will be determined by Police Chief Normand A. Crepeau Jr. and owner Tariq Khalil. Chief Crepeau said the liquor license suspension will take place in the days before Christmas
"Any days between now and Christmas is going to hurt," said Chief Crepeau, who added that he hopes the message gets through to Mr. Khalil, and other stores that sell alcohol in town, that selling to minors will not be tolerated.
In addition, Mr. Khalil was fined $724 to cover the cost of the investigation and the appearance of police personnel at last night's 15-minute public hearing.
Chief Crepeau said he would recommend closing the store for 30 days if there is a third violation. The liquor license of the store was suspended for two days in February, after liquor was sold to a minor last December.
Detective William G. Kuck said police were working in the area in October after several robberies, when he noticed a man he knew to be 20 years old walk into the store that he said had gained a reputation as a place where minors could purchase alcohol. The purchase of the beer on Oct. 21 was observed by a police undercover officer in the store at the time.
Chief Crepeau said Mr. Khalil was contrite and cooperative with police, and the clerk who did not ask for any identification from the man no longer works at the store.
- Bill Fortier
Council stops short of tactic aimed at Unitil
FITCHBURG - At last night's meeting, City Council President Stephen Hay suggested councilors hold up granting permission to Unitil to install three poles that will carry electricity to a private residence, as a way of sending the utility company a message.
City officials are frustrated with Unitil's slow response for requested information regarding formal negotiations with the city to purchase streetlights.
When a petition presented by James Dee, an electric field technician for Unitil, came up on the agenda at the City Council meeting, some councilors discussed denying the petition to pressure Unitil.
However, Richard C. Paradise and Barbara J. Paradise, who have lived in Westminster 28 years, and are building a home on Rindge Road in Fitchburg, pleaded with the council to allow the petition to move forward.
The home will be finished Dec. 24, the couple said, and they just paid Unitil $11,000 for the three poles. They said they are anxious to move back to Fitchburg.
"We don't have the money to be able to keep two places at the same time," Mr. Paradise said. "I do plead: Don't hold up the process of us moving back into Fitchburg."
Mr. Paradise asked councilors what he and his wife could do to help with communication between the city and Unitil. He said they would be happy to help, but they need to move into their home.
Other councilors spoke against the tactic.
Mr. Hay later agreed it would not be fair to hold up the homeowners' plans and said he felt he accomplished his objective just by having the discussion.
The council unanimously approved the pole...