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Thursday, May 04, 2006

Bear Butte update:Meade County Commission-liquor license will stand

On Tuesday, May 02, the Meade County Commission approved a second liquor license for another bar near Bear Butte. Bear Butte defenders wanted the issue put to a vote and collected the necessary amount of signatures for a county wide referendum. Their petition was presented to the Meade County Commission.
The Meade County Commission has received a stack of petition signatures and two court challenges, all seeking to overturn the commission’s decision to grant a beer license to the new Broken Spoke Saloon and Sturgis County Line campground.

The new Sturgis motorcycle rally venue is under construction a couple of miles north of Bear Butte.

Another venue, Rock’n the Rally at Glencoe CampResort, received a full liquor license from the county Tuesday.

Both moves have been greeted with outrage by American Indian groups, who hold Bear Butte as sacred and see the raucous rally moving closer to the mountain. In addition, some rural Meade County ranchers also decried the rally’s eastward expansion from Sturgis.

Ken Chleborad, deputy state’s attorney in Meade County, confirmed Wednesday that the court challenges were filed in 4th Circuit Court on Tuesday afternoon.

One was filed by Rapid City attorney Bruce Ellison on behalf of rural Meade County Jesse Levin and six others.

The other challenge was filed by Tom Van Norman, attorney and state legislator from Eagle Butte, on behalf of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe.

In addition, petitioners gathered 756 verified signatures seeking to refer the Sturgis County Line beer license to a countywide vote. They needed 745 valid signatures.

Chleborad said the petitions have been forwarded to the Meade County Commission. Commissioners have scheduled a meeting for 9:30 a.m. today to decide how to proceed. full article

The Meade County Commission met and announced their decision this afternoon.
A beer license issued for a new campground near Bear Butte won't be going to a public vote in Meade County.

The county commission decided unanimously Thursday that its granting of the license to Jay Allen is an administrative decision that can't be referred to a public vote. Petitions calling for the vote were submitted this week.

The Meade County deputy state's attorney said two challenges to the license have been filed in circuit court - one on behalf of several rural Meade County residents, and the other on behalf of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe. full article

The 2 challenges are still in play but might not stand much of a chance at reversing the license approval.

Various native nations, allied organizations and Meade County citizens have gone through the necessary channels to protect Bear Butte. At this point, those paths have turned into dead ends and recourse is seemingly hard to find.

Unbeknownst to the Meade County Commission, there is a growing grassroots mobilization of native communities to protect sacred sites in general and Bear Butte in particular. More and more, it looks as if the Meade County Commision will see the result of this mobilization this summer.

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