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Uncork Kansas
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Dear Editor,
I am concerned about the current legislative effort to expand the sale and consumption of liquor in Kansas by the bill to “uncork Kansas”, which would basically allow grocery stores to become liquor stores as well. Before fundamentally changing Kansas so radically, at least two questions should be answered: Is it necessary? And, will it make our city/county/state a better, safer place to live?
Do we really need more places to obtain more liquor? Currently there are at eight stores in Barton County that sell carry-out wines and liquor, and at least 23 bars and restaurants and clubs that sell and serve alcohol. It would appear that liquor is readily available already for anyone who wants/needs some. A review of the DUI arrests and alcohol related accidents and domestic incidents would indicate that easier access is not needed.  
While I can understand the appeal of millions of dollars that alcohol sales would mean for grocery stores, I like going into a store that emphasizes food. I have been in states where a large section of the grocery store is devoted to alcohol. It adds a “sleaze” factor that is less family friendly. I like not taking my children/grandchildren through a liquor store to buy groceries. Grocery work has traditionally been entry level jobs for teenagers, but these work opportunities could and should disappear if this measure goes through. Most people would prefer that youngsters not be involved with the stocking, bagging, or sale of alcohol. Our community is better when our kids can work, and grocery jobs are good for them.
I like to spend my hard-earned grocery money on food and groceries. While some would argue that wine is a food, the truth is that people don’t choose wine for its food value, but for the alcohol that is in it. Grape juice has the same nutrition, and is much cheaper. Alcohol remains the most abused drug, albeit legal. Consider the person who is recovering or who struggles with alcohol, going into the grocery for milk for the family and is met with a fine display of “spirits”. Right now, I am glad that choice is complicated just a bit, and I believe our community is better if the family gets the milk.
Kansas is a pretty good place to live, and I like to think our conservative liquor standards are part of the reason. The argument that other states do or don’t allow alcohol, shouldn’t matter. Kansas is better without liquor in our grocery stores. Actually, we are not alone-at least ten other states (including New York and Pennsylvania) don’t allow wine/liquor in grocery stores either-that’s more than 20% of the states.
Dee Anne Grummon
Great Bend