Grant sheriff seeks sand dune alcohol ban

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Crowdog
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Grant sheriff seeks sand dune alcohol ban

Post by Crowdog »

Grant sheriff seeks sand dune alcohol ban

This story was published Saturday, April 9th, 2005

By Lynne Miller, Herald Basin bureau

MOSES LAKE -- Last year's Memorial Day weekend was jam-packed with accidents, many alcohol-related, at the Moses Lake and Beverly sand dunes.

But this year the Grant County Sheriff's Office hopes the holiday will be different and is supporting a year-round ban on alcohol at both locations.

A public hearing on the proposed ordinance is set for 1:30 p.m. April 18 during the county commissioners' meeting in Ephrata.

Deputy Prosecutor Steve Hallstrom, who is writing the ordinance, said the sheriff's office and the commissioners want the ordinance in effect by May 1, well before Memorial Day.

"Hopefully, it will cut down on accidents from errors in judgment," Hallstrom said. "We're not trying to keep people from having a good time."

About five years ago, Hallstrom said, he visited the 3,000-acre county and privately-owned Moses Lake Sand Dunes and found a mix of families enjoying their weekend and revelers who wanted to "recreate Tombstone from the 1800s" by disregarding laws.

Last Memorial Day weekend, about 5,000 to 8,000 people, many from Western Washington, visited the Moses Lake dunes, an area about 10 minutes from downtown that is open for 4-wheel-drive trucks, ATVs and motorcycles.

Herald archives show deputies issued about 155 tickets for underage drinking or off-road driving offenses.

Also last year, one man was badly injured in a motorcycle accident at the Beverly Sand Dunes, a 500- to 600-acre area near Mattawa.

"After last Memorial Day, we decided something had to be done," said sheriff's Chief Deputy Courtney Conklin. "It's like we're condoning drinking and driving."

Over the past year, Samaritan Hospital emergency room physicians have expressed concerns over the number of alcohol-related accident victims treated in the ER.

Moses Lake physician James Irwin, who has covered the ER during past Memorial Day weekends, said about 85 percent of the accident victims who come to the ER have been drinking.

"I've been asking them to do that for some time," Irwin said about the proposed ban.

Irwin, who's also a homeowner near the sand dunes, said he doesn't have a problem with people having fun, but he said alcohol and off-road-vehicles don't mix well.

Dave McMains, a member of the Columbia Basin Sand Commandos, a Moses Lake-based four-wheel-drive club, called the proposed ban "the greatest thing since sliced bread."

"They need control out there," McMains said. "There's too many people getting hurt. You can have fun out there and not be soused."

http://www.tri-cityherald.com/tch/local ... 7114c.html

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Post by Glamisman »

"Hopefully, it will cut down on accidents from errors in judgment," Hallstrom said. "We're not trying to keep people from having a good time."

If you Drink dont drive and I didnt know that drinking was a requirment to have a good time.

Just my 2 cents worth.

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Post by Crowdog »

County bans alcohol at Moses Lake Sand Dunes

This story was published Tuesday, April 19th, 2005

By Lynne Miller, Herald Basin bureau

EPHRATA -- Alcohol will be banned at the Moses Lake Sand Dunes off-road-vehicle area beginning May 1, Grant County commissioners decided Monday.

The decision came after at public hearing attended by more than 50 people, with 21 testifying. Of those, 14 opposed the ban and seven favored it.

But the three commissioners said the action is necessary for public safety. A similar ban at the Beverly Sand Dunes, a 500- to 600-acre area near Mattawa, may be imposed later after the county gets legal land descriptions from state agencies.

One of the ban's opponents, Mick Hansen of Moses Lake, told the commissioners the new rule would turn away tourists and mean less money for Grant County.

Others opposing the ordinance included area ORV users, a businessman, a pizza vendor and two property owners who said they were concerned drinkers would migrate to their farmland.

Peny Archer of the ORV group Sand Commandos said deputies should use current laws to nab drunk drivers.

Last Memorial Day weekend, deputies wrote about 155 tickets for underage drinking or off-road driving offenses at the 3,000-acre Moses Lake dunes, where 5,000 to 8,000 people visited. The area, about 10 minutes from downtown Moses Lake, is open to 4-wheel-drive trucks, ATVs and motorcycles.

The seven people who spoke in favor of the ordinance included Samaritan Hospital's emergency room supervisor, a sand dunes accident victim, three Grant County sheriff's deputies and two ORV users.

"There's kind of this aura now, people don't want to ride, they come to watch the mayhem," said Chief Deputy Courtney Conklin.

Barbara Karas of Wenatchee said she favored the ban and recounted an alcohol-related accident she was in five years ago. Karas, then 36, said she broke both legs, her back, both arms and left shoulder after a Ford truck she was riding in attempted to jump to a nonexistent dune.

Commissioners Deborah Moore, Richard Stevens and LeRoy Allison approved the proposed ordinance without changes.

"I hate to see peoples' personal liberties eroded, but the few ruin it for the many, it falls down to that," Stevens said. "I'm sorry it comes down to that."

http://www.tri-cityherald.com/tch/local ... 3782c.html

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Post by Sand Commander »

Typical bureaucrats.
Instead of enforcing existing laws they allow their personal agenda to dictate to them to pass extreme legislation to attempt to further their own ideals. Ignoring public opinion and due process.
Bill Jones
Apathy is the greatest danger to our freedom.
If you give in to fear and pain, there are thrills you will never know- North Dallas Forty
Government by the people has now been replaced by Government verses the people
The best argument against democracy is a five minute conversation with the average voter- Winston Churchill

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Post by SandTazzem »

If you have ever been to Moses Lake on Memorial day weekend or any other major holiday you'll notice that maybe 1/2 of the people there are actually riding/driving some sort of ORV. The rest of the poeple are usually teenagers that come there strictly to party. The local police always have their hands full with everything from underage drunk people to stealing and vandalism and everything that goes along with it.

2 years ago on Memorial day weekend i witnessed a rail fly off a ridge without checking what was on the other side (no spotter) and took out 3 tents before slamming into a parked truck. He was obviously butt toasted, Then he tried to get away and was subdued by some pretty irrate campers. Yes he was arrested (I think Gary got him... i cant remember).

Over the last 5 years there has been a noticable increase in the amount of partyers versus duners. The duners themselves have got involved in the drinking aspect and it shows. The laws put into affect are a direct result of the users (and Abusers) actions. The law is the only logical result but its still screws everyone in the end... literally.

My only concern is that it will only stop a limited number of problems. Just like in Oregon. People just drink in their tents and RV's. You wont stop drinking in the dunes. It not possible or legal to search every vehicle coming into the dunes.

Maybe this Memorial weekend we will see less accidents and less drunk teenagers stealing coolers and other personal property. I am going for 4 days, so ill post back with some pictures of what happened.
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Post by Langer »

I think its good to sober up the dunes, but not being able to drink a couple of beers around the fire in my campsite sucks! I hope regulation of this new ordinance doesnt turn into harassment.

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