Legal suit filed to stop expansion of Ruston alcohol sales

Local News

Years ago Ruston passed an alcohol proposition allowing restaurants to sell alcohol. It also enabled stores to sell alcohol under 6%. Some residents are wanting to add hard liquor into big name stores and some believe it’s a bad idea.

Lynn Kari was hit and seriously injured by habitual drunk driver last year. Most would think Kari would be dead set against anything that would bring more alcohol into Ruston but that’s not the case.

“People who are going to drink and drive, they’re going to drink and drive regardless of where they go to get their alcohol,” she said. 

Kari says Ruston was different city 15 years ago, when the city was dry. She say’s alcohol expansion would only allow money to flow right back into the community.

“There was none and I thought, that’s an awful lot of loss of revenue for these businesses,” said Kari. 

A petition was filed in September to expand alcohol sales in Ruston, which would allow stores like Walmart and Brookshires to sell hard liquor. Ben Humphries says he doesn’t think that’s a good idea.

“Super One Foods, Walmart and Walmart Market are what I would call family oriented stores and I just don’t think it’s appropriate,” he said. 

The petition needed 2,500 signatures to be considered, and it got it. However, Humphries filed a suit to stop the petition. He believes some of the signatures had invalid addresses, came from non- registered voters and were obtained by intimidation. 

All that being said, he wants people to understand he’s not against alcohol sales. 

“We don’t want anything that we have to change, we’re afraid that if all five options come back up again, then there’s a chance that the local restaurant option could be voted out,” Humphries indicates.

He says, this is suit  nothing against the city of Ruston. Mayor Ronny Walker says the city is neutral.

“We’ve tried to take a wait and see attitude, we’re still waiting because the petition has to be certified,” Mayor Walker said.

He says the expansion has its pros and cons. Kari says at the end of the day it comes down to morals because people will do what they want to. 

“We’re talking about accessibility to it in other places than where people are currently going.”

Monday night is the deadline for city council approval of the alcohol expansion petition. If it doesn’t make the agenda, the petition organizers can try again. However, it won’t be on December’s ballot. 

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