NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

January 10, 2013

Officials: 'Thanks-drinking' was one of Port's worst binges

(Continued)

“It’s Thanks-drinking eve,” Egmont said.

Egmont said with students and alumni coming home for the holiday, added with the number of pouring establishments in the downtown area alone, creates the perfect storm for drinking-related incidents.

“Nobody should be walking out of a bar throwing up,” Egmont said.

The police department and the Department of Youth Services have been members of the Beacon Coalition, a multi-faceted group created in 2006 that is determined to find effective solutions to reduce under-age use and abuse of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs.

Methods employed by the Beacon Coalition include training bar and restaurant staff to determine whether someone has had enough to drink and to keep minors from being served. The coalition has also used grant money to fund under-aged drinking stings conducted by the police.

Howard said on July 27, an under-aged female accompanied an undercover police officer into all of the city’s licensed drinking establishments as part of a summer compliance check. Four restaurants and bars — the Black Cow, Hana Japan, Upper Crust Pizzeria and Szechuan Taste — were caught serving alcohol to the minor. After leaving the restaurant with the undercover officer, another officer entered and told the manager on duty that they had violated their liquor licenses. The establishments were all given warnings by the city’s Liquor Licensing Commission and ordered to undergo awareness training offered by the coalition.

Harsher penalties could have included one-day, three-day or even longer suspensions of their liquor licenses. Such penalties can cost establishments thousands of dollars and have the potential of shutting down a business permanently. Such suspensions are typically doled out by the city Liquor Licensing Commission or the state’s Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission.

The ABCC and local police are currently investigating the North End Boat Club for its potential role in the death of a East Hampstead, N.H., woman who was killed in a head-on collision on the Gillis Bridge on New Year’s Eve. Police believe the driver of the car that killed 41-year-old Donna J. Bergeron may have begun his journey at the Manson Avenue private club and marina, before entering the southbound side of the Route 1 bridge heading north.

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