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Liquor store debate

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After years of voters deciding to keep Lumberton a dry city, one man has found a way to get alcohol closer to the people.

Dennis Williams' new liquor store, Longhorn Liquor, is expected to open in April at the intersection of Rachel St. and HWY 69 in Hardin County.

Despite tension among those who want alcohol in their city and those who don't, the Hardin County Clerk says it's Williams' right to build it because it sits just feet the city limit line of Lumberton.

Lumberton Paramedic Tony Hagelberg says bringing alcohol closer to the dry city is a good thing.

"I see it everyday where they're driving down the road to get something because they can't get it locally, and that's what happens, somebody dies," says Hagelberg.

He's not alone.

"They ought to be able to get it without having to drive a bunch of miles to get it," says Edward Cassles.

Others say just the opposite.

"There's going to be wrecks and people mangled up, killed and everything," argues one Lumberton resident.

Bryan Goins says, "I'd rather them keep it away."

The County Clerk approved William's liquor license because the store is technically in Hardin County.

Williams hopes it will bring more businesses like other restaurants to the area.

"Did I know I'd ever open a liquor store, absolutely not," says Williams. "Looking at the sales and tax dollars going down the street it was a business decision."

While some like Goins think it will bring danger to roads.

"I know what they do when they drink and get behind the wheel."

Hagelberg hopes it will make his drive safer.

"Less drunk drivers on the road."

The Lumberton City Manager says if the city limit lines are ever redrawn and the store is in the dry area, Williams will be able to continue selling alcohol from his store because he is already there.

Longhorn liquor won't be the first to sell alcohol in or near Lumberton.

Two gas stations sold beer and wine before a court decision in 2011 put a stop to that.

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