Board stops some Milton beer sales

Signs inside the Tiger Stop on Milton Avenue indicate that beer sales may resume soon. This photo was taken on Aug. 5, 2015. The store lost its permit to sell beer after an ownership change. (Photo Credit: Ken Stickney, The Advertiser)

A Milton convenience store can no longer sell beer after the Lafayette Parish School Board denied a waiver request last week.

The Tiger Stop No. 3, at 225 W. Milton Ave., had temporarily stopped beer sales earlier this year. However, the owner, Mohammed ail Amersi, was hoping the school board would allow those sales to resume.

Under a different owner and company, the store had sold beer for several years, in part because it was grandfathered in when state laws changed. When ail Amersi formed a new business and took over ownership, his beer sales permit request was denied by the Louisiana Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control.

That put the matter in the school board’s hands, since the store is located almost directly across the street from Milton Elementary/Middle School. A waiver, plus permission from the Lafayette City-Parish Council, would have likely meant the state would reconsider issuing a new permit.

“You’re across the street from a middle school that goes up to eighth grade,” board member Jeremy Hidalgo told ail Amersi at last week’s meeting. “Beer and students don’t mix. It’s hard for me to support allowing or granting a variance to sell immediately across the street. It’s not because I’m not concerned about your business. It’s just that children and alcohol don’t mix.”

Board member Justin Centanni said he was concerned because the store had received a citation for selling alcohol to a minor. ail Amersi said the incident was “unfortunate,” but the store shouldn’t be permanently penalized because of it.

“I’m hurting personally, myself, because I have to raise my children, my parents live with me and they are disabled,” ail Amersi said. “Without this, it would be very impossible for me to provide for my children and family.”

He added that there are other stores near Lafayette Parish schools that sell beer, and that Milton students are always accompanied by adults.

Hidalgo said that if any of those stores lose their beer permit, he would vote the same way and not allow a waiver. He added that many Milton students walk to and from school without adult supervision.

The board voted 6-1 to deny the waiver request. Board President Tommy Angelle voted in favor of it. Board members Erick Knezek and Tehmi Chassion were absent.

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