Whiteclay bill advances

Published Monday March 29, 2010

LINCOLN — State lawmakers advanced a trimmed-down spending package to help address the alcohol-related woes associated with Whiteclay, Neb.

After more than an hour of debate, Nebraska state senators decided to allocate $44,000 to hire a grant writer to seek federal or private funds to help build a detoxification facility or bring additional law enforcement to Whiteclay.

Lawmakers also approved $25,000 as seed money to seek those grants. That is $75,000 less than had been sought by State Sen. LeRoy Louden, who represents the Whiteclay area of northwest Nebraska.

Several senators said that due to the state’s budget woes, it was improper to spend $100,000 this year as seed money.

Whiteclay is an unincorporated village that has four, beer-only liquor stores that sell more than three million cans of beer a year, mostly to residents of the adjacent Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.

Liquor is banned on the reservation, but alcoholism and other liquor-related problems are rampant. Many advocates have called on Nebraska to shut down the Whiteclay stores, saying they exploit Native Americans and exacerbate the liquor woes.


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