$14,900 for Whiteclay


LINCOLN — A state agency has announced a $14,900 grant to help entrepreneurs and young people in Whiteclay.

The northwest Nebraska border town is notorious for its four liquor stores that annually sell 3.2 million cans of beer, mostly to the residents of the officially dry Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.

The grant was part of a law passed by the Nebraska Legislature last year that provided $25,000 to improve conditions in the village, which has been called the “skid row of the Plains.” Street people are common, and the beer sales are blamed for alcohol-related problems at the nearby reservation, just across the border in South Dakota.

The Nebraska Commission on Indian Affairs recently announced the $14,900 grant for the Whiteclay Entrepreneurial Expansion/Youth Healthy Living Project, a collaboration between the City of Rushville and three nonprofit groups.

The money will help local entrepreneurs develop business strategies and provide equipment and supplies to existing Lakota-owned and -operated businesses. The project also will establish a mentoring program for area youths.

An earlier $10,000 was given to the Sheridan County Sheriff’s Office to improve law enforcement in the unincorporated village.

State Sen. LeRoy Louden of Ellsworth, who represents Whiteclay, is seeking $15,000 more for grants this year.

Last month, the State Liquor Control Commission suspended the liquor licenses of two Whiteclay stores for 12 days for selling to minors. The businesses, Arrowhead Inn and D&S Pioneer Service, could choose to pay a daily fine in lieu of closing.

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