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(Enlarge) Clerk of the Court James Reilly, left, swears in James Thornton as the newest member of the Harford County Liquor Control Board Wednesday afternoon. (Matt Button | Aegis staff)

James Thornton was sworn in April 13, prior to the board’s meeting in Bel Air, as the newest member of the Harford County Liquor Control Board.

Randall Worthington also was sworn in for his second term as a board member.

As its first order of business, the new board, minus member Vernon Gauss who was absent, selected Donald Hess to continue as chairman and selected Sandi Tunney to be the new vice chair. Tunney replaces William Jiles, who left the board last month and was replaced by Thornton.

The board approved 144 license renewals, about half the licenses in the county minus a handful whose holders haven’t submitted proper paperwork or have other compliance issues. The bulk of the renewals will be approved at next Wednesday’s meeting.

Liquor licenses must be renewed and on the premises by May 1, but as a practical matter, Hess noted licensees who plan to pick them up at the board office need to do so by Friday, April 29, since May 1 falls on a Sunday. Those who serve alcohol after April 30 without a valid license will be in violation, he said.

First Friday in Bel Air

Among a handful of one-day beer and wine and one-day beer, wine and liquor licenses approved by the board April 13 was a one-day beer and wine for Bel Air Downtown Alliance’s First Friday event May 6, the organization’s first Friday event of the season.

Board Administrator Kathryn Thess said an area will be cordoned off along Office Street by the courthouse where people will be able to drink beer and wine and will not be able to leave with beverages.

Thess said the events were policed well last year, but a skeptical Worthington also reminded her that the group’s executive director, Scott Walker, who is slated to be on the license for the events this year, got in trouble with the board last year and ended up being replaced as the licensee for many of the monthly events.

It is a rule violation for a named licensee to consume alcohol while on the premises. Walker was observed by a liquor inspector consuming alcohol twice at the First Fridays last June, and the alliance was fined $1,000.

“What leads you to believe there’s not going to be a problem?” Worthington asked.

Thess said the alliance and Walker were compliant at succeeding events.

“We don’t anticipate any problems,” she said. “He’s got the message.”

Worthington said the event is “pretty big,” routinely drawing more than 500 people, and could quickly get out of hand, “as it did at least once.”

“You don’t need that negative activity,” he said.

As with last year, First Fridays in Bel Air will have security that includes both town police and marines, Thess said. Chief Inspector Charles Robbins said staff from Dark Horse Saloon, Looney’s and MaGerk’s will help out with checking IDs.

Robbins and Hess noted those folks who work at the doors of popular nightspots are well versed in spotting fakes.

user comments (1)


user 6chars says...

They're well versed in spotting fakes. That's why they're always written up every Friday for serving minors -- and not even minors with fake IDs, but minors with vertical IDs, in the company of plainclothes sheriff's deputies! What could possibly go wrong?


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