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Social host ordinance set for first public hearing Oct. 6

Adults who knowingly host an event at which alcohol is illegally served to minors could be held liable if a new social host ordinance is passed in Hubbard County. (Sarah Smith / Enterprise)

The county's social host ordinance making it a crime to knowingly serve minors alcohol at a party will have its first public hearing Oct. 6 at 10:30 a.m.

Advocates such as Hubbard County Chemical Dependency Coordinator Sara Bowles are urging its passage.

"As a community member and as a Dad, I am in favor of this ordinance," Hubbard County Attorney Don Dearstyne said in introducing Ordinance No. 39.

He said the ordinance assists law enforcement and the courts in holding adults responsible "when they knowingly provide a place for our youth to drink."

Dearstyne explained the ordinance doesn't hold parents liable when they give their children permission to drink under their supervision, such as a glass of wine with dinner.

But anyone 18 years old or older can be held liable for hosting an event that permits or promotes illegal alcohol use by minors.

It has long frustrated officers that they can break up an underage party and cite the minors for consuming alcohol, but not the party host.

Dearstyne said he hopes this will deter such hosts from opening their homes to illegal activity.

Violation of the ordinance, if passed, would be a misdemeanor. The hearing is during the regular board meeting in the county boardroom.

In other action the board:

n Accepted the pending retirement of coordinator Jack Paul, who will leave his office Nov. 30, 2010, after nearly 12 years of service.

His retirement had been planned for May of 2011, but as he checked into his benefits, he quipped, "They kept offering me more money" so he sped up his departure.

Paul thanked the board for a "really great 12 years and I mean it."

Paul just returned from a one-month unpaid suspension for alleged violations of the state's Data Privacy Act. His assistant, Deb Thompson, has assumed his duties as board clerk and will continue with those responsibilities until the board determines how to fill the vacancy.

Paul, an avid downhill skier, said he would likely spend the winter on the slopes, likely Colorado.

Raised the fees for indigent burials by $50 from $1,350 to $1,400. That covers the cost of professional services such as a casket, embalming, use of the funeral home and transportation.

Agreed to consolidate several miscellaneous bank accounts as a recommendation of an outside auditor who annually reviews the county's books. The 2009 audit otherwise got glowing reviews. The county has numerous checking accounts scattered at several banks, a practice that has been in place for years, said auditor Pam Heeren. She will begin to consolidate the accounts immediately.

Reviewed the latest timber auction, which brought $219,770. The average price of mixed aspen was $25, down from the $27 it fetched in May.

Sarah Smith

Sarah Smith is the outdoors editor. She covers courts, business and breaking news in addition to outdoors events.

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