Sentinel Reports on Drinking Game Before it Happens

Here’s the article appearing in today’s Keene Sentinel about tonight’s drinking game. It reports that on tonight’s agenda is a letter from Keene native Heika Courser regarding the repeal of the open container ordinance, so the councilors will be addressing the issue. All indicators show a larger turnout of activists is expected tonight than last time. Here’s the text of the piece by “Sentinel Staff”:

City officials say they have made no special plans if a Free Keene group attends another Keene City Council meeting to play a “drinking game.”

The group’s website, FreeKeene.com, says that the “drinking game: round two” will be held at tonight’s meeting.

On Aug. 5, a group of Free Keene members attended the City Council meeting, drinking from bottles appearing to be alcohol but marked with the label “not a beer.” Mayor Philip Dale Pregent stopped the meeting to address the group, after which two people were arrested when they refused to allow police to determine whether the bottles they were drinking from contained alcohol. A third person was arrested outside City Hall after the meeting. The group members said they were protesting the city’s open container ordinance.

“We have made no plans,” said Keene police Capt. Steven Russo, adding that it is largely up to the mayor and council to address the issue. “Frankly, we’ve hardly even thought about it.”

Russo said the department may discuss the situation prior to tonight’s 7 o’clock meeting.

Pregent said “We’re going to handle city business in a normal, everyday manner. If there’s an issue, we’ll deal with it then.”

On tonight’s council agenda is a letter from Heika M. Courser of Keene, who was part of the Free Keene group at the council meeting earlier this month. She asks that councilors reconsider the open container ordinance, and apologizes to anyone she may have offended during the last council meeting.

“My intentions were not to offend or anger anyone,” Courser said in the letter. “I had never been to a council meeting, and felt it was a fun and quiet way to become involved. I thought it (the drinking game) would be fun without being disruptive.”

Courser’s letter also talked about the reasons why she and others believe the ordinance should be repealed.

“As an adult, I feel we should be able to make our own decisions on public property, property that we all collectively own.

“If you are thinking that the streets of Keene would be littered with drunkards, then I ask you to take a look at Main Street on a Saturday night as people are stumbling out of bars,” she said.

The correspondence will likely be referred to a council committee.

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