Liquor vs. God

Published 12:00 am Sunday, October 30, 2005

The Selma Times-Journal

Church. Church. Church. Liquor Store. The parcels of land off Highway 80 and Roosevelt in Tipton/Selmont currently stand in this state of development, and the residents aren’t having it.

New Peace Missionary Baptist Church, Beloved Apostolic Church of God, Chosen Generation Apostolic Church, and a presently-unnamed-but-approved-by- Selma’s-City-Council liquor store.

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Royal Liquor presented its application to the council and received approval two months ago.

In the late 1980s, the neighborhood’s dynamic was threatening and poor overall.

Market Street, because of the business that trafficked it, was called Crack Avenue.

Tipton Elementary-Middle School sits at the foot of the neighborhood and serves 446 students.

Moore’s grandson, Anthony Moore, was convicted of murder at the age of 15. He shot and killed a white man his mother was servicing to raise money for drugs after witnessing the event on his way home from school.

Below former Market Street, now called Brown Street, in honor of Chuckie Brown, a 20-year-old accidentally shot down on his way home to the Tipton/Selmont neighborhood, sits Tabord’s, a bar with a handpainted sign signifying &8220;Ghetto Beach.&8221;

A drive into Tipton/Selmont in the morning shows a neighborhood like many other neighborhoods. Children chat and laugh in the cold morning air while waiting for the schoolbus, people sip coffee from the driver’s seat in their driveways while the car warms, frost reflects off the grass in front of houses with neat yards, and large trees and dusty shoulders line the edges of the roads.

The houses seem stable and the residents rooted. There’s clearly a sense of community.

Though the Selma City Council can vote to approve a liquor store placed in the middle of a residential neighborhood with five churches and an elementary school, the voters in Tipton/Selmont cannot vote them out of office.

Selma’s police jurisdiction includes Selmont/Tipton.

With regards to the placement of the liquor store, the County Commissioner, Connell Towns, said, &8220;Well, that’s a problem and we’re looking into what we can do about the situation.&8221;

Councilwoman Jean Martin and President George Evans said only two calls were made from the neighborhood when the issue was on first reading. One to Councilwoman Bennie Ruth Crenshaw; one to George Evans.

The council approved the drafting of a letter to the ABC Board requesting the license be revoked or suspended because of placement. Legally, once the council has approved the license, their power is succeeded by the ABC Board.

Liquor licenses must be renewed each year on or before October first – giving cities annual opportunities to request denial of licensing. The council’s letter, the drafting of which was approved at their last meeting, will reference objection based on the adverse influence on the health and welfare of the citizens, one of the listed reasons for denial or revocation outlined by the ABC Board.

Beloved Apostolic Church of God runs Agape, a ministry economic development, with programs that include public school partnerships, counseling, at-risk youth, elderly care, substance abuse awareness & prevention, tutoring, utility assistance, family restoration, financial planning, small business development workshops and training, media and publishing, and prescription drug assistance.

The previous owner of the Blue Note Lounge, a bar that was granted license by the council, had &8220;a change of conscience,&8221; according to Paige, and is no longer operating in the neighborhood. That bar was attached to two apartments that had children and families living next door.