Orono club gets liquor, amusement licenses

Posted Feb. 24, 2009, at 10:50 p.m.

ORONO, Maine — A plan to mitigate problems with overserving and other alcohol offenses at 103 Ultra Lounge met with mixed reviews when presented Monday afternoon during a special Town Council session.

But owner Rob Snow’s plan was enough for a majority of councilors to grant Snow a renewal of his liquor and special amusement licenses.

The council voted 5-1 to renew the liquor license and 6-0 for the special amusements permit for the nightspot at 103 Park St. The vote came two weeks after Snow first appeared in front of the council for a license renewal and six days before Snow’s liquor license would have expired.

“I can do better. I will do better, …” Snow told the council before the vote. “I do understand that it is ultimately my responsibility, anything and everything that happens on the facility.”

Council Chairman Geoff Gordon voted against the license renewal and Councilor Cynthia Mehnert was not present at the special session.

The council approved Snow’s victualer’s license Feb. 9.

During the earlier council meeting, some councilors expressed concern about the alcohol offenses, disorderly conduct, intoxication and criminal trespass incidents police had dealt with in 2008 and 2009.

Snow said he has made a number of changes to the establishment, including hiring KE Security of Bangor to patrol the building’s parking lot, repairing a video surveillance system, and increasing training for his staff, which numbers 24. Snow also said he intends to take security, management and training seminars during an industry trade show in Las Vegas next month.

Snow also put into use a multiple receiver wireless telephone system that will serve as a pager-intercom system in the building.

While some councilors praised Snow for the changes, Gordon said he didn’t hear anything in Snow’s plan that would address any overserving at the establishment.

Snow told the council more of his staff will go through TIPS, or Training for Intervention Procedures, which is designed to prevent and detect intoxication, underage drinking and drunken driving.

Orono Police Chief Gary Duquette, who met with Snow last week to discuss some of the problems at the club, said Snow’s changes seem acceptable and encouraged Snow to ask for help from the police.

“I don’t think we’re trying to turn you into a nonfun establishment but I do think it is important to use public safety to help you with assistance in these things,” Councilor Mark Haggerty said.

After the meeting Snow said he was “somewhat relieved” to have the license.

“It’s still an uphill battle and there’s still a lot of work to be done, getting employees trained and pushing them to keep working and pushing themselves to be better,” he said.

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