May 22, 2018
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Rural store gets liquor license despite concerns over feuds

By Diana Bowley, BDN Staff

DOVER-FOXCROFT, Maine — Despite concerns aired by Sheriff John Goggin, the Piscataquis County commissioners on Tuesday approved a liquor license for David and Luisa Surprenant, who own and operate the Abol Bridge Campground and Store in Township 4, Range 10.

Goggin’s concerns centered on the fact that the Surprenants, who also own and operate the Chesuncook Lake House in Chesuncook, and some members of the Chesuncook Village Association have had feuds over the years about such issues as the location of the main road and the use of the public landing. At least one lawsuit was filed in connection with the problems.

The sheriff worried aloud that those feuds could jump to T4 R10. For example, Goggin said that about two weeks ago, Luisa Surprenant was minding the Abol store when a Chesuncook Village resident with whom the Surprenants don’t get along showed up.

“The first thing she did was ask the person to leave, and the person said, ‘I thought this was a public campground,’” Goggin recalled. He said an argument ensued, prompting Luisa Surprenant to call for a deputy.

“We sent an officer, just for that complaint, all the way to Abol. Of course, by the time the officer got there, this individual had left,” he said.

“My concern is that [this is] going to happen each and every time somebody [from Chesuncook] shows up at Abol,” Goggin said Tuesday. “Knowing the history of the Chesuncook Village people and the Surprenants having this new business now, I just don’t want to see this escalate from one community to another one.”

“Neither do we,” Luisa Surprenant told the commissioners Tuesday. She said the man in question had been warned previously and advised not to trespass on their property. She said the man knew the Surprenants owned the business but came into the store, grabbed a soda out of the cooler, opened it and took a sip while a family member repeatedly told him to leave the property. When he failed to leave, Surprenant said, she called the sheriff’s department.

The Surprenants noted that their Abol business is more than an hour’s drive from Chesuncook, so the man went out of his way to stop at the business.

“It just never seems to end, I wish things could improve,” Commissioner Eric Ward, who participated in the meeting via speakerphone from Texas, said Tuesday.

In the end, however, the commissioners granted the Surprenants a liquor license, noting that the incident cited by Goggin was part of the cost of doing business.

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