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Saloon to have license suspended

MEDORA --The Iron Horse Saloon won't be the only bar unable to serve alcohol in May.

After a unanimous vote, the Medora City Council found the Little Missouri Saloon in violation of the city's three-strike rule regarding liquor licenses during its regular meeting Tuesday.

The Little Missouri Saloon was cited with an alleged violation of serving after hours in December. The matter was tabled from last month's meeting so the council could have adequate time to listen to a police audio recording taken during the night of the incident.

The Medora Police Department report states that the officer responding believed that alcohol was being consumed in the bar.

In a letter to the Medora City Council, Little Missouri owner Travis Froelich states, "Yes, there was some alcohol being consumed, but that consumption took place in my residence in Medora, which is the basement apartment, as we were working."

"There are two versions of what happened," said Mayor Doug Ellison. "We've all listened to the audio and it's clear to me listening that the audio supports the officer's report and contradicts Travis's letter."

Ellison added that state law is very clear that private parties are not to be held on licensed premises after 1 a.m.

Medora has a three-strike rule: The first violation results in a letter from the city attorney advising the license holder that a violation has been reported and is on file; a second violation results in a license suspension, for a meaningful period at a meaningful time, as determined by the City Council; a third violation results in revocation of the licenses, necessitating the complete application process to be reinitiated.

Neither owner Travis Froelich, or anyone representing the establishment, were present at the January meeting or Wednesday's meeting.

During the meeting Medora Police Chief John Bey said he feels like the right decision was made. Bey added the incident was a Class A Misdemeanor, which could constitute as an arrest, or a citation.

"It was not handled as a criminal violation as it could have been, and I think we cut him quite a bit of a break by doing it that way," Bey said.

To be consistent, the council decided the bar should serve its two-week suspension at the same time as the Iron Horse Saloon, which received a second violation late last year, and upon an agreement in December, will serve a two-week suspension from May 1 to May 15.

"I think if you close one down and leave the other one open you're going to double the other one's business," Bey said. "With both closed, no one would benefit from that."