- Associated Press - Thursday, October 8, 2015

BETHEL, Alaska (AP) - Unofficial election results from a non-binding advisory vote in Bethel show that most residents would support a liquor store in the city.

Early results from Tuesday’s municipal election show that about 56 percent of voters support a liquor license application for a liquor store.

This spring, the Bethel Native Corporation applied for a package liquor store license. A decision by the state Alcoholic Beverage Control Board is still pending, but if approved it would be the first liquor store in the city in more than 40 years.

“I think it’s a step in the right direction,” said candidate for Bethel City Council Nikki Cirun Hoffman. “I think that it will help our community in so many ways as opposed to not having any legal sales. I’m not aware of a bootlegger saying here have some money to help out your school or to fix the road.”

While there is strong support for a liquor store, many voters were opposed to licenses for bars, clubs and restaurants, with 52 percent voting no to club licenses, 53 percent against restaurant or eating establishment license and 56 percent voting no to any other type of licenses. Bars saw the strongest opposition, with 62 percent voting against bar licenses.

The Alcoholic Beverage Control Board is planning to hear an appeal of the native corporation’s application in Bethel on Oct. 22 before making its ruling.

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