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Published: Saturday, 11/10/2001

Bar opponents in North Toledo toast the first dry precinct in city

BY TOM TROY
BLADE STAFF WRITER
From left, Janet Smolenski, Lagrange Village council president; city Councilman Wade Kapszukiewicz, and Michael Nelson, village council vice president, celebrate. From left, Janet Smolenski, Lagrange Village council president; city Councilman Wade Kapszukiewicz, and Michael Nelson, village council vice president, celebrate.
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Like a conquering army, members of a North Toledo community group yesterday celebrated their victory over what they viewed as a nuisance neighborhood bar in Tuesday's election.

Voters in the Polish Village's Ward 4, Precinct D, voted 107-41 to ban sales of liquor by the glass, establishing Toledo's first and only dry precinct.

Lagrange Village Council members unfurled their banner in front of the shuttered and dilapidated RGN Niteclub at 3325 Elm St. yesterday.

“We had an overwhelming victory,” said Ramon Perez, community organizer. “The neighbors wanted the bar shut down.”

Janet Smolenski, president of the council, said. “We're not against all bars. We're just against nuisance bars.”

For decades a popular neighborhood watering hole, the RGN had become an attraction to people from outside the neighborhood. Neighbors complained of rowdy people, loud music, littering, cars being parked on lawns, and apparent drug use and prostitution.

The owner of the RGN could not be reached for comment.

Councilman Wade Kapszukiewicz helped the group set up the petition to get Issue 29 on the ballot after their efforts to have city council formally object to the bar's liquor permit failed in May.

Precinct 4D is bounded by Manhattan Boulevard and Lagrange, Weber, Elm, Hudson, and Maple streets.

“This was David beats Goliath,” Mr. Kapszukiewicz said.

Ramon Perez, community organizer for the village council, said other people in Toledo have called for information on their effort. He said the council has another precinct targeted for a dry vote. The group has also complained about the Classic Lounge, 2814 Lagrange St.

Local voter options were established when Prohibition was repealed in 1933. Placing the question on the ballot requires a petition signed by at least 35 percent of the number of registered voters who voted in the last gubernatorial election.

Antoinette Szuch, director of the Lucas County board of elections, said she was not aware of any other Toledo precincts that have been voted dry.



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