City discusses bar hours

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The Macomb City Council met last night to determine if Macomb bars should keep their extended closing hour of 2 a.m. on weekends.The council decided to extended the hours, on a 4-3 vote, from 1 to 2 a.m. on a 14-week trial basis last fall. The later closing time expired on Dec. 21,1996, and was not reinstated last night. Therefore, the 1 a.m. closing time stands.

“Based on the simple analysis, there is no compelling evidence the public benefits from this experiment,” Steven Williams, Macomb police chief, said. In his written statement to the council Williams noted a 6 percent increase in the total number of calls to the department. He also pointed out a 30 percent increase in the number of calls from 1 to 7 a.m. “This report is not in favor of or opposed to (this issue).”

Alderman William Murphy of the 6th Ward, which includes much of WIU campus, expressed his favor for the extended hours.

“This fall was the quietest we have ever spent,” Murphy said.

“After-ups this semester, since the 2 a.m. closings, were almost obsolete,” Roger Ward of Wilbur’s Mill in Macomb said. “I am in favor of the 2 a.m. closings.”

The McDonough District Hospital was also surveyed for its opinion. According to a written statement by Dale Syfert, M.D., he believes that there is “no improvement in public safety by extending these hours when viewed as a function of number of visits or severity of injuries.”

Murphy said that in his ward there are less parties. He can’t hear “loud music until about 3 a.m., loud squealing cars, the kids swearing, and yelling, and throwing up, and urinating in your front yard. That’s the specifics I am concerned with.

“Here is what I want to find out, if the doctor at the emergency room, Syfert, is basically saying that there is the same number of injuries, well then where the hell are they coming from? Are they coming from my neighborhood, or are they coming from the bars, or from outside the lots of certain bars,” John Conrad, 5th Ward alderman, said.

The city council is considering trying the program again this semester or next year and will discuss the issue more at its meeting on Monday.

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