BARS Course Helps Businesses Prevent Underage Drinking

Mike Mineer and Kelli Raker are used to more people than the five that showed up on Monday night to their Be A Responsible Server (BARS) course.

“I’d say the average attendance is 35 or so, but I’ve had as many as 130 something,” Mineer, an Alcohol Law Enforcement Investigator said.

Raker, who works as UNC-Chapel Hill’s Sexual Violence Coordinator said the small turnout on Monday was due to the course being offered the previous week, which had close to 80 attendants.

The BARS course is usually offered every other month and teaches employees at businesses which serve alcohol about different laws, in particular those related to serving people under 21. The course also teaches preventative measures employees can take to prevent sexual violence.

“It was very informative,” said Keats Baswell, former general manager at Bailey’s Pub and Grille. “Obviously you learn through each company what they have and their expectation for it, but actually getting on hands information about it is really helpful.”

Some people are required to show up by the courts, which is often the result of a restaurant, bar or other party serving alcohol to a minor.

However, many local bars make it a part of employee training to complete the class, and demand for it is still growing.

“I know the state and I have both been getting requests to host the class at particular businesses,” Mineer said. “When (the Chapel Hill Police Department) can do it we absolutely do it, so does the state.”

Mineer said it was up to the restaurants and bars to help prevent underage drinking and accidents related to excessive drinking.

“You’re the first line of defense for the people out on the roads,” Mineer told the class. “If we’re out there trying to catch (drunk drivers) then they’re already on the street. They’re already a potential danger.”

Raker took a similar approach when it came to sexual assault prevention. She said students at UNC frequently look at employees as authority figures, who can help in a potentially dangerous situation.

“If I asked them ‘who would you go to help you in a situation?’ they might say their friend but they would also say the bartender, the bouncer, the manager or the owner of the store, whoever’s around in a position of authority.”

Mineer told the class that underage buyers at bars could be a liability for everyone from the server to the owner and that he would love to prevent people over 21 from serving to underage people.

“I really wish that if we took the underage buyers out that nobody ever sold it them because it’s a lot of paperwork,” he said. “I would much rather people just do what they’re supposed to do and eliminate that versus having to write somebody a ticket.”

Guns Allowed at Bars and on Campuses

CHAPEL HILL – A new law allowing concealed weapons on public school campuses and in restaurants took effect Tuesday; and it has some folks in Chapel Hill concerned.

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Next time you visit your favorite restaurant or bar, you may be sitting next to someone with a gun. Adults at your child’s school may have a weapon stashed in their car on the campus parking lot.

And the North Carolina government says that’s okay. But we found out bar owners like Rob Moll disagree.

“It is a bad idea. I just don’t think everyone needs to be walking around carrying guns,” Moll says.

Moll is a co-owner of R & R Grill on Franklin Street.

The new law allows concealed weapons in restaurants and government-owned parking lots.

Moll and other near-by restaurant owners are taking action. “We put the sticker up that says ‘No guns allowed,’” says Moll, “We will not allow them, and that’s it.”

Take a stroll down Franklin Street, and you will notice the sticker on several restaurant windows.

Bar and restaurant owners have an opt-out option. But you may be surprised to hear public school officials don’t have the same. Guns are allowed on public school campuses, and no window sticker or sign can change that.

Public Information Officer for Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools, Jeff Nash, says he doesn’t necessarily agree with the law, but it will be obeyed by the school system.

“It was a law that was passed apart from our input,” Nash says,  “We will abide by it, but we don’t think there’s any need to have guns on campus.”

While the law permits concealed weapons on any public school campus, they must be stored in a closed compartment in a locked car.

Concealed weapons carriers who bring their weapons into bars or restaurants are not allowed to consume alcohol.

Advocates of the new North Carolina law say other states have adopted similar laws. They say those states did not see higher crime rates, or more gun use after the laws were passed.

But for now, bar owners like Moll remain skeptical.

“Guns and booze and things just don’t mix,” Moll says.