LUCEDALE, MS (WLOX) - The Barber Shop on Main Street in Lucedale isn't just to get a haircut. It's a place where problems are solved.
The passing of a beer and light wine sales proposal within city limits have split many in the community, but Gerald Havens is ready to make concessions for progress.
"As a Christian, I should maybe take a greater stand against it, but it's obvious that if people are going to drink, they're going to get it somewhere, he said.
He tells a story about a man he once knew.
"One time he said he walked the roads in Jackson County, Greene County, Mobile County, and said there was more beer cans and bottles in the ditches of George County than every one of the three counties that were wet."
Lucedale residents said yes to the sales of light wine and beer in December, but it may take more time to turn that yes into reality. Lucedale is following in the footsteps of other cities in dry counties that have voted in beer sales, such as Leakesville, Wiggins, and Poplarville.
Officials say they want learn from those cities and make sure they do it right the first time. As a result, it could be a month or more before the first beer is sold.
The vote was split among patrons at Landmark Cafe across the street.
"I believe if a person wants to drink wine, it's perfectly acceptable, even biblical, if you please," he said. "For it says, to take a little wine for thine oft infirmities."
Brooksie McLendon voted against the proposal.
"I just don't think it's right. I think there are children sitting around tables and they'll be having beer out on the tables for them to look at and might even make them be drinkers."
Landmark Cafe owner Steve McGuire said it will be wait and see for his business, but he sees the benefit.
"I think it would help revitalize downtown a little bit," he said. "Bring in a little more business. We can already see the growth coming in now."
It could be early March before the ordinance is finalized. A working ordinance should be ready next week, but even if alderman approve it, it would have to be published for 30 days.
Mayor Doug Lee said he's for the law, if it's done correctly. But, if things don't go well, he'll be ready to pull the plug.
"We want to go through this process one time," Lee said. "This issue can be brought back up in two years, according to state law. And I'd be the first one to lead it if ain't done right. If it creates more problems than it's worth, yeah, vote it out."
Lee added that the city will look to see if there is a spike in alcohol-related crimes as part of its assessment of the new law.