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Nebraska beer stores near reservation lose liquor licenses

Nebraska beer stores near reservation lose liquor licenses
Executive director Hobert Rupe and the Nebraska Liquor Control Commission call to order a hearing regarding alcohol sales in Whiteclay, Neb., on Thursday, April 6, 2017, at the Nebraska Capitol. Nebraska state alcohol regulators met Thursday to discuss the liquor licenses of four beer stores in Whiteclay, a town blamed for rampant alcoholism on the neighboring Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. (Kristin Streff/The Journal-Star via AP, Pool)

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) _ Four Nebraska stores known for selling millions of cans of beer each year near a South Dakota Indian reservation have lost their liquor licenses.

The Nebraska Liquor Control Commission’s ruling on Wednesday could force an end to beer sales in Whiteclay, a town with just nine residents on the border of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.

State regulators reviewed the stores’ licenses amid complaints that the town lacks adequate law enforcement to address frequent violence, drunken driving and other crimes. The stores have operated in Whiteclay for decades, and are expected to appeal the ruling.

Advocates blame the stores for the reservation’s high rates of fetal alcoholism and poverty. The Oglala Lakota Tribe bans alcohol on the reservation, but the rules are frequently violated.

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