Fidler joins Harford liquor board

Former Harford County Board of Education president Thomas Fidler was sworn in as the newest member of the county Liquor Control Board prior to Wednesday's scheduled board meeting, where the liquor license for Tollgate Liquors was transferred and several one-day beer and wine licenses were approved.

Fidler, 42, a Forest Hill resident was appointed by County Executive David Craig earlier this month to replace James Thornton, who was on the liquor board for just a few months before he was appointed to the school board and was required to give up the liquor board seat.

Fidler is a senior vice president and principal of MacKenzie Commercial Real Estate Services and MacKenzie Retail. He has been with the company's Lutherville office since December 1996, according to the company's website. He served on the school board from 2003 to 2008 when he did not seek reappointment. He was board president for about a year.

During Wednesday's liquor board meeting, Ranjit Singh and Amarjet Kaur assumed the license for Tollgate Liquors, 615 Belair Road in Bel Air, which has been closed for several months. They will be the new owners and licensees of the store in the Tollgate Marketplace Center next to Ashley Furniture.

Both are Techniques of Alcohol Management (TAMS) certified. Kaur will be the store's supervisor while Singh will be manager.

The two were still in the process Wednesday of settling on the purchase of the store's lease, which will have the same terms and monthly payments — $7,200 a month including utilities — as the previous owner, their lawyer, Colleen Helmlinger, told the board members. Singh and Kaur will also purchase Tollgate's entire inventory, worth $163,000.

"I know it's been a long haul for everyone here," Liquor Board Chairman Hess said about the process of obtaining the lease and liquor license.

The board approved the transfer of Tollgate's liquor license, as long as Sigh and Kaur settle on the lease and provide the proper paperwork afterward to the board.

"Just make sure you card everybody," Hess told the new licensees.

Teresa Garland representing Noble Equine Rescue Inc. a non-profit focusing on horse rescues and rehabilitation, requested a one-day beer and wine license for a fundraising event 7 to 11 p.m. Saturday at the Bel Air Reckord Armory, 41 N. Main St.

Hess asked Garland if she accepted the obligations that come with the license, including that she and her staff refrain from drinking during the entire event. Garland said she did.

Fidler mentioned that the advertisements for the event included "BYOL" (bring your own liquor). Garland, who is a lawyer, responded that attendees bringing their own liquor would be permissible under the rules and regulations of the license as long as it was advertised, which it had been.

She added that she understood the same rules for receiving the license applied to others bringing their own liquor. The board granted the license to Garland.

In other business during Wednesday's Harford liquor board meeting:

Harford Mall's Red Robin restaurant added general manager Kristin Siegel to their license; the former general manager transferred to the company Bowie restaurant.

Siegel told the board she had been working in restaurants for 14 years and "every job I've had has been in the restaurant business." She added that she's been with Red Robin since June 2008.

Andrew Buchness, new general manager for T.G.I. Friday's in Bel Air, was also added to the restaurant's liquor license because the former general manager left the company.

Buchness said he has worked for the company since 2005 and worked at the Owings Mills location before transferring to Bel Air.

Hess noted that Friday's "has always done an excellent job of carding."

John Kohler, licensee of Pairings Bistro, 2105 Laurel Bush Road in Bel Air, informed the board of his plans to add another 433 square feet to the restaurant which will increase seating from 25 to 55 people.

Hess asked Kohler if he would be increasing the size of where the liquor in Pairings is displayed, to which Kohler said he would "pretty much keeping it the same." Kohler holds a café license, which says the liquor display in the restaurant can't exceed 10 percent of the restaurant's floor space.

One-day beer and wine licenses were approved by the board for the following events: a party at Harford Day School Nov. 4; a wine and cheese reception for the Harford Artists' Association at Rockfield Manor Nov. 5; a political fundraiser for the Committee to Elect Wayne Norman at Deer Creek Overlook Nov. 5; a wine and cheese reception at the Reckord Armory for the Historical Society of Harford County Nov. 10; Havre de Grace Main Street's artist reception at Art by the Bay Gallery Nov. 11; and the Bel Air Downtown Alliance Birthday Bash at Rockfield Manor Nov. 12.

Mountain Branch Golf Course, Riverside Pub and Grill, Post Road Liquors, Edgewood Liquor, Grocery and Deli and Coakley's pub paid fines after failing ID compliance tests, board members were told by their staff.

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