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Harford liquor board approves 'Gun Cash Bingo' campaign event

The serving of beer and wine during a “gun cash bingo” campaign fundraising event for Maryland House of Delegates candidate Aaron Penman — guns and money will be the bingo prizes — was approved by the Harford County Liquor Control Board Wednesday.
The serving of beer and wine during a “gun cash bingo” campaign fundraising event for Maryland House of Delegates candidate Aaron Penman — guns and money will be the bingo prizes — was approved by the Harford County Liquor Control Board Wednesday. (Provided photo)

This story is updated from an earlier version with additional information about the Famous Dave’s location and the coming of Miller’s Ale House.

The serving of beer and wine during a “gun cash bingo” campaign fundraising event for Maryland House of Delegates candidate Aaron Penman — guns and money will be the bingo prizes — was approved by the Harford County Liquor Control Board Wednesday.

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There will not be any shooting during the fundraiser, according to liquor board staff and event organizers.

Penman is a sergeant with the Harford County Sheriff’s Office and vice president of the Harford County Deputy Sheriff’s Union. The Forest Hill resident is running as a Republican for one of three seats representing House District 7.

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The board approved the one-day beer and wine license 3-0. Members Walter “Butch” Tilley and Sheryl Davis Kohl were absent. Tilley is a House of Delegates candidate in District 34B.

The $50-a-ticket event has been sold out, according to Lee Dunbar, Penman’s campaign manager. Dunbar is a captain in the Sheriff’s Office and leads the Harford County Narcotics Task Force, but he said his law enforcement job is separate from managing Penman’s campaign.

Sheriff Jeffrey Gahler is scheduled to attend the fundraiser, as Gahler has endorsed Penman and shares the candidate’s views as a “very strong supporter” of the Second Amendment, Dunbar said.

510 Johnnys, which was raked over the coals Dec. 20 for multiple issues related to its popular College Night events that tied up local police resources, has not had any issues since then. The company has also paid an $8,000 fine and served its four-day liquor license suspension.

“Law-abiding citizens that meet all the requirements should have the absolute right to own a firearm,” Dunbar said Thursday.

The Gun Cash Bingo is scheduled for 5 to 11 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 17, at the Jarrettsville Volunteer Fire Company at 3825 Federal Hill Road, according to an event flier. Cash and guns will be the prizes, according to Dunbar.

The prizes include handguns, shotguns and rifles, according to the flier.

Dunbar said winners cannot leave with their firearms. They must be obtained later from a federal firearms-licensed seller, in accordance with federal and state regulations.

“Anyone who wins any of those firearms, they have to meet the Maryland and federal requirements before they can take possession of the firearms,” Dunbar said.

The statewide primary election will be June 26. The number of applications to serve alcohol at campaign events is expected to increase as election season kicks into gear, according to the Harford LCB administrator and chief counsel Pilar Gracia.

“I would anticipate that they’ll probably ramp up soon, if not now,” Gracia said Thursday.

Applicants for one-day licenses to serve alcohol who have not been before the board in the past three years — or ever — should appear “so that the board may vet you” before issuing a license, Gracia said.

She encouraged people who are planning an event in Harford County to contact the liquor board to determine if they need a one-day license to serve alcohol. The main number is 410-638-3028, and the website is http://www.hclcb.org.

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Other actions

Gracia gave the board an update Wednesday about an ongoing project to bring a Burger Theory restaurant to the Holiday Inn Belcamp hotel — formerly Wingate By Wyndham.

The board had granted final approval for the Class B hotel license, which allows an establishment where alcohol is served within less than 1,000 feet of a school in Harford County, in November of 2017, pending the issuance of the final use and occupancy permit.

Burger Theory’s lawyer, Joseph Snee, of Bel Air, provided an update in a letter dated Jan. 12, stating that issues with the U&O permit are still being worked out. The operators are waiting on the receipt and installation of mirrors, followed by a re-inspection of the third floor of the hotel, Gracia said Thursday, citing Snee’s letter.

Who has filed for office in county and state legislative races for 2018?

The board voted 3-0 to allow AleCraft Brewery to close its new Bel Air taproom on Mondays while the weather remains cold.

Miller’s Ale House

The operators of the former Famous Dave’s barbecue restaurant in Bel Air, which closed in the summer of 2017, will surrender their liquor license, Gracia told the board. There had been discussions about whether to turn in the license or hold it in escrow, but operators decided to surrender it, Gracia said.

Bel Air’s planning director confirmed earlier this week that the former Famous Dave’s location at Tollgate Marketplace will be replaced by the Miller’s Ale House chain and that the town was reviewing a building permit application.

“It’s only our second location in Maryland, and we just think It’s a fabulous site,” Linda Carter, a Maryland attorney for Miller’s, said Friday. “We don’t believe that the existing community [in Bel Air] is served by anything quite like what we’re offering.”

Miller’s Ale House bills itself as a “casual sports restaurant and bar with freshly-made food at an incredible value,” according to its website.

The chain has 83 locations across the U.S. The Bel Air restaurant would be the second one in Maryland, in addition to an establishment in Rockville.

“We have absolutely fabulous food and a great variety of tap beers, as well as bottled and canned beers,” Carter said.

Company officials plan to open the Bel Air Miller’s Ale House in late spring or early summer, Carter said.

The interior of the restaurant building, which Carter said is “large enough to accommodate what we want” and at “a perfect location,” will be gutted, and new equipment, fixtures and furniture will be installed, according to the attorney.

The company has also applied to the Liquor Control Board for a license to serve alcohol. Carter said there will be a “full complement” of alcoholic beverages available along with “a variety of food.”

“Bel Air is clearly a growing area, both commercially and residentially,” Carter said. “We believe that the residents of Bel Air should have the opportunity and the option of a variety of different restaurants and drinking establishments.”

“We just think it will be a perfect fit for us and the community; we’re really excited about this,” she added.

One-day license approvals

The Liquor Board approved applications for five other one-day beer and wine licenses: Saturday, Italian Night, St. Mark Roman Catholic Church, Fallston; Feb. 9, Halfway to First Friday, Bel Air Downtown Alliance; Feb. 10, Mardi Gras Pot Luck Dinner, St. Francis de Sales Roman Catholic Church, Abingdon; Feb. 23 and March 9, Fish Fry, St. Mark; March 16, Bingo, Sts. Mary Magdalene & Markella Greek Orthodox Church, Darlington.

The board also approved a one-day beer, wine and liquor license for the Feb. 24 Irish Pot of Gold Bingo at St. Ignatius, Hickory Roman Catholic church in Forest Hill.

License renewals

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License holders can begin filling out applications for license renewals on the LCB’s website. The applications must still be printed out and signed by applicants and property owner, and then dropped off or mailed to the agency’s office in Bel Air, Judith Powell, special projects coordinator, said.

The next licensing year begins May 1 and runs through April 30, 2019. Applicants pay a $45 processing fee if they submit by March 15 and a $200 fee if they submit after that date — the board can also take up to 30 days to act on an application submitted after April 2, Powell said.

“So, please file early,” she said.

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