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Morrissette purchases Northland Liquors store

Randy Morrissette II is the new owner of the Northland Liquors store in the Plaza 94 shopping center that he has managed for the past 11 years.

The Hudson City Council on Monday night approved Morrissette's application for fermented malt beverage and liquor licenses for the business, which will be renamed Setter's Liquor.

Morrissette, the District 1 alderperson on the council, recused himself from the brief discussion of the application and the vote.

City Attorney Catherine Munkittrick explained that SSG Corp., the previous owner of the business, would surrender its licenses and Morrissette would be issued new ones.

Council President Rich Vanselow ran the meeting in the absence of Mayor Alan Burchill.

Morrissette said following the meeting that SSG Corp. has decided to divest itself of its stand-alone Northland Liquors stores, a brand he helped create by opening the first store.

Last year, the corporation opened a second Northland store in Hudson in a strip mall on Crest View Drive. Morrissette said he isn't purchasing that location, and expects it to remain in operation.

There's also a Northland Liquors store in Roberts.

More license issues

The City Council dealt with a handful of alcoholic beverage license issues Monday night.

The council also amended the licenses for the Historic Casanova Liquor store and The Nova, both located at 236 Coulee Road and owned by John and Janna Gaffer.

The cave located on the property was removed from the premises description for the liquor store, and added to the description for The Nova restaurant.

Attorney Ryan Cari, who served as spokesman for the Gaffers, said the outside patio for The Nova will be enlarged, too.

In addition, the restaurant will be allowed to expand its license boundaries on April 27, 2013, for the fifth-annual Casanova Beer Cave Festival.

Cari said the cave will be used for private events at other times, during which it will be staffed by licensed bartenders.

Alderperson Mary Yacoub indicated that the Gaffers' businesses have sometimes violated the city's sign ordinance and said she wanted that recognized.

Alderperson Lori Bernard agreed with Yacoub. She asked whether approval of the license amendments could be made contingent upon the businesses' compliance with the sign ordinance.

City Attorney Munkittrick replied that compliance with the sign ordinance was a law enforcement issue.

Community Development Director Dennis Darnold said the businesses haven't been cited for sign ordinance violations, but that on a couple of occasions he has removed advertising signs that were illegally placed on Second Street.

The council approved the license changes with no opposition.

The council gladly approved Class B beer and Class C wine licenses for a new Noodles & Company restaurant at 1055 Pearson Drive.

When a company representative asked if council members had any questions about the application, Yacoub replied that she didn't.

"I'm just glad you're coming," Yacoub said.

Bernard asked, "When will you be open?"

The Noodles & Company representative said the target date is April 2.

The council voted 4-2 to grant Ashley McGee a license to serve alcoholic beverages despite a recommendation from Police Chief Marty Jensen to deny her application.

Jensen based his recommendation on McGee being cited twice for underage possession of alcoholic beverages, and once for having an open intoxicant in a vehicle, in 2012.

McGee appeared before the council and appealed to the alderpersons to consider the life changes she has made since her last violation.

"I have grown up so much in the past six months," she said.

She said she made the high school honor roll and needs her job as a server at Azul Tequila to earn money for college.

Yacoub praised McGee for her change in lifestyle and having the courage to appear before the council. She made the motion to approve her application, which was seconded by Alderperson Kurt TeWinkel.

Alderperson Lori Bernard and Council President Rich Vanselow said they also admired McGee for her courage, but that the violations had occurred too recently for them to vote to give her a license to serve alcohol.

Randy Hanson

Randy Hanson has reported for the Star-Observer since 1997. He came to Hudson after 11 years with the Inter-County Leader at Frederic, and eight years of teaching social studies. He’s a graduate of UW-Eau Claire.

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