Liquor license renewal draws Shelly, lawmakers

By Alastair Lee Bitsoi
Navajo Times

SANDERS, Ariz., May 29, 2014

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Concerned community members met with state and tribal officials at the Nahata Dzil Chapter to discuss the liquor license renewal of Ole Red Barn and its owner Gary McDonald on May 22.

"This place needs to shut down," an emotional Antoinette Antone to fellow community members, President Ben Shelly, state Sen. Carlyle Begay, state Rep. Albert Hale and Kristine Fire Thunder, executive director of the Arizona Commission on Indian Affairs.
Antone added that the operation of Ole Red Barn is why her mother, Della Antone – no longer lives today. Della Antone, who was a transient drinker, died Aug. 3, 2000, behind a shed on the property of the establishment, Antone said.

The Nahata Dzil Renewal of Hope Taskforce sponsored the meeting in an effort to request action from state, federal, county and tribal leaders to stop the liquor sales of McDonald's establishments.

Along with Ole Red Barn, McDonald operates High Country and Lee's Liquor.

The issue surrounding Old Red Barn and McDonald stem from a recent raid in January conducted by the Apache County Sheriffs Department, the Apache County Cooperative Enforcement Narcotics Taskforce, the Arizona Department of Public Safety SWAT Team and the Arizona Department of Liquor.

McDonald, along with his son Cody McDonald, were charged with drug possession, drug paraphernalia and the use and sale of drugs.

At the meeting, Char James, chairwoman of the Hope Taskforce, voiced her concerns about constituents being educated about who to vote for in the upcoming elections. James said this after learning from Begay about how money and politics are in part keeping McDonald from being prosecuted at the county and state levels for his alleged crimes.

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