Just because city's dry doesn't mean no liquor
Its unofficial name is Hartselle's liquor store.
It's an apt description.
Less than a mile from Hartselle's city limits is the Conoco station. Located in the city limits of Decatur, it's the closest place to purchase alcohol.
"We buy our beer here most weekends. It's always packed," said a Hartselle woman who did not wish to be identified. "It's the first place you come to from Hartselle."
Soon, those in search of an adult beverage may be able to add the city of Cullman to that list.
Cullman residents will be going to the polls June 4 to decide if they want their city to be wet. Alabama law allows cities with a population of more than 5,000 to vote on alcohol sales, even if the county- such as Cullman County – is dry. If it passes, Cullman would become Alabama's ninth wet city located in a dry county. The city of Cullman would join Clanton in Chilton County; Enterprise in Coffee County; Scottsboro in Jackson County; Florence in Lauderdale County; Guntersville in Marshall County; Jasper in Walker County; Bridgeport in Jackson County; and closest to Hartselle, Decatur in Morgan County.
But it's the commute to places such as Decatur or Cullman that can cause problems for law enforcement officials in dry cities such as Hartselle.
According to a University of Alabama web site for the Critical Analysis Reporting Environment (CARE), there's little difference in the number of drunken driving incidents in wet and dry areas.
CARE statistics show there were 44.2 alcohol-related accidents per 1,000 residents in Decatur last year. Decatur is the only city in Morgan County that is wet.
The highest number of alcohol related accidents were seen in unincorporated Morgan County. According to CARE, there were 50 alcohol-related accidents per 1,000 people in unincorporated Morgan County.
The number of accidents drops dramatically for Morgan County cities, including Hartselle. Hartselle had 3.57 alcohol-related accidents per 1,000 residents. Falkville, Priceville and Somerville all reported less than .50 alcohol-related accidents per 1,000 residents.
A lot of these accident are because, although alcohol purchases, sales or production are prohibited in most of Morgan County, Alabama law allows residents in dry counties to possess certain amounts of alcohol. According to the Alabama Beverage Control Board, residents in dry counties can possess up to three quarts of liquor or wine and one case of beer, as long as for their personal use. And while distilling alcohol is outlawed throughout the state, residents are allowed to make up to five gallons of wine per year.
It's rare such provisions are enforced, however, as police don't have time or resources to monitor what alcohol is brought in and served at people's homes.