By KRIS KALABOKAS
Eight local restaurants, package stores, and bars received written warnings, one-day suspensions, and in one case a five-day suspension following a sting performed by police on Sept. 27 to catch establishments serving alcohol to underage customers.
The License Board of Commissioners issued the citations at their meeting Nov. 18.
Yaz’s Place at 132 E. Howard St. will have to close its doors Jan. 6-10, 2015, as a result of the sting and a previous infraction involving the sale of alcohol to a minor that resulted in a one-day liquor license suspension on June 2, 2012. An incident in which gunshots were fired in the bar’s parking lot on April 28, 2012, was also taken into consideration when issuing the suspension.
The bartender working on the evening of the most recent sting told officers she mistakenly thought a doorman would be checking IDs; however, because a private 60th birthday party with roughly 25 patrons present was taking place that night, no doorman was on duty and she did not check for ID.
“I don’t challenge the investigation; I don’t challenge the version of events happened exactly that way,” said Attorney Rudolph Miller, who is representing Yaz’s Place. “A mistake was made by the bartender and we’re responsible for that mistake, completely and without excuse.”
Miller has been representing Yaz’s Place manager Yaser Mohammad for the past year and a half. He claimed that the atmosphere of the bar has changed for the better since he began representing his client, advising him to enforce a stricter dress code and directing him to be more discerning with whom he admits to the establishment.
“There have been tremendous efforts to make changes to attract an older crowd, a diverse crowd. Not just young black kids that come in from Dorchester and shoot up the parking lot,” said Miller who is himself black.
Mohammad asked board members why he was permitted only a four-piece band when previous tenants were allowed larger bands with up to eight pieces. He said the restriction was what pushed the original crowd of Quincy natives out of his establishment.
According to board member Andrew Scheele, noise complaints received when the Yardrock, a blues club, was occupying the building resulted in the reduction of band pieces allowed.
“My interpretation of the historical perspective of what’s happened in this establishment over the last year isn’t as how the counselor had alluded to,” said Ward 2 City Councillor Brad Croall of Miller. Croall added that his constituents have repeatedly complained to him about noise and rowdy behavior surrounding the bar.
“There’s still issues,” he said.
Miller claimed he was unaware of neighborhood complaints made to Croall and said he would not accept them as legitimate.
Board Chairman Joseph Shea said he had recently received complaints from neighbors regarding noise occurring after midnight in the area.
“I’ve been made aware of complaints about the type of clientele that comes to the establishment,” said Miller. “We’ve just tried to take it head on. The fact of the matter is the young, urban crowd is not good. It’s not good for the city.”
“As the chief of police, I don’t care where your clients are coming from or what their background is. It’s the behavior on your premises and the control that you have over those patrons that are on your premises that concerns me,” said Quincy police chief and board member Paul Keenan.
He added that 17 calls had been made to police over the past year and a half regarding troubling activity at Yaz’s Place.
Miller admitted that noise complaints coming from the parking lot and outside the bar were valid however, recent soundproofing prevented music or crowd noise from escaping the building.
“I’m very transparent,” said Miller. “I’ve made recommendations to try to move away from the urban crowd, particularly the young urban crowd because that’s the reason there were gun shots in the parking lot.”
As a result of the most recent violation, Yaz’s Place was hit with the five-day suspension. The motion was approved by the board unanimously.
First time offenders Atlantic Market, S6 Sports Bar, Taiyou Shabu and Sushi, Nonna’s Kitchen, and Bistro Chi/ Kama Lounge were given a written warning to be put on file for one year for serving or selling alcohol to a minor.
Dave’s General Store, a package store, failed a prior compliance check on Sept. 8, 2012, and at that time was issued a written warning. The business was ordered to suspend operations on Jan. 9, 2015 as a result of its most recent violation.
Chab’s Daily Mart was ordered to suspend operations on Jan. 9, 2015, as a result of their second offense. Their first offense occurred on Sept. 9, 2011. A written warning was issued and placed on file at that time.
In additional License Board News:
• Approved: the request of Kathy Hussey – O’Brien for a One Day Special Use permit for the Annual Merrymount Turkey Trot, a 2.4 mile run and walk on Thursday, Nov. 27. The rain or shine event will begin at Merrymount Beach. Prizes will be awarded. The race will begin at 7 a.m. and conclude by 9 a.m. The roughly 200 anticipated participants are urged to bring a food item to be donated to the Germantown Neighborhood Center.
• Approved: the request of Adams Village Gas, LLC, d/b/a North Quincy Shell at 315 Hancock St. for a Gas Station License.
• Approved: the request of CC’s Club, Inc., d/b/a Knights of Columbus at 5 Hollis Ave. for a change of manager from Charles McDermott to Frank Alibrandi.
• Approved: the request of New Generation Monopoly d/b/a Prestige Auto for a Motor II Used Car License. Manager Aaron Osborne said up to ten vehicles will be kept at 264 Willard St. Osborne currently operates an exotic car leasing business which runs from April to September. Hours of operation will be Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Detailing and car service will take place on-site.
• Approved: the request of C & J Dessert, LLC, d/b/a Kozy Dessert at 1247 Hancock St. for a Common Victualler License. Manager Kin Sang Lau said small finger foods and desserts will be prepared off-site and heated at the restaurant, which will seat 22 patrons. Hours of operation will be 9 a.m. to 11 p.m.
The Quincy High School and North Quincy High School Athletic Departments will be selling advanced tickets to the Thanksgiving Day Game until Wednesday, Nov. 26 at 1 p.m.
Tickets will be $5 in advance and sold out of the athletic office at each high school.
Tickets on the day of the game will be $5 for high school students and seniors and $10 for adults.
AAA Travel projects 46.3 million Americans will journey 50 miles or more from home during the Thanksgiving weekend, the highest volume for the holiday since 2007 and a 4.2 percent increase over 2013. Almost 90 percent of travelers (41.3 million) will celebrate the holiday with a road trip and will enjoy the lowest gas prices in nearly four years. The Thanksgiving holiday travel period is defined as Wednesday, November 26 through Sunday, November 30.
Highlights from 2014 Thanksgiving Travel Forecast:
- Thanksgiving holiday travel volume is expected to reach the highest level since 2007, with 46.3 million Americans taking a trip.
- The 2014 forecast is 4.2 percent higher than the 44.4 million Americans who traveled last year and the greatest growth rate for any holiday since Independence Day 2012.
- More than a million Massachusetts residents are expected to travel, the highest number locally since 2005.
- Road trippers will pay the lowest price for fuel in nearly four years with prices locally averaging less than $3.00 per gallon.
- More than 89 percent of travelers (41.3 million) will travel by automobile, a 4.3 percent increase from 39.6 million last year.
- Air travel for Thanksgiving is expected to be at the highest level since 2007, with 3.55 million Americans taking to the skies.
- The average distance traveled this Thanksgiving will be 549 miles roundtrip and Americans will spend an average of $573 during the holiday weekend.
- Travelers from New England tend to stay a little closer to home than some other parts of the country; however the region will still see a 3.9 percent in overall travel compared to 2013.
“This year, more Americans will give thanks for the opportunity to travel to friends and family than any year since 2007,” said Lloyd P. Albert, AAA Southern New England Senior Vice President of Public and Government Affairs. “Americans are more optimistic about the future as improvements in several key economic factors, including employment, GDP and disposable income, are boosting consumer confidence and the desire to travel.”
“Holiday joy has come early this year with Americans paying the lowest gas prices since 2010. Lower prices are increasing disposable income and enabling families to carve out more money from household budgets for travel this Thanksgiving,” added Mr. Albert.
Impact of gasoline prices on travel plans
The national price of gasoline has fallen below $3.00 per gallon for the first time since Dec. 22, 2010, a welcome gift for travelers as they head into the busy holiday travel season. AAA predicts most U.S. travelers will pay the cheapest Thanksgiving gas prices in four years. More than 89 percent (41.3 million) of holiday travelers will drive to their destination, a 4.3 percent increase from 2013.
Most of travelers’ budgets go toward transportation, food and shopping
Travelers are expected to spend an average of $573 over the course of their holiday travels. Despite lower average gas prices, travelers are allocating 31 percent of their budgets to fuel transportation. Food and beverage and shopping will account for 22 percent and 20 percent of holiday travel budgets, respectively.
Travelers’ spending plans mirror their intended activities this Thanksgiving, with 70 percent of travelers reporting they will enjoy dining during their vacation and 59 percent will go shopping. Eighty-nine percent of travelers plan to spend time with friends and family this Thanksgiving holiday.
AAA offers travel planning resources
AAA’s digital tools for travel planning on the go include the free AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. Travelers can use the app to map a route, find current gas prices and discounts, book a hotel and access AAA roadside assistance. Travelers can learn more at AAA.com/mobile.
On AAA.com, travelers can find more than 58,000 AAA Approved and Diamond Rated hotels and restaurants using the TripTik Travel Planner or the searchable Travel Guides at AAA.com/Travel. Every AAA Approved establishment offers the assurance of acceptable cleanliness, comfort and hospitality, and ratings of One to Five Diamonds help travelers find the right match for amenities and services.
AAA’s collection of downloadable eTourBook guides for tablets and smartphones is available free to members at AAA.com/ebooks. Choose from 101 top North American destinations including city titles, like the award-winning Las Vegas, and regions like Wine Country and national parks.
AAA’s projections are based on economic forecasting and research by IHS Global Insight. The Colorado-based business information provider teamed with AAA in 2009 to jointly analyze travel trends during the major holidays. AAA has been reporting on holiday travel trends for more than two decades
By SCOTT JACKSON
This month’s gubernatorial election was the Bay State’s closest in the past 50 years.
Republican Charlie Baker defeated Democrat Martha Coakley by 40,165 votes statewide in the Nov. 4. Secretary of State William F. Galvin said Thursday said result was the closest margin in 50 years.
In Quincy, Baker outpolled Coakley by 1,148 votes – 13,397 for Baker and 12,249 for Coakley.
Turnout statewide was at 50.8 percent. A total of 2,186,789 voters cast ballots and there were 4,301,118 registered to vote in the election. Galvin said he was disappointed with the turnout, which he projected would top 2.2 million. This month’s election is only the second non-presidential election since 1990 in which turnout did not exceed 2.2 million. The turnout may increase slightly because of pending recounts in two representative districts.
Turnout in Quincy was 44.3 percent.