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Elks Club Shooting: Last Straw For Local Businesses, What They Can Do

By: Jessica Cunnington Email
By: Jessica Cunnington Email

March 18, 2013

The violence and shooting outside the Elks Club early Saturday morning is not new for next door neighbor restaurant, Fellini's.

"Millers, Whiskey Jar, me - no ones allowed to do that, why is it okay for them?" Fellini's owner, Jaclynn Dunkle says.

The owner of Fire Fish Gallery across the street says she called her landlord today to see what kinds of things she can do about the situation. She plans on starting a petition.

One thing they all agree on is something needs to change, but how?

"I am gonna take some action, somehow. With the city, with other business owners...with ABC, the alcohol board. What do we have to do to prevent this from happening again?" Dunkle said.

City Council members say right now they can only keep their ear to the street and wait for what police find during the investigation.

But local attorney, Scott Goodman says the State Alcoholic Beverage Control can do their own investigation.

"They have agents who investigate establishments that attract trouble or where trouble is caused repeatedly outside a certain establishment," Goodman said. "They can investigate whether or not there is some connection to the alcohol that's being served at this particular location and the behavior that takes place outside on the street."

A former Virginia ABC Board member says there is one law that any citizen of any county, town or city can bring to court. It's called 'Common Nuisance Law'. It says that decent good order is being ruined by the particular establishment and it could result in the court shutting down the business.

Sigrid Eilertson, owner of Fire Fish Gallery, says she doesn't necessarily want it closed down because the club is an important part of Charlottesville history, especially being part of Vinegar Hill.

But she says it's not only a problem for her customers and artists, it's a whole community safety issue and image issue for the city.

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