IUKA – As temperatures flirted with 100 degrees and sweat rolled down his face, Charles “Tubby” Aldridge considered his options.
“I ain’t drank a cold beer in a while,” he said, “but I’d about drink one this time.”
Aldridge sat for several hours in Mineral Springs Park in Iuka on Sunday, drumming up support for his petition to legalize the sale of beer and light wine in Tishomingo County. He kept cool with a steady flow of cold soda and the occasional breeze, but the heat wasn’t on his mind. His goal was all he thought about.
The Iuka native has had a legal petition drawn up by an attorney to make the county wet, and after just a few hours of sitting in the park, he already had two and half pages worth of signatures, with 28 signatures on each page. It’ll take 1,500 signatures to get the issue before the Board of Supervisors, but Aldridge is hoping for at least 500 to 1,000 more.
Aldridge, 55, admitted he was arrested on driving under the influence charges in the past, but that he has not touched alcohol in two years. He said the jobs and tax revenue from alcohol sales would better the county.
“You drive to Alabama, Tennessee, Corinth – up and down the highway, you see all the beer cans,” he said. “They’re getting the tax dollars, and Tishomingo County is getting the trash.”
With a new county jail being built, Aldridge said tax payers could either pony up the money for its construction via higher taxes or let it be paid for by the tax from alcohol sales. He said he’d like to see more playground equipment, a pool and a skate park, all funded by money from alcohol sales, installed for children in the county.
A wet county could mean more jobs as well, he said.
“No business is going to bring jobs to a dry county,” he said.
Many of the people who signed the petition told him they were non-drinkers; in fact, at least four people who signed the petition within 30 minutes of each other at the park said they did not drink alcohol.
Aldridge said he had not heard any complaints or protests to his efforts.
“Not even a phone call,” he said.
No matter what happens, Aldridge is adamant that the issue will be brought before the supervisors. He said he will sit in the park again, or he’ll visit parks throughout the county to get more signatures.
“I won’t quit until I get enough signatures to put it on the ballot,” he said. “When I get a hold of something, I don’t turn it loose.”
Contact Sheena Barnett at (662) 678-1580 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sheena Barnett/NEMS Daily Journal