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VIDEO - Council to Rupp: 'We're watching you'

Norwalk Reflector Staff • Oct 29, 2015 at 12:04 PM

Rupp's Place got a reprieve, but city council made it clear they expect to see fewer problems at the bar to head off opposition to a liquor license next year.

Police Chief Kevin Cashen, who asked council to consider the opposition, said after the vote he is willing to work with owner Brian Rupp to solve the bar's problems.

"It's incumbent on me to work with the local businesses and that's what I'm going to do," Cashen said. "What I hope it does do is send a message to any community member that there are standards."

Melissa James, executive director of the Norwalk-Huron County Chamber of Commerce, and David Gulden, manager for Main Street Norwalk, told council they were willing to work with Rupp to solve his business problems.

"The business needs (to be) cleaned up," James said. "David and I would like to have a crack at this young man for the next year. We have some resources to help him with his business."

Rupp's Place served a seven-day suspension in April for permit violations. Three cases are pending against the bar - two for furnishing alcohol to people under 21 and one for improper conduct with the Ohio Division of Liquor Control.

Rupp told council last week he bought identification scanners and installed video cameras recently. He also changed his policy so nobody under age 21 will be allowed to enter.

Council member Tara Thornhill, in her last meeting, cast the sole vote in support of the resolution to oppose the liquor license. She will be replaced by fellow Republican Scott Krichbaum in January.

She said Brian Rupp, owner of the bar, should have acted sooner to address police concerns about the business. Cashen sent Rupp a letter in December, 2006 asking for more cooperation in handling problems at the bar.

Cashen said he recommended the license opposition because he doesn't want his officers at risk.

"Why did he (Rupp) wait so long to get help and start making improvements? I don't know," Cashen said.

Council members said they took Cashen's recommendations seriously, but saw positive moves from Rupp.

"He is trying to make the corrections," councilman Dwight Tkach said.

"I'm for looking at it a year from now," councilman Robert Carleton said.

"It should be an impetus to any liquor license holder," said councilman Chris Mushett. "The city's watching you."

Cashen said after the meeting that he sent a letter to Donna Rossman, owner of Charlie's, in July similar to the letter sent to Rupp's last December.

"We have had a couple of conversations," Cashen said, and Rossman understands police concerns. He said he doesn't anticipate immediate action against Charlie's.

"I would give it a whole year," Cashen said.

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