The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

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September 27, 2013

State cites city bar

JOHNSTOWN — A Johnstown bar closed for a few days by a court order earlier this year is being cited for a number of violations by the state Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement.

The violations, the Cambria County district attorney said, do not violate terms of the deal allowing the bar to reopen.

A news release from the LCB, part of the Pennsylvania State Police, cites The Sheri-Den, known as Edder’s Den near the Oakhurst Homes, as violating four of the agency’s regulations and failure to adhere to the terms of the court order.

At issue is the identification swipe system installed at the bar as part of the agreement with information to be retained for 30 days.

“That’s the only provision (on the notice of violation) that deals with us and I think it’s a technical issue,” Cambria County District Attorney Kelly Callihan said.

When the LCB visited the bar at 534 Sheridan St. during the first week of August, employees were unable to retrieve the information stored in the identification system from the past 30 days, she said.

Employees were unable to download the information because of a technical problem with the equipment, she said.

“In my opinion, it’s a technical equipment issue. But except for that, everything is running smoothly,” she said.

David Weaver, the attorney representing bar owner Edward Gawel, could not be reached for comment Friday afternoon.

Callihan said she discussed the matter with Weaver and steps are being taken to fix the technical problem.

In March, Callihan filed a civil lawsuit against Gawel, asking the court to close the bar for a year because it was the scene of dozens of violent acts over the past few years.

Judge Timothy Creany ordered the facility padlocked and both sides went to work on a consent agreement calling for more employee involvement in the operation in the hopes of reducing the number of times Johnstown police were called.

An identification swipe system with the information retained for 30 days was primary in the deal, a step Callihan hoped would help cut down on the criminal element visiting the bar.

Other requirements included:

• Video surveillance camera covering the parking lot.

• Have a bar representative inspect the outside of the premises hourly.

• Restrict hours of operation, closing at 1 a.m., with last call at 12:30 a.m.

The restriction on the hours of operation was for a six-month period that is set to expire today, Callihan said.

As of today, the bar can be open until 2 a.m. with last call at 1:30 a.m

“We’ve had no reportable problems,” she said. “I’m satisfied, other than this technical issue, they’re complying with the terms and conditions.”

The complaints against Edder’s by the LCB deal in part with method of payment made by the bar for malt or brewed beverages.

It also listed the lack of a full-time manager for the bar and a contention that it is not a bona fide restaurant because insufficient food items were present.

The charges against Edders will be brought before an administrative law judge who has the authority to impose penalties and a license suspension, the release stated.

No timetable was provided for the hearing.

Kathy Mellott covers the Cambria County courthouse for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/kathymellotttd.

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