Friday, March 12, 2004

Green Beer Day goes flat

Cops, Mother Nature keep lid on Miami U. imbibing

By Jon Gambrell
Enquirer contributor

OXFORD - The weather and stepped-up law enforcement dampened Green Beer Day at Miami University.

With overcast skies and early rain, this year's installment of the morning student drinking tradition was quieter than in past years, according to police, who had warned students they would be out in force.

"It hasn't been too bad at all. It's partially the weather; a lot of people seemed to stay away," said Oxford Police Lt. Bob Holzworth.

But as the day rolled on, gray skies turned to blue and more green-clad students ambled through the city's bars.

Green Beer Day, a decades-old student tradition frowned upon by university administrators and city officials, celebrates the last Thursday before spring break. Students cram into bars that tap kegs at 5:30 a.m. to enjoy green-colored ale.

For 22-year-old senior Katie Barnes of Mason, her day consisted of waking up before 5:30 a.m. to make it to a bar, then spending the morning singing karaoke before going to classes.

"I'm finding a nice variety of sobriety," she said, her tongue dyed green from beer. "I haven't seen anything out of control."

Taking a breather at Mac & Joe's Restaurant and Saloon, 26-year-old bartender Mark Glaser said business had been steady throughout the day.

"We've had no problems," said Glaser. "A lot of people are eating now, boosting and recharging. The cops are being good, and no one's gotten out of control."

Police said there were only a handful of arrests. Reports indicated five Thursday evening.

Even the Butler County Sheriff's Office got into the spirit, springing a Green Beer Day blitz on drunken drivers. Setting up outside of Oxford on U.S. 27 and Ohio 73, deputies were ready to crack down on driving under the influence.

By Thursday evening, no DUI arrests had been made. But 42 speeding tickets were handed out, along with 23 warnings.

"Hopefully, we don't have to make any arrests - none, that's our goal," said Chief Deputy Richard K. Jones "We're going to be looking for impaired drivers."


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