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The Latest: Beer stores near reservation may have to close

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — The Latest on state regulators’ efforts to close four beer stores in Whiteclay, Nebraska, near the officially dry Pine Ridge Indian Reservation (all times local):

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4:40 p.m.

Four Nebraska beer stores that sell millions of cans annually near South Dakota’s Pine Ridge Indian Reservation may have to close, at least temporarily, while a case against them works its way through the courts.

The stores in Whiteclay scored a legal victory Thursday when a judge overturned a state commission’s decision not to renew their liquor licenses. But hours after the ruling, the Nebraska attorney general’s office filed a notice of appeal.

The appeal supersedes the judge’s ruling, which would have allowed the stores to stay in business. Their licenses are set to expire Sunday, at which point their attorney says they’ll have to close.

Whiteclay has drawn criticism for selling alcohol so close to the reservation where alcohol is banned.

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10:20 a.m.

A judge has overturned a decision to bar four Nebraska beer stores from selling next to an American Indian reservation in South Dakota that struggles with alcohol-related problems.

The ruling on Thursday was a setback for advocates who want to close the stores in Whiteclay, an unincorporated village with nine residents that sells millions of cans each year next to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.

Lancaster County District Court Judge Andrew Jacobsen agreed with the stores’ arguments that the decision by state regulators was arbitrary and unreasonable.

The Nebraska Liquor Control Commission ruled last week that it would not renew the stores’ licenses, citing a lack of adequate law enforcement in the area. Whiteclay is known as a spot where people drink, sleep and sometimes fight in public.

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