An advertisement for an Arizona liquor store in a small southern Utah newspaper has caught the attention of state liquor control agents and generated a warning against lawbreaking, says the paper's editor.
Mike Nepolis, of the Utah Alcoholic Beverage Control Department's criminal investigations division, recently contacted Big Water Times executive editor Elizabeth Joseph to express concern about the ad for a Page, Ariz., liquor outlet in the Nov. 23 issue, said Joseph.Nepolis contended the ad constituted "unlawful advertising of liquor," she said.
The agent, according to a front page article in the current issue of the twice-monthly newspaper published by Big Water mayor and polygamist Alex Joseph, issued a "verbal warning" that prosecution could result if the practice continues.
Joseph said the agent referred to a Utah law stating: "There shall be no advertising or use of any means or media to induce persons to buy liquor or to enter places where liquor is manufactured or sold." In Utah, alcoholic beverages other than beer are sold only at state liquor stores or licensed, regulated outlets.
Headlined, "Times on Verge of Major Bust at Hands of Solemn Agent Mike," the article written by Elizabeth Joseph treats the encounter jokingly. In it, she questions whether prosecution could result in the paper's staff being jailed or if investigators would simply "lock up" extra issues of the offending publication.
Elizabeth Joseph, Big Water city attorney and one of nine wives of Alex Joseph, disputes the illegality of printing the ad, arguing that because the liquor store does not operate in Utah, it does not fall under authority of the Alcoholic Beverage Control Department.
Page, where the store is located, is one of two "principal distribution points," along with Kanab, Utah, for the Times, Joseph said, and the ad was targeted for the Arizona market.
The current Times issue contains no liquor advertising. However, it does reproduce a scotch whiskey ad from the nationally distributed Time Magazine.
And Joseph joked that, "in exchange for immunity for the (Big Water) Times from this prosecution," publisher Alex Joseph "will testify against Time Magazine, Newsweek, U.S. News and World Report, and all the other magazines that come into his home here in Utah trying to `induce' him to buy liquor."