MOUNTAIN IRON — There were two main themes at Monday night’s Mountain Iron City Council meeting — liquor and the environment.

Issues ranged from solar panels to 3.2 beer.

In a routine matter, the council approved cigarette and liquor licenses for several businesses located in the city, contingent on those businesses being current on utility payments.

The council also approved the sale of “strong beer” at the AmericInn in Mountain Iron.

City Administrator Craig Wainio said that because the business already has a wine and 3.2 beer license, the council is allowed to approve the sale of strong beer at the establishment. A new license does not have to be issued since owner Jim Makowsky is not seeking to sell hard liquor or spirits.

Makowsky, who attended the meeting, put it simply: “We are running out of beer.” He said the hotel is currently limited to “four choices” of beer.

Because 3.2 beer is 3.2% alcohol by weight, it is equivalent to about 4% ABV (alcohol by volume).

The council talked for a few minutes — lightheartedly — about beer, and also about how Minnesota, as of last Friday, is the last state in the nation with a 3.2 liquor law — limiting some retailers to selling only 3.2 beer. On Nov. 1, Utah did away with the regulation that dates back to Prohibition.

The council Monday also amended a zoning ordinance to allow solar panels into industrial areas.

And Wainio presented the council with a plaque the city received from SolSmart, designating Mountain Iron with a bronze award.

SolSmart recognizes cities, counties, and regional organizations for making it faster, easier, and more affordable to go solar, with designations of gold, silver and bronze.

Mayor Gary Skalko noted that about a dozen years ago, Mountain Iron was the second city in the state “to be acknowledged as a ‘green city.’” Edina, he said, was the first city in the state to become a GreenStep city.

“We are now a Level 2 green city,” he added.

In other business, the council agreed to advertise for a position on the Parks and Recreation Board, following the resignation of a member.


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