No citations yet for smoking ban

Sara Drewry

Although some business owners disagree, the city-wide smoking ban has been accepted and enforced thanks to the spirit of compromise, city officials said.

Sgt. Mike Johns, Ames Police Department, said there has not been any citations written for patrons not obeying the ordinance since it took effect Aug. 1.

“It proves that people are voluntarily complying,” he said.

Officers with the Ames Police Department did respond to a call of a patron not complying. However, by the time they arrived on the scene the man was gone.

“We don’t know if he intended to break the ordinance or if he just didn’t know about it,” Johns said.

Judie Hoffman, city council member, said she believes the general public has been supportive of the ordinance.

“I have heard very positive comments so far,” she said. “I know there are some people that are unhappy, but many people are very happy about it. Even smokers have said they think it is the right thing to do.”

Hoffman said she feels people have cooperated with the ordinance, because six months passed before the ordinance kicked in.

“We passed the ordinance in the winter, [and] by the time it came into effect, the establishments had time to make adjustments,” Hoffman said. “The prolonged period also gave the public time to get used to the idea.”

Jody Kammin, member of the Tobacco Task Force and community youth development coordinator for Youth and Shelter Services, said she also feels the ordinance has been widely accepted.

“I know businesses were skeptical about it at first, but we have heard positive comments from them as well,” Kammin said.

She said Applebee’s Neighborhood Bar and Grill, 105 Chestnut St., is an example.

“The owner of Applebee’s was skeptical at first, but after hearing the positive comments, he chose to go totally smoke-free,” she said.

Kammin said Applebee’s is not the only restaurant that chose to go totally smoke-free after the ordinance went into effect.

Other restaurants include Carlos O’Kelly’s Mexican Cafe, 631 Lincoln Way; Ge-Angelo’s Italian Restaurant, 823 Wheeler St.; Great Plains Sauce and Dough Company, 129 Main St. and Red Lobster Restaurant, 1100 Buckeye Ave.

Paul Dullard, general manager of Carlos O’Kelly’s Mexican Cafe, said he thinks the ban is for the better.

“Our sales are up since the ban,” Dullard said. “We decided to be smoke-free at all times now.”

Tom Northrop, owner of Pizza Pit, 207 1/2 Welch Ave., said the ban has not affected business for the bar.

On the other hand, Harold Larimer, manager of Whiskey River, 132 Main St., said the ban has had a negative affect on his business.

“It is a terrible thing,” Larimer said. “I think it is hurting business for everyone.”

The city council did make some exceptions to the rule. Bars that make less than 10 percent of the revenue from food may be excluded from the ban.

These establishments must prove their sales to the city council and gain approval to be exempt from the ban.

Twentieth Century Bowling, 505 S. Duff Ave., and Cyclone Truck Stop, 1811 S. Dayton Ave., also are exempt from the ordinance.

Herman Quirmbach, city council member, said the two are exempt because of their unique circumstances. “It’s the art of compromise,” Quirmbach said.

“We had concerns from the truck stop and bowling alley – they wanted a level playing field,” he said. “We considered them to be special cases since there is only one of each in town.