Critics blast bar as blight to South O neighborhood - Omaha.com
Published Friday, April 13, 2012 at 1:00 am / Updated at 11:31 am
Critics blast bar as blight to South O neighborhood

A South Omaha group voiced concern Thursday just blocks from a neighborhood bar on 13th Street that it condemned as the source of crime and violence.

Later, the bar's owner, Lisa Mosites, said she had taken steps to improve security.

"I've been proactive," she said about her bar, Kurt & Clyde's.

Businesses in the area and residents who live south of downtown said they were fed up with crime outside the bar. They also said Omaha needs more control over liquor sales.

The bar, on the southwest corner of 13th and Dorcas Streets, has been the scene of four shootings since October, including two last month that injured three.

Hobert Rupe, executive director of the Nebraska Liquor Control Commission, said there is an active investigation into Kurt & Clyde's.

Rupe said that was all he could disclose because it is an open case.

Neighbors said the crimes, including numerous assaults, underscore the need for the City Council to act on an ordinance proposed last summer to control where new liquor licenses are granted and to better combat problem establishments. The proposal has not been formally introduced for public debate.

The Old Market South Neighborhood Association and the campaign to Let Omaha Control Its Alcohol Locally (LOCAL) held a press conference to discuss their concerns.

"What's a bad bar?'' said Arnie Breslow, president of the Old Market South group. "It's when you have needles in yards, fornication in yards. We have fighting and guns now at Kurt & Clyde's.

"We are trying to develop this area,'' he said of 10th, 13th and Vinton Streets. "This one bad bar could take the whole thing down.

"To the city, it's just another problem. To us, it's our home. This isn't a new problem. It's a five-year problem.''

Mosites spoke from the homey, brick-walled, oak-floored bar, which she bought in July, about 2 hours after Breslow. She said Kurt Krajicek owns the two-story brick building that houses the bar.

She said she has security cameras on the building, a dress code, a metal detector, a security guard inside Wednesday nights through Saturday nights and an off-duty police officer "in uniform'' outside the bar Friday and Saturday nights.

Mosites said she grew up in the area, and it's not just her bar that attracts occasional riffraff. The Sokol Auditorium & Underground at 13th and Martha Streets are concert venues that draw underage drinkers who get primed at home or outside the auditorium, she said.

"Sokol brings in people from everywhere,'' Mosites added. "There are kids everywhere.''

About crimes outside her bar, she said: "Some of the situations were special circumstances. But this isn't a problem bar. I have a lot of good people in here.

"What happens out there (outside the bar), I can't control.'' she said. "I don't want these types of people here, in no way, shape or form.''

Ken Schoner, 47, who was sipping a Budweiser at Kurt & Clyde's on Thursday afternoon, said the bar wasn't the problem.

"I love this place. I come here every single day,'' said Schoner, who lives nearby. "It's not the bar, it's the neighborhood.''

Janel Scott, who lives near the bar and worked there for about a month, said she and her fiance moved to South Omaha from 120th and Pacific Streets to enjoy the culture and amenities. She said the only drawback in the neighborhood is the violence.

Scott, a dance director at a hip-hop studio in Elkhorn, said: "This violence needs to stop. Enough is enough.

"It seems like it all stems from Kurt & Clyde's,'' she said. "It's very scary for us.''

World-Herald staff writer Sam Womack contributed to this report.

Contact the writer:

jay.withrow@owh.com, 402-444-1259

Contact the writer: Jay Withrow

jay.withrow@owh.com    |   402-444-1259    |  

Jay covers crime, weather, breaking news and other stories for Omaha.com.

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