City Leaders to Debate Smoking Ban

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Wisconsin has around 20 municipalities that have or will enforce smoking bans in most of their restaurants. UW-Stout student and alderman Aaron Fonder is hoping to add Menomonie to the list.

"I think that we're all affected by ETS, which is second-hand smoke and by being exposed to that-it creates health concerns."

He wants a smoking ban in restaurants that bring in more than half their profits on food sales, kind of like the ban Eau Claire's council passed about five years ago.

"We're going to discuss this and possibly write up a proposal...It depends on how far we get in the discussion."

If an ordinance gets passed, it wouldn't effect Jake's Supper Club or The Pioneer Grill and Saloon, after all, they're outside the city limits, but owners of The Pioneer are still plenty concerned.

"We're seeing that being spread statewide...It's not just a pocket, it becomes an entire area," said Co-Owner Jackie Krueger, who is also President of the Dunn County Tavern League.

Fonder admits he wants county leaders to notice, increasing the chance that Pioneer customers would someday have to snuff their butts.

"We would lose at least 50 percent of our business and we'd be laying off at least 15 people," Krueger said.

"When you're concerned about your livelyhood and your employee's livelyhood, you need to be concerned about anything like this that comes to the table," said Bob Krueger, who co-owns The Pioneer.

The bar's owners suggest OSHA regulate the health of their staff, and that customers simply choose whether to be downwind of a lit cigarette or anyone puffing on it; a point Fonder will consider.

"We're not just jumping to conclusions and we're not just hearing one side of the story."

The story becomes one sided for Fonder and customers of The Pioneer if state lawmakers trump all this. They're considering a pair of smoking ban proposals in the midst of the Menomonie debate.