As the Nebraska Supreme Court hears oral arguments in the case of the Whiteclay liquor stores, Nora Boesem continues caring for children with fetal alcohol syndrome born near Whiteclay.

Capitol Connection

Ep. 34: How Closing the Whiteclay Liquor Stores Provides Hope – Interview with Nora Boesem

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In this week’s episode of Capitol Connection Nate Grasz interviews Nora Boesem, a woman who has fostered more than 100 children from Pine Ridge Reservation who have fetal alcohol spectrum disorder.

It’s estimated that 1 in 4 children born on the Pine Ridge Reservation have fetal alcohol syndrome, but Nora suspects its even higher.

Regarding the social ills that have plagued Whiteclay, Nora has seen it all. Public drunkenness, people passed out in the street, once she even witnessed a woman be thrown from a car with her underwear around her ankles.

Nora has fought to see the doors of the Whiteclay liquor stores closed for years and supports the Nebraska Liquor Control Commission’s recent decision.

“It wasn’t just the drinking. It was the level of lawlessness and hopelessness that Whiteclay brought. There’s been such a change this summer because a lot of the youth who felt like there’s no hope, no one cares about what’s going on with us – the fact that people did something about Whiteclay has changed their minds. It will help that generation feel like maybe there’s more for me.”

Closing the liquor stores doesn’t cure addiction, but it is a first and critical step to addressing the many issues in this community.

Citizens and politicians are considering other action steps as well. For example, in the last legislative session, an NFA supported bill became law, creating a task force to be appointed by the Governor to pursue solutions to the social and economic ills that have plagued Whiteclay and the surrounding area.

The Nebraska Supreme Court is expected to issue a decision in the case of the Whiteclay liquor stores in the next two months.

Although the case will focus primarily on the legal arguments regarding the Liquor Control Commission’s power to revoke the licenses when and how they did, we must never forget the innocent lives that have been impacted by the sale of alcohol in Whiteclay.

Nate Grasz

Nate Grasz

Policy Director
Nate is the Policy Director at Nebraska Family Alliance and host of the Capitol Report program.