Whiteclay stores might get beer licenses

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - A small Nebraska town again is caught in the cross-hairs of a debate over alcohol sales and widespread alcoholism on a bordering the South Dakota Pine Ridge Reservation.

Sheridan County officials voted 3-0 Tuesday to recommend the state renew liquor licenses for four beer stores in Whiteclay. Those stores sold the equivalent of 3.5 million cans of beer in 2015 despite Whiteclay's dozen full-time residents.

The decision is a setback from activists who've targeted the city for decades in hopes of stopping sales.

Members of the Oglala Sioux Tribe blame Whiteclay for problems on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, where alcohol is banned.

Whiteclay's history dates to 1882, when it was part a buffer zone created to protect the tribe from whiskey peddlers. President Theodore Roosevelt eliminated the zone in 1904.