Official Apologizes for Closing Kids' Drink Stand

Two seventh graders are back in business after the city's health commissioner apologized because their lemonade stand had been shut down.

Mim Murray, 10, and Marisa Miller-Stockie, 12, have sold lemonade together for three summers, hoping to save enough for laptop computers before school starts.

But on Tuesday, the girls said, a Health Department (search) inspector told them they didn't have the proper business licenses and were selling unsafe ice cubes. The girls were using powdered lemonade mix with ice cubes bought from a store.

A resident, O.V. Carreathers, 48, had registered a complaint about the stand last Friday with the city's Citizens Service Bureau (search). The girls didn't work Monday, but the inspector found them Tuesday.

Carreathers said she wanted to keep the girls off her property: "I just didn't want them blocking my walkway."

The girls said their stand had been on the grass behind Carreathers' property.

After the stand was shut Mim's mother, Germaine Murray, called a St. Louis television station and the family's pastor, Monsignor Salvador Polizzi, who brought the situation to the attention of Mayor Francis Slay (search).

Melba Moore, the city's health commissioner, said temporary food and beverage vendors are supposed to obtain permits, but that doesn't apply to children's lemonade stands.

"It should not have happened. And I apologize," said Moore, who gave the girls $3 Wednesday for a 25-cent cup of lemonade.

Besides earning $112 Wednesday, the girls said they have learned something: "You don't have to sit there and take it," Mim told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Marisa added, "We learned to stand up for ourselves."