2 Bars Have Licenses Suspended By City Beer Board

Thursday, March 20, 2014 - by Gail Perry

The beer licenses of two bars were suspended at the meeting of the Chattanooga Beer Board Thursday morning.

A bar check was made at 1 a.m. on Jan. 24 by the Chattanooga Police Department at La Bamba Mexican Restaurant, 5425 Highway 153. The location is zoned C-2 which requires restaurants and bars to close at 11 p.m. unless they obtain a special exemptions permit. Officer John Collins told the board that when he arrived beer was on tables and about five customers were still being served.

The restaurant has been in business 10 months. In the last two to three months, owner Andres Garcia said he had been trying to find the right person or agency to contact to apply for the exceptions permit. He came to the meeting with an armful of paperwork to document the various calls and emails he had made in the attempt. Officer Collins told the board that Bertha Lawrence, secretary of the beer board, had given Mr. Garcia a list of phone numbers with that information at the time he received his beer license.

Mr. Garcia said he had called those numbers and they all led back to Ms. Lawrence. He had also called or emailed various city officials, naming Ken Smith and Ken Fritz among others. He said he never received answers from some messages he left and replies came after two weeks to others. It was not until last week that he finally got in touch with Randy Ridge at the city’s zoning department who told him to apply through the planning agency.

In the meantime, Mr. Garcia said some of his customers wanted to stay later than 11 p.m. Every Thursday the bar has Karaoke night and the night of the bar check the business was open when police arrived. He said this was the first and only time he had stayed open later than the zoning permitted. Officer Collins said he had prior knowledge and “reasonable suspicion” about the business being open after hours on other nights and patrol officers had noticed cars in the parking lot but they had not gone inside.

Beer Board member Christopher Keene said that even though Mr. Garcia had made a good effort that he had violated the beer code and made a motion to suspend the license for three days starting next Thursday. The motion received a unanimous approval.

William Pritchett, owner of Paddy’s Bar & Grill at 5603 Hixson Pike, came to the meeting represented by Attorney Stan Lanzo. Another bar check made on March 10 by Officer Collins and other officials found two illegal poker machines and evidence of gambling in the form of gambling boards for various sporting events as well as $1,130. At the time, Mr. Pritchett was given a citation in lieu of arrest and the machines were seized.

This is the second violation for the same infraction that the bar was cited for in August, 2013. Officer Collins had received tips prior to the bar check from an undercover officer who saw the machines, and he said two separate complaints had come to him from the mayor’s office. 

Attorney Lanzo asked no questions and presented no evidence, saying that there was a criminal charge associated with the incident that is still pending and he would not allow Mr. Pritchett to testify. This latest violation received the punishment of suspending the beer license for 10 days beginning next Thursday.

Davesh Patel is the owner of three gas stations. He has been in business since 2008 and has received no violations for selling beer or cigarettes during that time, and said he made daily checks to all of his locations. He applied for and received a permit for the newest one doing business as Super Mart at 5924 Brainerd Road.

Police Seek Lookout Mountain Man, 73, Missing Since Friday; Van Reportedly Found At Trion

The Dade County Sheriff's Department is looking for Freddie Wooten, 73. Mr. Wooten was driving a 2002 Ford Windstar minivan with the license plate number, THM1418. He was last seen wearing a light blue shirt and navy pants. His van was reportedly found in a pool in Trion, Ga., with no sign of him. Anyone who has seen Mr. Wooten, or has information regarding the case, ... (click for more)

Dog Saves Woman From Fire At Highway 58 Area

A homeowner reported that her dog saved her life early Friday morning. At 12:52 a.m. , the homeowner called 911 reporting a fire at 8411 Providence Road (Highway 58 area). The Highway 58 Volunteer Fire Department responded and arrived reporting a log cabin with flames coming through the roof. Firefighters worked quickly to contain the fire, but it was a challenge due to  ... (click for more)

Don't Be Quick To Discard Common Core

Let's not be too quick to discard Common Core. A recent article in the Tennessean on  Sunday detailed Common Core successes the Kingsport, Tennessee school system.  I encourage you to read it.  The article also noted that Tennessee was recently ranked as one of the fastest improving states in education after implementing portions of the Common Core curriculum ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Our Tubman Goat-Roping

Every spring there comes a bright day on the ranch when the straw-boss decrees a goat-roping should take place. What really happens is the veteran cowboys arm the greenhorns with some lariats late in the afternoon and take them to the pen that holds some Billy goats. This is before they get into bigger beasts -- horses and cattle – yet what appears to be easy most certainly is not. ... (click for more)

Football Mocs Receive No. 8 Seed For FCS Playoffs

The hugs, high fives and first pumps by the Tennessee at Chattanooga football players late Sunday morning let everyone know in Moc Nation that the Blue and Gold had received a highy-coveted seed and would be hosting a second round NCAA FCS playoff game Dec 6 at Finley Stadium at 1 p.m. "When the television announcers called our name as the No.8 seed (out of eight ... (click for more)

Missouri Hangs On, Turns Back Tennessee, 29-21

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Missouri pin-pricked Joshua Dobbs’ bubble of invincibility Saturday night at Neyland Stadium. The nationally ranked Tigers drove a stake in Tennessee’s heart with Maty Mauk’s 73-yard touchdown pass to Jimmie Hunt in the fourth quarter, held Dobbs in check most of the game and beat the Vols, 29-21, before 95,821 fans on a chilly night on the banks of the Tennessee ... (click for more)