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.

Cook Arrested For Aggressive Panhandling On Gunbarrel Road

Chattanooga Police have charged Anthony Lebron Cook with aggressive panhandling on Gunbarrel Road. Cook, 51, is also charged with public intoxication. An officer said he responded to Panda Express on a panhandling call. Employees said they had asked Cook to leave multiple times, but he refused. They said he kept asking for money for food. When the officer arrived, Cook ... (click for more)

Mailing Mix-Up Mars Corporation’s Quest For Comments On Proposed New Grocery Store, Shopping Center

Signal Mountain residents opened their mailboxes  Monday  to find fancy brochures featuring colorful architects’ sketches of a proposed new grocery store and commercial center a North Carolina corporation hopes to construct along both sides of Taft Highway.  The proposal by the Keith Corporation (TKC)    is expected to be formally presented at ... (click for more)

The Panhandling "Tax" On Gunbarrel

I’ve been reading about the panhandling problem in downtown; it is a huge problem in the Gunbarrel area, too.  It’s commonplace to be accosted by panhandlers when walking from your parked car into a commercial establishment.  And often they are aggressive.  I look carefully around my car before getting out, but sometimes someone will be lurking in between cars and ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Meme From The Meanies

Hardly a day goes past that I don’t receive several strings of memes in my incoming emails and yesterday there was one particular collection that gave me pause for thought. First, here’s the definition of a meme: “An Internet meme (/mi?m/ MEEM) is an activity, concept, catchphrase or piece of media which spreads, often as mimicry or for humorous purposes, from person to person via ... (click for more)

Ooltewah Wins Wildcat Classic Again

Early season prep baseball tournaments are meant for a few things; primarily competition, repetition, and learning a few things about your team over the course of a few games.   The Ooltewah Owl baseball nine apparently has learned it likes collecting championship trophies in them as well.   For the second year in a row, the Owls won the longstanding ... (click for more)

Lady Vols Fall To Oregon State, 66-59, In 2nd Round Of NCAA's

KNOXVILLE-- Senior center Mercedes Russell logged her 46th career double-double with 21 points and 14 rebounds to lead Tennessee, but it wasn't enough as the No. 12/13 Lady Vols (25-8) fell to No. 13/12 Oregon State (25-7) in the second round of the NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament. Freshman Anastasia Hayes also had a double-digit outing for the No. 3 seed Lady Vols, posting ... (click for more)