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Archives 06-23-2004

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County shows love for Knife Troop
Commissioners vote to keep beer distance at 2,000 feet
Tennessee unemployment rate decreased

 

 

County shows love for Knife Troop

photos by Dewain E. Peek/OCN staff
Hundreds of Overton County and Fentress County residents lined Highway 111 South early Thursday, June 17 to show love and support for Tennessee Army National Guard Knife Troop 3/278th ACR as the men headed out for Camp Shelby, MS, for training that may be followed by deployment overseas. Flags and banners adorned vehicles, bucket trucks, hillsides, and medians along the highway. The buses rolled out of the Livingston armory shortly after 8:30 a.m., a bit earlier than the 9 a.m. leave time that had been publicized. A long parade of cars and trucks followed the buses on their way out of Overton County. Truck drivers, delivery men, and others pulled to the side of the road on the north bound side and got out to salute the troops as they went by.

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Commissioners vote to keep beer distance at 2,000 feet

By DEWAIN E. PEEK, OCN staff
The 2,000-foot rule will stay in place and permits issued in violation of the rule will be revoked, such was the decision of Overton County Legislative Body during the Monday, June 21 regular monthly meeting. County Commissioner Chris Neal was absent.

"That's what it's all about, is trying to do the right thing," County Commissioner Donald Jeff Keyes said during discussion pertaining to Overton County's beer ordinance.

The 2,000-foot rule is the distance required between a place of public gathering and an establishment selling beer. The county ordinance was first set forth in October 1944, and a similar ordinance was passed in March 1984.

The validity of the ordinance came into question when C&H Food Mart was denied a beer permit in April because the store is 1,487 feet from Rickman Church of God of Prophecy. C&H Food Mart, owned by Chris Neal and his wife, filed suit against the county, alleging the Overton County Beer Board discriminated against the business. The suit asserts that permits have been issued in violation of the ordinance, thereby negating its validity.

County Attorney Daryl Colson had advised County Mayor Kenneth Copeland that the county had two options either reduce the distance requirement to the shortest distance currently in use or revoke the improperly issued beer permits.

When bringing the subject before the County Commission, Mayor Copeland said, "That's not something that myself or these county commissioners have enjoyed doing. It's something that was dropped in our lap.

"Some licenses were issued in 1981. When they did that, it violated our footage requirement. Then in 1988, there were some more issued.

"There was litigation. We were sued by a person wanting their beer license. And Daryl Colson, the county attorney, has researched this a whole lot. And I know these 13 court members, and myself, they've thought about it long and hard, and the decision they'll make tonight will be on, not really probably what they would like to, but it, hopefully, will be according to law what they should do."

Commissioner John E. Phillips then said, "I make a motion to leave it at 2,000 feet."

Then, placing a stack of papers on a table in front of him, he said, "Here's about 1,500 signatures, the voice of the people."

Commissioner Keyes said, "I second that."

In a roll call vote, the motion passed 7-6. Commissioners Gail Reed Arney, Randall Boswell, Stanley Carter Jr., Ben Danner, Shaun R. Hale, and Keyes and Phillips voted to keep the ordinance as is.

Commissioners Alan Atnip, David Dorminey, Gary Hollars, Frank Martin, Jean Moore, and Johnie Webb voted no.

Commissioner Webb asked County Attorney Colson about what the situation was at that point.

Colson said, "Based upon the vote, we'll have to begin issuing revocation proceedings. That's the next step if we want that to prevail. We'll have to revoke the illegally issued beer permits that are in the county."

Commissioner Phillips made a motion to revoke the licenses in violation of the 2,000-foot rule, and Commissioner Keyes seconded.

Before the vote, Colson cautioned, "The revocation we'll have to seek to revoke those licenses, that may not be successful, but we'll still have to proceed with it."

Concerning the lawsuit at hand, Colson told the Commission, "That license will be issued by court order, and, therefore, you should go into this with the understanding that that license probably will be granted, and the revocation process against that individual may not be successful."

Commissioner Phillips then said, "Let's just be clear. This is not a grudge or an individual thing, this is about what's wrong and what's right."

The motion was approved with the same 7-6 vote as the previous motion.

The County Commission voted to refund $565.95 to James Matthews, who had bought land sold at a tax sale on February 12, 1997. The property did not exist.

The Commission also voted to refund $10,429.74 to East Tennessee Natural Gas. The Tennessee Board of Equalization ruled that the utility has paid on over-assessments for 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, and 2001.

A resolution was adopted to allow for a continuing budget and tax rate for 2004-2005.

Year-end budget amendments were approved for both the school system and for the county.

A Litter Grant resolution was adopted to provide for 2004-2005 participation.

The Director of Accounts' bond was approved.

Roads were added to the county road list as requested by Road Superintendent Joe Garrett.

A budget resolution was adopted concerning a $1 million loan the county procured for Overton County Highway Department.

Mayor Copeland said, "It's money that the highway superintendent decided he didn't want and sent back. We've got to have this resolution in order to complete that paperwork."

John Alcorn, Jason Garrett, and Richard Winton were reappointed to Overton County Planning Commission.

The Legislative Body approved the following as notaries at-large: James R. Johnson, Margaret Stout, Thomas E. Stephens, Sandra Heaton, Fred Amonett, Danny Langford, and Clifford Jones.

The meeting adjourned, and the crowd clapped in approval of the actions taken concerning the beer ordinance.

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Tennessee unemployment rate decreased

Tennessee's unemployment rate continues to decline slightly, registering 4.8 percent for May, down from 4.9 percent in April, according to Commissioner of Labor & Workforce Development James Neeley.

The national rate is 5.6 percent for May, the same as it was in April.

"We're seeing normal seasonal patterns in the May figures as businesses get ready for summer," Neeley said. "Construction added 2,400 jobs over the month, and food services/drinking places increased by 2,500. State government educational services declined by 2,800 as schools began closing for the summer."

Neeley noted that the slight increase in durable goods manufacturing over the year continues, as the sector added 700 jobs from May 2003 to May 2004.

Other yearly gains were in trade/transportation/utilities, up 7,100; education/health services, up 6,600; and leisure/hospitality, up 5,900.

Decreases from May 2003 to May 2004 were in state government, down 1,000; nondurable goods manufacturing, down 800; and electrical equipment/appliances manufacturing, down 800.

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Overton County News
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Livingston, Tennessee 38570
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