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Beer board reinstates VFW permit
vfw sign w sm
Local VFW Post 7623 will be allowed to serve beer again after the beer board returned the club’s permit last week.The post was forced to give the permit up in March after an investigation by the Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission resulted in bartender Brian Foye being issued a citation for unlawful sale of alcohol and Quartermaster Thomas Skelenka being citated for storage of alcohol for sale and possession of gambling devices on March 15.All charges are misdemeanors.ABC agents seized gambling machines, a raffle prize and cash in the raid, which followed an undercover investigation into allegations of illegal sales of liquor. Club operators allegedly allowed their license to expire, but continued to sell liquor.Foye stood before General Sessions Court to answer his charges on April 12 and received a six-month sentence, to be served on probation.He was also fined $50 and court costs.Skelenka was granted a continuation until May 17 in his case.During the April beer board meeting, Sheriff Patrick Ray said he was instructed by then beer board chairman Mack Harney to take the VFW's beer permit at the April meeting and surrendered it to the county clerk, pending a decision by the board.Skelenka told the beer board at last month’s meeting that the club, which has been in operation since just after World War II, could not survive financially without a beer permit.Skelenka was informed by new board chairman Edward Frazier that he could pick up his permit at the clerk’s office after the board voted to return the license Thursday night.Members voted last month to ask county attorney Hilton Conger to render a legal opinion on how to proceed with the matter.The question concerning beer board members was whether the club had violated the terms of their beer permit and whether the board had a legal right or obligation to impose penalties against the post.Conger told members that since the license had never been revoked, the beer board could simply give it back, which they did.Meanwhile two other businesses were granted permits to sell beer on-and-off premises last week.The Company Store on Dale Ridge Road Sharp Lodge on Cookeville Highway were granted new permits.The Company Store already had an on premises permit, but was seeking permission to sell beer for consumption off the premises as well.The board accepted an application for an on-and-off premises permit from Pablo Gonzales, the new owner of the former Stop Market on Short Mountain Highway.A decision on Gonzales’ permit will be made at the next meeting at 7 p.m. in the basement of the courthouse.