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Beer permit? Would-be bar operator can’t even get beer board hearing

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By Damon Lawrence

The Roane County Beer Board refused to hear Roma L. Christopher’s application for a beer permit on Tuesday.
“Because you all think I’m opening up for Grover Norton,” Christopher told the board.

Norton, owner of the Grill & Pub, had his beer permit revoked for a year on Feb. 12. Christopher planned to operate from the same location, 2224 Harriman Hwy., under the name 27/61 Grill-N-Pub.

According to her application, Norton still owns the property.
The meeting lasted about five minutes.
“I have some questions about the legality of this, and I would like to move that we postpone until such time as our county attorney can advise us on some of the legal issues surrounding this permit,” Board Member Steve Kelley said.
That’s not what Chairman Copper Bacon had in mind.
“We got everybody here, and I think we need to either give it to her or not give it to her,” Bacon said.
“We need a motion to hear the application first,” Board Member Randy Ellis said.
Bacon got no response from the other board members when he asked for the motion to hear the application. He asked three times.
“The board is not going to listen to your application,” Bacon told Christopher.
“So I’m being denied?” she asked.
“Yes,” Board Member Chris Johnson said.
“It’s not that you’re denied,” Ellis added. “There just wasn’t a motion before the board to hear the application.”
Christopher asked for an explanation, but she didn’t get one.
“We’re going to adjourn this meeting,” Bacon said.

A Facebook page called “Help Me Stop the Grill and Pub in Harriman from Reopening” has over 700 likes.
After the meeting, Christopher had some not-so-kind words for Vickie Davis, the woman who started the Facebook page.
“Hey, Vickie, by the way I’m not an electrician, dumb (expletive),” she said.
Roane County Sheriff’s Office Capt. Tim Hawn told Christopher not to start anything.
“I’m not the one doing the physical threats,” Christopher said. “She is.”
Davis denied threatening Christopher, but didn’t couch her enthusiasm about what happened at the meeting.
“People who went to the bar and are now wondering where they should go,” she said. “I’d say they should go to church because it’s a better option.”
Davis’ friend, David Lee Harvey, was found dead outside the Grill & Pub on July 23, 2011. Eric Gallaher is charged with voluntary manslaughter and aggravated assault-bodily injury in Harvey’s death.
Roane County Sheriff Jack Stockton said Harvey’s death was one of many incidents that caused police to respond to the Grill & Pub.
He recommended that Norton’s permit be revoked after Jennifer Lynn Sawin was cited at the bar on Jan. 24 for allegedly selling a beer to an underage informant.