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PPD awards achievements

Portland Police Chief Jason Williams recognized members of the Portland Police Department for their outstanding service at the April 19 meeting of the Board of Mayor and Aldermen.

Williams stated that he had waited until the council was meeting in person rather than making the presentations on a Zoom meeting. The awards were based on performance statistics.

Williams also recognized the families in the audience who had come in support of the various officers being recognized.

The award for Most Calls for Service went to Officer Tanner Craddock, Most Citations Award went to Officer Derek Fondren, and the Most Arrests Award went to Officer Blake Riley.

Seven officers were recognized for saving the lives of overdose victims by administering Narcan/Nalaxone. Sgt. Chris Arthur and Officers Ebram Azer, Kyle Brown, Carlos Cruz, Victoria Eye, John Pszenitzki, and Blake Riley. Officers Azer and Riley were recognized three times for the award.

Officers Blake Riley, Kyle Brown, Blake Conyer, and Ty Wilson received an award for First Aid Resulting in Preservation of Life.

Williams said at the presentation, “I would like to thank these officers for their hard work all year. As I said last year, it is difficult to single out (one) officer when we have a lot of people who deserve to be singled out. I want to take a moment, as well, to talk about the entire police department, as a whole, and their performance last year.

“It’s easy to look back now and look at the pandemic and what we didn’t know at the time. These officers suited up every day without complaining and walked into unknown situations not knowing if they were going to get sick, aside from the other dangers they faced every day.”

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Main Street Nutrition now open

The Portland community has a new business on Main Street. Lexie Young and her brother Jason Young recently opened Main Street Nutrition, a business that features nutritious teas and milkshakes.

The specialty teas are low in calories and carbs, while having 17 grams of protein, and they have no sugar. They are full of protein and collagen. Several of the specialty teas have local names such as Panther Pride and Southern Strawberry.

The loaded teas have three varieties named Pom-Berry, Orange, and Tropical. Under each variety there are several flavors available with unique names. The loaded teas have several add-ons for the customer to choose such as fiber, collagen, and probiotics.

There are over 15 varieties of milkshakes, which are posted as a meal replacement with 24-27 grams of protein and low in carbs and sugar. Some of the creative names for the milkshakes are Brownie Batter, PB&J, and Elvis (vanilla/chocolate).

Lexie is a May graduate of Western Kentucky University earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Public Relations, and she lives in White House. Jason lives in Cross Plains and is a lineman for NES.

Lexie became interested in the nutritious drinks when Jason began drinking them and lost 35 pounds. She began working at White House Nutrition to learn more about the product and began to believe in the product.

Lexie said, “The owner of White House Nutrition was a mentor to me. I worked there and trained getting to know the product. I made sure I had tried every product.”

The shop has a welcoming decor which was designed and decorated by Lexie’s sister-in-law Kecia Young.

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Strawberry festival is this weekend

The 80th Middle Tennessee Strawberry Festival activities have begun. The Portland Chamber of Commerce and the City of Portland have planned several events leading up to the big day on Saturday, May 8. This year some of the regular Saturday events have been moved to Friday to give attendees a full weekend of fun with family and friends.

The Strawberry Jam Concert featuring Resurrection “A Journey Tribute” Band and the fireworks display have been moved to Friday evening. The concert will be on the Old Hickory Credit Union stage off Market Street. Several local talents will warm up the crowd before the concert including Bitty James Ladd and Sarah Faith. Other musical talents will be featured on Saturday beginning at 1 p.m. Food vendors will be open Friday night and Saturday.

Attendees are encouraged to bring their own lawn chairs and the chamber will have rental chairs while the supply lasts. The chamber strives to make it easy for those attending the concert by generating the fireworks from the Little League Park. Concert attendees can stay at the concert location and view the city’s fireworks display by simply turning their chairs toward the Little League Park. The Classic Car Cruise will begin on Main Street at 5 p.m., also.

Earlier in the week, the Strawberry Quilt Show was held at Richland Gym. This event was very popular with many quilters displaying their artistic talents. The Strawberry Festival Pageant was held at Portland High School on May 1. The Strawberry Golf Tournament was held recently at Kenny Perry Country Creek Golf Course. The carnival is scheduled to open at Richland Park at 5 p.m. on Wednesday and run through the end of the festival on Saturday.

The traditional events for the festival will be held as usual beginning with the Portland Rotary Club Pancake Breakfast held at First Baptist Church Family Recreation Center (gym) from 7 until 11 a.m. The Strawberry Stride 5K begins at Portland High School at 8 a.m. The Lions Club and Portland Chamber Vendor areas and Kids Town on Main Street will be open from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m.

Other activities will take place in the downtown area during the day. The exciting Mascot Race will be at 3:45 p.m., which features school mascots and other organizations’ mascots. The parade will begin at 4 p.m. and will close out the downtown festival events. The carnival will continue to be open after the parade.

Portland Chamber of Commerce President/CEO Sherri Ferguson said, “2020 was such a challenge for everyone. Many have been isolated and are ready to get back to living again. There has been more excitement about the festival this year. Sometimes you don’t realize how much you enjoy something until it’s gone. I can’t wait to see all the happy faces at the Strawberry Festival this year.”

There will be free parking at Portland High School and a free shuttle service beginning at 10 a.m. and running until immediately after the parade. There are several road closures during the festival and these are listed in the brochure produced by the chamber.

The brochure is available at the chamber, city hall, local banks, and local businesses. Over 9,000 were mailed with the City of Portland Utility bills. This year there is a Middle Tennessee Strawberry app for the festival. Attendees can use the app during the day to keep up with things that are scheduled.

The chamber and the City of Portland welcome everyone to the festival.

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Resolution would limit commissioners’ comments to five minutes at a time

Alan Driver

Moe Taylor

A Resolution that would limit county commissioners to speaking for five minutes at a time while debating an issue has been referred back to a committee for further study.

Resolution 2104-01 would amend the standing rules of the Sumner County Commission by adding language that would limit commissioners’ comments to five-minute increments, “so that other commissioners in the queue will be allowed to timely express their stance on the topic at hand.”

The resolution also amends the rules by adding the phrase, “repetition of viewpoints already made should be limited.”

The amendment requires a two-thirds vote to pass and was debated at length during the April 19 County Commission meeting before a motion was made to send it back to committee.

The resolution was first brought up during a Legislative Committee meeting a week earlier where members agreed to move it on to the full commission without discussion.

“We’re not stating our opinion on it, we’re just passing it on,” said Legislative Committee Chairman Baker Ring.

During the debate on April 19, several commissioners – and a few citizens – said they opposed the limit, while others said it was needed in order to give all legislators a chance to be heard.

“I think we are starting down a slippery slope when we start this,” said District 8 Comm. Merrol Hyde of Hendersonville.

“I get weary going to meetings that go after midnight, but I chose to do this. I just rarely vote to cut off debate.”

Comm. Jerry Becker, who represents the 9th District in Hendersonville, said he agreed with amending the rules to discourage repetitious comments, but was not in favor of limiting leaders to speaking in five-minute increments. Becker made an amendment to strike that part of the resolution. His amendment failed 9 to 14.

District 1 Comm. Moe Taylor of Westmoreland said he thought the five-minute limit was directed towards him.

“Having an open and transparent government starts nowhere in this amendment. Nowhere,” he said.

Taylor pointed out that commissioners can – and often do — end debate when 16 members vote to agree to “call the question.”

“So we already have the rule in place [to end debate],” Taylor said. “This is to shut up and sit down certain people – and it’s just not right.”

District 11 Comm. Jeremy Mansfield agreed with Taylor.

“You’re censoring the people by not allowing proper debate in this chamber – and that’s just wrong,” said Mansfield. “This gag rule, censorship rule is already available, [you] can call the question.”

Mansfield asked about making an amendment that would eliminate commissioners’ ability to call for the question if Resolution 2104-01 passed.

Commission Chairman Scott Langford said that any change to the “call the question” rule would have to be heard first by the Legislative Committee.

3rd District Comm. Alan Driver of Bethpage said he didn’t agree with the argument that citizens’ voices would be limited by the rule change.

“We’ve stayed here several times past midnight and every citizen got to speak,” he said. “So we are not limiting citizens’ opportunity to speak. They can speak at every meeting.”

Citizens may address the County Commission on agenda items. They are limited to five minutes.

“I believe opposing opinions are good, however we have had issues with people taking up so much time,” Driver added. “Five-minute increments doesn’t mean they can only speak one time.”

Unless the question is called, Langford added.

District 4 Comm. Jerry Foster made an amendment to limit commissioners to two 10-minute speeches on any one particular topic. The motion failed for lack of a second.

Comm. Leslie Schell, who also represents District 4, said the legislation is intended to give all commissioners a chance to speak. Schell said she’s been in the queue before when the question was called, ending debate.

She urged commissioners to vote for the resolution.

“There are 24 commissioners and each 24 of us want to be able to speak,” she said.

10th District Comm. Caroline Krueger said that the issue is one of respect, and not about limiting free speech.

“No one’s freedom of speech is being taken away,” said Krueger adding she often asks questions of county employees before the meetings, rather than in the middle of them.

“It shouldn’t be a night full of gotcha moments on video,” Krueger noted. “That’s not what our meeting is supposed to be. Just have respect for one another so we can all get our five minutes in.”

Comm. Larry Hinton tried to amend the resolution in order to not allow a commissioner to call the question until every commissioner has had an opportunity to speak on an issue.

Again, Langford said that any amendment having to do with calling the question would have to go back to the Legislative Committee. Hinton made a motion to send the amendment back to the committee with the understanding that calling for the question would be re-evaluated. The motion passed 20 to 3 with Commissioners Krueger, Billy Geminden and Shellie Tucker voting no.

The county’s Legislative Committee meets next on May 10 at 5:30 p.m. in Room 112 of the Sumner County Administration Building, 355 N. Belvedere Drive in Gallatin.