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City Council will hear group's smoke-free plea

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By Todd Martin

 

The "Make Shelbyville Restaurants Smoke Free" group will get its say Thursday at the Shelbyville City Council meeting.

The group, started on Facebook by Vladi Gomelsky, has nearly doubled in size to more than 240 members in the last week, and Gomelsky has had about 100 posts both for and against smoking in restaurants since a story ran in The Sentinel-News on Jan. 13.

Gomelsky will address the council at the end of the meeting in hopes to sway members with his belief that he should be able to take his child to a restaurant without exposing it to secondhand smoke.

Some restaurants in the city have already gone smoke free - including Hardee's, Dairy Queen, The Bell House, Zaxby's, Pizza Hut and McKinley's Deli.

While city council will listen to Gomelsky's plea tomorrow, some business owners already have made their decisions.

Bob Andriot told The Sentinel-News earlier that, although his restaurant is smoke-free, he believes it should be left up to the owners, not legislated by the council or any other government.

And Teresa and Skip McKinley, owners of McKinley's Deli on Main Street, agree with Andriot and say they have had similar results going smoke-free.

"I think it should be up to the individual [business owner]; there are too many things being legislated anyway," Skip McKinley said.

"It's probably been close to 10 years [since went smoke free]. We just decided if we lose business, we'd lose business, but really we never did, never really even had any complaints. We even took the sign down a few years ago, and no one has ever asked about it."

Although, Teresa McKinley did recall an upset customer.

"We did have one gentleman who said he'd never be back," she said. "He did come back, but he always gets it to go."

The McKinleys decided to make the change because Teresa McKinley didn't like smoke in the restaurant, and there really isn't room for a smoking area.

"For us it was a lot about the environment we have here - really there's no where to go and be separate from everybody else," he said.

"A lot of people just get up and go outside to smoke anyway," she said. "I think for most, that's what they do at home anyway."

Attempts to reach owners of Cattleman's and Maggie's Bistro, two of Shelbyville's more popular restaurants, were unsuccessful.

 

Also on the agenda for Thursday's meeting:

  • Presentations from Shelby Prevention's Elizabeth Rafferty and Amy Williams of HNTB on the East End Small Area Study.
  •  A municipal Order on adopting an Open Records Request Policy.
  • A second reading of ordinances changing position descriptions for public works employees. The position of Superintendent of Public Works and Maintenance Supervisor will keep the same titles. Maintenance workers I, II and III will be changed to Maintenance technicians I, II and III. Only the position of Maintenance Technician II will be new.
  • Appointments of Jennifer Herrell to the Tree Board and Pamela Larking to Code Enforcement, both with terms