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La Quesadilla reopens after three-year absence

Hartsville now has three Mexican restaurants after La Quesadilla reopened its doors on Monday.

The restaurant, located on Highway 25 across the street from the high school, had been closed since a fire did serious damage to the building in February 2019.

Debbie Ferrell, who previously owned La Quesadilla after it first opened in 1999, said she was excited to be able to finally reopen.

“It’s been a long process, but we’re finally open. It’s a good thing,” she said.

The ongoing COVID pandemic delayed repairs to the building as finding contractors and materials became difficult, Ferrell added.

“It was just about the time everything happened. But we took our time and did what we could, and we got it done,” she said.

The menu is mostly the same as it previously was with a few additions, while La Quesadilla now has a fully stocked bar as well. The restaurant already has its beer license and is hoping to have its liquor license in place by the end of the week, according to Ferrell.

Asked what was the same about La Quesadilla, Ferrell said, “Same owners. We opened in 1999 and I ran it for 17 years… We decided to come in and reopen.”

There are new pineapple dishes, mahi tacos and snapper fish dishes now on the menu, and also ribeye steaks.

“We’ve got a few new things but it’s a lot of the old favorites too,” Ferrell said. “One of the girls here was my bartender in Florida. We’re looking forward to her serving good drinks.”

Asked if she had considered reopening as something other than a Mexican restaurant, Ferrell said, “We were the first ones here. We’ve got really good cooks and have always prided ourselves on serving good quality food. We should stick with what we’re good at.”

The restaurant will be open Sunday-Thursday from 11 a.m.-9 p.m. and from 11 a.m.-10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. Lunch specials are available Monday-Friday from 11 a.m.-3 p.m.

For more information, visit the restaurant’s Facebook page or call 615-680-3484.

Reach Chris Gregory at 615-450-5756 or cgregory@hartsville

Trousdale County animal shelter gets new director

Trousdale County’s animal shelter has a new director, who is hoping to see a new direction for the facility.

Rebecca Troutt took over as the facility’s director at the beginning of December and spoke with The Vidette about her vision for the shelter. Having spent 10 years as a veterinary technician, she said she was ready for a new challenge but still wanted to work with animals. Trousdale County’s job opening presented the perfect opportunity.

“I’m a 10-year tech, got burned out, and thought I would be able to contribute to this,” she said. “It’s started pretty well.”

The animal shelter, which is located next to the Convenience Center on Industrial Park Drive, is currently open from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Friday. Troutt said she hopes to be able to expand to weekend hours if the county is able to hire a part-time assistant. That position is funded in the county’s current budget, per previous reports by the mayor’s office.

“As soon as that position is filled, we might have the ability to let people come in and look into adopting. Right now, we can only take in strays or surrenders by appointment,” Troutt said.

Troutt noted that the county does not currently have an animal control officer, who would be responsible for picking up loose dogs and bringing them to the facility, which is a no-kill shelter.

“We don’t pick up animals at large right now, but we are looking into that direction. If and when it happens is up in the air right now… There is a need. I get calls a lot about animals needing to be picked up.”

Troutt said she had short-term and long-term goals, starting with updating the intake procedure at the shelter.

“At this point we don’t really do a whole lot. We do a quick exam, do a five-day hold and then go for vaccines and spaying/neutering. I’d like to get those things done in house,” she said.

Troutt said she would like to see the building reworked to be able to separate dogs available for adoption from those in their five-day holding period as well.

“I’d like to see this area blocked off, for the comfort of the animal,” she said.

Finding a better site is among her long-term goals, Troutt said. She acknowledged that many people do not know where the animal shelter is located and being next to the Convenience Center tends to turn people off.

“There’s a negative connotation to, ‘Oh, it’s over by the dump.’ I understand why it’s here, but I’d love to see a more accessible direction to the animals and to the public,” she said.

Updates to the current building, including insulation and the HVAC unit, are among her short-term goals. She would like to add viewing areas where the public could see dogs available for adoption and a play area for the dogs currently on site.

“It’s good for their morale for the animals to be with each other,” she said.

Troutt is also working to promote the shelter and adoptable dogs on the shelter’s Facebook page, which is listed under Hartsville Trousdale Co. Animal Shelter.

Anyone interested in adopting a dog can apply by contacting the shelter at 615-680-4022 or by email at Applicants would fill out a form and pay a $125 fee. That fee covers having the dog vaccinated and spayed/neutered.

Reach Chris Gregory at 615-450-5756 or

Tennessee pairs with Walmart on COVID treatment

The Tennessee Department of Health (TDH) announced on Dec. 30 that the state has received shipments of the Merck and Pfizer oral antiviral treatments for COVID-19.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued an emergency use authorization for molnupirvar by Merck and an emergency use authorization for Paxlovidby Pfizer as oral antiviral treatments of COVID-19.

Early studies indicate these treatment options may reduce severe outcomes from COVID-19 including hospitalization or death. These treatments are recommended for individuals who are at high risk for progression to severe COVID-19 or have underlying medical conditions.

Consult with your physician about your risk factors when taking these treatments. Both drugs require a prescription.

The Tennessee Department of Health coordinated a distribution plan of molnupiravir and Paxlovidwith Walmart pharmacies across the state. This treatment is free, and Tennesseans can visit to find a participating Walmart pharmacy near them. According to the website, both the Lafayette and Lebanon stores are participating in the distribution.

Initial supply in the state is limited as the first allocation from the federal government was 5,000 courses of molnupiravir and 1,000 courses of Paxlovid. TDH anticipates additional allocations in the coming weeks as production increases.

While antivirals may help treat COVID-19, vaccination is the best approach to prevent infection. Tennesseans age 5 and above are encouraged to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Individuals ages 16 and above who received an mRNA vaccine may also be eligible for a booster shot at six months or more after they complete the initial series.

For adults ages 18 and older who received single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine, a booster dose is recommended at two or more months after the initial vaccine. Trousdale County’s Health Department offers vaccinations Monday-Friday from 12:30-3:30 p.m. without an appointment, and all three local pharmacies offer vaccinations as well.

Commissioners discuss end of Trousdale's wheel tax

Trousdale County’s current wheel tax would expire at the end of May under a resolution to be taken up by the County Commission later this month.

At the Jan. 4 meeting of the Steering Committee, commissioners sent the resolution on to the full body for its consideration.

Trousdale County voters approved a wheel tax in 2000 and gave it a 20-year sunset clause, with the understanding that the $40 tax would expire once the high school had been paid off. The final payment on that note will come due in May.

The resolution also includes a provision that any funds left over in the Education Debt Service fund will be applied toward the replacement of the roof at Jim Satterfield Middle School. Since the wheel tax was intended to be applied to education debt, commissioners felt that would satisfy that requirement.

Amy Thomas, the mayor’s administrative assistant/budget director, estimated there could be in excess of $20,000 left over once the final school payment is made.

While commissioners have in the past discussed the possibility of creating a new wheel tax, that issue did not come up at all Tuesday evening.

Commissioners also looked at a proposed contract between the county and the Greater Nashville Regional Council (GNRC) to administer projects using American Rescue Plan funds. Trousdale County should have access to just over $5 million under the relief plan passed last year, but if the money is spent in ways that do not meet U.S. Treasury guidelines the county could be responsible for repaying part of that.

Commissioners questioned some of the contract terms, noting that GNRC would bear no responsibility if regulations were not deciphered correctly. Some of the fee structures were also questioned.

“Are they going to come back and charge us $20,000 for looking at a million-dollar project we’ve already looked at? That’s the question I have with it,” chairman Dwight Jewell noted. “It’s making sure we understand what the total ramifications are.”

Commissioners also referred to the Buildings Committee, which is scheduled to meet on Jan. 13, an engineering request for qualifications for a new criminal justice center.

“This is not funding it; it’s laying groundwork for someone to do this so we have accurate numbers to look at,” Jewell said.

The Steering Committee also referred to the Solid Waste Committee a proposal to increase the fees for roll-off containers. The proposed ordinance raises those fees to $325 for a two-week period plus $45 per ton and follows a recommendation from a Solid Waste audit conducted last year.

But commissioners also asked whether the ordinance should also look at raising fees for residential and/or business trash collection, given that there is a recurring deficit in that department.

“We wonder why we’re losing money? I’m not sure it’s the dumpsters, it looks like it’s these rates here,” Jewell said.

The County Commission is scheduled to meet at 7 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 24 in the upstairs courtroom of the courthouse.

Reach Chris Gregory at 615-450-5756 or

Lady Jackets players defend against Watertown during last week’s Christmas Tournament. The girls went 0-3 while the boys went 3-0 in the three-day event.