Stories for December 2009


Thursday, December 31

Vols head football coach Lane Kiffin

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Vols head football coach Lane Kiffin

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Vols freshman safety

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Vols junior linebacker

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Vols senior tailback

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Hokies crush Vols in the Chick-fil-A Bowl in Atlanta.

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Conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh remained hospitalized in Hawaii Thursday after experiencing chest pains similar to a heart attack, according to the guest host on his nationally syndicated radio show.

Fireworks exploded over Sydney’s famous bridge and the Eiffel Tower prepared for its own colored-light spectacle as the world celebrated a New Year that many hope will be more prosperous and peaceful than 2009.

ATLANTA — The University of Tennessee football trailed 17-14 to 12th-ranked Virginia Tech after the first half of Thursday night’s Chick-fil-A Bowl.

Colorado’s minimum wage will drop slightly in the new year — the first decrease in any state’s minimum wage since the federal minimum was adopted in 1938.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Wayne Chism had 15 points and nine rebounds, and 14th-ranked Tennessee dominated inside for a 66-59 victory over Memphis on Thursday.

Each year the Times Free Press looks at the year in review for the local folks who have made a name for themselves in the entertainment industry.

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The year began with a harmonious glow at the inauguration of the first black president, as America marked a stunning victory over its racial demons.

The band will march in the Rose Bowl Parade New Years Day.

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University of Tennessee runners Steve Fassino and Phoebe Wright from Red Bank High School and Signal Mountain won the 31st annual Karen Lawrence Run for St. Jude on New Year’s Eve.

A gunman clad in black went on a shooting rampage Thursday, killing his ex-girlfriend then slaying four workers at a suburban shopping mall near Helsinki before turning his gun on himself, police said.

Unlike many who visit the home of Hollywood, Tim "Romeo" Johnson never had any aims to make a living in front of a camera.

Loyal patrons of Soup's On are accustomed to dashing over to the Broad Street eatery during the lunch hour to get a taste of some of the best soups and sandwiches in town. Now the sense of urgency can abate somewhat, as dinner is being offered as well.

Tennessee Valley Theatre in Spring City will raise the curtain on 2010 with a production of "On Golden Pond." The love story of Ethel and Norman Thayer opens Thursday.

The Museum Center at Five Points, 200 E. Inman St., in Cleveland, Tenn., will begin accepting quilts for its annual "Stitches-in-Time" exhibition Tuesday. Museum hours the next two weeks (Jan. 5-9 and 12-16) are 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday-Friday and 1-3 p.m. Saturday

THEATER CHATTANOOGA THEATRE CENTRE -- 400 River St. Box office: 267-8534, "Twelfth Night," Chattanooga Shakespeare Company presentation of Shakespeare's comedy, 8 p.m. Jan. 8-9 and 2:30 p.m. Jan. 10. $15 adults, $10 students/seniors

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Author Ed Francisco and poet Bill Brown will conduct concurrent writing workshops during January Jumpstart X, scheduled Jan. 15-17 at the Magnuson Hotel in Sweetwater, Tenn. Registration deadline is Thursday.

Outdoor Chattanooga will begin a series of winter workshops Thursday.

To include a listing in the Out & About calendar, e-mail or call 423-757-6391. * Requires drive time of one hour or more from downtown Chattanooga. LEISURE CHATTA-TOURS -- Chattanooga Visitors Center, Second and Broad s

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A traveling road show to give consumers ideas for their home entertainment needs will stop this weekend at Kinder's Furniture Mall, 400 Direct Connection Drive, in Rossville.

If you're looking to prolong the warm, fuzzy feelings of Christmas, a handful of Chattanooga attractions have just the tonic. But act fast. This is the final weekend to enjoy many of these holiday-themed events.

Winter Jam Winter Jam, Christian music's largest annual tour, will kick off Jan. 8 at McKenzie Arena. The three-month, 44-city tour is hosted for the 15th consecutive year by NewSong and features a who's who of contemporary Christian artists, including Th

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Gov. Sonny Perdue intends to name state Rep. Jim Cole as Georgia’s next secretary of state, two officials with knowledge of the governor’s plans said Thursday.

'(500) Days of Summer'

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The Netflix top 10 rentals for the last reporting week.

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Game Informer Magazine ranks the Top 10 underground hits of 2009.

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Happy New Decade, fair readers.

* AMERICAN LEGION POST 81 -- 227 James Asbury Lane, Cleveland, Tenn. Today, karaoke with Melba, 8 p.m., no cover. Saturday, Full Axess, 8 p.m., $5. 476-4451.

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Four acts will take the stage Saturday for the debut of North County Jam at the Sale Creek Lions Club.

ACOUSTIC GOSPEL JAM -- Brainerd United Methodist Church, McFerrin Chapel, 4315 Brainerd Road. Jam session, 5-6 p.m. each Sunday. After 6 p.m., play anything. Free. 698-5928.

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The Voices of Lee, representing Lee University of Cleveland, Tenn., chalked up a third-place finish in "The Sing-Off" earlier this week. NBC's new reality show was a quest to find the best a cappella group in the country. Those bragging rights went to Puerto Rico's Nota, with Tufts University ensemble Beelzebub taking the No. 2 slot. Eight ensembles began the competition, out of 1,000 that auditioned. Judges narrowed the finalists to three, then the winner was chosen by popular vote by viewers. A homecoming concert is being planned when the Voices of Lee return from Christmas break.

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Emma and William win again!

CASEY PHILLIPS 1. Phoenix. "Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix." Glass Note. The moment the electrified, bopping strains of "Lisztomania" start popping out of your speakers like musical candy, it's obvious this French pop/rock quartet's fourth album is something special. From the upbeat, danceable opener to the more subdued, dreamy two-part "Love Like a Sunset," Phoenix's command of your ears and feet is unassailable.

Outdoor enthusiasts looking to explore the Great Smoky Mountains National Park will gather in Pigeon Forge next month for the annual Wilderness Wildlife Week.

Due to the first Saturday being on New Year’s weekend, the meeting of the Dade County Historical Society is being moved to Jan. 9 at 6 p.m. at Randy’s. The society’s Genealogy Class is starting up again on Jan. 11 and will meet at the Dade County Public Library from 6-8 p.m. Sarah Roach is teaching and beginners are welcome along as well as the experienced.

Spin Crazy, at 51 Tennessee St., holds spin classes for $5 at 8:15 a.m., 4:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday and at 8:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. on Saturday. Call 423-637-1001 to reserve your bike. Jessie Thornton’s United Karate Studios, at 61 Tennessee St., offers karate and self-defense classes. Kick-box aerobics classes are $5 each on Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 5:40 p.m. Call 706-965-8148 for more information. The Rock Fitness Center, at 2630 Pine Grove Road, offers monthly specials on classes and memberships. Call 706-866-0072.

The Obedience Club of Chattanooga will begin its next six-week session of agility, obedience and rally classes for puppies and dogs on Monday, Jan. 11, at its heated training facility at 244 Lake City Drive, just off Highway 193 in Flintstone, Ga. Registration (no dogs, just handlers) will be held Sunday, Jan. 10, from 1-3 p.m. at the training facility. Each session consists of a variety of classes. The cost is $75 per student/dog team. Agility classes are limited to six students per class. The fee is $85. During registration, various Obedience Club dog/handler teams will present training demonstrations.

With the economic downturn, we can only hope and pray that 2010 will be the best yet. We hope for more jobs and better economy. It has been difficult for a lot of people, but when you sit down and think about it, we have truly been blessed. We would like to see our troops come home and we thank the ones that have fought and lost their lives for us. Thank you to the senators and state representatives in Georgia who have taken time away from their families to help our families. Let us be positive and look to a wonderful future.

The Dalton-Whitfield Chamber of Commerce will be hosting a Good Morning Dalton at the Northwest Georgia Trade and Convention Center on Jan. 7 at 7:30 a.m. Come listen to area legislators as they give an overview of the upcoming Georgia General Assembly.

The Chickamauga Public Library will have several activities going on during January. On Jan. 7, Jan. 14, Jan. 21 and Jan. 28 at 10 a.m. will be Storytime. On Jan. 12 at 5:30 p.m. will be Couponing 101. At 3:30 p.m. on Jan. 14 will be the Teen Advisory Board meeting. The library will be closed on Jan. 18 for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

Father Time has declared — the year is over, for better or worse. According to analyst, it was the worst year since the Depression. Personally, our city can point to several great success stories. Miss Tennessee Stephanie Whitler, our Soddy-Daisy High School band's selection for the Rose Parade are two of those great stories. The worst of the year has been the death of loved ones and friends. Dr. Howell “Barry” Dalton will certainly be missed.

Signal Mountain's own Pete Gammon is an unlikely Santa Claus but he assumed the role this Christmas for many this year. A classic case of seeing a need and working hard to meet it. For years, Pete has noticed the Christmas trees left over at Weaver's Tree Farm, wondering if they were burned or mulched. This year, with the help of too many folks to mention here, more than 50 families were provided with a Christmas tree they otherwise would have done without. Thank you to Pete and Weaver's.

The burned shell of the St. Elmo United Methodist Church is still ringed with yellow warning tape, but progress is being made on rebuilding the St. Elmo landmark, according to church members. According to one member I spoke with, the insurance company has agreed to a full replacement of the structure since extensive investigation revealed that the cause of the blaze was accidental, starting with faulty wiring in the ceiling.

Delta Air lines Inc. has received government permission to operate its namesake service and its Northwest Airlines subsidiary as a single carrier, a Delta executive said Thursday.

With the hustle and bustle of the Christmas holidays behind us, tomorrow begins a new year. May 2010 brings you and your family lots of good health and happiness from the beginning to end. While most students are still on winter break and looking for something to do, don't forget about the Kids First Coupon Book. It is filled with lots of coupons for local attractions, and not only will you be supporting the Hamilton County Schools, you are supporting our community. You can purchase the coupon books at any First Tennessee Bank.

Happy New Year! Good to see 2009 in the rearview mirror and let's pray for a better 2010. HMS Golf, a golf course management firm based in Woodstock, Ga., has been hired by Northwest Georgia Bank to manage The Champions Club Golf Course here in Ooltewah. That's good news for the course that just emerged from bankruptcy.

It’s not too late to make plans for ringing in the new year. Many downtown venues are holding New Year’s Eve celebrations, and you can find a list of activities at On Tuesday, an Adobe Photoshop class is starting at the Association for Visual Arts. Cost is $125 for AVA members and $200 for non-members.

If your New Year resolution is to get more exercise, the Patten Center may be the place for you. The fitness center has new exercise equipment that can enhance any workout. For more information, call Jim Long at 825-5955. If your New Year resolution is to be outside more, try the Chattanooga Nature Center.

Plans are for the North Chickamauga Creek Greenway to be expanded by approximately 1 1/2 miles thanks to Clear Creek Church of Christ, giving Chattanooga almost 15 acres for a conservation easement. According to Rick Wood, executive director of the Trust for Public Land, this is one of the single largest easements given for the greenway master plan. The extension of the greenway would start at the Greenway Farm and run along the creek until it reaches North Chickamauga Creek Gorge. There is an abundance of wildlife from deer to wild turkeys and blue herons. Construction of a trail should begin soon.

I hope that everyone has a very Happy New Year! If you choose to drink, please designate a driver. Many lives are saved each year by doing this. Be aware of the drivers around you. Stay alert. Don’t become a statistic.

Well, another year has come and gone. I hope you have fond memories and are looking forward to what 2010 has in store. I would like to invite you to be a part of Friends of East Brainerd. We are looking for anyone who works, lives or plays in East Brainerd to be a part of an organization which has a sole purpose of making East Brainerd the best place to be in Chattanooga.

At noon on Jan. 10 at the Collegedale Seventh-day Adventist Church, the 55 Plus Club will have retired professor Dr. Jon Green speak on "Our Collegedale Heritage.

The Chattanooga Hamilton County Chapter of the NAACP will host its Annual Jubilee Day Celebration on Friday. The celebration will begin at 11 a.m. and will be held at Pilgrim Rock Baptist Church, located at 1726 Church Road. Pastor Willie Paul from New Horizon Baptist Church will be the guest speaker.

It is 2010 Census time, apply now for jobs. About $300 billion in funding is allocated to the nation’s communities on the basis of numbers and demographics from the census. Members of our community are being encouraged to submit an application that will allow you to work for $12 an hour for the census in your own community.

For the second time since the Memphis Animal Shelter was raided by authorities, a dog set to be adopted has been destroyed.

Vols seek ranking

UT has been in the Top 25 at least one week since 1985

ATLANTA -- Tennessee football players, from seniors down to freshmen, have harped all week on the importance of beating 12th-ranked Virginia Tech in the Chick-fil-A Bowl and finishing the season in the nation's Top 25 poll.

Knoxville police say a 74-year-old convicted sex offender accused of paying a young girl for sex has killed himself.

DENVER — Colorado's minimum wage will drop slightly in the new year — the first decrease in any state's minimum wage since the federal minimum was adopted in 1938.

Police say someone who broke into a Nashville-area funeral home stole jewelry from a body.

Former University of Tennessee football coach Buddy Nix has has been named general manager of the Buffalo Bills in owner Ralph Wilson’s first move to revamp his front office. Nix had previously been the Bills national scout.

Nashville will celebrate the New Year and its Music City reputation Thursday night with a guitar drop to count down to the beginning of 2010.

The number of newly laid-off workers filing claims for unemployment benefits dropped unexpectedly last week, a sign the job market is healing as the economy slowly recovers.

A measure that seeks to crack down on violent crime in Tennessee is among a number of new laws taking effect Jan. 1.

Emma and William win again.

Atlanta police say a man and a security guard were wounded during a shootout at a McDonald's restaurant.

1: Officer-involved shootings From March through August, five area law enforcement agencies had officers involved in fatal shootings of suspects. Two occurred in Chattanooga; one in Meigs County, Tenn.; one in East Ridge; and one in Fort Oglethorpe. On July 18, six Chattanooga police officers shot Alonzo Heyward, 32, who had more than 40 bullet wounds on his body.

The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga basketball Mocs sat on the bench immediately after the game.

The Chattanooga Creative Discovery Museum continued a decade-long tradition Wednesday with its 10th annual New Year’s Eve at Noon Party.

AT&T Inc. said Thursday it would no longer sponsor Tiger Woods, joining Accenture in dropping support for the world's top golfer, who's taking a break from the sport to focus on his marriage after his admitted infidelity.

The Gwinnett County Sheriff's Department says a program that allows specially trained sheriff's deputies to enforce federal immigration law is working well.

Jeffry Burr and Neil Blair are just hours from their wedding, but there are no typical prenuptial jitters.

The phrase "shovel ready," incessantly invoked by the Obama administration this year as a way to sell its $787 billion federal stimulus bill, died Thursday.

Iran's opposition leaders faced new threats Thursday with the state prosecutor warning they could be put on trial if they do not denounce this week's anti-government protests — the worst unrest since the aftermath of the disputed June election.

The Hamilton County Commission this morning voted 9-0 to allow a 100-year-old Ooltewah cemetery to be moved.

As Ronak Ray hunted for his flight gate, he prepared for the prospect of a security guard peering through his clothes with a full body scanner.

A county jailer in Florida has been fired after telling investigators he was an officer of the Ku Klux Klan.

The bank account is thin, but the future looks pretty good.

The United Nations says it plans to temporarily relocate some of its international staff outside of Pakistan for security reasons.

Police say militants have beheaded six Afghans for cooperating with government authorities.

Conservative talk-show host Rush Limbaugh is resting comfortably in a Hawaii hospital after suffering chest pains while on vacation, his radio program says.

WASHINGTON — Travelers still getting used to removing their shoes in public and pouring shampoo into tiny bottles may soon have to adjust to something new in the airport security line — giant machines that that scan their bodies for anything a terrorist might use to cause harm during a flight.

SAN'A, Yemen — Yemeni forces raided an al-Qaida hideout and set off a gunbattle Wednesday as the government vowed to eliminate the group that claimed it was behind the Christmas bombing attempt on a U.S. airliner.

OLDSMAR, Fla. — Authorities say a Florida man who called 911 claiming he'd been beaten and shot at was hoping the tale would get him a ride to a bar.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Republican attorneys general in 13 states say congressional leaders must remove Nebraska's political deal from the federal health care reform bill or face legal action, according to a letter provided to The Associated Press Wednesday.

SAN FRANCISCO — The federal judge presiding over an upcoming trial on California's same-sex marriage ban says he is considering seeking permission to broadcast the proceedings.

Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the 23-year-old Nigerian charged with trying to blow up a Northwest Airlines flight from Amsterdam to Detroit on Christmas Day, apparently meant to kill his fellow passengers and strike a harsh psychic blow to the United States.

This health-care bill is good enough for the American people but not good enough for all the so-called "honorable" politicians?

John Edwards III knew little about black soldiers' heroics in America's military battles before he shipped off to Vietnam in 1969.

Georgia state Sen. Don Thomas, R-Dalton, will attempt to drive ahead in the upcoming legislative session with a bill to require the state's pickup truck drivers to wear seat belts.

Does anyone really think that the liberals controlling the presidency and Congress are taxing us too little and are spending too little?

Lady Trojans prevail

Kendall Johnson named MVP after late heroics in the 45-40 title-game win over Sonoraville.

LaFAYETTE, Ga. -- Kendall Johnson was the most surprised person in the crowded LaFayette High School gym Wednesday night after being named the most valuable player of the Comast Christmas Basketball Tournament.

Pumping referrals

Spicing up routine toughens clients, draws new business

In his 20s, Chattanooga artist Brent Sanders didn't need to worry much about staying fit: Regular rides around on his skateboard gave him cardio and core workouts without his even thinking about it, he said.

During a Times Free Press business forum, Ron Harr, Vice president of BlueCross BlueShield, discussed that due to the poor economy raises will be smaller for employees during 2010.

Winter is when many sportsmen climb into tree stands looking for deer. But the season can be a great time for bass, crappie and striper fishing as well.

With unemployment at a 26-year high, those still on the job are unlikely to see much in wage gains in 2010, according to local employers and economists.

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Bottle-popping and festive hats are celebration staples, but some Chattanoogans like to ring in the New Year with gunfire.

Northwest Georgia played a crucial role in the War Between the States. A century and half later, region residents hope that history pays off.

U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano recently suggested "poverty" as a major cause of terrorist activity. That's an unrealistic stretch.

NASHVILLE — If a state is defined more by the myths, legends and folklore of its people than by lines on a map, Tennessee’s dictionary entry would take volumes.

University of Tennessee at Chattanooga defensive line coach Fred Tate has accepted a position on Doc Holliday's staff at Marshall, Mocs coach Russ Huesman said Wednesday night.

The United Way of Greater Chattanooga is $800,000 away from its "stretch goal" of raising $11.6 million for its 2009 Community Campaign, according to a Wednesday news release.

DALTON, Ga. -- In 2010, the city doesn't plan to spend any more than it takes in for general operations, but will draw from its reserves to rebuild the Dalton Community Center.

On this day 10 years ago, many people allowed suspicion to rule over reason.

Hamilton County commissioners will vote this morning on whether to approve a plan to move and re-bury an Ooltewah cemetery more than 100 years old.

Lady Mocs win tournament title

Hollinquest scores 20 points in UTC's 66-50 championship win over host Saint Peter's.

JERSEY CITY, N.J. -- In its final nonconference game of the regular season Wednesday, the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga women's basketball team had to hold on down the stretch against Saint Peter's.

Core Training Class Free exercise class 10-11 a.m. on Thursday, Jan. 7 at the Fitness Center at Siskin Hospital. Class will introduce several exercises that are the building blocks for core muscle strength and coordination. No registration is necessary. H

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I've never really been a drinker.

Q. How can I exercise like I should when I don't have time?

Defensive line coach Rodney Garner proved Monday night at the Independence Bowl that he can hold Georgia's entire defense together with the help of graduate assistants.

Opinion surveys show "fighting global warming" is far down the list of things most Americans believe we should be focusing on as a nation.

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Chattanooga and county government offices will keep regular hours today, New Year's Eve, but their offices will be closed Friday, New Year's Day.

County Commission Chairman Curtis Adams said Wednesday that meetings between city and county leaders about the metro area's future could start within weeks.

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Q: Mr. G of Chattanooga writes: “For the last few years I have used a Medicare advantage plan and have always had the premium held out of my Social Security check without any trouble.

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Strategic shopping

Knowing what to look for is trick of post-holiday sales

Savvy shoppers know that dollars stretch father after the holidays.

A 24-year-old autistic woman with the mental ability of a toddler wandered away from her home in Jasper, Tenn., and was found miles away.

CLEVELAND, Tenn. — A study group met Wednesday to consider the possibility of an inmate workhouse program for Bradley County.

Officials are hoping for a decision in January on whether a paper company will build a tissue plant in Dade and Hamilton counties.

As University of Tennessee at Chattanooga point guard Keegan Bell left the McKenzie Arena floor Wednesday night, young Noah Combs asked to have his picture made with the sophomore transfer.

Chattanooga is on pace to record its fewest traffic fatalities in four years, although pedestrian fatalities in the city have increased during the last year.

As I began thinking about the area's most memorable prep stories of 2009, the ones I remembered most dealt far more with a kids' perseverance than any game statistic or final score. Here are the top prep stories from our area that made this year memorable for me:

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James Millsaps caught this paddlebill in Lake Chickamauga on July 3. The fish weighed approximately 45 pounds and was almost 5 feet long. It was caught on 10 lb. test line in the main river channel.

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Our current health care system is unjust, unaffordable and inefficient. Efforts to improve this system have failed previously, coming within a hairbreadth of failing today. Even with the passage of a health care reform bill by the U.S. Senate on Christmas Eve, uncertainty remains as work begins on reconciling Senate and House bills.

James "Red" McCormick was a child who ran away from home and sometimes set fires.

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