published Sunday, November 8th, 2009

10% of WWTA work may go to contractors


by Emily Bregel

by Cliff Hightower

by Matt Wilson

Mike Carter, attorney for the Hamilton County Water and Wastewater Treatment Authority, told county commissioners Wednesday that the authority may have to hire a contractor to do some work for them.

“(Local plumbers) have come to the conclusion that the system we have set up is fine except as far as to road cuts,” he told commissioners.

Mr. Carter said a group of plumbers suggested hiring a company that has a special truck that sends a robot under the road through a manhole to do repairs would be far more cost-effective than cutting open roads all over the county.

Mr. Carter said having local plumbers do the road cuts would put the authority’s program over budget, but hiring the contractor could keep them within it. He said that would be about 10 percent of the program work.

The authority is working through a program to inspect, repair and replace lateral lines that run from homes to roadways for about 24,000 gravity sewer customers throughout the county. Customers are paying an $8 monthly fee for that program.

TALKING ABOUT FRIENDLY

Councilwoman Deborah Scott posed a series of questions Tuesday night at the City Council meeting concerning the cost of sewer fees for an area of annexation off Old Lee Highway.

Mrs. Scott argued the cost of the sewer compared to how much revenue the city would take in from the area was out of balance.

Mayor Ron Littlefield came to the podium and argued the future growth in the area would offset those costs. At one point, Mr. Littlefield remarked on the proximity of the podium to where Mrs. Scott said.

“I’m probably standing too close to the dais,” he said, laughing.

Council Chairman Jack Benson had his own words about Mrs. Scott.

“She’s friendlier than she looks,” he said.

HELICOPTER VS. DUCK

A Life Force helicopter had a foul run-in last Sunday. Or is that fowl?

“We struck a duck,” said Robbie Tester, Life Force program manager and paramedic. “It’s one of those things that does happen. We just can’t control the birds.”

The duck crashed through the windshield of Life Force 2, one of three helicopters in Erlanger hospital’s air medical program, as the aircraft was taking off at the Upper Cumberland Regional Airport in Sparta, Tenn.

Aside from the duck, which did not survive the crash, no one was injured and the pilot maintained control of the aircraft at all times, Mr. Tester said.

The helicopter was heading for Cookeville, Tenn., to pick up and transport a patient to Vanderbilt Medical Center when the duck hit the co-pilot’s side of the windshield.

The pilot turned the damaged helicopter around and landed immediately, Mr. Tester said. Another helicopter from Vanderbilt was sent to pick up the patient.

The damage to Life Force 2’s windshield has been repaired, he said.

PROFESSOR TALKING POLICY

Dr. John R. Garrett, professor of economics at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, will be the guest speaker noon Monday for the JFK Club, officials said.

Dr. Garrett will give a talk titled “Why Republican economic policies are more dangerous than you can imagine,” according to a news release.

The meeting will be held at the Out of the Blue Cafe on Brainerd Road. The cost of the lunch is $11.

Rep. turner to speak at WOMEN’S CLUB

Rep. Mike Turner, D-Nashville, and chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, will speak to the Greater Chattanooga Democratic Women’s Club at 6 p.m. Tuesday at the International Brotherhood of Electric Workers Union Hall.

He will talk about health care reform, group officials said.

Rep. Turner was elected chairman of the caucus in 2008, according to a news release. He serves on the Finance Committee, the Corrections Oversight Committee, the Health Committee, the Government Operations Committee, the Calendar and Rules Committee, the Ethics Commission and the Joint Legislative Operations Committee.

For any questions regarding the meeting, please contact the group’s president, Katherine Snyder, at 875-0100 or First Vice President for Programs Ann Pickering at 296-8184.

The club is open to men and women.

about Emily Bregel...

Health care reporter Emily Bregel has worked at the Chattanooga Times Free Press since July 2006. She previously covered banking and wrote for the Life section. Emily, a native of Baltimore, Md., earned a bachelor’s degree in American Studies from Columbia University. She received a first-place award for feature writing from the East Tennessee Society of Professional Journalists’ Golden Press Card Contest for a 2009 article about a boy with a congenital heart defect. She ...

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