The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, or PETA, is asking a local hospital to extend a ban on hiring smokers to meat eaters, too.
Starting Monday, Memorial Hospital no longer will hire people who use tobacco products, a move that hospital leaders say is geared to promote the hospital's message of health.
Last week the executive director of PETA, Tracy Reiman, sent a letter to hospital President and CEO Jim Hobson requesting that the hospital hire only vegetarians and vegans, and encourage current employees to cut meat from their diets.
Prohibiting the hire of meat-eaters is "the next logical step in the company's efforts to foster a healthier work force," said Amanda Fortino, campaign coordinator with PETA, in a telephone interview.
"Even better than quitting smoking is to go vegan, when you take into consideration all the disease meat consumption is linked to," such as heart disease and obesity, she said.
The proposition is "ridiculous," said Memorial spokesman Brian Lazenby.
Hurst announces re-election run
Hamilton County Register of Deeds Pam Hurst, a Republican, said she'll be campaigning this year for another term in office.
"It is just great that Hamilton County voters have put their trust in me and I plan to continue to keep my promise to be progressive," she said.
This would be her fifth term in the office.
In other county election news, two new challengers have picked up papers to run for the 8th District seat being vacated by Commission Chairman Curtis Adams. Republican Jack Martin and independent candidate Jim Winters each picked up qualifying papers last week.
In the 9th District, where Commissioner Bill Hullander is stepping down to run for county trustee, Republican Gary Neil has obtained qualifying papers to run.
no rail for chattanooga
A Thursday news release from the White House announced that the federal government is committing $8 billion to high-speed rail projects across the country, but not for the long-rumored Atlanta-Chattanooga line.
The release lists nine different projects. The only one of those that reaches into the Southeast is one that would go from Charlotte, N.C., to Washington, D.C.
Chattanooga Mayor Ron Littlefield, a longtime proponent of high-speed rail, could not be reached for comment.
skillern brags on thurman
Following a plea from Hamilton County Commissioner Warren Mackey for improved communication between the Hamilton County Board of Education and the commission, Commissioner Fred Skillern chimed in to pat the school board member who represents his district, Rhonda Thurman, on the back.
"My school board member does keep me informed, and the rest of the world, too," he said to some scattered laughs.
Commission Chairman Curtis Adams said, "I think you ought to have her down here and let us honor her at the commission."
COUNCILMAN GILBERT ABSENT?
During the regularly scheduled City Council meeting Tuesday night, members of the body called for a roll-call vote on whether to provide $19,000 to the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Bicentennial Library.
Councilman Russell Gilbert had left early because of a death in the family.
When Shirley Crownover, the assistant city council clerk, called his name, a voice rang out.
"Yes," said Councilman Manny Rico.
"Councilman Gilbert is gone," Ms. Crownover said, surprised.
The chamber burst into laughter.
"Now we know how you got elected," said Council Chairman Jack Benson, looking at Mr. Rico.
FOR THE LOVE OF THE IRISH
Discussing an item on the City Council agenda Tuesday night, Councilman Andraé McGary pushed his button to ask a question.
Council Chairman Jack Benson called on him.
"Councilman McGwire," he began. "I mean McGary. Did I ever tell you I married an Irish woman?"
"I love you too, Jack," Mr. McGary replied, smiling.
Compiled by staff writers Matt Wilson, Cliff Hightower and 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 ...