published Sunday, January 16th, 2011

Coppinger plans receptions

by Cliff Hightower

by Dan Whisenhunt

Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger said he and spokesman Mike Dunne are planning community meetings in each of the commission's nine districts to talk with voters.

"It's an opportunity to get out and see the people in the community," Coppinger said.

Coppinger promised to keep the media in the loop about when and where the meetings will take place.

Wamp honored

Hamilton County commissioners on Thursday honored the work of former congressman Zach Wamp in what was at times an emotional presentation.

Wamp's father, Don Wamp, a well-known architect, died a week ago after a fall at his office on Broad Street. The younger Wamp gave up his congressional seat after 16 years to run for Tennessee governor but lost in the GOP primary to Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam.

Commissioners remembered Wamp and his father.

Commissioner Fred Skillern noted that Don Wamp had designed some county schools. He said they always came in under budget and were a great value for the county's students.

"Don Wamp has saved Hamilton County taxpayers $1,000 every day on the schools he designed," Skillern said.

Commissioner Warren Mackey said he and Zach Wamp started working together decades ago.

"I knew Zach Wamp was going to go someplace," Mackey said. "I love you. I love you. You did a good job."

Wamp thanked commissioners, saying, "Hamilton County government was the closest to my dad."

Wamp became involved in the selection of a replacement for Hamilton County Mayor Claude Ramsey, backing Ramsey's special assistant Mike Carter. Commissioner Jim Coppinger ultimately won the job after commissioners deadlocked several times between the two men.

"This was a difficult process," Wamp said. "I love Jim Coppinger and I'm proud he's my mayor. No matter where you stood, we are all proud Hamilton Countians."

JFK rescheduled

The JFK Club has rescheduled its monthly meeting from last week to Monday because of the winter storm.

Councilman Peter Murphy, chairman of the council's Legal and Legislative Committee, will speak about opportunities to volunteer and make a difference as a club and a community.

The meeting will be at noon at the Blue Orleans Restaurant at the corner of Main and Market streets. Cost for dinner is $11.

Anyone interested should RSVP to

Dan Whisenhunt can be reached at 423-757-6481 or dwhisenhunt@timesfree Cliff Hightower can be reached at 423-757-6480 or chightower@times

about Dan Whisenhunt...

Dan Whisenhunt covers Hamilton County government for the Times Free Press. A native of Mobile, Ala., Dan earned a degree in broadcast journalism from the University of Alabama. He won first place for best in-depth news coverage in the 2010 Alabama Press Association contest; the FOI-First Amendment Award in the 2007 Alabama Press Association contest; first place for best public service story in the Alabama AP Managing Editors contest in 2009 for economic coverage; and ...

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jpo3136 said...

We need to see the newly appointed county mayor bother to go to locations like:

The Hamilton County Nursing Home.

Every single jail, prison and detention center in the county.

At least one elementary school, junior high and high school filled with people who didn't vote for you.

HAZMAT Saturday, one of every second Saturday of the month at Chattanooga's Brush and Wood Recycle Center, a bit behind the Police Service Center. It's the only residential collection of HAZMAT in the county.

City of Chattanooga Landfill. Stand on top of the mounds. Look at the garbage. I have. Everyone needs to see it at least once.

The hospital wards reserved or allotted for MASCAL and epidemics. See the beds before they are occupied.

The Police Firing range on Moccasin Bend.

The Warner Park Zoo and nearby community centers.

Every single library, public and academic, in the county.

Every single housing project in the county. Particularly any which still have Police Precinct Substations.

Sequoya Nuclear Power Plant, Chickamauga Dam, and runways and control tower at Lovell Field; don't just look at the building, visit with the people who work at these critical facilities.

All sewage and wastewater treatment facilities, private and government.

All residential recycling and depot-style garbage pickup points.

Every homeless shelter and charity that houses women and children.

Both homeless shelters that take in men.

The Community Kitchen during freezing temperatures.

Ask to attend at least one meeting of recovering alcoholics and addicts under the guidance of a social worker.

High-rise skyscrapers that hold the elderly and poor; visit during the summer. Ask yourself: would you want to stay here?

And the like.

If you are an elected official in this county, and you've visited or will visit --any-- of these facilities in the past or next calendar year, let's hear about it.

Finally, my last challenge, open to just about any government employee who can escort any concerned taxpayers anywhere in the county: pop 20 manhole covers in a day.

Open 20 manholes and look inside. Here in Hamilton County, our systems are OK. Have a look anyway. It's an education.

Any one of those places would be an ideal follow-up to the gala reception. Thanks. Enjoy your tenure.

January 17, 2011 at 9:26 p.m.
jpo3136 said...

By the way, popping manholes can be dangerous. Get guidance from someone who knows what they are doing. A tip for novices: don't just bring a manhole hook, bring a sledgehammer.

VIP: pubic works escort required.

January 17, 2011 at 9:30 p.m.
EdwardMurrow said...

Easy there JPO, He will do whatever he pleases. Its not you can do anything about it.

January 17, 2011 at 9:33 p.m.
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