published Sunday, May 8th, 2011

No interest in pedicabs on walking bridge


by Cliff Hightower

by Dan Whisenhunt

A pedicab owner who recently asked the Chattanooga City Council about pedaling his cabs on the Walnut Street or Market Street bridges got an answer Tuesday.

Peter Murphy, chairman of the Chattanooga City Council’s legal, legislative and safety committee, tabled the discussion for lack of interest.

“Is there anyone here who would be willing to open up Walnut Street Bridge to help a business?” Murphy asked.

The only answer was from Councilman Andraé McGary, who said he would like to have further information about the proposal.

Parks and Recreation Director Larry Zehnder said he has safety concerns. He worries that people walking dogs or pushing baby strollers could get caught up with the pedicabs.

Mayor to recognize students

Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger plans to recognize student winners of the Hamilton SHINES billboard art contest next week.

The contest is sponsored by Hamilton County government and the Scenic Cities Beautiful Commission.

Coppinger will give each student a plaque and a county pin and a poster-sized print of their billboard, according to a news release. Full-sized billboards will be posted near the school of each winning artist, the press release says.

The release says students from 25 Hamilton County schools entered the contest in three divisions. The winners are:

• Alex Franklin, Howard High School

• Christina Sok, Hixson Middle School

• D’Annis Ellis, Smith Elementary

Political clubs meeting

The Hamilton County JFK Club will meet May 16 at 1 p.m. at the Blue Orleans Seafood Restaurant. Newly elected Democratic Party Chairman Paul Smith will speak about funding public schools.

The Hamilton County Pachyderm Club, a local Republican group, meets Monday at noon at the DoubleTree in downtown Chattanooga. The speaker will be Dr. Sherry Hoppe, past president of Austin Peay State University.

Commissioners support chairman

Hamilton County commissioners Fred Skillern and Greg Beck said they don’t have any problem with Chairman Larry Henry recommending his constituents hire his son’s law firm for legal services.

In fact, they said, he did what they would have done.

Three property owners in Henry’s district are in a dispute with the Tennessee Department of Transportation over the value of their property. Henry raised ethical questions by recommending his son’s law firm to them.

“I would’ve done the same thing,” Beck told Henry at the end of Wednesday’s commission meeting. “Nobody can ever hold it against Larry Henry for defending or supporting the people in his district. ... Thank you for the example that you’ve shown to me as a servant to my community.”

Skillern agreed.

“I would’ve done exactly the same thing you did,” he told Henry.

Council horses around

City Council members talked Tuesday about allowing a special-exceptions permit for horses on residential property.

But confusion about city code also entered the discussion. City Attorney Mike McMahan at first said the code allows horses on plots over five acres. But after checking, he said the code specifically talks about chickens, pigs and goats.

“Horses are not part of that,” he said. “My memory failed me.”

The council will vote on the permit Tuesday. Councilman Jack Benson said he wants tighter control of where barns can be placed and where horses can defecate.

He said he knows of some area residents who complain of horse smells because the animals are so close to homes.

“Five acres does not give tight-enough control,” he said.

Staff writers Cliff Hightower and Dan Whisenhunt contributed to this report.

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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