I hesitate to bring up the activities surrounding downtown clubs again because the constant talk will only increase the perception that our downtown is unsafe. It is not, but as I heard from a couple of people this week, "There is a certain time of night on some days that you might want to be in another part of downtown for about a half hour."
It's understandable that people might think that way after hearing some of the reports of fights in the streets, people getting maced by the police and large crowds of people gathering on the sidewalks in the early-morning hours.
City officials have rightly moved quickly to deal with what they believe are a couple of hotspot trouble areas. The caution here is that not every fight or incident that occurs at a nightclub is cause to shut the place down. Fights happen at restaurants, movie theaters and even Y-league football games.
A huge part of what has transformed our downtown into a vibrant area are the clubs, restaurant and live music venues. Closing them would be bad. Making them close earlier in the evening would be bad. Treating them as if they are all the same is also not a good idea.
The sad thing is it appears that the crowds that are causing most of the recent trouble downtown are much the same that caused problems in clubs in other parts of town over the years. One solution might be to do as some clubs in Knoxville do. When things get too out of hand, the DJ starts playing country music.
Works every time, I've been told.
* * * * *
We've had a couple of stories detailing Alton Brown's visits to town to promote "Serve & Protect," a program designed to get people to try different seafood items. There are two stories in today's Current.
It's worth noting that Brown, who lives in Atlanta, is going above and beyond with his time and devotion to this project. He's already been here once promoting the plan, and he is spending four days here this weekend, having arrived last night. He'll wrap up the weekend by emceeing the Cast Iron Cookoff at Chattanooga Market.
"It's really amazing how much of his time he is giving to this," said Thom Benson, Tennessee Aquarium spokesman. "He will be going around to the participating restaurants tonight talking to people at the restaurants."
He's also recorded informational pieces that visitors to the Tennessee Aquarium can call into on their cell phones to hear facts and data about the species they are viewing.
* * * * *
Congratulations to WUSY-FM 100.7 and to Benny "Bearman" Martin, Ken Hicks and Daniel Wyatt for being nominated for Country Music Academy awards.
The station was nominated for Station of the Year, and the trio was nominated for their "Bearman and Ken in the Morning" show. Both are in the small market category.
US-101 has won so often it seems almost commonplace, but it's still a big deal.
Winners will be notified in mid-October and then honored at the 45th annual CMA Awards, Nov. 9 at 8 p.m. on ABC. Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood will again host from the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville.
Barry Courter is staff reporter and columnist for the Times Free Press. He started his journalism career at the Chattanooga News-Free Press in 1987. He covers primarily entertainment and events for ChattanoogaNow, as well as feature stories for the Life section. Born in Lafayette, Ind., Barry has lived in Chattanooga since 1968. He graduated from Notre Dame High School and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga with a degree in broadcast journalism. He previously was ...