published Sunday, February 26th, 2012

Reporter's Notebook: No meeting on Fat Tuesday? Fat chance

Councilman Andraé McGary's suggestion last week that the City Council make Fat Tuesday a council holiday fell as flat as a day-after-Mardi Gras beer.

"I would like to ask if the council would have a discussion particularly about the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday, commonly referred to as the Lenten period, as a holiday respected by the council," he said.

That would mean the council wouldn't meet. Now, council holidays include the Fourth of July and the week between Christmas and New Year's Eve.

Councilwoman Sally Robinson wasn't sure if McGary was making a joke.

"I wasn't sure you were serious when you were saying you'd like to have Fat Tuesday off," she said. "Were you serious?"

"I'd like to have a discussion," McGary replied.

Robinson immediately made a motion not to discuss Fat Tuesday as a holiday. For a few minutes, members debated whether they should even vote on the motion and whether they should have any discussion of McGary's request.

"Just let it go," Robinson replied.

Left out on Purpose?

Council members weren't told about a meeting Tuesday concerning a proposed Purpose Built community in the Westside -- and they weren't pleased with the city administration.

"I only heard about this through back channels two or three days ago, and I don't know if there was a formal announcement," said McGary, who represents the Westside. "I certainly was not formally invited."

Some Westside residents are wary of the concept. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has proposed three possible sites, including the Westside.

The council held a presentation of the Purpose Built communities three weeks ago, but no public comment was allowed.

Mayoral spokesman Richard Beeland told the council notices were sent to the community by Chattanooga Housing Authority and the mayor wanted to hear residents' concerns.

"It was set up by the mayor," he said.

Council Chairwoman Pam Ladd replied that the city's legislative body should have been involved, too.

"I just think it would also be good in the future to alert the council so we can attend," she said. "Quite honestly, I myself wanted to hear the comments of the residents."

911's Allen honored

Hamilton County 911 Board Chairman Don Allen was inducted into the Tennessee Emergency Number Association during a conference in January, according to a statement from the Hamilton County Emergency Communications District.

Allen, who is also the Hamilton County administrator of human services, was credited with helping unite communications systems between various cities within Hamilton County to improve and streamline 911 communications.

The district receives 2,000 to 2,500 calls daily and dispatches for all public safety agencies.

Trustees honored

Erlanger trustees recognized two former board members for their service during a board meeting Thursday.

Dan Quarles and Dr. Charles Longer both served eight years and rotated off the board in November.

Quarles was board chairman the last two years, and Longer previously had served as chairman. Both men were involved closely with the departure of former Erlanger CEO Jim Brexler.

Longer was on hand Thursday to receive a commendation plaque and signed picture of the hospital.

Quarles didn't attend the meeting.

Leadership training

Signal Mountain Town Manager Honna Rogers, East Ridge Mayor Brent Lambert, Collegedale Mayor John Turner and Collegedale City Manager Ted Rogers were four of 42 county and municipal government leaders who completed the 19th annual Local Government Leadership Program hosted by the University of Tennessee Institute for Public Service's Naifeh Center for Effective Leadership.

UT faculty and private consultants led the three-day, invitation-only program that focused on personal leadership, etiquette, ethics, public education and state budget practices in Tennessee.

"LGLP gives elected and appointed government officials the opportunity to examine the best practices in leadership and to learn from their colleagues and counterparts across the state," said Tom Kohntopp, manager of leadership and executive development programs for the Naifeh Center.

IPS offers leadership programs emphasizing effective government through creative leadership, managerial effectiveness, professional skills enhancement and lifelong development for leaders and their organizations.

Since its inception in 1991, more than 500 people have completed the Local Government Leadership Program.

Red Bank repaving

Red Bank voted Tuesday to spend state and grant money to pay for extensive paving and sidewalk building projects along city thoroughfares.

About one mile of Dayton Boulevard will be repaved from Memorial Drive to Greenleaf Street in a project that is expected to begin at the end of the summer, officials said.

The sidewalk work will begin late this year and early next year. Those walks will run along Dayton Boulevard between West Newberry Street and Greenleaf Street, and on Ashland Terrace from Tacoma Avenue to Knollwood Drive.

The state will pay for the majority of the $186,340 project, and the city plans to use a street aid grant to pay the remaining $40,000.

Graham aids softball fields

Hamilton County Commissioner Joe Graham presented a $5,000 check to Red Bank commissioners Tuesday night, indicating the money would be spent on facilities at the city's new softball fields.

"This is a check from my discretionary money to help with the girls softball fields, for the bleachers and the stands," Graham said.

The ball fields -- located at James Avenue -- are nearing completion, Mayor Monty Milliard said Tuesday.

Explorers compete

During a two-day competition in Gatlinburg, 70 Explorers posts from law enforcement agencies across the country contended in some of the following categories: uniform, DUI traffic stop, warrant service, cell extraction and bomb search.

A team of 15 Explorers from Chattanooga Police Department Post 2076 placed second in the bomb search and sixth in warrant service. A team of nine Explorers from Hamilton County Sheriff's Office Post 2070 placed first in the uniform competition, fifth in cell extraction where they had to demonstrate how to move an unruly inmate, according to released statements.

Each post could enter an individual in the tactical physical fitness competition. The sheriff's office placed third.

"These young men worked especially hard with training and practice getting ready for this event and represented the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office in an exemplary fashion," wrote Hamilton County Sheriff's Office public information officer Janice Atkinson.

The police department group, which has participated in the event for 24 years, also hosted an "unknown trouble" event that 27 teams participated in.

"For 10 of these young men and ladies, it was their first competition. I am very proud of the work effort and the behavior they displayed at the competition," wrote Officer Wayne Jefferson Jr. who oversees the post.

about Mariann Martin...

Mariann Martin covers healthcare in Chattanooga and the surrounding region. She joined the Times Free Press in February 2011, after covering crime and courts for the Jackson (Tenn.) Sun for two years. Mariann was born in Indiana, but grew up in Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Belize. She graduated from Union University in 2005 with degrees in English and history and has master’s degrees in international relations and history from the University of Toronto. While attending Union, ...

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