published Monday, January 14th, 2013

Top 5 things to know in the Chattanooga area today (with video)

1) VOLKSWAGEN PLANS TO UNVEIL NEW SUV TODAY

Volkswagen's chief executive on Sunday cited workers at its Chattanooga assembly plant for producing "perfect cars," and he said the automaker set a new U.S. sales mark in 2012.

VW CEO Martin Winterkorn also told about 250 journalists from around the world that the German automaker is forecasting another record year in America in 2013, and the company is developing a new sport utility vehicle for the U.S. that it plans to unveil today. The seven-seat concept, which could be produced in Chattanooga, is tentatively dubbed the Volkswagen Crossblue.

2) TWO ARRESTED IN SHOOTING DEATH OF MAN

The Saturday night fatal shooting on Swan Road off Highway 58 left many area residents wondering but not surprised.

Chattanooga police were called at 10:04 p.m. Saturday and found a black man dead at the scene. The victim was identified Sunday as 37-year-old Timothy Bumpass.

Police arrested two people Sunday night, Kristopher Lebron Bell, 20, and Christopher Jennings, 19. Bell and Jennings have been charged with felony murder, especially aggravated robbery and criminal conspiracy in the case, police said.

3) CHATTEM SALES TOP $1 BILLION

Three years ago, Chattanooga-based Chattem was churning out eight to 10 new products and line extensions annually. Today, 12 to 15 entries are brought to the market each year, and that's helping push Chattem revenues to new highs.

For the first time in the company's 134-year history, Chattem's annual retail sales have topped the $1 billion mark, said chief executive Zan Guerry about the business that makes over-the-counter medicines such as Allegra, Gold Bond and Icy Hot.

4) TVA REPLACING EMERGENCY SIRENS NEAR WATTS BAR

TVA is to begin today replacing 100 emergency sirens within the Watts Bar Nuclear Plant's 10-mile radius in McMinn, Meigs and Rhea counties. The new state-of-the-art sirens have back-up battery power and steel poles. The cost to replace them around regional nuclear plants tallies about $7 million.

5) MAYOR USES FACEBOOK TO HELP NAB SUSPICIOUS PEDDLERS

For at least two months, two unmarked vans with Alabama license tags have been stopping at homes in South Pittsburg and other towns in Marion County, supposedly selling various goods and services.

One of the vans stopped at Mayor Jane Dawkins' house on a recent Sunday afternoon. After the group was finally convinced to leave, Dawkins and her husband followed the van around the neighborhood and eventually called police.

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