As the Chattanooga City Council began its meeting Tuesday with the Pledge of Allegiance and an opening prayer, Chairwoman Pam Ladd asked audience members to silence their cellphones.
Then she offered another piece of advice.
"Don't worry about adjusting your glasses," she said. "Mr. [Peter] Murphy is wearing a jacket as bright as you think."
The city councilman arrived wearing a brightly-colored Madras plaid jacket.
Toward the end of the meeting, feedback started whining over the council loudspeakers. As Murphy started talking, the feedback became worse.
"I think it's his jacket," Ladd chimed in.
SMITH WORKING ON SPEAKING
Hamilton County Schools Superintendent Rick Smith told a crowd of business leaders Thursday morning that he's not exactly a fan of public speaking.
"I'm a problem solver, not a public speaker," he said at a breakfast meeting of the downtown council of the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce.
While Smith has worked for the school system for 29 years as teacher, principal and district administrator, he said he's never been one for the microphone.
But he's polishing his oratorical skills, he said - he knows being chief of the 42,000-student school district requires some public face time.
"I know it's just part of the job," he said.
POLICE RACE AT DRAG STRIP
Some local police officers are asking people to come to the Brainerd Optimist Drag Strip at 945 Scruggs Road to race Tuesday night.
Beat the Heat, a national organization of police officers and firefighters, is coming to Chattanooga as part of an effort to stop people from racing illegally on streets.
Beat the Heat will host races at the drag strip Tuesday from 7 to 10 p.m. On Wednesday, police racing teams will visit local schools to talk about safe driving. On Thursday, there will be a car show downtown at noon and a parade at about 6 p.m.
On Friday, officers will go back to the drag strip from 6 to 11 p.m. to race members of the public. Admission is $10. On Saturday, police from around the country will race in the Beat the Heat World Finals at the drag strip; admission is $15.
HAMILTON COUNTY HONORED
The Hamilton County Accounting Department has received the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting.
The Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada granted the award after an impartial panel judged the program and determined the program demonstrated a "constructive 'spirit of full disclosure.'"
OFF TO WARMER CLIMATE
Hamilton County officials and employees gathered on a sweltering Wednesday in the courthouse rotunda to honor commission legislative administrator Lila Mack's retirement. She was heading Thursday to her new home in Tucson, Ariz.
Commissioner Mitch McClure offered the invocation, but before praying, he wiped sweat from his brow and asked, 'How much warmer climate do you need?'"
Mayor Jim Coppinger proclaimed Sept. 1, 2011, Lila Mack Day and jokingly omitted her birth year from his presentation, "because she's nowhere near - can't be - the age on this," he said.
Commission Chairman Larry Henry said he appreciated Mack's professionalism and the confidentiality she kept with residents and individual commissioners.
"I tried every way in the world the past three or four months to talk this lady out of [retiring]," Henry said.
Staff writers Cliff Hightower, Kevin Hardy, Andrew Pantazi and Ansley Haman compiled this report.