Cook: What Thursday may bring

Cook: What Thursday may bring

August 5th, 2014 by David Cook in Opinion Columns

David Cook

David Cook

Photo by Ashlee Culverhouse /Times Free Press.

Thursday, when so many things merge together.

The first day back to school.

Voting day.

And the start of the world's longest yard sale.

It will be like a civic eclipse. One single day where democracy, education and commerce all meet together for drinks at the same pub.

We got a small taste of it Monday morning, when we took our little people to register for elementary school. Yes, there were some nerves. A little apprehension. A few tears about the end of summer. Or was it excitement?

(Our kids? Oh, they were just fine.)

We got a classroom materials list. Turns out, my boy needs a specific type of notebook: something with pockets, plenty of folders, with a front cover that snaps -- or Velcros -- together.

That's right. A front cover that Velcros shut.

If you can name three Molly Ringwald movies or two members of Run-DMC, then you know exactly the type of notebook I'm talking about.

A Trapper Keeper.

By Jove yes, they're still around, a lone cultural survivor that has lasted from the 1980s into today. (Jelly shoes, what happened?)

"In the same year that Motorola introduces the first commercial mobile cell- phone, Trapper introduces the forever popular Horse and Rainbow Heart designs," their website reads.

That was 1983. I was on the last of my Trappers. It was camouflaged. Just like my feelings for Justine Bateman.


Before the busy week gets any busier, here are a few things that don't need to get camouflaged in the upcoming election-education headlines.

• Valerie Radu has been named the new executive director of the Hamilton County Family Justice Center.

Radu has a social worker's heart, which is the highest compliment I've got; she spent years teaching and coordinating the social work programs at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and Southern Adventist University. She operates with an academic's mind and an activist's spirit.

Set to open in spring 2015, the center will be funded from state grant funds, and has a goal of becoming a central and safe place for women fleeing from domestic violence. Our state ranks sixth-worst in the nation for violence against women.

In Hamilton County, there were more than 3,000 victims of domestic violence in 2012.

• Bill Elliott for Coach of the Year.

In two years, Elliott has made the Chattanooga Football Club the most emerging sports team in the city. Attendance rates are climbing (3,300 this year), as is the team's reputation.

He has led the CFC to a deuce of conference championships, one regional championship and a shot at the national title. (Had we played at home Saturday, we would have won.)

In a World Cup year, he has made local soccer relevant, thrilling and respectable. Here's to a third-year hat trick.

• Not everything is good about Jon Kinsey's new plans to renovate the Chattanooga Choo Choo.

The Station House Restaurant is closing.

Opened in 1973, the Station House has held down that corner of the Choo Choo by offering what no other restaurant -- near or far -- does.

A wait staff of top-grade musicians.

"We had friends that would drive up from Atlanta just to hear the guitar player," said one friend.

You get fried shrimp and Otis Redding. It's one thing for your server to be timely and observant; quite another for her to then stand on stage and sing Bette Midler ... and nail it.

"The Station House was their life," one man told me.

Roughly 40 people will lose their jobs. If Kinsey's turning Market and 14th Street into an entertainment district, then why get rid of the most entertaining place on the block?

Can we save the Station House?

• Randall Stout died last month.

Stout, who died in L.A., was the architect who designed the unforgettable, bluff-side addition to the Hunter Museum of American Art, a facade that evokes so many feelings and words.

"Stormy," Architecture magazine called it.

"Mr. Stout ... explored the relationship between architecture and energy in holistic designs that were no less sculptural and humane for being ecologically responsible," his New York Times obit said.

Stout designed buildings in Europe, but also several museums throughout the South.

"I truly believe he was a genius," said Dan Stetson, executive director of the Hunter.

Stout unveiled the addition in 2005, almost a decade ago.

"Our wing feels like the future is here, every day, and is always positive," Stetson said.

A future that's positive?

Here's to Thursday.

Contact David Cook at or 423-757-6329. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter at DavidCookTFP.