HEADLINE: City Council wants more answers before decision on Chattanooga Village
THE RECAP: Chattanooga City Council members on Tuesday put off a rezoning decision on Chattanooga Village, a proposed 190-acre commercial and apartment project, for two weeks. If approved, the Hixson project would be one of the largest mixed-use projects ever raised in the Chattanooga area.
DREW'S VIEW: Last Sunday, a Free Press editorial (that I authored) exposed the truth behind the opposition to Chattanooga Village: CBL, the owners of the Northgate Mall, have funneled money to Waterhouse Public Relations in order to invent a smear campaign against the project and help fund grassroots opposition because the company doesn't want the retail competition that Chattanooga Village would bring.
Since that editorial was printed, CBL refused to deny the allegations to two online media outlets -- Chattanoogan.com and Nooga.com. It is, after all, hard to deny the truth.
CBL and Waterhouse have also not denied paying for and distributing the green "Don't Chop the Hilltop" T-shirts that the "activists" -- who are little more than pawns in CBL and Waterhouse's pathetic attempt to prevent a development that would bring jobs, homes, economic development and tax dollars to Hixson -- have been wearing to city council meetings.
It's a shame that, rather than having a reasonable discussion about how to build Chattanooga Village in a way that addresses the concerns of Hixson residents while benefitting the greatest number of people possible, the city council has been met with CBL and Waterhouse's dishonest behavior.
Ultimately, let's hope the city council honors the right of the property owner to build a project that would greatly benefit our area.
HEADLINE: Chattanooga man accused of faking his own kidnapping
THE RECAP: A 45-year-old man faces two counts of extortion and one count of making a false report after he phoned his sister to tell her he was kidnapped and needed $3,000 to pay his captor for his release, according to Chattanooga police. He made a similar phone call to a second person.
Police traced the phone calls to a phone belonging to the man. He was tracked to the Budget Motel at 3535 Cummings Highway where Chattanooga police SWAT team members found him alone in a room, according to the report.
DREW'S VIEW: Sure, the kidnapping story seemed far-fetched from the beginning. After all, who would want to kidnap a 45-year-old guy from Chattanooga? And, if someone did kidnap the man, who would only ask for a $3,000 ransom? (It's a little like Dr. Evil holding the world hostage and asking for only "one million dollars.")
But to find the real story, you have to dig a little deeper.
It turns out, according to the police report, the fake kidnapping victim weighs 350 lbs. That means the man valued himself at $8.57 a pound -- about what a pound of cod costs at Bi-Lo.
HEADLINE: Four exposed to rabid llama
THE RECAP: State health officials say four people in Northwest Georgia have been exposed to rabies by a pet llama.
Officials say a veterinarian was called to a Fannin County house in Morganton on Dec. 28 because a llama was showing signs of aggression -- biting at itself, biting at others and spitting at one of its caretakers. After it was determined the llama had rabies, the animal was euthanized and sent to a diagnostic lab and the Georgia Department of Health.
DREW'S VIEW: Llamas are rarely given rabies vaccines because they rarely interact with animals that commonly carry rabies, such as raccoons, bats and skunks.
So how did this llama catch rabies? It should be pretty obvious to anyone paying attention that this llama was an animal liberation activist working to infect and kill as many people as possible in an attempt to disrupt the U.S. economy and fundamentally alter the American way of life. The llama clearly intentionally contracted rabies in order to become a "suicide spitter" in the hopes that, through his death, other llamas could roam free.
(Someone who loves "Homeland" and watches too much Animal Planet actually believed that last paragraph.)
"Drew's views" is a weekly roundup of Free Press opinions about topics that appeared in the Times Free Press over the past week. Follow Drew on Twitter: @Drews_Views.