Free VITA tax help extended to Sept. 30

The Urban League of Greater Chattanooga said Monday it will continue processing current and back taxes beyond the Internal Revenue Service's filing deadline of July 15.

Residents who meet income requirements are now able to utilize the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) service through Sept. 30. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, VITA volunteers are not meeting in person, but taxpayers are invited to drop off documents at one of three locations to be completed by volunteers and returned to them.

Appointments are available Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 9 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. Taxpayers must have an appointment, which may be scheduled by calling the Chattanooga Location at Urban League of Greater Chattanooga, 730 East M. L. King Blvd., at (423) 805-2926; the Old National Guard Armory at 107 E. 10th Street in South Pittsburg at (423) 580-0042, and at the Southeast Tennessee Human Resource Agency, 312 Resource Road in Dunlap at (423) 949-2191.


Nashville cites bars for COVID violations

Health officials in Tennessee have cited 14 Nashville businesses including Kid Rock's honky tonk and steakhouse for not complying with coronavirus public health orders.

Metro Public Health Department Director Michael Caldwell visited Kid Rock's bar on Saturday after receiving a complaint, news outlets reported, citing a statement from the health department. Caldwell issued a citation "for serving people that were seated at the bar and for not observing proper social distancing inside the establishment."

The business will be fined, with the amount decided during a court hearing, officials said.

Attorney Brian Lewis, who represents the owner of Kid Rock's Honky Tonk and other businesses, said the citation was "selective prosecution," and they intend to fight it.

"We find it very unfair that Mayor (John) Cooper can encourage thousands of people to march with him in violation of his own phases, but he wants to hold the Nashville business community hostage," Lewis said.


LaunchTN head leaves on July 1

Margaret Dolan, who has headed Launch Tennessee for the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development since 2018, will step as head of the nonprofit agency and return to the private sector on July 1.

The LaunchTN board of directors has appointed Van Tucker, who was chief operating officer, as interim CEO.

LaunchTN, a public-private partnership started in 2013 under the direction of former Co.Lab director Charlie Brock of Lookout Mountain, has set a goal of making Tennessee the most startup-friendly state in the nation.

"Tennessee's entrepreneurial landscape is thriving because of the work of LaunchTN, and we know this will continue under Van's leadership.," said Bob Rolfe, commissioner for Economic and Community Development who thanked Dolan for her service.


Regulators OK merger of First Horizon, Iberia

Bank regulators Monday announced their approval of a nearly $30 billion merger of the biggest banks in Tennessee and Louisiana.

First Horizon Corp., the biggest bank holding company in Tennessee, is buying IberiaBank in Baton Rouge, Louisiana in all-stock deal to create one of the biggest banks in the South. The approval by the Federal Reserve Board clears the way for the merger to be completed by July 1, pending customary closing conditions.

"First Horizon and IberiaBank together will be well positioned to navigate a changing financial services landscape, deliver superior client solutions, strengthen the communities we serve and create strong returns for our shareholders," said Bryan Jordan, chairman and CEO of First Horizon.

The combined bank will have $75 billion in combined assets and more than 400 office locations.