River City's ArtSpark teams with Unum

The largest ArtSpark installation was unveiled at Unum's Chattanooga headquarters this week.

The 103-inch by 305-inch triptych, created by artist Renel Plouffe, depicts iconic Chattanooga landmarks from the Walnut Street Bridge to the vistas of Lookout Mountain to Coolidge Park.

"At Unum, we have a multi-generational workforce that consists of people of various races and ethnicities with different abilities, beliefs and backgrounds. This makes us a mirror of the customers we serve and the communities in which we live," said Liz Ahmed, Unum's executive vice president of people and communications.

ArtSpark received a $10,000 contribution from Unum.

The River City Co. ArtSpark program was created in 2018 after exploring options to beautify downtown. While utility and traffic boxes provide city services, they can be unappealing in the downtown landscape.

"In true Chattanooga fashion, we partnered with EPB, the City of Chattanooga's Transportation Department, the Public Art Commission, and the Lyndhurst Foundation to collaboratively develop the ArtSpark Program as a way to beautify these boxes and use our local arts community to maximize the impact," said Emily Mack, president and CEO of River City Co.


TVA relaxes worker mask requirements

America's biggest government-owned utility on Friday relaxed requirements for its 10,000 employees to wear masks indoors.

The Tennessee Valley Authority said fully vaccinated workers no longer need to wear masks in most TVA work areas. The new policy comes a week after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said persons who have received all of their vaccinations for the COVID-19 virus and have waited for 14 days may interact with other vaccinated persons and no longer need to wear a mask, even in indoor settings.

TVA is giving its workes the discretion to wear or not wear a mask if they are fully vaccinated and the utility said in a notice to workers Friday that TVA "will not request, monitor or verify vaccination status."

If a person has not been fully vaccinated or two weeks have not elapsed since they received their final dose, they must continue to follow the guidance on wearing face coverings on TVA property. TVA also is continuing not to allow most visitors into its offices and plants to help limit the potential spread of the virus.


Vaccinated persons get 14% more dates on app

The White House is pushing a new reason to swipe right: vaccination badges and "super swipes" for people who've gotten their coronavirus shots.

The Biden administration said Friday it's teaming up with dating apps to showcase the benefits of getting a shot.

Apps like Hinge, Tinder, Match and Bumble are offering special incentives to people who roll up their sleeves, including badges showing vaccination status and free access to premium content. BLK and Chispa will boost profiles of those who are vaccinated, to make them more visible to potential matches. And OKCupid will even let users filter out potential partners based on whether they've gotten a vaccine.

The White House says the apps will also direct users to learn how to get vaccinated, including connecting them with educational materials and information on how to find the nearest vaccination site. The administration pointed to research from OKCupid that found those who were already or were planning to get vaccinated received 14% more matches on the app.

"We have finally found the one thing that makes us more attractive — a vaccination," said White House COVID-19 adviser Andy Slavitt.


Seven nooses found at Amazon warehouse

Amazon has temporarily shut down a new warehouse construction site in Connecticut after a seventh noose was found hanging over a beam, a series of incidents local police called "potential" hate crimes.

Another rope tied like a noose was discovered Wednesday at the site in Windsor, about 10 miles (16 kilometers) north of Hartford, prompting an intensified law enforcement investigation and calls by the state NAACP on Thursday for the suspect or suspects to be brought to justice.

Amazon said in a statement that it is closing the site until Monday so that additional security measures can be put in place.

"We continue to be deeply disturbed by the incidents happening at the construction site in Windsor," Amazon said. "Hate, racism or discrimination have no place in our society and are certainly not tolerated in an Amazon workplace."

Windsor police said they are working with the FBI and state police. A reward has been doubled to $100,000 for information leading to the identification of the culprits. The first noose was found at the site last month.

— Compiled by Dave Flessner