published Sunday, July 19th, 2009

Commission takes no action to close road


by Lauren Gregory

by Cliff Hightower

by Matt Wilson

As about a dozen interested residents looked on, Hamilton County commissioners voted Wednesday to take no action on a resolution that would have abandoned Aetna Mountain Road, a dead-end road in Lookout Valley.

Reading a letter from County Engineer Todd Leamon, Commissioner Bill Hullander said the county does not maintain the road.

"This has gone to a judge. It's gone to court," Mr. Hullander said. "The judge has said this is a public road. We cannot overrule the judge."

Barry Bennett, executive director of the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Planning Agency, said the judge's action did not grant a public right-of-way on the road.

"What the court did was grant public access to an otherwise private easement," he said.

In June, the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Planning Commission voted in favor of making the road private.

Some property owners from the area have argued that leaving the road open is dangerous. Others have said closing the road would limit access to their property.

WHO's ON THESE BOARDS ANYWAY?

Chattanooga Councilwoman Deborah Scott asked during a committee meeting Tuesday if background checks were ever conducted on people chosen for the numerous boards in the city.

She said she has heard inquiries from constituents about how board members are selected. Sometimes there could be things in a person's past the council should know about, she said.

"I don't know if I know about the backgrounds of everybody I know," she said.

"What kind of people are you hanging out with, Deborah?" Council Chairman Jack Benson immediately asked.

The committee room roared with laughter.

Board members are nominated by personal reference from a council member. Councilman Manny Rico said many times the council members stake their own reputation on the board nominee. City officials said a board member can always be removed as well.

"There's no background check on anybody elected," Mr. Benson said.

"No drug test, either," Mr. Rico responded.

HALLUCiNoGENIC SIGNS

During a zoning request Tuesday night to change a home on Shallowford Road to apartment zoning, one City Council member raised questions over what type of signs would be placed there.

Restrictions were placed on the home of putting up certain types of signs, but Councilwoman Carol Berz noted it didn't specifically include neon-type signs.

Council Chairman Jack Benson agreed.

"I don't think we ever meant to have ... what do you call those signs?" he asked. "LSD?"

The term "liquid crystal display" is often abbreviated LCD.

uniforms for the uniformed

Local Crye-Leike real estate agents have begun dressing to match their bright-red "For Sale" signs each Friday as a sign of support for U.S. troops.

Every Friday "until the troops come home," agents throughout the company will declare "Red Friday," according to a news release. Employees will not only wear red, they also will sell "Red Fridays" buttons to raise money for the national nonprofit Operation Homefront, the release stated.

Operation Homefront provides emergency assistance and morale to troops and their families.

The buttons can be purchased for $3 at Crye-Leike offices. Company co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Harold Crye said he hopes that not only employees but also friends and clients will contribute to the cause.

"While the current economy has many of us facing challenges, we must not lose sight of the sacrifices our men and women in uniform are making, which puts our own difficulties in perspective," Mr. Crye said.

SERIES FOCUSES ON CHATTANOOGA IDENTITY

A series of lectures will be held over the next several months to help Chattanoogans identify themselves and come together as a community, a city news release states.

The first lecture begins at noon Tuesday in the Hunter Museum of American Art and is titled "The Other Race in Chattanooga: Native Americans."

The series will be held through January 2010. There are two lunch programs scheduled and three evening programs, according to the news release.

The city's Office of Multicultural Affairs and the Hunter Museum are co-sponsoring the events, officials said.

All programs are free and open to the public. For more information, contact Adera Causey at 423-752-2053 or email acausey@huntermuseum.org.

PICNIC AND POOL PARTY IN BRAINERD

The Brainerd Unity Group will host a Brainerd Community Picnic and Pool Party at 6 p.m. Saturday at the First Cumberland Presbyterian Church pool on North Moore Road.

A "Best of Brainerd" cooking contest will be held, said David R. Barlew Jr., a steering committee member for the group. To enter the contest, bring a covered picnic side dish, dessert or appetizer, he said.

A panel of judges comprised of Brainerd restaurant owners will do the judging, according to a news release.

Everyone in the community is welcome to attend, and admission is free. Hot dogs and drinks will be provided.

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