published Sunday, June 28th, 2009

Hamilton County leaders support industry announcement


by Cliff Hightower

by Matt Wilson

Thursday's Hamilton County Commission meeting began a little later than usual because Mayor Claude Ramsey and nearly all of the county commissioners were at a ceremony announcing a major Volkswagen supplier was coming to Chattanooga.

"I can tell you that what you saw this morning, you'll see more out of that company and you'll see more opportunities," Mr. Ramsey said.

Gestamp Corp., a Michigan subsidiary of Gestamp Automocion, announced it would build a $90 million plant at Enterprise South industrial park.

The company will purchase the land for the plant from the city and the county, Mr. Ramsey said. The commission is expected to vote Wednesday on the sale.

THE OFFICE IS OPEN

City Councilman Andraé McGary is using Facebook to become more transparent with his constituents.

Mr. McGary posted a video of himself on his page. He is asking for people to watch the video, ask him a question and comment on the page. Then on Tuesday he will come back with answers to any questions concerning the council or the mayor's office.

"Come back later next week and see if I answer your question in my next video," he writes. "Feedback is always welcome. Peace."

BEER, BILL, BOARD

During City Council committee meetings Tuesday, questions were raised about what would be printed on a set of billboards advertising air pollution control.

Council Chairman Jack Benson directed his question to Mayor Ron Littlefield, who was sitting in the audience.

"Mr. Mayor, you don't know about anything about those beer boards, uhmmm, billboards?" he asked.

The audience laughed.

"No, I don't," Mr. Littlefield replied.

Later on it was learned that the billboards would encourage people to drive and mow less.

knowles wins achievement award

The National Association of Counties has awarded Hamilton County Clerk Bill Knowles' office a 2009 Achievement Award, according to a news release from the office.

The award recognizes Mr. Knowles' office for making marriage records available online.

"I am thankful to NACO for highlighting this extra dimension of service we are offering citizens," Mr. Knowles said in the statement. "My staff and the county's professional IT Department worked hard to make local marriage records available on the Internet."

URBAN FORESTRY PROJECT WINS AWARD

Take Root, an urban forestry project in Chattanooga, has won the 2009 Governor's Environmental Stewardship Award, officials said.

The award recognizes voluntary actions taken by organizations and individuals to protect and improve Tennessee's natural environment.

Take Root, led by City Forester Gene Hyde, planted more than 600 trees across Chattanooga in the winter and spring months.

Compiled by staff writers Cliff Hightower and Matt Wilson

E-mail Cliff Hightower at chightower@timesfreepress.com

E-mail Matt Wilson at mwilson@timesfreepress.com

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