published Friday, December 24th, 2010

Vision, leadership keys to 'Chattanooga way'

City Beat

Usually at this time of year, we tend to look back and review. While it has been a better-than-expected year entertainment-wise in Chattanooga, let's look ahead.

To my way of seeing things, 2010 was the beginning of serious change in how things are going to be done. Several factors weigh into what I mean. The three biggest are that Jack Lupton died, the RiverCity Company got out of the events and promotions business and, of course, Volkswagen is that much closer to going fully online.

The first two are related in many ways. Anyone who doesn't understand how Lupton and RiverCity helped direct, lead and pull us into the place where we are today hasn't been paying attention.

If nothing else, they provided a focus and a base of power from which to get things done.

I don't believe their passings are a sign of doom by any stretch, though they will be missed. It should be noted RiverCity is still very much in existence, just not in the events promotion business.

With them out of the picture, it has meant that others have stepped up or have been given the opportunity to promote established events and create new ones.

With VW leading the way, Chattanooga is getting ready to explode with people from all over the country and world moving here. They are likely to bring with them the need or desire for things that remind them of home -- things like restaurants and arts and entertainment opportunities.

The trick will be for us to continue to do things the "Chattanooga way." This means planning and working together for the greater long-term good. Leadership and vision have been the keys to date, and they will be needed in the future.

* Earlier this month, Discovery's Science Channel debuted a new show called "Deadly Descent," and it featured Southern College student Ben Eudy.

Eudy, 35, is getting his master's in education from the school, but it is his hobby that got him on the show. Eudy is a cave rescuer and a member of the Hamilton County cave and cliff rescue team. He had previously done some caving for an episode of "Storm Stories" for The Weather Channel, so when Discovery went looking for cavers, his name came up.

For this episode of "Deadly Descent," Eudy and four other cavers were sent into an underwater cave in Puerto Rico to get geologic samples for scientists studying hurricanes and their frequency.

"They put together a group of explorers," he said of the experience. "We are not thrill-seekers."

He said the trip was not at all what he expected. Another team that had gone into the caves had gotten trapped by unexpected high waters, and Eudy and his bunch had to help rescue them, in addition to doing the work originally planned.

Eudy said he will be part of future episodes of the show as well.

"It was a unique opportunity to do something that had the allure of traveling to places. What they are doing is a marriage of science and exploring. The central theme is that we are going into these hard-to-reach places to get information for science.

"It was really cool to be a part of it and to be the team leader."

Contact Barry Courter at or 423-757-6354

about Barry Courter...

Barry Courter is staff reporter and columnist for the Times Free Press. He started his journalism career at the Chattanooga News-Free Press in 1987. He covers primarily entertainment and events for ChattanoogaNow, as well as feature stories for the Life section. Born in Lafayette, Ind., Barry has lived in Chattanooga since 1968. He graduated from Notre Dame High School and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga with a degree in broadcast journalism. He previously was ...

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