published Sunday, June 10th, 2012

Reporter's Notebook: Sen. Andy Berke seeks Chattanooga residents' opinions


by Cliff Hightower
Senator Andy Berke greets members of the audience after announcing his mayoral campaign at the Chattanooga Theatre Center on Tuesday, May 8, 2012.
Senator Andy Berke greets members of the audience after announcing his mayoral campaign at the Chattanooga Theatre Center on Tuesday, May 8, 2012.
Photo by Jake Daniels.

State Sen. Andy Berke, D-Chattanooga, will be hosting a "Coffee with Andy" at 8 a.m. Monday at Greyfriar's Coffee and Tea, 406 Broad St.

Berke announced his candidacy for Chattanooga mayor last month. He's holding the coffee to ask city residents their opinions on the most important issues facing Chattanooga, a news release states.

"As I have throughout my Senate career, I look forward to listening to Chattanoogans dedicated to the future of our city," Berke said in the release.

He already has held one coffee event at a Starbucks in Hixson. The news release said he promises to conduct more over the coming months.

MADD dash for tags

Mothers Against Drunk Driving of Tennessee says it's in danger of having its special MADD license plate retired for lack of sales.

The organization must sell at least 500 MADD plates each year to keep it on the state's list of special plates. It's about 70 plates short now, according to a news release from MADD headquarters in Irving, Texas. The deadline is June 30.

The MADD plate costs $35, atop the state's regular $25 registration fee. Of that, $30.75 goes toward the organization's road safety programs, the release stated.

Hamilton County Clerk Bill Knowles said 24 county residents have MADD plates.

Proceeds from the sales help pay for victim services, and the plates are "rolling billboards" against impaired driving, the release stated.

MADD figures show that more than 10,000 people die and 345,000 are injured in drunken-driving crashes each year, according to the release.

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