published Friday, October 5th, 2012

Courter: Locals honored, and a not very Publix debate

It's been a good couple of weeks for local folks in the entertainment industry.

Today, Tommy Jett will have a road named in his honor in Walker County. US101 on-air personality Bill "Dex" Poindexter was selected for induction into the Country Radio Hall of Fame, and singer Rachel Holder was nominated as Best New Artist in the 18th annual Inspirational Country Music Faith, Family & Country Awards. Lauren Alaina also was nominated for an ICM award for Best Video for "Like My Mother Does."

Tommy Jett Drive becomes a reality during a ceremony at 11 this morning. It is a new road located near Happy Valley Road, Highway 193 and Georgia Highway 2.

Walker County Commissioner Bebe Heiskell and Sheriff Steve Wilson will be on hand, as will TJ the DJ himself, as well as a bunch of his close friends.

Dex, who has worked in radio for 41 years, becomes the first Chattanoogan inducted into the Country Radio Hall of Fame, which seems odd. But it took more than 70 years for Luther Masingill to get into the National Radio Hall of Fame in Chicago. That omission gets fixed on Nov. 10 during ceremonies there.

Masingill is also the subject of a new book that will be out Nov. 28. It is co-authored by his radio colleague of almost 20 years, James Howard, and Holly Abernathy, who worked as a promotions director at WDEF Radio.

In addition to containing 230 images, the 200-page book is "about what Luther is really like," Howard said. "I get that question all the time.

"It's about me meeting my childhood hero and working with him and about what he's meant to me in terms of morals and values," he said.

Holder is up against Geoffrey Andrews, Larissa, Scott Steele and Wade Hammond. Lauren Alaina's competition is Martina McBride, Blake Shelton, Steve Richard and Big & Rich.

• • •

A couple of weeks ago, I sang the praises of "The Chattanooga Way" and how the spirit of cooperation, transparency and sense of doing the right thing for the whole community was in large part responsible for how great our city has become.

Apparently, the Chattanooga Way only works on this side of the river. It would seem that everybody wants a Publix in North Chattanooga, so much so they are willing to overlook nearly everything that we have based our resurgence on in order to get it.

Everything about this project looks like it is being handled the old Chattanooga way, with guidelines being ignored, back-room agreements, veiled threats to people who ask questions and an overall lack of transparency.

I hope a Publix is built in North Chattanooga, but it should be done the right way. We don't need to go backward.

• • •

This is a total hijack from Michael Large's Facebook page, but it made me laugh:

"If you were stranded on an island and could only bring one Dave Matthews album, how would you kill yourself?"

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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