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News - Friday, May 29, 2020

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Retail spaces get fresh look
Developer Issa adapts old model to meet new tenant demands

Chattanooga developer Bassam Issa is posing for a photograph at a retail center on Gunbarrel Road. Dressed in a pink and purple checked shirt and gray slacks, he leans against the railing that encloses the outdoor dining area at Mission BBQ and smiles.


O’Kelley finds way to Baker Donelson shareholder

Mary O’Kelley grew up hearing her father, the late Stewart Jenkins, talk about the cases he was trying in court. By age 12, she decided she was going to follow in his footsteps and become an attorney.

After O’Kelley began to practice international business law in 2000, Jenkins would playfully tell his daughter she wasn’t a real lawyer because she “couldn’t find the courthouse.”


Baker Donelson also names McGehee, Sanders shareholders

Baker Donelson has also elected local attorneys John McGehee and Adam Sanders as shareholders of the firm. The firm this week announced the election of 15 new shareholders, including McGehee, Sanders and Mary O’Kelley in its Chattanooga office.


Pandemic continues to dampen housing market locally, nationally

Existing-home sales across the U.S. dropped in April, continuing a two-month skid in sales brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, the National Association of Realtors reports.

Total sales of existing homes dropped 17.8% from March to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of 4.33 million in April. Sales decreased 17.2% compared to March 2019 (5.23 million).


Pending sales show light at end of pandemic

Real estate is still happening, as I tell my friends and family, just in a different way.

I love statistics. I enjoy seeing the metrics of home sales. Each week, I view the market activity on our multiple listing service and compare it to the numbers from previous years. Up until COVID-19, I would see a sharp rise in market activity and selling prices.


Help for homeowners during recovery from pandemic

With the outbreak of COVID-19 this spring and the stay-at-home orders issued for most of the tri-state area, residents have spent more time in their houses than ever before. Our homes have taken on a new meaning as they became our new offices, playgrounds, sporting fields, entertainment venues and a safe refuge.


Goodfellas’ arrival big – really big – for NY pizza fans

Goodfellas claims to bring a slice of New York City to Chattanooga. Believing the statement to be more marketing bravado than truth, I grabbed my wife – a native New Yorker who loves a good pie – and headed for King Street to see for myself.


HCSO joins Take Me Home program

In an effort to support the health and safety of those with cognitive and developmental disabilities, the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office has joined with the Chattanooga Police Department and the Chattanooga Autism Center to participate in the Take Me Home program.


Chattanooga Chamber accepting applications for Protégé Program

Young Professionals of Chattanooga and the Chattanooga Chamber of Commerce are accepting applications for the 2020-21 Protégé team-based mentoring program for early to mid-career professionals.

Protégé Chattanooga is a nine-month, team-based mentoring program in which early and mid-career professionals learn from seasoned local executives and each other.


State gets $155M-plus for COVID-19 testing

The Department of Health and Human Services is giving $155,259,965 in new funding to Tennessee to support testing for COVID-19.

In total, $10.25 billion in funding is being provided by The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to states, territories, and local jurisdictions through CDC’s existing Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity for Prevention and Control of Emerging Infectious Diseases cooperative agreement.


Health Department closes Bonnyshire COVID-19 testing site, opens new testing sites

The Hamilton County Health Department has closed its COVID-19 testing site at the Bonnyshire Emissions Testing Center and relocated this service to four Hamilton County schools: Brainerd High School, East Lake Academy, Hardy Elementary and Orchard Knob Elementary.


Hamilton County Coalition distributing free medication lockboxes, drug deactivation pouches

The Hamilton County Coalition is giving out free medication lockboxes and drug deactivation pouches.

The coalition says local officials recorded 107 overdoses during the first four months of 2019. That number jumped to 230 during the same time period this year.


Library launches gallery for COVID stories

The Chattanooga Public Library and Pass It Down are inviting the public to share its quarantine stories online. 2020 Vision: A Look at COVID-19 in Chattanooga is a new online gallery built on the same platform as the Chattanooga Memory Project.

Anyone interested in sharing a story can visit chattlibrary.org/2020vision to share photos, videos and audio clips.


Youth Symphony Orchestra conductor Gary Wilkes retires

Gary Wilkes, longtime conductor of the Chattanooga Symphony & Opera’s Youth Symphony Orchestra, retired in May and also is retiring from his position as orchestra teacher at the Chattanooga School for the Arts and Sciences.

When Wilkes joined the YSO in 1993, it consisted of one orchestra. Under Wilkes’ direction, the YSO added a second full orchestra in 1998. The YSO added two training string orchestras in the years that followed.


Sticking to budget can boost your emergency fund

During the coronavirus pandemic, our health concerns – for ourselves and our loved ones – have been at the top of our minds. But financial worries have been there, too, both for people whose employment has been affected and for investors anxious about the volatile financial markets.


Millennial Money: Find free, solid money advice in uncertain times

If you have money questions – and who among us doesn’t right now? – there are plenty of people willing to offer advice, including friends, relatives and random strangers on the internet.

Finding someone who knows what they’re talking about and isn’t trying to take advantage of you, can be tougher. Fortunately, several groups of credentialed, trustworthy financial advisers are stepping up to offer free help.


Johnson is honored as Southeast Tennessee Superintendent of the Year

The Tennessee Organization of School Superintendents has recognized Bryan Johnson, Ed.D., superintendent of Hamilton County Schools, as the Southeast Tennessee Superintendent of the Year.

TOSS chose Johnson based on his leadership in learning, communication, professionalism and community involvement, the organization stated.


Career Corner: Working from home has opened new possibilities

We can all agree this pandemic has been horrific. Regardless of how much or how little you were impacted, you were impacted.

You probably spent more time inside your own four walls at home than you ever imagined. And, you may have learned to work from home while balancing your spouse, pets and children.


Rogers column: Hummingbirds a bit of normalcy in unusual times

We’ve been awaiting the seasonal visitors, eager for reminders that some order still exists in this otherwise disorderly world. The first arrived the other evening, May 16, at 7:22 p.m. CDT, to be specific:

A hummingbird.

More precise information than that I can’t provide. The way our feeder and porch chairs are situated, the bird basically presented in silhouette. Besides, I’m not much good with colors under the best of circumstances.