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Editorial


Front Page - Friday, September 18, 2015

Self-defense expert warns Women’s Council to be safe




James Hogwood of the National Self-Defense Agency admonishes Realtors to be safe. - (Photo by David Laprad)

“What would you do if you were confronted by a predator?” James Hogwood asked a roomful of ladies as they dug into their salads.

The question was rhetorical; most people are ill-equipped for such an event. To help prepare the members of the Women’s Council of Realtors (WCR), Hogwood spoke at the organization’s most recent business and networking meeting, which took place Sept. 9 at the Chattanooga Choo-Choo. With September being Realtor Safety Month, Hogwood’s 45-minute discourse was well-timed.

Hogwood, the lead instructor of the National Self-Defense Agency, began by offering sobering statistics. Fifty percent of women will fall victim to some form of sexual assault in their lifetime, he said, and one in four college-age girls will be sexually assaulted. Therefore, women must always be on the guard, and always be prepared.

“We live in a dangerous society, and the steps you take can keep you from becoming a statistic,” he said. “How you prepare yourself makes a difference.”

Although Hogwood didn’t demonstrate any protective moves, he did offer the women dozens of self-defense tips, such as carrying a roll of quarters in a purse. “When you’re being attacked, you can’t reach into your purse and pull out a handgun. You’re better off swinging your purse and hitting your attacker in the head with it,” he said. “But what makes more sense? Using a roll of quarters like cops use a nightstick, or using a weapon that could be taken from you and used against you?”

Local agents will have a chance to learn how to physically protect themselves at Hogwood’s next Realtors Self-Defense Class, to be held Friday, Sept. 25 from noon to 4 p.m. at the Greater Chattanooga Association of Realtors. Hogwood will be teaching the course, which is limited to 20 participants. Those who complete the course will earn four hours of Tennessee or Georgia CE credits. To sign up, visit gcar.net and click on the calendar.

2016 WCR officers

After Hogwood’s presentation, Elaine Boyd Osby led the voting process for the WCR’s 2016 officers. Voted in were: Susan Barnette, president; Brenda Pargeon, president-elect; Joyce Smith, vice-president of membership; Debra Loomis, secretary; and Deborah Radford, treasurer. These officers will be installed at the organization’s December meeting.

Super Sponsors

President Kim Bass then introduced the meeting’s three Super Sponsors: Northgate Title & Escrow; Covington Consulting & Appraising; and Arrow Exterminators. “We would not exist without our Super Sponsors. We’re blessed to have them,” Bass said as she gave a representative of each sponsor a few minutes to speak to the group.

Barbara Tawater of Northgate Title & Escrow spoke about her company’s efforts to comply with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s new Mortgage Disclosure Rule, which includes regulations for title insurance companies, and which goes into effect on Saturday, Oct 3.

“We’re taking our responsibility to keep everyone’s information private seriously,” she said. “We have a clear desk policy, use encrypted email, and allow only our employees to use our computers. We also lock up our files every evening, and have a shredder service come once a month.”

Northgate Title & Escrow is also third-party certified, which lending partners are requiring.

“We’re doing our best to keep your information safe,” Tawater said.

Contact Northgate Title & Escrow in Hixson at (423) 875-9533.

Laura Covington of Covington Consulting & Appraising spent her time at the podium clearing up what she called misconceptions about the appraisal industry. “Even though we’re in a growing industry, and homes are selling, the values are not always exactly where they should be,” she said. “We want every deal to close, and we want everyone to be paid, but we have to protect the buyer, the seller, and the Realtor, which means being realistic.”

Covington also recommended doing pre-listing appraisals. “That way, I can be the bad guy, not you,” she said to the Realtors in the room.

Contact Covington in Hixson at (423) 875-9533.

Kim Carman of Arrow Exterminators said her company does complimentary pre-listing inspections to make sure there are no issues with creepy crawlies or other critters. “Make sure a house is in good shape before you list it,” she said.

Learn more at arrowexterminators.com.

Bass gave each sponsor an engraved award thanking them for their support. Tawater jokingly said she was going to keep hers in her purse in lieu of a roll of quarters.

Bras for a Cause

Bass also gave Cindy Pare a few minutes to speak about the MaryEllen Locher Foundation, a college scholarship program for children who have either lost a parent to breast cancer or have a parent who is a breast cancer survivor. The organization was founded in 2002 by Locher, a long-time news anchor and reporter for WTCV in Chattanooga who passed away in 2005 after her third bout with cancer. She started the foundation because she was concerned about her son’s future education.

To date, the MaryEllen Locher Foundation has awarded over 380 scholarships totaling $658,000.

The local community will have an opportunity to add to the funds the foundation has available to award by participating in the WCR’s upcoming Bras for a Cause fundraiser, to be held Friday, Oct. 9 at 6 p.m. at the Choo-Choo. The event will include a live bra fashion show with male models. Each bra will be auctioned off at the end of the show.

Groups can purchase a table that seats eight for $200. Twenty-five percent of the proceeds will be donated to the MaryEllen Locher Foundation. The WCR will use the remaining funds to prepare women Realtors to assume positions of leadership in the industry.

To reserve a table, mail a check to Pargeon at P.O. Box 28081, Chattanooga, TN 37424.

For other questions about the event, including how to donate, decorate, and model a bra, contact Jill McClean, event chairperson, at (423) 643-8884, or Barnette at (423) 892-1515.

The next WCR business and networking meeting will take place Wednesday, Oct. 7 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Choo-Choo.