USA Network And Charter Honor Whitwell Resident With Characters Unite Award

Monday, October 21, 2013

Local resident Linda Hooper is among the 10 winners selected by USA Network, along with its distribution partners, for the 2013 Characters Unite Awards.  Characters Unite is USA’s public service campaign to combat hate and discrimination and promote greater tolerance and acceptance – on-air, online and in communities across the country. 

 The 2013 winners were selected from hundreds of nominees for their efforts to champion civil and human rights in their communities.  Each honoree will be acknowledged during a hometown award ceremony and will receive a $5,000 grant from USA and participating local distribution partners to support his/her project or related nonprofit organization. Additionally, honorees will be featured on-air in a PSA and online at charactersunite.com.   

Ms. Hooper, while serving as principal at Whitwell Middle School, founded a grassroots Holocaust education program that drew worldwide attention to the community and brought together students, teachers, families and the entire town in support of religious tolerance and the fight against discrimination. In a region with little religious, racial or ethnic diversity, Ms. Hooper decided to found a voluntary after-school program that would teach students about the impact of the Holocaust by collecting a paperclip to represent each victim lost. The students wrote letters, and as the program grew, they began to receive letters from Holocaust survivors and supporters around the world. Today, the project has received over 30 million paper clips from 20 different countries, inspired an award-winning film Paper Clips and led to the establishment of a Children’s Holocaust Memorial at the school. 

A believer in the power of education as a vehicle to tolerance, Ms. Hooper brought to fruition a program that has touched the lives of many, officials said. She has since served as a motivational speaker, traveling around the country speaking about The Paper Clips Project and about teaching as a means to positively change the world.

The awards ceremony will be Monday, Oct. 28, at 6 p.m. CST at Whitwell Middle School.  


Market Street Lane Closures Announced For Saturday

The southbound lanes of the 1100 block of Market Street will be closed for building maintenance on  Saturday from 8 a.m.-4 p.m . This closure is for the southbound lanes only.  Detours will be posted using West 11 th  Street, southbound on Broad Street and West 12 th  Street back to Market Street. In order to view a map of these closures, visit  ... (click for more)

Board Officers And Members Announced For GAIA Nonprofit And Signature Initiative Gandhi Global Center For Peace

Co-Founder Mahatma Gandhi’s grandson Arun Gandhi and Board Chair Terry Olsen announce board officers and members for the newly formed global nonprofit organization GAIA (Global Action Initiatives Alliance) and signature initiative Gandhi Global Center for Peace. GAIA Board Officers Bios: Co-Founder Arun Gandhi (Rochester, N.Y.) is the fifth grandson of India’s legendary ... (click for more)

Judge Orders Cortez Sims Tried As Adult After Emotional Testimony At Juvenile Court In Shooting Of 4

Juvenile Court Judge Rob Philyaw on Thursday morning ordered that 17-year-old Cortez Sims be tried as an adult in a College Hill Courts shooting that left one woman dead, a toddler paralyzed, and two others wounded. The order was given after emotional testimony from two of the victims in the Jan. 7 early morning mass shooting at 773 W. Main St. Bianca Horton and Marcell "Baby ... (click for more)

County School Bus Driver Alexander Rodriquez Charged With Raping 15-Year-Old Student

A county school bus driver has been charged with raping a 15-year-old student.   Alexander Rodriguez, 34, of Dusty Trail, Ooltewah, was being held on $350,000 bond.   The sheriff's office said it got a report at 9:30 p.m. of a missing juvenile, who was last seen boarding a school bus at Sale Creek High School that afternoon.    ... (click for more)

The Middle Valley Walmart Makes No Sense

There has been quite a bit of hoopla over the proposed new Walmart grocery store in Middle Valley.  Since my family has lived in Middle Valley in a home they built by hand way back in 1954 and said house is now housing generations 3, 4 and 5 I feel that I can give my opinion based on nothing more than life experience.    When this house was built there was a gravel ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Father Kelly’s ‘Hallelujah’

Last April, in the special way that only some older men are lucky enough to possess, the childish imp came out in Father Ray Kelly. A parish priest in Oldcastle, Ireland, he was conducting wedding vows for a handsome couple when the 62-year-old decided to surprise them with a totally-unscripted rendition of Leonard Cohen’s beautiful song, “Hallelujah.” When he did, there soon ... (click for more)