Local Gym To Be Named In Honor Of City Facility Manager, Johnny O'Neal

Thursday, January 23, 2014
Johnny O'Neal
Johnny O'Neal

First-Centenary United Methodist Church, a partner with The City of Chattanooga Department of Youth & Family Development (YFD), will celebrate the naming of “O’Neal Gym” in honor of Johnny O’Neal, for 35 years of dedication to youth and families in Chattanooga. Mr. O’Neal will be recognized during Sunday morning services, followed by a dedication and reception in the O’Neal Gymnasium at 11:45 a.m.

“I’m proud,” said Johnny O’Neal, “When I first came here as a youth, someone mentored me.  I feel honored to continue to do the same after all these years.”

Mr. O’Neal joined First Centenary’s Inner City Ministries program as part time staff in 1979, providing recreation activities to youth from nearby neighborhoods and schools. 35 years later, Mr. O’Neal is still committed, now serving as facility manager, which mentors an average of 80 youths daily as part of an after school program held at First Centenary Youth and Family Development Center.

“We offer a full slate of programs,” said Mr. O’Neal, “however recreation is just a small pebble. Education and social development are the building blocks of our existence.”

“This was a very easy decision to make,” said Rev. Dr. Doug Fairbanks of First Centenary. “Mr. O’Neal has given himself to the work of loving and mentoring thousands of inner-city children. We simply believe that one of the ways we can say to Johnny, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant’, is to name the gym in his honor.” 

“The City of Chattanooga is honored as well,” said Greta Hayes, Chattanooga YFD’s director of recreation. “Johnny is a perfect example of commitment to the development of our youth and how a City and a faith-based institution can work and excel together.”

First Centenary and the City of Chattanooga have been partners since the mid 1980s. The afterschool program provides tutoring, reading, sports, and camps that builds self-esteem, cultivates self-discipline, develop better communication skills and teaches respect for others. 


All Summer Driver's Ed Classes Full And Closed

Effective immediately, all Drivers Education classes for the Summer 2015 term are completely full and closed. No more applications will be accepted for any Summer classes. The class schedule for the Fall 2015 term will be announced at a later date. Please call the Drivers Education information line at  423-643-7011  for more information.  (click for more)

PHOTOS: Orange Grove's Lunch For Champions

State Attorney General Says City Council Cannot Make Taxis Not Registered In Hamilton County Go Through Emissions Testing

The state attorney general's office has ruled that the City Council cannot require that taxis not registered in Hamilton County go through emissions testing. The city is dealing with the new Uber taxi service that has an out-of-town owner. Locally-owned cabs have to go through the annual emissions testing. The opinion says that local taxi owners cannot get around the emissions ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Area Bracing For Possibility Of Isolated Severe Storms, Tornadoes Not Ruled Out

The National Weather Service is feeling uncertain about today's weather pattern and has not ruled out the possibility of isolated, severe thunderstorms or an isolated tornado in our area. The greatest threat seems to be between 4 and 7 p.m. this evening. Below is the latest update: HAZARDOUS WEATHER OUTLOOK...UPDATED NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE MORRISTOWN TN 127 PM EDT SAT ... (click for more)

The Heart Of A Teacher Makes A Difference - And Response (2)

In less than four weeks, I expect to be one of 216 graduating seniors from East Hamilton School. One could say all possible variables help a student rise to the highest levels in school; but a student is more than his environment or genetic code. He is a mixture of his own propensity and dedication to academics, coupled with a systemic team of mentors who give their all as a student’s ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: FBI To Study ‘Lickers’

About 25 years ago there was a terrifying movie called “The Silence of the Lambs.” It was so good it won the Academy Awards in all five categories – Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Director and Adapted Screenplay. Further, Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster were brilliant, but do you remember the third “star?” Scott Glenn played a character named “Jack Crawford,” the ... (click for more)