New Chattanooga Forward Report Recommends Ways To Grow Local Economy, Tackle Digital Divide

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke’s office released the first of several Chattanooga Forward recommendation reports on Thursday. The report, from the Technology, Gig, & Entrepreneur task force, was the culmination of several months of focus on how to capitalize on the technological assets of Chattanooga.

“Over the last four years, Chattanooga has attracted interest from around the world due to our high speed fiber optic infrastructure. The fact is, we have the fastest, most pervasive, and least expensive Gigabit service in the Western Hemisphere. This positions Chattanooga at the head of the curve - and ready to be a leader in the innovation century,” said Mayor Andy Berke.  “Our job now is to take these incredible assets and utilize them to grow our talent pool, attract capital investors, bridge the digital divide, and provide platforms for small businesses to succeed.”

The Tech, Gig, & Entrepreneur report combines the previous work on utilizing the gig with more recent recommendations on how to grow the city’s innovation economy and bridge the digital divide.

“We reviewed accomplishments and lessons learned over the last several years to develop a work plan that we believe will strategically position Chattanooga for the future,” said Task Force chair Sidney Crisp. “This was a collaborative effort and I am extremely encouraged to know that Mayor Berke is taking this initiative seriously. I look forward to seeing some of these recommendations become a reality.”

A key recommendation from the task force is the creation of an entity to implement the task force’s work plan on a daily basis. The report outlines that a newly created entity should explore creative strategies like “co-location of capital, business support, housing, and research to spur innovation” as well as support digital inclusion initiatives.

The Chattanooga Forward initiative kicked off last year with the creation of six task forces that were charged to thoroughly investigate a multifaceted topic and create action plans to be presented to Mayor Berke for consideration.

To learn more about the Chattanooga Forward initiative, visit: http://www.chattanooga.gov/mayors-office/chattanooga-forward


Scam Phone Calls Continue; IRS Identifies Five Easy Ways To Spot Suspicious Calls

The Internal Revenue Service issued a consumer alert today providing taxpayers with additional tips to protect themselves from telephone scam artists calling and pretending to be with the IRS.   These callers may demand money or may say you have a refund due and try to trick you into sharing private information. These con artists can sound convincing when they call. They ... (click for more)

CBL & Associates Properties To Pay Common And Preferred Stock Dividends

CBL & Associates Properties, Inc. Thursday announced that its Board of Directors has declared a quarterly cash dividend for the company’s Common Stock of $0.245 per share for the quarter ending Sept. 30. The dividend is payable on Oct. 15 to shareholders of record as of Sept. 30. The Board also declared a quarterly cash dividend of $0.4609375 per depositary share for the ... (click for more)

Bradley, 24, Charged In Death Of Boy, 3; Child Had Numerous Injuries After Left With Boyfriend; Mother Was In Workhouse

Justin Dale Bradley has been charged with criminal homicide in the death of a three-year-old child, who was rushed to the hospital on Wednesday and later died. Police said Dakota James Arndt had numerous injuries over his body. Authorities said Bradley, 24, is the boyfriend of the child's mother, Brianna Kwekel, who was in the Workhouse at the time. Ms. Kwekel was serving 48 ... (click for more)

Helen Burns Sharp Asks Recovery Of Legal Fees In Successful Black Creek TIF Lawsuit

Helen Burns Sharp, citizen activist who sued to try to stop a $9 million Black Creek Tax Increment Financing (TIF) and won, is seeking to have her legal expenses paid by the city and the developers. Ms. Sharp said in a court filing that her legal bills to attorney John Konvalinka are $74,427 thus far. Chancellor Frank Brown ruled in favor of Ms. Sharp, saying the Sunshine ... (click for more)

The Many Lessons I Learned From Helen McDonald Exum

Helen McDonald Exum was my friend and mentor. As I think of her passing I can only imagine the celebration that is happening in heaven as the news of her arrival is being told. I am sure that there is a party that not only has she organized but that there is not a detail that has been left to chance. I am sure that it is the grandest of events, for you see, she has been planing ... (click for more)

Insurance Burden Should Not Fall On The Teachers

I have attended several Hamilton County School Board meetings over the past few months, including the recent special called meeting" to vote on teacher insurance changes. First, let me say I am very impressed with Superintendent Rick Smith and his staff at the Central Office.  Mr. Smith is a very dedicated public servant, working hard to provide services to our community ... (click for more)