This is one in a series of Voices pieces by Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke. We’re calling it the Mayor’s Minute. Want to share your voice? You can contribute to NOOGAtoday here.
Earlier this week, we announced HCS EdConnect — an $8.2 million initiative powered by EPB, Hamilton County Schools, the City of Chattanooga, Hamilton County Government, BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Foundation, and the Smart City Venture Fund to connect 28,500 students to 100 Mbps internet access at no cost.
High-speed broadband is a baseline need for every family. For work, for school, for our quality of life, the internet is not a luxury — it’s a utility.
Mayor Andy Berke at Wednesday’s press conference | Photo by @jadams_creative, City of Chattanooga
Unfortunately, even here in “Gig City,” too many families are on the far side of the digital divide. Over the last several months, the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed many inequalities that remain in our country and our community. In a world that relies more than ever on strong connections, not being able to afford access to high-quality broadband service puts some families at a serious disadvantage.
But in Chattanooga, we tackle big problems with big solutions.
That’s what happened 10 years ago — we turned on the fastest, cheapest, most pervasive internet service in the world, and the results have been spectacular. Countless new start-up companies, new jobs, and millions of dollars of development in our Innovation District.
Now, we are bridging the digital divide once and for all by delivering 100 Mbps of internet access at no cost to every family with a child on free or reduced lunch. We’re the first community in the country to make this happen.
For our children, it is a connection to school, a way to do homework, and collaborate on special projects. For their families -— and remember, for every household that has a connection, it will be accessible to each family member — it can be a way to apply for jobs, attend church, or pay bills.
After all, the 21st Century is the age of innovation. To keep Chattanooga growing, we need Chattanoogans exploring, creating, educating, and connecting. Because of HCS EdConnect, tens of thousands of our residents will now have a greater ability to do just that. My thanks to everyone who continues to put the success of our students and families first.
Share the good news. 🙌
○ On Thursday, the Hamilton County Health Department reported another COVID-19 death — a man in his 70s — bringing the county’s total to 47. They also reported 68 more cases today, with 1,456 still active out of the total 5,360. Of the positive cases, 104 are hospitalized and 25 are in the ICU. The health department also reported 148 recoveries. (NewsChannel 9)
○ Tennessee American Water’s Phillip D. Glass, who sits atop the company’s landmark water storage tank on Amnicola Highway, has “masked up” in support of the Hamilton County Health Department’s directive to wear masks in public. The health department also recommends frequently washing your hands + maintaining a social distance of 6 feet. (ThePulse)
○ Check out this “Ask a Doctor” article from the Chattanooga Times Free Press to read what to know about asthma and face masks. According to Dr. Susan Raschal, anyone with stable asthma who is not experiencing an exacerbation does not have a facial deformity, does not have sensory processing issues, and is over two years old should be wearing face masks at this time. (Chattanooga Times Free Press)
○ The National Institutes of Health recently said that an experimental COVID-19 vaccine, mRNA-1273, that was tested on monkeys yielded no replicating virus in the lungs of 87.5% of the monkeys that were vaccinated + then exposed to COVID-19 in the nose and lungs. The vaccinated monkeys produced neutralizing antibodies that were at levels higher than those found in recovered COVID-19 patients. (NewsChannel 9)
Hey, there. Looking for today’s #MustDo events? In accordance with the
CDC’s recommendations regarding public gatherings, we have decided to postpone public event coverage for the time being. We look forward to bringing you Chattanooga’s #MustDo events soon (until then, feel free to submit your virtual events
And the winner is … the new Brainerd mural by artist and Tennessee native Brandon Donahue. The photo was taken by Erika Roberts of Velvet Poetry (@velvetpoetry) — congrats on the win, y’all. 🎉
We also have to shout out this photo of the incline, taken by @b.w.s._photography, for nearly hitting a perfect tie with the mural photo. It was a 34-32 vote — we were really on the edge of our seats with this one.
Thanks to everyone who participated, and we’ll do it again next month, so get those cameras ready. 📸
#DYK that your photo could be featured in our newsletter? Just use #NOOGAtoday on social media.
Civic ○Early voting for Tennessee’s State and Federal Primary + County General election ends tomorrow, Aug. 1. You can find more information on early voting locations, the ballot, and candidates running in the election here. 🗳️ ○ The City of Chattanooga’s Department of Public Works is continuing its city-wide audit of garbage and recycling carts. Auditors are currently working on garbage service days, but will begin auditing on non-service days due to the volume of household teams + is asking that your container be visible from the street to be audited. You can find more information about the audit here.
NowOpen ○Boxcar General Store, a new train-themed general store with the same owners as Locals Only Gifts and Goods, recently opened in the Southside. The new store features “nostalgic candy, southern goods, and classic toys,” and is fittingly located across from the Chattanooga Choo Choo at 1421 Market St.
Biz ○ Based on The Chattanoogan’s recent post on new Hamilton County Business licenses, it appears that a new Chicken Salad Chick location will be opening soon in Hixson. You can check out the new business licenses for yourself here. (Chattanoogan.com) ○ The Chattanooga Zoo announced that it is expanding its animal collection to welcome two blue duikers, a male and female who are a recommended breeding pair, to the Makazi ya Twiga exhibit area. The Makazi ya Twiga area now houses giraffes and blue duikers, with more African species to be added as more phases of this project are complete. ○Bad Daddy’s Burger Bar(1924 Gunbarrel Rd.) is debuting the plant-based Beyond Burger as an option for vegetarians or vegans (or anybody else, really). Bad Daddy’s tried several plant-based options before deciding to serve the Beyond Burger at its restaurant. 🍔
Edu ○ The Allen Elementary PTA is hosting the Welcome Back + School Supplies drive-thru beginning on Aug. 3 for its students. Aug. 3 will be for 1st and 2nd grade, Aug. 4 for 3rd and 4th grade, Aug. 6 for 5th grade, and Aug. 7 for kindergarten. All drive-thru school supplies events will take place from 5-7 p.m. 🎒 ○ On July 27, Chattanooga State Community College hosted its inaugural virtual Philanthropy Awards Ceremony to recognize the Osbourne Foundation + the Tucker Foundation for its commitment to student success. The Tucker Foundation has contributed more than $350,000 to the Chattanooga State Foundation since 2002, and the Osbourne Foundation has contributed more than $250,000 since 2007. You can watch the virtual eventhere.
Arts ○The Hart Gallery(110 E. Main St.) is reopening Friday at 11 a.m. with specific guidelines, including wearing a mask, maintaining social distance, and temperature checks at the door. The gallery will only be open on Fridays and Saturdays during its normal hours.
Virtual ○ The virtual City Hall Summer Music Series will continue today with a performance from indie-pop artist Amber Fults from 12-1:30 p.m. You can watch the concert via the city of Chattanooga’s Multicultural Affairs Facebook pagehere. ☀️
PlanAhead ○ Chattanooga Unite is a free concert series designed to be the city’s 1st celebration of the resurgence of summer, our community and our local economy after the height of the pandemic. Enjoy live music, local food trucks, and cold beer. Family (and dog) friendly event takes place on Sat., Aug.,1, 8, 15, and 22. 🎶Ⓟ
Health ○ Skip the supplement aisle. Tell Care/of about your diet, health goals, and preferences and their team of nutritional experts will send tailored vitamins, collagen + more right to your door. Take their quiz to get started. Ⓟ
BREWSKI craft beers | Photo courtesy of Cheers Beverage
Have you tried BREWSKI? Born and based right here in Nooga, this craft beer comes in 3 styles: Classic Pilsner, All American Pale Ale + SKI Infused Ale.
BREWSKI comes from the makers of SKI Soda, who combined their love of waterskiing + beer for delicious results.Pro-tip: The SKI Infused Ale is infused with the citrusy soda + pairs great with a fruit wedge. 🍊
Click below to see where you can buy BREWSKI near you.
NOOGAdiaries day No. 20: Happy Friday, y’all. 🙌 Trista here, and I’m headed to Asheville with my sister and nephew today for a quick weekend trip to visit family. My family is the seventh generation in the WNC area, and it calls me home quite often. That’s not to say I don’t love Chattanooga. I plan on being here for a very long time, but there’s just something so comforting about sleeping in my old childhood bedroom and being surrounded by the Blue Ridge Mountains.
What’s your favorite thing to do when you visit the NC mountains?Lemme know.
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