The United States Census Bureau is doing all they can to count everyone living in the country in the 2020 Census. As of Sept. 14, Hamilton County’s response rate is 67%.
By law, the first results from the census must be provided by Dec. 31. These results are used to decide funding for critical services and infrastructure in our communities for the next 10 years + determine how many seats each state gets in Congress. To provide complete and accurate results by that deadline, the bureau needs to collect responses by Sept. 30.
This year, for the first time, everyone can choose to respond online, in addition to by phone + by mail.
There are a number of protocols and procedures to ensure security and data confidentiality. These include: • Federal requirements to protect data • An IT infrastructure to defend against and contain cyber threats • Self-response collections via asecure page + encrypted devices used by census takers
Note: Census responses are not shared with law enforcement or immigration agencies, and responses cannot be used against individuals. All Census Bureau employees take an oath for life to protect census responses and data — violating this oath is a federal crime.
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In Tennessee, State Rep. Yusuf Hakeem(District 28) + other legislators said they are fearful there will be a census undercount in Black and lower-income communities. An undercount means a loss of political representation and program funds. In an effort to get the response rate higher, these political leaders are pushing a participation initiative into the medical community, schools, and houses of worship.
Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke is also encouraging everyone in Chattanooga to respond as soon as possible.
“In Chattanooga, everyone counts, and right now, I’m counting on you to do your part,” Berke said.
We have been talking about the 2020 Census since March, so we know you’re getting tired of hearing about it, but it is a Constitutionally mandated count and the deadline is looming. Responding is quick + easy, and it’s the best way to ensure the future of our communities.
If you haven’t responded to the census yet, are there questions we can help answer?
Biz ○ Nelson’s Green Brier Tennessee Whiskey has expanded to six new markets, including Chattanooga. Created in 1860, Nelson’s Green Brier Tennessee Whiskey was the first and largest Tennessee whiskey brand in the world. The recently revived whiskey is now available for Chattanoogans for the first time since prohibition. You find retailers near you that are selling the whiskey here. 🥃
Announced ○ The City of Chattanooga + its partners announced that applications are now open for the Styles L. Hutchins Fellowship Fall 2020 cohort. Applications, which you can find here, will close on Sept. 21 at 11:59 p.m. The Fall 2020 Fellows will work with stakeholders to finalize + begin implementation of the projects and recommendations that were proposed by the fall 2019 and spring 2020 cohorts.
Civic ○ The Chattanooga Times Free Press recently asked the seven 2021 Chattanooga mayoral candidates how they plan to address affordable housing if elected. You can read the responses of candidates Monty Bruell, Christopher Dahl, Russell Gilbert, Tim Kelly, Erskine Oglesby, Andrew McLaren, and Kim White here. The mayoral election is in March 2021. ️ (Chattanooga Times Free Press) 🗣️ ○ Chattanooga City Councilwoman Demetrus Coonrod introduced an ordinance on Sept. 15 that would end the approval of applications for short-term vacation rentals that are not occupied by owners in an effort to protect the city’s affordable housing stock. The legislation is similar to a restriction in Nashville that was designed to prevent vacant houses + issues associated with unoccupied rentals, Coonrod said. (Chattanooga Times Free Press) ○ On Sept. 18, the City of Chattanooga will host its first virtual purchasing fair from 9 a.m. to noon. The purchasing fair will give businesses the opportunity to learn about the city’s process for working with vendors, accounts payable, the types of goods and services needed from each department, and more. You can sign up for the virtual purchasing fair here. 💰
Cause ○ The volunteer nonprofit organization that works to promote + maintain Stringer’s Ridge Park, Friends of Stringer’s Ridge, is now back after officially going inactive in 2019. The nonprofit’s first project since coming back is to replace and add new signage to the park. You can take part by completing this signage survey, which has questions about signs in the park and interest in volunteering.
TryThis ○ Local boat rental and tour company River Gorge Excursions is hosting a virtual kayak and paddleboard 5K fundraiser now through Nov. 15. All proceeds from the event will benefit the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network and its research, and you can register for the 5Khere. Don’t own a paddleboard or kayak? You can rent one from River Drifters or River Canyon Adventures and they will donate 50% of rental proceeds to the Pediatric Cancer Action Network. 🚣
Health ○ The Jimmy Simpson Foundation launched a new website to spread brain injury awareness in the Chattanooga region. The foundation aims to provide care and outreach for adults and families suffering from brain injuries. The site was launched on Aug. 28 and will provide resources for physical, mental, and emotional support for brain injury patients.
Events ○ Sunset Canoe Tour | Thurs., Sept. 17 | 5:30-7:30 p.m. | Greenway Farms | $10 | Enjoy a family-friendly guided sunset tour via canoe on North Chickamauga Creek. ○ Night Market| Fri., Sept. 18 | 6-9 p.m. | Chattanooga Brewing Co., 1804 Chestnut St. | Free entry | Night Market will feature vintage + handmade goods, food, and more from over 20 local vendors. Masks will be required. 🛍️
Disclaimer: It is up to readers’ discretion to determine whether they feel comfortable participating in any mentioned events based on COVID-19 protocols and precautions. If you have questions, please contact the event’s organizers directly.
Learn more about the Black is Beautiful stout and the initiative here.
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○ According to UTC + the Hamilton County Health Department, there was possible COVID-19 exposure at the university’s Christian Student Center between Mon., Sept. 7 and Fri., Sept. 11. It’s recommended that students and visitors of the center get tested as soon as possible. (NewsChannel 9)
○ Two weeks into September, Tennessee has seen a 12.48% increase in COVID-19 cases. With cases increasing, the death rate has grown to 19.56% across the state. With numbers spiking, it is key to abide by social distancing and follow all mask mandates. (WATE)
○ Chattanooga restaurant owners have recently said that they believe the correlation between eating out and contracting COVID-19 is flawed. Struggling owners said that they feel targeted, as larger companies such as Walmart see thousands of customers on a daily basis. Wes Agee, co-owner of Charlie’s Quick Stop Barbecue, said that a target has been placed on local restaurant owners, preventing business from flourishing. (Chattanooga Times Free Press)
○ On Sept. 15, the Hamilton County Health Department reported 66 new COVID-19 cases and no new deaths. As of Sept. 15, the county had 1,266 active cases of COVID-19, with a death toll of 87. Hamilton County has 74 hospitalized due to the virus, with 15 of those in the ICU. (Chattanoogan.com)
○ The Hamilton County Health Department is still offering free drive-thru COVID-19 testing at the Alstom Plant (1125 Riverfront Pkwy.) from 7-11:30 a.m. each day. You can find more information on health department-affiliated testing sites here.
Our latest challenge: Turning home into somewhere we want to be vs. somewhere we have to be. The solution?Fresh flowers, wreaths, plants, + gifts from The Bouqs Co. 🌻
Get cozy fall vibesresponsibly sourced from the farm with contactless delivery straight to your door. Perfect for birthdays, gifting, spicing up your living room, or just because. The best part? Flowers stay fresher, longer, because of farm-direct sourcing.