On Thurs., Sept. 24, Tennessee State Rep. Yusuf Hakeem sent a letter to Secretary of State Tre Hargett asking for an investigation of the Hamilton County Election Commission.
Shortly after, Hakeem hosted a press conference to address concerns he said his constituents made. Watch the press conference here.
After hearing concerns from citizens within the past 10 days, Hakeem is asking Hargett to investigate alleged voter suppression in Hamilton County.
The concerns, according to Hakeem: • Hiring — alleged discriminatory hiring practices for both permanent + part-time employees • Operations — because of the alleged discriminatory hiring practices, office operations reflect a lack of diversity in both race and party affiliation. Hakeem also alleged voter suppression saying persons in the office provided misinformation to voters. • Adequate funding — there are concerns from citizens that there is not sufficient funding to safeguard a free + fair election.
A quote from Hakeem during the Thursday press conference | NOOGAtoday
Secretary of State Hargett’s response: • Hiring — The Hamilton County Election Commission has 37 Republican officers of election, 33 Democratic officers of election, and two nonpartisan officers of election. In percentages, that’s 50%, 44%, and 6%. • Operations — Hargett said the Hamilton County Election Commission would appreciate Hakeem’s support in recruiting Election Day poll officials. • Funding — The Hamilton County Election Commission is “properly funded + continues to receive the necessary support from the Hamilton County Board of Commissioners.”
Hargett also said he would be sending a letter back to Hakeem seeking more specific information in regards to the allegations.
A quote from Hargett’s statement regarding Hakeem’s letter | NOOGAtoday
What does this mean for voters? Nothing yet. Hakeem’s spokesperson said that he doesn’t consider the matter resolved, and that the number of complaints Hakeem has gotten doesn’t quite match up with the statement.
The spokesperson also said that Hakeem is considering what the next steps in the process should be.
NowOpen ○ Local entertainment venue The Signal has officially reopened the box office. The first live show since they closed earlier this year due to COVID-19 is Oct. 9. There will be distanced seating, masks required + other health and safety precautions. See more upcoming shows + purchase tickets here. 🎟️
Edu ○ Amazon Future Engineer + BootUp are funding computer science education and teacher development for 42 elementary schools in Hamilton County, impacting more than 21,700 students from underserved communities and groups currently underrepresented in tech. The program helps bridge the equity skill gaps at an age when students are just beginning to formulate ideas about their futures. 💻 ○ Kali O’Neal, an East Ridge Elementary teacher, was given a $700 check from the University of Tennessee and the College Football Playoff Foundation as part of their Extra Yard for Teachers project. The donation is enough to completely fund two of O’Neal’s DonorsChoose projects, which support new sensory additions in her special education classroom. Congrats, Kali. 🎉
Outdoors ○ Beginning Tues., Sept. 29, the Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park will increase access to parks in accordance with guidelines from the White House, CDC, and state + local public health authorities. For a list of attractions reopening, go here. (Chattanoogan.com)
State ○ The Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security’s Driver Services Divisionannounced new services now available at all self-service kiosks placed across Tennessee. The addition of these services will provide customers another alternative to visiting a driver services center or county clerk partner. (Chattanoogan.com) 🚗
Learn ○ This week, the Early College Department at Chattanooga State Community College premiered the virtual Bond Arts and Culture Heritage Series showcasing African American heritage through arts and culture — “The Ties That Bond.” The next event will be on Oct. 7 — “Celebrating Afro Latinx Culture.” The series is named in honor of the late Dr. Claude C. Bond, a longtime educator and activist. More details + register here.
FeelGood ○ On Sept. 24, United Way of Greater Chattanooga announced its 2,398th delivery of food boxes + household supplies to vulnerable populations in Hamilton County through the Ride United Last-Mile Delivery initiative. This milestone also marks the delivery of 1 million meals to those in need throughout the country. This initiative is a partnership with DoorDash and launched in April in response to the COVID-19 crisis. 🍲
Events ○ ChattaBrew Tour | Fri., Sept. 25 | 1-5 p.m.| Various local breweries | $40 | Tour Chattanooga’s best breweries while testing out the most popular beers in the Scenic City. Each tour visits three different breweries, offering a variety of flavors. 🍻 ○ She-Bop Clothing Swap & Vintage Pop-up | Sun., Sept. 27 | 12-5 p.m. | Hair A Go-Go, 1000 Dallas Rd. | Varying prices | Bring at least three items of clothing to participate in this clothing swap + enjoy shopping from eight local vintage vendors. Cashew will be selling food + drinks. Masks are required at this event. 👚
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.
It’s a question as old as time: which is better — Dos Bros or Chipotle? To find the answer, a team of locals created a contest between what they called the more local chain,Dos Bros — which has stores only in the Southeast — up against Chipotle, which has stores nationwide.
Watch them put the two fast casual restaurants to a food fight here, and see what the verdict was.🌯
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○ The Hamilton County Health Department wants residents to know what their risks are and how they can protect themselves + others this Halloween. For example, trick-or-treating or costume parties could cause people to come into contact with COVID-19. Find low-risk, moderate-risk, and high-risk activities from the CDC here.
○ On Sept. 23, Gov. Bill Lee + the state’s department of educationreleased estimated data regarding learning loss for TN students due to summer school closures for COVID-19. This data projects an estimated 50% decrease in proficiency rates in 3rd grade reading and a projected 65% decrease in proficiency in math.
○ Asflu season starts, many people may wonder how to distinguishbetween COVID-19 and the seasonal flu. A test is the only way to be sure, but doctors also offered some differences to note. For example, with the seasonal flu, most people feel worse the first week. With COVID-19, patients likely feel worse as more time goes on. COVID-19 is also more likely to cause loss of taste and smell. (NewsChannel 9)