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News - Friday, March 22, 2019

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Betting our schools on Lee’s voucher plan
Education savings accounts offer choice, little evidence of improving outcomes

State lawmakers who want school vouchers in Tennessee have watched their plans go up in flames for years after clashing with public school advocates in both urban and rural districts. But Gov. Bill Lee has brought new life to the idea by pushing for a voucher-like program known as education savings accounts.


Voucher promoters employ old model for new effort

Parents and teachers will join Tennessee lawmakers this spring in trying to determine what Gov. Bill Lee’s Education Savings Account proposal, a school-choice option that is similar to school vouchers, would mean to them.

The plan, announced March 15, gives lawmakers a little more than six weeks to digest and act on it before the end of April, when the General Assembly traditionally adjourns. Like any bill, the administration’s ESA bill is subject to changes from legislators and is only now working its way through the legislative process.


Public funds for religious schools? There is a precedent

How could it be constitutional to use state tax dollars to send a child to a private religious school?

After all, the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution prohibits the establishment of religion and enshrines the separation of church and state. States have their own constitutions, as well, with their own provisions on religious freedom.


Rogers column: Griffey ignores constitution with Trump shout out

This week’s topic requires that I temporarily forsake my goal of making this a Trump-free zone. For that I blame Rep. Bruce Griffey.

The president, as you might recall, has vowed to end what is known as birthright citizenship with a swipe of his executive order pen. I had ignored the threat, as I try to ignore virtually everything from the current White House occupant for purposes of my own personal sanity.


Spears Moore announces changes, additions to litigation group

Attorneys Craig Allen, Benjamin Reese and Robert Carden have joined the law firm of Spears, Moore, Rebman & Williams as shareholders.

Allen is an experienced litigator, having tried more than 135 jury trials to verdict over his 38-year career. His practice areas have included railroad, Federal Employers Liability Act, construction, products liability, premises liability and personal injury.


Weathers has hot start at new firm

Mary-Catherine Weathers grew up watching her father, Realtor Billy Weathers, turn his passion for real estate into a successful business. But she had no intention of following in his footsteps, she says.

That changed after she discovered a passion for marketing while earning a business degree at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.


Fisher selected to lead Home Builders Association

The Home Builders Association of Greater Chattanooga has named Doug Fisher as its executive officer after a nationwide search.

HBAGC has more than 450 members and is the professional voice of the homebuilding industry in the Chattanooga area.


Tax time and homeownership

The deadline to file taxes is less than a month away, and for some homeowners the new tax code has changed what to expect. As with all financial matters, it’s recommended that you consult a certified professional.

The new tax code doesn’t automatically mean your taxes are going up, but there are some significant changes of which homeowners should be aware. The biggest? Some of the homeowners who used to write off property taxes and the interest they pay their mortgage will no longer be able to.


Jump start your spring with home maintenance essentials

Warmer weather and longer daylight hours are approaching, which makes it an ideal time to check on areas in your house and yard that might need attention. Once you tend to the wear and tear from winter, you’ll be ready to sit back and enjoy your home when spring is fully underway.


Critic's Corner: Massive achievement of Apollo 11 demands big-screen viewing

On July 16, 1969, my grandfather called me into the living room of his Indiana home and told me to watch his television. I remember seeing a plume of fire and smoke erupt beneath a rocket and then the rocket lift into the air, but after that, my memory of the Apollo 11 mission is blank.


What should you do with an inheritance?

What should you do with a sizable inheritance? This money could help you achieve some of your important financial goals – so you’ll want to think carefully about your choices.

Of course, everyone’s needs are different, so there’s no one “right” way to handle a large lump sum. But here are a few suggestions that may be useful:


Read House reopens ‘haunted’ room where murder occurred

The Read House hotel has reopened haunted Room 311. Long believed to be one of the most haunted hotel rooms in the United States, the room is now ready for tours.

As part of a recent $28 million hotel renovation, Room 311 was purposefully redesigned to look like it did when guest Annalisa Netherly stayed and was murdered there in the 1920s.


Firefighters honored during awards program

Chattanooga firefighters and their families gathered at The Westin Chattanooga this month to honor their own. With City of Chattanooga chief operating officer Maura Sullivan and Fire Chief Phil Hyman presiding, more than 100 firefighters were recognized for their outstanding efforts during emergencies in 2018.


Chattanooga Zoo to break ground for giraffe exhibit

The “Best Little Zoo in America” will soon reach new heights.

The Chattanooga Zoo is preparing to begin construction on phase one of its African expansion. This stage of the project will include the construction of a giraffe barn and a 4,000-square-foot outdoor giraffe lawn.


Newsmakers: Red Wolves select project manager

Chip Scott will serve as project manager for the Chattanooga Red Wolves Soccer Club’s professional stadium.

Scott’s background includes leading and coordinating arts and music festivals and sporting events as well as overseeing construction of performance venues and event centers.