Back to profile

Joy Lukachick Smith

Stories by Joy Lukachick

After weeks of debate over how to replace half of the Industrial Development Board, the City Council nominated four names today.

Before City Auditor Stan Sewell cracked open the travel books at the Chattanooga Public Library, no one appeared to be scrutinizing Executive Director Corinne Hill and her employees' trips across the country and the world -- prompting multiple complaints of possible fraud from library employees.

Lincoln Park residents publicly called for Mayor Andy Berke to stop a major road project that will connect downtown to Amnicola Highway because they believe the mayor has kept the public in the dark about preserving their park.

Meg Backus, a top Chattanooga Public Library employee who resigned following a critical audit of the library, claims that she was given the option to resign in two months or be subject to public discipline and likely termination.

For a fourth time, Chattanooga has been overlooked for a multimillion-dollar federal grant to replace the Wilcox Tunnel through Missionary Ridge that has been in disrepair for decades.

EPB officials said again Wednesday that an independent audit — which the city-owned utility has declined for months to make public — supports its position that over- and underbilling in the city's streetlight program essentially cancel each other out.

After months of public debate, private discussions and recent litigation for millions of dollars, the city's Electric Power Board concedes that it overbilled Chattanooga more than $1.2 million for its streetlight energy.

The Chattanooga City Council on Tuesday rejected the easiest method to replace four members of the Industrial Development Board, opting instead for an arcane process that includes multiple committee meetings and drawing names from a hat.

Mayor Andy Berke's office released a website today to the public that will track whether Chattanooga is meeting its monthly goals for the city.

In light of a scathing audit released last week, the Bessie Smith Cultural Center's governing board will ask Executive Director Rose Martin to resign in the coming days, sources with knowledge of the situation said.

Bessie Smith Cultural Center officials had no idea how much cash was coming in or going out during this year's Bessie Smith Strut, according to an independent audit that investigated the theft of tens of thousands of dollars after the annual blues-and-barbecue party.

An independent audit to investigate how much money was stolen from the Bessie Smith Strut reveals all the cash collected during the event was kept in an office drawer overnight uncounted.

The Chattanooga City Council was at a stalemate Tuesday on how to appoint new board members to the city’s Industrial Development Board that faces public criticism and is in a legal brawl over a $9 million Black Creek tax-increment deal.

A fowl-less animal control ordinance heads to the City Council today more than a year after officials killed a similar proposal.

Members of the Chattanooga Public Library board stood behind Director Corinne Hill on Friday but said they would make sweeping policy changes after audit findings that officials mismanaged thousands of dollars during national and worldwide trips to promote the library.

After two top Chattanooga Library officials were reported to the state for suspected fraud, one official has resigned and another is suspended.

In hopes of boosting the Scenic City's center core, Mayor Andy Berke on Thursday outlined how he has re-created a program to promote more affordable rental property downtown and commissioned a group to create a defined business district in which entrepreneurs and start-ups can grow.

The theft of tens of thousands of dollars from the annual Bessie Smith Strut this year has focused new attention on financial concerns and management at the Bessie Smith Cultural Center.

If the City Council gives its stamp of approval next week, Chattanooga will start paying small business owners up to $10,000 a company to add new employees.

Three of Chattanooga’s youth and family development centers will be getting outdoor fitness equipment as part of a local plan aimed at helping residents with little access to gyms get in shape and reduce their risk of obesity-related diseases.

A city auditor’s investigation of Chattanooga Public Library leaders reveals cracks in the foundation of a two-year renaissance that has put the library at the forefront in the world of public libraries.

A city auditor’s probe criticizes Chattanooga Public Library director Corinne Hill for excess reimbursements for worldwide trips and says her top two employees have been reported to the state for suspected fraud.

A Chattanooga regulatory board on Wednesday flushed two years of work on how better to stop raw sewage from pouring into the Tennessee River when it rains.

City and county officials have abandoned plans to move the local law enforcement firing range from its decades-old home on Moccasin Bend to a proposed $5 million indoor shooting range on East 12th Street.

The Chattanooga City Council voted Tuesday to keep future retirees who are re-employed by the city from dipping into their current retirement while contributing to a new city pension.

A $2.6 million taxpayer-funded project is under way to digitize hundreds of thousands of city records — a project that Mayor Andy Berke's staff says will increase government transparency and efficiency.

A taxpayer-funded project that a judge struck down because of secret negotiations and a conflict of interest was re-approved Friday amid new accusations of impropriety.

Despite public opposition from residents and three City Council members, the city's Industrial Development Board voted today to re-approve the controversial taxpayer financing agreement that would subsidize a road up Aetna Mountain from the Black Creek golf course community.

For 30 minutes Tuesday, the City Council chambers sounded more like a music hall than a legislative meeting place.

After making multiple changes to the proposed sound ordinance, City Council voted to defer the ordinance for one week.

Chattanooga's proposed sound ordinance was supposed to fix — or at least offer a legal solution to — the noise complaints associated with the popular music venue Track 29.

Even though 63 percent of voting Chattanoogans overturned the city's domestic partner ordinance in Thursday's election, events playing out on the national stage could make their preference moot.

Retired state economic director Patsy Hazlewood is the Republican nominee for House District 27.

Nearly a year of public debate over whether Chattanooga should provide benefits to its employees' gay or straight partners ended at the polls Thursday with a resounding "no."

Chattanooga city attorneys asked the City Council on Tuesday to decide if 13 revisions should be made to the sound ordinance by casting what appeared to be a secret vote.

Chattanooga City Council voted 8-1 to approve a payment-in-lieu-of-taxes, or PILOT, agreement for developers building housing downtown.

A cascade of new public and private deals to bolster shopping, dining and entertainment venues in downtown Chattanooga has boosted hopes for a second renaissance in the core of the Scenic City.

Payment-in-lieu-of-taxes, or PILOT, agreements are a favorite tool for attracting investments and jobs from companies like Volkswagen, Coca-Cola and Chattem.

A push by the service workers union to raise Chattanooga employees' wages has led to a campaign by garbage collectors, sewage workers, librarians and others that now has the attention of City Hall.

A swelling crowd Tuesday night supported a move at the Chattanooga City Council in support of revamping the city's sound ordinance to breathe new life into the music and entertainment options downtown.

A large crowd gathered tonight to voice their thoughts for the city's proposed sound ordinance that would create an entertainment area where venues with permits could crank up their music until midnight on the weekend.

What helped make the Southside bustle in the mid-1970s could now become the catalyst for a new Chattanooga entertainment and music district.

Chattanooga Choo Choo officials announced today a $7 million restoration project that will add add two new restaurants and an additional 500 - person music venue.

The divide between Miller Plaza, the red-brick courtyard and attached pavilion in the core of Chattanooga's city center, and Miller Park is five lanes of traffic on M.L. King Boulevard.

After Hamilton County Schools officials celebrated what they felt was a win for the system and City Council members had patted themselves on the backs for settling the liquor taxes lawsuit, one county commissioner tried to bring the $11.7 million agreement to a halt.

From Hair of the Dog on the corner of Market and Fourth streets past Track 29 off Main Street, the city is proposing a sound ordinance that would allow the bars and music venues in this defined area to crank up their music much louder until midnight on the weekends and 11 p.m. on weekdays.

The long awaited noise ordinance that Southside residents had hoped would put a stop to loud concerts at Track 29 creates an entertainment area that runs from 4th Street past Main Street where businesses with a permit could ramp up their music until midnight on the weekends.

A new audit of EPB concludes that the utility underbilled the city of Chattanooga for street lighting, but that claim was immediately challenged by Chattanooga's internal auditor.

For more than a year, neighbors of Track 29 have complained of loud concerts that rattle pictures on their walls and keep them awake at night.

The Eastgate Senior Center is likely safe for now. Though without much help from Chattanooga officials, seniors say.

videos »         

photos »         

e-edition »

advertisement
advertisement

Find a Business

400 East 11th St., Chattanooga, TN 37403
General Information (423) 756-6900
Copyright, Permissions, Terms & Conditions, Privacy Policy, Ethics policy - Copyright ©2014, Chattanooga Publishing Company, Inc. All rights reserved.
This document may not be reprinted without the express written permission of Chattanooga Publishing Company, Inc.