PINK

January 28, 2018


On Saturday January 27, 2018 the City of Chattanooga held the thirteenth annual Pink Gala.  This remarkable event is held to benefit the MaryEllen Locher Breast Cancer Center at Chattanooga Memorial Hospital.  Pink, honors the legacy of Mary Ellen, and remembers all of those who have lost their battle with cancer, and celebrates those survivors that continue after their illness is cured.   This event provides additional funding to maintain the most comprehensive breast cancer center in the region and in the state of Tennessee.

Breast cancer has affected each of us in some manner.  The American Cancer Society estimates that breast cancer in men in the United States for 2018 estimates are:  approximately 2,550 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed.  About 480 men will die from breast cancer.  The lifetime risk for women:   Women in the U.S. have a “1 in 8” (or about 12 percent) lifetime risk of getting breast cancer. This means for every eight (8) women in the U.S., one (1) will be diagnosed with breast cancer during her lifetime.  HUGE NUMBERS.  The diagnosis of cancer affects not only the individual’s health but every aspect of family life.  As a comprehensive breast cancer center, the MaryEllen Center receives patients and provides state-of-the-art treatment while supporting then with nurse navigators, social workers, genetic counselors, and dieticians.  The Pink event has raised over $3.4 million dollars since its inception in 2006.  All money raised is used locally and directly affects impacted families in the Chattanooga Community.

We are going to take a pictorial visit to the event last night starting with the program.  As you can see, the theme for this year’s event was “A Night in Old Havana”.  I have to believe the day after the 2017 Pink Gala the organizers started working on the 2018 event.  The planning was absolutely flawless with every detail covered.  There were one hundred and thirty-seven (137) tables with ten (10) chairs per table.  Every chair was filled.  Each table had a “captain” responsible for inviting guests.  There were no empty chairs that I could see.

The program for the evening is given below.   As you can see, included was a remarkably great dinner including a delicious Cuban sandwich offered as appetizer.  It was GOOD.

As we entered the Chattanooga Convention Center we heard the Cuban band playing loud and clear.  No mistaken the origin of the music.  Accomplished musicians doing what they do best—warming up the attendees.

You can see from the digital picture below, the auditorium was decorated remarkably well with table cloths and napkins, obviously, PINK.  The size of the auditorium easily accommodated the fourteen hundred (1400) people in attendance.

The two best words any party-goer can hear, “open bar”.  There were no fewer that four bars open for business that night with no charge to the party-goers.

After a GREAT dinner, a silent auction was held to raise additional funds for the Center.

I want to give you an idea as to what items were offered for the auction.

  • A painting of the auditorium by noted Chattanooga painter Liz Lindstrom. The value of that painting was set at $3,500. Lindstrom was painting when we arrived so the finished work is not shown below but you can get some idea as to the quality of the piece.

  • QUARK Sculpture—Value, $30,000. (NOTE:  The final bid was approximately $38,000.)
  • Diamond necklace valued at $6,500.00
  • Hammerstein Highland Lodge in Jamaica. Six nights–$15,500.00. This is a gated community with every amenity you can think of.  Great place to escape—but with a price.
  • EPB (Electric Power Board) of Chattanooga Small Business Advertising Package—Valued at $9,000.00
  • Custom Men’s Suit by Bruce Baird—Valued at $1,000.00
  • Whirlpool Stainless Steel Refrigerator—Valued at $2,200.00
  • Porsche Driving Experience—Valued at $500.00.
  • Black Cashmere Cape with Fox Trim—Valued at $3,000.00
  • BMW Baby Racer—Valued at $129.00
  • Wine Cellar with Cooler—Valued at $1,550.00
  • Alabama Football Tickets—Valued at $600.00
  • Destin Condo at Breakers East—Valued at $3,400.00
  • Personal Jet Experience—Valued at $3,700.00

There were eighty items auctioned off that night during the benefit.  All items were sold. Nothing left.

After the auction, a terrific band called dancing to Party on the Moon.  I have no idea as to where this band came from but they were not local.  Eight members banging it out.

All-in-all, great event for a GREAT cause.  Everyone had a marvelous time.  We left at 10:45 which is later than I stay up 364 days each year but that’s ok.  None the worse for the wear.

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HEAD OF THE HOOCH

November 5, 2017


It’s a wonderful thing when your city offers entertainment and events for citizens and visitors.  Chattanooga, Tennessee is famous for doing just that—things to get people downtown to enjoy all that’s available within a very short walking distance.  One such event is “Head of the Hooch”.  This two-day race is occurring right now, with Sunday being the final day of the race.

HISTORY:

The Head of the Chattahoochee is a rowing regatta held in Chattanooga, TN every year on the first Saturday and Sunday of November.

It is definitely one of the world’s largest rowing regattas, with two thousand (2,000+) boats racing over a two-day period.  More than nine thousand (9,000) seats are rowed.  Twelve hundred (1,200) boats compete on Saturday alone, more in one day than any other regatta. Participants come from over two hundred (200) different organizations. In 2012 alone, the regatta welcomed crews from twenty-seven (27) different states. The Head of the Hooch has seen a growth in entries from other countries also with teams from Canada, Germany, Sweden and Australia.

The Head of the Hooch event has been recognized by national magazines as the regatta to attend: the weather is nice; the city is great and the racing has the largest number of entries per event of any major regatta. The regatta is organized and hosted by the Atlanta Rowing Club, Roswell, GA and Lookout Rowing Club, Chattanooga, TN.

The regatta is a head race – competitors row a five thousand (5,000)-meter (3.1 mile) course on the Tennessee River ending at Ross’s Landing Park in Chattanooga. As mentioned earlier, races are typically held the first week in November.    In this form of racing all boats start sequentially by event and race against the clock.  The race course map is given as follows:

The Head of the Hooch, also known as the Head of the Chattahoochee and ‘The Last of the Great Fall Regattas’, was run for the first time in 1982 by the Atlanta Rowing Club.  The first year there were two hundred twenty-five (225) rowers filling one hundred and five (105) boats.  For sixteen (16) years the regatta took place on the Chattahoochee River in the Roswell River Park located in Roswell GA. In 1997 the regatta had outgrown the park.  From 1997-2004 the regatta was held at the 1996 Olympic rowing venue in Gainesville GA.  The course there was located on the upper part of the Chattahoochee River.

In 2005, due to the large increases in entries each year, the regatta moved to the Chattanooga Ross’s Landing Riverfront venue. The venue and city have the capability to accommodate the continuous increase in rowers and spectators each year. Each year since 2005 The Hooch and the City of Chattanooga have welcomed over six thousand (6,0000) rowers and more than fifteen thousand (15,000) spectators.  I just came from the venue and there are thousands of people on the Veteran’s Bridge, the P. R. Olgiati Bridge and stationed along the Riverfront Parkway.

watching the rowers traverse the course in the Tennessee River.

The Hooch is a unique event.  It attracts athletes, family, alumni, local residents and those who travel to attend. It combines a rowing regatta, arts market and the close proximity of the Tennessee Aquarium, the Discovery Museum and Hunter Art Museum all within walking distance of the venue.  Many hotels and restaurants are right in the downtown close to the venue.  In all, a perfect match.

 

As the Hooch moves through its third decade, its director and committee members continue to improve, grow and enhance the regatta that started as a small event on a Saturday many years ago.

In 2015, the Chattanooga Sports & Events Committee estimated the economic impact of the Hooch over five (5) million dollars. That year the Head of the Hooch raced twelve hundred fifty-six (1256) boats (37 events) on Saturday and eight hundred and sixty-two (862) boats (43 events) on Sunday. Almost eighty percent (80%) of the competitors are High School/College crews.

PROCEDURED FOR THE EVENT:

For any event of this magnitude there must be processes and procedures to maintain some semblance of order.  After all, there are winners and others who place and show.  With a multitude of categories, there must be order.  Here is a list of procedures for the participants.


ROWING TO THE START

  • Assemble your crew at least 30 minutes before your race is called.
  • Place your oars near the launch dock scheduled for your race before your race. Please check the race schedule posted at the regatta site on race day to determine which dock your race will launch from. This is typically only an issue in the mornings when both launch and recovery docks will be used for launching.
  • Pay close attention to Control Commission call to launch. Please launch when your race is called to avoid congestion at the docks.
  • Move quickly onto the dock when Dockmaster gives instructions to do so.
  • Move quickly off the dock and immediately row away from the dock so that the Tennessee River current does not push your crew back onto the dock.
  • Row to the start area with purpose. Do not delay. If prompted by Regatta Officials to move along more quickly, please comply. There is no time to wait for crews that are late to the start.
  • Start Marshals will ask you to stay pointed upstream at various stations near the start. These stations are marked by large rectangular green buoys. They are numbered so that you know which station to row to.
  • Plan to be at Buoy #1 not less than 10 minutes or more than 15 minutes before your scheduled race. Crews that arrive too early and impede (block) other crews may be subject to a penalty.
  • As you approach Buoy #1, sort yourselves out in roughly numerical order by bow number. At Buoy #1, you should be within five bow numbers of the bow numbers around you.
  • The marshal will send you in a group of 10 to the next buoy. Row immediately with all rowers on the paddle when instructed and do not wait for exact bow number order.
  • Before you are asked to bring your crew across the river and row to the start, remove warm-up gear so you are ready to race.

GET READY TO START

  • You will be sent across the river in groups of 3 to 5. Do not wait for exact bow number order; begin to row immediately when instructed.
  • Once you have crossed the river, you will be instructed to row toward the start chute in numerical order. Follow the crew in front of you by about 1 length of open water.
  • A marshal will be located about 200 meters before the start to space the crews by about 15 to 20 seconds. Crews must speed up or slow down as instructed by this Marshal. Novice crews should be particularly aware of this.
  • Crews should build to full pressure and race pace as they approach the start line. Do not catch up with or pass another boat in the chute before the start or you will be subject to a penalty.
  • The start line is set so that the start boat is located right at the red steel channel marker. This allows the start chute to be wider and avoids the possibility of hitting the red channel marker.

From the JPEG above, you can see the venue for the “Hooch”.  You are looking at the Chattanooga Riverfront Parkway with the Tennessee River to the left.  Please notice the boats stationed to the right of the digital picture.  You can see the number is significant.

 

Plenty of room for the crews to position their boats waiting to practice and for their event.

One of the best things about attending this event is ample seating to watch the crews and the race itself.

This photo is from the 2016 event. Again, the first week in November.

Not only is this a team sport, but there are contests for individuals competing against each other or against the clock.

I certainly hope you can “carve out some time” next year to join us for this terrific event.  It’s always the first of November.  (By the way, the temperature in Chattanooga right now is 76 degrees with a relative humidity of twenty percent (20%).  Not bad at all.

 

BELA LISBOA

October 21, 2017


My wife and I heard rave reviews about a new restaurant in Chattanooga called Bela Lisboa so we decided to visit very early this past Friday afternoon.  (When I say early I mean early.  It was just past five o’clock as they were opening the doors.)  We were their first customers so please do not be put off by the vacant tables.  Bela Lisboa has been open for approximately three (3) months.  Our server, YaYa indicated their busiest hours were from seven to nine in the evening.  One very important note:  there is “free” parking in the back.  The location is 417 Frazier Avenue in the North Shore area and parking can be a real problem during the evening hours.  Park in back.

It was a MARVELOUS experience and an unexpected surprise. The food was excellent, the service was flawless—every dish was extremely well-repaired.  If I may, let me give you a digital tour of the evening.

As I mentioned, we were their first customers although people began entering as we were finishing our meal.  You can get a feel for the seating arrangement and decorations from above.  There are additional tables to the left of the photograph and tables positioned towards the front of the establishment.  There is also a bar which is not shown in the picture.

Our server was a young lady named YaYa.  She was very knowledgeable regarding the menu items and the specials for the evening and very attentive and yet not “hovering”.  (We don’t like hovering!) Not a native of Chattanooga but resident for ten (10) years and was one of the first employees of Bela Lisboa.

OK, let’s go to the food.  We decided that since we had not been there before, we would order multiple dishes from the “starter” menu.  That turned out to be the best thing we could have done.

Let me state emphatically—I do not like HUMMUS—never have for some reason.  This dish was the first served and it was wonderfully well prepared.  I am now a believer—at least in the hummus served by Bela Lisboa.  As you can see, the bread served was based with olive oil.

Breaded Calamari Rings with House Spicy Marinara. Notice the yellow pepper added to the dish.  I do love calamari which is one of the favorite dishes in Portugal.  The spicy sauce was great but not “three alarm”.  It was delicious on top of the rings.

Fig-infused Goat Cheese with Honey, Walnut, and Balsamic Reduction.  OK, this is a mouth full.  Once again, I’m not really a fan of goat cheese but this was truly good with a capital “G”.  This could have been my meal alone.

Poached Shrimp in Garlic & Olive Oil. Who does not like shrimp? Served in a skillet and piping hot.

Salmon Tartare With Red Onion, Mango, Coriander, Olive Oil. In years past, I had a bad experience with steak tartare so I was a little nervous about this one also but it was fabulous.  I mean really fabulous.

The owner and chef of Bela Lisboa is David Filippini.  He is from Portugal and has owned restaurants in Portugal prior to coming to the United States. We did not meet him this evening but we meet the manager during dinner and had a conversation with him as we were leaving.  We certainly indicated what a great experience this was.  Bela Lisboa is the only restaurant serving Portuguese food in Chattanooga even though our city is becoming much more oriented to food from other parts of the world.

Now, I would like to show you reviews from others who have enjoyed the experience.  Take a look at the several given below.

CONCLUSIONS:

The good news is—Bela Lisboa is in Chattanooga.  The bad news is-Bela Lisboa is in Chattanooga and most of you reading this post are not in Chattanooga.  One good reason to make the visit to the “sunny south”.  Also, I want to portray the fact that Chattanooga is a marvelous town and one which has become a “destination city” simply due to the great scenery, the wonderful and welcoming people, marvelous restaurants such as Bela Lisboa, and just plenty of “stuff” to do.  When visiting, you MUST try Bela Lisboa!  Please come take a look for yourself.

GEM OF THE SOUTH

August 5, 2015


In 2008 I traveled to Sweetwater, Texas to attend the 50th Rattlesnake Roundup”.  There were four of us who made the trip, each driving four hours to cover the sixteen hour journey.  Sweetwater, Texas, is not the end of the world but you can see it from there.  The town itself is flat, hot, and dusty with wind blowing thirty-six hours each day.  The population in 2010 was 10,920 people.  For a “ridge-runner” like me, not exactly paradise, although; talking with the really nice folks there, it’s the only place to live. Oil country.  Strategically located in the state.  The best home town on the planet.  I know we all feel that way about our home town and that’s a marvelous testament to growing up in the United States.

I was born in Chattanooga, Tennessee more than a few years ago and I also am very proud of my town.  Chattanooga was recently named by “Outdoor Magazine” as THE top “outdoor” city in our country.  AroundMe.com labeled Chattanooga as the second “coolest” city in the U.S.  Here are their comments:

The “coolness” of a town varies by opinion, but for us, these American small and mid-size cities have a lot going for them. Whether they boast historic downtowns, innovative local economies, stunning natural landscapes or awesome cultural diversity, these places feature some of the coolest residents in some of the best areas of the country.

CHATTANOOGA, TENNESSEE

“A truly beautiful city, Chattanooga sits along the winding Tennessee River amid the stunning cliffs of the Cumberland Plateau. It’s near the Appalachian Trail, which boasts some of the best climbing and whitewater rafting available. It’s also a great place to live economically speaking: Both home costs and property taxes are considerably low, while major companies like Volkswagen and Amazon are still opening offices there. It’s a gem of the South.”  

Well, we think so anyway.  Let’s take a quick look. By the way, all of the JPEGs were taken by me, except the one by Mr. Phil Thach, so feel free to use them as you wish.

Tennessee River Looking South

The AroundMe article mentioned the winding Tennessee River.  It does just that.  All river cities have their beauty, and the river city we call home is certainly no exception.

The Walnut Street Bridge, built in 1890, is shown spanning the Tennessee River.  This bridge was scheduled to be to be torn down due to age but the “city fathers” had another vision.  The bridge was closed to vehicle traffic, completely refurbished at the tune of several million dollars, and opened as a pedestrian bridge only.  Repairs and structural modifications were made into what is now a pedestrian walkway. The Walnut Street Bridge was added to the National Register of Historic Places on February 23, 1990. The 2,376 foot (720 m) span is one of the world’s longest pedestrian bridges and sits near the heart of a massive and recently completed urban renewal project.  On any one given weekend, you see hundreds of residents and visitors walking the bridge.

Tennessee River Looking East

This is another view of the Tennessee River with the very tip of Hunter Museum showing.

The Hunter Museum is located in an area of the city known as the Bluff View District.  I have been told by several individuals from Western Europe, Germany specifically, this area is very reminiscent of small towns and topography found dotting the landscape they grew up in.  The museum’s collections include works representing the Hudson River School, 19th century genre paintingAmerican Impressionism, the Ashcan School, early modernism, regionalism, and post World War II modern and contemporary art.

The building itself represents three distinct architectural stages: the original 1904 mansion designed by Abram Garfield which has housed the museum since its opening in 1952, an addition built in 1975, and a 2005 addition designed by Randall Stout.  The latest addition now serves as the entrance to the museum. With the 2005 expansion, the Hunter was extended towards the downtown area. The Ruth S. and A. William Holmberg Pedestrian Bridge provides a pedestrian-friendly connection to the nearby Walnut Street Bridge and riverfront attractions. The museum is named after George Hunter, who inherited the Coca-Cola Bottling empire from his uncle, Benjamin Thomas.

OLD Hunter (2)

As mentioned earlier there are three prominent buildings to the Hunter Museum but the residents consider the “old” building and the “new” building when discussing the facility.  Both house works of art, drawings, photography and sculpture. The new building is given as follows:

Hunter (New 3)

This past Sunday my wife and I visited the museum to view a Monet exhibit.  Very, very impressive and to my surprise, the facility was absolutely packed.

The picture below was taken from the grounds surrounding the new facility and again shows the Tennessee River.  Notice the condominiums to the left of the Walnut Street Bridge.  There is a great move to go “downtown”.  People are actually selling their homes in the “burbs” and moving back to the city.  This is due to the activity provided by retail and commercial establishments—not to mention the great restaurants now available to residents and visitors.  We also know that several families have purchased condos for their children when they attend the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.

Downtown Chattanooga (3)

The digital photograph shown below gives a great view of the glass walking bridge connecting the Bluff View area with downtown Chattanooga.  You will notice a construction site to the left of the bridge.  A private concern is building a “boutique” hotel at this site, which will be completed 2017.  Also notice the triangular spires at the very end of the bridge.  This is the Chattanooga Aquarium.  Two buildings, one with freshwater exhibits and one with saltwater exhibits.  Each year there are well over one million visitors.

Glass Bridge

A much better look at downtown Chattanooga and the aquarium is given below.  You also can see Lookout Mountain in the background.  Lookout Mountain is one emblem on the Seal of Chattanooga.  It is a very prominent landmark and one with great historic significance.  The “Battle Above the Clouds” was fought on Lookout Mountain during the civil war.


TENNESSEE RIVER AND AQUEARIUM

I hope you enjoyed this very brief visit to my home town and certainly hope you will make plans to take time for a real visit.  We would love to see you.

 

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