Sometime before midnight on Wednesday, October 7, East Ridge News Online surpassed two million views since it was established.
That’s a lot of views … and to think that in late October of 2018 former Mayor Brent Lambert testified during the Tim Boyd extortion case that he was only vaguely familiar with what attorney Lee Davis called the city’s paper of record.
The two most viewed stories in East Ridge News Online history were the groundbreaking for Champy’s in June of last year (7,012 views) and the condemnation of Raymond James Stadium in August of 2015 (5,056).
Thank you, Dear Reader of East Ridge News Online, for supporting your only local online news source.
Rumor Ridge: Last week a rumor made its way quickly across our fair city that City Council candidate Denny Manning had died. Have you heard? the caller asked. As a journalist would do, the phone was picked up and a call was made to the Manning household. No answer. Called Denny’s cell. No answer. A call from Denny’s cell came into the international headquarters of ERNO. It was Mr. Manning, his ownself.
Asked if he had heard the rumor, Manning said it was probably the same people that did the very same thing the last time he ran for public office. “I just got back from the doctor’s office,” Manning said. “He gave me a clean bill of health.”
Then, Manning quoted Mark Twain: “The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.”
Well, Denny really didn’t say that, but it would have been the perfect opportunity to trot that one out.
Civic discourse is over and done: Late last week, an East Ridge Police Department pass along report stated that a candidate for City Council came to the department to report that she had been harassed while canvasing a neighborhood asking for support. This happened on Pyron Lane. The harasser was a skinny man riding a bicycle. The report states the man repeatedly used profanities about the candidate in hectoring her.
Perhaps the candidate – whose name was omitted from the report – should have called Animal Services for help, because this thing on a bicycle is not human.
Favorite son my fanny: Emerson Russell wants to build a new Portifino’s on Ringgold Road between the bank and the Waffle House. He appeared before the city’s Industrial Development Board last month and asked for incentives from the city.
City officials were prepared to do just that, by offering 60 percent of the state sales tax by virtue of Border Region Tax Act. That wasn’t good enough for Mr. Russell. A teary-eyed Russell pleaded with the board invoking “favorite son” status. He said that other developers had received 70 percent of the incremental tax and he felt he was being treated unfairly. The meeting ended with Russell saying he just might not go forward with the project if the city couldn’t cough up more money.
Russell’s project was the final item on the agenda in last week’s IDB meeting. Chairman Ruth Braly told the board that Russell requested that the item be pulled and the project was not discussed.
A source inside City Hall called East Ridge News Online to report that Russell had been in touch with the Wood brothers, Ethan and Matt, the guys who brought you Jordan Crossing. The source said Russell is considering going into partnership with the Wood brothers on the Portifino project. If he does, and the Wood brothers have 51 percent ownership in the building, the city is obligated by contract to reimburse the developers 100 percent of the state sales taxes via Border Region.
This was an element in the original agreement that the IDB’s legal counsel, Mark Mamantov, pleaded with the city not to agree to. You can thank your 2014 City Council for that one!
If this is indeed the case, one city official said that Russell will deprive the city of about $400,000 in state sales taxes over the next 20 years. So much for Favorite Son status. Hey, as they say: “Nothing personal; it’s just business.”
Early voting starts on Oct. 14 and runs through Oct. 29. You can find stories on ERNO about the candidates and voting information.