One year ago, our region, country and world were preparing to enter 2021 with high hopes that it would end better than 2020. While the COVID-19 vaccine became widely available to those who wanted it this year, the pandemic generated new variants, mandates and political controversies in 2021 as locals attempted to get back to a somewhat normal way of living.
From a contentious mayoral election to the Atlanta Braves winning the World Series, Times Free Press readers have voted, and listed below are what more than 230 surveyed said were the top 10 stories in the Chattanooga region for 2021.
1. COVID-19 VARIANTS AND VACCINES: The coronavirus pandemic was still a reality in 2021 with the rise of variants, like delta and omicron, and low vaccination rates across the Chattanooga region despite the widespread availability of COVID-19 vaccines.
2. BRAVES WIN IT ALL: For the first time since 1995, the Atlanta Braves won the World Series, beating the Houston Astros.
3. LABOR AND SUPPLY SHORTAGES: Following the pandemic slowdown that pushed unemployment in metro Chattanooga to 14.1% and in metro Dalton, Georgia, to 19.8% in the spring of 2020, most jobs have returned to the market while not all workers have come back into the labor force, creating labor and supply shortages for many businesses.
4. US-27, I-24 CONSTRUCTION: The $143.2 million U.S. Highway 27 improvement project through downtown Chattanooga ended. Phase one of a project to improve the infamous…