UTC Parking Decals: Oversold

By: Emily Brogdon.

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (UTC/ The Loop)  – UTC parking passes may just be decorations for your rear view mirror.

ParkingMapMar11

Students spend hundreds of dollars on parking passes each year, but only half of them can put them to use. General parking decal cost $120 a year.

According to Parking Services at UTC, 4,635 general parking decals were sold, and there are only 2,989 spots available.

Looking for a spot on campus can take anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour. As a result, many students are late quite often.

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The Carta bus that students can utilize to get to campus.

UTC faculty continually tell students to utilize the Carta bus system to get to class, and while an option, many students feel that this solution is not good enough.

UTC senior, Garrett Hall, stopped buying a parking decal because he felt it was completely useless.

“ Well, I got so tired of looking for a spot on campus that I stopped buying a pass. When I had a decal, I had trouble finding a spot or never found a spot pretty much every single day.”

Another UTC student, Katie Cunningham said, “ The university does not care that parking is a problem for students. Parking tickets and decals are just another way to make money, wh

en all that money should be used to make more parking space, especially garages.”

Parking garages are not possible for UTC without raising the cost of parking for students. There are no immediate plans to fix the parking problem at UTC in the near future.

This video is an interview done by Grace Wise.

A City Without Tears

The flyer for Big Mike Mic's performance at the Barking Legs Theatre.

The flyer for Big Mike Mic’s performance at the Barking Legs Theatre.

By: Emily Brogdon

Chattanooga, TN (The Loop/UTC) Growing up in Chattanooga can offer a lot of opportunities, especially when a person is full of passion and loyalty towards their city.

Two brothers from Chattanooga were bothered by the growing violence in Chattanooga neighborhoods, and they decided to do something about it. Brian and Michael Kelly developed a project called “City Without Tears” to help stop violence in the community.

Brian Kelly, the director of the project, stated, “ Everything is like an infection. If you don’t do something it’s going to get bigger and bigger. And, why be reactive when we can be proactive?”

Michael Kelly, the artist that goes by “Big Mike Mic”, explains, “ ‘City Without Tears’ is a project that consists of a documentary, also a song/video, also a six song EP album and a poem.”

M. Kelly says that the shape of the community is what drives him to do this project. He plans to eventually do a tour showcases his music and his project to the violent neighborhoods in Chattanooga.

B. Kelly says his brother has been working on music for more than 10 years. Brian says that Michael used to beat on his mother’s pots and pans and developed a love for music at an early age.  Michael believes that he was born to make a difference in the world.

Big Mike Mic promoting his project "City Without Tears."

Big Mike Mic promoting his project “City Without Tears.”

The group has met with the city council of Chattanooga, and has performed several times at the Barking Legs Theatre.

Brian and Michael hope to raise $10,000 to help finish their project.  They are accepting donations on their website page.

Those interested in the project can follow the group on twitter, and watch the “City Without Tears”  video on YouTube.

A Vacation Disaster

By: Emily Brogdon

MOBILE, Ala. (AP/ The Loop) — A cruise ship disabled for five nightmarish days in the Gulf of Mexico finally docked with some 4,200 people aboard late Thursday, passengers raucously cheering the end to an ocean odyssey they say was marked by overflowing toilets, food shortages and foul odors. About four hours later, the last of the passengers had gotten off the ship.

Carnival Triumph being towed in to Alabama.

 

“Sweet Home Alabama!” read one of the homemade signs passengers affixed alongside the 14-story ship as many celebrated at deck rails lining several levels of the stricken ship Triumph. The ship’s horn loudly blasted several times as four tugboats pulled the crippled ship to shore. Some gave a thumbs-up sign and flashes from cameras and cellphones lit the night.

About an hour after the ship pulled up at 9:15 p.m. Central, a steady stream of passengers began making their way down the gang plank, some in wheelchairs and others pulling carry-on luggage. One man gave the thumbs up.

An ambulance pulled up to a gate at the bottom of the gang plank, began flashing its lights and then pulled away.

By around 1 a.m., Carnival tweeted, “All guests have now disembarked the Carnival Triumph.”

Carnival had said it would take up to five hours for all the 3,000 passengers to be off.

Many boarded buses bound for New Orleans and Texas, while others settled into local hotels in Mobile to get a shower and a hot meal.

As they came ashore, passengers reflected on a cruise they’d rather forget.

For 24-year-old Brittany Ferguson of Texas, not knowing how long passengers had to endure their time aboard was the worst part.

“I’m feeling awesome just to see land and buildings,” said Ferguson, who was in a white robe given to her aboard. “The scariest part was just not knowing when we’d get back”

As the ship pulled up, some aboard shouted, “Hello, Mobile!” Some danced in celebration on one of the balconies. “Happy V-Day” read one of the homemade signs made for the Valentine’s Day arrival and another, more starkly: “The ship’s afloat, so is the sewage.”

A few dozen relatives on the top floor of the parking deck of the terminal were waving lights at the ship as it carefully made its way alongside. Those about were screaming, whistling and taking pictures.

Hundreds gawked from dockside at the arrival at the Alabama cruise terminal in Mobile, the state’s only seaport, as the Triumph docked.

Taxis were lined up waiting for people, and motorists on Interstate 10 stopped to watch the exodus of passengers from the cruise ship.

Some still aboard chanted, “Let me off, let me off!”

It took six grueling hours navigating the 30-odd-mile ship channel to dock, guided by at least four towboats. Nearly 900 feet in length, it was the largest cruise ship ever to dock at Mobile.

In texts and flitting cellphone calls, the ship’s passengers described miserable conditions while at sea, many anxious to walk on solid ground.

Buses started leaving the raucous terminal. Up to 100 have been reserved to carry passengers either on a seven-hour ride to the Texas cities of Galveston or Houston or a two-hour trip to New Orleans. Some also can stay in Mobile. From there, passengers will make their way home with Carnival’s help.

Deborah Knight, 56, decided to stay in Mobile after the arduous journey was over rather than board a bus for a long ride. Her husband Seth drove in from Houston and they checked in at a downtown Mobile hotel.

“I want a hot shower and a daggum Whataburger,” said Knight, who was wearing a bathrobe over her clothes as her bags were unloaded from her husband’s pickup truck.

She said she was afraid to eat the food on board and had gotten sick while on the ship.

Galveston is the home port of the ill-fated ship, which lost power in an engine-room fire Sunday some 150 miles off Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula. It was the end of a cruise that wasn’t anything like what a brochure might describe.

Carnival CEO Gerry Cahill apologized at a news conference and later on the public address system as people were disembarking.

“I appreciate the patience of our guests and their ability to cope with the situation. And I’d like to reiterate the apology I made earlier. I know the conditions on board were very poor,” he said. “We pride ourselves on providing our guests with a great vacation experience, and clearly we failed in this particular case.”

Passenger Ferguson said crew members tried to make the situation bearable.

“They did their best to keep our spirits up,” she said.

Joseph and Cecilia Alvarez of San Antonio said they were on the lowest deck near the back of the ship when the fire broke out and they smelled smoke coming from the vents. She said there was confusion that night about whether to evacuate cabins, with firefighters running through the halls.

He said some passengers passed the time by forming a Bible study group that drew about 45 people.

“It was awesome,” he said. “It lifted up our souls and gave us hope that we would get back.”

While the passengers are headed home, Triumph will head to a Mobile shipyard for assessment, Thornton said.

Earlier Thursday — four days after the 893-foot ship was crippled in the middle of the Gulf— the passengers and crew suffered another setback with towline issues that brought the vessel to a dead stop for about an hour just as it was getting close to port.

As the vessel drew within cellphone range Thursday, passengers vented their anger.

Renee Shanar of Houston was on board with her husband, whom she said has heart trouble. They were told they would be among the first to disembark, she said.

“I don’t believe them; they’ve been lying to us from the beginning,” Shanar said.

Disgusted by the foul air and heat on the lower decks, many passengers hauled mattresses and bed sheets onto the top deck and slept there, even staying put in a soaking rain. As the ship approached the coast, a slew of Carnival workers removed the bedding and took it downstairs.

In a text message, Kalin Hill, of Houston, described deplorable conditions over the past few days.

“The lower floors had it the worst, the floors ‘squish’ when you walk and lots of the lower rooms have flooding from above floors,” Hill wrote. “Half the bachelorette party was on two; the smell down there literally chokes you and hurts your eyes.”

She said “there’s poop and urine all along the floor. The floor is flooded with sewer water … and we had to poop in bags.”

The company disputed the accounts of passengers who described the ship as filthy, saying employees were doing everything to ensure people were comfortable.

Some travel agents said cruise prices and bookings have not been affected by the disabled Carnival ship, but others in the industry say it’s too early to tell.

Thelbert Lanier was waiting at the Mobile port for his wife, who texted him early Thursday.

“Room smells like an outhouse. Cold water only, toilets haven’t work in 3 1/2 days. Happy Valentines Day!!! I love u & wish I was there,” she said in the text message, which was viewed by The Associated Press. “It’s 4:00 am. Can’t sleep … it’s cold & I’m starting to get sick.”

Carnival has canceled a dozen more planned voyages aboard the Triumph and acknowledged the crippled ship had been plagued by other mechanical problems in the weeks before the engine-room blaze. The National Transportation Safety Board has opened an investigation.

Passengers were supposed to get a full refund and discounts on future cruises, and Carnival announced Wednesday they would each get an additional $500 in compensation.

___

Plushnick-Masti reported from Houston. Associated Press writers Bob Johnson in Montgomery, Ala., and Melissa Nelson-Gabriel and Brendan Farrington in Mobile, Ala., contributed to this report.

 

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

Warm Weather

By: Emily Brogdon

Chattanooga, TN (UTC/AP/The Loop)

 An end to winter’s bitter cold will come soon, according to Pennsylvania’s famous groundhog.

Following a recent stretch of weather that’s included temperatures well below freezing as well as record warmth, tornadoes in the South and Midwest and torrential rains in the mid-Atlantic, Punxsutawney Phil emerged from his lair Saturday in front of thousands but didn’t see his shadow.

Legend has it that if the furry rodent sees his shadow on Feb. 2 on Gobbler’s Knob in west-central Pennsylvania, winter will last six more weeks. But if he doesn’t see his shadow, spring will come early.

The prediction is made during a ceremony overseen by a group called the Inner Circle. Members don top hats and tuxedos for the ceremony on Groundhog Day each year.

Bill Deeley, president of the Inner Circle, says that after “consulting” with Phil, he makes the call in deciphering what the world’s Punxsutawney Phil has to say about the weather.

Phil is known as the “seer of seers” and “sage of sages.” Organizers predicted about 20,000 people this weekend, a larger-than-normal crowd because Groundhog Day falls on a weekend this year.

“I just hope he’s right and we get warmer weather soon,” said Mike McKown, 45, an X-ray technician who drove up from Lynchburg, Va., with his mother.

Phil’s got company in the forecasting department. There’s Staten Island Chuck, in New York; General Beauregard Lee, in Atlanta; and Wiarton Willie, in Wiarton, Ontario, among others noted by the National Climactic Data Center “Groundhog Day” Web page.

“Punxsutawney can’t keep something this big to itself,” the Data Center said. “Other prognosticating rodents are popping up to claim a piece of the action.”

Phil is the original — and the best, Punxsutawney partisans insist.

The 1993 movie “Groundhog Day” starring Bill Murray brought even more notoriety to the Pennsylvania party. The record attendance was about 30,000 the year after the movie’s release, said Katie Donald, executive director of the Groundhog Club. About 13,000 attend if Feb. 2 falls on a weekday.

Phil’s predictions, of course, are not always right on. Last year, for example, he told people to prepare for six more weeks of winter, a minority opinion among his groundhog brethren. The Northeast Regional Climate Center at Cornell University later listed that January to June as the warmest seven-month period since systematic records began being kept in 1895.

“We’ll just mark it up as a mistake last year. He’ll be correct this year,” McKown said hopefully.

___

Ron Todt reported from Philadelphia.

Tan at Your Own Risk

This is a basic indoor tanning bed that is used to catch dangerous  UV rays.

By Emily Brogdon

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (The Loop) We have all heard that beauty is pain, but how many have heard beauty is death?

That statement may be a little extreme, but studies by SkinCancer.org show indoor ultraviolet (UV) tanners are 74 percent more likely to develop melanoma than those who have never tanned indoors.

Melanoma is the most dangerous and fatal form of skin cancer and is caused by intense and occasional exposure to UV rays.

With these risks, you must wonder why people still tan? Some say it makes you feel and look thinner, it relaxes you, it clears up skin blemishes, and you just feel more beautiful.

UTC Senior, Garrett Hall says, “ I think people look better with a tan, but there is a fine line between being tan and orange. Orange is not attractive.” Hall thinks that students and the general public continue to tan because they don’t know the truth or dangers of it.

Jessi Pittenger, a UTC student and Sun Tan City Employee, says that 85% of the tanning salon’s business is college students.

There are options for those who want to be tan without UV rays.  Pittenger says, “I currently work with a girl who had skin cancer on her nose and there are several others [who have skin cancer]. Some turn to spray tanning instead.”

Spring break is nearly a month away. If you want to have a sun-kissed glow when you step onto the beach, reach for the bottled tan. Experts say prevention is key to keeping your risk of melanoma low.

Pregnancy Drug Lawsuit

The common birth control pack.

BOSTON (AP/The Loop) — Four sisters who claimed in a lawsuit their breast cancer was caused by synthetic estrogen their mother took during pregnancy in the 1950s have reached a settlement with the drug company Eli Lilly and Co., a lawyer for the sisters said Wednesday.

Attorney Julie Oliver-Zhang said the settlement, for an undisclosed amount, was reached on the second day of a trial in U.S. District Court in Boston. They had not specified damages sought in the lawsuit.

Indianapolis-based Eli Lilly did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment.

The sisters’ case was the first to go to trial out of scores of similar claims filed in Boston and around the country. A total of 51 women have lawsuits pending in U.S. District Court in Boston against more than a dozen companies that made or marketed the drug.

DES, or diethylstilbestrol, was prescribed to millions of pregnant women over three decades to prevent miscarriages, premature births and other problems. It was taken off the market in the early 1970s after it was linked to a rare vaginal cancer in women whose mothers used DES.

Studies later showed the drug did not prevent miscarriages.

In his opening trial statement Tuesday, Aaron Levine, another lawyer for the sisters, said Eli Lilly failed to test the drug’s effect on fetuses before promoting it as a way to prevent miscarriages.

James Dillon, a lawyer for Eli Lilly, told the jury there is no evidence the drug causes breast cancer in the daughters of women who took it. He also said no medical records show the mother of the four women in the Boston case took DES, or that if she did take it, that it was made by Eli Lilly.

DES was not patented and was made by many companies.

The Melnick sisters, who grew up in Tresckow, Pa., say they all developed breast cancer in their 40s after their mother took DES while pregnant.

Levine told the jury that their mother did not take DES while pregnant with a fifth sister, and that sister has not developed breast cancer.

The four Melnick sisters also had miscarriages, fertility problems or other reproductive tract problems long suspected of being caused by prenatal exposure to DES. They were diagnosed with breast cancer between 1997 and 2003 and had treatments ranging from lump-removal surgery to a full mastectomy, radiation and chemotherapy.

Dillon said that the doctor who treated the Melnick sisters’ mother is now dead, and that there are no records of him prescribing DES. Dillon said Eli Lilly at the time recommended DES for women who had had three or more consecutive miscarriages.

The sisters’ mother, he said, did not have consecutive miscarriages, so prescribing it to her would have gone against the company’s recommendations. Dillon said leading researchers at the time recommended that DES be used for pregnant women.

Dillon told the jury that while it is “terribly unfair” that the four sisters got breast cancer, it is a common disease and doctors still don’t understand what causes it.

Thousands of lawsuits have been filed alleging links between DES and vaginal and cervical cancer, as well as fertility problems. Many of those cases were settled.

 

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.