Not just NFL fans are Looking Forward to a “Super Bowl” This Sunday

super bowlSEATTLE (AP) — The way Bryan Weinman sees it, he and his friends already won their Super Bowl bet.

Two weeks ago, the nightclub DJ and a few buddies were sitting at a sports bar in Denver, joking about how funny it would be if the Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos — the NFL teams from the two states that have legalized marijuana — made it to the big game.

They decided to plunk down a $44 wager — the fee for registering the Internet domain www.stonerbowl.org — just before the Seahawks and Broncos won their conference championships.

It paid off. They’re now using the site to hawk T-shirts and hats celebrating the coincidence. One shirt features the Vince Lombardi Trophy, reserved for the game’s victors, refashioned into a bong. Another features a spoof of the league’s logo, with the letters “THC” — for marijuana’s active compound — replacing “NFL.”

From weed-themed Super Bowl parties to a Denver company’s “Stoner Bowl” tours of recreational pot shops, this year’s Super Bowl offers a twist on a sporting event better known for its beer commercials. Thanks to the recreational marijuana laws passed by voters in 2012, sales of taxed pot to adults over 21 began at Colorado pot shops Jan. 1 and are due to begin in Washington later this year.

There have been a slew of predictable, ready-made puns, most of which have to do with “bowl” being the part of the pipe where pot goes. Some fans have issued not-quite-serious calls for a cannabis-friendly musician — say, Willie Nelson or Snoop Dogg — to sing the national anthem.

“I’m staying home and will be watching the Super Bowl while I light up my own Super Bowl,” well-known stoner Tommy Chong, of the comedy duo Cheech and Chong, wrote on their Facebook page. The pair released a publicity photo doctored to show Chong in a Seahawks headband and Cheech Marin in a knit Broncos hat.

The Washington chapter of NORML, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, said it would be rooting on the “THC-Hawks.” It made a friendly bet with Colorado NORML for what they’re calling “Bud Bowl XLVIII.”

If Denver wins, the Washington chapter has to dress in Broncos colors and sing John Denver’s “Rocky Mountain High.” If Seattle wins, the Colorado chapter must dress in Seahawks colors and sing “Purple Haze,” by Seattle native Jimi Hendrix. Video evidence is to be posted on the winner’s Facebook page for at least a week.

In deference to the importance of good officiating, High Times magazine offered a guide to spotting “Stoner Bowl” party fouls, including the offense of “holding”: “When the violator takes, two, three, maybe eight hits before passing the joint.”

On Twitter, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals promoted its recipe for vegan “Colorado catnip” brownies, with caveats: “Note: This recipe is for humans only. Also note: This recipe is for legally obtained marijuana. PETA does not condone the purchase or sale of illegal drugs.”

At the sports bar, Weinman, 35, and his friends scribbled down their T-shirt ideas — first on coasters, and then paper. Their motto: “One team and a lot of fans are gonna get smoked.”

“There’s so many easy jokes,” he said. “I hope the average person finds comedy in what we’re doing.”

Even if the average person might, it’s not clear the NFL does. “We do not have any response,” league spokesman Greg Aiello wrote in an email.

Derek Franklin, the president of the Washington Association for Substance Abuse and Violence Prevention, said all the attention about the “Weed Bowl or the Bong Bowl, what have you, it drives home the wrong public health message.”

He noted that Washington NORML’s Facebook page featured a cartoonish version of the Seahawks logo, with bloodshot eyes and a joint in its beak.

“That’s the kind of thing that for kids, it’s going to stick in their heads,” he said. This Super Bowl is “incredible for the ‘Hawks, but tough for those of us in prevention.”

Medical marijuana advocates also suggested the joking over the big game underscores a serious issue: The NFL doesn’t allow its players, even those in states that have approved medical or recreational marijuana, to use it to ease the pain from the beatings they take on the field. Commissioner Roger Goodell said Thursday the league could reconsider that.

“I’m not a medical expert,” he said. “We will follow science. We will follow medicine. If they determine this is a proper method, we would consider it. Our medical experts are not saying that right now.”

Among those hoping to make a buck on the Denver-Seattle matchup is Matt Brown, co-founder of My 420 Tours in Denver. The company is offering a three-night “Stoner Bowl” package starting at $1,409. It includes tours of local marijuana shops and indoor gardens, lots of free samples, a cannabis cooking class and a private viewing party for the game.

Brown, who grew up in Kansas City and has mixed loyalties between the Chiefs and the Broncos, said he expected about 50 customers.

“We’ve been joking about the ‘Stoner Bowl’ for a couple weeks now,” he said.

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Follow Johnson at https://twitter.com/GeneAPseattle

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Hostess with the Most-est; Amy Poehler and Tina Fey at The Golden Globes

 

By: Emily Noey

LOS ANGELOS (AP/UTC The Loop)- Tina Fey and Amy Poehler took the gold again.

For a second year, these funny ladies were the most-est as co-hosts of NBC’s Golden Globes party.

Fey explained their return engagement by noting, “This is Hollywood, and if something kind of works they’ll just keep doing it until everybody hates it.”

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While Poehler and Fey set the perfect irreverent tone for the Globes and its party-hearty tradition, the three-hour live broadcast from Beverly Hills, Calif., was remarkably well-behaved.

Not these returnees, who again presided with seeming effortless sass and hardly a joke off-target. During their shared opening routine, Fey’s zinger about George Clooney and his penchant for dating younger women may have been the most riotously received wisecrack in recent awards-cast history.

While Poehler and Fey set the perfect irreverent tone for the Globes and its party-hearty tradition, the three-hour live broadcast from Beverly Hills, Calif., was remarkably well-behaved.

Emma Thompson played up the Globes’ boozy reputation by arriving on stage barefoot to present the screenplay award in very non-Emmy, non-Oscar style, with her Christian Louboutin high heels in one hand, her martini in the other.

“I just want you to know, this red,” she declared, pointing to the shoes’ trademark red soles before tossing them over her shoulder, “it’s my blood.”

But her display was clearly all in fun.

A few impolite words did erupt. Winning as best actress for her miniseries “Top of the Lake,” Elisabeth Moss blurted out one of them. It was efficiently bleeped.

But whoever was tending the button miscalculated big time with Jacqueline Bisset.

Accepting her trophy as best supporting actress for the miniseries “Dancing on the Edge,” the clearly surprised Bisset voiced a lengthy, rambling acceptance that triggered the get-off-the-stage music.

Still talking undeterred, Bisset fired off a profanity that began with the words, “And the people who have given me … ”

Oddly, TV viewers didn’t hear that first part of her statement. It was bleeped. But what did get through TV sets loud and clear was the forbidden final word.

Another minor glitch reared its head later on for co-presenters Jonah Hill and Margot Robbie.

“I’m not gonna lie to you,” Hill said, grinning into the camera. “Right now, they put up the wrong stuff on the TelePrompTer.”

In a flash, Robbie was handed a sheet of paper for the pair to read.

Overall, the program was fun, fast-moving and refreshingly uncluttered with the usual awards-show dross.

All due respect was paid to Woody Allen (himself predictably a no-show) by Diane Keaton in accepting his Cecil B. DeMille lifetime achievement award. Keaton delivered a mini-seminar on the greatness of Allen’s film career, especially his skill at creating women characters.

Then she wrapped up her tribute in quirky style by saluting her friend of 45 years with a familiar children’s song: “A circle is round, it has no end,” she sang. “That’s how long you’re going to be my friend.”

A comic highlight of the evening was “Mr. Golden Globes.” He was introduced by Fey as “my adult son from a previous relationship” but turned out to be Poehler done up as a fussy lad who groused, “This is stupid! I hate being up here!”

“Don’t you talk to me like that,” Fey shot back. “Do you want to go live with your father?”

“I can’t,” was the churlish reply. “You won’t tell me who it is!”

“Well, he’s here tonight,” snapped Fey. “So look around.”

With hosts like that, it was hard not to look forward to next year’s Globes, when these Golden gals will be back again.

We Aren’t in Kansas! Flight Lands at Wrong Airport

By Andy Jungels

JIM SALTER, Associated Press

A Southwest Airlines flight bound for the main airport in Branson, Mo., instead touched down at a much smaller nearby airfield that gave the pilots only half as much room to stop.

After passengers were let off the jet Sunday evening, they noticed that the airliner had come dangerously close to the end of the runway, where it could have tumbled down a steep embankment if it had left the pavement.

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Southwest airlines say a pilot relied on eyesight and landed at the wrong airport.

“As soon as we touched down, the pilot applied the brake very hard and very forcibly,” said passenger Scott Schieffer, a Dallas attorney who was among the 124 passengers aboard Southwest Flight 4013 from Chicago’s Midway Airport to the Branson airport. “I was wearing a seatbelt, but I was lurched forward because of the heavy pressure of the brake. You could smell burnt rubber, a very distinct smell of burnt rubber as we were stopping.”

Branson Airport has a runway that is more than 7,100 feet long — a typical size for commercial traffic. The longest runway at Taney County Airport is only slightly more than 3,700 feet because it is designed for small private planes.

After the jet stopped, a flight attendant welcomed passengers to Branson, Schieffer said. Then, after a few moments, “the pilot came on and said, ‘Ladies and gentlemen, I’m sorry to tell you we landed at the wrong airport.’”

At first, Schieffer said, he considered it only an inconvenience. But once he got off the plane, someone pointed to the edge of the runway, which he estimated as about 100 feet away.

“It was surreal when I realized we could have been in real danger and instead of an inconvenience, it could have been a real tragedy,” he said.

Mark Parent, manager of the smaller airport also known as M. Graham Clark Downtown Airport, described the distance as closer to 300 feet. He said the runway is built partly on landfill. At the end there is a “significant drop-off,” with a ravine beneath it, then busy U.S. 65 on the other side.

He said a Boeing 737 had never landed at the small airfield, which opened in 1970 and normally handles light jets, turboprops and small aircraft for the charter, corporate and tourism markets.

No one was around at the airport when the Southwest flight landed. Airport staffers had gone home about an hour earlier but were called back after the unexpected arrival, Parent said.

Brad Hawkins, a spokesman for Dallas-based Southwest, said everyone aboard the jet was safe. He did not know why the plane went to the wrong airport.

Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Tony Molinaro said the agency was investigating, but he declined to elaborate.

Jeff Bourk, executive director of Branson Airport, said the Southwest pilot was in communication with the airport tower, which cleared him to land around 6 p.m. The plane touched down a few moments later at the other airport.

Skies were clear at the time, with the temperature in the 50s, Bourk said.

Passengers were loaded on buses for the 7-mile trip to Branson. Southwest brought in another plane for passengers flying on to Love Fiend in Dallas. That flight departed around 10 p.m., Bourke said.

Hawkins said the aircraft involved in the mistaken landing should be able to take off from the smaller runway, though it was not clear when that would occur.

The minimum runway length needed to take off varies depending on a plane’s weight, the temperature and other factors. Based on Boeing documents, a lightly loaded 737-700 can take off from a runway about the length of the M. Graham Clark airport.

Parent said he had no doubts that the plane would be able to take off safely.

Sunday’s event was the second time in less than two months that a large jet has landed at the wrong airport.

In November, a freight-carrying Boeing 747 that was supposed to deliver parts to McConnell Air Force Base in Wichita, Kan., landed 9 miles north at Col. James Jabara Airport. The company that operated the flight later said in a training video that the crew was skeptical about the plane’s automation after the co-pilot’s flight display had intermittent trouble, and the pilot chose to fly visually when he spotted the brightly lit runway at Jabara.

Last year, a cargo plane bound for MacDill Air Force base in Tampa, Fla., landed without incident at the small Peter O. Knight Airport nearby. An investigation blamed confusion identifying airports in the area, and base officials introduced an updated landing procedure.

The airline announced last month that it would end service in June in Branson, Key West, Fla., and Jackson, Miss., because it can’t make money in those smaller markets.

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Associated Press airlines reporter David Koenig and AP transportation reporter Joan Lowy contributed to this report.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Broncos Gallop Past Chargers

By Rose Street

DENVER (AP/UTC The Loop) — Wes Welker isn’t looking back at his unhappy homecoming in Foxborough in November or his six seasons with Tom Brady in New England as he prepares for the Patriots’ visit to Denver next Sunday.

“It’s the AFC championship game, there’s going to be plenty of juice,” Welker said after catching a touchdown pass from Peyton Manning in Denver’s 24-17 win over the San Diego Chargers on Sunday.

Welker had six receptions in his return from a concussion that had sidelined him for a month, and he wore an oversized safety helmet that drew comparisons to Dark Helmet from “Spaceballs” and The Great Gazoo from the Flintstones.

“I’ve been practicing with it the last few weeks, so I got used to it,” Welker said. “It does kind of look like the Jetsons out there.”

Welker’s return helped the Broncos flip their time-of-possession deficit against the Chargers, who had held the ball for more than 38 minutes in both of their regular season meetings, including a 27-20 win in Denver in December.

The Broncos (14-3) will host the Patriots (13-4), who beat them 34-31 in overtime on Nov. 24 in New England.

Welker was trying to make a fair catch of a punt in the wind but didn’t call off his blockers in time and the ball hit teammate Tony Carter. The Patriots recovered and kicked the game-winning field goal.

The Patriots beat Indianapolis 43-22 to advance to their third straight conference championship. The Broncos are back for the first time in eight years.

Five things that helped the Broncos avoid another Mile High meltdown like their crushing loss to Baltimore in last year’s playoffs:

THIRD-DOWN THEATRICS: The last time these teams played, the Chargers converted 6 of 12 third downs and controlled the clock for 38 minutes while the Broncos sorely missed Welker and were just 2 for 9 on third downs.

This time, Denver was 9 for 13 — the 69 percent the highest of any team in this year’s postseason — and the Chargers were just 4 of 12.

The Broncos’ biggest conversions were the three they had on their final drive, including a 21-yard catch by Julius Thomas on third-and-17 from their own 20, which allowed them to salt away the win. That’s something they weren’t able to do in their crushing 38-35 loss in double-overtime to the Ravens exactly a year earlier.

“I felt like that game last year forced us to address those types of situations all season long,” Manning said. “We’ve worked on it in training camp, we’ve worked on it in the season. … It was nice that all that hard work paid off for us.”

MANNING’S MAGIC: Manning drew five different defenders into committing neutral zone infractions with a cadence that had the Chargers flustered.

“They were doing a hard count, but that’s not an excuse for us jumping offside,” San Diego linebacker Melvin Ingram said. “We need to be more disciplined than that.”

“Yeah, that’s giving a very good quarterback a lot of freebies,” Chargers coach Mike McCoy said.

The penalties helped Manning give the Broncos a 17-0 lead on his way to snapping a personal three-game losing streak in the postseason, where he improved to 10-11 with his first win since leading Indianapolis over the Jets 30-17 in the AFC championship game on Jan. 24, 2010.

GRIND IT OUT: All four teams that are still alive in the playoffs can thank their ground games. Knowshon Moreno gained 82 yards on 23 carries and Montee Ball added 52 yards on 10 runs. This, after the Broncos managed just 18 yards on 11 carries against the Chargers in their loss to San Diego last month.

“It was just working out so well for us today that we wanted to stick with it,” Thomas said. “Our running backs did a great job of running the ball and earning tough yards.”

SLOW-STARTING CHARGERS: The Broncos shut down Philip Rivers until cornerback Chris Harris Jr., who played more snaps than any of Denver’s defenders during the regular season, went out with knee and ankle injuries early in the second half.

Rivers finally found the end zone with a 16-yard toss to Keenan Allen early in the fourth quarter, then found him again for a 49-yard gain on fourth-and-5 from his own 25-yard line with seven minutes left and the Chargers trailing 24-7.

The Broncos held on, but mostly because Manning & Co. kept Rivers on the sideline after the Chargers cut the lead to 24-17.

“I know one thing: we can’t be complacent where we are,” Champ Bailey said. “We have to be a much better team because we have a much better quarterback and team coming in here next week.”

SPECIAL TEAMS: The Broncos overcame some big blunders on special teams. Eric Decker, who also flubbed a fourth-quarter onside kick that San Diego recovered, tripped at the 30-yard line on what would have been a 77-yard punt return touchdown.

“I guess it was just that invisible fence again that got me,” said Decker, who tripped over the 45-yard line on his way to an 85-yard score against San Diego last season. “Got a little excited, tripped myself and wish I could have that play back.”

Trindon Holliday’s 105-yard kickoff return for a touchdown was negated by Omar Bolden’s block in the back on a defender that wasn’t going to make the play.

Holliday, however, secured the pooch kick with 3:51 left that led to Denver’s game-sealing drive.

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AP Sports Writer Pat Graham contributed.

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AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org

Follow AP Pro Football Writer Arnie Melendrez Stapleton on Twitter: http://twitter.com/arniestapleton

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Passengers Stranded due to Confused Pilots

By Taylor Ellis

US (AP/UTC The Loop)- A Southwest Airlines flight bound for the main airport in Branson, Mo., instead touched down at a much smaller nearby airfield that gave the pilots only half as much room to stop.

After passengers were let off the jet Wednesday evening, they noticed that the airliner had come dangerously close to the end of the runway, where it could have tumbled down a steep embankment if it had left the pavement.

“As soon as we touched down, the pilot applied the brake very hard and very forcibly,” said passenger Scott Schieffer, a Dallas attorney who was among the 124 passengers aboard Southwest Flight 4013 from Chicago’s Midway Airport to the Branson airport. “I was wearing a seatbelt, but I was lurched forward because of the heavy pressure of the brake. You could smell burnt rubber, a very distinct smell of burnt rubber as we were stopping.”

Branson Airport has a runway that is more than 7,100 feet long — a typical size for commercial traffic. The longest runway at Taney County Airport is only slightly more than 3,700 feet because it is designed for small private planes.

After the jet stopped, a flight attendant welcomed passengers to Branson, Schieffer said. Then, after a few moments, “the pilot came on and said, ‘Ladies and gentlemen, I’m sorry to tell you we landed at the wrong airport.’”

At first, Schieffer said, he considered it only an inconvenience. But once he got off the plane, someone pointed to the edge of the runway, which he estimated as about 100 feet away.

“It was surreal when I realized we could have been in real danger and instead of an inconvenience, it could have been a real tragedy,” he said.

Mark Parent, manager of the smaller airport also known as M. Graham Clark Downtown Airport, described the distance as closer to 300 feet. He said the runway is built partly on landfill. At the end there is a “significant drop-off,” with a ravine beneath it, then busy U.S. 65 on the other side.

He said a Boeing 737 had never landed at the small airfield, which opened in 1970 and normally handles light jets, turboprops and small aircraft for the charter, corporate and tourism markets.

No one was around at the airport when the Southwest flight landed. Airport staffers had gone home about an hour earlier but were called back after the unexpected arrival, Parent said.

Brad Hawkins, a spokesman for Dallas-based Southwest, said everyone aboard the jet was safe. He did not know why the plane went to the wrong airport.

Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Tony Molinaro said the agency was investigating, but he declined to elaborate.

Jeff Bourk, executive director of Branson Airport, said the Southwest pilot was in communication with the airport tower, which cleared him to land around 6 p.m. The plane touched down a few moments later at the other airport.

Skies were clear at the time, with the temperature in the 50s, Bourk said.

Passengers were loaded on buses for the 7-mile trip to Branson. Southwest brought in another plane for passengers flying on to Love Fiend in Dallas. That flight departed around 10 p.m., Bourke said.

Hawkins said the aircraft involved in the mistaken landing should be able to take off from the smaller runway, though it was not clear when that would occur.

The minimum runway length needed to take off varies depending on a plane’s weight, the temperature and other factors. Based on Boeing documents, a lightly loaded 737-700 can take off from a runway about the length of the M. Graham Clark airport.

Parent said he had no doubts that the plane would be able to take off safely.

Sunday’s event was the second time in less than two months that a large jet has landed at the wrong airport.

In November, a freight-carrying Boeing 747 that was supposed to deliver parts to McConnell Air Force Base in Wichita, Kan., landed 9 miles north at Col. James Jabara Airport. The company that operated the flight later said in a training video that the crew was skeptical about the plane’s automation after the co-pilot’s flight display had intermittent trouble, and the pilot chose to fly visually when he spotted the brightly lit runway at Jabara.

Last year, a cargo plane bound for MacDill Air Force base in Tampa, Fla., landed without incident at the small Peter O. Knight Airport nearby. An investigation blamed confusion identifying airports in the area, and base officials introduced an updated landing procedure.

The airline announced last month that it would end service in June in Branson, Key West, Fla., and Jackson, Miss., because it can’t make money in those smaller markets.

Supermarkets in Tennessee strive to sell wine

By: Kami Rowe

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP/UTC The Loop) — The campaign manager for a group advocating for supermarket wine sales in Tennessee is leaving to become the CEO of the Greater Nashville Association of Realtors.

Jarron Springer has been president of the Tennessee Grocers & Convenience Store Association since 2005, and also leads the Red White and Food campaign pushing for the law change.

Current law keeps supermarkets and convenience stores from selling beer stronger than 5 percent by weight, which is the equivalent of about 6.5 percent in the more common measure of alcohol by volume. Anything stronger can only be sold in liquor stores, which aren’t allowed to sell any items beyond booze and lottery tickets.

Advocates want cities and counties to be able to hold votes on whether to allow supermarket wine sales

 

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Flu Cases On The Rise

By: Arielle Henson

 

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP/UTC The Loop) — Some health departments in Tennessee have begun offering free flu shots in the hopes that more people will get vaccinated.

The Tennessean (http://tnne.ws/1lUqON4) reports some health departments began offering the free shots on Friday and the Metro Nashville health department will begin offering them Monday.

The number of flu cases has risen in the last few weeks, and the virus has killed 12 people in Middle Tennessee.

Health officials say flu season will continue through February, so it’s not too late to get a shot.

Kroger pharmacist Bill Staggs said the vaccine is worth getting, especially as the number of cases increase.

“We’ve had as many or more flu (cases) in the last three weeks than we had in the past two months,” he said.

As cases of flu rise, local pharmacies and clinics have seen an increase in the number of people getting vaccinations. Department of Health spokeswoman Shelley Walker says nearly 70,000 people have gotten shots through public health clinics.

“It’s been dramatically higher recently, but we don’t have nearly as many (people coming in) as we should,” Staggs said.

Sumner County Health Department Director Hal Hendricks said residents “are paying particular attention now,” after the death of an 11-year-old Hendersonville girl due to complications from the virus.

The flu strain affecting most people this year is H1N1, which can hit children and young adults especially hard. Walker said the vaccine this season is specifically designed to fight that strain.

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Information from: The Tennessean, http://www.tennessean.com

 

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Rodman Is singing The Blues

By: Sid Sadler

BEIJING (AP/UTC The Loop) — Former basketball star Dennis Rodman apologized on Monday for not being able to help an American missionary detained in North Korea while he played there to celebrate the birthday of his friend and leader Kim Jong Un.

“I’m sorry, I’m sorry I couldn’t do anything,” Rodman told media on his arrival at Beijing airport from a weeklong trip. “It’s not my fault. I’m sorry. I just want to do some good stuff, that’s all I want to do.”

He said he would return to North Korea next month, but gave no details.

Rodman and the squad of retired NBA players he took to North Korea for an exhibition game marking Kim’s birthday have met with criticism in the U.S. because of North Korea’s human rights record and its development of nuclear weapons.

Acknowledging the controversy surrounding the trip, one of the players, Charles D. Smith, said Rodman “opened the door and he did some missteps along the way.”

In an interview in Beijing, Smith said Rodman’s singing of “Happy Birthday” to Kim before the exhibition game at a Pyongyang stadium was something that he alone had decided to do. “I think that it might not have been the right thing to do, but he did it … if it was done in private it would be different, but when it’s done in the open like that, people are going to have opinions.”

During the trip, Rodman was also slammed for not using his influence with Kim to help free Kenneth Bae, the missionary in poor health who has been detained for more than a year for “anti-state crimes.” Rodman apologized last week for comments he made in a CNN interview implying Bae was at fault, saying he had been drinking and was upset because some of his teammates were under pressure to leave.

Smith said the controversy surrounding Bae was a “bad situation” that “overshadowed some of the things that we were doing.”

“Dennis is not a member of the State Department, he is not a member of the U.N.,” Smith said. “For them to put the flag in his hands and say go and negotiate and talk about it, he probably would have made it worse, you know.”

He said North Korean officials had invited the team back “at any given time.”

On Monday, Rodman reiterated that his trip was one of goodwill.

“This is not a bad deal,” he said. “I want to show people that no matter what’s going on in the world, for one day, just one day, no politics, not all that stuff.

“I’m sorry for all the people and what’s going on, I’m sorry,” he continued. “I’m not the president, I’m not an ambassador, I’m just an individual that wants to show the world the fact that we can actually get along and be happy for one day.”

Rodman and Kim struck up a friendship when the basketball-player-turned-celebrity first traveled to the secretive state last year.

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Associated Press writer Louise Watt contributed to this report.

 

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

 

Rodman Apologizes…. Again

By Mike Andrews

BEIJING (AP/UTC The Loop) — Former basketball star Dennis Rodman apologized on Monday for not being able to help an American missionary detained in North Korea during his trip there to play in a game to celebrate the birthday of his friend and leader Kim Jong Un.

“I’m sorry, I’m sorry I couldn’t do anything,” Rodman told media on his arrival at Beijing airport from a weeklong trip. “It’s not my fault. I’m sorry. I just want to do some good stuff, that’s all I want to do.”

He said he would return to North Korea next month, but gave no details.

Rodman and the squad of retired NBA players he took to North Korea for an exhibition game marking Kim’s birthday have met with criticism in the U.S. because of North Korea’s human rights record and its development of nuclear weapons.

Rodman was also slammed for not using his influence with Kim to help free Kenneth Bae, the missionary in poor health who has been detained for more than a year for “anti-state crimes.” Rodman apologized last week for comments he made in a CNN interview implying Bae was at fault, saying he had been drinking and was upset because some of his teammates were leaving under pressure.

On Monday, Rodman reiterated that his trip — in which he sang “Happy Birthday” to Kim before playing the exhibition game at a Pyongyang stadium — was one of goodwill.

“This is not a bad deal,” he said. “I want to show people that no matter what’s going on in the world, for one day, just one day, no politics, not all that stuff.

“I’m sorry for all the people and what’s going on, I’m sorry,” he continued. “I’m not the president, I’m not an ambassador, I’m just an individual that wants to show the world the fact that we can actually get along and be happy for one day.”

Rodman and Kim struck up a friendship when the basketball-player-turned-celebrity first traveled to the secretive state last year.

 

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Officials, students discuss UTC parking availability

Many students are choosing to pay at metered parking spots rather than purchase a parking pass for the semester.

Many students are choosing to pay at metered parking spots rather than purchase a parking pass for the semester.

By Gabrielle Chevalier

Chattanooga, Tenn. (UTC/The Loop)–The University’s parking availability is not expected to improve in the near future, according to the members of the University Parking Authority.

Shalin Shah, a Chattanooga senior and head of the Parking Authority Committee, said changes are slow to come to fruition, and some officials are not sure there is even a need for additional parking.

“The members of the committee seem very averse to really fundamentally looking at the issue, they don’t understand that we do lose students over parking,” Shah said. “Parking is a problem and a hassle and needs to be fixed now, not later. They seem reluctant to pursue big changes and I wish I could push those through.”

Shah said he did not anticipate how difficult it would be to begin making changes to help fix campus parking.

Different divisions of the University have different expectations, and, if one person is bothered by a change, others are “up in arms” about it, he said.

Additional concerns

In addition to the issue of available parking on campus, the parking authority also seems to be losing money, he said.

“I have directed the appeals committee to explore our options and look at our finances,” he said. “Parking seems to be losing money because of extraordinary expenses, and we can’t fix parking if they are losing money.”

Prior to his position with the parking authority, Shah served as the head of the Student Parking Appeals Committee and co-chair of the Parking Rates Committee.

“It has convinced me that this is an incredibly complicated issue with no easy solution,” he said of his time working with parking officials.

A student in UTC General Lot 30 receives a parking ticket during the middle of the day, the time when parking lots are the most crowded, according to University officials.

A student in UTC General Lot 30 receives a parking ticket during the middle of the day, the time when parking lots are the most crowded, according to University officials.

Crunching numbers

The cost for University parking passes has increased each year, according to a recent article by The University Echo.

Currently, prices are:

  • $120 per year for general parking
  • $276 per year for reserved parking
  • $316 per year for 24-hour reserved parking
  • $550 per year for south campus parking

University enrollment has increased more than 30 percent in the past six years, however, parking has not matched the growth.

There are currently 5,942 decal spaces to accommodate 7,591 students, Cindee Pulliam, vice chancellor of auxiliary services and property management, said in an interview for The Echo.

Because not all students are on campus at the same time, the number of passes sold is greater than the number of spaces available for the lot, according to the University parking website.

Student opinion

Savannah Langen, a Nashville sophomore, said she is frustrated to hear officials say there may not be a need for additional parking.

“When you have students driving around for 20 or 30 minutes trying to find parking, that’s clearly an issue,” she said. “Students pay for parking. We pay for classes. When one disrupts your ability to focus on the other, there is a serious problem.”

Allison Wade, a Memphis junior, agreed with Langen.

Wade, who lives on Oak Street, said while she no longer has to worry about parking before class, it was a problem which disrupted her schoolwork on multiple occasions.

“There was a time where I was almost late for a big test just because I couldn’t find any place to park in the middle of the day,” she said. “Now I can walk, but where I lived before that just wasn’t an option.”

Wade said she eventually began parking in the meter spots around campus rather than searching for a general parking place.

Where to go

Shah encouraged all students with suggestions and concerns to voice them through SGA leaders or by contacting him at Shalin-Shah@mocs.utc.edu.