UTC Student Creates Parking Petition

General parking lot with numerous pot holes and poor maintenance.

General parking lot with numerous pot holes due to poor maintenance

By: Ashley Broockman

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (UTC/The Loop) – It is nothing new to hear student complaints about parking on campus, but one student has created an online petition asking for a reform of the parking rules, regulations and lot maintenance.

Junior Patrick Wagner recently created the petition, which details some of the troubles he and others have experienced with UTC’s parking services. Wagner says he created the petition after an incident with the parking administration pushed him over the edge.

“They gave me a parking ticket for a car that I didn’t own, or had ever owned. It was never owned by any of my family either. I couldn’t register for classes or anything because I had a hold on my account. The parking services wouldn’t let me appeal the ticket until my dad, who is a lawyer, talked to them.”

Wagner says he shared the petition on Facebook and with his fraternity brothers after creating it, and overnight it was a hit.

“Overnight it got about 70 signatures, which was kind of shocking. I didn’t expect it to really spread at all at first.”

Sophomore Stevi Boling said, “The petition is a great idea. It gives students a place to come together and talk about their experiences and think of ways to fix these problems. I signed the petition as soon as I saw it on Facebook.”

Petition Issues Addressed

  • Faulty parking tickets
  • Not enough spaces
  • Separation of reserved and general lots
  • Decal prices
  • Poor lot maintenance                                   

Wagner pushes for lower decal prices, and also brings up the idea of having no separate lot decals but one decal so that students can park anywhere. He also addresses the poor maintenance of the lots including the general lots that are gravel with numerous potholes (as pictured above). Wagner says all lots should be paved to give equal parking to everyone. He also thinks there should be a reform of the appeals process, because there are so many students who have received faulty tickets without being able to appeal them.

Parking Committee’s Response

However, according to the minutes from a recent parking authority committee meeting in February, the committee “discussed rate increases” and also “decided that a parking rate increase was needed along with a new transportation fee.”

With a steady increase in parking space to student ratio, the parking committee has addressed that expanding parking is a priority. There has been discussion of rate increases, event parking increases, etc. so that UTC can pay the massive amounts it will take in order to buy new land, add new lots, or even add a new parking garage.

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Overcrowded general parking lot on UTC’s campus

 

According to data found from Reed Constructions, the average costs of adding new, smaller paved lots costs around 4 thousand dollars per parking space.  This adds up to about 200 thousand dollars for a small lot that holds only fifty cars.

Depending on the type and size of a full parking garage, the averaging cost is around 3 million to 5 million dollars.

With the costs of these endeavors averaging from the hundred thousands to millions mark, these and other issues addressed in Wagner’s petition will not be able to be addressed for another several years.

There is still something to be done about the faulty parking tickets, appeals process, and other non-construction based issues included in Wagner’s petition. You can view and sign the parking petition using this link – UTC PARKING PETITION.

 

This story also featured on UTC’s campus broadcast station Mocs News.

 

 

 

 

City Council Approves Contract for Brownfield Cleanup

 

 

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. – Brownfields are abandoned properties that can be redeveloped for future use. They are typically the locations of previous industrial sites, and are likely complicated by the presence of hazardous substances.

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Brownfield site on Tennessee Avenue

Unfortunately, over 200 brownfield sites have been identified in the Alton Park area alone. This area was once home to the industrial and textile mills, chemical plants, and manufacturing hubs that made this part of Chattanooga a booming city. In the past century, however, the population and the industrial plants declined, leaving Alton Park area to become home to illegal dumping of pollutants, abandoned properties, and more.

Chamber Vice President of Economic Development Charles Wood said, “There are quite a few,” about brownfield sites in the city, “They offer an opportunity [to rebuild] with infrastructure already in place.”

Wood said his preference is to redo larger sites. “Those would allow for a substantial project,” he said.

The EPA brownfield cleanup grant has awarded Hamilton County 400,000 dollars toward the excavation and redevelopment of these sites. Chattanooga has chosen to cleanup the 54-acre Old 36th street Landfill site, which is contaminated with polyaromatic hydrocarbons. Funds will also be used to clean up the 9.5 acres of Old Railroad property stretching from Tennessee Avenue to W. 37th street. This area was previously used for unauthorized dumping, and is highly contaminated with polyaromatic hydrocarbons and metals.

(You can view a video of the brownfield site on Tennessee Avenue Here)

Richard Beeland, a spokesman for Chattanooga Mayor Ron Littlefield, said the mayor likes the concept.

“It puts untaxable property on the rolls. It recruits jobs. It has existing infrastructure,” he said.

brownfield

Brownfield site – Tennessee Avenue.

David DeVaney, president of NAI Charter Real Estate Corp., said “Since brownfield sites are in places such as Alton Park, attracting businesses to the locations is a way of bringing jobs back to the central city.”

The  Chattanooga City Council just recently amended a resolution for director of general services Dan Thornton to complete contracts with companies Terracon, Thomas Brothers Construction, and Wright Brothers Construction in the cleanup of these different sites.

Thornton said, “How much work it takes to clean up a brownfield depends on the contaminant at the site. Cleanup can take months, depending on the site.”

According to the Times Free Press, “Five years ago, Chattanooga’s Enterprise South industrial park was a 6,000-acre brownfield. Today, it holds the only auto plant in the world — the Volkswagen facility — that has Platinum Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification.”

Restoring these brownfield sites not only betters the environment, but it provides opportunities for more commercial and industrial businesses to come to Chattanooga and provide residents with jobs.

For more information about brownfield cleanups in Tennessee, click here to visit the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation’s brownfield redevelopment information page.

By: Ashley Broockman and Brian Bass

Hoffman Added to Titans Coaching Staff

Coach Steve Hoffman, former special teams coach for the Oakland Raiders.

 

By Ashley Broockman

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Tennessee Titans have hired Steve Hoffman as an assistant special teams coach and have promoted Arthur Smith to offensive line/tight ends assistant.

Hoffman spent last season as the Oakland Raiders’ special teams coordinator. He also has worked with the Dallas Cowboys (1989-2004), Atlanta Falcons (2006), Miami Dolphins (2007-08) and Kansas City Chiefs (2009-11). The Titans announced his hiring Monday afternoon.

Smith has two years of experience on the Titans’ staff. He worked last season as an offensive assistant/quality control coach.

More about Steve Hoffman Here.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

Groundhog Predicts Early Spring – Students Rejoice!

PUNXSUTAWNEY, Pa. (AP) — 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.

 

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

Bookstore Textbooks Problems for Faculty, Students

By: Ashley Broockman

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (UTC/The Loop) – The campus bookstore received numerous complaints this semester from both UTC faculty and students.

 Accounting professor Joanie Sompayrac, management instructor Cindy White, and Theater professor Steve Ray were just a few of the faculty members to raised complaints. All three claim to have had repeated trouble with the bookstore. These problems included: ordering incorrect books, ordering textbooks late, not enough books for the class and the complete cancellation of books as well.

 Many students have also complained about the bookstore’s mishaps this semester.

 “First of all, I ordered my books a week before classes started and I didn’t get them until the end of the second week of classes, which is ridiculous,” said junior Keaton Catignani. “Also when I went to pick them up I found out they had cancelled two of my books without any notice to me whatsoever.”

 The bookstore staff and Bobby Hamous, Barnes and Noble regional manager, met with faculty to deal with any of the issues they had this semester.

 Hamous said, “We’re here to serve students, and we’re here to serve faculty in getting books in by the first day of class every semester.”

He also said that faculty are urged to order books by the deadlines each semester and to contact bookstore manager Kellie Wright with any issues they may have.