UTC’s Bookstore Looking to Improve the Textbook Buying Process

By: Nick Porter

CHATTANOOGA, TN (The Loop/UTC) — Every time it is time to buy or return textbooks UTC’s bookstore gets backed up with students. Due to the long lines many students are resorting to purchasing their textbooks online to avoid the clutter at the bookstore.

The administrators at the bookstore are tired of losing these customers to online retailers like Amazon. UTC’s bookstore manager, Kellie Wright said the bookstore is always looking for ways to make the process easier and more efficient.

Wright emphasized students are the bookstores number one priority and they are constantly looking for ways to make the system easier on students. Wright goes on to say, “We have already done it with the new POS systems we put in two years ago, which every major retailer uses. This helped reduce the wait times as enrollment continues to increase.”

Textbooks can be rented

Textbooks can be rented from the bookstore

 

UTC is continuing to grow each year, making the bookstore look for new ways to accommodate the influx of students. Wright said students can purchase their textbooks from the same page as their course schedule.

This process gets students in and out quicker because their is no exchange of money at the teller and less waiting in line.  Once the order is made the books are prepackaged so the students don’t have to peruse the store looking for their books.

She said this separates the people looking to pickup their online purchases, from the students who still need to purchase the books. She said this cuts down on the jumbled mass of students waiting to be checked out, by cutting the lines in half and separating the two groups of students.

Wright said they are currently working with corporate Barnes and Noble to figure out new approaches to making the process run smoother. Wright said, “we are such an awesome campus, and one of the first universities that Barnes and Nobles has talked to about this new system.”

Wright said she isn’t authorized to say what Barnes and Nobles and the school are talking about but she did say students will be excited about it. She said if all goes according to plan students may see the first changes next week during rental returns.

Students should know the options on campus for getting rid of that textbook you’ll never look at again. More information on textbooks buybacks and returns is available here.

This video gives you a look at the bookstore and what a student typically pays when purchasing their textbooks. This video was shot by Taylor Ellis of Mocs News.

Here are a few steps that the bookstore says will help you get in and out of the bookstore easily and efficiently.

  1. Look up your textbooks under the academics tab on “MyMocs.net”
  2. Purchase the necessary books on the list before the semester starts
  3. Go to the bookstore at an early time when it is less likely to be crowded
  4. Be prepared and know what you need to purchase before arriving.
  5. Ask one of the bookstore employees to help you find what you are looking for.
  6. Make sure you have plenty of funds before going to the bookstore, so you don’t have to return at a later date to pick up what you couldn’t afford.

Students book prices are rising year to year and it is becoming unaffordable for students to purchase all of their books. For information on how to save money when purchasing your books, check out this story.

For students who want a new option, here are a few that might help you out when purchasing text books.

Click here to participate in a survey to see what you think about the bookstores process.

 

 

 

UN Workers Killed in Somalian Airport

By: Nick Porter

UN Workers ducking for cover in Somalia

 

MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP/UTC The Loop) — Gunmen inside an airport in Somalia shot and killed two consultants working for the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, the U.N. mission in the country said Monday.

Nicholas Kay, the U.N. representative to Somalia, said the two were working in support of Somalia’s aspiration for a peaceful and stable future.

 

Britain’s Foreign Office said one of the workers was British. The U.N. did not immediately release the nationality of the other consultant.

William Hague, the British Foreign Secretary, condemned the killings and called on Somali authorities to urgently investigate the case.

Should the UN prosecute the Somali Pirates?

A U.N. official who spoke on condition of anonymity because the information hadn’t yet been made public said the two slain workers were working on a counter-piracy program and were looking at the financial flow of money related to Somalia’s pirate attacks.

 Straziuso reported from Nairobi, Kenya.

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

Tennessee, Virginia cruise into NCAA round of 16

By: Nick Porter

CHATTANOOGA/ RALEIGH, N.C. (AP/The Loop) — The ACC’s national championship hopes now come down to one school: Virginia.

Meanwhile, Tennessee — one of the three SEC schools still in the field — came to Tobacco Road and turned it into Raleigh Top.

The Cavaliers and Volunteers cruised into the NCAA tournament’s round of 16 with lopsided victories Sunday night: Tennessee routed Mercer 83-63 before Virginia beat Memphis 78-60.

No. 11 seed Tennessee (24-12) will play second-seeded Michigan in a Midwest Regional semifinal Friday night in Indianapolis.

Virginia (30-6), the top seed in the East Region, will face fourth-seeded Michigan State in a semifinal that night in New York.

The Volunteers and Cavaliers restored some semblance of order after an unpredictable first day in the heart of ACC country.

It began Friday when Mercer beat Duke for the signature upset of the tournament, included Tennessee’s 19-point victory over Massachusetts and continued through Memphis’ tight win over George Washington.

The Vols had an easy time beating those Bears on Sunday and ended Mercer’s pursuit of a second straight Sweet 16 appearance for a tournament darling from the low-major Atlantic Sun Conference.

With “Rocky Top” echoing throughout PNC Arena all night, Tennessee outrebounded the Bears 41-19 — 24-4 in the first half — led by Jarnell Stokes, who broke the school’s NCAA tournament rebounding record he set two days earlier against Massachusetts.

Stokes had 17 points and a career-high-tying 18 rebounds against Mercer, after grabbing 14 boards against UMass.

“Any time we have Jeronne (Maymon) and Jarnell wearing Tennessee orange,” teammate Jordan McRae said, “we always feel like we have the advantage.”

Tennessee’s win helped the football-first SEC improve to 7-0 in this tournament. The Vols joined No. 1 overall seed Florida and Kentucky in the regional semifinals.

“I’ve been hearing that the SEC has been a football conference for a long time, but I don’t know how you can still say that when you’ve got three SEC schools in the Sweet 16,” McRae said.

Mercer was trying to match last year’s Florida Gulf Coast team in parlaying an Atlantic Sun title into a spot in the NCAA tournament’s second weekend, and become the first No. 14 seed to make the round of 16 since Chattanooga in 1997.

But the senior-laden Bears (27-9) trailed by double figures for the entire second half and couldn’t conjure another fantastic finish.

“I think hopefully by the time (reality) sets in, we’ll all be able to put a smile on and realize that what we’ve been able to do at our school, and for the city, has been phenomenal,” forward Jakob Gollon said. “It’s kind of hard to see right now.”

Mercer’s win over Duke was the most surprising in a series of losses this weekend for the ACC, which has only one team left standing — and it’s not traditional power North Carolina or heavyweight newcomer Syracuse.

“Lot of pride” in that, guard Malcolm Brogdon said.

The league champion Cavaliers were in control throughout against Memphis, leading by 15 at halftime and going up by 27 late while earning their first regional semifinal appearance since 1995.

Joe Harris scored 16 points and Anthony Gill added 13 for the Cavaliers, who hold a No. 1 seed for the first time since Ralph Sampson wore orange and blue.

Austin Nichols scored 15 points for the Tigers (23-10), whose season ended on the opening weekend of the tournament for the fourth straight year.

“Virginia came out, played Virginia basketball, out-toughed us, out-aggressived us,” Memphis guard Goren Johnson said. “They made shots. Every time we made a mistake, they capitalized on it with a bucket. There’s no excuses.”

___

Follow Joedy McCreary on Twitter at http://twitter.com/joedyap

 

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

Pension plan passed Chattanooga City Council’s first reading

By: Nick Porter 

CHATTANOOGA, TN (UTC/ The Loop) –  The Chattanooga City Council approved the pension board’s recommended legislation to address the massive debt to the pension fund.

Mayor  Berke addressing Pension Plan

Mayor Berke addressing Pension Plan

The drawn out six-month debate on the public safety employees’ retirement benefits came to a close Tuesday evening when the Chattanooga City Council unanimously approved the first reading of the new legislation.

The plan approved by the pension task force appointed by Mayor Andy Berke’s, is supposed to save Chattanooga $227 million over the next 25 years and make sure future retirement benefits are secure.

According to a recent evaluation by the city, the budget currently can only supply 54 percent of the promised benefits, and with the new legislation the city can afford 64 percent of the benefits.

Before the vote, the mayor said that the plan before them would secure a pension benefit for employees and retirees in the future, a promise he and many others agree could not be guaranteed otherwise.

“The changes that you’re about to consider to our police and fire pension fund are really an important moment in our city,” Berke said.

The savings stem primarily from a reduced cost-of-living adjustment to retirees’ benefits. Currently, pension checks go up 3 percent every year to account for inflation. The new plan would move the COLA to a tiered system in which retirees receive, on average, an annual adjustment of 1.5 percent.

The city is expected to save $5.1 million in 2014 under the changes. Berke said the freed-up revenue could be used to fix pay discrepancies in the police department in which lower-ranking officers earn more than those in more senior positions.
Not everyone in the city council meeting was happy about the new legislation. Kirk Salter, a retired sergeant in the Chattanooga police force, stood outside city council visibly upset after the vote on Tuesday. He said, “the Supreme Court rules that you can’t do something detrimental to change the pension plan, and thats just what their doing.”
Salter said, city council and Mayor Berke have not had the city’s public safety at heart when deciding this plan and that they are no friends of emergency responders.

 

He says his next step is to take the city to federal court because Andy Berke, Travis Mcdonough, and the City Council are knowingly exposing the city to liability and violating the law. He hopes to have his case represented pro-bona and has strongly voiced his opinion over the last few months.
The City Council will vote two more times on the ordinance. The vote Tuesday, along with unanimous approval by the pension board last week, was seen as a clear sign that the changes will soon be law.

Flu Outbreak: General Overview, and How UTC Has Fared

By: Nick Porter 

CHATTANOOGA, TN (UTC/ The Loop) - Tennessee joins 11 other states who are experiencing a flu outbreak. Tennessee’s outbreak is considered in the most severe category listed by the Centers for Disease Control.

The Entire Country's Status of The Flu Outbreak

The Flu Outbreak Across the Nation

North Georgia has experienced similar issues including two flu related deaths on Monday according to the Times Free Press.

The epidemic has not affected UTC as much as the rest of the area, according to Timothy Jones, the director of Student Health Services at UTC. The university has had around 20 cases this outbreak, which is a relatively low number Jones says. He states that none of the cases have been too severe, and that compared to the rest of the area UTC has been blessed.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8RKv1Tj_jJ0

Kelli Findlay, a senior in the communication department,  told me what she does to stay healthy during the flu season. She said, “I don’t get a flu shot because my friend got it and had a much harder time with getting sick. I would rather just carry around hand sanitizer and take vitamins.”

For students who did not get the vaccine like Kelli, here are a few pointers from Dr. Jones.

  • First and foremost wash your hands often, and avoid touching your face.
  • If someone you know is affected by the flu try to avoid contact or being close to the person.
  • Also use paper towels instead of cloths to dry hands and clean surfaces.

 

If you feel like you may have the flu Dr. Jones says there are a few symptoms associated with the virus.

  • Dry hacking coughs and a sore throat are some immediate signs.
  • After that fever or chills can occur along with muscle or body aches.
  • Dr. Jones also says that the only way to truly know if you have the flu is to visit a healthcare provider.

Appointments can be made with Student Health Services by going to their website or by calling the clinic at 423-425-2266.

If any students are looking for more tips to lead a healthy lifestyle, the university offers campus wide health promotions including activities and presentations. For more information visit their UTC webpage.