Fire and Police Pension Gets The OK By City Council

By Arielle Henson

CHATTANOOGA,Tenn. (UTC/ The loop) — Chattanooga City Council okay’d the fire and police pension plan on Tuesday of last week following months of negotiations.

Mayor Andy Berke stood before the council and attendees addressing recent issues with the pension while ensuring changes will be made to the plan.

“We couldn’t look someone in the eyes and promise what was going to happenin the future, ” said Berke. “By adopting these changes we will actually be able to look these people in the eyes and say ‘ you are going to actually receive the benefits you expect’.”

Berke said the city can expect three things from the pension plan:

  • A more motivated work force
  • It will attract quality employees
  • Show our responsibility to the tax payers

Some citizens of Chattanooga are not so sure that this will be true for pensioners. Retired police Sgt. Kirk Salter has been fighting this pension since the beginning.

” I’m a firecracker and I’m not through with them yet,” said Satler. ” Travis McDonald and Andy Berke are no friends to public safety.”

Although the Chattanooga City Council has passed this plan, there are several steps to go through before the pension plan will actually be put into play.

Chattanooga City Council Chambers

Chattanooga City Council Chambers

Knoxville City Council has shut down the same pension plan that Mayor Berke has suggested for Chattanoogan’s. President of the Firefighter’s Association of Knoxville, Kevin Faddis, has made his opinion on the pension plan very clear and plans to continue to do so in hopes that cities like Chattanooga will listen.

“We have made concessions, we will continue to make SOME concessions,” said Faddis. ” We dont do what we do for money, obviously. But we would like to at least retire with some dignity.”

He said he has worked for the city of Knoxville for over 18 years and has no plans for retiring anytime soon, but hopes this can be resolved before his time with the department comes to an end.

Faddis thinks there are ways to fix these problems and cutting pensions is not the answer.” They certainly could cut non essential projects, ” he said.

While the city may be in a large amount of debt, is cutting pensions the right way to go?

“You pay for a service (taxes) it may not be tangible for all at once, ” Faddis said, “but I can assure you, when citizens need us, we are there. No matter what.”

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“Go Green” by eating yellow- Yellow Deli, that is.

By: Alex Givens
Chattanooga, TN (UTC/The Loop) – “Go Green” by eating yellow- Yellow Deli, that is.
For some, the Yellow Deliis a place of studying solitude. It provides an earthy atmosphere where students, business men and friends can come together over a hot cup of fresh herbal tea and enjoy fresh hand made bread. It is best compared to what it would be like to live inside of a tree trunk that Sunny and Cher hand painted in the 60’s.
The Yellow Deli- Chattanooga, TN

The Yellow Deli- Chattanooga, TN

Since 1978 the Yellow Deli has provided a wide variety of fresh garden made from vegetables grown in the garden to organic breakfast muffins with berries. According to one of the “Found Fathers” of the Deli, Ayal, the Deli Roast is the most popular sandwich. Nothing they serve has been prepackaged.
For those that have ventured into the Yellow Deli they have seen the colorful walls decorated with Biblical images as well as a feature that makes the Deli unique. Everything inside of the Deli is made from reclaimed wood, “We tore down old buildings and put it all together. We even straightened out nails! We were just out of the 60’s so the decor is out of the 60’s” says an enthusiastic Ayal.
Along with a variety of delicious meals to choose from, the Deli began producing all natural beauty products from lotions to creams. This addition came in 1979. Not only does it have a beauty bar, but there is also a smoothie bar where patrons can choose from a variety of fresh blended drinks.
Their food is not the only thing that has the people buzzing. The religious practices of the Deli has also raised a few eyebrows. They are considered to be one of the “Twelve Tribes” that participate in the Jesus Movement that began in 1972 by Gene Spriggs.
Originally the “community” began at a coffee shop called “The Lighthouse” where the members lived communally and then opened the Yellow Deli. Their division from the traditional route of religious practice raised concern from Chattanooga’s Citizen Freedom Foundation who deemed the group a ‘cult’.
Of the many people who find their practices to be on the “cultish” side, Karne Draper of Utah who was once a member of their “family” lived with them for two weeks before deciding she did not agree with their lifestyle choices or religious practices. According to Draper, the “Supreme Disciple” who will remain unnamed, is in charge of every detail of their lives including what they eat and wear.
Draper, who was a student at Chattanooga State College withdrew herself from the program after speaking to her academic counselor, “You should have seen the look on my counselor’s face when I told him what I was doing. I just smiled and said, ‘I found Jesus!’”.
While her experience there was less than pleasant that does not speak for the entire population. There are many who have found their food, service and attitudes to be pleasant and more than satisfactory. Experience it for yourself over a hot bowl of soup or a hot discussion about your religious practices. Both are popular options on the menu at the Yellow Deli.
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4 Women, 4 Strings

By: Charnele L. Box

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn (UTC The Loop)- The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga’s music department is known for having great musical events. This year the music department is will present the Marian Anderson String Quartet to the Chattanooga community, February 20 – 22.

In the fall of 1989, members of the Marian Anderson String Quartet, then known as the Chaminade Quartet joined forces to accomplish more than they ever dreamed. The Marian Anderson String Quartet has won major classical competitions and performed at the White House during a Presidential Inauguration.

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(top to bottom- Prudence McDaniel, Diedra Lawrence
Marianne Henry, Nicole Cherry)

The Marian Anderson String Quartet Residency project was initiated by Dr. Jonathan B. McNair, Coordinator of Theory and Composition at UTC, as part of an effort to raise public awareness of the contributions to concert (classical) music by African American and other minority performing artists and composers.

“I became interested in bringing acclaimed African American classical music composers and performers to Chattanooga a few years ago. I had purchased a collection of music by Black composers, and liked some of the music very much,”  said McNair.

The four women are passionate about their musical art. They will perform a concert for the public, work with local music students, of high school and collegiate levels, conduct a workshop for young composers from around the Southeast, and participate in a public panel discussion.

The MASQ will visit Orchard Knob Elementary school on Thursday Feb. 20 in the morning, and Center for Creative Arts high school Thursday afternoon Feb 20.

“I hope to bring other highly skilled minority artist to campus in coming years, such as the Ritz Chamber Players, and/or the Imani Winds, or fine solo artists who I’ve come across online. If this MASQ program is successful, which I believe it will be, then we have a foundation to build on for the future,” he continued.

Each member of the ensemble is trained at top conservatories and universities such as Julliard School of Music, the Manhattan School of Music, and Shepherd School of Music.The women of the string quarter have a strong commitment to music education, and established a community music school in their home base of Bryan, Texas, as well as string quartet music camps in the Southwest and the Virgin Islands.

Sources: UTC Music Department and Marian Anderson Quartet Sites

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Frigid Temperatures Don’t Frighten Students

By: Megan Montgomery

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn (UTC/The Loop) — Our city has experienced some of the coldest temperatures in years this winter, but even the presence of Jack Frost doesn’t deter the outdoor desire of a true Chattanoogan.

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A student captured this frozen falls on a trail at Lookout Mountain

According to some students, the outdoor culture and opportunities in Chattanooga are part of the allure of UTC. Students are travelling from all across the state to attend school and live in the land of Moon Pies, mountains, and a multitude of Rock Creeks.

Junior Ethan Buyer says he gets outdoors at least once a week. In the last month, he has fought the treacherous temperatures while hiking, climbing, and backpacking.

“Sometimes the weather is the adventure,” says Buyer, who spent the Martin Luther King holiday hiking miles of snow covered paths on the Appalachian Trail.

Freshman Abigale Lawrence especially enjoys hiking when the weather is warmer, but she hasn’t let the cold drive her inside for the season. She embraced the wintry weather with her friends last week when campus was covered in snow.

Junior Luke Johnson hiking a snowy trail

Junior Luke Johnson hiking a snowy trail

The cold conditions call for many different kinds of preparations, but some activities are more enjoyable in the cold according to Junior Luke Johnson. When climbing in warm weather, he says, humidity and sweat can cause more moisture on the rock making it harder to climb. The cold weather creates a natural grip for climbers.

Although, frozen temperatures are not every student’s cup of tea. In this case, the Aquatic and Recreation Center (ARC) and UTC Outdoors offer a range of opportunities to get moving and get outside. Senior Emma Tinius  exercises at the ARC three times a week to stay out of the cold.

“I prefer working out in the ARC when it’s cold outside. It’s just harder to find a machine to use because it’s crowded.” says Tinius.

photo by Joakim Roth

photo by Joakim Roth

UTC Outdoors encourages students to get outside by offering trips all throughout the semester for students to participate in such as:

  • Snowboarding
  • Skiing
  • Mountain biking
  • Caving
  • Kayaking
  • Climbing
  • Hiking
  • Sky Diving

Chattanooga is a natural sanctuary no matter the weather, and UTC students are always diligent to stay active and appreciate the sights and surroundings of our city.

 

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Late Refund Checks Won’t Keep The Lights On

By: Cody Dowler

CHATTANOOGA, TN (UTC/The Loop) –  A few unlucky UTC students have reported troubles they’ve had receiving money from financial aid. This has resulted in students receiving refund checks up to 3 weeks late.

My late refund check added late fees to my utility bills
Late refund checks have added late fees to utility bills.
Photo from Salon.com

As many students know, whenever you take out a federal loan you must sign something called a master promissory note which basically is your promise to the government that you will pay them back for your loan.

Some students waited two weeks after the refunds were supposed to be given out before going to the financial aid office to find out what was wrong. This is because they originally thought the problem was with the bursar’s office.

The financial aid office said they hadn’t received some students master promissory notes yet. These students became furious at this point and let the office know it very well. Students complained about being late on rent, Comcast, and EPB bills, and also about receiving late fees for each of these bills all because financial aid hadn’t received the promissory note yet.

As it turns out, they found these promissory notes the following day and these students received refunds the following Wednesday which was 3 weeks later than most people.

Josh Hawkins, a senior from Dickson, said, “I’ve had quite a few issues with receiving my money on time from financial aid. This semester I got my refund two weeks later than everyone else.”

When asked about how much he was depending on that refund money, Hawkins said, “I needed it really badly, I had to call home and ask my parents to pay my rent for the month. If my rent wasn’t so cheap though, they wouldn’t have been able to pay it. I don’t know what would’ve happened then.”

Sylvia Graves helping out a student in the financial aid office

Sylvia Graves helps out a student in the financial aid office

Sylvia Graves, a student services assistant who works in the financial aid department, said, “Yes, sometimes we do misplace things. We’re not perfect and it is important that students bring their issues to our attention. We can always hand out emergency loans if students need money immediately while we resolve whatever issues there may be.”

For more information on emergency loans and financial aid services, click here

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UTC Is Building Towards Success

By: Sid Sadler

CHATTANOOGA,Tenn(UTC/The Loop) – UTC is planning on purchasing the State building off McCallie Ave., and turning it into an all freshmen residence hall in the coming future.

Currently, the only residence hall that’s all freshman is Stagmaier Hall, which is located on the south side of Lockmiller.

Layout of Stagmaier Hall Bedroom.

Layout of Stagmaier Hall Bedroom.

Vice Chancellor for Housing and Residence Life Tim Johnson said that the school has already purchased the property, and is waiting for the state to move offices from the old building to a new location.
There are still some issues needing to be worked out, Johnson said,  “No decisions have been made of the disposition of the building. We have an architectural firm doing an analysis of the building to help in that decision making process. All options are on the table at this point.”

Some on-campus freshman aren’t sure about how they feel about an all freshman residence hall. Freshman Casey Stinnett said, ” I don’t like the idea of secluding freshman in one building.”

  • Freshman retention rate has been an issue for UTC, according to a Times Free Press article. At the current rate the article said, UTC is retaining less than 70% of freshman.
  • In that same article Johnson said, “If these students thrive, they’ll stick around for another year or three to earn a diploma.”

Other students echo what Johnson has said. Junior Rachel Curtis said,  “I think a new building will bring a new type of excitement here on campus, and possibly keep some freshman here on UTC’s campus.”

The new residence hall doesn’t have a final scheduled open date. Johnson did say they hope they can open by fall 2017.

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Pigeon Forge fires threaten 20 homes, cabins

20 homes and cabins were evacuated during the forrest fires

20 homes and cabins were evacuated during the forrest fires

By Taylor Ellis

PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (AP / The Loop) — Authorities say a brush fire on the outskirts of Pigeon Forge has forced the evacuation of at least  20 cabins and homes.

Lt. Kevin Nunn with the Pigeon Forge Fire Department said the fire started around 1:30 p.m. Sunday.

He said most of the evacuations involved cabins and that the fire had not reached any of the structures.

Nunn said the fire was at one point being driven by winds of up to 30 mph, but later said the winds had decreased and that firefighters were “getting a handle” on the blaze.

“They’ve got … better control than they had,” he said. “They are feeling a lot more positive about it.”

Nunn said the fire was not a threat to Dollywood theme park, which is to the east of the blaze.

 

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

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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.

___

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.

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Possiblity of Wine being Sold in Tennessee Grocery Stores

By: Courtney Brice

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (UTC/The Loop)- Tennessean’s have been long awaiting the ability to buy wine in grocery stores, and their wait may come to an end if a bill is passed.

Tennessean's are wondering, "Where's the Wine?"  Photo from the Chattanooga Times Free Press

Tennessean’s are wondering, “Where’s the Wine?”
Photo credit: Chattanooga Times Free Press

“The bill, sponsored by Sen. Bill Ketron and Rep. Jon Lundberg, would allow cities and counties to hold referendums on whether to allow wine to be sold in supermarkets and convenience stores,” according to the Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Several Tennessee residents have been wanting wine to be sold in grocery stores for a while. Chattanooga resident Merrile Stroud exclaimed, “I would love it!”

According to the Chattanooga Times Free Press, “Present Tennessee law limits wine sales to package stores, where liquor is sold. Beer is sold only at grocery and convenience stores.”

Thirty-three states currently allow wine sales in grocery stores, including Georgia.  Stroud explained that by allowing this bill to be passed, “it would create revenue for Tennessee because many Chattanoogan’s go to Fort Oglethorpe, GA  because they can buy wine at Costco.”

Former grocery store manager and Chattanooga resident Cameron  Wallace, explained that, “Selling wine would be okay because stores already allow beer, so as long as it isn’t hard liquor then it would be perfectly acceptable.”

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The decision is still being made whether wine will be sold in Tennessee grocery stores. Photo credit: Memphis Daily News

“Opponents say the change would adversely affect the about 600 existing liquor stores around the state. They also raise concerns about higher-proof alcohol becoming more widely available to minors,” according to the Associated Press.

The concern of carding customers has risen although grocery stores already card for beer sales. Wallace explains that the addition of wine should not be a problem in causing an increase of underage drinking because, “if they really want it, they will get it regardless.”

Although the bill is still being debated, many Tennessean’s are crossing their fingers that it will be passed.

 

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All Aboard UTC’s Mocs Express

By Alexandria Adams

Chattanooga, Tenn. (UTC/The Loop)-  UTC provides students, faculty, and staff  a way to get to their destinations on campus quickly, safely, and free of charge.

The Mocs Express is a part of  the city of Chattanooga’s CARTA bus system. CARTA is Chattanooga’s public transit provider. Anyone with a validated UTC ID card can ride the bus.

Mocs Express

UTC’s Mocs Express

Three buses run throughout the day, starting at 7:30 a.m. until 8:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

“Generally, the  busiest times people are on the bus are between the hours of noon and four o’clock,” said CARTA driver Rhonda Albert. “The UC and the corner store are where I pick up the most students.”

Benefits of Riding a CARTA Bus with a UTC ID/ Mocs Express:

  • Unlimited free access to downtown Chattanooga, Hamilton Place, Northgate, and other CARTA routes
  • Wheelchair accessible
  • Busses run every 6 minutes

UTC freshmen Shauntra Spencer and Raquel Fuller said they both take the bus each day. ” I think it’s more convenient.” I have learned to know the schedule so I know when it will be coming and how long I’m going to have to wait,” Spencer said.

Weather plays a key factor to why some students take the bus said Fuller.” The bus is the most crowded when it’s cold or rainy.”

Engle Stadium Parking

 Other students who take the Mocs Express are those who park in the gravel lot near Engle Stadium. The lot is a distance from UTC’s campus, but the Mocs Express picks up and drops off many students from the location each day.
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Sophomore Bernie Smith said that she just recently found about the lot and enjoys using it. “When I didn’t know about this parking lot I would go over in the other gravel lot off of Palmetto. I would circle around there for a good 30 minutes searching for a parking spot and I would be late to class all the time.”
Smith said before she found out about the Engle Stadium parking lot she had aquired over $180 worth of money in parking tickets. Smith said she likes the fact she can leave her home 15 minutes before class starts, catch the Mocs Express ,and make it to campus on time.
For more information about The Mocs Express or the CARTA bus service please visit www.utc.edu/Adminstration/ParkingServices  or call (423)-425-4051.
Hop on board the Mocs Express with Mocs News! Mocs News interviewed students and CARTA staff about the shuttle experience. Click below to watch.

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