Louisiana Rapper Arrested in Tennessee

By Bryson Simpson


NASHVILLE Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee Highway Patrol officers arrested Louisiana rapper Webster Gradney Jr., who goes by “Webbie,” for drug possession and tampering with evidence after returning from a show in Louisville, Ky.

The police agency said Wednesday that the 25-year-old Gradney was a passenger in a rental car that was stopped Monday on Interstate 65 south of Nashville in Marshall County. Gradney, of Baton Rouge, was found with $13,000 and 2 ounces of marijuana.


Gradney was taken to jail and made bail on a $21,000 bond. There was no attorney listed for Gradney at the Marshall County Jail on Wednesday.

Another passenger, 22-year-old Michael Abbott, also of Baton Rouge, was charged with intent of going armed and the driver, 34-year-old Derric Watson, of Zachary, La., was charged with driving on a suspended license

Chattanooga Youths Voice Will Be Heard

By Bryson Simpson


CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (UTC/TheLoop) — Brainerd High school Peer Mentoring Group is promoting change in the city. The Brainerd High schoolPeer Mentoring Group consists of 100 students, 40 of the students are mentors and the other 60 are mentees. Several members came to the city council meeting April 5 to speak on the problem that teens and kids are facing in Chattanooga. To see the agenda click here

The objective of Brainerd High school Peer Mentoring Group is to keep the teenagers and kids from doing negative activities in the streets of Chattanooga. They planned to do this by asking the City Council to toughen up on the curfew given to the Chattanooga youth.

Brainerd High school Students

Student Vice President, Alexis Moore, asked the council could they start cracking down and enforce the curfew so that children will be safe and stay out of trouble. She even asked the council for the curfew to be changed if violence doesn’t decrease. “We are asking the curfew to be earlier if the violence continues,” Moore said.

The Curfew now is 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. Sunday through Thursday, Children can play an hour longer on Friday and Saturday nights but “something needs to be done if the problem consists.” Janelle Tongue, who also represented the Mentoring Group, said, “ Even though we are teens we still have a voice.”

Brainerd High School Peer Mentoring Group also came up with some ideas that they will do to help keep kids off the streets and doing positive things for the community.

Cordell Paruchuii proposed the idea of having a “Summer Job for the Youth program” where they will take kids throughout the Chattanooga area and have them working at boys and girls clubs or summer camps. “Its something productive that the youth can do besides being in the streets.”

Another program that the Peer Mentoring Group proposed during the city council meeting was “Guns Anonymous” where people can donate guns and will not receive any punishment or be asked any questions. Also, Kellie Moore wanted the council to allow authorities to search people, especially minors. Listen to the Mentoring Peer Group  Brainerd High School City Council

In conclusion, the students showed leadership and courage by showing up to the city council meeting so that a positive change will happen in the community. Dominique Green, Brainerd High School Senior, said “We have to come together as a community   so we can have change.”


Cold Welcoming for New Coaches

By Bryson Simpson


ORLEANS (AP) — Welcome to the NFL head coaching fraternity, gentlemen. By the way, you can’t talk to your players, install new schemes or go after free agents right now.

That’s not exactly what the rookie coaches bargained for. With the lockout, it’s what they’ve got.

It’s a most damaging dynamic to teams starting anew such as the 49ers, Browns, Panthers and Broncos who went completely outside their organization to hire a new head man. At least Denver grabbed a grizzled veteran in John Fox, who won a conference title during his nine seasons in charge in Carolina. Jim Harbaugh in San Francisco, Pat Shurmur in Cleveland and Ron Rivera in Carolina are newbies.

The new coaches in Tennessee (Mike Munchak), Oakland (Hue Jackson), Minnesota (Leslie Frazier) and Dallas (Jason Garrett) either were with those organizations last year or, in Frazier’s and Garrett’s cases, actually took over as interim coaches in 2010. So their handicap isn’t quite as severe.

Still, the lockout is a hindrance as all eight of them try to rebuild struggling teams.

“It’s given us a little disadvantage,” Rivera said. “You want to have the team around and your veteran guys so you get a sense or a feel for what they do. There will always be a learning curve and now it’s steeper.”

More like a slippery slope. Rivera couldn’t put in place his offensive and defensive systems. He can’t identify who the key players will be on his roster because of all the turnover required in Carolina. He can’t chase free agents to fill some of the massive holes on both lines.

Teams aren’t exactly dead in the water because all 32 of them are preparing for the draft, which was protected under the collective bargaining agreement that expired on March 11. But it’s hardly business as usual.

“We have to be fluid, be ready as time goes on,” Rivera said. “The bottom line that we talk about is we have to be ready to play and adjust to whatever the situation winds up being.”

The longer the work stoppage, though, the more difficult it will be for the new guys. Except in Dallas and Cleveland, the quarterback scenario is in flux. It’s possible the starter whenever the season begins — if there is a 2011 season — isn’t even on the roster in San Francisco, Minnesota, Tennessee or Carolina.

New coordinators in most of those cities have little familiarity with their players. No matter how quick a study they might be, an assistant coach’s film work doesn’t replace hands-on teaching.

“The coaches are getting plenty of time to get ready for that,” Munchak said with a chuckle. “You have to be smart about it. Let your staff do what it does best, let your coordinators do what they are comfortable with, nothing drastic. You don’t want to be switching from a 4-3 defense to a 3-4.”

Oops. That’s almost what Fox is doing as he moves from Carolina to Denver; the Broncos are switching to the 4-3.

But Fox also knows his way around the league, going 73-71 with the Panthers and losing the 2004 Super Bowl to New England.

“Retread,” he said with a loud laugh.

“I had a chance to meet our players early on. I’ve watched plenty of tape. I think system-wise offensively we’re not much different since our offensive coordinator from a year ago will be back again. Defensively we’ve got some (coaches) back, but there’s no doubt we’ve got an adjustment as we go 4-3.

“But again, these things are not rocket science.”

They can be complex, though, when someone is coming from the college ranks and has been out of the NFL since 2003. Harbaugh, who spent 14 years as a pro quarterback for five teams, comes from coaching bloodlines. His father Jack has spent more than four decades on the sideline, and brother John has led the Ravens to the playoffs in all three seasons in charge in Baltimore.

For the new 49ers coach, who chose San Francisco over Miami — or remaining at Stanford or going back to his alma mater, Michigan — the biggest challenge is to stay positive.

“It doesn’t do any good to get frustrated and I wish I could be with the players right now,” said Harbaugh, who is finishing up his playbook and preparing for the draft. “The thing I was most looking forward to coaching in the National Football League was being back with those guys. The pros.

“It’ll happen. But they’ll be back. We’ll be back with them.”

When that occurs, the Niners in many ways will be starting from scratch. The other three teams in the division — Seattle, St. Louis and Arizona — are far deeper into their systems, their staffs far more familiar with the players.

“Everybody seems to agree that it’s a disadvantage for first-year coaches,” Harbaugh said. “It probably is. But we’ll find a way to overcome it.

“I just love being in uncharted waters. There is something about it. There’s more of a challenge to it. Maybe it’s because I grew up in 12 different towns before I graduated from high school, I don’t know. Something about it, I just feel more comfortable when it’s the uncharted waters.”


Copyright 2011



Girl Scouts Cookie Protest

By Bryson Simpson


MINNEAPOLIS (AP)– Minnesota Girl Scouts say they will sit out an upcoming cookie sale to protest plans to sell off some of their camps.

Financial pressures and declining membership have led the Girl Scouts of Minnesota and Wisconsin River Valleys council to sell four of its 12 camps.

The sales have upset some Girl Scouts and leaders, who have formed an opposition group. One of its leaders, Kim Zaiman of Maplewood, says her daughter and some other members of their troop won’t be selling cookies when the annual sale starts Saturday. And she says the boycott is gaining support.

National Girl Scout officials say many councils have sold property to save money in recent years.

The Star Tribune of Minneapolis first reported the cookie sale protest.

Bluegrass icon recovering from pacemaker procedure

By Bryson Simpson


COEBURN, Va. (AP) — Ralph Stanley’s publicist says the 83-year-old bluegrass music pioneer is recovering at his southwestern Virginia home after a procedure to insert a pacemaker.

Norma Morris says Stanley had the procedure Monday after experiencing a lengthy bout of sluggishness and lack of energy. She told the Roanoke Times that Stanley was feeling better when she spoke to him by phone Thursday night, and he is expected to be fine.

The Grammy Award-winning musician only had to cancel one show. His next scheduled performance is at the Grand Ole Opry on Jan. 21 and 22.

Copyright 2011

Mich. woman can sue over toilet paper dispenser

DETROIT (AP) — A Michigan woman says she can’t work or crochet and her bowling game has suffered since her right hand was broken by a toilet paper dispenser in a restaurant bathroom. Checkout Texas Roadhouse website here

The Michigan Supreme Court, in a 4-3 order, has refused to throw out Sheri Schooley’s lawsuit against Texas Roadhouse in suburban Detroit. Liberal justices were in the majority in a decision that raises questions about what businesses need to do to protect themselves from liability in strange situations. For more information on liability insurance click here

Schooley, 58, acknowledged it’s a “bizarre story.” She and her husband were out for dinner on New Year’s Eve 2007 when she visited the restroom.

“I reached and the cover of the toilet paper dispenser fell down on my hand,” the South Rockwood woman told The Associated Press on Monday. “It looked like the dispenser was up but it wasn’t latched. At first I thought I was all right. I thought it was just bruised.”

But the pain didn’t fade, she said, and her husband had to cut her steak. When Schooley returned to work, she couldn’t use a stapler. Diagnosis: broken bone.

Three years later, “I still cannot use the hand. I have no grip,” said Schooley, who had to quit her job as an administrative assistant because she couldn’t type.

A Wayne County judge and the state appeals court have refused the restaurant’s request to dismiss the lawsuit. The Supreme Court has twice followed the lower courts, most recently in an order released Saturday. Wayne County website if here for more information.

There is no evidence that restaurant employees inspected “toilet paper dispensers to see if they were closed,” Chief Justice Marilyn Kelly wrote.

“It is not for this court but rather for a jury to decide if the dispenser that harmed her constituted a dangerous condition,” she said.

The court’s three conservative justices said the liberal majority was overreaching. In a biting dissent, Justice Stephen Markman noted that the restroom was checked for wet floors and other obvious problems every 15 to 30 minutes.

Texas Roadhouse “apparently also had a legal duty to inspect for hazards that could not reasonably have been anticipated, such as a toilet paper dispenser opening unexpectedly,” Markman wrote sarcastically.

Restaurant lawyer Scott Feuer was disappointed with the decision.

“If the court is going to find something as innocuous as a toilet paper dispenser as a dangerous condition, then what wouldn’t be?” he said.

Schooley said she still bowls but was forced to switch to her left hand.

“My average used to be 140. Now it’s 95 to 100,” she said. “Quite a drop.”

Copyright 2010

Not Your Ordinary Business Conference

Who said you couldn’t mix business with pleasure as Association of Tennessee Alphamen host the district convention in Chattanooga.

By Bryson Simpson


CHATTANOOGA, Tenn.(UTC/TheLoop)–The 2010 District Convention took place November 18 – 21 at the Sheraton Read House hotel. The District Convention had several events such as, business meetings, Ms. Black and Gold pageant, step show, oratorical, as well as others. Check online here for an overview of the hotel.

The Association of Tennessee Alphamen consists of 21 graduate and undergraduate chapters that are all over the state of Tennessee. 18 of the 21 chapters attended the District Convention this year. to learn more about ATA

The first day of District Convention was a meet and greet for all of the members of Association of Tennessee Alphamen. During the meet and greet the fraternity members did several teamwork building exercises with other chapters then their own. Also, the fraternity members performed strolls with different chapters.

After the meet and greet, the fraternity members from each chapter began to register delegates for the District Convention. The chosen delegates received gifts and free entrances to all the events during District Convention weekend. The last event of the day was brotherhood fellowship, where the undergraduate and graduate members congregate with each other.


The next day of the District Convention started with a business meeting about the importance of Health care for African Americans and getting routine checkups. They also, stated how some of the older fraternity members should be more open about routine checkups and encourage other people to get checkups as well.

After the Health care meeting, the voting for Assistant Area Director started. Brandon Batts from MTSU and Daniel Ashley from ETSU were the candidates up for election. Daniel Ashley was elected the new Assistant Area Director after all the votes were casted. To find out more about the Health care achievement

The Scholars Bowl was the next event that took place. The Scholars bowl is when all of the undergraduate fraternity members compete in a Jeopardy style trivia game. The Scholars Bowl consists of two rounds. After the first round the two chapters with the highest score will compete in the final round. UT Martin and ETSU were the two chapters that made it to the final round, with ETSU pulling out the victory in sudden death.

The last event of the day was Ms. Black and Gold. Eight chapters had the winner of their chapter Ms. Black and Gold compete in the pageant. The competition consists of swimsuit, talent, formal, and question answer. The pageant was so exciting because the competition was more intense then the chapter pageants. UT Martin queen won first place and will move on to compete at the Regional Convention. Information about the pageant is here

Winner of District Ms. Black and Gold Ashley White

Third day of District Convention started with a college brother luncheon. The luncheon was for undergraduate fraternity members; also the luncheon had guest speakers talking about the importance of implementing our national programs, which are Project Alpha, Voteless People is a Hopeless People, and Go to High School Go to College.

The college brother luncheon then leads into the Oratorical Contest. The Oratorical Contest consists of one member of each chapter giving a fifteen minute speech about a specific topic. Lane College, TSU, and Vanderbilt competed in the contest and the topic was Internet homeland security. Channing Bailey from TSU won the oratorical contest with his entertaining rap which tied into the topic.

College brother luncheon

Then came the highly anticipated step show where 18 chapters competed for who would win, and move on to step at the Regional Convention. Also, the district step show brings out the friendly rivalry because the winner also gets bragging rights. TSU received first place, MTSU received second, and UTC received fourth. Information on the step show can be found here

After the District Convention there was a ceremony for Fraternity member Arlyce Garth that recently had his 60th anniversary in the fraternity. The ceremony had several skits in that were entertaining. The fraternity members that were hosting the District Convention presented him with a life membership card.

There were parties for the undergraduate fraternity members both Friday and Saturday. Information about each party can be found here As District Convention ends, Regional Convention are right around the corner in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Chattanooga’s Essence of a Queen

When you hear the word pageant you think of Ms. U.S.A. or Ms. World. However, Chattanooga has their own pageant called Ms. Black and Gold Scholarship Pageant

By Bryson Simpson


CHATTANOOGA, Tenn.(UTC/TheLoop)–Several different pageants take place around the world. From baby beauty pageants, teen pageants, gay pageants, and scholarship pageants. Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Incorporated hosts scholarship pageants called Miss Black and Gold Pageants all over the United States.

The bylaws of Miss Black and Gold Pageant states, “That under the sponsorship of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., is an outgrowth of the long standing tradition of the Fraternity chapters recognizing outstanding young women, their achievements and talents. The Fraternity recognizes the valuable contributions of women scholars in the undergraduate community.

The first national Miss Black and Gold Pageant was held during Alpha’s 1976 General Convention in New York City where Miss Denise Smith, representing Georgia State University, Atlanta, Georgia, was awarded the first prize.

The Eta Phi Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha hosts a Annual Miss Black and Gold Scholarship Pageant ever since they have been reactivated in 1998. The Eta Phi Chapter was chartered on the campus of University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and the campus is the usual location where the pageants are hosted. Phillip Rosser, The Chairman of The Miss Black and Gold Pageant, said,” The Pageant this year is separated into six sections which are dance, Introduction, swimwear, talent, formal, and question and answer.

This year the Eta Phi Chapter had their annual pageant on Oct. 27 in the University Centers Auditorium. The theme they chose for the nine contestants was “The Fruits of The Spirit” which are love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance.Each of the contestants chose a spirit and had to pick out fruits that represented them.

The contestants of the pageant were

  • Shanee Driver
  • Kaila Warren
  •  Amanda Thompson
  • Ciera Conley
  •  Alyssia Morales
  •  Kayla Hyatte
  • Jessica Ornsby
  • Faith Henderson
  • Ashley Robles

After the Question and Answer section the judges were making their final tallies of the contestants so the new 2010 Miss Black and Gold could be announced. Ciera Conley was awarded Miss Congeniality, Kaila Warren was awarded Best Talent, Faith Henderson was awarded Miss Black and Gold Runner Up, and Jessica Ornsby was awarded 2010 Miss Black and Gold.

Jessica Ornsby, 2010 Miss Black and Gold, said,”I enjoyed myself throughout the whole process of the pageant. I have established great relationships with the other contestants and I am looking forward to progressing to districts.”

The winner of Miss Black and Gold will move on to the district, which is held in Chattanooga as well on Nov.22.

Elvis fan from Chilean mine gets trip to Graceland

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Chilean miner and Elvis Presley fan Edison Pena was pulled from deep beneath the earth’s surface on Wednesday and promptly received an invitation to visit the King’s home.

Pena, who is 34 and married, emerged from the rescue capsule Wednesday after being trapped underground with 32 other miners for 69 days.

Pena was reportedly among the most depressed of the trapped men and asked rescuers to send down a photo of the sun. He jogged regularly in the adjacent tunnels that weren’t blocked by collapse.

After hearing that Pena was an Elvis fan, Elvis Presley Enterprises sent various gifts to Chile, including a picture, DVDs, CDs, a book and sunglasses. “Viva Las Vegas” and “Jailhouse Rock,” were among the movies.

“It just seemed it was the right thing to do for someone who is an Elvis fan, to send him some things that might keep them entertained,” company spokesman Kevin Kern said.

After his rescue, an invitation was extended for an all-expenses-paid trip to Memphis and a special tour of Graceland, where Elvis lived for 20 years before he died on Aug. 16, 1977.

“We’re going to make him feel like a rock star,” Kern said.

The Graceland site includes his mansion, the graves of Elvis and family members, and various exhibits featuring The King of Rock ‘N’ Roll. Thousands of fans of his movies and music flock there each year from around the world to commemorate his death with a candlelight vigil.

Kern says he does not expect an answer from Pena to the invitation any time soon, saying there are more important things Pena needs to take care of.

“I’m sure they’ve got a lot of reuniting to do,” Kern said.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press

Dark Twisted Fate

Bryson Simpson


CHATTANOOGA, Tenn.(UTC/TheLoop)–What would you do if you entered an elevator with four people that you have never met before; the elevator stops, and demonic events start to take place? Well that’s what five characters have to go through in the film “Devil”.

The film “Devil” starts off with a man committing suicide by jumping off a building. Then you hear Ramirez mention stories of the Devil roaming the earth and it always begins with a suicide. Detective Bowden is called to the building where the suicide happened to help with the investigation.

At the same time, five strangers enter an elevator, which is located in the same building where the suicide has taken place. The five strangers consist of an elderly woman, a security guard named Ben, a salesman named Vince, a young woman named Sarah, and a former U.S. military soldier named Tony.

Weird things start to happen starting with the elevator getting stuck. While stuck in the elevator the five strangers start discussing their backgrounds and found out that each of them has a criminal background. The elderly lady was a thief, Ben the security guard has a violent past, Vince was a con artist, and Sarah was a blackmailing gold digger.

Then, the lights go off and Sarah has a wound on her back. The people in the elevator start to suspect Vince of assaulting Sarah because he is covered in blood. Later, one by one the five strangers start to die. Vince is the first to die when the lights cut off and his throat is slashed.

Overall the film “Devil” has a good plot, the story made sense, and the special effects to draw in the audience. Also, “Devil” did a good job by not making the storyline obvious and it keeps viewers in suspense. Also, the film has a lot of “twists” and unexpected connections throughout the story.

Copyright 2010