6 Reasons To Attend a Trade Show, Expo, or Convention

By: Kyra Inglis

CHATTANOOGA – (UTC/THELOOP) Many people do not realize how attending a convention, trade show, or exposition can be to their benefit. What they don’t know is about the wealth of information, not to mention freebies, that are made available .

There is also a chance to meet people who are either semi-famous or  knowledgeable in a particular area. Most events are held by theme, so there’s always something of interest for anyone.

Here are six reasons that you should attend one of these events in your area:

Free Stuff: The swag opportunities are incredible. I attended two trade shows in less than a week, and in that time, I racked up four tote bags, a water bottle, a t-shirt, a tire pressure gauge, coupons for products at a local grocer, sunflower seed packets and samples of three different ice creams.

According to Ardyce Mercier, Co-Founder of Cleaning Green, not only do they want your business, but they also want to show you how to clean green. “We come in and clean every surface of your house.” At the Cleaning Green booth, she gave out cleaning recipe cards that showed you how to clean your home in an eco-friendly way.

What is important to remember is that many businesses are going to be present at these events, and they have promotional materials so that you remember their name, and what service they offer. To them, business cards are not enough, and while you can lose or throw away a business card, a free tote bag is always going to be used. And that is free advertisement for them.

Give-Aways : There are countless give aways involved at these events. Each booth usually has an offer for you to sign up with. At the Eco Expo in Chattanooga on April 13th, the main give away was a scooter, that to register for, you had to take your program for the event and have each booth sign that you had visited that booth. Then when you were leaving, you took your program back to the entrance and entered yourself in the giveaway.

This was the prize available to all at the Chattanooga Eco Expo, Tuesday April 13.

This was the prize available to all at the Chattanooga Eco Expo, Tuesday April 13.

Most of these give-aways are not that complicated. Usually, it involves filling out a form with your contact information, your interests in that booth’s products.

Beware though, if it is not something you want to win, don’t enter. Those businesses use that information to do cold calls to sell you their product. They also use any e-mail information to send you information on upcoming product changes. So if you’re not interested in junk e-mail offers, don’t add your e-mail address.

Information: Depending on the theme of the event, there is a wealth of knowledge that is available to the attendants of these events.  At the Southern Women’s Expo in Nashville, travel deals and new cooking products were featured.  The Eco Expo in Chattanooga had eco-friendly products and services that are available in the Chattanooga area.

One of the most interesting exhibitors at the Eco Expo was EVS, or Engineered Verdant Solutions, that offered Green Roofs, Eco-Paving and LIving Wall Systems. The Living Wall System is something that Chad Norman of EVS, said that local restaurants are really getting into. “With a living wall, people are less likely to spray paint or put their cigarette out on your property.”

Knowing what kind of event you are going to, will give you a sense of what do look for and what kind of questions to ask. It will also give you a chance to find the best possible answer from someone who knows about what you are looking for and has probably worked in that field.

Opportunities: There are several types of opportunities available. The opportunity to support local businesses in your area is one.  The opportunity to what services are available to you through companies, such as Earth Fare. Earth Fare offers a pantry makeover program, where you can “trade in your conventional peanut butter, soda, cereal, salad dressing, or jelly and get a free Earth Fare Brand replacement.”

Meeting People: While you can meet people anywhere, it’s a little different at a trade show, expo, and very different at a convention. Depending on what the theme of the event is, there are usually guests that the event holder have arranged to bring in. At the Southern Women’s Expo in Nashville, one of the guests for the weekend was Johnathan Kayne aka Kayne from Project Runway Season Three.


People at the Southern Women's Expo in Nashville, on April 9th.

People at the Southern Women's Expo in Nashville, on April 9th.

At conventions meet and greets are extremely different. Attendants of Dragon Con in Atlanta and the most recent ConNooga can tell you, the emphasis is on Special Guests. It works a little different at these type of events, however. Generally, you have to pay for an autograph, or a photo opportunity. This can get pricey if there are several people you want to meet.

However, if your fandom has no boundaries, it’s a no brainer. According to Rachel Stewart, she met Terry Gilliam at the 2009 Dragon Con, and got to see a special screening of clips from “The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus.”

“It was really amazing,” said Stewart, “and because I am a Monty Python fan, I got Gilliam to sign some coconuts from ‘Spam-a-lot’ for me.”  Overall Stewart said it was a really great experience, adding that  “it was really epic, because he took five to ten minutes with each person.”

Fun! : So this is an obvious one, but it had to be said. The fun factor is the whole reason that you would go to events like these in the first place. Whether it’s the thrill of getting free stuff, actually winning one of those prizes, or just the road trip involved, for some, it’s a mini adventure. Make sure you do your research before you go, however. You don’t want to spend all your time filling out forms for giveaways, when there’s free ice cream to be had. Here are some tips to make your experiences the best :

Have labels printed out with your contact information. Stick them on the entry forms, for quicker results.

Hit the booths with the bags first. You will be handed a lot of samples and literature, so it’s best to have a bag to put it in.

Remember that if you don’t want your contact information used for junk mail, don’t enter the give-aways.

Do your research in advance. Find out if there is an admission fee at the door. Find out what kind of show it is.

Charter School Leads Double Life As a NightClub

PHILADELPHIA (UTC/AP) — Who knew a school cafeteria could be so much fun?

A space where hundreds of Philadelphia charter school students have been eating their lunches during mundane weekdays has been doubling in its off-hours as nightclub, offering dancing and drinking despite an expired liquor license.

City and school officials are not happy about the arrangement between Club Damani and the Harambee Institute of Science and Technology Charter School, which serves about 450 children in kindergarten through eighth grade.

Superintendent Arlene Ackerman said in a letter to Harambee on Monday that “a school and a nightclub cannot coexist in the same space and (the arrangement) must cease immediately,” according to a school district statement.

As a charter school, Harambee receives about $3.5 million annually in public funds but operates independently of the district. Officials at Harambee, which is on spring break this week, could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

A statement on the school’s Web site said recent media reports contain “slanderous and inaccurate allegations.”

“This attack on Harambee Charter School is a biased depiction of the true success story that Harambee truly is,” it said.

Officers with the state Bureau of Liquor Enforcement visited Club Damani on Saturday, a day after WPVI-TV first aired a report on the building’s double-life. The segment included footage of liquor bottles and a YouTube video promoting the club in which a man refers to marijuana use.

No alcohol was being served when authorities arrived, bureau Sgt. William La Torre said Tuesday. However, club officials told officers that alcohol had been served in the past and that they thought their license was current, La Torre said.

Club officials denied any drug use on the premises and said the YouTube video was part of a standup comedy routine, La Torre said. Still, officers urged them to be cautious about their clientele, he said.

“Basically, we said we need you to do what’s right for the kids,” La Torre said.

Liquor licenses can be denied to establishments within 300 feet of a school. In this case, the school moved into a building that already was licensed, state Liquor Control Board spokeswoman Francesca Chapman said Tuesday.

Harambee’s facility in West Philadelphia was once an Italian-American social club that had held a liquor license since 1936, Chapman said. The club transferred the license to the school-affiliated Harambee Institute in 2002, but Chapman said it expired in 2008.

Neighbors also are upset about the situation, said city Controller Alan Butkovitz. He said he has received complaints about discarded drug packaging and liquor bottles near the club.

Butkovitz revealed Tuesday that Harambee is one of 13 charter schools under investigation by his office for questionable financial practices.

La Torre said the enforcement bureau last received a complaint — which was noise related — about Club Damani in January 2008, when it was still licensed to serve alcohol.

The city’s Department of Licenses & Inspections cited the club in February for lacking three necessary business permits, said Maura Kennedy, a spokeswoman for the mayor’s office. The club has until April 10 to comply or it will be shut down, she said.

Accused School Shooter’s Evaluation Was Negative

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The elementary school teacher accused of shooting and wounding his two principals appeared to calmly accept a negative evaluation about 10 minutes before the attack, one of the victims testified Wednesday.
Inskip Elementary School assistant principal Amy Brace told the court that she and Principal Elisa Luna met with fourth-grade teacher Mark Foster on Feb. 10 shortly after students were dismissed because of snow.
Foster's Mug Shot

Brace said Luna refused to meet privately with Foster after the evaluation but did agree to talk with him while Brace was in the office. Foster left the office, then returned soon after. Brace said she was busy handling paperwork when she heard Luna scream, then a gunshot.
“I heard Elisa yell and I heard Mark say ‘You know all that stuff that they said about me? I guess you should have listened,'” Brace testified.
Brace testified Foster then shot her, stepped over her and shot her again.
Foster was ordered held for grand jury action on two counts of attempted first-degree murder and one count of unlawful possession of a gun on school property. He appeared in General Sessions Court with a navy jacket and tie and was represented by Knox County Public Defender Mark Stephens and assistant Public Defender Kevin McGee.
Foster had been under investigation by Knox County Schools after an anonymous e-mail to Superintendent James McIntyre that claimed Foster was a “ticking time bomb.” It was later determined that it was sent by Foster’s brother, Anthony.
Stephens questioned Brace about her knowledge of Foster’s mental condition. But Knox County Assistant District Attorney General Leslie Nassios objected to the questioning, saying Brace is not qualified to make a statement on Foster’s mental health.
After the hearing, Stephens said his client has a history of mental illness.
“That history can be documented about 22 years, maybe more, so that’s the point we were trying to make clear in today’s hearing,” Stephens said.
Brace had at least a dozen supporters in court, including family members and three teachers from Inskip Elementary. Anthony Foster also attended the hearing.
“I’m here for both sides,” Anthony Foster said. “It’s kind of uncomfortable and kind of embarrassing because he’s my brother, but I don’t think he needs to be in society.”
Brace testified that she received some 40 to 50 stitches due to a gunshot wound to her head. Luna is undergoing treatment for a spinal cord injury.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.

Past Articles:
Delayed hearing for teacher accused in Knoxville school shooting

New Year’s Resolutions: How to Lose Weight without Joining a Gym

By Kyra Inglis

CHATTANOOGA (UTC/TheLoop) — Here we are, two weeks into the new year, and most of us have either gave up on our New Year’s Resolution, or we have settled comfortably into our new lifestyle that will help us succeed. The most common New Year’s Resolution is to lose weight. But with a recession going on, and the average gym price running in the upper 40’s and 50’s, who can afford to stick to that resolution? Or is there another way, people can get fit for free? The answer is yes, and here are five ways to do that.

  1. First, there is the work out. Most people either go to the gym or buy work out videos. But why buy work out videos when you can get wonderful workouts for free on YouTube? There are tons of workouts, from yoga and pilates, to boxing and basic toning. One to check out is the Urban Workout on  Underground Wellness, with Sean Croxton. Also remember that walking and running are free and all it takes is the first step.
  2. Second, there is a support level. Fiftymillionpounds.com is just one of many sites that can help you track your fitness level, what you eat, and show your progress. They offer an online journal that tracks your food and exercise, and a team builder so that if you and friends want to get into better shape, you can form a team.
  3. Third, is the nutrition portion. So many people have to start watching what they eat. Fast Food is convenient and easy, but it adds the pounds like crazy. So what’s the solution? Make better choices about what you put in your body. One good way of doing that is by eating more fruits and vegetables and cutting out the sodas.  Another way is preparing food yourself.  There are numerous sites that have excellent healthy recipes to get you started on the road to being healthier.  Or take a walk to your local library and check out some recipe books.
  4. Fourth, is the equipment necessary to workout with. This is one of the reasons that people go to a gym in the first place; so they can save money without dropping a bundle on a home gym equipment. Solution? Find a workout routine that is interesting to you and requires equipment that is not so fancy. Jumping rope is one of the easiest and cheapest ways to workout, because for around $5, there is a wide variety of exercises available. If you must have a treadmill or a stationary bike, check out your local Goodwill, where used equipment can be found for up to $50.  If you own a Nintendo Wii, there are a variety of workout games that will keep you dry and warm on those days that it’s too bad to be out.  Check out a used game store to get the bargains.
  5. Fifth, is discipline. This is the one that everyone has trouble with. There’s always a reason why a workout is not in your future. Either it’s too hot, to cold, or too rainy, or you’re just too tired. Whatever the excuse, it’s just that; an excuses. For UTC student Aaron Sutherland, he says that sticking with it is easy. “I just set goals for myself, whether it be strength gains or weight loss and I don’t stop until I meet those goals.  It helps to keep going over in your head the end result of all the hard work you have to do and how much it’ll be worth it”
arc photo

Workout machines ready and waiting

    Are you wanting to lose that weight for an upcoming vacation, or is it just about eating better and avoiding problems in the future? Either way it’s a win, and it’s a decision that you have to make for yourself.  Remember also to set realistic goals. Losing 10 pounds in two weeks is not realistic and not healthy, so why try it?

    Finally, reward yourself for your milestones. If there is an outfit you’ve had in mind at a local boutique or if it’s just treating yourself to a new CD, there should be an incentive (besides getting healthy) to keep yourself going. Little rewards also keep you from getting off track and quitting.

    Research into a Sunflower Hybrid May Solve Food and Fuel Problems

    By Kyra Inglis
    SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (UTC/AP) – A research project aimed at mapping the DNA of sunflowers could one day yield a new variety of the plant that will be used for both food and fuel.
    Researchers are looking at crossbreeding a standard sunflower with the Silverleaf species native to Texas that will produce bright yellow flowers bursting with tasty seeds and thick stalks. The stalks will be filled with complex sugars that can be turned into ethanol.
    The goal is to locate genes responsible for agriculturally important traits such as seed oil content, flowering, drought, and pest tolerance. Scientists hope that within four years, they’ll be able to develop a basis for breeding program that has an understanding of the plants’ genes that dramatically reduces the time it takes to develop hybrids.

    • The wild, drought-resistant Silverleaf is known for its woody stalks, which can grow up 15 feet tall and 4 inches in diameter.
    • Sunflowers are a nearly $14 billion a year industry, with 32 million metric tons produced worldwide each year.
    • The family’s genome is 3.5 billion letters long, which is slightly larger than the human genome.
    • Sunflowers are used primarily for cooking oil, although the seeds are found in snacks and other products.

    Researchers say that mapping the sunflower’s entire family sequence could lead to crop improvement, weed control and the development of wood-producing varieties that could be used for flooring and other products. “It’s extremely drought tolerant and grows very, very tall,” he said. “And what’s remarkable is that it’s pretty much wood from bottom to top, and yet it’s an annual,” said Loren Reisburg, a University of British Columbia botany professor and leader of the DNA sequencing project. “Increasing the complex sugars in Silverleaf’s stalk would make it a viable feedstock for ethanol.”

    43rd Annual CMA Award Nominees Announced

    By: Kyra Inglis

    NASHVILLE, Tn (UTC THE LOOP/AP) – The 43rd Annual Country Music Award Nominees were announced Wednesday, with Brad Paisley showing a strong lead with six nominations this year including “Entertainer of the Year.”

    Taylor Swift also picked up a nomination for “Entertainer of the Year,” being the youngest nominee in the category.  Swift’s CD, “Fearless,” has sold 3 million copies, making her the top selling act in country and in pop.

    “To country music radio and the fans and anybody who voted for the CMA’s this year, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you,” Swift said in a video posted on her MySpace page, counting out four ‘thank yous’ for each nomination.


    • Kenny Chesney
    • Brad Paisley
    • George Strait
    • Taylor Swift
    • Keith Urban


    • Miranda Lambert
    • Martina McBride
    • Reba McEntire
    • Taylor Swift
    • Carrie Underwood


    • Kenny Chesney
    • Brad Paisley
    • Darius Rucker
    • George Strait
    • Keith Urban


    • Randy Houser
    • Jamey Johnson
    • Jake Owen
    • Darius Rucker
    • Zac Brown Band


    • Eagles
    • Lady Antebellum
    • Little Big Town
    • Rascal Flatts
    • Zac Brown Band

    Former Hootie and the Blowfish frontman Darius Rucker is also up for 2 awards including “Male Vocalist of the Year” and “New Artist of the Year.”   Rucker’s first country album “Learn to Live”, released last year, was heavily embraced by fans.

    “I love being in country music because of the accessibility and the relationships you have with fans and with radio is awesome,” said Rucker.

    Five categories were announced on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” and the rest were announced later in the morning on the CMT network.  The 43rd Annual CMA Awards are scheduled for November 11, on ABC.

    Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.

    Trips Abroad Give Students College Credit and Culture Experience

    By Kyra Inglis


    CHATTANOOGA (UTC)–When students begin their college career, they are told of all opportunities that exist for them while they complete their studies like internships, organizations, volunteer opportunities, and the chance to study abroad.   Are UTC students aware of the opportunities that exist for them to take a trip that is shorter than a semester and still earn college credit?  What is included in these trips and what is required to go?

    In the last decade,  trips abroad for students included Russia, India, Spain, France, and England. They typically take place during students breaks, such as winter between the fall and spring semesters or during the summer months.  Generally, students have assignments related to what they see and do during the trips or they have a larger assignment due after the trip.   

    A great deal of work goes into planning some trips, including pre-departure arrangements such as transportation, site visits, food and lodging, budgeting and above all course requirements.  “It takes working with administration to get the plan approved along with the budget,” says Victoria Steinberg, UTC Professor of French and accompanying faculty for “Paris as a Text.

     Students also experience culture which is emphasized on these trips and recommended by the faculty. “Studying abroad and experiencing another cultural is very important, especially as globalization accelerates. I think it is valuable educational tool and every student that can possibly take part in a studies abroad program should do so,” says David Young, Drawing and Painting professor for the UTC Art Department, and accompanying faculty on the “Silverpoint Drawing in London” trip.

    While the cultural experience is a plus, and the chance to travel for college credit is irresistible, students have to think of cost.  According to Steinberg, students can expect to pay a lot but it’s still a bargain for the amount in return.  She gave a rough estimate of what her trip would cost a student: 

    • program: $2750
    • 6 hours of summer credit: $1339 in state
    • airfare: estimated at $1500
    • lunch & sundry costs: estimated at $700
    • total: around $6289 for one month in France. 

     Students interested in taking a trip with the University should get their information ahead of time by contacting the faculty in charge of that trip.  Some travel courses require  prerequisites that a student must fulfill before being able to take that course. 

    Why does UTC offer trips abroad as part of their curriculum? is it part of an accreditation requirement for colleges or just a fun short vacation opportunity?  It turns out that the answer is neither.   “Studying abroad and experiencing another cultural is very important, especially as globalization accelerates.  I think it is a valuable educational tool and every student that can possibly take part in a studies abroad program should do so,” says Young.

    Tennessee Governor Faced With Difficult Decisions

    By Kyra Inglis


    NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UTC/AP) — Tennessee lawmakers have been warned of the difficult budget cuts by Gov. Phil Bredesen.  The governor is scheduled to present his budget proposal to the General Assembly in two weeks, which includes about $900 million in reductions from Tennessee’s current annual spending plan.


    “There will be something for every legislator to not like in this budget, I promise you,” Bredesen said in a recent interview with The Associated Press. Bredesen says deep cuts will be necessary even if Congress passes a long expected federal relief package.


    These budget cuts will include significant layoffs of more than 2,000 state employees.  Bredesen says he hopes to be able to reduce that number through a series of adjustments in the state’s civil service laws.


    Bredesen also warned that even with the federal relief package, he has asked state agencies to prepare spending cuts of 6 percent and 15 percent, since Congress usually tends to want to control where the money is spent.


    “A lot of it will just depend on what strings are attached,” said Bredesen.  Primary education funding  is the only area that will be spared any cuts, and the Correction Department will only be asked to cut a maximum of 6 percent.


    Bredesen has also pledged to resist calls to use the state’s budget reserves to avoid the deepest cuts.  Tennessee currently has $1.2 billion in a rainy day fund and it’s Medicare reserves.



    The governor is taking $300 million of those reserves to close a $1 billion budget gap in a fiscal year that ends in June.  He says he doesn’t want the reserves to drop below $700 million to $900 million because of the uncertain time frame of our current economic difficulties.



    Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.


    To Serve,Protect And Conserve: Fuel-Efficient Vehicles Being Sought Out By Police

    By Kyra Inglis

    CAHOKIA, ILL. (UTC/AP)–After last year’s $4-a-gallon gas and fuel costs on the rise once again, many law enforcement agencies across the country are looking for ways to cut corners and reduce costs.  Fuel efficient hybrids, such as the four cylinder Pontiac Vibe GT, has plenty of pep for policing, and gets twice the gas mileage as the big horsepower Ford Crown Victorias.

    In Gulf Breeze, Florida, Police Chief Peter Paulding is pursuing a state grant to replace the internal combustion engines in three of the department’s 20 Crown Victorias with electric motors.  It’s not so much an environmental stance as much as it is a test to see if the new greener engines can withstand the rigors of police work.

    Tests like this are going on all across the country.  Salt Lake City Police have recently added five 2009 Toyota Camry hybrids to their fleet, looking to save as much as $20,000 a year.  

    An Atlanta-based Carbon Motors Corp. has designed a prototype car just for police work.  The E-7 includes flashers built into the car’s body for aerodynamics to twin-turbo diesel engine said to use 40 percent less fuel than the Crown Victorias.

    Police Chief Richard Watson admits that his department’s newest patrol car is a different departure and that he is a guinea pig of sorts.  When he told others at an FBI training program a year ago, he was met with raised eyebrows.

    “They wanted to get all my statistics once we start running this car and see how it performs and all that,” he says.  “Nobody wants to jump out there and do it; they don’t want to take the effort, time and money,” says Watson.

    The bigger question is not the speed and acceleration of the repowered vehicles, but how much of a range the vehicles have on a battery’s charge.  Paulding says a police cruiser in his city rolls up to 60 to 100 miles on a typical patrol shift.  He says it’s possible for an electric-powered car, through the vehicles might be less sensible for state troopers who log hundreds of miles a day.

    Paulding says, “We don’t think we’re going to be able to get away from gas-powered cars totally, but we think we could convert at least some of our fleet, and we think that most police departments could convert at least some of their fleet to these electric vehicles.”