Two Minnesota Teens Are Creative Criminals

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (UTC/AP) — Two teenage boys from central Minnesota are accused of stealing at least 17 calves to start their own dairy farm.

Authorities this week arrested a 19-year-old from Rothsay and a 16-year-old from Barnesville.

Stearns County Sheriff John Sanner says deputies received a tip that led them to 17 calves and eventually the teens. The calves are believed to have been stolen from three counties: Douglas, Stearns and Todd.

Investigators say the teens told them they wanted to start their own dairy farm. They say the teens planned to keep the heifers and sell the bulls, splitting the profits.

The calves have been returned to their owners. The case is being forwarded to prosecutors for possible theft and burglary charges

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.

More info at KVSC News.

Gifts That Keep On Giving

‘Tis the season to be… generous? Explore your options to buy gifts that give back this holiday season.

By: Mary Smith

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (UTC/TheLoop) –With holiday shopping having already begun, it’s not too late to become more enlightened to buying gifts that benefit others in need.

Most college-aged students are pretty broke and are on an all too familiar diet of Ramen Noodles. How can college-aged students make a difference in the world on such a tight budget? Many organizations are benefiting others in need from their sales. TOMS, STOP THE NAKEDNESS, and other organizations offer fair priced gifts that appeal to trendy people.

Toms Shoes

UTC student, Aimee Irwin's pair of TOMS.

Several companies have flourished using the principal of giving back to underprivileged people. TOMS shoes created a one-for-one movement in the United States in 2006 when Blake Mycoskie founded his revolutionary company. When you purchase a pair of TOMS shoes, a pair of shoes are sent to a child in need. The traditional style shoe starts at $44. Gift cards, shirts, hoodies and other accessories are also available online. Since 2006, TOMS shoes has grown in popularity as well as product variety and will not be going out of style anytime soon.

Nashville business, the Mocha Club, also has it’s own line of scarves that profit women in Ethiopia. The line is called fashionABLE. Scarves are appropriately priced at $22 per scarf. FashionABLE hopes to produce jobs for women in impoverished nations. When women cannot find jobs to support their families, many are led to a life of prostitution. FashionABLE hopes to prevent this from happening by providing jobs to the women in Ethiopia. Check out the informational video from livefashionABLE.

STOP THE NAKEDNESS is a non-profit company that has the same motivation as TOMS shoes. STOP THE NAKEDNESS is a company directed at showing the world love by donating clothing to children in need. For every shirt that is purchased, they will send a shirt to a child in need; but it doesn’t stop there. They send the consumer (you) a shirt to give to a friend to help raise awareness. The graphic tee shirts start at $20. Find out more about STOP THE NAKEDNESS in this promotional video:

Looking for a great pair of pajama pants? Try Punjammies. Punjammies are pants that are made by women in India who have been rescued, released, or escaped from forced prostitution. The Punjammie Project hopes to empower women by giving them a marketable job skill, therapy, medical care, and an education. Every purchase goes to establishing a fair trade wage, financial savings, and medical treatment. Punjammie pants start at $30 each.

Seasons Greetings!

A very popular seller for UNICEF: greeting cards.

UNICEF, or the United Nations Children’s Fund, is an organization that has been aiding children since it’s beginning in 1946. UNICEF claims to be a “global humanitarian relief organization providing children with healthcare, clean water, nutrition, education, emergency relief and more.” It is funded by contributions from individuals, groups, corporations, and several governments. Some of their financial support and awareness comes from their gift store. There is a wide range of gifts on the site for parents, siblings, friends and co-workers. Holiday cars, children’s toys, home decorations and jewelry are just a few things that UNICEF offers. UNICEF also says that, “…every UNICEF card and gift you buy helps children around the world.”

GreenShops is an eco-friendly organization that benefits people and animals in third world countries from their sales. The Green Shop website contains a multitude of enjoyable nick knacks as well as more sophisticated gifts. One of the items for sale is a bag that says, “Feed the children of the world.” When a person buys this bag, one child in Africa will be fed lunch everyday for a year.

Online shopping is an annoyance to some. It’s understandable. Luckily, Calvary Chapel, 3415 S. Broad Street, is hosting a fair trade market on Sunday December 5th. Fair trade coffee from Honduras, jewelry, bags, and more will be for sale. Holiday shopping before the dreaded finals will be a nice calm before the storm.

A lot of gifts that keep on giving can be very expensive. For instance, sponsoring a child through Compassion, Invisible Children or joining the Mocha Club can get expensive. College students don’t always have the money to commit to a monthly pledge. But, with gifts that keep on giving, it is a one time financial commitment to help people who need help.

Another way college students can give gifts that keep on giving is to serve in community kitchens over the holidays. The winter season is especially hard on families and volunteers are needed at the Chattanooga Community Kitchen in various areas. Helping out the staff and aiding people is a great way to give to the people Chattanooga who are in need.

Another college friendly approach to beneficial gifts is to participate in the Angel Tree Program through the Salvation Army. Angel Tree is a program where people buy a child gifts for during the Christmas season. They choose the child by picking their Angel off the Salvation Army Christmas tree. Volunteers are also needed to work the tree stations.

The last suggestion for buying gifts that benefit others is to ask people to donate to a certain cause for your holiday gift.

Why Fall Break Left Some Students Stressed

By: Mary Smith

With fall break officially over, some students are feeling more stressed out. Read more to find out why.

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (UTC/TheLoop) –With midterms finally out of the way, students were able to attempt to take a break from the stress of college life and relax during fall break.

Photograph taken by Aimee Irwin

Student Aimee Irwin and Macal Sheree enjoy a trip to the boardwalk in San Diego

Long distance travels can often times be stressful or leave travelers feeling rushed. This was not the case for UTC senior Aimee Irwin. Irwin, a senior from Dickson, Tenn., journeyed to Temecula, California to visit a childhood friend. “The best part of my trip was just being at my friend’s house; it was really relaxing.” During her trip to Temecula, Irwin enjoyed visiting Huntington Beach, a pumpkin patch, and carving pumpkins. “It was good cause there were no expectations; I got to relax and didn’t have to do anything.”

Rachel Hawkins, a sophomore from Knoxville, Tenn., traveled with a family member to Brooklyn, New York, to visit her brother. Hawkins spent her vacation shopping, touring Times Square, and spending quality time with her family. Hawkins said, “Whenever I go home I feel like I have to hang out with my friends; this time I got to hang out with my mom and my brother.” Hawkins said the vacation was very different than the other times she had visited New York because they did not visit many tourist attractions. “I just feel like it was so chill, and I didn’t have a tight schedule.”

Plane Ticket

Hawkins awaiting her departure to New York.

Surprisingly, most students who stayed in Chattanooga or who went home said they did not come back to school feeling refreshed. Time restraints and other responsibilities kept most students either in Chattanooga or homeward bound. Kate Marler, a senior from Chattanooga, spent her vacation planning her December wedding, working, and celebrating her upcoming wedding. “I had a lingerie shower and a bridal shower,” said Marler. Although her weekend was full of wedding bliss, Marler said she did not return to school feeling rejuvenated.

Vikki Hampstead, a junior from Chattanooga, used the break to study and work. When asked if she felt relaxed after the break Hampstead replied, “absolutely not.” When asked if professors gave too much work over the weekend Hampstead said, “Instead of letting it be a break, professors make it a point to make tests due that week.” She said the best part of her vacation was getting to sleep in on Monday and Tuesday.

Many students who traveled to other places than home were able to experience a temporary breach from reality. Hawkins said, “I feel like it was so much better to not go home.” Responsibilities and reminders of other priorities surrounded the students who went home or stayed on campus.

Fortunately for students who are still stressed, another opportunity to go on an adventure is lurking around the corner. Winter break is rapidly approaching as this semester comes to a close, and there will be time for yet another voyage.

Photo Taken From

It's almost time for another vacation. Bon Voyage!

UTC Students Find Balance Between School and Marriage

By: Mary Smith

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (UTC/TheLoop) –As if life after graduation is not scary enough, several UTC students have decided to tie-the-knot while still in school.

Jonathan Meeks married his bride Lizzy Kiern on August 7th, 2010, in an intimate ceremony in Franklin, Tenn. When asked why they got married while still in school, Kiern replied, “It wasn’t a question of ‘Should we get married after graduation?’ as much as it was a question of  ‘When do we think God is telling us to do this?'”

Photo of Jon and Lizzy taken by Nashville Photographer Evin

Jon getting to kiss his bride for the first time.

Meeks, a college senior, is expected to graduate in December of 2011 with a degree in Secondary English Education. He is currently a full time student and works as a self-employed piano tuner. Kiern, a full time student, will graduate in May of 2012 with a degree in History.

While most students have a hard time balancing schoolwork full-time, many married couples find balancing academics, work, and marriage has been easier than expected. Kiern says, “Balancing everything really isn’t that difficult.” She continues, “I don’t work, and Jon works for himself.” Kiern is focusing on her schoolwork as a full time student. “I feel like my academics have improved,” says Kiern.

Bonnie Reeves, a college senior, was married to Scott Holmes on July 10th, 2010. When asked how school has changed Reeves said, “I feel in a lot of ways I’m more focused actually because I’m not on campus with roommates that you can procrastinate with and get distracted with easily.” Reeves takes Monday, Wednesday, Friday courses, so Tuesdays and Thursdays she is able to do homework before her husband gets home from work as a Physical Therapist. When asked why she wanted to get married before graduation, this is what she had to say:

While most students leave college with thousands of dollars of loans, scholarships and grants make college more affordable. Although UTC doesn’t offer tuition cuts for married college students, financial assistance is available. “I get the Pell Grant, and then my parents pay for the rest,” says Kiern. “It really helps to have refund checks.” It is a need based federal grant issued by the U.S. Department of Education. It does not require repayment. Grants like these help young married couples by limiting their debt and giving them a step forward in their marriage. Cheers to that!

Scott and Bonnie toasting to their marriage!

University of Texas-Austin’s Text Alert Saves Lives

By: Mary Smith

(UTC/AP)AUSTIN, TEXAS– Yet another campus shooting, this one at the University of Texas in Austin, provided a terrifying test of how colleges respond at a time when universities nationwide have bolstered efforts to prevent bloodshed and respond decisively.

Since the mass shooting three years ago at Virginia Tech that left 32 dead, schools have beefed up mobile notification systems, staged drills with local law enforcement agencies, installed additional security cameras and honed their threat assessment systems — all while trying to avoid becoming walled-off compounds.

“It’s one of the most complex issues campuses will have to deal with over the next several years,” said Steven Healy, former director of public safety at Princeton. “How do you continue to create this open environment, where people are relatively free to move about, while maintaining a safe and secure environment? It’s clearly a balance.”

On Tuesday morning, a UT student in a dark suit and ski mask opened fire with an assault rifle near a campus fountain before fleeing to the sixth floor of the university library and fatally shooting himself, police said.

No one else was injured, and at least one witness said the gunman could have shot any number of people but didn’t. Authorities identified the gunman as 19-year-old Colton Tooley, a sophomore math major.

The initial reports of a gunman on campus set off a series of events recognizable to any campus security official post-Virginia Tech: a campus-wide e-mail and text alert that urged everyone stay put, a lock-down, a sweep of surrounding buildings and finally, an all clear.

“By all preliminary accounts, the University of Texas system worked quite well,” said Phil Johnson, president of the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators and head of campus security at Notre Dame.

Since Virginia Tech, many schools have either started or improved so-called threat assessment teams or managers, which field concerns from the university community about disturbing behavior and investigate them to evaluate threats.

“When we’ve researched these shootings, what we’ve found is a lot of different people had a small piece of the puzzle. They knew a little about this person,” said Marisa Randazzo, a former chief research psychologist with the U.S. Secret Service who has worked with colleges. “Threat assessment tries to put these pieces together and see what emerges.”

About a decade ago, UT formed an assessment team that meets to address student behavioral issues, said Soncia Reagins-Lilly, UT’s senior associate vice president for student affairs and dean of students. After the Virginia Tech tragedy, the university put in place an advice line so people can register concerns about individuals, she said.

UT has no record of Tooley being flagged for behavioral concerns before Tuesday’s incident, said Jeffrey Graves, UT’s associate vice president of legal affairs. “He was not on our radar,” Graves said Wednesday.

Colleges and universities also have dramatically expanded their emergency alert systems since Virginia Tech, a 2008 shooting at Northern Illinois University that killed six and incidents on other campuses. They’re putting information out quickly by land line, text, e-mail, websites, message boards, campus cable TV networks and loudspeakers.

Text messages, the preferred communication mode of millennials, are considered key. A survey in May 2008 from the Midwestern Higher Education Compact found that before Virginia Tech, 5 percent of responding colleges said mobile phones were included in emergency notification. Little more than a year later, 75 percent of those without that capability had made the move or planned to.

Within three days of the Virginia Tech massacre, the University of Maryland had expanded its notification system so it could blast out emergency e-mails and text messages, said Major Jay Gruber, the assistant chief of police.

The system now includes a continually updated list of 70,000 to 80,000 active university e-mails and 30,000 to 35,000 text-enabled mobile numbers, and parents and alumni can opt into the system, he said. Gruber said it’s been used for tornado warnings, a carjacking on campus and an off-campus armed robbery near student housing.

Colleges now also have a much better sense of what to tell people in the alerts, said Larry Hincker, Virginia Tech’s associate vice president for university relations.

“People want to know what they should do, rather than just getting an alert and telling them there’s a problem,” he said. “And that’s what Texas did.”

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.

Local Venue Hosts Outdoor Music Fest

By: Mary Smith

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (UTC/The Loop) —The Warehouse music venue is hosting it’s fourth annual LiveStock music festival on Friday October 15th and Saturday October 16th.

Here's a flier for you!


This two day long festival will be hosted on a 72-acre farm in Ooltewah, Tenn. Twenty-eight bands will be playing throughout the weekend. UTC Junior Clayton Freeman said, “I would take advantage of every opportunity to go to a hardcore show.” Although not all of the bands are in the hardcore genre, most of the bands are hardcore. Apple Trees and Tangerines, My Epic, and Half Price Hero are bands that will satisfy Indie Rock listeners.

Casey Whitaker, co-owner of The Warehouse, says, “Oceana and Sent By Ravens are the biggest bands that will be playing this year.” Oceana is signed with Rise Records and Sent By Ravens is on Tooth and Nail Records

Joey Whited, a LiveStock veteran, said, “I am most excited to see Sent By Ravens; they are an amazing band and legit guys.” Here’s the most recent music video from Sent By Ravens.

Camping overnight is permitted and encouraged. “They (the attendees) should bring  a sleeping bag, possibly sunscreen, bug repellant, a pillow and a tent if they want to sleep in something,” said Casey Whitaker. Camping out on the farm is a great way to meet other music fans and to get connected with music fans in the Chattanooga area. 

The concert this year will be different than the previous years. Casey Whitaker said that in the previous years, LiveStock was put together just to have fun. The show was just a bunch of bands coming together at an outdoor festival. This year there is purpose to LiveStock. “We’ve realized that nothing else really matters other than lifting up the name of Jesus, so now that’s all we’re about and all we want to do,” said Casey Whitaker. 

Outside food is allowed on the farm’s premises. Chik-fil-A will have a tent and will be selling food as well. Alcohol will not be permitted on the farm at anytime during LiveStock. Anyone found with alcohol will be escorted off of the farm’s premises.

Admission is $15 for one day and $20 for both days. The farm is located at 10528 Snow Hill Road, Ooltewah, Tenn. 37363.  Gates will open on Friday at 12 p.m.. For the full list of performers and more information click here. 

Warehouse Logo

Benefit Concert to Stop Human Trafficking

By: Mary Smith

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (UTC/TheLoop) —TraffickStop is a daughter ministry of the Chattanooga based non-profit organization, 10/40 Connections. TraffickStop seeks to end modern day slavery in Nepal. There are 21 border checkpoints going into or exiting India. TraffickStop has surveillance teams monitoring five checkpoints.

Photo by Steve

The surveillance teams look for suspicious behavior and investigates when necessary. Jenny Shirai, a 10/40 Connections supporter said, “Last year, in nine months, there were 1200 girls rescued at the border.”

After the young women are rescued, those who are do not have family to return to, are brought to a recovery home in Nepal.  “These girls are being loved on, many for the first time,” said Shirai. A typical stay at the recovery home lasts from three to six months. During their stay, the women are taught skills that will help them establish businesses in their villages. A few of the skills taught are:

  • how to read and write
  • how to drive
  • how to sew and knit
  • how to tailor clothes

A couple of TraffickStop’s goals for 2010 are to establish 13 new surveillance centers and to rescue 5,000 women and girls from trafficking. The benefit concert will help raise the necessary funds needed to fund these goals.

Sara Groves, a contemporary Christian artist, will be the musical guest for a benefit concert at Calvary Chapel, 3415 Broad St., to raise awareness and raise funds for TraffickStop. The concert is Sunday, September 26th at 7 p.m. Tickets are on sale for $12 at through the 10/40 Connection’s website or available for purchase at the door for  $15. Doors will open at 6 p.m.

Extreme Makeover: Grote Hall

By: Mary Smith

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (UTC/TheLoop)–After two years of  renovations, Grote Hall has been opened for academic use. Grote Hall underwent an internal face lift that began in the fall of 2006. A few of the changes include new heating and air units, fume hoods, plumbing, lighting, elevators, and chemistry labs.

Although the building is currently in use, students and faculty can notice a few unfinished things. The first floor hallway, information technology, elevator interiors, trim around windows, and the new exterior doors are still under construction.

Grote Hall houses the department of Chemistry, Physics, Geology, Astronomy, and Environmental Science. The departmental offices will be moved into Grote after Labor Day weekend.

The initial expected cost was $4.25 million, but the renovations are topping around $8.25 million.

Grote Hall was built over 40 years ago. It was named after a former UTC faculty member, alumni, and Chattanooga native Dr. Irvine Grote. He is most famous for inventing the active ingredient in Rolaids. Among scholars, Grote was one of the most distinguished American Pharmaceutical Chemists.

New Jetta Appeals to American’s Taste

Mary Smith

(UTC/AP) Remember the old saying, “If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em”?

Officials at German automaker Volkswagen may be taking it to heart at long last.

Perhaps more than any previous VW Jetta, the redesigned-for-2011 five-passenger sedan is built for American tastes.

  • It’s a bigger car with a bigger back seat for the kind of legroom that Americans demand, new sheet metal that makes the car look more upscale than before, and a lower starting retail price that puts the Jetta closer to top-selling compact sedans like the Toyota Corolla and Honda Civic.
  • In fact, the new Jetta’s rear-seat legroom of 38.1 inches is not only greater than the 34.6 inches in the back seat of the Civic, it surpasses the 37.2 inches in the back seat of the mid-size Honda Accord sedan. Overall, the Jetta is nearly 2.9 inches longer than its predecessor.
  • The base 2011 Jetta with front-wheel drive carries a starting manufacturer’s suggested retail price, including destination charge, of $16,765 with manual transmission and 115-horsepower, 2-liter, four-cylinder engine. With automatic transmission, the lowest-priced 2011 Jetta starts at $17,865.
  • These prices are still higher, by at least $360, than the major 2010 competitors in the segment. But the base model price tags are a long way from the starting retail price of more than $19,000 for last year’s model, which came with a bigger, more powerful base engine.
  • The new exterior styling of the 2011 Jetta makes the car appear a bit more mainstream. But it also looks more upscale and is a welcome change from the previous Jetta styling; it had grown old.
  • Inside, the changes bring mixed results. The dashboard plastic looks more utilitarian than last year’s Jetta. But controls and gauges are still attractively arranged.
  • There’s a new radio faceplate that draws attention and provides better visibility to the display
  • This also is the first year that the Jetta is available with push-button start as an option.
  • VW’s Intelligent Crash Response System, that automatically turns off the fuel pump, turns on emergency flashers and unlocks the doors after air bags are deployed in a crash, is standard and is on the Jetta for the first time. And six air bags, electronic stability control and antilock brakes are standard on all models.
  • Fans of VW’s fuel-thrifty engines will be happy to know the Jetta TDI — for turbodiesel injection — is in the 2011 lineup with the same 140-horsepower, four cylinder engine it had in 2010.

But the TDI won’t be in showrooms until late this calendar year; trim levels of the gasoline-powered Jettas — S, SE, SEL and GLI — arrive starting in October from the assembly plant in Mexico.

The test car was the mid-range SEL with 170-horsepower, five-cylinder engine, automatic transmission and nice standard features like 17-inch wheels, chrome-finished grille and navigation system with touchscreen.

Of course, VW is known for its road handling and ride, and the test Jetta wound its way through twisty roads and back-and-forth switchbacks with poise. I stayed in my lane on skinny two-lane roads without fuss, even at good speeds around curves. The more I drove, the more comfortable the driving became.

Despite the fact this 2011 Jetta’s suspension wasn’t tuned for sportiness, the car’s handling was pleasing. And the ride was not punishing or harsh for passengers, even on uneven pavement. All in all, I didn’t miss the previous year’s multilink rear suspension.

A second Jetta SEL with sport suspension offered more body control through the switchbacks, but the ride became fatiguing on bumpy pavement.

There was a good amount of road noise from the SEL’s 17-inch tires with and without sport package, particularly on ground-down concrete highway. But I didn’t notice wind noise.

The steering has shifted from electric boost to hydraulic but the steering in the test cars felt linear and comfortable.

To get to the lower starting price, VW installs a single overhead cam four-cylinder engine, generating only 115 horsepower and 125 foot-pounds of torque, into the base S model.

This engine wasn’t in last year’s Jetta but was in an earlier generation.

The base engine mileage estimates from the federal government of 23 miles per gallon in city driving and 32 mpg on the highway aren’t impressive, since the uplevel engine — a 2.5-liter five cylinder generating 170 horses and 177 foot-pounds of torque — has nearly the same fuel economy rating, 24/31 mpg. Both mileage ratings are for cars with automatic transmissions.

The best Jetta for fuel mileage will be, as expected, the one with the turbodiesel. Mileage rating for that car has not been posted yet.

I have always liked VW’s supportive seats, and the new Jetta has them, too. The back seat, commodious compared with last year’s Jetta, gave me enough room to stretch and extend my legs, though I still think driving with three adults back there might be a good idea for a short trip only.

Rear seatbacks fold down so long items can slip through from the 15.5 cubic-foot trunk.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.

Rainfall Brings Relief to Somalia

By Mary Smith

NAIROBI, Kenya (UTC/AP) — A U.N. agency says strong rains have cut the number of hungry people in Somalia by 25 percent, but that an estimated 2 million in the Horn of Africa country still need food aid.

The U.N.’s Food and Agriculture Organization said Monday that the gains Somalia has seen the last six months could be reversed if rainfall runs short. Six months ago 2.65 million people needed food aid.

One in six children are malnourished, including 35,000 who are severely malnourished. The agency said 90 percent of those children live in conflict areas.

Somalia hasn’t had a central government since 1991. Its most powerful militant group, al-Shabab, has kicked out many aid groups in the south and has warned Somalis not to eat food from the World Food Program.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.