A Day in the Life of Parking Services at UTC

By: Sloane DeBerry

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (UTC/TheLoop) – Parking is a problem on every college campus, but at UTC parking tickets are becoming a growing pandemic.

All parking tickets that are given out at UTC have to be paid at Parking Services.

Many students do not know the day to day tasks that workers at parking services face. Blair Ryan, parking attendant at parking services, describes her daily schedule as answering phones concerning questions about how to pay tickets online, questions about rules and specific dates, and does some cashiering in the front office.

A student paying for a parking ticket at Parking Services

A student paying for a parking ticket at Parking Services

Many students at UTC try to think of ways to get out of paying a parking ticket, Parking Attendant, Blair Ryan, explains that there is an appeal process that many students take advantage of when they are not liable for a parking ticket they received.

When asked what was the most common excuses for parking tickets, Blair Ryan had this to say.

UTC Parking Services gives out anywhere from 400-500 tickets per day.

For the day shift, which is from 8:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m., the average number of tickets given out range from 100 to a little under 300 tickets.

The second shift, which is from 5:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m., focuses on any reserved lots that are labeled 24 hours.


Map of Reserved and General Parking at UTC

Courtney Shirkey, a junior from Chattanooga, said she has received several parking tickets for not having her parking decal in her car for her particular lot. She said the appeal process is very long, but its worth it when she doesn’t have to pay for a ticket.

The majority of ticket writers are UTC students, but they have a total of seven ticket writers during the day, and five in the evening. Some supervisors and managers also help with the writing of tickets, as well as campus security and campus police.








Chattanooga Housing Study

By: Sloane DeBerry

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (UTC/The Loop) – The prices of houses in Chattanooga are at an increasingly high rate and leave residents of the city concerned.

Chattanooga housing market leaves a number of houses for sale.

Chattanooga housing market leaves a number of houses for sale.


“Housing for All” to the City Council at the meeting on Feb. 26. a 83 page study concerning the housing market in the Chattanooga area. John Bridger, Executive Director of RPA, recommended that the city form a Housing Task Force to review his findings.

“I want to emphasize that this is a report and is not a formal policy. I also want to emphasize that the report recommendations have not materially changed from the housing summit,” John Bridger said.

The goal of this study, suggested by the City Council of Chattanooga, was to see if the city’s housing polices were constant with the residents choosing to rent homes instead of buying them. This study was conducted during the time span of a year.

“Sixty or 70 percent of households that make less than $30,000 are spending more than 30 percent on housing, which is considered, that’s over what’s recommended nationally,” Bridger said.

Executive Director of Chattanooga-Hamilton County Regional Planning Authority

Executive Director of Chattanooga-Hamilton County Regional Planning Authority

Betsy McCright  is the Executive Director of the Chattanooga Housing Authority. McCright said the need for affordable housing is significant, there are 1,600 people on their public housing waiting list.

“Demand for lower-priced homes is increasing, especially affordable, quality homes in the urban overlay zone,” Yuen Lee, RPA director of information and research, said. The housing plan focuses on the overlay area of neighborhoods between Missionary Ridge and the Tennessee River in Chattanooga.

“This could have some real spin-off effects in reducing crime. Where the neighborhood goes, crime goes a lot of times and so many things that can come from improving the neighborhood situation, the housing situation,” Councilman Jack Benson said.











Lost Purple Heart

By: Sloane DeBerry 

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (UTC/theloop) — A Southern California woman who grew up knowing little of her father — a heroic casualty of World War II — is now the proud owner of his long-lost battle medals, including a Silver Star and Purple Heart

Image of Purple Heart


Hyla Merin’s mother never spoke about the Army officer who died before she was born. The scraps of information she gathered from other relatives were hazy: 2nd Lt. Hyman Markel was a rabbi’s son, brilliant at mathematics, the brave winner of battlefield honors who died sometime in 1945.

Aside from wedding photos of Markel in uniform, Merin never glimpsed him.

About four months ago, the manager of a West Hollywood apartment building where Merin’s mother lived in the 1960s found a box containing papers and the Purple Heart while cleaning out some lockers in the laundry room, Merin said.

The manager contacted Purple Hearts Reunited, a nonprofit organization that returns lost or stolen medals to vets or their families.

A search led to Merin.

On Sunday, she received the Purple Heart, along with a Silver Star she never knew her father had won and a half-dozen other medals.

Merin wiped away tears as the Silver Star was pinned to her lapel during a short ceremony attended by friends and family at her home in Westlake Village, a community straddling the Ventura and Los Angeles county lines. The other medals were presented on a plaque.

“It just confirms what a great man he was,” Merin said tearfully. “He gave up his life for our country and our freedom. I’ll put it up in my house as a memorial to him and to those who served.”

Merin’s mother, Celia, married Markel in 1941 when he already was in the military. They met at a Jewish temple in Buffalo, N.Y.

Markel was killed in the last days of World War II in May 1945 in Italy’s Po Valley while fighting German troops as an officer with an infantry unit, said Zachariah Fike, the Vermont Army National Guard captain who founded Purple Hearts Reunited.

“The accounts suggest that he was out on patrol and he got ambushed and he charged ahead and basically took out a machine gun position to save the rest of his guys,” said Fike, whose organization has returned some two dozen medals. “For that, he paid the ultimate sacrifice.”

He was awarded the Purple Heart and Silver Star posthumously, but for some reason the family never was told about the Silver Star and it was never sent to them, Fike said.

Merin’s mother never talked in detail to her daughter about Markel.

“It was a very difficult topic for her. When my father died, she was seven months pregnant with me,” Merin said.

Her mother briefly remarried when Merin was 10 but her stepfather died three years later, Merin said.

Her mother moved into the apartment in 1960 and may have placed the Purple Heart in the locker then, Merin said. Her mother lived there until 1975 before moving away, and Merin’s aunt lived there until 2005. Another aunt lived there until 2009.

They never spoke about what was in the locker, and the family must have missed the box when they took away the aunts’ possessions in 2005 and 2009, Merin said.

Merin said that in addition to the Purple Heart, which Pike kept for framing, the box contained letters and other papers, and her father’s Jewish prayer book.

“I found it very hard to look at. A lot of them were condolence letters,” she said.

Merin’s mother was told about the discovery of the Purple Heart but didn’t live to see it — she died Feb. 1 at age 94.


Associated Press writer Christopher Weber contributed to this story.


Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

Future Storms Predicted

Chattanooga, Tenn (UTC/TheLoop)

MISSISSIPPI (AP) — A tornado tore through Hattiesburg on Sunday as part of a wave of severe storms that downed trees, damaged buildings and injured more than a dozen people.

The twister traveled down one of Hattiesburg’s main streets and mangled homes, commercial buildings and structures on the campus of the University of Southern Mississippi. Emergency officials said at least 10 people were injured in surrounding Forrest County and three were hurt to the west in Marion County, but they weren’t aware of any deaths.

Mississippi Emergency Management Agency spokesman Greg Flynn said it appears that a single tornado caused the damage in those two counties and Lamar County. Hundreds of homes are damaged in Forrest County, along with a couple dozen in the other two.

Flynn said the sheer scope of the damage was slowing the assessment of damage.

“The problem is, it was so strong that there’s so much debris that there’s a lot of areas they haven’t been able to get to yet,” he said.

On the campus of the university, trees were snapped in half around the heavily damaged Alumni House where part of the roof was ripped away. Windows in a nearby building were blown out, and heavy equipment worked to clear streets nearby in a heavy rain after the worst of the weather had passed.

The university released a statement saying no one was hurt but that it was under a state of emergency, anyone away from campus should stay away until further notice.

East of campus, 47-year-old Cindy Bullock was at home with her husband and dog, a terrier mix named Vinnie, when she heard the tornado coming. They ran to a hallway and covered their heads. It wasn’t long before the windows in the kitchen and bedroom exploded. The storm stripped all the shingles off the roof and left holes in it, while knocking over a large pine tree in the yard.

After dark, the Bullocks were trying to arrange their stuff inside so it wouldn’t get wet from the dripping water.

“I just looked out the window and I heard the rumbling. It sounded like a train. We ran to the hall, and the kitchen windows and the windows in the bedroom exploded. It happened pretty fast,” she said.

There were large trees blocking the road all through her neighborhood, and several of the houses were hit by falling trees. Her friend was staying with them after the friend’s apartment took a direct hit from a falling tree.

Forrest County Sheriff Billy McGee says 10 or 15 people were injured by the tornado that slammed Hattiesburg and other parts of the county — but none of the injuries was serious.

He says, “Most of our injuries have been walking wounded.”

To the west, Marion County emergency director Aaron Greer says three injuries have been reported in the community of Pickwick, about seven miles south of Columbia. He says two people were taken to hospitals, but the third didn’t have the injury examined.

Greer says one mobile home was destroyed, three other structures have major damage and several have minor damage.

Gov. Phil Bryant plans to go to Hattiesburg on Monday to check out damage in the city and at USM, his alma mater, spokesman Mick Bullock said.

On Sunday night, John and Katherine Adams were cleaning up around their one-story white house where the storm punched holes in the roof, busted windows and completely destroyed the back porch. The couple was at home with their 7- and 3-year-old daughters when the tornado passed next to their house.

All through the neighborhood, houses and vehicles were damaged by falling trees.

“We’re safe, and that’s all that matters,” said Katherine Adams, 46.

John Adams, who’s in the building supply business, said he was surprised to see broken boards that appeared to be from new construction in his yard because there are no homes being built nearby. “We’ve got stuff around here; I don’t even know where it came from,” he said.

McConnaughey reported from New Orleans.Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

Safety on UTC’s Campus

By Sloane DeBerry

CHATTANOOGA (UTC/theloop)- A recent shooting at Lone Star College in Texas makes students at UTC wonder about their safety on campus.

Regan Chandler a senior from Memphis, Tenn., said she feels safe on campus, but wonders if the university is prepared for dangerous situations.

The university is in the process of installing Beacon panels in the 100 most heavily used classrooms on campus.

Beacon alert system panel

Tim Pridemore, emergency management specialist, said 30 to 35 of these panels are already in place on campus in Holt Hall, Grote Hall, and in the EMCS building. These panels will serve as part of the UTC alerts system

“From a standpoint of the university’s ability to manage the situation, we are well prepared. From the standpoint are we prepared as a community, I would say that the answer to that is no,” Emergency Management Specialist, Tim Pridemore, said.

A classroom in Grote Hall will be operational by March to serve as a headquarters for emergency management operations. Pridemore met with the Chattanooga Police Chief on Thursday afternoon to discuss a training program for faculty members at the university.

He stressed that preparedness depends on the individual student, individual faculty member, and individual employee.

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