No More Parking in Fort Wood for UTC Students

By Mariah Grimes

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (UTC/The Loop) – In September of 2012, the City Council of Chattanooga voted to ban non-residents from parking in Fort Wood. And by non-residents, they mean UTC students. The ordinance applies to the 800 and 900 blocks of Oak Street, Vine Street and Fort Wood Street, as well as the 500 block of Fort Wood Historic District.

New parking ban leaves ample parking for residents

This is a problem for UTC students because before the decision to ban parking, students had a one-hour grace period for parking during school hours. Students would often park in Fort Wood for one class, and sometimes for longer risking a ticket, since the neighborhood is conveniently right next to campus.

The decision was made because Fort Wood residents were having problems finding a place to park near their homes. The streets would be full of student cars, often leaving nowhere to park for homeowners and businesses. Most houses and apartments do not have parking lots or driveways to accommodate residents, so that only leaves street parking.

Fort Wood Historic District is located right next to campus

Emma Tinius, a junior at UTC and Oak Street resident, says she is ecstatic about the new decision. Tinius said, “I am paying $25 for a Fort Wood parking pass, but could never find a spot. I don’t have a driveway so I literally had nowhere to park. It was so frustrating because it was a daily struggle. You have no idea how happy I am about the new rule.”

When asked if Tinius had problems with tickets when friends came to visit, she did admit that it was a risk her friends had to take. “People don’t come over that often,” she said.

Another Oak Street resident, UTC senior Julia Schlicher, said her visitors had to park in her small backyard or driveway. “Parking was an issue for me as well. When friends came over, they would have to basically park in my yard, which looks kind of trashy for the Fort Wood area.”

A Vine Street resident and non-student, Robert Stanley, is relieved that the new ban was passed. Stanley lives next door to the Kappa Sigma fraternity house, and the 60 fraternity members would park on the street for their weekly meeting. Although their meetings are only weekly, some members still park on the street just because their house was so close to campus, which sometimes left Stanley with few places to park.

Chi Omega’s sorority house is located in Fort Wood

Naturally, many commuter students are very unhappy with the new rule. With the current parking shortage and record amount of 12,100 students, the Fort Wood parking ban is yet another tragedy for commuter students.

UTC sophomore, Brian Bledsoe, said that the ban was a huge inconvenience for commuter students. And since the ban has taken effect, the streets have excess parking, which only frustrates students more since they are not allowed to park there. Bledsoe said,”I honestly believe that there are more students that park there than there are residents who live in Fort Wood, so I think we deserved a say in the matter. I understand why the people living there are upset, but we as students with basically no parking have the right to be mad, too. We could park there for 15 minutes and get an $11 ticket, which multiplies to like $40 after a certain amount of days. It’s ridiculous.”

Since the ban, there is much more room for residents to park

Students who are upset about the Fort Wood parking ban are demanding that the university do something to alleviate the problem, since the ban now eliminates yet another area to park. One option that UTC junior, Keri McKay, suggests is that freshmen should not be allowed to have cars on campus. “I know some other universities don’t allow freshmen to have cars and I mean just think about it, freshmen are one-fourth of the students at UTC. That would help all the other students out so much. Freshmen can deal with no car for one year,” said McKay.

To obtain a Fort Wood parking pass, you must be a resident of Fort Wood and apply for a permit. The lease determines how many permits will be allowed per residence. Permits are $25 and renewable yearly.

UTC authorities have suggested that students park at meters or purchase a general parking pass because there is ample parking at the Engel Stadium general parking lot. For more information on shuttle routes, see where you can go on the Mocs Express Campus Shuttle.

Chattanooga Fire Stations Go Underground Green

by Mariah Grimes

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (UTC/The Loop)- Chattanooga Fire Stations 9 and 11 are now responsible for more than just saving lives! They are now saving large amounts of energy by making the switch to geothermal energy.

Geothermal heat pumps are heating and cooling systems that use the earth’s relatively constant temperature to provide heating, cooling and water heating for homes and commercial buildings. By using the earth’s natural underground temperatures, not nearly as much energy is required to cool and heat homes and businesses.

Because water is used to transfer heat instead of air, geothermal heat pumps are four times more efficient than conventional AC systems, can cut energy costs in half, and significantly reduce carbon emissions.

On Tuesday, February 26, the Chattanooga City Council voted that Fire Stations 9 and 11 will make the switch to geothermal energy. Many businesses and homes are turning to geothermal because of the longterm payoff. It takes approximately 4 years for the switch to geothermal energy to pay for itself, which is initiative enough for local schools such as Red Bank Middle School and Brainerd High School to make the change.

Fire Station 9 and 11 plan to make switch to geothermal energy.

Fire Station 9 and 11 plan to make switch to geothermal energy.

Fire Chief Randall Parker said, “There is on average 30-40% reduction in operational costs related to standard heating and cooling.” The amount of money saved is crucial to large businesses, schools, and green-promoting groups.

Greenspaces is a $2 million green building initiative that works with commercial and residential builders to encourage and educate them to make construction less wasteful and more environmentally responsible. To reflect their initiative’s mission, Greenspaces uses geothermal energy for heating and cooling in its building.

Greenspaces hopes more Chattanoogan families and businesses make the geothermal change.

Greenspaces hopes more Chattanoogan families and businesses make the geothermal change.

Anj McClain, director of Greenspaces, was enthusiastic about the switch to geothermal energy for the fire stations because of the progress shown in their own building. “For example, if the underground water wells are approximately 60 degrees in the winter and it’s 30 degrees outside, we only have to use a minimal amount of energy to heat our building since we use the underground heat instead of heat from the air. It just makes more sense. To get this building at 70 degrees, we don’t have to start with 30-degree air, we get heat from the already warm earth. It’s much more efficient than standard heating and cooling systems,” said McClain.

Fire Chief Randall Parker said,”We want to use it [geothermal energy] for several reasons: it reduces our operating costs, it reduces damage related to weather from hail stones because there are no outside coils to be damaged, and it reduces the dependence on fossil fuels.”

Greenspaces’ McClain said, “I think this is only the beginning of a tremendous environmental change for America and I’m glad Chattanooga is on board.”

This will be a great change for the fire stations since they are taxpayer-funded. Controlling costs is not only a good thing for the citizens, but is environmentally responsible because it preserves fossil fuels’ natural resources.

Charlie Sheen Pays for Injured Teen’s Therapy Dog

By: Mariah Grimes

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (UTC/The Loop) — There’s a 15-year-old Florida girl who didn’t really know much about Charlie Sheen before this week — but does now.

The actor wired $10,000 to Teagan Marti and her family on Thursday for a therapy dog to help in her rehabilitation from injuries sustained when she plummeted 100 feet from a Wisconsin amusement park ride in 2010.

Charlie Sheen buys injured girl a puppy

“I think he’s a very kind person for helping me and my family and very generous,” Teagan Marti said by phone Thursday from her home in Parkland, Fla.

Teagan Marti suffered brain, spine, pelvis and internal injuries in July 2010 when nets and air bags that were supposed to catch riders on a free-fall ride were not raised. She had convinced her family to make the trip from Florida to Extreme World in Wisconsin Dells after seeing the amusement park’s Terminal Velocity ride on the Travel Channel.

She was hospitalized in Wisconsin and Florida for three months. She initially had no use of her arms or legs but through physical therapy is able to walk again with a walker.

Teagan Marti’s mother, Julie Marti, said they are financially in trouble from the medical bills and her recent divorce. Their house is being foreclosed upon and insurance isn’t covering physical therapy anymore, she said. She had no idea how they would pay for the English Golden Retriever puppy.

“I’m in such disbelief,” Julie Marti said. “I was crying. … What a guy. What a guy.”

The dog is being trained in Fond du Lac to turn on lights, pick up objects and be the teen’s constant companion.

Lucia Wilgus, of Eau Claire, became friends with the Martis after hearing of the accident and has spearheaded fundraising and helped find the dog and arrange training.

She sent a letter this week to Sheen through Sheen’s godfather, who is a Wilgus family friend and Benedictine brother in the Benet Lake, Wis. She estimated the training and related costs would be around $6,000.

Sheen said he decided to give more for extra costs. The request had a “personal vibe” since it came through his godfather, and “if there’s a need for more I told them to call me,” he said.

“I like to pay it forward,” Sheen said Thursday in a phone interview from Los Angeles. “People come into your orbit for a reason. You don’t always know what that is ahead of time, but if I ignore these requests then I don’t have any opportunity to see where these things lead us, or lead me.”

He said he doesn’t like to publicize most of his donations, but wanted to talk about this one to inspire others to donate.

Teagan Marti gets the dog on her birthday in September but hasn’t made up her mind on a name.

“I think they should name the dog Charlie,” Sheen joked.

Mariah Weather

By: Mariah Grimes

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (UTC/The Loop) –

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Carnival parades managed to roll Sunday in New Orleans despite bad weather, but revelers might not be so lucky on Monday.

Parades planned for Fat Monday, or Lundi Gras (LUHN-dee grah), are threatened by more rain in the forecast.

That includes the Krewe of Orpheus, the star-studded group led by entertainer Harry Connick Jr. It was scheduled to roll at 6 p.m. Monday, with Connick, actor Gary Sinise and New Orleans musician Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews.

And Fat Tuesday could be a wet one: The National Weather Service expects rain for much of the day, when as many as 1 million people party in the streets.

Carnival season culminates Tuesday with the Rex and Zulu parades. So far, they haven’t been canceled.


Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

Free Birth Control for Female College Students

By: Mariah Grimes

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (UTC/The Loop) – Obama’s Affordable Care Act is giving female college students access to virtually free birth control, sterilization, and abortion-inducing drugs.

Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s President Cecile Richards published an online press release stating, “Covering birth control with no co-pays means college students will not have to choose between paying for tuition and books, or paying for basic health care like birth control.”

Obama’s new plan is designed to reduce unwanted pregnancies and abortions. Female college students are one of the main target groups for this new act.

President Obama speaking about his plan for covering birth control

Alina Salganicoff, director of women’s health policy at the Kaiser Family Foundation, said research shows access to contraceptives really does reduce unwanted pregnancy and abortion rates.

Obama has pointed out the preventative services regulation mandates free contraception for female college students as one of the reasons “why we passed this law.”

“I don’t think a college student in Fairfax or Charlottesville should have to choose between text books or the preventive care that she needs. That’s why we passed this law. And I am proud of it. It was the right thing to do. And we are going to keep it,” said Obama at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va.

A University of Tennessee at Chattanooga senior Christina Pagnani said, “I went to the student clinic last month for my birth control, and the nurse just handed it to me and sent me on my way. I was confused but obviously happy that I didn’t have to pay. I think that once UTC students find out about the free birth control, every girl at UTC will be in the student clinic so that’s definitely something to think about. I think free birth control is a good and bad idea at the same time, but I don’t want to be a hypocrite.”

The Affordable Care Act provides contraception not only for family planning, but also as a way to reduce ovarian and other cancer risks. The controversy about the new law remains, but for now, contraceptives will be available for women seeking it for no cost.