UTC Population Grows While Parking Can’t Keep Up

By: Chris Awuah

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (UTC/The Loop) – If you have to drive a car onto the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga’s campus you will quickly find out that parking here at the university is rare unless you own a reserved decal. With UTC’s student body and faculty rising by the years parking spaces on the campus haven’t been able to keep up.

Students that attend UTC feel as if this may be the biggest downfall for the university, but the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga is not the only school that are having these parking problems. Facts have shown that people are enrolling into Universities more than ever before to improve on their education.

A UTC student paying a meter on campus.

A UTC student paying a meter on campus.

Universities in the greater Atlanta area are facing the same exact problems that students are facing here in Chattanooga. According to Marquita Armstead, Georgia Tech located in downtown Atlanta has a student population of about 12,000 students and 3,000 faculty and staff. The university has a total of 9,988 parking spaces to accommodate those who attend the school on a daily basis. Armstead  joined the universities staff just last year but quickly realized that some kind of policies must be implemented or issues will continue to grow.

“Georgia Tech is very similar to Chattanooga when it comes to parking. If you park somewhere your not suppose to you get a ticket. If you park on the street for too long you get a ticket,” said Armstead.

City Universities vs Rural Universities

Universities in the city are more likely to have parking issues compared tho those who are in areas with more free land. Schools in the city are forced to build upward instead of outward to reduce the amount of space being used 

The ticket business has been a decent part of UTC’s yearly revenue and with the ratio of cars to parking spaces getting larger it will only be generating more revenue in the future.

With the high demand for parking but only limited spaces to find, students have found ways to manipulate UTC’s parking service officials to help them get the parking spot they need to get to the places on campus they need to be. Many students have been reusing previously written tickets given to them to make it seem as if they have already been ticketed for the parking violation.

After hearing what some students had been doing throughout the semester, Kadeem Wise a senior at UTC felt the idea was cleaver but would soon be cracked.

“After 60 plus dollars in parking violations just this semester alone, I should’ve maybe tried it to see how much money I could’ve saved,” said Wise.

The last recorded student and faculty enrollment at UTC was around 11,600. According to a parking official, UTC currently has 5,194 parking spots (General, Reserved, Guest) for those who commute to the university grounds. Students believe UTC should began to build upward for the near future, because the university enrollment will only increase as time goes.

Map of UTC campus

For students who continue to struggle with parking, the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga has additional parking less then a mile from campus at Engel Stadium with a free shuttle to and from campus.

Geothermal heating and cooling set to arrive at local Fire Stations

By: Chris Awuah


Geothermal heating and cooling pumps used at another location.

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (UTC/The Loop) -New fire stations that are currently being built in East Lake and Hixson will be getting a major heating and cooling change.The new stations will be equipped with geothermal heating and cooling systems, the first of its kind in this area for a fire station.

In the eyes of many geothermal heat and cooling has become a very efficient and money saving source that is gaining world wide acceptance for both residential and commercial buildings. The system works by using existing heat and air already found to reproduce more rather than having an outside product try to reproduce heat through the combustion of fossil fuels.

Chattanooga Fire Chief, Randy Parker, had nothing but positive comments to say about the new geothermal systems when asked  last Wednesday about how these systems made it into the new fire houses.

“There is on average 30-40% reduction in operational costs related to standard heating and cooling. It typically has a return on investment (ROI) of several years,” Parker said.The Chief also mentioned that here in Chattanooga city officials are always trying different ways to make government buildings more energy efficient to help save tax payers money.

“We are taxpayer funded so anything we can do to control costs is a good thing for the citizens,”he said.

Green|spaces located on 63 East Main Street across from Fire Station 1 near downtown has had a geothermal heating pump since 2008. The company has received many awards for their commitment to keeping the environment clean.


Green|spaces one of many few places in Chattanooga that uses geothermal pumps

One of the motto’s for Green|spaces is “living green, working green and building green will benefit the triple bottom line improving Chattanooga’s environment, economy and social equity.”

According to the chief, if construction continues to go according to plan, the East Lake and Hixson fire stations will open sometime later this year. For more information click here for the director of Green|spaces Anj Mcclain Sound Bite.


Lakers Buss Dies


By: Chris Awuah

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Jerry Buss, the Los Angeles Lakers’ playboy owner who shepherded the NBA team to 10 championships from the Showtime dynasty of the 1980s to the Kobe Bryant era, died Monday. He was 80.

He died at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, said Bob Steiner, his assistant.

Buss had been hospitalized for most of the past 18 months while undergoing cancer treatment, but the immediate cause of death was kidney failure, Steiner said. With his condition worsening in recent weeks, several prominent former Lakers visited Buss to say goodbye.

“The NBA has lost a visionary owner whose influence on our league is incalculable and will be felt for decades to come,” NBA Commissioner David Stern said. “More importantly, we have lost a dear and valued friend.”

Under Buss’ leadership since 1979, the Lakers became Southern California’s most beloved sports franchise and a worldwide extension of Hollywood glamour. Buss acquired, nurtured and befriended a staggering array of talented players and basketball minds during his Hall of Fame tenure, from Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal and Dwight Howard.

“He was a great man and an incredible friend,” Johnson tweeted.

Few owners in sports history can approach Buss’ accomplishments with the Lakers, who made the NBA finals 16 times during his nearly 34 years in charge, winning 10 titles between 1980 and 2010. With 1,786 victories, the Lakers easily are the NBA’s winningest franchise since he bought the club, which is now run largely by Jim Buss and Jeanie Buss, two of his six children.

“We not only have lost our cherished father, but a beloved man of our community and a person respected by the world basketball community,” the Buss family said in a statement issued by the Lakers.

“It was our father’s often-stated desire and expectation that the Lakers remain in the Buss family. The Lakers have been our lives as well, and we will honor his wish and do everything in our power to continue his unparalleled legacy.”

Buss always referred to the Lakers as his extended family, and his players rewarded his fanlike excitement with devotion, friendship and two hands full of championship rings. Working with front-office executives Jerry West, Bill Sharman and Mitch Kupchak, Buss spent lavishly to win his titles despite lacking a huge personal fortune, often running the NBA’s highest payroll while also paying high-profile coaches Pat Riley and Phil Jackson.

Always an innovative businessman, Buss paid for the Lakers through both their wild success and his own groundbreaking moves to raise revenue. He co-founded a basic-cable sports television network and sold the naming rights to the Forum at times when both now-standard strategies were unusual, further justifying his induction to the Pro Basketball Hall of Fame in 2010.

Buss was a “cornerstone of the Los Angeles sports community and his name will always be synonymous with his beloved Lakers,” Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said. “It was through his stewardship that the Lakers brought ‘Showtime’ basketball and numerous championship rings to this great city. Today we mourn the loss and celebrate the life of a man who helped shape the modern landscape of sports in L.A.”

Johnson and fellow Hall of Famers Abdul-Jabbar and Worthy formed lifelong bonds with Buss during the Lakers’ run to five titles in nine years in the 1980s, when the Lakers earned a reputation as basketball’s most exciting team with their flamboyant Showtime style.

The buzz extended throughout the Forum, where Buss used the Laker Girls, a brass band and promotions to keep Los Angeles fans interested in all four quarters of their games. Courtside seats, priced at $15 when he bought the Lakers, became the hottest tickets in Hollywood — and they still are, with fixture Jack Nicholson and many other celebrities attending every home game.

Worthy tweeted that Buss was “not only the greatest sports owner, but a true friend & just a really cool guy. Loved him dearly.”

After a rough stretch of the 1990s for the Lakers, Jackson led O’Neal and Bryant to a three-peat from 2000-02, rekindling the Lakers’ mystique, before Bryant and Pau Gasol won two more titles under Jackson in 2009 and 2010. The Lakers have struggled mightily during their current season despite adding Howard and Steve Nash, and could miss the playoffs for just the third time since Buss bought the franchise.

“Today is a very sad day for all the Lakers and basketball,” Gasol tweeted. “All my support and condolences to the Buss family. Rest in peace Dr. Buss.”

Although Buss gained fame and fortune with the Lakers, he also was a scholar, Renaissance man and bon vivant who epitomized California cool his entire public life.

Buss rarely appeared in public without at least one attractive, much younger woman on his arm at USC football games, high-stakes poker tournaments, hundreds of boxing matches promoted by Buss at the Forum — and, of course, Lakers games from his private box at Staples Center, which was built under his watch. In failing health recently, Buss hadn’t attended a Lakers game this season.

Buss earned a Ph.D. in chemistry at age 24 and had careers in aerospace and real estate development before getting into sports. With money from his real-estate ventures and a good bit of creative accounting, Buss bought the then-struggling Lakers, the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings and both clubs’ arena — the Forum — from Jack Kent Cooke in a $67.5 million deal that was the largest sports transaction in history at the time.

Last month, Forbes estimated the Lakers were worth $1 billion, second most in the NBA.

Buss also helped change televised sports by co-founding the Prime Ticket network in 1985, receiving a star on Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2006 for his work in television. Breaking the contemporary model of subscription services for televised sports, Buss’ Prime Ticket put beloved broadcaster Chick Hearn and the Lakers’ home games on basic cable.

Buss also sold the naming rights to the Forum in 1988 to Great Western Savings & Loan — another deal that was ahead of its time.

Born in Salt Lake City, Gerald Hatten Buss was raised in poverty in Wyoming before improving his life through education. He also grew to love basketball, describing himself as an “overly competitive but underly endowed player.”

After graduating from the University of Wyoming, Buss attended USC for graduate school. He became a chemistry professor and worked as a chemist for the Bureau of Mines before carving out a path to wealth and sports prominence.

The former mathematician’s fortune grew out of a $1,000 real-estate investment in a West Los Angeles apartment building with partner Frank Mariani, an aerospace engineer and co-worker.

Heavily leveraging his fortune and various real-estate holdings, Buss purchased Cooke’s entire Los Angeles sports empire in 1979, including a 13,000-acre ranch in Kern County. Buss cited his love of basketball as the motivation for his purchase, and he immediately worked to transform the Lakers — who had won just one NBA title since moving west from Minneapolis in 1960 — into a star-powered endeavor befitting Hollywood.

“One of the first things I tried to do when I bought the team was to make it an identification for this city, like Motown in Detroit,” he told the Los Angeles Times in 2008. “I try to keep that identification alive. I’m a real Angeleno. I want us to be part of the community.”

Buss’ plans immediately worked: Johnson, Abdul-Jabbar and coach Paul Westhead led the Lakers to the 1980 title. Johnson’s ball-handling wizardry and Abdul-Jabbar’s smooth inside game made for an attractive style of play evoking Hollywood flair and West Coast sophistication.

Riley, the former broadcaster who fit the L.A. image perfectly with his slick-backed hair and good looks, was surprisingly promoted by Buss early in the 1981-82 season after West declined to co-coach the team. Riley became one of the best coaches in NBA history, leading the Lakers to four straight NBA finals and four titles, with Worthy, Michael Cooper, Byron Scott and A.C. Green playing major roles.

Overall, the Lakers made the finals nine times in Buss’ first 12 seasons while rekindling the NBA’s best rivalry with the Boston Celtics, and Buss basked in the worldwide celebrity he received from his team’s achievements. His womanizing and partying became Hollywood legend, with even his players struggling to keep up with Buss’ lifestyle.

Johnson’s HIV diagnosis and retirement in 1991 staggered Buss and the Lakers, the owner recalled in 2011. The Lakers struggled through much of the 1990s, going through seven coaches and making just one conference finals appearance in an eight-year stretch despite the 1996 arrivals of O’Neal, who signed with Los Angeles as a free agent, and Bryant, the 17-year-old high schooler acquired in a draft-week trade.

Shaq and Kobe didn’t reach their potential until Buss persuaded Jackson, the Chicago Bulls’ six-time NBA champion coach, to take over the Lakers in 1999. Los Angeles immediately won the next three NBA titles in brand-new Staples Center, AEG’s state-of-the-art downtown arena built with the Lakers as the primary tenant.

After the Lakers traded O’Neal in 2004, they hovered in mediocrity again until acquiring Gasol in a heist of a trade with Memphis in early 2008. Los Angeles made the next three NBA finals, winning two more titles.

Through the Lakers’ frequent successes and occasional struggles, Buss never stopped living his Hollywood dream. He was an avid poker player and a fixture on the Los Angeles club scene well into his 70s, when a late-night drunk-driving arrest in 2007 — with a 23-year-old woman in the passenger seat of his Mercedes-Benz — prompted him to cut down on his partying.

Buss owned the NHL’s Kings from 1979-87, and the WNBA’s Los Angeles Sparks won two league titles under Buss’ ownership. He also owned Los Angeles franchises in World Team Tennis and the Major Indoor Soccer League.

Buss’ children all have worked for the Lakers organization in various capacities for several years. Jim Buss, the Lakers’ executive vice president of player personnel and the second-oldest child, has taken over much of the club’s primary decision-making responsibilities in the last few years, while daughter Jeanie runs the franchise’s business side.

Jerry Buss still served two terms as president of the NBA’s Board of Governors and was actively involved in the 2011 lockout negotiations, developing blood clots in his legs attributed to his extensive travel during that time.

Buss is survived by six children: sons Johnny, Jim, Joey and Jesse, and daughters Jeanie Buss and Janie Drexel. He had eight grandchildren.

Arrangements are pending for a funeral and memorial services.


Associated Press writer Andrew Dalton contributed to this report.


Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

Up and down weather leaving people confused


HATTIESBURG, Miss. (AP) — Jeff Revette ran from his car and lay face-down in the grass next to the red-brick wall of a church as a tornado roared toward him, with debris scattering and electrical transformers exploding. Twenty seconds later, bricks were strewn across a flattened pickup truck a mere 10 feet away amid toppled trees and power lines.

Revette, a 43-year-old National Guard soldier who returned from a deployment to Afghanistan about a year ago, stood up unharmed. A woman who had been driving the smashed pickup and had taken cover near him was pinned by some insulation and other debris, but she was OK after Revette lifted the wreckage off her.

“It’s just amazing,” he said. “God is real. I am one blessed man.”

The powerful twister tore a path across at least three counties, injuring more than 60 people — but residents marveled that no one died. Officials said several circumstances converged to ensure no lives were lost in what should have been a deadly storm: Sirens and TV broadcasts gave people as much as 30 minutes of warning; the University of Southern Mississippi was emptier than usual because of Mardi Gras; and most businesses were either closed or quiet because it was a Sunday.

Forecasters were able to closely track where the storm was headed and had confirmed reports from both people on the ground and from radar, making it easier to give warning, said weather service meteorologist Chad Entremont.

The sheer scope of the damage made it difficult to do a full assessment. Some 50 roads were closed at one point because of felled trees, downed power lines and debris. About 200 homes and mobile homes were damaged or destroyed, with another 100 apartments left uninhabitable. Several thousand remained without power, though the electricity was expected to be restored to most customers later Monday, Gov. Phil Bryant said.

Bryant said the twister carved a path of destruction roughly 75 miles long, though National Weather Service officials have not yet determined the tornado’s exact path or how long it was on the ground. However, early indications show it was an EF3 tornado with wind speeds reaching 145 mph in parts of Hattiesburg, Entremont said.

This twister was part of a storm cell moving faster than usual, meaning it was likely to cover more ground. Many tornadoes travel just a few miles, Entremont said.

While more tornadoes were not in the forecast, heavy rain was expected into Tuesday. And that could make cleanup efforts even more difficult, said National Weather Service meteorologist Brad Bryant in Jackson, Miss.

On Monday, rain seemed to be adding to the misery as people tried to put tarps over leaky roofs and move belongings to dry ground. Chainsaws could be heard around Hattiesburg as people tried to cut up trees that fell onto homes. Crews were removing debris, but flooding and blocked roads hampered their work.

John Cline was among those trying to salvage his already damaged home as he worked to find a way to shut off a broken pipe filling his house with water. A massive pine tree about 4 feet around split his home nearly in two.

Cline had just gotten home from work Sunday when he turned on the news and realized the tornado was headed his way. He said he opened the back door and could hear the roar, so he ran to a closet in the hallway. He said it wasn’t long before the tree came crashing through the ceiling and landed about 3 feet to his right. He struggled to keep the closet door closed because the wind kept pulling it open.

“I was fighting the tornado,” he said.

On the USM campus, 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 was under a state of emergency and told people to stay away from campus until further notice.

Dot Peek had just arrived home about five minutes before the tornado hit and huddled in her bedroom with her son, adult grandson and other relatives. That bedroom was the only room not substantially damaged by falling trees and debris. The rest of the home was a wreck. Peek’s truck was smashed; boards and debris floated in her swimming pool; a tree crushed her pontoon boat.

Peek heeded the warning of sirens, saying “they don’t go off for nothing. But people who don’t pay attention to them are stupid.”

However, when asked if it was the alarms that saved her family, Peek shook her head and replied: “It’s God. My grandson was praying as loud as he could.”


McConnaughey reported from New Orleans.


Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

Work not so smooth for UTC graduates

By Chris Awuah

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (UTC/The Loop) – Many UTC graduates have realized that finding a job after graduation isn’t easy. As of October 2012, the U.S. Bureau of Labor estimated that an average of 5.8 percent of Americans with at least a bachelor’s degree were unemployed. That is the highest rate since 1970.

UTC commencement ceremony in the summer of 2012

Sean Whitehead from Murfreesboro, Tenn., graduated from UTC in 2011 with a bachelor’s degree in sociology. He planned on finishing school and going into the field he once always dreamed about. Instead he was unemployed for more then five months until he found a job at Best Buy.

“I just couldn’t continue to sit around and wait to see if jobs in my field would open up, so I had to settle for less,” Whitehead said.

This has been a recurring problem for many first-time college graduates. The post-college life is an uncertain picture for not only present but also future college gradates because of a recovering economy and fewer  job openings. Many have decided to pull the books back out to advance their education and get a leg up on their competition.

Some graduates like Whitehead, think if they had more education on their resume, it would help them qualify for the job. “I sometimes wish I would have continued on to graduate school after graduating” Whitehead said. “I know it would have been more time and less money being made, but it would have probably been for the better for me.”

UTC Head Athletic Advisor Lisa Tarr has been in the field of helping students find their way through school on all levels from middle school to college. When it comes to giving advice about future career plans, Tarr said she tells her students it’s sometimes better to get a degree in a field that you would enjoy even if you were not getting paid.

“From the way recent numbers are leaning, it’s better to have a higher degree towards your major because how competitive the market has become,” she said.