Heavy Problems for Chattanooga’s Young and Old

By: Sid Sadler

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn (UTC/The Loop) – There’s a heavier problem on students nowadays when it comes to textbooks, and it’s not necessarily the cost.

It’s no secret that the high cost of textbooks, has been hampering students from all over the country. Currently, students are scrambling to find a website or place to buy back their textbooks. A problem that hasn’t really been addressed though, is the health problems that can occur carrying all those textbooks around.

Currently there is not a lot of academic literature on the effects of heavy backpacks on college students. However there have been numerous studies on children, and the health effects heavy backpacks have on them.

A New York Times Article on heavy backpack usage, found that, ” The federal Consumer Product Safety Commission calculated that carrying a 12-pound backpack to and from school and lifting it 10 times a day for an entire school year puts a cumulative load on youngsters’ bodies of 21,600 pounds — the equivalent of six mid-sized cars.”

Dr. Horne, Professor of Political Science at UTC said, ” I had to give my 5th grader my backpack to fit all their textbooks in.”

Other studies have found that teens carry, “10-15%” their body weight. Junior Emily Andrews, who is an exercise science major said, ” While cost is always important, it’s also important to look at the overall health effects that heavy books have on the body.”

Possible eBooks could ease the burden of heavy textbooks.

Possible eBooks could ease the burden of heavy textbooks.

These findings are obviously a little troublesome, but with any type of electronic book, there must be a way of getting the book in the first place. This can lead to another trouble, which is being able to afford a device that can display an electronic textbook in the first place.

Mitchell Frame sophomore at UTC said, ” Forcing students to get an iPad or a Kindle could be costly for students, if the teacher went the route of going all electronic for books.”

Another issue that arises is what happens if the book disappears from the online data base. Dr. Horne also said, “Professors really have no incentive to go online, because books could disappear.”

If for some reason a book disappears online, or is discontinued, then the professor will have definite issues when it comes to conducting class. The professor would have to either find another book, or simply adjust their teaching style. This could ultimately effect not only the professor, but the students in the class as well.

Another issue that could come up by using online textbooks, is the problem of online piracy. Online piracy is a big problem with the internet currently, and it would be hard to walk the line between pirated material and non-pirated material.


  • Easier to carry
  • Less overall cost
  • Searching through content is made easier on student
  • It’s a ‘green’ investment


  • Online Piracy
  • Screen glares
  • Risk of power outages

Either way you weigh it, there is much to be said about the topic of textbooks. There are various arguments out there supporting lowering costs for textbooks. However, health reasons might ultimately bring the downfall of the textbook as we know it today.

For other coverage about textbooks go to:



Let us Know How Heavy is Your Backpack?








Pistorius Testifies For Himself

By: Sid Sadler

CHATTANOOGA/PRETORIA, South Africa (AP/ The Loop) — Stifling sobs, Oscar Pistorius took the witness stand Monday in his murder trial and apologized to the family of the girlfriend he shot dead, describing himself as traumatized and now on antidepressant medication, and sometimes waking from nightmares to the “smell of blood.”

Pistorius’ voice quavered so much and was so low at the start of his testimony that Judge Thokozile Masipa asked him to speak up as, standing and addressing a packed courtroom, he talked of his remorse for having killed Reeva Steenkamp on Feb. 14, 2013.

Pistorius said he mistook her for an intruder when he fired four times through a locked toilet stall door in his home. Prosecutors said the double-amputee Olympian shot his lover as she screamed in terror after they had an argument in the pre-dawn hours of Valentine’s Day.

“There hasn’t been a moment since this tragedy happened that I haven’t thought about your family,” the star athlete said as Steenkamp’s mother, June, looked straight at him in the courtroom, stone-faced.

“I wake up every morning and you’re the first people I think of, the first people I pray for … I was simply trying to protect Reeva. I can promise that when she went to bed that night she felt loved,” Pistorius said after asking for permission to make the apology at the start of his testimony.

Prosecutors allege Pistorius, 27, murdered the 29-year-old model with premeditation by shooting her in the head, arm and hip after an argument and have sought to paint him as a hothead with an inflated sense of entitlement and an obsession with firearms.

Attempting to counter that, defense lawyer Barry Roux led Pistorius through an account of his life, with Pistorius describing some of the hardships he faced after having his lower legs amputated as a baby, the positive role of his mother, Sheila, and his grief when she died when Pistorius was a teenager. Pistorius also spoke about the sacrifices he had made for his athletics achievements, his work with charity and how religion was important to him.

The accounts contrasted with that of prosecutors who, through witness testimony, have painted a dramatically different picture of Pistorius, a man they say was often angry, who cheated on a former girlfriend and who shot a gun out of a moving car in 2012 after an altercation with police and then laughed about it.

Pistorius said he has been taking medication since the week after he killed Steenkamp and has trouble sleeping. He described one night when he went to hide in a closet after waking up in “a panic.”

“I climbed into a cupboard and I phoned my sister to come and sit by me, which she did for a while,” Pistorius said.

His testimony on day 17 of his trial in Pretoria came on the same day his defense opened its case. Legal experts said it was crucial to his case that he testify to explain why he shot Steenkamp. Pistorius faces 25 years to life in prison if convicted of premeditated murder for Steenkamp’s killing.

His voice broke again and he struggled to speak when he described how Steenkamp was “a blessing” in his life. Yet in cellphone messages revealed by the prosecution, Steenkamp had once said that Pistorius scared her.

Apart from his emotional apology at the start, Pistorius didn’t directly address the killing of Steenkamp. He will return Tuesday to continue testifying after the judge granted an adjournment because she said Pistorius looked “exhausted.” Pistorius said he hadn’t slept the night before.

“I’m just very tired at the moment …. I think it’s a lot of things going through my mind,” Pistorius said. “The weight of this is extremely overbearing.”

Pistorius’ testimony also addressed previous instances of crime that affected the runner and how he felt vulnerable because of them, an attempt to explain his claim that he reacted to what he thought was a dangerous intruder in his bathroom by shooting his 9 mm pistol.

He described how his family had “security concerns” when he was young and his mother slept with a gun under a pillow on her bed.

Pistorius said his family had been targeted by criminals over the years, citing incidents of house break-ins and carjackings, and said he had sometimes been followed by unidentified people while driving home. Pistorius also referred to an incident in which he was allegedly assaulted at a social function in late 2012 and had to have stitches on the back of his head.

At the start, Pistorius spoke in a soft, shaky voice while making his apology and describing what he said was his fragile state. Later, he grew more settled and confident as Roux led him through the questions about his childhood, his family, his track career and how he overcame his disability to run at top track meets.

Pistorius’s life story is one that impressed many people around the world, before he killed Steenkamp.

He was also asked by Roux to talk about a 2009 boat crash when he suffered serious facial injuries. He said the accident had a “massive impact,” and that it made him become fearful, withdrawn, more vigilant about personal safety and more focused on his running.

Prosecutors have provided a contrasting picture of Pistorius, with evidence indicating that he had been reckless with firearms in public and asked a friend to take the blame for him when a gun fired under a table in a busy restaurant while he was handling it weeks before he killed Steenkamp.

Is Oscar Pistorius Guilty?


Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Disastrous Mudslide in Arlington, Washington

By: Sid Sadler

CHATTANOOGA/ARLINGTON, Wash. (AP/ The Loop) — Searchers found five more bodies Sunday in the tangled sludge of a massive landslide in rural Washington state, bringing the death toll to at least eight from the wall of debris that swept through a small riverside neighborhood.

Snohomish County sheriff’s Lt. Rob Palmer said four more bodies were discovered late Sunday. Earlier in the day, authorities said one body had been found on the debris field. Three people were already confirmed dead on Saturday.

More people remained missing, and authorities said the number was “fluid.” Earlier Sunday, they said it was at least 18, but that count came before additional bodies were discovered.

The 1-square-mile mudslide that struck Saturday morning also critically injured several people and destroyed about 30 homes.

Crews were able to get to the muddy, tree-strewn area after geologists flew over in a helicopter and determined it was safe enough for emergency responders and technical rescue personnel to search for possible survivors, Snohomish County Fire District 21 Chief Travis Hots said Sunday evening.

“We didn’t see or hear any signs of life out there today,” he said, adding that they did not search the entire debris field, only drier areas safe to traverse.

Despite that, Hots said crews were still in a “search and rescue mode. It has not gone to a recovery mode at this time.”

Searchers continued looking into the night Sunday.

Before crews could get onto the debris field late Sunday morning, they looked for signs of life by helicopter. Authorities initially said it was too dangerous to send rescuers out on foot.

Rescuers’ hopes of finding more survivors were buoyed late Saturday when they heard people yelling for help, but they were unable to reach anyone. The soupy mud was so thick and deep that searchers had to turn back.

“We have this huge square-mile mudflow that’s basically like quicksand,” Hots said Sunday.

The slide wiped through what neighbors described as a former fishing village of small homes — some nearly 100 years old.

As the search for the missing continued, authorities said some may have been able to get out on their own. The number unaccounted for could change because some people may have been in cars and on roads when the slide hit just before 11 a.m. Saturday, Hots said.

Officials described the mudslide as “a big wall of mud and debris.” It blocked about a mile of State Route 530 near the town of Oso, about 55 miles north of Seattle. It was reported to be about 15 feet deep in some areas.

Authorities believe the slide was caused by ground made unstable by recent heavy rainfall.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee described the scene as “a square mile of total devastation” after flying over the disaster area midday Sunday. He assured families that everything was being done to find their missing loved ones.

“There is a full scale, 100 percent aggressive rescue going on right now,” said Inslee, who proclaimed a state of emergency.

The slide blocked the North Fork of the Stillaguamish River. With the water pooling behind the debris, authorities worried about downstream flooding and issued an evacuation notice Saturday. The water had begun to seep through the blockage Sunday afternoon, alleviating some concerns.

Snohomish County officials said Sunday that residents could return home during daylight hours. Even though the evacuation had been lifted, Inslee urged residents to remain alert.

The National Weather Service issued a flash flood watch for Snohomish County through Monday afternoon.

Shari Ireton, a spokeswoman for the Snohomish County sheriff’s office, said Sunday that a total of eight people were injured in the slide.

A 6-month-old boy and an 81-year-old man remained in critical condition Sunday morning at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. Hospital spokeswoman Susan Gregg said two men, ages 37 and 58, were in serious condition, while a 25-year-old woman was upgraded to satisfactory condition.

Bruce Blacker, who lives just west of the slide, doesn’t know the whereabouts of six neighbors.

“It’s a very close knit community,” Blacker said as he waited at an Arlington roadblock before troopers let him through. There were almost 20 homes in the neighborhood that was destroyed, he said.

Search-and-rescue help came from around the region, including the Washington State Patrol and the Army Corps of Engineers. More than 100 were at the scene.

Evacuation shelters were set up at Post Middle School in Arlington and the Darrington Community Center.

Dane Williams, 30, who lives a few miles from the mudslide, spent Saturday night at a Red Cross shelter at the Arlington school.

He said he saw a few “pretty distraught” people at the shelter who didn’t know the fate of loved ones who live in the stricken area.

“It makes me want to cry,” Williams said Sunday.


Associated Press writer Phuong Le in Seattle contributed to this report.


Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

HOMEAgain Funds Find A Home At Orange Grove

By: Sid Sadler

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn (UTC/The Loop) – The Chattanooga City Council voted this past Tuesday to allocate HOMEAgain funds to Orange Grove Inc.

Orange Grove is according to their website, ” a private non-profit organization serving adults and children with developmental disabilities”. The total amount for the funding is $45,000, and will be used to help Orange Grove provide affordable housing.

Administrative Workers of Orange Grove

Administrative Workers of Orange Grove

Founded in 1953, Orange Grove offers an array of services ranging from family support all the way to rehabilitation programs.

According to their website, Orange Grove, “services approximately 730 individuals, and employs approximately 800 professional staff members to provide a wide array of community services.”

Kenny Gentner, Junior at UTC said, “I think whenever we can help people who need help we should.”

The HOMEAgain application states that their purpose is , “making HUD HOME Investment Partnership (HOME) funds available to area nonprofits, housing developers, and for-profit entities who wish to create permanent, affordable rental housing for families and individuals, to prevent homelessness and to re-house those experiencing homelessness or who may be at risk of becoming homeless.”

Larissa Hofstra, senior at UTC said, ” People with disabilities sometimes are ignored when it comes to giving them a normal living life, so I think this is great that Chattanooga is helping Orange Grove.”

Not anyone is given consideration for HOMEAgain funds, the application states in order to be given consideration projects must have a “high profitability of moving on.” This means that:

  •   the applicant has site control or a purchase agreement, subject to City funding.
  •   there is an experienced and qualified development team identified.
  •   there is a qualified service provider, if applicable.
  •   the project is economically feasible in terms of per unit cost of construction and for operational purposes during the affordability period.
  •   the applicant has included the project underwriting for the appropriate period of affordability;
  •   the applicant has conducted and included the Market Analysis.
  •   there is a detailed property management plan included in the proposal.
  •   other funding sources are in place or will be in place prior to any award of HOMEAGAIN funds.
  •   fifty (50) percent or more of the funding comes from other sources.

The application also says that the city must fund up 50% of the development cost for the program. According to the city council agenda, the city is funding $45,000 of the cost.


Emotional Bode Miller Wins Bronze In Final Olympic Appearance

By Sid Sadler, Rose Street, Megan Montgomery, Andrew Carney

KRASNAYA POLYANA, Russia (AP/ UTC The Loop) — This medal mattered to Bode Miller.

Not so much because, at 36, his bronze in Sunday’s super-G — behind winner Kjetil Jansrud and surprise runner-up Andrew Weibrecht — makes Miller the oldest Alpine medalist in Olympic history. Or even because he now owns six medals in all, the second-highest total for a male ski racer and tied for second among U.S. Winter Olympians in any sport.

BglTgyBCAAAkRaY.jpg-largeThe guy who for years and years insisted results don’t mean much to him declared he actually did care about this one. The last year has been a difficult one for Miller: the death of his younger brother, Chelone, in April 2013; the court fight over custody of his infant son; the work it took to come back from left knee surgery and return to the Alpine apex.

“It’s almost therapeutic for me to be in these situations, where I really had to test myself, so I was happy to have it be on the right side of the hundredths,” said Miller, who grew up in New Hampshire and is now based in California. “Some days … medals don’t matter, and today was one of the ones where it does.”

He wiped away tears in the finish area after someone mentioned Chelone, a charismatic snowboarder who was 29 and hoping to make the U.S. team in Sochi when he died of what was believed to be a seizure.

“Everything felt pretty raw and pretty connected,” Miller said, “so it was a lot for me.”

Weibrecht couldn’t help but be moved by his own journey, calling Sunday “probably the most emotional day of ski racing that I’ve ever had.”

It also was an important day for the U.S. ski team. The Americans had managed to collect only one of the 15 medals awarded through the first five Alpine events of the Sochi Olympics before Weibrecht and Miller tripled their nation’s total in one fell swoop.

Through 28 starters Sunday, Miller and Jan Hudec of Canada were tied for second place, about a half-second slower than Jansrud’s run of 1 minute, 18.14 seconds. But then came the 29th racer, Weibrecht, who had come out of nowhere to win the super-G bronze behind Miller’s silver at the 2010 Olympics but since then has dealt with injury after injury, including to both shoulders and both ankles.

He’s had four operations in the last four years, lost funding from the U.S. ski team at one point, and was not a lock to make the Sochi Olympic roster.

“I’ve had to evaluate whether this is really what I want to do. Even,” Weibrecht said, then paused before adding, “as recently as yesterday.”

He laughed at his own punch line.

“All kidding aside,” Weibrecht said later, rubbing his left temple, “it’s been a pretty difficult four years. It’s kind of one of those things that you can only be beat down so many times before you start to really look at what you’re doing. I didn’t know how many more beatdowns I could take.”

Charging with abandon — his nickname is “War Horse” — Weibrecht dominated the top of the course, then held on to nudge into second, 0.30 seconds behind Jansrud and 0.23 ahead of both Miller and Hudec, whose bronze is Canada’s first Alpine medal in 20 years.

That Weibrecht pulled it off did not shock U.S. coaches or teammate Ted Ligety, the super-G world champion who was 14th. Weibrecht credited a recent day of giant slalom practice in Austria alongside Ligety with helping him carry speed.

Being quick has never been a problem for the 5-foot-6 (1.68-meter) Weibrecht, who’s 28. Mid-race errors usually set him back.

Just last week, Ligety called Weibrecht “the fastest skier in the world for 20 seconds in every single event.”

How stunning was this silver? In 95 World Cup races, Weibrecht never finished better than 10th. Yet he owns two Olympic medals.

“Hits the bull’s-eye once every four years,” is how Italy’s Peter Fill put it.

Weibrecht’s 2010 bronze hangs in the lobby of his parents’ hotel in Lake Placid, host of the 1932 and 1980 Winter Games. In the wee hours of Sunday — there’s a 9-hour time difference between New York and Sochi — Weibrecht’s parents followed along at home.

“He had some really bad experiences,” Weibrecht’s father, Ed, said in a telephone interview. “It’s been a struggle for him to come back, but he never wavered from that goal.”

Understanding where Miller’s goals lie can be tricky.

He’ll talk about the purity of skiing. He’ll say tangible rewards aren’t significant, that “skiing 80 percent would get me more medals, but it just doesn’t feel right.”

Here, though, he was bothered by finishing eighth in the downhill, sixth in the super-combined. In the super-G, one error coming out of the final jump cost Miller what he estimated to be about a half-second. Still, he appreciated the accomplishment.

“After the year we’ve had, and the fact we just keep pushing through it,” said Miller’s wife, Morgan, “it just shows how resilient Bode is.”

Even if clearly in a reflective mood, Miller couldn’t completely turn off his wry side when asked about trailing only the Alpine-record eight medals won by Norway’s Kjetil Andre Aamodt, and the U.S.-record eight Winter Olympic medals won by speedskater Apolo Anton Ohno.

“It means,” Miller said with a smile, that I’m old.”

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

UTC Is Building Towards Success

By: Sid Sadler

CHATTANOOGA,Tenn(UTC/The Loop) – UTC is planning on purchasing the State building off McCallie Ave., and turning it into an all freshmen residence hall in the coming future.

Currently, the only residence hall that’s all freshman is Stagmaier Hall, which is located on the south side of Lockmiller.

Layout of Stagmaier Hall Bedroom.

Layout of Stagmaier Hall Bedroom.

Vice Chancellor for Housing and Residence Life Tim Johnson said that the school has already purchased the property, and is waiting for the state to move offices from the old building to a new location.
There are still some issues needing to be worked out, Johnson said,  “No decisions have been made of the disposition of the building. We have an architectural firm doing an analysis of the building to help in that decision making process. All options are on the table at this point.”

Some on-campus freshman aren’t sure about how they feel about an all freshman residence hall. Freshman Casey Stinnett said, ” I don’t like the idea of secluding freshman in one building.”

  • Freshman retention rate has been an issue for UTC, according to a Times Free Press article. At the current rate the article said, UTC is retaining less than 70% of freshman.
  • In that same article Johnson said, “If these students thrive, they’ll stick around for another year or three to earn a diploma.”

Other students echo what Johnson has said. Junior Rachel Curtis said,  “I think a new building will bring a new type of excitement here on campus, and possibly keep some freshman here on UTC’s campus.”

The new residence hall doesn’t have a final scheduled open date. Johnson did say they hope they can open by fall 2017.

Rangers Ice Devils in Outdoor Game


Devil’s goalie Martin Brodeur tries to make a save in the wintery conditions.

By: Sid Sadler

NEW YORK ( AP/The Loop) — Too much sun forced the boys of winter to wait to play at the ballpark in the Bronx.

Once clouds filled the skies over Yankee Stadium and snow began to fall — hockey weather for sure — Henrik Lundqvist and the New York Rangers got the best of the New Jersey Devils.

Rick Nash scored for the fifth straight game during New York’s four-goal middle period, and the Rangers rallied for a 7-3 victory over the Devils on Sunday.

Sun reflecting off the ice delayed the start of the first hockey game at Yankee Stadium for about an hour. The wait was expected to be longer, so Lundqvist took a nap. Cloud cover took care of that problem more quickly than expected.

Suddenly the All-Star goalie was awakened and told warm-ups would take place in 30 minutes. He put on his pinstripe pads, but still looked groggy in the first period when New Jersey took a 3-1 lead.

“I was half asleep, mentally somewhere else, but then I regrouped and I am happy with how I finished,” Lundqvist said.

“I’m not going to lie, when they scored the third one, I had a bad feeling about it. My first thought was, ‘Am I going to be able to finish this game? Then you kind of regroup and tell yourself, ‘I need to stop the next shot. That’s it. There is no other way to do this.'”

Devils counterpart Martin Brodeur had no such luck. He allowed six goals on 21 shots and was replaced by Cory Schneider at the start of the third.

“You rely a lot on instinct, and poise, and I couldn’t close my glove, it was so cold,” said Brodeur, who along with Rangers coach Alain Vigneault criticized the chippy ice that required repairs.

New York got within one before the first intermission and then swarmed Brodeur.

Dominic Moore and Marc Staal had goals in the first for the Rangers, then Mats Zuccarello scored two straight to put New York ahead for the first time. Carl Hagelin and Nash found the net, too, behind the beleaguered Brodeur, who angrily swatted the puck away after one of the tallies.

“Most of their goals went in off our players, or a stick or skate, and that happens. It was just one of those nights,” Brodeur said.

Nash has seven goals in his streak and 18 this season.

A day after the Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks played in 60-degree weather at Dodger Stadium, the NHL returned to conditions more fitting for hockey.

“Within 16 hours, two of the most-revered venues in sports welcomed more than 100,000 fans to sit under the sky and enjoy two of the fiercest rivalries in the National Hockey League,” NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said in a statement. “The games were spectacular, the images were unforgettable, and the sheer energy our sport creates was unmistakable.”

Lundqvist settled down and made 19 saves. He hadn’t allowed more than two goals in his previous seven outings.

The Devils took care of that in the first.

Patrik Elias scored twice, Travis Zajac once and Jaromir Jagr had two assists in the first to excite the large number of New Jersey fans who made the trek to the Bronx for what was a Devils home game.

“They changed their game in the second period,” Jagr said of the Rangers. “They were flying into our zone, and we didn’t react to it.”

Jagr past former Pittsburgh Penguins teammate Mario Lemieux for 10th place on the NHL career assist list.

The teams played through the second period as the snow started and increased in intensity, not long after they were forced to wait around an extra hour to drop the pick because of bright sunshine that created a dangerous glare on the ice.

The temperature was 24.9 degrees when the game started at 1:41 p.m. in front of a sellout crowd of 50,105.

Jagr said he and his teammates took in the scene, but perhaps a bit too much.

“I think we all did that in the second period,” Jagr said.

Yankee Stadium’s second hockey game will take place on Wednesday night when the Rangers will again be the road team in a matchup with the New York Islanders.

Zuccarello tied it 3-3 at 2:48 of the second when he redirected in a pass from John Moore, and put New York in front at the end of a 3-on-1 rush with 7:16 left. Benoit Pouliot chipped the puck ahead at center ice to Derick Brassard, who sent a pass from the right side to Zuccarello for his 15th goal.

Hagelin made it 5-3 just 1:09 later when he flipped a shot from the right circle that appeared to hit Devils defenseman Marek Zidlicky before getting through Brad Richards’ screen and by Brodeur.

The Devils netminder was again victimized by an odd-man attack that Nash finished with 28.5 seconds left in the middle frame. Brodeur was serenaded with derisive chants of “Mar-ty … Mar-ty” as Rangers fans in the stands made their voices heard.

He watched the rest of the game from the bench. Schneider, who made only four saves, gave up Derek Stepan’s penalty-shot goal with 9:54 remaining. The seven goals matched the Rangers’ season high.

NOTES: Schneider is 5-1-2 with a 0.96 goals-against average and .961 save percentage in his last eight starts, dating to Dec. 28. Brodeur had played in only two of New Jersey’s previous eight games. … New Jersey had won two straight. New York snapped a two-game losing streak.


Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.