August 28, 2016

National Parks celebrate 100th birthday with crowds, mosquitoes

Long-time United States' resident National Parks Service celebrated its 100th birthday Thursday with people complaining about how many people were at the national parks. The national parks are a series of recreational sites set aside for protection and collecting tourists. The parks were born in 1916 to Congress, at a time when the legislative branch of the government actually did things. "I celebrated my birth with a World War," said the National Parks Service. "This year all I got was a bunch of people in minivans grumbling about mosquitoes and the heat." Included among the festivities was the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the nation's most visited national park. The Smokies are home to a variety of animal species, including black bears, river otters and vacationers from Wisconsin.

August 26, 2016

Knoxville Center Mall sold to group that thinks malls still a thing

An investment group that thinks indoor shopping malls can still be a thing has purchased Knoxville Center Mall.

The sale was announced last week for an unspecified price. The indoor retail hub is located off Interstate 640 at 3001 Knoxville Center Drive. The mall can be difficult to locate because it can only be accessed through a strange labyrinth of one-way streets.

The 964,000-square-foot mall opened in 1984. Once a popular location for youth and people who like to walk indoors on tiled floors, the mall has seen numerous stores leave over the years.

Many shoppers say they tried hard to love the mall.

"I could never find this Knoxville Center mall," said Knoxville-based shopper Nica Martins. "I kept looking at the center of Knoxville but it wasn't there. Apparently it was off to the east of town. If only they had had a name for that sort of thing."

"I wanted to go there, but it was just too dangerous," added a spokesperson for people who had never been in the mall who still know all about it. "I guess there were teenagers lurking inside it or something, with their flip phones and their YOLOs. But West Town Mall is dangerous, too, with all those Cinnabons. That is not a safe thing to put in your face."

Knoxville Center Mall is not the first East Tennessee mall to have difficulty drawing shoppers in the 21st century. Oak Ridge Mall was abandoned to marauding groups of dust bunnies and tumbleweeds more than a decade ago.

"People just don't go to malls anymore," said Lena Combs. "I mean, sure kids love food courts and fountains that you can throw pennies in. But I guess it just must have something to do with and Turkey Creek existing."

The mall's purchasers say plans for redeveloping the property include releasing several rare Pokémons inside the mall and building a time machine that sends visitors back to the 1980s.

August 25, 2016

South Carolina woman returns lost Tennessee Theatre sign

A 31-year-old South Carolina woman is being heralded for her honesty after finding a large sign with the word "Tennessee" on it. The Tennessee Theatre lost its historic vertical marquee earlier this year while on a trip to Myrtle Beach. Amanda Morse said she found the large sign in a Denny's parking lot and immediately turned it in to the police. Morse told reporters she knew someone was depending on the signage and she's glad it is now back with its rightful owner. "What worried me most was identify theft," said Morse. "Anybody could put that sign up and pretend to be a 1920s-era movie palace." The marquee was returned to the Tennessee Theatre on Tuesday. "Police pulled up and said, 'I think a movie theater that spells theater kind of pretentiously lost its sign,'" said one eyewitness. "You hear so much bad news all the time. It's good to know there are people out there who will return a massive green sign that doesn't belong to them."

August 23, 2016

Closed Streets event to highlight Cumberland Avenue

Traffic Cone Knoxville has announced another installment of its popular Closed Streets events. The gathering will close off Cumberland Avenue to cars and pedestrians, making it a recreational open area for construction vehicles and people wearing hard hats. "Everyone really looks forward to these Closed Streets events," said Tanner Wetzel, a spokesperson for Traffic Cone Knoxville. "It's a chance for people in orange vests to get out in the fresh air and enjoy some quality time with I-beams and rebar." Closed Streets will feature an assortment of activities, including foundation surveying, concrete pouring and utility upgrading. According to Traffic Cone Knoxville, "Closed Streets turns streets into dangerous places for avoiding and detouring around. During Closed Streets Knoxville, Cumberland Avenue will be filled with construction workers of all ages and abilities. This expensive event provides skilled laborers with a chance to install infrastructure and mix asphalt." This is the 30,000th Closed Streets Knoxville event. The previous one happened yesterday.

August 21, 2016

East Tennessee teacher recovering from first full moon of school year

Thanks to a bottle of wine and a second bottle of wine, Knoxville third grade teacher Dreya Sentz is recovering after last week's full moon. The lunar phase occurred less than two weeks after the beginning of the 2016-17 school year. Sentz told investigators the full moon transformed her classroom from a mild-mannered bunch of eight-year-olds into a pack of raving lunatics. "I'm normally not a superstitious person, but something happens to my students every time the moon gets full," said Sentz. "It's like the gravity of the sun reinforcing the gravity of the moon also increases the gravitational pull on my students, tugging them into completely insane behavior." Sommeliers say they are treating Sentz with a combination of weekend and two buck chuck. She is expected to make a more or less full recovery.

August 19, 2016

New kudzu maze to open in South Knoxville

Corn mazes have become a popular tourist attraction, giving families a fun way to spend autumn evenings while providing a substantial income boost for local farmers.

This year South Knoxville will join the agritourism business with East Tennessee's first ever kudzu maze.

The kudzu maze will be similar in concept to a corn maze. Walkways will be cut into South Knoxville's hilly kudzu landscape using a mixture of herbicides, roto-tillers and mowers. Thrill seekers will then enter the maze and try to find their way out again.

"We've tried to get rid of the stuff for years," said Steve Leon, a spokesperson for South Knoxville. "We've let goats eat it. We've tried burning it. We've tried eating it three meals a day, 365 days a year. Finally we said, 'If you can't beat it, join it. Or at least carve a maze into it and charge $10 a head for admission.'"

This year's kudzu maze will be cut into the shape of a check into cash payday lender. The maze will open on September 23 and will continue until the weekend of Halloween.

"The maze is going to be haunted in October," said Leon. "What will be lurking in the undergrowth? Bigfoot? The Mead's Quarry Monster? The ghost of Cas Walker? Possums? You'll just have to come out and see."

Concessions will be available at the vast labyrinth, including kudzu salads, kudzu burgers, kudzu dogs, kudzu ice cream and fried kudzu on a stick.

Leon said helicopters will be on standby in case anyone needs to be rescued from the attraction.

"It's a jungle in there," he said. "We're taking every precaution."

Knoxville residents say they are excited to try out the new 67-acre maze.

"I've been lost in the kudzu in South Knoxville before," said Diana Adams. "At least this time there will be a path cut into the kudzu and other people lost with me. Hopefully I'll make it out before Christmas this time."

August 18, 2016

Report: Green Rio swimming pool still cleaner than Fountain City Lake

The outdoor Olympic diving pool that turned a Chicago River on St. Patrick's Day shade of green last week is still cleaner than Fountain City Lake. That's the finding from a report released by the University of Tennessee today. The North Knoxville lake that is really just a pond, a rotting sludge of feathers and avian slopmuck, declined to comment. "We confirm that diving into the emerald waters of the swimming pool in Rio is far preferable to immersing oneself in whatever lurks in the dredges of this oozing Fountain City slurry," said a spokesperson for water pollution. Officials added that the Rio pool is also cleaner than First Creek, Second Creek, Third Creek, Love Creek, Goose Creek, Beaver Creek, Turkey Creek and Ten Mile Creek.

August 16, 2016

Middle-aged grownups praise Knox County Schools dress code

A middle-aged person on the Internet has started a petition to complain about teenagers who want to change the Knox County Schools dress code. Critics say the petition, which asks that the school system revise its policy on the length of shorts for female students, places an unfair challenge on people in their 40s and 50s who have dress codes at work. "When I was a girl I had to wear a burlap sack to school," said a spokesperson for hey kids, get off my lawn Tina Bollin. "Plus students today get to sit around in the air conditioning all day. There should really be uniforms anyway." This is not the first time things were so much harder back when people who will be dead soon were kids. In 1986 they had to share a single phone line with four other people.

August 14, 2016

Man who climbed Trump Tower identified as Spider-Man

Police have identified the man who climbed Trump Tower in Manhattan last week as Spider-Man, a New York-based wall-crawling superhero. The costumed do-gooder climbed 21 floors before he was apprehended by police. Spider-Man turned himself in to the authorities without incident. Police said he will now face charges, though they aren't sure why he didn't just spin a web and swing off to fight Electro. "I don't really know why this caused such a media stir," said area comic book geek Jenni Wynn. "Spider-Man does this all the time. It's what he does. I'd be more worried about the millions in property damage he causes every time he fights Venom or the Doctor Octopus. Taxpayers have got to be sick of that by now."

August 12, 2016

Meigs County lawnmower driver wins county's first gold medal of East Tennessee Olympics

Meigs County riding lawnmower driver Ted Lippan has won that county's first gold medal of the East Tennessee Olympics in the men's 100-meter riding lawnmower dash.

Lippan drove the distance in 29 seconds on his second race of the final elimination round, raising his hands in victory after inching out McMinn County driver Junkie Cooper by .004 of a second.

Cooper earned a silver medal. Anderson County driver Buck Goins brought home the bronze on his trusty John Deere.

"I'm so proud I could finally bring home the gold to Meigs County," said Lippan. "You train for this all your life. It's a great moment, right up there with that time Cooter Webb accidentally shot his wife's tires out with a hunting rifle."

Meigs County was eliminated from the 100-meter dash in 2012 after a scandal in which one of the dry county's drivers traveled into neighboring McMinn County to buy liquor by the drink. The Meigs County driver was turned in to the authorities by a church deacon.

The fierce driving competition was just one of many exciting events capping off the first week of the East Tennessee Olympics. Other popular events include the 100-meter kudzu controlled burn, the three kilometer Bigfoot hunt, the 30-second Rocky Top chant and the 500-meter East Tennessee in August humidity crawl.

"There's some fierce competition this year," said East Tennessee Olympics spokesperson Brent Mason. "Just yesterday the Knox County team narrowly beat out the team from Anderson County in the five-kilometer craft brewery stagger."

This weekend will see the highly-favored Scott County team compete in the 400-meter pothole dodge and the Turkey Creek team compete in the 1,000-meter 40 percent off sale sprint.

The East Tennessee Summer Olympics is an intercounty multi-sport event that occurs every four years. The Winter Olympics, to be held in 2018, features such sports as the 100-buggy milk and bread snow hoard and the popular 10-flake snow day.

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