August 2, 2015
A Knoxville woman who finished graduate school five years ago celebrated half a decade of crushing student loan debt with another loan payment. Kamara Clarke finished her postgraduate studies in Inorganic Chemistry at the University of Tennessee in 2010 with over $60,000 in debt. This week marked 60 months of her sighing loudly as large sums of money disappear out of her bank account. "The best thing about being a young professional is having a mortgage payment and student loan payments that are almost as much as that mortgage payment," said Clarke. "And if I'm lucky, the overwhelming burden of usury elected officials in Washington allow on my federal loans means some of the balances will even go up." Clarke said she looks forward to paying off her loans so she can finally buy that Frappuccino she's been eyeing.
July 31, 2015
Knoxville police Wednesday announced an arrest in what they're calling one of the largest East Tennessee math lab busts ever, recovering integers with a total street value of $5.7 million.
Ron Jackson, 33, was charged with trafficking arithmetic, possession of seven ounces of prime numbers, and possession of a negative integer during the commission of a felony. He is being held without bail in the Knox County Jail.
Police said they recovered about 38 lbs. of Euclidean geometry and 45 gallons of the liquid form of quadratic formulas. If converted to written form, the quadratic formulas would equal about 55 word problems, police said
Police and federal Drug Enforcement Administration agents made the discovery when the executed a search warrant at a West Knoxville home near the West Hills neighborhood. Investigators discovered fully operational resources designed to help students better understand the concepts being taught in the mathematics classroom, including tutors, videos, games and more.
"Through dedicated investigations and cooperation between local and federal law enforcement, we were able to disrupt a major East Tennessee math operation that will prevent dangerous concepts and calculations from entering our communities," said Knoxville police spokesperson Tinah Miller.
After completing the operation, police and DEA agents posted warnings outside the home that read: "A clandestine laboratory for the manufacture of illegal conjectures of mathematical proofs was seized at this location. Known hazardous limits, derivatives, and integrals of functions of real numbers have been disposed of in accordance with law. However, there may still be hazardous q-analogs, cosines or real numbers multiplied by the imaginary unit i on the property. Please exercise caution and bring a graphing calculator or a pencil with an eraser while on these premises."
Neighbors said they had noticed suspicious activity at the site in question, and are glad to have the lab gone.
"This sends a real clear message that we are not going to tolerate counting, algebra, geometry, calculus, or more advanced branches of mathematics in our neighborhoods," said Amber McDonald.
July 30, 2015
People who grumbled last summer about a $20 admission fee for Boomsday plan to complain that this year's Boomsday will be the festival's last. People who can't be pleased announced Tuesday they can't believe Visit Knoxville is going to cancel Boomsday, just 17 months after they couldn't believe Visit Knoxville was going to charge for Boomsday. The reaction came almost 11 months after they announced Boomsday was too crowded and too loud and too hot and that it started too late and that there is nothing else to do on Knoxville's waterfront and that it's going to take forever to get home after this and that football traffic is going to be awful tomorrow, too. People who can't be pleased told reporters things haven't been this bad in Knoxville since 11 million people came to visit the city for a World's Fair.
July 28, 2015
Dolly Parton's new NightmareMore Resort opened to visitors Monday to several reports of guests awakening with pajamas soaked with sweat. The 300-room resort is ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, oh my God oh my God oh my God! "Think of something really scary or terrifying," said East Tennessee director of oh thank God, it was only a dream. "Got it? It's probably here, whether it's forgetting to turn in an assignment to your horrible third grade teacher you haven't thought about in 15 years, or being trapped in an elevator with a man-eating teddy bear." Other amenities include having to give a lecture in front of a large crowd while not wearing any clothes, forgetting your sister's wedding, and being chased by venomous flying monkeys singing that one catchy Justin Bieber song.
July 26, 2015
Movie buffs are calling foul after the University of Tennessee moved a historic Victorian home from White Ave. Friday, but failed to do so using helium balloons. The home was moved to Clinch Ave. to make room for a new science building. Critics said the move was a perfect opportunity to recreate the plot of the 2009 film "Up." "It isn't every day you get to recreate a scene from a Pixar movie on an East Tennessee college campus," said Heidi Lones. "Friday should have been that day. Now we're going to have to find a college student named Andy and make him cry by giving away all his childhood toys. I hope you're happy, UT." This is not the first time UT has angered Pixar fans. In 2013 the university closed its School of Scaring and canceled its popular major in scaring.
July 24, 2015
A man who has spent two decades searching for an elusive East Tennessee-based sasquatch has concluded the creature is, in all likelihood, just a hairy dude with a beard.
Tom Barchett, 50, told reporters he is not claiming to have solved the local Bigfoot mystery. But he says the evidence is starting to add up.
"When you talk to all the people who say they have seen Bigfoot in the Smoky Mountains, the most likely solution is that it's just a heavy-set, bearded guy with no shirt on," said Barchett. "Possibly the guy is also drunk and kind of staggers."
Hairy dudes with beards can grow up to 7-feet-tall and weigh up to 500 pounds. They are native to the United States.
"I just have to be honest," Barchett told reporters. "I don't think the East Tennessee Bigfoot is a prehistoric ape-like creature. What a lot of people have reported seeing would easily fit the description of a kind of gross hairy guy who should probably put a shirt on."
While Bigfoot sightings predominantly come from the Pacific Northwest region, there have been numerous eyewitness reports in East Tennessee. Legends of a prehistoric hominid-like creature roaming the forests of Appalachia can also be found among a friend of a friend of a friend who swears he saw something that night.
"Hairy guys can get big and they are pretty scary looking," Barchett said. "But they are very difficult to photograph, which explains all the blurry pictures."
The hype over a local Bigfoot reached fever-pitch in 2012, when the Animal Planet TV show "Finding Bigfoot" paid a visit to the Smokies. The team found no evidence of Bigfoot, but they did ask a big hairy guy make hog noises, so there's that.
Barchett insists that he will keep looking until he is sure.
"I'm almost positive it's just a big hairy dude, but you never know," he said. "Stacey Campfield held public office in this state for 10 years, so pretty much anything is possible."
July 23, 2015
A massive amount of paint fell off The Rock at the University of Tennessee Wednesday, revealing that the iconic stone was originally a pebble. East Tennessee archeologists were stunned to learn just how many times The Rock had been painted and repainted. "We thought that underneath all that paint was a pretty big rock," said sanctioned collegiate graffiti researcher Everett Banks. "It turns out that Tennessee fans have been taunting Florida fans for a lot longer than we thought." The discovery provides incredibly rare insights into the lifestyle of prehistoric Tennessee football fans. "UT students now have the opportunity to turn the pebble into a large stone once again," said Banks. "Of course, it will take hundreds of thousands of layers of paint for The Rock to get that large again. So in a couple of weeks it will be back to normal."
July 21, 2015
Leaving Pigeon Forge has been chosen as this year's top attraction in Pigeon Forge, according to readers of Let's Get Out of Here magazine. The publication's annual Reader's Choice awards were announced Monday, with Pigeon Forge being recognized as a top city in Tennessee to go away from. "To be recognized as a great place to leave as quickly as you can is truly a testament to our tacky airbrushed T-shirts, our scenic neon signs and our over the top tourist traps," said Pigeon Forge director of not being in Pigeon Forge Michael Smallwood. "Pigeon Forge really puts the 'get away' in getaway." "I can't wait to come back next year just so I can leave again," said Cathy Thrift, a visitor from Georgia. "Unfortunately, because of the traffic, that will literally take several days."
July 19, 2015
Outspoken wintertime treat Snow Cream has called for a boycott of National Ice Cream Day, arguing the frozen dairy food is no match for homemade snow cream. "I don't like ice cream, and I don't think anybody else should either," Snow Cream said. "I think we should boycott National Ice Cream Day, frankly. And Ice Cream for Breakfast Day. And Ice Cream Soda Day. And National Creative Ice Cream Flavor Day. And National Peach Ice Cream Day. And National Coffee Ice Cream Day. And don't get me started on National Frozen Yogurt Day or National Gelato Day." Snow cream is not afraid of making her strong opinions known. In 2009 she called National Rum Day a drunk and told National Cookie Day to go on a diet.
July 17, 2015
A 25-year-old Knoxville woman who has no children walked into a grocery store this week and just bought the things she needed.
According to witnesses, Courtney Heaton of Fountain City casually drove her car that was not a minivan into a parking space, stepped out of her vehicle and leisurely strolled into the supermarket. Once inside, she took possession of a buggy, then walked around the store putting items into it.
Observers said not once did Heaton have to tell a tiny human to stop hitting another tiny human, nor did she once utter the sentence, "Please stop licking all the cans of soup." Heaton likewise did not have to clean up a pyramid display of saltines after it had been crashed into with a miniature shopping cart.
"I watched her," said Tiffany Zeier, who saw the entire spectacle. "It was like something out of a movie. There was no chasing a toddler who had taken all his clothes off through the produce department. She didn't bribe anyone with cookies. She didn't even have to tell her son not to wipe boogers on a stranger's leg."
Bystanders found Heaton's entire shopping trip to be devoid of tiny lungs screaming for no apparent reason and of three-foot-tall persons spelunking through the pizza freezers. Witnesses also reported that Heaton was not slowed down for a minute by someone in her party lying in the middle of the floor demanding a Kid Cuisine fun-shaped chicken breast nuggets meal.
"I've never seen anything like it," said JaShaun Smith. "I was still in the parking lot trying to get my children out of their car seats and into an oversized shopping cart built to look like a car by the time she had finished shopping. She probably went to five other stores before I even got back to my van."
Witnesses said Heaton undoubtedly even unpacked and put her groceries away without stepping on any stray Legos with her bare feet.