October 24, 2014

Knoxville couple proud new mortgage owners

Brandon Scott and Audrey Palace couldn't stop smiling Thursday, when they received the keys to their very own new mortgage loan.

The happy couple grinned from ear to ear as they gave tours of the first multi-decade loan they could call their own.

"This is just a dream come true for us," said Scott. "We've been renters for a long time, but we finally said to ourselves, 'Instead of renting, wouldn't it be great to put $10,000 down on a home that will finally be ours in 30 years if we don't default on the loan?'"

Scott and Palace spent the day walking friends and family through the modest mortgage, pointing out their favorite aspects of the long-term fixed financial arrangement.

"Over here we have this great $487 payment, which includes the principal and interest," said Palace. "And right off the estimated homeowners insurance you have the estimated mortgage interest. Oh, and the estimated property taxes are just lovely. They really just make this loan pop. Only $45 a month. Try finding that in Illinois or California."

"The 4.25 percent interest rate and the 4.609 annual percentage rate give us some excellent curbside appeal as well," said Scott. "And the loan origination fee and the appraisal fee really set our mortgage apart from our neighbors. All in all, this is a lot of mortgage for the money."

Scott and Palace say they look forward to raising a family in the new loan.

"We don't have kids yet, but hopefully they aren't too far off," said Palace. "We would love to hear the pitter-patter of little feet bringing us our latest statement from Ocwen. That would just melt my heart."

The mortgage loan, owed on the home in Holston Hills, is currently held by an intermediary lender in West Palm Beach, Fla., but that is likely to change 37 times in the next 30 years.

October 23, 2014

Knoxville man going as cable news coverage of Ebola for Halloween

Knoxville costume wearer Nigel Stinnett plans on dressing as the scariest thing he can think of this Halloween: cable news coverage of the Ebola virus. A veteran trick-or-treater and wearer of disguises, Stinnett originally planned to go as something else scary, such as a zombie or the middle-aged American male's chances of getting heart disease. But after watching three straight weeks of news coverage of Ebola in Dallas, he knew he had his costume. "According to scientists and medical doctors, there is virtually no chance of an Ebola epidemic in the United States," said Stinnett. "Or as they are putting it on cable news, 'Oh my God oh my God oh my God!' So, yeah, this is pretty much going to be the best costume ever."

October 21, 2014

Clinton woman takes all health advice from photoshopped images on Facebook

An East Tennessee woman has learned everything she needs to know about nutrition from images of food shared on social media that have text superimposed over them. Vitamin-enriched photography expert Kristen Westbrook, 33, has learned a surprising amount of information about prostate health and blood pressure regulation from photos she has liked on Facebook. "I know this is accurate nutritional information because it was told to me in perky white text typed over a photo of broccoli," said Westbrook. "And plus, it has been shared 789 times. I think that's what scientists mean by peer reviewed." "I find it hard to believe that a picture of a banana with no source information could be wrong about cancer," added Westbrook. "That just does not seem like the Internet I have come to know and love."

October 19, 2014

Dates for standing in line for Bonnaroo porta-potties announced

A Middle Tennessee music festival has announced dates for when music fans will be able to wait in line for hours to use portable toilets. The 2015 Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival will take place June 11-14 in Manchester. It will be the 14th annual time music fans have had the opportunity to wait in line to use a free-standing toilet on a farm in Tennessee. An estimated 90,000 people were on hand to use Bonnaroo's portable toilets this year. "Next year's wait for the porta-potty is going to be so great," said veteran Bonnaroo porta-potty user Cheryl Byrd of Nashville. "I mean, Lollapalooza and Bumbershoot both have some good bathrooms made from hard plastic. But Bonnaroo is the best." Tickets for waiting in line to use the music festival porta-potties are expected to go on sale early next year.

October 17, 2014

Urban Land Institute recommends big box stores for downtown Knoxville

An internationally-recognized nonprofit focused on urban planning has recommended that Knoxville add some big box stores to its downtown neighborhood.

Those are some of the findings from the Urban Land Institute's presentation last Friday.

The group was invited to spend five days studying the downtown Knoxville region. During that time representatives from the ULI met with nearly 150 people from the community.

"The one thing we have learned in our research is that people really love big box stores," said El Paso-based architect and bargain hunter Doug Grizzel. "And West Knoxville only has so far to expand. Obviously you can annex Lenoir City and Oak Ridge. But why not head towards downtown as well? You could get four or five anchor stores in here, and still have plenty of room for surface parking. People could even drive from one store to another without having to get out of their cars and walk anywhere."

Possible sites for the new big box stores would include the World's Fair Park, west Jackson Avenue, the old Supreme Court building and the Civic Coliseum. Other parts of downtown could be torn down as needed to add parking.

"Ultimately, what do you want to have downtown," asked urban planner Sandy Trevino. "You don't want to have people walking around enjoying themselves outdoors like it was some European hippie commune. You want people to be able to get their groceries, toys, furniture, hardware, gardening tools, clothing and electronics all in one place, under the comforting glow of fluorescent lights. If we could figure out a way to let the cars drive through the stores it would be even better. Maybe that's something Google or Apple could look into."

City officials say they will have public meetings to discuss the proposed changes first, but added, "Hey, it would be pretty handy to have a big box store so close to my house."

The Urban Land Institute's other recommendations included adding moving sidewalks to the University of Tennessee campus and opening some floating casinos on the Tennessee River.

October 16, 2014

Study: 80 percent of drivers weirdly unable to drive speed limit on Kingston Pike

A new study shows that a large number of Knoxville drivers are inexplicably unable to drive the posted 45 miles per hour speed limit on Kingston Pike. The study generally looked at why the red Kia Optima in front of us is cruising along at 38 miles per hour despite having no one in front of it on a Wednesday night at 8:22 p.m. "Our research shows that even when traffic density is light and motorists are on stretches of Kingston Pike with few stoplights, a majority of motorists are weirdly not able to drive 45 miles per hour," said a spokesman for drivers considering using the center turning lane as a passing lane. "But go to any other major highway in this city and people can only drive 10 miles over the speed limit. It defies all logic."

October 14, 2014

It's pretty gross outside, scientists say

According to scientists at the University of Tennessee, it is a positively rainy, nasty, icky, disgustingly gross day outside that would be better spent snuggled under blankets and reading a book. In a paper published in the journal "Science and Nature," scientists described how they had to take the trash out in a downpour and accidentally stepped in a puddle, getting their socks all soaked and disgusting. Researchers also witnessed accidentally dropping their lunch on the wet front lawn and wondered if they will have to Shop-Vac the basement later tonight. "The sun isn't even out yet," said meteorology research professor Jessy Hill. "That's a clue. If the sun won't get out of bed, why should I have to?"

October 12, 2014

U.S. wildlife officials add Tennessee Democrats to endangered species list

Two species of Democrats found in Tennessee have been added to the endangered species list. The United States Political Party Service announced that it was listing both the conservative Tennessee Democrat and the less abundant liberal Tennessee Democrat as endangered. It also recommends setting aside hundreds of acres of critical habitat for both species of Democrats on college campuses and in cities. Federal officials blame the Democrats' decline in Tennessee on habitat destruction, Obummercare, chemical pesticides and on not wanting to awkwardly tell mom and dad at Thanksgiving that that you didn't vote Republican. Wildlife officials cautioned that political diversity is necessary for the well-being of the state. "A sustainable future cannot be achieved without both conservative and liberal ideas at the table," said John Augland of the Tennessee Wishful Thinking Institute.

October 10, 2014

Local university not ashamed to charge infant full price for sporting event ticket

An East Tennessee university was not the least bit embarrassed to charge a four-week-old baby the full admission price to a sporting event last week, a spokesperson for the place of higher learning said.

Witnesses said a representative of the university held his head high and boldly proclaimed that the tiny human who has not yet learned how to clap or roll over should pay the same price as an adult human, because policy.

"I mean, you could argue that an infant isn't forming memories yet, and has no object permanence, and that he or she won't even be sitting in an actual seat, and that the child will probably be asleep for most of the game anyway," said university director of babies are so cute when they pay full price Brett Petrone. "But we would counter that with the fact that receiving money for the infant's ticket is better than not receiving money for the infant's ticket. It's just a matter of math, really."

The infants' parents said they couldn't believe that a college that has nearly doubled tuition rates in six years would also charge a baby for a ticket to a game.

"My baby is barely a month old," said the child's mother, Julia Kimball. "He can't hold down a job. His only real skills are crying and pooping himself. It will be weeks before he is even able to pincher grasp, let alone operate heavy machinery. This is crazy. He should at least get 10 percent off."

University officials say parents who don't want their babies to be charged for tickets should not leave their homes ever.

"If you want to spend time with your baby and don't want to pay for it, you should not come out of your house until the child goes to college, at which point we'll be over to collect," said Petrone.

The infant, who was a resident of a local uterus one month ago, declined to comment for this story.

October 9, 2014

Florida looks for another big win from expired play clock

The Florida Gators are hoping for another key Southeastern Conference victory from an expired play clock Saturday when they host LSU in Gainesville. The Gators (3-1) say they are confident they can pull off another win if the referees don't see them violating the rules of collegiate football. Florida has previously won games this season against Tennessee and Kentucky with a little help from having all the time they wanted to complete important plays. "We are hopeful that for the third time this season officials will fail to notice the ball being snapped just after the play clock expires, barely giving us another controversial win," said Florida expired play clock coach Darryl Desu. LSU narrowly defeated Florida last season due to the Gators' time machine being in the shop.

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