March 2013 Archives
March 31, 2013
The government plans to increase security at the Y-12 nuclear weapons plant in Oak Ridge by installing several magical Dark creatures and conjuring various shield charms. Ministry of Magic officials hope the presence of non-beings who feed off human happiness will serve as a warning to protestors. According to Ministry of Magic spokeswizard Ragmar Sidebottom the Protego Horribilis charm will also be summoned to protect the complex against dark magic and unwashed hippies. Sidebottom said the increased security measures will be implemented by April 4, just two days before another scheduled protest at the site. "Unfortunately events of the past few months have demonstrated the need for increased security measures," Sidebottom told reporters. "If these new defensive measures don't work, we'll have to read 'Fifty Shades of Grey' out loud to protestors. But we're hoping to avoid cruelty."
March 29, 2013
A missing Easter egg was found Friday morning after it became lost Thursday during an outdoor hunt in West Knoxville.
Just after midnight, Knoxville Police Search and Rescue team members located the 11-day-old pastel green egg in a thicket of tall grass near Fox Meadow Circle.
The hard-boiled chicken egg became separated from its party after being hidden particularly well by dad near some maple trees. Rescue teams said the egg had a small fracture on its side after being accidentally kicked by a second grader. The egg was also reportedly suffering from hypothermia.
More than 10 trained Easter egg hunters from the neighborhood had combed a one block area for the egg Thursday, until they lost interest and asked to go inside to watch TV.
Search and Rescue team members continued to search for the egg after being called in by concerned neighbors. A rescue helicopter was sent out and located the egg at 12:15 a.m. The prolate spheroid was then refrigerated and taken to a local kitchen to be evaluated, Knoxville Police Department spokesperson Tinah Miller said.
"The first 24 hours of a search are the most crucial," said Miller. "After that the egg tends to be forgotten about, until it attracts raccoons or starts to rot. This egg was very fortunate."
Neighbors said they are thankful and that they never gave up hope.
"Thank God it's OK," said West Knoxville egg owner Sandy Milas. "We spent hours combing the area. We were so worried. Our friends and neighbors have been great. We will sleep a lot better tonight knowing the egg is safe and sound in our refrigerator. This could have been Humpty Dumpty all over again."
"I'm so relieved," added Sandy's husband Denny Milas. "I've been craving egg salad all week and we were one egg short. A few more hours out there and I don't know if I would have trusted that egg. But I think it's still safe to eat. Mmmmm, egg salad."
March 28, 2013
The State Capitol Complex will be hosting a one-day workshop entitled "Sinks of Middle Tennessee" after Nashville lawmakers recently confused a mop sink for facilities used by Muslims to cleanse themselves before prayer. The workshop is scheduled for Tuesday, April 2 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. "We need to work together to be able to properly identify sinks in the wild," said Deputy Chief of Bowl-Shaped Plumbing Fixtures Stan Nodal. "Hopefully this will help lawmakers tell the difference between a sink used by adherents of the Islamic faith for ritually washing parts of the body in preparation for formal prayers, and one used by custodial staff to fill buckets." This is not the first time Tennessee lawmakers have been confused by plumbing. In 2011 Sen. Bill Ketron mistook an exposed pipe near downtown Nashville for a warp zone to World 8-1.
March 26, 2013
Curiosity turned into worry and aggravation for families in East Tennessee after a strange white form of precipitation fell from the sky Monday. The mysterious granular flakes began sticking to the ground early Monday morning, forming a bewildering blanket of wet cold over much of Knoxville. Many people were initially amused, but some residents are considering leaving town until investigators determine the source of the plague. "My husband thinks it's kind of neat, but I don't think so," said Donna Hinds. "This is not a joke. It's on my car windows and everything. I don't know what it is and I don't ever want to see it again." There have been no reports of injury, despite some residents saying they could feel milk and bread disappearing from store shelves for no apparent reason. City officials said they have investigated numerous human causes, but have yet to determine the source of what they have dubbed the "frosty white dandruff rain." "It worries me," said Knoxville meteorologist Todd Howell. "Who's to say this isn't going to get worse?"
March 24, 2013
The Spring season that held so much promise after recent 60 and 70 degree temperatures came to a disappointing halt this week in Knoxville. Spring fell behind just six minutes into the second half of its highly anticipated matchup with Winter and rarely saw the lead again as it was pummeled with cooler temperatures, overcast skies and precipitation from the paint. "They made the important plays down the stretch and we didn't," said Spring coach April Mays. "As good as we were in some of the opening plays of the second half, Winter was that good the rest of the half. They were terrific in clutch situations and that's what wins championships." Fans say they are hopeful that No. 1 seed Summer can keep the pressure on in the next round of the tournament because they have already packed away their mittens and heavier coats.
March 22, 2013
The 2013 Tennessee State Fair will feature an event it has never hosted before. Officials say this year's fair will include a most processed food competition.
The Tennessee Processed Foods' Cup will feature categories for home and professional food processing. Makers of professional and amateur processed foods can submit their creations to the Tennessee Processed Foods' Cup by April 1. Eight to 12 professional food processors will decide who wins in each category.
"I'm honored and humbled to be serving as the superintendent of the Tennessee Processed Foods' Cup," said Tyler Staley, superintendent and executive director of the inaugural Processed Foods' Cup. "I look forward to seeing entries from throughout the state."
Staley said that foods will be judged on a number of criteria, including number of lab-manufactured food additives and the product's inability to mold or decay.
"The processed food movement has really taken off here in Nashville and nation-wide," said Dale Bryson, a Nashville-based food scientist. "People like consuming strange chemical compounds that they can't pronounce and don't really know the effects of. Butylated hydroxytoluene? Sure, I'll put that in my mouth, whatever it is. Why wouldn't I?"
Ribbons and cash prizes will be awarded to both commercial professional and home food processing winners for first, second and third places, in the amounts of $100, $75 and $50 respectively.
Tennessee food processors said they are thrilled to be able to showcase their recipes this year.
"I think my pickles have a decent shot of winning this thing," said Murfreesboro pickle producer Margie Gilson. "I'll be including my top secret blend of Red 3, Yellow 5, Yellow 6, Blue 2, olestra, saccharin, potassium bromate, butylated hydroxyanisole, azodicarbonamide, carrageenan, ammonium sulfate, partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, aspartame, monosodium glutamate, nitrites, nitrates and parabens. I'm hopeful that these pickled cucumbers will be both delicious and able to provide a well-balanced diet of carcinogens."
Knoxville's Darryl Winters expressed similar sentiments.
"I made a loaf of bread in 1987 that still hasn't molded," he said. "I'm in this thing to win."
March 21, 2013
University of Tennessee Chancellor Jimmy G. Cheek said today the campus will not be using state tax or tuition dollars to fund Biological Sciences, Women's Studies, Pre-Medicine and several other courses of study involving human or animal sexual reproduction. Cheek told reporters that after reviewing the final agenda for the academic programs he determined that only the Tennessee state legislature is qualified to teach impressionable young people about the intricacies of human sexuality. The university has long recognized the right of students to engage in free speech activities preapproved by the state government, but said that in this case lawmakers are more knowledgeable than scientists and academics. "The Tennessee General Assembly is surprisingly informed about such matters," said Cheek. "For instance, did you know that AIDS came from a one night stand between a plane pilot and a monkey? That isn't something you're going to learn in a textbook."
March 19, 2013
A Knoxville lemonade stand is seeking a $250,000 grant from the Central Business Improvement District to support its planned renovation. In a letter of inquiry, small business owner Gianna Brogan, 6, said the money would need several thousands of dollars worth of renovations, including a drive-thru, kitchen space and proper permits. "This grant would send a strong signal to other investors about the value of freshly squeezed juice on a hot summer's day," Brogan said. "We would also be able to upgrade from this shoddy cardboard box to a handsome plywood structure." Several other projects are also seeking CBID funding. The owners of homemade rock necklace stand are seeking a $200,000 grant, while the owner of a cooties inoculation service is seeking a $90,000 grant.
March 17, 2013
East Tennesseans this weekend mourned the unveiling of Facebook's new layout. The social media giant began rolling out the larger, cleaner look earlier this month. Inconsolable users say they just can't believe this is happening to them again. "No words can express how devastated we are by this new layout" said grieving Facebook user Melissa Cullinan. "We are in a state of disbelief and are trying to find whatever answers we can. Hopefully we as an online community can band together in this time of tragedy as we struggle to make sense of what has transpired." "Our deepest condolences to those who had just learned to cope with the old new Facebook layout," said distraught social media buff Erin Mulligan. "I pray for the peace of the departed design and hope that we as a nation will have the strength to bear this grievous loss." This is not the first time unspeakable tragedy has struck East Tennessee. In 2011, several Knoxville residents had to walk three blocks to a restaurant after the Market Square parking garage was full.
March 15, 2013
A Knoxville woman accused of squatting in the Sunsphere was arrested early Thursday morning after being pulled over in a blue BMW.
The bank that foreclosed on the property one year ago found a steel chain and padlock on the elevator to the golden, hexagonal truss structure earlier this week with several signs announcing "Private Property/Keep Out."
Knoxville police arrested Janet Mosshart on trespassing and burglary charges at the top of the vacant 266-foot-tall steel tower and booked her at 1:45 a.m. Thursday.
Police had initially intended to bombard the Sunsphere to evict Mosshart, but changed plans after the woman was spotted going on a late night 7-Layer Burrito run. Shortly after Mosshart's arrest, a Knoxville SWAT team broke through the padlocked elevator and entered the Sunsphere with search dogs. A confused wig salesman was also found living on the Sunsphere's observation deck.
Police said Mosshart had posted a sign on the Sunsphere saying the bank could not own the building and that "her parents' 1982 World's Fair attendance granted her exclusive rights to the property." Police said they begged to differ.
"I don't think she understands how property works," said Knoxville Police Department spokesperson Tinah Miller.
According to Mosshart, she was just trying to get a good seat for Boomsday.
"It's really comfortable," Mosshart told reporters. "I was hoping to watch the fireworks from up there without having to fight the crowds. In the meantime there are some great views. I can see seven Stephen A. Burroughs' billboards from here. You can even see all the way to Quentin Tarantino's ego. I could have done without the orange and white shag carpet though."
Mosshart's bond has been set at $2 million. She is set to face a judge on Tuesday.
Mosshart is well-known to East Tennessee law enforcement for her squatting activities. In 2011 she claimed ownership of the Lost Sea. In 2007 she was evicted by police after she was discovered living in Popcorn Sutton's beard.
March 14, 2013
An Oak Ridge facility for processing weapons-grade uranium has been temporarily closed after an activist with no arms, legs or head breached security, officials said Wednesday. The lone torso was able to skirt four perimeter fences at Y-12 National Security Complex before it could be reached by security officers. "First it was an 82-year-old nun breaking in," said Department of Energy spokesperson Jen Tuttle. "Now it's a guy with no limbs or cerebral cortex. Apparently Kim Jong-un could sneak in with a fake moustache and a clown wig." James Lee, a spokesperson for the unnamed torso, said the activist has been arrested and charged with criminal trespassing and vandalism. DOE is investigating the security breach and says it will no longer hire tortoises as security guards.
March 12, 2013
A Knoxville woman is recovering at UT Medical Center after being struck by Daylight Saving Time Sunday morning. According to Knoxville Police Department spokesperson Tinah Miller, the accident happened shortly after 8 a.m. Sunday on Mallow Drive. Police said 35-year-old Claudia Cortes was sleeping soundly in bed when her alarm clock went off at its normal time, robbing the West Knoxville resident of one precious hour of sleep. Witnesses told police the arbitrary time change did not appear to slow down after hitting the woman. Cortes' roommate told police that Daylight Saving Time was driving erratically before the incident. The woman is undergoing treatment using a coffee IV drip. She remains in stable condition at the hospital and is expected to eventually recover. Miller said police will apply for warrants against the time change, who police believe was impaired at the time of the accident.
March 10, 2013
The former RockTenn box plant in North Knox has been hocked to a fox in socks wearing Crocs. According to company spokesperson Slow Joe Crow, the property was hocked to the fox in socks wearing Crocs for an ox in smocks, a padlocked clock and some matured lox stocks. "A pox on squawks," flowed Slow Joe Crow of the hocked Knox Rocks box. "Woe to foes who mock my woks with mohawk locks." The Knox Rocks box hocked to the fox in socks wearing Crocs shocked flocks of jocks with pocked frocks. "So do does that grow noses low and slow toes tow like pros at prose that hobos know," added Slow Joe Crow. Industry analysts said they have no idea what the hell Slow Joe Crow is talking about.
March 8, 2013
The Knoxville Zoo has its first fleet of electric vehicles, a series of 10 Nissan Leafs that the park's animals are now able to drive.
The new automobiles have replaced 10 existing vehicles previously driven by the animals. The goal is to have the zoo's vehicle fleet be zero emission by 2020. The zoo will also add charging stations near the elephant habitat for animals to charge between trips.
Knoxville is the first city in the United States to sign a contract to buy electric cars for its animals.
"These new cars are so quiet," said one lion. "My friends and I will be able to sneak up on unsuspecting prey with relative ease. My old pickup truck was just too noisy. A gazelle could hear me from miles away. It didn't really matter because they would still freeze in the headlights. Deer are so clichéd that way. But this will still be more fun."
In January the Knoxville Zoo also installed a series of 196 solar panels on the roof of the elephant barn at its Stokely African Elephant Preserve habitat. The installation can produce up to 55,595 kilowatt hours of power each year and has allowed the animals to watch UT games on the big screen TV housed in the Gorilla Valley exhibit.
"I'm a huge Lady Vols fan," said Machi, 36, a gorilla who recently moved to the area from the Atlanta Zoo. "I'm so glad I can be here and watch the games. The Atlanta gorillas always used to give me grief for not supporting the Lady Bulldogs."
But many of the zoos inhabitants say they are in it strictly for the cars.
"I love a good Sunday drive," said one chimp residing in Chimp Ridge. "I just hope the red pandas can share. They love hogging the spotlight, so we'll see how they do with something like a brand new Nissan."
"Taking the KAT bus to Trader Joe's was getting old," added one of the zoo's many meerkats. "This makes getting Cookie Butter much easier. I have to say, I already hate West Knoxville traffic though. That has not been good for my blood pressure."
March 7, 2013
A massive pothole in the westbound lane of I-640 between Broadway and Interstate 275 swallowed up a tractor-trailer Wednesday afternoon and knocked out power to hundreds of residents. Remarkably no one was injured during the incident. According to Tennessee Department of Transportation officials, the pothole was about 2,400 feet in diameter and at least 25 feet deep. Officials said the pothole was caused by hard freezes, heavy rain and Tennessee's recent loss to Georgia. "That whole stretch of Interstate is pretty bad," said motorist Marc Robinson Andrews. "I used to say it was like one big pothole. Looks like I was right." Traffic was backed up for two hours while TDOT crews determined how long the pothole would delay the Henley Bridge reconstruction. Dispatchers said the hole should be repaired by February 2014.
March 5, 2013
A duck-handling preacher from Kentucky was back in court Monday trying to have his Mallards returned to him after they were confiscated by Knoxville police in January. Pastor Samuel Estridge of Middlesboro was traveling through Knoxville with five Fountain City Lake ducks when he was pulled over by police. Estridge was charged with illegal possession of cranky waterfowl and his ducks were taken away. He has been fighting ever since to get them back. Estridge handles ducks as part of worship services at Liberty Full Gospel Holy Temple Tabernacle Church in Middlesboro. He bought the five Anatidae in Fountain City for use in his religious services. He was stopped by Knoxville police on Jan. 31 while traveling back to Kentucky. Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency agents confiscated the ducks and took them to the Rainforest Adventure Zoo in Sevierville, where they have since been beating up tourists.
March 3, 2013
Downtown Knoxville's Market Square received upwards of three inches of dog hair that fell Saturday during the sixth annual Mardi Growl festival and parade. The tufts of fur, windblown in some areas, tapered off Saturday evening, with no more shedding expected until next year's festival, according to the National Weather Service. Supervisor for the City of Knoxville's Street Maintenance Department Tom Cormoni said the city was prepared to work through Sunday to sweep up the excessive shedding. "We started sending our brooms out at 11:00 a.m. yesterday," he said said. "Market Square and Gay St. were well-covered by about 2 p.m. and many spots were very slippery. If you're going to be out today, watch your step. We've had reports of doggie droppings in some places. And make sure you bring a lint brush if you're wearing black pants. Static is no joke."
March 1, 2013
A retired NBA player residing in Blount County has consumed the city of Maryville. The 7-foot-1, 325-pound giant was found early this morning looking for sustenance near the outskirts of the former city.
Four-time NBA champion Shaquille O'Neal began his eating binge Thursday around noon after his appetite could not be satiated with pizza and barbecue from local establishments. Witnesses say the ravenous leviathan looked sad, then smiled, picked up a parked car and ripped a sizeable hunk of rubber out of a tire with his teeth.
"It was like a light bulb went on over his head," said Adam Cobb, who lived in the suburb of Wildwood before it was devoured. "He picked up the car like it was a toy and started to gobble it. Everyone was cheering."
O'Neal moved to the Maryville-Alcoa area four years ago at the behest of his reality TV star girlfriend Nikki "Hoopz" Alexander, who is from Maryville. Thursday marked the first time that the athlete has tried to eat a local city.
"I was starving," confessed O'Neal. "I hadn't eaten since breakfast. I'm a big guy. It takes a lot to fill me up. Sorry everybody. This is so embarrassing."
Local residents said they aren't angry.
"Maryville couldn't have been eaten by a nicer guy," said Terry Noonan, who lived on the former Sanderson Street. "He's so gracious. I've run into him in what used to be town a few times. He just gets hungry. You can't blame a guy for getting hungry. I ate about 14 cheese Krystals the other day myself, so I can relate."
"Shaq can really put it away," added Becca Leigh. "I saw him eat two large pizzas once. I never thought he could eat Broadway though. That's a big street."
Maryville officials said rebuilding will begin immediately.
"This isn't the first time this has happened in East Tennessee," said Maryville Mayor Tom Taylor. "TurkZilla did a number on Knoxville last year, but they have recovered nicely. And Shaq has offered his help. In the past he's been great at helping us change streetlights. He doesn't even need a ladder."