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Insect Hotel Workshop honoring Rikki

By Mike Knapp, Thu, 2015/05/28 - 7:04pm

What: Insect Hotel Workshop honoring Rikki
When: Saturday, May 30, 2015 - 10:00am
Where: Ijams Nature Center

Ijams Nature Center will host an "Insect Hotel" workshop honoring Rikki. Attendees will use pallets and other materials to build three insect hotels. Gather up logs, sticks, bamboo, straw, roofing tiles, bricks, cardboard, pine cones, terra cotta pipes and pots, cardboard tubes, and concrete blocks! Bring them to the workshop or drop them off at Ijams Nature Center. Music, a food truck, and laughter will be in store to honor Rikki.

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Former Speaker Dennis Hastert Indicted

By redmondkr, Thu, 2015/05/28 - 5:59pm

Accused of lying to the FBI.

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Blues Cruise this Sunday afternoon

By xmd, Thu, 2015/05/28 - 4:54pm

Please join us this Sunday for an Afternoon Blues Cruise.

The Smoky Mountain Blues Society has their First of the year Blues Cruises this Sunday afternoon, May 31st on the Star of Knoxville Riverboat. Join us for three hours of great music with KY blues band The Stella Vee's. They will provide the entertainment. "Chicago and West Coast Jump Blues"

Tickets are $16 in advance and $19 day of show. Smoky Mtn. Blues Members receive a $3 discount. Boarding at 2:30PM, cruise from 3 to 6 pm. Hope to see you there. Call the Riverboat Company Mon-Fri from 10-4 and some Sat.(hrs vary)at 865-525-7827 | 800-509-2628 for tickets
Check out the SMBS website for more info.

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Know Knox Trivia Contest

By eellis, Thu, 2015/05/28 - 3:30pm

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You could be this week's Know Knox Trivia Contest winner! This challenge is brought to you by Knox County Public Library and sponsored by Friends of Knox County Public Library.

Find out how much you know about Knoxville’s local literati! If you win, you can enjoy bragging rights and a modest but marvelous prize. Plus entry in the grand prize drawing which is far less modest!

A question will be posted each week from 1:00 pm, Wednesday through 1:00 pm, Friday, through July 31st. Follow this link:
Know Knox Trivia Question

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Tennessee Democrats demand special session, vote on Insure Tennessee

By R. Neal, Thu, 2015/05/28 - 8:31am


With 64 percent of registered voters participating in a recent survey favoring Insure Tennessee, which would expand healthcare to 280,000 hardworking Tennesseans, the state’s top Democrats held a press conference at Legislative Plaza in Nashville yesterday asking for Governor Haslam to call a special session.

Tennessee Democratic Party Chair Mary Mancini was joined by Democrats in the Tennessee General Assembly in publicly calling for government accountability and responding to the wishes of voters.

At the press conference, Republican lawmakers were asked three simple questions:

1. Why are Tennessee's Republican legislators more concerned with their own political futures than they are with the futures of 280,000 Tennesseans without access to affordable health care?

2. Why are Tennessee's Republican legislators more concerned with playing politics with health care like John Boehner and Mitch McConnell than with giving Tennesseans what they want - a vote on Insure Tennessee?

3. Why are Tennessee's Republican legislators more concerned with hiding their access to affordable health care than with helping 280,000 hard working Tennesseans get their own access?

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State rep hog farmer under EPA microscope

By R. Neal, Thu, 2015/05/28 - 8:21am

Republican Rep. Andy Holt Under Investigation

Investigation Stems From Improper Dumping of Nearly a Million Gallons Of Pig Excrement

After months of investigation, the Environmental Protection Agency has sent Republican State Representative Andy Holt a "show cause" letter related to his numerous years of operating without a permit and the 800,000 gallons of hog waste he dumped into local fields and streams.

"I don’t know which is more disgusting", said Mary Mancini, Chair of the Tennessee Democratic Party, "the fact that he dumped nearly a million gallons of hog excrement into local streams and neighbors' fields or the fact that he used his position as a legislator to cover it up."

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City unveils new website

By R. Neal, Wed, 2015/05/27 - 7:44pm

The City of Knoxville unveiled their new website today. Here it is:

UPDATE: City press release about the new website...


The City of Knoxville has a new online face: a completely revamped City website at This is the first update to the City’s website since 2004. The site features a clean, photo-centric home page and user-friendly navigation with drop-down menus and pop-up boxes.

"We wanted to make it both attractive to look at and easy to use," said Mayor Madeline Rogero. "A city website has to serve many purposes. Our site draws more than one million users a year. It is a primary way for local residents and businesses to interact with local government. It is also literally a face to the world – it is one of the first things anyone sees if they are searching online for information about Knoxville."

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RIP Dr. Julian

By R. Neal, Wed, 2015/05/27 - 5:08pm

UT Legendary Marching Band Director WJ Julian Passes Away

Julian led the band for more than thirty years. He was dedicated to a standard of excellence that became a trademark of the band during numerous presidential inaugurations and bowl game appearances. The band’s performance has become legendary in Knoxville and throughout the world of college football.

In addition to national recognition, his influence extended beyond the Pride of the Southland to area school band directors he supported and who "borrowed" from his innovative drills, and to all the kids who got to participate in U.T. music clinics and marching band events at Neyland Stadium.

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TN # 1, again

By bizgrrl, Wed, 2015/05/27 - 7:10am

TN is # 1 in state taxes increasing inequality-reducing effects of federal tax code

According to a study released by the Federal Reserve, "tax code reduces income inequality substantially in all states." "There is substantial cross-state variation with some states’ tax codes meaningfully reducing income inequality and others significantly increasing inequality."

"state EITC programs can significantly mitigate income inequality, sales tax exemptions for food and clothing moderately reduce income inequality, and that state-levied gasoline taxes work to increase inequality."

"The tax code of Tennessee, for instance, decreases federal anti-inequality efforts by nearly one-third (32.7%). The most of any state. Mississippi and West Virginia are close at 32.2% and 31.6%, respectively.

Aren't we special.

H/T Post Politics

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Knoxville bike trail in national finals for $100K grant

By R. Neal, Tue, 2015/05/26 - 5:33pm

Press release from Appalachian Mountain Bike Club:

After regional voting determined the finalists in three divisions of the United States for the Bell Helmets Trail Building Grant, Knoxville's Urban Wilderness Gravity Trail came out on top in the East and will vie for the $100K grant with final online voting May 27-June 4.

"We are definitely an underdog in this contest competing with California," said Matthew Kellogg, president of the Appalachian Mountain Bike Club (AMBC), who submitted the application in cooperation with Legacy Parks Foundation on whose land the trail is planned. "We think we can get a lot of support from our surrounding states because there isn't another world-class trail like this in the entire Southeast," he added.

The grant would fund the construction of a unique, expert downhill trail to add to the existing Urban Wilderness South Loop trail system. "Knoxville’s Urban Wilderness has over 40 miles of trail now, but most is easy to moderate. We need to create a progression for our riders and add more challenging aspects like the gravity trail to attract more visitors and events," said Carol Evans, Executive Director of Legacy Parks.

Voting is live now, and continues through June 4th. Vote early, tell your friends, spread the word. Here's the link:


More info:


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Christenberry House comes down

By Rachel, Tue, 2015/05/26 - 4:04pm


More pics of destruction at (link...)

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Rikki's butterfly weed

By R. Neal, Tue, 2015/05/26 - 1:16pm

Click image for bigger and one more...

We must have done something right germinating and planting the butterfly weed seeds (Asclepias tuberosa, a/k/a "orange milkweed") we got from Rikki Hall's family. Last year's tiny sprouts survived the mowing, weeding and winter and are coming up strong this year.

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Garden coming in

By R. Neal, Tue, 2015/05/26 - 1:10pm

Click image for gallery

We were a little late putting out our small gardens, but it was probably for the best with the late cold snaps we had. Stuff is starting to come in nicely.

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State offering voluntary employee buyouts

By R. Neal, Tue, 2015/05/26 - 11:19am

The State of Tennessee is offering volunteer buyouts to more than 2000 state employees with five or more years of service. The state says there will be layoffs if an insufficient number of eligible employees accept the buyouts.

The buyout benefits for eligible employees include:

More info:

Tennessee Dept. of Human Resources: Voluntary Buyout Program

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Memorial Day

By R. Neal, Mon, 2015/05/25 - 8:05am

"Our Nation will never forget the valor and distinction of the women and men who defend freedom, justice, and peace. Today, we rededicate ourselves to commitments equal to the caliber of those who have rendered the highest service: to support our troops with the resources they need to do their jobs; to never stop searching for those who have gone missing or are prisoners of war; to ensure all our veterans have access to the care and benefits they have earned and deserve; and to continue our constant work of building a Nation worthy of the heroes we honor today."

Presidential Proclamation - Prayer for Peace, Memorial Day, 2015

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Tennessee offers rebates for electric cars and PHEVs

By R. Neal, Mon, 2015/05/25 - 6:44am

The Tennessee Dept. of Environment and Conservation announced Friday that the state has $682,500 available for another round of electric and plug-in hybrid vehicle rebates. The rebates are $2500 for electric cars and $1500 for plug-in hybrids.

This is addition to ongoing federal tax credits. So, for example, you could get a total state/federal savings of $10,000 $9,000 on a new Chevy Volt or $4,000 on a Toyota Prius plug-in. (Rebates and credits for non-plug-in gas electric hybrid cars have phased out.)

More info, including lists of eligible vehicles, at the following links:

TDEC Rebates for Qualifying Electric Vehicles

USDOE Tax Incentives Information Center

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By Tamara Shepherd, Mon, 2015/05/25 - 6:10am


Jimmy Carter wasn't even on anyone's radar at this point in the campaign and polled at 1 percent among Democratic voters. But he won, because the other candidates were insiders, and voters had had it up to here with insiders.

If you don’t see a parallel to the present moment—a discontented time of Occupy, Black Lives Matter, Moral Monday, Fight for $15, the People’s Climate March, Move to Amend, and other anti-establishmentarian agitation—you’re either asleep or a publisher.

Likewise Michael Dukakis, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama were dark horses who came out of nowhere, polling-wise, this early in the game, to win their respective races.

So, don't be so quick to swallow what your corporate media overlords are trying to feed you. Don't brush off a Sanders run as some sort of ridiculous impossibility.

Read it all.

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Home cookin'

By R. Neal, Sun, 2015/05/24 - 11:56am

Photo: Henry’s Louisiana Grill

From USA Today, "You're not Southern if you've never eaten these 5 foods"

That's a pretty good list, and everything on it deserves to be there, but it seems a little short. No fried Chicken? Catfish? Fried okra? What else should be on the list?

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Hello, Nashville? Anybody Home?

By redmondkr, Sat, 2015/05/23 - 11:47am

Chart courtesy of the American Veterinary Medical Association

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Mark Harmon on American Exceptionalism

By R. Neal, Fri, 2015/05/22 - 9:04am

Mark Harmon: U.S. exceptionalism should be restated

American exceptionalism is both a political and rhetorical trap that confuses dissent with disloyalty and threatens the label "unpatriotic" on anyone who challenges conventional assumptions.

Check the CIA World Factbook and you'll see that more than 50 nations have lower infant mortality rates than the United States. In some 40 nations people have longer life expectancies. Almost 60 nations spend a higher percentage of gross domestic product on education than the United States. Other tallies reveal that we no longer crack the top 10 in the percentage of 25- to 34-year-olds with a college degree. We also have slipped behind many developed nations in social and economic mobility.

We need to be able to talk about these things without getting angry, making excuses or excluding large numbers of people (notably the poor) from our definition of "us."

Read the rest of Mark's excellent column at the link...



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