The event is sponsored in part by Waste Management, US Bank, McCarty Holsaple McCarty, First Neighborhoods Realty, Fox & Fogarty, East Tennessee Community Design Center, and KBrew.
KNOXVILLE — The East Tennessee Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists once again will partner with the League of Women Voters Knoxville/Knox County to hold the annual legislative forum of the Knox County delegation.
The date is Saturday, Jan. 28, from 9-10:30 a.m. at the East Tennessee History Center, 601 S. Gay St., in downtown Knoxville. Jesse Mayshark, an ETSPJ board member and co-founder of Compass Knox, will serve as moderator.
Coffee and breakfast bagels and pastries will be available at 8:30 a.m. and are free while they last. The event is open to the public, and the wearing of masks is optional.
— East Tennessee Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists
The Amazon has long served as a vast carbon sink, even as vegetation pumped oxygen into the atmosphere to the point it was called the “lungs of the Earth.”
But vast deforestation, despite calls to save the Amazon that originated decades ago, portends profound changes in the ecology of the huge, increasingly fragmented forest that lies mainly within Brazil.
“Just in the past half-century, 17 percent of the Amazon — an area larger than Texas — has been converted to croplands or cattle pasture. Less forest means less recycled rain, less vapor to cool the air, less of a canopy to shield against sunlight,” according to a report from Alex Cuadros.
“In one study, a team led by the researcher Paulo Brando intentionally set a series of fires in swaths of forest abutted by an inactive soy plantation. After a second burn, coincidentally during a drought year, one plot lost nearly a third of its canopy cover, and African grasses — imported species commonly used in cattle pasture — moved in.”
KNOXVILLE — A firewall is forming between those who plan to protest a Thursday night artistic performance and those who say the protestors are trying to stifle free speech and the right to self-expression.
Right-wing agitators plan an assembly protesting the performance of a “Drag Queen Christmas”, which has a curtain time of 7 p.m. at the Tennessee Theatre downtown on Thursday evening. Those at least tacitly supporting the demonstration include Farragut State Rep. Jason Zachary, who has invested a lot of time and taxpayer resources into his conviction that drag shows present a clear danger to the children of Tennessee. “Zachary is among the state legislators supporting a bill that would make it illegal to take minors to a drag show,” according to reporting from Knoxville Compass.
Meanwhile, children in state custody have slept on floors in random state offices for months.
The planned Gay Street protest against the performance has been amplified by right-wing notables such as “Nashville preacher Greg Locke, who has made international headlines for actions like a mass book burning and accusing members of his own congregation of being witches. Locke is an associate of Ken Peters, who leads the Christian nationalist Patriot Church in Lenoir City and is the driving force behind Thursday’s planned protest,” Compass reported.
Compass also reported that a heavy police presence is expected.
But some citizens have amped up their plans to counter the protest.
At least one digital flyer has made the rounds urging people to show up in support of free expression and human rights.
“We need numbers in front of the (Tennessee Theatre). And I mean right in front of it, on the sidewalk. We need folks willing to take the hateful heckles from fascists so that our community can safely enter, exit, and enjoy a fabulous event. I’m sure some folks on our side will have some entertaining things to say back to the haters as well,” according to one counter-protest flier.
“We might be outnumbered. Lots of shitty authoritarian theocrats are planning on coming,” added one organizer who asked that their name be withheld for personal security reasons.
Hellbender Press presents this information in accordance with its editorial imperative to defend human rights.
TOWNSEND — Smokies recovery teams on Monday found the body of Carl Keaney, 61, of Knoxville, in the Little River.
Keaney was last seen kayaking the Sinks during high flow when he vanished under water, prompting calls to Great Smoky Mountains National Park rangers who, along with other local crews, proceeded to search for his body for three days.
Here’s the previous Hellbender Press report:
Teams are searching for a missing kayaker in what Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials are now calling a “recovery operation” after a 61-year-old man disappeared underwater while boating above the Sinks on Little River. High water levels from recent heavy rains are making search and recovery difficult.
“Around 3:40 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 16 Great Smoky Mountains National Park dispatch received a call that a 61-year-old man had disappeared underwater while kayaking above The Sinks and did not resurface,” according to a news release from the park.
“Park rangers, along with emergency personnel from Townsend Fire Department and Blount Special Operations Response Team are on scene searching for the kayaker. High water level from recent rain is complicating recovery efforts. Little River Road from Metcalf Bottoms to the Townsend Wye is closed to accommodate emergency traffic.”
No more information is immediately available. This story will be updated.
GATLINBURG — Great Smoky Mountains National Park and other federal officials completed a management plan to formally regulate aircraft tours over the park.
Don’t expect much to change in the skies over the park: The plan allows 946 air tours a year by select helicopter operators, unchanged from the average number of annual flights recorded from 2017 to 2019. Flights may only operate from two hours after daybreak to two hours before sundown.
“The plan establishes measures to protect park resources including natural and cultural resources, preservation of wilderness character, and visitor experience,” according to Smokies officials. Flights will be restricted to six routes over the park, and must maintain an elevation above 2,700 feet of the highest terrain. Cades Cove is off limits, as are several historical sites, including the Walker Sisters Cabin.
Air tours, often to the dismay of many hikers and others, have occurred over the park for most of its history, but no formal flight guidelines were in place.
“We appreciate the tireless work that went into the development of the Smokies air tour management plan,” said Superintendent Cassius Cash. “The plan incorporates several improvements that allow continued air tour activity, while at the same time better protecting the wilderness character of the backcountry, wildlife populations, natural soundscapes, and the visitor experience in historic areas like Cades Cove.”
Eastern Band of Cherokee Indian members provided notable input into the development of the plan, which will go into effect in 90 days from Dec.3.
Hellbender Press previously reported on development of the Smokies aircraft management plan.
Nothing beats the fresh aroma of a live Christmas tree, if you are into that kind of thing, but both real and fake trees carry their own load of sustainability pros and cons.
Live trees offer holiday beauty and scent and are a traditional addition to households. But they are harvested from a vast monoculture and require multiple levels of carbon-burning transport.
Artificial trees offer convenience, and can be reused for a decade. But they are largely made of plastic, manufactured in places with unsavory human rights records, and require global transit.
This article breaks it down pretty well. Maybe it’s just best to not have a Christmas tree?
Vote. Learn. Participate. Now.
KNOXVILLE — There’s some good vibration in the city this week. Get involved. Get things done.
Tuesday, Nov. 8 offers you a chance to select candidates for elected offices that might jibe with your thoughts about ways to ensure a healthy future for you and your children.
The ballot in Knox County includes races for state representatives and governor of Tennessee, a local Congressional district race and a proposed state Constitution amendment to reduce union strength. Polls are open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Mayor Indya Kincannon plans to address the Tuesday, Nov. 8 opening session of an expansive alternative fuels conference centered at the University of Tennessee.
The Tennessee Sustainable Transportation Forum and Exposition runs through Wednesday, Nov. 9.
“The research, technology, planning, and policy developments shared at the Forum & Expo aim to improve transportation efficiency, reduce vehicle emissions, and address the mobility needs of all,” per a release from UT.
“The Forum & Expo speakers and panelists will address topics such as alternative fuels and advanced vehicle technologies; mobility and transportation justice, which includes issues of access to transportation, community displacement, and gentrification in sustainable transportation projects; and the intersections of transportation with public health and emergency response.”
Come kick some knowledge about your inevitable electric whip.
Keep Knoxville Beautiful leans into some hard issues Thursday at its annual summit, slugged this year as an “Urban Reconnection to Nature.”
Knoxville is a leader in connecting its urban heart to green arteries. This year’s KKB summit will focus on sustainable developments in three states.
“We will hear firsthand from experts in the field about equitable and sustainable parks, tree equity, urban canopy, and the renewal of communities. A local panel will bring these topics home to our city and region,” according to organizers. Doors open at 10:30 a.m. at the East Tennessee History Center on Gay Street and presentations begin at 11 a.m.; attendees should register for the event.
With food trucks, demos and contests, this year’s family-friendly bike festival is ready to roll. And they haven’t forgotten about the Vols.
KNOXVILLE — There’s a different kind of homecoming set for this weekend. It doesn’t feature football, but it still involves wheel routes. It’s a celebration of the city’s unique outdoor recreational offerings in an urban center.
The Appalachian Mountain Bike Club, a 650-member posse devoted to the acquisition, maintenance and marketing of regional mountain bike trails for multiple uses, hosts its 13th FREE annual fall festival Nov. 4-6, centered around Baker Creek Preserve and the rest of the Urban Wilderness.
JR Shute and Pat Rakes declare semi-retirement, hand over operations to Hellbender Press board member
KNOXVILLE — A career biologist with deep experience in Southern Appalachian aquatic systems is the new captain of Conservation Fisheries.
The highly productive and robust nonprofit aims to secure, augment, preserve and protect the aquatic environs of the Southeast, namely through the reintroduction of native fish to areas they once inhabited
Bo Baxter spent 25 years as a conservation biologist at the Tennessee Valley Authority. He became an active board member at Conservation Fisheries, Inc. (CFI) upon his retirement from TVA. He soaked up knowledge of its operations and was named executive director as of Oct. 20. His path comes full circle, as he was one of the first paid staff members at Conservation Fisheries, some three decades ago.
Baxter is a member of the Hellbender Press editorial board.
Department of Energy official pushes goals for energy equity in midst of power turmoil
KNOXVILLE — Energy injustice seems abstract until you run extension cords to your neighbor’s house and store their food in your fridge because their power got cut off.
What else are you supposed to do? Maybe start raising hell about the utility inequities faced by poor people that are clearer every day in an energy marketplace scarred by war and inflation and manipulated by global petroleum cartels?
“We’re at a critical moment in our society. Across the globe, we are hearing about energy insecurity, energy, affordability issues, a lack of resources,” said Tony Reames, Department of Energy deputy director of energy justice, a newly created position at DOE.
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