Archive for April, 2013

Pellissippi’s choral program sets final concert of semester

by Kareem Tabyate

Music will be in the air Thursday night as Pellissippi’s choral program presents its final concert of the semester.

The choir will present a visual adventure of the group’s visit to Spain this year, said Bill Brewer, director of Pellissippi’s choral program. The group will sing as videos and photographs flash above them, he said.

The concert begins at 7 p.m. at the Clayton Performing Arts Center on the Hardin Valley campus. Brewer said  the event will be free, but donations will be accepted for scholarships.

Tuesday, April 30th, 2013

Have breakfast with President Wise

by Erin Talley

Students graduating in May are invited to eat breakfast with Pellissippi President Anthony Wise.

He will be dining with graduates at three additional Pellissippi campuses. He attended a breakfast on the Magnolia campus last week.

The breakfasts are to celebrate the accomplishments of those set to graduate, said Brooke Pannell, alumni relations coordinator.

Below are the dates for the breakfasts on each additional campus.

  • Tuesday, April 30, Hardin Valley Campus, Goins Building College Center
  • Wednesday, May 1, Blount County Campus, Dining Room
  • Friday, May 3, Division Street Campus, Dining Room.

To R.S.V.P., e-mail Pannell at or call (865) 539-7275

This event is sponsored by the Pellissippi State Alumni Association.

Sunday, April 28th, 2013

Student ID won’t work at voting booth

New bill would have allowed students to use their student IDs when voting at the polls.

by Justin Baranski

Lawmakers in Nashville shot down a bill earlier this month that would have allowed students to  vote using their college ID cards as a valid form of identification.

The bill also prohibits using library cards as identification, which received national attention last year.

Senate Minority Leader Jim Kyle, D-Memphis, said it’s just an attempt to make voting harder.  “There’s more validity to a college ID than a person getting a driver’s license.  You have to provide more information to register for college than to vote.”

Opponents’ biggest concern was students’ duplicating college IDs, but Kyle said that there is no requirement for a photo ID to register to vote.

Sen. Stacey Campfield, R- Knoxville, did not support this bill, citing that college IDs are easily copied.  He also was concerned about the residency. The students’ residences might be in a different district than the college attended.

Most Democrats see this as a measure to hold back the typical college voter, who turned out heavily for Obama in 2008.  “This is an attempt by Republicans to prevent losing votes,” Kyle said.

The bill can be reintroduced next year, but Kyle doesn’t see much changing until the next state elections in 2014.


Thursday, April 25th, 2013

Security guards at Pellissippi will carry weapons

Pellissippi State’s security guards are working on certifications to carry firearms.  Along with arming the guards, the school’s security will be audited to ensure the most effective communication and notifications.

by Nicole Hedger

Pellissippi State will be arming its security guards.

“We want to make sure that the campus environment is as safe and secure as possible,” said Pellissippi president, Dr. Anthony Wise.  The guards are going through “a series of psychological tests that they have to take, and certifications they have to get” in order to carry the firearms.

Pellissippi has been considering this decision in the past, but Wise said, “We just feel like this is the appropriate time to do it.  We had one of our guards retire, and we’re starting a new search, so it seemed like this was a good time to make that transition.”

The college will also be conducting a security audit over the course of the summer.  An outside group is being brought in to evaluate all of the school’s practices and procedure “to make sure we have the right kind of notifications in place, and the right kind of communication tools,” said Wise.  “(This is) so that we have all the tools we need in place in order to make the campus as safe and secure as possible.”


Sunday, April 21st, 2013

Tennessee helps fund renovations on new campus

by Taylor Cash

Tennessee has been a friend to Pellissippi State in renovating the new Strawberry Plains campus.

The state has given us $8.5 million to help pay for the new campus, which costs $10 million total,” said Peggy Wilson, director of the Pellissippi Foundations. The other $1.5 million has been paid by the foundations.

The buildings at the new campus, formerly a manufacturing site, are now being renovated, and new equipment for labs and other classrooms is being added. President Anthony Wise, Wilson and others meet with individuals and groups on a regular basis to raise funds for the renovations.

“After following all the necessary steps to gain the interest of the individuals or groups, we inform them that we will name buildings, labs, auditoriums and classrooms (as they wish), depending on the amount of the donations,” said Wilson.

Wilson praised Wise and the foundations committee for working diligently to make this new campus and renovations as cost efficient as possible for the school. The renovations for the new campus are well underway and will soon be ready, she said.

Sunday, April 21st, 2013

What’s Pellissippi’s tie to the terror attack of 9/11?

by Stephen Gyebison

As Americans looked in horror at the black smoke billowing from both towers of the World Trade Center in New York City on Sept. 11, 2001, one of our own had to spring into action.

Fred Breiner, who is now the director of safety and security at Pellissippi State, was a detective captain for the New York Police Department.

“ I was sleeping when the first plane hit the World Trade Center,” he said. “I had worked late the night before. I was actually stuck on a job until  the early morning hours at a shooting where we had to gather some information for the police commissioner.”

I figured there will be mobilization because it is a major disaster in a very high-density area. I thought they will need every possible hand. I called work and found they would not mobilize.”

He said, “Initially it could have just been an accident,” he said.

Second Plane Hits

Breiner learned more when he turned on the TV. After the second plane hit, I called work again to see if we needed to be mobilized. Again they didn’t mobilize us, he said.

Two hours later, New York send out a broadcast mobilizing fire and police officers.

Knowing Those Who Died

Breiner knew some who died in the tragedy.  “I had two police officers that I worked with for a short period of time who died,” he said.  “I had actually been their supervisor. I also knew several firefighters who lost their lives.”

“Almost everybody in New York knew somebody who died,” he remembered.

Breiner worked on the scene between 40 and 100 hours. Because he worked in Brooklyn, he was kept in his assigned area just in case there was public unrest.

“Sometimes there is looting and rioting when you have something like that,” he said. 

It was almost a week before officers were assigned outside their burroughs. They went to Ground Zero, and he worked side by side with officers and supervisors. They saw body parts removed from the debris.

Health Hazards

 “I am being monitored by the World Trade Center monitoring crew for health reasons because of the smoke and possible chemicals. But I was not affected by it,” he said.

“Initially we didn’t have any kind of protection. Then they gave us dust masks, and later they gave us a respirator, which I wore all the time.”

Breiner said he could see the smoke from his house, which was 30 miles from the incident.

Different parts of the federal government were investigating events leading up the 9/11 attack, he said. But they could not put the pieces together in time to stop the attack.

“The different units were not investigating as well as they should have,” he said.

Breiner was a police officer in New York City in 1993 during the first attack on the World Trade Center. “I attended training,” he said. “Basically it was terrorist training. It was pretty serious back then.”

Breiner worked for the NYPD until 2003 when he retired because it got too stressful, he said.

“I had a great career,” he said. “It was just time to leave.”





Saturday, April 6th, 2013

Strawberry Plains campus turns eye to manufacuturing

by Nicole Hedger

Pellissppi’s Strawberry Plains campus seeks to serve the needs of the manufacturing community.

“One of the things that exists out in East Knox County is a large number of industrial park. One of the things we want to be able to serve is the needs of that manufacturing community,” said Pellissippi’s president Dr. Anthony Wise.

Wise wants to create the kind of programs that will give students who are interested in careers with the industrial parks “the type of educational training they need to be successful.”

The manufacturing community has “seen significant growth in the last year or so,” said Wise.  He said his goal for the campus is “to be a campus where we’re able to serve.”

The Strawberry Plains Campus had about 200 students in both the spring and fall semesters, and it is having renovation work done over the summer to make additional classrooms for next fall.

Saturday, April 6th, 2013

Drop the books and run a lap

by Justin Baranski

Intramural sports at Pellissippi are in full gear, and a few events remain as the semester winds down.

Pellissippi will host a bowling tournament Friday, April 12 at Strike and Spare Family Bowl at 213 Hayfield Road, just off Parkside Drive.  The event is free, and there is still space for interested participants, said Philip Ems, the director of the intramural leagues. “Gift certificates and other prizes will be given to the winners.”

He also added that the Pellissippi golf tournament last Friday, sold out.

“The basketball league is running from now through the end of the semester,” Ems said.  The championship rounds are before final exams.

The Pellissippi Student Recreation Center is also developing an app for smartphones, which will allow students of Pellissippi to know when intramural events will occur.

“We hope to have it up by the summer, and fully running by the fall semester,” Ems said.  This device is designed to make more students aware that Pellissippi does have a recreation center.

“If the students have any ideas on expanding or improving intramural sports at Pellissippi, we’re always willing to listen,” Ems said.

Pellissippi’s recreation center is located at the Hardin Valley campus on top of the hill.


Saturday, April 6th, 2013

Sample other cultures

by Jovi McMichael

Pellissippi State will host its sixth annual Festival of Cultures on Friday, April 12, featuring a variety of food from more than 16 countries and live music and dancing.

The festival will boast more than 20 booths, each representing a different country, and will be spread throughout the Goins building from 4-9:30 in the evening. It is a free event open to the public and will “hopefully encourage the community to celebrate diversity and learn more about each other’s cultures,” said Gayle Wood, Pellissippi’s director of access and diversity.

The festival features a yearly display of Rangoli art, an Indian folk art made with colored rice. In addition to time-honored Indian visual arts, the festival will also have face painting and a henna artist.

The festival has a designated children’s area for the little ones to make arts and crafts and learn more about diversity. Each child will then be given his own “passport booklet” and will be guided from booth to booth by Pellissippi’s early childhood education students.

Saturday, April 6th, 2013

Deaf students invite others to picnic

by Erin Talley

Pellissippi State’s sign language club,  ASL, Please, is hosting a picnic for the deaf and hearing cultures to come together.

The picnic is at The Cove at Concord Park on April 27 starting at 11 a.m.

“[This is] an opportunity to bring the deaf and the hearing cultures together to bridge the communication gap.  [It’s] open to everyone of all ages,” said Gay Baker, the ASL teacher at Pellissippi’s Hardin Valley campus.

Those attending may play sand volleyball and flag football . And this picnic is dog- and kid-friendly, she said.

The club will provide hamburgers and hot dogs, as well as vegetarian options. Organizers ask that you bring a side dish to share.

The Cove is on South Northshore Drive about 1.5 miles west of the round-about at Concord Road. The park is on the left.

Bring your own chair to kick back and relax, Baker said.

Saturday, April 6th, 2013