Profile: Smokies’ Superintendent Cassius Cash

cover_5KMXX01AXXXX_COLR_A2.inddOn any given day in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, you might see Superintendent Cassius Cash leading a swarm of kids into a natural world they haven’t seen before. As the park’s first African–American superintendent, Cash seeks to make it more accessible to more people than ever before. But beyond his lofty goals of inspiring the next generation to love and support this park, Cash must also oversee its varied resources, hundreds of employees, and thousands of volunteers. It’s a constant balancing act of being both welcoming and prudent, accessible to millions of visitors yet accountable for protecting and promoting its natural splendor.

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Spring fling at Rhythm N Blooms

More than 12,000 people descended on the Old City over the weekend for Knoxville’s biggest music festival. Rhythm N Blooms, the Dogwood Arts Festival’s annual Americana blowout, took over several venues in the historic downtown neighborhood — and even created a few new ones, like a main stage under a freeway overpass that hosted headliners Mutemath, the Mavericks, Robert Randolph & the Family Band, and others. We even have the photos to prove it:

>> Photo Gallery: Rhythm N Blooms 2016
>> Photo Blog: Inside RNB’s “secret” shows 


Adventures in sound: Big Ears 2016

You don’t always have to travel to some far-flung destination to experience something new and adventurous — sometimes those experiences come to you. That was the case with Big Ears 2016, the latest installment of quirky music fest that took over downtown Knoxville in late March, transforming the otherwise ho-hum streets into an otherworldly soundscape. If most music festivals are centered on a genre, then Big Ears would be an anti-fest, a diverse collection of classically-trained musicians from across the sonic landscape.

>> Photo Gallery: Big Ears 2016


When the city plays landlord

The Knoxville Mercury cover story: Flip or FlopOver the past decade the city of Knoxville has spent millions to purchase properties nobody else wanted — from abandoned warehouses to overgrown, vacant homes — in the hopes of seeing them one day return to productive use. Most all of the nearly 190 properties bought up by the city were residential, though the vast majority of the $11.8 million in tax dollars it spent on a few big investments: a handful of former commercial and industrial buildings, and one old school house.

But the city isn’t holding on to these properties. Instead, it’s trying to flip them to investors—private developers with a vision, whether real estate tycoons or would-be homeowners, in an attempt to turn urban blight into something attractive, vibrant, and useful to residents and visitors. That’s the idea, at least. How’s it been working out so far?

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Blood Sport: UT frats battle at ‘Boxing Weekend’

cover_5KMXX01AXXXX_COLR.inddFraternities at the University of Tennessee have been getting together each year for nearly four decades to beat the crap out of each other in the boxing ring. There’s blood, there’s girls, there’s booze-soaked debauchery (though technically a dry event), and there’s bragging rights for those that emerge victorious from “Boxing Weekend.” Of the 65 contenders, only 13 will earn a weigh-class title and a championship belt. But all the pummeling has a silver lining that tends to shine gold: Proceeds from the three-day free-for-all go towards underwriting operations for the Golden Gloves Boxing Arena, an East Knoxville gym that mainly serves inner-city kids. Brian Canever put it in words. I snapped photos.

>> Read Canever’s story
>> Photo Gallery: UT Frats Battle at Boxing Weekend