Love Kitchen’s two heartbeats

Written by Taylor Moore

“L-O-V-E”, Robert Kantowski says. “That’s what they were from day one.”

The kitchen is winding down a quarter after three on March 8 and only a few people remain in the seating area. Jason Ballard, a dish washer for the Love Kitchen, is running around to make sure everything is in place, clean and ready to go for the next day. Today was the sisters’ first birthday since they both passed.

Twenty years ago, Jason walked in the Love Kitchen to find Helen and Ellen, two twin sisters, washing dishes. He introduced himself, told them he was in need, and they welcomed him in with open arms to feed him and help with their cause. The sisters got food to him whenever he needed, and they taught him how to cook, package and serve food. They would go on to extend this same kindness to thousands of other people.

Helen Ashe and Ellen Turner started the Love Kitchen in the basement of a local Knoxville church in 1986 with a mission to feed the hungry and help those in need. Since then, the Love Kitchen has grown into a modern building where it now resides and has remained a home away from home for many in the community. Today, over 3,100 meals are served to the community, with more than 80 percent given to the homebound. The Love Kitchen has been featured on local news stations and even reaching the global community on “The Oprah Winfrey Show.”

Ellen Turner passed away on April 23, 2015 at UT Medical Center. Helen Ashe passed away on Feb. 13, 2018.

Robert Kantowksi, who has served as manager of the Love Kitchen for seven years, said times were tough when the sisters passed.

“When Ellen died, it tore me up to see her gone, and I cried. She was just this little 82-pound lady who cared about people and she let people know that God loves you,” he said. “I have a hole in my heart now that they’re gone. But I know they’re in a better place. They’re up there right now with God looking down at the Love Kitchen.”

94-year-old Lance Owens has volunteered at the Love Kitchen for years despite his failing eye-sight. He knew the sisters for over 30 years, since they were at his church on Chestnut.

He sat in his wheelchair with a hoodie and cap on making jokes and reminiscing about the sisters.

“I liked the way they conducted themselves. They were very reserved and made good conversation,” Owens said.

“Was there anything bad about the sisters Mr. Lance?” Kantowski asked.

“Yeah,” Owens said. “There weren’t enough of them”.

Known as the sister’s non-familiar grandson and the executive director of the Love Kitchen, Patrick Riggins knew the sisters for 18 years. He got involved with the Love Kitchen when he began picking up food for them.

Riggins talked about countless memories he had of the sisters, including their visit to go see Oprah; how the sisters were initially opposed to flying, their brief problem when ordering chicken from room service and how they were treated like royalty while in Chicago for the show.

“I’d clown around with the sisters. They had this youthful exuberance around them where you could joke and laugh with them,” he said. “That’s kind of what you miss.”

Despite the sisters passing, the Love Kitchen has no plans of slowing down.

“It’s not the end of the Love Kitchen,” Kantowksi said. “It’s the beginning of Helen and Ellen’s legacy”.

Although the two heartbeats of this nonprofit are laid to rest, their legacy boldly lingers throughout the Love Kitchen.

Edited by Taylor Owens









Opinion: All Time Low rocks The Mill and Mine

Let me take you back to 2012 when Psy’s “Gangnam Style” took over the charts, “The Avengers” movie fought its way up box office ranks and Barack Obama won re-election. At the same time, a middle school version of myself listened to a band called All Time Low. I’d heard of the band before, but this marked the time I dug deeper into the music.

After years of listening to their music, keeping up with the lives of band members and watching music videos on repeat, I scored the opportunity to attend my first All Time Low show. Better than that: I met the band Monday, April 9.

That night, the band performed at Knoxville’s The Mill and Mine alongside opening acts Dreamers and Gnash. The venue filled with longtime fans and newcomers – all there to celebrate a shared love of great music.

The Meet and Greet allowed 84 lucky fans to take a photo and talk with band members Alex Gaskarth, Jack Barakat, Zack Merrick and Rian Dawson before the show.

“Do not say something stupid,” I said to myself as I stood in line. I anxiously awaited my turn, and as I rounded the corner, I could not help but to break into a ridiculous grin.

I hugged each of the guys and told them I had listened to their music from middle school until now. They asked if I attended school in Knoxville, and I promptly cheered “Go Volunteers!”

I gladly volunteered my time to listen to their music.

All Time Low’s music, often categrorized as “pop punk,” can be compared to bands like Fall Out Boy, 5 Seconds of Summer and blink-182. Like other bands, their music evolved a great deal but continues to please fans old and new. Enduring music makes for a great band, and the opening acts sounded like they will also please crowds for years to come.

Dreamers and Gnash, both great openers, warmed up the crowd with a mix of new and old music. Both thanked All Time Low for bringing them on Part II of “The Young Renegades Tour.” Gnash’s performance his hit song “i hate u, i love you,” which peaked in the top 10 on the Billboard charts in 2016, lived up to the hype as a crowd favorite.

I never imagined I would meet a band whose music I had loved since before I turned 13-years-old, let alone stand front row for the concert. From my front row position, I immersed myself in nostalgia as the band performed hits from at least five of seven studio albums including “Somewhere in Neverland,” “Lost in Stereo” and “Dirty Laundry.”

This concert marked the first time All Time Low has played in Knoxville in the band’s 15-year history. The guys released their most recent album, “Last Young Renegade,” in mid-2017. The release came after a move from Hopeless Records to Fueled By Ramen early last year, as Alex Gaskarth mentioned in an interview with Alternative Press.

My middle school dreams came to fruition with good friends and good music. As a group, we laughed at their jokes, fittingly cried during “Therapy” and begged the band to throw guitar picks our way. The band left Knoxville after the show, continuing on with the rest of the tour. But, they left me quoting the song “Good Times.”

“I’ll hate the goodbye, but I won’t forget the good times.”

I hit an all time high.

Thanks for stopping by, All Time Low. I hope we meet again.


Featured Photo: Ainsley Kelso

Edited by Lexie Little

Vienna Coffee Company visits campus, promotes brand

With midterms approaching, caffeine consumption is on the rise at the University of Tennessee.

The UPerk coffee shop welcomed students to partake in a free tasting provided by the Vienna Coffee Company Tuesday evening. UPerk, the not-for-profit coffee shop located in the UKirk ministry house, receives its coffee supply from the company which serves many local restaurants, churches and schools.

Students sampled both a Honduran and Costa Rican coffee and learned more about the production process.

“It was super cool,” Mary Grace Reynolds, UPerk’s hospitality intern, said. “Each coffee we tasted, we learned about where it’s from and the regions in which it was produced. It felt really special and exciting.”

Vienna Coffee Company provides samples of its new Foothills coffee at UPerk campus coffee house in Knoxville Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2018. Lauren Claxton/TNJN

Phillip Hatter, director of coffee and training at Vienna, discussed the distinct flavor differences in the new Foothills Series Coffee. Hatter said Vienna takes pride in its product transparency and its ability to trace the coffee back to the production farms.

UPerk’s coffee, Hatter explained, is a combination of 40 percent Ethiopian coffee and 60 percent from Papua New Guinea. Vienna offers certified organic coffee and supports direct trade.

With a new location in the downtown Knoxville Regas Building, Vienna brews close to campus until 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. Students will receive a discount if they bring their student ID. Students can also receive Vienna coffee every weekday until 11 p.m. at UPerk.


Open since August, UPerk offers coffee shop qualities in the middle of campus. All students are welcome. UPerk also hosts events like open mic nights, concerts and public speakers.


Featured Photo by Lauren Claxton

Edited by Lexie Little

UTK unites against racism, promotes diversity

“Hate my guts, not my genes,” graduate student Margaret Cross said as she took her place to stand against hate.

Cross, along with other students, faculty and community members, gathered at the University of Tennessee Friday, Feb. 9 in a show of solidarity against racism. “United at the Rock Against Racism” invited the UT community to leave its mark on the Rock, a campus staple and free speech forum. Each handprint represented campus unity, a university vision.

“It feels like a physical representation of the community,” Crystall-Marie Alperson said. “Hand in hand we stand together and we are together.”

The Student Government Association, Faculty Senate and the UTK Campus Ministries Council organized the event. Athletic teams, academic departments and individuals gathered to celebrate love and unity.

“We have a very diverse team, and I think it is really important that, as an athletic department and a university, we celebrate diversity. It is really important for us to spread love and not hate,” UT Volleyball team member Alyssa Andreno said.

Supporters filled Volunteer Boulevard which closed to traffic during the event.

Earlier this week, Chancellor Beverly Davenport sent an email to the UT community condemning racism and hate. Davenport spoke to attendees at the Rock to further her message.

“I wanted to come today to make clear the University of Tennessee views. Our views about unity, our views about peace, our views about acceptance, our views about what kind of future we want. That is what I want us to celebrate,” Davenport said.

During Davenport’s address, she turned to 7-year-old Reed Burgin and asked if he knew why everyone gathered at the Rock.

“[We are here] to not hate people for the color of their skin or where they are from,” Burgin said.

Before the event, Chancellor Davenport sent another message to address a white supremacist group’s intent to speak on campus Feb. 17.

“I want to let you know that after consultation between UTPD and senior advisors, we have decided that this group will not be allowed to use McClung Museum due to safety and security concerns,” Davenport said.

Davenport encouraged students to “get involved, get informed, and take care of each other.”

Following Chancellor Davenport’s speech, the UTK Campus Ministries Council organized a brief vigil. Vigil attendees raised their voices in song as the Rev. John Tirro and Dr. Loneka Battiste led “Draw the Circle Wide.”

“No one stands alone, we’ll stand side by side. Draw the circle, draw the circle wide.”

Featured Image by Ainsley Kelso

Video by Ainsley Kelso

Edited by Lexie Little

Nonviolent Activism: What to do when hate groups come to campus

In today’s volatile political climate the single most important thing students can do is to be informed. Recently, it was announced that a white supremacist by the name of Matthew Heimbbach has been booked to speak on UT’s campus. Heimbach is one of the founders of Traditionalist Workers Party and has been described by the Washington Post as “the next David Duke”.

While the university collaborates with the Knoxville PD to sort out exactly how the group booked an event in the first place, there are a few things that students can do to make themselves safe.

Speak up

If there is one thing that UT students have learned from the recent debacle with The Rock , its that the TWP already has a presence on campus. That means that whenever racist graffiti or propaganda is discovered, it must be made known to the administration as well as to peer. This allows students to know what to look for, and targeted groups are safer for it.

Do NOT confront supporters directly

Studies show that nonviolent protests are not only much safer, but they are also more effective. Hate groups thrive on the violence and chaos that can ensue at these rallies, do not let them. Making things physical will only exacerbate the problem, and when that happens innocents can get hurt. If an argument or debate gets out of hand, the best thing to do is to attempt to deescalate the situation.

Remove propoganda

One of the fastest ways propaganda spreads is through the use of fliers. These are usually posted around areas with a lot of foot traffic like cafeterias or the student union. It takes only a second to remove these, but it can do a lot of good. If they are not posted by a university affilited group, they can be taken down.

Featured Photo: TNJN

Story by Perry Baines

The photographer behind the iPhone

Knoxville-based travel photographer Corey Wolfenbarger worked on four continents with several popular companies. He still does not understand how he earned his opportunities.

“Sometimes you do not know how these things happen,” Wolfenbarger said.

Wolfenbarger, 24, visited the University of Tennessee Wednesday, Jan. 31 for a talk in Lindsey Young Auditorium at John C. Hodges Library. He shared his photography journey and a few photo editing tips from apps on his smartphone.

Wolfenbarger got his start on Instagram and Tumblr in 2012. Now, his portfolio contains photos from companies like TOMS, Urban Outfitters and Holiday Inn.

Equipped with only his iPhone 5, he set his sights on the Blue Ridge Mountains and took as many photos as possible.

“I was sharing them on Instagram and getting twenty likes,” Wolfenbarger said. “Nobody was hyping my stuff but I was still really hyped on it.”

Wolfenbarger’s life revolved around photography during his college career. He often skipped class.

“I decided that if I took photos at sunrise or sunset then my photos were going to be way better,” Wolfenbarger said. “So, I would make the executive decision to not go to class anymore.”

In 2014, he decided to drop out of college. He moved in with his parents and turned his scope to the Great Smokey Mountains. Almost every day, Wolfenbarger took trips to the mountains. His photos gained popularity on social media.

New Year’s Eve 2015, something clicked to Wolfenbarger.

Surrounded by talented and successful photographers, he knew he could make a living by taking photos.

“I saw that if I work as hard as I can and stay humble and realize that I don’t know everything… give it my all and that I can do this and people will pay me eventually,” Wolfenbarger said. “If it was little at the time or whether it as nothing. I can make a living with this.”

By 2016, Wolfenbarger’s popularity increased, and he received requests to take photos. All he had at the time was his iPhone.

“I just had an iPhone,” Wolfenbarger said. “I was not going to out myself so I would make up some obscure excuse why I could not do it.”

He decided if he wanted to receive serious pay-work, he should buy a DSLR camera. New technology became a setback for Wolfenbarger because he only shot photos from his iPhone prior to requests. He knew he needed to progress.

“The DLSR was terrifying for me,” Wolfenbarger said. “I did not know how they worked. I did not know how I was going to edit my photos.”

Wolfenbarger initially struggled to learn the basics like aperture and shutter speed.

“When it clicks for you, it’s the most beautiful moment of all time,” Wolfenbarger said.

Wolfenbarger received many opportunities to work with companies in 2016, a “dream year” full of travel and unexpected chances.

Wolfenbarger continues to learn and strives to improve his photography. He is currently working several booklets and plans to travel to Yosemite National Park.

“It is very frustrating and it does have a lot of setbacks, but it is where I am at in my work right now in my photography,” Wolfenbarger said. “I don’t see myself leaving anytime soon.

Edited by Chelsea Babin

Featured Photo by Sage Davis