Briefs for April 19, 2022

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Corpse found in motel fire 

Firefighters found a corpse when they responded Monday morning to a fire in an East Knoxville motel room, authorities said.

The identity of the victim wasn’t immediately released pending notification of their next-of-kin, but officials said it didn’t appear the person’s death was suspicious.  

Dispatchers from the Knox County E-911 Center logged a possible fire call at 11:43 a.m. from the Regency Inn, 2660 E. Magnolia Avenue, according to Assistant Chief Mark Wilbanks of the Knoxville Fire Department.

“Upon arrival, the initial engine company reported a small amount of smoke coming from an upstairs unit,” said Wilbanks. “After the initial company gained entry, they discovered a small fire in the room which was very quickly extinguished. During this time, firefighters also discovered a body near the door of the room. Damage from fire and smoke to the room are light.”

KFD fire investigators as well as members of the Knoxville Police Department’s Violent Crimes Unit began a joint investigation into the blaze, he said.

“Based on the preliminary investigation at the scene, the death is not believed to be suspicious in nature,” said police spokesperson Scott Erland. “We won’t be able to definitively speak to the cause of death until the Medical Examiner’s Office makes that determination. We can only say that preliminarily foul play is not suspected.”

Central High students in national design competition 

Central High School has learned that it’s one of only 250 schools in the United States selected to take part in the Van’s Custom Culture High School Design Competition.

A team of 20 students pulled from all grade levels have been working on the competition during art classes, lunch and even after school since learning of Central’s selection in February, according to Cheryl Burchett, a teacher at the school. 

“For 13 years, this contest has challenged students to think creatively and decorate Van’s shoes to fit specific themes,” Burchett explained. “This year, Van’s sent two pairs of plain white shoes to students. One pair needs to represent ‘Hometown Pride.’ For this design, Central High School art students have used needle felting to create the Great Smoky Mountains as well as using clay to sculpt many Knoxville and Fountain City landmarks.”

The second theme was to show the legacy of the company’s founder, who died this year, she said.

 “Central High School students have painted one shoe to represent the founding of the Van’s company in the 1960s, and the other shoe represents the growth of the brand today,” she said.

The team from Central submitted their designs on April 15 and should learn this week if they’ve been selected as one of the nation’s top 50 designs. 

“Once the top 50 schools are selected, the designs will be presented to the public for online voting to determine the winner of the $50,000 grand prize,” she said.

Published on April 19, 2022.