Aquarium Announces Otter Naming Contest Results

Friday, April 25, 2014 - by Thom Benson

The Tennessee Aquarium’s seven feisty otters have big personalities that guests will come to know and love when River Otter Fallsopens next Friday, May 2.

Until recently, Delmar was the only one who was officially named. Over 600 name suggestions (More than 100 for each of the other six otters.) were submitted by otter fans on the Aquarium’s Facebook page and in the Aquarium’s gift shops. The Aquarium’s otter experts then combed through the list to match these names with six furry faces: Maya, Bennie, Louie, Scout, Hunter and Digger.

“Several people suggested famous Chattanooga-related names,” said Aquarium otter keeper Jennifer Wawra. “Hunter and Louie, named after the Hunter Museum of American Art and the Lookouts’ mascot, seemed to fit their personality profiles.”  The only female of the group was named Maya. “We liked that name because it sounds playful and reminds us of celebrating the Aquarium’s anniversary each May,” said Aquarium otter keeper Courtney Lewis. “She is certainly a ball of energy and always seems to be right in the middle of all the action.”

Several people suggested Benedict, a tip of the hat to “Sherlock” star Benedict Cumberbatch. He has risen to fame offscreen through viral Internet posts comparing his face to otter faces. Even he admits that having dashing otter-like features is helping his success. “It’s the blessing of having a weird face,” Cumberbatch told The Hollywood Reporter. “Somewhere between an otter and something people find vaguely attractive.”  Aquarium guests may want to take pictures of “Bennie” to see if his handsome face matches the actor’s facial features.

“Scout,” is a rather adept climber, sometimes leading the way for others. And “Digger” comes by his name naturally. “He loves to dig and spend time playing in the sand,” said Ms. Lewis. “Aquarium guests may see him covered in dirt almost as much as you’ll see him in the water.”

All seven otters will have opportunities to playfully explore their new home each day. They will appear in different, rotating groups of various sizes from two otters to five at a time. So, guests might see Maya and Bennie swimming with Scout early in the day and Delmar, Louie, Hunter and Digger scampering around in the afternoon.

Unique Family Getaways: Perdido Key Pirate Fest

No black flags fly above the clear turquoise waters of Perdido Key these days. Most of the time, the only pirates who frequent these parts are the Pirates of Lost Treasure, a local Mardi Gras krewe. However, all that will change on Oct. 25-26, when an eager horde of buccaneers will descend on the shores of Big Lagoon State Park for two fun-filled days of family piracy. ... (click for more)

TVRM’s Historic Steam Locomotive #4501 Is Ready For Tennessee Valley Railfest

The Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum (TVRM) on Wednesday announced the return of its iconic Steam Locomotive 4501 to operation. TVRM has been restoring Locomotive 4501 over the past three  years and she will make her public debut at Tennessee Valley Railfest on Sept. 6 and 7.  The locomotive last ran in 1998 and has patiently waited for a complete overhaul.  ... (click for more)

Rhasean Lowry, 34, Charged In Death of 3-Year-Old Girl

Rhasean Lowry, 34, was arrested for abusing a three-year-old girl, and then criminal homicide after she died. Last Tuesday, the Chattanooga Police Department was called on a suspected child abuse case. Lowry took the victim to a local hospital and he stated the victim fell down steps. Doctors advised that the victim’s injuries were the result of blunt force trauma consistent ... (click for more)

City IDB Member Who Made Motion For $9 Million Black Creek TIF Had Not Lived In City For Years

A City Industrial Development Board (IDB) member who made the motion to approve a controversial $9 million Black Creek Tax Increment Financing (TIF) had not lived in the city for years, City Attorney Wade Hinton confirmed. Chris Ramsey, a BlueCross BlueShield official, was not present at an IDB meeting on Tuesday morning. Five other board members were. Citizen Helen Burns ... (click for more)

Decimating The Chattanooga Public Library - And Response

Corinne Hill claims that the library is just undergoing a normal weeding process for eliminating books.  She has bragged that she's responsible for the elimination of over 100,000 books - with more to go. "Normal" weeding is not rampant throwing away.  Yes, books go to the Friends for their sale - where they get $2 for a $75 book and thousands wind up being recycled ... (click for more)

The Many Lessons I Learned From Helen McDonald Exum

Helen McDonald Exum was my friend and mentor. As I think of her passing I can only imagine the celebration that is happening in heaven as the news of her arrival is being told. I am sure that there is a party that not only has she organized but that there is not a detail that has been left to chance. I am sure that it is the grandest of events, for you see, she has been planing ... (click for more)