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LAST UPDATED: May 17, 2013
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Ac Budget: No Tax Hike, ACSD Still Seeking Funds
After a lengthy meeting Thursday evening, the Anderson County Budget Committee recommended approval of a budget proposal that leaves property tax rates at their current levels. The budget proposal will be the subject of a public hearing on May 30th and will be deliberated in June by the full County Commission. It will be up to commissioners to decide what to do about funding the Sheriff’s Department’s request for hiring 34 new jailers at the soon-to-be-expanded Anderson County Jail and funding requests for new vehicles and equipment. A state jail consultant recommended 41 jailers for optimal staffing of the 212-bed expansion and the ACSD requested 34. The budget proposal adopted by the budget committee Thursday recommends funding for 15 new jailers, less than half of the department’s request. The budget committee also voted last night not to cut the budget of Law Director Jay Yeager’s office by some $52,000 as had been recommended by County Mayor Terry Frank.
Blount Commission Delays Prayer Vote
Thursday night, the Blount County Commission delayed a vote on a resolution regarding pre-meeting prayers on the advice of the county attorney. The resolution would have affirmed the Commission’s right to pray before meetings and was proposed in response to a request from the Wisconsin-based Freedom from Religion Foundation to cease the prayers on the grounds that it could represent a violation of the separation of church and state. As written, the resolution includes language making it clear that no one is required to participate or listen to the prayer and prohibiting whoever delivers the prayer from promoting any one specific religion or disparaging someone else’s beliefs. County Attorney Craig Garrett said urged commissioners to remove the item from the agenda while he researches the issue further.
US 25 Yard Sale Coming June 6th-8th
(AC Tourism Council) The second annual US 25 Yard Sale will start in Anderson County, Tennessee this year and go through Campbell County and continue through Kentucky. The sale will start on June 6, 2013 and continue through to June 8, 2013. If you live on US 25W in Anderson County, all you have to do to participate is set up a yard sale sign in your yard. If you do not live on US 25W and you would like to set up for the yard sale, you can go to the Lake City Recreation Center/Ball Field. There will be a set up fee of $10 per day per 10’ x 10’ space and the covered area will be $20 per bay area per day. All spaces are first come /first serve. Sellers are allowed to set up a tent but it must stay within the allotted space. The gates will open at 6 a.m. for the people to set up and at 7 a.m. for people to purchase items. The gates will close at 2 p.m. at which time all items must be removed. All proceeds for the $10 set up fee will go to support the Coal Miners Museum which is located adjacent to the ball field. If you have a commercial property on US 25W, you can set up or allow other people to set up on your property. It is at the discretion of the property owner to establish their own rules and fees. If you plan on participating in the yard sale, whether you are an individual or a business/organization, you can submit your location on www.yallcome.org. You can list special items you have for sale and your location will show on a map. If you would like to stay up-to-date on the US 25 Yard sale, you can follow the Anderson County Tourism Council’s facebook page at www.facebook.com/AndersonCountyTourismCouncil or signup for email updates at www.yallcome.org. If you have any questions, please call 865-457-4547, visit www.yallcome.org or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Man Indicted In Mausoleum Assault
An Anderson County grand jury has indicted a Powell man on charges that lured a man to a mausoleum in Claxton, locked him inside and forced him to perform oral sex. 55-year-old Charles Bean was indicted on charges of aggravated rape, aggravated kidnapping, vandalism and vandalism of a cemetery. Bean has been in custody since his arrest in July of last year. He was charged after a 23-year-old man told deputies that he had been lured to the mausoleum at Woodhaven Memorial Gardens when Bean allegedly sent him a picture of a young woman and a text that indicated she wanted to hook up with him inside the mausoleum. However, the victim said that when he arrived, he found only Bean waiting for him and the older man allegedly closed and locked the door, threatened to kill him and then slapped, punched and kicked the victim while making him drink liquor and perform oral sex on him. The victim at one point managed to make a 911 call during which he told a dispatcher that he was afraid he was “going to die inside the mausoleum.” The vandalism charges stem from allegations that Bean also urinated on the inside of the building. He will be arraigned on these charges on May 31st.
ORT: 3 More Months for New China Palace
(Oak Ridge Today) According to our partners at Oak Ridge Today, the New China Palace restaurant has been given a three-month lease extension that will allow it to stay on the Oak Ridge waterfront through Labor Day. It’s expected to be the last lease extension for New China Palace at the city-owned property at Melton Lake Park. The restaurant received a previous three-month extension that started in March and runs through the end of May. The restaurant plans to re-open later this year at redeveloped property on Central Avenue. The city has developed a master plan for the waterfront area that recommends the current New China Palace site at Melton Lake Park be remodeled as a bathhouse facility. It’s part of an ambitious plan to revamp the waterfront from Elza Gate Park to Rivers Run Boulevard. Some work on the waterfront plan has already been done, including paving the parking lot at Elza Gate Park and building a new pavilion at Melton Lake Park.
ORT: Alexander Inn Estate Sale
According to our partners at Oak Ridge Today, an East Tennessee nonprofit organization will have an estate sale at the Alexander Inn on May 25. The historic two-story hotel, unused for about two decades, is being converted into an assisted living center. The estate sale will give the public a one-time opportunity to walk through a portion of the historic inn before renovations begin and purchase furnishings from the 1940s through the 1980s. The sale, which is scheduled from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, May 25, is being organized by the East Tennessee Preservation Alliance in conjunction with Knox Heritage’s Salvage Room. Several items have already been removed by local historians, but the all of the remaining furniture, including chairs, tables, bed frames, dressers, and more will be available. The Alexander Inn is located at 210 East Madison Road in Oak Ridge.
CCWF Awards Nantglo Scholarship for 2013
(CCWF) Officially, the Coal Creek Watershed Foundation awards college scholarships to former Briceville Elementary School students who participate in our community service projects and essay competition. But, this year’s recipient actually earned her scholarship when she was in first grade and told a TV news crew the procedure for getting your blood pressure checked. She said, “They put this thang around your arm, they pump it up, and it feels kindly tight.” Victoria's TV segment from this first grade event can be seen on YouTube with other Coal Creek segments. Fast-forward to about minute 3:30. She was absolutely smart and adorable even then. Don't miss it! She was interviewed for a Knoxville News Sentinel article last year about Briceville students being descended from Welsh Lords of the Isles. In it, she is quoted as saying, “My plan is to go to the University of Tennessee to study engineering," The article concludes with, “Now, that's something the Lords of the Isles could appreciate: a maiden becoming educated in the ways of iron.” And this year, she was featured in an Engineering-News Record Magazine article… not bad for a high school student. In a press release, the Coal Creek Watershed Foundation says they are thrilled to announce the winner of this year’s $10,000 Nantglo Scholarship: Victoria Wright. Nantglo is Welsh for Coal Creek and this scholarship recognizes the contributions of the Welsh miners who helped East Tennessee rebuild after the Civil War. CCWF's goal is to give Briceville students the incentive to excel in middle school and high school, knowing they have the potential to get a college education. Since 2002, thirty-three students from Briceville have received CCWF scholarships as described at www.coalcreekaml.com/ScholarsProgramPage.htm. The 2013 CCWF scholarship was presented at the Anderson County High School awards ceremony on May 16, 2013. In addition to receiving her scholarship, Victoria was presented with framed copies of the Knoxville News Sentinel and Engineering-News Record Magazine articles in which she was featured.
TDOT Repairs to Affect Online Resources
(TDOT) Emergency maintenance will be performed this weekend on the James K. Polk Building in downtown Nashville, which houses the Tennessee Department of Transportation’s (TDOT) headquarters offices. This maintenance will cause outages to many TDOT web-based services. The maintenance window is expected to occur between 3:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. CDT on Sunday, May 19, 2013. During this time, the TDOT website, Tennessee 511, and the TDOT SmartWay mobile application will be unavailable. These services will resume at noon on Sunday. During this time period, TDOT will continue to provide information on major incidents on Tennessee roadways through Twitter and Facebook. Limited information may be available on Tennessee 511. TDOT SmartWay camera feeds to television networks across the state will not be impacted by the outage.
Nostalgic Campbell Sign Comes Down
(Submitted) The nostalgic "Thacker Christmas Inn" sign on I-75 at exit 134 was removed Thursday to make room for the opening of the new Holiday Inn Express & Suites Caryville I-75/Cove Lake State Park. Originally erected in 1974 to promote the old Inn and the restaurant, the sign has become somewhat of a landmark for travelers on I-75 through Tennessee. The exterior signage for the new Holiday Inn Express & Suites will be a part of the building, according to Joe Valentino, general manager of the new Express.
OR Volunteers Assist In Cosby
(GSMNP) Great Smoky Mountains National Park is appreciative of the work recently performed by volunteers from Oak Ridge, TN. The volunteers completed renovations at Cosby Picnic Area as part of an ongoing, 17-year volunteer partnership effort, “Help the Smokies”, developed between B&W Y-12 and the Park. Volunteers installed a set of steps, pathway, and an ADA accessible grill area. The group also refreshed the gravel surface of 35 picnic table sites and removed tree limbs and other debris from the entire picnic area. These much needed renovations and maintenance will benefit both visitors and local residents who enjoy the Cosby Picnic Area for years to come. Over the last 17 years, the volunteer group has completed similar projects including the construction of picnic table pads at Metcalf Bottoms and Cades Cove Picnic Areas as well as tent pads at Elkmont and Cosby Campgrounds. The recent renovations at Cosby Picnic Area were completed just in time for the annual Cosby in the Park festival held in May. B&W Y-12, a limited liability enterprise of The Babcock and Wilcox Company and Bechtel National Inc., operates the Y-12 National Security Complex for the National Nuclear Security Administration. For more information about how groups can volunteer in the park, please visit our park website http://www.nps.gov/grsm/supportyourpark/volunteer.htm.
AC Clerk Drive-Thru Open Saturday
The drive thru window serving the Anderson County Clerk’s Office in the parking garage of the Robert Jolley Building in downtown Clinton will be open this Saturday May 18 from 9 to 11 am.
American Cancer Society Relay ‘BIG-ger” than ever
(Submitted) The 2013 East Anderson County Relay for Life has a new date a time. This year’s event will be held on Friday, May 17th at 6 pm through Saturday, May 18th at 6 am. The night will be full of food, fun, and fundraising for the fight against cancer. The Clinton Antique Car Club will be set up in the parking lot at the Anderson County High School football field at 5:00 for a pre-event car show. Opening ceremonies will begin at 6 pm with a survivor lap and parade of teams. Kids can enjoy a play area featuring inflatables, a magic show, and Rolling Video Games (a mobile video game trailer stocked with wide screen televisions and the hottest new games). Enjoy the view from a tethered hot air balloon ride between 7 and 10 pm. Clinton PD will be on hand for a K9 demonstration at 7:00 to kick off pet hour at relay. Back by popular demand, the “Womanless Beauty Pageant” will begin at 7:15. Stick around for the Live Auction at 8:30 and bid on numerous items both small and large. The lights will go out at 10:00 for our annual luminaria ceremony honoring those who have lost their battle with cancer as well as survivors. This year’s theme is Dream Big and there will be several “BIG” games for all to enjoy. Come on out and enjoy a fun filled evening of dodge ball, scavenger hunts, line dancing, and more. Food vendors will include chili chips and cheese, pizza, burgers, funnel cake, Brewster’s Ice Cream, and much more. It’s not too late to register your team! However, you do not need to be on a team to attend the event. Admission is free and ALL are welcome! For more information check out our facebook page @ Relay for Life East Anderson or our event webpage @ http://www.relayforlife.org/eastandersontn
AC Schools Offer Free ‘Child Find’ Screenings
Beginning next week, the Anderson County school system will provide a free screening for infant to five-year-old county children. The screening will include tests of vision, hearing, speech/language, motor, social and preschool cognitive skills as part of a Child Find activity designed to help parents be sure their children are progressing as they should. No appointments are necessary for the screenings, which will be held at the schools’ Central Office on 5th floor of the Jolley Building in downtown Clinton in the School Board meeting room. Screenings will be held on Tuesday May 21st and Wednesday May 22nd from 8:30 to 11:30 am and 1 to 3 pm each day and each screening takes about 45 minutes. For more information call Gail Hunt or Lynnette Currie at 865-463-2800, extension 2864.
2013 Smoky Mountain Highland Games May 17-19
For the third consecutive year, thousands are expected to descend on the campus of Maryville College for the 2013 Smoky Mountain Highland Games. Visitors will enjoy diverse Celtic entertainers and expanded massed bands during the event scheduled for May 17-19. The regional event is now in its third year at Maryville College. Most activities take place Sat., May 18 and Sun., May 19. Along with Maryville College, the City of Maryville and the Smoky Mountain Tourism Development Authority serve as hosts for the Games. Tickets are available now for purchase online at the Scottish festival and games’ website smokymountaingames.org. Here is what you need to know.
Gala kicks off Games May 17
The official kickoff for the Games is a gala reception at 6:30 p.m., May 17, in the William Baxter Lee III Grand Foyer of theClayton Center for the Arts at Maryville College. A formal sit-down dinner of Scottish fare is planned, followed by a traditional haggis ceremony. Tickets must be purchased in advance at the Games website.
Gates open to public May 18
The Highland Games are officially underway May 18 at 8 a.m., when gates open for the games, pipe and drum competitions and sales by vendors. Opening ceremonies begin at noon with massed bands. Visitors will enjoy Scottish country dancing, Border collie demonstrations and children’s activities, as well as competitions that include massed bands, piping and athletics. The massed band concert and awards ceremony is planned at 4:30 p.m., and a special Ceilidh Under the Stars takes place at 7 p.m. A ceilidh (pronounced “kay-lay”) is a traditional Gaelic social gathering that typically involves music and dancing. Most activities and competitions will take place in the southeast part of the campus.
Scottish athletics competitions
Athletic competitions are a key part of any Highland Games. They honor and celebrate the culture and heritage of Scotland. Numerous competitions among individuals and clans during the weekend include traditional events such as the caber toss, stone put, Scottish hammer throw, sheaf toss and Maide Leisg (“Lazy Stick”). Clans will compete in events such as the Kilted Mile, Bonniest Knees, Haggis Toss and tug-of-war contests.
Scottish music, dance abounds
Numerous piping and drumming bands, including the Knoxville Pipes and Drums, will be present for competition and massed band performances throughout the weekend. Individuals may compete for first-place awards in piping, drumming and conducting. Expanded Celtic entertainment and dancing are planned throughout the weekend.
Musical acts include Colin Grant-Adams, who combines American/Scottish folk and bluegrass in his both contemporary and traditional songs; the Celtic Martins, a family ensemble who feature traditional Celtic music as well as Irish step dancing; Enter the Haggis, a Canadian Indie/Scottish folk rock band and Uncle Hamish and the Hooligans, a Celtic rock band based in western North Carolina.
Weekend for kids, families
Several activities will appeal just to children and families. Children ages 6 to 14 may compete in kid versions of the caber toss, haggis toss and the kilted sprint. Participants in the games must wear some form of a tartan.
Award-winning Border collie trainer Bill Coburn will lead a sheepdog trails demonstration as part of Saturday’s events.
Worship service planned May 19
A Scottish worship service is tentatively scheduled for 9:30 a.m., May 19, at one of the College’s athletics fields. The service also includes a “Kirking of the Tartans,” a Scottish-American custom that involves a parade and roll call of the clans in attendance, performances of Scottish hymns and a homily of Scottish history. The Massed Bands Presentation, Parade of Tartans and Tribute to Veterans are all scheduled for 1:15 p.m. A Scottish dog parade and talent show open to all visitors is also planned. The Games end at 3 p.m., with closing ceremonies that include all pipe bands playing “Amazing Grace.” The public is urged to visit the Games website at smokymountaingames.org for schedule updates and information.
Kennedy is featured clan
In keeping with tradition, the Smoky Mountain Highland Games honors a special clan. The featured clan for 2013 is Kennedy. The clan chief is Lord Ailsea, Charles Kennedy.
Clinton Veterans Need Your Help
Clinton American Legion Post #172 is in the process of moving in to its new home on Spring Street but they have run out of money and need donations of certain items and money to complete the project. The Post is seeking a refrigerator, a ceiling fan and a stove and if you can help these military veterans out, please call Post Commander Leon Jaquet at 865-556-0997.
AC Memorial Day Service
The Director of Veterans Services for Anderson County Leon Jaquet, would like to invite everyone to Anderson Counties 5th Annual Memorial Day ceremony on Monday, 27 May 2013 at 10 a.m. (Rain or Shine) at the Veterans Memorial in front of the Anderson County Courthouse in downtown Clinton with Guest Speakers Anderson Co. Mayor Terry Frank and Dr. Curtis Sexton, Col., U.S. Army (Retired) and a wreath laying at the Veterans Memorial to pay tribute to the men and women of the U.S. Military & Anderson County who have given the ultimate sacrifice of their lives to protect the freedoms we all enjoy every day. Their sacrifice is meaningless without remembrance. Everyone is invited and encouraged to attend..
Remote Area Medical Expedition Coming Back to AC
(Submitted) First Baptist Church of Clinton will be the hosting a second Anderson County Remote Area Medical® Expedition on Sept. 21 – Sept. 22, 2013. The mission of the expedition is to serve those in need of vision, dental, and medical services. The Anderson County Remote Area Medical® Clinic will be a free medical clinic supported by volunteers and donations. The clinic will provide the following free services to patients:
Medical – General medical support; Diabetes testing; Mammograms
Vision – Vision testing and diagnoses will be offered; glasses will be prescribed and made on-site at the clinic as time and supplies permit.
Dental – Extractions; fillings; and cleaning and general oral hygiene services will be provided.
At this time the Anderson County RAM- Expedition Committee is looking for sponsors to help with fund the event or provide donations of needed goods. Individuals interested in sponsoring this event with any monetary contributions are asked to call the Anderson County RAM-Expedition cell phone at 865-254-2370 or email RAMHost@fbclinton.org. In addition to the fund raising efforts, First Baptist Church of Clinton will be hosting an informational meeting for individuals interested in assisting with the 2 day event. Interested individuals, churches and businesses are invited to attend this meeting on Monday, May 20th at 6:00pm in the main Sanctuary of the church. Please visit the RAMUSA.org website to learn more about RAM, or visit Anderson County RAM- Expedition at www.andersoncountyram.com for up-to-date location RAM information.
(CPD) The Clinton Police Department recently investigated reports of an attempted insurance policy scam. Officer Greg McBroom says an elderly Clinton woman was contacted via telephone and told she was entitled to insurance payouts totaling $35,000. The money was supposedly from two life insurance policies on her recently deceased husband. In McBroom's report he states: "The caller asked for an $800 processing fee on each policy before he could send her (victim) the checks." The report also says the caller stated he was an attorney, and during the conversation, brought another scammer on the line pretending to be a judge. Officer McBroom reports that the victim, luckily, realized this was a scam and did not send any funds or give the caller any personal information. CPD Chief Rick Scarbrough said that citizens, who are approached with similar proposals, should contact local authorities.
Coal Creek War to Officially End Friday
(Staff/CCWF) Briceville Elementary School students, descendants of Coal Creek War veterans, and individuals interested in preserving Tennessee history will participate in a ceremony to mount the National Register plaque at Fort Anderson on Militia Hill with Tennessee National Guard personnel on Friday at 9:30 to 11:00 am on Friday, May 17th. Also, award-winning author Fred Brown will interview descendants of Coal Creek War veterans for his book on Coal Creek history. The event will take place at Fort Anderson on Militia Hill off Vowell Mountain Road. As explained in a Coal Creek Watershed Foundation press release, the Civil War devastated Knoxville and East Tennessee. Community leaders saw the development of the area’s natural resources as the way to rebuild, but lacked the skill to do so. Welsh miners and industrial workers provided that expertise and they taught native Tennesseans those skills. Coal used to fuel that reconstruction effort came from Coal Creek in Anderson County. Knoxville residents nearly froze to death during a mine strike in the winter of 1877, resulting in the Welsh miners of Coal Creek being replaced by convict labor. After another strike in 1891 brought convicts to a mine in Briceville, miners captured the convict stockades, marched the guards and convicts to the train depot in the town of Coal Creek, and put them on a train to Knoxville. Miners then sent a telegram to Gov. John (Buck) Buchanan, saying their action was “a necessary step in the defense of our families from starvation and our property from ruin,” thus starting what became known as the Coal Creek War. Soldiers and convicts built Fort Anderson on Militia Hill as the base of operations of the Tennessee National Guard during the war. According to the Tennessee Blue Book, A History of Tennessee, “Violence in the coal fields peaked during the summer of 1892, when state militiamen were dispatched to the Coal Creek area by Gov. John Buchanan. The militia fought pitched battles with armed miners, arrested over 500 of them, and killed twenty-seven. The miner uprisings prodded the General Assembly to end convict leasing… making Tennessee one of the first Southern states to get rid of the system.” As part of the festivities, the Coal Creek Marching Band will perform and Briceville students will compete in the 2013 Dixie Eisteddfod literary competition to document the oral history of the Coal Creek War. Students and National Guard personnel will re-enact one of the confrontations at Fort Anderson and descendants of Coal Creek War veterans will be invited to share family stories about the conflict. During our study of Coal Creek history, we have found no formal armistice or treaty ending the Coal Creek War. That oversight will be rectified during the dedication ceremony. For questions about the event, please contact Carol Moore at (865) 584-0344 or email@example.com. For the complete press release and photos visit: http://www.coalcreekaml.com/FortAndersonDedication.htm
Friends of the Clinton Public Library Book Sale May 22-25
The Friends of the Clinton Public Library will hold their annual Book Sale next week at the library located at 118 South Hicks Street in Clinton. The sale begins Wednesday May 22nd from 10 am to 6 pm with the members-only sale. If you are not already a member you can become one for a $5 single membership or a $10 family membership. The sale is open to the public Thursday, Friday and Saturday with sale hours on Thursday the 23rd from 10 am to 6 pm; Friday the 24th from 10 am to 4 pm and Saturday May 25th from 10 am to 2 pm. There will be approximately 6000 books for sale with hardbacks costing $1 and paperbacks 50 cents. For more information, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, visit www.clintonpubliclibrary.org; or call the Library at 865-457-0519.
Morgan Man Cited After Gun Found in Bag
A Morgan County man was cited Tuesday after security screeners at McGhee Tyson Airport found a loaded, .32-caliber handgun in his carry-on bag as it was being x-rayed. The gun’s owner, Bobby York of Deer Lodge, told airport security that he had forgotten the pistol was in the bag when he packed for a trip to Orlando. He was cited for carrying a weapon with the intent to go armed and will appear in Blount County General Sessions Court on Tuesday May 21st.
AC, RC LEOs Observe Peace Officer Memorial Day
Law enforcement officers from across the region came together Wednesday in front of the Oak Ridge Municipal Building for the annual Peace Officer Memorial Day ceremony. Nearly 200 people attended the event, which paid tribute to law enforcement officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty. According to statistics, a police officer is killed in the line of duty in the United States every 57 and so far in 2013, 40 have been killed nationwide. In Anderson County, seven lawmen have died in the line of duty, all but one of them shot to death. Following the ceremony, Oak Ridge Police Chief James Akagi presented commendation bars for exemplary service and Distinguished Service Awards to Deputy Chief Alan Massengill and Lt. Don Johnson. In addition, officials also saluted the eight Oak Ridge police officers who braved flames to rescue a man from a burning pickup truck in April.
Report: Gunshots at Tiger Haven
According to the News-Sentinel, a Roane County Sheriff’s deputy taking a report about gunshots being fired near the Tiger Haven big cat sanctuary in said that he and the witnesses making the complaint had to duck after several bullets flew over their heads. The incident occurred Tuesday and involved a man who has reportedly been fighting against the sanctuary for several years. A deputy reported he was taking a report about semi-automatic rifle fire from employees at Tiger Haven, the gunfire started again with bullets flying over their heads and causing all of them to have to run for cover as they knocked down nearby tree limbs and leaves. The deputy made contact with 62-year-old Toby Dean Rhynehart, who lives next to the sanctuary, which is home to dozens of tigers, lions and other big cats and has been the subject of numerous nuisance complaints by neighbors who object to the sounds and smells from the facility as well as noise when the big cats roar. Rhynehart admitted to the deputy that he had been drinking and had fired several shots over the sanctuary over the course of about an hour or so. He also admitted that he knew what he was doing what “extremely dangerous.” He was taken into custody on one count of reckless endangerment. Tiger Haven employees believe that Rhynehart is also responsible for past incidents of gunfire near the facility.
Norris Annexation Issues to be Heard This Summer
A hearing was held Monday in Anderson County Chancery Court regarding the annexations by the city of Norris of several properties along Highway 61. Some property owners objected, claiming that the proper policies and procedures had not been followed but Chancellor William Lantrip ruled that all but one of the pieces of property had been properly annexed by the city. He initially ruled that one parcel was not adjacent to the city’s Urban Growth Boundary at the time it was annexed, which is one of the requirements for cities to take in new land under state law. However, Tuesday, the Chancellor set aside that ruling and indicated that he will not make a formal ruling on the claim until later this summer as he encouraged the property owner to file a motion for summary judgment and the city to respond in preparation for oral arguments in the case in either June or July.
Chamber Honors local businesses at “Dinner on the Lawn“
The Anderson County Chamber of Commerce will pay tribute to local businesses at the “Dinner on the Lawn” event held at the majestic Brownworth Manor, 710 Eagle Bend Road, Clinton on Friday, June 7th. Brownworth Manor, a Dutch colonial home was built in 1920 and formerly owned by the Kincaid family that managed Magnet Mills. The Kincaids had 15 acres of beautiful English gardens that they opened to the public. Dating couples and all enjoyed access to the gardens. We hope that folks who walked the gardens return to reminisce, have their photo taken and enjoy the evening with friends. The now five acre estate still features a beautiful lawn and gardens perfect for a “Dinner on the Lawn” evening. Everyone is invited. Guests will be treated to valet parking when they arrive at 6:30 p.m., social hour on the patio, live music in the Gazebo, built with stone from Norris Dam, and a fun silent auction. “Dinner on the Lawn” will be served at 7:30 p.m. followed by our “Tribute to Business” award ceremony. A portion of the evening’s proceeds will benefit The Education Foundation for Clinton City and Anderson County Schools. Tickets are $65 and can be purchased at the Chamber Office or online at Chamber website at www.andersoncountychamber.org. For more information, please contact the Chamber office at 865-457-2559.
UCOR Awards ‘Mini-Grants’ to Local Educators
Teachers in more than a dozen East Tennessee schools have won 25 “mini-grants” in an education program meant to recognize and support teaching excellence, and help teachers with specific projects or curricula. The grants focus primarily on projects meant to help students learn about science, technology, engineering, and math, a press release said. UCOR, a federal cleanup contractor in Oak Ridge, announced the grant winners Wednesday. The Anderson and Roane County grant winners and their proposed projects and schools are:
Applications were screened and awardees selected using a blind process that prevented members of the selection panel from knowing the names of the teachers or the schools applying, a press release said. Schools in Roane, Anderson, Loudon, and Knox counties were eligible to submit proposals. UCOR plans to continue awarding the mini-grants annually. UCOR is a partnership between URS and CH2M Oak Ridge LLC. The company is the U.S. Department of Energy’s environmental management contractor at the Oak Ridge Reservation, and it works at the East Tennessee Technology Park, Y-12 National Security Complex, and Oak Ridge National Laboratory. For a complete list of the winning teachers and their projects, visit www.oakridgetoday.com.
ACSD Releases Operational Analysis for 2012
(ORT/ACSD) In its annual operational analysis, the Anderson County Sheriff’s Department says that the total number of crimes reported to them has dropped by about 25 percent in the past two years. In the analysis, Sheriff Paul White says that overall crimes decreased by an even larger percentage, roughly 35 percent, from 2007 to 2012. Crimes against property, such as burglaries and thefts, fell about 20 percent over two years and close to 30 percent since 2007. “This drop in overall crime can be directly attributed to proactive law enforcement and increased patrols of the rural areas of the county,” White said in a Monday press release. The sheriff’s report regarding crime statistics for the past 10 years follows one recent announcement by District Attorney General Dave Clark that the number of crimes reported in Anderson County dropped again last year, continuing a six-year trend, falling 10.5 percent in 2012, and another announcement by Oak Ridge Police Chief Jim Akagi that reported crimes were down 9 percent in Oak Ridge in 2011 and 11.5 percent in 2012. White has released a six-page analysis of the past 10 years. According to the press release, highlights include:
The average jail population has increased 6.46% from 2011 and up 24.01% over two years. The average daily inmate population has risen 107.18% in 10 years. The jail population from January 1 through May 13, 2013, is even higher with an average of 359 and a high of 413, a 114.97% increase since 2003. Staffing levels for law enforcement operations had not changed in many years. While jail staffing increased, patrol, investigations, and other operations personnel had not increased to keep pace with the rise in calls-for-service and other activity. The first increase came in 2007. Staffing levels in the jail rose over ten years due to the ever increasing jail population and workload while personnel for operations increased only in 2007 and 2008. Dispatch staffing increased by only two in 2003 and three in 2006 despite significant increases in both law enforcement and EMS calls-for-service. Eight school resource officers were added in 2007 in cooperation with the Board of Education. Given the continued increase for all types of activity within the Sheriff’s Department, the staffing levels are still below the number of personnel needed to provide a minimum level of law enforcement services. In addition to increased staffing in 2007 and 2008, the Sheriff’s Department has been restructured to be more efficient and effective. Increased emphasis on patrol operations, criminal investigations, and drug enforcement allows a direct approach in combating crime. Crimes are mapped to determine where and when they occur. A problem solving approach to burglaries and thefts has increased arrests and resulted in more crimes being solved. Enhanced computer software and issuing laptops has kept deputies out in the field instead of in the office writing reports. However, given the overall workload the Sheriff’s Department remains understaffed. The job of patrol deputies is not simply to answer calls but to provide proactive, preventative patrols of the rural areas of the county. The duties of serving civil and criminal process are mandated by law and must be done. Investigating crimes and other illegal activity is another required duty. Providing security to the courts and the judges is also required. Tasks such as transporting persons to mental health facilities, keeping the sexual offender registry, and providing crime statistics are but a few of the many other duties that are set forth by state law. Finally, operating the county jail and keeping prisoners is the most demanding and is also required by law. Added all together, these duties define a demanding and often overwhelming job. For the Sheriff’s Department to operate, adequate staffing must be in place. For a look that the press release detailing the operational analysis, visit http://tnacso.net/news/display.php?iid=190
Pedestrian Crossing Signs Coming to Melton Lake Drive
(City of Oak Ridge) First Place Finish, Incorporated of Oak Ridge, working under contract to the City of Oak Ridge, Public Works Department is presently doing work to complete pedestrian crossing flashing warning signs on Melton Lake Drive at three crossings near the marina. The three crossings are located at Amanda Drive, Rivers Run Boulevard and just west of Emory Valley Road. Beginning on or shortly after May 16, 2013, all flashing beacons will become operational. The beacons are activated by a push-button and will flash only for a short period of time for pedestrians to cross the street. The safety improvement should increase the percentage of vehicles that will stop for pedestrian waiting to cross the street. When a pedestrian activates the push-button, proceed with caution only when there are adequate traffic gaps or when vehicles in both traffic directions have stopped. The City appreciates the public’s patience. Questions or comments can be directed to the City of Oak Ridge, Public Works Department at 425-1875.
ACSD, TBI Announce Arrest of Man in 2012 Death
Wednesday (5/14), agents from the TBI and Anderson County Sheriff’s deputies arrested a man on charges stemming from an incident last year in which a Lake City woman died after falling out of a moving minivan. A grand jury indicted 54-year-old James Wylie of Clinton—formerly of Lake City—last Tuesday on one count each of criminal homicide, kidnapping and leaving the scene of a death or personal injury in the September death of 33-year-old Martha Rose McGhee of Lake City, reportedly his girlfriend. On September 12th, 2012 deputies were called to Cobb Hollow Road on a report of an unresponsive woman lying by the side of the road. They found McGhee unresponsive and she was flown to UT Medical Center by Lifestar, where she died the following day. Witnesses at the time told investigators they had seen the couple arguing loudly in the parking lot of the Lake City Dollar General Store before driving off in a minivan. The witnesses told officers they were concerned for McGhee’s safety and followed the speeding minivan until rounding a sharp curve on Cobb Hollow Road and spotting McGhee lying in the roadway. Investigators determined that McGhee fell out of the vehicle and hit her head, which proved to be fatal. It is unclear as to whether she jumped, fell out or was pushed. The Anderson County DA’s office requested the TBI to come in and assist the ACSD with their probe. Wylie was arrested without incident early Wednesday afternoon and at last check, remained in custody on a $500,000 bond.
ORT: 2 Arrested After OS Traffic Stop
According to our partners at Oak Ridge Today, two people from Johnson City were arrested last week in Oliver Springs on several drug-related charges. On Wednesday (5/8) afternoon, an Oliver Springs police officer pulled a car over for a routine seatbelt violation but when he came in to contact with the occupants of the car, he noticed the driver, 33-year-old Keith Cousin was sweating profusely, acting nervous and had a white powder packed into his left nostril. Cousin admitted to having snorted a Xanax pill before leaving Johnson City earlier that day. The passenger, 27-year-old Jeanie Hawkins, was found to have a short straw in her rear pants pocket with drug residue on it. A search of the car turned up a pill crusher and several different types of pills, including Flexeril, morphine, Xanax and OxyContin in addition to several others. Hawkins also allegedly had hidden some of the pills inside her, which were discovered during a search conducted by a female Oliver Springs police officer. Both face four counts each of the manufacture, delivery or sale of drugs as well as possession of drug paraphernalia and possessing drugs without a prescription. Cousin was also charged with driving on a suspended license. Both are being held at the Anderson County Jail on bonds totaling $150,000.
Blount Brush Fire Possibly Meth-Related
Blount County authorities found four “one-pot” meth labs at the scene of a brush fire Tuesday (5/14) and officials believe that one of those discarded labs may have sparked the blaze. Blount County firefighters responded to a fire in a ditch on Tuckaleechee Pike shortly before 2 pm Tuesday and extinguished it pretty quickly. Later that evening, Blount County deputies were called by a man living nearby who reported finding a bag with two of the so-called “shake and bake” labs near where the fire had burned. Firefighters were called back to the scene after officials say that some of the discarded lab components rekindled the fire. Deputies and investigators with the 5th Judicial Drug Task Force responded as well and found two more labs. The fire was contained to a ditch and no structures were damaged.
WBIR: BC Commission to Vote on New Prayer Policy
The Blount County Commission is expected to vote this week on adopting a formal policy for prayer before commission meetings. The proposed policy places no limits or guidelines or limits on the content of any prayers offered, except to prohibit proselytizing and the promotion or disparagement of any one faith or point of view. WBIR-TV reports that the Freedom from Religion Foundation based out of Wisconsin has sent the Blount County government two letters asking the commission to stop the pre-meeting prayers. The Commission meets Thursday night at 7 pm.
Norris Gets Archive Grant
The City of Norris Archives in Anderson County has received a $4,000 grant to help improve the storage conditions of and access to local government records, a press release said. “I am proud to award this grant to the City of Norris Archives,” Secretary of State Tre Hargett said. “Archives are important because they store and preserve historical records for our county and municipal governments. It is my hope that this grant will help the city with its archival development.” Since 1999, the Secretary of State’s office has distributed $50,000 per year for about 10 to 15 program improvement grants to local government archives, the press release said. Grants are awarded to purchase archival supplies, equipment, or furnishings that directly help to salvage, restore, and preserve endangered permanent records of the county/municipality; and to purchase supplies and equipment that directly help to achieve and maintain inventory control of permanent records so that they may be available for public inspection.
Leon Houston facing New Charge
Leon Houston, who along with his brother Rocky, have a long history of fighting law enforcement is accused of threatening to kill his former attorney. A federal grand jury issued a superseding indictment last week that adds a new count to Leon Houston's previous federal charge of possession of a gun while using illegal drugs. Houston allegedly threatened to kill his former attorney, Jim Logan, during a phone conversation on February 10. Logan represented Houston in a murder trial for the death of a Roane County deputy and his friend. Houston was acquitted in the case. Both brothers are in federal custody awaiting trials on firearms charges scheduled for later this year.
Man Pleads Guilty in Jailer Attack
A man pleaded guilty in Anderson County Criminal Court Monday to charges that he attacked a jailer at the Anderson County Detention Facility with a pen in 2011. The jailer was not injured but a grand jury indicted 42-year-old Donald Matthew Bradley on a charge of aggravated assault, a charge Bradley pleaded guilty to this week. Classified as a multiple offender, he will be required to serve at least 35% of his eight-year prison sentence before being considered for parole. Upon his release, he was also ordered to remain on community supervision for the rest of his life.
GSMNP: Cosby in the Park
Great Smoky Mountains National Park has announced the annual Cosby in the Park festival to be held on Saturday, May 18, at Cosby Campground. In its 14th year, Cosby in the Park is presented in cooperation with the Cocke County Partnership and Great Smoky Mountains Association. The event celebrates the cultural heritage of this area and highlights the many recreational opportunities available in the Cosby section of the park. The event is free to the public and is scheduled between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. “Cosby in the Park is always one of the most enjoyable special events we host each year,” said Kent Cave, Supervisory Ranger at Sugarlands Visitor Center. “We invite everyone to join with us as we honor the people, history, and culture of this very special place.” The festivities take place in and around the campground amphitheater, located along the Cosby campground entrance road. Free parking for attendees will be provided in campground Loop B. A full day of activities is planned that include Southern Appalachian music, as well as programs and demonstrations on local history, quilting, corn shuck dolls and crafts, old time toys, natural foods and medicinal plants, and other folk arts.
10:00 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. Joint Proclamation honoring Cosby Academy
10:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. Mountain Strings
11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. Lost Mill String Band
12:30 p.m. - 1:00 p.m. Duay O'Neil: The History of Cosby Academy
1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m. Boogertown Gap Band
2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. Tony Thomas
3:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. The Green Family Band
11:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.: Cosby Nature Trail, 1.5 miles moderate, Meet Pam Rodgers at amphitheater area
Ongoing Activities and Exhibits
• Old Timey Tools
• Leave No Trace
• Mountain Toys and Games
• Traditional Corn Shuck Crafts
• Broom Making
• Native Foods & Medicinal Plants
• And more….
Ryan Stays On Merle, Gets Piece of Company
(WMYL) Ron Meredith and M&M Broadcasting, the local broadcast company that owns WMYL 96.7 Merle FM announced today that Jack Ryan, host of the afternoon drive, has accepted a new position with the company. The new position includes an ownership stake that allows Ryan to serve as a partner in M&M broadcasting. Ryan’s new role will allow him to be part of the decisions made concerning M&M. He will put his vast knowledge of Country music and the industry to work fine-tuning the music and presentation of Merle FM. Meredith said “This is a great day for M&M broadcasting and Merle FM. To have a partner like Jack Ryan to help continue the unprecedented growth Merle FM has experienced over the last year is something I am very excited about. It is good for a local company like ours to partner with a local guy like Jack. He is one of the hardest working people I have ever met." Ryan says, “This is an opportunity of a lifetime. Merle FM is already one of Knoxville's most listened to radio stations. To actually own part of East Tennessee's fast growing radio station is a dream come true. I have always wanted to own my own radio station. I never imagined it would be one as successful as Merle FM." Today's announcement is not just a WIN for Merle FM. Today's announcement is a WIN for East Tennessee. Today's announcement is a WIN for LOCAL Radio. M&M Broadcasting, with 96.7 Merle FM WMYL, WYSH AM 1380, FM 101.1, and WGAP AM 1400, is the ONLY remaining locally owned radio group in Knoxville. Journal Broadcasting is owned and Operated out of Milwaukee Wisconsin. Cumulus Broadcasting is owned and operated out of Atlanta, Georgia. South Central Broadcasting is owned and operated out of Evansville, Indiana. M&M Broadcasting is owned and operated out of Clinton, Tennessee. Merle FM recently bested both WIVK and Journal’s Q station when Merle was nominated as Radio Station of the Year by the Academy of Country Music and Ryan was nominated for Personality of the Year.
OR Council OKs First Reading of Budget
Monday night the Oak Ridge City Council voted 5-2 on first reading to approve the proposed budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1st. As presented by City Manager Mark Watson, the budget leaves property tax rates at their current level while providing one percent pay raises for city workers. The proposed budget also calls for cuts to the Oak Ridge Convention and Visitors Bureau as well as cutting the city’s funding to the Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce for economic development work. Council members Trina Baughn and Chuck Hope offered amendments to the budget during Monday night’s meeting but Council opted to consider them in a special called meeting before considering the budget on second and final reading on May 28th. Baughn’s proposal would slash funding for several city departments including the library and the recreation and parks department as well as cuts in travel spending for city officials. Hope’s proposal would increase funding for economic development and capital maintenance and fund a study of a relocated fire station serving the east part of Oak Ridge. The tax rate in Oak Ridge stands at $2.39 per $100 of assessed value.
OR Schools Dealing with Budget Crunch
Oak Ridge School Board members met Monday and made what they called some very tough decisions in what is turning out to be a difficult budgeting process. School leaders say that revenue for the schools is projected to be down by about $1 million thanks to a decrease in sales tax collections and in state Basic Education Plan funding, while expenses for things like step increases in salaries and benefits and health insurance premiums have gone up. School Board members on Monday recommended cutting 18 positions for the next academic year and they say that six people could be laid off with the rest of the cuts coming through retirement and attrition. The plan must be formally approved by the School Board, which is scheduled to meet this afternoon at 5:30 pm in the School Administration building to go over the proposed budget line-by-line.
Fire Destroys Home in Norris
A fire destroyed an historic home in Norris late Monday afternoon but no injuries were reported as the residents were not home at the time. A passerby spotted smoke coming from the house on West Circle Place and called 911 shortly before 5:30 pm. Firefighters say they were able to extinguish the fire on the first floor but that the flames had made it to the second floor as well. They were unable to reach the upper level after the stairs collapsed. The house was labeled a total loss and the cause of the fire is under investigation. Crews from the Norris and Andersonville Fire Departments responded to the scene as well as Rural/Metro.
KNS: Judge Sides with Varner Over Viles
According to the News-Sentinel, a Knox County judge has ruled in favor of Ray Varner Ford in its lawsuit against former partner Ray Viles. In 2008, Viles sold his 40% share of the dealership now known as Ray Varner Ford in Clinton and signed an agreement containing a non-compete clause prohibiting him from working for another Ford dealership within 250 miles of the Clinton lot for 10 years. However, he went to work for Ted Russell Ford in Knoxville and last year, Ray Varner Ford filed a lawsuit in Knox County Chancery Court against Viles, who in turn filed his own countersuit seeking to have the duration of the non-compete clause shortened. According to the KNS, a Knox County Chancellor sided with Varner, meaning that Viles may not work for another new Ford dealership until November of 2018.
Hearing Reset for Accused Horse Trainer
A preliminary hearing scheduled for this morning in the case of a Maryville horse trainer accused of animal abuse was reset until June 26th. Larry Wheelon is facing one count of animal cruelty in the case involving the practice of soring and just recently hired an attorney to represent him. The charge was leveled after two raids at the barn he had been renting on Tuckaleechee Pike last moth, during the second of which, 19 of the 27 horses in the stable were seized by the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Last week, he was served with an eviction notice by the owner of the barn and given until June 10th to vacate the premises.
Car, Garage Destroyed in Maryville Fire
Maryville firefighters saved a house from a Monday afternoon fire but could not save a minivan and a garage. The fire was reported shortly before 4:45 pm on Chesterfield Drive and crews reported finding a 2004 Honda Odyssey minivan fully engulfed by flames, which had spread to the garage. Crews were able to prevent the fire form reaching the house but the garage and the vehicle were both destroyed. The owner of the home said that she saw a liquid coming from underneath the vehicle which then caught fire and she tried to put it out with a fire extinguisher. When that failed, she got the rest of the occupants out of the house and called 911. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.
Local Student Serves as Senate Page
(Sen. Yager’s office) Oak Ridge High School student, Sam Kelley, recently served as a page in the Tennessee State Senate. Kelley was sponsored by State Senator Ken Yager (R-Harriman). Page duties consist of anything from making copies, running errands, to distributing legislative information to members of the General Assembly. They report to the Chief Clerk of the House and Senate.
Bolling New Kingston City Manager
Former Anderson County Commissioner and Oliver Springs City Manager Dave Bolling has been hired as the new city manager in Kingston after spending the last year as the Town Administrator of Newcastle, Maine. Bolling and one other finalist were interviewed on Friday and following the interviews, the City Council voted unanimously to offer the job to Bolling. His first day on the job will be June 1st and he will earn an annual salary of $70,500 a year with a performance bonus possible after the first year and a $5000 moving allowance. Bolling is succeeding longtime City Manager Jim Pinkerton, who retired last month after 12 years on the job.
AC Jury Awards Big Settlement in Crash
Last week, an Anderson County jury awarded a $615,100 judgment against a drunk driver to the family that he injured while driving drunk in December of 2008. The lawsuit centered on a crash that occurred on Clinton Highway on December 19th, 2008 when a pickup truck driven by then-22-year-old Michael England headed the wrong way on Clinton Highway at a high rate of speed without its lights on struck a minivan carrying a family home from a holiday shopping trip. The injury seriously injured the van’s driver, Phyllis Goodman, who has racked up enormous medical bills as a result of the wreck and still has more procedures in her future, as well as her husband and son. England’s blood alcohol level was more than twice the legal limit and the lawsuit had also named the host of the party he had just left as a defendant but the jury assigned 98% of the blame to England and just 2% of the blame to the other man. The jury awarded lesser amounts to Goodman’s husband ($40,000) and son ($20,000). The trial lasted two days and the judgment was rendered late Thursday.
AC BOE Approves Balanced Budget
Thursday, the Anderson County School Board approved its budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1st. The $54.3 million budget was balanced using $1.6 million from the schools’ rainy-day fund, which still stands at approximately $2 million, well above the minimum fund balance required by the state. No across-the-board raises are included in the budget proposal and cuts were made to the plan—which originally had started some $3 million out of balance—including delaying planned vehicle purchases and classroom technology upgrades. The budget contains almost $195,000 for performance based raises for educators, with the guidelines for that program currently in development. The budget also contains funding to keep eight School Resource Officers on staff but does not contain money for needed security upgrades at 16 county schools, including video cameras and buzz-in security locks. The County Commission will examine and possibly vote on the budget next week.
ORT: Y-12 Trio To Remain Jailed Until Sentencing
(Oak Ridge Today) The three protesters who broke into Y-12 last year and vandalized a uranium storage facility must stay in jail until they are sentenced Sept. 23, a federal judge said Friday. The three protesters—Greg Boertje-Obed, 57; Megan Rice, 83; and Michael Walli, 64—had sought to be released until their sentencing hearings this fall. They each face up to 30 years in prison. But U.S. District Judge Amul R. Thapar denied that request in a four-page order filed late Friday afternoon. Under federal law, he said, there is a strong presumption in favor of detention in this case, and the defendants don’t meet the conditions that would allow them to rebut that presumption. To be freed, they would have to show by “clear and convincing evidence” that they aren’t likely to flee or pose a danger, and would have to demonstrate that their motions for acquittal will be granted or that the prosecution won’t recommend prison sentences. But federal prosecutors have said they plan to recommend a prison sentence. Thapar said Boertje-Obed, Rice, and Walli also haven’t shown that there are exceptional circumstances that would warrant their release. The three protesters were convicted in federal court on Wednesday of willful destruction of government property and injuring national defense premises with the intent to interfere with the national defense. It is unclear where the trio will be housed until their sentencing and as soon as that information becomes available we will pass it along to you.
GSMNP: Visitation Down in 2013
Visitation for January through April 2013 into Great Smoky Mountains National Park was 1,620,340 visitors which is 359,202 less than what was seen during the same period in 2012. This number is also 11.6% below the five year average of January to April visitation. Visitation for April 2013 was down 14.6% as compared with April 2012. During April 2013 a total of 636,676 visitors came into the Park which is 108,869 less than in 2012. Visitation for Entrances:
Outlying Areas: 219,772
On April 15, the Newfound Gap Road between Gatlinburg, TN and Cherokee, NC was opened after almost 90 days of closure due to a landslide. While the extended closure was likely the reason for the Park’s lower visitor count overall, the Sugarlands Visitor Center near the Gatlinburg, TN entrance saw a high number of visitors in the facility during the Spring Break period in early April. The visitor center recorded over 6000 visitors in one day which is a 20 year record. With the roadway now repaired, the Park expects to see a return to historic visitation numbers during the remainder of the year. The visitor statistics for the National Park Service can be found on the NPS Visitor Use Statistics website: https://irma.nps.gov/Stats/
New Senior Activity At Community Center
(Submitted) SAIL (Staying Active and Independent for Life) is an exercise program that can be done seated or standing at the Clinton Community Center beginning May 13th with sessions set for Monday, Wednesday and Friday 1:00-2:00. Older adults who do strength and balance exercises regularly can decrease their risk of falling. For more info Please contact the Anderson county Office on Aging at 865-457-3259.
Follow-Up: AC Budget Process Underway
Wednesday (5/8), the Anderson County Budget Committee heard County Mayor Terry Frank’s no-frills, no-tax increase budget proposal for the fiscal year beginning on July 1st. The budget proposal leaves most departments at this year’s funding levels but does recommend significant cuts in two departments. Frank’s budget proposes cutting $52,000 from the Law Director’s budget, saying that since 2003, liability claims against the county have gone up sharply. The mayor’s budget proposal also calls for the budget for the Alternatives to Incarceration Program, established last year to reduce jail population, to be reduced to $58,000. Those cuts would be brought about by eliminating the currently vacant director’s position and making more use of existing programs designed to keep people out of jail. That program is funded by two cents of the 16.2 property tax rate increase passed by the County Commission to pay for jail and school construction. The mayor floated the idea Wednesday of reducing the county property tax rate by 1.62 cents and using the remaining revenue of some $55,000 to fund a stripped down alternatives to incarceration program. If the County Commission does not agree with the proposed reduction, that money could then be shifted to offset the cost of hiring five of the Sheriff’s Department’s requested 34 new jailers to staff the major expansion of the jail that is currently underway. The Anderson County Budget Committee has called an extra meeting to continue discussing the fiscal blueprint for the next year for Thursday, May 16th at 4 p.m. in room 312 or room 118A, if 312 is not available at the Anderson County Courthouse.
Alcoa Wreck Injures 1
One man was injured in a traffic accident involving a motorcycle Thursday (5/9) in Alcoa. 72-year-old Jesse Priest of Radcliff, Kentucky was traveling south on Calderwood Street at around 1:30 pm Thursday when traffic stopped ahead of him while he was not paying attention. As he tried to avoid a collision, the brakes on his motorcycle locked up and he was thrown to the ground. He was taken by ambulance to UT Medical Center and is said to be recovering nicely. No citations were issued and no other vehicles were involved.
Maryville Budget: No Tax Hike, Dips Into Fund Balance
The annual budget process for local governments is in full swing and in Maryville, city officials have proposed a no-tax-increase budget that will require using money from the city’s reserve fund to balance. City Manager Greg McClain presented his proposal to the City Council during a budget retreat Thursday morning (5/9) and said while this budget can be balanced using money from the reserve fund future budgets will require council members to consider raising taxes or cutting services. The city’s tax rate currently sits at $2.17 per $100 of assessed value. The City Council is expected to consider the budget on first reading when it meets on June 4th at 7 pm in the Maryville Municipal Center and the second and final reading of the budget is tentatively scheduled for June 20th at 5 pm.
Small Earthquake In Blount
A magnitude 2.5 earthquake was detected near Maryville just before 1:00 a.m. Friday (5/10). Blount County dispatchers said they had not received any reports of injuries or damages resulting from the earthquake. According to the USGS, the exact time the earthquake occurred was at 12:57 a.m. The USGS website also states the epicenter was 4 miles east southeast of Maryville, 15 miles southwest of Seymour, 16 miles south of Knoxville, 17 miles southeast of Farragut, and 139 miles north of Atlanta. It was felt in Alcoa, Friendsville, Knoxville and Maryville.
ORNL Aids CHS Zero-Energy Effort
A new 1,500-square-foot zero-energy structure has been built on the Clinton High School campus with the help of a $15,000 corporate gift from UT-Battelle. Promoting educational themes in energy efficiency and sustainable building practices will be emphasized in the solar-powered structure. “The intent is to use it largely in our technology and engineering programs,” said Clinton High School science teacher Riley Sain. “We have a bunch of modules the kids can use. We also hope to use it as a regular classroom for any teacher. We have a set of I pads that a teacher can use to get on-line and do a classroom web search. We also hope to use it for the community to serve as a meeting space to see what is possible in terms of energy conservation and energy efficiency.” Sain added recent Oak Ridge buildings technology projects available in several area subdivisions inspired him to pursue such a facility, which includes a classroom and an accompanying outdoor experimental area.
Y-12 Intruders Convicted, Ordered Held
A federal jury in Knoxville needed only two and a half hours Wednesday (5/8) to find the three anti-nuclear activists who broke into Y-12 last summer and vandalized the exterior of the Highly Enriched Uranium Materials Facility guilty on one count each of property depredation of over $1000 and willfully injuring national defense premises. 83-year-old Sister Megan Rice, 64-year-old Michael Walli and 57-year-old Greg Boertje-Obed were all taken into custody following the verdicts and will remain there following a hearing this morning, during which the judge indicated he would need more time to research whether their crimes met the legal burden of a "violent crime." If he determines that it does, that would mean that the trio would not be eligible for bond. They could each face up to 30 years in prison but there is still a chance the most serious of the charges against them, the “injuring national defense” charge, which carries a sentence of up to 20 years could be dismissed. After prosecutors rested their case on Tuesday, defense attorneys made a motion to acquit the trio of that charge because the government had failed to prove that they intended to “interfere, injure, or obstruct the national defense,” an intent that is required to convict them on that charge. This morning the judge indicated it may be several months before he makes a ruling on the defense motion. The convicted protesters will remain in jail until at least next week and no date has been set for their sentencing, although September appears likely. We will update you as more information becomes available, but we also encourage you to visit www.oakridgetoday.com for the best coverage of the federal facilities in Oak Ridge in the region.
AC EMS Announces Service Change
The Anderson County EMS has announced a change in their operations that will start on June 3rd. Anderson County EMS currently operates eleven ambulances during the day Monday through Friday, six of which are Advanced Life Support (ALS) Paramedic staffed ambulances and five are designated as Basic Life Support (BLS) convalescent trucks with dual EMT-IV crews. Starting on June 3, 2013, we will move from six ALS trucks Monday through Friday to nine during the day, and two BLS trucks. Officials say this will prove to be a great addition to what the EMS already does here in Anderson County and will enhance the level of preparedness and services provided to the community. This change is expected to give the EMS greater ALS coverage during the busiest times of the system in order to ensure greater response to emergency calls. EMS Director Nathan Sweet said, “We have outstanding crews who provide top-notch care and professional service to our community every day, and it is their effort and work ethic that make advancements like this possible!”
National EMS Week May 19-25
May 19-25 is National EMS Week, and Anderson County EMS is having an appreciation luncheon to honor our EMS crews and First Responders for the work they do in Anderson County! Anderson County EMS and UT LIFESTAR will be hosting the luncheon at Anderson County EMS Headquarters on May 22 starting at 11:00am; please join us in showing our appreciation to our crews and honor our EMT-IV, Paramedic, and Officer of the year. This event is open to everyone. Call EMS Director Nathan Sweet at 256-1367 for any information about this event.
AC Mayor Proposes Cutting Funds To Law Director, Jail Program
Wednesday (5/8), the Anderson County Budget Committee heard County Mayor Terry Frank’s no-frills, no-tax increase budget proposal for the fiscal year beginning on July 1st. The budget proposal leaves most departments at this year’s funding levels but does recommend significant cuts in two departments. Frank’s budget proposes cutting $52,000 from the Law Director’s budget, saying that since 2003, liability claims against the county have gone up sharply. She also says the county should examine returning the Law Director’s position to an elected office or revise the private act that created the job to reflect costs that are more in line with other, similar counties. The News-Sentinel reports that Law Director Jay Yeager took exception to the mayor’s comments on liability, saying that any assertion that it is his fault liability claims have increased is “a lie.” The mayor’s budget proposal also calls for the budget for the Alternatives to Incarceration Program, established last year to reduce jail population, to be reduced to $58,000. Those cuts would be brought about by eliminating the currently vacant director’s position and making more use of existing programs designed to keep people out of jail. She said some of the savings from reductions in that program could be used to offset the cost of hiring five of the Sheriff’s Department’s requested 34 new jailers to staff the major expansion of the jail that is currently underway. The Mayor also suggested that the sheriff transfer five employees from elsewhere within the department to the jail and indicated that five more could be paid for using an anticipated increase in revenues. The budget process will continue over the next few weeks and we will keep you posted as developments warrant.
The following is a press release detailing some of the budget highlights for 2013-2014:
Anderson County Mayor Terry Frank has presented her administration’s proposed budget for the next fiscal year, which begins July 1. Frank’s proposed general fund budget, as presented to the Budget Committee Wednesday afternoon, keeps most county departments at current-year spending levels and does not include a property tax rate increase.The balanced $23,410,198 proposed budget for the county’s general operating fund proposes:
· A $52,069 decrease (16.5 percent) in the budget for the office of the county law director.
· A restructuring of the Alternatives to Incarceration Program to save $42,778 and reduce the property tax rate by 1.62 cents.
“This is about money. This isn’t about personalities,” Frank told the Budget Committee of her proposal to reduce the law director’s budget. Frank said a report compiled by the county Budget Office shows that Anderson County has seen a 1,630 percent increase in liability claims since 2003; and, the county law director’s office budget has increased by 1,333 percent since 1998. "The average cost (for the law director’s office) per expenditure per citizen for Anderson County is $4.21 per citizen,” Frank said. That cost is nearly twice the next closest cost per citizen when compared to other counties of comparable size. For example, Greene County’s cost is $2.25 per citizen, she explained. When comparing salaries of county law directors, Frank said the Anderson County law director’s salary for 2013 is $137,903, with a population of 75,129 citizens. By comparison, the Knox County law director’s salary for the current year is $161,804.88; Knox County’s population is 432,226 citizens. The proposed salary, including benefits, is $177,217 for the Anderson County law director for the 2013-2014 fiscal year. “I’m just asking for savings to help other departments, the fee offices, with state-mandated increases,” the mayor said.
Frank said since being elected county mayor in 2012 and eliminating one department and restructuring in the Public Works Department, her administration has created a net savings of almost $162,000 for the county. “That’s more than one penny off the property tax rate that I’ve saved,” she said. For the Alternatives to Incarceration Program, Frank’s budget proposes restructuring the Pre-Trial Release program to save the county $42,778. The Anderson County Commission last year increased the property tax rate by 16.2 cents in part to pay for an expansion of the county jail. A portion of that increase (2 cents) was used to implement and fund the new Alternatives to Incarceration Program, meant to find ways to reduce overcrowding in the county jail. Mayor Frank’s proposed budget for the 2013-2014 fiscal year reduces the property tax rate by 1.62 cents – returning that to the taxpayers. The Alternatives to Incarceration Program could be restructured with revenue from the remaining .38 cents -- $58,022 -- and make better use of already existing community programs that are meant to help reduce recidivism and inmate overcrowding. The county could use some of the money ($3,500 to $10,000 a year) to provide a stipend for volunteers to organize and oversee the rehabilitative programs that are already in place. Additionally, Frank said the county could: Allocate funding to increase the use of home-monitoring devices for offenders; allocate funding for lobbying to reduce healthcare costs associated with county jail inmates; and increase funding to the Seventh Judicial District Drug Court. That program “almost mirrors the make-up of the Alternatives to Incarceration program and is nearly a duplication of services,” the mayor said. If County Commission chooses not to reduce the property tax rate by 1.62 cents, Frank has proposed the 16-member legislative body could instead redirect that 1.62 cents to fund five additional fulltime corrections officers for the jail.
Anderson County’s current property tax rate is $2.503 for the city of Clinton, $2.35 for the city of Oak Ridge, and $2.532 for unincorporated parts of the county and Lake City, Norris and Oliver Springs.
We will have more on this story for you in the coming days.
Maryville Man Arrested on Charges Involving Minor
Maryville Police say that a 25-year-old man is facing charges after allegedly meeting a 14-year-old girl on Facebook, convincing her to meet him in person and then attempting to force himself on her. Jefferson Helton is accused of meeting the girl at Eagleton Middle School, taking her into the woods, kissing her and giving her a hickey on her neck. The alleged victim told police that she had been communicating with Helton on Facebook but that he had forced himself on her in the woods. Helton and a witness claim that the kissing was consensual and that the girl had even planned on going to a hotel with Helton. He is currently free on a $50,000 bond and faces charges of soliciting a minor and sexual battery.
Blount Chef Earns Prestigious Award
A Blount County chef has been given an elite award in the culinary world. Executive Chef Joseph Lenn of Blackberry Farm in Walland was named James Beard Best Chef Southeast on Monday (5/6) in New York. Lenn, who is a Knoxville native, was a semifinalist for the award in 2012. Lenn says he's "humbled and honored" to receive the award.
Kingston Man Jailed By OSPD on Drug, Weapons Charges
A Kingston man was arrested on several drug and weapon charges Tuesday (5/7) after a traffic stop in Oliver Springs. An Oliver Springs police officer pulled over a pickup driven by Glen Long Jr. of Kingston for a broken taillight at around 3:30 pm Tuesday at the intersection of Winter Gap and Main Street. The officer reported that Long appeared to be very nervous while speaking with him and that he could smell the odor of freshly-smoked marijuana coming from the cab of the truck. The officer also spotted in plain sight on the center console of the truck a marijuana pipe and pistol that turned out to be loaded with a round in the chamber. Long was detained and subsequent searches of him and his vehicle turned up over three grams of meth, nine Xanax pills and 29 grams of marijuana. In addition, in a duffle bag in the truck, officers found a total of four loaded pistols and one loaded rifle along with a knife and various calibers of ammunition. Long was arrested and charged with possession of three different drugs for resale, possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of a firearm in the commission of a dangerous felony. As of this morning, he remained in custody at the Anderson County Jail without bond pending a hearing.
OR Earns Playful City USA Designation
With research proving that play is critical to the overall well-being of children, 217 cities and towns, including Oak Ridge, have been recognized by national non-profit KaBOOM! as 2013 Playful City USA communities for their efforts to get children to be more active. The Journal of American Pediatrics reports that actively playing is essential to the social, emotional, cognitive and physical well-being of children, who are playing less than ever before. Each of the 2013 Playful City USA communities, according to a release from KaBOOM, demonstrated creative commitments to addressing the lack of play among children. Oak Ridge was recognized for a second straight year by the organization for what the release calls its outstanding dedication to play, specifically citing the Recreation & Parks Department for its consistent work to inspect and maintain the play-spaces within walking distance of neighborhoods. The city school system was also recognized for its goal of providing over 90 minutes of recess a day for all the children in the district. The release concludes by saying that the Oak Ridge community is working to create play opportunities for everyone.
Blount Woman Convicted in Robbery
A Blount County jury needed less than an hour Wednesday (5/8) to convict a Louisville woman on charges connected to her role in the robbery and assault of an elderly Rockford man in May of 2012. 42-year-old Jan Michelle Ell was convicted of especially aggravated robbery and conspiracy to commit aggravated robbery for her role in the robbery of 87-year-old James Triplett. Prosecutors say she acted as the lookout while her 22-year-old daughter and her other daughter’s 18-year-old boyfriend hit Triplett in the head with a metal pole from behind while the man cut wood in a workshop at a home on Williams Mill Road in Alcoa and stole his wallet. The daughter—Tiffany Shea Dalton—and the boyfriend—Chestin Scott Johnstone—are scheduled to be tried later this year. Ell will be sentenced on July 3rd.
Embattled Trainer Evicted from Barn
The Maryville horse trainer accused of abusing his horses through the practice of soring has been ordered to vacate the barn he has been renting on Tuckaleechee Pike by June 10th. Larry Wheelon is facing one charge of animal cruelty and further charges could be pending, following a raid on the barn in April, during which Humane Society officers seized 19 of the 27 horses living in the stable. The barn’s owner cited the accusations in his court filing to have Wheelon evicted. Wheelon is scheduled to appear in court on the abuse charge next week.
ORT: NNSA to Seek More Info from Bidders
(Oak Ridge Today) After one federal agency upheld parts of two bid protests, a second one on Wednesday (5/8) announced it will request more information from the three teams that submitted bids on a contract to manage and operate two nuclear weapons plants in Tennessee and Texas. In January, the National Nuclear Security Administration announced it had awarded a contract valued at about $23 billion to Consolidated Nuclear Security LLC, or CNS, to manage and operate the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge and Pantex Plant near Amarillo, Texas. The two losing teams filed protests later that month. At the end of April, the U.S. Government Accountability Office upheld those protests in part, raising questions about the proposed savings. The GAO recommended that the procurement be re-opened. For more, visit our partners at www.oakridgetoday.com.
7th Judicial Crime Task Force Makes Pot Bust
Tuesday, members of the Anderson County 7th Judicial District Crime Task Force, comprised of personnel from the Anderson County District Attorney General’s Office, and the Oak Ridge and Clinton Police Departments, executed a search warrant at 248 Carver Avenue in Oak Ridge. Two people were arrested, identified as David Irby and Mary Ann Dixon, and a warrant was being sought for a third individual. Irby and Dixon remained in custody at last check on charges of the manufacture, delivery, sale or possession of drugs, possession of drug paraphernalia and violating a Drug-Free school zone. The Task Force seized approximately two pounds of marijuana and more than $13,000 in currency from the residence. According to a press release, the investigation remains ongoing.
ORPD Raids Suspected Gambling Operation
Sunday night, officers with the Oak Ridge Police Department’s Criminal Investigations Division and the Special Projects Unit served a search warrant at a building located 901 Oak Ridge Turnpike as part of an ongoing investigation into alleged illegal gambling activities, specifically illegal card games in this case. Oak Ridge Police say that 35-year-old Scott William Stockstill of Clinton was arrested and charged with aggravated promotion of gambling, a Class E felony, and was taken to the Anderson County Jail, from where he has since been released on bond. Two other men—Jeffrey Ray Smith of Kingston and William Harold Bailey of Clinton—were cited on misdemeanor charges of promoting gambling. Officers reportedly seized gambling paraphernalia and over $6000 in cash. Authorities say the investigation has been going on for at least two months after officers received complaints about illegal gambling inside the building.
Clinton Budget: No Tax Hike
The Clinton City Council held its budget workshop on Monday and as presented, the proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2-13-2014 is balanced with no property tax increase for city residents. The budget leaves the tax rate at 76 cents per $100 of assessed value while providing 2% pay raises for city workers and taking into account projected increases of between 5 and 20% in employee-related and liability insurance. The budget contains money for three School Resource Officers with half the cost for those officers being paid for by the school system. The city is currently applying for a COPS grant that is expected to cover 75% of that cost for the next three years. Also included in the budget is the FEMA Firefighter grant received by the city last month that will cover the payroll costs of four firefighters and a $20,000 contribution to the school system’s Capital Projects Fund that will become an annual appropriation. The City Council will hear the first reading of this year’s budget on Thursday May 23rd at 5:30 pm at City Hall.
TDOT Smartway App Tops 100K Downloads
More than 100,000 users have downloaded the Tennessee Department of Transportation’s (TDOT) SmartWay Mobile App since its launch in December 2012. The App is designed to help drivers navigate Tennessee highways, providing up-to-the-minute customized traffic information. The TDOT SmartWay App is free and available for download in the Apple App Store and Play Store for Android. The home screen for the TDOT SmartWay App is a map which locates your current position. The icons on the left hand side of the map allow users to customize views to show traffic speeds, incidents, cameras, road construction, road conditions, and dynamic message sign displays. The “Near Me” screen allows users to see all roadway events sorted by what is closed to their current location. The “Notifications” screen allows motorists to select counties, roads, or setup routes they typically take. A time range can also be defined to receive notifications of incidents on selected routes. The TDOT SmartWay App was developed by NIC, the state’s chosen eGovernment portal vendor. NIC will provide user support for the application. The Help Desk can be reached 24 hours a day by calling 615-313-0300 or 1-866-8TN-EGOV. For more information on how to use the TDOT SmartWay App, please visit http://www.tdot.state.tn.us/tdotsmartway/mobile.htm.
Vandals Damage Claxton Mausoleum
The Anderson County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a weekend break-in at Woodhaven Funeral Home and Memorial Gardens in Claxton that resulted in the theft of four crypt covers valued at $500 each and more than $5000 in damages. Deputy Robert Sexton reported that he had been checking on businesses in Claxton when he noticed the glass on the back door of the mausoleum on Edgemoor Road had been broken out with a lift truck jack used to lift caskets. Inside, the culprits destroyed four other crypt covers, torn the thermostats off the walls and destroyed light fixtures, benches and other items. There are no suspects at this time but the investigation is ongoing.
Y-12 Trial Underway
The prosecution rested Monday in the federal trial of the three anti-nuclear weapons activists who broke into Y-12 and vandalized the exterior of the Highly Enriched Uranium Materials Facility in July. Sister Megan Rice, Michael Walli and Greg Boertje-Obed face charges of trespassing, vandalism and sabotage in connection to the July 28th incident. Prosecutors called several past and present Y-12 officials and security personnel, who said that while the vandalism done by the trio took only $8500 to fix, the damage done by the group was farther-reaching than just that. Officials said that the incursion damaged Y-12 credibility across the nation and the globe as a safe place for special nuclear materials and that on the day of the breach, a shipment of specially secured trucks carrying either nuclear weapons parts or materials had to be delayed while security crews made sure the facility was indeed secure. Prosecutors spent the day trying to establish how the protesters’ actions hurt national defense while defense attorneys argued that their demeanor and actions during the incident showed that they meant no harm. Defense attorneys asked the judge in the case to dismiss the sabotage charge—the most serious charge against the trio—because the prosecution had failed to show that the intent of the group was to interfere with national defense. Prosecutors countered that argument by asserting that the act itself amounted to evidence of intent as they had to know to that their incursion would have a large impact and a major response. The trial is continuing today with defense witnesses and we will update you on today’s testimony Thursday on the air and online.
AC Ready for Emergencies
(ORNL) If a natural disaster was to strike Anderson County, area emergency responders are ready via a concerted effort. David Massengill, crime prevention director for the Anderson County Sheriff’s Department, said emergency responders throughout the area plan and train on a regular basis for possible events. “Our training ranges everywhere from the communications system that we have in place within the department and within other agencies that would be responding,” Massengill said during Saturday’s Second Annual Anderson County Emergency Preparedness Fair at the Clinton Community Center. “We would set up command posts, an emergency operations center if necessary and an emergency management agency would be brought in. On a day to day basis, the administration of the sheriff’s department works with their counterparts in these other agencies to talk about what ifs, how to respond and then work out scenarios to practice with each other.” Masengill added activities such as emergency preparedness fairs are tremendous ways to make the general public more aware of not only preparing for possible disasters, but how to respond during the crisis.
Briceville Man Killed in Logging Accident
A logger from Briceville was killed Friday morning while cutting trees in Campbell County. The Sheriff’s Office says that the accident occurred at a worksite on Sharps Lane in Caryville at around 9:30 am Friday. Investigators say that 60-year-old Calvin Daugherty was cutting a series of trees and when one fell, it struck the top of a second, smaller tree. The top of the second tree broke off and hit Daugherty, who struck his head on a rock when he fell to the ground. He was flown by Lifestar to UT Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead. Investigators say that Daugherty’s death was investigated and determined to be an accident.
Report: New OR Shopping Center to be Named for Famous Photog
According to the Oak Ridger, a large crowd was on hand this morning as officials announced that the Kroger Marketplace shopping center slated to open in 2014 will be known as the Westcott Center, in honor of Ed Westcott, whose photos captured the early days of the once-Secret City. Westcott was on hand, along with a crowd of over 100 people who attended the Chamber-sponsored coffee at the CapitalMark Bank & Trust in Jackson Square.
Report: Inn Deal to Close, Work to Begin
According to the News-Sentinel, officials with the Family Pride Corporation based in Loudon County officially close on their purchase of the historic but dilapidated Alexander Inn in Oak Ridge this afternoon. The company plans to completely restore the former guest house for dignitaries visiting the city during the Manhattan Project and turn it into a 60-room assisted living facility for senior citizens. The first phase of the project will involve stabilizing the building and rerouting a storm sewer and is expected to begin by the end of this month. Officials estimate the assisted living center could be open about a year from now. The project will be funded in part through a $500,000 preservation grant from the DOE and a 10-year, 90% property tax abatement, which officials have previously said were absolutely necessary to the success of the project due to the condition of the building. The company has its financing secured and has completed some of the preliminary work to get the project started.
Y-12 Trespassing, Vandalism Trial Begins
The federal trial for the three anti-nuclear weapons protesters who broke into Y-12 last year and vandalized the exterior of the nation’s primary storehouse for bomb-grade uranium is underway in Knoxville. The jury was seated Monday for the trial in US District Court of 64-year-old Michael Walli, 57-year-old Greg Boertje-Obed and 82-year-old Sister Megan Rice, all of whom are charged with trespassing, vandalism and sabotage. If convicted, they could each face over 20 years in prison. The trio has never denied that they cut through several fences in the predawn hours of July 28th before penetrating the High-Security area of the plant and splashing blood and paint on the walls of the Highly Enriched Uranium Materials Facility. They claim that their actions were necessary as they were answering a higher calling that dictated they draw attention to what they call the evils of nuclear weapons and their continued threat to mankind. We will follow the trial and bring you daily updates as they develop on WYSH and WGAP.
ADFAC Gearing up for NEXT School year
(ADFAC) Indeed, it may seem like a strange time to be talking about 'Back to School' but at ADFAC Aid to Distressed families of Appalachian Counties), their School Supply Program is running full speed ahead as we prepare for the upcoming distribution of school supplies this summer. In 2012, this program assisted 1,400 K-12 Anderson County students from disadvantaged families. Students receive a quality backpack and necessary supplies based on the school supply lists provided by each of the 25 schools throughout the county. In preparation for the upcoming program, ADFAC is seeking volunteers who would like to help with the inventory process. Lots of counting, sorting and labeling are needed during the following times:
Tuesday, May 7; 9am-12pm
Thursday, May 9; 9am - 12pm & 1-4pm
Wednesday, May 15; 9am - 12pm & 1-4pm
All inventory activities will take place in the ADFAC School Supplies Room on the 2nd floor of the First Presbyterian Church Education Building. If you'd like to help, please contact Doris Doherty via email: email@example.com
ADFAC Needs Necessities
(ADFAC) ADFAC's Social Services Program provides necessary toiletries and cleaning items to our clients that aren't purchasable with the government food stamp program. Many times families are unable to purchase necessary personal care and household items when they are financially struggling. A simple bottle of shampoo or laundry detergent can really help them at a time when they need it most. Our supply of both full and travel sized products is very low right now and we could use your help. Items we'd love to have:
Shampoo & Conditioner
All Crisis Cupboard donations are to be delivered to the ADFAC Social Services office in Room 103 at First Presbyterian Church. Office Hours: Monday-Thursday, 8:30am - 4:30pm.
GSMNP Recruiting Clingmans Dome Volunteers
(GSMNP) Great Smoky Mountains National Park is recruiting volunteers to help staff the visitor information center at Clingmans Dome through November 30. The visitor information center at Clingmans Dome sits at an elevation of 6,300 feet and is a point source of information for the national park and the high elevation spruce fir ecosystem, in particular. Volunteers are needed to assist in educating visitors about the Park while also providing recreational, trip planning, and directional information. The information center, constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps, originally served as a comfort station, but was converted into a seasonal information center in 2010. It also includes a bookstore area managed by the Great Smoky Mountains Association (GSMA). “In the past, visitors to this popular destination did not have a chance to obtain information on their high elevation visit or have questions answered,” said Park Superintendent Dale Ditmanson. “Now with the help of volunteers staffing the center, visitors can inquire and learn about the spruce fir ecosystem and the impacts of invasive insects, such as the balsam woolly adelgid, and air quality.” Many other helpful services are available, including the ability to purchase guides and maps, outdoor apparel, and other products sold by GSMA. Volunteers will be working alongside GSMA employees and each volunteer is asked to work at least one four-hour shift per week. About twelve new volunteers are needed to fill all days of the week, but especially from Friday through Sunday. The hours will be from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Interested persons will be provided orientation and training before beginning at the contact station. The period that volunteers will be needed is during the peak season, April through November. Training will be held from 9:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. on Friday, May 17. To sign up for training or for more information, contact Florie Takaki at 828/497-1906 or Florie_Takaki@nps.gov, Monday through Fridays.
OR Relay For Life June 7th
The American Cancer Society is seeking teams and support for the upcoming Relay For Life of Oak Ridge on Friday, June 7th, 2013 at Oak Ridge High School. From teams to the planning committee, volunteers are joining together to help make this cancer’s last century. Many community, businesses, and friends and family groups have already formed teams to fight back. Please join the Oak Ridge community by registering your team today at www.relayforlife.org/oakridgetn. The next Team meeting will take place on Thursday, May 30th at 5:30 p.m. at the Holiday Inn Express in Oak Ridge. By participating, volunteers will be helping the American Cancer Society in the life-saving mission started one-hundred years ago. During Relay for Life events, teams of people camp out overnight at a local school, park, or fairground, and take turns walking or running around a track or path. Each team is asked to have a representative on the track at all times during the event. Because cancer never sleeps, Relay events take place overnight, up to 24 hours in duration. To join the Relay for Life of Oak Ridge as a volunteer, team captain, or participant, and to learn more about the program, call the American Cancer Society at 865.558.4045, or visit www.RelayForLife.org/oakridgetn.
Anderson County Solid Waste Logo Contest
Anderson County Solid Waste is in process of designing a Facebook page to promote litter prevention, recycling, and to provide information on Anderson County Solid Waste programs and upcoming events. Anderson County Solid Waste is asking for help from local students to design a logo for the Solid Waste Department and the new Facebook page. To this end Anderson County is sponsoring a “Create a Logo Contest” to develop a logo.
Eligibility: Any student aged 9-13, enrolled in any County school, Clinton City School, Oak Ridge City School, private school within Anderson County, or home-schooled within Anderson County is eligible to participate.
Guidelines: Logos should be drawn or painted by hand, in color, and should have the following elements in the design:
The words - Anderson County Solid Waste
Words, pictures, or symbols about litter prevention or keeping litter in its place.
Words, pictures, or symbols about recycling.
Words, pictures, or symbols about the earth, and/or the environment.
Logos should be no larger than 12 inches by 12 inches
Submission: Logo designs can be submitted at the Anderson County Courthouse in Room 127 or Room 213 from 8:00am to 5:00pm, Monday to Friday. The contest will run from May 13 – May 24, 2013. Any submission after 5:00pm on Friday, May 24, 2013 will not be eligible.
Prize: The student that creates the winning logo will receive their choice of a scholarship to one of the Summer Art Classes at the Children’s Museum of Oak Ridge or Appalachian Arts Craft Center, valued at $135 including materials fees, or $100 in art supplies. The Runner-up will receive $50 in art supplies.
Y-12 Worker Burned By Lithium Powder
A Y-12 worker received chemical burns to his face and eyelids while checking a problem with a system in the nuclear weapons plant's Beta-2 facility. Information about April accident was just released in a report by the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board. According to the report the employee was checking a system that is used to recycle lithium hydride powder when the material discharged into his face. He was wearing safety glasses at the time. Y-12 officials say the employee has since returned to work and that the company has developed corrective actions. A response to questions about the accident and the contractor's actions is expected next week.
Y-12 Vandals’ Trial Set To Begin Tuesday
The federal trial of the three anti-nuclear weapons activists who admit to trespassing at Y-12 and vandalizing property at the facility will begin Tuesday in Knoxville but jury selection will begin this afternoon. 64-year-old Michael Walli, 57-year-old Greg Boertje-Obed and 82-year-old Sister Megan Rice cut through several security fences at the weapons complex on July 28th of last year and penetrated the so-called Protected Area of the plant before vandalizing the exterior of the Highly Enriched Uranium Materials Facility, the nation’s primary storehouse of bomb-grade uranium. The unprecedented breach led to upheaval in the administration of Y-12 and the exit of longtime security contractor WSI-Oak Ridge. The trio admit to the trespassing and vandalism but say they were serving a higher purpose with their actions. If convicted, each of them could face over 20 years in prison and hefty fines. Jury selection was scheduled to begin Monday afternoon.
New Treatment Plant Aims At Reducing Mercury Seepage
US Senator Lamar Alexander joined state and federal officials on Friday in Oak Ridge to announce plans to construct a $120 million water treatment plant to filter mercury-contaminated water at Y-12. Mercury, which has been linked to brain and nervous system damage, was used during the Cold war in Oak Ridge for nuclear weapons production up until 1963 but since then mercury has continued to leak into the spring that forms the head of East Fork Poplar Creek from three massive buildings once used in weapons production. The plant is currently being designed and officials say construction on it is not expected until 2017, with it scheduled to be operational by 2020. The plant will filter approximately 1500 gallons per minute of water flowing through stormwater drains at the plant and the spring. The amount of mercury going into the creek is said to be eight times more than what state water quality standards allow. Officials agreed Friday that with the decades-old effort to clean up radioactive waste left over from the Cold War winding down, it is time to start dealing with the legacy of mercury from Y-12.
ORT: Man Arrested In Domestic Assault
According to our partners at Oak Ridge Today, a 49-year-old transient was charged with aggravated assault on Wednesday after allegedly strangling his girlfriend, an Oak Ridge woman, at the Days Inn on South Illinois Avenue, authorities said. Darryel McDonald also allegedly pushed the victim down in the hotel parking lot as she attempted to run from him to the Days Inn office for help, according to an affidavit filed in Anderson County General Sessions Court. Officers reported red marks on the victim’s neck, an abrasion to her left palm, and another to her left knee. McDonald remained jailed at the Anderson County Detention Facility in Clinton on Sunday. His bond has been set at $50,000, and he has a court hearing scheduled for 1 p.m. Thursday.
Alcoa Expanding Rolling Mill in Alcoa
State, local and company officials announced Thursday that Alcoa will expand its rolling mill in the town that bears its name to meet the growing demand for light, durable and recyclable aluminum sheet for automotive production. The expansion at Alcoa’s facility on East Hunt Rd. represents a $275 million investment over the next three years and will add 200 permanent full-time jobs upon completion, as well as 400 jobs during the construction phase. Alcoa Chairman and CEO Klaus Kleinfeld says that more and more auto producers are turning to aluminum to increase the fuel efficiency and quality of their vehicles – we anticipate a quadrupling of auto sheet volume by 2015 and a tenfold increase by 2025. The project will convert some of the plant’s can sheet capacity to high-strength automotive aluminum capacity, as well as install incremental automotive capacity. The Blount County expansion is scheduled to begin this month and be completed by mid-2015. When completed, the plant will be a key supplier to both the packaging and automotive markets. Much of the volume for the automotive expansion is already secured under long-term supply agreements. Company officials indicated Thursday that employees it had to lay off over the past few years will get the first crack at the new jobs at the plant.
ORT: Y-12 Prosecution Not ‘Vindictive, Selective’
According to our partners at Oak Ridge Today, a federal judge on Tuesday dismissed claims by three anti-nuclear weapons activists who broke into the Y-12 National Security Complex in July that a so-called sabotage charge filed against them in December was the result of vindictive and selective prosecution. The defendants had asked the U.S. District Court in Knoxville to dismiss that charge, which carries a potential prison sentence of up to 20 years. They alleged government prosecutors sought the new charge because they had earlier refused to plead guilty to less serious charges. In January, attorneys for the three protesters—Greg Boertje-Obed, Megan Rice, and Michael Walli—alleged the government had retaliated against the defendants for exercising their constitutional right to a trial. But the new sabotage charge, which was part of a superseding indictment filed in December, is not evidence of vindictive and selective prosecution, U.S. District Judge Amul R. Thapar said in an order and opinion filed Tuesday. The common element of vindictive and selective prosecution is that the prosecution must have acted unreasonably or done something wrong. Boertje-Obed, Rice, and Walli are accused of sneaking into Y-12 before dawn on July 28, cutting through three fences in a high-security Protected Area, and splashing human blood and spray-painting slogans on the Highly Enriched Uranium Materials Facility, where most of the nation’s bomb-grade uranium is stored. Their trial starts Tuesday in Knoxville.
USEC: 2 More Centrifuge Milestones Reached
USEC Inc.’s American Centrifuge uranium enrichment technology recently achieved two important technical milestones under its research, development and demonstration (RD&D) program with the Department of Energy (DOE). The DOE certified completion of two key tests. To date, four milestones have been achieved and five remain. In addition, with the final installation of 120 AC100 centrifuges in a commercial cascade in January 2013, the program has met three of five non-binding performance indicators. “Our team continues to work closely with the Department of Energy to demonstrate the technical readiness of the American Centrifuge technology to meet national security needs and its readiness for commercial deployment,” said Paul Sullivan, vice president of American Centrifuge and chief engineer. “We have made significant progress and remain on course to complete the program on schedule and within budget.” he RD&D program comprises nine technical milestones, including four that were added in March related to specific requirements associated with a supplemental test program developed by DOE. In addition, the cooperative agreement contains five non-binding performance indicators that are designed to be achieved throughout the RD&D program and ensure that the program is on track to achieve the milestones and other program objectives. USEC recently achieved milestones relating to the completion of testing on extended feed rate range and testing machine performance parameters. Both tests demonstrated advanced design features and robustness of the centrifuges to adverse operating conditions. In addition, by manufacturing the 120 AC100 centrifuges required for the demonstration cascade, the program has met the third performance indicator. To date, the program has completed four milestones and is on track to achieve the final remaining milestones by the end of the year.
OR Youth Advisory Board Accepting Applications
(City of Oak Ridge) The Youth Advisory Board (YAB) is currently accepting applications for board members for the 2013-2014 school year. The selection of the board members will take place at the July 8, 2013 City Council Meeting. Sixteen applicants will be confirmed and appointed by City Council to serve a one-year term of office that commences on August 1, 2013. To be considered, applicants must be residents of Oak Ridge and entering grade levels 8th through 12th. Participation on the YAB requires attendance at bi-monthly meetings on Wednesdays at 2:00 p.m., as well as at special events that are held throughout the year. The purpose of the YAB is to serve as a liaison between Council and the youth of the community on issues affecting youth. The Board's function is to encourage the positive growth and development of youth by involving them in social, cultural, recreational, and other drug- and alcohol-free activities. All interested students are encouraged to fill out the on-line application which is available on the City Clerk’s Departmental Website or at http://tiny.cc/2013YABApplication. Applications and on-line submissions are due on Friday, June 1, 2013 by 5:00 p.m. to the City Clerk’s Office. Late applications will not be considered. A limited number of paper copies of the application are available in the Guidance Offices at Jefferson Middle School and Robertsville Middle School, the Student Affairs Office at Oak Ridge High School, and at the front desk of the Civic Center. The current list of incumbents serving until July 31, 2013 is: Caroline Bradshaw, Shelby Chambers, Aaron Chasan, Lauren Collier, Hannah Craig, Lara de Almeida, Richard Goyette, Shane Harris, Ross Landenberger, Hannah Magill, Peter Magill, Monil Mehta, Laura Skipper, Kelsey Warmbrod, Dalyssa Webb, and Patrick Williams. For more information, please contact Matt Reedy at (865) 425-3450 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You may also contact the City Clerk’s Office at (865) 425-3411 or visit www.oakridgetn.gov for more information.
BC BZA Nixes Halfway House
The Blount County Board of Zoning Appeals has ordered a residential ministry helping people addicted to drugs and alcohol to close its doors due to its close proximity to an elementary school. The BZA this week voted to order True Purpose Ministries to cease operations after residents expressed concern that it was too close to Prospect Elementary Schoo, located about two miles awayl. BZA members on Thursday voted 3-2 to deny a special zoning exception for the facility, which had been open for about two months until last night’s decision. Ministry officials say they were unaware that they were violating zoning ordinances, believing that their building on Prospect Road was zoned for commercial use. It is, in fact, zoned for residential use. The ministry is now searching for a new home.
AC Day Of Prayer Draws Crowd
Over 100 people attended Thursday’s Anderson County observance of the National Day of Prayer, the biggest turnout the local event has seen in the past several years. The observance organized by the County Mayor’s office took place on the front steps of the Courthouse in Clinton. Pastors from five area churches led those assembled in prayers seeking guidance for government leaders from the local to the national levels and protection for members of the military, among other topics, including church and family. Similar events—both official and unofficial—took place across the country Thursday to observe the 62nd annual National Day of Prayer.
GSMNP Introducing ‘Great Smokies Experience’
Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials announced a new opportunity for high school students to enroll in a two-week “Great Smokies Experience” course offered by Maryville College and Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont (Tremont). Since 1969, Tremont has provided outdoor experiences in Great Smoky Mountains National Park that have given participants life-long memories and provided unique educational opportunities connecting young and old with the great outdoors. Now, thanks to a partnership between Tremont and Maryville College, rising high school juniors and seniors can enroll in a one-of-a-kind outdoor adventure course and receive college credit hours in environmental issues at the same time. “This is a wonderful opportunity for students to explore, study, and learn in a very unique and remarkable 500,000-acre classroom,” said Park Superintendent Dale Ditmanson. “We are pleased that Maryville College is partnering with Tremont staff and Park Rangers to offer high quality instruction enabling students to receive college credit for the experience.” The first-ever “Great Smokies Experience” will take place July 18 to July 31 at Tremont, located inside the national park, and on Maryville College campus. The two-week course is divided into three sections and includes activities and topics that range from hikes to history and ecosystems to nationalism. Students will spend about half of their time camping at Tremont and the other half living on campus at Maryville College. “We are excited about this new program and know that the kids will learn through experience. The course follows our tried and true format – get the students out in the park”, said John DiDiego, Education Director at Tremont. “We know we can provide powerful educational experiences in the natural world,” he continued. “Partnering with the College brings us expertise from a variety of disciplines, as well as the prestige of working hand-in-hand with top-notch professors and motivated students. Through this partnership, we combine our strengths to raise the bar for education and offer students a world-class course in a world-class national park.” In addition to DiDiego, instructors include Dr. Doug Sofer, Associate Professor of History at Maryville College and Coordinator of the Great Smokies Experience, Dr. Mark O’Gorman, Associate Professor of Political Science and Coordinator of Mayville College’s Environmental Studies Program, Bruce Guillaume, Director of Mountain Challenge, and Park Rangers. Space is limited during the 2013 inaugural year, so interested students should register now. For more information, contact Doug Sofer at Doug.Sofer@maryvillecollege.edu or visit the “Great Smokies Experience” web page -http://www.maryvillecollege.edu/academics/learn-by-experience/gse/.
CCWF: Fort Anderson Dedication May 17th
The Coal Creek Watershed Foundation would like to invite the community to join the students at Briceville Elementary School and others on Friday, May 17th from 9:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. for the dedication of Fort Anderson on Militia Hill as described on the CCWF web page at http://www.coalcreekaml.com/FortAndersonDedication.htm. Organizers are also looking for any coal mining relics and/or family history stories.
ALCOA TO FURTHER EXPAND AUTOMOTIVE SHEET CAPACITY IN BLOUNT COUNTY
(Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development) Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and Economic and Development Commissioner Bill Hagerty, along with Alcoa officials, announced today the company will expand its rolling mill in Alcoa, Tenn. to meet the growing demand for light, durable and recyclable aluminum sheet for automotive production. The expansion at Alcoa’s facility on East Hunt Rd. represents a $275 million investment over the next three years and will add 200 permanent full-time jobs upon completion, as well as 400 jobs during the construction phase. “I want to thank Alcoa for its new investment in East Tennessee and for 100 years of incredible service in Blount County,” Haslam said. “Our Jobs4TN strategy identifies key industry clusters where Tennessee holds a unique competitive advantage, and we are grateful Alcoa is expanding its presence and joining in our state’s continued growth in the automotive sector. This is another step toward Tennessee becoming the No. 1 state in the Southeast for high quality jobs, and adding these jobs is a great way to celebrate an anniversary.”
“Innovation drives economic development, and Alcoa’s adaptability and growth over the past 100 years in our state is an ideal example of what can be achieved,” Hagerty said. “I am pleased Alcoa recognizes Tennessee’s business-friendly climate, quality workforce and unique strengths within the global automotive industry.”
“Our Tennessee expansion is a great example of how Alcoa’s edge in technology and innovation is capturing growth opportunities in our value-added mid- and downstream businesses,” Alcoa Chairman and CEO Klaus Kleinfeld said. “More and more auto producers are turning to aluminum to increase the fuel efficiency and quality of their vehicles – we anticipate a quadrupling of auto sheet volume by 2015 and a tenfold increase by 2025.
“It is particularly gratifying to make this investment in our namesake community this year, which is both the 100th anniversary of our Tennessee operations as well as the 125th anniversary of Alcoa,” Kleinfeld added. “We have a very dedicated and highly engaged workforce in Tennessee and a very supportive community.”
The project will convert some of the plant’s can sheet capacity to high-strength automotive aluminum capacity, as well as install incremental automotive capacity. The Blount County expansion is scheduled to begin this month and be completed by mid-2015. When completed, the plant will be a key supplier to both the packaging and automotive markets. Much of the volume for the automotive expansion is already secured under long-term supply agreements.
“We're excited to be part of Alcoa's continued growth in Blount County," Blount Partnership President/CEO Bryan Daniels said. "It means a lot to this community that they stayed true to their roots."
"We are extremely proud of Alcoa and all that it does for this community,” Alcoa Mayor Don Mull said. “This expansion truly means a lot by showing Alcoa's commitment to continue to build upon itself and grow its business here."
"This is just another in a line of great business successes this county has experienced in the last 18 months,” Blount County Mayor Ed Mitchell said. “The major addition in jobs and capital investment really shows Alcoa's confidence in the workforce of this area. We appreciate their commitment to expanding locally."
"A huge thanks goes out to Alcoa for seeing the benefit of staying local and adding to the continued economic development Blount County enjoys,” Maryville Mayor Tom Taylor said.
Time to Swim in OR
(City of Oak Ridge) The Oak Ridge Recreation and Parks Department is offering an American Red Cross Water Safety Instructor class starting May 15. Attendance is required at all sessions. Students must be 16 years old and meet the following pre-requisites: Swim at level 4: 25 yards of front crawl, back crawl, breaststroke, elementary backstroke and sidestroke and 15 yards of the butterfly. Maintain position on back for one minute floating in deep water and tread water for one minute. Upon successful completion of this course the instructor will be able to teach American Red Cross: Parent and Child Aquatics, Preschool Aquatics, Learn-to-swim- Levels 1-6 and Water Safety courses. The fee is $200. Registration is at the Civic Center Front Desk. Payment is due at registration, class assignments and materials will be issued then. This session will meet at the following dates and times at the Oak Ridge Civic Center: May 15, 16, 17, and May 23, 24, 5pm-9pm and Saturdays, May 18 and 25, 9 am-5 pm. For further information please call the Recreation and Parks department at 425-3450. Enrollment is limited. Please visit our website, www.orrecparks.org for information on all of the Recreation and Parks department programs.
(City of Oak Ridge) The Oak Ridge Recreation and Parks Department is offering a trial period for swimmers who may be interested in swimming with the ORCA swim team this summer. On May 21, 23, 28 and June 4, swimmers are welcome to come to try a normal ORCA swim session, 4pm to 5pm, and swim with the group to get an assessment of their abilities; all swimmers will need a signed release in order to participate. Regular Summer ORCA members will have pre-outdoor pool workouts during this time as well. Children are invited to swim and meet with the coaches to see if they are ready and able to join the recreational swim team this summer. Parents must sign a release for their child to participate. Summer ORCA is $120 plus a non-resident fee where applicable. Summer session dates run from June 5th to July 25th. Swim Team members will participate in 2 home swim meets and two away meets in addition to GKAISA at the end of July. For further information please call the Recreation and Parks department at 425-3450. Please visit our website for information on all of the Recreation and Parks department programs at www.orrecparks.org.
GSMNP to Fight Bugs with Bugs
(GSMNP) Great Smoky Mountains National Park resource managers plan to release two new predatory beetle species to aid in control efforts to stop the spread of Hemlock Woolly Adelgid (HWA), an invasive insect pest that has devastated hemlock forests throughout the eastern United States. The park began releasing predatory beetles, which feed exclusively on adelgids, as a biocontrol in 2002. Park managers are hopeful that the addition of these two new beetle species will further enhance our bicontrol treatment program. Both beetles, Laricobius osakensis and Scymnus coniferarum, will be released at biocontrol sites throughout the park. L. osakensis beetles come from Osaka Japan where the Smokies strain of HWA originated. S. coniferarum beetles come from Washington where a similar HWA species occurs and has been kept in check by natural beetle predation. Park managers currently utilize two other beetle species for HWA control including Laricobius nigrinusfrom Washington and Sasajiscymnus tsugae from Northern Japan. Both of these species are established in the Park and are increasing in numbers and in their ability to control HWA. In the long term, Park managers expect beetles to control HWA as populations reach a natural balance as they have in Washington, British Columbia, and Japan. The park employs a three-prong approach in managing HWA that includes foliar applications of horticultural oil in developed areas, stem and soil injections of systemic insecticides (imidacloprid or dinotefuran), and the release of predatory beetles. All of the chemical and biological control techniques are showing positive effects. Currently about 600 acres are being sprayed annually, over 250,000 hemlock trees have been hand-treated with systemic pesticides spread across 11,000 acres, and over 545,000 predatory beetles have been released. Each of these species of HWA predatory beetles are very small black lady beetles and should not be confused with the larger red and black spotted lady beetle that is typically found over-wintering in large numbers throughout the area. All introduced biological controls such as the HWA predatory beetles are first quarantined and researched in depth before given approval by the USDA for release. For more information about Park hemlock forests, please visit www.nps.gov/grsm/naturescience/hemlock-woolly-adelgid.
HFHAC Takes Part in National Women Build Week
(HFHAC) Volunteers are needed for Habitat for Humanity’s sixth annual National Women Build Week. Locally, Habitat for Humanity of Anderson County will partner with Lowe’s and the Associated Construction Women to repair a woman-owned home on Saturday, May 11. Nationally, more than 300 Habitat affiliates will host women build projects in partnership with Lowe’s, the underwriter of Habitat’s Women Build program, during the week of May 4-12. National Women Build Week challenges women to “come together and devote at least one day to repairing or building simple, decent and affordable housing in their local communities.” It said more than 41,000 women volunteers from all 50 states have participated in previous years. Last year, event sponsor ACW rallied a group of approximately 25 members to repair and weatherize a woman-owned home in Oak Ridge. No construction skills are necessary and men are welcome to help, too. To volunteer or donate to this project, call HFHAC at (865) 482-7713 or send an e-mail to email@example.com. Visit www.habitat.org/wb for more information on National Women Build Week.
ORPSEF Donates $81K to OR Schools
(ORPSEF) The Oak Ridge Public Schools Education Foundation presented a check for $81,000 to the Oak Ridge Schools at the Foundation’s award ceremony Friday evening. The funds will be used to provide a variety of educational materials in each of the city’s seven public schools. The gift was part of the Foundation’s “Making a Critical Difference” campaign that provides teachers small grants for teaching tools not available in the city’s education budget. The grants are not intended for salaries or to replace items that may have been cut from the schools’ annual budget. The Foundation awarded 13 grants for the 2013-2014 academic year on a competitive basis from among dozens of proposals from teachers. The winning proposals requested funding for materials and equipment to enhance courses such as chemistry, physics, math, geography, welding, music, and special education. People who would like to donate to the Oak Ridge Public Schools Education Foundation may contact Lila Metcalf at (865) 241-3667.
Blount Wreck Kills 1, Injures 1
A 93-year-old Maryville man was killed and his 92-year-old wife injured in two-vehicle accident Tuesday (4/30) in Blount County. The Tennessee Highway Patrol reports that George Ribble was stopped at a stop sign on West Millers Cove Road at the intersection with US Highway 321 in Walland at around 5:45 pm when he attempted to make a left turn on to 321. His Mercury Grand Marquis pulled into the path of a northbound Toyota 4-Runner driven by 23-year-old Matthew Mimbs of Georgia, who troopers say tried to avoid a collision but could not, striking Ribble’s car on the driver’s side. George Ribble was killed and his wife, Mary Ribble, was injured. Mimbs was not hurt, according to the report, which also indicates that all three people were wearing seatbelts. Routine drug and alcohol tests were ordered and no citations or charges were filed.
Update: ORNL-issued iPad Stolen in Clinton
An Oak Ridge National Laboratory employee reported that a lab-issued iPad was stolen from his car while he and his wife shopped at the Dollar General store on Charles Seivers Boulevard on Tuesday afternoon (4/30). Gregory and Robin Chitwood called police around 2 pm Tuesday and reported that the device had been the car when they went into the store but was gone when they returned. The iPad did not contain sensitive information but was remotely wiped clean and effectively deactivated. The device has been entered into the NCIC as the victims were able to provide investigators with its serial number.
CHS Dedicates ‘Net-Zero’ Classroom
Tuesday (4/30), students, teachers and school administrators gathered to dedicate a new, so-called net zero classroom on the campus of Clinton High School. The 1150-square-foot building is powered by solar panels and is independent of the electric grid. The classroom, believed to be the first of its kind in the state, was funded by the school system as well as grants from TVA and ORNL as well as other sponsors. It will be used as a hands-on classroom laboratory to support the school’s Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics curriculum and inside features simulators that show how different types of alternative energy is produced, including solar, wind and geothermal energies. There are also 26 iPads to enhance the classroom experience. The building was constructed with a variety of energy-saving features and is designed to produce at least as much energy as it uses. Plans call for a windmill to be erected on the site to generate even more electricity in the future.
Tuesday Rockslide on ‘Dragon’ Cleared
Part of US Highway 129 in Blount County, a.k.a. “The Dragon” was reduced to one lane for several hours Tuesday (4/30) following a rockslide about nine miles west of the North Carolina state line. The slide occurred late Tuesday morning but was cleared by TDOT crews before 4:00 that afternoon.
AC Alternatives to Incarceration Committee Meeting May 7th
A meeting of the Anderson County Alternatives to Incarceration Advisory Committee has been scheduled for Tuesday, May 7 at 4:00 p.m. in room 118A of the Anderson County Courthouse. At the most recent County Commission meeting Myron Iwanski was appointed as the Commission’s representative on the committee and was asked serve as temporary chair to call a meeting to begin the process of selecting a new program director and keep the program moving forward. Mike Baker resigned from the post last month after he and several county officials—most notably several judges and the county mayor—failed to see eye-to-eye on how best to reduce the population of the Anderson County Jail.
Follow-Up: ACLB to Interview 3 for Clinton Position
Clinton Library Director Essy Day has resigned to take another position, described as “an opportunity she could not pass up” and next week the Anderson County Library Board (ACLB) will take the next step in finding her replacement. 10 applications for the position were received and four finalists were chosen to be interviewed for the vacancy. One of those candidates has withdrawn from consideration but the remaining three candidates will be interviewed by the Board during a special called meeting set for Wednesday May 8th at 10 am in the meeting room of the Clinton Library. That meeting, as are all Library Board meetings, is open to the public.
ORT: Fed Judge Shoots Down Part of Y-12 Trio’s Defense Strategy
(Oak Ridge Today) According to our partners at Oak Ridge Today, the three protesters accused of sneaking into the Y-12 National Security Complex and vandalizing a uranium storage building in July will not be able to argue during their trial next week that they violated federal laws in order to achieve a greater good, a judge said. It’s what is known as a necessity defense, and it only applies in rare situations, U.S. District Judge Amul R. Thapar said in an opinion and order filed Tuesday (4/30). It allows a defendant to avoid a conviction even when the government has proven all the elements of an offense. Thapar said the three anti-nuclear weapons activists—Greg Boertje-Obed, Megan Rice, and Michael Walli—did not have any evidence to establish three of the four required elements of the necessity defense, including a “reasonable fear of death or serious bodily injury due to a present, imminent, and unlawful threat.” Additionally, Thapar said the three defendants will not be able to use the Nuremberg principles as a defense either. That defense could have allowed them to argue that they violated domestic law in order to protect themselves from violating international law. “The defendants cannot access the Nuremberg defense because they did not need to violate domestic law to avoid committing a war crime,” Thapar said. Boertje-Obed, Rice, and Walli are accused of sneaking into Y-12 before dawn on July 28, cutting through three fences in a high-security Protected Area, and splashing human blood and spray-painting slogans on the Highly Enriched Uranium Materials Facility, where most of the nation’s bomb-grade uranium is stored. The three have acknowledged their actions and view them as a “legitimate, even obligatory, response to the threat posed by nuclear weapons,” Thapar said. They have been charged with property destruction, property depredation, and interfering with the national defense. The last charge is sometimes referred to as a sabotage charge, and it is the most serious, carrying a potential prison sentence of up to 20 years. The government last week asked the U.S. District Court in Knoxville to dismiss the property destruction charge, saying it has been unable to establish jurisdiction. The trial for Boertje-Obed, Rice, and Walli starts Tuesday May 7th in Knoxville. For more information on this story, check out our partners at Oak Ridge Today by following this link: http://oakridgetoday.com/2013/04/30/y-12-protesters-cannot-use-necessity-nuremberg-defenses-at-tuesday-trial/.
ORT: Driver Pulled from Fiery Crash out of Hospital
According to our partners at Oak Ridge Today, the man Oak Ridge police officers had to pull from the cab of his burning pickup truck Friday night (2/26) has been released from UT Medical Center, where he was taken following the single-vehicle accident. The man has been identified as 25-year-old Jason West of Oliver Springs and police say that his Dodge Dakota pickup burst into flames after leaving the side of North Illinois Avenue and overturning down an embankment. The accident caused an estimated $6000 worth of damage to utility poles and concrete curbing and knocked West unconscious. The first officer on the scene, Christopher Wallace, reported that he and five other police officers used fire extinguishers to keep the flames at bay while two others managed to reach into the cab and pull him to safety. West was not wearing his seatbelt and reportedly told officers that he had drank two or three beers with friends in Roane County earlier in the evening. He consented to a blood draw, the results of which are pending.
Report: Eviction Notice Served on Blount Horse Trainer
According to the Daily Times, a warrant seeking to have Tennessee walking horse trainer Larry Wheelon evicted from the stable he has been renting on Tuckaleechee Pike was served on Tuesday morning (4/30). That barn was the site of a federal raid two weeks ago during which evidence was found that 19 of the 27 horses on the property had been subjected to the practice of soring, in this case the alleged use of chemicals, to produce the trademark, high step of the walking horse. Wheelon has been charged with one count of animal cruelty and further charges could be pending the outcome of an ongoing investigation. He appeared in court on that charge Tuesday and is scheduled for a May 14th hearing, by which time he is expected to have an attorney. The horses were seized last week by the Blount County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and several other agencies working in concert and taken to an undisclosed location outside Blount County, where they are being treated and are said to be well on their way to recovering from the alleged abuse.
TDOT: State #2 in SE, #17 Nationally for Bicycle-Friendliness
In honor of National Bike Month, the League of American Bicyclists has released its latest Bicycle Friendly States (BFS) ranking. In the sixth annual assessment, Tennessee ranked 2nd in the southeast region, while placing 17th nationally. Tennessee has improved its national ranking from 26th in 2012. “With all the competing transportation needs we have, Tennessee is proud to be making gains in the area of bicycle friendliness,” said Tennessee Department of Transportation Commissioner John Schroer. “The network of bike lanes across the state is growing each and every year and we will continue to dedicate funding for important programs such as Safe Routes to School.” Tennessee’s ranking was based on a number of key indicators, including infrastructure and funding that provide on-the-ground bicycle facilities; educational programs that promote cycling, and passage and enforcement of bicycle friendly laws that increase safety for riders of all ages. The League of American Bicyclists commended TDOT for developing a statewide bicycle plan, and for including a bicycle safety emphasis in its Strategic Highway Safety Plan. “We are making great strides in implementing bicycle features into our transportation planning and will continue to work with communities across the state on creating “complete streets” that encourage cycling and other modes of transportation,” added TDOT Chief of Environment and Planning Toks Omishakin. “These efforts will help us continue to improve our bicycle friendly ranking.” The annual BFS rankings and awards are published and used to encourage states to improve their bike-friendliness. The states are evaluated with a comprehensive annual questionnaire that is completed by state Department of Transportation bicycle coordinators. Additionally, the program also measures the combined performance of legislators, law enforcement, and state cycling advocates and promoters. The BFS program has helped inspire pro-bike legislation and policies throughout the country. For more information on TDOT’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Program, please visit http://www.tdot.state.tn.us/bikeped/. To view the 2013 BFS Rankings list and a breakdown of how the states fared in each evaluation category, visit http://www.bikeleague.org/programs/bicyclefriendlyamerica/bicyclefriendlystate/report_cards.php.
300+ Pounds of Unused Meds Collected
(ASAP) On Saturday, April 27th local law enforcement agencies teamed up to host Operation Medicine Cabinet at four locations across the county. The Anderson County Sheriff’s Office, Clinton Police Department, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Oak Ridge Police Department, and Oliver Springs Police Department joined forces with Allies for Substance Abuse Prevention (ASAP) to provide four convenient locations for medicine disposal. Locations included all three Food City locations in the county, as well as a drop site at Oak Ridge Police Department. “We are pleased with the community participation for this event” said Chief Mark Lucas of the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office. “Not only is this an important event to reduce crime and reduce access to prescription medicine, it is also an important way to ensure these medications do not harm our environment” added Stephanie Strutner, Executive Director of ASAP. The amount of medicine collected Saturday far surpassed the weight from any previous event held in the county since law enforcement agencies began collecting and disposing medicine in 2010. In all, Strutner said 314.6 pounds of medicine were collected at sites in Clinton, Oak Ridge, and Oliver Springs and the medications were disposed by DEA. Over 135 pounds of paper and plastic containers were collected and recycled as well, according to Geoff Trabalka, Director of Solid Waste for Anderson County. Organizers would like to thank all of those who helped make this event possible, including residents who brought medicine for disposal, Anderson County Solid Waste Department, South College School of Pharmacy, Food City, and Home Depot. For more information on future collection events, please visit www.ASAPofAnderson.org.
1 Killed, 2 Injured in Monroe Wreck
An elderly Maryville woman was killed and two other people injured in a two-vehicle accident Monday afternoon (4/29) on State Highway 72 in Monroe County. The Tennessee Highway Patrol reports that 88-year-old Ray Dailey of Maryville apparently missed his turn and made an illegal u-turn at around 2:15 pm and his Ford Edge SUV struck a Ford Taurus driven by 30-year-old Amanda Kittle of Maryville. Both vehicles went off the left side of the road and Dailey’s SUV traveled down an embankment before striking a tree head-on. The passenger in Dailey’s car—identified as 83-year-old Johnnie Dailey—was killed in the crash and both drivers were injured, although there has been no word on the severity of their injuries. All three people involved were wearing their seatbelts, according to the THP report.
AC DA: “Remarkable” Decline in Reported Crimes
Monday (4/29), Anderson County District Attorney General Dave Clark made what he called a “remarkable” announcement concerning crime in Anderson County. Last week the TBI released statistics that showed crime in Tennessee dropped by 2.8% last year, however in Anderson County, crime reports dropped by 10.5%. Statistics show that crime in Anderson County has declined by over 27% in the past six years. To put it another way, in 2007, 7387 crimes were reported across the county and in 2012 that number shrank to 5976. Clark, in a press release issued Monday afternoon, says that “these results come from the considerable planning and the deliberate effort of many people.” Law enforcement agencies have also increased the percentage of crimes solved from 33% in 2006 to over 41% last year. With the increasing number of crimes solved, the jail population has exploded in that time. In 2006, the average daily inmate population stood at approximately 165 but last year that number ballooned to a daily average of 321 inmates. Officials say that the police have done a better job of solving crimes and the DA’s office has done a better job of prosecuting offenders, which means more people end up in the jail. A major expansion of the jail is expected to be completed before the end of the year that will boost the number of inmate beds to 566 and efforts have been started to find more alternatives to incarceration to reduce the jail population. Clark did have this to say going forward: “While we are proud of the accomplishments so far, we are not satisfied. More progress in fighting crime is needed. The drug problem and associated crimes that plague many communities are a particular challenge. We expect to continue to work together to make Anderson County a better and safer place to live and work.” Clark also thanked local citizens for their support and credited the drop in the crime rate in part to more crime and drug education in the community.
GAO Upholds Part of Y-12, Pantex Protests, Future Uncertain
Monday (4/29) the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) announced that it has upheld parts of two protests challenging a five-year contract to run Y-12 in Oak Ridge and the Pantex Plant in Texas. The GAO also recommended reopening the contract procurement process. Consolidated Nuclear Security (CNS) was awarded the joint contract in January by the National Nuclear Security Administration but quickly, the two losing teams—Nuclear Production Partners (NP2) and Integrated Nuclear Production Solutions—filed protests with the GAO. The decision announced Monday seems to center on the whether or not the NNSA had properly evaluated CNS’s claims that it could save the federal government over $3 billion over the life of the contract. Ralph White, the GAO’s managing associate general counsel for procurement law, wrote in a statement Monday that the “GAO concluded that NNSA failed to meaningfully assess the majority of each offeror’s [sic] proposed cost savings, and based its source selection on the unsupported assumption that all cost savings proposed by every offeror would be achieved.” He also wrote that other protest allegations were denied. The Department of Energy and the NNSA have 60 days to respond to the GAO report but our partners at Oak Ridge Today point out that they are not bound by Monday’s decision but most agencies usually follow the GAO’s recommendations. In those rare instances when they are not, the GAO reports to Congress, which makes the final calls on funding. CNS could also challenge the decision in federal court but it is unclear if they will. The transition from B&W Y-12 to CNS, which was scheduled to occur tomorrow (May 1st), was delayed by the protests and the short-term picture remains unclear. NNSA officials did tell Oak Ridge Today that B&W’s contract to run both Y-12 and Pantex has been extended through May 31st while officials try to clear up that picture. For much more on this developing story and the most complete coverage of the federal facilities in Oak Ridge check out our partners at www.oakridgetoday.com.
ORHS Basketball Team to Play in Bahamas
The Oak Ridge School Board voted 4-1 in a special meeting Monday night (4/29) to allow the Oak Ridge High School boys’ basketball team to travel to the Bahamas in November to take part in a prestigious, invitation-only tournament. There had been some lingering questions about liability and costs associated with the trip but interim School Superintendent Bob Smallridge recommended the trip be approved. Coach Aaron Green says that the trip will be paid for by the Booster Club and that the team plans to raise money on its own as well.
Report: Fritts Recovering After Spider Bite
According to the News-Sentinel, Anderson County Commission Chairman Chuck Fritts is recovering from a brown recluse spider bite. Monday (4/29), Fritts told the paper that he first believed he had been bitten by a mosquito on his foot but when the area around the bite started to swell and the flesh on top of his foot began to turn black, he made a trip to Methodist Medical Center. He was hospitalized for four days last week and underwent surgery to remove the affected tissue. Fritts told the paper he is now taking powerful antibiotics to counter the effects of the spider’s bite and that he fully expects to be able to resume his Commission duties in time for Monday’s budget committee meeting.
GSMNP: Trails Hit by Tornadoes Reopened
(GSMNP) Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials announced the reopening of 2 trails that have been closed since 2011 after receiving extensive damage from a F4 Tornado in the western end of the Park. The Park's Trail Crew recently completed rehabilitation work on Beard Cane and Hatcher Mountain Trails. These trails have been closed since April 2011 due to damaging tornado winds and rain that left the trails blocked by thousands of downed trees. In addition, Park crews had to rebuild the trail tread surface and construct multiple retaining walls where the trail had been completely destroyed after uprooted trees fell downslope with sections of the trail attached. After the 2011 tornado, 50 miles of trails were initially closed including Ace Gap Trail, Beard Cane Trail, Hatcher Mountain Trail, Little Bottoms Trail, Rabbit Creek Trail, Hannah Mountain Trail, Cooper Road Trail, Cane Creek Trail, Gold Mine Trail, and Abrams Falls Trail. Twenty-four trail crew employees from across the Park responded to the incident in addition to trail crews from Canyonlands National Park, Joshua Tree National Park, and Kings Canyon National Park. Due to the scope of the workload, coupled with the responsibility to maintain the other 800 miles of trails in the Park, Smokies Trail Crew Supervisor, Tobias Miller, reached out to fellow NPS trail crews from across the country to aid in tree clearing efforts and trail reconstruction. All trails are now reopened for public use along with Backcountry Campsite 3. However, Backcountry Campsite 11 will remain closed. The damage to this site was so great from the storm that this location is no longer suitable as a campsite. For more information about trail conditions, please visit the Park’s website at www.nps.gov/grsm or call our Backcountry Information Office at 865-436-1297.
Knox Student Wins UT-Battelle Scholarship
(UT-Battelle) Meredith Graves, a senior at Hardin Valley Academy, is the recipient of the 2013 UT-Battelle Scholarship to the University of Tennessee. The four-year, $20,000 scholarship, presented annually to a graduating senior with a parent who works at ORNL, is awarded annually to an outstanding student who plans to study science, engineering or mathematics at the University of Tennessee. Graves, daughter of Van and René Graves of Knoxville, has already been accepted into the University of Tennessee's Bachelor of Architecture program, where she hopes to apply her interest in STEM-related fields to the design of energy efficient and environmentally friendly structures. Graves received the Hardin Valley Academy's STEM Engineering Award this year. She has also been active in the Student Government Association, Technology Student Association, Sigma Tau Phi and the National Honor Society. Outside interests include the Dance Centre of Knoxville, the Oak Ridge Civic Ballet and the youth group of the First Baptist Church of Powell. Her father, Van Graves, is a member of the Remote Systems group within ORNL's Nuclear Science and Engineering Directorate. The UT-Battelle scholarship is a competitive award, distributed in $5,000 increments over four years of undergraduate study at UT. ORNL is managed by UT-Battelle for the Department of Energy's Office of Science.
ORPD Officers Brave Flames to Rescue Trapped Driver
Several Oak Ridge police officers worked together Friday night to rescue an unconscious driver from his burning car following a traffic accident. The one-car accident happened at around 11:30 pm Friday and shut down northbound lanes of North Illinois Avenue near Rene Lane. Investigators say the car left the roadway, struck several utility poles and traveled down an embankment before catching fire. According to an ORPD release issued over the weekend, Officer Christopher Wallace was the first officer on the scene within one minute of being dispatched, and reported the driver, who was the lone occupant, was unconscious and trapped inside the burning vehicle. Officer Wallace directed responding personnel to deploy fire extinguishers upon arrival, as the engine compartment was fully engulfed in flames. Officer Ray Steakley and Sergeant Ron Boucher arrived next, followed by Officers Christopher Carden, Christopher Luethge, Max Smith, Nathan Stinnett, and Trae Sweeten, who used their fire extinguishers to prevent the fire from burning Sergeant Boucher and Officer Steakley. Eyewitnesses reported Officer Steakley forcefully jerked driver’s side window frame to a 90-degree angle to access the driver’s compartment, after which he and Sergeant Boucher rescued the trapped driver by pulling him through the window. The driver, who is an Oak Ridge resident, was transported to UT Hospital by ambulance. His name and condition had not been released by the time this report was filed but we will pass that information on to you when it becomes available.
ORT: Weigel’s Work Underway
(Oak Ridge Today) Site work has started for a new Weigel’s on South Illinois Avenue. The convenience store is expected to include 16 gas pumps and could open in the late summer or early fall. The roughly 4,000-square-foot store will be on a 1.5-acre parcel south of TNBank. Weigel’s closed on the property about a month ago and has been working on utilities since then. Unexpected utility work put the project behind schedule as existing city utilities had to be lowered to allow Weigel’s to put in driveways. Some dirt will have to be removed to level out the site, and a retaining wall will be put in at Potomac Circle.
ORT: Fed Building Asbestos Clean-Up Almost Complete
According to our partners at Oak Ridge Today, work crews are nearing the end of a four-month-long project to clean up and remove insulation containing asbestos from the Joe Evins Federal Building in Oak Ridge and workers who have been displaced since June could move back into the building next month. Last year, a routine inspection determined that insulation containing asbestos had fallen into the building’s heating and cooling units. While tests determined no workers had been exposed to asbestos, the approximately 350 federal workers and/or contractors were moved to temporary work quarters while the problems were addressed. An Alaska-based company won the contract to remove the asbestos from HVAC fan coils and pipe chases, demolish and reconstruct affected wall partitions and surface cleaning on floors, ceilings and walls and that work is expected to wrap up by the end of this month. An industrial hygienist was also awarded a contract to conduct independent testing to verify that the situation has been properly addressed. Some displaced workers have been working out of other government buildings in Oak Ridge as well as leased commercial space.
OR Man Enters Guilty Plea
An Oak Ridge man pleaded guilty Friday in an Anderson County courtroom to charges of aggravated assault and was sentenced to eight years in prison, suspended on time served. 23-year-old Damian Lamar Ellis was originally charged with attempted first-degree murder in the September 2010 shooting of Oak Ridge resident William Booker. Prosecutors told Judge Don Elledge that the plea deal was made because Booker refused to cooperate with the investigation and while they felt they had a good case on the original charges, without the victim’s cooperation, securing a conviction would have been tough. The shooting happened after Ellis’s niece told him that Booker had slapped her and she wanted her uncle to beat him up. A fistfight apparently did not settle the dispute as Ellis produced a pistol and shot Booker twice.
Heiskell Man Pleads Guilty In Two Cases
A Heiskell man pleaded guilty to reduced charges in a pair of incidents that occurred in the spring of 2011 on Friday. 33-year-old Douglas Edmons of Heisekll entered best-interest pleas to charges of aggravated assault, false imprisonment, assault and resisting arrest and was given a five-year sentence, suspended on time served. He had originally faced more serious charges but one of the alleged victims was said to not be a credible witness and his wife—the second victim—refused to prosecute. In a best-interest plea, Edmons does not admit guilt but accepted the plea deal rather than face the prospect of a longer sentence had he been convicted in court of the original charges. Police say that in March of 2011, Edmons held a woman against her will for several hours in a car, pulling her hair, driving at speeds of over 100 miles an hour, threatening her with a knife and repeatedly hitting her in the head. A month and a half later, authorities say he held a knife to his wife’s throat during an argument.
RC EMA Director Leaving For TVA
Howie Rose, who has served as Roane County’s director of emergency services for 11 years, has announced that he will be stepping down to become TVA’s new project manager for emergency preparedness and response. The TVA job will include oversight of training for responses to a variety of emergencies across the region. Deputy Director of Roane County’s emergency services Scott Stout will serve as the interim director following Rose’s departure. Rose will begin his new job on May 6th.
Man Pleads To Several Charges
A 19-year-old man pleaded guilty last week to several charges connected to incidents that occurred over an almost two-year-long period. Khristoff Deshawn Lee pleaded guilty to charges stemming from four incidents that occurred between December of 2010 and January of 2012. In exchange for his pleas, he was sentenced to five years behind bars with no chance for probation followed by three years of supervised probation upon his release. Lee admitted to crimes including burglary, carjacking and aggravated assault.
Friday Brush Fire Damages Business
A brush fire caught a Maryville business on fire Friday evening. The brush fire was reported at around 5:45 pm Friday and spread to the nearby Six Mile Cycle in the 4800 of Stump Road in Maryville. The business sells parts for motorcycles, tractors and lawnmowers. No one was injured in the fire but authorities say that one side of the building suffered heavy damage.
AC Man Injured in Knox Plane Crash
An Andersonville man was injured when the small airplane he was piloting crashed in south Knox County on Thursday evening. The Knox County Sheriff’s Office says that emergency crews were sent to the 5800 block of Martin Mill Pike at around 6 pm Thursday and identify the pilot as Quentin Elkins of Andersonville. He sustained a broken leg and suffered some cuts and bruises, but nothing life-threatening. Before he was taken to UT Medical Center for treatment, Elkins reportedly told deputies that he had lost power shortly after taking off from Downtown Island Airport and was trying to set the plane down in a field when he clipped some power lines and crashed. No one on the ground was injured.
19 Horses Seized, Animal Cruelty Charge Filed
On Thursday, authorities in Blount County seized 19 horses who may have been subjected to the practice of “soring” from a Maryvillebarn and transported them to a safe, undisclosed location. The Humane Society of the United States , the Blount County Sheriff’s Office, Blount County SPCA and Horse Haven of Tennessee took part in the seizure. The barn was used by Larry Wheelon, who has been charged with one count of felony animal cruelty on suspicions of soring—the application of caustic chemicals and painful devices including bolts to the hooves and legs of horses to produce the animals’ trademark, artificial high-stepping “Big-Lick” gait. Additional charges are possible pending the outcome of the investigation. The sheriff’s office assisted in serving a search warrant last Thursday after receiving a tip about possible animal cruelty. Authorities said they discovered horses visibly in pain and several barely able to stand. Wheelon, who is an active director of the Tennessee Walking Horse Trainer’s Association and sits on its ethics committee, has been cited by inspectors at least 15 times for violations of the federal Horse Protection Act between 1993 and 2012, according to the Humane Society. The horses will be examined and receive medical treatment at an undisclosed location pending the final disposition of this case. This is the second time in two years that a Tennessee walking horse trainer has faced animal cruelty charges in Tennessee. Last month, a Fayette County Grand Jury indicted former Tennessee Walking Horse Hall of Fame trainer Jackie McConnell and two co-defendants on 38 counts of animal cruelty for illegally soring and torturing horses as documented in a Humane Society undercover investigation conducted in 2011. McConnell already has a federal felony conviction stemming from the same investigation and was sentenced to three years of probation and a $75,000 fine.
Heritage High Evacuated After Small Fire, All OK
Heritage High School was evacuated for a time Friday morning after smoke from an apparent electrical fire filled one wing of the school. The building was evacuated shortly before 8:15 am and firefighters dtermined a malfunctioning computer was to blame. They stayed on scene for some time making sure there were no other issues. All of the students were safe and no injuries were reported. Classes resumed shortly before 10 am.
Feds Dismiss One Charge Against Y-12 Intruders
On Thursday, federal prosecutors filed a motion to drop one of the three felony charges against the three anti-nuclear protesters who broke into the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge. The motion indicates that prosecutors were unable to determine jurisdiction in the case so the second count of a superseding indictment handed down last year charging the trio with willfully and maliciously destroying, injuring, and attempting to destroy and injure property at the weapons plant. It was the lesser of the three charges against the group known collectively as Transform Now Plowshares—Greg Boertje-Obed, Sister Megan Rice and Michael Walli—who still face a May 7th trial on charges of sabotage and depredation of property. The group admits to breaching several defense measures and penetrating the so-called Protected Area, where they vandalized the exterior of the Highly Enriched Uranium Materials Facility, the nation’s primary storehouse for bomb-grade uranium but claim that they were answering a higher calling to help prevent the manufacture and use of nuclear weapons. The sabotage charge carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison while the depredation charge carries a maximum sentence of 10 years and fines up to $250,000.
TVA Spilling Water at Norris Dam
TVA opened up all three gates at Norris Dam on Thursday for the first time since 2011, spilling water at a rate of some 15,000 gallons per second. The gates were opened to lower water levels on Norris Lake which is currently five feet above where it should be for this time of the year and two feet above the summer pool levels maintained by the utility for recreation. Additionally, officials say that some of the hydroelectric equipment is shut down currently for maintenance. TVA has only spilled at Norris Dam four times in the past ten years and the ensuing waterfall attracts onlookers from near and far. TVA is expected to continue to spill at Norris Dam in to May.
ORT: Meet OR’s Newest Solar Array
(Oak Ridge Today) A Tennessee solar company and the German Energy Agency, or dena, celebrated their first U.S. solar project Thursday, a 50 kilowatt photovoltaic solar array at Heritage Center in west Oak Ridge. The array includes seven ground-mounted trackers that are 20 feet high. They each include 28-30 solar panels. The trackers adjust themselves to capture the most sunlight, adjusting from east to west and tilting up and down. It’s a public-private partnership involving dena and Vis Solis LLC of Franklin, Tenn., a subsidiary of Vis Solis GmbH in Breesen, Germany. Also involved is German manufacturer DEGERenergie. The array is built on land not suitable for deep digging and leased from the Community Reuse Organization of East Tennessee at Heritage Center, the former K-25 site. Installation work started last December, and the array was connected to the Tennessee Valley Authority’s electrical grid earlier this month. The solar panels will produce an estimated 40 percent more energy than a traditional ground-mounted system or about 91,000 kilowatt-hours a year, a press release said. That’s equal to the annual energy consumption of about eight average American homes. The installation at Heritage Center is the first U.S. partnership in dena’s Solar Roofs Program portfolio, the press release said. Since 2004, dena has taken part in more than 40 solar projects across the globe to bring together rising international interest in German solar technology and help expand global solar markets. Vis Solis has worked on other rooftop and ground-based solar projects across Tennessee that are capable of producing a total of four megawatts, and the company also has another six megawatts worth of projects in Arizona.
George Jones Dead at 81
Country Music Hall of Famer, Grand Ole Opry member, and Kennedy Center Honoree George Glenn Jones died Friday, April 26, 2013 at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee. He was hospitalized April 18 with fever and irregular blood pressure. Born September 12, 1931, Jones is regarded among the most important and influential singers in American popular music history. He was the singer of enduring country music hits including “She Thinks I Still Care,” “The Grand Tour,” “Walk Through This World With Me,” “Tender Years” and “He Stopped Loving Her Today,” the latter of which is often at the top of industry lists of the greatest country music singles of all time. Jones was born in Saratoga, Texas, and he played on the streets of Beaumont for tips as a teenager. He served in the U.S. Marine Corps before returning to Texas and recording for the Starday label in Houston, Texas. In 1955, his “Why Baby Why” became his first Top 10 country single, peaking at number four and beginning a remarkable commercial string: Jones would ultimately record more than 160 charting singles, more than any other artist in any format in the history of popular music. Jones’ first number one hit came in 1959 with “White Lightning,” a Mercury Records single that topped Billboard country charts for five weeks. He moved on to United Artists and then to Musicor, notching hits including “She Thinks I Still Care,” “The Race Is On,” “A Good Year for the Roses” and “Walk Through This World With Me.” Jones signed with Epic Records in 1971 and worked with producer Billy Sherrill to craft a sound at once elegant and rooted, scoring with “The Grand Tour,” “Bartenders Blues” and many more. Sherrill also produced duets between Jones and his then-wife Tammy Wynette, and in the 1970s they scored top-charting hits including “We’re Gonna Hold On,” “Golden Ring” and “Near You.” By the time “Golden Ring” and “Near You” hit in 1976, Jones and Wynette were divorced, and Jones was battling personal demons. His solo career cooled until 1980, when he recorded “He Stopped Loving Her Today,” a ballad penned by Curly Putman and Bobby Braddock that helped Jones win Country Music Association prizes for best male vocal and top single. “He Stopped Loving Her Today” revived a flagging career, and Jones won the CMA’s top male vocalist award in 1980 and 1981. He also earned a Grammy for best male country vocal performance. In 1983, Jones married the former Nancy Ford Sepulvado. The union, he repeatedly said, began his rehabilitation from drugs and alcohol and prolonged his life. He signed with MCA Records in 1990 and began a successful run, and he was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1992. His guest vocal on Patty Loveless’ “You Don’t Seem To Miss Me” won a CMA award for top vocal event in 1998, and it became his final Top 20 country hit. In 1999, Jones nearly died in a car wreck, but he recovered and resumed touring and recording. He remained a force in music until his death, playing hundreds of shows in the new century and collecting the nation’s highest arts award, the Kennedy Center Honor for lifetime achievement, in 2008. In late 2012, Jones announced his farewell tour, which was to conclude with a sold-out, star-packed show at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena on November 22, 2013. Alan Jackson, Garth Brooks, Randy Travis, Charlie Daniels, Kenny Rogers, Sam Moore, The Oak Ridge Boys and many others were set to perform at Jones’ Bridgestone show. Jones is survived by his loving wife of 30 years Nancy Jones, his sister Helen Scroggins, and by his children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews.
Voter ID Law Changes Explained
(Secretary of State) The General Assembly amended Tennessee’s voter photo identification law during its recently-concluded legislative session. Amendments sponsored by Senator Bill Ketron (R-Murfreesboro) and Representative Susan Lynn (R-Mount Juliet) seek to clarify and strengthen the law that was successfully implemented during the 2012 election cycle. Voters may no longer use photo IDs issued by other states as acceptable forms of identification when voting in person. This change mirrors similar laws in other states, including Indiana. Indiana’s photo ID law has been upheld by the United States Supreme Court. The amendments also clarify the General Assembly’s original intent in passing the law by explicitly excluding photo IDs issued by counties and municipalities. These changes took effect when the amended law was signed by Governor Bill Haslam this week. “The General Assembly continues to enact laws that protect the integrity of the ballot box,” said Secretary of State Tre Hargett. “I am grateful that our legislators continue to seek out policies to ensure that only eligible voters may cast their ballots in Tennessee.” Examples of acceptable forms of identification, whether current or expired, include Tennessee driver licenses, U.S. passports, Department of Safety photo ID cards, U.S. military photo IDs, and other photo IDs issued by the federal or Tennessee state government. Voters without one of these forms of identification may obtain free photo IDs for voting at Tennessee Department of Safety driver service centers. For more information about the driver service centers, visit: http://tn.gov/safety/driverservices.shtml.
CPD Arrests DUI Suspect Following Crash
A Clinton man made it very easy for Clinton police officers to arrest him after a traffic accident last week. According to the accident report, made available Wednesday, officers responded to the overpass crossing Market Street on Charles Seivers Boulevard shortly after 6 pm last Thursday April 18th on a report of a two-car accident. Evidence at the scene indicated that 37-year-old John Harold Green and Clinton resident Stephanie Long were each headed west on Seivers in a Toyota Corolla and a Chevy Tahoe, respectively, when Green—who the report says was traveling at an excessive speed—struck the curbing on the right side of the roadway. He overcorrected his car several times, according to the report, and struck the back of Long’s SUV, causing disabling damage to the Tahoe. The impact caused Green’s car to roll and strike the overpass railing before coming to rest on its wheels. Green was described as “obviously” impaired and kept telling responding officers that he was “drunk” and should not have been driving, adding that he had “screwed up” and should have been parked somewhere. Green was taken by ambulance to UT Medical Center for treatment of his injuries and was taken into custody Tuesday by Clinton Police on charges of DUI, violating the implied consent law and failure to have proof of insurance. Ms. Long was not injured. Green at last check remained in custody.
AC Jury Convicts Man in Fondling Case
Wednesday, an Anderson County jury convicted a 28-year-old Oak Ridge man of fondling a three-year-old girl. The jury needed only about three hours to find Christopher Lee Byrge guilty on one count of aggravated sexual battery. He will be sentenced on July 12th and could face anywhere from 8 to 12 years behind bars. Following the guilty verdict, his bond was revoked and he was taken into custody. The charges stem from incidents that occurred at the child’s grandmother’s house in Oak Ridge in late 2009.
ORHS #6 in Annual Survey
For the second consecutive year, Oak Ridge High School has been ranked as the sixth-best academically performing school in the state by US News & World Report. Several other schools in the area also made the Top 20 in the magazine’s annual report on the Best High Schools, including three from Knox County. They are 10th ranked Hardin Valley Academy, 13th ranked Farragut—which fell from #5 last year—and #14 Bearden. Maryville High School made the list at #20. Schools are evaluated on criteria that include student-teacher ratios, performances on tests gauging students’ ability to handle college-level work and scores on algebra and English tests. Oak Ridge officials, while pleased with their lofty ranking, point out that the top three schools on the list are magnet schools and the other two that make up the top five are located in one of the state’s wealthiest counties, meaning that the demographics of those schools could be radically different than they are in Oak Ridge. To see the list, visit http://www.usnews.com/education/best-high-schools/tennessee/rankings.
Blount Deals With Overcrowding Woes
Blount County officials are dealing with a familiar problem to many East Tennesseeans, including those in Anderson County, as they look for ways to deal with their overcrowded jail. The Blount County Jail is certified to hold up to 350 inmates but on Wednesday, had a population of 523 inmates. That number is actually down from the daily average of some 552 inmates. Two years ago, Anderson County officials voted to raise property taxes to pay off a bond issued to pay for the cost of expanding its chronically-overcrowded jail and reduce the jail population through identification and implementation of an alternatives-to-incarceration program. Blount officials will consider some short-term solutions next month, including the expansion of probation services and using home monitoring solutions, but still need to address long-term concerns at the facility. The current jail was built in 1999 and was not constructed to easily expand its bed space. Some officials, including County Commissioner Tab Burkhalter say that the infrastructure is in place on the property to add a third housing pod to accommodate the need for more space. The state has been asked to examine the issue and look into potential ways the jail could be expanded. Several years ago, a similar jail expansion plan was rejected by the county. The Commission will consider the short-term options on June 24th and continue to look at ways to deliver a long-term solution.
OR Water System to be Flushed
(OR Public Works) The City of Oak Ridge Public Works Department will be doing routine flushing of the water system starting April 29 through approximately June 1, 2013. Inclement weather may result in delays. The flushing will be performed between the hours of 7:30 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. Residents in the areas being flushed are advised to consider not washing any laundry during those hours since the flushing may cause temporary discoloration of the water during the process. The flushing program is an annual requirement of all water systems and is used as a means of ensuring that satisfactory water quality is maintained throughout the water system. It aids in this task by removing iron deposits and other sediments, which naturally collect within all water systems. The days on which the areas are flushed may vary depending on the water system conditions. The schedule can also be found at www.oakridgetn.gov. Questions or comments may be directed to the Public Works Department at (865) 425-1875.
ORT: 1 Vote Down, 3 More to go on Manhattan Project Park
(Oak Ridge Today) A U.S. House of Representatives committee on Wednesday unanimously approved legislation to establish a Manhattan Project National Historical Park that would include sites in Oak Ridge and Hanford, Wash., and Los Alamos, N.M. The legislation stalled in the last session of Congress, but it has been reintroduced this session. It was introduced in the U.S. House by Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings, a Washington Republican, and representatives Chuck Fleischmann, a Tennessee Republican, and Ben Lujan, a New Mexico Democrat. The bill was approved by the House Natural Resources Committee on Wednesday and is now eligible for consideration by the full House. Under the bill, the Manhattan Project National Historical Park would be established as a unit of the National Park System within one year. The bill specifies the facilities and areas at each of the three locations that are eligible for inclusion in the park, nearly all of which are already owned by the federal government and under the purview of the U.S. Department of Energy. The legislation requires coordination, planning, and cooperation between the Park Service and the Department of Energy to ensure safe and secure access to these locations. The establishment of the Manhattan Project National Historical Park is supported by the Department of the Interior, Department of Energy, and the National Park Service. Similar legislation has been introduced in the Senate by Senators Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray of Washington with senators Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, Martin Heinrich and Tom Udall of New Mexico. For more, visit our partners at www.oakridgetoday.com.
Firefly Viewing Scheduled for June 6-13
(GSMNP) Park officials have announced the Elkmont Firefly Viewing event in Great Smoky Mountains National Park will take place from Thursday, June 6 through Thursday, June 13. For this year’s viewing event, the on-line ticketing system, operated through Recreation.gov, will again provide visitors with parking passes to guarantee they will be able to park at Sugarlands Visitor Center without the inconvenience of having to arrive hours in advance. Every year in late May or early June, thousands of visitors gather near the popular Elkmont Campground to observe the naturally occurring phenomenon of Photinus carolinus; a firefly species that flashes synchronously. In 2005 the Park began closing the Elkmont entrance road each evening and operating a mandatory shuttle bus system to and from the viewing area to provide for visitor safety, resource protection, and to enhance the experience for both viewers and campers at Elkmont. In 2012 the Park instituted the reservation requirement for the first time. This was in response to the increasing popularity of the event which caused management issues in the parking area and congestion for visitors accessing the Sugarlands Visitor Center. The new system improved the visitor experience by allowing reservation holders to arrive later in the day and guaranteed access to the event. For this year’s event a parking pass will be required for all vehicles. The pass will cover a maximum of 6 persons in a single passenger vehicle (less than 19 feet in length). Four passes for oversize vehicles, like a mini bus (19 to 30 feet in length and up to 24 persons), will also be available. Each reservation will cost $1.50. Parking passes will be non-refundable, non-transferable, and good only for the date issued. There is a limit of one parking pass per household per season. Each reservation through www.Recreation.gov will receive an e- mailed confirmation and specific information about the event. The number of passes issued for each day will be based on the Sugarlands Visitor Center parking lot capacity. Passes will be issued with staggered arrival times in order to relieve congestion in the parking lot and for boarding the shuttles. The shuttle buses, which are provided in partnership with the City of Gatlinburg, will begin picking up visitors from the Sugarlands Visitor Center RV/bus parking area at 7:00 p.m. The cost will be $1 round trip per person, as in previous years, and collected when boarding the shuttle. The shuttle service will be the only transportation mode for visitor access during this period, except for registered campers staying at the Elkmont Campground. Visitors will not be allowed to walk the Elkmont entrance road due to safety concerns. The parking passes for this year’s event will be on sale on-line beginning after 10:00 a.m. April 29. The Park will hold back 90 passes for each day to accommodate individuals who did not learn of the need to pre purchase tickets. Those last 90 passes will go on sale on-line at 10:00 a.m. the day before the event and will be available until 3:30 p.m. on the day of the event or until the passes are all reserved. Passes can be purchased at www.Recreation.gov. Parking passes may also be obtained by calling1-877-444-6777, but Park officials strongly encourage the use of the on-line process, because it provides far more information to visitors about what to expect when they arrive at the Park. The $1.50 reservation fee covers the cost of processing the requests for the passes. The Park will not receive any revenue either from the reservations or the shuttle tickets.
Citizen-Driven Fund Established For Courthouse Plaques
A fund has been established by a group of Anderson County residents at an area bank that will allow citizens and others to donate money to pay for the creation and installation of four black granite plaques with the phrase “In God We Trust” in chiseled gold lettering above each of the four entrances to the Courthouse in Clinton. Money is also being raised to install a similar plaque above the main entrance to the county’s General Sessions Court facility in Oak Ridge. Any money collected above what is needed for the installation of the signs—estimated at approximately $3000—will be used to support veterans memorials across the county, including adding the name of Army Staff Sergeant Christopher Ward of Oak Ridge, who was killed in a suicide bomb attack in Afghanistan earlier this month, to the veterans memorial outside the Courthouse. The county will pay for the signs and their installation and the special account set up at the Oak Ridge location of TNBank will be donated to the county to cover those costs. Checks may be made to the “In God We Trust Memorial Fund” and dropped off at or mailed to TNBank, 900 Oak Ridge Turnpike, Oak Ridge, TN, 37830. Donations can also be made at the county Budget Director’s office in the Courthouse but donating through the bank is recommended. There is no timetable yet as to when the signs will be installed.
Report: Man Sentenced To 9 Years On Rape Plea
According to the News-Sentinel, a Clinton man pleaded to reduced charges in a case in which he raped his ex-girlfriend then engaged police in a standoff at her Oak Ridge home in January of 2011. 31-year-old Shane Howard Finger had originally been charged with aggravated rape, aggravated kidnapping and aggravated assault in connection to the January 20th, 2011 incident but pleaded guilty Monday to a reduced charge of rape and was sentenced to nine years in prison. As part of the plea deal, the state dropped the assault and kidnapping charges and reduced the rape charge. He was given credit for the two years he has already spent behind bars and ordered as a violent offender to serve his sentence in its entirety and remain on community supervision—or probation—for the rest of his life. Following the attack on his ex-girlfriend, she was able to escape and call police. Finger remained inside her home—where three young children slept—for over two hours armed with a handgun and reportedly threatening to kill himself for over two hours before surrendering to authorities.
Morgan Bombs Detonated Safely
An Army bomb disposal team detonated dozens of World War-II era mortar shells Tuesday in Morgan County. One explosive device was found Sunday while Coalfield firefighters fought a blaze at a property on Hillbilly Hollow Lane being used as a de facto junkyard. That device was safely detonated by a team from the Knox County Sheriff’s Office Bomb Squad and agents from the ATF. During a subsequent search of the property, several more devices were located on Monday and on Tuesday, an Army unit from Fort Campbell blew up the remaining ordnance in a controlled manner. During the operation, officials locked down the nearby Coalfield School and asked nearby residents to remain indoors but things returned to normal shortly after 2 pm. Authorities do not believe that the property owner knew the rounds were live when he purchased them and no charges are expected to be filed.
Blount Bike Riding Opportunities
(Blount Partnership) Visitors by the millions vacation in the Great Smoky Mountains each year to experience the great outdoors, see the national park’s natural attractions and enjoy the beautiful mountain vistas. “The Smokies natural beauty is so vast, and when the flowers begin to blossom throughout the area, it makes you feel like you’re standing in the middle of a timeless watercolor painting,” said Tami Vater, director of Tourism for the Smoky Mountain Tourism Development Authority. “With so many outdoor activities to choose from in the area, visitors have an array of options when it comes to discovering the Smokies in the springtime.” Bicycling has become a popular springtime activity in the mountains, and one of the most utilized areas for cycling is the Cades Cove Loop Road, an 11-mile stretch where visitors can sightsee from their cycle and walk to historic spots. From early May to September, Cades Cove Loop Road is closed to motorized traffic on Wednesday and Saturday mornings until 10 a.m. to allow bicyclists a car-free chance to enjoy the cove. Townsend also has the “Shadows of the Past” trail, which is a historical nine-mile bike/walking trail through the community. The trail showcases Townsend’s rich culture and interesting history throughout the ride, as cyclists have access to many historical landmarks, restaurants and shops along the way. Cyclists will get to enjoy the beauty of the area while biking three underpasses, paved trails and short hills. The trail is designed for cyclists of any level. Blount County has numerous other trails and areas for bicyclists to explore, including:
With more than 800 miles of maintained hiking trails, hiking is another favorite springtime activity in the Smokies. Hikers can hike to and from anywhere in the park using the park’s interconnecting trail system. This system includes 71 miles of the 2,100-mile Appalachian Trail, the main east-west trail through the park. The park also offers a series of “quiet walkways,” typically one-half to three-quarters of a mile in length with a gradual incline. Rated mild to moderate in difficulty, several nature trails also are available for those with moderate interest levels and time commitments. Each nature trail features a box at its entrance that contains information on natural resources and cultural highlights found on that trail.
Some of the trails in the area include:
For a unique view of the Smoky Mountains, climb on a horse and enjoy a relaxing tour of the trails the way the settlers did. Whether you’re an experienced rider or just a beginner, exploring the mountains and their spring beauty on horseback is always an adventure. Approximately two-thirds of the national park’s backcountry trails are designated as horse and hiking trails. “You really see the area in a different way when you’re up on horseback,” said Vater. “You can literally go up the side of a mountain, be surrounded by nature and look down and see out over Blount County. There’s no way you could ever get the same view from sitting inside your car.”
OR Library Improving E-Book Experience
(Oak Ridge Public Library) The Oak Ridge Public Library will be improving the eBooks with OverDrive’s Next Generation experience, users can borrow titles with ease. The Library’s digital collection, http://orpl.lib.overdrive.com, will be revamped in the next few weeks with OverDrive’s Next Generation website. A preview video is available on YouTube at http://youtu.be/ncRTkQkgZuC. Some of the key features include:
So regardless of what device you use, the experience will be the same powerful discovery tools enable you to find your next book fast with filtered search, personalized title recommendations and more. The staff at the Oak Ridge Public Library looks forward to providing you with this fast and easy new experience. If you have any questions, be sure to contact the Library directly at 865-425-3455.
Follow-Up: Lake City Fire Called ‘Biggest in City’s History’
Following up on the Saturday afternoon (4/20) fire that destroyed a Lake City warehouse, officials have called the blaze one of the largest—if not the largest—fire Lake City has ever seen. Arson is suspected in the fire, which was reported shortly before 1:30 pm Saturday, sending flames up to 50 feet in the air. The warehouse was being used by Dixie Roofing Company for storage and officials with the company say that all told, the damage to the building and its contents—which included two pick-up trucks, a forklift, rubber roofing materials and other roofing supplies—is estimated at around $2 million. At least one witness reported seeing two juveniles running from the scene and the fire is being investigated as arson. 50 firefighters from the Lake City, Clinton, Oak Ridge and Caryville fire departments battled the blaze, along with members of the Medford Volunteer Fire Department and the Campbell County Rural Fire Service, for about ten hours on Saturday. One firefighter suffered from smoke inhalation and was treated at Methodist Medical Center and later released. Crews were called back to the scene of the fire Monday after flames rekindled.
Sinkhole Opens on ORHS Soccer Field
What started two weeks ago as an 18-inch hole on the Oak Ridge High School soccer field has turned into a massive, 13-foot deep sinkhole. Workers investigating the situation dug about eight feet down and discovered water at the bottom of the hole, according to our partners at Oak Ridge Today, at which point a professional geotechnical firm was called in. While the hole is in close proximity to one of the 198 geothermal wells used to heat and cool the school, officials say that the wells are not the problem and that they are functioning properly. Geoservices Knoxville will be filling the hole with a so-called reverse rock filter that starts with a base of larger rocks, followed by increasingly-smaller rocks and ending with a fine mixture similar to sand. The rocks will then covered by three to four feet of clay and another foot of topsoil. That part of the project could be completed by the end of this week. Sod could be replaced on the field early next week. Officials estimate that the repairs could cost anywhere from $42,000 to $45,000. Both of this week’s Oak Ridge soccer games are on the road and two home games set for next week will be played at Blankenship Field.
Whoops! Lower-than-Expected Clearance Causes 2 Problems
Twice on Friday (4/19), local truck drivers misjudged their overhead clearance and had to call the police. Friday morning in Oak Ridge, a delivery truck for Potter’s Home Center scraped against the bottom of a railroad trestle on Elza Drive and the steel beam he made contact with ended up on top of the truck. Driver Dennis Neal of Jamestown was not injured in the incident. The bridge is clearly marked with a sign indicating that it offers 11 feet and five inches of clearance but Neal told police that he had driven through the area before without incident. He told police that he heard the scraping as he went under the bridge, looked back and saw the large beam sitting across the truck. In Clinton on Sunday afternoon, a tractor trailer caused about $300 worth of damage at the BP One Stop Market on the corner of Main and Weaver Streets. The driver, Timothy Clay, told police that he had asked an employee if his rig would clear the canopy and he was told he would be able to. However, when he began backing up, the back of the trailer hit two canopy lights, breaking them but causing no damage to his truck. No charges were filed or citations issued in either incident.
Clinton Council Announces May Meetings
The Clinton City Council has announced some important dates and date changes to its schedule for the month of May. The City Council will hold a budget workshop on Monday May 6th at 5 pm in the meeting room at City Hall. The regular meeting of the Council has been moved from Monday May 27th—which is Memorial Day—to Thursday May 23rd at 5:30 pm in the Council room, at which time the first reading of the proposed budget for the new fiscal year is scheduled to take place.
Clinton Schools’ 6th Grade Graduation Ceremony Scheduled
The Clinton city school system has announced that it will hold its annual 6th grade graduation ceremony on Thursday May 23rd at 9 am at the Ritz Theater in downtown Clinton. This year’s featured speaker will be reigning Miss Tennessee Chandler Lawson. If you need more information call Staci Lollar at Clinton Elementary School at 865-457-0159, extension 1205.
OR Budget Proposal Contains No New Taxes
Monday (4/22), Oak Ridge City Manager Mark Watson unveiled a budget proposal that includes no new taxes and one-percent pay raises for municipal workers. The budget plan calls for reducing the amount the city allocates to the city’s Chamber of Commerce and the city’s Convention and Visitors Bureau, with the proposed allocation to the Chamber going from $267,000 to $125,000 and the allocation to the ORCVB from $410,000 to $300,000. Some of the economic development services provided to the city by the Chamber are now being handled by Ray Evans and Steve Jones, both of whom are employed directly by the city to recruit commercial and industrial businesses. The budget proposal does not include any changes in the school system’s funding, leaving it at $13.9 million. There will be a public hearing on the budget followed by its first reading by the City Council on May 13th and officials hope to have the 2013-14 budget completed and finalized by the end of May. The new fiscal year begins on July 1st.
Feds raid Horse Stable, Seize Animals
27 horses are under quarantine after federal agents raided a Blount County barn last week. The U.S. Department of Agriculture is investigating claims of soring, which is the practice of intentionally inflicting pain on a horse’s legs or hooves in order to exaggerate the animal’s gait using either chemicals applied to the legs or cutting the animal’s hoof. The practice has been “common and widespread” in the Tennessee Walking Horse show industry for decades, according to the Humane Society of the Unites States’ website. The raid happened Thursday morning (4/18) on Tuckaleechee Pike in Maryville at the barn of walking horse trainer Larry Wheelon. Horse Haven of Tennessee was on scene to handle the horses examined by health officials.
AC Mayor, Sons of Revolution Honor Irwin
(AC Mayor’s Office) Anderson County Mayor Terry Frank and members of the John Rice Irwin Anderson County Chapter of Sons of the Revolution honored lifelong historian John Rice Irwin last week. Frank, members of the local SOR Chapter, and family and friends of John Rice Irwin gathered on Tuesday afternoon, April 16, at Meadow View Assisted Living, the facility at which John Rice Irwin lives; the facility is located near his beloved Museum of Appalachia. The purpose of the gathering: to honor Irwin with a proclamation recognizing his dedication to preserving the history of the Appalachian region and its people. The County Mayor, at the request of SOR member Lynn Fox, prepared a proclamation that proclaimed April 16, 2013 as John Rice Irwin Day in Anderson County, Tennessee. Following the reading of the proclamation, Irwin shared stories about local history and his part in preserving the past for future generations. “You may not remember everyone you’ve talked to, but everyone will remember you,” Fox told Irwin after the presentation. Irwin thanked the SOR members and Mayor Frank for the proclamation, and urged the SOR to continue its efforts to remind people about local history. “To know where you’re going, you have to know where you’ve been,” Irwin said. “This area has a rich history, and you all do a great job of preserving it,” he told the SOR members. “Many people think of history or important things happening in other places, but Mr. Irwin has a valuable understanding of all the incredible things that have happened right here in Anderson County,” Mayor Frank said. “He has the rare ability to share our local history in a way that makes it easy and enjoyable to understand.” Irwin founded The Museum of Appalachia in 1969. The Museum portrays an authentic mountain farm/village with some three dozen historic log structures, exhibit buildings filled with thousands of authentic Appalachian artifacts, gardens surrounded by split rail fences and farm animals. In 2001, the Museum was incorporated as a 501(c) (3) organization to ensure its long-term sustainability, according to its website. In April 2007, the Internal Revenue Service granted the Museum permanent status as a publicly supported organization. The Museum is associated with the Smithsonian Institution’s Affiliations Program.
New Principals at 2 OR Schools
The Oak Ridge school system announced Friday (4/19) that it has named new principals at Robertsville Middle School and the city’s Preschool. The new RMS principal is James Hundertmark, currently the lead associate principal of Klein High School in Klein, Texas. The new preschool principal is Melinda White, who has been serving at interim principal at Oak Ridge Schools Preschool since May 2012. They both start July 1.
Woman Killed in Maryville Wreck
A 63-year-old Friendsville woman was killed in a Saturday morning (4/20) traffic accident in Maryville. Police say the chain-reaction accident occurred at around 10 am Saturday at the intersection of West Lamar Alexander Parkway and William Blount Drive. Maryville Police say that 63-year-old Vivian Haun had been headed east on Lamar Alexander in a Ford Focus when a Honda Pilot in front of her stopped for the traffic light. Haun never applied her brakes, according to police, and plowed into the back of the Pilot, injuring 77-year-old Marion Wynne and his 77-year-old wife Shirley, both of whom were taken to area hospitals. The impact of the crash sent the Pilot into the rear of the car in front of it, which then struck the rear of a fourth car. No one in either of the two other cars was injured but Haun died at the scene, according to police, who also said she was not wearing a seatbelt. The cause of the crash remains under investigation.
GSMNP Looking for Elk Volunteers
(GSMNP) Great Smoky Mountains National Park is seeking volunteers to assist rangers with managing traffic and providing visitor information on responsible elk viewing practices in Cataloochee, NC. Cataloochee is a remote mountain valley on the eastern edge of the Park where remnants of early settlements are preserved. Surrounded by mountain peaks, the isolated valley is a popular, year-round destination. Elk were reintroduced in Cataloochee in 2001as part of an experimental release to determine if an elk herd could sustain itself in the Park after a 200-year absence. Approximately 140 elk now live in the self-sustaining herd. Each volunteer is asked to work at least two scheduled, four-hour shifts per month starting the second week in May and continuing through November. This target period is during high visitor use from late spring during the elk calving season through the end of the fall color and elk mating season. Volunteers will spend time roving the valley in a zero-emission electric vehicle or by bike. Volunteers who prefer to rove by bike are required to bring their own bicycle and protective riding gear. Bike patrol volunteers will rove along the road through the valley which is mostly flat with very little change in elevation. If you’re interested in volunteering or would like more information about the program, please contact Park Ranger Pete Walker at (828) 506-1739.
Report: Woman Injured, Dog Killed in Sunday Wreck
According to the Daily Times, a Maryville woman was injured and her dog killed in a Sunday afternoon (4/21) traffic accident. The THP and the Blount County Sheriff’s Office responded to the site of the crash on Calderwood Highway just before 4:45 pm Sunday. Troopers reported that 20-year-ld Megan waters had been headed north in a Toyota Matrix when the vehicle left the side of the road, traveled up and embankment and overturned on to its roof in the roadway. Waters was flown to UT Medical Center for treatment of a reported head injury and officials say that her pit bull mix, who had been riding in the backseat, was ejected and died at the scene.
441 Lane Restrictions over Norris Dam
Sunday night (4/21), TVA contractors reduced traffic over the Norris Dam on US Highway 441 to one lane. The lane restrictions will remain in place around the clock and could last for as long as two months while crews do concrete coring. No commercial vehicles or loads in excess of 10 feet wide will be allowed over the dam during this period.
Ex-Clinton City Manager Tapped for OR Industrial Recruitment
(City of Oak Ridge) Former Clinton City Manager Steve Jones has been hired by the City of Oak Ridge to provide economic development support services with a particular emphasis on industrial and commercial recruitment. The term of the support services agreement is April through October 2013. Mr. Jones will be paid $3500 per month and will report to City Manager Mark Watson. “Steve was extremely successful as a recruiter during his ten year tenure as City Manager of Clinton,” Mr. Watson stated. “With the advent of the UPF project and the upswing in industrial activity in the region, the City will benefit from having a professional business developer focusing everyday on opportunities for Oak Ridge. I look forward to having Steve representing us at the regional and state levels.” Mr. Jones holds a B.S. in Aeronautics, with a focus on Industrial Engineering Technology, from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, and a Masters’ Degree in Business Administration from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville. He is a veteran of the U.S. Air Force, having served as an Electronic Warfare Systems Specialist and in Operation Desert Shield and Proud Shield. He was awarded several medals, including the Air Force Commendation Medal and the Army Achievement Medal. He served as Clinton City Manager from 2000-2010, and has since served has a private consultant, adjunct faculty member at Lincoln Memorial University, and as Director of Southeast Regional Business Development for RJ Lee Group, a materials science firm based in Pittsburgh, PA.
AC Court Clerk Unveils New Site
(Anderson County Circuit Court Clerk) Anderson County Circuit Court Clerk, Tyler Mayes, has a launched a new website that gives the general public, members of the legal community, victims, witnesses, and other interested parties online access to the daily operations of the court system. Individuals will be able to pay their traffic tickets, court costs, or other fines online at www.andersoncountycircuitcourtclerk.com and will be able to access up to date dockets for General Sessions Courts and Circuit Court. Mayes projects a savings in excess of 100,000 dollars over the next eight years. Mayes stressed accountability to the taxpayers of Anderson County. “We want to operate the office an efficient and accountable way recognizing our responsibilities to the taxpayers of Anderson County. Our continued efforts at modernization and increased efficiency are enabling us to save money for the taxpayers of Anderson County and better serve the courts of Anderson County,” stated Mayes. In addition, viewers will have access to a full staff directory and commonly used forms in the Anderson County court system. “The launching of this website makes county business more accessible to the public,” continued Mayes. “The features on our site will be a tremendous resource for everyone and it will only continue to get better.” The Clerk’s office will also be changing the software used for court case management. The current system that was installed more than twenty years ago is outdated. The new software will be accessible through the Clerk’s new webpage. The software will allow the Clerk’s to scan all documents into the case file electronically and will be stored within the software. The software will decrease paper dependency and will cut down on operational costs for the office. “The new software program will allow us to email all court documents to a requesting party rather than filtering through a voluminous hard copy file. This feature alone will increase our productivity and efficiency drastically,” Mayes added. The new software will continue to grant read-only access, but people will be able to do it from their own home or wherever there is internet connection. Court officials and other members of the legal community will have secure access with a username and password. They will be able to access case files and documents directly through our new website. “We are very pleased with the information and tools on our website. The general public will be able to access our cases from anywhere in the world. Moreover, judges, attorneys, and other court officials will have exclusive access to the case files and documents through our site which is username and password protect,” concluded Mayes. The new website was designed by Todd Temple of T2Design of Anderson County.
AVFD Seeking Historical Photos
(AVFD) Andersonville firefighters and other volunteers need pictures of the old Belmont School, former students, and staff to be displayed at the new Andersonville Fire Station in the Belmont Community. Pictures can be dropped off at Andersonville Fire Department, 1957 Mountain Road, Andersonville, TN. For further information, call 865-494-0563. Place pictures in an envelope with your name, address and phone number. Specify if you want them to make copies and return them to you.
OS ‘Idol’ Sent Home
Oliver Springs native Janelle Arthur was eliminated from contention for the title of “American Idol” Thursday night following a lackluster performance on Wednesday night. Janelle’s version of Dolly Parton’s “Dumb Blonde” was criticized by the judges for not showing off enough of her vocal range but on Thursday, “Idol” host Ryan Seacrest read a note from Dolly to Janelle that indicated the country music legend liked her version of the song and not to let her critics get her down. While she will not be the next “American Idol,” Janelle will be part of the tour featuring the top 10 performers from the show that will make a stop in Knoxville in August. Tickets for that August 6th show at Thompson-Boling Arena go on sale on May 3rd.
BC Pill Mill Operator Sentenced to 21+ Years
Thursday, a federal judge sentenced former Maryville pain clinic owner and operator Tammy Guzman to more than 21 years in prison following her conviction on drug distribution and money laundering charges earlier this year. US District Court Judge Tom Varlan handed down the sentence at the same time he also sentenced Guzman’s boyfriend Brian Keith Hatcher to almost 11 years behind bars for harboring Guzman as a fugitive and for threatening an ex-boyfriend of hers he thought had served as a snitch for federal authorities while the couple was on the lam. You may recall that during her trial Guzman and Hatcher disappeared and were later caught by the Marshal’s Service in Hollywood, Florida. In her absence, she was convicted of 56 counts against her and could have faced a life sentence, according to the judge, had it not been for a criminal record that was clean until 2010, when federal authorities raided the Maryville Pain Consultants clinic that she ran. Her so-called pill mill netted her $2 million over a two-year period and as part of the sentence, she was also ordered to forfeit all of her assets.
Blount Voters to Decide Wheel Tax Issue
The Blount County Commission voted 13-6 Thursday night to place a wheel tax on the June 11th ballot. The referendum will ask county voters to decide if they want to enact a $35 wheel tax on all automobiles and a $17.50 wheel tax on motorcycles to help make up part of a projected $7.5 million shortfall in the county school system’s proposed budget. Citizens on both sides of the issue packed the Commission meeting room on Thursday with opponents of a wheel tax calling it an unnecessary burden and supporters saying that the money is needed to improve the quality of education in the county. As we mentioned Thursday, history is not on the side of a Blount County wheel tax as voters rejected a $10 wheel tax in 2008 that would have helped pay for road improvements by an overwhelming margin. If approved, the wheel tax would generate an estimated $4.2 million for local schools but only $2.5 million of that would be earmarked for the county schools as state law requires all school money to be distributed among all the school systems in the county, including Alcoa and Maryville. School director Rob Britt told commissioners last night that if the tax is approved by voters, the school system would look at other ways to make up the remaining budget deficit.
UWAC Comes up Short of Goal
Officials with the United Way of Anderson County announced Thursday morning that the organization fell short of its $1.4 million fundraising goal for this year’s campaign. $1.227 million was raised and officials believe that last year’s security breach at Y-12 may have had an effect on the campaign. Officials say that the resulting fallout from the break-in by three protesters negatively affected their efforts as contractors changed and numerous other changes were made at Y-12. Also affecting the donations was an end to federal stimulus money in Oak Ridge, a reduction in funding for the DOE’s Oak Ridge Office and the early retirement of many ORNL employees. Next year’s campaign chairs will be an entire family, Charles and Edwina Crowe and their children Nick and Rebecca, according the UWAC, which provides funding to over 50 programs in Anderson County put on by 34 different agencies.
Report: TVA to Allow ACSD to Train in Vacant Homes
According to the News-Sentinel, TVA has agreed to allow the Anderson County Sheriff’s Department to use 20 now-vacant homes purchased by the utility in Claxton as training sites through August. The houses were purchased by TVA to be used as a buffer zone for a large coal ash landfill expansion at the Bull Run Steam Plant that will be located on 115-acre site that was once a farm. TVA says the landfill expansion is necessary because they are running out of room in their current storage facility. The new landfill is estimated to have a 20-year window before it is full. When the Sheriff’s department completes its SWAT and K-9 training, TVA plans to demolish all of the houses and plant trees on the lots. TVA will pay the county $16,800 in payments-in-lieu-of-taxes to make up some of the lost property tax revenue on the homes. An environmental assessment is currently underway and will not be completed for approximately two years. Following that, monitoring wells will be installed to check groundwater for a year before final approval is given.
Clinton Bridge Lane Closures Here
Beginning Wednesday night (4/10) at 8 pm, the U.S. 25W (State Route 9) bridge (the Lewallen Bridge) over the Clinch River in Clinton, the green bridge connecting Clinton and South Clinton, will be reduced to one lane in each direction as crews begin bridge repairs. These lane closures will remain in place around the clock until repairs are complete in late June. Anticipate potential delays.
GEAR UP AC Needs Local Volunteer Mentors
Rising seniors at Clinton High School and Anderson County High School will have the opportunity to become tnAchieves (pronounced Tennessee Achieves) scholars this fall and receive scholarships to local community colleges. Local mentors are now being recruited to help these students make their way through the college entrance process. This is a minimal time commitment that can make a difference for a lifetime! If you would like to volunteer please call Hoppy Merryman with GEAR UP Anderson County at 865-963-8467 for more information or apply at www.tnAchieves.org.
Car Seat Inspections 1st Tuesday Of Every Month
The city of Clinton has announced the dates for this year’s car seat inspection events. It is very easy to remember as they take place on the first Tuesday of every month from 5 to 8 pm at Clinton Fire Station #1 on Longmire Road. Car seat inspections will take place on May 7th, June 4th, July 2nd, August 6th, September 3rd, October 1st, November 5th and December 3rd. The car seat safety inspections are sponsored by the Clinton Police and Fire Departments, the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office and the Tennessee Highway Patrol working in conjunction with East Tennessee Children’s Hospital and Safe Kids of the Greater Knox Area. For more information call 865-541-8622.
Blount Student Jailed for Threatening Letter
An 11-year-old Blount County middle school student was arrested Wednesday (4/17) after she allegedly wrote a letter threatening school officials. The Blount County Sheriff’s Office says that administrators at Heritage Middle School were able to quickly identify the girl and called her in to the office for a meeting Wednesday morning. During that trip to the principal’s office the girl admitted to writing the letter because she was angry over getting in trouble at school. An investigation conducted by the BCSO’s Criminal Investigation Division and the School Resource Officer Unit determined that the girl did not have access to any weapons and that there were no other students involved. The girl, whose name is not being released, is in custody at the Blount County Juvenile Detention Center pending a release hearing that should occur by the end of the week.
Campbell Authorities Ask TBI to Probe Shelter Abuse Allegations
Officials in Campbell County have invited the TBI in to probe allegations of abuse at the Adrion Baird Animal Center. The center’s director, Betty Crumley, has received threats and been the subject of scrutiny since an online video was posted alleging that she was mismanaging the shelter and abusing animals by not properly euthanizing them. County Mayor William Baird says that investigations conducted by his office and the Sheriff’s Department turned up no evidence of any wrongdoing but due to the community uproar, officials decided to request a TBI probe to ensure that a “thorough inquiry” takes place. The state Veterinary Medical Board is in the process of an investigation and all the center employees, including Crumley, have been placed on administrative leave. The mayor said Wednesday that anyone wishing to speak with the TBI as part of the investigation can call his office at 423-562-2526 and leave their phone number and other contact information. Baird also asked that the public be respectful to the investigation as the process moves forward and to discontinue the “harassment and/or intimidation” of Crumley and any current or former shelter workers.
OR Students Compete ‘Iron Chef’ Style
Robertsville Middle School students took part in an “Iron Chef” type cooking competition aimed at improving their abilities in the kitchen and showing them healthier meal alternatives. The students made dishes using a mystery tray that included eggs, ham, grapes, pineapple and spinach, which were then judged by a panel of professional chefs. The competition was funded by Fuel Up to Play 60 as a way to raise awareness about exercise and nutrition.
CPD Warns of Scam
Clinton residents, be aware that there is a scam e-mail purporting to be from public officials asking for money. Apparently, according to Clinton Police, hackers have hijacked e-mail addresses of at least one local teacher and one City Councilman and sent numerous messages to local residents indicating that the alleged sender has been out of the country and been robbed or lost their luggage and need money wired to them so they can return home. These messages are not legitimate and should be ignored or reported to your local authorities. Similar scams have made the rounds over the past few years, with one of the most popular being an e-mail or phone call from a “long-lost nephew” who has been arrested in Canada and needs money wired to him to post bond. We remind you to NEVER give out credit card, banking or other personal information to anyone who solicits you by telephone or computer. On a related note, remember that if you receive an e-mail claiming that you have won a contest you did not enter and asking for money to send your prize, these are also not legitimate and should be ignored.
State Warns About Marathon Relief Fraud Schemes
(Secretary of State) While many Tennesseans want to provide financial assistance to victims of this week’s bombing at the Boston Marathon, Secretary of State Tre Hargett warns would-be donors to be wary of bogus charities that may try to take advantage of the tragedy. “It is an unfortunate reality that when tragic events like this occur, there are unscrupulous people who will try to profit from the kind-heartedness of others,” Secretary Hargett said. “It is very admirable that Tennesseans want to help those affected by this week's horrific event and - if they can afford to - they should. However, before making any charitable contribution, it is a good idea to do some homework first.” Most types of charitable organizations are required to register and provide financial information to the Secretary of State’s Division of Charitable Solicitations and Gaming. Information on registered charities, including annual financial reports, is available on the Secretary of State’s web site. The online link to the Division of Charitable Solicitations and Gaming is located at http://www.state.tn.us/sos/charity/index.htm. Secretary Hargett encourages people interested in donating to charities to ask some questions first, such as exactly how contributions will be used. Also, Secretary Hargett recommends paying by check instead of cash to discourage fraud and provide records of contributions for tax purposes. Credit cards should be used only with highly-trusted organizations. The Division of Charitable Solicitations and Gaming is authorized to investigate and impose civil penalties against individuals or groups who engage in fraudulent or misleading fundraising activities. To ask questions or report suspicious activity, call the division at (615) 741-2555.
Roane Wreck Snarls Traffic
Traffic is flowing again on I-40 East after two tractor trailers collided early this morning (4/18) and tied up traffic for several hours, according to the Tennessee Highway Patrol. No injuries were reported in the wreck, which occurred around 5 am near Exit 360 in Roane County. Eastbound traffic was slowed to one lane until about 9:40 a.m. when all lanes were cleared.
Omega Plastics to Expand in Clinton
Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bill Hagerty along with Omega Plastics officials announced today the company will expand its corporate headquarters in Clinton, Tenn., investing $8.2 million and adding 80 new positions in Anderson County.
“The importance of incumbent industries in Tennessee cannot be understated,” Hagerty said. “Expansions by companies like Omega Plastics reaffirm the business-friendly climate our state offers and demonstrate our competitiveness in today’s global marketplace. I appreciate Omega Plastics’ continued investment in Anderson County and its quality workforce.”
“The support we have received from the city of Clinton, Anderson County, TVA, Clinton Utilities Board and the state of Tennessee has been amazing,” Stephen J. Redwine, Omega Plastics chief executive officer, said. “All of these entities consistently demonstrate that they want businesses in the community and do everything possible to create a business friendly environment. The quality and availability of a motivated labor force is exceptional. The Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development has been a major factor in our decision to expand in Clinton instead of going elsewhere. They continually strive to help current businesses as well as recruit new businesses to the area.”
A world leader in plastics extrusion molding solutions for prototype and low-volume production, Omega Plastics supplies a global client base in medical, consumer packaging, automotive, and security and safety productions. The Clinton expansion will add an additional 85,000 square feet, more than doubling its current facility in the Carden Farm Industrial Park.
“Omega Plastics has been an asset to our community since they arrived in 1996,” Clinton Mayor Scott Burton said. “Despite the recent economic downturn, Omega Plastics has remained a strong and successful player in their industry. Once again, this announcement reflects the efforts of our economic development partners that work with our existing industries to create jobs and investment in our city.”
Anderson County Mayor Terry Frank added, “Omega Plastics is tangible proof of the power of American manufacturing. Their state-of-the-art facility, their commitment to customer relationships and their continued hard work has enabled them to expand. I am proud and extremely thankful they chose to grow their business in Anderson County with the help of our local workforce. This exciting expansion is also a testament to the commitment by our economic development team to assist existing industries.”
“TVA and Clinton Utilities Board congratulate Omega Plastics on their expansion in Clinton,” John Bradley, TVA senior vice president of economic development, said. “We are privileged to be partners with the state of Tennessee and the Anderson County Economic Development Association to assist existing industries that provide new investments and quality jobs.”
Borchers Confirmed as Next OR School Chief
During a brief meeting Monday (4/15) the Oak Ridge School Board unanimously voted to approve a four-year contract with new School Superintendent Bruce Borchers. Borchers’ first day on the job will be June 18th and he will earn an annual salary of $178,000. Borchers signed the contract shortly before Monday’s meeting, making it official once the board accepted it. Borchers is currently the superintendent of the Rockwood School District in Eureka, Missouri and he will succeed Tom Bailey, who retired on December 31st after leading the Oak Ridge school system for ten years. Retired superintendent Bob Smallridge has been serving as the interim superintendent and will remain on board through the end of June to aid Borchers in his transition.
OR Standoff Ends Peacefully
A standoff in Oak Ridge that began late Monday night (4/15) ended peacefully early Tuesday morning. Oak Ridge Police responded to a home on Pratt Lane shortly before 11:30 pm Monday on a report that a man there was armed with an AK-47 and had texted his wife that he was going to kill himself. Officers established a perimeter around the house and tried several times to contact 25-year-old Shayne Hensel by telephone. When those efforts proved unsuccessful, the ORPD’s SWAT Team was mobilized and evacuated several nearby houses. After a few more attempts at reaching the man by phone, a police negotiator used a public address system to contact him. A few minutes after 4 am Tuesday, Hensel surrendered and was taken into custody without further incident. He was transported to Methodist Medical Center for further evaluation. According to a release from the Oak Ridge Police Department, no charges are expected to be filed.
Maryville PD IDs Officers in Shooting
Maryville Police have identified the officers involved in a shooting Friday night (4/12). They are Ben Belitz and Steven Wickert and both are on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the department’s internal investigation. They shot and wounded 26-year-old Michael Huskey on Friday outside a business on East Broadway after he allegedly refused to drop his pistol and pointed it at the lawmen twice. He was treated at UT Medical Center for three bullet wounds and released the following day. He now faces two counts of aggravated assault. Maryville Police say that the preliminary findings of their investigation into the incident have shown the officers acted appropriately. The DA will review the findings of the probe and both officers are expected to be back on duty sometime in the near future.
Windham Announces Tennessee Expansions
Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bill Hagerty along with Windham Professionals announced Tuesday (4/16) the company will expand operations at its two Tennessee locations. The expansions will add an additional 150 positions in Alcoa, Tenn. and 95 positions in Hendersonville, Tenn. and represents an investment of $500,000. “Existing industry expansions are key to growing our state’s economy and helping us reach our goal of becoming the No. 1 state in the Southeast for high quality jobs,” Haslam said. “I want to thank Windham for its investment, and I appreciate the company’s continued commitment to our state and the jobs provided to our citizens.”
“We identified business services and call centers as one of the key sectors where Tennessee holds a unique competitive advantage,” Hagerty said. “Our state offers a pro-business environment, low costs and a strong technology infrastructure, and I am pleased our business recruitment efforts in these important sectors are yielding results. Congratulations to Windham on its continued success and growth in Tennessee.”
“All of us at Windham Professionals are excited to be a part of both the business communities in Hendersonville and Alcoa,” Erin Zaldastani, president and CEO of Windham Professionals said. “The high quality of our current staff in both locations indicates to us that we have additional opportunity to grow our operations in Tennessee. At Windham Professionals, our focus is to be the employer of choice for call center staff. We perform extensive training and development to insure that every new employee in Hendersonville and Alcoa has the tools to become successful in their jobs. This staff investment is critical to our continued success. It is gratifying to be made to feel welcome to these great communities. “
“I wish to commend Windham Professionals for this additional investment in the labor force in Blount County,” Blount County Mayor Ed Mitchell said. “It really shows how much this area is growing. Economically we are well above our pre-recession levels, and these expansions only make this area stronger as it shows our overall commitment keeping businesses here.”
“When Windham Professionals set up operations here around two years ago, we knew this was a good fit for Alcoa, and they have been a leader in the community,” Alcoa Mayor Don Mull said. “These high quality, well-paying jobs are what drives our local economy and makes this a great place to work and live. Congratulations to Windham Professionals, and we wish them continued success.”
Since 1982, Windham has been a leader in the collections industry, helping clients realize new revenue streams. Windham is headquartered in Salem, NH with a regional headquarters at its Hendersonville, Tenn. location. To apply for the newly created positions and for more information, please visit www.windhampros.com
Clinton Man Pleads to Knox Child Rape Charges
A Clinton man recently pleaded guilty in Knox County to two counts of rape of a child and one count of incest and was sentenced to 30 years behind bars. The Knox County Sheriff’s Office made the announcement Tuesday (4/16), saying that Danny Bell had been arrested in November of 2011 following an investigation by the KCSO’s Family Crisis Unit into allegations involving two children. Upon his release from prison, he will be required to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.
Report: Y-12 Bicyclist Charges Dismissed
According to the News-Sentinel, misdemeanor trespassing charges against a bicyclist cited for riding his bike inside Y-12’s perimeter fence in March have been dismissed. 39-year-old Brent Lee was detained by security teams on March 2nd after he was found riding his bike on a patrol road on the north side of Y-12. Lee’s attorney says his client was not trying to make any political statement and was instead simply trying to shorten his route. Lee was ordered to pay court costs.
ORT: Man Charged with Kidnapping Estranged Wife
According to our partners at Oak Ridge Today, an Oak Ridge man is facing a kidnapping charge after he allegedly prevented his soon-to-be-ex-wife from leaving his home on Sunday night (4/14). Police say that 28-year-old Jeffrey Dean Wollenslegel took his wife’s keys and purse as she prepared to leave his Wade Lane home, placed the items in a closet, slid a couch in front of the closet door and stood in front of her, blocking her path. Police say the woman reported that he had also grabbed her around the waist and picked her up as she held their 10-month-old child in her arms. Wollenslegel was charged with two counts of kidnapping and one count of domestic assault and is expected to appear in court next week.
AC Commission Gives Final Approval To National Motto Signs
Monday the Anderson County Commission gave its final approval to a proposal to install black granite plaques inscribed with the words “In God We Trust” in gold lettering above each of the four entrances to the Courthouse in Clinton. The signs will be paid for by donations and the Commission has given its approval to accept those donations through the Budget Director’s office. Monday’s meeting marked the third time the full Commission has addressed the issue, which was also discussed twice in Operations Committee meetings. The measure was first proposed by a group of local ministers in February and the Commission voted 12-4 at that time to move forward on the project but sent it to the Operations Committee to address legal and liability issues as well as design issues. Some opponents of installing the signs expressed concern about the separation of church and state while supporters point out that the courts have ruled the phrase is constitutional and that is represents the nation’s history and heritage. Other opponents of the installation, including Commissioner Myron Iwanski, expressed concerns about how the proposal was addressed by the Commission and suggested that other, more secular phrases such as “Liberty and Justice for All” and E pluribus unum” be included in the sign display to mitigate the county’s potential liability. During Monday’s meeting, Commissioner Jerry Creasey made a motion to include those other phrases but the measure died for lack of a second. The vote on Monday was 14-0 with two commissioners abstaining from the vote—Creasey and his fellow Oak Ridge Commissioner Whitey Hitchcock. Both had previously voted against the proposal. Two other Oak Ridge commissioners who had voted against installing the signs changed their votes on Monday—Iwanski and Robin Biloski—both of whom indicated a desire for unity and to move on to other county business. At the request of Judge Ron Murch, the Commission also agreed to install the signs at the General Sessions Court in Oak Ridge, subject to the landlord’s approval. The total cost of the project has been estimated at approximately $3000.
AC Commission Rejects School Security Funding Request
Monday, the Anderson County Commission rejected a request from the school system for an additional $151,000 to pay for security upgrades at county schools. School officials requested the money to pay for nine new surveillance cameras and 15 front-door buzz-in systems that keeps doors locked until a visitor is buzzed in by a school employee. Commissioners were told Monday that only one county school currently has the buzz-in system and that is Claxton Elementary School. Commissioners rejected the request after Budget Director Chris Phillips told them that state law would have doubled the cost of the appropriation to approximately $305,000 and made it a recurring expense. Phillips told commissioners that because state law requires school money to be divided among all three of the school systems in the county based upon their average daily attendance. Also, state officials say that the county cannot give one-time money to the schools and that it would be considered a “maintenance of effort” issue, meaning it would have to be provided from here on out. Commission Chairman Chuck Fritts said Monday that legislators in Nashville are considering a bill that would allow counties to make one-time contributions to school systems for security upgrades without increasing the county’s annual contribution. School leaders say they have over $2 million in their reserve fund and some officials have suggested the School Board dip into the so-called rainy-day fund to pay for the security enhancements.
Woman With OR Ties Dies From Knox Crash Injuries
A woman with ties to Oak Ridge has died from injuries that she suffered in a head-on collision last week on Lovell Road in Knox County. Knoxville resident Sierra Anjealee Sullivan, 21, died from her injuries on Wednesday. She was the daughter of Tammy Sullivan of Knoxville and Kevin Sullivan of Oak Ridge. Sullivan and 29-year-old Krista C. Thomasson of Knoxville were passengers in a BMW convertible driven by 50-year-old Jamea N. Gambrell of Knoxville. Gambrell was also injured. Thomasson died at the scene of the crash. The THP says that Gambrell's BMW crossed the center line on Lovell Road near the intersection with Yarnell Road about 4:42 p.m. and hit head-on a Dodge pickup truck driven by Jeffrey L. Darago of Knoxville.
Elderly Man Escapes Blount Fire
Blount County fire investigators are working to determine what started a fire at a Maryville home where an elderly man was staying. He was able to get out safely, according to Blount County fire officials, who say they responded to a home on Dell Road around 11:00 p.m. Monday night. They knocked down flames in the rear and on the roof of the home. Early indications are that the fire is not suspicious in nature although the cause is under investigation. Damage appeared to be limited to primarily the attic area.
Clinton Fire Chief Recovering
Clinton Fire Chief Archie Brummitt is recovering at home today after suffering a heart attack Thursday night. Chief Brummitt underwent a surgical procedure on Friday and was released from the hospital on Sunday. From all of us here at the Radio Ranch, we would like to pass along our best wishes for a full and speedy recovery.
Fire Displaces Three, Injures None
A mother and two children were able to make it out of their house safely when it caught fire Sunday afternoon. The blaze was reported at around 3:20 pm Sunday in the 1800 block of William Blount Drive and was under control within about 15 minutes of firefighters arriving on the scene. The fire is believed to have started in a bedroom and the whole house suffered smoke damage. The exact cause of the fire is under investigation.
Fire Destroys Home, Kills Dogs
A fire Sunday morning fire at a house on High Rose Boulevard in Blount County killed four dogs. No one was home at the time of the fire, which was reported at around 7:30 am Sunday. The fire was brought under control within about 15 minutes after firefighters arrived but the house was destroyed. The cause of that fire is also under investigation.
Man Shot by Maryville Police, Charged
A Greenback man was shot by two Maryville police officers Friday night after he allegedly threatened them with a pistol. Officers responded to a business in the 2000 block of East Broadway Friday night on a call of a possibly suicidal individual. When they arrived on the scene, they met the girlfriend of 26-year-old Michael Huskey, who told them she feared for his safety and that she had gone looking for him before finding his car at the business along with a suicide note. Officers spotted Huskey a short time later and pursued him to a creek bed, where he stopped and showed them that he had a pistol. Officers ordered him to drop the weapon but instead he aimed at them, prompting them to fire on Huskey. He lowered the weapon and told officers they would have to shoot him in the head before aiming again and being fired on a second time. This time, he dropped the gun and was taken to UT Medical Center. Hit three times, Huskey was treated for his injuries and released Saturday. He is now facing two charges of aggravated assault. The names of the officers involved have not been released and they are on routine paid administrative leave pending the outcome of an investigation into the incident.
OR Soldier Laid to Rest
An Oak Ridge soldier killed in Afghanistan earlier this month was honored during a funeral service Saturday. 24-year-old US Army Staff Sergeant Christopher Michael Ward was one of five Americans killed on April 6th when a suicide bomber detonated a car bomb near the convoy they were traveling in on their way to the Kabul province to deliver textbooks to a new school. On Saturday, during a funeral service at Weatherford Mortuary, Sergeant Ward’s mother, who still lives in Oak Ridge, was presented with her son’s Purple Heart and Bronze Star medals as well as a Tennessee Fallen Heroes Award, which recognizes Tennessee soldiers killed while on active duty. Sgt. Ward was born in Florida and briefly attended Oak Ridge High School before enlisting in the US Army.
OR: Recycling Continues in City
(City of Oak Ridge) At the regular meeting of April 8, 2013, the Oak Ridge City Council voted to eliminate the RecycleBank Reward program from the City’s solid waste and recycling contract with Waste Connections of Tennessee. Reward points will no longer be awarded to each participating resident effective April 15, 2013. The City’s single stream recycling program will remain unchanged. The types of materials accepted will not change and the 65-gallon brown carts will remain in service for recycling as always. RecycleBank has committed that any previously accumulated reward points will remain available for redemption indefinitely as long as the individual accounts are accessed online at least once every 12 months. No new points will be added to an account beyond April 30, 2013. Any account not being accessed in a 12 month period will be deactivated. Residents have enthusiastically participated in the curbside recycling program recycling more than 30% of their household waste saving valuable landfill space. All residents are encouraged to continue their participation in this important program. Questions or comments can be directed to the City of Oak Ridge Public Works Department at (865) 425-1875.
OR: Brush Collection Begins in OR
(City of Oak Ridge) The citywide brush pickup program will begin Monday, April 29, 2013. Tree limbs and bagged yard clippings/leaves will be picked up. City collection efforts will follow the accompanying schedule as closely as possible. The proposed schedule is a general guide and can vary considerably from the actual schedule due to weather conditions and/or the amount of participation by residents. Residents have always been very cooperative and we ask for their continued cooperation this year by following a few guidelines:
The brush pickup schedule can also be found on the City’s website www.oakridgetn.gov.
For more information contact: Waste Connections of Tennessee at 482-3656.
ORNL: Funding Renewed for ORNL BESC
(ORNL) The Department of Energy has announced renewed funding at Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s BioEnergy Science Center (BESC). BESC is an 18-member consortium of university, industrial and private foundation partners studying ways to generate biofuels from plant sources not competing with food production. “We’ve been looking at feed stocks for biofuels, such as switch grass or poplar with the view toward working out how we can use our science to understand better how we can gain access to the sugars that are highly complexed in these plants,” said Paul Gilna, BESC director. “We have had a number of discoveries and publications that demonstrate that we can improve our ability to generate biofuels from these sources. As BESC begins its sixth year of operation, Gilna said the center moves into the next phase. “We will move the project from discovery to delivery of a number of different technologies and feedstocks that can be used commercially for the biofuels enterprise,” Gilna said. Eighteen partner organizations stretched across the United States have enhanced the success of the BESC program to date, according to Gilna.
Clinton Motel Heavily Damaged by Flames
A fire caused heavy damage at the Motel 6 by the interstate in Clinton on Thursday afternoon. The fire was reported at around 2:30 pm and apparently started in a mulch bed outside the two-story building, possibly by someone who carelessly discarded a cigarette. The flames went up the side of the building and, driven by high winds, made it to the attic where the fire burned through the roof. Officials say that at least 20 rooms were damaged by fire and a large portion of the rest of the building received smoke and water damage, but no guests, employees or firefighters were injured. The fire was extinguished in about two hours and crews remained on the scene for some time monitoring for hot spots and flare-ups. Oak Ridge and Andersonville firefighters responded to assist the Clinton Fire Department.
Campbell Animal Shelter Closed, Investigation Underway
Campbell County’s Adrian Baird Animal Center is closed indefinitely while officials from the state Veterinarian Medical Board investigate allegations of animal abuse. Shelter director Betty Crumley has been under fire for the past few weeks after a YouTube video allegedly shot at the shelter showed evidence of animal abuse and has led to accusations that dogs are being euthanized too quickly and inhumanely. She has denied those allegations but the shelter will remain closed pending the outcome of that state probe. All of the animals that had been in the shelter were taken by various animal rescue groups, including the Humane Society, by the end of the day Thursday.
AC DA: Deputy In Fatal Shooting Acted Appropriately
An Anderson County Sheriff’s Deputy who shot and killed a man last fall has been exonerated of any wrongdoing in the incident, according to the District Attorney’s Office. Deputy Steven Williams fatally shot 30-year-old Randall Wilcox of Clinton on October 13th in a wooded area off of Pine Ridge Road in the Marlow community. Williams had been trying to pull Wilcox over on a routine seatbelt violation but Wilcox—who had a lengthy criminal history that included warrants for his arrest at the time of the incident—refused to stop until he reached a driveway at 602 Pine Ridge Road, jumped out of his car and fled on foot with Williams in hot pursuit. After a struggle, during which Wilcox gained control of Williams’ pistol and tried to shoot him, Williams regained control of his weapon and fired three times, killing Wilcox. After reviewing the findings of the TBI investigation into the incident, DA Dave Clark concluded that Williams was within his right to use deadly force and that his use of deadly force “did not constitute a crime and was actually consistent with [the ACSD’s] training and commonly accepted law enforcement standards in similar situations.”
Two Tiny Quakes Reported In ET
Two small earthquakes occurred late Wednesday night and early Thursday morning in East Tennessee. A magnitude 2.0 quake centered about eight miles southeast of Greenback was recorded at around 11:30 pm Wednesday and about two hours later, a magnitude 2.2 quake centered about eight miles outside Oak Ridge was detected. No damage was reported from either of these small tremors.
Rick Springfield, Dirty Guv’nahs To Headline OR Festival
(Oak Ridge Today) Rick Springfield, the pop rock singer-songwriter and musician who won a 1981 Grammy for “Jessie’s Girl,” will headline the Saturday night concert at this year’s Secret City Festival, organizers said Thursday. Springfield has sold 25 million albums worldwide, including 17 Top 40 hits, such as “Don’t Talk to Strangers,” “An Affair of the Heart,” “I’ve Done Everything for You,” “Love Somebody,” and “Human Touch,” a press release said. “Jessie’s Girl” was a No. 1 hit, and the song earned Springfield a Grammy for Best Male Rock Vocal. The Friday night concert at the June 21-22 Secret City Festival features Knoxville-native rock ‘n’ roll band The Dirty Guv’nahs. “The swell of grassroots momentum for this six-piece rock ‘n’ roll collective is undeniable,” a press release said. “‘The Guvs’ have been steadily growing their fan base across the country, selling out shows, and making standout festival appearances at Bonnaroo, Wakarusa, and SXSW.” The Friday night show at the Concert Main Stage starts at 7 p.m. Friday, June 21, at 7 p.m. Soul Candy and The Traffic Jam will opening the concert. The show on Saturday, June 22, also starts at 7 p.m. Concert tickets go on sale May 6 at the Early Bird price of $17. The Early Bird price will end June 10, when all tickets will be $20. Tickets may be purchased online at www.secretcityfestival.com, by phone at (865) 482-4432, or in person at the Oak Ridge Civic Center at 1403 Oak Ridge Turnpike. The 11th annual Secret City Festival is presented by the City of Oak Ridge, the Oak Ridge Convention and Visitors Bureau, and the Arts Council of Oak Ridge. The festival features World War II displays and memorabilia, special events at the American Museum of Science and Energy, a children’s area, arts and crafts vendors, nationally known concert entertainment, and the Living History demonstration, “Life on the Front Lines of WWII, A Soldier’s Life.” Visit www.secretcityfestival.com for more information about the festival, event details, and the latest news updates. You can also check out the Secret City Festival Facebook page at www.facebook.com/SecretCityFestival.
Powell Man Injured in AC Crash
A Powell man was injured Wednesday afternoon (4/10) when his motorcycle and a Ford Mustang collided on West Wolf Valley Road near Clinton Highway. The Tennessee Highway Patrol says that 60-year-old Carl Gibbons was headed east on a Kawasaki motorcycle when the car driven by 55-year-old James Byrge, Jr. crossed the centerline and struck his bike. Lifestar landed at Claxton Elementary School and transported Gibbons to UT Medical Center for treatment of his injuries. The investigation is continuing.
2 Indicted in 2012 Shooting
Two people from Clinton have been indicted on a charge of attempted second-degree murder in connection with a shooting that occurred on a gas pipeline service road off of New River Highway in Briceville last spring. 31-year-old James Matthew Boyd and 29-year-old Rene Edith Boyd were indicted last week and arrested on Monday (4/8). Both are due in court on April 22nd. The pair is accused in the shooting of 34-year-old Christopher Pruett on April 14th, 2012. Sheriff’s deputies reported finding an SUV that had crashed in a ditch on Gas Pipeline Service Road P-9 and a man lying wounded behind the vehicle as well as two people sitting nearby. Pruett yelled to the deputy that James Boyd had shot him “for no reason.” Pruett was airlifted to UT Medical Center for treatment of his injuries. James Boyd reportedly told the deputy he had thrown the pistol allegedly used in the shooting in to the woods across from where the truck was because he knew police were coming and got scared. The pistol was found nearby. James Boyd was also charged with tampering with evidence. As of this morning, both remained in custody at the Anderson County Jail.
Clinton Man Sentenced on Child Porn Charges
Monday (4/8), a Clinton man received three five-year prison sentences to be served concurrently after pleading guilty in an Anderson County courtroom to downloading child pornography on to his computer. 53-year-old Marvin Michael Bell pleaded guilty to two charges of aggravated sexual exploitation of a minor and one charge of sexual exploitation of a minor. He was indicted on those charges by the grand jury in 2011. In addition to prison time, Bell will have to register as a sex offender, give up his computer and remain on supervised probation for the rest of his life. He has been in custody since August of 2011.
Former Principal Sues Blount School System
The former principal of Blount County’s Eagleton Elementary School has filed a lawsuit against the school system seeking reinstatement to her former position and back pay. Debra Garren had been principal at Eagleton for two years when she was suspended with pay in December while school officials investigated allegations of neglect of duty and unprofessional conduct. The school’s SRO, Rick Baker, was also reassigned by the Blount County Sheriff’s Office at that time. School officials, in a letter of reprimand placed into Garren’s file in February, said that she was seen leaving campus or otherwise off-campus with Baker over 30 times between July 31st and November 20th of last year. School Director Rob Britt wrote that his probe had determined that she was spending an “excessive amount of time” off campus during school with the SRO for reasons “outside the scope of her duties” and that her behavior had caused him to lose confidence in her ability to continue to be an effective principal. She was subsequently suspended for three days without pay and demoted to reading intervention teacher at Friendsville Elementary School. In her lawsuit, filed Monday (4/8), Garren accuses Britt of exceeding his authority under state law when he simultaneously suspended and demoted her.
Campbell Authorities Nab Suspected Vandals
Several people in Campbell County are facing criminal charges including vandalism over $10,000, burglary, criminal trespassing and felony theft, all stemming from incidents that occurred last month at a gated community under construction on Norris Lake. Investigators say that the six people charged in the case caused over $100,000 in damages at the site of the Villages. 18-year-old John Stanford, 18-year-old Dylan Thompson and 18-year-old Logan Thompson are scheduled to appear in court next week while three juveniles will appear before a judge on May 1st.
Report: Maryville Woman Accused of Statutory Rape
A 43-year-old Maryville woman has been arrested and charged with aggravated statutory rape of two teen boys. According to the Daily Times, Teresa Lynn Forester was arrested Tuesday (4/9) after an investigation that began last Friday. The Times reports that police went to Forester’s home on Friday after a woman called and told them a friend of her son’s had told her that he had been raped when he spent the night at Forester’s home. When police arrived, they reportedly found Forester in the company of two 14-year-old boys. The alleged victim told police that about a month ago, he and some other boys had spent the night at Forester’s home and she allowed them to take shots of whiskey before everyone went to bed in her room. Forester is accused of engaging in sex acts with two boys in that incident and on Monday another boy, this one 16 years old, told investigators a similar story about that same night. Police are continuing their investigation.
Monday Fire Damages Clinton Home
A fire damaged a home on Meadowbrook in Clinton on Monday night (4/8) but no injuries were reported. Clinton firefighters responded to the home shortly before 11:30 pm Monday and reported finding fire and heavy smoke coming from a room on the right side of the house. The homeowner and her son managed to make it out of the house safely and fire crews had the blaze extinguished within a few minutes. The fire is believed to have started accidentally due to an electrical problem with the washer and dryer in the laundry room and caused approximately $10,000 worth of damage to the house and approximately $2500 in lost property. Crews cleared the scene about an hour later.
ORT: New China Palace Moving This Summer
(Oak Ridge Today) The New China Palace restaurant will be open on the Oak Ridge waterfront through May, and the new owner plans to open in a new place on Central Avenue by July. In a letter last June, Oak Ridge City Manager Mark Watson told the restaurant’s former owners that the city would not renew the lease when it expired in February. But the new owner Cheng Ping Ren said the city gave the restaurant a three-month lease extension. It expires May 31. Ren plans to move into the former site of the Village Restaurant on Central Avenue early this summer. He said he has a five-year lease with property owner Tony Cappiello. The city has developed a master plan for the waterfront area that recommends the New China Palace restaurant site on Melton Lake Drive be remodeled as a bathhouse facility. The site is owned by the city, and it would be used to support the growing number of rowing and public activities, Watson has said. For more, visit our partners at www.oakridgetoday.com.
ORT: OR Council OKs Tax Break, Nixes Recyclebank
(Oak Ridge Today) A five-year, 100 percent tax break for parts manufacturer Protomet was approved in a 4-1 vote by the Oak Ridge City Council on Monday. The tax break will be used to help Protomet more than double the size of its 15,000-square-foot plant in the Bethel Valley Industrial Park, consolidate operations with a Blount County facility, and add 20-30 workers. It had been endorsed by the Oak Ridge Industrial Development Board and Oak Ridge City Mark S. Watson. It will be used for the second phase of Protomet’s expansion. City officials said the value of the abated taxes could be about $125,000. The company will continue to pay its existing property taxes through the new abatement period, or roughly $26,000 per year. The PILOT agreement will apply only to new investment at Protomet’s eight-acre site in the Bethel Valley Industrial Park. Plans call for another 21,000 square feet of space, an enlarged assembly area, and more space for machining tools. Also Monday, the City Council agreed in a voice vote, with no objections, to end the RecycleBank Reward Program and determine later what to do with the savings of $0.84 per household per month. The city’s garbage contractor, Waste Connections of Tennessee, Inc., had been billed by Recyclebank for participating in the program, and the contractor then passed that charge onto the city. The savings are expected to add up to about $124,000 each year. The program’s end means citizens will no longer receive rewards for recycling that can be redeemed for discounts at local businesses, but the city will still collect recyclables. Residents will still be able to access their accumulated reward points until they have either used them all, or the account has been inactive for one year. For more on Monday night’s meeting visit www.oakridgetoday.com.
Water Line Insurance Solicitation Sent to Ridgers
(City of Oak Ridge) American Water Resources of Tennessee has mailed a solicitation for service line insurance to Oak Ridge homeowners. Homeowners should be advised of the following:
Just like any insurance, the homeowner needs to be sure they know what repairs will be covered and what is not covered Questions concerning the coverage should be directed to American Water Resources of Tennessee at the toll free number provided on the solicitation. Other questions or comments can be directed to the City of Oak Ridge Public Works Department at (865) 425-1875.
Knox Woman Killed, 3 Others Injured In Crash
A Knoxville woman was killed and three others—including a woman from Oak Ridge—were injured in a head-on collision Tuesday afternoon on Lovell Road in West Knox County. The Tennessee Highway Patrol says that a 1997 BMW driven by 50-year-old Jamea Gambrell of Knoxville headed north crossed over the center line on Lovell and collided head-on with a Dodge pickup driven by 57-year-old Jeffery Darago of Knoxville. The impact killed one of Gambrell's passengers, 29-year-old Krista Thomasson of Knoxville, and sent both drivers and the second passenger in Gambrell's car, 21-year-old Sierra Sullivan of Oak Ridge to local hospitals. Sullivan was critically injured in the accident while the conditions of the others were not immediately available. Criminal charges and citations are pending, according to the trooper’s report.
OR Woman Out of Running For ‘Mother of Year’
An Oak Ridge woman was arrested and charged with child abuse and disorderly conduct after police say she encouraged her teen daughter to fight another girl in front of a store in Illinois Avenue Saturday. 35-year-old Amanda McPeters allegedly drove her daughter to the Hilltop Market on Saturday and yelled at her daughter to stop talking and to hit the other girl. When a fight ensued, she did nothing to stop the altercation and reportedly became “disorderly and confrontational” when asked by passersby and store employee to break it up. She was released on bond and will appear in court on April 25th.
Changes, Features Coming To AC 911
(AC Emergency Communications District) The Anderson County Emergency Communications District announces the launch of a new website – www.ace911.net – to provide citizens with information and news about 911 in Anderson County. The website contains information about the district, preventing accidental 911 calls, when to dial 911, and Voice Over IP telephones and 911. Board meeting schedules and how to obtain a new address are also available. A new emergency notification system – EALERTS – has been implemented as well. The Anderson County Emergency Communications District also announces EALERTS –a web-based mobile alert messaging system designed for both emergency and non-emergency notifications for severe weather events, emergency incidents, and traffic alerts. Man-Made Incidents: HAZMAT Emergencies…Bio-Hazard Incidents…Hostage Situations…Amber Alerts…Robberies…Terrorist Threats…Nuclear Hazards…Chemical Leaks or Spills…Prisoner Escapes. Natural Disasters: Hurricanes…Tornadoes…Water Safety Alerts…Avalanches…Fires…Mudslides…Snow Emergency…Evacuations…Floods…Disease Outbreaks. City & Utility Alerts: Road Closings…Service Alerts…Water Usage Alerts…Search and Rescue…Meeting Changes. EALERTS is available for residents and businesses within the service area of the Anderson County Emergency Communications District which includes the unincorporated areas of Anderson County along with the cities of Lake City, Norris, and Oliver Springs. Clinton and Oak Ridge have their own respective emergency communications districts and EALERTS is not available for the residents or businesses within these cities. To sign up for EALERTS, please visit our website at www.ace911.net, click on EALERTS, and follow the online instructions. EALERTS can be sent to wireless or landline telephones either by text message or voice notifications. Alerts can also be sent to e-mail addresses. The following alerts are available: Emergency Alerts from E-911, Tornado Warning, Severe Thunderstorm Warning, Flood Warning, Flash Flood Warning, High Wind Warning, Winter Storm Warning, Ice Storm Warning and Freeze Warning. All users will receive emergency alerts from E-911 dispatchers. Users have the option to choose which weather warning they receive. Users must have a valid e-mail address to sign up for EALERTS. The Anderson County Emergency Communications District is pleased to offer these new services to the citizens of the district. For additional information, please visit our website at www.ace911.net or contact Regina Copeland at 865-463-8160.
CPD: Trio Arrested After Burglary, Search
(Clinton PD) On Saturday, April 6, Clinton Police responded to a residence on Melton Hill Drive for a burglary in progress. The homeowner, Jimmy Foster, arrived to find a black Ford Taurus in his driveway and individuals loading what appeared to be his property into the vehicle. Mr. Foster pulled into the driveway and exited his vehicle. The suspects rammed his vehicle with the Taurus and then turned their vehicle driving toward Mr. Foster. Foster who was in fear for his life, drew a firearm and fired several shots at the vehicle. He successfully struck a tire of the Taurus, however the suspects fled the immediate area. Units from the Clinton Police Department and Anderson County Sheriff’s Department searched the area for the suspects. Clinton Police Sgt. Jason Stokes located the suspect vehicle on Burly Nelson Lane, off of Blockhouse Valley Road. It was there that he apprehended Nicholas Hedges and Amanda Webber. He learned then that a third suspect, Chris Harness had fled on foot. K-9 Units from both departments and a helicopter from Knox County Sheriff’s Department began a perimeter search of the area. After approximately one hour, the Knox County Helicopter located Harness at the ridge top between Blockhouse Valley and West Wolf Valley. As Harness fled on foot toward West Wolf Valley he was apprehended by Anderson County Sheriff’s deputies John Acker and Greg Pearmain. All suspects were charged with Aggravated Burglary and Felony theft, with Harness receiving the additional charge of evading arrest. “What a tremendous example of a coordinated law enforcement response. The assistance from both the Anderson County and Knox County Sheriff’s Departments couldn’t have been better. All officers involved were excellent.” Stated Clinton Police Chief Rick Scarbrough
OR Soldier Killed in Afghanistan
24-year-old Army Staff Sergeant Christopher Ward, whose mother Joyce lives in Oak Ridge, was killed in action in Afghanistan on Saturday morning (4/6). Sgt. Ward was killed while helping transport books to a new school in the Zabul province when their convoy was attacked by a suicide bomber. Eight Americans died on Saturday in Afghanistan, the deadliest single day for Americans in that country in eight months. Sgt. Ward and two other soldiers, along with a US diplomat and a civilian Defense Department employee, were killed while traveling in the convoy when the suicide bomber, believed to be from the Taliban, detonated the bomb. Ward grew up in Arcadia, Florida, where he was in Junior ROTC and stayed in Florida with his grandparents when his mother Joyce moved to Oak Ridge about ten years ago. He later joined her in Oak Ridge in the summer of 2004 and attended Oak Ridge High School for a time before getting his GED and enlisting in the Army at the age of 17 in 2006. Joyce Ward was at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware on Monday for the “dignified transfer” procedure. When Christopher Ward’s arrangements are announced we will pass them along to you.
Claxton Man Hit by BB in Parking Lot
A Claxton man was slightly wounded Saturday night (4/6) when someone apparently fired a BB gun or air rifle at him from a passing car on Clinton Highway as he stood in the parking lot of Ciderville Music Store. Anderson County Sheriff’s deputies were called to the business at around 9 pm Saturday and told by Thomas Tillery that he had heard what sounded like a repetitive popping sound coming from a car headed south on Clinton Highway and then felt something hit him in the shoulder. Deputies reported that he had a small bruise where he had been hit and that he refused medical treatment at the scene. A small BB hole was also found on the taillight of a car parked in front of the store. A witness reported seeing the passenger in an older model silver car holding a gun as it passed.
THP Announces Sobriety Checkpoints
The Tennessee Highway Patrol will be conducting sobriety roadside safety checkpoints during the week of April 26th 2013 on State Route 61 at Victory Baptist Church in Anderson County and the week of May 24th 2013 on State Route 61/ Richards Lane in Anderson County. Impaired driving is a serious crime that kills more than 16,000 people and injures 305,000 others every year in the United States. Troopers will evaluate drivers for signs of alcohol or drug impairment. Troopers will target those who operate a vehicle while impaired and take corrective actions for other violations observed while ensuring the protection of all motorists. The Tennessee Highway Patrol recognizes that sobriety checkpoints are highly visible and effective tools in the battle against impaired driving.
THP Announces Driver’s License Checkpoints
The Tennessee Highway Patrol will be conducting driver’s license roadside safety checkpoints on the following dates and locations: It is requested that you publicize this notification.
Date (s): Location (s):
05-17-2013 SR 170 @ CUB Substation
Recognizing the danger presented to the public by unqualified drivers, Troopers will concentrate their efforts on vehicles being operated by drivers who violate the driver’s license laws of Tennessee. The Tennessee Highway Patrol has found these drivers license roadside safety checkpoints to be an effective means of enforcing driver license laws of Tennessee while ensuring the protection of all motorists.
2 Jailed After AC Burglary
Two people are in custody after deputies were called to a burglary in progress on Andersonville Hwy on Saturday, April 6, at about 11:30am. The resident and a friend returned to find someone burglarizing her home. The homeowner confronted the male suspect as he was exiting her home after the female suspect, who was sitting in a truck in the driveway, sounded the horn and yelled to the male. The male suspect and the homeowner struggled over some items that were being taken and then he and the female suspect fled in the truck. The homeowner's friend called to report the crime and provided a description of the suspect vehicle. A deputy and an officer with the Norris Department of Public Safety located the truck a short time later and a brief pursuit followed. The truck finally stopped after a short distance and the two persons were taken into custody. They were identified as Timothy Shane Petrey, 40, of Williamsburg, Kentucky, and Elizabeth Jane North, 47, of London, Kentucky. Both were charged with several offenses for both the burglary of the residence as well as an outbuilding. Each was charged with Aggravated Burglary, 2 counts of Burglary, 2 counts of Theft, Possession of Burglary Tools, and Robbery. Petrey was also charged with Felony Evading Arrest and Reckless Driving. The charge of Robbery stems from the struggle with the homeowner over the items that were stolen. Both are being held in the Anderson County Detention Facility without bond pending arraignment.
ATLC Y-12 Workers Approve New Deal
Hourly union workers at the Y-12 National Security Complex on Friday (4/5) voted to ratify a 14-month contract extension and 2and a half percent pay raise. The extension goes into effect April 22 and lasts through June 20, 2014, said Steve Jones, president of the Atomic Trades and Labor Council, which represents 14 international unions. The contract extension applies to roughly 1,100 union members at Y-12. It will not affect ATLC members at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. There is no change to worker benefits under the extension. It should carry the workers through a transition from B&W Y-12 to Consolidated Nuclear Security LLC, which has won a five-year consolidated contract to manage and operate Y-12 and the Pantex Plant near Amarillo, Texas. The existing ATLC contract has been in effect since 2008. It was set to expire June 22.
Harriman Man Jailed On Child Rape Charges
A Harriman man was arrested Friday night (4/5) and charged with raping a child. The Roane County Sheriff’s Office had not released additional information on the case as of the time this report was filed, but says that 45-year-old David M. Wales was arrested just after 9:30 Friday night and charged with rape of a child. His bond has been set at $75,000 and his first court appearance is scheduled for May 6th.
Protests Continue Despite Court Loss
Peace activists in Oak Ridge found a place to demonstrate Saturday (4/6) despite a failed attempt late last week to gain access to their traditional protest site next to the entrance to Y-12. About 75 anti-nuclear protesters gathered across the street from the entrance to Y-12 to protest the construction of the $6.5 billion Uranium Processing Facility. A coalition of peace groups led by the Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance filed suit last week over a new temporary boundary fence at Y-12, asking a federal judge to issue a restraining order that would have allowed the group to protest in its regular spot, which is now enclosed by the fence. Y-12 officials say the new fence is part of the ongoing security overhaul at the plant in light of last year’s security breach. OREPA officials say that the new fence is designed to stymie their First Amendment rights to free speech. Friday a federal judge postponed a hearing on the matter for two weeks while questions of jurisdiction are addressed. While there were no acts of civil disobedience on Saturday, three people were arrested after they apparently strayed into the street during a march from AK Bissell Park to Y-12 and were charged with impeding the flow of traffic. All three were released from the Anderson County Jail after posting minimal bonds.
Fire Claims Vacant Home
A vacant mobile home in Anderson County’s Marlow community was destroyed in an early Sunday morning (4/7) fire. No injuries were reported in the blaze, which was reported shortly before 3 am Sunday on Cumberland View Road. Marlow firefighters needed about three hours to completely extinguish the blaze and while the cause of the fire is unknown, it is not believed to be suspicious in nature.
ORT: SARM Railway Museum Project Off
A railroad museum in the works for years at Heritage Center, the former K-25 site, will not be built due to budget constraints, officials said Monday. The lowest qualified bid for the facility came in at nearly $1 million, or about 26 percent more than expected. The Community Reuse Organization of East Tennessee’s Heritage Center LLC and the Southern Appalachian Railway Museum say that the cost is too high. The museum had been expected to cost about $860,000 at most. It would have been built at Heritage Center with a $460,000 state grant, $120,000 raised by SARM, and $280,000, along with a land donation and defrayed “soft costs” from CROET. SARM will continue to operate its popular excursion trains from its present facilities. Also, the group is now pressing forward with alternate plans for a museum site development on its property south of the present boarding location. The museum currently operates out of a preserved, Manhattan Project-era guardhouse at Heritage Center, and it has more than 100 members. From this station, SARM runs “The Secret City Scenic Excursion Tour,” which takes a 12-mile, one-hour trip through the historic U.S. Department of Energy site and along Poplar Creek and Highway 327. For more on this story, visit www.oakridgetoday.com.
AMSE Summer Camp Sign-Ups
(AMSE) Do you have children that are curious about science and enjoy field explorations and hands-on activities? Parents of rising fifth (10 years old), sixth and seventh graders can register their students now for the Science Explorer Camp conducted by the American Museum of Science and Energy in Oak Ridge. AMSE educators will lead campers in a variety of science themed activities plus a tour of Oak Ridge National Laboratory and special presentations by ORNL researchers during the two weekly sessions offered June 10 - 14 and June 17 - 21 from 8:00 am - 3:30 pm. Cost for the week of camp for AMSE members is $150 and non-members is $175. Both one-week camp sessions, scheduled Monday through Friday, will be held at the Freels Bend Cabin site, where campers will utilize the natural setting to study insects, habitats, water, life science, weather, geology and fossils. Campers will also do activities and projects with flight, electricity and robots. To register for AMSE's Science Explorer Camp go to www.amse.org or come by AMSE and get a camp flyer.
OR Celebrates New-Look Shelter
City workers and animal rescue volunteers celebrated the renovated Oak Ridge Animal Shelter during an open house event held on Monday. The renovations include a new exam room, a renovated surgery room, hospital-grade floors, an animal adoption room and a refurbished lobby area as well as cleaning, painting and electrical work. All but the flooring was done in-house by city staff and money for the project was raised by Shelter Animal Rescue Group and Young Professionals of Oak Ridge. The shelter now has a full-time veteran on staff Tuesdays through Fridays who will perform spay and neuter operations as well as check sick and injured animals.
Fire Kills 2 Dogs
Authorities in Blount County are investigating a fire that killed two dogs. The blaze was reported shortly before 1:30 pm Thursday at a home on Sevierville Road and when firefighters arrived on the scene, the house was already engulfed by flames. The bodies of two dogs were found inside after the fire was extinguished but the residents were not home at the time of the fire. No injuries were reported and the cause of the fire remains under investigation.
Home Invasion Suspect Pleads
The last of three people charged in a home invasion robbery in Oak Ridge in early 2010 has pleaded guilty to charges in the case. 28-year-old Michael Cody Woods of Clinton pleaded guilty to reduced charges of aggravated robbery and was sentenced to nine years in prison for his role in a January 5th, 2010 incident at a home on Waddell Circle in Oak Ridge. Woods, along with Gregory Brian Daugherty of Claxton and Steven Scruggs of Oak Ridge, forced their way through the front door of the home, assaulted a male resident with a baseball bat and brass knuckles and stole his pants, cellphone and wallet and the purse belonging to a woman inside the home. Scruggs pleaded guilty to charges in the case in April of last year and was sentenced to ten years in prison while Daugherty pleaded guilty earlier this year and was sentenced to eight years behind bars.
OR Student Wins Science Fair
A student at Oak Ridge’s St. Mary’s Catholic School won the title of Junior Grand Champion Thursday at the 61st annual Southern Appalachian Science and Engineering Fair at the University of Tennessee. Daniel Patrick Champion was named the champion of the junior division, which is for students in the sixth through eighth grades, for his project called “In a Fog.” His project consisted of a rectangular box made of PVC materials that was covered with a tarp and filled with fog to determine what color lights shows up best in fog by shining car headlights into it from various distances. His project determined that yellow is the most visible color on a foggy day.
ORT: Fire Damages Apartment Exterior
(Oak Ridge Today) A fire apparently caused by cigarette smoking caused minimal damage to a second-floor Tara Hills apartment on Wednesday afternoon, authorities said. No one was home when firefighters arrived at about 1 p.m. Wednesday, said Josh Waldo, Oak Ridge Fire Department assistant fire chief. The fire caused an estimated $1,000 in damages, mostly to the building’s exterior, Waldo said. Firefighters found an ashtray on the porch. They removed exterior paneling after they spotted smoke behind it.
Maryville Apartments Evacuated Due to Possible Water Contamination
City officials in Maryville evacuated the 36-unit Foothills Crossing apartment complex on Whitecrest Drive due to a possible contamination of its water supply. City water department workers were called to the complex on Wednesday to inspect its water and sewer system and found a surface water and likely wastewater contamination threat that posed what city officials called an “immediate health hazard.” Workers located a cross-connection hazard that could contaminate not only the complex’s water but also the city’s water supply. Crews cut off the water, which will remain off until the apartment’s owner installs a backflow preventer and make some repairs to their private sewer lines to make the water safe for residents. A backflow preventer, according to the city, should help keep contaminants out of the city’s water supply and the positive pressure created by that device is expected to keep any contaminated water from seeping into potable water lines. The private sewer line work will be done by a private contractor and should take about two days to complete once work starts. The Red Cross is providing assistance and shelter to several of the evacuees. There has been no word yet on when tenants may be allowed back in.
OR Preschool Hit By Thieves
Over the weekend someone stole an air conditioning unit from the Oak Ridge Preschool. Staff members discovered the theft Tuesday morning when they took children outside to play. Oak Ridge Police say the unit was likely stolen for the valuable copper inside and that this appears to be an isolated incident with no similar thefts reported recently. The stolen unit was used to cool part of the school’s nursery and is estimated to be worth anywhere from $3000 to $4000. The preschool still has additional units to keep the rest of the building cool.
What a Mis-Steak!
A Roane County couple is facing shoplifting charges after Rockwood Police say they tried to steal over $200 worth of steak from a grocery store. Earlier this week, police were called to the Rockwood IGA, where they were told that a manager had recorded Randy Harris and Annie Smith shoving $206 worth of filet mignon into her pantyhose. When confronted outside the store, Harris ran but was caught a short distance away within a couple of minutes.
Kim Opens Free Clinic in Morgan
Morgan County residents now have access to free medical care as Dr. Tom Kim on Wednesday opened his fifth Free Medical Clinic of America, this one in the Deer Lodge Community Library. The new clinic will be open on Wednesday afternoons and is available to any Morgan County resident 16 years old or older who does not have medical insurance. Appointments are required and you can make an appointment Monday through Friday from 10 am to 2 pm by calling 423-965-3131. You can also call that number to volunteer your services.
‘Dine and Dash’ Call Leads to Meth Bust
A Roane County man was arrested earlier this week on meth charges outside a Harriman restaurant. Police were called to the Cracker Barrel after an employee reported a group of people trying to walk out on their bill. Officers made contact with the group as they left and while they were talking a man later identified as Michael Adcock pulled a backpack out of his car that he later admitted contained the chemicals and components for a meth lab. He was arrested and taken into custody on meth-related charges.
Meth-Maker Burned In Explosion
A Campbell County man was arrested earlier this week on meth and arson charges after a meth lab allegedly blew up in his face. Randall Johnson was allegedly making meth in a building on his mother’s property when it exploded, destroying the building, damaging his mother’s house and leaving him with several burns to his face. Johnson is facing charges of arson and manufacturing meth.
OREPA Files Suit Over Fence
The Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance has filed a lawsuit in federal court seeking a temporary restraining order against Y-12 officials to prevent them from fencing in an area at the plant traditionally used for demonstrations and vigils. The lawsuit filed Wednesday also asks the court to order the National Nuclear Security Administration to open what the suit calls the “public forum area” at the plant in time for a scheduled Saturday demonstration. NNSA officials announced last week that a temporary boundary fence would be erected to more clearly delineate where Y-12 property begins as part of their effort to improve security after last year’s breach by anti-nuclear activists. Workers began putting up the temporary fence this week and a more permanent fence is in the works. The new fences limit access to the grassy area in front of the plant that has been used for years by the OREPA and other groups for peaceful demonstrations and OREPA officials contend that the move is less about security and more about silencing the protesters. The suit was filed Wednesday afternoon in US District Court in Knoxville. The temporary fence is expected to be completed today.
Applications Being Taken for OR YAB
The Youth Advisory Board is accepting applications for the 2013-2014 Term of Office commencing on August 1st, 2013. Participation on the City of Oak Ridge YAB requires attendance at bi-monthly meetings on Wednesdays at 2:00pm and also at special events throughout the year. All interested students are encouraged to fill out the online application at http://tinyurl.com/bss5t6f. A limited number of paper copies of the application are available in the Guidance Offices at JMS and RMS, the Student Affairs Office at ORHS, or at the Front Desk of the Civic Center. Application requirements include being an Oak Ridge resident and a student that is entering 8th-12th grade. Applications are due by June 1st at the City Clerk’s office. For any further questions, please contact Matt Reedy at 425-3450 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Man Pleads Guilty in Robbery
One of three people accused in a robbery during a drug deal gone sour in October has pleaded guilty to charges in the case. 25-year-old Nathaniel Johnson of Oak Ridge pleaded guilty to a robbery charge and was given a four-year suspended sentence that will be spent on supervised probation. Johnson and two other men—26-year-old Bobby Winn and 27-year-old Andre Fritts, both of Oak Ridge—were charged in connection with an incident that happened on October 30th at a home in Kingsley Road. In that case, Fritts and Winn were allegedly buying pills from the victim when Johnson attacked him and hit with a pistol. $250 was stolen in the robbery. Winn is expected to enter a plea in the case sometime Wednesday. Fritts remains in custody.
Maryville Man Charged with Theft, Fired from BCSO
A Maryville man facing charges in the traffic deaths of three people last summer was fired from his job with the Blount County Sheriff’s Office on Monday and now also faces a theft charge. 27-year-old Shaun Dunlap, the son of Blount County Road Superintendent Bill Dunlap, was interviewed Monday by investigators after the sheriff’s office learned about alleged improprieties on Dunlap’s part while he worked as a clerk at the Court Services Office at the Blount County Justice Center. During Monday’s interview, Dunlap reportedly admitted to stealing money from the office and said that he had no intention of paying it back because he was planning on killing himself. In January, Dunlap was indicted by a Sevier County grand jury on charges of reckless vehicular homicide and reckless aggravated assault in connection to the July 7th accident on Wears Valley Road that left three people visiting the area dead and a fourth family member seriously injured. Dunlap, who also suffered serious injuries in the crash, indicated to state troopers at the time that he may have fallen asleep behind the wheel. He told investigators this week that he began having financial trouble after the accident and that he stole money between August and September of last year. Dunlap said that when people would come to his window at the Court Services office and pay with cash, he would pocket it. The Blount County Trustee’s Office says that $1754 was stolen during that time but has since been repaid. Following Monday’s interview, investigators transported Dunlap to Blount Memorial Hospital for a mental evaluation.
New Fence Going Up at Y-12
Workers began erecting a temporary fence at Y-12 that will enclose an area traditionally used for protests by the Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance and others. The new fence is being installed as part of the effort to ramp up security at the federal installation in the wake of last year’s security breach and vandalism incident as well as two other minor trespassing incidents that have occurred since July. OREPA officials say that the fence is designed to prevent them and other groups from holding peace vigils and demonstrations at the main entrance to Y-12. The new fence will run from Bear Creek Road to New Hope Road and is designed to serve as a highly visible reminder of where the Y-12 boundary begins. Federal officials say the OREPA will still be able to have its demonstrations but that they will have to apply to use the New Hope Center Each time and pay a security deposit. A temporary fence is expected to be completed by Thursday and a more permanent boundary fence is in the works.
State: Beware Corporate Scam
Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett’s office has received inquiries about an official-looking notice from Corporate Records Service. It appears that these notices began arriving in mailboxes around January 22, 2013 and Tennesseans are continuing to receive them. Corporate Records Service is not registered, affiliated, or associated with the Tennessee Secretary of State. The mailer is causing confusion for Tennessee corporations due to its appearance as an official document. Tennessee corporations are required to file annual reports with the Tennessee Secretary of State. Most corporations have also recently received annual report notices from the Secretary of State. Corporate Records Services is requesting a $125 fee. The standard fee to file a corporation annual report in Tennessee is only $20. “We can confirm that Corporate Records Service is not a business entity on file with our office,” Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett said. “I strongly advise corporations to exercise caution before providing their private and confidential information or credit card information to this or any company that is representing itself in this manner.” The Department of State maintains a user-friendly online annual report filing system for businesses. Entity details may be accessed online at http://tnbear.tn.gov/Ecommerce/FilingSearch.aspx. Customers may also call the Business Services Division at 615-741-2286 for more information. Reports of similar mailings have surfaced in other states including Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Maine, New York, Texas, and Washington.
AP: New Pill Law In Effect
(AP) Starting Monday, Tennessee doctors prescribing painkillers and other controlled substances will be required to check their patients' prescription history to prevent abuse and doctor shopping. The new requirement that was signed into law last year put doctors on the front line of Tennessee's battle with some of the nation's highest prescription drug abuse rates. The state's Controlled Substance Monitoring Database has been around since 2006 and now clinicians prescribing any opioid or benzodiazepine will be required to check that database first. Some physicians say the checks will be time-consuming, but a great tool.
OREPA, NNSA At Odds Over New Fence
The Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance says that it plans to contest a new boundary fence being erected near the entrance sign to Y-12. Last week the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) announced that it will be extending Y-12’s boundary fence to prevent trespassers. The fence, which will extend along Scarboro Road, will restrict access near the Y-12 entrance sign and along the side of the New Hope Center. The Peace Alliance has gathered every Sunday night for several years near the entrance signs for peace vigils aimed at protesting nuclear weapons like those produced at Y-12. In the future, the group will have to apply for a permit five days before each weekly event and pay a $500 security deposit each time. Their new location would be inside the boundary fence and OREPA officials say they will not be as visible there. Last week, they indicated their belief that the move was being made to silence their message and those of other groups opposed to the operations at Y-12. Federal officials say the move is more about security as the plant continues to review and improve security in the wake of last year’s unprecedented security breach by three anti-nuclear activists who managed to penetrate the facility’s High Security area and vandalize the exterior of the Highly Enriched Uranium Materials Facility. OREPA says it plans to hire a lawyer to possibly challenge the new fence, a temporary version of which is expected to be in place by Thursday. A permanent boundary fence is in the planning stages.
Alcoa Man Arrested In Bathroom
Last week an Alcoa man was arrested on several charges after he allegedly led law enforcement officers on a pursuit that ended with him hiding in the men’s room of a restaurant. Last Wednesday night a Maryville police officer was talking to two people waiting in the Walmart parking lot for a friend to come and give them a ride. When the driver, later identified as 20-year-old Erick Kellogg, arrived to pick them up, the officer reported that he hit a shopping cart and a curb and then fled the scene in a reckless manner. Officers were searching for Kellogg when they passed him in Alcoa. They doubled back and found his car in the parking lot of the Cheddar’s Restaurant, where he clipped a utility pole and fled inside the eatery. He was found hiding in a bathroom and officers noted that he had slurred speech and was acting lethargic. Kellogg refused a blood test at Blount Memorial Hospital and then was taken to jail, where he was charged with felony evasion, criminal impersonation, driving on a suspended license, felony reckless endangerment, leaving the scene of an accident and DUI. No one was injured in the incident.
Follow-Up: Clinton Man Convicted Of Child Rape
Following up on a story we brought you Thursday, a Clinton man was convicted by an Anderson County jury Wednesday on one of the three counts of child rape against him. 44-year-old Michael David Hernandez was taken into custody, where he will remain until his sentencing on June 10th in Criminal Court. The trial covered two days and the jury deliberated for several hours before returning its verdicts against Hernandez shortly before 8 pm. He was found guilty of one charge and acquitted on two other child rape charges. He was arrested in October of 2009 and accused of raping the then-nine-year-old girl in March of that year. The girl, now 13, and Hernandez each testified during the trial and DA Dave Clark called it “humbling to witness the bravery of the young victim who got on the witness stand in front of the perpetrator and described the details of what happened to her.” Clark also thanked Assistant DA Victoria Bannach and Assistant Clinton Police Chief Vaughn Becker, the lead investigator, as well as the judge and jury for their work on the case. Child rape is a Class A felony and carries a sentence of between 15 to 60 years behind bars. Hernandez is being held at the Anderson County Jail.
1 Alcoa ‘Nuisance’ Motel Reopens
One of the two motels closed down by Alcoa Police several weeks ago in a nuisance raid has reopened in limited fashion and under strict guidelines. Alcoa Police say that over a period of about five years, they responded to hundreds of emergency calls from the Days Inn and Budget Inn motels on Alcoa Highway ranging from fights to drugs to prostitution. The city and the motel’s owners reached an agreement under which the main office and one building of the Days Inn have been allowed to reopen. Among the strict rules the motel must follow is having a security guard on-site on the weekends. The motel was also required to install a video surveillance system that police can access online at any time. The Budget Inn remains closed at this time.
NNSA Extending Y-12 Boundary Fence
The National Nuclear Security Administration announced Thursday plans to extend the boundary fence at Y-12 along Scarboro Road. The measure is a response to three trespassing incidents, including last summer’s breach by anti-nuclear weapons activists into the plant’s high security area, in the past year. The new fence is not being designed to keep people out but rather, to serve as a highly visible reminder of where Y-12’s boundaries begin and end. The fence will run along the government’s property line along Scarboro Road from Bear Creek Road to New Hope Road and will enclose the New Hope Center and a field often used for protest demonstrations. In the release announcing the move, the NNSA says that “events of the past several months have shown that there is a greater threat of trespassing on the site and the costs for responding to this threat are increasing. Y-12 is taking conservative and appropriate measures to make such illegal actions more difficult.” Officials with the Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance, which holds the weekly Sunday evening vigils at the Bear Creek Road entrance to Y-12, say they believe the fence is less about security and more about preventing their group and others from holding demonstrations and peace vigils, telling our partners at Oak Ridge Today they are considering legal options to challenge the fence’s construction. NNSA officials say that the New Hope Center remains available for use by the public and that there are applications available online. A temporary fence could be erected by the end of next week and a permanent fence will be installed later this year.
Norris Dam Visitor Center Getting Makeover
The visitor’s center at Norris Dam State Park is getting a high-tech makeover. The visitor’s center had not been updated in about 20 years and TVA officials are installing new computers and touch-screens to give visitors to the dam a new way to learn about its history and the history of the region itself. The touch-screens will allow users to start videos with the touch of a button that feature archival footage of the dam being constructed as part of the New Deal. Displays, vignettes and models will also be a part of the revamped center, as well as a large interactive tabletop map that shows all of TVA’s facilities and allows users to zoom in and out and learn more about specific dams, other TVA operations and TVA itself. The new-look Norris Dam Visitor Center reopens on May 6th and will remain open through the end of November.
Classroom Grants Awarded
ORAU made surprise classroom announcements at two area elementary schools this month and presented each a $5,000 grant as runners-up in the 2013 Extreme Classroom Makeover competition. Courtney Batchelor, an eighth-grade teacher at Lake City Middle School in Anderson County, and Kristan Headrick, a sixth-grade teacher at Coalfield School in Morgan County, will use the grants to purchase technology to outfit their classrooms. Contestants entering ORAU’s competition must teach math or science for third through 11th grade and work for a public school located within 50 miles of Oak Ridge. Additionally, a teacher must submit a short video illustrating the classroom’s need and explain how the new technologies would be used to energize and enhance learning. Earlier this month, ORAU announced Karla Fultz of A.L. Lotts Elementary School as the 2013 Extreme Classroom Makeover grand-prize winner. Fultz received a $25,000 grant to use toward the purchase of technology for her classroom. View the winning videos for the Extreme Classroom Makeover competition at http://www.orau.org/center-for-science-education/classroom-makeover/default.aspx.
Large-Scale Meth Ring Busted By Feds, Locals
Federal, state and local law enforcement officials gathered Tuesday afternoon (3/26) at the Anderson County Jail to announce that 42 people were indicted last week by a federal grand jury on charges that they engaged in a conspiracy to manufacture and distribute meth that dates back to early 2004. Unlike previous drug round-ups in Anderson County, which charged people under state laws, this time around, offenders face much stiffer federal penalties if convicted. All 42 people were indicted on a charge of conspiracy to manufacture and distribute over 50 grams of meth as well as a variety of other charges in a 17-count indictment handed down March 19th. Those charges include possessing equipment, chemicals, products and materials used to make meth knowing that they would be used for that purpose; maintaining three homes—one of which was located less than 1000 feet from Claxton Elementary School—for the purpose of making meth; and federal firearms offenses that included two charges of using firearms in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime and one for being a felon in possession of a handgun. A conviction on the conspiracy charge alone carries with a minimum ten-year sentence that could be extended to life in prison as well as fines of up to $10 million and a term of supervised release of no less than five years. US Attorney Bill Killian said Tuesday that the alleged conspiracy dates back to early 2004 but declined to say when the investigation began. At last check, officials say that all but eight of the suspects have been arrested since a round-up began last week shortly after the indictments were handed down. They are all in state or federal custody. Meth has long been a thorn in the side of Anderson County citizens and law enforcement officials and last year, 130 clandestine meth labs were seized in Anderson County alone, 45 more than were seized in runner up Hamilton County. Officials expressed some optimism Tuesday that this investigation, dubbed “Operation Meth-odical Destruction,” will make a dent in local meth-making operations. The investigation was a joint effort between the DEA, the TBI, the Tennessee Methamphetamine and Pharmaceutical Drug Task Force, the Anderson and Knox County Sheriff’s Departments, the Clinton, Oak Ridge and Knoxville Police Departments and the 7th Judicial District Crime Task Force. The effort was spearheaded by law enforcement officials in Anderson and Knox counties, both of whom want to see reductions in the number of meth-related crimes within their borders. To see a list of all 42 people listed in the indictment, check out our website and for a look at the indictment itself, our partners at Oak Ridge Today have posted it online at www.oakridgetoday.com.
Names of those listed in March 19th federal grand jury indictments (Source: US Attorney's Office)
1. Lawrence Wilbur Scriver, a.k.a. Stoney, 45, of Lake City;
2. Stephen Michael Conner, 46, of Knoxville;
3. Christopher Ray Farmer, 51, Clinton;
4. Thomas Gene Wright, a.k.a. Tommy Wright, 40, of Lake City;
5. Shaun Jeffery Williams, a.k.a. Cowboy, 26, of Heiskell;
6. Crystal Gail Barnes, a.k.a.Crystal Plemons, 36, of Powell;
7. Layla Leigh Bean, 32, of Powell;
8. Jeffrey Scott Braden, 36, of Lake City;
9. Lisa Charlene Bullock, a.k.a. Lisa Taylor Bullock, 36, of Powell;
10. Kevin Jason Ingram, 41, of Clinton;
11. Derrick Ray Farmer, 33, of Clinton;
12. Ron Walter Austin, 36, of Andersonville;
13. Brandy Danielle Braden, 30, of Lake City;
14. Cassaundria Nichole Sweat, a.k.a. Cassaundra Sweat, 27, of Clinton;
15. Ronnie Gene Murphy, 41, of Knoxville;
16. James Edward Bean, II, 32, of Oliver Springs;
17. Marty Lynn Ivy, 37, of Heiskell;
18. Shinna Marie Rutherford, 33, of Caryville;
19. Kimberly Frances Baker, 24, of Maryville;
20. Aaron James Burress, 32, of Clinton;
21. Junior Lee Phillips, 58, ofClinton;
22. Shannon Marie Ruffner, 28, of Lake City;
23. Aaron Wayne Snelson, 30, of Clinton;
24. Sheena Jean Snow, 26, of Powell;
25. Timothy Scott Stewart, a.k.a. Bodine, 41, of Powell;
26. Kasey Dawn Miller, 33, of Lake City;
27. Breanne Angela Leighton, a.k.a. Bree, 22, of Lake City;
28. Gregory Jason McCollum, 37, of Harriman;
29. Allison Nicole Miller, 27, of Clinton;
30. Donny Lee McGhee, 41, of Lake City;
31. Jonathan Richard McQueen, 23, of Gallatin;
32. James Perry Phillips, 33, of Lake City;
33. Joseph Hunter Jacobs, 23, of Clinton;
34. Michael Lee Jackson, 33, Oliver Springs, Tenn.;
35. James Delaney Bazzoon, 33, of Knoxville;
36. Justin Michael Ford, 26, of Lake City;
37. Junelle Elaine Jerrell, a.k.a. Debbie McGee, Debbie Levon McGhee, 60, of Lake City;
38. Stacey Yvette Jett, 44, of Knoxville;
39. Jessica Ruth Davis, 28, of Knoxville;
40. Brandy Nicole Grahl, 29, of Heiskell;
41. Walter James Lee Griffith, 30, of Powell; and
42. Lindsey Shawntae Bailey, 25, of Washburn.
OR Company Plans Expansion
The Protomet Corporation in Oak Ridge announced Tuesday (3/26) that it plans to more than double the size of its existing 15,000 square foot plant and add as many as 30 new jobs over the next three years. The company asked the Oak Ridge Industrial Development Board for, and received on Monday, a five-year, 100% property tax abatement on the 21,500 square foot expansion only. The company located in the Bethel Valley Industrial Park currently pays around $40,000 a year in property taxes, which will basically be doubled when the abatement ends. Protomet produces automotive and marine parts as well as housings for radiation detectors used by the Department of Homeland Security. The company also operates a facility in Blount County that will close when the expansion is complete. The ten workers there will be offered jobs at the Oak Ridge facility and company officials say that consolidating the operations will streamline their operation as well as save money. If the abatement is approved by the Oak Ridge City Council next month, construction could start in May or June and be wrapped up by the end of the year.
Smoot Out On Bond In Roane Murder Case
Shawn Smoot, the accused killer of Knox County resident Brooke Nicole Morris, was released on a $250,000 bond Tuesday (3/26) from the Roane County Jail, where he had been since last year. Smoot is accused of shooting and killing his former employee and ex-girlfriend Morris on October 15th, 2011 and dumping her body by the side of a rural Roane County road. Smoot became the focus of the investigation shortly after Morris’s body was found because their relationship had soured, culminating with her taking out a restraining order against Smoot. He was indicted on a charge of first-degree murder in connection to the case last June and was scheduled to turn himself in to authorities, but fled the area instead. He was captured in Mississippi a day after failing to appear in court and returned to Roane County. His next court appearance is scheduled for June 17th.
ORFD Creating Senior, Special Needs Database
The Oak Ridge Fire Department is seeking information about the city’s elderly and disabled citizens to create a database to better prepare firefighters when they are called to the scene of an emergency. That information will be added to a database that will allow for earlier notification of responding units of the potential need for assistance in evacuating a residence. The fire department says that it has special signs that are available free of charge and can be posted outside a residence to let firefighters know that someone who may be inside has special needs. Fire officials also say that they are always willing to meet with citizens to develop fire safety plans and evaluate current fire protection measures. For more information call 865-425-3520.
Clean Energy Initiative Announced In OR
Earlier this morning (3/26), ORNL officials were joined by federal, state and local officials to celebrate the early success of the lab’s Carbon Fiber Technology Facility and announce the launch of a national initiative aimed at supporting clean energy manufacturing, create jobs and strengthen the economy. Assistant Energy Secretary David Danielson was on hand for the event, during which he spoke highly of the Carbon Fiber Facility’s early work in demonstrating more affordable ways of producing carbon-fiber composites that are lighter, but stronger, than steel. Experts say that the lighter, stronger materials will have a significant impact in a wide variety of industries. The so-called Clean Energy Manufacturing Initiative announced this morning seeks to improve the manufacturing capabilities for products and materials associated with clean energy and to improve the energy efficiency of those manufacturing operations, which would subsequently lower the costs of those operations as well. We will have more on this story for you on Wednesday. Below is the press release from this morning's event.
(DOE) As part of the Obama Administration’s commitment to revitalizing America’s manufacturing sector, today the Energy Department launched the Clean Energy Manufacturing Initiative (CEMI), a new Department initiative focused on growing American manufacturing of clean energy products and boosting U.S. competitiveness through major improvements in manufacturing energy productivity. The initiative includes private sector partnerships, new funding from the Department, and enhanced analysis of the clean energy manufacturing supply chain that will guide the Department’s future funding decisions. “We are at a critical moment in the history of energy in our nation. Over just the last seven years, global investment in the clean energy sector has grown nearly five-fold to over $260 billion and these markets will grow into the trillions of dollars in the years to come,” said Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy David Danielson. “Our nation faces a stark choice: the energy technologies of the future can be developed and manufactured in America for export around the world, or we can cede global leadership and import these technologies from other nations. As part of President Obama’s plan to revitalize American manufacturing, the Clean Energy Manufacturing Initiative will seize this opportunity to ensure U.S. leadership in the clean energy sector and advance the global competitiveness of American manufacturers.”
The announcement was made at the ribbon cutting of the Department’s Carbon Fiber Technology Facility in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, a new advanced manufacturing facility to reduce the cost of carbon fiber – a critical material for efficient lightweight vehicles, next generation wind turbines, and a wide array of other consumer and industrial products.
Carbon Fiber Technology Facility
Today, officials from the Energy Department, Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), Ford Motor Company, and Dow Chemical launched the Carbon Fiber Technology Facility. Now open to U.S. manufacturers, this state-of-the-art facility provides clean energy companies and researchers with a test bed for the development of less expensive, better performing carbon fiber materials and manufacturing processes.
“This continues ORNL’s track record of developing new materials and processes that spawn new products and industries,” said ORNL Director Thom Mason. “We translate basic science into the innovation that creates jobs, and our new facility will help the U.S. establish a leadership position in the growing carbon fiber manufacturing sector.” Carbon fiber is a strong, stiff, lightweight material that will help American manufacturers dramatically lower the cost and improve the performance of fuel-efficient vehicles, wind energy and energy storage components, electronics, power transmission, and aerospace technologies, among others. In particular, carbon fiber has tremendous opportunity to boost American competitiveness as the leading manufacturer of fuel-efficient gasoline and electric vehicles. Next generation lightweight materials, such as carbon-fiber composites, could reduce passenger car weight by 50 percent and improve fuel efficiency by about 35 percent without compromising performance or safety. The Energy Department estimates that through the strategic use of carbon fiber, automakers could cut the weight of cars and trucks by up to 750 pounds by 2020. Currently, carbon fiber materials are more expensive and complicated to manufacture than more traditional materials like steel and aluminum. The Carbon Fiber Technology Facility will help industry and researchers develop better and cheaper processes for manufacturing these materials. It will produce up to 25 tons of carbon fiber each year, providing U.S. companies with enough material, infrastructure, and technical resources to test and scale-up different approaches to lower carbon fiber costs and efficient production.
Supported by a $35 million Energy Department grant, the 42,000-square foot facility features a 390-foot-long melt-spun fiber line to produce raw fiber materials and expects to add an additional conversion line in the coming months. The facility has attracted a consortium of more than 40 private and public sector partners, including Ford, Dow Chemical and Volkswagen of America. Find more information about the Carbon Fiber Technology Facility at www.ornl.gov/manufacturing.
Clean Energy Manufacturing Initiative
Building on its existing manufacturing investments in efforts like the Carbon Fiber Technology Facility, the Energy Department today launched the Clean Energy Manufacturing Initiative (CEMI). This initiative is focused on increasing U.S. competitiveness in the production of clean energy technologies and strengthening U.S. manufacturing competitiveness across all sectors by increasing energy productivity. Key elements of the initiative include:
Learn more about the Energy Department’s Clean Energy Manufacturing Initiative.
New OR Security Force On Duty
National Strategic Protective Services, a joint venture of Triple Canopy Inc. and Securiguard Inc., is now providing security services at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the East Tennessee Technology Park and other federal sites in Oak Ridge. The company won the bid to provide security services at the DOE facilities and replaces WSI-Oak Ridge, which provided those services for over a decade. Officials say that 100% of the incumbent guard force left behind by WSI made the transition to NSPS’s—as the company is known—new security team.
Report: Judges Fire Back Against Baker
Anderson County judges have penned a response to Alternatives to Incarceration Director Mike Baker’s resignation letter from last week, in which Baker wrote that the program aimed at reducing the overcrowded jail’s population was doomed to fail because the judges and County Mayor Terry Frank were unwilling to support the proposals he put forth. The letter was signed by Circuit Court Judge Don Elledge and General Sessions Judges Don Layton and Ron Murch. The letter states that Baker came into the job with “no knowledge” of state laws pertaining to the pretrial release of inmates and that he made no “real attempt” to work with the judges. The letter also states “Apparently, not agreeing with him is considered by him as a failure to cooperate.” Baker offered his resignation last week and his final day on the job will be April 4th.
THP: AC Man Dies In Sunday Wreck
An Andersonville man died early Sunday morning when his motorcycle ran off the side of a wet roadway near Lake City. The Tennessee Highway Patrol says that the accident occurred shortly before 1 am Sunday on Offutt Spur Road when 43-year-old Harold B. Hensley Jr. had been headed west on Offutt Spur. The THP says that he slid off the roadway while rounding a curve and his motorcycle struck a tree and a fence before coming to rest. Hensley died despite wearing his helmet.
Details Emerge In Maryville Shooting
Over the weekend, more information emerged about last week’s deadly, officer-involved shooting in Maryville. Officials say that 27-year-old Theodore TJ Jones IV was hit ten times by three officers who confronted him after Jones allegedly fired shots at a passing driver, a police cruiser and a Maryville police officer in the early morning hours of last Thursday. The incident happened outside a vacant former flower shop on East Broadway Avenue at around 4 am Thursday. Jones was an honorably discharged Marine veteran who had served tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan and his family says that he suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and that an episode of that disorder led to last week’s incident. The official cause of Jones’ death was listed as multiple gunshot wounds. Officials also identified the officers involved in the shooting as 42-year-old Maryville Police Lt. Eddie Davis, 29-year-old Maryville Police Field Training Officer Kyle Mitchell--whose law enforcement career began with the Clinton PD—and 37-year-old Blount County Sheriff’s Deputy Gary Perkins. All three are on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of an investigation into the shooting as is standard procedure.
OSHS Administrator Reassigned After Arrest
An Oliver Springs High School administrator arrested for DUI has been re-assigned. Roane County school officials say former Oliver Springs High School Assistant Principal Donna Renee Moore has been removed from her job and will work in a non-administrative position at Midtown Education Center for the rest of the year. Moore also must complete a professional development plan. Oliver Springs Police arrested her for DUI last week.
ACSD, Others Join Effort To Combat Roadway Deaths
(ACSD) The Anderson County Sheriff's Department announces a concerted effort with area law enforcement agencies designed to combat traffic fatalities in East Tennessee. In a press conference held Friday at the Knoxville office of the Tennessee Highway Patrol, Steve Dillard, East Tennessee Law Enforcement Liaison Officer for the Governor’s Highway Safety Office, reported an increase in fatalities last year in four East Tennessee counties – Anderson, Blount, Campbell, and Sevier. Mr. Dillard and GHSO Director Kendall Poole outlined joint traffic safety activities for the next six months in the four selected counties. The focal points during this period will be:
The Anderson County Sheriff’s Department has partnered with GHSO, Tennessee Highway Patrol, Clinton Police Department, Lake City Police Department, Norris Police Department, Oak Ridge Police Department, and Oliver Springs Police Department to step up traffic safety efforts to reduce the number of fatalities in Anderson County. During the last five years Anderson County has averaged 11 fatal crashes per year, with 2012 increasing to 13 fatal crashes. During the next six months the Anderson County Sheriff's Department, along with THP and all municipal law enforcement agencies within the county, will be conducting saturation patrols, sobriety checkpoints, seatbelt checkpoints, and selective traffic enforcement operations to address the four focal points. During this traffic safety campaign all departments will increase the number of officers working the streets during peak traffic hours. The department will also partner with GHSO to conduct specialty training in various traffic related areas to better equip our officers to serve the citizens of Anderson County. This traffic safety campaign is supported by a grant from the Tennessee Department of Transportation, Governor’s Highway Safety Office. Sheriff Paul White is excited to continue the relationship with GHSO and is thankful for their support. For more information about traffic safety, please visit www.TrafficSafetyMarketing.gov.
AP: Ohio Man Arrested In Spate Of November Bomb Threats
(AP) An Ohio man is suspected of phoning in dozens of bomb threats in five states including a series of calls received in November at courthouses across Tennessee, according to federal authorities. 39-year-old Lonny Bristow of Mansfield, Ohio, had an initial court appearance Thursday in U.S. District Court in Cleveland and waived a bond hearing. Bristow agreed to be held without bond while his case is pending. Bristow was initially charged with a single count of making a bomb threat by phone. The FBI took Bristow into custody Wednesday. The FBI said Bristow was arrested in the investigation of bomb threats made in November and December to courthouses and public buildings in Tennessee, Nebraska, Washington, Oregon and Mississippi. On Nov. 27, a man phoned in threats to more than two dozen courthouses and government buildings in Tennessee. Among those targeted: the Knox County, Anderson County and Campbell County courthouses. Some buildings were evacuated after receiving the threats, including the Anderson, Hamblen, Greene and Blount county courthouses and the federal building in downtown Memphis. Evidence led authorities to suspect that prepaid calling cards had been used to make the Tennessee bomb threats. Investigators said the cards were purchased at a Walmart in Upper Sandusky, Ohio, about 40 miles west of Mansfield. The Cleveland FBI office continued the investigation and reported Bristow had purchased a prepaid calling card Nov. 27 at the store. Authorities searched Bristow’s residence Tuesday and seized computers, digital storage devices, other electronic equipment, documents, bank cards, weapons and ammunition, according to an FBI statement.
Clinton FD Receives SAFER Grant
The city of Clinton announced this morning (3/22) that the Fire Department has received a Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response—or SAFER—grant that will pay the salaries and benefits for four additional firefighters for the next two years. The city was notified today by FEMA and the Department of Homeland Security that the grant award totals $388,944. City leaders thanked the area’s congressional delegation for their assistance in obtaining the funding. There is no local match for the grant.
Authorities ID Man Shot, Killed By Police
Authorities in Blount County have identified the Maryville man killed in a shootout early Thursday morning (3/21) as 27-year-old Theodore “TJ” Jones IV, a decorated Marine Lance Corporal who his family says suffered from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Jones was shot and killed at around 4 am Thursday in front of a vacant former flower shop on East Broadway after he allegedly fired on a motorist earlier in the morning and fired shots at a police cruiser. After breaking into the building he allegedly fired shots at Maryville Police officers and after a brief standoff, exited the house with the gun still in hand. He was shot after refusing several commands to drop the weapon. He was taken to UT Medical Center, where he died from his injuries. The names of the two Maryville police officers and the Blount County Sheriff’s deputy involved in the shooting are on paid administrative leave as is standard-procedure in an officer-involved shooting.
AC Alternatives To Incarceration Director Resigns
Mike Baker, the director of Anderson County’s Alternatives to Incarceration program turned in his resignation effective April 4th on Thursday (3/21). In a letter to County Mayor Terry Frank, County Commissioners and members of an advisory board, Baker writes that while “measurable progress” has been made toward reducing recidivism, the program’s “current offerings and proposals have yet to achieve their potential because of a lack of support from the Judiciary and the current Mayor. Without their willingness to support alternatives programming such as I have proposed, I believe that we will continue to see increasing jail populations and drug-related crime.” Baker’s position was created as part of the overall plan to reduce the population of the chronically-overcrowded jail that also included the construction of a minimum-security dormitory for non-violent offenders and the construction of a 226-bed pod that should be completed in November. In a response sent to local media outlets, Mayor Frank stated that while Baker “has a passion for the individual rehabilitation of offenders…he always failed to understand the legal system itself and the rights of the accused. His efforts to cure people created liabilities when it came to possible incrimination of the accused. Judges, the [DA] and the public defender have laws they must follow in all cases, and Mr. Baker mistakenly took the requirement to follow those laws as a lack of support, and he took personal offense that he could only work with those who have already been convicted.” In his letter, Baker recommends leaving the money and the Advisory Board for the program in place, addressing the county’s drug problem as a disease first and then as a crime and keeping pretrial and probation operations separate from the judiciary. Baker was hired last year after retiring from the Iowa Department of Corrections.
Calhoun’s Coming To Maryville
The Copper Cellar family of restaurants has announced that a new Calhoun’s restaurant is coming to Maryville, bringing it with 75 to 100 new jobs. The company announced Thursday that the new restaurant will be located next to the Smoky Mountain Brewery, also owned by Copper Cellar, in a shopping center off of the US 129 Bypass. The new restaurant could open in late summer or early fall.
AC Attractions Have New Names
There have been some recent name changes in the Anderson County tourism industry and officials want you to know. The Fox Inn Campground is now the KOA and the Coal Creek OHV Area is now named Windrock Park. They are both still owned and operated by same people, they have just changed their names for branding purposes. They both also have new websites. The KOA’s site is http://koa.com/campgrounds/knoxville and Windrock Park’s is www.windrockpark.com. Please take a moment and look at the sites. If you have the attractions linked on your website, be sure to change the link. If you don’t have their website link, please consider linking it. We want our visitors to know that there is a lot to do in our area. Also, if you haven’t planned to help with the Norris Lake Clean Up this Saturday, please consider volunteering. You can find out more at www.lakenorris.org.
Maryville Man Dead After Shootout With Law Enforcement
A Maryville man died early this morning (3/21) following a shootout with Maryville and Blount County officers in East Maryville. The incident occurred at around 3 am this morning when officers responded to a call of shots fired in the Jett Road area. A motorist called 911 a short time later to report someone had shot at them as they were driving. A Maryville police officer driving east in the 1800 block of East Broadway was reportedly fired on by an as-of-yet-unidentified 27-year-old man, who then broke into a house once used as a flower shop on Broadway. The man reportedly fired at officers from inside the building before exiting with a gun still in his hand. Officers issue repeated verbal commands for him to drop the weapon and when he refused to, he was fired upon by three officers—two from the Maryville Police Department and one from the Blount County Sheriff’s Office. The man was taken to Blount Memorial Hospital, where he died from his injuries. All three of the officers involved are now on paid administrative leave as is standard procedure in an officer-involved shooting. The names of the dead man and the officers had not been released at the time this report was filed.
Driver In Fatal OR Wreck Identified
Oak Ridge Police have identified the driver killed Tuesday night (3/19) when his minivan crashed along Highway 95 near the Horizon Center Business Park. Police identify the victim as 33-year-old Benjamin Park Birdwell of Cleveland, Tennessee and say that he had been driving east on 95 at around 7:30 pm Tuesday when his 2004 Toyota Sienna minivan left the side of the road and flipped several times. Birdwell was not wearing his seatbelt and was ejected when the van rolled over. He died at the scene. The cause of the crash remains under investigation.
Report: OS Man Charged With Assault, Kidnapping
According to the News-Sentinel, an Oliver Springs man was arrested Monday night (3/18) after he allegedly pushed his elderly mother to the ground and broke her hip, then refused to let other family members call for help or leave their home. 42-year-old David John Woods was arrested by Oliver Springs Police on three counts each of aggravated assault, especially aggravated kidnapping and interfering with a 911 call as well as one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm. As of this morning, he remained in the Roane County Jail on bonds totaling $47,000. Woods was allegedly in an argument with his parents when he pushed his 70-year-old mother to the floor, breaking her hip. His sister tried to call 911 and he is accused of knocking her down, grabbing her cellphone and those from the other family members present and holding them at gunpoint, refusing to let anyone leave. At some point, his 71-year-old father was able to get out of the house and call 911 from a neighbor’s home. Woods was arrested a short time later in a nearby wooded area.
Mobile Meth Lab Seized In AC
A mobile meth lab was seized early Wednesday morning (3/20) and two people arrested by Anderson County Sheriff’s deputies. At around 1 am Wednesday, Deputy Kory Blevins was on patrol when a Nissan Altima passed him on Dutch Valley Road with two people chasing the car. The chasers told Blevins that the occupants of the car had thrown items and cursed at them as they drove by. The driver of the Altima sped away from the deputy but the car was located a short time later stopped in the middle of Offutt Road. The driver, 23-year-old Joseph Hunter Jacobs of Clinton was standing beside the vehicle, but the passenger, identified as 19-year-old Stephanie Nicole Coker of Andersonville, fled on foot. She was apprehended a short time later. In the trunk of the car, deputies found an active one-pot meth lab and several chemicals and components commonly associated with meth production. Both were charged with manufacturing meth, while Jacobs was also charged with felony evasion and reckless endangerment while Coker was charged with resisting arrest. They were decontaminated at Methodist Medical Center before being taken to the Anderson County Jail.
Roane Grand Jury To Consider Councilman’s DUI Charge
A DUI charge against a Kingston City Councilman was bound over to the Roane County grand jury this week. 45-year-old Kevin McClure, who has served three terms on the Kingston City Council, was arrested in May of 2011 after officers found him passed out behind the wheel of his vehicle on Ladd Wright Road with the engine running, loud music playing and a half-empty bottle of vodka in the backseat.
State: New App Aids Parks Visitors
(TN State Parks) Spring is here and with that comes some exciting news from Tennessee State Parks – a free iPhone and Android mobile phone application for park visitors on the move. The Pocket Ranger is a new mobile app that will give those ‘on-the-go’ park goers and nature enthusiasts the ability to access valuable park information quickly and efficiently. The free mobile app can be found by visiting www.tnstateparks.com or www.pocketranger.com. The app is also available through iTunes and Android Market. A tutorial on how to navigate the new app’s features can be found on the Pocket Ranger website. In addition to Tennessee’s State Parks, the free mobile app includes interactive information on Tennessee’s historic sites, state park golf courses and campgrounds. The Pocket Ranger app is designed to provide everything a visitor would need to become familiar with a property, including contacts, directions, available amenities, maps, events and links to important numbers and services. Information is updated regularly and users can search by GPS location or a desired activity to find nearby locations for hiking, camping, boating, birding, golfing and more. GPS maps can be cached in advance to ensure that navigation remains possible in the event of lost mobile reception or limited access. Once a visitor arrives at a chosen destination, the GPS and GIS mapping technology allows them to track and record all trails, mark waypoints, locate friends inside the park, and even play games using the app’s GeoChallenge. Other features that will maximize your Tennessee State Parks adventure include a built-in compass, interpretative educational information, calendar of events, news and advisories and weather alerts. The app’s social media function and photo sharing allow users to post photos and share experiences with friends and family via Facebook and Twitter, inspiring others to get outdoors.
Confirmed: Clinton K-Mart Closing
The Sears Holding Corporation has confirmed that the K-Mart store in South Clinton will close sometime in mid-June, although a specific closure date has not been announced. The decision was made after what company officials called an extended period of slow sales. The store will remain open to the public and plans to begin its liquidation sale on April 7th. The store had been in its current location since 1983.
Clinton Schools Announce ‘Educators Of The Year’
The Clinton city school system has announced its “Educators of the Year” awards. The Principal of the Year is South Clinton Elementary’s Lori Collins. Clinton Elementary School third-grade teacher Denise Bulecheck was named that school’s Teacher of the Year. The North Clinton Teacher of the Year is Tammy Pack and the South Clinton Teacher of the Year is Jackie Clarke. They will all be honored, along with winners from the county school system, during a banquet April 2nd at the First Baptist Church Family Life Center.
Norris Bulletin: Norris Adds eAlert
Norris Public Safety Director Danny Humphrey would like to share some news with Norris residents from the Anderson County E- 911 Office. The E-911 office has opened its new website and released a new feature called eAlert. This will be a weather warning and county-wide warning system for alerts in Anderson County. This system will be free to citizens that are in the Anderson County E- 911 District, including residents of the County, City of Norris, Lake City, and Oliver Springs. The System was built for our 911 District and is paid for by E-911. Chief Humphrey has already signed up and was used as a test subject for the system. You will be able to create an account based on your street address and a valid email account. You will be able to put up to 3 users on an account. The web address is www.ace911.net. Presently, alerts can be received by email or text only. Questions about setting up your account can be addressed to the E911 Board at 463-8160.This will help the Norris Residents get warnings and information about potentially dangerous weather and other natural and manmade hazards. The website also has other applications and information for citizens. Go check out the website and sign up for your free emergency and weather alerts. Spring and severe weather events are just around the corner.
Man Dies After Falling Off Van, Driver Charged
The Blount County Sheriff’s Office says a 37-year-old Alcoa man died from injuries he sustained after falling off the top of a moving van Sunday night. David Harold Chandler, Jr. was pronounced dead at University of Tennessee Medical Center early Monday morning. The Sheriff’s Office says that Chandler was standing on top of a moving 2002 Toyota Sienna van traveling southeast on Cloyds Church Road at around 9:30 Sunday night when he fell off the vehicle onto the left side of the roadway as the vehicle rounded a right curve. Chandler was taken by personal vehicle to Blount Memorial Hospital and then transferred to the University of Tennessee Medical Center by Life Star. The driver of the vehicle, 20-year-old Patrick Richard Borden of Friendsville, was charged with reckless endangerment. He is being held in the Blount County Detention Facility on a $1,500 bond, and is also being held without bond on two charges of violation of probation. The Sheriff's Office Traffic Safety Unit is investigating the accident.
Clinton BOE Back At Full Strength
Monday, the Clinton City Council voted 6-0 with one Council member absent to appoint Curtis Isabell to the seat on the city School Board representing Ward 2. The vote had been postponed from last month while officials looked into whether a conflict of interest could arise since his father Dale is the system’s finance officer. Isabell will serve the remainder of RC Hutchins’ term, which expires in December of 2014. Mr. Hutchins stepped down from the Board late last year.
AC VSO Presents Long-Overdue Medal
Monday morning, Anderson County Veterans Service Officer Leon Jaquet and other officials gathered in his office in the Courthouse to present a long-overdue Purple Heart to the widow of a soldier wounded during World War II. Former Army rifleman Louis Allison was wounded in Germany in early 1945 but never received his Purple Heart. He passed away in 2003 at the age of 80. When his widow Cecil Allison moved to Clinton, she and her daughter realized that two of Louis Allison’s medals were missing. They were able to get those awards reauthorized and reissued but during the process, learned that Allison had been due a Purple Heart that was never received. The family turned to Jaquet last spring and in October, the Army authorized the award and it was sent to his office, arriving just last week.
EVC Campaign Receives Grant
The Emory Valley Center Capital Campaign has been awarded a $100,000 grant from the Clayton Family Foundation for the Center’s new facility. The new facility will be constructed on the lot adjacent to the Center’s current administration office on Emory Valley Road. Due to age and the high cost of maintenance, the Anderson County Commission, which has maintained the Daniel Arthur Rehabilitation Center building since 1965, plans to transfer the building to the city of Oak Ridge on Dec. 31, 2014. The Commission gave $160,000 for the purchase of the lot in 2009 when the fate of the building that has been the center of educational, vocational and rehabilitation programs for the disabled for 57 years was decided. A capital campaign was started that has raised $2.3 million of the estimated $3.5 million needed to construct the facility. EVC has met the needs of physically, mentally and emotionally disabled children and adults in East Tennessee for 57 years. The EVC is located in Anderson County, but it covers 16 counties, principally Anderson, Knox, Morgan and Roane counties. However, the service and employee area also includes Campbell, Scott, Monroe, Loudon and eight other counties in East Tennessee. Anyone wishing to donate to the EVC Capital Campaign may do so by mailing the contribution to P.O. Box 5328, Oak Ridge, TN, 37831, or by going online to emoryvalleycenter.com. All funds will go directly to the new replacement building and to the programs.
BCSO IDs Body Found In River, Asks For Information
The Blount County Sheriff’s Office announced Friday (3/15) that the man found in the Little River Thursday evening has been identified as 29-year-old Lance Michael Larson of O'Fallon, Missouri. An autopsy was performed on Larson Friday at the University of Tennessee Medical Center, but the cause of death is still under investigation. The Sheriff's Office is looking for Larson's vehicle, a tan 2003 Kia Spectra, 4-door, with a Missouri registration CF1S9R. The Criminal Investigation Division also needs the public's help from anyone who has seen or spoken to Lance Larson in the last few weeks. He is described as a white male, 6 feet, 2 inches tall, brown eyes, neck length brown hair and light beard. Larson's body was found in the Little River approximately a half mile downstream from the Roddy Branch boat access area off Old Knoxville Highway in Rockford. Larson may have been on foot or driving the tan Kia Spectra. In February, Larson traveled to Lynchburg, Virginia from his home in O'Fallon, Missouri. Last known contact with his family in Missouri was around February 20th, when he told his parents he was headed back to Missouri. It is not known why Larson was in the Rockford area. If anyone has information about Lance Michael Larson or has seen or spoken to him since February 19th you are asked to call the Blount County Communications Center at (865) 983-3620. 24 hours a day. You may also call the Blount County Sheriff's Office Criminal Investigation Division during normal business hours at (865) 273-5001, or the anonymous Crime Hotline at (865) 273-5200. You can also leave a tip through the Text-a-Tip link on the Sheriff's Office website at www.bcso.com. The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation is assisting with the investigation.
Man Drowns In Blount
The body of a missing Maryville man has been recovered following a canoe accident on Tellico Lake Sunday. According to a press release, the TWRA says 25-year-old Edward Russell of Maryville tried to swim to shore when the canoe carrying him and two other men overturned around 5:00 p.m. Sunday (3/17). One man, 22-year-old James Parker of Louisville, swam to shore safely, but Russell went under and did not resurface. The third man, 21-year-old Eric Morgan of Rockford stayed with the canoe. He was rescued by a passing boat. Several agencies searched for Russell including the Blount County Sheriff's Office, the Blount County Fire Department, the Blount County Rescue Squad, the Monroe County Sheriff's Office, Monroe County Rescue Squad, and the Rural Metro Ambulance Service. His body was recovered 12:30 a.m. Monday morning. Morgan was taken by ambulance to Blount Memorial Hospital where he was treated and released. Parker did not need medical treatment.
FBI, MPD Nab Bank Robbery Suspect
Friday night (3/15), Maryville Police and agents from the FBI arrested a man believed to have robbed the Capital Bank branch on Foothills Mall Drive last week. 37-year-old Timothy Inman was arrested without incident in the parking lot of the Maryville Wal-Mart on Friday night and is expected in a federal courtroom sometime today. He is accused of handing a bank teller a note last Wednesday (3/13) demanding money and was caught on bank surveillance video. The arrest was made by the FBI Safe Streets Task Force, which involves local police and sheriff’s departments working with the FBI.
OS Man Charged With Hitting Baby
An Oliver Springs man was arrested Tuesday and charged with aggravated child abuse after he allegedly hit a 14-month-old boy several times inside the Oak Ridge Wal-Mart. A witness called police and told them that a man later identified as 61-year-old David Lambert had hit the child in the face several times with his fingers in what she called “a downward reverse motion.” The woman also told police she had heard the man tell the baby to take a bottle of formula or he would “shove [it] down your throat.” Lambert was located a short time later in Oliver Springs and detained by Oliver Springs Police. The woman came to the scene and identified Lambert as the man seen hitting the boy. Officers reported that the baby had bruises on his face and head as well as a deep purple mark across his nose. Lambert was released on bond and will appear in court next week. It is not clear what his relationship to the child may be.
4 Arrested After $3000+ Theft From Wal-Mart
Four people were arrested and charged Wednesday in connection to the theft of over 600 items from the Clinton Wal-Mart. Knoxville Police called the Clinton Police Department and informed them that there had been a theft at the Wal-Mart in Clinton and that four suspects had been detained in Knoxville in connection to thefts at several area Wal-Marts, including the one in Clinton. KPD and CPD officers met in the loss prevention office of the local store and after making sure the suspects had been read their rights asked if they had been involved with the Clinton theft. All four indicated that they were indeed involved. In all, they made off with 637 miscellaneous items valued altogether at $3170. The suspects are all Clinton residents and are identified as 28-year-old Angel Baker, 29-year-old Derrick Baker, 39-year-old Leonard Grubb and 26-year-old Tammy Grubb. All four were charged with felony theft and both Grubbs were also charged with criminal trespassing. They remained in custody at the Anderson County Jail as of this morning.
Consultant: Fully Staffing Jail Would Require 41 Hires
A state jail consultant told the Anderson County Commission’s Operations Committee Monday night that in order to fully staff the expanded Anderson County Jail would require 41 new jailers and other workers. To implement Jim Hart’s recommendation would require the equivalent of a 12-cent property tax rate increase but County Commissioner and former interim Mayor Myron Iwanski told the News-Sentinel on Tuesday that under a previous agreement with the Sheriff’s Department, which operates the jail, only an additional 12 employees would be requested. Iwanski says that if 50 or so beds in the new expansion slated for completion later this year could be rented out to house state or federal inmates, that revenue could be used to fund the new hires. The chronically-overcrowded county jail is currently operating with 226 beds in the main section of the jail and 128 beds in a new minimum security dormitory for nonviolent offenders. A $10 million, 212-bed expansion is scheduled to be completed in November. Hart, who works as a jail consultant for UT’s County Technical Assistance Service—or CTAS—says that the current jail operation is inadequately staffed and largely inefficient, saying that in the 17-month period he studied for his report 365 so-called “critical instances” occurred in the jail. That designation covers everything from a medical problem to an assault and Hart said that when these incidents occur, jail operations are routinely brought to a halt. The complete staffing needs analysis report is available for public viewing on the Commission page of the county’s website www.andersontn.org.
Canoeist Dies After Monday Accident
A 65-year-old Canadian man has died after a Monday afternoon (3/11) canoeing accident above The Sinks in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Steve Senior of Bridgenorth, Ontario had been visiting the area to attend the “Ain’t Louie Fest” which includes a series of river trips put together by a group of whitewater enthusiasts. The park’s communications center received an emergency call just before 12:45 pm Monday that a man was pinned under the water. Witnesses told emergency workers that Senior had become trapped underwater after his canoe capsized and he was swept downstream. Many of the people in his group are trained in swift water rescue techniques and immediately began rescue operations. Senior was pulled from the water just as first responders arrived. He was under the water for approximately 30 minutes and when he was brought out of the river, was unresponsive but later had spontaneous heartbeats and respiration. He was taken by ambulance to Blount Memorial Hospital, where he passed away early this morning.
Appeals Court Grants Bartley New Trial
The Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals has granted an appeal for a retrial to the teen accused in a deadly 2005 shooting at Campbell County High School. Kenny Bartley was 14 when he opened fire at the high school, killing Assistant Principal Ken Bruce and injuring two other administrators. He pleaded guilty in 2007 and was sentenced to two consecutive sentences totaling 45 years. Bartley later appealed the decision, saying that his lawyer misrepresented the plea deal. In June 2011, Judge Jon Kerry Blackwood threw out the guilty plea and granted Bartley's request for a new trial. The state appealed that ruling, but in a filing Monday (3/11), an appeals court agreed with Judge Blackwood. The appeals judge faulted Bartley's attorneys, saying they didn't counsel him effectively enough.
Lafollette Man Killed In Crash
A Lafollette man died in a single-vehicle accident Sunday night in Campbell County. The Tennessee Highway Patrol says that 57-year-old Billy Ray Smallwood had been headed north on Flat Hollow Road at around 10:20 pm Sunday when his 2000 Volkswagen Beetle left the side of the road and crashed into several small trees before overturning. Smallwood was not wearing his seatbelt, according to troopers. The cause of the accident remains under investigation.
CPD Officer Honored
(CPD) Clinton Police Chief Rick Scarbrough recently presented Officer Anthony Griffin with the department's Life Saving Commendation Bar. Back in August, of last year, Officer Griffin was on a routine walk-through at North Clinton Elementary School when he witnessed a visiting parent choking on a piece of food. "I seen him walk in the bathroom so I followed him and noticed he was choking, and I did the Heimlich," the officer said. The maneuver dislodged the food, allowing the parent to breathe again. Chief Scarbrough says this is the first such award he has given out since taking over as Chief.
Greenback Teacher Charged
The Blount and Loudon County Sheriff’s Offices announced on Friday (3/8) that a Greenback school teacher has been arrested after it was discovered she was sending inappropriate messages to a juvenile over Facebook. 39-year-old Angela Gaye Masingo of Lenoir City is charged with solicitation of aggravated statutory rape and solicitation of sexual exploitation of a minor. She is expected in court on those charges on Friday morning. Last week, the Blount County Sheriff’s Office H.E.A.T. (Hi-tech Evidence and Technology) Unit, along with the Loudon County Sheriff’s Office, as part of Internet Crimes Against Children Tennessee Task Force (ICAC), worked a joint investigation on Masingo. It was discovered Masingo was sending inappropriate messages by way of Facebook to a male student at another high school. Friday morning, investigators took Masingo into custody.
BC Authorities Bust Meth Lab
Members of Blount County’s Fifth Judicial Drug Task Force responded to a non-operational meth lab on Old Cloverhill Road Thursday night. 42-year-old Chester Lynn Burchfield was arrested and charged with promoting the manufacture of meth. He is being held on a $100,000 bond pending a court appearance next week. At around 6:30 p.m., investigators with the Task Force executed a search warrant at a residence on Old Cloverhill Road. When they arrived, they found a non-operational meth lab inside the residence. The Tennessee Methamphetamine Task Force disposed of the lab. The Blount County Fire Department also responded to the scene.
Follow-Up: ACSD Defines ‘Sizable’ Lab
The meth lab busted Monday in Powel by Anderson County Sheriff’s deputies resulted in the seizure of 90 pounds—or 18 gallons—or anhydrous ammonia, enough to have produced approximately 200 grams—or almost half a pound—of meth that would have been valued at around $24,000. Three people were arrested and charged in connection with that lab and that case remains under investigation.
5 Plead To Elk Poaching
Five people avoided jail time under a plea deal reached in connection to the poaching death of an elk in Morgan County late last year. Oliver Springs residents Kenneth Kelly, Samantha McColl and Austin Woodall, along with Steven Daughtry of Petros and Donovan Godwin of Coalfield had been facing charges including hunting and killing an elk during a closed season, illegal possession of a wild elk and criminal conspiracy. TWRA investigators say that the elk was shot with a .44-magnum rifle and a 12-gague shotgun on December 21st of last year in the Prudential Hollow area located between Oliver Springs and Coalfield. In all, they face fines and court costs totaling $28,000 and have had their hunting privileges suspended for 18 years.
ORT: Manhattan Project Park Bill Reintroduced
(Oak Ridge Today) U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander has reintroduced legislation to set up a Manhattan Project national park that would include Oak Ridge. The Manhattan Project National Historical Park would also include Los Alamos, N.M., and Hanford, Wash. All three sites played important roles in the top-secret World War II program to build the world’s first atomic weapons. The legislation was introduced Thursday. Alexander also introduced the legislation in the last congressional session. A majority of U.S. House members voted for the bill—the Manhattan Project National Historical Park Act—in September, but the vote fell short of the two-thirds majority needed to pass the legislation under special rules. Sen. Maria Cantwell, a Washington Democrat, joined Alexander in introducing the legislation Thursday. In Oak Ridge, the park would include the Beta-3 racetracks and Alpha Calutron magnets at the Y-12 National Security Complex. For more, visit www.oakridgetoday.com.
ACSD Seizes Large Meth Lab, Arrests 3
Deputies with the ACSD arrested three people Monday after the discovery of a sizable meth lab at a home in Powell. Monday afternoon, deputies went to a home on Becks Lane in Powell to serve an arrest warrant on property owner Kimberly Murphy for violating her probation and spotted two men acting suspiciously near a shed at the rear of the home. After receiving permission to search the property from Kimberly Murphy and her husband Elmer, deputies discovered several propane tanks with the tell-tale bluish-green discoloring that indicates the presence of anhydrous ammonia. Some of the tanks contained the harsh chemical. Deputies also found what they described as a stored meth lab, complete with the chemicals and components needed to make the drug in a plastic tote underneath a motor home parked on the property. Numerous other items associated with meth labs were also found throughout the property. Elmer and Kimberly Murphy admitted to investigators that they were allowing another person to use their home to make meth while a third person, David Estes, told investigators that he had nothing to do with the lab but that he had run from a previous meth lab bust when police arrived. Kimberly Murphy was arrested and charged with criminal conspiracy, initiating the manufacture of meth and the probation violation that brought deputies to the home in the first place. Elmer Murphy and David Estes were each charged with the manufacture/delivery/or sale of narcotics and initiating the manufacture of meth. Murphy was also charged with criminal conspiracy, while Estes was also charged with tampering with evidence. Two hazmat crews responded to the scene due to the size of the lab, cleanup of which took several hours. Officials reported finding approximately 90 pounds of anhydrous ammonia on the property. At last check this morning, all three remained in custody at the ACDF.
ORT: ORPD Searching For Robbery Suspect
Oak Ridge Police are searching for a Morgan County man suspected of robbing the pharmacy inside the K-Mart on South Illinois Avenue last week. According to our partners at Oak Ridge Today, 35-year-old Jeramiah Frederick Webb is believed to have entered the pharmacy at around 10 am the morning of February 26th and handing the pharmacy clerk a note demanding money and drugs. The suspect made off with $56 in cash and 387 Oxycontin pills and fled on foot. No weapon was displayed and no one was injured during the robbery. Webb, whose last known address was in the Lancing community, is described as a white male around six feet one inch tall, weighing 160 pounds with dark hair.
Man Accused In Church Van Crash Indicted On Federal Charges
The Sevierville man accused of two counts of vehicular homicide in connection with a head-on collision with a church van last year has been indicted by a federal grand jury in Knoxville on charges related to what prosecutors call a crime spree. 21-year-old Tyler Schaffer is already facing charges in Sevier County in the September 16th crash that killed church youth group leader and van driver Jeffrey Trussel and 16-year-old Courtney Kaliszewski as they and 11 other people returned from a weekend retreat in Gatlinburg. Tuesday, a federal grand jury indicted him and two other men—20-year-old Jerel Bray-Shawn Johnson of Knoxville and 21-year-old Rodney James Ruffin of Sevierville—on charges related to a string of armed robberies and home invasions that stretched from July of 2010 through September 14th of last year, two days before the deadly crash. Schaeffer is charged by himself in four robberies and charged with Johnson in the robbery of a convenience store on Chapman Highway on September 14th, 2012. All three men face charges connected to the armed robbery later that same day of Sevierville drug dealers. Many of the federal charges stem from the use of guns in several of the incidents. Authorities in Sevier County say that Schaeffer was high on the narcotic stimulant methylone at the time of the fatal accident involving the van from Blount County’s Cedar Grove Baptist Church.
Maryville Man Accused Of Impersonating Attorney
The Blount County Sheriff’s Office says that a Maryville man has been charged with several crimes after allegedly impersonating an attorney. 47-year-old Kevin Scott Thibault is charged in Blount County with impersonating a licensed professional, criminal simulation and two counts of theft of property. His bond on those charges has been set at $325,000 but he is being held without bond on a parole violation out of Hamilton County. Due to the sensitivity of the case against Thibault, the Sheriff’s Office is not releasing specific details about the investigation. They are however asking for the public’s help in identifying additional people who may have been victimized by Thibault’s alleged deception. If you have had dealings with Thibault where he presented himself as an attorney or it you have paid Thibault money in return for legal services, you are asked to contact the Criminal Investigation Division during normal business hours at 865-273-5001.
ORT: 3 Arrested In Alleged Beating
According to our partners at Oak Ridge Today, three Anderson County men are facing charges following an alleged beating inside a home in Oliver Springs late last month. ORT reports that Oliver Springs Police arrested the three men after a woman called 911 and said that she had been prevented from leaving the house while her male companion was beaten in a back bedroom. The woman told police that the male victim had gone to the home of 25-year-old Derrick Mulkey to pay him $20 he owed him. When the man went into a back bedroom and opened his wallet, Mulkey allegedly grabbed him, pulled his shirt over his head and began punching him in the face and head. The woman tried to leave and call 911 but two other men in the house identified as 19-year-old Donnie Lecomte and 26-year-old Timothy Dopel—both of Clinton—pushed a washing machine in front of the back door and told her she couldn’t leave. The men ran to the back of the house when the struggle in the bedroom got louder and she was able to push the barricade aside, run outside and call 911. As police arrived, the male victim staggered out of the house bleeding from his face but refused medical attention. After questioning everyone present, police charged Mulkey with two counts of false imprisonment and one count each of kidnapping, aggravated assault, especially aggravated robbery, especially aggravated kidnapping, possession of drug paraphernalia and a weapons violation. Dopel and Lecomte were both charged with kidnapping and false imprisonment as well as one count of criminal responsibility for the conduct of another. Lecomte was arrested earlier this year for allegedly beating his girlfriend’s father unconscious in Oak Ridge. All three men are expected in court on Thursday afternoon.
Hunting & Fishing Licenses Available
Tennessee's 2012-13 hunting and fishing licenses have expired, and the new licenses are on sale. Licenses can be purchased at any Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency office or license agent or online at http://www.tnwildlife.org . They also can be ordered by phone. According to the TWRA, resident licenses are available to people with a valid Tennessee driver's license as well as people who have lived in Tennessee for 90 consecutive days with the intent of making Tennessee their permanent home. Military personnel on active duty in Tennessee, their immediate families and students enrolled at Tennessee schools can also get resident licenses. A Social Security number is required to purchase a license. The new 2013-14 licenses are valid through February 2014.
OR, Clinton Companies Receive Training Grants
Governor Bill Haslam and Tennessee Department of Labor & Workforce Development Commissioner Karla Davis have awarded Incumbent Worker Training Program grants totaling $29,947 to Protomet Corporation in Oak Ridge and $25,000 to Techmer PM in Clinton. “If Tennessee is going to become the number one location in the Southeast for high-quality jobs, then we must offer a well-trained workforce to employers,” said Governor Haslam. “This kind of training grant not only helps educate workers, but also provides incentive to employers looking to relocate or expand in Tennessee.” Since the program’s inception, Incumbent Worker Training grants have assisted more than 600 businesses by providing $14 million to train approximately 50,000 employees. “Both job creation and retention are vital in maintaining a healthy economy in Tennessee, and the Incumbent Worker Training program has played a key role in accomplishing this,” said Commissioner Davis. In their application for the grant, Protomet Corporation stated that the money would allow the company to balance capital expenditures with process and organizational improvements to keep cost low and compete in the global economy allowing the business to grow and retain employees. In their application for the grant, Techmer PM stated this grant would develop the skills that will allow the team to identify waste throughout the process. The removal of the waste – time, money, and resources – will keep Techmer PM competitive in the market and assist in growing the business. The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development administers the Incumbent Worker Training program. The program has been structured to be flexible to meet the business's training objectives. The business may use public, private, or its own in-house training provider based on the nature of the training. The following criteria must be met to qualify for the Incumbent Worker Training Program. Employers must be in operation in Tennessee for at least one year prior to application date. Employers must have at least five full-time employees, demonstrate financial viability and be current on all state tax obligations. Funding priority is given to businesses whose grant proposals represent a significant layoff avoidance strategy and represent a significant upgrade of skills.
ORT: Alexander Inn Again On Endangered List
The Alexander Inn in Oak Ridge has again been named an endangered place in East Tennessee. The vacant, two-story hotel was included on a list of 17 endangered places released by the East Tennessee Preservation Alliance on Monday. The Alexander Inn, which could soon be converted into an assisted living center, has been on the list in previous years as well. Announced Monday in Knoxville, the East Tennessee Preservation Alliance’s list includes endangered historic buildings and places in a 16-county region. Originally known as The Guest House, the Alexander Inn was built in Oak Ridge in 1943, during World War II. The building served as guest quarters during the top-secret Manhattan Project, and a number of dignitaries stayed there. “For a number of years, it remained in private ownership and was listed in the National Register of Historic Places,” the release said. “Despite its listing, its condition deteriorated and soon it was in serious disrepair.” The press release said ETPA worked diligently with the City of Oak Ridge and the U.S. Department of Energy to secure a grant to purchase and stabilize the historic Alexander Inn as part of the mitigation for the demolition of the East Tennessee Technology Park, which has historically been known as K-25. ETPA is working with a local company, Family Pride that intends to purchase and redevelop the building for assisted living facility. The Oak Ridge Industrial Development Board has endorsed, and the Oak Ridge City Council has approved, a 90 percent, 10-year tax break for the project to convert the hotel. The tax break will be used to build a new road for cars that now drive through the three-acre site, move a storm sewer under the two-story building, and help remove asbestos, among other things. The project is scheduled to be discussed during an IDB meeting at 4 p.m. Tuesday in the Municipal Building Training Room. ETPA said it works with community leaders, organizations, and businesses across the region to find preservation solutions for the endangered properties identified for the annual list and encourage the communities across the region to join in efforts to save our endangered heritage. “This marks the fourth list of endangered historic places selected by the ETPA board of directors from nominations received from members and the general public,” the press release said. “Preservation strategies are developed for each site on the list and can include working with current property owners, government officials, citizens and/or potential new owners to preserve these important parts of East Tennessee’s heritage. In some cases, ETPA will organize volunteer work days to help stabilize and protect sites.” The East Tennessee Preservation Alliance works to protect places and structures with historic or cultural significance in Anderson, Blount, Campbell, Claiborne, Cocke, Grainger, Hamblen, Jefferson, Knox, Loudon, Monroe, Morgan, Roane, Scott, Sevier, and Union counties. It is governed by a board of directors with representatives from across the region.
Other buildings and places on the list released Monday are:
To get involved with ETPA’s advocacy efforts, call (865) 523-8008.
AC Chamber Hires Retail Coordinator
The Anderson County Chamber of Commerce has hired Diane Ilgner as retail development coordinator. In a press release, the chamber said it created this position to promote retail growth and increase sales tax revenue for the county. “As retail development coordinator, Diane will be responsible for retail retention and retail recruitment by gathering data, identifying areas appropriate for retail growth, and developing relationships with brokers, developers, retailers, and business owners,” the press release said. The website for the Anderson County Chamber of Commerce will be upgraded to include information relative to land and buildings available in the county, the release said. Ilgner will also be meeting with current business owners to find ways to assist them as they work to keep and grow their operations in the county. The Retail Development Initiative is funded through both public and private contributions. Ilgner can be contacted at the Anderson County Chamber of Commerce at 245 N. Main Street, Suite 200, Clinton, Tennessee 37716 or by phone at (865) 457-2559 and through email at email@example.com.
ORT: UCOR Announces K-27 Cleanup Milestone
(Oak Ridge Today) UCOR has removed the highest-risk components remaining in the K-27 building at East Tennessee Technology Park, a press release said. Six components known as NaF, or sodium fluoride, traps have been removed by crane, the press release said. The K-27 building is a “sister” to the mile-long K-25 gaseous diffusion process building, which is now nearly demolished, the release said. Both are Manhattan Project buildings built to produce materials for nuclear weapons. As work is completed at K-25, crews are shifting to K-27. The release said the NaF traps were part of the final uranium removal process in what was known as the “purge cascade” when K-25 and K-27 were operational. Sodium fluoride pellets were used to trap the uranium, and the removed traps still contain uranium materials from when the facility was shut down decades ago. The NaF traps are each about the size of a household water heater and range in weight from 1,500 pounds to 2,000 pounds each, the release said. The two NaF traps deemed highest risk were removed first. Dell Simpson, project integration manager for the K-27 project, said the traps were high risk because of the amount of uranium still remaining in them. They are being stored in the K-25 area until the materials can be removed. The other four NaF traps were removed on Monday, Feb. 25. These can be disposed of as waste, Simpson said.
Deal That Brought Pro Nova To BC Contains Cheap Land, Tax Breaks
Last week we told you that high-tech health company Pro Nova Solutions had announced its decision to build its headquarters in Blount County’s Pellissippi Place technology park. We now more about the deal that brought the company to Blount County. Pro Nova will pay $1 for about 26 acres of land and will not pay any property taxes for the first eight years following the completion of its Phase One facility and will not pay full property taxes until after 12 years. The deal says that the land price depends upon the completion of Phase One—a 30,000-square foot, two story office and research building along with a 40,000 assembly and test area—and that the tax breaks are contingent upon the company meeting certain milestones dealing with capital investment, the number of employees hired and their compensation. When Phase Two is complete by the end of 2018, the company expects to have invested over $50 million and created over 500 new jobs. Pro Nova is a new company that will develop equipment for proton therapy, an emerging cancer treatment that is said to reduce collateral tissue damage, side effects and costs compared to conventional radiation therapy.
TDOT/Ragan Announcement On Highway 116 Improvements
Here is the press release from TDOT and State Representative John Ragan announcing the safety improvement project on Highway 116 in Anderson County: “State Representative John Ragan (R-Oak Ridge) announced today that Anderson County is on a Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) list to receive road upgrades to State Route 116. In total, TDOT will invest $1,208,000 into the project. Repairs to Route 116 will begin in the New River community and stretch to the county line. “This upgrade to Route 116 is desperately needed,” said Representative John Ragan. “I am grateful to TDOT, County Mayor Terry Frank, and County Commissioners Tim Isbel and Zach Bates for helping make this project possible.” Repairs to State Route 116 are expected to begin in the second quarter of the 2013 fiscal year. The state and federal funds that will pay for the upgrades are the result of a TDOT study requested by Representative Ragan during the summer of 2012. “This is an example of what state government can accomplish when working together with local officials,” said Anderson County Commissioner Tim Isbel. Route 116 has been a focus of Isbel’s since first taking office as County Commissioner. “Road projects are essential to a healthy community and I am extremely pleased that Representative Ragan and TDOT have recognized the need for this very important safety upgrade,” Isbel concluded.”
NNSA Extends Y-12, Pantex Contracts
The National Nuclear Security Administration has extended the contracts B&W Y-12 and B&W Pantex through April 29th. The NNSA earlier approved a series of one-month contract options while the consolidated contract process was still ongoing. The move is likely due to the delays associated with protests filed on the contract awarded to Consolidated Nuclear Security, headed by Bechtel and Lockheed Martin, in January. The April 29 date may be linked to the 100-day period in which the Government Accountability Office has to rule on the protests filed by the two losing teams -- Nuclear Production Partners and Nuclear Production Solutions.
ORUUC Announces Land Purchase
Members of the Oak Ridge Unitarian Universalist Church announced Wednesday that they have purchased a 4.6 acre tract of land that will become the church’s new home. Last fall, the congregation voted to sell their property to help make way for the $30 million Kroger Marketplace Shopping Center development expected to open in early 2014. That sprawling development covers 25 acres and will displace a neighborhood of over 50 homes as well as two hotels, a restaurant and a day care center. The church property at the intersection of the Turnpike and Robertsville Road will likely be used as outparcels, or small lots, for the shopping center. The church’s new home is a 4.6 acre tract of land on the corner of the Turnpike and Laboratory Road in front of the Joe Evins Federal Building and members say they expect to be in their new building on that site by Thanksgiving of 2014. The church has been at its current location since 1956.
BC Murder Retrial Prep Begins
Prosecutors in Blount County have begun to prepare for the retrial of a man convicted in a 1998 murder. A motions hearing was held Tuesday in Blount County Circuit Court in the retrial of Douglas Franklin Jordan, Jr., who had been serving a 23-year prison sentence when an appeals court overturned his second-degree murder conviction after finding that the state had failed to turn over two pieces of evidence that could have aided his defense. Jordan was convicted in the 1998 death of 22-year-old Jennifer Byerley of Louisville, whose body was found along the side of Wheeler Road near the Maryville Wastewater Treatment Plant where investigators say she was dumped after someone slashed her throat on March 12th, 1998.
New Online Features At ACTV
(AC Office of Technology) Last week, the staff at the Office of Technology updated the Anderson County TV station. You now have the ability to watch ACTV Live, streaming, 24/7 and ACTV On-Demand! These are exciting feature that we have worked for years to achieve, the technology was available… just not affordable… until now. To Watch ACTV Live, click the Watch ACTV Live button located on the right side of the main ACS website. www.acs.ac. Once on the ACTV website, just click to watch the station live on your desktop, laptop, iphone, ipad, droid phone or droid pad by connecting to a high speed Internet connection (WiFi or cabled connection.) This service will not work with a cellular connection, you must have a WiFi or cabled connection. To watch ACTV On-Demand, which will allow you to re-play / re-watch any of our major television shows. (Example- Anderson County Board of Education, Anderson County Commission, Clinton City Council, Sport Events, Sport Shows, Graduations, School Plays, and etc.) Once on the site, scroll down to the big blue box and click on the type of show you are interested in watching, click on the title of the show, and then click the “go” arrow to view the show using your desktop, laptop, iphone, ipad, droid phone or droid pad by connecting to a high speed Internet connection (WiFi or cabled connection.) This service will not work with a cellular connection, you must have a WiFi or cabled connection.
State Offers Energy Camps For Teachers
The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation’s Office of Energy Programs announced today that applications are now available for the 2013 Energy Camps. The four-day educational sessions are free and provide K-12 teachers with the information and resources needed to teach the science of energy and energy conservation in the classroom, while helping students to become leaders in their schools and communities. “These Energy Camps provide essential tools to teachers, giving them a better understanding of energy conservation,” said TDEC Commissioner Bob Martineau. “The knowledge they will receive at the camps will prepare them to educate the next generation on the importance of energy conservation, providing for a cleaner energy future and benefiting overall community growth.” The 2013 Energy Camp offers activities presented by award-winning energy educators and professionals. Camp activities will address Tennessee science curriculum standards and will incorporate Common Core Standards for reading/language arts and mathematics. In addition, special breakout sessions will be conducted with grade-level clusters to ensure that all participating teachers leave the camps with ideas ready for their classrooms. Each camp will also include a one-day trip to energy-related sites, such as TVA’s Cumberland Fossil and Watts Bar Nuclear Power plants. K-12 teachers are invited to apply for one of the following three camps during the summer of 2013:
· June 11-14 at Montgomery Bell State Park Inn in Burns, Tenn.
· June 18-21 at Pickwick Landing State Park Inn in Pickwick Dam, Tenn.
· July 9-12 at Fall Creek Falls State Park Inn in Pikeville, Tenn.
The Energy Camps address required curriculum standards and help teachers integrate energy activities into not only science, but math, language arts, social studies and visual and performing arts lessons. They will focus on creating real-world situations in the classroom and collecting and analyzing data, in order to evaluate and improve the school’s energy usage. Participating teachers will receive complimentary lodging, meals and camp materials, in addition to a $400 “mini” grant to help fund each school’s energy education program. Early registration is suggested as space is limited and the camps will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis. Educators in all subjects and grade levels may attend and schools may send up to two teachers. Teachers who attended energy camps in 2012 are eligible but must also submit a National Energy Education Development (NEED) project, a scrapbook of energy education activities completed during the school year. To obtain an online application, please visit www.tn.gov/environment/energy/energy-education.shtml. For more information, contact Chyrall Dawson at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the Energy Hotline at800-342-1340. The application deadline is April 12, 2013.
TDOT To Spend $1.2 M To Make Highway 116 Safer
WYSH has learned that the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) will spend over $1.2 million to make safety improvements on Highway 116, New River Highway, in Anderson County’s Briceville community. After a string of accidents, including some fatalities, on the rural road, local officials began trying to find ways to prevent them in the future and those efforts paid off last August when a team of TDOT officials joined County Commissioners Tim Isbel and Zach Bates, members of the Briceville Volunteer Fire Department and deputies from the Sheriff’s Office on a tour of the 11-mile stretch of road from Frost Bottom to the Campbell County line. During the safety audit, officials noted that the road is narrow, containing numerous curves with shoulders less than two feet wide. In some spots, lanes are too narrow, in others there are no guardrails and in still other areas, the shoulder is actually less than a foot wide. Slope stability issues were also blamed for some cracking and uneven settling of the pavement, some spots that have been resurfaced do not have pavement markings and in spots, rock outcroppings and other hazards are too close to the roadway for TDOT’s comfort. TDOT has recommended paving the entire stretch of Highway 116, widening the shoulders in some places and adding guardrails, pavement markings, and signage to the roadway as part of the effort to make the road safer. Local members of the Road Safety Audit Review team included Isbel, Bates, Commission Chairman Chuck Fritts, State Representative John Ragan, Representative Kelly Keisling, Deputy Danny Bray and Tony Errington of the Briceville VFD. Work is expected to begin later this summer.
Follow-Up: Fritts, Iwanski Respond To Frank Press Conference
Following up on Anderson County Mayor Terry Frank’s press conference on the front steps of the Courthouse Monday, the two men who were mentioned most prominently in her speech have responded. Frank held the press conference to address accusations that she was violating the county’s travel policy made by Commission Chairman Chuck Fritts. Fritts says that Mayor Frank should be made to choose between a $400 a month salary supplement to cover the cost of using her personal vehicle on county business or the use of a county-owned 1998 Ford Crown Victoria, but not both. Mayor Frank defended the monthly stipend as a long-established practice dating back to 1988 that was briefly terminated following Rex Lynch’s resignation in January of 2011 but reinstated shortly after Myron Iwanksi was chosen to serve as interim mayor. Iwanski in an e-mail to this station said that the mayor’s speech included what he called “false and misleading information.” He also addressed the issue of the salary supplement. “Prior to my appointment the Mayor received a salary supplement of approximately $17,000 per year. This supplement was eliminated by County Commission prior to my becoming mayor. After taking office it was determined that by law the Mayor, like the Sheriff and Road Superintendent, was to have an assigned vehicle. After discussing this in detail with the law director and at the Budget Committee, the Budget Committee and then full Commission unanimously agreed it was in the best interest of the county to provide me a $400 monthly supplement to compensate for vehicle use in East Tennessee - rather than assign a vehicle to me. As agreed to, I never used a county vehicle while Mayor nor received other vehicle compensation from the county per the agreement.” Meanwhile, Fritts disputed a couple of claims made by the mayor in her speech, saying that while she says she has never driven the car, he and others have seen her “being driven around” in the vehicle. He also disputed claims that he filed over 30 travel reimbursement claims since taking office, saying, “No request of reimbursements have ever been submitted by me since the 11 years I’ve been in office. “All” reimbursements are submitted by our Chief Deputy and she has never submitted a reimbursement for 3-gallons of gas & never has a travel request been submitted up to months in advance. Everything I do is handled through our Law Director & our Chief Deputy.” Responding to Frank’s claim that his assertions are politically motivated, especially in light of the fact that as she said, no other mayor has been asked to refund travel money, Fritts wrote “First, I have “NO” hidden agendas and I have “NO” future political ambitions. I’m not a democrat or a republican. I was elected to a bipartisan position and I try to represent the citizens of Anderson County accordingly.” He went on to say that “Our mayor thrives on divisiveness and conflict when trying to work with the County Commission.” Iwanski added, “We have far too much divisiveness and dysfunctional government in Washington and do not need it here.” E-mails from Fritts and Iwanski responding to the mayor’s speech are now posted on the Local Information News page of our website.
Myron Iwanski’s Response: “The Mayor’s 6 page written remarks were never discussed with me. They contain some false and misleading information. Prior to my appointment the Mayor received a salary supplement of approximately $17,000 per year. This supplement was eliminated by County Commission prior to my becoming mayor. After taking office it was determined that by law the Mayor, like the Sheriff and Road Superintendent, was to have an assigned vehicle. After discussing this in detail with the law director and at the Budget Committee, the Budget Committee and then full Commission unanimously agreed it was in the best interest of the county to provide me a $400 monthly supplement to compensate for vehicle use in East Tennessee - rather than assign a vehicle to me. As agreed to, I never used a county vehicle while Mayor nor received other vehicle compensation from the county per the agreement. Attached is the vehicle agreement document that was sent to the Budget Committee and agreed to unanimously in June 2011. This document is available to the Mayor in the Mayor’s office. Note that as part of the agreement I agreed to not have a county cell phone or be reimbursed for one and not take county health insurance. I hope the Mayor will learn that having differences of opinion is ok and that we need to have open discussion and cooperation rather than confrontation. Differences of opinion should not be taken as personal attacks or used as a basis for “you are either with me or against me” divisiveness. We have far too much divisiveness and dysfunctional government in Washington and do not need it here. We have made progress in the past few years toward a cooperative spirit in our County and our communities. We should not start raising issues in a way that divides the community and its elected officials, pitting one group against another.”
Justification for Mayor’s compensation for car expenses
(Myron Iwanski) Shortly after I came into office as Mayor I raised a question about how I should be compensated for use of my car. The following is some background information obtained from Jay Yeager and other sources and a recommendation on how to address my compensation for car expenses. During the appointment process for the Mayor’s position County Commission approved reducing the Mayor’s salary from $100,106 that the previous Mayor had been paid to the minimum required by state law, $83,470. For over 24 years Anderson County Mayors had been compensated about 25 percent more than the state minimum. It is my understanding that this increased compensation was, in part, to compensate the Mayor for not having an assigned vehicle. This is a practice in some other counties, including Roane County where the Mayor is compensated approximately $10,000 over the state minimum to, in part, cover car expenses. Jay has researched this issue and determined that the Mayor must be compensated at a rate of at least 5 percent more than the Sheriff and Road Superintendent. While the Mayor’s salary is exactly 5 percent more than their base salary, the Mayor’s salary does include a small supplement the Sheriff receives, and it does not include compensation for the value of the Sheriff and Road Superintendent assigned vehicles. Rather than have an assigned vehicle equivalent to the Sheriffs and Road Superintendent, I would prefer, and it would be less expensive for the county, to provide me a salary supplement as compensation. My recommendation is that the supplement be set at $400 per month to cover all automobile travel in East Tennessee based on the following:
Thus this compensation for an assigned vehicle of less than $5,000 per year will keep the Mayor’s compensation at the mandated 5 percent over the sheriff and road superintendent compensation and would be offset by savings of over $50,000 per year just in the cost for me and my secretary.”
Chuck Fritts’ Response: “First, I have “NO” hidden agendas and I have “NO” future political ambitions. I’m not a democrat or a republican. I was elected to a bipartisan position and I try to represent the citizens of Anderson County accordingly. I was elected to represent the citizens of District 1 and not to rubber stamp anything our mayor wants to do. The Mayor is the Chief Financial Officer for the County and she should know how her own salary is broken down and what costs are allowed to be reimbursed under our Travel Policy. Facts are:
She keeps throwing up the I-Pads we bought for “All” the Commissioners. We did this out of funds within our own department by reducing our travel & training to cover the expenses. This will save the tax payers of Anderson County in the long run since the different department won’t have to send 30 copies of every report to Commission for our meetings. This was a cost saving move. This statement or remarks, it basically tells you nothing but a lot of misleading facts and documented non-truths. Our mayor thrives on divisiveness and conflict when trying to work with the County Commission. In the past 11 years, how much of this have you seen going on? None. Over the past 2 years, the Mayor’s Office and the County Commission has worked hard and has accomplished a lot to keep Anderson County moving forward in the right direction. She spent a lot of time putting together something that really shows, means, or proves nothing, but she couldn’t attend a joint session of the Anderson County Commission, the School Board, & the Sheriff’s Office in discussing our children’s safety within our schools. Where’s our priority? For it to be a political agenda, you have to be part of a political party, you have to endorse a particular candidate, and you have to have future political goals and I have neither. Heck, I’ve never had another candidate’s sign in my yard. She needs to understand what she is talking about. Is there any misunderstanding of the law on my part? No. Do I like what’s been going on? No, but I’m not going to rubber stamp any action that I don’t believe is in the best interest of Anderson County.”
OR Council OKs Sewer Loans
Monday night the Oak Ridge City Council voted 6-1 to borrow $18 million in two low-interest state loans to help pay for a $23 million overhaul of the city’s sewer system. The money will be borrowed at an interest rate of 1.23% through the State revolving Fund program, which is administered by the state department of Environment and Conservation. The work is being done to comply with an Environmental Protection Agency mandate that the city repair all sewer system overflows by September of 2015. The measure was passed after an hour-long discussion that included several failed alternative motions made by Councilwoman Trina Baughn, who, according to our partners at Oak Ridge Today, said that Oak Ridge residents can’t take on more debt and argued that the city has already spent $24 million to rehabilitate the aging system, but is still “in trouble with the EPA.” Other Council members countered by saying that the EPA has lowered the city’s potential fines and that the repair work could cost more if the city waits any longer. The loans will be used for engineering and construction costs. The sewer system renovation will include 18 sewer and manhole projects and will start on the east end of the city and move west. In addition to the loans, the project is also being paid for using a $2 million Tennessee Municipal Bond Fund Loan and about $3 million in future debt or an amendment of the state loans as well as two rate increases in the past year.
Mayor Fires Back In Travel Flap
Anderson County Mayor Terry Frank held a press conference Monday morning on the front steps of the Courthouse in Clinton to address Commission Chairman Chuck Fritts’ assertions that she is “taking advantage of taxpayers by using a county-owned vehicle and accepting travel payments.” In her speech, which you can read in its entirety on our website, Mayor Frank says the travel money Chairman Fritts accuses her of receiving is not travel money, instead, it is a salary supplement that was added to the Mayor’s salary back in 1988 during the David Bolling administration. The mayor continued by saying “The salary increase first given to County Executive David Bolling, that was intended to offset his travel, remained intact until the resignation of Mayor Lynch when it was removed at the January 18, 2011 County Commission meeting. The salary supplement was reinstated soon after when Commissioner Myron Iwanski was named as Interim Mayor and continues today. Not only was the supplement reinstated, but it was awarded retroactively, meaning on June 23, 2011, Interim Mayor Iwanski received an additional $2,000 in his paycheck to pay the permanent salary increase dating back to his first day in office as Interim Mayor.” As for a county-owned 1998 Ford Crown Victoria available to county workers through the Mayor’s office, Frank stated that no laws had been broken regarding its use either, saying that she has never driven the car. In her speech, Frank asserted that she has never sought reimbursement from the county for using her personal vehicle to travel on county business nor has she asked for reimbursement for meals or other expenses while on the road representing the county. Frank calls Fritts’ assertion politically motivated and insisted that while there are a “limited number of commissioners who have not gotten past campaign mode,” she is still committed to working with him and the rest of the Commission to move Anderson County forward.
Text Of Mayor Terry Frank’s February 25th Speech
“(Mayor Terry Frank’s remarks, Feb. 15th) I want to thank everyone for coming today to hear the facts, the law, and the truth that I will present today. It is with sadness and a heavy heart that I must even hold this press conference. Anderson County is a wonderful place to live, to work, and do business…and I work each and every day to encourage our team here in government to let that be known.
We have an incredible group of leaders, and if you will examine the list of people who represent you as elected officials, as well as the employees who work for you, you will find many who are leaders not just locally, but have risen to leadership at the state level. And you will find many who are recognized by the state for their accomplishments and expertise.
I want to begin by acknowledging that I have strong positions, firmly held ideas, and beliefs. I am not naïve enough to believe that my election to office was to be met with universal happiness. Many Commissioners actively worked against my campaign, and I hold no grudge against them and won’t. That is how politics works. We are each free to choose who we believe will best serve the people. But as I stepped into my role of governance alongside these Commissioners, I have found my relationship with those who even opposed me on the campaign trail, to be a good one. I know they have ideas how to best advance and serve Anderson County, and they understand I have ideas too. Even if those ideas differ, at the end of the day we know about each other that we all agree what is the best for Anderson County is what we desire. However, there are a limited number of Commissioners who have not moved past campaign mode. And I’m grown up enough to recognize that, and I forgive that because each of us wrestles with our own weaknesses, faults, challenges, and desires.
However, events on February 11th by Commission Chairman Chuck Fritts have led to accusations that have forced me to call this press conference. It is never my desire to play out disagreements in the media, for as leaders, we are to lead first by example. What the public will perceive as bickering, is of zero value to recruiting families, businesses, and industries. It is of no value to the betterment of Anderson County, and it sets no example that I would like our young people to follow. Yet here we are and for that, I offer my sincere and heartfelt apologies. However, because Commissioner Fritts has challenged my very honesty, I cannot be silent. We have so many incredible opportunities ahead of us in Anderson County, yet because Mr. Fritts chose to attack me in the media, I must respond in the media. I am so sorry.
Commissioner Fritts has charged me with taking advantage of taxpayers by using a county car and accepting travel payment.
There are many statements that may be made about me. People in this county may not like my politics, my dress, my method of tackling problems, my governance. But there is one accusation that will never stick, and that is that I would abuse your tax dollars for my own personal enrichment. I have worked on behalf of good government for over 20 years, in fact, I have received Friends of Taxpayer awards and recognition during those years I was running my business and raising my family—recognition from groups like Tennessee Conservative Union and Ben Cunningham of Tennessee Tax Revolt. I not only respect the dollars you have entrusted to me, I guard against using them unnecessarily. My office has been decorated, painted and furnished with my own personal money. Most every pen and paperclip on my desk was purchased at my own expense. I bring in my own Post-It notes. I pay for my own cell phone. Any letter or note card that I feel falls short of being entirely related to my Mayoral office, I stamp with my own roll of stamps—even though many of those notes are written to folks I have met in my role as Mayor. I have purchased flowers as congratulatory tokens for businesses in our community on behalf of Anderson County, but paid for them at my own expense. I go above and beyond and will always do so.
Today, I will first prove that I have violated no laws. I will then show that Mr. Fritts’ charges are entirely politically motivated.
First, I’ll address the law. The travel money Chairman Fritts accuses me of receiving is not travel money. It is a salary supplement that was added to the Mayor’s salary back in 1988 during the David Bolling administration. This money is taxed according to IRS rules and regulations, with monies withheld for FICA and Withholding. It has been subject to those salary requirements since its initial placement, and continues to be treated as salary to this day. Travel money, according to IRS rules, would necessitate a different standard, and one not subject to Withholding or FICA. Travel monies, according to any common accounting practices at all, require proof of travel. The salary increase first given to County Executive David Bolling, that was intended to offset his travel, remained intact until the resignation of Mayor Lynch when it was removed at the January 18, 2011 County Commission meeting. The salary supplement was reinstated soon after when Commissioner Myron Iwanski was named as Interim Mayor and continues today. Not only was the supplement reinstated, but it was awarded retroactively, meaning on June 23, 2011, Interim Mayor Iwanski received an additional $2,000 in his paycheck to pay the permanent salary increase dating back to his first day in office as Interim Mayor.
Because of the retroactive motion approved by Commission, since first enacted in 1988, the salary supplement has never missed one day of being paid under the administrations of Mayors Bolling, Lynch, Alderson, Iwanski and myself. To recap, or repeat, these monies are part of a salary, not a travel code subject to any travel requirements or guidelines or receipts.
The next question concerns the 1998 Crown Vic that was placed in surplus to the Motor Pool by the Ambulance Department and transferred via verbal request from the motor pool to more direct oversight by my department. To understand law, we must first recognize that by law, the Mayor’s office has purview over Motor Pool, Ambulance Service, and Accounting Department. So from the moment this Crown Vic was placed in surplus from the Sheriff’s Department to the Ambulance Department, this very same car has been under the purview of formers Mayor Lynch, Alderson, and Iwanski and from September of 2012, myself, and it has continued under my purview. There was a window of time where somehow, Law Director Jay Yeager became engaged in arranging access to the Crown Vic, though no records can be located how this decision was made. The Crown Vic in question was able to be accessed by county employees, and county employees still have the very same access to the vehicle as before, although no longer going through the Law Director to reserve its use. Transfer of decision making regarding use of the car was placed in the hands of the Mayor’s office and accounting office because of recurring issues regarding the refueling of the vehicle. For instance, Commissioner Fritts drove the said Crown Vic to Nashville in February of 2011. You can almost get to Nashville and back to Clinton on one tank of gas. Rather than returning the car the way he received it, that is, with a full tank of gas, Commissioner Fritts chose to put only three gallons of gas in the vehicle to get him home on the last miles of the trip rather than fill it up and request reimbursement from the appropriate Commission travel code. Instead, he left it up to Motor Pool’s budget to absorb the cost of Commission travel so that Commission’s travel code would only be charged for the three gallons he purchased and requested reimbursement.
With regard to the law, and to our county’s travel policy, would it be a violation of law if I have access to the 1998 Crown Vic, or if I even drove it? No. First, to repeat, the monies included in the salary are just that: salary. Secondly, there is nothing in the travel policy that prohibits the county mayor from using a county vehicle. So by law, if I drive the county car, would it be in violation of law? The answer is no. However, please note for those who still doubt law: I have never driven the Crown Vic. Now I will provide proof that these charges are politically motivated by showing there is an understanding that the salary supplement is salary code and not a travel code.
At the end of May 2011, May 23 to be specific, as Interim Mayor Iwanski was making plans to ask for the salary supplement to be reinstated, he submitted a request for $84.00 in travel money to be advanced to him and on May 24th, a check was issued to him. If he believes the salary supplement is specifically for travel, why would he be asking for an advance on travel money when he is preparing to get monies dating back to his first day in office? On June 8, approximately two weeks later, Interim Mayor Iwanski submitted a Budget Amendment Request to be added to the Budget Committee Agenda for a permanent salary increase. The reasoning is purportedly for personal vehicle expenses. On June 10, Commissioner Fritts as a member of Budget Committee voted to pass Interim Mayor Iwanski’s request for a permanent salary increase. The motion passed. On June 20, 2011, Commissioner Fritts himself moved to full commission to pass Interim Mayor Iwanski’s permanent salary increase, with the intention being to help cover personal vehicle expenses. The motion passed without any discussion. Just one day later, one day---on June 21, 2011 after receiving approval from County Commission for a permanent salary increase--- Interim Mayor Iwanski submits a Travel Expense Report requesting $228 reimbursement for travel he conducted on April 19-20, including $198 for personal vehicle expenses. No written explanation was provided even though any request being submitted 30 days past the travel is required as per Rule #1 of the Comprehensive Travel Policy of Anderson County. But please note, the travel policy states that the County Mayor may make whatever exemptions he/she wishes to the policy; so I am going to assume Interim Mayor Iwanski made an exemption for himself and therefore did not violate the rule. And just one more day later---one day after submitting a request for travel reimbursement and two days after receiving a permanent salary increase approval from Commission---Interim Mayor Iwanski is issued a paycheck with the additional $2,000 added to retroactively pay his permanent salary increase from the time he took office. Mayor Iwanski has other examples of travel reimbursements, such as a request for reimbursement on May 17, 2012 for $188.70 and a request on November 10, 2011 for an advance on travel in the amount of $221.40. These documents are available for your review, both public and media review. In addition, I have documentation that former Mayor Lynch operated under the same standard. That is, both he and Mayor Iwanski viewed their salary supplement as a salary supplement and both submitted forms for travel reimbursement. Documents for Mayor Lynch are also available for public and media review. Former Mayor Bolling, God rest his soul, also submitted requests for travel reimbursement, though archives will have to be accessed to allow public and media review of the specific details.
How does all of this prove that Commissioner Fritts’ charges against me are politically motivated? I think that is simple. Has Commissioner Fritts ever asked any other Mayor to refund to the taxpayer monies they requested for reimbursement? The answer is no.
I would also like to raise the issue of my own request for reimbursements. I do not have a calendar for the first month I took office, as Leean wasn’t with me yet. But I do have some of the mileage I have accrued from October of 2012 to date. Though it does not include all the miles I have travelled, I have accrued over 1,800 miles in travel eligible for reimbursement. So how many miles has your current County Mayor ever requested for reimbursement by your county tax dollars since I took office? Zero. 0. Again, how much would I be eligible to ask for? Over 1,800 miles. And how many have I ever requested reimbursement? Zero. I have also paid fees for parking while attending meetings on the county’s behalf, and I have also paid for meals that I eat while on County business. These fees and per diem expenses are eligible for reimbursement. How many meals or similar fees have I ask for reimbursement from county taxpayers? Zero. 0.
Does this mean I am better than previous Mayors---or better than other county employees? Absolutely not. They are all fully and legally entitled to reimbursement as allowable by law. However, I feel in my heart and gut that we are living in perilous economic times, and I believe it is up to me to go the extra mile in setting an example for those I work with. I want to show them I am sacrificing too. Can I ask for reimbursement and be within the law? The answer is yes. Was it legal for Mayors Bolling, Lynch, and Interim Mayor Iwanski to ask for reimbursement on eligible miles? Yes. Was it legal for Mayors Bolling, Lynch, and Interim Mayor Iwanski to receive a salary supplement, to ask for reimbursement for personal vehicle use, and on occasion utilize a county vehicle, too? The answer is yes.
So if it was OK for those Mayors, and me—Mayor Terry Frank---is not even asking for any travel reimbursement, why is Commissioner Fritts claiming that it is me who owes the taxpayers money and not the previous Mayors?
I think we know why.
I want to close today by saying this: I have nothing but the strongest desire to work with Commissioner Fritts. He serves the very same people I have been elected to serve. And if we are going to grow Anderson County, and make it a better place to live and work, we need to work together. But the record is a record of facts, not of gossip or innuendo. And thank God for that.
Commissioner Fritts has submitted 32 requests for travel reimbursement over his time in office. In all of those except one, he requested travel reimbursement for his own personal vehicle. And for that one time where he used the county-owned Crown Vic, arranged by our Law Director, records show Commission’s travel budget had been reduced so that they could purchase new I-Pads for their use for their office. I’m not making a value judgment on the I-Pads. But what I am saying is that Commissioner Fritts didn’t use the Crown Vic because he wanted to, it was because funds were short in his own travel budget and he was cost shifting to motor pool. While Commissioner Fritts has made false accusations about me, I am not going to go back in time and criticize his every travel reimbursement request. There were times where meals were provided at conferences he attended, yet he claimed per diem for meals. There were times when he requested travel advances well in advance of his travel, for instance, up to two months ahead of time. That is really not best business practice, though certainly not unlawful. But I want to note, one of the very first personal items I brought into my office is this sign. “Whatever the past has been, you have a spotless future.” It wasn’t by accident. Words have meaning. And I believe in the power of words -- and the power of symbolism.
Many feared my governance was going to be an assault on the past. But I am about the future. Whatever the past has been, it has been. And each and every day, the projects—from large to small---are geared towards the future. But the last few days, I’ve had to put off working on our future to deal with aspersions and accusations that have no merit. The time and effort in discerning truth was not all lost, however. We’ve been able to assess ourselves and hope to modernize as part of this process. I have no desire to smear Commissioner Fritts. But I have been smeared. And I stand here today to say I not only abided by the law, I have gone above the call of duty. I cannot speak for Commissioner Fritts. But what I can do is say on behalf of all here in Anderson County, that I am sorry for this public display that has been intended to lead the good people of Anderson County into believing they cannot trust their Mayor, and therefore, their government. I am hopeful Commissioner Fritts will admit he misunderstood the law and misjudged me as a person. I am hopeful to work with him in improving the lives of the people in his district and all the people of Anderson County. May God Bless you here today, and may God Bless all of Anderson County.”
Clinton Woman Killed In OS Wreck
A Clinton woman died in a one-car accident in Oliver Springs on Friday morning. Our partners at Oak Ridge Today report that 67-year-old Wanda Currier had been headed west on East Tri-County Boulevard just after 11 am Friday near Bennett Road when her 2005 Nissan Altima left the side of the road and traveled down a 15-foot embankment, where the car came to rest on its roof after flipping over. Emergency crews had to cut Currier’s seatbelt to remove her from the wreckage but despite their quick response, she died a short time later at Methodist Medical Center. Investigators say they have not yet determined what caused her car to leave the roadway but evidence at the scene suggests that she may have encountered a medical problem before the wreck. Officers reported no signs of drug or alcohol use at the scene and also reported that Ms. Currier appeared to have been traveling at or around the posted speed limit of 45 miles per hour.
Alcoa Officials To Allow ‘Nuisance’ Hotels To Reopen
Two hotels raided and shut down last week in Alcoa will be allowed to reopen but with strict conditions, according to city officials. The Days Inn and the Budget Inn/Royal Extended Stay located next to one another on Alcoa Highway were shut down last week after law enforcement officers conducted a nuisance raid. Officials say that police had to respond to over 750 calls for service for things ranging from drug activity to assault to rape over a five-year span at the two hotels. The owners will be allowed to reopen their doors if they bring both buildings up to code and with the proper permits, install a security camera system that will allow officers to access it remotely at any time, management must cooperate fully with all government officials and remove any unlawful structures on the property. In addition, the terms of the deal also call for the hotels to pay back the $11,219 cost of the raid and allow law enforcement to come on the property at any time. The owners are also being required to hire on-site security guards to patrol the property on the weekends.
Ex-Rockwood Public Works Chief Indicted
The former director of the Rockwood Public Works department has been indicted on seven counts charging him with using city credit cards to purchase over $10,000 worth of guns, ammunition, clothing and other non-work-related items. 48-year-old Thomas William Pierce is charged with four counts of official misconduct, two counts of fraudulent use of a credit card and one count of theft over $10,000. The indictment followed an investigation conducted by the TBI and the State Comptroller’s Office. Pierce resigned his position in April 2012 a few minutes before the Rockwood City Council was scheduled to vote on the mayor’s recommendation that he be fired. He had been on unpaid leave since February of last year, when the allegations were leveled, after serving in his post for 15 years. The indictment was returned Wednesday by a Roane County grand jury and accuses him of using city-owned credit cards to buy guns and other items then tried to cover up the purchases. City officials say that Pierce purchased 13 weapons in 2010, which he said at the time he needed to protect himself from aggressive dogs while on the job.
Arrest Made In February AC Shooting
Investigators with the Anderson County Sheriff’s Department have arrested 30-year-old Jamie Lynn Lowe of Powell in connection to the shooting of his 28-year-old brother Jeffrey Lowe at their mother’s home on Johnson Gap Road near Clinton that occurred on February 1st. Jamie Lowe was arrested Tuesday at a home on Mehaffey Road on a Fugitive from Justice warrant for a parole violation in Michigan. Warrants for attempted second-degree murder and aggravated assault were served on Jamie Lowe at the Anderson County Jail on Wednesday. Bond has been set at $150,000 on the new charges but Lowe is being held without bond on the Fugitive from Justice charge for the parole violation issued after Anderson County investigators contacted parole authorities in Tennessee and Michigan following the shooting. Lowe was on parole for a 2008 Michigan meth conviction. Authorities have not released the motive in the shooting as their investigation is ongoing.
New Company Bringing 500+ Jobs To Blount R&D Park
Officials announced Thursday morning that a new company that manufactures cancer-fighting therapy machines will become the first tenant of Blount County’s Pellissippi Place technology research and development park. ProNova Solutions, according to Governor Bill Haslam, who made the announcement at a Blount County Chamber function this morning, will invest $52 million in what will become the anchor tenant at the park and create over 500 high-paying jobs over the next five years. Current plans call for the construction of two facilities in two phases. Phase one will be a 30,000 square foot two-story office and research building containing a 40,000 square foot assembly and test area. The first phase will start with 35 employees and grow to 110 by 2015. Phase two will add a 120,000 square foot two-story building. A total of 525 employees are expected to by hired by 2018. ProNova Solutions develops equipment used to treat cancer patients using superconducting magnets and other new technologies. The company says the technology provides a significant decrease in tissue damage and other effects of radiation exposure. Pellissippi Place was developed as a regional R&D park by the Economic Development Board of Blount County and its partners, the Knoxville-Oak Ridge Innovation Valley, Blount County, Knox County and the cities of Alcoa and Maryville.
Press release from Gov. Haslam:
Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam and Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bill Hagerty along with ProNova Solutions officials today announced the medial sciences company will locate a headquarters facility and research and commercialization laboratory in Alcoa, Tenn. The announcement represents an investment of $50 million and the creation of 525 new positions in Blount County.
“I want to thank ProNova for their investment in Blount County that will not only benefit our citizens and economy but cancer patients and physicians worldwide,” Haslam said. “Our Jobs4TN strategy includes leveraging our state’s unique assets, such as those in research and development, and the remarkable technology companies like ProNova are creating will help us toward our goal of becoming the No. 1 location in the Southeast for high quality jobs.”
“Our state has a rich history of entrepreneurial success stories, and entrepreneurship and innovation can drive economic growth and create job opportunities for our citizens,” Hagerty said. “Tennessee is a top 10 state when it comes to research and development expenditures, and we are focused on leveraging our state’s extraordinary R&D assets, commercializing new technologies and growing innovative companies right here in the Volunteer State.”
ProNova, in coordination with Provision Health Alliance, is developing next-generation proton therapy technology to treat cancer. Proton therapy benefits include a significant decrease in tissue damage, decrease in debilitating side effects and a decrease in secondary cancers from unnecessary radiation exposure, which brings the potential for patient cost savings by decreasing these complications.
“This is an important milestone for ProNova Solutions that signifies not only the next step in the advancement of proton technology, but it’s also an important investment in the Blount County community,” said Dr. Terry Douglass, Chairman of ProNova Solutions. “With the Provision Center for Proton Therapy located in Knoxville and now the ProNova site in Alcoa, this is truly a regional effort and one we hope will benefit not only the citizens of East Tennessee, but that it will bring the next innovation in cancer treatment to patients and physicians across the globe.”
“This collective effort from many different entities really shows how far we’ve come to realize that an investment like this benefits the area as whole and not just one town, community or county,” said Chuck Alexander, chair of Blount Partnership Economic Development Board. “ProNova’s project is more than double the capital investment than the Blount Partnership has made in the park. Thank you to Pronova for sharing in our vision of building a technology community.
Becoming the anchor tenant at the Pellissippi Place technology research and development park, ProNova will construct two facilities on 26 acres in phases over the next few years. The first phase consists of a 30,000 square foot two-story office and research building with a 40,000 square foot assembly and test area initially supporting 35 employees and growing to 110 by 2015.
Phase two adds a 120,000 square foot two-story building with a projected staff of 110 in 2015 and expanding to a cumulative total of 525 by 2018.
A total of nearly 200,000 square feet will be used upon completion of both phases, including approximately 130,000 in office space and 60,000 of commercialization and research space.
ProNova’s proton therapy system is called the ProNovaSC360 and the first systems will ship in 2015. While it’s a lower-cost, smaller, lighter and more energy efficient proton therapy solution, the SC360 will not sacrifice any clinical capabilities but will add even more benefits not available in current-generation systems. Features include 3D anatomical and functional imaging at the isocenter, 360 degree treatment of the patient and an efficient workflow that mimics traditional radiation therapy.
Provision broke ground in April 2012 on a $119 million proton therapy cancer center at Dowell Springs Business Park off Middlebrook Pike in Knoxville. The 90,000 square-foot facility is expected to open in early 2014 and be able to treat 1,000 patients per year. Additionally, the center will be integrated into the research program at the University of Tennessee to train future medical professionals.
ORT: TVA, B&W Reach SMR Milestone
(Oak Ridge Today) The Tennessee Valley Authority and Babcock and Wilcox announced Wednesday a major step in their joint effort to build and test the nation’s first small modular reactor at TVA’s Clinch River Site in Oak Ridge. TVA and B&W signed a contract Feb. 7 that formalizes the process toward the eventual submittal and Nuclear Regulatory Commission review of a licensing application for a B&W mPower small modular reactor, or SMR, nuclear plant at Clinch River. The agreement is the first definitive milestone in the U.S. Department of Energy’s recently initiated SMR Licensing Technical Support Program, which aims for commercial demonstration of SMRs by 2022. DOE chose TVA in November for cost sharing in the design and licensing of the B&W mPower small modular reactor as part of the mPower America Team. Work under this contract will start at the Clinch River Site once B&W mPower and DOE sign a cooperative agreement for the grant funds. Under the program, DOE will fund as much as 50 percent of the cost of design and licensing. TVA is evaluating the Clinch River Site for potential deployment of up to four B&W SMRs. Some site characterization work is already under way as part of the license application preparation, expected to be submitted to the NRC in 2015. B&W’s mPower reactor is being designed to produce 180 megawatts, about one-sixth the size of large light-water reactors being built today. More of the equipment will be constructed in factories and shipped by rail to the plant site, resulting in reduced construction time and more standardization from plant to plant. Other potential benefits include fully underground containment for improved safety and security, and clean base-load generation capacity in smaller, more flexible, lower-cost increments. TVA has been evaluating SMRs, one of its signature technologies, since 2009, but SMRs are still in the early phase of design and licensing. TVA’s nuclear construction project priority remains completion of Watts Bar Unit 2. As the Clinch River project matures, it will be evaluated at certain progress points to ensure its continuation makes sense for TVA. For more, visit www.oakridgetoday.com.
“In God We Trust” To Be Added To Courthouse
The Anderson County Commission voted 12-4 Tuesday to place the national motto “In God We Trust” on the exterior of the County Courthouse in Clinton. Their approval is contingent upon a review of the plan from a design and legal liability standpoint, which will be handled by Law Director Jay Yeager and members of the Operations Committee. A group of over 50 pastors from churches in the county proposed the idea to County Mayor Terry Frank, who presented the plan with her full endorsement to the County Commission on Tuesday. No public funds will be used for the project. Instead, donations from area churches, businesses and individuals will pay for its installation. The standing-room only crowd was overwhelmingly in favor of placing the motto on the Courthouse with only a few expressing reservations over possible violations of the separation of church and state. The motto will likely be placed either above one of the main entrance doors or on the sides of the building. Yeager and the Operations Committee will research any potential legal roadblocks as well as the possible design of the inscription and where it will be placed. Yeager told commissioners Tuesday that he does not foresee any legal issues with placing the phrase on the Courthouse as it has been upheld in the past by federal appeals court as not being a violation of the separation of church and state. The phrase, adopted as the national motto in 1956, also appears on money and at the US Capitol.
Texas Murder Suspect Nabbed In Blount
The Blount County Sheriff’s Office says that a 26-year-old Texas man is in its custody after deputies arrested him late Thursday as a person of interest in the disappearance of a Texas woman who was later found dead. 26-year-old Jason David Latham is in custody at the Blount County Detention Facility awaiting extradition back to Texas. Last Thursday, the Sheriff's Office received information from authorities in Orange County, Texas, that Latham might be en route to Blount County, where he has family. During the course of the investigation, Sheriff's Office Criminal Investigation Division and patrolmen tracked Latham to a residence on Magill Avenue where they took him into custody at around 8 p.m. Thursday night. The next morning, a Texas Ranger and an officer from the Orange, Texas Police Department, traveled to Blount County to interview Latham in connection with the disappearance of 41-year-old Tami Diane Higginbotham, of Vinton, Texas, who had been missing since February 8 when she told her family she was going to meet Latham about a cell phone exchange. After Texas authorities interviewed Latham Friday afternoon at the Blount County Detention Facility, authorities found Higginbotham's body in a wooded area in Newton County, which is north of Beaumont. A woman who traveled with Latham to Maryville was interviewed Friday and released. Latham is awaiting extradition to Texas, which could take several days.
Clinton Man Arrested On Theft, Drug Charges
A Clinton man was arrested Friday in Oliver Springs after he allegedly tried to sell a stolen truck and utility trailer to a scrap metal business. Oliver Springs Police were called to Tri-County Metals on Friday on a report of a suspicious individual. Employees told police that 29-year-old Nathan Bradley Welch had tried to sell them a Ford F150, a trailer and some diesel fuel tanks but did not have the titles for the truck or the trailer nor any information about the tanks. Police followed Welch as he left the business and observed him driving somewhat erratically. Welch pulled into the parking lot of another business on Tri-County Boulevard and tried to flee on foot but his escape was hampered when he was unable to put the truck into park and it almost backed over him. He was taken into custody and officers found four syringes in the truck along with other drug paraphernalia and burglary tools. Officers also found a screwdriver in the ignition that Welch had apparently been using to start the stolen vehicle. He was charged with felony theft, possession of drugs and drug paraphernalia, possession of burglary tools, tampering with evidence, driving on a suspended or revoked license—third offense—and several moving violations. A passenger in the truck identified as 44-year-old Glenn Luckey of Lake City was charged with one count of possession of drug paraphernalia. Both men are free on bond.
ACSD Arrests 2 In Meth Investigation
Two men were arrested on meth-related charges Thursday in Anderson County. Community Corrections Officer Melody Gregory requested that a deputy accompany her to a required visit to the home of Matthew Swatzell on New Clear Branch Road. She told Deputy Jason Leach she had received information that Swatzell might be making meth and have weapons and that she was not comfortable visiting the home by herself. The pair arrived at the house and knocked on the door but got no answer. While waiting, Leach walked around the side of the house and found in plain sight two one-pot bottles in the yard. Leach also found several meth precursors in plain sight. A search warrant was obtained and officers made contact with four people inside the house, including Swatzell, his mother, his girlfriend and a man identified as Bobby Phipps. Officers searched Swatzell’s room and found evidence of a meth lab under his bed but nothing else inside the house. Under a tin shed on the property, deputies recovered three more one-pot labs as well as numerous other chemicals and components associated with meth production. After an investigation Swatzell and Phipps were each charged with one count of the manufacture, delivery or sale of a controlled substance and initiating the manufacture of meth. Swatzell is being held on a $50,000 bond while Phipps, who also picked up a probation violation charge, is in custody on a $100,000 bond.
TDOT Unveils New State Map
The official 2013 Tennessee Transportation Map is now available for travelers. This year’s map contains new information to assist motorists, including the recently completed State Route 840 in southern Middle Tennessee. This is the first state map in 26 years to show the completed route that bypasses Nashville and provides access to Interstate 40 east and west of Nashville, Interstate 24, and Interstate 65. “The state map is a valuable tool for motorists, and can assist them in planning their route through Tennessee,” said TDOT Commissioner John Schroer. “The map is free and is also available at welcome centers and rest areas across the state.” The 2013 state map can also be downloaded from the TDOT web site at www.tn.gov/tdot/maps.htm. Pre-printed maps may be ordered from TDOT online at www.tn.gov/tdot/MapOrder/maporder.htm or by mailing a request to:
Tennessee Department of Transportation
505 Deaderick Street
James K. Polk Building, Suite 900
Nashville, Tennessee 37243-0345
Individuals may request up to five free maps. Organizations and schools may order up to one hundred maps for their use. The Official 2013 Tennessee Transportation Map is a joint effort between TDOT and the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development.
AC Beer Board Yanks Controversial Permit
The Anderson County Beer Board met Tuesday night (2/12) for a show-cause hearing on the controversial beer permit issued to the Silver Dollar Saloon on Clinton Highway in Claxton and unanimously voted to revoke the bar’s beer permit after numerous irregularities and inconsistencies were found on the application for the permit. The bar was granted a beer license thanks to a loophole in state laws last year despite the fact that it is within about 300 feet of a church. Anderson County’s beer ordinance requires bars to be at least 810 feet away from churches but in this case, the Silver Dollar Saloon is in the former home of Smokes and Boats, which predated The Rock Ministry Center and had its beer permit grandfathered after the church opened a few years ago. The loophole in state law allows a license for on-premises beer sales at a business if it is obtained within six months of the previous license-holder’s departure. In this case, though, conflicting accounts of who actually owned and managed the saloon negated that rule and the permit was revoked.
State Ranked High On List Of Best-Run States
Tennessee is ranked among the top three states in the nation according to a leading financial publication. Barron’s, The Dow Jones Business and Financial Weekly, has released their “Best and Worst Run States,” showing the nation’s healthiest balance sheets belong to South Dakota, Iowa and Tennessee. “We have worked very hard over the past several years to keep our state on sound financial footing, even if it meant painful budgetary decisions,” said Senate Finance Committee Chairman Randy McNally. “Like with family budgets, debt is one of the worst pitfalls in financial planning, particularly in lean economic times like we have experienced over the past several years.” The ranking was based on analysis from Eaton Vance, a leading manager of municipal funds. The analysis measures a ratio of each state’s combined debt and unfunded pension liabilites, relative to their GDP. Tennessee had a debt plus pension liability to GDP of 1.5% as compared to Connecticut, which was ranked the most vulnerable state in the nation with a 17.1% ratio. Illinois and Hawaii also ranked among the lowest three states. “We have taken a very fiscally prudent path in our state finances,” added Chairman McNally. “I appreciate the acknowledgement by this publication that shows our efforts to keep Tennessee’s finances as sound as possible.”
Alcoa Moves To Shut Down 2 ‘Nuisance’ Motels
Authorities in Alcoa have filed a Petition of Abatement of Nuisance against the owners and operators of two motels located off of Alcoa Highway and closed both businesses. Police raided the Days Inn and the Budget Inn Royal Extended Stay motels, located next door to each other, on Thursday and ordered over two dozen people to vacate the premises. The nuisance complaint states that the hotels are “an establishment where illegal drugs and quarreling, fights and breaches of the peace are rampant among its patrons and visitors, with full knowledge and approval of the owners and managers of the property and hotels.” Between January 1st, 2007 and December 31st, 2012, Alcoa Police responded to 755 calls at the hotels, including reports of rape, drug crimes, fights and thefts. 159 people were arrested on the property during that time. Police say they have contacted the company that owns the businesses, Mani Associates in Hermitage, numerous times over the past several years about the problems on the property but nothing was ever done. The case is expected to be heard next week in Blount County Circuit Court.
OR Neighborhood Watch Program Race, Fundraiser
On April 20, 2013 the Oak Ridge Neighborhood Watch Program will host a 5K race and community event to raise funds for the program. The race will begin and end on Badger Ave behind the American Museum of Science and Energy. The race will start at 8:30 a.m. and the fun, food, and games will begin at 10:00 am immediately following the race awards ceremony. The Oak Ridge Neighborhood Watch Program (ORNWP) began in 2005 with Sergeant Shannah Newman partnered with a handful of citizens. The program has since grown to approximately 1000 members, 180 blocks, 21 districts, and an executive board of citizen volunteers. These dedicated residents are very active in crime prevention and caring for their neighbors. The ORNWP works very closely with the police department to find long term solutions to community concerns. Parking for this event will be available in the lower half of the museum parking lot and at the Oak Ridge Civic Center. To register for the race or to get more information about the event, visit www.neighborhoodwatch5k.com or find them on Facebook. Many sponsorship opportunities are available. If interested, contact Community Resource Officer Daniel McFee at email@example.com or (865) 556-6696, visit the city’s website at www.oakridgetn.gov .
ORT: Florida Woman Sues Clinton Motel
(Oak Ridge Today) A freelance author and illustrator from Florida has sued the Red Roof Inn in Clinton for up to $400,000 over a leg laceration she says she received while staying at the hotel in August. Lauretta J. Evans, 76, said she was on her way home to Florida on Aug. 7 when she stopped at the Red Roof Inn on Buffalo Road, according to a lawsuit filed in Anderson County Circuit Court on Feb. 8. As she prepared to go to sleep, Evans said, she sat on a bed in the room and “immediately felt a sharp and intense pain in her lower left leg. Plaintiff looked down to see that she had sustained a severe laceration to her lower left leg, and perceived that she was bleeding profusely,” the lawsuit said. It said emergency medical personnel were called to the scene, and Evans was taken to the University of Tennessee Medical Center in Knoxville. The lawsuit alleged that a cap on the horizontal support bar of the bed frame extended out several inches from the box spring, and the cap, made of a stone-like material, was chipped, creating a sharp edge. The sharp edge was hidden by a bed skirt draped over the box spring, “concealing the sharp edge from plaintiff’s view,” the lawsuit said. “This concealed sharp edge constituted a dangerous condition that represented a latent defect undiscoverable by the plaintiff,” the lawsuit said. The Red Roof Inn, also referred to in the lawsuit as Sant Partnership, had a duty to keep its place of business, including rooms assigned to patrons such as Evans, free of “latent defects and dangerous conditions,” the suit said. It said Evans continues to be treated for infection and other complications from the laceration, and it said the widow has had medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, and scarring and disfigurement.
Merle, Jack Ryan Nominated For ACM Awards
The staff of radio station Merle 96.7 (WMYL/Knoxville) was pleased to learn today that it has received two nominations by The Academy of Country Music. Merle FM is nominated for Station of the Year – Medium Market. Jack Ryan, host of Merle’s Afternoon Drive show, is nominated for On-Air Personality of the Year. “This is becoming a banner year for us,” says station owner Ron Meredith. “Our audience has grown incredibly in such a short period of time. We’re East Tennesseans. We program our music to East Tennesseans. And Jack Ryan brought a loyal audience of East Tennesseans with him when he joined Merle FM. In a market that in the past has been dominated by huge heritage stations flush with corporate dollars, we are proud to have achieved such recognition while remaining a local community radio station. It’s an honor to have this much support for what we’re doing here.” Jack Ryan, host of The Afternoon Drive on Merle FM, is a native East Tennessean, having worked in East Tennessee radio practically all of his adult life. “All of this support is a blessing, and it’s humbling. I get free reign with what I say and do on the air. The corporate office of this station is five steps away from my microphone, and says yes quickly to new ideas. When the listeners are calling in and requesting songs you’re already playing, and they’re showing up for our events, you know you’re on the right track.” Both Meredith and Ryan started their radio careers while in high school. At age 25, Meredith purchased his first station, initially sleeping in a sleeping bag in an upstairs apartment at his flagship station WYSH AM 1380 in Clinton. So far he has bought, sold, operated, or signed on more than ten radio stations in the area. Meredith owns WYSH/AM 1380 FM 101.1 in Clinton, WGAP AM 1400 in Maryville, and WMYL 96.7 Merle FM in Knoxville with an eye on continued growth in East Tennessee. Ryan is a Knoxville native and has been in country radio for 12 years. Ryan has won a CMA award, and this would be his first ACM. A nomination in this category means the association has chosen his show as one of the top five country shows across America.
ORPD Chief Once Again Helps Make Arrests
Oak Ridge Police Chief James Akagi helped arrest two suspects Monday night, a week after chasing down and tackling one of two suspects following a vehicle and foot pursuit. Akagi spotted a suspicious van at the former home of Paragon Athletic Club on Monday and pulled the vehicle over. Akagi noted that there was a large heat and air unit in the back of the truck and reported that it appeared to have been cut from the fitness center. In addition to the heat and air unit, officers also found several burglary tools in the truck. 40-year-old Robert Talley and 36-year-old David Daniels, both of Clinton, were arrested and taken to the Anderson County Jail. Talley was charged with theft over $10,000, possession of burglary tools, vandalism over $1000 and driving on a suspended or revoked license. Daniels faces the same charges as Talley but replaces the driving on a suspended or revoked license charge with one for possession of a narcotic for resale. At last check, both men remained in custody at the Anderson County.
THP: Campbell Man Killed In Wreck
A 37-year-old Lafollette man was killed in a single-vehicle accident Wednesday afternoon, according to the Tennessee Highway Patrol. The accident occurred shortly before 5:15 pm Wednesday on Cedar Creek Road. Troopers report that Dallas Law Jr. had been headed west when he lost control of his 2007 Ford Mustang while negotiating a curve and ran off the roadway, where the car went over an embankment. He was wearing his seatbelt.
Merle FM Nominated For 2 ACMs
Congratulations to our sister station WMYL, Merle FM for its two Academy of Country Music Award nominations. The nominations were announced Wednesday morning and Merle FM is up for Medium Market Radio Station of the Year and “Afternoon Drive” host Jack Ryan is up for Medium Market Radio Personality of the Year. The awards will be announced live on Sunday April 7th at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, a ceremony that will be televised live on CBS.
Finally! OR Mall Sold
The Oak Ridge Mall has finally sold. The lack of retail activity at the nearly-vacant mall has frustrated residents, city officials, and business leaders for several years. Wednesday morning, however, the Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce announced that the property has been sold. Crosland Southeast signed a contract in late January to purchase the mall, which has been for sale since last summer, from Oak Ridge City Center LLC, the Chamber of Commerce said. No purchase price was announced. Oak Ridge Mayor Tom Beehan said, “The lack of retail and sales tax leakage have been huge issues to everyone who lives in Oak Ridge for a number of years. Crosland Southeast has a solid reputation for taking shopping centers like the Oak Ridge Mall and turning them into thriving, quality developments. This is a great day for Oak Ridge! ” Though site plans have not been developed yet, Crosland Southeast plans to create a mixed-use center, which would include retail, restaurants, office space and more.
(Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce) Crosland Southeast, a retail and mixed-use development firm with roots spanning three-quarters of a century, has signed a contract to purchase Oak Ridge City Center, previously the Oak Ridge Mall, from Oak Ridge City Center, LLC. The two companies came to agreement and signed a purchase contract in late January. Crosland Southeast is currently conducting its due diligence. It is anticipated that demolition of the current mall could begin by early 2014. The principals of Crosland Southeast have successfully developed over 24 million square feet of retail and mixed-use projects, most notably in the Carolinas, including Biltmore Park Town Square, a 790,000 square foot mixed-use development in Asheville, NC. They have also developed Providence Marketplace, an 835,293 square foot mixed-use development in Mount Juliet, TN, just outside of Nashville. Oak Ridge Mayor Tom Beehan said, “The lack of retail and sales tax leakage have been huge issues to everyone who lives in Oak Ridge for a number of years. Crosland Southeast has a solid reputation for taking shopping centers like the Oak Ridge Mall and turning them into thriving, quality developments. This is a great day for Oak Ridge! ” Stephen Whitson, Chairman of the Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce’s board of directors and President of H-S Whitson Construction Company said, “This is exciting news for Oak Ridge. Crosland Southeast is a quality development company with a proven track record of redeveloping and revitalizing shopping centers all over the southeast.” Leigha Edwards of UT-Battelle/ORNL and Chair of the Chamber’s Retail, Commercial and Residential Growth area commented, “This is a true win for this community – and one that’s been a long time coming.” Mark Watson, Oak Ridge City Manager said, “This is a project that really exemplifies how development, both retail and economic, is a marathon and not a sprint. It has taken many years of hard work, relationship building, tough decision making, and connecting the right buyer with the mall owners to get headed in the right direction. I want to applaud the efforts of both the City and the Chamber to bring us to this point. This is proof of how working together can achieve results for a better city.” According to Parker Hardy, President and CEO of the Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce, “The Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce and the City began conversations with Crosland Southeast about this project in the fall of last year. The Chamber and City have worked with at least five serious prospective buyers since public announcement last summer that the mall was for sale. I can tell you that I am truly excited about this company and about their vision for a quality development.” Ray Evans, Economic Development Consultant for the City of Oak Ridge said, “From the beginning of this process the City clearly expressed the community’s vision for the redevelopment of the former mall property. That vision is for a true mixed use town center with retail, commercial, residential, hospitality and public components. Not every prospect we met with embraced that vision. Crosland Southeast did. I believe that their development plan can be truly transformative for the community.” Though site plans have not been developed yet, Crosland Southeast plans to create a mixed-use center, which would include retail, restaurants, office space and more. Tim Sittema, a Crosland Southeast partner, said, “The help we have received from both the Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce and the City of Oak Ridge has been very valuable in moving forward with this exciting redevelopment. In fact, a key factor in the confidence we feel in moving forward is the obvious close collaboration that exists between the City and the Chamber of Commerce. We are excited about continuing this partnership as we bring a vibrant center into the market. We feel the Oak Ridge market is under-served in terms of retail and feel very positive about the retailers we believe we can bring to this new center. We look forward to being part of the retail market in Oak Ridge.” In regards to the impact the shopping center will have on the Oak Ridge City Center (formerly the Oak Ridge Mall), Hardy said, “The Crosland Southeast project will allow retailers who have been interested in locating in Oak Ridge for a long time a very viable option. For several years, as we’ve attended retail real estate conventions, we’ve been asked what’s happening with the mall. We’re pleased to now have an answer to that question and are optimistic that this will bring a retail upswing to the City. We know that Crosland Southeast has the relationships with retailers to bring shopping and dining options Oak Ridgers and our neighboring cities and surrounding communities have been asking for.”
Maryville Man Jailed After Meth Lab Motel Fire
The Blount County Sheriff ‘s Office says that a 44-year-old Maryville man is in custody following a fire in a room at the Princess Motel on U.S. Highway 411 South early Tuesday morning. Roger Pete Porter is being held on a $75,000 bond at the Blount County Detention Facility pending a hearing in Blount County General Sessions Court at 9 a.m. February 20th. Porter is charged with initiating the process of the manufacture of methamphetamine. A female was taken into custody for investigation, but released with no charges. Maryville Police and Fire departments responded to the Princess Motel at around 2:15 am today to a fire alarm at the motel. When they arrived, they found a fire in one of the units. Maryville Police made entry into the room, and found what appeared to be a methamphetamine lab. Investigators with the Fifth Judicial Drug Task Force arrived, and after interviewing Porter, they learned Porter was in the process of manufacturing methamphetamine when the lab caught on fire. An individual in a neighboring room was treated for smoke inhalation after he attempted to extinguish the fire with a fire extinguisher prior to the arrival of the Maryville Fire Department. Porter and a female who was in the room with Porter were decontaminated by MFD at the scene. The Maryville Police and Fire departments responded, as well as Rural/Metro Ambulance Service. The Tennessee Methamphetamine Task Force was on the scene to dispose of the hazardous materials. This marks the sixth meth lab the Drug Task Force has worked this year.
OR Council Awards 1st Jackson Square Contract
Monday, the Oak Ridge City Council voted unanimously to award a $150,000 to a Knoxville company that will help with the first phase of the $1 million project to revamp and renovate historic Jackson Square. The contract went to Vaughn and Melton Consulting Engineering Inc., which will help with services that will include deed research, field surveys, preliminary plans and construction estimates. The work is part of a project being funded by a TDOT Enhancement Grant announced last year by Governor Bill Haslam. Enhancements at Jackson Square could include a reconfigured and landscaped parking lot as well as new sidewalks, benches and other amenities. City officials say that Jackson Square merchants are already well on their way toward improving the first town center of the once-Secret City, including a new bank, new eateries and a renovated Oak Ridge Playhouse. The TDOT grant has a budget of roughly $1 million and the state will pay 80% of the construction costs, or roughly $800,000. In all, the city will pay the remaining 20% of the construction cost as well as the cost of professional design services, which works out to approximately $280,000. Officials hope the project can be complete in time for the annual Lavender Festival in June of 2014. (Information from Oak Ridge Today was used in this story)
Company Donates $100K To OR Dog Park Project
Radio Systems Corp. has agreed to give Oak Ridge $100,000 through Legacy Parks to help build a dog park, according to a Friday press release that said PetSafe will partner with Oak Ridge to build the dog park within Big Turtle Park on the west end of the city. “We are delighted with PetSafe’s decision to help us build a dog park in Oak Ridge, and greatly appreciate the company’s investment in our community,” Oak Ridge City Manager Mark Watson said. “As the owner of three dogs, I look forward to bringing my own pets to the new park on a regular basis.” Oak Ridge Recreation and Parks Director Josh Collins said the donation helps achieve a long-term community goal. “The Oak Ridge Dog Park Committee has followed with great interest the construction of PetSafe dog parks in the Knoxville area over last few years, and recently met with Knox County officials to discuss best practices from the county’s construction,” Collins said in the press release. “Construction of an off-leash area has long been a desire of the community and will be a major addition to our park system.” The Dog Park Committee could report on the grant during a Thursday meeting of the Oak Ridge Recreation and Parks Board. That meeting starts at 7 p.m. in the Oak Ridge Civic Center Social Room. For more on this story, visit our partners at Oak Ridge Today at www.oakridgetoday.com.
(Radio Systems Corp. Press Release) Radio Systems Corporation has allocated $100,000 through Legacy Parks to support the city of Oak Ridge in building a dog park. “At Radio Systems, we are always looking for ways we can give back to our community,” said Randy Boyd, Founder and CEO of Radio Systems Corporation, maker of the PetSafe Brand. “We’ve seen the incredibly positive impact dog parks have made on communities and we are excited to continue this effort in East Tennessee. We know Oak Ridgers and their dogs will enjoy a PetSafe dog park.” PetSafe will partner with the City to build the dog park within Big Turtle Park on the west end of the city. “We are delighted with PetSafe’s decision to help us build a dog park in Oak Ridge, and greatly appreciate the company’s investment in our community,” said Oak Ridge City Manager Mark Watson. “As the owner of three dogs, I look forward to bringing my own pets to the new park on a regular basis.” According to Recreation and Parks Director Josh Collins, the donation helps achieve a long-term community goal. “The Oak Ridge Dog Park Committee has followed with great interest the construction of PetSafe dog parks in the Knoxville area over last few years, and recently met with Knox County officials to discuss best practices from the county’s construction. Construction of an off leash area has long been a desire of the community and will be a major addition to our park system.”
AC School Security Good But Improving
During a joint workshop between the Anderson County Commission and the Anderson County School Board Thursday, schools’ security director Joe Fogerty outlined security measures already in place across the system and discussed future plans for school security. Fogerty told a large crowd in the Clinton Middle School auditorium that there are currently eight uniformed, armed School Resource Officers and a DARE officer patrolling the county’s two high schools, four middle schools and alternative school and those officers are available to answer calls at the nearby elementary schools. Fogerty also said that there are currently 259 surveillance cameras in nine of the county schools and that similar cameras are being installed on school buses. Many of the security upgrades currently being undertaken were started before the December school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut and include requiring all school employees from administrators to bus drivers to wear photo ID badges. Also in the works for several months now are comprehensive emergency response plans for all 18 county schools that include detailed floor plans and evacuation routes that cover a wide range of emergency scenarios from a shooting to severe weather. Following the presentation, members of the County Commission and School Board agreed to pass a joint resolution creating a school security task force to be chaired by Fogerty and include law enforcement and school officials. Representatives of the Clinton and Oak Ridge city school systems will also be invited to join the task force, which is expected to have recommendations ready to submit to the Commission and School Board within six to eight weeks.
TDOT Worker Resigns After DUI Crash
A TDOT employee accused of drunk driving in Oak Ridge last week resigned Thursday according to state officials. 56-year-old William Hays Halbert of Knoxville was charged with first-offense DUI and refusal to take a blood-alcohol test following a traffic accident Friday morning at the intersection of Oak Ridge Turnpike and Louisiana Avenue. Police say that Halbert had been headed east on the Turnpike in a state-owned Ford F150 at around 10:30 am last Friday when he ran the red light at Louisiana and collided with a Chevy Silverado being driven by a 20-year-old man. No serious injuries were reported. Officers noted that Halbert smelled of alcohol, had bloodshot eyes and slurred speech at the time of the wreck.
ORT: No Horsing Around, Rescue A Success
Oak Ridge firefighters and animal control officers rescued a horse stuck in a trailer with its hoof above its head near Oak Ridge Turnpike and Louisiana Avenue on Wednesday afternoon. Our partners at Oak Ridge Today report that the horse was being hauled from Anderson County to Second Chance Youth Ranch in Sweetwater when it apparently put at least one hoof up on a shelf inside the trailer and then broke through the shelf, getting stuck. A pair of passing motorists realized the horse had fallen while driving behind the trailer and they immediately alerted the animal’s owner and the truck’s driver, Boone Hackney of Sweetwater, who pulled over. They also called 911. The horse was said to be on its left side under steel bars inside the trailer when firefighters arrived. Its hoof was stuck up in the shelf. Firefighters used tools to remove steel from around the horse’s hoof and cut out the steel bars, which divided the horse trailer into two stalls. Oak Ridge animal control officers and an area veterinarian responded and determined that the horse, a quarter horse about eight years old, had sprained its right front leg. They stitched the horse’s nose and leg, and the animal now needs rest and medicine. She was loaded into a new trailer and brought to Sweetwater. Hackney said the horse, which had been given to him in Anderson County, would be used at Second Chance Youth Ranch, a church ministry that teaches children to ride horses at no charge.
EVC: Center Employees Donate To UWAC
Emory Valley Center recently presented a check for $16,320 to Tom Hilton from Y-12 Federal Credit Union, the 2012 United Way Chair. “United Way is a generous donor to Emory Valley Center, and we as employees felt the best way to let the agency know of our appreciation was to contribute to the fund campaign,” said Heather Gann, EVC United Way Leader. “United Way of Anderson County is such a support system to so many agencies, and we are also a support system to adults and children with intellectual and developmental disabilities; it just seemed a natural fit.” “We so much appreciate the donation of the many Emory Valley Center employees,” Hilton said. “We are pleased to assist agencies such as Emory Valley Center as they do so much for the community.”
Man Sentenced To 60 Years On Sex Charges
Last week, a former Clinton man was sentenced on his convictions on charges of aggravated rape, aggravated child abuse and child abuse. 23-year-old Zachary James Pence received the maximum sentence of 60 years behind bars for digitally raping a three-year-old girl and beating her and her 14-month-old brother with a flyswatter handle. The sentence was handed down Friday. Pence was arrested in August of 2009 on a three-count indictment charging him with crimes that occurred in July of that year. He was the boyfriend of the children’s mother. Both children suffered injuries and a jury needed less than an hour last June to convict Pence on all three charges. During last year’s trial, his mother 44-year-old Ruby Jean Miller of Clinton was charged with aggravated perjury after she testified that she could not recognize her own handwriting on a statement she gave to investigators and that she did not remember taking the two young victims and their mother to a Knoxville hospital in July of 2009.
Lake City Man Pleads To Child-Sex Crimes
A Lake City man was placed on supervised probation after pleading guilty to two sex-related charges last week. 38-year-old Larry James Poore was originally indicted on a charge of child rape in connection with an incident involving a 12-year-old girl in April of 2008 but pleaded guilty last week to solicitation of a minor and was given a nine-year prison sentence, suspended on time served. He also pleaded guilty to a second indictment charging him with aggravated statutory rape stemming from another incident with a 13-year-old girl on the same day as the first victim and received a suspended three year sentence behind bars. In all, Poore will spend the next eight years and seven months on probation, will wear a GPS monitoring device for at least one year, register as a sex offender and stay away from both victims and all children under the age of 18. He was given credit for five months already served in the county jail.
OS, RC, OR Crews Handle Leak
Emergency crews responded to a leak of potentially dangerous sulfur dioxide at the Oliver Springs wastewater treatment plant on Wednesday morning. A worker arrived at the facility at around 8 am Wednesday and heard an alarm sounding inside the building. When he looked inside, he saw an indicator alerting personnel to the gas leak. Crews from the Oak Ridge and Oliver Springs Fire Departments responded to the scene along with the Roane County Emergency Management Agency. Some neighbors living close to the plant were advised to shelter in place while crews addressed the situation. Two cylinders of sulfur dioxide reportedly attached through a manifold turned out to be leaking from what is believed to have been a faulty valve. Officials say the leak was not significant. Sulfur dioxide is used in treating wastewater.
OR Police Chief Involved In Chase
Oak Ridge Police Chief James Akagi proved Monday that there is no such thing as a desk job when you are a police officer. Shortly after 5 pm Monday, Akagi was driving an unmarked cruiser when a Ford Explorer driving at a high rate of speed almost struck him from behind, forcing the chief to take evasive action to avoid being hit. Akagi began pursuing the SUV and called for backup. The Explorer crossed the centerline on numerous roads several times and blew through stop signs and traffic lights before the two men inside bailed out on Spellman Avenue. The two suspects ran across a field and Akagi caught up to and tackled 22-year-old Justin Harris while the backup officers subdued and arrested 26-year-old Landon Thomas, the driver. Both men were charged with evading arrest and resisting arrest while Thomas was also charged with reckless driving and Harris with a probation violation. Both men are free on bond.
Houston Property Given To Ex-Lawyer
Tuesday, a Roane County judge gave control over the Houston family farm south of the Tennessee River to Leon Houston’s former attorney Jim Logan. Logan defended the older of the two brothers, Leon, in two double-murder trials stemming from a May 11, 2006 shootout on the brothers’ property in Ten Mile. Leon’s first trial in the deaths of Roane County Deputy Bill Jones and his ride-along partner Mike Brown ended in a hung jury while he was acquitted on all charges in his second trial. Logan did not defend Rocky Houston, who also beat the charges against him in the incident. The brothers claim that the lawmen came on to their property firing and that they defended themselves while prosecutors argued that the Houstons had ambushed Jones and Brown as they arrived. The Houston family put up part of the family farm as collateral to pay for legal fees but Logan was never paid as Leon Houston argued that Logan had never been legally appointed as his lawyer. Logan foreclosed on the property in 2011 but no buyer was ever found so Tuesday a judge granted him control over the land to pay off the debt. The first thing Logan did was drive to the farm and start knocking down signs placed there by the brothers accusing him and other officials at all levels of government of corruption, civil-rights violations and insurance fraud. One sign that was on the property last year had featured pictures of Jones’ and Brown’s bodies after the shooting. Both brothers are currently in custody awaiting trials on federal guns charges—Rocky for being a felon in possession of firearms and Leon for possessing a firearm while smoking marijuana. Their trials have been scheduled for late March.
Follow-Up: Heroin Bust In Claxton
Following up on a story we brought you online Monday with the assistance of our partners at Oak Ridge Today, two men remain in custody at the Anderson County Jail following their arrests on a variety of drug-related charges last week. According to incident reports, deputies from the Anderson County Sheriff’s Department used a confidential source to make three separate purchases of heroin from 28-year-old Joe Fentress Butler at Butler’s house on Coconut Lane in Claxton last week, ranging from $25 to $100 worth. Each transaction was recorded with a digital recorder and before the undercover operative went in, deputies cataloged the serial numbers of the cash to be used in making the deal. Investigators determined that Butler was being supplied with heroin by 38-year-old Charles Randolph Johnson, who lives with him at the Coconut Lane home. Authorities served a search warrant at the house Thursday morning and took both men into custody on charges that include the manufacture, delivery or sale of a controlled substance, violating a drug-free school zone (as Claxton Elementary School is approximately 1000 feet from the house) and possession of drug paraphernalia. Johnson was also charged with criminal impersonation after first giving officers a false name. When arrested, Johnson had almost $2000 in cash on him including at least one bill from each of the earlier drug transactions. Investigators also found approximately a pound of heroin individually packaged for resale inside the home along with two ounces of marijuana. The men are expected to appear in court next week.
ORT: Woman Escapes Injury When Car Slides Into Lake
According to our partners at Oak Ridge Today, a Clinton woman was uninjured Saturday morning when her SUV slid off the side of an icy Melton Lake Drive in Oak Ridge and ended up in the Clinch River. 55-year-old Debby Hillman had been headed south on Melton Lake at around 11 am Saturday when she lost control of her Nissan Pathfinder on a slick spot, crossed over the opposite lane and left the roadway, with her vehicle ending up in the water north of Emory Valley Road and Melton Lake Park. She was able to get out safely and was uninjured in the wreck. At last check, her vehicle remained at the bottom of the river and it remains unclear as to when it will be removed.
Man Facing DUI, Other Charges After Blount Wreck
A Louisville man has been charged with several offenses stemming from a Sunday night traffic accident in Walland. 23-year-old Cole Houston Williamson of Louisville was driving north on East Lamar Alexander Parkway between Hatcher’s Cut and Fence Rail Gap Road just before 7:00 Sunday night when his Nissan SUV crossed the center line and collided head on with a Ford Expedition carrying seven people, including four children. All seven people inside the Expedition were transported to UT Medical Center by ambulance with what have been described as non-life-threatening injuries. Williamson and his passenger were not injured in the crash. Williamson was charged with two counts of vehicular assault and one count each of DUI, reckless driving, failure to maintain a lane and a host of other moving violations. He is due in a Blount County Courtroom next week. The Tennessee Highway Patrol, the Blount County Sheriff’s Office, Rural/Metro and the Townsend and Blount County Fire Departments responded to the scene.
Secret City Vendor Applications Available
Attention Exhibitors, Arts & Crafts and Food Vendors! The Secret City Festival invites you to participate in the fun and excitement of Secret City Festival 2013!
When: June 21 and 22, 2013
Where: Oak Ridge Civic Center Grounds
Applications may be obtained from the Civic Center front desk, www.SecretCityFestival.com or by calling the Information Line at (865) 425-3610. Leave your name, address and type of application you wish to have mailed to you.
ORT: Heroin Found In Claxton Drug Operation
(Oak Ridge Today) Using a confidential source, authorities were able to buy heroin three times from a Powell home, and when they served a search warrant Thursday, they found about one ounce of the powerful drug inside the house, Anderson County Sheriff’s Department incident reports said. The home is on Coconut Lane, about 1,000 feet from Claxton Elementary School. The reports said the Sheriff’s Department, including Investigator Ryan T. Williams, was able to use the confidential source to make three separate purchases of heroin last week from Joe Fentress Butler, 28, of 156 Coconut Lane. Two of the purchases were for $25 worth of heroin and one was for $100, the reports said. The confidential source was given a digital recorder to record the conversation with Butler, and investigators recorded the serial numbers on the money before giving it to the confidential source, the reports said. The source allegedly bought the drug after a short conversation with Butler and then turned it over to investigators. The drug field tested positive for heroin, the reports said. Authorities said an investigation found that Charles Randolph Johnson, 38, supplied the heroin to Butler for resale. Johnson, who also lives at the Coconut Lane home, had $1,959 in cash, and at least one U.S. bill used in each of the three previous drug buys, the reports said. The money was seized. The Sheriff’s Department reports said the ounce of heroin found inside the home was packaged for resale in many plastic baggies. Authorities also found two ounces of marijuana inside the home. The total value of the drugs and equipment, including 200 plastic baggies and one digital scale, was estimated at $8,000. Butler and Johnson both remained jailed Monday morning, and bond had not been set. Hearings have been set for Feb. 7 in Anderson County General Sessions Court. Charges include manufacturing, delivering, selling, and possessing controlled substances; violation of a drug-free school zone, and possession of drug paraphernalia, the reports said. Coconut Lane is between Claxton Elementary School and Tennessee Valley Memorial Gardens, near the intersection of Edgemoor Road and Clinton Highway. Officers from the Oak Ridge Police Department and Knox County Sheriff’s Department apparently helped with the investigation.
Man Arrested With Meth Lab In Jail Parking Lot
Saturday (1/26), a Harriman man was arrested in the parking lot of the Roane County Jail in Kingston after the components of a meth lab were found inside his SUV. 26-year-old Kevin Anthony Ryan was in a Dodge Durango last Saturday when an officer watched the SUV make a sudden turn in to the jail parking lot. The officer approached the vehicle to see if everything was OK and detected a chemical odor commonly associated with meth labs. The three people inside the vehicle told the officer that they were there to bail someone out of jail although they did not know the individual’s last name. Permission was granted to search the vehicle and officers found duffle bag filled with items used to manufacture the drug. All three people were decontaminated but only Ryan was arrested after admitting that the bag belonged to him. He was charged with manufacturing a controlled substance and taken across the parking lot to the jail.
Claxton VFD Says ‘No’ To Subscription Service
Earlier this week the Board of Directors of the Claxton Volunteer Fire Department voted against having a paid membership program like their counterparts in Andersonville. The AVFD’s subscription plan has drawn widespread and withering criticism but this week, Claxton voted against charging residents and businesses in their coverage area for their services. In an e-mail to WYSH, Anderson County Commissioner Tracy Wandell, who represents the Claxton community, wrote that “I am very appreciative of the initiative that Chief [Donnie] Shipley and the members of the CVFD have taken to ensure that our community will be served with no additional costs to our residents.” Wandell also urged Claxton residents and business owners to take the time if they are financially able to make a donation to the department to allow them to “continue the dedicated service they provide.”
OSPD Nabs 2 Women On Drug Charges
Two women were arrested on various drug-related charges Tuesday night (1/29) by Oliver Springs Police. While on routine patrol Tuesday evening at around 6:45, an officer spotted a suspicious vehicle parked behind the closed and under-construction Oliver Springs Historical Museum on Kingston Avenue. The officer made contact with the two women inside the vehicle and received conflicting accounts as to why they were parked there. The women allowed officers to search the car and the search turned up several “out of place” items including unopened packages of tobacco, cellophane wrap, plastic baggies and medical tape. Under questioning the women admitted that they had been there to leave tobacco and other items for the inmates on the work crew to retrieve when they arrived on Wednesday morning. Their plan was thwarted, however, when the officer surprised them and they told him that they had only managed to throw one large garbage bag of tobacco on to the roof before he pulled up. One woman identified as 33-year-old Christina Moore of Lenoir City admitted that she had hidden a phone charger containing a small amount of meth and a suboxone strip inside her when the officer pulled up that was also supposed to be left for the inmates. She was charged with two counts of manufacturing, delivering or selling drugs and one count each of criminal trespassing, possession of drug paraphernalia, criminal conspiracy to introduce contraband into a penal facility, tampering with evidence and violating a drug-free school zone. The other woman, identified as 39-year-old Ronda Henderson of Loudon, was charged with those same offenses as well as one count each of vandalism and criminal impersonation as she gave the officer a fake name when first questioned. Both were taken to the Roane County Jail and a female officer from Oak Ridge was brought in to retrieve the hidden items from Moore.
ORT: OR Centrals Services Complex Hit By Thieves
(Oak Ridge Today) Someone stole $1,500 worth of copper from the Oak Ridge Central Services Complex this past weekend, according to an Oak Ridge Police Department report. The theft from the Oak Ridge Public Works Department on Woodbury Lane was reported at about 8:30 a.m. Sunday. The unknown thief cut a chain link fence and stole several pieces of copper tubing valued at $1,000, the report said. Small sections of copper worth about $500 were also allegedly taken as were some five-gallon buckets. Damage to the fence was estimated at $200.
AC School Bus Involved In Wreck, No Students Injured
An Anderson County school bus was involved in a traffic accident Wednesday morning (1/30) in South Clinton. A car reportedly pulled in front of bus #14 from David Road on to Blockhouse Valley Road and was struck by the bus, which was carrying approximately 15 to 20 students to Clinton Middle and High School, according to school officials. The driver of the car, whose name was not immediately available, was taken to a local hospital by ambulance for treatment of their injuries. Aside from one student who complained of a bloody nose from hitting the seat in front of them in the crash, no students were injured and they were able to continue on to school. The bus driver was also unhurt in the collision, which remains under investigation. As soon as we get more information we will pass it along to you.
Survivor Of Fatal Crash Released From Hospital
The Anderson County High School student injured in a Monday afternoon (1/28) traffic accident in Norris that left his friend and classmate dead was released from UT Medical Center on Tuesday. Evan Weaver was injured in Monday’s wreck at the intersection of Andersonville Highway and Norris Freeway and flown to UT Medical Center. He reportedly suffered a broken pelvis in the crash, which occurred shortly before 4:30 pm, when his Ford Escort crossed over a concrete traffic island and collided with a Ford F250 pickup truck. The crash killed Weaver’s passenger, 17-year-old Cameron Sharp, and left the occupants of the pickup with minor injuries. Tuesday, fellow classmates at Anderson County High held a prayer vigil in Sharp’s memory and grief counselors were on hand throughout the day. Those counselors will remain available for students as needed. Sharp has been described as a great student and fine young man and was a member of the school’s ROTC. He had recently enlisted in the Navy and was to report for training this summer. His family will receive friends on Saturday (2/2) from 11 am to 2 pm at Holley-Gamble Funeral Home in Clinton with the funeral service to follow in the chapel. He will be laid to rest following the service at the New Home Cemetery in Andersonville. Online condolences can be left at www.holleygamblefh.com.
Blount Bank Robbery Suspect Nabbed
A Blount County man wanted in connection with the January 16th robbery of a Maryville credit union was apprehended Tuesday evening (1/29) by authorities in the Butterfly Gap area of Blount County. 32-year-old Walter Stephen Lawson Jr. of Maryville was taken into custody following a brief foot pursuit. Details of the arrest are contained in the press release below. Lawson was wanted by the FBI on a federal warrant charging him with robbing the First Choice Community Credit Union on East Broadway in Maryville on January 16th and an outstanding Blount County warrant on an aggravated burglary charge. He is being held without bond at the Blount County Jail.
(BCSO) 'Kenneth L. Moore, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Knoxville office, and Blount County Sheriff James Lee Berrong said the bank robbery suspect who was wanted in connection with the First Choice Community Credit Union is in custody, and they credit deputies for the capture of Walter Stephen Lawson, Jr. Walter Stephen Lawson, Jr., 32, East Harper Avenue, Maryville, is in custody on a federal warrant for bank robbery and a charge out of Blount County for aggravated burglary. In addition, two other individuals may face federal and/or state charges in connection with the bank robbery. Lawson is currently being held at the Blount County Detention Facility. The Sheriff’s Office received information that Lawson was in Blount County. Late Tuesday, an off-duty Sheriff’s Office detective spotted the suspect vehicle on Butterfly Gap Road. Several deputies and a K-9 converged to the area, and after tracking the pair on foot up the side of a steep mountain on Butterfly Gap Road, they took Lawson into custody. He is scheduled to appear before U.S. Magistrate Judge Bruce Guyton at 2 p.m. today in Knoxville. The Sheriff’s Office and the FBI worked the January 16th bank robbery jointly. Sheriff Berrong is thankful for the federal resources, and proud of the working relationship the Sheriff’s Office has with the FBI and other federal law enforcement agencies. “I’m elated this bank robbery is solved, and pleased with the way this joint investigation went,” Sheriff Berrong said. “Our deputies have remained vigilant in their search for Lawson. It was because of the diligence of the men and women who worked this case that this individual was taken into custody. I’m very proud of our deputies, and very happy this suspect is behind bars.”'
ACHS Student Killed, Another Injured In Norris Crash
An Anderson County High School senior was killed in a Monday afternoon traffic accident in Norris and another teen was flown to UT Medical Center by Lifestar. Norris Police and the Tennessee Highway Patrol responded to the crash shortly before 4:30 pm Monday at the intersection of Andersonville Highway and Norris Freeway. 17-year-old Cameron Sharp of Andersonville was killed in the wreck and 18-year-old Evan Weaver, also an ACHS senior and also from Andersonville, was injured. No update on his condition has been made available. In a statement the Norris Police Department says that the crash occurred when a Ford Escort being driven by Weaver was merging on to Norris Freeway from the eastbound lanes of Andersonville Highway when he lost control of the car and crossed a concrete island. The Escort collided with a Ford F250 pickup truck traveling north on Norris Freeway approaching the traffic light. The driver and the passenger in the pickup sustained minor injuries with the passenger requiring several stitches in his head. A prayer vigil was held at the school this morning and grief counselors have been made available. The investigation into Monday’s deadly accident is ongoing.
Houston Brothers’ Trial Dates Set
Monday, trial dates were set for Rocky and Leon Houston on federal firearms charges. Rocky Houston was arrested earlier this month and charged with 14 counts of being a felon in possession of a firearm and will go to trial on March 26th. During Monday’s hearing, Rocky Houston decided to represent himself and have an attorney help him during the trial, but still has a chance to change his mind as Federal Judge Clifford Shirley recommended. He has until next week to make the final decision as to whether he will represent himself, hire an attorney or allow an attorney to be appointed to him. Leon Houston is facing a charge of possessing firearms while under the influence of an illegal drug and his trial on that charge will begin on March 25th. The Houston brothers were tried but never convicted for their roles in a 2006 shootout on their property that left a Roane County deputy and his ridealong partner dead.
2 Industry Fires In Clinton
Two fires were reported Thursday night and early Friday morning at businesses in Clinton. The first fire broke out Thursday night at Rexnord and the second one occurred early Friday at Eagle Bend Manufacturing. In both fires, no injuries were reported and they are not believed to be suspicious in nature. Equipment at both facilities suffered damage, the extent of which was not immediately available. We will pass along more information when it becomes available.
Answer Financial Leaving OR For Knox
An Oak Ridge business broke ground Thursday on a new building in West Knoxville. Answer Financial, which sells home and auto insurance over the phone, currently employs about 300 people in Oak Ridge, and will relocate to a new location near I-40 and Bridgewater Road this fall. Answer Financial is part of the Allstate Corporation and in addition to relocating the 300 current workers, they also expect to add as many as 100 new jobs over the next two years. Company officials say that they wanted to move to a more visible location that is also closer to where their employees and associates live. The company will move in to a new 32,000-plus-square-foot building, ground for which was broken Thursday.
“Answer Financial Inc. (www.answerfinancial.com) is proud to announce it broke ground yesterday evening on a new 32,775 square foot facility in Knoxville that will serve as the company’s primary sales center. The office will have capacity for more than 400 employees, which will support current staff and future growth. Construction began this week and the state-of-the-art facility is anticipated to open for business by early fall of 2013. The Knoxville Chamber and local business leaders attended a groundbreaking ceremony for the company, where Knoxville City Mayor Rogero and County Mayor Burchett spoke alongside Answer Financial CEO, Rob Slingerland. “Breaking ground on this new building demonstrates our commitment to the Innovation Valley,” stated Slingerland. “Knoxville is an important part of our growth plans. We are planning on hiring over 100 people at this location in the next 12-24 months.” The relocation to the West Knoxville area will be beneficial in attracting and retaining associates by offering a more central location with easy access to dining and services. “We chose a great site in West Knoxville at a convenient exit on I-40/75, which will shorten the commute for the majority of our team, and in fact double the number of associates that will be less than a 15 minute drive from the office,” commented Peter Foley, SVP of Sales and Client Services. “In addition, over 90% of recent applicants live closer to our new West Knoxville location.” The building will be constructed by Providence Commercial Real Estate, led by John-David Roddy, and will boast the modern design of George Armour Ewart Architect. The design includes an open floor plan with large exterior windows for natural light and outdoor views. The facility is adjacent to the Ten Mile Creek Greenway – a pedestrian trail connecting the city and county boundaries – providing a convenient route for employees who prefer cycling to work. Associates will be within a five-minute drive of 75 restaurants, 15 banking locations, and prime retail shopping. “We would also like to express our appreciation for the support of the community and officials of nearby Oak Ridge, Tennessee which we have called home for more than a decade,” added Slingerland.
Answer Financial, which is one of the largest auto and home insurance agencies in the U.S, has expansion plans in Tennessee beyond Knoxville, including a new sales office opened this month in nearby Chattanooga. If you are interested in employment opportunities with Answer Financial, visit www.answerfinancial.com/careers or email your resume to firstname.lastname@example.org.”
Company, Jobs On Way To Blount
(Blount Partnership) Microtherm, Inc., a subsidiary of the Etex Group
headquartered in Brussels, Belgium, announced today that it is moving
into the Blount Partnership spec building located at 1731 Fred Lawson
Drive in Partnership Park South in Maryville, Tenn. “Congratulations to
Microtherm on this announcement, and thank you for your investment in
our state. I couldn’t be more pleased with the levels of capital
investment we are seeing flow into Tennessee right now,” Tennessee
Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bill
Hagerty said. “It is especially gratifying for our state to be selected
by a global company like the Etex Group for the site of their new
Microtherm operations and speaks highly of our state’s business-friendly
climate and educated workforce.” Operating within Etex’s Promat
International business group, Microtherm manufactures a specialty
insulation known worldwide as the most efficient insulation for high
temperature processes. Microtherm is used to save energy, control heat
and reduce greenhouse gas emissions in petrochemical plants, molten
metal processing and power generation systems including fuel cells,
solar, nuclear and traditional fuels. In addition to producing the
Microtherm products it also handles the U.S. distribution of Promat
products which are used as fire protection for marine, tunnel and
building construction. Microtherm is also used in Vacuum Insulation
Panels (VIP) for refrigeration and building insulation. Microtherm
anticipates employing a workforce of least 40 by the end of 2014
including a dozen office positions with the balance being machine
operators including some sewing/textile skills, press operators, mixing
machines, hand labor and maintenance. Initial production is slated to
begin this summer with more positions added as various equipment and
processes are added over the next two years. Microtherm and Promat will
initially invest $3 million in 2013 and 2014. “The decision to locate
in Blount County was due to the quality of the spec building the
community built, competitive labor rates and the central location to our
customers and raw materials,” said Bill Gregg, Microtherm General
Manager. “It is also a familiar location to us having been a sister
company to Ceramaspeed with its engineering and distribution presence
for several years.” Etex manufactures and sells high-quality building
materials and solutions. The Group is present in 44 countries, operates
121 production sites and employs more than 17,000 dedicated people. The
Group’s activities encompass small and large roofing elements, dry
construction solutions based on boards in fibre cement and plaster,
integrated systems of passive fire protection and high performance
insulation and ceramic floor and wall tiles. “We are excited that
Microtherm has made a solid investment in this area and we could provide
them a facility to move into,” said Joe Dawson, Chair Blount Partnership
Economic Development Board. “As we continue to move forward in our
recruitment of new businesses, we can show them that this is a thriving
area by the fact that nearly 1800 jobs have been created and there’s
been $117 million in capital investment over the past two and a half
years.” “With the Partnership having a move-in ready building; it
really helped seal the deal,” said Ed Mitchell, Blount County Mayor. “We
have to make Blount County attractive to outside companies and having
sites ready to move into or build make it easier to recruit. Microtherm
saw the value in it and that’s part of what helped make this venture
happen.” “We are excited to welcome Microtherm to the community,” said
Tom Taylor, Maryville Mayor. “These types of investment show that
County and our industrial parks are top places to work in
East Tennessee.” More company information is available:
School Security Update
School security is on the forefront of everyone’s minds following the Connecticut school shooting last month. As we have reported, the Clinton City Schools have partnered with the city to split the cost of having uniformed patrol officers in each of the city’s three elementary schools every day from now through the end of the school year. Both the school board and the City Council have said that they intend to seek money in this year’s budget to make the positions permanent and are exploring their options in that regard. It will cost $50,000 to cover the cost of using off-duty officers who will be paid overtime for their school duties for the rest of the semester. We have also reported on Anderson County school security measures, which include full time school resource officers stationed at both of the county high schools, the Clinch River Community School and all four middle schools and also includes the middle school officers making unannounced visits to nearby elementary schools. The School Board and County Commission are expected to hold a joint meeting in early February and school security measures will be on the agenda. Last month, Circuit Court Clerk Tyler Mayes proposed adding a new fee to the court costs for people appearing in Criminal Court but last week, the Legislative Committee shot the measure down. Oak Ridge school officials tell the News-Sentinel that since last month’s massacre in Connecticut, they have installed buzz-in security systems at seven of the eight school in the district. Those systems keep doors locked until a visitor is buzzed in by a member of the school staff. The only school in the district that does not have that in place is Oak Ridge High School, which does have a full-time school resource officer on campus at all times. Rest assured, local school leaders are doing their best to ensure that a similar tragedy never visits our community.
DOE Awards OR Security Contract, WSI Out
Thursday, federal officials announced that they had awarded a five-year, $182 million contract to provide security services at DOE sites in Oak Ridge. The contract was awarded to National Strategic Protective Services LLC—also known as NSPS—a joint venture of Triple Canopy Inc. and SecuriGuard Inc. with Santa Fe Protective Services Inc. as it its subcontractor. The contract calls for the company to provide security at the East Tennessee Technology Park, ORNL, the Federal Building and the rest of the Oak Ridge Reservation with the exception of Y-12. NSPS replaces WSI Oak Ridge, which had provided security on the reservation since 2000. Following the announcement WSI Oak Ridge issued a statement expressing disappointment over the loss of the contract, saying “we are proud of our work for DOE and for our support of the Oak Ridge community and many of its worthwhile charitable organizations.” Last year, WSI Oak Ridge had its contract for security at Y-12 yanked after the unprecedented security breach of July 28th, when three aging anti-nuclear weapons activists cut through fences and avoided detection before vandalizing the exterior of the Highly Enriched Uranium Materials Facility, where bomb-grade uranium is stored. Security guards at Y-12 are now provided by the facility’s current managing contractor B&W Y-12. That will change, however on May 1st, when Consolidated Nuclear Security LLC takes over management and operation of Y-12 and the Pantex plant in Texas. CNS is expected to provide security services when the changeover occurs. WSI Oak Ridge said it will work with NSPS to ensure a smooth transition and pledged to get as many of their employees hired by the new contractor as possible and to help those who do not get hired by NSPS find new jobs. A 60-day transition period begins on Tuesday. The contract period of performance is five years, which includes a three year base deal and a two-year option period.
Clinton Schools To Be Patrolled By Uniformed Officers
The Clinton city schools may have been closed today but when they do reopen, students and staff will be protected by uniformed police officers. In the wake of the Newtown, Connecticut school shooting in December that left 20 elementary school students and six adults dead, school and city officials tried to find ways to protect children close to home. The city and the school system are splitting the $50,000 cost for the officers through the end of the semester and will look for funding options when the budget process begins later this year to keep the officers there all the time. One officer is assigned to each of the city’s three elementary schools—Clinton, South Clinton and North Clinton. Currently the assigned officers are off-duty patrol officers being paid overtime. City and school leaders are looking for ways to continue funding the positions, including the possibility of applying for grants.
Press Release On CPD Placing Officers In Schools
On Tuesday January 15, the Clinton Police Department began staffing police officers at the City’s three elementary schools. The police department will use existing officers, working overtime, to fill the positions. The anticipated cost for the remainder of the year is $50,000. The City of Clinton will split the cost with the school system. “The city wants to do all we can to make our students and educators feel safe while being at school. This is temporary and future consideration is needed regarding a permanent solution. However, the Director of Schools and I felt this was necessary at this time,” said City Manager Roger Houck.
Kingston Pharmacy Robbed, Suspect Nabbed
The Kinser Drug Store in Kingston was robbed Wednesday afternoon but the suspect was caught within 30 minutes. Kingston Police Chief Jim Washam says that 47-year-old Claude Devon Ladd walked into the drugstore shortly after 5:30 pm Wednesday, displayed a Derringer pistol and demanded pills. He fled out the back door of the store, exiting across the street from the main entrance to the Roane County Sheriff’s Office, but was found 25 minutes later hiding in the breezeway of the East End Apartment complex on 4th Street, where he happened to live. Kingston police officers and Roane County deputies recovered the weapon and a mask believed to have been used in the robbery as well as a bag of pills when Ladd was arrested. He remains in custody on an aggravated robbery charge.
ORT: Family Drops Suit In ’10 ORPD-Involved Shooting Death
The family of a man fatally shot during a confrontation with Oak Ridge Police in July of 2010 has dropped its lawsuit against the police department, the city, city officials and the police officers involved in the incident. Our partners at Oak Ridge Today report that the voluntary withdrawal of the lawsuit was filed in US District Court in November. The suit had been filed by the estate of Rodney Eugene Harris and his widow Patricia Harris in July of 2011 in Anderson County before being moved to federal court the following month. Rodney Harris was shot to death on Hillside Road on July 18th, 2010 after police say he refused to drop a large knife, shrugged off a blast from a Taser, stabbed a police K-9 and made threatening moves toward one of the officers. The four officers involved—Christopher Carden, Roy Heinz, Dustin Henderson and John Boyd Thomas Jr.—were cleared of any wrongdoing by the DA’s office following a TBI probe into the incident. The lawsuit sought unspecified damages and claimed that the officers used excessive force during the confrontation and that their actions constituted assault and battery, outrageous conduct and wrongful death. The lawsuit Also claims that Harris had severe mental illness but that the police “failed to use practices to calm mentally disturbed citizens, but rather initiated contact with forceful conduct…intentionally provoking a confrontational situation.” The city denied those allegations but since then have increased training hours for officers on how to handle those with mental illnesses.
Federal Grand Jury Indicts Houston Brothers
A federal grand jury indicted Rocky and Leon Houston on weapons charges on Tuesday. According to the US Attorney’s Office, Rocky Houston was indicted on 14 counts of being a felon in possession of a firearm and Leon Houston was indicted on a charge of possessing a firearm while using illegal drugs. During Rocky Houston’s first court appearance on the charges Wednesday, he accused the judge overseeing the hearing of having a conflict of interest as Houston has sued almost every judge in this part of the state and refused to accept a federal public defender as his attorney. The judge gave Rocky Houston until January 28th to hire a lawyer, ask for a court-appointed attorney or represent himself and sent him back to jail. Leon Houston is scheduled for a Thursday afternoon court appearance. The brothers were each tried but never convicted in the 2006 shooting deaths of a Roane County Sheriff’s deputy and his ride-along partner that occurred during a shootout on the brothers’ property in Ten Mile. The brothers claim the lawmen pulled up firing while prosecutors contend the Houstons ambushed Bill Jones and Mike Brown. Neither brother was ever convicted of any crime in the case. Rocky Houston was found guilty in 2010 of a felony charge related to a police chase in 2004 and was prohibited from owning weapons. After receiving information that he may have guns on his property, ATF investigators installed a hidden camera to watch the Houston farm in October and reported that Rocky Houston was routinely filmed carrying weapons and shooting at targets. Leon Houston was arrested when he rolled up on a four wheeler while warrants were being executed at the Houston home on Friday and admitted to agents that he had smoked marijuana.
(US Attorney’s Office press release) “On Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2013, a federal grand jury in Knoxville returned a 14-count indictment against Rocky Houston, 52, charging him with being a felon in possession of firearms. A one-count indictment was also returned again Leon Houston, 54, for possession of firearms while being an unlawful user of controlled substances. Both Houstons are residents of Ten Mile, Tenn. If convicted, each faces up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. Arraignment for Rocky Houston is scheduled for 3:00 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2013, in U.S. District Court in Knoxville. An arraignment and detention hearing for Leon Houston is scheduled for 1:30 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 17, 2013, also in U.S. District Court in Knoxville.
Members of the public are reminded that these are only charges and that every person is presumed innocent until their guilt has been proven beyond a reasonable doubt.”
Lawsuit Filed Over Assault At CHS Gym
The mother of a student seriously injured in a fight in the Clinton High School gym in December of 2011 has filed a lawsuit against the Anderson County School Board and other parties over the incident. The incident occurred during a Christmas break basketball practice and sent Donna Noble’s son to the hospital with severe injuries. The suit also names teacher and boys’ basketball coach Chris Lockard as a defendant along with County Commissioner Robert McKamey and the other boy involved in the assault, who is McKamey’s son. The suit claims that Lockard was not in a place where he could not adequately supervise practice and that he didn’t try to stop the fight or protect Noble’s son. The lawsuit states that Noble’s son incurred over $50,000 in medical bills recovering from his injuries. The lawsuit seeks an unspecified judgment against the defendants for damages. A statement from the Anderson County School system was provided to us on Wednesday and is reprinted below.
(Statement from ACS) “We just recently received this lawsuit and regret this has come to litigation. In our opinion the lawsuit is baseless and contains unsubstantiated allegations; however, the matter has been turned over to our attorneys who will work diligently to pursue justice and protect our staff and students. Unfortunately due to pending litigation, we are unable to provide any information at this time, but will fully cooperate and allow justice to take its course.”
DENSO Adding Jobs, Investments
Auto supplier DENSO announced Tuesday that it plans to add jobs and invest millions of dollars at its Tennessee operations. In a news release issued Tuesday morning, the company will expand its workforce in Athens by over 130 people and invest some $50 million in that facility. DENSO says it will bring production of its gasoline direct injection—or GDI—system technology to the Athens facility and will begin tooling, staffing and training preparations in June in preparation for the mass production of gasoline direct injectors next year. The company has dedicated a building at DENSO Manufacturing Tennessee in Maryville, where proprietary machinery will be made. This will serve as the regional headquarters for manufacturing machinery and dies. However, DENSO will make machinery in other regional locations as well. In Maryville, the company will boost production of stop/start starters, memory seat modules and passive start entry components. It will also localize production of inverters and high-output alternators. This move is part of a larger effort that will see the Japan-based company add over 2000 jobs in North America, including 1200 jobs and over $750 million in investments in the US alone. DENSO cited an increased demand for its products as well as plans to expand into new business areas for the added investments. Over 14,000 people are currently employed by DENSO at 26 North American manufacturing facilities. Here is the press release announcing the company's investments:
, – Global automotive supplier DENSO is investing
nearly $1 billion in North America over the next four years, which will
result in more than 2,000 jobs across the region. The investment will
allow DENSO to better support its North American customers, as well as
expand new business areas and localize products, many of which will help
automakers meet upcoming fuel requirements. More than $750 million will
be invested in the
States alone, along with more than 1,200 jobs.
Clinton Store Robbed
Clinton Police are investigating an armed robbery that occurred at the AT&T Store in Tanner Place on Saturday night. Police were called to the store at around 7 pm Saturday by a contract sales associate for AT&T, who told investigators that she had been packing up her belongings to leave for the night when she heard the front door open. When she turned around, she spotted a white man with a pistol approaching her. The man laid the gun on the counter facing her and demanded money. The worker reached into her purse and pulled out $120 in proceeds from two cell phone sales she had made that day and offered it to the robber, who told her he didn’t want her money, he wanted the store’s money. She explained the store did not have any cash on hand so he settled for taking her cash and fleeing the store. The clerk was not injured in the incident. She described the suspect as a white male, around five feet eight inches tall and weighing around 150 pounds. At the time of the robbery, he was wearing a black ski mask, a black hooded sweatshirt, blue jeans and black tennis shoes with white trim. If you have any information on Saturday’s robbery call Clinton Police at 865-457-3112.
Houston Brothers Face Federal Firearm Charges
Two brothers who were tried twice but never convicted in the 2006 shooting deaths of a Roane County Sheriff’s deputy and his ridealong partner are now facing federal charges. Rocky and Leon Houston were both arrested Friday on federal firearms charges at the family’s home in the Ten Mile community after agents from the ATF, the Roane County Sheriff’s Office and other agencies executed search and arrest warrants. US Attorney Bill Killian says that Rocky Houston is charged with being a convicted felon in possession of firearms and that Leon Houston is charged with possession of firearms while being an unlawful user of controlled substances. The ATF began investigating reports that Rocky Houston was in possession of guns last year and in October, installed a hidden camera on top of a utility pole near the property that captured several images of Rocky carrying weapons. When agents came to the house on Friday, Leon Houston came riding up on a 4-wheeler armed with three loaded guns and he was arrested after admitting that he had been drinking and smoking marijuana. During their first court appearances Monday, US Magistrate Bruce Guyton set a Friday detention hearing for Leon Houston to decide if he will remain behind bars until his trial. Guyton did not set a detention hearing for Rocky Houston, who disrupted court on several occasions, and he was sent back to jail. If convicted of the charges against them, each brother could face up to 10 years in prison and fines of up to $250,000.
Norris Bulletin: ‘Hairy Creature’ Throws Objects At House
According to the Norris Bulletin, Norris Police responded to an odd disturbance call late last month. Citing police records, the paper reports that on December 27th, officers were called to a home on Pine Road shortly after 10 pm in response to a report that someone was throwing objects at the side of a house. The homeowners told the responding officer that an “8 to 10 foot [tall] hairy creature was throwing beer bottles and wood at their house.” The officer reported that he checked the area but that “no contact was made.” We will definitely be following up on this story for you in the coming days.
Woman Tied Up During Break-In Escapes, Calls Cops
The Anderson County Sheriff’s Department is investigating a burglary turned kidnapping that occurred Tuesday afternoon (1/8) at a home on New Henderson Road. Dispatchers received a call about a burglary in progress in which the victim had been tied up but had managed to free herself and escape at around 2:15 pm Tuesday and deputies converged on the home. While en route they learned that the victim was safe at a neighbor’s house, so when they arrived, deputies searched the home but found no trace of the suspect. The 36-year-old victim told investigators that she had been upstairs when she heard a noise downstairs. Thinking it was her husband coming home she called out his name but received no reply. She kept hearing noises from downstairs and went to investigate but as she reached the stairway, she was confronted by a man described only as a white male wearing a dark-colored hoodie who pointed a gun at her and forced her into a downstairs bedroom. He told her that he wanted her jewelry and money and tied her up to prevent her from escaping. As the man ransacked the house, the woman was able to free herself and escape to a neighbor’s house, where she called 911. Deputies reported that every room in the house had been ransacked. The woman was not physically injured. When more information becomes available we will pass it along to you.
Ex-Alcoa Teacher, Coach Pleads Guilty To Sex Crimes
Former Alcoa High School softball coach and history teacher Robert Paul Talley pleaded guilty Tuesday (1/8) in a Blount County courtroom to sex-related charges involving two former players. Talley received a four-year sentence in exchange for his plea with 120 days to be served in the Blount County Jail and the rest on community corrections. Jury selection for Talley’s trial on the charges was set to begin on Tuesday but prospective jurors were sent home after the agreement was reached. Talley pleaded guilty to two counts of sexual battery by an authority figure and five counts of statutory rape involving one of the girls, for which he received the four-year sentence. He also entered a best interest plea to two counts of soliciting a minor for sexual battery by an authority figure, receiving a two-year sentence with 120 days behind bars. The sentences will be served concurrently. Talley was also ordered to surrender his teaching license and will have to remain on the sex offender registry for the rest of his life. The victims, who were in court on Tuesday signed off on the plea deal. Talley must report to the Blount County Jail to begin his sentence no later than 6 pm on Tuesday January 15th.
Y-12 Contract Awarded To Group Including Bechtel, Lockheed Martin
(Oak Ridge Today) Consolidated Nuclear Security LLC, a team that includes Bechtel National and Lockheed Martin Services, has won a five-year contract to manage and operate the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge and the Pantex Plant near Amarillo, Texas, federal officials announced Tuesday morning (1/8). Besides managing and operating Y-12 and Pantex, Consolidated Nuclear Security, or CNS, will also manage construction of the Uranium Processing Facility at Y-12 and could manage tritium operations at the Savannah River Site near Aiken, S.C. Including the possible tritium work, the contract has a total available fee of up to $446 million for CNS to manage the three sites for the U.S. Department of Energy and the National Nuclear Security Administration. CNS may also earn up to an additional $263 million as their share of savings, an NNSA announcement said, although CNS cannot share any savings related to employee benefits. The four-month transition to CNS will begin immediately, and CNS will take over the work on May 1, the NNSA said in a Tuesday morning announcement. The contract will be administered by the NNSA Production Office, or NPO, which which was created in June and oversees nuclear production missions at Y-12 and Pantex. Federal officials said the consolidated contract could save $3.27 billion during the next decade. The contract has options that would allow it to be extended up to five years. The company expects to offer jobs to more than 95 percent of the current employees, federal officials said Tuesday. The number could be affected by voluntary retirements and other departures, National Nuclear Security Administration officials said during a Tuesday afternoon teleconference. Find more on this story by visiting our partners at Oak Ridge Today online at www.oakridgetoday.com.
SL Tennessee Expanding Again
Friday the Anderson County Economic Development Association announced that Clinton auto parts manufacturer SL Tennessee is once again expanding its operations. The company will lease a 65,000 square foot building in the Eagle Bend Industrial park from the Hollingsworth Companies. That building will be used primarily for warehousing and distribution and will be home to approximately 25 workers. SL Tennessee is a Korean company that manufactures auto parts such as gear shifters, parking brakes and lighting products just to name a few. This will be the company’s fifth expansion since first setting up shop in Clinton in 2001. With the expansion announced Friday, SL will have over 565,000 square feet in their Anderson County facilities. Since 2010, the company’s expansions represent an overall investment of some $50 million. Clinton Mayor Scott Burton says that SL Tennessee is now the largest employer in Clinton’s three industrial parks. Anderson County Mayor Terry Frank said Friday, “I know that Anderson County could not possibly receive a greater compliment then the confidence SL Tennessee has shown by choosing to stay and grow in our county.” SL Tennessee currently employs about 850 people in Clinton.
New Online Guide Highlights OR Parks & Rec Activities
(OR Rec & Parks) The City of Oak Ridge Recreation and Parks Department welcomes you to flip through a new online guide. The guide, which is powered by Calameo, highlights key information about the Recreation and Parks Department programs, hours of operation, parks, facilities, and events. New fees for 2013 are also highlighted on the guide. To view the free guide, visit www.orrecparks.org and simply click on the guide at the top of the home page. The guide is easily viewed on a tablet, smart phone, or on your personal computer. “Online tools like this one are usually free to use and provide an alternative to paper-heavy publications,” said Matt Reedy, Recreation Program Supervisor. “As a Tree City USA and Playful City USA community, our department understands the need to conserve resources while also encouraging our citizens to get out and use our parks and facilities.” If you have questions about the programs, events, or facilities of the City of Oak Ridge Recreation and Parks Department, contact our Front Desk at 865-425-3450.
Report Suspected Fraud Online
It will soon be possible to report suspected cases of fraud, waste and abuse of public funds in Tennessee over the Internet. Beginning today, you may electronically alert the state Comptroller’s office about suspected government misuse of public funds by visiting http://www.comptroller.tn.gov/shared/safwa.asp. The Comptroller’s office has provided a toll-free telephone hotline for reporting fraud, waste and abuse of government funds and property since 1983. During that time, the hotline has received more than 17,000 calls. In the 2012 legislative session, the Tennessee General Assembly expanded the Advocacy for Honest and Appropriate Government Spending Act so government employees and citizens can report allegations of fraud, waste and abuse online as well. “In this day and age, it makes sense to give people the option to send us fraud reports online,” Comptroller Wilson said. “This is another tool to help ensure that public money is being spent properly in Tennessee. I encourage people to take advantage of this new service if they have reason to suspect fraud, waste or abuse has occurred.” Similar to the telephone hotline, the online reporting form will allow individuals to make reports anonymously if they wish. The information will be transmitted to the Comptroller’s office over a secure connection. Individuals who make reports are asked to provide as much detail as possible about their allegations. They may also attach files with supporting documentation that may help those who review the allegations. Information received over the Internet will be reviewed by the Comptroller’s staff and investigated or referred to the appropriate agencies or departments when warranted.
Guzman Pleads To Additional Charges
A Blount County woman convicted last year of drug trafficking, money laundering and other charges in connection with a so-called pill mill pleaded guilty Thursday (1/3) in federal court to additional charges of failure to appear. 42-year-old Tammy Guzman will be sentenced on those charges on March 20th following her plea Thursday in federal court in Knoxville. During her trial on a 57-count indictment related to the pain clinic, Guzman failed to show up for court on October 2nd and went on the lam with her boyfriend. The trial continued without her and she was ultimately convicted on all 57 counts against her, including charges of drug trafficking, money laundering and conspiracy. She will also learn her sentence on those convictions in March. Following her disappearance, an arrest warrant was issued for her and she was located and arrested by US Marshals in Florida on October 30th. She had been living in a hotel in Hollywood, Florida and working at a nearby restaurant. Her boyfriend, Brian Paul Hatcher was with her at the time of her arrest. He was later indicted on charges of being an accessory after the fact and retaliating against a witness, charges he pleaded guilty to last month. When he is sentenced later this year, he could face up to 30 years in federal prison. The release announcing the plea agreement follows this story.
“Tamral Guzman, 42, of Blount County, Tenn., pleaded guilty on Jan. 3, 2013, in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee at Knoxville, to failure to appear. Sentencing has been set for 10:00 a.m., Mar. 20, 2013, before the Honorable Thomas A. Varlan, U.S. District Judge. According to documents on file with the U.S. District Court, Guzman was charged in a 57-count indictment for which she was on trial beginning on Sept. 24, 2012. She attended trial every day until Oct. 2, 2012, when she failed to appear. A warrant for Guzman’s arrest was issued by the District Court. The trial proceeded and she was convicted of all 57 counts on Oct. 4, 2012. On Oct. 30, 2012, a vehicle believed to be driven by Guzman was located in Florida. Surveillance was set up on the vehicle and as a result Guzman was identified and arrested. Guzman admitted to living in a local hotel, paying for expenses with cash, and working in a local restaurant under an assumed name with her boyfriend and co-defendant Brian Paul Hatcher. On Nov. 6, 2012, a three-count indictment, which included these charges, was returned against Hatcher and Guzman by a federal grand jury. Hatcher pleaded guilty on Dec. 20, 2012, and faces a maximum term of 10 years in prison for accessory after the fact and a maximum term of 20 years in prison for retaliating against a witness. This indictment was the result of an ongoing investigation by the U.S. Marshal Service. Jennifer Kolman Assistant U.S. Attorney represented the United States at trial. “This conviction is notice to all that running from the custody of the U.S. Marshals is an additional offense which we will prosecute. The federal judicial system must be respected. I extend my sincere praise for the work of the Internal Revenue Service, Drug Enforcement Administration, Blount County Drug Task Force and the U.S. Marshals Service for their diligent and successful work that resulted in these convictions,” said U. S. Attorney Bill Killian. “We are also very appreciative of the work of Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer Kolman for her prosecution of these cases,” he added.”
TDOT To Continue Displaying Fatality Numbers
The Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) will continue to display fatality messages on its overhead Dynamic Message Signs, but will do so on a weekly basis rather than daily. TDOT began displaying the fatality numbers on the signs in April 2012 after seeing a sharp increase in fatalities in the first quarter of the year. TDOT will also continue to run safety messages targeted at specific issues like texting while driving, drowsy driving, and driving under the influence.
OR Welcoming New Eateries, Relocated Businesses
(Oak Ridge Today) Pittsburgh Paints is moving from Melton Lake Drive to Fairbanks Road, developer and commercial landlord Rick Chinn said Friday. The new store will be located where the former Atomic City Sports Bar used to be. Chinn said the new Pittsburgh Paints store has a Feb. 1 occupancy date. The store will take up about half of the renovated space. A karate studio is lined up to move into the other half, Chinn said. A new Zaxby's restaurant at the corner of Oak Ridge Turnpike and Division Road in Oak Ridge is expected be open for business by late February or early March. The new Zaxby’s will be one of many new eateries that have either opened or will soon open their doors in the Atomic City. That list includes Aubrey's, a relocated Panera Bread, a McAlister's Deli in the former Panera site and a Pizza Inn. The 3,426-square-foot building is being built on a tract was once a used car lot. The project cost is estimated at $800,000 and officials say that about 40 people will be hired.
OR Water, Sewer Rates Increase
Beginning Tuesday, larger utility customers in Oak Ridge started paying higher water and sewer rates. The increase is the second hike by the Oak Ridge Utility District in less than a year after customers had not seen their rates increase since 2008. The increase is necessary, according to city officials, to help the city meet an EPA mandate that its aging sewer system be upgraded by 2015 at a cost of over $23 million. The first increase went into effect on May 1st of last year.
Braden, Former Medford Fire Chief, Killed In Wreck
A Wednesday afternoon (12/26) traffic accident in Oak Ridge killed a former chief of the Medford Volunteer Fire Department and injured his wife. 62-year-old Ronnie Braden of Lake City was reportedly complaining of chest pains and was driving himself and his wife to Methodist Medical Center to get it checked out at around 5 pm Wednesday when the accident occurred. Early reports indicate that he lost consciousness and lost control of his Ford F150 while headed west on the Oak Ridge Turnpike near Elza Drive and crossed over the two opposite lanes before going over a 15 foot embankment and coming to rest after striking a tree. His wife, 58-year-old Connie Braden, was injured in the crash and was taken to Methodist Medical Center after being hoisted up the embankment by emergency workers. She suffered injuries to her neck and arm and is currently being treated in the Intensive Care Unit. It took rescue crews over an hour to free Ronnie Braden from the wreckage of the pickup truck. He served as chief of the Medford Volunteer Fire Department for about 10 years and was a member of the department for over 30 years. Funeral arrangements have not been announced as the family has indicated they would like to wait until Connie is released from the hospital so that she may attend.
AC Commission Planning To Audit AVFD
Last week, the Anderson County Commission voted to get the ball rolling on an audit of the Andersonville Volunteer Fire Department. Earlier this year, the department announced it was switching to a subscription-based service due to a lack of funds so severe, officials say the AVFD might have to close without the subscription plan. The county has a 40-year lease with the AVFD for the land where their new Belmont Fire Station is being built and part of the lease agreement calls for the department to be audited each year. The matter was referred to the Commission’s Audit and Budget Committees for consideration and further discussion. Commissioners will be trying to determine the scope of the audit and how to pay for it during the next few weeks. The subscription plan has drawn withering criticism from many in the community it serves. Commissioner Tim Isbel has recommended creating a task force to study issues surrounding not only Andersonville but all of the county’s volunteer fire departments. The new subscription plan goes into effect January 1st.
ORT: 2 Accidents In 20 Minutes On Same OR Road
According to our partners at Oak Ridge Today, a pair of single vehicle accidents within 20 minutes of one another on Robertsville Road kept Oak Ridge police and fire crews busy early Saturday morning. The first accident occurred at around 3:20 am Saturday when 25-year-old Jared Coker of Oliver Springs was headed west on Robertsville Road in a Cadillac SRX when he veered right and struck a parked car. He left the opposite side of the roadway and slid onto a yard where the car flipped and he was ejected from the sunroof. He landed in a neighboring yard with injuries described as incapacitating and was taken to UT Medical Center, where he is listed in stable condition. 20 minutes later, emergency responders were called back to Robertsville Road, where a Kentucky man swerving to miss a deer crashed into a vehicle parked on the street. 25-year-old Joshua Whaley was not injured in the wreck but was cited for failure to use due care and caution.
Hatcher Pleads Guilty In Guzman Case
A man who federal prosecutors say helped hide a former Maryville pain clinic owner turned federal fugitive has pleaded guilty to charges of being an accessory after the fact and threatening retaliation against a witness. 32-year-old Brian Paul Hatcher entered his plea Thursday. He is the boyfriend of Tammy Guzman, the former pain clinic operator who was convicted in absentia on over 50 counts related to drug trafficking and money laundering after she skipped out on the final few days of her trial in federal court. Officials later located and arrested Hatcher and Guzman in Florida. Hatcher was originally held on a warrant out of Blount County but the DAs office declined to extradite him back to Tennessee, citing the cost of such a move and he was released. A federal grand jury indicted him on the charges last month. When sentenced in April, Hatcher could face up to 30 years behind bars.
Elderly Alleged Serial Bank Robber Nabbed
Law enforcement officials announced Thursday that a suspected serial bank robber was apprehended minutes after allegedly holding up a bank in Alcoa. 79-year-old Gerald Hytken of Lenoir City is suspected of robbing four banks in the past two years. In a news release from the FBI, the Alcoa and Knoxville Police Departments and the Knox County Sheriff’s Office say that Hytken allegedly walked into the BB&T Bank on Associates Boulevard in Alcoa at around 5:30 pm Thursday, displayed a pistol and demanded money. He fled in a car that was spotted and pulled over a short time later by Alcoa Police officers and taken into custody. In addition to Thursday’s incident—in which no one was hurt—Hytken is also facing federal charges for allegedly robbing a Knoxville Clayton Bank & Trust in January of 2011, the Tennessee Bank branch on the Oak Ridge Turnpike in September of 2011 and a BB&T branch in Knoxville in April of this year.
Roane Deputies Uncover “Elaborate” Meth Lab
Wednesday (12/19), deputies from the Roane County Sheriff’s Office received information about suspicious activity on some property in the Rockwood area. Deputy Brandon Smith responded and located approximately 250 pounds of Ammonia Nitrate covered and concealed in some woods. Roane Co Sheriff’s Office Meth Lab Technicians, along with Roane County EMA personnel responded to the scene. A search of the area found an elaborate anhydrous ammonia lab set up inside a large tent, camouflaged with black plastic and brush. Inside the lab, deputies found another 100 pounds of Ammonia Nitrate, along with several gallons of various acids, chemicals, and fuels. The camp also included an air mattress, sleeping bags, and a cooler of food, a propane heater and a homemade phone charger. This setup indicated the suspects were staying for long periods of time. The Tennessee Methamphetamine Task Force was contacted to clean the lab up. Early estimates show the lab had the potential to produce 30-50 pounds of methamphetamine. The Sheriff’s Office is working to develop more information on who is responsible for the lab. According the Tennessee Methamphetamine Task Force, these Anhydrous Ammonia labs are prevalent in West Tennessee and they have seen an influx of these labs moving east.
OR Airport takes Another Step
Wednesday (12/19) the Metropolitan Knoxville Airport Authority’s board approved authorizing consulting firm LPA Group to seek up to $99,116 in state grant money to pay for consulting work needed to transfer Department of Energy land to the Airport Authority for the site of a proposed airport near the East Tennessee Technology Park in Oak Ridge. A final justification study for the project could be completed within the next couple of months and reviewed by the board. After that, the next step will be to petition the FAA to include the airport site in the national integrated system plan, a move that would make the airport eligible for federal funds. A master plan could be completed sometime next year. Proponents of the airport say that it will be a boon to economic development, serving the business and technology markets in Oak Ridge. The proposed airport would have a 5000 foot long runway on a 132-acre tract of land next to the former K-25 site north of the Oak Ridge Turnpike.
Report: Norwood MS Teacher Suspended Over Punishment
According to the News-Sentinel, a Norwood Middle School teacher was placed on administrative leave after she allegedly made about 20 eighth-grade boys use toothbrushes and industrial strength cleaner to wash a bathroom at the school. The incident occurred on November 29th, a day after graffiti had been found on a wall of the restroom. Teacher Darla Williams is accused of taunting the students during their punishment by taking pictures of them with her cell phone. After some parents complained, school officials investigated the incident and interviewed some of the students involved. Following the investigation, Williams was placed on three days unpaid leave and warned in a letter from Director of Schools Larry Foster that she faces possible termination if any similar incidents occur in the future. Williams was barred from all Anderson County school campuses during her leave and school officials tell the paper that she is using personal time and is not expected to be back in class until after the holiday break. Two students reportedly sought medical treatment after they were sprayed in the face with the cleaner by other students. Foster said the suspension was levied because of the serious nature of the incident and previous violations of School Board policy by Williams. Two other teachers who stood with Williams in the restroom doorway watching the cleanup were given oral warnings about their roles in the incident.
4 Jailed In Robberies
According to the Anderson County Sheriff’s Department, four people are in custody following two robberies that occurred Saturday evening (12/15). Just before 6:30 pm Saturday, a man robbed the Town Talk Market on Lake City Highway, threatening to cut the clerk’s throat if he did not surrender all the money in the register. The suspect, later identified as 35-year-old Curtis Lynn Lowe of Clinton, was accompanied by another man and a woman, at the time of the robbery and witnesses gave deputies a description of the vehicle they were traveling in. That description as well as Lowe’s alleged involvement was broadcast to all area law enforcement agencies. About an hour and a half after the Town Talk robbery, deputies were called to a home on Sulphur Springs Road where a man reported that he had been robbed. The victim told deputies that a man and a woman had come to his house asking to use the telephone. Once inside, the man grabbed the resident by the collar and threatened to kill him unless he handed over his wallet. Based on witness information, deputies linked Lowe to this incident as well. The vehicle described by witnesses leaving the Town Talk was spotted outside a Clinton convenience store and deputies, with assistance from the Clinton Police Department, arrested three people on charges related to the robberies. They are identified as 52-year-old Gary Wayne Lowe of Nashville (formerly of Clinton) and Clinton residents 28-year-old Misty Dawn Gurley and 25-year-old Brandi Marie Bugg. Lowe is currently on parole after his release from prison. All three face charges of facilitation of a felony and Bugg is also facing a charge of violating her pre-trial release and all three remain in custody at the Anderson County Jail. The actual suspect in both robberies, Curtis Lowe, was not with the other three when they were taken into custody and he was not located despite what was described as an extensive search of several locations in Anderson County. Their search ended on Monday, though, when sheriff’s officials were notified that Lowe had been taken into custody by Knoxville Police after a robbery at a Walgreen’s on Clinton Highway. He is being held in the Knox County jail on charges related to that heist and a hold has been placed on him for Anderson County in connection with the robberies and a pair of outstanding warrants for his arrest.
ORT: Sign Ordinance Changes Delayed
After a backlash from business owners, a proposal to change the city’s electronic sign ordinance has been removed from next week’s agenda for the Oak Ridge Municipal Planning Commission. It’s not clear when the revisions, which would govern message display times and brightness, could be considered by the city. Business owners with electronic signs had objected to the mid-December meeting date, the short amount of time they had to prepare, and a letter they recently received that gave them 10 days to fix any violations of the city’s sign ordinance. The letter, sent to 18 businesses with electronic signs, said signs that have messages that are animated, moving, or flashing are generally prohibited in Oak Ridge. The proposed revisions would have required that electronic sign messages be static and shown for at least 10 seconds. Animations and movements between messages would not have been allowed and neither would animated video or continuous message scrolling. The proposed revisions would have also set a maximum light intensity for the signs. The changes had been scheduled to be considered by the Oak Ridge City Council on Monday, Dec. 10, but council postponed its vote until next year. In a Dec. 3 memo to Oak Ridge City Manager Mark Watson, Community Development Director Kathryn Baldwin said drivers and residents have complained about the electronic reader board signs. The city staff worked with the Oak Ridge Municipal Planning Commission chair and Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce to clarify the regulations, Baldwin said. Business owners said they just learned in the past week about the Dec. 20 planning commission meeting. Some said this is their busiest time of year and not the best time for them to work on sign ordinance changes. They also said they were shocked, disappointed, or frustrated to receive the violation notice letter from the city. They thought they were in compliance, the business owners said, and the letters, which threatened legal action for non-compliance, didn’t cite the specific infractions at their businesses. Read more at www.oakridgetoday.com.
OR Woman Appears In Court In Toddler’s death
An Oak Ridge woman accused of murdering her granddaughter appeared in court for the first time on those charges Friday (12/14). Valerie Stenson is accused of suffocating her 18-month-old granddaughter Manhattan Inman, whose body was found in Stenson’s apartment in April of 2011. Authorities reported that at the time of her death, the toddler appeared malnourished, had bruises all over her body and showed signs of sexual abuse. The state has since announced that prosecutors will seek the death penalty against Stenson because the girl’s death was especially cruel because she used “torture or serious physical abuse beyond what is necessary to cause death.” During Friday’s status hearing, the judge set her next court date for February 1st and her attorney indicated that she will likely undergo a mental evaluation between now and the date of the next hearing. Stenson remains in custody at the Anderson County Jail on bonds totaling $1 million.
Trio Indicted In Murder Plot
A stepson and stepdaughter, along with her boyfriend, have been idicted by an Anderson County grand jury on charges they tried to kill their stepfather in order to gain access to his estate. Earlier this month, an Anderson County grand jury indicted Luther Byrge’s stepson 48-year-old Raymond Randolph Lane and his stepdaughter 51-year-old Dorothy Roxanna McFarland as well as her boyfriend 43-year-old David Lee Suddeth on one count each of attempted first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder, aggravated arson, aggravated kidnapping and theft. Suddeth reportedly told investigators that lane had come up with a plan to kill Byrge and, along with McFarland, moved back to Anderson County and in with Byrge. On January 5th of this year, Lane allegedly told McFarland and Suddeth to gather their things and put them in his car because he was going to burn down the house. Lane is then accused of locking the door to Byrge’s bedroom, disabling the smoke alarm and cutting the phone lines before setting the house on fire. Their plan fell apart, however, when the house failed to burn and Byrge escaped without injury. All three will appear in court on December 28th.
CPD Officer Recognized
Officer Chip Kain of the Clinton Police Department was recently recognized by the Governor’s Highway Safety Office (GHSO) for his persistence in keeping drunk drivers off the streets of Clinton. Kain received a DUI / Impaired Driving Enforcement award for his work from January 1 through October 1, 2012. The presentation was made Monday (December 10th) during the GHSO joint network meeting at the Holiday Inn in Knoxville. Officer Kain received the plaque from GHSO and a certificate from MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving, Tennessee) naming him "D.U.I. Officer of The Year". The Clinton Police Department stresses the importance of traffic safety and strives to protect other motorists from drunk drivers. The efforts of Officer Kain, who has been with the department since September - 2011, has greatly assisted CPD with improving its protection in 2012.
ORCVB Releases Self-Guided Tour Book
The Oak Ridge Convention and Visitors Bureau has released a new 35-page, pocket-sized printed tour guide about the Secret City. The guide contains a detailed driving tour of heritage sites within the community, along with numerous facts and historic photographs of Oak Ridge from the WWII era. The guide also includes other information about the city’s tourism attractions and hotels. Martin McBride, founder of www.TheSecretCityStore.com, wrote the Oak Ridge Heritage Tour Guide, with the assistance of many longtime Oak Ridge residents. The publication costs $4 and can be purchased at the ORCVB Welcome Center Gift Shop, the American Museum of Science and Energy, the Children’s Museum and Jefferson Compounding Center. It is also available online at www.SecretCityStore.com. The tour guide gives visitors an inside look at the story of how Oak Ridge became the largest of three secret cities created by the Army Corps of Engineers during WWII as part of the Manhattan Project. The goal of this project was to build the world’s first atomic bomb. Oak Ridge served as the headquarters of the project and more than 100,000 workers came to the Secret City during this time to build and operate three large nuclear facilities in the city. The workers’ principal task was to separate a rare form of uranium (called uranium-235) from naturally occurring uranium on a large scale, in time to help end the war. For more information about the tour guide and visiting the Secret City, contact the Oak Ridge Convention and Visitors Bureau at (800) 887-3429 or online at www.oakridgevisitor.com. The ORCVB is a local organization formed to strengthen the area economy through the marketing and promotion of Oak Ridge as a destination for meetings, business, and leisure travel.
Report: State Clears AC Alternative School
The Tennessee Department of Education has concluded that special education students were not illegally isolated or barricaded inside a special room as was alleged by a former Anderson County schools employee. Dale Martin, a former member of a three-person crisis team at the now-closed Learn Center in Anderson County, filed an administrative complaint with the state alleging that last year 28 special education students were isolated in a special “time out” room, that four students had been not only isolated but also barricaded inside the room and that school administrators and parents were not told about the incidents. A letter from the state department of education to Director of Schools Larry Foster states that Martin’s allegations “do not have basis in fact.” The state reached that conclusion after sending a representative to speak with the alternative school’s employees and take a tour of the old Learn Center, which was housed in the former National Guard Armory in Clinton. The alternative education program has since been moved to its new home, the Clinch River Community School, which opened earlier this year on the campus of Anderson County High School. The state investigator concluded that employees did not make use of an isolation room as defined by state law and students who voluntarily placed themselves in the so-called time out room as a way of dealing with stress were not prevented from leaving.
AVFD Public Hearing Attracts Huge Crowd
An overflow crowd of Andersonville residents unhappy about the Andersonville Volunteer Fire Department’s subscription plan jammed the hallways on the third floor of the Anderson County Courthouse on Monday to express their anger and frustration over the new fees scheduled to go in to effect on January 1st. The fire department as we have reported previously says it needs an increase in revenue or will have to close its doors while many citizens call the subscription plan “extortion.” Earlier this year the department’s board of directors voted to implement the plan after donations continued to lag far behind their budgetary needs. Many people were upset by the tone of the first letter sent by the AVFD informing them of the fee service in October, which they say was threatening and heavy-handed. 18 citizens spoke during the meeting and another overriding theme was the need for a change in leadership at the AVFD and more public input on the department’s operations. The public hearing was held by the County Commission’s Operations Committee and while there is nothing the county can do legally to stop the subscription plan, commissioners say they are ready to examine the issue of increasing the funding for all of the county’s volunteer fire departments to avoid situations like this in the future. A proposal has been made to create an ad hoc committee made up of eight commissioners and possibly citizens to come up with solutions and the budget committee has been asked to look into finding a way to increase funding for all of the county’s volunteer fire departments using money from the replenished general fund balance. We will continue to follow this story for you.
Beehan, Miller Retain Top OR Posts
Monday night the Oak Ridge City Council voted 4-3 to re-elect Mayor Tom Beehan to a third term in that post. Beehan defeated Council member David Mosby, who announced his candidacy for mayor over the weekend. The vote followed a week of public debate spearheaded by Council newcomer Trina Baughn, who in editorials and letters to the editor called for Beehan to drop his candidacy or even resign altogether from the Council. Baughn said Monday night that “Mr. Beehan has had a decade to lead us toward prosperity, and that has not happened.” Other Council members apparently did not agree, saying that much of the city’s debt comes from the renovation of Oak Ridge High School and that the economic future of the city is starting to brighten. Also re-elected to a third term in office was Vice Mayor Jane Miller, who defeated Mosby 4-3 even though Mosby had not indicated interest in the position.
AVFD Responds To Mayor
One day after the Anderson County mayor asked the Andersonville Volunteer Fire Department to delay implementation of its controversial subscription service, the department’s board has responded. The AVFD says that it must charge residents and businesses eight cents a square foot to provide fire protection or else they will go bankrupt by the end of the year. So far, almost $40,000 has been raised through over 250 people subscribing in the first nine days of the sign-up period. Wednesday, Mayor Terry Frank issued a press release in which she said that she had asked the board to delay the implementation of the program until what she called a “full and thorough hearing and review” can be held. She also says that the County Llaw Director has agreed to answer any legal questions surrounding the matter. Thursday, the board responded by requesting that Mayor Frank submit a formal request two weeks before their next meeting on the first Monday of January if she wants them to consider suspending or delaying the program. The board wrote that “we now have a responsibility to the growing list of members…this cannot be taken lightly with an informal e-mail from a county official…[we] must follow due process.” The subscription plan is the subject of a public hearing set for Monday night at 7 pm in room 312 of the Courthouse. As we reported yesterday, while the Commission has no legal authority to step in and halt the program, commissioners can explore other funding options. Commissioner Tim Isbel has told us that he intends to propose increasing the county’s contributions to not only the AVFD but all of the volunteer fire departments in the county based upon a percentage of their annual budgets. He says that the county is in much better financial shape than it was two years ago, leading him to believe that the funds could be available with no impact on taxpayers. Again, the public hearing is set for 7 pm Monday in room 312 of the Courthouse in Clinton. WYSH will have a reporter at that meeting and will provide you details on Tuesday morning if you cannot attend.
Blount Couple Jailed In Florida
A Blount County couple was arrested in Florida this week in connection with an alleged scheme to buy and resell hundreds of morphine pills, according to authorities. 41-year-old Gary Hill and his wife, 39-year-old Paula Hill, both of Maryville are facing charges of attempted trafficking in dangerous drugs following their arrest Wednesday in the parking lot of a Daytona Beach, Fla., mall, according to the Volusia County Sheriff's Office. Gary Hill also is charged with unlawful use of a two-way communications device, the release states. Authorities say that the Hills contacted an undercover agent who they believed was a Florida pill supplier, and struck a deal to buy 800 morphine pills for $10 per 100 mg pill. The couple planned to use nearly $8,000 from a recent settlement to make the buy, and they planned to resell the pills for $18 apiece. The Hills apparently already had pulled building permits for a new home, and they needed $12,000 to begin construction, the sheriff's office alleges. The Sheriff's Office also says that the couple successfully pulled off a similar scheme in 2010. They were arrested as they arrived to make the buy outside the Volusia Mall. Agents with the multiagency Volusia Bureau of Investigation allegedly found $7,778 cash on the couple at the time. The Hills are being held on bonds of $50,000 each.
ORPSEF Donates $402+K To ORHS Debt
(Submitted) The Oak Ridge Public Schools Education Foundation recently made its eighth annual contribution for the rebuilding and renovation of Oak Ridge High School, a project that was completed in 2008. In November, Lila Metcalf, the foundation’s executive director, presented a check for $402,611 to Oak Ridge City Manager Mark Watson to assist in the high school debt repayment. Since the payments began in 2005, the Education Foundation has presented the city with more than $3.5 million for the high school. The Education Foundation raised $8 million in private funds for the high school, and that money provided the leverage for special bonds available for public schools. Together, the private funds and bonds provided the final piece of funding that made the renovation of Oak Ridge High School possible. The Education Foundation is currently conducting a campaign to raise $500,000 in private contributions to ensure that the Foundation’s annual grant awards continue to make a significant and critical difference to our schools. The campaign, “Making the Critical Difference,” will expand and sustain the Foundation’s Grants Program, providing one-time grants to teachers for resources that enhance learning for students. The grants, most in the range of $500 to $5,000, are awarded each spring on a competitive basis in response to proposals submitted by teachers and approved by the administration and the Foundation board. For more information about making a donation to the Oak Ridge Public Schools Education Foundation, call the foundation office at (865) 241-3667 or see the foundation’s website at www.orpsef.org.
AC Mayor Asks AVFD To Hold Off On Subscription Service
Anderson County Mayor Terry Frank has asked the Andersonville Volunteer Fire Department to delay implementing its transition to a subscription-based service. The AVFD currently relies on donations but Fire Chief Jeff Bagwell says that more revenue is needed if the department is to stay open. The department’s board of directors approved charging residents and businesses eight cents a square foot for fire protection starting January 1st. Fire officials have said that they will continue to respond to all emergencies but that non-subscribers would be charged for service. The measure has generated emotional responses from many in the community who say the first they had heard of the plan was in late October, when letters were sent informing them that the plan would go into effect at the first of the year. In a press release issued Wednesday (12/5), Mayor Frank says that “I am a big fan of our volunteer fire departments…however, when there are more questions than answers for the plans as presented, I feel it is my duty to step forward. Citizens feel they have no recourse and it is my duty to help them.” The plan will be the subject of a public hearing Monday night October 10th at 7 pm in room 312 of the Courthouse. In Wednesday’s announcement, Mayor Frank says that “the success of any plan…depends on the trust of those you serve. I feel the sheer number of questions and the level of concern and risk are setting the department a step back.” She goes on to say that she is encouraging the department’s board to stop the plan until what she calls a “full and thorough hearing and review” can be held. She has also asked County Law Director Jay Yeager to answer legal questions about the plan from concerned citizens and questions that she has as well. Bagwell said Wednesday that over 200 people and businesses have already signed up for the service and that he doesn’t see how the department can turn back now. Mayor Frank favors holding off on implementation in favor of a public awareness campaign. While there is nothing the County Commission can do to stop the department from moving forward with its plan, commissioners could explore other funding options. Commissioner Tim Isbel, in an e-mail to WYSH this morning, says that he will propose to the county’s budget committee that the Commission increase its annual support to each of the volunteer fire departments across the county. Isbel writes that “our hard work over the past 24 months scrutinizing county spending along with progressive retail growth and the fact that we will be retiring debt in the next fiscal year” leads him to believe that the county could afford to increase its funding to each department based upon their yearly budgets. Increasing funding would also subject each department to increased oversight by the county government, including in expenditures. The public hearing will be held on Monday night at 7 pm in room 312 of the Courthouse in Clinton.
ORHS Team Wins $30K At Siemens Competition
Oak Ridge High School seniors James Andress and AJ Toth have won a $30,000 team scholarship in the 2012 Siemens Competition in Math, Science and Technology. The duo competed over the weekend in the national finals at George Washington University in Washington DC. Their project in the nation’s leading contest for young researchers could eventually help in the development of anti-cancer drugs. They won the regional team competition in Atlanta last month, splitting a $6000 team scholarship. The grand prize in both the team and individual categories is $100,000 worth of scholarship funds. The results were announced on Tuesday (12/4).
AC Mayor Hires Fiscal Analyst
Tuesday (12/4), Anderson County Mayor Terry Frank announced that she has hired local businessman Thomas Shope to serve as her administration’s fiscal analyst. In a release announcing the hire, Mayor Frank says “When I campaigned for office, I pledged to internally audit the books to look for efficiency on behalf of the taxpayer. Hiring Tom is part of keeping that pledge.” The release states that Shope has provided fiscal management for both government and private-sector businesses for over 20 years, serving as an auditor, business analyst, statistician and director of business development. Frank says that Shope is “the outside set of eyes we need to improve efficiency and save money…and to help both the taxpayer and those working to serve the taxpayer.” Shope is being added as a part-time employee.
AC Man Thwarts Burglary At Parents’ Home
The Anderson County Sheriff’s Department responded to a burglary in progress call on Thursday, November 29, to a home on Andersonville Hwy. The incident started when the son of the homeowners drove by and saw a strange vehicle idling in his parents' driveway. When the son went to investigate, he found that the back door had been forced open and the home had been burglarized. Arming himself with his father's shotgun, he confronted the burglar and detained him inside the residence. He then called us and several deputies responded. 29-year-old Christopher Shane Pack of Knoxville was arrested on charges of aggravated burglary, theft, possession of Schedule II narcotics and possession of Burglary Tools. He is also being held at the Anderson County Jail on outstanding warrants out of Knox, Sevier and Blount counties. Investigators are working to see if he may be involved in other burglaries.
Drugs Found In System Of Driver In Fatal Blount Collision
A TBI toxicology report indicates that the driver who collided head-on with a Maryville teenager’s car, killing her, in August had drugs in his system at the time of the fatal crash. 16-year-old Amelia Keown died in the crash that occurred on August 14th on Highway 411 as she went home to grab her pom-poms for dance team practice at William Blount High School. The other driver, John Perkins, had been clocked moments before the accident by a state trooper going 73 miles an hour in a 55-mile-per-hour zone. The TBI report indicates that Perkins had almost toxic levels of oxycodone in his system and that he had used meth sometime before the crash. Perkins was released on parole in 2005 after serving just four years of a 12-year sentence for armed robbery and since her death Amelia’s family has embarked on a quest to change state laws to make it easier for the state to keep repeat felony offenders behind bars. You can sign a petition in support of the so-called “Amelia’s Law” at www.ameliaslaw.com.
Motions Heard In AC Convenience Center Suit
Following up on a question posed to us on “Ask Your Neighbor” on Tuesday morning, here is the latest update on the lawsuit filed by four businesses in the David Jones Industrial Park against the Anderson County government and 13 members of the Anderson County Economic Development Agency—or ACEDA—over the county’s plans to move a controversial convenience center into the park. The plaintiffs in the suit, which was filed in July, are Carton Services (doing business in the park as Pharma Packaging Services), GWDU Leasing Inc., CMH, Inc. and Seneca Medical, Inc. and they are seeking a temporary injunction preventing the move and seeking to rescind the County Commission's vote from earlier this year to amend the covenants prohibiting trash collection sites in the park. The suit in Anderson County Chancery Court claims that the county has not gone before the Board of Zoning Appeals to apply to use the parcel as a convenience center and that the Commission's decision to amend the covenants in April was in direct opposition to a resolution adopted in 2009 in which the county went "on record in opposition to convenience centers and transfer stations at any location in or adjacent areas of industrial parks." Placing a convenience center in the industrial park, according to the suit, would increase incidents of "insect infestation, rats and other pests" as well as noxious odors, noise and traffic congestion, thereby becoming a nuisance and lowering the value of the plaintiffs' properties. Seeking to end a years-long dispute over how to address problems at the current site, the county identified the David Jones Industrial Park as the most suitable and cheapest alternative site to relocate the convenience center. In April, at the request of the Commission, ACEDA voted 13-7 to recommend changing the covenants regarding what can and cannot be located inside an industrial park to allow a well-maintained convenience center and the County Commission approved the changes 11-3. Monday, motions were heard during a hearing in Chancery Court and the judge denied a motion by the county and ACEDA to dismiss the suit. The plaintiffs asked for a motion for a partial summary judgment that was denied in part and granted in part, according to County Law Director Jay Yeager. The Chancellor ruled that the David Jones Industrial Park was built under the guidelines of the Industrial Park Act but denied a motion from the plaintiffs asking the court to rule that the amendment process was void and not in effect. The case is still several months away from going to trial and we will keep you updated on this story as developments warrant.
Black Friday Meets Road Rage
The desire to find a deal on a gift for his grandson early on Black Friday landed a Clinton man in jail. According to the Anderson County Sheriff’s Department, 62-year-old Jerry Leon Poe allegedly fired a pistol at a woman driving in front of him on Oak Ridge Highway shortly before 5 am Friday to as he put it to deputies, “scare her into moving.” The woman’s husband, who happens to be a Union County Sheriff’s deputy, was driving behind them in a separate vehicle and witnessed the incident. Deputy Sgt. Michael Butcher activated the authorized blue lights on his SUV and pulled Poe over, getting him out of the car and into handcuffs to await the arrival of Anderson County deputies. Poe admitted to firing the shot out of his window and told deputies that he did so because “she wouldn’t move out of [his] way.” Poe said that “he didn’t know what had come over [him]” and added that he knew what he had done was wrong. He said that he was frustrated because he had waited in line for nearly five hours at the Wal-Mart in Clinton to buy a stereo for his son but they had run out of that item. Poe told authorities that he had been headed to the Oak Ridge Wal-Mart to see if he could purchase the stereo there. Sgt. Butcher reported that he had seen Poe’s truck weave back and forth behind his wife’s vehicle, tailgate her for a time and then pull alongside and fire the pistol in her direction. The report does not indicate if the woman’s car was struck. Deputies seized two pistols from Poe, who does have a valid carry permit, and took him into custody. As of this morning, he remained at the Anderson County Jail on charges of aggravated assault, reckless driving and reckless endangerment.
Blount Deputy Hit By Car At Wreck Scene
A Blount County Sheriff’s deputy was struck by a vehicle early this morning at the scene of traffic accident on US 411 South near Brick Mill Road in Greenback. The deputy—whose name has not yet been released—was taken to UT Medical Center by ambulance for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries. Authorities say that the driver of the car who hit the deputy—whose name has also not been released yet—did not allow enough room for the officer as they passed by the accident scene. We will have more on this story as developments warrant.
Man Sentenced To Life In Estranged Wife’s Murder
A Blount County man who was found guilty in August of murdering his estranged wife in 2009 was sentenced to life in prison on Monday. 51-year-old Jeffrey Long was accused of beating, stabbing and choking 57-year-old Janas Long to death inside her Alcoa apartment on September 10th, 2009. A jury convicted him on charges of first-degree murder, premeditated murder, aggravated burglary and assault in August. The judge ordered that all of the sentences be served concurrently as Long has shown little remorse for his crimes. When he is eligible for parole in 51 years, Jeffrey Long will be 102 years old.
Follow-Up: AC DA Seeks Death In Toddler’s Murder
Anderson County District Attorney General Dave Clark announced Wednesday (11/21) that his office will seek the death penalty against 48-year-old Valerie Stenson in connection with the 2011 death of her 2-year-old granddaughter Manhattan Inman. The toddler was found dead inside her home on Teller Village Lane in Oak Ridge on April 17th, 2011 and her death was investigated by the Oak Ridge Police Department. When found, she reportedly had a scarf tied tightly around her lower face and mouth and coroners ruled her cause of death as suffocation. Investigators say the autopsy report uncovered bruises all over the girl’s body and evidence of sexual abuse and what described as torture. Manhattan Inman, who was two years and eight months old weighed only 23 pounds at the time of her death. The Anderson County grand jury ultimately indicted Stenson on charges of first degree murder, aggravated child abuse and neglect (resulting in serious bodily injury), aggravated child abuse and neglect (through use of a deadly weapon), aggravated child abuse and neglect (through conduct that was especially heinous, atrocious, cruel or involved infliction of torture) and aggravated child abuse and neglect (during the year prior to the murder). Clark commented in a release announcing his decision “The District Attorney General is solely responsible for determining which first degree murder cases are appropriate to seek the death penalty and which are not. Once such a decision has been made, it represents an enormous commitment of state resources and a recognition that the case will be reviewed and scrutinized exhaustively.” Clark added that “I reached this decision considering all the factors and after careful review and consideration.” Stenson remains in custody at the Anderson County Jail on bonds totaling $1 million.
Follow-Up: Blount Authorities ID Woman Killed In Fire
Authorities have identified a recently widowed mother killed in an early-morning house fire Monday in Blount County as Kristina Kallstrom. The fire was reported at around 3 am Monday in the 200 block of Webb Road in Townsend. Her three children—ages 5, 8 and 12—and a small dog were found hiding inside the family’s SUV parked close to the house but were rescued by firefighters before it, too, caught fire. Neighbors told first responders that the mother had run back into the house to rescue other pets but had become trapped by the intense flames. Firefighters were unable to mount a rescue attempt due to the intensity of the flames and the fact that the house was collapsing. An autopsy determined that she died from smoke inhalation. Her husband and the children’s father, Paul Kallstrom, passed away earlier this year from a heart attack and the kids were cared for Monday by members of their church until family members from out of state arrived in the area. The children lost all of their possessions in the fire and donations are being accepted through their church and can be sent to or dropped off at Bethel Baptist Church, 132 Bethel Road, Townsend, Tennessee 37882. The church has also started a fund for the family’s funeral expenses and other costs at branches of US Bank. The New Hope Blount County Children’s Advocacy Center is also expected to set up a fund for the children within the next few days. The cause of the fire is being investigated by the Blount County Sheriff’s Office.
USAF Releases Report On Crash That Killed Clinton Native
The US Air Force has released the findings of its investigation into the crash of a C-130 Hercules air tanker on July 1st in South Dakota that killed four members of the North Carolina Air National Guard, including a Clinton native. Lt. Col. Paul Mikael and three other crew members aboard the plane died while fighting wildfires in the Black Hills and the accident report released on Wednesday (11/14) says that the crew misjudged weather conditions and flew into a wind burst that forced their plane down. The report was issued by the Air Force Air Mobility Command and said that the crash occurred because the crew had made an “inadequate assessment” of the weather conditions before flying into a microburst, a small and intense thunderstorm. The report also says that two other plane crews in the area failed to communicate critical information to Mikael and his crew, which also received conflicting information on how close they could fly to a thunderstorm. Two other crew members in the rear of the plane were injured but survived the crash. The North Carolina Air National Guard released a statement Wednesday that said they will study the investigation’s conclusions to prevent future incidents. Since his untimely death, Lt. Col. Mikael’s hometown of Clinton has paid tribute to his service through remembrances, resolutions and renaming the swimming pool at the Clinton Community Center in his honor. Information from the Air Force Times was used in this story, and you can read the entire article summarizing the report by following this link:
Briceville Library Project A Dream No Longer
Work has begun on the long-awaited Briceville Public Library project. Workers began laying out the facility’s boundaries and grading the site on Tuesday (11/13) and the new library is expected to be completed within six months from last Friday November 9th. The new library will replace the current Briceville Library, which is very small, with a new, larger facility. Money for the project is coming from grants and loans obtained through the county and from private donations from individuals and businesses in the community. Marshall Hackworth, who has spearheaded this project for the past six years, told us Tuesday that he wanted to thank everyone involved in this project for their hard work and contributions to bring it to fruition. His work and the work of the rest of the supporters of the new library is not quite done, however, as an effort is already underway to raise $50,000 to furnish and equip the new library.
AVFD Holds Subscription Meeting
Thursday, the Andersonville Volunteer Fire Department held the first in a series of public meetings to discuss their planned implementation of a subscription program. The department’s board of directors has already approved the plan that will require home and business owners in the department’s 68-square mile coverage area to pay an annual subscription fee based on the square footage of their home or business. The rate for the subscription would be eight cents per square foot and officials estimate the average subscriber would pay between $150 and $200 a year. Officials say that unless they change their operating plan they will have to close their doors within the next three years. Officials are quick to point out, though, that if someone’s house does catch fire, they would still respond but would bill the homeowner for their services. The department will continue to respond to all calls, but after March 1 property owners who are not members will be charged rates ranging from $150 for an emergency medical call to $1,900 for the first hour for the first engine on the scene of a structure fire, depending on the nature of the call. Waivers can also be obtained by those who cannot afford the subscription payment by providing proof of income. The next public meeting to discuss the change to a subscription-based service will be held on Monday November 12th at 7 pm at Andersonville Fire Station #1 located at 1957 Mountain Road. The letter to those served by the AVFD announcing the subscription service is posted on the News page of our website. You can also find out more by visiting www.tnavfd.com.
Letter from Chief Bagwell to Andersonville residents:
“The Andersonville Volunteer Fire Department, which serves 68 square miles, 9,000 residents, an industrial park, 57 businesses, four schools and four marinas in Anderson County, is converting from an all-volunteer, donations-based department to a membership-based “combination” department January 1, 2013. “Only around 14 percent of the population and three percent of the businesses are contributing to keep this department operational and we’re answering more calls by far than any other volunteer department in the county,” said Chief Jeff Bagwell. “Our financial analysis showed we have to change our operating plan or we’ll shut our doors in three years. That means we either drastically reduce services to the community, or we find a way to increase our revenue stream. Both our board of directors and the department membership itself chose to follow in the footsteps of other volunteer departments around the country and increase revenues through voluntary membership rather than cut services.” Bagwell says very few people realize how expensive it is to operate a fire department even with all-volunteer labor. “A truck, before it’s properly equipped, may cost as much as $450,000. Training and outfitting a firefighter to required standards is nearly $14,000. Then there is fuel, utilities, insurance, maintenance and repair of equipment and structures. It all mounts up quickly.” The new “combination” department will remain a tax-exempt, non-profit and will employ a handful of paid firefighter/EMT positions to staff the department’s two existing stations and the third station under construction in the Belmont Community when it becomes operational. That will significantly reduce response times and give the department – and property owners – an improved rating for insurance purposes. A full-time office manager has already been hired, but volunteers, including himself will continue to provide for the department’s remaining firefighting, emergency medical, administrative and fundraising needs, according to Bagwell. Annual membership, which will be tax deductible, will cost $.08/square foot as recorded by state tax assessor records, and property owners will begin receiving membership statements in the mail soon. Membership can be paid by mail, in person during business hours at department headquarters (1957 Mountain Road in Andersonville), or with a credit card online at the department’s website. The department will continue to respond to all calls, but after March 1 property owners who are not members will be charged rates ranging from $150 for an emergency medical call to $1,900 for the first hour for the first engine on the scene of a structure fire, depending on the nature of the call. (Renters will not be billed for 9-1-1 calls and the board of directors may reduce or waive membership fees on a case-by-case basis for low income property owners with appropriate supporting financial documentation.) “Membership is strictly voluntary, but insurance companies will take note of whether property owners are members and usually will adjust rates accordingly. Non-members will not only pay higher insurance rates but they will also be charged for calls,” said Bagwell. “We really don’t want to charge anyone for calls, we’d much rather have everyone become members and help support improved emergency services for the community.” The department will host public meetings to answer questions 7 p.m. Nov. 12 at AVFD Station 1; and 7 p.m. Nov. 15 at the Valley Quick Pack on Sinking Springs Road.”
State Report Cards For School Systems
Last week the state Department of Education released the state report cards for schools and school systems across Tennessee. The report cards cover a wide range of areas but today we will focus on academic growth and we see that the Clinton City school system is one of only two systems in the state to achieve straight A’s in student academic growth. In grades K-8, Clinton schools received A’s in math, reading/language, social studies and science. It should be pointed out that the Clinton school system only goes through grade 5 at its three elementary schools. The Anderson County school system received one A (math), one B (social studies) and two C’s (reading/language and science) in grades K-8. High school students scored above average in Algebra I and II and in US history on End of Course exams. In Oak Ridge, the system received two A’s (math and social studies) and two C’s (reading/language and science) in grades K-8 while high school students scored above average on End of Course exams (EOCs) in Algebra I & II, Biology I and English III. The Blount County school system received two A’s (math and social studies), one C (reading/language) and one D (science) in grades K-8 while high school students scored below average in Algebra I and above average in US history. Alcoa schools received two A’s (math and social studies), one B (reading/language) and one C (science) in grades K-8. Alcoa High School students scored above average on EOCs in Algebra II and below average in US history. The Maryville school system received one A (social studies), two B’s (math and reading/language) and one C (science) in grades K-8 while high school students scored above average on EOCs in Algebra I & II, English III and US history. For a complete look at the state Report Card, visit http://www.tn.gov/education/reportcard/index.shtml.
AVFD To Become Subscription-Based
The Andersonville Volunteer Fire Department says that due to a lack of funds, it will switch to a subscription-based operation beginning on January 1st. Fire Chief Jeff Bagwell says that a financial analysis of the department showed that if it did not change its operating plan, it would have to close down within three years. The AVFD serves approximately 9000 residents in a 68-square-mile area that also includes almost 60 businesses, four schools, several marinas and an industrial park. Memberships will be voluntary and the subscription cost will be based upon the size of the home or business at a rate of eight cents per square foot. Officials estimate that the annual subscriptions will range from $150 to $200 but are tax-deductible. Currently, a very small percentage of homes and an even smaller percentage of businesses contribute to the department. After March 1st, 2013, the department will begin charging non-subscribers for responding to the scene of a fire or an emergency medical call. Chief Bagwell is scheduled to join us on “Ask Your Neighbor” in a couple of weeks and we will certainly discuss this issue with him.
Blount Administrator Honored By State
We told you yesterday about William Blount High School theater teacher Renda Crowe being named the East Grand Division Teacher of the Year by the Tennessee Department of Education. Ms. Crowe was recognized for building relationships with students and making her lessons relevant by connecting theater to their lives. Last week, Dr. Alisa Teffeteller, the supervisor of Career and Technical Education and Federal Programs for the Blount County School system, was named East Tennessee’s 2012-13 Supervisor of the Year by the Department of Education. As supervisor of federal programs, Teffeteller oversees Title I, II, III, VI, IX, homeless, migrant and immigrant students. The Supervisor of the Year award recognizes administrators who have helped build a better education for Tennessee students through their leadership, programs and visions. As the East Tennessee Grand Division winner, Teffeteller represents the 34 counties included in that division, which stretches from Cumberland Plateau to the eastern border of Tennessee. As with the Teacher of the Year award, the Supervisor of the Year award was sponsored this year by the Niswonger Foundation based in Greeneville and provided cash prizes to the winners and to the finalists. Congratulations to Alisa Teffeteller.
WBHS Teacher Named ET Teacher Of The Year
A William Blount High School teacher has been recognized as the East Grand Division 2013 Teacher of the Year by the Tennessee Department of Education. Renda Crowe, who teaches theater at William Blount, was recognized Tuesday night during a banquet in Nashville. According to a media release about the award, Crowe “builds relationships with students and makes her lessons relevant by connecting theater to their lives.” Tennessee’s Teacher of the Year awards and banquet are sponsored by the Niswonger Foundation, a Greenville-based organization that provides cash prizes to each of the nine regional finalists. Congratulations to Renda Crowe!
ACSD IDs Deputy In Fatal Shooting
Anderson County Sheriff Paul White has identified the officer involved in a fatal shooting on Saturday (10/13) in the Marlow community as Reserve Deputy Steven Williams. The Sheriff’s Department says that Williams initiated a traffic stop of a car on Pine Ridge Road shortly before 10:30 am. The driver pulled into a driveway, jumped from the car, and fled on foot. Deputy Williams gave chase and a short distance later was confronted by the suspect where a struggle ensued with the suspect trying to take his duty weapon. The suspect, identified as 30-year-old Randal Wilcox of Clinton, was shot and killed. Deputy Williams was transported by Anderson County EMS to Methodist Medical Center in Oak Ridge where he was treated and released for injuries received in the struggle. Sheriff White says Williams has been a Reserve Deputy with the Anderson County Sheriff's Department since July of 2008 and a senior patrol officer as of June 2012. Williams is one of only six reserve deputies out of 38 who have received advanced training and have the necessary qualifications to be used on patrol duties. Williams has received his initial critical incident stress debriefing and more debriefings for Williams and other first responders connected to Saturday’s incident are scheduled. The TBI is investigating Saturday’s incident.
Roane Grand Jury Indicts Former Non-Profit Heads For Theft
A grand jury in Roane County has indicted the former directors of a non-profit group on theft charges following a TBI investigation that began in 2010. The Roane County DA’s office requested the TBI come in and investigate after hearing allegations of the possible misuse of funds at the Community Health Network, or CHN. The non-profit’s mission was to operate a network of video and computer equipment designed to allow medical personnel in rural areas to collaborate with specialists at major medical centers across the state. The State Comptroller’s Office performed an audit that found that Director Keith Williams and Assistant Director Paul Monroe had mismanaged over $1.2 million in federal grant money. Prosecutors allege that Williams gave himself an unauthorized bonus of over $80,000 and that Monroe wrote himself a $10,000 bonus. Williams was indicted on a charge of theft over $60,000 and Monroe was indicted on one count of theft between $10,000 and $60,000. Williams reportedly resigned from CHN in January of 2010 after the state’s contract with the agency expired while Monroe was reportedly fired in March of 2010. Federal authorities are also investigating this case and further charges could be filed.
Update: Suspect In Officer-Involved Shooting Faced 2013 Trials
Following up on Saturday’s (10/13) deadly deputy-involved shooting in Anderson County’s Marlow community, the identity of the deputy involved has still not been made public. In a statement released Monday, Sheriff Paul White said that it will be left up to him as to when the deputy’s name will be made public, expressing concerns about his and family’s safety and privacy in the wake of the encounter that left 30-year-old Randall Wilcox of Clinton dead. The deputy has been placed on paid administrative leave as the TBI investigates the shooting, both standard procedures in an officer-involved shooting. The incident began at around 10:22 am Saturday when an Anderson County deputy pulled over a car in the 600 block of Pine Ridge. The driver pulled into a driveway but immediately fled on foot into a nearby wooded area, where the deputy gave chase. The suspect reportedly confronted the deputy and tried to take the officer’s weapon. During the ensuing struggle, Wilcox of Clinton was shot and killed. We reported Monday that Wilcox had been arrested and booked into the Anderson County Jail 20 times since 2000, when he was 18 years old, on various charges that included aggravated robbery, vandalism and domestic assault. He was wanted on three outstanding warrants at the time of his death and was scheduled to go on trial next year on charges that included carjacking and reckless endangerment. No further information is being released as the TBI investigates Saturday’s incident. The findings of that probe will be turned over to the DA’s office but there is no timetable on when the investigation will be complete.
ACSD Deputy Involved In Fatal Shooting
Proving that no traffic stop is ever routine for law enforcement officers, what started as a traffic stop Saturday morning on Pine Ridge Road in Anderson County’s Marlow community ended with one man dead. The incident began at around 10:22 am Saturday when an Anderson County deputy pulled over a car in the 600 block of Pine Ridge. The driver pulled into a driveway but immediately fled on foot into a nearby wooded area, where the deputy gave chase. The suspect reportedly confronted the deputy and tried to take the officer’s weapon. During the ensuing struggle, the suspect—identified as 30-year-old Randall Kyle Wilcox of Clinton—was shot and killed. The deputy, whose name has not been released, was injured in the altercation and taken to Methodist Medical Center, where he was treated and released. The deputy, along with other personnel involved in Saturday’s incident will receive critical incident debriefings over the next few days. The deputy has been placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the TBI investigation. TBI was called in by District Attorney Dave Clark and their presence is standard procedure in the investigation of officer-involved shootings. Wilcox had a lengthy criminal record that included 20 arrests since 2000, including some for violent crimes. At the time of his death, he was wanted on three outstanding warrants. The TBI is continuing its investigation, which may take several months to complete. Sheriff Paul White says that he will decide when the name of the deputy involved will be made public. This is the second fatal shooting involving Anderson County deputies this year, following the February 29th incident in Claxton in which two Indiana residents were shot and killed in Claxton following a high-speed police pursuit. The two officers in the February case were cleared of any wrongdoing in that incident by the TBI and the DA’s office.
Maryville School Wins National Prize
Maryville Junior High School has been recognized with one of five second place national prizes in the Scholastic Book Fairs National Middle School Student Crew Contest, which challenged students to run their own book fair and create contests, advertising campaigns, host activities and develop themes. Over 50 students participated at Maryville, choosing a “Hunger Games” theme based on the popular series of books. Maryville’s book fair included decorations and displays of various moments or places in the series and school staff members wrote, directed and starred in a “Hunger Games-“themed commercial promoting the fair. For its achievement the school took home $1000 in books and other educational resources. School officials said that the students’ planning led to a 63% increase in book sales compared to last year’s Scholastic Book Fair.
John Sevier Elementary Wins SCORE Prize
A Maryville school has been recognized for improving student achievement by state education officials. John Sevier Elementary School in the Maryville city school system was named one of four statewide winners of the 2012 SCORE prize at a ceremony held Monday night (10/8) in Nashville. The school received $10,000 for its achievement. SCORE stands for State Collaborative on Reforming Education. The ceremony on Monday was attended by Governor Bill Haslam, Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman, SCORE Chairman and former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist and SCORE President and CEO Jamie Woodson. Winners were chosen based on TCAP score improvement, attendance rates, college-readiness data and socioeconomic status. John Sevier was recognized specifically for improving both math and reading scores while also narrowing the gap between economically disadvantaged students and other students. Last year, Anderson County’s Fairview Elementary School and the entire Maryville city school system were named as SCORE prize winners. Congratulations to everyone associated with John Sevier Elementary School on this well-deserved recognition.
Report: Ex-Credit Union Manager Pleads To Theft
The former manager of a credit union that served Anderson County government and school employees has pleaded guilty to stealing over $240,000 from members’ accounts. The News-Sentinel reports that 53-year-old Shirley McKinney of Harriman recently pleaded guilty to one count of theft over $60,000 and two counts each of forgery involving over $10,000 and forgery over $1000. She received a 15-year sentence, but will serve the balance of that sentence on supervised probation after serving nine and half months in the Anderson County Jail. She is expected to report to the jail next month to begin serving that sentence and was also ordered to repay $242,511.80. The money turned up missing during a routine audit in January of 2010 and McKinney was immediately placed on unpaid leave. The TBI was brought in to investigate allegations that she had made unauthorized withdrawals from members’ accounts. The investigation also determined that she had forged two members’ names on loan documents for over $10,000 and forged another member’s name on two loans of over $1000. She was indicted by an Anderson County grand jury last year following the conclusion of the investigation. No members lost money as the losses were insured by the Credit Union National Association. The News-Sentinel reports that McKinney received a lighter sentence after accepting strict guidelines for the repayment of the stolen money. The Anderson County Employees Federal Credit Union merged with the Knoxville Teachers Credit Union a few months after the thefts were discovered.
OS, AC & Clinton Awarded Grants For Infrastructure, Parks
Governor Bill Haslam was in Oliver Springs on Tuesday (9/18) to announce that Community Development Block Grants—or CDBGs—have been awarded to Oliver Springs and Clinton and that Local Parks and Recreation Fund Grants had been awarded to Oliver Springs and Anderson County. The CDBGs will assist with infrastructure improvements while the Park Grants will be used to renovate and expand three area parks. Oliver Springs received a CDBG for $500,000 to make improvements to the town’s water system and water treatment plant. That grant requires a local match of $37,700. Clinton received a $339,000 CDBG with no local match for housing rehabilitation on eight homes inside the city. Those houses are located on Hillcrest and Howard Streets as well as on Edgewood Avenue. Oliver Springs was also awarded a Local parks and Recreation Fund Grant in the amount of $100,000 that will be used to build a picnic area at Carmichael Park and expand the amenities at Arrowhead Park. Those improvements reportedly include a large pavilion and playground, a new basketball court and a new access road. Anderson County received a $22,000 Parks Grant for the continued development of Marlow Park, including a new pavilion, outdoor fitness equipment and additional picnic spots. The Parks grants require 50% local matches. In making the announcements, Governor Haslam said “Community development block grants allow communities to complete projects that will ultimately lay the ground work for future economic development opportunities. The funds for the grants were allocated under a procedure authorized by the General Assembly and the CDBG program in Tennessee is administered by the Department of Economic and Community Development. The Parks grants are administered by the state Department of Environment and Conservation.
AC Mayor Restructures Zoning & Public Works
Anderson County Mayor Terry Frank announced Monday (9/17) that she has made changes to the Zoning and Public Works Department that she says will save taxpayers over $100,000 a year. In a news release announcing the changes, Frank says that the workload in the office is down, primarily due to the economic downturn and that “building permits have been reduced to approximately 14% of what they were in 2005. Balancing the services needed with the cost of operations, I made the decision to restructure the office.” As part of that restructuring, the position of planner has been eliminated and will instead be handled by the East Tennessee Development District under a contractual agreement. The position of GIS—Geographic Information Systems—coordinator has also been eliminated to “achieve cost savings and avoid duplication of services,” according to the release. GIS services will now be provided by a cooperative agreement between the Mayor’s Office and the office of Property Assessor, reinstating shared services that have existed in the past. In her release, Frank says that Property Assessor John Alley Jr. already employs an “accomplished GIS coordinator.” The third change in the office involved combining a clerk’s position with codes enforcement, which eliminated one of those two positions. Frank, who campaigned on a platform of smaller government and less burden on taxpayers, says these moves will save the county $102,000 a year. The mayor also said that as the economy improves, the needs of the office can be reassessed.
Mayor Frank’s Announcement Of Changes In Public Works
“In part of the restructuring of the Zoning and Public Works Department under the office of the Anderson County Mayor, several changes were implemented that will save the taxpayers over $100,000 annually. “Mainly due to the economic downturn, the workload in the office is down. Our building permits have been reduced to approximately 14% of what they were in 2005. Balancing the services needed with the cost of operations, I made the decision to restructure the office,” stated Mayor Frank. The position of planner has been eliminated and will be handled by the East Tennessee Development District under a contractual agreement. The position of GIS Coordinator has been eliminated in effort to achieve cost savings and avoid duplication of services. Those services will now be provided by a cooperative agreement between the Anderson County Mayor’s Office and the Property Assessors office, reinstating shared services that have existed in the past. The third change involved combining the clerk position with code enforcement thus eliminating one position. “Cooperation can make the cost-saving difference, and I’m very pleased to be able to work with our Property Assessor and his accomplished GIS coordinator to achieve the same services at a reduced cost to the taxpayer. Likewise, we have a history of working with the East Tennessee Development District and I look forward to working together with them again. Their expertise will be an enormous asset to our county at a savings to our office,” continued Frank. Of the cooperation agreement, Property Assessor Johnny Alley stated, “I am pleased to be on the same page in serving the taxpayer. Efficiency and cooperation are a benefit to the citizens of Anderson County.” Restructuring the office saved $102,000. “I am hopeful for stronger economic growth in our county, and should we achieve an abundance of growth, we can always reassess the needs of the office,” stated Mayor Frank.”
2 Killed In Church Bus Crash
A small Blount County church is mourning the loss of two members who died Sunday morning in a head-on collision in Sevier County that injured 12 others. The Tennessee Highway Patrol says that a church van belonging to Cedar Grove Baptist Church had been headed north on Chapman Highway near the intersection with Zion Hill Church Road in Sevier County at around 9:30 am Sunday when the southbound Chevy Blazer being driven by 21-year-old Tyler Schaeffer of Seymour crossed the center line and struck the church van head-on. The van rolled in to a ditch and caught fire with 13 people inside. Killed in the wreck were 45-year-old church bus driver Jeff Trussell of Maryville and 16-year-old church member Courtney Kaliszewski of Seymour. 12 victims in all were taken to are ahospitals, including Schaeffer and another passenger from the van, who were flown to UT Medical Center by Lifestar. The ages of the injured range from 13 to 22 and at this time, their conditions have not been released. The van had been on its way back to the church after a weekend youth retreat in Gatlinburg. The THP says that felony charges are likely pending against Schaeffer after drugs were found on him when he arrived at the hospital. The THP’s Critical Incident Response Team is investigating the crash.
AC Mayor Hires Reporter Tupper As Administrative Assistant
(AC Mayor’s Office) Local journalist Leean Tupper has been named administrative assistant to Anderson County Mayor Terry Frank. A native of Anderson County, Tupper has worked as staff reporter and lifestyles editor at The Oak Ridger newspaper since November 2004. Prior to that time, she worked for more than five years at the Courier News in Clinton. In those positions, she has provided news coverage of Anderson County government and the local school systems for the last 13 years. She also held jobs in the field of communications and advertising/marketing with two Knoxville based companies. “I am so excited to add Leean to the operations of the Mayor’s office. In addition to being a wonderfully kind and professional woman, Leean brings to county government a great understanding of the history of Anderson County from her years as a reporter,” said Mayor Frank, who added, “Communicating with taxpayers is at the top of my priority list, and I can’t think of a better person to accomplish that goal than Leean.” Tupper is a 1994 graduate of Clinton High School. She earned a bachelor’s degree in English and communications form the University of Tennessee in Chattanooga. “I have had many opportunities to serve my community over the years, both in my professional career and through volunteer service with several local organizations, including America’s Promise: The Alliance for Youth; Safe Kids of the Greater Knox Area; and the Marlow Volunteer Fire Department,” Tupper stated. “Anderson County is my home and its future is important to me,” she said. “I look forward to continuing my service to Anderson County, its businesses and families through this new opportunity,” continued Tupper. As the changeover from the previous mayoral administration continues, more changes are being made as three employees of the Public Works Department are being let go and several of the services taken care of in that office will reportedly be consolidated or contracted out. At the time this report was filed, more information was not available but as soon as we learn more about the changes being made in Public Works, we will pass it along to you.
AC DA: Deputies Acted Appropriately In February Shooting
The Anderson County District Attorney’s Office has completed its investigation into the officer-involved shooting that left two Indiana residents dead in February. The investigation determined that Deputies Jonathan Bryant and JD Powell acted appropriately in the February 29th incident, which began with a gas theft in Lake City. Killed in the exchange of gunfire at the intersection of Old Emory Road and Blockhouse Valley Road were Shanna Lee Richardson and Michael Baker of Indiana. The gas theft led to a search for the vehicle and Deputy Bryant came across it a few hours after the theft. Baker, who was driving, refused to stop and as the chase continued, at least one shot was fired by the fleeing suspects. The truck, which had been reported stolen, crashed at the intersection and both Richardson and Baker fired at deputies, prompting them to return fire. Both of the suspects died as a result of the incident. Drug tests on Baker and Richardson revealed the presence of illegal drugs including so-called bath salts, which have been associated with irrational and violent behavior. The probe by the DA’s office found that not only did the deputies act appropriately in their use of deadly force, Deputy Bryant should be commended for his tactical performance and Deputy Powell should be commended for responding to a call from a fellow deputy who needed his assistance even though he was off duty.
Kroger Marketplace To Be Anchor At OR Development
(Oak Ridge Today) A Kroger Marketplace store will be the anchor tenant at a new $30 million shopping center at the corner of Oak Ridge Turnpike and Illinois Avenue. The new 113,000-square-foot store could open in the spring of 2014, according to a Thursday morning (9/6) press release from the Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce. Homes located on the future shopping center site have been placed under contract by Blanchard and Calhoun Commercial, an Augusta, Ga., firm that worked with Betsy Coleman Realty of Oak Ridge. A site plan is expected to be presented to the city by Monday, and the Oak Ridge Municipal Planning Commission could consider a project rezoning on Sept. 28, the press release said. Besides the Kroger Marketplace, the store will contain approximately 12,000 square feet of small shop space, and the site will allow four to five outparcels with unidentified tenants. The release said the store will also offer products not typical of a traditional Kroger store, including jewelry, bed and bath items, decorative goods, office and school supplies, furniture, toys, and seasonal items. Traditional Kroger services and amenities will also be available, such as in-store banking, Starbucks coffee, a drive-through pharmacy, and a fuel center. The press release said no public support is expected for the new shopping center, which is expected to bring 250 new jobs to East Tennessee. In its own press release Thursday, the Oak Ridge Unitarian Universalist Church said it will vote at the end of September on whether to sell its property to make even more room for the project. For more on this developing story, check out http://oakridgetoday.com/2012/09/06/kroger-marketplace-to-anchor-shopping-center-at-illinois-turnpike/
Here is the press release issued Thursday by the Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce and available at www.orcc.org.
“Final plans are underway for the construction of a new Kroger Oak Ridge Marketplace store. The store will be located on the corner of the Oak Ridge Turnpike and Illinois Avenue. Homes located on the future shopping center site have been placed under contract by Blanchard & Calhoun Commercial officials working with Betsy Coleman Realty Co. of Oak Ridge. Officials will be bringing the site plan and proposal to the Oak Ridge Municipal Planning Commission for rezoning consideration by close of business September 10. City officials anticipate that the Planning Commission will consider the proposal at their September 28 meeting, and if approved, their recommendation will be sent on to the Oak Ridge City Council. The announcement was made through the Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce on Thursday.
The new 113,000-square foot store will provide Oak Ridge with a unique and interactive shopping experience, designed to be a convenient and inviting addition to the community. Kroger customers will be able to dine-in or take-out prepared meals from a Bistro - an in-store, café-style restaurant - or order fresh sushi from professional chefs at the sushi bar. The store will also feature a larger health and beauty section, broader selections of perishable and grocery items, full-service meat and seafood departments. Kroger's Marketplace will also offer products not typical of a traditional Kroger-including jewelry, bed and bath items, decorative goods, office and school supplies, furniture, toys and seasonal items. Traditional Kroger services and amenities, such as in-store banking, Starbucks Coffee, a drive-through pharmacy and a Fuel Center, will also be available.
In addition to the Kroger Oak Ridge Marketplace, the store will contain approximately 12,000 square feet of small shop space. The site will allow four to five outparcels. Outparcel tenants have not yet been identified. The specific outparcel space depends upon whether the Oak Ridge Unitarian Universalist Church congregation chooses to sell their current building and property. The church is located adjacent to the property already under contract.
Chris Johnson, President and CEO of ORNL Federal Credit Union and Chairman of the Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce's Retail, Commercial and Residential Growth area said, "This is exciting news for Oak Ridge. As someone who has traveled to retail conventions to help recruit new retail into Oak Ridge, this is exactly the kind of retail project we've been hoping to see make a commitment to our community. In fact, we met with the Kroger Real Estate team at the ICSC RECon event in May. Members of the Chamber's Retail Recruitment Facebook group may recall a post by Parker Hardy during that event saying that a prospect had told us Oak Ridge was their number one priority in the Knoxville Market - that was Kroger!"
According to Parker Hardy, President and CEO of the Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce, "The Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce began conversations with Blanchard & Calhoun about this project in November 2011. Though the firm conducted an extensive search, other properties were either deemed unsuitable for the center or were unavailable."
Mark Watson, Oak Ridge City Manager said, "The proposed Kroger Oak Ridge Marketplace is the k