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UPDATED July 24,  2014





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Bethel holds annual Back to School celebration


The annual Back-To-School celebration at Bethel Baptist Church will be held this Saturday July 26th from 9 am to 1 pm.  Registration begins at 8 am followed by a block party, a rally carnival, games, inflatables, hundreds of prizes, food and fun for all ages.  They will also once again be giving away over 400 free backpacks filled with school supplies to local children.  It all takes place at Bethel Baptist Church (610 Bethel Road, Clinton, TN 37716).  For more information, call 865-494-7642.  The Rally and backpack giveaway gets started at 12 noon.


THP:  Heiskell woman killed in Wednesday wreck


A Heiskell woman was killed in a two-car traffic accident Wednesday afternoon on East Wolf Valley Road.  The Tennessee Highway Patrol says the crash happened shortly after 5 pm when the westbound Chevy Cavalier being driven by 68-year-old Patricia Beckinger of Heiskell crossed over the center line and collided with a Toyota Camry being driven by Alexandria Bone of Andersonville.  Beckinger died in the wreck while Bone suffered what were described as minor injuries.  Neither driver was wearing a seatbelt according to the THP.  That section of East Wolf Valley near the intersection with Peaks Station Road was closed for about three hours while the crash was investigated and the accident scene cleared. 


More info released on Roane shooting


The Roane County Sheriff’s Office has released more information about Monday’s shooting outside Harriman that wounded one man and left another in custody.  The victim has been identified as 31-year-old Joshua Brown, who suffered non-life-threatening injuries in the shooting that occurred just before noon Monday at a home on Elverton Road.  53-year-old Bobby Lee Murray was arrested and charged with aggravated assault in the case, which remains under investigation.  Brown was reportedly struck in the side by a blast from a shotgun and was taken to UT Medical Center.  Murray has posted bond and is due in court on August 11th.  If his name sounds familiar, Joshua Brown’s wife and three young children were killed in an accident involving a tractor trailer on Highway 61 near Harriman in 2011 and his father shot and killed his brother in January of 2013 in an incident that authorities say was self-defense. 


AC tops 3000-early voter mark


649 people voted early in Anderson County on Wednesday for the August 7th county general election and the state and federal primary elections, bringing the five-day total to 3030 early voters.  Early voting continues through Saturday August 2nd at the Clinton Community Center, the Midtown Community Center in Oak Ridge and at the North Anderson Government Office in the Anderson Crossing Shopping Center.  The polls are open from 10 am to 6 pm weekdays and from 9 am to 12 noon on Saturdays.  To find out more, visit www.acelect.com or call 865-457-6238.


THP taking applications for cadet class


The Tennessee Highway Patrol (THP) announced today it will soon open the application process for a new trooper cadet class slated to begin February 1, 2015.  Applications will be accepted online only from Wednesday, July 30 through Tuesday, August 5, 2014.  All applicants must apply online through the Tennessee Department of Human Resources at agency.governmentjobs.com/tennessee beginning Wednesday, July 30. Applications will not be accepted after August 5.  Once approved by the Department of Human Resources, applicants will be notified of their qualification status. There is no longer an examination portion to qualify for the State Trooper position.  Individuals interested in applying for the position of state trooper must be at least 21 years old, a U.S. citizen, and have a high school diploma or equivalent. Two years of college or military or previous law enforcement experience is preferred. Applicants with felony convictions will not be considered.  Following the passage of the Tennessee Excellence, Accountability and Management (TEAM) Act, the hiring method for becoming a state trooper has been revised to incorporate an interview process that tests the applicant’s knowledge, skills, abilities and competencies. As a result, selected applicants will be required to successfully pass the physical agility test prior to being admitted for an interview.  THP anticipates the agility test and interview appointments to begin September 3, 2014. If hired, individuals must obtain a valid Tennessee driver license and are required to successfully complete a level II background investigation, which includes a credit check and polygraph test.  Recruits must also pass a psychological and medical examination, including a drug screening.  There are currently 884 authorized commissioned officer positions within the THP.  Trooper recruits will be assigned to vacant positions across the state upon graduation.  The starting salary for a cadet during training is $2,679 per month.  Upon graduation and commissioning as a Tennessee state trooper, the salary will increase to $2,965 per month and includes other benefits such as a paid pension plan, low cost health insurance, and paid holidays.  Uniforms, equipment and patrol vehicles are also provided by the THP.  With regular pay increases, a trooper can earn $52,872 per year after 10 years of service under the current pay structure. Trooper cadet training will last 20 weeks.  For additional information on becoming a Tennessee state trooper, visit the Department of Safety and Homeland Security website at www.tn.gov/safety/thp/school.shtml. For more information about applications and testing, interested individuals are encouraged to contact the Tennessee Department of Human Resources Applicant Services Division at (615) 741-4841.     


AC Sheriff, Lieutenant honored for support of National Guard


According to a press release, Anderson County Sheriff Paul White and Patrol Lieutenant Kenny Sharp were awarded the “Patriot Award” from the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, at the County Commission meeting on Monday, July 21. Major General (Retired) John R. D’Araujo, Jr, and Lieutenant Colonel (Retired) John L. Dyess presented the awards on behalf of the ESGR.  Sheriff White and Lieutenant Sharp were nominated by Sergeant Charles Beach and were recognized for their commitment and support of the employees of the Anderson County Sheriff’s Department who are members of the National Guard or Reserves of the U.S. Military.  An employee serving in the National Guard or Reserve, or the spouse of a Guard or Reserve member, may nominate individual supervisors and bosses for support provided directly to the nominating Service member and his or her family. The “Patriot Award” reflects the efforts made to support Citizen Warriors through a wide-range of measures including flexible schedules, time off prior to and after deployment, caring for families, and granting leaves of absence if needed.  Sheriff White, Lieutenant Sharp, and the Sheriff’s Department are proud to support those deputies and other employees who continue to serve their country as members of the Guard and Reserve. Both Sheriff White and Lieutenant Sharp thank the ESGR and Sergeant Beach for nominating them for this prestigious award.  For additional information on the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve, please visit www.esgr.mil.


OR CVB to meet Monday, begin looking for new director


(Oak Ridge Today) The Oak Ridge Convention and Visitors Bureau’s board of directors will have a special meeting on Monday, July 28, to discuss their plan to fill the vacant director’s position at the ORCVB.  The meeting will be held at the Doubletree Hotel starting at noon Monday.  The former director, Katy Brown, has accepted a new marketing and promotions job in East Tennessee, and her last day as president of the Oak Ridge Convention and Visitors Bureau was July 11.


OR, AMSE sponsoring meeting to discuss future


(Oak Ridge Today) The City of Oak Ridge and the American Museum of Science and Energy Foundation are sponsoring a community meeting on Thursday that will include discussions of ways to strengthen the museum as a community and regional asset and as a destination attraction.  The meeting will also include an information session on current museum operations and the role of the AMSE Foundation. New AMSE Director David Moore will be at the meeting.  The meeting is scheduled from 6-8 p.m. Thursday at the museum, which is at 300 South Tulane Avenue in Oak Ridge. Registration and light refreshments will be available beginning at 5:30 p.m., a press release said.  In a press release, Oak Ridge City Manager Mark Watson said it’s the right time to get the community involved in a dialogue about the museum.  “AMSE is part of the cultural foundation for our community; and with a new director and the possibility of a Manhattan Project National Historic Park designation, the potential for AMSE to become a larger hub for activities and tourism is promising,” Watson said. The AMSE Foundation was chartered in September 1996 to support the cultural, educational and scientific programs of the museum. 


Ex-Mav QB to be honored


Former Anderson County High School quarterback Tyler Hicks will be presented with the inaugural Will McKamey Spirit Award Thursday night at the Greater Knoxville Sports Hall of Fame banquet.  Hicks suffered a brain injury in a car accident at the end of his sophomore year of high school that also seriously injured four other students. He had to learn how to walk and talk again after the crash, amazingly returning to the basketball court in his junior year and eventually coming all the way back to run the Mavericks’ high-powered offense last season, his senior year.  The award was created after former Grace Christian Academy player Will McKamey died in March at the age of 19 after collapsing during a Navy spring football practice and passed away while in a coma.  Hicks and 10 inductees into the Greater Knoxville Sports Hall of Fame will be honored at the banquet Thursday night at the Knoxville Convention Center.


Job Fair in Knoxville


The Tennessee Career Center of Knox County is announcing the Jobs4TN Hiring Event Knoxville hosted by Representative Gloria Johnson. The event will be held on Tuesday, July 29, at 10:00 a.m. (EDT) at Fulton High School located at 2509 North Broadway, Knoxville. A variety of job opportunities with all levels of skill requirements will be available at this event.  More than 26 employers are set to participate including Dr Pepper Snapple Group, CVS Caremark, and Talbots. Attendees are encouraged to bring copies of their résumé and dress professionally. For more information please contact Adina Chumley at (865) 594-0139.  To view available jobs in your area, visit Jobs4TN Online that has more than 90,000 Tennessee jobs listed daily https://www.jobs4tn.gov/.


Hackworth fires back on tax vote ad


The Jim Hackworth campaign is refuting what it calls “a negative and deceptive newspaper advertisement” released by the Terry Frank campaign accusing him of voting for a property tax increase over two decades ago. The ad in question ran in the Clinton Courier last weekend and cites a vote from 1990 to raise property taxes.  The following is Hackworth’s response to those claims:  “After reviewing County Commission minutes dated August 14, 1990, the following sequence of recorded votes was found. First vote: for setting tax rate (vote failed), I was absent. Second vote: that set tax rate I was present but passed—did not vote. This motion passed setting rate at 3.28, 2.94, and 3.29. Third vote: I made a motion to set rate at 3.22, 2.88 and 3.23 actually lowering the rate that had just passed by 6 cents. This vote passed. Ironically, this possibly became Anderson County’s first tax reduction. The facts make Frank’s claim of lowering taxes for first time incorrect. All of this information from the official record proves I did not vote for a tax increase in 1990.”  Frank is seeking re-election to a full four year term as County Mayor and is being challenged by the democrat Hackworth and independents candidate Bradley Rickett.  All three candidates are scheduled to appear on “Ask Your Neighbor” on WYSH on Wednesday July 30th


Food Distribution Saturday in Clinton


The Clinton Mobile Pantry in conjunction with Second Harvest Food Bank of East Tennessee will hold a food distribution event Saturday July 26th from 9 am until the food is gone at the Clinton Church of God at 635 Hillcrest Street in Clinton (37716).  Everyone is welcome.


1 killed, 3 hurt in Monday crash


One person was killed and three others injured in a single-vehicle accident Monday night in Campbell County.  The Tennessee Highway Patrol says that the wreck occurred at around 7:30 pm Monday when a 2004 Dodge Ram pickup was traveling south on Patty Hill Road approaching the intersection with Ridge Road near Caryville.  The THP report indicates that the truck left the right side of the road and the driver overcorrected, causing the truck to leave the opposite side of the road, where it struck a tree and flipped on to its side.  Killed in the accident was 43-year-old passenger Charles J. Morris of Lafollette.  Three others—the driver, 42-year-old Kevin Fleming of Jacksboro and passengers 39-year-old Darrell Russell and 52-year-old Carl Daugherty, both of Lafollette—were injured in the crash.  All four were flown to UT Medical Center by Lifestar.  None of the four occupants were wearing seatbelts and the trooper’s report indicates that Fleming, the driver, had been drinking.  Blood tests have been ordered and the report states that charges and citations are pending.


AC Early Voting off to rip-roaring start


Early voting for the August 7th election is underway and Anderson County voters have hit the polls hard during the first four days of early voting.  As of the close of the polls on Tuesday, 2381 people had already cast ballots in the county general election and state and federal primary elections.  After four days of early voting in this same election in 2012, 1766 people had voted and in 2010 that number was 1545.  Driven by several high-profile races, most notably those for County Mayor and Sheriff, interest in this year’s election has been high and has resulted in the robust early turnout.  Early voting continues through August 2nd with polling locations at the Clinton Community Center—where voters are dealing with traffic detours due to water main work taking place on Broad Street—the Midtown Community Center in Oak Ridge—where some voters have complained about too many signs and too many campaign workers—and at the North Anderson Government Office in the Anderson Crossing Shopping Center—where no major problems have been reported.  Early voting hours are from 10 am to 6 pm weekdays and from 9 am to 12 noon on Saturdays.  For more information, call the Election Commission at 865-457-6238 or visit www.acelect.com.


Report:  Wine in grocery store question likely to appear on Nov. ballot


According to the Oak Ridger, residents of Oak Ridge and Clinton have submitted enough signatures to add a question on November’s ballot asking whether they think wine sales should be allowed in grocery stores.  Anderson County election officials have certified more than enough names on the petitions from both cities to place the resolution on the ballot.  It is not official yet and will be confirmed by the Election Commission when it meets next week.  Oak Ridge needed 863 certified signatures on the petition and Clinton only needed 254 certified signatures.  In both cities, more than the minimum numbers of signatures were obtained.    Earlier this year, the General Assembly approved a law allowing cities to vote on whether or not to sell wine in grocery stores. The initiative had to be instituted by citizens and signatures had to be collected to allow the measure to be placed on the ballot, according to the legislation.  If the measure is approved by voters, grocery stores in Oak Ridge and Clinton will still not be able to sell wine until July of 2016.


OR CVB receives extension from city, charts new path forward


The Oak Ridge Convention and Visitors Bureau received a contract extension through October 30th Monday during a special Oak Ridge City Council meeting.  Council members voted 5-1 to extend the CVB’s contract with the city, which expired June 30, and restore some funding that was cut out of this year’s budget.  Anne Garcia Garland cast the lone dissenting vote.  While the contract extension is in place, the board will work with City Manager Mark Watson to establish goals and guidelines for the independent organization.  The CVB is funded by proceeds from the city’s hotel/motel tax. The revenue stream has been dwindling.  CVB officials say hotel visits hinge largely on business travel, and that has declined.  The bureau’s budget was cut from $400,000 to $300,000 two years ago, and another $25,000 was cut in the latest city budget. With Monday’s vote, part of that cut was restored.  The board will meet Monday to begin the hunt for a new executive director to replace Katy Brown.


OR parents still protesting expanded walk zones for students


Parents in Oak Ridge opposed to a change on how students get to school are continuing to protest the school district’s decision to expand the so-called parental responsibility zone—or walk zone—to one and a half miles. Kids who live within a mile and a half from their school will either have to walk or have their parents transport them.  Parents said it's not safe for kids to walk through busy streets to get to school and they don't want their kids to walk by homes where pedophiles live.  Some say that school leaders should look into allocating money from elsewhere to keep kids safe.  Last week Superintendent Bruce Borchers made a change, counting the mile and a half as the distance actually walked rather than "as the crow flies."  Some unspent money in school accounts will cover the extra $200,000 cost, but the superintendent cautioned the money may not be there next year.


Friendship Bell housing coming down


Beginning next week, the City of Oak Ridge will begin dismantling the International Friendship Bell House located in Alvin K. Bissell Park.  Earlier this spring, the city commissioned a structural evaluation of the bell house to determine the extent of suspected water damage to the supporting beams. The evaluation determined the majority of the structure, which was holding the 8,000 pound Friendship Bell, was beyond repair.  The report recommended closing the International Friendship Bell House due to public safety concerns, a press release said. A construction fence was erected around the structure to block access to the bell.  As a result of the structural evaluation, the city will dismantle the bell house and lower the bell to the existing concrete slab at the current location.  “The City of Oak Ridge is now working with a number of interested citizens and the Recreation and Parks Board on a campaign to replace the structure with a new permanent building,” Oak Ridge City Manager Mark Watson said.  Once the dismantling of bell house is complete, the Friendship Bell will be lower to the ground, the press release said. The bell will once again be accessible to the public for viewing purposes but not for ringing until the bell house reconstruction is complete.  The release said the work to dismantle the bell house should be completed within two weeks.


ORAU Robotics camp aims to inspire youngsters


A recent week-long robotics camp at Oak Ridge Associated Universities was designed to help excite students about careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, or STEM.  The robotics camp was presented by ORAU and held at its Center for Science Education.  The free day camp allowed teams of middle school students to design, build, program, and test their own robots, a press release said.  Students also spent the week competing in various engineering challenges and had the opportunity to speak with robotics engineering research scientists while touring Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s research facilities.  The camp was one of various ORAU-sponsored or administered programs designed to excited students about STEM subjects with the goal of inspiring them to pursue STEM careers, the release said. 


ORT:  Closer look at jail food claims in Sheriff’s race


(Oak Ridge Today)  The menu at the Anderson County jail at lunchtime Wednesday was simple and spartan: A peanut butter and jelly sandwich and milk.  It doesn’t appear to be an unusual meal at the jail. The menu this week includes three similar lunches with 1/4 cup of peanut butter and jelly mix, two slices of bread, and 8 oz. of milk or chocolate milk.  Other meals on the menu this week—the jail can serve up to 8,000 per week—also call for small portions of meat and bread, fruits and vegetables, and beans and milk.

But Anthony Lay, a Republican candidate for Anderson County sheriff, has raised questions about what inmates are eating. He has suggested they’re eating luxuriously, enjoying pies, cobblers, cookies, and cake. Lay has said the jail appears to be operating a bakery, and taxpayers are footing the bill.

Sheriff Paul White, a Democrat seeking his third term in the August 7 election, has dismissed Lay’s claims as inaccurate and misleading.

“The jail does not operate a bakery,” White said in a July 1 statement.

He said the jail menus are quite conservative. They include a cold sandwich for lunch. The average meal costs $1.10, White said.

The sheriff said the menu must meet the standards set by the Tennessee Corrections Institute, and it has to follow state-approved Sheriff’s Department policy. The menus also have to be approved by a nutritionist at the Anderson County Health Department, White said, adding that, “All meals must be varied each day and provide a proper balanced diet for inmates.”  Inmates do receive fruit. Sheriff’s Department Capt. Larry Davidson, who is acting chief jailer, said it’s part of the state-approved dietary guidelines. 

White said the documents cited by Lay are simply bid pricing sheets sent to various vendors by the Anderson County Purchasing Department to determine which company has the best pricing for providing food supplies for the jail. 

Lay, who hasn’t toured the jail, said it is true that he initially had only bid sheets. But he said he has since pulled the order list for the year ending June 30, 2014, and it shows orders for 67 cases of apple pie filling and nine cases of cherry pie filling, 10-inch pumpkin pies and 9-inch pecan pies, and four different flavors of ice cream.  White and a handful of correctional officers interviewed for this story said inmates may receive pie as a humanitarian gesture at Thanksgiving and Christmas. But it’s not an everyday-occurrence, and inmates are not fed doughnuts, cookies, or other desserts, White said.

In fact, he said, prisoners frequently complain about the jail food.

Lay continued to stand by his claims during a telephone interview Monday evening and said he would “never, ever, ever mislead anyone.”

Oak Ridge Today requested a tour of the jail, officially known as the Anderson County Detention Facility in Clinton, because of the claims and counter-claims over the food. On Wednesday last week and Monday this week, Davidson showed a reporter the kitchen and food storage area, and coolers and freezers. He said there is no bakery and no supplies to stock a bakery, and no pies and ice cream.  The food storage area in the jail’s kitchen is stocked with boxes and racks of institutional-sized cans and containers of peanut butter, biscuit gravy mix, sloppy joe sauce, cream of mushroom soup, green beans, stew vegetables, mixed greens and vegetables, ketchup, and mandarin oranges, peaches, and pineapples in syrup, among other items.  The three coolers and three freezers have institutional-size containers and boxes of tea, salad, eggs, milk, cheese, sliced yellow squash, green peppers, peanut butter, chicken breast patties, frozen potatoes, and turkey bologna, among other items.

Oak Ridge Today did see one small box of cobbler crust in a freezer. Deputy Pam Phillips, who oversees the kitchen, said baked apples are spread over that crust, and it is more filling. She and Davidson said it’s part of the state-approved menu.

Davidson and Phillips also showed a reporter the menu for this week. Here are examples of what appear to be typical meals: On Sunday evening, the roughly 350 inmates at the jail ate a six-ounce Sloppy Joe on a bun, with one-half cup of baked apples, six ounces of french fries, and eight ounces of sweet tea. On Friday morning, they will be served six ounces of pepper gravy, a five-ounce chicken patty, a half-cup of peaches, two biscuits, and eight ounces of 2 percent milk.

Other meals include oatmeal, waffles, hot dogs, and hamburgers and fries.

The jail accommodates those who are lactose intolerant, pregnant, diabetic, or have food allergies or can’t eat certain foods for religious reasons.


AC Commissioners urged to retain counsel as legal fights rage


(Oak Ridge Today/staff reports) Anderson County commissioners were told Monday that legal fees in a pair of high-profile disputes between high-ranking county officials could reach half a million dollars and were advised by County law Director Jay Yeager that all of them should seek their own legal counsel in the ouster suit filed against Yeager by 22 citizens.  Subpoenas have been issued in the ouster suit and according to our partners at Oak Ridge Today, some officials including commissioners have been asked to waive their attorney-client privilege.  Commissioner and former interim Mayor Myron Iwanski said Monday that some of the records he has been asked to provide go back about 10 years and include personnel records.  He also told his fellow commissioners that he will require legal assistance because he does not want to improperly release information that could lead to more legal trouble down the road.  Former jail Administrator Avery Johnson has also been subpoenaed and Iwanski said Monday he, too, will require legal representation.  Iwanski made a motion to cover the costs of any current or former county employees who might need it in connection to the lawsuit, which passed 13-2.  In addition to Iwanski and Johson, others served with subpoenas in the case include Yeager and White, Anderson County Human Resources Director Cathy Best, Anderson County Schools, Anderson County Sheriff’s Department Capt. Larry Davidson, Clinton Courier News reporter Chris Silcox, District Attorney General David Clark, LexisNexis, and telecommunication companies AT&T and Cricket. The plaintiffs are represented by Gregory Brown and Jason H. Long of Knoxville law firm Lowe, Yeager, and Brown, the same firm that represented County Mayor Terry Frank in last year’s salary lawsuit filed against her by Sheriff Paul White.  Legal fees in that case could approach $200,000, commissioners were told Monday.  Three of the subpoeanas—those served against Iwanski, Silcox, and White—require an appearance at Lowe, Yeager, and Brown on August 7, the same day as the Anderson County general election. Iwanski and White are both candidates in that election, while Silcox would presumably be expected to report on it.  Commissioner Steve Mead said Monday that because Yeager can’t represent the commission because of the lawsuit that “we have had our free legal advice stolen from us, and so it needs to be replaced.”  Yeager suggested that each commissioner retain legal counsel but also said that as an alternative, the commission could agree to hire one attorney as a group.   The ouster petition was filed by 22 residents in Anderson County Chancery Court in May. It sought to remove Yeager from office, originally alleging misconduct that includes perjury, forgery, and having pornography on a county computer. The petition has since been amended to add another 13 grounds for ouster.  Yeager, who has called the ouster suit against him baseless, politically motivated, and unwarranted, has filed a motion to dismiss on July 11th, arguing that the ouster statute does not apply to the law director position; and that even if the ouster petition did apply, the petitioners have not presented legitimate grounds for ouster.  The list of petitioners has changed slightly. According to an amended petition filed June 13, they include Byrge, Mark DeVol, Ray Hagan, Toby Geren, Barbara Gasper Gregory, Clyde Cook, Doug Walden, Carnelon V. Terry, John E. Seiber, Larry Ownby, Hal M. Hagan, Phyllis H. Terry, Thomas T. Adams, Jason Stiltner, Dennis L. Pemberton, Virgil L. Rainey, Charles W. Jackson, Gary L. McLemore, Earl T. McLemore Jr., John Walker, Darlene Adams, and Tipton J. Garland.  For much more on this story and commissioners’ reactions to Monday’s news, visit our partners at Oak Ridge Today using this link:  http://oakridgetoday.com/2014/07/21/county-officials-urged-hire-attorneys-ouster-suit-legal-fees-rise/



Roane woman jailed for letting kid drive car


A Roane County woman was arrested on Friday after she admitted to police that she had let her nine-year-old son drive her car.  Roane County deputies received a call about an underage driver in Oliver Springs on Friday and made contact with Rebecca Cochran, who told them that she had let her son drive her car as she sat in the passenger seat.  She also reportedly told deputies that she often allowed the boy to drive the car.  She was arrested for reckless endangerment and DCS was notified of the incident. 


Campbell wreck sends 4 to UT by chopper


Four people had to be flown to UT Medical Center by Lifestar Monday following a single-vehicle accident that happened at around 7:30 pm.  A pickup truck was approaching the intersection of Patty Hill Road and Ridge Road when it lost control, left the roadway, hit a tree and flipped over.  Multiple Lifestar landings were necessary.  As soon as more information about Monday night’s accident become available, we will pass it along to you.


AC Sheriff candidate Lay in minor wreck


A Tennessee Highway Patrol trooper running for Anderson County sheriff suffered minor injuries in a crash while on duty in North Knoxville on Monday, officials said.  Trooper Anthony Lay was stopped at a red light on North Central Street at Bernard Avenue about 2 p.m. when a woman rear-ended his vehicle.  Lay was treated and released from UT Medical Center.  The other driver, whose name was not immediately available, was cited for failure to exercise due care and driving without proof of insurance. 


ORT:  Lay says May suspension ‘politically motivated’


(Oak Ridge Today) A candidate for Anderson County sheriff suspended by the Tennessee Highway Patrol in May said he has been politically targeted.  THP Trooper Anthony Lay was suspended for five days in May for unsatisfactory job performance, a spokesperson said Monday. The suspension was based on several factors, including insubordination, neglect of duty, failure to perform the duties of his job, non-compliance with an internal database system, and having an unsecured patrol unit in a populated area, Dalya Qualls, public information officer for the Tennessee Department of Safety, told our partners at Oak Ridge Today.  The administrative review that led to Lay’s suspension was received in April 2014.  Lay said he had been off work for five months because of back surgery, and Anderson County District Attorney General Dave Clark reported that Lay had not turned in some requested case file documents. Lay said he did not receive the letter requesting the documents, and the request letters were apparently sent to a Knoxville office.  He said the insubordination was related to a windshield crack that he forgot to fix. A dashboard radar unit covered the crack, and he forgot about it, Lay said.  He said he had also been 10 minutes late to a court case that was postponed.  Lay, a Republican, said he had not had any trouble in 20 years in the workplace until he ran for election in Anderson County. He did not want to name any names, although he seemed to cast at least some of the blame on a few Anderson County Democrats.  “I have been politically targeted,” Lay told ORT.  “I was wrongly done. The truth will come out.” 


State Sales Tax Holiday August 1-3


Back to school shopping got you down? You can save a little money if you hit the stores the first weekend of August when certain items will be tax free in Tennessee.

Tennessee's annual sales tax holiday is set for 12:01 am on August 1 through Sunday August 3 at 11:59 pm. There will be no sales tax charged on clothing, school and art supplies that cost less than $100 per item and computers that cost $1,500 or less.

Examples of items that can be bought tax-free during the holiday include:

  • Clothing: Shirts, dresses, pants, coats, gloves and mittens, hats and caps, hosiery, neckties, belts, sneakers, shoes, uniforms and scarves.
  • School Supplies: Binders, book bags, calculators, tape, chalk, crayons, erasers, folders, glue, pens, pencils, lunch boxes, notebooks, paper, rulers and scissors.
  • Art Supplies: Clay and glazes; acrylic, tempera and oil paints; paintbrushes for artwork; sketch and drawing pads; and watercolors.
  • Computers: Central processing unit (CPU), along with various other components including monitor, keyboard, mouse, cables to connect components and preloaded software. (Note: While the CPU may be purchased separately, other items must be part of a bundled computer package in order to be eligible.) iPads and other tablet computers are eligible for tax exemption, but smart phones and video game consoles are not.

For more information, please visit www.tntaxholiday.com .


WBIR:  Corwin case could involve affair, foul play


(WBIR) California law enforcement officials believe that the pregnant wife of a Marine who has been missing for more than three weeks may have been shot while hunting with a Marine veteran with whom she was having an affair.  On the day she disappeared, 20-year-old Erin Corwin, of Oak Ridge, had planned to meet with her neighbor, 24-year-old Christopher Brandon Lee to spend a "special day together" on a hunting trip, according to documents filed in a Joshua Tree courthouse.  The day trip was meant to celebrate Corwin's pregnancy, but detectives said Lee was afraid his wife would discover their affair.  "It is highly likely that Erin could have been harmed by an unknown firearm," detectives wrote in court documents. "Sometime after Erin left with Lee, her phone was turned off.  Lee told detectives he was not with Corwin on the day she disappeared, but confirmed he went hunting in Joshua Tree National Park.  Corwin disappeared on June 28, after she left her Twentynine Palms home, saying she was headed to Joshua Tree National Park. Her husband, Marine Cpl. Jonathan Corwin, reported his wife missing the next day. Authorities have searched for Erin Corwin ever since.  Lee moved to Alaska last week, according to a friend.  The investigation has come to focus on Lee, according to an affidavit filed by Detective Corey Emom. In the affidavit, Emom wrote that he had reviewed text messages — sent by Corwin to a friend — confirming her romantic relationship with Lee, and that the couple had taken a day trip on the day she disappeared.  When questioned by detectives, Lee said he had kissed Corwin but that they never had sex, according to the affidavit.


State improves in Kids Count rankings


(TCCY) Tennessee is 36th this year in the annual KIDS COUNT National Data Book ranking on child well-being, better than its 39th ranking in 2013. The state is among the five states with the biggest improvements in overall rankings from 2013 to 2014. The Data Book rates states on four domains: Economic Well-Being, Education, Health, and Family and Community. Each domain is comprised of four measures. When the most recently available data were compared to those from 2005, Tennessee improved on 10 of the 16 measures; worsened on five and remained the same on one, paralleling national changes. 

“Good public policies and wise investments in improving outcomes for children over the years have made a difference in the overall well-being of children in Tennessee,” said Linda O’Neal, executive director of the Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth (TCCY), the state KIDS COUNT affiliate.  O’Neal applauded Governor Haslam and the Tennessee General Assembly for maintaining funding for proven strategies that improve outcomes for children, including pre-kindergarten, Family Resource Centers, Coordinated School Health Programs and home visiting.  Tennessee’s highest domain ranking was on Health at 31st, with improvements on all four measures: low-birth weight babies, children without health insurance, child and teen deaths per 100,000, and teens who abuse alcohol or drugs, where the state’s proportion was the same as the national average. The state has a lower percentage of children without health insurance than the nation as a whole. However, there are still 85,000 uninsured children, one in every 16 in Tennessee. O’Neal said expansion of Medicaid/TennCare would significantly increase the number of children who have health insurance. 

Improved public policies and better choices have also contributed to a drop in motor vehicle deaths in youth ages 15 to 24 and a resulting reduction in all child and teen deaths. Better compliance with existing good public policies, including no texting while driving, graduated driver licensing provisions, and use of bicycle helmets and life preservers would produce even better outcomes, according to O’Neal.  Education, where the state ranked 37th overall, is another area of improvement.  More of the state’s fourth graders are proficient readers, as measured by the National Assessment of Educational Progress, Proficiency for Tennessee fourth graders was the same as the nation as a whole (34 percent). Unfortunately, that still means two in three fourth-graders are not proficient readers. Although research supports the long-term role of quality early childhood education in improving children’s futures, the state is near the bottom as only eight states have proportionally fewer 3- and 4-year-olds attending preschool than Tennessee.  Tennessee does better keeping students in high school and graduating on time than the national average. While many factors contribute to this success, good state policy has helped, including mandatory attendance until age 18 and school attendance requirements to get a driver’s license. These policies also contribute to more children in Tennessee living in families where the household head has a high school diploma, compared to other states. 

The unfortunate news in this report is more than one in three Tennessee children live in a single-parent family (37 percent); more than one in three in a household with a high housing cost burden (34 percent); one in three in a family where parents lack secure employment (33 percent), and more than one in four lives in poverty (26 percent).  This year’s National Data Book marks 25 years of reporting on child well-being in the states. The book includes a summary of changes in national child well-being since the first National Data Book was published in 1990. The Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth was selected as the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s state partner in the second year of funding state efforts, strengthening the Commission’s ability to meet the Tennessee Legislature’s 1988 charge to publish an annual comprehensive report on the status of children and youth in Tennessee.   

The report is available on the Annie E. Casey website (www.aecf.org). KIDS COUNT data and data from TCCY’s publications are available at the KIDS COUNT Data Center. Consumers of the data center can create maps and graphs of child well-being data at the national, state, county and city level. To access information for Tennessee, go to http://datacenter.kidscount.org/tn or http://mobile.kidscount.org.  The Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth is a small state agency created by the Tennessee General Assembly. Its primary mission is to advocate for improvements in the quality of life for Tennessee children and families. Partial funding for TCCY's KIDS COUNT program is provided through a grant from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the nation's largest philanthropy devoted exclusively to disadvantaged children.  For more information, contact (615) 741-2633, access TCCY’s website at www.tn.gov/tccy or follow it on www.facebook.com/TCCYonfb and www.twitter.com/@tccy.  Follow the Annie E. Casey Foundation and this issue on Twitter https://twitter.com/@aecfkidscount and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/AnnieECaseyFndn.


Roane man shot, charges pending


A Roane County man is being held in jail after a shooting in Harriman that occurred just before noon on Monday.   Officers responded to the scene on Elverton Road, where they found a man in his mid-30’s identified as Joshua Brown suffering from a gunshot wound.  Roane County Sheriff Jack Stockton told BBB-TV that the victim was transported to UT Medical Center for treatment of his injuries.  Authorities have not formally identified the suspect as charges are pending the outcome of an investigation that continues today. 


VBS at Clinton First Baptist announced


Notification from: First Baptist Church Clinton:  First Baptist Church asks for all Secret Agents, Age 3 – Grade 6 to report to the Church for Vacation Bible School "Agency D3"beginning tonight through July 25 from 6:30 to 8 p.m.  Registration will be in the Garden Room (Level 2 - main church bldg.) and General Assembly in the Church Sanctuary.


ASAP, ORPD holding medication collection event


Oak Ridge residents are encouraged to dispose their unused medicine this Saturday at Operation Medicine Cabinet.  The Oak Ridge Police Department at 200 S. Tulane Ave. along with ASAP will host the event as part of a continued effort to reduce drug abuse and practice stewardship toward our environment.  From 9 AM until 12 noon this Saturday, July 26, 2014, medication may be dropped off with officers in the parking lot at ORPD.  All packaging materials will be recycled.  For more information, call Officer Brandan Sharp at 865-556-6696 or ASAP at 865-457-3007.

What we accept for disposal:

  • Prescription medications (unwanted, expired, unused)
  • Antibiotics/steroids
  • Cold and flu medications
  • Vitamins/herbal supplements
  • Pet medications
  • Medication Samples
  • Medicated ointments/lotions
  • Unused sharps (epinephrine, unused pricking devices)

What we do NOT accept for disposal:

  • Business waste
  • Used needles and other sharps

Used needles and other sharps should be disposed by placing the sharps/needles in a sealed plastic container and putting that in with your household waste.


Man arrested after allegedly shooting in to bar


A 33-year-old Powell man was arrested early Friday morning by Anderson County Sheriff’s deputies after he allegedly emptied a revolver into the front of a Claxton bar late Thursday night.  33-year-old Brandon Shane Arwood was charged with reckless endangerment, felony vandalism, DUI and possession of a handgun while under the influence.  He is accused of firing a .22 caliber revolver into the front of My Place Sports Bar on Edgemoor Road late Thursday night.  Fortunately, the bar closes early on Thursdays and was unoccupied at the time of the shooting, the motive for which remains unclear.  A Sheriff’s deputy spotted the vehicle the suspect in the shooting was driving and pulled him over, finding an empty .22 caliber revolver and an antique .44 caliber revolver in his vehicle.  Arwood’s blood alcohol levels came at nearly twice the legal limit of .08.  He was released on bond Friday evening.  


WBIR:  Clinton 911 center being upgraded


(WBIR) A national initiative is helping Clinton's 911 dispatch center get an overdue upgrade. It's happening for the first time since 1997 and includes new recording systems, radios, telephone lines, 911 lines, and maps.  It's part of a nationwide initiative called Next Generation 911.  The program aims to improve emergency communication with mobile devices.  Dispatchers could see exactly where a call was coming from with land lines, but cell phones make it harder to pinpoint a person's location.  Clinton is prepared for people to send text messages, pictures, and videos to 911 in the future, but first the phone companies have to update their technology to make that possible.  The new center was paid for by Next Generation 911 grants from the state and 911 charges from land lines.  The updated equipment means faster emergency service response times for Clinton residents, officials said.


Project Healing Waters holding event Wednesday


(Submitted) A trout fishing outing for disabled veterans will be hosted by the Knoxville chapter of Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing on Wednesday, July 23, at the Songbird Trail boat ramp on the Clinch River across from Lenoir Museum, 2121 Norris Freeway (Highway 441).  Volunteer guides from the Clinch River Chapter of Trout Unlimited will accompany the veterans as they fish, starting at 8 a.m. Trout flies for the event are being tied by Dan Moneymaker, a member of Project Healing Waters, and fishing equipment is provided for participants who don't have their own. After a lunch break from 11:30 to 12:30, veterans will continue to fish until 3:30 p.m. (or until the generators come on at Norris Dam, raising the water level).  Project Healing Waters is dedicated to the emotional and physical rehabilitation of wounded and disabled veterans through fly fishing. PHWFF conducts fishing outings, fly tying classes and rod building classes.  For more information about the event, contact Steve Thompson, the Clinch River Chapter member who founded Knoxville’s Project Healing Waters chapter at Stevethefishingguy@gmail.com or (865) 773-3343.


AC man denied diversion


An Andersonville man was denied judicial diversion on his convictions on two counts of statutory rape handed down in December.  23-year-old Cody Lee Crawford was convicted of having sex with a 16-year-old girl on two occasions in 2012.  He sought judicial diversion that would have allowed him to avoid serving time behind bars but that motion was denied last week.


Hackworth campaign responds to ‘deceptive’ ad


(Submitted) The Jim Hackworth campaign today released a statement regarding a negative and deceptive newspaper advertisement released by the Terry Frank campaign accusing the former legislator and respected member of the community for voting for a property tax increase over thirty years ago.  “I’ve been around this county and I believe the Frank campaign is hearing the same things I am, they are ready for a change.” said Hackworth. “The people of this county are ready for the negative attacks and lack of civility to end. This latest attack is just a desperate tactic intended to try and salvage her dwindling campaign.”   The ad in question ran in the Clinton Courier today and cites a vote more than 30 years ago to raising property taxes. However, the ad in question dishonestly and falsely states the vote was on property taxes, which it was not.  Hackworth concluded, “The fact that Ms. Frank has to go back 30 years to try and dishonestly distort my record and the facts, I believe, is an indication of the type of tactics that the people of Anderson County are tired of. We have to return some leadership back into the County Mayor’s office to get this County moving again. Empty rhetoric and attacks on people don’t put people back to work, leadership does.”  For more information, visit www.jhackworth.com.


CPD:  High-speed chase ends with burglary arrest


(CPD/staff) A 26-year-old Georgia man remains in jail today following a police pursuit that started in Clinton and ended between Oak Ridge and Oliver Springs. Victor Allen Webb of Atlanta is facing charges in connection with at least two local home burglaries.  Friday morning, a CPD officer on special neighborhood patrol, spotted the suspect vehicle near the scene of this week's burglaries. Clinton Police Chief Rick Scarbrough says, "I had asked patrolman Brian Galloway to keep an eye on homes in the western end of Clinton between Charles G. Seivers Blvd and the river due to recent burglaries.  When Officer Galloway attempted to stop the white Kia, instead of stopping, the suspect continued on." Reports indicate that the pursuit continued through parts of Oak Ridge, finally ending on Oliver Springs Highway (Hwy 61).  Galloway says: "THP trooper Rusty Carr deployed spike stripes as the suspect drove past. Both left tires on the vehicle were flattened by the spikes and the suspect was unable to continue."  Galloway's report further stated that during the chase the suspect’s speed reached up to 40 miles per hour over the posted speed limits. 

CPD Assistant Chief Vaughn Becker says that detectives followed up on the arrest and while searching a residence in Knoxville where the suspect was living located most of the stolen property from the Clinton burglaries.  Becker adds: "We have also recovered a large amount of jewelry that was taken in other burglaries. I am asking that if anyone has been a victim of a burglary or theft that occurred at your home during the day time in the past few months contact your local police agency or CPD detective Jason Lawson at 865-457-3112."  Several agencies assisted the CPD, including the Tennessee Highway Patrol, Oak Ridge Police and the Anderson County Sheriff's Department.  Along with the pending burglary charges, Victor Allen Webb is charged with driving on a suspended or revoked license, reckless driving, evading arrest, reckless endangerment (minor injury), and various "wanted" charges in Georgia.


Early Voting underway


Early voting for the August 7 general election begins Friday July 18 and continues through Saturday August 2.  In Anderson County, early voting will be held weekdays from 10 am to 6 pm at Clinton Community Center, the Midtown Community Center in Oak Ridge and at the North Anderson Government Office in the Anderson Crossing Shopping Center in Norris.  You will also be able to cast an early ballot at each of those locations on Saturdays from 9 am to 12 noon.  For more information call the Anderson County Election Commission at 865-457-6238 or visit their website at www.acelect.com.   


18 of 26 rounded up in ACSD drug bust


18 of the 26 people indicted by the Anderson County grand jury on charges related to drug sales have been arrested.  The oldest arrestee thus far is 63 years old and the youngest is 22 years old.  Most of them listed Clinton as their addresses but there were also arrests made in Oak Ridge, Rocky Top, Briceville and Knoxville.  19 of the indictments were on prescription drug charges, three each were indicted on marijuana and cocaine charges and one indictment was handed down for meth-related crimes.  Here is the complete list of those in custody as of Thursday:    
William Dean Brown, 58, Rocky Top, TN
Larnzy Lee Carpenter, 26, Knoxville, TN
Artaveus Demetrece Dawson, 30, Oak Ridge, TN
Kayvin (NMN) Grate, 50, Oak Ridge, TN
Brent Ashley Hayden, 31, Clinton, TN
Norma Jean Hester, 63, Rocky Top, TN
Angela Christina Jacks, 37, Rocky Top, TN
Kimberlee Inez Kring, 54, Powell, TN
Brandy Michelle Lindsay, 34, Clinton, TN
Ivan Elmer Lowe, 36, Clinton, TN
Arthur Lynn Moore, Jr, 38, Clinton, TN
Danny Paul Mowery, 54, Briceville, TN
Corbin William Phillips, 22, Clinton, TN
Tina Leeann Rauhuff, 46, Powell, TN
Emma Lou Roaden, 31, Clinton, TN
Scotty Dewayne Robinson, 42, Knoxville, TN
Anthony Dallas Tucker, 39, Clinton, TN
Margo Alesha White, 26, Clinton, TN

The Sheriff’s department says that these investigations were a part of a cooperative effort of the Anderson County Sheriff’s Department, the Clinton Police Department, the Oak Ridge Police Department, the Rocky Top (Lake City) Police Department, the 7th Judicial District Crime Task Force, and the District Attorney General’s Office


MMC #4 in state, according to magazine


Methodist Medical Center of Oak Ridge tied for fourth in the state in an annual ranking of America’s best hospitals compiled by U.S. News and World Report.  MMC tied for fourth with Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center in Knoxville. Parkwest Medical Center in Knoxville ranked ninth in Tennessee.  All three were in the Top 10 for metro areas. All three were praised for high performance in a variety of specialties. All three hospitals also achieved patient satisfaction levels that are higher than national and state averages. This marks the 25th year for the U.S. News and World Report “Best Hospitals” rankings, the press release said.  For the full list and more on the rankings process, visit http://health.usnews.com/best-hospitals/rankings.


ORT:  Parents hold protest over expanded walk zones


(Oak Ridge Today) Critics of Oak Ridge Schools’ expanded parent responsibility zone protested Thursday morning at the intersection of Oak Ridge Turnpike and Illinois Avenue.  Laurie Paine, who lost her daughter Ashley at the intersection in 2007, joined almost 15 other parents and community members to rally for change.  “I don’t want anyone to go through what my family went through,” Paine told Oak Ridge Today. She started a Facebook page to unite community members who were against the walk zone and used that website to spread the word of the protest.  Oak Ridge City Council member Trina Baughn also attended the protest to show support for Paine. She said the school board needs to prioritize their budget.  The school district announced last week that bus services would not be available to students who live within 1.5 miles of an Oak Ridge school. At first, that distance was “as the crow flies,” but it was changed to actual walking distance on Wednesday.  Paine said she felt that the Oak Ridge Board of Education hoped Wednesday’s change would satisfy parents. The change was a “positive step,” but she hopes transportation services can be reinstated for all students.  The Wednesday change in how bus service is mapped could help about 500 students, reducing the number of children affected by expanded zones where parents will have to provide transportation to schools from 1,800 to 1,300, officials said.


Whoops!  Reporter’s worst nightmare damages carousel


The carousel at the Anderson County Fair was out of commission Thursday night after an early-morning incident in which a Knoxville TV reporter’s vehicle rolled into a fence in front of it.  Katie Roach was doing live cut-ins from the Fair during WBIR-TV’s morning show and had parked her station vehicle on a small hill.  She was apparently trying to keep warm on the unusually chilly Thursday morning and left the vehicle running when she got out for another live shot.  She told police that when she got out, she heard a popping sound and the Ford Escape began to roll down the hill.  She tried to get back in and stop the vehicle from rolling and a bystander tried to reach in and engage the emergency brake, slightly injuring his hand in the process.  Neither effort was successful.  The carousel will hopefully be ready to go for the last two nights of the Fair but it cannot be operated until it is inspected.


Cancer Society seeking celebrity waiters


The American Cancer Society is hosting the Third Annual Celebrity Waiter Dinner in Anderson County on Saturday, September 6th at the 205 Main in Clinton at 6:30 PM.  Table Hosts/Celebrity Waiters are currently being recruited.  The role of the Celebrity Waiter is to invite eight people to sit at their table and serve dinner to them.  Experience is not necessary --- just a sense of adventure and competition. Throughout the fun filled evening guests at the table will be encouraged to tip their waiters for good service and tallies will be run throughout the evening for competition.  The waiter with the most tips at the end of the evening will be crowned the 2014 Celebrity Waiter of the Year!  There is also a prize package opportunity for waiters raising the most money.  This is a great way for cancer survivors to get family, friend, co-workers and church family to rally around them in their fight against cancer or to celebrate their cure.  Churches are also encouraged to get a table together to participate in this event.  Waiters may dress up as the celebrity of your choice if desired, but this is not a requirement. Waiters are also encouraged to decorate their own table to a specific theme or to match their celebrity status. Comedian, Shane Rhyne will provide entertainment during the meal.  A dessert auction will be held to conclude the dinner.  The evening is meant to be fun and exciting!  It is another way to help people stay well, get well, find cures, and fight back against cancer!  If you would like to be a part of this event as a table host, celebrity waiter or would just like to receive an invitation to the event, please contact Kelly Lenz at Clinton Physical Therapy Center at 457-1649 or CPTCKLENZ@aol.com.  There is no cost to attend the event, but tips are expected!  Sponsorship opportunities are also available for event sponsor, dinner sponsor and dessert auction sponsor.  


26 people indicted in AC drug charges


35 indictments have been returned against 26 people on  drug related charges by an Anderson County Grand Jury in their June and July sessions after investigations by the Sheriff’s Special Operations Unit. Beginning Anderson County deputies began making arrests on Monday and at last report, had 17 of those people in custody.  The Special Operations Unit conducted these drug investigations over the last few months.  Those indicted for the manufacture, sales, delivery, or possession of narcotics, either sold drugs to undercover agents or were in possession of illegal drugs to resell.  Of the 26 people indicted, 19 were charged with prescription drug offenses, three were charged with cocaine offenses, three were marijuana related, and one was on meth-related charges.    Deputies are continuing to search for the nine remaining offenders.  The names of those arrested will be released at a later time. As some of these investigations are continuing, no additional details can be released. 


Man charged for Fair incident


A Powell man was arrested after allegedly assaulting a Clinton Police officer outside the Anderson County Fair on Tuesday night.  The arrest report indicates that two large groups of people gathered near the gate between the fairgrounds and Jaycee Park and a bystander told officers that she had heard there might be a fight.  An officer told the group to keep moving and they complied but kept yelling derogatory comments at police and questioning if they had the right to make them move.  According to the report, one man—later identified as 39-year-old Harold Dills—kept making comments that agitated the large group despite repeated instructions to quiet down and keep moving.  After the group moved about 75 feet away from the gate, Dills allegedly began yelling at the nearest officer and the officer asked him for his ID.  At that point, Dills became combative, according to the report, and swung at the officer.  He was subdued after a brief struggle and taken to the Anderson County Jail on charges of disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. 


OR hosting US Rowing Club National Championships


More than 1,000 rowers are in Oak Ridge this week for the U.S. Rowing Club National Championships.  Time trials and heats started Wednesday morning on Melton Hill Lake.  This is the event’s first time in Oak Ridge since 2010 and officials say that the city’s hotels are full, the restaurants are packed and lots of families in town for the event are also taking in some of the city’s other attractions, like the Children’s Museum and the American Museum of Science and Energy.  The event continues through Sunday. It's free and open to the public, and there are plenty of places to watch along the lake.


Students learn about TV production


Some students from South Clinton Elementary got to see what life was like in the news business this week while at Pellissippi State. The students have been working on the technical side of television production.  The students are creating their own commercials and movie trailers, and are acting as both producers and talent.  The students will complete and view their projects on Friday.


Warrants served, other developments in missing woman case


Updating the search for a missing Oak Ridge woman in California, law enforcement officers served four search warrants in connection to her disappearance this week and a witness has told a San Diego TV station that he saw Erin Corwin the day she disappeared.  Corwin, the pregnant wife of Lance Cpl. Jonathan Corwin, was last seen on June 28. Her husband reported her missing on June 29, telling investigators that she planned to go to nearby Joshua Tree National Park. Her car was found the next day near a back entrance to the base.  Rescue crews have spent two weeks searching the rugged terrain of the park, but have paused to re-evaluate their search plan. Once a new plan is developed, they're expected to resume their search this weekend. More than 200 square miles have already been searched.  Corwin is three months pregnant.  According to the court documents, authorities sought permission to search two vehicles, one of which is Corwin's car, and two apartments on the Twentynine Palms Marine base.  Authorities have also asked for permission to search a dark-colored Jeep with Alaska license plates. It is unclear how this vehicle is related to the missing person investigation.  According to TV station KFMB, a witness said he saw Corwin rendezvous with a man the morning she was reported missing. He said she left her car, locked it and then got inside the man's red compact sedan before the two drove off.  "They were just sitting and chatting. If she wanted to get out of the car and say, 'I don't want to be in this car,' she could have," said the witness.  Beasley said she did not seem to be in distress.  Corwin's disappearance has been labeled suspicious by the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department. Deputies have not said it was the result of foul play but say Corwin's disappearance "does not appear to be voluntary."  No persons of interest or suspects have been named.


ORT:  OR changes walk zones


(Oak Ridge Today) Parents of Oak Ridge students have been expressing concerns that the new 1.5-mile walk zones approved in June were based on a 1.5-mile air radius (“as the crow flies”) rather than actual walking distances.  On Wednesday, Oak Ridge Schools Superintendent Bruce Borchers announced that school officials were changing the calculation of the walk zone to actual walking distance for 1.5 miles. The change is expected to cost $200,000.  Here’s the statement from Borchers:

“I, along with the School Board, have been listening and reflecting on concerns about the new 1.5 mile parent responsibility zone. We have heard your concerns regarding measurement of the parent responsibility zones of 1.5 miles based on air radius miles (or as the crow flies) vs. actual walking distance.

As we close last year’s school budget, we have learned that there will be some unspent funds that will go back to our fund balance. By amending the current school budget to reflect using those unspent funds, the Oak Ridge Schools will be able to pay for the additional expense of changing the air radius or “as the crow flies” distance calculations to reflect actual walking distance. The approximate adjustment to make this change will cost an additional $200,000.

These funds may or not be there this time next year. That means that next year’s school budget, 2015-16, will be short by that amount in recurring funds. This amount will have to be replaced by adding funds for next year’s school budget. This action is a temporary fix for the 2014-15 school year budget, but I think it is an appropriate action to take in order to ensure that actual walking distances are approximately 1.5 miles.

The new parent responsibility zone for Willow Brook Elementary is being updated immediately. The new parent responsibility zones for the rest of the schools will be updated and loaded to the Oak Ridge Schools’ website soon. You can expect a phone call from your school principal when the maps are ready.

Student safety is our highest priority. While we would have liked to have received funding to continue and maintain all of the services that have been provided in the Oak Ridge Schools in the past, as you know, that was not the case. As a school system, we will continue to work within our current budget to ensure your children receive the best education possible!”

Parents protesting the expanded walk zones called it a small but positive step.


AC Commission OKs no-tax-increase budget


The Anderson County Commission unanimously approved a budget for Fiscal Year 2015 during a special meeting Tuesday. The budget will not raise property taxes in the county.  Under the budget approved Tuesday, the Oak Ridge property tax rate will remain at $2.347 for every $100 of assessed property value, while property owners in Clinton will continue to pay $2.50 per $100 value. All other property owners in Anderson County pay $2.529 for every $100 of their assessed property values.  Also in the budget was a $500,000 increase in the unassigned general fund, bringing it to $4 million. The only other significant change is due to health care mandates, but those expenditures only increased by about 0.5 percent.  The new fiscal year began July 1st


Special meeting of Clinton Council called


Clinton Mayor Scott Burton has announced a change to the City Council’s meeting schedule as a Special Call meeting will now be held on Monday July 28th at 9 am at City Hall.  The morning meeting will take the place of the Council’s regularly scheduled meeting, originally scheduled for that afternoon at 5:30 pm.  The memo sent to Council members, other city officials and the media indicates that the purpose of the meeting is to discuss “current Industrial Development issues” with Tim Thompson, the director of the Anderson County Economic Development Association and “take any action required” as well as taking care of regular monthly business.  Officials have not divulged what specifically will be discussed but have indicated that it is potentially some very good news for the city and the county.  As we learn more, we will pass it along to you.

(Memo from Mayor Burton) In accordance with Article II, Section 2 of the City of Clinton Charter, this is to advise you that I have called a "Special Call Meeting" of the Clinton City Council on Monday, July 28, 2014, at 9:00am at the Clinton City Hall. The purpose of this Special Call Meeting will be to discuss current Industrial Development issues with the A.C.E.D.A. Director, and take any action require; as well as to conduct all monthly routine business as necessary. This Special Call Meeting will take the place of the regular meeting scheduled for 5:30pm the same day. The public is invited to attend the meeting, and will be heard.


Man pleads guilty in mausoleum assault


A Powell man pleaded guilty Tuesday in an Anderson County courtroom to charges stemming from an incident in July of 2012 in which he lured a 23-year-old man to a mausoleum in a Claxton cemetery under false pretenses and tried to rape him.  56-year-old Charles Bean of Powell pleaded guilty to aggravated rape, vandalism, damaging a cemetery and false imprisonment.  In exchange for his plea, he was sentenced to 15 years behind bars on the rape charge and ordered to remain on probation for two years for the other charges.  Bean was also added to the state sex offender registry and ordered to pay Woodhaven Memorial Gardens $750 for damage he caused during the July 14th, 2012 incident by urinating on several spots inside the mausoleum.   The victim told investigators he had responded to text messages and pictures sent by someone—Bean—pretending to be a woman named Nicole who wanted to meet him at the mausoleum for a sexual encounter.  When he arrived, he said that the door closed behind him and Bean shoved him to prevent him from leaving.  The man told Sheriff’s deputies that Bean punched and choked him and forced him to drink alcohol while trying to perform a sex act.  Prosecutors say that Bean threatened to kill the victim if he did not comply and in a 911 call made from inside the mausoleum, the victim told dispatchers that he believed he was going to “die inside the mausoleum.”  Bean has been in jail since his arrest the day of the incident and was given credit for time served.


Project to replace water mains underway, expect delays


If you have been wondering about the project that has Broad Street in Clinton closed between Marshall and Hicks Streets, CUB crews are replacing water mains installed in the first half of the 20th century.  The project will eventually replace all of the water mains under Broad Street all the way up to Main Street.  Heavy rainfall events over the past year have caused the aging clay-like pipes to burst several times and this project will replace them with more modern, sturdier materials.  Work between Marshall and Hicks is expected to wrap up by the end of this week and the project will move to the section of Broad that runs past the Clinton Police Department and the public parking lot across the street.  Because that stretch of road will be closed, voters looking to cast early ballots in the August 7th election will be inconvenienced.  County election officials are working with the city to mitigate any hassles or delays for those taking part in the early voting period, which begins this Friday July 18th.  After that work is completed, crews will have to close the section of road between the County Courthouse and the Robert Jolley Building to complete the project, with officials have said they hope to have wrapped up by the start of school in early August. 


Harriman fire sparked by hay


Firefighters in Harriman battled a fire at the Railcar Cleaning Company on Emory Street along the banks of the Emory River on Tuesday.  The initial call came in to the Harriman Fire Department at around 2:30 pm and when the first crews arrived on the scene 4 minutes after the call, heavy smoke and flames were visible.  Crews from the Midtown Fire Department also responded to the scene and firefighters remained on site until shortly before 7 pm.  The building caught fire while workers inside were using a torch to cut through a metal-lined wall and accidentally ignited old hay that had apparently been used years ago as insulation.  All of the workers escaped without injury and no firefighters were injured while tackling the blaze. 


CRCTU:  Big Clinch Clean-Up a ‘big’ success


(Submitted) The second annual Big Clinch River Cleanup scored significant advances over the 2013 event, according to chairman Buzz Buffington of the Clinch River Chapter, Trout Unlimited, which sponsored the effort.  "We had a great cleanup!" Buffington said. "The number of volunteers increased by one-third; powerboats, canoes and kayaks doubled; and clear water helped us triple the number of tires removed," to 314. "In addition, 45 bags of trash and two pickup loads of metal and junk were removed. We found car parts, road signs, kids' toys -- everything you can imagine."  The 105 volunteers started their day on Saturday by stoking up on breakfast in at the Museum of Appalachia then worked in teams of walkers, waders, paddlers and powerboats to remove litter and old tires from the Clinch River shoreline, the shallows and deep water. The cleanup covered about 4 miles of river and shoreline from Miller Island to the Peach Orchard boat access, with additional litter pickup onshore as far downstream as the Highway 61 Bridge.  Workers included Anderson County residents plus many volunteers from Knoxville and the wider region.  Cooperating in the effort were canoeists, kayakers, anglers and professional fishing guides headed by Mike Bone of Andersonville   Reinforcements also arrived from the Little River and Great Smoky Mountains chapters of Trout Unlimited.  Emergency services (fortunately not called upon) were provided by the Anderson County Rescue Squad and several ham radio operators who volunteered to provide emergency communications.  Bingham Tire of Clinton trucked away the tires; Anderson County Solid Waste Management removed the trash; Tennessee Valley Authority kept the river level low and granted funds to help with event costs. Both TVA and the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency provided boats and volunteers. The 3 Rivers Angler fly shop in Knoxville hosted a charity event publicizing the cleanup and raising money for it. Keep Anderson County Beautiful donated equipment and Museum of Appalachia supplied a beautiful setting for the kickoff breakfast hosted by Clinch River Chapter.  Before expanding their efforts into a communitywide event, members of the Clinch River Chapter had conducted smaller river cleanups since 2000, collecting tons of trash and thousands of tires over the years. The chapter's mission is to conserve and protect the Clinch River tailwater trout fishery and its watershed, through conservation projects and through education of children and adults in aquatic natural resources. Meetings are held the second Thursday of the month in the parish hall at St. Francis Episcopal Church, Norris, except when outdoor activities are scheduled. For more information, visit crctu.org.


OR certified as first Green Power Community in southeast


TVA has been recognized as a Top 10 utility leader in green power program sales, and Oak Ridge has been designated the first Green Power Community in the Southeast by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.  TVA was recognized by the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory. In the first NREL Top 10 ranking in a decade, TVA landed at No. 9 nationally with green power sales of 199,067 megawatt-hours in calendar 2013, thanks to TVA’s Renewable Energy Solutions programs and participating local power companies, a press release said.  Oak Ridge is one of the participating communities, and it received the EPA designation based in part on TVA green power purchases. TVA and Oak Ridge officials had a brief ceremony to celebrate during a Monday night Oak Ridge City Council meeting.  “TVA is proud to be recognized nationally for our strong and growing support of renewable energy,” said Patty West, director of TVA’s Renewable Energy Solutions in a press release. “Cost-effective, renewable energy is an important part of TVA’s diverse portfolio of energy-generation sources.”  A key to TVA’s renewable energy sales has been Green Power Switch, or GPS, which TVA launched on Earth Day 2000 with local power companies and members of the environmental community as the first-of-its-kind renewable power purchase program in the Southeast.  GPS gives consumers and businesses the opportunity to buy 150-kilowatt-hour blocks of renewable energy generated in the Valley from solar, wind, and biomass conversion for $4 per block.  “Our local power company partners have enthusiastically supported this effort and, through their efforts, more than 12,600 residential and business customers are currently buying GPS energy blocks,” West said in the press release.  The City of Oak Ridge increased its GPS participation from about 500 local customers to more than 800 during a two-month campaign to achieve the EPA Green Power Community designation. That represents more than 5 percent of Oak Ridge’s customers, and the highest rate of any community in the Green Power Switch program.  For more information about TVA’s Renewable Energy Solutions and to participate in the GPS program, visit http://www.tva.gov/renewable, which includes a list of participating local power companies.


ORT:  Applewood apartment battle rages on


(Oak Ridge Today) More than three years after they were declared “unfit,” four dilapidated Applewood Apartment buildings have still not been vacated, an attorney said last week.  The Anderson County Chancery Court and the Tennessee Court of Appeals have both affirmed a November 2010 decision by an Oak Ridge board declaring the dilapidated buildings on Hunter Circle to be unfit for human occupation and use—and calling for them to be vacated immediately, attorney Dan Pilkington said.  The 2010 decision was reaffirmed by the city board, the Oak Ridge Board of Building and Housing Code Appeals, in March 2013, Pilkington said.  “We believe that this order is final,” he said in a 15-minute oral argument before a three-judge panel of the Tennessee Court of Appeals in Knoxville on Thursday. “Despite that, the buildings have never been vacated.”  The 2010 Oak Ridge board hearing was held after notices were issued citing multiple deficiencies that were hazardous to tenants, said Pilkington, who works for Knoxville law firm Watson, Roach, Batson, Rowell, and Lauderback. That company represented the City of Oak Ridge in Thursday’s oral argument before a three-judge panel that included John W. McClarty, D. Michael Swiney, and D. Kelly Thomas Jr.  But in his oral argument, Levitt said he’s spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on the Applewood Apartments.  The Oak Ridge Board of Building and Housing Code Appeals had ordered the four Applewood buildings demolished on Nov. 11, 2010. The order was upheld by the Anderson County Chancery Court, but Levitt appealed.  In 2012, the Tennessee Court of Appeals said the board “acted without material evidence to support its decision to demolish the buildings.”  The case was sent back to the Board of Building and Housing Code Appeals in March 2013, and after the board reaffirmed its “unfit” decision, city staff posted yellow “Danger” signs on roughly 48 units at the four buildings at 105 and 115 East Hunter Circle, and 119 and 121 West Hunter Circle. The signs said the apartments had been deemed unfit for human occupation or use. The notices were not supposed to be removed until the structures were repaired or demolished.  The city has fought a code enforcement battle against the 13-building apartment complex on Hillside Road and Hunter Circle for several years. City officials say they want the buildings repaired, while Levitt says he has made repairs.  It’s not clear when the three-judge panel could issue an opinion in the case. There is no deadline to do so.  For more on the lengthy court battle that has surrounded the complex, check out our partners at www.oakridgetoday.com.


Roane authorities warn of potential mail theft


The Roane County Sheriff's Office is warning residents after opened pieces mail were found in a ditch in Kingston.  The items were found at the intersection of Old Johnston Valley Road and Cedar Grove Church Road on Sunday.  Officials say they believe the suspect or suspects are targeting mailboxes that may contain checks and/or credit cards containing identity information that can be easily compromised.  The opened pieces all contained Roane County mailing addresses, but police say the thefts are occurring in adjacent jurisdictions as well.  If you notice any suspicious activity going on in your neighborhood or have any information pertaining to these incidents, you are asked to call (865) 354-8045.


Roane approves “In God We Trust” signage


Monday night, the Roane County Commission voted 13-1 to place the words “In God We Trust” at three locations in the Courthouse in Kingston.  The signs will be similar to those placed above all four entrances at the Anderson County Courthouse last year and the one placed above the entrance to the Oak Ridge General Sessions Court building.  The proposal was made earlier this year, but commissioners initially balked at approving it until it made its way through the property committee.  The signs will be placed above the north and south entrances to the Courthouse and a plaque bearing the phrase will also be placed in the Commission meeting room, which also serves as a General Sessions courtroom.  As in Anderson County, the signs will be paid for by private contributions.  


Campbell educator charged with sex crimes


A Campbell County teacher has been charged after investigators say he took a teenage girl off campus last fall and tried to kiss her at a church.  According to the TBI, 43-year-old Lonnie Vann is charged with solicitation of a minor, tampering with evidence, and assault.  He turned himself into the Campbell County jail on Monday and was released on a $10,000 bond.  Vann was teaching at LaFollette Middle School in October 2013 when investigators learned that left campus with the 13-year-old female student. He took her to Coolidge First Baptist Church, where investigators said Vann hugged the teen and attempted to kiss her without consent.  School officials first alerted the Campbell County Sheriff’s Office when they saw security footage of Vann leaving campus with the student.  Authorities also learned that Vann tampered with the security camera at the church in at attempt to conceal his actions.  Vann is still a school employee, but he has been suspended without pay since the incident last year, and has not been allowed on campus. Now that Vann has been formally charged, he will be terminated. 


OR parents to take walk zone protest to streets


Oak Ridge parents have launched an online protest after the school district announced changes to school bus routes and plan to take their concerns to the street later this week. Last month, the school board expanded the distance of so-called walk zones from each school, meaning that any student living within al mile and a half from the school will have to walk or parents will have to transport them. The changes are expected to impact 1,800 students.  The protest is being spearheaded by Laurie Paine, whose daughter died in 2007 while riding her bike home from school. After the accident which involved a school bus, Paine fought to drop school walk zones because of student safety.  Last week, she started a Facebook page and another parent created an online petition to stop the walk zone. That petition has garnered approximately 300 signatures.  She's also planning a protest for the first day of school, which is Thursday for Willow Brook Elementary School.  The school board made the decision while balancing the budget and after the City Council nixed a property tax rate increase.  School leaders say that the move to expand the walk zones saved the system around $500,000 and that the decision allowed them to avoid cutting teacher positions, which they say would have had a negative effect on classroom instruction.  Officials say that one of the schools is already setting up a carpool for people concerned about getting to school safely and that everyone is working toward making children’s routes to and from school as safe as possible.


Campbell authorities round up drug suspects


20 drug dealers and probation violators were arrested Monday and 20 more are expected being sought.  The Campbell County Sheriff's Office started the drug roundup, code-named "Operation Crushing Nuisance," before sunrise Monday morning.  After a year-long investigation, the district attorney's office presented 40 cases to the grand jury on Thursday. Nearly 30 officers from the Campbell County Sheriff's Office, Tennessee Highway Patrol, LaFollette Police department and Jellico Police Department served the indictments door-to-door.  Sheriff Robbie Goins said most of the people arrested are drug dealers of prescription pills. Officials say taking the dealers off the streets is important for the well being of the entire community as law enforcement officials estimate 95% of the crimes in the county, from theft to child abuse, are tied to drugs.  This is second roundup in Campbell County over the past several months.  The last one was in March, where another year-long undercover narcotics investigation resulted in charges against 63 people.


OR restaurant to open Knox location


A popular Oak Ridge restaurant is expanding to Knoxville.  Dean's Restaurant & Bakery plans to open a new location in Fountain City later this year. The made-from-scratch restaurant in Oak Ridge features Southern-style foods with everything made from fresh ingredients. 


State: Seatbelt usage in Tennessee increasing


The Governor’s Highway Safety Office (GHSO) and the Tennessee Highway Patrol (THP) announced today an increase in seat belt usage with an observed usage rate of 87.7 percent statewide for the month of June.  That’s an increase from the previous usage rate of 84.6 percent.  The seat belt survey is performed by the University of Tennessee (Knoxville) Center for Transportation Research. The survey, which is conducted in accordance with federal requirements and standards, is state mandated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). 

“We are extremely pleased to see this solid increase in seat belt usage in Tennessee. As fatalities have decreased, this is further proof that seat belts save lives, and that’s what we are in the business to do,” GHSO Director Poole said. “This all-time high in usage also means that our ‘Click It or Ticket’ campaign, combining education with the enforcement efforts of the Tennessee Highway Patrol and every single local law enforcement partner across the state, has been a productive partnership,” he added.  State Troopers have issued 4,666 seat belt citations during this year’s Click it or Ticket campaign, which ran from May 19 through June 1. Since January 1, 2014, THP personnel have ticketed 58,842 individuals for violation of the seat belt law.  Colonel Tracy Trott also noted that Tennessee’s percentage of unrestrained fatalities is at a five-year low. Both the THP and the GHSO are committed to proactive enforcement and education to lower the fatality figure and continue to increase the seat belt usage rate.  As of July 14, preliminary statistics indicate 476 people have died on Tennessee roadways, a decrease of 29 deaths compared to 505 fatalities at this same time in 2013. To date, 49.7 percent of the state’s fatalities have been unrestrained motorists.


UT, AC Health Department to host ‘Take Charge of Your Diabetes’


A partnership of UT Extension and the Anderson County Health Department is offering Take Charge of Your Diabetes is a 6 week workshop offered to assist diabetics as well as their families and caregivers.  The classes are free; however, you must pre-register to attend as class size is limited.  Classes will be held at the Anderson County Public Health Department on consecutive Tuesdays beginning July 22nd from 5 to 7 pm.    All people with a diagnosis of diabetes or pre-diabetes along with their families and/or friends are welcome to attend.    A textbook, CD, and other materials will be provided. Class participation and the sharing of what has worked to help you manage your own diabetes is encouraged.  Due to the amount of material covered, attendance at all 6 classes is highly recommended.  

Topics covered in class include:

  • Techniques to deal with symptoms of diabetes, including fatigue, pain, hyper/hypoglycemia, stress, and emotions such as depression, anger, fear and frustration;
  • Exercises for maintaining and improving strength and endurance;
  • Healthy eating;
  • Appropriate use of medication;
  • Working more effectively with health care providers
  • Preventing or delaying complications
  • Designing your own effective self-management program
  • Getting the support you need

The Anderson County Health Department is located at 710 North Main Street in Clinton, north from downtown.   To register or if you have questions, please call either Kathy Scruggs at the Anderson County Health Department at865 425-8768 or you can e-mail her at Kathy.Scruggs@tn.gov or Abbie Carey, UT Extension, at 865-457-6250 oracary@utk.edu  


Medic busy in July


Are there any blood donors out there who are adrenaline junkies?   Medic Regional Blood Center is hoping that there are and offering up a thrilling prize to one lucky donor.  Donate during the month of July for a chance to win a pair of zip line tickets from Adrenaline Adventures located in Kodak, Tennessee.   “One lucky donor will win the tickets which will be given away in early August.  We are so proud to partner with such great businesses who are so supportive of our mission.   In addition to entering to win the zip line tickets, all donors will walk away with a coupon for a free Chick-fil-A sandwich coupon,” explains Christi Fightmaster, Medic Spokesperson.   The entry process is easy, donate blood at any of their locations now through the end of July.  Donors are always welcome to visit one of two donors centers:  1601 Ailor Avenue or 1100 Kingston Pike in Farragut.   Community drives are also planned for added convenience. 

·         July 23, Appalachian Underwriters, 800 Oak Ridge Turnpike, 1pm – 4pm, Bloodmobile.

·         July 31, *Papa Murphy’s Pizza, 1133 Oak Ridge Turnpike, 11am – 7pm, Bloodmobile. *Free Large Pizza for Donors 

Donors must be 17 years of age, weigh 110 pounds or more (16 year-olds weighing 120 pounds or more can donate but must have parental consent) and all donors must have positive identification. 


Gospel singing at Union Valley Baptist


There will be a gospel singing at Union Valley Baptist Church (three miles outside Oliver Springs on Windrock Road) on Saturday July 28th at 7 pm featuring Walking By Faith, the Union Valley Singers and the Praise Him Youth Choir.  All singers are welcome.  For more information, call 865-435-4150.


Lady Dragon volleyball fundraisers


Dragons Volleyball will be having a Fundraiser to help support the program at Oak Ridge Bowling Center on Friday, July 25th from 5-8pm. Tickets are $15 for 2 games and shoes. If you don't want to bowl you can come on down to the bake sale at the bowling center and there will be tickets sold for $1 for chances at door prizes for various items, or to make donations. Come down and help the Dragons Volleyball team as our 2014 season gets ready to begin.


AC Fairest of the Fair winners announced


Here are the winners of the Fairest of the Fair and Tiny Miss pageants that were held Sunday at Anderson County High School. 

The winner of the Senior Division of Fairest of the fair (the overall winner as well):  Abigail McKenzie Ridenour

Junior Division:  Meaghan Bailey Bingham

Princess Division:  Raegan Elizabeth Farley


Tiny Miss (0-11 months old):  Blakeleigh Reese Myers

Tiny Miss (1-2 years old):  Amelia Grace Tomb

Tiny Miss (3-4 years old):  Rachel Elizabeth Tharp

Tiny Miss (5-6 years old):  Annyla Osborne

Tiny Miss (7-9 years old):  Lexi Nicole Burt


Our thanks to Carol Holt, owner of Captured Memories Photography, and the Chair of the Anderson County Fair’s Fairest of the Fair Committee for this rundown of pageant winners.


State lawmakers seek photos of fallen Vietnam-era soldiers


State Senator Randy McNally (R-Oak Ridge) and Representatives John Ragan (R-Oak Ridge) and Dennis Powers (R-Jacksboro) are seeking photos of Vietnam War veterans from Anderson County who were killed in action in order to honor the fallen heroes at a new facility which compliments the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in Washington, DC.  The photos will be part of a multimedia display at the new Education Center at the Wall, which will be built between the existing Wall and the Lincoln Memorial.  The effort is part of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund (VVMF).  Senator Mark Green (R-Clarksville) who is heading up the effort statewide enlisted the help of the local lawmakers in trying to locate missing photos of local veterans for the memorial.  The Education Center already has photos for 596 soldiers of the 1,295 Tennesseans who are listed on “The Wall” in Washington. 

“This is a huge project and we want to do everything we can to get the photos for these Tennesseans who paid the ultimate sacrifice in service to this state and this nation,” said Senator McNally.  “We hope that many local citizens can help in this effort.”  

“The Wall serves as a great visual reminder of the tremendous sacrifice paid by our soldiers,” added Ragan.  

“This display will compliment it by putting a face with the names of these veterans so they will never be forgotten,” said Powers. 

The lawmakers are seeking photos for the following who listed Anderson County as their home: 

Oak Ridge:  Benjamin Lee IV, Army; Gerald W. Davidson, Army; Gregory J. Weber, Marine Corps; Joseph K. Bradley, Marine Corps and Micheal R. Baker, Army

Rocky Top (Lake City):  Acie D. Hall, Marine Corps, Garry L.Weaver, Army; Kenneth J. Davis, Army

Oliver Springs:  James E. Byrd, Army

Clinton:  Gomer D. Hoskins, Jr., Army; John T. Davis, Army and William D. Daugherty, Army

New River:  Donald E. Madden, Army

Photos can be submitted to Senator Randy McNally, 307 War Memorial Building, Nashville, TN 37243 or call 615 741-6806.  To view the photos that have already been submitted or see if someone you know is among those without a photo, please visit The Wall of Faces website at www.vvmf.org/Wall-of-Faces.  


ORT:  OR parents protest expanded walk zone


(Oak Ridge Today) about student safety are protesting a recent decision by Oak Ridge Schools to expand the student walk zone to 1.5 miles.  They’ve started a petition and Facebook group to oppose the June 23 decision.  The expanded walk zones mean that bus service will no longer be available to students who live within 1.5 miles of Oak Ridge schools. The change could affect 1,800 students. The new bus stops have been posted on the Oak Ridge Schools website.  The opposition has ramped up as a new school year looms. Students at Willow Brook Elementary School return to class next week, on July 17, and the first day for most students is Aug. 11.

On Thursday, Oak Ridge parent Laurie Paine started a Facebook group called STOP Oak Ridge Walk Zone. It already has 255 members.  Another parent has started a petition on Change.org on Thursday to stop the walk zone and had already collected 187 signatures as of early Friday afternoon, close to its goal of 200 signatures.  “Please stop the Oak Ridge Walk Zone, as it will be putting our children at risk,” the petition said. “Elementary and middle school age children should not have to walk a mile and a half to come to school. There are enough signatures to show that the citizen’s of Oak Ridge are concerned over this decision and the safety of our children. One child was killed (riding a bicycle) from school not too long ago and we do not want a repeat of this type of accident. Nor do we want our children subject to kidnapping or anything else. The safety of our children should not be sacrificed because the school system has to make a budget cut somewhere.”

The walk zones were expanded in June to help the school system reduce a $1.25 million budget deficit. School officials said the larger walk area for students is allowed under state regulations, and it is expected to save about $500,000.

Morgan wants school officials to look for other cuts. School officials modified their budget—the expanded walk zones were the largest cut—after the Oak Ridge City Council declined to raise the property tax rate to give the school system more money.


AC Community Action accepting commodity applications


The Anderson County Community Action Commission will be taking applications for the GREEN commodity card beginning on Monday July 21 thru August 1st, 2014.  The hours will be Monday thru Friday from 8 am- 12 p.m.   To sign up for a card you MUST have with you: Proof of ALL household income, know birth dates and social security numbers for everyone in the household, and PHOTO ID for everyone over the age of 18. If you have a GREEN commodity card, you DO NOT have to sign back up. Their office is located at 149 North Main Street in Clinton, TN.  For more information on this equal opportunity program please call our office @ 457-5500.  The commodities will be handed out on Thursday August 14, 2014 from 10 am- 1 pm at the National Guard Armory In Clinton TN.  Participants will need to have their GREEN commodity card and 6 brown paper bags. 


Follow-Up:  Bartley arrest details


The Campbell County Sheriff's Office has released more information about the arrest of Kenneth Bartley, Jr.  Tuesday night, Bartley.'s father texted and called his son's probation officer, saying his son had "gone crazy," according to the arrest warrant. At about 9:15 p.m., deputies arrived at the father's home in LaFollette and found Bartley Jr. drinking beer on the porch.  When a deputy put his hand on Bartley's back and asked him if he was okay, officials say Bartley jumped out of his seat, took off his shirt and tried to hit two deputies. He allegedly continued to resist arrest until one of the officers threatened him with a taser.  He was charged with two counts of assault on a police officer. Authorities also said Bartley violated his bond conditions because he was drinking.  Bartley will be held without bond until further notice.  This is the second time in a month that officials arrested Bartley. In June, deputies took Bartley into custody after his father said his son threatened to kill him.  Officials said Bartley also became violent when they arrested him in June.  In February, Bartley was convicted of reckless homicide in the 2005 fatal shooting of Campbell County High School assistant principal Ken Bruce.  He was acquitted on charges of attempted second-degree murder for the wounding of two other school administrators in that incident. 


Man pleads guilty in Y-12 extortion case


(Oak Ridge Today) A Tennessee man who appeared on the television reality show “The Millionaire Matchmaker” has pleaded guilty in a $2.5 million extortion case involving the former   managing contractor at the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge.  26-year-old Adam Winters of Robbins, Tenn., said he had copies of “slides that would injure the reputation of the contractor, Babcock and Wilcox Y-12 LLC”, and he met with undercover officers on May 23 to exchange the slides for the money he demanded, U.S. Attorney William C. Killian said in a Thursday afternoon press release. Law enforcement officers revealed their identity during that May 23 meeting and took Winters into custody.  On May 8, Winters had e-mailed Babcock and Wilcox and attempted to email Vice President Joe Biden about the slides, Killian said. After he sent the email, Winters used the Internet and telephone to communicate his threat to injure their reputation through the use of the slides, according to the plea agreement on file with the U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Tennessee.  Winters pleaded guilty Thursday to transmitting communications containing threats to injure the reputation of Babcock and Wilcox Y-12 LLC in interstate and foreign commerce with intent to extort money and other things of value from the corporation.  His sentencing is set for 10 a.m. Nov. 17 in U.S. District Court in Knoxville before U.S. District Court Judge Pamela L. Reeves. Winters faces up to two years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000, up to one year of supervised release, and a $100 special assessment.  Prosecutors said the May 8 email refers to slides of evidence from nuclear testing, according to the Associated Press. 


Children’s Museum of OR unveils Living Light House


The Children's Museum of Oak Ridge unveiled its newest permanent display: a solar-powered home built by University of Tennessee students.  The so-called Living Light House was an entry to the 2011 U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon in Washington, D.C.  The house is 750 square feet and requires no energy for anything to function.  It will be on permanent display at the museum now after traveling nearly 6,000 miles around the country. It's been toured by more than 50,000 visitors, and was on exhibit at the 2012 Smithsonian Folklife Festival.


Ex-Morgan school principal has charges dismissed


The charges against a Morgan County principal accused of spanking a student in 2012 have been dropped.  As part of the deal to drop the charges, Penny Elizabeth Boyd submitted an apology to the court last week. She must also pay court costs.  In 2012, Boyd was charged with child abuse and neglect after a mother of a five-year-old student at Sunbright School filed a complaint saying Boyd excessively spanked a student with a paddle.  In her apology Boyd wrote, "I write to tell you that I am truly sorry and apologize for events which led to the return of the indictment in the above case."  After her arrest, she was reassigned to another position in the Morgan County schools but is now no longer employed by the school system.


Caryville fireworks store was operating without license


The Campbell County fireworks store that burned to the ground on Sunday afternoon was not licensed to sell fireworks, according to the state fire marshal's office.  Stores must renew their licenses every year, but the state says Fireworks Superstore did not renew its license 2014. The store's last renewal was in 2013.  The state sent the store's owners a cease and desist order in March and officials say the owners signed it, pledging to stop.  The store owners did fill out the paperwork to get licensed again and while the state received the application, the permit had not yet been renewed because they hadn't gone through the required inspection, the fire marshal's office says.  The fire broke out at around 4:15 pm Sunday and no injuries were reported.  65 firefighters from three different counties extinguished the blaze, which caused the pyrotechnics inside to explode.  The cause of Sunday’s fire remains under investigation. 


CPD gets their man…just not the one they were looking for


Clinton Police officers looking to serve a warrant on a man at an apartment on High Street Thursday afternoon did end up making an arrest, but not of the man they were searching for.  The arrest report indicates that officers had gone to the apartments to serve an outstanding arrest warrant and saw a man later identified as 28-year-old Christopher Phillips walk into Apartment #1.  An officer who had gone around to the back of the building spotted Phillips exiting the apartment through a window and then saw him jump over a fence.  After searching for him, Clinton Police located Phillips on Park Avenue and asked him why he had run.  Phillips told the officers that his “$3500 dog “had run off and he had gone to search for him.  An officer pointed out that the building had no back door and asked Phillips why he had felt the need to jump out the window, to which Phillips reportedly responded by saying “well, it’s an expensive dog.”  A check with dispatchers soon revealed the real reason for his flight, namely three outstanding warrants.  He was taken into custody.  Meanwhile, another officer made contact with the person they had gone to the apartment to find by telephone and that man informed him that he was not at home. 


Goins headed home


Former Oak Ridge High School and now former-Knox Central High School principal Jody Goins left his Knox County post after just one year in order to take over the reins of Claiborne High School in his family’s native Claiborne County.  The 32-year-old Goins announced this week he was leaving central after just one year but initially, his new destination was not revealed.  Goins says that the move to Claiborne was done so that both he and his wife could be closer to their respective families.  Goins, a Clinton High School graduate, worked at Oak Ridge High School beginning in 2004 before being named principal in 2009.  At the time, he was the state’s youngest principal. 


Clinton woman falls prey to phone scam


Last week the Anderson County Sheriff’s Department issued a press release warning people of a phone scam making the rounds in Anderson County.  In the scam, the caller tells the recipient that they have either missed jury duty or have a warrant for their arrest but that they will not be taken to jail if they pay a “fine” by money order or by purchasing a pre-paid credit card.  The ACSD reminded citizens that this is not how law enforcement goes about its business and that if they receive one of these calls, to not give out any personal information or send the caller money.  Instead, they say that if you receive one of these calls to call the ACSD or your local law enforcement agency.  The warning came too late for one elderly Clinton woman who fell prey to the scam last Friday.  The woman told Clinton Police that she had received a call from someone who claimed to be Chief Sheriff’s Deputy Mark Lucas and said that there was a warrant for her arrest but that she could take care of the problem by paying a fine.  He instructed her to purchase Green Dot cards at Walgreens, which she did to the tune of $992.90, paying in cash.  She then was told to give the scammer the numbers on the back of the card, which she did.  This case remains under investigation but again, if you are called and told you can avoid jail by paying a fine over the phone, someone is trying to steal your money.  If there is a warrant for your arrest or you have missed jury duty, you will be arrested and not fined over the telephone.


TDEC orders OS to fix treatment plant or else face fine


The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation has ordered Oliver Springs to upgrade its wastewater treatment plant or else face a hefty fine.  The state gave the town until August 31st, 2015 to correct the problems outlined in the order, including several violations in the past few years dealing with system overflows and e.Coli contamination.  The plant discharged water into Poplar Creek.  If the problems are not corrected by the end of August 2015, the town could face a fine of up to $175,000.  The state also issued a moratorium on adding any new sewer customers. The town has spent about $250,000 to improve the plant over the past year but more remains to be done.  Town officials hope to mitigate or eliminate the fine by making all of the corrections outlined in the report.  The town is preparing its response to the stated, including an outline of how the problems will be addressed and it is due to officials in Nashville by August 31st, 2014.  Once that plan is approved by TDEC, the project will be put out for bid.  Officials are also looking for low-interest loans to pay for the estimated $3 million project but warn that even if those efforts are successful, a sewer rate increase will likely still be necessary.


Man arrested on two indictments


A 33-year-old Clinton man was arrested Tuesday on charges of child rape, sexual battery by an authority figure and promoting the manufacture of meth.  33-year-old Jason Edward Lee was arrested on a pair of indictments handed down by a grand jury, one from 2013 and one from earlier this year.  The most recent indictment charges him with molesting a girl under the age of 13 in November of 2012 while he was in a position of authority while the 2013 indictment charges him with buying chemicals and components used to make meth.  He will be arraigned Friday in Criminal Court and is being held at the Anderson County Jail.


Missing OR woman’s family offers reward


The family of missing 19 year-old Erin Corwin of Oak Ridge is now offering a reward to anyone that can offer information to help find her.  Corwin, who is three months pregnant, went missing from her Twentynine Palms, California home June 28th, after she told her husband she was headed to Joshua Tree National Park.  Corwin's husband Jonathan Corwin serves as a Marine and reported her missing the following day. Investigators with the San Bernardino Sheriff's Office have since added more search crews to try to locate Corwin.   Friends had previously set up an online crowd-funding campaign to help the Oak Ridge family with travel expenses to California, but the family has recently said they will use all money raised as a reward for information leading to finding Corwin.


Smoot appointed 4th lawyer in murder case


A man accused of murdering his former girlfriend returned to court Wednesday, where he was appointed his fourth attorney in the case.  Officials have charged Shawn Smoot with first-degree murder in the 2011 death of Brook Morris. She was his former employee and girlfriend.  Roane County authorities say Morris was shot several times and dumped near the intersection of Blair and Old Blair roads. In the past three years, Smoot has been in and out of jail. When he didn't turn himself in back in 2012, authorities tracked him down in Mississippi. A judge later released him on bond.  Earlier this year, officials arrested Smoot in McMinn County for DUI and he was released on bond.  A month later, U.S. Marshals found Smoot in a mental hospital in Chattanooga after he failed to show up for court.  Wednesday he was back in court and his third attorney, Tom Slaughter, told the judge he had a conflict of interest and could no longer represent Smoot. The court could not say what the conflict of interest was. 


Knox man indicted on numerous charges in fatal wreck


A Knoxville man has been indicted by an Anderson County grand jury on several charges connected to a December 2013 accident on Lewallen Bridge that killed one person and injured four others.  22-year-old Kyle Houston Anthony was indicted last week on charges of vehicular homicide by intoxication and recklessness, drunken driving, driving under the influence of marijuana, three counts of reckless aggravated assault, reckless endangerment, reckless driving, speeding and tampering with evidence.  He is free on $150,000 bond and will be arraigned August 1st in Criminal Court.  The wreck killed 40-year-old Angela Duncan Richardson who was ejected through the rear window of the 2012 Chevrolet pickup driven by Anthony.  Police say that Anthony was trying to pass another vehicle on the bridge when he lost control of the pickup, crossed the over center line and struck a northbound 1996 Honda Civic. The impact sent the Civic into a northbound 2011 Chevrolet SUV.  After the wreck, authorities say Anthony tossed a bottle of liquor off the bridge.  While being questioned by investigators the following day he reportedly admitted that he had consumed two 24-ounce cans of beer and part of a mixed drink shortly before the crash.  A second passenger in Anthony’s truck was injured as were three people in the Civic. 


Follow-up:  6th gang member arrested in beating case


A sixth person has been arrested on an indictment in a gang-related attempted murder and conspiracy case.  40-year-old Cynthia Ann Wright of Strawberry Plains was arrested at her home Thursday by sheriff’s investigators with the assistance of the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department.  Wright is currently being held in the Anderson County Detention Facility under $100,000.00 bond on charges of attempted first-degree murder, aggravated kidnapping, aggravated assault, being an accessory after the fact, criminal conspiracy and two counts of evidence tampering.  Investigators obtained indictments from the Anderson County Grand Jury on the six individuals after a lengthy investigation into the severe beating of a 31-year-old Briceville man which resulted in serious injuries.  The assault also included gang members using a tattoo gun to cover up his gang tattoos, signifying his dismissal from the Aryan Nations gang.  The incident occurred on Dennis Lane in Claxton purported to be the regional headquarters for the white supremacist gang in December of 2013.  Investigators say that Joshua Ray “Cornbread” Patterson was beaten for arguing with a higher-ranking gang member.  The District Attorney General’s Office will be seeking enhanced penalties in this case as the offenders are members of a criminal gang.  The investigation, which includes a treasure trove of information on the gang’s criminal activities supplied by a confidential informant who infiltrated the gang, is continuing and more people could face charges down the road. 


Follow-up:  OR officer injured in crash recovering at home


Oak Ridge Police officer Cassen Jackson-Garrison, who was injured in a two-vehicle collision on Sunday afternoon, is recovering at home.  He suffered a severe concussion in the Sunday afternoon accident and was released from UT Medical Center on Tuesday.  Jackson-Garrison turned on his emergency lights while responding to an emergency call and was trying to cross the intersection of Illinois and Rutgers Avenues at around 2:15 pm Sunday when his patrol car was hit on the driver’s side by a car headed east on Illinois.  Neither occupant of the other car—64-year-old Carolyn Cooper and 30-year-old Lindsay Cooper, both of Knoxville—were hurt in the accident, which is being investigated by the Tennessee Highway Patrol.  Jackson-Garrison, a former Central High and Vanderbilt football standout, told the Tennesseean newspaper that this is first concussion despite the physical running style he employed during his playing days. 


Goins departs Knox Central


Former Oak Ridge High School principal Jody Goins has resigned from the job that lured him away from the Atomic City after just one year to accept another job.  Goins, a Clinton High School graduate, was appointed principal at Knox Central High School last year.  His resignation letter to the Knox County School Superintendent did not indicate where he is going.  When he was appointed principal at Oak Ridge in 2009, he was the youngest high school principal in the state.  Prior to being named ORHS principal, he served as a social studies teacher, assistant basketball coach and assistant principal beginning in 2004. 


THP:  Holiday fatalities down in 2014


The Tennessee Highway Patrol today announced a decline in traffic fatalities during this year’s Fourth of July holiday period. Early estimates indicate seven people were killed in traffic crashes across the state during the 96-hour holiday – a decrease from the 19 vehicular deaths during the 2013 Fourth of July period.  This year’s holiday vehicular fatalities included five vehicle occupants and two motorcyclists. Three of the victims (60%) were not wearing seat belts and one of the fatalities was alcohol-related.  State troopers arrested 119 individuals on suspicion of DUI and issued 1,414 seat belt citations during the 96-hour holiday period.  If this year’s preliminary figures stand, it would rank as one of the lowest number of traffic deaths during the Fourth of July holiday period on record. The highest number of vehicular fatalities occurred during the July 4th holiday period in 1996. Twenty-seven people died in traffic crashes that year. 


Inmate dies in custody at AC Jail


An Oak Ridge man died Friday while in custody at the Anderson County Jail and an investigation into the circumstances surrounding his passing is underway.  According to a Sheriff’s Department incident report, 34-year-old Christopher Sullivan was found unresponsive in a holding cell at around 3:30 Friday afternoon.  He been arrested by Oak Ridge police about three hours earlier on charges of public intoxication, two counts of possessing a Schedule II narcotic and on an outstanding warrant for contributing to the delinquency of a minor.  According to the report, the jail’s detox log indicates that jailers had checked on Sullivan “several times at regular intervals” before he was found unconscious in his cell.  Jailers immediately began CPR, which was continued for about 15 more minutes when Anderson County EMS paramedics responded to the jail.  Sullivan’s body was taken to the Regional Forensic Center in Knoxville, where an autopsy is being conducted.  The ACSD is investigating and when more information becomes available, we will pass it along to you.


Clinton man indicted in fatal wreck


A Clinton man was indicted last week by an Anderson County grand jury on charges stemming from a late-May single-vehicle accident that killed a 19-year-old Knoxville woman.  24-year-old Justin Seeber was indicted in charges of reckless vehicular homicide, reckless aggravated assault, reckless endangerment and violating the conditions of his restricted driver’s license.  He also faces moving violations connected to the May 28th accident that occurred shortly before 1 am when his northbound Jaguar crossed into the southbound lanes of Clinton Highway, ran off the road and slammed into a ditch.  19-year-old Amber Smith of Knoxville died in the accident while Seeber and two other passengers were hurt.  Seeber will be arraigned in Criminal Court on August 1st and he is currently free on bonds totaling $50,000.


ORT:  Historic OR house damaged by fire


(Oak Ridge Today) A historic house that once served as a home and headquarters for Gen. Leslie R. Groves during the top-secret Manhattan Project in World War II was heavily damaged in a fire early Monday morning.  No injuries were reported in the house fire, which was reported at 1:37 a.m. Monday.  The one-story stone bungalow is known as the Luther Brannon House, and it’s on Oak Ridge Turnpike, just west of Melton Lake Drive and next to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Scientific and Technical Information. It’s listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and it was the first home in Oak Ridge to be privately owned.  Oak Ridge Fire Department Chief Darryl Kerley said it appears that the Monday morning fire started in the kitchen. Owner Danny Brannon and his daughter were returning from a movie when they found the home on fire.  “We have not been able to determine what the cause is,” Kerley said. The Fire Department is waiting for an insurance company, which is sending an investigator and claims adjuster, before continuing its investigation.  Firefighters remained on the scene for some time, clearing smoke and keeping an eye on hot spots.  Kerley said the Luther Brannon House will have to be completely rebuilt inside. He said the stone house held the heat from the Monday morning fire really well. The kitchen and dining room are destroyed, and the rest of home is damaged from heat and smoke, Kerley said.  But he said the owner wants to rebuild it.  The American Red Cross responded to the fire and gave Brannon and his teenaged daughter a place to stay for three days.  For more on the history of the house and Monday’s fire, visit our partners at www.oakridgetoday.com.  


ORPD deputy chief cited


Well, this doesn’t happen every day.  Oak Ridge Police Deputy Chief Alan Massengill was cited Monday by the Tennessee Highway Patrol for failing to yield the right of way and for not using his siren while en route to a call in connection to a May 29th accident that injured a motorcycle rider.  Massengill was driving a department-owned SUV on May 29th when the accident occurred on Bethel Valley Road.  Court records indicate that he was responding to a call about a suspect on foot with his lights on but without activating his siren when he paused at the end of the exit ramp from Illinois Avenue and then attempted to cross Bethel Valley Road.  He instead pulled into the path of 46-year-old Todd O’Neal of Powell, who was riding his motorcycle west on Bethel Valley, causing injuries that sent O’Neal to Methodist Medical Center.  Massengill is expected to appear in an Anderson County courtroom in September on the THP citation. 


ORPD officer hurt in crash recovering


Oak Ridge Police officer Cassen Jackson-Garrison, who was injured in a two-vehicle collision on Sunday afternoon, is said to be recovering at UT Medical Center.  Jackson-Garrison turned on his emergency lights while responding to an emergency call and went through the traffic light at the intersection of Illinois and Rutgers Avenues at around 2:15 pm Sunday when his patrol car was hit on the driver’s side by a car headed east on Illinois.  Neither occupant of the other car—64-year-old Carolyn Cooper and 30-year-old Lindsay Cooper, both of Knoxville—were hurt in the accident, which is being investigated by the Tennessee Highway Patrol. 


Report:  ORCVB president stepping down


According to the News-Sentinel, the president of the Oak Ridge Convention and Visitors Bureau is stepping down at the end of this week to accept a job with a Knoxville company.  Katy Brown tells the paper that her decision has nothing to do with City Manager Mark Watson’s proposal to turn the ORCVB into a city-operated entity.  Currently the organization that promotes tourism in Oak Ridge is funded by revenue generated by the city’s hotel/motel tax.  The Bureau saw its budget cut by the City Council from $400,000 to $300,000 in the during the latest city budget debate.  Brown has worked at the bureau since 2001 and has served as its president since 2006.  Her last day on the job will be this Friday July 11th.


State sales tax holiday weekend dates announced


The State of Tennessee has announced the dates for this year’s Annual Sales Tax Holiday.  The holiday is held every year on the first Friday in August and ends the following Sunday night and this year is no exception.  The 2014 tax-free holiday weekend begins at 12:01 am on Friday, August 1st and ends Sunday, August 3rd at 11:59 p.m.  Check out tntaxholiday.com for more information, including a complete list of the items that will be sold tax-free that weekend.


UT hoops coach kicks off ORNL United way campaign


New University of Tennessee men’s basketball coach Donnie Tyndall kicked off Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s United Way campaign, telling Lab employees that United Way enables people to get back on their feet and become self-sufficient.  “United Way has a track record of having programs in place that help people with life skills that give them the education or put them in position to get an education to live their life to the fullest as they move forward,” Tyndall said. “United Way explains the importance of a healthy lifestyle.”  Tyndall said he was honored to kick off the ORNL United Way campaign and urged Lab employees to provide their support.

“I’ve been part of different causes and charitable situations in groups in my years of being in this profession, but I don’t think there is any one better than United Way,” Tyndall added.  ORNL is one of East Tennessee’s largest corporate contributors to United Way.


ACSD:  Jury duty scam reaches AC


The Anderson County Sheriff’s Department is warning the public about phone scam. The Sheriff’s Department has received a report of a man who placed a phone call to a victim and identified himself as a sheriff’s deputy. The scammer informed the victim they have missed jury duty and requested they purchase a money order for a certain amount to pay the fines.  He then asks the victim to meet him to pay and avoid going to jail. This scam has apparently been attempted in Anderson County and in the Clinton area.  The caller ID of the scammer shows “Warrants Division” but the Sheriff’s Department wants you to know that is fake and this is a scam.  A similar scam has been circulating in recent weeks in Knox County. There are several variations of scams targeting our area. The callers are claiming to be officers with various law enforcement agencies and are collecting funds for missed jury duty or outstanding warrants. In most of the scams, the caller request that funds be paid by purchasing either a prepaid credit card or money order.  Law enforcement agencies do not operate in this manner. No matter how threatening the phone calls may sound these are scams. If you receive a similar phone call, do not give the caller any money or give out any personal information. If you feel like you are a victim of a fraud or scam, please call the Sheriff’s Communications Center at 865-457-2414 or your local law enforcement agency.


OR After Dark debuts


A new summer entertainment series on Friday nights in July and August will feature movies and comedy.  The Oak Ridge After Dark series is presented by the Oak Ridge Convention and Visitors Bureau. It starts July 11 and ends August 15, and it will feature three movies and a family-friendly comedy troupe performance at A.K. Bissell Park.

The series provides free, family-friendly entertainment in a safe environment for all ages, a press release said. Each night will have a specific theme to accompany the film. Here’s the schedule:

  • July 11—Beat the Heat Night
  • July 18—Pirate Night
  • August 8—Einstein Simplified, comedy improv troupe
  • August 15—Hero Night

Activities are planned beginning at 7 p.m., with the feature entertainment beginning at dusk, the press release said. Children are encouraged to dress as their favorite characters in conjunction with each film or theme. Characters from select films will be on hand for photo opportunities.  Visit the Historic Oak Ridge Facebook page or http://oakridgevisitor.com/2014/07/01/oak-ridge-after-dark/ for a complete list of scheduled films.


OS man sentenced in fondling


An Oliver Springs man convicted in April of fondling a three-year-old girl in late 2009 was sentenced this week to nine years in prison and ordered to register as a sex offender.  30-year-old Christopher Lee Byrge will have to serve 100% of his sentence.  He has been in custody since his conviction. 


PCUD VP Emeritus honored by state association


(PCUD) Powell-Clinch Utility District Vice President Emeritus Richard McIntosh was recently awarded the Tennessee Gas Association’s 2014 Silver Flame Award, the state natural gas industry’s highest honor. The award is in recognition of McIntosh’s distinguished service, community involvement and pioneering efforts in the state gas industry over his forty-one year career. McIntosh retired from PCUD in 2013 after twenty-eight years of service. Under his leadership, PCUD grew from 3,500 customers to over 17,000.  The Tennessee Gas Association represents the state’s gas utilities, pipelines and affiliates who provide natural gas service to over 1.2 million customers in Tennessee. TGA’s mission is to promote the value and growth of the natural gas industry in Tennessee by enhancing the overall performance, safety, competitiveness and public awareness of its members and their products and services. PCUD congratulates Richard McIntosh for receiving the state gas industry’s most prestigious award and extends its heartfelt thanks to McIntosh for his leadership, vision, dedication and hard work for PCUD and its customers.


Man pleads guilty to 7th DUI


An Anderson County man pleaded guilty Monday in an Anderson County courtroom to his seventh DUI and driving while classified as a habitual motor vehicle offender.  52-year-old David Lynn Justice was sentenced to 2-year prison terms on each count, to be served concurrently, fined $3000 and placed on community supervision for the remainder of his life.  In addition, his drivers’ license was revoked for eight years.  This latest DUI plea came in connection to an April 19th accident on Old Lake City Highway, after which a state trooper described Justice “extremely intoxicated.”  He has been in custody since his arrest.


Plea in robbery case


An Anderson County man pleaded guilty earlier this week to charges stemming from an armed robbery that occurred in September of last year at a BP gas station on North Seivers Boulevard in Clinton.  32-year-old Joshua Aaron Dople pleaded guilty to aggravated robbery and was sentenced to eight years behind bars and placed on community supervision for the remainder of his life following his release.  Dople threatened a clerk at the gas station with a knife in the robbery, which occurred on September 28th of last year.  The clerk was not physically harmed in the incident.


Report:  “Absurd” lawsuit against OS firm dismissed


According to the News-Sentinel, a lawsuit filed against an Oliver Springs company has been dismissed in Anderson County Circuit Court.  Two former employees of Diversified Product Inspections—or DPI—which tests products that have malfunctioned or failed to figure out why, filed the suit last year, alleging that their workplace had been illegally bugged and that their private conversations had been recorded without their consent.  The suit sought $900,000 each from the company and an ex-employee and was filed by former employees Frankie Pearl Robinson and Shauna Nichole Hines.  They alleged that another former employee had left her cell phone on a desk when she ran to the restroom and that the phone was recording their conversation.  DPI’s attorneys told the News-Sentinel they considered the suit to be “absurd” and that the company never requested or authorized anyone to record anyone else.  The suit was dismissed with prejudice, meaning that it cannot be re-filed. 


New day, new month, new contractor heading Y-12


Tuesday morning at 12:01 am, the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge began operating under new management as Consolidated Nuclear Security, or CNS, officially completed its acquisition of the contract to manage the plant from Babcock and Wilcox.  CNS says a couple hundred people accepted the company's Voluntary Reduction Plan that allowed employees to be compensated for leaving.  The five-year contract—which was awarded to CNS in January of 2013 and went through several appeals by losing bidders—is expected save more than $3 billion in taxpayer money over the next decade.


ORPD loses certification over records issue


The TBI recently decertified the Oak Ridge Police Department for failing to report crime information to the agency as required by state statute for three months.  ORPD officials say that they do have a plan to rectify the situation but in the meantime, the decertification means that the department is ineligible to receive any state or federal grants or other assistance.  The issue centers on the inability of the department’s records management software to communicate with the TBI’s reporting system.  The city’s previous technology contractor refused to make the necessary changes without a significant increase in their fee so the ORPD began looking for alternatives.  In February, the City Council approved a contract with Spillman Technologies, which specializes in law enforcement software, and now officials are working to get the new software installed and to train officers and records personnel on how to use it.  No timetable has been set for its implementation but when it is, the department will begin the process of being recertified by the TBI.  Officials say the decertification will not affect day-to-day operations in the department.


ORT:  OR railroad tracks removed


(Oak Ridge Today) Unused railroad tracks that crossed Briarcliff Avenue, Emory Valley Road, and South Illinois Avenue were removed on Thursday and Saturday night.  CSX Railroad split the traffic control costs with the city and paid to remove the tracks, Oak Ridge Public Works Director Gary Cinder said. In exchange, the city agreed to repave the roadways as part of street maintenance.  The project has been in the works for two years.  He said the final cost was not clear yet, but it wasn’t expected to be significant. The city worked with contractor Rogers Group Inc. on the project.  For much more on this story visit our partners at www.oakridgetoday.com.  


Follow-up:  More on new Kroger Marketplace


(Oak Ridge Today) The Kroger Marketplace that opened in Oak Ridge on Sunday is the company’s largest store in Tennessee in the Knoxville and Nashville area, executives said. It’s the third Kroger Marketplace in the Knoxville area.  The 124,000-square-foot store is at the corner of Oak Ridge Turnpike and Illinois Avenue. It’s the company’s fifth store in Oak Ridge, and it’s in a new shopping center named the Westcott Center in honor of Ed Westcott, the official U.S. government photographer here during the top-secret Manhattan Project in World War II.  Kroger said the new store created 270 jobs and will employ a total of 375 workers, including those moving from the previous store on South Illinois Avenue.  The new grocery store features larger bakery, dairy, deli, meat, and seafood sections, as well as a produce section that includes organic and local produce. There are 22 check-out registers and more than 46 aisles.  There’s also a Baby World, bistro, floral shop, Fred Meyer Jewelers, fresh sushi, Little Clinic, Murray’s Cheese Shoppe, a pharmacy with two drive-through windows, a Starbucks, and SunTrust Bank. There are also home and kitchen, bed and bath, and office and school supply sections, as well as apparel—a first for Kroger Marketplace.  There is also a Kroger Fuel Center.  Sunday’s grand opening included a ribbon-cutting ceremony. Former University of Tennessee Volunteers football coach Phillip Fulmer took part in that, and he signed autographs afterward. During the ceremony, Kroger donated $5,000 to the Emory Valley Center for their capital campaign to build a new facility.  Kroger is one of the nation’s largest retail grocery chains.  The company operates 90 stores and 74 Fuel Centers in the Nashville Division of Kroger, which includes the Knoxville and Oak Ridge areas.


OR Kroger Marketplace celebrated


(BBB/staff reports) Sunday morning over 500 people showed up for the grand opening of the new Kroger Marketplace at the Westcott Center at the intersection of the Turnpike and Illinois Avenue in Oak Ridge. The new store is more than just a simple grocery store as they will also carry clothing, shoes, and a wide array of items for the home and for every member of the family.  The new building is energy-efficient, with skylights, LED lighting and water conservation measures.  The new store wasn't scheduled to open till 8 AM but By 7:30, over 500 people were standing in line. At eight AM the doors were opened. A ribbon cutting ceremony was held at 9 am followed by appearances from Ed Wescott, for whom the center is named.  The legendary Oak Ridge photographer was given a plaque and the official naming the center took place. A host of local, state and federal officials made statements and welcomed the new store to the Atomic City and Kroger then presented the Emory Valley Center with a check for $5000 to help the construction of a new senior center. Former Tennessee Football Coach Phillip Fulmer was on hand for the opening and signed autographs for those interested in them. During the afternoon, Oliver Springs native and former American Idol contestant Janelle Author performed before a packed house.  The new store brings with it an estimated 270 new jobs, a number that should continue to grow as the Westcott Center fills up with more and more tenants. 


State to seek death penalty in child death


The state will seek the death penalty against a Campbell County man accused of killing his girlfriend's 3-year-old daughter, according to District Attorney General Lori Phillips-Jones.  33-year-old Joshua Comer LaFollete appeared in court Friday. Officials charged him with first-degree murder in the death of Gabriella Orton.  Phillips-Jones said Comer deserves the death penalty for three reasons: the victim was a young child, the evidence of aggravated child abuse, and the heinous nature of the crime.  The victim's mother, 29-year-old Amber Leann Orton of LaFollette will also stand trial with Comer but will not face the death penalty. Officials charged Orton with aggravated child neglect.  Both Orton and Comer pleaded not guilty Friday, and the judge appointed them public defenders.  The state has decided to try the couple together based on the evidence in the case. A trial date has not been scheduled at this time.


Lake City-to-Rocky Top a done deal


Thursday, members of the Lake City Council became members of the Rocky Top City Council as they voted unanimously to change the town’s name to Rocky Top.  The vote was met with a round of applause from the approximately 200 people who gathered at what will soon become Rocky Top Middle School for the historic vote.  The vote came just moments after a federal judge in Knoxville denied a last-minute motion from House of Bryant, which owns the copyright to the iconic bluegrass song, to stop the vote until the case can be heard in a federal appeals court.  In May, Federal Judge Thomas Varlan denied an injunction to prohibit the town from changing its name and that ruling was appealed this week by the company, which is arguing that the name-change will damage the Rocky Top brand.  In rendering his decision on Thursday, Judge Varlan said that he does not believe that the company’s appeal will be successful and that he did not want to delay the process any further.  Following Thursday’s Council vote, Rocky Top leaders unveiled a large new, temporary sign that will be placed over the current welcome sign at the northernmost exit off I-75.  The push to change the town’s name has been driven by developers’ plans to build several attractions designed to turn the former coal mining town into a tourist destination.  Those plans include a water park, hotel, restaurants and more and supporters of the name change—which was seen as an essential first step in the ambitious plan—hope the name change and subsequent developments will create jobs, add sales tax revenues, and provide a vital economic boost to the town.  The Lake City Council had endorsed the switch in November, and it was approved by the Tennessee General Assembly in Nashville and Gov. Bill Haslam this year.  Thursday’s vote was 4-0-1. Lake City Vice Mayor Michael L. Lovely abstained because he is part of the Rocky Top Marketing and Manufacturing Co., which is in the process of hiring a chief financial officer who could help draft development proposals.  The city will now send the private act back to state officials for final signatures. That could take 15-20 days, Lake City Mayor Tim Sharp said.  The first project in the development plan is construction of a water park, for which developers say they have secured approximately 80 acres of land.  The town’s new identity will be celebrated as part of next week’s annual 4th of July activities in downtown Rocky Top, Tennessee. 


AC jury convicts man on abuse charges


It took less than an hour for an Anderson County jury to convict a Knoxville man of breaking more than 30 bones in his then-2-month-old son’s body.  47-year-old David William Lowery was convicted of three counts of aggravated child abuse.  Lowery was immediately taken into custody and will be sentenced on August 29th.  Lowery faces sentences of from 15 to 25 years for each conviction.  Testimony showed that the infant suffered 21 rib fractures, a broken shoulder blade and fractures to various bones in both legs, along with broken bones in his left arm. A medical exam also indicated some trauma to the baby’s brain.  The injuries occurred on at least three occasions in January of 2008.  The boy’s mother, Lowery’s ex-wife, testified that her son is now 6 years old and described him as a “normal, hyper, ornery boy.”


Suspected child killer apprehended


A Campbell County man facing murder charges in connection with the death of his girlfriend's 3-year-old daughter was arrested Wednesday without incident just hours after he had been added to the TBI’s 10 Most Wanted list.  33-year-old Joshua Comer of Lafollette is facing a first-degree felony murder charge in the death of 3-year-old Gabriella Orton.  The toddler was brought to the emergency room of Lafollette Medical center on June 10th with visible injuries indicative of abuse and she dies a short time after her arrival.  An autopsy later revealed both old and new injuries.  The child's mother, 29-year-old Amber Leann Orton (aka Rezentes), also of LaFollette, has also been indicted on aggravated child neglect charges.  Deputies arrested Orton Tuesday, and she's being held in the Campbell County Jail on a $750,000 bond.  Five other children were removed from the home and are in DCS custody.  Comer and Orton are expected to make their initial court appearances on Friday morning. 


THP offers summer safety tips, reminders


The Tennessee Highway Patrol (THP) urges motorists to take extra precautions as temperatures rise this summer and never leave children or pets in unattended vehicles. Preliminary reports indicate that eight children have already died this year due to heatstroke. None of those fatalities were in Tennessee.   “Our goal is to educate the public on the dangers of leaving children or pets unattended in vehicles. The consequences could be deadly. Citizens should call 9-1-1 immediately if they see a child, an elderly person or anyone left unattended in a hot vehicle,” THP Colonel Tracy Trott said.   There were 44 heatstroke deaths involving children in the United States in 2013. Since 1998, the average number of child hyperthermia-related fatalities is 38 per year. Additionally, during a 15-year period, research shows that 52 percent of child vehicular heat stroke cases were due to caregivers’ neglect and 29 percent were because children were playing in unattended vehicles. (Source: San Francisco State University - http://www.ggweather.com/heat/).  Experts say the temperature inside a car can reach potentially deadly levels within minutes on a typical sunny, summer day. The inside temperature can rise almost 20 degrees within the first 10 minutes and nearly 30 degrees in 20 minutes. Cracking the window has little effect on inside vehicle temperatures. Only 20 states, including Tennessee, have laws that prohibit leaving a child unattended in a vehicle.  Follow a few simple safety steps to make sure your child is safe this summer: 

  • Dial 911 immediately if you see an unattended child in a car. EMS professionals are trained to determine if a child is in trouble.
  • Never leave a child unattended in a vehicle, even with the window slightly open.
  • Place a cell phone, PDA, purse, briefcase, gym bag or whatever is to be carried from the car, on the floor in front of a child in a backseat. This triggers adults to see children when they open the rear door and reach for their belongings. 
  • Teach children not to play in any vehicle.
  • Lock all vehicle doors and trunk after everyone has exited the vehicle – especially at home. Keep keys out of children’s reach. Cars are not playgrounds or babysitters.
  • Check vehicles and trunks FIRST if a child goes missing. (Source: Safekids.org)

Motorists should also take precautions in the event of a break down on a highway, especially with children or elderly citizens in the vehicle. The Tennessee Highway Patrol suggests the following safety tips when traveling: 

  • For highway emergencies, summon help immediately via cellular phone by dialing *THP (*847) to connect to the nearest THP District Headquarters.
  • Have a basic first aid/survival kit, including two-three bottles of water per person, in vehicle.
  • If vehicle begins to overheat, turn off the air conditioner.
  • If a break down occurs, steer your vehicle as far away from the flow of traffic as possible.



Storm damage follow-up; EF0 tornado confirmed in Kingston


The National Weather Service has confirmed the powerful storms that rolled through the area on Tuesday included an embedded tornado in Kingston.  Officials with the NWS office in Morristown assessed the damage and said an EF-0 tornado touched down along 3rd Street in Kingston. The winds of an EF-0 tornado are around 65-85 miles per hour.  The NWS said the widespread damage throughout East Tennessee was almost entirely from straight-line winds and down-bursts. Kingston is the only site suspected of sustaining tornado damage.  The Weather Service says straight-line winds estimated at 80 mph packed a destructive punch in Clinton, which appeared to bear the brunt of the damage from Tuesday’s severe weather.  Tuesday's storm swept through the historic downtown area of Clinton, ripping the old Hoskins Drug Store neon sign off the front of a building on Market Street.  Restoring the sign could cost anywhere from $15,000 to $20,000 based on previous quotes.  Catching up on some of the other damage reports from around town, we want to issue a correction.  Wednesday we incorrectly identified the owners of the Pass Time Garage on main Street which was destroyed by the storm with two people inside who suffered minor injuries.  The business is actually owned by the Tilley family, including father Russ and son David.  Meanwhile, the roof at the Clinton High School football fieldhouse was damaged by the wind.  CUB officials say that their coverage area has not seen the widespread damage caused by this week’s storm since the blizzard of 1993.  At the height of the outages, over 6100 people were without electricity and some parts of the service area may not have power this weekend. Meanwhile, according to our partners at Oak Ridge Today, roughly 4,000 customers lost power in the Tuesday evening storm, and about 70 damaged homes will require repairs by an electrician before power can be restored.  Oak Ridge Electric Director Jack Suggs told ORT that  he doesn’t recall ever having 70 homes damaged in one storm, although the Electric Department has experienced worse storms when many utility poles were broken. But the brief, fierce Tuesday storm, which brought severe winds and driving rain, was significant in terms of its damage to homes and its far-reaching nature, from Blair Road on the west end of town to east Oak Ridge and beyond.  The effects of the Tuesday afternoon storm were still being felt on Wednesday as a large tree, weakened by the wind and rain from the previous day, toppled over in the back yard of a home on West Norris Road in Norris and destroyed its back porch.  No one was hurt in that incident and thankfully no serious injuries were reported in connection with the storm.   


Storm follow-up part 2:  AC 911 dispatchers lauded for performance


According to a release from ACSD Chief Deputy Mark Lucas, from 3:00pm until 11:00pm on Tuesday, the county 911 center received 589 telephone calls of which 143 were on 911.  The overwhelming number of calls came in between 5:00pm and 7:00pm when 365 calls came to our dispatch center.  Of these 365, 109 were on 911.  Comparing to last Tuesday from 3:00pm until 11:00pm we received 156 total telephone calls of which 20 were on 911.  The two hour period from 5:00pm to 7:00pm last week was only 41 total calls of which 5 were on 911.  For the entire shift from 3:00pm until 11:00pm that was a 288% increase.  For the two hours from 5:00pm until 7:00pm the increase was 790%.  The agency had four communications officers working Tuesday when the storm hit and a fifth came into work voluntarily to help out.  Many of these 911 and non- emergency calls required dispatching of emergency personnel from law enforcement, fire, or EMS.  Others required notifications to the state and county highway departments and the utility companies.  It was non-stop for hours, according to the release.  The Sheriff's Communications Center handles 911 and non-emergency calls from the unincorporated areas of Anderson County along with the cities of Oliver Springs, Lake City, and Norris.  911 calls in Clinton and Oak Ridge are routed to their respective dispatch centers.  However, county dispatchers also received overflow 911 calls from both those cities due to the high call volume.  This is how the 911 system is supposed to work and it worked well, according to Lucas.  The communications center dispatches for the Sheriff's Department, the Anderson County EMS, the five county volunteer fire departments, and the rescue squad.  All of these agencies were dispatched at various times to numerous reports of storm damage, trees and power lines down, and motor vehicle accidents including the one where a semi-trailer was overturned on Lake City Hwy.  There were also several burglar alarms activated due to the storm or power outages.  We notified the Anderson County Highway Department and the Tennessee Department of Transportation of trees blocking roadways.  Dispatchers also notified the Clinton Utilities Board when we were called about power outages.  The power was out at the dispatch center in the Robert Jolley Building for several hours.  The communications center has both battery-powered UPS systems and an emergency generator.  There was no interruption of 911 or dispatch functions.  All worked as it was supposed to and without any issues.  The credit for all these accomplishments and hard work goes to the communications officers who were on-duty.  They maintained their composure, took all these overwhelming number of calls, and dispatched public safety personnel throughout the evening, according to Lucas, who called Tuesday’s efforts “a job well done.”


ACSD addresses online hoax


Some people have way too much time on their hands.  The Anderson County Sheriff's Department posted a message on its Facebook page Wednesday to address apparent rumors of bodies found and a crime spree in Clinton and Oak Ridge.  The original posts say bodies have been found in dumpsters in Clinton and in Oak Ridge while another claims someone is robbing victims who stop to help a white van that's broken down along the side of the road.  The Anderson County Sheriff's Office said on Facebook that neither post is true:  "There has been a recent Facebook post that is being circulated and "shared" about bodies being found in Clinton and Oak Ridge as well as someone robbing victims who have stopped to help a disabled vehicle. Some of our local news media have even contacted us after seeing these posts. None of this is true. No bodies have been found nor have there been any robberies. This is a hoax. We have spoken with both Chief Jim Akagi at the Oak Ridge Police Department and Chief Rick Scarbrough with the Clinton Police Department who are aware of these posts. Please share this to let everyone know all this is false. Thanks for everyone's help."  Be sure to like the Anderson County Sheriff’s Department on Facebook. 


Suspect #5 in AC gang beating arrested


The Anderson County Sheriff’s Department announced Wednesday that 37-year-old Crystal Lynnette McGuire of Powell, who was wanted in connection with a gang-related attempted murder, was arrested without incident in Louisiana.  Local investigators were in contact with Louisiana authorities throughout the day Wednesday after learning McGuire may have headed their way.  She was located and arrested by sheriff's deputies in Sabine County.  It may be several days before all the paperwork will be completed for her transfer back to Tennessee to face charges of attempted first-degree murder, especially aggravated kidnapping, aggravated assault and criminal conspiracy.  She and four other members of the Aryan Nation—a white supremacist gang—were indicted last week by an Anderson County grand jury following a lengthy investigation that involved several different law enforcement agencies.  Three of the suspects were arrested Tuesday and the fifth was already in state custody on unrelated charges.  Court records indicate that the December 15th assault on Joshua Ray Patterson of Briceville was described as an inter-gang disciplinary measure after he apparently argued with a higher-ranking gang member.  He was brought to a home on Dennis Lane purported to be the East Tennessee regional headquarters of the Aryan Nation, where he was beaten severely by several gang members, leaving him with numerous broken ribs and facial bones as well as a punctured lung.  After the beatdown, Patterson’s gang tattoos—or colors—were defaced, effectively kicking him out of the gang.  Following the attack, he was driven to a South Clinton convenience store and left in the parking lot.  According to court documents, a confidential informant provided law enforcement with detailed information about the gang’s criminal activity in East Tennessee, including the smuggling of contraband into jails and prisons, where it was sold to inmates by incarcerated gang members.


2 burglary suspects apprehended in act


Two men were arrested Tuesday night after burglarizing a home in the Marlow community.  The ACSD responded to a report of a burglary in progress at a home on Binkley Acres Lane shortly before 8:45 pm—while the rest of the county was assessing storm damage.  The homeowner was called by a neighbor who spotted a strange car in the driveway.  The homeowner went to the home and spotted two men inside the house.  The first deputy was on the scene less than a minute after being dispatched.  He spoke with the owner and simply waited until the two men walked out of the house carrying several items they had just stolen.  Despite his backup not having yet arrived, the deputy took both suspects into custody without incident.  They are identified as 29-year-old Marcus Dewayne Bowling of Heiskell and 23-year-old Cody Aaron sexton of Oak Ridge and both are in custody at the Anderson County Jail on charges of felony theft, criminal trespassing and criminal conspiracy. 


ORT:  New vice principal appointed at RMS


(Oak Ridge Today) Garfield Adams has been appointed vice principal at Robertsville Middle School, a school official said Tuesday.  Adams’ appointment is effective July 1, Oak Ridge Schools Assistant Superintendent Chris Marczak said in a press release.  Adams began his career as a special education teacher in Knox County Schools in 2001. He joined the Oak Ridge Schools in 2004 as an alternative program teacher and remained in that capacity until 2011.  For the past three years, Adams has served as a Small Learning Community (SLC) curriculum assistant principal for South Doyle High School. He has both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in special education from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, as well as an educational specialist degree from Lincoln Memorial University, Marczak said.


Line of violent storms leaves behind widespread AC damage


A line of violent and severe thunderstorms tore through East Tennessee on Tuesday afternoon, leaving scores of downed trees and power lines in its wake.  In Clinton, the storm destroyed the Passtime Garage downtown, slightly injuring two people working on a van inside the building.  Both of those men were treated for their injuries at area hospitals.  Across the region, no serious injuries were reported.  On Lake City Highway, a tractor trailer was flipped on to its side by high winds, slightly injuring the driver.  A tree—one of many that came down across the county—reportedly fell on a mobile home in Claxton, trapping a woman inside.  She was uninjured.  Damage ranged from shingles being torn off roofs and siding stripped from buildings to limbs and tress on cars and structures.  As we mentioned, downed trees caused widespread power outages throughout the Clinton Utilities Board service area.  At the peak of the outages, over 6000 customers were without power and CUB crews have been out in force since the storms passed through working to restore power.  If you see those crews out working, please slow down and give them plenty of room as they continue their repairs.  The National Weather Service is expected to be in the area today surveying damage to determine if it was caused by a tornado or simply straight-line winds. 


ACSD:  5 members of Aryan Nation indicted, 4 caught, 1 sought


The Anderson County Sheriff’s department says that three people were arrested Tuesday after indictments were returned by an Anderson County grand jury in a gang-related attempted murder and conspiracy case. 36-year-old Leonard Lionel Kilgore of Knoxville; 33-year-old Jacob Eli Campbell and 32-year-old Michael James O’Conner, Jr., both of Sevierville, were taken into custody Tuesday morning. A fourth person, 32-year-old David Lee Dozard, II, is currently in custody at the Northeast Correctional Facility in Mountain City on unrelated charges and a fifth, 37-year-old Crystal Lynnette McGuire, is being sought on charges related to this case.  All are charged with attempted first-degree murder, especially aggravated kidnapping, aggravated assault and criminal conspiracy.  According to an ACSD release, investigators obtained indictments from the Anderson County Grand Jury on the five individuals following a lengthy investigation into the severe beating of a 31 year old Briceville man which resulted in serious injuries.  The incident occurred on Dennis Lane in Claxton in December of 2013 and was described as an “internal gang-related enforcement” attack. All five are members of the Aryan Nation gang.  Anyone having information as to the whereabouts of McGuire is asked to contact the Anderson County Sheriff’s Department at 865-457-2414 or their local law enforcement agency. She has been entered into the FBI NCIC as a wanted person.  The release states that the arrests were the result of a months-long investigation involving the Anderson County Sheriff’s Department and the 7th Judicial District Crime Task Force which includes officers from the Sheriff’s Department, and the Oak Ridge, Clinton, Lake City, and Oliver Springs Police Departments, as well as the District Attorney General’s Office. As a part of this investigation, search warrants were served in both Anderson and Knox Counties.  The District Attorney General’s Office will be seeking enhanced penalties in this case as the offenders are members of a criminal gang.  Arrests of these individuals occurred in Anderson, Knox, and Sevier counties and investigators were assisted by the Knox County and Sevier County Sheriff’s Departments.


(ORT) ORPD investigating stabbing


(Oak Ridge Today) Two Oak Ridge men were taken by ambulance to a hospital after a stabbing was reported on Monday night, authorities said.  The Oak Ridge Police Department responded to a reported disturbance in the Scarboro neighborhood at about 11:30 p.m. Monday. Roughly 20 people were reported to be in the street on South Benedict Avenue near the intersection with South Dillard Avenue, and some were allegedly intoxicated, the ORPD said in a press release.  When officers arrived, they found Kevin Steen, 48, of Oak Ridge, lying in the street with multiple contusions to the head and face, the press release said.  A second subject reportedly had been stabbed and left the scene.  A few minutes later, officers located Eddie Mitchell, 32, of Oak Ridge, a short distance away at Hallmark Apartments with several stab wounds, the release said.  Both men were transported by ambulance to the University of Tennessee Medical Center in Knoxville for treatment, the Police Department said.  “The investigation remains ongoing; it has not been determined at this time what charges, if any, will be filed in connection with this incident,” the ORPD said. “No further information will be released at this time.”


OR Council nixes tax increase for schools


Monday night the Oak Ridge City Council voted on first reading to keep property tax rates at their current levels, rejecting a request from the School Board for a 37-cent tax increase.  School leaders say the tax hike would pay for several things, most notably a technology initiative aimed at providing every student in the system with an electronic learning device for use at school and at home.  The first of two votes taken Monday reduced the amount transferred to the schools to approximately $14.6 million, about $3.3 million under the $17.9 million requested by the School Board.  The second vote left the property tax rate unchanged at $2.39 per $100 of assessed value for a seventh consecutive year.  The Council will consider the budget on second and final reading on Monday June 16th and if, as expected, they again vote to leave taxes where they are, school officials say they will have to go back and make and make deep and significant cuts to their budget for the new fiscal year that begins July 1st.


Baumann arrested on probation violation


A former Clinton High School teacher convicted of having inappropriate contact with students in 2010 was arrested last week on a probation violation.  Court records indicate that 32-year-old Meghan Baumann was arrested by deputies from the Anderson County Sheriff’s Department on Tuesday (5/27) on the violations and released later that same day on a $50,000 bond.  In 2010 Baumann pleaded guilty to two counts of displaying sexually explicit material to a minor and one count each of statutory rape by an authority figure and sexual battery by an authority figure.  She admitted to having sex with one student, fondling another and sending nude photos of herself to two boys.  She served three years in prison and was released to serve another three years of probation.  As part of her probation, Baumann was ordered to register as a sex offender, which prohibits her from going to places where she knew children would be present and from dating someone with a child under 18 years old.  Records indicate that she had been seeing someone who has a child and that Baumann had interacted with the child without permission and that she went to ballparks in Knoxville, Cleveland and Pigeon Forge on four occasions in April and May to watch games in a youth softball tournament.  She is scheduled for a probation revocation hearing next week and is currently free on bond.


AC government sued over controversial outbuilding


A group of Claxton citizens has sued the Anderson County government over the construction of an outbuilding on property zoned for residential use on White Loop Road.  The group alleges that property owner Jason Webber is conducting business out of his existing garage and that the new building is being erected to expand that business.  For several months nearby residents have asked the county to revoke Webber’s building permits due to the fact that the area is not zoned for commerce.  County Mayor Terry Frank recently told county commissioners that she has retained an outside attorney to represent the county due to a conflict of interest with County Law Director Jay Yeager.  The Oak Ridger reports that Yeager says that he can represent the county, but not Public Works Director James Crowley due to a conflict.  One commissioner pointed out that since Frank had already retained an attorney, the county was obligated to pay those legal fees, even if they were to vote not to retain and outside attorney.   The Oak Ridger reports that Frank and Yeager each confirmed that this was an accurate statement, but the amount of the current fees was not discussed.  Uncertainty also continues to surround the certification status of Crowley.  Yeager says Crowley has been conducting inspections and signing certifications even though he is not certified to perform the inspections.

Frank told commissioners that Crowley had passed his residential certification but still lacks the commercial inspection certification.


AC Commission to revisit ouster suit defense


The Anderson County Commission will have to revisit a decision made during its May 19th meeting dealing with Commissioner Zach bates’ motion to “cover” any legal fees associated with a lawsuit filed by a group of citizens seeking the ouster of Law Director Jay Yeager.  Yeager, who had previously said that he would defend himself in the matter, told commissioners last month that he was not going to be able to fight the lawsuit on his own.  Bates made a motion to “cover” those expenses for Yeager, which was approved by the Commission.  However, late last week, an email from Alex Moseley, the executive director of a group calling itself Friends of Anderson County taxpayers was sent to members of the media as well as county government officials and pointed out that state law prohibits the county from paying any attorney fees for a county official facing an ouster suit before the outcome of the legal proceedings is known.  That sparked a flurry of discussions between county officials and Commission Chairman Chuck Fritts says that the Commission, when it meets on June 16th, will revisit the issue to clarify the wording to indicate that commissioners are simply authorizing Yeager to seek outside counsel while not making a commitment to pay for his defense. 


Report:  AC settles liquor tax debt with schools


The Anderson County government has paid the county school system what it owes in unpaid, back liquor taxes and will soon settle its debt with the Clinton and Oak Ridge school systems.  Mayor Terry Frank tells the News-Sentinel that the county government has deposited $9946.46 in to the schools’ coffers, which should preclude any legal action from being taken to recoup the tax money owed under an obscure state law that stipulates that the proceeds from the 15% tax on mixed drinks in Tennessee are to be distributed by city and county governments to their local school systems based on student population.  As we have reported, while many cities and counties have been passing those funds on to their schools, many others have not, which has led to several legal motions across the state seeking that overdue revenue.  Last week the Anderson County School Board voted to file legal action in Chancery Court to get what it is owed by the county and the cities of Clinton and Oak Ridge, even though negotiations were said to be going well.  The Clinton School Board did file a similar action in Chancery Court but that legal move has been rendered invalid because the county has agreed to pay Clinton’s schools $1225.55.  Mayor Frank tells the KNS that Oak Ridge is due some $5633.99 from the county.  While those two cities and the county have worked well together in resolving the issue, Oak Ridge leaders have shown no indication they are willing to negotiate on the estimated $1.5 million in back liquor taxes it allegedly owes local schools.  The city, which has had liquor by the drink since the mid 1970s, says that because it operates its own K-12 school system, it does not owe that money to its neighboring systems. 


Speed limit reduced on N. Seivers in Clinton


The speed limit on North Charles Seivers Boulevard from Clinch Avenue to Longmire Road in Clinton has been reduced from 45 miles an hour to 35 miles an hour.  The change is going into effect this week.  Clinton Police say that the reduction in the speed limit is being made in response to an increased number of traffic accidents on that stretch of road over the past few months.  Chief Rick Scarbrough says that the stretch of North Seivers from Maire Avenue to Longmire was the scene of 45 accidents last year alone.  The reduced speed limit will also be more consistent with the speed limits throughout the rest of the business district.  The speed limit on South Charles Seivers Boulevard from Clinch to the Food City is also 35 miles an hour. 


National nightmare over, ‘Keygate’ investigation closed


The Anderson County Sheriff’s Department has completed its investigation into County Mayor Terry Frank’s missing keys and determined that no charges will be filed against Courier News reporter Chris Silcox.  As we have reported, Frank called a deputy to her office following the meeting and said that she had put her keys under a desk in the Commission meeting room and that Silcox had been sitting in or near her seat at some point during the meeting.  She said she had gotten up twice, once to address the Commission and again when there was a break.  She told ACSD Corporal Bradley Prewitt that she had noticed that her keys were missing sometime after 10:30 pm.  Silcox sent her a text message shortly after the meeting concluded that said he had accidentally picked up her keys after mistaking them for his wife’s as he was driving her vehicle that night.  He returned most of the keys to the mayor’s chief of staff but failed to return Frank’s home and office keys, which she reported to the deputy.  Prewitt called Silcox and asked him to check again for the missing keys and Silcox said that he had woken up his wife and asked her to check and see if any of the keys he had with him did not belong on the key ring and she found keys and value cards that ended up belonging to the mayor, to whom he returned them at around 1:15 am the following morning.  Silcox had briefly sat in Frank’s seat after he arrived late to the meeting while she addressed the Commission and says that he put the keys on his key ring when he moved.  Corporal Prewitt wrote in his report that “there is not sufficient evidence, at this time, to establish probable cause that [Silcox] intentionally took Ms. Frank’s keys with the intent to deprive her of their use,” and that he had advised the mayor of his conclusion.  Mayor Frank told WYSH last week that she almost told the deputy to consider the matter closed, but at the last moment, instructed him to look into the matter further, as she said there were too many unanswered questions surrounding the incident, which prompted her to replace the locks on her office and residential doors.  In the supplemental report documenting the follow-up investigation, Detective James Crowley writes that after interviewing Mayor Frank, her chief of staff, other witnesses and Silcox, and conferring with the DA’s office, that Silcox’s explanation of what happened was plausible and that “there has been no evidence revealed in this case to indicate that Mr. Silcox took the keys intentionally and no evidence that [he] intended to deprive Mayor Frank of her property, therefore there is no evidence to support any criminal violation concerning this incident.”  The case has been closed.


AC Commission nixes gas deal amid legal concerns


Monday the Anderson County Commission voted unanimously to rescind a contract with Blossman Gas after Law Director Jay Yeager told commissioners that the deal was illegal.  As we have previously reported, the contract to supply the county school and park systems with propane gas came under scrutiny after Yeager learned—after a vote by the Commission awarding the contract last month—that Purchasing Committee member Scott Daugherty is employed by the company.  Yeager says that creates a clear case of a conflict of interest under state purchasing guidelines.  Blossman was one of three bidders for the contract previously held by Daugherty’s previous employer Holston Gases and was approved by Purchasing Committee in a vote that Daugherty abstained from.  County Mayor Terry Frank says that his employment by the company is not significant enough to create a conflict of interest and has asked a judge to review the situation to determine if any laws were broken.  Yeager counters by saying that state law is clear that whether it is direct or indirect, county officials cannot profit from doing business with the county government.  Yeager said that his analysis indicates that because Daugherty draws a salary from the company, his would be an indirect financial gain.  The Commission voted to rescind the contract and rebid the propane gas contract. 


AC FFA wins state honor


(Submitted) On May 10th, 25 FFA chapters from all three regions competed in the State Veterinary Science Career Development Event (CDE).  The state winner of the Veterinary Science CDE was the Anderson County FFA Chapter from East Tennessee, who will represent Tennessee at National FFA Convention in October and compete against teams from across the nation for the national title.  The teams that participated completed a written exam that determined the team members’ broad understanding of the veterinary science field; completed an identification round that consisted of equipment ID, parasite ID, and breed ID; teams also participated in a math practicum that included conversions, dose calculations, dilutions, cost calculations, and invoices. The top ten teams then completed a team activity that consisted of completing a scenario to cure a horse of colic to determine the state winner. The state winning team from Anderson County FFA consists of Advisor Philip Warfield, Allison Brown, Taylor Brown, Carlin Frost and Brian Moore.  The winner of the Western Region was the Halls FFA Chapter and the winner of the Middle Region was the Cookeville FFA Chapter, who were also second and third place in the state contest, respectively.  FFA makes a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education. Nationally, there are 579,678 FFA members, aged 12-21. The Tennessee FFA Association is comprised of 13,644 members from 213 high school chapters, seven middle school chapters and eight collegiate chapters across the state of Tennessee. To learn more about FFA visit www.tnffa.org."


Follow-up:  Mayor Frank speaks about key controversy


As we have reported, Clinton Courier News reporter Chris Silcox has been taken off the county government beat while the Anderson County Sheriff’s Department investigates whether or not he deliberately swiped the keys of County Mayor Terry Frank.  The incident happened during the County Commission meeting Monday night when Silcox says that he accidentally grabbed the mayor’s keys, believing them to be those of his wife.  Silcox had been sitting in Frank’s seat while she addressed the Commission and says that he put the keys on his key ring when he moved.  Mayor Frank agrees that Silcox arrived to the meeting late but said that after a seat had opened up, he moved from standing by the wall to that open seat, moving to hers only after she went to the podium to address commissioners.  After realizing he had grabbed the wrong keys, he returned the majority of them to the mayor’s chief of staff.  Mayor Frank quickly realized that her office and house keys were missing and tried to contact Silcox, who had left for his home in West Knoxville.  Frank says that she was not overly concerned until Silcox stopped responding to her texts and phone calls about the missing keys, which he claimed not to have.  It was not until a Sheriff’s deputy called that Silcox responded.  The deputy urged him to look for the keys again and Silcox reported finding the missing keys, which he returned to the mayor a short time later.  Mayor Frank says that while she does not believe that Silcox himself would do anything nefarious with the keys, she did question whether he might have wanted to get them to keep someone else happy.  I asked the mayor what she would say to those people who say she may be making a mountain out of a mole hill and she replied by saying “I would ask those people how [they would] feel if it was their own keys?  I didn’t go and call in to WYSH or call WBIR.  Any extra attention [has been from the outside].  I am not out on the Courthouse steps calling for Chris to be locked up.  I am saying there are enough questions:  why did you separate them?  Then, why did you not respond and why would you not admit you had more [of them]?”  For his part, Silcox has kept relatively quiet about the situation except to say that picking up the keys was unintentional and that he is confident the investigation will show that.  Courier News Publisher Allen Handley posted on the paper’s website Tuesday that "We don't feel this was a malicious act on Chris's behalf, just an unfortunate incident.”  Silcox has been employed by the paper for seven years.  The investigation is continuing and we will continue to follow this story for you online and on the air. 


Crime down by 10+% in AC last year


District Attorney General Dave Clark and the Anderson County Sheriff’s Department announced Wednesday that newly-released statistics from the TBI show that crime in the county declined by over 10% in 2013 and that crime has declined by some 37% in the past seven years.  Clark, in a release announcing the achievement, said “This is great news for the people of Anderson County because we are safer from crime and can enjoy the benefits of having a crime rate that is below average for the state…While these results are great the law enforcement community is not satisfied.  There is much work to be done; particularly in combating the effects of drug addiction and crimes related to drug addiction.  We need to do more to make our community even safer.”  Clark singled out two agencies for special recognition this year, pointing out that crime in the city of Clinton declined by over 20% last year from the 2012 numbers and that crime in the areas patrolled exclusively by the Sheriff’s Department, crime was down by over 16%.  Clark says that by working together, local law enforcement officials have tried to “increase the detection and arrest of criminals as well as the quality of the cases and resulting punishments for criminals.”  He says that many of the county’s habitual repeat offenders in the past are now incarcerated while others have relocated to “areas they think are better places to do business” and that where appropriate, others have received drug treatment and community supervision.  One byproduct of the county’s aggressive approach to crime-fighting is that the average daily population of the jail has almost doubled since 2006.  In 2006, there was an average 166 inmates in the jail while that number climbed to 328 in 2013, which led in large part to the expansion of the county jail expected to open later this year.  For a more detailed look at the Sheriff’s Department’s crime statistics, visit their website at www.tnacso.net.


Local reporter, county mayor at odds over keys


Clinton Courier News reporter Chris Silcox has been temporarily taken off the county government beat after Anderson County Mayor Terry Frank accused him of stealing her keys after Monday night’s County Commission meeting.  According to the Sheriff’s Department incident report, Frank called a deputy to her office following the meeting and said that she had put her keys under a desk in the Commission meeting room and that Silcox had been sitting in or near her seat at some point during the meeting.  She said she had gotten up twice, once to address the Commission and again when there was a break.  She told ACSD Corporal Bradley Prewitt that she had noticed that her keys were missing sometime after 10:30 pm.  Silcox sent her a text message shortly after the meeting concluded that said he had accidentally picked up her keys after mistaking them for his wife’s as he was driving her vehicle that night.  He returned most of the keys to the mayor’s chief of staff but failed to return Frank’s home and office keys, which she reported to the deputy.  Prewitt called Silcox and asked him to check again for the missing keys and Silcox said that he and his wife found keys and value cards they did not recognize and he returned them to Frank at around 1:15 am Tuesday.  Fearing that the keys may have been copied, Mayor Frank replaced the locks on the door to her office in the Courthouse, where today a sign hangs indicating that no taxpayer money had been used to do so.  Corporal Prewitt wrote in his report that “there is not sufficient evidence, at this time, to establish probable cause that [Silcox] intentionally took Ms. Frank’s keys with the intent to deprive her of their use,” and that he had advised the mayor of his conclusion.  Nonetheless, the case has been referred to the Criminal Investigation Division for follow-up.  In the meantime, Silcox has been removed from the county government beat pending the outcome of the investigation.  Courier News Publisher Allen Handley posted on the paper’s website Tuesday that "we are aware this is a serious issue and will cooperate with the authorities to the fullest extent. We don't feel this was a malicious act on Chris's behalf, just an unfortunate incident.”  Silcox has been employed by the paper for seven years.  


(From the Courier News) A criminal complaint has been filed against Chris Silcox, who covers the county government beat for The Courier News, saying he took the keys of Anderson County Mayor Terry Frank, during Monday night’s (May 19) meeting of the County Commission.  The Courier News is aware of the complaint filed by Mayor Frank with the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office.  "We are aware this is a serious issue and will cooperate with the authorities to the fullest extent. We don't feel this was malicious act on Chris's behalf. Just an unfortunate incident," The Courier News Publisher Allen Handley said Tuesday morning.  Silcox, who has been with The Courier News for approximately seven years, has been reassigned from covering the Anderson County beat until a complete investigation into the matter is complete.


ORT:  22 citizens file ouster suit against Yeager


(Oak Ridge Today) According to our partners at Oak Ridge Today 22 Anderson County residents have filed a petition in Chancery Court seeking to remove Law Director Jay Yeager from office, alleging misconduct that includes perjury, forgery, and having pornography on a county computer.  The ouster petition was filed Friday afternoon in Anderson County Chancery Court in Clinton. It alleges Yeager, who became law director in September 2006, committed perjury on his sworn application to become law director eight years ago in regards to his residency, forged the signature of retired Anderson County Sheriff’s Department Capt. Avery Johnson two years ago, and had a pornographic image on a county computer that was found about three years ago.  The petition asks the court to immediately suspend Yeager from his official duties pending a decision by the court, and it requests a trial. If Yeager is guilty of one or more of the charges, the petition said, he should be ousted from office.  “I’m devastated,” Yeager told Oak Ridge Today Friday evening. “It’s just another assassination on my character and on my good reputation and all I’ve done for Anderson County.”  He called the ouster suit “baseless and unwarranted.” 

The ouster petition alleged that former Anderson County Budget Director Chris Phillips complained to Yeager regarding some unprofessional conduct by Yeager in May 2011. Within about a week, Yeager complained to former Interim Mayor Myron Iwanski that Phillips had e-mailed pornographic images to Yeager, the petition alleged.  Phillips denied the accusation, and Iwanski retained a computer expert to inspect county computers, including Yeager’s, and confirm the source of the pornographic images, the lawsuit said.  That expert inspected the computers and concluded that the “source of the pornographic image was Law Director Jay Yeager’s county computer,” the petition said.  On Friday evening, Yeager told Oak Ridge Today that someone else had sent him the e-mail, and he did not solicit it and did not open it.  “Someone sent it to me as a joke,” Yeager said.  The image in question is not legally considered pornography, Yeager said. It shows a profile of about 10-11 nude women lying on their stomachs with towels wrapped around their heads. There is no frontal nudity, Yeager said. 

Regarding the perjury charge, the ouster petition said the law director must be an Anderson County resident or capable of becoming a resident within six months of being appointed to the position. On May 11, 2006, when Yeager was still assistant county attorney and before he started as law director, he said in an affidavit that he planned to be a county resident within the next few months and had obtained a building permit from the Anderson County building commissioner, according to the petition.  But the assertion that he had already obtained a building permit was false and made under oath, the ouster petition said, and Yeager did not get a permit until the following year, on Feb. 8, 2007. A certificate of occupancy for the home was not issued until more than two years later, on July 17, 2008, the petition said. In the meantime, it said, Yeager continued to live in Knoxville, in Knox County.

In response Friday evening, Yeager said he filed the affidavit to get the job well before his term as Anderson County law director began on Sept. 1, 2006. He said his wife was diagnosed with Stage IV breast cancer on May 30, 2006. He said he told all the county commissioners and Iwanski that he would have a problem “getting here,” and all agreed that it would best for him to stay close to Parkwest Hospital in Knoxville for his wife’s sake.  “Everybody knew what we were up against and her condition,” Yeager said.  At the time, his wife was given about 10 months to live. She has had hours of operations, including four brain surgeries in the past few years, and continues to receive chemotherapy once a week, Yeager said. 

The ouster petition alleged that Yeager forged Johnson’s signature on an amendment to a contract between the county and Securus Technologies Inc., which provides telephone services to inmates at the Anderson County jail in Clinton. It alleged that Yeager feigned ignorance of the contract extension, repeatedly misrepresented his knowledge of the contract, and pressured Purchasing Agent Pamela Cotham to ratify the amendment to “cover up Mr. Yeager’s misdeeds.”  But Yeager said he did not forge Johnson’s signature. He said he had permission to sign for Johnson, and the document was a draft that Yeager filled in and gave to Johnson. If Johnson had had an issue with it, he would have said something, Yeager said. It’s not a case of forgery, the law director said. 

He said he will expose the source of the ouster petition and show his innocence on every charge.  “I want all the citizens of this county to know where this came from,” Yeager said. “When the truth comes out, people will know.”

The office of law director was created by private act on Sept. 1, 2006. Yeager cannot by removed from his job except by a supermajority of both the Legal Services Advisory Committee and the Anderson County Commission, according to the ouster petition.

Yeager said a special judge will likely need to hear the case. The current chancellor, William Lantrip, is retiring at the end of June.  Yeager plans to represent himself and not hire an outside attorney, saying he’s trying to keep the burden off the taxpayers’ back.

“I’m going to fight this to defend my good name,” he said. 

The residents who filed the petition include Landle Byrge, Mark DeVol, Ray Hagan, Toby Geren, Barbara Gasper Gregory, Clyde Cook, Doug Walden, Carnelon V. Terry, Carl Warner, John E. Seiber, Larry Ownby, Hal M. Hagan, Phyllis H. Terry, Thomas T. Adams, Jason Stiltner, Dennis L. Pemberton, Virgil L. Rainey, Charles W. Jackson, Janice Sue Hagan, Gary L. McLemore, Earl T. McLemore Jr., and John Walker.  They are represented by Knoxville attorneys Gregory Brown and Jason H. Long.


ORT:  Coal miners memorial dedicated


(Oak Ridge Today) A Windrock Coal Miners Memorial wall was dedicated on Saturday and includes the names of more than 1,000 miners who once worked in mines on the mountain.  The wall has been under construction for about six months, and several hundred people turned out for Saturday’s dedication ceremony at Lower Windrock at the end of Windrock Road, about three miles from downtown Oliver Springs.  The ceremony included music, a reception at the nearby Union Valley Missionary Baptist Church, short dedication speeches, recognition of the 15 former coal miners who were present, and a candle-lighting ceremony in honor of those who were killed in the mines or have died since.  The volunteers broke ground on the wall in November. A Coal Miners Committee of four people—Kathy Russell Byrge, Trish Lively Cox, Fred Duncan, and Wayne Morgan—led the effort.  With the help of volunteer construction work, the wall, part of a longer six-year planning effort, was built for about $7,000, Byrge said. The small site at the base of the 2,000-foot-high mountain was donated by the Union Valley Baptist Church, where Morgan is pastor.


AC, OR schools work out Head Start agreement


Earlier this month the Anderson County School Board rejected the Oak Ridge city school system’s Head Start application for next school year over concerns about falsified federal data, specifically information dealing with children’s motor skills.  The county school board’s vote came after a routine audit in January found irregularities in gross motor skills data reports filed by Head Start instructors in Oak Ridge. That data is one of many measurements required by the staff throughout the year.  A gross motor skills screening requires preschoolers to complete activities such as standing or hopping on one foot, and that helps to monitor child development.  The information can also be used to help determine what services a child needs.  Since that time, leaders from both school systems have worked together to develop a 10-point plan that, if approved, would be put in to place for the 2014-2015 school year.  The county school board will consider the proposed agreement during a special meeting set for this Tuesday April 29th.  In a Thursday press release, Anderson County School Board chairman John Burrell said that he wants to work with the Oak Ridge schools but also “wanted the assurance that Head Start performance standards and other requirement would be followed with fidelity.”  To that end, the 10-point assurance summary proposed to the county School Board includes a two-year probationary period for the Oak Ridge Head Start program.  The first year of that probation will include the presence of a fulltime, on-site monitor to make sure that all policies and procedures are being followed.  If significant progress is made in correcting the deficiencies uncovered in this year’s audit, the monitor position will be done away with. 


(AC BOE release) April 24, 2014 - The Chairman of the Anderson County Board of Education (ACBOE), Dr. John Burrell, has set Tuesday, April 29, 2014 as a special called meeting of the board of education. The purpose of the special called meeting is to address the recent board action of notifying the Oak Ridge Board of Education that the ACBOE rejected the Oak Ridge Head Start grant application for the 2014-2015 school year. Upon notification from Anderson County Schools of the grant denial, Oak Ridge Assistant Superintendent Dr. Chris Marczak and Board Attorney Lawrence F. Giordano, Esq. met with Anderson County Director of Schools Larry M. Foster and Board Attorney Sal Varsalona to discuss possible solutions before filing a letter of appeal. In his meeting with Oak Ridge school officials, Mr. Foster shared the role Ms. Haun, Head Start director, provides for oversight of the federal program. Ms. Haun was not interviewed in the external investigation conducted by the Oak Ridge School System because she was not their employee. However, upon receiving a written statement from Ms. Haun, the school system acknowledges she acted appropriately in this matter. Officials added that Ms. Haun has been helpful in establishing clear guidelines to the administration as they move forward with acceptable solutions for resubmission to the Anderson County Board of Education and to the Regional Head Start Office. It was also agreed that ACBOE Chairman Dr. John Burrell, and Chairman Keys Fillauer, Oak Ridge City School Board, meet with the administration of both systems to determine a possible outcome that would cause the Anderson County Board of Education to rescind their motion made on April 10, 2014 at their regular monthly meeting.  During a meeting on April 23, 2014, Dr. John Burrell stated “he wanted to work with Oak Ridge Schools but wanted the assurance that Head Start Performance Standards and other requirements would be followed with fidelity.” Dr. Burrell further stated that “past reviews had caused him concern.” Mr. Fillauer stated, “I am very pleased that by working together Oak Ridge Schools and Anderson County Schools have reached an agreement that enables Oak Ridge to continue to receive funding for our Head Start Program through Anderson County. Both administrations worked diligently and professionally to correct an irregularity and by doing so will serve to strengthen the monitoring of the Head Start program as well as continuing to provide quality education for our Pre-School students.” 

Board Chairman Burrell and the Anderson County Schools Administration laid out a ten (10) point assurance summary that would be added to the 2014-2015 contract. The conditions were agreed upon by both chairmen and the administration of each school district. The agreement and contract will be submitted to Anderson County’s full board for approval. Dr. Burrell stated, “I expect that the action will be rescinded and the contract approved to be forwarded to the Region IV Head Start Administration in Atlanta, Georgia.”


The conditions agreed to are as follows:


1. Allocation of $50,000 for full time monitor 

2. Grantee director and HR manager will participate in interview and hiring of principal or director 

3. Two year probation 

  • One-year probation with on-site monitor
  • The ACS school board will review all documentation at the end of the first year, to decide if there needs to be an on-site monitor for the second year of probation 
  • Continue second year of probation and continue ongoing monitoring according to plans, policies and procedures.
  • If there are no issues the second year of probation, discontinue the on-site monitor and restore $50,000 to the delegate budget. If issues arise in the second year of probation, the on-site monitor will be reinstated at the delegate’s expense. 
  • Delegate will acquire the child and family data tracking system, curriculum, screening tools, assessment tracking system, mental health curriculums, mental health consultant as the grantee, and other systems as needed 
  • Must maintain CLASS (Classroom Assessment Scoring System) reliable staff according to Teachstone 
  • Must implement the CLASS (Classroom Assessment Scoring System) with every Head Start classroom, for assessment of classroom effectiveness and assessing professional development needs 
  • Must maintain a congenial environment for grantee monitors 

4. Mandate new director training; two days of training for staff on performance standards and Head Start Act

  • Train staff on working with a grantee
  • Staff will attend all training as deemed necessary by the grantee.
  • Delegate will absorb cost of training.

 5. Mandate training for data person 

 6. Establish assistant director of schools as point of contact for reporting compliance issues 

 7. Establish a new defined checklist that aligns with the performance standards, Head Start Act, state licensing requirements and a stronger ongoing monitoring plan 

 8. Adhere to any other corrective action or sanctions set by the Office of Head Start or the grantee 

 9. School board chairs or designees, school directors and Head Start directors will conduct an annual assessment meeting to discuss Head Start expectations and successes 

10. Upper management meetings will be held quarterly to review progress of monitoring and other information


Lake City science teacher wins Extreme Classroom Makeover


Lake City Middle School science teacher Susan Silvey was surprised Monday during an all-school assembly with a $30,000 prize for winning Oak Ridge Associated Universities’ 6th annual Extreme Classroom Makeover contest.  As part of the entry process, a teacher must submit a short video illustrating the classroom’s need and explain how new technologies would be used to energize and enhance learning.  In her winning video, Silvey explained the positive impact increased technology in the schools would have not only on students, but on the community as a whole.  According to a release from ORAU, the Extreme Classroom Makeover highlights and supports educators like Silvey who are working on the front lines of the education system and illustrates how technology in the classroom helps teachers inspire more students to pursue math- and science-based careers.  Contestants entering ORAU’s competition must teach math or science in a public school located within 50 miles of Oak Ridge.  The money is typically used to make over one classroom but Ms. Silvey indicated Monday that she would like to use the money--$25,000 from ORAU supplemented this year by an additional $5000 donated by Roane State Community College—to upgrade the school’s computer lab so that all of the students at Lake City Middle can benefit.  Silvey has taught for seven years and this is her first year at Lake City Middle, where she was named the school’s Teacher of the Year. 


(ORAU Press release) Students’ learning environments have a direct effect on the success and growth of a community—this was the idea of one local middle school teacher when she submitted her video for the 2014 ORAU Extreme Classroom Makeover Competition. Her hope for money to create a technology-enhanced classroom was realized today as ORAU presented middle school science teacher Susan Silvey with $30,000 during an assembly at Lake City Middle School in Anderson County. The funding is part of ORAU’s annual Extreme Makeover Competition, now in its sixth year.  Through her winning video, Silvey explains the positive impact increased technology in the schools would have, not only on students but the community as a whole.  “Science and math are two important factors that help form the foundation of innovation,” explained ORAU President and CEO Andy Page. “ORAU believes through programs like the Extreme Classroom Makeover, we can bring excitement to teachers and students on critical STEM subjects, which in turn, can help strengthen our nation’s future competitiveness.”  One of the goals of the contest is to also encourage local businesses to support the mission of placing technology in the classroom to enhance teaching and learning. This year, ORAU received a donation of $5,000 from Roane State Community College.  “We are excited to support ORAU’s Extreme Classroom Makeover because technology, in the hands of outstanding teachers such as Susan Silvey, engages students in the learning process,” said Dr. Whaley, Roane State Community College President. “We also fully support programs that enhance STEM education, which is crucial to creating a highly skilled workforce.”  Page and Whaley surprised the winning teacher Monday during a school-wide assembly at Lake City Middle School.  ORAU’s Extreme Classroom Makeover highlights and supports educators like Silvey who are working on the front lines of the education system and illustrates how technology in the classroom helps teachers inspire more students to pursue math- and science-based careers.  Contestants entering ORAU’s competition must teach math or science in 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.  Next steps for Ms. Silvey include the selection, purchase and installation of new technology to make over the classroom. Later in the summer, ORAU will unveil the redesigned classroom in a special event for the students and their parents.  Winners have typically purchased items such as additional computers, iPads, digital cameras, a clicker system, television, promethean boards and other technology that helped advance his students’ learning activities.


AC ballot for Aug. 7th set


The deadline to qualify as a candidate in the Anderson County general election in August came and went at noon on Thursday and the ballot will be full.  14 of the county’s 16 incumbent commissioners are running for re-election as are all four School Board incumbents and there are challengers in almost all of the races.  Incumbent School Board members Jo Williams (District 1) and Scott Gillenwaters (District 6) are unopposed while District 2 incumbent Greg Crawford is being challenged by Teresa Portwood and District 7 incumbent Steve Fritts will square off with Don Bell.  District 4 County Commissioner Zach Bates is not seeking re-election as he is already challenging incumbent County Mayor Terry Frank in next month’s Republican primary and District 7’s John Shuey is not seeking another four-year term.  The only uncontested Commission race is in District 2, where incumbents Mark Alderson and Rick Meredith face no challengers.  District 1 incumbents Chuck Fritts and Tracy Wandell will be opposed on August by Floyd Grisham and Walt Lounsbery.  In District 3, incumbents Steve Emert and Dusty Irwin are being challenged by Josh Anderson, David Farmer and Phillip Warfield.  Incumbent Tim Isbel will seek his District 4 seat while Herb Foust, Allen Loope and Chris Phillips will vie for not only Isbel’s seat but also the seat being vacated by Bates.  District 5’s Robert McKamey and Jerry White face challenges from Carl Beaty and Lynn Byrge.  In District 6, Whitey Hitchcock and Steve Mead will be challenged by Anthony Allen and Joey Anderson.  District 7 incumbent Jerry Creasey is seeking another term and is joined on the ballot by Jimmy Bouchard, Michael Marsh, Denny Phillips, Kelvin Rice and Theresa Scott.  District 8 incumbents Robin Biloski and Myron Iwanski are challenged by Myra Mansford.  The Anderson County general election is set for August 7th.


WYSH, Oak Ridge Today Team To Expand Local News Coverage


Information in our story about the likely use of public money on the Oak Ridge Mall project came from our new partners at Oak Ridge Today, an online newspaper started by former Oak Ridger reporter John Huotari and his wife Dawn.  WYSH and Oak Ridge Today have entered into an information-sharing agreement in order to bring you the most complete coverage of news from Clinton, Oak Ridge, Oliver Springs and Anderson County.  You can find Oak Ridge Today online simply by visiting www.oakridgetoday.com.  We are excited to expand our existing partnership base, which also includes BBB-TV and the Norris Bulletin, as we seek to keep you informed about the stories that are important to you. 



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