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UPDATED DECEMBER 5, 2013
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ORT: OR Dog Park ribbon-cutting Monday
(Oak Ridge Today) The city of Oak Ridge will have a ribbon-cutting for the new dog park at Big Turtle Park in west Oak Ridge on Monday at 11:30 am. Construction has been under way since this summer at the city’s first dog park, which is being built with help from a $100,000 donation from Radio Systems Corp. through Legacy Parks. The park is roughly one acre, and it includes one fenced-in field for small dogs and another for all dogs, said Jon Hetrick, Oak Ridge Parks Division supervisor. It has benches, waste bags and waste bag dispensers, and water fountains for humans and dogs—although they’ve been shut off for the winter. There is also an extensive set of rules posted at the park gate, prohibiting dogs in heat and puppies under six months old, and requiring aggressive dogs to be removed immediately. The dog park donation from Radio Systems Corp., maker of the PetSafe Brand, was announced in February. The project has been in the works for about four to five years.
Discussion focuses on AC homeless
Representatives from several social services agencies, faith-based groups and members of the community met earlier this week to talk about how to address homelessness in Anderson County. The forum was held at the Oak Ridge Unitarian Universalist Church, whose members and the Trinity Out-Reach Center of Hope, or TORCH, organized the event. Attendees talked about the current state of homelessness and possible solutions while organizers say these kinds of events are important because they build awareness. So far in 2013, TORCH says that it has assisted 141 homeless individuals in Anderson County.
B&W Y-12 donates $75K to Emory Valley Center
B&W Y-12 donated $75,000 to the Emory Valley Center in Oak Ridge on Wednesday. The center must replace the building that currently houses many of its programs. That building will be torn down in 2015 because the cost to maintain it is too high and replaced by a new facility that officials say will make a real impact on the people who use its services, particularly in relation to job skills training that will allow individuals with special needs the opportunity to go out and find employment. With the donation, the center has now raised a total of $2.5 million for the facility. Its goal is $3.3 million. The Emory Valley Center hopes to start construction on its new facility in the spring.
Alcoa PD: Man allegedly gropes teen
Alcoa Police have released a photo of a suspect who allegedly groped a teenage girl at the Panera Bread in Alcoa Friday evening in hopes that other potential victims come forward. You can find the picture on the department’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Alcoa-Police-Department. The 16-year-old victim’s father reported the incident to Alcoa Police and the girl told investigators that she had been sitting at a table at the Panera Bread on Louisville Road sitting at a table studying when an older man sat down across from her at the same table. The man began asking her about her assignment and asked if she was a college student. The girl told him she was in high school, at which point the man asked what grade she was in. When she told him she was a junior, he guessed her age as 16 and got up from across the table and sat down beside her. The man then asked if she had a boyfriend. When the girl replied no, the man allegedly placed his hand on the victim’s leg and started moving his hand toward her groin. The victim said an employee then walked over to the table and the man got up and left. The employee and a manager asked the victim if she was all right, and she then told them what had happened. Alcoa Detective Kris Sanders said police are investigating the incident, and it has not been determined what kind of charges might be filed against the suspect once he is apprehended. While he has been identified, police want to hear from anyone else who may have been approached by the suspect as they work to build a case against him. Anyone with information on the suspect is urged to contact the Alcoa Police Department at 865-981-4111. Tips can also be called anonymously at 865-380-4715 or placed online at http://www.cityofalcoa-tn.gov.
Maryville-Alcoa Greenway connection to Townsend Master Plan announced
(Blount Partnership) A Master Plan for a proposed greenway trail linking
Maryville to Townsend estimates the positive economic impact of the
trail for Blount County at $65 million over a 10-year period. The
construction cost of the 13.7-mile trail is estimated at $24.46 million,
again over 10 years, putting the estimated return on investment for
every dollar spent at $2.66. Maryville and Alcoa have a paved greenway
system that totals 21 miles, and Townsend has an existing greenway that
runs for about 9 miles along
321/Lamar Alexander Parkway. The Master Plan envisions a paved trail
within the right-of-way for 321 connecting to the greenway network at
either end. This connection between Maryville and Townsend is a key
element of the vision of linking
to Townsend via paved greenway trails. This Plan is the result of a
public planning process that began with a series of workshops in both
Maryville and Townsend in April, and included additional meetings in
both cities in July. Public input was also garnered through two online
surveys. Local planners, engineers and business representatives made up
the Technical Advisory Committee that led the planning process. The
economic benefits that are expected to result from the trail arise from
ORUD warns customers of scam phone calls
Residential and commercial customers of the Oak Ridge Utility District are being warned about a scam regarding their utility bills that is happening locally. According to a release from the city, this scam involves a utility customer receiving a telephone call from someone claiming to be from the utility calling about missed payments. The caller threatens to cut off the customer’s utilities unless immediate payment is made. In some cases, the caller says they will accept a credit card number, a bank routing and account number or some other form of payment information over the phone, while in others an accomplice actually comes to the customer’s door to collect the payment. Oak Ridge officials say that customers should never make a payment in response to a call that the customer themselves did not initiate and that the city will never make such calls as all of its notifications are made by mail. Additionally, customers are reminded that all city employees and all of its contractors from Grid One are required to carry proper identification. These calls can appear to be legitimate as some scammers have figured out how to make a utility’s name appear on the customer’s caller ID. For more information, call the Oak Ridge Business office at 865-425-3400.
Blount horse trainer, 3 others indicted in soring case
Maryville horse trainer Larry Wheelon and three other men were indicted this week by the Blount County grand jury on 18 charges of aggravated cruelty to livestock and conspiracy. The charges involve the alleged use of soring—the process of applying caustic chemicals on the legs of Tennessee walking horses to accentuate the animals’ trademark Big Lick step. The men face a total of 13 felony charges and five misdemeanors. Wheelon and stable employees Randall Gunter of Louisville and Brandon Lunsford of Walland each face 18 counts related to the raid earlier this year at a barn rented by Wheelon on Tuckaleechee Pike in which 19 horses were seized by authorities while a fourth man identified as Blake Primm of Louisville faces one felony charge of aggravated cruelty to livestock and one misdemeanor charge of conspiracy. Following their indictments Monday, all four men turned themselves in at the Blount County Jail the following day and were released after posting bonds about three hours later. The original charges in this case against Wheelon were dismissed on a technicality in August and the horses ordered returned to their owners.
Benefit Sunday to aid local musician, friend to all
David Farmer and David West of Ciderville Music, Marshal Andy, Danny Hutchins (of the Charley Pride band), and a multitude of notable singers, musicians and friends will come together and present an afternoon of entertainment to support one of their own, who is in a desperate fight against stage four cancer. Rhonda Whiting, a local star and lead singer of the popular Sisters of the Silver Sage, was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer about a year ago. The benefit's purpose is to raise funds for an innovative treatment not covered by insurance. The event is completely free, but donations are more than welcome. To send a card or Gift, address it to Rhonda Whiting c/o David Farmer, 441 Lewallen Hollow Ln., Clinton, TN, 37716.
‘Tis the season to light the tree
The Oak Ridge Woman’s Club and the Oak Ridge Recreation and Parks Department will sponsor the annual Christmas tree lighting and reception on December 6th at 6:30 p.m. Participants should gather at the Secret City Commemorative Walk on the east side of the Oak Ridge Library parking lot for a brief ceremony. Following the tree lighting, a reception will be held in the Civic Center gymnasium. Participants will enjoy seasonal music and refreshments provided by the Oak Ridge Woman’s Club Civic Affairs Committee. For more information visit the Oak Ridge Recreation and Parks website at www.orrecparks.org.
Area businesses, residents and Covenant Life Church in Lake City will hand out coats as part of their Winter Coat Drive this Friday December 6th from 5 to 8 pm at the Lake City Community Center at 216 North Main Street in Lake City. Between now and then, if you have a new or used coat you would like to donate, you can drop them off at either Lake City Recreation Center or at Covenant Life Church.
A drive is underway to collect “Toys for Rocky Top Kids,” aimed at providing children 10 years old and younger from the Lake City and Briceville areas who might not otherwise receive anything for Christmas with toys and clothing. Donations can be dropped off at SL Company in the I-75 Industrial Park in Clinton; at Tommy’s Motorsports on Highway 61 in North Clinton; at the Powell-Clinch Utility District’s Office in Lake City or at the Lake City Police Department. The distribution will be held on December 21st at 6 pm at Main Street Baptist Church in Lake City.
WBIR: Morgan pet crematory owner investigated
(WBIR) The owner of a pet crematorium in Morgan County is being investigated for the improper disposal of family pets. The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) was called in to investigate in September, after complaints that a number of dead animals were found in trenches on a property on Grouse Ridge Road in Morgan County. Some of the animals were buried, others were not. Elliot Pet Services, owned by Cameo Farr, is located on the property. The Department of Agriculture says several complaints lead to the investigation at the property, where dozens of dead cats and dogs were found. TDEC says that Farr told investigators that the incinerator broke and they started burying the remains on the property, which is a violation of state codes. In addition, Farr was told she needed to apply for a special waste application to properly dispose of incinerator ash. Farr agreed to remove the visible animal remains and dispose of them property somewhere else, and TDEC found no issues when the inspected the property again on November 12. TDEC has been working with Farr to remove the buried remains from the property and expect to have it done by this week. The District Attorney's office is monitoring the situation for any criminal activity.
State announces Thanksgiving traffic statistics
(TDOSHS/THP) The Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security and Tennessee Highway Patrol announced today that there were zero fatalities on Interstate 40 during the “I-40 Challenge” over the Thanksgiving Holiday period. The challenge took place from noon to midnight on Wednesday, November 27 and again from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., on Sunday, December 1. The challenge was issued to seven other state police or highway patrol agencies and consisted of increased patrols along the I-40 corridor over two 12 hour periods on November 27 and December 1 – the busiest travel days during the Thanksgiving period. During those time periods, a Tennessee State Trooper was assigned every 20 miles on Interstate 40. Law enforcement officials from the Arizona Department of Public Safety, New Mexico State Police, Texas Department of Public Safety, Oklahoma Highway Patrol, Arkansas State Police and North Carolina Highway Patrol also participated in the I-40 challenge and reported zero fatalities on the selected interstate in their states during the challenge period. The California Highway Patrol’s figures were not available at press time. While there were no fatal crashes on Tennessee’s Interstate 40, the state’s Highway Patrol investigated a total of 60 crashes (one alcohol-related), arrested five individuals on suspicion of impaired driving and issued 126 seat belt citations throughout the two 12-hour periods. During the 102-hour Thanksgiving Holiday period, there were fatal vehicular crashes in Tennessee. Preliminary reports indicate that eight people were killed in five fatal crashes statewide during this year’s Thanksgiving Holiday period. That’s the same number of fatalities reported during the same time period in 2012. All eight occupants killed during the 2013 Thanksgiving Day period were not wearing seat belts. Two of the fatalities were alcohol-related crashes.
Busy December in AC with Christmas, other events
The Anderson County Tourism Council is hosting the Outdoor Channel who is coming to Anderson County to film their show Fishing University on Norris Lake. Their website is www.fishingu.com. You will have the opportunity to meet the hosts of the show, Charlie Ingram and Ray Brazier and their guests, Dean Smith, CEO and Kody Bradbury, Brand Manager of Legend Boats on Tuesday, December 10, 2013 from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at the Museum of Appalachia. Please mark your calendars and plan on joining us. This is a free event for the entire family and will give you the opportunity to ask the pros everything you always wanted to know about bass fishing.
2nd Annual Christmas Gathering: A Bountiful Southern Feast will be held on December 15 at the Museum of Appalachia. A large buffet of authentic Southern Christmas fare will be served from 11:30 am to 2:00 pm. Included in the buffet will be some of the dishes the Museum does best, chicken and dumplings, sweet potato casserole, deviled eggs, iron skillet cornbread, and savory desserts. While dining in the Museum’s Heritage Hall, guests can warm by the fire while enjoying local, talented musicians playing songs of the Christmas season. Visitors are welcome to tour Christmas in Old Appalachia before or after the Bountiful Southern Feast. During the day, special historical demonstrations will be taking place throughout the Village, including blacksmithing, sawmilling, weaving and sassafras tea brewing. The Anderson County chapter of the Sons of the Revolution will tell wintertime war stories around the encampment near the McClung Cabin. Seating for this family friendly event is limited; purchase tickets by December 9 to secure reservations. A self-guided tour of Christmas in Old Appalachia is included with each ticket. There are special offerings for this event for Museum Members. For more information on the event and ticket pricing, call 865-494-7680 or visit www.museumofappalachia.org.
Lake City Christmas Parade-December 6th
The parade will be Friday, December 6th. The theme is A Christmas to Remember. The parade will start at 7 p.m. and registration will be from 5 to 6:45 p.m. Please be aware that everyone participating in the parade must register, sign a release and receive a number regardless if you want to be judged or not. If you do not register and receive a number, you will be asked to leave the parade line. For more information about the parade and registration, visit http://www.lakecitychambertn.com/parade/.
If it is raining on Friday, December 6, 2013 at 5 p.m., the Lake City Christmas Parade will be postponed to December 13, 2013.
Clinton Christmas Parade- December 7th
This year’s parade theme is “A Christmas to Remember”. The parade will begin at 6:00pm and will run down Market and Main Streets in downtown Clinton. Participants must pre-register. Entry forms and parade maps are available on the Anderson County Chamber’s website at www.andersoncountychamber.org or you can call 865-457-2559.
Christmas in Old Appalachia-December 7-24 at Museum of Appalachia
The simple joys of an old-fashioned Christmas await Museum of Appalachia visitors during December. Music of the season can be heard across the grounds. Cabins will be decorated in pioneer style, recalling times past when Christmas was a simple family holiday including cedar Christmas trees draped with paper chains, popcorn strings, sweet gum and sycamore balls. Christmas shoppers will find many hand-crafted items in the gift shop. Hot, country-style lunches are served daily from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the museum restaurant and homemade cakes, pies, cookies and other holiday treats are available all day. For more information, contact the museum at 865-494-7680 or visit www.museumofappalachia.org.
Santa Train Rides- December 7th, 8th, 14th and 15th at Secret City Excursion Train
One-hour excursions with narration will take place on December 7th, 8th, 14th and 15th. The excursions depart at 11 a.m.,1 p.m. and 3 p.m. on Saturday and 1p.m. and 3p.m. on Sunday. Santa is sure to delight all the children as he and Mrs. Claus make their way through the coaches passing out Christmas gift bags and posing for pictures. The train will be decked out in true holiday style. During the ride, passengers will hear the story of the Manhattan Project, which was one of the most remarkable industrial achievements ever accomplished. Refreshments and souvenirs are available for purchase in the train's commissary car. For more information, call 865-241-2140 or visit www.southernappalachia.railway.museum.
Holiday Homecoming Celebration – December 14 at Norris Dam State Park
Join us for a walk through time discovering old time traditions representing Tennessee Holiday Homecomings in the local region. Celebrations will take place on the east side of the park as our rustic cabin area transforms into a winter village of festivities for the holiday season. There will be live animal demonstrations, historical depiction of Appalachian like, horse drawn wagon rides, old time music and holiday treats. Be expected to walk approx. one mile, so dress warmly and bring a flashlight. For more information, call 865-426-7461 or visit www.norrisdamstatepark.org.
Oak Ridge Christmas Parade – December 14
This year’s Parade theme is “Inside Santa’s Workshop” and it promises to provide spectators with plenty of music, lights, and beautiful floats! The parade will begin at 6pm at Corporate Center on the corner of Lafayette and Laboratory Road. From there, the parade will travel down Lafayette to the Oak Ridge Turnpike. It will then continue west on the Turnpike to the Oak Ridge High School. The judge’s stand will be located in front of the Chamber of Commerce building. Online entries will be accepted through Monday, December 9. Entry forms are available on the Chamber’s website at www.oakridgechamber.org . For more information, contact the Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce at 865-483-1321.
UTV Rally Raid Race Series –December 7 at Windrock Park
UTV Rally Raid® is four hours of adrenaline packed racing against the clock during the hours of daylight and darkness at high speed. No prior race experience is necessary and all classes of driver and vehicle are catered for. There will be a race each month through the 2013 year. You can race the entire series or just one race. For more information, call 865-435-1251or visit www.utvrallyraid.com.
December Classes at the Appalachian Arts Craft Center
Need a special handmade Christmas gift? The Appalachian Arts Craft Center is offering a “Soy Candles” class December 7 from 10:00am-1:00pm. Learn everything you need to know about making soy candles in this one day class. All materials are provided with the cost of the class. This class is for beginners to intermediate. Registration deadline is December 1st. For more information on this class and other upcoming classes, call 865-494-9854 or visit www.appalachianarts.net.
December Exhibits at American Museum of Science and Energy
Through - Jan. 5, 2014 "Oak Ridge In Art" featuring eight framed prints and paintings by residents or former residents of Oak Ridge, including work by Nick Fielder, Helen Guymon, Fred Heddleson, Pat McWilliams Hoskins, Nancy Smith, Irvin Grossman, and Helen Bayless. Through - Jan. 12, 2014 "The Science Maze" where visitors get lost in science facts. Discover interesting tidbits of science fields from astronomy to zoology as you find your way through The Science Maze. For more information, call 865-576-3200 or visit www.amse.org.
Parents receiving info on online safety in mail
As part of a joint effort between the Anderson County District Attorney’s Office, the Sheriff’s Department and the three school systems within the county’s borders, parents of students in the 5th through 10th grades are receiving information in the mail on how to keep their children safe online. Letters have been sent to parents of students in the county school system as well as the city systems in Clinton and Oak Ridge over the past couple of weeks and more are also being sent. Included in the mailing is information for parents on how to talk to their kids about being safe online and avoiding sexual predators. The letter also talks about ways to broach the topic of “sexting”—the sharing of explicit photos via cell phone—with children and also updates parents on what local authorities are doing to help keep their children safe. Some of those new strategies include a deputy who has been specially trained in how to spot, locate and arrest online predators and new computer software that aids in those efforts. For more information, visit www.deletepredators.com.
State offers ID theft prevention tips
As the largest holiday shopping event of the year approaches, the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security’s Identity Crimes Unit warns consumers to beware of identity theft during the celebratory season. Identity theft is the fastest growing crime in America. Last year, for the 12th consecutive year, identity theft led the list of consumer complaints to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Eighteen percent of the more than two million complaints filed with the FTC were identity-theft related. “We want to take this opportunity to remind holiday shoppers to take precautions to protect their identity during the holiday season,” Captain Stacy Williams said, who oversees the Identity Crimes Unit. “The Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales allow more chances for identity thieves to victimize buyers. However, if consumers manage their personal information carefully, it will reduce the risk of identity theft.” According to a report by Javelin Strategy and Research, there were over a million more victims of identity theft in 2012 compared to 2011. That’s 12.6 million Americans who became identity theft victims last year, resulting in more than $21 billion in damages. The Identity Crimes Unit offers these tips to help keep holiday shoppers safe:
· When paying by credit card, don't allow clerks to put your receipts in your bag. Instead, carry receipts in your wallet where they are safer and less likely to fall out of bags.
· Watch cashiers, waiters, and bartenders, ensuring that they don't "skim" or save your card number for later use.
· When paying by check. Never allow merchants to write your social security number on the check.
· Use a gel ink pen—preferably black—to write checks. The ink will permeate the fibers and make it difficult for the check to be cleaned and reused.
· When shopping online, be careful of wireless internet connections. Only use those that require a security key or certificate.
· Shop on secure, reputable websites by looking for addresses that start with "https" and include a small padlock icon.
· Never offer personal information, especially your social security number, to online stores.
· Leave suspicious websites immediately.
· Read customer reviews before ordering products.
· Use a credit card and not a debit card, which makes it harder for you to get funds back and gives thieves access to funds in your bank account.
· Avoid carrying a social security card, birth certificate, passport, bank information or paychecks when hitting the stores. You could easily lose them and identity thieves find these particularly helpful.
· Check your bank statements, credit card bills, and credit reports often, helping to quickly catch any efforts to use your identity.
For more information on identity theft security tips, please visit the state’s Office of Homeland Security: http://www.tn.gov/homelandsecurity/docs/mst_newsletter.pdf. If you have been the victim of an identity crime, help is available by downloading a resource kit at the following link: http://www.tn.gov/safety/ICU.shtml
OR Band presents annual Christmas concert
Sunday, December 15th, the Oak Ridge Community Band/Wind Ensemble will present its annual Christmas Sing-Along Concert at 3:30 p.m. at First Baptist Church at 1101 Oak Ridge Turnpike in Oak Ridge. This is a FREE performance, and dress is casual. The band will perform seasonal favorites and accompany the audience in singing familiar Christmas carols. There will be refreshments in the lobby. Be sure to bring family and friends for this special Christmas celebration with music. For more information, call 865-482-3568 or visit www.orcb.org.
Clinton Christmas Parade set for December 7th
The Anderson County Chamber of Commerce will present the Clinton Christmas Parade will be held Saturday December 7th beginning at 6 pm in downtown Clinton. The parade will be preceded by the annual Christmas Tree lighting ceremony sponsored by Timely Topics in Hoskins Park. This year’s parade theme is “A Christmas to Remember” and the grand marshals will be Vikki Franse and Erin Champion, who each won state titles in track and field events for Clinton High School in recent years. The entry fee to be part of the parade is $10 with a limit of 4 vehicles per entry. The deadline to register will be 5 pm Wednesday December 4th. Cash prizes will be awarded for the most creative entry with first place paying out $125, second place $100 and third place $75. Parade check-in will take place at Jaycee Park on Nave Street from 4 to 5:30 pm. All entries must be decorated for Christmas and the Parade Santa will be the only Santa in the parade so leave your own jolly red suit at home. Entries can be no taller than 13 feet and no longer than 26 feet. Horses must have on a diaper or bag or someone walking to scoop and city ordinances requires owners of any sort of animal to pick up after their pets. All drivers must be 16 years of age with a valid TN driver’s license and all vehicles must be “street legal” so no ATVs are allowed in the parade. The parade ends at the Clinton Community Center. For more information, visit www.andersoncountychamber.org or call 865-457-2559.
LC Christmas Parade December 6th
The Lake City Christmas parade will be Friday, December 6, 2013 and the theme is A Christmas to Remember. The parade will start at 7 p.m. and registration will be from 5 to 6:45 p.m. Please be aware that everyone participating in the parade must register, sign a release and receive a number regardless if you want to be judged or not. If you do not register and receive a number, you will be asked to leave the parade line. The biggest change this year is where participants will be registering for the parade. If you are driving a classic or antique car in the parade, you will need to park at Lake City Internal Medicine, adjacent to the Lake City Middle School on Industrial Park Road. You will also register at that location. Drivers will need to back their cars into one of the spaces provided while waiting for the parade to start. Emergency vehicles will line up on Industrial Park Road. Industrial Park Road to Hustler Boat Lane will be closed at5 p.m. until all parade participants leave the area. If you plan on participating in the parade with an all terrain vehicle, the driver must be 16 years of age or older and you will register at the Lake City Middle School. If you are sponsoring a float or a group, you must also register at the Lake City Middle School. Only one person representing the float or group has to fill out the registration but please be aware that you are releasing liability for everyone participating in your group or on your float. All floats and everyone participating with floats must be lined up behind the Middle School. The area can be accessed near the gym. If you arrive before 5 p.m., please do not park your float or trailer in front of the school. Pull it around to the back but be aware that school dismisses at 3:10 p.m. and the road behind the school is the car rider pick up route. If you are participating in a walking group without a float, please meet and wait at the office entrance with the awning at the middle school. If you are sponsoring a group or float, please designate a time for your group to meet. The parade organizers and volunteers will not be responsible for supervising children until the sponsors arrive. If you are dropping a child off to participate with a walking group or float, please wait until the designated time that the sponsors will be present and please remove your vehicle from the middle school area as soon as possible unless you plan on staying until the parade is over. Anyone participating with a horse will also register at the Lake City Middle School. All horses must wear a horse diaper or you will not be eligible to participate in the parade. If you are registering at the Lake City Middle School, registration will be set up just inside of the gym entrance. If you would like to preregister, please click on “parade” at www.lakecitychambertn.com to find the registration form and instructions. Cash prizes will be awarded for first ($200.00), second ($150.00) and third ($100.00) place in the float category and first ($100.00) and second ($50.00) place in the group category. Trophies will be awarded to the first and second place in the tractor, horse, antique car and hot rod car category. If you would like to be judged in one of these categories, please place your number on the left side of your vehicle. If you do not, place it on the right side. Remember, you have to have a number or you will be asked to leave the parade. Everyone participating in the parade must make safety their top priority. You will be held liable if your actions cause injury to spectators and other parade participants. You will also be cited if you do not operate your vehicle or all terrain vehicles safely. If you have any questions, please call 865-426-9595.
BC Jaycees Christmas Parade Dec. 14
The Blount County Jaycees Annual Christmas Parade will be held Saturday, December 14th. Interested participants can get parade applications at The Daily Times and The Blount County Chamber of Commerce. Entry fees for a float entry are $45 and a car fee will be $25. The theme for the parade will be “Christmas in Paradise.” The parade route will be the same as last year: It will begin on Joule Street and end at New Providence Presbyterian Church. For more information, call Randi Earley, the parade chair, at 865-300-5795 or send an email to email@example.com. Applications must be mailed to The Blount County Jaycees Christmas Parade, P.O. Box 491, Alcoa, TN 37701.
Theme: Christmas In Paradise
Date: December 14, 2013
Lineup Time: 9:00 am
Lineup Location: Joule Street and Rankin Road
Date: December 7, 2013
Lineup Time: TBD
Lineup Location: Friendsville Elementary School
Date: December 14, 2013
Lineup Time: 1:00 pm
Lineup Location: Little Brook Industrial Park
Date: December 8, 2013
Lineup: 1:00 pm
Lineup Location: Townsend Visitor’s Center
‘Tis the season…to protect yourself from crime
(ACSD) During the busy holiday season, many people can become victims of burglary, theft, and other crime. Protecting yourself and your home from crime is the easiest way to have a safe and happy holiday season. In an effort to ensure everyone has safe and fun holidays, the Anderson County Sheriff’s Department would like to offer the following tips for Holiday Crime Prevention.
One of the best ways to prevent crime is to have “nosy” neighbors. Be watchful of suspicious cars or people in your neighborhood. Have a neighbor watch your house, and do likewise for them. If you see something suspicious, call the Sheriff’s Department at 457-2414 if you live in the county or your call local police immediately. One of the best crime prevention tools is a Neighborhood Watch program. For information on starting or joining a Neighborhood Watch group, contact our Crime Prevention Officer, Deputy David Massengill, at 457-6255, extension 1150. Sheriff’s deputies will be out in force to help deter burglaries and thefts in an effort to keep our community safe. Ensuring you and your family have a safe holiday season is our top priority. On behalf of the men and women of the Anderson County Sheriff’s Department, best wishes for a safe and happy holiday season.
ORT: Man reports home invasion, robbery
(Oak Ridge Today) A Jonathan Lane resident reported two suspects entered his home and demanded money at about 8 p.m. Saturday, authorities said. The victim said he knew one of the suspects but didn’t know the other. The unknown suspect allegedly brandished a handgun during the robbery, and the suspects allegedly stole about $650 in cash, Oak Ridge Police Department Officer James Elkins said in an incident report. Also allegedly taken are a wallet valued at $50, and a driver’s license and debit card valued at about $50 total.
AC, Clinton school receive grants
The Coca-Cola Foundation presented $25,000 checks to Anderson County and Clinton City school systems. The grant money will be used to implement programs to encourage physical activity and balanced diets among students. Each district plans to start these projects next semester. In Anderson County, middle school students will be starting gardens, planting seeds, growing vegetables and learning more about the nutritional value of those foods. The city schools will begin a program aimed at fighting childhood obesity by starting after-school, before-school, weekend, and summer activities including running clubs, hiking excursions and swimming.
Follow-Up: 3 meth-related incident keep law busy
(BCSO) The Blount County Sheriff ‘s Office says that investigators with
the Fifth Judicial Drug Task Force responded to three separate meth-related
cases Monday, one of which was an active meth lab site. In all, five
people were arrested and three were cited on meth-related charges.
According to the BCSO, the first incident occurred at around 4 pm when
investigators with the Fifth Judicial Drug Task Force conducted a
traffic stop on a vehicle on Hunter's Crossing Drive. Investigators were
alerted by a local business that three suspicious individuals were
attempting to purchase pseudoephedrine, a precursor for the manufacture
of methamphetamine. Investigators stopped the vehicle because they
recognized the driver, 47-year-old Cynthia Renee Evans and knew she was
driving on a suspended driver's license. Evans gave consent to search
the vehicle, and investigators found pseudoephedrine and other items
used in the manufacture of methamphetamine. The following individuals
were taken into custody:
At around 5 p.m., a narcotics investigator observed three individuals acting suspiciously in the parking lot of local business on U.S. Highway 411 South. Investigators conducted a traffic stop on that vehicle in the 3000 block of U.S. Highway 411 South. The driver gave investigators consent to search the vehicle, and they found pseudoephedrine and other precursors used in the manufacture of methamphetamine. The three individuals were all cited with immediate methamphetamine precursors and released:
At around 6 p.m., Maryville Police Department responded to a call that an individual
was in the process of manufacturing methamphetamine in his vehicle at a
When officers arrived, they found Joshua Rick Rhinehart, 28, of Wright
Road, Maryville, in his vehicle. They also saw several components used
in the manufacture of methamphetamine, as well as several one pot method
meth labs in the vehicle, one which was in the process of manufacturing
meth. Investigators with the Fifth Judicial Drug Task Force arrived to
neutralize the labs. The Maryville Fire Department responded and
decontaminated Rhinehart on the scene, and Rural/Metro Ambulance Service
was on the scene on standby while investigators disposed of the
hazardous waste. Rhinehart, as well as another individual, Ditrah Lynn
Guffey, 30, also of Wright Road, Maryville, were taken into custody.
Woman sent to hospital after car hits store
A Maryville woman was treated and released from Blount Memorial Hospital Tuesday after accidentally backing her car in to the Family Dollar Store at the intersection of East Broadway Avenue and Brown School Road. 74-year-old Barbara Hightower told police that she had been trying to exit the parking lot on to Brown School Road when she thought she had struck the curb. When she put the car into reverse, she hit the accelerator instead of the brake and her Chevy HHR slammed into the southeast corner of the building, causing what was described as significant damage. Hightower was taken to the hospital by ambulance, treated and released. No one else was injured in the incident.
Blount attorney placed on ‘disability inactive’ status
The Board of Professional Responsibility of the Tennessee Supreme Court has placed the law license of Blount County attorney Keith Lane Edmiston on disability inactive status under rules of the Court. Edmiston cannot practice law while on disability inactive status but will be able to return to practicing after his reinstatement by the State Supreme Court, which will happen once he shows clear and convincing evidence that the disability has been removed and he is fit to resume the practice of law. The press release announcing the move does not indicate the nature of the disability.
OR YAB gives back
Members of the Oak Ridge Youth Advisory Board recently spent time and money shopping at K-Mart to provide Christmas gifts to needy area children through the Mission of Hope. The board raises money throughout the year at various events and in all this year, spent $1639 on gifts. The YAB operates under the city’s Recreation & Parks Department and its members are appointed by the City Council. The group would also like to encourage other student groups and the community as a whole to take part in holiday projects to help the less fortunate during the holiday season.
Alcoa wreck kills man, dog
Alcoa Police are investigating what led to a single-vehicle accident Monday morning (12/2) that left a 19-year-old Friendsville man and his dog dead. The wreck occurred on Middlesettlements Road shortly after 7:15 am when a westbound Honda Accord driven by Brandon Helpingstine left the roadway at the intersection with Atchley Drive and slammed into a utility pole. The car burst into flame upon impact and police say that Helpingstine likely died on impact. In addition to Alcoa Police and Fire, personnel from the Blount County Sheriff’s office and Rural/Metro responded to the scene, which was finally cleared about three hours after the accident.
ORT: Many fire-displaced residents can return home
(Oak Ridge Today) Power has been restored to an Applewood Apartments building on Hillside Road after a Thanksgiving Day electrical short displaced two dozen residents, and most of another two dozen residents have been allowed to move back into McKenzie Acres apartments on Utica Circle, two days after they were displaced by a Saturday night fire, city officials said Monday. The two fire calls in three days displaced about 50 people during the Thanksgiving weekend. The Red Cross helped the residents with food and shelter, and residents and restaurants have pitched in as well. Oak Ridge Fire Department Chief Darryl Kerley told Oak Ridge Today Monday afternoon (12/2) that the Utica Circle fire was started deliberately. As we reported Monday, the fire may have been the result of a domestic disturbance between a man and his wife that reportedly ended with her setting his clothes on fire in the bedroom closet. No charges have yet been filed as the investigation is continuing. Late Monday afternoon, city inspectors said the apartment at 312 Utica Circle has extensive fire damage, and the one below it has severe water damage and will need repairs. But residents can move back into the other six units in the eight-unit building in the 300 block of Utica Circle. Meanwhile, a licensed electrician from Knoxville restored service at the Applewood Apartments building at 184 Hillside Road, and the city said power was restored at 4 pm.
Lake City man faces meth charges
A Lake City man was arrested Monday (12/2) after Anderson County Sheriff’s deputies responding to tips about possible meth-related activities found components of a meth lab on his property. Deputies went to the home of Michael Gill on Jacksboro Avenue Monday afternoon and after some wrangling with Gill and his probation officer by telephone, were allowed to search his property. In an outbuilding, investigators reported finding several items used in the drug’s production and inside the house, reported finding several pieces of drug paraphernalia and a list of ingredients to cook meth. Gill was arrested and charged with manufacturing meth and with initiating the manufacture of the drug and taken into custody. Three other people at the home were not arrested. The house, located at 922 Jacksboro Avenue, and the outbuilding were both placed under quarantine and the lab components were seized and turned over to the Tennessee Meth Task Force.
Maryville meth lab busted
Monday night (12/2), authorities in Blount County made a meth bust at a home on Wright Road. Blount County Sheriff’s deputies and Maryville police officers and firefighters responded to the scene after receiving numerous complaints of suspicious activity from neighbors over the past year. In an SUV in the driveway of the home, investigators located several one-pot meth labs and meth-making materials. One man was decontaminated at the scene and arrested and the materials were catalogued and disposed of by a haz-mat team. The suspect had not been identified at the time this report was filed but that information and the charges against him should be made available sometime today.
Grand jury indicts man on dog-killing charge
The Louisville man accused of shooting his neighbor’s dog to death earlier this year has been indicted by a Blount County grand jury on charges of aggravated animal cruelty and stalking in connection with the incident. 62-year-old Fred Lee Wright is accused of shooting a seven-month-old miniature Pinscher belonging to his Cub Drive neighbor Diane Stephens to death on August 27th. He reportedly told a Blount County deputy he had done it because the dog, and others on Stephens’ property, would bark incessantly. The deputy responded to the scene after Stephens called 911 earlier that morning to report that Wright had stood at the top of her driveway and prevented her from leaving for work. She spoke with the deputy on the road and asked her to check on her property and dogs. The deputy reported finding the dog shot to death and when she spoke to Wright, he reportedly admitted shooting the dog. Those events—and a long history of disputes between the neighbors—led Stephens to take out an order of protection against Wright—which he was accused of violating just a couple of days after the August 27th incident.
AP: Campbell attorney pleads guilty to tax fraud
(AP) Campbell County attorney Johnny Dunaway has pleaded guilty in federal court to filing a false tax return. Dunaway faces up to three years in prison and could be ordered to pay restitution to the Internal Revenue Service when he is sentenced on April 23rd. Dunaway admitted failing to truthfully declare business income from his law practice in 2008 and was disbarred by the state Supreme Court in October. The high court previously censured Dunaway for charging a contingent fee from a client for an appeal under circumstances that violated the rules of professional conduct.
4 ET players named ‘Mr. Football’
(TSSAA) Tennessee’s best high school football players for 2013 were recognized at the Tennessee Titans Mr. Football Awards luncheon hosted by the Tennessee Titans. Over 500 people, including the honorees, their families, coaches, school administrators and members of the media from all parts of the state, attended the 2013 luncheon at the Embassy Suites Hotel & Conference Center. “This is such an outstanding honor for all 33 of the young men recognized today at the Tennessee Titans Mr. Football Awards,” said Bernard Childress, Executive Director of the TSSAA. “They were here not only due to their athletic ability that they displayed on the field throughout the season, but just as much for their outstanding character and academic achievements.” High school head coaches and members of the media nominated the finalists. A committee of statewide sports writers selected winners based on performance in the 2013 regular season. Academics and character were also taken into consideration. The awards were presented to the top back and lineman in each of the five classifications of the Tennessee Secondary Schools Athletic Association. The top kickers in the state were also recognized. There were three finalists in this category, regardless of their school’s classification. The Titans became sponsors of the Mr. Football Awards in 2007.
2013 TENNESSEE TITANS MR. FOOTBALL AWARD WINNERS
Division I, Class A Lineman Division I, Class A Back
Zach Stewart, Coalfield Jajuan Lankford, South Pittsburg
Division I, Class AA Lineman Division I, Class AA Back
Paul Adams, CPA Daryl Rollins-Davis, Fulton
Division I, Class AAA Lineman Division I, Class AAA Back
Jack Jones, Oakland Josh Malone, Station Camp
Division II-A Lineman Division II-A Back
Brant Mitchell, Knoxville Webb Todd Kelly, Knoxville Webb
Division II-AA Lineman Division II-AA Back
Derek Barnett, Brentwood Academy D’Andre Ferby, Ensworth
Kicker of the Year
Rafael Gaglianone, Baylor
Potter sworn in as top Alcoa cop
The city of Alcoa has a new police chief. Chief Philip Potter was sworn in during a ceremony Monday morning (12/2). Potter started his career in Ohio, where he worked for 30 years and eventually became chief. After that, he was the police chief in Huntersville, North Carolina, near Charlotte. Before moving to Alcoa, Potter was already familiar with the city and the department. He assessed the department in July of 2012 for the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement. Potter succeeds the late Ken Burge. Burge passed away in July. He was Alcoa's chief since 2004, and worked in law enforcement for 39 years.
ORT: New China Palace reopened in new digs
(Oak Ridge Today) A longtime Chinese restaurant that had been on the city’s waterfront for decades has moved out of a city-owned building at the Oak Ridge Marina and reopened on Central Avenue in the center of town. The New China Palace restaurant reopened on Central Avenue on Nov. 22, owner Cheng Ren said Saturday. The former waterfront location closed five weeks earlier on Oct. 18 after at least one lease extension. The city has developed a master plan for the waterfront area that recommends the current New China Palace site off Melton Lake Drive be remodeled as a bathhouse facility. It would be used to support a growing number of rowing and public activities as part of an ambitious plan to revamp the waterfront from Elza Gate Park to Rivers Run Boulevard. Ren said the restaurant’s new location just north of Oak Ridge Turnpike near Jackson Plaza features more space in a 3,800-square-foot building. The restaurant is open from 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, Ren said. An earlier plan to replace the New China Palace with a casual diner stirred a public uproar, and it was put on hold. That proposal had been included in a waterfront plan approved by Oak Ridge City Council in December 2009. In February 2011, the Oak Ridge City Council approved a two-year lease with the New China Palace that gave the city time to review its plans. In April, Ren said he has a five-year lease on the Central Avenue site. Some work on the waterfront plan has already been done, including paving the parking lot at Elza Gate Park and building a new pavilion at Melton Lake Park. Last week, it appeared that at least some exterior work had started at the former restaurant site at the Oak Ridge Marina.
Roane man dies in apparent accidental shooting
(BBB/WYSH) Emergency personnel were sent to a home in the College Grove Estates east of downtown Rockwood Friday night where a man was dead from an apparently accidental gunshot wound to the head. Roane County Sheriff’s deputies arrived and found 45-year-old Bill York on the living room floor unresponsive after a small caliber handgun apparently misfired while he was cleaning it and struck him in the temple. Family members were home at the time of the accident and called 911 at around 9.45. A fund has been established to help offset funeral expenses. (York Family Fund on Facebook)
2nd OR apartment fire in 3 days displaces another two dozen
(Oak Ridge Today/WYSH) A second apartment fire in Oak Ridge in three days displaced another two dozen residents on Saturday night. The fire was reported at about 9:22 p.m. in the 300 block of Utica Circle at McKenzie Acres. Firefighters were able to quickly extinguish the second-story blaze, and no one was injured. But roughly 25 residents, including children, were displaced and are being assisted by the American Red Cross. Oak Ridge Fire Department Assistant Chief Josh Waldo told our partners at Oak Ridge Today that the apartment at 308 Utica Circle was heavily damaged. Other units in the building were okay, except for water damage, he said. Residents will not be able to return because of the smoke and water damage and because the power will be turned off to that building while repairs are made. Waldo said the cause is under investigation, however early reports indicate the fire’s origin may be connected to an argument between a man and his wife that he says ended when she went to his the bedroom and lit his clothing on fire in the closet. No charges have been filed yet, but as we mentioned the incident remains under investigation. An electrical fire at Applewood Apartments on Hillside Road on Thursday, Thanksgiving Day, also displaced about two dozen residents. The Red Cross has also been helping them, and local volunteers and restaurants have pitched in by donating food. The Applewood fire was caused by an electrical short in the main power supply leading into the distribution system in the basement of the building on Hillside Road.
ORUUC holding Holiday Craft Fair
(Submitted) Finding those unique holiday gifts for the special people in your life has just been made simpler with the announcement of the upcoming Oak Ridge Unitarian Universalist Church (ORUUC) Holiday Craft Fair. The event will be held on Sunday, December 8 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the ORUUC Social Hall located at 1500 Oak Ridge Turnpike, stoplight #11 in Oak Ridge. A long time community favorite, the ORUUC Holiday Craft Fair has become a source of inspiration and a place of diversity and discovery in selecting those "one of its kind" gifts for those special people on one's holiday gift list. The Craft Fair will feature the work of some of the region’s finest artisans working with glass, ceramic, wood, quilts and other hand sewn items, and photographs. For more information about the craft fair please contact LindaLouSullivan@comcast.net or the ORUUC office at (865) 483-6761.
ORUUC invites public to Messiah sing-along
(Submitted) The Oak Ridge Unitarian Universalist Church (ORUUC) Sanctuary will be the site on Sunday December 8 for the annual “Messiah” sing-along under the direction of Sandy Wells. The sing-along will begin at 5 p.m. and will last approximately one hour. The concert will be presented by 30 area singers accompanied by a 20-piece orchestra. Everyone is welcome. Music will be provided for early-arriving audience members. Admission is free. “The ‘Messiah’ sing-along gives everyone, whether experienced performers or shower singers, a chance to add their voices to this celebratory masterpiece. Many places all over the world present annual ‘Messiah’ sing-alongs. This one has been in the area for numerous years but this is our third time hosting the concert," said ORUUC Director of Music Wendel Werner. Members of the choir will sing the arias and audience members will be invited to join the choir in singing the chorus parts from portions of Handel’s “Messiah,” including the "Hallelujah" Chorus. For more information, call the church office at (865) 483-6761.
Report: Man jailed after keeping wife in bathroom
According to the Daily Times, a Maryville man was arrested on charges that he kept his wife in their bathroom against her will. 27-year-old Charles Allen Taylor was arrested early Sunday after his wife reported that he returned home earlier in the day and kept grabbing and throwing her phone before finally shoving her in to a bathroom. He is also accused of entering the bathroom, taking her phone again so she could not call for help and physically preventing her from leaving the bathroom. He was charged with false imprisonment and jailed but was released on bond later in the day. His wife took out an order of protection against him and it was served on him while he was in custody. Jackson is scheduled to appear in court on Tuesday.
ORT: OR student who died ID’ed
(Oak Ridge Today) The eight-year-old, third grade student who died Tuesday after being found unresponsive on the school bus has been identified as Treí-Roan Vann. His father Crist Vann told our partners at Oak Ridge Today that Treí, as he was called, was a very good eight-year-old. It’s not clear what happened to Treí on Tuesday. The family is not aware of any health problems. His father said the University of Tennessee is doing an autopsy, and the family is waiting for the results. Treí was described by his father as a good student, a Cub Scout and a football player who also wanted to play soccer in the spring. Linden Elementary School Principal Roger Ward said an account is being opened at Bank of America in Oak Ridge to accept donations to defray the costs of Tuesday’s tragedy. Checks can be made out to Oak Ridge Schools, with Memorial Fund in the memo line. You may bring donations to Hot Bagel on Saturday morning, or to the school anytime starting Monday. Ward said in an e-mail to the Linden community. Separately, the Linden Parent-Teacher Association is scheduling meals for the Vanns. They’ve already had a great response in just two hours today and have meals scheduled for well into December, and the response has been so good that the PTA is not looking for any more people to volunteer for meal scheduling.
Horses seized, AC man charged
A Clinton man was arrested Wednesday on animal cruelty charges after two horses described as underfed and very thin were seized from his property. The horses were seized from the property of Jason Shipley Wednesday by Anderson County Animal Control officers and taken to the UT Vet School for evaluation. The horses were then turned over to Horse Haven of Tennessee, where they are said to doing well. Shipley was charged with two counts of animal cruelty and was also picked up on several outstanding warrants unrelated to Wednesday’s incident.
Thanksgiving fire displaces 25 in OR
A small electrical fire displaced about two dozen residents of the Applewood Apartments on Hillside Avenue in Oak Ridge Thursday but no injuries were reported. Firefighters say that the fire was caused by an electrical short in the main power supply leading into the distribution system in the apartment building’s basement. The blaze was quickly put out with a fire extinguisher and officials say that a circuit breaker did its job, turning off power and minimizing the damage. In fact, only one apartment sustained light smoke damage while there was no other structural damage to the building. Of the 25 people displaced by the fire, which was reported at around noon Thursday, most were able to stay with friends or family members and those who weren’t able to find other lodging were put up in a motel by the American Red Cross. The building may be without power for a few days.
Smokies Festival of Christmas Past coming
(GSMNP) Great Smoky Mountains National Park announces the 38th annual Festival of Christmas Past celebration scheduled on Saturday, December 14, 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., at the Sugarlands Visitor Center. The event, sponsored in cooperation with Great Smoky Mountains Association, is free to the public. “This is our 38th year of celebrating the holiday season through traditional mountain music, storytelling, and crafts,” said Kent Cave, North District Resource Education Supervisor. “It is the Park’s obligation and privilege to preserve these traditions and keep them alive for future generations. Young and old alike will again have the opportunity to relive Christmas in a simpler time along the Forks of the River community.” The festival will include old-time mountain music and traditional harp singing. Demonstrations of traditional domestic skills such as the making of rag rugs, apple-head dolls, quilts, and apple butter will be ongoing throughout the day. There will also be several chances to experience these traditions hands-on, with crafts to make and take home. New this year, are local storytellers, Kathy and Mike Gwinn. Together they will share stories of the Christmas season in Appalachia and play songs of the season to get visitors into the Christmas spirit. “We are happy to be sharing the traditions of Christmas in a new way this year, and are looking forward to their performance,” said Cave. As in years past, the Christmas Memories Walk will be held at 11 am and 2 pm, to teach visitors about the spirit of the season in these mountains in the time period from the 1880s to 1930s.
The full schedule of events for the day includes:
· 9:30 a.m. - "Old-fashioned Harp Singing" led by Bruce Wheeler, Paul Clabo and Martha Graham
· 11:00 a.m.– “Stories of the Past” panel discussion, presented by the Smoky Mountain Historical Society
· 12:00 p.m. - An Appalachian Christmas- Storytelling by Kathy and Mike Gwinn
· 1:00 p.m. – Old Time Music with the South of the River Boys
· 2:00 p.m. – Old Time Music with Boogertown Gap Band
· 3:00 p.m. – Old Time Music with Lost Mill String Band
· 11:00 am -12:30 pm and 2:00 pm to 3:30 p.m. - “Christmas Memories Walk” - Costumed interpreters will lead a short walk from the visitor center and talk about life in the mountains during the holidays in the early days of the 1880s to the 1930s
“We invite everyone to come and experience the joys of an old fashioned mountain Christmas,” said Cave.
TDEC encourages shoppers to take advantage of Small Business Saturday
(Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development) While the day after Thanksgiving may be the unofficial kick-off to the holiday shopping season, Small Business Saturday is gaining popularity and momentum in Tennessee and around the United States. Small Business Saturday began in 2010 as an American Express initiative, and has grown into a movement that millions of individuals, businesses, and communities have embraced nationwide—and continue to support each and every day. On Saturday, Nov. 30, hundreds of Tennessee businesses will open their doors, as customers are encouraged to “Shop Small.” “Small businesses are the lifeblood of Tennessee’s economy, showcasing our state’s vibrant entrepreneurial spirit while providing valuable jobs in our communities,” Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bill Hagerty said. “I strongly encourage Tennesseans to support small businesses not only on Small Business Saturday, but throughout the year.” According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, 97 percent of small businesses in Tennessee employ fewer than 500 employees, which accounts for 44.9 percent of the private-sector labor force. Top industries for Tennessee small business employment include retail trade, health care and social assistance, and other services. In 2012, Small Business Saturday turned out more than 103 million patrons across the country. According to a survey released by American Express, consumers spent an estimated $5.5 billion at locally owned stores and restaurants. For more information on Small Business Saturday, visit www.americanexpress.com/us/small-business/Shop-Small/.
Morgan road project completion celebrated
(TDOT) TDOT Commissioner John Schroer will join state and local officials in Morgan County on Monday, December 2, 2013 to celebrate the completion of the State Route 52 Improvements project. The $14.8 million project has improved a 2.3 mile section from Brewstertown Road to the Scott County line with an enhanced two lane roadway with 12-foot lanes and 12-foot shoulders, as well as new bridge crossings over White Oak Creek and Little Creek. Wednesday’s event begins at 1:30pm ET and will last approximately 20 minutes.
OR student passes away after falling ill on way home
A Linden Elementary School student died Tuesday after becoming unresponsive on the school bus Tuesday afternoon on his way home from school. The boy, whose name has not been released, fell ill while on the bus and was transported to Methodist Medical center, where doctors pronounced him dead. No other information has been released. Grief counselors were available this morning at Linden Elementary to help students deal with the sudden and tragic loss of their friend and classmate. The Oak Ridge school system, in a press release issued Tuesday, said that the “thoughts and prayers of the Linden and Oak Ridge Schools’ staff go out to the family.” As more information becomes available, we will pass it along to you.
Campbell authorities awaiting tox results on man found in water
Investigators in Campbell County say they will await the results of toxicology tests before releasing any information about the cause of a man’s death last week. A fisherman found the body of 38-year-old Lafollette resident Darren Lee Morrison in the water along Doaks Creek last Tuesday. An autopsy has been performed but investigators say they want to get the results of the toxicology tests before announcing the cause of his death. Authorities have not indicated if they believe his death was an accident or the result of foul play.
‘Fishing University’ hosts coming to AC
The Anderson County Tourism Council is hosting the Outdoor Channel who is coming to Anderson County to film their show Fishing University on Norris Lake. Their website is www.fishingu.com. You will have the opportunity to meet the hosts of the show, Charlie Ingram and Ray Brazier and their guests, Dean Smith, CEO and Kody Bradbury, Brand Manager of Legend Boats on Tuesday, December 10, 2013 from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at the Museum of Appalachia. Please mark your calendars and plan on joining us. This is a free event for the entire family and will give you the opportunity to ask the pros everything you always wanted to know about bass fishing.
Follow-up: ORPD searching for 2 home invasion suspects
Following up on a story we brought you Monday, Oak Ridge Police arrested one suspect in a Friday night home invasion on Dewey Road after a vehicle crashed into a utility pole on Delaware Avenue and are still searching for two other suspects. The home invasion was reported at about 10 p.m. Friday and the occupants of the home told officers that they had been confronted outside their home by three men, one of whom struck the male victim in the face with a pistol. The female victim, who is nine months pregnant, told police that she had blacked out when the gun was pointed at her. The suspects stole a safe containing around $3000 from the house and fled in a vehicle before officers arrived. A short time later, the suspect vehicle crashed into a utility pole on Delaware Avenue. When police arrived, they located one of the suspects from the home invasion as well as the stolen safe and a blood covered pistol. 29-year-old Duran Lee was charged with two counts of aggravated assault and one count each of aggravated burglary, aggravated robbery, possession of a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony, unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon, tampering with evidence, and possession of marijuana with intent to sell. As more information becomes available, we will pass it along to you.
AC man accidentally shoots own hand
An Anderson County man accidentally shot himself in the hand Sunday night when he tried to force the wrong caliber of ammunition into his pistol. 45-year-old Carlie Indmon Phillips sustained the wound Sunday night at a home on Hillbilly Way and was taken to Methodist Medical Center for treatment of an injury to his left index finger, according to an Anderson County Sheriff’s Department report. He had been called to his sister’s nearby home by his sister, who thought she had seen a prowler on the property. He grabbed his .357 Magnum revolver and went to her house but had no ammunition for the gun. His sister gave him .38 caliber ammo and when he tried to force the round into the weapon by tapping it with his pocketknife, the round went off, striking him in the hand. No charges will be filed in Sunday’s accidental shooting.
OR Rec & Parks offering Aqua Power deal
The Oak Ridge recreation and Parks Department’s aquatic exercise program, Aqua Power, is having a special for the month of December. The fee will be $32 for the December session or $5 per class. Classes will be held Mondays and Wednesdays from 7:30 to 8:30 pm December 2nd through the 30th with no classes on Christmas Day. The instructor for Aqua Power is Janice Greenwood, who holds numerous exercise certifications, according to a release from the city. The program is geared toward participants who wish to receive a workout in the water and they will be encouraged to work at their own pace. Participants don’t even need to know how to swim and getting your hair wet is not necessary. To sign up, visit the front desk at the Oak Ridge Civic Center and for more information you can call 865-425-3450 or visit www.orrecparks.org.
Film crew shoots ad at Blount school
A film crew spent part of last week filming a commercial at Eagleton Middle School in Blount County for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee. About 100 students and 12 members of the school’s faculty were part of the commercial, which will air across the state, highlighting the Shape the State program sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee. That program awards $10,000 grants to 20 middle schools each year to pay for new physical education equipment and other educational tools. Eagleton Middle School was awarded one of the grants in 2011.
Lay announces run for AC Sheriff
(Submitted) Monday, Tennessee State Trooper, former federal deputy U.S. Marshal and Anderson County resident Anthony Lay announced his candidacy for the Republican nomination to run for Anderson County Sheriff in next May’s primary. “I am announcing my candidacy out of my love for public service and the people who live here. Anderson County is a wonderful place to live and work and the people of Anderson County deserve a safe community and leadership they can trust,” said Lay. “I look forward to many community meetings as well as one-on-one meetings with citizens as I move forward in the campaign. People have concerns, and I intend to put my training, my experience, my strong communication skills, and my hard work ethic into action to bring solutions to the problems we face. The Sheriff of Anderson County is also a high visibility job, and I intend to work to highlight where we do well as a community. When companies and families choose where to live, having a hard-working, pro-active and highly visible and communicative Sheriff and department can be the difference maker,” continued Lay.
“Without a doubt, my focus is going to be on crime. I have worked for a large drug and violent crime taskforce that consisted of four large counties in middle Tennessee and have the experience needed to clean up our two largest crime problems: drugs and theft. I intend to not only oversee the department, but I intend to work right along with my officers. Too many times we see politicians only at election time, but I want to be an elected public servant that is seen on a daily basis—and is accessible to the public,” stated Lay.
“We are also living in a time with incredible new technologies that can make our department more responsive and more efficient while saving taxpayers valuable resources. I intend to use new technology not only in maximizing our operations, but in the management of the department,” said Lay. “I know our new detention facility has been the subject of much discussion and I am confident I can operate our new facility with the budget dollars that have already been allocated. I have opened a jail before under even tighter budget conditions and I can do it again,” said Lay.
“In 10 years, Anderson County Sheriff’s department has grown from a little over 5 million dollars a year to over an 11 million dollar a year operation. Taxpayers have been generous with the Sheriff’s Department and more money is not the answer. The answers lie in new technologies and modernization, in new and creative management, and increased networking to discover solutions used by other departments across the state and nation,” continued Lay. “And my accessibility to the public will be an asset to increasing the cooperative crime control and prevention efforts we build with citizens in the community and in our neighborhood watch programs.”
Anthony Lay has extensive training not limited to but including: Highway Patrol Training Academy, Federal Law Enforcement Training Academy Criminal Investigator, Basic Police School, Training in Terrorism, United States Marshal School, Basic Elective Sheriff’s School, Associates Degree in Criminal Justice, and Tennessee Highway Patrol Motor Officer School. Currently, Anthony Lay is an officer with the Tennessee Highway Patrol. He has served as Sheriff of Scott County and then at the age of 33, was appointed as a Federal United States Marshal in Atlanta, Georgia. Anthony returned to his Anderson County home to help his parents after his father suffered a health event. He and his wife Jenny live off of Laurel Road in Clinton. They are raising two children, Dylan and Joshua. Dylan has entered the U.S. Marine Corps.
ORT: OR native named Rhodes Scholar
(Oak Ridge Today) An Oak Ridge native and University of Tennessee senior is among 32 U.S. men and women who have been named Rhodes Scholars and will start all-expenses-paid studies at Oxford University in England next October. Lindsay Lee is a math and Spanish major at UT. She has completed research at the National Institute of Mathematical and Biological Synthesis, at Vanderbilt Medical Center, and at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. She has also served as the president of the Dean’s Student Advisory Council, as opinion columnist at the student newspaper, as a volunteer with the homeless and at a children’s hospital, the Rhodes Trust announced Saturday. The Rhodes Scholars were selected from 857 applicants. The Rhodes Scholarships pay all expenses for two or three years of study at Oxford and sometimes allow four years of funding. The value of the scholarships varies depending upon the academic field and the chosen degree, but the average value is about $50,000 per year. The Rhodes Trust said Lee was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy at three years old, and she is is a passionate and highly successful advocate for disability issues locally, nationally and globally. “She plans to use her mathematical modeling expertise for analysis of successful health policy grounded in healthcare equality for all,” the Rhodes Trust said. Lee, who has also studied in Barcelona and Tokyo, plans to complete a master’s in philosophy in comparative social policy at Oxford.
Online access to driving records
(TDOS/HS) In an effort to provide better customer service and help reduce the wait times at state driver services centers, Commissioner Bill Gibbons today announced the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security has launched an online service that allows citizens to download or print copies of their official driver records. Citizens can easily access three years of their driving history via a browser, tablet, or handheld device at www.tn.gov/safety, eliminating the need to visit a driver services center. “Giving Tennesseans the choice of instantly accessing their driving histories supports our customer-focused priority goal of reducing wait time at the driver service centers,” Gibbons said. “Reducing the need to go to a driver service center for this simple transaction will result in shorter wait times for customers who need the assistance of a staff member for a more complicated transaction.” The department worked with NIC, Tennessee’s eGovernment partner, to develop the online application to provide this optional service. NIC is the company that processes online driver license renewals, reinstatement payments, and driver license address changes, in addition to other various online services accessible onwww.tn.gov. A $2 convenience fee will be assessed by NIC to each online transaction, in addition to the $5 state fee set by the General Assembly for a copy of a driver record. Citizens may access this online service by going to www.tn.gov/safety.
State urges SAD awareness
(TDMHSAS) The cold temperatures and dreary days that often occur during the winter months can often bring about feelings of depression for many Tennesseans. These feelings may be caused by a condition known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). It is now estimated that about five (5) percent of the population suffers from SAD – this is the equivalent of approximately 317,000 Tennesseans, based on a 2010 U.S. Census state population of 6,346,105. SAD is four times more common in women than in men, but when it is present, men likely have more severe symptoms. Young adults are also more likely to suffer from SAD, but it is uncommon in people under 20. “There is no test for SAD, so it’s important for anyone who is feeling that they may be depressed to speak with their behavioral health care provider as soon as possible,” says E. Douglas Varney, Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (TDMHSAS). “This is a very serious, very real condition, and people shouldn’t try to self-medicate with alcohol or drugs – either illegal drugs or prescription drugs – to deal with it on their own.” SAD is a mood disorder that follows a seasonal pattern related to variations in sunlight. Symptoms of SAD are often similar to those of other forms of depression, and often can include:
· Feeling sad, grumpy, moody, anxious, or depressed
· Losing interest in usual activities
· Eating either more or less, and craving sugary or starchy foods
· Gaining weight
· Sleeping more and feeling drowsy during the daytime
· Avoiding social situations
If a person experiences these symptoms, a mental health expert can accurately diagnose SAD so that treatment options can be explored. Symptoms are often triggered by a lack of exposure to light and tend to drastically decrease, and even go away completely, when light increases. Lack of light can upset a person’s sleep-wake cycle and other circadian rhythms, and can cause problems with the production of serotonin, a brain chemical that affects mood. “Without treatment, symptoms can improve with the changing of seasons,” says Dr. Howard Burley, TDMHSAS Medical Director. “But with treatment, symptoms can improve much more quickly, and people can return to living their so-called ‘normal’ life.” According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), SAD is characterized by recurrent episodes of depression, usually in late fall and winter, alternating with periods of normal or high mood the rest of the year. Also, some people with bipolar disorder can also have seasonal changes in their mood and experience acute episodes in a recurrent fashion at different times of the year. For more information on NAMI, go online to namitn.org or call (615) 361-6608.
AC Veteran Services Office Toys-for-Tots drop-off site
The Anderson County Veteran Service office, located in Room 114 of the Anderson County Courthouse in Clinton is again this year a collection point for the Toys-4-Tots program with the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves. If you are interested in donating, please drop off a new, unwrapped toy by December 12th. There is a box located outside the Veteran Services officer’s office/waiting room, you can place your donation there or give to Leon Jaquet or a member of his staff.
Fisher to run for AC Chancellor
(Submitted) Anderson County Juvenile Court Judge Brandon Fisher has announced his intention to seek election next year to serve as Anderson County Chancellor. Fisher, Juvenile Judge since January of 2010, will seek the position currently held by Chancellor William Lantrip, who has announced his retirement at the end of this term. Judge Fisher is a native of Clinton and graduated from Clinton High School in 1997. Judge Fisher obtained a bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University in Washington, DC before earning a law degree from the University of Tennessee. Judge Fisher graduated with honors and achieved certificates of academic excellence from the University of Tennessee College of Law in five different academic areas including civil procedure and constitutional law. After graduating from law school, Judge Fisher entered private practice, becoming a partner in the law firm of Cantrell, Cantrell & Fisher. Judge Fisher maintained a general practice with the firm before being appointed Anderson County Juvenile Court Judge in January of 2010 and then elected Anderson County Juvenile Judge in August of 2010. Fisher commented, “Serving as Anderson County Juvenile Judge has been the most rewarding experience of my professional life. I am proud of our efforts to improve outcomes for children and families and appreciate the hard work of our dedicated staff. I am seeking the office of Anderson County Chancellor to continue those efforts and look forward to new challenges and the opportunity to serve the citizens of Anderson County over the next eight years as their Chancellor.” Judge Fisher is a native of Clinton where he lives with his wife Jena and three-year-old daughter Audrey. They are members of St. Francis Episcopal Church in Norris, Tennessee, where Judge Fisher serves regularly as a lector.
Man arrested after alleged assaults
A man who told an Anderson County deputy that he didn’t know where his girlfriend was, was arrested Thursday after the deputy reported seeing the injured woman under the bed that suspect Eric Jason Lawson was sitting on. When she came out, the 23-year-old told the officer that she had suffered through two days of beatings, death threats and abuse at Lawson’s hands. The woman said that Lawson had thrown a glass cup at her and that Lawson had grabbed her by her hair, thrown her down and beaten her head against the floor. She also told investigators that Lawson threatened her with a knife. The woman said Lawson first became angry on Wednesday afternoon when she refused his request to obtain a “rig,” or a needle, for him. After spending the night at her sister’s home, the woman returned to Lawson’s house on Thursday, and Lawson again became angry, this time because her phone wasn’t working. The incident report said the woman had facial bruises and abrasions. Lawson was charged with aggravated assault and kidnapping.
ORT: 1 arrested after home invasion, crash
Police arrested one suspect in a Friday night home invasion on Dewey Road after a vehicle crashed into a utility pole on Delaware Avenue. The home invasion was reported at about 10 p.m. Friday. The suspects fled in a vehicle before officers arrived. A short time later, a vehicle crashed into a utility pole on Delaware Avenue. According to our partners at Oak Ridge Today, when police arrived, they located one of the suspects from the home invasion.” 29-year-old Duran Lee was charged with two counts of aggravated assault and one count each of aggravated burglary, aggravated robbery, possession of a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony, unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon, tampering with evidence, and possession of marijuana with intent to sell.
Fire damages Marlow business
(Oak Ridge Today) A fire caused major damage to a truck being repaired in a large garage in Marlow, and it caused moderate damage to repair equipment and the building. The fire at Jackson Paving Co. on Oliver Springs Highway occurred at about 10:15 a.m. Friday. The fire at the large auto repair garage occurred in the Marlow Fire Department area, but mutual aid was requested from the Oliver Springs and Oak Ridge fire departments because of the combustible nature of the materials involved. The Oak Ridge Fire Department response was canceled while crews were en route because the first wave of firefighters was able to contain the fire quickly.
BC United Way exceeds goal
The United way of Blount County announced Friday that it had exceeded its $1.98 million fundraising goal for this year’s campaign by raising $2,003,015 in just 13 weeks. The announcement was made Friday during the annual celebration luncheon, held at Maryville’s First United Methodist Church.
Wreck injures none, spills coal
A tractor trailer carrying a load of coal rolled over on Highway 95 Sunday night, closing down a section of that road for several hours while crews cleaned the coal that spilled out of it. The incident occurred shortly after 6:15 pm last night on 95 between Bethel Valley and Jones Island Roads. No injuries were reported in the single-vehicle crash but the road was closed while crews scooped up the spilled coal. Oak Ridge Police and Fire as well as the THP responded to the scene.
BCSO investigating incident
The Blount County Sheriff’s Office is investigating an attempted robbery reported to them Saturday night. A Friendsville woman told deputies that she had driven to the Ish Creek Boat Ramp in Louisville on Saturday evening to watch the sunset when she was approached from behind by a man who allegedly grabbed her, put a hand over her mouth and demanded money. The man continued to demand money even though the woman told him she had none and was finally able to break free after stepping hard on one of his feet with her heel. She told deputies that she then ran to her car and fled the area. The attacker was described as a white male wearing a gray hooded sweatshirt, blue jeans and black tennis shoes. Nothing was stolen from the woman and she was not injured in the alleged attack.
State Supreme Court finds AC not liable for additional damages in assault
(Information from Oak Ridge Today) The Tennessee Supreme Court has ruled that Anderson County is not liable for damages beyond medical costs after an inmate sustained injuries from an attack by cellmates. Kenneth E. King, a Claxton resident, had spent the night in the Anderson County Detention Facility after being arrested on Oct. 27, 2009, for driving on a suspended license—a charge that ultimately was in error, according to the opinion and a press release posted on the state courts’ website Thursday. His release was ordered at 11:30 a.m. Oct. 28, but it took more than three hours for the pretrial release officer to process the paperwork. During that time, King was severely beaten, causing permanent injuries to his eye. King sued the county seeking monetary damages for the attack, stating that Anderson County was negligent in not releasing him in a timely manner and should have known that there was a danger of him being attacked. The court focused on the legal requirement that, in order for the county to be liable, officials had to have some type of warning that King would be attacked. “There is no evidence that Anderson County Detention Facility officials knew or should have known that Mr. King would become the victim of an attack by his cellmates after he was returned to his cell to await pretrial release,” Justice Cornelia A. Clark wrote in the opinion. The opinion reversed a lower court ruling that determined 55 percent of the fault for the attack rested with Anderson County and ordered the county to pay $93,500 in non-medical damages. The press release said the county remains liable for King’s medical costs resulting from the injuries sustained in the attack at the jail. Visit www.OakRidgeToday.com for more information.
Morgan man pleads to sex abuse charges
A Morgan County man pleaded guilty Thursday morning to federal sex crimes involving an infant relative and faces 40 years in prison pending an April 9 sentencing hearing. 29-year-old Tommy Lee Waugh of Wartburg pleaded guilty to one count of production of child pornography and violation of the federal sex offender registry by committing the crime while on probation for a previous sex offense. The plea stemmed from a case in which the Knoxville Police Department’s Internet Crimes Against Children unit received a tip that someone had produced and distributed images that showed the sexual abuse of an infant. Investigators determined the images transmitted over the Internet came from a mobile home in a trailer park in Wartburg. Police learned Waugh was on the federal sex offender registry and went to the mobile home he shared with his girlfriend. Waugh initially denied who was in the images but eventually admitted that he knew the infant and had taken the images, according to prosecutors.
ORNL: More info aimed at understanding climate change
(ORNL) Jack Fellows, the new director of the Climate Change Institute at Oak Ridge Nationals Laboratory, wants his organization to provide comprehensive information to policy makers and the general public to improve understanding of global climate change. Fellows said ORNL’s powerful computational science capabilities are critical tools. “We look at advancing the knowledge of our system through modeling and describing the consequences of climate change and how we would evaluate and inform policy people,” said Fellows, who noted ORNL’s powerful computational science capabilities are critical tools in the process. “We do that by modeling all the data tools that researchers and policy people need to use in decision making and evaluating and how you analyze various policy options.” Fellows hopes to increase the amount of climate change research knowledge made available to the science community and other interested parties. “There is a lot of important work in both research and tool building,” Fellows said. “My expectation is that we will expand on these activities and make that output more available and responsive to stakeholder needs. A significant part of that will be focused on bridging that gap between fundamental research and tool development and the needs of decision makers.” Fellows has more than 20 years experience studying climate science.
ORT: NP2 files third protest over joint contract
(Oak Ridge Today) The bidding team led by the Babcock and Wilcox Co. has filed a third protest over the contract to manage and operate the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge and the Pantex Plant near Amarillo, Texas. B&W announced the protest by the bidding team, Nuclear Production Partners LLC, or NP2, on Wednesday night. It was filed with the U.S. Government Accountability Office. “This protest encompasses concerns identified in NP2’s June 17, 2013, protest of the revised Request for Proposals,” a B&W press release said. “The protest also reflects information received during the National Nuclear Security Administration’s debriefing session held on November 15.” The June protest was the second filed by NP2, of Lynchburg, Va. The company had also filed one after the National Nuclear Security Administration announced in January that it had selected Consolidated Nuclear Security LLC of Reston, Va., to manage the two nuclear weapons plants. The GAO upheld one part of the first protest, and denied or dismissed three elements of the second. This month, the NNSA reaffirmed its decision to pick CNS for the five-year extendable contract, which could be worth up to $22.8 billion during a 10-year period. The earlier bid protests delayed the transition to a new contractor, and the new protest would presumably delay the transition as well. The GAO has 100 days to decide bid protests. On Wednesday, B&W said it remains focused on operating Y-12 and Pantex safely and securely during the protest period. The B&W-led companies have held the Y-12 contract since 2000 and the Pantex contract since 2001. The consolidated contract includes project management of the Uranium Processing Facility at Y-12 and an unexercised option for Savannah River Tritium Operations at the Savannah River Site near Aiken, S.C. It hasn’t been clear if the second unsuccessful bidding team, Integrated Nuclear Production Solutions LLC, would also file a protest. That team did file one earlier this year. For more on this developing story, click over to http://oakridgetoday.com/2013/11/20/bw-led-team-files-new-protest-y-12-pantex-contract/.
Ruby Tuesday restructuring to eliminate 50 positions
Ruby Tuesday announced Wednesday that it will eliminate 50 positions at its restaurant support center in Maryville. The company says that the job cuts are in response to a cost review program on the heels of millions of dollars in reported losses over the past couple of years. The move is expected to save the company about $6 million a year beginning in 2015. The company is also continuing to work with consultants on finding ways to reduce operating costs. Company officials say that there will be “an expected charge of approximately $2.2 million for transition-related costs in second quarter fiscal 2014 in conjunction with this action.” In a press release announcing the restructuring, JJ Buettgen, Chairman, President and CEO, commented, "Restructuring is difficult, and we greatly appreciate the contributions of the teammates that have been affected. These organizational changes were implemented to ensure we are strongly positioned to invest in brand repositioning initiatives, and we are aggressively focused on lowering our cost structure with no dilution to the guest experience. I am confident in our brand transformation strategy, and in the ability of our talented teams in Operations and the Restaurant Support Center to successfully execute our plans." Last month, Ruby Tuesday Inc. reported a first quarter loss of $22.2 million.
Blount Habitat receives home repair grant
Blount County Habitat for Humanity has received a $40,000 grant from the USDA Rural Development program to provide home repairs to people who cannot afford to make them on their own. The Home Repair Collaborative, which is a network of community resources being coordinated by the Blount County Habitat chapter, will use the funding to help alleviate substandard and unsafe housing conditions in Blount County. Rural households with incomes below 80% of the Area Median Income can qualify to receive assistance through this program. Some of the repairs that will be included are painting, cleaning, yard work and the installation of flooring, siding and roofing materials as well as the construction of wheelchair ramps, doorway expansion and rail installations. To find out more, visit www.BlountHabitat.org or call 865-982-8717.
Man charged after meth lab sets apartment on fire
A Kingston man was arrested early Tuesday morning after his meth lab caught his bedroom apartment on fire. Roane County deputies arrested 23-year-old Justin Michael Owens on five counts of reckless endangerment and one count each of manufacturing meth, tampering with evidence and vandalism following the incident, which occurred at Smith Apartments on Kingston Highway. According to the Sheriff’s Department incident report, the fire started when there was a “catastrophic failure” of one of the containers involved in the meth-making process. After the fire was extinguished, deputies found several common components of meth labs and took Owens into custody. While being questioned, he told investigators that after the fire broke out he had collected several other meth-making materials in a garbage bag and tossed them into some nearby woods. The endangerment charges stem from the fact that a family of four, including two children, were in an adjacent apartment and a fifth resident was in another apartment in the building, all of whom “were placed at risk of severe bodily injury or death by the fire.” Those adjacent apartments were evacuated but the residents were allowed back in after officers determined that “due to the construction characteristics of the building, combined with the heating and cooling systems and septic systems used, as well as the extent of the fire damage of the lab site, that quarantine of the entire apartment complex was not warranted.” At last check, Owens remained in custody on bonds totaling $67,000.
Bartley’s statement to investigators ruled admissible
A judge ruled Wednesday that Campbell County High School shooter Kenny Bartley Jr.’s statement to police eight years ago in which he admitted shooting three administrators, killing one of them, can be used at his upcoming retrial. His attorney, Greg Isaacs, had sought to have the statement thrown out on the grounds that the then-14-year-old was high on Xanax and suffering from a gunshot wound of his own when investigators questioned him without either his parents or his attorney present. The November 2005 shooting left Assistant Principal Ken Bruce dead and two other administrators seriously injured. In the statement, Bartley told police that he had snorted two Xanax pills that morning before coming to school with an unloaded .22 caliber pistol and ammunition in his pocket that he had hoped to trade to another student for drugs. A second student who admitted that he was trying to buy pills from Bartley alerted school administrators when he saw the outline of the pistol in his pocket. Bartley was called in to the office and when Principal Gary Seale ordered the teen to give him the gun, Bartley told investigators that he got the gun out and loaded it as he backed away and then began firing. Bartley is facing charges of first degree murder and attempted murder in the incident. He was set to stand trial in 2007 but moments before it was set to begin, his then-attorney Mike Hatmaker told the judge that his client had agreed to a plea deal that would have netted him 45 years behind bars. The deal was later nullified after testimony revealed that Bartley had only been given a few seconds to consider the plea without being able to consult with his parents. His second trial is set to begin in February in Campbell County Criminal Court. Senior Judge Jon Kerry Blackwood rendered Wednesday’s ruling.
Man facing charges in high-speed chase
A Powell man has been arrested on charges stemming from a high-speed nighttime pursuit that spanned two counties earlier this month. 33-year-old Larry Eugene Ward Jr. is facing a slew of charges including reckless endangerment, reckless driving, evading arrest and a host of traffic violations. An Oliver Springs police officer tried to pull Ward over on the night of November 2nd for a routine violation, but Ward sped off in his Chevy Cruze, turned off the vehicle’s headlights and proceeded to lead officers on a pursuit that reached speeds of over 100 miles an hour, passing cars on double yellow lines and taking hills in the wrong lane. The pursuit ended when his car ran out of gas in Morgan County and he fled on foot, managing to elude police search dogs. Ward was arrested in Knox County a few days later and was transferred to the Roane County Jail earlier this week. He is scheduled to appear in court on January 27th.
ORPD taking applications for Citizens’ Academy
(ORPD) The Oak Ridge Police Department is now taking applications for the Citizens Police Academy, which will begin on January 23, 2014 and run through March 27, 2014. The Citizens Police Academy allows citizens to gain knowledge of how the Oak Ridge Police Department is organized and its functions, as well as improved understanding of the challenges in serving and protecting the community. It requires a ten-week commitment from the participants and will be held one night a week, on Thursdays beginning at 6:00 PM and ending at 9:00 PM. The goal of the Citizen’s Police Academy is to create and develop a nucleus of responsible and well-informed citizens who have an enhanced understanding of the Police Department and how it serves the City of Oak Ridge. The Citizens Police Academy consists of classroom and hands-on instructional learning experiences. Subjects covered include: law review, the job of a uniformed police officer, investigations, crime scene investigations, crime prevention, canine program, tactical operations, crime analysis, and much more. Participants will be involved in activities such as touring the communications facilities and police department, using police equipment, canine demonstration, and firing department service weapons. Graduates of the Citizens Police Academy may be called upon to provide input and information to their neighborhoods or work environments, increasing citizen involvement on issues of mutual concern. The program improves the commitment of the Oak Ridge Police Department to partner with citizens to build lasting and productive partnerships between the Oak Ridge Police Department and the community we serve. Those who graduate the Academy are also encouraged to join the Oak Ridge Police Department “Volunteers in Police Service,” which allows members to work at community events, perform patrol and crowd control functions, administrative duties at headquarters, and many other tasks. More information on the VIPS will be provided during the session. The Citizen’s Police Academy is free of charge. Each applicant must fill out an application and undergo a criminal background investigation prior to approval and admission. Applicants must be at least 21 years of age and preference will be given to those who live or work in the City of Oak Ridge. The instructional course will be held in the 2nd floor amphitheater of the Oak Ridge High School, 1450 Oak Ridge Turnpike. All applications must be submitted to the Oak Ridge Police Department by close of business on Friday, December 20th. Applications are available at www.oakridgetn.gov or at the Oak Ridge Police Records office in the Municipal Building at 200 South Tulane Avenue. Class size is limited to 10 people to allow for maximum instructor-student interaction. For more information about the Citizen’s Police Academy, contact Community Resource Officer Brandan Sharp at (865)556-6696 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
OR sewer work notices coming in mail
Beginning the week of November 18th, residents located in the east end of Oak Ridge should be receiving an information letter in the mail from the City of Oak Ridge concerning sewer rehabilitation work in the area. The letter is on purple paper and provides general information concerning the sewer work. Morgan Contracting, Inc. will be conducting preconstruction work in the area. This work includes tasks such as locating manholes and walking the terrain of the area, so residents may see workers in their yard or along the greenbelt. The work areas are located:
As a reminder, Hurst Excavating is also working in the east end of town in the areas located:
Questions or comments can be directed to the City of Oak Ridge, Public Works Department, via email email@example.com or call and leave a message at (865)425-3495. For more information please visit our website www.oakridgetn.gov.
OR Civic center announces indoor pool closures
The Oak Ridge Civic Center indoor pool will be closed on November 14th and 21st, December 5th and 12th, and January 9th at 6:00 p.m. for Oak Ridge High School swim meets. The Civic Center indoor pool will also be closed on December 3rd from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. for the Special Olympics swim meet and on December 14th at 3:00 p.m. for Atomic City Aquatic Club swim meet. For more information on these closures or any Recreation and Parks Department programs, contact the Recreation & Parks Department, (865) 425-3450 or visit www.orrecparks.org.
Blount man drowns in pond
The Blount County Sheriff ‘s Office says a Townsend man died after wandering into a pond early Wednesday morning. 78-year-old Marion Sidney Stanley of Townsend was taken by Rural/Metro Ambulance Service to Blount Memorial Hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival. Blount County Sheriff’s deputies responded to Stanley’s residence on Mountain Thrush Drive at around 3:45 am after the man’s wife discovered him missing from their home. Mrs. Stanley advised deputies Mr. Stanley suffered from Alzheimer’s Disease. A Sheriff’s Office K-9 unit started a track, and other deputies and neighbors of the Stanley’s assisted in searching the area. A neighbor discovered a shoe near a pond located about 50 yards from the Stanley’s residence, and at around 7 a.m. and Sheriff’s deputies located Mr. Stanley’s body in the pond approximately 10 to 15 yards from the bank. BSORT (Blount Special Operations Response Team) responded to recover Mr. Stanley’s body. Blount County Fire Department and Townsend Police Department also responded to the scene.
Fire causes heavy damage to Clinton home
A fire heavily damaged a home on Forrest Avenue in Clinton on Sunday but no serious injuries were reported. The Clinton Fire Department responded to 409 Forrest Avenue shortly after 4 pm and when they arrived reported seeing heavy smoke billowing from all sides of the house. Crews ventilated the structure and extinguished the fire, which is believed to have started in the laundry room. While trying to access the roof to ventilate the home and attack the fire in the attic, one firefighter became ill and was treated at the scene by Anderson County EMS personnel. He was not taken to the hospital and no other injuries were reported. Fire officials say that the blaze appears to have started in the dryer and ruled it accidental. Crews cleared the scene about three hours after they arrived.
Campbell authorities investigate body found in creek
The Campbell County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the discovery of a man’s body in a creek near Lafollette. A fisherman found the body of 38-year-old Darren Lee Morrison of Lafollette in Doakes Creek near Miller’s Bridge just off Old Middlesboro Highway at around 5 pm Tuesday and notified authorities. Few details have been released, including how long his body had been in the water or whether or not his death was the result of foul play or an accident. Officials say they have not yet determined how Morrison died but they are treating the area where his body was found as a crime scene. As more information becomes available we will pass it along to you.
Report: Maryville officer shoots, kills dog
Maryville Police are investigating an incident in which one of their officers shot and killed a homeowner’s dog. According to WBIR-TV, police responded to a home on Wheatmoor Drive in response to a call of a possible prowler but searched the property and found nothing suspicious. As one of the officers was leaving the yard, he says that three dogs approached him and he felt threatened as he was pinned against the house and the dogs were blocking his exit route. He fired one shot and the dogs ran away but a short time later, one of them was found dead in a nearby yard. Early indications are that the officer acted appropriately but the matter is still under investigation.
Blind man’s custom-made bicycle stolen
A custom-made bicycle that allows a legally blind man to get around town was stolen from outside an Oak Ridge bookstore last week and police are investigating. The theft occurred Thursday outside the Books-A-Million in Oak Ridge and victim Tim Collins, who suffers from macular degeneration, says that it is his only means of transportation. Police were able to dust the man’s helmet and flag, which the thieves left behind, for fingerprints and their investigation is ongoing. The bike is valued at $1800. If you have any information on the bike’s whereabouts or the culprits, call the Oak Ridge PD at 865-425-3504.
Leon Houston convicted of making threat against attorney
Tuesday, a federal jury in Knoxville convicted Leon Houston of threatening his former attorney via the telephone. Houston, who earlier this month represented himself and was acquitted on charges of possessing a firearm while using drugs, represented himself in court again this time, calling no witnesses. In the taped conversation with a third party, Houston, who was awaiting trial on the gun charge, threatened to kill Jim Logan, who had successfully defended him against charges related to the May 2006 shootout that left a Roane County deputy and his ride-along partner dead. Leon had been charged along with his brother Rocky Houston in that case. Neither man was ever convicted in the shooting. Logan later foreclosed on a piece of the brothers’ property to settle outstanding legal fees. Leon Houston will be sentenced on March 4th and since it is a felony conviction, he will be barred from owning guns upon his release. Rocky Houston is awaiting trial on charges of being a felon in possession of weapons stemming from the same January raid that resulted in the drug charges against his brother. Both men have a lengthy history of run-ins with the law and have filed numerous lawsuits alleging that they are the victims of a vast government conspiracy.
ASAP recognizes volunteers, prevention partners
(ASAP) During Red Ribbon Week, Allies for Substance Abuse Prevention (ASAP) of Anderson County recognized community leaders and volunteers for outstanding efforts toward preventing drug use in our community. “Red Ribbon Week is the national observance of drug prevention awareness across the country, and an appropriate time to honor our volunteers,” said Stephanie Strutner, Executive Director of ASAP. “Our volunteers are what make our wheels turn,” Strutner said, continuing that “through 1,779.75 collective volunteer hours, they engaged in policy advocacy, changed consequences for drug abuse, provided information, increased skills among local parents and professionals, reduced barriers by organizing medication disposal opportunities, and provided support to adolescents.” A number of volunteers contributed to the accomplishments during the past year; however, several were recognized for their outstanding contributions. Dave Clark, District Attorney General, was presented ASAP’s 2013 Prevention Power Partner Award, given for his fierce support for prevention efforts. By his work, our community is a safer, healthier place. Upon receiving the award, General Clark said, “I’m grateful for the privilege of working with many great people and organizations, like ASAP, that are helping make Anderson County a better and safer place to live.” ASAP also honored outgoing coalition leaders: Amy Olson and Nancy Foster were recognized for their dedication during the 2012-2013 year. Newly elected officers include Kim Pouncey—Chair, John Kelsey—Co-Chair, and Theresa Venable and Kathy Scruggs will be Co-Record Keepers. In addition, David Vudragovich will step in as Chairperson for the Fundraising Subcommittee. ASAP also awarded John Kelsey and Mary Tuskan with the Kris Stults Distinguished Service Award. Kris, who passed away in 2012, was influential in the development of ASAP and the award is given in her memory to individuals who carry on her legacy in creating opportunities for adolescents to live substance-free lives. “We are proud of all our volunteers have accomplished and are thrilled to be able to honor their achievements,” said Strutner.
AC’s Shelton elected president of statewide organization
(COAT) Anderson County Register of Deeds Tim Shelton has been elected president of the County Officials Association of Tennessee (COAT). Shelton, a lifelong resident of Anderson County, was elected at the organization's 45th annual conference recently held in Murfreesboro. COAT is a statewide association comprised of all of the county Registers of Deeds, Trustees, County Clerks and State Court Clerks. The organization was founded in 1968. Shelton is a graduate of Clinton Senior High School and Carson Newman College. He began his career in the Register's office in 1992 and was elected Register of Deeds on 2002. He is a Certified Public Administrator and is a graduate of both Leadership Anderson County and the University of Tennessee Local Government Leadership Program. He has been awarded the East Tennessee Register of the Year, the Tennessee Registers Association Register of the year and the COAT Outstanding Register of the Year. He and his wife Dara have a son Harrison and a daughter Addy. He is looking forward to seeking reelection next year.
UT-Battelle awards recognizes excellence
(UT-Battelle/ORNL) Gary J. Van Berkel of Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Chemical Sciences Division has earned the ORNL Director’s Award for Outstanding Individual Accomplishment in Science and Technology. Van Berkel was honored Friday night during the annual Awards Night event hosted by UT-Battelle, the management and operating contractor of ORNL. The award recognizes Van Berkel’s sustained leadership and innovation in the development of disruptive sampling systems for mass spectrometry, resulting in multiple commercial licenses and new product offerings. He was earlier named ORNL’s Inventor of the Year. David Fowler of ORNL’s Energy and Environmental Sciences Directorate earned the Director’s Award for Outstanding Individual Accomplishment in Laboratory Operations. Fowler was honored for recent accomplishments that exceeded normal performance expectations and positively advanced ORNL’s mission. He also won the Excellence in Operations category. Donald Cross of ORNL’s Computing and Computational Sciences Directorate earned the Director’s Award for Outstanding Individual Accomplishment in Community Engagement. Cross provided outstanding leadership and selfless dedication in community service through the mentoring of special needs children and adults in a wide variety of organizations. He also won the award for Exceptional Community Engagement by an Individual. A team composed primarily of members of ORNL’s Energy and Environmental Sciences Directorate earned the Director’s Award for Outstanding Team Accomplishment. The 12-person team, which also won the Scientific Research category, was recognized for groundbreaking research in biotic and abiotic mechanisms of mercury methylation in the environment, leading to high-impact publications in Science and Geoscience. Members of the team were Alexander Johs, Mircea Podar, Craig C. Brandt, Jerry M. Parks, Xianping Lisa Yin, Dwayne A. Elias, Jeremy C. Smith, Baohua Gu, Carrie L. Miller, Scott C. Brooks, Steven D. Brown, and Liyuan Lang. UT-Battelle manages ORNL for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science. DOE’s Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States. For more information, visit science.energy.gov.
Roane Alliance president to retire in March
Roane Alliance President and Chief Executive Officer Leslie Henderson has announced that she will retire at the end of March. She has been the president and CEO of The Roane Alliance, the county’s economic development organization, since 2004. Henderson announced her retirement in a Tuesday letter to Sharon Templeton, Roane Alliance board chair. “Although I struggled with this decision, I feel now that it is the right time to start on the next phase of my life and start working on some of that bucket list—travel, writing, project work, family time, and maybe even some business ventures of my own,” Henderson said in the letter. “As for The Alliance, I think the time is also right, as the staff is not only one of the best I’ve ever worked with, but is also well-positioned to do great things for Roane County going forward. Each of them is very competent and capable,” Henderson said. “All I do is keep them focused and provide the tools they need. I could not be more proud of their successes.” Templeton said she understood and supported Henderson’s impending departure. “Leslie has worked very hard at the Alliance for the past 10 years and certainly deserves to take a little time for herself,” Templeton said. “We have already begun our discussions on the search for her successor.” Henderson said she will help ensure a smooth transition to a successor and will always feel a sense of ownership in the Alliance’s success. During her tenure, Henderson has been instrumental in bringing 10 new industrial projects to Roane County, the most recent one being Volkswagen’s new distribution center, a press release said. She came to the Alliance from the City of Knoxville, where she had been development director under former Mayor Victor Ashe. During her tenure in Knoxville, she oversaw the redevelopment of Market Square in downtown Knoxville, as well as implementation of a new downtown residential tax incentives program. “The Alliance is an amazing place, accomplishing amazing things,” Henderson said in her letter. “I am so appreciative to have had a chance to be a part of it and am proud of what we have achieved. The future of The Alliance looks bright, and I look forward to cheering it on from the sidelines.” Henderson serves on the International Advisory Committee of the International Economic Development Council, and she was featured in the March 2006 Business Tennessee magazine in their Executive Profile.
ORT: Red light ‘phishing’ scam actually a training exercise
(Oak Ridge Today) The red light camera scam that authorities warned about on Monday evening was actually a training exercise intended to only be used internally at Oak Ridge Associated Universities, a spokeswoman told our partners at Oak Ridge Today Tuesday morning. The e-mails were created as part of ORAU’s cybersecurity training, and they were meant to help educate employees about so-called “phishing” scams. The e-mails told recipients they had been captured on camera running a red light and had to pay a $50 fine. They instructed recipients to pay a fine through a PayPal link and warned them they could be subject to an extra $95 fee if they failed to do so. The e-mails were only sent to ORAU employees, Communications Director Pam Bonee said Tuesday morning. Any employees who clicked on the links in the e-mails would be directed to a website and given more information about phishing. Bonee said ORAU is still trying to figure out how the e-mails were sent to the Oak Ridge Police Department. It’s possible some ORAU employees called to verify them with the ORPD, which has a photo enforcement officer. ORPD Chief Jim Akagi sent out a media alert on Monday evening. Bonee said the police department was not aware of the exercise, and ORAU hadn’t coordinated with them because the exercise was only meant to be internal. She said ORAU’s Security and Safeguards Department conducts the exercises about every 30 days to protect computer and system integrity.
(Monday alert from ORPD) Earlier today, several Oak Ridge residents received e-mails from firstname.lastname@example.org, with the subject of “Redlight.” The e-mails were addressed to the recipient, who is identified with a first and last name, as well as an e-mail address. The e-mail states, “Your vehicle has been photographed running a red light,” and lists the violation occurred at “4:59 P.M. on November 11, 2013.” The e-mail also advises the violation occurred at the intersection of the “Oak Ridge Turnpike & Lafayette Drive, Oak Ridge, TN 37831, and the fine is $50.” The e-mail lists a hyperlink to “Redlight Violation,” where it claims “Pictures of this violation can be downloaded by clicking the link below.” It then lists a hyperlink to “Pay My Fine,” and advises “You may pay your fine by clicking this pay-pal link and entering your credit card information,” and if the recipient needs additional information, they may contact a hyperlink to “OR Photo Enforcement.” Finally, the e-mail states, “Failure to respond to this notice may result in an additional $95.00 processing fee.” The City of Oak Ridge and Redflex cameras do not do send redlight camera violation notices via the internet. The violations are processed using the registered owner of the license plate of the vehicle committing the violation and sent through the mail. Again, violations are never sent via the internet. These e-mails are a scam and recipients should immediately delete the e-mail from their inbox and not click on any hyperlinks. Further questions may be directed to the Oak Ridge Redflex Office at (865) 482-0502, or the Oak Ridge Police Department at (865) 425-3504.
Fire damages AC Jail expansion
A fire caused minor damage to the 212-bed expansion of the Anderson County Jail that is under construction on Monday morning. The fire was extinguished within 15 minutes of Clinton firefighters arriving on the scene and melted some metal siding on the second floor of the addition and burned some of the Styrofoam insulation between the interior and exterior wall. The fire was reported shortly after 11 am and initial indications are that a worker using a welding torch on the building’s roof may have sparked the blaze, but that has not yet been confirmed. No workers were in the immediate area of the fire when it began. Workers inside the building were evacuated but were able to resume construction activities in the afternoon after what amounted to a lengthy lunch break. No injuries were reported. The expansion is slated to open early next year.
OR Mall TIF clears final local hurdle
Monday, the Anderson County Commission unanimously approved a $13 million tax increment financing—or TIF—package to help with the proposed $85 million redevelopment of the nearly-vacant Oak Ridge Mall. The TIF package will allow developers Crosland Southeast to use new property tax revenues generated at the revamped mall to help pay for some of the ambitious project. Developers want to turn the mall into an open-air, retail-driven facility with space for retail shops, offices, a hotel, restaurants and even some residential units. The TIF package has sailed through the local approval process, having now been unanimously approved by the Oak Ridge City Council, Oak Ridge Industrial Development Board and the county’s operations and budget committees, and last night the full County Commission. The next step in the process will be state approval, and officials in Nashville are expected to review the package sometime within the next few weeks. Developers hope to open the new development, which will be called Freedom Park, sometime in 2016.
Report: Man jailed after chase
An Oak Ridge man was arrested early Monday morning after leading police on a pursuit that began in Oak Ridge and ended in Oliver Springs. According to the News-Sentinel, an Anderson County Sheriff’s deputy began pursuing 31-year-old Billy Joe Jackson after he ran a red light in Oak Ridge. Jackson did not stop until he was in Oliver Springs and when he did stop on Tri-County Boulevard, allegedly tossed a beer can from his van. Inside, officers found several empty beer cans and described Jackson’s speech as “very slurred.” While en route to the Anderson County Jail, Jackson also allegedly kicked the back window of a patrol car, causing damage. Jackson was charged with DUI, evading arrest, reckless endangerment, vandalism, driving on a revoked license, resisting arrest and violating the implied consent law. As of this morning, he remained in custody on bonds totaling $19,000.
Park Responds to Elk Concerns
(GSMNP) Please see the following response from Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials which addresses concerns and questions from the public regarding the recent decision to euthanize an elk: Last Friday park wildlife biologists made the difficult decision to euthanize an elk. The decision to euthanize an animal of any kind in the park is never made lightly. Elk are iconic symbols in the Smokies, but they are also dangerous wild animals. The park provides education about elk behavior and safe wildlife viewing in a variety of ways including signage, brochures, park website, ranger-led programs, and on-site volunteers who provide information daily at Oconaluftee and Cataloochee during the calving and breeding season. On October 20, 2013, a photographer in Cataloochee was approached by a young male elk while sitting alongside the road taking pictures. Photos and video of the encounter have been circulated widely. The elk had likely been fed by visitors and had lost his instinctive fear of humans. It associated humans with food and had been approaching visitors seeking handouts.
Did the park do anything to discourage this elk’s behavior?
Wildlife biologists use aversive conditioning techniques to haze animals that are becoming food conditioned due to visitors feeding them. These techniques usually include firing loud firecrackers, physically chasing the animal, and shooting them in the rump with bean bags or paintballs. Between September and last week, park biologists aggressively hazed this elk 28 times to discourage it from approaching the road and visitors. They captured, sedated, tagged, and re-released it on site. This technique has proven to be much more successful than relocation because it causes the animal to associate the place and people with an unpleasant experience. The elk did not respond to attempts by biologists to change its behavior. The behavior that it learned from park visitors who had given it food had been too strongly ingrained. By initiating physical contact with a visitor, the elk displayed an unacceptable risk to human safety. After becoming food conditioned, the elk did not respond to any attempts to keep it out of the area and away from humans. When wildlife exhibits this behavior it often escalates to more aggressive behavior creating a dangerous situation for visitors.
Why didn’t we relocate the elk or give the elk to a zoo?
The park considered relocating the elk to another public land area in North Carolina, but this was not a viable option due to the animal’s demonstrated potential to cause harm to people. If the animal had approached a child instead of an adult, the outcome for the visitor could have been very different. The park could not release the animal to a facility that houses a captive certified herd because animals introduced into these facilities are required to have verification that they have been free of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) for the past five years. In addition, interstate transport of elk or deer is prohibited because of risk of spreading diseases such as CWD into local populations.
Do we always kill “problem” elk?
No. Elk were reintroduced to the park in 2001. In the 13 years since the reintroduction, park biologists have used aversive conditioning on a number of animals. This is the first elk that we have had to euthanize due to nuisance behavior inside the park. We treat each animal as an individual, and each situation is different. During the past few weeks a dominant bull elk near the Oconaluftee Visitor Center charged several people who were in the field area, and recently charged and damaged a vehicle. This behavior occurred during the rut season and the elk was guarding his harem. Unlike food conditioned animals that approach humans for a handout, defending a harem is natural behavior for a bull elk. After exploring several options, the Park decided that removing the elk antlers was the best choice to protect visitors and avoid euthanizing the elk. There were no other large bull elk in the area to challenge the elk so he no longer needed the antlers for self-protection. Elk shed their antlers annually and begin regrowing them in spring. By removing the antlers, we significantly lessened the potential for physical harm and property damage. These two incidents demonstrate the difference between offensive and defensive behavior of wildlife. The mature bull at Oconaluftee was displaying defensive behavior by defending what it perceived as a threat to its harem. The spike bull in Cataloochee was displaying offensive behavior by actively seeking contact with humans in search of food handouts and had charged visitors along the roadway multiple times. Animals displaying offensive behavior towards humans pose a greater risk to human safety.
What can visitors do to help protect elk in the park?
• Do not feed elk! Dispose of all garbage or food scraps in wildlife-proof garbage containers or take it with you.
• Keep your distance from elk. Do not approach within 50 yards (150 feet) of an elk. If an elk approaches you, it is your responsibility to back away slowly to provide space for the animal to pass.
• Use binoculars, spotting scopes and cameras with telephoto lenses to enjoy wildlife.
• If you see another visitor breaking these rules, please call (865) 436-1230 or stop at a Visitor Center to report it.
For more information on how to safely view wildlife, please visit the park’s website at http://www.nps.gov/grsm/planyourvisit/wildlifeviewing.htm.
Blount man killed in Knox wreck
A Blount County man was killed in an accident that injured two others in Knox County early Sunday morning. The single-vehicle accident was reported just after 1 am Sunday on Woodson Drive and officers reported that a 2002 Pontiac Sunfire had left the roadway and collided with a utility pole, killing the front-seat passenger, 30-year-old Kenneth Klemt of Rockford. The driver, 38-year-old Christopher Glandon of Rockford was taken to UT Medical Center for treatment of what were described as non-life-threatening injuries and a backseat passenger identified as 53-year-old Clay Jumper of Knoxville was also transported to UT for minor injuries.
1 killed, 1 hurt in mobile home collapse
Last week in Morgan County, one man died and another was injured when a mobile home they were demolishing collapsed on them. The Morgan County Sheriff’s Office says that Scott Scarborough was killed in the collapse and that Matthew Smith, who owned the mobile home, was injured. They were pulling metal and wires out of the home at around 3 pm last Wednesday on Nelson Road in the Lancing community when the structure collapsed. One man escaped unharmed while Smith was pulled from the wreckage with a broken leg and Scarborough was crushed by the falling debris.
Man suffers fatal heart attack behind wheel
A retired police detective died last week on a Roane County roadway when he suffered a heart attack behind the wheel. The Tennessee Highway Patrol says that 67-year-old Richard Phillip Hadorn had been driving his pickup truck on Winton Chapel Road Thursday afternoon when his truck left the roadway and crashed. State troopers say that an autopsy determined that he had suffered a heart attack and was likely dead before the truck came to its final rest. Hadorn, according to our partners at BBB-TV, had only recently moved here from Florida after retiring from the New York Police Department.
Blount Library shows off improvements
The Blount County Public Library invited visitors to stop by Sunday afternoon to see some of its newly completed projects. The library's director, Kathy Pagles, said over the past two years the library renovation work ranged from new carpeting in its kids room and refurbishing some bathrooms, to replacing lamp shades throughout the building. The Friends of the Blount County Library and the Library Foundation funded those renovations. The library also just wrapped up a major move to a new online computer catalog. The library was closed from November 11-15 for that transition plus training. Click here for more information about the Blount County Public Library.
WBIR: Blount celebrates Recycle Day
Saturday was America Recycle Day and Blount County wanted everyone to know it.
One city in Blount County had to make a couple changes earlier this year to help clean up its act. Maryville spokesperson Jane Groff said the city made some changes last April. The city began staffing the recycling centers during operational hours. This allowed somebody to monitor what was being dumped on site and who was dumping it. Only Maryville residents could use these centers. All of these regulations just create a cleaner place to help make a cleaner environment. If you live in Blount County but not Maryville, there are a number of different options for recycling. You can visit the Keep Blount Beautiful page for a list of your options.
McNally part of effort to drug test judges
State Senator Randy McNally (R-Oak Ridge) and Representative Ryan Haynes (R-Knoxville) said today they will introduce legislation which calls for drug testing all Tennessee judges. McNally made the announcement after meeting yesterday with Knox County Prosecutor Leland Price and the families of Channon Christian and Chris Newsom. Christian and Newsom were raped, tortured and murdered by Lemaricus Davidson, Letalvis Cobbins, George Thomas and Vanessa Coleman seven years ago. “For a family to have to go through one trial where it involves the torturous murder of their loved one is far too painful for anyone to endure,” said Senator McNally. “But, to have to go through two trials is inconceivable and inexcusable. This legislation addresses this so that no one will have to endure this kind of lengthy and excruciatingly painful court process again due to drug abuse by a judge.” The families of Newsome and Christian had to endure two painful trials as a result of the misconduct of Judge Richard Baumgartner, who pleaded guilty to illegally taking narcotics during the first trial of the convicted murderers in which he presided. As a result of Baumgartner’s plea, the four defendants who had previously been found guilty, were retried and convicted again. McNally said he also plans to introduce legislation which provides for harsher punishment for ethical misconduct by officers of the court that lie about crime victims in order to advance their case. “Attorney are officers of the court and should not be allowed to lie in order to advance their case at the expense of the victim,” added McNally. “To do so amounts to a second crime against the victims and their families and should be treated as such.” McNally said both pieces of legislation are still in the drafting stages. “I am appalled at what these victims and their families endured during these trials,” added McNally. “We must make sure this never happens again.” McNally is the Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee and represents Senate District 5 in the Tennessee State Senate, which encompasses Anderson and Loudon Counties and portions of Knox County. Haynes is Chairman of the State Government Committee and represents portions of Knox County in the Tennessee House of Representatives.
GSMNP issues reminders about wildlife safety
Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials remind park visitors to exercise caution as they view and photograph wildlife to best protect both the animals and themselves. Park Rangers have recently received numerous reports of increased interactions between visitors and wildlife such as bears, white-tailed deer, and elk. Park Rangers encourage visitors to use binoculars, spotting scopes, or cameras with telephoto lenses to best enjoy wildlife. Feeding, touching, disturbing, and willfully approaching wildlife within 50 yards (150 feet), or any distance that disturbs or displaces wildlife, are illegal in the park. If approached by wildlife, visitors should slowly back away to put distance between the animal and themselves creating space for the animal to pass. Often animals simply need adequate space to cross a trail, road, or public area as they travel through the park in search of forage and cover. “Wild animals typically avoid visitor interaction unless they become food conditioned,” said Park Wildlife Biologist Bill Stiver. “If an animal starts approaching and threatening human safety, we have several proactive steps we take to effectively manage the situation that bests protects the animal and the public. However, if the negative behavior escalates, our options in dealing with the animal quickly become limited.” Biologists recently removed the antlers of a large bull elk that routinely spends time in high use, public areas in fields adjacent to the Oconluftee Visitor Center, Mountain Farm Museum, and the Oconaluftee River Trail. Dominant bull elk typically defend their territory during the fall breeding season, known as the rut, by charging and sparring with competitors. Unfortunately, this 800-pound elk charged several visitors posing significant to public safety. Now that the rut is essentially over, the elk’s aggressive behavior should lessen and by removing the elk’s antlers which are annually shed, biologists further reduced the risk for harm to visitors. Park officials have taken numerous steps over the past several years to prevent nuisance wildlife behavior by improving the design of bear-proof garbage cans and sanitation schedules, and promoting public awareness in our visitor centers and through our website and social media. The Park also created several volunteer programs including the Elk Bugle Corp and Oconaluftee Field Rovers, who provide on-site, timely information to park visitors so they may safely view wildlife. As a result of these efforts, wildlife biologists have relocated far fewer bears than in the 1980s and managed fewer nuisance animals. For more information on how to safely view wildlife, please visit the park’s website at http://www.nps.gov/grsm/planyourvisit/wildlifeviewing.htm.
Blount lodge heavily damaged by fire
The Dancing Bear Lodge & Restaurant in Townsend was destroyed by a fire Thursday afternoon that sent one firefighter to the hospital for treatment of smoke inhalation. The fire was first reported as a chimney fire shortly after noon but when firefighters arrived on the scene, flames and smoke were pouring out of the four-story lodge and they quickly determined that they were not going to be able to save the building. Crews from the Townsend and Blount County fire departments battled the heavy flames for several hours and firefighters remained on the scene well into the evening extinguishing hot spots. A Townsend firefighter was kept overnight for observation at Blount Memorial Hospital but is expected to be OK. No lodge workers were injured and the lone guest was not on the property when the fire started. Dancing Bear officials say that they will begin the rebuilding process as soon as they can and thanked the firefighters for their efforts, which prevented the flames from spreading to the cabins on the property and to the nearby woods. The lodge is located off East Lamar Alexander Parkway and was estimated to be worth around $2.5 million.
Roane wreck kills 1
A Kingston man died in a single vehicle accident early Friday morning in Harriman. The Tennessee Highway Patrol reports that 22-year-old Patrick E. Fly of Kingston had been headed south on Swan Pond Road at around 1:30 am in a Nissan Altima when he failed to negotiate a curve. His car skidded and left the roadway, flipping several times and ejecting Fly, who was not wearing a seatbelt. He was pronounced dead at the scene. The THP report indicates that alcohol was involved in the crash and standard tests have been ordered. He was alone in the car and no other vehicles were involved.
Officials celebrate new life for historic OR inn
Representatives of the Family Pride Corporation out of Loudon County were joined by local, state and federal officials Thursday to celebrate the official groundbreaking on the project to convert the historic Alexander Inn in Oak Ridge into an assisted living facility. The building was constructed in the 1940s and served as the official lodging for dignitaries visiting Oak Ridge during the days of the Manhattan Project but had fallen into disrepair over the past 20 years. The building was included on preservationists most endangered area historic structures on several occasions before Family Pride stepped in and proposed converting it to an assisted living center for senior citizens. The project was able to move forward thanks in part to a $500,000 DOE grant that allowed the company to purchase and stabilize the building. The company was also granted a 10-year tax abatement on the property. Workers have been stabilizing the structure since May and say that the conversion into a 64-room assisted living facility should be complete sometime next summer. The project is expected to cost $5.5 million and will create as many as 30 new jobs in Oak Ridge.
ACSD announces retirement of Chief Jailer Avery Johnson
Sheriff Paul White announced today that Chief Jailer Avery Johnson has retired after almost 33 years of service with the Anderson County Sheriff’s Department. Chief Johnson began his career with the department in February 1981. After working patrol, Chief Johnson was assigned to the jail and was promoted to sergeant in charge of the jail operations in March of 1984. As the responsibilities of the jail operations increased, Chief Johnson was promoted through the ranks of lieutenant, captain, and later, chief jailer. Except for brief periods, Chief Johnson has remained as the jail administrator since 1984 and may have been the longest serving jail administrator in Tennessee. During his tenure, the Anderson County Jail has grown from a small facility in the courthouse to a modern detention center that will hold over 500 inmates. Chief Johnson’s knowledge and experience have been invaluable to the department over these many years. Johnson also served one term as an Anderson County Commissioner. The Anderson County Sheriff’s Department wishes to thank Chief Johnson for his many years of dedication and service and wishes him well in his retirement.
Blount mayor announces re-election bid
Blount County Mayor Ed Mitchell has announced that he will seek re-election to that office in next year’s election. Mitchell says that he and his staff have worked hard in his first term to reduce the county’s spending and its debt load and that he hopes to continue to apply his conservative financial approach to the county’s business in a second term. Mitchell will hold a reception to kick off his re-election campaign on Wednesday November 20th from 4 to 6 pm at the Everett Recreational Center in Maryville.
Arson suspected in AC fire
Firefighters from the Andersonville and Medford Volunteer Fire Departments responded to a fire this morning that destroyed a mobile home on Stephens Lane. No injuries were reported but the fire is being investigated as a case of arson after authorities discovered what were described as suspicious items at the scene. We will have more on this story for you as the investigation unfolds.
Report: Both sides amenable to discussing ‘Rocky Top’
Lawyers representing the company that owns the trademark to the name “Rocky Top” and the copyright to the iconic bluegrass song of the same name have backed off the threatening language included in a letter faxed to Lake City leaders last week and have indicated they are willing to sit down and discuss the city’s decision to change its name to Rocky Top. The name change, which was approved in a unanimous vote of the Lake City Council last week is seen as the first step toward turning the former coal mining town into a tourist destination featuring attractions like a large restaurant, an interactive 3D theater and other amenities. Lawyers representing the House of Bryant LLC in a letter sent to city leaders last week warned of possible legal action if the town went through with its plans to change the name and develop the proposed tourist mecca, but the News-Sentinel reports that those attorneys have now indicated they are willing to sit down and negotiate a possible licensing agreement as the company owns several trademarks involving the name Rocky Top. Developers have indicated that they, too, are willing to sit down, saying that they are not in this to step on anyone’s toes or infringe upon existing copyrights. The name change was deemed mandatory for the project to move forward due to the marketing possibilities associated with Rocky Top in this part of the country. Attorneys told the paper that the House of Bryant is “reasonable” and is not looking for a court battle, instead saying that they will consider all options as the project moves forward. The name change must be approved by the State Legislature when it convenes in Nashville in January and once that occurs, as expected, the City Council will have to ratify the move. We will continue to keep you posted as developments warrant.
State report cards show growth in Blount, Alcoa, Maryville
Wednesday, the Tennessee Department of Education released the annual state Report Card and local school systems made significant gains. The Blount County school system received As on its math and social studies assessments and Bs on its reading and science assessments. Last year, the district received Bs on its math, reading, science and social studies assessments. Blount County received As on its math and social studies value-added scores and Bs on its reading and science value-added scores. Last year, the district received As on its math and social studies value-added scores, C in reading and a D in science. The Maryville schools received all As on its math, reading, science and social studies assessments, the same as last year. Maryville also received As in its math, science and social studies value-added scores and a B on its reading value-added scores. Last year, Maryville received an A in social studies, Bs on its math and reading and a C in science. The Alcoa schools got all As on its math, reading, science, and social studies assessments. Last year, the district received As in reading and social studies and Bs in math and science assessments. Alcoa received all As on its math, reading, science, and social studies value-added scores. Last year, the district received As in math and social studies, a B in reading and a C in science.
State report cards show growth in Anderson, Clinton, Oak Ridge
Wednesday, the Tennessee Department of Education released the annual state Report Card and local school systems made significant gains. In Anderson County, assessment scores in elementary and middle schools scored As in math and social studies and Bs in reading and science. A year ago, the system received Bs in math and social studies, a C in reading, and a B in science. In the value-added category, the system received As in math, science and social studies. Last year, the system received Cs in reading and science, a B in social studies and an A in math. In grades 9-12, students exceeded expectations on End of Course exams in Algebras I & II, Biology I and US History and scored above expectations on their composite ACT scores as well as in math and science. There was no significant difference between expectations and value-added achievement and in no category did students fail to meet expectations. Anderson County graduated 91.3% of its students last year. The Clinton city schools received straight As, the same as last year and in Oak Ridge, elementary schoolers earned straight As on their achievement scores. In the value added category, Oak Ridge students earned As in math and social studies—the same as a year ago—and improved from Cs to Bs in reading and science. Oak Ridge high school students were above expectations in both End of Course achievement and value added scores. For a complete look at how your local systems performed, visit http://www.tn.gov/education/reportcard/2013.shtml.
ORT: Stop sign put up for OR traffic safety upgrades
(Oak Ridge Today) They had already authorized the spending, but on Monday, the Oak Ridge City Council balked at awarding a $365,000 construction contract that would use red light camera money for pedestrian safety projects. The project would have made traffic safety and pedestrian crosswalk improvements at eight Oak Ridge Turnpike intersections and three residential intersections. The Oak Ridge Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan had said the intersections needed improvements, and the Council authorized the spending during a special meeting in August. But on Monday, a few questioned how much red light camera will remain, and they expressed concern that the contract for the sometimes-controversial cameras will expire soon, possibly in April. Council member Trina Baughn proposed an indefinite postponement of the Turnpike safety improvements, saying that the city had spent down much of the red light camera money in the past nine months. Baughn said she was an early supporter of the cameras, but they have negatively affected businesses and much of the money collected from their citations is not directly related to student safety. But Oak Ridge Mayor Tom Beehan said the camera money is not only intended to make roads safer near schools; the city can also improve conditions for the elderly and handicapped, he said. Council members Anne Garcia Garland and Chuck Hope supported Baughn’s proposal to indefinitely postpone the Turnpike improvements, but it failed in a 3-4 vote. However, a subsequent vote to proceed with the work also failed, again in a 3-4 vote. Council member David Mosby joined Baughn, Garcia Garland, and Hope in voting against it. Joining Beehan in voting for it were Council members Jane Miller and Charlie Hensley. A big chunk of the red light camera money was used for another project that is almost complete and was also endorsed in August. It improves a city-owned parking lot on the north side of Jackson Square. Oak Ridge Finance Director Janice McGinnis told Council members that about $235,000 would remain in the red light camera fund after both sets of pedestrian safety projects, including the work proposed by the contract that Council rejected on Monday, were finished.
AC Public Defender Tom Marshall announces re-election bid
(Submitted) Tom Marshall will seek re-election as the Anderson County Public Defender in 2014. Marshall, a graduate of the University of North Carolina School Of Law, is seeking a fourth term as Public Defender. Marshall has served as Anderson County Public Defender since 1989 and also serves as an Adjunct Professor of Law at Roane State Community College. Marshall was appointed Anderson County Public Defender by Governor Ned McWherter in 1989 and then elected by the citizens of Anderson County in 1990 and re-elected in 1998 and 2006. Marshall is also a graduate the US Army JAGC School Advanced Course in Charlottesville, Virginia. Marshall was an officer in the US Army JAG Corps on Active Duty from 1977 until 1985 stationed both in the United States and Germany. Marshall also supervised the prosecutor’s office as Chief of Criminal Law at Fort Jackson, South Carolina. Marshall is now a retired Lieutenant Colonel in the US Army Reserve. The public defender represents all indigent criminal defendants in the various courts of Anderson County. Marshall, who supervises four attorneys and three investigators who are also paralegals, is recognized as one of the best Public Defenders in Tennessee with more than seventy years of legal experience on his current staff. Marshall is qualified to represent defendants in death penalty cases. Marshall is slated to serve as President of the Tennessee Public Defenders Conference from 2014 until 2015. He formerly served as President of the Conference from 2004 until 2005. This organization is responsible for the administration and training of Public Defenders across the state of Tennessee. Tom Marshall also serves as a member of the Anderson County Community Corrections Board and as a member of the Anderson County Drug Court Team. A member of First Baptist Church in Clinton he has served as a Deacon since 2004. Marshall has been active in the Claxton Optimist Club, Habitat for Humanity, and is the Chairman of the Board for ADFAC. He also serves the community as a Junior Achievement Instructor in our local schools. Tom lives in Clinton with his wife Pat Marshall.
Report: Morgan corrections officer arrested
A Morgan County corrections officer was recently arrested in Roane County. WVLT-TV reports that deputies responded to a domestic disturbance at the Kingston home of Vickie Lynn Hill and her husband Fred Hill and found marijuana inside the home. Both Hills are facing domestic assault and drug possession charges.
Crisis Intervention Training in OR
Last week, law enforcement officers and mental health professionals attended a five-day Crisis Intervention Training course. The course provided officers with new ways to handle people who might be dealing with mental health issues that, when not properly handled, can escalate to the point where the disturbed individual present a danger to themselves or others, often with tragic consequences. Last week’s was the sixth such course held in Oak Ridge, which made this type of training a priority after a fatal officer-involved shooting of a man who was suffering from mental health issues a few years ago. The course involved visits in the community as well as classroom instruction and role-playing at Ridgeview Behavioral Center. Officers and mental health workers came together to learn new ways to manage these types of situations and ensure they do not end in tragedy. The training also serves as a way to build relationships between law enforcement officers and mental health workers with the ultimate goal of getting people who need it treatment and out of jail where their problems may not be addressed.
BCSO deputies aid in Grainger lockdown, search
Blount County Sheriff’s deputies were called in to assist with the lockdown and search of the Grainger County Jail on Tuesday. The operation was necessitated by last weekend’s escape by three prisoners from the jail, which was either not detected or reported until two days later. District Attorney General Jimmy Dunn requested help from Blount County late Tuesday morning and by the afternoon, almost 50 deputies, including members of the BCSO’s SWAT and Corrections Emergency Response Teams—or CERT—were on the scene. The additional help was needed due to the small size of Grainger County and its Sheriff’s Department, which simply lacked the manpower to secure the inmates and conduct the search of the facility on their own. The search turned up contraband in cells such as coffee, tobacco and cell phones. The three inmates apparently scaled a fence in the recreation yard sometime Friday but their escape was not reported until Sunday evening. As a result, two jailers have been fired and could face possible criminal charges, although the exact nature of those charges has not been disclosed. The three inmates—Shane Lee Farrow, Dennis Chad Rucker, and David Allen Valentine—are still being sought and authorities say they are to be considered dangerous. The circumstances that led to their escape are still under investigation.
OR man jailed after ramming ex, new beau
An Oak Ridge man was arrested Saturday after he allegedly crashed his car into a vehicle in which his ex-girlfriend and her new beau were in. The incident happened on South Illinois Avenue and no injuries were reported. 24-year-old Jay Davis Jr. is accused of following his ex and her new boyfriend from the other man’s apartment, then deliberately crashing his car into the other vehicle, forcing it off the road. He is then accused of pounding on the boyfriend’s window and yelling at him. The responding Oak Ridge police officer reported that as he approached the scene, he could hear Davis screaming “Yeah, I did it on purpose.” As of this morning, Davis remained in custody on two charges of aggravated assault with his bond set at $25,000.
Chili’s to help CHS hoops
If your plans today—or any Wednesday during basketball season—involve eating out, consider Chili’s on Clinton Highway in Knoxville. If you eat there, be sure to tell your server that “this is for Clinton High School basketball” and 10% of your total bill will be donated to the Clinton High School basketball program. It is an easy—and tasty—way to support local student-athletes.
OR Council approves Mall TIF
Monday, the Oak Ridge City Council voted 6-0 with one abstention to approve a $13 million tax increment financing package to help redevelop the nearly-vacant Oak Ridge Mall property. The TIF package approved Monday for developers Crosland Southeast could last for up to 20 years. TIF packages allow new property tax revenues generated at a site to be used for its development, in this case demolition and infrastructure work. The proposal had previously been approved by three local legislative bodies—the Oak Ridge Industrial Development Board and the Anderson County government’s Operations and Budget committees—before Monday’s meeting. The only Council member not to vote on the package was Trina Baughn, who said that she could not support the TIF due to its length, but abstained because she did not want to vote against the project. As currently envisioned by Crosland Southeast, the redeveloped mall property could open in 2016 as Freedom Park, creating up to 1000 new jobs and increasing city and county sales tax revenues by over $2 million a year. The currently enclosed and all but vacant mall would be demolished and replaced by an open-air, mixed-use development that could feature up to 400,000 square feet of retail space, up to 100,000 square feet of office space, residential units, a hotel and restaurants. The TIF package will be considered by the full Anderson County Commission on Monday night.
OR Council boosts city manager salary
The Oak Ridge City Council voted 4-3 Monday to give City Manager Mark Watson a 10% pay raise. According to our partners at Oak Ridge Today, the salary increase was passed after efforts to give Watson smaller raises of 1 and 4% were defeated. The 10% increase had been recommended by a 3-member City Manager Evaluation Committee chaired by Councilman Chuck Hope. The increase brings Watson’s salary in line with other city managers across the state and with those in cities that also have DOE facilities. His new salary is $150,321.60. Voting in favor of the salary increase were Hope and Mayor Pro Tem Jane Miller along with Mayor Tom Beehan and Councilman Charlie Hensley. Voting against the pay raise were Council members Trina Baughn, Anne Garcia Garland and David Mosby.
ORT: Preservation awards announced
(Oak Ridge Today) Two Anderson County properties were among a dozen that received East Tennessee Preservation Awards on Friday. The two properties are The Hemlocks and 101 West Norris, the East Tennessee Preservation Alliance said in a press release Monday. The awards presentation on Friday at the Chilhowee Club in Maryville was part of the fifth annual East Tennessee Preservation Conference, which focused on preservation and economic development. The Hemlocks is at 1135 Old Lake City Highway in Clinton, and the West Norris home is at 101 West Norris Ave. in Norris. The awards were presented by Patrick McIntyre, Tennessee’s state historic preservation officer; Scott Brooks, ETPA president, and Ethiel Garlington, director of preservation field services. The press release said award-winning projects represent the best examples of historic preservation throughout the region: adaptive re-use, heritage tourism, mid-century modern, and much more. “East Tennessee’s built environment is rich and diverse, and these annual awards celebrate the communities, places, and individuals who ensure future East Tennesseans will have physical evidence of its stories,” the release said. The other winners and award recipients were:
ETPA was founded in 2009, and it serves the 16-county East Tennessee region and works in partnership with Knox Heritage. ETPA is made up of representatives from all 16 counties and works to help further historic preservation in the region through educational events, technical assistance, and by assisting existing organizations.
ORNL retiree remembers hospital bombing
(ORNL) Ernest Shepherd attended Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Veterans Day ceremony wearing a uniform similar to what he wore in 1944 when the hospital he was working in as a medic in Belgium was hit with a German bomb. Shepherd – an 89-year-old Knoxville resident and an ORNL retiree who treated wounded from the D-Day invasion prior to moving on to Belgium -- would earn the Purple Heart for his heroics in the aftermath of the bombing. “It blew out all the windows in that whole building,” recalled Shepherd, who was on the second floor when the bomb crashed into the hospital and exploded about 300 feet from where he was located. “It killed 29 people. There were between 12 to 15 air personnel killed and one major who I really liked got killed. I got wounded in the face with shrapnel or flying glass. That’s how I earned the Purple Heart.” After recovering from his injuries in Paris, Shepherd was sent back to Belgium a few months later and treated wounded from the Battle of the Bulge.
ORNL Vet Day speaker shares experiences
(ORNL) Danny McKnight’s U.S, Army Rangers’ unit was the focus of the movie “Black Hawk Down”-- the story of a battle that occurred in Somalia 20 years ago. McKnight told an Oak Ridge National Laboratory Veterans Day audience he visits the six graves of men who lost their lives in that battle every five years as he did this past October. “It reminds me of how special they were and still are to me,” said McKnight, a 28 1/2-year veteran of the Rangers and author of the book “Streets of Mogidishu – Leadership at Its Best” that recounts the battle of Oct. 3-4, 1993. “I want people to know about it because I want people to understand that’s what we need to do. I never want to forget them. I don’t care if they’ve been gone 50 years. As long as I can walk, talk and breathe every five years, they’ll see me. I know they see me.” Three hundred people recently attended the unit’s first reunion in 20 years in October when they met in Dallas. “Seeing guys who probably should have died over there, but were running with me in a 5K race meant so much,” McKnight said. “Meeting the families was special. A lot of these guys weren’t married then, but they’re married with kids now. It was special to bring them all together in one place.” McKnight also reminded his audience Veterans Day honors all veterans – past and present. “I try to remind [people that] everybody that has worn and is wearing the uniform are veterans,” McKnight emphasized. “Let’s not forget about those who are serving because they need our prayers today.”
Follow-up: Commissioner responds to mayor’s op-ed
Earlier this week, we posted an op-ed piece from Anderson County Mayor Terry Frank on our website that dealt with the ongoing dispute between her and Sheriff Paul White over the ACSD’s salary agreement for this fiscal year. In that piece, Mayor Frank asserted that the jail is no longer overcrowded and maintained her stance that signing the agreement as-is would effectively lock the county into a tax increase next year, which would exceed her authority as mayor. Thursday, Commissioner Myron Iwanski, who was criticized in the mayor’s opinion piece, responded with his own open letter. In it, he states that the jail overcrowding problem has not been resolved and likely will not be until the 212-bed expansion opens sometime next year. Iwanski writes: “This year’s budget approved by County Commission…provided enough funding for staffing the final phase of the jail expansion without a tax increase – but only for the last 6 months of this fiscal year. The sheriff has agreed to operate within the approved budget, but the Mayor has refused to sign the salary agreement to allow this to happen. So we are stuck in a lengthy and costly lawsuit that will probably lead to a tax increase that could have been easily avoided.” He is referring to the salary lawsuit filed by Sheriff Paul White against Mayor Frank over her refusal to sign the agreement. You can read Commissioner Iwanski’s complete response as well as Mayor Frank’s piece and much more on this quagmire on the Local Information News page of our website. Wednesday in a special called meeting, the County Commission reaffirmed the Sheriff’s budget and authorized him to hire new jailers beginning in January. We will continue to follow this story for you.
Commissioner Iwanski’s response to Mayor Frank
(Commissioner Myron Iwanski) Mayor Frank’s op-ed column submitted to the media this week questions County Commission’s decision to expand the jail. It has some incorrect statements about the history of this decision that need to be corrected.
In 10 years the peak daily population of the jail nearly tripled. In 2000 there were 120 inmates and in 2010 there were 340. The jail had a capacity of 226 when the decision to expand the jail was made in 2011. The peak daily population this year has increased to 396.
Mayor Frank’s claim that the jail is not overcrowded in very misleading.
This overcrowding is causing major problems in being able to properly classify inmates based on risks and other factors. This was the major reason the State was about to decertify the jail in 2011. It also does not take into account that we have approximately 3000 outstanding arrest warrants, some of which prosecutors and deputies will tell you are for criminals that need to be in the jail. These criminals are not being actively pursued because of a lack of jail space.
The number of inmates in the jail varies from day to day and is totally dependent on those arresting, prosecuting, defending, and judging these criminals – not County Commission. County Commission is required to fund the jail to house however many are assigned to the jail by the criminal justice system. Faced with serious overcrowding and decertification of the jail by the state and federal lawsuits, County Commission had no choice but to expand the jail.
Mayor Frank’s column implies that a 16.2 cent tax increase was passed in 2010 to fund the jail. That also is misleading. The largest portion of that tax increase went to fund the County Alternative School.
Taxes were increased (for the first time in 10 years) by 5 cents (2 percent - or $15 per year for an average homeowner) to fund the jail construction. This was with the understanding that the extra cost for operating the jail would be paid for by savings in other areas and by increasing revenue for housing a limited number of low risk state and/or federal inmates.
For 10 years County Commission has been encouraging those in our criminal justice system to put alternatives to jail in place to help slow down the rate of growth in jail population. In 2011 Commission provided a small amount of funding for a program to help jump start these alternatives.
Per the plan for staffing the jail, last year we able to staff the dormitory phase of the jail project without a tax increase by working to hold down spending in other areas of the sheriff’s budget.
This year’s budget approved by County Commission also provided enough funding for staffing the final phase of the jail expansion without a tax increase – but only for the last 6 months of this fiscal year.
The sheriff has agreed to operate within the approved budget, but the Mayor has refused to sign the salary agreement to allow this to happen. So we are stuck in a lengthy and costly lawsuit that will probably lead to a tax increase that could have been easily avoided.
The jail was built with extra beds to allow for the expected increase in jail population over the next 10 years. Several of us on County Commission believe we can provide the staffing for the full year for this final phase of jail expansion by contracting to house a small number of low-risk state and federal inmates at a negotiated rate that allows us to cover some of our fixed costs.
We are asking that the Law Director prepare a plan for County Commission consideration that would allow us to use this revenue to pay for these jailers without a tax increase - like some other counties in the state have done.
The mayor has said:
It appears that with this and other issues the county is beginning to look as dysfunctional as Washington, DC. As leaders, we need to work together to find solutions to problems and offer workable alternatives rather than just saying no.
AC Commission reaffirms authorization for new jailers
Meeting in a special session Wednesday night (11/6) the Anderson County Commission approved one of two motions proposed by Commissioner Myron Iwanski to address the ongoing dispute between the County Mayor and the sheriff over the proposed salary agreement for the Sheriff’s department, specifically the soon-to-be-expanded jail. After a lengthy discussion, commissioners voted 13-2 with one absence to reaffirm that Sheriff Paul White can hire the jailers needed to operate the new jail pod when it opens early next year. The measure authorizes the hiring of up to 36 new jailers beginning on January 1st using $750,000 previously allocated by the Commission. The meeting never went behind closed doors for an executive session as had been expected as County law Director Jay Yeager told commissioners that was not necessary. Sheriff White sued County Mayor Terry Frank after she refused to sign his department’s salary agreement for the fiscal year that began on July 1st. She maintains that she cannot sign the agreement as presented to her because it would, in effect, lock the county in to a tax increase next year and would exceed her authority as mayor. The Sheriff’s Department says that the salary agreement presented to the mayor includes the funding figure for what it would take to fund all 36 new positions at the jail because of state requirements. The Sheriff also contends that the agreement makes it clear that he accepts the funding approved by commissioners in July and will stay within that approved budget. Legal bills on both sides continue to mount as the dispute drags on. The case is scheduled to go before a Knox County judge in December if no settlement can be reached before then. A second motion presented by Commissioner Iwanski to develop a plan for increasing per diem fees and board bills for inmates being held locally for the state was deferred until the next Commission meeting, set for November 18th. For much more on this story please visit the “Local Information News” page of our website.
AC Mayor offers jail op-ed
Anderson County Mayor has penned an op-ed piece on the jail issue in which she says that: “As I write today, the current jail population is 319. With 86 of those inmates being state prisoners, that leaves our local population at 233. We are not currently overcrowded.” In the opinion piece, Mayor Frank criticizes Commissioner Myron Iwanski’s push to house federal prisoners in the expanded jail as a way to fund the positions the Sheriff wants funded, stating that “I, for one, view the housing of federal inmates as a business I do not wish our county to enter.” Mayor Frank also directed readers to a new website (www.acgovdocs.com) where she invites citizens to look at the documents associated with the salary dispute and the jail. We have posted the mayor’s editorial on our website. We also have posted a copy of an e-mail sent last month by Commissioner Iwanski to his fellow commissioners and other county officials regarding the jail dispute. The e-mail comes to us courtesy of our partners at www.oakridgetoday.com. A third letter, this one drafted by Mayor Frank in response to Commissioner Iwanski's proposal, was sent this morning and is also included on our website.
(Mayor Terry Frank) Prior to my election as Mayor, the history of our county jail expansions and additions was directly related to increasing inmate population. The year 2011 saw property taxes increased 16.2 cents and monies were allocated to alleviating the overcrowding. Immediately, the quick construction of a new 128-bed dorm as a lower cost solution of $ 1.74 million alleviated most of the jail overcrowding problem, leaving only the women’s unit with crowding concerns. Anderson County citizens were then asked that while current problems were being addressed why not make plans to address potential overcrowding for years to come? This new 11+ million dollar addition of another 212 jail beds would carry us for at least the “next 10 years” according to then-Interim Mayor Myron Iwanski (Commission meeting 4/18/2011). Not only would the new addition allow us room for growth for the future, we were told, but it would be designed with the latest design efficiencies put in place, therefore enabling a more efficient, cost effective manner of operating our county jail. In fact, then-Interim Mayor Iwanski said “it’s going to be a whole lot less expensive” and a “much more efficient operation.” Currently, our jail is certified for 354 inmates.
Since I’ve been in office, our county has witnessed a decline in inmate population. As I write today, the current jail population is 319. With 86 of those inmates being state prisoners, that leaves our local population at 233. We are not currently overcrowded. So why is Commissioner Iwanski leading a charge to initiate the housing of federal inmates as a way to hire an additional 36 jailers to guard what are currently empty cells?
I realize in this day and age that many folks are cynical of politicians and often view our statements as elected officials as couched in political angles to advance our own selves. And so it is for this reason that I am placing many of the documents that have been involved in the current salary dispute online at this web address: www.acgovdocs.com. As the good people of Anderson County, I know you are capable of making your own decisions regarding what you believe is the best course of action for this county and I encourage you to not only take a look at the documents, but feel free to ask me questions. If you want more information, please ask. I’ll get it.
You don’t need my commentary to make up your mind. As we face the challenges and also the opportunities that lay ahead of us here as a county, where we allocate funds---both funds that we are required to spend and funds that are discretionary and of our own choosing—we need to make bold decisions. I, for one, view the housing of federal inmates as a business I do not wish our county to enter. I have been advised that we cannot legally make money on the proposition, and as a government, if we are going to subsidize anything at all, we should subsidize positive expenditures that benefit the future of Anderson County and the generations to follow. We should not be using the tax dollars of Anderson County to subsidize the housing of state or federal prisoners.
The years 2009-2011 saw our county’s financial stature tarnished as Moody’s chose to place us on negative outlook. With a new Moody’s rating just released Monday, they feel confident in our current direction, but have kept our rating as negative outlook until we, as a county, can display sustained prudent practices that extend beyond the new direction of 2012. I submit that it is not prudent to raise taxes, again, to pay more than one million dollars more, to hire more jailers, to house prisoners that are not the responsibility of Anderson County. I encourage you to examine the facts yourself at www.acgovdocs.com.
(From Oak Ridge Today) Note: This is a copy of an Oct. 9 e-mail that Anderson County Commissioner Myron Iwanski sent to the other commissioners and county officials. The sheriff’s salary lawsuit against the county mayor was not discussed during the Oct. 21 County Commission meeting, as Iwanski had hoped, but it is scheduled to be considered during a special meeting [Wednesday] evening.
I am very concerned that the legal battle between the mayor and sheriff has not been resolved. This battle will have huge impacts on our budget this year and in future years. I have asked that this item be placed on the agenda for the Operations Committee meeting, and I would like to see it discussed by the full County Commission at its next meeting.
Costs continue to mount in this legal battle. If the large attorney fees are included with the cost for staff time to prepare all the documents and evidence being demanded, I believe this case could end up costing the county hundreds of thousands of dollars.
More importantly, no matter which side prevails in this case, I fully expect we will be told by Tennessee Corrections Institute and/or the federal courts that we must fund the jail. As we wait for this legal case to be resolved, nothing is being done toward bringing in the federal inmates we need to help provide the funds we need to operate the jail in future. This will likely mean that we will be forced into a tax increase next year. This could have been avoided had this case been worked out and we instead focused on getting the revenue we need to operate the jail.
I believe the mayor and sheriff have it within their power to resolve this case immediately, and that County Commission has done its part to provide the funding needed for the jail. Unfortunately, nothing has happened to resolve this case, and the costs for the county are growing exponentially.
I think it is important that everyone understand what was approved by County Commission during the meeting on the 2013/2014 budget. To refresh my memory, I have gone back and listened to recordings of each of our meetings on this year’s budget, specifically regarding staffing of the jail.
I have attempted to provide a summary of what I believe are the key point made at these meeting in the attached paraphrased statements from County Commissioners and others at the meeting. If you are able to, I encourage each of you to watch these videos on the ACTV website (Anderson County television, Channel 95). In reviewing the videos, I think there are some key conclusions that can be drawn regarding jail staffing:
Everyone that spoke—including many commissioners, the mayor, the chief jailer, and the budget director—were in favor of this approach. No one spoke against it at any of these meetings before the budget was passed.
County Commission should not have to intervene in this battle at this point. When County Commission approves a budget for other departments, we approve a funding level and leave it for the department head or elected official to decide how many employees they can hire with those funds.
However, without a willingness by the mayor and sheriff to sit down and resolve this matter to avoid this long and costly court battle, I suggest the County Commission consider passing a resolution that states:
This case must be resolved immediately so that we can avoid the rapidly mounting legal costs and begin working on ways to generate funds to operate the jail. Otherwise, County Commission will be forced into a situation of needing a tax increase next year.
Note: Iwanski has since revised the two-part resolution included above, and the modified proposal was recommended to the full commission by the Anderson County Operations Committee on Monday.
This letter in response to Commissioner Iwanski's proposal was written by Mayor Terry Frank and sent to local media outlets, including this radio station, on Wednesday November 6.
Dear Commissioner Iwanski,
I want to take the opportunity to reply to your letter to Commissioners regarding your motions to be forwarded from Operations Committee.
1. Your motion characterizes $750,000 as “extra” monies. $750,000 was the amount budget committee passed, as did Commission, for extra salary monies for the Sheriff’s Department. Those monies have already been placed in the salary code for the Sheriff. I wanted to make sure no one was under the impression that there are “extra” monies.
2. Your motion does not address the appropriation concerns that are at the center of the entire legal matter. I have always been willing and remain willing to accept changes on the number of employees. However, I am not willing to accept the language that commits Anderson County to another million dollars. Again, I believe signing a document that commits us to $7+ million is a violation and outside of my authority. See link: http://acgovdocs.files.wordpress.com/2013/11/proposed-letter-of-agreement.png
3. I understand your desire to increase revenue. And if you are going to increase expenditures, legally, you must have a revenue source. However, future anticipated revenues will not qualify for a future revenue source when there is no contract in place for state prisoners, no contract for federal prisoners, no assurance that we will even qualify for federal prisoners, and no current plan to house federal prisoners. We cannot artificially raise future revenues for an idea or proposal that has not yet come to fruition. I just wanted to make sure there was clarity on that issue as I don’t have insight to where you are headed and because you will be going into a closed session.
Please see link with admissions regarding housing of inmates that are not the responsibility of Anderson County: http://acgovdocs.files.wordpress.com/2013/11/2013-11-04-petitioners-response-to-requests-for-admissions.pdf;http://acgovdocs.com/2013/11/05/sheriff-whites-response-to-mayors-requests-for-admission-regarding-state-and-federal-prisoners/
4. For edification and transparency, I have placed the legal documents to date on the website:http://www.acgovdocs.com.
Please contact me with any questions, concerns, or if you would like information. I am always happy to provide Commission with whatever documents you need in making your decisions.
Fire destroys vacant mobile home
A fire destroyed a vacant mobile home on Pine Ridge Road in Marlow on Thursday night (11/7). The fire was reported at about 8:30 p.m. Thursday at 221 Pine Ridge Road. About 20 firefighters responded from the Marlow and Oliver Springs fire departments. Anderson County Emergency Medical Services personnel and Anderson County Sheriff’s deputies also responded. No injuries were reported.
Man hit, killed by train in Roane
A Crossville man was killed over the weekend when he was struck by a train in Roane County. Authorities say 51-year-old James Edward Dick was struck and killed by a train early Saturday morning (11/9). An engineer on the train called 911 around 3 am and said that he believed he had struck someone on the tracks in Rockwood near Delozier Lane. Police found the man's body a short time later. Dick was pronounced dead at the scene and officials say the incident does not appear suspicious at this time.
Harriman man dies in wreck
A Harriman man was killed in a crash early Saturday morning (11/9), according to the Tennessee Highway Patrol. The single-vehicle accident happened just after midnight in Roane County. State troopers reported that 35-year-old Coy Slaven had been driving his Ford Explorer south on U.S. Highway 127 in Harriman when his vehicle ran off the right side of the roadway and struck a tree. Slaven, who was not wearing his seatbelt, was killed in the accident. The report indicates that blood tests have been ordered to determine if drugs or alcohol were factors in the crash.
Wounded would-be robber released from hospital
One of the two men accused of trying to rob an Alcoa jewelry store last month was released from the hospital where he was receiving treatment for a gunshot wound he sustained in that botched robbery. 21-year-old Steve Grant Cash was shot in the abdomen by Danny Malone, the owner of Malone’s Jewelers, on October 23rd. Cash and 24-year-old Jordan Michael Echols allegedly entered the store on Gill Street late in the afternoon and as Echols distracted Malone, Cash is accused of jumping the counter and grabbing the store’s cash bag before attempting to flee out the front door. Malone ended the escape attempt by shooting Cash, who was taken to UT Medical Center following the incident. Malone held both suspects at gunpoint until police arrived. Echols is facing a robbery charge and Cash will likely face similar charges when he is formally charged this week. Malone, who is wheelchair-bound, was not injured in the incident.
Lake City votes to change name, learns of potential roadblock
(Oak Ridge Today/WYSH) Despite receiving a letter from an attorney warning Lake City officials that a proposal to build a Rocky Top theme park could violate trademark rights and should be dropped, the City Council was undeterred, voting unanimously to recommend changing the town’s name to Rocky Top. It’s the first step in a project to build a $20 million dollar Rocky Top theme park that could include an interactive 3-D theater, water park, hotel, and restaurant, a project developers say cannot move forward without the name change. The letter from an intellectual property attorney in Nashville was received by city leaders just a couple of hours before Thursday’s special called Council meeting and while it could have Lake City officials and the park’s investors scrambling to answer legal questions, it does not necessarily quash the project. The trademark and copyright infringement warning came from an attorney representing House of Bryant Publications LLC. The Gatlinburg-based company said it owns multiple Rocky Top trademarks and the copyright to the iconic song “Rocky Top.” The letter from attorney Gary L. Montle said that renaming the town and constructing the proposed theme park would entail other branding and marketing efforts that would violate the Rocky Top trademarks and include “unlicensed derivative works” from the copyrighted song. “House of Bryant considers all of these efforts to be gross violations of its federal trademarks and copyrights,” Montle wrote. “If the city council approves plans to change Lake City’s name or build a theme park with the name ‘Rocky Top,’ or a variation of that name, House of Bryant will act swiftly and aggressively to protect its intellectual property rights by all legal means available, including seeking a declaration of our rights in federal court.” He asked Mayor Timothy Sharp to assure, within seven days, that Lake City will end all plans to name or associate a theme park with “Rocky Top” and assure that the city council will renounce all support for renaming the city. That obviously did not happen. Mayor Sharp said the theme park’s investors should meet with their attorneys to discuss the copyright issue, and in order to protect its own interests, the city will also have to meet with its attorneys. Sharp said there will likely be some sort of compensation or agreement that the city attorney and attorneys for the Bryant House of Publications will have to negotiate, but admitted he didn't know what that might look like yet. The name change still has to be considered by the Tennessee General Assembly in Nashville. State Rep. John Ragan attended the Lake City meeting and said he has drafted a bill that could be introduced during the legislative session that starts in January.
BC salvage yard catches fire
A fire at a Blount County junkyard destroyed a building and caused other damage but injured no one. The fire started at around 10 am at the salvage yard at Murrell Automotive/Recycling on Doc Norton Road and flames and smoke from the blaze were visible for miles. Officials say that workers were draining gasoline from a vehicle they were preparing to demolish and during that process a stray spark ignited a pile of nearby tires. Two salvaged vehicles and a Bobcat trailer were damaged and the building where vehicles are dismantled was destroyed, but again, no injuries were reported.
ORT: Another fake home invasion reported
(Oak Ridge Today) An Oak Ridge man who allegedly went on a rampage and broke bedroom windows inside his home concocted a story about a home invasion to try to avoid trouble with his landlord, City Judge Lawrence Tunnell, authorities said. 26-year-old Derek Scott Fitzpatrick has been charged with false reporting, a felony. He remained jailed at the Anderson County Detention Facility in Clinton early Friday morning. The alleged home invasion on North Hollywood Circle was reported at about 1 a.m. Friday, Nov. 1. The Oak Ridge Police Department quickly set up a perimeter in the Highland View neighborhood and searched for the two suspects for about 30 minutes before “finding out the story was made up,” according to court documents. When police arrived, Fitzpatrick was lying on the floor of his home bleeding from his arm. He alleged two men forced their way into the home and beat and robbed him. He said he wasn’t sure how his arm was cut, but the suspects took his wallet, which contained $335. Fitzpatrick’s girlfriend and child were also at the home, and the woman made the initial call to police. She also said the robbery occurred and said she had run to a back bedroom with her child. But Robbins said the details given by Fitzpatrick and his girlfriend were inconsistent, and she eventually admitted that the home invasion and robbery did not occur. “She said the defendant broke out the bedroom windows and was ‘on a rampage,’” adding that Fitzpatrick had made up the story about the home invasion so he would not get in trouble [with] their landlord, [Oak Ridge City Judge] Judge Lawrence Tunnell.”
TSBDC offering free advice
The Tennessee Small Business Development Center (TSBDC) advises and assists future and existing business owners. Jutta Bangs, Senior Business Specialist is available for free and confidential counseling sessions on Wednesdays, November 20 and December 18, 9 am – 12 noon at the Anderson County Chamber of Commerce, 245 N. Main Street, Clinton. To make an appointment for this, or another day, please call 865-457-2559 or email email@example.com. To learn more about the TSBDC visit www.tsbdc.org.
ORT: Jackson Square improvements underway
(Oak Ridge Today) The city-owned parking lot on the north side of Jackson Square in Oak Ridge now has two handicapped-accessible areas, and the pedestrian safety improvements underway there could be finished in another week, according to our partners at Oak Ridge Today. This work is part of more than $500,000 worth of projects funded by revenue generated by the city’s traffic safety cameras. The other projects are designed to make eight intersections along the Oak Ridge Turnpike safer for pedestrians. Those improvements, which will include a pedestrian walkway and a crosswalk system near businesses on the Turnpike, are estimated at $370,000. The improvements at the Jackson Square parking lot on the north side of Broadway Avenue would help connect it to the square, make it more accessible, and provide alternate parking while parts of the square’s public infrastructure are rebuilt. The work will complement changes expected under a revitalization of the square that could start soon after Jan. 1 using a Tennessee Department of Transportation enhancement grant worth close to $800,000.
Walden Ridge fire contained
The brush fire on Walden Ridge has been contained, according to state Forestry officials. The fire burned about 71 acres along the rugged ridge just a few miles outside Oliver Springs but caused no injuries or property damage. Smoke from the ridge was first seen last week but firefighters were not able to locate it at that time as it likely smoldered on the forest floor. Sunday (11/3), flames became visible and state forestry firefighters worked to contain the blaze using hand tools. Crews were able to get a bulldozer to the site to carve out a fire line to prevent it from spreading and firefighters used leaf blowers to clear leaves away from houses on Dutch Valley Road. Wednesday, a property owner reported that the fire appeared to have jumped the fire line but officials say that the flames were within the containment area. Crews will check back but the rain the area saw overnight and Thursday morning should help their efforts considerably. While the exact cause of the fire is not known, officials believe it was deliberately set as the area where it began is accessible only by off-road vehicles. This is the second wildfire on Walden Ridge in the past year as a blaze burned about 225 acres in November of 2012.
Man pepper-sprayed during robbery
The Blount County Sheriff’s Office is searching for three men who allegedly pepper sprayed a man Wednesday afternoon (11/6) and stole his safe during a home invasion robbery. The incident was reported at an apartment on Wrights Ferry Road and law enforcement asks anyone with information to call the authorities.
Leon Houston acquitted on federal weapons charge
One of the two Houston brothers has been acquitted of federal weapons charges. A jury deliberated for about two hours Wednesday (11/6) before finding Leon Houston not guilty of using drugs while possessing a firearm. He was charged with that offense earlier this year following a raid on his brother Rocky’s property by federal agents. Rocky Houston is awaiting trial on charges of being a felon in possession of a firearm. Leon Houston represented himself at the trial but despite being acquitted on these charges, he remains in custody awaiting trial on charges that he threatened one of his former attorneys over the telephone earlier this year. The Houston brothers have had a long and well-documented history of run-ins with law enforcement and other government officials, most notably the 2006 shootout on their property that left a Roane County deputy and his civilian ride-along partner dead. Both brothers were tried, but never convicted in connection to that incident.
Seized Blount horses headed home
Over a dozen horses seized earlier this year in an alleged animal abuse case are being returned to their owners. 68-year-old Larry Wheelon was charged in April after a raid on the bran he operated on Tuckaleechee Pike on abuse charges dealing with the practice of “soaring,” a practice where caustic chemicals and other methods are used to accentuate the gait of Tennessee walking horses. Those charges were dismissed on a technicality this summer. Of the 19 horses that were seized, most of them were owned by other people and were being boarded at the barn. 14 of those animals have now been returned to their owners.
Applications being taken for CRCTU camp in Smokies
(CRCTU) Applications are open for the fourth annual Great Smoky Mountains Trout Adventure Camp for middle school girls and boys, sponsored by the Tennessee Council of Trout Unlimited. Trout Adventure 2014 will be June 16–21 at Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont (GSMIT) in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Trout Adventure is designed to give kids an appreciation and understanding of the importance of our aquatic resources with an emphasis on conservation, protection and restoration of coldwater ecosystems. Participants learn about stream ecology, brook trout restoration, stream physics and chemistry, fishing etiquette and aquatic entomology. They experience fly tying, fly fishing and snorkeling in Little River and its Middle Prong, along with some hiking and swimming. GSMIT, a private, nonprofit, residential environmental learning center, has operated since 1969 in the national park. The institute is in Walker Valley on the banks of Little River’s Middle Prong, a coldwater stream containing brook, brown and rainbow trout. Facilities include dormitories, dining hall, classrooms, outdoor meeting shelters, bookstore/gift shop and full-time professional staff. Trout Adventure 2014 will begin on Monday afternoon, June 16, and end at noon on Saturday, June 21. Boys and girls 12 to 15 years old as of June 16 are eligible to apply; Trout Unlimited will accept a total of 12 participants, with a minimum of two girls. Tuition is $495; insurance coverage is supplied by GSMIT. Financial assistance based on need may be available. Campers should be in good physical condition. While the camp is not akin to a military boot camp, activities may be more physically demanding than some boys and girls are accustomed to. Youngsters interested in attending 2014 Trout Adventure must complete an application form, available at http://www.tntroutadventure.org. Applications must be submitted no later than March 15, 2014; selections will be made by March 20. Applications should be mailed or e-mailed to: John Thurman, P.O. Box 546, Norris, TN 37828; firstname.lastname@example.org. All applicants will be notified of their selection status no later than March 25, 2014. When families are notified that their children have been selected, they will be provided with a GSMIT registration form.
Crews monitoring Walden Ridge fire
Firefighters are continuing to monitor a brush fire on Walden Ridge that has grown to over 30 acres. Crews thought they had the blaze contained late Monday but overnight, it jumped the fire line and continued to burn, fueled by the dry weather and debris on the forest floor like dry leaves and fallen branches. Initially, State Forestry officials said that a smoldering campfire had started the blaze but now say that it was most likely caused by arson as it seems to have started in area well away from trails or fire pits. Smoke was first spotted coming from the ridge on Thursday (Halloween) but firefighters were not able to find the fire, which likely smoldered under the leaf litter until flaring up Sunday afternoon. Officials say there was no lightning in the area last Thursday, ruling out that as a possibility. The fire is at the top of the remote ridge in a rocky area where the elevation quickly rises from 1000 to 1400 feet and is characterized by many cliff faces, which make it more difficult for fire crews to battle the blaze. Additionally, the rugged terrain is accessible only by ATV and no water is available, meaning that firefighters are digging containment lines by hand, although a bulldozer was able to make it to the scene on Monday. So far, no homes are being threatened by the fire and no injuries have been reported, either to area residents or to the firefighters. The blaze is located on Walden Ridge between Dutch Valley Road and Fox Lane. As more details become available, we will pass them along to you.
Harriman Council OKs new cold medicine restrictions
Tuesday the Harriman City Council voted 6-0 to require a prescription in order to purchase pseudoephedrine at local pharmacies. Pseudoephedrine is one of the key ingredients in making meth and the measure passed last night in Harriman means that cold and allergy products containing it can no longer be sold over the counter. The new law, which goes into effect immediately, requires either a doctor or pharmacist to write a prescription for products like Sudafed and its generic counterparts. Registered letters are being sent to all stores in Harriman that sell pseudoephedrine products and, so far, police say that the merchants who will be affected by the law have been nothing but supportive. 16 other cities in Tennessee have similar measures on the books.
Morgan voters OK distillery
Tuesday, Morgan County voters overwhelmingly voted in favor of turning the former Brushy Mountain Penitentiary into a moonshine distillery and tourist attraction. The measure passed with 2431 votes to 1150 votes against. Chattanooga-based Brushy Mountain Group (BMG) is leading the effort to build the distillery, which could bring over 100 new jobs to Morgan County. In addition to producing moonshine at the former prison, the company also intends to open a gift shop, a museum and horse trails on the property, and would also like to offer tours of the historic prison to the public. In order to open the distillery, voters had to approve allowing the “manufacture of intoxicating liquors and drinks in Morgan County.” The project has drawn criticism from many local churches while supporters say the proposal could be a boon to the local economy. While liquor sales are currently prohibited in Morgan County, state law will allow visitors to purchase up to five gallons of alcohol, which is similar to what is permissible at the Jack Daniels distillery in Lynchburg, also located in a dry county. Work on the distillery is expected to begin sometime next year.
OR seeking Land Bank board members
(Submitted) The City of Oak Ridge is now accepting applications for members to serve on the Board of Directors to the newly-created Oak Ridge Land Bank Corporation. In September of this year, City Council approved Ordinance No. 08-2013 which established the Oak Ridge Land Bank Corporation; this first of its kind in the State of Tennessee. The concept of a land bank first began in 2011 when the City Manager introduced the “Not in Our City” conceptual plan to address several issues facing Oak Ridge, one of which pertaining to blighted housing. The “Not in Our City” conceptual plan was adopted by the City Council later in 2011. A land bank is a tool that will be utilized by the City to support economic revitalization through returning vacant, abandoned, and tax-delinquent properties to productive use. “Addressing blighted housing that impacts neighborhoods and property values in the City of Oak Ridge is now a priority for this city government,” said Oak Ridge City Manager Mark Watson. “By using the authority that the Land Bank Corporation possesses, the City will have a modernized, expeditious means of reactivating impacted properties. It will be exciting to see the transformations that take place in our neighborhoods knowing that a small group of involved citizens had a hand in bettering our housing stock and community.” The Board of Directors for the Oak Ridge Land Bank Corporation will consist of seven (7) directors, one of which shall be a member of City Council. All directors must be residents and taxpayers in the City of Oak Ridge. Preference may be given for persons in the following fields: banking, real estate, and legal. Further information regarding needed expertise will be published following the November 11, 2013 meeting of City Council where Council will be establishing qualification preferences for the Board of Directors, establishing goals and objectives for the Land Bank Corporation, and prioritizing the disposition of properties held in the Land Bank. The terms of office for the initial appointments are as follows: three (3) directors shall serve through December 31, 2014, and three (3) directors shall serve through December 31, 2015. Afterwards, the term of office shall be two (2) years commencing on January 1. The City Council representative shall serve until expiration of his or her current term of office on City Council. Applying for membership to the Land Bank Corporation is similar to that of any other city board. Interested residents must complete a Boards and Commissions application and may attach additional documents including cover letters, references, and resumes. For convenience, an on-line application has been created and is available on the City Clerk’s departmental website or by visiting www.oakridgetn.gov/online/cityclerk/bcelections. Paper applications are also available in the City Clerk’s Office located in Room Number 109 in the Municipal Building. To be considered, completed applications must be submitted to the City Clerk’s Office by 5:00 p.m. on Monday, December 2, 2013; late applications or submissions will not be considered. The election for this board will also take place at a Special Meeting of the Oak Ridge City Council on Monday, December 16, 2013. For more information, contact Diana Stanley, City Clerk, at (865) 425-3411 or by e-mail at email@example.com.
Brush fire on Walden’s Ridge
State Forestry crews are working to contain a brush fire on Walden’s Ridge in Anderson County. The fire was first reported Sunday afternoon and started as a five-acre fire, but grew to a 25-acre fire on Monday. The cause of the fire is under investigation. A 10-member firefighting crew was able to make it to the site of the fire on Sunday afternoon but had to leave as night fell because of the danger presented to firefighters by the rocky and rugged terrain, including cliffs. Monday, crews believed that they had gotten the blaze under control but it flared back up overnight, jumping a fire line. No homes are in danger and, so far, no firefighters have been hurt battling the blaze. As soon as we learn more we will pass it along to you.
Leon Houston federal trial begins
The latest trial of one of Roane County’s infamous Houston brothers got underway in a federal courtroom in Knoxville on Monday. Leon Houston is charged with using illegal drugs while in possession of firearms and he has pleaded not guilty. A jury was seated Monday. Houston was charged on the same day that his brother Rocky was arrested for being a felon in possession of a firearm in January. While Leon has never been convicted of a felony and can legally possess guns it is against the law to possess them while using drugs and on the day that federal agents raided their property, he reportedly told investigators that he had been drinking and getting high on “wacky tobacco.” Federal charges were filed because prosecutors say the guns they were found in possession of were manufactured outside the state and therefore, fell under federal jurisdiction because they had to travel via interstate commerce. The Houstons have a long history of run-ins with the law and have filed dozens of lawsuits over the years alleging that they are the targets of a vast conspiracy. In 2006, they shot and killed a Roane County deputy and his ridealong partner in a shootout on their property in Ten Mile but were never convicted in multiple trials. If convicted of this most recent charge, Leon Houston could face up to 10 years in prison and fines of up to $250,000.
Roane man indicted
A Roane County grand jury has indicted a man on charges of attempted first-degree murder, especially aggravated kidnapping and aggravated assault. 39-year-old Daniel Phillip Thompson has been in custody since July, when he was arrested after his girlfriend reported that he had severely beaten her and held her against her will over the course of six days. Thompson, who was originally held in the Roane County Jail, has reportedly since been moved to the Loudon County Jail after he was involved in several incidents in the Roane lock-up.
Follow-up: Roane shooting victim had been drinking, getting high
Following up on a story we reported Monday, a 44-year-old Roane County man who accidentally shot himself in the chest with a .22-caliber rifle on Sunday was treated for his injuries and released from UT Medical Center that same night. Steve Brooks was flown to UTMC after the incident on Edwards Lane, just south of Rockwood. The Roane County Sheriff’s Office says that he told emergency personnel that he had been drinking before the incident and admitted to having smoked crack cocaine, an admission verified by his live-in girlfriend and her adult son. Brooks told officers that he had been getting ready to clean the gun on Sunday when it went off, striking him in his chest and traveling through his torso before exiting just under his shoulder blade. No charges have been filed but the incident is under investigation.
Smallridge honored in OR
The School Administration Building in Oak Ridge has been renamed in honor of longtime Director of Schools Bob Smallridge. Smallridge served as Oak Ridge’s Director of Schools for 20 years before his retirement, but since than he has been tapped to serve as the interim director of two other school systems and his home district of Oak Ridge. After retiring Smallridge served as interim school chief in Campbell County and in the Clinton city school system and just last year spent six months as the interim head of the Oak Ridge school system as it transitioned from Tom Bailey to current Superintendent Bruce Borchers. The school headquarters will now be known as the Robert J. Smallridge School Administration Building. The School Board voted earlier this year to rechristen the building in his honor.
Still no decision from CSX on Johnson Gap Road bridge
As we reported last week, there has still been no decision from CSX Railroad as to whether it plans to repair the bridge it owns on Johnson Gap Road. Last week, County Law Director Jay Yeager told us that he and Road Superintendent Gary Long have both been in contact with CSX and said that the company is aware of the concerns of both county leaders and citizens who depend on the bridge not only to get to and from the Dutch Valley community, but also for rapid emergency responses. The bridge replacement or repair is being considered by CSX’s Property Asset Division but so far, no decision has been made. The bridge is owned by the railroad and therefore is their responsibility to maintain. It has been closed for three months now after state inspectors determined that the wooden blocks that support the bridge had deteriorated and deemed it unsafe. Posted detours add about 10 minutes for drivers and emergency responders say that their response times are also increased due to the closure. If the railroad takes no action, the county could ask TDOT for emergency funding to make the repairs but would have to provide matching funds for any such project. Anderson County officials hope to learn CSX’s plans by the end of this month.
ORT: Weigel’s open, Aldi’s opening Thursday in OR
(Oak Ridge Today) A Weigel’s gas station and store is now open on South Illinois Avenue, and a nearby Aldi grocery has a grand opening celebration on Thursday. The Weigel’s is on 1.5 acres south of TNBank, and the 4,000-square-foot store includes 16 gas pumps. Construction started this spring. Construction on the Aldi store started this summer. The 1.4-acre site is near the relocated, expanded Panera Bread and new Aubrey’s restaurant, on the other side of a new roadway called Woodland Terrace East. The Aldi store will be open 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday. Construction on the so-called Woodland Town Center started more than a year ago. The shopping center is across from the former Dean Stallings Ford. The new road through the shopping center and a stoplight in front of it, as well as improvements to the public storm water system, are being paid for by a $625,000 tax increment financing agreement approved by city and county officials. That agreement, which could last up to 20 years, allows tax revenues generated at the site to be used for the improvements. The new Weigel’s is at 417 S. Illinois Ave., and Aldi is at 111 Woodland Terrace East.
400+ attend Friday Rocky Top meeting
Over 400 people attended Friday night’s bean and cornbread social and informational meeting on a proposal to change the name of Lake City to Rocky Top as the first step toward the creation of a massive Rocky Top theme park. The event was held at Main Street Baptist Church and featured a presentation from the developers of the proposed tourist destination as well as from Anderson County Property Assessor Johnny Alley, who told the crowd that property taxes would not only not go up because of the project, but if all goes as planned, residents could actually see their property taxes decline as new revenue comes in. Mayor Tim Sharp told residents that only cost to the town will be changing the name. The park, as proposed, would be built on land owned by the city on Highway 441 between I-75 and Highway 25. The first phase of the development would be called the Rocky Top Pavilion and would feature a theater designed to attract musical acts like those found in Branson, Missouri; an indoor-outdoor water park and a large restaurant. Developers also envision a sports hall of fame and museum. The project cannot go forward, according to developers, without the town changing its name, due to the huge marketing opportunity the name change represents. The city has two exits off of I-75, which is what initially attracted the developers to the area. The City Council is expected to vote on whether to officially endorse the name change on Thursday and if it is approved, the name change would have to be approved by the State Legislature when it heads back in to session in Nashville in January.
ORT: NNSA sticks with CNS to run Y-12
(Oak Ridge Today) The National Nuclear Security Administration on Friday reaffirmed its January decision to pick Consolidated Nuclear Security LLC to manage and operate the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge and Pantex Plant near Amarillo, Texas. That earlier decision had been challenged in two rounds of bid protests. Those protests delayed the transition to a new contractor, and it wasn’t clear Friday if the NNSA’s new decision might also be challenged. The five-year extendable contract, which could be worth up to $22.8 billion over 10 years, includes project management of the Uranium Processing Facility at Y-12 and an unexercised option for Savannah River Tritium Operations at the Savannah River Site near Aiken, S.C. CNS, of Reston, Va., is comprised of Bechtel National Inc., Lockheed Martin Services Inc., ATK Launch Systems Inc., and SOC LLC. The transition to CNS at the two nuclear weapons plants could start later this month—after the period for protests is over around Nov. 25, the NNSA said Friday afternoon. The transition could last four months, but the NNSA will ask CNS to complete the transition quicker if possible. It wasn’t clear if the two losing teams—Integrated Nuclear Production Solutions LLC of Oak Ridge, and Nuclear Production Partners LLC, or NP2, of Lynchburg, Va.—might challenge the NNSA’s most recent decision. The transition to CNS had originally been scheduled to be complete by May 1 of this year. But NP2 and Integrated Nuclear Production Solutions LLC filed bid protests, with the first filed Jan. 17. The U.S. Government Accountability Office upheld one part of those initial protests in April, and in September, it denied or dismissed new challenges filed by NP2 in June. Find out much more about this story at www.oakridgetoday.com.
Roane man accidentally shoots self
A Roane County man was injured Sunday evening when a .22-caliber rifle went off accidentally and shot him in the chest. The incident occurred at around 5 pm at a home on Edwards Lane outside Rockwood. The victim, whose name was not immediately available, was flown to UT Medical Center by Lifestar for treatment of his injuries. Deputies say the shooting appears to have happened as the man was handling the rifle and that it was purely accidental in nature.
Pills stolen, ex-wife choked
A Clinton man was arrested Thursday and charged with choking his ex-wife into unconsciousness after allegedly stealing prescription medication from her. 30-year-old Jason Hobbs was at his ex-wife’s house on Thursday babysitting her children, according to the Anderson County Sheriff’s Department. When she returned to the home, she told deputies that she had found Hobbs asleep on her couch and discovered that over 50 Xanax pills were missing from her room, which had been ransacked. She said that when she woke him up to confront him, Hobbs choked her until she was unconscious. Hobbs was arrested and charged with aggravated domestic assault.
Willow Brook ES recognized for recycling
(Submitted) Students at Willow Brook Elementary in Oak Ridge were rewarded for their environmental efforts with $1,000 for having one of the top 10 school recycling programs in the state of Tennessee through the Good Sports Always RecycleTM (GSAR) program. Peter Blair and Christian Goethert from Willow Brook were recognized during an on-field presentation at the University of Tennessee vs. South Carolina football game. Willow Brook’s recycling program is a school-wide effort, with varying levels of support from every classroom. Willow Brook is making efforts to educate each classroom to do their part by recycling in a “collector-friendly manner”. With these educational efforts, Willow Brook hopes the program to expand into other areas of stewardship through the students’ efforts. Willow Brook recycles aluminum, metal cans, plastic containers, corrugated card-board, and mixed paper. The recycled materials are taken to the city’s municipal recycling center weekly. Willow Brook is also planning a phone book collection at the end of the year with a contest to see which classroom can collect the most books. The GSAR school challenge, currently in its 20th year, judges Tennessee K-12 schools on how their recycling program encourages faculty, staff and students to recycle, as well as the unique approach and overall investment applied to environmental efforts. In addition, one school is recognized with the Sustainability Steward award, which is given to a school that approaches sustainability by reducing their overall waste footprint through energy and water conservation, recycling programs and the use of green space.
Convicted 'pill mill' operators back in court
The four family members convicted earlier this week on charges of drug distribution and money laundering appeared before a federal judge Thursday afternoon for a forfeiture hearing. A jury convicted Sandra Kincaid, her husband Randy Kincaid, her daughter Wendi Henry and son Dustin Morgan on all charges related to the activities at the former Breakthrough Pain Therapy Center in Maryville on Wednesday. During Thursday’s hearing, US District Court Judge Thomas Varlan ordered Sandra and Randy Kincaid to forfeit their home and property on Wildwood Road, the building on East Broadway where the clinic was located, three vehicles and all personal and business bank accounts. They will also have to pay an undisclosed amount in fines. All four are in custody at the Blount County Jail as federal prisoners pending their sentencing hearings. Randy Kincaid will be sentenced on March 11th, Sandra Kincaid will learn her sentence on March 25th, Morgan will be sentenced on April 1st and Henry will be sentenced on April 8th. The four were indicted in 2010 on charges following a 13-month-long investigation by the Fifth Judicial Drug Task Force, the DEA and the IRS.
AC's 2 political parties to hold primaries
Both major political parties in Anderson County will hold primaries in the spring. The local Democratic Party has submitted the formal paperwork to the Election Commission necessary to hold a primary, rather than a caucus, to select its candidates for countywide offices in May. The Anderson County GOP has also reportedly decided to hold a primary but has not yet submitted the paperwork. The primaries will be held on May 6th for the August 7th general election, in which all countywide offices except Property Assessor will be on the ballot. The first day to pick up a nominating petition to seek a local office is November 22nd and the deadline to qualify as a candidate will be February 20th.
ORT: Multi-vehicle wreck sends 2 to UT
According to our partners at Oak Ridge Today, two people were taken to UT Medical Center following a five-vehicle accident on Highway 61 between Oak Ridge and Clinton on Tuesday afternoon, authorities said. The collision occurred at about 3:30 p.m. in front of Gibbs Ferry Park. Preliminary reports indicate that an elderly woman was headed east on Highway 61 when she drifted across the center line into oncoming traffic. When the woman tried to swerve back into her lane, she struck a Chevrolet pickup truck. The impact caused the Chevy to hit two other vehicles and then a loose tire struck a Hummer that was traveling behind. The two people taken to the UT Medical Center in Knoxville were transported by ambulance. The elderly woman was cited for failure to exercise due care and driving left of center.
Federal jury returns guilty verdict in ‘pill mill’ case
A federal jury in Knoxville convicted a family of four on several charges related to the illegal distribution of narcotics and money laundering at a former pain clinic in Maryville. Prosecutors called the Breakthrough Pain Therapy Center a “pill mill” and a jury apparently agreed, finding Sandra Kincaid, her husband Randy Kincaid, her daughter Wendi Henry and son Dustin Morgan guilty on several charges. The Kincaids and Henry were found guilty of illegally distributing narcotics, while the Kincaids alone were found guilty of violating bank reporting requirements related to frequent bank deposits of $10,000 or more. Morgan and Randy Kincaid were also each found guilty of possessing a firearm in the commission of drug trafficking. A forfeiture hearing has been set for Thursday afternoon, during which a sentencing date will be announced. The four were indicted in 2010 following a lengthy investigation by local and federal officials.
Maryville woman wins on Jeopardy!
A Maryville woman was Wednesday night’s Jeopardy! champion. Jennifer Spirko, a librarian and teacher, was able to answer the Final Jeopardy question correctly by knowing that a broken laser pointer was the first item sold on eBay in 1995. She will look to pick up another victory Thursday night at 7:30 pm on WBIR-TV.
Report: OR boy left at wrong bus stop
According to the News-Sentinel, a 6-year-old boy was left at the wrong bus stop last Thursday in Oak Ridge. First Student, the Oak Ridge school system’s bus contractor, says it immediately removed the driver from the route and began a full internal investigation after learning about the incident. The child, who was unharmed, was reportedly left about a mile from his house and had to cross a busy Rutgers Avenue to get to Wal-Mart, where he was spotted and the authorities notified.
Details on CPD SRO grant
As we reported earlier this month, the Clinton Police Department has received a grant from the United States Department of Justice "COPS" office to fund one school resource officer for the next three years. The award amount was just over $112,000. A fourth year will be paid for by the City of Clinton and the City Schools. In order to receive the grant, the City of Clinton and the Clinton City Schools formed an agreement to partner in a School Resource Officer program. The three year budget of $150,000 covers salary, benefits and uniforms. The grant provides 75% of the total cost with a local match of 25%. The city and the school system also had to agree to fund the position for one full year following the end of the federal funding. The city has three elementary schools, each of which has enjoyed the protection of a police officer since last January. “Both our city council and school board wanted to reassure our community that the schools would be protected in the wake of the New Town, CT school shooting” said Clinton Police Chief Rick Scarbrough. Officers have shared the responsibility to cover the schools by working overtime. The city and the school system split those costs evenly. “It is a testament to the leaders of our city. We are going to do all we can to protect our students and staff.” added Chief Scarbrough in a press release issued Tuesday. Vicki Violette, Director of Clinton City Schools, said: "Clinton City School District is very excited to have this program in place. Having School Resource Officers in each school gives our students, staff members, and parents a greater level of security from issues and situations that could negatively impact a safe learning environment." Clinton Mayor Scott Burton added: "Our children are our most important commodity.. I am glad that we are able to make the extra effort to better protect the students attending city schools. Working together with the schools will prove to be a worthwhile endeavor." In order to continue to have an officer at each of the three schools, the City Council and the School Board have each agreed to fund one position.
Report: Man charged with abusing infant
According to the Daily Times, a 30-year-old Walland man was arrested over the weekend after a baby girl left in his care suffered several injuries. Jami Dean Wesley Gregory was arrested on a charge of aggravated child abuse and is being held at the Blount County Jail pending a court appearance next week. The paper reports that Sheriff’s deputies were called to Blount Memorial Hospital Friday night to investigate what happened to a 6-week-old girl that left her with bruises on her head and torso. The girl’s mother told investigators she had left the baby in the care of her husband, Gregory, while she went to another location to pick up her stepson. She said when she returned she found a rag over the infant’s face covering her bruises and told deputies that Gregory had refused to tell her what had happened. The Daily Times reports that the baby was transferred to East Tennessee Children’s Hospital in Knoxville for treatment and that DCS was contacted.
Report: Clinton man arrested in OS
According to the Oak Ridger, a Clinton man was arrested on drug-related charges last week during a traffic stop in Oliver Springs after he reportedly tried to swallow pills to keep from being charged with possession. Oliver Springs Police say that officers arrested 31-year-old Jason Reynolds of Clinton on charges of drug possession evidence tampering, resisting arrest and possession of drug paraphernalia. He was taken to the Anderson County jail. Officers conducted a traffic stop on East Tri-County Boulevard about 12:20 p.m. Tuesday on a car in which Reynolds was the back seat passenger. Officers reported witnessing Reynolds shoving what were later determined to be Xanax pills into his mouth and locking the back door of the car. No one else in the car was arrested.
VW finds help through Michael Dunn Center
(Submitted) When Volkswagen Group of America’s (VWGoA) South East Region Distribution Center recently needed assistance assembling cardboard parts bins, Senior Manager, John Kutz knew who to call, the Roane Alliance. “When John told us about his needs and desire to help the community, I immediately thought of the Michael Dunn Center,” said Darrell Williams, Alliance Vice President of Business Development. The Michael Dunn Center provides high quality services to children and adults with developmental disabilities. Williams talked with Melanie Harmon, Sales Executive for Work Programs at Michael Dunn Center, who then worked with Kutz to set it up. “We were very happy with the work they performed,” said John Kutz, Senior Manager of the distribution center. “We certainly look forward to any additional opportunities that may present themselves for us to work with the Michael Dunn Center in the future. The staff was punctual, polite, and completed the task in the required timeframe. We were thrilled with the recommendation; the Roane Alliance has consistently been a great resource for us at Volkswagen.” Michael Dunn Center President and CEO Mike McElhinney said, “I want to thank The Roane Alliance for thinking of us and recommending us to VW. I believe that this may turn into other periodic jobs for the people we support. We also can help businesses meet quotas because we fall under the SBA's definition of small, women-owned, minority or disadvantaged businesses.” Michael Dunn’s work programs provide a cost-effective, alternate labor source that can competitively bid on any job and comply with all specifications, creating jobs for people with disabilities, while empowering people living with disabilities and challenges to gain independence, McElhinney said.
ASAP collects 230+ pounds of unused meds
(ASAP) Last Saturday, October 26th, the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office, Oak Ridge Police Department, Clinton Police Department, and Oliver Springs Police Department along with ASAP hosted a special, regional Operation Medicine Cabinet. The event was part of a nationwide take back event coordinated by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) as part of a continued effort to reduce drug abuse and practice stewardship toward our environment. According to Stephanie Strutner, Executive Director of ASAP, 231.6 pounds of medication were collected from four sites in the county, including Oak Ridge Police Department and Food City locations in Clinton, Oak Ridge, and Oliver Springs. Medicine collected was incinerated to comply with federal guidelines. All paper and plastic containers were recycled. Organizers would like to thank all of those who helped make this event possible, including residents who brought medicine for disposal, local law enforcement partners, DEA, Food City, Anderson County Solid Waste Department, McNeely Family Physicians, South College School of Pharmacy, and ASAP volunteers. For more information on future collection events, please visit www.ASAPofAnderson.org.
BCSO: 3 arrested on meth charges
The Blount County Sheriff’s Office says that three people were arrested Monday and charged with promoting the manufacture of methamphetamine following an investigation by the Fifth Judicial Drug Task Force. The individuals were charged are:
· Vanessa Kathryn Hicks, 38, Maple Oak Road, Maryville
· Teresa Lynn Correll, 44, Sweetwater
· Jeffery Clay Harris, 23, Greenback
All three individuals are being held in the Blount County Detention Facility. Investigators with the Fifth Judicial Drug Task Force began an investigation after receiving word that suspicious individuals were trying to purchase precursors for manufacturing meth at a local business. Investigators stopped the suspects’ vehicle on U.S. Highway 411 South near the Loudon County line. Through the course of their investigation, officers determined the trio was planning to use the precursors to make meth. In the vehicle, officers reported finding two boxes of pseudoephedrine and a small amount of methamphetamine.
Update on Johnson Gap Road bridge
We have an update from Anderson County Law Director Jay Yeager on the status of the Johnson Gap Road Bridge, owned by CSX Railroad and closed since earlier this year due to structural concerns found by the state during a routine investigation. The bridge is owned by the railroad and is the only entity that can legally make the repairs and get the bridge back open. Many people in that area depend on that bridge to get to and from their homes. The latest update, according to Yeager, is that the bridge replacement or repair is under analysis by CSX’s property asset division. No decisions have been made. Yeager says that he has spoken to railroad officials three times by telephone and in several emails. Road Superintendent Gary Long had what Yeager called “a good discussion with CSX the week before last and [the company] understand[s] our need to reopen the bridge from a community and public safety perspective.” We will keep you updated as developments warrant.
Missing man found, injured
Campbell County authorities say a man who went missing Sunday night was found on Monday but suffered serious injuries after he was involved in a wreck on his ATV and the machine pinned him. Sheriff’s deputies say Blake Douglas never returned home from an ATV ride on Sunday and that a missing person alert was issued Monday afternoon. Rescuers found him shortly after their search began. He was flown to UT Medical Center by Lifestar.
AC officials raise awareness of fight against breast cancer
(AC Mayor/Purchasing) The Anderson County Purchasing and School Departments, along with the County Mayor, have joined the fight to raise awareness for breast cancer. “Purchasing supports our own survivors and we encourage and empower women to do monthly self-exams and get a yearly mammogram,” Purchasing Agent Pamela Cotham said. As those battling cancer “box and fight” their way through, they are surrounded by many people -- known and unknown -- who stand in their corner during their fight. “Pamela and the entire Purchasing staff went the extra mile to help raise awareness for this important cause,” Anderson County Mayor Terry Frank said. “Sometimes we are so busy with life that we forget our own well-being. The powerful testimony of Cathy, Lisa, Joyce and Terri made me pick up the phone for my own appointment, and hopefully, they will inspire others to do the same,” the mayor added. “I am so thankful these ladies have stepped forward to make a difference!” October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, an annual campaign to increase awareness of the disease.
OR man pleads in rape, assault cases
An Oak Ridge man accused of several charges including aggravated rape and aggravated assault in connection with incidents that happened in 2011 and 2012. In the first incident in 2011, 21-year-old Marvin Slater was accused of punching a man in the face at the Midtown Community Center and evading arrest after a high-speed pursuit. In the 2012 incident, Slater was accused of raping a 16-year-old girl in June. Monday, Slater pleaded guilty to reduced charges in both matters and was sentenced to three years behind bars on his plea to coercing a witness and to an additional two years for his pleas to attempted aggravated assault, attempted statutory rape and false imprisonment.
Campbell lawyer disbarred
A Campbell County lawyer has been disbarred after he was charged with federal income tax fraud. Johnny Van Dunaway will lose his license to practice law on November 7th after the state Supreme Court’s Board of Professional responsibility determined that he could not offer a defense to charges that he deliberately underestimated his business income on his 2008 income tax return. Dunaway agreed to the disbarment and offered no defense, according to a release from the Board issued Monday.
CPD honors Officer of the Year, ‘Top Guns’
Sergeant Jim Campbell was recognized last week as the Clinton Police
Department's 2012/2013 Officer of The Year. This is Campbell’s second
"Officer of The Year" award, having also earned the honor in 2005.
Among several administrative duties, Sgt Campbell also serves as the
CPD's training coordinator. He has been with the department since 2003.
Chief Rick Scarbrough presented the award to
Campbell at the annual police "range day" celebration, held
Thursday (10/24). Speaking of which, the CPD's "Top Guns" were
recognized during the first annual "range day" pistol competition. Most
of the department's full time and reserve officers participated. The top
BCSO says arrests of 4 solve 17 break-ins
The Blount County Sheriff‘s Office says it has solved seventeen residential burglaries in Blount County and arrested the four people believed to be responsible. The arrests were as a result of a nearly month long joint investigation that included the Sheriff’s Office, the Maryville and Alcoa police departments, and the Knox County Sheriff’s Office. The following individuals were charged:
· Jeremy Lee Click, 27, Cold Springs Road, Walland. Click is charged with ten counts of aggravated burglary. Click is being held on bonds totaling $50,000 pending hearings in Blount County General Sessions Court at 1:30 p.m. October 30th and 9 a.m. November 5th.
· Stephen Jefferson Davis, 26, Loudon Avenue, Maryville. Davis is charged with one count of aggravated burglary and one count of theft of property. Davis is being held on bonds totaling $3,500 pending a hearing in Blount County General Sessions Court at 9 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. October 28th.
· Vanessa Leeann Hannah, 26, Cold Springs Road, Walland. Hannah is charged with one count of theft of property. She is being held on a $2,500 bond pending a hearing in Blount County General Sessions Court at 9 a.m. November 5th.
· Heaven Kindle Jenkins, 22, Loudon Avenue, Maryville. Jenkins is charged with two counts of theft of property, as well as a misdemeanor violation of probation. Jenkins is being held on bonds totaling $2,000 on the theft charges, and a “hold without bond” on the violation of probation charge.
The investigation began several weeks ago after a Maryville Police detective received information linking these four individuals to seventeen burglaries in the cities of Alcoa and Maryville, as well as in Blount County. Detectives from all four agencies worked together to develop further leads on other burglaries. Click and Hannah were taken into custody October 19th, and Davis and Jenkins were arrested October 20th. Based on the information obtained through the Blount County investigation, Knox County Sheriff’s Office obtained a search warrant for a residence on Neubert Springs Road in south Knox County, and with the assistance from detectives with the Blount County Sheriff’s Office and the Maryville Police Department they executed the search warrant Thursday evening. Additional charges from the agencies involved could be forthcoming, and the investigation is continuing. The burglaries all took place in the last two to three months. The suspects targeted jewelry and firearms. Detectives have recovered some of the stolen jewelry and one firearm at pawn shops and jewelry stores in Blount and Knox counties.
BCSO nabs fugitive
The Blount County Sheriff’s Office announced that one of Blount County’s Ten Most Wanted was captured in Knoxville on Saturday. 50-year-old Frederick Arnold McMahan of Maryville was wanted for violating his community corrections as well as two other felony warrants for failure to report to prison to serve a court-ordered sentence. In 2012, McMahan was sentenced to prison for delivery of Schedule II and IV controlled substances within a school zone, and one count of possession of a Schedule II controlled substance. McMahan eluded capture for several months until this weekend, when investigators with the Fifth Judicial Drug Task Force received intelligence that led them to McMahan’s location in the parking lot of a business on Strawberry Plains Pike in Knox County late this morning. Two women were taken into custody at that location. 64-year-old Kathleen Craig Knox of Maryville, and 54-year-old Vicki Sue Thompson of Maryville were each charged with accessory after the fact felony failure to appear, conspiracy to deliver a Schedule II controlled substance (oxycodone) in a school zone, and possession of a Schedule II controlled substance (oxycodone) with intent to resell in a school zone. Drug Task Force investigators also seized two vehicles, three firearms, and hundreds of pills. Investigators are also seeking forfeiture of approximately $20,000 in currency. Additional charges could be forthcoming. The Knox County Sheriff’s Office assisted with transporting the individuals to the Blount County Detention Facility.
2 eateries close in OR
(Oak Ridge Today) A pizza restaurant and a newer “farm-to-table” diner have closed in Oak Ridge. A sign posted on the front door of the former Gatti’s Pizza earlier this month said the business has been sold. Meanwhile, the owners of The Market House at Jackson Square posted on their Facebook page on Oct. 14 that they will no longer be open but will continue to fulfill any private party obligations. The Market House opened in May 2012. Owners Bo Shipley and Dan Tremaine said they used, as often as possible, food and beverage products purchased from local farmers, bakers, and brewers. It is one of several restaurants that have followed the former Bleu Hound Grille at that location at the corner of East Tennessee and Central avenues, on the south side of Jackson Square. The Market House had a loyal following but had recently stopped serving lunches and replaced them with a Sunday brunch.
Small fire causes no damage at ORHS
A small fire broke out Friday night in a chemistry classroom at Oak Ridge High School but a quick response from the Oak Ridge Fire Department and safety precautions taken by the school resulted in no damage and no injuries. The fire was reported shortly before 9 pm Friday and was contained to a fire-resistant waste container in a chemistry lab. The school system requires those special containers in every chemistry lab in the system. The fire was put out quickly by firefighters who say that it was an accidental fire, most likely caused when waste products from chemistry experiments reacted with one another.
New eatery option in Maryville
Calhoun’s has opened its 8th East Tennessee location, this one in Maryville. The new Calhoun’s opened last week in the Target shopping center, next door to the Smoky Mountain Brewery, also owned by the Copper Cellar family of restaurants.
OR IDB OKs TIF plan for Mall
The proposed $85 million mixed-use redevelopment of the Oak Ridge Mall received a key local endorsement Thursday when the city’s Industrial Development Board unanimously recommended a plan that would allow new property tax revenues generated at the site to be used to help pay for development costs. The tax increment financing—or TIF—agreement could be worth $13 million and last 20 years. In an 8-0 vote during a special meeting Thursday, the Board recommended the plan to the Oak Ridge City Council and Anderson County Commission, which could consider it in November. If all goes as planned, the sale of the mall to Crosland Southeast could close in the middle of next year, and demolition could then start immediately and last three to four months. Construction could last about 1.5 years, which means the redeveloped property could open in 2016. The 59-acre redevelopment in the center of the city could include 400,000 square feet of retail space and roughly 60,000 to 100,000 square feet of office space, a hotel of about 100 to 120 rooms, and up to 50 multi-family, “walkable” residential units. It could also include three to four restaurants. The developer, C4 Investments LLC of North Carolina, could spend more than $85 million converting what is now a mostly empty enclosed mall into an open-air, retail-driven, mixed-use property. Partners of Crosland Southeast are members of C4. Belk and JCPenney, the mall’s two remaining anchor stores, have to approve certain aspects of the deal as would Walmart and Tinseltown. Projections presented during a public hearing before the IDB’s special meeting said the redevelopment, which would be named Freedom Park, could create 950 to 1,000 new jobs, and increase city and county sales tax revenues by about $2.16 million. The TIF would not create any risk for the city, county, or IDB, Oak Ridge economic development consultant Ray Evans said. James L. Murphy—a Nashville attorney with Bradley, Arant, Boult, and Cummings—said the TIF still has to be approved by the Tennessee comptroller and commissioner of economic and community development. For more on yesterday’s vote and more details about the project, visit our partners at www.oakridgetoday.com.
Alcoa robbery suspects ID’ed, one in critical condition
Alcoa Police have identified the two men who allegedly tried robbing Malone’s Jewelers on Wednesday, an attempt that left one of them in this hospital with a gunshot wound. 21-year-old Steven Cash of Maryville is listed in critical condition at UT Medical Center after he was shot in the abdomen by the store’s owner, Danny Malone, during the incident late Wednesday afternoon. A second suspect, identified as 24-year-old Jordan Echols of Maryville, was held at gunpoint by Malone until police arrived and taken into custody. Investigators say that the men walked into the store and Cash headed to the restroom while Echols engaged the wheelchair-bound Malone in conversation. Cash allegedly came out of the bathroom wearing a hoodie and a mask, jumped the counter and took the money bag from the back office before trying to run. He was shot as he fled. Malone was not injured in the incident. Echols is being held at the Blount County Jail.
Roane father & son charged in abuse
A 72-year-old Kingston man and his 49-year-old son have both been arrested on charges of sexually abusing and raping two teenage girls. George William Miles Sr. is charged with six counts of statutory rape by an authority figure while George William Miles Jr. is facing six counts of aggravated statutory rape. Miles Sr. is accused of abusing a 14-year-old girl while his son is accused of abusing her 17-year-old sister. Authorities began investigating the allegations earlier this summer after one of the girls told her youth pastor about the abuse and a Roane County grand jury indicted them earlier this month. Both were taken in to custody on Wednesday.
BCSO HEAT investigation nabs one
The Blount County Sheriff’s Office says a 21-year-old Maryville man has been charged with two counts of sexual exploitation of a minor following his arrest Wednesday night. Adam William McGilvray is being held in the Blount County Detention Facility on bonds totaling $75,000 pending a hearing in Blount County General Sessions Court at 9 a.m. November 1st. McGilvray is charged with one count of sexual exploitation of a minor for possession of child pornography, and one count of aggravated sexual exploitation of a minor for distribution of child pornography. McGilvray’s arrest is the result of a three week long on-line investigation by the Sheriff’s Office HEAT (Hi-Tech Evidence and Technology) Unit, as part of ICAC –TN (Internet Crimes Against Children, Tennessee). Wednesday, HEAT Unit investigators executed a search warrant at McGilvray’s residence and seized his computer. A forensic exam of the hard drive revealed images and videos of child sexual abuse victims that McGilvray downloaded from the Internet. The investigation is ongoing.
Nolan announces run for 33rd District State House seat
Caitlin Nolan has announced her candidacy for the Republican nomination to represent State House District 33 in next year’s August primary. According to a release announcing her candidacy, Nolan is a lifelong Anderson County resident raised in Norris and currently living in Oak Ridge, where she graduated high school. While just a freshman at Oak Ridge, the release states that she successfully lobbied the State Legislature for anti-bullying legislation and has continued to work for that cause for over a decade. Those efforts garnered her national attention, including recognition from ABC’s World News Tonight. A graduate of UT, Nolan has been active in Republican causes for several years and in the release states the she “believes in the importance of keeping taxes low for families in Anderson County [and] promoting economic development.” Nolan adds that improving education is essential in creating jobs and building those economic development opportunities. Nolan is a member of St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Oak Ridge and describes herself as pro-life and a firm believer in the 2nd Amendment. To that end, she is also a member of the NRA. The 33rd District represents most of Anderson County and is currently represented by John Ragan, who has not yet announced if he will seek another term.
BC authorities arrest 5 in 2 meth busts in 2 days
(BCSO) The Blount County Sheriff’s Office announced Wednesday that investigators with the Fifth Judicial Drug Task Force either charged or cited five people following the discovery of two separate meth labs in two days this week. The first incident occurred Tuesday afternoon. 47-year-old Cynthia Renee Evans of Greenback was charged with promoting the manufacture of methamphetamine after narcotics investigators discovered a meth lab in her home. The incident began when narcotics investigators initiated a traffic stop due to a traffic violation on Evans on Meadow Road. Evans was cited with driving on a revoked driver’s license as well as possession of immediate methamphetamine precursors. Two other individuals who were in Evans’ vehicle, Steven Rauhuff and Jennifer R. Scearce, were also cited with possession of immediate methamphetamine precursors. This traffic stop led to a consensual search of Evans’ residence on Sheets Hollow Road, where investigators found a meth lab. Evans was then charged with promoting the manufacture of methamphetamine. Evans is being held on a $15,000 bond pending a hearing in Blount County General Sessions Court at 9 a.m. October 30th. In addition, Tyler Leon Sparks of Greenback was picked up on four outstanding warrants at Evans’ residence.
Late Wednesday afternoon, narcotics investigators arrested 51-year-old Thomas Lee Grimes of Vonore. Grimes was charged with promoting the manufacture of methamphetamine and possession of a Schedule II controlled substance (methamphetamine) with the intent to resell. He is being held on bonds totaling $35,000 pending a hearing in Blount County General Sessions Court at 9 a.m. October 30th. Narcotics investigators were alerted to a suspicious person at a Maryville business. They made contact with Grimes, who had two baggies of methamphetamine on his person. Grimes consented to a search of his vehicle, where investigators found a meth lab in the trunk of his vehicle. The Tennessee Methamphetamine Task Force responded to both incidences to safely dispose of the hazardous materials.
ORNL research focused on improving solar panels
(ORNL) Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Center for Computational Sciences is using supercomputers to design better and less expensive solar panels that can capture the sun’s rays more efficiently and maximize power production. “We are simulating alternative materials for solar cells that will allow us to make cheaper devices that are more efficient in converting sunlight into energy,” said Mike Brown, an ORNL staff scientist. “Traditionally, solar cells use inorganic semiconductors that are typically silicone. We are studying the use of organic molecules in the active layer. The reason for this is that they are much cheaper to manufacture and they also have desirable mechanical properties that are more flexible. You can put them on a wide variety of surfaces.” Brown added that gaining a better understanding of the materials is key the research effort. “You typically have a blend of at least two materials in order to convert sunlight into energy,” Brown said. “One material effectively absorbs the sunlight and gets into an excited state. Then you have another material that can take this excited state and convert it into useable energy.” Some of the research is also taking place at ORNL’s Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences and the University of Tennessee.
McNally confident in state’s financial stability
(Sen. McNally’s office) Senate Finance Committee Chairman Randy McNally (R-Oak Ridge) said today that he expects Tennessee to continue to garner top rankings by the nation’s bond rating agencies despite the serious financial challenges presented by the federal government. Governor Bill Haslam, Comptroller Justin P. Wilson, Secretary of State Tre Hargett and Treasurer David H. Lillard, Jr. attended meetings with three major bond rating agencies last week to make the case for Tennessee to keep its excellent bond ratings. The rating agencies are expected to announce Tennessee’s ratings soon. “I expect we will keep our top credit rating, despite the financial uncertainty at the federal level,” McNally said. “We have been very conservative and responsible in our state budget practices. Tennessee is recognized for being first in the nation in the management of our finances. The Governor and Comptroller Wilson, Secretary Hargett and Treasurer Lillard made a strong case for Tennessee’s top bond rating and I believe the agencies will respond positively.” Tennessee has been rated AAA by Fitch Ratings and Aaa by Moody’s Investor Services – the highest rankings given. The state has been rated AA+ by Standard and Poor’s, which is the second highest rating available. “We have the lowest debt ratio of any state, which is one indicator of our financial health,” Comptroller Wilson said. “We have a history in Tennessee of borrowing comparatively little money and repaying it quickly. That kind of financial discipline is one of the hallmarks of our state.” McNally sponsored pension reform legislation effecting new hires that was approved by the General Assembly this year. He also sponsored a new law requiring the governor to allocate in the state’s annual budget 10% of the growth in tax revenue for the rainy day fund until it reaches a level of 8% of the total amount of tax money put into the general fund and the education trust fund. That new law ensures an adequate savings account in case of a downturn in the economy or prolonged recession. “We continue to look for ways to ensure our financial stability, particularly to provide a safety net in times of economic downturn,” McNally concluded.
Report: AC schools to seek $9.3M loan for energy-efficiency upgrades
The Anderson County school system will ask the County Commission next month for authorization to borrow $9.3 million to pay for energy-efficiency upgrades throughout the system. The News-Sentinel reports that a recently-conducted energy audit estimated that making the upgrades could save the schools around $600,000 a year in energy costs. The School Board has signed off on the idea, which will be presented to the Commission’s Operations Committee next month before it is considered by the full County Commission. Officials say that the projected savings could be used to pay off the loan without affecting property taxes or any other part of the school budget. Some of the improvements suggested by Energy Systems Group of Johnson City include replacing heating and cooling equipment at eight schools; upgrading windows at four schools; installing sensors that will be able to turn off lights and heating systems when rooms are unoccupied; and upgrading lighting at every school in the county. Part of the estimated $9.6 million price tag would be paid for using a TVA grant totaling some $363,000.
New low-income apartments for seniors in OR under construction
A new three-story apartment complex for very low-income seniors over the age of 62 is currently being constructed in Oak Ridge and could be open for occupancy by next spring. Dogwood Manor Apartments is being built behind Linda Brown Realty on Oak Ridge Turnpike and is funded by a federal Housing and Urban Development grant worth $3.1 million. The new facility will feature 23 one-bedroom apartments and a two-bedroom apartment for the on-site manager. The apartments are all designed to be handicap-accessible and one unit will be designed for use by someone with vision or hearing impairments. Residents would pay 30 percent of their income for rent and utilities in the subsidized housing complex. The work is being performed by J&S Construction out of Cookeville.
TWRA: Fish kill cause still unknown
TWRA officials are still stumped as to what caused a fish kill on the Little River in Louisville over the weekend. Tuesday, the agency issued a statement to that effect. TWRA biologists say that the kill most likely occurred between late Thursday and early Saturday and that it affected between 2,000 and 4,000 fish of at least 15 different species. The kill occurred in the area below Alcoa Highway and the mouth of the Little River where it enters the Tennessee River. Officials have ruled out low oxygen content due to the rate water moves in that area and the state department of Environment and Conservation was unable to identify any possible industrial sources for possible contamination. TWRA interviewed several people who found dead fish along the banks of the river over the weekend as well as the manager of a sewage treatment plant upstream from the kill, who said nothing unusual had happened last week that would have contributed to the event. Officials have said that they have not detected any threat to people living on or near the river.
Roane rallies around injured student-athlete
Classmates of a Kingston High School sophomore football player who broke his neck on the first play of last week’s game against Sequoyah showed their support and rallied the community’s support for him on Tuesday. Seth Haynes shattered the third vertebrae in his neck in the game and underwent surgery at UT Medical Center over the weekend. He could be released from the hospital as early as today and has expressed interest in attending the Yellow Jackets game this Friday night. His family says that he is walking around a little bit but that his football career is over. Students and staff members at Kingston High held a walkathon in his honor and to raise money for his family. In all, they collected over $2500 for the family between the students, teachers and administrators at the school and from members of the community who donated to the walkers. We continue to send our thoughts and prayers to Seth and his family as he recovers from the traumatic injury.
Alcoa PD hires new chief
The city of Alcoa has hired a new police chief to succeed Ken Burge, who passed away earlier this year after a lengthy illness. City Manager Mark Johnson says that Phillip Potter will take over the department in early December. Potter had served as police chief in Huntersville, North Carolina from 2004 until his retirement in August of this year. Before that, he served with the Piqua, Ohio Police Department from 1974 to 1992, when he was promoted to chief of that department. He led that police force for 11 years before taking the job in North Carolina. In a press release, Johnson says that he has “no doubt that entire staff will quickly feel at ease with his demeanor and management style and will appreciate his high moral and ethical principles.”
Deer hunt OK’ed at Blockhouse Valley site
(AC Mayor’s Office) Members of the Anderson County Commission, during their quarterly day meeting on Monday, approved a resolution that will allow citizens to hunt deer on the county-owned former Blockhouse Valley Landfill site. Deer hunting will be limited to the former landfill site and restricted to permitted individuals. Citizens interested in obtaining permits for the hunt must submit their applications and requests by calling (865) 457-6291 by 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 6. A lottery drawing will be held at 2 p.m. on Thursday, November 7 in County Mayor Terry Frank’s office, located in Suite 208 at the Anderson County Courthouse, 100 North Main Street in Clinton. Hunting permits will become active beginning Monday, November 11.
Involved in a crash in Clinton? Reports available online
(CPD) The Clinton Police Department now offers an online service for motorists to obtain copies of vehicle collision reports. Through an agreement with APPRISS, which manages the state's central accident report repository, anyone involved in a collision, in Clinton, or his or her authorized legal/insurance representative can obtain their accident reports online at www.tnbuycrash.com. Remember, when you access the web page you must know the exact date of the accident. The new online service is expected to make it easier for citizens who are unable to visit the department during regular business hours. In addition, when purchasing accident reports online you may use a credit or debit card. Accident reports are still available at the Clinton Police Department, 125 W. Broad St. and are available for pick up Monday through Friday from 8am - 4:30pm. Other reports, such as incident and private property accidents, may only be obtained in person. They cannot accept debit or credit cards for reports picked up at the police department.
Sunday crash victim ID’ed
The Alcoa Police Department has identified the woman killed when her motorcycle collided with a pickup truck Sunday afternoon on Bessemer Street. The victim has been identified as 42-year-old Beebie Suzanne Wright and police say that she had been headed east on Bessemer on a Harley Davidson motorcycle shortly before 5:45 pm Sunday when a Ford F150 driven by Faith Forrester pulled in front of her from McCammon Avenue, failing to yield the right of way. Wright could not avoid a collision and struck the side of the pickup truck. She was pronounced dead at UT Medical Center. Alcohol and drugs are not believed to have played roles in the crash, the cause of which remains under investigation.
AC Commission to stay out of Sheriff v. Mayor
During its quarterly day session Monday, the Anderson County Commission rejected a proposal to have the county law director step in to try and mediate the salary dispute between Sheriff Paul White and County Mayor Terry Frank. Law Director Jay Yeager offered to intervene earlier this year, saying at the time that the addition of just a few short paragraphs to the Sheriff’s salary agreement for this fiscal year could resolve the matter. Sheriff White filed a lawsuit after Mayor Frank refused to sign the salary agreement as she claims that signing the document as-is would exceed her authority and lock the county in to a property tax increase since the Sheriff’s Department salary code falls under the state’s maintenance of effort laws that say that funding for law enforcement and schools cannot be lowered from current levels. Commissioner Myron Iwanski proposed having Yeager step in to mediate the dispute in order to move forward on planning to lease space for federal inmates in the soon-to-be-opened jail expansion, which he says would generate enough revenue to cover the cost of hiring enough jailers to adequately staff the jail. Iwanski also expressed concern about the legal costs associated with the salary dispute, saying that the suit could cost over $100,000 a month in legal fess to the county as both parties have retained outside counsel. Unless a settlement can be reached between now and then, the case will not see the inside of a courtroom until December 9th, when it will be argued in front of a Knox County Circuit Court Judge.
Winning lottery ticket sold in OR
The Tennessee Lottery says that someone purchased a winning lottery ticket worth $250,000 in Oak Ridge. The ticket was bought for last weekend’s $55 million jackpot, which no one won. The winning ticket holder has not yet come forward but we will let you know when they do.
Pop star weds in Walland
Kelly Clarkson, who won the first “American Idol” crown and has since built a successful pop music career, got married Sunday in Blount County. The singer married longtime beau Brandon Blackstock at Blackberry Farm in Walland in a simple ceremony to accommodate their busy schedules. She tweeted an announcement of her nuptials on Monday afternoon.
Former Sheriff’s son arrested on drug charges
The son of former Campbell County Sheriff Rose Kitts was arrested Monday following his indictment on charges on the sale and delivery of Schedule II narcotics, in this case morphine. 68-year-old Billy Jack “Cotton” Kitts was arrested at his home near Lafollette Monday by agents with the 8th Judicial Drug Task Force following a months-long undercover investigation. Rose Kitts served as Campbell County Sheriff on three occasions: from 1952 to 1954, from 1958 to 1960 and from 1968 to 1974. Current Sheriff Robbie Goins, in a release, said “no matter who you are, how you were raised, where you live or what you do, we will investigate, pursue, arrest and prosecute anyone who takes illegal actions of selling narcotics.”
Gas smell forces evacuation of WBHS
William Blount High School was evacuated for a time this morning after students and staff detected a natural gas odor. Sheriff’s deputies and Blount County firefighters responded to the scene and determined that the odor was caused by a faulty heating unit. No health problems were reported and everyone was allowed back in the building by late this morning.
Kingston football player breaks neck, recovering
A Kingston High School sophomore suffered a broken neck while trying to make a tackle on the opening kickoff of the Yellow Jackets’ game against Sequoyah on Friday night. 15-year-old Seth Haynes sustained a shattered vertebrae in his neck on the play, which also shifted another vertebrae. He was taken to UT Medical Center, where he underwent a four-hour long surgery on Saturday night to repair the damage and place a rod in his back. While his football career is over, doctors say that he should walk again and that he is making good progress in his recovery.
OR woman indicted in stabbing
An Oak Ridge woman accused of stabbing a man several times after an argument at a bar in Oak Ridge’s Grove Center has been indicted on charges of attempted second-degree murder and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. 26-year-old Treasure Threat has been held at the Anderson County Jail since the July 27, 2012. Threat and a man identified as Stanley Wallace apparently had a long history of disputes and had gotten into an argument earlier that night at Brewskie’s in Grove Center. Wallace reportedly left the scene in a car and she left the bar on foot, only to cross paths again as Wallace’s vehicle was stopped at an intersection. Threat is accused of walking up to the vehicle, punching Wallace and then reaching in stabbing him several times. She was indicted on these charges earlier this month.
BCSO: 4 arrested in drug raid
Blount County Sheriff James Lee Berrong said four people were taken into custody Friday afternoon following a search warrant executed by the Fifth Judicial Drug Task Force. The following individuals were arrested:
· Dennis Tedford Willis, age 45, East Old Topside Road, Louisville is charged with possession of a firearm during a dangerous felony, conspiracy to deliver a Schedule II controlled substance (Oxycodone), possession of a Schedule II controlled substance with intent to resell (Oxycodone), and possession of a Schedule IV controlled substance with intent to resell (various).
· Lea Anne Willis, age 42. East Old Topside Road, Louisville is charged with conspiracy to deliver a Schedule II controlled substance (Oxycodone), possession of a Schedule II controlled substance with intent to resell (Oxycodone), and possession of a Schedule IV controlled substance with intent to resell (various).
· Kenneth Anthony Hurst, age 37, Happy Valley Road, Tallassee is charged with possession of a Schedule II controlled substance with intent to resell (Oxycodone), and simple possession of a Schedule II controlled substance (Opana).
· Stephanie E. Buchanan, age 35, Six Mile Road, Maryville is charged with possession of a Schedule II controlled substance (Oxycodone).
All four individuals are being held at the Blount County Detention Facility. Bond amounts and court dates have not yet been set. Earlier today, investigators with the Fifth Judicial Drug Task Force with the assistance of the Blount County Sheriff’s Office SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics) team executed the search warrant at a residence on East Old Topside Road after a month long investigation. When they arrived, they found several individuals at the residence. Due to health and safety concerns at the residence, Blount County Mayor Ed Mitchell was notified, and a Codes Enforcement Officer responded to the scene to address those issues. Investigators searched the residence and vehicles on the property and found and seized illegal Schedule II and Schedule IV narcotics, as well as three firearms. The investigation is ongoing.
Fatalities rise, THP, TDOT stepping up prevention efforts
The commissioners of the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) and the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security (TDOSHS) today announced specific actions their agencies are taking to help curb the number of traffic fatalities in Tennessee. As of October 17, there have been 800 people killed on Tennessee roadways in 2013. That is the same number of fatalities this same time last year. TDOT Commissioner John Schroer announced his department will display the daily traffic fatality figures on its dynamic message boards across the state. This figure will be updated each weekday and will be compared to the number of fatalities on the same date in 2012. "It's my hope that seeing the fatality numbers on a daily basis will help drivers make better decisions that can save lives," Schroer said. TDOSHS Commissioner Bill Gibbons said the Tennessee Highway Patrol (THP) will continue to focus on specific DUI and seatbelt enforcement efforts that will include special enforcement campaigns throughout the upcoming holiday travel season. “While we made great progress in the first six months of 2013 compared to last year, the last three months have been very deadly on Tennessee roadways,” Gibbons said. “I know that our stepped up efforts at DUI and seat belt enforcement have saved lives. We will continue to focus on those areas.” Tennessee Highway Patrol Colonel Tracy Trott released preliminary data that show decreases in the state wide number of alcohol-related crashes and the number of people killed in alcohol-related crashes to date in 2013, compared to this time last year. A total of 172 individuals have died in alcohol-related crashes through October 16, compared to 252 at this time in 2012 (a drop of 31.7 percent). To date, there has been a 10.7 percent decline in total alcohol-related crashes this year. The THP has taken a strategic and data driven approach this year to DUI enforcement efforts that has resulted in 5,039 arrests for driving under the influence through October 16. That is a 10 percent increase over the number of DUI arrests made this time last year (4,578). State troopers have greatly focused on issuing seatbelt citations in 2013, as well, resulting in a 52.2 percent increase compared to this time last year (59,918 citations in 2013; 39,392 in 2012.) So far this year, there have been 289 unrestrained fatalities on Tennessee roadways, compared to 331 this time last year (a 12.7 percent decrease).
ORT: Sitel ordered to pay back wages, fines
The U.S. Labor Department has recovered nearly $144,000 in back wages and penalties from Sitel Operating Corp. in Oak Ridge, federal officials said Thursday. Sitel has agreed to pay 486 employees $68,901 in back wages after an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division found violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act’s overtime and record-keeping provisions at the company’s facility in Oak Ridge, a press release said. Sitel also paid civil money penalties of $74,900, which were assessed for repeat violations of the FLSA, the release said. It said investigators from the division’s Nashville District Office found that employees who worked on one client account, United Services Automobile Association, were not paid for time spent conducting required preparatory work before their shifts started. Specifically, the company failed to pay its employees for the 28-39 minutes they were required to spend each week logging into Web applications before they could access the time clock to start their shift, the release said. Because the employees were not paid for all hours worked, they were denied overtime compensation at time and one-half their regular rates of pay for hours worked beyond 40 in a workweek, as required by the FLSA, the Labor Department said. The employer also failed to keep accurate records of the time employees spent conducting preparatory work, the release said, adding that Sitel has agreed to pay all back wages and civil money penalties and maintain compliance with the FLSA. The firm, doing business as Sitel, provides phone-based business operations support to companies that want to outsource those functions. Sitel’s employees make and receive calls on behalf of Sitel’s clients to sell products, fulfill orders, take claims, provide technical support, answer customer questions, and collect payments. The division’s Nashville office can be reached at (615) 781-5344. Information on the FLSA and other wage laws is available by calling the division’s toll-free helpline at (866) 4US-WAGE (487-9243) and at www.dol.gov/whd. For more visit www.oakridgetoday.com.
ORT: ORUUC building construction underway
(Oak Ridge Today) Construction work has started at the site of a new home for the Oak Ridge Unitarian Universalist Church near the Joe L. Evins Federal Building. Hickory Construction Inc., which has headquarters in Alcoa, announced on Thursday that it has broken ground at the 4.6-acre site. The building could be complete by next summer. The new building will give the congregation an extra 3,000 square feet, compared to the current building a few miles down Oak Ridge Turnpike. In addition to more space, features will include a single slope roof over the sanctuary to create a dramatic space lit by recessed lighting and randomly spaced pendant fixtures; wood-look ceiling tile in the sanctuary, lobby and hearth room; and polished concrete floors throughout much of the building, the release said. Outside, the grounds will have extensive landscaping and accessible paths. Congregation members broke ground at the site in July and said they plan to be in their new home by Thanksgiving 2014. For more than six decades, the congregation of 260 members has been in a heavily used church at the intersection of Oak Ridge Turnpike and Robertsville Road, but in a deal arranged by commercial developers Blanchard and Calhoun Commercial, the church agreed in September 2012 to sell that 3.6-acre site to make way for a new Kroger Marketplace shopping center in the heart of the city. The church’s current property could be used as outparcels, or small lots, at the new $30 million shopping center, which could open next summer. For more, visit www.oakridgetoday.com.
OR Christmas Parade Dec. 14th
The Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce’s annual Christmas Parade will be held on Saturday, Dec. 14. This year’s theme is “Inside Santa’s Workshop” and will provide spectators with plenty of music, lights, and beautiful floats. Businesses and community organizations have already begun registering for the parade. The parade will begin at 6 p.m. and will begin at Corporate Center, on the corner of Lafayette and Laboratory Road. From there, the parade will travel down Lafayette to the Oak Ridge Turnpike. It will continue west on the Turnpike to Oak Ridge High School. The judge’s stand will be located in front of the Chamber. Detailed information will be e-mailed to all who have registered an entry. The Chamber will be accepting entries online through Monday, Dec. 9. Entry forms are available on the Chamber’s website at www.oakridgechamber.org. The Chamber will need lots of volunteers to serve as parade marshals to make the parade a safe, fun, and successful event. To volunteer or get more information, contact Greta Ownby at firstname.lastname@example.org or (865) 483-1321.
Couple dies in apparent murder-suicide
Maryville Police say that a couple found dead inside an apartment on East Broadway Avenue Monday evening likely died as the result of a murder-suicide. The bodies of 35-year-old Lori Laugherty and 47-year-old David Michael Kirk were found by a friend checking on them Monday evening at around 7:30 pm. Police reported that it appears that the murder-suicide took place during a domestic dispute and that the pistol believed to have been used was found at the scene.
Appeals Court rules against quarry foes
The Tennessee Court of Appeals late last week ruled against a group of citizens who had sued the city of Clinton and the Rogers Group over the city’s rezoning of land near the Bethel community to allow for the road-paving company to reopen its controversial rock quarry. Citizens for Safety and Clean Air had filed the suit, alleging that the city’s rezoning of the land to M-2—or heavy industrial use—had been capricious and arbitrary and that it had constituted illegal spot zoning. Anderson County Chancellor William Lantrip ruled against the plaintiffs earlier this year and the case was appealed. Last week, the appeals court panel upheld the Chancery Court’s decision allowing the rezoning. Residents and businesses for years have fought bitterly against the Rogers Group reopening its long-dormant rock quarry and the dispute also has embroiled the governments of Clinton and Anderson County. The decision was announced on Friday and the plaintiffs have 30 days to file an appeal. No decision has been made on whether they will.
Ex-teacher charged with possessing child porn
A now-former Blount County elementary school teacher is facing child pornography charges. 38-year-old John Daniel Lynn of Alcoa was arrested Monday at his home. Officers with the Blount County Sheriff’s Office Hi-Tech Evidence and Technology—or HEAT—Unit executed a search warrant and found images and videos of child pornography on his computer that had been downloaded from the internet. Lynn was charged with one count of sexual exploitation of a minor for possession of child pornography and one count of aggravated sexual exploitation of a minor for distribution of child pornography. School officials say Lynn has resigned from his position as a fourth grade teacher at Prospect Elementary School in Seymour. He was also a basketball coach. This was Lynn's first year at the school. The school’s principal called all of the parents of the fourth grade students and members of the basketball team to tell them what happened. Lynn is being held at the Blount County Detention Facility on bonds totaling $75,000. He has a hearing scheduled on October 18.
Man loses chance at Father of the Year
A Kingston man has pleaded guilty to hitting his son after the boy asked to drink water instead of cola or juice. The incident happened in January, when investigators said Brent Litton's six-year-old son wasn't feeling well at the dinner table and asked for the water because it would make him better. Litton asked his son where he learned that, and his son said he learned it from his mom's boyfriend. A witness told officers that Litton hit the child in the face, giving him a bloody nose and mouth. Litton will avoid jail time but is on probation.
STEM grants awarded to area schools
STEMspark is pleased to announce the recipients of this year’s 11 teacher mini grants, totaling nearly $11,000. These grants enable teachers to enhance science, technology, engineering, and mathematics instruction in their classrooms. This year, the mini grants will be distributed across nine school systems in the STEMspark region, and will potentially affect more than 6,500 students K-12 students. “We were overwhelmed by the positive response to this initiative from our regional school partners,” Marilyn Roddy, director of STEMspark. “By pairing STEMspark Grant Writing 101 training with this funding opportunity, we hope to build teacher capacity and confidence around grant writing success.” STEMspark received 29 qualified grant submissions from 12 different school systems. In the application, teachers were given the opportunity to detail how the mini grants would improve STEM education in their classrooms. The winning applications included plans for improved technology, professional development for teachers, and group projects for the classroom. “STEM thinking skills such as critical thinking, collaboration and problem solving are what will distinguish our students in the job market in the coming decades,” Roddy said. “Projects such as these will prepare our students for success in higher education and the workforce.”
The recipients are as follows:
THP garners national honor
(THP) The Tennessee Highway Patrol has been recognized among the country’s top state police and highway patrol agencies by the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP). The THP earned second place in the national organization’s 2012 law enforcement challenge and won the special category award for impaired driving. Colonel Tracy Trott will accept the awards on behalf of the state’s highway patrol at the IACP annual conference in Philadelphia, Pa., next week. The THP took top honors in the impaired driving category based on its year-round efforts to detect and apprehend drunk drivers and to address this traffic safety issue through policies, officer training and public information and education. The THP has earned second in the overall National Law Enforcement Challenge for three consecutive years. The National Law Enforcement Challenge is a competition between law enforcement agencies of similar sizes and types. The THP competed in the State Police/Highway Patrol category for agencies with 501-1,000 officers. As part of the challenge, the state’s Highway Patrol submitted an application documenting its efforts and effectiveness in traffic safety enforcement. “This is a tremendous honor for the Tennessee Highway Patrol and every Tennessee State Trooper. This honor would not be possible without their commitment to traffic enforcement and public safety. They are truly Tennessee’s finest,” Commissioner Bill Gibbons said. Commissioner Gibbons heads the state’s Department of Safety and Homeland Security. The IACP is the world’s oldest and largest nonprofit organization of police executive with more than 20,000 members in some 200 countries.
ORT: Former IMPACT site purchased
(Oak Ridge Today) An environmental services company that helped clean up the former IMPACT Services site at Heritage Center has purchased the seven-acre property from the Community Reuse Organization of East Tennessee. The company, Environmental Dimensions Inc., is headquartered in Alburquerque, N.M., but has offices in Oak Ridge. The cleanup work at the site started in May 2012 after IMPACT Services, which processed low-level radioactive waste, declared bankruptcy. The company had leased the site—which is at the northwest corner of Heritage Center, the former K-25 site in west Oak Ridge—from CROET. EDi operated under a program funded by the state of Tennessee when it helped clean up the site. Operating under its radioactive materials license, approximately 1.6 million pounds of waste and equipment shipped in 1,200 containers and transported by 220 trucks have been removed from the site, the press release said. EDi’s initial plan for the property is to address the remaining contaminants left behind by the previous tenants. EDi is a SBA certified woman-owned small business entity with a strong reputation for providing quality technical environmental services for government and private-sector clients alike, with DOE as one of its main focuses for more than 23 years as a contractor.
For more information about EDi, visit www.EDi-NM.com.
For more information on CROET, visit www.CROET.com.
ORT: OR woman already facing death penalty indicted
An Oak Ridge grandmother who is already facing the death penalty after being charged with first-degree murder in the death of her toddler granddaughter has been indicted on nine new counts of aggravated child abuse, aggravated child neglect, and aggravated child endangerment in cases involving three other children. 49-year-old Valerie Stenson, was indicted and arrested last year in connection to the April 17, 2011, death of Manhattan Inman, who was found dead in a home on Teller Village Lane. An Anderson County grand jury indicted Stenson on one count of first-degree murder and four counts of aggravated child abuse and neglect at that time. Our partners at Oak Ridge Today report that the new indictments were filed Sept. 3rd and include four counts of aggravated child abuse, two counts of aggravated child neglect, and three counts of aggravated child endangerment. The offenses allegedly occurred between April 15, 2010, and April 15, 2011, and all three victims are under 18, the indictments said. Stenson was arraigned Oct. 4 on the new charges, and she has a Dec. 9 court hearing. Her murder trial is scheduled to begin February 2014 and it is not clear if the new charges will delay those proceedings. Stenson remains in custody at the Anderson County Jail on bonds totaling $1.075 million.
Wreck injures 2, charges pending
A single-vehicle accident Saturday night sent two men to the hospital. BBB-TV reports that the crash happened at around 7:30 pm Saturday on Highway 61 in front of Ray Varner Ford when the eastbound Toyota 4-Runner driven by 51-year-old Nelson Smith of Andersonville swerved to avoid hitting another vehicle in the right lane. The SUV left the road, struck a culvert in the median and became airborne, flipping several times before coming to rest. A tire flew off the vehicle and struck the car he had tried to avoid but no one on the second car was injured. Smith was flown to UT Medical Center by Lifestar while his passenger, 20-year-old Shawn O’Neal of Powell, was taken to UT by ambulance. Officers reported that while both men had been wearing their seatbelts, ample evidence that alcohol may have played a role in the crash was found at the scene, namely several opened and unopened beer containers found scattered around the SUV. A blood test was ordered for the driver and charges are pending the outcome of the results.
Report: Layton up for third term
According to the News-Sentinel, Anderson County General Sessions Judge Don Layton has announced that he will seek a third, eight-year term in next year’s election. Judge Layton was first elected to the seat in 1998.
Report: Lawsuit filed over deputy-involved fatal shooting
A wrongful death lawsuit has been filed against the Anderson County Sheriff’s Department over last year’s fatal shooting of a man by a volunteer reserve deputy. The News-Sentinel reports that the lawsuit was filed last week in Anderson County Circuit Court and alleges that reserve deputy Steven Williams violated the constitutional rights of Randall Wilcox in the incident that led to Wilcox’s death. The Anderson County DA’s office earlier this year said that the TBI probe into the October 13th, 2012 incident showed that Williams had not broken any laws or violated any procedures. Officials have said that Williams had tried to pull Wilcox over for an alleged seatbelt law violation and that Wilcox had tried to flee on foot after being stopped along the side of Pine Ridge Road. The DA’s office says that Wilcox had fought with Williams over the deputy’s gun and that at one point he had gained control of the weapon and pulled the trigger to shoot Williams in the chest but that the pistol had misfired. After getting the gun back and re-racking it, Williams shot Wilcox three times as Wilcox, who had a lengthy criminal history, charged at him. The lawsuit filed by Wilcox’s wife and the legal guardian of his children alleges that Wilcox did not take any aggressive action toward the deputy and that Williams had simply chased him into the woods and shot him. The lawsuit says that Williams’ actions amounted to assault, false arrest and a violation of Wilcox’s rights. The suit seeks an unspecified damages and, according to the News-Sentinel, an injunction prohibiting officers from drawing their weapons to “chase citizens for suspicion of…a misdemeanor.” Williams, Sheriff Paul White and the county are named as the defendants in the suit.
Veteran driver’s licenses now available
(State of Tennessee) Department of Safety and Homeland Security Commissioner Bill Gibbons and Department of Veterans Affairs Commissioner Many-Bears Grinder today announced that honorably discharged veterans may now visit any driver services center in the state to obtain a specially designated veteran driver license or photo identification card. Legislation authorizing the state to publicly recognize veterans’ military service was passed in 2011. The veteran designation could not be offered, however, until the latest redesign of driver licenses and photo ID cards. A newly designed card and a new process called “central issuance,” in which driver licenses and photo ID cards are mailed to citizens from a central location, are now being used in all driver services centers. Veterans must visit a driver services center and present a certified or original copy of their Department of Defense form 214 (DD-214), which is also known as discharge papers, to receive the special designation on a driver license or photo ID card. If the license or card is a renewal or duplicate of a non-commercial driver license, veterans may also visit one of the Department of Safety and Homeland Security’s county clerk partners. The standard state issuance or renewal fees apply for the transaction. If it is not time to renew a driver license or photo ID, veterans may get a duplicate to replace a current non-commercial license or ID for $8 for the first duplicate and $12 for a second duplicate. Visit www.tn.gov/safety for a list of driver services centers and county clerk partners offering this service.
Man allegedly beaten, robbed
The Anderson County Sheriff’s Department responded to a home on Webber Lane Saturday night after a man was allegedly assaulted and robbed. Few details of the incident have been made available but responding deputies say that when they arrived at around 8:30 pm Sunday, Tommy Lowe was being loaded in to an ambulance bound for UT Medical Center for treatment of a black eye and laceration to his head. Deputies were told that Lowe had been assaulted and robbed of $50 in cash and a cell phone. The CID is following up.
ACSD, 2 VFDs respond to Briceville blazes
Two buildings were destroyed by fires on Vowell Road in Briceville early Saturday morning. Anderson County deputies were called to the scene of the fire shortly after 12:30 am Saturday and when they arrived, reported that a house later determined to be vacant and an outbuilding were fully engulfed by flames. Crews from the Briceville and Medford Volunteer Fire Departments extinguished both blazes but both structures were destroyed. The cause of the fires is unknown.
A storage building on Norris Freeway went up in flames early Saturday morning. The fire in the 3000 block of Norris Freeway was extinguished by the Andersonville Volunteer Fire Department but officials were not able to determine the cause of the fire. The house that shared the property was vacant.
RCSD: Two arrested in theft of guns
Eleven rifles and shotguns were reported missing after an aggravated burglary in Roane County last month, and authorities investigating the case arrested two men on Monday, according to the Roane County Sheriff’s Office. The burglary was reported September 19 on Collins Road. A press release said that deputies were searching for John Farmer in connection with the alleged burglary on Monday when they found a vehicle matching the description of the one involved in the burglary. During the investigation, deputies recovered nine of the 11 stolen guns. Deputies arrested Farmer at the scene and charged him with aggravated burglary and theft over $1,000, the release said. Meanwhile, deputies from the Anderson County Sheriff’s Department arrested Eric Keith Lane for outstanding warrants in connection with the aggravated burglary and theft over $1,000.
Accused CCHS teacher accused of DUI at Courthouse
The Campbell County High School teacher who was arrested on campus last month on charges of drug possession and public intoxication was arrested again on Friday when police say she showed up for her court appearance on those charges under the influence. 56-year-old Angleen Broyles was arrested and charged with her second offense DUI Friday after police say she struck another car while trying to park outside the Courthouse. The longtime special education teacher was arrested on September 26th after her students notified school officials that she appeared to be disoriented. She was arrested after failing several sobriety tests conducted in the school office. Broyles admitted to officers that she had taken prescription medication and officers reported finding several Xanax pills loose in her purse.
Mayes announces candidacy
(Submitted) Anderson County Circuit Court Clerk, Tyler Mayes, has announced that he will seek to retain his position in the 2014 election. Mayes was appointed in 2012 to fill the term of former Circuit court clerk Barry Pellazarri. Mayes has stated that accountability to taxpayers and the courts is the number one issue for the office. During Mayes first year in office he has aggressively pursued new policies and procedures that have resulted in record collections and has made the office more efficient in its daily operations. The aggressive pursuit of bond forfeitures, the installation of new software, and the increased collection of court costs has made the Anderson County Circuit Court Clerk’s Office a standard of excellence across Tennessee. Mayes addressed the changes, “My staff understands that we are public servants and working for the citizens of Anderson County in a pleasant and professional manner is very important to me. I have strived to work with all of the judges and court officials seeking their input to better manage our resources and increase accountability. The changes we have made over the past year have had a positive impact on both our ability to serve the public and the amount of funds we have saved the taxpayers through increased collections.” Under Mayes’ administration, the Clerk’s office has increased efforts in collecting delinquent court costs and fines owed to the county. Mayes office collected nearly $400,000 over the amount projected by the county before the year started. We increased some revenue codes by nearly 300%.” In August, Mayes installed new software that allows viewable access to all public court records via the internet. “Installing the new software has increased office efficiency and transparency. The citizens of Anderson County can now view public records online. It is an honor to serve as the Circuit Court Clerk of Anderson County. A life-long resident of Anderson County, Mayes graduated from Lincoln Memorial University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Management and Leadership Studies and a Master’s Degree in Education, and a post-graduate degree in Administration and Supervision. Mayes is a member of the Tennessee Court Clerk’s Association and the County Officials Association of Tennessee. A member of Second Baptist Church in Clinton, Mayes has served on the Community Advisory Board and the Foster Care Review Board in Anderson County and is presently on the Board of Directors for ARC of Anderson County. He lives in Clinton with his wife, Rachel, and their daughter Kennedy.
RSCC receives literacy grant
(RSCC) Roane State Community College received a grant from the Dollar General Literacy Foundation to offer more classes that help adults earn their high school equivalency diplomas. The $8,000 grant will be used to assist with the cost of instructors, supplies, and instructional materials. “We very much appreciate the support of the Dollar General Literacy Foundation,” said Melissa Browder, Roane County Adult Education supervisor. “Their contribution allows us to offer adults a path to a high school diploma, an accomplishment which can lead to better career opportunities and open the door for adults to continue their education.” Grant partners include the Oliver Springs Housing Authority, Luminary United Methodist Church, the Tennessee Career Center, the Tennessee College of Applied Technology in Harriman, and the Roane County Literacy Council. Roane State and the Tennessee College of Applied Technology are also collaborating to provide field trips to adult students that will show them career options and encourage them to pursue postsecondary education. Celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2013, the Dollar General Literacy Foundation is proud to support initiatives that help others improve their lives through literacy and education. Since its inception in 1993, the Dollar General Literacy Foundation has awarded more than $81 million in grants to nonprofit organizations, helping more than 4.7 million individuals take their first steps toward literacy or continued education. “At Dollar General, we are passionate about our mission of serving others throughout the communities we serve,” said Rick Dreiling, Dollar General’s chairman and chief executive officer. “It’s exciting to see the Dollar General Literacy Foundation’s outreach in action as we partner with organizations to further education and literacy and make a real difference in people’s lives.” Roane State offers adult education and literacy services in Roane, Morgan, and Scott counties. Also, the college works cooperatively with the provider of services in surrounding counties. These services include GED preparatory classes, the GED official practice test, and basic skills (math, reading, etc.). Last year, Roane State/Roane County Adult Education served more than 300 students with 111 students completing a GED/High School Equivalency Diploma. For more information, contact Browder at (865) 376-6663.
Middle school leadership posts changing in OR
(ORT) Principals at Robertsville and Jefferson middle schools have been reassigned, according to Oak Ridge school officials. Robertsville Middle School Principal James Hundertmark is moving to the School Administration Building, where he will be the special projects administrator, Superintendent Bruce Borchers said. Meanwhile, Jefferson Middle School Principal Bruce Lay has been reassigned as RMS principal, Borchers said. Philip Cox, who has been JMS vice principal, will become interim principal. Borchers said the special projects administrator is a new position that will be involved in several initiatives, including data collection for a Keys to College and Career Readiness program. He will be involved in developing report cards for all buildings and departments. Hundertmark started at RMS in July, and he had previously been lead associate principal of Klein High School in Klein, Texas. He began his teaching career as a secondary mathematics teacher for Anderson County Schools and later taught mathematics in Spring, Texas. Lay has been JMS principal since 2001. He also served as Jefferson’s vice principal in 2000 and 2001. Prior to his service at Jefferson, Lay worked for Anderson County Schools, serving as principal of both Briceville Elementary and Norwood Middle schools, a press release said. Cox has been JMS vice principal since 2006. Before he came to Oak Ridge, Cox was principal of Lake City Elementary. For more, visit www.oakridgetoday.com.
MPD charges 2 teens with making, detonating explosives
Two teens have been charged with possession of explosive components after Maryville police said they set off homemade bombs three times in three days. Tony Crisp, Chief of the Maryville Police Department, said the teens, ages 13 and 15, used the internet to create their own bombs described by Maryville Police as basically some chemicals in a sealed-up soda-type bottle that build up pressure and eventually explode. The first incident occurred in their neighborhood off Compton Road on Saturday night. Then, on Monday morning at around 5 am, officers were called out to the Brantley Park subdivision off of Brown School Rd, where police said the teens had thrown a second explosive device over the fence and onto a man's roof. The man picked it up before realizing what it was and put it down, but the device went off a few minutes later. The third incident came Monday at around 11 pm down the street from the teen's home. The teens will go through the juvenile court system. Officers said the teens also admitted to throwing eggs at homes.
Follow-up: New details of fatal Clinton wreck
Following up on a story we brought you last week, we now have more information about Friday’s fatal accident on Highway 61 at the on-ramp to I-75 North in Clinton. The wreck occurred Friday morning at approximately 7:06 am and killed 32-year-old Christopher Strunk of Oneida. Clinton Police report that Strunk was a passenger in a Honda Civic driven by 26-year-old Shawn Wright of Pioneer. The accident happened when a car driven by David Kittrell of Mississippi was westbound in the left lane near the on-ramp when Wright’s car pulled into his path while trying to get on to the interstate. Kittrell’s car t-boned Wright’s car and both vehicles spun around before coming to rest against a guard rail. Strunk, who was not wearing a seatbelt, was declared dead at the scene by EMS personnel and Wright suffered injuries that sent him to UT Medical Center by ambulance. The accident report indicates that Wright may have been under the influence of alcohol and blood tests were ordered, the results of which are pending. Kittrell and his wife Hazel were taken by ambulance to UT Medical Center for treatment of possible injuries. According to witness statements, the traffic light for Wright’s car was red. The witness reported that it appeared that Wright had initially waited before disregarding the light and turned left into the path of Kittrell’s pickup truck. Conditions were described as extremely foggy at the time of the crash. We will update you if and when any charges are filed in connection to Friday’s accident.
Electrical fire damages home
A woman escaped injury Tuesday night when her mobile home caught fire. The blaze was reported shortly after 10:15 pm Tuesday at a home on Center Valley Road and the occupant, Mildred Campbell was able to make it out safely. She told investigators that she had smelled what she described as “waxy burn smell” and that her fire alarm then went off. The owner of the property told Sheriff’s deputies that Campbell had recently replaced the bathroom floor and firefighters from the Marlow Volunteer Fire Department determined that the fire was electrical and had started under that floor. The fire—which has been ruled accidental—caused damage to the floor of the mobile home.
THP: Watch out for deer
Tennessee Highway Patrol (THP) Colonel Tracy Trott today announced that three people were killed in crashes involving deer in 2012. Colonel Trott cautions motorists to be watchful of deer during the fall and winter seasons, as an increase in deer-related crashes are likely during the months of October through December. In Tennessee, there were 5,911 deer-related crashes in 2012. That’s an increase of 4.2 percent from the 5,670 crashes involving deer the previous year. Of the 2012 figure, 5,601 were property damage, 307 were wrecks with injury, and three resulted in fatalities. “The chances of striking deer are considerably higher during hunting and mating season, especially in November. We want to urge drivers to be aware and cautious in areas where deer are populated, and most importantly, slow down,” Colonel Trott said. THP also reports that between 2008 and 2012, 9.2 percent of deer-related crashes occurred on interstate highways. Additionally, since 2008, deer-related crashes in Tennessee have steadily increased by 13.6 percent. According to State Farm®, the nation’s leading auto insurer, there have been an estimated 1.22 million collisions between deer and vehicles in the U.S. between July 1, 2012 and June 30, 2013. That’s a 3.5 percent decline from a year ago. In the event of a deer-related crash, move the vehicle as far off the road as possible. Motorists are also encouraged to dial *THP (*847) from an available cell phone for assistance. The call will be connected to the nearest THP Communications Center and the next available State Trooper will be dispatched to the location. The Tennessee Highway Patrol and the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) suggest the following tips to help prevent deer-related crashes during peak mating and hunting seasons:
If you do collide with a deer, never approach the injured animal. They are powerful and can cause bodily harm to a human. Report any deer collision, even if the damage is minor. Tennessee law allows deer killed in a collision to be taken and used as food, as long as you contact the nearest TWRA regional office to report the accident within 48 hours. For a listing of TWRA regional offices, visit the TWRA website at www.tnwildlife.org. Additional data regarding deer-related crashes can be found at: http://tn.gov/safety/stats/CrashData/default.shtml.
AC government recognized for financial reporting
(AC Mayor’s Office) The Anderson County Government has announced that its Accounts and Budget Office has received the PAFR Award (Popular Annual Financial Report). The PAFR Report is a voluntary report that counties can choose to compile and publish in order to condense the financial position of the county. The goal of Popular Reports is to present budget information in a way that is easy to understand. “We scored an 86.7% out of 100% by the panel of 3 judges. One judge gave us a 96.8% grade. I am honored to say this now makes the 11th consecutive year we’ve won the award,” said Connie Aytes, Deputy Budget Director. “We are pleased to offer to our citizens a report that makes the county’s financial position easier to understand. It is our hope that in some way, this report reaches out to potential investors in Anderson County and shows them that our government goes above and beyond the call of duty to be a source of useful information,” stated Budget Director Christopher K. Phillips. The PAFR Award comes on the heels of the Accounts and Budget Office receiving a Certificate of Achievement for Financial Reporting from the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) back in May of this year. “Budget Director Chris Phillips and the entire accounting office deserve praise for their hard work. But Connie Aytes is the heart and spirit of the Popular Report, and she deserves additional praise for the hard work she puts into it. This report is completely voluntary, and I absolutely love the extra effort Connie makes to make sure our information is accessible and readable by the citizens of Anderson County,” said Anderson County Mayor Terry Frank. “Because of challenges stemming from the economic downturn in 2008, much more attention is turning to local governments. When industry, business, and families are considering where to locate, we’re finding increased attention on the fiscal stability and long-term outlook of our county government. We want to stay in a strong position, and the PAFR is a great method for getting the word out,” said Mayor Frank. Anderson County’s report was reviewed by an independent panel of professional governmental accountants and they determined our report meets the high standards to be awarded the Outstanding Achievement in Popular Annual Financial Reporting. Copies of the report are available in the Anderson County Mayor’s Office or in the Accounts and Budget Office.
East AC Relay for Life announces fundraising totals
The 2013 East Anderson County Relay for Life raised a total of $110,332! The committee would like to thank everyone who donated time and money to this year’s event. Congratulations to the Clinton Walmart for being named one of the top fundraising teams in the nation! The 2014 season kickoff will be in the near future. Stay tuned for more details. Anyone interested in starting a team or becoming a committee member can contact Tre Rhyne by phone @ 865-680-8742 or by email @ email@example.com. The American Cancer Society is the nationwide, community-based, voluntary health organization dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health problem by preventing cancer, saving lives and diminishing suffering from cancer, through research, education, advocacy and service.
Black bear visits local college
A black bear was spotted roaming the campus of Maryville College Wednesday night (10/2). The 200-pound male black bear was seen near Gibson Hall, a dormitory, by several people and reported to authorities and discussed on social media. The bear’s venture into the city did not end well, though, as Maryville Police say that at around 11:30 pm the bear was hit by a car and killed on Highway 321. Wildlife experts say that given Maryville College’s location on the boundary of a national park, it is not surprising to see young male bears in urban areas as they travel in search of new places to live.
New trial denied for Y-12 trespassers
A US district judge this week denied a motion from the three anti-nuclear protesters convicted of breaking in to the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge last year to acquit them of those charges and grant them retrials. Sister Megan Rice, Greg Boertje-Obed and Michael Walli were all convicted on charges including two felonies in connection with the July 2012 incident in which the trio managed to cut through fences and penetrate deep in to the heart of the complex, where they then vandalized the exterior of the Highly Enriched Uranium Materials Facility—the nation’s primary storehouse of bomb-grade uranium—all without being detected. The unprecedented breach resulted in numerous changes at Y-12, including a switch to a new security services provider. US District Judge Amul Thapur in his ruling rejected several defense arguments concerning what the trio basically called its moral imperative to combat nuclear weapons proliferation, which it calls a violation of international law. Thapur instead wrote that while the activists are “entitled to their views regarding the morality of nuclear weapons. But, the defendants’…beliefs are not a get-out-of-jail free card that they can deploy to escape criminal liability,” adding that reasonable people can disagree about nuclear power but that their debate must be constrained by a “respect for the law.” The three protesters are currently being held at a federal facility in Georgia as they await their sentencing hearings early next year.
Longtime police officer passes
Retired Caryville Police Chief Bill Widener has passed away. Widener served with the Caryville PD for 23 years, retiring as chief in 2010. Widener was living in Jacksboro at the time of his death earlier this week and had recently had heart surgery. Funeral arrangements are pending.
Campbell man charged with faking it
A Lafollette Middle School janitor was arrested Tuesday and charged with criminal simulation after officials say he admitted using a school copier to literally make some extra money. James Chapman was arrested Tuesday and investigators say that his scheme involved copying each side of a real bill on the school copy machine and gluing the two sides together to create his fake currency. The investigation began after suspicious $10 and $20 bills were found inside his car when it was repossessed along with a piece of copy paper with one side of a bill printed on it. Campbell County Sheriff’s deputies soon received a call from a local business owner who said that Chapman had given him a fake $20 that he quickly realized was counterfeit…most likely due to the glue. Chapman is free on bond and will appear in court on this charge in the coming days.
Charges in Louisville dog-killing, stalking case sent to grand jury
Charges against a Louisville man were bound over to the Blount County grand jury Tuesday. 62-year-old Fred Lee Wright faces a felony charge of aggravated cruelty to animals and a misdemeanor charge of stalking. Wright is accused of killing a 7-month-old miniature pinscher named Kyra which belonged to his neighbor Diane Stephens on August 27th. He is being held at the Blount County Jail on a $50,000 bond. During Tuesday’s hearing a pathologist from the UT Veterinary School testified that his necropsy of the dog showed that it had died after being shot at least two times. Stephens took the stand on Tuesday while Wright did not. She detailed a long-running feud between the two that began after she moved in to her home on Cub Drive in late 2006 that stemmed from Wright’s assertion that her dogs, many of whom she fosters, barked incessantly. Early on the morning of the 27th, Stephens called 911 after Wright allegedly stood at the top of her driveway and prevented her from leaving. When she did leave, she met a Blount County deputy, who ended up back at Stephens’ property and found the dog dead. Wright reportedly told Deputy Becky Arnold that he had shot the dog because it would not stop barking. Stephens detailed two prior incidents in which she feared for her safety during confrontations with Wright as she testified about the neighbors’ long-running feud. The presiding judge ruled there was probable cause to bind the case over to the grand jury. He also rejected the defense's request to have Wright’s $50,000 bond reduced.
Roane officers nab robbery suspects
The Roane County Sheriff’s Office says that its investigation into an armed robbery last Friday has concluded with the arrests of two people. In a press release, Sheriff Jack Stockton says that Friday night a white man wearing camouflage had entered the Rocky Top Market on Bluff Road at Highway 70 around closing time, pointed a weapon at the employees and demanded money. The suspect fled with an undisclosed amount of cash. On Monday, Sheriff’s investigators, with the cooperation of the Crossville and Kingston Police Departments, made two arrests. Mark Andrew Randolph of Harriman was charged with aggravated armed robbery and possession of Schedule 4 narcotics and Rufena Jean Bunch of Kingston was charged with simple drug possession and possession of Schedule 4 narcotics. Sheriff Stockton says that the investigation is continuing and that state and federal charges are pending in other jurisdictions.
Clinton man found injured in OR park
The discovery of articles of clothing and a personal ID in an Oak Ridge park late Monday afternoon led to a search for a 79-year-old Clinton man. According to a release from the Oak Ridge Police Department, dispatchers received a report that someone had found a man’s ID and some clothing at Clark Center Park on Bull Bluff Road at around 5 pm. Nearby, a small amount of blood was also located. Not knowing the man’s physical condition, the search took on an air of urgency as officials tried to locate him before nightfall. In addition to Oak Ridge Police assets, assistance was requested from the Knox County Sheriff’s Department Air Watch and the Blount County Sheriff’s K-9 tracking team, and about an hour and 40 minutes later, searchers located the man lying off an embankment near the edge of the roadway only about 200 yards away from where his belongings had been found. The man’s name has not been released and the release says that when he was found he was partially clothed and disoriented due to an unknown medical condition. He was taken by ambulance to UT Medical Center for treatment of a head injury.
State: Roane site certified under Select Tennessee
(TDEC) The Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development announced the next 11 Select Tennessee Certified Sites. The Select Tennessee program was launched in June 2012 with the goal of helping Tennessee communities prepare available sites for investment and expansion. The program sets a consistent and rigorous standard upon which companies can rely in making critical location decisions. Included in the 11 sites is the Jones Road Site in the Roane Regional Business and Technology Park. The program acknowledges that companies looking to expand or relocate their operations often eliminate less prepared sites and addresses this issue by ensuring sites meet a specific standard. Among the qualifications needed to become certified, a site must have at least 20 developable acres, proper zoning in place to allow for ease of development, all utilities at the site or a formal plan to extend to the site, and truck-quality road access. A hallmark of the program is ensuring that Tennessee sites are ready for development, whether through marketing those ready for a prospect or providing guidance for uncertified cites to achieve a higher level of preparedness. ECD has partnered with Austin Consulting and The Foote Consulting Group to administer the program.
CPD gets grant for SROs
(Information from Oak Ridge Today/US Department of Justice) Clinton has received a hiring grant valued at $112,282 for community policing. It was one of three awards announced Friday in the Eastern District of Tennessee by U.S. Attorney William C. Killian in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, or COPS. The three East Tennessee grantees and amounts awarded were:
The grants can be used to hire school resource officers and fill critical law enforcement positions, a press release said. Overall, the COPS Office funded awards to 263 cities and counties, aimed at creating 937 law enforcement positions. More than $125 million will be awarded nationally, including nearly $45 million to fund 356 new school resource officer positions, the press release said. The COPS Hiring Program offers grants to state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies to hire or rehire community policing officers. The program provides the salary and benefits for officer and deputy hires for three years. Grantees for the 2013 hiring program were selected based on their fiscal needs, local crime rates, and their community policing plans. There was an additional focus this year on agencies requesting assistance in developing school safety programs that would include the hiring of a school resource officer. For the entire list of grantees and additional information about the 2013 COPS Hiring Program, visit the COPS website at www.cops.usdoj.gov.
Rocky Top theme park proposed in Lake City
A new theme park proposed for Lake City could prove to be an economic boon but before anything can happen, the developer wants the city to change its name. Proposed is a $20 million project that includes a brewery and distillery, interactive kids' theater, and an outdoor ampitheater, an indoor/outdoor water park and resort with a restaurant that looks like a ship-wreck and seats 700 and a Rocky Top-themed sports museum as well as a 100-bed lodge and several other attractions. In addition to the theme park, they also want to change the name of the city to Rocky Top. Lake City used to be called Coal Creek and then when Norris Dam was built they renamed it Lake City. The man behind the idea, also the owner of Rocky Top bottling, wants to change the name of Lake City to Rocky Top. Officials say many of the people they've spoken with are supportive of the idea. The brewery, theme park and theater could create as many as 200 jobs and bring in an estimated $50 million a year. The Lake City Town Council will hold a public meeting to talk about changing the city’s name before any vote would be taken.
Party foul to the extreme in Campbell
A 30-year-old LaFollette man was arrested on charges including aggravated assault after allegedly hacking off part of a man's thumb with a machete-like knife. According to the Campbell County Sheriff's Office, after Josiah Fronckowiak was asked to leave the Starlight Tavern in Jellico sometime around 1 a.m. Sunday morning, the man proceeded to go next door to a house party. When the residents asked him to leave there, he allegedly found a twelve inch machete-like knife, came back, and started swinging. One man lost part of his thumb and was taken to an area hospital. Other partygoers subdued Fronckowiak until deputies could arrive. He was reportedly injured during the incident and was transported for medical care before being released to the Campbell County Jail, where he was charged with aggravated assault, aggravated trespassing, and public intoxication.
Thieves hit Friendsville Town Hall
Blount County Sheriff’s Office deputies are searching for two suspects in a burglary from a storage building at Friendsville Town Hall early Saturday morning. Representatives of Friendsville Public Works and the city’s Citizens Community Improvement Organization reported Saturday morning that a lock on an outbuilding belonging to the organization had been pried off. A review of footage from security cameras showed two white males, possibly teenagers, trying to open the tool compartments of all the Friendsville service trucks, the town hall doors and behind the town hall out of the camera view, according to the report. Two tote bags were discovered to be missing, containing Christmas decorations valued at $300. Damage to the outbuilding was estimated at $100. The theft remains under investigation.
BCSO: Pair’s arrest could solve 50+ auto break-ins
The Blount County Sheriff’s Office announced Thursday that two people have been charged charged with burglary in connection with a string of car burglaries in the East Broadway area. 20-year-old Jacob Dominick Woolford is charged with two counts of burglary of a vehicle, criminal responsibility for the conduct of another, fraudulent use of a credit card, and violation of probation. He is being held on bonds totaling $8,500. 19-year-old Kayla Renee Malone was charged with burglary of a vehicle, fraudulent use of a credit card, harassment, and filing a false police report. She is being held on bonds totaling $6,750. Woolford and Malone will face their charges in Blount County General Sessions Court at 1:30 p.m. September 30th. Deputies with the Blount County Sheriff’s Office were able to locate the suspects after they made two separate 911 calls in the early morning hours of September 21st, stating that a car had gone into the Little River near Coulter’s Bridge on Ellejoy Road. Several emergency services personnel responded to the scene, and when no vehicle was found in the river, deputies were able to track down the cell phone number to Malone. She was taken into custody at her residence. Through the course of the investigation, it was determined that Woolford was also in on the false report, and he was taken into custody as well. Deputies interviewed Woolford and Malone, and they confessed to breaking into as many as 50 unlocked vehicles in neighborhoods in the East Broadway area, and in one case, a garage. Some of the items stolen include credit cards, which they two suspects used, military uniforms, loose change, household items, and several drivers’ licenses and other forms of identification. The Sheriff’s Office is working closely with the District Attorney General’s office, and additional charges could be forthcoming against both individuals. Deputies recovered many of the IDs as well as the military uniforms. The Sheriff’s Office is attempting to get restitution for the rest of the people victimized by Malone and Woolford.
Campbell teacher jailed
A Campbell County teacher was arrested Thursday and charged with teaching while under the influence of prescription medication. Campbell County Sheriff’s deputies arrested 55-year-old Angleen Broyles at Campbell County High School. The School Resource Officer called for deputies to come to the school after receiving several complaints from students that Broyles appeared to be intoxicated in her classroom. When deputies arrived, Broyles had already been taken to the central office. She told deputies she had taken some prescription medication. Deputies say Broyles failed several sobriety tests. She later told deputies that she had 12 Xanax pills in her purse but was unable to provide proof of a prescription. She was charged with public intoxication and drug possession.
FEMA administrator tours ORNL
Richard Serino, deputy administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) , visited Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s visualization facility Sept. 25 to learn about the laboratory’s supercomputing capabilities that could be useful in responding to emergencies. Serino is touring the United States to view innovative technologies that could aid emergency responders. He was impressed with what ORNL has to offer with regard to innovative technologies that can help emergency response. “We were able to see some of the opportunities they have and some of the great work they’ve been doing, the data they have and how they’ve been able to share that data to help us in response,” said Serino after visiting ORNL’s Exploratory Visualization Environment for Science and Technology (EVEREST) facility. “They have been able to help not only us, but also the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency (TEMA) and the local first responders in making that information they have available as an open source.” EVEREST has the ability to quickly analyze large amounts of population data in a given area, which is critical in response during and after an emergency event. “One of the things we’re looking at is how we can share various data points where people can actually look at that data and have the information they need to make some of those decisions,” Serino continued. “This applies to local, state and federal emergency management agencies and the public.” Serino participated in several public forums during his visit to Oak Ridge. He has participated in a number of these forums while touring the nation in order to gain ideas about improving emergency response.
Report: AC school employees may not get paid for lunch
The longtime practice in the Anderson County school system of paying hourly and classified workers for their hour-long lunch break is “constitutionally suspect,” according to a draft opinion issued by County Law Director Jay Yeager, who says the practice should be “immediately corrected.” The News-Sentinel reports that School Director Larry Foster asked Yeager for the opinion earlier this year after questions arose about whether or not the practice violated state law. Yeager’s opinion will affect about 500 employees ranging from central office workers to maintenance and other support personnel who currently work from 8 am to 4 pm with an hour off for lunch, for which they are paid. Foster told the paper that work hours may have to be extended for those workers by an extra half-hour and that he plans to take up the issue with the School Board on October 12th.
BCSO investigating apparent kidnapping attempt
The Blount County Sheriff's Office is investigating an incident that occurred at William Blount High School Tuesday night involving a 12-year-old girl. Shortly before 8 p.m. Tuesday, deputies responded to William Blount High School to the call of an assault. When they arrived, deputies spoke to a 12-year-old girl who stated she was in a stairwell by the gymnasium while a volleyball tournament was taking place when a white male in his early to mid 30s grabbed her and attempted to take her down the stairs. The girl told deputies she punched the man in the nose, and he ran down the stairs. She said the man ran out of the school and got into the passenger side of a black sedan driven by a black male. The girl's hand was injured in the incident. The suspect is described as a white male in his early to mid 30s, 5 feet 8 to 5 feet 10 inches in height, short brown hair, average build, wearing a gray sweatshirt and blue jeans. The Sheriff's Office is investigating the incident. Anyone with any information regarding this incident, or saw anything suspicious at William Blount High School Tuesday night, is asked to call the Sheriff's Office Crime Hotline at (865)273-5200, or leave the information on the Text-a-Tip link on the Sheriff's Office website at www.bcso.com.
2 busted for heroin in Blount
Two men were arrested Wednesday night on charges of possessing heroin for resale following an investigation by the Fifth Judicial Drug Task Force. 21-year-old Tyler James Hicks of Louisville and 34-year-old Raphael Cortez Ferguson of Detroit, Michigan were both charged with possession of a Schedule I controlled substance (heroin) with intent to resell. The bond amounts have not yet been set. According to a release from the BCSO, Hicks and Ferguson will face their charges in Blount County General Sessions Court at 9 a.m. October 2nd. Three other individuals were taken into custody and later released. Investigators responded to an apartment on Kelly Circle in Louisville at around 5 p.m. Wednesday after receiving numerous citizen complaints about heavy traffic at an apartment. When investigators arrived, they found two people inside a vehicle at that apartment. One of the people in the vehicle was in the act of shooting up. Both of those individuals were detained. The investigators made contact with the tenant of the apartment and she gave them consent to search. During that search, agents reported finding an ounce of heroin inside the apartment. The investigation is continuing, and charges are pending against other individuals at the scene.
Man drowns at Louisville Marina
The Blount County Sheriff’s Office and TWRA recovered a drowning victim at Louisville Marina on Wednesday afternoon. Authorities have identified the victim as 48-year-old Jeffrey Lynn Smith of Louisville. Sheriff’s deputies responded to the marina on Louisville Road at around 1 p.m. Wednesday to perform a welfare check on Smith, who had not been seen since late Tuesday night on a boat anchored at the marina. Family and friends attempted to locate Smith Wednesday morning, but they were unable to contact him. The Blount Special Operations Response Team and agents with TWRA responded to the scene. Using a VideoRay Remote Operated Vehicle brought in from Chattanooga, TWRA Investigator Matt Majors located Smith in eight feet of water near the dock. A BSORT diver recovered Smith’s body shortly before 4 p.m. The drowning appears accidental, and no foul play is suspected. According to the Sheriff’s Office, the VideoRay Remote Operated Vehicle is a new piece of underwater equipment obtained by TWRA last spring. To date, they have made five recoveries with the ROV.
Man breaks into police chief’s car, arrested
A 20-year-old man remains behind bars after he allegedly broke into the wrong car Friday night in Oak Ridge. Late Friday night, Oak Ridge Police Chief James Akagi was at home when he heard his dog barking and went to investigate. He found several items from his wife’s unlocked car in his driveway and spotted an unfamiliar vehicle parked nearby. The chief called for back-up and he and responding officers searched the area but did not find anyone. They set up surveillance on the mystery car and Akagi saw a man later identified as Justin Wagner get in to the car and try to speed away. In an unmarked cruiser, Akagi pursued Wagner and pulled him over a short distance away, where other officers took him into custody. Investigators say they are looking into whether or not Wagner may be involved in other vehicle break-ins around the city. He was charged with burglary from a vehicle and at last check remained in custody at the Anderson County Jail on a $10,000 bond.
BCSO searching for trigger-happy motorcyclist
Blount County Sheriff’s deputies are searching for a motorcyclist who allegedly fired a gun at a woman’s car in Townsend on Monday night. The incident occurred at around 8 pm Monday on Highway 321 and the victim told deputies that a man driving a red or maroon-colored cruiser-type motorcycle with a female passenger on back had pulled up behind her and began driving recklessly as if he wanted to pass her. The driver told deputies that she had heard what sounded like two gunshots. She says the motorcycle passed her before slowing down and pulling up along the passenger side of her car waving a pistol at her. The motorcyclist drove off and the woman pulled over and called police. Deputies later recovered a bullet from the car’s bumper. The woman was not injured in the incident. If you have any information about Monday’s incident, the Blount County Sheriff’s Office would like to hear from you.
Follow-Up: ACSD details use of GHSO grant money
As we reported last week, the Anderson County Sheriff’s Department has been awarded a traffic safety grant for the fifth year. The grant award of $40,000.25 from the Governor’s Highway Safety Office will support the ACSD’s traffic safety program “Reducing Fatalities in Anderson County.” The funds will increase efforts to reduce fatalities through DUI and impaired driver as well as seatbelt enforcement. Sheriff Paul White sought assistance from the Governor’s Highway Safety Office for this program again this year to promote traffic safety in Anderson County. Specifically, this grant funding will provide overtime for traffic safety efforts in Anderson County. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration provides the funding for GHSO grants.
ORT: GAO denies protest of Y-12 contract
(Oak Ridge Today) The U.S. Government Accountability Office on Tuesday denied or dismissed three elements of a protest filed in June by one of the two teams that lost a competition earlier this year to manage two nuclear weapons plants in Tennessee and Texas, a contract that could be worth up to $22.8 billion. The bid protest was filed on June 17 by Nuclear Production Partners LLC, or NP2, one of three bidding teams that sought to manage and operate the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge and the Pantex Plant near Amarillo, Texas. The decision announced Tuesday dismissed as premature allegations regarding discussions and proposal revisions, denied an assertion that the National Nuclear Security Administration had to further amend the award solicitation, and dismissed NP2’s arguments regarding the application of Federal Acquisition Regulation’s requirements for cost realism analysis because it was not filed on time. It wasn’t immediately clear what will happen next. The transition to a new contractor had originally been scheduled to be complete by May 1 of this year, but the protests have put the transition on hold. It was the second protest filed by NP2. In April, the GAO upheld one part of an earlier pair of protests filed by NP2 and Integrated Nuclear Production Solutions LLC of Oak Ridge. In that decision, the GAO raised questions about proposed savings and recommended that the procurement be re-opened and more information requested from the three bidding teams about their proposed cost savings. The GAO also recommended that the relative size of each team’s proposed cost savings be evaluated. The winning team, Consolidated Nuclear Security LLC, or CNS, had promised to save $3.27 billion during the next decade. In May, the NNSA announced that it would request more information from the three teams. The bid protests followed a January announcement by the NNSA that it had awarded a five-year extendable contract valued at up to $22.8 billion to CNS to manage and operate Y-12 and Pantex. For more, visit www.oakridgetoday.com.
UT-Battelle aids ADFAC
(ORNL) UT-Battelle has made it possible for an Oak Ridge family to live in a new home. Ninety-six ORNL employees working through Team UT-Battelle helped build the new home sponsored by Aid to Distressed of Families of Anderson County (ADFAC). The home, located at 104 Jay Lane, Oak Ridge, was dedicated Sept. 18. Annie Cacheiro, ADFAC’s executive director, thanked the 96 employees who showed up each Saturday during the summer in good and bad weather to work on the project. Cacheiro said the UT-Battelle work effort amassed more than 1,700 hours and noted the home could not have been completed without the work done by UT-Battelle volunteers. During the dedication ceremony, ORNL Director Thom Mason presented a $5,000 check to ADFAC, which has now coordinated the construction of two Oak Ridge homes with the assistance of UT-Battelle. ADFAC is a local, nonprofit and United Way partner agency that strives to help impoverished families become stable and self-sufficient through direct assistance and educational services. Through the years, ADFAC has responded to more than 60,000 requests for assistance.
ORT: OR Mall redevelopment plans unveiled
(Information from Oak Ridge Today/staff reports) The North Carolina-based company that wants to redevelop the Oak Ridge Mall unveiled its site plan today (9/25) for the 60-acre property. The $80 million project could include new retail, hotel, office, and residential properties andcould create almost 1,000 new jobs while boosting annual city and county sales tax revenues by more than $2 million, according to an estimate by a city consultant. The two remaining anchor stores at the mall, JCPenney and Belk, would stay. So would Tinseltown Theater and Walmart. Meanwhile, the existing interior space between the anchor stores would be demolished. Previous mall redevelopment plans had also called for demolishing that interior retail space. The private investment in the project would be about $80 million. Company representatives will be meeting within the next several days with the Oak Ridge Industrial Development Board to consider a tax increment financing (TIF) plan to assist in the development of the site. Following the model of the recent Aubrey’s/Panera site on S. Illinois Ave., this TIF will not put any public dollars at risk with generating funds for improvements to the site. “Our vision for this redevelopment effort is to construct a ‘new downtown’ for Oak Ridge that will restore a sense of community and has the potential to make a positive impact on the region as a whole,” said officials with Crosland Southeast. The introduction of new retailers and restaurants, offices, residences, and public spaces would differentiate the mall project from all others in the area, thus “catering to a broader constituency,” according to officials in a press release you can read in its entirety on our website.
Crosland Southeast press release: A North Carolina development firm known for turning around difficult real estate projects is preparing to lay out its vision for the old Oak Ridge mall property and doing so in a way that will put no public dollars are at risk. Charlotte-based Crosland Southeast is the firm that has been working with the City of Oak Ridge for the past several months to develop a plan to convert the once thriving mall site into a multi-use work-live-play-shop destination. “An experienced developer like Crosland has demonstrated an ability to take on challenging sites and turn them into long-term assets,” said Oak Ridge Mayor Tom Beehan. “We’ve worked hard to expand retail opportunities in our community and we are seeing very positive results from these efforts. Crosland brings credibility and experience to the table, and we look forward to working with them to create a more vibrant ‘center city’ for Oak Ridge.” Company representatives will be meeting within the next several days with the Oak Ridge Industrial Development Board to consider a tax increment financing (TIF) plan to assist in the development of the site. Following the model of the recent Aubrey’s/Panera site on S. Illinois Ave., this TIF will not put any public dollars at risk with generating funds for improvements to the site. “With the success of the S. Illinois Ave project, we are very positive about this financing approach that puts no tax-payer money at risk and requires the developer to assume all the financial risk,” said Oak Ridge City consultant Ray Evans. According to estimates made by the city’s consultant, the proposed new development would create almost 1,000 new jobs and increase annual city and county sales tax revenues by more than $2 million. The private investment in the project will be approximately $80 million. “Our vision for this redevelopment effort is to construct a ‘new downtown’ for Oak Ridge that will restore a sense of community and has the potential to make a positive impact on the region as a whole,” said Tim Sittema, partner at Crosland Southeast. Sittema said that through the introduction of new retailers and restaurants, offices, residences and public spaces, this project will differentiate itself from all others in the area, thus catering to a broader constituency. “Every community needs public places to gather and we are working hard to make this vision a reality for Oak Ridge,” said Sittema. “We are privileged to have the opportunity to work with this community on such a transformative project. We pledge to do our part in creating an attractive, economically viable project that retailers and other businesses will want to be a part of. With the support of the IDB, the city, the county and our other partners and stakeholders, we will work very hard to make this happen.” For more information about Crosland Southeast, please visit www.CroslandSoutheast.com.
OR earns “Platinum” TVA status under new program
(City of Oak Ridge) The City of Oak Ridge has achieved platinum status in the Tennessee Valley Authority’s new “Valley Sustainable Communities” program. This designation will enhance the city’s competitiveness for new investments and jobs when companies are looking to grow in new or expanded locations. The program is sponsored by TVA and developed and administered by consultant Boyette Strategic Advisors (BSA). “The platinum designation recognizes that the Oak Ridge community has made a significant and comprehensive commitment to sustainability and also has thoroughly integrated economic development into its sustainability efforts,” said Del Boyette, President/CEO of BSA. The City of Oak Ridge has demonstrated a commitment to reduce emissions through the adoption of climate action and pedestrian/bike plans, and to improve healthy living with a commitment to maintaining its numerous greenways and parks. “I am excited and pleased to see this recognition for our community,” said Oak Ridge City Manager Mark Watson. “Oak Ridge has a long history of integrating sustainability into economic development initiatives. Whether it’s preservation of green space in Horizon Center Business Park, the solar farms in our Heritage Center Industrial Park, or LEED-certification credits in our PILOT program, we have demonstrated a commitment to sustainability. These efforts, coupled with the broad-based sustainability research conducted at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, make Oak Ridge a highly desirable place to live and do business.” “This platinum rating speaks volumes to companies interested in sustainable growth,” added Oak Ridge Mayor Tom Beehan. “TVA recognizes that our view towards economic development incorporates our citizens’ values related to environmental education, health and wellness. I want to thank TVA and Boyette for acknowledging our achievements.” “TVA Economic Development’s mission includes working with our Valley communities like Oak Ridge to assist them to better compete in global markets,” added John Bradley, TVA senior vice president of Economic Development. “We are seeing that more and more companies have an increasing business emphasis on sustainable operations as they search for a community where they can locate, grow, and enhance their company and employee sustainability commitments.” Further information is available through the City’s website www.oakridgetn.gov/online/sustainability.
ORPD IDs victims in fatal Sunday wreck
Oak Ridge Police have identified the man who died in a Sunday afternoon accident involving a car and two motorcycles as a Clinton man. The wreck occurred at around 5 pm on Highway 95 about a half-mile south of Bethel Valley Road and Oak Ridge Police say it began when a motorcycle driven by 23-year-old Jeffrey Floyd of Clinton and a vehicle driven by 57-year-old Patricia Scofield of Louisville collided. Floyd was killed in the crash and a second motorcyclist identified as 30-year-old Gregory Bergen of Caryville was injured and taken to UT Medical Center by ambulance. Police reported that when they arrived on the scene, Scofield’s vehicle and Bergen’s motorcycle were almost completely engulfed by flames. The investigation into Sunday’s wreck is ongoing.
Suspicious fire #2 at Kingston home
Firefighters in Kingston responded to a second suspicious fire at a Lawnville Road home in just three weeks early Monday morning. The first fire occurred on September 8th and authorities say was deliberately set to cover up evidence of the theft of several items from the house. Monday’s fire broke out just after 2:30 am and while fire crews were able to extinguish the blaze, the house was destroyed. There was no one at the house Monday morning and there was no electricity hooked up, further casting suspicion on the origin of the fire. Officials in Kingston have requested assistance from the state in investigating both fires.
OR BOE approves new budget, crisis averted
As expected on Monday night, the Oak Ridge School Board voted unanimously on first and second readings to adopt a revised budget that includes an additional $250,000 from the city. The transfer of funds was necessary after the state notified the school system last month that its budget for this year had failed a maintenance-of-effort test that requires local funding for schools to remain at least the same from year to year. State officials warned that if the shortfall was not addressed, the system would have lost about $1.87 million a month from the state, which would have necessitated a shutdown of the schools on October 1st. The City Council approved the transfer last week.
Car fire destroys car, damages house
A car was destroyed and the house it was parked next to damaged early Monday when it caught fire in Briceville. The incident happened shortly after midnight Monday at a house on Seiber Mountain Lane. Firefighters from the Briceville and Medford Fire Departments responded and put out the fire, which started in a Pontiac Grand Prix, and spread to the nearby house, which was burned through the siding and into the attic, according to the report. The owner of the car, Adrian Burum, told deputies that the vehicle had been smoking when pulled up next to the house of Raleigh Seiber and after he had gone into Seiber’s house, had heard his car horn sound. When he went outside, he saw the fire and called 911. Seiber said he did not have homeowner’s insurance and Burum said he only had liability insurance on the car. The fire has been ruled an accident and no one was injured.
ORT: Hit and run driver leaves trail of damage
(Information from Oak Ridge Today) A driver hit two parked cars on Outer Drive early Saturday morning, sideswiped a tree, and struck a house before fleeing, according to Oak Ridge Police. The crash occurred at about 1:40 a.m. Saturday and damaged the foundation of a home at 97 Outer Drive. Damage to the two parked cars, both owned by the same person, was estimated at more than $400 each. Damage to the home was also estimated at more than $400. According to a witness and evidence at the scene, the unknown vehicle was traveling east on Outer Drive about 200 feet east of Florida Avenue when it left the roadway and struck the two parked cars, which were both parked in on-street parking on the south side of the road. The vehicle than crossed the sidewalk on the south side of the road and sideswiped a tree with the passenger side of the vehicle. It then continued southeast through underbrush and into the yard at 97 Outer Drive before striking the house. The collision busted out a section of the foundation. The unknown vehicle then fled, a witness said.
AC Mayor takes part in Constitution Day at Norris ES
(AC Mayor’s Office) Students at Anderson County’s Norris Elementary School have been studying the U.S. Constitution, all part of the national U.S. Constitution Week, which is commemorated annually from September 17-23. On Friday morning, Sept. 20, students and teachers at Norris Elementary gathered in the school gymnasium for a special assembly in which the Naval JROTC Corps from Anderson County High School presented the colors, students and teachers sang the National Anthem, and Anderson County Mayor Terry Frank spoke to the group about the importance of the Constitution. The County Mayor also presented the school with a proclamation designating Sept. 17-23, 2013 as Constitution Week in Anderson County; the poster-sized proclamation was printed on a scroll and appeared like the original U.S. Constitution. The Mayor, school principal, officials with the Daughters of the American Revolution, and student members of the Junior American Citizens club at Norris Elementary signed the proclamation. As members of the JAC group finished signing the proclamation, Mayor Frank personally gave each member his/her own copy of the Constitution. “I want to commend Norris Elementary School for having such an engaged student body. When we kicked off the program on Friday morning, I asked how many of the children at Norris had learned about our U.S. Constitution and every hand in the gym went up! It gave me chill bumps!” Mayor Frank said. “I was honored to be part of such a wonderful program in honor of our history. Most of the children were dressed in red white and blue, the music was wonderful, and their enthusiasm was incredible. I am very proud and thankful for the work of JAC Chairman Lora Kay Pope and Norris Principal Lynn Ward. They put together a beautiful ceremony,” the Mayor added. The Daughters of the American Revolution is a non-profit, non-political volunteer women’s service organization. DAR members are dedicated to promoting historic preservation, education and patriotism in communities across the nation. A local chapter of the DAR sponsors the Junior American Citizens club at Norris Elementary; the JAC program teaches America's schoolchildren the principles of democratic government, good citizenship, and appreciation of American heritage and history.
BCSO: 2 arrested in man’s death
Investigators with the Blount County Sheriff’s Office say that they have arrested two men in connection with the death last week of a 66-year-old Maryville man. Deputies responded early last Monday morning to the home of Arthur Walter Downey on Turkey Pen Branch Road after family members found him unresponsive. Late Thursday, two men were taken into custody and charged with criminal homicide in Downey’s death. 20-year-old Trevor Lloyd Segars and 21-year-old Colin Louis Blades—both of Maryville—are both being held on bonds of $250,000 each at the Blount County Jail pending a court date next week. Authorities say that further charges could be filed against the two men and that other people may face charge sin this case as well. No details about how Downey died, what led investigators to the suspects or a possible motive have been released as the investigation is continuing.
‘In God We Trust’ sign dedicated in OR
The fifth and final “In God We Trust” sign to be placed on an Anderson County building was officially dedicated Friday afternoon at the General Sessions Court building in Oak Ridge. In addition to the sign, a small granite monument paying tribute to five Anderson County soldiers who perished in Iraq and Afghanistan was dedicated and a new flagpole was erected. Earlier this year, granite signs with “In God We Trust” were placed over each of the four entrances to the Anderson County Courthouse. The sign bearing the phrase in Oak Ridge is a polymer with an aluminum finish. The signs and their installation were paid for by community donations and the flagpole for the Oak Ridge court building was donated by Atomic City Tool & Dye.
AC RAM Clinic a ‘huge success’
Organizers of last weekend’s Remote Area Medical Expedition at Clinton’s First Baptist Church say the event was a huge success. During the two-day clinic, medical, dental and visions services estimated at over $504,000 were provided to patients at no charge. Organizers say that the vast majority of the services provided were in the dental clinic to the tune of $413,505, including one patient who received over $8000 in dental care. $83,030 worth of service was provided in the vision clinic and $7634 worth of general medical services were provided. In all, over 980 patients registered and 953 received treatment. Organizers of the RAM Clinic wanted to once again express their gratitude for the community support they received, including prayers, donations of goods and money, as well as time spent working by volunteers.
Wall celebrates 30 years with AC government
(AC Circuit Court Clerk) Nyta Wall, deputy court clerk with the Circuit Court Clerk’s office, has recently celebrated her 30th year with the office. Wall started in the Clerk’s office on September 16, 1983. For majority of those years she has worked in the Clerk’s accounting department. In front of a gathering of fellow clerk’s from juvenile court, general session’s court, and the circuit court, Wall stated “For thirty years I have never dreaded coming to this office. I enjoy getting up every day and coming to work. This office has been a tremendous blessing in my life.” Circuit Court Clerk, Tyler Mayes, presented Wall with a gift card to her favorite restaurant, Chop House, and a large plaque recognizing Wall for her years of dedicating and loyalty to the Clerk’s office. “It is an honor to work with Nyta. Her loyalty and dedication to this office and to the people of Anderson County is unwavering. This county is truly blessed to have someone like Nyta.” The offices finished the celebration with Nyta’s favorite, chocolate cake with chocolate icing.
ACSD probes house fire as case of arson
The Anderson County Sheriff’s Department is investigating a fire at a vacant mobile home on Moser Lane as arson. The fire was reported at around 7 pm Wednesday at 186 Moser Lane and was extinguished by crews from the Medford Volunteer Fire Department. A Sheriff’s deputy was called to the scene after firefighters reported finding two points of origin for the fire, one in the living room and another just inside the back door. The property owner told deputies that the trailer had been unoccupied for about five months and had no electricity hooked up. He also told investigators that he did not have insurance on the trailer, adding that the doors were left unlocked and the windows shut. Firefighters reported that it appeared that at least one window had been left open to provide the fire with more oxygen. Damage was estimated at around $5000 and no one was injured. The Criminal Investigation Division is looking in to the exact cause of Wednesday’s blaze.
Local agencies receive highway safety funds
Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam, Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) Commissioner John Schroer and the Governor’s Highway Safety Office (GHSO) Director Kendell Poole today announced $21.1 million in grants to Tennessee agencies to support highway traffic safety efforts. The funds support the mission of the GHSO. The goal is to save lives and reduce injuries on Tennessee roadways through leadership, innovation, coordination and program support in partnership with numerous public and private organizations. These grants help fund a variety of safety initiatives across the state including speed enforcement, first responder equipment, Specialized Impaired Driving prosecutors and child passenger safety training. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration provides the funding to the GHSO. The grants, totaling 434 for the 2014 funding cycle, were awarded to 370 agencies that successfully applied for funding based on a defined problem and statistical need. Each year, the GHSO accepts applications from agencies across the state for available highway safety funds. Applications are reviewed and scored by the GHSO and external highway safety advocates. The agencies that meet the criteria for funding received awards. For more information about the GHSO, visit our website at www.tntrafficsafety.org. Locally, the Anderson County Sheriff’s Department received $40,000.25 for efforts to reduce fatal accidents; the Clinton, Lake City and Norris Police Departments each received $5000 for high-visibility enforcement efforts and the Oak Ridge Police Department received $25,299.40 for alcohol saturation patrols and sobriety checkpoints. The District Attorney’s Office in Anderson County also received a $181,147.52 DUI Abatement and Prosecution Enhancement Grant. In Blount County, the Alcoa Police Department received $20,000 for traffic services; the Maryville Police Department received $69,120 for alcohol saturation patrols and sobriety checkpoints while the Blount County Sheriff’s Office received $72,248.64 for the same purpose. The BCSO also received $89,880.32 for motorcycle safety efforts on the Dragon and another $17,960 for a Network Coordinator. The Blount County DA’s office received a grant worth $158,496.56 for DUI Abatement and Prosecution. For a complete list and description of each grant, visit http://www.tdot.state.tn.us/grantinfo/ghso.htm.
ORT: Two nabbed on drug charges
According to our partners at Oak Ridge Today, Oak Ridge police seized $8,000 in cash and an estimated $4,000 worth of suspected Roxicodone during a traffic stop last week for possible license plate and window tint violations. A 51-year-old James P. Chase and 26-year-old Jennifer L. Marlowe, both of Wartburg, were arrested and charged with possession for sale of a controlled substance. Police said they pulled over a 2013 Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck driven by Chase on Oak Ridge Turnpike near Fairbanks Road on Friday afternoon because its tinted license plate cover violated state law and city ordinances, and the window tint appeared darker than allowed. Officers became suspicious that Chase and Marlowe were involved in drug activity and a K9 officer alerted on the truck for the presence of illegal drugs. Officers searched the vehicle and reported that inside a purse, they found a prescription bottle with 129 tablets of suspected Roxicodone, a painkiller. The label on the bottle had Marlowe’s name on it, but it was written for a different medication. The $8,000 in cash was found in bundles with the suspected drugs. Marlowe was arrested and searched, and another 13 suspected Roxicodone tablets and cellophane paper were found in her pants pocket, ac cording to ORT. She was charged with possession for sale of a controlled substance, as well as simple possession for a half-tablet of suspected alprazolam. Chase said the money was his, but he had a different explanation of where it came from than Marlowe did, Thomas said. The officer said Chase admitted to knowing that Marlowe possessed controlled substances while she was in his truck. They are expected to appear in court on Tuesday.
UWAC sets ‘bold’ goal for 2013 campaign
The United Way of Anderson County board of directors—under the leadership of the campaign crew of Edwena, Charles, Rebecca, and Nick Crowe—has established a fundraising goal of $1.3 million for the fall 2013 campaign. “We recognize this is a bold goal, one that may be difficult to achieve,” said Charles Crowe. “Yet, we are all in this together, and together, we can begin the recovery that is so important to our county.” United Way of Anderson County witnessed a 12 percent decrease in pledges and a 50 percent increase in unpaid pledges during 2012. This “perfect storm” resulted in a 20 percent reduction in funding to partner health and human service nonprofits that meet the needs of Anderson County residents. UWAC and its 34 community partners with 51 vital programs address three core needs of the community: basic human needs, youth development, and the needs of seniors. For more information, call (865) 483-8431 or visit www.uwayac.org.
4 arrested at Morgan County Correctional Complex
Four people, including a prison nurse, have been caught trying to smuggle drugs and other contraband into the Morgan County Correctional Complex in Wartburg. The Department of Correction arrested the four after their vehicle was searched at the prison. Lori Hensley, an RN at the prison, was charged with introduction of contraband and possession of oxycodone; visitor Shelia Mcbee was charged with possession of methadone and oxycodone without a prescription; visitor Shannon Hunt was charged with introduction of contraband (cellphone); and visitor Ronema Widener was charged with possession of oxycodone without a prescription. Earlier this month, another nurse at the Morgan County Correctional Complex was fired because investigators believe she stole drugs from a medicine room.
OR Council OKs money, school shutdown averted
(Information from Oak Ridge Today) In a brief special meeting Tuesday, the Oak Ridge City Council agreed to allocate $250,000 to the city school system to help stave off a potential loss of millions of dollars in state funding and avert a possible Oct. 1 school shutdown. Our partners at Oak Ridge Today report that funds for the one-time transfer will come from higher-than-expected sales tax revenues in Roane County. The vote was 4 to 1 with 1 abstention. Mayor Tom Beehan, Mayor Pro Tem Jane Miller, Chuck Hope and Charlie Hensley voted in favor of the allocation. Trina Baughn voted no and Anne Garcia Garland abstained. David Mosby was absent. The schools had failed a state maintenance of effort test that requires local revenues to remain at least the same from year to year. School officials had requested the $250,000 from the city to make up the shortfall and meet the two-tier maintenance of effort test. The Oak Ridge School Board will consider the amended budget that includes the additional money in two hearings during a special meeting at 5:30 p.m. Monday and again during a regular meeting that starts at 6 p.m. The budget with the new funding will then be sent to the state by the end of the month. For more details of Tuesday night’s Council meeting, visit http://oakridgetoday.com/2013/09/17/council-gives-schools-250000-school-shutdown-avoided/
ORPD: Teen confesses to firing gun at house
An Oak Ridge teenager has reportedly confessed to shooting at a home on Bethune Circle last week. In a statement released Tuesday, Oak Ridge Police Chief James Akagi says that at around 3 am last Thursday September 12th, officers responded to a call of shots fired in the Scarboro neighborhood. Units saturated the area and officers interviewed several witnesses but could find no evidence that a shooting had occurred. That was until about three hours later, when the occupants of a home on Bethune Circle called police after finding several bullet holes in their front door. Investigators recovered evidence suggesting that at least six shots had been fired at the house and again began searching for a suspect. While that was happening, members of the ORPD’s Special Projects Unit and the Anderson County 7th Judicial Crime Task Force served a search warrant at a home on Utica Circle. In the raid officers reported finding crack, marijuana and prescription pain medication as well as drug paraphernalia, cash believed to be proceeds from drug sales and a .40 caliber handgun. Two men were arrested: 18-year-old Rayshawn Freeman and 19-year-old Lorenzo Williams. Both were charged with simple drug possession, possession for resale, possession of drug paraphernalia and violating a Drug Free School Zone as the residence is located within 1000 feet of La Petite Day Care on Tulsa Avenue. While being questioned Monday at the Anderson County Jail, Freeman reportedly told Oak Ridge investigators that he was the shooter in last Thursday’s incident. Chief Akagi says the investigation is ongoing and that further charges are expected.
ORFD starts new program to aid those with special needs
The Oak Ridge Fire Department has started an assistance identification program to help improve emergency service to those in Oak Ridge who may have special needs. This program allows for advance notification to emergency responders of any special needs at the residence to which they are responding. Any Oak Ridge resident of any age with special needs is encouraged to fill out a form and be included in this program. Forms to be filled out for this purpose are available at the Oak Ridge Fire Department Headquarters and also at the Oak Ridge Senior Center. These forms are completely confidential and only available to emergency responders through the 911 system. The Oak Ridge Senior Advisory Board is working to help implement this important program and will deliver packets of forms to any local groups, organizations, or businesses that would be interested in helping in this process. Contact the Senior Center at (865) 425-3999 for more information. The completed forms may also be returned to the Senior Center or to any fire station within the city. For more information about this and other programs and activities at the Oak Ridge Senior Center, call them at (865) 425-3999 or visit the website at orrecparks.org.
Thanks to Shriners, Masons walkers available at AC Courthouse
(AC Mayor’s Office) Shriners and Masons from Anderson County have donated two medical walkers for use at the Anderson County Courthouse. Working with the Shriners and Masons, County Mayor Terry Frank arranged for Anderson County’s Building Maintenance Team to maintain the walkers. Wade Brock, Past Master of Alpha Lodge, will train staff how to use and store the walkers. Gil Anderson, 49-year Mason and Alpha Lodge Member and 10-year Noble, organized the idea in order to make more equipment available to those in need. “I want to highlight the generosity of our Shriners, not simply for the donation for use at the Courthouse, but because our local Masonic groups have Durable Medical Storage units they maintain in Clinton, Oak Ridge, Andersonville and Oliver Springs,” Mayor Frank said in a press release announcing the donation. In addition to providing medical equipment and other health-related items, they also accept donations of medical equipment items. “Should a situation arise where someone in the Courthouse – an employee or visitor – need a walker for assistance, they might find that they need one at home,” Anderson said. “If there is a need, they could receive one free of charge by submitting their name. The Mayor’s office has volunteered to address requests that may arise within the Courthouse.” Mayor Frank said, “If people in the community have needs for medical equipment, I hope they will reach out to our Masons and Shriners. I’m thankful for their idea to donate to our Courthouse, and I’m also extremely thankful for our Maintenance Team and their willingness to go the extra mile to make our Courthouse a more welcoming and helpful place.” Anyone in need of a walker should contact Wade Brock at 457-9320.
B&W Y-12 donates $10K to Children’s Museum
(B&W Y-12) B&W Y-12 recently donated $10,000 to the Children’s Museum in Oak Ridge. The funds will support the museum’s programs, including its planned Healthy Living exhibit. “B&W Y-12’s support has been invaluable to the museum,” said Mary Ann Damos, the museum’s executive director. “The financial donations have helped us provide more and better services to the area’s children, but the hands-on donations of manpower also have been helpful.” B&W Y-12 employees and their families have donated their time and skills on various museum projects for the past 10 years, including painting, planting, and repairs and maintenance to the museum’s heating and air conditioning system. B&W Y-12 previously donated $15,000 to turn the museum’s current space exhibit into a “Rocket Room,” taking children on an imaginary trip to Mars. The project is ongoing with preliminary designs completed. “B&W Y-12 sees the Children’s Museum as a vital asset in the region, and we support it with financial investments, as well as our employees volunteering regularly to help with upgrades,” said Chris Clark of B&W Y-12’s Strategic Program Development, who also is a current museum board member. “I encourage everyone in the Oak Ridge area to participate in ensuring the museum remains a vibrant part of our community.”
Fritts, Biloski retain posts
Anderson County Commission Chair Chuck Fritts was re-appointed to a third one-year term as chairman by his fellow commissioners on Monday. Fritts received 12 votes from his fellow commissioners, former Chair Mark Alderson received three votes and Robert McKamey received one vote. The Commission also voted to reappoint Robin Biloski as vice chair. There were no other candidates for that post.
OR Library to have tax forms in January
The Oak Ridge Public Library has supplied the community with federal and state tax forms for the past several years. This year, the United States Internal Revenue Service is limiting the amount and type of forms the library and other institutions can order for the public. For the tax year 2013, the 1040, 1040A and 1040EZ forms and instruction booklets will be available after January 1, 2014, as well as Schedules A, B, C, and D and other miscellaneous individual tax forms. Most tax forms not available at the Library can be printed for the cost of 10 cents a page. Tennessee state tax forms and instructions are always available at the Library for no charge. Many Employer tax forms will not be available at the Library, including W-2, W-3, W-4 and instructions for these forms. Form 1096, Annual Summary and Transmittal of U. S. Information Returns, and Form 1099, Miscellaneous Income, will not be available at the Library. To order tax products to be mailed, visit the IRS website at www.irs.gov/formspubs. For Employer Products and Information Returns, such as, W-2, W-4, or Publication 15, select “Employer forms and instructions.” Tax forms may also be ordered by calling the IRS at 1-800-829-3676. Please visit the library’s website at www.orpl.org or call (865)425-3455 for more information.
Blount authorities seek would-be robber
Blount County authorities are searching for the suspect in an attempted robbery of a convenience store Sunday afternoon. Clerks at the Foothills Market on Montvale Road in Maryville called police shortly after the 5 pm incident and told responding officers that a man had walked into the store and demanded money, but before he could get any, one of the clerks slammed the cash drawer shut. The suspect fled without cash and without injuring anyone but not before stopping and waving a pistol at the clerk from the parking lot. The suspect is described as a white male between five feet six and five feet eight inches tall, weighing between 160 to 200 pounds, with light brown hair, a mustache and beard stubble. If you have any information, call the Blount County Crime Hotline at 865-273-5200.
OR company snares $24M federal deal
Information International Associates Inc. announced Monday that it has been awarded a $24 million federal contract to operate the Homeland Defense and Security Information Analysis Center, or HDIAC. IIa will operate the center for the U.S. Department of Defense’s Defense Technical Information Center, or DTIC. The work will focus on research and analysis in eight major Homeland Defense disciplines: homeland defense and security; critical infrastructure protection; weapons of mass destruction; chemical, biological, radiologic, and nuclear defense; biometrics; medical; cultural studies; and alternative energy. IIa is required through this contract to proactively and responsively provide timely and authoritative information relative to key research and development concepts and acquisition functions, results and trends, applications and processes, and assessments of HDIAC technology on military operations, and assessment of international R&D technology. Activities covered under the contract include all aspects of identified or potential military and national security-related applications of HDIAC technology. IIa currently supports the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Scientific and Technical Information, or OSTI. As part of the new contract, IIa will be responsible for developing databases of both information and human resources related to the HDIAC scope. The contract award is sponsored by the Defense Technical Information Center.
Teen injured in Saturday wreck
A Maynardville teenager was injured when the car he was riding in spun out on South Illinois Avenue on Saturday evening and hit a tree near Edgemoor Road. 18-year-old Jason Hale as trapped and had to be extricated from the vehicle. He was taken by ambulance to UT Medical Center in Knoxville. Hale was a passenger in a Nissan four-door sedan driven by 19-year-old Christina Diane Ferrer of Knoxville. The ORPD says her car was southbound on South Illinois Avenue when it veered left of its line of travel before over-correcting to the right. Ferrer’s car slightly grazed the rear of another southbound vehicle driven by 41-year-old Benjamin Jermaine Talley of Knoxville. Ferrer’s car then began to spin on the roadway, traveled across the road, and collided with a tree on the outside shoulder of South Illinois Avenue. Ferrer was not injured and neither was another passenger, Joshua Allen Ferrer, 21, of Knoxville. Talley wasn’t injured either, the report said.
Maryville man drowns
A Maryville man drowned Friday evening on Tellico Lake near the Tellico Dam, according to the TWRA. Loudon County dispatchers received a call shortly before 7:45 pm Friday about a man who had fallen off the bow of a houseboat. The witness told dispatchers that he had seen the man, who was the only person on the boat, try to swim back to shore before disappearing under the water and never resurfacing. Members of the Loudon County Rescue Squad recovered the body of 67-year-old Kenneth Henry Owens of Maryville about an hour and a half later about 40 yards off shore.
OS man killed in wreck
An Oliver Springs man was killed in a single-vehicle accident Sunday night in Roane County and the Tennessee highway Patrol says that drugs may have been involved. The THP reports that at around 8:30 Sunday night, 35-year-old Otto Joseph Flachbart III had been driving north on Highway 327 near Oliver Springs when he lost control of his Dodge Ram pickup while rounding a curve. The THP says that he overcorrected twice before the truck flipped over and came to rest on its side. His 48-year-old passenger Fred M. Collins Jr. of Oliver Springs died in the wreck while Flachbart and two other people were not injured. The trooper's report indicates that Flachbart was under the influence of drugs but does not specify which drug. Blood tests have been ordered and citations and charges are pending.
Alcoa PD nab robbery suspect
Alcoa Police arrested a 49-year-old man in connection with an armed robbery and possibly solved as many as three other robberies in two other counties. Donald Lynn Biggs is charged with aggravated robbery. Police began searching for him Saturday afternoon after a man walked into a Kenjo market on Alcoa Highway and robbed the clerk at gunpoint. Surveillance video footage tied the suspect to a Friday robbery in Sevier County. Biggs is also facing charges connected to two other armed robberies in Knoxville.
Scam warning for businesses
We have a scam warning today for businesses who are also customers of Clinton Utilities Board. Earlier this month, a CUB official notified Clinton Police that three businesses had contacted the utility reporting that they had received phone calls from two different numbers in which the caller told them that they were with the “CUB Disconnect Office” and that they were behind on their bills. In each case, the caller told the business that their service would be disconnected if payment was not made immediately and then provided instructions on how to wire the money through a money service from Wal-Mart or K-Mart. In one case, according to the incident report, the caller said that they were “one street over” and would be there in a few minutes. None of the three businesses who contacted CUB were behind on their payments and none gave the caller any money. Officials want to emphasize that phone calls like this are simply not the way CUB conducts its business. Officials at CUB said one reason they notified law enforcement was out of concern that the scam might spread to residential customers, including the elderly.
ORT: Board orders demolition of former florist building
(Oak Ridge Today) Thursday the Oak Ridge Board of Building and Housing Code Appeals voted unanimously to order the owner of the former Price Florist building on Oak Ridge Turnpike to demolish it within 60 days. The Board had considered whether to issue a demolition or repair order for the once-thriving store during three other meetings this year, but members had given property owner Patricia Warren of Crossville several extensions to allow her time to come back with a sales contract, repair plan, or demolition permit. On Thursday, they said she had run out of time. Warren has cleaned up the property and had hoped to sell the 0.35-acre site. But on Thursday, she said it hasn’t sold yet. Warren said she has hired contractor Laurel Patrick to determine whether it can be repaired or demolished. If it can be repaired, Patrick will submit a detailed plan and should have an expected construction start date by Monday, Warren said. If it isn’t worth repairing, a demolition permit will be sought, Warren said. In June, the board declared the building a nuisance and unfit for human occupation or use. Earlier this year, the city staff said the now-unused building was in severe disrepair, citing fire code violations, a leaking roof, electrical hazards, plumbing issues, and broken concrete floors, among other things.
Federal workers donate to local food bank
(NPO) Employees of the National Nuclear Security Administration Production Office, or NPO, have donated 17,348 pounds of food as part of the annual U.S. Department of Energy’s “Feds Feed Families” campaign. The campaign, which ended on Sept. 6, surpassed the goal of 17,000 pounds. The NPO donations are supporting the efforts of the High Plains Food Bank in Amarillo, Texas, and the Second Harvest Food Bank in Maryville. The Feds Feed Families campaign is a voluntary effort undertaken by federal employees across the country to provide non-perishable food items to local food banks. “We are extremely grateful to the NNSA Production Office for their large donations of food, especially during the summer months because this is the leanest time of the year for us,” said Elaine Streno, Second Harvest Food Bank executive director. “We are also grateful that their effort is bringing awareness to the hunger struggle in our community and across East Tennessee.” Since the start of this effort five years ago, Federal employees have donated more than 15 million pounds of food to support families across America.
Dale Ditmanson Announces Park Service Retirement
Great Smoky Mountains National Park Superintendent, Dale Ditmanson, announced plans to retire on January 3, 2014 after 36 years with the National Park Service (NPS). He has served in the Smokies as Superintendent since May of 2004 and has been recognized for his exceptional leadership as the 2009 Southeast Region’s Superintendent of the Year and the 2013 Association of Public Lands’ Agency Partner of the Year which he shared with recently retired Deputy Superintendent Kevin FitzGerald. Ditmanson is also a recipient of the Department of Interior’s Honor Award for Meritorious Service. “Dale Ditmanson exemplifies the best of the National Park Service career employees: dedicated to the mission, driven to excellence and willing to fight to protect our National Parks. I appreciate all he has done for the American people throughout his NPS career and wish him well in retirement,” said NPS Director Jon Jarvis. Ditmanson chose to conclude his NPS career at the Smokies after nearly ten years where he had the opportunity to develop significant relationships with park gateway communities and partner organizations along with implementing a number of highly successful programs and collaborations including numerous events in honor of the Park’s 75th Anniversary in 2009. Among his many accomplishments, Ditmanson provided the vision and leadership, working closely with a tremendous management team and park partners, leading to the construction of facilities that will serve the public well into the future. These include the Twin Creeks Science and Education Center and the Oconaluftee Visitor Center. In addition, much needed renovations were made to Sugarlands Visitor Center, Appalachian Highlands Science Learning Center, Park Headquarters, Clingmans Dome Contact Station, as well as preservation of the Appalachian Clubhouse and Spence Cabin at Elkmont. On top of these facility improvements, Ditmanson guided one the largest infrastructure rehabilitation efforts in Park history after receiving over $80 million provided by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and a combination of additional revenue sources. The Park was able to restore over 32 miles of trails, 61 historic cemeteries, reroof and repaint 34 buildings, make ADA accessibility-related improvements to campground and picnic area restrooms, repave Cosby Campground, reconfigure and repave the Sinks Parking Area, repave the Clingmans Dome Road, repave the Roaring Fork/Cherokee Orchard Roads, and repave the Cades Cove Loop Road. Most recently, the Park celebrated the completion of Bridge 2 along the uncompleted section of the Foothills Parkway between Wears Valley and Walland leading the Park a step closer to completing the entire 16 mile section in time for the Centennial of the National Park Service in 2016. Ditmanson worked tirelessly with gateway communities, partner groups, congressional staff, NPS staff, and Park neighbors to secure approval of a Memorandum of Agreement for the future of the Elkmont Historic District, accomplished a resolution leading to the North Shore Road settlement decision with Swain County, and developed the Trails Forever partnership between Friends of the Smokies and the Park. Through the Trails Forever program, dedicated crews have been able to complete significant trail rehabilitation projects incorporating volunteers in the process. Ditmanson has also championed the protection of natural and cultural resources while serving in the Smokies working closely with Resource Management and Science Staff to support the reintroduction of Elk, pushing for improved air and water quality standards, and helping to secure needed funds for the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid suppression efforts. In the protection of cultural resources, he has developed a partnership dedicated to the completion of a future Collections Preservation Center which will house over 144,000 artifacts, 220,000 archival records and about 275 lineal feet of library materials. His commitment to stewardship has guided park staff in continued development of education programs reaching out to thousands of local school children as well as providing support for our 3,000 Volunteers in Park who partner with staff to help accomplish much needed work. “Dale has been such an integral part of the National Park Service for so many years that it is difficult to see him go. His impact is profound and positive across the NPS, from his seasonal ranger beginnings through his tenure as an instructor at Mather Training Center where he coached hundreds of NPS staff in visitor service skills and now as superintendent of Great Smoky Mountains National Park for the past 9 years. We wish him well in his retirement and congratulate him on a career well done,” said Southeast Regional Director Stan Austin. A South Dakota native and a 1975 graduate of the University of South Dakota with a bachelor’s degree in history, Ditmanson began his career as a seasonal park ranger at Fort Sumter National Monument. He went on to serve as a park ranger at Mount Rushmore National Memorial, Canyon De Chelly National Monument, and Fossil Butte National Monument. In the early 1990s, Ditmanson was Superintendent of Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument and then served for four years as assistant superintendent of Glen Canyon National Recreation Area and Rainbow Bridge National Monument. He also served as a training specialist at the NPS training center at Harper’s Ferry, WV. Ditmanson came to the Smokies after managing park operations in the NPS Northeast Region headquartered in Philadelphia including security for such famous national treasures as the Statue of Liberty, Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell and the USS Constitution. Ditmanson’s wife, Suzanne, a 1979 graduate from the University of Tennessee teaches third grade at Pi Beta Phi Elementary School in Gatlinburg. They are the parents of two sons. Andrew, a Program Analyst with the U.S. Agency for International Development, lives in Washington DC with his wife Jennifer, a Marketing Manager. Alex, a 2013 graduate of the University of Tennessee, is a nurse at East Tennessee Children’s Hospital in Knoxville. Dale and Suzanne plan to continue living in the region while exploring and discovering more NPS treasures. More information will follow regarding a farewell celebration for Ditmanson in early January. For more information, please contact Park’s Public Information Office at 865-436-1207 or 865-436-1203.
Suspect in Alcoa bathroom attack charged in Knox
A homeless man originally from Maryville who was arrested earlier this week in connection to an attempted assault on a woman in the restroom of an Alcoa business has now been charged with two crimes in Knoxville. 18-year-old Stacy Elijah Smith was charged Tuesday by Alcoa Police with attempted aggravated rape in connection to an August 31st incident at the Big Lots store there. A 53-year-old woman told police that she had been I a restroom stall at Big Lots when a man slid underneath her stall door, threatened her with a hammer and attempted to assault her. While he was being questioned by Alcoa Police, he gave investigators information that led them to believe that he may have been involved in a pair of incidents in Knoxville. The first incident occurred on Saturday when a woman told police that she had been using a restroom stall at Tyson Park when a man slid underneath her stall door, watched and threatened her before she kicked and screamed and he fled the scene. The second happened Monday morning when a woman reported that she had seen a man walking behind another woman on the Jean Teague Greenway with a knife behind his back. When the witness asked the suspect what he was doing, he ran off. KPD charged Smith Wednesday with attempted aggravated rape in connection to the Monday incident and with observation without consent and false imprisonment in connection to the Tyson Park incident. Smith is currently in custody at the Blount County Jail.
AC Courthouse to keep 4 entrances
A proposal to limit access to the Anderson County Courthouse to just one door was quickly shot down by the Courthouse Security Committee on Wednesday. Committee Chair Judge Don Elledge called the proposal presumptuous and said it would step on the authority of the County Commission. A similar proposal was shot down in 2007 as well. The committee did vote Wednesday to seek bids on improving security at the sally port at the rear of the Courthouse where prisoners are brought for court appearances. One idea under consideration is a remote-controlled roll-down gate. The security committee has over $240,000 in its budget, which is funded by court fees.
Park Superintendent announces retirement
(GSMNP) Dale Ditmanson, Great Smoky Mountains National Park Superintendent, announced his decision to retire on January 3, 2014 from 36 years with the National Park Service. He has served in the Smokies as Superintendent since May of 2004 and led the park through a variety of challenging projects along with celebrations including the Park’s 75th Anniversary in 2009. “Working in the Smokies has been an honor and I look forward to continuing that work over the next 4 months,” said Ditmanson. “Our new Deputy Superintendent, Patty Wissinger, came on board this week and I have every confidence that our staff will continue to provide excellence in service as they care for this special place.”
Maryville, Wartburg PDs win statewide awards
(TDOT) The Tennessee Department of Transportation and the Governor’s Highway Safety Office announced the winners of the 9th Annual Law Enforcement Challenge at an event Friday, September 6, 2013. This year’s winners included not only state awards, but also 16 national awards. The Law Enforcement Challenge awards are presented to Tennessee law enforcement agencies annually by the Governor’s Highway Safety Office. A total of 62 awards were presented during the Law Enforcement Challenge ceremony, including four law enforcement vehicles. Nationally, Tennessee agencies won 16 awards. The Law Enforcement Challenge is an annual competition designed to recognize and reward the best overall traffic safety programs across the state and nation. The Challenge is judged by the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP). Similar sizes and types of agencies are judged on their local efforts to enforce laws and educate the public about the dangers of driving impaired and speeding as well as the importance of occupant protection. The winning safety programs combine officer training, public information and enforcement to reduce crashes and injuries within their jurisdictions. Additionally, each participating agency that met the minimum criteria as established by the Governor’s Highway Safety Office who participated in the COMET Demonstration Project (Combined Messaging Enforcement in Tennessee) was eligible to win a fully equipped police vehicle. Participating regions (West, Middle, and Cumberland) were eligible to win the vehicle. GHSO also awarded a fully police-equipped 2013 Chevy Tahoe to a participating Law Enforcement Challenge agency. For more information about the Governor’s Highway Safety Office visit our web site at www.tntrafficsafety.org
Category 1-10 Officers
Category 46-75 Officers
Man arrested in Alcoa bathroom attack
Police in Alcoa have arrested an 18-year-old Maryville man in connection with the attempted rape of a woman at the Big Lots last month. Stacy Elijah Smith is charged with attempted aggravated rape and as of this morning, was being held at the Blount County Jail on a $50,000 bond. Police say that on August 31st, Smith attempted to attack a woman while she was in a bathroom stall at the Alcoa Big Lots. The 53-year-old woman told police that Smith had slid underneath her stall door, threatened her with a hammer and tried to assault her. She screamed and fought back, and the suspect fled the store. Alcoa Police released footage from security cameras at the store following the incident and someone who saw it provided investigators with the tip that led to Smith’s arrest.
ORAU awards education grants
(ORAU) Oak Ridge Associated Universities awarded more than $39,000 to more than two dozen teachers in 17 schools in Oak Ridge, Clinton, Norris, and Anderson County in a recent grants ceremony. It was the 12th annual ORAU Education Grants ceremony, and 27 teachers received awards, according to a press release. The grant money can be used to buy educational materials and equipment such as microscopes, iPads, robotics kits, and computers that will help teachers “continue to meet rigorous, state-wide curriculum standards and enhance the learning experience of their students,” the release said. Anderson County Schools was one of the biggest winners. The system received a $5,000 grant to purchase a digital-based collection of books for math and science. The book collections will be shared between all eight Anderson County elementary schools and allow teachers to use more than 300 interactive titles and have unlimited users at any given time. The second largest grant of $3,100 was presented to Clinton Middle School for the purchase of 10 compound light microscopes to supplement and replace microscopes dating back to the 1950s, the release said. The new equipment will allow students in the sixth, seventh and eighth grades to examine plant and animal cells. Clinton Middle School also received a grant of $1,390 for the purchase of a clicker response system that will be made available to all of the school’s math and science teachers.
Briceville Elementary School also was granted its request for six iPads to be used throughout the school as listening hubs for students, the release said. And Grand Oaks Elementary School received six iPads to be used by students throughout the school to engage in multiple subjects, and Norwood Middle School received 15 Kindles with chargers to give students instant access to books and resources at their own individual reading level. Each grant is valued at $3,000. ORAU said it has provided more than $350,000 to area schools for projects that complement its mission of enriching science, technology, engineering, and mathematics programs since beginning this program in 2002. The other grant winners were:
The awards, based on competitive proposals submitted by the individual schools, were presented by Page, ORAU Executive Vice President Eric Abelquist, and ORAU director and Vice President of science education programs Dean Evasius. For more information about this and other ORAU-supported programs in education, visit http://www.orau.org/about-orau/community-outreach/education-support.aspx.
ORT: Details on proposed OR airport emerge
(Oak Ridge Today) The airport proposed at Heritage Center in west Oak Ridge could feature a 5,000-foot runway, accommodate all but the largest business jets, and cost between $35 million and $45 million, an official said Monday. Construction at the site is possible around 2017 to 2018, said Bill Marrison, president of the Metropolitan Knoxville Airport Authority in an interview with our partners at Oak Ridge Today. The airport would be built at the front of Heritage Center, the former K-25 site, and the runway would parallel Highway 58. It could help recruit and retain industry, Marrison said. The Oak Ridge airport could serve airplanes that are too small for McGhee Tyson Airport in Blount County and too large for Downtown Island Airport in Knoxville. Officials involved in the project said DOE has agreed to evaluate the transfer of 171 acres at Heritage Center for the project. It would still require archaeological and environmental reviews and a public hearing. The airport would be owned and managed by MKAA and could employ six-10 people, Marrison said. He said 90 percent of the airport’s funding would come from the federal government through aviation fuel taxes and user fees. Taxes on airplane fuel and parts go into an airport improvement fund used to maintain and fund new airports. The state would also contribute five percent, and MKAA would provide the remaining five. The Oak Ridge airport would not be used for commercial traffic. It would be limited to corporate and private planes in Oak Ridge, and those doing business in the city and surrounding area. Marrison said the airport could initially house 17 planes but that could grow to 50. The project is now entering its next phase, which is to be included in state and federal airport systems, Marrison said. Subsequent steps could include the land transfer, development of an airport master plan, and environmental permitting, followed later by preliminary and final designs, site clearing and demolition, and construction work such as grading and drainage. Blair Road and the K-25 haul road would have to be rerouted, Marrison said. For more, read the full story at www.oakridgetoday.com.
Convicted meth-maker's parents nabbed on drug charges
As we have reported, Jeffery Scott Braden of Lake City was convicted on Thursday in federal court in Knoxville on charges of conspiracy to manufacture meth; possession of equipment, chemicals, products, and materials to manufacture meth; and possession of ammunition while a convicted felon. Braden faces a life sentence and was the only defendant to go to trial out of 42 people indicted in March on federal methamphetamine charges. 38 of the 42 have pleaded guilty, two others have signed plea agreements, and one is still on the run. Monday, the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office said that at the conclusion of last week’s three-day trial, deputies arrested Braden’s father, 77-year-old William Charles Braden outside the federal building in Knoxville on drug charges after he was indicted by an Anderson County Grand Jury. At around the same, time, Braden's mother, 68-year-old Betty Jo Braden, was also arrested on drug charges by deputies at their home on Vowell Mountain Lane near Lake City. Both elder Bradens were indicted earlier this month on charges of selling Percocet following an investigation by the Sheriff's Special Operations Unit. Both were booked into the Anderson County Detention Facility on Thursday, September 5, and each was later released after posting $25,000.00 bond.
ORT: New security honcho in OR
(Oak Ridge Today) National Strategic Protective Services LLC, the security contractor for U.S. Department of Energy facilities in Oak Ridge, has a new general manager who will start Oct. 1. Michael Voce will replace general manager Greg McDowell, whose resignation was announced in July. NSPS provides protective force services to the East Tennessee Technology Park, the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and the Joe L. Evins Federal Building. Before joining NSPS, he was president of Protection Strategies Inc., where he was changed the executive management culture during his tenure at the 500-person, global security management firm, the release said. A retired U.S. Army veteran with more than 20 years of military police service, Voce earned a master’s degree in educational and instructional technology from National University as well as a bachelor’s degree in human services and criminal justice from Wayland Baptist University. In January, the DOE Oak Ridge Office announced that NSPS had been awarded a $182 million, five-year contract to protect U.S. Department of Energy sites in Oak Ridge, including ETTP, ORNL, the Federal Building, and the rest of the Oak Ridge Reservation, not including the Y-12 National Security Complex. For more on Voce’s background, check out www.oakridgetoday.com.
ORT: OR Council OKs water, sewer, electric rate hikes
(Oak Ridge Today) Monday night, the Oak Ridge City Council voted in two separate 6-1 votes to raise water and sewer rates in January 2014 and again in January 2015. The new rate hikes, which will be considered on second and final reading in October, would result in water bills that could go up by a minimum of $1.35 per month in January 2014 and then another $1.19 per month in 2015. Sewer bills would increase a minimum of $2.78 per month next year and then increase by another $2.13 per month the following year. The rates were also raised this past January. According to our partners at Oak Ridge Today, when compared to current rates, the combined minimum increase by January 2015 would be $7.44 per month. The change for a resident using 4,000 gallons per month would equal $13.64, according to information provided by the city staff. About 36 percent of the city’s utility customers are billed at the minimum rate, and 65 percent use 4,000 gallons or less per month, Oak Ridge Finance Director Janice E. McGinnis said in a memo to City Manager Mark Watson. The city staff said the increases are required to continue to operate and maintain the utilities, perform necessary improvements, and meet contractual and debt service obligations. The water rates will fund the first phases of $14.7 million worth of projects at the Water Treatment Plant through 2019. DOE, which is an Oak Ridge utility customer, will fund about half of those costs, ORT reports. The wastewater rate increases will fund debt service for capital projects required to comply with an order from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that requires the city to repair all sewer system overflows by September 2015. Complying with that order will require roughly $23 million worth of projects in the next two years. In June, Tennessee officials approved a $18 million loan for Oak Ridge under a state program that will help the city comply with the EPA order. Also Monday, Council approved an electric rate increase of about 2.63 percent that is effective starting Oct. 1. It includes a 1.5 percent increase from the city’s power generator, the Tennessee Valley Authority, and a 1.13 percent inflationary increase for the city. The monthly bill for the average residential household that uses 1,055 kilowatt-hours of electricity will increase by $3.60. The monthly bill for the average small commercial customer that uses 1,800 kilowatt-hours will go up by $5.33. For more details on these rate hikes and more from Monday’s Oak Ridge City Council meeting, visit www.oakridgetoday.com.
Report: Child predator given 25 years
A one-time resident of Clinton was sentenced to 25 years in prison Monday on his conviction on charges of child rape. The News-Sentinel reports that a judge approved a sentencing agreement in the case of 45-year-old Michael David Hernandez, who was convicted earlier this year of raping a then-nine-year-old girl in 2009. He was indicted on the charges in September of 2009 after the girl told an adult at school about the incidents and they were in turn reported to the police. Hernandez had moved to Chattanooga by that time but was arrested in October of that year during a return visit to Clinton. The sentencing agreement calls for Hernandez to serve the entire 25 years of his sentence behind bars and spend the remainder of his life on supervised probation.
Follow-Up: Lake City man convicted on fed meth charges
After a three-day federal trial in Knoxville last week, a jury convicted Jeffrey Scott Braden of Lake City on charges of conspiracy to manufacture 50 grams or more of methamphetamine; the possession of equipment, chemicals, products, and materials that can be used to make it; and being a felon in possession of ammunition. Braden was tried in U.S. District Court in Knoxville. His defense was that he had purchased hundreds of boxes of pseudoephedrine—one of the main ingredients in meth—to combat his asthma. The jury did not buy it. 42 people were indicted by a federal grand jury in March including many Anderson County residents. The 17-count indictment followed a months-long investigation aimed at addressing the fact that Anderson County led all counties in Tennessee in meth lab seizures. The initiative was named “Operation Meth-odical Destruction.” The U.S. Attorney’s Office said 38 other people have pleaded guilty in the case, two others have signed plea agreements that are on file with the court, and one defendant remains a fugitive. Sentencing for Braden—the only person indicted whose case went to trial—is set for February 20th. Braden faces a life sentence without the possibility of parole because he has several prior felony drug convictions. After the verdict was returned, US Attorney Bill Killian said: “This conviction and the life sentence which Braden faces serves as a lesson to anyone in this district that serious punishment awaits those who repeatedly manufacture methamphetamine.”
Museum looking for logo design ideas
How would you like the great honor of creating the logo for the new Coal Creek Miners Museum? The Coal Creek Miners Museum needs a new logo and the board is asking for your help. If you are a graphic designer or artist and would like to donate a new logo to the Coal Creek Miners Museum, please submit your logo design or questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. The logo will be used on the museum’s website and on promotional materials. The museum’s focus is to tell the story of the miners involved in the historical events in the Coal Creek / Lake City areas of Anderson County and East Tennessee.
OSPD arrest 7 in prostitution sting
Six men and one woman were arrested during a prostitution sting in Oliver Springs last week, according to a press release from Oliver Springs Police Chief Kenneth Morgan. The August 29th joint operation took place within a half-mile of Norwood Elementary and Middle School, and involved officers from the Oliver Springs Police Department and agents of the Seventh District Crime Task Force. In the release, Chief Morgan stated, “We conducted this operation with the hope of stopping a growing issue before it became a major problem.” Those arrested included Monica Goodman of Oliver Springs who was charged with promoting prostitution. Troy Chaney Jr. of Coalfield, Todd Volker of Oliver Springs, Terry Ammons of Knoxville, William Anderson of Harriman, Charles York of Crossville, and Jesse Abshire of Coalfield were all arrested on charges of soliciting prostitution. Chief Morgan said that Volker is a registered sex offender and could face a parole violation charge and that Abshire was also charged with two counts of drug possession. Morgan thanked District Attorney General Dave Clark and the Seventh District Crime Task Force for their participation in what was described as a successful operation.
Blount man back in jail
A Blount County man who admitted to killing his neighbor’s dog last week is back in custody at the Blount County Jail today. Authorities say that 62-year-old Fred Lee Wright of Louisville violated an order of protection taken out against him by neighbor Diane Stephens, whose dog Wright admitted to killing last week, reportedly because it would not stop barking. After the death of the seven-month-old miniature Pinscher named Kyra who had been in Stephens’ foster care, Wright was charged with intentionally killing an animal and stalking and was released on bond. However, on Sunday, Stephens says that while she and some friends were in her yard, Wright approached a gate she erected along with several “private property” signs after last week’s incident and she said “I see you,” to which Wright allegedly replied, “I smell you.” He was taken into custody on Wednesday and is being held on a $25,000 bond. His next court appearance is set for September 26th.
Fed jury convicts man in meth ring
An Anderson County man was convicted in federal court on Thursday of conspiracy to manufacture meth and possession of meth-making materials. Prosecutors described Jeffrey Scott Braden as a “prolific” meth cook who bought hundreds of boxes of pseudoephedrine, a key component in the manufacture of the drug. His defense was that he needed the sinus medication to treat his asthma. Braden was tried as part of a large-scale meth cooking and distribution ring busted earlier this year in Anderson County that involved over 40 people. Braden reportedly had rejected a plea deal before the trial that would have sent him to prison for 20 years. He now faces a mandatory life sentence behind bars.
AC Trustee report outlines tax collections, more
(AC Trustee’s Office) Anderson County Trustee Rodney Archer released a detailed annual report this month outlining the performance of his office over the past fiscal year. The 52 page report is the Trustee’s Office effort to keep taxpayers informed on the state of the county’s finances and the impact of the local economy on the revenues of county government. The Annual Report categorizes revenues received by Anderson County over the past year. It reports on property and sales taxes collected over the past year. The report gives a breakdown on the performance of each of its offices in the county and provides a detailed accounting of revenues and expenditures for the office. The Trustee maintains offices in Oak Ridge, Clinton, and Norris to serve taxpayers across Anderson County. The Trustee’s Office has worked hard to improve services over the past six years, creating greater accessibility for senior citizens with drive through access in both Oak Ridge and Clinton offices while maintaining accountability to the taxpayers. The Report also describes the qualifications for seniors 65 and over on how to qualify for the Senior Citizen Tax Relief and Freeze Program. The Trustee’s Office awarded $195,124 in tax relief during the last year to qualified seniors. Archer states the number of taxpayers using the satellite offices and drive through services has climbed over the past six years. The growth in revenue over the past three years in the drive through operations highlights the positive reception these expanded services have received from the community. Branch revenue grew more than 26% in the past year alone. The Oak Ridge office took in close to 12 million dollars with commissions of $239,165.06. Office expenditures were only $87,601.45 returning $151,563.61 to the general fund. The Norris Office shared in the improved efficiencies, collecting $2,235,088.35 and turning over $25,305.87 to the general fund-more than half of the office’s commissions collected. All of these improvements were made while the Trustee’s Office continues to return more than 50% of the commissions earned over each of the past six years to the general fund, generating more than 3.6 million dollars in savings for taxpayers. The Report also lists the largest taxpayers, largest employers, and highlights staff qualifications. Archer added that his staff is well trained, and that most of his deputy trustees and customer service representatives are certified public administrators through the University of Tennessee. Trustee Rodney Archer commented on his effort to improve efficiencies and his desire to improve services for taxpayers across Anderson County. “Making our services more accessible is a high priority in our office. It is a goal we continually strive to meet. We are proud of the improvements we have made and the positive response we have seen from the community,” stated Archer. “We returned $690,331 to the General Fund in savings this past year. This is a 36% increase since the end of 2009. Our staff will continue to be accountable and be efficient with every tax dollar we manage,” concluded Archer. A copy of the full report is available at the Trustee’s Office in the Anderson County Courthouse or at www.ACTrustee.com.
TDOT announces Safe Routes to School grants for AC, Alcoa
(TDOT) Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) Commissioner John Schroer have announced that the state of Tennessee will provide Anderson County with Safe Routes to School funds totaling $242,256 and the city of Alcoa with $22,425. The Safe Routes to School program is a nation-wide initiative designed to make bicycling and walking to school a safer, more appealing and healthier alternative for students in kindergarten through eighth grade. The grant is made possible through a federally funded program administered by the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT). This year, TDOT provided more than $2.1 million in Safe Routes to School funds to fifteen municipalities for projects and programs across the state. Anderson County will utilize the Safe Routes to Schools funds for sidewalks, crosswalks, signage, and pavement markings for the Andersonville Elementary school zone area. The grant will also fund educational programs and promotional activities to encourage walking and biking as a practical and healthy initiative to include over 300 students. The city of Alcoa will utilize the Safe Routes to Schools funds for a School Activity Plan for two schools: Alcoa Elementary and Alcoa Middle. This award will fund educational programs and promotional activities to encourage walking and biking as a practical and healthy initiative to include approximately 1320 students. The Safe Routes to School program is a great opportunity for schools, communities and government officials to work together to promote a healthier lifestyle for Tennessee children. The program helps create safer walking and biking environments for students and funds activities to encourage children and their parents to consider walking and biking to and from school as a fun, healthy routine. The Safe Routes to School program is comprised of five elements referred to as the five E’s. The selection process included the following:
• Engineering—creating operational and physical improvements to the infrastructure surrounding schools that reduce speeds and potential conflicts with motor vehicle traffic, and establishing safer and fully accessible crossings, walkways, trails and bikeways.
• Education—teaching children about the broad range of transportation choices, instructing them on important lifelong bicycling and walking safety skills and launching driver safety campaigns in the vicinity of schools.
• Enforcement—partnering with local law enforcement agencies to ensure traffic laws are obeyed in the vicinity of schools (including enforcement of speeds, yielding to pedestrians in crossings, and proper walking and On-Site Visit 2 bicycling behaviors), and to initiate community efforts such as crossing guard programs.
• Encouragement—events and activities to promote walking and bicycling (e.g., Walk to School Day and Bike Rodeos).
• Evaluation—monitoring and documenting outcomes and trends through the collection of data both before and after the intervention.
To learn more about the Safe Routes to School Program at the Tennessee Department of Transportation, please visit http://www.tdot.state.tn.us/bikeped/saferoutes.htm or contact Diana Benedict, Program Coordinator, at (615) 253-2421 or email@example.com.
Follow-Up: Team Health, AC EMS sever ties with doctor
As we reported Wednesday, a doctor with ties to Oak Ridge and Anderson County was arrested on several drug charges late Monday night in Knoxville. Dr. Michael LaPaglia until this week had been a contract employee for Team Health, an organization that provides services to several hospitals and medical agencies throughout the region, including Methodist Medical Center in Oak Ridge. Under terms of a deal between the Anderson County EMS and Team health, LaPaglia was also serving as the EMS medical director. After word of his arrest spread Wednesday, both the AC EMS and Team Health cut ties with LaPaglia. The doctor was arrested late Monday night after a woman called police about a domestic dispute at his home on Fox Cove Road in West Knox County. Officers reported that they noticed a strong odor of marijuana upon entering the house and during a subsequent search, found more than two pounds of what was described as high-grade marijuana in various strains, 52 diazepam (Valium) pills, 22 amphetamine pills, 24 Oxycodone pills, two bottles of Propofol, seven vials of Succinylcholine, two vials of Marcaine, one vial of Bupivacaine, one vial of Flumazenil, 11 vials of Xylocaine, two vials of Lydocaine, one vial of Midazolam, one vial of Fentanyl, and one vial of Morphine. They also found three guns. They also discovered evidence of a past marijuana growing operation and marijuana in mason jars. They also found more than 100 glass marijuana pipes and bongs, and other various drug materials. Lapaglia is facing five charges related to the discoveries and police say more could be filed as their investigation continues. Team Health officials say they removed his name from their schedule of providers as soon as they confirmed his arrest and Anderson County EMS Director Nathan Sweet issued a statement Wednesday indicating that “once we were informed of the situation…we felt it in the best interest of all parties to discontinue…his position as Medical Director.” Dr. Peter Kah will serve in that role on an interim basis. Sweet also stated in a press release that “at no point in time is our Medical Director allowed or provided access to any controlled equipment, supplies or medications,” adding that “most of the medications found in Dr. LaPaglia’s home are not carried by Anderson County EMS.” Officials at Methodist Medical Center told our partners at Oak Ridge Today that LaPaglia had not performed any recent contract work there in the facility’s emergency room.
(EMS Statement) “Anderson County EMS is aware of our former Medical Director Dr. Michael LaPaglia’s arrest. Anderson County EMS does not contract specifically with any one physician but rather with Team Health, an organization that has many physicians working throughout the area. Through mutual agreement, that organization and Anderson County EMS appoint a physician within their system as Medical Director. Once we were informed of the situation surrounding Dr. LaPaglia we felt it to be in the best interest of all parties to discontinue his fulfillment of his position as Medical Director for Anderson County EMS. We spoke with representatives of Team Health and, upon mutual agreement, Dr. Peter Kah will serve as our interim Medical Director. At no point in time is our Medical Director allowed or provided access to any controlled equipment, supplies or medications. Anderson County EMS has a very solid and concise procedure for controlled substances, with many levels of reporting and accountability. Most of the medications allegedly found in Dr. LaPaglia’s home are not carried by Anderson County EMS.”
ORPD: Stolen goods recovered, suspects nabbed
Wednesday, the Oak Ridge Police Department developed information regarding a stolen handgun, which had been reported stolen from a vehicle in Knoxville. A follow-up investigation identified several suspects that were potentially involved in this theft, as well as multiple car and residential burglaries in the Briarcliff neighborhood of Oak Ridge. Investigators followed up on that information. This morning, at approximately 4 am Oak Ridge Police Department Patrol and Special Projects Unit personnel detained five individuals in the Terra Hills Apartment Complex, which resulted in the search of an apartment and the subsequent recovery of a substantial amount of property stolen in multiple burglaries over an approximate two-week period in Oak Ridge. Police arrested two men on multiple counts of burglary and possession of stolen property:
Additional charges are pending at this time and the investigation remains ongoing. Stolen articles and recovered property includes, but is not limited to sporting equipment, electronic equipment and women’s accessories. The Oak Ridge Police Department encourages anyone who may have been a recent victim of burglary or theft from a vehicle or residence to contact the Oak Ridge Detective Kevin Craig at 865-425-3511, to make arrangements to identify items that were recovered and possibly claim them.
Ex-youth pastor tries to blame teen victims
The former Maryville youth pastor who was convicted of having sex with five underage members of his congregation tried to blame those girls during a parole hearing conducted Wednesday. 40-year-old Michael Salazar is serving a 20-year sentence on multiple counts of sexual battery by an authority figure and statutory rape. He has served just over five years of his time behind bars. During Wednesday’s parole hearing, conducted by video conference, Salazar attempted to place the blame for his offenses on the girls while prosecutors contended that he was a predator and a danger to society. The parole hearing officer recommended denying his application for parole, which will have to be voted on by the State Board of Probation and Parole, with a decision expected within the next two weeks.
Maryville Council sends LOST hike to voters
Tuesday night, the Maryville City Council voted unanimously to ask the Blount County Election Commission to place a referendum on the ballot for the December 10th asking city voters to support a half-cent increase in the city’s Local Option Sales Tax—from 9.25 to 9.75 cents, the maximum allowable by state law—to support projects in the city and the school system. The proposed increase would generate around $2.5 million a year in new revenue, with half going to the schools and the rest going to various projects in the city.
1 pleads, 1 backs out of deal in 2011 robbery, murder
One man pleaded guilty to reduced charges in an August 2011 robbery that ended with one man being shot dead while his brother—the accused gunman—backed out of a plea deal and will stand trial next year. Wednesday, 24-year-old James Brooms entered a best-interest plea to facilitation to commit second-degree murder and attempted aggravated robbery and was sentenced to 12 years in prison. His brother, 23-year-old Brandon Brooms, had agreed to plea last week but backed out during Wednesday’s hearing. He will be tried on charges of first-degree murder and especially aggravated robbery in 2014. The incident occurred on August 8th, 2011 when the brothers and a third man, now 19-year-old Bronx Washington, went to the apartment of 22-year-old Antonio “Tony” Phillips, from whom one of the men had purchased marijuana earlier in the day. After Phillips sold marijuana to Brandon Brooms and Washington, police and prosecutors say that Brooms pulled a gun and demanded Phillips give him the jar full of pot. A struggle ensued, during which Phillips was shot in the leg by a round that struck his femoral artery. He died from blood loss. As the men fled the apartment, Phillips’ roommate fought with Washington, who ended up getting shot in the hand by James Brooms when he came back in to the apartment. Washington is free on bond but is facing charges stemming from this case.
Grant to aid Pellissippi Place
The Blount Partnership on Wednesday announced that it has been awarded a $1.4 million grant from the US Economic Development Administration to help cover the construction costs of extending a roadway into the Pellissippi Place Research and Development Park. The grant will have to be matched by local money but will help the continued development of the park, specifically by serving Pro Nova Solutions’ efforts to construct phase one of its proton therapy facility, ground for which was broken earlier this year. Construction of the road could begin as soon as February.
ACSD announces 17 drug indictments
The Anderson County Sheriff’s Department says that 30 indictments against 17 people on drug charges were returned by a Grand Jury after investigations by the Department’s Special Operations Unit. Since the indictments were handed down, deputies have been making arrests as well as continuing investigations on related drug activity. The Special Operations Unit conducted these drug investigations over the last few months. Persons indicted for the manufacture, sale, delivery, or possession of narcotics either sold to undercover agents, or were in possession of illegal drugs for resale. These indictments also include charges resulting from meth lab investigations and the purchase of pseudoephedrine. Charges include sale or possession for resale of prescription or legend drugs, marijuana, and methamphetamine related offenses. Of the seventeen persons indicted, seven were charged with prescription narcotics offenses and six for methamphetamine related charges including four for pseudoephedrine purchase violations. One person was charged with marijuana offenses. Two were charged with both methamphetamine and prescription narcotics sales and one was charged with both methamphetamine and marijuana offenses. Four of these persons were also charged with Violation of the Drug Free School Zone Act. As of August 30, eight of the seventeen persons indicted have been arrested by sheriff’s deputies including two that were already in federal custody. Investigators are continuing to search for the remaining offenders. Those who have been charged have been identified as 31-year-old Brandy Michelle Braden of Lake City (promotion of meth); 30-year-old Joshua Travis Crowley of Clinton (2 cts of manufacture/delivery/sale or possession of hydrocodone); 42-year-old Kimberly Dawn Hembree of Clinton (2 counts of manufacture/delivery/sale or possession of Roxycodone and 2 counts of violating a drug free school zone); 41-year-old Michael Wayne Honeycutt of Briceville (manufacture/delivery/sale or possession of marijuana, promotion of meth and possession of drug paraphernalia); 52-year-old Karen Leinart of Andersonville (manufacture/delivery/sale or possession of Roxycodone); 51-year-old Brenda Maxine Long of Lake City (manufacture/delivery/sale or possession of Roxycodone); 45-year-old Glenn Clayton Luckey of Lake City (initating meth manufacture, violating drug free school zone); and 33-year-old Kasey Dawn Miller of Lake City (manufacture/delivery/sale or possession of meth and hydrocodone). All of the suspects except for Miller and Braden are in custody at the Anderson County Jail. Those two are currently in federal custody. In a press release, Sheriff Paul White said “These indictments come after hard work by investigators of the Sheriff’s Special Operations Unit. The District Attorney General’s Office also spent many hours assisting investigators by preparing and presenting these cases to the Grand Jury.”
1 suspect, maybe up to 100 car break-ins
Maryville Police say they may have solved several car break-ins with the arrest of a 20-year-old man on Saturday. Devin Blane McKeehan was arrested Saturday in connection to one auto burglary and reportedly confessed to breaking into as many as 100 additional vehicles during the month of August in Maryville and other places in Blount County. He was arrested after a gas station surveillance camera recorded him using a credit card that had been reported stolen in one of those break-ins. He currently is charged with auto burglary and burglary and additional charges could be pending.
ACSD seizes lab, arrests 2
Anderson County Sheriff’s deputies arrested two people at the site of a working math lab on Friday afternoon. Deputies had gone to a home on Briceville Highway Friday to serve an arrest warrant on Roger Moser. As deputies arrived, they found components of a meth lab on the property and when they gained access to the house, found an active one-pot meth lab in the kitchen. Also seized during the search was a wide array of chemicals and other components used to manufacture meth, including 45 pounds of lye. As deputies processed the scene for evidence, Rebecca Burress, identified in reports as Moser’s girlfriend, came to the house and was taken into custody after admitting that several of the chemicals and components belonged to her. She disavowed any knowledge of the active lab found on Friday. Both Moser and Burress were charged with the manufacture, delivery, sale or possession of meth and initiating the meth manufacturing process. As of this morning, both remained in custody at the Anderson County Jail.
Local doctor facing drug charges in Knox
A doctor with ties to Oak Ridge and Anderson County is facing several drug charges after Knoxville police found various kinds of drugs and signs of a marijuana growing operation inside his home. Late Monday night, a woman called police about a domestic dispute at the home of Dr. Michael Lapaglia. Knoxville Police say when they went inside his home on Fox Cove Road in West Knox County they noticed a strong odor of marijuana. Investigators searched the house and say they found more than two pounds of what was described as high-grade marijuana in various strains, 52 diazepam (Valium) pills, 22 amphetamine pills, 24 Oxycodone pills, two bottles of Propofol, seven vials of Succinylcholine, two vials of Marcaine, one vial of Bupivacaine, one vial of Flumazenil, 11 vials of Xylocaine, two vials of Lydocaine, one vial of Midazolam, one vial of Fentanyl, and one vial of Morphine. They also found three guns. They also discovered evidence of a past marijuana growing operation and marijuana in mason jars. They also found more than 100 glass marijuana pipes and bongs, and other various drug materials. Lapaglia is facing five charges related to the discoveries and police say more could be filed as their investigation continues. He is being held on a $31,000 bond. Anderson County EMS Director Nathan Sweet told our partners at WBIR-TV that LaPaglia’s situation will have no effect on patient care, telling them, "Our contract is through the medical company TEAMHealth. Given the circumstances, a temporary medical director will fill in for however long is necessary." Lapaglia is also the doctor who performed a procedure temporarily paralyzing a suspect to remove a rock of crack cocaine from their body. The cavity search was ruled unreasonable search and seizure by an appeals court last month and the resulting conviction of Felix Booker was tossed out.
RSCC online Biology classes recognized
Roane State Community College’s online biology courses have been named among the country’s best by BestOnlineColleges.org. According to information on BestOnlineColleges.org, the site’s 2013-14 listing of best online programs takes into account “student surveys, teacher surveys, expert analysis, cost, academic offerings, career services rankings, and availability.” This fall, Roane State is offering General Biology I, Human Anatomy and Physiology I, and Human Anatomy and Physiology II as Web classes. Additional biology subjects are available through Roane State’s participation in the Regents Online Campus Collaborative, a statewide network that offers online educational programs and courses. Roane State also offers biology courses through live interactive video, which allows students to take a course at the campus closest to them. Rather than drive to the campus where the class is offered, students can take the course via video teleconferencing and stay close to home. Roane State has campuses in Crossville, Harriman, Huntsville, Jamestown, Knoxville, LaFollette, Lenoir City, Oak Ridge, and Wartburg. For more information, visit www.roanestate.edu or call 1-866-GO2-RSCC (1-866-462-7722).
McNally bill lauded for taxpayer protection
Legislation which provides accountability for state grants invested to bring new or expanding businesses was recognized recently at a ceremonial signing in Nashville. The bill, co-sponsored by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Randy McNally, provides that the Tennessee can hold back funds awarded through the Department of Economic and Community Development (ECD) if a company receiving a grant does not live up to their promise to bring new jobs to the state. “This is a bill that protects taxpayer money for being used to provide grants to a company that promises to bring new jobs to our state, but does not deliver them,” said Chairman McNally. “The Commissioner and the Governor ought to be able to say if these jobs are not coming, then funds can be withheld.” Before the legislation was passed, state law did not have a clawback provision, which is a term referring to any money or benefits that have been given out but need to be returned due to special circumstances. The new law allows ECD to execute a separate agreement in conjunction with any FastTrack development grant or loan contract that reserves the right to recover the amount of money, grants, funds, or other incentives if the person or entity benefitting fails to fulfill their commitments. “If we use taxpayer money to recruit jobs to Tennessee, the recipient company must be held accountable,” McNally added. “This legislation simply gives the Governor and the Department of Economic and Community Development a tool to ensure that these funds are used appropriately and within the terms of the agreement.”
Drug arrests made in Clinton
Officers with Anderson County’s 7th Judicial Crime Task Force executed a search warrant at a Clinton home last month and arrested three people on drug-related charges. 41-year-old Merry Ellen Washington, 21-year-old Anthony Joshua Washington, and 32-year-old Gerald Dewayne Hannibal, all of the same Fowler Street address in Clinton, were arrested following the August 23rd raid. Merry Washington was charged with the manufacture/deliver/sale/possess a controlled substance, simple possession or casual exchange, possession of drug paraphernalia and criminal conspiracy. Anthony Washington was charged with the manufacture/deliver/sale/possess a controlled substance and criminal conspiracy and Hannibal was charged with criminal conspiracy. The Task Force seized Oxycodone pills as well as three marijuana plants and roughly 11.5 grams of marijuana inside the home. Both Washingtons remained in custody at the Anderson County Jail as of this morning (9/3) while Hannibal has been released on bond.
THP: 2 killed, 1 hurt in Morgan wreck
The Tennessee Highway Patrol says that two people were killed and a third person injured in a single-vehicle accident in Morgan County on Saturday night (8/31). Troopers reported that Jeffrey Sherill of Centerville, Tennessee was driving a 1998 Dodge Ram pickup east on State Highway 298 in Lancing at around 11:45 pm Friday when he failed to negotiate a curve. The truck left the left side of the road and hit several standing trees and a utility pole before coming to rest on the drivers’ side. None of the three people in the truck were wearing seatbelts and two of them—Sherill and passenger Stevie Russell—died in the accident. Passenger Tiffany Wilson was injured. Troopers reported that drugs and alcohol played roles in the accident and that standard tests have been ordered.
Report: Woman sues ACSD for $7.6 M
According to the News-Sentinel, a Clinton woman with multiple sclerosis is suing the Anderson County Sheriff’s Department for $7.6 million after she says she was sprayed multiple times with chemical spray and had her head slammed into walls following her arrest on a public intoxication charge earlier this year. The paper reports that the suit was filed in US District Court last week by 30-year-old Heather Bolling, who accuses jailers of using excessive force and brutality. She was reportedly arrested on a public intoxication charge on April 28th following a domestic disturbance and taken to the Jail. There, she alleges that she was sprayed twice in the face with a chemical and assaulted. Her lawsuit also states that she was not classified as a special-needs inmate even though she has MS and that her injuries were not treated until after she had posted bond and sought medical treatment herself. The lawsuit alleges assault and battery, intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress and conspiracy, accusing those involved of taking part in a cover-up of the incident. In addition to the ACSD, the suit names three jailers as well as the county government and Sheriff Paul White as defendants.
Tips led to arrest of Clinton man
Following up on a story we brought you earlier this week, tips from citizens led to the arrest of a 38-year-old Clinton man on charges that he robbed the Enrichment Federal Credit Union branch on Schubert Road in Knoxville on Tuesday afternoon. A television viewer recognized Charles Edward Harmon from broadcast footage from the bank security camera and called in a tip, which led to Harmon’s arrest on Wednesday. Harmon spent five months behind bars after he robbed a Y-12 Federal Credit Union in Clinton in 2006.
Report: Man acquitted of spitting on deputy
According to the News-Sentinel, an Anderson County jury deliberated for about two hours before acquitting a man on charges that he spit in an Anderson County Sheriff’s deputy’s face and resisted arrest during a 2009 incident. 23-year-old Dylan Ripley’s defense team argued that he was too intoxicated at the time of the incident to have “formed any criminal intent” and the jury apparently agreed. The incident happened on August 2nd, 2009 when deputies pulled over a speeding car on Clinton Highway. Deputies reported that he refused to show them his hands after several repeated commands and that he had spit into the face of Deputy Robert Mansfield. Deputies reported that they had to break the back window to get Ripley out of the car and that he resisted attempts to place him in handcuffs. During the incident, Ripley received a black eye and has since filed a federal civil-rights lawsuit alleging that he was asleep when he was yanked out of the car and punched. That case is still pending in federal court.
No charges in Campbell shelter flap
A grand jury in Campbell County has decided not to press any charges against any past employees of the Adrion Baird Animal Center. The TBI presented its findings of a months-long investigation into allegations that animals were being improperly treated and improperly euthanized to the grand jury, which opted not to indict anyone in connection with the probe. An online video surfaced earlier this year accusing shelter employees of wrongdoing, which prompted officials to shut it down until its reopening earlier this month.
Alcoa breaks ground on massive expansion
Thursday, state, local and company leaders celebrated the groundbreaking of Alcoa’s $275 million expansion of its facility in the town that bears its name. The celebration was attended by Governor Bill Haslam and Senator Lamar Alexander in addition to a host of other dignitaries. The expansion will allow the company to increase its production of aluminum sheet for the auto manufacturing industry, which is using more aluminum these days to improve the safety, fuel efficiency, durability and overall performance of cars and trucks. In addition to expanding facilities to accommodate automotive sheet production, the project will also involve converting some of the mill’s current sheet capacity.
Ex-principal sued over paddling incident
The former principal of Sunbright Elementary School in Morgan County is being sued by the parents of the child whose paddling in 2012 resulted in her being fired and being charged with child abuse. The suit filed by Sandra Hall and Jason Williams is seeking $1.7 million in damages from Elizabeth Boyd, the Morgan County director of schools and the county. The lawsuit alleges that their son Lukas was paddled eight times one day last August in an incident that left him so scared to go back to the school, according to the suit, that he is now being home-schooled.
Blount drowning victim ID’ed
The Loudon County Sheriff’s Office says that a 23-year-old Friendsville man died last weekend after jumping off a cliff on Tellico Lake. Justin Caywood’s death Saturday has been ruled an accidental drowning. Crews recovered his body from the lake on Sunday afternoon.
All charges in soring case now dropped
Authorities in Blount County have now dropped all charges against three people who had faced charges in a high-profile horse “soring” case. Stacy Gunter, Brandon Lunsford and Blake Primrose all worked at the Blount County horse farm operated by Larry Wheelon until an April raid resulted in the seizure of 19 horses and criminal charges against Wheelon for animal cruelty. The three employees were also accused of using caustic chemicals to exaggerate the trademark gait of the Tennessee Walking Horse. The charge against Wheelon was dropped earlier this month on a technicality and this week, charges against his employees were also dismissed. The DA’s office is still determining if they will pursue charges against Wheelon before a grand jury.
Feds divvy up drug money
Ten Tennessee state and local law enforcement agencies are among 19 dividing up $4 million seized during an investigation into a Mexican drug trafficking ring. According to the Department of Justice, information gained through wiretaps helped them identify and stop a semi driven by Armando Guzman Villegas and Javier Cruz-Ramirez as it headed along I-40 through East Tennessee. Searching the tractor-trailer, they found several pallets of shrink-wrapped bottled water. One of the shrink wrapped pallets, though, held over $4 million in cash in about 200 duct taped bundles. Cruz-Ramirez has since pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting interstate transportation in aid of racketeering enterprises. He was sentenced to five years in prison, with three years of supervised release on top of it. Villegas pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine and to aiding and abetting interstate transportation in aid of racketeering enterprises. He was sentenced to five years in prison and five years of supervised release after that. Locally, the Blount County Sheriff's Office and the Oak Ridge Police Department each received $69,813.93 while Blount County’s Fifth Judicial District Drug Task Force received $34,906.97.
ORT: Workers moving back in to OR fed building
(Oak Ridge Today) The asbestos-containing insulation has been removed, and U.S. Department of Energy employees and contractors started a month-long move back into the Joe L. Evins Federal Building this week, a spokesman said Wednesday. The move back into the five-story building should be complete by the end of September, according to our partners at oak Ridge Today. Office space has been modified, and the building can now house about 440 workers, an increase of about 90 employees. The light construction work has included moving walls. The telecommunications system was also upgraded while everyone was out of the building. There were roughly 350 federal employees and contractors at the Federal Building when it was shut down in June 2012 after an inspection found insulation with asbestos had fallen into heating and cooling ducts. Many of the workers had to temporarily move elsewhere while the U.S. General Services Administration, which owns the 155,000-square-foot building, removed the insulation. The office space changes will allow the local DOE Environmental Management organization, which had been in the nearby Building 2714, to move into the Federal Building. Last year, officials said air samples from the Federal Building suggested that no employees were exposed to asbestos from the loose insulation that had fallen into heating and cooling ducts. For much more on this story, visit our friends at www.oakridgetoday.com.
2 Knox robberies solved with arrests of Clinton men
Two Clinton men were arrested Wednesday on charges stemming from two, unrelated Knox County bank robberies. The first robbery occurred Saturday morning at the ORNL Federal Credit Union branch on Kingston Pike in West Knoxville. Authorities say that 32-year-old Jason Ronald Brown walked into the branch Saturday morning, said he had a bomb and demanded money. He fled with an undisclosed amount of cash but left the purported bomb behind. The Knoxville Police Department’s Bomb Squad determined that it was not a real bomb. Brown was arrested Wednesday evening in Knoxville. Meanwhile, 38-year-old Charles Edward Harmon was taken into custody Wednesday by officer from the Clinton Police Department, the KPD Major Crimes Unit and the FBI’s Safe Streets Task Force on similar charges connected to a robbery that occurred Tuesday afternoon at the Enrichment Federal Credit Union on Schubert Road in north Knoxville. In that instance, authorities accuse Harmon of handing a teller a note demanding money and fled with an undisclosed amount of cash. No one was hurt in either robbery and both men were expected to appear Thursday in federal court.
Ex-PCUD chief pleads to theft charges
Former Powell Clinch Utility District president and general manager Del Roberts pleaded guilty Wednesday in an Anderson County courtroom to stealing almost $94,000 from the utility. Roberts pleaded guilty to charging $93,856 on a PCUD credit card and hiding the charges in a special account between January of 2007 and May of 2010. Roberts spent the money on things like vacations, college tuition, dental care and other personal expenses. The money has been repaid to the utility district and Wednesday, Roberts pleaded guilty to theft over $60,000 and fraudulent use of a credit card in exchange for a pair of concurrent ten-year sentences. 10 days of that time will be spent behind bars with the remainder of the sentence to be served on supervised probation. He was also ordered to donate $10,000 over that period to a special fund used to help needy families pay winter heating bills and to perform 40 hours of community service each year. Utility officials said in a statement that the weaknesses in the district’s internal controls that allowed the thefts to go undiscovered for so long have been corrected and that PCUD has made significant changes to ensure that nothing like this ever happens again.
DOE residency report prompts leaders to begin initiative
Wednesday, Anderson County Mayor Terry Frank invited Martin McBride to her office to more fully review Department of Energy (DOE) residency reports with Budget Director Chris Phillips and Fiscal Analyst Tom Shope as a follow-up to a presentation he made during the August 19th County Commission meeting that provided commissioners a brief overview of the reports. McBride is a retired Engineering Division Director for DOE. "I was amazed at the economic impact shown to us by Dr. McBride," Phillips said after Wednesday's meeting. "I've always understood we were losing a large chunk of property tax and sales tax dollars to other counties by not being able to keep the Oak Ridge workforce inside of Anderson County, but seeing the dollars on paper was an eye opener for me. I hope this initiative is taken very seriously by anyone asked to help-- Anderson County's economic future is at stake." DOE payroll makes a significant impact on many counties in East Tennessee including Anderson, Roane, Knox, Blount, Loudon, Campbell and Morgan. According to information from DOE's Oak Ridge Office, DOE is the 4th largest employer in the state of Tennessee. The highlight of Dr. McBride's presentation noted, "If 5.5% more DOE workers lived in Anderson County, it would mean S55 million more each year for the county's economy." Analysis provided by McBride noted that over the next five years, that could translate into a $275 million boost. McBride shared, "Anderson County is in an excellent position to attract more DOE families because of the county's convenient location, strong schools, great activities--and because of the economic pressures on the DOE workforce from the recession and the high cost of gas. "A campaign to recruit more DOE residents makes sense---and could have a very large pay-off," McBride said.
Blount man arrested for killing puppy
Investigators with the Blount County Sheriff ‘s Office arrested a 62-year-old Louisville man on charges of intentionally killing an animal and stalking after killing his neighbor's dog Tuesday morning. The 7-month-old miniature Pinscher mix was in the foster care of Diane Stephens. 62-year-old Fred Lee Wright of Cub Drive in Louisville was arrested Tuesday morning following a disturbance between neighbors reported shortly after 8 am to a residence on Cub Drive in Louisville. Upon arrival, the owner of the dog, Diane Stephens, advised the deputy that as she was trying to leave for work this morning, her neighbor, Fred Wright, stood in her driveway and wouldn't allow her to leave. Stephens called 911, and Wright allowed her to leave. Stephens asked the officer to check her property because she was afraid he might do something. The responding deputy made contact with Wright on Diane Stephen's property, and he told the deputy he was checking on some things on Stephen's property. The deputy told Wright to leave, and as she searched the property, she found a small brown dog lying on the ground bleeding and deceased. She made contact with Wright again, and he admitted to killing Diane Stephen's dog. He was taken into custody at that time. Stephens told the deputy she's had ongoing issues with Wright. Wright was released from the Blount County Jail on a $1500 bond.
AP: Controversial search & seizure thrown out
(AP) A federal appeals court has struck down an invasive body cavity search that was integral to the conviction of a drug suspect in Anderson County. Judges for the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati on Monday called the medically induced paralysis under which Felix Booker was searched a "shock to the conscience." In August of 2010, with two sheriff's deputies looking on, a doctor at Oak Ridge Methodist Medical Center medically paralyzed Booker and probed his rectum to find a bag containing crack cocaine following his arrest by Oak Ridge Police officers, which was later used to convict him on a federal drug charge the following year. A divided three-judge panel ruled that Dr. Michael LaPaglia acted as an extension of the state and that his actions violated Booker’s Constitutional protections against unreasonable search and seizure. With the evidence in the case now inadmissible, it remains unclear whether or not Booker will face a second trail on the charges.
OR Council OKs allocating camera revenue for safety
Monday, the Oak Ridge City Council voted 6-1 to spend over $500,000 in revenue generated by the city’s traffic cameras on making improvements to the municipal parking lot on the north side of Jackson Square and making eight intersections along Oak Ridge Turnpike more pedestrian-friendly. According to our partners at Oak Ridge Today, the pedestrian safety improvements are estimated to cost approximately $370,000 and will provide a pedestrian walkway and a crosswalk system near businesses located along the Turnpike. The project’s design is complete and the project is ready to be sent out for bids. The improvements to the Jackson Square parking lot on the north side of Broadway Avenue will help connect it to the square, make it more accessible and provide alternate parking while the square’s main parking lot undergoes renovations as part of a major overhaul of the square being paid for, in part, by an almost-$800,000 TDOT enhancement grant. Work on the Jackson Square project could begin by the end of this year. With the appropriation for these two projects, the city has roughly $210,000 left in the special fund made up of traffic camera revenue. The city’s contract for the cameras expires in April and no decision has yet been made on whether to renew the deal. The Council on Monday also voted 4 to 2 with one abstention to approve a three-year contract with the Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce. Earlier this year, the City Council cut the amount of money the city spent with the Chamber to $175,000 but did not discuss a contract until this month. The deal allows the Chamber to spend those funds on specific economic development activities but prohibits the money from being used for staff services or expenses related to the Chamber’s regular membership activities. Those funds can be used for so-called “hard costs” associated with travel, marketing studies, data collection, prospect serving and to pay any applicable fees. The Council also approved the creation of a three-year Oak Ridge Economic Development Initiative, which will focus on attracting new capital investments in the city and jobs, as well as building the retail base of Oak Ridge and expanding the city’s economy. That effort will be led by a four-member steering committee made up of the city manager, the president and CEO of the Chamber, the Chair of the Chamber Board or their designee and the mayor or someone he appoints. The city will provide $50,000 to start the effort and up to an additional $125,000 could be provided at the city manager’s discretion.
McNally touts passage of bill ensuring state’s financial integrity
(Senator McNally’s office) Legislation enacted by the General Assembly this year ensuring Tennessee’s financial integrity was recognized recently at a ceremonial signing event in Nashville. The bill, sponsored by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Randy McNally (R-Oak Ridge), is named the Hawkins-Wilson Act, in recognition of Tennessee’s 22nd Governor, the late Alvin Hawkins, and Justin Wilson, who is currently serving his third term as the state’s Comptroller. Hawkins served as Governor from 1881 to 1883. He favored full repayment of the state debt which was in default after the Reconstruction Era building of roads and bridges. “The Hawkins-Wilson law reforms, clarifies and modifies Tennessee’s bond authorization statute to ensure the financial integrity of the state of Tennessee into the next century,” said Chairman McNally. “It also says the state’s annual debt service shall not exceed 10 percent of the total state revenue allocated to the general fund and the highway fund, setting out a clear, explainable debt service limitation to keep us on the right financial course.” The new law is a rewrite of the state’s 1937 statute dealing with bond authorization. It also deals with changes in accounting practices to bring state law up to date. The bill was written utilizing best standards and practices nationwide. “This new law is based on gold standard practices from various AAA states, including Virginia, Maryland and Utah,” added McNally. “It brings us into the 21st century with a renewed commitment to fiscal conservatism that has helped Tennessee become one of the most financially stable states in the nation. I am very pleased this new law has been enacted and that it will carry the names of two of our state’s most influential leaders in sound financial practices.”
2 AC sites recognized by USA TODAY
USA TODAY recently published an article touting two sites right here in Anderson County as being among the Top 10 attractions along the I-75 corridor from Detroit to Atlanta. The writer of the article took a four-day drive down this busy artery used by thousands of people each year following this route and compiled a list of attractions, along with dining and lodging facilities, within 2½ miles of an interstate exit. The specific purpose of the trip was to visit a selection of 32 attractions along the route that had been recommended by readers of the paper. Only two Tennessee attractions were included among the top ten—Norris Dam, as viewed from the West Overlook, and the Museum of Appalachia.
ORT: Feds agree for more SMR funding
According to our partners at Oak Ridge Today federal officials have agreed to spend another $20.5 million on a project that could result in a small modular nuclear reactor in west Oak Ridge within a decade. The Babcock & Wilcox Co. announced Tuesday (8/27) that the U.S. Department of Energy has allocated the additional funding to an agreement with Babcock & Wilcox mPower Inc. (B&W mPower) under what is known as the Small Modular Reactor Licensing Technical Support Program. The small modular reactor, which can generate 180 megawatts of electricity, could be built at the former Clinch River Breeder Reactor site in west Oak Ridge by 2022. “With this most recent $20.5 million allocation, the full commitment of the department to the initial budget period has now been made available to B&W mPower under the program,” a press release said. The first $79 million installment was allocated by DOE when the formal agreement with B&W mPower was signed in April 2013, the release said. The signing of the Cooperative Agreement formalized B&W’s cost-share agreement with the DOE, following the selection of the mPower America team—comprised of B&W, the Tennessee Valley Authority, and Generation mPower—as the winner of DOE’s competitively bid funding opportunity. B&W mPower and Bechtel (who together formed Generation mPower LLC) will provide licensing and engineering support for the mPower America Project. The B&W mPower reactor is an advanced integral pressurized water reactor designed to generate 180 megawatts of electricity. The reactor incorporates technology innovations that advance the state-of-the-art in nuclear plant safety, security, and economics, the release said. For more on this story, visit http://oakridgetoday.com/2013/08/27/doe-provides-more-funding-for-small-nuclear-reactor-project/#more-28427.
Clinton man indicted for January ’12 incident
A Clinton man accused of punching an Oak Ridge police officer in the face while trying to elude capture in early 2012 has been indicted on a host of charges connected to the incident. The Anderson County grand jury indicted 31-year-old Benny Chris Lowe on charges of promoting the manufacture of meth, evading and resisting arrest, reckless endangerment, assault, driving on a revoked license and possession of drug paraphernalia, all stemming from an incident on January 8th, 2012. An Oak Ridge police officer reported that he had tried to pull Lowe over for a traffic violation but Lowe sped off. The officer reported that the two people inside Lowe’s vehicle appeared to be yelling and gesturing for him to pull over. The chase ended when Lowe bailed out on foot after losing control of the Jeep Cherokee he was driving. As officers tried to place him into custody after the foot chase, he allegedly punched one of them in the face. Officers seized over 150 pseudoephedrine tablets and a syringe. He remains in custody pending his arraignment on September 9th.
ORRA hires new coach, director
The Oak Ridge Rowing Association announced Monday (8/26) that it has hired Marc DeRose as head coach and director of rowing. DeRose has served as assistant coach of women’s rowing at the University of Central Florida and also coached the 2011 Canadian National Champion in men’s eight at St. George’s School in Vancouver, British Columbia. DeRose has a bachelors degree from Trent University and a masters degree from McGill University. He replaces Allen Eubanks, who was let go last month after 13 years on the job.
ORPD: Girl hit by bike, in stable condition at UTMC
Oak Ridge Police say that on Sunday August 25th at approximately 5:38 pm, a nine year old girl on a bicycle was struck by a car on Highland Avenue near Hillside Drive. The car, a 2002 black Lexus, was driven by 67 year old Roy Kirk of South Hollywood Circle in Oak Ridge. The girl was transported by ambulance to Methodist Medical Center for treatment, and then flown by LIFESTAR to UT Medical Center, where she is currently in stable condition. A passing Neighborhood Watch block captain assisted with the investigation by providing officers with a video of the scene that was utilized in reconstruction of the incident, according to a release from the ORPD. Update: No charges have been filed but the investigation is continuing.
AC boat collision injures 3
The TWRA is investigating a two-boat collision on Norris Lake near Anderson County Park that sent three people to the hospital Friday night. According to TWRA a runabout boat carrying two people hit a bass boat with three aboard head-on. Two passengers from the bass boat were thrown into the water and all three passengers were taken to UT Medical Center with non-life threatening injuries. Neither passenger on the runabout boat was injured. TWRA said there was evidence of alcohol on both boats and both drivers were tested for Blood Alcohol Content.
Walland ES evacuated briefly over smoke concerns
Officials in Blount County gave the “all clear” for students and faculty to return to classes following an evacuation at Walland Elementary due to smoke. Blount County dispatchers said the call came shortly before 7:15 a.m. Monday, and Blount County Fire Department and the sheriff's office determined the building was safe shortly after 8 a.m. Dispatchers said the smoke stemmed from a problem with the central heat and air system.
New services at OR Library
The Oak Ridge Public Library has announced a new service for the community and new online photograph collections. With Reference by Appointment, individuals can obtain one-on-one, in-depth assistance with research, résumés, or online job applications with a trained professional at no cost. Anyone may schedule an appointment to meet with a librarian for assistance in the use of the library’s many resources. A librarian can help format résumés, search census records in Heritage Quest, assist with databases searches in Tennessee Electronic Library, suggest research material for a school or work project, and help with basic computer skills. No library card is needed in order to take part in this service. Appointments last from 15-60 minutes, depending on the individual needs. Reference staff will accommodate appointments within the weekday hours of 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Staff cannot do research or write your résumé, but they can advise on research materials, on formatting documents, or give general assistance with online applications. To schedule an appointment, please call the reference section at (865) 425-3465. A librarian will be in contact quickly to set up the appointment. One of the most popular collections at the library is the U.S. Department of Energy Photograph Collection, images largely taken by Ed Westcott during his years as Atomic Energy Commission photographer. Over 1,000 photographs depict life in the “Secret City.” This entire collection is now online and accessible through the library’s website at www.orpl.org. Click on the links, Departments and Services, then Digital Collections. A website will appear with a link to the Oak Ridge Room Department of Energy Photograph Collection. Two other online photograph collections are also available for browsing, the Municipal Oak Ridge Photograph Collection and the Ruth Carey Photograph Collection. Both of these collections are in process and growing in scope. The Municipal Collection currently showcases early Oak Ridge Fire, Police, and Public Works departments. Later online additions will display the Recreation Department activities and the Army-Navy “E” Award ceremony that took place on Nov. 20, 1945, at Blankenship Field. The online Ruth Carey Collection presents only a small fraction of the images from the collection. Library staff and volunteers are digitizing more of Ms. Carey’s negatives and plan on having them online soon. Library cards are free for Oak Ridge residents of all ages and provide free access to learning and entertainment. Visit Oak Ridge Public Library at 1401 Oak Ridge Turnpike in the Civic Center. Please see our website at www.orpl.org or call (865) 425-3455 for more information.
THP: Troopers, locals nab Georgia fugitives
(THP) The Tennessee Highway Patrol’s Interdiction Plus Team and Knoxville District troopers stopped and arrested two fugitives from justice in Campbell County on Thursday night with assistance from law enforcement agencies in Anderson and Campbell counties. 23-year-old Quovadis Darion Arrington of Acworth, Ga. and 19-year-old Jumar DeVon Greer of Woodstock, Ga., were wanted by Cherokee County Georgia authorities for homicide and carjacking. They were arrested by Tennessee State Troopers and charged with being fugitives from justice. A trooper stopped a 2007 Dodge Magnum for speeding on Interstate 75 northbound at the 75 mile marker at approximately 7:34 p.m. Thursday. Upon the initial contact, the occupants indicated that they were en route to Chicago. However, the trooper discovered discrepancies in their story, which led to further investigation. He ran a validation check on both occupants’ driver’s licenses that returned with a non-extraditable offense on Greer. After the occupants refused consent to search the vehicle, troopers requested a K-9 to respond to the scene. A team with the Loudon County Sheriff’s Department arrived and the K-9 did not alert on the vehicle. The trooper then issued a warning citation for speeding and released the vehicle. Roughly 20 minutes later, the Knoxville District Dispatch Center received a “be on the lookout” (BOLO) for a suspect vehicle wanted in a carjacking and homicide in the Cherokee County jurisdiction. It was the same vehicle and suspects that had been stopped just moments before. A second state trooper was conducting stationary observation on Interstate 75 northbound at mile marker 112. He noticed the suspect vehicle traveling northbound a short time after the BOLO. The trooper followed the suspect vehicle until back-up units arrived. Anderson County officials stopped all northbound traffic several miles before the planned traffic stop, while Campbell County authorities were in place to assist during the traffic stop. Officers initiated the traffic stop on Interstate 75 northbound at the 140 mile marker in Campbell County at approximately 9:17 p.m. They apprehended the two suspects without incident. Arrington and Greer were taken to the Campbell County Jail, where they will await extradition.
Red Cross offers resources for school sports participants
(American Red Cross) Back to school also means back to practice for thousands of student athletes and coaches. The American Red Cross has training and resources available for people to learn how to treat a variety of emergencies and injuries that may occur throughout the sports season. “School and neighborhood coaches, athletes and spectators need to know how to help prevent and respond to common sports injuries such as strains and sprains, fractures, cuts and concussions,” said Michelle Hankes CEO of the East Tennessee Region. Safe Kids Worldwide reports that every 25 seconds a child is hurt playing sports and that more than 1 million emergency room visits are made due to sports injuries each year. Sports injuries account for about 20 percent of all injury-related emergency room visits for young people, according to their study.
Red Cross has developed a number of resources for everyone involved in sports and recreational activities:
· First Aid, Health and Safety for Coaches is an online program for teens and adults who coach at any age level. Developed with the National Federation of State High School Associations, this course covers first aid skills including breathing emergencies and injuries to muscles, bones and joints. Coaches are encouraged to take a CPR/AED course as well.
· Family First Aid and CPR is an online course for those not required to have OSHA-compliant certification. Participants learn how to treat cardiac, breathing and first aid emergencies until help arrives. Pediatric modules are also available.
· American Red Cross First Aid App is a free app for smart phones and tablets. It gives users instant access to information on how to handle the most common first aid situations, and includes videos and interactive quizzes. The app puts lifesaving information right in people’s hands wherever and whenever they need it.
Information on courses and additional resources are available at redcross.org. A variety of free Red Cross apps can be found in the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store for Android by searching for American Red Cross, or by going to redcross.org/mobileapps.
“Heat can be especially hazardous to anyone exercising or playing outdoors this time of year. People should avoid scheduling workouts and exercise during the hottest times of the day,” added Hankes. “Take frequent breaks and stay hydrated.”
Mayor, Sheriff reach interim agreement in salary dispute
According to a joint press release from Anderson County Mayor Terry Frank and Sheriff Paul White, the two sides embroiled in a dispute over the salary agreement submitted by the Sheriff, have reached agreement on an interim court order that will allow the Sheriff to continue to employ his current deputies and begin the process of hiring 15 new deputies and a coordinator for the Alternatives to Incarceration Program. The release states that this agreement will remain in effect until the resolution of the court case, which is scheduled for a hearing in December in Knox County. At that time, it appears that Judge Dale Workman, who signed off on the interim order, will be ruling on the Sheriff’s request for an additional 21 jailers to staff the 212-bed jail expansion slated to open next year. The press release can be seen at www.wyshradio.com.
(Joint press release) Attorneys for Anderson County Mayor Terry Frank and Sheriff Paul White have jointly submitted to the Court an interim order that allows the Sheriff to continue to employ his current deputies and hire fifteen additional deputies and a coordinator for the Alternatives to Incarceration program. This agreed order is consistent with the Mayor’s position, and will allow the Sheriff to begin increasing the number of deputies he employs in anticipation of opening the new jail, The interim order will be in effect until resolution of the pending court case and effectively narrows the scope of the pending dispute to the additional twenty-one deputies the Sheriff is seeking for the operation of the new jail. The parties will not comment further on this interim order.
BCSO: Deputy shot, killed homeowner
Blount County Sheriff James Berrong has identified the deputy involved with a late night shooting at a home on Mentor Road in Louisville Wednesday night as well as the man who was killed. 68-year-old Henry C. Taylor was killed at his rental home on Mentor Road in Louisville, by 22-year-old Deputy Ernest Ragland, who was doing a promised check on the property. Earlier in the evening, Ragland had been called to the property to take a report about several items that had been stolen. During that visit, he promised Taylor's wife that he would check on the property throughout the night. Sheriff Berrong says that it was the third time this week a deputy had been to the house about stolen property. On Tuesday, another deputy took a report from Taylor about missing items, including an HVAC unit. Around 10 pm Wednesday, Deputy Ragland was back at the property as promised. After the incident, Ragland told supervisors that he had seen a broken window in the garage, and went to investigate. He said he shined a flashlight inside the building and saw a man with a handgun. He said he gave verbal commands, and fired multiple shots, fatally injuring Taylor. The TBI said Friday that a handgun had been found at the scene of the shooting. Sheriff Berrong says Deputy Ragland is on paid administrative leave, which is standard procedure in an officer-involved shooting pending the outcome of the TBI investigation into the incident and the Blount County Sheriff's Office internal affairs investigation. Ragland has been employed with the Blount County Sheriff's Office since December 2012 as a patrolman. "This is a very tragic incident," Sheriff Berrong said. "Deputy Ragland was performing the promised property checks on the residence, and both individuals reacted. We are all deeply saddened by the chain of events that took place last night."
(BCSO) Blount County Sheriff James Lee Berrong said the Blount County deputy involved in the shooting death of a man while performing a property check Thursday night is on paid administrative leave (per Sheriff’s Office policy) pending the outcome of the TBI investigation into the incident and the Blount County Sheriff’s Office internal affairs investigation. Ernest Ti Ragland, 22, has been employed with the Blount County Sheriff’s Office since December 2012. He works as a patrolman. Statements Deputy Ragland gave supervisors at the scene were that he was performing a property check at a rental property on Mentor Road at around 10 p.m. Wednesday. He said he was checking a garage on the property when he saw a broken window and went to investigate it, then shined his flashlight inside the building and saw a man with a handgun. He told supervisors that he gave verbal commands, and fired multiple shots, striking Henry C. Taylor, 68, and killing him. Twice this week the Blount County Sheriff’s Office responded to the Taylor’s Mentor Road rental property to take burglary reports. On Tuesday, a deputy took a report from Henry Taylor that several items had been taken from the property, including an HVAC unit. At around 7 p.m. Wednesday, Deputy Ragland responded to the rental property and took a report of another burglary of several additional items. Deputy Ragland informed Mrs. Taylor he would do property checks at the residence throughout the night, and at around 10 p.m. he returned to conduct the property check and encountered Mr. Taylor in the garage. “This is a very tragic incident,” Sheriff Berrong said. “Deputy Ragland was performing the promised property checks on the residence, and both individuals reacted. We are all deeply saddened by the chain of events that took place last night. ”
Kroger breaks ground on OR development
Kroger officials and city leaders broke ground on the new shopping center at the intersection of Oak Ridge Turnpike and Illinois Avenue on Thursday morning. A Kroger Marketplace store will anchor the development, which will also include space for other retailers. The developer had to buy out about 20 homes and clear the land for the project. Construction on the shopping center is expected to begin in October and the development is slated to open in July of 2014.
High-speed chase nets burglary suspects
A pair of burglary suspects led officers from several law enforcement agencies on high-speed chase through several counties on Thursday afternoon. Officials from the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office notified Union County law enforcement about 4:25 p.m. that they were in pursuit of a gray Pontiac Grand Am being driven by Billy Ray Fox of Corryton, according. Fox was wanted in connection with a burglary that had occurred in Anderson County, and was fleeing deputies at speeds in excess of 100 mph. Several Union County deputies and one Maynardville Police Department officer helped stop Fox on Hickory Valley Road in Union County. In the car, officers reported finding his alleged accomplice, 27-year-old Heather Buchanan, 27 of Corryton and four children ranging in age from 5 to 8 years old. DCS took custody of the children while Fox and Buchanan were taken to the Anderson County Jail on several charges including five counts of reckless endangerment, four counts of child endangerment, a fourth offense of driving on a revoked license, felony evading, reckless driving in excess of 100 mph, failure to yield to emergency vehicles, failure to obey traffic controls and two violations of child restraint laws. Officials say additional charges will likely be filed in Union County once Anderson County is done with them.
OR firefighters receive national certification
The Center for Public Safety Excellence (CPSE) recognized four Officers of the Oak Ridge Fire Department for their national accreditation at the Fire Rescue International Conference - CPSE annual Accreditation banquet in Chicago this month. The Center for Public Safety Excellence, Inc. (CPSE) is a 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization that, for more than a decade, has helped local public safety agencies around the world streamline and improve the services they provide their communities. Through its individual commissions, CPSE provides a host of programs including accreditation for fire and emergency service agencies and professional designations for senior-level fire and emergency service officers. Fire Chief Darryl Kerley and Assistant Fire Chief Josh Waldo have been approved for the designation of Chief Fire Officer. Chief Kerley has held the designation of Chief Fire Officer, CFO since 2004 and was notified that his designation has been renewed. Chief Kerley is required to renew his CFO designation every three years and submits a package outlining his career progress for the past three years to ensure he is continuing to work towards professional excellence through continued education, training, and community service. Assistant Chief Waldo has received his initial designation having completed his Master’s Degree from Eastern Kentucky University and showing a continual forward progress when it comes to professional development. Assistant Chief Waldo also received accreditation as a Fire Marshal (FM) and Chief Training Officer (CTO). The Chief Fire Officer (CFO) Designation Program was created to recognize fire officers who have demonstrated excellence and outstanding achievement throughout their career. The designation demonstrates that individuals have developed a strategy for continued career improvement and development. The highly competitive CFO designation assures departments that their leaders have the educational and technical competencies necessary to meet the demands of today's society. Since its’ inception in November 2001 the CFO designation has only been bestowed on 851 fire professionals across the country with only 13 of those being from the State of Tennessee. Chief Kerley has served in the role of Chief Officer in some capacity over the past 15 years and has been with the Oak Ridge Fire Department since 2006. He is married to wife Jamie and has two daughters, Ashley and Hannah. Assistant Chief Waldo has served in the role of Chief Officer in some capacity over the past 6 years and has been with the Oak Ridge Fire Department since 2007. He is married to wife Cindy and has a son, Wyatt. Battalion Chiefs Marty Griffith and Joseph Durham also received recognition from the Center for Public Safety Excellence that they have been approved for the designation of Fire Officer. In
August 2009 the Commission on Professional Credentialing (CPC) unveiled the new Fire Officer (FO) Designation Program for line officers and others who aspire to become Chief Fire Officers (CFO). Although the process for obtaining the FO designation closely mirrors the CFO process, the FO designation is an incremental step toward the CFO with different standards of expertise, responsibility, and accountability. Since its inception in 2009 only 125 fire professionals across the country have received this designation and Battalion Chiefs Griffith and Durham become the second and third professionals to achieve this certification in the State of Tennessee. Battalion Chief Griffith has been with the Oak Ridge Fire Department since 2002 and currently oversees the daily operations of C-shift. BC Griffith is also a Registered Nurse and holds an associate’s degree from Lincoln Memorial University. BC Griffith is married to wife Tracy and has two daughters, Sidney and Serria. Battalion Chief Durham has been with the Oak Ridge Fire Department since 1996 and currently oversees the daily operations of A-shift and holds an associate’s degree from Roane State Community College. BC Durham is married to wife Michelle and has three children, Jordan, Justin, and Caden. For further information, visit the website www.oakridgetn.gov.
ORT: More officers in OR schools
(Oak Ridge Today) Three more Oak Ridge Police Department officers are stationed at Oak Ridge High School and Alternative School this year. However, they are not school resource officers, or SROs. For the past few years, the ORPD has had an SRO who works mostly at the high school. This year, though, a sergeant and two non-patrol officers are also stationed there and at the Alternative School next door, ORPD Chief Jim Akagi said Monday. School officials had requested more SROs this year, following the December massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., but funding has been an obstacle. While the new arrangement doesn’t add SROs, it will increase the police presence and visibility, Akagi said. ORPD School Resource Officer Sherrill Selby will continue to work at the high school. She will be joined by Sgt. Robert Pitts, Photo Enforcement Officer Karen Jenkins, and Community Resource Officer Daniel McFee, who is a former SRO. Jenkins and Pitts will be stationed at the high school, and McFee will work at the Alternative School.
Green ruled competent to stand trial in 2011 shooting
The man accused in the fatal shooting of a Clinton pawn shop employee in November of 2011 has been ruled competent to stand trial. 65-year-old James Allen Green is accused of shooting 59-year-old Larry Snellings after asking to see a gun at the South Clinton Pawn Shop. When Snellings handed him the gun, Green loaded it and shot him. Green was declared insane and sent to Moccasin Bend Mental Health Institute in Chattanooga in April 2012, where re-evaluations were scheduled every six months. Earlier this year doctors at Moccasin Bend determined that Green was competent and returned him to the custody of the Anderson County Sheriff's Office with specific orders regarding medication. Anderson County Judge Donald R. Elledge has ruled that Green is competent after hearing testimony earlier this year from doctors at Moccasin Bend Mental Health Institute and officials from the Anderson County Jail. Doctors have described Green's recovery as "remarkable," saying his brain had been psychotically disorganized with chronic brain failure due to mini-strokes, however, they say his condition will relapse if his medication is stopped. Green is charged with premeditated murder, assault with a deadly weapon, assault with serious bodily injury, murder during the perpetration of theft, and theft. No trial date has been set.
Maryville man jailed on molestation charges out of Florida
A Maryville man was arrested Tuesday by US Marshals on warrants out of Florida charging him with child molestation. 66-year-old Dennis Weaver was arrested on one count of lewd or lascivious molestation of a child under 16 and three counts of lewd or lascivious battery on a child under 16 and is being held in the Knox County Jail as he awaits extradition back to Gulf County, Florida. Investigators there say that they began looking into allegations against Weaver earlier this month and during their probe, conducted undercover operations that yielded evidence against Weaver.
Teen indicted in crash that killed classmate
An Andersonville teen has been indicted on charges connected to a fatal accident in January that killed a passenger in the car he was driving. 18-year-old Evan Nathaniel Weaver was indicted by an Anderson County grand jury earlier this month and arrested Tuesday on charges of vehicular homicide by intoxication and by recklessness, two counts of reckless endangerment and one count each of reckless driving and possession of drug paraphernalia. The charges stem from a January 28th accident at the intersection of Highways 61 and 441 in Norris that killed 17-year-old Cameron Lee Sharp, a passenger in Weaver’s car. Both were seniors at Anderson County High School at the time of the crash. Investigators say that Weaver had been driving east on 61 when he tried to merge into the southbound lanes of 441. As he attempted that, however he lost control and the car crossed over a concrete island and collided with a pickup truck headed north on 441 driven by 25-year-old Daniel Osborne. A passenger in Osborne’s truck was injured and Sharp died in the crash. Officers reported finding a can of compressed gas cleaner commonly used for “huffing” to attain a buzz and a glass marijuana pipe in Weaver’s car after the wreck. Weaver is free on bond and will be arraigned on September 9th.
Suspicious barn fire probed
A Tuesday night fire that destroyed a barn in Anderson County is being investigated as suspicious. The fire occurred at a barn on Miller Hollow Lane shortly after 11 pm, according to the Anderson County Sheriff’s Department, which said the property owner heard a loud noise outside his house and when he went to investigate saw the barn engulfed by flames. The property owner told deputies he had recently been involved with a legal dispute and that he believed that the fire had been deliberately set. The investigation is ongoing. No injuries were reported.
Probation revoked for man in driving death
A man on probation for a vehicular homicide conviction had that probation revoked Tuesday and was sentenced to a total of four years behind bars. 27-year-old Andrew Samuel Foust of Lake City had entered no-contest pleas to charges of criminally negligent homicide and reckless endangerment in 2009 stemming from a December 2005 incident in which his speeding car collided head-on with another vehicle. The 2005 accident killed 23-year-old Kevin Gross of Clinton and injured his wife. In asking for Foust’s probation to be revoked, prosecutors told the court that he had violated his probation twice—once in 2011 when he fled from an Anderson County deputy after almost striking his cruiser with his speeding sports car and again earlier this year when he was arrested for public intoxication at a car wash on Lake City. He was given a two-year sentence on the violation and will serve a two-year sentence on the 2011 evading arrest charge once that sentence has been served.
Man pleads to child rape charges
A 35-year-old Knoxville man pleaded guilty to three counts of child rape and three counts of sexual battery by an authority figure Wednesday in a Clinton courtroom. Noah Daris Foust was sentenced to 25 years in prison to be served concurrently with a similar sentence for crimes involving the same child in Knox County. Prosecutors say that the crimes were committed over a three year period starting when the victim was just 8 years old. He will have to serve at least 85% of his sentence before becoming eligible for parole.
Kentucky man killed in Campbell crash
The Tennessee Highway Patrol says that a Kentucky man was killed in a crash on I-75 in Campbell County Tuesday evening. The THP says that 27-year-old Richard Blakley of Williamsburg, Kentucky had been driving north on I-75 near mile marker 151 in a Ford Explorer Tuesday at around 6:45 pm when he lost control of the vehicle, possibly due to wet road conditions, and it left the roadway. The SUV went into the median and rolled over before coming to rest on its passenger side in the roadway. Blakley was not wearing his seatbelt and died in the accident. The accident report indicates that had he been buckled in, it may have saved his life. No other vehicles were involved and Blakley was alone in the SUV.
Report: Man charged with statutory rape
A 22-year-old Oak Ridge man is facing a charge of statutory rape after he was found naked in the back seat of a car in a church parking lot with a 14-year-old girl Monday night. The News-Sentinel reports that Javon Ellis and the teen were found in a car parked near the tree line of the parking lot at the Chapel on the Hill on Kentucky Avenue on Monday night. Ellis told police he thought the girl was 17 and the girl told police that she and Ellis had been having sex when the officer pulled up on the scene.
OR Transit System raising ride prices Nov. 1st
One-way tickets on the Oak Ridge Transit System will increase from $1.50 to $2 on Nov. 1 and additional stops during a trip will cost an extra $1. Those extra stops must be scheduled when reservations are made, according to a city press release. The Oak Ridge Transit System is a fixed-route transportation service for the City of Oak Ridge and is operated by East Tennessee Human Resource Agency (ETHRA). The Oak Ridge Transit System is open from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday and will transport Oak Ridge residents anywhere within the city limits. Reservations to ride the Oak Ridge Transit System can be made by calling (865) 482-2785 during operating hours. Reservations must be made 24 hours in advance of the trip. Each one way ticket is $1.50 and this price will increase to $2.00 per one way trip effective November 1st, 2013. Additional stops during a trip cost $1.00 extra and additional stops must be schedule at the time of the reservation. Routine trips can be scheduled for a standing appointment. If an individual plans to cancel a trip, then please contact the call center as soon as possible, so a driver is not dispatched. The Oak Ridge Transit office is located at 728 Emory Valley Road Oak Ridge, TN 37830, in the East Tennessee Human Resource Agency (ETHRA) facility. Currently, no reservations are accepted through the ETHRA website, due to the additional information needed to schedule a trip. Further information is available through the ETHRA website, www.ethrapublictransit.org/oakridgetransit or call (865) 482-2785 or the City’s website, www.oakridgetn.gov.
McNally honored by community service agencies
(Submitted) Tennessee Community Organizations (TNCO), a trade association for community services agencies, selected Senator Randy McNally (R–Dist. 5), as co-recipient of their 2013 Legislator of the Year Award, along with Senator Rusty Crowe (R-Dist.3). The honors were bestowed at TNCO’s annual awards luncheon, held in Nashville on August 14, 2013. The Senators were selected because of their success in securing $2 million dollars of the FY2014 state budget to fund a rate increase for the Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (DIDD) contracted community services agencies. Senator McNally stated, “I am very pleased that we were able to get the DIDD money. This will be a big help to community providers. I know this increase will be used efficiently and effectively to get disabled citizens the help they need.” The $2 million state dollars will draw down $3,797,100 in federal funds; totaling $5,797,100 overall for provider rate increases. TNCO’s member agencies provide an array of services, such as supported employment, residential services, day services, respite services, personal assistance, professional services, specialized medical equipment, etc. to approximately 8,000 Tennesseans with disabilities. There are nearly 13,000 people employed by TNCO member agencies, working from frontline direct support to managers and directors. TNCO member agencies provide services to 79% of the people receiving waiver services from the Tennessee Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. TNCO gratefully thanks Senator McNally for recognizing the difficulties faced by community services providers who haven’t seen a rate increase in over 7 years.
Surface Igniter to move to Maryville
Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bill Hagerty, along with Surface Igniter, LLC officials today announced the company will relocate its headquarters and manufacturing facility to Maryville, Tenn. Surface Igniter, LLC will invest $3.8 million and create 108 new jobs over the next three years in Blount County. “I want to thank Surface Igniter, LLC for relocating their business to Tennessee and adding these valuable jobs in Blount County,” Haslam said. “Recruiting and investing in our state’s key clusters, where we have a clear competitive advantage, is an important part of our Jobs4TN plan, and today’s announcement helps us toward our goal of becoming the No 1. location in the Southeast for high quality jobs.”
“Surface Igniter, LLC’s decision to relocate their operations from off-dshore to Tennessee highlights our position as the state with the best balance sheet in the nation,” Hagerty said. “By choosing Tennessee, Surface Igniter, LLC will be centrally located, have access to world-class infrastructure and be able to operate in the nation’s most business-friendly environment. I want to thank Surface Igniter, LLC for their vote of confidence and congratulate them on their move.”
Surface Igniter, LLC is consolidating and moving to Blount County from two locations: Puerto Rico, which houses production facilities; and Chagrin Falls, Ohio, which served as their headquarters, warehousing and distribution. They will lease 54,000 square feet of space at 1709 Henry G. Lane Dr. in Maryville. “It is an exciting time for the company as we anticipate growth and new business opportunities,” Surface Igniter President and General Manager David Kidd said. “The decision to relocate the operation from Puerto Rico and Ohio has been in the planning stages for several months. The state and local officials have exhibited professionalism and enthusiasm in every aspect of the process. Their assistance with the relocation of the facility solidified our decision to move to Blount County and Tennessee.”
Surface Igniter pioneered the development of the silicon carbide igniter in 1969. Today, Surface Igniter, LLC is a leading manufacturer of hot surface igniters for the heating, cooking, clothes dryer and BBQ grill industries. At the Maryville facility, production will involve extrusion of graphite material, heat treating and furnace processes, assembly and testing.
“We are pleased to have Surface Igniter moving its entire operation to Blount County,” Blount County Mayor Ed Mitchell said. “The growth we are experiencing is phenomenal and the variety of businesses moving here shows the diversity of the work force we have to offer.”
“Getting a company to move its entire manufacturing and headquarters to this area really speaks to the quality of life and workforce available here,” Maryville Mayor Tom Taylor said. “Those movements are rare and it means a lot to me that this community is conducive to eliciting an international company to making Maryville its new home.”
“This announcement adds to the already overwhelming job and capital investment totals we’ve experienced over the past two years,” Blount County Industrial Board Chair Chuck Alexander said. “In that span alone, the Blount County Industrial Board has announced 1,800 new jobs with more than $363 million in investments These ventures would not be possible without the great relationships that are cultivated among the local governments and their elected officials.”
“TVA and Maryville Electric Department congratulate Surface Igniter on their plans to locate and grow in Blount County,” TVA senior vice president of Economic Development John Bradley said. “We are pleased to be economic development partners with the state of Tennessee and Blount Partnership to win this project that will bring more jobs to the area.”
Equipment is scheduled to arrive at the Maryville location, 1709 Henry G. Ln., at the end of September with installation, training and process qualification beginning in October. Phase one production is expected to begin in November.
Surface Igniter will initially hire 54 employees. There are openings for maintenance, quality, assembly, schedulers, an HR manager and warehouse and distribution personnel. Surface Igniter will begin hiring maintenance and furnace operators within the next two weeks. The additional positions will be hired in October and November. Those interested in positions can apply by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
No end in sight to ACSD v. AC Mayor
There is still no resolution in sight for the ongoing legal battle between Anderson County Sheriff Paul White and County Mayor Terry Frank over the sheriff’s salary agreement for the coming fiscal year. Near the end of Monday’s County Commission meeting, commissioners tried to find a way to solve the problem without either side incurring any more legal costs, which will be borne by the taxpayers, but those efforts fell short as did an effort to try and cap the amount that both sides can spend on outside legal counsel. Sheriff White filed a salary petition in July after Mayor Frank refused to sign his department’s salary agreement. The Mayor says that signing the agreement as presented to her would, in effect, obligate the county to an additional one-million-plus dollars in next year’s budget, which would likely necessitate a tax increase. The Sheriff says he is only seeking enough money to hire 36 new employees for half of the fiscal year to staff the 212-bed jail expansion expected to open sometime next year. A hearing before a special judge is not scheduled until December 9th. Both sides have retained outside legal counsel even though the Mayor could be represented in the case by County Law Director Jay Yeager under the private act that created his position. Yeager and Frank have a long history of disagreements and the mayor said when she filed her response to the suit that she had retained her own attorney because of what she called Yeager’s conflict of interest. She also said that the deadline to file a response to the sheriff’s suit prevented her from trying to get Commission approval before hiring counsel. The News-Sentinel reports the mayor says she has already racked up $13,000 in legal fees. During Monday’s Commission meeting, a lawyer hired by Frank described by the mayor as an expert in legal ethics, opined that Yeager was conflicted from participating in the case for several reasons, including his past representation of the Sheriff’s Office in other matters. Commissioners on Monday urged both sides to compromise before the legal bills associated this case get much higher and Yeager lamented while speaking to commissioners that it his belief that this matter could be settled if “reasonable minds sat down for 30 minutes.”
State Supreme Court weighs in on Blount dispute
(Tennessee Supreme Court) In a unanimous opinion, the Tennessee Supreme Court held that the Right to Farm Act does not bar a homeowner’s nuisance lawsuit against a farm that hosted amplified music concerts. Velda Shore retired to a subdivision in rural Blount County in 2003. The subdivision was adjacent to Maple Lane Farms, which was owned and operated by Robert Schmidt. In addition to raising crops and livestock, Mr. Schmidt hosted spring and fall festivals that included a variety of public attractions, including music concerts. Ms. Shore complained to county officials about the noise and traffic caused by the concerts. In 2008, the Blount County Board of Zoning Appeals decided that Mr. Schmidt could hold only one concert per year at Maple Lane Farms. After Mr. Schmidt ignored the board’s decision, Ms. Shore filed suit alleging that the concerts were a nuisance and violated local zoning regulations. The Chancery Court for Blount County dismissed Ms. Shore’s suit based on its conclusions that the Tennessee Right to Farm Act shielded Mr. Schmidt from nuisance liability and that all the activities at Maple Lane Farms were exempted from local zoning regulations. The Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court, concluding that the activities on the farm met the state’s legal definition of agritourism and were permitted. The Supreme Court granted Ms. Shore’s appeal and reversed the dismissal of her case. The Court decided that the Right to Farm Act did not apply to the music concerts at Maple Lane Farms because they were not connected to the production of crops and livestock. The Court also decided that Ms. Shore had presented enough evidence to permit her nuisance claim to proceed. Finally, the Court determined that the concerts were not exempted from the local zoning regulations. To read the Velda J. Shore v. Maple Lane Farms, LLC opinion, authored by Justice William C. Koch, Jr., visit the Opinions section of TNCourts.gov.
AC Commission OKs museum purchase, jail fees
Monday night the Anderson County Commission voted to donate $100,000 to Lake City to purchase the old Bank of America building and turn it into a coal mining museum. The money will come from proceeds from the sale of land in the county-owned David Jones Industrial Park to the Hollingsworth Company for a reported $303,000. Supporters say that not only will the building serve as a tribute to the area’s rich coal mining history but will also be used as a welcome center, the jumping-off point for the Coal Creek Motor Discovery Trail and for the popular motorcycle route known as “The Devil’s Triangle,” all with a goal of helping to revitalize downtown Lake City and expand tourism in the county. Next up, the city must submit a bid for the property by the end of the day this Wednesday and once the building is secured, organizers will make plans for the museum. They hope to have it up and running within the next eight months. Also last night, the Commission voted to adopt new fees for inmates at the Anderson County Jail, charging them medical co-pays, fees for transportation to the hospital or funeral home, as well as paying for their jail-issued bedding, clothing and toiletries. Law Director Jay Yeager says these fees take the burden of paying for inmates’ needs off of taxpayers and places it on the offenders themselves.
ORT: AC Commission agrees to give OR land for tank
(Oak Ridge Today) Despite a few concerns about whether the tank would be an eyesore, Anderson County officials on Monday endorsed a request to give up to 2.05 acres on Emory Valley Road in Oak Ridge for a sewer system holding tank. The tank would be east of the former Daniel Arthur Rehabilitation Center, and it would be used to help Oak Ridge stop all sewer system overflows by 2015, as required by a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency order. The Anderson County Commission endorsed the land donation in a voice vote Monday night. Oak Ridge Public Works Director Gary Cinder has said several holding tanks are required at critical locations in the city to detain extra water flows during heavy rains to comply with the EPA order. The Emory Valley Road tank would be emptied within a few days after a heavy rain as capacity in the downstream sewers becomes available, Cinder said. “It should be noted that while technically the material is considered sewage, it is predominantly storm water that has leaked into the sewer system and exceeding its capacity to carry it to the treatment plant,” he said in a memo last month. Oak Ridge has asked Anderson County for the land to build the tank and an associated pump station. In return, the city would agree to take over the storm water detention pond at the site and perform required maintenance on the pond and surrounding land. The county-owned Daniel Arthur Center is used by satellite county offices, the Oak Ridge Senior Center, and the Emory Valley Center.
Report: Wreck kills one, another arrested
According to the Daily Times, an elderly Walland man was killed in a two-vehicle accident Monday in Maryville and another man was arrested following the crash. The accident occurred at around 1 pm Monday on South Washington Avenue in front of the BB&T Bank building. Police say that 78-year-old Bobby Goforth of Walland had been traveling south when he tried to turn left into the bank parking lot. He pulled into the path of a pickup driven by 22-year-old Michael Brandon Amburn of Maryville and the two vehicles collided. The two drivers exchanged words and then police say that Goforth went into cardiac arrest and Amburn fled the scene. He was picked up a short time later and taken to the Blount County Jail, where he is being held on two outstanding warrants. Charges connected to the crash are pending the completion of an investigation. Goforth was taken by ambulance to Blount Memorial Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Roane wreck claims 1 life
The Tennessee Highway Patrol says that one person died, one person was injured and one person was arrested following a single-vehicle accident in Roane County that occurred at around 7 pm Monday. Troopers reported that 50-year-old Johnny Foland had been driving west on Eagle Furnace Road near the intersection with Ledgerwood Lane when he failed to negotiate a left hand curve and left the right side of the roadway. Trooper Mike Beaty reported that Foland overcorrected, sending the car off the left hand side of the road, where he overcorrected again and the car traveled back into the roadway, where it spun and flipped, colliding with a tree and a utility pole before coming to rest on its roof. Backseat passenger 54-year-old Teri Stephenson of Rockwood was not wearing her seatbelt and was partially ejected from the car. Beaty reported that a seatbelt may have saved her life. Our partners at BBB-TV report that Johnny Foland and his brother, 51-year-old David Foland, fled the scene but were both later located. David Foland suffered injuries in the wreck while Johnny Foland was not. Johnny Foland faces charges of aggravated vehicular homicide, DUI, driving on a revoked license, violating the implied consent law and leaving the scene of an accident involving a fatality.
Hundreds attend Blount RAM Clinic
Hundreds of people attended a Remote Area Medical Clinic event at Heritage High School this weekend. While this was not RAM’s first clinic in Blount County, it had been several years since their last visit. This weekend was also the organization’s 700th clinic, and the organization estimates that over half a million people have been helped in those 700 clinics. A RAM Clinic is coming to Clinton’s First Baptist Church September 21st and 22nd.
Woman pleads in baby-kicking incident
A woman who had been charged with aggravated child abuse after her 7-month-old was kicked in the head during a domestic dispute in July pleaded guilty last week to a reduced charge and will spend most of the next year behind bars. 35-year-old Melissa Darnell Shillings pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of reckless endangerment on Thursday (8/15) and was sentenced to 11 months and 29 days in prison, with 33 days credit given for time already served. Shillings and her live-in boyfriend, 38-year-old David Lee Francis, got into a dispute on July 13th and when the argument turned physical, Francis kicked Shillings in the head while he was wearing boots and she was holding the infant. The baby was taken by ambulance to Children’s Hospital, treated and released later that day into state custody. Francis remains in custody at the Anderson County Jail on charges of aggravated child abuse and domestic assault. He is scheduled to appear in court Tuesday.
Suspicious fire probed in OS
For the second time this month, Anderson County investigators are probing a fire at a vacant, foreclosed house. The most recent incident happened Wednesday (8/14) afternoon at a home on Cove Lane in Oliver Springs. The Oliver Springs Fire Department was called to the house at around 2 pm Wednesday and firefighters reported that the structure was fully engulfed by flames. No injuries were reported and the fire is being investigated as suspicious since there was no electricity hooked up to it at the time of the blaze.
Campbell raid nets drugs, cash
Investigators with the Campbell County Sheriff’s Office and the 8th Judicial Drug Task Force raided the home of what authorities call one of that county’s biggest drug dealers last week. Agents went to the home of 52-year-old Kermit York, a convicted felon, on Thursday (8/14) and seized cash, oxycodone, hydrocodone, morphine, marijuana, a weapon reported stolen in Lafollette and 10 vehicles. On Friday, as the investigation continued, deputies found $60,000 in cash hidden in a safe underneath the floor of a home in Lafollette, which officials say came from drug sales. Evidence in this case will be presented to either the Campbell County grand jury or a federal grand jury.
UT-Battelle/ADFAC project wins award
(Submitted) Team UT-Battelle's all-volunteer project to build homes for Aid to Distressed Families of Appalachian Counties (ADFAC) has earned the 2013 Horizon Award from the Tennessee Labor Management Foundation. The award, which recognizes labor management partnerships that benefit the Tennessee community, will be presented to UT-Battelle and the Atomic Trades & Labor Council at the foundation's summer conference in Nashville. UT-Battelle is the managing contractor for the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory. "This is a great tribute to the Department of Energy and our team, especially the ATLC members who have been volunteering their time," said Ann Weaver, team captain for the project. "Because of the skills our craft workers bring, we have been able to build homes for ADFAC at a reduced cost." ADFAC, an independent nonprofit agency, exists to serve the basic needs of primarily low-income residents in Anderson and surrounding Appalachian counties. ADFAC's goal is to help families become stable and self-sufficient through a variety of direct assistance services through its Social Services and Affordable Housing programs. Team UT-Battelle, the community service organization at the DOE national laboratory, built its first house -- a 1,000-square-foot, Energy Star-certified home -- for ADFAC in 2012. Laboratory volunteers recently finished construction on a second house in Oak Ridge. The 11-week project involved nearly 85 volunteers from UT-Battelle. "Employees from all walks of ORNL life - directors, managers, supervisors, researchers, support personnel and our craft workers - have been working side by side with one goal - to build low-cost homes for less fortunate but very deserving members of our community," Weaver said. "We are very proud of our members who are contributing to the ADFAC home builds. The ATLC has a strong tradition of supporting those who are less fortunate in our community. ADFAC is a great opportunity for us to continue the tradition," said Carl Wright, ATLC first vice president.
CONTACT gets new executive director
(Submitted) CONTACT Care Line, a crisis line that has provided a listening ear to East Tennesseans for 40 years, has named Deborah Patterson as its new executive director. Patterson is a University of Tennessee alumna with experience in a variety of social service settings and a master’s degree in business administration. She takes the reins at CONTACT as the Oak Ridge-based organization works to build a Knoxville presence and expand services to 24 hours a day, seven days a week. CONTACT fields some 10,000 calls per year from East Tennesseans needing a listening ear, referral to community resources, or crisis intervention. The agency also makes reassurance calls to homebound individuals and provides training in active listening skills in “The Art of Listening,” a class open to the public. “Deb comes to us with an educational background in social work and business, a wonderful combination of skills and interests that will prove extremely helpful to our organization,” said Anna Shugart, chair of the CONTACT board. “Deb has worked with other nonprofit organizations, provided counseling to people in a variety of settings, developed marketing plans, written extensively, and created her own independent consulting company. But more importantly, Deb has the heart for the kinds of services a mission-based organization like CONTACT provides.” “I welcome this opportunity to leverage my experiences for strengthening critical support services in our community,” said Patterson, whose recent experience includes publications marketing for the National Association of Social Workers in Washington, D.C. Patterson earned a bachelor’s degree majoring in art and psychology as well as her MBA from UT. She also earned a master’s in social service administration from the University of Chicago. In addition to her work with NASW, Patterson has held a variety of social service positions in Knoxville and Chicago. Founded in 1973 by Oak Ridge churches interested in establishing a local network of volunteers trained to take calls from people in crisis, CONTACT is a United Way agency affiliated with CONTACT USA that primarily serves the nine counties in the 865 area code: Anderson, Blount, Grainger, Jefferson, Knox, Loudon, Roane, Sevier and Union. For more information about CONTACT, please visit www.contactcarelinetn.org or call the office at 865-312-7450. CONTACT’s crisis line is 865-584-4424 and is available free of charge seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m.
B&W Y-12 & ATLC step up again for March of Dimes
(Submitted) B&W Y-12 and Atomic Trades and Labor Council (ATLC) marked the 15th year of the Y-12 National Security Complex’s support of The March of Dimes Tennessee Chapter with a $15,000 donation to advance maternal and infant health in the East Tennessee Community. “B&W Y-12 and the ATLC has been incredible supporters of our work to help fund research and projects in East Tennessee communities,” said Susie Racek, Executive Director for March of Dimes East Tennessee Divisions, “They have been instrumental in supporting projects in the local hospital NICUs (Neonatal Intensive Care Units), and in particular, funding and helping create the “Butterfly Room” in East Tennessee Children’s Hospital, where families of premature babies who will not be going home can privately spend their last moments with the child.” B&W Y-12 President Chuck Spencer and ATLC President Steve Jones recently toured Children’s Hospital to learn more about the healthcare needs of children in the area. “Children’s Hospital and March of Dimes are doing some incredible work in our community,” said Spencer. “Thousands of babies are born prematurely each year in America, and Tennessee ranks high in that number. Progress is being made, but there’s still a lot of work to do, and we’re honored to be able to help.” ATLC President Steve Jones said, “We want to change the statistics in East Tennessee for the better so that nobody has to endure the trauma of a child born too early,” He added, “I’m proud of our membership, who consistently supports the mission of the March of Dimes.” In addition to awarding $30 million for biomedical research each year nationally, the March of Dimes also gives financial support to initiate community-based projects that hold promise to help reduce birth defects and infant mortality by addressing particular local needs.
2 arrested on exploitation, other charges
A Harriman attorney was arrested Wednesday on three counts of statutory rape and one count each of soliciting a minor and especially aggravated sexual exploitation of a minor. 58-year-old Kent Booher was indicted this month by a Loudon County grand jury along with a woman identified as 36-year-old Malina Nannette Akin and both were arrested this week. The indictment accuses Booher and Akin of using a minor to participate in the production of sexually explicit material. The rape charges deal with the alleged rape of a girl under the age of 16. Both remain in custody at the Loudon County Jail, where Akin has been formally charged with especially aggravated sexual exploitation of a minor and with a parole violation.
Judge dismisses case against accused drink spiker
Thursday, a Roane County judge dismissed the case against a 29-year-old woman who had been accused of spiking a co-worker’s drink in 2011 while working as a janitor at the former K-25 site in Oak Ridge. A charge of reckless endangerment against Ashley Carroll was tossed out Thursday after the judge ruled that there was no evidence to support allegations that she had laced Cheryl Lofton’s soda with a cleaning solution. Lofton became sick after the June 2011 incident and ended up going on disability leave. Tests showed no toxic substances in either Lofton or the soda, so the charges have been dismissed. Carroll’s family told the News-Sentinel that they have racked up a $10,000 legal bill fighting the charges against her and that they believe Lofton was simply making the accusation to try and get money in an out-of-court settlement. Prosecutors say that Lofton had other physical conditions that could have contributed to her illness.
AC Fire probed as arson
A fire that destroyed a vacant home on Back Vowell Road early Wednesday morning (8/14) is being investigated as arson. The fire was reported at around 4:15 am Wednesday and extinguished by the Briceville Volunteer Fire Department. A neighbor told an Anderson County Sheriff’s deputy the house had been foreclosed upon and had been vacant for about two years. Investigators reported that the house had an electric meter but that the fire started at the other end of the building. The cause Wednesday’s fire is under investigation. No injuries were reported.
Man convicted of rape, incest
A Blount County jury needed only 30 minutes to find a 45-year-old Maryville man guilty of the statutory rape of a female family member two years ago. Wednesday (8/14), Thearon Antonio Grambling was convicted of incest and statutory rape by an authority figure in connection to an incident that occurred in August of 2011. A then-15-year-old girl testified that she and Grambling had been drinking and smoking marijuana at his house until around 3 am on August 6th, 2011 when he pushed her to the floor and raped her. Grambling will be sentenced on October 14th and faces up to 15 years in prison on each guilty verdict.
Lake City awash in good news
It has already been a banner week for Lake City. Monday (8/12), the County Commission’s Operations Committee voted to recommend purchasing the old Bank of America building in Lake City for $100,000 using part of the proceeds of the pending sale of county-owned land to the Hollingsworth Company for $303,000. The remaining $203,000 would be used as seed money for the start-up Anderson County Economic development Fund. Supporters of the bank building purchase foresee using it as the new home of Coal Miners’ Museum as well as for storage and use as a satellite office for some county government entities. Today, we can tell you that PlanET, a regional partnership of East Tennessee communities in Anderson, Blount, Knox, Loudon and Union counties, has selected Lake City as one of its so-called Demonstration Project sites. The program will be funded through the Plan East Tennessee Grant and leveraged in-kind services from the East Tennessee Community Design Center (ETCDC) and the UT School of Agriculture. According to a letter sent by PlanET officials to County Commissioner Tim Isbel, whose District 4 encompasses Lake City, the project scope of design includes Main Street and the Coal Miners’ Museum. An ETCDC design team will lead the Main Street Project, which will consist of assessing the current downtown and determining the defined work area, cataloging businesses, residential areas, public spaces and areas of special consideration such as historic properties. The team will focus on complementing those historic buildings while also working on streetscape design and lighting. Ultimately, this project will give city leaders a wealth of data and a possible blueprint for revitalizing downtown Lake City. A group from the UT School of Architecture will work with Lake City to develop a program for a coal history museum as well as potential designs for such a facility. The letter states that the goal is for Lake City to “create a venue that can drive cultural tourism on the community and that links the city to the abundance of other recreational trails and historical sites in the area.” That work can then be used to help in fund raising efforts or in applying for grants for the museum. Officials will work with Lake City leaders to schedule two community meetings where citizens will be asked as to their preferences for downtown Lake City. When those meetings are scheduled, we will let you know about it on the air and online.
Follow-up: CPD seeks suspects in July theft
As we first reported last month, on Friday, July 5th, a man and woman posing as contractors for the Clinton Utilities Board (CUB) entered an elderly Clinton woman’s residence. While the female suspect distracted the victim by talking to her in the kitchen, it is believed that the male suspect entered the victim’s room where several items were stolen. A similar incident occurred in unincorporated Anderson County around the same time. Clinton Police are asking for the public’s help in locating the suspects and we now have a better description of the female suspect to pass along to you. She is described as a white female with dark hair, approximately 5’2” to 5’-5” tall with a slender build. She was wearing a baseball cap with sunglasses and had on a black jacket with designs on it. The male was wearing a white baseball cap. No other information is available for the male suspect. The suspects are believed to be traveling in a 2004 white or silver GMC Envoy or similar vehicle. If you have any information, please call the CPD at 865-457-3112.
TDEC: Rockwood site state-certified for development
(TDEC) Earlier this week, the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development announced the next five Select Tennessee Certified Sites. The Select Tennessee program was launched in June 2012 with the goal of helping Tennessee communities prepare available sites for investment and expansion. The program sets a consistent and rigorous standard upon which companies can rely in making critical location decisions. In East Tennessee, the site certified this week is the Cardiff valley Road Site in Rockwood. The program acknowledges that companies looking to expand or relocate their operations often eliminate less prepared sites and addresses this issue by ensuring sites meet a specific standard. Among the qualifications needed to become certified, a site must have at least 20 developable acres, proper zoning in place to allow for ease of development, all utilities at the site or a formal plan to extend to the site, and truck quality road access. A hallmark of the program is ensuring that Tennessee sites are ready for development, whether through marketing those ready for a prospect or providing guidance for uncertified cites to achieve a higher level of preparedness. ECD has partnered with Austin Consulting and The Foote Consulting Group to administer the program.
ProNova breaks ground in Blount
ProNova Solutions broke ground on its new facility in Blount County’s Pellissippi Place Technology Research and Development Park. The company announced in February that it would become the anchor tenant of the park and invest some $52 million in a new facility. The company estimates that it will create an additional 110 jobs in Blount County by 2015 and as many as 500 by 2018, when the second phase of the two-part project is complete.
OR restaurant fined by state, city for same offense
Monday the Oak Ridge Beer Permit Board voted 4-2 to fine Applebee’s $2500 for selling beer to an underage individual back in March. However, restaurant officials say that they were also fined by the state’s Alcoholic Beverage Commission for that same offense. That revelation, along with the fact that six other businesses were also cited by the state in March unbeknownst to city officials, sparked some conversation about ways to better coordinate state and local efforts to prevent underage drinking. In Applebee’s case, the city was notified by the state of the infraction because it was the eatery’s second violation in a three-year period. One of the businesses cited in March by the state was Lincoln’s Sports Grille, and Monday, Oak Ridge Beer Board members voted to hold a show-cause hearing for the restaurant because the March violation occurred just a short time after an earlier show-cause hearing for Lincoln’s over a February fight.
AC Clerk: Revenue projections exceeded
(AC Circuit Court Clerk) Anderson County Circuit Court Clerk Tyler Mayes announced that his office has exceeded budgeted revenue projections for the past fiscal 2012/2013 year ending on June 30, 2013 by nearly $400,000. The total revenues budgeted for all revenue codes within the Circuit Court Clerk’s office was $1,459,640.05, while the office realized revenues of $1,857,313.33. The bulk of these excess revenues has been returned to the General Fund and will have a positive impact on the undesignated fund balance. Some revenues have designated uses by state law and are assigned to those specific expenditures. Mayes stated that he looked at the three and five year averages for his office and set accountability goals for himself and his office staff. His focus upon taking office last year was on integrity and productivity. “I believe that our office should strive to be accountable in every way possible. We need to be accountable both in our professional work with the courts and the citizens hard earned taxpayer dollars. We have set our goals high,” stated Mayes. Mayes said that the actual collections of court fees was budgeted at $925,000, but $1,051,786,.30 was collected during the year. The biggest jump in revenues came in the collection of bond forfeitures that collected $185,558.02 when only $50,000 was budgeted. Mayes said that his office made a concentrated effort to collect delinquent bond forfeitures. “Our staff worked hard on collecting delinquent bond forfeitures. The five year average for these collections was under 26,000 dollars and we brought in over 185,000 dollars this past year. This is revenue that will help county government meet its obligations.” Mayes said there were also increases in several other revenue codes as his office seeks to improve efficiencies. “We will continue to look for ways to be more efficient and increase revenues and hold the line on expenses. My number one priority is to be accountable to the taxpayers of Anderson County. I am very proud of what my staff and I accomplished during the past year,” concluded Mayes.
Teens injured on Blount lake
Two teenage girls were injured Monday morning when the personal watercraft they were riding crashed into a private dock on Fort Loudoun Lake in Blount County. The girls, both 14 years old, were injured at around 11 am when their wave runner hit a dock on Wheeler Road. One suffered a head injury, the other a hip injury, neither of which was considered to be life-threatening, and both were taken to UT Medical Center by ambulance. TWRA investigators said that both girls were wearing life jackets.
ACSD v. Mayor to be heard in December
A Knox County judge on Friday set a December 9th date for a hearing in the salary dispute between Anderson County Sheriff Paul White and County Mayor Terry Frank. Knox County Circuit Court Judge Dale Workman was appointed to hear the case by the state Supreme Court after Anderson County Circuit Court Judge Don Elledge recused himself. White filed his salary petition seeking a judge’s ruling on his request to hire up to 36 new employees to staff the 212-bed expansion of the Jail due to open sometime next year last month after Mayor Frank refused to sign the salary agreement for his department. Mayor Frank says that had she signed the agreement as-is, it would exceed her authority while also committing the county to funding an additional $1.1 million a year going forward in new salaries within the Sheriff’s Office. While the County Commission approved funding to cover those jailers’ salaries and benefits for half of the fiscal year the document turned in by the sheriff included the costs for a full year, as required by state law. Judge Workman on Friday ruled in favor of the Mayor by denying the sheriff’s motion to dismiss her concerns that his department’s budget is out of proportion to the needs of the county and sided with the Sheriff by ruling that the mayor’s concerns over next year’s budget will not be considered when the hearing begins in December.
Vandals hit Heritage High
Vandals with spray paint targeted Heritage High School last week, causing approximately $1600 worth of damage. A school administrator called the Blount County Sheriff’s Office Thursday morning around 11:30 am and told deputies they had discovered red and blue pray paint in a number of locations around campus. Some of the places where graffiti was found include the main building of the school, on-campus street signs, sidewalks, the exterior of a portable classroom and the parking lot. Similar graffiti was found on nearby Coulter’s Bridge. The Blount County Sheriff’s Office is investigating.
NPS: NC man killed in Park wreck
The National Park Service says that a North Carolina man died in a single-vehicle accident Friday night in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park that also injured his wife. The Park Service says the wreck happened at around 7:15 pm when a Ford Explorer Sport driven by 44-year-old James E. Bigmeat Jr. of Cherokee, NC traveling northbound on Newfound Gap Road ran off the roadway in front of Park Headquarters near Gatlinburg and collided with a tree. His wife, 34-year-old Angie Murphy was transported by Gatlinburg Emergency Medical Services to UT Medical Center in Knoxville. The cause of the crash is under investigation, but Park Rangers believe excessive speed was a contributing factor.
Seven Arrests In Meth Lab Investigation
(ACSD) Seven people were arrested Wednesday afternoon (8/7) after a meth lab was found at an Oliver Springs Highway residence. Deputies went to the home on a drug investigation and found an active meth lab. The following individuals were charged:
All seven are being held in the Anderson County Detention Facility with bonds pending their arraignment. Blankenblicker and Goodman also are being held for outstanding warrants in Campbell County. Weiss has an extensive arrest record with other prior methamphetamine charges along with numerous felonies including burglary and theft offenses. Fleisch, Goodman, and Leinart also have previous arrests. Investigators were on the scene some three hours conducting the investigation and clean up. The residence was also quarantined. This case is still under investigation and no additional information can be released at this time.
Blount deputy injured by suspects
A Blount County Sheriff’s deputy ended up in the hospital and two people ended up behind bars after a Thursday afternoon incident. The Blount County Sheriff’s Office says that Deputy Eddie Nickerson was attempting to serve an arrest warrant on 26-year-old Joshua Hackler at a home on Hollyhock Way on Thursday and found Hackler hiding in a closet. When Nickerson tried to take him into custody, Hackler fought back, at one point knocking the deputy’s chemical spray off his belt and spraying him in the face with it. Backup arrived and Hackler was taken into custody, along with a woman identified as 27-year-old Chessica Gayheart. Both were charged with aggravated assault and resisting arrest and are in custody at the Blount County Jail. Hackler was also charged with possession of drug paraphernalia. Deputy Nickerson suffered a broken ankle, a cut on his head and the effects of having the chemical sprayed in his face. A second deputy—Nathan Payne—also had to make a trip to the emergency room at an area hospital after he was pricked by a used needle in Hackler’s pocket as he was frisking him.
Price Florist building given one more reprieve
The owner of the building that once housed Price Florist on the Oak Ridge Turnpike was given a final 30-day extension to sell it, demolish it or repair it by the Oak Ridge Board of Building and Housing Code Appeals on Thursday. The building was declared unfit for human occupation earlier this year and owner Patricia Warren of Crossville has been given two extensions of the Board’s ruling demanding action. Warren told Board members on Thursday that she has three potential buyers interested and that she hopes to sell it as soon as possible.
Utility worker injured in AC trench
A Hallsdale-Powell Utility District worker suffered a broken leg Thursday when a piece of rock came loose from the wall of a trench he was working in and fell on him. James Moore was working on a project to install a water line on East Wolf Valley Road shortly before 11 am Thursday when the accident happened. Moore was pulled from the trench by emergency crews and taken to UT Medical Center for treatment of his injury.
Elderly man, daughter cited for animal cruelty in OR
A 90-year-old Oak Ridge man and his 57-year-old daughter were cited this week by Oak Ridge Police on nine misdemeanor counts of cruelty to animals after the bodies of several animals, including four dogs and two birds, were found in an empty house where they were apparently left over two years ago without food or water. Annette Wright had been living in the house owned by her father Hillman Wright, who lives next door, until early in 2011 when she moved in with her father after undergoing ankle surgery. The carcasses of the animals were found inside the house on August 1st by an Oak Ridge police officer and an animal control officer. They were issued the citations on Wednesday and Oak Ridge Police are still working to determine why the animals had been left behind in 2011.
Local attorney spearheading stuffed animal drive for Juvenile Court
A local attorney who practices primarily in Anderson County Juvenile Court has organized a stuffed animal drive to help calm the fears and anxiety of children who have to testify in court. Rebecca Franklin is celebrating her birthday this year by spearheading a drive to collect new stuffed animals that will be placed in a toy box that has been custom-built by her husband and that will find a permanent home in the juvenile courtroom where children must speak to the judge. Franklin says that she has seen a similar program work in Knox County and says that the stuffed animals helps children feel more comfortable and open up about the issues that have brought them to the courtroom. The animal chosen by the child is theirs and they take it home with them. Franklin has already collected nearly 500 stuffed animals and presented them to Juvenile Court officials, along with the box, early Friday afternoon. However, she hopes to continue the stuffed animal collection drive on a year-round basis with the goal of having enough toys on hand so that the box can be refilled as necessary. If you have new stuffed animals you would like to contribute to the effort, bring them by Juvenile Court on the first floor of the Jolley Building in downtown Clinton and if you would like more information, contact Rebecca Franklin by phone at 865-712-2091 or by email at Rfranklinrnjd@gmail.com.
Follow-Up: Highlights of ORPD, OR School MOU
(Highlights of MOU courtesy of Oak Ridge Today) School principals have to notify the Oak Ridge school resource officer, or SRO, of suspected illegal activity, and principals or school staff members who locate dangerous weapons or drugs have to turn them over to the SRO, according to a renewable one-year agreement signed Wednesday by municipal and education officials. School staff members must also provide the SRO with the names of people who are not allowed on school property, and the staff is required to notify the officer when they expect problems from parents of students who have been disciplined. Oak Ridge Police are required to tell the school board of criminal gangs and associated criminal gang activity. The seven-page agreement signed Wednesday is a memorandum of understanding, or MOU, governing the city’s SRO program. It clarifies operations and procedures, the expectations of the city and school system, and allows the police chief and superintendent to collaborate, City Manager Mark Watson said.
ORPD, School leaders hammer out Memorandum of Understanding
After an Oak Ridge City Councilwoman made controversial statements about what she called a “culture of terror” and rampant violence and drug problems in the Oak Ridge school system that revealed that school leaders and the police department at times did not see eye-to-eye on how to handle investigations into possibly criminal behavior on campus, leaders from both sides came together Wednesday to make sure that everyone is on the same page as school in the Atomic City is set to begin on Monday. First-term Council member Trina Buaghn’s comments earlier this summer drew sharp criticism from several city officials who decried the damage done to the school system’s reputation. Wednesday morning (8/7), officials from the city and the school system met at City Hall to review a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between both organizations, according to a press release from the city. Among those in attendance were Oak Ridge Police Chief James Akagi, three members of the ORPD’s leadership team, Oak Ridge School Superintendent Bruce Borchers, Oak Ridge School Board Chairman Keys Fillauer, and three attorneys. After approximately an hour of discussion, all parties agreed to a finalized version of the MOU, which defines how Oak Ridge School Resource Officers (SROs) will interact with school officials during the 2013-2014 school year. The MOU was signed by Chief Akagi and Dr. Borchers, Mr. Fillauer and Oak Ridge City Manager Mark Watson and sent to the Oak Ridge City Council and School Board for their review and approval. The MOU delineates the mission, organizational structure and procedures of the City of Oak Ridge/Oak Ridge Schools SRO program as a collaborative effort between the City and the Schools. Chief Akagi stated how pleased he was at the cooperative efforts between him and Dr. Borchers, “Bruce is a fantastic individual and I look forward to working with him and his leadership team in the upcoming school year. We at the Police Department are committed to ensuring safety and security for the Oak Ridge Schools, and the signing of this MOU is the first step of many related to providing the best possible service to students and staff.” Dr. Borchers stated, “I have truly enjoyed partnering with Chief Akagi on this important issue of school safety. In addition to being very pleased about having a signed MOU, I am also excited about the level of trust and collaboration that was able to take place today between the City and the School District. I look forward to many years of collaboration with Chief Akagi as we make Oak Ridge a model for School Safety”.
Rockwood woman convicted quickly in 2009 traffic death
A Roane County jury convicted a Rockwood woman of vehicular homicide in connection to the death of a 63-year-old man in a violent collision that occurred in May 2009. 41-year-old Nicole Lawson will be sentenced in November and faces between three to six years behind bars. The jury needed only 20 minutes on Tuesday to convict Lawson in the May 29th, 2009 death of Gary Pugh of Crossville. Pugh had been driving a vehicle hauler carrying farm equipment on Highway 70 headed toward Cumberland County when Lawson’s Toyota pickup, which was traveling in the wrong lane going downhill at a high rate of speed when she collided head-on with Pugh’s vehicle. The impact reportedly threw her pickup into the air and over the top of the hauler, narrowly avoiding hitting another car as it landed. Pugh died instantly while Lawson spent several weeks in the hospital after suffering serious injuries. Lawson, who is free on bond, will be sentenced on November 18th.
43-year-old woman pleads guilty to having sex with teen boys
A 43-year-old woman pleaded guilty this week in a Blount County courtroom to having sex with two teenage boys in March. Teresa Forester pleaded guilty Monday to two counts of aggravated statutory rape and was sentenced to two consecutive four-year terms, with six months to be served behind bars and the remainder of the sentence to be served under supervised probation. Forester was given credit for the time she has already spent in jail since her arrest on April 9th. She was also ordered to undergo a psychiatric evaluation and register as a sex offender. She admitted to having sex with a 14-year-old boy and a 16-year-old boy on March 15th.
Blount deputies arrest man on meth charges
A Maryville man is facing charges after a meth lab was found at his house. Blount County deputies went to the Marvin Circle home of 43-year-old Jerry Lochman Tuesday (8/6) to investigate a report of a possible meth lab. Lochman allowed officers to search his home and investigators reported finding what appeared to be a recently-operational one-pot meth lab and other meth-making components. He is in custody on a $25,000 bond at the Blount County Jail, charged with promoting the manufacture of meth.
ORNL research aims to improve prosthetics
(ORNL) Oak Ridge National Laboratory is developing a device to study how amputees can adjust to prosthetics that allow them to walk again with as much comfort as possible while avoiding overuse injuries to other limbs. The instrumentation would enhance the amputee’s ability to walk as normally as possible. “What we’re trying to do is develop a system that allows us to measure and analyze their gait outside of a traditional gait lab setting,” said Ethan Farquhar of ORNL’s Measurement Science and Systems Engineering Division. “This gives a clinician access to the data that shows them walking in environments such as grassy terrain, roads, sidewalks – basically anything that they would run into in their normal lives.” There are two ways to analyze the walking studies. “One is a force measurement system that is connected to the bottom of the shoe,” Farquhar said. “It enables us to measure the ground reaction forces and also allows us to determine the angle and rotation of the foot. Our second system is a strap onto other various segments of the limb, including both thighs, the shin, definitely their good side and – if we can – we’ll attach one to their prosthetics side.”
Follow-up: BCSO release on meth bust
(BCSO Release) Blount County Sheriff James Lee Berrong said today a 43-year-old Maryville man is in custody following an investigation that resulted in the location of a meth lab at the man's residence. Jerry James Lochman of Maryville is in custody at the Blount County Detention Facility. Lochman was charged with initiating the process of methamphetamine. He is being held on a $25,000 bond pending a hearing in Blount County General Sessions Court at 9 a.m. August 14th. Investigators with the Fifth Judicial Drug Task Force responded to a residence on Marvin Circle in Maryville to investigate a possible meth lab. When investigators arrived, Lochman gave consent to search the residence. Investigators located one "one pot" method meth lab, as well as additional meth-making components. It appears the meth lab was recent within a few days. Lochman was not decontaminated, and the house did not have to be quarantined. Drug Task Force investigators neutralized the lab, and the Tennessee Methamphetamine Task Force responded to dispose of the hazardous waste. Rural/Metro Ambulance Service and Blount County Fire Department also responded.
Knox Judge to hear AC Sheriff v. Mayor dispute
A Knox County judge will preside over the salary lawsuit filed last month by Anderson County Sheriff Paul White against County Mayor Terry Frank. A scheduling conference in the case is set for Friday morning (8/9) in Knoxville. Knox County Circuit Court Judge Dale Workman has been appointed by the state Supreme Court to hear the case after Anderson County Circuit Court Judge Don Elledge recused himself because of a potential conflict of interest. Sheriff White filed the salary lawsuit in July after Mayor Frank refused to sign his department’s salary agreement for the new fiscal year. White says that without the salary agreement in place, the only way he could continue to pay his deputies after July 17th was to file the lawsuit, sometimes called a salary petition. Mayor Frank argues that signing the agreement as presented to her would commit the county to funding an additional $1 million a year in salaries and benefits for 36 new jailers needed to staff the expansion of the jail expected to open next year.
AC Mayor files response to ACSD petition
Monday, Anderson County Mayor Terry Frank filed a response to Sheriff Paul White’s salary lawsuit filed last week in Circuit Court. Last week, the Sheriff filed a petition seeking the Mayor’s signature on a salary agreement that would allow him to hire 36 additional deputies to staff the 212-bed expansion of the Jail slated to open sometime next year. In his petition, the Sheriff states that he is only seeking funding for six months’ worth of those salaries as the expansion will not open until about midway through the fiscal year. In her response, Mayor Frank calls White’s legal action a “poorly advised budget tactic that seeks to force [the Mayor] beyond the authority granted to her by law.” She states that signing the agreement presented to her by the Sheriff would essentially lock the county in to providing an additional $1 million each year in salaries within the department, a funding level that cannot be reduced under state law. The mayor’s response also states that the sheriff’s budget is “grossly out of proportion to the needs and overall budget of a county this size.” The response states that the Sheriff’s Department accounted for about 33% of the total general fund budget in 2006, when White took office, but now commands 45% of the budget while the population of the county has remained somewhat steady. The response also indicates the Mayor’s belief that the ACSD is too large, citing statistics that show nationally that there is an average of one law enforcement officer for every 400 residents, but in Anderson County that ratio is more like 244:1 and that while nationally, Sheriff’s deputies account for about 24% of sworn law enforcement officers, in Anderson County that number tops 53%. The mayor issued a statement Monday in which she says she has hired Knoxville attorney Gregory Brown to represent her in this case rather than utilize the services of County Law Director Jay Yeager. The Mayor writes “I believe our Law Director has a conflict, having reviewed and advised the Sheriff on the salary agreement as well as being invested in the current and future operations of the jail. Such a conflict prevents me from using him.” We will continue to follow this story for you.
Statement from County Mayor Frank: “Today I filed a response to Sheriff Paul White’s Petition. I sincerely like Paul and truly enjoy working with him. However, as I’ve said all along, I do not have the authority by Tennessee statute to sign the letter of agreement he is demanding I sign. In fact, I believe I could be subject to removal from office for signing for more funds than were approved by County Commission. It is unfortunate that we had to engage attorneys when the law is clear. On Saturday afternoon, I signed a letter of engagement with attorney Gregory Brown, of the Knoxville firm Lowe Yeager & Brown, because I believe our Law Director has a conflict, having reviewed and advised the Sheriff on the salary agreement as well as being invested in the current and future operations of the jail. Such a conflict prohibits me from using him.”
Follow-up: AC Sheriff sues County Mayor
Following up on a story we first reported on Wednesday, the so-called salary lawsuit filed by Anderson County Sheriff Paul White seeking Mayor Terry Frank’s signature on his department’s annual salary agreement and authorization to hire people to staff the new pod at the county jail expected to open early next year was filed in Anderson County Circuit Court, not Chancery Court as we initially told you. We apologize for the error. For more on this developing story, you can read our full coverage on the Local Information News page of our website. Late Wednesday, the News-Sentinel reported that Circuit Court Judge Don Elledge has already recused himself from hearing the case because one of his daughters is dating an employee of the Sheriff’s Office. That means a special judge will have to be appointed by the state Supreme Court. The News-Sentinel also reports that Mayor Frank will seek outside legal counsel rather than use the county law director’s office to defend her in the suit. Although the law director is supposed to represent the mayor in cases like this, Jay Yeager and Mayor Frank do not get along, meaning that county taxpayers will pay for two sets of attorneys in the lawsuit. We will continue to update you on this story as developments warrant.
AC Sheriff files ‘salary lawsuit’ against Mayor
Anderson County Sheriff Paul White has filed a petition in Circuit Court seeking Mayor Terry Frank’s signature on the Sheriff’s Department’s salary agreement for the new fiscal year. Mayor Frank refused to sign the agreement by Tuesday’s deadline and the petition—sometimes referred to as a salary lawsuit—was filed late Tuesday afternoon. At issue is the Sheriff’s need for funding to hire enough new jailers to staff the 212-bed expansion of the oft-overcrowded County Jail and what appear to be dueling state statutes. The County Commission approved a budget that contained approximately $6.63 million for the Sheriff’s Department in June--a level of funding sufficient to cover the salaries of 36 new jailers for a six-month period from January 1st, 2014 to June 30th, 2014, the end of the current fiscal year. but the salary agreement turned in for the Mayor’s signature increased the department’s salary code to up to roughly $7.67 million. Mayor Frank says that if she had signed the agreement it would have “in effect, [appropriated] more than $1 million for the 2014/2015 budget,” which she says is outside her authority as an individual officeholder. Doing so, she says, would necessitate the equivalent of an 8-cent property tax increase next year since state maintenance-of-effort laws dictate that funding levels for schools and Sheriff’s departments cannot be cut. Sheriff’s officials say that state law also requires them to include the full salaries of all department employees for a full year, which caused the numbers to be inflated. In the petition, Sheriff White says that he is not seeking any additional money above what the Commission passed in June, just the mayor’s signature on the agreement. In a statement released Tuesday night, the Mayor says “this is not a fight about personalities or politics. It’s about money and budgeting laws,” adding “I can’t sign an agreement for more than County Commission passed in [the] budget.” One key in this case could be the final two sections of the proposed salary agreement which state that “it is agreed this letter of agreement shall be for 218 employees and shall not exceed $7,668,912” and “it is agreed 36 of the 218 employees (included in the salary agreement) shall be for six months beginning January 1st, 2014. It is further agreed in anticipation of employee turnover and probationary salaries, the amount budgeted for salaries and overtime by the [Commission] shall be $6,625,595.” The Mayor’s full statement can be seen on our website’s Local Information News Page. Sheriff White was unable to comment this morning on the story pending the advice of his attorney but if that changes we will let you know about it here on WYSH and WGAP.
Mayor Frank’s statement on salary dispute
“I am sorry the Sheriff does not understand that I cannot sign a salary agreement that is over a million dollars more than was passed in our budget. The agreement the Sheriff turned in for me to sign was for $7,668,912.00. The Fiscal Year 2013-2014 budget passed by County Commission set the Sheriff’s Department’s salary codes at $6,625,595.00. Because of the maintenance-of-effort law, my signing such an agreement would, in effect, be appropriating more than $1 million dollars for the 2014/2015 budget. That is clearly outside of my authority, as County Commission is the appropriating body. If I sign the agreement as the Sheriff presented it to me, I would be entering into a legally-binding contract that would require approximately an 8-cent tax increase for the next budget year. I do not have the authority to make such a commitment as an individual officeholder. In addition, the Sheriff’s demands are premature. The Sheriff’s budget is fully funded for the Budget year 2013/2014. His suit is based on his needs for 2014/2015 and I’m confident I’m on the right side of our law by not encumbering the county’s funds for a budget year that is a full year away. This is not a fight about personalities or politics. It’s about money and budgeting laws. I like Paul as a person, and we have worked well together since I took office in September of last year. But, I can’t sign an agreement for more money than County Commission passed in our budget. All other salary agreements I have signed, for example, the Trustee, the Clerk and Master, our Register of Deeds, are based [upon] current budget numbers, not future budget projections.”
State website allows citizens to track government $$$
The Transparency and Accountability for Governments in Tennessee (TAG) application provided by the Comptroller of the Treasury on its department web site gives citizens a transparent look at where government money comes from and where that money goes. Since 2010, TAG has allowed taxpayers to view detailed revenues and expenditures for county governments. At the request of Sen. Randy McNally, R-Oak Ridge, the TAG application has been enhanced to include debt information. The user-friendly resource now provides access to outstanding debt for each of the 89 counties audited by the Comptroller’s Division of Local Government Audit. Users can drill down on a county’s total debt to see the types of debt outstanding. Total debt figures are also available for the six counties audited by certified public accounting firms. Per capita debt amounts for all counties are available, as well as graphs which compare each county’s debt to the state average for county debt. The upgrade to the TAG application also includes new functionality that allows users to evaluate revenue, expenditure and debt information for up to 95 counties. All of this information can be exported to Microsoft Excel for further analysis. The TAG application can be accessed from the Comptroller of the Treasury web site at: http://www.comptroller.tn.gov/TAG/tag.aspx.
Clinton man charged in Knox
A Clinton man is in custody in Knox County today (8/6) after he allegedly kidnapped his estranged wife early Monday morning (8/5) then eluded authorities for several hours. The Knox County Sheriff’s Office says that 41-year-old Stephen Mayes hid in the bushes outside his estranged wife’s workplace and forced his way in to her car at gunpoint at around 5 am Monday. He allegedly drove around for a while before ending up at a gas station in Farragut, where he is accused of trying to force her in to her car’s trunk. The woman fought back and ran into the gas station, where she called for help. Mayes fled on foot and despite a three-hour-long search involving helicopters and dogs, was not located until Monday evening when he walked into the emergency room of a Tennova hospital, where he was taken into custody without incident. He is facing charges of especially aggravated kidnapping, carjacking and aggravated assault in connection to Monday’s incident and is also being held on three warrants out of Blount County.
Knox man indicted in OR gambling operation
A Knoxville man has been indicted in Anderson County on charges that he ran an illegal gambling operation in Oak Ridge until it was raided in May. 43-year-old Carl Myers was indicted last month by the grand jury on a charge of the aggravated promotion of gambling and arrested Friday (8/2) before being released on bond. Myers is accused of running gambling operation inside a building behind the Tunnell Office Building in Oak Ridge that was broken up on May 5th when officers executed a search warrant. Three other people were arrested at that time and Oak Ridge Police say that the execution of the warrant was the result of an investigation that had begun several months prior after investigators began hearing information about illegal card games. Myers will appear in court on August 29th for his arraignment.
Blount man accused of shooting man five times
A Blount County man was arraigned Monday (8/5) in a Knox County courtroom on charges that he shot a man five times last week. 22-year-old Kevin Michael Hardin of Walland is charged with attempted first-degree murder and reckless endangerment in connection to the shooting, which happened on July 30th in the parking lot of a South Knoxville apartment complex. The victim and a witness were able to identify Hardin as the shooter and he was arrested over the weekend. The victim was taken to UT Medical Center for treatment of his injuries and is expected to survive. Hardin is in custody on bonds totaling $755,000.
2 injured in separate one-vehicle accidents
Two people escaped serious injury in the past three days when their cars rolled during accidents on Highway 25W. The first accident happened Saturday (8/3) at around 12:45 pm on Clinch Avenue near the intersection with Carden Farm Road. Clinton Police reported that 57-year-old Douglas Fairbanks had been headed north in a 2005 Audi when his car left the right side of the roadway, hit an embankment and a tree stump and came to rest on its side. Fairbanks had to be extricated from the vehicle and was taken to Methodist Medical Center by ambulance. He told officers that he had passed out behind the wheel and does not remember the accident. Drugs or alcohol were not involved, according to the police report. The second rollover wreck occurred Monday afternoon (8/5) on North Main Street near Hill Street at around 1:45. Police reported that 34-year-old Roysden Clais had been headed south at a high rate of speed when he lost control of his 1995 Ford pickup truck, left the roadway and struck a utility pole before rolling over. He was taken to Methodist Medical by ambulance for treatment of his injuries as well. No citations were issued in either wreck.
OR unveils new & improved GIS site
(City of Oak Ridge) The City of Oak Ridge recently released a new and improved Geographic Information System (GIS) website. The functionality is similar to the web map applications such as Google Maps or Bing Maps. “The new GIS website is very efficient and user friendly,” says Amy Fitzgerald, Government Affairs and Information Services Director. The interactive maps in the GIS application, allow searches for properties within the city limits. The information will display boundaries, assessed value, parcel ID, and current owner name. Locations of interest such as Oak Ridge historic landmarks, schools, cemeteries, and parks can be viewed. This new website was designed, constructed, and hosted by Geo-Jobe GIS Consulting. The City of Oak Ridge had the ability to extend this mapping capability to the public since 2003; however, this new GIS application offers expanded functionality and many aesthetic improvements. Please visit www.gis.oakridgetn.gov to experience the new GIS application.
OR man accused of trying to set people, truck on fire
An Oak Ridge man was arrested early Monday (8/5) after an incident in which he is accused of dousing two people—including his wife— and a truck with lighter fluid and trying to start a fire. 23-year-old John Ingram was arrested following the incident, which occurred outside a duplex on Hunter Circle in Oak Ridge, and charged with two counts of aggravated assault and one count each of attempted arson and evading arrest. The incident occurred after an argument between Ingram and his wife that started inside their home turned physical. Ingram is accused of pushing his wife, then going outside and pouring lighter fluid into the couple’s pickup truck and on his wife and another person standing nearby. Ingram allegedly tried to light the vehicle on fire but was unsuccessful. He is also accused of putting lighter fluid on the outside of the duplex and threatening to set it on fire as well. When police arrived, he jumped a fence and ran into some nearby woods before being caught a short time later. He remained in custody at the Anderson County Jail as of this morning.
Report: UT unveils new plan for OR arboretum
According to the News-Sentinel, the University of Tennessee announced plans this morning (8/6) to build an auditorium on the grounds of its arboretum in Oak Ridge. Renderings for the new building depict a large, open room with bathrooms, a kitchen and a terrace. The 2,300-square-foot building will be an educational building paid for in part by a land trade with the Rogers Group. The trade of a parcel in Sweetwater in exchange for acreage next to the arboretum will partially fund the project. The building will cost about $600,000 to $700,000 and still has to be approved by the State Building Commission. UT hopes to begin construction within the next year. The announcement came during a breakfast on the arboretum grounds this morning.
Heritage HS teacher killed in Townsend wreck
The Blount County Sheriff’s Office says that a 48-year-old Townsend man was killed in a one car accident in Townsend Sunday night (8/4). 48-year-old James M. Roberts of Townsend, a Heritage High School auto mechanics teacher, was pronounced dead at Blount Memorial Hospital Sunday night. The Sheriff’s Office responded to a one-vehicle accident on Webb Road near Berry Williams Road shortly before 8 p.m. Sunday. Roberts was traveling north on Webb Road in a 2006 Chevrolet pick-up truck when he ran off the right side of the roadway, came back onto the road and went into the oncoming lane. He then overcorrected, and went back off the right side of the road striking an embankment. The vehicle then struck a tree and uprooted it, causing the truck to roll over onto its top. The driver was partially ejected. Roberts was not wearing a seatbelt. He was taken by Rural/Metro Ambulance Service to Blount Memorial Hospital. The Townsend Police Department, Townsend Fire Department, and Blount County Fire Department also responded. The Sheriff’s Office Traffic Safety Unit is investigating the accident.
Georgia man dies on ‘Dragon’
The Blount County Sheriff’s Office says a 46-year-old Georgia man died as the result of a fatal motorcycle crash on the Dragon Saturday night (8/3). 46-year-old Patrick Brian Noll of Dallas, Georgia was traveling north on the section of U.S. Highway 129 known as the Dragon shortly after 7 p.m. Saturday on a 2005 Kawasaki Model ZX12 at mile marker 10. Noll passed a slower bike shortly after a right hand curve. As he began slowing for the next left-hand curve, the rear wheel locked, causing the vehicle to go into a straight line skid. The motorcycle continued to skid until the vehicle laid over on its left side. Noll separated from the vehicle, striking a large tree, and came to a rest after traveling down a large embankment. The motorcycle continued to travel down a steep embankment, and came to a rest after striking a tree. Noll was wearing a Department of Transportation compliant motorcycle helmet. Noll was taken by Rural/Metro Ambulance Service to Blount Memorial Hospital where he was pronounced dead. The Blount County Fire Department also responded to the accident. The Sheriff's Office Traffic Safety Unit is investigating the accident.
18 treated after chemical scare at Alcoa eatery
18 people were treated Friday night (8/2) at area hospitals after toxic fumes forced the evacuation of an Alcoa restaurant. Emergency crews responded to the Texas Roadhouse on Fountainview Circle at around 9:40 pm Friday and determined that the mixture of two cleaning products had produced toxic fumes that sickened some of the people in the restaurant. Those who were affected complained of eye irritations and respiratory problems but everyone was treated for their symptoms and released from hospitals Friday night. The restaurant was cleared of fumes by a hazmat team and reopened on Saturday.
Water tower at K-25 gone
(Oak Ridge Today) The checkerboard water tower at the former K-25 site was brought down this weekend as part of the ongoing cleanup effort at the site now known as the East Tennessee Technology Park. UCOR and its subcontracting partners brought down the 382-foot-tall tower on Saturday (8/3) through a controlled explosive demolition that sent the structure toppling into an empty field. Officially called the K-1206-F Fire Water Tower, the 400,000-gallon structure was built in 1958 to service the site’s fire protection system. It operated until June 3, when the valves were turned off. It was drained, disconnected, and permanently taken out of service on July 15. With the tower gone, the site will rely on pumping stations to provide the necessary pressure for its fire water system. The system will eventually be turned over to the city of Oak Ridge, another step in DOE’s overall strategy of converting ETTP into a private sector industrial park.
Effort to memorialize fallen soldier underway
An effort is well underway in Maryville to honor a fallen US Marine with a life-size bronze bust through the organization Operation Never Forget. Michael Ferschke died in combat in 2008, leaving behind a wife and an unborn son. Friday (8/2), the Blount County chapter of the Disabled American Veterans presented Ferschke’s mother Robin with a $1000 check to help pay for the sculpture, which organizers want to place in Maryville High School’s Memorial Garden.
ORAU wins contract from Pennsylvania Health Department
ORAU (Oak Ridge Associated Universities) has won a five-year, $6.5 million contract from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Department of Health to manage peer and performance reviews. As part of this contract, ORAU will assist the Department of Health in meeting its mission to fund Pennsylvania research organizations to conduct biomedical, clinical and health services research projects using peer review as part of the grant selection process and performance reviews to assess ongoing and completed grants.
One-car wreck injures 1
A Maryville man escaped serious injuries Thursday morning when his Jeep rolled over during an accident on East Broadway Avenue. 70-year-old Richard Farr was headed east on East Broadway shortly before 9:45 am when his Jeep left the roadway, struck a mailbox and a culvert, became airborne and flipped on to its side before rolling on to its roof. Farr had to be extricated from the vehicle and was taken to Blount Memorial Hospital, treated for minor injuries and released. Police say that in addition to wearing his seatbelt, Farr escaped serious injury because of the airbags deploying in the vehicle.
More information on Y-12 gun discharge incident
A Y-12 security officer was reportedly “repositioning” his weapon inside a vehicle when it accidentally went off over the weekend. The incident occurred early Sunday at Y-12 when the weapon went off inside a hardened patrol vehicle. The bullet struck an interior wall and fragmented, with pieces of the bullet striking the two officers inside. Both were given first aid at the scene and then taken to Methodist Medical Center, treated for minor injuries and released. The incident remains under investigation.
Suspected attacker swims away from officer
A Georgia man suspected of choking and hitting a woman Monday avoided capture by swimming away from an Anderson County Sheriff’s deputy. Deputies received information about an alleged assault at Bull Run Park and as Sgt. Mark Hobbs reported seeing the suspect’s vehicle driving away from the area. He turned around to give pursuit and 35-year-old David Pokrywa allegedly sped off, pulled into a turn-off area where his car struck a tree and he bailed out on foot. He jumped into the Bull Run Creek portion of Melton Hill Lake and swam to the other side to avoid capture by Hobbs, who gave chase. When located the man faces numerous charges including aggravated assault and resisting arrest. Deputies reported finding 12 empty beer cans and a puppy in the car he left behind.
2nd defendant files motion to dismiss due to Courthouse signage
A second man facing criminal charges in Anderson County has filed a motion to dismiss those charges, claiming that the “In God We Trust” signs installed over entrances to the Anderson County Courthouse violate his constitutional rights. The News-Sentinel reports that the motion was filed Tuesday (7/30) on behalf of 65-year-old Floyd Hammond Jr. of Knoxville, who is in jail awaiting a trial on drug and theft charges dating back some five years. A motion for dismissal was filed last week, one day after the first sign was dedicated, by a Clinton man facing charges of attempted first-degree murder on similar grounds, including assertions that the dedication ceremony for the first of the signs was dominated by fundamentalist Christian speakers, that the county government has officially endorsed a particular view of religion with its approval of the signs and that the ceremony and the signs have turned the Courthouse into a temple of fundamentalist Christianity. Last week’s motion was filed by Kenneth Darrin Fisher, who claims to be of Cherokee descent and a follower of a Red Road spiritual path. While this week’s motion does not indicate Hammond’s religious beliefs, it does claim he is offended by the “Constitutional affront” the signs present. The DA’s office is looking over both motions in order to craft a response and we will continue to follow this story for you as developments warrant.
AC property values down, OR hardest hit
Following up on a story we reported Wednesday (7/31), property values in Anderson County have decreased to less than about 85% of their appraised values. The Anderson County Board of Equalization sent a letter earlier this month to the County Mayor and County Commissioners indicating that the panel had completed its appraisal hearings for this year and submitted its report to the state Appraisal Office. Oak Ridge has two types of property described by the Board as selling for much less than their 2010 appraisal values, Manhattan Project-era, low-priced homes and newer, high-priced, high-quality homes, while all land parcels in the county are selling below their appraised prices. If that downward trend continues, Board members wrote, “We may see a general reduction in the total appraised value for all of Oak Ridge at our next general appraisal adjustment in 2015. This would be an unprecedented event that would create a certified tax rate which results in higher individual tax bills.” In the letter, Board members said that the “median reduction for all  cases we heard this year was -38%...the largest general reduction for this board ever.” Also concerning local officials is the low number of new residential building permits issued in the past year, with only 10 in Oak Ridge and 58 in the county, levels also described as “some of the fewest ever annually issued.” The county’s total appraisal base grew by less than one percent in the past year, according to the Board. While nationally, home prices are going back up following the economic downturn, local officials are waiting for that trend to make itself felt here in our own backyards.
Vacant Blount home destroyed by fire
A vacant mobile home in Blount County was destroyed by a fire Tuesday night (7/30). The Blount County Fire Department responded to the home on Hughes Loop Road shortly after 10:15 pm Tuesday and found the trailer fully engulfed by flames. Crews had the fire out within an hour but the mobile home was declared a total loss. The owner of the trailer is dead and it was vacant at the time of the blaze. The Blount County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the cause of the fire, which injured no one.
Report: Archer leads all AC candidates in 2014 fundraising
(Energy Media) According to local media firm Energy Media, Anderson County Trustee Rodney Archer has built an enormous lead in raising funds for his re-election in comparison to other officials and prospective candidates for the 2014 election cycle. Archer raised $20,730 between Jan 16 and June 30 of this year according to the records filed with the Anderson County Election Commission. The Trustee’s fundraising total is four times more than all of the other county office holders combined. Archer stated that he had more than 100 individuals donate to his campaign during the six month period in both itemized and non-itemized contributions. Archer was elected to County Commission in 2002, then Anderson County Trustee in 2006 and was re-elected Trustee in 2010. Tyler Mayes was second among county officials raising $2,833.33 during the six month period. Mayes is the Circuit Court Clerk. The most important number for any campaign is the ‘balance on hand’. This number represents the amount of funds that the candidate still has available to spend on next year’s campaign. Archer had $20,032.70 in funds on June 30, more than double Sheriff Paul White’s $7,595.99 that was second among county office holders. Tyler Mayes had $2,304.91 on hand, while Juvenile Judge Brandon Fisher had a balance of $1,232.18. Mayor Terry Frank had $638.94, while her Democrat opponent in 2012 Warren Gooch has a balance of $686.96. Register of Deeds Tim Shelton has a balance of $19.29. Several County officials have closed their accounts and have a zero balance. Judges are not allowed to participate in fundraising and cannot appoint a treasurer or form a committee to raise funds until 180 days before their scheduled election. The deadline for qualifying for the May 6, 2014 county primary is Feb 20, 2014. The county general elections are scheduled for August 7, 2014.
Governor recommends ARC grants
(Economic and Community Development) Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam announced today the recommendation of 19 Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) grants to assist state and local agencies, governmental entities, local governing boards or nonprofit organizations with infrastructure improvements. The ARC is a regional economic development agency representing a partnership of federal, state and local governments that provides resources to help leverage community development and economic growth opportunities in Tennessee’s Appalachian communities. Each year, the ARC provides funding for several hundred projects in areas such as business development, education and job training, telecommunications, infrastructure, community development, housing and transportation. Serving 52 counties in east and middle Tennessee, the ARC has offered assistance to the region for almost 50 years.
The following lists each recommendation and the project it will finance:
Anderson County Sewer Improvements: $200,000
Sewer line extension to replace septic tanks serving the 14 businesses and four residences in the Eliza Drive business district. Total project cost is $422,000.
Jacksboro Utilities Wastewater Treatment System Improvements: $421,279
Expand capacity for the Caryville-Jacksboro Utilities Wastewater Treatment System in order to accommodate recent and future industry expansions. Total project cost is $526,599.
Jellico Water System Upgrades: $500,000
Upgrade water lines to decrease water loss, increase pressure and allow for system expansion. Total project cost is $850,000.
Tech 20/20 AMP Rapid Prototyping Project: $200,000
Funding for Oak Ridge National Laboratory to work with small manufacturers to produce prototypes and evaluate new technology for introduction into new commercial markets. Total project cost is $700,000.
Allocation of ARC funds is based on priorities set at local levels where community needs are best known. The recommended projects will now be forwarded to Washington for review and approval.
Meth suspects keep Blount authorities busy
Five people have been arrested this week in two separate incidents involving meth. Monday evening (7/29), Blount County officers arrested two people in the parking lot of a local business after receiving information about suspicious individuals trying to purchase pseudoephedrine, a key ingredient in meth-manufacturing. The two suspects, identified as 22-year-old Brittany Christina Brock and 24-year-old Larry Gene Sellers Jr. of Louisville, reportedly told officers they were buying the cold medicine to sell it for meth. Both were charged with promoting the manufacture of meth and are due in court next week. A third person detained at the scene, 26-year-old Brian Nutter of Seymour, was arrested on eight outstanding warrants. Tuesday afternoon (7/30), deputies located six one-pot meth labs at a home on Gregory Road in Greenback. Three adults—32-year-old Deanna Evans, 28-year-old Christine Whitehead and 36-year-old Joseph Kemp—were arrested on several charges and a four-month-old baby found inside the home was placed in DCS custody. The house has been placed under quarantine.
New Recovery Court to open in Wartburg
The Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services and the state Department of Correction held a ribbon-cutting Tuesday morning (7/30) at the Morgan County Correctional Complex in Wartburg for the nation’s first statewide Recovery Court. The Recovery Court will open on Thursday. The 100-bed program has been set up to allow the state to divert people in need of substance abuse treatment or mental health services from prison beds to effective treatment programs that are evidence-based and, according to a state press release, proven to have a larger impact on reducing recidivism. Officials also say that the new program will allow them to free up regular prison beds for violent offenders who are most in need of them. This Recovery Court is different than other, similar programs in that it is more intensive than its counterparts and offers its services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It will be operated by the Davidson County Drug Court Support Foundation, a private entity. Officials also say that Recovery Court participants cost far less to care for each day than the average state prisoner. While regular inmates cost the state $65 each per day, Recovery Court participants will cost the state approximately $35 a day each. Studies have shown that nationally, those who take part in evidence-based community programs that meet their needs recidivate at about one-third the rate of those who do not. TDOC Commissioner Derrick Schofield says that this program should not be considered “going soft on crime,” adding, “What it says is that we’re going to place people in the best option to ensure they don’t re-offend. But also, we’re going to make sure we have a prison bed available for people who commit violent offenses that harm our communities.”
TCAP results released by state
(Tennessee Department of Education/staff reports) The Tennessee Department of Education announced Monday that student performance on the 2013 Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program showed sustained growth in school districts across the state. Scores increased for the majority of districts in nearly every subject. The district-by-district results follow continued improvement at the state level, where students made gains, particularly in STEM subjects. “Sustained improvements across the state show that our efforts to raise student outcomes are working,” said Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman. “Our students, teachers, and administrators worked incredibly hard. These results prove that if we continue to maintain high expectations and quality support for our teachers, our students will continue to grow.” District proficiency levels revealed major improvements in math skills. Nearly 30 districts across the state saw double-digit gains in Algebra I, some gaining more than 25 percentage points. More than 50 districts saw double-digit gains in Algebra II, some reporting growth over 40 percentage points. More than 115 districts showed improvement on math scores in grades 3-8. The majority of districts across the state narrowed the achievement gap between black, Hispanic, and Native American students and their counterparts in the majority of subjects. As seen in state-level data released last month, a majority of districts had growing gaps in achievement between students with disabilities and students without disabilities, as well as between English language learners and their peers. This is an area for improvement at the state level as well as in districts for the 2013-14 school year. Locally, here is a look at the school systems in Anderson and Blount counties, our two primary service areas, and how they fared on the TCAP scoreboard. The city of Clinton saw growth in all areas in grades e through 6, including an 11.5% increase in the number of students either proficient or advanced in math and a 7.3% increase in the number of students proficient or advanced in reading and language arts. Anderson County made significant progress in Algebra I and Biology I in high school, with the percentage of students proficient or advanced in those subjects increasing by 11.1% and 13.2%, respectively. The number of elementary school science students in Anderson County considered proficient or advanced also increased by 6.7%. County students declined overall in proficiency at all grade levels in subjects like English, reading and language arts and US history. Oak Ridge high school students considered proficient or advanced in English I skyrocketed by 10.3% but that number fell significantly in English II, with a 13.1% loss in that category. Students in all levels of Blount County’s schools improved in 9 of the 11 listed TCAP subjects with high schoolers showing the most improvement in Algebras I & II, with 8.6% and 9.5% increases in students considered proficient or advanced. Blount County elementary students improved their performance by 3.5% in science and by 3.4% in math. Maryville high school students improved by 8.7% and 17.9% respectively in their performances in Algebras I &II, increased performance in Biology I by 8.3%. In Alcoa, high school students improved their Algebra I proficiency by 2% but the improvement in Algebra II among Alcoa high school students exploded by 21.6%. The only subject in Alcoa where improvement was not seen was in English I among high school students, where proficiency fell by 5.3%. District-by-district TCAP results can be accessed on the education department website at (http://tn.gov/education/tcap/index.shtml#district) where they are posted in sortable spreadsheets. Statewide TCAP results, released last month, are also on the site.
Overall District Growth
(Dept. of Education) Scores increased for the majority of districts in almost every subject, showing major gains, particularly in STEM subjects.
Overall State Growth
(Dept. of Education) Following the implementation of Race to the Top, Tennessee has seen three consecutive years of overall growth on the TCAP.
Bartley case to be heard by out-of-town jury
When accused Campbell County High School shooter Kenneth Bartley faces a new trial in the November 2005 incident that left one school administrator dead and two others injured, his case will be heard by a jury from outside Campbell County. Bartley, who was 14 years old at the time of the incident, accepted a plea deal in the shooting in April of 2007, shortly before his trial as an adult was scheduled to begin and was sentenced to 45 years in prison. After several years of court proceedings, his guilty plea was tossed out after testimony revealed that his former attorney had pressured him into making the deal without consulting the boy’s parents. His new attorney, Greg Isaacs of Knoxville, had requested a change of venue for the trial because of the ongoing public interest and media coverage of the case, which he said would make it almost impossible to find an unbiased jury in Campbell County. Judge Jon Kerry Blackwood partially agreed, ruling that the trial will go on as planned in Campbell County but that it will be heard by a jury from another part of the state. The trial is set to begin on February 24th, 2014.
Report: Woman files lawsuit against driver of car that hit son
An Oak Ridge woman has filed a lawsuit against the driver of a car that hit and injured her son in an Oak Ridge apartment complex parking lot earlier this year. The News-Sentinel reports that Kimberly Roark, the resident manager of the British Woods Apartments on Briarcliff Avenue, filed a lawsuit in Circuit Court earlier this month seeking $750,000 in damages from Zhenfeng Han, the driver of the car that hit Roark’s 8-year-old son on June 5th. The boy was hurt when he was struck by Han’s car in the parking lot, thrown on to the hood of the car and then fell off the hood with his foot trapped under a tire. The lawsuit states that the child suffered a fractured skull and other injuries as well as symptoms associated with traumatic brain injuries. The lawsuit claims that the boy now suffers from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and that Roark, who witnessed the accident, suffered “extreme mental distress and anguish.” The lawsuit alleges that Han was negligent because she was speeding, did not pay proper attention or control her car.
TDOT goes west with Parkway extension route
(TDOT) Monday, TDOT announced that the west alignment shift at the southern end of the Preferred Alternative has been selected for the Pellissippi Parkway Extension (State Route 162) project in Blount County. Technical studies conducted in support of the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) revealed a sensitive archaeological site, one that does not involve human remains. As required by Federal law, TDOT investigated ways to avoid or minimize adverse effects to the site, and developed two minor alignment shifts in the southern section of the Preferred Alternative. After careful consideration, the west alignment was selected for a variety of reasons. The overall length of the west shift is shorter than the east shift, with less right-of-way acquisition required and also minimizes impacts on the operations of two active farms and a church, thus minimizing potential access and noise impacts. Displaced residents in the Kensington Place mobile home community will be offered relocation assistance by TDOT. Any displaced residents who want to stay within their community would likely be able to relocate to one of the available site pads. The mobile home community also would be potentially eligible for a noise barrier that would minimize both noise and visual impacts. The project will extend Pellissippi Parkway (State Route 162) from State Route 33 (Old Knoxville Highway) to US 321/State Route 73 (Lamar Alexander Highway). The proposed extension will be approximately 4.4 miles in length. The Preferred Alternative will include this shift when presented in the FEIS that will be submitted to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) later this summer. A record of decision from the FHWA is expected by the end of 2013. For more information on this project, please visit http://www.tdot.state.tn.us/pellissippi/.
ORT: Bear sighted in OR
(Oak Ridge Today/Staff) A black bear was sighted at about 10:30 a.m. Monday at Northwestern and Rutgers avenues in Oak Ridge. The bear was sighted at The Manhattan Apartments on Rutgers Avenue and also in a tree. There were several reports of bears in Oak Ridge in May and June last year but this is the first report of a bear in Oak Ridge this year, although there have been sightings in the Claxton and Andersonville areas of Anderson County as well as in Knoxville. Bear sightings are common at this time of the year as young male bears try to establish new territory after older bears push them out of preserves like Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area and Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Sometimes the young bears get trapped in cities.
State announces historic preservation grants
(TDEC) Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and Department of Environment and Conservation Commissioner Bob Martineau today announced 25 Historic Preservation Fund grants were awarded to community organizations for programs and activities that support the preservation of historic and archaeological sites, districts and structures. “Maintaining Tennessee’s historic places is critical to preserving our state’s heritage,” Haslam said. “Today’s announcement represents more than $600,000 in assistance to communities across the state, ensuring that Tennessee’s rich history will continue to be shared with future generations.” The grants awarded come from federal funds allocated by the Department of Interior under the provisions of the Natural Historic Preservation Act. The programs authorized by this act are administered by the Tennessee Historical Commission. The grants pay for up to 60% of the costs of approved project work and the grant recipient must provide the remaining 40% of the costs as matching funds. “These grants help facilitate the protection and revitalization of Tennessee’s treasured historic buildings, sites and neighborhoods – places that make our state unique,” Patrick McIntyre, Executive Director of the Tennessee Historical Commission said. “Heritage tourism is one of our state’s biggest industries and restoring historic buildings creates construction jobs and is key to helping create a sustainable environment.” This year’s selection included architectural and archaeological surveys, design guidelines for historic districts, rehabilitation of several historic buildings and a poster highlighting the state’s history. Priorities for grants include areas experiencing rapid growth and development, other threats to cultural resources, areas where there are gaps in knowledge regarding cultural resources and communities that participate in the Certified Local Government program. Another important category of awarded grants are those for the repair and restoration of some of the state’s historic buildings. Properties that use these grants must be listed in the National Register.
The grant recipients and/or sites of the projects include:
In Knox County:
· Knoxville-Knox County Metropolitan Planning Commission - $7,500 for design guidelines for some of the city’s historic districts.
· Knoxville-Knox County Metropolitan Planning Commission - $3,500 for a one-day window workshop with Bob Yapp.
· Blount Mansion Association - $22,000 for rehabilitation of windows of the National Historic Landmark Blount Mansion.
In Roane County:
· City of Harriman - $40,355 for the structural repair and stabilization of the Temperance Building.
Grants were also provided to each of the Development Districts across the state to fund preservation specialist staff positions.
Bryant to lead ORHS in 2013-14
Oak Ridge school leaders say that interim Oak Ridge High School Principal David Bryant will remain in that post through the upcoming academic year. Jody Goins stepped down from that post earlier this year to become the new principal at Knox County’s Central High School. Bryant had been an assistant principal at the school until his appointment to the interim position upon Goins’ departure.
Kingston unveils new city hall
Officials in Kingston celebrated the opening of their new City Hall on Friday. City Hall is now located in the former home of a medical office building that became vacant when Covenant Health moved its operations to the new Roane Medical Center facility in Midtown. The city purchased the property for $1.43 million and say that to build a new city hall, it would have cost up to $8 million. The city did borrow $2 million to cover the purchase price and needed renovations to the second floor of the building. Much of the work was done in-house by city workers. The new Kingston city hall offers almost 19,000 square feet compared to the old city hall, which was crowded into just 7000 square feet.
Mayor: Prescription discount cards available to AC residents
(AC Mayor’s office) In partnership with the National Association of Counties (NACo), Anderson County Government is offering prescription discount cards free-of-cost to any Anderson County resident. The program is open to anyone who wants to use it. The free prescription discount card program is funded, in part, by Anderson County’s annual NACo membership dues. Obtaining a free prescription discount card is easy: No personal information is required to get one, and the card can be presented at local pharmacies where it could save you an average of 24 percent off the cost of a prescription. Any Anderson County resident without prescription coverage can use this program. And, even if you have prescription insurance coverage, you may still benefit from the discount card since it may save you money on prescriptions your existing plan does not cover. The card is not insurance, but could be used any time your prescription is not covered by your current insurance provider. And, there is no limit on how many times the card can be used. Residents can obtain a free prescription discount card by visiting the Anderson County Health Department, located at 710 North Main Street in Clinton, or the Anderson County Mayor’s Office, located in Suite 208 at the Anderson County Courthouse, 100 North Main Street in Clinton. The Health Department is open from 8 am. to 4:30 pm Monday through Friday and the Anderson County Mayor’s Office is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. To learn more about the NACo free prescription drug card, visit www.nacorx.org to find a participating pharmacy, find a price estimate for your prescription, or check drug interactions, or call 1-877-321-2652.
ORT: CUB receives state grant
(Oak Ridge Today) Clinton Utilities Board has received a $200,000 Clean Tennessee Energy Grant to renovate its wastewater treatment plant. CUB was one of 19 recipients receiving funding for projects promoting energy efficiency, benefiting the environment, and helping save money. The CUB grant will be used to renovate the wastewater treatment plant with new diffusers, blowers, and electrical and piping systems. Replacing the plant’s aeration system could save the equivalent of $60 per day in electrical costs, for a total of $21,900 annually. It will also reduce the plant’s “carbon intensity” and provide air emission reductions of about 1,613 metric tons of carbon dioxide. In June, Gov. Bill Haslam was in Oak Ridge to announce that the city had received the first of the 19 awards. Oak Ridge will use its grant to replace and retrofit existing fluorescent lighting fixtures to LED lighting in the Oak Ridge Municipal Building and Civic Center Complex. Funding for the projects comes from an April 2011 Clean Air Act settlement with the Tennessee Valley Authority. Under the TVA settlement, Tennessee will receive $26.4 million during a five-year period to fund clean air programs in the state at a cost of about $5.25 million per year. The money funds energy efficiency projects for local governments and municipalities, utilities, and other private and public organizations across Tennessee.
Blount now has lowest unemployment in ET
Knox County no longer has the lowest unemployment rate in East Tennessee. Tennessee's Department of Labor and Workforce Development released county by county unemployment numbers for June on Thursday. Unemployment in Knox County rose to 7.3 percent. Blount County's unemployment rate came in at 7.1. Scott County's unemployment remains the highest in the state at 18.1 percent. Tennessee's unemployment rate was 8.5 percent overall, higher than the national average of 7.6 percent. Anderson County’s unemployment rate fell by three-tenths of a percent but was above the state average at 8.9%.
State again #1 in automotive manufacturing strength
Tennessee leads the country in automotive manufacturing strength, according to Business Facilities magazine, a national economic development publication. This is the fourth consecutive year that Tennessee has held the top spot, thanks in large part to the long-term commitments of Nissan and General Motors manufacturing and assembly plants, as well as the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga. There are more than 1,000 automotive supply companies across the state. The automotive industry employs more than 116,000 Tennesseeans directly, makes up a quarter of the state's economy and is the largest manufacturing sector. In fiscal year 2012-2013, 44 automotive projects created 6,662 new jobs in Tennessee and investments totaled close to $1.1 billion.Alabama, Kentucky, Indiana and Ohio ranked second through fifth.
KNS: Ex-Jailer fired over alleged flash-for-cigarette bribe
According to a News-Sentinel report, an Anderson County jailer was fired in June after allegedly bribing a female inmate to expose herself in exchange for a cigarette. The paper reports that 30-year-old Durelle Foster has requested a hearing before the county Civil Service Board to appeal his termination and that his hearing will likely be held sometime next month. A female inmate who was in a special holding cell at the Anderson County Jail in late May reported that while she was under suicide watch and wearing only a paper gown, a man’s voice came over a loudspeaker and asked to “show [him] something.” She reportedly agreed to briefly expose herself in exchange for a cigarette and after she did, says the voice did not return. Foster has maintained he is innocent of the accusation and claims that she must have misunderstood him because of the poor quality of the loudspeaker. He was suspended without pay in June and fired on June 28th.
OR assisted living facility to open soon
A new assisted living facility will soon open in Oak Ridge. The three-story Canterfield of Oak Ridge will open on Bus Terminal Road as soon as the state approves its license application. The new facility will include a 20-room wing for Alzheimer’s and dementia patients as well as apartment options, a 35-seat movie theater and several other amenities. The facility is accepting reservations for apartments and is expected to employ about 35 people.
Lake City woman killed in late-night wreck
A 23-year-old Lake City woman was killed in a single-vehicle accident late Wednesday night (7/24). Tennessee Highway Patrol Trooper Anthony Lay reported that the wreck occurred shortly before midnight as Christina D. Nelson of Lake City traveled south on I-75 near mile marker 121 in a 2000 Nissan Altima. Nelson was traveling in the left lane when her car left the road, crossed through the median and flipped approximately three times. Nelson, who was not wearing a seatbelt, was ejected from the car. Trooper Lay indicated in his report that a seatbelt may have saved her life. There were no signs that drugs or alcohol played any role in last night’s accident but blood tests have been ordered as is standard procedure in any fatal accident. No other vehicles were involved and Nelson was alone in the car.
First legal challenge filed over Courthouse signage
The first legal challenge to the signs bearing the inscription “In God We Trust” over the entrances to the Anderson County Courthouse came on Wednesday but not from any organization, rather from a man charged with attempted first degree murder. 22-year-old Kenneth Darrin Fisher of Clinton is accused of the attempted first-degree murder of his wife and illegal possession of an assault rifle and his case is due to go trial next spring. Fisher, through attorney David Stuart, filed a motion in Criminal Court Wednesday seeking to dismiss all charges against him because, asserting that the signs violate his freedom of worship rights under the US and Tennessee Constitutions. The motion states that Fisher is a blood member of the Cherokee Nation and a follower of “a Red Road” faith. Calling the signs, one of which was installed Monday night and unveiled Tuesday morning a “religious display” prohibited by both Constitutions, Fisher asserts that they “reflect an endorsement by the government of a particularized and fundamentalist view of Christianity.” The motion also states that during Tuesday’s dedication and unveiling ceremony, the speakers, all of whom were of the Baptist faith, conveyed a fundamentalist Christian message that Fisher claims “[effectively] converted the [Courthouse] into a place of worship and recruitment and rendered it a temple of fundamentalist Christianity,” including comments from at least one speaker indicating that the “inscriptions were being installed in part as a message to accused persons required to appear in court. The motion also states that the message that was conveyed was that anyone who does not agree with the speakers on “matters of religion is going to hell.” Fisher, a military veteran who served in Afghanistan says that he is offended by the “Constitutional affront” presented by the signs and objects to “being reminded that they have judged him as being destined to go to hell every time he passes through one of the entryways to the courthouse.” The lawsuit seeks dismissal of the charges as Stuart writes “there is no other effective remedy for the violation of constitutional rights…For example if [the court were to order] the permanent removal of the signs, it will become more difficult or impossible to impanel a fair and impartial jury for his trial.” Stuart writes that temporarily removing the signs or covering them would have a similar detrimental impact and the Fisher is “entitled to have his trial in the Courthouse, untainted by unconstitutional religious displays.” District Attorney General Dave Clark is reviewing the motion and preparing a response. The other three signs are expected to be installed sometime today. The project was paid for using over $4800 in donations from private citizens and approved by the County Commission earlier this year after lengthy and sometimes contentious debate. We will continue to foll