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UPDATED May 22, 2015

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AC Preschool information

 

The Anderson County Preschool is made up of Early Head Start, Head Start, PreK and the Afterschool Program. 
Head Start and Early Head Start are comprehensive federally funded programs designed to serve low-income families. EHS serves children ages
6 weeks-3yrs. and pregnant moms. HS serves 3 and 4 yr. old children. Income eligibility is based on the Federal Poverty Guidelines.
The PreK program is state funded and serves primarily 4 yr. old children meeting the free and reduced lunch guidelines, have a disability or considered to be at risk.
Afterschool is a fee based program which provides extended hours to working parents.  
For more information and links to find out more or register your child, visit http://www.preschool.acs.ac/.

 

Reminder:  AC Memorial Day ceremony 10 am Monday

 

On Monday, May 25, Anderson County will honor the men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice to defend our freedom.  Anderson County will conduct its 7th annual Memorial Day Ceremony, beginning at 10 a.m. Monday, at the Veterans Memorial next to the Courthouse in Clinton, 100 North Main Street.  Guest speakers will include American Legion Post #172 1st Vice Commander Zach Farrar and District 33 State Representative John Ragan. There will be a wreath-laying ceremony at the Veterans Memorial by official guests and Anderson County officials.  Thanks to donations from Hardees and Bojangles restaurants in Clinton, veterans and citizens who attend the ceremony will receive free sausage biscuits beginning at 9:15 a.m. at the Courthouse. Anderson County Mayor Terry Frank will also provide free coffee and bottled water.

 

ORT:  OR Council OKs expanded contract with MTAS

 

(Oak Ridge Today) The Oak Ridge City Council on Thursday approved a review of turnover and morale in the Oak Ridge Police Department that could cost close to $23,000 and not be complete until October.

The review by the Municipal Technical Advisory Service at the University of Tennessee could include interviews with about 125 people, including roughly 76 current ORPD employees as well as several dozen former workers who have left in the roughly four years since Oak Ridge Police Chief Jim Akagi started.

The review, which will also study administrative policies, was initially expected to be free, last 30 days, and use interviews with a random pool of workers. But the City Council expanded the scope of the inquiry during a special meeting in April, and MTAS said it would now have to charge $50 per hour for the work.

Council members approved the proposed new agreement with MTAS in a 4-3 vote. Voting for it were Oak Ridge Mayor Warren Gooch, Mayor Pro Tem Ellen Smith, and Council members Kelly Callison and Charlie Hensley. Voting against it were Council members Trina Baughn, Rick Chinn, and Chuck Hope.

MTAS will still have to agree to the new proposal approved by City Council on Thursday.

Oak Ridge City Manager Mark Watson said the money for the review will have to come from the mayor and City Council’s budget in the current fiscal year, although there’s currently no money available. But he said city officials will accommodate the unanticipated expense.  For much more on this story visit our partners at Oak Ridge Today online at www.oakridgetoday.com

 

TVA seeking public comments on ash storage at Bull Run

 

(TVA) The Tennessee Valley Authority is asking for public input on its plans to expand the dry onsite storage of ash and other coal combustion products generated at Bull Run Fossil Plant in Claxton.  TVA is proposing to build a new dry storage area on TVA property next to the plant to provide greater capacity for managing coal combustion products at Bull Run. TVA is seeking public comments on an environmental review of the project.  Bull Run Fossil Plant, which has state-of-the-art air pollution controls, is expected to play a continuing role in TVA’s coal-fired generating fleet, a press release said.  “The Bull Run storage project is consistent with TVA’s commitment to convert all wet coal combustion product storage systems to dry systems,” the release said.  To ensure that the full range of issues and resources are addressed, TVA invites comment on the scope of the environmental impact statement.  TVA will accept written comments electronically and by conventional mail from May 21 to July 6.  Written comments should be sent to Anita E. Masters, Project Environmental Planning, NEPA Project Manager, Tennessee Valley Authority, 1101 Market St., Mail Stop BR 4A, Chattanooga, TN, 37402. Comments also may be submitted on the project website at http://www.tva.com/environment/reports/index.htm or by email at aemasters@tva.gov.

 

AC woman arrested in Knoxville assault

 

An Andersonville woman has been arrested and charged in an attack that critically injured another woman at a North Knoxville motel this week, according to the Knoxville Police Department.  38-year-old Denise Henry was arrested Wednesday night at a home on Strawberry Plains Pike and is being held on a $30,000 bond on a charge of aggravated assault for allegedly beating a woman outside America's Best Value Inn and Suites on Merchant Drive.  KPD officers found 36-year-old Diana Trent unresponsive with severe head trauma about 4:30 a.m. Tuesday. Trent was rushed to UT Medical Center where she underwent emergency surgery. 

 

BBB:  OS water, sewer rate hike likely

 

The Oliver Springs Town Council met Thursday night in regular session and then held a budget workshop.  Our partners at BBB-TV report that the main topic at the workshop was how much of an increase in water and sewer rates will be necessary to offset a projected shortfall of almost $248,000 in the city’s Water and Sewer Department.  The city has already borrowed some $2.5 million to pay for repairs to the city’s aging sewer plant as mandated by the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation and repaying that loan led to much of the projected shortfall.  During the workshop, officials seemed to indicate that a 15% hike will be needed this year, but that going forward, that will not be enough to meet future needs.  Keeping the city’s water and sewer department going could necessitate 2 to 3% rate hikes each year for the next several years.  No votes were taken during Thursday’s work session.  The Oliver Springs Water Board will meet again on June 4th and could take some action at that time.

 

ACSD wants you to be safe this holiday weekend

 

The Anderson County Sheriff’s Department is taking part in the “Click It or Ticket” national seatbelt enforcement effort by conducting saturation patrols throughout the Memorial Day holiday weekend.  The ACSD will also participate in a sobriety checkpoint on Friday evening on Tri-County Boulevard in Oliver Springs.  This checkpoint will be a multi-agency operation sponsored by the Oliver Springs Police Department and the Governor’s Highway Safety Office.  The “Click It or Ticket” seatbelt initiative continues through May 31st.  This weekend, the ACSD will join with the Tennessee Highway Patrol to increase patrols and utilize the “No Refusal” law, which allows law enforcement officials to seek search warrants for blood samples in cases involving suspected impaired drivers, even if someone initially refuses a blood test.  This weekend, Anderson County is a No Refusal county.  In addition to that, several other traffic safety enforcement tools will be utilized to try and reduce the number of serious injury or fatal accidents over the holiday.  Seatbelts are the most effective safety feature ever invented and have helped save thousands of lives.  Unfortunately, though, one in five Americans fail to regularly wear seatbelts when they are driving or riding in a motor vehicle.  Sheriff Paul White reminds you to “buckle up…each time…every time.” 

 

Rocky Top Council to hold special called meeting June 2

 

The City of Rocky Top will be having a special called meeting on Tuesday June 2nd at 6:30 p.m. to present the 2015/2016 Budget.  A budget workshop is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. the same day. 

 

GSMNP reopens popular spots after bear scare

 

(Great Smoky Mountains National Park) The Mt. Le Conte Backcountry Shelter and trails to the popular Cliff Tops area are now open. Bear warnings remain in place for area including the Mt. Le Conte Backcountry Shelter and lodge, and then Boulevard, Alum Cave, Bull Head, Rainbow Falls, Trillium Gap, and Brushy Mountain trails.

 

Robbery suspect nabbed in Rocky Top

 

Wednesday morning, authorities arrested a man suspected of being involved in at least two armed robberies at a motel in Rocky Top.  21-year-old Walter John Meachum III of Caryville was taken into custody without incident and is being held on an aggravated robbery charge out of Knox County but other charges are likely pending.  Campbell County authorities believe that Meachum is the man who robbed a gas station outside Lafollette last week and shot a 12-year-old girl in the leg.  Knox County authorities suspect Meachum of robbing a Pilot Gas Station on Raccoon Valley Road in Heiskell early Tuesday morning.  In the Pilot robbery, a man wearing a skull mask and armed with a pistol robbed the store and fled in a silver convertible with a black top that was recovered later in the day.  Late Tuesday night, another vehicle connected to the crime was spotted parked at the Scottish Inn in Rocky Top by Anderson County Sheriff’s deputies, who alerted neighboring agencies and established a perimeter in case Meachum tried to leave the scene.  Anderson County and Rocky Top law enforcement officials were joined by officers from the Knox and Campbell County Sheriff’s Offices Wednesday morning as they took Meachum into custody.  The robbery last week at Lee’s Food Market resulted in a 12-year-old girl being shot in the leg when the suspect—believed to be Meachum—started randomly shooting inside the store.  She is expected to make a full recovery.  Meachum is being held in Knox County on charges there and could be charged in connection to last week’s incident as soon as today.

 

AC GOP hosting Reagan Day breakfast, Blackburn

 

This year’s Reagan Day breakfast sponsored by the Anderson County Republican Party will be held at the Riverside Grille in Oak Ridge, starting at 8:00 am on Wednesday, May 27th.  The featured speaker will be Congressman Marsha Blackburn.  Tickets are available from Rick Chinn at 865-388-8897.

 

Report:  ACHS student graduates after judge steps in

 

According to the News-Sentinel, an Anderson County judge signed an emergency restraining order last week to prevent school officials from keeping a senior from taking part in graduation ceremonies.  The paper reports that the complaint was filed last week by the Anderson County High School student’s parents in Circuit Court and seeks $175,000 in damages from the School Board for causing the girl “emotional distress” and the possible loss of scholarship assistance.  Judge Don Elledge signed the order Friday and the girl was able to take part in graduation ceremonies held Sunday in Knoxville.  The lawsuit states that the girl was captain of the Lady Mav soccer team this past season and graduated 19th in her class.  The suit alleges that two vice principals at the school told the girl that she would not be allowed to participate in graduation activities due to her involvement in what the suit calls a “harmless school prank.”  The suit says that the girl and some of her senior classmates were going to sleep in hammocks in the school parking lot.  The girl admitted to drinking a beer before going to the campus and to throwing the can out on campus.  The lawsuit claims that she was interviewed twice the following day by two vice principals, once with a police officers present but neither of her parents.  The officer reportedly left the room where the interview was being conducted when her mother arrived.  The lawsuit accuses Vice Principals Travis Freeman and Travis Hutchinson of lying to her by telling her they had video of her with a can of beer.  The suit seeks a jury trial. 

 

OR accident injures one

 

The driver of a car involved in a single-vehicle accident in Oak Ridge Wednesday afternoon was flown to UT Medical Center for treatment of their injuries.  The Wednesday afternoon accident happened on what our partners at Oak Ridge Today described as a curvy stretch of Highway 95 near the western entrance to Y-12 on Bear Creek Road.  The car, a Chevy Cavalier, left the roadway, crashed through a guardrail and came to rest after striking a rock embankment below a DOE haul road that crosses over 95.  The driver, whose name and condition were not immediately available, was taken to the nearby Horizon Center and flown to UTMC by Lifestar. 

 

State:  Economy rebounding

 

(Secretary of State Hargett) The number of new entity fillings and annual reports in Tennessee grew during the first quarter of 2015. The state recorded 8,685 new entity filings between January and March 2015, representing a 9.3% increase compared to the same time last year, according to a new economic report. On a year-over-year basis, new entity filings have increased 14 consecutive quarters.  The Tennessee Quarterly Business and Economic Indicators report is created to provide a periodical snapshot of the state’s economy based on a variety of information, including new business data from the Division of Business Services. It’s published through a partnership with Secretary of State Tre Hargett and the University of Tennessee Knoxville’s Center for Business and Economic Research.  “Every quarter we see the state’s economy continue to grow,” said Secretary Hargett. "Tennesseans should remain positive about our state's economy, and the encouraging data shows why businesses continue to choose Tennessee.”  Davidson County led the way with 1,509 new filings. Shelby County was a close second with 1,195 filings.  The report shows Tennessee’s economy had slow, but steady growth during the first quarter of 2015, while the U.S. economy experienced sluggish growth.  Tennessee’s unemployment rate fell to 6.3% in March, compared to 6.6% in February. That is still well above the national unemployment rate of 5.5%, yet below the state’s rate of 6.4% a year ago.

 

TDOT:  No lane closures this weekend

 

Road construction won’t slow motorists down as they travel Tennessee’s highways this Memorial Day weekend.  The Tennessee Department of Transportation will suspend all construction-related lane closures on interstates and state routes beginning at 12:00 noon on Friday, May 22 through 6:00 a.m. on Tuesday, May 26.  This will provide maximum roadway capacity for motorists expected to travel in the state this Memorial Day weekend.

“Over 600-thousand drivers are predicted to travel on Tennessee’s roadways this Memorial Day weekend,” TDOT Commissioner John Schroer said. “Suspending construction-related lane closures during this busy time will reduce congestion and delays on our major highways and help travelers reach their destinations safely.”

Motorists may still encounter some lane closures or restrictions while traveling through long term construction projects.  Drivers should be aware that reduced speed limits will be in effect in work zones. Drivers convicted of speeding through work zones where workers are present face a fine of up to $500, plus court fees and possible increased insurance premiums. 

“Memorial Day marks the unofficial kick-off to the summer driving season, and this year there will be an increased number of drivers on Tennessee’s roadways,” added Governor’s Highway Safety Office Director Kendell Poole. “To help make our roadways safer, law enforcement agencies throughout the state will join together during the Click It or Ticket campaign to crack down on those individuals not wearing their seat belt.”

AAA estimates 37.2 million people will travel more than 50 miles this Memorial Day holiday, a 4.7% increase over last year’s numbers.  This marks the highest travel volume for the holiday in 10 years and includes a 5.3% increase in car travel over last Memorial Day.  In Tennessee, AAA predicts that 668,866 will travel by automobile and 55,177 by air.

From your desktop or mobile device, get the latest traffic information and live streaming SmartWay traffic cameras atwww.TNSmartWay.com/Traffic. Travelers can also dial 511 from any land-line or cellular phone for travel information, or follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/TN511 for statewide travel. 

As always, drivers are reminded to use all motorist information tools wisely and Know Before You Go! by checking travel conditions before leaving for your destination.  Drivers should never tweet, text or talk on a cell phone while behind the wheel. 

 

Clinton Council OKs budget, 15.5-cent tax increase

 

Monday night, the Clinton City Council voted to approve its budget for the fiscal year that begins on July 1st on first reading.  The budget does include a 15.5 cent property tax increase.  Last week, we told you that a 3 or 4 cent tax increase would be necessary to pay for an increase in insurance costs and to pay for the salaries and benefits of four full-time firefighters.  The costs associated with those firefighters were paid for by a FEMA grant for the past two years but this year, become the city’s responsibility.  Following a late-week budget workshop, another seven cents was added to the proposed tax increase to pay for the city taking over all of the costs associated with School Resource Officers at the city’s three schools ($62,000), hiring a codes enforcement/police officer ($50,000) and to set aside $100,000 to start a street-paving fund aimed at preventing the city from having to borrow money for street improvement projects in the future.  The 10-cent tax increase passed 5-1 with Mayor Scott Burton casting the dissenting vote. (Editor’s Note:  Originally we indicated Mayor Burton had voted for the 10-cent increase, but that was not the case.  WYSH regrets the error.)  A motion was made to hire three new firefighters and four new police officers but was later amended to reflect hiring two people in each department.  Those four new hires added another five and a half cents on to the tax rate, and that proposal was passed 5 to 1 with Mayor Burton casting the only dissenting vote.  Tuesday morning, Houck said “You never want a tax increase [but] I hope that people understand I think we’ve done it for the right reasons…we’ve done them for public safety [and] infrastructure improvements, so I think we have done it for the right reasons.”  Houck also said that while not every homeowner in the city will reap this benefit, the opening of the new downtown fire station made possible by the hiring of those 4 FEMA-funded firefighters, helped knock the city’s fire protection rating or ISO, down from a “4” to a “2.”  Many homeowners, depending on their insurance carriers, will see a decrease in their rates because of that improvement, which could help offset the increase in city taxes.  The current property tax rate in the city is 76 cents per $100 of assessed value.  The state has not yet certified the new tax rate and indications are that the certified tax rate may not be set until August or even September.  Second and final reading of the budget—with or without the new certified tax rate—will be held next month. 

 

Lab seizures on sharp decline

 

Anderson County law enforcement officials’ persistent pursuit of meth cooks is paying off as recently-released statistics indicate that the number of meth labs seized in the county has significantly declined over the past three years.  At one time, Anderson County led the state in the number of labs seized, reaching its peak at 124 in 2012.  Since that time, however, the number of labs seized by the Anderson County Sheriff’s Department has steadily declined to a mere 20 in 2014 and only three so far this year.  Law enforcement officials have long attributed the high numbers of lab seizures to their aggressive enforcement efforts and say that directly targeting meth has played a large role in the continuing decline as has targeting other types of illicit drug activity.  Two large-scale operations involving federal, state and local agencies resulted in 42 indictments in 2013 and 59 indictments in 2014, all on various drug charges.  Locally, law enforcement officials also say that the arrests of several so-called “smurfers” who purchase cold medications containing pseudoephedrine, the main ingredient in meth, have also contributed to the decline in the number of labs seized.  Smurfers often trade the pills for either cash or the finished product.  While not as much meth is being made in Anderson County, officials say they have seen an uptick in crystal meth being brought in from outside the county. 

 

Anderson part of ‘No Refusal’ effort

 

(THP) The Tennessee Highway Patrol (THP) today announced plans to increase patrols and utilize the “No Refusal” law and a variety of traffic safety enforcement tools to reduce the number of serious injury and fatal crashes across the state during this year’s Memorial Day holiday period. The 2015 Memorial Day holiday period will begin at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, May 22 and conclude at midnight on Monday, May 25.  The 96-hour holiday period will include “No Refusal” enforcement, which allows law enforcement officials to seek search warrants for blood samples in cases involving suspected impaired drivers, in each of the eight THP Districts, including Anderson County in the Knoxville District. 

“Memorial Day typically signals the start of summer travel. We intend to aggressively enforce impaired driving and seat belt laws this weekend and throughout the summer months,” Colonel Trott said.  “We will utilize all of our resources and partner with local and county law enforcement to give us the best opportunity for a safe Memorial Day weekend on Tennessee roadways,” he added.   

Last year, nine people were killed in vehicular crashes during the 72-hour Memorial Day period. Four of the nine (44%) were not wearing safety restraints and two of the traffic fatalities occurred in an alcohol-related crash.  One motorcycle rider was killed and one all-terrain vehicle rider died during last year’s Memorial Day holiday. 

State troopers arrested 162 individuals on suspicion of DUI and ticketed 2,018 motorists for violation of the seat belt law during last year’s Memorial Day holiday.  

In 2014, 312 people died in motor vehicle crashes in Tennessee from the Memorial Day holiday period through the end of the Labor Day holiday period.  Of those, 99 vehicular deaths were unrestrained motorists and 93 fatalities were alcohol-related. 

The THP will conduct saturation patrols, seat belt and sobriety checkpoints, as well as increased visibility on high-crash corridors throughout the summer to reduce serious injury and fatal crashes across the state.

 

OR rower headed to national championship

 

(Submitted) Oak Ridge’s Sarah Kate Rogers has earned an invitation to compete in the USRowing Youth National Championships by virtue of her first place finish in the Women’s Youth Single at USRowing’s Southeast Regional Championships earlier this month.  Competing against other young women from Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and Tennessee, she progressed through the heats and won the 2000-meter final in a time of 8:26.25, more than 8 seconds ahead of any other sculler.

At next month’s National Championship, June 12-14, 2015 in Bradenton, Florida, Sarah Kate will compete against as many as 27 other scullers for a national championship.  “The competition is incredibly tough”, Ms. Rogers said of the National event. “We all train and work as hard as we can to get to this point, and leave nothing on race day.” Her competitors qualify from eleven separate national regions, and represent rowing programs from the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, Southwest, Midwest and the Pacific Northwest. Sarah Kate is unique in this regard, rowing as an unaffiliated rower under the watchful eyes of her coaching team, Shannon Moore and Marc DeRose (based at Clinton Rowing Club, Clinton, TN).

“Sarah Kate is a joy to coach”, said Coach Marc DeRose. “She brings an incredible focus to practice each day and you can see the results on the water, in terms of her efficiency and boat speed.”

Sarah Kate also successfully represented Oak Ridge Rowing Association’s Junior Atomic Rowing program at USRowing’s Youth National Championships in both 2013 and 2014 as a member of Atomic’s Women’s Youth 4+. That experience will prove invaluable as she prepares for this year’s sculling event. She explains, “that first trip to Nationals was amazing. It gives you an insatiable need to go back, and to get faster and faster every time.” That thirst for competition will suit her well at next month’s National Championship and in life.

Ms. Rogers will be joined in Bradenton by two Atomic Rowing athletes, Sara Zetterberg and Kimberly Cady, who qualified for Nationals with their strong performance, medaling in the Southeast Regionals in the Women’s Youth Pair.  The three are close friends. “I am so happy for Sara and Kim!”, Ms. Rogers exclaimed. “They earned that spot with a great row, and I cannot wait to see them at Nationals.”

Sarah Kate Rogers is an Honors student at Oak Ridge High School, a member of the Symphony Band, and a three-year letterman on the ORHS Wildcats varsity swim team.

 

Fishing U.’ focused on AC, Norris Lake airing this week

 

Anderson County and Norris Lake were featured on the Outdoor Channel’s Fishing University. The host, Charlie Ingram and Ray Braizer along with their crew, were here in December to film the show and it is airing this week on the Outdoor Channel. You can catch it on the 23rd at 3 p.m. and the 24th at 7 a.m. You can find last year’s episode at http://www.yallcome.org/anderson-county-highlights/norris-lake

AVFD fundraiser

 

The Belmont Community Center is sponsoring a fundraiser for the Andersonville Volunteer Fire Department on Friday, May 29th beginning at7:30pm. There will be country music provided by Bill Shannon & The Chill Factor, concessions and a ton of fun for the whole family. The fundraiser will be held at Station 3, Belmont. Come out and support the fire department. For more information, call Ben Ridenour at 865-494-0308.

 

Kids Day at OR Farmers Market Saturday

 

(Submitted) Don’t miss Kids Day at the Oak Ridge Farmers Market in Jackson Square this week. This free event on Saturday, May 23, will feature live farm animals, crafts, games, music, and a chef at the Market offering samples of the season’s best produce.

Kids Day activities are from 9-11:30 a.m., while the market is open 8 a.m.–noon. The highlight of the morning is a kids FARM Market Scavenger Hunt. Children will hunt for live farm animals and other interesting items brought by the farmers from their homes. Among the items they’re bringing are small farm animals, beekeeping gear, a sheep fleece, an anvil, and more!  Entertaining songs for kids and kids-at-heart will be provided by Tom Beehan, banjo player and former mayor of Oak Ridge, and several of his musical friends.  Children will have a chance to learn about healthy eating with a “My Plate” craft activity led by Anne Brock, author of the popular blog, FlourSackMama.com.  Robbie Van Nortwick of The Pampered Chef will offer a cooking demonstration and free samples of the season’s best local produce at the chef’s tent.  All the games and activities at Kids Day will be designed for children ages 5 to 12, although younger children are invited to participate as they can with their parents’ or guardians’ help.

The Oak Ridge Farmers Market is in Jackson Square at 281 Broadway Avenue.

East Tennessee FARM (Farmers Association for Retail Marketing), is a nonprofit organization that hosts the Oak Ridge Farmers’ Market each week, as well as two others in Knoxville: the Ebenezer Road Farmers’ Market on Tuesdays, 3-6 p.m., and the Lakeshore Park Farmers’ Market in the Bearden area, Fridays, 3-6 p.m.  If your business or organization would like to sponsor musicians or other special events at any of the FARM Markets, please contact Info@EastTNFarmMarkets.org, or call (865) 483-9124.

 

AC Commission moves ahead on possible Glen Alpine site

 

Monday night, the Anderson County Commission voted 12-2 to exercise its option on a $280,000, 11-acre tract of land that could be the next home of the often-discussed Glen Alpine convenience center.  The parcel in question is located directly across Charles Seivers Boulevard from the current home of the convenience center, which has been the source of controversy for several years now.  The county-owned center is located inside the Clinton city limits and city officials want it moved due to its location in the heart of a commercial district.  The county has tried to find a suitable location to move it but the best option they came up with landed the county in court.  Officials decided to move it two years ago to a vacant parcel at the back of the county-owned David Jones Industrial Park, but industrial tenants of the park sued, claiming that the move violated the county’s own covenants regarding how sites within the park could be used.  That matter remains in the legal system.  In addition to voting to exercise its option on the property, the Commission voted Monday to “engage the services of an architect to prepare specifications to bid the project,” according to Commission Chairman Robert McKamey.  Clinton City Manager Roger Houck said Tuesday that the parcel in question is still within the city limits but is flanked on all sides by county land, meaning that all the county will have to do is ask the city to de-annex the tract and rezone it as they see fit. 

 

Seniors Day at Smokies Park

 

Everyone is welcome to join the fun at the ballpark as the Tennessee Smokies host their first-ever Seniors Day at Smokies Stadium.  The event will be held at noon on June 10th as the Smokies take on the Birmingham Barons.  A portion of all tickets sold THROUGH THE ANDERSON COUNTY OFFICE ON AGING will benefit Senior Transportation efforts in Anderson County.  There are three (3) packages:  A field level ticket will cost $10; a field-level ticket and meal voucher will cost $15; and a field level ticket with a meal voucher and a ball cap will cost $18.  You will be able to choose a meal consisting of a hot dog, chips and a drink, or a slice of pizza and a drink.  Call 865-457-3259 to find out more or to order your tickets today!

 

Lawsuit blames crash on officer

 

A man has sued the Rocky Top Police Department, the city and one of its patrol officers for $350,000 in connection to an accident last fall.  William Patrick Cotter III filed the suit in Anderson County Circuit Court over the September 16th, 2014 accident on I-75.  In his suit, Cotter alleges that he had been riding his motorcycle north on I-75 when a patrol car driven by Officer Todd Johnston pulled out in front of him from a paved median crossover separating the north- and southbound lanes of the interstate, and the vehicles collided.  Cotter alleges that Johnston was at fault for failing to exercise due care and failure to yield and also accuses the officer of violating state laws regarding those interstate median crossovers.  The suit accuses the city and the Police Department of failing to properly train or supervise their employee.  The city’s response asks that the suit be dismissed because the RTPD is a subdivision of the city and therefore “is not an entity capable of suing or being sued.”  In addition to $350,000 in damages, Cotter is also seeking a jury trial and payment of his legal fees by the city.

 

Report:  Man files suit against OR over fall

 

The retired conductor of the Oak Ridge Symphony and Chorus is suing the city of Oak Ridge for $100,000 over an incident last fall in which he fell outside the Civic Center.  The News-Sentinel reports that the suit was filed by Serge Fournier of Oak Ridge and alleges that the city was at fault in his November 15th, 2014 fall that left him with injuries to his face, mouth and teeth.  Fournier alleges that the curb edge he tripped over was not marked or painted, which created a dangerous situation.

 

OR woman arrested after hammer attack

 

An Oak Ridge woman was arrested over the weekend on charges that she assaulted a woman with a hammer.  50-year-old Ruth Ann Evans is facing charges of aggravated assault and vandalism connected to the incident, which occurred last Friday.  Police say that several witnesses told them that Evans had hit the alleged victim several times with her fists and pulled her by the hair before the other woman fled to her car.  Police say that Evans went in to a nearby business and came back with a hammer, which she allegedly used to break the driver’s side window of the woman’s car and continue the assault, striking the woman’s chest and arms. 

 

One dead in I-75 crash in Campbell

 

The Tennessee Highway Patrol says that one person has died following an early-morning accident on I-75 in Campbell County.  The crash occurred shortly before 1 am near mile marker 147.  Troopers say that 30-year-old Christopher Reed of Georgetown, Kentucky was standing outside his vehicle, which was stopped in the right-hand lane when a truck driven by an Indiana man was unable to stop and collided with the rear of Reed’s car and with Reed himself.  No charges or citations were issued.

 

Campbell animal shelter gets new boss, deep cleaning

 

The Campbell County Commission agreed Monday night to Mayor EL Morton’s request to temporarily shut down the county animal shelter.  Morton requested all of the animals be removed so the kennels can be thoroughly cleaned to avoid another outbreak of the deadly parvovirus.  The commission also approved Morton’s nomination of one of his employees, Megan Elizabeth “Mez” Bruce, as the new shelter director.  Cleaning began Tuesday morning and the shelter will not reopen for at least two weeks.

 

UCOR announces grant recipients

 

UCOR, the U.S. Department of Energy’s cleanup contractor at the Oak Ridge Reservation, has announced the 33 winners of the UCOR Education Mini-Grant Program.  UCOR is a partnership between URS and CH2M Oak Ridge LLC.  The company said one of its primary objectives is to support and encourage education initiatives.  “The Mini-Grant Program was designed to recognize and support excellence in teaching by providing funds to assist classroom teachers for specific projects or curricula, focusing primarily on science, technology, engineering, and math, or STEM,” a press release said. 

The UCOR Mini-Grant committee has selected the following projects:

  • Kim Howard, Woodland Elementary School—STEM Interactive Materials Project
  • Donnel Malone, Hardin Valley Elementary School—Hands on Science Labs
  • Jason Young, Roane County High School—Country-wide Robotics Team
  • Jenifer Laurendine, Woodland Elementary School—Math and Movement Family Fun Night
  • Jessica Conaster, Grand Oaks Elementary School—Math and Movement
  • Madeline Ferguson, Powell High School—Mathlete
  • Beth McCoy, Robertsville Middle School—NASA Cube Satellite Challenge
  • Denise Miller, St. Mary’s School—Technology Support for Introductory Robotics Program
  • Courtney Bass, Anderson County Head Start—Brain Busters
  • Amelia Bell, Glenwood Elementary School—Let’s Get Cooking: Connecting Girls to STEM
  • Lucy Brooks, Anderson County Preschool/Dutch Valley School—Little Hands…BIG Ideas!
  • Mary Ball, South Knoxville Elementary School—Neighborhood Stewards
  • Bryan Freeman and Jenna Howerton, Clinton Middle School—“Seeing It All” with Binocular Dissecting Microscope
  • James Scheele, Norris Elementary School—Kids K’NEX Class
  • Rebecca Beers, Stanford Eisenberg Knoxville School—Real World Application for Math and Science
  • Janie Shanafield, Jefferson Middle School—EV3 Boot Camp and Lego Robotics Tournament
  • Trevor Renfro, Cedar Bluff Elementary School—Increasing ELL’s Mathematic Vocabulary
  • Kari Schubauer, Stanford Eisenberg Knoxville School—Changing Ecosystem
  • Jamie Bevins, Ball Camp Elementary School—Earth Science Rocks!
  • Katie Bell, Stanford Eisenberg Knoxville School—Integrating Design Challenges
  • Janis Bishop, Dutch Valley Elementary School, Stem Resources in the Library
  • Katie McKee, Midway Middle School—Using Articles to Supplement Textbooks
  • Louise Lindsay, Stanford Eisenberg Knoxville School—Robots in the Classroom
  • Taffy Ridenour, Anderson County Pre-School—STEM Family Engagement Weekend Challenges
  • Ted Fletcher, Anderson County Preschool—Successful Start
  • Mandy Dye, Cedar Bluff Preschool—Building “Chutes and Ladders” in Preschool
  • Krista Manning, Ridgedale School—Fun with STEM
  • Susan Parker, Chilhowee Intermediate School—iExplore Robotics with Meccanoids
  • Madison Jones, Norris Middle School—VEX IQ Robotics Program
  • Aundrea Mitchell, Farragut High School—TSA Engineering Design
  • Jill Hudson and Carrie Guy, Cherokee Middle School—“Leg-up” with LEGO League
  • Adam Trout, Rockwood Middle School—Making Models Matter
  • Adam Trout, Rockwood Middle School—School-wide Engineering Design Competition

Applications were screened and awardees selected using a blind process that prevented members of the selection panel from knowing the names of the teachers or the schools. Schools in Roane, Anderson, Loudon, Knox, and Morgan counties were eligible to submit proposals.  UCOR’s Mini-Grant Program has awarded the grants annually, since 2012.

 

ORT:  Eschenberg leaving federal service

 

(Oak Ridge Today) John Eschenberg, federal project director for the proposed Uranium Processing Facility at the Y-12 National Security Complex, announced Monday that he’s retiring from federal service on May 30.  Eschenberg said his decision to leave federal service is driven by a desire to “focus on new career opportunities in the private sector and to further my focus on serving nonprofit organizations.” Eschenberg said he is heavily involved with the Emory Valley Center (an institution for the developmentally and intellectually disabled) and its plan to start construction of a new facility in Oak Ridge later this fall. 

Eschenberg has been the federal project director of the Uranium Processing Facility for almost three years, and he has been in Oak Ridge nearly six. He has served under six different U.S. Department of Energy secretaries, in five different states, and in all of its major programs, Eschenberg said in an email announcement obtained by Oak Ridge Today.  Eschenberg said there is never a perfect time for a transition of key leadership roles, but “given the project’s stability, now feels like the optimum time to me.”

He said Dale Christenson, who has been serving as the deputy federal project director for almost five years, will serve as acting federal project director during the process to formally hire a replacement. Eschenberg said his family plans to maintain a primary residence in Oak Ridge, with one son a student at Maryville College and the other a student at Oak Ridge High School.

The UPF is the largest DOE investment in Tennessee since World War II. It’s also the largest ever-construction project for the National Nuclear Security Administration, a separately organized DOE agency that oversees work at Y-12 and other sites such as the Pantex Plant in Amarillo, Texas.

The UPF would replace aging World War II-era buildings at Y-12, the hub of the nation’s uranium processing operations. It’s expected to be completed by 2025 and cost no more than $6.5 billion.  Federal officials celebrated what they called the first milestone on the project in March: the completion of site readiness work, delivered on time and under budget. The work included the relocation of Bear Creek Road, a new bridge, and construction of a haul road.

 

ORPSEF to award grants

 

(ORPSEF) As part of its “Making the Critical Difference” campaign, the Oak Ridge Public Schools Education Foundation will award more than $93,000 in grants to Oak Ridge teachers at a ceremony this Wednesday, May 20.  Oak Ridge alumni and WBIR Anchor Moira Kaye will be the featured speaker at the event for what she has described as her career’s “last personal appearance.” The ceremony is open to the public, and it will be held in the Oak Ridge High School cafeteria beginning at 4:30 p.m.

Demonstrations and displays of some of the projects and technology funded by the Foundation will be given after the formal ceremony.

The 2015 grant recipients are as follows:

  • Glenwood Elementary—Amelia Bell, Lauren Blair, Gwen Harrell, Terri Lloyd, and Marlene Sumner
  • Linden Elementary—Lisa Downard, Norma Franco, and Nancy Witick
  • Willow Brook Elementary—Linda Bell, Chris Bruce, Lynn Draper, Andrew McDonald, and Deborah Nall
  • Woodland Elementary—Barbara Krushenski, Kathy Sanderson, and Lynn Tschaplinski
  • Jefferson Middle School—Emily Haverkamp, Heather Henderlight, Chris Layton, and Brian Smith
  • Robertsville Middle School—Michelle Brown, Sandra Burnette, Jackie Laney, Mardee Miller, Leigh Monger, and Michelle Scott
  • Oak Ridge High School—Sharon Thomas and Elaine Vaughan

The grants program is a key component of the Foundation’s mission to support the highest-quality education for all students.

Including this year’s grants, the Education Foundation has awarded more than $665,000 in total grant funding. In 2012, the Foundation kicked off its “Making a Critical Difference” campaign. The campaign goal is to raise $100,000 per year specifically for teacher grants each year through 2017.

For more information about the Oak Ridge Public Schools Education Foundation or to make a donation, contact Jessica Steed at (865) 241-3667 or Jessica.Steed@orau.org or through the newly designed website at http://www.orpsef.org/.

 

GSMNP:  Bears close some backcountry sites

 

(GSMNP)Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials have closed Mt. Le Conte Backcountry Shelter and trails to the popular Cliff Tops area due to bear activity until further notice. At this time, trails leading to the summit of Mt. Le Conte remain open, but hikers are strongly encouraged to hike in tight groups of three or more and carry bear spray. Park wildlife staff are currently stationed onsite to monitor the situation. 

On Sunday, May 17, one of the park's Wildlife Technicians encountered an aggressive bear near the trail to Cliff Tops that persistently approached and followed him for 0.3 mile. Loud noises and attempts from the trained ranger to scare the bear did not deter the bear’s repeated threatening advance. The bear followed him to the LeConte Lodge area before retreating into the forest. 

"Hiking in bear country requires caution at all times," said Deputy Superintendent Clay Jordan. "We seldom fully close trail areas, but the unusually aggressive behavior exhibited by this bear warrants action by staff and special precautions by hikers." 

Park officials urge everyone to exercise caution while hiking, camping, and picnicking to ensure their personal safety and to protect bears. Black bears in the park are wild and unpredictable. Though rare, attacks on humans do occur, causing injuries or death. Hikers are always encouraged hike in groups, closely control children, and carry bear spray. Taking these precautions become especially important when a notably aggressive bear is identified by park officials in an area. 

Bears should never be fed and all food waste should be properly disposed to discourage bears from approaching people. 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 a bear, visitors should slowly back away to put distance between the animal and themselves, creating space for the animal to pass. If the bear continues to approach, rangers recommend that you stand your ground together as a group and do not run. Hikers should make themselves look large and throw rocks or sticks at the bear.  If attacked by a black bear, rangers strongly recommend fighting back with any object available and remember that the bear may view you as prey.

For more information on what to do if you encounter a bear while hiking, please visit the park website at http://www.nps.gov/grsm/naturescience/black-bears.htm. To report a bear incident, please call 865-436-1230.

 

Saturday fire injures none

 

A fire early Saturday caused heavy damage to a home on Cove Lane just outside Oliver Springs.  The fire was reported at about 12:30 a.m. Saturday, May 16th at 1014 Cove Lane.  The Marlow Volunteer Fire Department was first on the scene and the Oliver Springs Fire Department responded to a request for mutual aid.  All told, fire crews were on the scene for about three hours.  No injuries were reported. 

 

AC Park Manager assaulted

 

The Anderson County Sheriff’s Department is investigating an incident that occurred last week at Anderson County Park.  The park manager, Paul Schilling, called deputies on Sunday May 10th and told them that at around 9:30 pm that night, he had confronted a group of six people who were throwing rocks toward the public swimming area at the park and jumping on and off picnic tables.  When he told them to stop, Schilling says that one of the men punched him in the nose and another hit him from behind.  While he escaped serious injury, Schilling did tell deputies that his glasses were broken in the assault.  One of the individuals also grabbed Schilling’s county-issued cell phone as he tried to take pictures of the suspects’ vehicles and license plates and smashed it on the ground. 

 

Y-12 trio freed from prison

 

Three Catholic peace activists who vandalized the Highly Enriched Uranium Materials facility at Y-12 nearly three years ago were released from prison on Saturday.  85-year-old nun Sister Megan Rice was released just hours after 66-year-old Michael Walli and now 60-year-old Greg Boertje-Obed—he celebrates his birthday today—also were let out of prison.  The trio was ordered released by a federal appeals court on Friday, about a week after the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned their 2013 sabotage convictions and ordered re-sentencing on their remaining conviction for injuring government property at Y-12.  The three have spent two years in prison. In handing down Friday’s order, the court said they likely already have served more time than they will receive for the lesser charge. On Thursday, their attorneys petitioned the court for an emergency release, saying that re-sentencing would likely take several weeks if normal court procedures were followed. Prosecutors responded that they would not oppose the release, if certain conditions were met.  Rice, Walli and Boertje-Obed, in July 2012, cut through several fences to reach the most secure area of the Y-12 complex. Before they were arrested, they spent two hours outside the bunker that stores much of the nation's bomb-grade uranium, hanging banners, praying and spray-painting slogans, and chipping away at the exterior walls with hammers. 

 

RSCC main campus shuts down May 27th

 

Roane State Community College’s main campus in Harriman will be closed Wednesday, May 27, while the water line that supplies the campus is under repair.  During the repairs, water to the campus will be shut off. All other Roane State locations will be open and on schedule.  Two classes in session on May 27 have been relocated to the Princess Theatre and to Channel 15 television station in downtown Harriman.  The main campus will reopen Thursday, May 28.

 

CCWF hosts annual Briceville field trip

 

(CCWF) The15th Annual Briceville Elementary School history field trip was held on Friday.  Brooklyn Lowe was named winner of the 2015 Coal Creek Eisteddfod Literary Competition, an annual poetry and essay contest for Briceville Elementary School Students, sponsored by the Coal Creek Watershed Foundation (CCWF).  Lowe earned $100 for her winning essay on the history of Coal Creek miners during the era of the convict lease system by the State of Tennessee, which brought armed conflict to the area in 1891-1892.  A permanent replica artillery piece, part of the CCWF’s ongoing history education for students of the area, was scheduled to be dedicated May 15 for the event.  Because of an illness to the cannon maker, the permanent cannon wasn’t ready by dedication day and a substitute was found to take its place on the famed hill along a shank of Vowell Mountain in Anderson County.  Steve Cameron led a group of Civil War re-enactors with the Burrough’s Battery of Blaine in the firing of an exact replica of the howitzer used during actual events 123 years ago.  The event was based on one of the county’s more turbulent times—the Coal Creek Convict Wars of 1891-1892.  Militia Hill served as the operational base for Tennessee National Guardsmen, then called state militia, to put down an insurrection by Welsh coal miners, a rebellion that began when inmates from state prisons replaced miners.  At the time, the state claimed it needed to lease much of its prison population and put convicts in the mines, replacing paid Welsh miners. This would provide desperately needed revenue to the state from coalmine operators for reconstruction projects after the destruction of the Civil War. Many militia members brought to Coal Creek during the struggle were Civil War veterans.  The actual cannon used on Militia Hill in 1892 was the exact same piece fired by Cameron and members of Burrough’s Battery. The howitzer blast disgorged enough white smoke to hide a copse of pine trees overlooking the town below. Its blast and recoil shook the earth behind the cannon.  In Coal Creek, Briceville, Fraterville and elsewhere where coal was being mined in the Cumberland Mountains, along the spiny rib cage of Walden Ridge, Welsh coal miners fought convicts and militia.  For two years (1891-92) they struggled to keep their livelihood and to ensure the future of their children. It was a classic battle that eventually led to changes in state law, the defeat of Gov. John “Buck” Buchanan and drastic changes in mine safety.  After what became known as the Coal Creek Mine Wars, two mine explosions—Fraterville in 1902 and Cross Mountain in 1911—changed lives with the deaths of 300 miners in both disasters, but brought on federal laws and new governmental regulations and agencies. In 1891, Congress passed a loosely written law to upgrade mine safety. In 1910, the Bureau of Mines was created to oversee mine safety in a time when more than 2,000 miners were dying annually.  Today, the Mine Safety and Health Administration says 16 coal miners died in accidents in 2014.  CCWF officials say it is important for the students to understand the rich cultural history in their area that is as alive today as it was 123 years ago.  For more, visit www.coalcreekaml.com 

 

Girl, 12, shot in leg during robbery

 

A 12-year-old girl was sent to the hospital Thursday night after Campbell County Sheriff’s deputies say she was shot during an armed robbery in Campbell County.  The incident happened at around 10 p.m. at Lee’s Food Mart on Gen. Carl Stiner Highway near LaFollette.  The Campbell County Sheriff’s Office says the suspect began shooting randomly inside the store, striking the girl in the leg.  Officials say she is expected to be okay.  Deputies are still searching for the suspect, who was reportedly wearing a motorcycle helmet, which has prevented a detailed description from being released.  As more information becomes available we will update you.  

 

OR Council extends lease on Senior Center, opens doors to all

 

The Oak Ridge City Council has extended its lease agreement with the Anderson County government to continue using 10,000 square feet of the former Daniel Arthur Rehabilitation Center as a senior center.  The new lease agreement will run through May 31st, 2017 and the city will pay the county a reported $5170 per month.  The agreement calls for the Senior Center to be referred to from now on as the “Anderson County/Oak Ridge Senior Center” and will be open to all residents of Anderson County.  During a protest last week in front of the County Courthouse in Clinton, area seniors asking for a county takeover of the Office on Aging and a new senior center complained that non-Oak Ridge residents were not allowed to use the facility.  The extension could give Oak Ridge leaders more time to develop a plan to either relocate or replace the aging center off of Emory Valley Road, which residents have long said is too small and inadequate to serve their needs. 

 

AC Animal Welfare Task Force to meet Wednesday

 

Members of the Anderson County Animal Welfare Task Force will meet for a discussion with Teresa Fisher, director of the University of Tennessee’s Companion Animal Initiative of Tennessee, at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 20, in Room 118A at the Courthouse in Clinton.

 

GSMNP observes National Trails Day

 

(GSMNP) Park staff and partners on Saturday June 6, to celebrate National Trails Day with a volunteer opportunity to participate in Appalachian Trail Work Day. The national park is once again working with the Friends of the Smokies, the Appalachian Trail Conservancy Regional Office, and the Smoky Mountain Hiking Club to host this large volunteer event. 

This work day event has taken place in the park for the last 19 years and highlights the importance of trails for recreation, education, and physical fitness as well as recognizes the important work performed by trail volunteers. The Appalachian Trail Work Day provides an opportunity for the public to help the Appalachian Trail Maintainers with important trail projects that might not otherwise get accomplished. The work done on the Appalachian Trail during National Trails Day provides hikers with a safe, enjoyable trail experience and protects the resources around the trail. 

“We are excited to partner with these great trails groups for National Trails Day,” said Superintendent Cassius Cash. “This event provides a great opportunity for park supporters to help maintain the park’s trail system and learn about the park’s many volunteer opportunities.”   

Volunteers will assist with a variety of projects, from cleaning and replacing water bars, rehabilitating steps and turnpikes, to improving trail tread on sections of the Appalachian Trail between Icewater Springs Shelter and Silers Bald.  

The work day concludes with a picnic at Metcalf Bottoms Picnic Area for all registrants who will also receive a commemorative t-shirt.  The registration fee for this event will support trail projects in the Smokies. Participants should wear sturdy shoes, dress appropriately and bring lots of water and a lunch for the day. 

For more information and to register for this work day, visit the Friends of the Smokies website at: http://friendsofthesmokies.org/event/national-trails-day/ or contact Phyllis Henry at 865-577-2604.

 

ORNL makes graphene breakthrough

 

One of the barriers to using graphene at a commercial scale could be overcome using a method demonstrated by researchers at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory. 

Graphene, a material stronger and stiffer than carbon fiber, has enormous commercial potential but has been impractical to employ on a large scale, with researchers limited to using small flakes of the material. 

Now, using chemical vapor deposition, a team led by ORNL’s Ivan Vlassiouk has fabricated polymer composites containing 2-inch-by-2-inch sheets of the one-atom thick hexagonally arranged carbon atoms. 

The findings, reported in the journal Applied Materials & Interfaces, could help usher in a new era in flexible electronics and change the way this reinforcing material is viewed and ultimately used. 

“Before our work, superb mechanical properties of graphene were shown at a micro scale,” said Vlassiouk, a member of ORNL’s Energy and Transportation Science Division. “We have extended this to a larger scale, which considerably extends the potential applications and market for graphene.” 

While most approaches for polymer nanocomposition construction employ tiny flakes of graphene or other carbon nanomaterials that are difficult to disperse in the polymer, Vlassiouk’s team used larger sheets of graphene. This eliminates the flake dispersion and agglomeration problems and allows the material to better conduct electricity with less actual graphene in the polymer. 

“In our case, we were able to use chemical vapor deposition to make a nanocomposite laminate that is electrically conductive with graphene loading that is 50 times less compared to current state-of-the-art samples,” Vlassiouk said. This is a key to making the material competitive on the market. 

If Vlassiouk and his team can reduce the cost and demonstrate scalability, researchers envision graphene being used in aerospace (structural monitoring, flame-retardants, anti-icing, conductive), the automotive sector (catalysts, wear-resistant coatings), structural applications (self-cleaning coatings, temperature control materials), electronics (displays, printed electronics, thermal management), energy (photovoltaics, filtration, energy storage) and manufacturing (catalysts, barrier coatings, filtration). 

Co-authors of the paper, titled “Strong and Electrically Conductive Graphene Based Composite Fibers and Laminates,” are Georgious Polizos, Ryan Cooper, Ilia Ivanov, Jong Kahk Keum, Felix Paulauskas and Panos Datksos of ORNL and Sergei Smirnov of New Mexico State University. The paper is available at http://pubs.acs.org/doi/pdf/10.1021/acsami.5b01367 

The research was supported by ORNL’s Laboratory Directed Research and Development program. A portion of the work was conducted at the Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences, a DOE Office of Science User Facility. 

UT-Battelle manages ORNL for the DOE's Office of Science. The Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States, and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, please visit http://science.energy.gov/.

 

THP:  Morgan wreck kills one

 

A Wednesday afternoon traffic accident in Morgan County killed a 29-year-old Crossville woman, according to the Tennessee Highway Patrol.  The single-vehicle accident happened shortly before 3 pm on Wednesday as Nancy McCloud traveled east in a 1998 Jeep Cherokee on Shady Grove Road in the Lancing community.  The THP report indicates that the Jeep left the side of the roadway and struck an embankment, partially ejecting McCloud—who was not wearing a seatbelt—before coming to rest on its roof. 

 

Ethics complaint filed against AC Mayor

 

An Oak Ridge man has filed an ethics complaint against Anderson County Mayor Terry Frank.  Kevin Rice, in a letter sent Tuesday to Law Director Jay Yeager—who also serves as the investigative ombudsman for the county Ethics Committee—accuses the mayor of instructing now-former county building inspector Lisa Crumpley not to cooperate with a TBI investigation into Public Works Director David Crowley and allegedly “told [Crumpley] that she would be terminated” if she did so.  Crumpley was fired by Crowley the same day he turned himself into authorities on a five-count indictment charging him with inspecting buildings without the proper certifications.  The letter also accuses Frank of spending almost $23,000 for a part-time employee who Rice says was instructed to “investigate our County law Director,” which resulted in an audit finding after state auditors determined that money had been spent despite the County Commission denying a request from the mayor to do so.  Mayor Frank told the News-Sentinel that the employee never investigated the office but rather, conducted a “cost comparison” between Anderson and other counties and what they spend on county attorneys or other legal services.  The letter also accuses Frank of spending money to install “listening and tracking devices in county vehicles without written permission” an allegation the mayor flatly denies.  The fourth complaint centers on the mayor’s chief of staff, Richard Burroughs, who Rice says “has done an abundance [of] private work for the mayor on the county government payroll.”  In a post on her blog, iloveandersoncounty.com, Mayor Frank says that she “welcome[s] a review of any and all of my activities while mayor, although not by Mr. Yeager,” who she writes “lacks the fundamental capacity and character to evaluate ethical issues.”  Yeager told the News-Sentinel Wednesday that it is likely that the mayor “would have an issue” with him conducting the investigation and that if the complaint moves forward, the County Commission would likely have to appoint an interim ombudsman.  Frank and Yeager have been at odds—to put it mildly—since she was first elected in 2012 and she has tried to strip him of his duties as delinquent tax attorney, while Yeager has publicly stated his belief that she is behind an effort to have him ousted from office.  A citizen-filed ouster suit was dismissed last year, but is currently on appeal.  Recently, mayor Frank released an audit of the Public Works Department conducted by Burroughs that alleges that Crumpley herself inspected around 400 properties while also lacking the proper certifications and alleging that several county officials were aware of the violations.  Crumpley has filed a federal lawsuit alleging wrongful termination, which has reportedly been ordered into mediation.  Crowley’s trial on the five-count indictment returned against him last fall will take place later this year. 

 

AC budget committee recommends no tax increase

 

The Anderson County Budget Committee has voted to recommend a no-tax-increase budget for the fiscal year that begins on July 1st to the County Commission.  The budget contains no pay raises for county employees nor does it include any new money for the county school system.  School leaders proposed a budget that included 4% pay raises for school employees who have not seen significant pay hikes in several years and $851,852 to pay for unfunded state mandates dealing with upgrades to physical education and sports facilities.  The schools had also asked for the creation of a special reserve fund that would allow the system to begin purchasing hand-held computer devices for students as the state moves more and more toward online testing.  All told, to fully fund the School Board’s request, it would have required the equivalent of a 56-cent increase in the county’s property tax rate, a request that County Mayor Terry Frank, in a press release issued Wednesday, “would move us backward” in trying to lure more residents and businesses to the county.  She wrote:  “I am encouraging the schools to wait for more funding until we achieve it through growth, not taxation.”  The proposal put forth by the Budget Committee keeps the school funding at its current level of $54.8 million.  The $25 million general fund budget, while not including salary increases, also does not include an increase in what county workers have to pay in health insurance costs.  The proposal also includes seed money for an on-site medical clinic at the Courthouse for county employees that Frank states will be a “convenience to employees, reduce their pharmacy cost for common medications, reduce lost work time and also benefit the taxpayer by increasing wellness of employees.”  The budget proposal, which was passed unanimously by the committee, will be the subject of a public hearing on May 28th and the full Commission will take it up next month.  You can read the mayor’s press release about the budget on our website. 

 

(AC Mayor Press Release) Anderson County Mayor Terry Frank has presented her administration’s proposed budget for the next fiscal year, which begins July 1. 

Frank’s proposed general fund budget, as presented to the Budget Committee Tuesday afternoon, keeps most county departments at current-year spending levels and includes no tax increase.  It was unanimously approved at Thursday evening’s budget meeting. 

The balanced $25,088,157 budget for the county’s general operating fund proposes maintaining a focus on stabilizing spending levels until we have full economic recovery. 

“Budget committee recognizes the rising costs of living for citizens, and to keep on a steady path of keeping more money in the hands of Anderson County citizens, we’ve presented no increase in property taxes. Original requests for funding put us over $2.5 million out of balance, but with understanding and the continued help of our county departments, we whittled that down,” said Mayor Frank. 

Going into the budget cycle, Mayor Frank relied heavily on the Budget Committee when putting together the budget with Budget Director Christopher K. Phillips and Deputy Budget Director Connie Aytes.  Budget Committee has spent the year consistently tracking revenues and expenditures.  As the budget process unfolded, the committee agreed that revenues were not meeting requests and directed Budget Director Phillips to return to departments with a request to hold to their current levels.  Budget Committee members are Mayor Terry Frank, Chairman, Commissioner Phil Warfield, Commissioner and Commission Chairman Robert McKamey, citizen Leonard Abatiello and citizen Dusty Irwin.

The budget proposal showed a benefit to employees in terms of no increase in the cost of health insurance.  Part of the budget proposal includes funding start-up costs for an on-site medical clinic for employees.  The proposed clinic will serve as a convenience to employees, reduce their pharmacy cost for common medications, reduce lost work time, and also benefit the taxpayer by increasing wellness of employees.  “On-site clinics in the private sector have shown proven benefits to both the employee and the bottom line when it comes to health care costs, and budget committee is proud to work with our new Human Resource Director Russell Bearden to accomplish this goal,” said Mayor Frank.  

“We have received a lot of praise by financial ratings institutions who like Anderson County’s financial direction.  We’re going to stay committed and we know fiscal stability is one of the key factors in attracting families, business, and industries,” said Mayor Frank.  

“I know the schools have proposed what amounts to a 56 cent tax increase, but when our main challenge is recruiting families to live here, such a tax increase would move us backwards,” said Mayor Frank.  “We have had numerous new business and industry locations and expansions, but we do have a lag between the announcements and when the capital investment begins to actually affect our revenues.  I am encouraging the schools to wait for more funding until we achieve it through growth, not taxation.  At our joint meeting last night, I asked if they could wait another year to see additional revenue through growth, not taxation,” said Mayor Frank. 

Some of the factors in not funding the schools request and recommending current funding levels are the reality that the number of students in the system is down and a number of students from other counties are being educated in our system with no offsetting revenue stream in place.   “The schools have also requested over $2 million for salary increases for a 4% across the board raise, however, those numbers are not adding up.  If we calculate 4% of their entire budgeted salaries, 4% amounts to $1,340,011.72--so we are not sure what the extra funds are for.  We also will need to study what Governor Haslam and the legislature have allocated, because our understanding was that they funded the 4% raises,” said Mayor Frank. 

Budget Committee also passed a recommendation to further strengthen fund balance policy by requiring the county to increase its unassigned General Fund balance to $4.5 million from $3.5 million.  Such a move would require a supermajority vote from County Commission to dip into reserves below $4.5 million. 

“While this year’s budget process posed many challenges, I feel that the proposal headed now to County Commission is a solid, workable and a fiscally sound plan. Again this year, budget committee worked through and made some tough decisions that safeguards the taxpayers from increased taxes, protects the fund balance and provides good stewardship of citizens’ tax dollars. While Anderson County is seeing some very positive movement in the industrial arena, we need to continue to do the financially prudent things with taxpayer money that attracts families and retail businesses to locate here. To me, that’s the key to the long-term financial health and quality of life we want to see Anderson County achieve,” said Budget Director Chris Phillips. 

The next steps in the budget process will be a public hearing set for May 28 in room 312 of the courthouse and then a presentation to full Commission.

 

ACSD investigating robbery

 

The Anderson County Sheriff’s Department is investigating a report of an armed robbery that occurred late Wednesday night near Rocky Top.  The victim, Jacob Fry, called deputies just after midnight Thursday and told them that he had been assaulted and robbed by three people, two of whom he knew.  Fry said that a man he knew called him at around 10 pm and asked if he wanted to play basketball and Fry agreed.  A short time later, the man and a woman—whom he also knew—picked him up and the three drove to the Pine Hill community park in Rocky Top.  Fry later told deputies that he thought that the woman had been acting strangely on the ride.  When they reached the park, the man said he was going to call another man to play ball with them and while Fry stood outside the truck smoking, he said he heard the man tell his friend that they “were just outside and to come out an meet them.”  Fry did not know the other man, according to the report.  The four of them drive to basketball court at the end of Beech Grove Drive and Fry said that the second man who they had just picked up asked him to come speak with him at the rear of the truck.  At that point, Fry says that the man began telling him that his sister and her friend were using drugs and that “he had a list of people that he thinks were giving the drugs to them” and that he had “narrowed his list down to one” and that it was Fry.  Fry said that before he could respond, the man punched him in the face and continued assaulting him until he then felt something in the back of his neck and the man threatened to “blow his (expletive) brains out” if he moved.  At that point, Fry said that the man stole several items, including a wallet, his shoes and a knife.  The driver of the pickup allegedly kicked Fry several times as well before he, the other man and the woman fled in the pickup at a high rate of speed.  Fry walked to a nearby home and called 911.  Fry identified all three suspects to investigators using Facebook but attempts by deputies to reach them by telephone were unsuccessful.  When more information becomes available and when charges are filed, we will pass it along to you. 

 

AC Chamber committee hosting reception for Commissioners

 

The Anderson County Chamber of Commerce Government/Community Relations Council will host a reception for Anderson County Commissioners on Monday, May 18, 5:00 – 6:00 in Room 312 (County Commission Room) prior to that night’s County Commission meeting.  The purpose of the reception is to establish a relationship between Commission and the Council.

 

Supporters rally for embattled ORHS educator, coach

 

(Information from WBIR) At a meeting Wednesday of the Oak Ridge Board of Education, approximately 200 people showed up to support embattled longtime science teacher and track coach Eddie Anderson.  In April, former track coach and 36-year veteran of the Oak Ridge school system was given two letters of reprimand.  One letter addressed a track meet that took place in South Carolina on April 11, and alleged there was "no supervision," the hotel had poor online reviews and the students selected the rooms they would stay in. As a result, the letter said, two students, a boy and a girl, "engaged in inappropriate contact."  The coach took the two students back to Tennessee, without telling anyone, and left three assistants to supervise 55 students, according to the letter.  The second letter, given to Anderson a few days later, that said there was an allegation of inappropriate contact with a former student.  No specifics were included in the letter, but officials said the district had handed the case over to Oak Ridge Police for further investigation.  Students and parents plan to speak up in support of Anderson during a public forum at the next board of education meeting May 26.  In a statement, the School Board said: "This is an extremely difficult time for Mr. Anderson and his family and the Oak Ridge School District as well... We as the B.O.E. will not resolve this situation in the media or on Facebook and cannot speak on personnel issues."  Anderson was suspended without pay, pending the investigation by Oak Ridge police.  He submitted his retirement papers earlier this month.

 

Campbell animal shelter woes continue, changes on way

 

Campbell County Mayor E.L. Morton is appointing a new animal shelter director and plans to ask the Campbell County Commission for clearance to close the shelter for a sweeping cleanup of all viruses including a persistent outbreak of the sometimes fatal parvovirus.  Morton will nominate Mez Bruce to take over the troubled shelter and the Campbell County Commission is expected to vote on her appointment Monday.  Also Monday, Commission will be asked for approval to close the shelter for two weeks beginning May 19.  Last month, the Friends of Campbell County Animals withdrew its support after shelter staff put down 12 dogs with parvo in March only to see the virus reappear.  In March, the shelter lost three litters with about five to eight puppies in each due to the illness.  Campbell County has no money to pay for vaccines, as animals including puppies need, Morton said. Leaders will shift money from the mayor's budget to buy supplies as well as "parvo prevention kennels" that can isolate puppies.

Cleaning supplies have been purchased for the clean-up. Officials also plan a "controlled burn" around the shelter to suppress viruses and bacteria, according to Morton.

 

UT students donate 2600+ items to 12 area charities

 

(Submitted) University of Tennessee students in Beth Meredith’s English 255 public writing courses were tasked with a semester long assignment advocating for a local charity of choice, including planning, promoting, and holding supply collection drives.  With twelve different collections occurring during the months of March and April, her students were able to raise over 2,600 items for twelve different local charities.

All of the assignments in the course were focused on the non-profit’s cause and the collection drives.  The students learned to effectively create and use brochures, websites, posters, flyers, and social media to raise awareness for the non-profits and to promote their collection drives.  

When asked about the practical applications of the assignment, one student commented, “It was extremely smart for Professor Meredith to combine learning and serving in the same course.  It would be awesome if more teachers could find a way to do this in their classrooms.”

However, another student, Conlon Griesmer, said it was more about helping people:  “I did enjoy learning about all the different forms of public writing, but in many ways, giving back to our own community is way more important.  I feel that many students find themselves in a ‘UT Bubble’ and don’t know much of Knoxville besides the restaurants on The Strip.  Professor Meredith challenged us to look past ourselves and give our time and energy to those who are less fortunate, something college students don’t often do.”

Given the complexities of the semester long assignment, Hannah Murrey said she at first privately complained because the assignment seemed “too much.”  But over the course of the semester, “I learned that I am a lucky person.  There are people out there who are not so lucky.  Those are the people that we should be helping.  I am thankful for my teacher that helped me understand this hard lesson to learn.  My heart is in a much better place now that I have seen life in a whole new perspective because of this assignment.”

The local non-profits benefiting from the collection drives are Knox Area Rescue Ministry (KARM), Second Harvest, Special Spaces, Crisis Center for Women, Young-Williams Animal Center, Angelic Ministries, Boys and Girls Club, Oak Ridge Animal Shelter, YWCA, Love Kitchen, Ronald McDonald House, and Columbus Home for Boys.

(Editor’s note:  Beth Meredith is the wife of WYSH/WMYL owner Ron Meredith.)

 

Correction: tax increase still on table in Clinton

 

Correcting a story we brought you Tuesday, when the Clinton City Council meets to consider the new budget on first reading next week, a small property tax increase is still on the table.  Tuesday we indicated the proposed budget included no new taxes but City Manager Roger Houck says that may not be the case.  Describing the budget process as “fluid,” Houck says that the expiration of a FEMA grant awarded two years ago to pay all of the costs associated with four full-time firefighters and an increase in health insurance costs could mean that municipal taxes could increase for the first time in several years by about 3 to 4 cents.  After a budget workshop last week, the budget as proposed is about $121,000 out of balance.  Houck says that another possible “new” expenditure for the city could include fully funding the School Resource Officers at the city’s three elementary schools.  If the Council were to vote for a tax increase, Houck says that other projects that have been discussed over the years could also be funded, including additional police and firefighters and the creation of a street paving fund to keep the city from having to borrow money for those types of projects.  Currently, the city’s property tax rate is 76 cents per $100 of assessed value, one of the lowest in the state for a city of this size that provides the types of services Clinton does.  The City Council will meet Monday at 5:30 pm at City Hall, a week earlier than usual to avoid a conflict with Memorial Day the following Monday. 

 

CHS football Yard Sale

 

If you are thinking of cleaning up and clearing out around your house, this is a good time as the Clinton High School football team is accepting donations for Yard Sale to be held June 6th at 7 am at the Fieldhouse, followed at 10 am by a Bake Sale and Car Wash.  Call 865-466-5056 for more information and to schedule a pick-up of your items. 

 

RT Public Library announces Summer Reading Club

 

The Rocky Top Public Library’s Summer Reading Program will start on Friday June 5th. The toddler program will begin at 3:00pm and the kids program will begin at 4:00pm. For more information, they can contact us at 865-426-6762 or stop by the library!!

 

ORPD officers, bystanders hailed as heroes

 

Three Oak Ridge Police officers and at least one bystander lifted an Emory Valley Center van off of a woman who was partially pinned underneath it after a crash in Woodland on Tuesday morning.  Witnesses told our partners at Oak Ridge Today that the right arm and shoulder of the female passenger—reportedly an EVC employee—were pinned underneath the passenger side of the van after the crash, which was reported at about 10 a.m. Tuesday at the intersection of Northwestern and North Purdue avenues.  The three officers were identified as Cassen Garrison, Brandan Sharp, and Sergeant Pete Nance. Garrison’s right arm was bandaged by paramedics after witnesses said he used his hands to break out a back window of the Chevrolet Express van and rescue a male EVC client in the back of the van before he and the others got the three-ton vehicle back on its wheels.  The female passenger was flown to UT Medical Center by Lifestar while the other three people involved, including the driver of the car, were taken by ambulance to area hospitals.  Oak Ridge Today reports that Ed Taylor, who lives at the Manhattan Apartments, also helped lift the van and witnesses said other neighbors helped as well.  As soon as we learn more about yesterday’s accident, including the names and conditions of those involved, we will let you know about it on WYSH.

 

Mange-stricken puppy in foster care

 

A puppy found near an abandoned home in Campbell County suffering from a sever case of mange was on her way to her new home Tuesday.  The 3 1/2 month old puppy named Scarlet was found by rescuers outside a home in LaFollette three weeks ago with a severe case of mange. Since then, she has been treated and cared for at the UT Veterinary Hospital. She was officially discharged from the clinic on Tuesday.  People from across the area, the country and even overseas donated over $18,000 to help pay for her care.  Scarlet’s former owners, 43-year-old Carla G. Overbay and 23-year-old Tyler W. Seiber, 23, face animal cruelty charges.

 

More:  AC busy this spring

 

Anderson County is full of exciting Spring events!

  • DOE Facilities Bus Tour, leaving from the American Museum of Science and Energy - Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays in May
  • Spring Train rides at Secret City Excursion Train - May - June
  • The Andersonville Volunteer Fire Department is hosting a spring craft show at Anderson County High Schoolon Saturday and Sunday, May 16th-17th. The show will take place from9:00 am – 5:00 pm on Saturday and 1:00 – 6:00 pm on Sunday. For more information, call 865-494-0563
  • Barn Dance – May 22 at Museum of Appalachia
  • Anderson County’s 7th Annual Memorial Day Ceremony – May 25. There will be a wreath laying ceremony at the Veterans Memorial by official guests and Anderson County officials
  • Dragon Boat Festival – May 30 in Oak Ridge
  • Crawl Rally – May 30 at Windrock Park
  • Community Arts Festival – May 31 at Appalachian Arts Craft Cente

For more information on these events and more, please visitwww.yallcome.org/area-events/.

 

CCWF Scholarship winners announced

 

(CCWF) The Coal Creek Watershed Foundation has awarded 36 scholarships to Briceville students over the past 13 years.  The only requirement is that scholars must serve as role models for current Briceville students at our annual Coal Creek Scholars Day event in December. 

Rev. Roy Daugherty was a founding board member of our organization who passed away a few years ago.  When facing a tough decision, I can still hear Rev. Roy say, “Ahh, sometimes all you need is a little faith.”  Well today is one of those days when we will be awarding seven scholarships totaling $60,000.  Roy, I don’t know how we can afford it, so we need you to put in a good word for us up there.

We started a postgraduate scholarship program last year to help Lyndsey Phillips go to law school.  This year, we’re helping Jonathan Towe go to medical school.  He chose East Tennessee State University for its Rural Family Medicine program because his goal is to set up his practice in Anderson County someday and be known as Doc Towe.   

Anderson County High School graduating seniors earning scholarships this year are Paul Long, Holley Smith, Tallen Roldan, Nick Cox, Emily Phillips and Kimberly Phillips.  Special appreciation goes to Kim for putting blond streaks in her hair.  Now, for the first time in 12 years, I can tell the difference between Kim will study criminal justice with a goal of going to law school.  Em aspires to be a forensic pathologist, while Holley will study nursing.  Tallen will attend business school and Paul will go to accounting school.  Nick’s goal is to study wildlife biology and fisheries, “So I can make Coal Creek even more beautiful than it already is.” Kim and Em.     

They earned their scholarships by participating in community service projects and submitting essays on improving the quality of life in the watershed.  Pick a work day over the past four years and you’ll see photos of the Class of 2015 Scholars. CCWF President, Barry Thacker, P.E. says, “Our favorite day of the year is when our scholars in college return to serve as role models for current Briceville students.  We may need to hold next year’s event in the gym, but that’s a good problem to have.”

CCWF board-member Carol Moore says, “Our goal is to give every Briceville student the incentive to excel in middle school and high school because they know they have the potential to get a college education.” 

Nantglo is Welsh for Coal Creek and these scholarships recognize the contributions of the Welsh miners who helped East Tennessee rebuild after the Civil War.  They came to Coal Creek to escape persecution in Great Britain.  Here is where they wrote about their new land in their native language at a time when it was illegal to do so in Wales.  Those books now reside at Harvard University where they are still used as references by students today. 

The importance of education to the Welsh is recognized on one of the new historical markers at Briceville Public Library, which Scholars from the Class of 2015 helped install.  The other historical marker at the library tells how Condy Harmon, a former Briceville student, quit school to become a miner and support his family after his father died in the 1902 Fraterville Mine explosion.  Kim, Em, Holley, Tallen, Paul, and Nick honor his sacrifice by completing high school and attending college. 

 

Report:  Rally scheduled for embattled teacher, coach

 

According to the News-Sentinel, a rally in support of embattled Oak Ridge educator and track coach Eddie Anderson is planned for Wednesday afternoon at 5:30 pm outside the School Administration Building on New York Avenue, at the same time the School Board will be holding a budget session.  Anderson was suspended without pay earlier this month after school officials said that they had received information alleging that he had engaged in “inappropriate contact with former student of Oak Ridge High School.”  In a media release, school officials said they had turned the allegations over to the Oak Ridge Police Department for investigation.  Anderson submitted his retirement paperwork the following day.  Anderson is a longtime Oak Ridge educator and coach and served as AP Chemistry teacher, head of the school’s Science Department and as the head track coach.  Late last month, Anderson was disciplined for allowing the team to stay at a hotel deemed “unacceptable and dangerous” by fellow staff members, allowing students to choose their own rooms—which allegedly led to an “inappropriate” situation involving a male and female student, and not having a meal plan in place for team members.  Anderson was also accused of leaving early the morning after the track meet without notifying his assistants.  Supporters of Anderson claim the school system’s initial investigation of the allegations was mishandled and are asking for a more comprehensive review of the situation. 

 

AC seniors to rally before Commission meeting

 

Anderson County seniors will continue their push for a new Senior Center and a county takeover of the Office on Aging on Monday evening in front of the Courthouse in Clinton.  Approximately 75 people took part in a demonstration last week in front of the Courthouse.  Monday’s planned demonstration will begin at 5:30 pm, just before the 6:30 pm meeting of the County Commission.  The de facto senior center is in a small office suite on Leinart Street in Clinton but supporters of the push for a new facility say that it is too small, hard to access for the handicapped and that they resent the fact that it is in the same building as a probation office.  Seniors say they have reached out to numerous county officials but so far, have been wholly unsatisfied with the response they have received.  

 

OR company celebrates milestone

 

Monday, an Oak Ridge company celebrated a milestone.  Monday’s event was hosted by Smoky Mountain Solutions, or SMS, which is a joint venture between BES Technologies—or BEST—and Omega Technical Services, a company that handles low-level radioactive waste.  The milestone was BEST’s recycling of 1 million gallons of radioactive water.  SMS cleans and decontaminates between 1500 and 2000 hazmat suits and respirators per week so they can be reused and in turn, decontaminates that water for re-use in the industrial-sized washing machines used to clean the suits.  BEST is a service-disabled veteran-owned small business and currently is a protégé with Consolidated Nuclear Security LLC through the U.S. Department of Energy’s Mentor-Protégé Program. BEST/SMS provides respirator, laundry, water, and other environmental services to the radiological community.

 

Lock your car doors!

 

We bring you this next story to remind you to lock your car doors whenever you are away from your vehicle.  Over the past week, three burglaries from automobiles have been reported in Clinton and in two of them, the victimized vehicles were unlocked.  That was not the case in the first incident, reported Thursday on Hollingsworth Lane, where a woman reported that someone had broken the passenger side window of her car and stolen her purse containing two credit cards sometime the previous night.  Later that same morning, a woman came to the police station and reported that she had forgotten to lock her car outside her home on Skyline Drive and came out to discover that a laptop computer and a briefcase had been stolen.  The most recent incident was reported Sunday on Eagle Bend Road, where a woman called and said that her photo ID from work and some keys had been stolen from her unlocked vehicle.  With the weather warming and more people out and about, remember to lock your car doors outside your homes, places of employment or when you are out shopping to help reduce your chances of being victimized by opportunistic thieves. 

 

US 25 Yard Sale next month

 

The US 25 Yard Sale is 565 miles of sales beginning in Covington, Ky, running through Anderson County and ending in Woodfin, NC. The annual event will be held this year June 4th through the 6th.  If you live on US 25W in Anderson County, all you have to do to participate is set up your sale in your yard.  For more information, you can follow the US 25 Yard Sale Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/U.S.25YARDSALE?fref=ts

 

AC Tourism touts spring in the county

 

(Submitted) Anderson County is full of exciting Spring events!

  • DOE Facilities Bus Tour leaving the American Museum of Science and Energy - Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays in May
  • Cannon Dedication Ceremony - May 15th at Militia Hill
  • Spring Train rides at Secret City Excursion Train - May - June
  • Barn Dance – May 22 at Museum of Appalachia
  • Dragon Boat Festival – May 30 in Oak Ridge

For more information on these events and more, please visitwww.yallcome.org/area-events/. 

 

Tix still available for Garth in Knoxville

 

Tickets are still available for all of Garth Brooks’ shows at the Thompson Boling Arena in Knoxville. Listeners can buy tickets at KnoxvilleTickets.com, by calling (844) 442-7842, at the venue box office and all tickets outlets. 

 

AP:  Sabotage convictions overturned against Y-12 trio

 

(AP) An appeals court has overturned the sabotage convictions of three peace activists who broke into a facility storing much of this country's bomb-grade uranium and painted slogans and splashed blood on the walls.  In a 2-1 opinion issued on Friday, a panel of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the most serious conviction against 85-year-old Sister Megan Rice, 66-year-old Michael Walli and 59-year-old Greg Boertje-Obed. The court upheld a conviction for injuring government property.  On July 28, 2012, the activists cut through several fences at Y-12 in Oak Ridge to reach the uranium storage bunker. Once there, they hung banners, prayed and hammered on the outside wall of the bunker of the Highly Enriched Uranium Materials Facility.  At issue was whether the nonviolent protest injured national security. The majority opinion of the appeals court found that it did not.  "If a defendant blew up a building used to manufacture components for nuclear weapons ... the government surely could demonstrate an adverse effect on the nation's ability to attack or defend. ... But vague platitudes about a facility's 'crucial role in the national defense' are not enough to convict a defendant of sabotage," the opinion says.  Rice is serving a sentence of just less than three years, while Walli and Boertje-Obed are each serving sentences of just over five years.  Defense attorney Bill Quigley said he hopes they will be re-sentenced to time served and released from prison. 

 

OR Schools to hold budget meetings

 

Oak Ridge Schools will meet to discuss the Fiscal Year 2016 budget on the following dates:

  • May 13 at 5:30 p.m.—Budget presented to board
  • May 20 at 5:30 p.m.—Budget work session
  • May 21 at 5:30 p.m.—Budget work session
  • May 26 at 5:30 p.m.—Regular meeting of the board and public hearing of budget—First Reading
  • May 27 at 4:30 p.m.—Budget work session (if needed)
  • May 28 at 4:30 p.m.—Adoption of budget—Second Reading

 

ORUUC hosting Mayer

 

Oak Ridge Unitarian Universalist Church (ORUUC) is delighted to welcome guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter Peter Mayer for a one night concert at 8pm on May 22.  ORUUC is located at 809 Oak Ridge Turnpike in Oak Ridge.  Mayer has melded a unique and multi-faceted writing style, a distinctive voice, and an inspired musicianship to create compelling and accessible music that is electrifying in live performance. He has shared the stage with Jimmy Buffett’s Coral Reefer Band, James Taylor, Sonny Landreth, Don Henley and others.  Tickets are $24 for adults and $22 for seniors and students and will be available at the door, can be purchased on line at oruuc.org/events or by calling the ORUUC office at (865) 483-6761.

 

THP announces checkpoint

 

The Tennessee Highway Patrol will be conducting sobriety roadside safety checkpoints during the week May 22 2015 on State Route 62/ Richards Lane in Anderson County. 

Impaired driving is a serious crime that kills more than 16,000 people and injures 305,000 others every year in the United States. Troopers will evaluate drivers for signs of alcohol or drug impairment. Troopers will target those who operate a vehicle while impaired and take corrective actions for other violations observed while ensuring the protection of all motorists.  The Tennessee Highway Patrol recognizes that sobriety checkpoints are highly visible and effective tools in the battle against impaired driving.

 

Reminder:  AC Memorial Day Ceremony May 25th

 

The Director of Veterans Services for Anderson County would like to invite everyone to Anderson Counties 7th Annual Memorial Day ceremony on Monday, May 25th at 10 a.m. (Rain or Shine) with speeches from the Anderson County Mayor, American Legion Post #172 Vice Commander Zach Farrar and Tennessee State Representative John Ragan,  The program will include a wreath-laying at the Veterans Memorial at the Anderson County Courthouse to pay tribute to the men and women of the U.S. Military who have given of their lives to protect the freedoms we all enjoy every day. A press release states, “The day itself is sacred and war veterans need no reminder of the reason for it, but what about the general public, and more importantly the next generations? Do non-veterans really recognize and understand the importance of a day honoring their fellow Americans killed in wars around the world? Sacrifice is meaningless without remembrance.”  Everyone is invited to attend and show their support of our military past, present and future.

 

ORT:  FMCOR holding open house Friday

 

The Free Medical Clinic will celebrate its fifth anniversary with an open house on Friday, May 15. The community is invited to drop by between 4 and 7 p.m. for refreshments and a tour of the clinic, a press release said.

FMC is located at 116 East Division Road (behind Zaxby’s) in Oak Ridge.

“While receiving accolades from patients is not the driving force for FMC volunteers, most would agree that the cards and letters they receive from grateful patients make all of their efforts worthwhile,” said FMC Executive Director Teresa Brittain. “However, while one side of the gratefulness coin is being thanked, the other side is having an opportunity to express thanks. We plan to do just that at our open house.

“We could not exist without our broad base of supporters, the staff and Board of Directors, volunteer physicians, nurse practitioners, nurses, and support personnel who give their time and expertise. Adding to that list are others in the local medical community, such as specialists and Methodist Medical Center, plus the civic groups, churches, businesses, and individuals who, through their financial support, help change the lives of our neighbors and friends by helping to provide access to basic health care. The FMC slogan ‘People Caring for People’ says volumes about our community.”

Since opening in January 2010, nearly 4,000 patients have been seen in more than 20,000 visits. FMC provides primary care to patients needing care for diabetes, high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol, and other serious chronic illnesses. Also, the clinic offers classes in smoking cessation, nutrition for individuals with diabetes, and other subjects promoting healthier life styles.

FMC serves residents of Anderson, Roane, and Morgan Counties who do not have insurance and cannot afford to pay for medical services due to their income level, the press release said.

For more information on the open house please call (865) 483- 3904. To learn more about the clinic, visit www.fmcor.org.

 

BBB:  Man struck by car Thursday

 

(BBB) A Kingston man was struck by a vehicle and killed Thursday night.  The accident happened just after 9pm last night while the man attempted to cross North Kentucky Street.  According to Kingston Police Sgt. Jerry Singleton, a southbound car driven by 78-year-old Peggy Heppert from Kingston didn't see 61-year-old Curtis Moore  as he was crossing the street and struck him. Moore was flown to U.T. Medical Center by Lifestar, where he passed away at 1:45 am Friday.  Police said no charges against Heppert are expected. 

 

Campbell among counties receiving state historic preservation funds

 

(Tennessee Historical Commission) Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and the Tennessee Historical Commission announced 36 Historic Preservation Fund grants were awarded to community and civic organizations for projects that support the preservation of historic and archaeological resources. 

Awarded annually, 60 percent of the project funds are from the federal Historic Preservation Fund and 40 percent of project funds come from the grantee.  

“These grants contribute to the study and protection of a wide range of Tennessee’s treasured historic places-buildings, archaeological sites and communities. These places help make our state unique and contribute to our quality of life,” said Patrick McIntyre, State Historic Preservation Officer and Executive Director of the Tennessee historical Commission. 

Grants are competitive and this year the Tennessee Historical Commission staff reviewed 67 applications with funding requests totaling approximately $1.5 million, nearly double the amount of funding available. This year’s selection included building and archaeological surveys, design guidelines for historic districts, rehabilitation of historic buildings, posters highlighting the state’s history and archaeology and training for historic zoning staff or commissioners. 

One of our grant priorities is for projects that are in Certified Local Governments, a program that allows communities to participate closely in the federal program of historic preservation. Eleven Certified Local Government communities were awarded grants this year. Additional priorities include areas experiencing rapid growth and development, other threats to cultural resources, areas where there are gaps in knowledge regarding cultural resources, and the restoration of the state’s historic buildings that are owned by civic or non-profit organizations.  Properties that use the restoration grants must be listed in the National Register. 

“Protecting Tennessee’s historic places is critical to preserving our state’s heritage,” Haslam said. “Today’s announcement of more than $700,000 in assistance to communities across the state helps ensure that Tennessee’s rich history will continue to be shared with future generations.” 

The grant recipients and/or sites of the projects include:

Campbell County:

  • Campbell County - $24,000 to fund a survey of historic resources in the county.

 

Yoga topic of Chamber talk

 

(AC Chamber) The Anderson County Chamber of Commerce welcomes Anna Dark, Take Charge Fitness Director, who will present a seminar “Relaxing Yoga” scheduled for Wednesday, May 20, from 11:30 to 1:00 p.m. at the Chamber office. Take a break from the hustle and bustle of your work day to re-energize.  Anna will be taking the group through some traditional yoga poses as well as go over the practice of deep diaphragmatic breathing.  Don’t worry…you will only walk away from this class relaxed and majority of the time you will be in your chair.  No sweating necessary!

Yoga Defined:  Yoga is a mind-body practice that combines stretching exercises, controlled breathing and relaxation. Yoga can help reduce stress, lower blood pressure and improve heart function. And almost anyone can do it.  Anna joined Take Charge Fitness Program in 2006 and is a graduate of Leadership Anderson County.  She has been working in the fitness industry for 30 years and has numerous fitness certifications.  Anna began practicing yoga 15 years ago and believes that the world would be a happier place if everyone had some yoga in their life!!  Come experience how yoga can make a difference in your life!

Free to Chamber members - $10 for non-Chamber members.
Limited number of seats available.  Reserve your space for this valuable presentation by Tuesday, May 19.  Call the Chamber at 865-457-2559 or email:  accc@andersoncountychamber.org to reserve. 

 

AC Committee meeting May 20th

 

The Resale of Land Bought at Delinquent Tax Sales Committee will meet at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 20, 2015, in Room 118A at the Anderson County Courthouse, Clinton.

 

AC Household hazardous Waste collection event May 16th

 

Anderson County Solid Waste Management and the state Department of Environment and Conservation will sponsor an Anderson County Household Hazardous Waste Collection Event on Saturday May 16th from 9 am to 2 pm at the Oak Ridge Public Works Building located at 100 Woodbury Lane in Oak Ridge.  Household hazardous waste is defined as being “anything generated in the household that has a hazardous property.  A material is hazardous if is flammable, corrosive, toxic or reactive with heat or contact with metals.  They will accept:

  • Household cleaners:  drain openers, polishers, disinfectants
  • Home improvement & maintenance items:  adhesives, strippers, thinners and removers
  • Home Lawn and Garden items:  herbicides, pesticides, poisons, fungicides and wood preservatives.
  • Automotive fluids:  oil & fuel additives, starter fluids, solvents, cleaners, refrigerants, antifreeze, coolants and fuel.
  • Miscellaneous items:  rechargeable, lithium and button batteries, pool chemicals, chemicals from chemistry sets, medicine, aerosols, compressed gas and photo processing materials.

They will NOT accept: 

  • Paint
  • Electronics
  • Alkaline batteries
  • Medical & infectious waste
  • Explosives & ammunition
  • Radioactive materials (including smoke detectors)
  • Any empty containers
  • Automotive oil, or
  • Lead acid batteries.

No commercial or agri-business waste will be accepted.  For more information call the Solid Waste Management Department at 865-463-6845.

 

May 10-16 National Police Week

 

The Anderson County Sheriff’s Department will join law enforcement agencies across the country in celebrating National Police Week, which begins on Sunday May 10th and runs through Saturday May 16th.  May 15th is National Peace Officers Memorial Day and locally, the occasion will be marked with a memorial service one week from today.  The memorial service will be held at 1:30 pm Friday May 15th on the plaza in front of the Oak Ridge Municipal Building, hosted by Chief Jim Akagi and the Oak Ridge Police Department.  Local, state and federal agencies from the Anderson County area will be represented and the public is invited to come out and pay tribute to those law enforcement officers who have made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty.  The Anderson County Sheriff’s Department has lost eight officers in the line of duty—seven who were killed by gunfire and one who died in a car accident—but none since Deputy Ray Brown was shot to death on June 9th, 1981.  

 

UWAC fundraising continues wane

 

Fundraising was again down for the United Way of Anderson County during its 2014 campaign.  Officials announced that the campaign had raised $1.044 million to be distributed among its 33 partner agencies at Thursday’s annual breakfast meeting.  The amount of money raised each year has declined since hitting a highwater mark of almost $1.5 million in 2008-2009.  Out of the money raised, some $313,000 goes to United Way overhead, with the rest distributed among member agencies.  Officials say that the economic climate coupled with changes at some of the larger, corporate donors is leading to the reduction in funding.  Officials have decided not to set a monetary goal for this year and say they are prioritizing their allocations of funding to those groups and agencies that provide basic human needs like food and shelter until fundraising picks back up. 

 

FEMA expands disaster declarations from Feb. ice storms

 

(FEMA) The Federal Emergency Management Agency approved nine additional counties for the State of Tennessee’s recent disaster declaration from the severe winter storm of Feb. 15-22.  Claiborne, Cocke, Davidson, DeKalb, Greene, Hawkins, Pickett, Rhea and Wayne counties join the list of 36 other counties already receiving federal assistance as a result of the presidential disaster declaration signed April 2, 2015.

The counties were added to the declaration following new damage assessments requested by the state, and conducted by local officials, representatives of Tennessee Emergency Management Agency and FEMA.

Previously declared counties include: Anderson, Bedford, Bledsoe, Blount, Campbell, Clay, Coffee, Cumberland, Fentress, Giles, Grainger, Grundy, Hamblen, Hancock, Hardeman, Hardin, Jefferson, Knox, Lawrence, Loudon, Marshall, McMinn, McNairy, Meigs, Monroe, Moore, Morgan, Obion, Overton, Putnam, Roane, Scott, Sevier, Van Buren, Warren and White.

Eligible government entities and certain private non-profits in the declared counties can apply for reimbursement of specific expenses related to disaster response and recovery under FEMA’s Public Assistance Program.  The Public Assistance Program provides a 75 percent funding reimbursement for costs related to debris removal, emergency protective measures and rebuilding and repairing roads, bridges, water control facilities, buildings, utilities and recreational facilities.

 

DA, TBI:  Crime in AC down for eighth straight year

 

According to the findings of a recently-released TBI report, crime in Anderson County declined for an eighth straight year in 2014.  Anderson County District Attorney General Dave Clark issued a press release Wednesday that says that crime in Anderson County and all of its cities declined by 12% last year.  The release also states that the county has seen a 42% decrease in the crime rate over the past eight years.  Clark writes “during that same period…crime was also down across the state of Tennessee by an impressive 16%.  However, locally, we have more than doubled the crime reduction that has been accomplished across the state.”  Clark chalks up the local success to improved communication and cooperation among the county’s law enforcement agencies, as well as participation by citizens in Neighborhood Watch and other crime prevention programs.  Clark also says that while local authorities “are pleased with [their progress], [they] are not satisfied, writing “We are going to work hard and try to work smart and together to continue to make Anderson County and its cities better and safer places to live, work and invest.”  The statistics indicate that there are 3000 few crimes in Anderson County per year than there were in 2007. 

 

FBI releases more on Y-12 FCU kidnapping, extortion plot

 

Authorities continue to investigate a kidnapping and extortion plot involving the Y-12 Federal Credit Union in Oak Ridge last week, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation has released some information describing the three suspects.  The alleged kidnapping and extortion started at about 8:15 a.m. Tuesday, April 28, when a credit union employee’s family was kidnapped from the Whittington Creek neighborhood in west Knox County in an effort to extort money from the credit union, the FBI said in a press release on Wednesday.  The employee’s family was held at gunpoint for a period of time before being released in the Gettysvue Country Club parking lot in Knoxville, around 9:25 a.m. Upon being released, the victims were able to seek help from a nearby residence. During the law enforcement response, the suspects fled and remain at large. No injuries were reported, and no money was taken from the credit union.  The FBI said initial descriptions of the subjects were limited because the victims were blindfolded during the incident. But authorities have developed some descriptive information during the investigation, and they are sharing it to help identify the suspects.

Male Subject A

  • White
  • Possible late 20s
  • 5’9″ to 5’11”
  • 170-190 pounds
  • Thin build
  • Salt and pepper black hair
  • Black hat
  • Black hoodie
  • Black cargo pants
  • Black bandanna
  • Dark sunglasses
  • Tattoo on neck containing orange ink

Male Subject B

  • Medium skin tone
  • Possibly late 30s
  • 5’10” to 6’0″
  • 200 to 220 pounds
  • Stocky build
  • Shaved head
  • Black long sleeve T-shirt
  • Black cargo pants
  • Black bandanna

Female subject

  • White
  • Pale complexion
  • Possibly 30s
  • 5’7″ to 5’9″
  • Long black hair (possibly a wig)

The Oak Ridge Police Department responded to the Oak Ridge branch of Y-12 Federal Credit Union on Lafayette Drive at about 9:15 a.m. Tuesday, April 28. The credit union was cordoned off and closed the rest of that day and the next day, Wednesday, April 29, although the credit union’s headquarters, which share a five-story building with the local branch, remained open.  The incident is being investigated jointly by the FBI Safe Streets Task Force (SSTF), comprised of the FBI, Knoxville Police Department, and the Knox County Sheriff’s Office, the KCSO Major Crimes Unit, and the Oak Ridge Police Department. Members of the public are encouraged to report information about this incident to the Knoxville FBI at (865) 544-0751 or KCSO at (865) 215-2444.

 

CHS holding 2 spring football games

 

Clinton High School will be having an in-school Orange and Black football game on Friday May 15th at 2:40 pm, followed by a 7pm game at the field in downtown Clinton.  Admission to the night game will be a 1 dollar donation. 

 

ORPD arrests man who ‘stabbed’ car

 

Oak Ridge Police arrested a man on charges of aggravated assault and vandalism after an incident Monday morning that began with an argument at an apartment complex.  55-year-old Timothy Phillips of Oak Ridge is facing those charges, which stem form an incident that occurred Monday morning at McKenzie Acres Apartments.  Police were called out to the apartments on a report of a man with a knife and learned that Philli8ps had been arguing with several people who were visiting a tenant.  The argument escalated near the entrance when Phillips is said to have produced a knife and “began stabbing the hood of a vehicle” with it.  The driver of that vehicle fled on foot but was pursued by Phillips until the driver turned around and punched him in the head, causing him to fall to the ground.  Phillips was arrested and taken first to Methodist Medical center for treatment of a cut to his forehead and a split lip before being taken to the Anderson County Jail.  The driver whose car was stabbed suffered a minor cut on one finger. 

 

Roane man arrested in lighter-fluid-spraying case

 

Authorities in Roane County responded to a domestic assault call at a home in Kingston last week and arrested a 22-year-old man.  Tyler Wright was arrested on charges of aggravated domestic assault after his girlfriend told police that the couple had been arguing but when she tried to leave, Wright grabbed her clothes, dowsed them and her with lighter fluid and set the clothes on fire.  The woman was not injured in the incident.   Wright's bail was set at $2,500 and he is scheduled to appear in Roane County General Sessions Court on June 15.

 

Gooch says Main Street OR on schedule for June 30th groundbreaking

 

(Oak Ridge Today) Groundbreaking and demolition for Main Street Oak Ridge, the $80 million redevelopment of the former Oak Ridge Mall property, is on schedule to begin by June 30, Mayor Warren Gooch said Tuesday.  The mayor made his remarks during Lunch with the League sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Oak Ridge.  Crosland Southeast, the North Carolina-based company that has proposed the project, announced last week that MDC Development Group of Atlanta will be the hotel developer at the site.  Gooch told attendees at Lunch with the League that he learned Monday that the retail leasing component of Main Street Oak Ridge is “moving forward,” along with negotiations with a developer for the multi-family housing component of the project..

 

WBIR:  Vann back in court

 

(WBIR) Lonnie Vann, the former Campbell County teacher accused of murder and kidnapping, appeared in court Monday morning.  The grand jury's nine-county indictment alleges Vann on Dec. 2 kidnapped and committed the first-degree murder and felony murder of 49-year-old Rhonda M. Daugherty.  He was arraigned on a new indictment handed down when the clerk's office from Claiborne County was assigned the case.  Vann entered a plea of not guilty. He is being represented by the public defender's office. A status hearing will be held on Aug. 17th. No trial date has been set as of yet.

 

AC Library Board to meet

 

The Anderson County Library Board has announced it will meet on Thursday, May 21st at 4 p.m. at the Clinton Public Library. 

 

Report:  Anderson steps down amid probe

 

According to the News-Sentinel, longtime Oak Ridge High School head track coach and science teacher Eddie Anderson is being investigated for allegedly having “inappropriate contact with a former student.”  The school system announced last week that Anderson had been placed on unpaid leave while Oak Ridge Police investigated at-the-time unspecified allegations.  The News-Sentinel reports that Anderson submitted his retirement papers last Friday, effective June 2nd.  In addition to his coaching duties, Anderson also taught chemistry and AP chemistry while serving as the chairman of the school’s science department.  Specific details of the allegations being investigated by the police have not been made available.  The paper also reports that Anderson was reprimanded just last month after school administrators looked into several allegations made against Anderson following a track team trip to a meet in South Carolina.  Anderson was disciplined for allowing the team to stay at a hotel deemed “unacceptable and dangerous” by fellow staff members, allowing students to choose their own rooms—which allegedly led to an “inappropriate” situation involving a male and female student, and not having a meal plan in place for team members.  According to the KNS, “Anderson also didn’t answer the phone when students’ parents called…and he left early the next morning after the track meet and took the girl and boy who ‘engaged in inappropriate contact’ home.”   He was also taken to task for allegedly failing to notify assistant coaches that he was leaving, which left those three assistants supervising 55 students. 

 

State to hear nominations for Historic Register

 

(Tennessee Historical Commission)  The State Review Board will meet on Wednesday, May 20 to examine Tennessee's proposed nominations to the National Register of Historic Places. 

The meeting will be held at the Tennessee Historical Commission office, Clover Bottom Mansion, 2941 Lebanon Road, Nashville. It will begin at 9:00 a.m. 

The Board will vote on seven nominations from across the state. Those nominations that are found to meet the criteria will be sent for final approval to the National Register of Historic Places in the Department of the Interior. The Board will also look at removing one property that is listed in the National Register. 

The State Review Board is composed of 13 people with backgrounds in American history, architecture, archaeology or related fields. It also includes members representing the public. The National Register program was authorized under the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966. 

The public is invited to attend the meeting.  For more information about the National Register of Historic Places or the Tennessee Historical Commission, please visit the website at http://www.tn.gov/environment/history.

 

AC seniors rally for new senior center

 

Tuesday in Clinton, Anderson County seniors took their quest for a new Senior Center to the front steps of the Courthouse.  At 10 am, seniors convened in front of the Courthouse carrying signs indicating their desire for a new Senior Center and reminding county officials that they and their demands are not going anywhere.  Currently housed in a woefully small and inadequate facility in downtown Clinton, the Office on Aging—which serves as the de facto Senior Center—and the Council on Aging has been actively searching for a suitable building.  A couple of months ago, they though that they had found a suitable location for a Senior Center but that deal fell through when the rent turned out to be higher than the East Tennessee Human Resource Agency—or ETHRA—was willing to pay.  ETHRA provides a significant portion of the Office’s budget.  This morning, Sharon Clapp, the Vice President of the Council on Aging, told us why they are taking their fight to the streets:  “We want the county and the commissioners to realize and know that Anderson County needs a senior center, we need a building and they can provide that for us.  We need all of the county’s seniors to contact their commissioners and let them know that we need a senior center in Anderson County.”  Clapp says that officials she has spoken with have said there is no money, or it would require a tax increase, which Clapp says is not the case.  When asked if she was satisfied with the answers she has received, Ms. Clapp replied quickly, “No.  I think they just put us off…and think maybe if they ignore us, we will go away.  We are not going away.”  We will continue to follow this story for you and will be joined on Monday may 11th in studio by Felicia Foust with the Office on Aging to get the latest.

 

ORPD arrests man after chase, shots fired

 

Oak Ridge Police say that the drivers of a car and a truck rammed each other during a police chase last week and the driver of the sedan fired shots at the truck before he was arrested.  Oak Ridge officers responded to a home in the Hendrix Creek subdivision shortly before 11 pm on Wednesday April 29th after someone called and said that a man later identified as 44-year-old David Dunlap Jr. of Oliver Springs had been there with a pistol making threats.  When officers arrived, they were told Dunlap had gone to a house in the Highland View neighborhood and they headed that way.  While en route, officers encountered two vehicles, a sedan and a truck, on Outer Drive near New York Avenue traveling at a high rate of speed, a press release said.  Officers reported that as the two vehicles got closer to their position, Dunlap, who was driving the sedan, fired shots at the truck..  Officers began pursuing both vehicles eastbound on Outer Drive and then southbound on New York Avenue.  Police say that Dunlap and the driver of the truck continued to ram each other’s vehicles repeatedly.  The driver of the truck stopped at the intersection of New York Avenue and Nolan Road, while Dunlap continued south on New York Avenue, reportedly tossing his pistol out the window as he fled.  Dunlap continued fleeing from police until he was stopped on Vermont Avenue, taken into custody and charged with aggravated assault, reckless endangerment, and evading arrest. Dunlap’s gun, a .45 caliber revolver, was recovered on New York Avenue.  Dunlap was taken to the Anderson County Jail. The driver of the truck was taken to the hospital for treatment of injuries and officers indicated that further charges could be pending in this case. 

 

AC LSAC makes no progress on review

 

The Anderson County Legal Services Advisory Committee met Monday night to continue discussing a possible review of the policies, practices and procedures of the County Law Director’s office.  After an hour of discussions, which at times became somewhat heated, members voted to postpone the discussion for another month.  This is another front in the high-profile battle between County Mayor Terry Frank and Law Director Jay Yeager, which has raged unchecked since she took off ice on the fall of 2012.  Earlier this year, the Committee, which along with the County Commission has the authority to hire and fire the law director under the private act that created the office in 2006, voted to conduct a third-party review of the office.  Committee member and County Commissioner Myron Iwanski said Monday that none of the three agencies he approached about conducting such a review agreed to do so, and he blamed what he called the “toxic political atmosphere” in the county.  He said that UT’s County Technical Assistance Service—or CTAS, a law director in another county and a UT professor all declined to conduct the review but added that he did find a Nashville attorney willing to conduct the review for $150 an hour, which is said to be a discounted rate.  Mayor Frank, meanwhile, says that the review should be conducted by the State Supreme Court’s Board of Professional Responsibility, which conducts oversight of all attorneys in Tennessee.  The date of the next meeting of the Legal Services Advisory Committee has not been announced as yet.

 

AC Chamber:  Job Fair a “Success”

 

(Submitted) The Anderson County Chamber of Commerce hosted a Job Fair at the Y-12 New Hope Center on April 30 with 25 companies representing 1,600 job opportunities.  Over 1,100 applicants from Scott to Morgan County and beyond visited the Fair to vie for the jobs. 

Organized by the Chamber’s Education/Workforce Council and assisted by the Chamber Ambassadors, the event was designed to connect employers and applicants.

Chamber President Rick Meredith, “We were ecstatic with the response from employers and the number of applicants.  It is rewarding to see job seekers connect with employers.  We look forward to hosting a similar Job Fair in the fall.”

Rep. John Ragan issued this statement through Facebook …… GREAT NEWS FOR ANDERSON COUNTY-- March Labor Reports show unemployment numbers falling.

Anderson County's unemployment rate has fallen from 7.0% in March 2014 to 6.0% in March 2015.  Oak Ridge's unemployment rate has fallen from 6.5% in March 2014 to 5.9% in February 2015 and is projected at 5.2% in March 2015. For more information visit:  http://www.tn.gov/labor-wfd/lmr/

The Anderson County Chamber of Commerce mission is to encourage economic development, government initiatives, and community initiatives that result in prosperity for members and citizens of Anderson County.  For more information contact the Chamber at 865-457-2559 or email: accc@andersoncountychamber.org.

 

ORT:  Teacher, coach on leave pending investigation

 

An Oak Ridge High School science teacher and track coach has been suspended from his teaching duties without pay pending an investigation by the Oak Ridge Police Department.  Our partners at Oak Ridge Today report that “undisclosed information [concerning Eddie Anderson] was reported to the Oak Ridge Schools Superintendent’s Office on Thursday morning.”  The matter was referred to the Oak Ridge Police Department for its consideration and investigation.  Anderson has been suspended from his teaching duties without pay while the investigation is under way.  “If Mr. Anderson is vindicated or reinstated following the investigation, he shall be paid full salary for the period of his suspension,” school officials said.  Anderson teaches chemistry and AP chemistry, and he has been a track and field coach at ORHS since 1979 and the ORHS head coach since 1996.  In the meantime, officials said Oak Ridge Cross Country/Track Coach Allen Etheridge will be filling in as interim track and field coach.

 

GSMNP announces Alum Cave Trail work

 

Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials announced that a 2-year trail restoration project will begin next week on Alum Cave Trail. The trail and associated parking areas will be closed May 4 through November 19, excluding federal holidays, on Monday mornings at 7:00 a.m. through Thursday evenings at 5:30 p.m. weekly. Due to the construction process on the narrow trail, a full closure is necessary for the safety of both the crew and visitors. The trail will be fully open each week on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. 

The Trails Forever crew will focus restoration efforts on several targeted locations along the 5-mile trail to improve visitor safety and stabilize eroding trail sections. Alum Cave Trail is one of the most popular trails in the park, leading hikers to iconic areas including Arch Rock, Inspiration Point, Alum Cave Bluffs, Mt. Le Conte, and LeConte Lodge. Park rangers respond to numerous accidents along the trail each year, especially along the upper, narrow corridors. The planned work will improve overall trail safety and protect natural resources by repairing historic cable and handrail systems, reinforcing hanging trail sections, reducing trail braiding, and improving drainage to prevent further erosion. There are also several narrow areas where erosion and small landslides have damaged significant sections of the trail, making it difficult to safely travel through the areas during inclement weather or to pass hikers coming from the opposite direction. By restoring these fragile trail sections, the park can best ensure long-term sustainability and protect trailside natural communities from degradation.

Hikers can still reach Mt. Le Conte, LeConte Lodge, and the Le Conte Shelter by using one of the other five trails to the summit. The Mt. LeConte Lodge and Mt. Le Conte backcountry shelter will remain open and can be accessed from any of these other routes during the Alum Cave Trail closure. The Boulevard, Bull Head, Rainbow Falls, Trillium Gap, and Brushy Mountain trails all lead to Mt. Le Conte, but trailhead parking is limited. Carpooling is encouraged. Day hikers should also consider enjoying other trails offering stunning views such as Chimney Tops Trail, Forney Ridge Trail to Andrews Bald, or the Appalachian Trail from Newfound Gap to Charlie’s Bunion. 

Trails Forever is a partnership program between Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the Friends of the Smokies. The Friends have donated $500,000 to support the program, in part through the generosity of the Knoxville based Aslan Foundation. The Trails Forever program provides the opportunity for a highly skilled trail crew to focus reconstruction efforts on high use and high priority trails in the park including the recently restored Chimney Tops Trail and Forney Ridge Trail. The program also provides a mechanism for volunteers to work alongside the trail crew on these complex trail projects to assist in making lasting improvements to preserve the trails for future generations.  For more information about the Alum Cave Trail closure, please visit http://www.nps.gov/grsm/planyourvisit/alum-cave-closure-faqs.htm where you can find answers to frequently asked questions and updates on the trail restoration.

 

May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month

 

May is designated as national Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month. The Tennessee Governor’s Highway Safety Office and the Tennessee Highway Patrol joined today to share a unified message: Share the Road. 

“As the weather gets warmer, more and more motorcyclists will be on the road,” said Governor’s Highway Safety Office Director Kendell Poole. “It takes everyone working together to stay safe. Motorcyclists take extra precaution with protective gear and being aware of their surroundings. We are asking all other drivers to do their part and take the extra time to look twice.” 

According to the Department of Safety and Homeland Security, there were 2,710 known crashes involving a motorcycle in 2014 that resulted in 121 deaths. 

“When a car collides with a motorcyclist, it is much different than a crash between two cars,” said Tennessee Highway Patrol Colonel Tracy Trott. “A motorcyclist has little defense against the tons of steel that will hit them. While traffic fatalities statewide are declining, motorcycle fatalities have continued to rise. Over the last decade, we have seen an approximate twenty-five percent increase.” 

Among those speaking at the press event included motorcycle crash survivor Wayne Fielder. In 2008, Wayne was riding his 2005 Harley Davidson “Fatboy” in Lebanon when a car cut in front of him. He hit the bumper and side wheel of the other vehicle and was thrown several feet upon impact. “I am living proof of the consequences that can occur when drivers don’t take the extra second to look twice. There are countless others that don’t survive a crash like mine. If I can communicate one thing today, it’s please share the road.” Wayne suffered extensive nerve damage and injury required him to have below the knee amputation. 

Dr. Brad Dennis, Director of Trauma Outreach and Education at Vanderbilt Medical Center, attended the event to discuss his experiences in the critical care unit. “The biggest threat to motorcyclists today is other drivers.  I encourage all drivers to be aware of those around them on roadways, especially motorcyclists.  The most important thing motorcyclists can do to protect themselves is to wear the appropriate gear.  Without a doubt, the most essential piece of protection is a full-face helmet.  There is overwhelming research that demonstrates that helmet-use is the best chance for survival in motorcycle crashes.” 

There are additional steps that even a seasoned motorcycle rider can take to become more experienced. “The Tennessee Motorcycle Rider Education Program (MREP) can teach everyone to ride a motorcycle safely.  It also teaches experienced riders to ride safer.  We have a learn-to-ride program that fits everyone, from people who have never ridden a motorcycle to people who are experienced,” said MREP Instructor T. J. Tennent. 

For more information about motorcycle safety, please visit the Governor’s Highway Safety Office website atwww.tntrafficsafety.org.

 

Larger-scale review could cost OR

 

The expanded scope of a review of issues within the Oak Ridge Police Department could mean that the city will have to pay the University of Tennessee’s Municipal Technical Advisory Service—or MTAS- $50 per hour for its work.  MTAS had initially proposed a limited review of turnover, morale, and administrative policies in the Oak Ridge Police Department at no charge to the city.  That review, which would have included interviews with a random sample of ORPD employees, was approved by the Oak Ridge City Council during a March 27 special meeting.  But the City Council asked to start over after the initial list of employees to be interviewed was sent to several people, including the police chief, raising concerns about the confidentiality and impartiality of the review.

During an April 21 special meeting, City Council agreed 5-2 to start over by asking MTAS to interview all employees and try to interview former employees who have left since Police Chief Jim Akagi started on July 1, 2011.  However, that vote meant the city’s contract with MTAS, which had already started the initial review, must be renegotiated.   According to Oak Ridge Today, Thursday, MTAS sent Oak Ridge Mayor Warren Gooch a letter asking for more information about the expanded scope of the inquiry. Those questions will be discussed during a City Council work session on Tuesday, May 5.  In the letter to Gooch, MTAS Executive Director Jim Thomas said the expanded inquiry “presents a very significant change to the original scope of work…it already appears that the MTAS resources needed to meet the new scope of work are significantly greater than under the original scope,” he said. “Assuming this to be the case, and should MTAS and the city move forward together, it is very likely that MTAS will charge the city $50 per hour for future MTAS work on this project.”

Thomas said he couldn’t estimate a total cost yet, but the additional information will help MTAS develop an estimate.

Among the questions from MTAS:

  • How many total employees are to be interviewed, and how many former employees are affected? (Oak Ridge Mayor Pro Tem Ellen Smith has estimated that the total number of potential interviews could exceed 100. The Oak Ridge Police Department has 78 total budgeted positions, including clerical, dispatch, patrol, the animal shelter, and supervisors. As of March 14, there were 36 former employees that could potentially be interviewed during the review.)
  • Will each employee be allowed to voluntarily participate in the interview process or will they be required to participate?
  • Is the focus of the project still a limited review of Oak Ridge Police Department turnover, morale, and departmental policies and procedures?

The Tuesday work session starts at 5 p.m. in the Oak Ridge Municipal Building Training Room.  You can read much more about this story, including the letter from MTAS to the city, at www.oakridgetoday.com.  

 

Commodity card sign-ups begin May 4th

 

Anderson County Community Action will be taking applications for the orange commodity cards beginning May 4 until May 15 on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays from 8-12 at our office at 149 North Main Street.  If you already have the orange card you do not have to sign back up.  Please bring with you proof of ALL household income (not a bank statement), proof of address, and know birth dates and social security for all household members.  Commodities will be distributed Thursday May 21 from 10-1.  Please bring six (6) brown paper bags and your orange card.  For more information, please call our office @ 457-5500.

 

Clinch River Community School Plant Sale

 

The Clinch River Community School Plant Sale will be held from Monday April 6th through Memorial Day.  Sale hours will be from 8:20am to 5pm on weekdays at the Clinch River Community School Greenhouse located up the hill behind the Anderson County Career Technical Center at 160 Maverick Circle in Clinton.  They will have ferns, seven types of tomatoes, six kinds of peppers and a host of other vegetables (lettuce, mustard greens, okra, cucumbers, yellow squash, and zucchini).  Also available are several types of potted, bedding and beautiful hanging baskets.  Money raised from the plant sale goes right back into the agricultural educational programs for Clinch River students.  For more information, stop by or call 865-457-7462 and ask for Ms. Hines.  

 

ORT:  Hotel developer chosen for Main Street OR

 

(Oak Ridge Today) Crosland Southeast, the developer of the $80 million, 60-acre Main Street Oak Ridge project, announced Thursday that Atlanta-based MDC development group, through its affiliated company Canterfield Hotel Group LLC, will build a new 120-room hotel at the site. The hotel brand has yet to be determined, and feasibility studies are ongoing to determine which brand would best complement the Oak Ridge community.  In addition to hotels and restaurants, MDC has been a force in the senior housing industry, the press release said. Currently, the company is developing and operating its “Canterfield” brand of independent and assisted living housing in Tennessee (including Oak Ridge), Georgia, South Carolina, and Florida.  Read more about the announcement at www.oakridgetoday.com.  

 

OSHS announces graduation info

 

Oliver Springs High School will present 84 seniors for graduation. The Class of 2015 Graduation Commencement will be held on Tuesday, May 19th beginning at 7:30 pm. The event will be held on the DJ Brittain Field. In case of rain the ceremony will be held in the gym. A Baccalaureate service will be held Sunday, May 17th at 2:00 in the afternoon, at Mt. Pisgah Baptist Church. The church is located at Highway 61 and Hen Valley Road in Oliver Springs.

 

GSMNP:  Popular motor trail back open

 

(GSMNP) The Great Smoky Mountains National Park has announced that the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail is scheduled to open at 12:00 p.m. Friday, May 1, 2015. The road has been closed since November 1st, so that crews could replace eight bridges.  The bridges along the very popular 5.5 mile, one-way roadway needed to be completely removed and replaced as they reached the end of their usable service and in order to provide the best experience for visitors.  Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail is one of the most unique places Great Smoky Mountains National Park for visitors to experience the beauty of the mountains, wildflowers in the spring, and fall colors in the fall.  The road also provides access to several popular trails leading to waterfalls and even the summit of Mount Le Conte.

 

Property Assessor:  Property values decline, tax rate to go up

 

As we reported last week, Anderson County property values have declined by an average of 4% since 2010, the date of the last appraisal.  In an op-ed piece, Property Assessor John Alley Jr. said “In the past, values have always increased. I promised a fair and accurate assessment for Anderson County, and I feel that is what I have delivered to the property owners.”  Alley’s letter, which you can read in its entirety on our website, explains the process of reappraisals and what effect it may have on property owners moving forward.  Alley says it is the first time he has seen a decrease in property values.  Anderson County property values are assessed every five years.  The main purpose of reappraisal is to determine the current market value for real property throughout the county.  The reappraisal, according to Alley, is used to ensure that residents and businesses are not paying too much or too little taxes based on property values.  Assessment Change Notices were mailed out on April 24 to more than 37,000 residents that have had a value change in their property.  Although there is an overall drop in property assessments, not every property will see a decrease. Alley says, as an example, that if sales are up in a particular area versus what they are currently assessed, then there would be an increase, or if someone improved their property or made additions, then that property would see an increase as well.  Alley says that if property owners have questions, or do not agree with the new assessed value, they may call the Property Assessor’s Office at (865) 457-6225 Monday through Friday from 8 am to 5 pm between through May 8.  Taxpayers can also schedule an appointment to come to the office if needed after this time period.  The local Anderson County Board of Equalization starts meeting June 1 to hear appeals not settled during early phone-in appeals and meetings.  The State Board of Equalization begins 45 days after the local board dismisses.  A new certified tax rate will be determined the State Board of Equalization and that new certified tax rate will be determined, most likely, in July.  Since the total assessment decreased, and in order to ensure the same level of funding for county and city governments, the certified tax rate will see an increase.  The new certified tax rate will be adjusted up or down to the point that the “taxing jurisdiction” will receive the same amount of property tax revenue as it did the previous year, prior to the reappraisal. Cities and counties are prohibited by state law from using the reappraisal to generate new tax revenue.  After receiving your Assessment Change Notice, you may call the Property Assessor’s Office at (865) 457-6225 to appeal over the phone if you feel your assessment is too high or too low. If you want to meet in person with someone from the Property Assessor’s Office, you may schedule an appointment at this time as well. Due to the expected high volume of calls and walk-ins, an appointment is recommended. 

 

AC BOE Budget Committee OKs budget additions

 

(AC Schools release)  The Anderson County Board of Education budget committee recommended the addition of the following items to the current budget document that is $893,734 out of balance and will be sent to county commission for approval. The second draft budget was $54,824,500, and short $893,734 in revenues. A four percent raise at a cost of $2,069,310 was added for all employees. Due to the severe weather conditions this past winter that affected school roofs along with newly state mandated and unfunded requirements for school physical education and sports facilities, $871,852 was added to capital outlay code 141-76100-707 for repair and mandates. The textbook code was increased by $221,484; and a proposed plan to fund and sustain technology with recurring funding was approved. The proposal is to request county commission to add ten cents to the tax rate and create a technology assigned reserve similar to the tax set aside for industrial development. The proposal would not be part of the school budget, but part of the county budget. Funding the account will establish a one-to-one device for our students. This investment will allow teachers to better personalize and differentiate their instruction, and enables educators to continuously and seamlessly adapt their teaching to meet the diverse needs of their students. These additions are $3,162,646 that would be added to the existing budget of $54,824,500 taking it to $57,987,146. Technology funding at a ten cent tax increase would be $890,000.  Seven of eight board members were present and voted in favor of the recommendation.  We will follow up on this story for you as the budget process continues.

 

CPD investigating bogus checks

 

Clinton Police are investigating the cashing of fraudulent checks at Wal-Mart.  According to an incident report, a store manager told officers that on April 22nd, two black males entered the store and cashed one check each—one for $4733, the other for $4006.  The checks turned out to be bogus, which means the store is out a total of $8739.  The manager said that he believes one of the suspects was recently arrested for cashing a fraudulent check at a different Wal-Mart in Knox County, but the other has not been identified.  The incident is being investigated by the CPD’s Criminal Investigation Division and when charges are filed, we will identify the suspects. 

 

Disturbance at elementary school

 

While the following incident may not be “news worthy,” we tell you about it just to remind people to be nice to one another.  Tuesday, Clinton Police were called to Clinton Elementary School after a man allegedly threatened a woman for sitting in his seat.  The woman told officers that a man she did not know approached her as she sat in the school auditorium and told her that she was sitting in her seat.  The woman replied that she had not seen him sitting there and pointed out several empty seats nearby.  At that point, she said the man became irate and cursed at her while threatening to “knock her head off” when they got outside.  He then reportedly took several photographs of her and said he would post them on Facebook.  An officer made contact with the man outside the school and he said that he had been in the auditorium but needed to step outside and that when he came back, she was in his seat.  The man admitted to the officer that his actions were inappropriate and said “I will apologize to you but not to her.”  The officer then made the man delete the pictures he had taken of the woman.  In the meantime, the school principal was made aware of the incident and warned the man that he will be banned from school property if another incident of this type continues.  (EDITOR’S NOTE:  Men, don’t ever threaten to hit a woman, especially at an elementary school, and everyone, please find a calmer way to resolve disputes.)

 

Updated info on OR Memorial Day Concert

 

On Monday, May 25th, the Oak Ridge Community Band will present its Memorial Day Concert at 7:00 pm at A.K. Bissell Park in Oak Ridge. All area veterans and military personnel currently serving in the U.S. Armed Forces are especially invited to attend this concert which will be dedicated to them and will have special recognition of the Army, Air Force, Navy, Marines, and Coast Guard.  This is a FREE concert but donations are gratefully accepted to offset band expenses. Bring lawn chairs or blankets for outdoor seating.  Razzleberry's Ice Cream Lab will provide refreshments.  For more information, visit www.orcb.org or call 865-482-3568.

 

Reminder:  Fort Anderson cannon dedication May 15th

 

(CCWF) Fort Anderson on Militia Hill served as the base of operations for the Tennessee National Guard during the Coal Creek War, when miners rebelled against the use of convict labor in the mines.  Although the miners lost the final battle, they won the war when the State of Tennessee abolished convict-leasing and built Brushy Mountain State Prison.  Fourth and fifth graders from Briceville Elementary School will dedicate a cannon on Militia Hill on 15 May 2015, with re-enactor Bill White serving as cannoneer.  Also, Briceville fourth and fifth graders will compete in a literary competition with winners announced at the cannon dedication ceremony.  Students will interview elders in the community and ask, “What stories have you heard about the Coal Creek War?”  They will then write essays on what they learn from the interviews and related research. 

 

FBI searching for 2 men, woman in kidnap, extortion, robbery attempt

 

It sounds like the plot of a movie but it happened in Oak Ridge and West Knox County on Tuesday.  The FBI is searching for two men and woman in connection with an alleged kidnapping and robbery scheme involving the main branch of Y-12 Federal Credit Union in Oak Ridge, its president and his family.  According to the FBI, at approximately 8:15 a.m. Tuesday, a credit union employee and his family were threatened as part of a plot to steal money from the credit union.  The family was kidnapped from their home in the Whittington Creek subdivision and held for a little over an hour before the alleged kidnappers dropped them off in the parking lot of the Gettysvue Country Club in West Knoxville.  At around the same time, FBI agents, deputies from the Knox County Sheriff's Office and Oak Ridge Police officers converged on the Y-12 Credit Union at 501 Lafayette Drive in Oak Ridge on a report of a bank robbery, kidnapping and extortion.  While officers were responding, the suspects who had been holding the family fled, according to the FBI.  No one was injured and no money was taken from the credit union.  Federal authorities have not identified the family held Tuesday morning, but it is believed to be that of Mark Ziegler, the CEO of the credit union, whose house authorities converged on in West Knoxville late Tuesday morning.  Authorities are asking for the public's help as the investigation continues.  Agents say they are particularly interested in hearing from anyone who may have seen anything unusual in the Whittington Creek neighborhood of West Knox County between 7:30 a.m. and 9 a.m. or the Gettysvue Country Club parking lot between 9 a.m. and 9:30 a.m.  The area of specific focus in Whittington: around Whittington Creek Boulevard., South Northshore Drive, and/or Scott Lane.  Agents would like to hear from anyone who may have noticed a vehicle following a 2010 gold Lexus RX350.during that timeframe.  If you have any information on Tuesday’s incident, you are asked to call the Knoxville office of the FBI at 865-544-0751 or the Knox County Sheriff's Office at 865-215-2444.  The Lafayette Drive branch was closed during the investigation on Tuesday and remains closed on Wednesday, but it will re-open for normal hours on Thursday. The credit union’s headquarters, which share a five-story building with the branch, remained open during Tuesday’s investigation and is open today as well.  Authorities have not released specific details of the robbery plot, but as soon as more information becomes available, we will pass it along to you.  .

 

(FBI/KCSO press release) The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Knox County Sheriff’s Office (KCSO), and the Oak Ridge Police Department (ORPD) responded to the Y-12 Credit Union at 501 Lafayette Drive, in Oak Ridge Tennessee today on a report of a bank robbery, kidnapping, and extortion.

Preliminary reports indicate that at approximately 8:15 a.m. today, an employee of the credit union, and the employee’s family, were threatened in an attempt to obtain money from the credit union. The employee’s family was held for a period of time before being released in the Gettysvue Country Club parking lot in Knoxville, around 9:25 a.m. During the law enforcement response, the suspects fled and no injuries have been reported, and no money was taken from the credit union.

Law enforcement agencies are looking for two male subjects and one female subject (no further descriptions are available at this time). Members of the public who were in the vicinity of the Whittington Creek neighborhood (around Whittington Creek Blvd., South Northshore Drive, and/or Scott Lane), in Knoxville between 7:30 a.m. and 9:00 a.m., or the Gettysvue County Club parking lot in Knoxville between 9:00 a.m. and 9:30 a.m., who may have noticed a vehicle following a 2010 gold Lexus, RX350, or any unusual activity, are asked to call the Knoxville FBI at 865-544-0751, or KCSO at 865-215-2444.

This matter is being investigated jointly by the FBI Safe Streets Task Force (SSTF), composed of the FBI, KPD, the Knox County Sheriff’s Office, the Knox County Sheriff’s Office, Major Crimes Unit, and the Oak Ridge Police Department.

 

UWAC has new executive director

 

According to a press release from the organization, Naomi Asher has been selected as the next executive director of the United Way of Anderson County. She starts Monday, May 4.  Asher was picked for the position by the United Way of Anderson County Board of Directors.  “Ms. Asher has the unique set of experiences the Search Committee was looking for in candidates,” said Tom Hilton, incoming president of the United Way Board of Directors. “She knows the community and can hit the ground running on May 4.”  The organization conducted a national search.

“We advertised the position nationwide and were very pleased that we found the perfect match for the organization in our own backyard,” said Greta Ownby, outgoing president of the United Way Board of Directors.  Asher follows long-time Executive Director Rick Morrow. Morrow announced his plans to retire after 10 years with the organization in January, and he stayed through March 31.  Asher is a graduate of Oak Ridge High School and most recently served as the executive director of CASA, a United Way partner agency.  “I am very excited about the opportunity to lead the United Way and am looking forward to what the future holds for the organization, our partner agencies, and our community,” Asher said.  The United Way will hold its Annual Meeting and Campaign Announcement event on Thursday, May 7, at 7:30 a.m. at New Hope Center in Oak Ridge.  For more information about the United Way of Anderson County, call (865) 483-8431.

 

(Updated) Judge issues order in Rocky Top legal saga

 

A federal judge on Friday granted a preliminary injunction prohibiting Rocky Top Marketing and Manufacturing from profiting on t-shirts and other merchandise.  It is the latest development in the legal battle between House of Bryant Publications and the company formed after the town of Lake City changed its name to Rocky Top last year.  The company, which owns the rights to the iconic bluegrass song “Rocky Top,” alleges that the company is infringing on its trademarks and has filed suit in federal court to force the town to drop its new moniker and shut down any attempts to profit off the name.  The order handed down Friday by US District Court Judge Thomas Varlan, who had previously denied a similar injunction, does not bar the town from using the name, but does prevent the developers from using the name on merchandise.  Varlan initially denied House of Bryant’s request for a preliminary injunction against the developers saying it was premature since the developers asserted that they did not have plans to use or sell the trademarks.  House of Bryant asked the judge to reconsider his decision after RTTMM submitted eight applications for trademarks and announced an agreement with a Knoxville-based fashion designer to sell apparel and souvenirs.  Varlan’s ruling from last year is being appealed by House of Bryant to the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals and the defendants in the lawsuit have indicated they could appeal Friday’s ruling as well and let the appeals court decide the matter.  Rocky Top Marketing and Manufacturing has argued that the name “Rocky Top” refers only to a geographic location and not trademark infringement.  A trial is currently set for February 2016.

 

GSMNP names Soehn Employee of Year

 

(GSMNP) Great Smoky Mountains National Park is pleased to announce the selection of Dana Soehn as the Park’s 2014 “Employee of the Year.”   This marks the 31st anniversary of an important partnership between the park and its neighboring communities which recognizes the outstanding work of park employees in all disciplines.  A public event will be held on Monday, May 4, at 11:30 a.m. on the lawn at Park Headquarters.  The annual event, sponsored by the Smoky Mountain Tourism and Development Council, will also observe National Tourism Week.  In conjunction with this observance, a visiting family to the Smokies will be selected to participate as “tourist family of the day.”  Jimbo Whaley, singer and songwriter and General Manager at Hearthside Rentals, will serve as the Employee of the Year event emcee. 

Soehn began her career at the Smokies in 1989 as a Student Conservation Association Resource Assistant.  After her internships, Dana spent 15 years as a member of the Resource Management and Science Division.  In 2005, Dana became the Parks as Classrooms liaison between the park and Pi Beta Phi Elementary School. In 2009, Dana returned to the National Park Service as the park-wide Volunteer Coordinator where she directed the park’s 3,000+ volunteers, creating lifelong stewards of the national park.  In 2012, then Superintendent Dale Ditmanson selected Dana to serve as the park’s management assistant, the park’s primary spokesperson and liaison with community groups and friends groups. 

In 2014, Dana’s role in the superintendent’s office transition along with her continued community service made her a clear choice for the Employee of the Year award.  As Management Assistant, Dana guided three acting superintendents through their details at the Smokies, organizing public meet and greets, introductions to park partner groups and community organizations.  In this position Dana also organizes several events and programs with partner organizations, including the Student Conservation Association’s National Park Service Academy.  Dana and her co-workers have streamlined processes regarding Freedom of Information and Special Use permit requests over the past year.  Finally, as the primary spokesperson for the park, Dana has maintained an excellent relationship with local, national, and international media outlets. 

“Working with Dana every day, I see firsthand her passion for this special place,” said Superintendent Cassius Cash. “She represents the Smokies, and the National Park Service, with the highest degree of enthusiasm and professionalism.” 

Dana lives in Gatlinburg, Tennessee with her husband, Heath and their two sons, Grant and Garrett. As a family, they have traveled to many of the national parks throughout the country.  She shares her time in the community through volunteer service at her church, in local schools, the Gatlinburg Planning Commission, Keep Sevier Beautiful and many other organizations.   

Co-hosts of the 2015 event include:  Pigeon Forge Department of Tourism, Gatlinburg Department of Tourism, Sevierville Chamber of Commerce, Smoky Mountains Tourism Development Council, Blount County Partnership, and Cocke County Partnership.  

 

AC Property Assessor:  Property values decline

 

(AC Property Assessor's Office) The 2015 reappraisal in Anderson County shows an overall drop in total assessments.  “In the past, values have always increased,” Anderson County Property Assessor John K. Alley Jr. said. “I promised a fair and accurate assessment for Anderson County, and I feel that is what I have delivered to the property owners.”

The primary purpose of this article is to explain the reappraisal process and set the guidelines for making an appeal, if desired.  2015 is a reappraisal year for Anderson County.

Counties must reappraise every four, five, or six years. Anderson County is on a five-year reappraisal cycle.  The main purpose of reappraisal is to arrive at current market value for real property throughout the county. Reappraisal is mandated by T.C.A. code 67-5-1601. Reappraisal is used to ensure that residents and businesses are not paying too much or too little taxes based on property values.

Assessment Change Notices were scheduled to be mailed out on Friday, April 24, to more than 37,000 residents that have had a value change in their property.

“This is the first time (I have) seen property values decrease,” Alley said.

The total assessment of Anderson County properties—including homes, farmland, businesses, and industries—has declined 4 percent overall.

Although there is an overall drop in property assessments, not every property will see a decrease. For instance, if sales are up in a particular area versus what they are currently assessed, then there would be an increase, or if someone improved their property, i.e., new improvement or added an addition to that property, then that property would see an increase as well.

But, overall, for the first time, many residents will see a drop in value as sales ratios are not meeting the current assessed values from the 2010 reappraisal.

If you wish to discuss, have questions, or do not agree with your new value, property owners may call the Property Assessor’s Office at (865) 457-6225 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. between April 24 and May 8. Taxpayers can also schedule an appointment to come to the office if needed after this time period.

The local Anderson County Board of Equalization starts meeting June 1 to hear appeals not settled during early phone-in appeals and meetings.

The State Board of Equalization begins 45 days after the local board dismisses.

Reappraisal assessments will primarily be based upon qualified real estate sales from January 1, 2014, to January 1, 2015.

A new certified tax rate will be determined by the executive secretary of the State Board of Equalization. The new certified tax rate will be determined toward the end of the local appeals, typically in July.

Since the total assessment decreased, and in order to ensure the same level of funding for county and city government, the certified tax rate will see an increase. The opposite occurred during the 2010 reappraisal: With values increasing more than 20 percent, there was a decline in the certified tax rate, so there would not be an increase in tax funds.

The new certified tax rate will be adjusted up or down to the point that the taxing jurisdiction will receive the same amount of property tax revenue as it did the previous year, prior to the reappraisal. Jurisdictions cannot use the reappraisal to generate new tax revenue.

Any tax rate different than the certified tax rate, which is determined by the State Board of Equalization, must be approved by the local legislative body, which are city councils for Oak Ridge, Clinton, Norris, Oliver Springs, and Rocky Top, as well as the Anderson County Board of Commissioners.

New greenbelt values are established by the State Board of Equalization. Greenbelt is the Agriculture, Forest, and Open Space Act of 1976 that helps preserve those lands. The new greenbelt values received from the State Board of Equalization will see an increase in greenbelt use values. However, this value is still the lowest assessment for forest, agriculture, and open space land meeting the requirements.

After receiving your Assessment Change Notice, you may call the Property Assessor’s Office at (865) 457-6225 to appeal over the phone if you feel your assessment is too high or too low. If you want to meet in person with someone from the Property Assessor’s Office, you may schedule an appointment at this time as well. Due to the expected high volume of calls and walk-ins, an appointment is recommended. Thank you in advance for your patience.

2015 Reappraisal Time Line

April 24, 2015—Mail Assessment Change Notices

April 27-May 8, 2015—Informal hearings by telephone and in person

May 11, 2015—Begin reviewing appeals

May 18, 2015—Mail results from informal hearings and appeals

June 1, 2015—Local Board of Equalization begins meeting for formal appeals

Duties

Anderson County Property Assessor

The function of the property assessor is to appraise each parcel of taxable real estate within the county at its market value or a percentage of market value stipulated by statute. The property assessor does not determine the property tax rate or collect any taxes.

Anderson County Commission

It is the duty of the Anderson County Commission to adopt a budget and to appropriate funds for the ensuing fiscal year for all county departments and agencies. The Anderson County Commission is responsible for setting the Anderson County property tax rates.

Oak Ridge, Clinton, Norris, Oliver Springs, and Rocky Top city councils

It is the duty of the City Councils to adopt a budget and appropriate funds for the ensuing fiscal year for all city departments and agencies. The city councils are responsible for setting the city’s property tax rate.

 

OR schools name new ORHS principal

 

The Oak Ridge school system announced Monday that Martin McDonald of High Point, North Carolina, has agreed to become the principal of Oak Ridge High School effective July 1.  He will succeed current principal David Bryant, who is retiring. Bryant was an assistant principal and interim principal before he was named full-time principal at ORHS in January 2014. Byrant has also been an administrator at the Alternative Program, and he began his career with Oak Ridge Schools as a special education teacher in 1985.

McDonald was selected following the screening of applications and interviews of selected candidates by a committee including administrators, Oak Ridge High School staff members, and both a student and parent representative from ORHS. 

McDonald spent his early years in Knoxville because his father was employed by Oak Ridge National Laboratory, school officials said. He attended the University of Tennessee, where he received a bachelor’s degree in history in 1999. He also earned his master’s degree in education at the University of Tennessee in 2001. In 2008, he completed his master’s degree in school administration at the University of North Carolina-Greensboro in Greensboro, North Carolina.  McDonald’s educational career began in 2001 as a social studies teacher at Smith High School in Greensboro, North Carolina. From 2005 to 2010, he was the assistant principal of Ragsdale High School in Jamestown, North Carolina. Since 2010, he has served as principal of Jordan-Matthews High School in Siler City, North Carolina.  While serving as principal, McDonald led Jordan-Matthews High School to be ranked the 12th- and fourth-best school in North Carolina by US News and World Report. The school also made Newsweek’s list of the top 500 schools in the country for working with high poverty students and has raised its graduation rate from 61.8 percent to 79.8 percent.  Additionally, McDonald oversaw the implementation of a 1:1 laptop program at Jordan-Matthews and was selected to represent principals across the state of North Carolina for the Distinguished Leadership in Practice program on the Digital Transformation of Schools.

“We are very excited to have Mr. McDonald join our team in Oak Ridge,” Oak Ridge Schools Superintendent Bruce Borchers said in a press release announcing the hire. “His experience, knowledge of our area, and proven success will be an asset to Oak Ridge High School and the community.”

 

ORPD probes gunfire, no witnesses

 

Oak Ridge Police responded to a complaint of gunfire in the 200 block of South Benedict Avenue at about 10:06 p.m. on Saturday, April 25, but when they arrived, officers were unable to locate any suspects, victims, or witnesses, a press release said.  Officers canvassed the area to locate witnesses and checked on the welfare of numerous occupants of nearby homes; however, no personal injuries or property damages were found or reported.  “All those interviewed claimed to have neither heard nor seen anything,” the release said. “Investigating officers located and collected several spent shell casings apparently fired from a small-caliber handgun that were lying in the street near the location of the reported gunfire.”  The release said anyone with any information regarding this incident should contact the city’s dispatch non-emergency line at (865) 425-4399.

 

Clinton car lot hit by thieves

 

For the third time in a month, a Clinton auto dealership was hit by thieves over the weekend.  The first two instances occurred at Fox Toyota, where a horse trailer and a 2015 Toyota 4Runner were stolen over the past few weeks.  Saturday, Clinton Police were called to Ray Varner Ford on Seivers Boulevard on a report of a stolen SUV.  When they arrived, officers were told that a black 2012 Ford Explorer valued at $28,000 had been taken from Varner’s lot sometime between March 31st, when employees put new tires on it, and Saturday morning.  The vehicle’s information has been entered into the NCIC and an investigation is underway. 

 

Sex offender indicted on 2010 charges

 

A 77-year-old man listed as a violent sex offender has been indicted on a charge of child rape in a case dating back to 2010.  George Moore pleaded guilty in 2012 to reduced charges of attempted child rape in a case involving a child under the age of 13 that occurred in late 2009.  In exchange for his plea, he was placed on 20 years probation, ordered to stay away from any child under the age of 18 and added to the state sex offender registry.  The new charges, to which he pleaded not guilty Monday in Criminal Court, stem from allegations dating back to 2010 and allegedly involved another child under the age of 13.  While he is on probation for his 2012 plea, he is not facing a violation charge because the alleged crimes occurred before he was placed on probation.  Explaining the delay in filing the new charges, prosecutors say that delays in charges like this could be a byproduct of waiting for potential victims to be ready to testify, or realizing exactly what happened to them.  Moore is in custody at the Anderson County Jail and is scheduled to appear in court on July 13th

 

CHS academic achievement noted

 

Recently released data from the education-focused website SchoolDigger.com, Clinton High School is now ranked in the top 25% of all high schools in Tennessee.  According to the website, CHS is one of only three East Tennessee high schools with comparable populations and demographic make-ups to receive a four-star rating on a five-star scale.  The most recent ratings are for academic year 2013-2014.  Those statistics show that Clinton is ranked 79th out of 294 Tennessee high schools and the website says that the student-teacher ratio at CHS of 16.5 students to 1 teacher is one of the best in East Tennessee.  School administrators are quick to give the credit to the teachers and students at the school for the uptick in academic achievement and are very optimistic about the possibilities for future success. 

 

Relay wrap-up

 

(Relay for Life of East Anderson County) The 15th annual American Cancer Society Relay For Life event for East Anderson County was held on Saturday, April 25th from2:00 PM until midnight.  Due to the threat of severe weather, a change in venue was made from downtown Clinton to Clinton Middle School although the storms didn’t arrive until after the conclusion of the event.  The administration and staff at ClintonMiddle School should be commended for welcoming this event at the last minute and providing staff to open up the gymnasium for a “Kids Zone” attended by many area youth.  The event totals approximately $60,500 to date, but more money is expected to come in from the teams participating.  Thanks to Bear Stephenson, a live action held during the event raised over $5,000 with the big ticket item of a used Ford Taurus from Ray Varner Ford.  The money raised will be used by the American Cancer Society to fund research, community support programs, education programs and advocacy efforts.  

Area cancer survivors were welcomed at 1:00 PM for special activities and refreshments and were then honored at opening ceremonies at 2:00 PM.  The Star Spangled Banner was sung by Asha Moody and Clinton High School Air Force Junior ROTC presenting the Stripes.  Mayors Terry Frank and Scott Burton welcomed the crowd as the cancer survivors took to the street for the Victory Lap led by bagpiper Jesse McCrary while being cheered on by the participants and public in attendance.  The Parade of Teams took the second lap including:  Aisin Automotive, Clinton City Schools, Clinton Middle School, Clinton Physical Therapy Center, Enrichment Federal Credit Union, Hoskins Drug Store, Norwood Elementary, St. Mark United Methodist Church, Team Riley Mozingo, Walgreens, Y12 Federal Credit Union and Team Russell Stansberry with over 75 team members present supporting him in his brave fight against cancer. 

Throughout the day people participated in good food, games, contests and entertainment.  Bands performing included the Leon Thomas Band, The Tenos Band, Handsome and the Humbles Band and the Oliver’s.  The US Taekwondo Academy provided a demonstration and Kim Lay and her dog Al from the Anderson County Sheriff’s department also provided a demonstration.  A large crowd worked their dinner off with 30 minutes of Zumba led by a very energetic Joy Winchester from Take Charge Fitness Program.  As always the event came was closed with the 10:00 PM luminaria ceremony with an hour of reflection on those people who have lost their battle against cancer, encouragement for those still fighting the battle and celebration for those who have won the battle against cancer.  

Everyone in the community who participated as a volunteer, participated as a team member, donated money or just came out to enjoy the event should be proud of the part they took in fighting this terrible disease.  A special thanks also to corporate sponsors:  Methodist Medical Center, Thompson Cancer Survival Center, Clinton Physical Therapy Center, Y12 Federal Credit Union, Powell-Clinton Utility, ORAU, Ameriprise Financial Keeton & Associates, Star102.1, WATE-TV, Crown Industrial Services, Prism Litigation Technology, DRM Trucking, Herbie Clark State Farm Insurance, Allen Edmonson Electric, AutoMedic, Thrift Tools and Drives & Conveyors.  The Clinton event is still accepting donations.  Checks may be made out to the American Cancer Society and mailed to Clinton Physical Therapy Center at P.O. Box 916, Clinton, TN  37717-0916.  Also, it is not too early to decide you would like to participate in the 2016 event by entering a team or volunteering to help on a committee.  Please contact team development chairperson, Patty Lay at 806-8326 or PlayHouseHome@gmail.com, if you would like more information.   Together we can win this battle!

 

Clinton swim news

 

2015 Clinton Sharks Swim Team

Registration – Contact Coach Jan Smith for team tryout information by May 6

Fee Paid to the City of Clinton -- per child   $70 City of Clinton Resident   or   $75 for Non City Resident

Fee Paid to C.S.S.T. Clinton Sharks Swim Team, $50 fee for 1st child   &   $40 for each additional child

This fee is for operational items ribbons/ software/ awards/ tent rentals entry fees to weekend meets & after home swim meet pizza meal. Parents are asked to provide a 12pack or 2 of water, soda, Gator, Power Aid once per season to go with our after home meet meal.

Cost paid to JAWS Swim Shop, Female suit - $59.50 Male suit - $43.40 (taxes are not included)

Team Swim Suits PLUS $6 for a new Red Silicone cap. Other supplies goggles & such are sold separately by JAWS.  Parents may contact JAWS @ 531-2119 to purchase your child’s official team suit.  GKAISA rules state - each team member must be like attired (team suit).  This is a minimal requirement in any team sports.

Team -Practice times – May 12 through 28 - Mon – Thurs. 3:45 to 4:45pm All Ages

Monday June 1st through July 22nd practice -- Monday & Wednesday = 11:00 a.m. to 12:00pm all ages

Tuesday & Thursday 8:30 to 10:30 am 11 & Up 9:30 to 10:30am 10 & under unless approved by Coach Jan

No Swim Team Practice; May 25th July 1st 2nd 3rd or 23rd

 

Learn to Swim Registration

Mondays – May 11, 18 & Wednesday May 27 @ 4 to 6 pm

Cost per Child per Session; Resident of City of Clinton - $30 / Non Resident of City of Clinton - $35

1st     Session – June 1, 2, 3, 4 -- 8, 9, 10, 11

2:00pm to 2:45pm    Ages 5 to 7 yrs. Beginners, Advanced Beginners and Intermediates

3:00pm to 3:45pm    Ages 3 & 4 yrs. Beginners, Advanced Beginners

3:00pm to 3:30pm    Parent & Tot -Ages 12 months to 3 yrs. (Both parent & tot are in the water)

2nd    Session – June 15, 16, 17, 18 – 22, 23, 24, 25

2:00pm to 2:45pm    Ages 5 to 7 yrs. & 7 to 10 yrs.   Beginners, Advanced Beginners and Intermediates

3:00pm to 3:45pm    Ages 3 & 4 yrs.    Beginners, Advanced Beginners

3:00pm to 3:30pm    Parent & Tot -Ages 12 months to 3 yrs. (Both parent & tot are in the water)

Total Fees are to be paid at the time of registration. A parent or legal guardian must sign a release form, before a child may participate. There will be No Refunds after the first day of class. Individually missed classes may be made up with the permission of the instructor, if the current schedule allows.

Swimming Services Coordinator Jan Smith is available at 457-0642 Monday - Thursday between 8 & 1pm

Checks returned for insufficient funds will be assessed a $20 Fee****

NO phone or early registrations will be accepted.

 

Wounded Warriors to fish the Clinch

 

(CRCTU) On Tuesday and Wednesday, May 12-13, veterans from the Knoxville chapter of Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing (PHWFF) will host visiting veterans from the Wounded Warrior Project in what for many of the warriors will be their first fly fishing outing.  Looking on will be another guest: Ed Nicholson, founder and national president of PHWFF. 

The Knoxville veterans hosted their first group of Wounded Warriors in 2014, and the visitors enjoyed themselves so much that another dozen warriors are coming this year from throughout the Nashville region, which includes not only Tennessee but also Kentucky, Alabama, Georgia and parts of North Carolina.

Along with about 18 PHWFF members, the warriors will fish the Clinch River, listed by Trout Unlimited as one of the top 100 fishing rivers in the United States. To ensure good fishing for the vets, Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency is stocking the river with trout and Tennessee Valley Authority is adjusting its Norris Dam generation schedule.

The visitors will be staying at Holiday Inn Express near Norris, where activities will start Tuesday afternoon with a river safety class taught by Buzz Buffington of the Clinch River Chapter, Trout Unlimited, and instruction in fly casting by members of area Trout Unlimited chapters. Dan Moneymaker, a veteran from Knoxville PHWFF, will demonstrate fly tying Tuesday evening.  On Wednesday, all the veterans will fish along the Clinch, guided by TU volunteers. Lunch will be served on the river, and after the day's fishing the group will dine at the hotel.

Nicholson, of Port Tobacco, Md., retired from the Navy in 1994 as a captain. During a stay in Walter Reed Army Medical Center in 2005, he got a close look at returning wounded from the conflict in Iraq (and later, Afghanistan). His desire to offer fly fishing to recovering service members blossomed into what is now PHWFF, encompassing disabled veterans in all 50 states and Puerto Rico.

In recognition of the work PHWFF has accomplished, Nicholson has been selected for honors including CNN Hero; Giant Steps Civic Leader Award from the National Consortium for Academics and Sports; the 2013 Purpose Prize from Encore.org; Hero of Conservation Award from Field & Stream magazine; and one of the "50 Over 50" from Huffington Post.

Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing is dedicated to the emotional and physical rehabilitation of wounded and disabled veterans and active military members through fly fishing (for more information, visit http://www.projecthealingwaters.org/). Wounded Warrior Project helps honor and empower wounded warriors (for more information, visit http://www.woundedwarriorproject.org/).

 

Head Start turns 50, party May 8th in Clinton

 

The federal early education program Head Start is celebrating 50 years in existence this year and next Friday, May 8th, all former Anderson County Head Start students and former Head Start employees are invited to a big 50th birthday bash at Jaycee Park in Clinton.  The event will be held from 3 to 5:30 pm at Jaycee Park so come out and help celebrate 50 years of early education in America.

 

Roane wreck kills baby

 

A single car accident killed a one-year-old boy and injured a 23-year-old woman.  The Tennessee Highway Patrol reports that 23-year-old Keanna Garner of Knoxville had been driving a 2012 Dodge sedan south on Patton Lane in Rockwood at around 12:30 am Saturday when she did not stop at a three-way intersection on Patton Lane.  Troopers reported that the car went almost 150 feet off the road without braking before it hit a tree. 1-year-old Kalel Love died in the crash despite being properly secured in a child seat.  Garner was taken to UT Medical Center where her condition was not immediately available.

 

ORT:  Man faces drug charges after traffic stop

 

According to our partners at Oak Ridge Today, police said they found large vacuum seal bags that contained suspected crystal methamphetamine residue and $29,000 in a pickup truck pulled over for speeding in Oliver Springs on Tuesday.  Also found in the vehicle were tracking numbers, numerous shipping envelopes and rubber bands, addresses, documents related to the sale of controlled substances, deposit slips, and packing tape.  53-year-old James Phillip Chase was charged with money laundering, simple possession of a Schedule II drug (methamphetamine), and speeding.  The traffic stop for speeding—Chase was allegedly driving at 70 mph in a 45 mph zone—occurred at about 4 p.m. Tuesday on Tri County Boulevard in Oliver Springs. After the stop, Oliver Springs Police Department Patrol Officer Shannon Runyan requested a K-9 unit. Ben Haines, an ORPD K-9 officer, responded. The K-9 alerted on the gray Nissan Frontier pickup truck, which had a Utah registration, court records said.  Runyan said Chase was very angry, admitted to driving too fast, and was very hostile to him, using expletives.  “Through prior felony drug case investigations and arrests directly involving James Chase, investigators have learned that Chase utilizes mail and shipping companies to obtain controlled substances,” officers said in an arrest warrant.  Authorities say those cases resulted in the seizure of numerous pounds of marijuana, about 270 Schedule II tablets, and about $50,000.  Agents from Anderson County’s Seventh Judicial Crime Task Force and U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration were also called to the scene.

 

Washington Post rates ORHS #11 most challenging HS in Tennessee

 

Oak Ridge High School has been ranked number 11 on a list of the most challenging high schools in Tennessee, according to a ranking published by The Washington Post.  Other East Tennessee high schools on the list are West High School in Knoxville (#6), Farragut High School in Knoxville (#7), Morristown West in Morristown (#10), and Dobyns-Bennett High School in Kingsport (#12).  The top five high schools are all in the Nashville area: Hume-Fogg Magnet in Nashville (#1), Martin Luther King Magnet in Nashville (#2), Brentwood in Brentwood (#3), Hillsboro in Nashville (#4), and Ravenwood in Brentwood (#5).  The Washington Post said it ranked schools through an index formula that’s a simple ratio: the number of Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, and Advanced International Certificate of Education tests given at a school each year divided by the number of seniors who graduated that year. A ratio of 1.000 means the school had as many tests as graduates.  The rankings list also includes information on the percentage of students who come from families that qualify for lunch subsidies and the percentage of graduates who passed at least one college-level test during their high school career.

 

AC Chamber to hold small business marketing seminar

 

The Anderson County Chamber of Commerce in partnership with the Tennessee Small Business Development Center will host a free workshop for potential and existing small business owners and entrepreneurs who want to learn more about marketing.  The TSBDC advises and assists entrepreneurs and small business owners in our area at no cost to them.  This free seminar will be held on Tuesday, May 12, 2015, 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. at the Anderson County Chamber of Commerce office, 245 N. Main St., Ste., 200, Clinton, with Jutta Bangs, Director of the TSBDC center at Roane State Community College.  The workshop covers market research and segmentation, no- and low-cost advertising tips, and general marketing planning ideas.  Space is limited and advance registration is required.  Reserve your space by contacting the Anderson County Chamber of Commerce, 865-457-2559 or email: accc@andersoncountychamber.org. To learn more about the TSBDC, please visit www.tsbdc.org.

 

Audit:  Ex-building official illegally inspected 400 properties

 

According to an audit of Anderson County building permit files conducted by the County Mayor’s Chief of Staff, a former employee of the Public Works Department conducted approximately 400 inspections while uncertified or did not perform them at all.  The findings of the audit conducted by Richard Burroughs were released by County Mayor Terry Frank in a six-page letter to county commissioners that was also sent to local media outlets on Thursday afternoon.  The audit was ordered by the mayor following the indictment of Public Works Director David Crowley on charges he illegally performed 4 or 5 building inspections without the proper certifications and the termination on the same day the indictment was returned of Building Inspector Lisa Crumpley.  In her letter, the mayor calls the findings “alarming” and says she immediately contacted the DA’s office.  In the executive summary of the audit, which began last year and was completed in March, Burroughs accuses Crumpley of performing over 40 uncertified plumbing inspections in 2012, “more than half of which were conducted after she received not one, but two, cease and desist warnings from the state.”  The report also says Crumpley failed to conduct 177 footer, foundation and/or slab inspections at residences; 39 residential framing inspections and 33 residential plumbing inspections.  Burroughs’ audit also accused Crumpley of performing mechanical inspections without certification while she was cooperating with the TBI’s investigation into Crowley.  The report also alleges that Crumpley entered false inspection reports for about 100 additional homes.  In her letter to Commission, Mayor Frank accuses Law Director Jay Yeager and then-County Mayor (now Commissioner) Myron Iwanski of knowing about Crumpley’s violations but “sweeping [them] under the rug” and failing to alert her administration in the fall of 2012 about ongoing issues in the Public Works Department.  She also states that while Yeager “described to [commissioners] as ‘great’ the potential liability from the 4-5 inspections for which Mr. Crowley was indicted.  I leave to your imagination the words to described liability from hundreds of inspections.”  Yeager calls the allegations “false” and says he welcomes an investigation, calling them another attack on his character by the mayor, with whom he has been involved in a long-running and highly publicized dispute since she took office in 2012.  Iwanski, in an e-mail response to his fellow commissioners and also sent to local media outlets, says that he was aware of one incident involving Crumpley, but “took immediate action to correct the situation.”  Iwanski also says that he is not aware of the “issues regarding inspections in the Public Works department Mayor Frank is claiming,” adding that he welcomes a review of the situation.  The letter from mayor Frank can be found on the Local Information News page of wyshradio.com.  We will continue to follow this story for you on WYSH. 

 

(Mayor Frank’s letter to County Commissioners, media outlets) “In mid-2014, Mr. Steve Page and Mr. David Crowley first learned of a previous 2012 Plan of Corrective Action ("POCA") between Anderson County and the state of Tennessee. This led them to conduct a spot audit of files. The result of that spot audit was a precipitating factor in the termination for cause of Ms. Crumpley, our building inspector, for failure to maintain inspection reports as required by her job description as well as the 2012 POCA between Anderson County and the State Fire's Marshal's office. Following Ms. Crumpley's termination and the indictment of our Public Works Director and Building Commissioner for alleged violations of the building inspection laws, I set in motion a request to account for all permit files in the office. That was a lengthy task. But was accomplished and recorded.  When that task was completed, I assigned Mr. Richard

Burroughs, my Chief of Staff to conduct an in-depth audit of the permit files separate and independent from the spot audit of files that had been conducted by Mr. Page and Mr.

Crowley.

Mr. Burroughs completed his audit on March 15, 2015th, and submitted his report to me. It is an enormous volume of work and has taken me a great deal of time to read and digest. His findings are nothing short of alarming. and led me promptly to disclose them to the District Attorney General.

In short, while Mr. Crowley was indicted for performing 4-5 inspections in the few weeks after his certification grace period allegedly expired, the audit identified approximately 400 inspections performed by Lisa Crumpley and others while uncertified or simply not performed at all.  The uncertified inspections conducted by Ms. Crumpley first occurred over a period of several months from approximately October 2011 through early 2012, and were fully known by Mr. Yeager, then-Mayor Iwanski, and then-Building

Commissioner Brian Jenks (who also was not certified). While the State Fire Marshal's office responded to the many uncertified inspections with multiple cease-and-desist letters, then-Mayor Iwanski and Mr. Yeager otherwise swept these violations under the rug, failed to disclose these ongoing issues to my administration in September 2012, and allowed Ms. Crumpley to continue her misfeasance without taking adverse employment action or seeking prosecution by the District Attorney General. As a result, Ms. Crumpley's knowing failure to enforce the building inspection laws continued from 2012 until the eventual discovery of her misfeasance (by people other than Mr. Yeager and

Commissioner Iwanski) and her termination for cause in mid-2014.  The actions of Ms. Crumpley and the associated inaction of then-Mayor Iwanski and Mr. Yeager have now exposed Anderson County to a liability potentially one hundred times the magnitude of the 4-5 uncertified inspections for which Mr. Crowley has been prosecuted. Mr. Yeager described to you as "great" the potential liability from the 4-5 inspections for which Mr.

Crowley was indicted. I leave to your imaginations the words to describe liability from hundreds of inspections.

At my request, for the purposes of providing this information to the District Attorney

General, I asked Mr. Burroughs to provide an Executive Summary of the audit. The following is what he provided to me:

The purpose for this audit was four-fold;

1. Determine Anderson County's compliance with the 2014 plan of Corrective Action (POCA) agreed to between Mayor Frank and the State Fire Marshall's Office.

2. Determine Anderson County's compliance with the 2012 POCA agreed to by the previous administration.

3. Determine the number of residences that require re-inspection because mechanical inspections were improperly performed or not performed at all.

4. Determine the number of residences where footer, foundation and/or slab inspections were improperly performed or not performed at all.

A POCA was put in place by Mayor Frank on January 13, 2014, with the Fire Marshal's Office regarding Mr. Crowley. The same day, she provided written instructions to Mr. Crowley not to "perform or conduct building inspections." The State Fire Marshal's Office then issued a "Cease and Desist Order" to Mr. Crowley on January 3l, 2014, as the original order was apparently delivered to Mr. Yeager rather than the intended recipient, Mr. Crowley.  My finding in the audit was that Mr. Crowley did comply with the POCA, the Mayor's instructions, and the Cease and Desist Order. The POCA for Mr. Crowley was lifted by the State on September 12, 2011.

Neither the County nor Lisa Crumpley complied with the April 27, 2012, POCA that was put in place with the Fire Marshal's Office by the previous administration when it was discovered that she had been conducting uncertified inspections for several months. Mr. Crowley brought the County into compliance with the 2012 POCA in the summer of 2014 after he was made aware of its existence. The 2012 POCA for the County was lifted by the State at the same time as the POCA for Mr. Crowley. In spite of this, Ms. Crumpley continued to conduct uncertified mechanical inspections, her last one performed on September 17, 2014. 

In all, Ms. Crumpley performed more than 40 uncertified plumbing inspections in 2012, more than half of which were conducted after she had received not one, but two, "Cease and Desist Warnings" from the State. Even after Ms. Crumpley reported Mr. Crowley to Mr. Yeager for conducting building inspections without certification, and while she was cooperating with the TBI in their investigation, she herself was conducting her own illegal mechanical inspections without the requisite certification.  Since the State requirement for performing mechanical inspections was put in place on October l, 201I, the County failed to perform mechanical inspections at I24 residences until Mr. Crowley brought the County into compliance in the summer of 2014.  There are approximately 177 residences where Ms. Crumpley did not perform footer, foundation, and/or slab inspections; approximately 39 residences where she failed to perform framing inspections; and approximately 33 residences where she failed to perform plumbing inspections.

Finally, there are approximately an additional 100 residences where false inspection reports appear to have been entered into the permit files by Ms. Crumpley, creating a false public record. This occurred during 2014 as Ms. Crumpley was enjoying the protection of "whistle-blower" status as she cooperated with Mr. Yeager and the TBI in their investigations.  As for having inspectors who are certified to perform inspections, until Mr. Crowley brought the County into compliance in 2014, the County did not have a fully certified Building Inspector despite assurances from Mr. Yeager that it did.

For example, under the previous administration, plumbing inspections performed by Ms. Crumpley were conducted without the requisite plumbing certification at 29 residences. Furthermore there were six mechanical inspections performed by Ms. Crumpley during 2014 without the requisite certification while she assisted Mr. Yeager and the TBI in their investigation of her supervisor.

Mr. Perez, a witness in Mr. Crowley's investigation, performed a mechanical inspection for the County apparently without proper mechanical certification. Colleen Cardwell, the previous Zoning Officer, performed a framing inspection for the County without certification. Johnnie Beeler, who was hired by the previous administration to oversee the expansion of the detention facility, performed six building inspections for the County without certification. And Brian Jenks, whose resignation led to the hiring of Mr. Crowley, performed four building inspections outside his one-year grace period. In addition, one residence was inspected by someone identified only as "Other" and accepted into the file by Ms. Crumpley.

I am not an attorney, but I do recognize this report as a public record and as such, have released it in response to one public records request, and likely will produce it in response to other requests.

I understand the liability issues that this audit presents for Anderson County, and believe that this liability will be magnified because of the actions of Mr. Yeager and others, who have brought us to a place in time where by Mr. Yeager's own crafted definition of "illegal" inspections, Mr. Crowlev has been "investigated" and prosecuted, yet Ms.

Crumpley, Mr. Jenks, Ms. Cardwell and Mr. Beeler were not. Mr. Yeager was aware of this liability, Commissioner Iwanski was aware of this liability, and from comments made in public meetings it is clear that at least one other commissioner was aware of this liability yet (l) did nothing to address the potential liability issues from Ms. Crumpley’s actions, (2) condoned the attacks and criminal prosecution of Mr. Crowley, and (3) publicly criticized Building Commissioner Crowley for terminating Ms. Crumpley for good cause.

As you will recall, Mr. Yeager stood before you and accused Mr. Crowley of crimes, while publicly promoting Ms. Crumpley. He did so with direct knowledge that Ms.

Crumpley had conducted many uncertified inspections, even after cease and desist orders from the State Fire Marshal. It is my belief that Mr. Yeager has crafted a plan so insincere at best and diabolical at worst, to have placed Anderson County in the position of promoting and condoning discriminatory practice. I cannot be silent without subjecting my own personhood and office to liability.

Mr. Yeager directly assisted the prior mayor's office, the Human Resource office, and the

Public Works Office in establishing the 2012 POCA.  He breached his duty to inform me or my appointed Building Commissioner of this POCA upon entrance into office in

September of 2012. Minutes from staff meetings, correspondence with the state, emails and various other documents create a clear and unmistakable record of direct involvement by Mr. Yeager and then-Mayor Iwanski, in not only the POCA, but the certification and continued employment of Ms. Crumpley. True to form, Mr. Yeager has disingenuously denied his involvement after I first reported it to you, but his misrepresentations in this regard are belied by the public records of this county. 

I notified the District Attorney General of the audit findings in writing on April 9th, and informed his office that should Mr. Yeager's definition of "illegal" be the standard, then my letter served to provide notice to his office of other alleged criminal violations. We met on Monday, April 13,2105, and discussed those issues with a follow up meeting planned.  Although he sought and obtained the indictment of Mr. Crowley, I am not aware that any action has yet been taken regarding Ms. Crumpley.

I have also submitted the findings and the entire audit to the State Fire Marshal's office so that they are aware. I have also alerted them to other findings that did not fit inside the parameters of the audit, but that I felt were noteworthy, including the following:

l. Ms. Crumpley appeared on a job site where Mr. Wayne Williamson, a fully certified inspector, had inspected and issued an approval for a mechanical inspection. Ms. Crumpley re-inspected Mr. Williamson's work, and though she still to this day has no certification authorizing her to conduct mechanical inspections, our paperwork shows that she issued an inspection report that purportedly "unapproved” Mr. Williamson's work.

2. Though the State does not recognize letters from HVAC professionals as meeting the definition of certifications from design professionals or engineers, Ms. Crumpley placed into county files several HVAC letters in a disingenuous attempt to meet the standard for mechanical inspection requirements. In addition, the records appear to be altered and falsified. I have submitted those documents to the Office of the Comptroller for review to pursue, verify or investigate, as my office is not an investigative office.

I wish this letter could serve to notify you that this is the end of the issue, but I believe it is only the beginning of a new chapter and a new set of challenges for us as leaders in Anderson County. I have requested further investigation. as it now appears that false  documentation may have been created and inserted in our public records, showing that inspections occurred when they did not. I will notify you once that review is complete.

I have made the office of Public Works aware of the nature of our findings, and have established a procedure for citizens who may be concerned of the findings. It is my recommendation that Anderson County fund the cost of re-inspections of all mechanical inspections that did not occur or were inspected without Ms. Crumpley or others who did not possess proper certification. Decisions regarding re-inspection of building or plumbing inspections that were not properly conducted may be made on a case-by-case

basis, depending on the nature of the work that was performed. 

As you know, certified re-inspection of the four properties that were inspected by Mr. Crowley, after his one-year grace period allegedly had expired, have shown that there never was any risk to those homeowners, much less an "immediate danger." The criminal charges against him are scheduled to proceed to trial on May l4th. Should he be found guilty notwithstanding the absence of any danger to homeowners, then Anderson County is faced with a much greater problem due to the actions of Ms. Crumpley.”

 

Man accused in 2011 pawn shop shooting death deemed unfit for trial

 

The man accused of shooting and killing an employee at a Clinton pawn shop in 2011 has been deemed incompetent to stand trial.  During a hearing this week, a mental health expert testified that 67-year-old James Allen Green’s mental and physical conditions have deteriorated to the point where he is not fit to stand trial in the death of 59-year-old Larry Snellings.  Allen is accused of walking into South Clinton Pawn ion Clinch Avenue on November 7th, 2011, asking to see a shotgun, then loading it with shells he had brought from home and shooting Snellings.  As he fled the scene, the store owner fired his own weapons, striking Green.  Green was arrested after he returned home and his wife called 911.  Three years ago, Green was deemed unfit to stand trial but was soon declared fit and transferred from a mental health facility to the Anderson County Jail, where he has been incarcerated since.  Green’s trial was scheduled to begin earlier this month but now prosecutors find themselves in a holding pattern as they await the court’s decision as to where Green will be housed until such time as he his ruled competent to stand trial. 

 

GSMNP:  Economic impact of park over $806 million in 2014

 

A new National Park Service (NPS) report shows that 10,099,276 visitors to Great Smoky Mountains National Park in 2014 spent $806,719,900 in communities near the park. That spending supported 12,759 jobs in the local area.

“After a record setting year in 2014, we are pleased Great Smoky Mountains National Park continues to provide not only an incredible resource for visitors to explore and enjoy, but also serves as a driving economic force in the local community,” said Superintendent Cassius Cash.  “As the National Park Service moves into its second century, we hope visitors will continue to find their park here in the Smokies.”

The peer-reviewed visitor spending analysis was conducted by U.S. Geological Survey economists Catherine Cullinane Thomas and Christopher Huber and National Park Service economist Lynne Koontz.  The report shows $15.7 billion of direct spending by 292.8 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park. This spending supported 277,000 jobs nationally; 235,600 of those jobs are found in these gateway communities. The cumulative benefit to the U.S. economy was $29.7 billion.

According to the 2014 report, most park visitor spending was for lodging (30.6 percent) followed by food and beverages (20.3 percent), gas and oil (11.9 percent), admissions and fees (10.2 percent) and souvenirs and other expenses (9.9 percent).

To download the report visit http://www.nature.nps.gov/socialscience/economics.cfm

The report includes information for visitor spending at individual parks and by state.  To learn more about national parks in North Carolina or Tennessee and how the National Park Service works with North Carolina and Tennessee communities to help preserve local history, conserve the environment, and provide outdoor recreation, go to www.nps.gov/NorthCarolina  orwww.nps.gov/Tennessee.

 

Man arrested after alleged break-in, threats

 

Tuesday night, Oak Ridge Police arrested a man who allegedly entered his ex-girlfriend’s home without permission and threatened to assault her.  Officers responded to the home on Inn Lane shortly before 10:30 pm Tuesday.  Police say that 36-year-old Thurman Bates of Oak Ridge allegedly entered without permission.  Officers said the victim escaped her house by crawling out a window and running to a neighbor’s to call the police. When they arrived, officers entered the victim’s residence in search of Bates, who had barricaded himself behind the door of a room inside the home. Officers forced entry into the room and found Bates hiding in a closet.  Bates was taken into custody with the assistance of a police K-9 unit after he briefly resisted arrest. Bates was arrested and transported to the Anderson County Jail, where he was charged with aggravated burglary, domestic assault, and resisting arrest.  No injuries were reported. 

 

Clinton schools set graduation ceremony date

 

The Clinton City School system has announced the date for its annual 6th grade graduation ceremony.  Once again, the graduation ceremony will be held at the Ritz Theater on Main Street in downtown Clinton on Friday May 22nd at 9 am.  The guest speaker will be Clinton School Board member David Queener.  If anyone has any questions about the Clinton City Schools’ 6th-grade graduation ceremony, call Staci Lollar at 865-457-2784,

 

OR Council expands review of ORPD

 

During a special called session of the Oak Ridge City Council Tuesday night, Council members voted 5 to 2 to expand the scope of the review of turnover, morale and administrative policies in the city police department.  The 30-day review was approved last month and Council voted to enter into a deal with the Municipal Technical Advisory Service—or MTAS—to conduct the review.  Initially, MTAS was set to interview randomly selected members of the police department, but after their first list became widely known, Council members Tuesday voted to have consultants interview all department personnel as well as former officers who have left the Oak Ridge PD in the three and a half years since Jim Akagi took over as chief.  Akagi has been the subject of controversy since a memo issued to City Manager Mark Watson by Council member Trina Baughn raised questions about turnover and morale in the department as well as accusations of vindictiveness and volatile behavior on the part of the chief.  The Council also approved a motion to establish a temporary e-mail account where citizens can send comments about the chief and the ORPD as long as they provide their names and addresses.  That vote was also 5-2.  Akagi is also facing scrutiny from the state’s Peace Officer Standards and Training—or POST—Commission about whether or not he violated terms of a protection order filed against him by his ex-wife during their divorce by carrying a weapon as part of his job.  The News-Sentinel reports that two complaints against Akagi have been filed over the issue and last week the POST Board voted to have the US Attorney’s Office and the Anderson County DA’s office look into the matter to determine if any federal or state laws were broken.  Akagi’s lawyer told the paper that the protection order was temporary and did not require Akagi to surrender his weapons.  We will continue to follow this story for you. 

 

ORHS student receives prestigious honor

 

Oak Ridge High School senior Abby Ridneour has received the Prudential Spirit of Community Award for her efforts in East Tennessee.  Lane Gordon with Prudential Financial, Inc. in Knoxville presented the award to Abby on Wednesday along with Oak Ridge High School principal David Bryant.  Ridenour was one of six Distinguished Finalists from Tennessee for the Prudential Spirit of Community awards and the only winner from East Tennessee.  Ridenour has impacted her community through several service efforts.  Just a few of her initiatives include, starting the "Blessings through a Blankie" program at East Tennessee Children's Hospital, providing blankets for newborns. She also organized a pageant for girls with special needs called "The Miss Sparkle Princess Pageant."  The Prudential Spirit of Community Award honors middle and high school students who make meaningful contributions through volunteer service.

 

Volunteer opportunities for teens at library

 

Teens between the ages of 13 to 18 are invited to volunteer at the Clinton Public Library this summer.  Volunteers will be registering children and adults for the Summer Reading Club, assisting at programs, helping to prepare for story times, and more.  All teens interested in volunteering at the Library this summer must attend an orientation at the Library on Thursday, May 7 or on Tuesday, May 19 at 5:30 p.m.  This orientation will provide you with more information about volunteering and prepare you to complete tasks.  All teens must be accompanied by a parent/guardian.  Only 20 volunteers are needed, so please call the Library at (865) 457-0519 to reserve a spot.  Clinton Public Library is located at 118 S. Hicks Street in Clinton.

 

AC budget workshop schedule

 

The Anderson County Budget Committee has announced the schedule for meetings and workshops as officials prepare for the budget process.  During budget workshops, no motions are made and these meetings are used for discussion and formulation only.  All of these meetings will be held in room 312 of the Courthouse in Clinton

  • Tuesday May 5th, 5pm 
  • Tuesday May 7th, after regular Budget Committee, voting on final submission of budget to full Commission 
  • If needed – Thursday May 14th 5 pm, voting on final submission of budget to full Commission 
  • Thursday May 28th, 6pm Public Hearing 
  • Monday June 15th, Presentation of budget to Full Commission for consideration of passage

The new fiscal year begins July 1st.

 

Man arrested after allegedly trying to trade drugs for child sex

 

Campbell County Sheriffs deputies arrested a man in LaFollette for trying to exchange drugs for child sex acts.  Police arrested 60-year-old Alonzo Adam Branson at his home on River Drive after investigators determined he hoped to lure children into his home for sex, reportedly telling them he was interested in children between the ages of 9 and 12.  Branson was charged with two counts of trafficking for commercial sex act, two counts of solicitation of a minor and possession of drugs, most likely morphine.  As of Wednesday morning, Branson was being held in the Campbell County Jail. He is scheduled to have a bond hearing Monday in court.  The investigation is ongoing. 

 

CPD investigating theft from Fox

 

For the second time in less than a month, Clinton Police are investigating the theft of a vehicle from the lot at Fox Toyota.  A couple of weeks ago, someone drove on to the lot after hours, hooked up a horse trailer to their truck and drove off.  Sunday night, someone drove on to the lot and stole a 2015 Toyota 4Runner valued at just under $38,000.  Dealership employees called police Monday morning and showed them security camera footage from the previous night that showed that, just before 10 pm, a dark-colored SUV, possibly another 4Runner, drove on to the lot and parked next to the white 2015 model.  An individual got out of the dark SUV and within just a few moments, gets into the 2015 model and both vehicles then leave the scene.  The stolen 4Runner’s information was loaded into the NCIC database and the Criminal Investigation Division is now handling the case. 

 

Man jumps hotel counter, steals cash

 

A man jumped the counter at the Country Inn & Suites in Clinton Sunday night and stole money from the cash register.  Clinton Police were called Monday and told that shortly after 10 pm Sunday, au unidentified white male had jumped the front desk and stolen $185 in cash.  The incident was captured on security cameras and footage shows a white male in a blue button-up shirt and khaki pants watching the front desk clerk from the coffee area in the lobby for several minutes.  After the clerk finished helping customers, the man approached the front desk and distracted the clerk, causing her to leave the counter unattended.  As soon as she left, the man jumped the counter and stole the money before fleeing the area.  Hotel officials did not want to pursue charges but wanted a police report for documentation purposes.  No one was injured in the incident.

 

Arrest made in botched 2013 ATM heist

 

Back on Christmas day 2013, someone tried to steal a Y-12 Federal Credit Union ATM from a parking lot in Oak Ridge but failed miserably.  Oak Ridge Police have made an arrest in the case.  25-year-old Stanley Junior Wallace of Kingston is charged with auto burglary, theft over $10,000, aggravated trespassing, conspiracy, felony vandalism and joyriding.  Early on Christmas Morning 2013, Wallace and an unidentified accomplice are accused of stealing a large pickup truck and a Bobcat from the parking lot at Waste Connections’ facility on warehouse Road, then making the short trip to the ATM.  The pair allegedly tried to knock the ATM off its concrete pad after one of them disabled the alarm system, but that did not work.  They then used the Bobcat to break the cash machine off the foundation but failed to load it into the bed of the truck.  They failed so hard in that attempt, the Bobcat tipped over.  After trying—once again unsuccessfully—to pull the cash box from the machine with the pickup, the pair fled empty-handed.  The incident caused over $46,000 worth of damage to the ATM and the vehicles.  Wallace is also facing attempted burglary charges in connection to an incident that occurred in October in Oak Ridge.  Wallace was taken into custody on March 26th and remains in custody at the Anderson County Jail.

 

Report:  OR traffic ordinance runs contrary to state law

 

According to the News-Sentinel, an Oak Ridge city ordinance passed last year prohibiting local judges from offering options like driving school in cases where someone is caught speeding in a school zone has been deemed to be in violation of state law.  The ordinance passed last year states that the city “shall not defer imposition of judgment or allow the defendant to enter into a diversion program, including but not limited to a driver education training course, that would prevent such defendant’s conviction…from appearing on the person’s driving record.”  The state attorney general says, however, that the ordinance runs contrary to state law, which grants judges the discretion to use whatever penalty they feel is appropriate—whether it is a fine, driver’s school or some other option—to sentence someone convicted of a moving violation. 

 

CHS AD honored

 

During a meeting Tuesday of the Tennessee Interscholastic Athletic Association, Clinton High School Athletic Director Dan Jenkins was named Tennessee Athletic Director of the Year.  Congratulations to Dan Jenkins and keep up the good work!

 

Charges against elderly judge dropped

 

Aggravated assault charges against a 94-year-old former acting Oak Ridge city judge have been dropped.  Prosecutors dropped the charge against Lawrence Tunnell this week after the alleged victim in the case indicated to them that he no longer wanted to prosecute and now cannot be located.  The incident occurred on November 21st of last year after Good Samaritans helped Tunnell get up and back into his car after taking a fall.  The victim, Charles Smallwood, told Oak Ridge Police that he and others were trying to get Tunnell to hang around after the fall so that he could be checked out by paramedics but Tunnell refused.  Smallwood reportedly stood in front of Tunnell’s car and the now-former judge cursed at him and told him to move or he would run him over.  When Smallwood refused to move, Tunnell is accused of hitting him with the car and driving off.  Smallwood was treated at UT Medical Center for minor injuries but now says that he does not wish to prosecute.  With that, all charges were dropped. 

 

Alternatives to Incarceration in AC getting new life

 

Last week an informal meeting was held among judges, law enforcement and other stakeholders as efforts are being renewed to revitalize the Anderson County Alternatives to Incarceration program aimed at reducing the daily inmate population at the Anderson County Jail.  The program was started in 2011 as part of an overall plan to address overcrowding and other issues that threatened to lead to jail decertification.  However, that initial effort failed as the first director proved unpopular with those he was supposed to work with within in the court system, and Mike Baker resigned.  The program now has a new director, Mary Ann Young, who is meeting with rave reviews from the judicial and law enforcement communities for her openness and willingness to listen to the concerns of others.  Last week’s meeting allowed participants to bandy about some ideas about how to keep the jail from filling back up, including a drug court for misdemeanor, non-violent offenders and increasing the emphasis on police officers to issue citations rather than arrest people on minor charges like driving on a suspended license.  Other ideas that have been brought up previously, some of which have been implemented, include an expanded use of electronic monitoring devices and converting the jail into a work house. 

 

May busy at Main Street Baptist Church

 

Main Street Baptist Church in Rocky Top will be very busy in May and invite you to be part of their big month.  On Saturday May 2nd, from 8 am to 12 noon, they will host a UT Health Fair in the Family Life Center.  Additionally, UT’s Mobile Mammography Unit will be there from 8 am to 3 pm and if you would like to utilize that service, call 865-305-9753 for an appointment.  Later on the 2nd, you are invited back as Main Street Baptist will hold a Chili Cook-Off in the parking lot from 5 to 7 pm. 

The following weekend, Main Street Baptist Church will hold its Spring Tent Revival and Crusade featuring evangelist Ken Freeman.  It begins during the Sunday morning service at 10:45 am in the main sanctuary on May 10th and continues Sunday evening through Wednesday evening at 6:30 pm at the George Templin Memorial Ball Field downtown. 

Finally, on May 23rd, the church will hold its annual Main Street Golf Classic at Three Ridges Golf Course in Knoxville, with a shotgun start at 8 am.  The cost is $75 per person or $300 for a foursome.   

Call the church office at 865-426-2184 for additional information.

 

AC DA steps in, appoints Yeager delinquent tax attorney

 

Friday, Anderson County District Attorney General Dave Clark stepped into the dispute over who should serve as the county’s delinquent tax attorney, appointing Law Director Jay Yeager to that role.  Clark’s decision, announced Friday afternoon in a four-page memorandum, trumps the appointment of Doyle “Trippy” Teno by Trustee Rodney Archer and Mayor Terry Frank to handle the pursuit of back taxes from the 2013 tax year.  Mayor Frank removed Yeager from the role of delinquent tax attorney, a role he had served in since 2006, earlier this year as their long running dispute continued.  Archer initially tried to re-appoint Yeager but was vetoed by the Mayor.  Archer then selected Teno, a selection approved by the mayor, and negotiated a $40,000 salary to serve as delinquent tax attorney.  In his memo, Clark writes that the payment arrangement for Teno was “unlawful” because it was a flat salary and state law requires compensation be limited to a percentage of the taxes collected.  Clark also wrote that he had the option to file a lawsuit against the Mayor and Trustee for failing to have a delinquent tax attorney on the payroll by April 1st but ultimately decided against that, writing simply “Anderson County already has too much litigation.”  Clark also indicated in his memo that delinquent tax collection is a complex issue and Yeager is very familiar with it, having done it since 2006, and that training someone new would cause a delay in collections and other issues.  Clark also points out that Yeager also serves as the delinquent tax attorney for several cities in the county and that having a different attorney going after the county’s back taxes than the one collecting municipal back taxes would present a “number of problems and inefficiencies.”  Clark said that while the mayor and law director have what he called “a troubled working relationship,” that does not supersede the fact that the private act that created the law director’s office was specifically designed for the law director to act as the delinquent tax attorney. 

 

ORT:  State grant will allow ORRA to expand course

 

A $250,000 state grant announced Sunday will be used to help build an eighth lane at the Oak Ridge rowing course. And that’s expected to significantly increase the economic impact of rowing races, or regattas, officials said.  The eighth lane has been on the city’s wish list for years, and it will allow the Oak Ridge Rowing Association to compete for bigger races and international regattas.  According to preliminary estimates, the eighth lane could cost about $350,000 total, meaning the city of Oak Ridge might have to contribute up to $100,000 to complete the project.  State Representative John Ragan said the regional impact of the regattas in Oak Ridge is estimated at $13 million now, but it could increase to $33 million, according to a University of Tennessee study.  Russell Byrd, board president for the Oak Ridge Rowing Association, said international regattas require an eighth lane. The city’s rowing course, which is on the Clinch River at Melton Lake Park in east Oak Ridge, now has seven.  Ragan said the state funding should be available July 1. Oak Ridge City Manager Mark Watson said the city will have to discuss its contribution during budget talks this spring.  Officials said permits from the Tennessee Valley Authority and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have been approved, and work has to be started within the three-year time period of those permits.  The timeline for construction is not clear yet.   Sunday’s announcement was made at the Oak Ridge Rowing Association’s boathouse as the Southern Intercollegiate Rowing Association championship regatta was under way. For more, visit www.oakridgetoday.com

 

Man charged after bribery attempt

 

A Clinton man was charged with bribery of a public servant after he allegedly offered to pay a probation officer $40 to help him pass a court-requested drug test, authorities said.  Ronald Lynn Fox, 55, allegedly offered the money to probation officer Chad McNabb on Monday, April 13, because he was afraid he might not pass the drug screen.  McNabb told deputies that Fox told him he had taken a Subelex pill and offered $40 to help him pass the drug test. McNabb told Fox that he would not help him and then contacted the sheriff’s office to respond to the third floor of the courthouse, where the alleged bribery occurred. 

 

Report: Standoff ends with man shot in chest

 

According to the News-Sentinel, a Morgan County man shot himself in the chest Friday night after setting a garage on fire.  The Morgan County Sheriff’s Office says deputies responded around 8:30 p.m. to find the garage ablaze at Armes Road in Petros. The man’s family told deputies he had also shot at the garage and some four-wheelers.  When deputies approached the man, who was sitting on a railroad crosstie, he shot himself in the chest with a .22-caliber.  The man was taken to UT Medical Center in Knoxville in critical condition, and his name wasn’t immediately released.

 

ORT:  Preschool paint fix project comes in WAY under nudget

 

The Oak Ridge City Council had agreed to use $150,000 in red-light camera money to repair the lead-based paint on the city’s Preschool, but the low bid came in significantly lower—$24,700, Public Works Director Gary Cinder said last week.  The five bids ranged up to about $112,000, Cinder told the Oak Ridge City Council.  The low bidder has done some of this type of work at the Preschool before, Cinder said.  The work is expected to be done by this fall. It provides what officials hope will be a temporary fix while they develop a plan to permanently repair, replace, or move the Preschool.  The repairs, which could be done by August 3, were approved by City Council in February.  For more, visit our partners at www.oakridgetoday.com

 

ORT:  Most Jackson Square work will be done in time for festival

 

The interactive fountain won’t be in place by the Lavender Festival in June, but other perimeter work around the Jackson Square parking lot should be completed.  Construction work on the $1 million rebuild of the parking lot area at Jackson Square started in January. The construction contract was awarded to Rich Construction Inc. of Lenoir City by the Oak Ridge City Council in October.  The work is funded with help from a $741,609 Tennessee Department of Transportation Enhancement Grant that was awarded to the city in June 2012. The TDOT grant covers 80 percent of the work, and it requires a 20 percent city match.  Jackson Square is Oak Ridge’s original town center.  The perimeter work should be complete by mid-June. The rest of the work could be complete within about 30 days after the Lavender Festival.  The work includes removing the existing traffic islands and trees, cleaning the site, and adding to relocating utilities, including electrical lines that are now above ground, said Angel Rich Johnson, president of Rich Construction. Underground water lines will supply a new interactive water feature to be installed in the center of the parking lot.  There will also be benches, parking, new lights, changes to the angle parking, and lots of landscaping and other improvements. City officials have said the landscaped pedestrian plaza will also have stone pavers, curbing, sidewalks, and upgrades under the American with Disabilities Act. The work will include some green space and a newly configured and modernized parking lot.  For more, visit our partners at www.oakridgetoday.com

 

ORT:  Estimates for Blankenship parking lot fix in

 

A parking lot paving project at Blankenship Field could cost $225,000, according to an engineering estimate.  The City of Oak Ridge is working with the Blankenship Field Revitalization Foundation to address some questions about the work.  The Oak Ridge City Council agreed in May 2014 to use $180,000 in traffic camera money for improvements to the lower parking lot at Blankenship Field, which is used for football games and high school graduation.  The work could include resurfacing work at the lower parking lot and access to the lower levels and visitors bleachers under the American with Disabilities Act. The project had been reviewed by the city staff, city officials said at the time, and it could include resurfacing, ADA improvements, handicapped parking, and new pavement and striping.

It was expected to complement a now-completed project to replace the demolished visitors’ bleachers at Blankenship Field, a project that was unanimously approved by the Oak Ridge Board of Education in March 2014 and had a low bid of about $525,000. The bleachers had been deemed unsafe. The school board agreed to use the school system’s fund balance to pay for the replacement bleachers.  The work is also expected to complement work planned by members of a Blankenship Field Revitalization Foundation and a separate Jackson Square revitalization project that started in January 2015 and is using a roughly $800,000 state grant.  For more on this, visit www.oakridgetoday.com

 

OR Planners to discuss Main Street OR PUD

 

The Oak Ridge Municipal Planning Commission will consider a revised master plan for Main Street Oak Ridge, the project to redevelop the former Oak Ridge Mall, during a Thursday meeting.  It’s a planned unit development, or PUD, master plan.  The meeting starts at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, April 23, in the Oak Ridge Municipal Building Courtroom.

 

ACM Award winners

 

Here are the winners for the 50th Annual ACM Awards, held Sunday night at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas:

Entertainer of the Year
Luke Bryan

Male Vocalist of the Year

Jason Aldean

Female Vocalist of the Year
Miranda Lambert

New Artist of the Year
Cole Swindell

Album of the Year
Platinum, Miranda Lambert

Song of the Year (Award to Songwriter)
"Automatic," Miranda Lambert
Single Record of the Year
"I Don't Dance," Lee Brice
Vocal Group of the Year
Little Big Town
Vocal Duo of the Year
Florida Georgia Line
Vocal Event of the Year
"This Is How We Roll," Florida Georgia Line featuring Luke Bryan

Video of the Year
"Drunk on a Plane," Dierks Bentley

 

Missing man found dead in Campbell pond

 

Authorities in Campbell County have discovered the body of a missing man in a car found submerged in a pond.  27-year-old John Sellers was last seen about a week ago in the Elk Valley Community of Campbell County.  Troopers with the Tennessee Highway Patrol found his car in a pond near State Highway 297 and Brickplant Lane in Jellico on Wednesday.  The investigation shows Sellers exited Highway 297, traveled through thick underbrush, then crashed into the pond, which is about ten feet deep.  THP is waiting on a medical examiner's report to confirm how Sellers died.

 

Fire displaces 13 in OR

 

13 residents of an Oak Ridge apartment complex were displaced after a fire early Friday morning.  Fire Chief Darryl Kerley says the fire started accidentally in one of the four apartments on West Outer Drive in Oak Ridge. The man living there woke up to flames, and tried to put them out, before waking his neighbors, who called 911.  The Oak Ridge Police Department said when they arrived on the scene shortly after 3am they saw fire coming from the rear of the quad-plex apartment.  All four units in the apartment building were damaged in the fire, and the Red Cross will assist the three families living there with food, clothes, and lodging.  Two of the families may be allowed back into their apartments after an inspection on Monday. Two dogs and five cats displaced in the fire will be taken care of by a local animal shelter. 

 

Protomet awarded Incumbent Worker Training funds

 

(TDLWD) Governor Bill Haslam and Tennessee Department of Labor & Workforce Development Commissioner Burns Phillips have awarded $24,450 in Incumbent Worker Training Grants to Protomet Corporation in Oak Ridge. Incumbent Worker Training grants assist employers with upgrading skills to avoid layoffs of their employees.

“We have to make sure that we have the trained workforce to fill the jobs companies want to create in Tennessee, and these grants are a part of the effort to meet the demands of a very competitive marketplace,” said Governor Haslam. 

“So far this year, we have awarded more than $546,000 in Incumbent Worker Grants to 25 Tennessee businesses benefiting 537 workers,” said Commissioner Phillips. “Since the program’s inception, Incumbent Worker Grants have assisted 675 businesses by providing nearly $16 million to train approximately 53,000 employees.”

The following criteria must be met to qualify for the Incumbent Worker Training Program. Employers must be in operation in Tennessee for at least one year prior to application date. Employers must have at least five full-time employees, demonstrate financial viability and be current on all state tax obligations. Funding priority is given to businesses whose grant proposals represent a significant layoff avoidance strategy and represent a significant upgrade of skills.

In their application for the grant, Protomet Corporation stated this grant would provide training to teach critical thinking and Lean philosophies. This will allow employees to be more efficient in operational issues. This training also would promote teamwork skills, which would allow employees to make changes and increase production, reduce downtime, and increase market share.

The East Tennessee Human Resource Agency played a key role in awarding the grant to Protomet Corporation.

The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development administers the Incumbent Worker Training program. The program has been structured to be flexible to meet the business's training objectives. The business may use public, private, or its own in-house training provider based on the nature of the training.

 

ORT:  OR Electric Department shows off hybrid vehicle

 

(Oak Ridge Today) The Oak Ridge Electric Department has a new hybrid bucket truck that uses quiet electricity rather than noisy diesel to power its bucket boom, making it easier for workers to communicate and reducing emissions and neighborhood noise.  Workers said the electric-powered boom is as fast as traditional diesel-powered booms, and the improved worker communications with the new, quieter booms helps them stay safe.

Officials said the city’s Electric Department is one of several local power companies partnering with the Tennessee Valley Authority to bring energy-efficient, hybrid electric-powered bucket trucks to the Tennessee Valley. The new trucks are funded in part by a grant from TVA, the Electric Power Research Institute, and the U.S. Department of Energy. Oak Ridge received one plug-in hybrid bucket truck in October and is awaiting delivery of a plug-in hybrid pickup truck.

Data about the truck’s diesel and electric use will be recorded and given to EPRI for analysis. Officials said there could be a 50 percent reduction in fuel use.

The hybrid truck does not electricity for its propulsion system. Suggs said power generated when the driver applies the brakes will help recharge the batteries.

TVA said 17 of the utilities it serves are receiving the plug-in hybrid system, including 12 in Tennessee, two in Mississippi, two in Alabama, and one in Kentucky. Other participating utilities in East Tennessee are Knoxville Utilities Board and Bristol Tennessee Essential Services.

A total of 53 hybrid trucks will be distributed: 27 medium-duty bucket trucks and diggers, and 26 light-duty pickups and vans.

As part of the program, electric charging stations have been installed in two locations in the Oak Ridge area. One is where the bucket truck is housed. The other location is in the customer parking lot at the city’s Central Services Complex at 100 Woodbury Lane. The public charger will be open and free for use for five years. TVA is providing these charging stations to participating utilities and will provide partial funding for installations.

TVA said the project is part of its pledge to improve air quality in the region. The public utility said the trucks with the plug-in hybrid system can achieve up to 50 percent improvement in fuel economy when compared with trucks using traditional diesel- or gasoline-fueled engines. Fuel savings come not only while driving, but also when the truck’s onboard rechargeable electric batteries are used to operate its boom. Since the boom is nearly silent, crews can more easily communicate with each other, supporting Oak Ridge and TVA’s safety initiatives.

 

ORNL team’s bio-energy research part of huge study

 

(ORNL) A major United Nations report on bioenergy and sustainability released Tuesday concludes the sustainable production of bioenergy can be an important tool for addressing climate change.  Two researchers at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory contributed to the multinational UN document, which offers science-based evaluations of bioenergy issues including food and energy crop production and bioenergy as a climate change mitigation strategy. 

Keith Kline of ORNL’s Environmental Sciences Division contributed to a chapter on land use for the UN Scientific Committee on Problems of the Environment (SCOPE) Bioenergy and Sustainability Report. "Misconceptions about the availability of land needed for growing food crops and about the opportunities and synergies possible from combined production systems could undermine investment in a key strategy for climate change mitigation," Kline said. 

The land use chapter explores the subject of biomass and food crop production, concluding that the two can co-exist or be complementary. Projected land demands for biofuel production fall well within conservative estimates of current and future land availability, and integrated systems for food and energy production can improve food security. 

Said Kline, "Biomass production not only has potential to make increasingly meaningful contributions to energy supply but can also support practices to improve management of soils, forests and croplands that are essential for increased mitigation of, and resilience to, impacts of climate change over time.” 

Virginia Dale, a Corporate Fellow researcher also in ORNL's Environmental Sciences Division, co-authored a chapter on biodiversity and ecosystem services. "Deploying biofuels in a manner to reduce effects on biodiversity and associated ecosystem services can be done with planning, monitoring and appropriate governance," Dale said. 

"Negative effects of biofuels can be avoided or reduced by conservation of priority biodiversity areas, recognizing the context-specific effects of biofuels, and adopting location-specific management of production systems. Developing those management strategies takes time and effort," she said. 

The SCOPE Bioenergy & Sustainability Report is the collective effort of 137 researchers at 82 institutions in 24 countries that documents and analyzes impacts, benefits and constraints related to the global expansion of bioenergy. Peer reviewed data and scientific evidence from more than 2,000 sources were used to evaluate the documented and predicted effects of expansion of bioenergy production and use on energy security, food security, environmental and climate security, sustainable development and innovation. 

SCOPE was established by the United Nations International Council for Science in 1969 as an interdisciplinary body of natural science expertise that addresses constraints of society on the environment as well as the human response to environmental issues. The SCOPE Bioenergy & Sustainability volume is downloadable from http://bioenfapesp.org/scopebioenergy/index.php

Dale and Kline's work was supported by DOE's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.

         

OR woman convicted of abuse charge

 

A 37-year-old Oak Ridge woman will spend the next 15 to 25 years in a state penitentiary after an Anderson County jury needed less than 20 minutes Tuesday to convict her of aggravated child neglect following a trial in Anderson County Criminal Court.  Melissa Lopez was charged with failing or refusing to seek emergency medical care for her then-10-month-old son, who had suffered what the District Attorney’s Office described as “horrible,” second-degree chemical or thermal burns and injuries to his eyes in November of 2008.  DCS began an investigation after someone called and told them about the infant’s injuries, and DCS workers compelled Lopez to take the boy to East Tennessee Children’s Hospital, where he was admitted to the ICU for treatment of his injuries.  DCS also brought in Oak Ridge Police to investigate and their probe determined that the boy had received the burns on November 19th, 2008 but did not receive medical treatment until seven days later, following the DCS visit.  The cause of the burns is unknown.  Lopez was stripped of her custodial rights to the child, who has since been adopted by what the DA’s office described in a press release as a “loving family.”  Following her conviction, Lopez was taken into custody and transported to the Anderson County Jail, where she will remain until her sentencing hearing on July 13th.  Her then-boyfriend, Matthew Armstrong, is also facing charges of aggravated child abuse and neglect in connection to the baby’s injuries and he is free on bond pending a trial set to begin in September. 

 

AC Budget Office recognized…again

 

The Anderson County government’s Accounts and Budgets Office has again received a Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting for the county’s comprehensive annual financial report (CAFR) for the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2014.  The Certificate of Achievement has been awarded by the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) of the United States and Canada.  Records indicate Anderson County consecutively has received the award from GFOA for more than 20 years, according to a press release announcing the designation. 

“All of our employees work hard and do a great job,” County Commission Chairman Robert McKamey said in the release. “I’m proud of our Accounting Office, and knowing this is not the first time we’ve received this award, that makes it even more special, and this just proves the quality of their work,” he added. 

“I can’t brag enough on the accounting team for their continued commitment to excellence,” Anderson County Mayor Terry Frank said. “This is by no means an easy award to win.  Deputy Director Connie Aytes deserves additional praise for her leadership on our county financial reports.”

“I cannot understate the significance of this award, as it is the highest form of recognition by the Government Finance Officers Association.  The award is well-deserved for the entire team, and also should give our citizens assurance that our Accounting Office is top-notch,” Mayor Frank said. 

The release states that the Certificate of Achievement is the highest form of recognition in the area of governmental accounting and financial reporting, and its attainment represents a significant accomplishment by a government and its management.  The award of a Certificate of Achievement by the GFOA means that Anderson County’s comprehensive annual financial report has been judged by an impartial panel to meet the high standards of the GFOA program including demonstrating a constructive “spirit of full disclosure” to clearly communicate the county’s financial story and motivate potential users to read the CAFR.

 

ORT:  Two charged with robbery

 

According to our partners at Oak Ridge Today, two men have been charged with robbery after allegedly attacking a boy riding a skateboard in a parking lot at Central Baptist Church in Oak Ridge on Sunday and stealing his skateboard.  19-year-old Nicholas A. Turnbill of Harriman allegedly came up behind the victim and hit him on the back of the head with a closed fist and “turned back around, kicking him in the head while the victim was on the ground,” according to court records.  An accomplice, 21-year-old Brandon L. Harmon of Oak Ridge, allegedly stole the victim’s skateboard while Turnbill attacked the boy, authorities say.  Turnbill was also charged with criminal impersonation because he gave a false name to Oak Ridge police during the investigation.  Bond for both Turnbill and Harmon has been set at $50,000 on the robbery charges. Both remained jailed in the Anderson County Detention Facility in Clinton on Wednesday afternoon.  Bond for Turnbill on the criminal impersonation charge has been set at $5,000.

 

AC fire injures none; microwave suspected

 

A Tuesday night fire on Bland Road in Anderson County is being blamed on microwave oven.  The fire was reported at about 9 p.m. Tuesday, and the Andersonville Volunteer Fire Department responded, as did deputies from the Sheriff’s Office, who reported heavy smoke pouring out of the front door of the home but no visible flames. By the time deputies arrived, firefighters were already inside trying to extinguish the blaze.  Homeowner Wilbur Wheeler Jr. said he had been outside the home with his dogs when he heard a popping sound from inside, Poole said in an incident report. Wheeler said he opened the front door and saw flames and heavy smoke coming from the kitchen area. He called 911.  AVFD Fire Chief Del Kennedy said that he thought the fire started in the microwave and saw nothing suspicious about the fire.  No injuries were reported.

 

ACSD reminds everyone to be safe during prom, graduation season

 

With prom and graduation season almost upon us, the Anderson County Sheriff’s Department is once again reminding students, parents, business owners and the community about the importance of making good decisions during what is traditionally a festive time of year.  Unfortunately, according to the ACSD, some teenagers believe the deadly mix of alcohol and driving is also a part of this tradition. Too many are injured or killed after the prom or graduation, Sheriff Paul White says in a release. Students headed to the prom and from graduations are reminded not to drink and drive. Sheriff White says deputies with the Anderson County Sheriff’s Department will be out in force on prom nights and after graduations and remind everyone that DUI, illegal drugs, and underage drinking will get you a ride to jail. The Sheriff Department also reminds teens that getting caught drinking while under the age of 21 can result in losing their driver's license, getting suspended from school, ejected from sports teams, and even banned from graduation ceremonies. Businesses that sell alcohol are reminded to ID. Underage sales and purchases will be prosecuted and deputies will be conducting an information campaign with local beer permit holders to remind them of the importance of carding to ID all beer purchases.  Spot checks of beer sellers will also be done and not only will the clerks who sell beer be cited but underage purchasers will be charged as well. The Anderson County Sheriff's Department, local police agencies, and the Tennessee Highway Patrol will also be busy with saturation patrols throughout the prom and graduation weeks. This traffic safety effort is supported by a grant from the Governor's Highway Safety Office, Tennessee Department of Transportation. In the release, Sheriff White asks the community to help his office stress the fact that deaths from alcohol related crashes are preventable.

 

Ouster suit dismissal appeal heard Tuesday

 

Oral arguments were heard by the Tennessee Court of Appeals Tuesday in the appeal of the dismissal of an ouster suit filed by 22 Anderson County citizens last year seeking the ouster of Law Director Jay Yeager.  The lawsuit filed last May accuses Yeager of forging a signature on a county contract and failing to keep commissioners in the loop on legal matters, among other allegations of misconduct.  The suit was dismissed last fall by a senior judge who ruled that since the Law Director’s office is an appointed, not an elected, position it does not fall under the state’s ouster guidelines.  Attorneys for the plaintiffs argued Tuesday in front of the three-judge appeals court that Yeager holds what they referred to as an “office of trust” subject to ouster statutes and that he is basically in a position of supervising himself in a very powerful position within the county government.  Yeager’s attorneys countered by saying that the Law Director’s office does not qualify as an “office of trust,” instead referring to Yeager as an “employee at will” who could be fired at any time for any reason by the Legal Services Advisory Committee and the County Commission.  Yeager’s side also argued that since there is no fixed term for the law director’s service, it does not fall under ouster guidelines.  Plaintiffs expressed confidence after the hearing that the appeals court will side with them but also indicated that if the ruling does not go their way, they are prepared to take the case all the way to the state Supreme Court.  No timetable has been discussed as far as when that ruling may be handed down by the appeals court. 

 

ORT:  New traffic light OK’d for OR Turnpike at ORHS

 

The Oak Ridge City Council approved a contract to install a stoplight on Oak Ridge Turnpike in front of Oak Ridge High School in a 4-3 vote on Monday.  Officials say the light will be green most of the time on Oak Ridge Turnpike. But it will turn red when cars are leaving the High School, giving those drivers a green light.  The traffic signal lights will turn all-red when pedestrians are crossing.  City officials said the new light could eliminate the need for a crossing guard. Installing it could cost roughly $177,000. It will be paid for using unspent money from the Special Programs Fund, the fund set up for traffic, pedestrian, and bicycle safety projects using money from the traffic cameras that were removed last year.  The contract was awarded to S&W Contracting Company Inc. of Murfreesboro. That company submitted the lower of two bids.  City officials had said the light could be installed by August, but the postponement of the contract vote from last month to this will likely delay the completion date, possibly until after school starts later this year.  For more, visit www.oakridgetoday.com.

 

Garth Brooks, Trisha Yearwood coming to Knox

 

Garth Brooks will make his first appearance in Knoxville in over 18 years as he brings his world our—and wife Trisha Yearwood—to Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville Friday may 29th and Saturday May 30th at 7:30 pm each night.  Tickets will go on sale Friday, April 24th at 10 am.  There is an eight-ticket limit and there will be no ticket sales at the venue of at ticket outlets that day.  You can get your tickets exclusively by visiting www.KnoxvilleTickets.com/Garth or by calling 1-844-4GarthB (1-844-442-7842)

 

2 firefighters injured in Roane wreck

 

Two people with the Midtown Volunteer Fire Department suffered minor injuries late Tuesday afternoon when the fire truck they were in ran off the road in Roane County and overturned, according to a Tennessee Highway Patrol report.  19-year-old Travis May of Harriman was driving the truck at around 5:45 p.m with 21-year-old Ty Puckett, also of Harriman as his passenger.  May was driving a 1986 Chevrolet Pumper Tanker west on U.S. Highway 70 when it ran off the road into a grassy area.  May then over-corrected, and the tanker flipped on to its roof and skidded about 100 feet before coming to rest.  Both were taken by ambulance to Roane Medical Center for treatment of injuries thought to be minor.  Crews had to empty the load of water the truck had been hauling back to the station after the truck responded to a traffic accident before they could get it back upright and towed it from the scene. 

 

ORNL reactor receives historical status

 

(ANS) The American Nuclear Society (ANS) honored the Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s High Flux Isotope Reactor (HFIR) with the ANS Nuclear Historic Landmark Award on April 13. The HFIR has been providing neutrons for research and isotope production for five decades, including neutron analysis used in the investigation of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. The HFIR is the sixth ANS Landmark designation for the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

The ANS Nuclear Historic Landmark Award identifies and memorializes sites or facilities where outstanding physical accomplishments took place, and which were instrumental in the advancement and implementation of nuclear technology and the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. This year, the HFIR celebrates its 50th year of providing advancements and contributions to the nuclear industry.

"As we mark HFIR's half-century and the American Nuclear Society's Landmark Award, this facility remains one of the world's top destinations for reactor-based neutron science, isotope production and materials irradiation research," ORNL Director Thom Mason said. "That is truly a testament to HFIR's original design and to the excellence of its operation over the years. We expect many more years of cutting-edge science from this research reactor.”

The HFIR has the highest continuous thermal neutron flux in the world and remains one of the world's sole sources of the unique radioisotope californium-252, used in medicine, research, and industry. Its capabilities have influenced environmental studies, nuclear forensics, and criminal forensics. HFIR is currently a Department of Energy Office of Science User Facility and, most recently, it was used to discover and confirm the existence of man-made element 117.“The American Nuclear Society Nuclear Historic Landmark Award signifies that a nuclear facility has played an important role in nuclear science and engineering,” ANS President Mikey Brady Raap said.
Sites or facilities nominated should have been placed in service at least 20 years prior to nomination.  HFIR joins the Graphite Reactor, Tower Shielding Reactor, Oak Ridge Electron Linear Accelerator, the Molten Salt Reactor and the Radiochemical Processing Plant (Building 3019) as
ANS Nuclear Historic Landmarks at ORNL.

The reactor was recognized by the ANS honors and awards committee with approval by the board of directors.

 

Benefit golf tourney in May

 

A benefit golf tournament will be held at Whittle Springs Golf Course on May 23rd at 8 am with a shotgun start.  Lunch will be provided.  The cost is $40 per player.  The tournament is for a man named Chris Janeway.  He is a 41 year old father to three girls.  He has had 3 heart attacks and many complications including but not limited to congestive heart failure, a-fib, he had less than 15 % of his heart left and the doctors here in Knoxville told him that there wasn’t anything else they could do.  He went to Vanderbilt to see if he was a candidate for the LVAD (left ventricle assistive device) which works as a bridge to keep him alive until he can get on the heart transplant list.  He was chosen and has since had the procedure and is in therapy.  He has to stay in Nashville for 6 weeks to make sure there are no complications.  His sister in law came from Montana to stay with him.  The reason for the tournament is that he can go on the heart transplant list after the 6 weeks but has to have 10,000 in the bank for rejection medication before they will put him on the list.  If you have any questions please feel free to call me, my name is Dan Hatmaker and you can reach me at Daniel.Hatmaker@mcnabb.org or 865-318-9710.

 

CRCTU May meeting to focus on fishing the Clinch

 

How to fish the Clinch River tailwater for trout (spin casting and fly casting) will be the topic Saturday, May 16, at a free, public on-the-river seminar sponsored by the Clinch River Chapter, Trout Unlimited.

Experienced Clinch River anglers will introduce newcomers to fishing the Clinch through classroom instruction and guided fishing in the river. The group will gather at 8:30 a.m. in the parish hall at St. Francis Episcopal Church, 158 W. Norris Road, Norris (children must be accompanied by an adult).

Classes start at 9 a.m., with John Thurman discussing the Clinch tailwater and its history plus trout biology and what trout eat; Buzz Buffington discussing fishing safety and sportsmanship; Clayton Gist leading a class on fly fishing for trout; and Dennis Baxter leading a class on spin fishing for trout.

Participants are asked to provide their own lawn chairs, picnic lunches, beverages and, if possible, fishing gear (rods, reels, waders, boots, flies/lures). With advance arrangement, some fishing gear will be available to borrow; contact Jerry Van Fossen, jerryvanfossen@comcast.net or (865) 463-8999.

From about 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., newcomers will be paired with experienced anglers and will disperse along the river to fish. From 12:30 to 1:30, participants will picnic and discuss the day's events before heading for home. If there is light drizzle that day, the entire event will proceed as scheduled; in case of lightning or heavy rain, classes will be held at the church but fishing will be canceled.

The Clinch River Chapter's mission is to conserve and protect the Clinch River tailwater trout fishery and its watershed, through conservation projects and through education of children and adults in aquatic natural resources. Meetings are held the second Thursday of the month at St. Francis Episcopal Church except when outdoor activities are scheduled.

 

CHS Band fundraiser April 28th

 

The Clinton High School Band invites you to join them Tuesday, April 28 from 5pm to 8pm at the Clinton McDonald's at the intersection of Seivers and Sunset for the first ever McBand Night to benefit the CHS Band Uniform Fund!  The Band will receive a donation of 20% of the sales during this event.  Members of the Band will be there to play music while you dine!  Please come support the Band!

 

OR woman charged with TennCare, drug fraud

 

An Oak Ridge woman was indicted last week by an Anderson County grand jury on 16 counts of doctor-shopping.  47-year-old Cathy Moore of Oak Ridge was indicted on eight counts of TennCare fraud and eight counts of prescription drug fraud following an investigation by the TBI.  Investigators allege that Moore visited several doctors between February and April of last year attempting to get prescriptions for controlled substances.  Moore, who has been in jail on a probation violation charge since January, will be arraigned on these charges later this month.  She remains in custody at the Anderson County Jail.

 

Wanted:  1 person to serve on Conservation Board

 

The Anderson County Commission and its Nominating Committee are looking for one citizens interested in serving out the remainder of an unexpired term on the county Conservation Board that expires in December of this year.  The Conservation Board is made up of five people appointed by the County Commission and its purpose is to oversee parks and recreation in the county.  With that in mind, all applicants must be Anderson County residents.  If you would like to serve on the Conservation Board through the end of this year, you can pick up a request-to-serve form outside the Commission office on the first floor of the Courthouse or download it from www.andersontn.org.  Interested applicants can also send their resumes to:  County Commission Office c/o Courthouse, 100 North Main Street, Clinton, TN 37716.  For information, you can call the Commission office at 865-463-6866.  The deadline to be considered as a possible nominee will be noon on Tuesday May 5th

 

Trip to store ends with trip to jail

 

A Jellico man apparently misunderstood the phrase “I’m running in to the store to grab a couple of things.”  Clinton Police were called to Wal-Mart at around 2:30 Monday afternoon by store loss prevention personnel after a man tried to leave the store with a folding knife and a car battery without paying for them.  When store security confronted the suspect, later identified as 34-year-old Sharrell D. McDonald, dropped the items and fled on foot toward the shops at nearby Tanner Place.  McDonald was located within a few minutes by Detective Jason Lawson and Sergeant Danielle Duncan and detained in a yard of a home in the Hunters Trail subdivision.  Officer Brian Galloway brought McDonald back to the store, where loss prevention officers identified him as the suspect.  McDonald was taken to the Anderson County Jail and charged with theft. 

 

Mark your calendars for 11th Annual Clinch River Spring Antique Fair

 

(Submitted) The 11th Annual Clinch River Spring Antique Fair will be held on Saturday May 2nd, 2015, 9 am – 5 pm, in Historic Downtown Clinton, Tennessee. 

The Spring Antique Fair will kick-off with a party on Friday evening, May 1st from 6:00 to 9:00 pm in Hoskins/Lane Park on Market Street with live musical entertainment. Back, by popular demand are The Real McCoys. 

While you are enjoying the music you can also enjoy food from local food vendors that will be offering BBQ, baked goods, hotdogs and burgers and new this year, gyros. In addition to food and music there will also be plenty of latenight shopping in the antique district with shops remaining open till 9 pm. All events are held rain or shine and there is plenty of free parking.

Saturday, May 2nd, is the main event with Market and Cullom Streets closed to traffic as antique dealers’ line the streets for the 11th Annual Clinch River Spring Antique Fair.  Over 100 antique dealers, from Tennessee and surrounding states, will line Market and adjoining side streets to present a fantastic antique show offering a wide range of antiques and collectibles to suit every taste. Plus, don't forget to also visit the 20+ antique shops in town that will be having their annual spring sales. The antique shops will also be open on Sunday from 1-5 pm. 

The day’s events are scheduled from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Main Street will have a display of antique automobiles by the Clinton Region of the AACA.  Local food vendors will again be set up in Hoskins/Lane Park to help keep up your energy for a full day of exploring and shopping. 

The fair is sponsored by the Antique Merchants Guild of Clinton and Anderson County Tourism Council in conjunction with the City of Clinton and Methodist Medical Center of Oak Ridge.  For additional information please call (865) 457-5250(865) 463-8699 or (865) 457-4542

 

ORT:  New solar array up and running

 

(Information from Oak Ridge Today) A new one-megawatt solar array at the Heritage Center in west Oak Ridge will provide enough clean energy to power 133 average-size homes per year, officials said.

Company and nonprofit executives joined city and federal officials for a ceremonial “plugging in” of the new Powerhouse Six photovoltaic solar array on Thursday.

The $1.8 million array has 3,268 solar modules, and it will be used to sell electric power to the Tennessee Valley Authority through the Oak Ridge Electric Department.

“We’re going live today,” said Gil Hough, renewable energy manager for RSI, or Restoration Services Inc., the Oak Ridge-based company that developed the array.

Powerhouse Six is located on a five-acre “brownfield” site that can’t be used for other development. The property, which has giant underground power conduits beneath it, was acquired under a long-term commercial lease agreement with the Community Reuse Organization of East Tennessee, or CROET. The site is near a speculative industrial building at Heritage Center.  It’s the third solar installation at Heritage Center, the former uranium-enriching K-25 site.  For more on this story, visit our partners at www.oakridgetoday.com

 

Report:  OR water customers could see rate hike

 

Oak Ridge water customers will likely see a water rate hike of from 6 to 10 percent next year because of a change in a state water discharge permit.  The News-Sentinel reports that the state has ordered Y-12 to quit bolstering the flow into East Fork Poplar Creek, which starts as a spring in the heart of the nuclear weapons complex.  A previous state order required Y-12 to supplement water flow into the creek.  Years ago, the DOE acknowledged releasing more than 100 tons of mercury into the creek and while significant cleanup efforts have greatly reduced the release of the toxic substance, however, mercury still seeps into the spring from huge buildings where it was once used to process lithium for hydrogen bombs.  The state at one time required Y-12 to boost the creek’s flow rate under the theory that it would dilute the mercury levels but subsequent research has shown the increased water flow was also increasing the transport of mercury.  According to the News-Sentinel, Y-12 had been buying raw water to enhance the creek flow from Oak Ridge, which pumps water from Melton Hill Lake through an intake pipe near Clark Park, but with the new state order in place, those water purchases are no longer necessary, meaning that the city is losing some $200,000 a year in revenue, which in turn, will likely lead to water rate increases.  DOE is the city’s biggest water customer, buying some 53 percent of the 10 to 12 million gallons treated daily, according to city officials. 

 

Relay fundraiser will beautify your garden

 

The Clinton Physical Therapy Center Relay for Life Team will be selling beautiful hanging flower baskets during the month of April and early May to benefit the American Cancer Society.  This is a great way to spruce up your yard for spring and they make great Mother’s Day presents.  What a great gift for your loved one while also supporting the American Cancer Society!  The plants are being provided by Stanley’s Greenhouse in Knoxville which is one of the premier greenhouses in the region.  There are many options available including, but not limited to:  New Guinea Impatiens, several colors of Calibrochoa, several Petunia varieties, large ferns, hanging begonia varieties, fushia, geraniums, shade plants that the hummingbirds like and much more.   Flowers can be pre-ordered by calling 457-8237 or stop by the Clinton Physical Therapy Center facility at1921 N. Charles G. Seivers Blvd. to look at the inventory on premises or to place an order.  Baskets are $17 each.   There will also be flowers for sale at the Relay for Life event on Saturday, April 25th from 2:00 – 10:00 PM.  For more information call CPTC/TCFP at 457-8237 or email Kelly Lenz at CPTCKLenz@aol.comto place your order.

 

THP:  Nelly arrested on drug charges in Tennessee

 

A Tennessee state trooper arrested internationally known hip-hop artist "Nelly" on felony drug charges in Putnam County on Saturday morning. 
Nelly, whose real name is Cornell Haynes was charged with felony possession of drugs, simple possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia.  
At approximately 9:20 a.m. on Saturday, Trooper Michael Loftis stopped a Prevost motor coach bus on Interstate 40 near the 275 mile marker for failure to display a U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and International Fuel Tax Association (IFTA) sticker on the vehicle. The investigating trooper planned to conduct an inspection on the bus when he noticed an odor of marijuana emitting from the vehicle. 
Trooper Loftis, assisted by THP Sgt. Donald Jennings then conducted a probable cause search of the bus. The troopers discovered in the sleeper area a plastic bag that contained five colored crystal-type rocks that tested positive for methamphetamine, as well as a small amount of marijuana and other drug paraphernalia. Further investigation revealed approximately 100 small Ziploc bags that are commonly associated with the sale of narcotics and numerous handguns, including a gold-plated 50-caliber Desert Eagle pistol, a 45-caliber Taurus pistol, and a 500 magnum Smith and Wesson. 
The bus was occupied by six subjects, one of whom was identified as Brian Jones, 44, of
St. Louis, Missouri. Mr. Jones, a convicted felon, was also in possession of a handgun and was charged accordingly.
Nelly, 40, also of
St. Louis, Missouri and Jones, who were traveling to St. Louis when the traffic stop occurred, were transported to the Putnam County Jail.  

The weapons and drugs were seized in accordance with state law. 

 

TWRA:  Accidental gun discharge nets one-day suspension

 

A Morgan County wildlife officer accidentally fired his gun while teaching a hunter safety course in a classroom at Sunbright School and was issued a one-day suspension without pay that is being served today.  The incident involved Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency Officer Travis Buchanan and occurred while Buchanan was teaching a nighttime course after school that was attended by adults and children, TWRA officials said.  A statement from TWRA called the discharge an “unfortunate mistake,” but added that “Because of proper firearm handling, the firearm was pointed in a safe direction when the Wildlife Officer accidentally discharged the firearm.”  The gunshot was fired into the classroom floor.  King said Buchanan was using his TWRA-issued .357-caliber Glock semi-automatic during the March 19 course.  TWRA said the gun was fired during a demonstration and discussion on gun parts.  Buchanan apparently tried to clear a round out of the weapon’s chamber, but the magazine was still in place, and it loaded another round.  No one was injured, and the hunter safety course resumed.  Buchanan has been a TWRA employee since August 2004, King said.

 

CCWF:  29 assist in museum cleanup

 

On Saturday 29 volunteers, including nine Coal Creek Scholars, gathered to help prepare the new Coal Creek Miners Museum building for the future.  The museum will feature lessons in the rich history of Coal Creek and honor the Coal Creek miners and their families and teach the history of coal mining from the mid-1800s to the present, including the innovations and safety measures used today based on lessons learned during the settlement of the area by the Welsh immigrant coal miners, the Coal Creek War, and the Frateville and Cross Mountain mine disasters. www.coalcreekaml.com/Legacy.htm  Volunteers cleared out ceramic tile and carpet, removed old wood and debris, swept, dusted, cleaned windows, vacuumed, and cleared the two floors to make ready for future school field trips and tourists.  Coal Creek Scholars earned credit towards scholarships by performing community service at this fun event. 

 

Optimist Club Poker Run

 

The Clinton Optimist Club will present its 4th annual Poker Run on Saturday May 16th with registration beginning at 9:30 am at Tommy’s Motor Sports in Clinton.  Kickstands go up at 11 am and the ride will end behind the Clinton Community Center at the football stadium, where there will be food, prizes and fun.  Cash awards will be given for the best Poker hand and there will be a 50-50 drawing.  Registration is $15 per bike in advance and $20 per bike the day of the ride.  Proceeds will go toward the purchase of new cheerleading uniforms.  For more information, call Terry Benjamin at 865-457-0155 or Bryant Ellis at 865-806-0246.

 

Violations lead to changes in Harriman hoops

 

Harriman High School is searching for a new boys’ basketball coaching staff after Head Coach Wesley Jones resigned and two assistants were removed from their positions following an investigation into the program by the school and the TSSAA because of violations involving AAU basketball.  Harriman self-reported the violations of the basketball sports calendar and recommended the penalties, which also included suspending spring practice for the boys’ program this school year.  Assistant coaches Quentin Young and Darren Payne both coach AAU teams during the offseason, which isn’t illegal as long as their rosters don’t include players from a coach’s regular-season team.  The TSSAA says Young had impermissible contact in an AAU coaching capacity with Harriman players during four practices and six games.  Payne coached Harriman players in three practices and three games, including one tournament, according to TSSAA.  The self-imposed ban on spring practice includes weight training, conditioning and the use of open facilities.  The TSSAA didn’t take any further action and Harriman was not fined, placed on probation banned from the postseason because of the penalties.  Jones resigned last week and school officials say he had prior knowledge of the violations.  The assistants were officially notified after the school received a letter from TSSAA on Tuesday.

 

Knox robbery suspect nabbed in Norris

 

A man wanted for allegedly robbing a Knox County clothing store was arrested Wednesday afternoon in Anderson County.  40-year-old Anthony White was charged by Knox County authorities with aggravated robbery.  Deputies say he robbed the Burkes Outlet in Halls on Monday night. He’s accused of pulling a pistol on the store clerk and demanding cash from the register.  No one was injured in the robbery.  White was arrested by Knox County deputies Wednesday afternoon without incident at a park in Norris with the assistance of the Norris Police Department.

 

OR man jailed after gun incident

 

An Oak Ridge man has been charged with seven counts of aggravated assault after he was accused of waving a pistol at bystanders on Utica Circle on Monday night.  Oak Ridge Police responded to the Utica Circle Apartments at about 11:23 p.m. Monday in response to a complaint of a man threatening others with a firearm.  Upon arrival, officers reported that they found 20-year-old Deshon Meadow on the premises waving a pistol at bystanders.  Meadow was ordered by officers to lay the weapon on the ground. Once he surrendered the weapon, he was taken into custody and transported to the Anderson County Jail, where he was charged with the seven counts of aggravated assault.  Meadow remained in custody as of this morning on bonds totaling $175,000.

 

AC National Day of Prayer observance May 7th

 

Anderson County is pleased to announce its participation in the National Day of Prayer on Thursday, May 7, 2015.   The National Day of Prayer provides Americans an opportunity to come together to pray for matters concerning present-day America and our nation’s future.  Anderson County’s National Day of Prayer will be held from noon to 12:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 7, 2015, on the front steps of the Anderson County Courthouse, 100 North Main St., Clinton.  The Courthouse will be open, but with limited staff during the ceremony, so citizens are asked to be patient if they have business to conduct.   All Anderson County citizens are invited to attend the local ceremony, during which prayers will be offered for county officials, our nation, education, the U.S. military, community relationships, and churches and families.  Local pastors will lead those assembled in prayer, and local citizens and students will provide musical selections.

 

AC schools transfer window open

 

The window of opportunity for "Request for Transfer" applications for out of zone or system students seeking to enter, or switch schools within, the Anderson County school system is from April 1st - May 1st, 2015.  For more information contact: Terri Ferry @ 463-2800 Extension 2823.  

 

Secret City Fest honored, Merle snags award

 

(Secret City Festival) Each year festivals around the country offer festival-goers an almost endless array of activities and events.  The Secret City Festival in Oak Ridge, TN is no different offering concerts, children’s learning and recreation, science and technology exhibits, military reenactments, and much more.  The International Festivals and Events Association (IFEA) and the Southeast Festivals and Events Association (SFEA) are two prestigious organizations that evaluate and recognize outstanding festivals.  According to the IFEA and the SFEA, Oak Ridge’s Secret City Festival was among the best in 2014.  The IFEA and SFEA awarded the 2014 Secret City Festival with three and four awards, respectively.  Awards received by the 2014 Secret City Festival are listed below,

IFEA presented the 2014 Secret City Festival with three awards:

  • Best Mobile App – Gold to Innovalysis
  • Best Radio Promotion (Budget Under $250,000) – Bronze to two radio stations, including 96.7 Merle FM

SFEA presented the 2014 Secret City Festival with four awards:

  • Best Children’s Area – Gold to The City of Oak Ridge
  • Best Sponsor – Gold to UT Battelle
  • Best Photo – Silver to Rob Welton
  • Best Volunteer – Silver to Lloyd Stokes

The Secret City festival is honored to work with such outstanding people and organizations.  We are very proud that their exceptional efforts have been recognized by these prestigious festival organizations.  The festival is presented by The City of Oak Ridge, The Oak Ridge Arts Council and the Oak Ridge Convention and Visitors Bureau in addition many generous sponsors and volunteers.  The 2015 Secret City Festival will be held on June 12-13 and music, crafts, children’s exhibits and activities, and a WWII reenactment.  For more information, visit www.secretcityfestival.com

 

ORT:  CVMR contact info for applicants, vendors

 

(Oak Ridge Today) CVMR, the Toronto company that announced last month it is moving its headquarters to Oak Ridge, has provided contact information on its website for job applicants and vendors interested in employment and service opportunities at its Oak Ridge office.  Job applicants can send their resumes to hr@cvmr.ca.  Vendors can send their information to supply@cvmr.ca.  The contact information is also available on this Web page.  The CVMR website is available here.  CVMR plans to invest $313 million in Oak Ridge and add 620 jobs.

 

Roane deputy hurt, 4 arrested

 

A Roane County Sheriff’s deputy was injured while taking down a suspect on a motorcycle late Monday night.  Deputies had received information that a wanted person was living in a storage building behind a home on Roane State Highway and several deputies arrived at the house at around midnight.  Deputies reported that while they were on the scene, a motorcycle ridden by 32-year-old Roy Potter approached at a high rate of speed and drove past officers and the shed before coming to a stop and revving the bike right in front of Deputy Tyrel Lorenz.  When Potter gunned the bike, Lorenz took evasive action while also delivering a strike to the side of Potter’s helmet that caused the suspect to crash with Lorenz on top of him.  Lorenz was treated for minor injuries to his arms, legs and throat at Roane Medical Center and released.  Deputies found meth and drug paraphernalia on Potter when they searched him and he was arrested and charged with aggravated assault on an officer and drug-related charges.  The three people who were in the shed surrendered and investigators found more meth-related evidence inside the storage building.  All three were charged with manufacturing meth and are identified as 46-year-old David Kilby of Oakdale, 47-year-old Joyce Mayton of Rockwood and 33-year-old Leigh Ann Barnett of Rockwood. 

 

US 25 Yard Sale June 4-6

 

The 2015 US 25 Yard Sale will be held June 4th through the 6th.  The sale stretches from Woodfin, North Carolina all the way to Covington, Kentucky, all the while following US 25, US 25E and US 25W.  Almost every city and town along the route participates in some form or fashion and organizers say the US 25 Yard Sale is a great way for non-profit, church and school groups to set up shop and raise a little money alongside individuals holding more traditional yard sales.  If you own property along 25W, you can set up in your yard but not in the rights-of-way absolutely free.  Some businesses may rent out space in their parking lots during the sale, but be sure to check and see.  If you would like more information on the US 25 Yard Sale here in Anderson County, call 865-457-4542 and fore general information about the sale, call 859-779-3005.

 

Ailing OR police officer needs assistance

 

(Oak Ridge Today) Chris Winningham is a veteran member of the Oak Ridge Police Department, but he’s currently on leave and unable to work for an undetermined amount of time due to complications with pneumonia and pleurisy, friends say.  Officer Winningham has also been diagnosed with an enlarged heart and diabetes, and doctors are concerned that he may be going into congestive heart failure, according to a GoFundMe page set up to help raise money for his family.  The diagnoses affecting Officer Winningham come on the heels of the loss of his daughter Courtney to cancer in January, the page said.  “This stress and strain is not only physical,” said the GoFundMe page, set up Tuesday by Heather Ashley of the ORPD. “We are therefore asking for financial donations for the Winningham family to help pay for medical expenses not covered by insurance, and other financial needs during this time Chris remains out of work.”  See the GoFundMe page here: http://www.gofundme.com/r9xvy4.

 

Oliver Springs’ football coach resigns

 

Oliver Springs High School head football coach Wiley Brackett has resigned in order to spend more time with his family.  The 38-year-old Brackett compiled a 42-57 record in nine seasons on the Bobcats’ sideline and led the team to its deepest playoff appearance, a 2011 run to the state 2A semifinals.  A search is already underway for his successor. 

 

Morgan carbon monoxide victims IDed

 

Morgan County authorities have identified the three people killed and the two others who are being treated for apparent carbon monoxide poisoning at a home on Saturday night.  Morgan County Sheriff's deputies were called to a home on Susack Lane in Wartburg about 9 p.m. Saturday.  They found 44-year-old Anthony Carroll, his 17-year-old son Jacob and his nephew, 8-year-old Jamon, dead in the home.  Carroll's wife, 41-year-old Penny Carroll and 19-year-old son, Dylan, were both taken to University of Tennessee Medical Center for treatment. The woman was treated and released, but Dylan is still hospitalized.  Investigators said there was no power to the home, but the family was running a generator in a mud room with no apparent ventilation. That was the source of the deadly carbon monoxide fumes that flooded the house. There was no carbon monoxide detector in the home.  The investigation into the deaths is continuing, but authorities said it appeared to be an accident.  Authorities say generators aren't the only things that can produce carbon monoxide. Gas furnaces, fireplaces and water heaters can all be sources of the gas.  Firefighters advise everyone to install a carbon monoxide detector in their home. They're available for $30 to about $100 at any major retail outlet. 

 

Harris already back in custody

 

An Oak Ridge man already facing charges in connection to a March shooting is back in jail today after allegedly threatening someone he thought had witnessed that event.  23-year-old Asante Harris was arrested last week on charges of attempted first-degree murder, reckless endangerment and felony vandalism in connection to an incident that occurred on March 23rd in which he is accused of trying to shoot his ex-girlfriend and released on bond.  Just days after his release, though, Harris was arrested by Oak Ridge Police after a woman reported that he had parked his car outside her home early Saturday morning and pointed a pistol at her when she opened the door.  Oak Ridge Police allege that while Harris believed that the woman was a witness to the March 23rd incident, she was not.  Harris faces a new aggravated assault charge and as of this morning, was being held at the Anderson County Jail on a $1 million bond. 

 

Report:  2 AC politicos switch affiliations

 

According to the News-Sentinel, two longtime county officeholders have left the Democratic Party and will instead become Republicans.  The paper reports that County Clerk Jeff Cole and Register of Deeds Tim Shelton, both of whom are serving in their third, four-year terms, will formally announce their decisions and sign an “oath of allegiance” to the GOP as early as Wednesday.  Both men indicated their beliefs that their personal values and views line up more with present-day Republicans rather than with Democrats. 

 

CPD reaching out for suspect info on Facebook

 

Clinton Police officers are asking for your help in locating a vehicle used in a weekend theft from a Clinton auto dealership. The driver is wanted for questioning in the theft of a horse trailer. The trailer was taken from Fox Toyota this past weekend. The CPD has posted pictures of the suspect vehicle on its Facebook page and encourage citizens to take a look at them.  If you can provide any information call: Lt Carl Bailey or Detective Jason Lawson at 865-457-3112.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Clinton-Police-Department/113737988681196

 

Clinton Police detectives are looking for a suspect (or suspects) involved in the burglary of Scrap Metal Solutions, on J.D. Yarnell Industrial Parkway. According to the initial investigation, it's believed the break in occurred sometime over the weekend.  The CPD is asking you to take a look at a video posted on their Facebook page. If you know the suspect or have any information please contact Lt Carl Bailey or Detective Jason Lawson at 865-457-3112

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Clinton-Police-Department/113737988681196

 

OR WWII Vet receives Bronze Star, other medals

 

An Oak Ridge World War II veteran was awarded the Bronze Star and several additional awards Monday.  Private First Class Melvin Kallio received the honors from Congressman Chuck Fleischmann at Brookdale Assisted Living Facility in Oak Ridge.  The Bronze Star is a United States decoration awarded to members of the United States Armed Forces for acts of heroism, meritorious achievement, or meritorious service in a combat zone. He spent about three years in the Army, much of that time overseas.  Nearly seven decades later he was honored for his heroism during that time, particularly for his actions during the Battle of the Bulge.  Kallio, who is now 92 years old, also received the Combat Infantry Badge and the Victory Medal.

 

WBIR:  Norfolk Southern responds to lawsuit

 

Norfolk Southern says in court documents that it's not at fault for a train crash that killed two people and hurt two others last year.  Last May’s crash killed two Roane State Community College basketball players: Roderick Drummond and Jadah Gallaher and injured two others: the driver and Gallaher's brother, Darius Gallaher, and Hunter Crass.  In January, the survivors and the family of Judah Gallaher filed a lawsuit against Norfolk Southern claiming the train crew did not sound the horn before the collision and there was poor visibility at the crossing.  Norfolk Southern refutes those claims.  In court documents it says the "huge and highly visible train was blowing its horn repeatedly, ringing its bell repeatedly" and was "shining its headlights."  The railroad says the car's driver should have stopped or slowed down.

 

ORT:  Organizers have ambitious plans for Blankenship

 

(Oak Ridge Today) A nonprofit foundation wants to revitalize Blankenship Field and Jack Armstrong stadium and create a world-class gathering place that can accommodate more than 20,000 people in a natural amphitheater for sporting and other events, organizers said.

The Blankenship Field Revitalization Foundation has been formed by private residents, and it is led by Tennessee Senator Randy McNally, an Oak Ridge Republican. Organizers said the foundation is coordinating the revitalization project and fundraising activities in cooperation with the City of Oak Ridge and Oak Ridge Schools.

They hope to make the revitalization a vital part of the new Manhattan Project National Historical Park, connecting Jackson Square and the original site of Oak Ridge High School. The new Manhattan Project park includes Oak Ridge; Los Alamos, New Mexico; and Hanford, Washington. The Manhattan Project was a top-secret federal program to create the world’s first atomic weapons during World War II.

“For over 70 years, Blankenship Field has not only been the home of Oak Ridge High School Wildcat football team, it has been an important gathering place for the city that brought the world into the atomic age,” organizers said. “Seventy-plus years of wear are now showing, and it is time to restore and maintain this critically important Oak Ridge landmark.”

The proposed project is split into two phases:

Phase I

  • Main Entrance—ticket booth at field level with plaques honoring Oak Ridge and Wildcat historical events and people
  • Front Parking Lot and Lighting—with walkway from main entrance to Jackson Square
  • Large LED Scoreboard—with video and media options
  • Installation of Turf Field—featuring wrought iron fencing and decorative brick columns and donor recognition wall
  • Visitor’s Side Concessions and Restrooms
  • Advanced Energy-Efficient Lighting and Communications

Phase II

  • Home Side Stadium Building—with expanded locker rooms, press box, skyboxes, and club seating

Funding sources are proposed to include:

  • 60 percent public contributions,
  • 20 percent grants,
  • 10 percent city and school participation, and
  • 10 percent grant of in-kind services.

Organizers said the Blankenship Field Revitalization Project will be completed in conjunction with the Jackson Square Revitalization Project ($1 million) and the recent completion of the Guest House renovation ($5 million).  Contributions are tax deductible.  For more information, call Oak Ridge High School Athletic Director Mike Mullins at (865) 425-9603 or send him an email atmmullins@ortn.edu. You can also visit the Foundation’s website at blankenshiplegacy.org.

For more, visit www.oakridgetoday.com.  

 

3 dead after apparent carbon monoxide poisoning

 

A man and two children died from apparent carbon monoxide poisoning caused by the fumes of a gas-powered generator being used inside a Morgan County home Saturday.  Deputies were called by a neighbor about 9 p.m. Saturday to a home on Susack Lane, east of Wartburg, where they found the three family members dead, along with a fourth person suffering serious injuries.  The victims include a 44-year-old man and his 17-year-old son, along with an 8-year-old boy who was a visiting relative, Cochran said.  The man's other teenage son was transported to the University of Tennessee Medical Center with possible brain damage.  The generator, which was being used for electricity, appeared to be the only power source in the home.  Autopsies will be performed at the Regional Forensic Center to verify the causes of death. The victims’ names have not been released.

 

More delays for Glen Alpine suit

 

The trial that could go a long way toward resolving the long-running question of what to do with the Glen Alpine Convenience Center has been delayed again.  In 2012, four businesses located in the county-owned David Jones Industrial Park filed a lawsuit against the Anderson County Commission and the Anderson County Economic development Association—or ACEDA—seeking an injunction to prevent the county from using a vacant parcel in the rear of the park as the site of a relocated convenience center.  That came after both bodies had voted to amend the covenants regarding land use in the industrial park to allow for a convenience center.  One day before the trial was finally set to begin—last Tuesday March 31st—in Anderson County Chancery Court, attorneys for the plaintiffs filed a motion asking that Chancellor Nichole Cantrell recuse herself due to a possible conflict of interest due to her husband Dail’s participation on the ACEDA Board of Directors.  That means another judge from outside the county will have to be brought in to hear the case and a new trial date could be announced within the next month or so.  The convenience center is located on annexed land belonging to the city of Clinton but city officials have wanted it moved for over a decade now as they would like to see the area around the current site developed for retail or commercial use.  An agreement between the city and the county for a resolution to the dilemma has been extended a couple of times while county officials seek an alternate site in the event they are not successful in the court case now awaiting another new trial date.

 

DA Dave Clark attains certification

 

Anderson County’s District Attorney General is now a certified criminal investigator after completing training and certification through the TBI.  Dave Clark, whose 7th District is comprised of Anderson County, recently wrapped up a three-week academy-style course at the TBI headquarters in Nashville.  The training, which was co-sponsored by the state DCS, focused on investigating reports of child sexual or physical abuse.  Among other topics, Clark and the other participants were trained in areas such as interviewing, analyzing statements, reconstructing injuries and learning more about the medical issues associated with child abuse.  

 

2 rescued from Smokies

 

Great Smoky Mountains National Park rangers and members of the Tennessee Highway Patrol Special Operations and Aviation Section rescued two individuals from the park’s backcountry near the Spence Field Shelter on Saturday.  At 6:10 a.m. park dispatch received a call from an Appalachian Trail thru-hiker advising of a pair of hikers in distress near Spence Field Shelter. 

The hikers, a father and son, got separated from a third member of their party while trying to make their way from Derrick Knob Shelter to Spence Field Shelter on Friday night, a distance of 6.3 miles. After leaving Derrick Knob the weather deteriorated and the hikers were left traversing over rocky terrain in the dark, driving rain and thunderstorms. Only one member of the party made it to Spence Field Shelter as planned. 

In the morning thru-hikers, headed Northbound from Spence Field, were on the lookout for the two hikers that had not made it the night before, and quickly came upon the first individual, who had a knee injury and could not walk unassisted. Not long after the call came in to dispatch of the initial party, other hikers found the father farther north near Thunderhead Mountain. 

Two rangers responded on horseback from Cades Cove with a wrangler from the Cades Cove Riding Stables. The hiker with the knee injury was taken out on horseback, while rangers continued on foot to assess the condition of the father who was several miles down the AT. After an assessment by park rangers, it was determined that air extrication would be the best option for rescue. 

Tennessee Highway Patrol was able to assist. The individual was extricated via helicopter at 7:32 p.m. and flown to McGhee Tyson Airport where he was transported by Rural Metro to UT Hospital.

 

Clinton Kindergarten screening announced

 

Kindergarten screening for children who will be attending Clinton City Schools for the 2015-2016 school year will be Thursday, May 14, 2015 at the Clinton Community Center.  If you are a city resident, to schedule an appointment for this screening, you must call Central Office beginning Wednesday, April 15, 2015 at 457-0225.  If you are a non-city resident, please come by Central Office to fill out the transfer form and pay the non-refundable $25.00 fee.  You will be contacted before August 1st to let you know if your transfer request has been approved.

At the time of Kindergarten screening the following items will be needed:

  • Proof of Residency
  • Birth Certificate
  • Social Security Card
  • Up-to-date Immunization and Physical
  • Court Documentation if Applicable

This screening is required for all upcoming kindergarten students who will be attending Clinton Elementary, North Clinton Elementary, or South Clinton Elementary for the 2015-2016 school year.  Children must be five years old on or before August 15, 2015 to meet age requirements.  If you have any questions, you may contact Lori Smith, Clinton City Schools, at 457-0225 or email smithl@clintonschools.org.

 

GSMNP looking for volunteers

 

Great Smoky Mountains National Park is recruiting volunteers to participate in the Adopt-a-Trail (AAT) program, an effort that helps to maintain the park’s 800-mile trail system.  The Volunteers in Parks (VIP) program has integrated volunteerism into many of the park operations, including trail maintenance that covers everything from picking up litter to removing tree-falls and reporting trail problems to the park.   

AAT volunteers should be prepared to preform basic trail maintenance, and are to hike/patrol the trail(s) at least four times per program year-- March through October.  Specific trail duties include: Collect and remove litter; clean water bars and drainage systems; perform brushing and removal of small windfalls or branches (hand tools only); perform minor trail tread maintenance; remove illegal campsites and fire rings found along trail; inspect trail and trail signs; and promote Leave No Trace outdoor ethics. 

Trainings will be held throughout the year.   Interested participants can register by contacting Alan Chapman, Trails Volunteer Coordinator by phone at (828) 497-1949 or by email at Alan_Chapman@nps.gov.  Part of the training is held outside and participants should wear appropriate clothing including sturdy footwear. 

 

Farmers’ Markets returning to ET

 

East Tennessee Farmers Association for Retail Marketing (FARM), a nonprofit organization, is pleased to announce the opening of its 39th season of farmers’ markets in East Tennessee, in three convenient locations in Knoxville and Oak Ridge. Established in 1976, FARM is Tennessee’s longest continuously operating farmers’ market organization.
FARM vendors will offer a wide variety of spring bedding plants, fresh produce, grass-fed and pasture-raised meats, artisan bread and cheese, local honey and fresh eggs. As the season goes on, they offer the freshest produce possible, including just-picked strawberries, peaches, sweet corn and heirloom tomatoes.
Farmers’ markets are the most effective way to support local agriculture. According to American Farmland Trust, farmers only receive about $1.58 per $10 spent by consumers at a grocery store. But at a farmers’ market, farmers receive closer to $8-9 per $10 spent. For every $10 spent at a farmers’ market, studies show that $7.80 is re-spent in the local community.
Opening Day at each
FARM market will feature a drawing for 20 Market Dollars! Locations are as follows:
·      Oak Ridge Farmers’ Market opens every Saturday, 8 a.m. – noon, beginning April 18, in Historic Jackson Square, 281 Broadway Ave., with the drawing at 11:30 a.m. The
Oak Ridge market is also open Wednesdays 3-6 p.m., beginning May 6. Seniors over 60 get 5% off every Wednesday at the Oak Ridge Market!
Unlike most farmers’ market organizations, East TN
FARM performs periodic inspections of its vendors to ensure they are growing the products they sell.  “You can be sure that everything East TN FARM sells is locally made,” said Colvin.
Several FARM vendors are designated Certified Naturally Grown, which is a similar standard to USDA Organic, but less expensive for smaller growers. Other FARM growers use as few pesticides and chemical fertilizers as possible.
FARM’s weekend markets at Lakeshore Park and in Oak Ridge will feature live music, children’s events, and workshops and lectures on topics such as herb gardening and composting.  FARM also offers weekly email reminders to customers, and a free FARM Fan Club text reminder and shopping rewards program. Sign up for both at its website, www.EastTNFarmMarkets.org.

 

McNally lauds area schools

 

(Submitted) Senator Randy McNally (R-Oak Ridge) today applauded the work of students, parents, teachers and local government officials in Anderson, Loudon, and Knox Counties for the great successes they have had in educational attainment.  McNally made the announcement after receiving a new report regarding successes in the fifth senatorial district as produced by the Tennessee Higher Education Commission. 

According to the Tennessee Higher Education County Profiles Annual Report, all three counties surpass the state of Tennessee as a whole in the percentage of adults with a high school diploma, per capita personal income, and low unemployment rates.  Anderson and Knox Counties have higher postsecondary enrollment rates and Tennessee Education Lottery Scholarship renewals than the rest of the state. 

“My district has made great strides in improving local schools and helping to stimulate the economy of our state,” said Senator McNally.  “I am proud of the hard work put in by the local governments, teachers, students and families whose work made these significant accomplishments possible. 

High school graduates in Anderson County, specifically, have higher ACT scores than the state of Tennessee and the United States average.  Loudon County outranks the state as a whole in public high school graduation rate, rate of population growth, dual enrollment grants and Hope Scholarship recipients. 

“Our communities place a high priority on education and it shows in this report.  I look forward to continuing to see improvements moving forward,” he concluded.

 

State TU honored

 

The Tennessee Chapter of the American Fisheries Society (AFS) has presented the 2015 Friends of Fisheries Award to the Tennessee Council of Trout Unlimited. The award recognizes the council and all eight Tennessee TU chapters for their work to conserve, restore and enhance trout and trout habitat in the state.  Projects supported by TU dollars and volunteers have included:

  • Re-establishment and expansion of native strains of Southern Appalachian Brook Trout in streams of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park
  • More than 20 years of stream water quality sampling in the Smokies to study acid deposition
  • Partnership with government and conservation agencies in supporting the Tellico Brook Trout Hatchery and the associated Southern Appalachian Brook Trout Foundation

The AFS, founded in 1870, is the oldest and largest professional society representing fisheries scientists. The society promotes scientific research and enlightened management of resources for optimum use and enjoyment by the public. The Tennessee Chapter is composed of professionals, students and others with an interest in all areas of fishery science.  In announcing the award, Travis Scott, president of the Tennessee Chapter of AFS, said the society recognizes and appreciates the efforts of Tennessee Trout Unlimited. When he surveyed AFS members for nominees for the award, Scott said he received endorsements from several agencies who partner with TU in the state, including TWRA, the U.S. Forest Service, the National Park Service and TVA.  The award was presented during the 2015 meeting of the Tennessee Chapter of AFS, held Feb. 19-20 at the Tennessee Aquarium in Chattanooga. Invited to the Feb. 19 banquet were representatives of not only the Tennessee Council but also the Great Smoky Mountain, Little River, Hiwassee and Appalachian chapters of TU, especially honoring their contributions to Southern Appalachian Brook Trout restoration in cooperation with Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Cherokee National Forest, TWRA’s Tellico Hatchery and the Tennessee Aquarium.

 

ORPD arrests 4 in robbery, conspiracy

 

Four young Oak Ridgers have been charged with aggravated robbery and criminal conspiracy in an alleged plot to rob a woman for rent money.  The incident occurred on Highland Avenue at about midnight April 1, according to Oak Ridge Police. 

The victim said three men with their faces covered had robbed her at gunpoint and fled in a black Chevy sedan.  An Oak Ridge officer located the car at the intersection of State Route 61 and State Route 62, and he pulled over the car on Midway Road in Oliver Springs.  One of the defendants, 21-year-old Whitney T. Stewart of Oak Ridge, was driving. 20-year-old Raymond R. Gray, 20-year-old Christopher D. Ramsey and 19-year-old Tevin M. Springs, all of Oak Ridge—were passengers in the car.  Gray and Ramsey admitted, after being read their Miranda rights, to committing the robbery.

Investigators also determined that the four had conspired together to rob a different, male however, they could not find him and decided to rob the victim to obtain rent money for Whitney Stewart.  Gray, Ramsey, and Springs have all been charged with aggravated robbery, aggravated assault, and criminal conspiracy.  Stewart was also charged with aggravated robbery, criminal conspiracy, as well as violation of the implied consent law, and driving under the influence.  Officers reported immediately smelling a strong alcoholic odor coming from Stewart, and noted that her eyes were bloodshot and glossy, and she was belligerent. Stewart would not provide a blood or breath test “because she knew she was drunk,” and she said she had had five to six shots of vodka, according to the warrants.  The four were arrested at 3:26 a.m. Wednesday, April 1.

 

THP:  Traffic stop yields bust

 

(THP) Trooper Jonathan Scott of the Tennessee Highway Patrol’s East Bureau Interdiction Plus team initiated a traffic stop that led to the discovery of approximately 600 prescription pills and the arrest of an Ohio woman on felony drug charges in Knox County on Wednesday. 

Trooper Scott stopped a 2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee for a traffic violation on Interstate 75 southbound in Knox County at approximately 2:12 p.m. on Wednesday. The vehicle was occupied by a male driver and female passenger, who shared conflicting stories regarding their travel destinations. 

Further questioning raised the suspicions of the investigating trooper, and he requested and received consent to search the vehicle.  THP Interdiction Plus Sergeant Greg Roberts arrived on the scene to assist. 

The troopers then found throughout the vehicle a total of approximately 600 prescription pills in the passenger’s name, multiple identification cards from different states and medical documentation from doctor’s offices and emergency rooms from various states. Trooper Scott also discovered a bottle of urine commonly used to falsify a drug screen under the passenger’s seat.    

Charlene Smith, 48, of Pleasant Plain, Oh., the passenger and owner of the vehicle, was arrested and charged with felony possession of schedule II drugs with the intent to sell and deliver and felony possession of schedule IV drugs with the intent to sell and deliver. Smith was also found to have had 13 Oxycodone and two Xanax pills, neither prescribed to her, on her person.  

She was transported to the Knox County jail without incident. 

The driver, of Hoskinson, Ky., was issued a warning for traffic violations and released to continue his travels.

 

ORT:  OR teachers, principals seek salary boost

 

(Oak Ridge Today) Oak Ridge teachers and principals have requested a 4 percent salary increase in the fiscal year that starts July 1.

Teachers said they’ve “gone backwards” in terms of real buying power during the past decade. And administrators said it’s become more difficult to attract quality applicants in part because of salaries.

It’s not clear yet if the requested increases will be approved or if the money is available or would require a property tax rate increase. There are a number of steps to complete before the budget receives final approval in June. Among other things, it has to be considered by both the Oak Ridge Board of Education and Oak Ridge City Council.

Robertsville Middle School Principal Bruce Lay said he knows the school board and administrators want to provide pay increases, but the “funding just has not been there.”

Also, new tenure requirements may, when combined with salary, make it more difficult to recruit today, school officials said.

“It’s just becoming more difficult to attract quality individuals,” Lay said.

Meanwhile, teachers said they’ve had an average increase of 1.5 percent during the past 10 years, while the cost of living has gone up an average of 2.38 percent per year.

“In real buying power of the last 10 years, we’ve actually gone backwards,” said Mike Haygood, co-president of the Oak Ridge Education Association.

“Oak Ridge teachers have been required to do more and more with less and less for years now,” OREA Co-president Steve Reddick said.

A presentation by Haygood said the OREA is requesting:

  • increasing the base salary by 4 percent;
  • maintaining funding for all staff positions—certified and teaching assistants;
  • increasing all eligible personnel by one experience increment;
  • and maintenance of health, eye care, and dental insurance benefits at current rate levels.

Haygood’s presentation said Oak Ridge ranks 15th in the state for those with a minimum of a bachelor’s degree, with a $36,407 average. Oak Ridge teacher pay ranks 16th in the state for those with at least a master’s degree with an average salary of $40,048.

 

AC property values decline

 

Anderson County property values have decreased by approximately four percent since the last reappraisal in 2010.  The figures for this year’s reappraisal process—which happens every five years—are being finalized and assessment change notices should be mailed to property owners by the end of this month.  With property values declining, that means that in order to generate the same amount of property tax revenue to keep the local government funded at this year’s levels, property tax rates across the county will likely have to be increased.  Work on the reappraisal began last year and Property Assessor John Alley Jr. and his staff pored over property sales records from across the county and all five of its cities to determine the fair market prices of over 35,000 properties across the county, whether they be agricultural, commercial, industrial or residential.  Alley says it is believed to be the first time that property values have declined in the five years since the last cycle.  The largest declines in residential property values were seen in Rocky Top (down 9%); along with the portion of Oliver Springs that lies within Anderson County, and the unincorporated areas of the county (down 8%).  Norris and Oak Ridge each saw 6% decreases in property values, while Clinton’s residential property values declined by 4%.  Commercial and industrial property values in Clinton and Oak Ridge each slightly increased, while similar properties in Oliver Springs held steady and declined in Rocky Top by 2% and by 5% in Norris.  Farmland property values have declined by about 11% since 2010.  Officials say that while it appears, the numbers of properties being sold are increasing but they are not attracting the purchase prices they had been. 

 

Fire in Harriman

 

A fire at a Harriman apartment complex displaced five residents but injured no one.  The call came in to dispatchers at around 10:20 pm Wednesday about a fire at the Willow Creek Apartments on Hassler Mill Road.  The fire apparently started in a downstairs unit but spread to the unit above.  Quick response by firefighters from Harriman and two other Roane County fire departments helped limit the most serious damage to two of the four units in the affected building but residents of all four were displaced due to the fire.  No injuries were reported and a complete damage report had not been made available by the time this report was filed.  Tune in to BBB-TV for more on this story. 

 

Secret City Festival announces headliners

 

The Secret City Festival is proud to present The Marshall Tucker Band as the Friday night concert headliner on June 12, 2015.

Three Dog Night bring will bring its hit-filled show to the UCOR Concert Main Stage Saturday, June 13th (doors open at 6PM). 

Tickets will go on sale May 1st, 2015.  Further ticket information will be released soon.

At this time, 17 sponsoring corporations, including the City of Oak Ridge, have contributed to make this year’s festival a success.  Sponsorship opportunities are still available. Visit www.secretcityfestival.com for more information about the festival and becoming a sponsor. Visit www.facebook.com/SecretCityFestival for announcements, contests and more!

The 13th annual Secret City Festival is presented by the City of Oak Ridge, the Arts Council of Oak Ridge, and the Oak Ridge Convention & Visitors Bureau.  The festival also features a Battle of Normandy WWII Reenactment, special events at the American Museum of Science and Energy, a children’s area, arts and crafts vendors, and nationally known concert entertainment.

 

ORAU awarded NRC contract

 

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has awarded Oak Ridge Associated Universities a five-year, $7.3 million contract to support radiation training activities for the agency. ORAU has assisted the NRC with similar training since 1992.

“We are pleased that NRC has chosen ORAU to continue supporting training for its employees as they carry out their critical mission of ensuring the safety of our nation’s nuclear facilities,” said Andy Page, ORAU president and chief executive officer. “Our team of health physicists have built in-depth knowledge of radiation sciences that extends back to our founding in 1946 as the Oak Ridge Institute for Nuclear Studies. We welcome the opportunity to share our expertise through our long-standing partnership with the NRC.”

Under the new contract, ORAU will conduct traditional lecture and laboratory-based training at its facility in Oak Ridge as well as develop and host online training for professional development in the field of radiation sciences. Additionally, ORAU will continue to develop and maintain NRC’s Technical Training Center in Chattanooga.

In 2014, ORAU designed, procured, and installed a state-of-the-art radiation instructional lab as part of this center. The lab—used by NRC inspectors, radiation specialists, and others from around the country—provides one-stop education and training on technology used by health physicists in teaching the fundamentals of health physics, radiation detection, and radiation protection. NRC instructors at the lab are supplemented by ORAU personnel in providing classroom training and lab-based exercises.

 

Tech 2020-led effort awarded grant

 

A proposal team led by Technology 2020, or Tech 2020, in Oak Ridge has received a $250,000 federal grant to create a seed capital fund. The goal is to establish a permanent source of professionally managed, seed-stage investment capital focused on technology-generating institutions, entrepreneurs, and young companies in Tennessee, a press release said.  The grant was announced this week by U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker. 

Tech 2020 led a proposal team that included Memphis Bioworks Foundation, Meritus Ventures, and Innova Memphis. The team proposed to create the “TennesSeed Fund.”

The TennesSeed Fund team will receive the $250,000 grant, and it will be supported by Meritus and Innova to conduct an assessment of best practices, and then organize and launch a new seed fund focused on “proof of concept” financings in Tennessee. The initial focus of investments will be intelligent and sustainable transportation and logistics, which is an industry cluster where Tennessee has a competitive advantage bolstered by strong research, development, and commercial activity, a press release said.

Tech 2020 is among the first 26 recipients of the 2014 Regional Innovation Strategies program grants. The Regional Innovation Strategies, or RIS, program, which is run by the Commerce Department’s Economic Development Administration’s Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, is a new initiative designed to advance innovation and capacity-building activities in regions across the country through three different types of grants: i6 Challenge grants, Cluster Grants for seed capital funds, and Science and Research Park Development Grants.

Early access to capital is crucial for startups, but it can be difficult to obtain outside traditional startup hubs, the release said. Cluster Grants for Seed Capital Funds provide technical assistance funding to support the feasibility, planning, formation, or launch of cluster-based seed capital funds, which will help improve access to capital for entrepreneurs across the United States. The total amount of funding for the U.S. Cluster Grant for Seed Capital Funds under RIS is nearly $2 million.

For more information about the Regional Innovation Strategies Program, including a full list of the 2014 grant recipients, visit http://www.eda.gov/oie/2014-risp-competition.htm.

 

ORNL part of climate change research

 

Researchers from the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory will play key roles in an expansive new project that aims to bring the future of tropical forests and the climate system into much clearer focus by coupling field research with the development of a new ecosystem model. 

The project is called the Next Generation Ecosystem Experiments-Tropics, or NGEE-Tropics. Its goal is the development of a model that represents how tropical forests interact with Earth’s climate in much greater ecological detail than ever before. This will help scientists explore, more accurately than is possible today, how rising temperatures, shifting precipitation patterns, increasing greenhouse gas levels, and other natural and human-induced changes affect tropical forests’ influence on Earth’s climate.  

Led by DOE’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab), the effort includes collaborators from Oak Ridge, Brookhaven, Los Alamos, and Pacific Northwest national laboratories. The study also includes researchers from the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, the U.S. Forest Service, the National Center for Atmospheric Research, NASA and several institutions from other nations.

The planned ten-year, $100 million project is supported by the Department of Energy’s Office of Science.

 

GSMNP needs volunteers

 

Great Smoky Mountains National Park is recruiting volunteers to assist a Trails Forever trail crew on rehabilitation projects on the Alum Cave Trail every Wednesday from May 20th through October 28th.  The Trails Forever program provides opportunities for both skilled and non-skilled volunteers to work along-side national park crews to complete various trail projects. Trail volunteers perform a wide range of trail maintenance and rehabilitation work from rock and root removal, rebuilding trail tread, cleaning drainage ditches, constructing drainage features (water bars), and adding fill material.  Great Smoky Mountains National Park will provide all the safety gear, tools and equipment needed for the projects.  Volunteers are required to wear boots and long pants. They should also bring a day pack with food, water, rain gear and any other personal gear for the day.  Work shifts run from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., however arrangements can be made for shorter shifts upon request.  The Trails Forever program is a partnership between the national park and Friends of the Smokies.  The volunteer component gives individuals the opportunity to work alongside professional trail workers and make lasting improvements to trails throughout the Park. Interested parties should RSVP before the events by contacting Alan Chapman by phone at (828) 497-1949 or by email at Alan_Chapman@nps.gov. For more information on the Trails Forever restoration projects visit, www.smokiestrailsforever.org/Trails-Forever-Projects/Projects.aspx

 

ORT:  Woman escapes duplex fire

 

(Oak Ridge Today) An Oak Ridge woman was able to escape from her home as her attic burned Tuesday afternoon thanks to help from her neighbors.  The woman, Barbara Osborne, was not injured, although two firefighters who were overheated were treated, Oak Ridge Fire Department Chief Darryl Kerley told our partners at Oak Ridge Today.  The firefighters, Captain Mike Friley and firefighter Casey Payne, were working close to the fire, near a lot of radiant heat.  Firefighters were also looking for a female cat, Honey, who belonged to the Osbornes.  The duplex on Riverview Drive was destroyed, Kerley said. 

The cause of the fire, which appeared to have started in the attic in the garage area of the home, wasn’t immediately known.  It took between 16 and 18 firefighters about 45 minutes to extinguish the fire, which burned intensely over the garage on a windy Tuesday afternoon.  Barbara Osborne said a neighbor knocked on her door at about 3 p.m. Tuesday. But by the time Barbara, who uses a walker, got to the door, he was gone. But Barbara looked outside and saw three or four people there.  “Someone yelled, ‘Get out of there! Your house is on fire!'” Barbara said.  Barbara Osborne said she had seen smoke in her kitchen, where she was working, and checked to make sure the oven was off. After her neighbors warned her about the fire, she went back into the home through the front door to try to get her cat and came out through the garage, hoping to move her car.  But police officers told her not to move the car, which was in the garage, where most of the flames were, and instead get out of the house, Barbara said.  The fire, which dropped down into part of the home below the attic, scorched the siding on an adjacent single-family home. 

 

Fed fugitive arrested in OR

 

After receiving an anonymous tip, the Oak Ridge Police Department arrested a man who was wanted by the U.S. Marshals Service on Tuesday morning, according to a department press release.  Desmond Slater was wanted for violation of his federal supervised release.  His original charge was being a felon in possession of a firearm.

The ORPD received an anonymous tip on Slater’s whereabouts at about 6 a.m. Tuesday, March 31 that led them to a home on South Dillard Avenue.  Several officers responded, making contact with a resident who told them Slater was inside and granted permission to enter the house to arrest him.  Police say Slater was found in a bedroom and upon initial contact with officers, he immediately tried to escape on foot through the living room.  The struggle ended up outside, where Slater was wrestled into custody.  During the fight to subdue Slater, an Oak Ridge police officer took some “friendly fire” as he was bitten on his leg by a police dog.  The officer was transported to a hospital for treatment of minor injuries, and Slater, who was also charged with evading arrest and resisting a lawful arrest, was transported to the Anderson County Detention Facility in Clinton without further incident.

 

ORT:  Man arrested in OR shooting incident

 

(Oak Ridge Today) A 23-year-old Oak Ridge man has been charged with attempted first-degree murder in connection to a shooting in the Scarboro neighborhood last week.  Asante Devon Harris allegedly used a handgun to shoot at his ex-girlfriend on South Dillard Avenue at about 9:45 a.m. Monday, March 23, according to an arrest warrant filed in Anderson County General Sessions Court.  The Oak Ridge Police Department reported that Harris turned himself in at about 11:30 p.m. Monday, March 30.  The warrant said the ex-girlfriend was not hit, and the Oak Ridge Police Department said last week that no injuries were reported.  The ORPD said last week that it was searching for Harris and considered him armed and extremely dangerous.  Investigators determined that Harris fired several shots, the Police Department said.  The ORPD said then that it had secured three felony warrants for Harris on charges of attempted first-degree murder, felony reckless endangerment, and felony vandalism.  Harris was arrested overnight and booked into the Anderson County Detention Facility in Clinton, where he remained jailed on Tuesday morning. His bonds total $150,000.

The ex-girlfriend told Buckner she was at a home on South Dillard Avenue talking to another person when Harris stopped his gold Infinity near the home, got out of the car, and asked, “Where the (expletive) is my system?” Harris then allegedly produced the handgun and started to shoot at her, the victim told investigators.  “[She] stated she was in fear for her life and knew he was trying to kill her,” the warrant said.

The woman said she ran behind a home on South Dillard and continued to run until she made it to a friend’s house on South Fisk Avenue, where she hid behind the home. The victim said that she heard more gunshots after she ran and saw Harris driving toward the house where she was hiding and then continue to drive north on Fisk.  Two witnesses corroborated the victim’s story. 

  

TDEC offering free radon test kits

 

The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC), in observance of Earth Day, will offer free radon test kits for a limited time as part of its ongoing efforts to inform Tennesseans about the dangers of radon exposure.  “It is important for Tennesseans to test their homes because radon acts unpredictably,” TDEC Commissioner Bob Martineau said. “We are pleased to provide a simple do-it-yourself test kit that can determine the presence of radon in the home and can help prevent exposure.”

According to the EPA, Americans spend approximately 90 percent of their time indoors. This can be problematic, as radon is a naturally occurring gas that can seep into homes through cracks and openings in the foundation. Radon cannot be seen, tasted or smelled, but in concentrated levels can pose a threat to human health.  The EPA estimates approximately 70 percent of Tennessee’s population lives in high risk or moderate risk radon areas. According to the EPA, radon is the number one cause of lung cancer among non-smokers and is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States.  Radon test kits are the first step toward a solution and are easy to use. Tennesseans can visit radon booths at the following events to receive a complimentary short-term test kit:

  • Nashville’s Earth Day Festival at Centennial Park in Nashville on April 18 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Knoxville’s Earth Fest at World’s Fair Park in Knoxville on April 18 from 10 a.m.to 7 p.m.

For additional information about radon and to register for a complimentary test kit, please visit http://www.tn.gov/environment/sustainable-practices_radon-program.shtml or contact the Tennessee Radon Program at 1-800-232-1139.

 

UT-Battelle to continue operating ORNL

 

UT-Battelle has been awarded a new five-year deal to continue managing the Oak Ridge National Laboratory for the Department of Energy.  The new deal was not a surprise to anyone, as the DOE had made it known over a year go it intended to extend the company’s contract by five years.  The new deal goes into effect Wednesday April 1st.  UT-Battelle has managed ORNL since 2000.

 

Teno appointed AC tax attorney

 

Last week, Anderson County Trustee Rodney Archer named Clinton attorney Trippy Teno to serve as the county’s delinquent tax attorney.  That appointment was confirmed by County Mayor Terry Frank, who had earlier refused to confirm Archer’s initial appointment of Law Director Jay Yeager to serve in that role.  Yeager has served as the delinquent tax attorney since his office was created in 2006 and last year, turned over some $107,000 to the county’s general fund that was used to help offset the budget for his office.  Frank removed him from that role late last year, citing misgivings about his job performance and ethics, as part of their long-running, high-profile dispute.  State law requires the trustee to recommend, and the mayor to approve, the appointment of an outside attorney to handle the process of collecting past-due taxes.  The County Commission is expected to tackle the question of approving the funding for the $40,000 salary Archer negotiated with Teno when it meets on April 20th.  Typically, state law says that a tax attorney must be in the fold and a delinquent tax notice filed by April 1st, but Archer says he has obtained state approval to wait until after the meeting on the 20th to file the suit so that he knows what commissioners decide to do.  Earlier this month the commission deferred approving funding for the post, with many lamenting the fact that they would prefer Yeager handle those chores in-house. 

 

Ex-nurse indicted on inmate death charges

 

A former nurse once employed by a company with a contract to provide medical services to inmates at the Anderson County Jail entered a not-guilty plea Monday in Circuit Court in a case in which he is accused of falsifying information on an inmate who later died of an apparent drug overdose. Billy Joe Brockman waived the reading of the indictment prior to entering the plea. A pre-trial motion deadline is set for June 8, and the deadline set for a plea is June 29.   Christopher Charles Sullivan died of complications from the interaction of alcohol and drugs in his system at the Anderson County Jail on July 4, 2014.  Brockman—who has since been fired from his position with Advanced Correctional Healthcare—was indicted this month by an Anderson County grand jury on the charge of filing a false report, a Class D felony. According to District Attorney General Dave Clark, “the indictment against Brockman indicates that he unlawfully reported to Anderson County Sheriff’s Department that he had measured and recorded the vital signs of Christopher C. Sullivan while knowing that, in fact, he had not measured or recorded the information.”  Brockman posted a $25,000 bond and was released following his arrest on the indictment.

 

TDOT traffic counters swiped

 

TDOT devices used to count the number of cars that travel on area roadways were reported stolen on Friday, according to the Anderson County Sheriff’s Department.  A TDOT employee told deputies that on Thursday morning, he had placed one device at a location on Sulphur Springs Road and another on Dutch Valley Road but when he returned the next day to retrieve the devices, found that both had been stolen  Each device is valued at around $1000 and there are no suspects at this time. 

 

Dog killed in Briceville fire

 

A dog was killed in a house fire Friday afternoon in Briceville.  The fire at the home on Duncan Road was reported at around 3 pm and was put out by crews from the Briceville Volunteer Fire Department.  The homeowner, Eric Harris, was the only human at home at the time of the fire and he was able to get out safely.  However, a dog was not able to make it out and died in the blaze.  Harris said that he had heard a loud sound outside his window and had looked out to find his front porch on fire.  His wife told firefighters that they typically hung heat lamps on and underneath the porch for their outside dogs in cold weather and firefighters, in turn, told deputies that the fire appeared to have started in that area. 

 

ETTAC clients to benefit from computer drive

 

The Oak Ridge Breakfast Rotary club is sponsoring a computer Drive for the East Tennessee Technology Access Center Saturday, May 2nd from 9:00 am to 2:00 pm in the parking lot of Tn Bank on the corner of Illinois Ave and Rutgers Avenue. (Not the branch near the post office).  ETTAC will accept working computers that are XP or newer, desktop or laptop, Macs, iPads, iPods, monitors and accessories. You can be assured that ETTAC wipe them clean of all your personal information and then give or loan them to people with disabilities who cannot afford to purchase a computer.  Please don’t remove the hard drives.  Currently ETTAC has a waiting list of 45 people who want a computer.  

The Breakfast Rotary Club is doing this because typically one would have to drive to South Knoxville to drop it off at ETTAC’s office.  ETTAC serves people with disabilities in 24 counties, with Anderson being the third largest in the region.  If someone wants to donate a printer, they will be accepted, but only if the ink cartridge is in it, so the recipient knows which replacement cartridge to buy.  And once again, it must be in working condition.  

 

ORT:  Council OKs review of PD

 

(Oak Ridge Today) The Oak Ridge City Council on Friday approved a proposal from the University of Tennessee’s Municipal Technical Advisory Service—or MTAS—to review, rather than investigate, the Oak Ridge Police Department and Chief Jim Akagi, focusing on turnover, morale, and administrative policies.  A series of motions by City Council member Trina Baughn, who has pushed hardest for an investigation of the ORPD and its police chief, were rejected.   The 30-day review that was approved Friday was first proposed by Oak Ridge City Council member Kelly Callison during a February meeting.  The review would use Rex Barton of MTAS. According to our partners at Oak Ridge Today, a few people, including Baughn, suggested that MTAS and Barton could have a conflict of interest.  But others disputed the conflict-of-interest claim, and Callison said Barton has more than 18 years of experience as a policeman and 20 as an MTAS consultant, and he’s conducted more than 50 similar reviews across Tennessee. He said the review wouldn’t cost the city any money, and interviews would be conducted off-site. 

The review was approved in a 5-1-1 vote during a 2.5-hour special meeting on Friday. Voting “yes” were Callison and Smith, Oak Ridge Mayor Warren Gooch, and City Council members Rick Chinn and Charlie Hensley.  Baughn voted “no,” and Chuck Hope abstained.

A motion that said there is merit in placing the police chief on administrative leave also failed. Baughn cast the only vote in favor; all other Council members voted “no.” Under the Oak Ridge City Charter, City Council can’t directly put the police chief on leave but could direct the city manager to do so.

The ORPD review approved last month followed an earlier call by Baughn to open an investigation into the police chief in three areas. But two of Baughn’s proposals were rejected in 2-5 votes last month, and the Oak Ridge City Council unanimously approved the third-party review proposed by Callison.

The calls for an investigation or review started after a late January email by Baughn. She expressed concern about what she suggested is a high turnover rate in the Oak Ridge Police Department and allegations contained in a grievance filed by former ORPD Officer Christopher Bayless as well as letters to the editor by several former Oak Ridge officers, including former Police Chief David Beams.  Baughn and Chinn requested Friday’s special meeting earlier this month.

Among other things, Baughn’s proposals would have required all Police Department employees to spend at least 10 minutes with the investigator, regardless of whether they wanted to say anything; sought to interview all former workers who have left since May 2011, when Police Chief Jim Akagi was hired; given those interviewed a chance to participate in a “no confidence” vote against the chief; and look into Akagi’s previous history, including his prior employment with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

Council also rejected a motion by Baughn to investigate the allegations included in a grievance filed by a former police officer and claims made in letters by former officers.

 

ORFD offering Code Red In OR

 

The Oak Ridge Fire Department is encouraging home and business owners to commit to being a leader for weather readiness by signing up on the CodeRed Severe Weather Alert System.

The system is designed to help spread the word about severe weather and make employees and members of the community better prepared, a press release said.

“Know the risks, take action, and be an example by signing up,” a press release said.

The city announced the system when it promoted Severe Weather Preparedness Week in mid-February.

Visit this City of Oak Ridge page and click on Sign Up For CodeRed to register your personal cell phone number, home phone number, and/or business address. For example, when a tornado warning is issued for this area by the National Weather Service, you will receive a notice on your cell phone to take protective actions. This service is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year for the protection of the lives of citizens and visitors, the release said.

Information on the different types of severe weather such as tornadoes, severe thunderstorms, and flooding is available at www.weather.gov and www.ready.gov/severeweather or the Spanish- language web site www.listo.gov.

 

AC Chamber to hold Job fair April 30th

 

The Anderson County Chamber of Commerce will host a Job Fair to recruit employees for our local businesses and industries on Thursday, April 30, 3 – 7 p.m., New Hope Center, 602 Scarboro Rd., Oak Ridge.  This one-day event allows job seekers to connect face-to-face with local businesses and industries seeking employees.

Job Fair exhibitors to date include:  Eagle Bend Manufacturing, Express Personnel Professionals, MAG-USA, SL Tennessee, Temp Systems, Inc., Tennessee College of Applied Technology-Knoxville, and Y-12 National Security Complex. 

Attendees may be able to submit resumes, complete applications, schedule interviews and make contacts for future job openings.  Free admission and free parking.

Space is available for employers seeking employees.  An 8 x 8 space with 6 ft. table, 2 chairs will be provided.  Rooms will be available for on-the-spot interviews.  Early Registration:  Chamber Members - $100, Non-Chamber Members -$150.  After April 1 Registration:  Chamber Members $150, Non-Chamber Members - $200.  ($50 may be applied to Chamber membership).

For a registration form or for more information contact the Anderson County Chamber of Commerce at 865-457-2559, email:  accc@andersoncountychamber.org,or visit: www.andersoncountychamber.org.

 

Main Street Oak Ridge update

 

(Information from Oak Ridge Today) The developers who want to convert the former Oak Ridge Mall into Main Street Oak Ridge signed their first anchor store lease last week, and three to five more leases could be signed in the next month or so according to officials with Crosland Southeast, the North Carolina-based company that has proposed the redevelopment.  Main Street Oak Ridge would turn the nearly-vacant mall in to a mixed-use project expected to include retailers, restaurants, residential units, and possibly a hotel. The existing space between the two remaining anchors, Belk and JCPenney, would be demolished, although those two stores would remain.  Main Street Oak Ridge could include three anchors in addition to Belk and JCPenney, although the new retailers will probably be in smaller spaces than the two existing stores.  The Oak Ridge Municipal Planning Commission unanimously recommended a rezoning for Main Street Oak Ridge on Thursday, and members also unanimously recommended a planned unit development, or PUD, master plan for the project.  The rezoning and PUD master plan will be considered by the Oak Ridge City Council on first and second reading in April, with the first meeting scheduled for April 13.  Crosland Southeast hopes to close on the property this summer, begin demolition and construction at about the same time, and have Main Street Oak Ridge open in the fall of 2016. 

 

Oops!  OR business locked down over days-old news report

 

(Oak Ridge Today) The Oak Ridge Police Department responded to a Jackson Square office that had been locked down on Thursday morning because of reports of an active shooter, but officers could find no signs of one, a press release said.

The office lockdown was reported at about 11:10 a.m. Thursday, March 26, at the Jacobs Engineering offices on Broadway Avenue. The ORPD received several calls that the offices were locked because of an active shooter, the release said.

“Officers spoke with Jacobs management at the location, then checked the office complex to verify that all employees were safe and sound,” the City of Oak Ridge said in the release. “It was discovered that approximately 25 minutes before the call was received, Jacobs management had notified employees by email that lobby doors would be locked because of an ‘active shooter’ in the Oak Ridge area.”

The message included a link to a local news report concerning a suspect wanted for a shooting that occurred in Oak Ridge on Monday, March 23. The news report was based on a press release issued by Oak Ridge Police.

 

Charges upgraded in Roane shooting

 

The former police officer accused of shooting his ex-wife Saturday has had the charges against him upgraded from aggravated assault to attempted second-degree murder, according to Roane County DA Russell Johnson’s office.  41-year-old Jeremy Alexander Gambrell, who goes by “Alex,” will still face an aggravated assault charge in connection to him allegedly firing a gun at a second person at his ex-wife Jenny Gambrell’s home.  That person was not struck by the gunfire but Jenny Gambrell was hit several times but is recovering in the hospital.  Alex Gambrell—a former Lenoir City and TVA police officer—remains in custody on a $50,000 bond but that amount is expected to increase following his arraignment on the upgraded charge. 

 

AC Courthouse security gets new “toys”

 

Members of the Anderson County Courthouse Security Committee have approved the purchase of a wide variety of equipment designed to make the Courthouse and the people who work there safer.  The committee is comprised of the county’s five judges, court personnel and other courthouse officials and is charged with maintaining the security of all of Anderson County’s courts.  Those efforts are funded by approximately $68,000 a year from fees and other costs associated with court appearances and, according to the News-Sentinel, currently has about $292,000 in its coffers, including some $20,000 for equipment purchases.  This week, the committee okayed the purchase of up to 16 bulletproof vests for judges and court security personnel to replace older vests whose warranties have expired.  Also purchased were panic buttons for each courthouse office designed to silently alert law enforcement of any disturbances, courtroom surveillance cameras and five so-called “strike lights” that give off a distracting strobe light and emit a high-pitched squeal that cane be tossed by court security officers to distract suspects or audience members who cause courtroom disturbances.  The purchases were approved on Wednesday. 

 

WATE:  Man arrested…for 69th time!

 

A Campbell County man was arrested last month for the 69th time since 1998, according to WATE-TV in Knoxville.  43-year-old Lowell Murray of Lafollette was arrested on February 23rd after a police officer saw him walking down the middle of a road.  He emitted a strong odor of alcohol and was unsteady on his feet and was charged for the 20th time with public intoxication.  He has been arrested 49 other times on charges including rape, sexual battery, domestic violence and vandalism. 

 

Cannon to be dedicated on Militia Hill

 

Fort Anderson on Militia Hill served as the base of operations for the Tennessee National Guard during the Coal Creek War, when miners rebelled against the use of convict labor in the mines.  Although the miners lost the final battle, they won the war when the State of Tennessee abolished convict-leasing and built Brushy Mountain State Prison.  The Coal Creek Watershed Foundation says that 4th and 5th graders from Briceville Elementary School will dedicate a cannon on Militia Hill on May 15th, with historical re-enactor Bill White serving as cannoneer. 

 

Nature walks this spring on OR reservation

 

Five more nature walks are planned this spring on the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge Reservation with themes of frog calls and bat monitoring, wildflowers and forest growth, bird watching, invasive plants, reptiles, and amphibians.

The invasive plant identification and treatment walk will be from 9 until 11:30 a.m. Saturday, May 16, at various sites along the reservation. Conducted by ORNL employees Kitty McCracken (Environmental Sciences Division) and Jamie Herold (Facilities and Operations Directorate), multiple sites will be visited to focus on identification, impacts to other local flora and fauna and treatment options for invasive plants. Limited to 20 participants including children, the group will meet at the West Guardhouse at 9 a.m.

The final spring walk features reptiles and amphibians from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. Sunday, June 7, in the Solway Bend area. Led by John Byrd of the Clinch River Environmental Studies Organization (CRESO), the group will collect several turtle species and discuss local snake identification and management of local herpetological populations. Children are encouraged on this 20-person walk and will have opportunities to get involved and learn about the animals. Participants should meet at 1:30 p.m. in the parking lot south of the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education at the corner of Bethel Valley and Pumphouse roads.

Most of these walks will be along dirt and gravel roads of between one and two miles. Participants should dress in layers, wear sturdy shoes and bring bug spray and water. A reliable flashlight or headlamp is also recommended during the April 4 night walk. Pets are not permitted.

Reservations for each walk must be made in advance by calling Tracy Clem at 865-574-5151 or bodinetm@ornl.gov. If a walk needs to be postponed, a message will be placed at least two hours before the scheduled walk on ORNL’s Information Line at (865) 574-9836.

For more information, contact Trent Jett at (865) 574-9188 or jettrt@ornl.gov.

 

Lost military ring’s owner sought

 

Someone in the Clinton area has found a military ring and is searching for its owner.  If you have a lost a military ring in the past couple of days, please call 865-457-3696 and describe it. 

 

AC Purchasing Department vendor breakfast held

 

(AC Purchasing Dept.) Tuesday, the Anderson County Purchasing Department hosted the inaugural Vendor Breakfast event.  Inspired by the City of Knoxville’s vendor events, the program was designed to educate local people and businesses on how to do business with Anderson County Government.  Anderson County Purchasing partnered with both the Anderson County Chamber of Commerce and Vendor Registry to help spread the word, and also to answer questions.  In all, 28 vendors attended Tuesday’s event.  For fiscal year 2014/2015, Anderson County is managing more than $65 million in goods and services.  The fiscal year 2014/2105 budget is approximately $108 million, and of that amount, $65 million is flowing through the Purchasing Department. 

“We hope to expand on this event each year to assist Anderson County vendors in becoming familiar with the county’s purchasing process,” Purchasing Agent Pamela Cotham said. “Ultimately, we want to have local businesses procurement dollars reinvested back into the local economy. I would like to thank Brian Strong with Vendor Registry for partnering with us to sponsor this event.” 

“The vendor event was about spreading the word about the opportunities that are available to do business with Anderson County.  We want more business people in our community and in our region to know about the business they can do right here at home.  And, we also recognize that healthy competition is good for the taxpayers and enables Anderson County to serve more people with the dollars we are entrusted to manage,” County Mayor Terry Frank said. 

“Pamela Cotham and her team – Toni, Karen, and Shelia — have enormous responsibility and I am extremely proud of how efficiently they manage the volume of purchasing work that comes through their office,” said Mayor Frank.  

The Anderson County Purchasing Department has the responsibility to make the most economical acquisition of quality materials and services that will assure efficient operation of county departments.

 

New top trooper in Knox District

 

(THP) Tennessee Highway Patrol (THP) Colonel Tracy Trott today announced the appointment of Jessie W. Brooks to Captain of the agency’s Knoxville District. Brooks had served as the Captain in the THP’s Chattanooga District since 2013. This new assignment is effective March 30. 

This appointment is prompted by the retirement of Captain David McGill, who began his career with the agency in 1986. He oversaw the Knoxville District since 2013, and prior to that, served as captain of the 12-county Chattanooga District for just over two years.  

“We appreciate David’s contribution to the THP in both the Knoxville and Chattanooga Districts. He has been a tireless worker and a dedicated employee who will be missed,” Colonel Trott said. 

Captain Brooks is a 32-year veteran of the THP. Prior to leading the Chattanooga District, he served as Administrative Lieutenant in the Knoxville District for four years. In that role, he oversaw the operations of the office and staff. Brooks also held positions as Safety Education Lieutenant, Troop Sergeant, and Litter Sergeant in Knoxville. He also has extensive experience in dignitary protection. 

“Jessie has served the state well in Chattanooga and deserves the right to return to his home district of Knoxville. With his leadership, the Knoxville District will continue to be in good hands,” Trott said. 

Brooks started his career with the THP as Road Trooper in 1981, assigned to Roane and later Knox Counties. He served as a Deputy in the Hamblen County Sheriff’s Department from 1975 to 1981.  Brooks is also a veteran of the United States Navy Reserve.  

Brooks earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Bethel University and is working towards a master’s degree. He is a graduate of the Northwestern University School of Police Staff and Command School.  

The new Chattanooga District Captain will be announced in the coming weeks.

 

AAA:  Distracted driving huge problem among teens

 

(AAA) The most comprehensive research ever conducted into crash videos of teen drivers has found significant evidence that distracted driving is likely much more serious a problem than previously known, according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. The unprecedented video analysis finds that distraction was a factor in nearly 6 out of 10 moderate-to-severe teen crashes, which is four times as many as official estimates based on police reports.  Researchers analyzed the six seconds leading up to a crash in nearly 1,700 videos of teen drivers taken from in-vehicle event recorders. The results showed that distraction was a factor in 58 percent of all crashes studied; including 89 percent of road-departure crashes and 76 percent of rear-end crashes. NHTSA previously has estimated that distraction is a factor in only 14 percent of all teen driver crashes.

“Access to crash videos has allowed us to better understand the moments leading up to a vehicle impact in a way that was previously impossible,” said Peter Kissinger, President and CEO of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. “The in-depth analysis provides indisputable evidence that teen drivers are distracted in a much greater percentage of crashes than we previously realized.”

The most common forms of distraction leading up to a crash by a teen driver included:

  • Interacting with one or more passengers: 15 percent of crashes
  • Cell phone use: 12 percent of crashes
  • Looking at something in the vehicle: 10 percent of crashes
  • Looking at something outside the vehicle: 9 percent of crashes 
  • Singing/moving to music: 8 percent of crashes
  • Grooming: 6 percent of crashes
  • Reaching for an object: 6 percent of crashes

“This research confirms that passengers and cell phones are the two most prevalent distractions for teen drivers involved in crashes,” said Auto Club Group Traffic Safety Consultant Matt Nasworthy. “That is why it is so important for states to review their graduated driver licensing and distracted driving laws to ensure they provide as much protection as possible for teens.”  AAA recommends that state laws prohibit cell phone use by teen drivers and restrict passengers to one non-family member for the first six months of driving. Graduated driver licensing (GDL) laws allow new drivers to gain practical experience in a relatively safe environment by restricting their exposure to risky situations. Thirty-three states have laws that prevent cell phone use for teens and 18 states have passenger restrictions meeting AAA’s recommendations.

Parents play a critical role in preventing distracted driving. AAA recommends that parents teach teens about the dangers of cell phone use and restrict passengers during the learning-to-drive process.  Before parents begin practice driving with teens, they should create a parent-teen driving agreement that includes strict ground rules related to distraction. AAA offers a comprehensive driver education program, where teens can learn specifically how using a cell phone affects driving abilities and increases their crash risk. For more information, visit TeenDriving.AAA.com.

Teens have the highest crash rate of any group in the United States. About 963,000 drivers age 16-19 were involved in police-reported crashes in 2013, which is the most recent year of available data. These crashes resulted in 383,000 injuries and 2,865 deaths. The full research report and b-roll video of teen driver crashes is available on the Foundation’s website. The Foundation partnered with researchers at the University of Iowa to conduct this study.

 

County Road Relief Act of 2015

 

(Sen. Ken Yager) Legislation returning millions of dollars to taxpayers in the form of road infrastructure improvements was approved by the full Senate on Monday night.  The “County Road Relief Act of 2015,” sponsored by Senator Ken Yager (R-Kingston), changes the way Tennessee currently manages its State Aid Road Grant Program to make it easier for counties to access state funds to upgrade, repair and improve roads. 

“This legislation helps to unlock local money that has been sitting unused to help aid communities with making needed road improvements,” said Senator Yager.  “Counties may have state road aid accounts, but cannot access those funds because they can’t afford the match.  This will help get needed road work done in all 95 Tennessee counties.” 

Currently, to receive funding through the State Highway Aid System, a 25 percent local match must be made by local governments.  Senate Bill 1005 would allow a county to use state highway aid for a project, as long as they contribute at least two percent of the approved project cost or provide in-kind work as approved by the Department of Transportation.  The legislation is particularly helpful to rural counties whom are struggling financially.  “I am very excited about the potential that this legislation brings not only to provide better roads for our citizens but to bring in new industry and jobs to our communities,” Yager added.  The legislation is modeled after the County Bridge Relief Act of 2014, also sponsored by Yager, which lowered the match to allow local governments to access unused funds in Tennessee’s State Aid Bridge Grant Program.  That program has allowed counties to access unused funds to improve bridges which had fallen into disrepair.   

 

AC fleet service department receives ASE certification

 

(AC Mayor’s Office) The Anderson County Fleet Service Department recently earned the Blue Seal of Excellence Recognition from the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence.  ASE is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the quality of vehicle repair and service by means of testing and certification for automotive repair and service professionals.  “It is a great honor for me to see Anderson County Fleet Service employees, through hard work and dedication, achieve this goal and be recognized as professional repair and service technicians,” Fleet Service Director John Vickery said.  “Anderson County Fleet Service continues to focus on training, advancement, and automotive excellence.  I am extremely proud of Mr. Vickery and his team.  Not only does our team care about safety and the people in the departments they serve, but their commitment to raising the bar shows their concern for the taxpayers.  It really warms my heart to see men like John and his team who are constantly aspiring to be the best they can be,” Anderson County Mayor Terry Frank said in a press release.  The achievement was recognized by Mayor Frank during a brief presentation before last week’s March meeting of the Anderson County Commission.  In addition to the ASE Certification, Anderson County Fleet Service staff members also hold the Emergency Vehicle Technician certification.

 

ORT:  OR school nurse honored

 

(Oak Ridge Today) Betsy Jernigan of Oak Ridge Schools has been named the Tennessee School Nurse Administrator of the Year.  This honor is awarded annually by the membership of the Tennessee Association of School Nurses, or TASN, to the school nurse administrator who demonstrates excellence in her field, based on the American Nurses Association Scope and Standards for Nurse Administrators, a press release said.  Jernigan (BSN, RN) began her nursing career as a hospital nurse after graduating with a diploma in nursing from East Tennessee Baptist Hospital in Knoxville, Tennessee.  After she obtained her BSN from the University of Tennessee, she was offered a part-time position as a school nurse with Oak Ridge Schools, the press release said. She worked as a school nurse for eight years and then was promoted to nurse coordinator as additional nurses were hired. Jernigan served on a state committee to update the state health guidelines for schools.  During the second year she worked in school nursing, Jernigan sat for the NCSN (National Certification for School Nurses) exam and currently maintains this certification.  In 1996, she was elected president of TASN. The organization’s membership had grown from 30 to more than 100, which led to the beginning of TASN meetings at hotels and having two- to three-day conferences. Jernigan also served TASN in the role of director to NASN from 2004-2008, during which time the NASN (National Association of School Nurses) summer conference was hosted in Nashville. It was the largest attendance at any NASN conference on record.  She continues to work as a school nurse for the Preschool Program and Alternative Program as well as supporting four elementary schools, two middle schools, and a high school as a sub nurse and procedure nurse.  In addition to her work as a school nurse and activities in the TASN, Betsy currently participates in annual fundraising for the United Way of Anderson County and is a trained Stephen Minister through the United Methodist Church.

 

Ex-officer charged with aggravated assault in Saturday shooting

 

Roane County investigators have charged a former police officer with two counts of aggravated assault after he allegedly shot his ex-wife and shot at her new boyfriend on Saturday.  41-year-old Jeremy Alexander Gambrell has worked in the past as a police officer in the Lenoir City and TVA Police Departments, but today, is in custody at the Roane County Jail.  The incident happened at his ex-wife Jenny Gambrell’s home on Bridges Drive near Blair Road Saturday afternoon and while authorities have described the shooting as part of an ongoing divorce proceeding, the exact motive for Saturday’s incident remains unclear.  Jeremy’s father David Gambrell told the Roane County Sheriff’s Office that he heard gunshots and saw Jenny on the ground, and Jeremy was next to her apologizing and telling her he loved her.  Jenny Gambrell was hit multiple times by gunshots and taken to UT Medical Center, where she underwent surgery Saturday.  She is said to be recovering at this time.  A witness, Brice Dick—reportedly Jenny Gambrell’s new boyfriend—said Jeremy Gambrell was armed with a pistol. Dick told TBI agents that Gambrell had pointed the gun at him and fired as Dick sought cover.  Gambrell was taken into custody after a four-hour long standoff with officers and was taken to Roane Medical Center after telling deputies he had taken 20 Adderall pills.  The TBI is assisting in the investigation of Saturday’s shooting.

 

Ex-cop arrested in Roane shooting

 

A former police officer was arrested after he allegedly shot his estranged wife several times on Saturday afternoon near Harriman.  The Roane County Sheriff’s Office says that 41-year-old Jeremy Alexander Gambrell was taken into custody after a four-hour long standoff at a home on Blair Road and faces multiple charges in connection with the incident.  Officials say that a domestic disturbance tied to an ongoing divorce led to Saturday’s shooting, which left the victim suffering from multiple gunshot wounds.  She was flown to an area hospital, where she underwent surgery and is said to be recovering.  Investigators say four people were at the house at the time of the shooting, namely Gambrell and his father, Gambrell’s wife and her boyfriend.  An argument via text message between Gambrell and the boyfriend may have played a role in the incident, which came to an ultimately peaceful resolution about four hours after deputies first arrived on the scene when Gambrell was arrested.  Deputies say he appeared to be under the influence of narcotics at the time he was taken into custody.  Gambrell previously worked as a police officer with the Lenoir City and TVA police departments.  The TBI is assisting the Roane County Sheriff’s Office in its investigation into the shooting.  No one else was hurt in the incident. 

 

Kite Festival returns to OR

 

First Cumberland Presbyterian Church Of Oak Ridge announced today the 9th Annual Family Kite Festival on Saturday April 25, 2015 beginning at 12 Noon until 4 PM on the front lawn of the church located at 127 Lafayette Drive, Oak Ridge, TN 37831 on the corner of Lafayette Drive and Laboratory Road.  The 9th Annual Family Kite Festival is totally free with free registration, treats, water and even a free Family Kite Festival Kite Workshop beginning at 12 Noon where kids and parents can build and decorate their own kite with free supplies and kit builder instructors provided by the event staff.  Each Kite Kit includes plastic kite, sticks, kite tail & handle with string. Plus, every participant will receive a 9th Annual Family Kite Festival Certificate Of Participation.  All children and parents need to do is contact First Cumberland Presbyterian Church Of Oak Ridge at 483-8433 any weekday between 9AM until 3PM and register for the event and kite workshop.  Pre-registration is recommended to insure availability of Kite Workshop supplies the day of event. First Cumberland Presbyterian Church has been part of the Oak Ridge Community since 1953 and we look forward to presenting this exciting family event to the entire community.  Contact Carol Williams at 865-483-8433 for more information or online at www.1stcpc.org

 

OS Council takes interim tag off Campbell

 

The Oliver Springs City Council voted unanimously Thursday to take the interim tag off of City Manager Becky Campbell’s title and install her in that position on a full-time basis.   She will be paid slightly more than the previous City Manager, whom she replaced in October of 2014.  Campbell, who has been an Oliver Springs employee for almost 18 years, will not be subject to the standard 90-day probationary period and, according to our partners at BBB-TV, would not have accepted the job had that been part of the deal.  The Council also voted to hire Lisa Relford as Campbell’s assistant.  Relford currently serves as a dispatcher for the Oliver Springs Police Department. 

 

Volunteers for Rocky Top Bluegrass Festival sought

 

If you are interested in volunteering to work at next month’s Rocky Top Bluegrass Festival scheduled for Friday April 24th and Saturday April 25th, contact Sharon Disney at 865-387-2774 or by email at skd042015@gmail.com.

 

State implements new driver license systems

 

The Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security today announced the implementation of a new statewide driver license system that will increase efficiency at state driver services centers. This is the first major upgrade to the state’s driver service system in 30 years.   The new system, referred to as A-List, launched statewide February 17 on time and within budget.  The A-List driver license system has reduced or, in some cases, eliminated paperwork for driver license examiners and has increased automation of what were previously manual processes. Examiners now utilize a single, web-based interactive screen, as opposed to moving between multiple displays in the previous system. “This new system allows driver license examiners to process transactions more efficiently and effectively and interface with modern technology that did not exist 30 years ago,” Commissioner Bill Gibbons said. “The new features will help us improve service and reduce wait times at driver services centers, which have been top priorities under this administration,” he added.  

The A-List driver license system also increases online driver services. In addition to renewing or replacing driver licenses, citizens may now visit www.tn.gov/safety  to:  

·         Pay reinstatement fees and obtain reissued driver licenses after reinstatement, if eligible;

·         Schedule road skills tests (while prohibiting duplicate appointments scheduled by the same person, which has increased wait times in the past);

·         Add emergency contact information;

·         Receive electronic communications from the department via text messages or e-mail; and

·         Start the driver license application online before visiting a driver services center (for citizens who have relocated to Tennessee). 

Additionally, the A-List system is more secure and reduces the potential for customer and employee fraud. For example, A-List determines the types of licenses or classifications for which a customer qualifies and will only allow those types of transactions.  It also prevents duplicate social security numbers from being entered into the system. 

“Our driver license examiners have provided positive feedback on use of the new system. We believe it will vastly improve our processes at the driver services centers and help us provide better customer service,” Assistant Commissioner Lori Bullard said.  Bullard oversees the department’s Driver Services Division. 

The department offers various options for citizens to renew or replace driver licenses. In addition to online services available at www.tn.gov/safety, Tennessee residents can renew or replace licenses by mail, at one of the many driver license self-service kiosks across the state, or at a one of the department’s county clerk partners. For information on these options and locations, visit http://tn.gov/safety/dlmain.shtml.

 

Follow-up:  Archer explains tax attorney issue, confusion

 

Following up on a story we have been following for you here on WYSH, Anderson County Trustee Rodney Archer says that despite the County Commission’s failure to establish a maximum percentage that an outside attorney could be paid to act as the county’s delinquent tax attorney, he has no choice but to move forward with naming someone to act in that capacity before the state-mandated deadline for him to file a delinquent tax suit.  Archer told WYSH this morning that he could possibly make his decision on who will serve in that role by the end of the day today (Thursday March 19th) but that the person chosen will likely have to agree to work on a pro bono basis until the Commission approves the compensation package he negotiates with that attorney.   [2] The state allows a maximum of 10% of the base taxes owed on a delinquent property to be paid to an attorney hired to handle those cases and Archer sought that maximum amount in order to negotiate a deal.  [3] Archer says that whether or not an attorney is retained by then, he is required by state law to file a delinquent tax lawsuit by April 1st or else be subject to an audit finding from the state.  At issue is Mayor Terry Frank’s refusal to sign off on Archer’s recommendation that Law Director Jay Yeager be used as the delinquent tax attorney as he has since the creation of his office in 2006.  Frank relieved Yeager of those duties late last year as part of their long-running dispute.  By law, Archer is required to appoint someone to serve in that capacity and he appointed Yeager, but Mayor Frank—who, by statute has final approval of his recommendation— has not backed off her position.  Archer says a compromise that will allow him to choose the attorney and negotiate the best deal for the county with regards to their payment has been worked out.  Some commissioners expressed their concern that in the event an outside attorney is retained, all of the money from the collection of back taxes would not flow back into county coffers, but some would instead go to lawyers. Archer took some of the blame for the confusion that seemed to dominate Monday night’s meeting, indicating his belief that he did not explain the situation “that well.” He says in the days following the meeting he has been in contact with several commissioners, some of whom apologized for failing to take action and, in effect, tying his hands in regards to negotiating.  Archer says that while there is money in his budget to pay for an outside attorney to serve in that role through the end of June, state law prohibits him from doing so.  The Commission’s role appears to be solely to say “yes” or “no” to the compensation package he is able to negotiate.  He also cautioned commissioners to be careful about voting “emotionally” or too quickly on this issue, as ultimately, some people could lose their property over failure to pay their taxes and that is a decision not to be made lightly. 

 

3M gets permit to expand Clinton facility

 

Clinton city officials confirmed this morning that the 3M Company, which announced late last year that it had purchased the former Food Lion Distribution Center in the Eagle Bend Industrial Park, has obtained a building permit to make roughly $18 million worth of upgrades and improvements to the facility and build a 45,000-square-foot addition.  3M, one of the world’s largest manufacturers, says that product for the oil, gas and automotive industries will be made at the Clinton facility, but have not said exactly what they will be producing.  The company announced last year that it plans to create as many as 100 new jobs in Anderson County with hiring set to begin later this year.  The bulk of the renovation will include the removal of old food coolers and the creation of office space, according to Building Official Curtis Perez, and the upgrades will focus on the electrical and plumbing systems.  The planned new building will house processing equipment for at least one of the yet-to-be-announced products.  The existing facility measures approximately 772,000 square feet and became available when Food Lion closed the distribution center three years ago.  Perez says the company paid $36,000 for the building permit, explaining that the fee is based upon the cost of the construction project.  We will continue to follow this story for you.

 

Campbell cold case gets new life

 

Investigators hope that the exhumation of the body of a woman in a more than 15-year-old cold case in Campbell County will lead to her identity and eventually, her killer.  Wednesday, authorities exhumed the body of a woman killed in 1998. The victim was stabbed and shot and buried in a shallow grave in the Stinking Creek area.  Authorities were never able to determine her identity and she was later buried in Peabody Cemetery under a grave marker that listed her name as “Unknown.” In the years following her murder, volunteers with an organization called the National Missing and Unidentified Person Systems, or NaMUS, became involved in the case. Based on the victim’s bones, they created sculptures and renderings of what they believe she may have looked like.  They believe she was a 30 to 40-year-old black woman with brown hair and dark eyes who likely was about five feet, six inches tall weighing around 130 pounds.  . She had no identifying marks on her body.  Investigators are hoping DNA will determine who she is.

 

Greenway project to connect Knox, OR

 

The region's paved greenway trail system is set to expand, according to new plans unveiled Wednesday.  The Knoxville Regional Transportation Planning Organization (TPO) announced plans to link West Knoxville and Knox County to Oak Ridge.  An additional 13.2 miles will be added to the more than 100 miles of paved greenway trails that already exist throughout the area.  The project is estimated to cost $8.8 million.  The project will link three existing greenways: the Ten Mile Creek Greenway in West Knoxville and West Knox County, the Pellissippi Greenway in West Knox County and the Melton Lake Greenway in Oak Ridge.

 

Area educators receive recognition

 

Several area educators have been honored by their peers for their service to our children.  Clinton High School Principal Eric Snider was voted the Anderson County school system’s Principal of the Year by the 16 other principals in the system.  Snider, who is in 5th year as the Chief Dragon, was named the High School Principal of the Year last year.  Previously, the system gave separate awards for Elementary, Middle and High School principals.  The Clinton City schools named Clinton Elementary School Principal Jenna Sharp its Principal of the Year for this, her first year in that post.  Clinton Elementary’s Teacher of the Year is 6th grade reading/language arts and social studies teacher Lauren Murphy.  North Clinton’s intervention specialist Lynn Neal was named that school’s Teacher of the Year and the South Clinton Elementary School teacher of the Year is second-grade teacher Lauren Neal.  All of these honorees and others will be honored on Tuesday March 31st at the Family Life Center of First Baptist Church in Clinton during an awards banquet. 

 

Chancellor rules no conflict on school propane deal

 

A specially-appointed Chancellor has ruled on a seemingly routine propane gas contract awarded last year that became controversial when some county officials learned of a possible conflict of interest.  Last spring, the county awarded a propane gas contract to Blossman Gas Incorporated to supply propane to the county school system after it had gone through the Purchasing Committee.  Scott Daugherty, the manager of Blossman’s Knoxville location, is an Anderson County resident and serves on the Purchasing Committee.  When this particular contract came up, Daugherty told fellow committee members he was employed by Blossman and recused himself from the vote.  Blossman’s bid was the winning proposal and the committee approved the deal, which was also later approved by the full County Commission.  Shortly after the Commission vote, however, some county officials became concerned about the possible conflict of interest posed by Daugherty’s inclusion on the Purchasing Committee and voted the following month to rescind the contract.  County Mayor Terry Frank sought a chancellor’s opinion and Anderson County Chancellor Nicki Cantrell recused herself from the case.  Knox County Chancellor Michael Moyers heard the case and last week, ruled that because Daugherty is a salaried employee of Blossman who receives no commission or bonus based on the contract in question, or any other contract, he received no “personal beneficial interest,” and no conflict existed.  The Chancellor wrote in his opinion, filed last week, that “Mr. Daugherty’s employment with Blossman Gas has no bearing on the validity of the Blossman contract.”  That cleared the way for the deal to be reinstated but commissioners on Monday voted to table the issue until next month so that they can read the legal opinion, which they did not receive until shortly before this month’s meeting, for themselves.  Some question whether or not Daugherty’s previous employment by a competing bidder may constitute a conflict, but as far as the question before the court, the deal has legal approval.  (EDITOR’S NOTE:  Blossman Gas is the title sponsor of WYSH’s high school football talk show in the fall.)

 

Fire destroys vacant Marlow house

 

A vacant home in the Marlow community was destroyed by a fire Monday afternoon.  The property owner told Sheriff’s deputies and firefighters that the house at 143 Talley Lane had been vacant for eight years after a previous fire destroyed much of the structure.  She said her son had been cleaning the property the previous day and had started a burn pile about 50 feet from the home to get rid of trash and wood from inside the building.  There was no power to the home but a CUB crew came and checked wires near the house for any damage and a gas can identified by the owner as her son’s was found near the back door of the house.  The cause of the fire was determined to be accidental and no injuries were reported.  The blaze was extinguished by the Marlow Volunteer Fire Department. 

 

Chemicals start fire in storage building

 

A storage building on Foster Lane in the Medford community was destroyed by a fire Tuesday afternoon.  Property owner Terry Foust told deputies and firefighters that he had been cleaning out the building in order to tear it down at around 3:45 pm when the roof collapsed and a fire broke out.  Foust said there were several chemicals like paint, thinner and others stored in the building, some of which had leaked on to the floor.  Medford volunteer firefighters say the chemicals likely caused the fire.  No injuries were reported. 

 

AC Commission meeting wrap-up

 

The Anderson County Commission met for the first time since January Monday night and voted unanimously to release the $20,000 in funding that had been held back from the Andersonville Volunteer Fire Department and place them back in the rotation (beginning next year) for county purchase of a new fire truck after the department abandoned its controversial and wildly unpopular subscription program and returned to all-volunteer status.  Commissioner Phil Warfield said that the department “went above and beyond what Commission asked of them” as far as making things right with county leaders and more importantly the citizens they serve.  Commissioners were also introduced to the new fire chief, Del Kennedy. 

Commissioners also voted to authorize Law Director Jay Yeager to file a public nuisance lawsuit against a resident of Foust Carney Lane in Claxton over the 75-plus chickens and roosters he keeps in his yard, which is in a subdivision.  Neighbors say that the odor—especially in the summer— and noise—from roosters who crow at all times of the day— are a nuisance, with one neighbor saying that, at times, they feel like “prisoners” in their homes.  Neighbors also contend that the chickens themselves are being kept in less than ideal conditions. Yeager also cited concerns over the potential contamination of nearby waterways from chicken feces run-off during rainy periods.  Yeager recommended that the county begin the process of drawing up ordinances dealing with poultry in residential areas. 

In other business, the Commission also voted to set aside money from capital outlay funds for the possible construction of a temporary animal shelter ($25,000) to alleviate some of the county’s animal control problems and money ($34,000) for the possible purchase of land behind the Claxton convenience center to relocate the current facility, which is small and has limited access.  In both instances, that money was not allocated but rather, set aside for possible use in the future.  Commissioners also voted to allocate $20,000 for the care of animals picked up by Animal Control officers.  Currently, the Oak Ridge Animal Shelter is overcrowded and not able to accept animals collected in the county.  Instead the county is in many cases sending animals to the Roane County shelter and the bills for that have already topped $16,000 for the first quarter of 2015. 

Commissioners voted to overturn County Mayor Terry Frank’s veto of a resolution that prohibits her, or anyone else, from firing a department head or abolishing a department of the county government established by the Commission. 

One item that no action was taken on, but will certainly be revisited in the future, was a request from Trustee Rodney Archer to establish a maximum percentage that could be paid in the event the county has to retain a delinquent tax attorney.  The state allows a maximum of 10% of the base taxes owed on a delinquent property to be paid to an attorney hired to handle those cases and Archer sought that maximum amount in order to negotiate a deal at a lower rate.  Archer says that whether or not an attorney is retained by then, he is required by state law to file a delinquent tax lawsuit by April 1st.  At issue is Mayor Frank’s refusal to sign off on Archer’s recommendation that Law Director Jay Yeager be used as the delinquent tax attorney as he has since the creation of his office in 2006.  Frank relieved Yeager of those duties late last year as part of their long-running dispute.  By law, Archer is required to appoint someone to serve in that capacity pending the Mayor's approval and he appointed Yeager, but Mayor Frank has not backed off her position.  Archer and others reached a compromise that will allow him to choose the attorney and negotiate the best deal for the county with regards to their payment.  Commissioner Steve Mead said Monday night that it is his understanding that in the event that the Trustee and Mayor cannot agree on an individual to serve in that role, state law dictates that the District Attorney appoint someone as delinquent tax attorney.  Some commissioners expressed their concern that in the event an outside attorney is retained, the money from the collection of back taxes would not flow back into county coffers, but would instead go to lawyers.  Archer says he can pay for an outside attorney in that role through the end of June with “excess” money in his budget but will not be able to do so once the new fiscal year beings on July 1st.  Commissioners voted to table the question until next month despite Archer’s objections, and a vote to rescind that delay failed, meaning that he will not be able to negotiate with any outside legal counsel.  This issue will certainly be revisited over the next few months as the saga of the Law Director/Mayor conflict continues to play out. 

 

OR Mall re-do ‘on track and on schedule’

 

(Information from Oak Ridge Today) Executives from Crosland Southeast, the North Carolina-based company that wants to redevelop the former Oak Ridge Mall property as the mixed-use Main Street Oak Ridge could close on the purchase of the property in June.  The project is expected to include a mix of retail shops, restaurants, and residential units, as well as a hotel. Belk and JCPenney, the two remaining anchor stores at the mostly empty mall, would remain, said James Downs, partner in Crosland Southeast.  Main Street Oak Ridge will include a total of about 325,000 square feet of retail space, as well as 153 residential units, including spaces for rent in three-story buildings above retail outlets, open space near the center of the development, and possibly as many as 30 retailers or more.  Downs said Monday that the project is “on track and on schedule” and that the developers hope to celebrate a grand opening in the fall of 2016.   Downs says that several tenants have already committed to the project and that others are expected to sign on in the not-too-distant future, adding that it will be up to the individual tenants to announce their involvement.  Construction work and the demolition of enclosed space between anchor stores could start at about the same time as the closing.  The project could include a new stoplight on Rutgers Avenue and outdoor dining and outdoor seating near the open space. Existing buildings could get facelifts.  Downs said Crosland Southeast is finalizing a contract with a hotel manager.  He said Walmart and the Cinemark Tinseltown Theater are outside the project, but Crosland Southeast is working with them. The theater is now an island, and the redevelopment is expected to provide good pedestrian connectivity between the theater and Main Street Oak Ridge, including its restaurants.  Wilson, East Main, and West Main streets would be brought up to high standards and become public roadways, developers said.  The Oak Ridge Municipal Planning Commission will consider a rezoning and planned unit development, or PUD, plan for Main Street Oak Ridge on March 26. The Oak Ridge City Council will then consider the rezoning and PUD plan on first and second reading in April.  For much more on this story, visit our partners at www.oakridgetoday.com.  

 

More on Rocky Top Bluegrass Festival

 

Bobby Osborne and Rocky Top X-Press will headline the First Annual Rocky Top Bluegrass Festival sponsored by Merle 96.7 FM.  The festival will be held on Friday, April 24th from 5:30 to 11 p.m. and Saturday, April 25th from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. at the George Templin Memorial Athletic Field located at 214 North Main Street, Rocky Top, Tennessee. 

"Mr. Osborne contacted us because the Osborne Brothers were the first to perform and record “Rocky Top" and he wanted to be the first to perform the song in our newly named town of Rocky Top, Tennessee", said Mike Lovely, Mayor of Rocky Top.  "As a result of his interest, we decided to have a festival featuring some of the top groups in bluegrass."
Bobby Osborne and his band Rocky Top X-Press will be joined by other well known groups including Lonesome River Band, Blue Highway, Junior Sisk and Rambler’s Choice, The Boxcars, and the 2014 International Bluegrass Music Association Emerging Artist of the Year, Flatt Lonesome.  
This two day event will also feature arts and crafts as well as food vendors.  Spaces for vendors are still available and may be reserved by calling the Anderson County Tourism Council at 1-800-524- 3602.  The fee for arts and crafts booths are $50 and $100 for food vendors.  Vendors are required to be set up for both days. 

Out of respect for our food vendors, backpacks and coolers will not be allowed in the festival area. 

Free parking for the event will be in designated areas and shuttles will be provided to the festival area.  Maps for parking areas are available online at www.rockytopbluegrassfestival.com. Gates will open at 4 p.m. on Friday and 10 a.m. on Saturday. 

Tickets may be purchased online at www.rockytopbluegrassfestival.com or in person at the WYSH AM Studios in Clinton, Rocky Top City Hall and Mark's Pharmacy in Rocky Top.   Prices are $25 plus tax for Friday, $35 plus tax for Saturday, or $50 plus tax for a two day pass and children under 10 years of age are free.  
Lodging options include campgrounds, hotels, cabins, and condos.  Some lodging facilities are offering discount packages and some will have shuttle service to the festival area. For a complete list of lodging options and their offers, visitwww.rockytopbluegrassfestival.com and click on lodging or call 1-800-524-3602
For a complete list and schedule of entertainers as well as other information, visit rockytopbluegrassfestival.com.

Proceeds from the Rocky Top Bluegrass Festival will benefit the Coal Creek Miners Museum building fund, the North Anderson County Boys and Girls Club, and the soon to be renamed Rocky Top Elementary and Middle Schools.

The First Annual Rocky Top Bluegrass Festival is sponsored by Merle 96.7 FM, WDVX 89.9 FM, the City of Rocky Top, the Rocky Top Chamber of Commerce, and the Anderson County Tourism Council.

 

Merle lands another big name

 

In its second major announcement in less than a week, Merle 96.7 (WMYL/Knoxville) today announced the addition of Hall of Fame Program Director and Music Consultant Mike Hammond.  “Mike brings four decades of country music knowledge and relationships from Nashville to Knoxville to Merle FM,” says Jack Ryan, Merle afternoon show host and station partner.  “I’m pleased to have him available on a professional level as well as a personal one.”

In addition to the professional aspect of Hammond’s presence at the radio group, there’s a personal one:  Mike is Jack’s father.  “While Jack’s air name is Ryan, his last name is Hammond,” says Mike.   We’re both excited to be working together again in this way.”

Hammond serves as the Knox County Criminal Court Clerk.  "This is my focus each day, and I am proud of what our team has accomplished.  Working with Merle on the weekends will be another extension of my public service as I work with artists and musicians to give them the chance to have their music heard on the radio."

"In my 40 year career in country radio, music has been my passion.  The chance to hear new artists like Kenny Chesney and Taylor Swift and see their careers go worldwide has been a source of pride to me.  I hope to continue that tradition with Merle FM.  Ron and Jack are passionate about the music and I look forward to working with them to bring not only new music from Nashville but music from our local artists as well."  Hammond begins his new role April 1.  He can be reached via e mail at radiomike0@gmail.com.  
Ron Meredith built Merle FM 96.7 in 2007.  It is now the highest rated and most successful locally-owned radio station in the
Knoxville market.  With the addition of afternoon drive host now partner Jack Ryan in 2012 Merle FM accelerated the climb to the top of Knoxville’s Radio market. Now, with the addition of Ed Brantley last week and, Mike Hammond today the Merle FM staff will have more than 190 years of combined broadcasting experience and will work to become Knoxville’s number one radio station.  “It is our goal to move Merle FM into the top spot in Knoxville radio.says Meredith. People the caliber of Ed Brantley and Mike Hammond combined with our already successful staff Jack Ryan, Dan Bell, Phil Jarnagin, Jennifer Alexander and a host of others, that goal may be attained much faster.

 

AC BOE, Foster sued

 

Anderson County school director Larry Foster and the County School Board have been sued for over $1.5 million by the former principal of Norris Elementary School, alleging libel and breach of a written agreement regarding her employment.  Jess Anne Cole alleges in the lawsuit filed last week in Anderson County Circuit Court that the stress caused by her removal from her post after she alerted central office personnel of alleged irregularities and impropriety in the purchase of several items from the company owned by the daughter of the system’s special education director caused her to have a stroke and suffer from stress-related incidents.  Cole alleges that she told Foster about her concerns over some $119,000 in purchases from a company run by Sue Voskamp’s daughter only to be removed from her position over allegations that she created a hostile work environment for teachers at Norris, but according to the suit, was never offered specifics.  The suit claims that Foster libeled her in an article in the Courier News in which he allegedly said that Cole had known about the purchases for some time but only went public with them after her conduct was questioned.  Cole went on medical leave in the summer of 2013 and returned to work in May of last year, believing she had a written agreement with school officials that she would be reinstated as principal at Norris but was told that was not going to happen.  The lawsuit claims she was assigned to central office duties designed for her to fail and that the stress from the situation caused her to fall ill.  School officials say an internal investigation into the purchases in question determined there was no conflict of interest because Voskamp did not personally benefit from them.  The suit asks for a total of $1.508 million. 

 

THP:  Man killed, boy injured in Wednesday wreck

 

A Heiskell man was killed and a 12-year-old boy injured in a single-vehicle crash last week, according to a fatality report released Sunday by the Tennessee Highway Patrol.  65-year-old Ronald Henderson of Heiskell was not wearing a seat belt when 1994 Ford Mustang ran off the road and struck a utility pole Wednesday morning, according to the THP.  The investigating trooper indicated in his report that a seat belt could have saved Henderson’s life.  Henderson was traveling north on Brooks Gap Road shortly after 7:30 am Wednesday (3/11) when he failed to stop at a stop sign, crossed the intersection onto Buffalo Road and struck the pole.  Authorities say that a medical condition may have contributed to the crash.  His passenger, 12-year-old Nicholas Ty Monday of Heiskell, was injured. Monday was buckled up.

 

Cemetery vandalized in Roane

 

Unknown suspects vandalized the Swan Pond Baptist Church Cemetery in Harriman last week.  The culprits knocked over several tombstones, stole dozens of vases, and a few benches. They also drove through the grounds and over some graves.   The church estimated the damage costs around $2,000.

 

ORPD arrests suspect in golf course break-in, theft

 

Officers from the Oak Ridge Police Department have arrested a man suspected of burglarizing a clubhouse at Centennial Golf Course.  A former employee of the golf course identified as 22-year-old Christopher John Queen of Knoxville was arrested and charged with one count of burglary.  Officers said they responded to the golf course, just after midnight last Monday (3/9 and found a glass door shattered and a set of golf clubs stolen. The value of the stolen and damaged property was estimated at just under $1700.  Detectives identified the man in surveillance video as Queen.  Queen was taken to the Anderson County Jail, but was released after posting bond.

 

OR man arrested

 

An Oak Ridge man was arrested Wednesday on charges connected to an early-morning incident in which he allegedly backed into a vehicle behind him, almost hit two police officers who were walking back to check on the incident, and then sped away at more than 100 mph.  20-year-old Rayshawn L. Freeman, 20, is accused of aggravated assault, two counts of reckless endangerment, evading arrest, reckless driving and speeding.  The incident occurred just after 4 a.m. on Sunday March 8th on South Illinois Avenue, according to police.  Two officers were conducting a traffic stop when they saw Freeman stop in the middle of the roadway behind them, blocking traffic.  After striking a vehicle behind him, Freeman allegedly drove toward the officers as they were walking back to investigate.  Freeman then sped off at more than 100 mph and led police on a brief chase that ended on Phillips Lane, where Freeman bailed out and fled on foot. 

 

Local agencies aid in Knox pill mill probe

 

(US Attorney’s Office) A federal grand jury in Knoxville has returned indictments charging multiple individuals for their roles in the proliferation of several “pill mills” in Knox and adjacent counties over the past few years. The primary defendant in the investigation, Sylvia Hoffstetter, 51, of Knoxville, is charged with conspiring with other pain clinic operators or sponsors of pill shopping organizations to distribute oxycodone, and to launder the proceeds generated by those clinics.  Hoffstetter, who was arraigned on Mar. 10, 2015, before U.S. Magistrate Judge C. Clifford Shirley, Jr., is accused of being responsible for the distribution of a quantity of oxycodone sufficient to generate clinic revenue of at least $17.5M between April 2011 and March 2015. She was ordered to be jailed upon the government’s motion until a detention hearing is conducted on Friday, Mar. 13, 2015. Several others were arrested on Tuesday and made their initial appearances before the court. Other arrests are pending.  If convicted as charged, each defendant faces up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $1M on the drug trafficking charge and up to another 20 years and a fine of up to $500,000 on the money laundering charges. There is no parole in the federal system.  U.S. Attorney William C. Killian and FBI Special Agent in Charge (SAC) Edward Reinhold announced that this indictment is the result of an investigation by the FBI High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA). The FBI HIDTA is composed of FBI special agents and investigators assigned to the task force by Blount County Sheriff James Berrong, Clinton Police Chief Rick Scarborough, Harriman Police Chief Randy Heidle, Knox County Sheriff Jimmy “J. J.” Jones, Knoxville Police Chief David Rausch, Loudon County Sheriff Tim Guider, and Roane County Sheriff Jack Stockton. SAC Reinhold also expressed his appreciation to Jefferson County Sheriff Bud McCoig and Kingston Police Chief Jim Washam for providing assistance in the arrests of some of these defendants.  Assistant U.S. Attorneys Tracy L. Stone and Anne-Marie Svolto will represent the United States in the prosecution of these cases.

 

Smokies announce spring opening dates

 

(GSMNP) Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials announce the spring opening schedule for park facilities for the 2015 season. Campgrounds and secondary roads will begin opening Friday, March 13. The schedule follows:

Roads – Secondary Roads are scheduled to open as follows: Forge Creek Road will open on March 6; Clingmans Dome Road will open on April 1; Round Bottom/Straight Fork Road will open April 3; Parson Branch, Rich Mountain Road, and Little Greenbrier will open on April 10; Heintooga Ridge and Balsam Mountain roads will open on May 22. Roaring Fork Nature Trail is scheduled to reopen May 1, pending completion of bridge replacement project.

Cades Cove Loop Road will be closed for bicycle use only on Wednesday and Saturday mornings until 10:00 a.m. from May 6 through September 23.

Operating Hours for Visitor Centers – The three visitor centers are open daily and the operating hours through March are as follows:  Sugarlands Visitor Center, near Gatlinburg, TN, 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m., Cades Cove Visitor Center, near Townsend, TN, 9:00 a.m.-6:30 p.m., and the Oconaluftee Visitor Center near Cherokee, NC, hours will be 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. Hours are extended for each location as the season progresses. Clingmans Dome Visitor Information Center will open April 1.

Operating Hours for Backcountry Office – The Backcountry Office located at the Sugarlands Visitor Center, near Gatlinburg, TN, is open every day from 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. Backcountry reservations and permits can be obtained online at www.smokiespermits.nps.gov or by calling 865-436-1297.

www.Recreation.gov provides visitors an opportunity to make reservations to many federally-managed recreation areas, including National Park Service areas, all across the U.S.  The park’s developed campgrounds of Cataloochee, Elkmont, Cades Cove, Smokemont, and some sites at Cosby are on the reservation system for at least a portion of their seasons. The system allows campers to reserve specific campsites and to make reservations 6 months in advance. Group campsites and picnic pavilions can be reserved up to 12 months in advance. Visitors can make reservations at the five campgrounds, all group campsites, horse camps, and picnic shelters by booking sites online at www.Recreation.gov or by calling 877-444-6777.

Campgrounds will open on a staggered schedule starting March 13. See the following schedule for exact dates.  Reservations are recommended at Cades Cove, Elkmont, and Smokemont for the period from May 15-October 31 (for other dates, the three campgrounds are first come, first serve). Advance reservations are required at Cataloochee Campground throughout the entire season. Cosby Campground, which has mostly first-come, first-served campsites, has a limited number of reservable sites during its season.  Camping fees range from $14 to $23 per site per night. 

Campers have an opportunity to camp in generator-free campsites at Cades Cove, Elkmont, and Smokemont campgrounds. The generator-free loop sections of these campgrounds are reservable through www.Recreation.gov

Group Camping will be available at seven campgrounds (see schedule for opening dates) and reservations must be made through Recreation.gov.  Group camping is available at Big Creek, Cataloochee, Cosby, Deep Creek, Elkmont, Cades Cove, and Smokemont.  The cost for group camps ranges from $26 to $65 per site per night.

Horse Camps at Cataloochee, Round Bottom, and Tow String will open April 3.  Anthony Creek will open on April 1 and Big Creek on April 11. Reservations are only available through Recreation.gov.  The horse site fees are $20 at all horse camps except for Big Creek where it is $25.

CAMPGROUND SCHEDULE

NC Campgrounds    Fee     Open   Group Sites    Horse Camp ($20, $25)

Balsam Mountain       $14     May 22          N/A

Big Creek       $14     April 10         April 10         April 10

Cataloochee   $20     April 3 April 3 April 3

Deep Creek    $17     April 10         April 10

Round Bottom                              April 3

*Smokemont  $17, $20        Year-round    May 15

Tow String                                  April 3

TN Campgrounds    Fee     Open   Group Sites    Horse Camp ($20, $25)

Abrams Creek $14     May 22          N/A

Anthony Creek                                      April 1

*Cades Cove $17, $20, $23 Year-round    March 13

Cosby  $14     April 10         April 10

*Elkmont       $17, $20, $23 March 13       April 24

Look Rock      Closed

*$20 per site during the reservation period May 15-October 31.  At Elkmont, riverside sites are $23 during reservation period only.

Picnic Areas at Cades Cove, Deep Creek, Greenbrier, and Metcalf Bottoms picnic areas are open year round. Chimneys picnic area will open on March 14 and Collins Creek picnic area will open on April 3. Big Creek and Cosby picnic areas will open shortly after on April 10. Heintooga picnic area will open on May 22. The opening of Look Rock picnic area is yet to be determined. 

The park’s largest picnic pavilion at Twin Creeks opens on April 1 and reservations are required through Recreation.gov. Twin Creeks’ fees range from $35-$75 depending on the number of people. In addition, picnickers can reserve five other picnic pavilions on Recreation.gov.  They are located at Collins Creek, Cosby, Deep Creek, Metcalf Bottoms, and Greenbrier picnic areas.  The cost is $20, except at Greenbrier where it is $10. 

Horseback Riding - The opening dates for the three horseback concessions located on the Tennessee side of the Park are:  Smoky Mountain Riding Stable on March 1; Sugarlands Riding Stable on March 1; and Cades Cove on March 7.  In addition to horseback rides, Cades Cove Riding Stable will offer their customary carriage rides and hay rides which are wheelchair accessible.  The Smokemont Riding Stable in North Carolina will open March 28 providing guided horseback rides along with horse-drawn wagon rides along the route of the historic Oconaluftee Turnpike.

LeConte Lodge, accessible only by trail, will open on March 23.  Reservations are required and can be made by calling 865/429-5704, fax 865/774-0045 or email: reservations@lecontelodge.com.  One night at the lodge costs $136 per adult and $85 for children 10 and under (tax not included). The price includes two meals--dinner and breakfast.   Day hikers and backpackers can purchase a prepared bag lunch and snacks/beverages at the lodge. Please note that Alum Cave Trail will be closed Monday through Thursday beginning on May 3 through November 19 for trail restoration. Hikers will need to choose one of the other five trails to reach LeConte Lodge on those days.

Campground Concessions – The Cades Cove Campground Store has been open since March 13.  The store provides groceries, camping supplies, firewood, ice, vending, limited food service, souvenirs, and bike rentals.  The Cades Cove Store has multi-speed comfort bikes, single speed cruisers, and electric assist bikes for rent.  The Elkmont Campground concession opens on March 13.  The concession provides firewood, ice, limited camper convenience items, and vending of soft drinks, newspapers, and snacks. 

For more information on park events, please visit the park’s website at http://www.nps.gov/grsm/planyourvisit/calendar.htm.

 

Canadian company moving to OR, bringing 600+ jobs

 

(TDEC) Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and Economic and Community Development Commissioner Randy Boyd along with CVMR officials today announced the company will establish its global headquarters in Roane County. CVMR is moving all of its current operations from Toronto, Canada to a Tennessee manufacturing facility located at 103 Palladium Way in Oak Ridge. CVMR is investing $313 million to establish this facility, create the CVMR Centre of Excellence for Innovation in Powder Metallurgy and production facilities for a wide spectrum of advanced metal products, resulting in 620 new jobs for Roane County.

“Today is exciting not just for Oak Ridge and Roane County but for all of Tennessee, and I want to thank CVMR for its significant investment in our state, making us the home of its corporate headquarters, research and development and manufacturing,” Haslam said. “This announcement sends a clear signal around the world about our skilled workforce, Tennessee’s commitment to innovation and its ability to compete in the global marketplace.”

“By leveraging unique resources like Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Tennessee is in an extraordinary position to support long-term growth of advanced manufacturers like CVMR,” Boyd said. “The Centre of Excellence for Innovation in Powder Metallurgy sets the stage for future innovation and makes a real statement about the strength of Tennessee’s workforce. Through workforce initiatives, like Drive to 55, we are developing and maintaining a pipeline of students who will be ready to work at some of the most sophisticated manufacturing facilities in the world. I appreciate CVMR’s commitment to Tennessee and the 620 new jobs they are creating in our communities.”

“We evaluated four States before we decided to move our Head Office to Oak Ridge, Tennessee.  Tennessee has the infrastructure that our operations require. It has a great University that can supply the scientists and engineers we need. The proximity of Oak Ridge National Laboratories and their willingness to cooperate on a number of projects with us, the availability of first class transportation facilities and ability to use the river, all were contributing factors to our final decision,” Kamran M. Khozan, Chairman and CEO, CVMR (USA) Inc., said. “But above all, the efficiency with which the State, county and city officials dealt with us and made us feel welcomed, made our final decision quite easy. It was an honour and a privilege for me to meet with Governor Bill Haslam. His style of leadership and efficiency of his government was a major positive influence in our final decision.”  

“Oak Ridge is a community receptive to new technologies for manufacturing, innovative science, and industrial production,” Michael C. Hargett, President, CVMR (USA), said. “A combination of superior local resources, an ability to leverage cutting-edge knowledge, and emerging demand for high-performance products makes East Tennessee the place for the CVMR headquarters, manufacturing and production. This environment supports investment and further development of CVMR technologies.” 

CVMR USA is a new company formed to use the technologies and metallurgical expertise of CVMR to address market demands for products manufactured from metal powders in the US. CVMR USA will refine and manufacture high-value metals and metal products directly from raw ore, scrap metals, concentrates and mattes. 

CVMR plans to begin operating by the end of May 2015 and will transfer to Oak Ridge the production of advanced metal materials for a variety of industries, including aerospace, energy, automotive and medical devices. CVMR plans to quadruple its production capacity at the site over the next three years and will begin construction of additional facility in June 2015. 

The Oak Ridge facility will house CVMR USA’s corporate headquarters, research and development, production of nano materials and metallurgical coating services, customer support, product development and planning for US production facilities. The CVMR Centre of Excellence for Innovation in Powder Metallurgy will collaborate with academic, industrial, government and businesses entities interested in the development of advanced materials and innovative technologies. The Centre will focus on production of new metallurgical products that can benefit the metal industry.

“Roane County is proud to welcome CVMR as our newest industry,” Roane County Executive Ron Woody said. “Having such an innovative company locate here strengthens and diversifies our economy and increases our impact on the rest of the world, which is already significant through our partners at the Department of Energy and our existing companies.”

“As Mayor of Oak Ridge, I want to be the first to welcome the CVMR world headquarters to Oak Ridge. CVMR’s location to Oak Ridge adds to the distinction of our community as a place of innovation and advanced composite discoveries for the world,” Oak Ridge City Mayor Warren Gooch said. “As we diversify our economy for additive manufacturing, CVMR is at the center of the world of 3D printing and advanced metallurgy. Oak Ridge will be by their side as a partner in establishing a hub for new technologies and advanced composite businesses for Oak Ridge and the region.” 

"TVA and the Oak Ridge Electric Department congratulate CVMR Corporation on its announcement to locate and create hundreds of new jobs in Oak Ridge,” TVA senior vice president of Economic Development John Bradley said. “We are pleased to partner with the state of Tennessee, the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the City of Oak Ridge, many Oak Ridge community leaders, and Roane County to facilitate CVMR’s new location decision.”

"We're welcoming CVMR to Tennessee because a lot of people worked together to show them our area's unique resources," Thom Mason, director of Oak Ridge National Laboratory and chairman of the regional Innovation Valley partnership, said. "ORNL's leadership in additive manufacturing is a perfect fit for CVMR, for instance. In partnership with Roane County, the city of Oak Ridge, TVA and others, we're seeing Tennessee build a manufacturing sector at the forefront of current technologies."

CVMR will immediately begin hiring people with experience as materials specialists, chemical technicians, product development, and those with advanced degrees in these particular areas. 

Oak Ridge and Roane County are represented by Rep. Kent Calfee (R – Kingston), Rep. John Ragan (R – Oak Ridge), Sen. Randy McNally (R – Oak Ridge) and Sen. Ken Yager (R – Kingston) in the Tennessee General Assembly.

 

ORT:  More on CVMR announcement

 

(Oak Ridge Today) A company that manufactures high-purity metal powders and super alloys is moving its operations to Oak Ridge from Toronto, Canada, and investing $313 million here and creating 620 jobs, officials said Friday.

CVMR, which has operations in 18 countries, will use the former Theragenics building at Horizon Center in west Oak Ridge for its headquarters and research and development. The company closed on that building, which is on 21 acres, on Friday, but executives declined to name the sale price.

The first employee was hired yesterday, said Kamran Khozan, chairman and chief executive officer of CVMR (USA) Incorporated.

The company could expand that 65,000-square-foot building; infrastructure that is already in place allows it to be doubled. The company could put 218 people to work right away in its new headquarters and add 402 high-paying (non-federal) manufacturing jobs later, a state official said.

“I can promise you that this is the start of a wave,” said Randy Boyd, the new commissioner of Tennessee Economic and Community Development.

The manufacturing facility could be built about two miles away on 25 acres at an old steam plant near the former K-25 site, now known as Heritage Center. That property is owned by the U.S. Department of Energy.

The news was announced early Friday afternoon at the new CVMR headquarters on Palladium Way in Horizon Center. Guests included local, state, and federal officials, and CVMR executives.

“This is obviously an exciting announcement for Oak Ridge and East Tennessee,” Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam said.

“We expect to be much bigger and invest much more in the next five years,” Khozan said.

He said there could be about 120 PhD researchers at the company’s new Oak Ridge headquarters.

CVMR executives said about five million tons of ores per year will be concentrated overseas in places such as the Phillipines, Indonesia, and African countries, and then shipped or sent by barge to Oak Ridge. About 10 percent of that, or about 500,000 tons could be processed in Oak Ridge.

CVMR USA Presidnet Michael Hargett said the company has commitments to manufacture by June 2015. Systems and equipment that are now in Toronto will be moved to Oak Ridge, he said.

CVMR uses the ore concentrates to create pure metal powders. Those then go to manufacturers that make parts for customers, such as NASA and the U.S. Department of Defense. CVMR works with 52 medal powders and produces about 34 unique products, using metal concentrates such as nickel, iron, and cobalt, and they can be used in batteries, 3D manufacturing, medical instruments, defense equipment, and the aerospace industry.

DOD is CVMR’s largest customer, but others include NASA, General Electric, and General Dynamics.

A state press release said a large part of the U.S. plant will be used to produce metal powers for 3D printing and graphene for advanced products.

There will be state incentives for the company, but Haslam said those haven’t been finalized yet.

Besides Boyd, Haslam, Khozan, and Hargett, speakers at Friday’s ceremony included Oak Ridge Mayor Warren Gooch, Roane County Executive Ron Woody, Congressman Chuck Fleischmann, and Oak Ridge National Laboratory Director Thom Mason.

Khozan said about 75 percent of metal parts use metal powders and alloys. And the industry is growing at about 26 percent in the United States, compared to 13.5 percent in China.

He said Tennessee has a business-friendly environment, cited the importance of Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the University of Tennessee, and said the City of Oak Ridge has first-class infrastructure. Hargett said the labor force is also central; employees can work in a high-tech setting that complies with global standards, he said.

CVMR plans to begin operating by the end of May 2015 and will transfer to Oak Ridge the production of advanced metal materials for a variety of industries, including aerospace, energy, automotive and medical devices. CVMR plans to quadruple its production capacity at the site over the next three years and will begin construction of the additional facility in June 2015.

 

Feds, others celebrate UPF site-readiness

 

Federal officials and contractors celebrated the completion of site readiness work for the multi-billion dollar Uranium Processing Facility at the Y-12 National Security Complex on Friday morning.  The UPF site readiness work includes a Bear Creek Road extension and the creation of a haul road.  Officials say that site readiness is the first major step for the UPF.  The $6.5 billion project is expected to be completed by 2025 and when finished, will represent the largest single construction project in state history.  “Completion of this stage of the field work to prepare for building UPF signifies a move forward toward the National Nuclear Security Administration’s commitment to complete UPF and move out of the aging 9212 facility.”  The Friday morning event featured a host of dignitaries, including NNSA Administrator General Frank Klotz; Congressman Chuck Fleischmann; Lieutenant Colonel John Hudson, commander of the Nashville District U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; UPF Federal Project Director John Eschenberg; Consolidated Nuclear Security LLC President and CEO Jim Haynes; and UPF Project Director Brian Reilly.  Upcoming UPF site readiness work includes more site infrastructure and services.  CNS is preparing plans for other components of this key scope.

 

Frank, Phillips review 2014, preview 2015 financial picture

 

Thursday, Anderson County Mayor Terry Frank and Budget Director Chris Phillips released an overview of the county’s 2014 finances and provided a preview of this year’s budget cycle.  You can read the op-ed piece in its entirety on our website’s Local Information News page, but some of the 2014 highlights included the county being identified as a low-risk auditee rather than high-risk for a second consecutive year and the undesignated fund balance being increased to $4 million.  Frank and Phillips also noted that the minimum undesignated fund balance was increased by over $1.7 million in revenues over expenditures and that “tight spending practices helped Anderson County experience a year of surplus revenue over expenditures, and we continue to strive to limit debt.”  Writing that, “while 2014 was another year of stability and continued improvement, there are challenges on the horizon.  Reappraisals are expected to note a decline in some areas.  A shrinking fund balance for our school system may result in cash-flow challenges that might require Tax Anticipation notes in years to come.”  Frank and Phillips also say that a problem with a Medicare administrative contractor has created a significant cash-flow problem in the county EMS that will likely result in a budget shortfall of between $600,000 and $800,000.  Basically, the problem has been created because the EMS, which is normally self-sufficient, is not being paid for answering 911 calls.  Until the situation is corrected, EMS has implemented a spending freeze on all expenditures except for essential equipment, supplies, and payroll.  County officials are working closely with Senator Alexander’s office in an effort to resolve the issues.  Even with those difficulties, Frank and Phillips say the “tight spending practices” of government leaders has allowed “Anderson County to build [its] fund balance so that we are able to weather such a storm.”  Again, you can read the entire op-ed summarizing 2014 and previewing 2015 on our website. 

 

ORPD nabs sex offender near school after theft…from church

 

A convicted rapist with a violent past was arrested this week near an elementary school after the pastor at an Oak Ridge church Heritage Fellowship Church saw him steal mail from the church.  Oak Ridge officers arrested 47-year-old Gregory Scott Tyree about half a mile from Heritage Fellowship Church near Willow Brook Elementary School on Robertsville Road.  Investigators also recovered evidence near Robertsville Middle School with help from the pastor, who had followed Tyree after watching him take the mail.  After Tyree was taken into custody on misdemeanor theft charges, officers discovered he was convicted in 1994 for aggravated rape and sexual battery. So, Wednesday, he was charged with violating the state sex offender registry law.  Tyree is in custody at the Anderson County Jail.

 

ORAU awarded DOE contract

 

The Department of Energy has awarded ORAU a five-year, $23 million contract to continue managing its National Supplemental Screening Program. ORAU has managed this worker health screening program for DOE since 2005. The screening programs are free for former energy workers who may have been exposed to hazardous substances at work. To provide the NSSP services, ORAU partners with Comprehensive Health Services, Inc., National Jewish Health, the University of Colorado, Denver Health Sciences Center and Axion Health. 

The program managed by ORAU is one of six such programs funded by DOE. The ORAU-managed program serves workers from the Hanford Site in Washington, Savannah River Site in South Carolina, Rocky Flats Plant in Colorado, Kansas City Plant in Missouri, Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory in New Jersey, Pinellas Plant in Florida and Argonne National Laboratory and Fermi National Accelerator Lab both located in Illinois. Through this program, the NSSP also provides screening for workers from other sites living outside their screening area or who are not covered by the other established programs. Workers can go to the NSSP website (http://www.orau.org/nssp) to learn more about the program, eligibility and enrollment details. 

In the past ten years, nearly 16,000 former DOE workers from around the country have enrolled in this program. Through its partner, Comprehensive Health Services, Inc., ORAU works with nearly 2,000 medical facilities across the country to secure screening at a location convenient to the worker. These screenings are designed to identify certain occupational diseases, such as respiratory illnesses or cancers. Since the beginning of this program, these tests also made more than 85 percent of those participating aware of previously undiagnosed, yet addressable, non-occupational health conditions, such as elevated blood sugar or blood pressure.

ORAU provides innovative scientific and technical solutions to advance national priorities in science, education, security and health. Through specialized teams of experts, unique laboratory capabilities and access to a consortium of more than 100 major Ph.D.-granting institutions, ORAU works with federal, state, local and commercial customers to advance national priorities and serve the public interest. A 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation and federal contractor, ORAU manages the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). Learn more about ORAU at www.orau.org.  

 

ORT:  OR schools have 2 snow days to make up

 

(Oak Ridge Today) According to our partners at Oak Ridge Today, the Oak Ridge school system used nine snow days this year but only needs to make up two.  “As we have gone through the process of examining our snow day allocation, we discovered that, in addition to the three extra student instructional days we had built into our calendar, we were also entitled to three stockpiled snow days because of our longer school days as compared to state minimum requirements,” Chris Marczak, assistant superintendent of Oak Ridge Schools told ORT. He added, “The state acknowledged on March 9 that these three stockpiled snow days were due to Oak Ridge Schools for this school year and for future school years. We therefore have six total possible snow days, rather than three.”  In addition to these six days, Oak Ridge was just awarded a waiver from the state for one additional snow day, meaning that only two days will need to be made up. 

 

Nurse indicted in connection to AC inmate death

 

A nurse and former employee of a company providing medical services to inmates at the Anderson County Jail has been indicted on a felony charge of making a false report in connection to the death of a 34-year-old man while in custody at the jail last summer.  34-year-old Christopher Sullivan died on July 4th, just hours after being arrested on drug possession, public intoxication and contributing to the delinquency of a minor charges by Oak Ridge Police.  According to a release from DA Dave Clark’s office, Sullivan appeared to be impaired but was “able to walk, talk, write and successfully [complete] the booking process.”  He was then placed in a holding cell where he laid down on a bench and appeared to fall asleep.  Three and a half hours later, a jailer tried to wake him and found Sullivan unresponsive.  Despite the efforts of EMTs, Sullivan died and an autopsy later determined he had died from alcohol and morphine intoxication.  The ACSD notified the DA’s office and the Coroner’s Office and also began its own internal probe into Sullivan’s death.  The evidence was turned over to the DA’s Office, which took it to the grand jury.  The grand jury indicted 49-year-old Billy Joe Brockman of Clinton on a Class D Felony charge of making a false report.  The investigation determined that Brockman “unlawfully reported to…investigators that he had measured and recorded” Sullivan’s vital signs despite knowing that he had not.  Videotape of the booking area reportedly shows that Brockman did not take or record Sullivan’s vital signs.  At the time of Sullivan’s death, Brockman was employed with Advanced Correctional Healthcare Inc., which is contracted to provide medical services to county inmates.  The DA’s office says it is believed he is no longer with that company.  DA Dave Clark will refer this matter and all the evidence in the case to the State Nursing Board “for its consideration for action with respect to [Brockman’s] nursing license.  Brockman was taken into custody by Sheriff’s deputies on Tuesday and released from the ACDF after posting a $100,000 bond.  He will be arraigned in Criminal Court on March 30th

 

1 killed, 2 hurt in Campbell crash

 

One person was killed and two people were injured Wednesday night in a two-vehicle accident in Campbell County and state troopers say that alcohol may have played a role.  The Tennessee Highway Patrol reports that the accident happened just after 11:15 pm Wednesday when a 1999 Jeep Cherokee driven by 33-year-old Michael Kidd of Jellico failed to yield the right of way while attempting to turn on to State Highway 297 from Little Elk Creek Road and collided almost head-on with a 1995 Dodge Ram Pickup driven by 54-year-old Buford Trammell of Pioneer.  The passenger in Kidd’s Jeep, identified as 33-year-old Della Foust of Rockholds, Kentucky, was killed in the crash while Kidd and Trammell were both injured.  None of the three were wearing seatbelts at the time of the crash and the report indicates that Kidd had been drinking.  Blood tests were ordered and the report indicates that charges and citations are pending.  The conditions of the injured were not immediately available.

 

Ex-jailer indicted for assaulting inmate

 

A former Anderson County corrections officer has been indicted on a misdemeanor assault charge after he allegedly struck an inmate last fall.  Dustin McCoig turned himself in on Wednesday on the charge contained in the indictment handed down last week and was released after posting bond.  Inmate Joshua Bryant says that he was assaulted by McCoig on October 22, 2014 while he was incarcerated and McCoig was on duty.  The Sheriff’s Department began an internal affairs investigation and turned the findings of that probe over to the DA’s office, which in turn presented the case to the Anderson County grand jury on March 3rd.  He was indicted on a charge of assault, a Class A misdemeanor.  McCoig, according to a release from the DA’s office was “separated from employment with the Sheriff’s Department” as a result of the investigation.  DA Dave Clark said that while he is “disappointed that charges of this type have arisen from our local detention facility…I am pleased at the response of the Sheriff’s Department in policing itself…It is critical that law enforcement hold itself to appropriate standards to insure safety, justice and to preserve public confidence in our criminal justice system.  Bryant remains in custody at the Jail, where he has been incarcerated since last June and McCoig will be arraigned March 30th in Criminal Court.

 

2 indicted on child sex abuse charges

 

Two people have been arrested in the past two days on separate, unrelated cases of child sexual abuse after indictments were handed down last week by the Anderson County Grand Jury.  44-year-old Gerald Wayne Condon of Maryville and 50-year-old Roger Dale Lindsay of Clinton were charged after investigations by the Sheriff’s Criminal Investigations Unit.  Condon was indicted on twenty-five (25) counts of child sexual abuse offenses on one underage victim that occurred over the last four years. He faces five counts each of Rape; Statutory Rape By Authority Figure; Sexual Battery by an Authority Figure; Sale, Loan, Or Exhibition of Material To Minors and Incest.  Condon was arrested on Tuesday, March 10, and released after posting $100,000.00 bond.

Lindsay was indicted on eighteen (18) counts of child sexual abuse offenses on two underage victims that occurred over the last six years. Lindsay was indicted on six counts each of Sexual Battery by an Authority Figure and Incest, five counts of Rape of a Child and one count of Statutory Rape by an Authority Figure.  He was arrested Wednesday, March 11, and is currently in jail on $100,000.00 bond.  Both of these cases were recently reported to the Anderson County Sheriff’s Department and were presented to the Anderson County Grand Jury after investigation. Due to the age of the victims, the identity and relationship to the offenders and other information can not be released at this time.

 

Merle welcomes Ed Brantley to the Radio Ranch

 

Merle 96.7 (WMYL/Knoxville) today announced the addition of Ed Brantley.   Ed brings four decades of leadership in East Tennessee radio and is a member of The Knox County Commission.  Says Merle FM managing partner Ron Meredith, “We couldn’t be more pleased to have Ed Brantley at Merle FM.  He has extensive experience and success in all aspects of country music radio and will help this company grow a great deal in every facet of our operation.”

“Merle FM is a high-quality operation from the ground up,” said Brantley.  “Merle sounds great, and it keeps strong relationships within the community among both listeners and advertisers. I am excited to begin working with the staff using the knowledge, experience, and relationships formed over the years and help move Merle FM to the next level.  I’m honored at the warm welcome here and ready to get started.”

Brantley’s opportunities at Merle will include consulting on all departments within the station including programming, community relations, and advertising sales.  He was on the air at WIVK for 27 years, being voted #1 afternoon radio personality in America and later became its sales manager and general manager.  He managed five stations overseeing a staff of more than one hundred with annual revenues of eight figures.  He became General Manager and morning show host at WNOX where he dealt daily with the needs of the people of Knox County and East Tennessee.  Ed started Coats for the Cold, and The Knoxville Award and has served United Way, Boys

and Girls Clubs, and Senior Citizens Home Assistance Service and others.

Merle FM 96.7 signed on in 2007.  It is now the highest rated and most successful locally-owned radio station in the Knoxville market.  With the addition of afternoon drive host now partner Jack Ryan in 2012 Merle FM accelerated the climb to the top of Knoxville’s Radio market. Now, with the addition of Ed Brantley, the Merle FM staff will have more than 150 years of combined broadcasting experience and will work to become Knoxville’s number one radio station.  Merle FM was nominated Station of The Year by The Academy of Country Music in 2012 along with Jack Ryan as Air Personality of The Year.  Its Big D and Bubba morning show recently won Air Personality of The Year and will receive its award next month in Dallas at The ACM Awards Show. 

Meredith also owns WYSH AM 1380/FM 101.1 in Clinton.  WYSH is Anderson County’s top-rated radio station, reaching half-again more Anderson Countians than the next highest rated Knoxville station.  He has hosted WYSH’s Country Club Morning Show for over 25 years of that station’s 55 year history.  Ron is an active supporter of Anderson County and its public initiatives as part of his role as owner of WYSH.  He was a key supporter of Stan Brock’s Remote Area Medical efforts in the area.

“I’ve been blessed,” says Meredith on the station format he designed, “There are a lot of people that like Blake Shelton but still want to hear Willie Nelson.  They tune in.  They like what they hear, and they stay.  I’m honored that so many great people want to be a part of it.”

 

Op-Ed:  AC Mayor, Budget Director review 2014, look ahead

 

(Mayor Terry Frank & Budget Director Chris Phillips) [Anderson County] recently finished its Popular Annual Financial Report for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2014, and we wanted to share a snapshot of Anderson County’s financial health.  While there are many factors that go into evaluating our county’s overall ability to promote prosperity for the people of our county, our financial health as a county government has a direct impact on the lives of families who live here and the business and industry that operates here.

Noteworthy accomplishments from 2014:

  • For the second year in a row, Anderson County qualified as a low-risk auditee instead of high-risk status.
  • Fund balance policy was strengthened again, and its unassigned General Fund balance is now increased to $4 million, up from $2.5 million in 2012 and $3.5 million in 2013.  Any dip into reserves below this threshold requires a supermajority vote from County Commission.
  • For the year end, we increased the General Fund balance by $1,744,824 (revenues over expenditures).  While 2013/2014 saw a fractional decrease in property taxes, 2014/2015 saw property taxes remain the same, with no increases. (It must be noted that some of the surplus is already dedicated to certain projects or commitments.)
  • Tight spending practices helped Anderson County experience a year of surplus revenue over expenditures, and we continue to strive to limit debt.  For fiscal year ending June 30, 2014, Anderson County issued refunding bonds that lowered interest rates, saved more than $150,000 over the life of the bonds, but did not extend the maturity of the debt.
  • Creation of a capital projects fund with an assigned tax rate that did not increase the overall county tax rate.
  • Passage of budget without costly tax anticipation notes.

While 2014 was another year of stability and continued improvement, there are challenges on the horizon.  Reappraisals are expected to note a decline in some areas.  A shrinking fund balance for our school system may result in cash-flow challenges that might require Tax Anticipation notes in years to come.  Interest on Tax Anticipation notes cuts into normal operational funds, and is therefore a measure we take only when there are no other options.

A major challenge has recently developed with Emergency Medical Services and will impact this year’s budget as we close out the year and move into next year.  Currently, we are facing challenges with a Medicare Administrative Contractor and the processing of documentation related to submission of our 911 Emergency calls.  This processing issue has created substantial cash-flow problems as the county has not received the revenue for services billed.  To alleviate the problem, EMS has worked with us on a spending freeze on all expenditures except essential equipment, supplies, and payroll.  We are working closely with Senator Alexander’s office and thank them for assisting us in an effort to resolve the issues.  However, in the short term, Anderson County EMS will be seeing a $600,000 to $800,000 shortfall by the year end, meaning Anderson County will have to address the shortfall until the issues are resolved and the revenues are finally received.  To boil the issue down, the financial challenge is the result of not being paid for answering 911 calls.

Tight spending practices by your government leaders over the last few years have enabled Anderson County to build our fund balance so that we are able to weather such a storm.  Prudence and fiscal discipline have enabled us to see an increase in bond ratings and climb out of our problem of limited reserves, but obviously with the challenges ahead, there is no time to rest.

As we enter the budget season, please know we will remain committed to fiscal discipline and serving Anderson County in the best, most responsible way.  Anderson County is in good health, but we must stay committed.   We take seriously our responsibility to manage your tax dollars.

 

Snow day waivers granted to AC, Clinton schools

 

At least two local school districts will not have to make up all of the extra days of school they missed due to last month’s winter storms.  Dozens of systems used more snow days than they had built into their 2014-2015 calendar. The state requires schools to have 180 instructional days every year, and in most cases, they would have to find ways to make up those unexpected days out of the classroom.  However, because the storms resulted in Governor Haslam declaring a State of Emergency, schools were allowed to apply for a waiver of up to three instructional days. The deadline for those requests is March 31.  So far, the commissioner of education has granted snow day waivers for more than a dozen districts in our area, including Anderson County, which had three days waived and the Clinton City Schools, which was granted a waiver for two days. 

 

Tennessee 4-H has new leader

 

(UTIA) A life-long educator, Richard Clark is dedicating his career to giving young people in Tennessee every opportunity to grow and succeed. It starts as early as the fourth grade and continues through the college years.  Clark recently started work at the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture as the new leader of Tennessee 4-H, the youth development program for UT Extension, and Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communication (ALEC), a department in the Institute’s College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources. These two units – service-oriented and academic – have been merged in an effort to better serve Tennessee youth.   

“I’ve been involved in 4-H and ag education in some capacity for almost my entire career,” says Clark. “The new department of 4-H and ALEC has the opportunity to serve as a model for other universities for impacting the lives of young people from elementary school through college. 4-H and ALEC have a common, underlying youth development and education knowledge base which makes this merger ideal.” 

Clark’s main responsibilities will be providing leadership to the state 4-H staff in Knoxville and county 4-H agents all across the state. He will also serve in an academic capacity, developing curriculum for faculty and students here at UTIA. 

“My first goal is to inspire students of all ages to reach for their dreams and empower them with the knowledge and skills necessary to be successful in life,” says Clark. “The second goal is for the department to become a national leader in scholarship related to youth development in both non-formal and formal education. We will continue to engage in cutting-edge research and showcase innovation in university teaching and in outreach through 4-H.” 

“Dr. Clark brings a diverse background and experiences that make him an ideal leader for our new 4-H/ALEC Department,” says UTIA Chancellor Larry Arrington. “This newly created department pulls together all of our faculty and staff working in the areas of youth development and leadership. This will allow UTIA to better serve the state of Tennessee – including 4-H and FFA programs throughout the state.”
Clark comes to UTIA from the University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences, where he served as Associate Director of Agricultural Education from 2009 to this year. He also led the Illinois 4-H program during that time as Interim Director. In his career, Clark also led the 4-H program in New Jersey for Rutgers University, and had administrative appointments at Ohio State, Penn State and Virginia Tech. He holds his doctorate from Ohio State, and also has degrees from Virginia Tech. He is a native of Danville, Virginia, and very early in his career worked at the county level in 4-H in that state.  The UT Institute of Agriculture provides instruction, research and outreach through the UT College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, the UT College of Veterinary Medicine, UT AgResearch, including its system of 10 research and education centers, and UT Extension offices in every county in the state.

 

AC man faces rape charges

 

A Clinton man was indicted last week by an Anderson County grand jury on charges that he sexually assaulted a girl between the ages of 13 and 18 last year.  59-year-old Rockie Williams was arrested Sunday on charges of rape and aggravated statutory rape in connection to the incident, which is alleged to have occurred in late November 2014.  As of this morning, Williams remained in custody at the Anderson County Jail.  He is due in court for an arraignment on March 30th

 

OR schools present budget request

 

The Oak Ridge school system’s proposed budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1st asks for an additional $2.7 million over the current budget, a request that would require the equivalent of a 23-cent property tax rate increase in order to fully fund.  The proposed budget was revealed to City Council budget committee members on Tuesday and includes three percent salary increases for employees.  Last year, the schools asked for what would have amounted to a 37-cent tax increase but received no new, additional funding.  The budget request, which is still in its early stages, also includes funding for a program aimed at getting tablets in to students’ hands, funding for the addition of eight new full-time employees and funding to erase a deficit of over $658,000.  The school board and city council will continue to meet over the next few months to fine-tune the budget, which will likely be voted on by the Oak Ridge City Council sometime in June. 

 

Y-12 trio to appeal convictions

 

The three anti-nuclear activists convicted of sabotage and damaging the exterior of a Y-12 uranium facility in July 2012 will seek Thursday to convince a federal appeals court that their convictions should be overturned.  Attorneys for Sister Megan Rice, Michael Walli and Greg Boertje-Obed argue in court documents that the sabotage charge was government overreach that should not have been applied for the activists' symbolic, nonviolent actions. They also object to a prosecutors' invocation of 9/11 during closing arguments.  Early on the morning of July 28, 2012, the three illegally entered a secure area where the U.S. keeps most of its bomb-grade uranium. Despite setting off alarms, they were able to spend more than two hours inside the restricted area before they were arrested.  They spray-painted slogans such as "the fruit of justice is peace" on the exterior walls of the $548 million Highly Enriched Uranium Materials Facility at the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge. They also splattered the walls with blood and they hammered on the exterior wall.  Thursday's hearing will be before the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati. The trio was tried and convicted in U.S. District Court in Knoxville.  Attorneys argue what the trio did does not amount to true sabotage. In addition, they say what the three did did not threaten national security.  They also argue federal prosecutors went too far in seeking charges against their clients.  The government argues in court documents that the activists can be charged with sabotage because they "intended to injure, interfere with, or obstruct the national defense." Prosecutors say the activists own statements attest to this. At trial and at sentencing, they said their goal was nuclear disarmament, and they hoped their actions would somehow bring that about.  Prosecutors also argue that Y-12 is critical to the national defense. Because of the break-in, all nuclear operations at the site were suspended for 15 days. In addition, the intrusion damaged Y-12's reputation as the "Fort Knox of uranium."

 

Alexander holds line on UPF budget, timeframe

 

(Sen. Alexander’s office) U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), the top Republican on energy appropriations, today (3/11) held a hearing on the National Nuclear Security Agency’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2016, in which he said there “is a lot more work to be done” to keep large government construction projects, such as the Uranium Processing Facility in (Oak Ridge) Tennessee, on time and on budget as he and other senators work to fund critical defense priorities.

“Construction of the Uranium Processing Facility’s uranium buildings isn’t supposed to begin until the buildings are at 90 percent design, the project isn’t supposed to exceed $6.5 billion, and it needs to be completed by 2025,” Alexander, chairman of  the Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy & Water Development, said in a statement. “That’s the agreement.”

At the subcommittee hearing today, Alexander cited the Uranium Processing Facility at Y-12 in Tennessee, the MOX Fuel Fabrication Facility in South Carolina and the Plutonium Facility in New Mexico – which combined could cost as much as $20 billion – as projects he wants to help keep on time and on budget. He also cited as major priorities effectively maintaining the country’s nuclear weapons stockpile and supporting the nuclear Navy.

Alexander continued, “The National Nuclear Security Administration has an important national security mission, but faces many challenges. That’s why we need to do what we were sent here to do – to govern. Governing is about setting priorities, and we are going to have to make some hard decisions this year to make sure the highest priorities are funded.” 

 

Johnson Gap Road bridge back open

 

The bridge on Johnson Gap Road in Anderson County’s Dutch Valley community is back open today, a year and a half after it was shut down due to safety concerns.  State inspectors ordered the 100-year-old wooden bridge closed in July of 2013 after finding that the wooden support structures were compromised and posed a safety hazard.  The bridge owned by CSX Railroad is the primary shortcut that Dutch Valley residents use to get to and from Clinton and Oak Ridge and the shutdown frustrated many.  Last year, the railroad offered Anderson County leaders two options for getting the bridge back open.  The first option was to give the bridge to the county and have the local government replace the bridge at county expense and the second option was to allow the railroad to repair the bridge and bring it back up to code at the company’s expense.  The County Commission went with option number two, but the frustration continued to mount as CSX would give officials a tentative start date but then push that date back, blaming labor and other internal company problems.  Work to repair the bridge finally got underway last month and, again, has paid off as the Johnson Gap Road bridge is once again open to traffic. 

 

2 indicted in social media-based assault, robbery

 

Two Clinton men have been indicted on charges they posed as a woman on a social media site and lured a man to a meeting where they are then accused of attacking him with a baseball ball bat and a hammer, and stealing his cash, cell phone and wallet.  20-year-old Kavonte Jamar Carson and 19-year-old Shawn Dillon Summers were indicted last week on charges of aggravated robbery, aggravated kidnapping, auto burglary and theft.  The men are charged with using text messages to lure a 19-year-old man to what turned out to be a bogus address in the Marlow community.  When the victim arrived, he tried to find the address and, after failing to do so, was walking back to his vehicle when Carson is accused of hitting him in the lower back with a baseball bat, forcing him to the ground.  Summers is then accused of striking the man in the back of the head with a hammer and ordering him to empty his pockets. The men allegedly rummaged through the victim’s car and stole his wallet before fleeing into nearby woods. 

 

ASAP breaks down cost of substance abuse

 

(ASAP guest column) Studies show the cost of substance abuse in the U.S. is over $500 Billion dollars.  These figures include the impact of tobacco, alcohol, and illicit drug use and include resource and productivity costs.  Two local anti-drug coalitions were interested in finding out how much substance abuse costs the local taxpayer in Tennessee and how much of that money could be saved by investing in substance abuse prevention. 

Over the past 7 months, Stephanie Strutner, Executive Director-ASAP, Sarah Harrison, Executive Director- RCADC, Wayne Stephenson Ph.D., and Stacey Pratt, Project Coordinator-ASAP, have spent over 400 hours researching the cost of substance abuse and the financial benefit of prevention.  The project found that $3,023,687,696 of taxpayer funding is spent in Tennessee “shoveling-up” the costs of the failure to prevent substance abuse.  The good news is the project also found that for every $1 invested in substance abuse prevention at the state level $4.60 can be saved in burden spending.  The benefit of local tax dollar investment in prevention is even greater at a savings of $16.76 in Anderson County and $14.66 in Roane County.  

The authors of the report were invited to present their findings at the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America’s National Leadership Forum in Washington, D.C. on February 3, 2015.  More than 100 people attended the session to learn how this research can be adapted for their own localities.  This knowledge helps Anti-Drug Coalitions plan for the future and ensure that investments made to substance abuse prevention are being responsibly spent, having a positive outcome on their community, and saving taxpayer money from having to be used to clean up the mess substance abuse can leave behind. 

For more information about the project or to find out more about local Anti-Drug Coalitions call 865-457-3007 or visit www.ASAPofAnderson.org.

 

ORT:  OR Council approves Main Street OR rezoning

 

(Oak Ridge Today) Leasing, financing, and pre-construction work on the Main Street Oak Ridge project is progressing as planned, a developer said in late February, and a change to the city’s zoning ordinance approved on Monday will help the redevelopment.

Crosland Southeast hopes to start construction late in the second quarter of 2015. It’s part of a plan to have a grand opening in the fall of 2016.  Survey crews from Cannon and Cannon have completed a boundary survey of the 60-acre site, the former Oak Ridge Mall, and field work is under way, said Ray Evans, the city’s retail consultant.

The amendment of the city’s zoning ordinance had been recommended by the Oak Ridge Municipal Planning Commission in February. It allows multifamily units in what is known as UB-2 zone, a unified general business district. The City Council approved the ordinance change in the first of two monthly readings on Monday. 

Evans said Cannon and Cannon submitted a request on Monday to rezone the property to UB-2 with a planned unit development, or PUD, overlay. The Planning Commission is expected to consider the request on March 26, and Council could consider it in April.  Evans said the UB-2 zoning with the PUD overlay gives Crosland Southeast, the company that has proposed the complex redevelopment, flexibility for lot lines, configurations, setbacks, and uses. It allows multifamily and retail in the same zone, among other uses. 

Evans said ORNL Federal Credit Union, one of the local lenders that had hoped to help with the tax increment financing, or TIF, loan of the project is not able to participate. But a local lending group led by David Bradshaw is pulling together that lending portion without ORNL FCU, Evans said.

 

ORT:  Man demands tours of fed facilities, arrested

 

(Oak Ridge Today) A California man was arrested by Oak Ridge police and questioned by federal agents after he demanded tours of the New Hope Center at the Y-12 National Security Complex and Oak Ridge National Laboratory on Friday evening.  The Oak Ridge Police Department responded to the call at about 6:22 p.m. Friday. A man had been found trying to get into the New Hope Center through a rear door.  An employee at the New Hope Center confronted the man, who demanded a tour of the building.  After he was denied a tour, the man reportedly left the area in a maroon-colored Jeep sport utility vehicle bearing a Texas license plate.  ORPD officers converged on the area in search of the vehicle and man. Within 15 minutes, they located the vehicle on Bethel Valley Road at the east portal of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory after it was stopped by ORNL security officers.  After being stopped, the driver demanded a tour of ORNL.

ORPD officers detained the driver, identified as 24-year-old Rishi Chatterjee Malakar of Fremont, California, for investigation. It was determined that Malakar’s California driver’s license was suspended, and he was subsequently arrested   Malakar was transported to ORPD Headquarters, where he was interviewed by special agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Energy Inspector General’s Office.  Malakar was later transported to the Anderson County Detention Facility in Clinton on a charge of driving with a suspended license.  He remained in custody as of this morning on a bond of $1000. 

 

A little bit of shaking going on

 

A small earthquake rattled Roane County Sunday afternoon.  The 2.5 tremblor happened at 1:35 p.m., according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The epicenter was located about seven miles east southeast of Kingston.  Officials haven't taken any reports of damage.

 

ORT:  3 cars go up in flames

 

(Oak Ridge Today) It took Oak Ridge firefighters about 40 minutes to control a carport fire that destroyed three cars and involved about 50 gallons of gasoline on Hampshire Circle early Thursday morning.  The Oak Ridge Fire Department responded to the fire at 2:44 am.  The first firefighters on the scene reported that three cars under the carport were engulfed in flames and while they worked quickly to extinguish the blaze, their efforts were complicated by the approximately 50 gallons of gasoline in the fuel tanks of the vehicles.  Firefighters tried to contain the fire and burning gasoline to the carport area to prevent any run-off into a nearby creek and storm drains, the release said.  The three cars were destroyed. A nearby car and some windows on an adjacent multi-family residence were damaged during the fire. There were no injuries reported, and the cause of the fire is still under investigation.

 

CHS anglers qualify for BASS tounrey

 

Clinton High School fishermen Ryan Winchester and Justin Burris recently placed 5th in a national tournament in Birmingham, Alabama out of over 200 teams. That means they have qualified for the national BASS tournament again this summer.

 

Poneman named CEO of Centrus

 

(Centrus) Daniel B. Poneman, former deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of Energy, has been picked to be president and chief executive officer of Centrus Energy Corporation.  Centrus was formerly known as USEC Incorporated, and it has operations in Oak Ridge.  The selection of Poneman by the Centrus Board of Directors was announced Thursday. Poneman will join Centrus immediately and become the chief executive later this month. He will also be a member of the board.   

Centrus Energy Corporation supplies enriched uranium fuel for a growing fleet of international and domestic commercial nuclear power plants. The company said it is working to deploy the American Centrifuge technology for commercial needs and to support U.S. energy and national security.  Centrus announced last fall that it had emerged from a Chapter 11 bankruptcy.  In January, the company announced that UT-Battelle, the contractor that operates Oak Ridge National Laboratory, had added another six months to an agreement being used to develop new uranium-enrichment technology through Centrus operations in Oak Ridge and Piketon, Ohio.  By exercising that option, UT-Battelle extended the American Centrifuge Technology Demonstration and Operations Agreement, or ACTDO Agreement, from March 31 to September 30, 2015.  ORNL had previously exercised an option to extend the agreement through March 31, 2015.

 

GSMNP:  All streams in the park open for fishing

 

(GSMNP) Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials announced the reopening of Lynn Camp Prong to fishing effective March 6, 2015 following a seven-year native, brook trout restoration project. The reopening of the 8.5 mile-stream sections marks the first time, since the park’s establishment in 1934, that all streams in the park are open to fishing. 

By preserving a healthy, reproducing population of brook trout, the park not only ensures the long-term protection of a unique species, but also the opportunity for future generations to experience and preserve the Southern Appalachian tradition, heritage, and culture associated with brook trout fishing. Southern Appalachian brook trout are the only trout species native to the southern Appalachian Mountains and are genetically unique from brook trout found north of New River, VA. In the southeast, less than 5% of all areas formerly occupied by brook trout prior to European settlement remain. Select park streams provide a unique opportunity to restore, protect, and preserve native brook trout habitat for the entire region. 

“The opening of all streams in the park to recreational fishing marks an incredible milestone for the park and speaks to the commitment and dedication of our biologists and partners in restoring fish populations in the Smokies,” said Park Superintendent Cassius Cash. 

The park has 2,900 miles of streams, of which an estimated 20% are large enough to support trout populations. Rainbow trout occupy 15.2% of these streams followed by brook trout which are found in 8.6% of the streams and brown trout which are found in 4.6% of the streams. Brook trout lost 75% of their former range in the park after prolific logging in the early 1900s left streams silted and degraded. Throughout the early part of the 20th century, non-native rainbow and brown trout were introduced to park streams to provide fishing opportunities. These trout quickly outcompeted and displaced native brook trout throughout many park streams. In the last 30 years, acid rain has further reduced trout populations at elevations above 3,000 feet due to low stream pH. Since 1986, park biologists have restored brook trout to 27.1 miles of 11 different streams in the park greatly expanding their range. These restoration efforts were made possible with support from hundreds of local volunteers and including volunteer groups such as Trout Unlimited, Federation of Fly Fishers, Friends of the Smokies, and local universities. 

Using data from long-term monitoring and a recent study, fisheries biologists have determined that recreational fishing under current park regulations has no population level effect on brook trout populations (http://www.nps.gov/grsm/naturescience/upload/fishing-study.pdf). In addition to fish restoration projects, park biologists are also working hard to improve water quality across park streams. Continued efforts to improve water quality and restore native fish populations will expand habitat for all fish species and these fish-bearing streams will provide a unique mountain fishing experience for visitors of all ages well into the future. For more information about the fisheries program in the park, please visit the park website at http://www.nps.gov/grsm/naturescience/fish.htm . 

Current park fishing regulations include a 7-inch size limit, 5 fish possession limit and the use of single hook, artificial lures only.  For more information about fishing regulations, please visit the park website at (http://www.nps.gov/grsm/planyourvisit/fishing.htm).

 

OR conducting stormwater system survey

 

As a requirement of the Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System—or MS4—Program mandated by the state’s Department of Environment and Conservation, the Oak Ridge Public Works Department is conducting am inventory of the city’s stormwater system.  According to the Tennessee Municipal League, the survey requires documenting all facets of the stormwater system including, but not limited to streams, ditches, pipe inlets and outlets, catch basins and detention basins and could take several years to complete.  To conduct the survey, the city has partnered with UT and Roane State to utilize interns enrolled in environmental sciences and GIS programs.  The students will be driving marked city vehicles and carry ID badges, and, according to the TML, will never need to enter a home or business as part of the survey.  Right now, the interns are working Mondays through Thursdays each week. 

 

Chase leads to DUI charges

 

Anderson County Sheriff’s deputies arrested a Claxton man Tuesday night on DUI and other charges after he led them on a high-speed pursuit.  Deputy Robert Collins reported that he was on routine patrol on Edgemoor Road shortly before 10 pm when he spotted a pickup truck pulling into the Marathon gas station.  The deputy turned around when he saw the truck drive on the sidewalk in front of the building and at that point the driver, later identified as 24-year-old Thomas Jay Smith, got back into the truck and drove off.  Collins attempted to pull the driver over, but Smith turned on to New Henderson Road and accelerated, at one point leaving the side of the road but regained control and continued at speeds of up to 70 miles an hour as the pursuit turned on to Old Blacksferry Road.  Smith jumped out of the truck and ran inside a home on Jones Lane.  Deputies made contact with the homeowner, Smith’s stepfather Tim Searles, and he told them that Smith was in his room.  Deputies were allowed inside and made contact with Smith, who was taken outside, where he failed several field sobriety tests.  After being taken to the Anderson County Jail, Smith took two breathalyzer tests, blowing a .115 and a .117, which is above the legal limit of .08.  Smith was charged with two counts of evading arrest and one count each of DUI, reckless driving and driving on a revoked license.  At last check, he remained in custody on bonds totaling $25,000. 

 

Roane commissioner arrested on DUI charge

 

A Roane County commissioner was arrested Monday on suspicion of DUI by a state trooper from the Tennessee Highway Patrol.  59-year-old Greg Ferguson is one of three commissioners representing District 2 on the Roane County Commission.  At around 6 pm, a state trooper pulled Ferguson over for a seatbelt violation at the intersection of Highway 70 and Old Harriman Highway and smelled alcohol.  Ferguson, who was elected in August of 2014, posted bond and was released from custody. 

 

State accepting snow day waiver applications

 

The state of Tennessee is allowing school systems to apply to have up to three educational days waived after many systems went over their amount of allotted snow days due to last month’s winter weather.  Education Commissioner Dr. Candice McQueen says many school systems have inquired about relief from the statutory requirement of 180 days of student instruction. Because Gov. Bill Haslam declared a Level II State of Emergency due to the extreme weather conditions throughout the state, the state is accepting requests to waive a maximum of three instructional days.  Pursuant to Tennessee law, the commissioner of education may waive the 180-day instructional requirement in very limited cases, including "natural disasters.”  The state will look at each request on a case-by-case basis, and will look at the specific circumstances of each school system, the number of stockpiled days and how they were used, and the inability to make up those days.  The deadline for school systems to apply is March 31.  This morning, Clinton Schools Director Vicki Viollette said that her system will apply for one day of the waiver in the event another day of instruction is missed due to weather as they have exhausted all of their snow days.  If their application for the waiver is denied, then a planned in-service day for teachers set for April 6th would turn into an instruction day.  Anderson County Schools Director Larry Foster says he will recommend to the School Board that the system apply for the full three-day waiver, but in the event its application is denied, will also recommend using in-service days on April 6th and May 18th for instruction.  Foster added that there is a high probability the application could be denied since the system did not set aside 13 days—the maximum allowed by state law—for snow days.  Foster also said the school year could be extended by adding instructional days at the end of the calendar.  We will keep you updated on WYSH.

 

Oops!  State sends out erroneous licenses

 

Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security today announced that it had re-issued new permanent driver licenses or photo ID cards to citizens who recently received a card with incorrect content due to a printing error.  The driver licenses or ID cards were incorrectly issued with the phrase “Not for Federal Identification” to 3,500 Tennesseans. The cards were issued to citizens who applied or renewed their driver license or ID card at state driver services centers on February 17 through February 19.  The department is in the process of sending a new permanent card, without the misprint, to those affected. 

Citizens who received the misprinted card will soon receive a letter that explains the misprint and requests the incorrect card to be returned to the department. A self-addressed and stamped envelope will be included with the letter.  Citizens affected should continue to use the interim paper license or photo ID until the new, correct, license or photo ID is received.

 

WBIR:  Roane could end up paying for fire clean-up

 

Roane County could end up paying the bills for cleaning up after a January fire that destroyed the old Miller & Brewer Building in downtown Harriman despite that city's hopes the former owner would be made to pay.  According to WBIR-TV, the county is poised to become the owner of the property.  It went up for sale last April at auction because the owner, Fikret Gencay of Knoxville, had failed to pay taxes on the building.  The county was required to bid on the building at auction by state law when no one else stepped forward, meaning that if Gencay refuses to pay his taxes, Roane County's bid will stand and it will secure the deed.  The cost of the clean-up from the massive January 8th fire that smoldered for several days is estimated to be at least $100,000.  It had formerly been a department store. Gencay purchased it in the early 2000s and had used it for apartments and then storage, according to WBIR.  The city of Harriman has been trying for years to get Gencay to repair the decaying building and bring it into compliance with codes.  Gencay owns several parcels in Harriman, according to records.  Gencay has until April to pay his property taxes. He could retain ownership of the building if he pays.  Crews had to demolish two other buildings next to the Miller & Brewer Building because they were so badly damaged in the blaze they could not be saved. The city wants Gencay to pay for cleanup costs.

 

Roane murder trial delayed…again

 

The trial for a man charged with murdering his ex-girlfriend has been pushed back once again.  A Roane County Criminal Court judge agreed to delay Shawn Smoot's trial to give his latest new attorney time to examine evidence in the case.  His trial in the October 2011 shooting death of his former employee and ex-girlfriend Brooke Morris was supposed to start this month.  Morris’s body was found by the side of a rural Roane County road and authorities say that she was shot to death.  Since then, Smoot has been in and out of jail, spent time in a mental hospital in Chattanooga and fired several attorneys, much to the dismay of Morris’s parents, who have been waiting for over three years to get justice for their daughter.  A trial date was set for December 8th in Roane County Criminal; Court and Smoot is expected back in court on August 3rd

 

More problems for Campbell animal shelter

 

The Campbell County Animal Center is working to clean up after a parvo outbreak last week. The disease in dogs is highly contagious and can become life-threatening.  The center had to euthanize twelve dogs because of the outbreak, according to officials, who also said the center is working to improve the floor so that it's easier to clean.  Donations of cleaning supplies and floor sealant solution are being accepted.  The center is still taking in animals and handling adoptions and has recently hired a full-time vet tech to help run the shelter more effectively.  Back in November, the center temporarily suspended animal adoptions and owner surrenders due to confusion over its adoption process and reimbursement of veterinarians for spaying and neutering services.

 

2 win regional awards from Project Healing Waters

 

(CRCTU) Dan Moneymaker of Knoxville and Wayne Nobles of Oak Ridge have been awarded regional honors by Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing for wounded and disabled veterans—Moneymaker as Tennessee Valley Region Participant of the Year, Nobles as Tennessee Valley Region Volunteer of the Year. The region includes the states of Alabama, Kentucky and Tennessee.

Both men have been active since the beginnings of the 2-year-old Knoxville Chapter of PHWFF, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to the emotional and physical rehabilitation of wounded and disabled military veterans and active military members through fly fishing.

Steve Thompson of Maynardville, chapter founder and lead, nominated the two for regional honors. Moneymaker's story is similar to those of many Vietnam veterans, Thompson said: He had become a loner, spending many hours daily in his basement doing nothing. Thompson met him at a PTSD function, invited him to join a fly tying class—"and the rest is history," Thompson said.

In 2014, Moneymaker tied more than 1,700 flies including flies donated to Casting for Recovery, to the Smoky Mountain Grand Slam Challenge fishing tournament and to participants in an outing with veterans from the Wounded Warrior Project. He also has served as an instructor at fly tying classes and taught children to tie flies at Kids Fish Free Day, sponsored by the Clinch River Chapter of Trout Unlimited, a PHWFF partner.

"Dan is an ambassador for our program," Thompson said, working with Vet to Vet and in statewide training for police departments on dealing with returning soldiers who have PTSD.

Nobles is a veteran who is disabled, though not from his military service. He is a retired commercial photographer and movie producer, and has taken over communication for Knoxville PHWFF. "He has seeded the idea of a support group and is committed to communicating on a regular basis to understand what is going on with each veteran," Thompson said. "If there is a need, he fills it," including arranging press and TV coverage of chapter events.

"Wayne always has a positive attitude even with his declining health," and his infectious demeanor is the thread that keep veterans together, involved and included, Thompson said.

Nobles will receive a Temple Fork Outfitters rod of his choice; Moneymaker will be awarded an Orvis fly rod, reel and line.

For more information about Knoxville PHWFF, please contact Steve Thompson at Stevethefishingguy@gmail.com or (865) 773-3343.

 

1 injured in OS wreck

 

A crash between a Jeep and a Dodge Ram pickup sent one man to UT medical Center by Lifestar.  The wreck occurred at about 6:30 p.m. Friday on Harriman Highway (Highway 61) near Scandlyn Hollow Road in Roane County.  The Jeep’s driver—identified as 33-year-old Joshua Brown of Oliver Springs, was flown to the University of Tennessee Medical Center in Knoxville, according to the THP.  Brown was listed in critical condition at UTMC at last check.  Crews from the Roane County Rescue Squad, the Blair Fire Department, and the Oliver Springs Fire Department extricated Brown.  State troopers say that the driver of the pickup truck, Jon Hopper of Clinton, suffered some minor injuries as did the passenger in the Jeep—Candace Pritchard.  The THP said Brown’s westbound Jeep appeared to have crossed the center line before the crash, crossing almost all the way into the eastbound lane.  Both vehicles sustained extensive damage and were mangled, according to our partners at Oak Ridge Today, but the pickup truck was hit on the passenger side in what troopers described as a “glancing blow.”  Traffic on Harriman Highway was diverted while the crash was investigated and the roadway cleared.

 

Roane dump truck involved in crash

 

A Roane County Highway Department dump truck was involved in a two-vehicle crash at the intersection of Highway 70 and Ruritan Road in Midtown Saturday afternoon at around 4.30.  The THP investigated the accident  and said the dump truck  was driven by Micah McMillan of Rockwood was heading east on 70  when he  apparently failed to yield to a van  turning left at the light in front of him driven by Robert Stanley of Harriman.  The impact sent the truck into a utility pole, causing its fuel tank to leak an estimated 50 gallons of fuel, bringing the hazmat truck to the scene.  With assistance from the Midtown Fire Department, workers were able to soak it up before any leaked into the water system.  Neither driver was injured but charges are pending, according to the THP report.   .

 

Kelly, DOE ORO manager, passes

 

Larry Kelly, manager of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge Office since July 2012, has died at the age of 58 following a two-year battle with cancer.  Before he became DOE-ORO manager, Kelly served as the acting deputy manager and acting manager. He joined the ranks of the federal government’s highest level, the Senior Executive Service, in 2008, serving as the assistant manager of ORO’s Environment, Safety, and Health program. In this capacity, he supported DOE’s mission and programs in safety, health, quality assurance, and environmental protection at the agency’s sites in Oak Ridge and nationally.  Prior to joining DOE in 1990, he worked with the Tennessee Valley Authority for nine years, where he supported the design, construction, and operation of commercial nuclear power plants. He also worked for International Paper Company as an environmental engineer at the Natchez Mill.

A native of Oxford, Mississippi, Larry received his bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from the University of Mississippi and his master’s degree from the University of Tennessee.

In April 2014, Ole Miss selected Larry for its 2014 Engineer of Distinction Award. It is the highest award given by the School of Engineering to recognize the professional accomplishment of a graduate who has reached a pinnacle in their career.  He is survived by a wife and daughter. 

 

CHS, Git N Go #4 win red Ribbon Rivalry

 

(ASAP) The Red Ribbon Rivalry heated up this year as Anderson County High School tried to avenge last year’s loss to Clinton High School but students at Clinton continued their winning streak, to beating Anderson County once again, but ACHS came much closer this year than last year.  Both schools were recognized at the Clinton versus Anderson County Basketball game and Clinton Principal Eric Snider, School Counselor Mary Tuskan, and students Sarah Thomas, Kelli Kent, and Reagan Wolfe accepted the trophy on behalf of Clinton High School.

Businesses across the county also participated in the Red Ribbon Rivalry this year including Ace Hardware, Clinton Drug Store, Countryside Tire and Auto, Coal Creek Smokehouse, Git ‘n Go Markets, Hoskins Drug Store, Nikki’s Smartcutz, Powell Clinch Utility District, Say Ow Tattoo, and Secret City Pies.  The rivalry among businesses was also closer this year than last, but Git ‘n Go Market #4 came out on top. 

The Red Ribbon Rivalry is not only a way to raise money for substance abuse prevention in Anderson County, but also a way to raise awareness.  In many instances, our culture tends to focus on the negative; this year, ASAP focuses on the positive by celebrating the achievements Anderson County has reached in substance abuse prevention over the past few years which includes a reduction in the rate of past 30 day use of alcohol, tobacco and marijuana by 6th through 12th graders in Anderson County.  Funds raised during the rivalry will stay right here in Anderson County and be used to continue Allies for Substance Abuse Prevention (ASAP) of Anderson County’s mission to prevent and reduce youth substance abuse by collaborating with community partners to implement effective intervention strategies.   To learn more about ASAP or to make a donation, go to www.ASAPofAnderson.org or call 865-457-3007. 

 

Meredith next AC Chamber president

 

(Submitted) The Anderson County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors is proud to announce Rick Meredith has been selected as the incoming Chamber President effective April 1, 2015. Meredith will replace current President Jackie Nichols who announced her retirement effective May 1, 2015. 

My compliments and appreciation to the search committee for their time commitment and to Chamber Board Chairman Stephen Harris for his leadership during the hiring process”, said Chamber President Nichols. “Meredith was a highly qualified candidate and I believe the perfect selection to continue the Chamber’s current momentum and growth.”

Meredith brings to the table 20 years of leadership and experience in economic and community development as well as knowledge of both state and local planning.  He has a proven track record in the implementation of new programs to foster the creation of jobs and sustained economic growth in both urban and rural areas.  His areas of expertise include budget management and planning, the supervision of a large staff, and state and federal grants.

He joined the Hollingsworth Companies in 2010 as Senior Vice-President for Community Development. In this position, he is responsible for recruiting industry throughout Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, and Mississippi.  He also manages a private industrial park and serves as an adviser to the President of the company on other economic development projects.

Meredith formerly served in Governor Phil Bredesen’s administration as Assistant Commissioner of the Community Development Division of the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development.  He was responsible for overseeing the Main Street, Retire Tennessee and Three-Star programs, as well as programs pertaining to Energy Policy, Local Planning and Grants and Loans.  In this role, Meredith pioneered several state programs designed to help business owners.  He developed and implemented the Tennessee One Stop Business Resource, an interdepartmental state government cooperative that allows business owners to easily register their business online.  Since its implementation, more than 900 businesses have registered and only two other states in the nation have a similar tool.  Meredith also organized the first-ever Business Enterprise Resource Office Business Matchmaking event providing small businesses with procurement opportunities.  He also assisted in the implementation of the $62.5 million federally funded Volunteer State Solar Initiative, comprised of the Tennessee Solar Institute at the University of Tennessee, the West Tennessee Solar Farm, and the Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

Prior to joining the Bredesen Administration, Meredith served as the Anderson County Register of Deeds.  He managed all public recording of instruments and an annual budget of approximately $250,000.

Meredith is currently serving his second term on the Anderson County Commission.  He is Chairman of the Government Operations and Agriculture Committees and is a member of the Legislative and Human Resources Committees.

He attended the University of Tennessee Institute for Public Service, and is a Certified Public Administrator.   A lifelong resident of Anderson County, he resides in Clinton with his wife, Kim.

 

Grand Ole Opry House added to National Historic Register

 

The Ryman Auditorium gained its status as a national landmark in 2001.  Many people thought it would only be a matter of time before the Grand Ole Opry House joined its ranks.  The Tennessee Historical Commission announced this week that the National Register of Historic Places has recognized the Grand Ole Opry House as a cultural resource worthy of preservation.  Since it was constructed in 1972-74, the performance hall and — at the time of completion — the largest broadcast studio has affected popular culture, entertainment and the communications industry, which is what drove the National Register's decision.  The building, which is the Opry's sixth home, represents a new era in country music, when the industry was becoming more mainstream and using new sounds, marketing and production techniques. Not only a home for country music singers, the Opry House has hosted U.S. presidents, foreign dignitaries, award shows, TV tapings and numerous special events in its 41-year history.

 

Bartley’s move out of state approved by judge

 

Convicted Campbell County school shooter Kenny Bartley Jr. has been cleared to move to Virginia so that he can take part in a comprehensive transitional care plan designed to rehabilitate him.  Criminal Court Judge E. Shayne Sexton signed an order this week that will allow the now-23-year-old Bartley to be released from the custody of Campbell County authorities.  He is moving to Virginia to live with Erin TePaske, who previously counseled Bartley when he was a teenager.  On Monday, Bartley pleaded guilty in Campbell County to the domestic assault of his mother in October. As part of an agreement to resolve that case, his probation for a prior case involving his father was extended two years.  Bartley’s attorney, Greg Isaacs presented the court with a plan that calls for Bartley to get psychological help.  He'll also get counseling to help find permanent employment, Isaacs said. He must make a written report every 45 days on his progress.

 

ORPD nabs wanted suspect

 

Oak Ridge Police arrested a suspect who had been wanted for weeks on charges he fled several times from officers who tried to stop his vehicle.  Marvin J’von Slater faces a slew of charges including drug possession, reckless endangerment, driving on a suspended or revoked license, evading arrest, aggravated assault and failure to appear.  Police say he fled from officers on several occasions, disregarding traffic laws and endangering officers, the general public and himself.  Exercising an abundance of caution, officers decided to use less obvious means to apprehend Slater, including fixed and mobile surveillance.   As a result, officers were able to arrest Slater Tuesday at the BP gas station on S. Illinois Avenue around 4:30 p.m.  Two other people were also arrested, which resulted in the seizure of marijuana, crack cocaine and a vehicle.

 

House fire injures none

 

No one was injured in an early-Wednesday-morning fire at a house on Briceville Highway that is believed to have started near the dryer.  Firefighters and other emergency personnel responded to 1433 Briceville Highway just after midnight this morning and spoke with resident Zeb Trett, who told them that he had been almost asleep on his couch shortly before midnight when he heard a loud popping sound coming from the back of the house.  He got up to investigate and saw clothing in a laundry basket on fire, woke up his wife and got her out of the house.  Briceville firefighters extinguished the blaze and told deputies that it appears to have started near the dryer.  There was no indication on the incident report of how much damage was done to the house, but again, no one was injured.

 

$1800 worth of camera equipment stolen

 

Thefts from the Clinton Wal-Mart happen so often, we typically do not report on them but Clinton Police are investigating the theft of over $1800 worth of digital cameras.  Police were called to the store on Saturday afternoon and told by a loss prevention officer that a white male had opened an unlocked display case, removed a Sony camcorder, four Canon digital cameras, and a Samsung digital camera.  Altogether the items were valued at $1804.  The suspect then took the cameras to the sporting goods department, removed them from their packages and concealed them in his clothing before walking out with out paying for them.  The suspect was seen getting into a car and driving off but the tag came back as being registered to a black male from Knoxville.  The investigation is ongoing.

 

Follow-up:  AC Legal Services committee votes for review

 

(WYSH/ Oak Ridge Today) The Anderson County Legal Services Advisory Committee met Monday to hear complaints from citizens regarding Law Director Jay Yeager.  After hearing a few complaints from citizens about issues not already included in the citizen-led ouster lawsuit against Yeager and after hearing from some citizens who support Yeager, the committee voted unanimously to select an independent third party to “review the policies, procedures, and practices in the Anderson County Law Director's office.”  The third-party review was proposed by County Commissioner Myron Iwanski.  “I’m not accusing Jay of anything,” said Iwanski, who modeled his proposal after a recent resolution to review turnover, morale, and administrative policies in the Oak Ridge Police Department. “It’s not an investigation. We’re just getting a review of practices.”  According to the resolution that passed Monday, the review will be conducted within 30 days after the party is selected and the findings will be turned over to the Committee—which was established in 2006 to oversee the law director’s office—for any necessary action.  Ideally, the committee hopes to utilize a consultant from the County Technical Advisory Service (CTAS), but if CTAS is not able to perform the review, then the review will be done by an independent person recommended by CTAS.  Lynn Byrge, who has spearheaded the ouster effort, said the review approved by the county committee wouldn’t satisfy the petitioners but added that the suit would “go away” if county officials would just remove Yeager from office.  Greg Brown, attorney for the petitioners, said the ouster suit was dismissed only on the question of whether Yeager is a public official or employee, and the underlying allegations still need to be investigated.  The resolution also authorizes the chairman of the Legal Services Advisory Committee, Commissioner Steve Mead, to make arrangements for the third-party review but Committee members agreed to work with the third party to identify citizen concerns and reconvene to give guidance to the third party as a group. 

 

State:  Tennessee’s economy growing

 

(TN Secretary of State) More than 7,000 new businesses were formed in Tennessee during the final quarter of last year, according to a new economic report. The number of new businesses created during the fourth quarter of 2014 was up 8.8 percent from the same time period during the previous year.  The reports are produced quarterly by the Secretary of State's office and the University of Tennessee-Knoxville's Center for Business and Economic Research. They draw on information provided to the Secretary of State's office regarding business filings and dissolutions, as well as other economic information drawn from other sources.  The report can be found online at http://tn.gov/sos/be_reports/201502.pdf.  "The increase in the number of new business filings is a positive sign for the state's economy," Secretary of State Tre Hargett said. "It is one of several encouraging economic indicators that can be found in our latest report."  Statewide, personal income growth is up 3.7 percent compared to the same period last year. Total tax revenues grew 4.7 percent compared to the fourth quarter of last year.  Non-farm employment increased 2.4 percent. However, the state's unemployment rate remains a full percentage point above the national average.  Nationally, there are promising signs as well. The gross domestic product and sales of light vehicles continued to grow, while gasoline prices were at a five-year low.

 

Weather likely to blame for Campbell death

 

Authorities in Campbell County say that the winter weather likely played a “significant role “in the death of a 32-year-old man whose body was found in a wooded area Sunday.  27 deaths across Tennessee are now blamed on the winter weather that entered the state last week.  Hunters found the body of 32-year-old Kenneth Mozingo of Duff in the Tackett Creek area.  The Campbell County Sheriff’s Office says it appears Mozingo became stranded after his vehicle either got stuck or broke down in a wooded area several miles off the main road.  An autopsy was scheduled for Monday at the Regional Forensic Center in Knoxville to determine the cause of death and toxicology results.

 

AC committee votes for 3rd party review of Law Director’s office

 

The Anderson County Legal Services Advisory Committee met for the first time in several years on Monday to hear complaints from citizens regarding Law Director Jay Yeager.  After hearing a few complaints from citizens about issues not already included in the citizen-led ouster lawsuit against Yeager and after hearing from some citizens who support Yeager, the committee voted unanimously to select an independent third party to “review the policies, procedures, and practices in the Anderson County Law Director's office.”  According to the resolution that passed Monday, the review will be conducted within 30 days after the party is selected and the findings will be turned over to the Committee—which was established in 2006 to oversee the law director’s office—for any necessary action.  Ideally, the committee hopes to utilize a consultant from UT’s County Technical Advisory Service, but if CTAS is not able to perform the review, then the review will be done by an independent person recommended by CTAS.  The resolution also authorizes the chairman of the Legal Services Advisory Committee, Commissioner Steve Mead, to make arrangements for the third-party review.  We will have more on Monday’s meeting for you on the air and on line as soon as possible. 

 

DOE appoints 4 to ORSSAB

 

(Submitted) The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has appointed four new members to its Environmental Management advisory board in Oak Ridge. Leon Baker, Richard Burroughs, Terri Likens and Ed Trujillo were introduced during the Oak Ridge Site Specific Advisory Board’s (ORSSAB) February meeting. 

ORSSAB is a federally chartered citizens’ panel that provides independent advice and recommendations to DOE for the cleanup of the Oak Ridge Reservation. 

Leon Baker is a logistics coordinator with DOW Chemical. Previously, he was a health physics technician with Denuke, Inc., a company that provides a variety of services to the nuclear industry. He has also worked with the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program through Oak Ridge Associated Universities. Baker received associate’s degrees in mechanical engineering technology from Pellissippi State Community College in Knoxville and in science from Georgia Military College in Milledgeville, Georgia. He earned a bachelor’s degree in health care management from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Illinois, and a master’s degree from Brenau University in Gainesville, Georgia. Baker, who lives in Oak Ridge, is a member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the Health Physics Society. 

Richard Burroughs is the chief of staff in the Anderson County mayor’s office. Prior to that post, his professional experiences were related to his background as a registered professional geologist with extensive hydrogeological expertise in aquifer characterization and remediation in soil and groundwater environments. His employment history includes 25 years working primarily with Resource Conservation Recovery Act and Comprehensive Environmental Restoration Compensation and Liability Act projects. Burroughs received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in geology from Southern Illinois University and the University of Arkansas, respectively. He is a resident of Oak Ridge.

Terri Likens is the editor of the Roane County News. She has worked in several states as an editor, a reporter, and a freelance journalist. She has received numerous honors for her work from a number of organizations, including the Tennessee Press Association. She received her bachelor’s degree in journalism from Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green, Kentucky. She is a member of CASA of the Tennessee Heartland (a children’s advocacy group), the Tennessee Press Association, and Conservation Fisheries, Inc. Likens lives in Kingston. 

Ed Trujillo retired from Bechtel Corporation in 2012. His most recent project involved managing the engineering and construction of a maintenance facility for heavy mining equipment in Chile, from 2011 until 2012. From 2008 until 2011, he managed three environmental projects for Bechtel at the DOE East Tennessee Technology Park in Oak Ridge. During his 35-year career, he has worked on a wide variety of projects at DOE, the U.S. Air Force, and private sector facilities. Trujillo received his bachelor’s degree in engineering from the University of Wisconsin in Platteville, Wisconsin. He is a resident of Oak Ridge

ORSSAB meets on the second Wednesday of each month at 6 p.m. at the Office of Science and Technical Information, 1 Science.gov Way in Oak Ridge. Meetings of the board and its committees are open to the public, and notices are posted on the board’s web site: www.energy.gov/orssab.

 

Vann back in Campbell court

 

Former LaFollette Middle School teacher Lonnie Vann who has been charged with the murder and kidnapping of Rhonda Daugherty was back in court Monday.  During Monday’s hearing, he pleaded not guilty to additional robbery and kidnapping charges.  Vann was originally charged with three counts for the kidnapping and murder of Rhonda Daugherty.  Six additional counts of robbery and kidnapping have been added to the list of charges against him.  Vann now faces nine charges in the case. Counts one through three are the charges of the murder and kidnapping of Rhonda Daugherty. Counts four through nine accuse Vann of robbing and kidnapping or confining two people to facilitate fleeing after committing first degree murder.  Vann is also facing a separate case for earlier charges of solicitation of a minor, sexual battery by an authority figure, tampering with evidence and assault for his alleged inappropriate conduct with a student in 2013.

The attorney on that case stepped down Monday and the judge appointed the same public defender to handle both cases. Vann will be back in the courthouse in April for a status check in both cases.  Daugherty’s body has still not been found. Investigators have spent weeks searching Norris Lake.

 

Bartley pleads to assault charges

 

Convicted Campbell County school shooter Kenneth Bartley pleaded guilty Monday to domestic assault in connection with an October incident that involved his mother as part of a plea agreement that includes what his attorneys call a comprehensive rehabilitation plan.  Bartley was arraigned on the assault charge and for a violation of probation that stemmed from an incident last year in which he pleaded guilty to assaulting his father.  Bartley was 14 in 2005 when he opened fire inside an office at the high school where he was a student, killing Assistant Principal Ken Bruce. After eight years behind, Bartley was acquitted of first-degree murder, and found guilty instead of reckless homicide. He was freed in April 2014.  A psychologist who counseled Bartley when he was a teenager proposed a “transitional care plan” Monday that would extend his probation while allowing him to receive treatment, said defense attorney Gregory P. Isaacs.  Campbell County Criminal Court Judge E. Shayne Sexton granted Bartley 2½ years’ probation to allow him to live with the psychologist and her family while undergoing drug and alcohol treatment in Virginia.   Bartley will also be required to wear a bracelet that will monitor him for alcohol use. The judge will also require written reports on Bartley’s treatment every 45 days.

 

ORT:  Driver in car vs. house (and cars) arrested for DUI

 

(Oak Ridge Today) The driver of a car that allegedly caused a four-vehicle crash and damaged a home on Robertsville Road has been charged with driving under the influence, authorities said.

Officers located Brandon Kyle Baez, 18, of Oak Ridge, after he walked away from the crash at 184 Robertsville Road and tried to hide in a wooded area, Oak Ridge Police Department Officer Ben Higgins said in a warrant.  The crash occurred at about 10:40 p.m. Thursday just east of North Illinois Avenue. An SUV-type vehicle driven by Baez allegedly left the road, drove through the front yard of one home on Robertsville Road, crashed into a Ford four-door sedan parked in the driveway, and pushed it about three or four car lengths into a neighbor’s front yard—and reportedly caused a collision with two cars parked in the neighbor’s driveway (the home of Mike and Judy Coen).

Higgins said he could smell a strong alcoholic odor coming from Baez after officers found him, and his eyes were bloodshot and glossy.

“The defendant appeared to be uneasy on his feet as well,” Higgins wrote in the warrant.

Baez told the officer he’d had one shot of whiskey and had rinsed his mouth out with mouthwash as well, according to the warrant.

Baez, who was allegedly driving with a suspended license, told police he lost control of the vehicle and left the scene because he was scared.

ORPD Officer Grant Gouldie said Baez had been “skidding and yawing” approximately 150-200 feet before he hit the first vehicle, according to the warrant.

“Officer Gouldie further advised that the skid and yaw marks started on the wrong side of the road, indicating that the defendant was on the wrong side of the roadway, and that the defendant was obviously traveling at speeds too fast for the road conditions and above the posted 25 mph speed limit,” the warrant said.  Baez told Higgins that he was driving on the wrong side of the road because he was trying to avoid ice. 

Baez was also charged with reckless driving, driving on a suspended license, duty to render aid, and joyriding, according to the Anderson County General Sessions Court. Baez remained jailed in the Anderson County Detention Facility in Clinton on Friday afternoon.

 

ORT:  Clinton man escapes OR car fire

 

(Oak Ridge Today) Clinton resident Mark Bunch escaped a car fire on Lafayette Drive in Oak Ridge on Sunday night.  Bunch said he had just left a shop on Midway Lane about a quarter-mile away when other drivers started flashing their lights at him. Then, he noticed a glow by his left front tire.  Bunch pulled over between Hendrix Drive and Emory Valley Road just before 8 p.m. Sunday. He was able to exit the car on the driver’s side, although he was a little worried about the flames shooting up from the front of the 2007 Subaru station wagon.  Firefighters were able to quickly extinguish the flames using a 1.75-inch line, said Todd Derrick, Oak Ridge Fire Department battalion chief. There were no injuries.  Derrick said the ORFD would attribute the fire to mechanical failure. Bunch had said the Subaru was missing or sputtering before it caught fire, Derrick said.  The front of the car was heavily damaged, and part of the windshield melted.

 

ORT:  Car hits house, 3 other vehicles

 

(Oak Ridge Today) No one was injured in a four-car crash that damaged a home on Robertsville Road on Thursday night.  The crash occurred at about 10:40 p.m. Thursday just east of North Illinois Avenue. An SUV-type vehicle reportedly left the road, drove through the front yard of one home on Robertsville Road, crashed into a Ford four-door sedan parked in the driveway, and pushed it about three or four car lengths into a neighbor’s front yard—and then hit two cars parked in the neighbor’s driveway (the home of Mike and Judy Coen).  One of those cars, a Toyota Tercel used by Mike Coen, was shoved into the side of the house, damaging siding at the corner of the Coens’ home. The SUV-type vehicle reportedly came to rest with its back end partially on top of another vehicle in the driveway, a Saturn used by Judy Coen, crushing its rear end.  “It rocked our house,” said Judy Coen, who said the couple was in bed watching television when the crash occurred. “We thought it was an explosion.”  The right side of the Ford owned by the Coens’ neighbors was caved in and heavily damaged.  There were no injuries, said Todd Derrick, Oak Ridge Fire Department battalion chief.  The Oak Ridge Police Department appeared to be searching for someone west of North Illinois Avenue, at Robertsville Middle School, although it wasn’t immediately clear if that search just before 11 p.m. was connected to the crash.

 

Union judge to hear case against Tunnell

 

A judge from Union County will preside over the case involving aggravated assault charges against 94-year-old Lawrence Tunnell, a former acting judge for the city of Oak Ridge.  Tunnell is accused of hitting a man with his car after the alleged victim and other witnesses helped him get back into his car after he took a fall in a parking lot.  When he tried to leave, Charles Smallwood stepped in front of Tunnell’s car to try and prevent him from leaving before EMS personnel arrived and Tunnell allegedly hit him, knocking Smallwood to the ground and sending him to UT Medical center for treatment of minor injuries.  Both of Anderson County’s General Sessions court judges stepped aside, recusing themselves because they know Tunnell personally.  Union County General Sessions Judge Darrell Edmonson will preside over Tunnell’s next scheduled court appearance on April 24th.

 

Follow-up:  Stabbing victim dies

 

Following up on a story we brought you last week, a man allegedly stabbed by his stepson during an argument in Roane County last week has died.  Fred Silvey died from his injuries on Sunday morning at UT Medical Center, according to authorities.  His alleged killer and stepson Steven Edward Jones, was shot by his mother Carolyn Silvey following the attack, and is currently being treated at UT Medical Center, where he is being kept under guard.  He is in stable condition at last check.  The incident occurred at the Silvey home on Dry Hill Road last Wednesday night.  Authorities say that Jones stabbed his stepfather Fred Silvey several times after an argument and that he assaulted his mother before she shot him and he fled into the woods.  He managed to elude search teams from several different agencies that included helicopters and K-9 units until early this morning when he reportedly returned to the Silvey home and asked for medical treatment for a gunshot wound to his chest. 

 

AAA offers cold-weather driving tips

 

Extremely cold weather is moving across the southeastern U.S. and AAA warns motorists to be careful and make sure their vehicles are prepared for an emergency. According to data from the Federal Highway Administration, each year, 24 percent of weather-related vehicle crashes occur on snowy, slushy or icy pavement and 15 percent happen during snowfall or sleet.

“The safest place to be during adverse weather conditions is indoors and that’s not always possible” said Don Lindsey, TN Public Affairs Director, AAA - The Auto Club Group. “It is imperative that motorists prepare their vehicles before winter conditions hit.”

Simply following safe driving habits like planning ahead, driving distraction free, and taking time to prepare your vehicle for winter weather driving conditions can help ensure you stay safe in the elements. According to a recent AAA Consumer Pulse™ survey, 47 percent of motorists are concerned with skidding or losing control of their vehicle while driving in winter weather; therefore, AAA recommends the following winter driving tips:

Emergency road kit - Carry an emergency kit equipped for winter weather. Make sure to include the following items:

  • Charged cellular phone
  • Blankets
  • Food
  • Water
  • Medication
  • Ice scraper
  • Flashlight
  • Hats
  • Gloves
  • Sand or cat litter 

Battery and charging system - Have the battery and charging system tested by a trained technician. A fully charged battery in good condition is required to start an engine in cold weather. For electric or hybrid-electric vehicles, several things can be done to minimize the drain on the batteries. If the vehicle has a thermal heating pack for the batteries, make sure your vehicle is plugged in whenever it is not in use. If the vehicle has a pre-heat function to warm the car interior, set it to warm the passenger compartment before you unplug it in the morning.

 

Roane wreck kills one, injures five

 

One man was killed and five people injured in a head-on collision on U.S. Highway 70 in Roane County Saturday afternoon.  The crash happened around 1:44 p.m., according to Tennessee Highway Patrol, when Robin W. Ledbetter of Harriman was traveling west in a Chevy Trailblazer and the vehicle crossed the center line and struck Terrance A. Clark's Toyota Tacoma head-on, killing Clark.  The THP says that Robin Ledbetter’s passengers were Alexis Robarge and Daniel R. Ledbetter, Jr, both of Harriman while Tabitha Clark and Leafe Clark, also of Harriman, traveled with Clark.  The THP report indicates that Ledbetter may have been under the influence of drugs and that blood tests have been ordered.  Five of the victims, including Terrance Clark, were not wearing seat belts at the time of the accident.  Citations and criminal charges are pending.

 

JMS team wins LEGO competition

 

The Atomic Eagles of Oak Ridge’s Jefferson Middle School won the Champions Award at the 15th Annual FIRST LEGO League East Tennessee Championship held Saturday at Tennessee Tech in Cookeville in a 48-team field of children ages 9-14 from East and Middle Tennessee.

Coach Janie Shanafield said her team worked every day since last summer aiming toward the tournament.

“We would meet every Monday and Wednesday, some Saturdays and Sundays to work on our robot, our project and our presentation,” Shanafield said. “The kids did a lot of good work – they did all the work. “

The coach said her middle school age team continued to mature throughout the preparation.

“In their programming skills, their ability to work as a team and show the core values, they’ve matured tremendously with both engineering and with presentation skills,” Shanafield said.  The Jefferson team advances to compete in a LEGO invitational tournament scheduled for May at the University of Arkansas.

 

Teachers, principals to be honored

 

Mark your calendars for March 31st as the Education Foundation for Clinton City and Anderson County Schools will host its annual Teacher & Principal of the Year Banquet.  The event will begin at 6:30 pm on March 31st at the Family Life Center of First Baptist Church in Clinton.  One teacher from each Clinton City and Anderson County school selected by their peers will be recognized as a “Teacher of the Year,” and four principals will also be honored.  Sponsorships of all kinds are also still available for companies, groups and businesses and if you would like more information, call 865-463-1017 or visit www.TheEducationFoundation.info.  

 

CHS Band update
 

Four Clinton HS Band members (Cameron Moore, baritone, 11th grade, Bryson Light, trombone, 9th grade, Danny Stone, Director of Bands, Clinton High School, Matthew Tolson, tenor saxophone, 9th grade, Chris Webb, clarinet, 9th grade) recently earned placement in the East Tennessee School Band & Orchestra Association All East Band. Students from all over East TN gathered in Gatlinburg in early February to practice and perform as a group. Students participate in clinics & try out against students from across East TN for placement in the prestigious concert band.  Moore and Tolson also earned the honor to participate in the even more exclusive All State Band that will perform in Memphis on April. Webb earned placement in the Jazz Clinic Band playing bass guitar. The Clinic was held in Cleveland, TN in January.
Most of the costs associated with traveling and overnight stays required to participate in these clinics are paid for by band fundraising campaigns like fruit sales and the Clinch River Classic Marching Band Competition hosted by the band. The band is still hoping to raise more than more than $50,000 to buy new uniforms. At least 20 students will not have band uniforms for the 2015-16 school year. To contribute, please visit www.clintonband.com, or send tax deductible contributions to Clinton High School Attn: Boosters, 425 Dragon Drive, Clinton, TN 

 

The Drum Line will be at a competition at Halls High School on Saturday. The performance starts around 4:40 and open to the public. The next band concert will be presented Feb 26 in the gym at 6:30. 

 

Maryland kid arrested after Roane threat

 

Roane County officials say that an arrest has been made in Maryland after a threat was made on social media involving Rockwood High School.  State police in Maryland arrested a middle school student Thursday. The Roane County school district was alerted to the threat around 7 a.m. Thursday by a student. The post claimed something would happen to cause a lockdown.  The Rockwood Police Department responded as did an officer from Harriman police with expertise in Internet crimes.  Officers were able to trace the threat to Maryland where the young suspect was arrested.  The school was never on lockdown, but extra officers were called in to make sure the school was well covered.  The threat was allegedly made after an online “discussion” in the comments section of a social media site. 

 

Roane domestic disturbance turns violent, suspect in custody

 

A domestic disturbance turned violent in Roane County’s Dry Hill community and led to a manhunt that lasted into the early morning hours and involved officers from several agencies.  Our partners at BBB-TV report that 46-year-old Steven Edward Jones was taken into custody early this morning and taken to UT Medical Center after he was hot by his mother.  The incident occurred at the home of Fred and Carolyn Silvey on Dry Hill Road at around 8 pm Wednesday night.  Authorities say that Jones stabbed his stepfather Fred Silvey several times after an argument and that he assaulted his mother before she shot him and he fled into the woods.  He managed to elude search teams from several different agencies that included helicopters and K-9 units until early this morning when he reportedly returned to the Silvey home and asked for medical treatment for a gunshot wound to his chest.  During the search for Jones, who police believed could have been armed and was certainly to be considered dangerous, nearby residents were asked to stay inside and lock their doors.  Roane County Sheriff Jack Stockton says that Jones had recently been released from prison.  The nature of the argument that led to the stabbing has not been revealed. 

 

ASAP:  Foster Ally of the Year

 

(ASAP) The votes are in and the 2015 Anderson County Ally of the Year award goes to Larry Foster!  Mr. Foster competed against other candidates who were nominated for their passion to create a healthy and productive Anderson County.  Other candidates included Tom Byrge, Ronnie Fox, Tim Isbel, Robert Jones, and Bear Stephenson.  Citizens were then able to “vote” for the candidate or candidates of their choice by making a donation to Allies for Substance Abuse Prevention (ASAP) of Anderson County.  Each dollar counted as one vote and in the end Mr. Foster came out on top.  Following closely behind in second place was Robert Jones followed by Ronnie Fox in third place.   Each candidate conducted their own campaign, but all of the candidates were united by one goal: to use their leadership, influence and communication skills to raise funds to help prevent and reduce substance abuse in Anderson County.  Over $4,600 was raised during the one month campaign, all of which will stay in Anderson County to support ASAP’s mission to prevent and reduce youth substance abuse in Anderson County by collaborating with community partners to implement effective intervention strategies.  Please congratulate Larry Foster and all of the candidates who did a great job for a great cause.  To learn more about ASAP or to make a donation, go to www.ASAPofAnderson.org or call 865-457-3007. 

 

More on Rocky Top Bluegrass Festival 2015

 

The City of Rocky Top, Tennessee will present the inaugural Rocky Top Bluegrass Festival 2015, featuring 2 days/nights (Friday night and all day Saturday ) of pickin', singin', and dancin' in Good Ole' Rocky Top, Tennessee! The Festival kicks off Friday, April 24th and continues Saturday, April 25th at George Templin Memorial Athletic Field, located at 214 Main Street in Rocky Top, Tennessee!

Friday

  • Flatt Lonesome
  • Blue Highway
  • Junior Sisk and Ramblers Choice

Saturday

  • Flatt Lonesome
  • Blue Moon Rising
  • Steve Gulley and New Pinnacle
  • The Boxcars
  • Lonesome River Band
  • Bobby Osborne and Rocky Top X-Press

Gates Open 4:30pm Friday.   Music starts at 6pm.  Music start at 11am Saturday

Tickets are $25.00 for Friday, $35.00 for Saturday or $50.00 for both days.

Children 10 and under get in free with a paid adult.

Buy tickets on line at  http://www.rockytopbluegrassfestival.com/ or at Marks Pharmacy in Rocky Top, and at Rocky Top City Hall.   

For information, you can also contact Stephanie Wells at the Anderson County Tourism Council by phone at 865-457-4547 or by e-mail at stephaniewells@yallcome.org 

Special area accommodation packages are being offered including the following at KOA Campgrounds:

Packages include 2 nights camping plus 2 tickets for both days of festival.

All prices INCLUDE TAX

No Hook up Tent Site  134.16

Tent site with Electric   151.10

Water and Electric Only  160.00

Full Hook up 30 amp  172.30

Full Hook up  50 amp  176.54

Rustic Cabin sleeps 4   185.02

Rustic Cabin sleeps 6   195.62

Deluxe Cabin with bathroom  sleeps 4   263.46

Check out the site types (with Pictures) on KOA.COM

May purchase extra tickets at campground office………Call 1-800-562-8513 and use BG as discount code for these rates

Clinton / Knoxville KOA

Phone: (865) 494-9386

Email: camp@clintonknoxkoa.com

Online: www.clintonknoxkoa.com

 

Bell named OR Teacher of the Year

 

(Oak Ridge Today) Amelia Bell, a librarian at Glenwood Elementary School, has been named Teacher of the Year for the Oak Ridge school system.

Oak Ridge Schools announced their pick on Tuesday.

Bell is a librarian with 20 years of teaching experience, a press release said. She is a member of the Glenwood Leadership Team and has presented at several conferences, including the Tennessee Afterschool Summer Symposium and the American Association of School Librarians National Conference. She has also served as a lecturer in the School of Information Science at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville.

In addition, Bell is a prolific grant writer, the release said. She has been instrumental in writing grants to support Glenwood’s after school programs, “learning lunches” to increase science instruction during the school day, book studies linking science and literature, and summer reading opportunities. Bell was awarded the Tennessee Association of School Librarians Innovative Library Award for creation of the lunchroom library so that students could read for pleasure after finishing lunch.

The press release said Bell collaborates with classroom teachers in order to link information literacy and literature to curriculum standards. She also incorporates information skills that can be applied across the curriculum, such as interpreting information from charts, tables, and graphs. Bell shares her passion for history and government by teaching information literacy skills in the context of social studies.

The release said Bell has led the development of student-based conferencing and coordinates family events such as Family Math Night, Science Saturday, and book fairs.

“Not only does Ms. Bell serve as librarian, she consults with classroom teachers about units of study and standards they are covering and then creates lessons to support classroom instruction in other content areas,” said Pearl Goins, principal of Glenwood Elementary School. “She has also formed a special reading club whereby students can establish goals and are rewarded with a special lunch with her in the library.”

The Teacher of the Year program in the State of Tennessee recognizes and honors outstanding teachers. The program is designed to “promote recognition, respect and appreciation for teacher, to stimulate interest in teaching as a career, and to encourage public involvement in education.”

Teachers of the Year must be facilitators of learning, be poised, articulate, enthusiastic, and energetic, the press release said. They must have a superior ability to inspire in students a love of learning, and they must show active involvement and leadership in extra-curricular activities, among other criteria.

 

CPD K-9 officers to take part in Read Across America

 

Clinton Police K9 Officers and their four-legged partners will help celebrate the upcoming "Read Across America" event at North Clinton Elementary School on March 2nd. Chief Rick Scarbrough said Sgt .Josh Queener and Officer Matt Howell are more than ready to read to the school's students, along with their partners “Mozzy “ and “Bronco.”  The National Education Association's Read Across America is an annual reading motivation and awareness program that calls for every child in every community to celebrate reading on March 2, the birthday of beloved children's author Dr. Seuss.

 

Wells:  Tourism important to AC

 

(Submitted by AC Tourism Director Stephanie Wells) The average family can expect to have an extra $1,475 in their budget this year if gas prices stay under $2, according to Dr. Steve Morse, Director and Economist of the Hospitality and Tourism Program at the College of Business at Western Carolina University. Addressing State Senators, Representatives and Mayors from across the 16-county region gathered for the Annual East Tennessee Tourism Legislative Brunch on Friday, Jan. 23, Dr. Morse predicted positive news for the Tourism industry in 2015.

               “There’s a psychological effect of gas prices being down. You feel wealthier,” Dr. Morse said. “People will be able to stay an extra day on their vacation.”

               Each household in Anderson County saves $254 in state and local taxes as a result of the taxes generated by tourist spending.

               When tourists come to town, they pay sales tax each time they put gas in their cars, eat in the restaurants, pack their bags with souvenirs, and sleep at one of our local accommodations. They pay state and local taxes that result in savings for local residents and help fund local schools, roads and other infrastructure projects and essential services.

               In Anderson County, those tourist expenditures added up to $111.63 million, according to the Economic Impact of Travel on Tennessee Counties 2013 by the U.S. Travel Association.  In other words, the tourism industry generates $6.42 million in state tax revenues and $2.38 in local tax revenues. Additionally, tourism sustains 900 jobs and $18.03 million in resident wages.

               “Anderson County’s economy is very diverse with industrial, commercial and tourism development.   Having a diverse economy with tourism playing a vital part is the reason our county has grown and will continue to grow,” said Stephanie Wells, Anderson County Tourism Council Director. 

               The 16-county region has once again realized the benefit of a clean, green industry that quickly feeds tax dollars into the system. Tourist expenditures were just over $3.56 billion and the tourism industry employed over 32,495 people with $831.62 million in payroll for residents, generating $296.73 million in state and local taxes in 2013.

               Molly Gilbert, Director of the Middle East Tennessee Tourism Council, said, “Even though tourism looks different in each of our 16 counties, tourism is an investment in quality of life for residents as well as a reason for tourists to visit. With nine lakes and five motorcycle driving trails, as a region we are leveraging our history and heritage, scenic beauty and outdoor adventure.”

 

Report:  Suit filed against ORPD over wrongful arrest

 

According to the News-Sentinel, an Oak Ridge man has filed a lawsuit against the Oak Ridge Police Department over his erroneous arrest in January of last year.  Trevis Reynolds was arrested in connection with a shoplifting that occurred at the Oak Ridge Wal-Mart even though the security camera footage clearly showed his roommate was the actual alleged shoplifter.  The giveaway was that his roommate Randy Armes has multiple tattoos, including on his face and neck and Reynolds has no tattoos.  The lawsuit alleges that Reynolds’ constitutional rights were violated by his wrongful arrest and seeks $1.5 million in damages.  The lawsuit claims that Reynolds loaned his car to Armes that day and Armes was the man seen on video stealing items from the store.  He was followed out of the store by loss prevention personnel and they wrote down the license tag of the car he was driving, which led police to Reynolds.  In addition to the lack of tattoos, the lawsuit states that Officer Jeremy Upham should also have noted that Armes has short, dark hair and Reynolds has long, red hair.  Despite those differences, the lawsuit states that Upham swore under oath that he had compared the video footage with Reynolds’ driver’s license picture and made a “positive match.”  Prosecutors dropped the charges a little less than a week later after comparing the images for themselves.  In addition to the ORPD, the lawsuit filed last month in US District Court in Knoxville also names Upham as a defendant.  Reynolds is being represented by Clinton attorney Phil Harber.  

 

AC creating task force on animal shelter needs

 

(County Mayor’s office) Because of increasing needs and a changing environment, Anderson County Government’s Operations Committee on Monday endorsed the idea of a Task Force to examine the potential for a county Animal Shelter.   

“Anderson County has had a strong, long-standing relationship with the Oak Ridge Animal Shelter over the years and continues that solid, working partnership.  However, as their shelter has moved more towards the housing and adoption of animals, the available contracted space for county animals has diminished.  There have been two occasions where the Oak Ridge shelter was closed and there are times of overcapacity in Oak Ridge when fortunately, we were able to partner with the Roane County animal shelter to house animals.  Simply put, there have been times when there is just no room,” Anderson County Mayor Terry Frank said in a press release issued Wednesday. 

“We appreciate both officials in Oak Ridge as well as Roane County, but we also realize a long-term solution is needed for Anderson County,” said Mayor Frank.  In the short-term, the county Budget Committee has authorized $25,000 for the construction of a small housing facility modeled after the facility operated by the City of Norris.  This facility will serve to comply with state guidelines regarding minimum statutory holding requirements as a way to address some of the overcrowding in the Oak Ridge shelter and keep animals in Anderson County if a pet is lost. The Anderson County Commission will take up this recommendation at its regular meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 17. 

In the short-term, animals picked up by Anderson County Animal Control officers will continue to be transported to either the Oak Ridge or Roane County facility. 

Anderson County has two animal control officers, Brian Porter and Jimmy Miller.  

Taking the lead on the Task Force are County Commissioner Theresa Scott, Mayor Frank, and Robin Biloski, who has devoted many hours to animal control in Anderson County in her position as county commissioner. The Task Force will take shape over the next few weeks and anyone interested in submitting ideas or volunteering in the effort is encouraged to call Commissioner Biloski, Commissioner Scott or Mayor Frank.

 

Follow-up:  More on deputy-involved shooting in Roane

 

We now have more information on Monday night’s deputy-involved shooting in Roane County.  Authorities have identified the man shot as 34-year-old Christopher Lee Powers of Rockwood and say that he has an extensive criminal history dating back to 2001.  Powers was driving a Hyundai clocked going over 100 miles an hour on Highway 27 in Harriman at around 9 pm Monday night.  That car was spotted and pursued by veteran Roane County Deputy John Mayes and the pursuit ended up headed west on I-40, where Powers allegedly tried to elude Mayes by driving in the emergency lane and passing other drivers recklessly.  The chase ended at the Airport Road exit when Powers lost control of the car and crashed into a guardrail.  Mayes blocked the car in and got out, ordering Powers to do the same.  He was standing next to his cruiser when Powers hit the gas and slammed into the patrol car, which did not suffer significant damage.  At that point, Mayes opened fire, hitting Powers through the windshield in the jaw, chest and right hand.  Powers was taken to UT Medical Center where at last check he remained in serious condition.  The woman in the car with him, identified as Stephanie Foland, was treated for injuries unrelated to the shooting at Roane Medical Center and released.  However, she was then taken into custody on several outstanding warrants.  Mayes, a K-9 officer with over ten years’ experience with the Sheriff’s Department, was not injured but has been placed on standard administrative lead while the TBI completes its investigation into the incident. 

 

Campbell schools closed all week due to illness

 

Campbell County Schools will remain closed through Friday due to widespread illness among teachers and students alike.  School officials say that by the end of the day Tuesday, 1100 students were out sick, just one day after about 1000 students missed class for illnesses that include primarily the stomach bug that has made the rounds this winter but also include a few cases of the flu.  Crews will work to clean the schools during the long weekend. Students already had an extra day off Monday, Feb. 16 because of Presidents Day.

 

Follow-up:  More on Clinton antique mention in national publication

 

As we told you this week, Fodor’s Travel, one of the leading travel publications and websites has released its list of the 10 Best Antiquing Towns in the U.S., and Clinton came in at #9. The list included Charleston, South Carolina, as well as several small towns, ranging from Hazel, Kentucky to locations in Iowa, Illinois and Minnesota. In signing the praises of Clinton, Fodor’s cited the presence of Clinton’s 12 Market Street area shops.  Fodor’s publishes a wide array of travel guidebooks, websites and publications worldwide, relying heavily on local correspondents with in-depth knowledge of dining, shops and other travel information to assist tourists in learning about new and interesting destinations before they arrive.

 

TBI probing deputy-involved Roane shooting

 

The TBI is investigating an officer involved shooting in Roane County after a police chase ended with a sheriff's deputy firing his weapon through a car’s windshield.  TBI says the shooting occurred at the Airport Rd. exit of I-40 West. A Roane County sheriff’s deputy clocked a Hyundai traveling at more than 100 miles an hour on Highway 27 in Harriman.  The deputy turned on his lights and sirens and gave chase but instead of pulling over, the car entered I-40 westbound and the pursuit continued to the exit ramp at mile marker 340.  There, the driver lost control and the car spun into a guardrail, where it came to a stop. The deputy got out of his car and was standing by his cruiser when the driver of the Hyundai drove forward and rammed the patrol car. That's when the deputy fired through the windshield, hitting the driver twice.  The driver of the Hyundai was taken to Roane Medical Center in Harriman and was later transferred to UT Medical Center. A female passenger was also taken to the hospital for injuries unrelated to the shooting.  The identities of those involved were not immediately released. 

 

ORT:  OR Council OKs ORPD investigation

 

(Oak Ridge Today/staff reports) The Oak Ridge City Council on Monday agreed to conduct an independent third-party review of turnover and morale in the Police Department but rejected a proposal to investigate the relationship between Police Chief Jim Akagi and City Manager Mark Watson, and possible violations related to an order of protection issued against the police chief in Blount County in 2012 and dismissed in 2013.  The resolution to conduct an independent third-party review of the ORPD turnover was proposed by Council member Kelly Callison during a four-and-a-half-hour-long meeting on Monday night.  It passed 7-0 after being amended to include a study of morale issues and administrative policies.  Later in the meeting, Oak Ridge City Council member Charlie Hensley withdrew a motion to reprimand fellow Council member Trina Baughn for the way she has publicly handled the concerns about the Police Department.  Baughn sent a memo to Watson last month that she also copied to several media outlets raising concerns about what she called the high turnover rate in the ORPD and complaints she had heard from current and former officers describing the chief as a tyrant and vindictive.  The drumbeat of dissent in the city continued when some of those former officers, including Akagi’s predecessor David Beams, issued missives containing similar complaints and asking for a Council investigation into the department.  Over two dozen residents and several former officers addressed the Council on Monday, some speaking against Akagi and others lauding his performance since talking over in 2011.  The review is expected to be completed within 30 days of a firm being selected and the report will be delivered to City Council and the city manager.

 

ORT:  OR Council OKs Preschool paint fix

 

(Oak Ridge Today) The Oak Ridge City Council Monday agreed to use $150,000 in red-light camera money to repair the lead-based paint on the city’s Preschool, providing what officials hope will be a short-term solution while they develop a plan to permanently repair, replace, or move the Preschool.  The repairs, which could be done by August 3, were approved in a 6-0 vote. Oak Ridge City Council member Rick Chinn abstained because a family member owns a building on Mitchell Road that the city and schools could consider leasing.  The City Council also endorsed a recommendation from the Oak Ridge Board of Education that could have children in a new building by the 2016-2017 school year. That resolution calls for further study of options for the Oak Ridge Preschools and Robert J. Smallridge School Administration Building on New York Avenue. It also would set up a joint city-schools committee, consider buying the Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce building for school administration offices, and remodel the G Building at Oak Ridge High School.  Officials say the Preschool building needs to be renovated or vacated for the Head Start program to receive federal funding in the 2015-2016 school year. They are hopeful that their plan to fix the lead-based paint on the decades-old home of the Preschool by early August will satisfy federal officials. A remediation plan could be submitted to federal officials and Anderson County education officials by March 4.  The building is owned by the city, and the municipal staff would lead the repair project. The Preschool is used by about 200 students, including those in the Head Start program.  Several options have been considered for the Preschool, including repairing the current building, constructing a new facility, leasing a new home for the preschool (or using a lease-purchase option), and splitting up the Preschool among the city’s elementary schools. The last option has been largely ruled out.

 

Smoky Mountains Trout Adventure Camp sign-ups underway

 

(Submitted) The fifth annual Great Smoky Mountains Trout Adventure Camp for middle school girls and boys, sponsored by the Tennessee Council of Trout Unlimited, will be June 15–20 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 is a private, nonprofit residential environmental learning center in Walker Valley on the banks of 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 2015 will begin on Monday afternoon, June 15, and end at noon on Saturday, June 20. Girls and boys 12 to 15 years old as of June 15 are eligible to apply; Trout Unlimited will accept a total of 14 participants (a minimum of two girls). Tuition is $495; insurance coverage is supplied by GSMIT.

Campers should be in good physical condition. While Trout Adventure is not akin to a military boot camp, activities may be more physically demanding than some boys and girls are accustomed to.

Applications are being accepted from now through May 20 at http://www.tntroutadventure.org. Applications can be completed and submitted online, or can be mailed or emailed to John Thurman, jthur727@bellsouth.net, P.O. Box 546, Norris, TN 37828. Applicants will be notified of their status within three days of receipt of their application.

When families are notified that their children have been selected, they will be provided a GSMIT registration form and other information. Financial assistance may be available through your area’s Trout Unlimited chapter.

 

Middle School Science Bowl Round-Up

 

(DOE) The fifth annual U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) East Tennessee Middle School Science Bowl held Saturday, Feb. 7 at the Roane State Community College, Oak Ridge Campus highlighted the academic expertise of students representing 12 Tennessee middle schools.  The Middle School Science Bowl is a competition which tests participants’ knowledge in mathematics and the sciences.  This year 16 teams, composed of the state’s brightest middle school students, were quizzed in a fast-paced question and answer format similar to the Jeopardy television game show.  Each team included four student competitors, an alternate, and a coach who also served as the team’s advisor.

After an intense competition, three winning teams emerged.  The winning teams also received monetary awards:

  • First Place ($750) – Farragut Middle School – Team 1  – Farragut Middle School (Farragut) will travel to Washington, D.C., April 30 – May 4, 2015, to compete in the DOE National Science Bowl
  • Second Place ($500) – Jefferson Middle School (Oak Ridge) – Team 1
  • Third Place ($250) – Cedar Bluff Middle School (Knoxville)

Schools participating in this year’s competition include Blount Home Education Association, Jefferson Middle School, Webb School, St. Mary’s School, Cedar Springs Homeschool, Norris Middle School, Powell Middle School, Concord Christian School, Farragut Middle School, Cedar Bluff Middle School, Trinity Christian Academy and Oliver Springs Middle School.  For additional information about the DOE’s East Tennessee Middle School Science Bowl visit http://www.amse.org/.

 

One killed in Friday Roane wreck

 

A Friday afternoon traffic accident in Harriman killed an Oakdale man.  The Tennessee Highway Patrol says the crash happened at around 12:40 pm Friday when 74-year-old Samuel Norman of Harriman attempted to turn left from Little Emory Road on to State Highway 61 in his Chevy SUV and failed to yield to a Nissan sedan being driven by 77-year-old Merley Tilson of Oakdale, pulling into the car’s path.  Tilson’s car was knocked off the roadway into a large ditch, where his car overturned.  Norman’s SUV spun and came to rest in the westbound lanes of Highway 61.  Tilson was injured and a passenger in his car identified as 79-year-old Elmer Solomon of Oakdale died in the crash despite wearing his seatbelt.  Norman was not injured in the wreck and the THP report indicates that no charges or citations have been filed. 

 

ORT:  More ex-ORPD officers asking for investigation

 

According to our partners at Oak Ridge Today, four former Oak Ridge police officers have asked the City Council to investigate some of the concerns recently raised about the Police Department and its chief, or to hear the concerns of officers.  The officers were responding to recent news reports about the police department and concerns raised about its turnover rate, as well as alleged policy violations included in a mid-January grievance filed by former Oak Ridge Police Department Officer Christopher Bayless.  The officers expressed a range of concerns that include the alleged policy violations by Police Chief Jim Akagi and a Blount County order of protection in effect from April 2012 to June 2013, questions about the turnover rate and the chief’s leadership, and decisions about promotions, spending, and weapons.

The City Council will consider dueling resolutions on the topic during its Monday night meeting.

The first, requested by Council member Trina Baughn, would open an investigation into the police chief, including the allegations raised by Bayless, and the concerns raised by Beams, Mansfield, and someone who has written to City Council under the pseudonym “Bobby Hill.”  It would also investigate the relationship between Akagi and Oak Ridge City Manager Mark Watson before the police chief was hired and determine whether Akagi violated the order of protection, which was issued in Blount County by Circuit Court Judge Tammy M. Harrington. 

The second resolution to be considered Monday, which was requested by Council member Charlie Hensley, would reprimand Baughn, remove her from all committee assignments, and ask her to stop “premature release of biased and negatively spun information” before it’s been verified and discussed by the entire Council.

It’s not clear which resolution, if either, the Council might support. Either one would require a second for discussion and four votes to be approved.

Besides Hensley, a few other Council members have also expressed concern about the process used by Baughn, and one member, Kelly Callison, said last week that he might propose an alternative to the resolutions proposed by Baughn and Hensley.

The Council will also consider spending $150,000 to address lead-based paint concerns on the exterior walls of the city’s preschool and establish a procedure to begin looking for a replacement for the decades-old facility.  The City Council meets tonight at 7 pm in the Courtroom of the Oak Ridge Municipal Building. 

 

Clinton’s antique district earns national recognition

 

National travel magazine Fodor’s has ranked the city of Clinton as the ninth best place in the nation to go antiquing.  Here is what the writers of the article had to say about Clinton and its antique district:

“Dedicate at least a day to the wonders to be found on the Clinton Antique Trail, Tennessee’s antique hub that hugs the Clinch River. With a population of almost 10,000, Clinton offers visitors small-town, southern charm with an emphasis on antiques. Featuring nearly everything from American and European to Primitive period furnishings, start your picking with handcrafted furniture and fun home décor items at Burrville Antiques, the area’s oldest antique shop. The next stop on the trail is The Antique Market, where a 1900s era building houses antiques, primitives, and quality collectibles. The trail continues on to another 12 antique shops with seemingly endless piles of treasure.

Insider Tip: Though there is no relation to the famed television series, a visit to Golden Girls Restaurant is a must while visiting Clinton, as their breakfasts speak to the country appetite (fresh biscuits and grits) and are as affordable as they are delicious.”  View the complete list and pictures at http://www.fodors.com/news/photos/10-best-antiquing-towns-in-the-us#!1-intro

 

OR Schools on the Run 5K coming in March

 

The first Oak Ridge Schools on the Run 5K is scheduled for March 21, organizers said.  “Come join the schools, city, and community of Oak Ridge in their first annual 5k,” the Oak Ridge Track Club said in a notice posted on its website. “The race will be held at the beautiful Melton Lake Park!”  The standard registration is $25. It’s $20 for school and municipal employees, and $10 for students.  There will be awesome T-shirts for all pre-registered runners,” the notice said. Race-day T-shirts will be available as supplies last.  There will be awards for the overall top male and female finishers, the top three in each age group, masters, grand masters, and senior grand masters.  Any Oak Ridge student who participates in a morning exercise program can register for free with a paying adult, the notice said.  Registration will begin at Melton Lake Pavilion at 6:45 a.m. Saturday, March 21. The race will start at 8 a.m.

See the Oak Ridge Track Club website for more information, including online registration.

 

Jacksboro detective laid to rest

 

Hundreds of people in Campbell County assembled Thursday to mourn the loss of a longtime and popular detective with the Jacksboro Police Department.  Mike Starrett was killed on January 23rd while responding to a fatal accident on Highway 116 when his car was hit head-on by another driver.  He passed away late Friday January 30th at UT Medical Center.  His funeral service was held Thursday morning at the Indiana Avenue Baptist Church in Lafollette and after the service, his funeral procession was joined by dozens of officers from nearby law enforcement agencies and some citizens lined the route of the procession to pay their respects.  Starrett was a Campbell County Sheriff’s deputy for four years before joining the Jacksboro Police Department 12 years ago.  He was also a founder of the Justice Law Enforcement Motorcycle Club. 

 

Coal Creek Scholars busy this spring

 

(Submitted) Coal Creek Scholars are organizing the annual trash cleanup activity along Fraterville Miners Memorial Highway (i.e. Highway 116) from Briceville School to Joe Day Bridge.  A tentative date for the event is Saturday, March 14th from 9:00 am until noon.  We will meet at Briceville School at 9:00 am to organize into teams.  A cash prize of $100 will be awarded to the team collecting the most trash.  Details from past cleanup events can be found at http://www.coalcreekaml.com/TrashDayLinkPage.htm.

 

(Submitted) The Coal Creek Miners Museum board/volunteers and the City of Rocky Top have been applying for grants to fund the remodel of the new Coal Creek Miners Museum building.  Before the holidays, they applied for an Appalachian Resource Commission grant and two other grants from private foundations.  Meanwhile, a Spring Cleaning Day will be held at the future home of the museum. If you would like to help, plan on meeting at the future museum on April 11th at 9 a.m.  We will work until noon. The museum cleaning will be the last community service opportunity for Coal Creek Scholars who are seniors at Anderson County High School to qualify for CCWF scholarships. 

 

TSSAA shines spotlight on OR AD

 

(Oak Ridge Today/TSSAA) Mike Mullins, the athletic director at Oak Ridge High School, has been recognized by the TSSAA for his distinguished service as an administrator.  The TSSAA, or Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association, administers junior and senior high school sports. A story in the Winter 2015 issue of TSSAA News said Mullins is finishing his ninth year as athletic director at ORHS and his 29th year in interscholastic athletics and education.  The TSSAA article said Mullins has spearheaded a number of capital improvement projects.  “The most striking undertaking is the Wildcat Arena, a part of a $61 million renovation to Oak Ridge High School,” the story said. “This state-of-the-art facility is home to the Wildcat basketball and volleyball teams and is one of the finest high schools in the state.”  Other upgrades completed under Mullins include the Pro2Serve soccer complex, newly renovated weight room, and many locker room enhancements. There are also plans for a multi-million dollar renovation of historic Blankenship Field.  Before he was named athletic director in 2005, Mullins was assistant athletic director for the Oak Ridge Wildcats for four years.  Since Mullins became AD, the Wildcats have won six state championships, had five runner-up finishes, and earned “countless sectional, regional, and district titles,” the story said. There have been individual awards as well, and Mullins has assembled a highly regarded coaching staff and been awarded the 2009-2010 A.F. Bridges Athletic Director of the Year Award, TSSAA News said.  Mullins and his wife Karla, a teacher at Oak Ridge High School, live in Oak Ridge, and they have two sons, Aaron and Austin.

 

Clinton issues demolition permit for Magnet Mills

 

The city of Clinton last month issued a demolition permit for the historic, but long-vacant Magnet Mills building on Charles Seivers Boulevard.  Clinch River Properties LLC has six months from the date the permit was issued—January 23rd—to begin the demolition project.  The city says it will hold periodic hearings to receive updates on the project, the first of which is scheduled for February 26th.  A tenant who had been using the former mill as a storage facility was evicted last year by the property owners and the city has given Clinch River Properties until February 24th to remove several junk vehicles from the property.  City leaders have long been exploring ways to either have the building renovated or demolished.  Coupled with TDOT’s replacement of the green bridge on Highway 25W—Clinton Highway/Clinch Avenue—that connects Clinton and South Clinton later this year, the face of Clinton’s riverfront will look radically different by this time next year. 

 

National Signing Day local recruiting round-up

 

Wednesday was national Signing Day for high school athletes and as you have no doubt heard by now, the University of Tennessee brought in a recruiting class ranked among the top 5 by most football scouting services.  Among the student-athletes who signed with UT was Coalfield lineman Zach Stewart, a two-time Mr. Football Award winner.  He was actually the first member of the class of 2015 to fax the school his signed letter of intent.  Anderson County standout running back Matt Fox signed to play at ETSU while fellow Maverick Bronson Black is headed to the University of the Cumberlands.  Oak Ridge had several football players sign scholarship offers, led by Isaac Chapman heading to UT-Martin.  Shawmain Fleming of Oak Ridge will head to Tusculum while his high school teammates Zach Kassner and Ted Mitchell are headed to Carson-Newman.  Midway’s Hayden Hester will also play at Carson-Newman and Kingston’s Zach redden will play for Tusculum.  Former Clinton, Lenoir City and West High School standout Camion Patrick, who had once committed to UT, signed to play major college football at Indiana.  He spent last season at a junior college.  Clinton High School’s Nick Bowling signed a swimming scholarship to Union College.  Congratulations to all of these student-athletes and good luck.  We know you will make the area proud. 

 

Woman’s suicide prompts lockdown at Fairview

 

Fairview Elementary School was placed on lockdown early Tuesday afternoon while law enforcement investigated a woman’s death.  According to Joe Forgety with the Anderson County School system, a man found a suicide note written by his wife that indicated she was “headed to Fairview.”  Officials were not clear as to her destination and placed the school on lockdown.  The woman apparently parked her car adjacent to the school, walked into the woods on the opposite side of the playground and shot herself.  The lockdown was lifted and parents were brought in a separate entrance to pick up their children while the investigation took place.  The reason for the alternate entrance was that the road directly in front of the school was identified as the best staging area for deputies and other emergency personnel.  The school was never in danger.  WYSH does not identify suicide victims. 

 

Mark calendars:  K’garten Round Up coming in May

 

The Anderson County School System has scheduled its Early Kindergarten Registration or “Kindergarten Round-up” for students entering school for the first time. Children must be age 5 on or before August 15, 2015. The Kindergarten Round-up dates listed below are for each of the Schools within the Anderson County School System. Please choose the school for which your child is zoned. If you are unsure of which Anderson County School zone in which you live, please contact the Transportation Department at 457- 7789 with your current address and they will assist you.  If, for any reason, you cannot attend Kindergarten Roundup at the School for which your child is zoned, please come to the elementary school your child is zoned for to complete the registration process for your child. Registration is open Monday - Friday from 8:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m. at this location. However, please have your up-coming Kindergarten child registered on or before June 2, 2015 in order for the School System to make important arrangements, such as hiring adequate personnel and ordering sufficient materials and supplies for the correct number of students prior to the first day of school.

Anderson County School System’s Kindergarten Round-up Schedule 2015-16 School Year

  • May 4, 2015 Monday Lake City Elementary 8:30a.m.-11:30 a.m.
  • May 5, 2015 Tuesday Fairview Elementary 8:30a.m.-11:30 a.m.
  • May 6, 2015 Wednesday Dutch Valley Elementary 8:30a.m.-10:30 a.m.
  • May 7, 2015 Thursday Claxton Elementary 8:30a.m.-11:30 a.m.
  • May 8, 2015 Friday Briceville Elementary 8:30a.m.-10:30 a.m.
  • May 11, 2015 Monday Grand Oaks Elementary 8:30a.m.-11:30 a.m.
  • May 12, 2015 Tuesday Andersonville Elementary 8:30a.m.-11:30 a.m.
  • May 13, 2015 Wednesday Norwood Elementary 8:30a.m.-11:30 a.m.
  • May 14, 2015 Thursday Norris Elementary 8:30a.m.-11:30 a.m.

 

Parents must bring the following documents in order to complete the Registration Process for their child:  

PROOF OF AGE - State issued birth certificate or “mother’s copy” will be sufficient.·  SOCIAL SECURITY CARD – If for some reason you cannot locate your child’s Social Security Card, you should go to the Social Security Office to apply for a duplicate card. You may bring your copy of this application with the number on it for Registration purposes.  

PROOF OF PHYSICAL EXAM & IMMUNIZATION RECORD– Your Child’s Physical Exam must have been done on or after January 1, 2015. All Immunizations must be up to date and placed on the state required form that you may obtain from the Anderson County Health Department or your doctor’s office. Health Department personnel will transfer your child’s immunizations to the official immunization form if you take an immunization record with you. However, if you do not have an immunization record for your child, you may obtain one from the Anderson County Health Department.  

PROOF OF RESIDENCE – You must bring an appropriate item that verifies the correct physical address of where the child actually resides. If your driver’s license has the correct address, this will be sufficient. Other acceptable items include (but are not limited to): a piece of mail addressed to you with your correct mailing address, a copy of the lease or rent receipt with a current date, utility service hook-up card, etc.  LEGAL DOCUMENTATION – If the child does not reside with both legal parents, a copy of the· legal paperwork must be provided. This provides the School System with the legally correct information pertaining to child custody and prevents future problems from developing. We are always concerned for the safety and welfare of your child. This is an exciting time for your child and possibly a frightening time for the parent when enrolling a child into school for the first time. School System Personnel are always eager to meet and greet our new young students and their parents. We encourage you to become an active participant at the school where your child will be attending. Research has proven many times that a child receives the very best education possible when the parent and school personnel work together AS A TEAM in educating a child! Your child and your child’s school really need your help and support!  For more, visit us online, visit the school system’s website at www.acs.ac or call Brittany Bradley at 865-463-2800, extension 2829.

 

AC Senior Center about to become reality

 

The Anderson County Office on Aging and the Council on Aging have found a location to open up an expanded Office on Aging and create a full-blown Senior Center serving Clinton and Anderson County.  The new location will be in the old Food Stamp building on Charles Seivers Boulevard, just west of the intersection of Clinch Avenue and Seivers.  The new center is being rented to the Office and Council on Aging at a discounted rate because, as Director Cherie Phillips said this morning, “they want to give back to the community.  The new facility measures some 7500 square feet and will be used for health education classes, activities, social events, lunches, evidence-based programs, meetings on issues affecting seniors and anything else that “will help seniors have a better life,” according to Phillips.  The exact date of the move has not been nailed down but it will be soon, according to Phillips.  In the meantime, officials need dozens of items to run the Senior Center the way they feel it should be run and are asking for donations from the community.  You can see a complete list of the needed items on the Local Information News page of our website.  For more information, you can call the Office on Aging at 865-457-3259. 

 

Items  needed for new building

Donated or sponsored by :

2 wheelers

ACOA

bags : Cloth , for 2nd harvest etc .

 

Baskets for Activities supplies

 

Big screen TV

Stanley Foust

bingo items

 

bingo prizes

 

board games

 

Book cases  several

 

books Fiction & Non Fiction : for reading area

 

bowls : all sizes

 

Bowls : serving Size about 30 -50

 

bulletin boards: several

 

chairs : Lots

ETHRA,

chalk boards : 2 or Dry Erase boards

 

cleaning supplies

 

cleaning supplies for Clients in need

 

Clocks : Large

 

Coat Rack/s

 

Coffee : for senior center

 

coffee cups

 

coffee maker large : 2

Janice Johnson : Nutrition Dept , Renee Burchfield

coffee table

 

computers for computer classes (used is fine )

 

condiments (all kinds)

 

containers with lids : all sizes

 

Cook stove

 

Cook Ware

Office on Aging

couch

 

craft paper

 

croc/knitting items

 

dart board

Donna Medley

décor

 

Deep fryers

Felicia Foust

Depends

 

Desk several

ETHRA, Jim Hackworth

dish towels

 

Dishes

 

Display stands  several

 

Drinking Straws

ACOA

drinks of all kinds

 

dry erase boards

 

dry erase markers

 

ensure

 

Exercise equipment : limited area

 

file cabinets  several

Jim Hackworth, ETHRA, ACOA

freezer

 

fridge/ more then one

 

HB products for Clients in need

 

ice machine

 

Kettles : large

 

kitchen table and chairs - Several for Sr lunches

 

knifes

 

laminator / electric one

 

lamps

 

Large crock pots

Janice Johnson : Nutrition Dept

large standing  ezels  at least 2

 

Large Trash Cans : about 6

 

locking cabinets : several

 

magazines : for reading area

 

markers

 

Money or gift cards to purchass items

 

movies : DVD's for movie days

 

napkins

 

other cookers

Renee Burchfield

other Utensils

 

Paper cups

 

paper note books for seniors for Classes

 

paper plates

 

paper products for clients in need

 

pens

 

plants : for décor

 

plastic ware

 

Plates : about 50

 

Playing Cards : Several

 

pool table

Robert Phillips

popcorn : for movie day

 

popcorn machine

 

puzzles & puzzle books

 

Radio with tape/cd player

 

rubber bands

 

rugs for door areas

 

scissors : several

 

shelving / shelves lots

 

sign for Senior Center

 

Silver ware

 

sponsor for Basic Cable TV

 

Stand for Sign in Center

 

standing cooler : for drinks and food items

 

storage bags : all sizes

 

tables  several , folding : for activities

 

Tea Pitchers : a few

 

thumb tacks

 

tinfoil, plastic wrap etc.

 

totes : need a lot , for storage of Activities etc

 

towels : Small hand towles

 

Trays for lunches : about 50

 

walkie talkies : 4

 

wireless headphone for telephone

 

 

ORT:  Controversy over ORPD headed to Council

 

According to Oak Ridge Today, the brewing controversy over the Oak Ridge Police Department and its leadership under Chief Jim Akagi will head to the City Council Monday night.  Oak Ridge City Council member Trina Baughn has called for an investigation of the police chief.  Fellow Council member Charlie Hensley meanwhile wants the Council to reprimand Baughn.   The two Council members have submitted dueling resolutions that could be considered on Monday.  Either resolution would require a second from another Council member to be discussed, and four votes to be approved.  Both resolutions come after over a week of accusations and allegations focused, in particular, on the management of the Oak Ridge Police Department by Chief Jim Akagi and raised questions about the ORPD’s turnover rate and whether it is high. Some of the most blistering criticism has come from former Oak Ridge Police Chief David Beams.  Our partners at Oak Ridge Today report that some city officials and business owners are concerned that the negative publicity surrounding this controversy might have a negative impact on economic development and the recruitment of residents while others argue that there are legitimate concerns that need to be investigated.  Baughn’s resolution calls for a City Council investigation of certain alleged actions by the police chief as well as his relationship to the city manager.  Hensley’s resolution, meanwhile, asks City Council to show its disapproval and officially rebuke Baughn. It wouldn’t have legal weight, but it would serve as a reprimand. It would ask Baughn to “cease premature release of biased and negatively spun information prior to verification and discussion by City Council as a whole.”  In an email to city officials, Hensley said Baughn has released negatively biased information and unverified accusations to the media without consideration, discussion, and deliberation by the Council.  Hensley’s resolution also requests that Baughn be removed from all of her current committee assignments.  The Oak Ridge City Council will meet Monday, February 9th at 7 p.m. in the Courtroom of the Oak Ridge Municipal Building.  For much more on this story, please visit www.oakridgetoday.com.  

 

ACSD:  2 arrested in recent weeks on child pornography charges

 

Two men have been arrested in recent weeks on unrelated charges dealing with the possession of child pornography after indictments were returned in January by the Anderson County Grand Jury.  29-year-old Mario Luis Castilla of Rocky Top was indicted on three counts of aggravated sexual exploitation of a minor and arrested on January 8.  30-year-old Jeremy Keegan Cosgrove of Oak Ridge was indicted on two counts of aggravated sexual exploitation of a minor and arrested on January 31.  These are separate, unrelated cases in which charges were filed after two investigations by the Sheriff’s Criminal Investigations Unit along with the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force of which the Anderson County Sheriff’s Department is a member. Each was indicted for allegedly having images of child pornography on their computers.  Both are free on bonds totaling $75,000 each. 

 

Follow-up:  More on bridge repair project

 

Following up on a story you first heard about on WYSH, crews on Monday began the long-awaited repair of the bridge on Johnson Gap Road in Anderson County’s Dutch Valley community.  In July of 2013, state inspectors ordered the bridge closed immediately after determining it was unsafe for travel due to structural problems.  Residents of Dutch Valley routinely used Johnson Gap, and consequently, the bridge as the primary shortcut to and from Clinton and Oak Ridge, and complained about having to take longer alternate routes.  While some officials had worried about longer emergency response times, those problems did not surface, but residents still grew increasingly frustrated over the railroad’s delays in getting the project started.  The bridge is owned by CSX and after its closure, offered the county two options.  The first option was to take over the bridge from the company and replace it with a concrete structure at county expense and the second was to have the company fix it and foot the bill.  County commissioners last spring voted for the latter offer but officials and residents became frustrated all over again when the company offered tentative starting dates and then would extend its timetable.  CSX has addressed the labor and other problems that led to their many delays and late last year, awarded a contract to repair the 100-year-old bridge.  Weather permitting, the project is expected to be wrapped up within the next four weeks. 

 

ORT:  3 OR teachers earn honors

 

(Oak Ridge Today) Oak Ridge Schools has announced three of its teachers of the year.  The three building-wide teachers of the year are:

  • Amelia Bell, Glenwood Elementary School;
  • Amy Fuqua, Linden Elementary School; and
  • Lisa Meidl, Willow Brook Elementary School.

In a press release, school officials said they will soon announce the selection of the system-wide Teacher of the Year, selected from one of these three candidates.

Amelia Bell, Glenwood Teacher of the Year, is a librarian with 20 years of teaching experience. She is a member of the Glenwood Leadership Team, a prolific grant writer, and has been awarded the Tennessee Association of School Librarians Innovative Library Award, the press release said.

Bell has led the development of student-based conferencing, and she coordinates family events such as Family Math Night, Science Saturday, and book fairs. Bell is also the extended school day program grant manager.

Bell shares her “passion for history and government by teaching information literacy skills in the context of social studies,” the press release said.

Amy Fuqua, Linden Teacher of the Year, is a second grade teacher with 16 years of teaching experience. Fuqua is a data coach and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) innovator for Oak Ridge Schools and also serves as a member of the Linden Leadership Team.

Fuqua does a lot of work with technology in the classroom, from the Promethean Board, to Dreambox Learning, to iPods.

Lisa Meidl, Willow Brook Teacher of the Year, is a librarian with 5.5 years of teaching experience. Meidl is secretary for the Center for Children’s and Young Adult Literature at the University of Tennessee. She learns the state standards for all elementary grade levels in order to better collaborate with classroom teachers and help students set and meet their goals.

The Teacher of the Year program in the State of Tennessee recognizes and honors outstanding teachers. A Teacher of the Year candidate must be a full-time certificated teacher in a public school. The candidate must spend the majority of the school day in direct instruction of students, be in at least the fifth year of teaching in Tennessee public schools, and have a track record of exceptional gains in student learning. Teachers of the Year must be skilled in implementing creative teaching strategies, exceptionally dedicated, knowledgeable and skilled, and have a superior ability to teach, the press release said.

The City of Rocky Top has announced its meeting schedule for the month of February.

  • February 10, 2015 – Water/Sewer Committee Meeting, 5:30 p.m.
  • February 11, 2015 –City Court, 8:00 AM
  • February 17, 2015 – Planning Commission, 6:00 p.m.
  • February 19, 2015 –City Council Meeting, 7:00 p.m.

For more information call Rocky Top City Hall at 865-426-2838

 

CONTACT CareLine announces board appointments

 

CONTACT Care Line of East Tennessee is proud to announce five new members of its board of directors. Entering its fifth decade of providing a listening ear to neighbors in crisis, CONTACT joined the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, launched a chat service, and expanded its Reassurance service to elderly men and women who need a daily call.   

“Our new board members bring strong professional backgrounds and a desire to make sure no one feels alone when they’re facing difficulties,” board Chairwoman Roslyn Robinson said. “A simple telephone call to CONTACT can stop a downward spiral, connect callers with community resources and, many times, even save a life.” 

Board members who began three-year terms in January are:

·         Chris Elledge, assistant professor of clinical psychology, University of Tennessee.

·         LaShanda Miller, director of talent management, ORAU.

·         Mary Jinks, who recently retired as vice president of public service for the University of Tennessee.

·         Matt Shafer-Powell, director of news content/executive producer, WUOT.

·         Susan E. Joyce Schmiesing, healthcare services coordinator for United Health Care.

·         Liz Clary, vice president of behavioral services at Covenant Health

Founded in 1973, CONTACT trains volunteers to field telephone calls and chat messages from individuals with a variety of needs.Volunteers help callers through moments of crisis or bring trained professionals to the conversation when warranted. 

In 2014, CONTACT joined the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, fielding calls from Knox County as well as local Crisis Line calls.  Over the summer, CONTACT launched a new Crisis Chat Portal to better serve at-risk youth.  The Reassurance and Crisis Line programs give people the emotional support they need and reduce the barriers to getting mental health services. These programs are vital for addressing undiagnosed and untreated mental illness—a major risk factor for suicide.  To learn more about the crisis call center or make a donation online, please visit contactcarelinetn.org/donate.

 

ACSD nabs suspected burglar, carjacker

 

Friday, Anderson County Sheriff’s deputies arrested a 27 year-old Oliver Springs man after a series of crimes at a home on Talley Lane in the Marlow community. John Joseph Pixley II was arrested after the homeowner observed a truck on her surveillance cameras via a web feed and a suspect, later identified as Pixley, was seen walking around her residence. The property owner called the Sheriff’s Communications Center around 8:30am Friday to report the incident, left work, and drove home. Upon arriving, according to a release from the ACSD Pixley was seen leaving with items from the residence in the bed of his truck. As the driveway was only wide enough for one car, Pixley attempted to drive around the homeowner’s car but instead went up an embankment and overturned, striking the woman’s vehicle. A co-worker of the homeowner also arrived driving his tow truck. Pixley broke out his own window, extricated himself from his overturned pickup, ran to the tow truck, and, after a fight with the co-worker, stole the tow truck and fled. Several deputies responded to this call and the stolen tow truck description was broadcast to area law enforcement agencies. A short time later the truck was spotted by officers from the Oliver Springs Police Department and was stopped.  Pixley was taken into custody by deputies and taken to the Anderson County Detention Facility, where he is being held without bond pending his arraignment on charges of theft, theft of a motor vehicle, carjacking and two counts of aggravated assault. 

 

Suspect in woman’s disappearance fired from UT gig

 

A man described as a person of interest in the disappearance of a Middle Tennessee woman has been fired from, his custodial job at the University of Tennessee.  Nikki Burgess was last heard from in May 2014. A few days later, investigators searched the Anderson County home of Caleb Cannon for clues in her disappearance. Cannon, the father of Burgess’ son, has been named a person of interest.  A Nashville Metro Police investigator said that cadaver dogs twice “alerted to the presence of human decomposition.” One of the hits from the dogs was in Burgess’ Hermitage home. The second was in the trunk of a vehicle registered to Cannon.  A detective says in court documents that he believes Burgess was killed and her body taken from her home to an unknown location inside the trunk of the vehicle belonging to Cannon.  Cannon was fired on Tuesday from a custodial job at UT, and because he was still under probation, the university said it does not need to give a reason to fire him.

 

Jacksboro PD Detective dies from wreck injuries

 

A Jacksboro Police Department detective who was critically injured in a head