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UPDATED April 18, 2014

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Man pleads to robbery charges

 

A Knoxville man pleaded guilty Thursday in Anderson County Criminal Court to reduced charges in a 2012 armed robbery at a Clinton loan store.  20-year-old Adrian Nathaniel Butler had been charged with aggravated robbery and theft in the January 12th, 2012 robbery at the Cash2You store on Clinch Avenue in South Clinton, and pleaded guilty to the theft charge and to a reduced charge of robbery.  In exchange for his plea, he was sentenced to eight years behind bars.  He has been given credit for the two years that he has been in custody.  Authorities say that Butler was with another man who threatened an employee and her two 11-year-old daughters with an Airsoft pistol that had been altered to make it appear to look like a real gun.  The men fled with over $600 in cash, which police say they split with a third man who served as the getaway driver.  Butler agreed to testify against his co-defendants as part of his plea deal.  No one was injured in the robbery.

 

Early Voting tally:  Day 2

 

Early voting for the May 6th primaries is underway and in Anderson County, 378 people voted on Thursday, bringing the two-day total to 788.  Again, with four contested races, the Republican primary was the most popular on Thursday, with 327 voters casting ballots on that side of the ballot.  Only 51 people voted in the Democratic primary, where only one race is contested.  Early voting locations in Anderson County are the Clinton Community Center, the Midtown Community Center in Oak Ridge and the North Anderson Government Office in the Anderson Crossing Shopping Center with voting hours on weekdays from 10 am to 6 pm and on each of the next two Saturdays from 9 am to12 noon.  Early voting concludes on May 1st.  For more information, visit www.acelect.com or call 865-457-6238.

 

Campbell Commissioner arrested for DUI

 

A Campbell County Commissioner was arrested on DUI charges Wednesday night following a single-vehicle accident in Jacksboro.  50-year-old James Wendell Bailey of Lafollette was charged with DUI and with violating the implied consent law and is out on bond.  Police reports indicate that officers were sent to a single-vehicle accident on Butter and Egg Road at around 9:30 pm Wednesday.  When the first officer arrived, he found Bailey sitting inside his pickup truck with a spilled beer can on the driver’s side floorboard and 23 empty beer cans on the floorboard on the backseat floorboards.  The officer reported that Bailey told him he had started drinking at around 5 pm Wednesday afternoon. 

 

Mock crash gives students look at consequences

 

Thursday, students at Anderson County High School received a graphic, up-close look at the consequences of driving while texting, while under the influence and driving carelessly.  In a mock crash demonstration coordinated by the Andersonville Volunteer Fire Departments, students got a firsthand look at the immediate aftermath of a fatal head-on collision.  Officials put on the demonstration to highlight the dangers of distracted and impaired driving as high school seniors begin gearing up for the prom and graduation season.  One student played the role of a passenger “fatally” thrown through a windshield in a mock drunk driving crash.  Another student played the role of the impaired driver suspected of causing the crash and was “arrested” by Sheriff’s deputies at the scene.  In addition to the AVFD, the demonstration also included a Lifestar landing and participation from the Anderson County EMS and Sheriff’s Department as well as from the Clinton Fire Department and the Medford Volunteer Fire Department. 

 

CRCTU to hold workshop on fishing the Clinch River

 

How to fish the Clinch River tailwater for trout (spin casting and fly casting) will be the topic Saturday, May 3, of 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, trout biology and what trout eat; Buzz Buffington discussing fishing safety and sportsmanship; Steve Brown leading a class on fly fishing for trout; and Scott Hahn 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 at 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.

 

Officials tour AC 911 center

 

The Anderson County Emergency Communications District held an open house at the Carl E. McMillan Emergency Communications and Operations Center on Monday, April 14, for members of the Anderson County Commission to celebrate National Public Safety Telecommunications Week.  The communications center serves as the command and control point for the Sheriff's Department, Emergency Services, the five county volunteer fire departments, and the rescue squad.  The center is staffed by trained public safety communications officers from the Anderson County Sheriff's Department.

 

Secretary of State awarding archive, library grants

 

Secretary of State Tre Hargett will be joined by members of the General Assembly for grant check presentation ceremonies at three archives and one library in East Tennessee on Tuesday.  The library grant will fund a major building expansion at a Knox County library while the archives grants will pay for improvements to better preserve and store historical records, including in Anderson and Morgan counties.  After stops in the morning, Secretary Hargett will be at the Anderson County Courthouse in Clinton at 12:30 pm for a presentation for Anderson County’s archives and at the Morgan County archives in Wartburg at 1:45 pm.  

 

Eddie Money announced as Friday headliner at Secret City Festival

 

80s rocker Eddie Money will play at the Secret City Festival in June, organizers announced Thursday.  Money will be the Friday night headliner. Organizers announced earlier this month that Kix Brooks will headline the Saturday night show.  This year’s festival, the 12th annual celebration, will be June 13-14.  Money’s Top 40 hits include “Take Me Home Tonight,” “Baby Hold On,” and “Two Tickets to Paradise.” He has sold more than 28 million records and plays a “blue-collar brand of rock ‘n’ roll,” a press release said.  The Friday, June 13, show starts at 7 p.m. Local rock band Jada Blade will be the opening act.  Tickets may be purchased for the early bird price of $18, and they go on sale April 29. Tickets purchased after May 30 will be available for $20. All tickets can be purchased online at www.secretcityfestival.com, by phone at (865) 482-4432, or in person at the Oak Ridge Civic Center at 1403 Oak Ridge Turnpike.  The 12th annual Secret City Festival is presented by the City of Oak Ridge, the Oak Ridge Convention and Visitors Bureau, and the Arts Council of Oak Ridge.  The festival features World War II displays and memorabilia, special events at the American Museum of Science and Energy, a children’s area, arts and crafts vendors, nationally known concert entertainment, and the Living History demonstration, “A Salute to Soldiers.”

Visit www.secretcityfestival.com for more information about the festival, event details and the latest news updates. Check out our Secret City Festival facebook page at www.facebook.com/SecretCityFestival. For more information about Eddie Money, please visit www.eddiemoney.com.

 

UWAC fails to reach goal, still raises nearly $1.2M

 

While the United way of Anderson County’s fundraising campaign may have been complicated by the partial government shutdown in October, officials announced Thursday that they still raised almost $1.2 million this year, or about 90 percent of their goal.  The results were announced at an annual meeting and campaign announcement at the Children’s Museum of Oak Ridge on Thursday.  The campaign goal had been $1.3 million. The total amount raised was $1,172,742. Officials say that will allow them to maintain stable funding levels for its agency programs but that the total will not allow the agency to increase funding to its community partners.  UWAC Executive Director Rick Morrow said. ”Last year’s total resulted in a reduction of $200,000 to the funding pool, and this year’s total will only allow for continued funding at that level.”  United Way raised $1,277,771 last year. The goal then had been $1.4 million.  UWAC and its 35 community partners and their 50 vital programs address three core needs of the community: basic human needs, youth development, and allowing seniors to age in place with honor.  For more information, visit www.uwayac.org or call (865) 483-8431.

 

Report:  Problems could nix Head Start in OR

 

Last week the Anderson County school board voted unanimously to not renew its contract with Oak Ridge to operate its Head Start program for next school year.  Anderson County Schools Superintendent Larry Foster told WATE-TV that the board voted to not renew the contract after a mandatory review earlier this year showed staff at the Oak Ridge Head Start mishandled testing data involving children.  Now, officials from both the county and Oak Ridge school systems are working on ways to continue serving the 118 students in the program.  Oak Ridge school leaders say the district will appeal the county School Board’s decision to not renew its contract. It's up to regional Head Start directors in Atlanta to decide what to do next. That decision is expected by July 1st.  Even if the contract isn't renewed, according to WATE, Foster says no federal funding will be cut from Anderson County Schools, and the county will still be responsible for the Oak Ridge students who use the program.  Officials say they're hoping to work something out so that Head Start will continue as usual in Oak Ridge.  The reports from the investigation have not been released and the Oak Ridge Head Start director voluntarily stepped down.

 

Iwanski urges AC voters to get out and vote in primaries

 

(Letter to the editor from Commissioner Myron Iwanski) Comments I have heard regarding the upcoming election indicate some confusion about who can vote in this primary.  The election is a primary to determine who the Democratic and Republican candidates will be for countywide offices in Anderson County.  This is an “open primary”, which means a voter does not register as a Democratic or Republican and can choose to vote in either the Republican or Democratic primary.  While most seeking countywide offices in Anderson County run as a party candidate, most residents I have talked to vote for who they believe are the best candidates for Anderson County - no matter the party.  It is puzzling how in national elections the percentage of registered voters voting in Anderson County is much higher than in local elections like those coming up in May and August.  In the last presidential election 60 percent of registered voters in Anderson County (29,283 of 49,169 eligible) voted.   However in the last local county primary election only 17 percent of registered voters (7,765 of 46,186) voted. 

National elections are often decided by very wide margins and in recent elections candidates barely campaigned in Tennessee because the outcome is so certain.  Yet local elections in Anderson County are very often decided by a handful of votes – as seen in the 2010 Juvenile Court Judge’s race which ended in a tie.  These local races more directly affect your pocketbook, the quality of services you rely on, and the future prosperity of our county.  There are very important contested primaries for judges, county mayor, and sheriff.  This election will determine whether we will have leaders that can work together to build consensus to solve problems and move our county forward.  I urge every eligible voter to pick a primary and vote for the candidates in that primary you think will do what is best for Anderson County.  You can choose whether you vote in the Republican or Democratic primary.  Encourage your friends and neighbors to vote.  Early voting in this primary starts April 16 and election day is May 6.  Winners of these primaries will be on the August 7 county general election ballot.  Call the Election Commission office at 457-6238 if you have questions regarding your voting rights in this election.  Visit their excellent website at www.acelect.com.

 

Norris Bulletin to host candidate forum at ACHS

 

All of the candidates in the upcoming Democratic and Republican contested primary elections scheduled for May 6 are being invited to a public forum to be hosted by The Norris Bulletin and moderated by publisher Jack Mitchell.  The event will be held next Thursday, April 24 from 6 to 8 p.m. in the auditorium of Anderson County High School.  Unopposed candidates are also invited and, after a brief introduction will be given an opportunity to make a brief statement but will not participate in the question and answer session of the forum.  For each of the contested primaries, candidates will be granted two to three minutes for an opening statement, after which twenty minutes will be allocated to a question and answer session where the moderator will pose four questions to each candidate, who will have two minutes to answer.  Opponents will then be granted two minutes for rebuttal.  The moderator, at his discretion, may permit an additional one minute to the candidate who was originally asked the question.  The non-judicial candidates, those for the offices of County Mayor and Sheriff, will be asked to respond to questions that pertain to their qualifications and to issues that specifically affect residents of the north end of Anderson County.  Questions addressed to candidates in the race for Chancellor and Juvenile Court Judge will relate to their individual qualifications and experience, as well their reasons for seeking the office.   Also, because of the number of candidates vying for the Juvenile Court Judgeship, in regard to that race, only two questions will be submitted to each candidate present and there will be  no time allocated for rebuttal.  If the event is well-received by the public and the candidates, The Bulletin anticipates sponsoring a similar forum prior to the general elections in August.   Any candidate requesting more information can contact Mitchell at jmitchell@horizonsusa.com or by phone at 865.719.3550. 

 

AC committee recommends cutting off AVFD

 

The Anderson County Commission’s Operations Committee voted Monday to recommend suspending the county’s annual $20,000 appropriation to the Andersonville Volunteer Fire Department for as long as it remains a subscription-based service.  The county has for some time now, donated $20,000 each year to each of the county’s 10 volunteer fire departments and the all-volunteer rescue squad on a rotating basis, but after the AVFD announced it was moving to the subscription-based service, efforts were undertaken to remove it from that rotation.  The fire department was criticized by citizens and some county officials when it launched the program two years ago, not only for charging a fee, but also for how the rollout of the program was handled.  The County Commission will consider that recommendation on Monday. 

 

Fairview Union added to Windrock Spring Jamboree

 

(Submitted) As if it couldn't get any better, Windrock Park is excited to announce a fun addition to the Spring Jamboree! On Saturday night, April 26th, rockin' country music band, The Fairview Union, will be performing live!  The Fairview Union sweats and bleeds high-paced, in-your-face rocking country music that comes at you with a double barrel blast of male and female lead vocals, a lead guitarist with enough versatility and tone to take you from Slash to Cash in 5.0 seconds flat, and the most rock solid high energy rhythm section you could ever ask for. Since 2011 they've shared the stage with Tracy Lawrence, Blackberry Smoke, Matt Stillwell, and The Black Lillies and played shows this past fall with Rascal Flatts, Brett Eldredge, Tyler Farr, Chase Rice and many more!  The concert is FREE for those that purchased a Land Use Permit or paid the spectator fee, and $10 for those just coming to see the show! The performance includes a professional light show and 2 hour concert on the mountain! The performance will begin around 8:30(after the Mud Drag and Dash for Cash) at the Events Area at the Campground, so make plans NOW to be there! You don't want to miss it!  The Events Area is located at the Campground at 555 Windrock Park Lane in Oliver Springs (37840).  For more info, call 865-435-3492.

 

Relay news & events schedule

 

On Saturday, April 26th at 5:00 PM, the Relay For Life of East Anderson County will kick off the 2014 event at its new venue in downtown Clinton on the streets around the courthouse.  The event will begin with the Parade of Teams where participants on the teams registered for the event will walk in their various themed shirts and costumes.  The Survivor Ceremony will then be held where each cancer survivor in attendance will be recognized. They will then walk in the special Survivors Lap, a moving experience honoring those who have defeated cancer and encouraging those who are currently battling cancer.  Survivors will join together to walk the lap, unified in victory and hope, while the rest of the event’s participants surround the track to cheer them on.  This empowering celebration is just a small piece of the special experience of Relay For Life. 

Relay For Life is a unique grassroots fundraising event in which individuals and teams of participants in over 6,100 communities nationwide walk throughout the night to celebrate the lives of those who have faced cancer, remember loved one lost, and commit to fight back against the disease. The money raised through Relay For Life supports the efforts of the American Cancer Society to create a world with less cancer and more birthdays. 

All area cancer survivors are invited to participate in the survivor ceremony at the East Anderson County Relay For Life event in Clinton.  Survivor t-shirts will be given out at the event, but please come in advance of the 5:00 PM event start time since supplies may be limited.    There will be a golf cart available for persons who are unable to walk the Survivors Lap.  All cancer survivors, their families and caregivers are invited to spend the evening enjoying the festivities of music, food, games and entertainment as we all come together as a community fighting against cancer.  For further information, please contact Kelly Lenz at 457-1649 or cptcklenz@aol.com.

 

Residents of Anderson County are asked to come out and enjoy the community festival at the American Cancer Society Relay For Life East Anderson County event which will be at a new venue this year in downtown Clinton on the streets around the courthouse.  This event has raised over 1.2 million dollars during the past 13 years in the eastern part of Anderson County. The goal this year is to raise at least $120,000 which can only be reached if the community comes out to join the fun and to support this event on Saturday, April 26th starting at 5:00 PM.  This year’s event theme is, “Lights, Camera, Cure”, so there will be a movie and entertainment type festive atmosphere with the purple carpet rolled out for our area cancer survivors.  Relay For Life events are held overnight in over 6,100 communities nationwide, as individuals and teams camp out at an athletic track, park, or fairground, with the goal of keeping at least one team member on the walkway at all times. Teams do most of their fundraising prior to the event, but some teams also hold creative fundraisers at their camp sites at the event. Relay For Life brings together friends, families, businesses,  schools, and faith-based groups all aimed at furthering the efforts of the American Cancer Society to save lives by helping people stay well, get well, by finding cures, and by fighting back. “Relay For Life draws attention to the progress being made by the American Cancer Society, and the work yet to be done,” said Amber Price, event co-chair.  The event will begin with opening ceremonies at 5:00 PM with the teams walking the first lap in the Parade of Teams.  Area cancer survivors will then be individually recognized prior to taking the group Victory Lap while being cheered on by their family, friends and the public.  All cancer survivors in the community are invited to come.  Then the fun begins with games and entertainment for the kids and adults.  Activities for kids and adults will include:  a Bounce House, glow in the dark bowling, corn hole, sidewalk chalk contest, hula hoop contest, giant connect 4, dinosaur dig, facepainting, crazy hair and many more games and crafts at the campsites surrounding the courthouse on the city streets.  Magician, Danny Whitson will be circulating around to entertain kids.  All the teams welcome the public to come enjoy dinner or a snack on Saturday evening.  The teams will be selling a variety of foods including:  hamburgers from Hoskins, hot dogs, pizza, chili/nachos, cotton candy, baked goods and much more. Hoskins will keep their soda fountain open until 11:00 PM.  Some of the teams will also have merchandise for sale at their campsites.  Prior to the event start the Ritz Theater will have a special showing of the movie, Rio 2 at 3:00 PM with $2.00 of each ticket sold being donated to Relay For Life.  Entertainment at the event includes:  the Kyle Moore Band at 7:15 and the Olivers Band at 9:30 PM.  There will also be a Celebrity Look A Like Contest, Line Dancing, team lip sync competitions and much more.  The luminaria ceremony will be held at 10:00 PM with hundreds of luminaria bags being lit in the dark as we remember those persons we have lost to cancer and honor our survivors.  Throughout the night teams and the public may participate in various themed laps such as the Mardi Gra Lap, Glow Lap, Revenge of the Relay Nerds Lap and the Zombie Walk.  In addition, there will be a live auction at 8:00 PM with items including a used vehicle from Ray Varner Ford, a new large Char-Broil grill with 6 burners donated by ACE Hardware, a Pat Summitt signed basketball, restaurant gift certificates, massage gift certificates, personal training and many more items.  There will also be a “Cruise-In For a Cure” car show hosted by the Clinton Regional Antique Car Club during the evening hours.  EVERYONE IS INVITED to attend and enjoy the entertainment, food and activities.  This is a great way to show your support for anyone who has survived their battle with cancer, to remember someone you have lost to cancer and to Fight Back by helping raise money for research so hopefully you or a family member won't be the next one diagnosed with this terrible disease.  For further information, please call Kelly Lenz at 457-1649 or email at cptcklenz@aol.com.  You may also visit our event website at relayforlife.org/eastandersontn

 

_________________________________________________________

410 cast ballots on 1st day of AC early voting

 

Early voting for the May 6th primaries got underway Wednesday and in Anderson County, turnout was high.  Election officials say that 410 people cast ballots on the first day of early voting, up from 180 first-day voters in the last county primary in 2010.  Of those, 318 people voted in the Republican primary—which is highlighted by four contested races—compared to 92 voters in the Democratic primary where only one race, that for Juvenile Court Judge, is contested.  164 people voted at the Clinton Community Center, 88 voted at the Midtown Community Center in Oak Ridge and 65 people cast ballots at the North Anderson Government office in the Anderson Crossing Shopping Center.  You can vote weekdays at all three locations from 10 am to 6 pm and on each of the next two Saturdays from 9 am to 12 noon.  Early voting concludes on May 1st.  For more information, visit www.acelect.com or call 865-457-6238.

 

New Rockwood VA clinic celebrated

 

Roane County veterans once again have an in-county option for health care as officials gathered Wednesday in Rockwood to celebrate the opening of the Veterans Affairs Community Based Outpatient Clinic.  Located in the Shoppes of Walden Ridge shopping center on North Gateway Avenue, the new facility fills a void left when the county’s previous VA clinic shut its doors two years ago.  The staff includes a doctor, a mental health specialist, a nurse practitioner and a social worker and technology to allow vets to video conference with a physician is also available.  The clinic’s basic health care services are available to all veterans and the facility has been open for a few weeks now. 

 

(Statement on VA clinic opening from Congressman Chuck Fleischmann) Over the last week, two Veterans Affairs clinics opened in the third district of Tennessee. The clinics in McMinn County and Roane County will vastly expand veterans’ access to quality health care in East Tennessee. After the opening of these clinics, Congressman Fleischmann released the following statement.  “This past week, the third district witnessed the grand opening of two Veterans’ Affairs clinics in McMinn County and Roane County. As the proud son of a WWII veteran, ensuring proper veterans’ care has always been a top priority of mine. For years, I helplessly watched my father struggle to find assistance in the over burdened VA system. The opening of these two clinics demonstrates a commitment to improve veterans’ access to quality health care in East Tennessee. This is a significant victory for the brave men and women who protected our country and a giant step toward ensuring veterans receive the care they need and so rightly deserve.”    

 

TDOT suspending interstate construction for holiday weekend

 

The Tennessee Department of Transportation will suspend all interstate construction work this Easter weekend in anticipation of increased holiday travel.  TDOT crews and contractors will stop all road construction work that requires lane closures beginning Thursday, April 17 at 6:00 p.m. through Monday, April 21 at 6:00 a.m.  This will provide maximum roadway capacity to motorists expected to travel across the state this holiday weekend.  “Because the Easter holiday is a time when many families travel, we have elected to suspend interstate construction in Tennessee to allow traffic to flow freely and to lessen possible delays,” said TDOT Commissioner John Schroer.  “However, there still may be incidents that occur on the roadways, so I encourage motorists to use one or more of TDOT’s available informational tools listed below to get up-to-the minute traffic information before they hit the road this weekend.”  For travel and TDOT construction information, visit the TDOT SmartWay web site at www.tn.gov/tdot/tdotsmartway/ or download the new TDOT SmartWay mobile app from the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store for Android. Travelers can also dial 511 from any land-line or cellular phone for travel information or can follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/TN511 for statewide travel information.  Motorists will still encounter some long term lane closures on construction projects that will remain in place.  While lane closure activity will be stopped, some workers may be on-site in construction zones and reduced speed limits will still be in effect.  Motorists are urged to adhere to all posted speed limits, especially in work zones, for their own safety.  Slower speeds are necessary in work zones due to the temporary layout of the roadway and will be enforced.  As always, drivers are reminded to use all motorist information tools wisely and Know Before You Go! by checking travel conditions before leaving for their destination.  Drivers should never tweet, text or talk on a cell phone while behind the wheel.

 

AC Health Department receives tobacco settlement funds

 

(AC Mayor’s Office) Tennessee Health Commissioner John Dreyzehner visited the Anderson County Health Department on Friday April 11th and presented officials there with $64,600 in funding as part of the Tennessee Tobacco Settlement Program.  Tobacco Settlement checks were also presented to the Roane County Health Department ($38,860) and the Loudon County Health Department ($38,103) as well as the check to Anderson County.  Each county in Tennessee will receive funding annually during the three-year program to reduce the burden of tobacco use in the state.  Locally, the Anderson County Health Department is using the funds to support a new “Baby and Me – Tobacco Free” program, which focuses on getting pregnant women to quit smoking, as well as a partnership with Allies for Substance Abuse Prevention (ASAP) of Anderson County and the Coordinated School Health programs in each of the three school systems in Anderson County aimed at preventing children and adolescents from using tobacco.  “This is the first time we’ve had funds from the Tobacco Settlement go directly to address tobacco use.  Governor Haslam and Commissioner Dreyzehner made a great decision, and I believe we are going to see results,” Anderson County Mayor Terry Frank said.  After presenting Anderson County’s funds, Commissioner Dreyzehner spent an hour at the Health Department talking with Mayor Frank, Director Art Miller, Stephanie Strutner and her team at ASAP, Health Department Regional Office Director Janet Ridley, Representative John Ragan, and a team of nurses and staff at the Health Department.  Topics they discussed ranged from prescription drug abuse to walking trails.  “Dr. Dreyzehner is not only extremely well versed on the topics he addressed, but he is very passionate about how to address our health challenges.  Everyone at the meeting seemed genuinely excited to be able to work with him on his goals for a healthier community,” Mayor Frank said.   “We’re very excited to be able to partner with ASAP and the Coordinated School Health programs to address youth tobacco use prevention,” said Art Miller, director of the Anderson County Health Department.  ASAP of Anderson County, in part, is using funds to support its Youth Coalition’s “I Choose Not to Use” prevention message that’s targeted toward teens in local schools.   "ASAP is thrilled to be able to utilize the Tobacco Master Settlement Funds to empower ASAP Youth Coalition members to enhance leadership and to engage student leaders in peer-led prevention initiatives,” Stephanie Strutner, executive director of ASAP, said.  “By utilizing community data in a positive social norms campaign, youth coalition members have the power to influence their peers to make healthy choices and remain tobacco-free."   

 

ACSD nabs two in robbery

 

The Anderson County Sheriff’s Department says that two people were arrested Tuesday afternoon in connection to a robbery that occurred early that morning at a mobile home park in Marlow.  The robbery victim, 19-year-old Kendrick Harshaw of Knoxville, told deputies that he had driven to the mobile home park shortly after midnight after exchanging messages both on the social networking site “meetme.com” and by cell phone texts with someone claiming to be a girl.  He told deputies that after he got out of his vehicle looking for what turned out to be a nonexistent address, he was approached by two men who assaulted him with a hammer and a baseball bat and stole his cell phone. His wallet was also taken from his vehicle. Harshaw was treated at a Knoxville hospital for his injuries and the incident was reported to the Sheriff’s Department.  Investigators located the two suspects who it turns out lived in a nearby mobile home.  Both of the men were charged after admitting to investigators that the female profile on “meetme.com” was bogus, and that their intent was to lure the victim to the location to commit the robbery.  The suspects are identified as:

  • 18-year-old Shawn Dillon Summers, who is charged with Aggravated Robbery and Criminal Conspiracy
  • 19-year-old Kavonte Jamar Carson, who is charged with Aggravated Robbery and Criminal Conspiracy as well as burglary from a vehicle.

At last check, both remained in custody at the Anderson County Jail. 

 

ORPD arrests one in Subway heist

 

Oak Ridge Police arrested a man in connection with a robbery that occurred Friday night at a Subway restaurant in Oak Ridge on Monday afternoon.  According to a release from the Oak Ridge PD, at around 8:15 pm Friday a man walked into the Subway at 1968 Oak Ridge Turnpike and gave the clerk a note demanding money.  The clerk complied and the suspect left with almost $300 in a small silver car.  That car was involved in a minor traffic accident a short time later at the intersection of the Turnpike and Louisiana Avenue and police say that both drivers got out of their cars, checked the damage and spoke briefly before leaving the scene.  The suspect’s vehicle was not spotted again until 4 pm Monday, when Officer Karen Jenkins pulled it over on East Vanderbilt Drive.  25-year-old Matthew Parker of Oak Ridge was arrested for driving on a suspended license and taken to the police station for questioning.  After being interviewed by detectives, Parker was charged with robbery and as of this morning, remained in custody at the Anderson County Jail. 

 

Early voting underway

 

Early voting in the May 6th primary elections began this morning and will continue through Thursday, May 1st.  Early voting in Anderson County will be conducted at the Clinton Community Center, the Midtown Community Center in Oak Ridge, and at the Anderson Crossing Shopping Center in Andersonville weekdays from 10 am to 6 pm and on Saturdays from 9 am to 12 noon.   In Anderson County, most of the contested races are on the Republican side of the ballot.  Incumbent County mayor Terry Frank is facing a challenge from County Commissioner Zach Bates.  The race to be the next 7th Judicial District chancellor will be decided in May as there are no Democratic candidates running to succeed the retiring William Lantrip.  The GOP candidates for chancellor are Nicki Cantrell, Mike Farley and Phil Harber.  There are three candidates seeking the Republican nomination for Juvenile Court Judge and they are Vickie Bannach, Lauren Biloski and Brian Hunt.  Two men are running for the right to oppose incumbent Sheriff Paul White in the August general election and they are Anthony Lay and Randy Myers.  The only contested race in the Democratic primary is that for Juvenile Court Judge, where Michael Clement and David Dunkirk are seeking their party’s nomination.  For more early voting information, call the Anderson County Election Commission at 865-457-6238 and for a complete look at the sample ballots, visit http://acelect.com/documents/AndersonNewspaperMay2014.pdf.

Anderson County Commissioner Myron Iwanski, in an op-ed piece that you can read in its entirety on our website, is encouraging county voters to get out and cast ballots in the primaries, pointing out that “in the last presidential election 60 percent of registered voters in Anderson County (29,283 of 49,169 eligible) voted.   However in the last local county primary election only 17 percent of registered voters (7,765 of 46,186) voted.”  Iwanski points out that “national elections are often decided by very wide margins and in recent elections candidates barely campaigned in Tennessee because the outcome is so certain.  Yet local elections in Anderson County are very often decided by a handful of votes – as seen in the 2010 Juvenile Court Judge’s race which ended in a tie.  These local races more directly affect your pocketbook, the quality of services you rely on, and the future prosperity of our county.”  As always, we remind you that we don’t care who you vote for, as long as you get out and vote.” 

 

 

 

Lake City science teacher wins Extreme Classroom Makeover

 

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

 

(ORAU Press release) Students’ learning environments have a direct effect on the success and growth of a community—this was the idea of one local middle school teacher when she submitted her video for the 2014 ORAU Extreme Classroom Makeover Competition. Her hope for money to create a technology-enhanced classroom was realized today as ORAU presented middle school science teacher Susan Silvey with $30,000 during an assembly at Lake City Middle School in Anderson County. The funding is part of ORAU’s annual Extreme Makeover Competition, now in its sixth year.  Through her winning video, Silvey explains the positive impact increased technology in the schools would have, not only on students but the community as a whole.  “Science and math are two important factors that help form the foundation of innovation,” explained ORAU President and CEO Andy Page. “ORAU believes through programs like the Extreme Classroom Makeover, we can bring excitement to teachers and students on critical STEM subjects, which in turn, can help strengthen our nation’s future competitiveness.”  One of the goals of the contest is to also encourage local businesses to support the mission of placing technology in the classroom to enhance teaching and learning. This year, ORAU received a donation of $5,000 from Roane State Community College.  “We are excited to support ORAU’s Extreme Classroom Makeover because technology, in the hands of outstanding teachers such as Susan Silvey, engages students in the learning process,” said Dr. Whaley, Roane State Community College President. “We also fully support programs that enhance STEM education, which is crucial to creating a highly skilled workforce.”  Page and Whaley surprised the winning teacher Monday during a school-wide assembly at Lake City Middle School.  ORAU’s Extreme Classroom Makeover highlights and supports educators like Silvey who are working on the front lines of the education system and illustrates how technology in the classroom helps teachers inspire more students to pursue math- and science-based careers.  Contestants entering ORAU’s competition must teach math or science in a public school located within 50 miles of Oak Ridge. Additionally, a teacher must submit a short video illustrating the classroom’s need and explain how the new technologies would be used to energize and enhance learning.  Next steps for Ms. Silvey include the selection, purchase and installation of new technology to make over the classroom. Later in the summer, ORAU will unveil the redesigned classroom in a special event for the students and their parents.  Winners have typically purchased items such as additional computers, iPads, digital cameras, a clicker system, television, promethean boards and other technology that helped advance his students’ learning activities.

 

Truck stolen from Fox, recovered a day later

 

A pickup truck stolen late last week from Fox Chevrolet in Clinton was recovered one day later by the side of Lake City Highway.  Clinton Police responded to the dealership Friday morning and were told that a 1998 Chevy Silverado pickup was missing.  Evidence at the scene indicated that sometime between 7:30 pm Thursday and 7 am Friday someone had stolen the key from the vehicle’s key box and driven it off the lot.  The vehicle’s information was entered into the NCIC but before the investigation got going in earnest, police were called back to Fox Chevrolet Saturday morning.  Owner Stanley Fox told officers that someone had called him Friday night and told him that the truck was sitting by the side of Lake City Highway.  When he went to retrieve the truck, he found a license plate on it that Clinton Police later determined had been reported stolen in Lake City.  The plate was turned over to Lake City Police and at this time there are no suspects. 

 

Outbuilding theft ends in arrest

 

An outbuilding at Worthington Motors in Clinton was broken into Thursday night but police apprehended a suspect less than a day later.  Dealership owner David Worthington called police Friday morning and told them that when he had left the lot the previous night, everything was normal.  Worthington noticed when he went to the outbuilding on his property to get some gas that the lock had been cut and several items had been stolen.  However, he told officers that as he checked the area for any clues, he spotted a tarp in a wooden area behind River’s Edge Salon & Spa.  He said he lifted it up and found the missing items.  Following an investigation, police arrested 24-year-old Stanley Wallace on burglary and theft charges.  As of this morning, he remained in custody at the Anderson County Jail.

 

Lafollette auto shop destroyed by fire

 

An auto shop in Lafollette was destroyed by fire Monday afternoon and the cause remains under investigation.  No injuries were reported but owner John Webb lost everything stored in the building, including parts used to restore antique cars and a vinyl record collection that numbered somewhere around 80,000 LPs.  The fire started shortly after 4 pm and was extinguished by the Campbell County Rural Fire Service as well as the Lafollette and Caryville Fire Departments. 

 

ORT:  OR Council OKs traffic light at Hwy. 95/Bethel Valley Road

 

(Oak Ridge Today) Hoping to improve safety, state officials plan to install a stoplight west of Oak Ridge National Laboratory at the intersection of State Route 95 and Bethel Valley Road.  The project could cost $200,000. The Tennessee Department of Transportation would fund it through the Federal Highway Administration Highway Safety Project.  Oak Ridge City Engineer Steve Byrd said this type of project qualifies for 100 percent federal funding.  On Monday, the Oak Ridge City Council approved an agreement that would make the city responsible for maintenance after the stoplight is built. The annual maintenance cost for the city is expected to be about $1,500.  DOE would provide power to the traffic signal through ORNL.  ORNL has been working with TDOT to improve safety at the intersection. Oak Ridge City Manager Watson told Council members on Monday that there are a significant number of vehicles turning left off Bethel Valley Road and onto SR 95, headed to Lenoir City, at about 5 p.m. on weekdays.  In 2012, TDOT reviewed the intersection and determined that vehicle crashes were occurring due to insufficient traffic control devices, combined with heavy turning movements during peak traffic periods.  TDOT performed a traffic study and determined that a traffic signal and other geometric improvements on SR 95 are needed to improve capacity and safety. The geometric improvements include a right-turn deceleration lane from SR 95 onto Bethel Valley Road.  TDOT plans to put the project out for bids in May, and construction could take six months, once a bid has been approved.

 

AC schools celebrating Administrative Support Staff Appreciation Month

 

(AC Schools) It’s time to go ‘down by the sea’ as students in the Anderson County School System make plans to celebrate Administrative Support Staff Appreciation Month to thank and honor Support Staff Personnel according  to a resolution passed by the board of education on April 10, 2014. An “Under the Sea” theme will be used for the activities.  “We have some of the greatest administrative and support staff in the state. It is our pleasure to set aside the month of April to honor and thank them for their hard work and dedication.” says Larry M. Foster, Director of Schools.  Support Staff Appreciation Month is one of eight months during the school year set aside to specifically honor school employees. They are a part of Utrust’s Employee Appreciation Program designed to teach students about gratitude using fun themes to show thanks.  Everyone appreciates being thanked and by allowing students to lead the process, it’s a win for all involved. School employees receive much deserved appreciation while students learn to be intentional about developing and displaying an attitude of gratitude.  For information on how you can get involved in the appreciation days, contact your local schools or system administrator.

 

AC Court Clerk now Certified Public Administrator

 

(Submitted) The University of Tennessee honored Anderson County Circuit Court Clerk, Tyler Mayes, as a Certified Public Administrator at a Capstone event at Montgomery Bell State Park on April 11, 2014.  Mayes serves as Clerk for the Criminal and Circuit Court, both General Sessions Courts, and the Juvenile Court of Anderson County.  He has worked and served in the Anderson County court system for over a decade now.  To achieve the designation, Mayes completed 80 credit hours in the County Officials Certificate Training Program (COCTP).  The program is administered by the UT County Technical Assistance Service and is available to every county employee in the state.  “No other state in the nation provides county employees with such specialized training,” said Mike Garland, executive director of CTAS.  CTAS is an agency of the statewide UT Institute for Public Service.  Each course in the program is designed to aid county government officials in performing their jobs and efficiently administering county services.   Classroom topics include ethics, fire insurance, finance, records management, proactive leadership, and information technology proficiency.  Mayes stated, “I am proud to be a graduate of the University of Tennessee Institute for Public Service. This is a big accomplishment for my office and for me.  I strive daily to provide the best services possible for the taxpayers of Anderson County.  Completing this program shows an unwavering commitment to serve the citizens of Anderson County at the highest level possible.”

 

Community Action news

 

The Anderson County Community Action Commission is now accepting the 2014 FREE Garden seed applications.  The applications are available at our office @ 149 North Main Street in Clinton TN.  The deadline to have the application turned in will be Friday April 25, 2014 at 2:00 p.m.  This program is funded by United Way of Anderson County, local church donations, and community donations.

 

The Anderson County Community Action Commission will be accepting applications for the GREEN commodity card beginning Monday April 21 - Friday May 9th 2014 at 12:00 p.m. Office hours to sign up are Monday-Fridays 8-12.  If you have a Green card you DO NOT have to sign back up.  To sign up you will need to have your 2014 proof of income (not a bank statement), and know birth dates and social security numbers for everyone in the household. This is an equal opportunity program.    

 

Clinton Optimist Easter Egg Hunt

 

The Clinton Optimist Club will hold its annual Easter Egg Hunt on Saturday April 19th at 12 noon at Jaycee Park.  Kids ages 1 through 10 years old are welcome to come and hunt hundreds of eggs, win some great prizes and have a whole lot of fun. 

 

More Relay fundraisers

 

Local residents and businesses can get a half-dozen roses each month for a full year and make a donation to the American Cancer Society with a promotion sponsored by Knight’s Flowers in Clinton.  This is a great gift idea for your wife, girlfriend, mother, grandmother, friend or anyone special in your life especially with Mother’s Day quickly approaching.  What a great way for that special person to remember your thoughtfulness every month when they pick up their roses!  This is also an idea for businesses to present an ‘employee of the month’ with a half dozen roses or to just have flowers to put out on the front counter or reception area.  Those who participate will receive a “punch card” for $75 with $20 of each purchase going to American Cancer Society. The monthly “punch” entitles the cards’ owner to go by Knight’s and pick up their bouquets from July 2014 through June 2015.  “You can buy a card for yourself and give one as a gift, and we aren’t limiting the number of cards one individual or business can purchase,” says Dean Knight, owner of Knight’s Flowers.  “It’s a great cause, and we have been happy to support it for at least the past 10 years.”  The “Roses for Relay” cards will be sent to purchasers by July, or can be sent directly to a gift recipient.  The contribution and purchase can be made by calling Knight’s Flowers at 457-9792 or stop by their store at 397 N. Main Street to purchase.  Knight’s Flowers will also have a tent in front of the courthouse at the upcoming Relay For Life event on April 26th where they will be selling the “Roses For Relay”.  Don’t delay - for all persons purchasing their “Roses For Relay” by April 26th, they will receive an additional month of roses free!

 

3 charged after AC drug raid

 

Three people were arrested Thursday after a drug raid at a residence in Claxton.  Investigators with the Sheriff’s Special Operations Unit obtained a search warrant for the residence at 105 Wells Road after an investigation into illegal drug activity at this residence. Approximately four pounds of marijuana along with hashish and suspected prescription narcotics were found as well as numerous items of drug paraphernalia. Investigators seized two vehicles along with several electronic items along with items used to process marijuana for resale.

  • Three persons were charged in this case:
  • 24-year-old Dale Lee Cory Burbank of Powell is charged with the manufacture/delivery/sale or possession of a controlled substance, possession of drug paraphernalia and with criminal conspiracy
  • 22-year-old Timothy Sean Lipps of Jacksboro is charged with 2 counts of manufacture/delivery/sale or possession of a controlled substance, possession of Schedule VI narcotics, criminal conspiracy and possession of drug paraphernalia. 
  • 18-year-old Macy Adrian Ellison of Lafollette is charged with the manufacture/delivery/sale or possession of a controlled substance, simple possession, possession of drug paraphernalia and with criminal conspiracy.  

All three are being held in the Anderson County Detention Facility with bonds pending their arraignments.

 

Watch our for scam phone calls

 

Some customers of the Clinton Utilities Board (CUB) have reported that they received what are believed to be scam phone calls recently.  In this case, which is similar to other incidents, the caller tells the customer that they are behind on their electric bill and that their power will be cut off unless they pay their bill over the phone.  These calls are primarily being received in the evening and customers are reminded that CUB will never call you demanding payment or threatening disconnection.  All of those notifications are made by mail so please do not give out any of your personal information if you receive one of these calls and report them to CUB and your local law enforcement agency.  CUB’s number is 865-457-9232.

 

ACSD investigating house fire

 

A Saturday night fire damaged a home on Shaw Lane and the Anderson County Sheriff’s Department is investigating it as a case of arson.  Firefighters from the Medford Volunteer Fire Department extinguished the blaze, which was reported at around 8 pm Saturday, and no injuries were reported.  The resident of the home has been a patient at Blount Memorial Hospital for the last two weeks, according to the incident report.  The fire appears to have started in a bedroom under suspicious circumstances and the CID is investigating. 

 

Smokies announce road repairs

 

(GSMNP) Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials announced roadwork on secondary roads in Tennessee from April 15 through April 22. Motorists should expect single lane closures on Wear Cove Gap Tuesday, April 15 through Thursday, April 17 while crews repair shoulders and also on Campbell Lead Road on Tuesday, April 22 while crews complete road surface repairs on the bridge. On Wednesday, April 16, Parsons Branch Road will be entirely closed to all traffic, including pedestrians, while road crews re-gravel the roadway.  "Park crews have been busy making sure all our roads are in good shape for the summer season after the cold, wet winter," said Acting Facility Management Chief Charlie Sellars. "By repairing these potholes, shoring up shoulders, and replacing gravel, we are able to provide a safer and more enjoyable driving experience for everyone." All repair work will be completed mid-week to minimize disruptions to park visitors and neighboring communities.  For more information about trail closures, please visit the Park’s website at www.nps.gov/grsm or call the Backcountry Information Office at 865-436-1297

  

UWAC annual meeting Thursday

 

The United Way of Anderson County will have its annual meeting on Thursday morning at the Children’s Museum of Oak Ridge.  Reservations are due Monday, April 14.  A light breakfast will be available at the annual meeting, which is scheduled from 7:30-8:30 a.m. Thursday.  The 2013 campaign results will be announced at the annual meeting on Thursday.  For more information or to RSVP, send an e-mail to Resource Development Director Jennifer Pettyjohn at Jennifer@UWAYAC.org or call (865) 483-8431.

 

ASAP announces 3 new permanent drug disposal sites

 

Saturday, April 26 is a National Drug Take-Back Day, sponsored by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).  Communities across the county join forces to encourage residents to responsibly dispose of their unused medication.  To increase access to local disposal options, Anderson County residents will now have access to four permanent medicine disposal bins in the county.  Increasing access to medicine disposal options helps make strides towards protecting the environment and preventing medicine abuse.  As a result of a partnership between Allies for Substance Abuse Prevention (ASAP) of Anderson County and the Clinton Police Department, Lake City Police Department, Norris Police Department and Oliver Springs Police Department, unused, unwanted or expired medications can now be dropped off in the lobby of these departments during business hours.   On Saturday, April 26, 2014, residents are encouraged to drop off medication between 10:00 am and 2:00 pm at the following locations:

  • Clinton Police Department: 125 W. Broad Street, Clinton
  • Lake City Police Department: 104 Lawson Street, Lake City
  • Norris Police Department: 9 W Circle Road, Norris
  • Oliver Springs Police Department: 701 Main Street, Oliver Springs

Following the event on Saturday, the disposal bins will be available for medication drop-off during police department hours of operation. 

In 2011 a permanent disposal bin was installed in the Clinton Police Department.  Chief Rick Scarborough says, "the residents of Clinton have taken advantage of the medication drop off program. The amount of unused medication deposited in our secure containers has consistently been over 30 pounds each month. In response to the demand, ASAP is getting a larger container for our department. This program is a great success and it's reducing potential crime. By removing unused medication from households, it eliminates their homes from being targets of thieves!"  The new larger bin will be in addition to the three new bins installed at the other locations. 

Studies show that over 48.5 percent of Americans have used at least one prescription drug in the past month and 20 to 60 percent of prescriptions go unused and are eventually disposed of.  These efforts by ASAP and the local police departments hope to make protecting the environment and preventing abuse more convenient for local residents by having more options for disposal bins when and where they need them.  Medicine disposed of in the secure bins will be collected and destroyed by incineration and any packaging will be recycled.  What is accepted for disposal:

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

What is NOT accepted for disposal:

  • Business waste
  • Used needles and other sharps

Used needles and other sharps should be disposed by placing the sharps/needles in a sealed plastic container and putting that in with your household waste.  For more information, visit www.ASAPofAnderson.org or call (865) 457-3007.

 

Fritts announces re-election bid

 

(Anderson County Commissioner Chuck Fritts) Chairman Chuck Fritts has announced he is seeking re-election to the Anderson County Commission, representing District 1.  District 1 includes the Bull Run and Claxton Precincts.  “It has truly been an honor and a privilege to represent the residents of District 1 on the Anderson County Commission.  I take very seriously the trust that you have placed in me and it is my desire that you will allow me to continue to serve you and working with my fellow commissioners to move Anderson County forward,” Fritts said.

First elected in 2002, Chuck brings valuable experience, knowledge, and leadership to the Anderson County Commission and has worked hard to represent the residents of District 1.  He has taken this position very seriously and has worked long hours to do the job he felt he was elected to do.He is not only well known not throughout Anderson County, but also throughout the State of Tennessee.  Chuck was also elected to and served another four year term on the Tennessee County Commissioner Association (TCCA) Board of Directors in Nashville.  He was one of three East Tennessee Representatives throughout all of East Tennessee that was selected to serve on this State Organization for County Commissioners.  This ensures that Anderson County has a voice on this important State Organization.

Chuck Fritts is an engineer at B&W Y-12 in Oak Ridge where he’s been employed for the past 36 years.  Chuck has been married to his wife Debbie for almost 37 years and they have three children (Matthew Peter-Fritts, Leah Lansdon, Rachel Mayes) and three son-in-laws (Daniel Adam Lansdon, H. Tyler Mayes, & Dr. Donny Peter-Fritts).  Chuck and his wife are also proud grandparents to Riley Daniel Lansdon (age 8), Kate Breann Lansdon (age 5), Ava Danielle Lansdon (age 2), and Kennedy Ann Mayes (age 3).

Chuck attended Clinton High School where he was a member of the Clinton High School Football team from 1969-1971, and was also a member of the National Honor Society.  Chuck received an Associate of Science degree in Pre-Med from Roane State Community College in June 1974 and then transferred to the University of Tennessee Knoxville.  There he obtained his Bachelor of Arts degree in Microbiology in June 1976.

Chuck is devoted to the community that he loves.  He has lived in the Claxton Community for over 54 years and his mother was the last family to be moved out when the TVA Bull Run Steam Plant bought out everyone’s property in that area.  His childhood home was sitting almost where the smoke stack is sitting today.  Chuck was also part of the last eight grade class to attend Claxton Elementary School.

Chuck is presently serving as the 2013-2014 Chairman of the Anderson County Commission.  He also served as Chairman of the Anderson County Commission for years 2011-2012&2012-2013.  During his tenure as Chairman he tried to represent “all” of Anderson County, not just District 1:

  • Attended as many “Special Events” throughout Anderson County over the past several years as his time would allow to show the citizens of this great County that we want to stay in-touch and show an interest in the many events that are taking place.
  • Anderson County Schools built and opened a new Alternative School located behind Anderson County High School.  Renamed this school to the “Clinch River Community School.”  This will give students a better opportunity to receive their high school diploma.
  • Supported the building of a new Briceville Library beside Briceville Elementary School.
  • Supported the improvements to State Route 116 within the Briceville Community.
  • Supported the Anderson County Commission’s contribution and Lake City’s effort to purchase the former Bank of America building to convert it into the Coal Mining Museum.
  • Supported the ARC Grant to provide much needed sewer to the Elza Gate community.
  • Strongly supported the multi-million dollar expansion project to Roane State Community College in Oak Ridge.  This will provide “all” citizens in Anderson County a greater opportunity to further their education.
  • Supported donation of County land by the Emory Valley Center to the City of Oak Ridge for the installation of a one million gallon Sewage Water Holding Tank.
  • Strongly supported the “Tax Increment Financing” (TIF) Proposals for the Aubrey’s/Panera Bread’s Project and the Oak Ridge Mall Redevelopment Plan in Oak Ridge.

 

Chuck served a four year term on the Keep Anderson County Beautiful (KACB) Board of Directors.While there he worked and supported numerous projects that encouraged recycling and that enhanced the beauty of this great County we all live in.  As a County Commissioner, Chuck presently serves on the following County Commission Committees/Boards:  Legislative Committee, Audit Committee, Highway Committee, Rules Committee, Jail Committee, Regional Solid Waste Planning Board, and the Adult Oriented Establishment Board. 

Chuck and the County Commission have worked to improve the County’s Debt Rating by increasing the County’s undesignated fund balance from less than $500,000 to more than $3 million today.  This has once again allowed the County’s General Fund to operate without borrowing Tax Anticipation Notes.  Measures were put into place requiring a “Super Majority Vote” from County Commission before reducing this fund balance.  Anderson County and our citizens will greatly benefit from this conservative management of our county tax dollars.

Chuck worked with our former Interim Mayor Myron Iwanski and assisted in various ways in helping the David Hall Cabin in the Claxton Community get recognized as a Historical Landmark.

Chuck worked in obtaining much needed assistance from the County to assist the citizens of District 1 with their clean-up efforts after the 2011 Claxton Tornado Disaster.

Worked personally with the citizens within the Old Edgemoor Road/New Henderson Road Areas during the recent TVA Bull Run Plant Expansion.

Continues to adopt annual “Resolutions” in support of much needed improvements to Edgemoor Road by Tennessee Department of Transportation  (TDOT).

Worked with the East Tennessee Development District in obtaining a CDBG Grant to provide much needed sewer in the Gadsden Town Community.  Still looking into ways at how we can get sewer into other areas of the Claxton Community.

Chuck worked with the East Tennessee Development District in obtaining an ARC Grant to provide much needed sewer for the businesses along Edgemoor Road.  We have already seen the Bread Box undergo a major renovation, another business is planning on expanding and relocating to the corner of Ozella Lane and Edgemoor Road (re-zoning approved on 9/16), and a Weigel’s Store should be opening sometime early this summer on the vacant lot at the corner of Edgemoor Road and Clinton Highway (across from Claxton Elementary School).  Meetings are being held and hopefully this sewer addition will open the door for a lot more retail development in the Claxton Community in the near future.

Chuck is a strong supporter of our Sheriff’s Department.  Over the past couple of years,a new 128-Bed Minimum Security Jail Dormitory has been opened with a new 212–Bed Maximum Security Pod opening soon.  This will bring us into compliance under the Plan-of-Action with the State of Tennessee.  The capacity for the current facility was for only 226 Beds, but the County has been housing up to 350 prisoners/day.  This is why the State of Tennessee placed our facility under a Plan-of-Action to address this over-crowding issue.

Chuck is presently the Chairman of the Anderson County Regional Solid Waste Board.  They are working on making several safety improvements to the East Wolfe Valley Convenience Center in Claxton.  More improvements for this area are still in the planning stages such as paving the new entrance and enhancing recycling efforts.

Supported the Anderson County Courthouse Self-Funded Energy Efficiency and Facility Upgrade Project.  This is a great benefit to the tax payers of Anderson County since these energy efficient costs savings will pay for this project over the years.

Supported the Anderson County School’s Self-Funded Energy Efficiency and Facility Upgrade Project.  This will make major improvements to a lot of our schools in which our children will greatly benefit.  A great benefit to the tax payers of Anderson County is that the energy efficient costs savings will pay for this project over the years.

Chuck personally submitted a Resolution to Provide Funding for the Purchase of a New Fire Truck, Rescue, Vehicles, or other Approved Vehicle Apparatus for Anderson County Fire Department Contingent upon annual Funding Approved by the Board of Commissioners.  This was submitted and approved by the Anderson County Commission in April 2004.  It started out to be a yearly funding for a different department, but due to rising cost it was recently changed to a bi-yearly effort.  The Claxton Volunteer Fire Department was next in line in 2013, and due to this “Resolution” was able to receive a Fire Truck from the County valued at over $229,000.  This will greatly help the Claxton Volunteer Fire Department in performing their jobs more effectively, but the citizens of the Claxton Community will be the ones who’ll receive the biggest reward from this effort.

Chuck has supported“NO”tax increasesover the past 10 years!  Chuck understands that times are hard right now and that there are a lot of families out there that are hurting and we as the Legislative Body don’t need to do anything that shifts more burden on you the tax payer!

Chuck is constantly on the go addressing numerous calls of help from citizens, not only from his own district, but from throughout the county.  Chuck is willing to work and never turns anyone away.

Chuck said that there is still work to be done and goals to be reached.  “I am honored to serve as you county commissioner and ask the citizens of District 1 to allow me to continue to help make not only our District, but all of Anderson County an outstanding place to work and to raise our families.”  Chuck Fritts has demonstrated during his tenure he has been one of the hardest working commissioners that District 1 has ever had.

I hope we can count on your support.  We ask for your vote on August 7th or during the Early Voting July 18 – Aug. 02, 2014.  On behalf of Chuck Fritts, we thank you for your support and look forward to a successful campaign.

 

AC Health Department Spring rabies Clinics Apr. 26, May 3

 

The Anderson County Health Department's annual spring rabies clinics will be held on the final Saturday in April and the first Saturday in May.  Each dog or cat vaccinated, registered and tagged will cost $10 (CASH ONLY), all dogs need to be on leashes and cats need to be under control.  State law requires all dogs and cats over three months old to be vaccinated against rabies.  On Saturday April 26th, the clinics will be held from 2 to 3 pm at Claxton, Norris, Dutch Valley, Fairview and Briceville Elementary Schools.  On Saturday May 3rd, from 2 to 3 pm, clinics will be at Andersonville, Lake City, Claxton and Norwood Elementary Schools and at Clinton High School.  The clinics will be held rain or shine.  Qualifying animals can receive a three-year vaccination for $15.  Just bring receipts from the last rabies vaccination given.  For more information call 865-425-8736 or 865-425-8810.

 

Clinch River Community School plant sale

 

The Clinch River Community School Plant Sale will be held from Monday April 7th through Memorial Day.  Ferns are available as of March 24th.  Sale hours will be from 8:20 am to 5 pm weekdays at the Clinch River Community School located behind the Anderson County Career & Technical Center at 160 Maverick Circle in Clinton.  They will have seven types of tomatoes, four kinds of peppers and a host of other vegetables (broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, lettuce, okra, cucumbers, yellow squash and zucchini).  Also available will be several types of bedding plants and hanging baskets.  Money raised from the plant sale goes right back into educational programs for Clinch River students.  For more information, call 865-457-7462 and ask for Ms. Hines.

 

April events in Anderson County

 

Spring Colors Train Ride & Easter Dinner Train - April 19 at Secret City Excursion Train

Southern Appalachian Railway Museum is offering 1-hour excursions with narration on Saturday, April 5 and 19.  Departure times will be 11am, 1pm, and 3pm. During the ride, passengers will hear the story of the Manhattan Project, which was one of the most remarkable industrial achievements ever accomplished. There will also be an Easter dinner train at 6pm on the 19th. Diners will be treated to a delicious entrée prepared by Chef Andras. Seating is limited and reservations are required. For more information, call 865-241-2140 or visit www.southernappalachia.railway.museum.

 

April Classes at the Appalachian Arts Craft Center

The Appalachian Arts Craft Center is offering multiple classes throughout the month of April. Some of these classes include Intro to Wet Felting and Learning to Sew. For information on the classes being offered, times, how to register, and prices call 865-494-9854 or visit www.appalachianarts.net.

 

Windrock Park Spring Jamboree-April 24-26

Guided rides, ATV Rodeo, poker run, Windrock Wide Open, Windrock Challenge, Drag Race, Mud Drag and Dash for Cash are just a few of the activities at the Jamboree! You don’t have to be a rider to enjoy. Spectators can watch the competitions and enjoy the fun. The event takes place at Windrock Park which consists of over 72,000 acres of off-road adventure for the entire family with many picturesque views of East Tennessee’s mountains and valleys. Explore over 310+ miles of trails for riding ATV’s, Motorcycles, Mountain Bikes, in addition to four wheeling in Jeeps and Rail buggies and Hiking. Windrock Park is the perfect place to see the Invenergy windmill farm, which consist of eighteen 392 foot windmills on 210 acres. Camping facilities are available at Windrock Park and campground. For more information about the event or the area, call 865-435-3492865-435-1251 or visit www.windrockpark.com.

 

13th Annual Big Ed’s Memorial Golf Tournament-April 25 at Oak Ridge Country Club

Big Ed’s Memorial Golf Tournament is being held in support of Community Mediation Services of Anderson County. This year’s tournament will also honor David Neusel, who along with Big Ed, exemplified community spirit and caring. The tournament will be held at the Oak Ridge Country Club on Friday, April 25th. There will be two flights – 8:00am and 1:30pm.  Complimentary breakfast and lunch will be served. There will be prizes.  Early Registration deadline is April 16th. For more information and registration forms, call 865-463-6888 or visit www.peacefulresolution.org.

 

Ain’t Misbehavin’ Musical – April 25-May 10 at Oak Ridge Playhouse

This musical evokes the delightful humor and infectious energy of 1930’s Harlem honky tonk dives, rent parties, and stride piano players. Performances on Thursday, Friday and Saturdays will be at 8:00pm and Sundays at 2:00pm. For more info and tickets, call 865-482-9999 or visit www.orplayhouse.com.

 

Sheep Shearing Day – April 25 at Museum of Appalachia

In pioneer Appalachia, farmers sheared their sheep each spring for wool to spin into yarn or fill quilts.  The Museum of Appalachia will renew this annual ritual on April 25 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., trimming the winter’s growth of heavy wool from its flock of sheep.  The wooly animals will be trimmed by Kentucky native John Cooper, who will explain the process to onlookers while using vintage hand-cranked shears operated by “student power.”  Spinning, weaving and quilting demonstrators will show how wool was used to make yarn and quilt batting in the days before ready-made clothing and superstores. For more information, call 865-494-7680 or visit www.museumofappalachia.org.

 

Relay registration continues

 

The American Cancer Society Relay for Life of East Anderson County reminds you that it is not too late to register your team today by visiting www.relayforlife.org/eastandersontn or by calling Kelly Lenz at 457-1649.  Former and current cancer patients, those who have lost a loved one to cancer, families, businesses, school groups, faith-based and civic organizations, and anyone wanting to make a difference in the fight against cancer are invited to take part in this exciting team event.  Relay for Life will take place from 5:00 PM on Saturday, April 26th until 5:00 AM on Sunday, April 27th in downtown Clinton on the streets around the courthouse.   Relay for Life events are held overnight all over the United States and world as individuals and teams camp out with the goal of keeping at least one team member on the track or pathway at all times.  Teams do most of their fundraising prior to the event, but some teams also hold creative fundraisers or sell food at their camp sites at the event.  Relay for Life brings together friends, families, businesses, hospitals, schools, and faith-based groups all aimed at furthering the efforts of the American Cancer Society.   “Relay for Life draws attention to the progress being made by the American Cancer Society, and the work yet to be done,” said Tre Rhyne, volunteer Relay For Life event chair. “Many participants are our family, friends, and neighbors who have faced cancer themselves. Their involvement gives us hope that, together, we can finish the fight against cancer.  Each new team that registers brings us that much closer.”

The American Cancer Society is the nationwide, community-based, voluntary health organization dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health problem by preventing cancer, saving lives and diminishing suffering from cancer, through research, education, advocacy and service.  For cancer information 24 hours a day, call the ACS at 1-800-ACS-2345 or visitwww.cancer.org.

 

Clinton schools announce kindergarten screening

 

Kindergarten screening for children who will be attending Clinton City Schools for the 2014-2015 school year will be held on Wednesday, May 14th and Thursday, May 15th at the Clinton Community Center.  If you are a city resident, you must call to schedule an appointment for this screening at Central Office beginning Wednesday, April 30, 2014 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 (long form)
  • 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 2014-2015 school year. Children must be five years old on or before August 15, 2014 to meet age requirements.  You may contact Lori Smith, Clinton City Schools, at 457-0225 if you have any questions, or email smithl@clintonschools.org.

 

City schools accepting new, transfer students

 

The Clinton city school system has announced that it will be registering new or transferring students from 7:30 am to 3:30 pm beginning on Wednesday April 30th at the Central Office located at 212 North Hicks Street in Clinton.  When you come to register your new or transfer student, please bring their certified birth certificate, their Social Security card, an up-to-date immunization record and record of a physical exam, the student’s previous year report card and achievement testing scores (if applicable), any legal documentation like custody papers and a non-refundable $25 fee if your student is transferring from another school.  Students currently enrolled in the city schools began signing up last month.  In addition, the Clinton city schools will begin accepting applications for the Pre-K class beginning on April 30th for city residents only.  Transfer students will be notified by August 1st if their transfer request has been approved.  For more information call Lori Smith at 865-457-0225.

 

OR man cited after leaving scene of accident

 

An Oak Ridge man was cited for leaving the scene of an accident on Thursday after he struck a 16-year-old Clinton boy who was riding his bicycle.  The incident occurred at around 1:30 pm on North Hicks Street when a car driven by 47-year-old Gabriel Castro that had been traveling west struck the teen, who told police that he had not seen the car coming before he tried to cross from the eastbound lane to the sidewalk on the westbound side.  Castro left the scene initially, but after being contacted by police, said that he had driven off because he was unsure if he had the boy even though he said he did see the teen on the ground when he looked back in his rearview mirror.  The teen suffered injuries to his right arm and left leg but did not require medical treatment.  Castro was cited to General Sessions Court for leaving the scene of an accident.

 

AC man indicted on child pornography charges

 

A Briceville man was indicted last week and arrested Tuesday on charges of downloading child pornography on to his computer.  32-year-old Jakob Timmy Moore will be arraigned on April 28th in Criminal Court on a charge of aggravated sexual exploitation of a minor.  He was indicted by an Anderson County grand jury following an investigation by two Sheriff’s deputies assigned to the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force that who used specially designed software that tracks child pornography on the web.  He is in custody at the Anderson County Jail on a $75,000 bond.

 

AC Tourism leaders eye new building

 

The Anderson County Operations Committee will consider a request from the Anderson County Tourism Council to sell the log cabin that currently houses their offices and the county Welcome Center and purchase a much larger cabin located near their current headquarters.  The current welcome center has been housed in an 1800 square foot former Jim Barna log cabin since 1998 but officials say that with a staff expansion in the works, they need more space.  The cabin that they are interested in purchasing measures some 3500 square feet and has a current asking price of $280,000.  The current welcome center would have to be sold at auction as it is a county-owned property and a minimum bid would be set after an independent appraisal is conducted.  The Operations Committee meets Monday night at 6:30 pm in room 312 of the Courthouse. 

 

Car slams into Dollar General

 

In case you have passed by the Dollar General Store on Clinch Avenue in the past week and have wondered why part of the building has been boarded up, it is because last weekend, someone accidentally crashed into the side of the store.  The incident occurred Saturday afternoon at around 1:30 pm when 79-year-old Betty Overton pulled into the parking lot and attempted to pull into an unoccupied parking spot.  While doing so, her car struck a parked vehicle and kept going, slamming into the side of the building and creating a large hole.  Several shelves inside the store were knocked over and merchandise damaged but no injuries were reported even though one woman who left the store before officers arrived was reportedly pinned in between two of the shelving units.  No citations were issued in connection with the accident.

 

Roane Heritage Commission hosting Elvis impersonator

 

The Roane County Heritage Commission will present a special event called “A Salute to the Legends featuring Elvis (Greg Johnson)”  The event is April 19th, 2014 from 6-8 @ Princess Theatre.  Tickets are General Admission $15.  There are a limited number of VIP tickets for $25.  This event takes the place of a previously scheduled fundraiser that would have featured former UT basketball coach Bruce Pearl, who had to cancel his appearance as he settles in to his new job at Auburn.  

 

ORT:  5 buildings ordered demolished

 

(Oak Ridge Today) On Thursday, an Oak Ridge city board declared five vacant homes to be unfit for human habitation, and ordered them demolished within 90 days. The city could use federal money from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to buy and demolish the homes.  From the outside, the homes look they’re in decent shape and not the worst in the neighborhood.  But inside and underneath, problems range from collapsing floors and settling foundations to leaking roofs and tens of thousands worth of mold damage.  The homes are in a small section of Highland View on three parallel streets: 105 Waddell Place, 101 and 117 Wade Lane, and 335 and 363 West Outer Drive.  Tennessee officials still have to approve the Thursday decisions by the Oak Ridge Board of Building and Housing Code Appeals. State officials will determine whether any of the structures contribute to the historical significance of the community, said Matt Widner, Oak Ridge housing remediation specialist. That’s required as part of the HUD programs.  If the state approves, as expected, the city could acquire the homes using voluntary acquisitions, meaning the owners are interested in selling the properties to the city. No purchase prices have been set yet.  The Oak Ridge City Council would have to approve any subsequent property transfers to the Oak Ridge Land Bank Corp., which already has 12 properties, or a nonprofit organization such as Aid to Distressed Families of Appalachian Counties or Habitat for Humanity of Anderson County.

 

Morgan distillery project gets big assist

 

(Submitted) The Senate Finance Committee has approved legislation sponsored by Senator Ken Yager (R-Kingston) to assist Morgan County in attracting vendors to turn the former Brushy Mountain Penitentiary into a tourist attraction in an effort to recruit new jobs to the area.  Senate Bill 1708 directs a portion of the state and local sales tax proceeds from items sold in the project to the Morgan County Industrial Board for 20 years.  The funds, which only exclude the portion of the sales tax used for education, will help retire the bonds that the county intends to issue to pay for the property and infrastructure for the site.  “This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for Morgan County to bring a significant private investment into the county,” said Senator Yager.  “This will be a major job creator and passage of this legislation was critical to assist in paying for the infrastructure for the project.”  Brushy Mountain Penitentiary is in the final year of a five-year decommissioning by the Tennessee Department of Corrections (TDOC).   If the project does not move forward, the facility will essentially be abandoned by TDOC at the end of this year.  A private consortium has come forward to help develop and renovate the site into a tourist attraction, including a “moonshine” distillery.  In November, voters in Morgan County, which is a dry county, overwhelmingly approved a measure to allow the distillery to operate.  “This project has the potential to revitalize our economy.  I am very pleased the Committee has approved it,” Yager concluded.  The bill is co-sponsored by Representative John Mark Windle (D-Livingston) in the House of Representatives.  The legislation is currently pending action in the House Finance Committee and will be on the Senate floor for final consideration on Monday.

 

Uncertain USEC future = possible layoffs

 

About 300 workers at a centrifuge manufacturing facility in Oak Ridge associated with the American Centrifuge Program have received notices warning them that layoffs could be in the offing.  The future of the American Centrifuge Program developed by USEC is up in the air as the company itself is in bankruptcy, federal funding for the demonstration program is about to run out and demand for nuclear fuel has plummeted.  The notices were sent to employees of USEC and Babock & Wilcox, which operate the Oak Ridge manufacturing facility where machines are built for the uranium enrichment operations at a plant in Ohio.  The aim of the project is to create advanced technology to enrich enough uranium to meet what were at one point the growing demands of commercial nuclear facilities.  Federal officials have indicated that the project could be taken over by the DOE but those plans have not been finalized.  We will continue to follow this story for you. 

 

ORT:  Myers leaves ORPD to focus on run for Sheriff

 

(Oak Ridge Today) Oak Ridge Police Department Officer Randy Myers is resigning so he can focus on campaigning full-time for sheriff.  His last day on the job will officially be Tuesday, April 15.  Myers, 48, started with the ORPD in 2007. He is a Republican candidate for Anderson County sheriff in the May 6 primary election, where he has one opponent, Tennessee Highway Patrol trooper Anthony Lay. The primary winner will face the incumbent, Sheriff Paul White, a Democrat, in the Aug. 7 county general election.  Myers said he wanted to avoid any accusations of violations of the Hatch Act, which prohibit campaigning on duty. Those types of accusations could lead to the loss of his job, retirement (if he were fired with cause), and POST certification, which would mean he could no longer be a police officer in Tennessee, Myers said.  Resigning now allows him to keep his retirement, vacation time, and the money owed to him, and it preserves his ability to work as a police officer in Tennessee. It also allows him more time to campaign from door to door, make phone calls, and meet people, Myers said.

 

OR Chamber hosting election event

 

The Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce is hosting a series of events to allow voters to meet candidates and hear where they stand on issues of importance to the community, a press release said. The first session was held Thursday morning at the chamber, featuring candidates for the office of Seventh District chancellor and Juvenile Court judge.  The Chamber’s next Election event will be held on Tuesday, April 22, at 7:30 a.m. and will include candidates for Anderson County mayor and Anderson County sheriff.  There will be time to meet the candidates during unstructured social time followed by a structured question-and-answer session.  These sessions are free and are open to the public.  For more information, contact Greta Ownby at ownby@orcc.org or (865) 483-1321.

 

Chamber offers small business counseling

 

The Tennessee Small Business Development Center (TSBDC) advises and assists future and existing business owners.  Jutta Bangs, a Senior Business Specialist, is available for free and confidential counseling sessions on Wednesday, April 16, 9 – 11 am at the Anderson County Chamber of Commerce, 245 N. Main Street, Ste. 200, Clinton.  To make an appointment for this, or another day, please call 865-457-2559 or email accc@andersoncountychamber.org.  To learn more about the TSBDC visit www.tsbdc.org.

 

ORNL study shows over-packing affects gas mileage

 

People who pack their cars and drive like Clark Griswold in National Lampoon’s “Vacation” pay a steep penalty when it comes to fuel economy, according to a report by Oak Ridge National Laboratory.  For the study, researchers tested a sport utility vehicle and a compact sedan with various configurations, including underinflated tires, open windows, and rooftop and hitch-mounted cargo. The SUV, a 2009 Ford Explorer with a 4-liter V6 engine, was also tested while towing an enclosed trailer. The researchers tested the vehicles at a variety of speeds with the different configurations. While the findings were not unexpected, they serve as a reminder of how drivers can save money by taking simple measures.  Among the more notable findings was that using a rooftop cargo box with the SUV decreased fuel economy from 24.9 mpg at 60 mph to 22.9 mpg—a drop of 9 percent.

The compact sedan, a 2009 Toyota Corolla with a 1.8 liter four-cylinder engine, also suffered as its fuel economy dipped from 42.5 mpg at 60 mph to 33 mpg, or 22 percent, when hauling the rooftop cargo box.  At the other end of the spectrum, equipped with the cargo tray, the Corolla’s mileage at 60 mph was unaffected while the Explorer’s fuel economy decreased only slightly, from 24.9 to 24.7 mpg. A cargo tray is attached to the rear of a vehicle using a cargo hitch, about even with the bumper.  Here are other findings of the study:

  • Low tire pressure (50 and 75 percent of the manufacturer recommendation) resulted in negligible to 10 percent fuel economy penalties.
  • Driving with all four windows down decreased fuel economy by 4-8.5 percent for the Corolla and 1-4 percent for the Explorer.
  • Towing a 3,500-pound enclosed cargo trailer resulted in fuel economy penalties ranging from 30 percent in city driving to 50 percent at 80 mph for the SUV.
  • The best fuel economies were achieved at a constant speed of 40 mph for the Corolla with 57.5 mpg and 50 mph for the Explorer with 29.5 mpg.
  • At 80 mph, fuel economy for the Corolla dropped to 30.9 mpg while the Explorer dropped to 17.7 mpg.

Emissions from the vehicles were not significantly affected by the different configurations with the exception of the cargo trailer, which led to substantial increases in carbon monoxide due to protective enrichment, in which an engine under high load runs rich (higher fuel-to-air ratio) to protect the engine components and the exhaust system from the very high exhaust temperatures. This may happen, for example, when a vehicle is pulling a heavy boat up a hill.  Prior to conducting tests, the vehicles underwent the rigorous Society of Automotive Engineers J2263 coastdown procedures on a closed test track. These were necessary to determine the appropriate dynamometer settings so the effect of the changes on vehicles’ fuel economy and emissions could be measured in the laboratory.  Co-authors of this study, funded by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, were Shean Huff and Brian West of ORNL’s Energy and Transportation Science Division. The study, “Fuel Economy and Emissions Effects of Low Tire Pressure, Open Windows, Roof Top and Hitch-Mounted Cargo, and Trailer,” was to be presented Wednesday (today) at the SAE 2014 World Congress & Exhibition in Detroit.

 

Soles4Souls recognized

 

Soles4Souls Inc., an international not-for-profit social enterprise that advances the fight against poverty through the distribution of shoes and clothing, has been named a “Best Nonprofit to Work for in 2014” by The NonProfit Times.  The organization has received tremendous support from Anderson and surrounding counties over the past several years and is very active locally.  This award honors nonprofits that excel in three internal culture and operational areas: pay, benefits and incentives, employee engagement and communication and staff development and growth. Best Companies Group (BCG), a company that exists to identify the best employers in within specific geographical area or industries, used an 81-questionaire to learn about the organization and a 76-question confidential survey sent to the organizations’ employees. These surveys showed that the top employers valued creativity and employee empowerment.  “We are honored to be the recipient of such a prestigious title,” said Buddy Teaster, Soles4Souls President and CEO. “This will only motivate our team and supports across the nation to continue in supporting our efforts to the human devastation of poverty and suffering.”  Founded in 2006, Soles4Souls, Inc. advances the fight against global poverty through social enterprise – a term describing charities that use proven business practices to create positive social change. Each year, Soles4Souls collects millions of used and new shoes from volunteer shoe drives, civic groups, churches and schools, small businesses and big-brand companies. Most reusable shoes are distributed to support micro-enterprise programs, creating and sustaining desperately-needed jobs in Haiti and other poor nations. The resulting revenue that Soles4Souls earns then helps fund free distribution of new shoes and clothing throughout the U.S. and overseas. In the last fiscal year alone, Soles4Souls distributed almost two million pairs of used shoes and 1.9 million pairs of new shoes in North and Central America, Africa and the Caribbean. Soles4Souls is proud to hold a four-star rating for meeting the highest standards of governance and ethics from watchdog organization Charity Navigator.  To learn how you can support Soles4Souls in fighting poverty and human suffering around the world, please visit www.soles4souls.org or call us at (615) 391-5723. Soles4Souls headquarters are located at 319 Martingale Drive, Old Hickory, Tennessee 37138.

 

Highway 116 improvements underway, scheduled for May 31st completion

 

Following up on a story we first brought you last year the state is still in the early stages of making safety improvements to an 11-mile stretch of Highway 116 in Anderson County from Frost Bottom to the Campbell County line.  TDOT officials say that work on the project began on April 1st and that the contractor (the Rogers Group) plans to begin excavation and resurfacing activities later this month, most likely after Easter.  Crews are currently performing work on the New River Bridge to install “continuous delineation reflective enhancements.  The project is slated for completion by May 31st A safety audit conducted in 2012 by state and local officials showed that in some spots, lanes are too narrow, in others there are no guardrails and in still other areas, the shoulder is actually less than a foot wide.  That audit also showed that slope stability issues were to blame for some cracking and uneven settling of the pavement and that some spots that have been resurfaced do not have pavement markings and in others, rock outcroppings and other hazards are too close to the roadway.  TDOT has recommended paving the entire stretch of Highway 116, widening the shoulders in some places and adding guardrails, pavement markings, and signage to the roadway as part of the effort to make the road safer.  TDOT says that it will also reduce the speed limit on that sometimes dangerous stretch of road to 35 miles an hour.  The project was delayed late last year to add additional guidance and clarification to the construction plans, which officials say improves the contractor’s ability to install the appropriate safety countermeasures.  County Commissioner Tim Isbel, who played a large role in setting up the safety audit, has heard from State Representative John Ragan that TDOT has spent money on some facets of the project that can be taken care of quickly and are waiting on bigger-ticket items to go through the budget process.  State law prohibits TDOT from borrowing money and officials say they have requested federal funding to help make the roadway safer.  Last month, an emergency project to correct problems discovered in February was undertaken.  TDOT officials say that engineering firm Geotech was called to investigate a site on SR 116 in Anderson County at log mile 3.8.  Approximately 140 feet of the north bound lane was subsiding with cracks extending into the south bound lane.  After reviewing the problem, officials decided that the best way to proceed was to remove the top 2-3 feet of asphalt and surface material and replace it with stone and crusher run, which officials say gives motorists a solid surface to travel on but also will be less expensive to repair if the slide that caused the cracking continued.  Without removing the buttress and rebuilding it, the slope is expected to continue to move.  At least three layers of asphalt were removed along with soil to a total depth of approximately 30 inches.  A one foot stone base was laid and rolled.  Then crusher run was added and rolled in layers until it was back up to grade.  The recommended plan would have been to have traffic run on this surface and allow for further movement of the slope and easy repairs, but Operations decided they would rather pave it for the safety of motorcyclists who routinely ride that stretch of Highway 116.  The work was completed in late March and TDOT says that the area appears to be much more stable. 

 

ORAU-led team to continue work with sick workers

 

A team headed by Oak Ridge Associated Universities—or ORAU—has been awarded a contract worth up to $150 million by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health to continue its work supporting the Institute and its work under the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Act that provides money and medical benefits to workers who became sick while working at federal energy facilities.  ORAU and its partners—Dade Moeller & Associates and MJW Technical Services—will continue to “help collect data related to claims and petitions, conduct dose reconstruction research, conduct claimant interviews, oversee the Special Exposure Cohort (SEC) petitioning process, and estimate occupational radiation doses. Results from the completed dose reconstructions are ultimately provided to the claimant and the U.S. Department of Labor for use in adjudicating claims filed under EEOICPA, according to an ORAU press release announcing the contract.  ORAU and its partners have managed the contract for over a decade and it was last renewed in 2009.  Since the original contract for this work in 2002, ORAU and its partners have assisted NIOSH in completing more than 48,000 preliminary dose assessments for NIOSH review and conducting more than 140,000 interviews with claimants or their survivors to gather information to explain dose reconstruction results, just to name two accomplishments.  The new contract is for one year with four, one-year options, and if all of the options are exercised, could be worth up to $150 million.  You can read the entire press release on our website. 

 

(ORAU release, April 8th) The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has awarded a contract to a team headed by ORAU based out of Oak Ridge, Tenn. Under the new contract, ORAU and its partners Dade Moeller & Associates, Inc. (Dade Moeller) and MJW Technical Services, Inc. (MJWTS) will continue to support NIOSH and its work under the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act, or EEOICPA. Last renewed in 2009, this contract has been managed by ORAU for more than a decade, and this is the second time NIOSH has renewed with ORAU and its partners.  “We’re pleased to receive this continued vote of confidence from NIOSH in our team’s ability to effectively carry out this important work for workers and their families,” said Andy Page, ORAU president and CEO. “Our mission is to continue providing the same level of quality and commitment to this program that NIOSH has come to expect from this great team.”  Under the terms of the new contract, the ORAU team will help collect data related to claims and petitions, conduct dose reconstruction research, conduct claimant interviews, oversee the Special Exposure Cohort (SEC) petitioning process, and estimate occupational radiation doses. Results from the completed dose reconstructions are ultimately provided to the claimant and the U.S. Department of Labor for use in adjudicating claims filed under EEOICPA.

Partnering with ORAU are Dade Moeller and MJWTS. Dade Moeller is an employee-owned business specializing in occupational and environmental health sciences. MJWTS is a privately owned radiological consulting company that provides professional and technical services to the nuclear industry.  Since the original contract for this work in 2002, ORAU and its partners have assisted NIOSH in:

  • Completing more than 48,000 preliminary dose assessments for NIOSH review
  • Conducting more than 140,000 interviews with claimants or their survivors to gather information to explain dose reconstruction results
  • Conducting more than 466 trips to identify and secure relevant data and records
  • Assembling and indexing 125,000 documents into a searchable and retrievable database
  • Writing and managing periodic review for 1,330 technical documents that collectively reconstruct much of the history of the nation’s nuclear weapons complex
  • Assessing 200 SEC petitions
  • Evaluating 130 SEC petition evaluations reports written resulting in the addition of 107 SEC classes

“ORAU’s leadership in dose reconstruction work has been well demonstrated over many years,” said U. S Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, R-Tenn. “As a representative of Oak Ridge and many of our energy employees I have heard from workers how important the EEOICPA program is to the men and women who became ill from their work supporting our Cold War efforts. ORAU’s work in support of energy employee illness compensation cases allows former employees and their families to move through the legal process and receive the compensation they deserve.”  The new contract is for one year with four, one-year options and will require much of the same work that the ORAU team has been doing. Some of the work will continue to be conducted from project offices located in Cincinnati, Ohio. The team includes health physicists, industrial hygienists, scientists and support staff from all three partner organizations and from several specialty subcontractors.

 

AC to be awarded $64K in Tobacco Settlement money

 

Tennessee Health Commissioner John Dreyzehner, MD, MPH, will join other state and local officials on Friday, April 11, at the Anderson County Health Department in Clinton to present $64,600 in funding as part of the Tennessee Tobacco Settlement Program.  Each county in Tennessee will receive funding during this three-year program to reduce the burden of tobacco use in the state. All counties are challenged to set goals and select one or more projects that address three topics:  eliminating smoking during pregnancy; reducing infants’ and children’s exposure to second-hand smoke; and preventing child and adolescent tobacco use. Anderson County will implement first year projects targeting each of these three focus areas.   Funding from the Tobacco Settlement was provided to the Tennessee Department of Health for fiscal years 2014-16 to address the state’s high rate of tobacco use and prevent expensive related medical costs. The plan to distribute $15 million over three years has been generated with input from all 95 counties. This plan includes a variety of projects to target behaviors designed to protect the health of Tennessee’s most vulnerable populations:  unborn babies, pregnant women and children. 

 

‘Living Well with Chronic Conditions’ subject of workshop series

 

(AC Health Department) Living Well with Chronic Conditions is a free workshop series designed to help community members manage their long-term health issues effectively.  Chronic conditions may include asthma, arthritis, diabetes, heart disease, chronic pain, sleep apnea, or fibromyalgia among others.  If you or anyone you care for has a chronic disease, we welcome you to this series which is designed to address issues including: 

·         Finding effective and healthy ways to deal with pain and fatigue

·         Helping to establish better nutrition and exercise choices in your life

·         Discovering new treatment options

·         Managing side effects

·         Communicating with your health care professional effectively

·         Leading a fuller and better life despite having a chronic condition

The next Living Well series will begin Tuesday, April 29th and will be held at The Anderson County Health Department located on 710 Main Street, in Clinton from 1:30 to 3:30 pm.    There will be a total of 6 sessions.  The last session will be held on Monday, June 3rd at 1:30 pm instead of on Tuesday.  While Living Well is lead by 2 trained Health Professionals, participants are encouraged to actively contribute to the sessions and to work together to find solutions and set healthy goals.  There is no charge but you must register beforehand.  To register or to get more information, please call either of the following:

 

Reminder:  Leadership Anderson County Accepting Applications

 

(AC Chamber) Leadership Anderson County, sponsored by the Anderson County Chamber of Commerce, has a limited number of openings for the 2015 class, scheduled May 2014 through March 2015.  The Leadership Anderson County Board of Directors has designed a course curriculum to develop emerging leaders, while simultaneously promoting the importance and strengths of our community.  Your return on your investment from this program comes from exposing class members to leadership skills development driven by professionals, networking with other leaders, and future community service opportunities.  The program is designed for business leaders, public officials, community volunteers, or anyone who is interested in self-growth as it enhances our community.  

PROGRAM OBJECTIVES:

  • Engage participants in leadership development that promotes teamwork and how to influence others,
  • Provide a means for understanding how the dynamics of local businesses and city, county, and state governments impact economic and community development,
  • Introduce participants to business leaders and elected officials who influence the private and public sectors, and
  • Stimulate a desire to participate in boards, organizations and activities designed to improve the community.

PROGRAM PROFILE:

  • Enrollment Fee: $1,000 Limited to 25 participants
  • Time Commitment: Sessions are held monthly, third Tuesday, May through March, and include the following:
  • Orientation
  • Team Building/Leadership Development
  • County Government
  • City Government
  • State Government—Nashville
  • Education/Project Management
  • Technology/Industry
  • Health/Community Services/ Leadership Development
  • Media/Leadership Development
  • Agriculture/Culture/Tourism

An Application may be downloaded at http://andersoncountychamber.org.  To reserve your place in the Program, please return your application and payment to the Chamber by May 15.  Please contact Chamber President Jackie Nichols, at 865-457-2559 for additional information.

 

ORT:  GOP forum dwarfs LWV forum

 

(Oak Ridge Today) According to our partners at Oak Ridge Today, the starkest differences between any candidates at Tuesday night’s Republican Party forum might have emerged in the race for Anderson County chancellor, where candidates Michael Farley and Nicki Cantrell clashed on questions of trial experience and whether the Chancery Court should ever be used to hear criminal cases.  In the race for sheriff, Republican candidates Anthony Lay and Randy Myers agreed on one key question: No federal inmates should be housed at the Anderson County jail.  In the race for mayor, Terry Frank, the incumbent, said she had presided over one of the few—and possibly the only—tax cut in Anderson County history, while her opponent, Commissioner Zach Bates, said the county’s biggest economic challenge is “retail leakage.”  In the race for Juvenile Court judge, candidate Brian Hunt said he wants to establish a drug intervention program and truancy court, while candidate Lauren Biloski said she wants to expedite truancy cases, which often take months to resolve—with the children missing school in the meantime. Candidate Vickie Bannach said she supports a family drug court program in addition to the juvenile drug court.  Farley, one of three Republican candidates for chancellor, suggested some criminal cases could be heard in Chancery Court. Criminal cases can sometimes take 18 months to go to trial, and there are often times when the chancellor is doing nothing, Farley said.  But Cantrell objected, saying that “Chancery Court is a court for our families.”  The Republican forum, which was just a few blocks away from a competing League of Women Voters forum attended by only Democratic candidates, highlighted the races where there is opposition in the May 6 GOP primary election: mayor, sheriff, chancellor and Juvenile Court judge.

 

Roane Clean-Up set for April 26th

 

(Roane County Green Team) The Roane County Green Team was formed appropriately on Earth Day in 2010 and has been building momentum ever since.  This year to celebrate Earth Day a county-wide cleanup day has been set for Saturday, April 26 to encourage residents to help ‘Keep Roane Litter Free.’  Roane County residents are urged to clean up by bringing household waste to specified locations in each city on this one day.  Trash receptacles, including recycle bins, will be provided in each of the cities allowing and encouraging residents to dispose of their household waste – paint or hazardous waste cannot be accepted.  Michael Dunn Center will also provide their shredding service for a few hours at the Harriman, Kingston and Rockwood locations.  Exact times for shredding will be announced on the ‘Roane County Green Team’ Facebook page and listed on the webpage at www.SustainableRoane.com.

The locations include:

  • Harriman:  1) Harriman Street Department on Margrave Street , and 2) near the Walnut Hill boat ramp (corner of Old Roane Street and Hickory Street);
  • Kingston:  Brentwood lower level parking lot across from Hwy 58 Landing (156 S. Kentucky St);
  • Oliver Springs: Oliver Springs City Library, 610 Walker Avenue
  • Rockwood: 1) City Hall, 110 North Chamberlain,  2) City Garage, 149 South Front Ave, and 3) Brillo Miller Sports Complex, 700 S. Chamberlain Ave. 

During the Great American Cleanup, a nation-wide effort held last March, the Roane County Highway Department picked up 800 bags of trash, covering 20 miles of road in the county on one day   The Roane County Solid Waste Department reports 57% diversion rate (how much material is kept out of the landfill through recycling and reuse) – and is one of the highest in the state, more than double the 25% mandatory rate the State requires.   “Because of these and many other efforts, Roane County was the first county in the Tennessee Valley area to receive the Sustainable Silver Community designation in 2013 - showing prospective businesses and industries that Roane County is committed to sustainability to make it a better place to live and work.  Visit the new ‘Roane County Green Team’ Facebook page to learn about more efforts going on in Roane County and how every Roane County citizen can help make Roane County one of the cleanest counties in the State.  For more information about Roane County’s sustainability programs, visit www.SustainableRoane.com

 

Clinton woman charged with attempted murder

 

A Clinton woman is facing charges of attempted first degree murder and aggravated domestic assault after she allegedly fired a 9 mm pistol at her husband inside their North Slope Lane home on Sunday night.  Deputies responded to the intersection of North Slope and Hidden Hills Drive shortly before 9 pm Sunday and were met by the husband of 32-year-old Cheryl Ann Freels, who told them that he had been lying on a love seat in the upstairs living room of their home watching TV when he looked up and saw his wife standing in the room pointing the pistol at him.  He says that he stood up and she fired one shot at him.  He was not hit but the round struck the wall behind him.  Cheryl Freels allegedly tried to shoot at him again but the gun jammed and her husband says that he took it from her and left the house with his juvenile son.  The husband gave the pistol to deputies, who then went to the home and found Cheryl Freels lying on a bed in her bedroom.  She was placed in custody and read her Miranda rights, at which point she agreed to answer deputies’ questions.  She told them that she and her husband had argued earlier in the day but said that she had gone to bed.  At that point, she stopped answering questions.  Deputies discovered a shell casing ion the living room and a bullet hole in the wall that appeared to back up the husband’s version of events.  A detective responded to the scene and began to question Mrs. Freels, who claimed she had not been read her rights and refused to answer any more questions, demanding her attorney.  Cheryl Freels remained in custody this morning on bonds totaling $500,000 and is scheduled to appear in court on Thursday.  Neither her husband nor the juvenile was hurt during the incident.

 

Rockwood assisted living facility briefly evacuated

 

The Victorian Square Assisted Living Facility in Rockwood was evacuated this morning after smoke from a faulty elevator motor got into the building’s ventilation system and blew into the residential section upstairs.  53 residents and staff members left the building around 7:20 am.  According to Rockwood Fire Chief Mike Wertz, his department responded with all available personnel and laid lines on the road, causing a couple of streets to be blocked off for a short time.  The motor was disconnected from the electricity and firefighters gave the “all clear” signal about an hour after they arrived.  No injuries were reported but emergency medical personnel were on the scene in case anyone did require treatment.  Residents and staffers were allowed back in by 8:30 this morning.

 

Bartley free after Monday hearing

 

(WBIR-TV/Staff reports) Senior Judge Jon Kerry Blackwood ruled Monday that Kenneth Bartley, the Campbell County High School shooter, won't return to prison because of time already served.  The now 23-year-old, who admitted to shooting three administrators at Campbell County High School in 2005, was sentenced to three years on a reckless homicide conviction, three years for having a weapon at school, and two years for drug charges. He has already served more than eight years.  Last week, the defense asked for judicial diversion in the case, meaning that Bartley's record would be cleared of charges against him if he complied with the court’s rules for a specific amount of time. Blackwood denied that request Monday.   Bartley was found guilty of the reduced charge of reckless homicide in the death of assistant principal Ken Bruce. He was not convicted of any charges related to the shootings of Principal Gary Seale and Vice Principal Jim Pierce, both of whom survived the attack.  The prosecution asked the judge to sentence Bartley to the maximum for each conviction and for those sentences to run consecutively. If the judge granted the prosecution's request, Bartley's sentence would have added up to a total of 10 years behind bars and would have sent him back to prison for less than two years.  Judge Blackwood said there was no precedent in state law that would allow him to sentence Bartley consecutively. Bartley was already out on bond at the time of Monday’s hearing. 

 

Powell man pleads to attempted assault

 

A Powell man recently pleaded guilty to charges of attempted aggravated statutory rape and sexual battery in connection to an incident that occurred last June.  38-year-old Gary Allen maples entered the plea in connection to a case in which he tried to sexually assault a 17-year-old girl while she was asleep at a home in Anderson County where they were both houseguests.  In exchange for his plea, Maples was sentenced to two concurrent two-year sentences and ordered to stay in jail for 120 days.  Records indicate that he had already been in jail for more than 120 days and is now free on supervised release.  He was also ordered to register as a sex offender.   

 

AC Day of Prayer Event scheduled

 

Anderson County will once again participate in the National Day of Prayer on Thursday, May 1st.  The National Day of Prayer provides Americans an opportunity to come together to pray for matters concerning present-day America and the nation’s future.  Anderson County’s National Day of Prayer will be held from noon to 12:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 1st, on the front steps of the Anderson County Courthouse at 100 North Main Street in 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.  Prayers will be offered for county officials, our national government, education, the U.S. military, community relationships, and church and family.  Local pastors will lead those assembled in prayer.  County employees will participate, and students from local schools will also participate.

 

Investigation of Claxton skull discovery in early stages

 

Officials say the investigation into the discovery of a human skull in Claxton is still in its very early stages.  Last Tuesday, a woman called deputies after her sons showed her the skull, which had apparently been dragged on to her property by a neighbor’s dog.  A search of the area that day using cadaver dogs from the Roane County Sheriff’s Office turned up no additional remains and investigators have not said whether any more remains were found in any of the subsequent searches.  In addition to the ACSD, the TBI and the Regional Forensics Center are looking into the incident. 

 

Report:  4 AC commissioners owe taxes

 

According to a political watchdog group, four Anderson County Commissioners have not paid their 2013 property taxes.  The group calling itself Friends of Anderson County Taxpayers says that Commissioners Tim Isbel, Robert McKamey, John Shuey and Jerry White owe around $4900, including past-due penalties and interest.  Isbel told the News-Sentinel that the $1574 in taxes he owes are from properties that were awarded to his ex-wife in their divorce settlement.  The paper reports that Shuey owes $632 to the county, White owes $1919 and McKamey owes $819. 

 

Relay for Life fundraisers abound

 

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 Easter 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, Double Impatiens, several colors of Calibrochoa, several Petunia varieties, wandering jews, large ferns, hanging begonia varieties, fushia, geraniums, shade plants that the hummingbirds like, etc.  Flowers can be pre-ordered by calling 457-8237 or stop by the Clinton Physical Therapy Center facility at 1921 N. Charles G. Seivers Blvd. to look at the inventory on premises or to place an order.  Baskets are $16 each.   There will also be flowers for sale at the Relay For Life event on Saturday, April 26th.  For more information, call CPTC/TCFP at 457-8237 or email Kelly Lenz at CPTCKLenz@aol.com to place your order.

 

There have been some sightings of a purple toilet appearing in yards around the Lake City and Clinton area.  Would you like to have some fun with a friend or foe while “Flushing Away Cancer”?   Just call Tomeka at 661-9841 and she will arrange to have the purple toilet placed in the yard of your choice for $20.  The toilet will remain there for 2 days.  All money raised will go to the American Cancer Society Relay For Life event in Clinton on April 26th.

 

The Maurice’s Relay For Life team is currently selling coupons for an antique photo session for children up to 16 years of age.  The $10.00 coupon includes a photo sitting with costume change and a free 10 x 13 photo.  The coupons are available until April 25th at the Maurice’s store in Clinton at 128 Tanner Place.  The photo day will be on April 26th.  100% of the proceeds from the coupons will go to the American Cancer Society Relay For Life event in Clinton.  If 60 coupons are sold, the photographer has agreed to provide an additional $300 donation to Relay For Life.   Please call store manager, Deidra Hall for further details at 457-1280.

 

The American Cancer Society Relay For Life of East Anderson County is offering an opportunity for businesses and local communities to show their awareness and support in the fight against cancer from April 14 through April 27th.  Paint the Town Purple is an activity that promotes cancer awareness and gives individuals and communities an opportunity to fight back against cancer.   We ask area businesses to participate in “Paint the Town Purple” by putting up purple-themed displays in storefronts, displaying Relay For Life posters and putting Relay For Life dates on their marquees.  Community members can also join in this endeavor by swapping out white bulbs for purple bulbs, or select a day for everyone to wear purple at work or school with a $5 donation that could then be turned in at the Relay For Life event in Clinton on April 26th at the courthouse venue starting at 5:00 PM.   Proceeds will support the American Cancer Society in their mission of saving lives and creating a world with less cancer and more birthdays – by helping people stay well, by helping people get well, by finding cures for cancer and by fighting back.  For more information about how to participate in “Paint The Town Purple” or volunteering for the Relay For Life of East Anderson County you may contact Kelly Lenz at 457-1649 or email at cptcklenz@aol.com   Event information by also be found at www.relayforlife.org/eastandersontn.

 

During this year’s American Cancer Society Relay For Life of East Anderson County in Clinton, participants will have the chance to remember loved ones and honor those battling cancer with a special luminaria ceremony. This moving ceremony will be held at 10:00 PM on Saturday evening, April 26th in downtown Clinton on the city streets around the courthouse as hundreds of these beacons of hope are illuminated.  Each luminaria represents the love that families and friends have for a survivor who has won the battle against cancer, for the memory of someone who lost the fight or as a symbol of hope for those who are currently battling cancer.  The band, “The Olivers” will perform during the ceremony.  The American Cancer Society Relay For Life began in 1985 and remains a celebration of survivorship and remembrance that raises funds for and awareness of the fight against cancer. The Relay’s luminaria ceremony symbolizes the hope and courage with which we continue to work toward a cure for this deadly disease.  After sunset at each of the more than 5,000 Relay For Life events nationwide, luminaria decorated with the names of those who have battled cancer are lit and left glowing throughout the night to remind everyone of the incredible importance of their contributions.  Luminaria can be purchased for a minimum donation of $5.00.  Forms are available from any team participating in Relay For Life.  Several area businesses also have forms, including Clinton Physical Therapy Center, Hoskins Drug Store and the Y12 Federal Credit Union across from Anderson County High School.  Luminarias can also be purchased the day of the event.  For further information, please contact contact Kelly Lenz at 457-1649 or cptcklenz@aol.com   For more information about Relay For Life or cancer, please contact the American Cancer Society at 1-800-ACS-2345 or www.cancer.org.  The American Cancer Society is the nationwide, community-based, voluntary health organization dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health problem by preventing cancer, saving lives and diminishing suffering from cancer, through research, education, advocacy and service. 

 

ACSD takes part in ‘Drive to Zero Fatalties’

 

(ACSD) The Anderson County Sheriff’s Department will join the Tennessee Highway Patrol and our local police agencies in cooperation with the Governor’s Highway Safety Office in a nationwide campaign to reduce traffic fatalities by 15% in 2014. The Drive To Zero Fatalities was initiated by the International Association of Chiefs of Police and is being promoted by the Tennessee Sheriff’s Association and the Tennessee Association of Chiefs of Police.  The Drive to Zero Fatalities campaign is a data-driven effort that will focus on several traffic safety goals. Sheriff’s deputies, state troopers, and local police officers will work together to reduce fatalities in Anderson County and to step up enforcement efforts for drunk and impaired drivers, distracted drivers, speeding, and seat belt use. Saturation patrols and sobriety checkpoints will be a part of this effort.  A sobriety checkpoint sponsored by the Oliver Springs Police Department along with the

Governor’s Highway Safety Office and the Tennessee Highway Patrol will be held during the evening hours of May 23rd on Tri-County Boulevard (State Route 61/62) in Oliver Springs.  This effort is supported by a grant from the Tennessee Department of Transportation, Governor’s Highway Safety Office.

 

ACSD issues annual prom & graduation information

 

(ACSD) It's that time of year again. Proms, graduations, and other events mark the end of the school year. Memories of these wonderful occasions will be with our youth for the rest of their lives.  Our young students headed to the prom and from graduations are reminded not to drink and drive. Deputies with the Anderson County Sheriff's Department will be out in force on prom nights and after graduations. DUI, illegal drugs, and underage drinking will get you a stay at the county jail.  The Sheriff Department also reminds teens that getting caught drinking while under the age of 21 can result in losing a driver's license, getting suspended from school, ejected from sports teams, and even banned from graduation ceremonies.  The Anderson County Sheriff's Department wants to remind youth and their parents to celebrate safe during the prom and graduation season.  Establishments that sell alcohol are reminded to check identification. Underage sales and purchases will be prosecuted. Sheriff's deputies will conduct an information campaign with our 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 will be conducting saturation patrols throughout the prom and graduation weeks. This effort is supported by a grant from the Governor's Highway Safety Office.

 

Bojangles hosting Relay benefit

 

(Relay for Life) Bojangles Restaurant in Clinton is partnering with the American Cancer Society to raise money for Relay For Life.  On Tuesday, April 15th, 20% of proceeds from all sales from 4:00 to 8:00 PM will go to the cause.  The “Princess Riley” Relay For Life team is coordinating the event in honor of Riley who is a 5 year old cancer survivor.  We are hoping for a great turnout in honor of this brave little girl.  Come meet Riley and help support all people who benefit from the preventative work, patient support programs, research and advocacy funded by the American Cancer Society.  Bojangles is located on Charles Seivers Boulevard at the Clinton/Norris Exit of interstate 75.  The public is also invited to attend the Relay For Life event in downtown Clinton on Saturday, April 26th starting at 5:00 PM and running until the next morning.  For more information, visit:  www.relayforlife.org/eastandersontn

 

ORT:  E-mail sparks call for removal

 

(Oak Ridge Today) An Oak Ridge official wants the City Council to consider removing Joseph Lee from a city housing board because of his criticism—she called it contempt—for the council members who voted against renewing the controversial traffic camera contract in March.  The City Council will consider removing Lee, who serves on the Oak Ridge Board of Building and Housing Code Appeals, during a Monday, April 14, meeting.  “I was not at all surprised by the 4-3 vote,” Lee wrote in a March 28 e-mail to Council member Anne Garcia Garland, who made the request to consider removing him on Monday. ”After all, it was not about safety or the money, it is about the votes. Take the fact that your entire campaign to be elected to city council and combine that with the nut jobs that you are aligned with and cater to, it has been obvious for a very long time that we were never going to hear the end of your whining until you got another shot at this issue.  The opening line of your Monday monologue said just that. There was no need to lie to us that evening about how this issue has divided the city. This city is divided over the cameras because you and your clan of ‘camera crazies’ have intentionally split this city apart in order to stir up the electorate and turn out votes for your twisted positions. You know that is true. To deny it only speaks volumes to the level of intelligence at which you function.”  The e-mail chain was carbon-copied to Council members, some city officials, and later reporters.  In the e-mail to Garcia Garland, Lee said he was surprised to learn that the “clown car has a comfortable seating capacity of four,” although it wasn’t clear if he was referring to the four members of the City Council who did not vote to renew the Redflex camera contract in a 4-3 vote on March 24.  “You and the clowns put on quite a show,” Lee said. “I have always enjoyed going to council meetings because it’s the best show in town. You kids put on the most pathetic display of lack of leadership and vision that I have ever seen. Not since a previous council years ago started the Mall Wars and damaged retail sales tax revenue in this town have I seen such foolishness. What I saw Monday was not people working together to move our city forward or even sideways but one big giant step in reverse. This was small ball being played in a big way and I am not a happy camper. It would be illogical for any of these characters to think they have done the right thing for our city.”  Lee said that the decision to not renew the contract “blew a $500,000 hole in the annual city budget.” He also took aim at other camera opponents, calling one “the city moron” and another “the village idiot.”  Council does not remove board members very often. But the seven-member body did remove a member of the city’s beer board in July 2013 after two other members of that board said member Pedro Otaduy had been disruptive and argumentative, and turned what had been smooth-running and efficient meetings into “veritable circuses.”  On the Board of Building and Housing Code Appeals, Lee has often been the fiercest critic of Applewood Apartments owner Joe Levitt, who has appeared before the board on issues related to apartment repairs and demolition orders. Lee and Levitt have frequently clashed.  Lee once ran for Anderson County Commission in District 7 in Oak Ridge, but he lost by one vote to John Shuey in August 2006.  The resolution to be considered by the City Council on Monday would remove Lee from the Board of Building and Housing Code Appeals and positions on any other boards, commissions, or committees appointed or elected by the City Council. The meeting starts at 7 p.m. Monday, April 14, in the Municipal Building Courtroom.

 

Pearl’s Roane appearance canceled

 

Former UT and current Auburn basketball coach Bruce Pearl has cancelled his visit to the Princess Theatre in Harriman that had been scheduled for April 19th at 6:30 p.m.  If you bought a $30 ticket and have questions contact Stephanie Wright at sjwright311@gmail.com.

 

KNS:  AC schools deal with controversy

 

According to Saturday’s News-Sentinel, county and state officials are investigating over $118,000 in furniture purchases by the Anderson County school system’s Special Education Director from a company owned by her daughter.  School leaders have reportedly conducted their own in-house investigation, which showed no evidence of wrongdoing as special education director Sue Voskamp did not profit from the transactions.  The paper reports that County Mayor Terry Frank has asked the state to look into the matter as well to determine if any rules have been broken.  The report indicates that Norris Elementary School Principal Jess Anne Cole, the system’s principal of the year last year, was placed on leave after she brought the issue to the attention of central office staff.  The matter was brought to the attention of county officials last year when a Norris Elementary parent called the mayor’s office to express concerns that Cole’s removal as principal may be related to what are being referred to as the “whistleblower-type actions” of Ms. Cole.  The county’s purchasing regulations dictate that departments must get three quotes for any purchase over $5000 and put out for bid any purchases over $10,000.  After reviewing some of the transactions, Purchasing Agent Pamela Cotham says that the purchases should have been put out for bid simply because of the total amount of money spent with Toys of USA, which is owned by Voskamp’s daughter Melissa Jennings.  We will follow this story for you and let you know if any new developments arise.

 

ASAP helps AC students ‘Kick Butts’

 

Kick Butts Day is a national day of activism that empowers youth to stand out, speak up and seize control against tobacco.  This year, national Kick Butts Day was March 19 which Anderson County students celebrated the week of March 24th due to Spring Break.  Through partnerships between Anderson County Coordinated School Health, Clinton City Coordinated School Health, Oak Ridge Coordinated School Health, the Anderson County Health Department and Allies for Substance Abuse Prevention (ASAP) of Anderson County this Kick Butts Day was an amazing success.  “We were very excited to partner with other school systems and organizations for Kick Butts Day,” said Kim Guinn, ACS Coordinated School Health Director. “By working together we were able to make a larger impact on our community. We all want to accomplish the same goal and see our students choose not to use tobacco,” said Guinn.  At elementary schools across the county, 4th and 5th graders wrote essays discussing why they choose not to use tobacco. Anderson County and Clinton High School cheerleaders made “#ChooseNotToUse, Why do you choose not to use tobacco?” banners, which were hung in the middle and high schools in Anderson County schools.  The cheerleaders at Jefferson Middle made banners that were hung in the elementary and middle schools in Oak Ridge. Students were given the opportunity to sign the banners and share why they choose not to use tobacco. Students were also encouraged to sign and make a commitment to quit using tobacco products. Hundreds of students across the county signed the banners with their motivation ranging from sports, having healthy futures and the cost. These were just a few of the many reasons why student choose not to use tobacco products. “It has been amazing to see such inspired youth making a real impact on their community,” says Stacey Pratt, ASAP Project Coordinator.   Parents also had a chance to get involved in Kick Butts Day. For parents, Kick Butts Day doesn’t end, rather, it can be an ongoing event. Parents can kick the habit any time.  For more information on kicking the habit, call the Tennessee Tobacco Quit Line at 1-800-QUIT-NOW.    As a parent, you have a big influence on the decisions your child makes. Did you know that 84% of Anderson County students choose not to use tobacco? Do you know if your student is one? In a 2009 study, it was reported that teens whose parents often talked to them about the dangers of smoking were half as likely to smoke as those who did not have these conversations with their parents. Parents can find tips at www.ASAPofAnderson.org on how they can support their child in staying or becoming tobacco free. If you talk, they will listen.

 

ACLB meeting April 17th

 

The Anderson County Library Board will meet on Thursday, April 17, 2014, at 4:00 p.m., at the Clinch River Regional Library in Clinton.  

 

Lake City-to-Rocky Top OKed by State Senate

 

A bill that will allow Lake City to officially change its name to Rocky Top was unanimously approved by the State Senate in Nashville on Thursday, three days after the state House of Representatives also unanimously voted to support the measure.  Lake City council members approved the name change, seen as a vital first step toward developing a Rocky Top theme park in the former coal mining town, late last year.  The bill will now go to Governor Bill Halslam’s desk for his signature then the Lake City Council must ratify it by a two-thirds majority.

 

AC ballot for Aug. 7th set

 

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

 

Group to hold meet the candidate event

 

(Submitted) Anderson County voters are invited to “Meet the Candidates” on Tuesday, April 15, from 6:00 to 7:30 PM in the A/B Room of the Oak Ridge Civic Center, 1403 Oak Ridge Turnpike.  A group called Democracy for East Tennessee (DFET) is sponsoring this event so citizens of Anderson County can become better acquainted with the candidates for four Anderson County offices before the primary election on May 6. Early voting begins Wednesday, April 16. The four contested races are Mayor, Sheriff, Chancellor and Juvenile Court Judge.  Other offices on the primary ballot are not contested.  There will be a table for each candidate to display literature and campaign materials. Depending on the number of candidates participating, the event may begin with a chance for each candidate to speak for 2-3 minutes. Light refreshments will be provided.  For information, contact Joan Cassens at 865-220-8900 or Tom Burns at 865-385-7063.

 

Fire sparked by lightning…three hours after strike

 

A lightning strike early Thursday morning is credited with starting a fire that destroyed an Oak Ridge home, but not until almost three hours later.  Lightning hit the home on Graceland Road in west Oak Ridge at around 4:30 am, knocking a hole in the roof.  One of the residents of the home reportedly climbed a ladder twice before leaving for work to see if the strike had sparked a fire but saw no signs of fire either time.  However, about three hours later, a neighbor saw flames coming from the roof and very alertly woke up the woman still asleep inside, cut off electricity to the house and even pulled their pickup truck out of the garage.  Half of the roof was on fire when firefighters arrived and the house was described as a total loss due to smoke and water damage.  Fire Chief Darryl Kerley told the News-Sentinel that a firefighter identified as Jerry Williamson was taken to Methodist Medical Center for tests after complaining at the scene of a shortness of breath and numbness in his left arm.  No other injuries were reported.

 

AC man pleads guilty in assault, kidnapping case

 

Thursday, a Clinton man pleaded guilty to charges that he threatened a woman with a knife and held her against her will in November.  31-year-old Eric Jason Lawson pleaded guilty to a charge of aggravated assault and a reduced charge of attempted aggravated kidnapping and was sentenced to six years in prison on each count, to be served concurrently.  As a multiple offender, he will have to serve at least 35% of his sentence before becoming eligible for parole.  The incident occurred in November of last year and the victim told authorities that Lawson had threatened her with a knife, locked her in a bedroom and a bathroom and forced her to crawl under a bed.  At one point the woman escaped the home only to be caught by Lawson, who reportedly showed her the knife and said “This is what I will kill you with.”  

 

Norris Lake clean-up removes 10+ tons of litter from shorelines

 

Organizers have announced the results from the clean up of Norris Lake’s shorelines held last month.  On March 22, 2014, over 100 volunteers picked up over 10 tons of trash from Norris Lake’s shorelines in Anderson, Campbell, Claiborne, Grainger and Union counties, according to a press release.  “Collectively, we picked up 460 bags of trash that weighed an average of 40 pounds,” said Julie Graham with the Union County Chamber of Commerce.  “The majority of what we pick up are cans and bottles but we also properly disposed of over 100 tires, foam blocks, two televisions, a refrigerator door, a commode, a water heater, grills, chairs, patio chairs, tents and other camping gear and the most unique item this year was a sleeper sofa.”  This was the third year that volunteers from the three counties surrounding Norris Lake, have come together for the cleanup effort.  “Last year, we picked up over 15 tons of trash so we have seen a decline in the amount of trash on the shoreline and islands, but we have many problem areas where there is a reoccurring dumping year after year,” said Graham.    

 “While we appreciate all the volunteers that help with the cleanup efforts, our ultimate goal is to eliminate the need for the cleanups,” said Stephanie Wells, Director of the Anderson County Tourism Council.  “We want to raise public awareness about the problem and encourage people to properly dispose of their trash such as household garbage, tires, appliances, etc.  We also want to make sure that when visitors come to the lake for the day or the weekend, that they are  taking home all that they brought like bottles, cans, tents, food packaging, coolers, paper product, etc.” 

To help increase public awareness, volunteers from the Oak Grove cleanup decided to build a display with just a sample of items picked up along the shores of Norris Lake and along Hwy 441 during the Five County Norris Lake Cleanup.  The display represents over 40 bags of trash picked up in one day.  The display will be placed in Norris Dam State Park with some interpretive messages describing the length of time it will take for some items to decay and information on encouraging litter control.  Jazmine Kennedy, a Seasonal Interpretive Ranger at the park this summer, plans to use the display in her programming efforts with kids.  The partnership volunteers are also displaying posters throughout all five counties and at the marinas on Norris Lake promoting the cleanups and encouraging lake users to properly dispose of their trash.   The partnership purchased 27 signs and posted them at public launches on Norris Lake.  The signs have phone numbers that people can call to report illegal dumping. “Norris Lake consists of 800 miles of shoreline; we can’t monitor it all,” said Wells.  “We think that the signs will encourage people who are boating on Norris to report the illegal dumping that they see.”  The group has partnered with the Norris Lake Coast Guard Auxiliary to hand out information packets including a trash bag to boaters they encounter on the lake.  “Norris Lake is considered the cleanest lake in the TVA system, even with the dumping and trash issues” said E.L. Morton, Director of Campbell County Chamber of Commerce.  “We want to do everything that we can to keep it the cleanest lake but we need help from the residents and the visitors.”  If you are interested in volunteering with the cleanup efforts or the continuing public awareness campaign, visit www.lakenorris.org, call toll free to 800-524-3602 or email info@yallcome.org.

 

State offering free radon test kits

 

(TDEC) In observance of Earth Day on April 22, the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation will distribute complimentary radon test kits at various events across the state. Throughout the month of April, the department will also educate Tennesseans about the dangers of radon exposure.  Attendees at the following Earth Day events can receive a complimentary short-term test kit:

·        Knoxville’s Earth Fest: April 26 from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m. at World’s Fair Park

Complimentary test kits will also be available online or through the radon hotline.

“We are pleased to have the opportunity to provide these complimentary test kits for a limited time,” TDEC Commissioner Bob Martineau said. “A simple, do-it-yourself test with these kits can determine the presence of radon in the home and save lives.”  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. The EPA estimates that approximately 70 percent of Tennessee’s population lives in high risk or moderate risk radon areas. Nationally, about six percent of homes surveyed had elevated levels of radon. In contrast, 16 percent of Tennessee homes surveyed had elevated levels, and, in some counties, 33 to 75 percent of homes tested had elevated levels of radon. “It is important to test your home since radon acts unpredictably,” Martineau added. “It is a naturally occurring gas that can seep into homes through cracks and openings in the foundation and cannot be seen, tasted or smelled.”  The outreach effort is supported by the American Lung Association, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and various local and county health departments.  For additional information about radon and to register for a complimentary test kit, visithttp://www.tn.gov/environment/sustainable-practices_radon-program.shtml or contact the Tennessee Radon Program at 1-800-232-1139.

 

NPS announces Noland Creek Trail temporary closure

 

Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials announced the temporary closure of Noland Creek Trail from the trailhead at Lakeview Drive to Campsite 65 for crews to repair a landslide on the 1.5 mile section of trail that is used for cemetery access in the spring.  The 1.5 mile trail section and Campsite 65 will be closed to all use Monday through Thursday beginning Monday, April 7 through Thursday, April 24.  Backpackers who currently have a backcountry permit to stay at Campsite 65 or require access to the Noland Creek Trailhead on Lakeview Drive to begin or end an overnight backcountry trip will be allowed to pass through the construction zone with the assistance of on-site park staff by showing a copy of their permit.   Heavy machinery is required to complete this project. The temporary trail closure is necessary to provide for the safety of all trail use including hikers, horses, and workers. In order to lessen the impact of the closure, the trail will remain open on weekends throughout April.  “We regret the inconvenience to our park visitors,” said Acting Superintendent Pedro Ramos. “Our team has thoughtfully planned the work to make the needed repairs as efficiently as possible so that visitors can safely use the trail this spring and we can provide access to cemeteries.”  For more information about trail closures, please visit the Park’s website at www.nps.gov/grsm or call the Backcountry Information Office at 865-436-1297

 

Phone scammer pretends to be cop

 

Rockwood Police are warning citizens about an apparent phone scam.  Officials say that someone is calling residents and claiming to be Rockwood Police Lt. John Davis and tells the recipient that there are outstanding warrants for their arrests, but that they can resolve the matter immediately if they send $400.  Police say that almost two dozen residents have reported receiving these calls and ask anyone who receives one to call them immediately.  Not only is there no Lt. Davis at the Rockwood PD, officials stress that the police department will never call and ask for money over the telephone.  If you have received one of these calls, call the Police Department at 865-354-3388.  As scams like this tend to spread, as a general rule of thumb, no municipal police department will call you asking for money to satisfy outstanding warrants, so if you do not live in Rockwood and receive one of these calls, do not give the caller any personal information and immediately notify your local law enforcement agency.  So far, there have been no reports that anyone has fallen for the ploy. 

 

Blount authorities investigate dog’s hanging death

 

The Blount County Sheriff’s Office is working to determine who hung a Townsend woman’s beagle in its kennel on Monday.  Deputies were called to the home by the homeowner, who told them that she had arrived home from work and found the 4-year-old dog hanging inside the kennel behind her house.  Reports indicate that someone took a rope used to secure the kennel lock and strung it up high on the fence, causing the dog to be strangled.  The woman said that she had several dogs, all but two of which sleep inside her house.  She said that her neighbor had once threatened to shoot her dogs if they came on his property again.  The woman said the beagle that was killed was a hunting dog and did bark from time to time.  The deputy spoke with the neighbor, who was described as being “hesitant to speak with [the officer] and was shaking” while avoiding eye contact with the deputy.  He denied any involvement in the dog’s death but did say he could understand why someone would want to kill it, adding that at least one of the woman’s other dogs used his yard as a bathroom and that he had called animal control about the animals to no avail.  No charges have been filed but an investigation is continuing. 

 

FORNL lecture to focus on ITER

 

(FORNL) The Friends of ORNL presents a luncheon lecture on Tuesday April 8th at 11:00 am at the UT Resource Center in Oak Ridge.  The speaker will be Hans Vogel who will talk on Heating, Fueling, and Cooling the ITER Reactor (International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor) project at ORNL. This will be the second in a series of three talks on the US ITER project; Graeme Murdoch will be speaking on May 13th.  Hans, the ORNL Nuclear Systems Division Director, will discuss the Tokamak Cooling Water System, Ion Cyclotron Transmission Lines, Electron Cyclotron Transmission Lines, Pellet Injection System, Disruption Mitigation System, and the Tokamak Exhaust Processing System.  The United States has joined with China, the European Union, India, Japan, the Republic of Korea, and the Russian Federation in an international collaboration to construct and operate ITER, a full-scale, 500 Megawatt experimental fusion device.  ITER will be constructed at Cadarache, France, and is expected to be completed within 10 years.   Hans Vogel has over 20 years of progressive experience working in technical, operations, management, and project capacities in the nuclear field. He served at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory as the Senior Project Manager for the Strategic Projects Division. 

 

‘SuperTruck’ visits Oak Ridge

 

(DOE) The Department of Energy’s SuperTruck, recently hailed by President Obama as the energy efficient truck of the future, uses technology from DOE’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory that leads to improved fuel economy.  David Koberlein of Cummins Engines said the truck has the potential to reduce fuel consumption and decrease greenhouse gases.  “We improved fuel economy with this truck by 75 percent,” Koberlein said during a recent visit to Oak Ridge with the truck. “Our freight efficiency was increased by 86 percent. With heavy trucking being one of the largest consumers of national fuel, that lowers the cost structure of the fleet and it has an economic benefit to the nation.”  ORNL’s Bill Partridge said the lab developed an instrument that can measure internal exhaust flow, which is key to running the engine efficiently.  “We made a laser-based diagnostic that was used to assess the combustion uniformity of this engine,” Partridge said. “The engine doesn’t just breathe fresh air. It also breathes a mixture of fresh air and exhaust. You want that charge of intake of fresh air and exhaust to be very uniform.”  Koberlein and Partridge agree the Oak Ridge technology is critical in order to achieve the enhanced energy efficiency.  ORNL was part of the Cummins-Peterbilt SuperTruck team that included Modine, Purdue University, U.S. Xpress, Eaton , Bergstrom, and Goodyear. The SuperTruck program was sponsored by the DOE Vehicle Technologies Office with private matching contributions from Cummins, Peterbilt, and their program partners.  More information is available at http://energy.gov/eere/articles/supertruck-making-leaps-fuel-efficiency.

 

New Norris House for sale

 

(UT) The state of Tennessee is selling one of the greenest homes in the state—the New Norris House.  Sealed bids will be taken through 1:30 p.m. (CST) on May 5. An open house will be held April 12, 2-4 p.m., at 143 Oak Road in Norris.  The New Norris House was completed in 2011 after a student-led team at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville worked for three years to bring the concept, first conceived in a classroom, to a modern and appealing home.  The house is a technologically advanced reinterpretation of the historic homes first built by the Tennessee Valley Authority in 1933 as part of the Norris Dam project. It has become a nationally recognized model for efficient and sustainable living.  The UT College of Architecture and Design led the project, which was executed in cooperation with the community to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Norris community. Four other UT departments and a variety of corporate and industry partners supported the project. The project was launched with support from a grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s People, Prosperity, and the Planet Student Design Competition for Sustainability.  Featuring five rooms, Energy Star appliances, a loft, reclaimed hardwood floors, a deck and lush landscapes, the 1,006-square-foot space is more than a single-family home; it is the embodiment of the university’s design and research excellence.  The American Institute of Architects and its Committee on the Environment named the New Norris House one of the nation’s Top 10 examples of sustainable architecture and green design in 2013. It also is one of the first buildings in Tennessee to earn the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) for Homes Platinum certification, the highest standard for sustainability.  The new homeowners will benefit from special features and reduced utility costs. The house features well-designed fluid spaces, maximized daylighting, LED lighting fixtures, custom millwork, and a solar water heater that uses 61 percent less energy than the national average.  The home also inventively repurposes water. The wastewater from such activities as laundry, hand-washing, and bathing is rerouted to water plants. A rainwater cistern also filters water captured from the roof for non-potable uses in the home, such as toilet flushing, clothes washing, and hose bibs. Overflow goes to a second cistern, which irrigates vegetable beds in the backyard.  The original Norris houses were the centerpieces of the progressive planned community. Their affordable and efficient design was one of many innovations that stemmed from the Norris Dam project.  The minimum bid price is set at $155,000. To learn more about the state of Tennessee’s sale, visit http://tn.gov/generalserv/psm/rpa/sales.shtml.  To learn more about the New Norris House, visit http://thenewnorrishouse.com.

 

Big Ed’s golf tournament supports Community Mediation Services

 

(Submitted) The 13th Annual Big Ed’s Memorial Golf Tournament on Friday, April 25, continues a long tradition that combines a great day of golf with active commitment to youth and families. The tournament supports Community Mediation Services’ work with youths and families.  Early registration is Wednesday, April 16. Registration forms are available by calling (865) 483-6888 or e-mailing info@cms-tn.org. Registration online is also available through the website at www.peacefulresolution.org.  The tournament is a two-session, scramble format with a morning tee time of 8 a.m. and an afternoon tee time of 1:30 p.m. A complimentary continental breakfast, beverage cart, and lunch, as well as a variety of prize contests, are available: first-, second-, and third-place finishing teams, longest drive (men and women), Par 3 Closest to the Hole, Putting Contest, and a $5,000 cash hole-in-one prize. A free shirt for all golfers and numerous door prizes are included.  Community Mediation Services has worked with youth and families in Anderson County for 28 years, promoting the peaceful resolution of community conflicts, using community resources. The organization’s four programs use trained volunteer mediators from the community. The newest program, School Attendance (Truancy) Mediation, is starting this year. Other programs are Victim Offender Reconciliation Program (VORP); Visitation Mediation; and Teen/Parent Mediation. Mediators don’t take sides or make decisions, but do help people solve problems in ways that are decided and agreed upon by all. Studies show that agreements reached through mediation are more likely to be carried out than orders imposed by a judge.

 

OR Spring Clean-Up underway

 

(City of Oak Ridge) The citywide household trash pickup program in Oak Ridge starts Monday, March 31. Household rubbish, old appliances, and minor remodeling materials will be picked up. Compressors must be removed from refrigerators and air conditioners.

City collection efforts will follow the accompanying schedule as closely as possible, a press release said. The proposed schedule is a general guide and can vary considerably from the actual schedule due to weather conditions and/or the amount of participation by residents.

The city asked residents to follow a few guidelines:

  • Place all materials near, but not beyond, the curb. Keep all materials off sidewalks, parking areas, and out of gutters.
  • There is a limit of one truckload of material per residence. A truckload is defined as one pickup truck, or approximately 3 feet high by 4 feet wide by 8 feet long, or approximately 100 cubic feet maximum.
  • Crews will not pick up hazardous items, paint, tires, or piles of rubbish that are mixed with brush or limbs
  • All materials must be in place no later than 7:30 a.m. on the scheduled pickup day to ensure pickup. Any materials put out after 7:30 a.m. on the scheduled pickup day may not be picked up.

Brush collection is scheduled to begin on April 30. A new schedule will be provided in advance of the start date. Brush and bagged leaves/yard clippings will be picked up during the next collection. It should be noted that bagged yard waste will be collected with the regularly scheduled refuse collection throughout the year.  For more information, contact Waste Connections of Tennessee at (865) 482-3656, and the household trash pickup schedule can also be found on the city’s website at www.oakridgetn.gov.

 

ACSD investigating discovery of human skull

 

The Anderson County Sheriff’s Department is investigating the discovery of a human skull in Claxton.  Tuesday, a man living on Norman Road called deputies after finding a human skull on his property and investigators from the Sheriff’s Department, the TBI and the Regional Forensics Center responded to the scene.  According to a release from the Sheriff’s Office, the skull had apparently been carried by an animal to the spot where it was found.  The skull has been taken to the forensics center where it is being examined to determine its age, sex and race as well as how long it had been out in the elements.  The area was searched by cadaver dogs from the Roane County Sheriff’s Office but no other remains were found.  As soon as more information becomes available, we will pass it along to you. 

 

Maryville PD searching for assault suspects

 

Maryville Police are searching for two suspects in an alleged attempted sexual assault that was reported to authorities on Thursday night.  The alleged victim told police that her ex-boyfriend and another man attacked her while she was in the women’s restroom at the Clayton Center for the Performing Arts and tried to “disrobe” her.  The two men fled when she yelled for help.  Police have the suspects’ identities and are actively searching for them but have not released that information publicly.  Officials say that neither suspect is a student at Maryville College.  School officials issued a campus-wide e-mail alert on Monday about the alleged incident. 

 

Fire destroys Briceville mobile home

 

An apparently accidental fire Sunday morning destroyed a Briceville mobile home.  The fire was reported shortly before noon Sunday at 106 Circle Road in Briceville and an Anderson County Sheriff’s deputy reported that when he arrived on the scene, the mobile home was completely engulfed by flames.  The fire was extinguished by the Briceville Volunteer Fire Department.  The homeowner, Larry Byrge, told the deputy that he had left a small space heater on in the living room for his dog when he had left about an hour before the fire started and firefighters indicated that the blaze began in the living room where Byrge said he had left the heater.  The Red Cross responded to assist Byrge, who lived alone in the trailer.  No injuries were reported but the incident report does not indicate if the dog made it out of the burning house.

 

Outbuilding burns

 

An outbuilding caught fire on Carroll Road in Anderson County Monday night.  Homeowner Donald Vanhuss told emergency responders that he had been working on his lawnmower inside the outbuilding until about 7 pm, when he says that he turned off everything and went into his house.  A few hours later, a fire began, causing several small explosions inside the outbuilding, which was destroyed.  The fire is believed to have been accidental and no injuries were reported. 

 

Kix Brooks to headline Saturday at Secret City Fest

 

Kix Brooks, of Brooks & Dunn fame, will headline the Saturday night concert at the Secret City Festival in June.  The concert, sponsored by our sister station, Merle FM, starts at 7 p.m. Saturday, June 14. Country-rock band Phoenix Drive will open.  Tickets for the June 14 show go on sale April 29th and ticket information will be released soon, according to a press release.  Sponsorship opportunities are still available and if you are interested in learning more, you can visit www.secretcityfestival.com. You can also visit the festival’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/SecretCityFestival for announcements, contests, and more.  The 12th annual Secret City Festival is presented by the City of Oak Ridge, the Oak Ridge Convention and Visitors Bureau, and the Arts Council of Oak Ridge.  The festival features World War II displays and memorabilia, special events at the American Museum of Science and Energy, a children’s area, arts and crafts vendors, nationally known concert entertainment, and the Living History demonstration, “Life on the Front Lines of WWII, A Soldier’s Life.”

 

ORHS Robotics Team aims for world championship

 

The Smoky Mountains Regional High School Robotics Competition was held last weekend in Knoxville, and Oak Ridge High School was one of the three regional winners.  The so-called “WildBots” will receive an invitation to the world championships at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis at the end of this month.  Oak Ridge High School also won the Innovation in Control award.  This was the fourth year of competition at the Knoxville Convention Center and in all, 35 teams from Tennessee competed, along with 14 teams from the surrounding states of Missouri, Kentucky, West Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina.  

 

TVA pedestrian bridge under construction at spill site

 

TVA is building a pedestrian bridge over the East Embayment as part of its commitment to restore the Swan Pond area near the Kingston Fossil Plant as part of its remediation efforts in the wake of the 2008 coal ash spill at the plant.  However, officials say that for the safety of the public and work crews, access to the East Embayment by boat will be temporarily closed beginning Monday March 31st.  Signs are posted on the shoreline and buoys have been installed across the embayment to restrict boating access.  Bank fishing still will be available on the East Embayment and can be reached by walking trails at Lakeshore Park. The main river channel on the Emory River also will remain open.  Construction of the pedestrian bridge is scheduled to take approximately 45 days, depending on weather. Once the project is complete, access to boats will be reopened.  The work is part of the overall Swan Pond Embayment Recreation and Restoration project, which is scheduled to be finished in spring 2015. The work includes paved walking trails, wetland development, courtesy docks and fishing piers, picnic areas and overlooks, and a restroom facility on Lakeshore peninsula.

 

State House gives Rocky Top go-ahead

 

Monday the State House of Representatives voted unanimously to allow Lake City to change its name to Rocky Top.  The House bill sponsored by Representative John Ragan of Oak Ridge passed 89-0.  The name change is seen as a necessary first step toward turning the former coal mining town into a tourist destination, taking advantage of its two exits off of I-75.  Plans currently call for an interactive 3-D theater, a restaurant, a water park and a hotel as well as other attractions.  The state Senate has yet to schedule a vote on the companion bill to the House version, which is being sponsored by Randy McNally of Oak Ridge.  If the Senate approves the measure as expected, the Lake City Council will have to vote again on the name change to ratify the private act that was endorsed Monday by the State House. 

 

ORPD:  Car arson suspect identified

 

Oak Ridge Police say that they have identified a suspect in connection to a car fire that occurred last month in the parking lot of an elementary school.  On the evening of March 8th, Oak Ridge Police and Fire personnel responded to a report of a car fire in the parking lot of Linden Elementary School and after it had been extinguished firefighters determined that it had been deliberately set.  According to a release from the ORPD, investigators began reviewing security camera footage from Linden, which showed a young man walking toward the car with a brick in his hand.  The ORPD’s Criminal Investigations Division then was able to develop independent information that the suspect may be a student at Oak Ridge High School.  School Resource Officers identified the suspect as 18-year-old Jovon Brooks, who lives near the school.  While being questioned by detectives, Brooks reportedly confessed to starting the car fire.  Other intentionally set fires in the area of Linden Elementary are also being investigated and could be linked to the vehicle arson.  Charges against Brooks are pending the determination of a grand jury and at this time the ORPD’s investigation is continuing. 

 

Harriman PD arrests alleged flasher

 

(Harriman PD) 53 year old James Tipton Lands of Walnut Road in Kingston Tennessee was arrested over the weekend in connection to the indecent exposure to a child case at the Kroger in Harriman. He has been taken to the Roane County Jail. This was made possible by the numerous anonymous tips we received from the public after his photo publicly posted.  The Harriman Police Department is very grateful to all the people on social media and the news media who helped in the identification and arrest of this subject.

 

Coal Creek Miners Museum fundraiser a BIG success

 

Saturday night’s chili supper fundraiser for the Coal Creek Miners’ Museum netted over $7500.  Those funds will go toward the $500,000 goal that the museum’s board of directors has set for renovations to the former Bank of America building on Main Street in Lake City as well as for the construction of displays for the historical artifacts that will one day call that building home. 

 

Local Boys & Girls Club celebrates grant

 

The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Tennessee Valley has received $1,000 from The Allstate Foundation in honor of Allstate Agent David Erb's volunteerism.  Erb is a board member of the North Anderson County chapter of the organization.  The grant is intended to be used as operating support or program funding and not or sponsorships, golf tournaments, charity dinners, walk-a-thons or other fundraising events.

 

Chamber, TSBDC team up for advice, assistance for small biz owners

 

The Tennessee Small Business Development Center (TSBDC) advises and assists future and existing business owners.  Jutta Bangs, Sr. Business Specialist, is available for free and confidential counseling sessions on Thursday, April 16, 9 – 11 am at the Anderson County Chamber of Commerce, 245 N. Main Street, Ste. 200, Clinton.  To make an appointment for this, or another day, please call 865-457-2559 or email accc@andersoncountychamber.org.  To learn more about the TSBDC visit www.tsbdc.org.

 

Roane man arrested in exposure case

 

Over the weekend, Harriman police arrested a 53-year-old man accused of exposing himself to an 11-year-old girl inside a Kroger supermarket last week.  Investigators say James Tipton Land is the man seen in surveillance pictures they released Friday.  Police say the incident occurred around 5:00 p.m. Tuesday.  They say the girl ducked under his arm and ran up the aisle to her parents, and the man took off.  Land was taken to the Roane County Jail. Officers say the arrest was made possible by the numerous anonymous tips they received from the public after his photo was released to the public.

 

GHSO:  April is Distracted Driving Awareness, Enforcement month

 

April is National Distracted Driving Awareness and Enforcement Month.  Distracted driving is a dangerous epidemic on America's roadways.  This risky activity can divert a person's attention away from the primary task of driving, while endangering the safety of the driver, passengers, and bystanders.  In 2012, there were 3,328 people killed and 421,000 injured nationwide in crashes involving distracted driving.  In 2013, there were 18,761 traffic crashes including 54 fatalities as a result of distracted driving in Tennessee.  “When you text while driving, you take your eyes off the road, hands off the wheel, and mind off the task of driving. That puts lives in danger, and no one has the right to do that,” said Kendell Poole, Director of the Governor’s Highway Safety Office.  Text messaging requires visual, manual, and cognitive attention from the driver, and is by far the most alarming distraction. Tennessee has a primary texting law that is enforced by the Tennessee Highway Patrol and state-wide law enforcement.   “The Tennessee Highway Patrol takes driving while distracted very seriously,” said Sergeant Bill Miller, Public Information Officer.  “One of THP’s main goals with our enforcement efforts is to change those reckless or dangerous driving habits that increase the chances of a crash occurring.”  According to Sergeant Miller, troopers are looking for any unsafe action that takes away from the responsible and proper operation of a motor vehicle. Troopers patrol daily in the familiar black and cream patrol cars, as well as on police motorcycles. The THP also utilizes unmarked patrol vehicles to detect reckless behavior.  “When drivers text and drive that creates a very dangerous, reckless situation and detecting those distracted drivers is definitely a priority of the THP” said Sergeant Miller.  “If you are texting and driving, or doing anything that creates an unsafe situation on the road, then troopers are going to take the appropriate action.  If you choose to drive drunk, reckless or distracted then you will lose, don’t do it.”  The Governor’s Highway Safety Office urges drivers to make safe choices when driving on Tennessee roadways.  Take a moment to pull over if you need to make a call, or send a text.   Consider asking your passenger to make the call or text for you.  In Tennessee, texting while driving is against the law and considered unsafe.  Any situation that causes a driver to become distracted can be extremely dangerous to the driver and fellow Tennesseans.   Our goal is to make sure you and your loved ones ARRIVE at their destinations safely.  For more information about distracted driving, please contact Megan Buell, 615-337-7685 or visit our website at www.tntrafficsafety.org

 

McKamey honored by legislature

 

Thursday, state lawmakers in Nashville paid a ceremonial tribute to Will McKamey and Oak Ridge State Sen. Randy McNally moved to have a section of Oak Ridge highway named in his honor.  On the Senate floor, McNally, R-Oak Ridge, made a brief speech at the outset of Thursday’s session in recognition of McKamey and senators then watched a video on McKamey’s while the Naval Academy’s theme song, “Eternal Father, Strong to Save,” played.  Marine veteran and Somerville Republican Sen. Dolores Gresham, R-Somerville, a Marine veteran, then led the senators in a prayer for McKamey.  McNally has filed a measure to designate the section of Oak Ridge Highway from its intersection with Beaver Ridge Road to its intersection with Stoneridge Drive as the “Midshipman William McKamey Memorial Highway.”  The measure is filed as an amendment to another Senate bill that is scheduled for votes in the Finance Committees of both the House and Senate next week.  That bill is this year’s version of legislation annually used to name various highways and bridges across the state in honor of individuals.

 

ACWA approved for sewer construction loan

 

(TDEC) Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and Department of Environment and Conservation Commissioner Bob Martineau announced that five communities, two utility districts and two water/wastewater authorities have been approved to receive more than $15.1 million in low-interest loans for water and wastewater infrastructure improvements.  The State Revolving Fund (SRF) Loan Program provides low-interest loans that help communities, utility districts, and water and wastewater authorities finance projects that protect Tennessee’s ground and surface waters and public health. Loans are used to finance the planning, design and construction of water and wastewater facilities.  Through the SRF Program, communities, utility districts, and water and wastewater authorities can obtain loans with lower interest rates than most can obtain through private financing. Interest rates for loans can vary from zero percent to market rate based on each community’s economic index. Loans utilizing EPA grant funds include a principal forgiveness component for water and wastewater projects.  The Department of Environment and Conservation administers the SRF Loan Program for the state of Tennessee in conjunction with the Tennessee Local Development Authority. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency provides grants to fund the program, and the state provides a 20 percent match. Loan repayments are returned to the program and are used to fund future SRF loans.  The funding order of projects is determined by the SRF Loan Program’s Priority Ranking Lists that rank potential projects according to the severity of their pollution and/or compliance problems or for the protection of public health. 

Wastewater Loans were announced today for the following recipients:

The Anderson County Water Authority will receive $3,512,571 for the project that includes installation of six sanitary sewer pumping stations and approximately 74,000 linear feet of eight-inch diameter force main, extending from the interstate down Wolf Valley Road before connecting to the sewer pumping station in South Clinton. The project is expected to open up that part of the county for more development and save the ACWA money at the same time.  The project will be funded with a 20-year, $2,810,057 loan with an interest rate of 0.70 percent and $702,514 in principal forgiveness that will not have to be repaid. 

Drinking Water Loans were announced today for the following recipients:

The City of Jellico will receive $750,000 for a project that includes Green-Water line installation. The project will be funded with a 20-year, $600,000 loan with an interest rate of 0.23 percent and $150,000 in principal forgiveness that will not have to be repaid.

Since its inception in 1987, Tennessee’s Clean Water State Revolving Fund Loan Program has awarded more than $1.5 billion in low-interest loans. Since its inception in 1996, Tennessee’s Drinking Water State Revolving Fund Loan Program has awarded more than $220 million in low-interest loans. Both programs combined award more than $80 million annually to Tennessee’s local governments for water and wastewater infrastructure projects.  Any local government interested in the SRF Loans should contact the State Revolving Loan Fund Program, Tennessee Tower, 12th Floor, 312 Rosa L. Parks Avenue, Nashville, TN 37243, or call (615) 532-0445. Additional information about the SRF Loan Program may be found online at http://www.tn.gov/environment/water/fund.shtml.  

 

Moore sentenced to 30 years in triple-slaying

 

A Knoxville man was sentenced to 30 years in prison following his conviction in a 2012 triple murder in Powell.  53-year-old Paul Moore was convicted by a jury of second-degree murder in the shooting deaths of his 39-year-old wife Christina Moore, her twin sister Bridget Stagnolia and his wife’s lover, 24-year-old Amber Snellings.  Moore shot all three women to death inside his apartment in Powell in May of 2012.  Testimony showed that Moore shot Snellings three times and shot both his wife and her sister twice in the front and back of the head.  Stagnolia had been trying to flee out the back door when she was gunned down.  Moore will be eligible for parole in the year 2042, when he will be 81 years old, although his attorneys say he suffers from diabetes and will likely not live that long.  

 

Johnson Gap Road bridge repairs to start within 2 months

 

Anderson County Road Superintendent Gary Long has notified WYSH that he has spoken with the Manager of Community Affairs and Safety for CSX Railroad, who has assured him that the railroad will have a crew working to repair the bridge on Johnson Gap Road that has been closed since last July within the next two months.  The wooden bridge, which is owned by the railroad, was deemed unsafe by state inspectors last summer and has been closed to traffic ever since, causing numerous headaches for people who depend on that road for access to their homes.  The closure also caused problems for emergency responders as it increased response time.  The railroad gave the county two options to rectify the situation earlier this year:  the first was to repair the bridge at the company’s expense and the second was to replace the bridge with a metal structure at the county’s expense.  The County Commission chose to let the company take care of the problem and foot the bill.  We will pass along updates as developments warrant. 

 

CPD investigates trailer theft

 

Clinton Police are investigating the theft of a flatbed trailer from Doral Steel on Eagle Way.  Shortly before 11:30 pm Wednesday, officers were called to the facility, where they made contact with truck driver Gregory Maynard of Florida.  Maynard told them that a 1997 black flatbed semi trailer was parked in the back lot and had last been seen by the plant supervisor at around 9 pm Monday night.  At this time there are no suspects.  The trailer was valued at approximately $14,000.

 

BBB:  Harriman PD searching for possible predator

 

Our partners at BBB-TV report that the Harriman Police Department is investigating a complaint of a male who exposed himself to a child Wednesday at around 5:00 pm inside the Kroger grocery store in Harriman.  The description of the suspect is a white male, 5'7" - 6', stocky build, long dark greasy hair. The Harriman PD says they have only received one report of an incident of this nature verified by 911.  If anyone has any information about this case please call the Harriman Police Department crime tip line at 865-590-9010.  Investigators are going over store security camera footage. 

 

Fire damages mobile home

 

A mobile home in Clinton was damaged by a fire on Saturday afternoon.  Clinton firefighters were called to the Lakefront Mobile Home Park in Clinton at around 5:30 pm and when they arrived three minutes after the 911 call came in, reported that smoke and flames were visible.  The fire was extinguished within 12 minutes and no injuries were reported.  The fire is believed to have started in a bedroom but the exact cause of the fire, which caused about $10,000 worth of damage, has not been determined. 

 

Clinton home damaged by flames

 

Clinton firefighters were also called to a report of a fire at a home on Lee Road Tuesday afternoon, but by the time they got there, it was already out.  The homeowner, who was home with some of her children at the time of the fire, told firefighters that a toaster on a counter in the laundry room caught fire, spreading flames to some cabinets and into the wall and ceiling.  Crews checked the home to make sure the fire had not spread further.  No one was injured and the fire caused $3500 worth of damage.

 

Report:  OR scrap company pleads to charges

 

The president of an Oak Ridge scrap metal company pleaded guilty earlier this week on behalf of the company to charges that the company knowingly bought railroad metal and falsified documents to cover up the crime.  Noble Metals president and CEO Neal Weegens appeared in Anderson County Criminal Court and pleaded guilty to six misdemeanors.  According to the News-Sentinel, the company received judicial diversion and was placed on probation through September 17th, at which time if they have complied with the terms of the probation, the charge will be expunged from their records.  Noble Metals was also fined $3000 and ordered to pay $3000 to the state’s Fraud and Economic Crime Fund.  The company was named in an indictment in September of 2012 following an investigation by the Anderson County Sheriff’s Department and railroad police. 

 

ACWA wrapping up water projects

 

According to a press release, the Anderson County Water Authority has completed a water line extension project near the Lake City Industrial Park and is nearing completion of the 5-mile waterline extension on Park Road in Andersonville.  The water line extension and control valve station in front of the nursing home there was part of an effort to provide increased water pressure to that area.  The Lake City project included installing between 700 feet and 1,000 feet of new 6-inch water pipe off an existing 8-inch line and the valve control station, according to Jack Shelton, ACWA board member.  Labor for the Lake City project was provided by the Anderson County Water Authority at a cost of about $10,000, according to General Manager Larry Clowers. And, Lake City’s cost totaled $24,590 for the project materials, according to City Recorder Chris Phillips.  In addition to the Lake City project completed in February, ACWA has nearly finished the extension of water lines along a 5-mile stretch of Park Road in Andersonville, according to Shelton.  The project is expected to be completed with work on Haggerty Lane in the next few weeks, he said.  The extension of water lines along Park Road are being funded by a grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission and could provide water to an additional 160 customers, Shelton said.  Currently, the Anderson County Water Authority has an estimated 10,000 customers.

 

BCSO seizes drugs, explosives in raid

 

The Blount County Sheriff’s Office says that a 23-year-old Maryville man was arrested following a search warrant executed by the Fifth Judicial Drug Task Force Tuesday evening.   Justin Dwayne Meece has been charged with two counts of delivery of a Schedule II controlled substance (crack cocaine) in a Drug Free Zone, and two counts of possession of a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony. Meece is being held on bonds totaling $20,000 pending a hearing in Blount County General Sessions Court at 9 a.m. April 2nd.  Meece’s arrest is the result of a search warrant at a residence on Blair Lane in Rockford that stemmed from an investigation led by the Fifth Judicial Drug Task Force.  Sheriff James Lee Berrong said that due to the nature of Meece’s activities involving firearms, investigators utilized the Sheriff’s SWAT Team because the entry was considered high risk. Four individuals were detained at the time of the search, but Meece was the only one charged.  The search also resulted in the recovery of a homemade explosive device which was turned over to the Knox County Sheriff’s Bomb Squad, which was called to the scene.

 

Report:  Chancery Court candidates drug-free

 

All three of the candidates in the race for Anderson County Chancellor are drug-free.  The News-Sentinel reports that all three of the candidates vying for the Republican nomination for the post in the May 6th primary submitted to drug tests after one of the candidates suggested they take them earlier this week.  During Tuesday’s regular meeting of Anderson County Republicans, Mike Farley suggested that he and his opponents—Nicki Cantrell and Phil Harber—take the tests and even offered to pay for them out of his own pocket.  Farley told the paper that he did it in support of State Senator Randy McNally’s bill calling for every judge in the state to be drug-tested.  Cantrell reportedly paid for her own test but Harber took Farley up on his offer.  The winner of the Republican primary will succeed the retiring William Lantrip in September, as there is no one running for the Chancellor’s seat on the democratic side. 

 

ORNL getting new shipping/receiving facility

 

Demolition of the existing facility and construction on a new shipping and receiving building at Oak Ridge National Laboratory is expected to start Tuesday, according to a press release issued Wednesday.  Hickory Construction Inc. will begin demolition of an existing structure ahead of breaking ground on a LEED Gold design-built construction at Oak Ridge National Laboratory on April 1, as part of the campus-wide Site Sustainability Plan,” the press release said.  The building, which will serve as a central hub for everything that ORNL ships and receives, will be a total of 26,000 square feet. Of that, 17,000 square feet is designated as a shipping/receiving warehouse with 11 loading docks, and areas for packaging, staging, and storage. The remainder of the building is designated as office space.  The press release said Hickory weighed the option of maintaining the existing building or demolishing and building from scratch. They opted to demolish and build because it helps them achieve the LEED Gold specifications.  The project is expected to be completed on or before Feb. 16, 2015.

 

Body in water identified as missing OR man

 

Knoxville Police announced Tuesday that the remains found near a submerged truck in south Knoxville last week are those of the truck’s owner, Derek Ryan Funk, who went missing almost four years ago.  Funk was 19 years old when he was last seen leaving his girlfriend’s house in Powell on the night of May 12th, 2010.  Last week, a driver spotted the wheels of what turned out to be Funk’s pickup truck protruding from the water near Island Home Avenue in south Knoxville, not far from Funk’s home on Coffman Avenue.  The vehicle was pulled from the water Thursday afternoon and on Friday, a dive team recovered human remains near where the truck was found.  Knoxville Police say that the cause of Funk’s death has not been determined and that their investigation is continuing.  Funk graduated from Oak Ridge High School in 2009 and his parents still live in Oak Ridge.

 

McKamey, 19, passes away  after brain injury

 

Late Tuesday night, the US Naval Academy athletic department announced that 19-year-old freshman running back Will McKamey passed away on Tuesday, three days after collapsing during spring football practice.  McKamey was flown to the Maryland Shock Trauma Center following the incident and underwent surgery to treat brain swelling and a blood clot over the weekend.  He remained in a coma until he passed away Tuesday afternoon.  His parents, Kara and Randy McKamey, were very active on social media since Will went to the hospital, updating friends, family and complete strangers on the condition of their son.  The online support drew attention from all over the country and the world as prayers were offered up for Will and his family, and his story was reported on by several national media outlets.  Randy McKamey was his son’s coach at Grace Christian Academy in Knoxville and also coached football at Clinton Middle School for several years.  Will McKamey won the state Mr. Football Back of the Year award in 2012, his senior season at Grace and was majoring in oceanography at the Naval Academy.  In his final high school game, he suffered a brain injury that ended his high school career and kept him in the hospital for several days but never needed surgery during his stay.  His parents, via social media, said earlier this week that they had taken Will to four different neurosurgeons and had multiple tests run to determine if he would be able to play football again.  All of those doctors cleared him for contact and Kara McKamey wrote earlier in the week that “I want to be clear that the Navy football program nor us as his parents would have ever allowed him to be in a dangerous situation.”  Navy coaches say they have reviewed the film from Saturday’s practice and were unable to find a tackle or other hit that could have caused Will to collapse.  The McKameys have strong family ties in Clinton and Anderson County and all of us here at WYSH, WGAP and Merle FM would like to offer our sincerest condolences, thoughts and prayers to his family and friends.  Funeral arrangements are incomplete at this time but we will pass them along to you when they are announced.

 

(www.navysports.com) Midshipman Fourth Class (freshman) Will McKamey, 19, of Knoxville, Tenn., passed away while in a coma Tuesday at Baltimore Shock Trauma.  The death comes three days after Midshipman McKamey collapsed during football practice on Saturday morning.  Since then, his family has been at his bedside and they have been overwhelmed with support from classmates, teammates, coaching staff and Naval Academy leadership.  “We are all so very heartbroken by the death of Midshipman Will McKamey,” said Naval Academy Superintendent VADM Mike Miller.  “This is devastating news for his family, his classmates, his teammates and the entire Naval Academy family. We offer our deepest condolences to Will's family, friends and shipmates in the wake of this tragedy.”  Midshipman McKamey was an oceanography major in 3rd Company, and he was member of the varsity football team.  “During this most difficult of times, first and foremost, our prayers and thoughts turn to Randy, Kara and their beautiful family,” said Ken Niumatalolo, USNA Head Football Coach.  “Our deepest and most sincere condolences go out to their entire family and friends.  As our Navy football family mourns the loss of one of our brothers, we also celebrate and honor his life. He loved his family, his friends and his teammates.  The Brotherhood loves you!  Keep the ball "high and tight" in Heaven.”  Funeral arrangements are pending, and more information will be provided as it becomes available.  The Naval Academy will continue to support Will’s family, friends, and loved ones during this time of grief.  Grief counseling services and support are available to midshipmen, faculty and staff through chains of command, our chaplains, and the Midshipmen Development Center.

 

AC Jail expansion to open soon

 

Members of the Anderson County Alternatives to Incarceration Committee were given a tour of the soon-to-be-completed addition to the Anderson County Jail.  The expansion is expected to open within the next month or so and officials say that when the new maximum-security pod opens, it will give them the ability to properly segregate prisoners as required by state law.  The expansion, along with a 128-bed minimum-security dormitory, is expected to meet the county’s needs for the next decade.  The project cost just under $10.7 million, and also included renovations to the existing jail.  Some of those improvements include a new video visitation area and a larger training room for deputies, while the jail addition itself features six, two-story cell pods with a central control tower in the middle that will allow jailers to be able to see all of the cells at the same time.  Officials say that there will be four jailers on duty 24 hours a day in the new pod.  With the 128 minimum-security beds and 212 maximum-security beds, that will bring the jail’s capacity to 564 inmates.  Currently, it is certified for 224 inmates but is routinely overcrowded, which led to the state threatening to decertify the jail and prompted local officials to move forward on the project. 

 

OR school budget process underway

 

Teachers and principals in the Oak Ridge school system are asking the School Board for 2.5% pay increases as the annual budget process begins.  The Oak Ridge Education Association is also asking for step increases based upon a teacher’s experience and education, as well as an extra personal leave day and a one-time bonus of $100 for certified staff for each year of service.  The requests were presented Monday during the School Board’s monthly meeting.

 

Pennington needs heart transplant

 

Longtime East Tennessee football coach and Clinton resident Elwood Pennington is on a waiting list for heart transplant.  Pennington is a legend in the area, having coached at Clinton, Lake City, Campbell County, Halls and the Webb School, where his son Chad played before heading off to play college ball at Marshall and in the NFL for 11 years.  Pennington has had heart problems for several years and is on the waiting list for a transplant at the Emory University Hospital in Atlanta. 

 

AC Mayor displays student essays

 

(Mayor’s office) Anderson County Mayor Terry Frank invites the public to drop by and view the reports and artwork of the 2nd grade classes of Amy Ogle and Jamie Linkes from Andersonville Elementary School.  After a recent visit by the Mayor as part of the 2nd grade’s focus on government, the students worked on a project where they talked about what they would do if they were mayor.  “I promised the students I would post their reports if their teachers brought them to me.  I’m excited Ms. Ogle brought their reports and artwork so we can share them with folks here in the Courthouse,” Mayor Frank said.  “I had a wonderful time sharing question and answer time with the students.  “The compassion and concern displayed by the 2nd graders is inspiring, and I have yet to see someone stop and read their papers who did not walk away with a huge smile!”  The students’ “If I were Mayor” artwork will remain on display through April 11, on the wall outside the County Mayor’s Office in Room 208 at the Anderson County Courthouse.

 

Educators in Workplace schedule announced

 

(Submitted) Partners of Innovation Valley are pleased to announce the schedule for the 2014 Educators in the Workplace series this summer. Since 2009, the series has provided an opportunity for educators to meet with area business professionals and learn about the essential skills needed to thrive in each workplace setting.  Each host company will provide lunch and give insight into the company, its workplace culture, and specifics on ways to connect what the students learn in the classroom to what is needed in the workplace. Company representatives will offer a tour of the business, followed by a question and answer session.   Educators will benefit by discovering new ways to show students the relevance of what they learn in the classroom, hearing ideas about incorporating workplace expectations into the classroom, and observing firsthand how businesses operate. Some school districts, such as the Knox County Schools, have agreed to award in-service credits for participation. Educators should confirm with their district if in-service credit is available for participating in this series. Businesses will benefit by making connections with educators that will help mold and educate their future workforce.  The Knoxville Chamber, the Blount Partnership, the Roane Alliance, the Loudon County Economic Development Agency, the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce, and the Anderson County Economic Development Council, organized the Educators in the Workplace series. Educators from the six areas are welcome to participate in any of the events.  Company visits include:

  • Proton Power – June 4, 11 a.m.- 1 p.m.
  • Metropolitan Knoxville Airport Authority McGhee Tyson Airport – June 5, TBD
  • Green Mountain Coffee Roasters – June 6, 8 a.m.- 12 p.m.
  • Bush Brothers – June 10, 10:30 a.m.- 1 p.m.
  • McLinc –  June 11, 11 a.m.- 1 p.m.
  • Scripps Networks Interactive – June 17, 11 a.m.- 1 p.m.
  • Oak Ridge National Lab – June 18, 1 p.m.- 4 p.m.
  • DENSO – June 20, 10 a.m.- 12 p.m.
  • Knoxville Utilities Board (KUB) – June 24, 9 a.m.- 12 p.m.
  • Ball Corporation – June 26, 10:30 a.m.- 1 p.m.

The registration deadline is May 16. To register or for more information, visit http://www.knoxvillechamber.com/educators-workplace or contact Crystal Brooks, public policy assistant at the Knoxville Chamber, at 865.246.2658 orcbrooks@knoxvillechamber.com

 

OR BOE OKs bleacher project

 

Monday, the Oak Ridge School Board voted unanimously to approve a $455,000 project to replace the visitors’ side bleachers at the city’s iconic Blankenship Field, home of the Oak Ridge High School football team.  The bleachers were deemed unsafe following an inspection last year and have already been demolished.  Money for the project, which school officials would to see completed before the Wildcats’ first home football game on August 29th, will come from the school system’s fund balance.  School Board members indicated Monday that they are planning on asking the city for additional assistance to finish part of the project including a wheelchair-accessible ramp from the city-owned parking lot below the field that will take people to the field. 

 

OR Council puts kibosh on cameras

 

Monday night the Oak Ridge City Council voted 4-3 to end its five-year-contract with Redflex Traffic Systems, the company that installed and maintains the four traffic safety cameras in the city.  That contract expires on April 21st, but after that the cameras will be turned off.  The Council was considering a two-year extension of the contract with some changes, including the way revenue from the $50 camera-generated fines are split between the city and the company as well as relocating some cameras and allowing the use of mobile speed cameras.  Mayor Tom Beehan was joined in voting for that proposal by Vice Mayor Jane Miller and Councilman Charles Hensley but they were outvoted by Council members Trina Baughn, Anne Garcia Garland, Chuck Hope and David Mosby.  The cameras have been controversial since the idea was first floated to install them five years ago, and while the public rancor dissipated in recent years, feelings on both sides of the issue remain strong.  Supporters say that the two red-light and two speeding cameras have slowed down drivers who routinely exceed the speed limit and cut down on accidents.  Opponents long contended that the cameras had nothing to do with safety and were more about generating revenue for the city.  The Council also voted Monday to have the city’s traffic safety board consider a proposal to install a traffic light in front of Oak Ridge High School on the Turnpike where one of the speed cameras is in use.  That proposal could be considered later this summer.  The cameras will remain operational through April 21st and drivers will still receive citations if the cameras catch them breaking the law between now and then. 

 

Knoxville man arrested after apprehending self

 

A Knoxville man was arrested Saturday night after he allegedly broke into a house on Channel Way in Clinton.  The arrest report from the Clinton Police Department indicates that the residents of the home called 911 after 46-year-old Darron Christopher Hickman kicked in the front door, entered the house and “passed out.”  At some point, Hickman got up and left the scene before officers arrived and once they did, they located him a short time later in the nearby woods, where he was found sitting under a tree bleeding from the head.  Hickman told police he had suffered the head injury while running through the woods when he ran into a tree.  He was treated at the scene and then taken to Methodist Medical Center, where he was treated for his injury and released into police custody.  At last check this morning, he remained in the Anderson County Jail on a charge of aggravated burglary.

 

AC Mayor named treasurer of ETHRA, ETDD boards

 

Anderson County Mayor Terry Frank has been elected treasurer of the East Tennessee Development District’s board of directors as well as treasurer of the East Tennessee Human Resource Agency’s (ETHRA) Board and Policy Council.  ETHRA has several advisory groups such as Workforce LWIA4, Council on Aging and Disability, and Correctional Services among others.  The East Tennessee Development District (ETDD) is a voluntary association of municipal and county governments that are located in the mid-east region of Tennessee.  ETDD provides 16 counties and 56 municipalities with planning and development services while also serving as a forum for local governments to solve common problems associated with economic development and growth.  “Both ETHRA and ETDD play a vital role in our area when it comes to meeting needs, solving problems, and planning for the future,” Mayor Frank said.  “I have loved my time serving on the board, and look forward to being even more involved as treasurer.  Both organizations have excellent leadership and team partners, and I am excited about working with them more closely.  These organizations are a great example of how partnering empowers our region.  For example, each county could not realistically afford to have its own expert on board who is skilled in administering all the environmental oversight necessary for a sewer extension.  However, by joining together as a 16-county region, ETDD is able to finance a skilled team who can provide that type of assistance to all 16 counties and 56 municipalities.  That’s a win-win for us individually, and together,” Mayor Frank said.  Organized in 1966, ETDD continues helps local governments plan for the future by coordinating the establishment of regional and local priorities within the fields of economic and community development, according to its website, www.etdd.org.   The East Tennessee Human Resource Agency is a regional service agency, organized under The Human Resource Agency Act of 1973.  There are nine HRAs across the state, according to ETHRA’s website, www.ethra.org.  Frank has served as Anderson County’s representative on the ETDD and ETHRA boards since her election to office in 2012. 

 

Fire ravages Roane mobile home

 

A Roane County mobile home was completely destroyed by a fire late Monday night. Our partners at BBB-TV report that firefighters from the Midtown and West Roane County Fire Departments and members of the Rescue Squad rushed to the scene on Russell Road, off of Bullard Hollow Road but when the first truck arrived, the home was already gone. No one was home at the time of the fire and no injuries were reported.  Fire investigators believe it could have been an electrical fire as there power was running to the home. 

 

Spring Antique Fair turning 10

 

Mark your calendars for Friday May 2nd and Saturday May 3rd as preparations are underway for the 10th annual Clinch River Spring Antique Fair.  As it does each year, the weekend starts on Friday May 2nd from 6 to 9 pm with a kickoff party in historic downtown Clinton featuring extended hours for downtown merchants, food and live musical entertainment.  The main event on Saturday May 3rd will run from 9 am to 5 pm and over 100 antique dealers will line Market and Cullom Streets downtown displaying their wares.  Admission and parking are free and the event will go on rain or shine.  As we get closer to the Festival, we will tell you more about the rest of the fun, family-friendly activities that will take place on Saturday.  For information, you can call 865-457-5250 or 865-463-8699 or just visit www.HistoricClintonsAntiques.com  The Spring Antique Fair is sponsored by Methodist Medical Center and presented by the Antique Merchants Guild of Clinton and the city of Clinton. 

 

Follow-up:  Comptroller to examine potential conflict

 

Following up on a story WYSH broke last week, Anderson County Mayor Terry Frank says that she has asked the state Comptroller’s Office to look into whether or not any rules have been broken regarding School Board member Dail Cantrell’s ownership of a recycling company that has done business with the county government on an informal basis in the past.  Cantrell is a 25% owner of Scrap Metal Solutions in Clinton and the company was slated to receive scrap metal generated as part of the school system’s energy efficiency project.  After Cantrell divulged his ownership stake in the company, Scrap Metal Solutions was removed from the contract under consideration and attention shifted to a verbal agreement between the company and the county’s Solid Waste Department under which SMS would collect scrap metal from the county’s convenience centers and take it to a recycling facility.  That agreement has been suspended until the direct or indirect nature of Cantrell’s ownership has been examined by the county law director.  Both the School Board’s attorney Sal Varsalona and County Purchasing Agent Pamela Cotham have said that even if he were to abstain from voting on contracts pertaining to Scrap Metal Solutions, the county and the schools cannot do business with the company.  We will continue to follow this story for you.

 

AC man indicted on DUI charges…again

 

An Anderson County grand jury has indicted a man already facing charges of vehicular homicide by intoxication on another charge of DUI.  56-year-old Danny Bean is facing charges in a November 2012 wreck on Highway 61 that killed two women—Alberta Farrer and Patricia Smith—and earlier this month, was indicted on a DUI charge stemming from a single-vehicle accident last year.  On April 7th, 2013, Bean crashed his car into a ditch and when emergency crews arrived, he told them that he had taken prescription medication earlier in the day to explain his very slow and slurred speech.  Bean will appear in court March 28th on the latest indictment and is scheduled to appear in court on April 3rd for a status hearing on the vehicular homicide charges.  Bean has three previous DUI convictions on his record and remains free on bond.

 

Suspect in officer assault nabbed in OR

 

In February, we told you that a Rockwood police officer’s foot was run over by a suspect trying to elude arrest and that the suspect had not been apprehended.  That changed on Thursday night when 26-year-old James Poland of Rockwood was arrested in Oak Ridge on charges stemming from the late-February incident.  Poland faces charges of aggravated assault on a police officer, reckless endangerment and evading arrest and at last check was bring held in Anderson County for Roane County authorities.  He is also facing three probation violation charges and two charges for driving on a revoked license.  Rockwood Police say that on the afternoon of February 27th, an officer pulled over a car after noticing that neither occupant had on a seatbelt.  Poland, who was the passenger in that car, ran when police pulled the car over, but circled a building, came back to the car, pushed the driver out of the way and sped off, running over an officer’s foot in the process.  A short pursuit ensued, but Poland eluded capture until Thursday night.  The officer whose foot was run over suffered only minor injuries. 

 

BCSO:  Deputies nab alleged steroid dealer

 

A 32-year-old Maryville man was charged on several counts following a search warrant executed by the Fifth Judicial Drug Task Force Thursday.  32-year-old Christopher Joel Hartwell is being held at the Blount County Detention Facility on bonds totaling $106,000 on the following charges: two counts of delivery of a Schedule III controlled substance (steroids) in a Drug Free Zone, maintaining a dwelling for keeping and/or selling drugs, possession of a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony, and manufacture of a Schedule III controlled substance (steroids).  Sheriff James Lee Berrong said the search and arrest of Hartwell followed a two year long investigation of the sale and distribution of steroids in our area. While other arrests have already been made, this is significant due to the recovery of a pill press and the operation being within a Drug Free Zone. Tennessee remains number two in the nation for prescription drug abuse. The recovery of a device that is capable of producing one “pill” every second of any kind is a success story for law enforcement and the community in which it is eliminated.

 

Truck pulled from river believed to be missing man’s

 

Knoxville Police believe that a truck pulled from the water in south Knoxville may be that of missing local man, 19-year-old Derek Ryan Funk.  Funk, whose parents live in Oak Ridge, was last seen driving the 1996 Ford Ranger on May 12, 2010 leaving his girlfriend's house in Powell.  He never arrived at his home in south Knoxville.  Officers pulled the truck from the water near Island Home Avenue Thursday afternoon.  Officials have determined that no one was in the truck, and that it had been in the water for some time.  Investigators are now processing the pickup for clues as to what happened to missing man.  Dive team members located human remains near where the truck was found but there has been no confirmation of their identity.

 

Blount Commissioner died of natural causes

 

(BCSO) Blount County Sheriff James Lee Berrong announced Thursday that the preliminary autopsy results revealed that 69-year-old Blount County Commissioner Gordon Wright, Sr. died as a result of natural causes.  The autopsy was performed this morning at the UT Forensics Center.   Wright’s body was located Wednesday morning about a quarter mile from where his black Jeep was found on Fence Rail Gap Road Tuesday evening.  He was reported missing Tuesday afternoon at around 5:30 p.m. Sheriff’s Office deputies and several members of Blount Special Operations Response Team (BSORT) searched Tuesday evening and again Wednesday morning. Searchers located his body at around 9:30 Wednesday morning.

 

OS Beer Board hands down penalties

 

Thursday night the Oliver Springs City Council, acting as the city’s Beer Board, handed down penalties to two businesses that sold beer to an underage individual during a beer sales law compliance check.  Representatives of the Pizza Hut on South Tri-County Boulevard asked the Beer Board to revoke their beer license for six months rather than pay a $1250 fine and the Board obliged.  Lee’s Market on Tri-County Boulevard was fined $1250 and had its beer license placed on probation for six months.  It was the first offense for both businesses.

 

Campbell woman indicted in boyfriend’s death

 

A Campbell County woman has been indicted on a charge of second-degree murder in the shooting death of her boyfriend.  48-year-old Lisa Estelle Elliott of Jellico was originally charged with criminal homicide in the February 2nd shooting death of 53-year-old Larry Champlin that occurred during what has been described as an alcohol-fueled argument.  Champlin died after being shot once in the upper body, according to the Campbell County Sheriff’s Office.  Elliott is free on bond pending a Monday court appearance.

 

GSMNP announces TEEA registration

 

Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials announced open registration for educators to attend the Tennessee Environmental Education Association (TEEA) annual conference to be held September 26-28, 2014 at Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont. Park officials are partnering with Tremont staff to host the conference which brings together environmental educators from across the state to share ideas, experiences, and provide opportunities for professional development.   

The theme for the conference is The Outdoor Classroom: Where Education Comes Naturally. TEEA is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting environmental education across the state. TEEA assists in the development and coordination of environmental education programs and activities and lends support to teachers, schools, organizations, and agencies.   Conference sessions and field trips will demonstrate how environmental education meets standards, spans disciplines and grade levels, and helps get students and teachers engaged in learning out of the classroom.  For information on how to register for the conference, please contact Heather Davis at 865-448-9732, x14 or visit www.gsmit.org.

 

Conflict of interest on the AC BOE?

 

WYSH has learned that Anderson County officials are looking into whether a School Board member may be profiting illegally from doing business with the county government.  During a recent School Board meeting, a purchase order associated with the school’s new energy contract was considered that included a clause that gave all scrap metal generated during the project to Scrap Metal Solutions, a Clinton-based recycling company.  That clause was dropped after it was discovered that Board member and local attorney Dail Cantrell is a minority owner in the company and had not completed the necessary paperwork with the state to do business with the county as an elected official.  As a result, that led to the School Board removing that clause from the purchase order.  That raised other questions, though, as Scrap Metal Solutions has done business with the county in the past—albeit on a less formalized level.  The County Purchasing Department says that while there are no signed, executed contracts between the county and the company there was apparently a verbal agreement the company and the Solid Waste Department to handle and process metal collected at the county’s convenience center.  That agreement was temporarily suspended as soon as the Purchasing Department and the County Mayor heard about the potential controversy while the Law Director’s office investigates the matter further.  We will continue to follow this story for you as developments warrant.   

 

Alcoa BOE sues former employee

 

The Alcoa Board of Education is now suing a former employee accused of stealing thousands of dollars from the district.  The lawsuit comes after a state comptroller's office investigation found that Kathy A. Winters took more than $344-thousand dollars of district money for personal use.  The school system is asking to be paid back the money they say Winters stole, a civil penalty between $2500 and $10,000, punitive damages to be determined by the court, and all court costs and attorney fees.

 

Rocky Houston convicted on fed gun charges

 

It took a federal jury less than two hours to find Rocky Houston guilty of being a felon in possession of a firearm.  He will be sentenced June 26.  When court resumed Wednesday morning, closing arguments were presented, and the jury got the case at 10:45 and returned with their verdict at 12:35.  The prosecution rested Tuesday morning. The defense rested without calling any witnesses Tuesday afternoon. Rocky Houston asked the judge for an acquittal, which was denied.  A federal trial on that charge in January ended in a mistrial after a potential juror that Houston had asked his attorney to dismiss was unintentionally seated on the jury.  U.S. Marshals arrested Houston and his brother Leon in January 2013.  In November, a jury acquitted Leon of using illegal drugs while possessing guns. A jury later found him guilty of threatening his former attorney. He was sentenced to five years behind bars.  A judge sentenced him to five years in prison. Both brothers were tried but never convicted in a deadly shootout that killed Roane County Deputy Bill Jones and ride along Mike Brown back in 2006.

 

Meredith announces re-election bid

 

(Submitted) County Commissioner Rick Meredith has announced he is seeking re-election to the Anderson County Commission, representing District 2.  District 2 includes the Clinton, South Clinton, and North Clinton precincts.  “It has truly been an honor to represent the residents of District 2 on County Commission.  I take very seriously the trust that you have placed in me, and it is my hope that you will allow me to continue serving you and working with my fellow commissioners to move Anderson County forward,” Meredith said.  First elected in 2010, Meredith brings to the Commission extensive experience in economic and community development as well as knowledge of both state and local planning and program management.  He joined the Hollingsworth Companies in 2010 as Senior Vice-President for Community Development.  He formerly served in Governor Phil Bredesen’s administration as Assistant Commissioner of the Community Development Division of the Department of Economic and Community Development.  In this role, he was responsible for overseeing the Main Street and Three-Star programs, as well as programs pertaining to Energy Policy, Local Planning, and Grants and Loans.  He also pioneered several state programs designed to assist business owners and to foster community development.  Meredith cites three accomplishments that he was instrumental in bringing to reality during his tenure on County Commission.  The first is an economic fund designated by County Commission to provide funding for infrastructure and training programs as incentives to recruit industry to the county.  The second is the creation of a Retail Committee that is funded through a public-private partnership with an emphasis on recruiting retail to the County.  Included in this initiative is a full-time employee at the Chamber of Commerce designated for retail recruitment.  Finally, Meredith played a key role in obtaining funding for the purchase of land for a new industrial park that is a key component in making Anderson County competitive in the recruitment of industry and job creation.  “By emphasizing the importance of both retail and industrial recruitment, Anderson County is on the cutting edge of economic development and becomes more attractive to businesses and industries looking to locate in East Tennessee,” Meredith said.  As County Commissioner, Meredith serves as Chairman of the Agriculture Committee and as a member of the Legislative Committee, Operations Committee, Redistricting Committee, and the Retail Advisory Committee.  He previously served as President of the County Officials Association of Tennessee and is a recipient of the Robert E. Gonia Regional Leadership Award for community leadership.  In addition, he has served on the Board of Directors of the Anderson County Chamber of Commerce and the United Way of Anderson County.  He attended the University of Tennessee Institute for Public Service, and is a Certified Public Administrator.  A lifelong resident of Anderson County, Meredith resides in Clinton with his wife, Kim.  They are the parents of three adult children and have three grandchildren. 

 

ORT:  No more protests over Y-12 contract

 

(Oak Ridge Today) After more than one year and three protests, a team led by the Babcock and Wilcox Co. has dropped its opposition to the transition to a new contractor at the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge and at the Pantex Plant in Amarillo, Texas.  The team, Nuclear Production Partners LLC, had challenged the National Nuclear Security Administration’s decision to award the consolidated contract to another team, Consolidated Nuclear Security LLC, or CNS. That decision was first announced in January 2013 and reaffirmed in November. The contract could be worth $22.8 billion during a 10-year period.  Earlier this month, federal officials said the transition to CNS started shortly after the U.S. Government Accountability Office denied the third and final protest by Nuclear Production Partners LLC, or NP2.  In a press release Wednesday, B&W said the NP2 team, which it leads, does not plan to take any further action on the decision to award the management and operating contract to CNS.  The case could have been appealed to the U.S. Court of Federal Claims in Washington, D.C.  B&W-led companies have held the Y-12 contract since 2000 and the Pantex contract since 2001. Y-12 is currently operated by B&W Y-12, a partnership of the Babcock and Wilcox Co. and Bechtel Corp, and Pantex is managed and operated by Babcock & Wilcox Technical Services Pantex LLC. Bechtel, which has operational headquarters in Reston, Va., is a partner on that project as well.

 

Missing Blount commissioner found dead

 

(BCSO, March 19th) Blount County Sheriff James Lee Berrong said searchers located the body of 69-year-old Blount County Commissioner Gordon Wright, Sr. at around 9:30 this morning.  Mr. Wright’s body was located in a ravine about a quarter of a mile from where his black Jeep was found on Fence Rail Gap Road Tuesday evening.  The Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigation Division is investigating the circumstances surrounding Mr. Wright’s death.  Sheriff’s Office deputies along with several members of the Blount Special Operations Response Team (BSORT) resumed the search for Mr. Wright early this morning.  Mr. Wright was last seen Monday afternoon when he left to spend the night at his cabin at the dead end of Fence Rail Gap Road.

 

Zoning case against Davis dismissed

 

The citation against Clinton CPA Teddy Davis over an alleged zoning violation was dismissed Tuesday in Clinton City Court.  Davis was issued a citation last summer after someone complained that he was living in a camper on his property on Seivers Boulevard.  Davis says he slept in the camper only a few nights while his refinished hardwood floors dried and, to protest the citation, erected a tent in his front yard and began sleeping in a cot on the property.  He also put up a sign that says the city has violated his Constitutional rights, a sign he says will remain until city officials admit to the accusation.  Davis is the campaign treasurer for Phil Harber, a Clinton attorney seeking the Republican nomination for Chancellor, and says that the city did not begin targeting him until that was announced.  One of Harber’s opponents, Mike Farley, is the Clinton City Judge but recused himself from hearing Tuesday’s case.  City officials say they dropped the citation because Davis was unaware of the zoning ordinance, adding that the city’s actions against Davis came well before he joined Harber’s campaign.  Davis says that the way it is written now, the zoning ordinance in question makes it illegal for kids to camp out in their own yards. 

 

AC man pleads guilty in 2010 shooting death

 

Last week a Briceville man pleaded guilty to charges of voluntary manslaughter and aggravated assault in a 2010 shooting that left his neighbor dead.  39-year-old Larry Joshua Ramsey shot 46-year-old Bobby Allen Turpin during an argument in front of Ramsey’s house on New River Highway on April 14th, 2010.  The argument stemmed from Turpin accusing Ramsey’s then-11-year-old son of stealing a pocketknife.  Ramsey grabbed his pistol before going outside to confront Turpin and at some point during the argument shot and killed him.  Turpin died at the scene and Ramsey has been in custody ever since.  He was sentenced to 12 years behind bars for the manslaughter plea and four years on the assault plea, to be served concurrently.  Ramsey was given credit for time already served.  He was also ordered to pay $5680 in restitution to the state’s Division of Claims Administration.  Ramsey will have to serve at least 45% of his sentence before he is eligible for parole due to his prior criminal history.

 

AC Commission OKs workhouse designation

 

Monday, the Anderson County Commission voted to designate the Jail as a workhouse as part of the larger, overall plan to reduce the population of the oft-crowded Detention Facility.  The workhouse designation must still be approved by the state, but when it goes into effect, is expected to give judges more options when sentencing nonviolent offenders who come through their courtrooms.  County officials say that the designation could allow them to defray some of the daily cost of housing an inmate while allowing offenders who meet eligibility guidelines to keep their jobs even while serving time.  Inmates would be charged $15 a day for the right to go to their day jobs and for every day worked, would receive credit for two days behind bars, while reporting back to the Jail at night.  The county is in the process of opening a 212-bed expansion of the Jail and officials have indicated they hope to begin moving into the addition within the next month or so. 

 

Longtime AC Commissioner Haun passes

 

Longtime Anderson County Commissioner Doug Haun passed away Sunday at the age of 78 after suffering a stroke.  Mr. Haun served on the Commission representing Lake City for 16 years, was an Army veteran and was extremely active in his community.  His family will receive friends Wednesday night from 6 to 8 pm at Second Baptist Church in Clinton with his funeral service to follow. 

 

Campbell man charged in robbery

 

A Campbell County grand jury has indicted a man on charges that he robbed a convenience store in January.  32-year-old Daniel Stanfill has been charged with aggravated robbery in connection to the holdup at Big O’s Gas Station & Convenience Store on State Highway 63.  The indictment was returned last week and Stanfill was booked into jail on the charge and released on bond.  No one was hurt in the robbery itself.

 

Kingston house fire probed

 

Authorities are investigating what started a fire that caused heavy damage to a Kingston home on Monday morning.  The fire was reported at a home on Old North Kentucky Street in Kingston just after 5 am Monday and firefighters reported that flames were coming from the roof of the house upon their arrival.  No one was home at the time of the fire and no injuries were reported.  Investigators are working to determine the exact cause of Monday’s fire.

 

Blount man killed at Florida DUI checkpoint

 

A 60-year-old Louisville man classified by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation as a violent sex offender was shot and killed after driving through a DUI checkpoint and pulling a gun on a Lake City, Fla., police officer Friday night.  According to a news release from the Lake City Police Department, 60-year-old Jimmy Eugene Barker of Louisville was driving a black 2012 Dodge pick-up truck when he came upon a DUI checkpoint at 11:49 p.m. on U.S. 90 West across from the Florida Highway Patrol. While officers were making contact with Barker, he drew a handgun and pointed it out of the vehicle window at Officer Michael Lee. As he struggled with Barker, Lee grabbed the handgun and used his free hand to draw his own weapon, shooting Barker, who died at the scene.  Barker’s brother, who was not identified, was with him in the truck but was not injured and is cooperating tithe the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.  The State Attorney’s Office and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement were called to investigate the shooting and responded to the scene. Lee has been placed on administrative leave as a standard procedure, pending the ongoing investigation. 

 

State high court declines to hear appeal in Rogers, Clinton suit

 

Last week the Tennessee Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal of the dismissal of a lawsuit filed against the city of Clinton and a road-paving company, effectively ending a nearly 20-year-long legal battle.  A grassroots organization called Citizens for Safety and Clean Air made up of Norris residents formed to fight plans by the Rogers Group to reopen a rock quarry and build an asphalt plant on land in the Bethel community annexed several years ago by the city of Clinton.  The group filed a lawsuit in Anderson County Chancery Court to stop those plans from going forward, alleging that the city’s rezoning of the property for heavy industrial use constituted illegal spot zoning and that the project would cause increases in heavy truck traffic and air and noise pollution.  Chancellor William Lantrip dismissed the suit, saying that zoning is essentially a legislative matter and not the domain of the courts.  An appeals court agreed last fall and last week, the state’s high court declined to hear the case, essentially clearing the way for the project to move forward. 

 

GSMA receives awards

 

(GSMA) The Great Smoky Mountains Association earned two first-place awards and four honorable mentions in the Media and Partnership Awards competition held by the Association of Partners for Public Lands in Albuquerque, New Mexico last month.  First-place honors were awarded in the Informational Publications category to Smokies Guide, the official Great Smoky Mountains National Park quarterly newspaper, and in the Electronic Media category to “An Island in the Sky: Clingmans Dome and the Spruce -Fir Forest,” the first in GSMA’s Smoky Mountain Explorer video series.  Contest judges said of the newspaper: “The Smokies Guide consistently delivers well-written content in an engaging style and design. It is a model of an effective publication that stands the test of time. (It consists of) positive, up-beat, lively text, (which is) easy to read and comprehend. Makes me want to clip and save articles.”  Of “An Island in the Sky,” judges said: “This video addresses all aspects of the agency mission from cultural and natural history and recreation to ecosystem management, invasive species, climate change and other emerging issues. This video does an excellent job of simplifying some very complex concepts.”  “I’m proud of the work our staff does everyday to further the mission of our organization,” said GSMA Executive Director Terry Maddox. “While most visitors may not realize how often they interact with the many GSMA-supported projects ongoing in the park, I assure you their time here would be less fulfilling if these endeavors did not exist.”

GSMA staffers received honorable mentions in these APPL contest areas:

• 2014 Great Smoky Mountain Calendar, Informational Publications category

• “Smoky Mountain Minute” video series, Multi-media category

• 60th Anniversary Celebration and Membership Appreciation Weekend, Commemorative Program/Project category

• “Scavenger Hikes Adventures and Mountain Journal, Children’s Media category

The Association of Partners for Public Lands’ mission is to enhance the potential of its members, all of which are dedicated to enriching the public’s understanding, appreciation and stewardship of America’s natural and cultural heritage.  Since its inception in 1953, Great Smoky Mountains Association has given more than $32 million to support the ongoing educational, scientific and preservation efforts of Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Support for the non-profit association is derived primarily from online and visitor center sales of educational products and membership dues. Those who wish to heighten their Smokies experience are encouraged to join GSMA.  For more information about GSMA products and membership opportunities, “like” them on Facebook.com/greatsmokymountainsassociation; visit and shop their website www.SmokiesInformation.org; or call toll-free 888.898.9102.

 

THP:  One dead in Morgan wreck

 

An Oakdale man died Friday morning in a single-vehicle accident in Morgan County.  The Tennessee Highway Patrol says that 37-year-old George Beach had been headed north on Airport Road in Oakdale shortly before 11:30 am Friday when his 2005 Ford SUV crossed over the southbound lanes and left the roadway.  There, his vehicle traveled along a ditchline before striking an elevated driveway culvert that caused the SUV to become airborne.  The SUV came to rest in the same ditch on the opposite side of the culvert against the embankment.  Alcohol and drugs are not believed to have played roles in Friday’s accident but the troopers report indicates that Beach was not wearing his seatbelt.  No one else was in the vehicle and no other vehicles were involved.  

 

AC BOE awards Foster with new deal, raise

 

Thursday, the Anderson County School Board voted to award Director of Schools Larry Foster a new contract that runs through June 30th, 2017.  Foster has indicated he would like to retire at the end of the new contract.  The new deal raises his annual salary to $128,000; increases his number of vacation days to 20; provides up to $4000 a year for school-related travel expenses, up to $1000 a year for continuing training and up to $3500 a year to cover the dues in professional organizations and subscriptions to academic publications.  Foster has been director of schools since 2009.

 

OR parents, teachers seem to favor ‘balanced’ calendar

 

A second telephone opinion poll on a proposed calendar change for the Oak Ridge school system Thursday night yielded similar results to the first one given to teachers and parents last month in which respondents said they prefer to adopt a so-called “balanced” academic calendar beginning in the fall of 2015.  The balanced calendar would have classes at all schools in Oak Ridge—including Willow Brook Elementary and the Preschool---begin in the first week of August, with two-week breaks in the fall, over Christmas and in the spring while shortening summer vacation to between 7 and 8 weeks.  Proponents of this calendar say that shorter summer breaks in particular—currently 11 to 12 weeks long—will help students retain more of what they learn while in the classroom, that having all the schools on the same calendar will save some money on food and transportation and that it provides the same number of days of classroom instruction in each grading period.  No decision has yet been made as the Oak Ridge School Board continues to mull its options.

 

Half of legal bill in ACSD/Mayor flap revealed

 

The legal bill for the Anderson County Sheriff’s part of the legal dispute with the County Mayor over his department’s salary agreement totals $51,661.70.  Last week, the county Budget Committee approved a request from Sheriff Paul White to pay that bill out of increased revenues from prisoner boarding fees.  The full County Commission will consider that recommendation when it meets tonight at 6:30 pm in room 312 of the Courthouse.  For her part, Mayor Terry Frank says that, to this point, she has paid for her own legal bills out of her own pocket but has not disclosed the amount of those bills.  She told the News-Sentinel last week that she is not currently pursuing reimbursement despite the fact that she was the one who was sued.  Frank refused to sign the Sheriff’s salary agreement in July, saying that doing so as presented to her would have been beyond the scope of her authority and would have effectively locked the county into a property tax increase.  The Sheriff maintained that despite the fact that the numbers on the sheet represented only what they were required to show by state law and that the department had agreed to abide by the budget numbers approved by the County Commission during last year’s budget process.  A settlement reached in December between the two parties laid out the guidelines for the Sheriff’s budget for this year and allowed him to hire 15 new jailers to staff the soon-to-be-opened expansion of the county jail. 

 

State awards Aisin, Eagle Bend training grants

 

Two Clinton manufacturing facilities have been awarded Incumbent Worker Training grants by the state of Tennessee.  Wednesday, Governor Bill Haslam and Tennessee Department of Labor & Workforce Development Commissioner Burns Phillips announced that a $25,000 grant has been awarded to Eagle Bend Manufacturing and that Aisin Automotive Casting Tennessee Inc. received the same amount.  The Eagle Bend grant will provide 76 employees with training in repair/welder qualification & re-qualification, advanced product quality planning (APQP), and FANUC (handling tool operation and programming).  The Aisin grant will provide 10 of that company’s employees with training in mechanical class and maintenance.  “Incumbent worker grants provide critical training and education to employees across the state in the continued effort to have a workforce that meets current marketplace demands,” said Governor Haslam, while Commissioner Burns stated that “In 2014, we will give $750,000 to 37 companies throughout the state,” said Commissioner Phillips.  “As a result 1,316 workers will benefit from the training these grants are providing.” Since the program’s inception, Incumbent Worker Training grants have assisted more than 650 businesses by providing $15 million to train approximately 52,000 employees.  Certain criteria must be met to qualify for the Incumbent Worker Training Program. First, employers must be in operation in Tennessee for at least one year prior to their 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, Eagle Bend Manufacturing stated this grant would allow the incumbent worker to gain the skills necessary to properly program the robots to perform specific functions, utilize APQP tools to manage the APQP processes, and increase production with higher quality while promoting a layoff aversion strategy.  In their application for the grant, Aisin Automotive Casting Tennessee Inc. stated the funds would be used to enhance the skill levels in the maintenance department to interact with state of the art equipment, minimize downtime, and have repairs completed in-house. This will result in saving time and money while also promoting a layoff-aversion strategy.  The East Tennessee Human Resource Agency played a key role in obtaining both grants.  The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development administers the Incumbent Worker Training program, which has been structured to be flexible to meet the individual business's training objectives. The business may use public, private, or its own in-house training provider based on the nature of the training. 

 

ACSD:  Elderly man robbed at gunpoint

 

The Anderson County Sheriff’s Department says that an 83-year-old Andersonville man was robbed at gunpoint outside his house on Andersonville Highway Wednesday afternoon.  In a statement, the ACSD says that the victim had been in his garage shortly after noon on Wednesday when he was approached by a man who displayed a pistol and before stealing cash and the homeowner’s car.  The victim, who was not reported to have been injured in the incident, called 911 and several deputies converged on the area, spotting the stolen car a short time later on Indian Gap Road.  The suspect bailed out on foot and fled into the woods, according to the release, and eluded capture despite a search of the area.  He is described as a white male in his 20s about six feet tall with a very thin build.  At the time of the hold-up he was wearing a black toboggan, a dark green jacket and what were described as dingy blue jeans.  Investigators believe, based upon the suspect’s actions and conversation with the victim that he lives in or around Andersonville.  The Criminal Investigation Division is handling the case and if you have any information, deputies ask that you call the Sheriff’s Department at 865-457-2414.

 

Report:  AC schools owe 4 over $84K in overtime

 

Four employees of the Anderson County school system’s central office staff will receive a total of almost $85,000 in unpaid overtime following an audit by the US Labor Department.  The News-Sentinel reports that school officials were not fined over the oversight but were ordered to pay the affected employees a total of $84,738 in back pay owed to them, in one case dating back almost 30 years.  The audit performed last month showed that one worker was owed overtime pay dating back 30 years, another was owed for 28 years and the other two for between 15 and 20 years.  School leaders tell the paper that they were under the incorrect impression that at least a couple of those positions were exempt from fair labor standards governing overtime, which dictate that if a worker accumulates 240 hours of so-called compensatory time, they would have to be paid time-and-a-half for any additional hours.  The workers will be paid using savings from the recent refinancing of school debt and officials are working to bring its overtime bookkeeping records into compliance with federal standards. 

 

CPD:  Clearance rate up, total crimes down in 2013

 

The Clinton Police Department says that the percentage of crimes solved by its officers and detectives increased in 2013 while the total number of crimes reported decreased.  In a press release issued Wednesday, officials say that the latest TBI crime statistics indicate that officers cleared “nearly half of the reported crimes [in 2013], up about 5% from 2012’s clearance rate.  The release also states that “a total of 888 substantial offenses were reported to the Clinton Police in 2013…down from 1,116 reported in 2012.  Going back even further, the CPD says that over the past ten years, the clearance rate has improved by 15.23 percent while total reported crime is down by 36%.  Police Chief Rick Scarbrough says that crimes against persons have declined by over 15% over the past decade while crimes against society—things like drug, gambling and weapons crimes—have declined by 32% in the past 10 years.  Scarbrough says, "The numbers are moving in the right direction, and that's good news for everyone in Clinton." 

 

Revised emergency sectors around fed facilities

 

(DOE) The Tennessee Emergency Management Agency issued revised emergency sectors for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge Reservation on Wednesday. These sectors, labeled A-Y, according to a DOE release, determine which areas should take action if an event occurs at one of DOE’s Oak Ridge sites. The new sector boundaries have improved correlation with roads, waterways, and recognizable landmarks.  “Knowing their emergency sectors will help residents better understand what to do when directed to take action by state or local emergency officials. Instructions pertaining to their safety will be issued by sector,” said Jim Bassham, TEMA director. “Periodic updates to emergency plans, like these changes, are part of TEMA’s normal review process.”  DOE and TEMA have been partnering in a public information campaign aimed at over 50,000 people that live or work within a five-mile radius of Oak Ridge’s three main sites: the Y-12 National Security Complex, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and East Tennessee Technology Park. An updated version of a joint publication, “What to do if an emergency occurs on the Oak Ridge Reservation,” is now available on DOE’s website for area residents to read and reference at http://science.energy.gov/isc/emergency-information/.  “Safe operations are a top priority for all of the managers and employees throughout the reservation,” said Larry Kelly, manager of DOE’s Oak Ridge Reservation. “However, in the rare event of an emergency, TEMA wants to make sure the public knows exactly who is impacted, where to go, and what to do.”  While the risk of a major emergency is very low, residents and employees near the reservation need to know what to do if an emergency requires protective actions. DOE and TEMA’s publication contains information about what to do if the warning sirens sound, how to shelter-in-place, locations of evacuation shelters, and important descriptions of Oak Ridge’s sites. Finally, the booklet provides breakout maps that give directions for evacuation routes depending on where people live and work.

 

Tennessee debt continues to shrink

 

(Tennessee State Comptroller) The State of Tennessee Indebtedness Report, which was released by the Comptroller’s office Wednesday, documents how the state’s total debt fell during the last six months of last year by $347 million - or more than a third of a billion dollars.  Of that decrease, the state reduced the debt on its general obligation bonds, which are used to pay for most of the government’s capital projects, by more than $95 million. That’s part of a two-year decrease of nearly $190 million.  Lower debt translates into lower interest payments on money owed, which, in turn, translates into substantial savings for Tennessee taxpayers.  There’s a simple reason why the amount of debt is decreasing – as the state pays down its old debt, it is borrowing less to fund new projects.  “The conservative principles of our state legislators and our governor are reflected in this indebtedness report,” Comptroller Justin P. Wilson said. “This legislature and this governor told their constituents that they would hold down spending in state government and that is exactly what they are doing.”  The indebtedness report comes a few months after a report issued by Fitch Ratings, one of the country’s largest bond rating agencies, concluded that Tennessee’s debt ratio was the lowest in the nation.  To view the indebtedness report online, go to: http://www.comptroller.tn.gov/sl/index.asp.

 

House of Bryant sues over Lake City-to-Rocky Top name change

 

The Gatlinburg-based publisher of the iconic bluegrass song “Rocky Top” has filed a federal lawsuit seeking to prevent Lake City from changing its name to Rocky Top, a move widely seen as a necessary first step in an ambitious plan to turn Lake City into a tourist destination.  House of Bryant Publications was founded by the sons of the song’s writers, Boudleaux and Felice Bryant and owns numerous Rocky Top-related trademarks.  In a press release issued Tuesday by Nashville law firm Waddey Patterson, attorneys say they believe that the proposed name change is “an attempt to unfairly exploit the fame and goodwill of House of Bryant’s intellectual property.”  “The Bryant sons would have preferred not to have to resort to a lawsuit to protect their parents’ legacy, but their efforts to reach an understanding with Lake City have been unsuccessful,” the press release said. “Recent actions toward authorizing Lake City’s name change in the Tennessee General Assembly have left House of Bryant no choice but to commence a lawsuit. The Bryants hope that this matter can be resolved quickly.”  The lawsuit was filed Monday in US District Court in Knoxville and names Lake City, the Rocky Top Tennessee Marketing and Manufacturing Company, County Commissioner Tim Isbel, Franklin resident Brad Coriel, Lake City businessman Mark Smith, Lake City Vice Mayor Michael Lovely and Knoxville businessman Carl “Buddy” Warren as defendants.  The suit is seeking an injunction prohibiting the name change and alleges trademark infringement, false advertising, unlawful taking, deceptive trade practice, unfair competition and claims that allowing the town to rename itself Rocky Top would “cause dilution of the distinctive quality of [House of Bryant’s trademarks.]  The suit also claims that the city is determined to change its name “due to [a] relative lack of industry, manufacturing, tourism, or any other employment base or economic driver.“  In November the Lake City Council unanimously approved drafting a private act recommending that the name be changed to Rocky Top, which developers say is an essential first step toward creating tourist attractions designed to take advantage of the town’s two exits off of I-75.  Officials say that the project can not move forward without the name change due to its marketability.  The vote came after Waddey Patterson sent officials a letter warning them that renaming the town could result in legal action.  The name change must be considered by the State Legislature and is currently working its way through House committees in Nashville.  We will continue to follow this story for you.  Our partners at Oak Ridge Today have posted the lawsuit on their website and you can read it by visiting http://oakridgetoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/Complaint-HOB-v.-Lake-City-et-al.pdf.

 

ORPD nabs 2 men on drug charges

 

Oak Ridge Police say they have arrested two men for the second time in less than a year on drug-related charges.  Monday afternoon, Oak Ridge Police officers and members of the 7th Judicial District’s Crime Task Force executed a search warrant at a home located at 192 South Benedict Avenue in Oak Ridge.  During the raid, officers recovered approximately 1.6 pounds of marijuana and $11,354 in cash as well as assorted drug paraphernalia, according to a release from Chief James Akagi.  Two men identified as 24-year-old Donnie Allen Irby and 23-year-old David James Irby, both of Oak Ridge, were arrested at the scene and charged with the possession of controlled substances for resale, violating a drug-free school zone and possession of drug paraphernalia.  As of this morning, both men remained in custody at the Anderson County Jail.  Officials say that the same two men were arrested and charged with similar crimes in May of last year following a raid on a house at 248 South Benedict Avenue in which authorities say they seized around two pounds of marijuana and over $14,000 in cash. 

 

Harriman Council OKs ordinance change to allow limited beer sales

 

The Harriman City Council passed a change to the city’s beer ordinance Tuesday night by a vote of 5 to 1 with one absence.  No one spoke in favor of or against the proposal during a public hearing that preceded the meeting.  The change means that anyone who wishes to sell alcohol within the city limits except for Riverfront Park and the Flour Mill Flats ball complex can do so with a permit they will be able to obtain from the city. 

 

Last of K-25 debris removed

 

The demolition project at the former K-25 site in Oak Ridge is officially complete as the last of the debris from the mile-long, U-shaped building was hauled away.  Crews began demolishing the structure, which when it was built during the Manhattan Project was the world’s largest building under one roof, in December of 2008 at what is now called the East Tennessee Technology Park.  The demolition itself was completed in December and since then crews have been hauling off the debris, much of which is still radioactive. 

 

Follow-Up:  Alexander Inn off endangered list

 

As we reported yesterday, on Monday, the East Tennessee Preservation Alliance released its newest Endangered Heritage List for East Tennessee. While there are still many historic structures that need help including the Magnet Mills property in Clinton, one building has finally been removed from that list.  The Alexander Inn in Oak Ridge has been a mainstay on the endangered list for years. The historic inn dates back to the 1940's, but fell into disrepair over the years.  Loudon County based developers Family Pride Corporation have been working since last year to stabilize and are now renovating the property for its new use as a senior living facility.  The renovated building will be called the Guest House Alexander Inn Senior Living.  According to its Facebook page, several people have already signed up to live at the facility.

 

CPD investigates report of stun gun at school

 

Monday (3/10), Clinton Police investigated a report that a 12-year-old boy was bringing a stun gun to class at Clinton Elementary School.  No stun gun was found but the student reportedly admitted that he had brought it to class in the past.  That student was suspended and his parents told police they plan to get rid of the stun gun.  The investigation turned up no evidence the device had been used at school but officers did speak with another student who told them that the stun gun had been used on him at his request because he wanted to see what it felt like. 

 

OS man facing several charges in OR

 

An Oliver Springs man was arrested on several charges following an incident that began Sunday afternoon (3/9) at the Wal-Mart in Oak Ridge.  51-year-old Michael Seeber is charged with especially aggravated kidnapping, aggravated assault and theft and at last check remained in custody at the Anderson County Jail.  The incident began at the Wal-Mart in Oak Ridge when a store employee confronted Seeber as he allegedly tried to steal $37 worth of batteries.  Seeber dropped the merchandise and ran to a green Toyota in the parking lot, which drove off after he got in on the passenger side.  When an Oak Ridge police officer tried to pull the vehicle over, the female driver reportedly mouthed the words “help me” to the officer as he pulled alongside.  The car was stopped a short time later and the woman told police that Seeber had threatened her with a knife and told her to keep driving even after police began pursuing them.  The knife was found under the floormat on the passenger side of the car.  The woman was not injured in the incident.

 

Harriman man hit by train recovering

 

An elderly Harriman man is recovering after being struck by a train late Sunday night (3/9) in Harriman.  80-year-old Edward Wells Sr. was taken to the hospital for treatment of serious injuries following the 10:30 pm incident, which occurred on the tracks behind the Sonic Drive-In on Roane Street.  Harriman Police say that the train crew told them that it appeared that Wells was trying to get hit as he walked directly into the train’s path, ignoring the warning whistle.  Norfolk Southern Police will conduct the rest of the investigation.  People close to Wells told our partners at BBB-TV that he was listed in serious but stable condition at UT Medical Center and that he is expected to make a full recovery.

 

Magnet Mills among ETPA’s endangered list

 

Monday (3/10), the East Tennessee Preservation Alliance announced its 2014 East Tennessee's Endangered Heritage list of endangered historic buildings and places.  This is the fifth such list released by the organization, selected by the ETPA Board of Directors from nominations received from members and the general public.  ETPA says preservation strategies are developed for each site on the list and can include working with current property owners, government officials, citizens and/or potential new owners. ETPA sometimes organizes volunteer work days as well.  To get involved with ETPA's advocacy efforts, please call (865) 523-8008
2014 East Tennessee's Endangered Heritage List

  • Magnet Mills in Clinton:  Magnet Mills dates back to 1906 and was a thriving business for years before the owners closed it in 1967 following a lengthy strike by employees.  Since then, it was briefly used in the 1980s by two businesses but has been vacant since.  A plan to redevelop the property was mothballed in 2008 when the economic downturn began.
  • Roper Tavern in Dandridge
  • Former Tennessee Military Institute in Sweetwater
  • Stonecipher-Kelly-McCartt House in Morgan County
  • Old Post Office in LaFollette
  • The Tanner Cultural Center in Newport
  • Abandoned Rural Schoolhouses across Entire Region
  • Morristown College in Morristown
  • Historic Dandridge School in Dandridge
  • Central Business District of Lenoir City
  • Brushy Mountain State Correctional Complex in Morgan County
  • Neglected Cemeteries across Entire Region
  • New Salem Baptist Church in Sevierville
  • Oak Grove School in Sharps Chapel

 

None injured in AC fire, cause under investigation

 

The Anderson County Sheriff’s Department is investigating a fire reported early Tuesday morning (3/11) on Moser Lane.  The fire was reported at around 1 am by the property owner Tim White.  White told officials that he had gotten up at around 1 am to use the restroom and spotted fire coming from the old farmhouse that was on the property when he purchased it 10 years ago.  He said that the farmhouse, located next to his new house, had not had power connected to it in several years and that it was being used primarily for storage.  He said that he and wife went to try and extinguish the fire and saw two fires burning different parts of the building.  The fire was extinguished and no injuries were reported.  The initial investigation did not turn up any visible signs of an accelerant but the case has been turned over to the Criminal Investigation Division for follow-up.

 

ORT:  OR Council, BOE resolve debt issue

 

(Oak Ridge Today) The Oak Ridge City Council and Board of Education have resolved a dispute over Anderson County sales tax revenues and debt payments for the $66 million renovation of Oak Ridge High School.  The dispute, which started almost a decade ago, centered on how to use the Oak Ridge school system’s portion of Anderson County sales tax revenues generated by a tax increase approved by county voters in a 2006 referendum that trumped a 2004 sales tax increase approved by voters that had been sought to repay the high school debt.  School officials had argued that they could keep their share of the revenues generated in the county outside of Oak Ridge, while city officials had said all the revenues, whether collected inside the city or outside of it, should be used for high school debt payments.  A resolution unanimously approved by the school board in February and the City Council in a 5-2 vote last week allows the schools to keep its portion of the new Anderson County revenues collected outside the city. However, the resolution spells out how the money has to be spent: on technology enhancements, debt reduction, capital repairs and equipment, and grant matches and innovative educational projects.  The agreement will remain in effect until the high school debt is paid or 2041. Most officials have called it a compromise, saying it will allow the two sides to work together.  The amount of money in question is up to about $300,000 annually, although the total varies from year to year.  For more, visit www.oakridgetoday.com.

 

ET’s 1st female federal judge sworn in

 

East Tennessee’s first female federal judge was sworn in on Monday (3/10).  Knoxville attorney Pamela Reeves was sworn in at the federal building in Knoxville by Chief US District Judge Thomas Varlan.  The Senate voted 99-0 last week to confirm Reeves to the post to which she was appointed by President Barack Obama.  Reeves will replace US District Judge Thomas Phillips, who retired last year.  She was nominated for the post last year but Congressional squabbles over the appointment process delayed her confirmation. 

 

Follow-Up:  Background on Clinton zoning dispute

 

Following up on a story we brought you last week, there is still no end in sight to the dispute between a local CPA and the Clinton city government.  As we have reported, CPA Teddy Davis lives on Charles Seivers Boulevard and is embroiled in a zoning dispute with the city over allegations that he was illegally living in a camper parked on his property.  Davis denies those allegations, telling the News-Sentinel this week that he did spend a few nights in the camper last year while work was being done in his house.  Living in a camper on a piece of residential property is forbidden in the city and Davis says he was cited to City Court last month on the alleged violation.  After he received the summons, Davis fought back by erecting a tent on his front lawn and sleeping on a cot in his yard.  He says that Police Chief Rick Scarbrough, who lives across the street from him, sent him a letter after the tent went up informing he could not live in the tent either.  A sign proclaiming that his rights are being trampled by the city greets drivers on Seivers.  Davis told the News-Sentinel that the “harassment” did not start until after he had been named the treasurer for local attorney Phil Harber’s campaign for the Republican nomination for Anderson County Chancellor.  Harber has a long history of high-profile disputes with the Clinton government.  One of Harber’s opponents in the May primary is Clinton City Judge Mike Farley, who has recused himself from hearing the case when it goes to court next week.  A special judge will be appointed to hear the case.  City officials have refused to comment, citing the upcoming court case.

 

Woman jailed on PI charge at child’s school

 

A Clinton woman was arrested and a man barred from the campus of South Clinton Elementary School on Friday (3/7).  SRO Anthony Griffin was on duty at the school Friday when he noticed a man and a woman signing the woman’s child into school for the day.  The woman appeared to be unsteady on her feet and had slurred speech, according to Griffin’s report.  The principal asked the SRO to check on the pair and he made contact with them outside the building.  The woman stated that she had taken Suboxone but nothing else.  She agreed to a search of her vehicle and Griffin found a prescription bottle in her name for 90 Xanax under the driver’s seat.  30 pills were missing despite the prescription having been filled just one day earlier and she said they were at her house.  The woman was arrested and charged with public intoxication and the man was banned from the school property by the principal.  We are not identifying the woman due to the privacy concerns of the student she was signing in.

 

In-person Girl Scout Cookie sales begin Friday!

 

For anyone who hasn’t had a chance to pre-order their favorite Girl Scout cookies, the time to buy them in person has arrived. On Feb. 28, Girl Scout cookie booth sales will begin in Anderson County. The Girl Scout Council of the Southern Appalachians (GSCSA) has been accepting pre-orders since Jan. 10 and will begin onsite sales this weekend.  GSCSA reports that there are 480 girls within Anderson County. Finding a booth is easier than ever and anyone interested locating a booth should go to iwantcookies.org and use the booth locator link.  “Booth sales are an important part of teaching business and entrepreneurial skills to the girls. Running the booths allows troop members to work on their decision-making skills as well as money management, communicating with their customers, business ethics, and goal setting,” said GSCSA CEO Booth Kammann. “Girls are running a business every time they open a booth to sell cookies.”  All booth sales will take place in front of local businesses are Feb. 28 through March 23. Booth sale cookie varieties will be limited to the council’s “Top 6” best sellers, and this year, boxes are $4.00 each.  Operation: APPRECIATION continues through the month of booth sales as GSCSA troops try to reach their goal of 20,000 boxes of cookies donated directly to the armed forces in appreciation of their service.  New this year is a contest to win cookies for a year. Facebook users have the opportunity to participate in a new “Want Cookies, Win Cookies!” sweepstakes that will begin on Feb. 28 and end on March 30 at 11:59 p.m. Anyone can enter the contest. Facebook users simply need to “like” the Girl Scout Council of Southern Appalachians page, then click the link and enter to win. The winner will be selected randomly and notified within seven days of March 30.  For more information, visit girlscoutcsa.org or call 1-800-474-1912.

 

Campbell fire believed to be arson

 

About 250 acres of forest in Campbell County burned over the weekend.  Nathan Waters, the Assistant District Forester with the TWRA says the fire started near I-75 in Caryville Friday off of the Cumberland Trail near the Devil's Racetrack.  Crews battled the blaze over the weekend, finally containing it on Sunday.  The fire is believed to have started at the top of the mountain, and could have been intentionally set.  Sunday, they used a tactic called "back firing," where firefighters try to stop the wildfire from advancing. They can also redirect the fire by burning fuel in its path.  The blaze was contained by Sunday afternoon but crews will keep an eye on it to be safe. 

 

No indictment in 2009 I-75 deaths

 

A truck driver will not face vehicular homicide charges in a 2009 accident that left two teenaged employees of a TDOT contractor dead.  An Anderson County grand jury did not return an indictment against 50-year-old James Hatfield in the November 9th, 2009 deaths of 19-year-old Jeffrey Brian Thompson II of Rogersville and 18-year-old Cheyenne Dakota Burke of Bulls Gap.  The two teens were tightening a recently-installed cable barrier in the median on I-75 just south of the Clinton exit when Warfield’s truck careened off the road and struck them, finally stopping after taking down several fence posts about 100 yards away from the initial impact point.  Officials say there was no evidence that Hatfield was under the influence but there was evidence he may have suffered a seizure before crashing despite taking prescription medication to ward them off. 

 

OR teen to face charges

 

Charges are pending against a 17-year-old Oak Ridge High School student following a Thursday morning incident.  Just after 8 am Thursday, ORPD School Resource Officers were contacted by ORHS staff, who reported that a 17-year old male student was creating a violent disturbance in a classroom.  The student then fled the ORHS campus and was located by responding officers in a parking lot across the street from the ORHS campus.  As the officers made contact with the student, he became physically aggressive and attacked multiple officers, who subdued him and took him into custody.  The student was transported to the police department for processing and then released to his legal guardians.  Charges are pending against the juvenile for disorderly conduct, resisting arrest, and two counts of simple assault.

 

BCSO apprehends man after chase

 

The Blount County Sheriff’s Office says that a man is in custody after he fled from a traffic stop near the Four Corner’s Market in Rockford Thursday afternoon that resulted in a lengthy search.  25-year-old Matthew Ryan Sherwood of Maryville was taken into custody and served with several outstanding warrants, including some felony warrants for aggravated burglary. Additional charges are pending.  At around 1:15 today, a Sheriff’s Office patrolman conducted a traffic stop on a vehicle on Little River Road behind the Four Corner’s Market. After the stop was made, the passenger, Sherwood, fled on foot. Several deputies and a K-9 team began a search of the area, and assistance was provided by the Knox County Sheriff’s Office Aviation Unit. As a precautionary measure, Rockford Elementary School was placed on lockdown for an hour while deputies searched the area. With the assistance of the Criminal Investigation Division, Sherwood was located at a residence on Self Hollow Road at around 2:30. He was taken into custody and brought to the Blount County Detention Facility. The driver of the vehicle was released with no charges.  Alcoa Police Department also assisted with the search. 

 

BCSO IDs alleged Seymour robber

 

The Blount County Sheriff’s Office has announced that the man who allegedly walked into the home of an elderly woman in Seymour Wednesday has been formally charged.  29-year-old Colin Patrick Lynch of Knoxville has been charged with especially aggravated burglary and two counts of aggravated assault.  Lynch was arrested Wednesday evening after he walked into the home of an elderly woman on Balsam Street in Seymour. The woman was on the phone with her son, who immediately diverted to his mother’s house. When he walked in, Lynch was standing in the doorway between the kitchen and living room holding a shovel. The son, who has a handgun carry permit, told the man to drop the shovel. The two men scuffled, but the woman’s son was able to hold Lynch down on the floor at gunpoint until Sheriff’s deputies arrived.  The elderly woman was taken by Rural/Metro Ambulance Service to Tennova West Hospital in Knoxville where she is still recovering.

 

GSMNP offering reward for info on vandalism, theft

 

Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials are offering a reward for information regarding the recent theft of an antique window from a historic cabin in the Elkmont Historic District. The window was discovered missing in late January resulting in a significant loss to the unique features that characterize the cabin.  “This is a very sad case of vandalism and theft,” said Chief Ranger Clay Jordan. “The people who did this have stolen a piece of our shared history that can never be replicated.” Park officials are offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the individuals responsible for the theft.  The missing window was from the former summer home of a Knoxville glass maker featuring an intricate and unusual design. The entire 4 feet x 1 foot glass window is missing from the frame which includes 34 individual glass panes, each measuring 4 inches x 4 inches. Two of the original 36 glass panes were missing prior to the theft of the entire window.  It is unlawful to disturb or deface natural and historic resources within the Park. Perpetrators may be sentenced up to 6 months in jail and or fined up to $5,000. Anyone with information as to the possible identity of the individuals responsible for the theft is encouraged to call the tip hotline at 865-436-1580.  The Elkmont Historic District was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1994. Upon its registration as a Historic District, it was comprised of 74 cottages, outbuildings and the Wonderland Hotel with 49 of the structures noted as being of significance to the District.  For more information about historic buildings in the park, please visit the park’s website at http://www.nps.gov/grsm/planyourvisit/historicbuildings.htm.

 

THP:  1 killed, 1 injured in Anderson wreck

 

The Tennessee Highway Patrol says that a Powell man was killed and an Oak Ridge woman injured in a single-vehicle accident that occurred Wednesday night on Clinton Highway.  The THP reports that the wreck happened shortly after 9:30 pm just inside the Anderson County line near the intersection with Old Clinton Pike.  Troopers say that a 2004 Buick Rendezvous driven by 40-year-old Patrick Johnson of Powell had been headed south when the SUV left the right side of the roadway and slammed into a truck legally parked by the side of the road.  Johnson died at the scene and his passenger, 25-year-old Samantha Oody of Oak Ridge, was airlifted to UT Medical Center for treatment of her injuries.  Her condition was not immediately available.  Trooper Dennis Smith’s report indicates that neither occupant of the SUV was wearing a seatbelt and that drugs may have played a role in the crash.  Blood tests have been ordered as is standard procedure in any fatal accident. 

 

2 plead guilty to money laundering…literally

 

Two men pleaded guilty this week to charges that they literally laundered money stolen in a Knox County bank robbery.  36-year-old Danny Ray Idles of Clinton and 31-year-old Christopher Coward of Powell pleaded guilty Tuesday in Anderson County Criminal Court to four counts each of money laundering and were sentenced to serve four, 12-year jail sentences to run concurrently.  The men were arrested in February of 2012 after investigators determined that they had used change machines at three businesses to change bills from the robbery of a Home Federal Bank in Knox County earlier in the month into over a thousand dollars worth of quarters due to the fact that the bills were covered in red dye after a dye pack exploded in the bank bag during the heist.  Owners of three businesses—a Clinton car wash and an Oliver Springs car wash as well as a Laundromat in Clinton—called police after finding the red-stained bills in their change machines.  Surveillance video helped police identify and arrest the suspects, who were also ordered Tuesday to make restitution to the three businesses.  Coward was convicted of the bank robbery in Knox County last year. 

 

No students hurt in OR bus crash

 

No students were injured when a car crashed into the front of a school bus that had stopped to pick up students at Hillside Road and Highland Avenue on Wednesday morning, officials said.  Oak Ridge school officials said the driver was picking up two students when she heard a crash and then watched as a car hit the front of Bus 1937 from Willow Brook Elementary School.  “There was nothing she could have done differently,” the school system said in a statement released Wednesday afternoon.  Another driver who was behind the bus witnessed the crash and told officers that a green Jeep ran through the stop sign at the intersection of Hillside and Highland, hitting the side of a black car, which then kept going and ran into the front of the bus.  According to police, the driver of the car passed out after the impact, and the vehicle continued moving until it hit the front of the bus.

 

Roane man charged with child rape

 

A convicted sex offender has been charged with sexually assaulting a child.  Last month, the Roane County grand jury indicted 49-year-old Christopher John Clark of Kingston on charges of child rape. The alleged victim was a nine year old girl, and the abuse occurred over a 10-month period last year.  Clark is listed on the TBI Sex Offender Registry for a 1992 conviction of criminal sexual conduct of a victim under age 13.

 

Roane clinic opens serving veterans

 

A new veteran’s clinic is now open in Roane County.  The Harriman Community Based Outpatient Clinic opened its doors Wednesday but an official grand opening ceremony is scheduled for April 16.  For several years, Roane County officials and residents lobbied the federal government for a VA hospital.  While the clinic is not a hospital, it does have on-site medical professionals and offers telecommunication services.  A VA clinic was once operated in Rockwood, but that facility closed due to understaffing.

 

Follow-Up:  Trio rescued from trail on Windrock

 

Rescuers reached located three people who became stranded overnight Tuesday on Windrock Mountain near Oliver Springs.  The trio—ages 19, 22, and 24 years old—was stuck in two vehicles on a trail and called 911.  Anderson County dispatchers mapped the coordinates and sent that information to the rescue squad, which along with the Marlow Volunteer Fire Department, took the lead in the operation.   The two men were checked out by EMTs at the scene, and the woman was taken to Methodist Medical Center as a precaution.  Crews from Morgan County also helped in the overnight mission.  The three got stuck on an off-road vehicle trail after one of their vehicles got stuck and blocked the other one in. Rescuers reached the group shortly after 9 a.m. Wednesday.

 

Hackworth makes County Mayor candidacy official

 

(Submitted) Former County Commissioner and State Representative Jim Hackworth announced today he is a candidate for Anderson County Mayor.  “I am running for County Mayor because I am concerned with the lack of focus the current administration has for the issues, such as education, jobs and quality of life, that are important to Anderson County residents,” Hackworth said.  “Whether serving as a County Commissioner or a State Representative, I worked with other elected officials to fight for fiscal responsibility, good schools, reduced taxes, and safer neighborhoods and communities,” Hackworth, an Anderson County native, said. “Our management of these issues attracted the attention of businesses and brought new jobs to Anderson County.”   After working 34 years at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory as a Project Leader and Program Manager in the Maintenance and Engineering divisions, Hackworth retired in 2008.  He served as a State Representative for 10 years and as a County Commissioner for 8 years.  “I believe the constant turmoil in the County Mayor’s office is hurting our ability to attract new jobs and move our county forward. I respectfully ask for your vote and help in restoring trust, cooperation and professional leadership back to the County Mayor’s office,” Hackworth said.  “I would like to further strengthen the strong alliances I have with our local officials.  We must work hard to improve our schools and attract more good paying jobs with benefits to Anderson County,” he said.  Hackworth and his wife, Brenda, have two grown children and three grandchildren and are members of the First United Methodist Church in Oak Ridge. He is past president of the Claxton Optimist Club and the Anderson County Habitat for Humanity.  Hackworth is a graduate of Clinton High School, Roane State Community College and Tusculum College.  Hackworth is running unopposed in the May 6 Democratic Primary Election and will face the winner of the Republican Primary Election in the General Election on Aug. 7. Early voting for the primary election is April 16 – May 1.

 

ORFD achieves Class 2 ISO certification

 

(ORFD) The Oak Ridge Fire Department has been notified by the Insurance Service Office that the fire protection rating for the department will be improving to a Class 2, a press release said.  ISO has been evaluating and assigning fire protection ratings to fire departments since 1971. Insurance companies use the fire protection ratings to determine home owners and business insurance premiums. ISO evaluates fire department equipment, station locations, training, fire prevention efforts, and many other factors to assign a protection rating.  The ORFD has held a Class 3 rating for nearly 15 years but will now be a Class 2 department effective June 1, 2014. According to information from ISO, of the 47,250 fire departments across the country, less than 650 obtain a rating of Class 2 rating or better.  “That is less than 1 percent of the departments in our nation with this rating,” the press release said. “With this new rating, the ORFD becomes only the sixth department in the State of Tennessee out of more than 720 departments to achieve a Class 2 rating.” 

“To achieve this Class 2 rating is truly a testament to the continued hard work of the members of the ORFD,” Oak Ridge Fire Department Chief Darryl Kerley said. “Whether it is in training, responding to emergencies, or efforts in fire prevention, the push for excellence by our members is something that makes our department one of the best in Tennessee. To say that the ORFD is in the top 1 percent of fire departments across the country is truly humbling. I am so very proud of the men and women of the Oak Ridge Fire Department.”  The improvement in the ISO rating will have a small effect on homeowner’s insurance rates but a significant impact on commercial rates for business and industry, something that can be a tremendous recruiting tool for future development, the press release said. In order to receive the full benefits of the Class 2 rating, a building has to be located within five miles of a fire station and have a fire hydrant located with 1,000 feet.  “Most all of our homes and businesses in town meet the requirements to get full credit of the new ISO rating, but we do have a few areas that are outside of the five miles,” Kerley said. ”If anyone has questions about the new ISO rating, they can contact our office for clarification.”

 

3 stranded overnight on ATV trail

 

Rescue crews from both Anderson and Morgan counties worked through the night and into this morning to retrieve three people who got stranded overnight on Windrock Mountain near Oliver Springs.  Officials say that two men and one woman got stuck on an off-road vehicle trail after one of their vehicles got stuck and blocked the other one in.  The trio, ages 19, 22, and 24 years old, remained in contact with emergency dispatchers throughout the night and this morning. None of the three were injured, but did have to spend the night out in the elements.  Rescuers reached the group shortly after 9 am Wednesday. 

 

Kentucky man avoids serious injury when hit by car

 

A man escaped serious injury when he was hit by a car Sunday evening in Clinton.  Clinton Police were called to the intersection of Hillvale and Seivers Boulevard shortly after 7 pm Sunday after a car driven by Jade Richardson of Jellico struck 54-year-old James Thompson of Morehead, Kentucky.  Richardson told police she had been headed north on Hillvale near the entrance to the Hampton Inn when the car in front of her suddenly swerved, revealing Thompson in the middle of the road.  She tried to avoid contact but hit Thompson with the left front side of her car.  A witness corroborated that version of events.  Thompson was taken to UT Medical Center by ambulance for treatment of leg injuries and Richardson was unhurt.  No citations were issued.

 

Clinton home damaged by chimney fire

 

A chimney fire caused some minor damage to a home on Brandawyne Drive in Clinton on Monday afternoon.  Clinton firefighters responded to the home shortly after 3:45 pm after receiving a call of a chimney fire.  Firefighters used water to extinguish the fire in the fireplace and sprayed water down the chimney from the roof as well while also clearing the burning debris from inside the fireplace.  Damage was estimated at around $1000 and no injuries were reported.  Crews cleared the scene about an hour and 15 minutes after the first unit arrived. 

 

ORHS student facing assault charge after incident

 

Charges are pending against an Oak Ridge High School student who allegedly assaulted a school resource officer on Monday.  The incident was reported shortly before 2:15 pm Monday when Officer Michael Swigert attempted to intervene in an argument between the 17-year-old boy and a school staff member, according to a press released issued Tuesday.  The staffer told the SRO that the teenager had just assaulted a female classmate.  The student allegedly continued to create a disturbance by yelling, slamming doors and knocking over a floor sign, while ignoring the officer’s repeated commands.    Swigert then subdued the student and took him into custody, after which the student was transported to the Methodist Medical Center emergency room in Oak Ridge for treatment of unspecified injuries, according to the release.  Assault and resisting arrest charges are pending and authorities say the investigation remains ongoing.

 

Leon Houston sentenced to 5 years over jailhouse threat

 

One of two notorious Roane County brothers with a long history of fighting law enforcement will spend five years in federal prison.  Tuesday, a federal judge sentenced Leon Houston to 5 years in prison for threatening his attorney, a charge that a jury found him guilty of in November.  Houston was also ordered to serve 3 years of supervised probation, and must stay at least one thousand feet away from attorney Jim Logan and his family.  He is also required to get testing and treatment for drugs and alcohol.  Leon Houston and his brother, Rocky, have a long history of well-publicized run-ins with the law, most notoriously in 2006, when both men were charged with, but never convicted of murder after a shootout on their property that killed a Roane County deputy and his ride-along partner.

 

Audit findings:  Ex-Alcoa school employee embezzled almost $500K

 

(State Comptroller’s Office) According to the State Comptroller’s Office, a former employee in the Alcoa City School District diverted nearly $500,000 of funds from the district and two professional organizations she represented and spent the money on a variety of personal expenses, an investigation conducted by the Comptroller’s office shows.  The investigation, conducted in conjunction with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, covered a period of almost six years. During that time, the woman worked as an assistant to the school district’s federal projects administrator.  In that capacity, it was her job to help manage the district’s spending of federal funds on various projects. She gave the district fraudulent invoices and when she received the money from the district, she diverted it into accounts set up on behalf of the Tennessee Attendance Supervisors Steering Committee and the East Tennessee Attendance Supervisors Association, two professional organizations where she served as treasurer.   Once the funds were in those accounts, she took money for herself through automatic teller machine withdrawals, checks written to cash and checks written to herself. She also wrote checks from one account to pay for her home mortgage, food, jewelry, clothing, iTunes songs and an investment in a local gym.  In addition to the funding from the school district, she spent money collected as participant fees and dues from members of both the steering committee and the attendance supervisors’ association.  She also used the school district’s credit cards for personal purchases, forging her supervisor’s signature on billing statements. And she received reimbursement from the school district for 70 trips she did not take (for which the Comptroller’s office examined records back to 2003).  Over the six-year period, investigators calculated that the woman took more than $428,000. Investigators also identified more than $160,000 in questionable spending by the employee. Due to a lack of adequate documentation, it wasn’t possible for investigators to determine whether that spending was for valid public purposes or not.   The results of the investigation have been shared with the appropriate district attorneys general and also the United States attorney for the eastern district of Tennessee. Because the woman has not been indicted or arrested yet, she is not being identified by name in this release.  At least one local media outlet has identified the woman as a Harriman resident but we will not release her name until formal charges are filed.  The audit notes that the school district and the two professional organizations didn’t have sufficient oversight of the woman’s spending.  “This was an egregious misuse of public funds that took place over a long period of time,” Comptroller Justin P. Wilson said. “This case emphasizes yet again the importance of following good management and bookkeeping practices to reduce the likelihood of fraud, waste or abuse of public money. I commend our investigators and those from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation for their work on this case.”   To view the audit online, go to: http://www.comptroller.tn.gov/ia/

If you suspect fraud, waste or abuse of public money in Tennessee, you may call the Comptroller’s hot line at 1-800-232-5454 or fill out a report online at http://www.comptroller.tn.gov/shared/safwa.asp.

 

Probation company offers education assistance

 

(PSI) PSI Probation has established a literacy program for probationers that will emphasize instructional reading for those with reading deficiencies.  In addition, PSI is going to help any probationers who want to earn a high school diploma through a GED program. That help is being offered at the request of Anderson County General Sessions Court Judge Don A. Layton, according to a press release.  Through its owner Tim Cook, PSI has said that his company will pay the testing costs for any probationer who successfully completes studies for the GED.  “I wish to thank PSI for their willingness to include this literacy program in their rehabilitative protocols,” Layton said. ”This will provide probationers seeking a GED the financial resources to pay for the testing to obtain their high school diploma.”  Anyone interested in either of the programs as a participant or volunteer may contact Chad McNabb with PSI Probation at 865-463-7885.

 

TVA touts completion of coal ash retaining wall

 

(TVA) TVA says it has achieved a significant milestone in its cleanup of the ash spill at the Kingston Fossil Plant—the completion of an earthquake-resistant, underground retaining wall around the containment cell at the recovery site.  The wall, which completely surrounds the 240-acre containment cell where recovered ash will be permanently stored, was completed on Feb. 20, almost a month ahead of schedule.  Construction of the wall began in summer 2011. Two high-capacity, long-reach hydraulic excavators dug trenches that were 4 feet wide and reached depths between 40 and 70 feet. More than 200,000 tons of cement and other materials were used to construct the wall, which is embedded 70 feet into the bedrock.  It is the largest wall of its kind in the U.S. at nearly 64,000 linear feet, the equivalent of 12 miles, and is designed to withstand a magnitude 6.0 earthquake.  The project team is now focused on completing installation of the cap and cover over the reinforced containment cell. The project remains under budget and on schedule to be completed by the end of this year.  In addition, TVA is restoring and enhancing the Swan Pond area by installing several recreational features, performing shoreline stabilization, constructing wetlands, and planting a variety of native plants and trees. When this work is completed in spring 2015, there will be more than three miles of paved walking trails, fishing piers and docks, a pedestrian bridge and boat ramp, and wildlife habitat areas for the public to enjoy.  Following the Kingston ash spill, TVA inspected and evaluated all of its coal ash facilities and developed a comprehensive plan for closing out wet storage of ash and gypsum at its coal-fired plants and installing state-of-the-art dry storage systems. The plan, which was presented to the TVA Board in 2009, is expected to cost $1.5 billion to $2 billion and is currently scheduled to be completed by December 2022. TVA has already invested $500 million to complete the process at Kingston and to begin work at Bull Run, another TVA fossil plant in eastern Tennessee.  “TVA remains committed to completing our wet-to-dry conversion program and closing wet storage facilities,” Deacy said.

 

OR egg hunt April 12th

 

(City of Oak Ridge) The Oak Ridge Recreation and Parks Department will host the 2014 Egg Hunt at 11 a.m. Saturday, April 12. Hundreds of children are expected to participate in this annual spring event, and more than 15,000 candy and prize filled eggs will be hidden in A.K. Bissell Park with a first, second, and third place prize egg in each age group.  Participants should assemble in the Civic Center gymnasium prior to 110 a.m. The children will be divided into separate age groups from four years old through 4th grade, and they will be escorted to their respective hunt areas. This event will be held “rain or shine,” so participants should dress for the weather. If severe weather prevents hiding the eggs outdoors, they will be given away in the gym and a drawing will be held for the prizes.  The Recreation and Parks Department staff will make a reasonable effort to provide appropriate accommodations for special needs. Parents of children who require a more accessible hunt area are encouraged to call ahead.  Adult volunteers, age 16 and up, are still needed to hide eggs, supervise the hunt areas, and assist participants. All volunteers should be prepared to work from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. on the day of the event and should dress according to the weather. The first 50 volunteers to sign up will receive an event T-shirt. A pizza lunch will be served to all volunteers immediately following the event.  For more information call the Civic Center front desk at (865) 425-3450 or visit the Oak Ridge Recreation and Parks website at www.orrecparks.org.

 

Clinton man charged after hitting Knox school bus

 

The driver whose SUV collided with a stopped school bus letting off high school students has been identified as a Clinton man with a history of DUI arrests.  44-year-old Keith Sherwood Greene has been charged with DUI, possession of drugs and drug paraphernalia, driving on a revoked license and following a vehicle too closely.  Officers reported finding a small amount of what is believed to be meth when he was searched after Tuesday afternoon’s accident.  Court records indicate Greene has at least one prior DUI conviction, and in another case pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of reckless driving.  Knox County jail records show he is being held for Anderson County authorities.  Witnesses told Knox County Sheriff’s deputies that Greene’s Jeep Grand Cherokee was headed west on Middlebrook Pike when it struck the rear of another SUV, swerved into the oncoming lane and struck the school bus that had stopped near Andes Road.  Six Hardin Valley Academy students were taken to area hospitals following the accident.  Greene was also injured and before being taken to jail was treated at Park West Medical Center.

 

AC beer sting nets 6 citations

 

(ACSD) The Anderson County Sheriff’s Department, in cooperation with the Lake City Police Department, the Oliver Springs Police Department, and Allies for Substance Abuse Prevention of Anderson County (ASAP), conducted compliance checks of local businesses who sell beer on Thursday, February 20, and Friday, February 21.  According to a release from the ACSD, investigators with the Sheriff’s Special Operations Unit visited twenty-four businesses to attempt to purchase beer. Six sold beer to the underage person. Two of the six businesses did not check identification showing the person to be under 21 and four did check but sold beer anyway. One on-premise business served the underage person but the server realized the age before the sale was completed.  The following businesses sold beer to the underage person: 

  • Discount Tobacco Outlet N. Main St. Lake City
  • Fast Track Market #5 Lake City Hwy. Lake City
  • LaFiesta Mexican Restaurant N. Main St. Lake City
  • Lee’s Food Market E. Tri-County Blvd. Oliver Springs
  • Marathon (Main St.) N. Main St. Lake City
  • Pizza Hut E. Tri-County Blvd. Oliver Springs

The following business served but then did not sell to the underage person.

  • Riverview Grill Oak Ridge Hwy. Clinton

Six clerks who sold beer to the underage purchasers have been cited to court. In one the case is under review. The beer permit holders will be brought before the respective beer boards for Anderson County, Lake City, and Oliver Springs.  Businesses who checked for identification and did not sell beer are to be commended and recognized for their efforts. All of the following businesses checked for identification and did not sell beer to the underage purchaser:

  • Anderson Discount Tobacco Main St. Oliver Springs
  • Bread Box Edgemoor Rd. Powell
  • Duane’s Truck Stop Lake City Hwy. Lake City
  • Exxon N. Main St. Lake City
  • First & Last Chance N. Main St. Lake City
  • Food City E. Tri-County Blvd. Oliver Springs
  • Los Trios E. Tri-County Blvd. Oliver Springs
  • Mack’s Discount Tobacco Oak Ridge Hwy. Clinton
  • Marathon (Edgemoor) Edgemoor Rd. Clinton
  • Marathon (Downtown) Main St. Oliver Springs
  • Norwood Marathon E. Tri-County Blvd. Oliver Springs
  • Pilot #314 N. Main St. Lake City
  • Raceway E. Tri-County Blvd. Oliver Springs
  • Rite Aid E. Tri-County Blvd. Oliver Springs
  • Shell Fun Food E. Tri-County Blvd. Oliver Springs
  • Shell N. Main St. Lake City
  • Weige’ls #73 Weigel’s Ln. Lake City

In the fall of 2013, the Anderson County Underage Drinking Task Force was established to create a platform for representatives from each municipality across Anderson County to address underage drinking issues. In collaboration with Allies for Substance Abuse

Prevention (ASAP) of Anderson County, the Underage Drinking Task Force consists of community members representing beer boards, alcohol outlets, law enforcement officers, Tennessee Alcohol Beverage Commission and other government officials. Task Force members have been working diligently by analyzing policy and investigating best practices to prevent and reduce underage drinking.  The Underage Drinking Task Force meets on the fourth Thursday of each month at 6:00pm in the Board Room on the 5th floor of the Robert Jolley Building at 101 South Main Street in Clinton. For more information about the Underage Drinking Task Force, please contact Michael Foster, Prevention Coordinator with ASAP at (865) 457-3007 or Michael@ASAPofAnderson.org. By being proactive, local law enforcement agencies, along with the Underage Drinking Task Force, are creating a safer environment in Anderson County.  For additional information on preventing underage drinking, please visit:  www.ASAPofAnderson.org

 

ORT:  Transition to new Y-12 contractor underway

 

(Oak Ridge Today) The transition to a new contractor at the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge and Pantex Plant in Texas is already under way and could be completed in four months, federal officials said Monday.  The transition to Consolidated Nuclear Security LLC of Reston, Va., had originally been scheduled to be complete by May 2013, but it was delayed by three rounds of protests. The U.S. Government Accountability Office denied the third and possibly final protest by Nuclear Production Partners LLC, or NP2, of Lynchburg, Va., on Thursday.  On Monday, the National Nuclear Security Administration told our partners at Oak Ridge Today that CNS will start managing and operating the weapons production plants at Y-12 and Pantex at the end of the four-month transition period.  The five-year extendable contract could be worth up to $22.8 billion during a 10-year period. Besides the management and operation of Y-12 and Pantex, it could also include construction of the multi-billion-dollar Uranium Processing Facility at Y-12 and the potential to manage and operate the NNSA’s Savannah River Tritium Operations near Aiken, S.C.  B&W is now the lead management and operating contractor at Y-12 and Pantex.  The B&W-led companies have held the Y-12 contract since 2000 and the Pantex contract since 2001.  The CNS team is led by Bechtel National Inc.  For more, visit www.oakridgetoday.com.

 

OR wreck injures one

 

A Clarksville woman was taken by ambulance to UT Medical Center early Sunday after the driver of the car she was a passenger in fell asleep and wrecked.   The 2011 Toyota Camry four-door sedan was northbound on South Illinois Avenue at about 3:30 a.m. Sunday when it first struck a right-hand curb at Centrifuge Way. The car then entered a median, rolled over onto its passenger side, struck a utility pole and an embankment, and became airborne, the report said. The vehicle then struck a second curb, became airborne again, struck a tree and embankment at the same time, and came to rest at the bottom of a second embankment.  The passenger, identified as 31-year-old Akiya N. Akiens of Clarksville, was taken to the UT hospital.  The driver, 22-year-old Joshua L. Mitchell of Chattanooga, told the investigating officer that he had fallen asleep.  Both driver and passenger were wearing shoulder and lap belts, according to the crash report. Air bags deployed, and there were no signs of drugs or alcohol, the report said.  Mitchell suffered minor injuries and was not taken to a hospital.

 

Campbell raid nets drugs, cash, guns

 

A drug raid in Campbell County uncovered a grand total of around $175,000 in cash, as well as dozens of guns, four bags of marijuana, and hundreds of prescription pills.  Campbell County deputies searched the home of Edgar Whitey Muse in the Elk Valley community on Friday after months of investigation.  Along with cash, officials confiscated 49 guns, four bags of marijuana, and hundreds of assorted prescription pills. After the search of Muse's home, officers subsequently executed a search warrant at a Jellico bank and got another large amount of cash in relation to this investigation, bringing the total amount of cash seized by deputies to approximately $175,000 between the house and the bank.  Officers also seized four four-wheelers, two trucks and four cars.  Campbell County Sheriff's Office said it this time, Muse has not been charged.  Deputies said they'll arrest him after the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation turns over its lab results. Next the case with go before a grand jury.

 

2 AC meth-makers sentenced

 

(US Attorney’s Office) Two Anderson County men received lengthy prison sentences last week stemming from convictions on charges related to large-scale meth-making and distribution ring.  On Friday, 46-year-old Lawrence “Stoney” Scriver of Lake City was sentenced to 30 years in prison by the Honorable Thomas A. Varlan, Chief U.S. District Judge. Scriver pleaded guilty in July 2013, to a federal grand jury indictment charging him with one count of conspiracy to manufacture 50 grams or more of methamphetamine and one count of distributing methamphetamine, aided and abetted by others. Scriver’s prior felony state drug conviction triggered a minimum mandatory 20 year sentence under federal sentencing laws. However, Chief Judge Varlan enhanced Scriver’s mandatory minimum sentence, based on the finding that Scriver was the leader of the conspiracy that produced approximately 1500 grams of methamphetamine over the course of the conspiracy.  Scriver’s sentencing came one day after 37-year-old Jeffrey Scott Braden of Vowell Mountain, Tenn. was sentenced to a mandatory life sentence by the Honorable Thomas A. Varlan, Chief U.S. District Judge. After a trial in U.S. District Court, Braden was convicted as charged in September 2013. The jury found Braden guilty of one count of conspiracy to manufacture 50 grams or more of methamphetamine, one count of possessing materials, chemicals, and equipment used to manufacture methamphetamine, and one count of possession of ammunition by a convicted felon. Braden’s six prior felony state drug convictions triggered a minimum mandatory life sentence with no possibility of parole under federal sentencing laws.  The indictment, which charged 42 people with methamphetamine manufacturing crimes, and subsequent convictions of Scriver and Braden, was the result of “Operation Meth-odical Destruction,” which was a joint investigation between the Drug Enforcement Administration, Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, Tennessee Methamphetamine and Pharmaceutical Drug Task Force, Anderson County Sheriff’s Office, Knox County Sheriff’s Office, Knoxville Police Department, Oak Ridge Police department, Seventh Judicial Crime Task Force, and Clinton Police Department.  Since March 21, 2013, 41 of the 42 charged defendants have been convicted.

 

CASA receives national certification

 

CASA of the Tennessee Heartland—which serves Anderson, Blount, and Scott counties—has been awarded certification by the National Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) Association. This certification recognizes that CASA of the Tennessee Heartland is in compliance with National CASA’s high standards for quality child advocacy.  “The National CASA quality assurance process is very rigorous and reflects our commitment to ensure every child we serve has the most powerful volunteer advocate working on their behalf,” said Michael Piraino, chief executive officer of the National CASA Association in a press release issued this week. “This certification says CASA of the Tennessee Heartland has demonstrated to us a strong capacity to provide excellent services to the abused and neglected children within their community.”  CASA of the Tennessee Heartland was started in Anderson County in 1988, has been serving Scott County for 13 years, and is entering the second year of service in Blount County.  Since July 1, 2013, more than 200 children have received advocacy services from one of the 70 current CASA of the Tennessee Heartland volunteer advocates.  “While this is a great number, more than 250 children remain on a waiting list,” the press release said.  For more information about the program or becoming a volunteer advocate, contact Naomi Asher at naomi@casatnh.org or visit www.casatnh.org.

 

Man indicted in 2012 Park assault

 

(US Attorneys Office) A federal grand jury in Knoxville returned a three count indictment on Dec. 3, 2013, against William E. Seevers, 48, for one count of attempted murder and two counts of aggravated sexual abuse by force.  Seevers appeared in court Feb. 27, 2014, before U.S. Magistrate Judge H. Bruce Guyton and pleaded not guilty to the charges in the indictment.  He is being held pending trial, which has been set for Apr. 29, 2014, in U.S. District Court, Knoxville.  The indictment alleges that in June 2012, in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Seevers attempted to kill an individual by stabbing her in the neck with a knife.  Additionally, Seevers engaged in sexual activity with the individual by use of force and placing her in fear of death by holding her at knife point and stabbing and punching her when she attempted to flee from him.  If convicted, Seevers faces two terms of life in prison followed by an additional 20 years.  This indictment is the result of an investigation by the National Park Service and Federal Bureau of Investigation.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer Kolman will represent the United States. 

 

Bell to seek seat on AC BOE

 

(Submitted) Oak Ridge resident Don A. Bell has announced that he is running for the District 7 seat on the Anderson County Board of Education.  District 7 includes Highland View, Glenwood, and Pine Valley in Oak Ridge.  According to a release announcing his candidacy, Bell is a longtime Oak Ridger and a 1974 graduate of Oak Ridge High School.  He retired from the Oak Ridge school system in 2013 where he worked in the maintenance and operations division at Glenwood Elementary School.  Bell served on the board of directors of Oak Ridge Schools Federal Credit Union for seven years and as vice chairman for three years.  He also served on the Superintendent’s Search Committee to appoint the principal for Glenwood Elementary and was on the supervisory committee of the Tennessee Members 1st Federal Credit Union.  Bell said in the press release he looks forward to meeting his constituents and hopes to use his experience to serve the Anderson County school system.

 

Small fire at plant injures none, damage minimal

 

A fire broke out at the Techmer PM facility in Clinton Wednesday afternoon.  Officials say the call came in at around 5 pm and when Clinton firefighters arrived, they quickly determined that the fire was small and contained to the plant’s exhaust system.  No injuries were reported and damage was limited.  The exact cause of the fire is under investigation. 

 

Roane authorities encounter booby-trapped meth lab

 

Authorities in Rockwood were greeted with a nasty surprise as they tried to round up suspected drug dealers as part of a multi-agency task force investigation.  At around 8:30 am Wednesday, officers went to the Green Meadows Trailer Park off Pumphouse Road in Rockwood to serve an arrest warrant on 33-year-old David Steven Neal.  Authorities say that Neal’s mobile home was booby trapped and a fire ignited when the door was forced open by officers.  A reportedly naked Neal fled the burning home and was taken into custody and decontaminated at the scene, while a woman at the residence was also detained for questioning.  No injuries were reported.  Officials have not said exactly how the home had been booby-trapped and have also not specified if the fire was caused by the trap or by the actual meth lab inside.  Components for three other inactive meth labs were located inside three more trailers in the mobile home park.  Neal was taken into custody on charges related to meth manufacturing and will likely face additional charges in Wednesday’s incident.  The task force members were serving warrants issued against several suspected drug dealers in Anderson County at the time of the incident. 

 

1 sentenced in botched Alcoa robbery

 

Earlier this week, one of the two men arrested after a botched robbery attempt at an Alcoa jewelry store in October was give a three-year sentence.  24-year-old Jordan Echols of Maryville pleaded guilty to attempted facilitation of a robbery and was ordered to serve 180 days in the Blount County Jail with the rest to be served on supervised probation.  Echols and 21-year-old Steve Cash entered Malone’s Jewelers on the afternoon of October 23rd and while Echols distracted wheelchair-bound store owner Danny Malone with questions about merchandise, Cash went to the restroom.  Cash is accused of coming out a few moments later with a mask covering his face, jumping over the counter and grabbing the store’s cash bag.  As he and Echols fled, Malone pulled a gun and ordered them to stop.  When they did not, he fired, striking Cash and forcing Echols to surrender.  Cash faces a robbery charge and a charge of violating his probation and is due in court Monday afternoon.  Malone was not injured in the incident. 

 

Follow-up:  CFD expansion to cut response times

 

As we reported Wednesday, workers are building an expansion of the Clinton Fire Department’s headquarters that will create a place where three on-duty firefighters can stay during their shifts, including a sleeping area, a kitchen, a day room and both men’s and women’s bathrooms.  In addition the expansion will create a new office for the Fire Department.  Officials say that by expanding the headquarters and creating space for on-call firefighters to remain on the premises should cut down on response times on the western side of the city.  Fire Chief Archie Brummitt says that the department conducted a study of fire hall locations with the Municipal Technical Advisory Service—or MTAS—several moths ago that determined that the majority of the calls answered by the department are centered in and around Clinton’s downtown area.  The study showed that response times from Fire Station #1 on Longmire Road to emergencies by the interstate were within about five minutes or so on average.  Officials had talked for several years about building a new fire station near the interstate but with the findings of the study, determined that the new station can wait while development on that end of town increases.  Brummitt says that currently response times to calls to locations like Mariner Point and Weaver Street to name two, average about 7 to 8 minutes from Station #2 in South Clinton but with the expansion currently underway, those response times could be cut by 2 to 3 minutes per call, which in an emergency situation, can make all the difference.  The expansion is expected to be finished and open for business sometime this summer. 

 

Norris Bulletin:  Reward offered for info on slain dogs

 

According to the Norris Bulletin, a reward is being offered for information leading to the identity of the person responsible for shooting two dogs to death and leaving them along the side of a walking trail in the Norris Watershed.  The dogs—a black lab puppy about four months old and a Walker Coonhound that appeared to be about two years old—were found by a passerby last Thursday and now, animal advocates, local and state authorities are on the case.  A reward fund has been established, according to the Bulletin, and anyone who wants to donate to the kitty can call Christina Eich at 865-209-0808 or e-mail her at jackpot604@aol.com.  In the meantime, if you have any information that could lead authorities to the culprits, you can contact the Norris Police Department at 865-494-0880. 

 

CFD expanding HQ

 

If you have driven on Hicks Street in Clinton, you have no doubt seen the construction going on behind City Hall.  Workers are constructing an expansion of the Clinton Fire Department’s headquarters that will create a place where three on-duty firefighters can stay during their shifts, including a sleeping area, a kitchen, a day room and both men’s and women’s bathrooms.  In addition the expansion will create a new office for the Fire Department.  Officials say that by expanding the headquarters and creating space for on-call firefighters to remain on the premises should cut down on response times on the western side of the city.  The new addition is just part of a project with a price tag of some $490,000 that will also add heavy-duty, industrial exhaust fans to the garage bays at all three stations that will dissipate dangerous diesel fumes emitted by the fire trucks.  Renovations are also being made on a smaller scale at each of the other two stations in the city and at the training tower.  We will bring you more on this story as more information becomes available.  City officials were scheduled to meet with the project architects today and we hope to sit down with Fire Chief Archie Brummitt tomorrow to find out more about how these changes will improve fire services in Clinton.

 

KPD IDs crash victim as Maryville woman

 

Knoxville Police have identified the woman killed in an accident Monday morning in a UT parking garage as 60-year-old Phyllis Carter of Maryville.  UT said Phyllis "Sally" Carter, was a supervisor in the UT College of Law Library. She has worked at UT since 1979.  Knoxville police say Carter was killed on her way to work, after her car crushed her into a wall in the staff parking garage Monday morning.  Investigators determined that Carter was parking her Toyota Prius in the garage in the corner of 16th Street and White Avenue but when she got out of the car she accidentally put it in neutral and it started rolling down an incline inside the garage.  She then chased after her car to stop it but was caught between the wall and the car shortly before 6 a.m.  UT officials said another UT employee discovered the accident. Officials pronounced her dead at the scene. 

 

ORHS team advances to National Science Bowl

 

A team of students from Oak Ridge High School captured the top prize at last weekend’s regional competition for the 2014 National Science Bowl and earned an all-expense paid trip to Washington DC in April for the national championship, $1000 and a trophy.  The team is made up of students Tina Wang, Albert Xue, Gaibo Zhang, Aram Bejnood and Bo Hyun Moon.  The National Science Bowl features teams across the country participating in a fast-paced question and answer format where they solve technical problems and answer questions covering a wide variety of scientific disciplines.  A total of 24 middle and high school teams who won their regional competitions will descend upon DC in April to vie for the top prize, which will be announced at a later date.

 

CHS anglers take top 2 spots at fishing tourney

 

(Bassmasters) When 10 of the top high school bass fishing teams competed in an exhibition tournament in conjunction with the GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by Diet Mountain Dew and GoPro, it was the team of Jake Lee and Jacob Mashburn from Clinton High School who took the trophy on the Classic stage on Saturday.  The duo weighed in an impressive 21 pounds — almost 7 pounds ahead of the No. 2 team, also from Clinton High School.  Eight of the teams qualified to compete in the tournament through the inaugural Bassmaster High School Invitational last spring. Another team qualified through the Alabama Games, while the final team earned its spot in the competition through the Alabama B.A.S.S. Nation.  The winners caught their fish on Showboat Lures’ Alabama Rigs with 1/8-ounce swimbait heads. One angler rigged his swimbaits with Zoom Fat Albert curl-tail grubs dipped in Spike-It chartreuse garlic formula. The other used Showboat Lures' Chicken Foot swimbaits.  Lee and Mashburn caught their fish in the Cedar Creek area after targeting main-lake points and a bridge.

“You had to work the bait very slowly,” Mashburn said. “We caught them all day, and the longest we went between catches was about an hour. It was exciting all day. But you can’t ever get (too comfortable). We were fishing hard all day.” 

Lee said his team got off to a quick start and saw improvements throughout the day.

“This morning, we had our limit by 8:30,” he said. “It seems like later on in the day we were moving up in size. In the afternoon we were catching better fish. It was all around a great day.”

Clinton High School’s Justin Burris and Ryan Winchester took second place with 13 pounds, 8 ounces of Lay Lake largemouth. They also fished Cedar Creek with Alabama Rigs. Their primary targets were riprap banks.

“We used Showboat Lures' Chicken Foot swimbaits and Featherweight heads, and that made the difference in how we caught our fish today. We were able to catch our fish shallower than we could with weighted heads,” Winchester said. “It’s a head with hot glue poured into a lead mold. It makes fishing an Alabama Rig 10 times easier on you, and you can put it places you can’t put a weighted (head).”

High school competitors took off at 6:10 a.m. from Beeswax Landing in Columbiana and weighed in at 3 p.m. at the BJCC Arena in Birmingham prior to the Day 2 weigh-in of the 55 Bassmaster Classic competitors. Classic anglers are battling for a $300,000 first prize, the Classic trophy and world championship title. 

Teams competed for bragging rights in this event, which officially kicks off the 2014 high school initiative with B.A.S.S.  “This is a fantastic event because youth are obviously the future of our sport,” said Hank Weldon, Bassmaster manager for high school, college and youth programs. “For these youngsters to be able to walk across the Bassmaster Classic stage is a great experience they’ll never forget.”

Lee agreed and added, “This is something I’ve dreamed about since I was a kid. It’s the greatest feeling we could ever imagine so I thank the good Lord for helping us with that.”

Mashburn said the experience has stoked his dreams of a making a career of tournament fishing.  “That’s all I think about all the time,” Lee said. “I’d like nothing better than to be up there with the real pros someday."

 

US Attorney lauds Y-12 sentences

 

U.S. Attorney William C. “Bill” Killian commended the sentences given to the three Y-12 protesters on Tuesday, and he said he hoped it would send a strong message.  “The Y-12 National Security Complex plays a critical role in our country’s national defense,” Killian said in a Wednesday statement. “People cannot take the law into their own hands and unlawfully intrude upon sensitive government facilities. Those who violate the law and compromise the security of the Y-12 National Security Complex will be vigorously prosecuted.”  The three anti-nuclear weapons activists were convicted of sabotage in May 2013 for breaking into Y-12 on July 28, 2012, cutting through high-security fences, and splashing blood and spray-painting slogans on the Highly Enriched Uranium Materials Facility. The fortress-like HEUMF stores most of the nation’s bomb-grade uranium.  The protesters—Michael Walli, Megan Rice, and Greg Boertje-Obed—were sentenced in U.S. District Court in Knoxville on Tuesday by District Judge Amul R. Thapar. Rice was sentenced to serve 35 months. Walli and Boertje-Obed were each sentenced to serve 62 months. All three will serve three years supervised release upon their release from prison. In addition, the trio was ordered to pay $52,953 in restitution to the U.S. Department of Energy.  Boertje-Obed, Rice, and Walli were convicted in May 2013 of one count of injuring national defense premises (the Y-12 National Security Complex), with the intent to interfere with the national defense of the United States, and another count of depredation against property of the United States.  “On July 28, 2012, in the middle of the night, Walli, Rice, and Boertje-Obed unlawfully intruded upon the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge,” said Killian, who is U.S. attorney in the Eastern District of Tennesseee. “They used bolt cutters and cut through three highly sensitive security fences and made their way to the Highly Enriched Uranium Materials Facility, which houses weapons-grade uranium. They splashed human blood and painted slogans on the exterior wall of the HEUMF.”  The U.S. Attorney’s Office had declined to comment on the case until the prosecution was completed.

 

AC primary deadline Thursday at noon

 

The deadline to qualify as a candidate in any of the races on the ballot for Anderson County’s May 6th primaries is at noon on Thursday.  Here is a look at who has qualified so far.  So far, only incumbent Judge Don Elledge has qualified to run for his seat as Criminal & Circuit Judge.  Five people have qualified to run in the hotly-contested Juvenile Court Judge primaries.  Two Democrats—J. Michael Clement and David Dunkirk—are seeking the nomination while three Republicans—Victoria Bannach, Lauren Biloski and Brian Hunt—have qualified to seek their party’s nod to run for the seat in the August general election.  Brandon Fisher, the current Juvenile Court Judge, had qualified to run for the Democratic nomination for Chancellor, a seat coming open due to the retirement of William Lantrip, but he announced just a couple of weeks ago that he will be dropping out of the race to join a company in Pennsylvania.  On the Republican side, Mike Farley and Phil Harber have qualified to appear on the May ballot.  Democrats Dave Clark—the District Attorney General, and Tom Marshall, the county’s public defender, are both unopposed in May and are also unopposed so far in the August general election.  Incumbent County Mayor Terry Frank has qualified to seek the Republican nomination for the office she was first elected to two years ago and she will face a challenger in the May primary in the form of County Commissioner Zach Bates.  Incumbent General Sessions Division I Judge Don Layton is unopposed in the Republican primary while Ryan Spitzer has qualified to run on the Democratic side.  Incumbent General Sessions Division II Judge Ron Murch is thus far unopposed in the Democratic primary.  Current interim Circuit Court Clerk Tyler Mayes is unopposed in the Democratic primary and will face unopposed Republican William Jones in the general election, barring any last-minute additions to the ballot.  Incumbent Trustee Rodney Archer is unopposed in the Democratic Primary as are incumbent County Clerk Jeff Cole and incumbent Register of Deeds Tim Shelton.  Shelton could face opposition in August as Bill Gallaher has qualified to run on the Republican side.  Incumbent Road Superintendent Gary Long is unopposed in the Republican primary.  Incumbent Sheriff Paul White is unopposed in the Democratic primary while Republicans Anthony Lay and Randy Myers will square off in the Republican primary.  Again the deadline to qualify for the May primaries is noon on Thursday February 20th and the Election Commission will post the finalized list of entries shortly after that deadline passes at www.acelect.com.

 

Last-minute qualifiers for May 6th AC primaries

 

The deadline to qualify as a candidate in the Anderson County primaries on May 6th was at noon on Thursday.  Earlier this week, we gave you an overview of who had qualified to run and while that list did remain largely unchanged, there were four last-minute qualifiers whose names will now appear on the May 6th ballot.  Nichole “Nicki” Cantrell joined Mike Farley and Phil Harber in the Republican primary for Chancellor as she beat the deadline to return her paperwork.  Former State Representative Jim Hackworth is the lone qualifier in the Democratic primary for County Mayor.  Republican incumbent Terry Frank is being opposed in the GOP primary by County Commissioner Zach Bates.  Local attorney Roger Miller qualified to seek the Republican nomination for General Sessions Judge in Division 2, and will face incumbent Democrat Ron Murch later this year as Murch is also unopposed in his party’s primary.  The race that has drawn the most interest so far is that for Juvenile Court Judge.  Victoria Bowling became the third Democrat to qualify, joining Michael Clement and David Dunkirk.  Republican candidates are Vickie Bannach, Lauren Biloski and Brian Hunt.  The primaries themselves are set for May 6th and early voting in those races begins on April 16th, continuing through May 1st.  A complete list of those who have qualified can be seen at www.acelect.com and our previous story with the rest of the candidates who have qualified to run can be found on the Local Information News page of our website.

 

AC Mayor taps deputy budget director for interim posting

 

Anderson County Mayor Terry Frank has announced that she has appointed Connie Cook-Aytes as the county’s interim budget director.  Aytes will take the interim position effective Monday, February 24, succeeding county Budget Director Chris Phillips, who has announced he is resigning to take a job as City Recorder for Lake City.  Aytes has worked as the deputy director in the Anderson County Budget Office since May 2008.  Prior to joining Anderson County Government, Aytes worked as an auditor for nine years for the State of Tennessee Comptroller’s Office Division of County Audit.  “Connie has an eye for detail and a passion for doing things right,” Mayor Frank said in a press release issued Wednesday.  “She has worked as deputy director since 2008 and has earned the respect of officials and coworkers.  Connie has done the heavy lifting on our Popular Annual Financial Reports that have consistently earned Anderson County multiple awards of excellence from the Government Finance Officers Association.   I know we are in good hands.”  Aytes said she looks forward to the challenge of leading the county budget office through the staff transition and is confident it will be smooth.  “I have a good working relationship with all the officials and the employees here.  We’re all working toward the same goal, and that’s making sure Anderson County is accountable to the citizens,” she said.  “I appreciate the confidence Terry has in me for this position, whether it’s short-term or long-term.”  A graduate of Tennessee Tech University with a degree in accounting and finance, Aytes is a native of Roane County.  She is married to Steven Aytes and has two children, a daughter, Jessie, and son, David. 

 

Y-12 trio sentenced in federal court

 

The three anti-nuclear weapons activists who were convicted of breaking intoY-12 in July of 2012 and vandalized the nation’s primary storehouse of bomb-grade learned their sentences during a hearing in a federal courtroom in Knoxville on Tuesday afternoon.  Sister Megan Rice, an 84-year old Catholic nun, received the shortest sentence of 35 months behind bars.  She is the oldest of the three anti-nuclear weapons activists and has the least extensive criminal history.  The other two protesters, Greg Boertje-Obed and Michael Walli, both were sentenced to 62 months as they have more extensive prior records. The trio will receive credit for time served. They have been incarcerated since they were convicted in May 2013 on two felony counts of destroying U.S. property and attempting to injure national defense premises.  All three were each also sentenced to three years supervised release. Last month, the trio was ordered to pay roughly $53,000 in restitution for the damage caused when they cut through three fences and breached the high-security Protected Area at Y-12 on July 28, 2012, and splashed blood, spray-painted slogans, and hammered on the side of the $549 million Highly Enriched Uranium Materials Facility.

 

OR woman killed in Alcoa wreck

 

An Oak Ridge woman died in a three-car crash in Alcoa on Monday morning.  20-year-old Claire B. Milner died at UT Medical Center after the crash, which occurred on Alcoa Highway at Willow Road at 9:45 a.m. Monday, the Alcoa Police Department said.  Milner had been driving a 2000 Ford Focus on Willow Road and had stopped at the stop sign, then attempted to cross the southbound lanes of Alcoa Highway to turn left onto northbound Alcoa Highway. Milner’s car was struck in the driver’s-side door by a 2006 Toyota Tacoma pickup truck driven by 33-year-old Zackary A. Presnell of Knoxville, who was traveling south on Alcoa Highway, in the left lane of travel.  A third vehicle, a 2013 Ford Fusion struck debris that was thrown from the Ford Focus.  The police department said Presnell was also taken to the UT Medical Center and is being treated for his injuries. Presnell was not wearing a seatbelt, the press release said.  The driver of the third vehicle was not injured in the crash.  Alcoa Police are continuing to investigate the accident.

 

AC BOE honors ACHS staffers who saved girl

 

During Tuesday's Anderson County Board of Education meeting, a group of teachers, principals, and other staff members were honored for saving a student's life.  Last month, Brittany Overton went into cardiac arrest in the school courtyard before classes began. Thanks to the quick thinking of several school faculty members and an Automated External Defibrillator, or an AED Brittany attended the School Board meeting on Tuesday.  Leaders honored the crew of teachers, principals, and staff members that helped bring her back to health.  Teacher April Freeman and her husband Travis, an assistant principal—the couple credited with leading the efforts that saved Brittany’s life—used the AED twice to get her heart started again.  Doctors at East Tennessee Children’s Hospital say the AED saved the girl’s life.  Brittany now has a defibrillator inside her to help keep her heartbeat regular.  If the beat ever becomes irregular, the device will give her heart a shock, bringing it back to a normal pace. 

 

Appeals court upholds murder verdict, life sentence

 

The Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals this week upheld the first-degree murder conviction of a man who killed his mother-in-law with a hatchet while his infant daughter was in a nearby room nearly seven years ago.  Robert Fritts was convicted in the March 2007 death of Teresa Busler, who died from multiple blows to the head from a hatchet and had a white paint-like substance sprayed on her face.  Fritts and his wife—the victim’s daughter—and their infant daughter had been living at the family’s Andersonville home at the time of the murder.  The baby was found unharmed in another bedroom when Teresa Busler’s husband returned home and discovered the grisly crime scene.  The case was somewhat noteworthy as prosecutors introduced evidence that Fritts was part of a group of so-called “jugalos,” or fans of rap group Insane Clown Posse.  Insane Clown Posse band members often wear white, clown style face makeup and their record label—Psychopathic Records—uses a picture of a hatchet-wielding man as its logo.  In his appeal, Fritts’ attorneys argued that it was “improper for prosecutors to submit evidence of his affiliation with the rap group or suggesting that the band or its followers were a gang.”  He also argued there was not sufficient evidence to establish that Busler’s murder was premeditated.  The Appeals Court on Monday rejected both of those arguments and upheld both Fritts’ conviction and his sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.

 

BCSO arrests 2 after attempted break-in

 

The Blount County Sheriff’s Office says a man and woman are in custody following an attempt by the pair to burglarize a home on Blockhouse Road Tuesday afternoon.  Charges are pending against the individuals, whose names had not been made public by the time this story was filed.  At around 2:30 pm Tuesday, Sheriff’s deputies responded to a home on Blockhouse Road after the homeowner called 911 and reported that someone was trying to break into her house.  The woman reported that she could see a female trying to gain entry through a door in the rear of the residence. The victim then went to the front door of the residence where a man and the woman were trying get inside. The victim attempted to hold them at gunpoint but they fled the scene in a vehicle that was pulled over a short time later on Memorial Drive and the duo was taken into custody and brought to the Blount County Detention Facility.  The Criminal Investigation Division is continuing the investigation.

 

AC Budget Director resigns to take Lake City job

 

(AC Mayor's Office) Chris Phillips, director of Accounts and Budgets for Anderson County Government, has resigned his position effective Feb. 21.  Phillips has accepted the position of City Recorder for the City of Lake City.  “As many people know, Lake City is my hometown,” Phillips said in a news release. “They have struggled for the last few years in keeping someone qualified in the City Recorder’s position. The State of Tennessee mandates that each municipality must have a Certified Municipal Finance Officer (CMFO) on staff. My designation as a Certified Government Financial Manager (CGFM) satisfies this requirement,” Phillips said.  “Lake City is embarking on an historical time with the change to become Rocky Top. The leaders of Lake City have reached out to me and I felt compelled to contribute in the areas that I have considerable skill, education, certification and experience in,” he said. 

Phillips has worked for Anderson County Government for 11 and one-half years; he was hired in 1999 as a staff accountant.  He was soon named deputy budget director under Gail Cook.  Then, in April 2008, then Mayor Rex Lynch hired Phillips as budget director. 

“It’s my sincerest wish to thank the leaders here in Anderson County Government that have embraced me and that I have worked with over the last several years.  I love my job here with the County and will miss the relationships that I have built with Mayor Frank, Commission, all of the elected officials and the employees of the County,” Phillips said.  “This decision was not an easy one, and took considerable time to ultimately arrive at.  It is my hope that this decision does not negatively impact the County, Mayor Frank or the wonderful staff that I have had the privilege to work with over the last several years.”   

“We are going to miss Chris, not just as our Budget Director, but as a friend, County Mayor Terry Frank said.  “He has a big personality and his departure is most definitely going to leave a hole.   At his heart, Chris is entrepreneur—he likes a challenge.  I know he is going to do great things for Lake City.  We are already beginning the search process for Anderson County’s next Budget Director, and I’m sure I speak for many when I wish him all the luck in the world,” Mayor Frank said.

 

Woman indicted on new charges in 2012 murder

 

A former Claxton resident is facing a first-degree murder charge for her alleged role in the death of a 79-year-old man whose body was found hidden underneath a staircase inside his Claxton apartment in early 2012.  45-year-old Tammy Sue Chapman, who now resides in Lenoir City, was indicted on the murder charge by an Anderson County grand jury last week and was arrested Friday.  She and her boyfriend, 50-year-old Norman Lee Follis Jr. both now face the first-degree murder charge.  The victim, 79-year-old Sammie J. Adams of Claxton, was Follis’ uncle.  The Anderson County Sheriff’s Department announced it was charging Follis with first-degree murder on Jan. 25, 2012, the day after investigators found Adams’ body hidden underneath a staircase inside his apartment. The man had been reported missing a few days earlier, on Jan. 22, 2012, authorities said.  Chapman was initially charged with theft over $500 and being an accessory after the fact but Sheriff’s officials said at the time that additional charges could be filed pending the outcome of their investigation.  Authorities now say that she watched as Follis strangled his uncle to death.  The indictment alleges that the murder occurred sometime between December 5th, 2011 and January 24th, 2012, the day Adams’ body was discovered.  Both Follis and Chapman are also facing charges of theft over $1000 stemming from the theft of Adams’ car—which neighbors reported seeing Follis driving while Adams was missing—and the theft of his apartment keys.  Chapman is also still facing the charge of being an accessory after the fact as investigators say that she harbored Hollis and helped him avoid arrest after the murder.  Chapman is being held at the Anderson County Jail on bonds totaling $1 million, as is Follis, who has been in custody since January 25th, 2012. 

 

ORPD IDs Sunday crash victim

 

Oak Ridge Police have identified the person killed in a single-vehicle accident early Sunday morning on Hillside Road as 32-year-old Hobert L. Mitchell of Oak Ridge.  Police say that an officer spotted Mitchell driving a white 2003 Nissan Murano, registered to another person at a high rate of speed on Hillside at around 4:30 am Sunday.  A short time later, the officer discovered the wreckage of the SUV, which had left the side of the road and collided with a utility pole.  Mitchell, who was the lone occupant of the vehicle, died at the scene.  His body was transported to the UT Medical Center, where an autopsy was to be performed, and the investigation of this incident remains ongoing.

 

One killed in OR wreck

 

One person died in a single-vehicle accident early Sunday morning in Oak Ridge.  According to a release from the Oak Ridge PD, at approximately 4:30 AM, an Oak Ridge Police Department patrol officer observed a white SUV traveling at a high rate of speed in the vicinity of Highland Avenue and Hillside Road.  The vehicle accelerated away from the intersection and proceeded eastbound on Hillside Road.  A short time later, the officer discovered the vehicle had lost control and struck a utility pole in front of 104 Hillside Road.  Additional officers, as well as Oak Ridge Fire Department and Anderson County EMS personnel responded and found the driver, who was the sole occupant of the vehicle, to be deceased at the scene.  Identification of the driver is being withheld at this time, pending notification to next of kin.  The investigation remains ongoing.

 

ORT:  OR Mall TIF approved by state

 

The Tennessee Comptroller has approved a $13 million tax financing agreement that could be used for the $85 million redevelopment of the Oak Ridge Mall.  The approval was announced in a Wednesday letter from Tennessee Comptroller Justin P. Wilson to Nashville law firm Bradley, Arant, Boult, and Cummings, which is working with Crosland Southeast, the North Carolina company that wants to redevelop the mostly empty mall.  The 20-year tax increment financing, or TIF, agreement, would use new property tax revenues generated at the 59-acre site to help pay for development costs, possibly including tearing down the existing space between the two remaining anchor stores, JCPenney and Belk, as well as for replacing aging infrastructure and building new roads.

The Oak Ridge Industrial Development Board has endorsed the TIF, and the Oak Ridge City Council and Anderson County Commission have approved it. There was no opposition at any of the meetings where the TIF was considered, but there was one abstention. Local officials and company executives have said the TIF would not create any financial risk for the city, county, or IDB.  Under Tennessee law, the use of the TIF must be approved by the comptroller and the commissioner of Tennessee Economic and Community Development. Tennessee officials have to determine whether it’s in the state’s best interest to use the new property tax revenues to finance the costs of privately owned land, improvements, or equipment. In the case of the Oak Ridge Mall, the comptroller said, it is.  Mall redevelopment plans have languished for years. But local officials have repeatedly expressed optimism that if anyone can successfully revamp the property, it’s Crosland Southeast, which is relatively new to this project.  Officials and Crosland say the redeveloped mall could open in 2016. The current enclosed mall would be converted into an open-air, retail-driven, mixed-use property that could include 400,000 square feet of retail space and roughly 60,000 to 100,000 square feet of office space, a hotel of about 100 to 120 rooms, and up to 50 multi-family, “walkable” residential units. It could also include three to four restaurants.  Sittema said Crosland, which is working on a total of three “dead mall” projects, could close on the purchase in the third quarter of 2014 and construction could last about 18 months. Crosland Southeast has had a purchase contract on the mall since January 2013.  For more, visit www.oakridgetoday.com

 

Citizen query leads to EMA answer on drinking water safety

 

(AC Mayor’s Office) A local citizen recently asked Anderson County Mayor Terry Frank about what safety measures the county has in place to protect citizens’ drinking water in the event of a hazardous situation like that which recently occurred in West Virginia.  The County Mayor’s Office contacted Anderson County Emergency Management Director Steve Payne to obtain an answer to the citizen’s question and address his concerns.  We thought other citizens might be interested in the same topic. Here is Mr. Payne’s response; it was sent to Mayor Frank via e-mail:

“Dear Mayor Frank,

Please forward to the citizen who asked:

What safety measures does Anderson County have in place to protect citizens’ drinking water in the event of a hazardous situation like that which occurred recently in West Virginia?

Anderson County is home to some 50 facilities that manufacture, process, store or utilize quantities of hazardous radiological or chemical materials. The majority of these facilities are located in industrial parks in the county and cities of Oak Ridge, Clinton, and Lake City.

Facilities with quantities of hazardous materials that meet or exceed threshold levels established by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) are required by federal law to file each year a Tier 2 Report stating the material(s) and quantity on site. In addition to the name and quantity of each material, the report includes Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS), a site map showing location of material, type of storage container, type of storage conditions, and description of dikes, holding basins, and other safeguard measures. Tier 2 reports received in 2013 from private, non-DOE facilities identify 42 separate hazardous materials.

These reports are provided to the local fire department, Anderson County Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) and the State Emergency Response Commission (SERC). Anderson County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) serves as custodian of these reports. Further information on Tier 2 reports may be found by online search for 40 CFR Part 370.

Information in the Tier 2 report allows emergency response agencies to pre-plan for accidents resulting in the spill/release of specific hazardous materials including characteristics, reactions, evacuation perimeters, health threats, and tactics for responder and citizen safety.

Despite the state and federal regulations and oversight in place, facility safety and response plans, and inspection by the local fire department and OSHA, an accidental spill/release from a fixed facility or a transportation accident could occur at any time.

With regard to drinking water safety, many Anderson County facilities with hazardous materials are located in proximity to streams, creeks, or the Clinch River. A major spill/release at these facilities or a transportation accident involving rail or roadway carriers over or near water could, immediately or over time, affect water quality downstream.

Impact of a spill/release would depend on location of the spill, quantity of material released, toxin level of the chemical, water velocity, and dispersal rates.

Anderson County residents receive water from four providers – Anderson County Water Authority, Clinton Utilities Board, Oak Ridge City, and Hallsdale Powell Utility District – with treatment facility intakes located along the Clinch River. Oliver Springs Water Department draws water from Bacon Springs located on Highway 61 in the Marlow Community, and Norris from Lower Clear Creek.

These utilities maintain current state-approved facility safety and emergency response plans and work cooperatively to provide support to an affected facility during emergency incidents.

In the event of any major emergency, the Anderson County EMA Director activates the Anderson County Basic Emergency Operations Plan (BEOP). This document, available online at andersontn.org/emergencymanagement.html, outlines the responsibilities of some 80 local, state, and federal agencies for emergency response.

While no community can guarantee the source of its drinking water will never be compromised, the following conditions, already in place, will reduce the possibility, lessen the severity, and shorten the duration of a drinking water emergency that may occur in Anderson County.

If you would like further information, please contact EMA Administrative Assistant Lin Chilcoat at 865-457-7846 to schedule a time to meet.

  • Federal regulations and state laws set standards designed to prevent all hazardous materials accidents.
  • Tier 2 Reports allow local emergency response agencies to prepare for an informed response to all hazardous materials incidents.
  • A cooperative relationship between utility providers throughout the county serves to reduce the impact on citizens of a drinking water emergency.
  • A comprehensive BEOP brings together local, state, and federal resources for a coordinated response to all major emergencies and disasters.

 

ORT:  Clinton man facing several charges

 

(Oak Ridge Today) A Clinton man has been charged with aggravated assault, aggravated burglary, and two counts of vandalism in connection to an incident that occurred in January.  Our partners at Oak Ridge Today report that 24-year-old Casey Aaron Massengill was also arrested on a charge of domestic assault stemming from an incident from October that involved his ex-girlfriend.    The most recent incident occurred on Jan. 25 on Bison Lane in Powell in Anderson County. The victim reported he was asleep in his bedroom at about 11:16 p.m. Jan. 25 when he heard glass break. He said he found Massengill in his living room with a baseball bat.  The victim said Massengill came at him with the bat and forced his into his room before threatening him and knocking him down onto the bed, threatening to kill the man and his daughter.  Massengill then allegedly left the home and beat on another person’s car, damaging the hood, mirror, headlight assembly, window, and door.  The victim said Massengill left in a silver car. Blevins and another deputy located the car’s driver in Oak Ridge. The woman said she did not know Massengill’s intentions and had given him a ride to the victim’s house because she feared for her safety as well as for the safety of her children if she did not.  Deputies found Massengill at the Oak Ridge Walmart, where he was arrested.  He remained jailed in the Anderson County Detention Facility in Clinton on Thursday afternoon. His total bond has been set at $110,000.

 

ORT:  OR teen charged in November robbery

 

(Oak Ridge Today) An Oak Ridge teenager has been charged with aggravated robbery for his alleged role in a November stickup on Jonathan Lane.  19-year-old Treston Blake Lee was arrested Jan. 26, and he remained jailed in the Anderson County Detention Facility in Clinton on Thursday afternoon. His bond has been set at $100,000.  An arrest warrant filed in Anderson County General Sessions Court said the alleged robbery occurred at about 7 p.m. Nov. 30 and involved another defendant. Lee had met the victim several times and was allowed to enter the home.  The second defendant, who is not identified in the warrant, also walked into the home that night and displayed a small-caliber silver handgun.  The second suspect allegedly told the victims not to move while Lee put the victim’s wallet, which had $600 in cash and a debit card and driver’s license, along with $50 grabbed off a shelf by the kitchen, into a small black bag before the two ran out of the house.  Lee was positively identified by both victims in a Dec. 11 photo line-up, and a witness who had been across the street on Jonathan Lane at the time of the alleged robbery identified both defendants in a photo line-up.

 

BBB:  Harriman charter to change pending state OK

 

According to our partners at BBB-TV, big changes are on the way to the structure of the Harriman city government.  Earlier this week, the Harriman City Council voted 5-1 to completely change the city’s charter as to how the day-to-day operations of the city are carried out.  The changes must be approved by the state legislature and if lawmakers in Nashville make any changes, would have to be ratified by the Council in a second vote.  If no revisions are made the changes would go into effect immediately upon passage in Nashville.  The changes will allow the Council to hire a city manager, treasurer and attorney rather than have those positions voted upon by citizens.  The Police and Fire Boards would be scrapped under the proposed changes and the respective chiefs of those departments would be under the supervision of the city manager.  The measure was presented as a resolution rather than an ordinance, allowing the Council to hold a public hearing on the changes before it comes back to Council members for a second and final vote.  Officials say that the revised charter will be available for citizen review at city hall and if all goes as planned, officials hope to revisit the issue in May.

 

Roane woman facing delinquency charges

 

A 47-year-old Harriman woman was arrested and charged this week with 11 counts of contributing to the delinquency of minors after she allegedly allowed teenagers to drink alcohol and smoke marijuana at a birthday party in her home in September.  Kimberly Lynn Hall was arrested early Wednesday by Roane County deputies.  Authorities began investigating the September 21st party after DCS contacted law enforcement after receiving a tip.  Investigators determined that Hall was the only adult at the party at her home attended by 11 kids—five boys and six girls—ranging in age from 14 to 17 old and allowed the teens to drink and smoke pot.  She was released on bond and will appear in court in April to answer the charges.

 

2 teens arrested in Campbell robbery

 

Authorities in Campbell County say they arrested two teens in connection to an armed robbery at the Dollar General Store in Lafollette.  The teens, whose names have not been released, were arrested Wednesday and charged in connection with the Tuesday night incident.  They are accused of entering the store at around 9:30 pm Tuesday wearing hooded jackets and masks and carrying what appeared to be a pistol and a knife and demanding money from the clerk behind the counter.  They made off with about $500 in cash and no one was hurt in the incident.  Investigators later determined that the “pistol” was actually an Airsoft BB gun.  The suspects were located early Wednesday and taken into custody.  Authorities say that then they found the teens, they also found money believed to have been taken in the robbery and the weapons allegedly used. 

 

Fisher accepts job in Pennsylvania, leaving chancellor’s race

 

(Information from Oak Ridge Today) Anderson County Juvenile Court Judge Brandon Fisher is withdrawing from the race for Anderson County chancellor because he has accepted an offer to join a nonprofit mental health provider in Pennsylvania in September.  Fisher will be the assistant general counsel at the national headquarters of NHS Human Services Inc., the release said. The September start will allow him to finish his term, which ends in August.  In a release announcing his withdrawal, Fisher said the decision was difficult but said NHS Human Services, which has headquarters in Lafayette Hill, Pa., is one of the largest social services providers in the country. The company is a community-based nonprofit provider of mental health services for juveniles and adults, and it employs more than 10,500 individuals nationwide. It is one of the largest providers of services for foster children, children with intellectual disabilities, and adults in need of mental health treatment, the release said.  In his position, Fisher will be able to work as a liaison with juvenile judges and probation agencies across multiple states.”  Fisher says the unexpected job offer was extended to him over the holidays and that he and his wife Jena considered their next move over the past several weeks.  Fisher—whose term as Juvenile Court Judge is up in August—will delay beginning his new job until September.   Fisher announced his intention to run for chancellor in December after serving more than four years as juvenile judge. He said he intends to withdraw his qualifying petition before the Feb. 20 deadline.  Fisher was appointed Anderson County juvenile court judge in January 2010 and was elected to the post in a hotly-contested race in August of that year.  He had been one of about a half-dozen candidates seeking to fill the seat now held by Chancellor William Lantrip, who has announced he will retire at the end of his eight-year term this year.

 

More info on Campbell shooting

 

A 47-year-old woman is facing criminal homicide charges in Campbell County after a weekend shooting that left her fiancé dead.  As we reported Monday, Lisa Estelle Elliott was arrested after Campbell County deputies responded to a home in the Elk Valley community and found 53-year-old Larry Champlin dead from a gunshot wound to his chest.  Warrants indicate that Elliott and Champlin were drinking late Saturday night and into early Sunday morning when they began arguing.  Elliott told deputies that Champlin had locked her out of the house during the argument and that when he let her back in, he had a pistol.  The argument continued and she says that they began to struggle over the gun, which went off, hitting Champlin.  The News-Sentinel reports that when investigators listened to the 911 call Elliott made, she replied that “he was trying to dare me to shoot him” when a dispatcher asked if Champlin had been trying to shoot her.  Elliott is currently on unpaid leave from her job at Jellico High School and is in custody on a $150,000 bond pending a preliminary hearing scheduled for February 11th.

 

TDOT:  Lewallen Bridge in Clinton slated for replacement

 

TDOT will be replacing the Lewallen Bridge—known as the green bridge to locals—that connects Clinton and South Clinton on Highway 25W within the next couple of years.  City officials met last Friday with TDOT representatives to learn more about the project and its tentative schedule.  TDOT spokesman Mark Nagi in an email says that the new bridge will be realigned to the park side of the bridge, which is upstream from the current bridge, so that the state can avoid “the costly acquisition of several homes” downstream of the bridge in the other side.  Officials say the new structure will feature four 12-foot-wide travel lanes and another 12-foot-wide center lane as well as two five-foot-long sidewalks and will be about 20 feet wider than the current bridge.  If all goes as planned, officials say that construction start sometime in 2016.  City and state officials will meet again once structural drawings are completed to discuss exactly how Riverfront Park, which is located immediately next to the current bridged, will be affected.  As we learn more we will pass it along to you.

 

Kids rescued from icy water

 

A local pastor and his son are being called heroes for rescuing three teenage boys who fell through the ice on Watts Bar Lake late Saturday morning.  A Harriman Middle School student was having a birthday party when he and two friends went out onto the ice to go fishing.  The rest of the children at the birthday party stayed on shore.  The trio of boys, all between the ages of 12 and 14, fell through the ice and started screaming for help.  According to the Roane County Sheriff's Office, the boys were able to grab onto a buoy until help arrived.  Neighbors said they called 911 and someone also called Neil Crass—the pastor of Big Emory Church, who lives nearby and has a boat, to see if he and his son Hunter could help rescue the boys.  Emergency crews responded to the scene, but officials say it was the civilians that, after a few tries, were finally able to get the young boys out of the icy water.  The Crasses and a group of men, eventually reached the boys, pulled them from the cold lake, and wrapped them in clothes to keep them warm. The ice was so thick, they had to keep breaking it to move to the rescue and back to land.  The boys may have been in the water for up to an hour.  He said the incident appears to be an accident.  All three boys were released from UT Medical center Sunday morning after being kept overnight and are recovering at home.

 

ORT:  Driver in OR wreck IDed

 

Police have identified the driver who died in a Thursday morning crash on Lafayette Drive in Oak Ridge.  Colton Alexander Stout, 20, of Oak Ridge, died after his 1994 Toyota 4Runner left the four-lane divided roadway and crashed into a tree in the median, an Oak Ridge Police Department report said.  The crash occurred at about 9:21 a.m. Thursday and police say the front end of Stout’s vehicle hit the tree and then rolled onto its right side. Stout was taken by ambulance to the University of Tennessee Medical Center in Knoxville, but he died en route.  A witness told police that Stout was using his cell phone and possibly texting at the intersection of Lafayette Drive and Emory Valley Road, but it’s not clear if that played any role in the crash.  Stout was an Oak Ridge High School graduate who was employed with Campbell County Emergency Medical Services as an emergency medical technician.  Stout had worked at Campbell County EMS a little more than a year and had recently joined the Anderson County Rescue Squad.  The obituary said Stout had worked as a volunteer at the Marlow Volunteer Fire Department and as a substitute teacher with the Anderson County school system.  His family will receive friends this evening beginning at 6 pm at Calvary Baptist Church in Oak Ridge.  The family has asked that any memorials be made in Stout’s name to the Marlow Volunteer Fire Department or to the Campbell County EMS.

 

ORT:  Fire injures none at assisted living center

 

There were no injuries, but residents were briefly evacuated after a bed caught fire at an assisted living center in west Oak Ridge on Friday.  The fire at Patriot Park Assisted Living on Gum Hollow Road was reported at about 6 p.m. Friday. The building’s sprinkler system kept it in check, and crews were able to put out the fire, which was confined to one room, in about three minutes.  There were 13 patients and two staff members in the building.  Patients were put into ambulances and checked out, and everyone was okay.  The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

 

Fire destroys house

 

A fire on Keys Drive early Friday morning destroyed a home in Blair in Roane County.

The fire was reported at about 1:15 a.m. Friday.  The two-story wooden frame house was heavily involved in fire upon the arrival of the first Blair Fire Department units. The Oliver Springs and Midtown fire departments responded on a request for mutual aid.  Water for firefighting was hauled from the nearest hydrant at Mt. Pisgah Baptist Church.  While the house was destroyed, firefighters saved three cars, a pickup truck, and a camping trailer. 

 

Campbell man dead after argument, gunshot

 

A Campbell County man is dead after his girlfriend allegedly shot and killed him in their home, according to the Campbell County Sheriff's Office.  Deputies responded to the shooting incident on King David Lane in the Elk Valley community a little before 5 a.m. Sunday.  53-year-old Larry D. Champlin died from a gunshot wound to the upper body.  According to a release, investigators found that an alcohol-related domestic disturbance between Champlin and his girlfriend, 47-year-old Lisa Estelle Elliott, lead to the shooting.  Elliott has been charged with criminal homicide and was expected to appear in court earlier today.

 

AC Fair garners award

 

The Anderson County Fair was named most improved in its division—Division AAA—during a recent state convention.  The awards were presented by Tennessee Department of Agriculture Commissioner Julius Johnson during the 92nd Annual Convention of the Tennessee Association of Fairs from Jan. 16-18 in Nashville. More than 900 people attended the Fairs Merit Awards recognition dinner.  The top award went to the Overton County Fair in Livingston. It was named the Champion of Champions Fair for 2013. The Overton County Fair was also recognized by Johnson and TAF President Stephen Potter with the Award of Merit based on overall operations, educational value, and promotion of local interest in agriculture and community spirit.

Here are the 2013 fair winners:

Division AAA

State Champion Williamson County Fair

1st runner-up: Greene Country Fair

2nd runner-up: Wilson County Fair

Most Improved: Anderson County Fair

In the Regional Division, the Appalachian Fair and the Tennessee Valley Fair received Award of Merit, the press release said. The Tennessee State Fair also received Award of Merit based on overall fair operations. The regional fairs and the State Fair are not in competition with the county fairs for awards.  In 2013, almost three million visitors attended county, regional, and state fairs in Tennessee. Fairs in Tennessee generated more than $12 million in gross receipts last year.

 

School system celebrates energy-efficiency project

 

Friday morning, the Anderson County school system celebrated the kickoff of a $9.7 million energy efficiency project that will make significant improvements to all 17 county schools, all with the aim of improving the learning environment, reducing energy use and, subsequently, the cost of energy across the system.  The County Commission recently approved a 15-year contract with Energy Systems Group—or ESG—to design and implement a $9.7 million energy efficiency and building modernization project throughout the Anderson County school system.  All 17 county schools will receive energy improvements including upgrades to the heating, ventilation and air-conditioning—or HVAC—systems and electrical systems as well as energy efficient lights, water conservation measures, advanced energy management controls including sensors that will detect when a room is occupied and adjust heating and lighting automatically and new suspended ceiling systems.  Director of Schools Larry Foster says that the “partnership with ESG allows the school system to address significant facility upgrade needs which will enhance the safety and quality of the learning environment while contributing toward our goals for environmental stewardship.”  Foster also says that the agreement is a “sound economic decision [as] the savings from energy reduction will more than pay for its implementation.”  Officials estimate that the school system will save about $620,000 in energy costs each year while conserving enough energy to power over 650 homes per year. 

 

WBIR:  Knox teacher arrested in Blount

 

(WBIR-TV) Blount County deputies arrested a Knox County teacher Thursday who was found drunk and passed out on the side of the road with women's lingerie.  Deputies were responding to a crash on Laurel Valley Road when they found John David McElroy under the awning of a shack around 1 o'clock Thursday afternoon.  They say he was found with a shirt, pants, socks, boots, another shirt, a tan bra, pink panties, fake implants and a red jacket. He also had a bottle of vodka on him and his car was 50 yards away.  McElroy is a technology lab instructor on Farragut Middle School's website.  Officials with Knox County Schools say they are waiting for more information from the sheriff's office before taking action.

 

Fire damages AC home Wednesday

 

(Oak Ridge Today) A Wednesday morning fire on Cedar Hills Drive in Anderson County heavily damaged a home, RV, and camping trailer.  The fire was reported at about 11:15 a.m. Wednesday at 210 Cedar Hills Drive. It apparently started in the attic, according to an Anderson County Sheriff’s Department report. The cause was not known, but it was not believed to be arson-related, the report said.  A witness reported seeing flames coming out of the attic.  Fire departments from Marlow, Clinton, Medford, and Claxton all responded, and so did the Anderson County Emergency Medical Services and Anderson County Sheriff’s Department. Firefighters were on the scene for about three hours. 

 

OR officials warn of higher electric bills due to cold weather

 

(OR Electric Department) The City of Oak Ridge Electric Department is warning its customers to expect higher utility bills for the next two months. According to Jack Suggs, Electric Director, bills for power used in December are now in the mail and bills for January will be coming out in a few weeks. He expects these bills will be difficult for many customers.  The National Weather Service calculates an index called “degree days of heating“, which is used as an indication of how cold the weather is over the course of a month. The Higher value the number, the greater difference between the outside temperature and a properly heated home. “Higher degree days of heating means that the heating system in a customer’s home has to work harder to keep the home warm,” Suggs said. December of 2013 had nearly twice the degree days of heating as November, and January is looking to be significantly higher than that.  In addition to weather, there are several other factors that can contribute to higher energy bills. “There is no magic here, I recommend customers stick to the basics: sealing air leaks, insulation and efficient appliances all contribute to more comfortable and efficient homes,” Suggs said. He also said that space heaters are one of the worst offenders when it comes to inefficient heating. Some customers have added several hundred dollars in energy cost to their winter bills by operating these units.  “There is nothing wrong with using a space heater to knock the chill out of the air for a few minutes,” Suggs said. “Unfortunately, some of our customers use these units constantly and as their primary source of heat. This can be very expensive.”  Many of the less fortunate in our community are going to have a hard time meeting their utility bills this winter. Suggs encourages customers to consider making a donation to Project SAFE (Special Assistance Fund for Energy) when they pay their utility bill. Funds collected are given directly to Aid to Distressed Families of Anderson County and kept in the community to help those in need. For more information on energy savings, visit: http://energyright.com.

 

Dragon Boat races coming to OR

 

(Submitted) Registration for The Oak Ridge Dragon Boat Festival is open. The event will be Saturday, May 31, 2014, at Melton Lake Park in Oak Ridge. Top prizes will be awarded, but the real winners are the beneficiaries – the programs served by the Rotary Clubs of Oak Ridge, TN.  Teams of 20 paddlers, a drummer and trained steersperson race in authentic 46-foot long Chinese dragon boats. All ages, skill levels and physiques can participate, making it the ultimate team building sport, requiring synchronicity and finesse, more than power to win. The Oak Ridge Dragon Boat Festival features local community and corporate teams racing for title of Grand Champion. Off the water, team members also compete to raise the most pledges, investing in the world’s most valuable resource: children. Participants racing in The Oak Ridge Dragon Boat Festival benefit the Rotary Clubs of Oak Ridge.  Contact us for more info or visit http://oakridge.racedragonboats.com/

 

ORPD:  One dead in morning crash

 

Oak Ridge Police say that one person was killed in a single-vehicle accident Thursday morning on Lafayette Drive.  The crash occurred shortly before 9:30 am near Hendrix Drive.  Officers’ preliminary investigation indicated that a red Toyota 4-Runner occupied only by the driver was headed south on Lafayette when it left the side of the road and collided with a tree.  The driver, whose name and gender had not been released by the time this report was filed, was removed from the wreckage and was unresponsive.  While en route to UT Medical Center by ambulance, the driver died.  The driver’s identity will not be released until family members have been notified and the Oak Ridge PD says its investigation into the fatal crash is continuing.  

 

CCSO:  Reward offered in CCHS fieldhouse vandalism

 

The Campbell County Sheriff's Office is offering a $500 reward for any information leading to the arrest of the person or persons responsible for vandalizing the high school's fieldhouse.  Somebody broke into the locker room earlier this month and dumped paint on uniforms, floors, lockers and other parts of the fieldhouse as well as destroying several televisions and painting graffiti on walls.  Officials estimate the damage at $40,000.  If you have any information, just call the sheriff's office.

 

AC DA:  Officials focused on preventing school violence

 

Anderson County DA Dave Clark says that he is working with law enforcement officers, school principals and guidance counselors to combat school violence by identifying warning signs among teens.  In a statement issued this morning, Clark says the efforts are part of a “proactive initiative by the Tennessee District Attorneys General Conference to help community leaders keep schools safe amid continued national incidents of juvenile violence.”  Wednesday, the Conference hosted a seminar called “Protecting our Children:  Proactive and Prepared,” where nationally recognized expert on teen violence Phil Chalmers, trained attendees on how to help teens in trouble while keeping schools and communities safe.  Clark says that “training sessions and resources like these keep us updated on what’s happening nationally that could have an impact here at home.”  Attendees at the seminar learned how to identify gang and cult practices, spot danger signs among teens like obsessions with violence and weapons, and what to do to keep teens safe and get them help if necessary.  Clark stated that “we often deal with juvenile violence that could have been avoided if someone had known what to do.  We want to equip the community with the tools they need to turn a potential killer into a teen who gets help.”  If you would like more information about the seminar or how to identify warning signs among teens, call the DA’s office at 865-457-5640 or visit www.tndagc.org.  

 

OR schools considering calendar change

 

Oak Ridge school leaders are proposing a major change to the school calendar and will be asking parents for their opinions on the proposed changes next month.  Administrators have proposed what they call a balanced calendar that would not go into effect until the 2015-16 academic year.  The school year would start on August 3rd—two weeks earlier than now—and both spring and fall breaks would go from one week to two weeks.  Most Oak Ridge schools operate on a more traditional schedule, but two are on a so-called 45-15 schedule that has them in school for nine weeks at a time with three week breaks between sessions.  Summer break for students at the Oak Ridge Preschool and Willow Brook Elementary is also only six weeks long and they return to class in mid-July.  Proponents of changing the calendar say that having all the schools in the district would save the city money and make it easier for parents of students who attend schools with different calendars.  Parents will be asked their opinions of the proposal on February 10th at 6 pm by way of the school system’s automated phone alert system.  

 

GSMNP unveils new quarter

 

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park will soon be featured on a brand new quarter.  Representatives of the U.S. Mint joined Park Service and local officials Wednesday to officially unveil the new quarters, which depict an historic log cabin in a lush green forest with a hawk circling above.  The U.S. Mint presented four different designs to Governor Haslam, and he made the final selection. 35 million of the special quarters will be minted.  The ceremony took place at the Mills Auditorium in the Gatlinburg Convention Center at 10 am. The public was invited to attend, and was able to exchange cash for $10 rolls of the new quarters.  The Smoky Mountains quarters are part of the America the Beautiful series, which launched in 2010. These quarters feature designs of national parks and historic American sites. They are releasing five new designs this year. In addition to the Smokies, you can look for designs honoring Shenandoah National Park, Arches National Park, Great Sand Dunes National Park, and Everglades National Park.  The other side of the coin is the familiar portrait of George Washington.

 

OR city manager staying put

 

Oak Ridge City Manager Mark Watson will not be moving to Pearland, Texas to assume a similar role there.  In December, Pearland officials said Watson was one of four finalists who could replace the city’s former manager, who retired at the end of December.  Watson was in Pearland for interviews, tours, and staff briefings this past weekend but told Oak Ridge City Council members at the beginning of a Monday night work session that he is staying in the Secret City.  Watson has been Oak Ridge City Manager since August 2010. 

 

BCSO IDs woman who allegedly shot at police

 

The Blount County Sheriff’s Office has released more information on Sunday’s incident at the Airport Hilton.  43-year-old Paula Silver of Maryville has been identified as the woman who allegedly shot at police officers through her hotel room door when they came to conduct a welfare check.  She has also been charged and is currently in the Blount County Jail on three counts of aggravated assault and one count of felony reckless endangerment.  She is expected to appear in court on Friday morning.  As we reported Monday, the incident unfolded shortly before 5 p.m. Sunday, when officers and deputies with the Blount County Sheriff’s Office, the Alcoa Police Department, and the McGhee Tyson Airport Police responded to the Airport Hilton on Alcoa Highway to conduct a welfare check after someone had called Blount County dispatch earlier in the day and warned that Silver was possibly suicidal.  Alcoa Police officers located her vehicle in the parking lot of the Hilton and notified Airport Police, who subsequently made contact with Silver in her fourth-floor hotel room. Silver allegedly fired one shot inside of the room, and then fired a shot through the door at three Airport policemen who were standing outside of her room. Fortunately, the round went through the door and into the door of an unoccupied room across the hall.  Silver then surrendered peacefully and was taken into custody. No one was injured.

 

OR BOE OKs bleacher demolition

 

Monday night the Oak Ridge School Board voted unanimously to demolish the deteriorating visitors-side bleachers at historic Blankenship Field. The visitor bleachers would be too much of a liability risk if they continue to be used, according to Allen Thacker, the maintenance and operations supervisor for Oak Ridge Schools. In addition, the main stairs from the dressing rooms to the field on the home side of Jack Armstrong Stadium/Blankenship Field are seriously aged and suffer from erosion.   The next step for the School Board will be to determine how to replace them and that discussion will ramp up over the next few weeks. 

 

KNS:  OR settles lawsuit

 

According to the News-Sentinel, the Oak Ridge City Council voted to settle a lawsuit filed by a former employee alleging that she had been forced to take disability retirement when she wanted to continue working.  The suit was filed by Kay Littlejohn, who had worked for the city for 19 years before her termination in March of 2012 and alleged wrongful termination and sought $2.75 million in damages.  The settlement reached through mediation will pay Littlejohn $75,000, with half coming from the city’s insurance carrier and the rest from city coffers.  According to the KNS, Littlejohn has multiple sclerosis but was able to perform her job in the city’s codes enforcement office, however in 2008, she exercised her Family and Medical Leave Act—or FMLA—rights because of her illness on an as-needed basis.  The lawsuit alleged that three years later, city officials began pressuring her to retire against her wishes.  She transferred to the city’s Public Works Department after she was allegedly told she was going to be fired in 2011 but the lawsuit claims that she was never properly trained, received poor job evaluations and was placed on probation, all the while being pressured to retire.  She was fired in March of 2012 according to the suit, because she refused to take disability retirement and because she had used her FMLA rights. 

 

Woman fires at officers through hotel door

 

Blount County authorities arrested a Maryville woman on Sunday after she shot at police officers from inside a hotel room.  It happened a little before 5 p.m. Sunday at the Airport Hilton.  The Blount County Sheriff's Office said airport police were sent to check on the 43-year-old woman who had checked into the hotel after a friend had called and told authorities the woman had threatened to harm herself earlier in the day.  She then fired at officers through the door when they tried to contact her from out in the hallway.  Officials said the bullet went through the door and into an empty room across the hall.  None of the officers were hit or injured in the incident.  The woman eventually surrendered peacefully and was taken into custody.  Authorities say she will face multiple charges including three counts of aggravated assault and felony reckless endangerment when she is officially charged on Monday.

 

Knox jury convicts man in triple-slaying

 

A Knox County jury on Saturday convicted a man on charges of second-degree murder in the shooting deaths of his wife, her twin sister and her lover.  The jury deliberated for more than 10 hours over two days before finding 53-year-old Paul Clifford Moore Jr., guilty on three counts of second-degree murder.  Prosecutors had sought first-degree murder convictions.  Each conviction carries a maximum 25-year prison term and Moore, who remains in custody, will be sentenced on March 6th.  Moore was convicted in the May 2012 shooting deaths of his 39-year-old wife Christina Moore her twin Bridgette Stagnolia, and his wife’s lover, 24-year-old Amber Snellings inside his Old Clinton Pike apartment.  Testimony showed Moore shot Snellings three times inside a spare bedroom in the apartment where he and his wife had been living after having reconciled.  He shot his wife twice on stairs leading from that bedroom. He also shot Stagnolia twice while she appeared to be fleeing toward a back door in the kitchen.  Defense attorneys contended Moore had walked in on a sexual encounter between the three women and was so distraught that he went into his own bedroom and retrieved a gun, intending to kill himself.  Moore said he did not remember shooting Snellings and only recalled shooting his wife and her twin once.  After the shootings, he drove to his brother’s house a few miles away, tossed the gun and magazine into a wooded area and calmly waited for police.  Prosecutors claimed the killings were executions, carried out by a man fed up with his wife’s cheating.

 

BCSO:  Year-long investigation concludes with arrests

 

Blount County Sheriff James Lee Berrong and Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms Resident Agent in Charge, Knoxville District, Mickey French, announced several people were arrested today during a roundup after the culmination of a one year long investigation.

The following individuals were charged:

  • Nicholas Herbert Collins, 30, Bear Hollow Loop, Louisville, was charged with two counts of delivery of a Schedule II controlled substance (oxycodone), one count of delivery of a Schedule III controlled substance (suboxone), and one count of conspiracy to deliver a Schedule III controlled substance (suboxone). Collins was also charged with possession of a weapon during the commission of a felony. He is being held on bonds totaling $17,500 pending a hearing in Blount County General Sessions Court at 9 a.m. January 29th..
  • Teresa Jane Whitehead, 54. Country Fields Way, Walland, was charged with one count of delivery of a Schedule II controlled substance (methamphetamine). Bond amount and court date have not yet been set.
  • Dennis Robert Purkey, 42. Samples Road, Louisville, was charged with one count of delivery of a Schedule II controlled substance (crack cocaine). Purkey is being held on a $3,500 bond pending a hearing in Blount County General Sessions Court at 9 a.m. January 29th.
  • Carrie M. Hamilton, 40, Bear Hollow Loop, Louisville, was charged with delivery of a Schedule III controlled substance (suboxone). Hamilton was released on a $3,500 bond with an initial Blount County General Sessions Court date of January 29th at 9 a.m.
  • Amanda Marlene McCall (aka Breeden), 34, Porter Bridge Road, Maryville. McCall is charged with delivery of a Schedule II controlled substance (oxycodone). Her bond amount and court date has not yet been set.

In addition, two other individuals, Richard Joe Pruitt, 21, of Gillenwater Road, Maryville, and Stacy W. Teffeteller, 47, Bear Hollow Loop, Louisville, were taken into custody on federal charges. Pruitt will be charged with gun and narcotics charges, and Teffeteller will be charged with gun charges.  Following the disposition of Teffeteller’s federal charges, he will also face state charges.  Two other individuals were cited. Daniel Doyon, 26, of Porter Bridge Road, was cited with possession of drug paraphernalia, and Jacob D. Pruitt, 20, of Gillenwater Road, was cited for possession of a Schedule IV controlled substance (marijuana) and possession of drug paraphernalia.  Charges are pending against a ninth individual who was not charged at the time of the other arrests.  The above individuals were arrested from five separate locations in Blount County.

 

Ex-Alexander aid hangs self

 

Ryan Loskarn, the former chief of staff to U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander who was charged with possessing and distributing child pornography last month, was found dead in his home in Maryland of an apparent suicide, law enforcement officials said Friday.  "At approximately 12 p.m. yesterday, Carroll County Sheriff's Deputies responded to a private residence in the 6900 block of Kenmar Lane for a report of an unconscious male, believed to be deceased," the sheriff's office reported Friday morning. "Family members reported finding 35-year old Jesse Ryan Loskarn unresponsive in his basement where he'd been residing with family since this past December.  The preliminary investigation indicates that Loskarn may have taken his own life, and his body has since been transported to the State Medical Examiner's Office for Autopsy."  The Maryland state Medical Examiner said Friday that Loskarn's death by hanging, initially reported by Politico, had been ruled a suicide.  Loskarn, 35, was arrested last month by federal agents on charges that he possessed and intended to distribute child pornography. The arrest came as agents executed a raid on his Washington residence. Alexander fired him the same day.  Federal prosecutors had delayed an indictment of Loskarn, hinting at a possible plea agreement. Loskarn had been released to the custody of his parents in Sykesville, Md., where he was ordered not to use the Internet and to wear an ankle bracelet.

 

TVA sets demand record Friday

 

TVA received a record-breaking demand for electricity early Friday morning when temperatures were around 7 degrees according to a release.  It was TVA’s highest demand for power since the summer of 2007, and it is the third highest demand in history. It also surpassed the previous winter record which was set on Jan. 16, 2009 at 32,572 megawatts.  This morning the estimated use was 33,345 megawatts.  The all-time demand record was actually set in summer when temperatures hit 102 on Aug. 16, 2007, and 33,482 megawatts were used.

 

OSPD investigating possible animal cruelty

 

Oliver Springs police in say they found two horses—one dead, the other alive but in poor condition—last week.  Few details have been released but investigators say they are waiting on test results to see if any charges will be filed.  In the meantime, the owner has surrendered the surviving horse to Horse Haven of Tennessee.

 

Mayes selected for state organization

 

Anderson County Circuit Court Clerk, Tyler Mayes, has been selected to serve on the State of Tennessee Court Clerk’s Association’s legislative committee.  Mayes will represent East Tennessee on the committee that will see many new pieces of legislation that will have a direct impact on the court system in Tennessee.   The committee plays a large role in communicating with state representatives and state senators from across the state about court related legislation. “It is an honor to represent Anderson County and Court Clerk’s from across the state on this important committee.  I look forward to working with my fellow colleagues as we work on important issues affecting our court system and the citizens of Anderson County.”      

 

US Mint to produce GSMNP quarter

 

The US Mint has announced plans to release a Great Smoky Mountains National Park quarter.  According to a news release, the quarter is the 21st coin in the America the Beautiful Quarters Program.  The agency says the program is a 12-year initiative that honors 56 national parks and other national sites. This is the fifth year for the program. Each year, five new quarters are added to the collection.  A launch ceremony will be held to commemorate the event. It is scheduled to take place at the Mills Auditorium in the Gatlinburg Convention Center on Wednesday, January 29 at 9:00 am.  After the ceremony, currency can be exchanged for $10 rolls of new Great Smoky Mountains National Park quarters.

 

ORT:  DOE to fund 3-year groundwater study

 

(Oak Ridge Today) The U.S. Department of Energy has agreed to spend $4.5 million during the next three years to study groundwater contamination on the Oak Ridge Reservation.  The reservation includes three federal sites—East Tennessee Technology Park, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and Y-12 National Security Complex—that have been involved in missions ranging from scientific research to uranium enrichment to nuclear weapons work. That work has sometimes included the use of hazardous substances such as mercury and technetium-99, a slow-decaying radioactive metal.  Our partners at Oak Ridge Today report that the $4.5 million in funding will help implement a new groundwater strategy developed by DOE with help from the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.  The strategy, which was presented to the Oak Ridge Site Specific Advisory Board in November, will help guide future cleanup decisions, said Sue Cange, deputy manager for environmental management in DOE’s Oak Ridge Office.  Officials said there is no cause for alarm, and the off-site risks from possible groundwater contamination aren’t significant enough to compel the EPA to require the Department of Energy to act.  “No one should be alarmed,” said Daniel J. Goode, a research hydrologist for the U.S. Geological Survey. “DOE is managing the site. It’s very complex. It’s very contaminated. But they are protecting the public. There is no crisis here.”  For more on this story, visit http://oakridgetoday.com/2014/01/23/doe-commits-three-year-4-5-million-groundwater-study-oak-ridge/.

 

ORPD:  Man killed in single-vehicle ORNL wreck

 

The Oak Ridge Police Department says that one man was killed in a single-vehicle accident on the campus of Oak Ridge National Laboratory late Wednesday night.  Oak Ridge Police were called to Bethel Valley Road east of Spallation Drive shortly after 10 pm when ORNL security personnel discovered the crash while on patrol.  In addition to the ORPD and lab security, personnel from the ORNL Fire & Rescue unit also responded.  According to a release from the ORPD, their initial investigation determined that John Kirkpatrick of Knoxville had been headed east on Bethel Valley Road in a 2001 Honda CRV when he left the south side of the roadway and struck a tree.  Kirkpatrick, who was alone in the vehicle, died at the scene.  The investigation into Wednesday night’s fatal accident is continuing.

 

OR combating water meter box metal thieves

 

The city of Oak Ridge’s Public Works Department has received numerous reports of cast iron water meter box risers and lids disappearing from various locations across the city.  According to a release from the city, the lids and risers are municipally-owned.  Without those items in place, officials say that the water meters can freeze, leaving customers without water and creating an issue that city crews would have to repair.  It also creates a safety hazard for pedestrians, who could step in the exposed meter box and be injured.  Residents of Oak Ridge and people spending time in the city are being asked to keep their eyes open and report any suspicious activity to Police.  No one should be removing these lids except for city crews, who are easily identified by their city vehicles.  If you see anyone removing lids or covers from any city-owned property, call Oak Ridge Police at 865-425-4399.

 

Shoplifting at Wal-Mart ends with box cutter threat

 

Clinton Police are investigating a shoplifting incident at Wal-Mart that quickly escalated to aggravated assault on Monday.  While shoplifting is nothing new at the big-box retailer, the store’s loss prevention associate called police to the store shortly before 3:30 pm Monday after a man allegedly threatened him with a box cutter while stealing women’s underwear.  The loss prevention associate confronted a man who was walking out the store’s front door with two packages of plus-sized women’s underwear valued at a little over $25 without paying for them.  The employee told police that when he tried to stop the suspect, the man produced a box cutter and threatened him with it.  The suspect fled in an older-model white car.  The employee was not hurt and the case remains under investigation. 

 

ORT:  2 OR principals have interim tags removed

 

(Information from Oak Ridge Today) Interim principals at Oak Ridge High School and Jefferson Middle School have been named principals, Oak Ridge Schools announced Wednesday.  David Bryant, who has been interim principal at Oak Ridge High School, has been named principal, and Phillip Cox, interim principal at Jefferson Middle School, has been named principal at the middle school.  Bryant has been interim principal at the high school since July 2013. He was an assistant ORHS principal from 2006 to 2013, and before that, he was an administrator at the Alternative Program.  Bryant began his career with Oak Ridge Schools as a special education teacher in 1985. Cox has been interim principal at JMS since October 2013. He had served as JMS vice principal since 2006.  Cox was principal of Lake City Elementary before joining Oak Ridge Schools.

 

AC Commission rejects jail referendum

 

Meeting in their quarterly day session, the Anderson County Commission voted 10-4 this morning not to ask the Election Commission to place a non-binding referendum on the August ballot asking county voters if they want to house federal prisoners in the soon-to-be-opened 212-bed addition to the Jail.  In rejecting the measure, commissioners indicated they needed more information about the matter and that it is too early in the process to make any decisions on whether or not to house low-risk, pretrial federal inmates, especially since the addition has not opened yet.  We will have more on this story for you on the air and online.

 

AC Commission opts for railroad-built bridge option

 

Meeting in their quarterly day session Tuesday, the Anderson County Commission voted to accept CSX Railroad's offer to rebuild the wooden bridge owned by the rail company on Johnson Gap Road that has been shut down since July 2013.  The closure has made trips longer in and out of the Dutch Valley community not only for residents but also for emergency responders.  CSX had offered to rebuild the wooden bridge at its own expense or allow the county to build a concrete replacement at county expense. 

 

ORFD, RCSD receive donations from sub shop

 

Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation is donating $20,000 worth of much-needed equipment to the Oak Ridge Fire Department and Roane County Sheriff’s Office.  Events are planned in Oak Ridge on Wednesday and Lenoir City on Thursday to celebrate the donations of the life-saving tools.  The ORFD is receiving a thermal imaging camera, worth more than $10,000.  The donated camera will detect body heat and hot spots in burning buildings, allowing firefighters to reach victims quickly and put out deadly fires.  That donation will be celebrated at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday at Firehouse Subs restaurant, which is at 1143 Oak Ridge Turnpike in Oak Ridge.  The Roane County Sheriff’s Office is receiving first-aid kits and six automated external defibrillators, or AEDs, worth more than $10,200.  The donated first-aid kits will allow for immediate response to injuries, while the donated AEDs will ensure the department is prepared to provide life-saving assistance if a citizen goes into cardiac arrest.  That donation will be celebrated at 10:30 a.m. Thursday at Firehouse Subs restaurant at 149 Kelsey Lane in Lenoir City. 

 

ORT:  Single-vehicle accident in OS

 

According to our partners at Oak Ridge Today, a Jeep pulling a trailer hauling an ATV eastbound on Tri-County Boulevard on Monday went off the road near Edmonds Drive and knocked down a railroad crossing signal.  The ATV flipped and landed next to the vehicle after the crash, which occurred at about 5:50 p.m. Monday.  No injuries were reported.  The Oliver Springs police and fire departments responded as did the Anderson County Emergency Medical Services.

 

State:  AC led state in lab seizures in 2013

 

According to information released by the state Friday, Anderson County led the state in the number of meth lab seizures in 2014.  Authorities in Anderson County made 83 meth lab busts in 2013. Anderson County is one of two East Tennessee counties that ranked in the top five for meth lab seizures in the state during the 2013.  The other was Monroe County, which ranked fourth.   But, officials say, many communities across the state saw their seizure numbers go down.  The amount of meth lab seizures statewide decreased slightly by 7 percent from 2012 to 2013.  In East Tennessee, the decrease was around 8 percent.  Last year, only the state of Missouri had more meth busts than Tennessee.

 

ORT:  Price Florist building coming down

 

According to our partners at Oak Ridge Today, workers with Perkins Trucking and Excavating of Knoxville began demolishing Price Florist on Oak Ridge Turnpike on Saturday and could finish the job on Monday.  Signs at the site now refer prospective tenants to Cappiello Real Estate, although it wasn’t immediately clear if the property has been sold.  The Oak Ridge Board of Building and Housing Code Appeals had ordered the demolition of the building as recently as September, and had considered whether to issue a demolition or repair order for the once-thriving business in several other meetings last year.  They had given building owner Patricia Warren of Crossville several extensions to allow her time to come back with a sales contract, repair plan, or demolition permit.  Warren had cleaned up the property and had hoped to sell it, telling board members at one point during the process that she had three potential buyers.  Warren sold the Price Florist business about four years ago but still owned the property. Last year, Warren told board members she wasn’t aware of the poor conditions at the property. Those problems, according to city staff, included fire code violations, a leaky roof, electrical hazards, plumbing issues, and broken concrete floors, among other things.  In June, the board declared the building a nuisance and unfit for human occupation or use.  Price Florist was started by the Price family in the early 1950s, and Warren and her ex-husband bought it in the late 1970s.

 

Pot, moonshine found in Blount home

 

The Blount County Sheriff’s Office says that three people were taken into custody Friday following a search warrant that revealed an indoor marijuana grow and a moonshine still.  The following individuals were charged:

·         Justin Glenn Headrick, 31, of Big Gully Road, Maryville. Headrick is charged with the manufacture of a Schedule VI controlled substance (marijuana) within 1,000 feet of a school.

·         Michael Jarrell Young, 31, Mountain View Avenue, Maryville. Young is charged with the manufacture of a Schedule VI controlled substance (marijuana) within 1,000 feet of a school and possession of a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony.

A third individual was detained but later released with no charges. Bond amounts and court dates on Headrick and Young have not yet been set.

Shortly before noon Friday, investigators with the Fifth Judicial Drug Task Force responded to a residence on Mountain View Avenue due to numerous anonymous community complaints regarding suspicious activity at a residence. Investigators did a “knock and talk” with the individuals at the residence, and they could immediately smell the odor of marijuana coming from the house. The three individuals were detained and the house was secured. Investigators applied for and obtained a search warrant to search the residence. The search revealed an indoor marijuana grow, several marijuana plants, dried marijuana clippings, and several firearms. Investigators also found an unlicensed moonshine still and a quantity of untaxed spirits. An agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives also responded to the scene.  The investigation is continuing, and additional charges are pending.

 

Alcoa PD arrests 2 suspects in robbery

 

Friday, Alcoa Police arrested two men in connection to an armed robbery that occurred last Sunday.  Early last Sunday, two men approached the manager of the McDonalds on Old Knoxville Highway as he walked to his car with the store’s deposit bag.  One of the men pulled a handgun and demanded the bag.  At some point during the incident, police say that the gun went off, striking the manager in his boot but causing no injury to him.  After a weeklong investigation, police arrested two 19-year-old Blount County men in connection with the robbery.  They are identified as Jerrell Lee Bledsoe and Jelyn Marquis Haley.  Both are charged with aggravated assault and are being held at the Blount County Jail pending a court appearance later this week.

 

Shillings chosen to replace Brummitt on OS Council

 

Thursday, the Oliver Springs Town Council voted 5-0 to appoint Don Shillings to serve the remaining two and a half years of the unexpired term of James Brummitt, who resigned his Ward 6 seat two weeks ago.  Brummitt says he resigned in order to spend more time with his family and to devote more of his attention to his other political post as Chairman of the Roane County Commission.  Shillings is no stranger to public service, having served two previous terms on the Council.  Shillings was sworn in immediately following the vote and took his seat for the remainder of Thursday’s meeting. 

 

Man arrested after shooting incident leads to standoff

 

The Anderson County Sheriff’s Department has released more information about an alleged shooting incident early Wednesday morning that turned into an eight-plus-hour-long standoff.  Deputies were called to a home on Batley Road at around 3 am on a report of shots being fired and when they arrived, were told that 50-year-old homeowner Gregory Allen Denton had physically assaulted and then threatened a couple renting a room in the farmhouse with a pistol.  Denton allegedly assaulted 47-year-old Benjamin Emory and fired a shot from the pistol at him inside the house.  Denton is also accused of firing at 45-year-old Angela Badgett as she fled the house.  Neither victim was hit by gunfire but deputies did locate Emory on the back porch with injuries from the initial assault.  He was brought to safety and treated on-scene by the Anderson County EMS.  Meanwhile, Denton refused to come to the door so the Sheriff Department secured the scene and called in the tactical unit.  Denton failed to respond despite numerous attempts to communicate with him so deputies cut the power off to the house.  Shortly before 11:30 am, the tactical team blew out some windows on the farmhouse with non-lethal rounds and was preparing to deploy tear gas when Denton finally came outside and surrendered.  He was taken into custody on two counts of aggravated assault and is being held without bond at the Anderson County Jail pending an arraignment.  The Sheriff’s Department was assisted at the scene by members of the Oak Ridge PD SWAT team as well.  No motive for the alleged assault has been released and the investigation is continuing.

 

Man arrested in connection to Blount burglaries

 

The Blount County Sheriff’s Office says that investigators have arrested a 33-year-old Maryville man in connection with the three store burglaries that occurred last weekend.   James Dustin Nix of Maryville is charged with two counts of burglary of a business in connection with the burglaries that occurred at the Aztec store on East Lamar Alexander Parkway early Saturday morning and the Mapco Express store on East Broadway early Sunday morning. Additional charges are pending.  He is also suspected of breaking into the Garner Bros. Auto Parts store on East Lamar Alexander the same morning he is accused of breaking into the Mapco Express. Cash, cigarettes, and lottery tickets were stolen. Nix was identified as the man in a surveillance photo the Sheriff’s Office released Tuesday of Nix, who was attempting to cash in some of the stolen lottery tickets at a local convenience store.  “We’d like to again thank the community for the tips in helping us to identify the individual in the surveillance photo,” Sheriff James Berrong said. “Without the assistance of the community we may not have solved these burglaries.”  The investigation into the burglaries is continuing.

 

ACHS staff members, AED save girl’s life

 

We have a truly heroic story from Anderson County High School today as a team of faculty members, led by a husband and wife duo, is being credited with saving the life of a freshman girl on campus Monday morning.  Assistant Principal Travis Freeman was notified that a female student had collapsed in the school’s courtyard and was having a seizure.  Freeman determined that she was unconscious and had a weak heartbeat so he sent someone to call 911 and then sent for his wife April Freeman, a trained nurse and a health sciences instructor at the Career and technical Center that shares its campus with ACHS.  She arrived and the pair began CPR while another faculty member went to retrieve one of the schools’ two automated external defibrillators—or AEDs.  When the Freemans hooked the device to the girl it advised them that she needed to be shocked.  While they continued CPR, the couple shocked the girl twice, restarting her heart.  While this was going on, other staff members cleared the courtyard and helped calm down other students.  Doctors at East Tennessee Children’s Hospital reviewed the data from the AED and said that the device had in fact saved her life.  The girl, whose name is not being released, is said to be recovering at Children’s Hospital.  Her mother told WBIR-TV that she is extremely grateful for the efforts of everyone who worked so hard to save her daughter.  All ACHS staff members are trained in how to use the AEDs and many also have CPR certifications. 

 

ORT:  MMC sued over alleged radiation expsoure

 

(Oak Ridge Today)  Our partners at Oak Ridge Today (www.oakridgetoday.com) report that five lawsuits filed in Anderson County on Monday allege that X-ray and radiologic technologists, including two who were pregnant, were exposed to excess radiation for several years at Methodist Medical Center because some walls in and around a radiology imaging center in the new emergency department were built without the required lead shielding, elevating the workers’ risk of health problems, including cancer. 

The five lawsuits allege the walls in the emergency department, which opened in February 2006 as part of a hospital remodel, did not have the required protective radiological shielding because of building, design, and inspection errors.  Lead-lined walls are required in radiological areas to limit radiation exposure under local and federal regulations and construction and health standards, the lawsuits say.  But the defendants—Covenant Health of Knoxville, Rentenbach Engineering Co. of Knoxville, and TEG Architects LLC of Jeffersonville, Ind.—failed to have qualified personnel survey or check the installation and construction parameters, or conduct proper barrier determinations for lead barrier thickness, to ensure that the walls in the radiological areas would adequately reduce scatter and leakage radiation, the lawsuits say. The defendants also failed to have qualified personnel certify that the MMC in-department imaging center and nearby areas were built in compliance with all applicable regulations and guidelines so that the plaintiffs “would only be exposed to levels of radiation that were as low as reasonably achievable, all before allowing work to be done at that facility.” The lawsuits allege violations of state and federal rules, regulations, and standards, including radiation safety requirements of the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation. 

MMC, a Covenant Health member, said it will dispute the allegations, issuing a statement that reads “Methodist Medical Center places the highest priority on employee and public safety. We maintain an active and ongoing radiation quality and compliance program with specific procedures to monitor safety. Based on the results of this program, it has been verified that we have met all safety standards for radiation exposure. We intend to refute these accusations vigorously.”

The plaintiffs are:

  • Micah Noelle Lewellen and her child, of Knoxville. Lewellen is an X-ray technologist and was allegedly exposed to radiation during her pregnancy.
  • Keith Gillis of Knoxville, a radiologic technologist (computed tomography technologist)
  • Michael Phillips of Clinton, a radiologic technologist (computed tomography technologist)
  • Connie Raby of Clinton, X-ray technologist
  • Mary Ridenour and her child, of Andersonville. Ridenour is a radiologic technologist (computed tomography technologist), and she also was allegedly exposed to radiation during her pregnancy.

The lawsuits allege that two of the plaintiffs—Phillips and Raby—now have thyroid problems, headaches, sleeping problems, and other health issues. Gillis has seizures and memory loss, his complaint says.  The plaintiffs also have a greater risk of developing health problems, including cancer, the complaints say. If they develop cancer in the future, the plaintiffs could lose earnings and earning capacity, and suffer other economic damages, the complaints allege.  Filed in Anderson County Circuit Court on Monday, the lawsuits seek general damages, to be determined at trial; loss of earnings; and past and future economic damages, including the costs of medical care, monitoring, and treatment.

The plaintiffs are represented by John D. Agee and Michael M. Stahl of Clinton law firm Ridenour and Ridenour.

 

Business mag names TN ‘State of the Year’

 

A national business magazine named Tennessee the "2013 State of the Year."  Business Facilities said the Volunteer State joins Texas as the only multiple winner since the competition started in 2007. Rounding out the top five were Utah, Texas, Louisiana, Georgia, and Pennsylvania.  Tennessee's top five economic development projects created a total of 6,900 jobs, $3.2 billion in capital investment, and included seven expansions along with three new recruitments. The magazine picked the state after evaluating the top five projects for number of jobs created and the amount of capital invested from October 2012 through October 2013.  Officials say the state saw unprecedented economic growth last year.  "The global companies that invested capital in our state and the number of jobs created demonstrate to the world that Tennessee not only provides a top-notch business environment, but also the ongoing support needed for success," wrote Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bill Hagerty in a statement. "I am extremely pleased by this award and look forward to another successful year."  East Tennessee didn't have any of the top five projects for jobs listed in the magazine, but Alcoa, Inc. in Blount County did land the number five spot for top projects for capital investment.

Top five projects for jobs:

  • Hankook Tire Company (Montgomery County): 1,800 jobs
  • ARAMARK (Davidson County): 1,500 jobs
  • Nissan North America, Inc. (Rutherford County): 1,400 jobs
  • Calsonic Kansei North America, Inc. (Beford, Marshall and Rutherford counties): 1,200 jobs
  • UBS (Davidson County): 1,000 jobs

Top five projects for capital investment:

  • Eastman Chemical Company (Sullivan County): $1.6 billion
  • Hankook Tire Company, Ltd. (Montgomery County): $800 million
  • International Paper Company (Shelby County): $321 million
  • Nike, Inc. (Shelby County): $276 million
  • Alcoa, Inc. (Blount County): $275 million

List of additional national honors Tennessee earned in 2013:

  • No.1 in the U.S. for automotive manufacturing strength for four years in a row in Business Facilities
  • Site Selection ranked Tennessee in the top five states with the best business climate
  • Chief Executive Magazine ranked Tennessee the fourth best state in U.S. for business

 

Clinton woman pleads in rental house scam

 

A Clinton woman who scammed over a dozen people on Craigslist into paying her deposits for a rental house she did not own pleaded guilty Monday to charges in that case.  26-year-old Kayla Marie Beck pleaded guilty to charges of theft over $1000, conspiracy to commit theft and filing a false report.  In exchange for her plea, she was sentenced to three concurrent two-year prison sentences and ordered to serve 22 days in the Anderson County Jail on the weekends while serving the rest of her sentence on supervised probation.  In addition, Beck was ordered to pay her 14 victims some $4325 in restitution and prohibited from buying or selling anything online.  Beck and her alleged co-conspirator advertised a home on West Wolf Valley Road for rent on Craigslist.  Beck had a key to the house and showed it to potential renters but the scheme fell apart when people who had paid the deposit tried to move in.  Beck was arrested on charges connected to the case in July of 2012 but her alleged accomplice, 37-year-old Shannon Leffew of Claxton fled the state.  In a strange twist to the case, she was killed several hours after Beck’s arrest in a traffic accident on I-75 in Kentucky.

 

Jackson Square re-do awaiting state approval

 

The planned renovation of Oak Ridge’s historic Jackson Square will either begin in just a few weeks or will have to wait until summer, depending on when TDOT approves the project, according to a city economic development consultant.  Ray Evans made his statements during an event at Razzleberry’s restaurant in the Square on Tuesday.  If the project, which is being funded primarily by a TDOT Enhancement grant awarded two years ago, is approved quickly, work could begin very soon and be completed within about six months.  If not, the project would have to be pushed back until after the June 21st Lavender Festival held each year in Jackson Square.  The project will reconfigure the parking lot while adding a fountain that can be played in, LED lighting, new sidewalks, park benches and bike racks.  Jackson Square was once the center of Oak Ridge when it was still a “secret city” during the Manhattan Project years and this project, along with another recently completed at a city-owned parking lot across the street, is aimed at revitalizing the square and attracting more businesses to the area.

 

Report:  Coyotes a growing problem in OR

 

Some Oak Ridge residents have expressed concern to officials that the city has a growing coyote problem.  The News-Sentinel reports that the issue has been brought to the attention of City Council members via e-mail and comments made during this week’s Council meeting.  More and more coyotes are being seen in west Oak Ridge and the animals are being blamed for the disappearances of pets.  Some parents have also expressed concern that the coyotes have been seen near school bus stops.  City officials say they are studying the problem to find an adequate solution but point out that the city’s animal control officers currently don’t have the necessary permits to deal with coyotes.  The city will contact TWRA for advice. 

 

ORT:  OR Council OKs additional SRO

 

(Information from Oak Ridge Today) The Oak Ridge City Council approved a move on Monday that will add a second school resource officer in the city’s schools, and the new SRO could start Monday.  The new SRO is Oak Ridge Police Officer Michael Swigert, who will join current SRO Officer Sherrill Selby.  Council members approved the move in a 5-1 vote on Monday.  The resolution approved by Council allows the Oak Ridge Police Department to hire an extra police officer, exceeding its authorized personnel staffing levels, in order to assign an existing police officer as an SRO. In a memo to City Council, Watson and Oak Ridge Police Chief Jim Akagi said funding is available from positions that are unfilled because of retirements and personnel turnover.  The SROs can work at any of the city’s nine schools, although much of their activity is centered at the high school.

 

Sunday fire ravages remote cabin

 

A fire Sunday night destroyed an unoccupied log cabin on Windrock Road.  The blaze was reported shortly before 8 pm and firefighters from the Marlow and Oliver Springs Fire Departments responded.  The first crews on the scene reported that the structure, a cabin made out of heavy logs with several additional rooms added on, was totally engulfed by flames.  Firefighters faced several obstacles in trying to extinguish the blaze, including a driveway that was inaccessible by fire trucks that forced crews to hand-carry their hose about 700 feet through the woods to get water on the fire.  Also, there are no hydrants in the area so water had to be shuttled in.  Even with those difficulties, the fire was brought under control within about two and a half hours.  In addition to the two fire departments, personnel from the Anderson County EMS and the Sheriff’s Department also responded to the call.  No injuries were reported and the cause of the fire is under investigation. 

 

OS man killed in Blount wreck

 

Alcoa Police say that glare from the sun likely caused a pair of wrecks Sunday morning that killed an Oliver Springs man and sent another person to the hospital.  The first accident occurred when 28-year-old James Green of Knoxville was blinded by the sun as he headed east on Pellissippi Parkway in between Topside Road and Alcoa Highway and he rear-ended a pickup truck driven by 73-year-old Eddy Palmer of Oliver Springs.  The impact spun Palmer’s truck around and it came to rest facing the wrong way in the right-hand lane.  As Palmer and Green surveyed the damage while waiting for police to arrive, a third vehicle driven by 39-year-old Jason Cox of Knoxville happened upon the accident scene and was also blinded by the sun, causing him to collide with Palmer’s truck.  The collision pushed the truck into Palmer, who died at the scene.  Cox was taken to Fort Sanders Hospital for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries.  That section of the Parkway was closed for several hours while the accident was investigated.

 

Lightning likely sparked Maryville fire

 

A home in Maryville was destroyed by a fire Saturday morning that officials say was likely started by a lightning strike.  Firefighters reported that they could see flames shooting out of the attic of the home on North Heritage Drive as they arrived at around 8:45 am.  A family of three was home at the time of the fire and made it out safely, along with their dog, but two other pets were feared dead.  The home’s roof collapsed and firefighters say that the house was a total loss. 

 

Campbell man shoots, wounds son; case investigated

 

An 80-year-old Campbell County man shot his son Saturday evening and the incident is under investigation.  The incident occurred at around 5:30 pm Saturday at a home on Back Valley Road just outside Lafollette.  51-year-old Merle Ivey was shot twice and airlifted to UT Medical Center, where he underwent surgery Saturday night and, at last check was in critical but stable condition.  He was reportedly shot by his father Denvin Miller and authorities say that alcohol may have contributed to the incident while family members say that Ivey was trying to steal money from his father’s safe.  Miller surrendered after a 30-minute standoff with Campbell County deputies and was taken to Lafollette Medical Center, examined and released from the hospital and from police custody, pending the outcome of the ongoing investigation.

 

2 charged in Blount BB vandalism

 

Two men were arrested last week by Blount County authorities in connection to a vandalism spree that spanned two cities and caused approximately $12,000 worth of damage.  Between December 31st and January 4th, police in Alcoa and Maryville investigated 19 incidents in which car windows and business windows were shot out by BB guns.  Two men were arrested last week and charged with one count each of vandalism and they are identified as 19-year-old Peter Wood of Sevierville and 20-year-old Shaman Jordan of Maryville. 

 

Ex-teacher waives hearing on child porn charges

 

A former East Tennessee elementary school teacher facing child pornography charges last week waived his right to a preliminary hearing on those charges, which will now be considered by the Blount County grand jury.  38-year-old John Daniel Lynn was arrested at his Alcoa home in October following a raid that turned up images and videos of child pornography on his computer.  Authorities accuse him of downloading and sharing the explicit images via the internet.  Lynn has resigned from his position as a fourth-grade teacher and basketball coach at Prospect Elementary School in Seymour.  He also worked in 2012 at a Knox County elementary school before his position was eliminated. 

 

3 charged after Blount raid

 

(BCSO) Blount County Sheriff James Lee Berrong said three people were taken into custody on Thursday as part of a search warrant executed by the Fifth Judicial Drug Task Force. In addition, cash, illegal drugs, and stolen items were seized.  Leroy Long, Jr., 42, of Creason Drive, Maryville, is being held in the Blount County Detention Facility. Bond amounts and court dates have not yet been set.  Long is charged with two counts of possession of a Schedule II controlled substance, felon in possession of a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony, and introduction of contraband into a penal institution (marijuana and methamphetamine).  George Eugene Johnson, 29, of Unaka Avenue, Maryville, was also taken into custody at the scene on an outstanding warrant from Loudon County. As a result of some recovered stolen property, another individual, William Scott Moore, 28, of Meadow Lark Lane, Rockford, was taken into custody Thursday night and charged with aggravated burglary and theft of property. Moore is being held on bonds totaling $15,000 pending a hearing in Blount County General Sessions Court at 1:30 p.m. November 19th.

Thursday afternoon, investigators with the Fifth Judicial Drug Task Force, with the assistance of detectives with the Criminal Investigation Division and an investigator with the Knox County Sheriff’s Office Drug Task Force, executed a search warrant at a residence on Creason Drive in Maryville. Investigators seized multiple types of illegal drugs, including the pain pills Roxycontin, Oxycontin, and morphine.  They also seized $1,500 cash, as well as stolen property, including TVs and guns. As investigators and detectives were executing the search warrant, 16 people arrived to buy narcotics or trade stolen property for narcotics, or narcotics for stolen property.  Detectives discovered information at the search warrant that Moore burglarized a home on Cecelia Avenue and stole a flat screen Thursday morning.   He, along with the stolen TV, were both located at a residence on Old West Millers Cove Road Thursday night. Moore was arrested and taken to the Blount County Detention Facility.  Investigators are continuing their investigation on Leroy Long.

 

Wartburg church among 8 entrants on National Register

 

(TN Historical Commission) The Tennessee Historical Commission has announced eight Tennessee sites have been added to the National Register of Historic Places. The National Register of Historic Places is the nation’s official list of cultural resources worthy of preservation. It is part of a nationwide program that coordinates and supports efforts to identify, evaluate and protect historic resources. The Tennessee Historical Commission administers the program in Tennessee.  “The National Register honors places that help Tennesseans understand our heritage and make our communities unique and enjoyable,” Executive Director of the Tennessee Historical Commission Patrick McIntyre said. “We are confident this recognition will help retain these unique sites for future generations to know and appreciate.”  Sites recently added to the National Register of Historic Places include:

Wartburg Presbyterian Church – Constructed in 1883 and located in Wartburg, the county seat of Morgan County, the Wartburg Presbyterian Church is a good example of the Folk Victorian style. During this timeframe, improved transportation and technology made it easier to have decorative details on buildings. Instead of hiring a craftsperson, decorative pieces, or the machinery to make them, could be ordered and shipped in by rail. The resulting Folk Victorian style combines elements from many academic styles of the mid-to-late 19th century. Sawn or turned woodwork was generally applied to a rectangular building in the Folk Victorian style and this is seen in the Wartburg church building. The trefoil designs in the windows and front of the Wartburg church and narrow tower represent the Gothic Revival style, while the large multi-light windows are more reflective of the Queen Anne style. The church is covered with weatherboard on the exterior and uses wood bead board inside. The 1937 chandeliers are original to the building and add to the overall historic architectural character of the building.  For more information about the National Register of Historic Places or the Tennessee Historical Commission, please visit the website at www.tn.gov/environment/history.

 

TDOT Launches Yellow DOT Program

 

The Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) today launched the Yellow DOT Program, which is designed to assist first responders in identifying vital medical information for senior drivers. The program features yellow stickers that are placed in the bottom left side of the rear window of vehicles and yellow envelopes containing a photo, medical history and prescription drug information for glove compartments.  The program will allow emergency personnel to make the most of what’s known as the “golden hour”, the first hour after an injury or medical emergency during which medical treatment can dramatically increase a patient’s chances for survival. Once a Yellow DOT sticker is identified on a vehicle, first responders will know to check the glove compartment for the Yellow DOT information packet.  “This program will help police and other first responders by giving them quick access to potentially life-saving medical information within minutes of a car crash,” said TDOT Commissioner John Schroer. “It can also help in efforts to identify victims and personalize their treatment.”  The Tennessee General Assembly unanimously passed a bill supporting a Tennessee Yellow DOT Program in 2012. The sponsors of the Senate and House bills, Sen. Jim Tracy (R-Shelbyville) and Rep. Curtis Halford (R-Dyer) joined Commissioner Schroer at today’s launch event in Nashville.  “There are more than a million and a half licensed drivers in Tennessee who are over the age of 55 and that number will continue to grow,” said Sen. Tracy. “This program provides a great opportunity for older drivers to update their medical information and have a voice in their emergency treatment.”  Rep. Halford added, “The Yellow DOT program doesn’t just save time at the scene of a crash, it can also improve communication between field personnel and hospital emergency staff. I urge senior drivers to take advantage of this free service.”  While the program is geared towards senior drivers, it can be beneficial for anyone with medical issues. There is no cost associated with signing up for the program. For more information about the program, please visit http://www.tdot.state.tn.us/yellowdot/. A listing of Yellow DOT sign-up locations can be found athttp://www.tdot.state.tn.us/yellowdot/docs/YDP-EnrollmentSites.pdf.

 

ORFD receives top state honor for prevention efforts

 

(City of Oak Ridge) The Oak Ridge Fire Prevention Office has been named Tennessee Fire Educators of the Year for 2013, officials said Wednesday.  The department was nominated by Oak Ridge Fire Department Chief Darryl Kerley in “recognition of the outstanding efforts put forth by the Fire Prevention staff this year,” a press release said.  Oak Ridge officials were notified of the honor by the State Fire Marshal’s office.  “The nomination was selected above all others from across the state, recognizing the tremendous education and outreach efforts accomplished by the Oak Ridge Fire Department,” said Assistant Commissioner Gary West of the Fire Prevention Division in the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance.  The Oak Ridge Fire Prevention Office is managed by Assistant Fire Chief Josh Waldo and consists of several areas of service, the press release said. Building construction plans review and commercial inspections are performed by state licensed inspectors from the ORFPO. School public education programs are developed by several talented employees, such as Capt. Jason Benjamin, staff videographer and producer; school program presenter Shane Bass; dancer Austin Keathley, who plays the role of Sparky the Fire Dog; audio/video technical coordinator Scott Prosise; and several other supporting staff members working in conjunction with the on-duty firefighters who provide more than 3,000 school children with annual public education programs in October of each year.  In addition to inspections and public education, the office provides home escape planning along with the installation and maintenance of home smoke alarms through a program supervised by Capt. Carver Lovely. All of these individuals working along with the fire suppression staff provide exceptional public safety efforts in conjunction with the State Fire Marshal’s efforts to reduce fire deaths in Tennessee, the release said. The prevention office staff has been invited to attend the awards banquet scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 25, at the Tennessee Fire Service and Codes Academy in Bell Buckle, Tennessee.  For more information, visit www.oakridgetn.gov.

 

New TN Blue Book dedicated to Summitt

 

(Secretary of State) In her 38 years coaching the University of Tennessee Lady Volunteers basketball team, Pat Summitt received hundreds of honors. Her teams won more than 1,000 games, 32 Southeastern Conference championships and eight national championships. Her players who completed their playing eligibility at UT had a 100 percent graduation rate. And since being diagnosed with early onset dementia a little over two years ago, she has led a foundation that has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to fund Alzheimer's research.  For all of those reasons and more, the next edition of the Tennessee Blue Book is being dedicated to Coach Summitt.  "Coach Summitt has been an inspiration to countless Tennesseans first as a basketball coach and more recently as a strong advocate for Alzheimer's research," Secretary of State Tre Hargett said. "I am pleased that the next edition of the Tennessee Blue Book will pay tribute to her legacy."

"As a proud Tennessean, I am honored to be recognized in the Tennessee Blue Book," Coach Summitt said. "I'm grateful for the support I have always felt throughout the state of Tennessee and now for The Pat Summitt Foundation. I'm proud to call Tennessee my home!"  The Tennessee Blue Book, published every two years, is the definitive manual on Tennessee state government, with detailed information about all three branches of government, including biographies of all members of the Tennessee General Assembly.  It also contains information on the federal government, Tennessee history, election statistics and much more. The Tennessee Blue Book is published by Secretary of State's office and will be available for distribution soon.

 

No indictment against snake-handling preacher in Campbell

 

Campbell County pastor Andrew Hamblin will not face criminal charges after a grand jury decided Wednesday not to indict him.  In November, Pastor Hamblin was cited for having animal dangerous to humans after state wildlife agents seized over 50 venomous snakes, including copperheads and rattlesnakes, from Tabernacle Church of God.  Hamblin says his congregation uses the snakes as a part of their religion.  Following the seizure of the snakes, parishioners and many others rallied around the pastor and called for the snakes to be returned to the church, citing religious freedom.  While the grand jury did not indict Hamblin, the church will not get the snakes back.  Hamblin said venomous snakes have been used at every Tabernacle Church of God religious service since the seizure and that his congregation plans to continue practicing their religion with the animals.  TWRA took the seized snakes to the Knoxville Zoo for care and Wednesday, the Zoo issued a statement that says that 32 of the 53 snakes that were brought to the zoo have died “due to poor body condition caused by anorexia that was a result of severe parasite infestation and overall stress caused by being housed in quarters that were too small.”  Most of the surviving 21 snakes are said to be in fair to good condition but have also been exposed to the same pathogens and are at high risk of being infected.  Unfortunately, there is no successful treatment for these pathogens, which could be fatal for any other snakes, captive or wild, that were exposed to them. Due to the risk these snakes pose, there is no way they could safely become part of a captive conservation program or be released elsewhere. We are currently assessing the options available to us with our veterinarians."

 

OR schools want to give “Keys” to students

 

Oak Ridge school leaders announced a new program aimed at preparing students for not only college, but also for the rest of their post-education lives during a Tuesday press conference.  The program, called “Keys to College and Career Readiness,” is the result of a survey given last year to businesses, teachers, parents and students, asking what they think the schools need to focus on as far as preparing students for the future.  One key ingredient of the program will be basic financial literacy, teaching students how to balance a checkbook, use credit cards, and how to set and stick to a budget.  Another aspect of the program will be focused on making sure that all students are reading at or above grade level by the time they enter the third grade. Part of the program will focus on helping eighth graders meet pre-ACT benchmarks, which is part of the larger goal of raising the average composite ACT scores of the district’s high school students to 27, up from 22.6% on the most recent state report card.  Part of the program will also bring an ROTC program to Oak Ridge High School, something that it has surprisingly never had.  School officials are reportedly working with the US Marine Corps to on that part of the master plan. 

 

Man arrested after beer dispute

 

An Oak Ridge man was arrested and charged with aggravated assault after he allegedly slashed another man with a knife during a drunken argument about beer money.  The incident occurred just before midnight Friday at a home on West Outer Drive and Oak Ridge Police were called to the scene on a report that a man was refusing to leave a woman’s house.  During their investigation, officers determined that the 48-year-old suspect identified as John Stewart and the alleged victim Dennis Henderson were both intoxicated when their argument escalated to a physical confrontation that ended with Henderson sustaining what officers referred to a large laceration to his chest.  Stewart claims that he used the knife in self-defense but he was arrested and charged with aggravated assault and, as of this morning, remained in custody at the Anderson County Jail on bonds totaling $50,000.

 

Meth lab found in motel room

 

Anderson County Sheriff’s deputies seeking to serve outstanding arrest warrants on a man located a meth lab inside a Lake City motel on Monday.  Deputies received information that Tommy Joe White was at the Blue Haven Motel on North Main Street in Lake City and arrived there at around 10:15 am.  Deputies knocked on the door of room 109 and were given permission by a woman who answered the door to search the room.  White was found hiding underneath the bed and taken into custody.  While he was being patted down, deputies reported finding drugs and drug paraphernalia on White.  An active, one-pot meth lab was found hidden in a backpack between the room’s refrigerator and dresser.  In addition to the warrants, White was also charged with initiating the manufacture of meth and the manufacture, delivery or sale of drugs—both felonies—and simple possession of drugs and drug paraphernalia—both misdemeanors.  Two women in the room, identified as 53-year-old Sherry Burgess of Lake City and 32-year-old Rockwood woman, were also taken into custody, each charged with initiating the manufacture of meth and with the manufacture, delivery or sale of drugs—again, both felonies.  Burgess and White remained in custody at the Anderson County Jail as of this morning. 

 

Fire destroys home, 2 occupants uninjured

 

Two people escaped without injury early Tuesday morning after a fire broke out in their home in Claxton.  The fire was reported at a house in the 110 block of Tobby Hollow Lane at around 4 am and Claxton firefighters responded to the scene.  Two occupants of the house got out safely after their grown son, who lives next door, spotted the fire and alerted them.  Officials say the cold temperatures made it harder to extinguish the flames, adding that the home is a total loss.

 

ORT:  ORPSEF names new director

 

(Oak Ridge Today) The Oak Ridge Public Schools Education Foundation has named a new director.  Jenna Whitney started Jan. 1, the foundation’s board of directors announced this week. Whitney has more than 15 years of general management experience in the professional services industry and the U.S. government.  Whitney replaces the foundation’s first director, Lila Metcalf, who has announced that she is leaving the position after almost 10 years with the foundation. She will return full-time to her nursing career.  Whitney recently served as a program manager at a defense contracting firm with oversight of more than $59 million in U.S. government contracts, and she has directed a portfolio of engineering and technical support contracts, a press release said. She has worked overseas for the U.S. State Department, managing financial operations and leading strategic and technical initiatives.  She serves as PTO Co-President at Woodland Elementary School and as a member of the Oak Ridge Schools Superintendent’s PTO Council. She was a board member of ORPSEF before her selection as director.  She is married to Mark Whitney, manager for the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Environmental Management, and they have two children in Oak Ridge schools. Whitney earned a master’s degree in information and telecommunication systems for business from Johns Hopkins University and her bachelor’s degree in foreign language from Thomas Edison State College. She completed the Certified Financial Management Officer Program with the Foreign Service Institute.  The Education Foundation, a nonprofit organization founded in 2000, provides funds beyond public tax dollars for education, raising funds through grants and private donations to invest in enhanced educational programming, innovative technology, and state-of-the-art facilities for teachers and students. For more information, see the foundation’s web site at www.orpsef.org

 

Brummitt resigns from OS Council

 

During Thursday’s meeting of the Town Council, Oliver Springs Mayor Chris Hepler asked council members to accept a letter of resignation from Alderman James Brummitt, who has decided to resign his seat on the Council, effective immediately. Brummitt, who also serves as Chairman of the Roane County Commission, had served three terms on the Oliver Springs Town Council.  The mayor did not offer any specific reason for Brummitt’s decision to step down, but it's been clear to many observers that he and new City Manager Tina Treece have differed on several policies and procedures since she replaced David Bolling.  The city now must appoint a new member representing Ward 6 by the next council meeting in two weeks, according to their city charter.  Mayor Hepler asks anyone willing to serve should send a resume to city hall or come by and apply in person.  Brummitt did not attend Thursday’s meeting. 

 

ORT:  Man cut out of overturned SUV

 

According to our partners at Oak Ridge Today, a driver had to be cut from his upside-down SUV and taken to the hospital on Thursday morning after he crashed into a guide wire on a utility pole on Old Edgemoor Road, traveled up the wire, and then hit the pole and broke it.  The SUV likely went about 10 feet in the air and then fell on its top, crushing the roof, according to the Oak Ridge Fire Department.  Electrical lines landed on top of the vehicle, and the Oak Ridge Electric Department was called to turn off the power.  The driver was taken to the University of Tennessee Medical Center with a head laceration but did not appear to have any other obvious injuries. Authorities say the man may have had a medical emergency before the crash.  The driver, who was disoriented when rescuers arrived, had been headed east on Edgemoor Road in east Oak Ridge a little before 10 a.m. Thursday when he ran off the right side of the road just before Old Edgemoor Road.  The Oak Ridge Electric Department reported that the crash interrupted power to the area and side streets.

 

OS man jailed after domestic incident

 

An Oliver Springs man was arrested on kidnapping and other charges early Wednesday.  46-year-old Reginald Holland is charged with aggravated domestic assault and aggravated kidnapping in connection with the incident, which occurred early Wednesday at a home on Illinois Avenue.  He is accused of locking a woman in a room, hitting and choking her.  Officers noted deep red marks on both cheeks and long red marks around the woman’s neck.  Holland reportedly told Oak Ridge Police that he had been trying to get the woman to stay and wanted to know why she had been talking to her husband.  As of this morning, he remained in custody at the Anderson County Jail on bonds totaling $100,000.

 

State:  988 died on TN roads in 2013, down from previous year

 

(TDOSHS) The Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security today announced preliminary figures indicating the state has recorded 988 traffic fatalities in 2013. That’s a 2.7 percent decrease in vehicular deaths on Tennessee roadways last year compared to 2012, when there were 1,015 traffic fatalities. The 2013 traffic fatality numbers include vehicular deaths reported by all Tennessee law enforcement agencies.  Last year’s preliminary number of 988 traffic-related deaths in Tennessee represents just the fourth time in 50 years vehicular fatalities have dropped below 1,000. In 2011, there were 937 traffic-related deaths on Tennessee roadways, representing the lowest figure since 1963.  “The decline in the number of traffic fatalities in 2013 indicates that Tennessee is moving in the right direction. Our focus on data driven deployment of state troopers to have the maximum impact on DUI and seat belt enforcement is paying off. We have much more work to do, though,” Commissioner Bill Gibbons said.  Impaired driving fatalities fell 26.7 percent from 2010 to 2013 in Tennessee. In 2013, preliminary statistics indicate 211 people were killed in alcohol-related crashes across the state (24.1 percent of the total). Tennessee state troopers increased their number of DUI arrests in 2013 to 6,428, a 90.4 percent increase over 2010.  Additionally, Tennessee state troopers issued 74,277 seat belt and child restraint device citations in 2013, a 135.1 percent increase from the 31,599 citations issued in 2010.  In Tennessee, unrestrained motorists accounted for 48.9 percent (364) of vehicle occupants killed in 2013.  Other contributing factors in fatal crashes included speed and distracted driving, with 184 and 167 deaths, respectively.  Of concern is the fact that pedestrian fatalities have increased by 25 percent over the past year from 68 in 2012 to 85 in 2013.  “In 2014, we will employ a predictive analytics model (C.R.A.S.H.) to look even more closely at where traffic crashes are most likely to occur and deploy our resources, both in educational efforts and enforcement. We hope that this new tool will help reduce serious injury and fatal crashes across the state,” Colonel Tracy Trott said.  Preliminary statistics indicate one person has died on Tennessee roadways in 2014, compared to eight at this time last year.

 

Fire damages home, injures none

 

A fire Monday night fire burned through the roof of a home behind the Bread Box convenience store on Edgemoor Road in Claxton.  The fire occurred at a home on South Dogwood Road and was reported at about 6:45 p.m. Monday.  The call came in initially as a kitchen fire, but the blaze extended into the attic and burned through the roof, causing extensive damage.  Before firefighters arrived, a neighbor kicked open a door after hearing what sounded like a cry for help and freed a trapped cat.  Claxton firefighters were aided by personnel from Rural/Metro, the Andersonville, Marlow, Medford, and Briceville fire departments as well as Anderson County EMS and the Anderson County Sheriff’s Department. The American Red Cross also responded to help the residents.  No injuries were reported.

 

ORT:  Dragon boat races coming to OR

 

(From Oak Ridge Today) The three Rotary clubs of Oak Ridge are planning to launch the inaugural Oak Ridge Dragon Boat Festival on Saturday, May 31, 2014, at the Oak Ridge Marina and Pavilion in Melton Lake Park.  In addition, the clubs have announced a new website for the Oak Ridge Dragon Boat Festival: http://oakridge.racedragonboats.com/.  The boat-racing event, launched by OARS in the Water, will celebrate Oak Ridge’s waterfront and signature rowing venue. OARS stands for the Oak Ridge Association of Rotarians. The other two clubs are the Oak Ridge Breakfast Rotary and Oak Ridge Sunset Rotary clubs.  A dragon boat is a long, low boat adorned with a snarling dragonhead at the boat’s front end, as in the Chinese tradition. Dragon boat races have become popular events in many U.S. cities, ranging in size from Philadelphia and San Francisco to Knoxville and Owensboro, Ky.  This all-day Dragon Boat Festival race will be an entertaining competition among teams of 22 people each: 20 paddlers, a drummer (who keeps the beat to synchronize the paddlers’ strokes), and a steerer (provided by the contractor in charge of the races).  The teams of 21 volunteers each will come from community employers and organizations, many of which are signing up to become corporate sponsors of the event.  The goal of OARS in the Water is to turn this inaugural boat race into an annual fundraising festival that will build up the Oak Ridge Rotary Community Fund, a nonprofit organization, and meet needs in the community in legacy projects, and in educational, children’s, and health programs.  A typical dragon boat race course is 150 meters, or 164 yards—about one and two-thirds of a football field.  “All proceeds from the event will stay in the Oak Ridge area,” said Tony Jordan, president of the Oak Ridge Sunset Rotary Club. “The funds will support literacy projects, science fairs, musical organizations, and local nonprofit service organizations such as the Free Medical Clinic, Boys and Girls Club, Girls Inc., and Children’s Museum.”  Event sponsorship levels are $1,000, $2,500, and $5,000. The entry fee for one dragon boat team is $750.  “This festival should be a great event that brings the community together for fun while raising funds to benefit the community,” said Austin Lance, president of the Oak Ridge Breakfast Rotary Club.  The organizing committee includes members of all three Rotary clubs, and the leaders are Jim Sumner, Keith Kahl, and Leslie England. For more information, contact England at jadablade@comcast.net or (865) 318-1910.

 

Parents receiving info on online safety in mail

 

As part of a joint effort between the Anderson County District Attorney’s Office, the Sheriff’s Department and the three school systems within the county’s borders, parents of students in the 5th through 10th grades are receiving information in the mail on how to keep their children safe online.  Letters have been sent to parents of students in the county school system as well as the city systems in Clinton and Oak Ridge over the past couple of weeks and more are also being sent.  Included in the mailing is information for parents on how to talk to their kids about being safe online and avoiding sexual predators.  The letter also talks about ways to broach the topic of “sexting”—the sharing of explicit photos via cell phone—with children and also updates parents on what local authorities are doing to help keep their children safe.  Some of those new strategies include a deputy who has been specially trained in how to spot, locate and arrest online predators and new computer software that aids in those efforts.  For more information, visit www.deletepredators.com

 

Blount authorities nab robbery suspect

 

Blount County deputies arrested the suspect in connection to a Christmas Eve robbery at a Maryville convenience store.  The Blount County Sheriff's Office says 24-year-old Micah Lee Sherwood was taken into custody at his home at around 10:30 a.m. Friday.  He is accused of robbing a store clerk at gunpoint at Ian's Market on Morganton road early Tuesday morning and is facing charges of aggravated robbery, aggravated kidnapping, and unlawful possession of a firearm.  He is being held in the Blount County Jail pending a court appearance next week. 

 

1 killed, 3 hurt in Saturday wreck

 

The Blount County Sheriff's Office says that a 73-year-old Maryville woman was killed and three others were hurt Saturday morning in a two-vehicle accident on Highway 321 (W Lamar Alexander Parkway) in Blount County.  The BCSO says 73-year-old Virginia Allison turned left onto 321 from Endsley Quarry, directly into the path of an oncoming vehicle, both of which ended up in the median following a collision.  The driver of the second vehicle, 47-year-old Yvonne Hall of Covington, Virginia, and one of her passengers, a 16-year-old, were flown by Life Star to UT Medical Center.  Another passenger in Hall’s vehicle, 18-year-old Bailey Hall, also of Covington, Virginia, was taken by ambulance to the hospital.  Authorities said both drivers were wearing their seat belts; however, neither of Hall’s passengers had theirs on.  Allison died in the wreck and the other three people involved are said to be recovering at the hospital.  Blount County Sheriff's Office, Rural/Metro, Friendsville Volunteer Fire Department, Blount County Fire Department responded to the crash.

 

ORT:  2 fires in 2 days

 

A fire destroyed a home on Hoskins Gap Road at about 7 a.m. Friday, but no injuries were reported.  The home was fully engulfed in flames when firefighters from Oliver Springs and Marlow arrived.  Anderson County Emergency Medical Services and the Sheriff’s Department also responded to the scene.  Two people were reported to have escaped the fire, which was apparently started by a wood-burning stove.  Residents were safely evacuated, but a home and car were heavily damaged by a Saturday evening fire in Oliver Springs.  The fire was reported at about 7:35 pm Saturday at 446 Oak Circle. A car parked near the house suffered major damage. The OSVFD requested and received mutual aid from the Marlow, Blair, and Oak Ridge fire departments.  Firefighters were on the scene for about three hours.

 

Follow-up:  ORPD releases more on failed ATM heist

 

We now have more information on the Christmas morning attempt to steal money from an ATM in east Oak Ridge.  Oak Ridge Police say that the attempted theft caused extensive damage to a Y-12 Federal Credit Union automated teller machine at 467 Oak Ridge Turnpike near the KARM Thrift Store and Tractor Supply Co.  Oak Ridge Police say that first, the as-of-yet-unidentified culprits tried to knock the ATM off its concrete stand with a pickup stolen from nearby Waste Connections to no avail.  Then they took a Bobcat dozer from Waste Connections and demolished the machine, which tipped over while headed for a nearby field, where the Bobcat and the unopened safe were found in a small ditch.  Authorities were first called to the scene at around 6 am and the attempted theft is believed to have occurred several hours before.  As of yet, no suspects have been identified and the Oak Ridge PD asks anyone with information to get in touch with them.  Although no money was taken from the ATM, damage to that machine, the Bobcat and the pickup was estimated at over $50,000. 

 

OR man facing charges in 2 NC traffic deaths

 

The North Carolina Highway Patrol says an Oak Ridge man has been charged in the deaths of an Alabama couple killed as they changed a tire along Interstate 40.  Authorities identified the 66-year-old victims as George and Carol Kittle of Hollytree, Ala.  Investigators say the couple was almost done changing the tire when a truck sideswiped their truck and hit them early Tuesday, throwing them 100 feet from the point of impact.  The accident occurred in the westbound lanes of I-40 at the Catawba County line.  Harvey Lee Stevens Jr. of Oak Ridge told officers that he briefly saw someone in a vest and knew right away that he had hit something. Stevens said that he got out of his truck and walked back to the crash scene, from where he called 911.  Stevens is facing two counts of misdemeanor death by vehicle.

 

ORT:  Fail!  ATM thieves bite off more than they can chew

 

(Oak Ridge Today) A brazen attempt to steal money from an ATM in east Oak Ridge appears to have gone awry early Christmas morning and ended with a Bobcat tipped over on its side next to a safe that had apparently not been opened.  The attempted theft caused extensive damage to a Y-12 Federal Credit Union automated teller machine at the small shopping center that includes the KARM Thrift Store and Tractor Supply Co. ATM debris was scattered in a grassy field behind the drive-through and muddy tracks led a few hundred feet away to the tipped-over Bobcat and the square safe, which appeared to have a chain wrapped around it.  The Bobcat tipped over in a small ditch on Bogola Road.  Besides the ORPD, representatives from Y-12 Federal Credit Union, Waste Connections, and an automated teller machine company were at the scene at about 9:30 a.m. Wednesday.  The attempted theft was believed to have occurred several hours earlier.  Officials said this type of theft is not unprecedented but unusual for this area.  The ATM debris had been cleaned up by Wednesday afternoon.

 

State one of 7 to receive federal education money

 

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan today announced that seven states will receive over $43.4 million to continue efforts to turn around their persistently lowest-achieving schools through the Department's School Improvement Grants (SIG) program.  Two of the states -- Arkansas and Kentucky – will receive awards to run a new competition for previously unfunded schools; and five states will receive continuation funds for the third year of implementing a SIG model. These states are Missouri, North Carolina; Rhode Island; Tennessee, and Wisconsin.

“When schools fail, our children and neighborhoods suffer,” Duncan said.  “Turning around our lowest-performing schools is hard work but it’s our responsibility.  We owe it to our children, their families and the broader community.  These School Improvement Grants are helping some of the lowest-achieving schools provide a better education for students who need it the most.”  School Improvement Grants are awarded to State Educational Agencies (SEAs) that then make competitive subgrants to school districts that demonstrate the greatest need for the funds and the strongest commitment to provide adequate resources to substantially raise student achievement in their lowest-performing schools.  Under the Obama Administration, the SIG program has invested up to $2 million per school at more than 1,500 of the country's lowest-performing schools. Early findings show positive momentum and progress in many SIG schools. Findings also show that many schools receiving SIG grants are improving, and some of the greatest gains have been in small towns and rural communities.

 

States announced today and their grant amounts are:

 

 

ARKANSAS

$5,015,453

KENTUCKY

$7,463,106

MISSOURI

$7,531,890

NORTH CAROLINA

$13,610,781

RHODE ISLAND

$1,611,540

TENNESSEE

$9,214,423

WISCONSIN

$7,250,164

 

 

 

ORT:  More on state audit findings

 

(Oak Ridge Today) The money spent on a part-time fiscal analyst hired one year ago by Anderson County Mayor Terry Frank was an unauthorized expenditure, a new state report said.  The Anderson County Commission had twice denied funding for the position, and the budget account for the position contained no money, said the annual financial report, which was prepared by the county’s Accounts and Budget Office and independent state auditors.  The report said the use of county revenues from such sources as taxes, county aid funds, and fines must be approved by county legislative bodies.  “Management failed to hold spending to the limits authorized by the County Commission, which resulted in unauthorized expenditures,” said the report, which is available on the Tennessee Comptroller’s website.  Frank announced in December 2012, four months after she was first elected, that she had hired local businessman Thomas Shope as a part-time fiscal analyst as part of a campaign pledge to audit the county’s books and look for efficiencies. Since then, in the fiscal year that ended June 30, the county had spent $22,740 in salaries on the position, using money from the county’s Accounting and Budgeting category—“despite denial of the appropriation for this salary by the County Commission,” the report said.  When commissioners rejected funding for the second time this May, some said they weren’t satisfied with the results they had seen—or hadn’t seen—from Shope’s work.  Some also weren’t happy about the amount paid to Shope, and the request to approve a budget change to pay him after the money had already been spent.  Phillips said then that the county commission’s decision meant his budget would be overspent in its part-time code, but his overall budget would not be.  In their response to the state financial report, which was submitted to the county in November, Frank and Phillips acknowledged that a payroll code was overspent, but they pointed out that the Accounts and Budgets code was not overspent.  In response, the auditors said it is still the county commission’s authority to approve or deny transfer requests that are brought before them, regardless of cost-savings measures that have been put into place.  The auditors told Frank and Phillips that the issue addressed in the finding related to the part-time fiscal analyst “deals with an appropriation transfer request for a position within the office responsible for maintaining budget records for all departments; the budgetary account for the position contained no appropriation whatsoever; and the budget transfer request was specifically denied twice by the County Commission,” the report said. “In our opinion, these factors merited a…finding.”  The Comprehensive Annual Financial Report for Anderson County for the fiscal year that ended June 30 is available here.  You can also read more about this by visiting www.oakridgetoday.com.

 

2 recognized for efforts to help wounded vets

 

(Submitted) Josh Callihan of Maryville and Buzz Buffington of Clinton have been awarded regional honors by Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing for wounded and disabled veterans—Callihan as Tennessee Valley Region Participant of the Year, Buffington as Tennessee Valley Region Volunteer of the Year.  Both men have been active since the start of the year-old Knoxville Chapter of PHWFF, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the emotional and physical rehabilitation of wounded and disabled military veterans through fly fishing.  Callihan, the first disabled veteran to sign up for the Knoxville program, has helped PHWFF volunteers understand veterans' needs and has established protocols for volunteers to follow, according to Steve Thompson of Maynardville, program lead for the Knoxville chapter. Callihan also inspired his wife Jessica, another disabled vet, to join the program; has personally recruited other veterans; and has joined Thompson at trade shows and other events where they could meet and recruit veterans.  Callihan is currently lead volunteer for a proposed Smoky Mountains fishing tournament for veterans. For his achievements, he was awarded a new Orvis fly rod outfit.  Buffington is a longtime member of the Clinch River Chapter Trout Unlimited, a partner organization of the Knoxville Chapter PHWFF. He organized and led the fly tying class for veterans that was the first activity of the Knoxville Chapter as well as a second class this fall. Buffington has long taught the Clinch River Chapter's annual Introduction to Fly Tying course (for details on the 2014 course that starts in January, visit www.crctu.org) and also serves with many organizations working to conserve the environment.  Buffington has participated in all of the Knoxville Chapter's fishing events for veterans and regularly takes veterans fishing on his own. He has worked with TVA to ensure that the Clinch River generation schedule would accommodate veterans' fishing events; has worked directly with the PHWFF home office; and has facilitated the participation of Chota Outdoor Gear in providing equipment for PHWFF.  For more information about the Knoxville Chapter of PHWFF, please contact Steve Thompson at Stevethefishingguy@gmail.com or (865) 773-3343.

 

K-25 a memory

 

(DOE/UCOR) The K-25 building, located at the East Tennessee Technology Park, formerly known as the Oak Ridge Gaseous Diffusion Plant, was built in 1943 as part of the Manhattan Project. At the time of the Manhattan Project, K-25 was the world’s largest building under one roof.  Thursday, the Department of Energy has successfully completed its largest-ever demolition project.  “Today marks a tremendous accomplishment for the American people – advancing our commitment to the safe and complete cleanup of former Manhattan Project sites,” said Deputy Secretary of Energy Daniel Poneman. “While there is still important clean-up work to do, completing the demolition of the K-25 gaseous diffusion building and doing so ahead of schedule and under budget is a testament to the outstanding Oak Ridge workforce.”  The K-25 building operated until 1964, producing enriched uranium for defense and commercial purposes. During the past decades, as the facility deteriorated, its demolition was considered among the highest priorities for the environmental cleanup program in Oak Ridge. With the demolition of the K-25 building, only two of the five original gaseous diffusion buildings remain.  The K-25 building demolition project began in December 2008, when Bechtel Jacobs Company LLC, completed demolition of the west wing. URS-CH2M Oak Ridge LLC, or UCOR, took over the project in August 2011 and successfully completed demolition of the building’s east wing and north end.  Although the K-25 building demolition is complete, the historical significance of the facility will live on. In 2012, the DOE, Tennessee State Historic Preservation, Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, City of Oak Ridge, East Tennessee Preservation Alliance, and other consulting parties finalized a plan that lays out a multi-year plan to commemorate the K-25 complex, which contained more than 500 facilities including the K-25 building.  Under the terms of the agreement, the Energy Department will construct a three-story equipment building that recreates a scale representation of the gaseous diffusion technology and contains authentic equipment used in the original facility. The Department’s Office of Environmental Management also agreed to display equipment, artifacts, oral histories, photographs, and videos a K-25 History Center on site. Also, the Department provided a $500,000 grant to preserve the Alexander Inn, a historic structure in Oak Ridge where visiting scientists and dignitaries stayed during their visits to the area.

 

ORPD seizes gun, knife in separate incidents

 

Oak Ridge Police seized weapons from two high school students in separate incidents on Wednesday, including a loaded gun.  In the first incident, Oak Ridge Police were called to the Oak Ridge Schools’ Transportation Department on a report that a knife had been confiscated from a high school student after he allegedly threatened one or two students during an argument earlier in the day on the bus.  The bus driver took the knife and let everyone involved off at their respective bus stops.  Oak Ridge Police say they have identified the suspect and the two victims and that their investigators are working with school officials to identify students who witnessed the incident.  While that was under investigation, SRO Sherrill Selby was called to Oak Ridge High School after a 17-year-old boy caused a disturbance while meeting with school officials in a disciplinary meeting.  Officers determined that the boy had a gun either on him or in his car and when backup officers arrived, they searched the student’s car, finding a loaded .357 Magnum revolver—that later was determined to be stolen—marijuana packaged for resale and over $950 in cash believed to proceeds from drug sales.  The boy was taken to Juvenile Court.  Both incidents remain under investigation.

 

Convicted sex offender to plead

 

A convicted sex offender from Louisiana who relocated to Blount County has agreed to enter into a plea agreement on charges that he offered his services as an “instructor” to teach a seven-year-old girl how to be a sex slave.  Willard Jackson Hendry was convicted in Louisiana in 2003 of indecent behavior with children and was ordered to register as a sex offender, but when he moved to Tennessee four months ago, he failed to do so.  Hendry was arrested in June by Blount County Sheriff’s deputies after he contacted an undercover agent via the internet who he thought was the mother of a seven-year-old girl who needed to be “trained.”  When a meeting was arranged, Hendry was arrested upon his arrival.  A subsequent search of his home turned up illicit photos and other evidence.  Hendry is expected to enter a formal plea to charges of possessing child pornography and failing to register as a sex offender on January 6th in US District Court in Knoxville.

 

Rockwood PD arrests naked woman…at Wal-Mart

 

Rockwood Police arrested a woman Tuesday night after she was seen hanging out in Wal-Mart naked.  Police responded after receiving complaints that the woman was standing in the clothing section of the store naked, having thrown her clothes into a garbage can.  The woman was also reported to have tried on some new clothes and a Wal-Mart loss prevention officer reported seeing the woman—later identified as 29-year-old Angelia Mayo—filling up a trash bag and purse with items from the store shelves.  Police confronted Mayo, who they reported had slurred speech, poor balance and other indicators of being under the influence.  She also reportedly did not know where she was or what day it was.  After a female officer arrived to get her back into her original clothes, Mayo was found to be in possession of 36 Xanax pills and admitted to having taken two earlier in the day.  She was charged with theft, public indecency, drug possession, public intoxication and with criminal trespassing as she had previously been banned from the store.  She was also hit with an escape charge after managing to remove her right hand from her cuffs en route to the jail.

 

Lawsuit filed over 2012 Clinton accident

 

An Anderson County man injured last year when a texting teen driver pinned him in between two cars has filed a lawsuit against the girl and her parents in Anderson County Circuit Court.  The lawsuit was filed by Carl Bunch of Heiskell and says that he was affixing his new license plate to his vehicle while parked next to the County Courthouse on Broad Street last December 14th when he was hit by a car driven by then-16-year-old Chyan Smiddy of Clinton.  He was pinned between the two cars and a woman in his vehicle identified as Jessica Mozingo were both “seriously injured, incurred [large] medical bills and lost employment” as a result of the crash.  The lawsuit claims that Smiddy was negligent for because she was speeding and texting while failing to maintain her lane of travel and failing to exercise due care.  The lawsuit is seeking a total of $900,000 in damages.

 

Report:  Audit finds Mayor hired analyst without Commission OK

 

According to the New-Sentinel, a state audit set to be released on Friday contains a critical finding in the Anderson County Accounts and Budget Office.  The audit report says that Mayor Terry Frank hired a part-time fiscal analyst at a cost of $30 per hour despite the County Commission twice rejecting budget amendments to fund the position.  Tom Shope was hired to conduct fiscal analysis of the county government in November of 2012 and the Commission rejected moves to transfer money for the post in December of that year and in May of this year.  The News-Sentinel reports that state auditors wrote that the “deficiency exists because management failed to hold spending to the limits authorized by the County Commission, which resulted in unauthorized expenditures.”  Mayor Frank told the paper that those two votes were the only two budget transfers that have been rejected over the past year and a half and that she feels it was done for purely political reasons.  Her office’s response to the audit findings indicates that the issue has been corrected and that the accounting office did not overspend its budget thanks to “several concessions and…cost savings measures.” 

 

Gun signs down at Courthouse

 

Wednesday, signs barring people from carrying guns into the Anderson County Courthouse were removed after a County Commissioner led a charge to do so.  Oak Ridge Commissioner Steve Mead has been lobbying for the signs to be taken down for some time and says that after a ban on guns inside the Courthouse enacted in 2007 expired two years later, the signs should have been taken down at that time.  Mead is also urging a repeal of a ban on knives in the third-floor courtrooms, saying that the current prohibition contradicts state law that allows knives four inches or less to be carried in public places. 

 

Attic fire damages home, displaces residents

 

The Clinton Fire Department responded to an attic fire late Wednesday night.  The fire was reported at 11:59 pm at 514 Hendrickson Street and Fire Chief Archie Brummitt says that while damage to the home was minimal, the man and woman who live there were displaced overnight due to the electricity having been cut off.  The Red Cross assisted the family last night.  There were no injuries reported to the residents or to the responding firefighters and the cause of the fire remains under investigation.

 

Payne AC Chamber Chair for 2014

 

(Oak Ridge Today) Terry Payne, a program manager at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, has been named board chairman for the Anderson County Chamber of Commerce in 2014.  Payne is a research and development, or R&D, program manager at ORNL, where he has been employed for the past 30 years, a press release said. He has managed R&D Programs in the areas of energy management, isotope separation, and environmental management.  Payne was instrumental in creating numerous partnerships between ORNL and small businesses that were funded by Small Business Innovation Research, the press release said.  Payne received his doctorate from the University of Tennessee in 1992 with an emphasis in the strategic management of technology. He has also received his designation as a registered professional engineer in the state of Tennessee and has numerous publications and national presentations, the release said.  Payne is also a Leadership Anderson County and East Tennessee Regional Leadership Association graduate.

 

Aisin announces expansion of Clinton facility

 

(Submitted) Tennessee Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bill Hagerty along with Aisin Holdings of America, Inc. executives announced today the company’s plans to invest $53.8 million in Aisin Automotive Casting Tennessee, Inc., a subsidiary operating in Clinton, Tenn. The company’s second major business expansion since locating in Tennessee in 2004 will create 81 new jobs over the next two years in Anderson County.  “The strength of Tennessee’s automotive sector is a direct result of the dedication and hard work put forth by the 900 auto manufacturers and suppliers who call Tennessee home,” Hagerty said. “Thriving companies like Aisin recognize the benefits of doing business in our state and continue to take advantage of our prime location and superior business climate. I appreciate Aisin’s decision to further invest in Tennessee and thank the company for its continued confidence in our quality workforce.”   

“With the increasing sales of engine components in North America, the role of our plant here in Clinton becomes even more important to the overall business expansion of the Aisin Group,” Stephen Barnes, president of Aisin Automotive Casting Tennessee, Inc., said. “The dedication of our team members along with the continued support from the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development and TVA has provided this opportunity for Aisin to continue another stage of growth here in Anderson County.” 

Occupying a 524,000 square foot facility in the Interstate 75 Industrial Park in Clinton, Aisin currently employs a 595 member team. The additional equipment investment will support both increased customer demand and new products secured for future models. 

The Clinton operation is a full-process, die casting facility that includes casting, machining and assembly to produce engine components such as water pumps, oil pumps and pistons that will be installed in automobiles produced by Aisin customers located throughout North America. 

“Congratulations to Aisin Automotive Casting on their latest expansion, which brings new investment and more jobs for local community residents,” John Bradley, TVA senior vice president of Economic Development, said. “Automotive manufacturing and suppliers’ continued growth is vital for our region’s prosperity, and that’s why economic development partnerships, including the state of Tennessee, Anderson County EDA, city of Clinton, Clinton Utilities Board and TVA, work to help companies like Aisin grow and thrive in our region.” 

“Aisin has been a solid corporate citizen since locating in 2004, and this is another sign that our automotive parts manufacturing sector is thriving in Clinton,” Clinton Mayor Scott Burton said. “Thanks again to our partners at the state of Tennessee, TVA and Clinton Utilities Board for their support of existing industries.” 

“Aisin’s continued expansion is the result of hard work, dedication and commitment, and Anderson County is extremely proud to have them in our community,” Anderson County Mayor Terry Frank said. “Aisin has been an outstanding supporter of our local community and we can’t thank them enough. We are grateful for the assistance provided by the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development and TVA over the years that has contributed to their success.” 

Aisin Automotive Casting Tennessee, Inc. is an automotive parts supplier for General Motors, Nissan and Toyota

For more information, please visit http://www.aisintn.com/.

 

New group aims to serve as AC government watchdog

 

A new community organization has been formed to study contentious political issues in Anderson County, a spokesman said Monday.  The group calls itself Friends of Anderson County Taxpayers, or FACTs, spokesman Lynn Byrge said in a press release issued on Monday and will model itself after fact-checking website PolitiFacts.  The release said members are concerned about county spending, debt, and the threat of property tax increases.  Byrge, who helped lead the effort to install “In God We Trust” signs on the Anderson County Courthouse in Clinton, said FACTs has already organized study groups around specific areas of concern, “including county commission’s legislative process, the sheriff’s department’s burgeoning budget, the role of the county law director, and the responsibilities of the county mayor,” according to the release.  There is a lot of concern about what we perceive as a lack of focus and sometimes even confusion at county commission meetings,” Byrge said. “The decision-making process is not clear and leaves citizens wondering how major programs and policies came about, and whether measures are even in place to evaluate the benefits per tax dollar spent.”  Byrge went on to write, “As our debts mount, there is an urgent need for an independent organization like FACTs to speak on behalf of the taxpayer. We’re going to separate fact from fiction, and reality from rhetoric, and as our membership grows we hope to serve as a watchdog for good government.”  A website will be launched before the end of the year, but until then, the group can be contacted by e-mail at info@actaxpayers.org. Community meetings throughout the county are also being considered starting next year.

 

Feds, locals bust alleged cocaine distribution ring

 

Federal officials on Thursday announced they had dismantled a Knoxville-based cocaine ring that is accused of trafficking $17.5 million worth of drugs and distributing more than five kilograms of cocaine and 280 grams of crack cocaine.  A federal grand jury returned a 58-count indictment on Dec. 3 against 21 Knoxville residents, charging them with conspiracy to distribute cocaine and cocaine base, money laundering, and gun charges, U.S. Attorney William C. Killian said in a press release.  The 21 members of the alleged drug ring appeared in court before U.S. magistrate judges this week and entered pleas of not guilty to the charges in the indictment, Killian said. All of them have been ordered held without bond pending trial, which has been set for Feb. 11 in U.S. District Court in Knoxville.  This indictment is the result of an investigation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; Department of Homeland Security—Immigration Customs Enforcement; Drug Enforcement Administration; Federal Bureau of Investigation; Tennessee Bureau of Investigation; Alcoa Police Department; Clinton Police Department; Harriman Police Department; Knoxville Police Department; Maryville Police Department; Oak Ridge Police Department; Anderson County Sheriff’s Office; Blount County Sheriff’s Office; Knox County Sheriff’s Department; Loudon County Sheriff’s Department; Roane County Sheriff’s Department; Fifth Judicial District Drug Task Force; and Ninth Judicial District Drug Task Force. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Tracy L. Stone and Brooklyn Sawyers will represent the United States.  Those charged in the indictment were Jesus Hernandez, a.k.a. “Chucho,” 31; Juan Julian Felipe, 26; Alfredo Casteneda, a.k.a. “Boludo,” 20; Faustino Ramirez Ponciano, a.k.a. “El Toño,” 18; Fernando Amayo Gonzalez, a.k.a. “Zeta,” 26; Gonzalo Garcia Gines, a.k.a. “Puebla,” 31; Felipe De Jesus Banales, a.k.a. “Guero,” 29; Elder Vasquez, 34; Johnny Soto-Quintana, a.k.a. “Ponzoña,” a.k.a. “Ponzi,” 23; Nahun Oliva, a.k.a. “El Perro,” 24, Gilberto Fuentes Dominguez, 27, Jesus Amustio Panoja, a.k.a. “Chuy,” 21; Anael Anariba, a.k.a. “Guero,” 35; Geyser Deleon, a.k.a. “Chiquilin,” a.k.a. “Chaparo,” 26; Jose Luis Aguilar, a.k.a. “Diego,” 34; Gelber Deleon, a.k.a. “Tarzan,” a.k.a. “Burro,” 21; Justin Moore, 28; Malcolm Jones, 21; David Lamb, 23; Monty Cooper, 42; and James Handly, a.k.a. “Flaco,” 54.  A press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Tennessee, which is based in Knoxville, said the first count of the indictment alleges that the members of the conspiracy are responsible for distributing in excess of five kilograms of cocaine and more than 280 grams of crack cocaine. If convicted, each faces a mandatory minimum prison term of at least 10 years and up to life and a fine of up to $10 million. The indictment alleges that the value of the drugs trafficked by all defendants was at least $17.5 million.

 

Report:  Retired copyright attorney to aid Lake City

 

A retired trademark attorney who has handled licensing and copyright issues for such celebrities as Farrah Fawcett and the rock band KISS has reportedly offered his services on a pro bono basis to help Lake City fight any possible legal challenges to its pending name change to Rocky Top.  As we have reported, the City Council voted last month to change the name of the town to Rocky Top as part of a push to develop a tourist destination that will include a restaurant, a music theater and other attractions designed to draw people off I-75 at the city’s two exits.  The day the unanimous vote was taken, city officials received a letter from a company called House of Bryant, which owns the copyright to the iconic bluegrass song and various other trademarks associated with the term “Rocky Top” threatening legal action if the city moved ahead with its plans.  Since then, both sides have indicated a willingness to meet and work out any copyright issues that may exist.  The News-Sentinel reports that retired copyright attorney Raymond Scott has offered the city his expertise and told the paper Tuesday that House of Bryant’s claim is “ridiculous” and that he and officials from Lake City and the development group could make an announcement Thursday disputing the company’s claim.  In a letter to the company’s attorneys, he wrote that with the name so widely used in the state—especially in East Tennessee—that there is no way the company can own all rights to the two-word phrase and called the letter sent last month either “an attempt to improperly influence a public body…or to extort money from Lake City.”  The name change will be considered by the General Assembly in Nashville early next year and will then be sent back to the City Council for ratification.  We will keep you posted as developments warrant.

 

Clinton's I-75 Industrial Park among 4 new "Select Tennessee Certified Sites"

 

The Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development announced the next four Select Tennessee Certified Sites. The Select Tennessee program was launched in June 2012 with the goal of helping Tennessee communities prepare available sites for investment and expansion. The program sets a consistent and rigorous standard upon which companies can rely in making critical location decisions. To date, 26 greenfield sites have been certified and new facilities are being located at Select Tennessee Certified Sites in Benton, Dyer and Montgomery Counties. The four newest sites are: 

·      American Way Site: Lauderdale Co. (American Way, Ripley)

·      City of Milan Industrial Park Site: Gibson Co. (Denton Fly Road, Milan)

·      Clinton/I-75 Industrial Park Site 2R: Anderson Co. (Frank Diggs Drive, Clinton)

·      Rialto Industrial Site: Tipton Co. (US Highway 51N, Covington) 

"With 26 certified sites to choose from, Tennessee offers companies a wide range of developable properties across our state that have been vetted and certified to international standards by world-class site selection firms Austin Consulting and The Foote Consulting Group," ECD Commissioner Bill Hagerty said. "With new facilities being located at Select Tennessee sites in Benton, Dyer and Montgomery counties, the investment made by state and local governments in these sites is already producing results. These Select Tennessee Certified Sites assure top decision makers their site will be operational in the shortest possible timeframe. I congratulate all of our new Select Tennessee Certified Sites and their communities." 

The program acknowledges that companies looking to expand or relocate their operations often eliminate less-prepared sites and addresses this issue by ensuring sites meet a specific standard. Among the qualifications needed to become certified, a site must have at least 20 developable acres, proper zoning in place to allow for ease of development, all utilities at the site or a formal plan to extend to the site, and truck-quality road access. 

A hallmark of the program is ensuring that Tennessee sites are ready for development, whether through marketing those ready for a prospect or providing guidance for uncertified sites to achieve a higher level of preparedness. 

ECD has partnered with Austin Consulting and The Foote Consulting Group to administer the program. 

“Site readiness is increasingly more important for communities seeking to attract new business investment. Decision timeframes continue to shorten and companies have become more risk-averse in their facilities strategies,” Austin Consulting Location Consultant Brandon Talbert said. “One of the key benefits of site certification is risk minimization through a careful due diligence and documentation process that thoroughly addresses important site attributes related to transportation access, utility service, environmental considerations, and many other important characteristics.” 

“Expanding companies and site selectors alike want to see sites that are ready to go right now and often do not have the time to go through a lengthy review process”, Foote Consulting Group, LLC President and CEO, Deane C. Foote said. “The Select Tennessee Certified Sites program assures these companies and site selectors that they are seeing some of the very best sites in the nation, the ‘cream of the crop’, all ready to go now. The result will be more successful project locations, more jobs and more capital investment for Tennessee.” 

There are now 26 Select Tennessee Certified Sites available in 19 different counties across the state. The Select Tennessee program accepts applications twice a year. Applications are due for the next round by January 17, 2014; however, interested communities must begin the formal application process by sending in their letter of intent. The letter of intent can be sent in by email to Select.Tennessee@tn.gov at any time. Communities interested in applying to the Certified Sites program can visit www.SelectTennessee.com.

 

CPD officer receives state recognition

 

(CPD) Clinton Police Officer Dustin Hensley was recently recognized by the Governor’s Highway Safety Office (GHSO) for his persistence in keeping drunk drivers off the streets of Clinton. Hensley received a DUI / Impaired Driving Enforcement award for his work through October 1st of this year.  He was nominated by Lt. Larry Miller, who heads up the CPD's Governor's Highway Safety Program. A special award plaque was presented to Officer Hensley on December 9th during the GHSO joint network meeting at the Holiday Inn in Knoxville.  The Clinton PD stresses the importance of traffic safety and strives to protect other motorists from drunk drivers and Police Chief Rick Scarbrough said, "The efforts of Officer Hensley, who has been with the department since September - 2008, has greatly assisted CPD with improving its protection in 2013."  Congratulations to Officer Hensley.  Keep up the good work.

 

ORT:  Manhattan Project National Park bill fails…for now

 

(Oak Ridge Today) Legislation to create a Manhattan Project National Park that would include Oak Ridge has fallen short in the U.S. Senate, but the Congressman from Washington State who wrote the House amendment vowed to press ahead next year.  The bill passed the U.S. House of Representatives in June as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act. But it was not included in the final text of the defense bill released late Tuesday night, said U.S. Rep. Doc Hastings, the Washington Republican who wrote the amendment.  Besides Oak Ridge, the park would include Hanford, Wash., and Los Alamos, N.M. The three cities played key roles in the Manhattan Project, a top-secret program to build the world’s first atomic weapons during World War II.  Hastings said the defense bill must be passed by the House and Senate before it can be signed into law.  Supporters say that the good news in this situation is there is a lot of support for the legislation in both the House and Senate.  Hastings has already promised to get the bill in next year’s NDAA as it been ruled germane to that legislation because of the Army’s role in the Manhattan Project and because the top-secret wartime effort led to nuclear weapons.  The bill also failed last year, but that was an end of a session.  The current session of Congress continues next year, so the bill won’t have to be reintroduced or go back through committees.

 

Now ex-Alexander aide investigated on child porn charges

 

US Senator Lamar Alexander has fired his former chief of staff after finding out the man is being investigated for child pornography.  Federal agents took Loskarn into custody for probable cause of possessing and distributing child pornography and he is being held pending a hearing in a federal courtroom in Washington DC scheduled for today.  In a statement, Alexander said he was “stunned and disappointed” to learn that agents from the US Postal Inspection Service were searching the home of Ryan Loskarn for evidence. Few details of the investigation have been released as federal court documents are currently sealed.  Alexander initially placed Loskarn on leave, but said later in the day that Loskarn has been dismissed.  "The courts will judge Mr. Loskarn's guilt or innocence, but under these circumstances, he cannot continue to fulfill his duties as chief of staff of this office. Therefore, as of today, I have removed him from the payroll," said Alexander.  Alexander named David Cleary his new chief of staff.  "David has worked with me for eight years and fortunately is well-prepared to step into this position," said Alexander.  Cleary has served as Alexander's legislative director since 2011 and as Republican staff director for the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee since 2012. He has been working with Alexander since 2006.  Alexander said that his office is “fully cooperating with the investigation."  Loskarn has been Alexander's chief of staff since January 2012 and was Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn's communications director from 2003 to 2007.

 

Maryville voters approve sales tax hike

 

Voters in Maryville overwhelmingly approved a proposal to raise the city's sales tax by half a percent from 9.25% to 9.75%, the maximum allowed under state law.  1,802 people voted in favor of the increase, while 954 voted against it.  Revenue generated by the increase will provide Maryville about $2.5 million each year with half of the money going toward city projects, like needed repairs at John Sevier Park and other infrastructure issues.  The other half will go to the school system, which will likely use the first round of new money to improve school security.  .

 

OR dog park open

 

Oak Ridge’s first dog park is now open at Big Turtle Park in the western portion of the city.  The dog park has been in the works for five years with a large groundswell of community support and finally became a reality thanks to a $100,000 donation by Radio Systems Corp, the parent company of PetSafe, through the Legacy Parks program.  The appropriately-named PetSafe Dog Park features separate fenced-in areas for small dogs and large dogs as well as benches, water fountains, and a shade structure.  Community members and their dogs joined city officials and representatives from Radio Systems Corp. and PetSafe at a dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremony on Monday morning to celebrate the completion of the park.

 

Knox man accused of raping Blount teen

 

The Blount County Sheriff’s Office arrested a Knoxville man on Saturday on a charge of aggravated statutory rape and solicitation of a minor after a 13-year-old girl reported that he had raped her.  32-year-old Gustavo Jose Moreno was scheduled to appear in a Blount County courtroom earlier today.  Sheriff’s deputies were called to a home on Sevierville Road Friday and were told by the alleged victim that Moreno had assaulted at knifepoint inside a barn on her family’s property.  The girl reportedly met Moreno online and was able to identify him to authorities, who arrested him at his place of employment in Knoxville on Saturday.  The investigation is continuing.

 

AC Sheriff issues statement on salary settlement

 

(Oak Ridge Today/WYSH) Anderson County Sheriff Paul White waited until a judge had approved the agreement that resolved his salary dispute with Mayor Terry Frank to release a statement on the matter and when he did Monday afternoon, he said that while he is glad the dispute has been settled, he “regrets that Mayor Frank has used the settlement of the salary suit, which (she) could have used as an event to set a more civil tone in Anderson County politics, as an opportunity to attempt to settle perceived political scores with Law Director Jay Yeager and Anderson County Commissioner Myron Iwanski.”  On Friday, Frank and White issued a joint statement to announce the agreement settling the salary suit, which will allow the sheriff to hire 15 full-time permanent deputies and additional temporary deputies as needed as he prepares to open a 212-bed jail expansion, provided the hiring stays within the spending limit approved by the Anderson County Commission, and the temporary employees do not work more than six months.  The case had been scheduled to be heard in Knox County Circuit Court on Monday morning.  In her own statement issued Friday, Mayor Frank characterized the agreement as a victory for her position, alleging that the sheriff had been misled into filing suit over the salary agreement, as she said he had fallen prey to the “political machinations” of Yeager and Iwanski.  Yeager issued a statement later that afternoon in which he said that Frank’s “statements directed against me are false and have no factual merit.”  Sheriff White said in Monday’s statement that Yeager did not provide ”conflicting legal advice” in the dispute as the mayor had indicated, writing that “Yeager did not advise Sheriff White with respect to filing the salary suit.  Instead, [he] tried very hard to resolve the matter before and after the lawsuit was filed.”  White said he has continued to rely upon the County Commission’s expressed desire to allow him to hire up to 36 new jailers to operate the soon-to-be-completed expansion of the Anderson County Detention Facility in Clinton.  “Unfortunately, state law does not make completely clear whether the County Commission or the county mayor has the final word to authorize the hiring of new deputies, and Mayor Frank insisted to the Circuit Court that she could unilaterally block new hiring despite the commission’s express directive and the mayor’s approval of the commission’s budget,” the sheriff said in his statement. “No court has ever decided the issue, and this dispute was at the heart of the court case.”  Frank said the salary agreement she and White signed Thursday matches the $6.6 million appropriation approved by the County Commission in June and does not contain the $7.7 million figure included in an earlier version of the salary agreement, answering her initial concerns over the extra million dollars and annual salaries.  In addition, the sheriff agreed to 198 employees instead of 218 to reflect full funding for 15 additional jailers—and not 36, Frank said.  White said the order signed by Workman on Monday allows him to hire all 36 jailers the commission authorized, as long he stays within the budget limit set in June.  “In addition, [the] settlement agreement…provides the sheriff the authority to maintain the staffing levels Judge Dale Workman has ordered in the event of any future staffing disputes between the sheriff and the mayor,” White said.

 

Clinton woman killed, Knox man arrested in Friday crash

 

A Knoxville man remains in custody at the Anderson County Jail today, charged with vehicular homicide and DUI following a Friday afternoon accident on the Lewallen Bridge in Clinton that left a passenger in his pickup truck dead.  Clinton Police say that 21-year-old Kyle Anthony was driving south in a Chevy Silverado at around 4:30 pm Friday when he lost control of his truck, crossed the center line and collided with two vehicles headed north over the bridge.  A passenger sitting behind the front seat of Anthony’s truck, identified as 40-year-old Angela Duncan Richardson of Clinton, was ejected from the cab and died at the scene.  One other passenger in Anthony’s truck, Sean Richardson of Clinton, was taken to the hospital for treatment of possible injuries and a fourth person in the truck was not injured despite being partially ejected from Anthony’s vehicle.  The driver of the first car that was hit head-on by Anthony’s truck—Keith Edward Martin—and his passenger—Mary-Jo Lease—were both trapped in their vehicle and had to be extricated before being transported to UT Medical Center.  Lease is listed in stable condition as of this morning but no information was available on Edwards.  A third person in that car, Christopher Mitchell, was taken to Methodist Medical Center for treatment of his injuries.  The driver of the third car was not injured in the wreck.  Investigators determined that Anthony was intoxicated based upon observation and confirmed by a breath test that showed his blood alcohol content to be .11, above the legal limit.  He was not injured in the wreck. 

 

ORT:  Salary suit over, war of words not

 

(Oak Ridge Today) Anderson County Mayor Terry Frank and Sheriff Paul White reached an agreement Friday to end their five-month-old legal dispute over the Sheriff’s annual salary agreement.  A Knox County Judge was expected to approve the agreement today.  In a joint release issued Friday, White and Frank said the agreement allows the sheriff to hire 15 full-time permanent deputies and additional temporary deputies as needed as he prepares to open a 212-bed jail expansion. But the hiring must stay within the spending limit approved by the Anderson County Commission this year, and the temporary employees cannot work more than six months.  In a separate release a short time later Mayor Frank characterized the agreement as a victory for her position, saying that it contained the same offer she made to the sheriff even before he filed a lawsuit in July.  She said the sheriff had been misled into filing suit over the two-page salary agreement.  “Unfortunately, I believe Sheriff White fell prey to the political machinations of Commissioner Myron Iwanski and Law Director Jay Yeager to create dissension in what could have been an easily manageable agreement,” Frank said.  Yeager responded that afternoon, saying Frank’s statements about him were false and have “no factual merit.  Obviously, the sheriff has prevailed in this disagreement, and the mayor is trying to put her political spin on this just outcome and unfortunately blame others for her lack of leadership ability,” Yeager said. “Despite past misstatements, the sheriff was never asking for additional monetary appropriations in his budget.”  Iwanski also responded, telling our partners at Oak Ridge Today that the agreement allows the sheriff to hire the staff—up to 36 new jailers—needed to open the new jail. That’s what County Commission approved in the budget six months ago and what County Commission had asked the mayor to work out several times since July, Iwanski said.  “(The) now-signed salary agreement answers my initial concerns over the extra million dollars and annual salaries,” Frank said. “I had made these offers before, but it is my belief that the law director was giving Sheriff White and County Commission conflicting legal advice that required the sheriff more time for legal research.”   Yeager, meanwhile, pinned the blame on Frank, saying the agreement reached last week could have easily been accomplished in July if she had participated in discussions with the sheriff.  Yeager said he did not draft or approve the salary agreement letter and never advocated any official or employee to file suit against the county. He said Frank’s decision to hire outside attorneys has cost Anderson County residents thousands of dollars.  For much more, including copies of both press releases and the settlement itself, visit www.oakridgetoday.com.

 

ORPD arrests teen who allegedly brought BB pistol to school

 

The Oak Ridge Police Department says that officers responded to Robertsville Middle School Thursday morning after receiving information that a student was armed with a handgun.  The report was received at 8:53 am, according to a release and at least five officers responded, locating the student—a 13-year-old boy—and detained him for questioning.  Officers located a BB pistol that looked like a Colt model 1911 .45-caliber semiautomatic pistol in his backpack, which was found in his locker.  The student was arrested and charged with carrying a weapon on school property and with aggravated assault.  An investigation is continuing.

 

Sheriff, Mayor announce salary suit settlement

 

In a joint press release issued this morning, Anderson County Mayor Terry Frank and Sheriff Paul White announced that they have reached a settlement in their dispute over hiring additional jailers to staff the soon-to-be-opened expansion of the Jail.  The release states that working with jail consultants retained for the litigation, which was to have been heard in a Knox County courtroom on Monday, the Mayor and Sheriff worked together through mediation to consider new strategies for managing the inmates and jail staff.  The agreement reached this week allows the Sheriff to hire 15 full-time permanent deputies as well as additional temporary deputies as needed, “within the confines of the budget approved by the County Commission of the current fiscal year.”  Both sides in the release acknowledge that offers were made twice previously that included terms similar to what was agreed to this week, but in the release, Sheriff White states that the “complex and novel legal issues presented by the…case, the poorly drafted state statutes and conflicting legal advice made it impossible to settle at those times.”  The settlement allows for $155,000 in overtime compensation as needed, salary supplements for training and special duties as long as the salary allocation is not exceeded.  Mayor Frank had refused to sign the salary agreement in July, saying that doing so as presented to her would have exceeded her authority and locked the county in to a possible tax increase next year, while Sheriff White claimed that the agreement as submitted to the Mayor acknowledged that his department would not exceed the budget passed by the Commission.  The Sheriff’s legal bills in the matter will be paid for out of fees collected by the department while the Mayor’s legal fees will be paid out of the general fund.  Both sides hired outside legal counsel. 

 

ORUD warns customers of scam phone calls

 

Residential and commercial customers of the Oak Ridge Utility District are being warned about a scam regarding their utility bills that is happening locally.  According to a release from the city, this scam involves a utility customer receiving a telephone call from someone claiming to be from the utility calling about missed payments.  The caller threatens to cut off the customer’s utilities unless immediate payment is made.  In some cases, the caller says they will accept a credit card number, a bank routing and account number or some other form of payment information over the phone, while in others an accomplice actually comes to the customer’s door to collect the payment.  Oak Ridge officials say that customers should never make a payment in response to a call that the customer themselves did not initiate and that the city will never make such calls as all of its notifications are made by mail.  Additionally, customers are reminded that all city employees and all of its contractors from Grid One are required to carry proper identification.  These calls can appear to be legitimate as some scammers have figured out how to make a utility’s name appear on the customer’s caller ID.  For more information, call the Oak Ridge Business office at 865-425-3400.

 

AC, Clinton school receive grants

 

The Coca-Cola Foundation presented $25,000 checks to Anderson County and Clinton City school systems.  The grant money will be used to implement programs to encourage physical activity and balanced diets among students.  Each district plans to start these projects next semester.   In Anderson County, middle school students will be starting gardens, planting seeds, growing vegetables and learning more about the nutritional value of those foods.  The city schools will begin a program aimed at fighting childhood obesity by starting after-school, before-school, weekend, and summer activities including running clubs, hiking excursions and swimming.

 

Lake City man faces meth charges

 

A Lake City man was arrested Monday (12/2) after Anderson County Sheriff’s deputies responding to tips about possible meth-related activities found components of a meth lab on his property.  Deputies went to the home of Michael Gill on Jacksboro Avenue Monday afternoon and after some wrangling with Gill and his probation officer by telephone, were allowed to search his property.  In an outbuilding, investigators reported finding several items used in the drug’s production and inside the house, reported finding several pieces of drug paraphernalia and a list of ingredients to cook meth.  Gill was arrested and charged with manufacturing meth and with initiating the manufacture of the drug and taken into custody.  Three other people at the home were not arrested.  The house, located at 922 Jacksboro Avenue, and the outbuilding were both placed under quarantine and the lab components were seized and turned over to the Tennessee Meth Task Force.

 

AP:  Campbell attorney pleads guilty to tax fraud

 

(AP) Campbell County attorney Johnny Dunaway has pleaded guilty in federal court to filing a false tax return.  Dunaway faces up to three years in prison and could be ordered to pay restitution to the Internal Revenue Service when he is sentenced on April 23rd.  Dunaway admitted failing to truthfully declare business income from his law practice in 2008 and was disbarred by the state Supreme Court in October.  The high court previously censured Dunaway for charging a contingent fee from a client for an appeal under circumstances that violated the rules of professional conduct.

 

Potter sworn in as top Alcoa cop

 

The city of Alcoa has a new police chief.  Chief Philip Potter was sworn in during a ceremony Monday morning (12/2). Potter started his career in Ohio, where he worked for 30 years and eventually became chief.  After that, he was the police chief in Huntersville, North Carolina, near Charlotte.  Before moving to Alcoa, Potter was already familiar with the city and the department. He assessed the department in July of 2012 for the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement.  Potter succeeds the late Ken Burge. Burge passed away in July. He was Alcoa's chief since 2004, and worked in law enforcement for 39 years. 

 

2nd OR apartment fire in 3 days displaces another two dozen

 

(Oak Ridge Today/WYSH) A second apartment fire in Oak Ridge in three days displaced another two dozen residents on Saturday night.  The fire was reported at about 9:22 p.m. in the 300 block of Utica Circle at McKenzie Acres. Firefighters were able to quickly extinguish the second-story blaze, and no one was injured.  But roughly 25 residents, including children, were displaced and are being assisted by the American Red Cross.  Oak Ridge Fire Department Assistant Chief Josh Waldo told our partners at Oak Ridge Today that the apartment at 308 Utica Circle was heavily damaged. Other units in the building were okay, except for water damage, he said. Residents will not be able to return because of the smoke and water damage and because the power will be turned off to that building while repairs are made.  Waldo said the cause is under investigation, however early reports indicate the fire’s origin may be connected to an argument between a man and his wife that he says ended when she went to his the bedroom and lit his clothing on fire in the closet.  No charges have been filed yet, but as we mentioned the incident remains under investigation.  An electrical fire at Applewood Apartments on Hillside Road on Thursday, Thanksgiving Day, also displaced about two dozen residents. The Red Cross has also been helping them, and local volunteers and restaurants have pitched in by donating food.  The Applewood fire was caused by an electrical short in the main power supply leading into the distribution system in the basement of the building on Hillside Road.

 

Report:  Man jailed after keeping wife in bathroom

 

According to the Daily Times, a Maryville man was arrested on charges that he kept his wife in their bathroom against her will.  27-year-old Charles Allen Taylor was arrested early Sunday after his wife reported that he returned home earlier in the day and kept grabbing and throwing her phone before finally shoving her in to a bathroom.  He is also accused of entering the bathroom, taking her phone again so she could not call for help and physically preventing her from leaving the bathroom.  He was charged with false imprisonment and jailed but was released on bond later in the day.  His wife took out an order of protection against him and it was served on him while he was in custody.  Jackson is scheduled to appear in court on Tuesday.

 

ORT:  OR student who died ID’ed

 

(Oak Ridge Today) The eight-year-old, third grade student who died Tuesday after being found unresponsive on the school bus has been identified as Treí-Roan Vann.  His father Crist Vann told our partners at Oak Ridge Today that Treí, as he was called, was a very good eight-year-old.    It’s not clear what happened to Treí on Tuesday.  The family is not aware of any health problems. His father said the University of Tennessee is doing an autopsy, and the family is waiting for the results.  Treí was described by his father as a good student, a Cub Scout and a football player who also wanted to play soccer in the spring.   Linden Elementary School Principal Roger Ward said an account is being opened at Bank of America in Oak Ridge to accept donations to defray the costs of Tuesday’s tragedy. Checks can be made out to Oak Ridge Schools, with Memorial Fund in the memo line.  You may bring donations to Hot Bagel on Saturday morning, or to the school anytime starting Monday.  Ward said in an e-mail to the Linden community.  Separately, the Linden Parent-Teacher Association is scheduling meals for the Vanns.  They’ve already had a great response in just two hours today and have meals scheduled for well into December, and the response has been so good that the PTA is not looking for any more people to volunteer for meal scheduling. 

 

Horses seized, AC man charged

 

A Clinton man was arrested Wednesday on animal cruelty charges after two horses described as underfed and very thin were seized from his property.  The horses were seized from the property of Jason Shipley Wednesday by Anderson County Animal Control officers and taken to the UT Vet School for evaluation.  The horses were then turned over to Horse Haven of Tennessee, where they are said to doing well.  Shipley was charged with two counts of animal cruelty and was also picked up on several outstanding warrants unrelated to Wednesday’s incident.

 

Thanksgiving fire displaces 25 in OR

 

A small electrical fire displaced about two dozen residents of the Applewood Apartments on Hillside Avenue in Oak Ridge Thursday but no injuries were reported.  Firefighters say that the fire was caused by an electrical short in the main power supply leading into the distribution system in the apartment building’s basement.  The blaze was quickly put out with a fire extinguisher and officials say that a circuit breaker did its job, turning off power and minimizing the damage.  In fact, only one apartment sustained light smoke damage while there was no other structural damage to the building.  Of the 25 people displaced by the fire, which was reported at around noon Thursday, most were able to stay with friends or family members and those who weren’t able to find other lodging were put up in a motel by the American Red Cross.  The building may be without power for a few days.

 

OR student passes away after falling ill on way home

 

A Linden Elementary School student died Tuesday after becoming unresponsive on the school bus Tuesday afternoon on his way home from school.  The boy, whose name has not been released, fell ill while on the bus and was transported to Methodist Medical center, where doctors pronounced him dead.  No other information has been released.  Grief counselors were available this morning at Linden Elementary to help students deal with the sudden and tragic loss of their friend and classmate.  The Oak Ridge school system, in a press release issued Tuesday, said that the “thoughts and prayers of the Linden and Oak Ridge Schools’ staff go out to the family.”  As more information becomes available, we will pass it along to you.

 

ORT:  OR native named Rhodes Scholar

 

(Oak Ridge Today) An Oak Ridge native and University of Tennessee senior is among 32 U.S. men and women who have been named Rhodes Scholars and will start all-expenses-paid studies at Oxford University in England next October.  Lindsay Lee is a math and Spanish major at UT. She has completed research at the National Institute of Mathematical and Biological Synthesis, at Vanderbilt Medical Center, and at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. She has also served as the president of the Dean’s Student Advisory Council, as opinion columnist at the student newspaper, as a volunteer with the homeless and at a children’s hospital, the Rhodes Trust announced Saturday.  The Rhodes Scholars were selected from 857 applicants.  The Rhodes Scholarships pay all expenses for two or three years of study at Oxford and sometimes allow four years of funding. The value of the scholarships varies depending upon the academic field and the chosen degree, but the average value is about $50,000 per year.  The Rhodes Trust said Lee was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy at three years old, and she is is a passionate and highly successful advocate for disability issues locally, nationally and globally.  “She plans to use her mathematical modeling expertise for analysis of successful health policy grounded in healthcare equality for all,” the Rhodes Trust said.  Lee, who has also studied in Barcelona and Tokyo, plans to complete a master’s in philosophy in comparative social policy at Oxford. 

 

Online access to driving records

 

(TDOS/HS) In an effort to provide better customer service and help reduce the wait times at state driver services centers, Commissioner Bill Gibbons today announced the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security has launched an online service that allows citizens to download or print copies of their official driver records. Citizens can easily access three years of their driving history via a browser, tablet, or handheld device at www.tn.gov/safety, eliminating the need to visit a driver services center.  “Giving Tennesseans the choice of instantly accessing their driving histories supports our customer-focused priority goal of reducing wait time at the driver service centers,” Gibbons said. “Reducing the need to go to a driver service center for this simple transaction will result in shorter wait times for customers who need the assistance of a staff member for a more complicated transaction.”  The department worked with NIC, Tennessee’s eGovernment partner, to develop the online application to provide this optional service. NIC is the company that processes online driver license renewals, reinstatement payments, and driver license address changes, in addition to other various online services accessible on www.tn.gov.  A $2 convenience fee will be assessed by NIC to each online transaction, in addition to the $5 state fee set by the General Assembly for a copy of a driver record.  Citizens may access this online service by going to www.tn.gov/safety.

 

State Supreme Court finds AC not liable for additional damages in assault

 

(Information from Oak Ridge Today) The Tennessee Supreme Court has ruled that Anderson County is not liable for damages beyond medical costs after an inmate sustained injuries from an attack by cellmates.  Kenneth E. King, a Claxton resident, had spent the night in the Anderson County Detention Facility after being arrested on Oct. 27, 2009, for driving on a suspended license—a charge that ultimately was in error, according to the opinion and a press release posted on the state courts’ website Thursday. His release was ordered at 11:30 a.m. Oct. 28, but it took more than three hours for the pretrial release officer to process the paperwork.  During that time, King was severely beaten, causing permanent injuries to his eye. King sued the county seeking monetary damages for the attack, stating that Anderson County was negligent in not releasing him in a timely manner and should have known that there was a danger of him being attacked.  The court focused on the legal requirement that, in order for the county to be liable, officials had to have some type of warning that King would be attacked.  “There is no evidence that Anderson County Detention Facility officials knew or should have known that Mr. King would become the victim of an attack by his cellmates after he was returned to his cell to await pretrial release,” Justice Cornelia A. Clark wrote in the opinion.  The opinion reversed a lower court ruling that determined 55 percent of the fault for the attack rested with Anderson County and ordered the county to pay $93,500 in non-medical damages. The press release said the county remains liable for King’s medical costs resulting from the injuries sustained in the attack at the jail.  Visit www.OakRidgeToday.com for more information.

 

AC’s Shelton elected president of statewide organization

 

(COAT) Anderson County Register of Deeds Tim Shelton has been elected president of the County Officials Association of Tennessee (COAT).  Shelton, a lifelong resident of Anderson County, was elected at the organization's 45th annual conference recently held in Murfreesboro.  COAT is a statewide association comprised of all of the county Registers of Deeds, Trustees, County Clerks and State Court Clerks.  The organization was founded in 1968.  Shelton is a graduate of Clinton Senior High School and Carson Newman College.  He began his career in the Register's office in 1992 and was elected Register of Deeds on 2002.  He is a Certified Public Administrator and is a graduate of both Leadership Anderson County and the University of Tennessee Local Government Leadership Program.  He has been awarded the East Tennessee Register of the Year, the Tennessee Registers Association Register of the year and the COAT Outstanding Register of the Year.  He and his wife Dara have a son Harrison and a daughter Addy.  He is looking forward to seeking reelection next year.

 

Fire damages AC Jail expansion

 

A fire caused minor damage to the 212-bed expansion of the Anderson County Jail that is under construction on Monday morning.  The fire was extinguished within 15 minutes of Clinton firefighters arriving on the scene and melted some metal siding on the second floor of the addition and burned some of the Styrofoam insulation between the interior and exterior wall.  The fire was reported shortly after 11 am and initial indications are that a worker using a welding torch on the building’s roof may have sparked the blaze, but that has not yet been confirmed.  No workers were in the immediate area of the fire when it began.  Workers inside the building were evacuated but were able to resume construction activities in the afternoon after what amounted to a lengthy lunch break.  No injuries were reported.  The expansion is slated to open early next year.

 

OR Mall TIF clears final local hurdle

 

Monday, the Anderson County Commission unanimously approved a $13 million tax increment financing—or TIF—package to help with the proposed $85 million redevelopment of the nearly-vacant Oak Ridge Mall.  The TIF package will allow developers Crosland Southeast to use new property tax revenues generated at the revamped mall to help pay for some of the ambitious project.  Developers want to turn the mall into an open-air, retail-driven facility with space for retail shops, offices, a hotel, restaurants and even some residential units.  The TIF package has sailed through the local approval process, having now been unanimously approved by the Oak Ridge City Council, Oak Ridge Industrial Development Board and the county’s operations and budget committees, and last night the full County Commission.  The next step in the process will be state approval, and officials in Nashville are expected to review the package sometime within the next few weeks.  Developers hope to open the new development, which will be called Freedom Park, sometime in 2016. 

 

Blount lodge heavily damaged by fire

 

The Dancing Bear Lodge & Restaurant in Townsend was destroyed by a fire Thursday afternoon that sent one firefighter to the hospital for treatment of smoke inhalation.  The fire was first reported as a chimney fire shortly after noon but when firefighters arrived on the scene, flames and smoke were pouring out of the four-story lodge and they quickly determined that they were not going to be able to save the building.  Crews from the Townsend and Blount County fire departments battled the heavy flames for several hours and firefighters remained on the scene well into the evening extinguishing hot spots.  A Townsend firefighter was kept overnight for observation at Blount Memorial Hospital but is expected to be OK.  No lodge workers were injured and the lone guest was not on the property when the fire started.  Dancing Bear officials say that they will begin the rebuilding process as soon as they can and thanked the firefighters for their efforts, which prevented the flames from spreading to the cabins on the property and to the nearby woods.  The lodge is located off East Lamar Alexander Parkway and was estimated to be worth around $2.5 million.

 

Roane wreck kills 1

 

A Kingston man died in a single vehicle accident early Friday morning in Harriman.  The Tennessee Highway Patrol reports that 22-year-old Patrick E. Fly of Kingston had been headed south on Swan Pond Road at around 1:30 am in a Nissan Altima when he failed to negotiate a curve.  His car skidded and left the roadway, flipping several times and ejecting Fly, who was not wearing a seatbelt.  He was pronounced dead at the scene.  The THP report indicates that alcohol was involved in the crash and standard tests have been ordered.  He was alone in the car and no other vehicles were involved.

 

Officials celebrate new life for historic OR inn

 

Representatives of the Family Pride Corporation out of Loudon County were joined by local, state and federal officials Thursday to celebrate the official groundbreaking on the project to convert the historic Alexander Inn in Oak Ridge into an assisted living facility.  The building was constructed in the 1940s and served as the official lodging for dignitaries visiting Oak Ridge during the days of the Manhattan Project but had fallen into disrepair over the past 20 years.  The building was included on preservationists most endangered area historic structures on several occasions before Family Pride stepped in and proposed converting it to an assisted living center for senior citizens.  The project was able to move forward thanks in part to a $500,000 DOE grant that allowed the company to purchase and stabilize the building.  The company was also granted a 10-year tax abatement on the property.  Workers have been stabilizing the structure since May and say that the conversion into a 64-room assisted living facility should be complete sometime next summer.  The project is expected to cost $5.5 million and will create as many as 30 new jobs in Oak Ridge.

 

ACSD announces retirement of Chief Jailer Avery Johnson

 

Sheriff Paul White announced today that Chief Jailer Avery Johnson has retired after almost 33 years of service with the Anderson County Sheriff’s Department.  Chief Johnson began his career with the department in February 1981. After working patrol, Chief Johnson was assigned to the jail and was promoted to sergeant in charge of the jail operations in March of 1984. As the responsibilities of the jail operations increased, Chief Johnson was promoted through the ranks of lieutenant, captain, and later, chief jailer.  Except for brief periods, Chief Johnson has remained as the jail administrator since 1984 and may have been the longest serving jail administrator in Tennessee. During his tenure, the Anderson County Jail has grown from a small facility in the courthouse to a modern detention center that will hold over 500 inmates. Chief Johnson’s knowledge and experience have been invaluable to the department over these many years.  Johnson also served one term as an Anderson County Commissioner.  The Anderson County Sheriff’s Department wishes to thank Chief Johnson for his many years of dedication and service and wishes him well in his retirement.

 

Report:  Both sides amenable to discussing ‘Rocky Top’

 

Lawyers representing the company that owns the trademark to the name “Rocky Top” and the copyright to the iconic bluegrass song of the same name have backed off the threatening language included in a letter faxed to Lake City leaders last week and have indicated they are willing to sit down and discuss the city’s decision to change its name to Rocky Top.  The name change, which was approved in a unanimous vote of the Lake City Council last week is seen as the first step toward turning the former coal mining town into a tourist destination featuring attractions like a large restaurant, an interactive 3D theater and other amenities.  Lawyers representing the House of Bryant LLC in a letter sent to city leaders last week warned of possible legal action if the town went through with its plans to change the name and develop the proposed tourist mecca, but the News-Sentinel reports that those attorneys have now indicated they are willing to sit down and negotiate a possible licensing agreement as the company owns several trademarks involving the name Rocky Top.  Developers have indicated that they, too, are willing to sit down, saying that they are not in this to step on anyone’s toes or infringe upon existing copyrights.  The name change was deemed mandatory for the project to move forward due to the marketing possibilities associated with Rocky Top in this part of the country.  Attorneys told the paper that the House of Bryant is “reasonable” and is not looking for a court battle, instead saying that they will consider all options as the project moves forward.  The name change must be approved by the State Legislature when it convenes in Nashville in January and once that occurs, as expected, the City Council will have to ratify the move.  We will continue to keep you posted as developments warrant.

 

State report cards show growth in Blount, Alcoa, Maryville

 

Wednesday, the Tennessee Department of Education released the annual state Report Card and local school systems made significant gains.  The Blount County school system received As on its math and social studies assessments and Bs on its reading and science assessments. Last year, the district received Bs on its math, reading, science and social studies assessments.  Blount County received As on its math and social studies value-added scores and Bs on its reading and science value-added scores. Last year, the district received As on its math and social studies value-added scores, C in reading and a D in science.  The Maryville schools received all As on its math, reading, science and social studies assessments, the same as last year.  Maryville also received As in its math, science and social studies value-added scores and a B on its reading value-added scores. Last year, Maryville received an A in social studies, Bs on its math and reading and a C in science.  The Alcoa schools got all As on its math, reading, science, and social studies assessments. Last year, the district received As in reading and social studies and Bs in math and science assessments.  Alcoa received all As on its math, reading, science, and social studies value-added scores. Last year, the district received As in math and social studies, a B in reading and a C in science.

 

State report cards show growth in Anderson, Clinton, Oak Ridge

 

Wednesday, the Tennessee Department of Education released the annual state Report Card and local school systems made significant gains.  In Anderson County, assessment scores in elementary and middle schools scored As in math and social studies and Bs in reading and science.  A year ago, the system received Bs in math and social studies, a C in reading, and a B in science.  In the value-added category, the system received As in math, science and social studies.  Last year, the system received Cs in reading and science, a B in social studies and an A in math.  In grades 9-12, students exceeded expectations on End of Course exams in Algebras I & II, Biology I and US History and scored above expectations on their composite ACT scores as well as in math and science.  There was no significant difference between expectations and value-added achievement and in no category did students fail to meet expectations.  Anderson County graduated 91.3% of its students last year.  The Clinton city schools received straight As, the same as last year and in Oak Ridge, elementary schoolers earned straight As on their achievement scores.  In the value added category, Oak Ridge students earned As in math and social studies—the same as a year ago—and improved from Cs to Bs in reading and science.  Oak Ridge high school students were above expectations in both End of Course achievement and value added scores.  For a complete look at how your local systems performed, visit http://www.tn.gov/education/reportcard/2013.shtml.

 

ORT:  Preservation awards announced

 

(Oak Ridge Today) Two Anderson County properties were among a dozen that received East Tennessee Preservation Awards on Friday.  The two properties are The Hemlocks and 101 West Norris, the East Tennessee Preservation Alliance said in a press release Monday.  The awards presentation on Friday at the Chilhowee Club in Maryville was part of the fifth annual East Tennessee Preservation Conference, which focused on preservation and economic development.  The Hemlocks is at 1135 Old Lake City Highway in Clinton, and the West Norris home is at 101 West Norris Ave. in Norris.  The awards were presented by Patrick McIntyre, Tennessee’s state historic preservation officer; Scott Brooks, ETPA president, and Ethiel Garlington, director of preservation field services. The press release said award-winning projects represent the best examples of historic preservation throughout the region: adaptive re-use, heritage tourism, mid-century modern, and much more.  “East Tennessee’s built environment is rich and diverse, and these annual awards celebrate the communities, places, and individuals who ensure future East Tennesseans will have physical evidence of its stories,” the release said.  The other winners and award recipients were:

  • Barley’s Taproom and Pizzeria—Blount County
  • Dean Stone, Lifetime Achievement Award
  • Shepard Inn of Dandridge—Jefferson County
  • Butler-Blanc Gymnasium—Jefferson County
  • Greenback Depot—Loudon County
  • Fowler’s Mill—Monroe County
  • Sweetwater—Monroe County
  • Wartburg Presbyterian Church—Morgan County
  • Rocky Springs Presbyterian Church—Sevier County
  • Plan East Tennessee

ETPA was founded in 2009, and it serves the 16-county East Tennessee region and works in partnership with Knox Heritage. ETPA is made up of representatives from all 16 counties and works to help further historic preservation in the region through educational events, technical assistance, and by assisting existing organizations.

 

Lake City votes to change name, learns of potential roadblock

 

(Oak Ridge Today/WYSH) Despite receiving a letter from an attorney warning Lake City officials that a proposal to build a Rocky Top theme park could violate trademark rights and should be dropped, the City Council was undeterred, voting unanimously to recommend changing the town’s name to Rocky Top.  It’s the first step in a project to build a $20 million dollar Rocky Top theme park that could include an interactive 3-D theater, water park, hotel, and restaurant, a project developers say cannot move forward without the name change.  The letter from an intellectual property attorney in Nashville was received by city leaders just a couple of hours before Thursday’s special called Council meeting and while it could have Lake City officials and the park’s investors scrambling to answer legal questions, it does not necessarily quash the project.  The trademark and copyright infringement warning came from an attorney representing House of Bryant Publications LLC.  The Gatlinburg-based company said it owns multiple Rocky Top trademarks and the copyright to the iconic song “Rocky Top.”  The letter from attorney Gary L. Montle said that renaming the town and constructing the proposed theme park would entail other branding and marketing efforts that would violate the Rocky Top trademarks and include “unlicensed derivative works” from the copyrighted song.  “House of Bryant considers all of these efforts to be gross violations of its federal trademarks and copyrights,” Montle wrote. “If the city council approves plans to change Lake City’s name or build a theme park with the name ‘Rocky Top,’ or a variation of that name, House of Bryant will act swiftly and aggressively to protect its intellectual property rights by all legal means available, including seeking a declaration of our rights in federal court.”  He asked Mayor Timothy Sharp to assure, within seven days, that Lake City will end all plans to name or associate a theme park with “Rocky Top” and assure that the city council will renounce all support for renaming the city.  That obviously did not happen.  Mayor Sharp said the theme park’s investors should meet with their attorneys to discuss the copyright issue, and in order to protect its own interests, the city will also have to meet with its attorneys.  Sharp said there will likely be some sort of compensation or agreement that the city attorney and attorneys for the Bryant House of Publications will have to negotiate, but admitted he didn't know what that might look like yet.  The name change still has to be considered by the Tennessee General Assembly in Nashville. State Rep. John Ragan attended the Lake City meeting and said he has drafted a bill that could be introduced during the legislative session that starts in January. 

 

Smallridge honored in OR

 

The School Administration Building in Oak Ridge has been renamed in honor of longtime Director of Schools Bob Smallridge.  Smallridge served as Oak Ridge’s Director of Schools for 20 years before his retirement, but since than he has been tapped to serve as the interim director of two other school systems and his home district of Oak Ridge.  After retiring Smallridge served as interim school chief in Campbell County and in the Clinton city school system and just last year spent six months as the interim head of the Oak Ridge school system as it transitioned from Tom Bailey to current Superintendent Bruce Borchers.  The school headquarters will now be known as the Robert J. Smallridge School Administration Building.  The School Board voted earlier this year to rechristen the building in his honor.

 

ORT: NNSA sticks with CNS to run Y-12

 

(Oak Ridge Today) The National Nuclear Security Administration on Friday reaffirmed its January decision to pick Consolidated Nuclear Security LLC to manage and operate the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge and Pantex Plant near Amarillo, Texas.  That earlier decision had been challenged in two rounds of bid protests.  Those protests delayed the transition to a new contractor, and it wasn’t clear Friday if the NNSA’s new decision might also be challenged.  The five-year extendable contract, which could be worth up to $22.8 billion over 10 years, includes project management of the Uranium Processing Facility at Y-12 and an unexercised option for Savannah River Tritium Operations at the Savannah River Site near Aiken, S.C.  CNS, of Reston, Va., is comprised of Bechtel National Inc., Lockheed Martin Services Inc., ATK Launch Systems Inc., and SOC LLC.  The transition to CNS at the two nuclear weapons plants could start later this month—after the period for protests is over around Nov. 25, the NNSA said Friday afternoon. The transition could last four months, but the NNSA will ask CNS to complete the transition quicker if possible.  It wasn’t clear if the two losing teams—Integrated Nuclear Production Solutions LLC of Oak Ridge, and Nuclear Production Partners LLC, or NP2, of Lynchburg, Va.—might challenge the NNSA’s most recent decision.  The transition to CNS had originally been scheduled to be complete by May 1 of this year. But NP2 and Integrated Nuclear Production Solutions LLC filed bid protests, with the first filed Jan. 17. The U.S. Government Accountability Office upheld one part of those initial protests in April, and in September, it denied or dismissed new challenges filed by NP2 in June.  Find out much more about this story at www.oakridgetoday.com.

 

AC's 2 political parties to hold primaries

 

Both major political parties in Anderson County will hold primaries in the spring.  The local Democratic Party has submitted the formal paperwork to the Election Commission necessary to hold a primary, rather than a caucus, to select its candidates for countywide offices in May.  The Anderson County GOP has also reportedly decided to hold a primary but has not yet submitted the paperwork.  The primaries will be held on May 6th for the August 7th general election, in which all countywide offices except Property Assessor will be on the ballot.  The first day to pick up a nominating petition to seek a local office is November 22nd and the deadline to qualify as a candidate will be February 20th.

 

Details on CPD SRO grant

 

As we reported earlier this month, the Clinton Police Department has received a grant from the United States Department of Justice "COPS" office to fund one school resource officer for the next three years. The award amount was just over $112,000. A fourth year will be paid for by the City of Clinton and the City Schools.  In order to receive the grant, the City of Clinton and the Clinton City Schools formed an agreement to partner in a School Resource Officer program. The three year budget of $150,000 covers salary, benefits and uniforms. The grant provides 75% of the total cost with a local match of 25%.  The city and the school system also had to agree to fund the position for one full year following the end of the federal funding.   The city has three elementary schools, each of which has enjoyed the protection of a police officer since last January. “Both our city council and school board wanted to reassure our community that the schools would be protected in the wake of the New Town, CT school shooting” said Clinton Police Chief Rick Scarbrough. Officers have shared the responsibility to cover the schools by working overtime. The city and the school system split those costs evenly. “It is a testament to the leaders of our city. We are going to do all we can to protect our students and staff.” added Chief Scarbrough in a press release issued Tuesday.  Vicki Violette, Director of Clinton City Schools, said: "Clinton City School District is very excited to have this program in place. Having School Resource Officers in each school gives our students, staff members, and parents a greater level of security from issues and situations that could negatively impact a safe learning environment."  Clinton Mayor Scott Burton added: "Our children are our most important commodity.. I am glad that we are able to make the extra effort to better protect the students attending city schools. Working together with the schools will prove to be a worthwhile endeavor."  In order to continue to have an officer at each of the three schools, the City Council and the School Board have each agreed to fund one position.

 

BCSO:  3 arrested on meth charges

 

The Blount County Sheriff’s Office says that three people were arrested Monday and charged with promoting the manufacture of methamphetamine following an investigation by the Fifth Judicial Drug Task Force.  The individuals were charged are:

·         Vanessa Kathryn Hicks, 38, Maple Oak Road, Maryville

·         Teresa Lynn Correll, 44, Sweetwater

·         Jeffery Clay Harris, 23, Greenback

All three individuals are being held in the Blount County Detention Facility. Investigators with the Fifth Judicial Drug Task Force began an investigation after receiving word that suspicious individuals were trying to purchase precursors for manufacturing meth at a local business.  Investigators stopped the suspects’ vehicle on U.S. Highway 411 South near the Loudon County line.  Through the course of their investigation, officers determined the trio was planning to use the precursors to make meth. In the vehicle, officers reported finding two boxes of pseudoephedrine and a small amount of methamphetamine.

 

CPD honors Officer of the Year, ‘Top Guns’

 

Sergeant Jim Campbell was recognized last week as the Clinton Police Department's 2012/2013 Officer of The Year. This is Campbell’s second "Officer of The Year" award, having also earned the honor in 2005.  Among several administrative duties, Sgt Campbell also serves as the CPD's training coordinator. He has been with the department since 2003.  Chief Rick Scarbrough presented the award to Campbell at the annual police "range day" celebration, held Thursday (10/24).  Speaking of which, the CPD's "Top Guns" were recognized during the first annual "range day" pistol competition. Most of the department's full time and reserve officers participated. The top five were:
1. K9 Officer Steve Queener
2. Sgt Scott Gregory
3. Officer John Gallups
4. Lt Larry Miller
5. Reserve Officer Luke Hughes
The 2013 Range Day included the competition as well as a time for the officers and guests to visit and enjoy some good food and fellowship. Asst. Chief Vaughn Becker was the official grillmaster for the day and served up dozens of hamburgers and hot dogs.  Chief Rick Scarbrough said: "We had a good time and good friendly competition today. I'm proud of all the officers who competed and especially those who placed in the top five."

 

OR IDB OKs TIF plan for Mall

 

The proposed $85 million mixed-use redevelopment of the Oak Ridge Mall received a key local endorsement Thursday when the city’s Industrial Development Board unanimously recommended a plan that would allow new property tax revenues generated at the site to be used to help pay for development costs.  The tax increment financing—or TIF—agreement could be worth $13 million and last 20 years. In an 8-0 vote during a special meeting Thursday, the Board recommended the plan to the Oak Ridge City Council and Anderson County Commission, which could consider it in November.  If all goes as planned, the sale of the mall to Crosland Southeast could close in the middle of next year, and demolition could then start immediately and last three to four months. Construction could last about 1.5 years, which means the redeveloped property could open in 2016.  The 59-acre redevelopment in the center of the city could include 400,000 square feet of retail space and roughly 60,000 to 100,000 square feet of office space, a hotel of about 100 to 120 rooms, and up to 50 multi-family, “walkable” residential units. It could also include three to four restaurants.  The developer, C4 Investments LLC of North Carolina, could spend more than $85 million converting what is now a mostly empty enclosed mall into an open-air, retail-driven, mixed-use property. Partners of Crosland Southeast are members of C4.  Belk and JCPenney, the mall’s two remaining anchor stores, have to approve certain aspects of the deal as would Walmart and Tinseltown.  Projections presented during a public hearing before the IDB’s special meeting said the redevelopment, which would be named Freedom Park, could create 950 to 1,000 new jobs, and increase city and county sales tax revenues by about $2.16 million.  The TIF would not create any risk for the city, county, or IDB, Oak Ridge economic development consultant Ray Evans said.  James L. Murphy—a Nashville attorney with Bradley, Arant, Boult, and Cummings—said the TIF still has to be approved by the Tennessee comptroller and commissioner of economic and community development.  For more on yesterday’s vote and more details about the project, visit our partners at www.oakridgetoday.com.  

 

ORT:  Sitel ordered to pay back wages, fines

 

The U.S. Labor Department has recovered nearly $144,000 in back wages and penalties from Sitel Operating Corp. in Oak Ridge, federal officials said Thursday.  Sitel has agreed to pay 486 employees $68,901 in back wages after an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division found violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act’s overtime and record-keeping provisions at the company’s facility in Oak Ridge, a press release said. Sitel also paid civil money penalties of $74,900, which were assessed for repeat violations of the FLSA, the release said.  It said investigators from the division’s Nashville District Office found that employees who worked on one client account, United Services Automobile Association, were not paid for time spent conducting required preparatory work before their shifts started. Specifically, the company failed to pay its employees for the 28-39 minutes they were required to spend each week logging into Web applications before they could access the time clock to start their shift, the release said. Because the employees were not paid for all hours worked, they were denied overtime compensation at time and one-half their regular rates of pay for hours worked beyond 40 in a workweek, as required by the FLSA, the Labor Department said. The employer also failed to keep accurate records of the time employees spent conducting preparatory work, the release said, adding that Sitel has agreed to pay all back wages and civil money penalties and maintain compliance with the FLSA. The firm, doing business as Sitel, provides phone-based business operations support to companies that want to outsource those functions. Sitel’s employees make and receive calls on behalf of Sitel’s clients to sell products, fulfill orders, take claims, provide technical support, answer customer questions, and collect payments.  The division’s Nashville office can be reached at (615) 781-5344. Information on the FLSA and other wage laws is available by calling the division’s toll-free helpline at (866) 4US-WAGE (487-9243) and at www.dol.gov/whd. For more visit www.oakridgetoday.com.  

 

ORT:  ORUUC building construction underway

 

(Oak Ridge Today)  Construction work has started at the site of a new home for the Oak Ridge Unitarian Universalist Church near the Joe L. Evins Federal Building.  Hickory Construction Inc., which has headquarters in Alcoa, announced on Thursday that it has broken ground at the 4.6-acre site. The building could be complete by next summer.  The new building will give the congregation an extra 3,000 square feet, compared to the current building a few miles down Oak Ridge Turnpike.  In addition to more space, features will include a single slope roof over the sanctuary to create a dramatic space lit by recessed lighting and randomly spaced pendant fixtures; wood-look ceiling tile in the sanctuary, lobby and hearth room; and polished concrete floors throughout much of the building, the release said. Outside, the grounds will have extensive landscaping and accessible paths.  Congregation members broke ground at the site in July and said they plan to be in their new home by Thanksgiving 2014.  For more than six decades, the congregation of 260 members has been in a heavily used church at the intersection of Oak Ridge Turnpike and Robertsville Road, but in a deal arranged by commercial developers Blanchard and Calhoun Commercial, the church agreed in September 2012 to sell that 3.6-acre site to make way for a new Kroger Marketplace shopping center in the heart of the city.  The church’s current property could be used as outparcels, or small lots, at the new $30 million shopping center, which could open next summer.  For more, visit www.oakridgetoday.com.

 

Appeals Court rules against quarry foes

 

The Tennessee Court of Appeals late last week ruled against a group of citizens who had sued the city of Clinton and the Rogers Group over the city’s rezoning of land near the Bethel community to allow for the road-paving company to reopen its controversial rock quarry.  Citizens for Safety and Clean Air had filed the suit, alleging that the city’s rezoning of the land to M-2—or heavy industrial use—had been capricious and arbitrary and that it had constituted illegal spot zoning.  Anderson County Chancellor William Lantrip ruled against the plaintiffs earlier this year and the case was appealed.  Last week, the appeals court panel upheld the Chancery Court’s decision allowing the rezoning.  Residents and businesses for years have fought bitterly against the Rogers Group reopening its long-dormant rock quarry and the dispute also has embroiled the governments of Clinton and Anderson County.  The decision was announced on Friday and the plaintiffs have 30 days to file an appeal.  No decision has been made on whether they will.

 

Report:  Lawsuit filed over deputy-involved fatal shooting

 

A wrongful death lawsuit has been filed against the Anderson County Sheriff’s Department over last year’s fatal shooting of a man by a volunteer reserve deputy.  The News-Sentinel reports that the lawsuit was filed last week in Anderson County Circuit Court and alleges that reserve deputy Steven Williams violated the constitutional rights of Randall Wilcox in the incident that led to Wilcox’s death.  The Anderson County DA’s office earlier this year said that the TBI probe into the October 13th, 2012 incident showed that Williams had not broken any laws or violated any procedures.  Officials have said that Williams had tried to pull Wilcox over for an alleged seatbelt law violation and that Wilcox had tried to flee on foot after being stopped along the side of Pine Ridge Road.  The DA’s office says that Wilcox had fought with Williams over the deputy’s gun and that at one point he had gained control of the weapon and pulled the trigger to shoot Williams in the chest but that the pistol had misfired.  After getting the gun back and re-racking it, Williams shot Wilcox three times as Wilcox, who had a lengthy criminal history, charged at him.  The lawsuit filed by Wilcox’s wife and the legal guardian of his children alleges that Wilcox did not take any aggressive action toward the deputy and that Williams had simply chased him into the woods and shot him.  The lawsuit says that Williams’ actions amounted to assault, false arrest and a violation of Wilcox’s rights.  The suit seeks an unspecified damages and, according to the News-Sentinel, an injunction prohibiting officers from drawing their weapons to “chase citizens for suspicion of…a misdemeanor.”  Williams, Sheriff Paul White and the county are named as the defendants in the suit.

 

Veteran driver’s licenses now available

 

(State of Tennessee) Department of Safety and Homeland Security Commissioner Bill Gibbons and Department of Veterans Affairs Commissioner Many-Bears Grinder today announced that honorably discharged veterans may now visit any driver services center in the state to obtain a specially designated veteran driver license or photo identification card.  Legislation authorizing the state to publicly recognize veterans’ military service was passed in 2011. The veteran designation could not be offered, however, until the latest redesign of driver licenses and photo ID cards. A newly designed card and a new process called “central issuance,” in which driver licenses and photo ID cards are mailed to citizens from a central location, are now being used in all driver services centers.  Veterans must visit a driver services center and present a certified or original copy of their Department of Defense form 214 (DD-214), which is also known as discharge papers, to receive the special designation on a driver license or photo ID card. If the license or card is a renewal or duplicate of a non-commercial driver license, veterans may also visit one of the Department of Safety and Homeland Security’s county clerk partners.  The standard state issuance or renewal fees apply for the transaction. If it is not time to renew a driver license or photo ID, veterans may get a duplicate to replace a current non-commercial license or ID for $8 for the first duplicate and $12 for a second duplicate.  Visit www.tn.gov/safety for a list of driver services centers and county clerk partners offering this service.

 

Middle school leadership posts changing in OR

 

(ORT) Principals at Robertsville and Jefferson middle schools have been reassigned, according to Oak Ridge school officials.  Robertsville Middle School Principal James Hundertmark is moving to the School Administration Building, where he will be the special projects administrator, Superintendent Bruce Borchers said.  Meanwhile, Jefferson Middle School Principal Bruce Lay has been reassigned as RMS principal, Borchers said. Philip Cox, who has been JMS vice principal, will become interim principal.  Borchers said the special projects administrator is a new position that will be involved in several initiatives, including data collection for a Keys to College and Career Readiness program. He will be involved in developing report cards for all buildings and departments.  Hundertmark started at RMS in July, and he had previously been lead associate principal of Klein High School in Klein, Texas. He began his teaching career as a secondary mathematics teacher for Anderson County Schools and later taught mathematics in Spring, Texas.  Lay has been JMS principal since 2001. He also served as Jefferson’s vice principal in 2000 and 2001.  Prior to his service at Jefferson, Lay worked for Anderson County Schools, serving as principal of both Briceville Elementary and Norwood Middle schools, a press release said. Cox has been JMS vice principal since 2006. Before he came to Oak Ridge, Cox was principal of Lake City Elementary. For more, visit www.oakridgetoday.com.

 

AC government recognized for financial reporting

 

(AC Mayor’s Office) The Anderson County Government has announced that its Accounts and Budget Office has received the PAFR Award (Popular Annual Financial Report).  The PAFR Report is a voluntary report that counties can choose to compile and publish in order to condense the financial position of the county.  The goal of Popular Reports is to present budget information in a way that is easy to understand.  “We scored an 86.7% out of 100% by the panel of 3 judges.  One judge gave us a 96.8% grade.  I am honored to say this now makes the 11th consecutive year we’ve won the award,” said Connie Aytes, Deputy Budget Director.  “We are pleased to offer to our citizens a report that makes the county’s financial position easier to understand.  It is our hope that in some way, this report reaches out to potential investors in Anderson County and shows them that our government goes above and beyond the call of duty to be a source of useful information,” stated Budget Director Christopher K. Phillips.  The PAFR Award comes on the heels of the Accounts and Budget Office receiving a Certificate of Achievement for Financial Reporting from the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) back in May of this year.  “Budget Director Chris Phillips and the entire accounting office deserve praise for their hard work.  But Connie Aytes is the heart and spirit of the Popular Report, and she deserves additional praise for the hard work she puts into it.  This report is completely voluntary, and I absolutely love the extra effort Connie makes to make sure our information is accessible and readable by the citizens of Anderson County,” said Anderson County Mayor Terry Frank.  “Because of challenges stemming from the economic downturn in 2008, much more attention is turning to local governments.   When industry, business, and families are considering where to locate, we’re finding increased attention on the fiscal stability and long-term outlook of our county government.  We want to stay in a strong position, and the PAFR is a great method for getting the word out,” said Mayor Frank.  Anderson County’s report was reviewed by an independent panel of professional governmental accountants and they determined our report meets the high standards to be awarded the Outstanding Achievement in Popular Annual Financial Reporting.  Copies of the report are available in the Anderson County Mayor’s Office or in the Accounts and Budget Office. 

 

ORT:  GAO denies protest of Y-12 contract

 

(Oak Ridge Today) The U.S. Government Accountability Office on Tuesday denied or dismissed three elements of a protest filed in June by one of the two teams that lost a competition earlier this year to manage two nuclear weapons plants in Tennessee and Texas, a contract that could be worth up to $22.8 billion.  The bid protest was filed on June 17 by Nuclear Production Partners LLC, or NP2, one of three bidding teams that sought to manage and operate the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge and the Pantex Plant near Amarillo, Texas.  The decision announced Tuesday dismissed as premature allegations regarding discussions and proposal revisions, denied an assertion that the National Nuclear Security Administration had to further amend the award solicitation, and dismissed NP2’s arguments regarding the application of Federal Acquisition Regulation’s requirements for cost realism analysis because it was not filed on time.  It wasn’t immediately clear what will happen next. The transition to a new contractor had originally been scheduled to be complete by May 1 of this year, but the protests have put the transition on hold.  It was the second protest filed by NP2.  In April, the GAO upheld one part of an earlier pair of protests filed by NP2 and Integrated Nuclear Production Solutions LLC of Oak Ridge. In that decision, the GAO raised questions about proposed savings and recommended that the procurement be re-opened and more information requested from the three bidding teams about their proposed cost savings.  The GAO also recommended that the relative size of each team’s proposed cost savings be evaluated. The winning team, Consolidated Nuclear Security LLC, or CNS, had promised to save $3.27 billion during the next decade.  In May, the NNSA announced that it would request more information from the three teams. The bid protests followed a January announcement by the NNSA that it had awarded a five-year extendable contract valued at up to $22.8 billion to CNS to manage and operate Y-12 and Pantex.  For more, visit www.oakridgetoday.com.

 

ORT:  OR Mall redevelopment plans unveiled

 

(Information from Oak Ridge Today/staff reports) The North Carolina-based company that wants to redevelop the Oak Ridge Mall unveiled its site plan today (9/25) for the 60-acre property.  The $80 million project could include new retail, hotel, office, and residential properties andcould create almost 1,000 new jobs while boosting annual city and county sales tax revenues by more than $2 million, according to an estimate by a city consultant.  The two remaining anchor stores at the mall, JCPenney and Belk, would stay. So would Tinseltown Theater and Walmart.  Meanwhile, the existing interior space between the anchor stores would be demolished.  Previous mall redevelopment plans had also called for demolishing that interior retail space.  The private investment in the project would be about $80 million.  Company representatives will be meeting within the next several days with the Oak Ridge Industrial Development Board to consider a tax increment financing (TIF) plan to assist in the development of the site.  Following the model of the recent Aubrey’s/Panera site on S. Illinois Ave., this TIF will not put any public dollars at risk with generating funds for improvements to the site.  “Our vision for this redevelopment effort is to construct a ‘new downtown’ for Oak Ridge that will restore a sense of community and has the potential to make a positive impact on the region as a whole,” said officials with Crosland Southeast.  The introduction of new retailers and restaurants, offices, residences, and public spaces would differentiate the mall project from all others in the area, thus “catering to a broader constituency,” according to officials in a press release you can read in its entirety on our website.

 

Crosland Southeast press release:  A North Carolina development firm known for turning around difficult real estate projects is preparing to lay out its vision for the old Oak Ridge mall property and doing so in a way that will put no public dollars are at risk.  Charlotte-based Crosland Southeast is the firm that has been working with the City of Oak Ridge for the past several months to develop a plan to convert the once thriving mall site into a multi-use work-live-play-shop destination.  “An experienced developer like Crosland has demonstrated an ability to take on challenging sites and turn them into long-term assets,” said Oak Ridge Mayor Tom Beehan. “We’ve worked hard to expand retail opportunities in our community and we are seeing very positive results from these efforts. Crosland brings credibility and experience to the table, and we look forward to working with them to create a more vibrant ‘center city’ for Oak Ridge.”  Company representatives will be meeting within the next several days with the Oak Ridge Industrial Development Board to consider a tax increment financing (TIF) plan to assist in the development of the site.  Following the model of the recent Aubrey’s/Panera site on S. Illinois Ave., this TIF will not put any public dollars at risk with generating funds for improvements to the site.  “With the success of the S. Illinois Ave project, we are very positive about this financing approach that puts no tax-payer money at risk and requires the developer to assume all the financial risk,” said Oak Ridge City consultant Ray Evans.  According to estimates made by the city’s consultant, the proposed new development would create almost 1,000 new jobs and increase annual city and county sales tax revenues by more than $2 million. The private investment in the project will be approximately $80 million.  “Our vision for this redevelopment effort is to construct a ‘new downtown’ for Oak Ridge that will restore a sense of community and has the potential to make a positive impact on the region as a whole,” said Tim Sittema, partner at Crosland Southeast.  Sittema said that through the introduction of new retailers and restaurants, offices, residences and public spaces, this project will differentiate itself from all others in the area, thus catering to a broader constituency.  “Every community needs public places to gather and we are working hard to make this vision a reality for Oak Ridge,” said Sittema.  “We are privileged to have the opportunity to work with this community on such a transformative project.  We pledge to do our part in creating an attractive, economically viable project that retailers and other businesses will want to be a part of.  With the support of the IDB, the city, the county and our other partners and stakeholders, we will work very hard to make this happen.”  For more information about Crosland Southeast, please visit www.CroslandSoutheast.com.

 

OR BOE approves new budget, crisis averted

 

As expected on Monday night, the Oak Ridge School Board voted unanimously on first and second readings to adopt a revised budget that includes an additional $250,000 from the city.  The transfer of funds was necessary after the state notified the school system last month that its budget for this year had failed a maintenance-of-effort test that requires local funding for schools to remain at least the same from year to year.  State officials warned that if the shortfall was not addressed, the system would have lost about $1.87 million a month from the state, which would have necessitated a shutdown of the schools on October 1st.  The City Council approved the transfer last week. 

 

‘In God We Trust’ sign dedicated in OR

 

The fifth and final “In God We Trust” sign to be placed on an Anderson County building was officially dedicated Friday afternoon at the General Sessions Court building in Oak Ridge.  In addition to the sign, a small granite monument paying tribute to five Anderson County soldiers who perished in Iraq and Afghanistan was dedicated and a new flagpole was erected.  Earlier this year, granite signs with “In God We Trust” were placed over each of the four entrances to the Anderson County Courthouse.  The sign bearing the phrase in Oak Ridge is a polymer with an aluminum finish.  The signs and their installation were paid for by community donations and the flagpole for the Oak Ridge court building was donated by Atomic City Tool & Dye. 

 

AC RAM Clinic a ‘huge success’

 

Organizers of last weekend’s Remote Area Medical Expedition at Clinton’s First Baptist Church say the event was a huge success.  During the two-day clinic, medical, dental and visions services estimated at over $504,000 were provided to patients at no charge.  Organizers say that the vast majority of the services provided were in the dental clinic to the tune of $413,505, including one patient who received over $8000 in dental care.  $83,030 worth of service was provided in the vision clinic and $7634 worth of general medical services were provided.  In all, over 980 patients registered and 953 received treatment.  Organizers of the RAM Clinic wanted to once again express their gratitude for the community support they received, including prayers, donations of goods and money, as well as time spent working by volunteers.

 

Local agencies receive highway safety funds

 

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam, Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) Commissioner John Schroer and the Governor’s Highway Safety Office (GHSO) Director Kendell Poole today announced $21.1 million in grants to Tennessee agencies to support highway traffic safety efforts.  The funds support the mission of the GHSO.  The goal is to save lives and reduce injuries on Tennessee roadways through leadership, innovation, coordination and program support in partnership with numerous public and private organizations.  These grants help fund a variety of safety initiatives across the state including speed enforcement, first responder equipment, Specialized Impaired Driving prosecutors and child passenger safety training.  The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration provides the funding to the GHSO.  The grants, totaling 434 for the 2014 funding cycle, were awarded to 370 agencies that successfully applied for funding based on a defined problem and statistical need.  Each year, the GHSO accepts applications from agencies across the state for available highway safety funds.  Applications are reviewed and scored by the GHSO and external highway safety advocates.  The agencies that meet the criteria for funding received awards.  For more information about the GHSO, visit our website at www.tntrafficsafety.org.  Locally, the Anderson County Sheriff’s Department received $40,000.25 for efforts to reduce fatal accidents; the Clinton, Lake City and Norris Police Departments each received $5000 for high-visibility enforcement efforts and the Oak Ridge Police Department received $25,299.40 for alcohol saturation patrols and sobriety checkpoints.  The District Attorney’s Office in Anderson County also received a $181,147.52 DUI Abatement and Prosecution Enhancement Grant.  In Blount County, the Alcoa Police Department received $20,000 for traffic services; the Maryville Police Department received $69,120 for alcohol saturation patrols and sobriety checkpoints while the Blount County Sheriff’s Office received $72,248.64 for the same purpose.  The BCSO also received $89,880.32 for motorcycle safety efforts on the Dragon and another $17,960 for a Network Coordinator.  The Blount County DA’s office received a grant worth $158,496.56 for DUI Abatement and Prosecution.  For a complete list and description of each grant, visit http://www.tdot.state.tn.us/grantinfo/ghso.htm.

 

Fritts, Biloski retain posts

 

Anderson County Commission Chair Chuck Fritts was re-appointed to a third one-year term as chairman by his fellow commissioners on Monday.  Fritts received 12 votes from his fellow commissioners, former Chair Mark Alderson received three votes and Robert McKamey received one vote.   The Commission also voted to reappoint Robin Biloski as vice chair. There were no other candidates for that post.

 

OR company snares $24M federal deal

 

Information International Associates Inc. announced Monday that it has been awarded a $24 million federal contract to operate the Homeland Defense and Security Information Analysis Center, or HDIAC. IIa will operate the center for the U.S. Department of Defense’s Defense Technical Information Center, or DTIC.  The work will focus on research and analysis in eight major Homeland Defense disciplines: homeland defense and security; critical infrastructure protection; weapons of mass destruction; chemical, biological, radiologic, and nuclear defense; biometrics; medical; cultural studies; and alternative energy.  IIa is required through this contract to proactively and responsively provide timely and authoritative information relative to key research and development concepts and acquisition functions, results and trends, applications and processes, and assessments of HDIAC technology on military operations, and assessment of international R&D technology.  Activities covered under the contract include all aspects of identified or potential military and national security-related applications of HDIAC technology.  IIa currently supports the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Scientific and Technical Information, or OSTI.  As part of the new contract, IIa will be responsible for developing databases of both information and human resources related to the HDIAC scope.  The contract award is sponsored by the Defense Technical Information Center. 

 

AC Trustee report outlines tax collections, more

 

(AC Trustee’s Office) Anderson County Trustee Rodney Archer released a detailed annual report this month outlining the performance of his office over the past fiscal year. The 52 page report is the Trustee’s Office effort to keep taxpayers informed on the state of the county’s finances and the impact of the local economy on the revenues of county government. The Annual Report categorizes revenues received by Anderson County over the past year. It reports on property and sales taxes collected over the past year. The report gives a breakdown on the performance of each of its offices in the county and provides a detailed accounting of revenues and expenditures for the office. The Trustee maintains offices in Oak Ridge, Clinton, and Norris to serve taxpayers across Anderson County.  The Trustee’s Office has worked hard to improve services over the past six years, creating greater accessibility for senior citizens with drive through access in both Oak Ridge and Clinton offices while maintaining accountability to the taxpayers. The Report also describes the qualifications for seniors 65 and over on how to qualify for the Senior Citizen Tax Relief and Freeze Program. The Trustee’s Office awarded $195,124 in tax relief during the last year to qualified seniors.  Archer states the number of taxpayers using the satellite offices and drive through services has climbed over the past six years. The growth in revenue over the past three years in the drive through operations highlights the positive reception these expanded services have received from the community. Branch revenue grew more than 26% in the past year alone. The Oak Ridge office took in close to 12 million dollars with commissions of $239,165.06. Office expenditures were only $87,601.45 returning $151,563.61 to the general fund. The Norris Office shared in the improved efficiencies, collecting $2,235,088.35 and turning over $25,305.87 to the general fund-more than half of the office’s commissions collected. All of these improvements were made while the Trustee’s Office continues to return more than 50% of the commissions earned over each of the past six years to the general fund, generating more than 3.6 million dollars in savings for taxpayers.  The Report also lists the largest taxpayers, largest employers, and highlights staff qualifications.  Archer added that his staff is well trained, and that most of his deputy trustees and customer service representatives are certified public administrators through the University of Tennessee.  Trustee Rodney Archer commented on his effort to improve efficiencies and his desire to improve services for taxpayers across Anderson County.  “Making our services more accessible is a high priority in our office. It is a goal we continually strive to meet. We are proud of the improvements we have made and the positive response we have seen from the community,” stated Archer.  “We returned $690,331 to the General Fund in savings this past year. This is a 36% increase since the end of 2009. Our staff will continue to be accountable and be efficient with every tax dollar we manage,” concluded Archer.  A copy of the full report is available at the Trustee’s Office in the Anderson County Courthouse or at www.ACTrustee.com.

 

ORT:  Workers moving back in to OR fed building

 

(Oak Ridge Today) The asbestos-containing insulation has been removed, and U.S. Department of Energy employees and contractors started a month-long move back into the Joe L. Evins Federal Building this week, a spokesman said Wednesday.  The move back into the five-story building should be complete by the end of September, according to our partners at oak Ridge Today.  Office space has been modified, and the building can now house about 440 workers, an increase of about 90 employees. The light construction work has included moving walls. The telecommunications system was also upgraded while everyone was out of the building.  There were roughly 350 federal employees and contractors at the Federal Building when it was shut down in June 2012 after an inspection found insulation with asbestos had fallen into heating and cooling ducts. Many of the workers had to temporarily move elsewhere while the U.S. General Services Administration, which owns the 155,000-square-foot building, removed the insulation.  The office space changes will allow the local DOE Environmental Management organization, which had been in the nearby Building 2714, to move into the Federal Building.  Last year, officials said air samples from the Federal Building suggested that no employees were exposed to asbestos from the loose insulation that had fallen into heating and cooling ducts.  For much more on this story, visit our friends at www.oakridgetoday.com.

 

Ex-PCUD chief pleads to theft charges

 

Former Powell Clinch Utility District president and general manager Del Roberts pleaded guilty Wednesday in an Anderson County courtroom to stealing almost $94,000 from the utility.  Roberts pleaded guilty to charging $93,856 on a PCUD credit card and hiding the charges in a special account between January of 2007 and May of 2010.  Roberts spent the money on things like vacations, college tuition, dental care and other personal expenses.  The money has been repaid to the utility district and Wednesday, Roberts pleaded guilty to theft over $60,000 and fraudulent use of a credit card in exchange for a pair of concurrent ten-year sentences.  10 days of that time will be spent behind bars with the remainder of the sentence to be served on supervised probation.  He was also ordered to donate $10,000 over that period to a special fund used to help needy families pay winter heating bills and to perform 40 hours of community service each year.  Utility officials said in a statement that the weaknesses in the district’s internal controls that allowed the thefts to go undiscovered for so long have been corrected and that PCUD has made significant changes to ensure that nothing like this ever happens again.

 

New services at OR Library

 

The Oak Ridge Public Library has announced a new service for the community and new online photograph collections. With Reference by Appointment, individuals can obtain one-on-one, in-depth assistance with research, résumés, or online job applications with a trained professional at no cost.  Anyone may schedule an appointment to meet with a librarian for assistance in the use of the library’s many resources. A librarian can help format résumés, search census records in Heritage Quest, assist with databases searches in Tennessee Electronic Library, suggest research material for a school or work project, and help with basic computer skills. No library card is needed in order to take part in this service.  Appointments last from 15-60 minutes, depending on the individual needs. Reference staff will accommodate appointments within the weekday hours of 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Staff cannot do research or write your résumé, but they can advise on research materials, on formatting documents, or give general assistance with online applications. To schedule an appointment, please call the reference section at (865) 425-3465. A librarian will be in contact quickly to set up the appointment.  One of the most popular collections at the library is the U.S. Department of Energy Photograph Collection, images largely taken by Ed Westcott during his years as Atomic Energy Commission photographer. Over 1,000 photographs depict life in the “Secret City.” This entire collection is now online and accessible through the library’s website at www.orpl.org. Click on the links, Departments and Services, then Digital Collections. A website will appear with a link to the Oak Ridge Room Department of Energy Photograph Collection.  Two other online photograph collections are also available for browsing, the Municipal Oak Ridge Photograph Collection and the Ruth Carey Photograph Collection. Both of these collections are in process and growing in scope. The Municipal Collection currently showcases early Oak Ridge Fire, Police, and Public Works departments. Later online additions will display the Recreation Department activities and the Army-Navy “E” Award ceremony that took place on Nov. 20, 1945, at Blankenship Field. The online Ruth Carey Collection presents only a small fraction of the images from the collection. Library staff and volunteers are digitizing more of Ms. Carey’s negatives and plan on having them online soon.  Library cards are free for Oak Ridge residents of all ages and provide free access to learning and entertainment. Visit Oak Ridge Public Library at 1401 Oak Ridge Turnpike in the Civic Center. Please see our website at www.orpl.org or call (865) 425-3455 for more information.

 

High-speed chase nets burglary suspects

 

A pair of burglary suspects led officers from several law enforcement agencies on high-speed chase through several counties on Thursday afternoon.  Officials from the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office notified Union County law enforcement about 4:25 p.m. that they were in pursuit of a gray Pontiac Grand Am being driven by Billy Ray Fox of Corryton, according.  Fox was wanted in connection with a burglary that had occurred in Anderson County, and was fleeing deputies at speeds in excess of 100 mph.  Several Union County deputies and one Maynardville Police Department officer helped stop Fox on Hickory Valley Road in Union County.  In the car, officers reported finding his alleged accomplice, 27-year-old Heather Buchanan, 27 of Corryton and four children ranging in age from 5 to 8 years old.  DCS took custody of the children while Fox and Buchanan were taken to the Anderson County Jail on several charges including five counts of reckless endangerment, four counts of child endangerment, a fourth offense of driving on a revoked license, felony evading, reckless driving in excess of 100 mph, failure to yield to emergency vehicles, failure to obey traffic controls and two violations of child restraint laws.  Officials say additional charges will likely be filed in Union County once Anderson County is done with them.

 

Green ruled competent to stand trial in 2011 shooting

 

The man accused in the fatal shooting of a Clinton pawn shop employee in November of 2011 has been ruled competent to stand trial.  65-year-old James Allen Green is accused of shooting 59-year-old Larry Snellings after asking to see a gun at the South Clinton Pawn Shop.  When Snellings handed him the gun, Green loaded it and shot him.  Green was declared insane and sent to Moccasin Bend Mental Health Institute in Chattanooga in April 2012, where re-evaluations were scheduled every six months.  Earlier this year doctors at Moccasin Bend determined that Green was competent and returned him to the custody of the Anderson County Sheriff's Office with specific orders regarding medication.  Anderson County Judge Donald R. Elledge has ruled that Green is competent after hearing testimony earlier this year from doctors at Moccasin Bend Mental Health Institute and officials from the Anderson County Jail.  Doctors have described Green's recovery as "remarkable," saying his brain had been psychotically disorganized with chronic brain failure due to mini-strokes, however, they say his condition will relapse if his medication is stopped.  Green is charged with premeditated murder, assault with a deadly weapon, assault with serious bodily injury, murder during the perpetration of theft, and theft.  No trial date has been set.

 

Teen indicted in crash that killed classmate

 

An Andersonville teen has been indicted on charges connected to a fatal accident in January that killed a passenger in the car he was driving.  18-year-old Evan Nathaniel Weaver was indicted by an Anderson County grand jury earlier this month and arrested Tuesday on charges of vehicular homicide by intoxication and by recklessness, two counts of reckless endangerment and one count each of reckless driving and possession of drug paraphernalia.  The charges stem from a January 28th accident at the intersection of Highways 61 and 441 in Norris that killed 17-year-old Cameron Lee Sharp, a passenger in Weaver’s car.  Both were seniors at Anderson County High School at the time of the crash.  Investigators say that Weaver had been driving east on 61 when he tried to merge into the southbound lanes of 441.  As he attempted that, however he lost control and the car crossed over a concrete island and collided with a pickup truck headed north on 441 driven by 25-year-old Daniel Osborne.  A passenger in Osborne’s truck was injured and Sharp died in the crash.  Officers reported finding a can of compressed gas cleaner commonly used for “huffing” to attain a buzz and a glass marijuana pipe in Weaver’s car after the wreck.  Weaver is free on bond and will be arraigned on September 9th.

 

AC Clerk:  Revenue projections exceeded

 

(AC Circuit Court Clerk) Anderson County Circuit Court Clerk Tyler Mayes announced that his office has exceeded budgeted revenue projections for the past fiscal 2012/2013 year ending on June 30, 2013 by nearly $400,000. The total revenues budgeted for all revenue codes within the Circuit Court Clerk’s office was $1,459,640.05, while the office realized revenues of $1,857,313.33. The bulk of these excess revenues has been returned to the General Fund and will have a positive impact on the undesignated fund balance. Some revenues have designated uses by state law and are assigned to those specific expenditures.  Mayes stated that he looked at the three and five year averages for his office and set accountability goals for himself and his office staff. His focus upon taking office last year was on integrity and productivity. “I believe that our office should strive to be accountable in every way possible. We need to be accountable both in our professional work with the courts and the citizens hard earned taxpayer dollars. We have set our goals high,” stated Mayes.  Mayes said that the actual collections of court fees was budgeted at $925,000, but $1,051,786,.30 was collected during the year. The biggest jump in revenues came in the collection of bond forfeitures that collected $185,558.02 when only $50,000 was budgeted.  Mayes said that his office made a concentrated effort to collect delinquent bond forfeitures.  “Our staff worked hard on collecting delinquent bond forfeitures. The five year average for these collections was under 26,000 dollars and we brought in over 185,000 dollars this past year. This is revenue that will help county government meet its obligations.”  Mayes said there were also increases in several other revenue codes as his office seeks to improve efficiencies.  “We will continue to look for ways to be more efficient and increase revenues and hold the line on expenses. My number one priority is to be accountable to the taxpayers of Anderson County. I am very proud of what my staff and I accomplished during the past year,” concluded Mayes. 

 

State website allows citizens to track government $$$

 

The Transparency and Accountability for Governments in Tennessee (TAG) application provided by the Comptroller of the Treasury on its department web site gives citizens a transparent look at where government money comes from and where that money goes.  Since 2010, TAG has allowed taxpayers to view detailed revenues and expenditures for county governments.  At the request of Sen. Randy McNally, R-Oak Ridge, the TAG application has been enhanced to include debt information.  The user-friendly resource now provides access to outstanding debt for each of the 89 counties audited by the Comptroller’s Division of Local Government Audit. Users can drill down on a county’s total debt to see the types of debt outstanding.  Total debt figures are also available for the six counties audited by certified public accounting firms.  Per capita debt amounts for all counties are available, as well as graphs which compare each county’s debt to the state average for county debt.  The upgrade to the TAG application also includes new functionality that allows users to evaluate revenue, expenditure and debt information for up to 95 counties.  All of this information can be exported to Microsoft Excel for further analysis.  The TAG application can be accessed from the Comptroller of the Treasury web site at: http://www.comptroller.tn.gov/TAG/tag.aspx.

  

2nd defendant files motion to dismiss due to Courthouse signage

 

A second man facing criminal charges in Anderson County has filed a motion to dismiss those charges, claiming that the “In God We Trust” signs installed over entrances to the Anderson County Courthouse violate his constitutional rights.  The News-Sentinel reports that the motion was filed Tuesday (7/30) on behalf of 65-year-old Floyd Hammond Jr. of Knoxville, who is in jail awaiting a trial on drug and theft charges dating back some five years.  A motion for dismissal was filed last week, one day after the first sign was dedicated, by a Clinton man facing charges of attempted first-degree murder on similar grounds, including assertions that the dedication ceremony for the first of the signs was dominated by fundamentalist Christian speakers, that the county government has officially endorsed a particular view of religion with its approval of the signs and that the ceremony and the signs have turned the Courthouse into a temple of fundamentalist Christianity.  Last week’s motion was filed by Kenneth Darrin Fisher, who claims to be of Cherokee descent and a follower of a Red Road spiritual path.  While this week’s motion does not indicate Hammond’s religious beliefs, it does claim he is offended by the “Constitutional affront” the signs present.  The DA’s office is looking over both motions in order to craft a response and we will continue to follow this story for you as developments warrant.

 

AC property values down, OR hardest hit

 

Following up on a story we reported Wednesday (7/31), property values in Anderson County have decreased to less than about 85% of their appraised values.  The Anderson County Board of Equalization sent a letter earlier this month to the County Mayor and County Commissioners indicating that the panel had completed its appraisal hearings for this year and submitted its report to the state Appraisal Office.  Oak Ridge has two types of property described by the Board as selling for much less than their 2010 appraisal values, Manhattan Project-era, low-priced homes and newer, high-priced, high-quality homes, while all land parcels in the county are selling below their appraised prices.  If that downward trend continues, Board members wrote, “We may see a general reduction in the total appraised value for all of Oak Ridge at our next general appraisal adjustment in 2015.  This would be an unprecedented event that would create a certified tax rate which results in higher individual tax bills.”  In the letter, Board members said that the “median reduction for all [125] cases we heard this year was -38%...the largest general reduction for this board ever.”   Also concerning local officials is the low number of new residential building permits issued in the past year, with only 10 in Oak Ridge and 58 in the county, levels also described as “some of the fewest ever annually issued.”  The county’s total appraisal base grew by less than one percent in the past year, according to the Board.  While nationally, home prices are going back up following the economic downturn, local officials are waiting for that trend to make itself felt here in our own backyards.

 

Mayor:  Prescription discount cards available to AC residents

 

(AC Mayor’s office) In partnership with the National Association of Counties (NACo), Anderson County Government is offering prescription discount cards free-of-cost to any Anderson County resident.  The program is open to anyone who wants to use it. The free prescription discount card program is funded, in part, by Anderson County’s annual NACo membership dues.  Obtaining a free prescription discount card is easy: No personal information is required to get one, and the card can be presented at local pharmacies where it could save you an average of 24 percent off the cost of a prescription.  Any Anderson County resident without prescription coverage can use this program.  And, even if you have prescription insurance coverage, you may still benefit from the discount card since it may save you money on prescriptions your existing plan does not cover.  The card is not insurance, but could be used any time your prescription is not covered by your current insurance provider.  And, there is no limit on how many times the card can be used.  Residents can obtain a free prescription discount card by visiting the Anderson County Health Department, located at 710 North Main Street in Clinton, or the Anderson County Mayor’s Office, located in Suite 208 at the Anderson County Courthouse, 100 North Main Street in Clinton.  The Health Department is open from 8 am. to 4:30 pm Monday through Friday and the Anderson County Mayor’s Office is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.  To learn more about the NACo free prescription drug card, visit www.nacorx.org to find a participating pharmacy, find a price estimate for your prescription, or check drug interactions, or call 1-877-321-2652

 

First legal challenge filed over Courthouse signage

 

The first legal challenge to the signs bearing the inscription “In God We Trust” over the entrances to the Anderson County Courthouse came on Wednesday but not from any organization, rather from a man charged with attempted first degree murder.  22-year-old Kenneth Darrin Fisher of Clinton is accused of the attempted first-degree murder of his wife and illegal possession of an assault rifle and his case is due to go trial next spring.  Fisher, through attorney David Stuart, filed a motion in Criminal Court Wednesday seeking to dismiss all charges against him because, asserting that the signs violate his freedom of worship rights under the US and Tennessee Constitutions.  The motion states that Fisher is a blood member of the Cherokee Nation and a follower of “a Red Road” faith.  Calling the signs, one of which was installed Monday night and unveiled Tuesday morning a “religious display” prohibited by both Constitutions, Fisher asserts that they “reflect an endorsement by the government of a particularized and fundamentalist view of Christianity.”  The motion also states that during Tuesday’s dedication and unveiling ceremony, the speakers, all of whom were of the Baptist faith, conveyed a fundamentalist Christian message that Fisher claims “[effectively] converted the [Courthouse] into a place of worship and recruitment and rendered it a temple of fundamentalist Christianity,” including comments from at least one speaker indicating that the “inscriptions were being installed in part as a message to accused persons required to appear in court.  The motion also states that the message that was conveyed was that anyone who does not agree with the speakers on “matters of religion is going to hell.”  Fisher, a military veteran who served in Afghanistan says that he is offended by the “Constitutional affront” presented by the signs and objects to “being reminded that they have judged him as being destined to go to hell every time he passes through one of the entryways to the courthouse.”  The lawsuit seeks dismissal of the charges as Stuart writes “there is no other effective remedy for the violation of constitutional rights…For example if [the court were to order] the permanent removal of the signs, it will become more difficult or impossible to impanel a fair and impartial jury for his trial.”  Stuart writes that temporarily removing the signs or covering them would have a similar detrimental impact and the Fisher is “entitled to have his trial in the Courthouse, untainted by unconstitutional religious displays.”  District Attorney General Dave Clark is reviewing the motion and preparing a response.  The other three signs are expected to be installed sometime today.  The project was paid for using over $4800 in donations from private citizens and approved by the County Commission earlier this year after lengthy and sometimes contentious debate.  We will continue to follow this story as more information becomes available. 

 

‘In God We Trust’ sign unveiled at Courthouse

 

A crowd of at least 150 people gathered in front of the Anderson County Courthouse in Clinton Tuesday morning as a local citizens group unveiled one of the four black granite signs engraved with the phrase “In God We Trust” to be installed over each of the doors to the Courthouse.  Three more plaques will be installed by the end of the day after a series of setbacks delayed installation of all of the signs on Monday.  Those delays did not dampen the enthusiasm of the crowd as several local pastors and other citizens spoke, many of them expressing their gratitude to the organizers of the effort to have the signs installed and the county officials that made it possible.  The signs cost a little over $4800, which was raised by a citizens’ group spearheaded by Oak Ridge business owner Lyn Byrge.  County Mayor Terry Frank, who presented the proposal to the County Commission earlier this year, was brought out of the crowd to offer a few words and deflected any credit she was being given for the signs going up back to the people who got the ball rolling and encouraged citizens to continue to stand up for what they believe and to participate in their county government.

 

5 ET hospitals ranked among state’s best

 

Five area hospitals are ranked among the state’s best in the latest edition of US News and World Report’s Best Hospitals list, which will begin appearing on newsstands next month.  Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville is once again rated #1 in the state by the magazine and the highest-ranking East Tennessee hospital was third-ranked UT Medical Center, which also had 11 specialties rated as “high-performing.”  Methodist Medical Center in Oak Ridge was rated the sixth-best hospital in the state with six specialties highly ranked.  Also on the list:  Parkwest Medical center at #8 and Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center at #10.  According to a press release, U.S. News publishes Best Hospitals to help guide patients who need a high level of care because they face particularly difficult surgery, a challenging condition, or added risk because of other health problems or age. Objective measures such as patient survival and safety data, the adequacy of nurse staffing levels, and other data largely determined the rankings in most specialties.  The rankings can be found online at http://health.usnews.com/best-hospitals and will appear in print in the U.S. News Best Hospitals 2014 guidebook, available in bookstores and on newsstands Aug. 27.

 

Former bookkeeper pleads to theft of $650K+

 

The former bookkeeper for a prominent Oak Ridge surgeon pleaded guilty Friday (7/12) to embezzling over $650,000 from the two business owned by that doctor.  65-year-old Jeffrey Russell of Jefferson City pleaded guilty to six of the 10 charges he was indicted on by an Anderson County grand jury in August of 2011, including two counts of theft over $60,000 and four counts of forgery of more than $10,000.  In exchange for his plea, four forgery charges were dropped.  Russell was basically given a ten-year sentence and ordered to pay restitution to Dr. David Stanley, who owns and operates Vascular Diagnostics center of Oak Ridge and its billing company.  The theft charges carry sentences of up to 10 years while the forgery counts netted him six years each and all of the sentences will be served concurrently.  The thefts occurred between April of 2005 and May of 2010. 

 

OR Receives $200K Grant for Lighting Upgrades

 

(Governor's Office) Monday, Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam announced the city of Oak Ridge is receiving $200,000 in Clean Tennessee Energy Grant funding to replace and retrofit existing fluorescent lighting fixtures to LED lighting in the Oak Ridge Municipal Building and the Oak Ridge Civic Center Complex.  “I am proud to see this commitment at the local level to implement innovative technology and improve efficiency,” Haslam said. “The Oak Ridge project announced today highlights local efforts across the state to save taxpayers’ dollars as we continue our work to make Tennessee the best place to live, work and raise a family.”  The Clean Tennessee Energy project in Oak Ridge will enhance the actual lighting, while saving electricity and making the buildings more energy efficient.  The estimate reduction in electric energy is approximately 250,000 kWh per year, which is equivalent to the annual greenhouse gas emissions from 147 passenger vehicles, carbon dioxide emissions from 78,998 gallons of gasoline consumed, and carbon dioxide emissions from the electricity use of 105 homes for one year.  Monday’s announcement marks the first of 19 Clean Tennessee Energy Grant awards Gov. Haslam will be making in the coming weeks, in coordination with the Department of Environment and Conservation.  The funding will benefit energy efficiency projects for local governments and municipalities, utilities, and other private and public organizations across Tennessee. Efforts across the state are designed to reduce air emissions, improve energy efficiency and create cost savings. The grant program provides financial assistance to state and local government agencies, utility districts, and quasi-government entities in Tennessee to purchase, install and construct energy projects.  Funding for the projects comes from an April 2011 Clean Air Act settlement with the Tennessee Valley Authority.  Under the Consent Decree, Tennessee will receive $26.4 million over five years to fund clean air programs in the state (at approximately $5.25 million per year).  As part of the grant program’s initial offering, a total of $5.3 million in Clean Energy Grants was awarded in 2012 to a variety of projects within state government, municipalities, utilities, state colleges and universities and communities throughout the state.  The maximum grant amount per project is $250,000 and requires a match from the applicant.  Grant recipients were chosen based on the careful consideration to meet the selection criteria and for those projects that expressed the greatest need.

 

AC EMA now on Facebook

 

(AC EMA) Anderson County Emergency Management is trying to get the word out that they are now on Facebook!  Search for them on Facebook at “AndersonCoEMA” or by following this link: https://www.facebook.com/AndersonCoEMA?ref=hl “Like” our page then you will automatically be informed of any weather alerts in our area, training that is available to the citizens and have access to various agencies in our area.  There, you will find links to the Roane, Knox and Morgan County Emergency Management agencies’ websites, the Red Cross, TEMA, National Weather Service and the Department of Homeland Security.

 

Report:  PCUD Whistleblower Receives Settlement

 

According to the News-Sentinel, the whistleblower whose tips to the state led to the indictment of the former general manager of the Powell-Clinch Utility District for misappropriating funds has received a $120,000 settlement from the utility to resolve the federal lawsuit he filed after he was fired from the job he had held for a decade.  Kent Strunk’s complaint alleged that after utility officials found out he was the person who had alerted the state Comptroller’s office to alleged wrongdoing by former manager Del Roberts, he was subjected to threats and harassment that culminated with his termination.  Under the agreement, Powell Clinch officials admit no wrongdoing on their part and the court order indicates that the settlement was entered into so that both sides could avoid a trial.  Strunk was working as the PCUD controller in 2009 when he alerted the state to possible wrongdoing by Roberts, who was found by state auditors to have misappropriated around $100,000 in utility funds for his pers