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UPDATED December 17,  2014

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ACSD nabs wanted Sullivan man

 

Tuesday, Anderson County Sheriff’s deputies arrested a man wanted by authorities in Sullivan County for violating the state sex offender registry laws.  43-year-old Glen Reed Keller was the subject of a search by officials with the Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office, who had alerted media outlets in the Tri-Cities to that search.  That report was shared with and aired on at least one Knoxville-area TV station.  Tuesday evening, a citizen called Anderson County’s dispatch center after seeing the report and provided information that led dispatchers to do what Chief Deputy Mark Lucas described as “very good investigative work” that turned up a possible address where Keller might be staying.  That information was sent to deputies, who located Keller at a home on White Oak Lane in Heiskell and took him into custody without incident.  He is being held at the jail for Sullivan County authorities and local investigators are following up to determine if any charges will be filed in Anderson County.  Lucas thanked the citizen for the tip that started the investigation and commended the dispatchers for their “research and some outstanding detective work…that resulted in a most wanted fugitive being arrested.”  Keller will be returned to Sullivan County to face charges there.

 

Small chemical spill at Y-12 prompts evaluation

 

The Purification Facility at the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge was evacuated Tuesday morning after a small chemical spill. Less than 10 people were in the building at the time of the spill, none of whom were in the immediate area.  There were no injuries, the National Nuclear Security Administration said.  The spill was reported at 10:24 a.m. Tuesday and was detected by sensors. The cause is unknown. There was no fire and no injuries.  Y-12’s fire department responded and so did other emergency personnel at the plant.  The spill involved less than one gallon of the flammable solvent acetonitrile and the substance had reportedly evaporated by Tuesday afternoon.  Acetonitrile is used in chemical processing at Y-12’s Purification Facility, said Steven Wyatt of the NNSA.  Wyatt said the chemical was not involved in uranium enrichment work at Y-12.  Officials say the spill was “well below reportable limits,” and there is no potential for health effects from the spill outside the building. Officials called the emergency response a “very conservative” one undertaken because of the nature of the spill.  At about 1:30 p.m., the plant said the Y-12 fire department had re-entered the facility, and described the situation as “stable.”  The NNSA and Consolidated Nuclear Security LLC manage and operate the plant.   

 

AC commissioners defer decision on bonuses

 

Monday, the Anderson County Commission referred a proposal to provide county workers with one-time bonuses using money from the general fund balance back to the Budget Committee.  Proposed earlier this year by Commissioner Myron Iwanski, the measure would pay an average of $640 to county workers as a way to make up for the fact that they have not seen any significant pay raises in recent years.  The $290,000 that has been set aside by commissioners to pay for the proposal is the amount over the $4 million minimum threshold that was in the general fund at the start of the current fiscal year.  Members of the Budget Committee will be tasked with figuring out all the details of how and when the bonuses would be given to workers as well as specific eligibility requirements.  The Commission established a minimum balance for the general fund in recent years as part of the effort to improve the county’s financial standing, raising it to $4 million last year.  The only way to appropriate any funds that take the general fund under the $4 million mark is through a super-majority—or 12 of 16—commissioners voting to spend that money, but since the proposal is based upon the $290,000 “surplus,” that will not be a factor in the Commission’s decision.  The proposal will be discussed again in January.

 

CHS SADD wins prize

 

The Clinton High School chapter of Students Against Destructive Decisions—or SADD—Club came in 2nd place in State Farm's Celebrate My Drive campaign.  The CHS SADD Club will receive $500 in recognition of their efforts.

 

Roane authorities searching for robbery suspect

 

The Rocky Top Market in Midtown was robbed on December 7, and the Roane County Sheriff’s Office is asking for help solving the crime.  A man entered the Rocky Top store at about 2:35 am Sunday, December 7th and demanded cash, a press release said.  The suspect is considered armed and dangerous, the release said. Anyone with information is asked to call the Roane County Sheriff’s Office at (865) 717-4722 or the anonymous tip line at (865) 717-4217, or contact authorities through the sheriff’s website at www.roanesheriff.org or through a private message on Facebook.  You can also check out a surveillance photo of the suspect on the department’s webpage. 

 

WBIR:  Trench collapse investigation could take 4-6 weeks

 

According to WBIR-TV, the investigation into a trench collapse Friday that trapped a man in Roane County for several hours will likely take several weeks.  The Tennessee Occupational Safety and Healthy Administration said its investigation could take four to six weeks.  On Friday, a worker was working in an eight to ten foot deep trench when it collapsed around him, burying him up to his chest.  Rescue crews had to slowly dig him out.  A crew and specialized equipment from the Oak Ridge Fire Department aided in the worker’s rescue.  TOSHA requires construction companies to shore up the walls on a construction site, but WBIR reports that it is unclear whether workers from Danson Construction were following those guidelines.

 

Investigators seen around Norris Lake in Campbell

 

Investigators from several agencies spent time last weekend searching the Sugar Hollow Marina on Norris Lake but have not said what they were looking for.  Personnel from the Campbell County Sheriff’s Office, Lafollette Search and Rescue and the TBI were seen searching boats in an operation that also included dogs.  Investigators also reportedly canvassed residents to see if they had spotted a gray SUV recently.  It is unclear if the activity at the marina is connected to the ongoing search for 49-year-old Rhonda Daugherty, who has been missing since December 2nd.  Daugherty was last seen at her home less than four miles away from the marina.  The search for Daugherty is continuing and if you have any information, you are asked to contact the Campbell County Sheriff’s Office. 

 

UT-Battelle awarded for performance

 

UT-Battelle, the managing contractor of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory for the U.S. Department of Energy, received high marks and a performance fee of $10.53 million for the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30.  UT-Battelle, which has managed ORNL since 2000, received an overall performance score of 94 out of 100.  UT-Battelle received "A-" grades in multiple categories, such as mission accomplishments, management of science and technology projects, contractor leadership, and facilities maintenance and infrastructure.  The contractor's lowest grade was a "B-" for environment, safety and health.  The DOE praised UT-Battelle for its overall management.  Among other things, the DOE praised the lab's continuing leadership in scientific computing, materials research and climate-related studies as well as the contractor's ability to manage costs during tough fiscal times.

 

Executive session leads to Commission fireworks

 

There was some drama during Monday night’s meeting of the Anderson County Commission when commissioners voted to go into executive session with County Law Director Jay Yeager to discuss the mounting number of lawsuits against the county.  Executive sessions are called for when commissioners want to go behind closed doors to discuss sensitive issues, mainly of a legal nature.  Monday, County Mayor Terry Frank indicated that she wanted to stay for the executive session, claiming ex oficio status as a member of the Commission.  Commission Chair Robert McKamey declined her request, citing her own repeated public statements that Yeager is not “her” attorney, that he does not represent her and that she neither values nor wants his legal advice.  After commissioners declined her request, she and several private citizens left the meeting room while commissioners retired to executive session.  We will bring you more information as it becomes available. 

 

Lawsuit filed against AC Circuit Court Clerk, county

 

A former employee of the Anderson County Circuit Court Clerk’s Office has filed an age discrimination lawsuit in Circuit Court against Court Clerk William Jones and the county.  69-year-old Helen Forrester was fired on September 10th, 2014, and according to the lawsuit filed Monday, after 24 years in the office.  Forrester’s lawsuit claims that she was fired so that Jones could replace her with someone younger despite her “good if not excellent” work and job performance evaluations.  The lawsuit also states that Forrester believed that she had an “expressed and/or implied contract of continuous employment [with the county], and otherwise maintained the right not to have her employment terminated without cause.”  The lawsuit seeks $300,000 in compensatory damages from the county for her “injuries, including a loss of salary, future earnings, and humiliation and embarrassment” caused by the defendant and $300,000 in treble damages against Jones for “interference with [Forrester’s] employment relationship with Anderson County government” as well as court costs and a jury trial. 

 

Marshall Hackworth passes

 

James Marshall Hackworth, Sr., a longtime community leader and father of former State Representative Jim Hackworth, has passed away.  Marshall Hackworth passed away Sunday at his home at the age of 83.  A retired DOE worker, Marshall Hackworth worked to help his fellow employees and their families receive assistance from the federal agency’s Sick Worker program.  Hackworth was also active with the Marlow Fire Department, serving as firefighter and on their board of directors.  In his later years, he became the face of the effort to construct a new public library in Briceville, serving as the Founder and Chairman of the Briceville Library Building Foundation.  He also served as chairman of the both the Anderson County and Regional Library Boards.  Mr. Hackworth’s family will receive friends Friday from 5:30 to 7:30 at Holley-Gamble Funeral Home in Clinton with a funeral service to follow in the chapel.  He will be laid to rest Saturday afternoon at Dutch Valley United Methodist Church. 

 

ORT:  Longtime community volunteer Tim Myrick passes

 

(Oak Ridge Today) Tim Myrick, one of the area’s most active community volunteers, died Sunday morning. He was at home with his wife Teresa by his side.  Friends are remembering him as a model community leader and volunteer. Myrick, who had been battling prostate cancer, had provided decades of service to the church and to Aid to Distressed Families of Appalachian Counties, or ADFAC, as well as to Habitat for Humanity of Anderson County. He played a key role in the renovation of Oak Ridge High School and modernization work at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. In 2012, he and Teresa pledged $25,000 to the Oak Ridge Public Schools Education Foundation’s “Making the Critical Difference” campaign for grants and scholarships.  Myrick was also on the board of directors for Living Waters, a charity that builds clean water systems in underserved areas such as Haiti but also in East Tennessee, and he and Teresa ran Jericho Farms and supported the Oak Ridge Farmers Market for more than a decade.  A memorial service for Myrick, who in June said he was 60 years old, is scheduled for 1 p.m. Saturday, December 20, at the Oak Ridge Unitarian Universalist Church at 809 Oak Ridge Turnpike.

 

Elwood Pennington, longtime coach, passes

 

Elwood Pennington, a former Halls and Webb School of Knoxville assistant football coach and father of former NFL quarterback Chad Pennington, has died.  Webb announced Pennington's death Monday on its website. He had suffered heart problems in recent years, which were spent residing in Clinton.  Pennington, also known as "Coach P", taught middle school physical education at the private school almost 10 years, retiring from teaching in 2003. In addition to helping coach football for the Webb Spartans team, Pennington also taught middle and upper school girls' basketball.  He also had been an assistant coach at Halls High School.  Funeral arrangements are still pending.

 

Reminder, Coal Creek Scholars Day Thursday

 

(CCWF) The Coal Creek Watershed Foundation’s 13th Annual Coal Creek Scholars Day at Briceville School will be held on Thursday, December 18th at 8:30 a.m.  Former Briceville students who have received scholarships from the CCWF return to the school to speak to current 4th and 5th graders about their experiences in attending college or technical schools and what it means to them to earn a higher education.  Organizers hope this inspires the current students to continue their education to make their lives and the world a better place.  Santa’s helpers will also be on hand to present Christmas gifts to each of the 121 students at the school. 

Monday, the CCWF announced that it has received a tax deductible donation of $1,000 towards our Coal Creek Scholarship fund from Ms. Pat Holm on behalf of The Leidos Engineering Solutions Group in Oak Ridge, TN.  Pat said, “The Leidos Engineering Solutions Group is proud to contribute $1,000 to the Coal Creek Watershed Foundation’s Scholars Program.  The Foundation reflects our own mission of promoting environmental awareness and recognizing the value of science, math & engineering education in our schools.”  100% of the donation will go to funding a scholarship. 

 

Federal grant supports recovery program

 

(TDMHSAS) Hundreds more Tennesseans caught in a cycle of drug use and crime will have the chance to pursue treatment over prison with the help of new federal grant funds coming to the state.  The Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (TDMHSAS) with support from the Tennessee Department of Correction (TDC) has been awarded nearly $1 million to expand the Morgan County Statewide Recovery Court and 28 participating county courts across the state.  The $1 million federal grant will support 60 individuals a year, allowing for a total of 180 men to receive services during the 3-year grant cycle. The referrals to the program will come primarily from felony recovery courts in Tennessee seeking more intensive services for their male defendants.

“The program in Morgan County and the other participating county recovery courts provides an alternative to going to prison for non-violent felony offenders with mental health and substance use disorders,” said E. Douglas Varney, TDMHSAS Commissioner. “This is a high-risk group of individuals who enter the program voluntarily for a chance to get long term treatment and turn their lives around.”
Once individuals complete the Morgan County Residential Recovery Court
program they will transition back to their home county court, where grant funds will continue to provide for a range of support services to help them continue along a path of recovery.
The
Morgan County Recovery Court is Tennessee’s statewide residential recovery court for men, offering a higher level of treatment to help them overcome their addiction issues. Currently the court accepts only adult male non-violent offenders, 18 and older, that would otherwise be headed to a state prison.

28 counties in 9 judicial districts including Anderson, Blount and Knox have some form of recovery court.

Goals of Tennessee Recovery Courts
- Redirect individuals out the criminal justice system
- Increase commitment to substance abuse treatment and recovery
- Reduce the use of alcohol and drugs, with an emphasis on Rx Drugs
- Provide recovery support services to 28 county courts

“The opportunity here is to focus on the root causes for an individual’s criminal behavior,” said Commissioner Varney. “Our hope is the men in this program regain the ability to sustain full-time employment, financial freedom, a stable home life and connections with loved ones and go on to lead healthy, drug-free and productive lives.”

 

Haslam unveils Insure Tennessee

 

(Governor Haslam) Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam today unveiled his Insure Tennessee plan, a two year pilot program to provide health care coverage to Tennesseans who currently don’t have access to health insurance or have limited options.  The program rewards healthy behaviors, prepares members to transition to private coverage, promotes personal responsibility and incentivizes choosing preventative and routine care instead of unnecessary use of emergency rooms.   

The governor announced that he plans to call a special session to focus on the proposal after the 109th General Assembly convenes in January.

“We made the decision in Tennessee nearly two years ago not to expand traditional Medicaid,” Haslam said.  “This is an alternative approach that forges a different path and is a unique Tennessee solution.  This plan leverages federal dollars to provide health care coverage to more Tennesseans, to give people a choice in their coverage, and to address the cost of health care, better health outcomes and personal responsibility.
“Our approach is responsible and reasonable, and I truly believe that it can be a catalyst to fundamentally changing health care in Tennessee.  It is our hope that this plan opens the door in the future for innovation within our existing Medicaid program.  I look forward to working with providers across the state to advance payment reform and with members of the General Assembly to make this plan a reality.”

Five key areas of the governor’s plan include:

  • A fiscally sound and sustainable program;
  • Providing two new private market choices for Tennesseans;
  • Shifting the delivery model and payment of health care in Tennessee from fee-for-service to outcomes based;
  • Incentivizing Tennesseans to be more engaged and to take more personal responsibility in their health;
  • And preparing participants for eventual transition to commercial health coverage.

Fiscally Sound and Sustainable Program

The program will not create any new taxes for Tennesseans and will not add any state cost to the budget.  The Tennessee Hospital Association has committed that the industry will cover any additional cost to the state.  The program will automatically terminate in the event that either federal funding or support from the hospitals is modified in any way.

New Private Market Choices for Tennesseans

Insure Tennessee offers several options of coverage for individuals below 138 percent of poverty ($16,100 for an individual and $27,300 for a family of three).  Tennesseans 21 to 64 years old will be offered a choice of the Healthy Incentives Plan or the Volunteer Plan.  The Volunteer Plan would provide a health insurance voucher to participants that would be used to participate in their employer’s health insurance plan.  The voucher, valued at slightly less than the average TennCare per-enrollee cost, can be used to pay for premiums and other out-of-pocket expenses associated with participation in an individual’s employer sponsored private market plan. 

Participants in the Healthy Incentives Plan may choose to receive coverage through a redesigned component of the TennCare program, which would introduce Healthy Incentives for Tennesseans (HIT) accounts, modeled after Health Reimbursement Accounts (HRAs), which can be used to pay for a portion of required member cost-sharing. 

Payment Reform Efforts

The governor’s Delivery System Reform Initiative lays the foundation for reform by addressing the underlying quality and outcome deficiencies that contribute to growing health care costs and unaffordable insurance coverage.  This initiative creates financial incentives for providers to provide high quality care in an efficient and appropriate manner so as to reduce costs and improve health outcomes. Insure Tennessee builds on this reform initiative by creating new participant incentives that align with the existing provider incentives.  Ultimately, bringing the health care consumer into the equation is critical to successfully controlling cost growth.

Personal Responsibility and Patient Engagement

The voucher program provides a fixed contribution that can be applied to the costs of a person’s private market plan.  All costs incurred in excess of the amount of the voucher are the responsibility of the participant.  This structure empowers individuals to make a choice about which plan is better for their needs and to manage their health care expenses to avoid additional costs.

Newly eligible individuals who choose to participate in the TennCare program and whose incomes are above 100 percent of poverty will be required to pay premiums and copays for services.  All enrollees, including those with incomes below poverty, will have modest pharmacy copays.  TennCare members “earn” contributions into their HIT accounts by performing healthy behaviors.  The account then can be used to cover copayment expenses.

Prepares Participants for Commercial Health Coverage

The design of Insure Tennessee is based on private market principles that provide incentives to participants to engage in their health care by actively managing their health care costs.  Through both programs, Insure Tennessee introduces a commercial health insurance experience which can help Tennesseans prepare for independence from public assistance.

*  *  *

In June 2012, the Supreme Court ruled that the federal government could not mandate that states expand their Medicaid programs under the Affordable Care Act.  In March 2013, Haslam announced that Tennessee would not expand the traditional Medicaid program but that he would work with the federal government on a plan for Tennessee that would take into consideration program cost, patient engagement, payment reform and health outcomes.  Since that time, he has kept those principles as priorities in working toward the Insure Tennessee plan.  Haslam has received verbal approval from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on the plan.  The next steps are for the state to submit a waiver to HHS and for the governor to take the proposal to the legislature for consideration.  Haslam was joined for the announcement in the Old Supreme Court Chamber of the State Capitol by representatives from a coalition of business, health care and civic organizations who applauded the plan and its impact on Tennessee.

 

TDEC announces Used Oil Collection Grants

 

(TDEC) The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation’s Division of Solid and Waste Management is announcing approximately $400,600 in Used Motor Oil Collection Grants for FY 2015.  “Used Motor Oil Collection Grants encourage cities and counties to establish collection centers where people can dispose of their used motor oil, which helps prevent pollution of our lakes, streams and groundwater,” said TDEC Commissioner Bob Martineau. “Communities across the state have taken advantage of this funding opportunity, and we look forward to seeing how they implement these measures to positively impact our environment.”  Tennesseans who change their own motor oil generate more than one million gallons of used oil each year, which can pollute soil and water and interfere with the operation of sewer systems when not properly disposed.  Used Motor Oil Collection Grants assist local governments in improving and expanding used oil infrastructure for the collection of used oil from do-it-yourselfers. Equipment purchased through the Used Motor Oil Collection Grants may include containers, used oil heaters, containment structures, shelter covers and other items. Tennessee counties, cities, solid waste authorities and counties having a metropolitan form of government are eligible for funding consideration.  Locally, the town of Rocky Top received a $14,600 grant for a new oil tank, a canopy, a pad, a heater pump and absorbent while Morgan County received $15,100 for the same equipment.  In the Used Oil Collection Act of 1993, the General Assembly established a mechanism to assist local communities in collecting used oil and reducing its negative effects on the environment. Tennessee’s Solid Waste Management Act requires counties to have at least one place in the county where used oil can be properly disposed. Used oil collection grants are funded by a two cent deposit on every quart of oil purchased in the state.

 

OR part of Manhattan Project Park

 

(Oak Ridge Today) Friday, the U.S. Senate passed a bill to set up a Manhattan Project National Historical Park that includes Oak Ridge. The legislation passed the U.S. House earlier in the month, and it now goes to President Barack Obama, who is expected to sign it into law.  Besides Oak Ridge, the park will include Los Alamos, New Mexico, and Hanford, Washington. Those two cities were also part of the Manhattan Project.  The proposal to set up the three-site park, the first to preserve and interpret the Manhattan Project, has been in the works for more than a decade and had previously stalled in the Senate after passing the House. It was included this month as a provision in the National Defense Authorization Act, which passed the Senate 89-11 on Friday. The House approved the legislation in a 300-119 vote on Thursday, December 4.  Properties included in the park in Oak Ridge are at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (once known as X-10), the Y-12 National Security Complex, and K-25, which is now known as Heritage Center. The park properties were used to enrich uranium (the fissile ingredients in an atomic bomb) or were essential to producing plutonium:

  • The X-10 Graphite Reactor served as a pilot facility for the plutonium production reactors at Hanford.
  • The Beta-3 Calutrons (Building 9204-3 at the Y-12 National Security Complex) separated the isotopes of uranium for the first atomic bomb and continued to be used for isotope separation for more than 50 years.
  • The Pilot Plant (Building 9731 at Y-12) demonstrated isotope separation techniques.
  • The K-25 Building site, once the world’s largest building under one roof, was once a mile-long, U-shaped facility that used gaseous diffusion to enrich uranium.

More than 30 sites in the United States and Canada contributed to designing and producing components for the atomic bomb during World War II. Oak Ridge had facilities that were built to produce enriched uranium, Los Alamos had the scientific laboratory that designed and tested the bomb, and Hanford was dedicated to the production of plutonium.  Besides the facilities at K-25, ORNL, and Y-12, the national park in Oak Ridge will also feature the former Guest House (later called the Alexander Inn), which was built to accommodate distinguished visitors such as General Leslie Groves, Enrico Fermi, and Ernest O. Lawrence.  The legislation passed by Congress establishes the park no later than one year after enactment. During that time, the U.S. Department of Energy and Department of Interior need to enter an agreement on their roles and responsibilities.  As the nation’s storyteller, the National Park Service will interpret the Manhattan Project. The Department of Energy will ensure the public access, safety, environmental remediation, and historic preservation of its Manhattan Project properties, the Atomic Heritage Foundation said.  Read more at www.oakridgetoday.com

 

Campbell fugitive nabbed in South Carolina

 

A former Campbell County middle school teacher added to the TBI’s top 10 most wanted list after a robbery last week was captured in South Carolina on Friday night.  44-year-old Lonnie Lee Vann of Jacksboro was taken into custody Friday night in Myrtle Beach by South Carolina State police and a U.S. Marshals fugitive task force.  The TBI says that local police spotted Vann driving along U.S. Highway 501 in the same vehicle authorities said he was thought to be driving when he was added to the most wanted list.  Vann was added to the list after a Dec. 6 incident at a residence in Campbell County in which he was charged with two counts of aggravated robbery. The victims, a married couple, were acquaintances of Vann and say that he robbed them at gunpoint.  At the time of the robbery, Vann was free on bond after being indicted by a Campbell County grand jury in July on charges of solicitation of a minor, assault and tampering with evidence.  Those charges stem from an incident in October of 2013 in which he is accused of taking a 13-year-old girl off campus to the parking lot of Coolidge First Baptist Church and trying to hug and kiss her.  The indictment also accuses Vann of erasing digital information on the hard drive of a video surveillance system at the church.  Vann was being held at the Myrtle Beach Jail without bond, pending a court hearing. The TBI says that he is expected to be held on a fugitive from justice warrant until he can be extradited back to Tennessee.

 

CHS event a success

 

Clinton High School Athletic Director Dan Jenkins says that Saturday night’s Chili supper fundraiser for CHS athletics was a success in its inaugural year.  The final amount of money raised was not immediately available but the event held at First Baptist Church of Clinton to coincide with Saturday’s Clinton Christmas Parade attracted a lot of people who came in and were able to warm up with some delicious chili and some out-of-this-world desserts.  Clinton Volleyball Coach Susan Zellner won first prize for her chili recipe and Shannon Wandell earned top honors in the dessert category.  I was very pleased to be able to help judge the chili and desserts, along with Clinton Mayor Scott Burton and Robert Jameson and am looking forward to next year’s edition/ 

 

Machete-wielding robber arrested

 

Kingston police have arrested a man who allegedly robbed a gas station with a machete Saturday night.  Joshua Branham is charged with aggravated robbery.  The Kingston Police Department says that Branham, armed with a machete, walked into an Exxon gas station on E. Race Street at 9:37 p.m. He demanded money from the clerk on duty then fled the scene on foot. 

 

ORT:  Fed facilities in OR make out well in spending bill

 

(Oak Ridge Today) The $1 trillion spending bill passed by the Senate on Saturday night includes more than $400 million in funding to support two Oak Ridge projects—building the world’s fastest supercomputer at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the Uranium Processing Facility at the Y-12 National Security Complex, U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander said.  The appropriations legislation avoids a government shutdown and funds most of the government through September. The Senate approved it in a bipartisan 56-40 vote, and it now goes to President Barack Obama, who is expected to sign it into law.

The Tennessee senator said the funding for the supercomputer and the Uranium Processing Facility was part of the Energy and Water Appropriations bill, which Alexander helped write. It included:

  • $104 million for supercomputing, following a November announcement by Alexander and U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz that Oak Ridge would build a supercomputer five times the speed of Titan, its current machine.
  • $335 million for the Uranium Processing Facility, which processes enriched uranium for nuclear weapons systems. Alexander has pushed to keep costs under control, in part through the Red Team review led by Oak Ridge National Laboratory director Thom Mason. The UPF, which has a cost cap of $6.5 billion, is the federal government’s largest investment in Tennessee since World War II.
  • The closure of two facilities Alexander said perform duties that are redundant and can be accomplished more cost effectively elsewhere, saving taxpayers $120 million during the next 10 years. The first is the New Brunswick lab in New Jersey, which does work on radiation that is used in the calibration of radioactivity detection equipment and that Alexander said can be done in various other parts of the federal government. The second is the closure of the Lujan Center in New Mexico, which performs scientific research with neutrons that Alexander said can be done at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

 

ETEC honors 4

 

(Submitted) Two titans of East Tennessee’s business community were honored Friday with the Muddy Boot Award, given by the East Tennessee Economic Council in an ongoing tribute to individuals who through their work and activities build a better community.  This year’s honorees were Thom Mason, director of Oak Ridge National Laboratory and leader of other state and local organizations, and David Coffey, a serial entrepreneur, past member of the Tennessee General Assembly, and a leader in promoting better education in the state.  ETEC also presented two Postma Young Professional Medals. Betsy Prine, a vice president of Gilmartin Engineering Services, and Cortney Piper, principal of Piper Communications, received the medals. The Economic Council’s annual celebratory event was keynoted by Tennessee Commissioner of Finance and Administration Larry Martin. University of Tennessee President Joe DiPietro and Pete Craven also participated, with the event chaired by Bonnie Carroll of Information International Associates.

 

ACDF back in compliance

 

Following up on a story you first heard on WYSH last week, Anderson County Sheriff Paul White officially announced Thursday that the Anderson County Detention Facility has been released from its Plan of Action by the Tennessee Corrections Institute.  According to a release from the ACSD, the TCI Board of Control met December 3 and voted to remove the Plan of Action after the facility met all the necessary requirements.  The Detention Facility had been placed on the Plan of Action in 2010 due to jail overcrowding and the inability to properly classify inmates as well as needed improvements and repairs to the jail facility and infrastructure.  The first phase of the needed changes was the construction of a minimum security dormitory for relief of some of the overcrowding issues.  This was completed in 2012.  The second phase was the construction of a large scale pod with cells for maximum and medium security inmates along with medical and special needs cells.  This was opened in June of 2014.  This allowed needed room for both male and female inmates and the ability for mandatory classification.  Other areas of the jail such as booking and medical were renovated as well to ensure the Detention Facility maintained compliance with TCI requirements.  In all, $10 million was spent to add the additional beds, which have brought the Detention Facility’s total capacity to 564 inmates.  Sheriff White said in the release that “The officers and staff of the Anderson County Detention Facility are to be commended for their hard work and dedication during these difficult times.  Their professionalism kept the facility in operation when the overcrowding was a serious issue as well as during the construction and renovation.  Thanks to the jail staff the facility maintained certification with TCI even during these periods.  The release also expressed thanks to the Anderson County Commission for providing the needed funding for these projects, and to then-County Mayor Myron Iwanski for his leadership in this effort.  We also wish to thank Law Director Jay Yeager for his valuable assistance in keeping Anderson County in compliance with the Plan of Action.”

 

AC DA:  Criminal probe underway in OR death

 

Anderson County District Attorney General Dave Clark says that a criminal investigation is underway in the death of a man whose body was found at an apartment in Oak Ridge early Monday, but there has not been an arrest yet and no charges have been filed.  Police officers responding to a call of a possible intruder at 615 West Vanderbilt Drive at about 4:40 a.m. Monday found the body of 29-year-old Thomas Steven Thrasher, Jr. in a second-floor apartment.  Clark said an autopsy has been performed by the Anderson County medical examiner, adding “As a result of the circumstances, the Oak Ridge Police and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation have been conducting a criminal investigation,” Clark said.  Clark said state law prevents the release of the details of the death investigation until it’s over, public help is needed to locate a suspect or person of interest, or when an arrest is made.  “However, additional details will be made available upon completion of the investigation or in the event of an arrest,” Clark said.  In a press release Monday, the ORPD called the death “suspicious,” and they turned the case over to Clark. The DA in turn asked the TBI to investigate, TBI Public Information Officer Susan Niland said Wednesday.  Clark said Thrasher’s wife, Samantha Anne Thrasher, and two children lived with Thomas Thrasher, also known as “T.S.,” at the sprawling Rolling Hills Apartments complex in central Oak Ridge.

 

Daugherty reward increased to $10K

 

The Campbell County Sheriff's Office has increased the reward to $10,000 for information concerning the disappearance of a Lafollette woman.  49-year-old Rhonda Daugherty disappeared from her home on Tuesday, Dec. 2.  Daugherty is a white female, 5'3" tall, 150 pounds, with auburn hair and hazel eyes.  Anyone with information about Daugherty's whereabouts is asked to call 911 or the Campbell County Sheriff's Office at (423) 562-7446.

 

TBI probing OR man’s death

 

The TBI has been called in to investigate the death of a 29-year-old man whose body was found inside an Oak Ridge apartment early Monday morning.  Police officers responding to a call about a possible intruder at 615 West Vanderbilt Drive found the body of 29-year-old Thomas Thrasher inside a second-floor apartment.  Investigators deemed his death “suspicious” and our partners at Oak Ridge Today report that the ORPD turned the case over to the Anderson County District Attorney’s office.  District Attorney Dave Clark in turn, requested that the TBI investigate.  The cause of Thrasher’s death has not yet been determined pending the results of an autopsy at the Regional Forensics Center in Knoxville.  As more information becomes available we will pass it along to you. 

 

ORPD accepting applications for Citizens’ Academy

 

(ORPD) The Oak Ridge Police Department is pleased to announce the opening for applications for the Citizens Police Academy, which will begin on January 15, 2015 and run through March 19, 2015.  The Citizens Police Academy allows citizens to gain knowledge of how the Oak Ridge Police Department is organized and its functions, as well as improved understanding of the challenges in serving and protecting the community.  It requires a ten-week commitment from the participants and will be held one night a week, on Thursdays beginning at 6:00 PM and ending at 9:00 PM.  The goal of the Citizen’s Police Academy is to create and develop a nucleus of responsible and well-informed citizens who have an enhanced understanding of the Police Department and how it serves the City of Oak Ridge. 

The Citizens Police Academy consists of classroom and hands-on instructional learning experiences.  Subjects covered include:  law review, the job of a uniformed police officer, investigations, crime scene investigations, crime prevention, canine program, tactical operations, crime analysis, and much more.  Participants will be involved in activities such as touring the communications facilities and police department, using police equipment, canine demonstration, and firing department service weapons.
Graduates of the
Citizens Police Academy may be called upon to provide input and information to their neighborhoods or work environments, increasing citizen involvement on issues of mutual concern.  The program improves the commitment of the Oak Ridge Police Department to partner with citizens to build lasting and productive partnerships between the Oak Ridge Police Department and the community they serve. 
The Citizen’s
Police Academy is free of charge.  Each applicant must fill out an application and undergo a criminal background investigation prior to approval and admission.  Applicants must be at least 21 years of age and preference will be given to those who live or work in the City of Oak Ridge.  The instructional course will be held in the 2nd floor amphitheater of the Oak Ridge High School, 1450 Oak Ridge Turnpike.  Anyone wishing to apply for the Citizen’s Police Academy may do so by visiting www.OakRidgeTN.gov  or stopping by Police Records at the Municipal Building, 200 S Tulane Avenue for an application.  Class size is limited to 15, to allow for maximum instructor-student interaction.  Questions regarding the Citizen’s Police Academy can be directed to Community Resource Officer Brandan Sharp at 865-556-6696 or email bsharp@OakRidgeTN.gov

 

Norris Middle Christmas concert

 

Norris Middle School will host its annual Christmas band concert on Tuesday, December 16. Band Director Paul Brown leads the band at both NMS and Anderson County High School.  In addition to the concert, the NMS Related Arts teachers will be showcasing some of their students’ work before and after the concert. The Related Arts classes include Graphic Arts, STEM Education, Theater Arts, Exploratory Science, Art, and Physical Education. The concert will take place in the Norris Middle School gymnasium at 7:00pm and the Related Arts Showcase will begin at 6:00pm.  Please reserve the back gym parking lot for grandparents and community members who would benefit from a shorter walking distance.  All school doors may be used as entrances, but please avoid parking in designated fire zones. All community members are invited. 

 

ACSD offers tips to keep holiday roadways safe

 

(ACSD) This time of year, with all the holiday parties and festive occasions, many partygoers will be drinking. If you're celebrating with alcohol this holiday season, the Anderson County Sheriff’s Department has a message for you: Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over. Due to the increase in drunk-driving-related fatalities around the holidays each year, law enforcement agencies across America will be out in force from December 12th through January 1st and will be actively searching for drunk drivers.  "It's time for all drivers to get the message," said Sheriff Paul White. “Drunk driving isn't a victimless crime. You could kill yourself, or someone else, and go to jail for DUI."  Please follow these tips to keep the holidays safe and happy: 

  • Even one drink can impair your judgment and increase the risk of getting arrested for driving drunk. Even worse is the risk of having a crash.
  • If you will be drinking, do not plan on driving. Plan ahead – designate a sober driver before the party begins.
  • If you have been drinking, do not drive. Call a taxi, phone a sober friend, or a family member.

Remember, it is never safe to drink and drive: Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.  Sheriff’s deputies will be out in force looking for drunk and impaired drivers this holiday season. This effort is supported by a grant from the Tennessee Department of Transportation, Governor’s Highway Safety Office.

 

ORT:  Family calls for son’s death investigation to be reopened

 

(Oak Ridge Today) According to our partners at Oak Ridge Today, the family of a former Oak Ridge school employee found dead of a shotgun wound in Cocke County more than three years ago wants authorities there to reopen the investigation of their son’s death, a press release said.  The family of Alexander “Alex” J. Heitman has also hired an attorney, retired Assistant U.S. Attorney Hugh B. Ward Jr. of Knoxville law firm Young Williams.

According to a press release, Heitman’s family requested the investigation be reopened after Cocke County Circuit Court Judge Ben Hooper on Monday ordered Coroner Terry Jarnigan to stay away from crime scenes and dead bodies in Cocke County.  Various media outlets have reported that Jarnigan allegedly compromised a corpse he was told would be sent for an autopsy last month.  .The Heitman family, which has raised questions about Heitman’s death, which was ruled a suicide, is also seeking public documents from the Oak Ridge school system. Oak Ridge Today reports that they have sent a letter to Schools Superintendent Bruce Borchers listing the requested documents, which include copies of several cell phone call histories from March to July 2011, tax return information for two former school administrators, and copies of other memos, notes, e-mails, letters, and disciplinary actions or grievances.  Oak Ridge City Council member Trina Baughn will serve as their Tennessee resident proxy, the press release said.  Heitman was the supervisor of business and support services for Oak Ridge Schools when he died in Cocke County on July 25, 2011.  “The family is seeking information about the events that led up to, and ultimately caused, the death of their son,” the press release said.  “The family continues to appeal to the public for assistance and asks anyone who may have information about their son’s death to contact them through their website at http://whathappenedtoalexheitman.blogspot.com/,” the release said.

 

Y-12 retirees protesting benefits changes

 

(Oak Ridge Today) Retirees from the Y-12 National Security Complex plan to protest changes to their health insurance benefits in Oak Ridge on Thursday.  It’s the second protest for the retirees, who object to changes scheduled to go into effect under the new Y-12 contractor, Consolidated Nuclear Security, on January 1.  The protest is scheduled from 12:30 to 4 p.m. Thursday, December 11, at or near the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge Office on Administration Road.  Close to 150 demonstrators turned out for the first protest on December 4 near Y-12’s main entrance on Scarboro Road.  Organizers said more protests will be announced after January 1.

 

Reminder:  AC RAM crowd-funding page set up, accepting donations

 

The “crowd funding” website for April’s Remote Area Medical—or RAM—Clinic at First Baptist Church in is up and can be found by following this link:  http://www.gofundme.com/andersoncountyram

 

Mark your calendars for Daddy/Daughter Dance

 

Mark your calendars for Saturday February 7th as the Clinton Rotary Club will host its 4th annual Daddy/Daughter Dance in the gymnasium of Clinton Middle School.  The dance will run from 6:30 to 8:00 pm with a professional DJ and a professional photographer as well as refreshments and door prizes.  In advance, tickets for a couple will be $20--$25 at the door—and $10 for any additional tickets.  You can purchase them at the offices of the Courier News, Hoskins Drug Store, Knight’s Flowers, Fox Chevrolet, Fox Toyota, Real Dry Cleaners, any Clinton city school, the Community Bank and at Peoples bank of the South.  Doors will open at 5:45 pm for pictures and dress can be either formal or casual.  Like www.facebook.com/ClintonRotaryDDD for updates and details. 

 

Sportsmen raising money for Daugherty reward fund

 

A fishing tournament will be held on Saturday December 27th in Campbell County to raise money for the reward fund that has been established for information leading to the whereabouts of 49-year-old Rhonda Daugherty, who disappeared from her Lafollette home over a week ago.  The tournament will run from 7:30 am to 3:30 pm at the Graveyard/Wells Springs launch.  The entry fee will be $50 and first-, second- and third-place cash prizes will be paid back along with a Big Fish prize.  The remaining money will be used to bolster the reward fund.  For more information, call Mike Lewis at 423-912-0948 or Ralph Terry at 865-261-4399.  You can also contact Scott Kitts on Facebook. 

 

A coon hunting tournament will be held weekly in Lafollette until missing 49-year-old Rhonda Daugherty comes home.  The hunt will start in the Food City parking lot and will be held each Friday from 6 pm to 2 am until she is found.  The entry fee is $10 and all proceeds will go to a reward fund established to solicit information about her whereabouts following her mysterious disappearance December 2nd.  For more information, contact Scott Kitts on Facebook, or call Matt Lay at 423-201-0461 or Michael Hawkins at 423-907-4863. 

 

AC Clerk hosting Christmas party

 

Anderson County Clerk Jeff Cole and his staff invite everyone to their annual Christmas Party on Wednesday December 17th from 2 to 4 pm in room 111 of the Anderson County Courthouse in Clinton

 

AC woman killed in wreck

 

An Anderson County woman died in a single-vehicle accident on Lake City Highway Tuesday morning.  According to the Tennessee Highway Patrol, 71-year-old Marianna Pearson of Clinton had been headed south in a Mazda 626 at around 9 am when she lost control of the car while negotiating a right hand curve near Pumphouse Lane.  The car went off the left side of the road and struck an embankment.  The cause of the crash is under investigation.

 

Campbell wreck kills one, injures one

 

The Tennessee Highway Patrol says a Tuesday afternoon single-vehicle accident in Campbell County killed a Lafollette man who was riding in the car with his mother.  Troopers say the crash happened on Bethlehem Road shortly before 3 pm as 63-year-old Annette Meadows was heading north in a Pontiac Sunfire. They say she drove off the right side of the road, hit a culvert, and overturned, coming to rest on its roof.  The crash killed her son, 35-year-old Travis Meadows. He was a passenger in the car.  He was not wearing a seatbelt and the THP report indicates that it might have saved his life had he been buckled up.  Annette Meadows was injured in the crash but the extent of her injuries was not included in the report. 

 

2 die in Roane wreck

 

The Tennessee Highway Patrol says two people were killed and one person injured after a three-car accident in Roane County on Tuesday night.  Officials say they received a call shortly before 7 pm about a wreck near the intersection of Highway 27 and Eagle Furnace Road.  A Roane County deputy on the scene told BBB-TV’s Dudley Evans that dispatchers had received a call about a car leaving Rhea county that was reportedly traveling north in the southbound lanes.  Shortly after deputies were sent to investigate, the 911 call about the accident came in.  The THP report indicates that 64-year-old Brenda Gardner of Rockwood had been headed north on Highway 27 in a Buick Riviera when the vehicles crossed the center line and collided head-on with a Hyundai Evo driven by Michelle Whittenbarger of Harriman.  The impact caused the Hyundai to collide with a Toyota Previa driven by David Turner of Spring City, who had also been headed south.  Gardner was killed in the crash and a 20-year-old passenger in Whittenbarger’s car, identified as Kaleb Poe of Spring City also died in the crash.  None of the three occupants of the Hyundai was injured.  It is not known if alcohol or drugs were involved but standard blood tests have been requested.  .The THP says that Gardner was the only person involved in the wreck who was not wearing her seatbelt. 

 

ACSD rounding up drug suspects

 

The Anderson County Sheriff’s Department announced this morning that 25 people were indicted on drug related charges by an Anderson County Grand Jury in November as the result of investigations by the Sheriff’s Special Operations Unit. Deputies have been out making arrests on these indictments as well as continuing investigations on related drug activity.  These drug investigations were conducted over the last few months, according to the ACSD.  The indictments were for manufacture, sale, delivery, or possession of illegal drugs and those indicted either sold to undercover agents or were in possession of drugs for resale. These indictments primarily include charges resulting from sale or possession for resale of prescription or legend drugs, as well as marijuana and methamphetamine related offenses.  Of the 25 people indicted, eighteen were charged with prescription narcotics offenses, three were marijuana related, and four were on methamphetamine charges.  Twenty-four of those indicted were adults while one was a seventeen year old juvenile.  As of today, twenty of the twenty-five persons indicted have been arrested by sheriff’s deputies including one that was already in custody. Deputies are continuing to search for the five remaining offenders.  In addition, a 17-year-old juvenile was charged with a marijuana-related offense.  These indictments come after hard work by investigators of the Sheriff’s Special Operations Unit. The District Attorney General’s Office also spent many hours assisting investigators by preparing and presenting these cases to the Grand Jury.  Many of these cases were from cooperative investigations with other law enforcement agencies. Sixteen of these investigations were with the Rocky Top Police Department and five were with the 7th Judicial District Crime Task Force.  The 7th Crime Task Force is made up of officers from the Anderson County Sheriff’s Department, the Clinton Police Department, the Oak Ridge Police Department, the Oliver Springs Police Department, and the Rocky Top Police Department. The Task Force is managed through the District Attorney General’s Office and is made possible by a grant from the State of Tennessee, Office of Criminal Justice Programs. 

The suspects who have been arrested include

  • 30-year-old Tayna Lynn Austin of Rocky Top (on charges related to Percocet);
  • 55-year-old James Everette Barnes of Rocky Top (marijuana);
  • 49-year-old Ray McKinley Cooper of Rocky Top (percocet, violation of a drug-free school zone);
  • 33-year-old transient Melissa Curnutt (meth);
  • 37-year-old Jaime Dews of Clinton (Oxycodone);
  • 19-year-old Tommy Joe Draughn of Clinton (Oxycodone);
  • 48-year-old Sandra Goodman of Rocky Top (Oxycodone);
  • 42-year-old Roy Lynn Harness of Clinton (marijuana, paraphernalia, possession of a firearm in the commission of a felony);
  • 77-year-old Alma Hegwood of Rocky Top (Percocet);
  • 50-year-old Johnny Dwayne Kennedy of Rocky Top (meth);
  • 42-year-old Tommy Lynn Long of Oak Ridge (Oxycodone);
  • 57-year-old Guy Duane Love of Rocky Top (Hydrocodone);
  • 28-year-old Bryan Alexander Maiden of Rocky Top (Suboxane);
  • 47-year-old Vickey May Phillips of Rocky Top (Oxycodone);
  • 32-year-old Rickey Glenn Poore of Knoxville (Hydrocodone);
  • 32-year-old Matthew Paul Strizak of Clinton (Oxycodone);
  • 55-year-old Philip William Vandergriff of Rocky Top (Oxycodone);
  • 24-year-old Dale Steven White of Rocky Top (Suboxane…in custody on several other charges);
  • 28-year-old John Paul Wyres of Rocky Top (meth).

There are continuing investigations into other related drug cases and no additional information can be released at this time.

 

ORPD IDs man whose body was found inside apartment

 

Oak Ridge Police have identified the man whose body was found in an apartment Monday morning.  Police have identified the man as 29-year-old Thomas Thrasher.  Officers said they were called to an apartment on West Vanderbilt Drive Monday morning around 4:40 a.m. for a report of a possible intruder.  When the officers arrived, they found Thrasher dead in the apartment.  Thrasher’s death is being investigated as a homicide, but the cause of death has not been determined pending the results of an autopsy.

 

ORT:  1 injured in Marlow wreck

 

(Oak Ridge Today) Rescuers had to extricate the male driver of a car that rolled down a drop-off alongside Oliver Springs Highway and hit a large tree Tuesday morning, and the man was in stable condition with minor injuries,.  The single-vehicle crash was reported at about 6:50 a.m. Tuesday on Oliver Springs Highway near Bill Key Lane.  The Ford Taurus was headed toward Oliver Springs when it rolled a few times down a 10- to 15-foot drop-off alongside the highway. The car stopped when it hit a large tree.  Rescuers had to use tools to open the driver’s door. The man, whose name was not immediately available, was taken by ambulance to Methodist Medical Center of Oak Ridge.  The Marlow Fire Department and Anderson County EMS, the Anderson County Rescue Squad, Anderson County Sheriff’s Department, and Tennessee Highway Patrol all responded.

 

ACSD warns of scam calls

 

(AC Sheriff Paul White) The Knox County Sheriff’s Office is putting out a warning about a telephone scam that is again circulating in Knox County.  The caller pretends to be a sheriff's deputy or court official and says that the person has an outstanding warrant, didn’t report for jury duty, or has a failure to appear, and that it can be taken care of with a certain amount of money.  He then says the money can be transferred to the caller with a Greet Dot card, prepaid credit card, or to meet and bring the "cash bond".  This same scam occurred earlier in the year in our area including Anderson County.  So far no new cases have been reported in Anderson County but the scam appears to target residents in all of our area counties.  The Anderson County Sheriff's Department wants the public to know that the Sheriff’s Department and the Clerk’s Office do NOT make phone calls on such matters.   If calls of this nature are received, THIS IS A SCAM.  Many of these scams use various law enforcement or court official's real names such as the Chief Deputy or the Court Clerk.  Do NOT give out personal information over the phone or forward any money.  If anyone receives such a call please contact your local law enforcement agency.

 

CPD’s Gregory named GHSO Officer of the Year for ET

 

(CPD) Sgt Scott Gregory of the Clinton Police Department was recently recognized by the Governor's Highway Safety Office (GHSO) for his performance serving and protecting the citizens of Clinton. Gregory was named "East Tennessee Municipal Officer of the Year" for 2014. The special award plaque was presented December 8th during the GHSO joint network meeting in Knoxville.  Lt. Larry Miller, who heads up CPD's Governor's Highway Safety Program, nominated Sgt Gregory, saying: "He is our agency's DUI Instructor and he is the lead investigator on our Traffic Accident Fatality Team. He serves with his heart to protect the roadways of Clinton in all areas of traffic enforcement. During this year he had 12 DUI arrests. This is an awesome accomplishment... as he keeps up with all the supervisor duties, of his assigned patrolmen, during their daily activities."  The Clinton Police Department stresses the importance of having officers like Scott Gregory on the force. Chief Rick Scarbrough said: "The effort of Sgt Gregory, who has been with the department for more than fifteen years, has greatly contributed to CPD's ability to better serve and protect the citizens of Clinton." 

 

ORT:  ACSD investigating theft of tobacco products

 

(Oak Ridge Today) The Anderson County Sheriff’s Department is investigating the theft of over $4,000 worth of tobacco products from a gas station on Edgemoor Road early Tuesday morning.  The burglary occurred at the Marathon gas station and store at 1060 Edgemoor Road just before 3:30 am Tuesday.  Video footage from the store’s security system shows a white man of medium build using what appears to be a crowbar to break the glass on a front door before entering the store, according to the ACSD’s incident report. The unidentified man then went behind the counter and placed cigarettes and cans of smokeless tobacco into a bag before leaving the store. The suspect was described as wearing a gray hat and jacket, dark-colored gloves, and blue jeans. He had covered his face with a bandana.  The suspect stole an estimated $3,960 worth of cigarettes and $174 worth of smokeless tobacco, and he caused about $400 in damage to the glass door, Poole said.  The burglary was reported by a newspaper delivery man who noticed the broken door early Tuesday morning.  The case has been turned over to the Sheriff’s Department Criminal Investigations Division.

 

Report:  Salvation Army back in OR

 

According to the Oak Ridger, the Salvation Army is again offering its social services to residents of Anderson County.  The services are offered on Thursdays at the organization’s Thrift Store on North Illinois Avenue.  The Salvation Army’s Anderson County social services office is located at 350 N. Illinois Ave. in Oak Ridge. The office is open Thursdays from 9 am to 3 pm.  It will offer food pantry access, clothing, furniture and household goods assistance as well as referrals to other agencies. All services are offered by appointment only. To schedule an appointment, contact Collette Jordan at (865) 483-4694 during office hours.  For more information about The Salvation Army or the services offered, call (865) 525-9401.

 

‘Suspicious’ death investigated in OR

 

Oak Ridge police are investigating a suspicious death Monday morning.  According to a press release, officers responded to a call of a possible intruder in an apartment at 615 West Vanderbilt Drive. When they arrived they did find a man dead in an apartment.  The man's name has not been released, and no further information is available at this time.

 

2 searches ongoing in Campbell County

 

Investigators in Campbell County are continuing two searches. While the sheriff's office continued its search for a woman who has been missing for a week, state investigators are conducting a manhunt for a man added to the TBI's Top 10 Most Wanted list over the weekend.  49-year-old Rhonda Daugherty was last seen on the morning of December 2. Daugherty's church has posted her photo on its electronic sign and asked for the community's help in locating her.  She is a white female, about 5 fee 3 inches tall, 150 pounds, with auburn hair and hazel eyes. There is a $5,000 reward for any information that leads to her safe return. Anyone with information can call 911 or the Campbell County Sheriff's Office.  Meanwhile, TBI's manhunt for former middle school teacher Lonnie Vann of Jacksboro continues.  Vann was indicted earlier this year in connection to an incident involving a 13-year-old girl when he was a teacher at Lafollette Middle School.  The list of witnesses in the case includes Rhonda's husband, Charles Daugherty. This has led to speculation among the public that the two cases could be connected. The TBI said it cannot confirm any connection between Daugherty's disappearance and the Vann investigation.  Vann was added to the TBI’s Most Wanted list after he allegedly robbed Jim and Dian Fields, owners of Deerfield Golf Course in Campbell County near LaFollette. The couple knew Vann and said he had worked for them, so invited him into their home before he pulled a gun on then, tied them up, and stole cash and guns. TBI said Vann is considered armed and extremely dangerous.  There is a $1,000 reward for information that leads to his arrest. Vann is 44-years-old, 5'9" tall, and weighs 275 pounds.  If you have information, call 1-800-TBI-FIND.  In October 2013 when he was a teacher at Lafollette Middle School, Vann was accused of taking a 13-year-old girl off campus and brought her to the parking lot of the Coolidge First Baptist Church and tried to kiss her. A grand jury indicted Vann in July 2014 on a charge of solicitation of a minor.  The grand jury indictment listed Charles Daugherty, the husband of missing woman Rhonda Daugherty, as one of the witnesses in the case against Vann.  No trial date was set for Vann in that case.  His next scheduled court appearance is in February 2015.

 

Y-12 to develop reactors for use in space

 

The Y-12 National Security Complex is taking their uranium expertise to outer space.  The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) Production Office (NPO) at Y-12 entered into an agreement earlier this year with NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio, to support the design of a small nuclear-powered reactor with the potential to lead to small fission power reactors for future space exploration missions.  For the first phase of the project, Y-12 will research materials and manufacturing processes for a physics demonstration of a kilowatt-range nuclear reactor, known as project Kilopower, using an enriched uranium-molybdenum metallic fuel core and a lithium-hydride shield. “Science missions are seeking greater power and functionality,” explained Lee Mason, chief of the Thermal Energy Conversion Branch at Glenn. “We’re planning to demonstrate the technology in a ground test using a prototype U-235 reactor core.”  The project will build on successful proof-of-concept testing conducted at the Nevada National Security Site in 2012.  This past year, Y-12 provided technical research and development, or R&D, to support the reactor design process and material compatibility studies. Upcoming tasks include Y-12 manufacturing and supplying both depleted- and enriched-uranium reactor core prototypes for testing.  The NASA Kilopower project calls for Y-12 to deliver the U-235 reactor core to the National Criticality Experiments Research Center by the end of Fiscal Year 2016. Critical experiments using the Kilopower reactor core will be performed in FY 2017 under the auspices of the DOE Nuclear Criticality Safety Program working with NASA.

 

Sleepy man arrested at Wal-Mart

 

A Norris man was arrested Sunday afternoon after he acted suspiciously at the Wal-Mart in Clinton.  Clinton Police responded to the store shortly before 6 pm Sunday on a report of a suspicious person.  Officers spoke with an employee in the sporting goods section of the store and the clerk told them that a man later identified as 36-year-old Douglas Junior Rose had approached the counter and asked for .22-caliber ammunition, explaining that “Somebody is following me and I need to shoot them.”  The clerk also told police that Rose had told another customer that he had been released from prison five months ago.  Officers located Rose and spoke with him and in his report Officer Maxwell Smith wrote “After he fell asleep while I was talking to him, I determined he was too impaired to safely care for himself.”  Rose was taken to the Anderson County Jail, booked on a charge of public intoxication and later released after posting bond.

 

Roane increases fees on sex offenders

 

Roane County commissioners voted unanimously Monday to pass a proposal that will require sex offenders to pay an additional $50 each year.  Currently, all Tennessee sex offenders are required to pay $150 annually to the state, but earlier this year state lawmakers passed legislation allowing municipalities to charge sex offenders in their county an additional $50.  The Roane County Sheriff's Office has a division dedicated to keeping track of the area's sex offenders. It alerts victims and residents when an offender moves into their neighborhood.  Monday's resolution required a two-thirds vote to pass. Sheriff Jack Stockton said the additional money will go toward flyers and emails to alert residents when offenders move into the area as well as costs to manage the website.  To find out if a sex offender lives in your neighborhood visit the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation Sex Offender Registry.  Once there, click on "Map Offenders by Location" located on the top right side of the screen. Once there, you can enter your address information and it will show you the sex offenders living within a certain distance from your location.

 

Report:  State’s long-term debt obligations reduced by millions

 

The State of Tennessee continues a positive trend. Tennessee’s long-term general obligation debt has decreased by more than $175 million since June 30, 2012.  The Comptroller’s Office has just released the State of Tennessee Indebtedness Report, documenting the state’s solid credit ratings and debt management record.  The report shows Tennessee’s total long-term outstanding general obligation debt is $1,817,950,000. The state’s general obligation bonds are used primarily to fund capital projects, provide grants to local development boards and support economic development.  Tennessee’s Bond Financing is also the subject of Comptroller Justin P. Wilson’s latest quarterly report on the fiscal affairs of the state.  The report states that Tennessee has one of the lowest overall debt burdens in the country, and is currently projected to repay more than 66% of its outstanding general obligation debt within 10 years.  “Tennesseans should applaud the conservative financial principles of our General Assembly and Governor Haslam,” Comptroller Justin P. Wilson said. “Simply stated, Tennessee doesn’t borrow much money and pays back what it owes quickly.”  To view the Indebtedness Report online, go to: http://www.comptroller.tn.gov/sl/index.asp.  To view the Fiscal Affairs Report online, go to: http://www.comptroller.tn.gov/com/FiscalAffairs.asp

 

3M announces Clinton facility

 

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bill Hagerty along with 3M Company officials announced today the company will purchase a 772,000 square foot building located on 160 acres in the Eagle Bend Industrial Park in Clinton. The announcement is the latest step in 3M’s efforts to grow its North American manufacturing operations, and represents an investment of $135 million and the creation of 100 new jobs in Anderson County.  The company will manufacture products for the oil, gas, and automotive industries. The company is expected to invest $135 million and create 100 new jobs in Anderson County.  3M purchased the former Food Lion distribution center facility for roughly $14.4 million. The sale closed on Friday, said Tim Thompson, president of the Anderson County Economic Development Association. 

“We want to welcome 3M to Tennessee and thank the company for its investment and the new jobs that will be created in Clinton,” Haslam said. “Here in Tennessee, we work to create a business-friendly environment that attracts new companies to the state while helping them grow and succeed, and today’s announcement brings us one step closer toward our goal of becoming the No. 1 location in the Southeast for high quality jobs.” 

“The Tennessee brand continues to be strengthened as companies recognize and utilize our state’s strong infrastructure, business-friendly environment and quality workforce,” Hagerty said. “3M is known around the world for its wide array of exceptional products, and I am pleased to see that the company has chosen Tennessee to expand its manufacturing operations while adding to our state’s outstanding workforce.” 

With renovations slated to begin this month, 3M plans to be operational in the fourth quarter of 2015. The Clinton facility will produce a variety of products for the oil and gas and automotive industries. 

“I could not be prouder or happier to have 3M Company choose Anderson County as a place to work and grow their business,” Anderson County Mayor Terry Frank said. “3M has nothing short of an incredible track record of innovation that touches just about all of our lives, and we’re thankful for their continued commitment to hard work and progress. Their decision to locate here is a testament to the commitment of our economic development team to bring jobs and investment, and help industries accomplish their goals.”

“We are honored to have the 3M Company as a part of our community. This Fortune 500 company is known worldwide for their products, innovation and growth potential,” Clinton Mayor Scott Burton said. “We would like to thank the state of Tennessee and TVA for their roles in bringing 3M to Clinton. The city of Clinton has been blessed over the past 12 months with the announcement of over $270 million in new capital investment and 1,200 jobs.” 

“TVA and Clinton Utilities Board congratulate 3M on its announcement to locate in Clinton and create new quality jobs for community residents,” TVA Senior Vice President of Economic Development John Bradley said. “TVA is pleased to partner with the state of Tennessee, Anderson County EDA and the city of Clinton to help employers like 3M invest and grow in our region.” 

3M will begin hiring mid-2015 and will provide more information on where people can apply at that time.

 

AC Jail back in compliance

 

Last week, according to Anderson County Law Director Jay Yeager, the Tennessee Corrections Institute released Anderson County from its Plan of [Corrective] Action related to overcrowding and other concerns at the Anderson County Detention Facility, meaning that the ACDF is back in compliance with state regulations.  The hearing was conducted on Wednesday with Sheriff Paul White, Chief Jailer Avery Johnson and Chief Deputy Mark Lucas in attendance. 

 

Festival of Christmas Past returns to GSMNP

 

Great Smoky Mountains National Park announces the 39th annual Festival of Christmas Past celebration scheduled on Saturday, December 13, 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., at Sugarlands Visitor Center.  The event, sponsored in cooperation with Great Smoky Mountains Association, is free to the public.  “The Festival of Christmas Past is a program we look forward to every year,” said Catlin Worth, Acting North District Resource Education Supervisor. “Celebrating the holiday season with traditional mountain music, storytelling, and crafts allows visitors and staff the unique opportunity to experience and preserve the Christmas traditions of the people who once called this place home” 

The festival will include old-time mountain music and traditional harp singing. Demonstrations of traditional domestic skills such as the making of fabric spinning, historic toys and games, rag rugs, apple-head dolls, quilts, and apple cider will be ongoing throughout the day.  There will also be several chances to experience these traditions hands-on, with crafts to make and take home. 

The popular Christmas Memories Walk will be held again this year at 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m., to teach visitors about the spirit of the season in these mountains during the 1880s through the 1930s. 

The full schedule of events for the day includes:

·         9:30 a.m. - "Old-fashioned Harp Singing" led by Bruce Wheeler, Paul Clabo and Martha Graham

·         11:00 a.m.– Old Time Music with Boogertown Gap Band 

·         12:00 p.m. -  “Stories from the Past” presented by the Smoky Mountain Historical Society

·         1:00 p.m. –  Stories of old-time Christmas in Appalachia with Sparky and Rhonda Rucker

·         2:00 p.m. – Bill Proffitt and South of the River Boys preform

·         3:00 p.m. – Old Time Music with Lost Mill String Band

       11:00 am -12:30 pm and 2:00 pm to 3:30 p.m. - Christmas Memories Walk - Costumed interpreters will lead a short walk from the visitor center and talk about life in the mountains during the holidays in the early days of the 1880s to the 1930s.

 

Sitel hiring 200

 

An East Tennessee call center is looking to add two hundred new jobs.  Sitel recently opened a location in Knoxville in addition to its original facility in Oak Ridge. The company is looking to hire new employees immediately for both locations.  Sitel has seen continued growth and is looking to add more workers to provide inbound customer care and technical support.  Sitel will hold four job fairs over the next two weeks to help fill the positions:

  • Sitel Knoxville, 412 N Peters Road: Tuesday, December 16 and Wednesday, December 17 from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Job candidates should come with a resume. Anyone interested in a position can also apply online at the "Careers" tab at www.sitel.com.

 

CCSO offering reward in missing woman case

 

Campbell County authorities have increased the reward to $5,000 for information regarding the disappearance of a woman missing since Tuesday.  49-year-old Rhonda Daugherty was last seen Tuesday morning but was discovered missing Tuesday night by her husband, who returned form work to find no sign of his wife, except that her purse and cell phone were still at the house.  A search that had been planned for Saturday was called off due to inclement weather, but personnel have been looking for Daugherty since Tuesday.  The Knox County Sheriff's Office helicopter has aided in that search.  Anderson County Search and Rescue personnel have assisted, as have bloodhounds from Lafollette Police Department.  Investigators say there were no signs of foul play at the home.

 

McNally honored by State Chamber of Commerce

 

(Submitted) The Tennessee Chamber of Commerce & Industry and the Oak Ridge Chamber have awarded the coveted “Champion of Commerce” award to State Senator Randy McNally (R-Oak Ridge).  The “Champion of Commerce” award is presented locally in coordination with the Tennessee Chamber and local chambers of commerce.  The prestigious award recognizes individuals that exemplify outstanding achievement promoting business and free enterprise during the 2013 – 2014 108th General Assembly. 

 “We are proud to recognize Senator Randy McNally,” said Bradley Jackson, Vice President of the Tennessee Chamber Government Affairs Program.  “This is a great opportunity to showcase these legislators who went above and beyond on a number of pro-business policies at the State Capitol.” 

The statewide board of directors for the Tennessee Chamber approves the award for legislators who have demonstrated exemplary efforts in protecting and promoting business and free enterprise at the conclusion of each General Assembly.  The select award is given to just over five percent of the total 132 members of the General Assembly. 

"The Chamber of Commerce has a strong set of values and a vision for improving job opportunities for Tennesseans," said Senator McNally.  "I am very honored to receive this award and look forward to continuing to work with them on legislation to improve education and create jobs in Tennessee.”

 

ASAP wins national recognition

 

(Submitted) Allies for Substance Abuse Prevention of Anderson County (ASAP) has won a GOT OUTCOMES Coalition of Excellence award by the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA). ASAP has been awarded a Milestones award for its efforts to reduce underage drinking rates in the community.

Sponsored by CADCA’s National Coalition Institute, the GOT OUTCOMES! Awards give national recognition to coalitions that make a strong case for their contribution to population-level substance outcomes by utilizing an inclusive, data-driven, and comprehensive community problem solving process. Coalitions complete a competitive and rigorous two-phase application process and are judged by a panel of experts at the federal, state and local levels. The Milestone category provides newer coalitions — or those with more recently implemented strategies — the opportunity to highlight their contributions toward achieving community-level reductions in one or more substance abuse or substance abuse-related issues.

ASAP coalition members identified that local businesses were a point of access of alcohol for adolescents, primarily due to the lack of training resources available locally to clerks. Through partnering with TopShelf Responsible Beverage Service and Beer Boards, the ASAP coalition was able to make a training program available within the county and through the Underage Drinking Task Force, worked with County Commission and City Councils to pass ordinances mandating responsible alcohol sales training. “Local businesses were key in helping identify problems and help develop solutions. Their embrace of this initiative ultimately ensured its success,” said Stephanie A. Strutner, Executive Director of ASAP of Anderson County.  Strutner went on to say, “ASAP is honored to be recognized with this prestigious award. We are delighted to be the recipient of the “Milestones Award” recognizing our achievements; more importantly, we are thrilled our efforts have made strides in reducing underage drinking and related negative consequences in our community. The greatest praise is due to our partners, without whom, this award would have never been possible. From planning to implementation, they are our boots on the ground.” Strutner said a special expression of gratitude should be extended to the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office, Clinton Police Department, Oliver Springs Police Department, Norris Police Department, Rocky Top Police Department, Oak Ridge Police Department, local Beer Board members, Kim Pouncey with TopShelf Responsible Beverage Service, Catherine Brunson, Underage Drinking Task Force members and local businesses. The coalition will receive their award on-stage during the Awards Luncheon at CADCA’s 2015 National Leadership Forum, held Feb. 2-5 at the Gaylord National Hotel and Convention Center just outside of Washington, D.C. To learn more about CADCA’s GOT OUTCOMES! Awards, visit: www.cadca.org/gotoutcomes.

 

ORT:  House OKs Manhattan Project park

 

(Oak Ridge Today) The U.S. House of Representatives has passed a bill that would create a Manhattan Project National Historical Park that would include Oak Ridge, federal officials said Thursday afternoon.  Passage of the bill, pursued for years by historic preservationists, was announced by U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander and Representative Chuck Fleischmann, both Tennessee Republicans. It was an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act which passed in a 300-119 vote.  The bill designates three sites that were part of the World War II-era Manhattan Project, including Los Alamos, New Mexico, and Hanford, Washington. The U.S. Senate is expected to pass the companion legislation without amendments before adjourning for the Christmas recess, perhaps as early as next week, according to the Atomic Heritage Foundation, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit that has helped lead efforts to establish the park for more than a decade.  Oak Ridge sites that would be included in the park are the Beta-3 racetracks and Alpha Calutron magnets at Y-12 National Security Complex and the K-25 Building site at the East Tennessee Technology Park.

The Atomic Heritage Foundation said the national park designation would ensure that historic Manhattan Project sites are preserved for the American public and future generations. The legislation provides an inventory of properties and historic districts to be included in the park. Besides the uranium-enriching facilities in Oak Ridge, the park would include the first-of-a-kind B Reactor at Hanford and the buildings where the first atomic bombs were assembled at Los Alamos.  The legislation establishes the park no later than one year after enactment.  As the nation’s storyteller, the National Park Service will be responsible for interpretation.

The bill allows the Secretary of Energy to accept donations to the park, an important clause in light of limited federal funds, the Foundation said.  “This will enable donors and volunteers who have already expressed interest in contributing to the preservation of Manhattan Project properties to do so,” it said.

The Atomic Heritage Foundation said the Manhattan Project National Historical Park will be one of the few parks to focus on American industry and highlight the work of physicists, chemists, engineers, mathematicians, and other scientists.  “The park could become a catalyst for teaching about science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) and increasing America’s understanding of the nexus between science and society,” the Foundation said.  It said the legislation, which has passed the House before only to get tied up in the Senate, has been in the works for a long time.

The Atomic Heritage Foundation said it has worked on the project in partnership with the Manhattan Project communities, National Parks Conservation Association, National Trust for Historic Preservation, and Energy Communities Alliance.  For much more on this story visit our partners at www.oakridgetoday.com.  

 

ORT:  150 demonstrate outside Y-12 over benefits

 

(Oak Ridge Today) About 150 demonstrators protested outside the Y-12 National Security Complex on Thursday afternoon, objecting to changes in health insurance benefits that could take effect January 1.  The protesters, mostly Y-12 retirees, said they would end up paying much more for fewer benefits. They want the U.S. Department of Energy and National Nuclear Security Administration to reverse course.  Under the changes, announced in late October, so-called “post-65 retirees” would be “taken to a Medicare supplement,” organizers said. And “pre-65 retirees” will move from what is known as a “point of sale” plan to a PPO, with high deductibles co-pays, she said. 

Protesters said some retirees have had not had a cost-of-living increase since 2001 and others haven’t had one since 1998. Some may soon be forced to choose between buying medicine and buying groceries, they said.  The protesters expressed a range of concerns. In some cases, they said, in-network hospital stays that used to be fully covered could cost 10 percent or $3,500 per person per year, co-pays could increase from $10 to $25, and out-of-pocket expenses could increase to $6,500 per family. They said some retirees over 65, including former workers living on small retirement checks, could fall into the so-called “doughnut hole” of the Medicare Part D prescription drug program.  And they objected to moving to a mail order pharmacy, rather than being able to purchase prescriptions at local “mom and pop” pharmacies.  Consolidated Nuclear Security, which began managing and operating Y-12 on July 1, said its goal has been to provide a comprehensive and flexible benefits plan that serves the needs of retirees and employees, and their families—while also complying with applicable requirements. 

“Our plan is compliant, and competitive with comparable organizations,” spokesman Jason Bohne said in a statement.  Bohne acknowledged that the new plan is different from the current benefits program telling our partner sat Oak Ridge Today that the company has “redesigned our benefits program to provide an attractive package for current and future employees, while remaining in compliance with DOE requirements.”

Bohne told ORT that DOE Order 350.1 requires contractors to evaluate their benefits program against comparative organizations (those with similar types of work, and employees of similar educational and skill levels) every few years and maintain the program at 105 percent or less than the average of the comparators.  Because of the contract competition and subsequent protests, those evaluations hadn’t occurred at Y-12 or Pantex for several years.  It was overdue. Our new benefits design is intended to return our benefits package into compliance. CNS earns no fee for cost savings related to benefits changes—we did that intentionally to avoid any conflict of interest. Our new plan remains among the top benefits packages among our comparators. We are making every effort to be competitive with the industries in which we compete for talent.”

Bohne said the list of 27 comparator organizations in the CNS study is proprietary, but it includes similar organizations in government, higher education, and commercial industries—including Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Los Alamos National Laboratory, and the Tennessee Valley Authority. 

Thursday’s protest was their first, but protesters said it won’t be the last. They have planned a second protest near the U.S. Department of Energy Oak Ridge Office at 12:30 p.m. Thursday, December 11.

 

Search continues for missing Campbell woman

 

Family, friends and law enforcement officers are still trying to find 49-year-old Rhonda Daugherty of Lafollette, who has not been seen since Tuesday morning.  Her husband says he came home from work Tuesday evening and the doors were open and his wife was missing. Many other personal items were left behind including her cell phone.  Rhonda Daugherty is a white female, 5'3" tall, 150 pounds, with auburn hair and hazel eyes.  Anyone with information regarding Daugherty's whereabouts is asked to call 911 or the Campbell County Sheriff's Office at (423) 562-7446.

 

HHS Report:  More options for Tennesseeans in 2015 Marketplace

 

(HHS) New choices and more competition in the Health Insurance Marketplace are giving Tennessee consumers affordable options during Open Enrollment this year, and the majority of returning consumers who shop can save money on premiums, according to a report released by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). 

With 25 percent more issuers participating in the Marketplace in 2015, based on analysis of 35 states, more than 90 percent of consumers nationwide will be able to choose from three or more issuers—up from 74 percent in 2014. In Tennessee, consumers can choose from 5 issuers in the Marketplace in 2015 – up from 4 in 2014.  And Tennessee consumers can choose from an average of 71 health plans in their county for 2015 coverage—up from 48 in 2014.  

Nearly 8 in 10 current Marketplace consumers can find coverage in the 2015 Marketplace for $100 or less, taking into account any applicable tax credits.  In 2014, 80 percent of Tennessee consumers who selected a Marketplace plan received financial assistance. For returning customers, it pays to shop.  More than 7 in 10 current Marketplace enrollees can find a lower premium plan in the same metal level—before tax credits—by returning to shop.  If all returning consumers switched from their current plan to the lowest-cost premium plan in the same metal level, the total savings in premiums would be over $2 billion. 

 “The Health Insurance Marketplace is open for business, and Tennessee consumers have affordable choices for renewing their coverage and signing up for the first time,” said HHS Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell. “In today’s Marketplace, issuers are competing for business. With additional quality, affordable plans available, returning Tennessee customers may find an even better deal if they shop and save.”

Today’s report finds that premiums for the second-lowest cost, or “benchmark,” silver plan held stable in Tennessee for 2015 coverage, with a 6 percent increase on average before tax credits.  Nationally, premiums for the second-lowest cost, or “benchmark,” silver plan also held stable for 2015 coverage, with only a modest 2 percent increase on average before tax credits in 35 states. Many consumers will be eligible for tax credits to help with the cost of monthly premiums.

Before the Affordable Care Act, people who purchased health insurance plans in the individual market often saw double-digit rate increases on average, with very limited options for shopping around because plans could deny them coverage, or charge them higher rates based on pre-existing conditions or their gender. This year, consumers have the option to renew their current plan or shop around to select the plan that best meets their needs and their budget. And with the new window shopping tool at HealthCare.gov, it's easier than ever.

Open Enrollment in the Marketplace runs from Nov. 15, 2014, through Feb. 15, 2015.  Consumers should visit HealthCare.gov to review and compare health plan options. All consumers shopping for health insurance coverage for 2015—even those who currently have coverage through the Marketplace—should enroll or re-enroll between Nov. 15 and Dec. 15 in order to have coverage effective on Jan. 1, 2015.

Today’s report reflects individual market health plan premium data for 35 states. It does not include Oregon or Nevada, which are using the federal eligibility and enrollment platform this year, and other State-based Marketplaces.  Findings are presented at the county level, rather than by rating area, to better reflect plan service areas and the consumer experience.

For additional information on Health Plan Choice, Premiums and Affordability in the 2015 Health Insurance Marketplace, including data for states and select counties visit:http://aspe.hhs.gov/health/reports/2015/premiumReport/healthPremium2015.pdf

To preview plans, prices, covered benefits and physician and hospital networks in your area visit: https://www.healthcare.gov/find-premium-estimates/

Consumers can find local help at: Localhelp.healthcare.gov/. Or call the Federally-facilitated Marketplace Call Center at 1-800-318-2596. TTY users should call 1-855- 889-4325. Translation services are available. The call is free. 

 

Lethal injection process case to be heard by TN Supreme Court

 

The Tennessee Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on December 18 in Nashville in an appeal by the State opposing the requests of several death row inmates who are seeking the identity of individuals involved in the lethal injection process.

The appeal arises from a challenge to the constitutionality of the Tennessee Department of Correction’s execution procedures for lethal injection on various grounds by 11 of the state’s death row inmates.

A suit filed in 2013 by five death row inmates sought, among other things, the identities of the physicians, pharmacists, medical examiners, medical personnel, and executioners who are involved in the execution of a death sentence.

The State refused to provide this information, citing the protection of an exception to the Tennessee Open Records Act. The trial court disagreed and ordered the disclosure of the identities subject to an agreement that certain information would not be available to the general public.

The State took the case to the Court of Appeals, which concluded that state law required the disclosure of the information as to the individuals involved in the execution.  The State has now appealed to the Tennessee Supreme Court, which will hear oral arguments Thursday, December 18 at 1 p.m. in Nashville. For more about the case, see the Court of Appeals opinion here.

 

Federal lawsuit filed over Public Works termination

 

On Wednesday, former Anderson County Public Works employee Lisa Crumpley filed a wrongful termination lawsuit in U.S. District Court against the county and her former boss, Public Works Director David Crowley.  Crowley fired Crumpley over the phone before 6 am October 9th, hours before he himself surrendered at the Anderson County Jail on a five-count indictment accusing him of conducting building inspections without the proper certifications.  The lawsuit accuses Crowley of gender bias, retaliation against a whistleblower and not paying overtime and also accuses County Mayor Terry Frank of lying to Crumpley about Crowley’s certifications, allegedly telling Crumpley that Crowley had the credentials to conduct building inspections.  According to the suit, despite repeatedly failing building certification tests, Crowley told Crumpley and others that he had certification and continued to do inspections, allegedly “order[ing] Crumpley to fill out inspection reports in order to cover up his illegal activity."  During an ensuing TBI investigation—which ultimately concluded with the indictments against Crowley—Crumpley was interviewed twice by agents.  The lawsuit accuses Crowley of plotting to fire Crumpley "in retaliation for her refusal to participate in his illegal activities and for her participation in the state's investigation of his illegal activities," according to the court filing.  As we first reported in October, Crumpley had attorney David Stuart send a letter to Mayor Frank and other officials, including County Commission Chairman Robert McKamey, the week before she was fired stating that she feared she would be retaliated against for cooperating with the  TBI and requesting protection. That letter was dated October 3rd.  The lawsuit also alleges Crumpley had to work unpaid overtime, including during her lunch breaks and that Crowley "is biased against females” and accuses Crowley of "openly [telling] people he wanted only men working full time in the Department of Public Works."  The lawsuit also alleges that the Tennessee Public Protection Act protecting whistleblowers was violated because Crumpley refused "to participate in or remain silent about illegal activities."  The lawsuit claims Crumpley suffered "emotional stress, humiliation and embarrassment" and seeks unspecified punitive damages as well as reinstatement, payment of attorneys' fees and all other relief provided under various federal laws.  Crumpley has also filed an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission complaint over her firing, alleging sex discrimination, and a copy of that complaint is included in the court filing.  Since her termination, Crumpley’s personnel file has gone missing and is at the heart of Sheriff’s Department investigation, the details of which we have previously reported.  A letter from Crowley’s attorney to the County Commission claims that the personnel file did not go missing from the Human Resources Department until after Crowley and her attorney—also her sister, former Anderson County Juvenile Court Judge April Meldrum—had visited the office to review both Crowley and Crumpley’s personnel files.  WYSH has been told by sources that the personnel file, and other documents reported missing from Public Works, have been turned over to investigators, but that has not been confirmed by anyone in the Sheriff’s Departments. 

 

OR students, staff donate to UWAC

 

(UWAC) The Oak Ridge School staff and students stepped up in a big way, donating nearly $14,000 to the United Way of Anderson County’s (UWAC) 2014 campaign.  These funds will go to support 32 agencies and 50 different programs that provide services here in Anderson County. Donations such as these helped provide 149 families the supplies to grow their own garden this year. Each garden is expected to produce more than $450 of fresh food.  For more information about UWAC services and to donate to provide this type of assistance to our neighbors, please go to www.uwayac.org or call UWAC at 865-483-8431.

 

Annual Coal Creek Scholars Day approaching

 

(CCWF) The Coal Creek Watershed Foundation has scheduled its 13th Annual Coal Creek Scholars Day at Briceville School for Thursday, December 18th at 8:30 am.  This is a day when current and former Briceville Elementary students come together.   Former Briceville Elementary School students who have received the Foundation’s annual scholarships return to the school to speak to the 4th and 5th graders about their experiences in attending their respective colleges or technical schools and what it means to them to pursue a higher education.  Organizers hope this inspires the current students to continue their educations.  Santa’s helpers will also be on hand to present Christmas gifts to each of the school’s 121 students.

 

OR students get hands-on coding experience

 

(Oak Ridge Today) All 368 students at Glenwood Elementary will participate in one of the largest CODE education events in history. The Hour of Code will be held December 8-14, and Glenwood Elementary is the only school chosen in Tennessee to receive $10,000 from Code.org to buy technology for bringing these critical skills to students.  Google, Microsoft, Apple, President Obama, Bill Gates, Shakira, and Ashton Kutcher have all backed the Hour of Code, an Oak Ridge Schools press release said. More than 100 partners are coming together to support this global movement. So far, 47 million students have tried the Hour of Code. The Hour of Code movement is aiming for 100 million students.  On Tuesday, December 9, at 2:30 p.m. Oak Ridge Schools Assistant Superintendent Christopher Marczak will present the $10,000 prize and speak on the importance of bringing computer science into the schools.  The Hour of Code is a campaign to prove that regardless of age, race, or gender, anyone can learn how to build the technologies of the future.  Volunteers from Oak Ridge’s scientific community and Roane State Community College will work with elementary school children as part of Hour of Code, according to a Roane State press release. 

 

Oak Ridge elementary school students will learn computer science basics and work side-by-side with computer science professionals the week of December 8 as part of a nationwide effort called Hour of Code.  All four Oak Ridge elementary schools are participating in Hour of Code, a campaign to excite children about computer science. Hour of Code is part of Computer Science Education Week from December 8-14. Code.org, a nonprofit dedicated to promoting computer science education, organizes Hour of Code and provides resources for educators.  Participating schools devote time during the week for students to try fun, hands-on coding activities.  Oak Ridge’s Glenwood Elementary School, Linden Elementary School, Willow Brook Elementary School, and Woodland Elementary will participate in Hour of Code. STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) coaches and technology teachers from each school are organizing activities.   “Hour of Code engages students on every level,” said Keith Jackson, an Oak Ridge High School math and computer science teacher who is helping the elementary schools with Hour of Code. “They learn hands-on in a fun way that demystifies coding. By working with our volunteers, students also make a connection between the classroom and long-term career opportunities in science, technology, engineering and math.”  To learn more about Hour of Code, visit http://hourofcode.com.

 

Report:  Are Tennessee Children Prepared to Learn?

 

The latest edition of the Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth’s KIDS COUNT: The State of the Child in Tennessee report focuses on the importance of making sure children arrive at school with the cognitive, social and emotional skills they need to learn.

At the beginning of the school year, children wait for the school bus or in the drop-off lane for their first experience of school. Many of them arrive with the skills they need to learn. Many, however, arrive with gaps in the foundation for learning that must be filled so they can make the most of their experience.  Children do not enter school as blank slates, each equally impressionable to educators’ efforts. Children enter school with figurative backpacks. Some children come with an eagerness to learn, good health, emotional security and a sense of safety fostered by a supportive family and community. Others come without important tools for learning and already weighed down by the trauma of poverty, hunger, violence or abuse.

More than half the expenditures for children through the Tennessee state budget go to education, mostly for educating children ages 6 or older. The return on investment for this spending depends on the foundation formed in students’ first five years. During this critical time, children either develop the skills they need to learn or learn to cope with adversity in ways that undermine their opportunities for success in school and in life.

Ongoing research reinforces the importance of the early years when brain cell connections are developed – social and creative stimulation exercises the “muscles” of these connections. Trauma, lack of health care, stress caused by families’ child-care problems and erratic job schedules, inadequate nutrition, and a range of other conditions can combine to create a shaky foundation for learning.

Policy recommendations in the State of the Child report include:

·         Accepting federal Medicaid expansion funds;

·         Expanding voluntary, high-quality pre-K opportunities for all at-risk Tennessee children;

·         Expanding home visitation programs providing support to new parents;

·         Developing strategies to prevent or reduce the effects of Adverse Childhood Experiences that cause toxic stress.

 “We welcome the state’s application for much-needed federal pre-K funds for Nashville and Shelby County and steps to implement a Tennessee plan for Medicaid expansion to provide health care for Tennesseans left in the gap between coverage by the state’s current Medicaid program and the Affordable Care Act,” O’Neal said. “Tennessee is giving away $4.7 million federal funds every single day by rejecting Medicaid expansion.”

The report, published annually, also lists county-by-county health, education, child welfare, demographic, economic and other data on Tennessee’s children. KIDS COUNT: The State of the Child 2013 is available on TCCY’s website at www.tn.gov/tccy/kc-soc13.pdf. Interactive information from the book and additional data on child well being for all states is also available at http://datacenter.kidscount.org.

The Tennessee Commission on Children and Youth is a small state agency created by the Tennessee General Assembly. Its primary mission is to advocate for improvements in the quality of life for Tennessee children and families. Partial funding for TCCY’s KIDS COUNT program is provided through a grant from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the nation's largest philanthropy devoted exclusively to disadvantaged children.

 

Missing Campbell County woman sought

 

A 49-year-old Lafollette woman has been reported missing and authorities in Campbell County are reaching out to other local agencies and to the public through social media asking for information that could lead to her location and safe return.  49-year-old Rhonda Daugherty is described as a white female, 5'3" tall, weighing around 150 pounds, with auburn hair and hazel eyes.  She was last seen Tuesday morning in the Coolidge area of Campbell County. If you have any information regarding her whereabouts please call: 911 or the Campbell County Sheriff's Office at 423-562-7446.  You can also stay updated on search efforts by visiting the CPD’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Clinton-Police-Department/113737988681196

 

Officials discuss Main Street OR project

 

(Information from Oak Ridge Today) City officials and developers discussed their plans to revitalize the former Oak Ridge Mall on Tuesday and said that so far, everything involving the long-awaited project is on pace to break ground next spring.  James Downs, a partner of Crosland Southeast, the North Carolina-based company that has proposed the project, updated members of the Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce during a Tuesday morning Rise and Shine sponsored by the Chamber at Courtyards Senior Living on Briarcliff Avenue.  The company could break ground on the 350,000-square foot project next spring. Construction work, including demolition of the existing areas between anchor stores Belk and JC Penney, could be completed by the summer of 2016, making it available to retailers by the fall of that year.  Main Street Oak Ridge, as the project will have 350,000 square feet of commercial space, including the space already occupied by those two anchors.  Officials said that the project could also include eight to 12 restaurants, 150 apartment units, and a hotel featuring between 110-130 rooms. There could also be some office space, said Downs, who says developers want to revitalize the 58-acre site to “raise the tide” for other businesses and the community, adding that “we want to restore [the city’s] soul.”  Officials say that around 75% of the retail space has either been leased or is in negotiation to be leased.  Developers can’t disclose the identity of potential retailers or tenants, or developers who might be interested in building the apartments or hotel.  According to our partners at Oak Ridge Today, Crosland Southeast is in “advanced discussions” with potential developers of the apartments and hotel. Those companies would buy the sites with infrastructure already installed, and could “go vertical” as Main Street Oak Ridge is built, Downs said.  The nearby Tinseltown Theater and Walmart are not part of the project, but Crosland Southeast is working with them, and are said to be excited about the redevelopment. 

As part of the project overview, officials also announced several other developments.

  • The U.S. Economic Development Administration has denied a $1 million grant application for the project. The grant would have been matched by city funds and used for public infrastructure, including the reconstruction of Wilson Street and the two main streets, as well as for a traffic signal on Rutgers Avenue at the main entrance. Those roads will then become public streets.  Since the grant application was denied, city officials plan to use $500,000 from an Oak Ridge Industrial Development Board grant and $500,000 in proceeds from a tax increment financing, or TIF, agreement. According to ORT, the city could reapply for the EDA grant next year.
  • The Tennessee Comptroller of the Treasury and commissioner of Economic and Community Development notified the city on Monday that a 10-year extension of the city’s portion of the $13 million TIF agreement has been approved, pushing it from 20 years to 30. It had already been approved by the Oak Ridge City Council and Anderson County Commission. A TIF agreement uses new property tax revenues generated at a site to help pay for development costs.
  • Also, discussions continue between Crosland Southeast and local lenders who could help finance the TIF loan portion of the project. Those lenders are encouraged, but the discussions aren’t complete, said Chris Johnson, president of ORNL Federal Credit Union and board chair of the Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce.

For much more on this story, including a look at how businesses close to Main Street Oak Ridge and those that are not so close could potentially benefit from the ambitious project, visit www.OakRidgeToday.com.

 

Roane murder suspect’s bond revoked, parents get money back

 

The parents of a Knox County man accused in a Roane County murder will get the $250,000 they paid for his release back.  On Tuesday, a judge revoked Shawn Smoot's bond on charges of first-degree murder stemming from the 2011 shooting death of Brooke Morris. Morris was Smoot's former girlfriend and an employee at his Knoxville insurance agency.  Her body was found by the side of rural Roane County road.  In March 2013, Smoot's parents posted his $250,000 bond with the Roane County Criminal Court. But in late April, officials arrested Smoot on a DUI charge in McMinn County. A judge later revoked his bond, but officials had already released Smoot from jail. Smoot was free until U.S. Marshals captured him at a mental hospital in Chattanooga on May 5.  Last month, Smoot's parents filed a motion asking the court for the money back. The district attorney general's office also filed a motion, claiming that Smoot's parents should be liable.  A judge ruled in the parents’ favor on Tuesday.  Smoot will stay in jail until his murder trial starts in March.

 

Corwin’s body to be returned home

 

A California judge approved the release of slain Oak Ridge native Erin Corwin’s remains to her family during a court hearing Tuesday morning after being assured that forensic analysis has been completed. Her body had been held for months for forensic analysis. The 19-year-old Marine wife was reported missing in late June.  Her body was found at the bottom of a deep mine shaft in a remote section of the Southern California desert after a seven week search conducted by local, federal and military personnel.  The man accused of killing Corwin, former Marine and Corwin neighbor Christopher Lee, made a brief appearance during a Tuesday court hearing.  Prosecutors are still considering whether they will pursue the death penalty in Lee's case and a preliminary hearing will likely be held in March. Lee's next appearance in court is scheduled for Jan. 6.  Lee was arrested in Anchorage, Alaska on Aug. 16, shortly after Erin's body was recovered. Detectives had been investigating Lee for weeks, but did not arrest him until her body was found.  Investigators believe that Lee and Corwin were having an affair, and that Lee killed Corwin to keep his wife from finding out. Corwin's husband was based at the Marine base in Twentynine Palms.

 

State:  Thanksgiving weekend fatalities down from 12 to 4 this year

 

(TDSHS) The Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security announced the preliminary number of four traffic fatalities statewide during the 2014 Thanksgiving Holiday period, which began on midnight Wednesday, Nov. 26 and ended at 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 30.  If this year’s preliminary figures remain, it would mark the lowest number of vehicular deaths during the Thanksgiving holiday period since the seven traffic deaths in 1983.  In 2013, there were 12 vehicular deaths during the 120-hour Thanksgiving holiday.  The department also reported that none of this year’s holiday traffic fatalities occurred in alcohol-related crashes. Two of the individuals killed were not wearing seat belts.  Two fatal wrecks occurred on state roads in Davidson County while the other two happened on the interstate in Hamblen and Crockett counties.  The Tennessee Highway Patrol also revealed that there were zero traffic fatalities on Interstate 40 during the “I-40 Challenge” over the Thanksgiving period. The challenge was held on the busiest travel days of the holiday, specifically from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 26 and 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 30.  Law enforcement officials from California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and North Carolina also participated in the I-40 challenge as part of the THP’s “Drive to Zero Fatalities” campaign. 

HIGHEST DEATHS

In 1966, 34 people were killed in Tennessee traffic crashes during the 102-hour Thanksgiving holiday period, yielding a fatality rate of one death per 3.0 hours.

LOWEST DEATHS

In 1983, seven people were killed in Tennessee traffic crashes during the 102-hour Thanksgiving holiday period, yielding a fatality rate of one death per 14.6 hours.

 

OR Police:  Man jailed after allegedly hitting pregnant teen girlfriend

 

A 21-year-old man was arrested after Oak Ridge Police say he punched his pregnant, underage girlfriend in the stomach.  The girl, who is 15, reportedly told investigators that and Khristoff Lee started dating in January, when she was only 14.  She was two months pregnant with Lee's child when he allegedly attacked her, punched her in the stomach, head and back and threatened to kill her and the baby.  The girl told police that she had lied about what happened to protect Lee, but the teen's mother notified authorities after she found out about the relationship. Lee allegedly knew the girl was underage when the relationship began.  Lee is also facing charges stemming from a September home invasion in which two people were allegedly robbed at gunpoint by Lee and two accomplices.  Lee faces numerous charges, including assault, statutory rape and robbery.  Police have two other suspects in the home invasion, identified as Laphonso Porter and Joseph Lee.

 

Clinton wreck injures one

 

A Tuesday afternoon traffic accident sent a Clinton man to the hospital.  Witnesses told Clinton Police that as 58-year-old Danny Tucker was traveling west on North Charles Seivers Boulevard near Sinking Springs Road at around 2:15 pm Tuesday, that his Chevy Cavalier had suddenly veered right and left the side of the road, striking a rock face and turning over on its driver’s side.  Tucker told emergency responders that he felt something give way seconds before the wreck that caused him to lose control of the car.  He was extricated from his car by the Clinton Fire Department and transported by Anderson County EMS by ambulance to Methodist Medical Center for treatment of his injuries. 

 

Online service ranks OR schools high in state

 

All seven schools in the Oak Ridge schools are ranked among the top 100 schools in Tennessee in their respective categories, according to a private, online rankings service.  The rankings were compiled by a company called Niche using federal education data along with student and parent input, according to a press release.  Glenwood Elementary is ranked fourth among state elementary schools, while Woodland Elementary is 29th, Linden 36th and Willow Brook is listed 82nd. There are 982 elementary schools in the state.  Jefferson Middle School was ranked second in the state, while Robertsville Middle came in 14th. There are 306 middle schools in Tennessee.  Oak Ridge High came in 11th in Tennessee among high schools, of which there are 318 across the state. Niche rankings only included the top 100 schools in each category.  As a system, Oak Ridge came in fifth in the Best School Districts in Tennessee category out of 137 districts.

 

THP announces safety grants

 

The Tennessee Highway Patrol announced today that it will receive traffic safety grants from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to provide increased enforcement, public awareness campaigns and help reduce serious injury and fatal crashes on state roadways in 2015. The grant funds were distributed through the Governor’s Highway’s Safety Office (GHSO). 

The THP continues to target seat belt usage across the state. The BELTS program will provide funding to allow state troopers to enhance the current seat belt usage rate of 87.7 percent. Statistical data revealed that unrestrained fatalities are most likely to occur on Fridays and Saturdays than any other day of the week. 

Goals of the BELTS Program include:

·         Conducting seat belt checkpoints in each of the eight THP Districts each month;

·         Each district will participate in the 12 statewide seat belt blitzes scheduled;

·         Reducing the number of unrestrained drivers in fatal and injury crashes by five percent;

·         Increasing the seat belt usage rate by 2.5 percent. 

THP received $130,068.48 in grant monies for the BELTS program.

The Sober Up TN program allows the THP to allocate additional hours for state troopers to patrol the interstates, conduct sobriety checkpoints, perform bar checks, and educate the public on the dangers of drinking and driving.  State Troopers have utilized a data-driven approach to address alcohol-related crashes by targeting times and locations where these types of incidents are most prevalent. Predictive analytics has revealed that the majority of impaired driving crashes occurred between the hours of 6 p.m. and 4 a.m., and a higher rate of alcohol-related wrecks occur on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.   

Goals of the Sober Up TN Program include:

·         Increasing the number of sobriety checkpoints;

·         Enforcing DUI and alcohol-related offenses;

·         Reducing fatalities where alcohol was indicated as a contributing factor;

·         Facilitating community meetings to solicit citizen attendance and input and involve local agencies, District Attorney Generals, school and court officials and associated stakeholders. 

Sober Up TN grant funds provided to the agency amounted to $716,919.36.

Both grant programs run through September 30, 2015.

 

Anderson County Expedition returns to FBC April 11 and 12, 2015

Clinton First Baptist Church’s mission as RAM (Remote Area Medical) Host is to serve those in need of free vision, dental and medical services.  Anderson County Remote Area Medical will hold their third RAM Clinic in Anderson County in 2015 at First Baptist Church in Clinton, Tennessee.  The clinic will serve Anderson and all surrounding counties.  Anderson County Remote Area Medical, AC RAM, is a free medical clinic supported by volunteers and private donations.  AC RAM and First Baptist Church are playing host to this expedition sponsored by RAM Services of America. (See www.RAMUSA.org).  Please visit other areas of our website and the RAMUSA.org website to learn more about how to volunteer your services.  This year all volunteers working with RAM must sign up on the www.RAMUSA.org website.  Paper applications are no longer being accepted by RAM. FBC Facilities workers may request an application at RAMhost@fbclinton.org..  A GoFundMe page has been set up and can be accessed by visiting http://www.gofundme.com/andersoncountyram.

 

Report:  Negotiations underway after huge judgment against OR firm

 

A New York Federal Judge ruled in July that Appalachian Underwriters Inc. (AUI) and a subsidiary have breached three reinsurance agreements and a retrocession agreement with its Bermudian reinsurer affiliate and are liable for $41.1 million.   On July 28, Judge J. Paul Oetken of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York found the intermediaries—AUI and Insurance Services Group were obligated under a 2009 guarantee to pay the debts. Cayman Islands-based Greenlight Reinsurance Ltd. was the reinsurer and AUI was the managing general agent. Greenlight Re has established that AUI owes a debt of $16,986,516 under the Reinsurance Agreements, and App Re (an AUI subsidiary) owes $24,456,213 under the Retrocession Agreements.  A hearing has been scheduled for December 19th in AC Chancery Court, where Chancellor Nikki Cantrell will be asked to rule on “domesticating” the case—which would enable Greenlight to begin trying to recoup what they are due.  Reinsurance is defined by www.freedictionary.com as "the contract made between an insurance company and a third party to protect the insurance company from losses. The contract provides for the third party to pay for the loss sustained by the insurance company when the company makes a payment on the original contract.”  In this case, AUI shared its policy risks with Greenlight in exchange for a portion of the premiums from the underlying policies.  

According to www.thelawdictionary.com, “’when the assignee of heritable rights conveys his rights back to the cedent, it is called a "retrocession.’”  According to the judge’s order, AUI’s debt problems stem from several higher-than-expected losses on its insurance policies.  The News-Sentinel reports that negotiations are underway between the two sides.

 

TBI aiding in Morgan suicide probe

 

The TBI is assisting authorities in Morgan County as they investigate an apparent suicide that followed a traffic stop in Wartburg Friday. TBI says that on Friday night Morgan County dispatchers received a call from a woman that her boyfriend, 40-year-old Michael Joseph Spagno of Knoxville had stolen something from her home and assaulted her in the process. Spagno left the woman’s house but was later spotted by Wartburg Police traveling on Highway 62. When officers attempted to stop the vehicle the car kept going. Police say the car eventually came to a stop and when an officer approached the driver's door, Spagno was found dead inside from an apparent gunshot wound. TBI says a pistol was found inside the vehicle and that Spagno's body was sent to the University of Tennessee’s Regional Forensics Center for an autopsy.

 

All District accolades announced

 

The All-District 3AAA football team for 2014 was announced last week as were individual postseason honors.  The Coach of the Year is Oak Ridge’s Joe Gaddis.  Anderson County’s Matt Fox was named Player of the Year, while Campbell County’s Ethan Jeffers was named Offensive Player of the Year and Gibbs’ Hunter Lane was named Defensive Player of the Year.  Lineman of the Year honors went to Oak Ridge’s Alex Alcorn, the D3AAA Newcomer of the Year was Oak Ridge’s tee Higgins and the Specialist of the Year was Oak Ridge’s Brandon Nickle.  Here are the Clinton Dragons who were voted All-District:  Tyler Thackerson, Aaron Watson, Zach Jones, Blade Edwards, Shane Hooks, Isaiah Vibbert, Travist Patrick and Michael Hammond.  Anderson County landed these players on the All-District squad:  Zane Smith, Garrett Johnson, Josh Edwards, Brandon Ford, Bryson Phillips, Cale Brock, Aaron Sharp, Jamie Prosise, Corey Morgan and Tate Holmes.  Oak Ridge’s All-District performers were:  Matt Warmbrodt, Jeremiah Hall, Ted Mitchell, Tommy Kaczocha, Brandon Bonds, Isaac Chapman, TJ Allison, Jordan Dunbar, Shawmain Fleming, Adam Manookian and Darel Middleton.  Clinton’s All-Academic team member was Daniel Ambrose and he was joined by Anderson County’s AJ Hawkins and Oak Ridge’s Gavin Warrington.  Congratulations to all of these players on their accomplishments during an exciting 2014 high school football season.

 

Chancery suit filed over erroneous tax sale

 

The most thankful people in Anderson County this holiday week are lawyers.  Daya Hospitality, which owns the Travel Lodge Hotel on Seivers Boulevard in Clinton, has filed a lawsuit against Anderson County and Law Director Jay Yeager after they say that his failure to adequately research a delinquent tax issue resulted in part of their property being sold at a delinquent tax auction.   The lawsuit, filed November 20th in Chancery Court, says that when the company refinanced its land in 2007, the bank was supposed to have merged the payments with the taxes on two lots but only merged the payments of one parcel.  Neither the bank nor the company realized there was a problem until April of 2013 when the company went to get its taxes lowered on the Clinton motel after a fire caused heavy damage there and was told that one of the lots had been sold at a delinquent tax sale.  The lawsuit says that Yeager “acted maliciously or with reckless disregard as to the truth of his false published statements” (in dealing with the issue).  The suit seeks an order voiding the new tax deed from the company that purchased the land, plus attorneys’ fees, compensatory damages and “all other relief entitled to [the plaintiffs] by law.” 

 

TBI:  Crematory owner indicted in drug charges

 

A woman already indicted once this year in connection with a pet crematory business in Morgan County now faces an indictment accusing her of selling oxycodone in Roane County.  39-year-old Cameo Farr was indicted by a Roane County grand jury last month on a charge of the sale and delivery of Schedule II drugs, according to the TBI. The charge stems from a December 2013 undercover operation conducted by the TBI and detectives with the 9th Judicial District Task Force based in Harriman.  Farr allegedly sold drugs to an undercover operative.  She was arrested Nov. 20 and later released from the Roane County Jail on a $3,000 bond.  In May, a Morgan County grand jury returned a five-count indictment against Farr after state officials uncovered the remains of hundreds of dead animals on her remote property at the foot of Lone Mountain. That indictment included one felony count of violation of the state’s hazardous waste management act involving various bags of “medical sharps,” including used needles, discovered at her home, prosecutors said.

 

ACSD arrests 5 after “unusual series of events”

 

Five people were arrested early Sunday morning (11/23) after deputies responded to a report of shots fired into an occupied home in the Claxton community. In what the Anderson County Sheriff’s Department calls “an unusual series of events”, dispatchers first began receiving anonymous 911 calls from a cell phone around 5:00am, reporting a shooting into a residence had occurred at 120 East Circle. However, the calls were not coming from the actual residence.  According to a release from the Sheriff’s Office, some 30 calls were made over the next several minutes. Deputies responded to the East Circle home and spoke with a person on the front porch who initially gave a false name and false information about what happened. Another person was found hiding in the back yard.  A third person was found inside the residence. Bullet holes were found in the front of the house.  After investigation the person on the front porch was identified as 26-year-old Cody Shane Awais and the one hiding was found to be his 23-year-old brother Samir Joseph Awais. Both had outstanding warrants in Anderson, Knox, and Sevier Counties. The person in the house was identified as 24-year-old Alyssa Mansfield of Sevierville. No warrants were found and she was not arrested. All three finally admitted the house had been shot at on two separate occasions earlier in the morning. The reason for the shooting was said to be over a “dispute”. Both the Awais brothers were taken to the Anderson County Detention Facility on the active warrants. No one was injured in the shooting.  Deputies then went to the address where the 911 calls were made at 360 Blacksferry Road. There they found 25-year-old Kevin Scott Garner and 20-year-old Arthur Allen Boudreau. After investigation, deputies learned Garner was the person responsible for shooting into the residence not once but twice earlier that morning.  They also found Bourdeau was the one who made the many anonymous 911 calls. The two handguns used in the shooting along with a large amount of marijuana and numerous items of drug paraphernalia were found in the residence. Both Garner and Bourdeau were arrested and taken to the detention facility. Garner was charged with six counts of aggravated assault, two counts of reckless endangerment, one count of possession of marijuana and an outstanding warrant.  Boudreau was charged with misusing 911 and possession of drug paraphernalia.  While deputies were conducting their investigation at the Blackferry Road home, another resident arrived and began interfering into the crime scene, refused to stop disrupting the scene, and scuffled with deputies. 30-year-old David Harry Wender was also arrested and taken to the detention facility.  Cody and Samir Awais, and Garner remain in the Anderson County Detention Facility. All three have prior arrests in Anderson, Knox, and Sevier Counties. Both Bourdeau and Wender have been released on bond. Neither have previous arrests in Anderson County.  No one was injured in the shooting that is believed to be drug-related.  The investigation into the possession for resale of marijuana is ongoing. Additional charges may be forthcoming. Deputies are not sure why Bourdeau made all the anonymous 911 calls about the shooting since he was found with Garner who was apparently the person responsible. 

 

Update:  Man arrested for allegedly robbing grandfather

 

UPDATE:  The ACSD has made an arrest in a case we reported on earlier in the week, as Joseph Tyler Collins was arrested Tuesday at a home in Clinton on one count of aggravated robbery after he was accused of robbing his grandfather at knifepoint on Sunday night along with at least one other accomplice.  Collins is being held on a $75,000 bond.  Investigators are still working to identify the others involved in the robbery.

(Original story) The Anderson County Sheriff’s Department is investigating an armed robbery that occurred at a home near Rocky Top.  Deputies responded to a home on Clear Branch Road shortly after 10:30 pm Wednesday on a report of a robbery in progress.  When they arrived, they made contact with Genis Hawkins, who told them that he had been robbed at knifepoint by his grandson and another man.  Hawkins told police that he answered a knock on his door and saw his grandson on the porch.  The grandson asked if he could use Hawkins’ phone and when he stepped away to get it, his grandson and a second man wearing a green rag over his face and holding a 15-inch-long knife entered his house.  The masked man held the knife to Hawkins’ stomach and threatened to “gut him” according to the incident report, while the grandson demanded money.  Hawkins gave them a pair of pants containing three envelopes full of cash in various denominations totaling approximately $2600, his wallet with two debit cards inside and his cell phone.  The knife-wielding suspect told Hawkins to stay inside as they left or he would be stabbed.  The two then ran down the driveway, where a third person was waiting in a car, and fled the area.  One of Hawkins’ relatives found one envelope containing $1400 in the driveway, where the suspects had apparently dropped it as they fled, and gave it to investigators, who then photographed the bills and returned them to Hawkins.  Hawkins was not injured in the incident and the investigation is continuing. 

 

State offers shoppers ID Theft prevention tips

 

(TDSHS) The Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security’s Identity Crimes Unit urges all citizens to protect themselves against identity crimes, including theft and fraud, this holiday season.  “Millions of shoppers will take advantage of ‘Black Friday’ or ‘Cyber Monday’ holiday sales this year. We just want to encourage consumers to take extra precautions to prevent fraudulent use of their personal information,” Tennessee Highway Patrol Major Stacy Williams said. He oversees the department’s Identity Crimes Unit.  According to Javelin Strategy and Research, 13.1 million consumers suffered identity fraud in 2013. That’s an increase of 500,000 from the previous year and marks the second highest level on record. It was also revealed that 44 percent of all fraud involved an online transaction.  “Internet scammers or hackers can easily access your private data, if you’re not careful.  Citizens should make sure web sites are secure before entering any personal or financial information,” Williams stated.   In 2013, identity theft accounted for 14 percent of all complaints recorded by the Federal Trade Commission, leading the list of top consumer complaints.    . 

The Identity Crimes Unit offers these tips to help keep holiday shoppers safe: 

When paying by credit card:

·         Don't allow clerks to put your receipts in your bag; carry them in your wallet instead where they are safer and less likely to fall out.

·         Watch cashiers, waiters and bartenders, ensuring that they don't "skim" or save your card number for later use. 

When paying by check:

·         Never allow merchants to write your social security number on the check. In many states, it is illegal.

·         Use a gel ink pen—preferably black—to write checks, which will permeate the fibers and make it difficult for the check to be cleaned and reused.

 When shopping online:

·         Be careful of wireless internet connections. Only use those that require a security key or certificate.

·         Shop on secure, reputable sites only; https:// at the beginning of the URL indicates a secure site.

·         Never offer personal information, especially your social security number.

·         Leave suspicious websites immediately.

·         Read customer reviews before ordering.

·         Use a credit card and not a debit card, this protects your personal funds and prevents thieves from gaining access to funds in your bank account. 

General tips:

·         Avoid carrying a social security card, birth certificate, passport, bank information or paychecks when hitting the stores.

·         Check your bank statements, credit card bills and credit reports often. This will help to avoid any efforts to use your identity.

If you have been the victim of an identity crime, you can get information and help by downloading a resource kit for identity theft victims from http://www.tn.gov/safety/ICU.shtml

 

OR man arraigned on child pornography charge

 

An Oak Ridge man accused of having child pornography on his computer pleaded not guilty Monday in Anderson County Criminal Court and remained remains in custody.  27-year-old Adam Morton was indicted by an Anderson County grand jury last month and arrested on one count of aggravated sexual exploitation of a minor.  The indictment accuses Morton of having more than 25 images of child pornography in June of this year.  His bond is $75,000.

 

ORT:  OR city manager hires assistant

 

(Oak Ridge Today) Oak Ridge City Manager Mark Watson has hired an assistant.  Bruce M. Applegate Jr. will help the city manager plan, organize, develop, coordinate, maintain, and direct the overall operations and activities of the city. He will help provide supervision for special projects and task forces, and participate in the recruitment and promotion of new and existing businesses and industries. In addition, he will assist in developing, planning, and implementing goals and objectives for the city. Applegate’s employment will become effective December 1.  Applegate was raised in Knoxville and Lafayette, Indiana. He comes to the city as a recent graduate from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. He holds dual bachelor’s degrees in political science and history from Purdue University, in addition to a master’s degree in public administration and public policy from the University of Tennessee.

 

LWV receives grant

 

The League of Women Voters of Oak Ridge has received a $20,000 national grant that will fund an educational project for young adults (30 years or under) on hazardous waste management. The project is titled the Environmental Management Education Initiative Project.  The grant is made possible through the New Mexico Community Foundation’s Community Involvement Fund and is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy.  The purpose of the project is to expand the knowledge and understanding of these young people about the environmental management process and remediation actions in the Oak Ridge community.  The project will consist of two educational sub-projects: a Citizen’s Academy and a Rainbow Academy. 

The Citizen’s Academy will target newer residents to the area, primarily in the young adult category, and will use existing community resources to give the target residents insight into how the environmental management process works, the constraints on decisions that can be made, and how and when stakeholder inputs must be made to DOE and their contractors.  The academy will use presentations, learning modules, and roundtable discussions to provide information on the Oak Ridge Reservation site history; the current environmental management process for identifying and remediating hazardous waste; and the process for public input. The academy will offer site visits and other activities to directly involve participants in collecting information and making assessments.

The Rainbow Academy will be an environmental day (or days) for students. It will be an addition to the curriculum of the well-established Rainbow Camp, which has been run by the Oak Ridge Unitarian Universalist Church (ORUUC) since 1988. The camp targets K-12 youth with an emphasis on reaching members of the minority community. The objectives of the environmental day(s) at Rainbow Camp will be the same as those of the Citizen’s Academy, but with age-appropriate materials.

The educational curriculum for both academies will be developed using terminology geared to a broad general audience. Three modes of the learning process—hearing, reading, doing—will be used through the use of guest speakers, video presentations, printed materials, field trip, and other hands-on learning activities.

The project director will be Jan Lyons, an officer with the Oak Ridge Site Specific Advisory Board with experience in program planning for the Tennessee Citizens for Wilderness Planning (TCWP), integrated risk management, and community outreach.

Project partners will include experts from TCWP, ORUUC, and within LWVOR.  The LWVOR liaison to the project will be Peter Scheffler. Liaisons among team partners will be Sandra Goss, executive director of TCWP, and the Rev. Tandy Scheffler, minister of faith formation at ORUUC and director of the ORUUC Rainbow Camp.

 

OR offers tours of schools

 

The Oak Ridge school system is offering tours of elementary, middle and high school classrooms on December 16. Only 30 slots are available.  The community tour is scheduled from 8 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. December 16.  The public is invited to see how Oak Ridge teachers and students teach and learn while school is in session.  The day will begin at the American Museum of Science and Energy and will then proceed through an elementary school, middle school, and the high school for classroom visits. Lunch will be served at Oak Ridge High School.  Participants will have an opportunity to hear from Parker Hardy about STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) in the Oak Ridge community and to have a question-and-answer session with School Superintendent Bruce Borchers before heading back to the museum at 12:45 pm.  To register, complete the following: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/D6ZRKP9.  Additional tours will be held in the future.

 

ORT:  Gooch new Mayor of OR, Smith Vice Mayor

 

(Oak Ridge Today) New Oak Ridge City Council member Warren Gooch was appointed Mayor, and returning City Council member Ellen Smith was elected mayor pro tem, or Vice Mayor, on Monday night.  The two were appointed to serve two-year terms by the City Council during the first meeting since the November 4 municipal election.  Gooch was the top vote-getter in the November 4 municipal election, and he is the city’s 10th mayor.  Two members switched votes and cast ballots for Gooch, breaking an impasse that had lasted through five rounds of voting.  Smith has served on City Council before. She lost a re-election bid in November 2012, but was one of four new members elected to the Council this month.  It took six rounds of voting to pick from among the four candidates for mayor on Monday. Besides Gooch, the candidates were Smith, Hope, and new Council member Rick Chinn.  After Gooch was elected, it only took one round of voting to pick Smith as mayor pro tem. She was the only candidate. The mayor pro tem presides at meetings when the mayor is unavailable or absent.  The City Council elects a mayor and mayor pro tem from among its own members after each municipal election every two years. Former Mayor Tom Beehan and Mayor Pro Tem Jane Miller did not seek re-election to the Council this year.  City Council members serve staggered terms, meaning there were four members elected this year, and there will be three more elected in 2016. Two incumbents—David Mosby and Anne Garcia Garland—were not re-elected.

 

Fire destroys vacant home

 

The Anderson County Sheriff’s Department is investigating a Saturday night fire that destroyed an empty house in Briceville that had been the target of thieves, authorities said.  The fire on Brown Flats Lane was reported shortly after 11:30 pm Saturday.  The victim, who lives at a separate address on Brown Flats Lane, said the empty house was his parents’ old home, and there had recently been several thefts there.  In one of those thefts, someone stole all the copper, and there was no electricity at the home.  Briceville firefighters told deputies that the fire could have been arson since the utilities have been turned off, but further investigation is required.  The home was a total loss, and the Sheriff’s Department will continue to investigate.   

 

Campbell animal shelter to resume duties

 

The Campbell County Commission voted Monday night to reinstate animal adoptions and owner surrenders at the Campbell County Animal Shelter after they were suspended last week.  Officials wanted to clarify the costs associated with adopting an animal so practitioners were not out any money.  It costs at least $135 total to adopt an animal, which includes a $15 adoption fee paid to the animal shelter, $40 to $45 paid to a veterinarian for the initial check-up, and at least $80 paid to a veterinarian for spaying and neutering.  The finance office and county mayor's office will be taken out of the paperwork shuffle by having these costs paid directly to the animal shelter and veterinarian.  The initial vet visit and spay and neuter must be taken care of within 30 days of the adoption. If that part of the contract is not fulfilled, the animal is supposed to be returned to the shelter.

 

Report:  Wrongful death lawsuit dropped

 

According to the News-Sentinel, a wrongful-death lawsuit over an October 2012 incident where a volunteer Anderson County Sheriff’s deputy shot and killed a man during a confrontation was dropped Friday in Anderson County Circuit Court but could be re-filed.  The complaint was filed in October 2013 on behalf of Randall Wilcox's widow and the guardian of Wilcox's children.  It named Anderson County Sheriff Paul White and reserve officer Steven Williams as the defendants.  The lawsuit alleged Williams chased Wilcox with gun drawn, tackled him and then shot the Clinton man three times.  Anderson County District Attorney General Dave Clark in an April 2013 report ruled that the shooting was justified.   Clark’s investigation indicated that the shooting came after a struggle during which Wilcox grabbed Williams' pistol and fired it at "point-blank range" at the officer’s chest.  The weapon misfired because Williams had forced the slide back on his weapon during the struggle, according to Clark's report.  The DA said Williams regained control of the weapon and fired three times as Wilcox charged at him.  The encounter occurred in the Marlow community after Williams made a traffic stop on suspicion that Wilcox wasn't wearing a seat belt. Wilcox fled and Williams pursued into a wooded area, where the incident unfolded.  The lawsuit alleged Williams' actions constituted assault and false arrest and violated Wilcox's constitutional rights. 

 

Rocky Top signs now grace I-75

 

New signs have been installed on Interstate 75 to reflect the new identity of Rocky Top for the town formerly known as Lake City.  The town changed its name in June and while the city paid to replace signs, logos and stickers on city vehicles, officials had to coordinate with TDOT to change the signs along the interstate.  The project was paid for by the city with money specifically allocated for such a purpose in this year’s budget. 

 

Fire destroys home, no one hurt

 

A fire just outside the Clinton city limits all but destroyed a home on Holbrook Lane late Thursday afternoon.  The homeowner and her dog were able to get out of the house safely and no injuries were reported.  The fire was reported to 911 shortly before 5 pm and crews from the Marlow Volunteer Fire Department were the first to respond.  They called for assistance from the Clinton and Oak Ridge municipal fire departments and, in all around 15 firefighters were able to extinguish the blaze within about 45 minutes.  Crews reported that the house was engulfed by flames when they arrived.  The home suffered significant fire, smoke and water damage and the resident stayed with relatives Thursday night.  The fire appears to have been accidental, and electrical in nature.  This was the third fire in 12 days in the area between Clinton and Oak Ridge and the second in just two days.  A Wednesday fire on Ridge Lane killed 65-year-old Martha Bailey when she became trapped inside the burning structure after running in to find and rescue her pets.  All three fires are believed to have been accidental in nature.  For a look at ways that you can take measures to prevent fires in your home, visit http://www.redcross.org/prepare/disaster/home-fire or http://www.safekids.org/fire.  

 

Report:  CSX offers bridge repair schedule…again

 

As we have been reporting for some time now, CSX Railroad has promised to repair a 100-year-old bridge on a popular Anderson County shortcut closed by the state in July of 2013 after inspectors deemed it unsafe.  Earlier this year, the company gave the county two options on getting the bridge on Johnson Gap Road—a more direct route to and from Dutch Valley and Clinton—reopened.  Those options were to have the county pay for replacing the wooden bridge or allow the company to make the necessary repairs at its own expense.  The County Commission unanimously approved option number two in the spring, but no work has been done yet as the company experienced labor and other issues that kept the project from moving forward.  Anderson County officials, including the Commission chairman, Road Superintendent and the Law Director, have maintained contact with the company but have never received any firm commitment as to when the work might start.  A CSX spokesperson this week told the News-Sentinel that the company expects to award a contract for the work by the end of this year, saying that construction could begin by the end of January and take up to four months to complete.  The bridge is owned by the railroad, which has prevented state or county crews from making the repairs before now. 

 

Cocaine Trafficker sentenced, local agencies aided FBI probe

 

(US Attorney’s Office) On Nov 4, 2014, 27-year-old Baltazar Camacho of Mexico was sentenced to serve 470 months in prison by the Chief U.S. District Judge Thomas A. Varlan.  The sentence was the result of a guilty plea by Camacho on the morning his trial was set to begin in April 2014 to a federal grand jury indictment charging him with conspiracy to distribute cocaine and crack cocaine, and conspiracy to commit money laundering.  Following a day-and-a-half of testimony from five witnesses, Judge Varlan found that Camacho personally distributed between 150 kilograms and 450 kilograms of cocaine, at a minimum; Camacho was aware at least half of that amount would be converted into crack cocaine and sold; Camacho was an organizer or leader of an extensive criminal activity; and Camacho was armed with a firearm while he participated in the conspiracies.  The indictment and subsequent convictions of Camacho and 15 others were the result of an 18-month investigation conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Drug Enforcement Administration, Roane County Sheriff’s Office, Harriman Police Department, Oak Ridge Police Department, Knoxville Police Department, Knox County Sheriff’s Office, Clinton Police Department, and Loudon County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorney Tracy L. Stone represented the United States.  U.S. Attorney William C. “Bill” Killian remarked, “Even in a time of intensifying drug activities and fewer law enforcement resources, we will continue to pursue all those who flood our streets with illegal drugs, and particularly those who lead large conspiracies such as these. That effort will never stop.”

 

State money to aid in fight against youth drug use

 

State officials say community drug coalitions are spending $7 million in federal grants to fight prescription drug abuse among young people in 10 eastern Tennessee counties, including Anderson and Knox.  The 10 counties include 41% of the state’s total population and include:  Anderson, Blount, Hamilton, Jackson, Johnson, Knox, Putnam, Smith, Sullivan and Washington counties.  The Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services secured the grants to run public awareness campaigns and community-based prevention and enforcement efforts over the next five years.  Commissioner Doug Varney said the goal is to reduce prescription drug abuse among 12- to 25-year-olds by at least 4 percent.  The program will make heavy use of a social media campaign to try to change behavior and promote alternatives.  The complete press release from the state is available on our website at www.wyshradio.com.  

 

(TDMHSAS press release) The Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (TDMHSAS) is teaming up with community anti-drug coalitions across a 10-county region of East Tennessee in an effort to reduce the number of young people who are abusing prescription drugs.  To help achieve this goal, TDMHSAS has secured nearly $7 million dollars in federal grant funds to engage with young people through public awareness campaigns and community-based prevention and enforcement efforts over a five-year period.  “Our objective is to reduce the abuse of prescription drugs by the 12 to 25 year old age group by more than four percent,” said E. Douglas Varney, Commissioner, TDMHSAS. “If we’re successful, that will add up to thousands of young lives saved from disastrous consequences. We owe it to them, their families, and communities to do all we can.”  The 10 counties to be targeted include: Anderson, Blount, Hamilton, Jackson, Johnson, Knox, Putnam, Smith, Sullivan, and Washington. These counties represent 41% of Tennessee’s population.  Working through established anti-drug coalitions, Tennesseans in the targeted counties will experience grassroots efforts to change public policy as it relates to local, county,  and city government ordinances and law enforcement procedures toward prescription drug use and abuse.

Count it – Lock it – Drop it

To help ensure the proper storage and disposal of prescription drugs, the prevention effort will include increasing the availability and use of home lock boxes and drug take-back boxes. Pharmacies and law enforcement agencies also will be established locations for the safe disposal of unused prescriptions.  Access to drug removal options and working with physicians and pharmacists to better manage prescribing practices will further help to reduce availability and abuse.  “The abuse of prescription drugs by teenagers and young adults, primarily in Tennessee’s eastern counties, is at epidemic proportions,” said Commissioner Varney. “Our goal over the next five years is to significantly reduce the level of prescription drug abuse by our young people, and in doing so; we can help more of them reach their full potential and change the landscape for future generations of Tennesseans.” 

SOCIAL MEDIA CAMPAIGNS KEY

In order to reach the targeted 12-25 year olds, the prevention effort will lean heavily on social media. There will be social media campaigns, social marketing campaigns, social norms marketing campaigns, and efforts to provide other social alternatives.  “The internet and social media offer young people many services to educate and empower themselves and each other,” said Rod Bragg, TDMHSAS Assistant Commissioner for Substance Abuse. “Social media is second nature to them and our hope is they will be open to this message and join in a conversation with us about the dangers of abusing prescription drugs.”

 

Marlow woman dies after trying to save pets from fire

 

An Anderson County woman has died from injuries she sustained Wednesday afternoon after running into her burning home to rescue her pets.  According to the Anderson County Sheriff’s Department, 65-year-old Martha Bailey and her friend arrived at the home on Ridge Lane in the Marlow Community shortly after 3:00 Wednesday afternoon, discovered it was on fire and called 911.  A few minutes later, Bailey ran inside to try to rescue her pets. During her attempt, her clothes caught on fire, and she collapsed, prompting her friend, Adra Denton, to call 911 a second time. Anderson County Sheriff’s Department Deputy Wiley Maloney, Reserve Deputy Gene Rose, and Marlow Volunteer Fire Department Captain Zach Pressnell pulled Bailey out of the burning house and covered her with a wet coat until paramedics arrived on the scene.  Bailey was taken by ambulance to Methodist Medical Center then transported by Lifestar helicopter to UT Medical Center, where she passed away during the night.  Firefighters were able to rescue a dog and cat from the home, but one dog did perish in the blaze. The surviving animals were taken to a local animal hospital for treatment.  Denton was treated at the scene of smoke inhalation.  The fire reportedly caused around $25,000 of damage, mostly confined to the living room where the blaze is believed to have begun.  Officials said the cause of the fire appeared to be an accident, but they are still investigating.  

 

OR earns EPA recognition

 

The city of Oak Ridge has been named a "Green Power Community of the Year" by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  The EPA made that announcement Wednesday. Oak Ridge is one of only two cities in the nation to receive the award, the other being Medford, Oregon.  They are among 19 Green Power Partners and four power suppliers across the country receiving the EPA's Green Leadership Awards.  According to an EPA release, the recognition is for "advancing the nation's renewable energy market and reducing greenhouse gas emissions fueling climate change.”  In all, the award winners use more than 7.6 billion kilowatt-hours of green power each year. Green power is electricity generated from such renewable resources as solar, wind, geothermal, and others.   Since its birth as a secret city involved in building the first atomic bomb, Oak Ridge's identity "has long been intertwined with the energy sector," according to the EPA.  The release goes on to say that presently, the U.S. Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory continues the city's energy tradition by conducting research related to solar, wind, geothermal, biomass, and hydropower technologies, and purchasing green power for its electricity use. Oak Ridge is recognized as a Platinum Community in the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) Valley Sustainable Communities Program and has set the ambitious goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions 30 percent by 2030. With city-wide attention focused on using clean energy, Oak Ridge became the Southeast's first EPA Green Power Community in 2014.  Earlier this year, the city launched an effort to encourage greater participation in TVA's renewable energy program. That effort tripled the use of TVA's Green Power Switch program, where residents pay more for electricity produced from nonpolluting sources.  Residents, businesses, and the local government are now using more than 73 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of renewable energy annually, including more than 126,000 kWh of on-site solar power at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. 

 

(General EPA release) Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is recognizing Oak Ridge, Tennessee as a Green Power Community of the Year.  The city is one of 19 Green Power Partners and four suppliers from across the country receiving Green Leadership Awards that are given annually by the Agency.  Awardees are recognized for achievements in advancing the nation’s renewable energy market and reducing greenhouse gas emissions fueling climate change. 

“By using more than 7.6 billion kilowatt-hours of green power annually, these communities, businesses, and organizations are leading the way in cutting U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, reducing the impacts of climate change, and protecting public health,” said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. “These partners demonstrate that green power is not only a smart business investment, but it’s affordable, accessible and it reduces emissions while growing the renewable energy market and spurring innovation.” 

Green power is electricity that is generated from renewable sources, including solar, wind, geothermal, biogas, and low-impact hydroelectric sources. Green power does not produce fossil fuel-based greenhouse gas emissions that fuel climate change. The award winners below are being recognized for their efforts in expanding the domestic renewable energy market—from using enough green power to meet more than 100 percent of electricity needs to installing solar arrays on-site or entering long-term power purchase agreements—these organizations are demonstrating that green power is both accessible and affordable.  

These award-winning partners were chosen for their exemplary use of green power from more than 1,300 partner organizations that comprise EPA’s Green Power Partnership. Utilities, renewable energy project developers, and other green power suppliers are eligible to apply for the Green Power Supplier award. 

EPA, through the Green Power Partnership, works with partner organizations to use green power as a way to reduce the environmental impacts associated with conventional electricity use. The Partnership currently has more than 1,300 partner organizations voluntarily using billions of kilowatt-hours of green power annually. Partners include a wide variety of leading organizations such as Fortune 500 companies, small and medium sized businesses, local, state, and federal governments, and colleges and universities. 

The 2014 Green Power Leadership Awards will be presented on December 3, 2014, at the annual Renewable Energy Markets Conference in Sacramento, Calif. More on the 2014 Green Power Leadership award winners:http://www.epa.gov/greenpower/awards/winners.htm.

 

(Oak Ridge-specific EPA release) Oak Ridge, Tennessee's identity has long been intertwined with the energy sector. Also known as the "Secret City" and the "Atomic City," Oak Ridge was established in 1942 as a Manhattan Project development site. While remaining a secret, the city's population ballooned from 3,000 to more than 75,000 by the end of World War II as it hosted major advances in nuclear technology.  Today, the U.S. Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory continues the city's energy tradition by conducting research related to solar, wind, geothermal, biomass, and hydropower technologies, and purchasing green power for its electricity use. Oak Ridge is recognized as a Platinum Community in the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) Valley Sustainable Communities Program and has set the ambitious goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions 30 percent by 2030. With city-wide attention focused on using clean energy, Oak Ridge became the Southeast's first EPA Green Power Community in 2014.  In the spring of 2014, Oak Ridge launched a community challenge to encourage greater participation in TVA's renewable energy program, resulting in community-wide green power use of 5.5 percent, and a participation rate nearly three times the rate at the start of the challenge. Residents, businesses, and the local government are using more than 73 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of renewable energy annually, including more than 126,000 kWh of on-site solar power at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

The city also intends to leverage its role as the first Green Power Community in TVA's territory into a leadership position for promoting green power regionally. Using TVA's communication channels along with local outlets, the community's advertising plan includes the use of newsletters, radio ads, community events, mailers, door-to-door canvassing, and social media marketing campaigns.

 

Cat bites man, remains at large

 

You often hear reports of dogs biting people but rarer is the case when the aggressive animal is a cat.  That was the case Saturday morning however, as a Clinton man reported that he was bitten by an aggressive cat on his property on Pine Street.  A Clinton police officer and the Animal Control officer responded to the home of Alfred Martin at around 8:20 am Saturday after he called to report the incident.  Martin told them that he had put out his own trap in an effort to catch some of the stray cats in his neighborhood and when he came out that morning, saw that a large cat had been halfway caught in the trap and appeared to be in pain.  Martin says when he tried to get the cat all the way into the trap it turned on him, biting him on a finger on one hand and getting its teeth into his other hand as well.  The cat fled the scene and officers reported that Martin’s finger was swollen and bruised while his other hand had four puncture marks on it.  It is unclear if Martin sought medical attention and the cat remains at large.

 

Tree on shed leads to confrontation

 

Friday, Clinton Police responded to a home on Hendrickson Street on a call of a disturbance that began when a man accused another of cutting down a tree that landed on his shed.  Officers spoke with Daniel Mincey, who told them that Daniel Buhl had accused him of cutting down a tree on property adjacent to Buhl’s that landed on his shed.  Mincey reportedly told Buhl that if he wanted money, he would need to take him to court because he “wasn’t going to deal with him.”  Buhl told the officer that Mincey had cut a tree that landed on his shed and showed the officer a cell phone video recording of the ensuing confrontation.  The officer reported that the video showed Buhl confronting Mincey at the end of Buhl’s driveway.  During the confrontation, Buhl reportedly yelled and cursed at Mincey and the officer noted in his report that Mincey “demonstrated admirable self control while trying to remove himself from the hostile situation Buhl was creating.”  No charges were filed against either man and Mincey left the scene, pledging not to return. 

 

OR company receives federal contract

 

An Oak Ridge-based company has been awarded a $15.9 million contract by the Department of Homeland Security and the FEMA to provide a variety of services at the Center for Domestic Preparedness in Anniston, Alabama.  Under terms of the five-year contract, HME, Inc. of Oak Ridge will work in areas including maintenance; HVAC and refrigeration systems; plumbing ; elevator maintenance; and management of the vehicle fleet.. HME specializes in facilities operations and maintenance services.  According to a news release, the Center for Domestic Preparedness is a national training facility that prepares state and local emergency response personnel to respond to terrorist attacks involving weapons of mass destruction. This is the second such contract for HME, which began providing facilities operations and support services for the Center in 2009.

 

ORT:  Fire destroys vacant house

 

(Oak Ridge Today) No one was injured in a fire that destroyed a vacant one-story brick house in Anderson County last week.  The fire was reported at about 3:50 a.m. Sunday, November 9, at 302 Elm View Drive in Tacora Hills.  Flames were already shooting through the roof when the Marlow Volunteer Fire Department arrived. The home and its contents were destroyed, according to our partners at Oak Ridge Today.  The Anderson County Emergency Medical Services and Anderson County Sheriff’s Department also responded. Fire units were on the scene about four hours.  The cause has not been determined.

 

ACDF a drop off center for Toys for Tots

 

Sheriff Paul White has announced that the Anderson County Detention Facility staff has volunteered the facility to be a Toys for Tots drop off center for Christmas 2014. Gifts for children that are new or unopened will be accepted in the drop off box located in the Detention Facility lobby at 308 Public Safety Lane in Clinton. The box will be available to the public from 8:00am to 10:00pm each day until Monday, December 15.  Toys for Tots is an official activity of the United States Marine Corps and a mission of the Marine Corps Reserve. First founded in 1947, the U.S. Marine Corps adopted Toys for Tots and expands it into a nationwide community action project. Now an international project, in 2012 Toys For Tots distributed almost 17 million toys to more than 7 million children across the world.  The local Toys For Tots program is sponsored by the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, Company D, 4th Combat Engineer Battalion, 2101 Alcoa Highway, Knoxville, Tennessee.  Sheriff White and the jail staff are proud to help provide toys and gifts to the children of Anderson County.  For more information you can call the Detention Facility at 865-457-7100, extension 117, or visit the Toys For Tots website at: www.toysfortots.com. For local information, please contact Staff Sergeant Sergio Nunez, U.S.M.C. at: sergio.l.nunez@usmc.mil.

 

ACSD offers holiday safety tips

 

(ACSD) The holiday season is upon us once again. Many people can become victims of burglary, theft, and other crime during the holidays. Protecting yourself and your home from crime is one way to be safe and happy during this holiday season.  To help ensure everyone has safe and fun holidays, the Anderson County Sheriff’s Department would like to offer the following tips for Holiday Crime Prevention.

Shopping:

  • Park in lighted areas at night.
  • Always lock your car.
  • Don't try to cover items on your seats. Put shopping bags in your trunk or take your packages straight home after shopping and go back out.
  • Don't carry large amounts of cash with you. Keep money in your front pocket– not in your purse or wallet.
  • Be extra careful when carrying a purse – they are the prime targets of criminals in crowded shopping areas. If you must carry one, make sure it has a strap that can go over the shoulder and be held under the arm, making them more difficult for purse snatchers to grab.
  • Keep a record of all of your debit and credit card numbers in a safe place at your home.
  • Beware of strangers approaching you. This is the time of year when thieves may try various methods to distract you with the intention of taking your money or belongings.
  • Pay attention. Don’t be distracted while texting or using your cell phone.

Home:

  • Always lock your home, garage, and outbuildings even if you are only going to be away for a few minutes.
  • When leaving home for an extended time, have a neighbor or family member watch your house and pick up your newspapers and mail.
  • Leave a light on when you leave your home at night or put your lights on an automatic timer.
  • Leave a television or radio on so your home looks and sounds occupied.
  • Make sure your holiday gifts are not visible through the windows and doors of your home.
  • Never say you are away from home on the outgoing message on your answering machine or voice mail. Simply say you are unable to answer the phone at the time.
  • Never post on your social networking website that you are away from home.  Wait until you return and then post the fun details of your trip.
  • After the holidays, don’t advertise gifts by leaving boxes for the garbage collection. Flatten boxes and place in a sealed garbage bag.

One of the best ways to prevent crime is to have “nosy” neighbors. Be watchful of suspicious cars or people in your neighborhood. Have a neighbor watch your house, and do the same for them.  If you see something suspicious, call the Sheriff’s Department at 457-2414 or your local police immediately.  One of the best crime prevention tools is a Neighborhood Watch program. For information on starting or joining a Neighborhood Watch group, contact our Crime Prevention Officer, Deputy David Massengill, at 457-6255, extension 1150.  Sheriff’s deputies will be out in force to help deter burglaries and thefts in an effort to keep our community safe. Ensuring you and your family have a safe holiday season is our top priority.  On behalf of the men and women of the Anderson County Sheriff’s Department, best wishes for a safe and happy holiday season.

 

Man sentenced over Y-12 extortion attempt

 

A Scott County man was sentenced to serve three months in prison on Monday after he pleaded guilty in July to charges that he tried to extort Babcock and Wilcox Y-12 LLC, the former managing and operating contractor at the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge.  25-year-old Adam Winters of Oneida—who once appeared on the reality TV show “Millionaire Matchmaker”—received the sentence in U.S. District Court in Knoxville on Monday, according to U.S. Attorney William C. Killian. After he is released from prison, Winters will be on supervised probation for one year.  Winters pleaded guilty in July to transmitting communications containing threats to injure the reputation of B&W Y-12 in interstate and foreign commerce, with intent to extort money and other things of value from the corporation. Winters admitted that he emailed Babcock and Wilcox and attempted to email the vice president of the United States regarding copies of slides that he possessed that contained information he believed would injure the reputation of Babcock and Wilcox.  Following the email, he used the Internet and telephone and communicated his threat to injure their reputation through the use of these slides, Killian said. After making these threats, Winters met with undercover law enforcement agents to exchange the slides for $2.5 million that he had demanded from Babcock and Wilcox during his extortion attempt, the press release said. During this exchange meeting, law enforcement officers revealed their identity and arrested him.

 

AC Trustee Archer elected president of state organization

 

(Submitted) The Tennessee County Trustee's Association held their annual business meeting last week at the County Officials Conference where they voted on and named Rodney Archer as the new President of their Association.  Archer has held the Anderson County Trustee position since 2006 and has been an active leader in the Trustee's Association.  He previously served as the Secretary of the statewide organization and was also recognized as Outstanding Trustee for the East Tennessee division in 2010.  The Association serves as not only a network but also is an essential component of Professional Development for Trustees across Tennessee.  "Rodney has been a leader in our organization since he first got involved and has consistently proven himself - from raising the bar in his own office to representing our state organization in Nashville or at the national level with the National Association of County Collectors, Treasurers, and Finance Officers - he is an excellent representative for this organization," says Jay West, Executive Director of County Officials of Tennessee, "We are all delighted to have him serve as the Trustee’s Association president in 2015."  The Tennessee Trustee's Association has long been Tennessee's leading organization promoting sound tax policy and advocates for tax-relief and tax-freeze programs.  These programs are important to all 95 counties as their main goal is to provide our senior citizens, disabled veterans, and disabled homeowners with tax assistance.  These programs are often in jeopardy during budget cuts, therefore, the Association actively lobbies for support because of the needs of their constituents.  "I am excited to have been chosen for this position of being able to work with fellow administrators from across the state," said Archer.  "I look forward to the new and exciting challenges of supporting the Association and working to build partnerships across the state that can ultimately benefit our constituents."

 

Report:  OS sued over wastewater leaks

 

According to the News-Sentinel, the town of Oliver Springs and its wastewater treatment plant have been sued in Roane County Circuit Court for $1.9 million over sewage overflows on private property.  The lawsuit was filed Monday by three people living on Bennett Road, who allege that massive leaks of sewage on to their land have ruined their property and made the 15 acre parcel impossible to sell.  The suit alleges that defective pipes are to blame for routine overflows of waste and other debris and the town is liable because it was negligent in not properly maintaining the treatment plant, not properly training workers and not following established procedures in operating it.  The lawsuit claims that overflows happen in dry weather because of faulty equipment and in wet weather when the pipes are overtaxed.  The town is already under an order from the state to upgrade its wastewater treatment plant by the end of August 2015 or else face a $175,000 fine and has already been barred from adding any new customers to the sewer system until the deficiencies are corrected.  Former City Manager Tina Treece, who abruptly resigned on November 5th, reportedly told City Council members she was leaving over frustrations with their inaction on addressing the problems, among other issues. 

 

BBB:  Kingston officer escapes serious injury in wrong-way wreck

 

(BBB) A Kingston Police officer escaped serious injury Saturday night just before 10pm, when his cruiser was hit head-on by another car going the wrong way on the westbound exit ramp in Kingston.  According to police, Nate Wilson was starting his first full time shift after having served as a reserve officer and was exiting I-40 onto North Kentucky Street when  is cruiser was hit by a car being driven by 25-year-old Amanda Hendsley, who had taken the wrong  ramp. The THP worked the accident and Hendsley was taken to jail for DUI.  She was not injured in the wreck.  Officer Wilson was uninjured, except for a bump on the head caused when his rifle came loose from its gun rack and struck him. The westbound off ramp was closed for about an hour for the investigation and clean-up.

 

ORNL to house world’s fastest supercomputer in 2017

 

(Oak Ridge Today/staff reports) Oak Ridge National Laboratory will have the world’s fastest next-generation supercomputer, U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander announced at a Friday morning press conference with U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz.  Alexander said the new computer will provide five times the performance of Titan, the current system, and support advanced scientific and materials research to improve economic and national security.  The “next-generation hybrid supercomputer” will be called Summit, and it will be delivered in 2017, the senator said.  The Friday announcement was the result of a partnership between the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility and IBM. Summit will be a hybrid computing system using central processing units (CPUs) and graphic processing units (GPUs).  Titan, a hybrid Cray XK7 capable of 27 petaflops, was recognized as the world’s fastest supercomputer in November 2012. But it was bumped to the number two spot by a Chinese supercomputer in June 2013.  “Supercomputing is essential to U.S. competitiveness in science and technology, and I’m proud our national lab in Tennessee is helping advance scientific research to improve America’s economic and national security,” Alexander said.  Supercomputing supports a wide range of scientific research and development and addresses the most challenging science problems for government, academia, and industry. Among the goals researchers will pursue by applying Summit’s capabilities in diverse scientific arenas:

  • Combustion science: Creating a fundamental understanding of combustion to increase efficiency by 25-50 percent and lower emissions from internal combustion engines using advanced fuels and new, low-temperature combustion concepts.
  • Climate change science: Understanding the dynamic ecological and chemical evolution of the climate system with uncertainty quantification of impacts on regional and decadal scales.
  • Energy storage: Gaining a fundamental understanding of chemical reaction processes at the atomic and molecular level required for predictive design of new materials for energy storage and predictive engineering of safe, large-format, durable, rechargeable batteries.
  • Nuclear power: Enabling reactor-scale simulations to allow safe, increased nuclear fuel burn times, power upgrades, and reactor lifetime extensions, and in doing so reduce the volume of spent fuel. 

 

Man escapes truck before it is hit by train

 

A driver was able to escape from a pickup truck before it was hit by a train on railroad tracks alongside Dutch Valley Road in Marlow on Sunday afternoon.  The Chevrolet S-10 pickup had apparently hit the ditch alongside Dutch Valley Road, went airborne.  According to our partners at Oak Ridge Today, it wasn’t immediately clear how much time elapsed before the truck was then hit by the train near Smith Road. The crash was reported at about 2:50 p.m. Sunday.  The driver suffered minor injuries and was taken by ambulance to Methodist Medical Center.  Witnesses reported that the driver was able to get out of the truck through a window, and it was later struck by the westbound train, which pushed the truck upright and into a ditch adjacent to the track.  The Norfolk Southern train stopped after the crash, but the train crew was not injured.  Crews from the Marlow Volunteer Fire Department, the Anderson County Sheriff’s Department and Tennessee Highway Patrol responded to the crash.

 

ORT:  4 taken to hospital after fire at Toxco

 

(Oak Ridge Today) Four workers were evaluated for minor respiratory issues and released after a small, intense electrical fire was reported at a company that repackages low-level radioactive waste in central Oak Ridge on Thursday morning, authorities said.  The fire at Toxco Materials Management Center on Flint Road was reported at about 11:03 a.m. Thursday. It was in a large one-story metal building at the back of the site.  Electrical equipment inside the building was on fire, and the only way to put it out was to disconnect power, which the Oak Ridge Electric Department did.  Once the power was disconnected, firefighters were able to put out the fire with fire extinguishers.  Toxco workers had tried to put out the fire with extinguishers, and those taken to the hospital for evaluation could possibly have been affected by a combination of smoke from the fire and powder from the extinguishers.  The area where the fire occurred is used to repackage waste but no radioactive waste was involved in the fire. The four workers who were taken to the hospital were checked to make sure they had not been contaminated, and the firefighters who responded were also checked for radiation.  Oak Ridge firefighters cleared the scene at about 12:40 p.m.  Power was restored to the buildings at the front of the Toxco property, but it will remain turned off at the back building until repairs are made.  The Anderson County hazardous materials truck, which is operated by Oak Ridge firefighters and housed at Fire Station Number 3 on Tuskegee Drive, responded. So did three ambulances.

 

ORT:  City calls for demolition of commercial building

 

(Oak Ridge Today) Despite a plea for another extension, a city board on Thursday ordered that a commercial building on East Tyrone Road be demolished within 30 days. The demolition order does not apply to the popular Magic Wok restaurant, which is in a separate diner on the western side of the building.  The Oak Ridge Board of Building and Housing Code Appeals had previously given the building owners more time to develop a repair or demolition plan, including a five-month extension in June. At Thursday’s meeting, board members suggested they hadn’t seen enough work take place since then.  Oak Ridge City Manager Mark Watson told the board that, after several board meetings to discuss the property at 123 and 135 East Tyrone Road, it was time to make a decision.  “We’re spending significant staff resources coming back on this time and time again,” Watson said. “We’ve got other projects out there that we’re going to be dealing with.”  The city staff said concerns about the building stretch back in some form for more than a decade.  The building owners suggested they were still trying to determine whether to sell the building, or demolish 80 percent of it and save about 5,500 square feet of it, among two options. They asked for one more 30-day extension.

 

TBI raids 4 businesses as part of probe in to prostitution, trafficking

 

(TBI) Special agents with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, working with law enforcement agencies from across the state, executed search warrants at four businesses Wednesday as part of an investigation into organized prostitution and human trafficking in the state. The investigation resulted in one person being arrested and two businesses being padlocked.  TBI agents received assistance from the Smyrna Police Department, Cumberland County Sheriff’s Department, Rockwood Police Department, Roane County Sheriff’s Office, 9th Judicial Drug Task Force, Athens Police Department, McMinn County Sheriff’s Department and Immigration Customs Enforcement-Homeland Security Investigations in executing the simultaneous search warrants. Those businesses that were the targets of Wednesday’s search warrants are: 

  • C&K Spa, formerly QT Spa at 801 Peavine Road, Crossville, Tennessee. The Cumberland County Sheriff’s Department arrested Huichu Sandve, charging the 46 year-old with prostitution. She was booked into the Cumberland County Jail on a $10,000 bond.
  • Interstate Spa at 108 Ole Patton Lane, Rockwood, Tennessee. Two individuals were questioned about prostitution and performing massages without a license.
  • Rainbow Spa at 295 Decatur Pike, Athens, Tennessee. Two individuals were questioned about prostitution and performing massages without a license. The business was padlocked by order of a judge and charges are anticipated.
  • Royal Therapy at 557 S Lowry Street, Smyrna, Tennessee. The business was padlocked by order of a judge. Charges are anticipated.

Three of these businesses, QT Spa, Interstate Spa and Rainbow Spa, were also the focus of an investigation in September 2013 that resulted in the closure of spas and massage parlors in the middle and eastern parts of the state. Multiple individuals were arrested or issued citations for prostitution or other outstanding warrants.

 

Gas leak prompts evacuation of OR shopping center

 

An Oak Ridge shopping center was evacuated Tuesday afternoon after a gas leak was reported at the former Kroger grocery store on South Illinois Avenue.  The gas leak was reported at about 3:45 p.m. Tuesday by employees at Mr. K’s Used Books and CDs, and emergency crews quickly evacuated surrounding stores, including China Wok, Nixon’s Deli, Mr. K’s, and Big Kmart.  They also closed off the surrounding parking lot.  The staff initially thought it might be coming from Nixon’s, the deli next door. But then they learned that Nixon’s doesn’t use natural gas. A walk around the shopping center’s parking lot determined that the gas was probably coming from the former Kroger store.  Mr. K’s called the Oak Ridge Utility District, which provides natural gas, and ORUD in turn called the Oak Ridge police and fire departments.  When firefighters opened the door to the old Kroger their suspicions about the source of the leak were confirmed as the odor of gas permeated the air.  The leak was contained and crews worked to clear the gas from the building using high pressure fans.   The fire department cleared the scene around 9:15 p.m. They tested the air quality before opening the building up to the public.  No injuries to customers or firefighters were reported.

 

Campbell fire kills one

 

An early morning house fire killed a Campbell County woman on Tuesday.  The victim has been identified as 69-year-old Betty Miller.  The fire was reported at a home on Morton Road at around 1 am and when deputies and firefighters arrived on the scene they reported that the house was fully engulfed by flames.  Two people managed to get out of the house without injury but Miller was unable to get out of a back bedroom.  Authorities say that witnesses said that a grease fire in the kitchen was the apparent cause of the fire as someone had reportedly been cooking just before the fire started.  Miller’s body was taken to Knoxville’s Regional Forensic Center for an autopsy.

 

Update:  Records requests galore!

 

Updating a story we brought you last week, officials with the city of Clinton say they are awaiting a response from the County Mayor’s office to their response to her request last week for e-mail and other electronic communications involving City Codes Officer Curtis Perez.  Mayor Terry Frank requested all e-mails involving Perez and anyone in the County Public Works Office as it pertains to David Crowley, the director of Public Works for Anderson County.  Crowley is under indictment for allegedly inspecting five homes without the proper certification and that case has resulted in turmoil throughout the County Courthouse.  After the request was made last week, officials decided to wait for guidance from UT’s Municipal Technical Advisory Service, or MTAS, as to how to respond and placed Perez’s computer into the evidence room at the Police Department until they received that guidance.  The city declined the request for records, saying that it was too vague, but indicated they would provide the desired information when they received a more specific request.  Friday, a computer technician copied all of the e-mails from Perez’s computer in order to preserve the forensic evidence and then cloned the hard drive for his computer.  The cloned hard drive is now in the evidence room and Perez’s computer has been returned to him, allowing him to do his job.  In the meantime, WYSH has also learned that Hugh Ward, David Crowley’s attorney, has filed an open records request seeking e-mails, cell phone records, text messages, notes, reports, memorandums, audio-visual recordings or any electronic materials related to the case from five County Commissioners listed as having been interviewed by the District Attorney’s Office.  Since they could be potential witnesses in the case, the request is asking for records from Commissioners Zach Bates, Steve Emert, Tim Isbel, Tracy Wandell and Jerry White and covers their official duties as commissioners.  As always, we will keep you updated as developments warrant.

 

Spike in traffic deaths make AC a focus this holiday season

 

Monday, officials with the Governor’s Highway Safety Office and the Tennessee Highway Patrol joined officers from several Anderson County agencies to announce that they will be beefing up patrols and other safety efforts during the upcoming holiday season.  While those increased efforts will take place across the state, Anderson County is receiving extra attention due to a 77% increase in traffic fatalities this year when compared to last year.  16 people have already died in 2014 on roadways in the county.  From 2010 to 2013, 55 people were killed in Anderson County wrecks.  While the number of traffic deaths in the state has continued to decline in recent years, officials say that nearly one-third of those deaths involved impaired drivers, and getting those drivers off the road will be the primary focus of the upcoming enforcement effort.  Another area of emphasis will target those drivers and passengers who do not wear seatbelts or properly secure children.  The vast majority of Americans—some 88%--do wear their seatbelts, but that remaining 12% of people who do not account for half of the traffic deaths in Anderson County.  Distracted driving is becoming more of a concern as well as there has been a recent increase in the number of accidents involving people distracted by their cell phones or other electronic devices.  Authorities say that safe driving is a choice and they encourage people to make the smart choices of buckling their seatbelts, driving sober and putting down the phone.  In addition to increased patrols, you can also expect to see saturation patrols and roadside sobriety checkpoints this holiday season, all part of the effort to keep everyone safe on the roads.

 

AC Mayor provides update on Public Works

 

Monday, Anderson County Mayor Terry Frank updated the County Commission’s Operations Committee on the status of the Public Works Department in the wake of months of controversy that seemed to come to a head last week.  You can read the complete report provided by the mayor to local media outlets on our website, but Mayor Frank says that the Public Works Department is conducting inspections using certified individuals and is in the process of hiring a new, full-time building inspector.  Currently, the county is “utilizing the inspection services of Wayne Williamson, who is fully certified in all required fields including mechanical” and that he is being paid by the hour.  She told commissioners Monday that the five houses that are the subject of the charges against Public Works Director David Crowley are being re-inspected by an “independent and separate engineering firm.”  Updating the status of an investigation into what have been described as deficiencies in the Public Works Department, Mayor Frank said that while it is still ongoing, preliminary results indicate that “it appears that a recently terminated employee—Lisa Crumpley—has left Anderson County in an awkward situation by failing to comply with a 2012 Plan of Action applicable to her work.  Due to a change in administration, [Crumpley] was the only person in the office aware of the requirements of the Plan of Corrective Action (POCA) from April of 2012.  She failed to apprise her supervisors of the terms of the POCA and failed to comply with the terms of the POCA that applied to her continued employment with the County. In addition, it appears that there was a period of months in early 2012 when [Crumpley] performed inspections while not certified.  The Law Director, the building commissioner, and [Crumpley] were aware of the issue, but my administration was not made aware of the issue until very recent events led to a full investigation.”  Mayor Frank went on to say that as of September, the State Fire Marshal’s Office says that with the inspectors that the county has on payroll or under contract, the county is in compliance with applicable statutes and that “as long as Mr. Crowley does not inspect structures, he is not required to be certified.”  We will continue to follow this story for you. 

 

(Provided my Anderson County Mayor Terry Frank)  Status of Public Works Office

The following is a status report regarding events in the Public Works office:

  • In order to address any potential safety issues for residents, Anderson County has entered into a contract to re-inspect the 5 properties where the alleged violations occurred.  The homeowners of the 5 properties were contacted personally by me, made aware that they would be contacted regarding a re-inspection of the questioned inspection and informed that at this time, I believed there was no reason to believe there existed issues with their home.  This contract for re-inspection is separate and independent from the Public Works Department.
  • Anderson County is utilizing the inspection services of Wayne Williamson who is fully certified in all required fields, including mechanical, and is paying him on an hourly basis.
  • Anderson County is seeking to hire a full-time building inspector.  That position has been advertised.  In the interim, Anderson County is awaiting final approval to enter into a contract with a firm to assist Mr. Williamson with inspections until a full-time inspector is hired.  This firm will be available on call and will represent Anderson County.  Wayne Williamson will continue to be available on an as-needed basis.
  • On June 18, 2014, Anderson County was notified that Anderson County had not notified the State Fire Marshal’s office of a long-term plan from our letter of April 27, 2012.  Unaware of a prior Plan of Corrective Action (POCA), David Crowley requested a copy of the POCA submitted by Brian Jenks, then Interim Building Official.  To close the POCA regarding Mechanical Inspections, Mr. Crowley contacted the state on July 9, 2014 informing them Anderson County had hired Wayne Williamson part-time to perform Mechanical Inspections.  Mr. Williamson has ICC and State Certification for Residential, Commercial Building, Plumbing, Mechanical and Plans Examiner.
  • Following receipt of the June 18, 2014 letter and subsequent discovery of the terms of Anderson County’s former POCA, Mr. Crowley instituted a review of files.  An audit of files dating back to 2011 is currently on-going.
  • A full investigation of deficiencies is being performed, though not complete at this time.  I will be happy to provide an update to Commission when the investigation is complete.  From that investigation to date, it appears that a recently terminated employee has left Anderson County in an awkward situation by failing to comply with a 2012 Plan of Action applicable to her work.  Due to a change in administration, this employee was the only person in the office aware of the requirements of the Plan of Corrective Action (POCA) from April of 2012.  She failed to apprise her supervisors of the terms of the POCA and failed to comply with the terms of the POCA that applied to her continued employment with the County. In addition, it appears that there was a period of months in early 2012 when this employee performed inspections while not certified.  The Law Director, the building commissioner, and this employee were aware of the issue, but my administration was not made aware of the issue until very recent events led to a full investigation. Once our full investigation is complete, Anderson County will have to address what we do to correct any deficiencies caused by these issues, including possible re-inspections.
  • Working with Mr. Crowley, I have drafted correspondence to the State Fire Marshal’s Office requesting assistance and guidance on how to proceed with the inspection failures created by the former employee.  Mr. Crowley made the state aware on August 29, 2014 that it appeared several Certificates of Occupancy had been issued without requiring mechanical inspections.  On Aug. 29, 2014, he did relieve her of her duties of completing the permit files in order to ensure the required inspections and documents were received prior to issuing Certificates of Occupancy.
  • As you are probably aware from media reports, several permit files dating back to 2011, as well as code books, are missing from the Public Works Office. The personnel file of the terminated employee is missing form the Human Resource Office.  Shortly after this file was identified as missing, both employees in the Human Resources Office resigned from their positions.
  • I requested that Public Works notify the Sheriff’s Department of the missing files, and Mr. Page did so immediately on the afternoon of October 15, 2014.  At approximately 11:00 am, I requested the Director of the Human Resources office to file a report on the missing personnel file. I notified the Comptroller’s office by filing fraud reports for both instances.
  • I arranged for a full review of the Public Works office, and hired part-time help to inventory every drawer and shelf.  The 25 missing files are identified by permit number.
  • As you are probably aware from media reports, an attorney representing the former employee has made several public records requests.   I complied by submitting documents and records from my office and by securing the email accounts as requested. 
  • I asked the County’s IT professionals to make forensic copies of two computers of the resigning Human Resource employees, in order to preserve any data on those hard drives.  As you know, the Sheriff has stepped in to take over responsibility of securing the hard drives.  Sheriff White has now accepted responsibility for the securing of the information in the possible case.
  • Regarding the POCA involving inspections by Mr. Crowley, my office received notice on September 12, 2014 from the State Fire Marshal’s office that with the inspectors we have on payroll or under contract, Anderson County is in compliance.  The state closed the POCA from January 13, 2014 by stating, “As long as Mr. Crowley does not inspect structures, he is not required to be certified.”
  • Currently, Anderson County is employing one part-time inspector fully certified.  He maintains ICC and State Certification for Residential, Commercial Building, Plumbing, Mechanical and Plans Examiner.  Anderson County will also be contracting with a fully certified engineering company to perform inspections until a full time inspector is hired.  Codes Enforcement Officer Steve Page is certified for the International Property Maintenance Code 2009 and the International Residential Code 2009.  Mr. Crowley possesses Residential certification and is certified TDEC Tennessee Erosion Prevention and Sediment Control personnel. 
  • I received notice from Mr. Hugh Ward, attorney for David Crowley, questioning Mr. Yeager providing counsel for Anderson County.  I notified Mr. Ward that I believed our insurer would be providing counsel, and that I was aware Mr. Yeager would be a necessary and material witness, and therefore disqualified.  (See attached)
  • On October 31, 2014, I wrote District Attorney General Dave Clark and requested he request a TBI investigation of missing files. 

To summarize, the Public Works Office is conducting inspections by fully certified individuals.  The 5 inspections that are the subject of allegations against David Crowley are being re-inspected by an independent and separate engineering firm.  The termination of the former employee for cause and discoveries of her inspection deficiencies have left Anderson County with more reviews to accomplish and decisions to make.  There is a search underway for a new, full-time building inspector. 

 

Search warrants served, computers seized

 

Last week, deputies from the Anderson County Sheriff’s Department served a search warrant as part of their ongoing investigation into the missing personnel file of fired building inspector Lisa Crumpley.  The warrant allowed investigators to seize the computers from the county’s Human Resources Department that were the subjects of a standoff of sorts involving the County Mayor and the outgoing HR director.  You can read much moiré about last week’s courthouse drama on our website.  The search warrants were served on Thursday.

 

City finds itself part of Courthouse drama

 

Controversy and conflict regarding the copying of hard drives from computers in the Anderson County Human Resources Department has spilled across the street from the Courthouse to Clinton City Hall.  As we have reported, County HR Director Cathy Best announced her resignation Monday after almost ten years on the job and her looming departure, along with that of her second-in-command Kerri Ashley, prompted County Mayor Terry Frank to try to have their hard drives copied.  Her request was made after she was informed last month that former building inspector Lisa Crumpley was planning on filing a wrongful termination lawsuit against the county, alleging that she was fired for cooperating in the TBI investigation that led to the indictment of her boss, David Crowley, on charges of inspecting buildings without the necessary certifications.  Crumpley’s attorney directed her to copy all forensic evidence on the computers used by Best and Ashley, as they may contain information regarding Crumpley’s termination and what became of her personnel file, which went missing days after she was fired.  Tuesday, Mayor Frank proposed taking the computers off-site for duplication, a suggestion Best quickly rejected, citing the confidential nature of some of the information on the hard drives.  Wednesday, Sheriff Paul White intervened and prevented a county IT consultant from copying the hard drives and posted deputies in the HR office to watch over the machines and make sure they are not used.  Sheriff White reportedly told the mayor she could not copy the files because they are part of the ongoing investigation into Crumpley’s missing file.  Things calmed down a little on Thursday in the Courthouse as Mayor Frank, in a message to Trustee Rodney Archer, who chairs the county’s Human resources Advisory Committee indicated that her office will bow out of the attempts to secure the computers and will instead allow the Sheriff to assume control of the situation.  You can read her entire letter on our website.  WYSH has learned that last week, the County Mayor filed an open records request with the city asking for access to computers in the codes office and earlier this week, David Crowley’s attorney filed a similar open records request with the city asking for e-mails to and from City Codes Officer Curtis Perez, who has been listed as a potential witness in the case against Crowley.  Both of those requests were denied, partially because some of what was asked for, namely individual cell phone and text message records are not available and also because the requests were not specific enough as to what access was being sought.  UT’s Municipal Technical Assistance Service has been providing guidance to the city during this process but the city’s primary contact with MTAS, Budget Director Gail Cook, is out of town this week.  Wanting more guidance and erring on the side of caution, city officials Thursday decided to remove Perez’s computer from his office and store it in the police department’s evidence room until Monday, when they hope to receive more information.  City officials assert that the Codes office is still open and able to function.  We will continue to follow this story for you on WYSH. 

 

AC officials at odds over copying HR computer drives

 

Anderson County officials are at odds over the contents of the computers in the county’s Human Resources department.  Earlier this week, longtime HR Director Cathy Best announced that she would be resigning to take a position in the private sector.  Tuesday, County Mayor Terry Frank ordered all of the computers in the HR office quarantined and attempted to have the computers taken off-site to Knoxville and copied by technicians.  Best objected to the removal of the machines from the courthouse, citing the sensitive nature of the information contained on their hard drives.  The mayor says that the attorney for Lisa Crumpley, who was fired from the county’s Public Works office the same day that her boss David Crowley was indicted on charges of inspecting five houses without the proper certifications, asked her to preserve all forensic evidence on the computers, specifically as it pertains to Crumpley’s missing personnel file, which turned up missing days after her termination.  Mayor Frank says Crumpley’s attorney has given notice that a lawsuit is likely pending against the county for wrongful termination, as she contends she was fired by Crowley for cooperating in the investigation that led to the charges against him.  The Sheriff’s Office is probing the missing personnel file.  Frank reportedly stayed at the Courthouse late Tuesday night to watch over the HR office until hiring a private security guard at her expense to maintain the vigil for the rest of that night.  On Wednesday, a computer technician was in the process of copying the hard drive from one of the computers when Sheriff Paul White walked in and asked the technician if he had a search warrant.  The technician left and White posted a deputy in the office for the remainder of the day, telling the News-Sentinel that he did so to “keep the peace, because people feel threatened in that office.”  Mayor Frank, in an e-mail to WYSH says, “Through an attorney, I made an effort for him [Sheriff White] to watch the duplication and possess a copy of the duplication, to which he responded he was not interested.”  Best says that she has no objection to the drives being copied, but asserts that they need to remain at the courthouse when they are.  Frank writes, “I find the Sheriff’s refusal to let me view the surveillance video of the dates the files went missing, as well as [his] effort to stop duplication of hard drives of the two employees who are resigning in the wake of the file’s disappearance, to be extremely concerning.”  The mayor is alluding to her request to the Sheriff to view the courthouse security footage from the dates when Crumpley’s personnel file is believed to have disappeared and to the also-recently-announced resignation of Best’s chief deputy in the HR office.  Best says her resignation has nothing to do with the Crumpley situation.  We will continue to follow this story for you.  UPDATE:  Thursday morning, Mayor Frank sent a letter to Human Resources Committee Chairman Rodney Archer indicating that her office will bow out of the attempts to secure the computers and will instead allow the Sheriff to assume control of the situation.  Her letter is posted below.

 

(Mayor Frank’s letter to HR Committee Chairman Rodney Archer—sent Thursday November 6th) As you know, the HR Resolution passed by the Anderson County Commission states that day-to-day control of the Human Resource Office is the responsibility of the county mayor.  As you are also aware, both Ms. Ashley and Ms. Best announced their resignations shortly after Lisa Crumpley’s personnel file disappeared from the HR Office.  At the request of Robert Bowman, attorney for Ms. Lisa Crumpley, and under threat of court sanction, I sought to preserve electronic evidence in the HR office by asking the county’s IT consultants to make a forensic copy of both Ms. Ashley’s hard-drive and Ms. Best’s hard-drive.   This copy would have preserved all data on the hard drives, including deleted files, and would have prevented the intentional or inadvertent destruction of evidence through continued use of the computers.  As the preservation images of the hard drives could have been made overnight, this appeared to be the most cost effective and efficient way of securing evidence while allowing the ladies quickly to return to work. 

The Sheriff intervened in to stop the preservation of this evidence, threatened the county’s own IT consultant with arrest, and has assumed full responsibility for securing the information.  It appears that he is making the drives secure by preventing anyone from using the computers and stationing multiple deputies in the HR Office to prevent anyone from using the computers.  Although a forensic image of the hard drives would have allowed the ladies to return to work, the Sheriff’s method appears adequate to preserve the evidence.  I believe the ultimate goal has been achieved, that is, the fulfillment of Mr. Bowman’s request and the county’s obligation to secure the data on the hard drives. 

As the Sheriff has assumed full responsibility for the security of this evidence, I see no further role for my office with respect to my issue and relinquish to the Sheriff full responsibility for the preservation of this electronic evidence.  

As Chairman of the Human Resource Committee, would you please forward this information to members of your committee?

 

Raid leads to arrest of Rocky Top man

 

According to the Anderson County Sheriff’s Department, investigators with the Sheriff’s Special Operations Unit, along with officers from the Rocky Top Police Department, and the 7th Judicial District Crime Task Force, served a search warrant at a residence on Industrial Park Road in Rocky Top Tuesday afternoon. The search warrant was obtained as the result of a joint drug investigation conducted by those three agencies.  According to a release from the ACSD, investigators found an indoor marijuana-growing operation with marijuana plants in various stages of development, along with indoor grow equipment such as lights as well as other drug paraphernalia. In addition, mushrooms and suspected prescription narcotics were also found.  One person was arrested.  32-year-old Nathan Allen Underwood of Rocky Top was charged with the manufacture/delivery/sale or possession of a controlled substance, possession of Schedule 1 & II drugs and unlawful possession of a weapon.  The ACSD says that charges are pending against two other individuals as their investigation continues.  Underwood is being held in the Anderson County Jail without bond, pending arraignment. 

 

AC municipal election results

 

Tuesday was Election Day in Tennessee and locally, here is a look at the results from Anderson County’s many municipal races.  In Clinton, there was only one contested race and that was in City Council Ward 1, where incumbent ET Stamey garnered 1100 votes to hold off challenges from Ted Phillips (553) and Ronald Young (370).  Two newcomers to the Council were unopposed:  Brian Hatmaker in Ward 2 and Zach Farrar in Ward 3.  Three incumbents won re-election to the city school board:  Curtis Isabell and Tim Bible in Ward 2 and KK Webster in Ward 3.  Clinton voters overwhelmingly approved the sale of wine in grocery stores by a margin of 1605 yesses to 772 nos.  In Norris, voters also overwhelmingly supported wine in grocery stores, with 451 yes votes and 115 no votes.  Norris voters also approved on-site consumption of alcohol by a 406-160 margin.  All five Norris City Council incumbents were unopposed.  In Oak Ridge, voters also signed off on wine in grocery stores by a margin of 5568 in favor to 1758 against.  Four people were elected to the Oak Ridge City Council.  Warren Gooch was the top vote-getter with 3761, with Rick Chinn 2nd with 3432, Kelly Callison 3rd with 3310 and incumbent Ellen Smith retained her seat with 2991 votes.  Incumbent Bob Eby was re-elected to the Oak Ridge School Board with 3724 votes and will be joined by newcomers Laura McLean with 3133 votes and A. Paige Marshall with 2754.  In Oliver Springs, incumbent Mayor Chris Hepler was unseated by Jerry Vann 389-302.  In the race for Alderman in Ward 2, Jeffery Bass defeated Maurice Walker and in ward 4, Terry Craze held off Nathan Benson 391-279.  The new mayor of Rocky Top will be current Vice Mayor Michael Lovely, who defeated fellow Council member Donald Douglas 161-109.  Current mayor Tim Sharp was elected to serve on the Rocky Top City Council with 121 votes and will be joined by Denise Casteel, who picked up 109.  For a complete look at the election results, visit www.acelect.com

 

Missing AC man turns up in Georgia

 

Michael David Miller, reported to the Anderson County Sheriff’s Department as a missing person on October 10th, has been located in Gwinnett County, Georgia.  Miller and his vehicle had been entered into NCIC as a missing person.  Miller was stopped by the Gwinnett County Sheriff's Department after a "hit" on his license plate showed him as a missing person.  Upon checking, Miller told deputies he was OK and just wanted to "get away" for a while.  Gwinnett County deputies contacted us, confirmed he was a missing person, and said he appeared to be in no distress and was in good health.  Miller was asked to contact his family and, with no reason to detain him, was released by Gwinnett County deputies.

 

Mayes has new gig in RT

 

Former Anderson County Circuit Court Clerk Tyler Mayes has been named the acting city recorder in Rocky Top.  Mayes was appointed by the County Commission to serve the remainder of longtime Clerk Barry Pelizarri’s term following his retirement in 2012 but did not win the election to retain that seat in August, losing to William Jones.  Mayes will succeed Chris Phillips, who served briefly as Rocky Top city recorder until returning to his former job as the Anderson County Budget and Accounts Director last month.  The Rocky Top City Council will vote on whether to confirm him in the job on November 20th

 

ORT:  Best leaving AC HR department for private sector

 

(Oak Ridge Today) After almost a decade on the job, Cathy Best, Anderson County human resources and risk management director, is resigning to take a similar position in the private sector.  Best announced her resignation to the Human Resources Advisory Committee, Chair Rodney Archer, and County Mayor Terry Frank in a Monday letter. Her resignation is effective November 21.  Best said it was a difficult decision because working for Anderson County government for the past 9.5 years has been a positive experience and one for which she is grateful.  “As the human resources director, this committee’s support allowed me to implement various programs and policies, unifying the offices from pay scales to the personnel policies in place,” Best said. “My hope in the future is that the Human Resources Department will be separated from the politics and operate independently so that the department can provide the continued support in a fair and equitable way for the county and its employees as a whole.”  Best said she has flexibility in her new position, so she can help the county search for her replacement.

 

CPD chief wins another accolade

 

(CPD) Clinton Police Chief Rick Scarbrough has been elected to chair the Southern Region of the State Associations of Chief's of Police (SACOP). SACOP is a division of the International Association of Chief's of Police (IACP). Chief Scarbrough was elected by his peers during the IACP Conference in Orlando, Florida last weekend. The southern region consists of Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas. Scarbrough has served as the Tennessee representative for four years.  SACOP works within IACP to develop and recommend best practices in law enforcement, to include but not be limited to legislation, safety, and policy. 

 

Tennessee #1 for foreign direct investment

 

(TDEC) Tennessee was ranked the top state in the nation for foreign direct investment (FDI) job commitments in 2013 according to the recently released 2014 Global Location Trends report.  The annual report from the IBM Institute for Business Value measured the number of jobs created by foreign-owned companies in each state during the 2013 calendar year.  Following Tennessee in the rankings were Texas, Georgia and Ohio.

“Our number one ranking by the IBM Institute has validated the significant focus and effort we have put toward the recruitment of international companies to Tennessee,” Hagerty said.  “Governor Haslam has invested significant time in what has proven to be the most successful international recruitment program in the nation. I couldn’t be more proud of our department and all of our partners throughout the state who have pulled together to drive us toward the goal of being number one.  The recognition is well-deserved,” Hagerty added. 

“Tennessee is clearly an attractive place for foreign-owned companies to invest,” Roel Spee, Global Leader, IBM Plant Location International.  “The state’s first place ranking illustrates just how strong a competitor Tennessee is in the global marketplace and the momentum the state possesses in recruiting new foreign investment projects.”

The Volunteer State is home to 864 foreign-based establishments that have invested over $30.1 billion in capital and employ more than 116,000 Tennesseans.  The state’s top 10 countries for FDI include Japan, Germany, Canada, United Kingdom, South Korea, France, Italy, Switzerland, Sweden and Belgium.  In 2013 alone, Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development projects accounted for 52 commitments from foreign-owned businesses that created 9,215 jobs and $1.68 billion in capital investment.  This FDI accounted for nearly 40 percent of all Tennessee’s new jobs committed last year and nearly one-third of all capital investment committed in the state.  Major foreign projects in 2013 included South Korean-owned Hankook Tire Co. (1,800 new jobs, $800 million investment), Japanese-owned Calsonic Kansei North America (1,200 new jobs, $109.6 capital investment) and Swiss-owned UBS (1,000 new jobs, $36.5 million capital investment).  In February 2013, TNECD announced a new international strategy focused on proactively identifying and recruiting new foreign direct investment into the state in addition to increasing Tennessee exports.  The state has established investment recruitment offices in Canada and Japan with export assistance offices in Mexico, the United Kingdom, the European Union and China.  The report found the United States was the top destination country in the world for FDI with the overall number of jobs created from foreign investment growing by 6 percent compared to 2012 levels along with significant increases in production and R&D activities.  Global Location Trends Reports are prepared based on analysis of data from IBM's proprietary Global Investment Locations Database (GILD). These reports present and analyze the latest trends in corporate location selection around the world, and are the most realistic and up-to-date reflection of expansion and relocation behavior of companies, as well as the degree in which countries and regions around the world are successful in attracting new business.

 

Parrott named supervisor of year by state

 

Tim Parrott, the Anderson County school system’s director of both secondary and technical education, has been named as the supervisor of the year by the state Department of Education.  Parrott received the honor during a statewide conference for education leaders held Tuesday in Nashville.  Parrott was nominated for the award by his peers and had already been named east Tennessee supervisor of the year.  His career in education spans over two decades, with stints in the classroom as a teacher, stints in school administrative positions and for the past five years, in the central office.  In a press release announcing the awards, officials say that the annual award recognizes supervisors who “have helped build a better education for Tennessee students through their leadership, programs and vision.  The complete press release can be found on our website.  Our congratulations go out to Tim Parrott for a well-deserved honor.

 

(TN Dept. of Education release) A Hamilton County elementary school principal and an Anderson County supervisor have earned top honors for their work in Tennessee education.  Ronald Hughes, principal of Apison Elementary School in Chattanooga, was named Tennessee’s 2014-15 Principal of the Year. He has served as principal at Apison Elementary for the past six years, and spent three decades working in Tennessee education.  Timothy Parrott, director of secondary education and career and technical education in Anderson County, was named Tennessee’s 2014-15 Supervisor of the Year. Parrott spent the first ten years of his two-decade education career as a classroom teacher before transitioning to roles in administration.  Both awards were announced Tuesday during a statewide conference for education leaders.  “Strong leadership plays a fundamental role in student learning, and it is our honor to recognize these individuals that have led their district and school to great success,” said Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman. “We are grateful for what they have done to prioritize the needs of students and improve outcomes for kids.”  The annual Principal of the Year and Supervisor of the Year awards recognize administrators who have helped build a better education for Tennessee students through their leadership, programs, and vision. Hughes and Parrott were among nine principals and eight supervisors selected as regional finalists after being nominated by their peers for the title.  The winners for each grand division were also recognized Tuesday.  Hughes was named the Tennessee Principal of the Year and East Grand Division Winner. Beth Unfried, principal of Norman Smith Elementary in Clarksville-Montgomery County Schools, was named the winner for the Middle Grand Division. Sharon McNary, principal of Richland Elementary in Shelby County, was named the winner for the West Grand Division.  Parrott was named the Tennessee Supervisor of the Year and East Grand Division Winner. Vivian McCord, federal programs supervisor in Dickson County Schools, was named the winner for the Middle Grand Division. Michelle Goad, instructional supervisor in Gibson County Special Schools, was named the winner for the West Grand Division. 

 

Nichols retiring from Chamber

 

Longtime Anderson County Chamber of Commerce President Jackie Nichols has informed the Chamber that she will retire effective May 1st, 2015.  In a brief message to Chamber Board and Executive Committee members, Nichols writes, “[I] feel that May 1, 2015 gives us ample time to hire and train the person who will take this Chamber to the next level.  In dealing with the recent retail development activity, it is my feeling that In leaving any earlier, than May 1 may imply that both myself and the Anderson County Chamber Board of Directors are accepting responsibility for the outcome of the situation. Which, of course, would not be a correct assessment.  “  She is referring to the resignation earlier this month of Chamber retail recruiter Diane Ilgner, who in her resignation letter, said that conflicts with Nichols have “resulted in a very difficult work environment and puts the success of the retail development initiative at risk.”  Ilgner, who was hired to coordinate retail recruitment in the county in March of 2013, alleges that Nichols instructed her not to speak with prominent business leaders or government officials, among other accusations.  

 

(Jackie Nichols’ message announcing retirement) “It is with both sadness and anticipation that I let you know I have decided that it is time for me to retire. As always I am placing the well being of the Chamber as a  priority and feel that May 1, 2015gives us ample time to hire and train the person who will take this Chamber to the next level.  In dealing with the recent retail development activity, it is my feeling that In leaving any earlier, than May 1 may imply that both myself and the Anderson County Chamber Board of Directors are accepting responsibility for the outcome of the situation. Which, of course, would not be a correct assessment.  I apologize for the informality of this notification. However, due to our upcoming meeting I felt it best that we are fully prepared for tomorrow and begin the process of planning the future for the Anderson County Chamber.”

 

ORT:  ORPD warns of skimmers

 

(Oak Ridge Today) A suspicious device found on an ATM machine on Sunday could be a “skimmer,” and detectives are working with bank officials to determine if any debit or credit cards were compromised, the Oak Ridge Police Department said Wednesday.  A customer found the suspicious device on Sunday at the SunTrust Bank at 1188 Oak Ridge Turnpike, the ORPD said in a press release.  Police think it was a debit or credit card “skimmer.” A “skimmer” is a small device that is usually placed over the card slot of ATMs and gas pumps to steal debit/credit card information. “Skimmers” are sometimes accompanied by small cameras or keypad covers to steal PIN numbers associated with the cards.  The Oak Ridge Police Department said it encourages citizens to reports any suspicious activity around ATM machines and gas pumps to (865) 425-4399. Dial 911 if it is an emergency.  Residents can also find more information on the department’s Facebook page or on the U.S. Secret Service website.  The FBI says “ATM skimming” is a growing criminal activity that some experts believe costs U.S. banks hundreds of millions of dollars annually. The federal agency has tips on how to avoid being “skimmed.” They’re available in the graphic in this FBI story.  Among the tips: Be suspicious if you see anything on an ATM, gas pump, or credit card reader that is loose, crooked, or damaged, or if you notice scratches or adhesive or tape residue. It’s best to use an indoors ATM because they’re harder for thieves to access, and when entering your PIN, block the keypad with your other hand to prevent possible hidden cameras from recording your number, the FBI says.

 

Clinton company purchases plastic manufacturer

 

Clinton-based Omega Plastics has purchased Knoxville-based Vinylex Corporation, which also has a manufacturing facility in Texas.  Terms of the deal were not disclosed.  Omega says that two and a half years ago it formed a partnership with DVP, a company based in Chile, to expand its market reach into South America.  Company officials say that since that partnership was formed, Omega has expanded its manufacturing capacity by over 50% with the “addition of high-speed extrusion lines and an investment in people.”  Last year, Omega announced plans to more than double the size of its Clinton facility and its at-the-time 80-person workforce.  Omega produces over 3000 plastic extrusion products for a wide variety of uses.

 

ORT:  OR Council awards Jackson Square contract

 

(Oak Ridge Today) Council on Monday awarded a $1 million contract for a project partially funded by a state grant to rebuild the Jackson Square parking lot area.  The contract was awarded to Rich Construction Inc. of Lenoir City. Oak Ridge officials will have a pre-construction conference in 10 days, and they are hopeful that work will start in late November, City Manager Mark Watson said.  He said the project could take 180 days, or about six months. That means it would be done before the Lavender Festival in 2015.  The work will include a landscaped pedestrian plaza with parking, an interactive fountain, colored concrete paving, stone pavers, curbing, asphalt paving, utilities, benches, sidewalks, and upgrades under the American with Disabilities Act.  Council approved the project in a 6-0 vote on Monday night. It’s funded with help from a $741,609 Tennessee Department of Transportation Enhancement Grant awarded to the city in June 2012. The TDOT grant covers 80 percent of the work.  The city’s share of the project is estimated at $293,617. The city is responsible for 100 percent of the cost of engineering services for project design and for 100 percent of any construction costs over the 80 percent TDOT budget amount.  Watson said the revitalization project will update Jackson Square and make it more inviting. The work will include some green space and a newly configured and modernized parking lot.  

 

ORT:  ORPD offers tips to prevent vehicle break-ins

 

(Oak Ridge Today) The Oak Ridge Police Department is investigating a series of motor vehicle burglaries that have occurred throughout the city since August, and authorities are warning residents that vehicle break-ins increase during the holiday season, starting in late October.  The ORPD said there have been more than 25 reported auto burglaries from August through last week.  “The common thread is unattended vehicles left in fairly secluded parking lots, (with the) majority occurring around parks along Melton Lake Drive (and) Edgemoor Road,” the ORPD said last week. “The most current location is along Outer Drive. Time of day for each of the burglaries has varied, ranging from broad daylight, dusk, and dark. Items stolen from vehicles appear to have been in plain view.”  The most-stolen items include purses, cell phones, iPads and tablets, laptop computers, GPS units, other electronic items, and cash.  To help prevent the break-ins, the ORPD advises residents to lock their vehicle doors, hide valuables out of sight (such as in the trunk), and take your purse, phone, and electronics with you out of your vehicle.  If you or anyone you know has seen anything suspicious related to these burglaries, the Police Department asks you to report it by calling (865) 425-4399.  Authorities said they have stepped up patrols in response to the burglaries.  Here are more ORPD tips to prevent auto burglaries:

  • Remove visible items—If you leave items visible in your car, you are a target. Be aware that someone may be watching as you put a wallet, purse, or cell phone under your seat, especially at a gym. Take these with you or secure them in your trunk.
  • Lock the doors—Lock your vehicle and take your keys, even for quick errands. Lock the trunk, hatchback, or tailgate to block access into the vehicle. Close all windows, including vent or wing windows and sunroofs.
  • Vehicle alarms—Buy an alarm and use it. Many people believe that alarms no longer make a difference; however, they do remain an effective deterrent to a burglar. Remember, criminals are looking for the easy target.
  • Vehicle registration—Black out the address on your registration and photocopy it. Keep the copy, not the original, in your car. You must have the registration available to present to a police officer upon request.
  • Do not attach personal information to your keys—If your keys are stolen, having your personal information or vehicle license number attached only compounds the problem. A criminal now may have access to your home, automobile, or office.
  • Personal mail—Do not leave outgoing or incoming mail in your car, especially where visible. This has your name and address on it.
  • Garage door opener—Avoid leaving this in your car if possible.
  • Parking at home—At home, park in your garage if you have one. Lock your car and all garage doors. Park in a well-lit area. Check to see that your vehicle is visible from pedestrian and vehicular traffic.

The Oak Ridge Police Department said it would like to remind all citizens to be vigilant and report any suspicious activity.

 

THP:  2 killed, 1 hurt in RV crash

 

An elderly Indiana couple was killed in an early-Monday-morning RV crash on I-75 in Campbell County.  The accident was reported at around 7:30 am Monday near mile marker 147 and the THP says that a northbound motor home being driven by 77-year-old Jacqueline Sparks left the side of the road, collided with a guardrail, then traveled down an embankment before crashing into a tree.  Jacqueline Sparks and her husband 78-year-old Larry Sparks died in the wreck and their adult daughter, 55-year-old Debra Dorrell was injured and flown to UT Medical Center by Lifestar.  All three people in the RV are from Pittsboro, Indiana.  Troopers reported that none of the three was wearing a seatbelt. 

 

ACSD investigating reported robbery

 

An Anderson County man reported that he was robbed by two men early Saturday morning.  According to the Anderson County Sheriff’s Department, Eric Davis was returning to his Dutch Valley Road home after work at around 6 am Saturday when he spotted a man bent over in the gravel driveway leading to his house.  When he stopped, a second man grabbed him, assaulted him and put him in a headlock while the second bandit stole his wallet, which contained about $600.  Davis said both men had something covering their heads and was unable to give a physical description of his assailants but the ACSD report indicates he followed the suspects’ getaway vehicle long enough to get the tag number, which he provided to investigators.  Davis was not seriously injured in the incident. 

 

OR Animal Shelter reopens

 

(Oak Ridge Today) Changes have been made, and the Oak Ridge Animal Shelter will reopen Tuesday after a temporary closure last week following the second distemper outbreak this year, city officials said.  The shelter will open to the public at 11 a.m.  The Oak Ridge Animal Shelter is located at 395 Belgrade Road.  51 animals were euthanized last week because of this month’s outbreak, and the shelter was temporarily closed after canine distemper tests came back positive. All dogs that tested positive were euthanized to prevent the disease from spreading.  Oak Ridge officials said the shelter staff has taken steps, including cleaning and disinfecting, to prevent widespread infection within the canine community. And the Animal Shelter was working with the staff veterinarian to create a quarantine area, where animals will remain for two weeks after intake to observe the animal for signs of disease, municipal officials said last week.  The Animal Shelter had a distemper outbreak in March of this year, when 30 dogs had to be euthanized, and the staff started taking precautions by vaccinating all animals on intake. However, this time the animal was turned into the Animal Shelter already infected with distemper.  No cats have tested positive for distemper. Cats and dogs cannot pass the disease to each other.  The virus can be passed from dog to dog through sneezing, coughing, and sharing food and water bowls. Early signs of canine distemper include sneezing, coughing, and discharge from the eyes and nose. Depression and/or loss of appetite are also symptoms. Last week the Animal Shelter staff was cleaning and disinfecting all the kennels and disposing of items such as towels and blankets that might be contaminated.  Pet owners should keep their pet’s vaccinations up to date and also be cautious of wild animals, such as raccoons and foxes, which can carry the virus.  For more information on the prevention of distemper, visit the following ASPCA web page: http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/dog-care/distemper.

 

ACSD probes fatal shooting

 

The Anderson County Sheriff’s Department is investigating the circumstances that led to a fatal shooting in Andersonville on Sunday afternoon.  The ACSD says in a release that dispatchers received a call at 4:35 pm Sunday about a shooting at 1229 Sequoyah Road in Andersonville and that when deputies arrived they found 58-year-old James Alvin Russell of Sharps Chapel in Union County suffering a gunshot wound.  Paramedics pronounced Russell dead at the scene.  Investigators processed the scene for evidence and interviewed the person responsible for the shooting as well as a witness to try and sort out what led to the incident.  Investigators from the Anderson County District Attorney General’s office and the Regional Forensic Center also responded to the scene to aid in the investigation.  As of the time this report was filed, none of the other names of anyone involved had been released.  We will update you as more information becomes available. 

 

Judge grants injunction against Rocky Top

 

A federal judge this week announced that he will grant an injunction against Rocky Top Marketing and Manufacturing Company sought by the House of Bryant Publications that will prohibit the company from using trademarks with the Rocky Top logo on them.  Chief US District Court Judge Thomas Varlan issued his ruling in the matter this week, the latest chapter in the legal battle between the owners of the rights to the iconic bluegrass song “Rocky Top” and the town that now bears that name.  The items included in the ruling—11 in all—include items like hats, shirts and other products.  As we have reported, the dispute began last year when developers interested in building several tourist attractions in the area approached the leaders of Lake City and asked if they would consider changing the city’s name to better market the proposed development.  The town agreed but House of Bryant filed a motion in federal court seeking an injunction to prevent the town from changing its name, alleging copyright infringement.  Judge Varlan denied that motion and his denial is now being appealed.  Officials with Rocky Top marketing and Manufacturing called this week’s ruling a “learning experience,” with President Tim Isbel telling the News-Sentinel that the company “fell short [in making] it quite clear that we are only using Rocky Top Tennessee 37769 as a geographical description” in applying for various trademarks aimed at capitalizing on the town’s new identity.  We will continue to follow this story for you.

 

Man pleads to 2012 murder attempt

 

A 50-year-old man was sentenced to 15 and a half years in prison Thursday after entering best-interest pleas to amended charges of conspiracy to commit second-degree murder, attempted second-degree murder, attempted aggravated arson and attempted aggravated kidnapping in connection to an attempt to kill his stepfather.  Raymond Randolph Lane admitted his role in plan to kill then-73-year-old Luther Byrge along with co-conspirators, 44-year-old David Lee Suddeth and Suddeth's 53-year-old girlfriend, Dorothy Roxanne McFarland.  On January 5, 2012, the trio cut the phone line to Byrge's Old Lake City Highway home, disabled the smoke alarm and put a box of .ammunition under a bathroom sink.  Gasoline was poured under the sink and ignited, and Byrge’s bedroom door was locked from outside.  The plan fell apart when the melting plumbing pipes under the sink dripped onto the fire and extinguished it.  Lane was given credit for the two years and six months that he had been in custody, and he will have to serve 35 percent of his sentence before becoming eligible for parole.  Suddeth and McFarland entered pleas to similar charges in September and each received 9-year sentences.

 

City:  51 dogs euthanized in distemper outbreak

 

Fifty-one animals have been euthanized at the Oak Ridge Animal Shelter due to distemper and donations are needed, Oak Ridge officials said Thursday.  “This has truly been a heartbreaking situation for our staff and volunteers,” the city said in a short statement Thursday afternoon.  The Shelter needs donations of cat litter (non-clumping only), blankets, towels, dry food, and canned food. The donations can be dropped off at the Pet Supplies Plus located at 254 South Illinois Avenue in Oak Ridge from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Sunday.  Adoptable cats and kittens will be also be at Pet Supplies Plus from 12 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, October 25.  “Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers as we try to heal from this devastating blow,” the city said.

 

KNS:  AC Mayor reports missing files to state

 

According to the News-Sentinel, Anderson County Mayor Terry Frank has filed a fraud report with the state Comptroller’s Office, saying that government files are missing from the Public Works department and that a recently-fired employee of that office’s personnel file is missing from the county’s Human Resources department.  The files are related to allegations against Public Works Director David Crowley, who was indicted earlier this month on five misdemeanor charges of performing building inspections without the proper certifications.  Frank says that two of the 25 files believed to be missing from the Public Works office are records of inspections performed by Crowley.  The personnel file of former building inspector Lisa Crumpley is also missing from the HR department.  She was fired by Crowley shortly before he turned himself in at the AC Jail on the charges against him.  Crumpley had been questioned by the TBI as part of their investigation into the allegations against Crowley.  On Monday, the mayor ordered a top-to-bottom search of the Public Works office in an attempt to locate the missing files and says she has asked the ACSD to review courthouse surveillance footage to see if there is any evidence of someone illegally removing Crumpley’s file from the office and/or the courthouse.  The mayor asked Crowley not to take part in the search of the Public Works office. 

 

Lincoln’s closes after tumultuous stretch

 

Lincoln’s Sports Grille has shut down, citing economic conditions. The closure was first announced on a sign posted on the eatery’s front door on Monday and in a press release issued on Tuesday.  The popular restaurant and bar on South Illinois Avenue was the subject of five show cause hearings before the Oak Ridge Beer Permit Board over the past couple of years.  In the last show cause hearing in August, members revoked Lincoln’s permit.  Lincoln’s regained the permit after a temporary agreement imposing new conditions was worked out between the business, the city and the Beer Board that was approved by Anderson County Chancellor Nicki Cantrell, pending an appeal of the Beer Board’s revocation.  But in an interview earlier this month with our partners at Oak Ridge Today, Scott Green, one of Lincoln’s owners, said the inability to sell beer between late August and early October had a substantial impact on the business. The restaurant and its staff had also been hurt by the bad publicity, Green said.  Two of Lincoln’s five show cause hearings had been called after alcohol was sold to underage customers in state stings, and others were called after the Oak Ridge Police Department responded to disturbances. The revocation during the last show cause hearing on August 28 went into effect immediately. That revocation followed an earlier two-week suspension of Lincoln’s beer permit in June.  Lincoln’s opened in March of 2010. Since then, the restaurant had featured a mix of family friendly entertainment, music, comedy, community events, and food and drinks. Owners and managers had recently said they were trying to become more of a restaurant and less of a bar.  For much more on this story visit our partners at www.oakridgetoday.com.

 

Distemper found at OR Animal Shelter

 

(ORPD) Two dogs recently taken in by the Oak Ridge Animal Shelter have been diagnosed with canine distemper. The Animal Shelter was closed Friday and Saturday to allow for thorough cleaning of the facility. Dogs in the shelter were tested to see if others have contracted the disease.  The Animal Shelter was expected to reopen at 11 a.m. Wednesday.  As a precaution, all animals brought into the Oak Ridge Animal Shelter will be vaccinated on arrival, the Oak Ridge Police Department said in a press release. Dogs with any kind of cough or nasal discharge will be kept separate from dogs available for adoption.  No cats have tested positive for distemper—cats and dogs cannot pass the disease to each other, the ORPD said.  Early signs of canine distemper include sneezing, coughing, and discharge from the eyes and nose. Depression and/or loss of appetite are also symptoms.  The virus can be passed from dog to dog through sneezing, coughing, and sharing food and water bowls.  The ORPD said shelter staff has been taking extra precautions cleaning and sanitizing kennels with bleach and disposing of items such as towels and blankets that might be contaminated. Pet owners should be wary of wild animals, such as raccoons and foxes, which can carry the virus.

 

AC Commission allocates money for bonuses

 

Monday, Anderson County commissioners voted to replace Chris Phillips in Commission District 4 with the man whose vacated seat he won in August.  Phillips resigned his Commission seat—won in August—so that he could return to work as the county’s Budget and Accounts Director after leaving that post earlier this year to become City Recorder in his native Rocky Top.  Phillips was elected along with incumbent Tim Isbel to serve on the Commission but resigned effective October 10th.  Monday, commissioners replaced Phillips with former Commissioner Zach Bates, who did not run for re-election to the Commission in August after having unsuccessfully challenged County Mayor Terry Frank in the Republican primary.  Bates was sworn in and began his service to District 4 immediately following the Commission vote.  Once commissioners got down to business, they voted 14-1 to set aside up to $290,000 from the undesignated fund balance to provide county employees with a one-time, lump-sum payout to help make up for the fact that those 450 employees have not received pay raises in recent years.  The fund balance—or rainy-day fund—is up to $4.29 million and the proposal advanced by Commissioner Myron Iwanski last month will provide workers with approximately $640 each in bonus money.  When exactly those bonuses will show up on workers’ paychecks remains to be seen.  Commissioners also briefly discussed, but took no action on, the Andersonville Volunteer Fire Department’s request to have its annual $20,000 contribution from the county government reinstated now that it has dropped its unpopular and controversial subscription program.  Commissioners indicated Monday they wanted more information on the changes at the AVFD before making any final decisions. 

 

Report:  AC Chamber retail chief steps down, cites conflict

 

According to the Knoxville News-Sentinel, the Anderson County Chamber of Commerce’s chief retail recruiter has resigned amid a conflict with Chamber President Jackie Nichols.  The paper reports that Diane Ilgner’s resignation letter cites conflicts with Nichols that have “resulted in a very difficult work environment and puts the success of the retail development initiative at risk.”  Ilgner was hired in March 2013 to lead the effort to bring more retail businesses to Anderson County through an initiative funded in part by the governments of Anderson County and Clinton.  The letter includes allegations that Nichols instructed Ilgner to not speak with prominent business leaders or government officials, including the county mayor and the Chamber’s Retail Advisory Board, among other accusations.  Nichols told the News-Sentinel that while she would not comment on the specific allegations, the future of the retail development initiative will be decided upon by the chamber.

 

Lifestar leaving AC base for new digs in CC

 

UT Lifestar has announced that it will be opening a new base in Campbell County and closing its current base in Anderson County early next month.  UT says that the new location is more centrally located and will allow Lifestar to better serve Anderson, Campbell, Claiborne, Scott and Union counties as well as parts of southeast Kentucky.  The new facility will measure some 5000 square feet and have living quarters, office space and a hangar.  It will be staffed by four pilots, four nurses, four paramedics and an aviation mechanic.

 

AC Commission replaces Phillips with Bates

 

This morning, Anderson County commissioners voted to replace Chris Phillips in Commission District 4 with the man whose vacated seat he won in August.  Phillips resigned his Commission seat—won in August—so that he could return to work as the county’s Budget and Accounts Director after leaving that post earlier this year to become City Recorder in his native Rocky Top.  Phillips left the county government to help the town update its accounting practices as it makes the transition from Lake City to Rocky Top and prepares for what is expected to be a busy time for the city.  Phillips was elected along with incumbent Tim Isbel to serve on the Commission but resigned last month.  This morning, commissioners replaced Phillips with former Commissioner Zach Bates, who did not run for re-election to the Commission in August after having unsuccessfully challenged County Mayor Terry Frank in the Republican primary.  Bates was sworn in and began his service to District 4 immediately following the Commission vote. 

 

Powell man struck, killed

 

A Powell man was killed Saturday afternoon when he was struck by a vehicle while walking along Clinton Highway.  According to the Tennessee Highway Patrol, 66-year-old Kenneth Miller was walking north along Clinton Highway when it happened around 2:30 p.m. Saturday.  A vehicle also headed north crossed onto the shoulder just south of Stanley Road and hit Miller.  THP said the driver was 77-year-old Patsy Kirby of Powell.  While alcohol and drugs are not believed to have played a role in Saturday’s accident, the THP report indicates that citations and/or charges are pending.

 

ORUUC in new home

 

The Oak Ridge Unitarian Universalist Church dedicated its new church on Sunday.

The new church is at 809 Oak Ridge Turnpike. The church moved from its former location at the intersection of Robertsville Road and the Oak Ridge Turnpike to make way for the new Kroger Marketplace shopping center.  After nearly six decades at its old home, the church moved to its new location in late September. The first service was held on Sunday, October 5.  Two years ago, in the fall of 2012, the congregation voted to accept an offer from Kroger to purchase their property and historic building.

 

ORT:  Donut Palace coming to OR

 

(Oak Ridge Today) A Donut Palace will be built where Price Florist used to be, a development company said Thursday.  Redevelopment work is starting, and The Donut Palace of Oak Ridge could open in the first quarter of 2015, said Cappiello Real Estate and Development Company.  The company said The Donut Palace is a regional chain that is primarily located in Texas and the Midwest and is described as “an artisan bakery featuring handmade apple fritters, muffins, cookies, brownies, pastries, and of course, doughnuts.” Along with the baked goods, they will offer coffee, drinks, and artisan sandwiches.  The Oak Ridge franchise will be at 1021 Oak Ridge Turnpike, near the Methodist Medical Center campus. “While the chain typically places its bakeries within a strip shopping center, this site will be an evolution of the brand, creating the look and feel of a modern-day coffee shop, yet adding the convenience of a drive-through window service,” a press release from Cappiello Real Estate and Development Company said. “The single-story, 1,800-square-foot building will be a blend of brick, wood, and metal, reflecting a modern yet comfortable atmosphere with plenty of natural light.” 

 

KNS:  Lawsuit alleges racial, age discrimination in Trustee’s office

 

The News-Sentinel reports that the former office manager in the Anderson County Trustee’s Office has filed a federal lawsuit against the county alleging racial and age discrimination.  Craig Dixon worked in the Trustee’s office from September 2006 to August of last year, when he was fired by Trustee Rodney Archer.  Dixon’s lawsuit alleges violations of the Tennessee Human Rights Act and the federal Family and Medical Leave Act.  The suit contends that Dixon, who was 50 at the time of his firing and one of only two black employees of the county government, was discriminated against because he was replaced by a 24-year-old white male.  The KNS reports that among the allegations in the suit is that Archer had written on a notepad in the office that people over the age of 40 were “useless” and resistant to change.  The lawsuit says that Dixon’s separation notice from Archer indicated he was fired for violating office policy and that Archer told the state Department of Labor and Workforce development that Dixon had been fired for falsifying audit logs.  However, the report says that the state did not find sufficient evidence of “work-related” misconduct and that the county did not appeal that decision.  The lawsuit alleges that Dixon was eligible for FMLA status to help care for his sick mother and filed the necessary paperwork with the county HR department but never received the necessary federal paperwork.  Dixon’s lawsuit also says that at no time during his employment in the office did he receive any written warnings or disciplinary action.  The KNS reported that Dixon’s personnel file indicated that Archer did list deficiencies in Dixon’s job performance on two occasions, including allegations that he made more than 25 personal calls from the office per day, that he would not pay office bills on time and that he did not make bank deposits on a daily basis.  Archer told the KNS Tuesday that while he cannot comment specifically on the pending lawsuit, “Anderson County and I deny all claims raised by Mr. Dixon.”  The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages, the reinstatement of Dixon to his former job or an award of front pay, which legally is defined as money awarded during the period between judgment and reinstatement or in the event that reinstatement is not possible. 

 

2 indicted for selling heroin near school

 

Two men in custody since January of 2013 on charges that they sold heroin near Claxton Elementary School were indicted last week by an Anderson County grand jury.  40-year-old Charles Randolph Johnson and 29-year-old Joe Fentress Butler face charges of selling drugs within 1000 feet of a school.  A confidential informant using a digital recorder and marked bills allegedly purchased $25 worth of heroin from Butler and authorities say that he had been supplied with the drug by Johnson.  Both men will be arraigned on October 31st in Anderson County Criminal Court. 

 

ORT:  OR to apply for roundabout grant

 

(Oak Ridge Today) The city of Oak Ridge plans to apply for a state grant to design and build a roundabout near Oak Ridge High School at a five-way intersection sometimes referred to as “Malfunction Junction.”  The Oak Ridge City Council unanimously approved the grant application on Monday. If approved, the Tennessee Department of Transportation grant would be used to build a roundabout at the intersection of Providence Road, Pennsylvania Avenue, East Pasadena Lane, and North Tulane Avenue.  The total cost of the project is estimated at $748,113. Tthe grant funding would come from the Transportation Alternative Program. TDOT funds 80 percent of those projects, excluding design, and a 20 percent local match is required.  The city’s cost would be about $150,000, and the city would pay for the design, officials said Monday.  Oak Ridge City Manager Mark Watson said the roundabout will help improve traffic flow and air quality in Oak Ridge, and the proposal is in line with a program to optimize traffic signal timing.  There were 43 crashes at the intersection from February 2008 to September 2014, and eight resulted in injuries, Oak Ridge Public Works Director Gary Cinder told City Council members. Cinder said the predominant cause—it applied to 24 crashes—was a failure to yield or to use due care of caution.  Cinder other options for the intersections have been looked at since 2001, but “a roundabout is the way to go.”

 

Frank questions indictment of appointee

 

Anderson County Mayor Terry Frank has questions for DA Dave Clark concerning the indictment of Public Works Director and Building Commissioner David Crowley.  A letter hand-delivered from the mayor’s office to the DA’s office states that the five misdemeanor charges handed down against Crowley last week by a grand jury do not meet the legal standards for those charges.  Crowley, who was appointed by Mayor Frank in September of 2012, was charged last week with five counts of inspecting houses without the proper certification following a TBI investigation.  He turned himself in at the Anderson County Jail Thursday morning, posted a $1000 bond and returned to work that same day.  Frank’s letter states that the charges “require not only a knowing failure to enforce the statute, but also that the intentional failure posed ‘an immediate danger to the life, safety or welfare of another.’”  Her letter states that each of the five houses in question has been inspected several times since Crowley’s initial inspection and that occupancy permits were issued.  Frank’s letter also says that it has been almost a year since the alleged illegal inspections were performed and nine months since County Law Director Jay Yeager raised questions about Crowley’s certifications, writing that she is not aware of any “immediate danger.”  The same morning that Crowley was indicted, he fired building inspector Lisa Crumpley for what her separation papers deemed insubordination, according to the News-Sentinel.  Crumpley cooperated with the TBI probe and her lawyer, David Stuart, sent a letter to Frank and County Commission Chairman Robert McKamey two weeks ago that expressed concern that she would be retaliated against.  Last week, Mayor Frank issued a statement in which she said that she would not tolerate anyone being terminated for lawfully cooperating in an investigation and pledged to look into the matter further. 

 

KCSO IDs Campbell man killed in crash

 

The Knox County Sheriff’s Office has identified the Campbell County man killed early Sunday morning after his SUV crashed on I-75 in Knox County.  Deputies say a 1993 Chevy Blazer driven by 59-year-old Charles Williams of LaFollette, struck an embankment and he was ejected from the vehicle.  Authorities say he was not wearing his seatbelt and also said there were no signs he had been drinking. The crash is still under investigation.

 

Clinton man killed in OR wreck

 

A 63-year-old Clinton man was killed last week in an accident on the Oak Ridge Turnpike when his Jeep Cherokee rolled several times and came to rest in a field.  The driver, Larry Ivy, was taken to UT Medical Center, where he later died.  Oak Ridge Police say that Ivy had been traveling east on the Turnpike last Monday afternoon October 6th, when his vehicle left the roadway and flipped several times before coming to rest about 300 feet from the road in a field.  Ivy was not wearing a seatbelt and was ejected from the vehicle. 

 

ORFD Chief appointed to state commission

 

(Oak Ridge Today) Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam has announced the appointment of Oak Ridge Fire Chief Darryl Kerley to the Commission on Firefighting Personnel Standards and Education as a representative of the Tennessee Fire Chief’s Association, the Tennessee Fire Safety Inspectors Association, and the Tennessee Fireman’s Association.  The appointment is effective immediately and runs through July 31, 2020, a press release said.  Kerley has more than 37 years’ experience in fire and emergency services, serving in various capacities for several East Tennessee agencies, including fire chief for the Seymour Volunteer Fire Department, rescue technician and diver for the Knoxville Rescue Squad, and fire chief for the U.S Department of Energy at the K-25 Gaseous Diffusion plant in Oak Ridge.  In a letter to Kerley, Haslam stated: “I consider it very important to ensure that Tennessee’s boards and commissions are filled with the most dedicated and qualified citizens. I believe your participation is certain to leave a positive impact on this board and the work it does.”  The Firefighting Personnel Standards and Education Commission is responsible for the certification of volunteer and paid firefighters in the state of Tennessee. The nine-member Commission also administers the Educational Incentive Pay Program for paid firefighters in Tennessee.  The Commission is responsible for approving training programs to meet the requirements of T.C.A. 4-24-112 (the Minimum Training Statute) and proof of compliance with this statute through annual audits of selected fire departments.  “We are proud of Chief Kerley in his work for the City of Oak Ridge,” City Manager Mark Watson said in the press release. “Most notably, Chief Darryl Kerley has improved the Oak Ridge Fire Department to the ISO rating 2, which includes Oak Ridge as one of six departments in Tennessee.  “We know Chief Kerley can add his expertise to help the people of Tennessee in this new capacity as a member of the Tennessee Fire Commission.”  There are more than 350 fire departments enrolled in the Commission’s programs serving more than 19,000 fire service personnel in Tennessee.  “Governor Haslam has placed a great amount of trust and confidence in my abilities to serve on the commission,” Kerley said. “I promise my colleagues and local fire departments that I will do my very best to work with the other commissioners to make Tennessee Fire Service one of the best in our nation, in order to make Tennessee an even better place to live, work, and raise a family.”

 

Wildfire season begins October 15th

 

Wildfire season in East Tennessee begins on Wednesday and Tennessee forestry officials want to remind everyone that burn permits will be required.  Tennessee's official wildfire season runs from Oct. 15 - May 15.  During this time, anyone who does any outdoor burning is required by state law to request a free burn permit from the Tennessee Department of Agriculture, Forestry Division.  There are two ways to receive a burn permit. East Tennessee residents can request a burn permit online from 9 a.m. - midnight any day of the week or call their local state forestry office between the hours of 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.  Residents can receive an online permit in minutes. Online permits are restricted to individual debris piles smaller than 8 ft. x 8 ft. Anyone who wants to burn a larger brush pile or more than one pile at once must call the local forestry office for a permit. Anyone who lives within city limits must also receive a permit from the city and follow local ordinances.  Forestry officials warn that burning permit requests are more popular on Fridays as people prepare to burn leaf and brush piles over the weekend, so phone lines could be busy.  Burn permits may be canceled, restricted or denied during times of extreme drought or wildfire danger.  Anyone caught burning illegally during wildfire season will receive a citation and may be held responsible for any costs associated with putting out the fire.

Safety tips for outdoor burning:

1. Don't set any fires on property that borders a forest or grassland

2. Watch the wind

3. Keep tools and supplies on hand to contain or extinguish the fire

4. Dig a line down to mineral soil around the fire

5. Notify your neighbors

6. Get a permit and check local ordinances

7. Don't leave your fire until it's completely out

For more information on open burning in Tennessee, visit the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation's website or call the East Tennessee Division office at (865) 594-6432.

 

AC official indicted

 

Anderson County Public Works Director and Building Commissioner David Crowley was indicted earlier this week on charges that he inspected five houses under construction in the last three months of 2013 without having obtained the proper certification to do so.  Crowley was indicted on five misdemeanor counts of violating the state’s building official certification law.  The TBI says that at the request of 7th District Attorney General Dave Clark agents began investigating Crowley on April 16th.  During the course of the investigation, the TBI developed information that Crowley had performed five inspections without the proper certification. State law affords a building commissioner 12 months to obtain the proper certification. Agents determined Crowley performed five inspections outside the grace period afforded in Tennessee law.  He began working in the office in September of 2012 but failed to pass the required courses and tests.  In January, County Mayor Terry Frank instructed Crowley to not inspect any more buildings until the certifications were obtained.  Crowley turned himself in to authorities Thursday at the Anderson County Jail and was released a short time later after posting a $1000 bond.   Shortly before he turned himself into authorities, Crowley fired a building inspector in his office described as a whistleblower.  Lisa Crumpley was fired early Thursday morning.  In a letter sent to Mayor Frank and County Commission Chairman Robert McKamey dated October 3rd, her attorney, David Stuart writes:  “Ms. Crumpley has been conscientiously required to engage as part of the duties on her employment, including but not limited to providing information requested by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and the county law director.  It is her belief that she is about to be subjected to retaliation on account of this activity, and I am therefore sending you this letter to formally protest and to seek appropriate intervention to prevent any retaliation.”  We will continue to follow this story for you as developments warrant. 

 

(TBI Press Release) Agents from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation have obtained indictments for an Anderson County man accused of performing building inspections he wasn’t certified to do.  At the request of 7th District Attorney General Dave Clark, TBI Special Agents began investigating David Lynn Crowley on April 16, 2014. During the course of the investigation, Agents developed information that Crowley, the Public Works Director and Building Commissioner for Anderson County performed five inspections without the proper certification. State law affords a building commissioner 12 months to obtain the proper certification. Agents determined Crowley performed five inspections outside the grace period afforded in Tennessee law.  On Tuesday, the Anderson County Grand Jury returned indictments for the 62-year-old Clinton man, charging him with five misdemeanor counts of violating the state’s building official certification law. Today, he was booked into the Anderson County Detention Facility and subsequently released after posting $1,000 bond.

 

ORT:  FMCOR gets Pre-Diabetes grant

 

(Oak Ridge Today) The American Medical Association Foundation has awarded a $10,000 “Healthy Communities/Healthy America” grant to the Free Medical Clinic in Oak Ridge. The grant will be used to support a two-year program that identifies and provides early intervention for pre-diabetic patients, a press release said.  By completing the lifestyle intervention program, participants should lower their risk of developing type 2 diabetes and improve their overall health, the release said. The pre-diabetes initiative will run in conjunction with the “Healthy Habits, Healthy Lives” wellness program that the clinic began this fall. The wellness program is supported by a three-year grant from the BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Health Foundation.  In the press release, FMC Executive Director Teresa Brittain said the clinic is excited about the new partnerships with the AMA Foundation and with the BCBS Foundation. Brittain said the pre-diabetic and wellness programs are furthering the clinic’s mission to give patients the tools and knowledge they need to take more responsibility for their health and well-being.  The Free Medical Clinic serves low-income, uninsured patients from Anderson, Morgan, and Roane Counties. It is located at 116 East Division Road in Oak Ridge and is open Monday through Friday. For more information, visit the clinic’s website at www.fmcor.org or call (865) 483-3904.

 

K-31 demolition begins

 

Demolition of the K-31 Building began Wednesday in Oak Ridge's East Tennessee Technology Park.  The two-story, 750,000 square foot building began operations in 1951, and was used to enrich uranium for defense and commercial purposes. It was shut down in 1985.  Crews removed most of the hazardous materials from the building's interior in 2005.  This is the fourth of five gaseous diffusion buildings at the former uranium enrichment site to be demolished.  Crews worked this summer to accelerate K-31's demolition five months ahead of its original proposed schedule.  Once the K-31 demolition is completed next year, the 383,000-square-foot K-27 Building will be the only remaining gaseous diffusion building at ETTP. It is scheduled for demolition in 2015.

 

UT Arboretum adding auditorium

 

Visitors to the University of Tennessee Arboretum in the coming weeks and months  –  including those planning to stop by for the Saturday, October 11 plant sale or the October 15 Woods and Wildlife Field Day – may catch a glimpse of something more than trees.  Construction supplies, equipment and heavy machinery are in evidence as the facility begins construction on its long anticipated auditorium.  The auditorium will be the newest addition to the UT Arboretum site, says Kevin Hoyt, director of the UT Forest Resources AgResearch and Education Center and UT Arboretum. “It is designed to complement the existing outdoor pavilion, but will be a stand-alone facility capable of accommodating gatherings of up to 120 people.”   Hoyt went on to describe the facility as a good fit for the Arboretum’s environment. “We’re really excited about the design,” he said. “Aesthetically, it’s an indoor space with outdoor ambitions.”   The 2,400+ square foot facility will have large windows that overlook the Arboretum’s hardwood forest, and the design includes a unique two-sided stone fireplace that can add ambiance to events that spill over from the indoor space to a large outside patio.  Of particular interest to many Arboretum visitors will be the addition of restroom facilities. Previously no public restrooms have been available on the Arboretum grounds.  Paid for with a combination of private donations and existing university facility funds, the auditorium is expected to be completed by June 2015. Construction begins as the Forest Resources Center and Arboretum celebrate 50 years of service to Tennessee forest landowners, the forest industry and the community at large.  Hoyt recently thanked the members of the UT Arboretum Society for their support of the facility. In a letter published in their newsletter last summer he wrote of the lasting legacy the building will provide the community, noting that the auditorium will help the research and education center “launch innovative education programs” among its many functions.  The Forest Resources Center includes some 11,500 acres of forested lands in Oak Ridge, Morgan and Scott counties, and Tullahoma. The Arboretum, which is open to the public for recreation and educational activities, comprises 250 of those acres. For more information about the research activities or the Arboretum and its plant collections and hiking trails, please visit the center’s website: forestry.tennessee.edu.  Although the construction phase may prove a bit noisy and messy, Hoyt assures the public that the serenity of the Arboretum will be restored as soon as possible.  In addition to its 10 AgResearch centers throughout the state, the UT Institute of Agriculture provides teaching, research and outreach through the colleges of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources and Veterinary Medicine and UT Extension with offices in every Tennessee county.

 

Ex-CHS standout pleads guilty in 2011 case

 

Troubled former Clinton High School football standout Scotty Whitt pleaded guilty Tuesday in Anderson County Criminal Court to charges stemming from a May 2011 incident in which he was accused of breaking into a woman’s house and raping her.  Whitt, now 39 years old, pleaded guilty to reduced charges of aggravated assault, aggravated burglary and criminal trespassing.  He was sentenced to eight years in jail on the assault charge, three years on the burglary charge and 30 days on the criminal trespassing charge, all of which will be served concurrently.  Whitt was given credit for time served since his arrest the morning after the May 19th, 2011 incident, and will spend the rest of his life on community supervision upon his release from jail.  Whitt was standout running back in high school and helped the Dragons advance to the 1992 state championship game but after high school he did not have the grades necessary to go to college, and developed a drug problem that has helped land him behind bars on several occasions on a variety of charges. 

 

Clinton announces leaf collection dates

 

The City of Clinton’s Public Works Department is announcing the 2014 Leaf Collection Schedule, which begins on October 20th. Our city is zoned into four service areas, with each area receiving three leaf collections. The collection dates are approximately one month apart. In order for collections to be made, leaves must be at the curbside before the scheduled Monday collection date. Leaves should normally be collected within five days of the date shown.  If you desire to have leaves removed on dates other than what is shown on the schedule, you should bag them and place them at the curbside with your household garbage for Waste Connections to collect. Waste Connections will collect a total of the equivalent of four 32 gallon containers from each household, whether leaves, household trash, or a combination.  In past years we have had problems with leaves being placed in the street, on sidewalks, and in drainage ditches. Your leaves should be piled near the curb or ditch line, on your property, and no closer. When leaves are placed in the street and in ditches, rain carries them into our storm water drains and catch basins, adding to drainage and flooding problems. Leaves placed in the street obstruct traffic, and leaves placed on sidewalks create a hazard for pedestrians. Leaves may be bagged and left at the curbside for collection on the scheduled days.  It is a violation of Clinton City Ordinances 16-106 and 16-107 to place leaves in the street or in drainage curb/gutters and ditches. We have asked our Codes Enforcement department to help enforce these ordinances. If your leaves are left in violation of the ordinances, they will not be collected until a correction is made through Codes Enforcement. Your cooperation with this ongoing problem is needed and will be greatly appreciated.  If you have a large amount of leaves that you wish to gather and need a location to dump them, call me at 457-6495 or e-mail to lmurphy@clintontn.net and I will make arrangements for you. Also, please do not combine brush with leaves, as our equipment will not be able to collect them from the same pile.

 

ACSD beer sting nets 5

 

The Anderson County Sheriff’s Department, in cooperation with the Rocky Top 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 Monday, September 29.  Investigators with the Sheriff’s Special Operations Unit visited twenty businesses to attempt to purchase beer. Five sold beer to the underage person. All twenty businesses checked for identification showing the person to be under 21 but the five sold beer anyway.

The following businesses sold beer to the underage person.

  • In & Out Market Lake City Hwy. Clinton
  • Lee’s Food Mart E. Tri-County Blvd. Oliver Springs
  • Raceway E. Tri-County Blvd. Oliver Springs
  • Smokes & Things Clinton Hwy. Powell
  • Von’s Market E. Wolf Valley Rd. Heiskell

Five clerks who sold beer to the underage purchasers have been cited to court. The beer permit holders will be brought before the respective beer boards for Anderson County 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
  • Exxon N. Main St. Rocky Top
  • Fast Lap Market (Town Talk) Lake City Hwy. Clinton
  • Food City E. Tri-County Blvd. Oliver Springs
  • Marathon (Mack’s Tobacco) Oak Ridge Hwy. Clinton
  • Marathon (Edgemoor) Edgemoor Rd.
  • Marathon (Downtown) Main St. Oliver Springs
  • Marathon (Fast Track) Lake City Hwy. Rocky Top
  • Marathon (Rocky Top) N. Main St. Rocky Top
  • Pilot #314 N. Main St. Rocky Top
  • Rite Aid E. Tri-County Blvd. Oliver Springs
  • Shell N. Main St. Rocky Top
  • Shell (Fun Food) E. Tri-County Blvd. Oliver Springs
  • Weigel’s #73 Weigel’s Ln. Rocky Top

In 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.

 

Phillips leaving 2 jobs to return to old job

 

Former Anderson County budget director Chris Phillips, who left that job earlier this year to help his hometown update their financial mechanisms as they get ready for an extended period of growth, is returning to his old job in the Courthouse.  That means that he will step down as City recorder in Rocky Top and as a newly-elected County Commissioner in District 4.  Phillips was elected to that post in August but will step down from the commission on October 10th.  It will be up to the remaining 15 commissioners to select a replacement to serve the rest of his term, which runs through August 2016.  In a press release issued by the County Mayor’s office, Phillips says, “While the thought of disappointing those who were kind enough to vote for me weighs heavily on me, I know I can best serve the people of this county by implementing and directing policy, rather than making policy [as a commissioner].”  Citing his accomplishments in Rocky Top, Phillips says that he spent his time there “working toward balancing their accounts, working with the auditors to help them complete the overdue 2012/2013 financial audit, instituted direct deposit for the employees, installed card machines in order to accept debit and credit card transactions, hired a new water clerk, installed property tax software in the place of a manual paper process, and corrected many other processes that had fallen by the way side over the last few years. I’ve helped Rocky Top modernize in anticipation of great things to come, and now feel I’m able to return to Anderson County.”  Mayor Terry Frank had this to say about Phillips’ return:  “I never wanted Chris to leave, but I certainly understood from the beginning that Lake City, now Rocky Top, was in search of next level management in modernizing their accounting structure… I made it clear from the get-go that if I had not filled the Budget Director position, he was always welcome back home here in Anderson County Government.”  Interim Budget Director Connie Aytes will return to her former position as Deputy Budget Director when Phillips’ return becomes official.  Read the entire press release on our website, www.wyshradio.com.

 

(Press release from Anderson County Mayor’s office) Anderson County Mayor Terry Frank today announced that Chris Phillips will be rejoining Anderson County Government as Budget Director.   

“I never wanted Chris to leave, but I certainly understood from the beginning that Lake City, now Rocky Top, was in search of next level management in modernizing their accounting structure.  Though Chris tried to accomplish Rocky Top’s goals by working part-time on weekends, it really took him leaving the county to be in Rocky Top full time.   I made it clear from the get-go that if I had not filled the Budget Director position, he was always welcome back home here in Anderson County Government,” stated Frank.

“While the thought of disappointing those who were kind enough to vote for me weighs heavily on me, I know I can best serve the people of this county by implementing and directing policy, rather than making policy, and that requires that I step down from my position as Commissioner to serve Anderson County in another way,” stated Phillips. Phillips will resign his District 4 County Commission seat effective Oct. 10.

“Chris knows Anderson County inside and out, and we have missed him.  Our team is excited to have him back, and I personally am just thrilled,” said Mayor Frank. Phillips will officially rejoin Anderson County Government on Oct. 30. 

“I want to thank Connie Aytes, who has served as Interim Budget Director, for her tireless work,” said Mayor Frank.  “She has served Anderson County for six years – since February 2014 as Interim Budget Director – and under Phillips’ previous tenure as Budget Director, was named Deputy Director. Her past experience as an auditor with the Tennessee Office of the Comptroller has given the accounting office a unique area of expertise, insight, and guidance.  She is so appreciated for rising to the challenge as Interim Director, and we can’t possibly thank her enough. She remains a vital part of the team,” continued Mayor Frank. 

Phillips successfully helped Anderson County achieve seven Certificates of Excellence in the seven years he previously was the county’s Budget Director. He is a Certified Financial Manager accredited through the Association of Government Accountants and holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Tennessee Wesleyan College.

“When approached by Rocky Top, I felt it was my duty to help get my hometown in solid financial order. I left to get things back on track, believing it was my calling to do so. Once I was here, I immediately began working toward balancing their accounts, working with the auditors to help them complete the overdue 2012/2013 financial audit, instituted direct deposit for the employees, installed card machines in order to accept debit and credit card transactions, hired a new water clerk, installed property tax software in the place of a manual paper process, and corrected many other processes that had fallen by the way side over the last few years. I’ve helped Rocky Top modernize in anticipation of great things to come, and now feel I’m able to return to Anderson County,” said Phillips.

“I am very proud to have helped Rocky Top move forward, and am excited to return to Anderson County,” Phillips said.

 

CDBGs announced for several Tennessee communities

 

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bill Hagerty recently approved more than $28 million in Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) to assist Tennessee communities with infrastructure, health and safety projects, and downtown improvements.  “Community Development Block Grants play an important role in helping communities across Tennessee prepare for future economic development opportunities and continued growth,” Haslam said. “Working with our communities in making these improvements helps bring us one step closer toward our goal to making Tennessee the No. 1 location in the Southeast for high quality jobs.”   

“Community development sets the stage for burgeoning economic development and when a community invests in itself, the private sector is more likely to invest in it as well,” Hagerty said. “I am pleased to see so many communities across the state eagerly taking steps not only to attract new business and encourage future growth, but also to create better living conditions for the families that reside there.” 

Allocation of CDBG funds is based on priorities set at local levels where community needs are best known. The CDBG program is administered in Tennessee by the Department of Economic and Community Development.

 

Community

Project

CDBG Amount

Local Funds

Total

Caryville

Drainage Improvements

$315,000

$35,000

$350,000

LaFollette

Sewer System Improvements

$524,998

$45,652

$570,650

Morgan County

Waterline Extension

$525,000

$144,000

$669,000

Oliver Springs

Sewer System Improvements

$525,000

$225,000

$750,000

Rocky Top

Water System Improvements

$360,840

$27,160

$388,000

Union County

Waterline Extension

$525,000

$39,516

$564,516

 

Ruby Tuesday in OR closes

 

Ruby Tuesday in Oak Ridge has closed. The restaurant announced the closure in two signs posted on its front doors.  The signs invite diners to eat at other local Ruby Tuesday restaurants in Knoxville and Lenoir City.  In early January, the company announced that it would close 30 restaurants during the next few months, although executives wouldn’t say which ones. The announcement came after a disappointing earnings report.  It is not clear at this time if the closure of the Oak Ridge location is related to that January announcement.

 

ORT:  ORHS chem lab incident prompts response

 

Students at Oak Ridge High School were briefly evacuated Tuesday morning after a chemistry experiment set off smoke detectors.  According to our partners at Oak Ridge Today, a small amount of zinc chloride and water created water vapor that set off the smoke detectors, which then shut chemistry lab hoods. The Oak Ridge Fire Department manually opened the vents in the room (LC212) until the smoke detector system reset. Firefighters checked the air, making sure it was safe to breathe.  There was no fire, no damage, and no injuries, according to the ORFD, which also said that no students were ever in danger.  Oak Ridge police and fire departments responded to the call at about 10:30 a.m. Tuesday and gave the “all clear” about 20 minutes later. 

 

AC RAM in fundraising mode

 

Following up on a report we brought you last week, First Baptist Church of Clinton will host a Remote Area Medical—or RAM—Clinic on  April 11th and 12th, 2015.  The mission of the clinic is to provide those who need them with vision, medical and dental services free of charge.  The clinic will be free and will be supported by volunteers and donations.  Organizers are asking the community for prayers and for financial support for the clinic, which has an overall budget of $30,000.  If you would like to donate, you can send a check payable to “First Baptist Church of Clinton, AC RAM Event” by sending it to 225 North Main Street, Clinton, TN 37716.  For more information, you can call 865-259-6726 or www.andersoncountyram.com.

 

AC FFA state champs

 

The Anderson County Future Farmers of America (FFA) have earned a state title in the Milk Quality and Products Career Development Event (CDE). Students from 33 chapters gathered at the Tennessee State Fair to compete in the event sponsored by F&M Bank of Clarksville. The Milk Quality and Products CDE tests agricultural education students on their knowledge of quality production, processing, distribution, promotion, and marketing of milk and dairy foods.  The Anderson County team is comprised of all freshmen, making their state title that much more impressive. Mary Leach was the highest-scoring individual, while Kayla Palmer and Rhett Boling tied for 2nd, and Colby Profit placed 4th.  Anderson County will represent Tennessee at the National FFA Convention in Louisville, KY this October. The team will compete for national recognition and up to $1000 per team member.  The Tennessee FFA Association is comprised of more than 13,000 members from 213 high school chapters, 7 middle school chapters and 8 collegiate chapters across the state of Tennessee. To learn more about FFA visit www.tnffa.org.

 

ORCVB has new director

 

Earlier this week, former Oak Ridge Rowing Association director Mark DeRose accepted the position of executive director of the Oak Ridge Convention and Visitors Bureau.  He will succeed Katy Brown, who left the post earlier this year to accept another job opportunity.  He agreed to a contract worth $55,000 a year following negotiations with the Board of Directors that took place on Wednesday. 

 

ACSD receives grant

 

(ACSD) Sheriff Paul White announced today that the Anderson County Sheriff’s Department has been awarded a Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) from the Office of Criminal Justice Programs (OJP). The grant award of $14,993.00 from the OJP will be matched with $4,997.00 in local funding for a total of $19,990.00 which will be used for purchase of law enforcement equipment.  Sheriff White received notification of the grant award from the Office of Criminal Justice Programs, Tennessee Department of Finance and Administration.  For more information, please visit: http://state.tn.us/finance/adm/ocjp.

 

Ouster suit dismissal to be appealed

 

The attorney for the 22 Anderson County residents who filed an ouster suit against County Law Director Jay Yeager in the spring will appeal the dismissal of the suit last week by a specially-appointed senior judge.  Senior Judge Don Ash last week issued an opinion based on a hearing held August 28th dismissing the suit on the grounds that the Anderson County Law Director is not subject to ouster because his is an appointed position and not an elected one.  Judge Ash also opined that the plaintiffs “can prove no set of facts that would entitle them to relief.”  His ruling also made those plaintiffs liable for all court costs in the case, which will continue to mount as the appeals process continues.  The original ouster suit was filed in May with three grounds for Yeager’s dismissal but was later amended to include 16 reasons for ouster.  Yeager has vehemently denied any wrongdoing and has publicly stated he believes that County Mayor Terry Frank, with whom he has had several high-profile disagreements, is behind the suit.  Mayor Frank has repeatedly denied that allegation.

 

Children’s Museum of OR snares healthy living exhibit grant

 

(Children’s Museum of Oak Ridge) Thursday, the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) awarded a grant totaling $137,108 to the Children’s Museum of Oak Ridge. The museum will use the grant funds to develop its new Kids in Action! Healthy Living exhibit and programs.  According to a press release, the museum will plan, develop, and construct “Kids in Action,” a healthy living exhibit and accompanying educational programs to support healthy nutrition, healthy activity, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) education, and community wellness. Through partnerships with East Tennessee Children’s Hospital, Oak Ridge Associated Universities, and the University of Tennessee Agriculture Extension the “Kids in Action” initiative will use fun and engaging activities, including a human body exhibit and a fitness trail mascot, “Peppy Pepper,” to raise awareness in the community about healthy nutrition and exercise and to encourage positive attitudes concerning healthy lifestyles. The project will provide direction, encouragement, and programs aligned with school STEM initiatives to children who are confronted with serious lifestyle choices.  Mary Ann Damos, executive director at the museum, stated, “We are excited to begin the project and look forward to forming new partnerships in the community to work with us in this effort. I am very grateful to the Institute of Museum and Library Services for this grant award and for all of the work they do for museums and libraries across the nation.”  The museum will have to provide a 50-50 match of the grant, which will include both in-kind labor and money, so they are actively seeking sponsors with a focus on health care and medical organizations.  The exhibit itself will replace the current “1910 exhibit” on the first level of the museum and is expected to take up to three years to complete.  For more information, visit http://childrensmuseumofoakridge.org/.

 

Ouster suit dismissed

 

Friday, a specially appointed senior judge from Murfreesboro issued an order dismissing the ouster lawsuit filed against Anderson County Law Director Jay Yeager in May by 22 county residents.  In his opinion, Senior Judge Don Ash dismissed the suit on the grounds that the position of Anderson County Law Director does not fall under the state guidelines for an ouster suit, which apply only to elected officials “in a position of public trust.”  The judge also wrote that the 22 plaintiffs in the suit “can prove no set of facts which would entitle them to relief.”  The decision can be appealed and if an appeal is filed, we will let you know about it.  The suit was initially filed in May with three grievances calling for Yeager’s ouster and later amended to include 16.  Yeager steadfastly denied any wrongdoing.

 

Violette honored by peers

 

Earlier this month, the Director of the Clinton City School System, Dr. Vicki Violette, was named the 2015 Superintendent of the Year by the Tennessee Organization of School Superintendents for the Eastern District during a ceremony held in Pigeon Forge.  This is the second time that Dr. Violette has been recognized by her peers with this award, which she also won in 2012.  Violette gave the credit for her honor to the hard work of the students, teachers, school board members and central office staff as well as to the support of the entire community. 

 

State awards $24M in highway safety grants

 

(GHSO) Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam, Tennessee Department of Transportation Commissioner John Schroer and Governor’s Highway Safety Office Director Kendell Poole announced the Tennessee agencies that received grant awards totaling more than $24.2 million to support highway traffic safety efforts.  The funds support the mission of GHSO to save lives and reduce injuries on Tennessee roadways through leadership, innovation, coordination and program support in partnership with numerous public and private organizations.  “Having safe roads is critical to our mission of making Tennessee a better place to live, work and raise a family,” Haslam said.  “These grants will support the efforts of highway safety agencies and advocates to reduce the number of people killed and injured in traffic crashes in Tennessee each year.”  There are multiple elements that contribute to a safe roadway system.  Some of those aspects are an accurate traffic safety data collection and analysis system, well-trained and well-equipped law enforcement personnel, and effective emergency medical and trauma systems.  A major part of roadway safety is educating motorists about laws and good driving behaviors.  “These grants help fund a variety of enforcement, legal and educational initiatives across the state including speed enforcement, first responder equipment purchases, DUI prosecutors and child passenger safety training,” Schroer said.  “These grants will make a difference in the effectiveness of our highway safety partners.”  The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration provides the funding to GHSO.  The grants, totaling 449 for the 2014-2015 funding cycle, were awarded to 386 agencies that successfully applied for funding based on a defined problem and statistical need.  Each year, GHSO accepts applications from agencies across the state for available highway safety funds.  Applications are reviewed and scored by GHSO and external highway safety advocates.  The agencies that meet the criteria for funding received awards.  “Our grantees are the backbone of GHSO,” Director Kendell Poole said. “It takes everyone working together to make a difference. We are dedicated to saving lives across Tennessee and pledge to work with grantees statewide to accomplish our mission.”  For more information about GHSO, visit www.tntrafficsafety.org.  For a complete list and description of each grant, visit http://www.tn.gov/tdot/news/2014/GHSO-FY2015GrantAwards.pdf

 

Anderson County Sheriff's Department: Reducing Fatalities in Anderson County: ($40,000.25)

ASAP of Anderson County Alcohol Education and Safe Driving in Anderson County TN Alcohol Education ($29,152.60)

Clinton Police Department, Rocky Top PD and Norris PD:  High Visibility Enforcement ($5000 each)

Oak Ridge Police Department Operations STAR (Strategic Traffic Accident Reduction) [$ 35,148.00]

TN District Attorney General, 07th Judicial District 20142015 DUI Abatement/Prosecution Enhancement Grant DUI Prosecution ($198, 047.32)

Campbell County Sheriff's Department Campbell County Alcohol Enforcement Program ($57,768.64)

Caryville, Jacksboro, Jellico and Lafollette Police Departments:  High Visibility Enforcement Police Traffic Services ($5000)

City of Sunbright, the Morgan County Sheriff’s Department and the Wartburg Police Department High Visibility Enforcement Police Traffic Services Morgan East 5,000.00 $

Morgan County Sheriff Department High Visibility Enforcement ($5000 each)

Harriman Police Department DUI Check Patrol and Check Points ($15,088.39)

Kingston Police Department, Oliver Springs PD, Roane County Sheriff’s Office and the Rockwood PD: High Visibility Enforcement Police Traffic Services Roane East ($5,000.00)

Roane County Sheriff's Office:  Network coordinator ($15,000.00)

Roane County Sheriff's Office:  A safer TN through saturations and checkpoints ($87,800.00)

 

AC DA named to Bar Association Board of Governors

 

Anderson County District Attorney General Dave Clark has been named a Governor of the Tennessee Bar Association, according to a release from his office.  In that release, Clark states:  “It is an honor to be selected to serve in a leadership role among my peers and to help continue the service of the Tennessee Bar Association.”  The 23-member Board of Governors controls the activities and business of the Tennessee Bar Association in all its activities across the state.  The TBA represents over 10,000 attorneys in the state in trying to foster legal education, maintain the honor and dignity of the profession of law, cultivate professional ethics and promote improvements in the law and the administration of justice.  Clark earlier this month was appointed to the Board of Directors for the Tennessee Conference of District Attorneys General.

 

Appeals court finds for OR in dispute over apartments

 

An appeals court in Knoxville has upheld the dismissal of Applewood Apartments’ owner Joe Levitt’s lawsuit against he Oak Ridge Board of Building and Housing Appeals, calling his second appeal in this case “frivolous.”  Levitt and the Board have been at odds for over five years as to whether or not the apartment buildings are unfit for human habitation.  In May of 2009, the city inspected four Applewood buildings and issued Levitt two notices of violation.  Following Board hearings to determine if the buildings would be declared unfit for occupation and demolished, the Board voted to do just that.  Levitt sued in Anderson County Chancery Court, but that suit was dismissed.  Levitt filed an appeal of that decision, which was upheld.  The Board again voted in March of 2013 to declare the buildings unfit for occupancy and demolish them.  Levitt filed a second appeal in June of last year.  The trial judge denied the appeal, writing in October of last year that “the issues raised by [Levitt] have already been litigated by this Court and the Tennessee Court of Appeals.”  The Appeals Court ruling upholding that dismissal falls under the legal category of “res judicata,” which according to the decision “bars a second suit between the same parties or their privies on the same cause of action with respect to all issues which were or could have been litigated in the former suit.”  The appeals court verdict states that this most recent appeal was “simply an attempt to re-litigate issues which were fully and finally decided” in his first suit.   The appeals court determined Levitt’s second appeal to be frivolous and remanded the case back to the trial court to determine the proper award of damages to the defendants for his frivolous appeal.  After that decision is rendered, the issue of whether or not to demolish the apartments will be placed back in the hands of the Oak Ridge Board of Building and Housing Appeals.

 

House of Bryant files another ‘Rocky Top’ legal challenge

 

The owners of the iconic bluegrass song "Rocky Top" have filed another legal challenge to prevent the recently-renamed Anderson County town of Rocky Top from cashing in on the name change.  Earlier this year, Lake City changed its name to Rocky Top, a change widely seen as the first step in revitalizing the town’s economy.  The House of Bryant owns the rights to the song and is suing city leaders and the developers of several proposed attractions for trademark infringement.  This spring, the company sought an injunction aimed at preventing the then-Lake City Council from changing the town’s name to Rocky Top until the lawsuit was heard, saying it could do irreparable damage to the brand that family created.  That request for an injunction was rejected in May and the city officially changed its name in June.  This latest legal challenge comes after Monday's announcement that marketers with the city had reached an agreement with a Knoxville fashion designer to manufacture "Rocky Top, Tennessee" merchandise.  House of Bryant has filed another request for the courts to step in, saying Monday's merchandise deal is "new information" that constitutes grounds for a temporary injunction.  The suit says, "the Developers have taken real and concrete steps toward infringing Plaintiff's Rocky Top Marks."  The merchandising agreement is with Marc Nelson-Denim and encompasses manufacture of t-shirts, coffee mugs, key chains and other merchandise with the Rocky Top, TN 37769 logo on them. The suit asks for the court to stop the group from "selling any goods that compete with Plaintiff's goods and that bear marks confusingly similar to the Rocky Top Marks."  We will continue to follow this story for you. 

 

Coming soon:  More Rocky Top, TN swag

 

Knoxville-based fashion designer Marcus Hall has signed a licensing agreement to manufacture “Rocky Top, Tennessee” products and plans to open a retail store in the recently-rechristened town of Lake City.  Hall designs and manufactures custom-designed blue jeans and will soon open a retail store above his east Knoxville warehouse, which is also where he makes his products.  The Rocky Top, TN Dry Goods and Denim store, as his local venture will be known, will sell more than jeans, as people will be able to purchase t-shirts, coffee mugs, keychains and other items with the name “Rocky Top, TN” emblazoned upon them.  Hall says that the pending litigation filed by the House of Bryant, the publishing company that owns the copyright to the iconic bluegrass song “Rocky Top,” did not cause him any concern because, as he and others associated with the town remind us, all of the products will use the actual geographic location of “Rocky Top, TN”—some even with the ZIP code—to avoid any confusion with the song.  A motion by House of Bryant to prevent the town from proceeding with the name change was denied earlier this year. 

 

2 of 3 plotters plead guilty in murder attempt

 

Two people accused of conspiring to kill an elderly man pleaded guilty Monday in an Anderson County courtroom.  44-year-old David Lee Suddeth and 53-year-old Dorothy Roxanne McFarland both pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit second-degree murder, attempted second-degree murder, attempted aggravated arson, attempted aggravated kidnapping and theft under $500.  In exchange for those pleas, each was sentenced to nine years behind bars.  A third person, the alleged mastermind of the plot, 50-year-old Randolph Lane, is expected to enter a plea in this case on Wednesday.  The trio was accused of plotting to kill then-73-year-old Luther Byrge—with whom they were all living—in January of 2012.  Their plan was to lock Byrge inside his bedroom, disable the smoke detector, cut the phone lines and set his house on fire while he was inside.  The plan almost worked too, as the phone and smoke detector were disabled and Byrge was locked in his room, but according to testimony in court, the plan ultimately failed when the gasoline that was ignited under a bathroom sink melted the pipes and extinguished the fire.  The motive was robbery.  Byrge was not injured in the incident.

 

ACSD deputy charged with DUI

 

A corporal with the Anderson County Sheriff’s Department is on unpaid administrative leave after he was arrested for DUI early Friday morning in Oak Ridge.  41-year-old Roger Day of Clinton was charged with first offense DUI after an Oak Ridge Police officer on routine patrol found him and a passenger next to an overturned motorcycle.  Shortly after 5 am, Officer Christopher Carden reported that he discovered the motorcycle on its side on Robertsville Road near the Oak Ridge Turnpike.  Day and a woman identified as Oak Ridge resident Chandra Flaming were at the scene and Day told Carden that as he had tried to turn right on to Robertsville from the Turnpike that he had “just dropped the motorcycle.”  Neither Day nor Fleming was seriously injured, but as Carden spoke with Day, he reported that the deputy smelled of alcohol, had bloodshot eyes and slurred speech.  Day completed some field sobriety tests but eventually refused to take any more.  Day admitted to having consumed five or six 16-ounce beers earlier in the evening.  He was booked into the Anderson County Jail and released on a $1500 bond.  Again, he is on unpaid leave while the case works its way through the legal system.

 

AVFD chief resigns, subscription service nixed

 

Andersonville Volunteer Fire Department Chief Jeff Bagwell resigned his position last month and the department has ended the controversial subscription plan that damaged the relationship between the department and the community.  Rodney Reeder has been promoted to chief and he told the Courier News last week that his first priority will be to repair that relationship.  In late 2012, the department announced via a letter to homeowners that it would begin a subscription program, scrapping its longtime donation-based, claiming at the time that because donations were down, the department’s future might be in jeopardy.  The community backlash was immediate and angry, as many did not appreciate the heavy-handed tone of the letter and many more complained about the lack of notice or the lack of public meetings to discuss the proposal.  The County Commission responded to those community complaints by voting this year to withhold its traditional $20,000 a year contribution to the AVFD until they backed away from the subscription service and to withhold the planned donation of a new fire engine. 

 

Johnson returns as Chief Jailer

 

Longtime Chief Jailer Avery Johnson ended his nine-month-long retirement last week and is back on the job as the top cop at the Anderson County Jail.  Johnson retired in November of last year after 33 years with the Anderson County Sheriff’s Department, but said that he missed his old job and decided to return last week.  Johnson returns to his duties just in time for the final phase of work on the multi-million dollar jail expansion that began under his first tenure as chief jailer.  Construction on the addition is said to be complete and officials expect to pass their next jail inspection by the state on September 22nd, despite some “minor” issues noted during the state’s last inspection in August. 

 

AC DA named to state committee

 

Anderson County District Attorney General Dave Clark has been named to the Executive Committee of the Tennessee District Attorneys General Conference.  The six-member committee controls the activities and business of the Conference in all of its activities across Tennessee.  The Conference, in turn, manages the centralized functions of the 31 DAs who cover all 95 counties in Tennessee.  In a release announcing his selection to the Executive Committee, Clark writes “It is a true privilege to be able to contribute to the fine work of Tennessee’s District Attorneys General who seek everyday to do justice, give a voice to victims, make our communities generally safer and generally manage the state’s criminal justice system.”   

 

AC Commission welcomes new leadership

 

The Anderson County Commission on Tuesday appointed a new chair and vice chair.  The new chair is longtime Commissioner Robert McKamey, who represents District 5.  The new vice chair is Steve Emert, who represents District 3.  No other candidates for either post emerged during Tuesday’s very brief special called meeting.  McKamey replaces Chuck Fritts, who did not seek to be re-appointed as chair after three terms, while Emert will replace Commissioner Robin Biloski, who also did not seek another term as vice chair.  Tuesday’s special meeting followed a swearing-in ceremony for new and returning commissioners and other county officials elected on August 7th.  Newcomers who were sworn in Tuesday included Circuit Court Clerk William Jones, Chancellor Nikki Cantrell, General Sessions Division II Judge Roger Miller and Juvenile Court Judge Brian Hunt.  Chris Phillips, Theresa Scott and Phillip Warfield were sworn in for their first terms on the County Commission and School Board newcomers Don Bell and Teresa Portwood also took their oaths of office.  Judge Miller’s eligibility to serve was called into question following his stunning Election Day defeat of longtime Judge Ron Murch after it was learned he owed back taxes and unpaid child support.  Miller told the News-Sentinel Tuesday that the child support issues have been dealt with and the tax questions will also be addressed in the near future. 

 

AC DA hires veteran prosecutor as ADA

 

The Anderson County District Attorney General’s Office has hired veteran prosecutor Tony Craighead as an assistant DA.  Craighead lost in his bid to become the DA in the state’s 13th Judicial District earlier this month and joins the Anderson County prosecutor’s office after over 20 years working in that district.  He replaces Sandra Donaghy, who was elected Criminal Court Judge in the 10th Judicial District. Craighead has prosecuted several high-profile cases, including the murder charges against Byron (Low Tax) Looper, who was ultimately convicted in the 1998 death of State Senator Tommy Burks, his election-time opponent.  He also served as interim DA in the 13th District in 2006 and held the post until a permanent successor was named in 2008.  His focus in Anderson County will likely be on cases in Criminal Court.

 

Clinton Fire Department receives donation

 

On August 20th, the Clinton Fire Department was awarded a donation from Golden Living Centers-Windwood that will help the department purchase three EZ-IO Drivers. According to a press release, the EZ-IO Intraosseous Infusion System is a solution for immediate vascular access.   Lt Bradley Allen said: "The new drivers will provide Clinton Fire Department's first responders a more efficient way to deliver medications, intravenous fluids and blood products to adult and pediatric patients alike. With a specially designed cutting IO needle and small power driver, the EZ-IO allows the Firefighters complete control - avoiding the use of force." 

 

ACSD warns drivers of 2nd impostor

 

The Anderson County Sheriff’s Department says a second female motorist was stopped by a police impersonator Monday night but unlike the previous incident, in this case the suspect pulled a knife on the victim but she drove off and was not harmed. At about around 9:45 pm Monday, a 49 year old woman was pulled over by a police impersonator on Yarnell Rd off East Wolf Valley Rd near Clinton. He approached the victim and asked for her driver's license.  He then pulled a knife and she immediately drove away and called 911.  The descriptions of the suspect and his car are different from the previous incident, which occurred about two weeks ago.  The suspect in Monday’s incident was described as a white male in his mid or late 20s to mid 30s, 6'00" 200 lbs, clean shaven, with a muscular build and short dark brown hair. He spoke with a soft voice.  The suspect was well-dressed wearing dark civilian clothing (not a uniform) and had a badge on his belt.  The car was described as a dark colored sedan, possibly an older model Chevrolet Caprice, with a chrome grille and had a revolving blue light on the dash.  The car also was believed to have been outfitted with a spotlight but it was not used when stopping the victim.   Since descriptions of the person and the car are different, investigators say they are unsure if this is the same suspect as the earlier incident.  What is most concerning in this case is the suspect pulled a knife on the victim.  Quick thinking in driving away prevented her from being harmed.  The suspect and his vehicle description have been broadcast to all surrounding law enforcement agencies and a search of the area where this incident occurred was done but the vehicle was not located.  The Sheriff's Criminal Investigations Unit has been following up on both tips from the public as well as from other police agencies on the earlier case.  However, none have yielded a possible suspect at this time.  Authorities have also been conducting extra patrols in the area of the previous incident but neither the suspect nor his vehicle has been found.  We will continue extra patrols not only in the areas where these incidents have occurred but throughout the county seeking vehicles matching both descriptions. In the first case, the vehicle was described as a dark colored late 90s Chevrolet Lumina.  The impersonator was described as a white male, mid-30s to mid-40s, 5'10" to 5'11", about 200 pounds with a stomach that hung slightly over his belt.  He had ear length brown hair, combed to one side, balding on top of the head with a receding hairline and a graying mustache.  He was wearing a white button-up shirt with dark dress pants and had a gold or brass colored badge on his left side and a revolver in a dark colored soft holster on his right side.  The impersonator spoke in a deep "country" voice.  Anyone with information on either of these cases is being urged to contact Sergeant Jeff Davis with our Criminal Investigations Unit at 865-457-6255, extension 1141, or our communications center at 865-457-2414.  The Anderson County Sheriff's Department would again like to remind motorists if they are unsure if they are being pulled over by an actual law enforcement officer they should turn on their hazard flashers, call 911 to verify the officer’s authenticity, and slowly drive to a well-lit area such as a business or store before stopping.

 

AC election results

 

Here are the results from races in Thursday’s election in Anderson County:

County Mayor:  Terry Frank (7856 votes) def. Jim Hackworth (6193) and Bradley Rickett (619). 

Sheriff:  Paul White (7386) def. Anthony Lay (6918).

General Sessions Judge, Division 1:  Don Layton (8628) def. Ryan Spitzer (4939).

General Sessions Judge, Division 2:  Roger Miller (6986) def. Ron Murch (6129).

Juvenile Court Judge:  Brian Hunt (8810) def. Michael Clement (4650).

Circuit Court Clerk:  William Jones (7163) def. Tyler Mayes (5993).

Register of Deeds:  Tim Shelton (6984) def. Bill Gallaher (6712).

School Board, District 2:  Teresa Portwood (1155) def. Greg Crawford (847).

School Board, District 7:  Don Bell (820) def. Steve Fritts (468)

County Commission, District 1:  Tracy Wandell (838) and Chuck Fritts (826) hold off challenge from Floyd Grisham (718).

District 2:  Rick Meredith (1474) and Mark Alderson (1344) re-elected.

District 3:  Steve Emert (1040) re-elected, Phillip Warfield (838) elected, ousting incumbent Dusty Irwin.

District 4:  Tim Isbel (950) re-elected, Chris Phillips (607) elected.

District 5:  Jerry White (876) and Robert McKamey (690) re-elected.

District 6:  Steve Mead (549) and Whitey Hitchcock (549) re-elected.

District 7:  Jerry Creasey (803) re-elected, Theresa Scott (531) elected to first term.

District 8:  Myron Iwanski (1297) and Robin Biloski (1145) re-elected.

Constable District 1:  Jennings Foust (2468)

Constable District 2:  Jason Stokes (1790) and Eugene Chaney (1408) elected.

Constable District 3:  Wade Brock (1088) re-elected.

Constable District 4:  Leslie Ray Wakefield (1713)

Oliver Springs City Judge/Recorder:  Joseph Van Hook (269)

Oliver Springs Court Clerk/Finance Officer:  Ramona Walker (258)

Republican State Executive Committeeman:  Scott David Smith (3794) def. Leon Fritts Shields (2773).

Republican State Executive Committeewoman:  Julia Hurley (6624)

Democratic State Executive Committeeman:  Richard Dawson (2388)

Democratic State executive Committeewoman:  Mary Beth Hickman (1808) def. Dixie Damm (708)

State Senate, 5th District Republican primary:  Randy McNally (8232)

State House of Representatives, District 33 Republican primary:  John Ragan (4487) def. Caitlin Nolan (3719).

State House, District 33 Democratic primary:  Misty Neergaard (1935) def. write-in candidate Leslie Argon (97).

State House, District 36:  Republican Dennis Powers and Democrat James Virgil Kidwell unopposed in respective primaries.

US House of Representatives, 3rd Congressional District:  Chuck Fleischmann (50.8%) def. Weston Wamp (49.2%) and will face Democrat Mary Headrick in the general election in November.

US Senate, Republican primary:  Lamar Alexander (52%) def. several challengers led by Joe Carr (38%) and will face Democrat Gordon Ball in November.

More information will be added later. 

Last night, the Anderson County Election Commission’s website crashed and it is currently suspended so Election Administrator Mark Stephens has forwarded WYSH the link and you can find both the unofficial cumulative results as well as the precinct-by-precinct breakdown.  Here are the links:

Unofficial Cumulative: https://www.dropbox.com/s/iy417uqh0v70oar/Final%20Unofficial.pdf

Unofficial Precinct breakdown: https://www.dropbox.com/s/u8wec4er5i5rbh5/precinct.pdf

You can also find results at http://www.andersontn.org 

 

WYSH, Oak Ridge Today Team To Expand Local News Coverage

 

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

 

 

All web content is property of Clinton Broadcasters Inc., unless otherwise cited, and may not be re-published, re-broadcast or otherwise distributed without express written consent.

 

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