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UPDATED March 10, 2014
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5 restaurants donating to ADFAC
Five local restaurants will donate a portion of their sales to support Aid to Distressed Families of Appalachian Counties, or ADFAC, on Monday. It’s part of “Dine and Donate,” which officially launched last October. “Dine and Donate” is a yearlong event, with different restaurants participating on the second Monday of each month.
Restaurants participating on Monday are:
ADFAC is an independent nonprofit agency established in 1987 that exists to serve the basic needs of primarily low-income residents in Anderson and surrounding Appalachian counties. ADFAC’s goal is to help families become stable and self-sufficient through a variety of direct assistance services provided by its Social Services and Affordable Housing programs. ADFAC answers more than 6,000 requests for assistance each year.
For a full calendar of restaurants and list of sponsors, visit www.adfac.org.
CPD Chief launches new comment feature
(CPD) The Clinton Police Department has had its Facebook page for about two years now and officials say the response from their online friends has been great. After some consideration Chief Rick Scarbrough has decided to add a new feature. It's an opportunity for him to share opinions, thoughts, observations and responses to user-submitted questions. How can you help? Please post your ideas for a title for this section. The CPD doesn’t want it to be too formal (example: "From the desk of the Chief"), however the name should be appropriate. So, please consider helping to come up with a title. We want to run our first edition next week. The chief’s vision for this section is that the articles will respond to current events, your submitted questions and more. It is Scarbrough’s goal to continue to provide the personal service you have come to expect.
Campbell fire believed to be arson
About 250 acres of forest in Campbell County burned over the weekend. Nathan Waters, the Assistant District Forester with the TWRA says the fire started near I-75 in Caryville Friday off of the Cumberland Trail near the Devil's Racetrack. Crews battled the blaze over the weekend, finally containing it on Sunday. The fire is believed to have started at the top of the mountain, and could have been intentionally set. Sunday, they used a tactic called "back firing," where firefighters try to stop the wildfire from advancing. They can also redirect the fire by burning fuel in its path. The blaze was contained by Sunday afternoon but crews will keep an eye on it to be safe.
ORPD hosting Neighborhood Watch open house
The Oak Ridge Neighborhood Watch Program invites the community to come learn more about the crime prevention program at a Neighborhood Watch Open House from 6:30-8 p.m. Tuesday, March 18, at the Municipal Courtroom in the Oak Ridge Municipal Building. The open house will feature a presentation by David Gordon, crime analyst with the Oak Ridge Police Department, and tours of the newly renovated Oak Ridge Police Department. Gordon will explain how residents can track crime in their neighborhood through RAIDS Online, www.raidsonline.com, a Web-based crime mapping program. RAIDS Online offers information about local crime activity and trends. It empowers the public, according to Gordon, by giving them the same technology used by law enforcement to analyze and interpret crime patterns in their area. Anyone may subscribe to customized e-mail alerts about crime in their neighborhood. Officer Brandan Sharp, community resource officer with the Oak Ridge Police Department, will present information on how Neighborhood Watch programs make a difference in the city’s neighborhoods. Brad Stephenson, a resident of the Melton Lake area and president of the Oak Ridge Neighborhood Watch Program, will also be on hand to discuss the program and how residents can join, along with other officers elected from among Neighborhood Watch District Leaders. Refreshments will be served. There are about 150 streets in Oak Ridge that are active participants in the local Neighborhood Watch Program. The groups are located throughout the city, from Rivers Run in the east to The Preserve at Clinch River in the west, and from Outer Drive in the north to the Scarboro Community in the south. The Oak Ridge Municipal Building is at 200 S. Tulane Ave.
ORT: Bids being accepted for Blankenship bleacher replacement
The visitors bleachers at Blankenship Field have been demolished, and the Oak Ridge Schools are scurrying to replace them by the start of the high school football season this fall. Project bids are being accepted through March 21, although it’s not clear yet who will pay for the new bleachers and other improvements at Jack Armstrong Stadium. The bids could be considered by the Oak Ridge Board of Education on March 24. The board could also make a funding decision then, School Board Chair Keys Fillauer told Oak Ridge City Council members during a Monday night meeting. There are a range of options that include city funding, school funding, and donations, among others. Allen Thacker, Oak Ridge Schools maintenance and operations supervisor, has previously said the bleacher replacement project could cost a total of $550,000. The project could also include repairing the Wildcat Crossing stairs on the home side of the field, removing trees behind the visitor bleachers, and adding 20 disabled parking spots to the lower-level city-owned parking lot on Broadway as well as a ramp from that parking lot to the track level of Blankenship Field.
UT Arboretum Society presents “Healthy Trees, Healthy Tennessee”
The University of Tennessee Arboretum Society will present “Healthy Trees – Healthy Tennessee” on Thursday, March 13th at Roane State Community College in Oak Ridge, 7:00 p.m. Alex Wyss, Director of Conservation Programs with the Tennessee Nature Conservancy will be giving the presentation, an interactive slide show program to educate and engage the public about several forest pests that are impacting Tennessee urban and rural forests and what people can do to help stop the spread of these destructive insects. According to the Tennessee Nature Conservancy, Tennessee's trees and forests are under attack from foreign invaders, but we can fight back with the public’s help. Trees are essential to our lives. They capture rainfall and help control urban storm water runoff, provide shade, reduce excessive temperatures, and remove dust and pollutants from the air. Trees also provide a number of intangible benefits to people, such as year-round beauty, reduced stress and a greater sense of safety. The Nature Conservancy’s Healthy Trees, Healthy Tennessee trains volunteers in tree stewardship and tree health monitoring. They also engage the public and tree care professionals in tree pest identification, tree health monitoring, and long term care of trees. The organization’s goal is to raise awareness about the importance of trees and what people can do to keep trees healthy through education and outreach. See more at: http://www.nature.org/ourinitiatives/regions/northamerica/unitedstates/tennessee/explore/healthy-trees-healthy-tennessee.xml#sthash.Je2CO5Ja.dpuf. To learn more about the Arboretum Society, go to www.utarboretumsociety.org. For more information on the program, call 483-3571.
State parks offering hikes March 22nd, including Norris Dam
Tennessee State Parks will offer free, guided hikes on March 22. The second in the quarterly hikes program, the Spring Hikes will be offered at each of the 54 state parks. The 2014 Spring Hikes are designed for all ages and abilities. Some hikes will be approximately one mile in length and tailored for novice hikers, while others are lengthier and geared toward more experienced hikers. For a more in-depth look into planned hikes in your area, please visit http://tnstateparks.com/about/special-events/spring-hike. The Norris Dam Spring Hike will be held on March 22nd and organizers encourage you to bring a camera and keep your eyes open for wildflowers. Approximately 30 species of wildflowers can be seen on this trail, which follows along the Clinch River. Although not located on the state park, River Bluff Trail is on neighboring TVA land located off Dabney Lane. This is a moderate 3.2 mile hike. Meet up at the River bluff trailhead, located off Dabney lane at 12:01 p.m. Dogs must be on a leash, no strollers please. For more information please call the park office at (865) 426-7461.
GSMNP closes Ramsey Cascades Trail
Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials announced the temporary closure of Ramsey Cascades Trail due to a damaged footbridge that has created an unsafe river crossing. Park trail crews expect to complete needed repairs by late April. During recent high winds, a large hemlock tree fell and damaged the 60-foot long footbridge that crosses Ramsey Prong. The fallen tree destroyed the handrail that is necessary for safe crossing over the footbridge which lies approximately 12 feet above the river. The bridge was also cracked and separated from the foundation. For more information about trail closures, please visit the Park’s website at www.nps.gov/grsm or call the Backcountry Information Office at 865-436-1297.
OR animal shelter closed through March 11
The Oak Ridge Animal Shelter will be closed until Tuesday, March 11, as a precaution to prevent the spread of canine distemper. Several dogs in the shelter are being tested after exhibiting symptoms of the disease, the Oak Ridge Police Department said in a press release. No cats have shown signs of distemper and are not susceptible to canine distemper. The virus can be passed from dog to dog through sneezing, coughing, and sharing food and water bowls. Wild animals can also spread the disease. Pet owners are encouraged to ensure their animals have been vaccinated. Although all animals recently admitted to the shelter have been vaccinated, this will not benefit those infected prior to arrival, the release said. Pet owners recently adopting dogs from the shelter should contact the shelter if signs of canine distemper appear. Symptoms may include sneezing, coughing, discharge from the eyes and nose, depression, and loss of appetite. During business hours, the shelter can be contacted at (865) 425-3423, or after hours through the Public Safety Communications Department at (865) 425-4399. For more information on distemper, visit the following ASPCA website at http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/dog-care/distemper.
Grove Theater fundraiser
You are invited to "Celebrating the Grove Theater,” a kick-off event of a new organization preserving Oak Ridge’s Historic Grove Theater. This is a Special Spring Showcase featuring groups which regularly schedule performing arts activities at THE GROVE. It will take place on Friday March 28, beginning at 7pm. The show will kick off the 70th Anniversary year of an Oak Ridge iconic venue, which has recently come under the management of the FRIENDS OF THE GROVE, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. The “Friends of the Grove Theater” was recently formed expressly to support and enhance the historic Grove Theater “for the purpose of better serving its many community partners, as stated in the organization’s formal Mission Statement;” states founding members, Seaira Stephenson, Martin Fischer and David Allred. The Grove Theater with its 70 years of history, is a place that holds many wonderful memories for East Tennesseans and especially, Oak Ridgers. People with a memory connection to the Grove Theater are invited to also join in the fun being planned there later in the month of March. The last weekend in March will mark the ten-year anniversary of the purchase by High Places Community Church and the renovation of the historic theater. An upbeat event called "Celebrating the Grove Theater" will kick off the activities of the new organization. Most of the events during the weekend will be geared toward raising funds by celebrating with the general public and our many community partners that have used the Grove for the support of their won causes.
Here are the specific activities planned for the weekend:
"Oak Ridge Has Talent” Friday, March 28th at 7:00 PM
Performances from our community partners and other locals who want to support the Grove. Comedian Tyler Gooch will entertain between acts.
The Ramblers (Oak Ridge Blue Grass Band)
Four Leaf Peat (East Tennessee Irish Band)
Emory Valley Center Puppeteers
The Sound Company Smurfs
Sound Company Senior Soloist
An Oak Ridge Symphony Orchestra Ensemble
Oak Ridge Community Band Tuba-Euphonium Quartet
Two Dances by Oak Ridge Civic Ballet Dancers
The MOOD (classic Rock and Country)
Talent from the Miss East Tennessee Scholarship Winners
"Irish Pub Quiz Night” Saturday March 29th
The celebration continues with Quiz Night, a traditional Irish pub game brought to the area by friends of Fiddler's Green in Ireland. Teams compete in trivia quizzes for unique prizes (and bragging rights!). Teams may be sponsored by any area business, corporation, or organization. The entry fee is $100 per team / table, which includes traditional Irish fare & fun for the contestants and commemorative prizes.
American Legion Post #172 meets Monday
The Clinton American Legion Post #172 will hold its monthly meeting on Monday, March 10, 2014 at 6:30 pm. The meeting will be held at the post home at 436 Spring Street in Clinton. All members and interested veterans are encouraged to attend. Any questions, please contact the Post Commander at 865-556-0997.
In-person Girl Scout Cookie sales begin Friday!
For anyone who hasn’t had a chance to pre-order their favorite Girl Scout cookies, the time to buy them in person has arrived. On Feb. 28, Girl Scout cookie booth sales will begin in Anderson County. The Girl Scout Council of the Southern Appalachians (GSCSA) has been accepting pre-orders since Jan. 10 and will begin onsite sales this weekend. GSCSA reports that there are 480 girls within Anderson County. Finding a booth is easier than ever and anyone interested locating a booth should go to iwantcookies.org and use the booth locator link. “Booth sales are an important part of teaching business and entrepreneurial skills to the girls. Running the booths allows troop members to work on their decision-making skills as well as money management, communicating with their customers, business ethics, and goal setting,” said GSCSA CEO Booth Kammann. “Girls are running a business every time they open a booth to sell cookies.” All booth sales will take place in front of local businesses are Feb. 28 through March 23. Booth sale cookie varieties will be limited to the council’s “Top 6” best sellers, and this year, boxes are $4.00 each. Operation: APPRECIATION continues through the month of booth sales as GSCSA troops try to reach their goal of 20,000 boxes of cookies donated directly to the armed forces in appreciation of their service. New this year is a contest to win cookies for a year. Facebook users have the opportunity to participate in a new “Want Cookies, Win Cookies!” sweepstakes that will begin on Feb. 28 and end on March 30 at 11:59 p.m. Anyone can enter the contest. Facebook users simply need to “like” the Girl Scout Council of Southern Appalachians page, then click the link and enter to win. The winner will be selected randomly and notified within seven days of March 30. For more information, visit girlscoutcsa.org or call 1-800-474-1912.
Leadership Anderson County accepting applications
Leadership Anderson County, sponsored by the Anderson County Chamber of Commerce, has a limited number of openings for the 2015 class, scheduled May 2014 through March 2015. The course curriculum is designed to help develop and strengthen leadership skills, while simultaneously promoting the importance of community involvement. Objectives of the program:
An Application may be downloaded at http://andersoncountychamber.org. To reserve your place in the Program, please return your application and payment to the Chamber by May 15. Please contact Chamber President Jackie Nichols, at 865-457-2559 for additional information.
AC Schools announce Kindergarten registration dates
The Anderson County School System has scheduled its Early Kindergarten Registration or “Kindergarten Round-up” for students entering school for the first time. Children must be age 5 on or before August 15, 2014. The Kindergarten Round-up dates listed below are for each of the Schools within the Anderson County School System. Please choose the school for which your child is zoned. If you are unsure of which Anderson County School zone in which you live, please contact the Transportation Department at 457-7789 with your current address and they will assist you.
****Please note the change for this next school year as of August 15st, 2014: House Bill No. 2566, SECTION 1. Tennessee Code Annotated, Section 49-6-201(b)(3) Children entering kindergarten shall be five (5) years of age on or before August 15th for the 2014-2015 school year.
If, for any reason, you cannot attend Kindergarten Roundup at the School for which your child is zoned, please come to the elementary school your child is zoned for to complete the registration process for your child. Registration is open Monday - Friday from 8:30 a.m.- 2:30 p.m. at this location. However, please have your up-coming Kindergarten child registered on or before June 2, 2014 in order for the School System to make important arrangements, such as hiring adequate personnel and ordering sufficient materials and supplies for the correct number of students prior to the first day of school.
Anderson County School System’s Kindergarten Round-up Schedule
2014-2015 School Year
April 7, 2014 Monday Lake City Elementary 8:30a.m.-11:30 a.m.
April 8, 2014 Tuesday Fairview Elementary 8:30a.m.-11:30 a.m.
April 9, 2014 Wednesday Dutch Valley Elementary 8:30a.m.-10:30 a.m.
April 10, 2014 Thursday Claxton Elementary 8:30a.m.-11:30 a.m.
April 11, 2014 Friday Briceville Elementary 8:30a.m.-10:30 a.m.
April 14, 2014 Monday Grand Oaks Elementary 8:30a.m.-11:30 a.m.
April 15, 2014 Tuesday Andersonville Elementary 8:30a.m.-11:30 a.m.
April 16, 2014 Wednesday Norwood Elementary 8:30a.m.-11:30 a.m.
April 17, 2014 Thursday Norris Elementary 8:30a.m.-11:30 a.m.
►Parents must bring the following documents in order to complete the Registration Process for their child:
· Proof of Age - State issued birth certificate or “mother’s copy” will be sufficient.
· Social Security card – If for some reason you cannot locate your child’s Social Security Card, you should go to the Social Security Office to apply for a duplicate card. You may bring your copy of this application with the number on it for Registration purposes.
· proof of physical exam & Immunization Record– Your Child’s Physical Exam must have been done on or after January 1, 2014. All Immunizations must be up to date and placed on the state required form that you may obtain from the Anderson County Health Department or your doctor’s office. Health Department personnel will transfer your child’s immunizations to the official immunization card if you take an immunization record with you. However, if you do not have an immunization record for your child, you may obtain one from the Anderson County Health Department.
· Proof of Residence – You must bring an appropriate item that verifies the correct physical address of where the child actually resides. If your driver’s license has the correct address this will be sufficient. Other acceptable items include (but are not limited to): a piece of mail addressed to you with your correct mailing address, a copy of the lease or rent receipt with a current date, utility service hook-up card, etc.
· Legal Documentation – If the child does not reside with both legal parents, a copy of the legal paperwork must be provided. This provides the School System with the legally correct information pertaining to child custody and prevents future problems from developing. We are always concerned for the safety and welfare of your child.
This is an exciting time for your child and possibly a frightening time for the parent when enrolling a child into school for the first time. School System Personnel are always eager to meet and greet our new young students and their parents. We encourage you to become an active participant at the school where your child will be attending. Research has proven many times that a child receives the very best education possible when the parent and school personnel work together AS A TEAM in educating a child! Your child and your child’s school really need your help and support!
Summary: Tennessee Immunization Requirements For Child Care and School
Tennessee Department of Health Rule Chapter 1200-14-1-.29
For the first time in 10 years, the Tennessee Department of Health (TDOH) has changed and updated its immunization requirements for child care, pre-school and school entry. The effective date of most changes is July 2010. Detailed official guidance, including the immunization schedule and the new Immunization Certificate, will be made available no later than April 1 online at http://twis.tn.gov or at the TDOH website: http://health.state.tn.us/CEDS/required.htm
Children in Child Care Facilities (new requirements underlined):
Children entering Kindergarten (new requirements underlined):
Children entering 7th grade (new requirements underlined):
Children who are new enrollees in a TN school in grades other than K or 7th:
Children with medical or religious exemption to requirements:
AARP tax assistance to be available Feb. 6th
The AARP is making free tax assistance available to Norris area residents beginning on February 6th. While the program is aimed at serving seniors ages 60 and older, others are welcome to apply. IRS-certified volunteers will be available at the Norris Community Buildings in Norris every Thursday from February 6th to April 10th. Hours will be from 9 am to 12 noon each week. Although reservations are not required, taxpayers are encouraged to call 865-230-0011 for an appointment. Walk-ins will be assisted as time permits.
LC Library a VITA site
If you need your income taxes filled out, the Lake City Public Library is once again a VITA site. That means that beginning January 28th volunteers will be available to fill out your tax return and e-file it for you free of charge. To participate, you must be income-eligible. For more information on the program or to schedule an appointment, call the library at 865-426-6762.
No indictment in 2009 I-75 deaths
A truck driver will not face vehicular homicide charges in a 2009 accident that left two teenaged employees of a TDOT contractor dead. An Anderson County grand jury did not return an indictment against 50-year-old James Hatfield in the November 9th, 2009 deaths of 19-year-old Jeffrey Brian Thompson II of Rogersville and 18-year-old Cheyenne Dakota Burke of Bulls Gap. The two teens were tightening a recently-installed cable barrier in the median on I-75 just south of the Clinton exit when Warfield’s truck careened off the road and struck them, finally stopping after taking down several fence posts about 100 yards away from the initial impact point. Officials say there was no evidence that Hatfield was under the influence but there was evidence he may have suffered a seizure before crashing despite taking prescription medication to ward them off.
Zoning dispute in Clinton
A zoning dispute in Clinton is playing out in the front yard of a man’s home on Seivers Boulevard. Local CPA Teddy Davis says that he was cited by city officials for having a camper parked in his yard as a “permanent residential structure” and he responded by erecting a tent in his front yard. Davis says that after he put up the tent, he received a letter from the city telling him he was in violation of the same city ordinances. To protest the city’s assertions, he says he is moving the tent from one place to another in his yard on a daily basis so that it cannot be considered a permanent structure. There is also a sign in his yard asserting that the city is trampling his rights and he says that his ultimate goal is to have the city change the appropriate ordinances, as currently he says that if kids want to camp out in their own backyards, it is illegal in the city. Davis adamantly denies that he was living in the camper, stating that he lives and works out of his home. Davis is tentatively scheduled to join Ron on “Ask Your Neighbor” on Tuesday morning.
OR teen to face charges
Charges are pending against a 17-year-old Oak Ridge High School student following a Thursday morning incident. Just after 8 am Thursday, ORPD School Resource Officers were contacted by ORHS staff, who reported that a 17-year old male student was creating a violent disturbance in a classroom. The student then fled the ORHS campus and was located by responding officers in a parking lot across the street from the ORHS campus. As the officers made contact with the student, he became physically aggressive and attacked multiple officers, who subdued him and took him into custody. The student was transported to the police department for processing and then released to his legal guardians. Charges are pending against the juvenile for disorderly conduct, resisting arrest, and two counts of simple assault.
BCSO apprehends man after chase
The Blount County Sheriff’s Office says that a man is in custody after he fled from a traffic stop near the Four Corner’s Market in Rockford Thursday afternoon that resulted in a lengthy search. 25-year-old Matthew Ryan Sherwood of Maryville was taken into custody and served with several outstanding warrants, including some felony warrants for aggravated burglary. Additional charges are pending. At around 1:15 today, a Sheriff’s Office patrolman conducted a traffic stop on a vehicle on Little River Road behind the Four Corner’s Market. After the stop was made, the passenger, Sherwood, fled on foot. Several deputies and a K-9 team began a search of the area, and assistance was provided by the Knox County Sheriff’s Office Aviation Unit. As a precautionary measure, Rockford Elementary School was placed on lockdown for an hour while deputies searched the area. With the assistance of the Criminal Investigation Division, Sherwood was located at a residence on Self Hollow Road at around 2:30. He was taken into custody and brought to the Blount County Detention Facility. The driver of the vehicle was released with no charges. Alcoa Police Department also assisted with the search.
BCSO IDs alleged Seymour robber
The Blount County Sheriff’s Office has announced that the man who allegedly walked into the home of an elderly woman in Seymour Wednesday has been formally charged. 29-year-old Colin Patrick Lynch of Knoxville has been charged with especially aggravated burglary and two counts of aggravated assault. Lynch was arrested Wednesday evening after he walked into the home of an elderly woman on Balsam Street in Seymour. The woman was on the phone with her son, who immediately diverted to his mother’s house. When he walked in, Lynch was standing in the doorway between the kitchen and living room holding a shovel. The son, who has a handgun carry permit, told the man to drop the shovel. The two men scuffled, but the woman’s son was able to hold Lynch down on the floor at gunpoint until Sheriff’s deputies arrived. The elderly woman was taken by Rural/Metro Ambulance Service to Tennova West Hospital in Knoxville where she is still recovering.
GSMNP offering reward for info on vandalism, theft
Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials are offering a reward for information regarding the recent theft of an antique window from a historic cabin in the Elkmont Historic District. The window was discovered missing in late January resulting in a significant loss to the unique features that characterize the cabin. “This is a very sad case of vandalism and theft,” said Chief Ranger Clay Jordan. “The people who did this have stolen a piece of our shared history that can never be replicated.” Park officials are offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the individuals responsible for the theft. The missing window was from the former summer home of a Knoxville glass maker featuring an intricate and unusual design. The entire 4 feet x 1 foot glass window is missing from the frame which includes 34 individual glass panes, each measuring 4 inches x 4 inches. Two of the original 36 glass panes were missing prior to the theft of the entire window. It is unlawful to disturb or deface natural and historic resources within the Park. Perpetrators may be sentenced up to 6 months in jail and or fined up to $5,000. Anyone with information as to the possible identity of the individuals responsible for the theft is encouraged to call the tip hotline at 865-436-1580. The Elkmont Historic District was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1994. Upon its registration as a Historic District, it was comprised of 74 cottages, outbuildings and the Wonderland Hotel with 49 of the structures noted as being of significance to the District. For more information about historic buildings in the park, please visit the park’s website at http://www.nps.gov/grsm/planyourvisit/historicbuildings.htm.
THP: 1 killed, 1 injured in Anderson wreck
The Tennessee Highway Patrol says that a Powell man was killed and an Oak Ridge woman injured in a single-vehicle accident that occurred Wednesday night on Clinton Highway. The THP reports that the wreck happened shortly after 9:30 pm just inside the Anderson County line near the intersection with Old Clinton Pike. Troopers say that a 2004 Buick Rendezvous driven by 40-year-old Patrick Johnson of Powell had been headed south when the SUV left the right side of the roadway and slammed into a truck legally parked by the side of the road. Johnson died at the scene and his passenger, 25-year-old Samantha Oody of Oak Ridge, was airlifted to UT Medical Center for treatment of her injuries. Her condition was not immediately available. Trooper Dennis Smith’s report indicates that neither occupant of the SUV was wearing a seatbelt and that drugs may have played a role in the crash. Blood tests have been ordered as is standard procedure in any fatal accident.
AC Nominating Committee to meet
The Anderson County Commission’s Nominating Committee will meet Monday March 10th at 5 pm in room 118A of the Courthouse in Clinton. Commissioners have been seeking applicants to be considered as nominees for three county boards—Civil Service, Beer and the Board of Zoning Appeals—for some time now, but it now appears that the search for BZA members will continue. One person applied to fill the unexpired term of Doris Roberts on the Civil Service Board that runs out in September and that was Faye McCoy. Two people applied to fill a pair of vacancies on the Beer Board left open by the resignations of former members Richard Fowler and George Roberts and they are Phillip Leroy Warfield and Kenneth Matthew Hall. No one beat the deadline to be considered as a nominee to serve on the Board of Zoning Appeals as either a regular member or as an alternate member. George Roberts resigned from the BZA as well and his term was not set to expire until September of 2016. The alternate position, which runs through September of 2018, was never filled.
2 plead guilty to money laundering…literally
Two men pleaded guilty this week to charges that they literally laundered money stolen in a Knox County bank robbery. 36-year-old Danny Ray Idles of Clinton and 31-year-old Christopher Coward of Powell pleaded guilty Tuesday in Anderson County Criminal Court to four counts each of money laundering and were sentenced to serve four, 12-year jail sentences to run concurrently. The men were arrested in February of 2012 after investigators determined that they had used change machines at three businesses to change bills from the robbery of a Home Federal Bank in Knox County earlier in the month into over a thousand dollars worth of quarters due to the fact that the bills were covered in red dye after a dye pack exploded in the bank bag during the heist. Owners of three businesses—a Clinton car wash and an Oliver Springs car wash as well as a Laundromat in Clinton—called police after finding the red-stained bills in their change machines. Surveillance video helped police identify and arrest the suspects, who were also ordered Tuesday to make restitution to the three businesses. Coward was convicted of the bank robbery in Knox County last year.
No students hurt in OR bus crash
No students were injured when a car crashed into the front of a school bus that had stopped to pick up students at Hillside Road and Highland Avenue on Wednesday morning, officials said. Oak Ridge school officials said the driver was picking up two students when she heard a crash and then watched as a car hit the front of Bus 1937 from Willow Brook Elementary School. “There was nothing she could have done differently,” the school system said in a statement released Wednesday afternoon. Another driver who was behind the bus witnessed the crash and told officers that a green Jeep ran through the stop sign at the intersection of Hillside and Highland, hitting the side of a black car, which then kept going and ran into the front of the bus. According to police, the driver of the car passed out after the impact, and the vehicle continued moving until it hit the front of the bus.
Roane man charged with child rape
A convicted sex offender has been charged with sexually assaulting a child. Last month, the Roane County grand jury indicted 49-year-old Christopher John Clark of Kingston on charges of child rape. The alleged victim was a nine year old girl, and the abuse occurred over a 10-month period last year. Clark is listed on the TBI Sex Offender Registry for a 1992 conviction of criminal sexual conduct of a victim under age 13.
Roane clinic opens serving veterans
A new veteran’s clinic is now open in Roane County. The Harriman Community Based Outpatient Clinic opened its doors Wednesday but an official grand opening ceremony is scheduled for April 16. For several years, Roane County officials and residents lobbied the federal government for a VA hospital. While the clinic is not a hospital, it does have on-site medical professionals and offers telecommunication services. A VA clinic was once operated in Rockwood, but that facility closed due to understaffing.
Follow-Up: Trio rescued from trail on Windrock
Rescuers reached located three people who became stranded overnight Tuesday on Windrock Mountain near Oliver Springs. The trio—ages 19, 22, and 24 years old—was stuck in two vehicles on a trail and called 911. Anderson County dispatchers mapped the coordinates and sent that information to the rescue squad, which along with the Marlow Volunteer Fire Department, took the lead in the operation. The two men were checked out by EMTs at the scene, and the woman was taken to Methodist Medical Center as a precaution. Crews from Morgan County also helped in the overnight mission. The three got stuck on an off-road vehicle trail after one of their vehicles got stuck and blocked the other one in. Rescuers reached the group shortly after 9 a.m. Wednesday.
OR Family Day March 15th
(City of Oak Ridge) The Oak Ridge Recreation and Parks Department will host the Second Annual Family Day at the Civic Center from noon to 4 p.m. March 15. All activities except public swim and concessions are free. Concession items will include hot dogs, nachos, chips, cookies, juice and soft drinks. A chili cook-off will be held in the Social Room. Those wishing to participate in the competition should call the Civic Center front desk to sign up. Discounted public swim times, in 30-minute increments, will be offered for $1. Children two and under are free. The public swim is open to everyone and is scheduled at the indoor swimming pool from 12:30–1, 1:15–1:45, 2–2:30, and 2:45–3:15 p.m. Lifeguards will be on duty. If parents wish to supervise their children from the pool deck, they must pay admission and be dressed in swimming attire. If children do not need direct parental supervision, the pool can be viewed through glass windows in the snack bar and lobby areas. Family activities will be offered throughout the Civic Center. They will include pool, ping pong, foosball, crafts, and board games. Active games, including badminton, cornhole, and family versions of volleyball and basketball, are planned for the gymnasium. Volunteers are needed to assist with all activities. For more information or to volunteer, call the Civic Center front desk at (865) 425-3450 or visit the Oak Ridge Recreation and Parks website at www.orrecparks.org.
Hackworth makes County Mayor candidacy official
(Submitted) Former County Commissioner and State Representative Jim Hackworth announced today he is a candidate for Anderson County Mayor. “I am running for County Mayor because I am concerned with the lack of focus the current administration has for the issues, such as education, jobs and quality of life, that are important to Anderson County residents,” Hackworth said. “Whether serving as a County Commissioner or a State Representative, I worked with other elected officials to fight for fiscal responsibility, good schools, reduced taxes, and safer neighborhoods and communities,” Hackworth, an Anderson County native, said. “Our management of these issues attracted the attention of businesses and brought new jobs to Anderson County.” After working 34 years at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory as a Project Leader and Program Manager in the Maintenance and Engineering divisions, Hackworth retired in 2008. He served as a State Representative for 10 years and as a County Commissioner for 8 years. “I believe the constant turmoil in the County Mayor’s office is hurting our ability to attract new jobs and move our county forward. I respectfully ask for your vote and help in restoring trust, cooperation and professional leadership back to the County Mayor’s office,” Hackworth said. “I would like to further strengthen the strong alliances I have with our local officials. We must work hard to improve our schools and attract more good paying jobs with benefits to Anderson County,” he said. Hackworth and his wife, Brenda, have two grown children and three grandchildren and are members of the First United Methodist Church in Oak Ridge. He is past president of the Claxton Optimist Club and the Anderson County Habitat for Humanity. Hackworth is a graduate of Clinton High School, Roane State Community College and Tusculum College. Hackworth is running unopposed in the May 6 Democratic Primary Election and will face the winner of the Republican Primary Election in the General Election on Aug. 7. Early voting for the primary election is April 16 – May 1.
Blount family turns tables on would-be robber
Authorities in Blount County say a burglar was taken into custody Wednesday night after being held at gunpoint by an elderly homeowner's son. Deputies say the homeowner was on the phone with her son when a 29-year-old man walked into her Seymour house carrying a shovel. The woman began yelling at the man, telling him to leave. Deputies say her son—who has a handgun carry permit—happened to be nearby and drove to his mom’s house. He ordered the man at gunpoint to drop the shovel but the suspect fought back. The woman's son was able to pin the intruder to the floor and hold him at gunpoint until deputies arrived. Charges are pending against the suspect, whose name had not been released as of the time this report was filed.
ORFD achieves Class 2 ISO certification
(ORFD) The Oak Ridge Fire Department has been notified by the Insurance Service Office that the fire protection rating for the department will be improving to a Class 2, a press release said. ISO has been evaluating and assigning fire protection ratings to fire departments since 1971. Insurance companies use the fire protection ratings to determine home owners and business insurance premiums. ISO evaluates fire department equipment, station locations, training, fire prevention efforts, and many other factors to assign a protection rating. The ORFD has held a Class 3 rating for nearly 15 years but will now be a Class 2 department effective June 1, 2014. According to information from ISO, of the 47,250 fire departments across the country, less than 650 obtain a rating of Class 2 rating or better. “That is less than 1 percent of the departments in our nation with this rating,” the press release said. “With this new rating, the ORFD becomes only the sixth department in the State of Tennessee out of more than 720 departments to achieve a Class 2 rating.”
“To achieve this Class 2 rating is truly a testament to the continued hard work of the members of the ORFD,” Oak Ridge Fire Department Chief Darryl Kerley said. “Whether it is in training, responding to emergencies, or efforts in fire prevention, the push for excellence by our members is something that makes our department one of the best in Tennessee. To say that the ORFD is in the top 1 percent of fire departments across the country is truly humbling. I am so very proud of the men and women of the Oak Ridge Fire Department.” The improvement in the ISO rating will have a small effect on homeowner’s insurance rates but a significant impact on commercial rates for business and industry, something that can be a tremendous recruiting tool for future development, the press release said. In order to receive the full benefits of the Class 2 rating, a building has to be located within five miles of a fire station and have a fire hydrant located with 1,000 feet. “Most all of our homes and businesses in town meet the requirements to get full credit of the new ISO rating, but we do have a few areas that are outside of the five miles,” Kerley said. ”If anyone has questions about the new ISO rating, they can contact our office for clarification.”
ORT: Distemper confirmed in OR
(Oak Ridge Today) Two cases of canine distemper were recently confirmed by an Oak Ridge veterinarian’s office, city officials said. Also, a dog adopted from the Oak Ridge Animal Shelter in January may have contracted distemper, the Oak Ridge Police Department said. It was not known if the adopted dog contracted the disease before or after being adopted. As a precaution, all animals brought into the Oak Ridge Animal Shelter are being vaccinated on arrival. The shelter is separating dogs with any kind of cough or nasal discharge from dogs available for adoption. No cats have tested positive for distemper. Cats and dogs cannot pass the disease to each other. 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 disease was all but eradicated about 40 years ago but is seeing resurgence, particularly in rural areas where dogs have not been vaccinated. The 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, that can carry the virus. For more information on prevention of distemper, visit the following ASPCA website at http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/dog-care/distemper.
Morgan teen home
A teen reported missing last week in Morgan County has been found safe. Morgan County authorities began looking for 17-year-old Tyler Collins on Monday, after his family reported him missing Friday near Coalfield. The Sheriff’s Office had been asking for the public’s help in finding the boy but Wednesday, they say he returned home safely.
Smoot trial delayed to June
(WBIR) The trial for a Knoxville man charged with murdering his ex-girlfriend has been delayed. Shawn Smoot is charged with first degree murder in the death of Brooke Morris in Roane County. She was his former employee and girlfriend. His trial was scheduled to begin on March 25, but the judge has agreed to postpone the trial until July 30. The defense asked for the delay because they said they had just received a large amount of new material from the state, and they needed the extra time to examine it. Smoot is out on bond while he awaits his trial.
3 stranded overnight on ATV trail
Rescue crews from both Anderson and Morgan counties worked through the night and into this morning to retrieve three people who got stranded overnight on Windrock Mountain near Oliver Springs. Officials say that two men and one woman got stuck on an off-road vehicle trail after one of their vehicles got stuck and blocked the other one in. The trio, ages 19, 22, and 24 years old, remained in contact with emergency dispatchers throughout the night and this morning. None of the three were injured, but did have to spend the night out in the elements. Rescuers reached the group shortly after 9 am Wednesday.
Kentucky man avoids serious injury when hit by car
A man escaped serious injury when he was hit by a car Sunday evening in Clinton. Clinton Police were called to the intersection of Hillvale and Seivers Boulevard shortly after 7 pm Sunday after a car driven by Jade Richardson of Jellico struck 54-year-old James Thompson of Morehead, Kentucky. Richardson told police she had been headed north on Hillvale near the entrance to the Hampton Inn when the car in front of her suddenly swerved, revealing Thompson in the middle of the road. She tried to avoid contact but hit Thompson with the left front side of her car. A witness corroborated that version of events. Thompson was taken to UT Medical Center by ambulance for treatment of leg injuries and Richardson was unhurt. No citations were issued.
Clinton home damaged by chimney fire
A chimney fire caused some minor damage to a home on Brandawyne Drive in Clinton on Monday afternoon. Clinton firefighters responded to the home shortly after 3:45 pm after receiving a call of a chimney fire. Firefighters used water to extinguish the fire in the fireplace and sprayed water down the chimney from the roof as well while also clearing the burning debris from inside the fireplace. Damage was estimated at around $1000 and no injuries were reported. Crews cleared the scene about an hour and 15 minutes after the first unit arrived.
ORHS student facing assault charge after incident
Charges are pending against an Oak Ridge High School student who allegedly assaulted a school resource officer on Monday. The incident was reported shortly before 2:15 pm Monday when Officer Michael Swigert attempted to intervene in an argument between the 17-year-old boy and a school staff member, according to a press released issued Tuesday. The staffer told the SRO that the teenager had just assaulted a female classmate. The student allegedly continued to create a disturbance by yelling, slamming doors and knocking over a floor sign, while ignoring the officer’s repeated commands. Swigert then subdued the student and took him into custody, after which the student was transported to the Methodist Medical Center emergency room in Oak Ridge for treatment of unspecified injuries, according to the release. Assault and resisting arrest charges are pending and authorities say the investigation remains ongoing.
Leon Houston sentenced to 5 years over jailhouse threat
One of two notorious Roane County brothers with a long history of fighting law enforcement will spend five years in federal prison. Tuesday, a federal judge sentenced Leon Houston to 5 years in prison for threatening his attorney, a charge that a jury found him guilty of in November. Houston was also ordered to serve 3 years of supervised probation, and must stay at least one thousand feet away from attorney Jim Logan and his family. He is also required to get testing and treatment for drugs and alcohol. Leon Houston and his brother, Rocky, have a long history of well-publicized run-ins with the law, most notoriously in 2006, when both men were charged with, but never convicted of murder after a shootout on their property that killed a Roane County deputy and his ride-along partner.
Director’s contract up for review by AC BOE
The Anderson County Board of Education will consider the employment contract for schools director Larry Foster during its March 13 meeting. During next week’s meeting, the board could extend, renew, or terminate Foster’s contract.
Audit findings: Ex-Alcoa school employee embezzled almost $500K
(State Comptroller’s Office) According to the State Comptroller’s Office, a former employee in the Alcoa City School District diverted nearly $500,000 of funds from the district and two professional organizations she represented and spent the money on a variety of personal expenses, an investigation conducted by the Comptroller’s office shows. The investigation, conducted in conjunction with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, covered a period of almost six years. During that time, the woman worked as an assistant to the school district’s federal projects administrator. In that capacity, it was her job to help manage the district’s spending of federal funds on various projects. She gave the district fraudulent invoices and when she received the money from the district, she diverted it into accounts set up on behalf of the Tennessee Attendance Supervisors Steering Committee and the East Tennessee Attendance Supervisors Association, two professional organizations where she served as treasurer. Once the funds were in those accounts, she took money for herself through automatic teller machine withdrawals, checks written to cash and checks written to herself. She also wrote checks from one account to pay for her home mortgage, food, jewelry, clothing, iTunes songs and an investment in a local gym. In addition to the funding from the school district, she spent money collected as participant fees and dues from members of both the steering committee and the attendance supervisors’ association. She also used the school district’s credit cards for personal purchases, forging her supervisor’s signature on billing statements. And she received reimbursement from the school district for 70 trips she did not take (for which the Comptroller’s office examined records back to 2003). Over the six-year period, investigators calculated that the woman took more than $428,000. Investigators also identified more than $160,000 in questionable spending by the employee. Due to a lack of adequate documentation, it wasn’t possible for investigators to determine whether that spending was for valid public purposes or not. The results of the investigation have been shared with the appropriate district attorneys general and also the United States attorney for the eastern district of Tennessee. Because the woman has not been indicted or arrested yet, she is not being identified by name in this release. At least one local media outlet has identified the woman as a Harriman resident but we will not release her name until formal charges are filed. The audit notes that the school district and the two professional organizations didn’t have sufficient oversight of the woman’s spending. “This was an egregious misuse of public funds that took place over a long period of time,” Comptroller Justin P. Wilson said. “This case emphasizes yet again the importance of following good management and bookkeeping practices to reduce the likelihood of fraud, waste or abuse of public money. I commend our investigators and those from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation for their work on this case.” To view the audit online, go to: http://www.comptroller.tn.gov/ia/.
If you suspect fraud, waste or abuse of public money in Tennessee, you may call the Comptroller’s hot line at 1-800-232-5454 or fill out a report online at http://www.comptroller.tn.gov/shared/safwa.asp.
Probation company offers education assistance
(PSI) PSI Probation has established a literacy program for probationers that will emphasize instructional reading for those with reading deficiencies. In addition, PSI is going to help any probationers who want to earn a high school diploma through a GED program. That help is being offered at the request of Anderson County General Sessions Court Judge Don A. Layton, according to a press release. Through its owner Tim Cook, PSI has said that his company will pay the testing costs for any probationer who successfully completes studies for the GED. “I wish to thank PSI for their willingness to include this literacy program in their rehabilitative protocols,” Layton said. ”This will provide probationers seeking a GED the financial resources to pay for the testing to obtain their high school diploma.” Anyone interested in either of the programs as a participant or volunteer may contact Chad McNabb with PSI Probation at 865-463-7885.
TVA touts completion of coal ash retaining wall
(TVA) TVA says it has achieved a significant milestone in its cleanup of the ash spill at the Kingston Fossil Plant—the completion of an earthquake-resistant, underground retaining wall around the containment cell at the recovery site. The wall, which completely surrounds the 240-acre containment cell where recovered ash will be permanently stored, was completed on Feb. 20, almost a month ahead of schedule. Construction of the wall began in summer 2011. Two high-capacity, long-reach hydraulic excavators dug trenches that were 4 feet wide and reached depths between 40 and 70 feet. More than 200,000 tons of cement and other materials were used to construct the wall, which is embedded 70 feet into the bedrock. It is the largest wall of its kind in the U.S. at nearly 64,000 linear feet, the equivalent of 12 miles, and is designed to withstand a magnitude 6.0 earthquake. The project team is now focused on completing installation of the cap and cover over the reinforced containment cell. The project remains under budget and on schedule to be completed by the end of this year. In addition, TVA is restoring and enhancing the Swan Pond area by installing several recreational features, performing shoreline stabilization, constructing wetlands, and planting a variety of native plants and trees. When this work is completed in spring 2015, there will be more than three miles of paved walking trails, fishing piers and docks, a pedestrian bridge and boat ramp, and wildlife habitat areas for the public to enjoy. Following the Kingston ash spill, TVA inspected and evaluated all of its coal ash facilities and developed a comprehensive plan for closing out wet storage of ash and gypsum at its coal-fired plants and installing state-of-the-art dry storage systems. The plan, which was presented to the TVA Board in 2009, is expected to cost $1.5 billion to $2 billion and is currently scheduled to be completed by December 2022. TVA has already invested $500 million to complete the process at Kingston and to begin work at Bull Run, another TVA fossil plant in eastern Tennessee. “TVA remains committed to completing our wet-to-dry conversion program and closing wet storage facilities,” Deacy said.
OR egg hunt April 12th
(City of Oak Ridge) The Oak Ridge Recreation and Parks Department will host the 2014 Egg Hunt at 11 a.m. Saturday, April 12. Hundreds of children are expected to participate in this annual spring event, and more than 15,000 candy and prize filled eggs will be hidden in A.K. Bissell Park with a first, second, and third place prize egg in each age group. Participants should assemble in the Civic Center gymnasium prior to 110 a.m. The children will be divided into separate age groups from four years old through 4th grade, and they will be escorted to their respective hunt areas. This event will be held “rain or shine,” so participants should dress for the weather. If severe weather prevents hiding the eggs outdoors, they will be given away in the gym and a drawing will be held for the prizes. The Recreation and Parks Department staff will make a reasonable effort to provide appropriate accommodations for special needs. Parents of children who require a more accessible hunt area are encouraged to call ahead. Adult volunteers, age 16 and up, are still needed to hide eggs, supervise the hunt areas, and assist participants. All volunteers should be prepared to work from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. on the day of the event and should dress according to the weather. The first 50 volunteers to sign up will receive an event T-shirt. A pizza lunch will be served to all volunteers immediately following the event. For more information call the Civic Center front desk at (865) 425-3450 or visit the Oak Ridge Recreation and Parks website at www.orrecparks.org.
Clinton man charged after hitting Knox school bus
The driver whose SUV collided with a stopped school bus letting off high school students has been identified as a Clinton man with a history of DUI arrests. 44-year-old Keith Sherwood Greene has been charged with DUI, possession of drugs and drug paraphernalia, driving on a revoked license and following a vehicle too closely. Officers reported finding a small amount of what is believed to be meth when he was searched after Tuesday afternoon’s accident. Court records indicate Greene has at least one prior DUI conviction, and in another case pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of reckless driving. Knox County jail records show he is being held for Anderson County authorities. Witnesses told Knox County Sheriff’s deputies that Greene’s Jeep Grand Cherokee was headed west on Middlebrook Pike when it struck the rear of another SUV, swerved into the oncoming lane and struck the school bus that had stopped near Andes Road. Six Hardin Valley Academy students were taken to area hospitals following the accident. Greene was also injured and before being taken to jail was treated at Park West Medical Center.
OR advances to state, Powell eliminated
The Oak Ridge Wildcats erased an 8-point halftime deficit and rallied to beat Dobyns-Bennett 62-55 in Kingsport. Kevin Steen paced Oak Ridge with 16 points and 11 rebounds while a trio of his Wildcat teammates scored 12 points apiece. The win improved Oak Ridge to 30-7 on the season and sent them to their second straight state tournament. They will learn who their first round opponent is on Saturday when the brackets are announced following a random draw. In other AAA action, Jefferson County advanced to state with a 55-39 win at Powell, ending the Panthers’ season and the 39-year coaching career of Mike Ogan, who announced his retirement earlier this season. Carter also moved on to Murfreesboro as they beat Unicoi County 72-57 in a AA sectional. CAK and Grace Christian were eliminated from the postseason on Tuesday night. The girls’ state tournament in Murfreesboro begins today and you can find complete results online at www.tssaa.org.
AC Library Board to meet
The Anderson County Library Board will meet Thursday, March 20, 2014 at 4:00 p.m., at the Briceville Public Library.
AC Vet Services Advisory meeting re-set
The Veterans Service Advisory Committee meeting that was rescheduled from Monday, March 3 due to courthouse closing for bad weather has been re-scheduled for Thursday, March 13, 2014 at 6:00 p.m. in Room 118A.
AC beer sting nets 6 citations
(ACSD) The Anderson County Sheriff’s Department, in cooperation with the Lake City Police Department, the Oliver Springs Police Department, and Allies for Substance Abuse Prevention of Anderson County (ASAP), conducted compliance checks of local businesses who sell beer on Thursday, February 20, and Friday, February 21. According to a release from the ACSD, investigators with the Sheriff’s Special Operations Unit visited twenty-four businesses to attempt to purchase beer. Six sold beer to the underage person. Two of the six businesses did not check identification showing the person to be under 21 and four did check but sold beer anyway. One on-premise business served the underage person but the server realized the age before the sale was completed. The following businesses sold beer to the underage person:
The following business served but then did not sell to the underage person.
Six clerks who sold beer to the underage purchasers have been cited to court. In one the case is under review. The beer permit holders will be brought before the respective beer boards for Anderson County, Lake City, and Oliver Springs. Businesses who checked for identification and did not sell beer are to be commended and recognized for their efforts. All of the following businesses checked for identification and did not sell beer to the underage purchaser:
In the fall of 2013, the Anderson County Underage Drinking Task Force was established to create a platform for representatives from each municipality across Anderson County to address underage drinking issues. In collaboration with Allies for Substance Abuse
Prevention (ASAP) of Anderson County, the Underage Drinking Task Force consists of community members representing beer boards, alcohol outlets, law enforcement officers, Tennessee Alcohol Beverage Commission and other government officials. Task Force members have been working diligently by analyzing policy and investigating best practices to prevent and reduce underage drinking. The Underage Drinking Task Force meets on the fourth Thursday of each month at 6:00pm in the Board Room on the 5th floor of the Robert Jolley Building at 101 South Main Street in Clinton. For more information about the Underage Drinking Task Force, please contact Michael Foster, Prevention Coordinator with ASAP at (865) 457-3007 or Michael@ASAPofAnderson.org. By being proactive, local law enforcement agencies, along with the Underage Drinking Task Force, are creating a safer environment in Anderson County. For additional information on preventing underage drinking, please visit: www.ASAPofAnderson.org
ORT: Transition to new Y-12 contractor underway
(Oak Ridge Today) The transition to a new contractor at the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge and Pantex Plant in Texas is already under way and could be completed in four months, federal officials said Monday. The transition to Consolidated Nuclear Security LLC of Reston, Va., had originally been scheduled to be complete by May 2013, but it was delayed by three rounds of protests. The U.S. Government Accountability Office denied the third and possibly final protest by Nuclear Production Partners LLC, or NP2, of Lynchburg, Va., on Thursday. On Monday, the National Nuclear Security Administration told our partners at Oak Ridge Today that CNS will start managing and operating the weapons production plants at Y-12 and Pantex at the end of the four-month transition period. The five-year extendable contract could be worth up to $22.8 billion during a 10-year period. Besides the management and operation of Y-12 and Pantex, it could also include construction of the multi-billion-dollar Uranium Processing Facility at Y-12 and the potential to manage and operate the NNSA’s Savannah River Tritium Operations near Aiken, S.C. B&W is now the lead management and operating contractor at Y-12 and Pantex. The B&W-led companies have held the Y-12 contract since 2000 and the Pantex contract since 2001. The CNS team is led by Bechtel National Inc. For more, visit www.oakridgetoday.com.
OR Council postpones camera vote
(Oak Ridge Today) The Oak Ridge City Council postponed a vote on the often-controversial traffic cameras on Monday. Council members had been expected to vote on whether to extend the five-year contract with the camera vendor, Redflex Traffic Systems Inc. of Arizona, or terminate it, but council member Chuck Hope had to leave before a final vote could be taken. The contract could be discussed during a March 24 special meeting or during the regular April meeting, but the current contract expires April 21st, meaning time is running out for a decision to be made. For more, visit www.oakridgetoday.com.
OR wreck injures one
A Clarksville woman was taken by ambulance to UT Medical Center early Sunday after the driver of the car she was a passenger in fell asleep and wrecked. The 2011 Toyota Camry four-door sedan was northbound on South Illinois Avenue at about 3:30 a.m. Sunday when it first struck a right-hand curb at Centrifuge Way. The car then entered a median, rolled over onto its passenger side, struck a utility pole and an embankment, and became airborne, the report said. The vehicle then struck a second curb, became airborne again, struck a tree and embankment at the same time, and came to rest at the bottom of a second embankment. The passenger, identified as 31-year-old Akiya N. Akiens of Clarksville, was taken to the UT hospital. The driver, 22-year-old Joshua L. Mitchell of Chattanooga, told the investigating officer that he had fallen asleep. Both driver and passenger were wearing shoulder and lap belts, according to the crash report. Air bags deployed, and there were no signs of drugs or alcohol, the report said. Mitchell suffered minor injuries and was not taken to a hospital.
Morgan authorities seeking missing teen
The Morgan County Sheriff's Office is asking for the public's help to find a missing teenager. 17-year-old Tyler Joseph Collins has been missing since Friday morning. He was last seen at his home in Coalfield and according to family members, takes medications that can cause harm if he does not take them. Anyone with information is asked to call (423) 346-8477.
Schaeffer sentenced to 100 years in prison
(WBIR) The man accused of killing two people in a 2012 church van crash while high on bath salts was sentenced to 100 years in prison on unrelated, federal charges Monday. US District Judge Thomas A. Varlan sentenced Tyler Schaeffer to 100 years in prison on 14 counts of federal robbery, drug, and gun charges. The series of armed robberies in Knox, Sevier, and Blount Counties ranged from July 26, 2010 and September 14, 2012, just two days before the church van crash. In court Monday, prosecutors linked the church van crash to the final leg of the crime spree. Text messages showed Schaeffer was on his was to a drug deal when he crashed his SUV into the Cedar Grove Baptist van. Prosecutors said he was going to sell drugs he had stolen two days before and had not slept in the meantime. A TBI lab analyst said his blood had the highest level of bath salts most analysts in the lab had ever seen. The Cedar Grove Youth Group was returning from a weekend retreat in Gatlinburg when authorities say Schaeffer crossed Chapman Highway and hit the van head on. The fiery crash killed 16-year-old Courtney Kaliszewski and 45-year-old youth group leader Jeff Trussell, who was driving the van, and injured 10 other youth group members. Schaffer still faces state vehicular manslaughter charges in the deaths. District Attorney General Jimmy Dunn said he will continue to pursue the charges. His 100-year sentence comes without the possibility of parole.
New report measures Park’s impact on economy
(GSMNP) A new National Park Service (NPS) report shows that 9,685,829 visitors to Great Smoky Mountains National Park in 2012 spent $741 million in communities near the park. That spending supported 10,959 jobs in the local area. “Great Smoky Mountains National Park is proud to welcome visitors from across the country and around the world,” said Acting Superintendent Pedro Ramos. “We are delighted to share the story of this place and the experiences it provides for visitors. We appreciate the partnership and support of our neighbors and are glad to be able to give back by helping to sustain local communities.” National park tourism is a critical economic driver for gateway communities across the nation. Researchers estimate that for every $1 invested by American taxpayers, the National Park Service returns $10 to the U.S. economy. The peer-reviewed visitor spending analysis was conducted by U.S. Geological Survey economists Catherine Cullinane Thomas and Christopher Huber along with Lynne Koontz for the National Park Service. The report shows $14.7 billion of direct spending by 283 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park. This spending supported 243,000 jobs nationally, with 201,000 jobs found in these gateway communities, and had a cumulative benefit to the U.S. economy of $26.75 billion. According to the report, most visitor spending supports jobs in restaurants, grocery and convenience stores (39 percent), hotels, motels and B&Bs (27 percent), and other amusement and recreation (20 percent). To download the report, visit http://www.nature.nps.gov/socialscience/economics.cfm. The report includes information for visitor spending at individual parks and by state.
To learn more about national parks in state name and how the National Park Service works with state name communities to help preserve local history, conserve the environment, and provide outdoor recreation, go to www.nps.gov/TENNESSEE orwww.nps.gov/NORTHCAROLINA.
GSMNP Collections Preservation Center celebrated
(GSMNP) Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials were joined by Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and Senator Lamar Alexander on Monday, March 3, to celebrate the contributions that public-private partnerships have made to the national park to help honor and preserve America’s cultural heritage. Secretary Jewell announced a timeline for the construction of a 13,000 square-foot Collections Preservation Center in Townsend, TN with the solicitation process beginning immediately and construction expected to begin this summer. The new facility is expected to be completed in the fall 2015. Through the completion of this new regional center, the National Park Service (NPS) will be able to properly care for over 144,000 artifacts, 220,000 archival records, and 275 linear feet of library materials documenting the history of Great Smoky Mountains National Park and four other NPS areas in East Tennessee including Andrew Johnson National Historic Site, Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area, Cumberland Gap National Historical Park, and Obed Wild and Scenic River. Consolidating the collections materials will both ensure the protection for the heirlooms entrusted to the National Park Service and also allow for a single Museum Curator to oversee all the collections. “We are delighted to be a part of this incredible opportunity that now allows us to properly care and preserve these pieces of our past enabling us to continue to tell the stories of the Smokies,” said Acting Smokies Superintendent Pedro Ramos. “This opportunity would not have been possible without the generosity of our partners, Great Smoky Mountains Association and Friends of the Smokies, and the individuals that offered their support.” Nearly half of the estimated $ 4.3 million cost of the facility has been provided by our park partners along with the donation of the 1.6 acre parcel of land provided by the Great Smoky Mountains Heritage Center. “The Friends of the Smokies is privileged to partner with the Great Smoky Mountain Association to assist the NPS in the creation of such a lasting and meaningful resource for our area,” said President Jim Hart. The new facility centralizes irreplaceable materials in a conveniently located, secure, climate-controlled space in which they will be preserved, as well as office and lab space where they can be studied by NPS staff and visiting researchers. In addition to providing construction funds, our partner Great Smoky Mountains Association is also providing support for a librarian to help catalog and care for the items as well as assist park descendants, researchers, and visitors access materials for study.
“Great Smoky Mountains Association is honored to be a part of this landmark project that pays tribute to the people who gave up their homes and communities for the creation of this national park. Of all the park projects GSMA has supported over the last 61 years, this is one of the very most important,” said Executive Director Terry Maddox. The historic artifacts include pre-historic projectile points, logging-era equipment, vintage weapons, clothing, farm implements, tools and other possessions that would have been found on the farmsteads of the Southern Appalachians in pre-park days such as everyday items including hair combs, butter churns, beds, looms, and spinning wheels, all handmade and all one-of-a-kind. The collection also includes documentary history through oral histories of Southern Appalachian speech, folklore, official documents, photographs and stories. Having these artifacts more accessible will also allow more opportunities for the NPS to share items with approved public museums for temporary display including the adjacent Great Smoky Mountains Heritage Center. Park officials are honored by the dedication and perseverance of Senator Alexander and Department of Interior leaders who provided continued support leading to the construction of this facility which likewise honors the families whose legacy will be well preserved. As a part of the media event, leaders also had the unique opportunity to hear the stories of several descendants of families who gave their lands for the creation of the national park as we honor the contributions of their ancestors through this preservation effort. For more information about park history, please visit the Park’s website at http://www.nps.gov/grsm/historyculture/index.htm.
THP announces checkpoints
The Tennessee Highway Patrol will be conducting driver’s license roadside safety checkpoints twice during the month of March. The THP says that it will conduct checkpoints on March 15th on Sulphur Springs Road at Laurel Road and on March 16th on Red Hill Road at Park Lane. Recognizing the danger presented to the public by unqualified drivers, Troopers will concentrate their efforts on vehicles being operated by drivers who violate the driver’s license laws of Tennessee. The THP says it has found these drivers license roadside safety checkpoints to be an effective means of enforcing driver license laws of Tennessee while ensuring the protection of all motorists.
Boys roundball returns Tuesday
The threat of icy roadways caused most of the high school basketball boys’ sectional games scheduled for Monday night to be postponed until tonight. Several area teams are still alive for berths in next week’s state tournament in Murfreesboro. In Class AAA, 29-7 Oak Ridge travels to Kingsport to face 21-8 Dobyns-Bennett while 23-9 Powell will be at home to face 29-5 Jefferson County. Class AA action has 25-7 Carter at home to face 26-7 Unicoi County and 21-12 CAK at 24-9 Greeneville. In Class A, 21-8 Grace Christian plays at 28-5 Hampton. Tonight’s winners will head to the state tournament at MTSU, where the girls open up play later this week. Locally, Morristown West and Jefferson County’s girls begin play at AAA tournament on Wednesday while Fulton’s Lady Falcons play Thursday in the first round of state AA tournament.
Roane gardeners present “Practical Skills for the Backyard Garden”
“Practical Skills for the Backyard Garden” will be the focus of the Master Gardeners of Roane County Spring Gardening Workshop. The Master Gardeners of Roane County and University of Tennessee Extension will host their annual spring workshop on Saturday March 15 from 8:30 am to 3:30 pm for adults in the community. This year’s workshop will focus on providing practical skills that the average homeowner can use in a backyard garden. Morning training will include: soils/soil testing, composting, square foot gardening, raised bed gardening and growing potatoes using potato box towers. After lunch the focus will shift to the grafting of apple trees. Classroom instruction on grafting will be conducted by UT Extension Director Grant Palmer. This will be followed by hands-on grafting of apple trees. Participants will be given an opportunity to graft their own apple trees to take home. There will be a nominal fee of $25.00 to cover supplies for this workshop and includes lunch. Space is limited so register early. Pre-registration is required and can be done by emailing Lisa Deutsch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kingston hosting fireworks fundraiser
On Thursday, March 27th, there will be a Chili Supper Cook-Off & Silent Auction hosted by the City of Kingston from 5 to 8 pm at the Kingston Community Center. You are invited to come out and experience some great chili and fun. All of the Kingston departments will be competing for the "Golden Ladle Award." Tickets are $5 in advance and increase to $7 at the door. All proceeds go to the July 4th event, "Smokin’ the Water 2014". For more information call 865-376-1356.
Marlow VFD wants to feed you
Marlow Volunteer Fire Department will hold an All-You-Can-Eat Community Chili Supper at Grand Oaks School, 1033 Oliver Springs Highway, on Saturday, March 15. Chili and hot dogs with all the trimmings will be served from 6 to 7 p.m. At 7 p.m. Bear Stephenson will auction home made desserts provided by Marlow volunteers. Tickets are $5.00. Kids 5 and under eat free. Proceeds will be used to purchase equipment for Marlow’s firefighters. Marlow provides fire protection for a 65-square mile area of Anderson County.
THP still searching for hit & run driver
(Oak Ridge Today) The car and driver that hit and injured an Oliver Springs man on Old Batley Road on Monday night have not been identified, according to preliminary information released by state officials on Friday. The unidentified vehicle and driver were traveling north on Old Batley Road near State Highway 62 in Anderson County at about 7:07 p.m. Monday when they hit Derek Jones, 23, of Oliver Springs. “Vehicle 1 was exiting a left hand curve heading north on Old Batley Road when it hit pedestrian Derek Jones,” state officials said. “Mr. Jones was walking on the right hand side of the roadway heading north. The vehicle struck Mr. Jones, causing him to enter a ditch and then left the scene. Mr. Jones was taken to the University of Tennessee Medical Center.” Jones was flown to UT by air ambulance. The accident is being investigated by the Tennessee Highway Patrol. Jones has said he was jogging when he was hit from behind by a small, black car. Jones landed on the hood of the car and struck the windshield, but the driver fled the scene without stopping. Jones’ injuries were not considered life-threatening but were serious enough to keep him out of work.
3 charged with school threats
Three people were charged for allegedly spreading rumors about possible violence Friday at William Blount High School. School was in session as normal, but there were extra officers on site because of the rumors. The Blount County Sheriff's Office said two juveniles and an adult were charged with filing a false report. The details of the alleged threat were not released.
Campbell raid nets drugs, cash, guns
A drug raid in Campbell County uncovered a grand total of around $175,000 in cash, as well as dozens of guns, four bags of marijuana, and hundreds of prescription pills. Campbell County deputies searched the home of Edgar Whitey Muse in the Elk Valley community on Friday after months of investigation. Along with cash, officials confiscated 49 guns, four bags of marijuana, and hundreds of assorted prescription pills. After the search of Muse's home, officers subsequently executed a search warrant at a Jellico bank and got another large amount of cash in relation to this investigation, bringing the total amount of cash seized by deputies to approximately $175,000 between the house and the bank. Officers also seized four four-wheelers, two trucks and four cars. Campbell County Sheriff's Office said it this time, Muse has not been charged. Deputies said they'll arrest him after the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation turns over its lab results. Next the case with go before a grand jury.
2 AC meth-makers sentenced
(US Attorney’s Office) Two Anderson County men received lengthy prison sentences last week stemming from convictions on charges related to large-scale meth-making and distribution ring. On Friday, 46-year-old Lawrence “Stoney” Scriver of Lake City was sentenced to 30 years in prison by the Honorable Thomas A. Varlan, Chief U.S. District Judge. Scriver pleaded guilty in July 2013, to a federal grand jury indictment charging him with one count of conspiracy to manufacture 50 grams or more of methamphetamine and one count of distributing methamphetamine, aided and abetted by others. Scriver’s prior felony state drug conviction triggered a minimum mandatory 20 year sentence under federal sentencing laws. However, Chief Judge Varlan enhanced Scriver’s mandatory minimum sentence, based on the finding that Scriver was the leader of the conspiracy that produced approximately 1500 grams of methamphetamine over the course of the conspiracy. Scriver’s sentencing came one day after 37-year-old Jeffrey Scott Braden of Vowell Mountain, Tenn. was sentenced to a mandatory life sentence by the Honorable Thomas A. Varlan, Chief U.S. District Judge. After a trial in U.S. District Court, Braden was convicted as charged in September 2013. The jury found Braden guilty of one count of conspiracy to manufacture 50 grams or more of methamphetamine, one count of possessing materials, chemicals, and equipment used to manufacture methamphetamine, and one count of possession of ammunition by a convicted felon. Braden’s six prior felony state drug convictions triggered a minimum mandatory life sentence with no possibility of parole under federal sentencing laws. The indictment, which charged 42 people with methamphetamine manufacturing crimes, and subsequent convictions of Scriver and Braden, was the result of “Operation Meth-odical Destruction,” which was a joint investigation between the Drug Enforcement Administration, Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, Tennessee Methamphetamine and Pharmaceutical Drug Task Force, Anderson County Sheriff’s Office, Knox County Sheriff’s Office, Knoxville Police Department, Oak Ridge Police department, Seventh Judicial Crime Task Force, and Clinton Police Department. Since March 21, 2013, 41 of the 42 charged defendants have been convicted.
Sorry, hippies, no more ‘shrooms
(BCSO) Blount County Sheriff James Lee Berrong said three people are in custody following two separate but related search warrants executed today by the Fifth Judicial Drug Task Force. The following are the three individuals taken into custody:
· Michael Shae Spencer, 37, Maple Street, Alcoa. Spencer is charged with manufacture a Schedule I controlled substance (psilocybin mushrooms) in a drug-free zone.
· Charity Nikole Powell, 38, Burroughs Road, Alcoa. Powell is charged with maintaining a dwelling for the purposes of manufacture of a controlled substance, and manufacture of a Schedule I controlled substance (psilocybin mushrooms) in a drug-free zone.
· Walteena Helen Selby, 59, Burroughs Road, Alcoa. Selby is charged with maintaining a dwelling for the purposes of manufacture of a controlled substance, and manufacture of a Schedule I controlled substance (psilocybin mushrooms) in a drug-free zone.
Bond amounts have not been set. All three individuals will face their charges in Blount County General Sessions Court at 9 a.m. March 5, 2014. Investigators with the Fifth Judicial Drug Task Force executed two search warrants today in the Springbrook community in Alcoa following an investigation into a hallucinogenic mushroom growing ring. The first search warrant was executed shortly before noon at a home on Burroughs Road. Investigators found multiple psilocybin (hallucinogenic) mushroom colonies containing mature mushrooms, as well as several canning jars containing additional spores used in the manufacturing process. Powell and Selby were taken into custody at that residence. A short time later, investigators executed a second search warrant at a residence on Maple Street, a short distance from the home on Burroughs Road. Spencer was taken into custody at the Maple Street residence. Several canning jars containing spores used in the manufacturing process along with plastic containers used in the planting process were recovered. Alcoa Police Department also assisted on both search warrants. Per TCA 39-17-432, the charges against the individuals are enhanced because all three reside within a drug-free zone. The investigation is continuing, and charges are pending on other individuals. The Fifth Judicial Drug Task Force is comprised of deputies and officers with the Blount County Sheriff’s Office, Alcoa Police Department, and Maryville Police Department.
AC Budget Committee to meet
The Anderson County Budget Committee will meet at 4 pm Thursday in room 312 of the Courthouse in Clinton as county officials get ready to begin the budget process for Fiscal Year 2014-2015, which will begin on July 1st.
2 Ex-CHS lady hoopsters aim at NAIA title
Two Clinton High School graduates will be playing for an NAIA national women’s basketball championship later this month in Sioux City, Iowa. Saturday, Union College of Kentucky won the Appalachian Athletic Conference tournament title 72-67 over Milligan (TN). Union was led by senior point guard Amber Taylor, a former Lady Dragon, who earned tournament MVP honors after scoring 19 points and recording nine assists and seven rebounds in the championship game. The postseason honor follows her being named second team all-conference this season. Amber is not the only former Lady Dragon making a name for herself as Tennessee Wesleyan senior Cody Houck earned second team all-AAC honors for her regular season and was also named to the all-tournament team despite regular season champions and tournament top seed TWC getting knocked out in the semifinals by Milligan. TWC and Union will both be in Sioux City, Iowa March 12th through the 18th for the NAIA Women’s Basketball Division II Tournament.
Ex-Coalfield player named 1st Team All-Big South
(CCU) Coastal Carolina University standout and Coalfield High School graduate AJ Jordan earned All-Big South Conference recognition, as announced Sunday by the conference office. Jordan was included on the All-Big South first team and the All-Academic Team rosters. Jordan, who owns a 3.506 GPA as a communications major, is Coastal’s first All-Big South first team selection since Alisha Dill garnered recognition for her efforts in the 2006-07 season. Moreover, Jordan and Henry are the first pair of Chanticleers to earn all-conference honors in the same season since Amada Stull and Sydnei Moss were second team selection in 2009-10. Sims is CCU’s first all-freshman selection since 2011-12. Jordan, a junior, leads Coastal and ranks third in the Big South with 16.2 points per game. She also leads the Big South with 197 made field goals. The Coalfield native recorded 10 20-plus point scoring efforts this season and has reached double-digits in all but four games. A 46.8 percent shooter from the floor, Jordan also leads Coastal on the glass with an average of 7.0 rebounds per game. She has tallied six double-double on the year and 62 assists. She reset her career-high in points five times throughout the season, with the most recent being a 27-point outburst at High Point on Feb. 8.
GSMNP announces southbound Spur lane closures
(GSMNP) Officials at Great Smoky Mountains National Park have approved a request from Sevier County Electric System (SCES) to replace six electric poles along the southbound Spur beginning Monday, February 24 through Thursday, March 6. The work will require weekday one-lane closures, Monday through Thursday, for short sections between Norton Creek and the Gatlinburg Welcome Center. Crews will replace the poles along the shoulder of the Spur and adjacent side roads. The temporary lane closures are necessary to provide for the safety of both workers and motorists. The one-lane closures will be in effect Monday through Thursday from 7:00 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. as needed. No lane closures will be allowed over the weekends to accommodate weekend traffic. For more information about road conditions, please visit the Park’s website at www.nps.gov/grsm and or call the Park’s Road and Weather Information Line at 865-436-1200.
CASA receives national certification
CASA of the Tennessee Heartland—which serves Anderson, Blount, and Scott counties—has been awarded certification by the National Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) Association. This certification recognizes that CASA of the Tennessee Heartland is in compliance with National CASA’s high standards for quality child advocacy. “The National CASA quality assurance process is very rigorous and reflects our commitment to ensure every child we serve has the most powerful volunteer advocate working on their behalf,” said Michael Piraino, chief executive officer of the National CASA Association in a press release issued this week. “This certification says CASA of the Tennessee Heartland has demonstrated to us a strong capacity to provide excellent services to the abused and neglected children within their community.” CASA of the Tennessee Heartland was started in Anderson County in 1988, has been serving Scott County for 13 years, and is entering the second year of service in Blount County. Since July 1, 2013, more than 200 children have received advocacy services from one of the 70 current CASA of the Tennessee Heartland volunteer advocates. “While this is a great number, more than 250 children remain on a waiting list,” the press release said. For more information about the program or becoming a volunteer advocate, contact Naomi Asher at email@example.com or visit www.casatnh.org.
Several volunteer opportunities for citizens
The Anderson County Commission’s Nominating Committee is looking for five people to fill seats on three county boards. The county is looking for one person to serve the remainder of an unexpired term on the Civil Service Board that expires in September. Also needed are two members to fill unexpired terms on the County Beer Board, one of which runs through this September and the other through September of 2016. The Board of Zoning Appeals is in need of one person to serve an unexpired term through September of 2016 and an alternate member to serve through September of 2018. Interested residents can stop by the County Commission office on the first floor of the Courthouse to pick up a request to serve form. You may send a resume to the County Commission office at 100 N. Main Street, Room 118, Clinton, TN 37716. You can also download the request to serve form from the county’s website at www.andersontn.org. Call 865-463-6866 if you need more information. The deadline to be considered as a possible nominee is noon on Monday March 3rd.
GAO denies 3rd Y-12/Pantex bid protest
(Oak Ridge Today) Federal officials have denied the third protest by one of the two teams that unsuccessfully bid on a $22 billion contract to manage the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge and Pantex Plant near Amarillo, Texas. In the protest, Nuclear Production Partners LLC of Lynchburg, Va., had challenged a November decision by the National Nuclear Security Administration to reaffirm its earlier decision, announced in January 2013, to award the consolidated contract to Consolidated Nuclear Security LLC of Reston, Va. On Thursday, the U.S. Government Accountability Office announced that it had denied the third protest. It’s the final GAO protest, but the case could be appealed to the U.S. Court of Federal Claims in Washington, D.C. The GAO had upheld one part of an earlier NP2 protest and denied or dismissed three elements of a second. This last protest challenged the adequacy of the corrective action taken by the NNSA after the GAO’s April 29 decision on the first protest, and the agency’s new selection decision. In the April 29 decision, the GAO said the NNSA had failed to meaningfully assess whether each bidding team’s proposed cost savings were, in fact, feasible. In response, the NNSA amended its solicitation and sought additional cost savings information from the three bidding teams. After receiving the new information, the NNSA again awarded the contract to CNS in November, about 10 months after the selection was first announced. “Today’s decision resolves NPP’s protest of the agency’s corrective action taken in response to our earlier decision,” said Ralph O. White, GAO managing associate general counsel for procurement law. “GAO concluded that the agency’s corrective action was consistent with the requirements of the Federal Acquisition Regulation and properly limited to address the specific defects in the prior source selection process. In addition, our decision rejected NPP’s various complaints about the substance of the agency’s evaluation and the source selection decision.” For much more, visit our partners at http://oakridgetoday.com/2014/02/27/gao-denies-third-protest-22-billion-contract-manage-y-12-pantex/#more-36282.
Man indicted in 2012 Park assault
(US Attorneys Office) A federal grand jury in Knoxville returned a three count indictment on Dec. 3, 2013, against William E. Seevers, 48, for one count of attempted murder and two counts of aggravated sexual abuse by force. Seevers appeared in court Feb. 27, 2014, before U.S. Magistrate Judge H. Bruce Guyton and pleaded not guilty to the charges in the indictment. He is being held pending trial, which has been set for Apr. 29, 2014, in U.S. District Court, Knoxville. The indictment alleges that in June 2012, in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Seevers attempted to kill an individual by stabbing her in the neck with a knife. Additionally, Seevers engaged in sexual activity with the individual by use of force and placing her in fear of death by holding her at knife point and stabbing and punching her when she attempted to flee from him. If convicted, Seevers faces two terms of life in prison followed by an additional 20 years. This indictment is the result of an investigation by the National Park Service and Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer Kolman will represent the United States.
Literacy Luncheon March 18th in OR
The Oak Ridge Breakfast Rotary Club and Altrusa International of Oak Ridge will once again present their annual “Lunch 4 Literacy” event on Tuesday march 18th at 11:30 am at Oak Ridge High School. Proceeds from the annual luncheon support literacy efforts in our area and this year’s special guest will be Denise Kiernan, the author of “The Girls of Atomic City: The Untold Story of the Women Who Helped Win World War II.” Tickets are $40 and are available at the Ferrell Shop in Jackson Square, Mr. K’s Used Books & CDs on South Illinois Avenue or from any member of Altrusa or Rotary. Following the luncheon on the 18th, Ms. Kiernan will appear at “One City One Book Oak Ridge” event at the Library, admission to which will be $5. For more information on reservations or corporate sponsorship, call Patricia Vanek at 865-298-1241 or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
OR Council could extend, nix camera contract
Monday night, the Oak Ridge City Council will likely vote on whether to extend the city’s contract with traffic camera operator Redflex Traffic Systems for another two years or to terminate the contract when it expires in April. According to our partners at Oak Ridge Today, if the Council continues the program, the five-year contract with Redflex could be extended for two years, through April 21, 2016. If members end it, they have been asked to consider installing a traffic signal on Oak Ridge Turnpike at Oak Ridge High School. The stoplight could cost between $150,000 and $200,000, and it would have to be approved by the Tennessee Department of Transportation. City data shows that the cameras monitored about 18.5 million vehicles in 2013, and they issued 1,449 red-light tickets and 23,889 speeding citations. Most of those were issued to non-residents, including 68 percent of the red-light citations and 84 percent of the speeding violations. Two of the four camera systems cite drivers for speeding and running red lights. They are at Oak Ridge Turnpike and New York Avenue/Lafayette Drive, and North Illinois Avenue and Robertsville Road. The other two issue tickets only for speeding. They are installed at Oak Ridge Turnpike at the high school and on Robertsville Road near Willow Brook Elementary School. Three of the systems are placed in school zones. The original contract ends April 21.
Bell to seek seat on AC BOE
(Submitted) Oak Ridge resident Don A. Bell has announced that he is running for the District 7 seat on the Anderson County Board of Education. District 7 includes Highland View, Glenwood, and Pine Valley in Oak Ridge. According to a release announcing his candidacy, Bell is a longtime Oak Ridger and a 1974 graduate of Oak Ridge High School. He retired from the Oak Ridge school system in 2013 where he worked in the maintenance and operations division at Glenwood Elementary School. Bell served on the board of directors of Oak Ridge Schools Federal Credit Union for seven years and as vice chairman for three years. He also served on the Superintendent’s Search Committee to appoint the principal for Glenwood Elementary and was on the supervisory committee of the Tennessee Members 1st Federal Credit Union. Bell said in the press release he looks forward to meeting his constituents and hopes to use his experience to serve the Anderson County school system.
Small fire at plant injures none, damage minimal
A fire broke out at the Techmer PM facility in Clinton Wednesday afternoon. Officials say the call came in at around 5 pm and when Clinton firefighters arrived, they quickly determined that the fire was small and contained to the plant’s exhaust system. No injuries were reported and damage was limited. The exact cause of the fire is under investigation.
Roane authorities encounter booby-trapped meth lab
Authorities in Rockwood were greeted with a nasty surprise as they tried to round up suspected drug dealers as part of a multi-agency task force investigation. At around 8:30 am Wednesday, officers went to the Green Meadows Trailer Park off Pumphouse Road in Rockwood to serve an arrest warrant on 33-year-old David Steven Neal. Authorities say that Neal’s mobile home was booby trapped and a fire ignited when the door was forced open by officers. A reportedly naked Neal fled the burning home and was taken into custody and decontaminated at the scene, while a woman at the residence was also detained for questioning. No injuries were reported. Officials have not said exactly how the home had been booby-trapped and have also not specified if the fire was caused by the trap or by the actual meth lab inside. Components for three other inactive meth labs were located inside three more trailers in the mobile home park. Neal was taken into custody on charges related to meth manufacturing and will likely face additional charges in Wednesday’s incident. The task force members were serving warrants issued against several suspected drug dealers in Anderson County at the time of the incident.
AC schools announce kindergarten age waiver
Normally, a child must be five years old on, or before, August 15th to start kindergarten but the Anderson County school system has announced that they are accepting applications to allow certain children to begin a little earlier than they might normally. From now through April 17th, the school system says that if a child is going to be five years old between August 16th and September 30th of this year, parents may apply to have their child admitted to kindergarten. Parents will need to bring their child’s birth certificate and a photo ID plus any applicable legal documents like custody papers or guardianship information when they come to apply. The applications are due to the principal of the school your child would attend or to the Anderson County schools’ Special Education Office by April 17th.
1 sentenced in botched Alcoa robbery
Earlier this week, one of the two men arrested after a botched robbery attempt at an Alcoa jewelry store in October was give a three-year sentence. 24-year-old Jordan Echols of Maryville pleaded guilty to attempted facilitation of a robbery and was ordered to serve 180 days in the Blount County Jail with the rest to be served on supervised probation. Echols and 21-year-old Steve Cash entered Malone’s Jewelers on the afternoon of October 23rd and while Echols distracted wheelchair-bound store owner Danny Malone with questions about merchandise, Cash went to the restroom. Cash is accused of coming out a few moments later with a mask covering his face, jumping over the counter and grabbing the store’s cash bag. As he and Echols fled, Malone pulled a gun and ordered them to stop. When they did not, he fired, striking Cash and forcing Echols to surrender. Cash faces a robbery charge and a charge of violating his probation and is due in court Monday afternoon. Malone was not injured in the incident.
Follow-up: CFD expansion to cut response times
As we reported Wednesday, workers are building an expansion of the Clinton Fire Department’s headquarters that will create a place where three on-duty firefighters can stay during their shifts, including a sleeping area, a kitchen, a day room and both men’s and women’s bathrooms. In addition the expansion will create a new office for the Fire Department. Officials say that by expanding the headquarters and creating space for on-call firefighters to remain on the premises should cut down on response times on the western side of the city. Fire Chief Archie Brummitt says that the department conducted a study of fire hall locations with the Municipal Technical Advisory Service—or MTAS—several moths ago that determined that the majority of the calls answered by the department are centered in and around Clinton’s downtown area. The study showed that response times from Fire Station #1 on Longmire Road to emergencies by the interstate were within about five minutes or so on average. Officials had talked for several years about building a new fire station near the interstate but with the findings of the study, determined that the new station can wait while development on that end of town increases. Brummitt says that currently response times to calls to locations like Mariner Point and Weaver Street to name two, average about 7 to 8 minutes from Station #2 in South Clinton but with the expansion currently underway, those response times could be cut by 2 to 3 minutes per call, which in an emergency situation, can make all the difference. The expansion is expected to be finished and open for business sometime this summer.
THP investigating hit & run
The Tennessee Highway Patrol is investigating a hit and run accident that occurred Monday evening in Oliver Springs and sent a man to the hospital. 23-year-old Derek Jones was jogging on Old Batley Road at around 6:45 pm Monday when he says that a small, black car came up on him from behind and hit him. Jones landed on the hood of the car and struck the windshield but the driver fled the scene without stopping. Jones was airlifted to UT Medical Center for treatment of his injuries, which were not considered life-threatening but were serious enough to keep him out of work. The THP is continuing its investigation.
Norris Bulletin: Reward offered for info on slain dogs
According to the Norris Bulletin, a reward is being offered for information leading to the identity of the person responsible for shooting two dogs to death and leaving them along the side of a walking trail in the Norris Watershed. The dogs—a black lab puppy about four months old and a Walker Coonhound that appeared to be about two years old—were found by a passerby last Thursday and now, animal advocates, local and state authorities are on the case. A reward fund has been established, according to the Bulletin, and anyone who wants to donate to the kitty can call Christina Eich at 865-209-0808 or e-mail her at email@example.com. In the meantime, if you have any information that could lead authorities to the culprits, you can contact the Norris Police Department at 865-494-0880.
AC schools accepting transfer requests
The Anderson County school system’s open enrollment period for students to transfer to a school within the system with available space for the 2014-2015 academic year will begin on Saturday March 1st and run through March 31st. Parents are asked to contact the principal of the school they wish their child to transfer into. Administrators will ask you to provide information on your students’ attendance, grades and disciplinary history. The transfer form can be found on the school system’s website at www.acs.ac.
BCSO: Beware of man impersonating officer
The Blount County Sheriff’s Office is asking citizens to be aware of an individual who impersonated a law enforcement officer Tuesday morning. The Sheriff’s Office took a report Tuesday morning at around 7:40 from a woman who said she was pulled over on Old Niles Ferry Road near Old Clover Hill Road. The woman said she was traveling on Old Niles Ferry when she saw an unmarked white vehicle with dark tinted windows following her. She said the driver turned on a blue light on the dash of the vehicle, and the woman pulled over. She said a man approached the vehicle and asked her a couple of questions then went back to his car and drove off. The woman described the man as having a medium build, brown/grey hair, wearing black clothing and a gray coat. She said he never identified himself, nor did he display a badge. The Blount County Communications Center reported there were no traffic stops in that area at that time. If anyone encounters this individual or has any doubt about the legitimacy of the traffic stop, please call 911 immediately. All Blount County Sheriff’s Office deputies identify themselves when they make a traffic stop. The Sheriff’s Office also suggests that if you are in fear, drive to a safe location before pulling over.
BBB: Rockwood fire could be meth-related
Authorities in Rockwood responded this morning to a mobile home fire that may be connected to a suspected meth lab. Crews arrived at the former Green Meadows Trailer Park off of Pumphouse Road at around 8:30 am and found the trailer engulfed by flames. Two people were taken into custody at the scene and, according to BBB-TV’s Dudley Evans, were being decontaminated by a hazmat team. No injuries were reported. As more information becomes available, we will pass it along to you.
CFD expanding HQ
If you have driven on Hicks Street in Clinton, you have no doubt seen the construction going on behind City Hall. Workers are constructing an expansion of the Clinton Fire Department’s headquarters that will create a place where three on-duty firefighters can stay during their shifts, including a sleeping area, a kitchen, a day room and both men’s and women’s bathrooms. In addition the expansion will create a new office for the Fire Department. Officials say that by expanding the headquarters and creating space for on-call firefighters to remain on the premises should cut down on response times on the western side of the city. The new addition is just part of a project with a price tag of some $490,000 that will also add heavy-duty, industrial exhaust fans to the garage bays at all three stations that will dissipate dangerous diesel fumes emitted by the fire trucks. Renovations are also being made on a smaller scale at each of the other two stations in the city and at the training tower. We will bring you more on this story as more information becomes available. City officials were scheduled to meet with the project architects today and we hope to sit down with Fire Chief Archie Brummitt tomorrow to find out more about how these changes will improve fire services in Clinton.
KPD IDs crash victim as Maryville woman
Knoxville Police have identified the woman killed in an accident Monday morning in a UT parking garage as 60-year-old Phyllis Carter of Maryville. UT said Phyllis "Sally" Carter, was a supervisor in the UT College of Law Library. She has worked at UT since 1979. Knoxville police say Carter was killed on her way to work, after her car crushed her into a wall in the staff parking garage Monday morning. Investigators determined that Carter was parking her Toyota Prius in the garage in the corner of 16th Street and White Avenue but when she got out of the car she accidentally put it in neutral and it started rolling down an incline inside the garage. She then chased after her car to stop it but was caught between the wall and the car shortly before 6 a.m. UT officials said another UT employee discovered the accident. Officials pronounced her dead at the scene.
OR BOE outsourcing proposal draws fire
(Staff reports/Oak Ridge Today) The Oak Ridge School Board is considering outsourcing the district's substitute teachers and teaching assistant positions to a company called Professional Education Services based out of Nashville. Officials say the district is considering the move because of changes under the Affordable Care Act. Leaders say the district can not afford to cover the health insurance, benefits, and liability insurance for teachers' assistants and substitutes and say that outsourcing the jobs would allow the management company to cover the expenses and save the district money. Last week, Oak Ridge Schools Assistant Superintendent Chris Marczak said the proposal to hire PESG would allow current employees to keep their jobs, save money as the system looks at a possible $2 million budget shortfall, and help the school system comply with the ACA reporting requirements. He said there would be a negligible impact on TAs, and the only thing that would change would be the name of their employer. N. Henry Bledsoe, PESG president and chief executive officer, gave a presentation Monday night on what his company might offer. He said PESG would work to serve the school system. “The only way we survive…is to be a partner,” Bledsoe said. “PESG does not come into a community to cause harm.” But it’s not clear that school board members are convinced, at this point, that outsourcing is the best solution. Board member Angi Agle questioned the source of the estimated savings, estimated to range between about $900,000 and $1.7 million during a five-year period. She said the proposed retirement plan under PESG would not be as attractive as the state retirement system. Opponents—including many TAs and substitutes—voiced concerns Monday about losing their jobs and how the outsourcing company will manage positions. Parents and other school personnel talked about the importance of these positions and the people that fill them to the success of students. No decision has been made and Board members will revisit the issue in the coming days and weeks.
ORHS team advances to National Science Bowl
A team of students from Oak Ridge High School captured the top prize at last weekend’s regional competition for the 2014 National Science Bowl and earned an all-expense paid trip to Washington DC in April for the national championship, $1000 and a trophy. The team is made up of students Tina Wang, Albert Xue, Gaibo Zhang, Aram Bejnood and Bo Hyun Moon. The National Science Bowl features teams across the country participating in a fast-paced question and answer format where they solve technical problems and answer questions covering a wide variety of scientific disciplines. A total of 24 middle and high school teams who won their regional competitions will descend upon DC in April to vie for the top prize, which will be announced at a later date.
AC Chamber offers small business workshop
(Submitted) The Anderson County Chamber of Commerce in partnership with the Tennessee Small Business Development Center will host a free workshop for small business owners and entrepreneurs who want a better understanding of starting a new business. The TSBDC advises and assists entrepreneurs and small business owners in our area at no cost to them. This free seminar will be held on Wednesday, March 19, 2014, 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. at the Anderson County Chamber of Commerce office, 245 N. Main St., Ste., 200, Clinton, with Jutta Bangs, Senior Business Specialist with the Tennessee Small Business Development Center. The seminar discussion includes the forms of business organization, tax requirements, business licenses, business planning and financing options with additional discussion about SBA loan guarantee programs.
Space is limited and advance registration is required. Reserve your space by contacting the Anderson County Chamber of Commerce, 865-457-2559 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org. To learn more about the TSBDC visit www.tsbdc.org.
AC Chamber offering small business counseling
(Submitted) The Tennessee Small Business Development Center (TSBDC) advises and assists future and existing business owners. Jutta Bangs, Sr. Business Specialist, is available for free and confidential counseling sessions on Thursday, March 20, 9 – 10 am at the Anderson County Chamber of Commerce, 245 N. Main Street, Ste. 200, Clinton. To make an appointment for this, or another day, please call 865-457-2559 or email email@example.com. To learn more about the TSBDC visit www.tsbdc.org.
TDOT: All 4 lanes of Henley Bridge back open
(TDOT) The Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) opened two more lanes of traffic on the Henley Bridge on Monday afternoon. Two lanes of traffic in each direction are now flowing across the bridge for the first time since January of 2011. The bridge opened to one lane of traffic in each direction last October. On Tuesday, February 25th, crews will remove striping and repaint lines to modify the intersection at Moody Avenue and Chapman Highway. Once complete, detour signage in the project area will also be removed. Although the bridge will be open to two lanes of traffic in each direction, work continues on the historic structure, with the due date for total project completion remaining June 3, 2014. Please use caution when traveling on the bridge as workers will be present.
CHS anglers take top 2 spots at fishing tourney
(Bassmasters) When 10 of the top high school bass fishing teams competed in an exhibition tournament in conjunction with the GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by Diet Mountain Dew and GoPro, it was the team of Jake Lee and Jacob Mashburn from Clinton High School who took the trophy on the Classic stage on Saturday. The duo weighed in an impressive 21 pounds — almost 7 pounds ahead of the No. 2 team, also from Clinton High School. Eight of the teams qualified to compete in the tournament through the inaugural Bassmaster High School Invitational last spring. Another team qualified through the Alabama Games, while the final team earned its spot in the competition through the Alabama B.A.S.S. Nation. The winners caught their fish on Showboat Lures’ Alabama Rigs with 1/8-ounce swimbait heads. One angler rigged his swimbaits with Zoom Fat Albert curl-tail grubs dipped in Spike-It chartreuse garlic formula. The other used Showboat Lures' Chicken Foot swimbaits. Lee and Mashburn caught their fish in the Cedar Creek area after targeting main-lake points and a bridge.
“You had to work the bait very slowly,” Mashburn said. “We caught them all day, and the longest we went between catches was about an hour. It was exciting all day. But you can’t ever get (too comfortable). We were fishing hard all day.”
Lee said his team got off to a quick start and saw improvements throughout the day.
“This morning, we had our limit by 8:30,” he said. “It seems like later on in the day we were moving up in size. In the afternoon we were catching better fish. It was all around a great day.”
Clinton High School’s Justin Burris and Ryan Winchester took second place with 13 pounds, 8 ounces of Lay Lake largemouth. They also fished Cedar Creek with Alabama Rigs. Their primary targets were riprap banks.
“We used Showboat Lures' Chicken Foot swimbaits and Featherweight heads, and that made the difference in how we caught our fish today. We were able to catch our fish shallower than we could with weighted heads,” Winchester said. “It’s a head with hot glue poured into a lead mold. It makes fishing an Alabama Rig 10 times easier on you, and you can put it places you can’t put a weighted (head).”
High school competitors took off at 6:10 a.m. from Beeswax Landing in Columbiana and weighed in at 3 p.m. at the BJCC Arena in Birmingham prior to the Day 2 weigh-in of the 55 Bassmaster Classic competitors. Classic anglers are battling for a $300,000 first prize, the Classic trophy and world championship title.
Teams competed for bragging rights in this event, which officially kicks off the 2014 high school initiative with B.A.S.S. “This is a fantastic event because youth are obviously the future of our sport,” said Hank Weldon, Bassmaster manager for high school, college and youth programs. “For these youngsters to be able to walk across the Bassmaster Classic stage is a great experience they’ll never forget.”
Lee agreed and added, “This is something I’ve dreamed about since I was a kid. It’s the greatest feeling we could ever imagine so I thank the good Lord for helping us with that.”
Mashburn said the experience has stoked his dreams of a making a career of tournament fishing. “That’s all I think about all the time,” Lee said. “I’d like nothing better than to be up there with the real pros someday."
WBIR: Homeless man lives in law firm
(WBIR) A homeless man is now facing charges, accused of squatting in a Maryville law office for months. Police say a worker at the Costner and Greene Law Office on High Street called 911 Saturday night because she thought someone was in the building. She found coffee creamer on the floor and smelled cigarette smoke. Police searched the building and found 47-year-old Michael Anthony Benjamin hiding behind a door. Officers say Benjamin is homeless and had been breaking into the building at night since October. Benjamin says he got into the building by picking a deadbolt lock with a paperclip. Police say all the windows and doors of the building were secure and there were no signs of forced entry. Police say Benjamin told them he used the internet and cooked in the kitchen. He is also accused of stealing $1,000 from the firm.
Young Jacksboro family swept away, killed by flood waters
Three members of a Jacksboro family were found dead Saturday in Kentucky after a flash flood apparently swept their car into a creek sometime Friday. The Whitley County Sheriff's Department identified the victims as 39-year-old Shannon Kier, his 29-year-old wife Susan and their 2-year-old son Lee. The family had been on its way to Whitley County to help a relative move, but when they never arrived, family members reported them missing at about 8:30 p.m. Friday. The next day, a family member found the victims' vehicle partially submerged in a creek about a mile and a half from their destination. Authorities said they believe the Kiers drowned after high waters swept their car off the road, flipped it over, and carried it to a creek about 250 yards away. It is unclear how much water was on the roadway when the car was swept away but just a few inches of water can cause a car to lose its grip on the road.
Roane wreck kills Knox man
A Knoxville man was killed in a single-vehicle motorcycle accident Friday afternoon in Roane County. The Tennessee Highway Patrol says that 62-year-old Rick Berry of Knoxville had been riding his 1983 Honda motorcycle on Kingston Highway shortly before 4:45 pm when the bike left the right side of the roadway and struck a culvert. Berry, who was wearing a helmet, died in the crash. No other vehicles were involved and Berry was alone aboard the motorcycle.
Carbon monoxide poisoning believed to have killed woman, dog; investigation underway
Blount County Sheriff James Lee Berrong said today the Criminal Investigation Division is continuing their investigation into the death of a 58-year-old Maryville woman who was found dead in her home Saturday. The victim is Debra Ann Cerrato, 58. A small dog was also found dead inside the home. The Sheriff’s Office, along with the Blount County Fire Department and Rural/Metro Ambulance Service responded to the Cerrato’s residence Saturday at around noon. Debra Cerrato’s husband told deputies he found her unresponsive in her bed a short time before. The Blount County Fire Department tested for carbon monoxide inside the residence and found high levels of it in the house. An autopsy was performed on Mrs. Cerrato at University of Tennessee Medical Center Sunday, but detectives are awaiting results of toxicology tests before the cause of death can be determined. Mr. Cerrato was in the home, but he did not require medical attention.
ORT: City, schools appear on track to settle tax dispute
(Oak Ridge Today) Nothing is official yet, but according to our partners at Oak Ridge Today, a majority of city and school officials on Friday said they support a proposal that would resolve a long-running dispute over whether to use some sales tax revenues collected in Anderson County to help pay for renovations of Oak Ridge High School. The dispute has centered on how to use a portion of sales tax revenues collected in Anderson County outside of Oak Ridge under a May 2006 referendum. School officials had argued they could keep that portion of the revenues, but municipal leaders had said the money should be used to help pay down the debt on the $66 million renovation of the high school. The amount of money in question is in the range of $250,000 to $300,000 annually, although the total varies from year to year. A new joint resolution that could be considered by the Oak Ridge Board of Education on Monday and the City Council on March 3 would allow the schools to keep its portion of the Anderson County revenues generated by the 2006 LOST (Local Option Sales tax) hike in the county, which superseded a 2004 LOST increase approved by city voters to pay for the massive high school project. However, the resolution spells out how the money has to be spent in Oak Ridge: on technology enhancements, debt reduction, capital repairs and equipment, and grant matches and innovative educational projects. The agreement would be in effect until the high school debt is paid or 2041. Most officials said it would allow the two sides to “move forward” and work together. For more, visit www.oakridgetoday.com.
ORT: Blankenship repairs could cost $550K
(Oak Ridge Today) It could cost a total of $550,000 to replace the visitor bleachers at Blankenship Field and complete related projects ranging from repairing the Wildcat Crossing stairs on the home side of the field to replacing the retaining wall and removing trees behind the visitor bleachers. Demolition work on the deteriorated bleachers has already started. The Oak Ridge Board of Education approved that project in January. It could cost about $375,000 to replace just the bleachers, said Allen Thacker, maintenance and operations supervisor for Oak Ridge Schools. And the seating capacity would be reduced from 3,400 seats to 2,000. But it’s not clear yet who will pay for the replacements or supply the extra $175,000 for related projects, which also include replacing stairs and sidewalks at the visitor restrooms. Thacker gave a brief presentation to the Oak Ridge Board of Education and City Council during a joint work session on Friday. City officials were noncommittal. Oak Ridge City Manager Mark Watson, who previously raised the prospect of possibly using portable bleachers, said the proposed project is “out of sequence” and not in the budget. Mayor Tom Beehan said school board help will be needed, pointing out that city employees have not had a raise in a while. And Oak Ridge City Council member Trina Baughn asked if the school system could use part of its reserves for the bleacher project. Thacker said financing will have to be worked out between the city and schools. Thacker also expects to make a presentation during a school board meeting at 6 p.m. Monday. There is a separate initiative that has involved citizens and has been under way since at least last fall that includes more comprehensive renovations at Jack Armstrong Stadium/Blankenship Field. Supporters have said those renovations could cost several million dollars, and they would be the first major changes at Blankenship Field since 1975. For more, visit www.oakridgetoday.com.
Lunch with the League to focus on math, HIV/AIDS
(Submitted) The role of mathematical modeling in understanding the connection between HIV and AIDS will be the focus of a March 4 Lunch with the League. The presentation by Vitaly Ganusov starts at noon on Tuesday, March 4, in the Social Hall of the Oak Ridge Unitarian Universalist Church. “Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) remains one of the major causes of death due to infectious diseases, with over 35 million people being infected with the virus,” a press release said. “Since its discovery in 1983, our understanding how HIV causes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) has evolved with different theories being proposed and overturned by alternative theories. Mathematical modeling played an important role in generating support for some of these theories. “In this presentation, Dr. Ganusov will give an overview of our understanding of the within-host dynamics of HIV in humans and how mathematics has shaped our understanding of HIV pathogenesis. He will also discuss recent advances in developing vaccines against HIV and other means to control HIV epidemics.” Lunch with the League is sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Oak Ridge, and it is open to the public. There is no cost to attend, and reservations are not needed. Box lunches will be available starting at 11:30 a.m. on a first-come, first-served basis for $8, or you may bring your own. Coffee and tea are provided. The Oak Ridge Unitarian Universalist Church is at 1500 Oak Ridge Turnpike. The League of Women Voters is a non-partisan organization that encourages informed and active participation in government and works to increase understanding of public policy through unbiased studies of public issues. Membership is open to both men and women. For more information, visit lwvoakridge.org.
US Attorney lauds Y-12 sentences
U.S. Attorney William C. “Bill” Killian commended the sentences given to the three Y-12 protesters on Tuesday, and he said he hoped it would send a strong message. “The Y-12 National Security Complex plays a critical role in our country’s national defense,” Killian said in a Wednesday statement. “People cannot take the law into their own hands and unlawfully intrude upon sensitive government facilities. Those who violate the law and compromise the security of the Y-12 National Security Complex will be vigorously prosecuted.” The three anti-nuclear weapons activists were convicted of sabotage in May 2013 for breaking into Y-12 on July 28, 2012, cutting through high-security fences, and splashing blood and spray-painting slogans on the Highly Enriched Uranium Materials Facility. The fortress-like HEUMF stores most of the nation’s bomb-grade uranium. The protesters—Michael Walli, Megan Rice, and Greg Boertje-Obed—were sentenced in U.S. District Court in Knoxville on Tuesday by District Judge Amul R. Thapar. Rice was sentenced to serve 35 months. Walli and Boertje-Obed were each sentenced to serve 62 months. All three will serve three years supervised release upon their release from prison. In addition, the trio was ordered to pay $52,953 in restitution to the U.S. Department of Energy. Boertje-Obed, Rice, and Walli were convicted in May 2013 of one count of injuring national defense premises (the Y-12 National Security Complex), with the intent to interfere with the national defense of the United States, and another count of depredation against property of the United States. “On July 28, 2012, in the middle of the night, Walli, Rice, and Boertje-Obed unlawfully intruded upon the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge,” said Killian, who is U.S. attorney in the Eastern District of Tennesseee. “They used bolt cutters and cut through three highly sensitive security fences and made their way to the Highly Enriched Uranium Materials Facility, which houses weapons-grade uranium. They splashed human blood and painted slogans on the exterior wall of the HEUMF.” The U.S. Attorney’s Office had declined to comment on the case until the prosecution was completed.
AC primary deadline Thursday at noon
The deadline to qualify as a candidate in any of the races on the ballot for Anderson County’s May 6th primaries is at noon on Thursday. Here is a look at who has qualified so far. So far, only incumbent Judge Don Elledge has qualified to run for his seat as Criminal & Circuit Judge. Five people have qualified to run in the hotly-contested Juvenile Court Judge primaries. Two Democrats—J. Michael Clement and David Dunkirk—are seeking the nomination while three Republicans—Victoria Bannach, Lauren Biloski and Brian Hunt—have qualified to seek their party’s nod to run for the seat in the August general election. Brandon Fisher, the current Juvenile Court Judge, had qualified to run for the Democratic nomination for Chancellor, a seat coming open due to the retirement of William Lantrip, but he announced just a couple of weeks ago that he will be dropping out of the race to join a company in Pennsylvania. On the Republican side, Mike Farley and Phil Harber have qualified to appear on the May ballot. Democrats Dave Clark—the District Attorney General, and Tom Marshall, the county’s public defender, are both unopposed in May and are also unopposed so far in the August general election. Incumbent County Mayor Terry Frank has qualified to seek the Republican nomination for the office she was first elected to two years ago and she will face a challenger in the May primary in the form of County Commissioner Zach Bates. Incumbent General Sessions Division I Judge Don Layton is unopposed in the Republican primary while Ryan Spitzer has qualified to run on the Democratic side. Incumbent General Sessions Division II Judge Ron Murch is thus far unopposed in the Democratic primary. Current interim Circuit Court Clerk Tyler Mayes is unopposed in the Democratic primary and will face unopposed Republican William Jones in the general election, barring any last-minute additions to the ballot. Incumbent Trustee Rodney Archer is unopposed in the Democratic Primary as are incumbent County Clerk Jeff Cole and incumbent Register of Deeds Tim Shelton. Shelton could face opposition in August as Bill Gallaher has qualified to run on the Republican side. Incumbent Road Superintendent Gary Long is unopposed in the Republican primary. Incumbent Sheriff Paul White is unopposed in the Democratic primary while Republicans Anthony Lay and Randy Myers will square off in the Republican primary. Again the deadline to qualify for the May primaries is noon on Thursday February 20th and the Election Commission will post the finalized list of entries shortly after that deadline passes at www.acelect.com.
OR Library offering aid in signing up for healthcare under ACA
The Oak Ridge Public Library will offer two opportunities for the public to sign up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act on Saturday, Feb. 22, and Saturday, March 8, from 2-5:30 p.m. These events will be held in the auditorium and manned by volunteers who will provide both information and enrollment assistance for those interested in signing up for health insurance under the new ACA Exchanges. Individual computer stations will be available, and volunteers will be on hand to assist as needed. In addition, a Spanish-language translator will also be available. The official website for enrollment is www.healthcare.gov; this site also contains detailed information about the ACA, and its costs and benefits. Those interested in enrolling are encouraged to bring the following: Social Security numbers, income and tax information, and details of employer-sponsored insurance options, if any. Participants should bring this information for themselves and for any family members who may be enrolling. It would also be helpful if attendees already have e-mail accounts, but e-mail assistance will be provided if needed. These events are free and open to the public, and light refreshments will be provided. Participants are not required to be Oak Ridge residents or library members to receive this assistance. For more information about these programs, contact the library at (865) 425-3455 or e-mail CircLib@oakridgetn.gov.
Last-minute qualifiers for May 6th AC primaries
The deadline to qualify as a candidate in the Anderson County primaries on May 6th was at noon on Thursday. Earlier this week, we gave you an overview of who had qualified to run and while that list did remain largely unchanged, there were four last-minute qualifiers whose names will now appear on the May 6th ballot. Nichole “Nicki” Cantrell joined Mike Farley and Phil Harber in the Republican primary for Chancellor as she beat the deadline to return her paperwork. Former State Representative Jim Hackworth is the lone qualifier in the Democratic primary for County Mayor. Republican incumbent Terry Frank is being opposed in the GOP primary by County Commissioner Zach Bates. Local attorney Roger Miller qualified to seek the Republican nomination for General Sessions Judge in Division 2, and will face incumbent Democrat Ron Murch later this year as Murch is also unopposed in his party’s primary. The race that has drawn the most interest so far is that for Juvenile Court Judge. Victoria Bowling became the third Democrat to qualify, joining Michael Clement and David Dunkirk. Republican candidates are Vickie Bannach, Lauren Biloski and Brian Hunt. The primaries themselves are set for May 6th and early voting in those races begins on April 16th, continuing through May 1st. A complete list of those who have qualified can be seen at www.acelect.com and our previous story with the rest of the candidates who have qualified to run can be found on the Local Information News page of our website.
Mark your calendar for Norris Lake Spring Clean Up
Spring is just around the corner and with spring comes spring cleanups. The Five County Norris Lake Spring Clean Up will be held on March 22nd from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. There will be multiple launch points in each county. You can find all the information at www.yallcome.org/anderson-county-highlights/norris-lake-cleanup.
When: March 22, 2014 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Where: There are several launch points for the clean up. The list below includes al the launch points divided by county. For more information, please call or email the contact person for the launch point that you are interested in.
Trash bags will be provided. Volunteers are encouraged wear appropriate footwear and bring gloves.
AC Mayor taps deputy budget director for interim posting
Anderson County Mayor Terry Frank has announced that she has appointed Connie Cook-Aytes as the county’s interim budget director. Aytes will take the interim position effective Monday, February 24, succeeding county Budget Director Chris Phillips, who has announced he is resigning to take a job as City Recorder for Lake City. Aytes has worked as the deputy director in the Anderson County Budget Office since May 2008. Prior to joining Anderson County Government, Aytes worked as an auditor for nine years for the State of Tennessee Comptroller’s Office Division of County Audit. “Connie has an eye for detail and a passion for doing things right,” Mayor Frank said in a press release issued Wednesday. “She has worked as deputy director since 2008 and has earned the respect of officials and coworkers. Connie has done the heavy lifting on our Popular Annual Financial Reports that have consistently earned Anderson County multiple awards of excellence from the Government Finance Officers Association. I know we are in good hands.” Aytes said she looks forward to the challenge of leading the county budget office through the staff transition and is confident it will be smooth. “I have a good working relationship with all the officials and the employees here. We’re all working toward the same goal, and that’s making sure Anderson County is accountable to the citizens,” she said. “I appreciate the confidence Terry has in me for this position, whether it’s short-term or long-term.” A graduate of Tennessee Tech University with a degree in accounting and finance, Aytes is a native of Roane County. She is married to Steven Aytes and has two children, a daughter, Jessie, and son, David.
KNS: OR school debt deal could be close
According to the News-Sentinel, leaders in the Oak Ridge government and the school system may have reached an agreement to end an almost-ten-year-old dispute between the City Council and the School Board over how to pay down the $61 million bill for the renovation of Oak Ridge High School. Members of the Council and the School Board are expected to learn more about the proposed agreement between City Manager Mark Watson and School Superintendent Bruce Borchers during a work session scheduled for Friday. The paper reports that the proposal calls for about $290,000 that has been the source of the friction between the two bodies to be allocated strictly for the school system rather than being earmarked to pay down the debt associated with the project. In exchange, the school system would help pay for some projects that, until now, have been primarily paid for by the city. In 2004, Oak Ridge voters okayed a half-cent increase in the city’s Local Option Sales tax, with proceeds to be used to pay for the high school project. Two years later, voters in Anderson County also approved a half-cent sales tax increase which took priority over the city’s hike, meaning that revenue from the previous increase was significantly cut. School leaders say they are entitled to the revenue generated by the county’s increase while city leaders have claimed that the money from the sales tax increase should be used to pay down the school debt.
Y-12 trio sentenced in federal court
The three anti-nuclear weapons activists who were convicted of breaking intoY-12 in July of 2012 and vandalized the nation’s primary storehouse of bomb-grade learned their sentences during a hearing in a federal courtroom in Knoxville on Tuesday afternoon. Sister Megan Rice, an 84-year old Catholic nun, received the shortest sentence of 35 months behind bars. She is the oldest of the three anti-nuclear weapons activists and has the least extensive criminal history. The other two protesters, Greg Boertje-Obed and Michael Walli, both were sentenced to 62 months as they have more extensive prior records. The trio will receive credit for time served. They have been incarcerated since they were convicted in May 2013 on two felony counts of destroying U.S. property and attempting to injure national defense premises. All three were each also sentenced to three years supervised release. Last month, the trio was ordered to pay roughly $53,000 in restitution for the damage caused when they cut through three fences and breached the high-security Protected Area at Y-12 on July 28, 2012, and splashed blood, spray-painted slogans, and hammered on the side of the $549 million Highly Enriched Uranium Materials Facility.
AC Chamber looks back, forward with new logo
The momentum the Anderson County Chamber of Commerce experienced this past year motivated us to create a Bold, New “Look”. Chamber Board Chairman Terry Payne and Chamber President Jackie Nichols unveiled a bold new “Logo” at the Chamber’s Annual Business Luncheon. The logo is a fresh, new look that reflects the synergy of our Chamber membership. With 450 plus members and over 100 volunteers, the Chamber has introduced new membership development programs to help members promote and grow their business, i.e., Membership Orientation, Member Spotlight, Member Seminars. The Chamber also hosted 50+ networking activities. The Chamber’s Retail Development Initiative, supported through public and private funds, has expanded the Chamber’s role in the community and has become a valuable resource for retail and commercial development in Anderson County. We are pleasantly surprised at the response from businesses and landowners regarding the need for this resource.
Active in Economic Development, the Chamber partnered with ACEDA to receive the top level State Three Star Certification for Anderson County. This certification qualifies the County and municipalities for incentive points that reduce the local match funding for economic development grants.
The following is 2013 “At a Glance” facilitated by Chamber Councils:
Six-County Economic Development Legislative Agenda – The Government Relations Council partnered with Campbell, Claiborne, Morgan, Scott and Union counties to develop an annual Legislative Agenda for State Senators and Representatives. Representatives from each county include County Mayors, Chamber Executives and Economic Development Executives. Priority topics included: adjustments to state incentive programs, aide to technology centers, and broad band infrastructure in rural areas.
Buy Local, Stay Local Program – The Business Development Council continues to strengthen the local economy through promotion of the Chamber’s “Buy Local, Stay Local” Program. The Chamber has distributed over 15,000 Buy Local Shoppers cards. Spending money where you live, work or play, strengthens the community’s financial economy. For example, sales tax dollars fund the local school systems, alleviating new tax increases. The infusion of dollars into our local businesses is a WIN-WIN for everyone. Partnered with Anderson County Tourism to publish and distribute a free Anderson County Coupon Book to capture tourism dollars.
Small Business Development - The Chamber encourages entrepreneurial and Small Business growth. Business Development seminars are offered at the Chamber Office through Roane State’s Tennessee Small Business Development Center (TSBDC) and the University of Tennessee’s Center for Industrial Services. Business counseling sessions are also available by appointment.
“Tribute to Business Event” – The Chamber hosts an Annual “Dinner on the Lawn” Recognition Dinner in June where we recognize local businesses for their contribution to the community.
“Clinch River Fall Antiques Festival” – Will host the 14th year for this successful community/regional event. The attendance continues to grow, bringing 12,000 plus to our community. This serves as an economic boost to the community for local businesses, increased tax dollars and return visits from buyers and tourists.
Leadership Anderson County – is developed and facilitated by the Leadership Anderson County Board. This “Community Connection” Program is designed to expand leadership and project management skills and understand how to connect and get involved with their community.
Youth Leadership Anderson County – Partner with Anderson County Schools Principals and Guidance Counselors to facilitate this leadership program for Anderson County and Clinton High School students.
All Chamber programs, networking activities and special events are available on the Chamber’s website and Facebook. If you are interested in joining the Chamber, you are invited to be our guest at one scheduled networking activity.
On behalf of the Chamber Board and Staff we thank our members and the community for their continued support to promote business, create jobs and increase the tax base.”
For more information, please call 457-2559 or visit the Chamber’s website, www.andersoncountychamber.org. The Chamber’s Mission, encourage economic development, government initiatives, and community initiatives that result in prosperity for members and citizens of Anderson County serves as the driver for the Chamber’s goals.
Update: Saturday fire victim identified
The woman who died in a Saturday morning Maryville apartment fire has been identified as 55-year-old Hope Garner. Garner was found inside the bathroom of her apartment by firefighters battling the blaze, which was reported at around 11:45 am, but she died from smoke inhalation later that afternoon. Firefighters did save her dog. The cause of the fire remains under investigation but preliminary indications are that the fire was accidental in nature, possibly starting near a daybed that had been pushed against a baseboard heater. No one else was injured in the fire at the apartment building on Lord Avenue.
Red Ribbon Rivalry trophy awarded
Red Ribbon Week is the nation’s oldest and largest drug prevention recognition week and this year Anderson County took it a step further proclaiming January as Red Ribbon Month. All over the county, students and businesses participated in the Red Ribbon Rivalry to raise money for substance abuse prevention. Many ribbons were sold by local retailers, but Carrie Muse from Git ‘N Go Market #2 won the business category of the competition, with Misti Lewis from Git ‘N Go Market #1 coming in a close second. As for the youth, Clinton High School held the trophy in 2012. They kept their winning streak alive this year by raising $635 to fund substance abuse prevention activities right here in Anderson County. They were presented the 2013-2014 trophy at the Anderson County versus Clinton basketball game on February 5. ASAP Executive Director, Stephanie Strutner, extends her “heartfelt appreciation to all the students, parents, teachers, businesses and community members who supported the 2014 Red Ribbon Rivalry campaign. Your support will allow ASAP to continue its work toward enabling our young people to make healthy choices.” For more information on Allies for Substance Abuse Prevention of Anderson County, please visit www.ASAPofAnderson.org.
Follow-Up: National Science Bowl Regional Top 3
The fourth annual U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) East Tennessee Middle School Science Bowl held Saturday, Feb. 1 at the Roane State Community College, Oak Ridge Campus highlighted the academic expertise of students representing 10 local middle schools. The Middle School Science Bowl includes competitions in academic math and science. This year 16 teams, representing 80 of the brightest middle school students in East Tennessee, registered for the competition and were quizzed in a fast-paced question and answer format similar to Jeopardy on a range of STEM disciplines. Each team included four student competitors, an alternate, and a coach who also served as the team's advisor. After intense competition, three winning teams emerged. The winning teams also received a monetary award:
"All teams represented their schools or homeschool organizations very professionally. These young people were extremely prepared for the competition and the knowledge they have amassed, at their ages, was extremely impressive,” said Oak Ridge National Laboratory Site Office program manager Greg Mills. “DOE was honored to host this group of outstanding students.” Sponsors of the East Tennessee Middle School Science Bowl include DOE, American Museum of Science and Energy (AMSE), the AMSE Foundation, Roane State Community College, Z11 Communications and Riehl Printing.
Visit DOE’s East Tennessee Middle School Science Bowl for more information.
OR woman killed in Alcoa wreck
An Oak Ridge woman died in a three-car crash in Alcoa on Monday morning. 20-year-old Claire B. Milner died at UT Medical Center after the crash, which occurred on Alcoa Highway at Willow Road at 9:45 a.m. Monday, the Alcoa Police Department said. Milner had been driving a 2000 Ford Focus on Willow Road and had stopped at the stop sign, then attempted to cross the southbound lanes of Alcoa Highway to turn left onto northbound Alcoa Highway. Milner’s car was struck in the driver’s-side door by a 2006 Toyota Tacoma pickup truck driven by 33-year-old Zackary A. Presnell of Knoxville, who was traveling south on Alcoa Highway, in the left lane of travel. A third vehicle, a 2013 Ford Fusion struck debris that was thrown from the Ford Focus. The police department said Presnell was also taken to the UT Medical Center and is being treated for his injuries. Presnell was not wearing a seatbelt, the press release said. The driver of the third vehicle was not injured in the crash. Alcoa Police are continuing to investigate the accident.
AC BOE honors ACHS staffers who saved girl
During Tuesday's Anderson County Board of Education meeting, a group of teachers, principals, and other staff members were honored for saving a student's life. Last month, Brittany Overton went into cardiac arrest in the school courtyard before classes began. Thanks to the quick thinking of several school faculty members and an Automated External Defibrillator, or an AED. Brittany attended the School Board meeting on Tuesday. Leaders honored the crew of teachers, principals, and staff members that helped bring her back to health. Teacher April Freeman and her husband Travis, an assistant principal—the couple credited with leading the efforts that saved Brittany’s life—used the AED twice to get her heart started again. Doctors at East Tennessee Children’s Hospital say the AED saved the girl’s life. Brittany now has a defibrillator inside her to help keep her heartbeat regular. If the beat ever becomes irregular, the device will give her heart a shock, bringing it back to a normal pace.
BBB: Rockwood PD uncovers meth lab
After receiving a tip about a possible meth lab at an apartment complex Tuesday night Rockwood police took one person into custody and seized what authorities described as a sizable meth lab. The incident occurred at the Evans Heights Apartments, which is a federal Housing Authority complex for low-income residents. The Methamphetamine Task Force responded to the scene for cleanup and disposal and the person arrested has been identified as 33-year-old Raymond Earl Racey. He is facing charges of simple possession and is being held with no bond on a probation violation. Further charges could be placed as the investigation continues.
Roast of Quarles raises money for food bank
More than 200 people filled First United Methodist Church of Maryville Tuesday to watch a roast of Maryville High School Football Coach George Quarles. The event raised around $7,000 for the Community Food Connection, which organizers say will pay for nearly half of the grocery purchases for around 6,500 Blount Countians, including 2,000 children.
ORT: ORPD going high-tech
(Oak Ridge Today) A new roughly $500,000 hardware and software suite purchased for the Oak Ridge Police Department includes an electronic citation system that will allow officers to scan driver’s licenses with handheld units and quickly issue multiple citations. The new system will save time because it will, among other things, automatically download information from the electronic tickets, including into the court system, officials said. Officials said the ability to issue tickets quicker could produce more revenue for the city and more effective law enforcement. They said it will also eliminate some problems with the current system, such as messy handwriting on paper tickets and the need to duplicate data entry in the police department and then again in the court system. The Oak Ridge City Council agreed unanimously in a voice vote on Monday to buy the hardware and software suite, as well as technical support services, for $486,808 from Spillman Technologies Inc. of Salt Lake City, Utah. The hardware and software suite includes a computer-aided dispatch system, or CADS; a records management system, or RMS; mobile and field reporting applications; and barcoding and scanner capabilities. It also includes the electronic, or e-ticket, capabilities and the conversion of older legacy data, as well as the first year of maintenance costs. The city’s current system is not compliant with the Tennessee Incident Based Reporting System, or TIBRS, and that could affect the city’s ability to get grants and state and federal assistance. Oak Ridge will use $61,745 from a Tennessee E-911 state grant to buy the hardware and software package from Spillman Technologies, and the city will match that amount with $63,550 from the drug fund. The other $361,513 will be paid using money from the city’s Equipment Replacement Fund. Under the new contract, Akagi said, the city’s maintenance fees will be reduced by about $40,000 per year, and the savings will be used to repay the Equipment Replacement Fund, Akagi told Oak Ridge City Manager Mark Watson in a Jan. 28 memo. Also Monday, the Oak Ridge Emergency Communication District board approved a $481,567 purchase from the 911 budget to buy and install dispatch equipment as part of the state’s new 911 network (Next Generation 911). All purchases will be reimbursed under the Tennessee Emergency Communications Board grant program, officials said. ORPD Capt. Mike Uher said the equipment is grant-funded and required by the state, and it will talk to other equipment across the state.
AC GOP meeting Tuesday
The Anderson Republican Party will hold its monthly meeting on Tuesday, February 18, 2014 at 6:30 pm at the Staybridge Inn and Suites in Oak Ridge. The meeting will feature candidates in the upcoming primary who will discuss topics important to our future and be happy to answer questions.
ORT: Y-12 Trio to be sentenced Tuesday
(Oak Ridge Today) The three anti-nuclear weapons activists who cut through high-security fences and splashed human blood and spray-painted slogans on the side of a uranium storage building at the Y-12 National Security Complex in July 2012 will be sentenced in three separate hearings in Knoxville on Tuesday. Their earlier consolidated sentencing hearing on Jan. 28 was delayed due to snow. U.S. District Judge Amul R. Thapar has ordered that Michael Walli, a 64-year-old Catholic worker from Washington, D.C., be sentenced at 12 p.m. Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Knoxville. Walli is facing the longest potential sentence, a range of about seven to nine years, for the damage caused during the unprecedented security breach. Greg Boertje-Obed, a 58-year-old painter from Duluth, Minn., will be sentenced next, at 2 p.m. His recommended sentence is roughly six to eight years. Megan Rice, an 84-year-old Catholic nun, will be sentenced last, at 4 p.m. She has received the shortest recommended sentence, a range of about five to seven years. The trio, who called their action Transform Now Plowshares, was convicted in May 2013 of destroying U.S. property and attempting to injure national defense premises when they broke into Y-12 on July 28, 2012. They were immediately incarcerated after their convictions.
Maryville apartment fire kills one
A Saturday morning fire at a Maryville apartment building killed a 55-year-old woman, according to officials. Maryville Fire Department officials say the woman, a resident of the building, died Saturday afternoon from smoke inhalation. The fire broke out around 11:45 a.m. Saturday at a four-unit apartment complex on Lord Avenue and also destroyed a nearby vehicle. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.
Car hits house in Maryville
A car crashed into a home on Sevierville Road Sunday afternoon. Authorities believe that the woman who was driving a Chevy HHR was trying to pick up a water bottle when she swerved, over-corrected, and hit the building. The collision caused significant damage to the house, including leaving behind a gaping hole in the basement and will require extensive repairs, so the American Red Cross is helping him. The woman was taken to the hospital for treatment of minor injuries but no one else was reported hurt in the incident.
GHSO launches SAFE Campaign to encourage seatbelt use
The Governor’s Highway Safety Office (GHSO) today launched a new highway safety campaign aimed at increasing seat belt usage across the state. The SAFE Campaign (Seat Belts Are for Everyone) is designed to increase seat belt and child passenger safety restraint usage in Tennessee. Law enforcement agencies are encouraged to participate in the campaign by planning and implementing occupant protection initiatives in their communities. “Nationally, seat belt usage rates have increased steadily over time,” said Kendell Poole, Director of the Governor’s Highway Safety Office. “However, that’s not the case in Tennessee. In 2013, more than half of Tennessee’s traffic fatalities involved unrestrained drivers or passengers. The SAFE Campaign is designed to educate all drivers across the state about the importance of wearing seat belts.” To date, 169 law enforcement agencies have agreed to participate in the SAFE campaign. Each agency is required to plan and execute activities in their community that raise awareness about seat belt usage, along with seat belt enforcement efforts. Agencies that participate in the SAFE Campaign will be eligible to win a fully equipped police vehicle and other highway traffic safety equipment. “Our partnerships with law enforcement across the state help to increase the message of seat belt safety,” said Director Poole. “We are committed to saving lives on Tennessee roadways. It is up to drivers to make safe choices, one of those choices is to wear your seat belt.” If you would like more information on the SAFE Campaign, please contact Megan Buell, 615-337-7685 or visit our website at www.tntrafficsafety.org.
GSMNP: Prescribed burns could start Thursday
Great Smoky Mountains National Park fire management officials plan to conduct a series of controlled burns in the park starting as early as Thursday, February 20th. Planning is in place to burn approximately 400 acres of open field in Cades Cove and 280 acres of forest near the Top of the World Community on the park’s northwest boundary in Blount County. Weather permitting burn operations may continue intermittently into April. The selected fields in Cades Cove will be burned as part of a cost-effective strategy to prevent the open fields from being reclaimed by forest. These seasonal controlled burns help perpetuate native herbaceous species that provide high quality cover and foraging opportunities for a diversity of wildlife including deer, turkeys, and ground nesting birds. “By conducting controlled burns, we are able to maintain the openness of the cove to preserve and maintain its historic character while also reducing non-native species,” said Fire Management Officer Dave Loveland. The loop road and historic structures will remain open to visitor use during the burns in Cades Cove, but brief delays and temporary closures of side roads and trails may occur to ensure public safety during burn operations. Park staff will be present to answer questions during operations at overlooks and parking areas. Near Top of the World, the fire management crew will burn an area known as Lynn Hollow. This area has been impacted by pine bark beetles resulting in a high fuel load of dead and down woody materials. Using fire in a controlled burn will help to reduce the likelihood of an uncontrollable wildfire while helping to restore the yellow pine / hardwood forest ecosystem. “The shortleaf-pine and oak forest surrounding Lynn Hollow are very unique. This site contains trees that are 200-400 years old, and that tell a story of the frequent fires that burned through the area prior to the creation of the park,” said Fire Ecologist Rob Klien. “Without fire, these forests are now in decline and the species that depend on this habitat are being lost.” The area to be burned is bounded by Goldmine Trail, Cooper Road, Kingfisher Creek and Flats Road. Access to Goldmine Trail will be restricted during fire operations. Visitors and residents should expect to see fire activity and smoke during controlled burn operations. Fire managers ask that motorists reduce speed in work zones, and refrain from stopping in the roadways. If smoke is present, keep your windows up and headlights on. The use of prescribed fire in Great Smoky Mountains National Park is consistent with the Parks land and resource management plans. The policy of using fire as a land management tool helps decrease risks to life, property, and resources and perpetuates the natural resource values for which the park was founded. For more information on the use of prescribed burns in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, visit our website at www.nps.gov/grsm/naturescience/fire-regime.htm.
AC EMA to hold disaster assessment training
Anderson County Emergency Management Agency is looking for volunteers to serve as leaders for damage assessment teams. Volunteers will be trained to lead a small team into communities that have suffered damage from severe weather or floods. These teams will make an initial assessment of damage as a first step in providing food and shelter and obtaining state and federal assistance for the communities affected. The free class will be held from 6 to 10 p.m. on Thursday, March 6, at the Anderson County Emergency Management Agency, 111 South Charles G. Seivers Boulevard in Clinton. After the class, volunteers will not be called upon except in the event of a disaster. If you are interested in serving your community as a damage assessment team leader, please call Lin Chilcoat at 865-457-7846 to register.
Aaron’s to celebrate Clinton store
(Aaron’s press release) Aaron Rents, Inc. and Franchisee Pinnacle Group, LLC have announced the opening of their newest AARON’S store in the East Tennessee area. The store is currently open for business and has plans to celebrate their “Grand Opening” on Friday, Feb. 28 and Saturday, March 1. The spacious, newly constructed store, located at 926 North Charles G. Seivers Blvd. in Clinton, Tennessee, is filled with brand name merchandise ready to be delivered to residents living in Knox, Cumberland and Anderson County. For over sixty years, Aaron’s has enjoyed serving their customers with excellence and great care. Aaron’s customers across the nation will tell you we deliver on our promise to “Make credit easy and dreams come true.” The new Clinton store carries an extra-special level of excitement within the Aaron’s family, as it is the first Aaron’s store in Tennessee to have the brand new, contemporary showroom design; featuring modern décor and designer fixtures throughout the store. "We are so happy to have Aaron's open a location in our county and wish them much success! If they are successful as a business, then we are successful as a community. I especially want to recognize Aaron's history of community involvement and hope they know how much they are appreciated," said Anderson County Mayor Terry Frank.
Aaron’s stores offer customers access to high quality furniture, appliances, electronics and computers for sale or as a lease-ownership arrangement. Customers have the option of buying their merchandise at the guaranteed low price or opting to lease their merchandise for even greater flexibility. With a lease option, customers make modest monthly payments and have the immediate use of the items they need. There is no credit required to bring home merchandise from Aaron’s, and everyone is pre-approved, so customers can get what they need without waiting for credit checks or other delays. Plus, Aaron’s will take care of delivery, set-up, repairs and more for the duration of a customer’s lease. According to the new store’s General Manager, Jonathan Paul, “Aaron’s has a history of getting involved in the communities where they do business and we plan on doing good things for the residents of the communities we serve. We are currently planning a Kids ID Day for April 12th, which is a family safety event in partnership with the Clinton Police Department, Clinton Fire Department, Anderson County Sheriff’s Department, The National Guard and RUSH Fitness Center. “We are
excited to have new retail such as Aaron's locate here in Clinton and look forward to working with them on their plans for involvement in our community”, said Clinton Mayor Scott Burton. Chamber President Jackie Nichols added “We are working to promote Anderson County as a "Business Friendly" environment and appreciate the opportunity to assist Aarons and City officials in locating here in Clinton."
The new Clinton store will celebrate with a Grand Opening event on Friday, February 28 and Saturday March 1. The Anderson County Chamber will be on site Friday to perform a ribbon-cutting ceremony, which includes visits by local officials and chamber members. Throughout the “Grand Opening”, prizes will be given away to lucky winners who receive the winning promo card with the matching number. Prizes include televisions, game systems, furniture, NASCAR items, gift cards and more. Lucky, Aaron’s beloved mascot, will also make appearances throughout the day. There will be refreshments, giveaways for all ages, games for the kids, free entertainment and more.
Aaron’s is open for business Monday through Thursday from 10AM-7PM, Friday 10AM-8PM and Saturday 10AM-5PM. However, Aaron’s stores are never, NEVER open on Sunday. The Clinton store is the sixth Aaron’s location owned and operated by Aaron’s franchisee Pinnacle Group, LLC, whose corporate office is located in Morristown, Tennessee. Aaron, Inc. is a leader in the sales and lease ownership of residential furniture, consumer electronics and home appliances, with more than 2,000 company and franchise operated stores in 45 states, Canada and Puerto Rico. The company also manufactures an exclusive line of furniture, bedding and accessories at 10 facilities in four states. We invite residents of Knox, Cumberland and Anderson counties to join us for food, fun and a chance to win up to $10,000 worth of prizes that will be given away.
Come and experience the Aaron’s difference; “Nobody Beats Aaron’s”
Appeals court upholds murder verdict, life sentence
The Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals this week upheld the first-degree murder conviction of a man who killed his mother-in-law with a hatchet while his infant daughter was in a nearby room nearly seven years ago. Robert Fritts was convicted in the March 2007 death of Teresa Busler, who died from multiple blows to the head from a hatchet and had a white paint-like substance sprayed on her face. Fritts and his wife—the victim’s daughter—and their infant daughter had been living at the family’s Andersonville home at the time of the murder. The baby was found unharmed in another bedroom when Teresa Busler’s husband returned home and discovered the grisly crime scene. The case was somewhat noteworthy as prosecutors introduced evidence that Fritts was part of a group of so-called “jugalos,” or fans of rap group Insane Clown Posse. Insane Clown Posse band members often wear white, clown style face makeup and their record label—Psychopathic Records—uses a picture of a hatchet-wielding man as its logo. In his appeal, Fritts’ attorneys argued that it was “improper for prosecutors to submit evidence of his affiliation with the rap group or suggesting that the band or its followers were a gang.” He also argued there was not sufficient evidence to establish that Busler’s murder was premeditated. The Appeals Court on Monday rejected both of those arguments and upheld both Fritts’ conviction and his sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.
BCSO arrests 2 after attempted break-in
The Blount County Sheriff’s Office says a man and woman are in custody following an attempt by the pair to burglarize a home on Blockhouse Road Tuesday afternoon. Charges are pending against the individuals, whose names had not been made public by the time this story was filed. At around 2:30 pm Tuesday, Sheriff’s deputies responded to a home on Blockhouse Road after the homeowner called 911 and reported that someone was trying to break into her house. The woman reported that she could see a female trying to gain entry through a door in the rear of the residence. The victim then went to the front door of the residence where a man and the woman were trying get inside. The victim attempted to hold them at gunpoint but they fled the scene in a vehicle that was pulled over a short time later on Memorial Drive and the duo was taken into custody and brought to the Blount County Detention Facility. The Criminal Investigation Division is continuing the investigation.
AC Budget Director resigns to take Lake City job
(AC Mayor's Office) Chris Phillips, director of Accounts and Budgets for Anderson County Government, has resigned his position effective Feb. 21. Phillips has accepted the position of City Recorder for the City of Lake City. “As many people know, Lake City is my hometown,” Phillips said in a news release. “They have struggled for the last few years in keeping someone qualified in the City Recorder’s position. The State of Tennessee mandates that each municipality must have a Certified Municipal Finance Officer (CMFO) on staff. My designation as a Certified Government Financial Manager (CGFM) satisfies this requirement,” Phillips said. “Lake City is embarking on an historical time with the change to become Rocky Top. The leaders of Lake City have reached out to me and I felt compelled to contribute in the areas that I have considerable skill, education, certification and experience in,” he said.
Phillips has worked for Anderson County Government for 11 and one-half years; he was hired in 1999 as a staff accountant. He was soon named deputy budget director under Gail Cook. Then, in April 2008, then Mayor Rex Lynch hired Phillips as budget director.
“It’s my sincerest wish to thank the leaders here in Anderson County Government that have embraced me and that I have worked with over the last several years. I love my job here with the County and will miss the relationships that I have built with Mayor Frank, Commission, all of the elected officials and the employees of the County,” Phillips said. “This decision was not an easy one, and took considerable time to ultimately arrive at. It is my hope that this decision does not negatively impact the County, Mayor Frank or the wonderful staff that I have had the privilege to work with over the last several years.”
“We are going to miss Chris, not just as our Budget Director, but as a friend, County Mayor Terry Frank said. “He has a big personality and his departure is most definitely going to leave a hole. At his heart, Chris is entrepreneur—he likes a challenge. I know he is going to do great things for Lake City. We are already beginning the search process for Anderson County’s next Budget Director, and I’m sure I speak for many when I wish him all the luck in the world,” Mayor Frank said.
Woman indicted on new charges in 2012 murder
A former Claxton resident is facing a first-degree murder charge for her alleged role in the death of a 79-year-old man whose body was found hidden underneath a staircase inside his Claxton apartment in early 2012. 45-year-old Tammy Sue Chapman, who now resides in Lenoir City, was indicted on the murder charge by an Anderson County grand jury last week and was arrested Friday. She and her boyfriend, 50-year-old Norman Lee Follis Jr. both now face the first-degree murder charge. The victim, 79-year-old Sammie J. Adams of Claxton, was Follis’ uncle. The Anderson County Sheriff’s Department announced it was charging Follis with first-degree murder on Jan. 25, 2012, the day after investigators found Adams’ body hidden underneath a staircase inside his apartment. The man had been reported missing a few days earlier, on Jan. 22, 2012, authorities said. Chapman was initially charged with theft over $500 and being an accessory after the fact but Sheriff’s officials said at the time that additional charges could be filed pending the outcome of their investigation. Authorities now say that she watched as Follis strangled his uncle to death. The indictment alleges that the murder occurred sometime between December 5th, 2011 and January 24th, 2012, the day Adams’ body was discovered. Both Follis and Chapman are also facing charges of theft over $1000 stemming from the theft of Adams’ car—which neighbors reported seeing Follis driving while Adams was missing—and the theft of his apartment keys. Chapman is also still facing the charge of being an accessory after the fact as investigators say that she harbored Hollis and helped him avoid arrest after the murder. Chapman is being held at the Anderson County Jail on bonds totaling $1 million, as is Follis, who has been in custody since January 25th, 2012.
ORPD IDs Sunday crash victim
Oak Ridge Police have identified the person killed in a single-vehicle accident early Sunday morning on Hillside Road as 32-year-old Hobert L. Mitchell of Oak Ridge. Police say that an officer spotted Mitchell driving a white 2003 Nissan Murano, registered to another person at a high rate of speed on Hillside at around 4:30 am Sunday. A short time later, the officer discovered the wreckage of the SUV, which had left the side of the road and collided with a utility pole. Mitchell, who was the lone occupant of the vehicle, died at the scene. His body was transported to the UT Medical Center, where an autopsy was to be performed, and the investigation of this incident remains ongoing.
OR welcomes home returning soldier
Members of the Oak Ridge community spent the weekend preparing to welcome a soldier home from Afghanistan. Sgt. Stanley Neal Martin was completely surprised by the homecoming that his family and the community gave him on Monday. Sgt. Martin has been deployed for about ten months. On his way to his Oak Ridge home Monday morning after a weekend spent with his family in Gatlinburg, Sgt. Martin was greeted by approximately 150 people lining the street waiting to give him a hero's welcome. The Oak Ridge Police and Fire Departments participated, as did members of the community, many of whom did not know Martin but who wanted to express their gratitude for his service. They made signs and held American flags, cheering as he drove by. Sgt. Martin has served in the military for almost 17 years. This is the second time he has been deployed. He's been in Afghanistan for 10 months with the 251st Military Police Company out of Lexington, Tennessee.
OR closes Bell to assess damage
The International Friendship Bell, located in the City’s A.K. Bissell Park, has been closed in order to assess damage to the housing structure in which the bell is displayed. A routine inspection by city staff late last year revealed cracking in the wooden support columns. Temporary fencing has been placed around the structure; additional fencing and signage will be installed this week in order to restrict direct access to the bell. The structure housing the bell is a unique, open, timber-frame structure with six main timbers measuring approximately 12” square supporting the entire frame. A preliminary inspection by a local engineering firm has revealed significant wood root and deterioration to the structure. In addition, a large crack has developed in the stone wall supporting one of the columns at the south end of the bell structure. Oak Ridge City Manager Mark Watson is requesting the community’s cooperation as the evaluation continues. “Regrettably, we need to prohibit access to the Friendship Bell in order to protect the public, and to minimize any potential damage to the 8,000 pound bell. Police and Fire employees have been notified of the situation to be observant of any activity around the structure.” A detailed report is being developed by the local engineering firm. Report findings will help determine cost estimates and schedule to repair, rebuild, or replace the structure. The International Friendship Bell was cast more than twenty years ago under the sponsorship of the “Committee of 50,” as part of the 50th anniversary of the founding of Oak Ridge. It was presented to the City by the Oak Ridge Community Foundation in 1996 as a lasting legacy “To express for the future the profound longing and commitment to work for freedom, well-being, justice, and peace for all people of the world.”
Monday fire displaces nine
A fire at a Maryville apartment complex displaced nine people early Monday morning. Firefighters were called to the apartments on Elkmont Circle at around 2:30 am and reported that flames were shooting through the roof upon their arrival. Crews extinguished the blaze within about an hour, but while no human injuries were reported, two cats in one of the units perished in the blaze. Firefighters were reportedly able to save another resident’s pet ferret. Fire crews believe the fire may have started in a downstairs unit and spread to the second floor. In all, nine people from five different apartments were displaced and given assistance by the Red Cross. The cause of the fire is under investigation.
One killed in OR wreck
One person died in a single-vehicle accident early Sunday morning in Oak Ridge. According to a release from the Oak Ridge PD, at approximately 4:30 AM, an Oak Ridge Police Department patrol officer observed a white SUV traveling at a high rate of speed in the vicinity of Highland Avenue and Hillside Road. The vehicle accelerated away from the intersection and proceeded eastbound on Hillside Road. A short time later, the officer discovered the vehicle had lost control and struck a utility pole in front of 104 Hillside Road. Additional officers, as well as Oak Ridge Fire Department and Anderson County EMS personnel responded and found the driver, who was the sole occupant of the vehicle, to be deceased at the scene. Identification of the driver is being withheld at this time, pending notification to next of kin. The investigation remains ongoing.
ORT: OR Mall TIF approved by state
The Tennessee Comptroller has approved a $13 million tax financing agreement that could be used for the $85 million redevelopment of the Oak Ridge Mall. The approval was announced in a Wednesday letter from Tennessee Comptroller Justin P. Wilson to Nashville law firm Bradley, Arant, Boult, and Cummings, which is working with Crosland Southeast, the North Carolina company that wants to redevelop the mostly empty mall. The 20-year tax increment financing, or TIF, agreement, would use new property tax revenues generated at the 59-acre site to help pay for development costs, possibly including tearing down the existing space between the two remaining anchor stores, JCPenney and Belk, as well as for replacing aging infrastructure and building new roads.
The Oak Ridge Industrial Development Board has endorsed the TIF, and the Oak Ridge City Council and Anderson County Commission have approved it. There was no opposition at any of the meetings where the TIF was considered, but there was one abstention. Local officials and company executives have said the TIF would not create any financial risk for the city, county, or IDB. Under Tennessee law, the use of the TIF must be approved by the comptroller and the commissioner of Tennessee Economic and Community Development. Tennessee officials have to determine whether it’s in the state’s best interest to use the new property tax revenues to finance the costs of privately owned land, improvements, or equipment. In the case of the Oak Ridge Mall, the comptroller said, it is. Mall redevelopment plans have languished for years. But local officials have repeatedly expressed optimism that if anyone can successfully revamp the property, it’s Crosland Southeast, which is relatively new to this project. Officials and Crosland say the redeveloped mall could open in 2016. The current enclosed mall would be converted into an open-air, retail-driven, mixed-use property that could include 400,000 square feet of retail space and roughly 60,000 to 100,000 square feet of office space, a hotel of about 100 to 120 rooms, and up to 50 multi-family, “walkable” residential units. It could also include three to four restaurants. Sittema said Crosland, which is working on a total of three “dead mall” projects, could close on the purchase in the third quarter of 2014 and construction could last about 18 months. Crosland Southeast has had a purchase contract on the mall since January 2013. For more, visit www.oakridgetoday.com.
RSCC: 2 to teach, live underwater
Two Roane State Community College faculty members plan to live and work under the surface of the sea for 72 days this fall. While underwater, associate professor of biology Bruce Cantrell and adjunct instructor Jessica Fain will offer the most unique educational experience in the college’s history and raise awareness of issues affecting the oceans. During their stay, Cantrell and Fain will also set a world record for the longest time spent living underwater. Roane State and the Marine Resources Development Foundation in Key Largo, Fla., are partnering on the Classroom Under the Sea project. Cantrell and Fain plan to start their underwater adventure Oct. 4 and resurface onDec. 15. They will live in Jules’ Undersea Lodge, which is in the lagoon at the Marine Resources Development Foundation’s facilities. “Roane State professors have taught in a variety of locations as part of our mission to bring higher education to the communities we serve,” Roane State President Dr. Chris Whaley said. “What Bruce and Jessica are planning is certainly new territory. While their project is unique, their expertise, spirit of adventure and passion for teaching are representative of what make community colleges so special.” Roane State has a long relationship with the Marine Resources Development Foundation. Since 2005, Cantrell has taken about 20 students a year to participate in the foundation’s MarineLab education program. While at MarineLab, Roane State students survey coral reefs and upload their findings to a database hosted by the Los Angeles-based Reef Check Foundation. The Marine Resources Development Foundation is led by Ian Koblick, president, chairman of the foundation’s board and the organization’s founder. Koblick, an expert in underwater habitats, designed the sophisticated undersea lab La Chalupa, which he and partner Dr. Neil Monney later converted to Jules’ Undersea Lodge. Koblick approached Cantrell last fall about the Classroom Under the Sea project, and Cantrell accepted the offer to participate. Cantrell invited Fain, who has assisted with organizing Roane State trips to MarineLab. “Each year, I have been deeply impressed by Bruce and the Roane State students who visit MarineLab,” Koblick said. “When we came up with the idea for Classroom Under the Sea, I knew I wanted to involve Bruce and Roane State.” While underwater, Cantrell and Fain will host a weekly program featuring interviews with leading scientists and explorers. Plans are for the programs to be hosted on the Roane State website. A schedule and further details will be announced at a later time. Roane State students in Cantrell’s fall online biology class will have an especially interesting experience. While they take Cantrell’s course, he will be leading it from Jules’ Undersea Lodge. “I developed my passion for marine science while in the Navy and have continued to study it throughout my career,” said Cantrell, a Roane County native and Harriman High School graduate. “I am honored to have the opportunity to raise awareness about issues affecting our oceans, promote the value of underwater habitats and to offer an amazing learning experience for my students.” Cantrell started teaching at Roane State in 1992. A veteran of the U.S. Navy and U.S. Army, he has an associate degree from Roane State, a bachelor’s degree in biology from Tennessee Tech and a master’s in biology from American University. Cantrell has numerous diving certifications, and he has logged more than 200 hours in the Jules’ underwater habitat, including four 24-hour stays. Fain, of Lenoir City, graduated from East Tennessee State University in 2011 with a bachelor’s degree in biology and became an adjunct instructor at Roane State. While at Roane State, she became a certified scuba diver and has since earned additional diving certifications. She has logged more than 100 hours in underwater habitats and labs and accompanied Roane State students to MarineLab for the past three years. “I have a particular interest in introducing students to coral reef ecology and to helping them understand the need to protect the ecological balance of both freshwater and marine ecosystems,” Fain said. “The Classroom Under the Sea project is a once-in-a-lifetime teaching opportunity, and I’m looking forward to it.” Jules’ Undersea Lodge (named for writer Jules Verne) is 21 feet below the surface of the sea. The lodge is about 600 square feet, with approximately half for living space. For safety, the lodge will be monitored at all times. While they can leave the lodge for underwater excursions, Cantrell and Fain do not plan to break the surface of the water for 72 days. If successful, they will break the record of Richard Presley, who spent 69 days and 19 minutes underwater from May 6-July 14, 1992, according to Guinness World Records. For updates on the Classroom Under the Sea project and for more information, visit http://www.roanestate.edu/classroomunderthesea.
BCSO nabs 2 in marine-type battery thefts
The Blount County Sheriff’s Office says that two men are in custody in connection with the theft of multiple marine-type batteries in Blount County. Timothy Len Allison, 24, of Knoxville, and Michael Franklin Huskey, 32, of Kodak, were both charged with two counts of theft of property over $1,000. They are being held at the Blount County Detention Facility on bonds totaling $20,000 each, pending hearings in Blount County General Sessions Court at 1:30 p.m. February 10th and 9 a.m. February 11th, respectively. Additional charges against the two could be forthcoming. Through the course of their investigation, detectives with the Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigation Division as well as the Maryville Police Department were able to tie Allison and Huskey to the thefts of multiple marine-type batteries from utility boxes around Blount County. These individuals are also connected to similar thefts in Jefferson, Grainger, and Hamblen counties. Detectives recovered 27 of the batteries stolen from Blount County sites at a Knoxville scrap metal business. The Knox County Sheriff’s Office took Allison and Huskey into custody for the Blount County Sheriff’s Office at a motel on Strawberry Plains Pike late Thursday, and they were booked into the Blount County Detention Facility early Friday morning. The Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigation Division is continuing their investigation.
WBIR: ACHS crowns hoops Homecoming queen
(WBIR-TV) Anderson County High School held its second annual basketball homecoming. And this year's queen is Kelsey Jones. Kelsey is a girl with autism and faces the challenge of communicating her thoughts. But that didn't stop her from stepping to the plate to win the crown. Her school started hosting basketball homecoming as a fundraiser. There are 10 girls in the homecoming court. Each girl represents a class or a club. Whoever raises the most money for their class or club wins homecoming queen. Kelsey was elected to represent her special needs class. She raised $2,800 in the past two weeks. Half of the earnings go to her class, and the other half goes to the school. Kelsey was given the throne of basketball homecoming queen Tuesday night between the girls' and boys' basketball games.
AC principals being honored all month
Students across Anderson County Schools will be using a “Lion King” theme to honor and thank their principals during the month of February 2014. Various activities are being planned to let principals know how much their hard work is appreciated. Student members of the A Team at each school are responsible for leading the show of appreciation and for getting all students involved. In a society where thanks and appreciation are often overlooked, the students of Anderson County Schools are learning first-hand what it means to have an attitude of gratitude. There are eight different appreciation days scheduled throughout the year to honor and celebrate various employees. Each of the appreciation days are a part of UTrust’s Employee Appreciation Program designed to teach students about gratitude using fun themes to show thanks. Director of Schools Larry M. Foster and the Anderson County Board of Education recognize that principals are vital to the overall success of the schools. “Our Anderson County principals are the best and we want to show our appreciation for their leadership. We do not take our principals for granted and want to be sure they know how much they mean to us all.” Although the appreciation days are led by students, there are also opportunities for the community to join in. For information on how you can help show gratitude to school employees, contact your local schools or system administrator.
Citizen query leads to EMA answer on drinking water safety
(AC Mayor’s Office) A local citizen recently asked Anderson County Mayor Terry Frank about what safety measures the county has in place to protect citizens’ drinking water in the event of a hazardous situation like that which recently occurred in West Virginia. The County Mayor’s Office contacted Anderson County Emergency Management Director Steve Payne to obtain an answer to the citizen’s question and address his concerns. We thought other citizens might be interested in the same topic. Here is Mr. Payne’s response; it was sent to Mayor Frank via e-mail:
“Dear Mayor Frank,
Please forward to the citizen who asked:
What safety measures does Anderson County have in place to protect citizens’ drinking water in the event of a hazardous situation like that which occurred recently in West Virginia?
Anderson County is home to some 50 facilities that manufacture, process, store or utilize quantities of hazardous radiological or chemical materials. The majority of these facilities are located in industrial parks in the county and cities of Oak Ridge, Clinton, and Lake City.
Facilities with quantities of hazardous materials that meet or exceed threshold levels established by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) are required by federal law to file each year a Tier 2 Report stating the material(s) and quantity on site. In addition to the name and quantity of each material, the report includes Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS), a site map showing location of material, type of storage container, type of storage conditions, and description of dikes, holding basins, and other safeguard measures. Tier 2 reports received in 2013 from private, non-DOE facilities identify 42 separate hazardous materials.
These reports are provided to the local fire department, Anderson County Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) and the State Emergency Response Commission (SERC). Anderson County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) serves as custodian of these reports. Further information on Tier 2 reports may be found by online search for 40 CFR Part 370.
Information in the Tier 2 report allows emergency response agencies to pre-plan for accidents resulting in the spill/release of specific hazardous materials including characteristics, reactions, evacuation perimeters, health threats, and tactics for responder and citizen safety.
Despite the state and federal regulations and oversight in place, facility safety and response plans, and inspection by the local fire department and OSHA, an accidental spill/release from a fixed facility or a transportation accident could occur at any time.
With regard to drinking water safety, many Anderson County facilities with hazardous materials are located in proximity to streams, creeks, or the Clinch River. A major spill/release at these facilities or a transportation accident involving rail or roadway carriers over or near water could, immediately or over time, affect water quality downstream.
Impact of a spill/release would depend on location of the spill, quantity of material released, toxin level of the chemical, water velocity, and dispersal rates.
Anderson County residents receive water from four providers – Anderson County Water Authority, Clinton Utilities Board, Oak Ridge City, and Hallsdale Powell Utility District – with treatment facility intakes located along the Clinch River. Oliver Springs Water Department draws water from Bacon Springs located on Highway 61 in the Marlow Community, and Norris from Lower Clear Creek.
These utilities maintain current state-approved facility safety and emergency response plans and work cooperatively to provide support to an affected facility during emergency incidents.
In the event of any major emergency, the Anderson County EMA Director activates the Anderson County Basic Emergency Operations Plan (BEOP). This document, available online at andersontn.org/emergencymanagement.html, outlines the responsibilities of some 80 local, state, and federal agencies for emergency response.
While no community can guarantee the source of its drinking water will never be compromised, the following conditions, already in place, will reduce the possibility, lessen the severity, and shorten the duration of a drinking water emergency that may occur in Anderson County.
If you would like further information, please contact EMA Administrative Assistant Lin Chilcoat at 865-457-7846 to schedule a time to meet.
THP taking applications for Citizen Academy
The Tennessee Highway Patrol is now accepting applications for the 2014 Citizens’ Trooper Academy in the spring. Classes will be held in both Nashville and Knoxville during the spring sessions. The Nashville session is scheduled to begin Tuesday, March 18, 2014, while the Knoxville class will start on Thursday, March 20, 2014. Both sessions will run from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. weekly. The academy, which consists of approximately 30 hours of training, is designed to develop a better understanding and awareness of the Tennessee Highway Patrol as well as its parent agency, the Department of Safety and Homeland Security, in the community through a hands-on approach. Topics covered include investigations, special operations, homeland security and many other areas of the patrol. Participants must be at least 21 years old, available to attend weekly three-hour sessions with no more than one absence, sign required waivers and agreements, and have no criminal history. Applications are available on the departmental website at www.tn.gov/safety, the THP Facebook page, or you may request an application by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org Please be sure to indicate on your application whether you wish to attend the Nashville or Knoxville sessions. Deadline for registration is February 14, 2014. Applications must be returned by that date for processing.
ORT: Clinton man facing several charges
(Oak Ridge Today) A Clinton man has been charged with aggravated assault, aggravated burglary, and two counts of vandalism in connection to an incident that occurred in January. Our partners at Oak Ridge Today report that 24-year-old Casey Aaron Massengill was also arrested on a charge of domestic assault stemming from an incident from October that involved his ex-girlfriend. The most recent incident occurred on Jan. 25 on Bison Lane in Powell in Anderson County. The victim reported he was asleep in his bedroom at about 11:16 p.m. Jan. 25 when he heard glass break. He said he found Massengill in his living room with a baseball bat. The victim said Massengill came at him with the bat and forced his into his room before threatening him and knocking him down onto the bed, threatening to kill the man and his daughter. Massengill then allegedly left the home and beat on another person’s car, damaging the hood, mirror, headlight assembly, window, and door. The victim said Massengill left in a silver car. Blevins and another deputy located the car’s driver in Oak Ridge. The woman said she did not know Massengill’s intentions and had given him a ride to the victim’s house because she feared for her safety as well as for the safety of her children if she did not. Deputies found Massengill at the Oak Ridge Walmart, where he was arrested. He remained jailed in the Anderson County Detention Facility in Clinton on Thursday afternoon. His total bond has been set at $110,000.
ORT: OR teen charged in November robbery
(Oak Ridge Today) An Oak Ridge teenager has been charged with aggravated robbery for his alleged role in a November stickup on Jonathan Lane. 19-year-old Treston Blake Lee was arrested Jan. 26, and he remained jailed in the Anderson County Detention Facility in Clinton on Thursday afternoon. His bond has been set at $100,000. An arrest warrant filed in Anderson County General Sessions Court said the alleged robbery occurred at about 7 p.m. Nov. 30 and involved another defendant. Lee had met the victim several times and was allowed to enter the home. The second defendant, who is not identified in the warrant, also walked into the home that night and displayed a small-caliber silver handgun. The second suspect allegedly told the victims not to move while Lee put the victim’s wallet, which had $600 in cash and a debit card and driver’s license, along with $50 grabbed off a shelf by the kitchen, into a small black bag before the two ran out of the house. Lee was positively identified by both victims in a Dec. 11 photo line-up, and a witness who had been across the street on Jonathan Lane at the time of the alleged robbery identified both defendants in a photo line-up.
BBB: Harriman charter to change pending state OK
According to our partners at BBB-TV, big changes are on the way to the structure of the Harriman city government. Earlier this week, the Harriman City Council voted 5-1 to completely change the city’s charter as to how the day-to-day operations of the city are carried out. The changes must be approved by the state legislature and if lawmakers in Nashville make any changes, would have to be ratified by the Council in a second vote. If no revisions are made the changes would go into effect immediately upon passage in Nashville. The changes will allow the Council to hire a city manager, treasurer and attorney rather than have those positions voted upon by citizens. The Police and Fire Boards would be scrapped under the proposed changes and the respective chiefs of those departments would be under the supervision of the city manager. The measure was presented as a resolution rather than an ordinance, allowing the Council to hold a public hearing on the changes before it comes back to Council members for a second and final vote. Officials say that the revised charter will be available for citizen review at city hall and if all goes as planned, officials hope to revisit the issue in May.
Roane woman facing delinquency charges
A 47-year-old Harriman woman was arrested and charged this week with 11 counts of contributing to the delinquency of minors after she allegedly allowed teenagers to drink alcohol and smoke marijuana at a birthday party in her home in September. Kimberly Lynn Hall was arrested early Wednesday by Roane County deputies. Authorities began investigating the September 21st party after DCS contacted law enforcement after receiving a tip. Investigators determined that Hall was the only adult at the party at her home attended by 11 kids—five boys and six girls—ranging in age from 14 to 17 old and allowed the teens to drink and smoke pot. She was released on bond and will appear in court in April to answer the charges.
2 teens arrested in Campbell robbery
Authorities in Campbell County say they arrested two teens in connection to an armed robbery at the Dollar General Store in Lafollette. The teens, whose names have not been released, were arrested Wednesday and charged in connection with the Tuesday night incident. They are accused of entering the store at around 9:30 pm Tuesday wearing hooded jackets and masks and carrying what appeared to be a pistol and a knife and demanding money from the clerk behind the counter. They made off with about $500 in cash and no one was hurt in the incident. Investigators later determined that the “pistol” was actually an Airsoft BB gun. The suspects were located early Wednesday and taken into custody. Authorities say that then they found the teens, they also found money believed to have been taken in the robbery and the weapons allegedly used.
National Signing Day round-up
Wednesday was National Signing Day, when high school student-athletes across the country formally announce their collegiate destinations and sign their national letters of intent. Locally, several high school football players have decided where they will continue their athletic and academic careers. When the East Tennessee State University football program is revived in 2015, they will begin building with a host of local athletes as approximately 30 football players signed to play for the Bucs on Wednesday. Clinton High School wide receiver Drake Powell will be a Buc, as will Anderson County offensive lineman Matthew Pyke and Maryville running back Shawn Prevo. All of the freshmen in ETSU’s 2014 recruiting class will redshirt and take the field for the first time in 2015 under veteran head coach Carl Torbush. Alcoa defensive lineman Braylon Young will play his college ball at Kennesaw State while his Tornado teammate, defensive end Zac Wright will play for Valparaiso. William Blount defensive back Derek Delaney signed an offer from Campbell. Clinton High School’s Aaron Bailey is expected to sign with Kentucky Christian on Friday. National Signing Day is more than just football, as several athletes in other sports made their college choices official on Wednesday. Maryville track and field athlete Avery Franklin will continue her education at Lipscomb while Maryville soccer player Montana LeBeouf will play for the College of Charleston and Oak Ridge soccer player Alexis Gonzalez will play for MTSU. Congratulations to all of these student-athletes and good luck in your future endeavors.
Fisher accepts job in Pennsylvania, leaving chancellor’s race
(Information from Oak Ridge Today) Anderson County Juvenile Court Judge Brandon Fisher is withdrawing from the race for Anderson County chancellor because he has accepted an offer to join a nonprofit mental health provider in Pennsylvania in September. Fisher will be the assistant general counsel at the national headquarters of NHS Human Services Inc., the release said. The September start will allow him to finish his term, which ends in August. In a release announcing his withdrawal, Fisher said the decision was difficult but said NHS Human Services, which has headquarters in Lafayette Hill, Pa., is one of the largest social services providers in the country. The company is a community-based nonprofit provider of mental health services for juveniles and adults, and it employs more than 10,500 individuals nationwide. It is one of the largest providers of services for foster children, children with intellectual disabilities, and adults in need of mental health treatment, the release said. In his position, Fisher will be able to work as a liaison with juvenile judges and probation agencies across multiple states.” Fisher says the unexpected job offer was extended to him over the holidays and that he and his wife Jena considered their next move over the past several weeks. Fisher—whose term as Juvenile Court Judge is up in August—will delay beginning his new job until September. Fisher announced his intention to run for chancellor in December after serving more than four years as juvenile judge. He said he intends to withdraw his qualifying petition before the Feb. 20 deadline. Fisher was appointed Anderson County juvenile court judge in January 2010 and was elected to the post in a hotly-contested race in August of that year. He had been one of about a half-dozen candidates seeking to fill the seat now held by Chancellor William Lantrip, who has announced he will retire at the end of his eight-year term this year.
Lake City to Rocky Top: Bill clears first hurdle
A piece of legislation that could clear the way for Lake City to be rechristened Rocky Top cleared its first hurdle on Tuesday as it was approved by the State House’s Local Government Committee in Nashville. The bill, sponsored by Oak Ridge State Representative John Ragan, is a private act that was requested by Lake City officials as the first step toward developing Lake City and its two exits off I-75 into a tourist destination. Developers say that without the name change, the project—which could include a theater, a restaurant and other amenities—cannot move forward. Lake City Mayor Tim Sharp and two Anderson County Commissioners appeared before the committee on Tuesday and told members that the proposal has widespread support in the city. Some state legislators worried about the cost of changing five state road signs that include Lake City on them and local officials said they would cover those costs, which work out to around $300 a sign. The bill now advances to the House Finance Committee. If approved later this session by the General Assembly the Lake City Council would have to ratify it in order for the name change to become official.
Report: 1 of 2 suspects in botched robbery to plead
According to the News-Sentinel, one of the two men accused of attempting to rob an Alcoa jewelry store in October will plead guilty to charges in that case later this month. The incident began late in the afternoon on October 23rd at Malone’s Jewelers and ended with store owner Danny Malone shooting one of the suspects in the abdomen. 21-year-old Steven Cash was shot in the incident and spent several days in the hospital before being transferred to jail. He is currently free on bond and will appear in court next month on charges of robbery and violating his probation. 24-year-old Jordan Echols of Maryville is facing the same charges and the KNS reports that he will likely enter a plea on February 24th. No details of the plea deal have been made public. The pair is accused of entering the store and splitting up once they got inside, with Echols distracting Malone while Cash went to the restroom. Cash is accused of donning a ski mask, exiting the bathroom, jumping over the counter and swiping a cash bag. Malone shot at the men as they fled and Cash was struck.
ORHS staffers seize stun gun from student
On Tuesday, staff members at Oak Ridge High School seized an electronic stun device from a 15-year-old student in the cafeteria. They notified the Oak Ridge Police Department, who responded, took possession of the electronic stun device and interviewed the suspect, who was later released to a guardian. The student did not threaten anyone with the device, nor were any injuries reported. ORPD is investigating the incident and charges are pending for possession of a prohibited weapon on school grounds.
More info on Campbell shooting
A 47-year-old woman is facing criminal homicide charges in Campbell County after a weekend shooting that left her fiancé dead. As we reported Monday, Lisa Estelle Elliott was arrested after Campbell County deputies responded to a home in the Elk Valley community and found 53-year-old Larry Champlin dead from a gunshot wound to his chest. Warrants indicate that Elliott and Champlin were drinking late Saturday night and into early Sunday morning when they began arguing. Elliott told deputies that Champlin had locked her out of the house during the argument and that when he let her back in, he had a pistol. The argument continued and she says that they began to struggle over the gun, which went off, hitting Champlin. The News-Sentinel reports that when investigators listened to the 911 call Elliott made, she replied that “he was trying to dare me to shoot him” when a dispatcher asked if Champlin had been trying to shoot her. Elliott is currently on unpaid leave from her job at Jellico High School and is in custody on a $150,000 bond pending a preliminary hearing scheduled for February 11th.
ORT: Jefferson MS team advances to National Science Bowl
(Oak Ridge Today) A team of students from Oak Ridge was among 14 teams of middle and high school students who won their regional competitions for the 2014 National Science Bowl this past weekend and are advancing to the National Finals in Washington, D.C., in April. The Oak Ridge team is from Jefferson Middle School. U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz announced the winners on Monday. The National Science Bowl brings together thousands of middle and high school students from across the country to compete in a fast-paced question-and-answer format where they solve technical problems and answer questions on a range of science disciplines including biology, chemistry, Earth and space science, physics, and math, a U.S. Department of Energy press release said. A series of regional middle school and high school tournaments are being held across the country from January through March. Winners will advance to the National Science Bowl held from April 24-28 in Washington, D.C., for the final middle school and high school competitions. The top 16 high school teams and the top eight middle school teams in the National Finals will win $1,000 for their schools’ science departments. Prizes for the top two high school teams for the 2014 National Science Bowl will be announced at a later date. More than 225,000 students have participated in the National Science Bowl since it was established in 1991, and it is one of the nation’s largest science competitions. Approximately 14,000 students competed in the National Science Bowl last year and more are expected to participate this year. DOE’s Office of Science manages the National Science Bowl Finals competition. More information is available on the National Science Bowl website: http://www.science.energy.gov/wdts/nsb/.
(WBIR) A new phone scam is sweeping the country, including East Tennessee. Scammers overseas buy or steal lists of US cell phone numbers and use computers to mass dial. Your phone will ring just once-- long enough to generate a missed call. When you call back, the scammers charge you $20 for the call and another $9 for every minute you spend on the line. The Better Business Bureau says this scam is more effective than some others, in part because it raises no red flags. "There is no one trying to sell you anything. There is no one sending the wrong type of message or who has a foreign accent or doesn't speak very well. All of those things that we look for are absent," said BBB Spokesman Aaron Reese. The BBB said the calls usually come from numbers with area codes 268, 809, 876, 284 and 473. One thing to look out for is where the call is coming from. Many victims say the call location was Antigua. NBC News says if you're really tempted to call back, you should plug the number into Google first. They say sites like whocalled.us track complaints and questions about calls from specific numbers.
(IIa) Information International Associates (IIa) has won a major, basic ordering agreement with Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) to provide a wide range of Information Technology (IT) support to the laboratory over the next five years. IIa will lead a team that includes Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) and other partners with special capabilities, including Qbase, CADRE5 and EMC2 Corporation. IIa and SAIC have more than 60 years of combined commitment to the local community and employ more than 1,000 people in Oak Ridge. IIa was founded by Bonnie C. Carroll in 1988 and maintains its headquarters on Union Valley Road in Oak Ridge, and a field office in Falls Church, Virginia. SAIC, with 38,000 employees worldwide, established its Oak Ridge Office nearly 40 years ago and is based in McLean, Virginia. CADRE5 is based in Knoxville, Tennessee, Qbase is based in Ohio and Washington, DC, and EMC2 is based in Arizona. “ORNL wanted a strategic partner that can introduce innovation and bring best business practices to the delivery of IT services,” said IIa owner and CEO Bonnie C. Carroll. “We are a local information management and technology company with 25 years of U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) experience. This has given us insights into the IT mission challenges for both ORNL and DOE. Our team partners bring special depth and breadth to the capabilities we can provide. ” Franciel Azpurua-Linares, who has been managing IIa tasks for ORNL for more than 13 years, is the project manager for this contract. This win comes just four months after the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) awarded IIa a $24 million contract to operate a DoD Homeland Defense and Security Information Analysis Center. IIa also supports DOE Office of Scientific Information (OSTI) operations in Oak Ridge and at DOE Headquarters in Washington, DC. IIa’s new ORNL and DoD contracts, along with its ongoing work for OSTI and Arnold Engineering Development Center in Tullahoma, are responsible for the direct employment of nearly 100 people in Tennessee. IIa supports information and mission requirements for federal government agencies by providing innovative solutions in knowledge organization and management, information technology, and knowledge exploitation. IIa is a woman-owned, small business and an ISO 9001:2008 registered company but the contract was awarded through a full and open bidding process.
TDOT: Lewallen Bridge in Clinton slated for replacement
TDOT will be replacing the Lewallen Bridge—known as the green bridge to locals—that connects Clinton and South Clinton on Highway 25W within the next couple of years. City officials met last Friday with TDOT representatives to learn more about the project and its tentative schedule. TDOT spokesman Mark Nagi in an email says that the new bridge will be realigned to the park side of the bridge, which is upstream from the current bridge, so that the state can avoid “the costly acquisition of several homes” downstream of the bridge in the other side. Officials say the new structure will feature four 12-foot-wide travel lanes and another 12-foot-wide center lane as well as two five-foot-long sidewalks and will be about 20 feet wider than the current bridge. If all goes as planned, officials say that construction start sometime in 2016. City and state officials will meet again once structural drawings are completed to discuss exactly how Riverfront Park, which is located immediately next to the current bridged, will be affected. As we learn more we will pass it along to you.
Kids rescued from icy water
A local pastor and his son are being called heroes for rescuing three teenage boys who fell through the ice on Watts Bar Lake late Saturday morning. A Harriman Middle School student was having a birthday party when he and two friends went out onto the ice to go fishing. The rest of the children at the birthday party stayed on shore. The trio of boys, all between the ages of 12 and 14, fell through the ice and started screaming for help. According to the Roane County Sheriff's Office, the boys were able to grab onto a buoy until help arrived. Neighbors said they called 911 and someone also called Neil Crass—the pastor of Big Emory Church, who lives nearby and has a boat, to see if he and his son Hunter could help rescue the boys. Emergency crews responded to the scene, but officials say it was the civilians that, after a few tries, were finally able to get the young boys out of the icy water. The Crasses and a group of men, eventually reached the boys, pulled them from the cold lake, and wrapped them in clothes to keep them warm. The ice was so thick, they had to keep breaking it to move to the rescue and back to land. The boys may have been in the water for up to an hour. He said the incident appears to be an accident. All three boys were released from UT Medical center Sunday morning after being kept overnight and are recovering at home.
ORT: Driver in OR wreck IDed
Police have identified the driver who died in a Thursday morning crash on Lafayette Drive in Oak Ridge. Colton Alexander Stout, 20, of Oak Ridge, died after his 1994 Toyota 4Runner left the four-lane divided roadway and crashed into a tree in the median, an Oak Ridge Police Department report said. The crash occurred at about 9:21 a.m. Thursday and police say the front end of Stout’s vehicle hit the tree and then rolled onto its right side. Stout was taken by ambulance to the University of Tennessee Medical Center in Knoxville, but he died en route. A witness told police that Stout was using his cell phone and possibly texting at the intersection of Lafayette Drive and Emory Valley Road, but it’s not clear if that played any role in the crash. Stout was an Oak Ridge High School graduate who was employed with Campbell County Emergency Medical Services as an emergency medical technician. Stout had worked at Campbell County EMS a little more than a year and had recently joined the Anderson County Rescue Squad. The obituary said Stout had worked as a volunteer at the Marlow Volunteer Fire Department and as a substitute teacher with the Anderson County school system. His family will receive friends this evening beginning at 6 pm at Calvary Baptist Church in Oak Ridge. The family has asked that any memorials be made in Stout’s name to the Marlow Volunteer Fire Department or to the Campbell County EMS.
ORT: Fire injures none at assisted living center
There were no injuries, but residents were briefly evacuated after a bed caught fire at an assisted living center in west Oak Ridge on Friday. The fire at Patriot Park Assisted Living on Gum Hollow Road was reported at about 6 p.m. Friday. The building’s sprinkler system kept it in check, and crews were able to put out the fire, which was confined to one room, in about three minutes. There were 13 patients and two staff members in the building. Patients were put into ambulances and checked out, and everyone was okay. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.
Fire destroys house
A fire on Keys Drive early Friday morning destroyed a home in Blair in Roane County.
The fire was reported at about 1:15 a.m. Friday. The two-story wooden frame house was heavily involved in fire upon the arrival of the first Blair Fire Department units. The Oliver Springs and Midtown fire departments responded on a request for mutual aid. Water for firefighting was hauled from the nearest hydrant at Mt. Pisgah Baptist Church. While the house was destroyed, firefighters saved three cars, a pickup truck, and a camping trailer.
BCSO nabs alleged copper thief
The Blount County Sheriff’s Office says that a Rockford man was arrested Thursday and charged in connection with several copper thefts in the county during the last several months. 33-year-old Jason William Cummings is being held in the Blount County Jail on bonds totaling $73,500 and is expected in Blount County General Sessions Court Tuesday morning. Cummings is charged with two counts of burglary, nine counts of theft of property, and two counts of vandalism. Cummings’ arrest is the result of a several month long investigation by the Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigation Division. Through the course of their investigation, detectives determined that Cummings is responsible for several burglaries and thefts of copper from new construction, abandoned homes, homes for sale, as well as air-conditioning units in all areas of the county as well as the cities of Maryville and Alcoa and Knox County. Detectives traced much of the stolen copper to a Knoxville recycling company. Additional charges are pending. The Criminal Investigation Division is continuing their investigation.
Campbell man dead after argument, gunshot
A Campbell County man is dead after his girlfriend allegedly shot and killed him in their home, according to the Campbell County Sheriff's Office. Deputies responded to the shooting incident on King David Lane in the Elk Valley community a little before 5 a.m. Sunday. 53-year-old Larry D. Champlin died from a gunshot wound to the upper body. According to a release, investigators found that an alcohol-related domestic disturbance between Champlin and his girlfriend, 47-year-old Lisa Estelle Elliott, lead to the shooting. Elliott has been charged with criminal homicide and was expected to appear in court earlier today.
AC Fair garners award
The Anderson County Fair was named most improved in its division—Division AAA—during a recent state convention. The awards were presented by Tennessee Department of Agriculture Commissioner Julius Johnson during the 92nd Annual Convention of the Tennessee Association of Fairs from Jan. 16-18 in Nashville. More than 900 people attended the Fairs Merit Awards recognition dinner. The top award went to the Overton County Fair in Livingston. It was named the Champion of Champions Fair for 2013. The Overton County Fair was also recognized by Johnson and TAF President Stephen Potter with the Award of Merit based on overall operations, educational value, and promotion of local interest in agriculture and community spirit.
Here are the 2013 fair winners:
State Champion Williamson County Fair
1st runner-up: Greene Country Fair
2nd runner-up: Wilson County Fair
Most Improved: Anderson County Fair
In the Regional Division, the Appalachian Fair and the Tennessee Valley Fair received Award of Merit, the press release said. The Tennessee State Fair also received Award of Merit based on overall fair operations. The regional fairs and the State Fair are not in competition with the county fairs for awards. In 2013, almost three million visitors attended county, regional, and state fairs in Tennessee. Fairs in Tennessee generated more than $12 million in gross receipts last year.
MaxPreps recognizes Rebels
The Maryville High School football team has finished No. 28 nationally for the 2013 season. The announcement was made by MaxPreps, a California-based company that ranks more than 16,000 high school varsity football teams. Maryville capped a perfect 15-0 season with a 44-7 drubbing of Hendersonville on Dec. 7, 2013, to capture the Tennessee Secondary Sports Athletic Association 6A championship. It was the Rebels' 14th state title, the most of any Tennessee high school. Maryville is one of 50 schools being honored on the ninth annual MaxPreps Tour of Champions presented by the Army National Guard. The school has become the 14th to be honored at least three times on the football Tour of Champions. The Rebels were ranked No. 51 in 2010 and No. 11 in 2011 when they were selected for the Tour. "In partnership with the Army National Guard, MaxPreps is delighted to honor Maryville as one of fifty schools on the 2013 Football Tour of Champions," said Andy Beal, Founder and President. "We're proud to include Maryville into this elite group of teams in the country."
"This award means that you've had an unbelievable year. This is one of the highest honors for a football team and it's about as good as it gets," said Maryville athletic director and head football coach George Quarles, who completed his 15th season.
Senior signal-caller John Garrett orchestrated the Rebels offense by completing 150-of-200 pass attempts for 2,526 yards and 31 touchdowns while throwing only one interception. He also rushed for 1,006 yards and 13 TDs. Senior Shawn Prevo was the team's leading ground-gainer churning up 1,337 yards and 22 TDs while catching 22 passes for 33 yards and a score. Senior Cody Carroll made 41 pass receptions for 882 yards and a dozen TDs while junior Jaylen Burgess contributed 795 yards to the ground game and scored 11 TDs. He also hauled in 11 passes for 207 yards and a pair of TDs. Maryville, which enjoyed its first unbeaten season since 2011, also featured a staunt defense led by freshman linebacker T.D. Blackmon, who topped the unit with 120 tackles, including five for losses. Junior end Dylan Jackson contributed 81 tackles (eight tackles for loss), had a pair of quarterback sacks and intercepted a pass. Junior linebacker Dylan Shinsky recorded 105 stops (six TFL), had one sack and picked off a pair of passes. The defense allowed just 132 points (8.8 points per game) all season.
Tennessee Army National Guard Sergeant First Class Malcom Campbell presented Coach Quarles and the team with the Army National Guard national ranking trophy Friday night between girls and boys basketball games. The team also received a banner for their accomplishment. "For over 375 years, the men and women of the National Guard have come to the aid of their neighbors during times of need," said Major Mark Burns. "As Citizen-Soldiers who serve part-time, we live and serve in more than 3,500 communities throughout the country. It is our privilege to honor and recognize nationally ranked football teams with the Army National Guard national ranking trophy which includes the Minuteman statue, a symbol of the National Guard."
MaxPreps uses a sophisticated computer program, known as the Freeman Rankings, to determine team rank for the Tour of Champions. The system utilizes the huge number of game results stored in the MaxPreps database. Generally, the more a team wins the higher the ranking, but the system takes into account quality wins (against other highly ranked opponents), margin of victory, and strength of schedule. Playoff games are weighted 2.1 times a regular season game.
School system celebrates energy-efficiency project
Friday morning, the Anderson County school system celebrated the kickoff of a $9.7 million energy efficiency project that will make significant improvements to all 17 county schools, all with the aim of improving the learning environment, reducing energy use and, subsequently, the cost of energy across the system. The County Commission recently approved a 15-year contract with Energy Systems Group—or ESG—to design and implement a $9.7 million energy efficiency and building modernization project throughout the Anderson County school system. All 17 county schools will receive energy improvements including upgrades to the heating, ventilation and air-conditioning—or HVAC—systems and electrical systems as well as energy efficient lights, water conservation measures, advanced energy management controls including sensors that will detect when a room is occupied and adjust heating and lighting automatically and new suspended ceiling systems. Director of Schools Larry Foster says that the “partnership with ESG allows the school system to address significant facility upgrade needs which will enhance the safety and quality of the learning environment while contributing toward our goals for environmental stewardship.” Foster also says that the agreement is a “sound economic decision [as] the savings from energy reduction will more than pay for its implementation.” Officials estimate that the school system will save about $620,000 in energy costs each year while conserving enough energy to power over 650 homes per year.
WBIR: Knox teacher arrested in Blount
(WBIR-TV) Blount County deputies arrested a Knox County teacher Thursday who was found drunk and passed out on the side of the road with women's lingerie. Deputies were responding to a crash on Laurel Valley Road when they found John David McElroy under the awning of a shack around 1 o'clock Thursday afternoon. They say he was found with a shirt, pants, socks, boots, another shirt, a tan bra, pink panties, fake implants and a red jacket. He also had a bottle of vodka on him and his car was 50 yards away. McElroy is a technology lab instructor on Farragut Middle School's website. Officials with Knox County Schools say they are waiting for more information from the sheriff's office before taking action.
Fire damages AC home Wednesday
(Oak Ridge Today) A Wednesday morning fire on Cedar Hills Drive in Anderson County heavily damaged a home, RV, and camping trailer. The fire was reported at about 11:15 a.m. Wednesday at 210 Cedar Hills Drive. It apparently started in the attic, according to an Anderson County Sheriff’s Department report. The cause was not known, but it was not believed to be arson-related, the report said. A witness reported seeing flames coming out of the attic. Fire departments from Marlow, Clinton, Medford, and Claxton all responded, and so did the Anderson County Emergency Medical Services and Anderson County Sheriff’s Department. Firefighters were on the scene for about three hours.
OR officials warn of higher electric bills due to cold weather
(OR Electric Department) The City of Oak Ridge Electric Department is warning its customers to expect higher utility bills for the next two months. According to Jack Suggs, Electric Director, bills for power used in December are now in the mail and bills for January will be coming out in a few weeks. He expects these bills will be difficult for many customers. The National Weather Service calculates an index called “degree days of heating“, which is used as an indication of how cold the weather is over the course of a month. The Higher value the number, the greater difference between the outside temperature and a properly heated home. “Higher degree days of heating means that the heating system in a customer’s home has to work harder to keep the home warm,” Suggs said. December of 2013 had nearly twice the degree days of heating as November, and January is looking to be significantly higher than that. In addition to weather, there are several other factors that can contribute to higher energy bills. “There is no magic here, I recommend customers stick to the basics: sealing air leaks, insulation and efficient appliances all contribute to more comfortable and efficient homes,” Suggs said. He also said that space heaters are one of the worst offenders when it comes to inefficient heating. Some customers have added several hundred dollars in energy cost to their winter bills by operating these units. “There is nothing wrong with using a space heater to knock the chill out of the air for a few minutes,” Suggs said. “Unfortunately, some of our customers use these units constantly and as their primary source of heat. This can be very expensive.” Many of the less fortunate in our community are going to have a hard time meeting their utility bills this winter. Suggs encourages customers to consider making a donation to Project SAFE (Special Assistance Fund for Energy) when they pay their utility bill. Funds collected are given directly to Aid to Distressed Families of Anderson County and kept in the community to help those in need. For more information on energy savings, visit: http://energyright.com.
Dragon Boat races coming to OR
(Submitted) Registration for The Oak Ridge Dragon Boat Festival is open. The event will be Saturday, May 31, 2014, at Melton Lake Park in Oak Ridge. Top prizes will be awarded, but the real winners are the beneficiaries – the programs served by the Rotary Clubs of Oak Ridge, TN. Teams of 20 paddlers, a drummer and trained steersperson race in authentic 46-foot long Chinese dragon boats. All ages, skill levels and physiques can participate, making it the ultimate team building sport, requiring synchronicity and finesse, more than power to win. The Oak Ridge Dragon Boat Festival features local community and corporate teams racing for title of Grand Champion. Off the water, team members also compete to raise the most pledges, investing in the world’s most valuable resource: children. Participants racing in The Oak Ridge Dragon Boat Festival benefit the Rotary Clubs of Oak Ridge. Contact us for more info or visit http://oakridge.racedragonboats.com/
ORPD: One dead in morning crash
Oak Ridge Police say that one person was killed in a single-vehicle accident Thursday morning on Lafayette Drive. The crash occurred shortly before 9:30 am near Hendrix Drive. Officers’ preliminary investigation indicated that a red Toyota 4-Runner occupied only by the driver was headed south on Lafayette when it left the side of the road and collided with a tree. The driver, whose name and gender had not been released by the time this report was filed, was removed from the wreckage and was unresponsive. While en route to UT Medical Center by ambulance, the driver died. The driver’s identity will not be released until family members have been notified and the Oak Ridge PD says its investigation into the fatal crash is continuing.
BCSO: Man charged with selling morphine
The Blount County Sheriff’s Office says that a 30-year-old Maryville man is in custody after a search warrant was executed at his Old Knoxville Highway home on Wednesday. Robert Matthew White is charged with three counts of delivery of a Schedule II Controlled substance—in this case, morphine. He is in custody at the Blount County Detention Facility. Investigators with the Fifth Judicial Drug Task Force executed a search warrant at White’s home Wednesday afternoon. During the search, investigators recovered several firearms and pills during the search warrant. Additional charges against White could be filed as the investigation continues.
CCSO: Reward offered in CCHS fieldhouse vandalism
The Campbell County Sheriff's Office is offering a $500 reward for any information leading to the arrest of the person or persons responsible for vandalizing the high school's fieldhouse. Somebody broke into the locker room earlier this month and dumped paint on uniforms, floors, lockers and other parts of the fieldhouse as well as destroying several televisions and painting graffiti on walls. Officials estimate the damage at $40,000. If you have any information, just call the sheriff's office.
AC DA: Officials focused on preventing school violence
Anderson County DA Dave Clark says that he is working with law enforcement officers, school principals and guidance counselors to combat school violence by identifying warning signs among teens. In a statement issued this morning, Clark says the efforts are part of a “proactive initiative by the Tennessee District Attorneys General Conference to help community leaders keep schools safe amid continued national incidents of juvenile violence.” Wednesday, the Conference hosted a seminar called “Protecting our Children: Proactive and Prepared,” where nationally recognized expert on teen violence Phil Chalmers, trained attendees on how to help teens in trouble while keeping schools and communities safe. Clark says that “training sessions and resources like these keep us updated on what’s happening nationally that could have an impact here at home.” Attendees at the seminar learned how to identify gang and cult practices, spot danger signs among teens like obsessions with violence and weapons, and what to do to keep teens safe and get them help if necessary. Clark stated that “we often deal with juvenile violence that could have been avoided if someone had known what to do. We want to equip the community with the tools they need to turn a potential killer into a teen who gets help.” If you would like more information about the seminar or how to identify warning signs among teens, call the DA’s office at 865-457-5640 or visit www.tndagc.org.
ORT: More on OR BOE stadium vote
(Oak Ridge Today) The Oak Ridge school board on Monday unanimously agreed to demolish the deteriorated visitor bleachers at Blankenship Field. Inspections have determined that the bleachers are no longer safe for fans, would cost too much to repair, and should be demolished immediately, a school official said this month. The board hasn’t approved a replacement plan yet, but Oak Ridge Schools Superintendent Bruce Borchers said the goal is to have new bleachers by the start of the next football season this fall. The school system is looking at all options in case the bleachers aren’t available by then, Borchers said. It’s not immediately clear how the project will be funded. Oak Ridge City Manager Mark Watson said the city does not have the money for the bleachers. He said they are used five to six times a year by visitors, and he suggested that perhaps portable bleachers, such as those used for the Rose Bowl parade, could be used. Portable bleachers could also be used for other events, such as rowing races, or regattas, at the Oak Ridge Marina, Watson said.
OR schools considering calendar change
Oak Ridge school leaders are proposing a major change to the school calendar and will be asking parents for their opinions on the proposed changes next month. Administrators have proposed what they call a balanced calendar that would not go into effect until the 2015-16 academic year. The school year would start on August 3rd—two weeks earlier than now—and both spring and fall breaks would go from one week to two weeks. Most Oak Ridge schools operate on a more traditional schedule, but two are on a so-called 45-15 schedule that has them in school for nine weeks at a time with three week breaks between sessions. Summer break for students at the Oak Ridge Preschool and Willow Brook Elementary is also only six weeks long and they return to class in mid-July. Proponents of changing the calendar say that having all the schools in the district would save the city money and make it easier for parents of students who attend schools with different calendars. Parents will be asked their opinions of the proposal on February 10th at 6 pm by way of the school system’s automated phone alert system.
GSMNP unveils new quarter
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park will soon be featured on a brand new quarter. Representatives of the U.S. Mint joined Park Service and local officials Wednesday to officially unveil the new quarters, which depict an historic log cabin in a lush green forest with a hawk circling above. The U.S. Mint presented four different designs to Governor Haslam, and he made the final selection. 35 million of the special quarters will be minted. The ceremony took place at the Mills Auditorium in the Gatlinburg Convention Center at 10 am. The public was invited to attend, and was able to exchange cash for $10 rolls of the new quarters. The Smoky Mountains quarters are part of the America the Beautiful series, which launched in 2010. These quarters feature designs of national parks and historic American sites. They are releasing five new designs this year. In addition to the Smokies, you can look for designs honoring Shenandoah National Park, Arches National Park, Great Sand Dunes National Park, and Everglades National Park. The other side of the coin is the familiar portrait of George Washington.
CRCTU: Vets vie in national fly rod building contest
(CRCTU) Seven veterans from the Knoxville Chapter of Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing are creating their own custom fly rods in the first of two classes this winter sponsored by PHWFF, hosted by Bass Pro Shop and taught by custom rod builder Brent Bonar of Kodak (www.bonarcustomflyrods.com). Four of the vets plan to enter their creations in a nationwide contest for disabled military members and vets, also sponsored by PHWFF. The class gives participants the experience of building their own fly rods; the competition adds an opportunity to win prizes such as attending a bamboo rod building school or enjoying a PHWFF national fly fishing trip. Volunteering to teach along with Bonar is bamboo rod builder Terry Douglas of Jacksboro, a member of the Clinch River Chapter of Trout Unlimited. The class is meeting in a second-floor classroom at Bass Pro in Kodak on Monday and Wednesday afternoons at 3:30 p.m. Because this is the inaugural class and organizers don't know how long the process will take, no finish date has been specified, but the second class will start immediately after the first one. Disabled military personnel and veterans who are interested in the second class should contact Wayne Nobles of the Knoxville Chapter PHWFF at email@example.com or (865) 335-2485. Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing is dedicated to the emotional and physical rehabilitation of wounded and disabled veterans and active military members through fly fishing. In addition to rod building classes, PHWFF conducts fishing outings and fly tying classes. The Knoxville Chapter was organized in partnership with the Clinch River Chapter TU, which provides volunteers for PHWFF events. For information about the Clinch River Chapter TU's part in the class and competition, contact Terry Douglas at firstname.lastname@example.org or (423) 912-0402.
ORAU achieves ISO 9001:2008 certification
(Oak Ridge Associated Universities) ORAU announced today it has received the ISO 9001:2008 certification for its quality management system. This recognition from the International Organization for Standardization validates that ORAU’s quality processes and systems meet specific criteria for ensuring consistent and continuously improving quality systems that fulfill customer requirements. “We are pleased to achieve this internationally known recognition for our quality systems and processes,” said Andy Page, ORAU president and CEO. “ORAU employees are proud of the quality of products and services we consistently deliver to our customers. And to further emphasize how much quality is a priority for us, even in this era of tough economic times, ORAU made the conscious decision to invest its resources to pursue ISO 9001 certification.” As part of a family of standards overseen by this international organization, ISO 9001:2008 sets out the criteria for a company’s quality management system, and includes a strong customer focus, involvement of top management and a process for continuous improvement. Also part of this family of international standards is ISO 14001:2004, which establishes the criteria for a company’s environmental management system. ORAU attained ISO 14001:2004 certification in 2005. The ISO standards are recognized in nearly 200 countries around the world. Attaining ISO 9001:2008 involved a rigorous self-evaluation process undertaken over the course of two years during which ORAU fully assessed its quality system and procedures. The company’s work was then validated through an audit conducted by an external, accredited organization. To maintain its certification, ORAU has committed to continuously assess its quality management systems and processes and undergo follow-up audits annually. “Just as with ISO 14001 certification for our environmental systems, this is another means to demonstrate to our customers that we will continuously adhere to a high set of standards, whether it’s in our quality management system or our environmental programs,” said Page.
OR city manager staying put
Oak Ridge City Manager Mark Watson will not be moving to Pearland, Texas to assume a similar role there. In December, Pearland officials said Watson was one of four finalists who could replace the city’s former manager, who retired at the end of December. Watson was in Pearland for interviews, tours, and staff briefings this past weekend but told Oak Ridge City Council members at the beginning of a Monday night work session that he is staying in the Secret City. Watson has been Oak Ridge City Manager since August 2010.
BCSO IDs woman who allegedly shot at police
The Blount County Sheriff’s Office has released more information on Sunday’s incident at the Airport Hilton. 43-year-old Paula Silver of Maryville has been identified as the woman who allegedly shot at police officers through her hotel room door when they came to conduct a welfare check. She has also been charged and is currently in the Blount County Jail on three counts of aggravated assault and one count of felony reckless endangerment. She is expected to appear in court on Friday morning. As we reported Monday, the incident unfolded shortly before 5 p.m. Sunday, when officers and deputies with the Blount County Sheriff’s Office, the Alcoa Police Department, and the McGhee Tyson Airport Police responded to the Airport Hilton on Alcoa Highway to conduct a welfare check after someone had called Blount County dispatch earlier in the day and warned that Silver was possibly suicidal. Alcoa Police officers located her vehicle in the parking lot of the Hilton and notified Airport Police, who subsequently made contact with Silver in her fourth-floor hotel room. Silver allegedly fired one shot inside of the room, and then fired a shot through the door at three Airport policemen who were standing outside of her room. Fortunately, the round went through the door and into the door of an unoccupied room across the hall. Silver then surrendered peacefully and was taken into custody. No one was injured.
OR BOE OKs bleacher demolition
Monday night the Oak Ridge School Board voted unanimously to demolish the deteriorating visitors-side bleachers at historic Blankenship Field. The visitor bleachers would be too much of a liability risk if they continue to be used, according to Allen Thacker, the maintenance and operations supervisor for Oak Ridge Schools. In addition, the main stairs from the dressing rooms to the field on the home side of Jack Armstrong Stadium/Blankenship Field are seriously aged and suffer from erosion. The next step for the School Board will be to determine how to replace them and that discussion will ramp up over the next few weeks.
KNS: OR settles lawsuit
According to the News-Sentinel, the Oak Ridge City Council voted to settle a lawsuit filed by a former employee alleging that she had been forced to take disability retirement when she wanted to continue working. The suit was filed by Kay Littlejohn, who had worked for the city for 19 years before her termination in March of 2012 and alleged wrongful termination and sought $2.75 million in damages. The settlement reached through mediation will pay Littlejohn $75,000, with half coming from the city’s insurance carrier and the rest from city coffers. According to the KNS, Littlejohn has multiple sclerosis but was able to perform her job in the city’s codes enforcement office, however in 2008, she exercised her Family and Medical Leave Act—or FMLA—rights because of her illness on an as-needed basis. The lawsuit alleged that three years later, city officials began pressuring her to retire against her wishes. She transferred to the city’s Public Works Department after she was allegedly told she was going to be fired in 2011 but the lawsuit claims that she was never properly trained, received poor job evaluations and was placed on probation, all the while being pressured to retire. She was fired in March of 2012 according to the suit, because she refused to take disability retirement and because she had used her FMLA rights.
Woman fires at officers through hotel door
Blount County authorities arrested a Maryville woman on Sunday after she shot at police officers from inside a hotel room. It happened a little before 5 p.m. Sunday at the Airport Hilton. The Blount County Sheriff's Office said airport police were sent to check on the 43-year-old woman who had checked into the hotel after a friend had called and told authorities the woman had threatened to harm herself earlier in the day. She then fired at officers through the door when they tried to contact her from out in the hallway. Officials said the bullet went through the door and into an empty room across the hall. None of the officers were hit or injured in the incident. The woman eventually surrendered peacefully and was taken into custody. Authorities say she will face multiple charges including three counts of aggravated assault and felony reckless endangerment when she is officially charged on Monday.
Knox jury convicts man in triple-slaying
A Knox County jury on Saturday convicted a man on charges of second-degree murder in the shooting deaths of his wife, her twin sister and her lover. The jury deliberated for more than 10 hours over two days before finding 53-year-old Paul Clifford Moore Jr., guilty on three counts of second-degree murder. Prosecutors had sought first-degree murder convictions. Each conviction carries a maximum 25-year prison term and Moore, who remains in custody, will be sentenced on March 6th. Moore was convicted in the May 2012 shooting deaths of his 39-year-old wife Christina Moore her twin Bridgette Stagnolia, and his wife’s lover, 24-year-old Amber Snellings inside his Old Clinton Pike apartment. Testimony showed Moore shot Snellings three times inside a spare bedroom in the apartment where he and his wife had been living after having reconciled. He shot his wife twice on stairs leading from that bedroom. He also shot Stagnolia twice while she appeared to be fleeing toward a back door in the kitchen. Defense attorneys contended Moore had walked in on a sexual encounter between the three women and was so distraught that he went into his own bedroom and retrieved a gun, intending to kill himself. Moore said he did not remember shooting Snellings and only recalled shooting his wife and her twin once. After the shootings, he drove to his brother’s house a few miles away, tossed the gun and magazine into a wooded area and calmly waited for police. Prosecutors claimed the killings were executions, carried out by a man fed up with his wife’s cheating.
BCSO: Year-long investigation concludes with arrests
Blount County Sheriff James Lee Berrong and Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms Resident Agent in Charge, Knoxville District, Mickey French, announced several people were arrested today during a roundup after the culmination of a one year long investigation.
The following individuals were charged:
In addition, two other individuals, Richard Joe Pruitt, 21, of Gillenwater Road, Maryville, and Stacy W. Teffeteller, 47, Bear Hollow Loop, Louisville, were taken into custody on federal charges. Pruitt will be charged with gun and narcotics charges, and Teffeteller will be charged with gun charges. Following the disposition of Teffeteller’s federal charges, he will also face state charges. Two other individuals were cited. Daniel Doyon, 26, of Porter Bridge Road, was cited with possession of drug paraphernalia, and Jacob D. Pruitt, 20, of Gillenwater Road, was cited for possession of a Schedule IV controlled substance (marijuana) and possession of drug paraphernalia. Charges are pending against a ninth individual who was not charged at the time of the other arrests. The above individuals were arrested from five separate locations in Blount County.
Ex-Alexander aid hangs self
Ryan Loskarn, the former chief of staff to U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander who was charged with possessing and distributing child pornography last month, was found dead in his home in Maryland of an apparent suicide, law enforcement officials said Friday. "At approximately 12 p.m. yesterday, Carroll County Sheriff's Deputies responded to a private residence in the 6900 block of Kenmar Lane for a report of an unconscious male, believed to be deceased," the sheriff's office reported Friday morning. "Family members reported finding 35-year old Jesse Ryan Loskarn unresponsive in his basement where he'd been residing with family since this past December. The preliminary investigation indicates that Loskarn may have taken his own life, and his body has since been transported to the State Medical Examiner's Office for Autopsy." The Maryland state Medical Examiner said Friday that Loskarn's death by hanging, initially reported by Politico, had been ruled a suicide. Loskarn, 35, was arrested last month by federal agents on charges that he possessed and intended to distribute child pornography. The arrest came as agents executed a raid on his Washington residence. Alexander fired him the same day. Federal prosecutors had delayed an indictment of Loskarn, hinting at a possible plea agreement. Loskarn had been released to the custody of his parents in Sykesville, Md., where he was ordered not to use the Internet and to wear an ankle bracelet.
TVA sets demand record Friday
TVA received a record-breaking demand for electricity early Friday morning when temperatures were around 7 degrees according to a release. It was TVA’s highest demand for power since the summer of 2007, and it is the third highest demand in history. It also surpassed the previous winter record which was set on Jan. 16, 2009 at 32,572 megawatts. This morning the estimated use was 33,345 megawatts. The all-time demand record was actually set in summer when temperatures hit 102 on Aug. 16, 2007, and 33,482 megawatts were used.
OSPD investigating possible animal cruelty
Oliver Springs police in say they found two horses—one dead, the other alive but in poor condition—last week. Few details have been released but investigators say they are waiting on test results to see if any charges will be filed. In the meantime, the owner has surrendered the surviving horse to Horse Haven of Tennessee.
Mayes selected for state organization
Anderson County Circuit Court Clerk, Tyler Mayes, has been selected to serve on the State of Tennessee Court Clerk’s Association’s legislative committee. Mayes will represent East Tennessee on the committee that will see many new pieces of legislation that will have a direct impact on the court system in Tennessee. The committee plays a large role in communicating with state representatives and state senators from across the state about court related legislation. “It is an honor to represent Anderson County and Court Clerk’s from across the state on this important committee. I look forward to working with my fellow colleagues as we work on important issues affecting our court system and the citizens of Anderson County.”
US Mint to produce GSMNP quarter
The US Mint has announced plans to release a Great Smoky Mountains National Park quarter. According to a news release, the quarter is the 21st coin in the America the Beautiful Quarters Program. The agency says the program is a 12-year initiative that honors 56 national parks and other national sites. This is the fifth year for the program. Each year, five new quarters are added to the collection. A launch ceremony will be held to commemorate the event. It is scheduled to take place at the Mills Auditorium in the Gatlinburg Convention Center on Wednesday, January 29 at 9:00 am. After the ceremony, currency can be exchanged for $10 rolls of new Great Smoky Mountains National Park quarters.
ORT: DOE to fund 3-year groundwater study
(Oak Ridge Today) The U.S. Department of Energy has agreed to spend $4.5 million during the next three years to study groundwater contamination on the Oak Ridge Reservation. The reservation includes three federal sites—East Tennessee Technology Park, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and Y-12 National Security Complex—that have been involved in missions ranging from scientific research to uranium enrichment to nuclear weapons work. That work has sometimes included the use of hazardous substances such as mercury and technetium-99, a slow-decaying radioactive metal. Our partners at Oak Ridge Today report that the $4.5 million in funding will help implement a new groundwater strategy developed by DOE with help from the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The strategy, which was presented to the Oak Ridge Site Specific Advisory Board in November, will help guide future cleanup decisions, said Sue Cange, deputy manager for environmental management in DOE’s Oak Ridge Office. Officials said there is no cause for alarm, and the off-site risks from possible groundwater contamination aren’t significant enough to compel the EPA to require the Department of Energy to act. “No one should be alarmed,” said Daniel J. Goode, a research hydrologist for the U.S. Geological Survey. “DOE is managing the site. It’s very complex. It’s very contaminated. But they are protecting the public. There is no crisis here.” For more on this story, visit http://oakridgetoday.com/2014/01/23/doe-commits-three-year-4-5-million-groundwater-study-oak-ridge/.
Teen missing from Blount located safely
A 17-year-old girl who was reported missing Saturday in Maryville after she allegedly stole her great-grandparents’ vehicle has been safely located in downtown Nashville. Whitney Edmonds is in state custody at a juvenile detention facility in Chattanooga but was in Maryville on a furlough to visit relatives. She was reported missing after she allegedly stole a 2004 Ford Explorer Sport Trac and was believed to have been headed to Middle Tennessee. The SUV was found abandoned by the side of I-40 West in Mount Juliet earlier this week but it was not until some people walking in downtown Nashville recognized Edmonds after local media had shown her picture and convinced her to allow them to take her to a juvenile detention facility. Maryville and Nashville Metro Police worked together to locate the runaway teen.
AMSE Bridge Building contest registration begins Feb. 1st
Registration for the American Museum of Science and Energy’s annual East Tennessee Model Bridge Building Contest for 7th through 12th grade students will be held February 1st through March 1st. Rules and specifications for the model bridge are available at www.amse.org The contest on March 8th is sponsored by the American Society of Civil Engineers, American Society of Mechanical Engineers, Tennessee Society of Professional Engineers, American Museum of Science and Energy, AMSE Foundation and Z11 Communications.
ORPD: Man killed in single-vehicle ORNL wreck
The Oak Ridge Police Department says that one man was killed in a single-vehicle accident on the campus of Oak Ridge National Laboratory late Wednesday night. Oak Ridge Police were called to Bethel Valley Road east of Spallation Drive shortly after 10 pm when ORNL security personnel discovered the crash while on patrol. In addition to the ORPD and lab security, personnel from the ORNL Fire & Rescue unit also responded. According to a release from the ORPD, their initial investigation determined that John Kirkpatrick of Knoxville had been headed east on Bethel Valley Road in a 2001 Honda CRV when he left the south side of the roadway and struck a tree. Kirkpatrick, who was alone in the vehicle, died at the scene. The investigation into Wednesday night’s fatal accident is continuing.
OR combating water meter box metal thieves
The city of Oak Ridge’s Public Works Department has received numerous reports of cast iron water meter box risers and lids disappearing from various locations across the city. According to a release from the city, the lids and risers are municipally-owned. Without those items in place, officials say that the water meters can freeze, leaving customers without water and creating an issue that city crews would have to repair. It also creates a safety hazard for pedestrians, who could step in the exposed meter box and be injured. Residents of Oak Ridge and people spending time in the city are being asked to keep their eyes open and report any suspicious activity to Police. No one should be removing these lids except for city crews, who are easily identified by their city vehicles. If you see anyone removing lids or covers from any city-owned property, call Oak Ridge Police at 865-425-4399.
Shoplifting at Wal-Mart ends with box cutter threat
Clinton Police are investigating a shoplifting incident at Wal-Mart that quickly escalated to aggravated assault on Monday. While shoplifting is nothing new at the big-box retailer, the store’s loss prevention associate called police to the store shortly before 3:30 pm Monday after a man allegedly threatened him with a box cutter while stealing women’s underwear. The loss prevention associate confronted a man who was walking out the store’s front door with two packages of plus-sized women’s underwear valued at a little over $25 without paying for them. The employee told police that when he tried to stop the suspect, the man produced a box cutter and threatened him with it. The suspect fled in an older-model white car. The employee was not hurt and the case remains under investigation.
ORT: 2 OR principals have interim tags removed
(Information from Oak Ridge Today) Interim principals at Oak Ridge High School and Jefferson Middle School have been named principals, Oak Ridge Schools announced Wednesday. David Bryant, who has been interim principal at Oak Ridge High School, has been named principal, and Phillip Cox, interim principal at Jefferson Middle School, has been named principal at the middle school. Bryant has been interim principal at the high school since July 2013. He was an assistant ORHS principal from 2006 to 2013, and before that, he was an administrator at the Alternative Program. Bryant began his career with Oak Ridge Schools as a special education teacher in 1985. Cox has been interim principal at JMS since October 2013. He had served as JMS vice principal since 2006. Cox was principal of Lake City Elementary before joining Oak Ridge Schools.
AC Commission rejects jail referendum
Meeting in their quarterly day session, the Anderson County Commission voted 10-4 this morning not to ask the Election Commission to place a non-binding referendum on the August ballot asking county voters if they want to house federal prisoners in the soon-to-be-opened 212-bed addition to the Jail. In rejecting the measure, commissioners indicated they needed more information about the matter and that it is too early in the process to make any decisions on whether or not to house low-risk, pretrial federal inmates, especially since the addition has not opened yet. We will have more on this story for you on the air and online.
AC Commission opts for railroad-built bridge option
Meeting in their quarterly day session Tuesday, the Anderson County Commission voted to accept CSX Railroad's offer to rebuild the wooden bridge owned by the rail company on Johnson Gap Road that has been shut down since July 2013. The closure has made trips longer in and out of the Dutch Valley community not only for residents but also for emergency responders. CSX had offered to rebuild the wooden bridge at its own expense or allow the county to build a concrete replacement at county expense.
ORFD, RCSD receive donations from sub shop
Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation is donating $20,000 worth of much-needed equipment to the Oak Ridge Fire Department and Roane County Sheriff’s Office. Events are planned in Oak Ridge on Wednesday and Lenoir City on Thursday to celebrate the donations of the life-saving tools. The ORFD is receiving a thermal imaging camera, worth more than $10,000. The donated camera will detect body heat and hot spots in burning buildings, allowing firefighters to reach victims quickly and put out deadly fires. That donation will be celebrated at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday at Firehouse Subs restaurant, which is at 1143 Oak Ridge Turnpike in Oak Ridge. The Roane County Sheriff’s Office is receiving first-aid kits and six automated external defibrillators, or AEDs, worth more than $10,200. The donated first-aid kits will allow for immediate response to injuries, while the donated AEDs will ensure the department is prepared to provide life-saving assistance if a citizen goes into cardiac arrest. That donation will be celebrated at 10:30 a.m. Thursday at Firehouse Subs restaurant at 149 Kelsey Lane in Lenoir City.
ORT: Single-vehicle accident in OS
According to our partners at Oak Ridge Today, a Jeep pulling a trailer hauling an ATV eastbound on Tri-County Boulevard on Monday went off the road near Edmonds Drive and knocked down a railroad crossing signal. The ATV flipped and landed next to the vehicle after the crash, which occurred at about 5:50 p.m. Monday. No injuries were reported. The Oliver Springs police and fire departments responded as did the Anderson County Emergency Medical Services.
State: AC led state in lab seizures in 2013
According to information released by the state Friday, Anderson County led the state in the number of meth lab seizures in 2014. Authorities in Anderson County made 83 meth lab busts in 2013. Anderson County is one of two East Tennessee counties that ranked in the top five for meth lab seizures in the state during the 2013. The other was Monroe County, which ranked fourth. But, officials say, many communities across the state saw their seizure numbers go down. The amount of meth lab seizures statewide decreased slightly by 7 percent from 2012 to 2013. In East Tennessee, the decrease was around 8 percent. Last year, only the state of Missouri had more meth busts than Tennessee.
ORT: Price Florist building coming down
According to our partners at Oak Ridge Today, workers with Perkins Trucking and Excavating of Knoxville began demolishing Price Florist on Oak Ridge Turnpike on Saturday and could finish the job on Monday. Signs at the site now refer prospective tenants to Cappiello Real Estate, although it wasn’t immediately clear if the property has been sold. The Oak Ridge Board of Building and Housing Code Appeals had ordered the demolition of the building as recently as September, and had considered whether to issue a demolition or repair order for the once-thriving business in several other meetings last year. They had given building owner Patricia Warren of Crossville several extensions to allow her time to come back with a sales contract, repair plan, or demolition permit. Warren had cleaned up the property and had hoped to sell it, telling board members at one point during the process that she had three potential buyers. Warren sold the Price Florist business about four years ago but still owned the property. Last year, Warren told board members she wasn’t aware of the poor conditions at the property. Those problems, according to city staff, included fire code violations, a leaky roof, electrical hazards, plumbing issues, and broken concrete floors, among other things. In June, the board declared the building a nuisance and unfit for human occupation or use. Price Florist was started by the Price family in the early 1950s, and Warren and her ex-husband bought it in the late 1970s.
Blount bomb threat forces evacuations
Around 40 homes were evacuated due to a bomb threat in Blount County Saturday night. The Blount County Sheriff's Department says a call to 911 came in around 5:30 Saturday night, threatening Viper Customs on US Highway 411 South. Surrounding homes on Old Niles Ferry Road were evacuated around 6 p.m. as a precaution. Residents were not allowed back inside their homes until around 9:30 p.m. The Knox County Bomb squad responded to the incident but neither they nor Blount County investigators found any suspicious or explosive devices on the property.
Blount authorities find first meth lab of 2014
The Blount County Sheriff’s Office and the Fifth Judicial Drug Task Force responded to a “one pot” method meth lab Saturday, the first one of 2014. Shortly before 1 p.m., the Blount County Sheriff’s Office responded to the parking lot of Maryville Baptist Tabernacle Church on Mt. Tabor Road on the call of a purse containing suspicious contents that a passerby saw near the edge of the parking lot. The Fifth Judicial Drug Task Force responded to the scene and discovered the purse contained a “one pot” method lab. An investigator with the Fifth Judicial Drug Task Force neutralized and inventoried the ingredients, and the Tennessee Methamphetamine Task Force arrived to dispose of the lab. Evidence shows the meth was cooked recently. There were no arrests.
Pot, moonshine found in Blount home
The Blount County Sheriff’s Office says that three people were taken into custody Friday following a search warrant that revealed an indoor marijuana grow and a moonshine still. The following individuals were charged:
· Justin Glenn Headrick, 31, of Big Gully Road, Maryville. Headrick is charged with the manufacture of a Schedule VI controlled substance (marijuana) within 1,000 feet of a school.
· Michael Jarrell Young, 31, Mountain View Avenue, Maryville. Young is charged with the manufacture of a Schedule VI controlled substance (marijuana) within 1,000 feet of a school and possession of a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony.
A third individual was detained but later released with no charges. Bond amounts and court dates on Headrick and Young have not yet been set.
Shortly before noon Friday, investigators with the Fifth Judicial Drug Task Force responded to a residence on Mountain View Avenue due to numerous anonymous community complaints regarding suspicious activity at a residence. Investigators did a “knock and talk” with the individuals at the residence, and they could immediately smell the odor of marijuana coming from the house. The three individuals were detained and the house was secured. Investigators applied for and obtained a search warrant to search the residence. The search revealed an indoor marijuana grow, several marijuana plants, dried marijuana clippings, and several firearms. Investigators also found an unlicensed moonshine still and a quantity of untaxed spirits. An agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives also responded to the scene. The investigation is continuing, and additional charges are pending.
Alcoa PD arrests 2 suspects in robbery
Friday, Alcoa Police arrested two men in connection to an armed robbery that occurred last Sunday. Early last Sunday, two men approached the manager of the McDonalds on Old Knoxville Highway as he walked to his car with the store’s deposit bag. One of the men pulled a handgun and demanded the bag. At some point during the incident, police say that the gun went off, striking the manager in his boot but causing no injury to him. After a weeklong investigation, police arrested two 19-year-old Blount County men in connection with the robbery. They are identified as Jerrell Lee Bledsoe and Jelyn Marquis Haley. Both are charged with aggravated assault and are being held at the Blount County Jail pending a court appearance later this week.
OR school briefly locked down Thursday
An Oak Ridge middle school was briefly locked down and over 1100 workers at the East Tennessee Technology Park were ordered to shelter in place after authorities learned that an armed man was headed to the former K-25 site with the “intent to do harm.” The incident began shortly after 12:30 pm when Oak Ridge Police were notified that a man armed with handgun was en route from the Clinton area to the “west end of Oak Ridge,” according to a press release. Police fanned out across the city and a false sighting of the suspect’s vehicle in the parking lot of Home Depot prompted police to request a lockdown at the nearby Jefferson Middle School. Once it was determined that it was in fact not the man they were looking for, the lockdown was lifted. Meanwhile, at the Technology Park, workers were told to shelter in place and extra security was added at all entry points. At around 1 pm, law enforcement learned the man might be at the Anderson Memorial Garden cemetery in Marlow and he was located and detained there by deputies with the Anderson County Sheriff’s Department, who transported him to Methodist Medical Center, although the reason for the hospital visit was not disclosed. Also still unclear is the man’s identity and the nature of his alleged target or targets. As we learn more, we will follow up on this story.
Local, federal agencies investigate suspicious substance at jail
The Blount County Sheriff’s Office, the Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF), and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service are investigating a suspicious letter containing a white powdery substance that was sent to the Blount County Detention Facility on Thursday. Three corrections officers were taken to Blount Memorial Hospital as a precautionary measure. They were treated and released a short time later, according to a BCSO press release. The JTTF requested the Knoxville Fire Department to assist in testing the substance at the scene and also ordered lab testing. At around 9:30 am, corrections officers reported the letter and its contents to supervisors. The Maryville Fire Department responded to decontaminate the officers and the area where the letter was opened. The JTTF, along with U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and the Blount County Sheriff’s Office are continuing the investigation into the incident. Sheriff James Berrong says that a policy was already in place to implement a “postcards only” inmate mail system on February 1st, with the exception of legal mail. Right now, corrections officers open all inmate mail that arrives at the facility. The Sheriff says that the new policy should alleviate this type of incident from occurring in the future.
Campbell County High School field house vandalized
Authorities in Campbell County are investigating an act of vandalism that caused approximately $37,000 worth of damage to the Campbell County High School football fieldhouse. The damage was discovered Monday morning by Cougar football coach Matt Price and is believed to have happened over the weekend. The culprits painted all of the jerseys in the locker room white as well as the walls, poured paint on all the televisions and a punching bag, plus they painted graffiti on the floor and busted out a big-screen TV. At this time there are no suspects but investigators did collect fingerprints and footprints. When the culprits are apprehended they will likely face charges of burglary and felony vandalism.
Parole denied for Brooms
Thursday, a state parole board denied parole to a man convicted on charges from a 2011 murder in Oak Ridge. James Brooms was sentenced to 12 years in prison on his plea to a charge of facilitation of second-degree murder in the August 2011 death of Antonio “Tony” Phillips. The death occurred during what Oak Ridge police called a drug deal gone bad, during which Phillips was shot in the leg and bled to death on the floor of his apartment. Two other men were also charged in the case. The parole board denied Broom’s request, calling him “high-risk” and citing seriousness of the crime he pleaded guilty to. He will be eligible for parole again in January of 2017.
Feds raid OS-based DOE subcontractor
Thursday, agents from the FBI and the Department of Energy’s Office of Inspector General raided an Oliver Springs business that provides subcontract services as part of the federal government’s continued cleanup program in Oak Ridge. The raid occurred at the offices of Transportation, operations and Professional Services, or TOPS, a company that provides waste transportation for UCOR, the cleanup contractor on the federal reservation. Some of the services included in its work are hauling waste, managing the “transportation hub” and maintaining a special haul road from the former K-25 site to the DOE landfill used for hauling waste. The company’s contract, awarded in 2011, has a potential value of up to $14 million. Officials with the FBI and the DOE have not commented on the nature of the raid or their investigation.
Shillings chosen to replace Brummitt on OS Council
Thursday, the Oliver Springs Town Council voted 5-0 to appoint Don Shillings to serve the remaining two and a half years of the unexpired term of James Brummitt, who resigned his Ward 6 seat two weeks ago. Brummitt says he resigned in order to spend more time with his family and to devote more of his attention to his other political post as Chairman of the Roane County Commission. Shillings is no stranger to public service, having served two previous terms on the Council. Shillings was sworn in immediately following the vote and took his seat for the remainder of Thursday’s meeting.
Man arrested after shooting incident leads to standoff
The Anderson County Sheriff’s Department has released more information about an alleged shooting incident early Wednesday morning that turned into an eight-plus-hour-long standoff. Deputies were called to a home on Batley Road at around 3 am on a report of shots being fired and when they arrived, were told that 50-year-old homeowner Gregory Allen Denton had physically assaulted and then threatened a couple renting a room in the farmhouse with a pistol. Denton allegedly assaulted 47-year-old Benjamin Emory and fired a shot from the pistol at him inside the house. Denton is also accused of firing at 45-year-old Angela Badgett as she fled the house. Neither victim was hit by gunfire but deputies did locate Emory on the back porch with injuries from the initial assault. He was brought to safety and treated on-scene by the Anderson County EMS. Meanwhile, Denton refused to come to the door so the Sheriff Department secured the scene and called in the tactical unit. Denton failed to respond despite numerous attempts to communicate with him so deputies cut the power off to the house. Shortly before 11:30 am, the tactical team blew out some windows on the farmhouse with non-lethal rounds and was preparing to deploy tear gas when Denton finally came outside and surrendered. He was taken into custody on two counts of aggravated assault and is being held without bond at the Anderson County Jail pending an arraignment. The Sheriff’s Department was assisted at the scene by members of the Oak Ridge PD SWAT team as well. No motive for the alleged assault has been released and the investigation is continuing.
Man arrested in connection to Blount burglaries
The Blount County Sheriff’s Office says that investigators have arrested a 33-year-old Maryville man in connection with the three store burglaries that occurred last weekend. James Dustin Nix of Maryville is charged with two counts of burglary of a business in connection with the burglaries that occurred at the Aztec store on East Lamar Alexander Parkway early Saturday morning and the Mapco Express store on East Broadway early Sunday morning. Additional charges are pending. He is also suspected of breaking into the Garner Bros. Auto Parts store on East Lamar Alexander the same morning he is accused of breaking into the Mapco Express. Cash, cigarettes, and lottery tickets were stolen. Nix was identified as the man in a surveillance photo the Sheriff’s Office released Tuesday of Nix, who was attempting to cash in some of the stolen lottery tickets at a local convenience store. “We’d like to again thank the community for the tips in helping us to identify the individual in the surveillance photo,” Sheriff James Berrong said. “Without the assistance of the community we may not have solved these burglaries.” The investigation into the burglaries is continuing.
ACHS staff members, AED save girl’s life
We have a truly heroic story from Anderson County High School today as a team of faculty members, led by a husband and wife duo, is being credited with saving the life of a freshman girl on campus Monday morning. Assistant Principal Travis Freeman was notified that a female student had collapsed in the school’s courtyard and was having a seizure. Freeman determined that she was unconscious and had a weak heartbeat so he sent someone to call 911 and then sent for his wife April Freeman, a trained nurse and a health sciences instructor at the Career and technical Center that shares its campus with ACHS. She arrived and the pair began CPR while another faculty member went to retrieve one of the schools’ two automated external defibrillators—or AEDs. When the Freemans hooked the device to the girl it advised them that she needed to be shocked. While they continued CPR, the couple shocked the girl twice, restarting her heart. While this was going on, other staff members cleared the courtyard and helped calm down other students. Doctors at East Tennessee Children’s Hospital reviewed the data from the AED and said that the device had in fact saved her life. The girl, whose name is not being released, is said to be recovering at Children’s Hospital. Her mother told WBIR-TV that she is extremely grateful for the efforts of everyone who worked so hard to save her daughter. All ACHS staff members are trained in how to use the AEDs and many also have CPR certifications.
ORT: MMC sued over alleged radiation expsoure
(Oak Ridge Today) Our partners at Oak Ridge Today (www.oakridgetoday.com) report that five lawsuits filed in Anderson County on Monday allege that X-ray and radiologic technologists, including two who were pregnant, were exposed to excess radiation for several years at Methodist Medical Center because some walls in and around a radiology imaging center in the new emergency department were built without the required lead shielding, elevating the workers’ risk of health problems, including cancer.
The five lawsuits allege the walls in the emergency department, which opened in February 2006 as part of a hospital remodel, did not have the required protective radiological shielding because of building, design, and inspection errors. Lead-lined walls are required in radiological areas to limit radiation exposure under local and federal regulations and construction and health standards, the lawsuits say. But the defendants—Covenant Health of Knoxville, Rentenbach Engineering Co. of Knoxville, and TEG Architects LLC of Jeffersonville, Ind.—failed to have qualified personnel survey or check the installation and construction parameters, or conduct proper barrier determinations for lead barrier thickness, to ensure that the walls in the radiological areas would adequately reduce scatter and leakage radiation, the lawsuits say. The defendants also failed to have qualified personnel certify that the MMC in-department imaging center and nearby areas were built in compliance with all applicable regulations and guidelines so that the plaintiffs “would only be exposed to levels of radiation that were as low as reasonably achievable, all before allowing work to be done at that facility.” The lawsuits allege violations of state and federal rules, regulations, and standards, including radiation safety requirements of the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation.
MMC, a Covenant Health member, said it will dispute the allegations, issuing a statement that reads “Methodist Medical Center places the highest priority on employee and public safety. We maintain an active and ongoing radiation quality and compliance program with specific procedures to monitor safety. Based on the results of this program, it has been verified that we have met all safety standards for radiation exposure. We intend to refute these accusations vigorously.”
The plaintiffs are:
The lawsuits allege that two of the plaintiffs—Phillips and Raby—now have thyroid problems, headaches, sleeping problems, and other health issues. Gillis has seizures and memory loss, his complaint says. The plaintiffs also have a greater risk of developing health problems, including cancer, the complaints say. If they develop cancer in the future, the plaintiffs could lose earnings and earning capacity, and suffer other economic damages, the complaints allege. Filed in Anderson County Circuit Court on Monday, the lawsuits seek general damages, to be determined at trial; loss of earnings; and past and future economic damages, including the costs of medical care, monitoring, and treatment.
The plaintiffs are represented by John D. Agee and Michael M. Stahl of Clinton law firm Ridenour and Ridenour.
Blount home damaged by fire, no injuries
A two-story house on Gravelly Hill Road in Louisville sustained considerable damage from a fire that apparently started in the attic Tuesday morning. All eight residents evacuated the house without injury. When firefighters arrived on the scene, they reported the roof was 60 percent engulfed by flames. Blount County E-911 dispatchers were notified of the fire shortly before 10 am. Firefighters from several stations responded to the scene and despite the extensive damage to the home’s roof, first responders were able to protect a lot of the family’s furniture with tarps.
Business mag names TN ‘State of the Year’
A national business magazine named Tennessee the "2013 State of the Year." Business Facilities said the Volunteer State joins Texas as the only multiple winner since the competition started in 2007. Rounding out the top five were Utah, Texas, Louisiana, Georgia, and Pennsylvania. Tennessee's top five economic development projects created a total of 6,900 jobs, $3.2 billion in capital investment, and included seven expansions along with three new recruitments. The magazine picked the state after evaluating the top five projects for number of jobs created and the amount of capital invested from October 2012 through October 2013. Officials say the state saw unprecedented economic growth last year. "The global companies that invested capital in our state and the number of jobs created demonstrate to the world that Tennessee not only provides a top-notch business environment, but also the ongoing support needed for success," wrote Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bill Hagerty in a statement. "I am extremely pleased by this award and look forward to another successful year." East Tennessee didn't have any of the top five projects for jobs listed in the magazine, but Alcoa, Inc. in Blount County did land the number five spot for top projects for capital investment.
Top five projects for jobs:
Top five projects for capital investment:
List of additional national honors Tennessee earned in 2013:
Clinton woman pleads in rental house scam
A Clinton woman who scammed over a dozen people on Craigslist into paying her deposits for a rental house she did not own pleaded guilty Monday to charges in that case. 26-year-old Kayla Marie Beck pleaded guilty to charges of theft over $1000, conspiracy to commit theft and filing a false report. In exchange for her plea, she was sentenced to three concurrent two-year prison sentences and ordered to serve 22 days in the Anderson County Jail on the weekends while serving the rest of her sentence on supervised probation. In addition, Beck was ordered to pay her 14 victims some $4325 in restitution and prohibited from buying or selling anything online. Beck and her alleged co-conspirator advertised a home on West Wolf Valley Road for rent on Craigslist. Beck had a key to the house and showed it to potential renters but the scheme fell apart when people who had paid the deposit tried to move in. Beck was arrested on charges connected to the case in July of 2012 but her alleged accomplice, 37-year-old Shannon Leffew of Claxton fled the state. In a strange twist to the case, she was killed several hours after Beck’s arrest in a traffic accident on I-75 in Kentucky.
Jackson Square re-do awaiting state approval
The planned renovation of Oak Ridge’s historic Jackson Square will either begin in just a few weeks or will have to wait until summer, depending on when TDOT approves the project, according to a city economic development consultant. Ray Evans made his statements during an event at Razzleberry’s restaurant in the Square on Tuesday. If the project, which is being funded primarily by a TDOT Enhancement grant awarded two years ago, is approved quickly, work could begin very soon and be completed within about six months. If not, the project would have to be pushed back until after the June 21st Lavender Festival held each year in Jackson Square. The project will reconfigure the parking lot while adding a fountain that can be played in, LED lighting, new sidewalks, park benches and bike racks. Jackson Square was once the center of Oak Ridge when it was still a “secret city” during the Manhattan Project years and this project, along with another recently completed at a city-owned parking lot across the street, is aimed at revitalizing the square and attracting more businesses to the area.
Report: Coyotes a growing problem in OR
Some Oak Ridge residents have expressed concern to officials that the city has a growing coyote problem. The News-Sentinel reports that the issue has been brought to the attention of City Council members via e-mail and comments made during this week’s Council meeting. More and more coyotes are being seen in west Oak Ridge and the animals are being blamed for the disappearances of pets. Some parents have also expressed concern that the coyotes have been seen near school bus stops. City officials say they are studying the problem to find an adequate solution but point out that the city’s animal control officers currently don’t have the necessary permits to deal with coyotes. The city will contact TWRA for advice.
3 charities benefit from Half Marathon
As part of an ongoing effort to support the Oak Ridge community, the Secret City Half Marathon raised approximately 8,000 dollars for local charities. Three local charities were presented with checks this week, according to a press release issued by ASAP of Anderson County. The money was split between ASAP, CASA of the Tennessee Heartland, and TORCH.” The 2013 Secret City Half Marathon had its largest turnout in race history. Over 800 runners showed up Thanksgiving weekend to compete on what has become known as a fast course. The course, which wraps around Oak Ridge from the Turnpike to Melton Hill Lake and along Emory Valley Road, now holds six Tennessee state age group records for a half marathon, according to the release. Stephanie Strutner, Executive Director of ASAP of Anderson County said “ASAP is thrilled to be selected as a recipient of a portion of the proceeds from the Secret City Half Marathon. ASAP aims to prevent and reduce substance abuse and our operations are made possible by donations, fundraisers, and grant funds. Every dollar raised has a direct impact on Anderson County. This donation will be used to send more than 500 fifth graders to their D.A.R.E. graduation event this spring.” D.A.R.E. is Drug Abuse Resistance Education, offered by the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office, according to Strutner. CASA of the Tennessee Heartland is also a beneficiary. Executive Director, Naomi Asher is “truly grateful for the opportunity and for all those who stepped up to support the event.” As a benefit of receiving the funds, Asher said “six children in Anderson County will have someone watching out for their best interest and advocating on their behalf.” Zabrina Minor, Executive Director of TORCH continued that “We at TORCH would like to thank the volunteers, runners, and all community members involved in making this race a success. TORCH will use these funds to help homeless families in Anderson County obtain shelter." Mark your calendars for the next Secret City Half Marathon Weekend, scheduled for November 29-30, 2014. For more information, visit www.secretcityhalfmarathon.com..
AP: Almost 7K used rural home loans in Tennessee in 2013
(AP) The U.S. Agriculture Department says more than 6,900 families used its rural home loan program to buy a house in fiscal year 2013. In a news release, the USDA says 119 private lenders in Tennessee participated in the program, which gives buyers of homes in rural areas access to loans with competitive rates. The USDA says the total private and public investment by those using the program topped $846 million in Tennessee last year. The department says First Community Mortgage of Murfreesboro made more than $84 million in rural home loans, tops in the state last year. USDA rural home loans may be made without a down payment and applicants may qualify for up to 100 percent financing. Interest rates can be as low as 1 percent for qualified borrowers.
ORT: OR Council OKs additional SRO
(Information from Oak Ridge Today) The Oak Ridge City Council approved a move on Monday that will add a second school resource officer in the city’s schools, and the new SRO could start Monday. The new SRO is Oak Ridge Police Officer Michael Swigert, who will join current SRO Officer Sherrill Selby. Council members approved the move in a 5-1 vote on Monday. The resolution approved by Council allows the Oak Ridge Police Department to hire an extra police officer, exceeding its authorized personnel staffing levels, in order to assign an existing police officer as an SRO. In a memo to City Council, Watson and Oak Ridge Police Chief Jim Akagi said funding is available from positions that are unfilled because of retirements and personnel turnover. The SROs can work at any of the city’s nine schools, although much of their activity is centered at the high school.
Sunday fire ravages remote cabin
A fire Sunday night destroyed an unoccupied log cabin on Windrock Road. The blaze was reported shortly before 8 pm and firefighters from the Marlow and Oliver Springs Fire Departments responded. The first crews on the scene reported that the structure, a cabin made out of heavy logs with several additional rooms added on, was totally engulfed by flames. Firefighters faced several obstacles in trying to extinguish the blaze, including a driveway that was inaccessible by fire trucks that forced crews to hand-carry their hose about 700 feet through the woods to get water on the fire. Also, there are no hydrants in the area so water had to be shuttled in. Even with those difficulties, the fire was brought under control within about two and a half hours. In addition to the two fire departments, personnel from the Anderson County EMS and the Sheriff’s Department also responded to the call. No injuries were reported and the cause of the fire is under investigation.
AP: Over 50K Tennesseeans sign up for health care through ACA
(AP) More than 50,000 Tennesseans have signed up for coverage under the new health insurance exchange established under the Affordable Care Act. Nationwide statistics released yesterday show more than 2 million people had enrolled through the end of the year. Three out of every four people eligible for the exchange also qualified for financial subsidies. And two out of three enrollees selected the mid-level "silver" plan. Adults from ages 55-64 were 35 percent of the total, while young adults between 18 and 34 made up just 24 percent. Independent experts say that total needs to be closer to 40 percent to control costs.
TDOT: Official state maps available
(TDOT) The official 2014 Tennessee Transportation Map is now available for travelers. This year’s map contains new information to assist motorists, including the recently completed State Route 385 in Shelby County. “The state map can assist motorists in planning their route through Tennessee, and can provide them with information about popular tourist destinations across the state” said TDOT Commissioner John Schroer. “The map is free and is also available at welcome centers and rest areas across the state.” The 2014 state map can also be downloaded from the TDOT web site at www.tn.gov/tdot/maps.htm.
Pre-printed maps may be ordered from TDOT online at www.tn.gov/tdot/MapOrder/maporder.htm or by mailing a request to:
Tennessee Department of Transportation
505 Deaderick Street
James K. Polk Building, Suite 900
Nashville, Tennessee 37243-0345
Individuals may request up to five free maps. Organizations and schools may order up to one hundred maps for their use. The Official 2014 Tennessee Transportation Map is a joint effort between TDOT and the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development.
Report: Anti-meth efforts ‘inconclusive’
(State Comptroller’s Office) The illicit production of methamphetamine remains a serious public health, safety and fiscal issue in Tennessee, yet two of the most popular methods aimed at curbing meth production have shown inconclusive results. These are among the key findings of an updated study of meth production released today by the Comptroller’s Offices of Research and Education Accountability (OREA). The study updates a report issued by OREA last year. Meth is a highly addictive recreational drug that can be illegally produced from household ingredients and certain types of cold and allergy medicines – primarily pseudoephedrine. Federal and state laws limit the amount of these medications, referred to as “precursors,” that individuals can purchase. One method for limiting meth production is electronic tracking of purchases of cold medicines commonly used to produce meth. Tennessee and 28 other states have adopted the National Precursor Log Exchange (NPLEx), a real-time electronic tracking system. However, the study shows that the number of meth lab incidents reported by law enforcement has not decreased substantially since Tennessee began using NPLEx in 2012. In two states, Mississippi and Oregon, individuals must have a prescription to purchase precursors. The number of reported meth lab incidents declined in these two states following passage of a prescription-only law, but some other nearby states without such laws have followed similar trends. OREA is an agency within the Comptroller’s Office that is charged with providing accurate and objective policy research and analysis for the Tennessee General Assembly and the public. To view the report online, go to: http://www.comptroller.tn.gov/OREA/.
OS man killed in Blount wreck
Alcoa Police say that glare from the sun likely caused a pair of wrecks Sunday morning that killed an Oliver Springs man and sent another person to the hospital. The first accident occurred when 28-year-old James Green of Knoxville was blinded by the sun as he headed east on Pellissippi Parkway in between Topside Road and Alcoa Highway and he rear-ended a pickup truck driven by 73-year-old Eddy Palmer of Oliver Springs. The impact spun Palmer’s truck around and it came to rest facing the wrong way in the right-hand lane. As Palmer and Green surveyed the damage while waiting for police to arrive, a third vehicle driven by 39-year-old Jason Cox of Knoxville happened upon the accident scene and was also blinded by the sun, causing him to collide with Palmer’s truck. The collision pushed the truck into Palmer, who died at the scene. Cox was taken to Fort Sanders Hospital for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries. That section of the Parkway was closed for several hours while the accident was investigated.
Lightning likely sparked Maryville fire
A home in Maryville was destroyed by a fire Saturday morning that officials say was likely started by a lightning strike. Firefighters reported that they could see flames shooting out of the attic of the home on North Heritage Drive as they arrived at around 8:45 am. A family of three was home at the time of the fire and made it out safely, along with their dog, but two other pets were feared dead. The home’s roof collapsed and firefighters say that the house was a total loss.
Campbell man shoots, wounds son; case investigated
An 80-year-old Campbell County man shot his son Saturday evening and the incident is under investigation. The incident occurred at around 5:30 pm Saturday at a home on Back Valley Road just outside Lafollette. 51-year-old Merle Ivey was shot twice and airlifted to UT Medical Center, where he underwent surgery Saturday night and, at last check was in critical but stable condition. He was reportedly shot by his father Denvin Miller and authorities say that alcohol may have contributed to the incident while family members say that Ivey was trying to steal money from his father’s safe. Miller surrendered after a 30-minute standoff with Campbell County deputies and was taken to Lafollette Medical Center, examined and released from the hospital and from police custody, pending the outcome of the ongoing investigation.
2 charged in Blount BB vandalism
Two men were arrested last week by Blount County authorities in connection to a vandalism spree that spanned two cities and caused approximately $12,000 worth of damage. Between December 31st and January 4th, police in Alcoa and Maryville investigated 19 incidents in which car windows and business windows were shot out by BB guns. Two men were arrested last week and charged with one count each of vandalism and they are identified as 19-year-old Peter Wood of Sevierville and 20-year-old Shaman Jordan of Maryville.
Ex-teacher waives hearing on child porn charges
A former East Tennessee elementary school teacher facing child pornography charges last week waived his right to a preliminary hearing on those charges, which will now be considered by the Blount County grand jury. 38-year-old John Daniel Lynn was arrested at his Alcoa home in October following a raid that turned up images and videos of child pornography on his computer. Authorities accuse him of downloading and sharing the explicit images via the internet. Lynn has resigned from his position as a fourth-grade teacher and basketball coach at Prospect Elementary School in Seymour. He also worked in 2012 at a Knox County elementary school before his position was eliminated.
3 charged after Blount raid
(BCSO) Blount County Sheriff James Lee Berrong said three people were taken into custody on Thursday as part of a search warrant executed by the Fifth Judicial Drug Task Force. In addition, cash, illegal drugs, and stolen items were seized. Leroy Long, Jr., 42, of Creason Drive, Maryville, is being held in the Blount County Detention Facility. Bond amounts and court dates have not yet been set. Long is charged with two counts of possession of a Schedule II controlled substance, felon in possession of a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony, and introduction of contraband into a penal institution (marijuana and methamphetamine). George Eugene Johnson, 29, of Unaka Avenue, Maryville, was also taken into custody at the scene on an outstanding warrant from Loudon County. As a result of some recovered stolen property, another individual, William Scott Moore, 28, of Meadow Lark Lane, Rockford, was taken into custody Thursday night and charged with aggravated burglary and theft of property. Moore is being held on bonds totaling $15,000 pending a hearing in Blount County General Sessions Court at 1:30 p.m. November 19th.
Thursday afternoon, investigators with the Fifth Judicial Drug Task Force, with the assistance of detectives with the Criminal Investigation Division and an investigator with the Knox County Sheriff’s Office Drug Task Force, executed a search warrant at a residence on Creason Drive in Maryville. Investigators seized multiple types of illegal drugs, including the pain pills Roxycontin, Oxycontin, and morphine. They also seized $1,500 cash, as well as stolen property, including TVs and guns. As investigators and detectives were executing the search warrant, 16 people arrived to buy narcotics or trade stolen property for narcotics, or narcotics for stolen property. Detectives discovered information at the search warrant that Moore burglarized a home on Cecelia Avenue and stole a flat screen Thursday morning. He, along with the stolen TV, were both located at a residence on Old West Millers Cove Road Thursday night. Moore was arrested and taken to the Blount County Detention Facility. Investigators are continuing their investigation on Leroy Long.
Girl Scout cookie sales underway
(Submitted) Make an exception to your New Year’s resolutions for the annual Girl Scouts cookie sale. On January 10, Thin Mints, Samoas, and six other mouth-watering cookies are back, as the Girl Scout Council of the Southern Appalachians launches its annual cookie program. Girls in 46 counties throughout East Tennessee, Southwest Virginia and Northwest Georgia will begin taking orders January 10. For more information on the sale, go to www.IWantCookies.org. Through this site, customers can learn more about how to get cookies and will also have information on booth locations once they begin in February. Troops have spent months preparing for the sale, and every penny earned stays within the council area. Girls use their profits to fund educational activities, trips, community service projects, and more. The council’s proceeds provide essential services to girls and volunteers. But the council wants cookie buyers to know that their purchase helps accomplish so much more. The girls benefit through the learning of five very key life skills through the sale: goal setting, decision making, money management, business ethics, and the art of communicating with people. “Girl Scout Cookies are a special treat that people of all ages look forward to each year but there’s just so much more than that,” said council CEO Booth Kammann. “Every box of cookies a girl sells is an investment in her future and that’s the real takeaway from the sale. The girls are learning critical skills that they will take with them as the endeavor into life.” All booth sales in front of local businesses are February 28 through March 23. Booth sale cookie varieties will be limited to the council’s “Top 6” best sellers, and this year, boxes will be $4.00 per. New this year, girls are giving customers the opportunity to support Girl Scouting and the U. S. military through Operation: APPRECIATION. Girls are on a mission to sell 20,000 boxes of cookies to donate directly to the armed forces in appreciation for their service. “This is a wonderful opportunity for people who may not want to eat cookies to support both our girls and our service men and women,” said Kammann. Girl Scouts will take pre-orders January 10 through February 10. For more information, visit www.girlscoutcsa.org or call 1-800-474-1912.
Wartburg church among 8 entrants on National Register
(TN Historical Commission) The Tennessee Historical Commission has announced eight Tennessee sites have been added to the National Register of Historic Places. The National Register of Historic Places is the nation’s official list of cultural resources worthy of preservation. It is part of a nationwide program that coordinates and supports efforts to identify, evaluate and protect historic resources. The Tennessee Historical Commission administers the program in Tennessee. “The National Register honors places that help Tennesseans understand our heritage and make our communities unique and enjoyable,” Executive Director of the Tennessee Historical Commission Patrick McIntyre said. “We are confident this recognition will help retain these unique sites for future generations to know and appreciate.” Sites recently added to the National Register of Historic Places include:
Wartburg Presbyterian Church – Constructed in 1883 and located in Wartburg, the county seat of Morgan County, the Wartburg Presbyterian Church is a good example of the Folk Victorian style. During this timeframe, improved transportation and technology made it easier to have decorative details on buildings. Instead of hiring a craftsperson, decorative pieces, or the machinery to make them, could be ordered and shipped in by rail. The resulting Folk Victorian style combines elements from many academic styles of the mid-to-late 19th century. Sawn or turned woodwork was generally applied to a rectangular building in the Folk Victorian style and this is seen in the Wartburg church building. The trefoil designs in the windows and front of the Wartburg church and narrow tower represent the Gothic Revival style, while the large multi-light windows are more reflective of the Queen Anne style. The church is covered with weatherboard on the exterior and uses wood bead board inside. The 1937 chandeliers are original to the building and add to the overall historic architectural character of the building. For more information about the National Register of Historic Places or the Tennessee Historical Commission, please visit the website at www.tn.gov/environment/history.
TDOT Launches Yellow DOT Program
The Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) today launched the Yellow DOT Program, which is designed to assist first responders in identifying vital medical information for senior drivers. The program features yellow stickers that are placed in the bottom left side of the rear window of vehicles and yellow envelopes containing a photo, medical history and prescription drug information for glove compartments. The program will allow emergency personnel to make the most of what’s known as the “golden hour”, the first hour after an injury or medical emergency during which medical treatment can dramatically increase a patient’s chances for survival. Once a Yellow DOT sticker is identified on a vehicle, first responders will know to check the glove compartment for the Yellow DOT information packet. “This program will help police and other first responders by giving them quick access to potentially life-saving medical information within minutes of a car crash,” said TDOT Commissioner John Schroer. “It can also help in efforts to identify victims and personalize their treatment.” The Tennessee General Assembly unanimously passed a bill supporting a Tennessee Yellow DOT Program in 2012. The sponsors of the Senate and House bills, Sen. Jim Tracy (R-Shelbyville) and Rep. Curtis Halford (R-Dyer) joined Commissioner Schroer at today’s launch event in Nashville. “There are more than a million and a half licensed drivers in Tennessee who are over the age of 55 and that number will continue to grow,” said Sen. Tracy. “This program provides a great opportunity for older drivers to update their medical information and have a voice in their emergency treatment.” Rep. Halford added, “The Yellow DOT program doesn’t just save time at the scene of a crash, it can also improve communication between field personnel and hospital emergency staff. I urge senior drivers to take advantage of this free service.” While the program is geared towards senior drivers, it can be beneficial for anyone with medical issues. There is no cost associated with signing up for the program. For more information about the program, please visit http://www.tdot.state.tn.us/yellowdot/. A listing of Yellow DOT sign-up locations can be found athttp://www.tdot.state.tn.us/yellowdot/docs/YDP-EnrollmentSites.pdf.
TDEC Seeks Environmental Achievers
The Department of Environment and Conservation is inviting Tennesseans to submit nominations for the Governor’s 2014 Environmental Stewardship Awards. The awards recognize Tennesseans who go above and beyond to protect the state’s diverse environment. “Our communities take important steps to conserve and protect natural resources, and we recognize those contributions to Tennessee’s economy and overall sustainability,” Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam said. “Each category, from environmental education and outreach to sustainable performance, is critical in protecting the air, land and water of our state.” The Governor’s Environmental Stewardship Awards cover 10 categories: Building Green; Clean Air; Energy and Renewable Resources; Environmental Education and Outreach (business category); Environmental Education and Outreach (school category); Land Use; Materials Management; Natural Heritage; Sustainable Performance and Lifetime Achievement. Any individual, business, organization, educational institution or agency is eligible, provided they are located in Tennessee and projects were completed during the 2013 calendar year. All nominees must have a minimum of three consecutive years in overall environmental compliance with the Department of Environment and Conservation. Self-nominations are encouraged. “The environment significantly impacts our daily lives and Tennesseans continue to make great strides in protection and preservation,” Environment and Conservation Commissioner Bob Martineau said. “These annual awards recognize the hard work of the people and organizations striving to increase stewardship efforts across the state.” A panel of judges representing agricultural, conservation, forestry, environmental and academic professionals will select award recipients based on criteria including on-the-ground achievement, innovation and public education. The deadline for nominations is March 31, 2014. Award recipients will be announced in May 2014. For more information about each category, judging criteria and nomination forms, visit TDEC’s website at http://www.tn.gov/environment/gov-awards.shtml.
Reminder: Utility scam making rounds
The City of Oak Ridge Utilities and Billing Office wants you to be aware that there is a utility scam active in the area. As we reported a couple of weeks ago, the scammer calls a customer and informs them that their payments are behind schedule and that disconnection is pending. The caller is told that they must provide payment in order to avoid disconnection. Payments by credit or debit cards are accepted over the phone or by a person coming by the home or business. Additionally, in some cases, the callers are using a modified Caller ID., so that the call appears to come from the utility. Utility officials remind customers that they do not call people regarding disconnect, instead notifying them by mail only. Additionally, all City Utility personnel and contractor personnel carry identification and drive either City vehicles or vehicles labeled “Grid One Services.” Finally, customers can check on the status of their account either on line or by calling 865-425-3400.
Roane man freezes to death inside house
An elderly Roane County man was found dead in his home Tuesday after he fell through the floor of his ramshackle home and froze to death. According to Rockwood Police, 85-year-old Ray Knight lived alone in his home on Elm Street and was reclusive, never allowing anyone to help him. Someone checked on him Sunday and Monday during the bitter cold snap and he was fine but on Tuesday, Knight was found trapped up to his armpits in the floor, which was described as being in very poor condition. The coroner’s report indicates he died of hypothermia. Knight was a former postmaster and commander of the American Legion.
ORFD receives top state honor for prevention efforts
(City of Oak Ridge) The Oak Ridge Fire Prevention Office has been named Tennessee Fire Educators of the Year for 2013, officials said Wednesday. The department was nominated by Oak Ridge Fire Department Chief Darryl Kerley in “recognition of the outstanding efforts put forth by the Fire Prevention staff this year,” a press release said. Oak Ridge officials were notified of the honor by the State Fire Marshal’s office. “The nomination was selected above all others from across the state, recognizing the tremendous education and outreach efforts accomplished by the Oak Ridge Fire Department,” said Assistant Commissioner Gary West of the Fire Prevention Division in the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance. The Oak Ridge Fire Prevention Office is managed by Assistant Fire Chief Josh Waldo and consists of several areas of service, the press release said. Building construction plans review and commercial inspections are performed by state licensed inspectors from the ORFPO. School public education programs are developed by several talented employees, such as Capt. Jason Benjamin, staff videographer and producer; school program presenter Shane Bass; dancer Austin Keathley, who plays the role of Sparky the Fire Dog; audio/video technical coordinator Scott Prosise; and several other supporting staff members working in conjunction with the on-duty firefighters who provide more than 3,000 school children with annual public education programs in October of each year. In addition to inspections and public education, the office provides home escape planning along with the installation and maintenance of home smoke alarms through a program supervised by Capt. Carver Lovely. All of these individuals working along with the fire suppression staff provide exceptional public safety efforts in conjunction with the State Fire Marshal’s efforts to reduce fire deaths in Tennessee, the release said. The prevention office staff has been invited to attend the awards banquet scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 25, at the Tennessee Fire Service and Codes Academy in Bell Buckle, Tennessee. For more information, visit www.oakridgetn.gov.
New TN Blue Book dedicated to Summitt
(Secretary of State) In her 38 years coaching the University of Tennessee Lady Volunteers basketball team, Pat Summitt received hundreds of honors. Her teams won more than 1,000 games, 32 Southeastern Conference championships and eight national championships. Her players who completed their playing eligibility at UT had a 100 percent graduation rate. And since being diagnosed with early onset dementia a little over two years ago, she has led a foundation that has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to fund Alzheimer's research. For all of those reasons and more, the next edition of the Tennessee Blue Book is being dedicated to Coach Summitt. "Coach Summitt has been an inspiration to countless Tennesseans first as a basketball coach and more recently as a strong advocate for Alzheimer's research," Secretary of State Tre Hargett said. "I am pleased that the next edition of the Tennessee Blue Book will pay tribute to her legacy."
"As a proud Tennessean, I am honored to be recognized in the Tennessee Blue Book," Coach Summitt said. "I'm grateful for the support I have always felt throughout the state of Tennessee and now for The Pat Summitt Foundation. I'm proud to call Tennessee my home!" The Tennessee Blue Book, published every two years, is the definitive manual on Tennessee state government, with detailed information about all three branches of government, including biographies of all members of the Tennessee General Assembly. It also contains information on the federal government, Tennessee history, election statistics and much more. The Tennessee Blue Book is published by Secretary of State's office and will be available for distribution soon.
No indictment against snake-handling preacher in Campbell
Campbell County pastor Andrew Hamblin will not face criminal charges after a grand jury decided Wednesday not to indict him. In November, Pastor Hamblin was cited for having animal dangerous to humans after state wildlife agents seized over 50 venomous snakes, including copperheads and rattlesnakes, from Tabernacle Church of God. Hamblin says his congregation uses the snakes as a part of their religion. Following the seizure of the snakes, parishioners and many others rallied around the pastor and called for the snakes to be returned to the church, citing religious freedom. While the grand jury did not indict Hamblin, the church will not get the snakes back. Hamblin said venomous snakes have been used at every Tabernacle Church of God religious service since the seizure and that his congregation plans to continue practicing their religion with the animals. TWRA took the seized snakes to the Knoxville Zoo for care and Wednesday, the Zoo issued a statement that says that 32 of the 53 snakes that were brought to the zoo have died “due to poor body condition caused by anorexia that was a result of severe parasite infestation and overall stress caused by being housed in quarters that were too small.” Most of the surviving 21 snakes are said to be in fair to good condition but have also been exposed to the same pathogens and are at high risk of being infected. Unfortunately, there is no successful treatment for these pathogens, which could be fatal for any other snakes, captive or wild, that were exposed to them. Due to the risk these snakes pose, there is no way they could safely become part of a captive conservation program or be released elsewhere. We are currently assessing the options available to us with our veterinarians."
AP: Ruby Tuesday reports 2Q loss, to close 30 restaurants
(AP) Maryville-based Ruby Tuesday said Wednesday it will close 30 restaurants in the next few months, and said it took a larger loss during its fiscal second quarter. The company will close 27 of the 30 stores during the fiscal third quarter and will close the rest in the fourth quarter. The company has struggled with slower sales and declining profitability and is trying to reposition the Ruby Tuesday chain into a more vibrant brand. The company had 779 Ruby Tuesday and Lime Fresh locations as of Dec. 3. Ruby Tuesday Inc. said it lost $34.4 million, or 57 cents per share, in the latest quarter. Revenue fell 8 percent, to $276.2 million from $300.1 million. The company's results were hurt by closure and impairment charges, costs related to job cuts and restructuring, and other one-time items. The company said it will take $2 million in charges related to restaurant closures in the third quarter, and said it has identified initiatives that should help it cut merchandise costs by $6 million a year. This week’s announcement comes on the heels of 50 jobs being cut at the chain’s corporate headquarters in Maryville late last year as part of efforts to cut costs.
OR schools want to give “Keys” to students
Oak Ridge school leaders announced a new program aimed at preparing students for not only college, but also for the rest of their post-education lives during a Tuesday press conference. The program, called “Keys to College and Career Readiness,” is the result of a survey given last year to businesses, teachers, parents and students, asking what they think the schools need to focus on as far as preparing students for the future. One key ingredient of the program will be basic financial literacy, teaching students how to balance a checkbook, use credit cards, and how to set and stick to a budget. Another aspect of the program will be focused on making sure that all students are reading at or above grade level by the time they enter the third grade. Part of the program will focus on helping eighth graders meet pre-ACT benchmarks, which is part of the larger goal of raising the average composite ACT scores of the district’s high school students to 27, up from 22.6% on the most recent state report card. Part of the program will also bring an ROTC program to Oak Ridge High School, something that it has surprisingly never had. School officials are reportedly working with the US Marine Corps to on that part of the master plan.
Maryville company acquires Colorado firm
A Maryville-based company that provides security, transportation and other services for the US government announced Tuesday that it has expanded by purchasing a Colorado-based company that trains government and law enforcement clients in areas like security and emergency medical care. Vanquish Worldwide was started in 2007 by Service-disabled Marine veteran Eric Barton and provides construction, facility support, security, transportation, information technology and other services for both government and commercial entities. Some of their larger contracts have involved providing the EPA with equipment management and warehouse services and distributing materials to military bases in Afghanistan, just to name two. Terms of the purchase were not disclosed.
(Vanquish Worldwide press release) Vanquish Worldwide is pleased to announce their recent acquisition of Front Range Training and Consulting LLC (FRTC). FRTC is a Colorado-based Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) that was founded by Kevin Cooper, a retired U.S. Marine with considerable experience in the Force Reconnaissance and Diplomatic Security/Marine Security Guard (MSG) community. FRTC has been in business since October 2003, and has quickly and effectively demonstrated that it is a leader in the training industry. An example of FRTC’s dedication to supporting the security of this country is through the development and delivery of Programs of Instruction (POI) for the Department of State’s Anti-Terrorism Assistance (ATA) program. Ongoing training initiatives include Unexploded Ordnance Technician 1 Certification, Tactical Life Saver Training, Law Enforcement Explosive Entry Technician (EET) Training, Advanced Armorer’s Training, and several Special Weapons and Tactics (S.W.A.T.) and Tactical Team Leader Development courses being delivered to numerous local, state, and federal law enforcement officers throughout the country. FRTC’s S.W.A.T. school has been used to stand up entire teams in New Mexico, South Dakota, and Nebraska, and is considered the preferred sustainment training vehicle for agencies in those and other states. Additionally FRTC was selected as a sole source to Securitas USA, one of the world’s largest security providers, as the recipient of a long term contract providing high end weapons and tactical training to operators providing security to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) critical assets throughout the nation. Cindy Cooper has assumed the position of Corporate Manager of Training and Educational Services for Vanquish Worldwide. Cindy has been the Vice President of Operations for FRTC for 10 years and has been instrumental in the growth of the company. She has been the Instructional System Design Team Lead which has produced thousands of hours of FRTC programs and coursework. “I have been very impressed with Vanquish and quickly understood how Front Range would complement and support their customer strategy and direction. In today’s market, the opportunity to bring our teams together creates a tremendous advantage for both organizations,” Kevin Cooper, Vice President of Operations for Vanquish Worldwide, “I am confident that our customers will benefit from services offered by the expanded Vanquish Team.” Both companies have a long history of growth and profitability, share similar philosophies, and a strong vision for future growth and diversity. Training programs and courses offered by FRTC can be found at www.frontrangetraining.com.
Man arrested after beer dispute
An Oak Ridge man was arrested and charged with aggravated assault after he allegedly slashed another man with a knife during a drunken argument about beer money. The incident occurred just before midnight Friday at a home on West Outer Drive and Oak Ridge Police were called to the scene on a report that a man was refusing to leave a woman’s house. During their investigation, officers determined that the 48-year-old suspect identified as John Stewart and the alleged victim Dennis Henderson were both intoxicated when their argument escalated to a physical confrontation that ended with Henderson sustaining what officers referred to a large laceration to his chest. Stewart claims that he used the knife in self-defense but he was arrested and charged with aggravated assault and, as of this morning, remained in custody at the Anderson County Jail on bonds totaling $50,000.
Meth lab found in motel room
Anderson County Sheriff’s deputies seeking to serve outstanding arrest warrants on a man located a meth lab inside a Lake City motel on Monday. Deputies received information that Tommy Joe White was at the Blue Haven Motel on North Main Street in Lake City and arrived there at around 10:15 am. Deputies knocked on the door of room 109 and were given permission by a woman who answered the door to search the room. White was found hiding underneath the bed and taken into custody. While he was being patted down, deputies reported finding drugs and drug paraphernalia on White. An active, one-pot meth lab was found hidden in a backpack between the room’s refrigerator and dresser. In addition to the warrants, White was also charged with initiating the manufacture of meth and the manufacture, delivery or sale of drugs—both felonies—and simple possession of drugs and drug paraphernalia—both misdemeanors. Two women in the room, identified as 53-year-old Sherry Burgess of Lake City and 32-year-old Rockwood woman, were also taken into custody, each charged with initiating the manufacture of meth and with the manufacture, delivery or sale of drugs—again, both felonies. Burgess and White remained in custody at the Anderson County Jail as of this morning.
Fire destroys home, 2 occupants uninjured
Two people escaped without injury early Tuesday morning after a fire broke out in their home in Claxton. The fire was reported at a house in the 110 block of Tobby Hollow Lane at around 4 am and Claxton firefighters responded to the scene. Two occupants of the house got out safely after their grown son, who lives next door, spotted the fire and alerted them. Officials say the cold temperatures made it harder to extinguish the flames, adding that the home is a total loss.
AC Commission OKs school energy upgrades
The Anderson County Commission approved a $9.8 million energy upgrade project at most of the county’s 18 schools. Last month, the Commission approved a 15-year contract with Energy Systems Group for energy conservation measures and related upgrades in the schools as well as a request for the issuance of tax-exempt bonds to fund the project. The project will include upgrading heating and cooling equipment at several schools in addition to an energy audit, lighting upgrades at all of the county schools, the installation of equipment aimed at reducing energy use and more. Energy Service Group and school system officials expect to pay back the money through savings in utility costs and equipment replacement.
(TN Secretary of State) Residents of Tennessee may soon add a new verb to their vocabulary - 'geek.' Public libraries across the state – more than 170 so far – are participating in Geek the Library, a national campaign to raise awareness about the importance of properly funding libraries. The campaign highlights what people are passionate about and how libraries can provide resources to support their pursuits. Geek the Library features local educational material that introduces 'geek' as a verb, and encourages the public to talk about what they 'geek'- whether it's engineering, superheroes, art or other subjects. The public awareness campaign illustrates the fact that everyone is passionate about something (i.e., everyone 'geeks' something) and that the public library has books and other materials about all of those different interests. "This campaign is designed to provoke conversation about the vital role that public libraries and librarians play in our lives," said Secretary of State Tre Hargett. "No matter what your interests are, you can learn more about them at your local library." The campaign features advertising, social networking elements, a website and grassroots community initiatives to draw attention to the need for increased library support. The website www.geekthelibrary.org provides information about how people can get active and support their local libraries. Tennessee libraries will be holding various activities in their communities to promote the campaign. Librarians will be speaking at public meetings, attending local fairs and other civic events, hosting storytelling contests and taking other steps to raise awareness.
CCSO searching for robbery suspect
The Campbell County Sheriff's Office is searching for the suspect in a gas station and convenience store robbery that occurred Thursday night. The Sheriff’s Office says a man entered Big O's Gas Station on General Carl Stiner Highway just after 10 p.m. Thursday night wearing a mask, pulled out a gun and ordered the cashier to give him all the money in the register. The suspect then ran from the store toward Clear Coal Company where deputies believe he got into an early 2000s model white Ford Explorer driven by someone else and fled west on State Highway 63. Anyone with information is asked to call 911 or call the sheriff's office at (423) 562-7446.
ORT: New DOE security contractor gets “commendable” review
(Oak Ridge Today) The new security contractor for the U.S. Department of Energy in Oak Ridge has received a “commendable” rating for its performance protecting federal facilities. National Strategic Protective Services LLC, a joint venture of Triple Canopy Inc. and Securiguard Inc., provides protective force services at the East Tennessee Technology Park, Joe L. Evins Federal Building, and Oak Ridge National Laboratory. “DOE recognized NSPS for its ability to quickly adapt and respond to customer needs while seamlessly assuming responsibility as the Oak Ridge protective force services provider in March 2013,” a press release said. In January 2013, the DOE Oak Ridge Office announced that NSPS had been awarded a $182 million, five-year contract to protect U.S. Department of Energy sites in Oak Ridge, including ETTP, ORNL, the Federal Building, and the rest of the Oak Ridge Reservation, not including the Y-12 National Security Complex. WSI Oak Ridge had provided protective force services in Oak Ridge since 2000, but the company lost that contract as well as a contract to guard Y-12 National Security Complex after three anti-nuclear weapons activists broke into Y-12 on July 28, 2012, cut through three fences in a high-security Protected Area, and vandalized a uranium storage building. The press release said the Oak Ridge sites are some of the U.S. government’s most unique and critical facilities. The three major campuses protected by NSPS conduct multi-program science and technology initiatives on behalf of the DOE and other federal agencies.
ORT: ORPSEF names new director
(Oak Ridge Today) The Oak Ridge Public Schools Education Foundation has named a new director. Jenna Whitney started Jan. 1, the foundation’s board of directors announced this week. Whitney has more than 15 years of general management experience in the professional services industry and the U.S. government. Whitney replaces the foundation’s first director, Lila Metcalf, who has announced that she is leaving the position after almost 10 years with the foundation. She will return full-time to her nursing career. Whitney recently served as a program manager at a defense contracting firm with oversight of more than $59 million in U.S. government contracts, and she has directed a portfolio of engineering and technical support contracts, a press release said. She has worked overseas for the U.S. State Department, managing financial operations and leading strategic and technical initiatives. She serves as PTO Co-President at Woodland Elementary School and as a member of the Oak Ridge Schools Superintendent’s PTO Council. She was a board member of ORPSEF before her selection as director. She is married to Mark Whitney, manager for the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Environmental Management, and they have two children in Oak Ridge schools. Whitney earned a master’s degree in information and telecommunication systems for business from Johns Hopkins University and her bachelor’s degree in foreign language from Thomas Edison State College. She completed the Certified Financial Management Officer Program with the Foreign Service Institute. The Education Foundation, a nonprofit organization founded in 2000, provides funds beyond public tax dollars for education, raising funds through grants and private donations to invest in enhanced educational programming, innovative technology, and state-of-the-art facilities for teachers and students. For more information, see the foundation’s web site at www.orpsef.org.
Brummitt resigns from OS Council
During Thursday’s meeting of the Town Council, Oliver Springs Mayor Chris Hepler asked council members to accept a letter of resignation from Alderman James Brummitt, who has decided to resign his seat on the Council, effective immediately. Brummitt, who also serves as Chairman of the Roane County Commission, had served three terms on the Oliver Springs Town Council. The mayor did not offer any specific reason for Brummitt’s decision to step down, but it's been clear to many observers that he and new City Manager Tina Treece have differed on several policies and procedures since she replaced David Bolling. The city now must appoint a new member representing Ward 6 by the next council meeting in two weeks, according to their city charter. Mayor Hepler asks anyone willing to serve should send a resume to city hall or come by and apply in person. Brummitt did not attend Thursday’s meeting.
ORT: Man cut out of overturned SUV
According to our partners at Oak Ridge Today, a driver had to be cut from his upside-down SUV and taken to the hospital on Thursday morning after he crashed into a guide wire on a utility pole on Old Edgemoor Road, traveled up the wire, and then hit the pole and broke it. The SUV likely went about 10 feet in the air and then fell on its top, crushing the roof, according to the Oak Ridge Fire Department. Electrical lines landed on top of the vehicle, and the Oak Ridge Electric Department was called to turn off the power. The driver was taken to the University of Tennessee Medical Center with a head laceration but did not appear to have any other obvious injuries. Authorities say the man may have had a medical emergency before the crash. The driver, who was disoriented when rescuers arrived, had been headed east on Edgemoor Road in east Oak Ridge a little before 10 a.m. Thursday when he ran off the right side of the road just before Old Edgemoor Road. The Oak Ridge Electric Department reported that the crash interrupted power to the area and side streets.
OS man jailed after domestic incident
An Oliver Springs man was arrested on kidnapping and other charges early Wednesday. 46-year-old Reginald Holland is charged with aggravated domestic assault and aggravated kidnapping in connection with the incident, which occurred early Wednesday at a home on Illinois Avenue. He is accused of locking a woman in a room, hitting and choking her. Officers noted deep red marks on both cheeks and long red marks around the woman’s neck. Holland reportedly told Oak Ridge Police that he had been trying to get the woman to stay and wanted to know why she had been talking to her husband. As of this morning, he remained in custody at the Anderson County Jail on bonds totaling $100,000.
State: 988 died on TN roads in 2013, down from previous year
(TDOSHS) The Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security today announced preliminary figures indicating the state has recorded 988 traffic fatalities in 2013. That’s a 2.7 percent decrease in vehicular deaths on Tennessee roadways last year compared to 2012, when there were 1,015 traffic fatalities. The 2013 traffic fatality numbers include vehicular deaths reported by all Tennessee law enforcement agencies. Last year’s preliminary number of 988 traffic-related deaths in Tennessee represents just the fourth time in 50 years vehicular fatalities have dropped below 1,000. In 2011, there were 937 traffic-related deaths on Tennessee roadways, representing the lowest figure since 1963. “The decline in the number of traffic fatalities in 2013 indicates that Tennessee is moving in the right direction. Our focus on data driven deployment of state troopers to have the maximum impact on DUI and seat belt enforcement is paying off. We have much more work to do, though,” Commissioner Bill Gibbons said. Impaired driving fatalities fell 26.7 percent from 2010 to 2013 in Tennessee. In 2013, preliminary statistics indicate 211 people were killed in alcohol-related crashes across the state (24.1 percent of the total). Tennessee state troopers increased their number of DUI arrests in 2013 to 6,428, a 90.4 percent increase over 2010. Additionally, Tennessee state troopers issued 74,277 seat belt and child restraint device citations in 2013, a 135.1 percent increase from the 31,599 citations issued in 2010. In Tennessee, unrestrained motorists accounted for 48.9 percent (364) of vehicle occupants killed in 2013. Other contributing factors in fatal crashes included speed and distracted driving, with 184 and 167 deaths, respectively. Of concern is the fact that pedestrian fatalities have increased by 25 percent over the past year from 68 in 2012 to 85 in 2013. “In 2014, we will employ a predictive analytics model (C.R.A.S.H.) to look even more closely at where traffic crashes are most likely to occur and deploy our resources, both in educational efforts and enforcement. We hope that this new tool will help reduce serious injury and fatal crashes across the state,” Colonel Tracy Trott said. Preliminary statistics indicate one person has died on Tennessee roadways in 2014, compared to eight at this time last year.
Harriman steel facility to reopen
(Roane Alliance) ArcelorMittal executives announced today the company’s plans to reopen its Harriman facility which closed in 2011 due to poor market conditions. With a goal of being fully operational by April 2014, ArcelorMittal will hire 61 new employees over the next two years in Roane County. Tennessee Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bill Hagerty said “We work hard to help companies locate and expand in our state, but when a company like ArcelorMittal is able to restart its operations, it gives the community a tremendous sense of revival and renewed momentum. I appreciate ArcelorMittal’s commitment to Roane County and its continued investment in our state.”
“This is an exciting development for the ArcelorMittal family and the Harriman region, serving as another indication of the strength and resiliency of American manufacturing and the United States steel industry,” PS Venkataramanan, chief executive officer,
ArcelorMittal Long Carbon North America, said. “We look forward to working with the
United Steelworkers to safely restart the facility and provide an enhanced product offering to our customers. We are especially thankful for the support from the local and state governments, allowing us to once again produce quality steel products in Harriman.” ArcelorMittal will ship billets from its sister facility in LaPlace, La. by rail to the Harriman facility. The billets will be heated and rolled into light structural shapes and merchant bar in the finishing mill. The rolling mill will have an 180,000 ton capacity using a 16 stand in-line bar mill with automatic finishing equipment. The facility will operate in line with market demand and not at full capacity for the foreseeable future.
“Working hard to bring them back, we at the Roane Alliance are very happy of Arcelor
Mittal’s decision. It took teamwork to make this happen and I want to say thanks to all who were involved,” said Darrell Williams, Roane Alliance Vice President of Business Development.
“TVA congratulates ArcelorMittal on restarting their operations at the Harriman facility to add jobs in the Roane County area,” John Bradley, TVA senior vice president of Economic Development, said. “TVA and Harriman Utility Board are pleased to be economic development partners with the state of Tennessee, the Roane Alliance, and other community leaders to assist area companies.”
“It’s a good sign that their industry is bouncing back, and Roane County is fortunate to be in a position to benefit,” Roane County Executive Ron Woody said. “We stand ready to help ArcelorMittal in their restart.”
“What great news!” said State Senator Ken Yager. “One of the world’s largest steel companies has decided to come back to Roane County. It shows a confidence not only in our local economy, but also in our workforce. We appreciate the state and The Roane
Alliance in helping to make this happen.”
Said State Representative Kent Calfee, “For us, this is a big boost for Roane County.
These are good jobs that will make a positive economic impact in our area.”
“ArcelorMittal’s announcement is just the type of news we need here in Roane County,”
Roane Industrial Board Chairman David Webb said. “There’s been good team work from a number of people that we would like to thank for their efforts in this project including the Roane Alliance staff, Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development, TVA and HUB, Norfolk Southern and the Tennessee Career Center.” Job applications will be accepted on behalf of ArcelorMittal Jan. 2 – 9 at the Tennessee
Career Center at Rockwood, located at 1082 N. Gateway Ave., and also on the Tennessee Department of Labor website, www.jobs4TN.gov. An open house will be held at the Tennessee Career Center at Rockwood on Jan. 9 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. to allow interested parties to learn more about the company and its operations. ArcelorMittal is the world's leading steel and mining company, with a presence in more than 60 countries and an industrial footprint in over 20 countries. Guided by a philosophy to produce safe, sustainable steel, they are the leading supplier of quality steel in the major global steel markets including automotive, construction, household appliances and packaging, with world-class research and development and outstanding distribution networks.
BCSO nabs Dollar General robbery suspect
(BCSO) Blount County Sheriff James Lee Berrong announced today the suspect from the Dollar General robbery is in custody in Kansas. James Cramin Meacham, III, 39 was taken into custody by the Topeka Police Department Wednesday afternoon. He will be extradited back to Blount County. Blount County Sheriff’s Office detectives received information that Meacham fled to Topeka following the robbery of the Dollar General store on Sam Houston School Road December 22nd. Working with information from the Blount County Sheriff’s Office, police officers with the Topeka Police Department located Meacham and took him into custody without incident Wednesday afternoon. Upon his return to Blount County, Meacham will be served with a warrant for aggravated robbery. He also has two outstanding warrants for failure to appear and one outstanding warrant for violation of parole. On the evening of December 22nd, Meacham entered the Dollar General on Sam Houston School Road and demanded money from the store clerk, then lifted his shirt and showed her the butt of a handgun in his waistband. Meacham took the money out of the cash register and fled on foot, and was seen getting into a 1980s brown or maroon sedan. Through the course of the investigation, detectives identified Meacham as the Dollar General robber. Within a two day period, the Blount County Sheriff’s Office responded to two robberies, the Dollar General robbery on December 22nd, and the Ian’s Market robbery on December 24th. Detectives solved both crimes. Micah Lee Sherwood, 24, was taken into custody at his home on Arrowhead Drive on December 27th and was charged with aggravated robbery, aggravated kidnapping, and unlawful possession of a firearm. “We’d like to thank the public for their assistance in helping us locate these two robbery suspects,” Sheriff Berrong said. “Due to the hard work of our detectives and the Topeka Police Department, as well as tips that we received from the public, we were able to locate and arrest these two suspects very quickly. We appreciate everyone’s assistance with this case.”
BCSO seeks robbery suspect
The Blount County Sheriff’s Office is asking for the public’s assistance in locating the suspect who was identified as the man who robbed the Dollar General on Sam Houston School Road on December 22nd. The Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigation Division has a warrant for the arrest of James Cramin Meacham, III, 39. The warrant is for aggravated robbery. Meacham also has two outstanding warrants for failure to appear and one outstanding warrant for violation of parole. Meacham’s last known address is 1279 East Harper Avenue, Maryville. Meacham is wanted in connection with the robbery of a store clerk at the Dollar General on Sam Houston School Road on the evening of December 22nd. The store clerk told deputies a man approached the counter and demanded money from the cash register. He told her not to scream, and then lifted his shirt to show her the butt of a handgun in his waistband. He took the money out of the cash register and fled on foot in an unknown direction, and was seen getting into a 1980s brown or maroon sedan. Through the course of the investigation, detectives identified Meacham as the man who robbed the store. If anyone has any information regarding the whereabouts of James Cramin Meacham, III is asked to call the Criminal Investigation Division during normal business hours at (865)273-5001, Blount County Dispatch at (865)983-3620, the 24 hour anonymous crime hotline at (865)273-5200, or you may leave a tip on the Text-a-Tip link through the Sheriff’s Office website at www.bcso.com.
Fire damages home, injures none
A fire Monday night fire burned through the roof of a home behind the Bread Box convenience store on Edgemoor Road in Claxton. The fire occurred at a home on South Dogwood Road and was reported at about 6:45 p.m. Monday. The call came in initially as a kitchen fire, but the blaze extended into the attic and burned through the roof, causing extensive damage. Before firefighters arrived, a neighbor kicked open a door after hearing what sounded like a cry for help and freed a trapped cat. Claxton firefighters were aided by personnel from Rural/Metro, the Andersonville, Marlow, Medford, and Briceville fire departments as well as Anderson County EMS and the Anderson County Sheriff’s Department. The American Red Cross also responded to help the residents. No injuries were reported.
Shed, motorcycle destroyed in fire
A storage shed was destroyed along with a motorcycle Monday night in the Marlow community. The call came in shortly before 7 pm and crews responded to 397 Marlow Road, where they found the building in flames. The structure and a 1985 Yamaha motorcycle were destroyed in the fire, the cause of which is undetermined.
New rules, new bling for groping suspect
A Greenback man accused of fondling a teenager at the Panera Bread restaurant in Alcoa last month has been ordered to wear an electronic monitoring device by a judge. 59-year-old Bruce William Ruck appeared in court Monday and had his preliminary hearing on charges of sexual battery and indecent exposure rescheduled for February 10th. Ruck is accused of groping a 16-year-old girl at the restaurant in late November and is currently free on bond with several restrictions on his movements. He will report to the county probation office on January 15th to be fitted with the device, which is expected to be able by then through a new program. A judge had previously restricted his movements outside his home to his job, his attorney’s office, court and the probation office but Monday, was also permitted to travel to doctors’ appointments and church. He must provide the probation office with notice when he intends to travel to any of the permitted places.
ORT: Dragon boat races coming to OR
(From Oak Ridge Today) The three Rotary clubs of Oak Ridge are planning to launch the inaugural Oak Ridge Dragon Boat Festival on Saturday, May 31, 2014, at the Oak Ridge Marina and Pavilion in Melton Lake Park. In addition, the clubs have announced a new website for the Oak Ridge Dragon Boat Festival: http://oakridge.racedragonboats.com/. The boat-racing event, launched by OARS in the Water, will celebrate Oak Ridge’s waterfront and signature rowing venue. OARS stands for the Oak Ridge Association of Rotarians. The other two clubs are the Oak Ridge Breakfast Rotary and Oak Ridge Sunset Rotary clubs. A dragon boat is a long, low boat adorned with a snarling dragonhead at the boat’s front end, as in the Chinese tradition. Dragon boat races have become popular events in many U.S. cities, ranging in size from Philadelphia and San Francisco to Knoxville and Owensboro, Ky. This all-day Dragon Boat Festival race will be an entertaining competition among teams of 22 people each: 20 paddlers, a drummer (who keeps the beat to synchronize the paddlers’ strokes), and a steerer (provided by the contractor in charge of the races). The teams of 21 volunteers each will come from community employers and organizations, many of which are signing up to become corporate sponsors of the event. The goal of OARS in the Water is to turn this inaugural boat race into an annual fundraising festival that will build up the Oak Ridge Rotary Community Fund, a nonprofit organization, and meet needs in the community in legacy projects, and in educational, children’s, and health programs. A typical dragon boat race course is 150 meters, or 164 yards—about one and two-thirds of a football field. “All proceeds from the event will stay in the Oak Ridge area,” said Tony Jordan, president of the Oak Ridge Sunset Rotary Club. “The funds will support literacy projects, science fairs, musical organizations, and local nonprofit service organizations such as the Free Medical Clinic, Boys and Girls Club, Girls Inc., and Children’s Museum.” Event sponsorship levels are $1,000, $2,500, and $5,000. The entry fee for one dragon boat team is $750. “This festival should be a great event that brings the community together for fun while raising funds to benefit the community,” said Austin Lance, president of the Oak Ridge Breakfast Rotary Club. The organizing committee includes members of all three Rotary clubs, and the leaders are Jim Sumner, Keith Kahl, and Leslie England. For more information, contact England at email@example.com or (865) 318-1910.
Lawsuit filed by former shelter employee
A former employee of the Campbell County Animal Shelter has filed a lawsuit against the county government asking for her job back, or $100,000. In the suit, Brenda Watkins says she complained in April of 2013 of inhumane treatment of animals housed at the shelter, which is owned and maintained by the Campbell County government, claiming that she saw dogs and cats being improperly euthanized, some she said that were still breathing when placed in a freezer, among other accusations of animal mistreatment. Watkins said she was placed in administrative leave and later fired for her refusal to participate or remain silent about her allegations. The lawsuit claims the county government and its employees violated the Non-Livestock Animal Humane Death Act. Watkins says she wants to be returned to her position with the shelter, or if that is not practical, be awarded compensatory damages not to exceed $100,000. The Adrion Baird Animal Center was closed by the county government in April after a number of allegations against director Betty Crumley's actions, including that she unnecessarily euthanized animals, were made. Crumley resigned and the shelter reopened in August under new management. A Campbell County grand jury decided not to file charges against Crumley following a TBI investigation into the claims, saying that no wrongdoing was found at the shelter.
TWRA: Blount man charged with hunting from vehicle
A Blount County man, already facing charges of illegal bear hunting earlier this year, was arrested for allegedly shooting at a large deer from his vehicle Monday, state wildlife officials said. 23-year-old Christopher Caughron of Maryville is accused of shooting at the large buck as a Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency officer happened upon the scene, according to a TWRA news release. TWRA Sgt. Joe Durnin spotted the deer while driving along Pellissippi Parkway and pulled onto a side road to take a closer look. “After exiting the parkway and onto Hunter Valley Lane, a shot from a high-power rifle was fired in his direction as he was driving by,” the release states. Durnin was able to photograph the suspect’s vehicle as the driver fled. The officer chased the suspect until he pulled over and surrendered at the intersection of Northshore Drive and Ebenezer Road. A TWRA officer and K-9 searched the area for the deer, but were unable to locate the animal or a blood trail. Earlier this year, Caughron was charged with killing a 400-pound black bear in a baited area in Blount County the night before the season started. And his hunting license currently is revoked in Illinois, according to TWRA. Caughron has been charged with felony evading arrest, felony reckless endangerment, hunting on revoked privileges, hunting from a motor vehicle and hunting from a public road. A passenger with Caughron in the vehicle has not been charged.
3 arrested at Blount storage unit
Three men were charged with burglary of a building after attempting to break into storage units at the Foothills Market and Deli on Montvale Road in Maryville Sunday afternoon. Deputies received a call from a citizen who said she saw three men walking around the storage units trying to get in, hiding behind the units to hide when cars came by. When deputies arrived, they reported finding three locks cut and lying in front of the units, along with the suspects inside one of those units, which had been partially emptied. 20-year-old Robert Tyler Pavey of Rockford told deputies that he and the two other suspects—24-year-old Christopher Eugene Johnson of Seymour and 22-year-old Walter Robert Callahan of Maryville—had walked from a home on New Blockhouse Road in Maryville and were looking for a place to break in. The trio was taken to the Blount County Jail without incident and each is being held on $5000 bonds pending a court appearance Friday. .
Only one site for driver-related services in TN
(TDSHS) The Driver Services Division of the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security wants to remind drivers that the only web site for driver license/ID renewals is the state’s official site, TN.gov. Other Web sites that offer driver-related services, such as renewal assistance, non-certified driving history, and practice tests for a fee are not affiliated with the State of Tennessee. The Driver Services division receives many calls from citizens who went to one of these sites, entered a credit card and received a document that contains the same information that is available for free at the the Driver Services Web site. “We want to get the word out that it is not necessary to buy a guide or other materials to be able to renew online,” said Assistant Commissioner Lori Bullard. “We offer online services and a free iPhone/iPad practice test app right here on TN.gov because it offers the most convenience for our customers.” In addition to renewals, TN.gov is also the official source for ordering a duplicate license/ID, getting a certified copy of your driving record, and paying reinstatement fees. The suite of Driver Services and mobile app was developed by NIC, Inc., Tennessee’s eGovernment partner since 2000.
Parents receiving info on online safety in mail
As part of a joint effort between the Anderson County District Attorney’s Office, the Sheriff’s Department and the three school systems within the county’s borders, parents of students in the 5th through 10th grades are receiving information in the mail on how to keep their children safe online. Letters have been sent to parents of students in the county school system as well as the city systems in Clinton and Oak Ridge over the past couple of weeks and more are also being sent. Included in the mailing is information for parents on how to talk to their kids about being safe online and avoiding sexual predators. The letter also talks about ways to broach the topic of “sexting”—the sharing of explicit photos via cell phone—with children and also updates parents on what local authorities are doing to help keep their children safe. Some of those new strategies include a deputy who has been specially trained in how to spot, locate and arrest online predators and new computer software that aids in those efforts. For more information, visit www.deletepredators.com.
Blount authorities nab robbery suspect
Blount County deputies arrested the suspect in connection to a Christmas Eve robbery at a Maryville convenience store. The Blount County Sheriff's Office says 24-year-old Micah Lee Sherwood was taken into custody at his home at around 10:30 a.m. Friday. He is accused of robbing a store clerk at gunpoint at Ian's Market on Morganton road early Tuesday morning and is facing charges of aggravated robbery, aggravated kidnapping, and unlawful possession of a firearm. He is being held in the Blount County Jail pending a court appearance next week.
1 killed, 3 hurt in Saturday wreck
The Blount County Sheriff's Office says that a 73-year-old Maryville woman was killed and three others were hurt Saturday morning in a two-vehicle accident on Highway 321 (W Lamar Alexander Parkway) in Blount County. The BCSO says 73-year-old Virginia Allison turned left onto 321 from Endsley Quarry, directly into the path of an oncoming vehicle, both of which ended up in the median following a collision. The driver of the second vehicle, 47-year-old Yvonne Hall of Covington, Virginia, and one of her passengers, a 16-year-old, were flown by Life Star to UT Medical Center. Another passenger in Hall’s vehicle, 18-year-old Bailey Hall, also of Covington, Virginia, was taken by ambulance to the hospital. Authorities said both drivers were wearing their seat belts; however, neither of Hall’s passengers had theirs on. Allison died in the wreck and the other three people involved are said to be recovering at the hospital. Blount County Sheriff's Office, Rural/Metro, Friendsville Volunteer Fire Department, Blount County Fire Department responded to the crash.
Open letter to Briceville students
(CCWF) Have you decided what to do with the rest of your life? We suggest you get involved in the Coal Creek Scholars Program. Let us help you go to college just as we did for Briceville students shown below and as described in the Clinton Courier News article at http://www.coalcreekaml.com/newsCour122913.pdf . Trust us… If they can graduate from high school and go to college to become prosperous members of society, then so can you. It’s easy, just volunteer on our community service projects as described at www.coalcreekaml.com, and complete an essay on “Improving the Quality of Life in the Coal Creek Watershed” when you are a high school senior. In return for receiving college scholarship money from us, you must agree to serve as a mentor to current Briceville students at our annual Coal Creek Scholars Day event. Why would you want to go to college? An individual with a college degree will likely make a million dollars more during his or her career than an individual with only a high school diploma. The best part will come when your former teachers at Briceville School parade you in front of current students as a role model at a future Scholars Day event! So what are you waiting on? You’re burning daylight! Contact us for more details.
State: Winning lottery ticket sold in Maryville
For the third time this month, there's a winner for the Tennessee Cash jackpot. This time, the lucky Tennessee Cash player is from Maryville and won $280,000 in Friday night's jackpot drawing. Additional information about the Maryville winner will be available when the prize is claimed, according to lottery officials. Proceeds from sales of Tennessee State Lottery tickets, currently averaging over $6.3 million per week, fund specific education programs, including college scholarships and after-school programs. The Lottery has raised more than $2.8 billion for these programs since ticket sales began in January, 2004.
ORT: 2 fires in 2 days
A fire destroyed a home on Hoskins Gap Road at about 7 a.m. Friday, but no injuries were reported. The home was fully engulfed in flames when firefighters from Oliver Springs and Marlow arrived. Anderson County Emergency Medical Services and the Sheriff’s Department also responded to the scene. Two people were reported to have escaped the fire, which was apparently started by a wood-burning stove. Residents were safely evacuated, but a home and car were heavily damaged by a Saturday evening fire in Oliver Springs. The fire was reported at about 7:35 pm Saturday at 446 Oak Circle. A car parked near the house suffered major damage. The OSVFD requested and received mutual aid from the Marlow, Blair, and Oak Ridge fire departments. Firefighters were on the scene for about three hours.
ORT: Watson one of four finalists for Texas gig
(Oak Ridge Today) Oak Ridge City Manager Mark Watson is one of four finalists for a similar job in one of the fastest-growing cities in Texas and officials there could hire someone near the end of January. Jon Branson, one of two assistant city managers in Pearland, Texas, said the City Council is tentatively scheduled to conduct some final interviews on or around Jan. 25, and officials hope to have a decision shortly afterward. Pearland’s current city manager, Bill Eisen, is retiring at the end of the month after 12 years. Branson will be the interim city manager starting Jan. 1, and he will serve until the Pearland City Council hires a new city manager. Branson said Pearland, which is near Houston, was the second fastest-growing city in Texas between 2001 and now, and the 15th fastest-growing in the nation, according to the 2010 census. The population grew from roughly 40,500 in 2001 to just more than 108,000 now. The growth may not be as rapid in the next five years, but officials do expect a steady increase. During an end-of-year interview on Friday, Watson, who has worked in Oak Ridge since August 2010, said it’s too early to say whether he would accept the Pearland position if it is offered to him. “I’m content here in Oak Ridge, and we’ve got a lot of great things to accomplish,” said Watson, who described himself as a change agent. Watson said there is a nationwide shortage of city managers and a lot of contact between recruiting firms and potential candidates. Watson has a son Travis who lives in Houston, and he’s managed cities in Texas and Arizona, as well as in Montana. Watson has a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Kansas and is now pursuing a doctorate. When he was hired in Oak Ridge, he was the top pick from a pool of 82 candidates.
Follow-up: ORPD releases more on failed ATM heist
We now have more information on the Christmas morning attempt to steal money from an ATM in east Oak Ridge. Oak Ridge Police say that the attempted theft caused extensive damage to a Y-12 Federal Credit Union automated teller machine at 467 Oak Ridge Turnpike near the KARM Thrift Store and Tractor Supply Co. Oak Ridge Police say that first, the as-of-yet-unidentified culprits tried to knock the ATM off its concrete stand with a pickup stolen from nearby Waste Connections to no avail. Then they took a Bobcat dozer from Waste Connections and demolished the machine, which tipped over while headed for a nearby field, where the Bobcat and the unopened safe were found in a small ditch. Authorities were first called to the scene at around 6 am and the attempted theft is believed to have occurred several hours before. As of yet, no suspects have been identified and the Oak Ridge PD asks anyone with information to get in touch with them. Although no money was taken from the ATM, damage to that machine, the Bobcat and the pickup was estimated at over $50,000.
THP IDs man found on I-40 in Roane
(THP) The Tennessee Highway Patrol (THP) has released the identity of the man whose body was found early Christmas morning on Interstate 40 in Roane County. THP Criminal Investigators have identified the man as 42-year-old Brian William Taylor of Heath Springs, South Carolina. Taylor is described as a white male and when he was found, was wearing blue jeans, a blue and white checked flannel type shirt, and tan work boots. The Tennessee Highway Patrol’s Criminal Investigation Division is investigating every possible scenario, including foul play. On December 25 at 2:29 a.m., THP dispatchers received a call that a body of a white male was found on the eastbound lanes of I-40 at mile marker 364. The preliminary investigation indicated the man either jumped or fell from a moving vehicle and his body was then struck by at least one other vehicle. Citizens with any knowledge of Mr. Taylor, or who have any information that may assist with this investigation, are urged to contact the Tennessee Highway Patrol Knoxville District Headquarters at 865-594-5800. This incident remains under investigation.
WBIR: Fire destroys OS house, residents uninjured
Two people escaped a house fire without injury Friday morning in Anderson County. The Marlow Volunteer Fire Department responded to the fire on Hoskins Gap Road near Oliver Springs at about 7:30 am. Two people were inside the residence when the wood burning stove caught the home on fire. Officials say the fire completely destroyed the home. Personnel from the Oliver Springs and Blair Volunteer Fire Departments assisted with the call.
OR man facing charges in 2 NC traffic deaths
The North Carolina Highway Patrol says an Oak Ridge man has been charged in the deaths of an Alabama couple killed as they changed a tire along Interstate 40. Authorities identified the 66-year-old victims as George and Carol Kittle of Hollytree, Ala. Investigators say the couple was almost done changing the tire when a truck sideswiped their truck and hit them early Tuesday, throwing them 100 feet from the point of impact. The accident occurred in the westbound lanes of I-40 at the Catawba County line. Harvey Lee Stevens Jr. of Oak Ridge told officers that he briefly saw someone in a vest and knew right away that he had hit something. Stevens said that he got out of his truck and walked back to the crash scene, from where he called 911. Stevens is facing two counts of misdemeanor death by vehicle.
ORT: Fail! ATM thieves bite off more than they can chew
(Oak Ridge Today) A brazen attempt to steal money from an ATM in east Oak Ridge appears to have gone awry early Christmas morning and ended with a Bobcat tipped over on its side next to a safe that had apparently not been opened. The attempted theft caused extensive damage to a Y-12 Federal Credit Union automated teller machine at the small shopping center that includes the KARM Thrift Store and Tractor Supply Co. ATM debris was scattered in a grassy field behind the drive-through and muddy tracks led a few hundred feet away to the tipped-over Bobcat and the square safe, which appeared to have a chain wrapped around it. The Bobcat tipped over in a small ditch on Bogola Road. Besides the ORPD, representatives from Y-12 Federal Credit Union, Waste Connections, and an automated teller machine company were at the scene at about 9:30 a.m. Wednesday. The attempted theft was believed to have occurred several hours earlier. Officials said this type of theft is not unprecedented but unusual for this area. The ATM debris had been cleaned up by Wednesday afternoon.
THP Investigating body on I-40
The Tennessee Highway Patrol is investigating a fatal incident on Interstate40 in Roane County. On December 25 at 2:29 a.m., THP dispatchers received a call that the body of a white male believed to be in his early 40’s had been found along side the eastbound lanes of I-40 at mile marker 364. State Troopers, Criminal Investigations Agents, along with members of the Critical Incident Response Team, were dispatched to the scene. The preliminary investigation indicates the man either jumped or fell from a moving vehicle and his body was then struck by at least one other vehicle. There were no vehicles found in the vicinity of the victim. The body was taken to the medical examiner’s office and identification is pending. The Tennessee Highway Patrol is asking anyone with information pertaining to this case to please contact the Tennessee Highway Patrol Knoxville District Headquarters at 865-594-5800. This incident remains under investigation. As additional information is received, it will be released to the media.
Blount church hit by thieves
Late Saturday night or early Sunday morning, at least one person broke into the Faithway Fellowship Church on Sevierville Road in Blount County by opening the deadbolt lock on a back door. Inside were thousands of dollars worth of electronics, including a computer with hundreds of past sermons, and musical equipment. Church leaders asked the culprit or culprits to return the stolen items adding that they would be forgiven. If you have information on the burglary contact the BCSO tip line at (865) 273-5200 or text a tip through BSCO.com.
BCSO seeks robbery suspect
Blount County Sheriff James Lee Berrong is asking for the public’s assistance with information regarding an armed robbery that occurred Sunday evening at the Dollar General Store on Sam Houston School Road. Sheriff’s deputies responded to the Dollar General on Sam Houston Road and Old Knoxville Highway shortly after7 p.m. Sunday to the report of an armed robbery that just occurred. A store employee advised deputies that a man approached the register and demanded the money from the cash register. He told her not to scream, and lifted his shirt and showed off the butt of a gun in his waistband. He took the money from the cash register and fled on foot in an unknown direction. A Sheriff’s Office K-9 unit responded and began a track. Deputies received information that the man got into the driver’s side of 1980’s brown or maroon sedan, possibly a Chevrolet Monte Carlo or Caprice, in the parking lot of Dollar General and headed east on Sam Houston School Road. The man is described as a white male in his 20s or 30s, 5 feet 6 inches to 6 feet in height, 180 pounds, dark balding hair, and a dark beard and moustache. He was wearing a gray hooded sweatshirt jacket, black T-shirt with a graphic print, jeans, and black tennis shoes. If anyone has any information regarding the identity of this man, or information regarding the robbery, please contact the Sheriff’s Office 24 hour anonymous Crime Hotline at (865)273-5200, Blount County Dispatch at (865)983-3620, or the Text-a-Tip link through the Sheriff’s Office website at www.bcso.com.
Campbell among counties receiving state recycling money
Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation Commissioner Bob Martineau today awarded approximately $2.3 million in Recycling Equipment and Hub / Spoke Grants for FY 2014 projects to help reduce landfill waste in Tennessee. “We are pleased to fund these projects through the state’s Solid Waste Management Fund,” Martineau said. “These grants promote and increase recycling across the state and engage partnerships among counties and municipalities.”
Recycling Equipment Grants
Recycling Equipment Grants may be used to purchase equipment for new recycling programs, improve and expand the operation of an existing site or prepare recyclable materials for transport and marketing. Grants may be awarded to counties, cities, non-profit recycling organizations and solid waste authorities to help reach or exceed the goals set forth in the Solid Waste Management Act of 1991. Each recipient is required to match the state grant on a sliding scale basis. Local matching funds toward these 12 projects total more than $115,213.
Recycling Equipment Grants totaling $238,635 were awarded to:
Recycling Hub and Spoke Grants
The Recycling Hub and Spoke Grants are for the development and expansion of regional facilities to collect, transport and process recyclable material for multiple counties and municipalities. The project purpose is to increase recycling between counties and municipalities by promoting greater regional cooperation. Matching funds are not required for the Recycling Hub and Spoke Grants.
Recycling Hub and Spoke Grants totaling $2,130,100 were awarded to:
More information about Recycling Equipment or Recycling Hub and Spoke grants may be found on the Department of Environment and Conservation’s website at http://www.tn.gov/environment/solid-waste/solid-waste_grants.shtml.
ORT: 189 ORNL workers take VSP
According to our partners at Oak Ridge Today, 189 employees at Oak Ridge National Laboratory will go off the payroll at the end of this month as part of a workforce reduction announced in September. ORNL had received permission to reduce its staff by up to 475 employees, but in September, officials said they hoped they wouldn’t have to make that many cuts. The voluntary separation program, or VSP, was part of the lab’s response to federal budget pressures. ORNL has also implemented other belt-tightening measures during the past few years. “This is never an easy thing to do,” ORNL Communications Director David Keim told ORT on Thursday. “We continue to try to control costs and provide resources focused on our scientific mission.” Keim said the final decision on the VSP was made Dec. 6. Two hundred and twenty workers applied, and 31 applications were rejected. Those who were accepted will go off the payroll by Dec. 31. ORNL has close to 4,500 workers, and it is the U.S. Department of Energy’s largest multidisciplinary science lab.
State one of 7 to receive federal education money
U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan today announced that seven states will receive over $43.4 million to continue efforts to turn around their persistently lowest-achieving schools through the Department's School Improvement Grants (SIG) program. Two of the states -- Arkansas and Kentucky – will receive awards to run a new competition for previously unfunded schools; and five states will receive continuation funds for the third year of implementing a SIG model. These states are Missouri, North Carolina; Rhode Island; Tennessee, and Wisconsin.
“When schools fail, our children and neighborhoods suffer,” Duncan said. “Turning around our lowest-performing schools is hard work but it’s our responsibility. We owe it to our children, their families and the broader community. These School Improvement Grants are helping some of the lowest-achieving schools provide a better education for students who need it the most.” School Improvement Grants are awarded to State Educational Agencies (SEAs) that then make competitive subgrants to school districts that demonstrate the greatest need for the funds and the strongest commitment to provide adequate resources to substantially raise student achievement in their lowest-performing schools. Under the Obama Administration, the SIG program has invested up to $2 million per school at more than 1,500 of the country's lowest-performing schools. Early findings show positive momentum and progress in many SIG schools. Findings also show that many schools receiving SIG grants are improving, and some of the greatest gains have been in small towns and rural communities.
States announced today and their grant amounts are:
Man killed trying to cross busy road
A 52-year-old man Knoxville man was killed Saturday night while trying to cross Clinton Highway on foot. Knoxville Police say that Ricky Atchley had been trying to cross the highway near Tremont Drive at around 7:30 pm Saturday when he stepped into the path of a motorcycle ridden by 63-year-old Robert Chastain of Clinton. Atchley died at the scene while Chastain was taken to UT Medical Center for treatment of injuries described as non-life-threatening.
Church damaged, man injured Friday
A man was injured after his flatbed truck slammed into a wall at a church in Maryville on Friday afternoon. Authorities say that the driver of the truck had been headed east on West Lamar Alexander Parkway at around 3 pm Friday when an equipment malfunction caused him to lose control of the vehicle, which crossed over the median and the westbound lanes of traffic before traveling up a hill and slamming into the wall of Foothills Church. No one was in the area of the building that was hit at the time of the accident and the driver of the truck was taken to Blount Memorial Hospital by ambulance for treatment of injuries described as non-life-threatening. In addition to the large hole in the exterior of the building, the church sustained some water damage as the truck also hit a fire suppression line.
Fatal car wreck on ‘Dragon’
A man died as the result of a car accident Thursday on the Dragon in Blount County. The Blount County Sheriff’s Office says that 21-year-old Tiffany Bell had been driving a convertible near mile marker 2 shortly after 11:30 am when the car went off the side of the road, became airborne and collided with a tree before coming to rest. Bell was taken to UT Medical Center with serious injuries and her 69-year-old passenger, Harold Roy Sheely, died at the hospital later that afternoon. Both people in the convertible—the top of which was open—were wearing seatbelts. The cause of the crash remains under investigation.
ACSD investigates home invasion report
The Anderson County Sheriff’s Department is investigating a home invasion robbery reported to them Thursday at a home on Queen Street in Powell. The incident occurred at around 4 am when one of the victims says that her roommate let the suspects, all of whom were said to be wearing ski masks, demanded pain medication and money at gunpoint. The victim said that one of the culprits fired a weapon inside her the home before the suspects left with an undisclosed amount of cash. No one was hurt in the incident.
ORT: More on state audit findings
(Oak Ridge Today) The money spent on a part-time fiscal analyst hired one year ago by Anderson County Mayor Terry Frank was an unauthorized expenditure, a new state report said. The Anderson County Commission had twice denied funding for the position, and the budget account for the position contained no money, said the annual financial report, which was prepared by the county’s Accounts and Budget Office and independent state auditors. The report said the use of county revenues from such sources as taxes, county aid funds, and fines must be approved by county legislative bodies. “Management failed to hold spending to the limits authorized by the County Commission, which resulted in unauthorized expenditures,” said the report, which is available on the Tennessee Comptroller’s website. Frank announced in December 2012, four months after she was first elected, that she had hired local businessman Thomas Shope as a part-time fiscal analyst as part of a campaign pledge to audit the county’s books and look for efficiencies. Since then, in the fiscal year that ended June 30, the county had spent $22,740 in salaries on the position, using money from the county’s Accounting and Budgeting category—“despite denial of the appropriation for this salary by the County Commission,” the report said. When commissioners rejected funding for the second time this May, some said they weren’t satisfied with the results they had seen—or hadn’t seen—from Shope’s work. Some also weren’t happy about the amount paid to Shope, and the request to approve a budget change to pay him after the money had already been spent. Phillips said then that the county commission’s decision meant his budget would be overspent in its part-time code, but his overall budget would not be. In their response to the state financial report, which was submitted to the county in November, Frank and Phillips acknowledged that a payroll code was overspent, but they pointed out that the Accounts and Budgets code was not overspent. In response, the auditors said it is still the county commission’s authority to approve or deny transfer requests that are brought before them, regardless of cost-savings measures that have been put into place. The auditors told Frank and Phillips that the issue addressed in the finding related to the part-time fiscal analyst “deals with an appropriation transfer request for a position within the office responsible for maintaining budget records for all departments; the budgetary account for the position contained no appropriation whatsoever; and the budget transfer request was specifically denied twice by the County Commission,” the report said. “In our opinion, these factors merited a…finding.” The Comprehensive Annual Financial Report for Anderson County for the fiscal year that ended June 30 is available here. You can also read more about this by visiting www.oakridgetoday.com.
Man dies in wreck in Park
(GSMNP) At approximately 2:30 p.m. on Thursday December 19, the driver of a 2006 Toyota Avalon, Frank T. Lohmann, died as a result of injuries suffered in a two vehicle collision on Little River Road approximately 3 miles east of the Townsend Wye. Lohmann, age 83, of Maryville, TN was traveling westbound on Little River Road when his car ran off the roadway into the river after colliding with a 2001 Ford F-250 truck traveling eastbound driven by Brett Adams, age 34, of Louisville, TN. Lohmann’s vehicle landed upside down in the river. Bystanders witnessed the collision and were able to pull the unconscious Lohmann from the submerged vehicle and haul him up the 30-foot embankment to the road shoulder, where he was declared dead on scene upon arrival of emergency services personnel. The cause of the collision is under investigation. Adams, who was not injured, was charged with unsafe operation of motor vehicle and no proof of financial responsibility. There were no passengers in either vehicle. Park Rangers, Rural Metro, and the Townsend Fire Department, including members trained in swift water rescue techniques, responded to the scene.
2 recognized for efforts to help wounded vets
(Submitted) Josh Callihan of Maryville and Buzz Buffington of Clinton have been awarded regional honors by Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing for wounded and disabled veterans—Callihan as Tennessee Valley Region Participant of the Year, Buffington as Tennessee Valley Region Volunteer of the Year. Both men have been active since the start of the year-old Knoxville Chapter of PHWFF, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the emotional and physical rehabilitation of wounded and disabled military veterans through fly fishing. Callihan, the first disabled veteran to sign up for the Knoxville program, has helped PHWFF volunteers understand veterans' needs and has established protocols for volunteers to follow, according to Steve Thompson of Maynardville, program lead for the Knoxville chapter. Callihan also inspired his wife Jessica, another disabled vet, to join the program; has personally recruited other veterans; and has joined Thompson at trade shows and other events where they could meet and recruit veterans. Callihan is currently lead volunteer for a proposed Smoky Mountains fishing tournament for veterans. For his achievements, he was awarded a new Orvis fly rod outfit. Buffington is a longtime member of the Clinch River Chapter Trout Unlimited, a partner organization of the Knoxville Chapter PHWFF. He organized and led the fly tying class for veterans that was the first activity of the Knoxville Chapter as well as a second class this fall. Buffington has long taught the Clinch River Chapter's annual Introduction to Fly Tying course (for details on the 2014 course that starts in January, visit www.crctu.org) and also serves with many organizations working to conserve the environment. Buffington has participated in all of the Knoxville Chapter's fishing events for veterans and regularly takes veterans fishing on his own. He has worked with TVA to ensure that the Clinch River generation schedule would accommodate veterans' fishing events; has worked directly with the PHWFF home office; and has facilitated the participation of Chota Outdoor Gear in providing equipment for PHWFF. For more information about the Knoxville Chapter of PHWFF, please contact Steve Thompson at Stevethefishingguy@gmail.com or (865) 773-3343.
Hunt to seek Juvenile Court seat
(Submitted) Attorney Brian Hunt has announced that he will seek the Office of Anderson County Juvenile Judge. Hunt presently serves as a Judge Advocate General at the rank of Captain in the U.S. Army Reserves and has served as Lake City Municipal Judge since 2006. Hunt grew up in Clinton attending Clinton Elementary School, Clinton Middle School and graduating from Clinton High School in 1996. He later received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Chemistry in 2000 from The University of the South-Sewanee in Tennessee. He graduated from Ohio Northern University Law School in 2003 and began practicing law in 2003. Brian Hunt explained his reasons seeking the Office of Juvenile Judge. “I always wanted to return to Anderson County after completing my education. The Clinton and Anderson County Schools gave me a strong academic foundation for my college and law school education. My law practice has centered on helping families across the county including representing juveniles. Growing up in Anderson County and maintaining a strong connection with the community underlines my desire to serve Anderson County families as their Juvenile Judge.” Hunt, a graduate of the Judge Advocate General School’s in Charlottesville, VA and the United States Army Infantry School in Ft Benning, Ga expressed a concern for the welfare of children across Anderson County. “My experience in Juvenile Court over the past decade has taught me there is not a more important job in local government than the Juvenile Court Judge, who is charged with the protection and care of our children. We have a duty and an obligation to make sure our children are safe. I intend to be responsible and accountable to the taxpayers of Anderson County and accountable to the families that depend on the Court. I promise to work very hard and go the extra mile to serve the citizens of Anderson County,” concluded Hunt. Brian Hunt lives with his wife Betsy in Clinton. They are members of St. Therese Church in Clinton.
K-25 a memory
(DOE/UCOR) The K-25 building, located at the East Tennessee Technology Park, formerly known as the Oak Ridge Gaseous Diffusion Plant, was built in 1943 as part of the Manhattan Project. At the time of the Manhattan Project, K-25 was the world’s largest building under one roof. Thursday, the Department of Energy has successfully completed its largest-ever demolition project. “Today marks a tremendous accomplishment for the American people – advancing our commitment to the safe and complete cleanup of former Manhattan Project sites,” said Deputy Secretary of Energy Daniel Poneman. “While there is still important clean-up work to do, completing the demolition of the K-25 gaseous diffusion building and doing so ahead of schedule and under budget is a testament to the outstanding Oak Ridge workforce.” The K-25 building operated until 1964, producing enriched uranium for defense and commercial purposes. During the past decades, as the facility deteriorated, its demolition was considered among the highest priorities for the environmental cleanup program in Oak Ridge. With the demolition of the K-25 building, only two of the five original gaseous diffusion buildings remain. The K-25 building demolition project began in December 2008, when Bechtel Jacobs Company LLC, completed demolition of the west wing. URS-CH2M Oak Ridge LLC, or UCOR, took over the project in August 2011 and successfully completed demolition of the building’s east wing and north end. Although the K-25 building demolition is complete, the historical significance of the facility will live on. In 2012, the DOE, Tennessee State Historic Preservation, Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, City of Oak Ridge, East Tennessee Preservation Alliance, and other consulting parties finalized a plan that lays out a multi-year plan to commemorate the K-25 complex, which contained more than 500 facilities including the K-25 building. Under the terms of the agreement, the Energy Department will construct a three-story equipment building that recreates a scale representation of the gaseous diffusion technology and contains authentic equipment used in the original facility. The Department’s Office of Environmental Management also agreed to display equipment, artifacts, oral histories, photographs, and videos a K-25 History Center on site. Also, the Department provided a $500,000 grant to preserve the Alexander Inn, a historic structure in Oak Ridge where visiting scientists and dignitaries stayed during their visits to the area.
Students keeping ORPD busy
Wednesday morning, at approximately 7:30 AM, multiple Oak Ridge Police officers responded to 122 Baypath Dr., Oak Ridge, regarding an unruly juvenile. When officers arrived, they met with the mother and older sibling of a 14 year-old juvenile male who had refused to go to school. Officers interviewed the juvenile and noted he was in possession of a tactical load bearing vest. Officers ultimately assisted in transporting the juvenile to the Methodist Medical Center emergency room for an evaluation, as well as coordinating with Juvenile Court authorities and referring the incident to DCS for follow-up. No criminal charges were filed, however the investigation remains ongoing and no further details will be released at this time.
In an unrelated incident, Thursday morning at approximately 8:00 AM, Oak Ridge High School and Alternative School staff advised the Oak Ridge Police Department (ORPD) that an adult male Alternative School student had just departed campus with three juvenile male High School students. ORPD School Resource Officer Sherrill Selby immediately located the vehicle parked in a lot adjacent to the High School and contacted all four students, along with five additional officers who responded to her location. After observing a strong odor of marijuana emanating from the vehicle, all four students were detained for further investigation. Officer Selby ultimately seized several cell phones, drug paraphernalia, controlled substances, a hatchet and a ski mask from the vehicle. The adult male, identified as Devin-Jose Campone, was arrested for simple possession of controlled substances in a school zone, possession of drug paraphernalia in a school zone, possession of a dangerous weapon on school property and contributing to the delinquency of a minor(s). A second juvenile male was arrested for resisting a stop, frisk, halt, arrest or search. The other two juveniles were escorted to the High School administrative offices and released to school officials, who were contacting the juveniles’ parents and referring the incident for administrative disciplinary hearings. The investigation remains ongoing and no further details will be released at this time
ORPD seizes gun, knife in separate incidents
Oak Ridge Police seized weapons from two high school students in separate incidents on Wednesday, including a loaded gun. In the first incident, Oak Ridge Police were called to the Oak Ridge Schools’ Transportation Department on a report that a knife had been confiscated from a high school student after he allegedly threatened one or two students during an argument earlier in the day on the bus. The bus driver took the knife and let everyone involved off at their respective bus stops. Oak Ridge Police say they have identified the suspect and the two victims and that their investigators are working with school officials to identify students who witnessed the incident. While that was under investigation, SRO Sherrill Selby was called to Oak Ridge High School after a 17-year-old boy caused a disturbance while meeting with school officials in a disciplinary meeting. Officers determined that the boy had a gun either on him or in his car and when backup officers arrived, they searched the student’s car, finding a loaded .357 Magnum revolver—that later was determined to be stolen—marijuana packaged for resale and over $950 in cash believed to proceeds from drug sales. The boy was taken to Juvenile Court. Both incidents remain under investigation.
Convicted sex offender to plead
A convicted sex offender from Louisiana who relocated to Blount County has agreed to enter into a plea agreement on charges that he offered his services as an “instructor” to teach a seven-year-old girl how to be a sex slave. Willard Jackson Hendry was convicted in Louisiana in 2003 of indecent behavior with children and was ordered to register as a sex offender, but when he moved to Tennessee four months ago, he failed to do so. Hendry was arrested in June by Blount County Sheriff’s deputies after he contacted an undercover agent via the internet who he thought was the mother of a seven-year-old girl who needed to be “trained.” When a meeting was arranged, Hendry was arrested upon his arrival. A subsequent search of his home turned up illicit photos and other evidence. Hendry is expected to enter a formal plea to charges of possessing child pornography and failing to register as a sex offender on January 6th in US District Court in Knoxville.
Rockwood PD arrests naked woman…at Wal-Mart
Rockwood Police arrested a woman Tuesday night after she was seen hanging out in Wal-Mart naked. Police responded after receiving complaints that the woman was standing in the clothing section of the store naked, having thrown her clothes into a garbage can. The woman was also reported to have tried on some new clothes and a Wal-Mart loss prevention officer reported seeing the woman—later identified as 29-year-old Angelia Mayo—filling up a trash bag and purse with items from the store shelves. Police confronted Mayo, who they reported had slurred speech, poor balance and other indicators of being under the influence. She also reportedly did not know where she was or what day it was. After a female officer arrived to get her back into her original clothes, Mayo was found to be in possession of 36 Xanax pills and admitted to having taken two earlier in the day. She was charged with theft, public indecency, drug possession, public intoxication and with criminal trespassing as she had previously been banned from the store. She was also hit with an escape charge after managing to remove her right hand from her cuffs en route to the jail.
Lawsuit filed over 2012 Clinton accident
An Anderson County man injured last year when a texting teen driver pinned him in between two cars has filed a lawsuit against the girl and her parents in Anderson County Circuit Court. The lawsuit was filed by Carl Bunch of Heiskell and says that he was affixing his new license plate to his vehicle while parked next to the County Courthouse on Broad Street last December 14th when he was hit by a car driven by then-16-year-old Chyan Smiddy of Clinton. He was pinned between the two cars and a woman in his vehicle identified as Jessica Mozingo were both “seriously injured, incurred [large] medical bills and lost employment” as a result of the crash. The lawsuit claims that Smiddy was negligent for because she was speeding and texting while failing to maintain her lane of travel and failing to exercise due care. The lawsuit is seeking a total of $900,000 in damages.
Report: Audit finds Mayor hired analyst without Commission OK
According to the New-Sentinel, a state audit set to be released on Friday contains a critical finding in the Anderson County Accounts and Budget Office. The audit report says that Mayor Terry Frank hired a part-time fiscal analyst at a cost of $30 per hour despite the County Commission twice rejecting budget amendments to fund the position. Tom Shope was hired to conduct fiscal analysis of the county government in November of 2012 and the Commission rejected moves to transfer money for the post in December of that year and in May of this year. The News-Sentinel reports that state auditors wrote that the “deficiency exists because management failed to hold spending to the limits authorized by the County Commission, which resulted in unauthorized expenditures.” Mayor Frank told the paper that those two votes were the only two budget transfers that have been rejected over the past year and a half and that she feels it was done for purely political reasons. Her office’s response to the audit findings indicates that the issue has been corrected and that the accounting office did not overspend its budget thanks to “several concessions and…cost savings measures.”
Gun signs down at Courthouse
Wednesday, signs barring people from carrying guns into the Anderson County Courthouse were removed after a County Commissioner led a charge to do so. Oak Ridge Commissioner Steve Mead has been lobbying for the signs to be taken down for some time and says that after a ban on guns inside the Courthouse enacted in 2007 expired two years later, the signs should have been taken down at that time. Mead is also urging a repeal of a ban on knives in the third-floor courtrooms, saying that the current prohibition contradicts state law that allows knives four inches or less to be carried in public places.
Attic fire damages home, displaces residents
The Clinton Fire Department responded to an attic fire late Wednesday night. The fire was reported at 11:59 pm at 514 Hendrickson Street and Fire Chief Archie Brummitt says that while damage to the home was minimal, the man and woman who live there were displaced overnight due to the electricity having been cut off. The Red Cross assisted the family last night. There were no injuries reported to the residents or to the responding firefighters and the cause of the fire remains under investigation.
Payne AC Chamber Chair for 2014
(Oak Ridge Today) Terry Payne, a program manager at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, has been named board chairman for the Anderson County Chamber of Commerce in 2014. Payne is a research and development, or R&D, program manager at ORNL, where he has been employed for the past 30 years, a press release said. He has managed R&D Programs in the areas of energy management, isotope separation, and environmental management. Payne was instrumental in creating numerous partnerships between ORNL and small businesses that were funded by Small Business Innovation Research, the press release said. Payne received his doctorate from the University of Tennessee in 1992 with an emphasis in the strategic management of technology. He has also received his designation as a registered professional engineer in the state of Tennessee and has numerous publications and national presentations, the release said. Payne is also a Leadership Anderson County and East Tennessee Regional Leadership Association graduate.
Maryville BOE OKs Winstead contract length
Monday the Maryville School Board voted unanimously approved a three and a half year contract for its next director of schools. Assistant Director of Schools Mike Winstead will succeed Director of Schools Stephanie Thompson, who has announced her retirement effective Dec. 31. Winstead was chosen as her successor in September but no contract length had been discussed. The contract will run through June 30th, 2017. The board will enter into contract negotiations with Winstead in the near future.
Gang of thieves steals 3 cars from dealership
An Alcoa car dealer was hit by thieves early Monday morning and now police are searching for them. Surveillance cameras at the Doug Justus Auto Center on Alcoa Highway captured images of six men coming on to the car lot at around 1:40 am Monday. The men arrived in a white van with the name of a plumbing and heating company on the side that authorities have already determined was purchased at an auction. Once they got on to the property, security cameras recorded five men getting out of the back of the van and breaking out the driver’s side windows of three vehicles for sale on the lot. The men stole a blue 2007 Jeep Commander, a blue 2003 Dodge Ram and a white 2005 Mazda Rally and drove all three vehicles off the lot with the van following behind. The total value of the three stolen vehicles was estimated at over $21,000 and the Alcoa PD is continuing its investigation. If you have any information, call the Alcoa Police Department.
Aisin announces expansion of Clinton facility
(Submitted) Tennessee Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bill Hagerty along with Aisin Holdings of America, Inc. executives announced today the company’s plans to invest $53.8 million in Aisin Automotive Casting Tennessee, Inc., a subsidiary operating in Clinton, Tenn. The company’s second major business expansion since locating in Tennessee in 2004 will create 81 new jobs over the next two years in Anderson County. “The strength of Tennessee’s automotive sector is a direct result of the dedication and hard work put forth by the 900 auto manufacturers and suppliers who call Tennessee home,” Hagerty said. “Thriving companies like Aisin recognize the benefits of doing business in our state and continue to take advantage of our prime location and superior business climate. I appreciate Aisin’s decision to further invest in Tennessee and thank the company for its continued confidence in our quality workforce.”
“With the increasing sales of engine components in North America, the role of our plant here in Clinton becomes even more important to the overall business expansion of the Aisin Group,” Stephen Barnes, president of Aisin Automotive Casting Tennessee, Inc., said. “The dedication of our team members along with the continued support from the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development and TVA has provided this opportunity for Aisin to continue another stage of growth here in Anderson County.”
Occupying a 524,000 square foot facility in the Interstate 75 Industrial Park in Clinton, Aisin currently employs a 595 member team. The additional equipment investment will support both increased customer demand and new products secured for future models.
The Clinton operation is a full-process, die casting facility that includes casting, machining and assembly to produce engine components such as water pumps, oil pumps and pistons that will be installed in automobiles produced by Aisin customers located throughout North America.
“Congratulations to Aisin Automotive Casting on their latest expansion, which brings new investment and more jobs for local community residents,” John Bradley, TVA senior vice president of Economic Development, said. “Automotive manufacturing and suppliers’ continued growth is vital for our region’s prosperity, and that’s why economic development partnerships, including the state of Tennessee, Anderson County EDA, city of Clinton, Clinton Utilities Board and TVA, work to help companies like Aisin grow and thrive in our region.”
“Aisin has been a solid corporate citizen since locating in 2004, and this is another sign that our automotive parts manufacturing sector is thriving in Clinton,” Clinton Mayor Scott Burton said. “Thanks again to our partners at the state of Tennessee, TVA and Clinton Utilities Board for their support of existing industries.”
“Aisin’s continued expansion is the result of hard work, dedication and commitment, and Anderson County is extremely proud to have them in our community,” Anderson County Mayor Terry Frank said. “Aisin has been an outstanding supporter of our local community and we can’t thank them enough. We are grateful for the assistance provided by the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development and TVA over the years that has contributed to their success.”
Aisin Automotive Casting Tennessee, Inc. is an automotive parts supplier for General Motors, Nissan and Toyota.
For more information, please visit http://www.aisintn.com/.
New group aims to serve as AC government watchdog
A new community organization has been formed to study contentious political issues in Anderson County, a spokesman said Monday. The group calls itself Friends of Anderson County Taxpayers, or FACTs, spokesman Lynn Byrge said in a press release issued on Monday and will model itself after fact-checking website PolitiFacts. The release said members are concerned about county spending, debt, and the threat of property tax increases. Byrge, who helped lead the effort to install “In God We Trust” signs on the Anderson County Courthouse in Clinton, said FACTs has already organized study groups around specific areas of concern, “including county commission’s legislative process, the sheriff’s department’s burgeoning budget, the role of the county law director, and the responsibilities of the county mayor,” according to the release. There is a lot of concern about what we perceive as a lack of focus and sometimes even confusion at county commission meetings,” Byrge said. “The decision-making process is not clear and leaves citizens wondering how major programs and policies came about, and whether measures are even in place to evaluate the benefits per tax dollar spent.” Byrge went on to write, “As our debts mount, there is an urgent need for an independent organization like FACTs to speak on behalf of the taxpayer. We’re going to separate fact from fiction, and reality from rhetoric, and as our membership grows we hope to serve as a watchdog for good government.” A website will be launched before the end of the year, but until then, the group can be contacted by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Community meetings throughout the county are also being considered starting next year.
Maryville man struck by hit & run driver in Knoxville
A Maryville man was struck while riding a bicycle by a hit-and-run driver on the Gay Street viaduct at Depot Avenue in downtown Knoxville Monday morning. 26-year-old Cameron Bolin was taken to the University of Tennessee Medical Center for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries. According to the Knoxville Police Department, the accident occurred after 7:45 am and the vehicle involved in the crash fled the scene. KPD does not have a description of the driver or the vehicle. Bolin was wearing a helmet at the time of the accident, authorities said. Bolin is a student at the University of Tennessee.
Ex-Alexander aide released into parents’ custody
The fired, now former chief of staff for US Senator Lamar Alexander has been released from jail, pending his trial on child pornography charges. Monday, a federal judge on allowed 35-year-old Ryan Loskarn to be released and live with his parents in Maryland while he's awaiting trial on charges of possessing and attempting to distribute child pornography. In appealing for his release, Loskarn's lawyers argued that he had no prior convictions or arrests. The ruled that Loskarn must stay inside his parents' home and be electronically monitored. Additionally, he is prohibited from having any access to the Internet. Loskarn was arrested Wednesday after federal agents raided his home in Washington DC. He faces up to 10 years on the possession charge and a minimum of five and maximum of 20 years on the distribution charge. Loskarn had served as Alexander’s chief of staff for two years.
Feds, locals bust alleged cocaine distribution ring
Federal officials on Thursday announced they had dismantled a Knoxville-based cocaine ring that is accused of trafficking $17.5 million worth of drugs and distributing more than five kilograms of cocaine and 280 grams of crack cocaine. A federal grand jury returned a 58-count indictment on Dec. 3 against 21 Knoxville residents, charging them with conspiracy to distribute cocaine and cocaine base, money laundering, and gun charges, U.S. Attorney William C. Killian said in a press release. The 21 members of the alleged drug ring appeared in court before U.S. magistrate judges this week and entered pleas of not guilty to the charges in the indictment, Killian said. All of them have been ordered held without bond pending trial, which has been set for Feb. 11 in U.S. District Court in Knoxville. This indictment is the result of an investigation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; Department of Homeland Security—Immigration Customs Enforcement; Drug Enforcement Administration; Federal Bureau of Investigation; Tennessee Bureau of Investigation; Alcoa Police Department; Clinton Police Department; Harriman Police Department; Knoxville Police Department; Maryville Police Department; Oak Ridge Police Department; Anderson County Sheriff’s Office; Blount County Sheriff’s Office; Knox County Sheriff’s Department; Loudon County Sheriff’s Department; Roane County Sheriff’s Department; Fifth Judicial District Drug Task Force; and Ninth Judicial District Drug Task Force. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Tracy L. Stone and Brooklyn Sawyers will represent the United States. Those charged in the indictment were Jesus Hernandez, a.k.a. “Chucho,” 31; Juan Julian Felipe, 26; Alfredo Casteneda, a.k.a. “Boludo,” 20; Faustino Ramirez Ponciano, a.k.a. “El Toño,” 18; Fernando Amayo Gonzalez, a.k.a. “Zeta,” 26; Gonzalo Garcia Gines, a.k.a. “Puebla,” 31; Felipe De Jesus Banales, a.k.a. “Guero,” 29; Elder Vasquez, 34; Johnny Soto-Quintana, a.k.a. “Ponzoña,” a.k.a. “Ponzi,” 23; Nahun Oliva, a.k.a. “El Perro,” 24, Gilberto Fuentes Dominguez, 27, Jesus Amustio Panoja, a.k.a. “Chuy,” 21; Anael Anariba, a.k.a. “Guero,” 35; Geyser Deleon, a.k.a. “Chiquilin,” a.k.a. “Chaparo,” 26; Jose Luis Aguilar, a.k.a. “Diego,” 34; Gelber Deleon, a.k.a. “Tarzan,” a.k.a. “Burro,” 21; Justin Moore, 28; Malcolm Jones, 21; David Lamb, 23; Monty Cooper, 42; and James Handly, a.k.a. “Flaco,” 54. A press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Tennessee, which is based in Knoxville, said the first count of the indictment alleges that the members of the conspiracy are responsible for distributing in excess of five kilograms of cocaine and more than 280 grams of crack cocaine. If convicted, each faces a mandatory minimum prison term of at least 10 years and up to life and a fine of up to $10 million. The indictment alleges that the value of the drugs trafficked by all defendants was at least $17.5 million.
Report: Retired copyright attorney to aid Lake City
A retired trademark attorney who has handled licensing and copyright issues for such celebrities as Farrah Fawcett and the rock band KISS has reportedly offered his services on a pro bono basis to help Lake City fight any possible legal challenges to its pending name change to Rocky Top. As we have reported, the City Council voted last month to change the name of the town to Rocky Top as part of a push to develop a tourist destination that will include a restaurant, a music theater and other attractions designed to draw people off I-75 at the city’s two exits. The day the unanimous vote was taken, city officials received a letter from a company called House of Bryant, which owns the copyright to the iconic bluegrass song and various other trademarks associated with the term “Rocky Top” threatening legal action if the city moved ahead with its plans. Since then, both sides have indicated a willingness to meet and work out any copyright issues that may exist. The News-Sentinel reports that retired copyright attorney Raymond Scott has offered the city his expertise and told the paper Tuesday that House of Bryant’s claim is “ridiculous” and that he and officials from Lake City and the development group could make an announcement Thursday disputing the company’s claim. In a letter to the company’s attorneys, he wrote that with the name so widely used in the state—especially in East Tennessee—that there is no way the company can own all rights to the two-word phrase and called the letter sent last month either “an attempt to improperly influence a public body…or to extort money from Lake City.” The name change will be considered by the General Assembly in Nashville early next year and will then be sent back to the City Council for ratification. We will keep you posted as developments warrant.
OS man killed in Knox accident
An Oliver Springs man was killed in a traffic accident that occurred in Knoxville on Wednesday afternoon. The Knoxville Police Department says that 50-year-old James Shultz died from his injuries at UT Medical Center, where he had been rushed after the crash, which occurred shortly before 2 pm on Schaad Road. Investigators say that Shultz had been headed west in a Chevy Impala near the intersection with Grassy Creek Way when his car crossed the center line and struck a Ford Escape SUV head-on. The 18-year-old driver of the SUV was taken to UT Medical Center as well with what were described as non-life-threatening injuries. Shultz was not wearing a seatbelt, according to KPD.
Clinton's I-75 Industrial Park among 4 new "Select Tennessee Certified Sites"
The Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development announced the next four Select Tennessee Certified Sites. The Select Tennessee program was launched in June 2012 with the goal of helping Tennessee communities prepare available sites for investment and expansion. The program sets a consistent and rigorous standard upon which companies can rely in making critical location decisions. To date, 26 greenfield sites have been certified and new facilities are being located at Select Tennessee Certified Sites in Benton, Dyer and Montgomery Counties. The four newest sites are:
· American Way Site: Lauderdale Co. (American Way, Ripley)
· City of Milan Industrial Park Site: Gibson Co. (Denton Fly Road, Milan)
· Clinton/I-75 Industrial Park Site 2R: Anderson Co. (Frank Diggs Drive, Clinton)
· Rialto Industrial Site: Tipton Co. (US Highway 51N, Covington)
"With 26 certified sites to choose from, Tennessee offers companies a wide range of developable properties across our state that have been vetted and certified to international standards by world-class site selection firms Austin Consulting and The Foote Consulting Group," ECD Commissioner Bill Hagerty said. "With new facilities being located at Select Tennessee sites in Benton, Dyer and Montgomery counties, the investment made by state and local governments in these sites is already producing results. These Select Tennessee Certified Sites assure top decision makers their site will be operational in the shortest possible timeframe. I congratulate all of our new Select Tennessee Certified Sites and their communities."
The program acknowledges that companies looking to expand or relocate their operations often eliminate less-prepared sites and addresses this issue by ensuring sites meet a specific standard. Among the qualifications needed to become certified, a site must have at least 20 developable acres, proper zoning in place to allow for ease of development, all utilities at the site or a formal plan to extend to the site, and truck-quality road access.
A hallmark of the program is ensuring that Tennessee sites are ready for development, whether through marketing those ready for a prospect or providing guidance for uncertified sites to achieve a higher level of preparedness.
ECD has partnered with Austin Consulting and The Foote Consulting Group to administer the program.
“Site readiness is increasingly more important for communities seeking to attract new business investment. Decision timeframes continue to shorten and companies have become more risk-averse in their facilities strategies,” Austin Consulting Location Consultant Brandon Talbert said. “One of the key benefits of site certification is risk minimization through a careful due diligence and documentation process that thoroughly addresses important site attributes related to transportation access, utility service, environmental considerations, and many other important characteristics.”
“Expanding companies and site selectors alike want to see sites that are ready to go right now and often do not have the time to go through a lengthy review process”, Foote Consulting Group, LLC President and CEO, Deane C. Foote said. “The Select Tennessee Certified Sites program assures these companies and site selectors that they are seeing some of the very best sites in the nation, the ‘cream of the crop’, all ready to go now. The result will be more successful project locations, more jobs and more capital investment for Tennessee.”
There are now 26 Select Tennessee Certified Sites available in 19 different counties across the state. The Select Tennessee program accepts applications twice a year. Applications are due for the next round by January 17, 2014; however, interested communities must begin the formal application process by sending in their letter of intent. The letter of intent can be sent in by email to Select.Tennessee@tn.gov at any time. Communities interested in applying to the Certified Sites program can visit www.SelectTennessee.com.
CPD officer receives state recognition
(CPD) Clinton Police Officer Dustin Hensley was recently recognized by the Governor’s Highway Safety Office (GHSO) for his persistence in keeping drunk drivers off the streets of Clinton. Hensley received a DUI / Impaired Driving Enforcement award for his work through October 1st of this year. He was nominated by Lt. Larry Miller, who heads up the CPD's Governor's Highway Safety Program. A special award plaque was presented to Officer Hensley on December 9th during the GHSO joint network meeting at the Holiday Inn in Knoxville. The Clinton PD stresses the importance of traffic safety and strives to protect other motorists from drunk drivers and Police Chief Rick Scarbrough said, "The efforts of Officer Hensley, who has been with the department since September - 2008, has greatly assisted CPD with improving its protection in 2013." Congratulations to Officer Hensley. Keep up the good work.
ORT: Manhattan Project National Park bill fails…for now
(Oak Ridge Today) Legislation to create a Manhattan Project National Park that would include Oak Ridge has fallen short in the U.S. Senate, but the Congressman from Washington State who wrote the House amendment vowed to press ahead next year. The bill passed the U.S. House of Representatives in June as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act. But it was not included in the final text of the defense bill released late Tuesday night, said U.S. Rep. Doc Hastings, the Washington Republican who wrote the amendment. Besides Oak Ridge, the park would include Hanford, Wash., and Los Alamos, N.M. The three cities played key roles in the Manhattan Project, a top-secret program to build the world’s first atomic weapons during World War II. Hastings said the defense bill must be passed by the House and Senate before it can be signed into law. Supporters say that the good news in this situation is there is a lot of support for the legislation in both the House and Senate. Hastings has already promised to get the bill in next year’s NDAA as it been ruled germane to that legislation because of the Army’s role in the Manhattan Project and because the top-secret wartime effort led to nuclear weapons. The bill also failed last year, but that was an end of a session. The current session of Congress continues next year, so the bill won’t have to be reintroduced or go back through committees.
Now ex-Alexander aide investigated on child porn charges
US Senator Lamar Alexander has fired his former chief of staff after finding out the man is being investigated for child pornography. Federal agents took Loskarn into custody for probable cause of possessing and distributing child pornography and he is being held pending a hearing in a federal courtroom in Washington DC scheduled for today. In a statement, Alexander said he was “stunned and disappointed” to learn that agents from the US Postal Inspection Service were searching the home of Ryan Loskarn for evidence. Few details of the investigation have been released as federal court documents are currently sealed. Alexander initially placed Loskarn on leave, but said later in the day that Loskarn has been dismissed. "The courts will judge Mr. Loskarn's guilt or innocence, but under these circumstances, he cannot continue to fulfill his duties as chief of staff of this office. Therefore, as of today, I have removed him from the payroll," said Alexander. Alexander named David Cleary his new chief of staff. "David has worked with me for eight years and fortunately is well-prepared to step into this position," said Alexander. Cleary has served as Alexander's legislative director since 2011 and as Republican staff director for the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee since 2012. He has been working with Alexander since 2006. Alexander said that his office is “fully cooperating with the investigation." Loskarn has been Alexander's chief of staff since January 2012 and was Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn's communications director from 2003 to 2007.
UPF discussed in Knoxville
The Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board held a day-long series of public meetings at the Knoxville Convention Center on Tuesday to discuss the progress of the Uranium Processing Facility (UPF) and safety concerns associated with aging infrastructure at Y-12 in Oak Ridge. The UPF will be the most expensive construction project in Tennessee history with price estimates currently ranging from between $7 to $12 billion dollars. The mayor of Oak Ridge says the plant would have an economic impact six times greater than the Volkswagen plant built in Chattanooga. The UPF will be used to maintain the country's aging nuclear arsenal. In many cases the weapons were not built with the intention of being stored for decades. Currently, those maintenance chores are handled at Y-12, but its buildings—constructed 70 years ago during World War II and the Cold War—are showing their ages. The aging facilities lead to concern by some over safety risks, including concerns about their ability to withstand natural disasters such as earthquakes. Plans for a new Uranium Processing Facility began several years ago, but hit several delays due to problems with funding and design issues. Construction of the UPF would take place in three phases. The main building would be included in the first phase with a target completion date of 2025. Some who spoke during Tuesday’s hearings voiced concerns that contractors might cut corners to save money at the expense of safety. Several anti-nuclear weapons activists spoke during the public comment portions of Tuesday's meetings, and while they have made it abundantly clear that they do not want the UPF constructed, they say that if the government goes ahead with its plans, they should add an extra layer of safety and security by building the facility underground. They say above-ground structures are more vulnerable to attack, as demonstrated by the July 2012 security breach at Y-12 when a nun and two men vandalized the Highly Enriched Uranium Materials Facility.
Maryville voters approve sales tax hike
Voters in Maryville overwhelmingly approved a proposal to raise the city's sales tax by half a percent from 9.25% to 9.75%, the maximum allowed under state law. 1,802 people voted in favor of the increase, while 954 voted against it. Revenue generated by the increase will provide Maryville about $2.5 million each year with half of the money going toward city projects, like needed repairs at John Sevier Park and other infrastructure issues. The other half will go to the school system, which will likely use the first round of new money to improve school security. .
OR dog park open
Oak Ridge’s first dog park is now open at Big Turtle Park in the western portion of the city. The dog park has been in the works for five years with a large groundswell of community support and finally became a reality thanks to a $100,000 donation by Radio Systems Corp, the parent company of PetSafe, through the Legacy Parks program. The appropriately-named PetSafe Dog Park features separate fenced-in areas for small dogs and large dogs as well as benches, water fountains, and a shade structure. Community members and their dogs joined city officials and representatives from Radio Systems Corp. and PetSafe at a dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremony on Monday morning to celebrate the completion of the park.
Knox man accused of raping Blount teen
The Blount County Sheriff’s Office arrested a Knoxville man on Saturday on a charge of aggravated statutory rape and solicitation of a minor after a 13-year-old girl reported that he had raped her. 32-year-old Gustavo Jose Moreno was scheduled to appear in a Blount County courtroom earlier today. Sheriff’s deputies were called to a home on Sevierville Road Friday and were told by the alleged victim that Moreno had assaulted at knifepoint inside a barn on her family’s property. The girl reportedly met Moreno online and was able to identify him to authorities, who arrested him at his place of employment in Knoxville on Saturday. The investigation is continuing.
AC Sheriff issues statement on salary settlement
(Oak Ridge Today/WYSH) Anderson County Sheriff Paul White waited until a judge had approved the agreement that resolved his salary dispute with Mayor Terry Frank to release a statement on the matter and when he did Monday afternoon, he said that while he is glad the dispute has been settled, he “regrets that Mayor Frank has used the settlement of the salary suit, which (she) could have used as an event to set a more civil tone in Anderson County politics, as an opportunity to attempt to settle perceived political scores with Law Director Jay Yeager and Anderson County Commissioner Myron Iwanski.” On Friday, Frank and White issued a joint statement to announce the agreement settling the salary suit, which will allow the sheriff to hire 15 full-time permanent deputies and additional temporary deputies as needed as he prepares to open a 212-bed jail expansion, provided the hiring stays within the spending limit approved by the Anderson County Commission, and the temporary employees do not work more than six months. The case had been scheduled to be heard in Knox County Circuit Court on Monday morning. In her own statement issued Friday, Mayor Frank characterized the agreement as a victory for her position, alleging that the sheriff had been misled into filing suit over the salary agreement, as she said he had fallen prey to the “political machinations” of Yeager and Iwanski. Yeager issued a statement later that afternoon in which he said that Frank’s “statements directed against me are false and have no factual merit.” Sheriff White said in Monday’s statement that Yeager did not provide ”conflicting legal advice” in the dispute as the mayor had indicated, writing that “Yeager did not advise Sheriff White with respect to filing the salary suit. Instead, [he] tried very hard to resolve the matter before and after the lawsuit was filed.” White said he has continued to rely upon the County Commission’s expressed desire to allow him to hire up to 36 new jailers to operate the soon-to-be-completed expansion of the Anderson County Detention Facility in Clinton. “Unfortunately, state law does not make completely clear whether the County Commission or the county mayor has the final word to authorize the hiring of new deputies, and Mayor Frank insisted to the Circuit Court that she could unilaterally block new hiring despite the commission’s express directive and the mayor’s approval of the commission’s budget,” the sheriff said in his statement. “No court has ever decided the issue, and this dispute was at the heart of the court case.” Frank said the salary agreement she and White signed Thursday matches the $6.6 million appropriation approved by the County Commission in June and does not contain the $7.7 million figure included in an earlier version of the salary agreement, answering her initial concerns over the extra million dollars and annual salaries. In addition, the sheriff agreed to 198 employees instead of 218 to reflect full funding for 15 additional jailers—and not 36, Frank said. White said the order signed by Workman on Monday allows him to hire all 36 jailers the commission authorized, as long he stays within the budget limit set in June. “In addition, [the] settlement agreement…provides the sheriff the authority to maintain the staffing levels Judge Dale Workman has ordered in the event of any future staffing disputes between the sheriff and the mayor,” White said.
Blount couple dies in apparent murder/suicide
The Blount County Sheriff’s Office says that a Maryville couple died Saturday as the result of an apparent murder/suicide. The victims have been identified as 39-year-old Jennifer Rust and 37-year-old Matthew Rust and deputies say they were both found dead at their home on Sam Houston School Road. Early Sunday, deputies were sent to the couple’s home on a welfare check after Jennifer Rust failed to show up for work that morning. Their bodies were found in an upstairs bedroom and crime scene technicians and detectives responded to the scene. Their investigation as well as the preliminary results of autopsies conducted on Monday determined that their injuries were “consistent with a murder/suicide perpetrated by Matthew Rust.” The Sheriff’s Office says its investigation is ongoing and asks that if anyone has any information on this case to call the Criminal Investigation Division during normal business hours at 865-273-5001.
Wheelon, others plead not guilty in soring case
Three men accused of soring the legs of Tennessee walking horses pleaded not guilty to charges of aggravated cruelty to livestock and conspiracy. 68-year-old trainer Larry Wheelon, stable workers 32-year-old stable worker Brandon Lunsford and 44-year-old farrier Blake Primm entered their pleas in Blount County Circuit Court on Monday. A third man, 44-year-old Randall Gunter, did not enter a plea and had a public defender appointed to represent him. Primm faces one charge each of aggravated cruelty and conspiracy while the other three men face 18 charges in the case, which stems from a raid on Wheelon’s barn in April in which law enforcement and USDA investigators say they discovered evidence of soring on 19 of the 28 horses there. The horses were seized the following week. The initial charges against Wheelon were dismissed in August on a technicality and the horses returned to their owners by a court order. A status hearing on the new charges is scheduled for February 10th.
AP: Ruby Tuesday settles age discrimination suit
(AP) The Maryville-based restaurant chain Ruby Tuesday, Inc. is paying $575,000 to settle a federal age discrimination lawsuit over five locations in Pennsylvania and one in Ohio. The U.S Equal Employment Opportunity Commission announced the settlement on Monday. The EEOC had alleged that the company engaged in age discrimination against job applicants 40 years of age or older. Ruby Tuesday strongly denied wrongdoing in the case. The EEOC filed the lawsuit in 2009. The restaurants were located in West Mifflin, Greensburg, Altoona, Du Bois, and Indiana, Pa., and in Beachwood, Ohio. EEOC attorney Debra M. Lawrence says they're pleased Ruby Tuesday agreed to work on a comprehensive settlement. Ruby Tuesday says it settled the lawsuit to reduce business disruption and avoid litigation costs.
w acting Park superintendent announced
(GSMNP) The National Park Service Southeast Region in Atlanta announced today that Pedro Ramos has been selected as the acting superintendent of Great Smoky Mountains National Park for 90 days, effective January 12, 2014. Ramos has been the superintendent at Big Cypress National Preserve since 2009. In September, Dale Ditmanson, announced his plans to retire on January 3, 2014, after 36 years with the National Park Service (NPS). Ditmanson has served as superintendent there since May 2004. “We are very pleased that Pedro has agreed to step in as the acting superintendent at the Smokies,” said Stan Austin, Regional Director for the Southeast Region. “He has great experience as a superintendent and is very knowledgeable in protecting resources and taking care of visitors. We know he will do a superb job as we conduct a search for a permanent superintendent.” Ramos said, "I am excited about this opportunity to serve in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the most visited National Park in the country. I look forward to working with the park’s employees, volunteers and partners to continue serving the public.” Born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Ramos attended the University of Massachusetts in Amherst where he graduated with a bachelor of science in 1990. He began his Federal career with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Farmers Home Administration, in Vermont. In 2001 Ramos transferred to the National Park Service as Administrative Officer at Big Cypress National Preserve. In 2005 he was named Deputy Superintendent there and devoted much of his time to establishing strong community relations with the many partners in South Florida. His career has also included acting superintendent assignments at Jimmy Carter and Andersonville National Historic Sites in Georgia, and San Juan National Historic Site in Puerto Rico. Great Smoky Mountains National Park is one of the largest protected land areas east of the Rocky Mountains, with more than 500,000 acres of forests and more than 2,000 miles of streams. It spans eastern Tennessee and western North Carolina along the high peaks of the Appalachian Mountains. It is the nation's most visited national park, with more than nine million visitors a year.
Clinton woman killed, Knox man arrested in Friday crash
A Knoxville man remains in custody at the Anderson County Jail today, charged with vehicular homicide and DUI following a Friday afternoon accident on the Lewallen Bridge in Clinton that left a passenger in his pickup truck dead. Clinton Police say that 21-year-old Kyle Anthony was driving south in a Chevy Silverado at around 4:30 pm Friday when he lost control of his truck, crossed the center line and collided with two vehicles headed north over the bridge. A passenger sitting behind the front seat of Anthony’s truck, identified as 40-year-old Angela Duncan Richardson of Clinton, was ejected from the cab and died at the scene. One other passenger in Anthony’s truck, Sean Richardson of Clinton, was taken to the hospital for treatment of possible injuries and a fourth person in the truck was not injured despite being partially ejected from Anthony’s vehicle. The driver of the first car that was hit head-on by Anthony’s truck—Keith Edward Martin—and his passenger—Mary-Jo Lease—were both trapped in their vehicle and had to be extricated before being transported to UT Medical Center. Lease is listed in stable condition as of this morning but no information was available on Edwards. A third person in that car, Christopher Mitchell, was taken to Methodist Medical Center for treatment of his injuries. The driver of the third car was not injured in the wreck. Investigators determined that Anthony was intoxicated based upon observation and confirmed by a breath test that showed his blood alcohol content to be .11, above the legal limit. He was not injured in the wreck.
ORT: Salary suit over, war of words not
(Oak Ridge Today) Anderson County Mayor Terry Frank and Sheriff Paul White reached an agreement Friday to end their five-month-old legal dispute over the Sheriff’s annual salary agreement. A Knox County Judge was expected to approve the agreement today. In a joint release issued Friday, White and Frank said the agreement allows the sheriff to hire 15 full-time permanent deputies and additional temporary deputies as needed as he prepares to open a 212-bed jail expansion. But the hiring must stay within the spending limit approved by the Anderson County Commission this year, and the temporary employees cannot work more than six months. In a separate release a short time later Mayor Frank characterized the agreement as a victory for her position, saying that it contained the same offer she made to the sheriff even before he filed a lawsuit in July. She said the sheriff had been misled into filing suit over the two-page salary agreement. “Unfortunately, I believe Sheriff White fell prey to the political machinations of Commissioner Myron Iwanski and Law Director Jay Yeager to create dissension in what could have been an easily manageable agreement,” Frank said. Yeager responded that afternoon, saying Frank’s statements about him were false and have “no factual merit. Obviously, the sheriff has prevailed in this disagreement, and the mayor is trying to put her political spin on this just outcome and unfortunately blame others for her lack of leadership ability,” Yeager said. “Despite past misstatements, the sheriff was never asking for additional monetary appropriations in his budget.” Iwanski also responded, telling our partners at Oak Ridge Today that the agreement allows the sheriff to hire the staff—up to 36 new jailers—needed to open the new jail. That’s what County Commission approved in the budget six months ago and what County Commission had asked the mayor to work out several times since July, Iwanski said. “(The) now-signed salary agreement answers my initial concerns over the extra million dollars and annual salaries,” Frank said. “I had made these offers before, but it is my belief that the law director was giving Sheriff White and County Commission conflicting legal advice that required the sheriff more time for legal research.” Yeager, meanwhile, pinned the blame on Frank, saying the agreement reached last week could have easily been accomplished in July if she had participated in discussions with the sheriff. Yeager said he did not draft or approve the salary agreement letter and never advocated any official or employee to file suit against the county. He said Frank’s decision to hire outside attorneys has cost Anderson County residents thousands of dollars. For much more, including copies of both press releases and the settlement itself, visit www.oakridgetoday.com.
ORPD arrests teen who allegedly brought BB pistol to school
The Oak Ridge Police Department says that officers responded to Robertsville Middle School Thursday morning after receiving information that a student was armed with a handgun. The report was received at 8:53 am, according to a release and at least five officers responded, locating the student—a 13-year-old boy—and detained him for questioning. Officers located a BB pistol that looked like a Colt model 1911 .45-caliber semiautomatic pistol in his backpack, which was found in his locker. The student was arrested and charged with carrying a weapon on school property and with aggravated assault. An investigation is continuing.
Sheriff, Mayor announce salary suit settlement
In a joint press release issued this morning, Anderson County Mayor Terry Frank and Sheriff Paul White announced that they have reached a settlement in their dispute over hiring additional jailers to staff the soon-to-be-opened expansion of the Jail. The release states that working with jail consultants retained for the litigation, which was to have been heard in a Knox County courtroom on Monday, the Mayor and Sheriff worked together through mediation to consider new strategies for managing the inmates and jail staff. The agreement reached this week allows the Sheriff to hire 15 full-time permanent deputies as well as additional temporary deputies as needed, “within the confines of the budget approved by the County Commission of the current fiscal year.” Both sides in the release acknowledge that offers were made twice previously that included terms similar to what was agreed to this week, but in the release, Sheriff White states that the “complex and novel legal issues presented by the…case, the poorly drafted state statutes and conflicting legal advice made it impossible to settle at those times.” The settlement allows for $155,000 in overtime compensation as needed, salary supplements for training and special duties as long as the salary allocation is not exceeded. Mayor Frank had refused to sign the salary agreement in July, saying that doing so as presented to her would have exceeded her authority and locked the county in to a possible tax increase next year, while Sheriff White claimed that the agreement as submitted to the Mayor acknowledged that his department would not exceed the budget passed by the Commission. The Sheriff’s legal bills in the matter will be paid for out of fees collected by the department while the Mayor’s legal fees will be paid out of the general fund. Both sides hired outside legal counsel.
2 arrested for Blount meth labs
Two men were arrested by Blount County authorities on meth-related charges after meth labs were found in two separate locations on Thursday. Authorities discovered two one-pot meth labs in a storage building behind a home on French Street as well as other meth-making components and during their investigation, officers were led to a second location on Cave Mill Road where they located even more meth precursors. 27-year-old Jacob Nuchols was arrested on a charge of initiating the manufacture of meth and 34-year-old Justin Dobias of Maryville was arrested for possessing immediate meth precursors. The lab components were seized and disposed of by the Tennessee Methamphetamine Task Force.
B&W Y-12 donates $75K to Emory Valley Center
B&W Y-12 donated $75,000 to the Emory Valley Center in Oak Ridge on Wednesday. The center must replace the building that currently houses many of its programs. That building will be torn down in 2015 because the cost to maintain it is too high and replaced by a new facility that officials say will make a real impact on the people who use its services, particularly in relation to job skills training that will allow individuals with special needs the opportunity to go out and find employment. With the donation, the center has now raised a total of $2.5 million for the facility. Its goal is $3.3 million. The Emory Valley Center hopes to start construction on its new facility in the spring.
Maryville-Alcoa Greenway connection to Townsend Master Plan announced
(Blount Partnership) A Master Plan for a proposed greenway trail linking
Maryville to Townsend estimates the positive economic impact of the
trail for Blount County at $65 million over a 10-year period. The
construction cost of the 13.7-mile trail is estimated at $24.46 million,
again over 10 years, putting the estimated return on investment for
every dollar spent at $2.66. Maryville and Alcoa have a paved greenway
system that totals 21 miles, and Townsend has an existing greenway that
runs for about 9 miles along
321/Lamar Alexander Parkway. The Master Plan envisions a paved trail
within the right-of-way for 321 connecting to the greenway network at
either end. This connection between Maryville and Townsend is a key
element of the vision of linking
to Townsend via paved greenway trails. This Plan is the result of a
public planning process that began with a series of workshops in both
Maryville and Townsend in April, and included additional meetings in
both cities in July. Public input was also garnered through two online
surveys. Local planners, engineers and business representatives made up
the Technical Advisory Committee that led the planning process. The
economic benefits that are expected to result from the trail arise from
ORUD warns customers of scam phone calls
Residential and commercial customers of the Oak Ridge Utility District are being warned about a scam regarding their utility bills that is happening locally. According to a release from the city, this scam involves a utility customer receiving a telephone call from someone claiming to be from the utility calling about missed payments. The caller threatens to cut off the customer’s utilities unless immediate payment is made. In some cases, the caller says they will accept a credit card number, a bank routing and account number or some other form of payment information over the phone, while in others an accomplice actually comes to the customer’s door to collect the payment. Oak Ridge officials say that customers should never make a payment in response to a call that the customer themselves did not initiate and that the city will never make such calls as all of its notifications are made by mail. Additionally, customers are reminded that all city employees and all of its contractors from Grid One are required to carry proper identification. These calls can appear to be legitimate as some scammers have figured out how to make a utility’s name appear on the customer’s caller ID. For more information, call the Oak Ridge Business office at 865-425-3400.
Blount horse trainer, 3 others indicted in soring case
Maryville horse trainer Larry Wheelon and three other men were indicted this week by the Blount County grand jury on 18 charges of aggravated cruelty to livestock and conspiracy. The charges involve the alleged use of soring—the process of applying caustic chemicals on the legs of Tennessee walking horses to accentuate the animals’ trademark Big Lick step. The men face a total of 13 felony charges and five misdemeanors. Wheelon and stable employees Randall Gunter of Louisville and Brandon Lunsford of Walland each face 18 counts related to the raid earlier this year at a barn rented by Wheelon on Tuckaleechee Pike in which 19 horses were seized by authorities while a fourth man identified as Blake Primm of Louisville faces one felony charge of aggravated cruelty to livestock and one misdemeanor charge of conspiracy. Following their indictments Monday, all four men turned themselves in at the Blount County Jail the following day and were released after posting bonds about three hours later. The original charges in this case against Wheelon were dismissed on a technicality in August and the horses ordered returned to their owners.
ORT: Man reports home invasion, robbery
(Oak Ridge Today) A Jonathan Lane resident reported two suspects entered his home and demanded money at about 8 p.m. Saturday, authorities said. The victim said he knew one of the suspects but didn’t know the other. The unknown suspect allegedly brandished a handgun during the robbery, and the suspects allegedly stole about $650 in cash, Oak Ridge Police Department Officer James Elkins said in an incident report. Also allegedly taken are a wallet valued at $50, and a driver’s license and debit card valued at about $50 total.
AC, Clinton school receive grants
The Coca-Cola Foundation presented $25,000 checks to Anderson County and Clinton City school systems. The grant money will be used to implement programs to encourage physical activity and balanced diets among students. Each district plans to start these projects next semester. In Anderson County, middle school students will be starting gardens, planting seeds, growing vegetables and learning more about the nutritional value of those foods. The city schools will begin a program aimed at fighting childhood obesity by starting after-school, before-school, weekend, and summer activities including running clubs, hiking excursions and swimming.
Follow-Up: 3 meth-related incident keep law busy
(BCSO) The Blount County Sheriff ‘s Office says that investigators with
the Fifth Judicial Drug Task Force responded to three separate meth-related
cases Monday, one of which was an active meth lab site. In all, five
people were arrested and three were cited on meth-related charges.
According to the BCSO, the first incident occurred at around 4 pm when
investigators with the Fifth Judicial Drug Task Force conducted a
traffic stop on a vehicle on Hunter's Crossing Drive. Investigators were
alerted by a local business that three suspicious individuals were
attempting to purchase pseudoephedrine, a precursor for the manufacture
of methamphetamine. Investigators stopped the vehicle because they
recognized the driver, 47-year-old Cynthia Renee Evans and knew she was
driving on a suspended driver's license. Evans gave consent to search
the vehicle, and investigators found pseudoephedrine and other items
used in the manufacture of methamphetamine. The following individuals
were taken into custody:
At around 5 p.m., a narcotics investigator observed three individuals acting suspiciously in the parking lot of local business on U.S. Highway 411 South. Investigators conducted a traffic stop on that vehicle in the 3000 block of U.S. Highway 411 South. The driver gave investigators consent to search the vehicle, and they found pseudoephedrine and other precursors used in the manufacture of methamphetamine. The three individuals were all cited with immediate methamphetamine precursors and released:
At around 6 p.m., Maryville Police Department responded to a call that an individual
was in the process of manufacturing methamphetamine in his vehicle at a
When officers arrived, they found Joshua Rick Rhinehart, 28, of Wright
Road, Maryville, in his vehicle. They also saw several components used
in the manufacture of methamphetamine, as well as several one pot method
meth labs in the vehicle, one which was in the process of manufacturing
meth. Investigators with the Fifth Judicial Drug Task Force arrived to
neutralize the labs. The Maryville Fire Department responded and
decontaminated Rhinehart on the scene, and Rural/Metro Ambulance Service
was on the scene on standby while investigators disposed of the
hazardous waste. Rhinehart, as well as another individual, Ditrah Lynn
Guffey, 30, also of Wright Road, Maryville, were taken into custody.
Blount attorney placed on ‘disability inactive’ status
The Board of Professional Responsibility of the Tennessee Supreme Court has placed the law license of Blount County attorney Keith Lane Edmiston on disability inactive status under rules of the Court. Edmiston cannot practice law while on disability inactive status but will be able to return to practicing after his reinstatement by the State Supreme Court, which will happen once he shows clear and convincing evidence that the disability has been removed and he is fit to resume the practice of law. The press release announcing the move does not indicate the nature of the disability.
Alcoa wreck kills man, dog
Alcoa Police are investigating what led to a single-vehicle accident Monday morning (12/2) that left a 19-year-old Friendsville man and his dog dead. The wreck occurred on Middlesettlements Road shortly after 7:15 am when a westbound Honda Accord driven by Brandon Helpingstine left the roadway at the intersection with Atchley Drive and slammed into a utility pole. The car burst into flame upon impact and police say that Helpingstine likely died on impact. In addition to Alcoa Police and Fire, personnel from the Blount County Sheriff’s office and Rural/Metro responded to the scene, which was finally cleared about three hours after the accident.
Lake City man faces meth charges
A Lake City man was arrested Monday (12/2) after Anderson County Sheriff’s deputies responding to tips about possible meth-related activities found components of a meth lab on his property. Deputies went to the home of Michael Gill on Jacksboro Avenue Monday afternoon and after some wrangling with Gill and his probation officer by telephone, were allowed to search his property. In an outbuilding, investigators reported finding several items used in the drug’s production and inside the house, reported finding several pieces of drug paraphernalia and a list of ingredients to cook meth. Gill was arrested and charged with manufacturing meth and with initiating the manufacture of the drug and taken into custody. Three other people at the home were not arrested. The house, located at 922 Jacksboro Avenue, and the outbuilding were both placed under quarantine and the lab components were seized and turned over to the Tennessee Meth Task Force.
Maryville meth lab busted
Monday night (12/2), authorities in Blount County made a meth bust at a home on Wright Road. Blount County Sheriff’s deputies and Maryville police officers and firefighters responded to the scene after receiving numerous complaints of suspicious activity from neighbors over the past year. In an SUV in the driveway of the home, investigators located several one-pot meth labs and meth-making materials. One man was decontaminated at the scene and arrested and the materials were catalogued and disposed of by a haz-mat team. The suspect had not been identified at the time this report was filed but that information and the charges against him should be made available sometime today.
Grand jury indicts man on dog-killing charge
The Louisville man accused of shooting his neighbor’s dog to death earlier this year has been indicted by a Blount County grand jury on charges of aggravated animal cruelty and stalking in connection with the incident. 62-year-old Fred Lee Wright is accused of shooting a seven-month-old miniature Pinscher belonging to his Cub Drive neighbor Diane Stephens to death on August 27th. He reportedly told a Blount County deputy he had done it because the dog, and others on Stephens’ property, would bark incessantly. The deputy responded to the scene after Stephens called 911 earlier that morning to report that Wright had stood at the top of her driveway and prevented her from leaving for work. She spoke with the deputy on the road and asked her to check on her property and dogs. The deputy reported finding the dog shot to death and when she spoke to Wright, he reportedly admitted shooting the dog. Those events—and a long history of disputes between the neighbors—led Stephens to take out an order of protection against Wright—which he was accused of violating just a couple of days after the August 27th incident.
AP: Campbell attorney pleads guilty to tax fraud
(AP) Campbell County attorney Johnny Dunaway has pleaded guilty in federal court to filing a false tax return. Dunaway faces up to three years in prison and could be ordered to pay restitution to the Internal Revenue Service when he is sentenced on April 23rd. Dunaway admitted failing to truthfully declare business income from his law practice in 2008 and was disbarred by the state Supreme Court in October. The high court previously censured Dunaway for charging a contingent fee from a client for an appeal under circumstances that violated the rules of professional conduct.
Potter sworn in as top Alcoa cop
The city of Alcoa has a new police chief. Chief Philip Potter was sworn in during a ceremony Monday morning (12/2). Potter started his career in Ohio, where he worked for 30 years and eventually became chief. After that, he was the police chief in Huntersville, North Carolina, near Charlotte. Before moving to Alcoa, Potter was already familiar with the city and the department. He assessed the department in July of 2012 for the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement. Potter succeeds the late Ken Burge. Burge passed away in July. He was Alcoa's chief since 2004, and worked in law enforcement for 39 years.
Roane man dies in apparent accidental shooting
(BBB/WYSH) Emergency personnel were sent to a home in the College Grove Estates east of downtown Rockwood Friday night where a man was dead from an apparently accidental gunshot wound to the head. Roane County Sheriff’s deputies arrived and found 45-year-old Bill York on the living room floor unresponsive after a small caliber handgun apparently misfired while he was cleaning it and struck him in the temple. Family members were home at the time of the accident and called 911 at around 9.45. A fund has been established to help offset funeral expenses. (York Family Fund on Facebook)
2nd OR apartment fire in 3 days displaces another two dozen
(Oak Ridge Today/WYSH) A second apartment fire in Oak Ridge in three days displaced another two dozen residents on Saturday night. The fire was reported at about 9:22 p.m. in the 300 block of Utica Circle at McKenzie Acres. Firefighters were able to quickly extinguish the second-story blaze, and no one was injured. But roughly 25 residents, including children, were displaced and are being assisted by the American Red Cross. Oak Ridge Fire Department Assistant Chief Josh Waldo told our partners at Oak Ridge Today that the apartment at 308 Utica Circle was heavily damaged. Other units in the building were okay, except for water damage, he said. Residents will not be able to return because of the smoke and water damage and because the power will be turned off to that building while repairs are made. Waldo said the cause is under investigation, however early reports indicate the fire’s origin may be connected to an argument between a man and his wife that he says ended when she went to his the bedroom and lit his clothing on fire in the closet. No charges have been filed yet, but as we mentioned the incident remains under investigation. An electrical fire at Applewood Apartments on Hillside Road on Thursday, Thanksgiving Day, also displaced about two dozen residents. The Red Cross has also been helping them, and local volunteers and restaurants have pitched in by donating food. The Applewood fire was caused by an electrical short in the main power supply leading into the distribution system in the basement of the building on Hillside Road.
Report: Man jailed after keeping wife in bathroom
According to the Daily Times, a Maryville man was arrested on charges that he kept his wife in their bathroom against her will. 27-year-old Charles Allen Taylor was arrested early Sunday after his wife reported that he returned home earlier in the day and kept grabbing and throwing her phone before finally shoving her in to a bathroom. He is also accused of entering the bathroom, taking her phone again so she could not call for help and physically preventing her from leaving the bathroom. He was charged with false imprisonment and jailed but was released on bond later in the day. His wife took out an order of protection against him and it was served on him while he was in custody. Jackson is scheduled to appear in court on Tuesday.
ORT: OR student who died ID’ed
(Oak Ridge Today) The eight-year-old, third grade student who died Tuesday after being found unresponsive on the school bus has been identified as Treí-Roan Vann. His father Crist Vann told our partners at Oak Ridge Today that Treí, as he was called, was a very good eight-year-old. It’s not clear what happened to Treí on Tuesday. The family is not aware of any health problems. His father said the University of Tennessee is doing an autopsy, and the family is waiting for the results. Treí was described by his father as a good student, a Cub Scout and a football player who also wanted to play soccer in the spring. Linden Elementary School Principal Roger Ward said an account is being opened at Bank of America in Oak Ridge to accept donations to defray the costs of Tuesday’s tragedy. Checks can be made out to Oak Ridge Schools, with Memorial Fund in the memo line. You may bring donations to Hot Bagel on Saturday morning, or to the school anytime starting Monday. Ward said in an e-mail to the Linden community. Separately, the Linden Parent-Teacher Association is scheduling meals for the Vanns. They’ve already had a great response in just two hours today and have meals scheduled for well into December, and the response has been so good that the PTA is not looking for any more people to volunteer for meal scheduling.
Horses seized, AC man charged
A Clinton man was arrested Wednesday on animal cruelty charges after two horses described as underfed and very thin were seized from his property. The horses were seized from the property of Jason Shipley Wednesday by Anderson County Animal Control officers and taken to the UT Vet School for evaluation. The horses were then turned over to Horse Haven of Tennessee, where they are said to doing well. Shipley was charged with two counts of animal cruelty and was also picked up on several outstanding warrants unrelated to Wednesday’s incident.
Thanksgiving fire displaces 25 in OR
A small electrical fire displaced about two dozen residents of the Applewood Apartments on Hillside Avenue in Oak Ridge Thursday but no injuries were reported. Firefighters say that the fire was caused by an electrical short in the main power supply leading into the distribution system in the apartment building’s basement. The blaze was quickly put out with a fire extinguisher and officials say that a circuit breaker did its job, turning off power and minimizing the damage. In fact, only one apartment sustained light smoke damage while there was no other structural damage to the building. Of the 25 people displaced by the fire, which was reported at around noon Thursday, most were able to stay with friends or family members and those who weren’t able to find other lodging were put up in a motel by the American Red Cross. The building may be without power for a few days.
OR student passes away after falling ill on way home
A Linden Elementary School student died Tuesday after becoming unresponsive on the school bus Tuesday afternoon on his way home from school. The boy, whose name has not been released, fell ill while on the bus and was transported to Methodist Medical center, where doctors pronounced him dead. No other information has been released. Grief counselors were available this morning at Linden Elementary to help students deal with the sudden and tragic loss of their friend and classmate. The Oak Ridge school system, in a press release issued Tuesday, said that the “thoughts and prayers of the Linden and Oak Ridge Schools’ staff go out to the family.” As more information becomes available, we will pass it along to you.
Lay announces run for AC Sheriff
(Submitted) Monday, Tennessee State Trooper, former federal deputy U.S. Marshal and Anderson County resident Anthony Lay announced his candidacy for the Republican nomination to run for Anderson County Sheriff in next May’s primary. “I am announcing my candidacy out of my love for public service and the people who live here. Anderson County is a wonderful place to live and work and the people of Anderson County deserve a safe community and leadership they can trust,” said Lay. “I look forward to many community meetings as well as one-on-one meetings with citizens as I move forward in the campaign. People have concerns, and I intend to put my training, my experience, my strong communication skills, and my hard work ethic into action to bring solutions to the problems we face. The Sheriff of Anderson County is also a high visibility job, and I intend to work to highlight where we do well as a community. When companies and families choose where to live, having a hard-working, pro-active and highly visible and communicative Sheriff and department can be the difference maker,” continued Lay.
“Without a doubt, my focus is going to be on crime. I have worked for a large drug and violent crime taskforce that consisted of four large counties in middle Tennessee and have the experience needed to clean up our two largest crime problems: drugs and theft. I intend to not only oversee the department, but I intend to work right along with my officers. Too many times we see politicians only at election time, but I want to be an elected public servant that is seen on a daily basis—and is accessible to the public,” stated Lay.
“We are also living in a time with incredible new technologies that can make our department more responsive and more efficient while saving taxpayers valuable resources. I intend to use new technology not only in maximizing our operations, but in the management of the department,” said Lay. “I know our new detention facility has been the subject of much discussion and I am confident I can operate our new facility with the budget dollars that have already been allocated. I have opened a jail before under even tighter budget conditions and I can do it again,” said Lay.
“In 10 years, Anderson County Sheriff’s department has grown from a little over 5 million dollars a year to over an 11 million dollar a year operation. Taxpayers have been generous with the Sheriff’s Department and more money is not the answer. The answers lie in new technologies and modernization, in new and creative management, and increased networking to discover solutions used by other departments across the state and nation,” continued Lay. “And my accessibility to the public will be an asset to increasing the cooperative crime control and prevention efforts we build with citizens in the community and in our neighborhood watch programs.”
Anthony Lay has extensive training not limited to but including: Highway Patrol Training Academy, Federal Law Enforcement Training Academy Criminal Investigator, Basic Police School, Training in Terrorism, United States Marshal School, Basic Elective Sheriff’s School, Associates Degree in Criminal Justice, and Tennessee Highway Patrol Motor Officer School. Currently, Anthony Lay is an officer with the Tennessee Highway Patrol. He has served as Sheriff of Scott County and then at the age of 33, was appointed as a Federal United States Marshal in Atlanta, Georgia. Anthony returned to his Anderson County home to help his parents after his father suffered a health event. He and his wife Jenny live off of Laurel Road in Clinton. They are raising two children, Dylan and Joshua. Dylan has entered the U.S. Marine Corps.
ORT: OR native named Rhodes Scholar
(Oak Ridge Today) An Oak Ridge native and University of Tennessee senior is among 32 U.S. men and women who have been named Rhodes Scholars and will start all-expenses-paid studies at Oxford University in England next October. Lindsay Lee is a math and Spanish major at UT. She has completed research at the National Institute of Mathematical and Biological Synthesis, at Vanderbilt Medical Center, and at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. She has also served as the president of the Dean’s Student Advisory Council, as opinion columnist at the student newspaper, as a volunteer with the homeless and at a children’s hospital, the Rhodes Trust announced Saturday. The Rhodes Scholars were selected from 857 applicants. The Rhodes Scholarships pay all expenses for two or three years of study at Oxford and sometimes allow four years of funding. The value of the scholarships varies depending upon the academic field and the chosen degree, but the average value is about $50,000 per year. The Rhodes Trust said Lee was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy at three years old, and she is is a passionate and highly successful advocate for disability issues locally, nationally and globally. “She plans to use her mathematical modeling expertise for analysis of successful health policy grounded in healthcare equality for all,” the Rhodes Trust said. Lee, who has also studied in Barcelona and Tokyo, plans to complete a master’s in philosophy in comparative social policy at Oxford.
Online access to driving records
(TDOS/HS) In an effort to provide better customer service and help reduce the wait times at state driver services centers, Commissioner Bill Gibbons today announced the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security has launched an online service that allows citizens to download or print copies of their official driver records. Citizens can easily access three years of their driving history via a browser, tablet, or handheld device at www.tn.gov/safety, eliminating the need to visit a driver services center. “Giving Tennesseans the choice of instantly accessing their driving histories supports our customer-focused priority goal of reducing wait time at the driver service centers,” Gibbons said. “Reducing the need to go to a driver service center for this simple transaction will result in shorter wait times for customers who need the assistance of a staff member for a more complicated transaction.” The department worked with NIC, Tennessee’s eGovernment partner, to develop the online application to provide this optional service. NIC is the company that processes online driver license renewals, reinstatement payments, and driver license address changes, in addition to other various online services accessible on www.tn.gov. A $2 convenience fee will be assessed by NIC to each online transaction, in addition to the $5 state fee set by the General Assembly for a copy of a driver record. Citizens may access this online service by going to www.tn.gov/safety.
Fisher to run for AC Chancellor
(Submitted) Anderson County Juvenile Court Judge Brandon Fisher has announced his intention to seek election next year to serve as Anderson County Chancellor. Fisher, Juvenile Judge since January of 2010, will seek the position currently held by Chancellor William Lantrip, who has announced his retirement at the end of this term. Judge Fisher is a native of Clinton and graduated from Clinton High School in 1997. Judge Fisher obtained a bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University in Washington, DC before earning a law degree from the University of Tennessee. Judge Fisher graduated with honors and achieved certificates of academic excellence from the University of Tennessee College of Law in five different academic areas including civil procedure and constitutional law. After graduating from law school, Judge Fisher entered private practice, becoming a partner in the law firm of Cantrell, Cantrell & Fisher. Judge Fisher maintained a general practice with the firm before being appointed Anderson County Juvenile Court Judge in January of 2010 and then elected Anderson County Juvenile Judge in August of 2010. Fisher commented, “Serving as Anderson County Juvenile Judge has been the most rewarding experience of my professional life. I am proud of our efforts to improve outcomes for children and families and appreciate the hard work of our dedicated staff. I am seeking the office of Anderson County Chancellor to continue those efforts and look forward to new challenges and the opportunity to serve the citizens of Anderson County over the next eight years as their Chancellor.” Judge Fisher is a native of Clinton where he lives with his wife Jena and three-year-old daughter Audrey. They are members of St. Francis Episcopal Church in Norris, Tennessee, where Judge Fisher serves regularly as a lector.
State Supreme Court finds AC not liable for additional damages in assault
(Information from Oak Ridge Today) The Tennessee Supreme Court has ruled that Anderson County is not liable for damages beyond medical costs after an inmate sustained injuries from an attack by cellmates. Kenneth E. King, a Claxton resident, had spent the night in the Anderson County Detention Facility after being arrested on Oct. 27, 2009, for driving on a suspended license—a charge that ultimately was in error, according to the opinion and a press release posted on the state courts’ website Thursday. His release was ordered at 11:30 a.m. Oct. 28, but it took more than three hours for the pretrial release officer to process the paperwork. During that time, King was severely beaten, causing permanent injuries to his eye. King sued the county seeking monetary damages for the attack, stating that Anderson County was negligent in not releasing him in a timely manner and should have known that there was a danger of him being attacked. The court focused on the legal requirement that, in order for the county to be liable, officials had to have some type of warning that King would be attacked. “There is no evidence that Anderson County Detention Facility officials knew or should have known that Mr. King would become the victim of an attack by his cellmates after he was returned to his cell to await pretrial release,” Justice Cornelia A. Clark wrote in the opinion. The opinion reversed a lower court ruling that determined 55 percent of the fault for the attack rested with Anderson County and ordered the county to pay $93,500 in non-medical damages. The press release said the county remains liable for King’s medical costs resulting from the injuries sustained in the attack at the jail. Visit www.OakRidgeToday.com for more information.
ORT: NP2 files third protest over joint contract
(Oak Ridge Today) The bidding team led by the Babcock and Wilcox Co. has filed a third protest over the contract to manage and operate the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge and the Pantex Plant near Amarillo, Texas. B&W announced the protest by the bidding team, Nuclear Production Partners LLC, or NP2, on Wednesday night. It was filed with the U.S. Government Accountability Office. “This protest encompasses concerns identified in NP2’s June 17, 2013, protest of the revised Request for Proposals,” a B&W press release said. “The protest also reflects information received during the National Nuclear Security Administration’s debriefing session held on November 15.” The June protest was the second filed by NP2, of Lynchburg, Va. The company had also filed one after the National Nuclear Security Administration announced in January that it had selected Consolidated Nuclear Security LLC of Reston, Va., to manage the two nuclear weapons plants. The GAO upheld one part of the first protest, and denied or dismissed three elements of the second. This month, the NNSA reaffirmed its decision to pick CNS for the five-year extendable contract, which could be worth up to $22.8 billion during a 10-year period. The earlier bid protests delayed the transition to a new contractor, and the new protest would presumably delay the transition as well. The GAO has 100 days to decide bid protests. On Wednesday, B&W said it remains focused on operating Y-12 and Pantex safely and securely during the protest period. The B&W-led companies have held the Y-12 contract since 2000 and the Pantex contract since 2001. The consolidated contract includes project management of the Uranium Processing Facility at Y-12 and an unexercised option for Savannah River Tritium Operations at the Savannah River Site near Aiken, S.C. It hasn’t been clear if the second unsuccessful bidding team, Integrated Nuclear Production Solutions LLC, would also file a protest. That team did file one earlier this year. For more on this developing story, click over to http://oakridgetoday.com/2013/11/20/bw-led-team-files-new-protest-y-12-pantex-contract/.
Ruby Tuesday restructuring to eliminate 50 positions
Ruby Tuesday announced Wednesday that it will eliminate 50 positions at its restaurant support center in Maryville. The company says that the job cuts are in response to a cost review program on the heels of millions of dollars in reported losses over the past couple of years. The move is expected to save the company about $6 million a year beginning in 2015. The company is also continuing to work with consultants on finding ways to reduce operating costs. Company officials say that there will be “an expected charge of approximately $2.2 million for transition-related costs in second quarter fiscal 2014 in conjunction with this action.” In a press release announcing the restructuring, JJ Buettgen, Chairman, President and CEO, commented, "Restructuring is difficult, and we greatly appreciate the contributions of the teammates that have been affected. These organizational changes were implemented to ensure we are strongly positioned to invest in brand repositioning initiatives, and we are aggressively focused on lowering our cost structure with no dilution to the guest experience. I am confident in our brand transformation strategy, and in the ability of our talented teams in Operations and the Restaurant Support Center to successfully execute our plans." Last month, Ruby Tuesday Inc. reported a first quarter loss of $22.2 million.
ASAP recognizes volunteers, prevention partners
(ASAP) During Red Ribbon Week, Allies for Substance Abuse Prevention (ASAP) of Anderson County recognized community leaders and volunteers for outstanding efforts toward preventing drug use in our community. “Red Ribbon Week is the national observance of drug prevention awareness across the country, and an appropriate time to honor our volunteers,” said Stephanie Strutner, Executive Director of ASAP. “Our volunteers are what make our wheels turn,” Strutner said, continuing that “through 1,779.75 collective volunteer hours, they engaged in policy advocacy, changed consequences for drug abuse, provided information, increased skills among local parents and professionals, reduced barriers by organizing medication disposal opportunities, and provided support to adolescents.” A number of volunteers contributed to the accomplishments during the past year; however, several were recognized for their outstanding contributions. Dave Clark, District Attorney General, was presented ASAP’s 2013 Prevention Power Partner Award, given for his fierce support for prevention efforts. By his work, our community is a safer, healthier place. Upon receiving the award, General Clark said, “I’m grateful for the privilege of working with many great people and organizations, like ASAP, that are helping make Anderson County a better and safer place to live.” ASAP also honored outgoing coalition leaders: Amy Olson and Nancy Foster were recognized for their dedication during the 2012-2013 year. Newly elected officers include Kim Pouncey—Chair, John Kelsey—Co-Chair, and Theresa Venable and Kathy Scruggs will be Co-Record Keepers. In addition, David Vudragovich will step in as Chairperson for the Fundraising Subcommittee. ASAP also awarded John Kelsey and Mary Tuskan with the Kris Stults Distinguished Service Award. Kris, who passed away in 2012, was influential in the development of ASAP and the award is given in her memory to individuals who carry on her legacy in creating opportunities for adolescents to live substance-free lives. “We are proud of all our volunteers have accomplished and are thrilled to be able to honor their achievements,” said Strutner.
AC’s Shelton elected president of statewide organization
(COAT) Anderson County Register of Deeds Tim Shelton has been elected president of the County Officials Association of Tennessee (COAT). Shelton, a lifelong resident of Anderson County, was elected at the organization's 45th annual conference recently held in Murfreesboro. COAT is a statewide association comprised of all of the county Registers of Deeds, Trustees, County Clerks and State Court Clerks. The organization was founded in 1968. Shelton is a graduate of Clinton Senior High School and Carson Newman College. He began his career in the Register's office in 1992 and was elected Register of Deeds on 2002. He is a Certified Public Administrator and is a graduate of both Leadership Anderson County and the University of Tennessee Local Government Leadership Program. He has been awarded the East Tennessee Register of the Year, the Tennessee Registers Association Register of the year and the COAT Outstanding Register of the Year. He and his wife Dara have a son Harrison and a daughter Addy. He is looking forward to seeking reelection next year.
Fire damages AC Jail expansion
A fire caused minor damage to the 212-bed expansion of the Anderson County Jail that is under construction on Monday morning. The fire was extinguished within 15 minutes of Clinton firefighters arriving on the scene and melted some metal siding on the second floor of the addition and burned some of the Styrofoam insulation between the interior and exterior wall. The fire was reported shortly after 11 am and initial indications are that a worker using a welding torch on the building’s roof may have sparked the blaze, but that has not yet been confirmed. No workers were in the immediate area of the fire when it began. Workers inside the building were evacuated but were able to resume construction activities in the afternoon after what amounted to a lengthy lunch break. No injuries were reported. The expansion is slated to open early next year.
OR Mall TIF clears final local hurdle
Monday, the Anderson County Commission unanimously approved a $13 million tax increment financing—or TIF—package to help with the proposed $85 million redevelopment of the nearly-vacant Oak Ridge Mall. The TIF package will allow developers Crosland Southeast to use new property tax revenues generated at the revamped mall to help pay for some of the ambitious project. Developers want to turn the mall into an open-air, retail-driven facility with space for retail shops, offices, a hotel, restaurants and even some residential units. The TIF package has sailed through the local approval process, having now been unanimously approved by the Oak Ridge City Council, Oak Ridge Industrial Development Board and the county’s operations and budget committees, and last night the full County Commission. The next step in the process will be state approval, and officials in Nashville are expected to review the package sometime within the next few weeks. Developers hope to open the new development, which will be called Freedom Park, sometime in 2016.
Blount lodge heavily damaged by fire
The Dancing Bear Lodge & Restaurant in Townsend was destroyed by a fire Thursday afternoon that sent one firefighter to the hospital for treatment of smoke inhalation. The fire was first reported as a chimney fire shortly after noon but when firefighters arrived on the scene, flames and smoke were pouring out of the four-story lodge and they quickly determined that they were not going to be able to save the building. Crews from the Townsend and Blount County fire departments battled the heavy flames for several hours and firefighters remained on the scene well into the evening extinguishing hot spots. A Townsend firefighter was kept overnight for observation at Blount Memorial Hospital but is expected to be OK. No lodge workers were injured and the lone guest was not on the property when the fire started. Dancing Bear officials say that they will begin the rebuilding process as soon as they can and thanked the firefighters for their efforts, which prevented the flames from spreading to the cabins on the property and to the nearby woods. The lodge is located off East Lamar Alexander Parkway and was estimated to be worth around $2.5 million.
Roane wreck kills 1
A Kingston man died in a single vehicle accident early Friday morning in Harriman. The Tennessee Highway Patrol reports that 22-year-old Patrick E. Fly of Kingston had been headed south on Swan Pond Road at around 1:30 am in a Nissan Altima when he failed to negotiate a curve. His car skidded and left the roadway, flipping several times and ejecting Fly, who was not wearing a seatbelt. He was pronounced dead at the scene. The THP report indicates that alcohol was involved in the crash and standard tests have been ordered. He was alone in the car and no other vehicles were involved.
Officials celebrate new life for historic OR inn
Representatives of the Family Pride Corporation out of Loudon County were joined by local, state and federal officials Thursday to celebrate the official groundbreaking on the project to convert the historic Alexander Inn in Oak Ridge into an assisted living facility. The building was constructed in the 1940s and served as the official lodging for dignitaries visiting Oak Ridge during the days of the Manhattan Project but had fallen into disrepair over the past 20 years. The building was included on preservationists most endangered area historic structures on several occasions before Family Pride stepped in and proposed converting it to an assisted living center for senior citizens. The project was able to move forward thanks in part to a $500,000 DOE grant that allowed the company to purchase and stabilize the building. The company was also granted a 10-year tax abatement on the property. Workers have been stabilizing the structure since May and say that the conversion into a 64-room assisted living facility should be complete sometime next summer. The project is expected to cost $5.5 million and will create as many as 30 new jobs in Oak Ridge.
ACSD announces retirement of Chief Jailer Avery Johnson
Sheriff Paul White announced today that Chief Jailer Avery Johnson has retired after almost 33 years of service with the Anderson County Sheriff’s Department. Chief Johnson began his career with the department in February 1981. After working patrol, Chief Johnson was assigned to the jail and was promoted to sergeant in charge of the jail operations in March of 1984. As the responsibilities of the jail operations increased, Chief Johnson was promoted through the ranks of lieutenant, captain, and later, chief jailer. Except for brief periods, Chief Johnson has remained as the jail administrator since 1984 and may have been the longest serving jail administrator in Tennessee. During his tenure, the Anderson County Jail has grown from a small facility in the courthouse to a modern detention center that will hold over 500 inmates. Chief Johnson’s knowledge and experience have been invaluable to the department over these many years. Johnson also served one term as an Anderson County Commissioner. The Anderson County Sheriff’s Department wishes to thank Chief Johnson for his many years of dedication and service and wishes him well in his retirement.
Blount mayor announces re-election bid
Blount County Mayor Ed Mitchell has announced that he will seek re-election to that office in next year’s election. Mitchell says that he and his staff have worked hard in his first term to reduce the county’s spending and its debt load and that he hopes to continue to apply his conservative financial approach to the county’s business in a second term. Mitchell will hold a reception to kick off his re-election campaign on Wednesday November 20th from 4 to 6 pm at the Everett Recreational Center in Maryville.
Report: Both sides amenable to discussing ‘Rocky Top’
Lawyers representing the company that owns the trademark to the name “Rocky Top” and the copyright to the iconic bluegrass song of the same name have backed off the threatening language included in a letter faxed to Lake City leaders last week and have indicated they are willing to sit down and discuss the city’s decision to change its name to Rocky Top. The name change, which was approved in a unanimous vote of the Lake City Council last week is seen as the first step toward turning the former coal mining town into a tourist destination featuring attractions like a large restaurant, an interactive 3D theater and other amenities. Lawyers representing the House of Bryant LLC in a letter sent to city leaders last week warned of possible legal action if the town went through with its plans to change the name and develop the proposed tourist mecca, but the News-Sentinel reports that those attorneys have now indicated they are willing to sit down and negotiate a possible licensing agreement as the company owns several trademarks involving the name Rocky Top. Developers have indicated that they, too, are willing to sit down, saying that they are not in this to step on anyone’s toes or infringe upon existing copyrights. The name change was deemed mandatory for the project to move forward due to the marketing possibilities associated with Rocky Top in this part of the country. Attorneys told the paper that the House of Bryant is “reasonable” and is not looking for a court battle, instead saying that they will consider all options as the project moves forward. The name change must be approved by the State Legislature when it convenes in Nashville in January and once that occurs, as expected, the City Council will have to ratify the move. We will continue to keep you posted as developments warrant.
State report cards show growth in Blount, Alcoa, Maryville
Wednesday, the Tennessee Department of Education released the annual state Report Card and local school systems made significant gains. The Blount County school system received As on its math and social studies assessments and Bs on its reading and science assessments. Last year, the district received Bs on its math, reading, science and social studies assessments. Blount County received As on its math and social studies value-added scores and Bs on its reading and science value-added scores. Last year, the district received As on its math and social studies value-added scores, C in reading and a D in science. The Maryville schools received all As on its math, reading, science and social studies assessments, the same as last year. Maryville also received As in its math, science and social studies value-added scores and a B on its reading value-added scores. Last year, Maryville received an A in social studies, Bs on its math and reading and a C in science. The Alcoa schools got all As on its math, reading, science, and social studies assessments. Last year, the district received As in reading and social studies and Bs in math and science assessments. Alcoa received all As on its math, reading, science, and social studies value-added scores. Last year, the district received As in math and social studies, a B in reading and a C in science.
State report cards show growth in Anderson, Clinton, Oak Ridge
Wednesday, the Tennessee Department of Education released the annual state Report Card and local school systems made significant gains. In Anderson County, assessment scores in elementary and middle schools scored As in math and social studies and Bs in reading and science. A year ago, the system received Bs in math and social studies, a C in reading, and a B in science. In the value-added category, the system received As in math, science and social studies. Last year, the system received Cs in reading and science, a B in social studies and an A in math. In grades 9-12, students exceeded expectations on End of Course exams in Algebras I & II, Biology I and US History and scored above expectations on their composite ACT scores as well as in math and science. There was no significant difference between expectations and value-added achievement and in no category did students fail to meet expectations. Anderson County graduated 91.3% of its students last year. The Clinton city schools received straight As, the same as last year and in Oak Ridge, elementary schoolers earned straight As on their achievement scores. In the value added category, Oak Ridge students earned As in math and social studies—the same as a year ago—and improved from Cs to Bs in reading and science. Oak Ridge high school students were above expectations in both End of Course achievement and value added scores. For a complete look at how your local systems performed, visit http://www.tn.gov/education/reportcard/2013.shtml.
AC Public Defender Tom Marshall announces re-election bid
(Submitted) Tom Marshall will seek re-election as the Anderson County Public Defender in 2014. Marshall, a graduate of the University of North Carolina School Of Law, is seeking a fourth term as Public Defender. Marshall has served as Anderson County Public Defender since 1989 and also serves as an Adjunct Professor of Law at Roane State Community College. Marshall was appointed Anderson County Public Defender by Governor Ned McWherter in 1989 and then elected by the citizens of Anderson County in 1990 and re-elected in 1998 and 2006. Marshall is also a graduate the US Army JAGC School Advanced Course in Charlottesville, Virginia. Marshall was an officer in the US Army JAG Corps on Active Duty from 1977 until 1985 stationed both in the United States and Germany. Marshall also supervised the prosecutor’s office as Chief of Criminal Law at Fort Jackson, South Carolina. Marshall is now a retired Lieutenant Colonel in the US Army Reserve. The public defender represents all indigent criminal defendants in the various courts of Anderson County. Marshall, who supervises four attorneys and three investigators who are also paralegals, is recognized as one of the best Public Defenders in Tennessee with more than seventy years of legal experience on his current staff. Marshall is qualified to represent defendants in death penalty cases. Marshall is slated to serve as President of the Tennessee Public Defenders Conference from 2014 until 2015. He formerly served as President of the Conference from 2004 until 2005. This organization is responsible for the administration and training of Public Defenders across the state of Tennessee. Tom Marshall also serves as a member of the Anderson County Community Corrections Board and as a member of the Anderson County Drug Court Team. A member of First Baptist Church in Clinton he has served as a Deacon since 2004. Marshall has been active in the Claxton Optimist Club, Habitat for Humanity, and is the Chairman of the Board for ADFAC. He also serves the community as a Junior Achievement Instructor in our local schools. Tom lives in Clinton with his wife Pat Marshall.
ORT: Preservation awards announced
(Oak Ridge Today) Two Anderson County properties were among a dozen that received East Tennessee Preservation Awards on Friday. The two properties are The Hemlocks and 101 West Norris, the East Tennessee Preservation Alliance said in a press release Monday. The awards presentation on Friday at the Chilhowee Club in Maryville was part of the fifth annual East Tennessee Preservation Conference, which focused on preservation and economic development. The Hemlocks is at 1135 Old Lake City Highway in Clinton, and the West Norris home is at 101 West Norris Ave. in Norris. The awards were presented by Patrick McIntyre, Tennessee’s state historic preservation officer; Scott Brooks, ETPA president, and Ethiel Garlington, director of preservation field services. The press release said award-winning projects represent the best examples of historic preservation throughout the region: adaptive re-use, heritage tourism, mid-century modern, and much more. “East Tennessee’s built environment is rich and diverse, and these annual awards celebrate the communities, places, and individuals who ensure future East Tennesseans will have physical evidence of its stories,” the release said. The other winners and award recipients were:
ETPA was founded in 2009, and it serves the 16-county East Tennessee region and works in partnership with Knox Heritage. ETPA is made up of representatives from all 16 counties and works to help further historic preservation in the region through educational events, technical assistance, and by assisting existing organizations.
Lake City votes to change name, learns of potential roadblock
(Oak Ridge Today/WYSH) Despite receiving a letter from an attorney warning Lake City officials that a proposal to build a Rocky Top theme park could violate trademark rights and should be dropped, the City Council was undeterred, voting unanimously to recommend changing the town’s name to Rocky Top. It’s the first step in a project to build a $20 million dollar Rocky Top theme park that could include an interactive 3-D theater, water park, hotel, and restaurant, a project developers say cannot move forward without the name change. The letter from an intellectual property attorney in Nashville was received by city leaders just a couple of hours before Thursday’s special called Council meeting and while it could have Lake City officials and the park’s investors scrambling to answer legal questions, it does not necessarily quash the project. The trademark and copyright infringement warning came from an attorney representing House of Bryant Publications LLC. The Gatlinburg-based company said it owns multiple Rocky Top trademarks and the copyright to the iconic song “Rocky Top.” The letter from attorney Gary L. Montle said that renaming the town and constructing the proposed theme park would entail other branding and marketing efforts that would violate the Rocky Top trademarks and include “unlicensed derivative works” from the copyrighted song. “House of Bryant considers all of these efforts to be gross violations of its federal trademarks and copyrights,” Montle wrote. “If the city council approves plans to change Lake City’s name or build a theme park with the name ‘Rocky Top,’ or a variation of that name, House of Bryant will act swiftly and aggressively to protect its intellectual property rights by all legal means available, including seeking a declaration of our rights in federal court.” He asked Mayor Timothy Sharp to assure, within seven days, that Lake City will end all plans to name or associate a theme park with “Rocky Top” and assure that the city council will renounce all support for renaming the city. That obviously did not happen. Mayor Sharp said the theme park’s investors should meet with their attorneys to discuss the copyright issue, and in order to protect its own interests, the city will also have to meet with its attorneys. Sharp said there will likely be some sort of compensation or agreement that the city attorney and attorneys for the Bryant House of Publications will have to negotiate, but admitted he didn't know what that might look like yet. The name change still has to be considered by the Tennessee General Assembly in Nashville. State Rep. John Ragan attended the Lake City meeting and said he has drafted a bill that could be introduced during the legislative session that starts in January.
BC salvage yard catches fire
A fire at a Blount County junkyard destroyed a building and caused other damage but injured no one. The fire started at around 10 am at the salvage yard at Murrell Automotive/Recycling on Doc Norton Road and flames and smoke from the blaze were visible for miles. Officials say that workers were draining gasoline from a vehicle they were preparing to demolish and during that process a stray spark ignited a pile of nearby tires. Two salvaged vehicles and a Bobcat trailer were damaged and the building where vehicles are dismantled was destroyed, but again, no injuries were reported.
Applications being taken for CRCTU camp in Smokies
(CRCTU) Applications are open for the fourth annual Great Smoky Mountains Trout Adventure Camp for middle school girls and boys, sponsored by the Tennessee Council of Trout Unlimited. Trout Adventure 2014 will be June 16–21 at Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont (GSMIT) in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Trout Adventure is designed to give kids an appreciation and understanding of the importance of our aquatic resources with an emphasis on conservation, protection and restoration of coldwater ecosystems. Participants learn about stream ecology, brook trout restoration, stream physics and chemistry, fishing etiquette and aquatic entomology. They experience fly tying, fly fishing and snorkeling in Little River and its Middle Prong, along with some hiking and swimming. GSMIT, a private, nonprofit, residential environmental learning center, has operated since 1969 in the national park. The institute is in Walker Valley on the banks of Little River’s Middle Prong, a coldwater stream containing brook, brown and rainbow trout. Facilities include dormitories, dining hall, classrooms, outdoor meeting shelters, bookstore/gift shop and full-time professional staff. Trout Adventure 2014 will begin on Monday afternoon, June 16, and end at noon on Saturday, June 21. Boys and girls 12 to 15 years old as of June 16 are eligible to apply; Trout Unlimited will accept a total of 12 participants, with a minimum of two girls. Tuition is $495; insurance coverage is supplied by GSMIT. Financial assistance based on need may be available. Campers should be in good physical condition. While the camp is not akin to a military boot camp, activities may be more physically demanding than some boys and girls are accustomed to. Youngsters interested in attending 2014 Trout Adventure must complete an application form, available at http://www.tntroutadventure.org. Applications must be submitted no later than March 15, 2014; selections will be made by March 20. Applications should be mailed or e-mailed to: John Thurman, P.O. Box 546, Norris, TN 37828; email@example.com. All applicants will be notified of their selection status no later than March 25, 2014. When families are notified that their children have been selected, they will be provided with a GSMIT registration form.
Smallridge honored in OR
The School Administration Building in Oak Ridge has been renamed in honor of longtime Director of Schools Bob Smallridge. Smallridge served as Oak Ridge’s Director of Schools for 20 years before his retirement, but since than he has been tapped to serve as the interim director of two other school systems and his home district of Oak Ridge. After retiring Smallridge served as interim school chief in Campbell County and in the Clinton city school system and just last year spent six months as the interim head of the Oak Ridge school system as it transitioned from Tom Bailey to current Superintendent Bruce Borchers. The school headquarters will now be known as the Robert J. Smallridge School Administration Building. The School Board voted earlier this year to rechristen the building in his honor.
Still no decision from CSX on Johnson Gap Road bridge
As we reported last week, there has still been no decision from CSX Railroad as to whether it plans to repair the bridge it owns on Johnson Gap Road. Last week, County Law Director Jay Yeager told us that he and Road Superintendent Gary Long have both been in contact with CSX and said that the company is aware of the concerns of both county leaders and citizens who depend on the bridge not only to get to and from the Dutch Valley community, but also for rapid emergency responses. The bridge replacement or repair is being considered by CSX’s Property Asset Division but so far, no decision has been made. The bridge is owned by the railroad and therefore is their responsibility to maintain. It has been closed for three months now after state inspectors determined that the wooden blocks that support the bridge had deteriorated and deemed it unsafe. Posted detours add about 10 minutes for drivers and emergency responders say that their response times are also increased due to the closure. If the railroad takes no action, the county could ask TDOT for emergency funding to make the repairs but would have to provide matching funds for any such project. Anderson County officials hope to learn CSX’s plans by the end of this month.
ORT: NNSA sticks with CNS to run Y-12
(Oak Ridge Today) The National Nuclear Security Administration on Friday reaffirmed its January decision to pick Consolidated Nuclear Security LLC to manage and operate the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge and Pantex Plant near Amarillo, Texas. That earlier decision had been challenged in two rounds of bid protests. Those protests delayed the transition to a new contractor, and it wasn’t clear Friday if the NNSA’s new decision might also be challenged. The five-year extendable contract, which could be worth up to $22.8 billion over 10 years, includes project management of the Uranium Processing Facility at Y-12 and an unexercised option for Savannah River Tritium Operations at the Savannah River Site near Aiken, S.C. CNS, of Reston, Va., is comprised of Bechtel National Inc., Lockheed Martin Services Inc., ATK Launch Systems Inc., and SOC LLC. The transition to CNS at the two nuclear weapons plants could start later this month—after the period for protests is over around Nov. 25, the NNSA said Friday afternoon. The transition could last four months, but the NNSA will ask CNS to complete the transition quicker if possible. It wasn’t clear if the two losing teams—Integrated Nuclear Production Solutions LLC of Oak Ridge, and Nuclear Production Partners LLC, or NP2, of Lynchburg, Va.—might challenge the NNSA’s most recent decision. The transition to CNS had originally been scheduled to be complete by May 1 of this year. But NP2 and Integrated Nuclear Production Solutions LLC filed bid protests, with the first filed Jan. 17. The U.S. Government Accountability Office upheld one part of those initial protests in April, and in September, it denied or dismissed new challenges filed by NP2 in June. Find out much more about this story at www.oakridgetoday.com.
AC's 2 political parties to hold primaries
Both major political parties in Anderson County will hold primaries in the spring. The local Democratic Party has submitted the formal paperwork to the Election Commission necessary to hold a primary, rather than a caucus, to select its candidates for countywide offices in May. The Anderson County GOP has also reportedly decided to hold a primary but has not yet submitted the paperwork. The primaries will be held on May 6th for the August 7th general election, in which all countywide offices except Property Assessor will be on the ballot. The first day to pick up a nominating petition to seek a local office is November 22nd and the deadline to qualify as a candidate will be February 20th.
Details on CPD SRO grant
As we reported earlier this month, the Clinton Police Department has received a grant from the United States Department of Justice "COPS" office to fund one school resource officer for the next three years. The award amount was just over $112,000. A fourth year will be paid for by the City of Clinton and the City Schools. In order to receive the grant, the City of Clinton and the Clinton City Schools formed an agreement to partner in a School Resource Officer program. The three year budget of $150,000 covers salary, benefits and uniforms. The grant provides 75% of the total cost with a local match of 25%. The city and the school system also had to agree to fund the position for one full year following the end of the federal funding. The city has three elementary schools, each of which has enjoyed the protection of a police officer since last January. “Both our city council and school board wanted to reassure our community that the schools would be protected in the wake of the New Town, CT school shooting” said Clinton Police Chief Rick Scarbrough. Officers have shared the responsibility to cover the schools by working overtime. The city and the school system split those costs evenly. “It is a testament to the leaders of our city. We are going to do all we can to protect our students and staff.” added Chief Scarbrough in a press release issued Tuesday. Vicki Violette, Director of Clinton City Schools, said: "Clinton City School District is very excited to have this program in place. Having School Resource Officers in each school gives our students, staff members, and parents a greater level of security from issues and situations that could negatively impact a safe learning environment." Clinton Mayor Scott Burton added: "Our children are our most important commodity.. I am glad that we are able to make the extra effort to better protect the students attending city schools. Working together with the schools will prove to be a worthwhile endeavor." In order to continue to have an officer at each of the three schools, the City Council and the School Board have each agreed to fund one position.
BCSO: 3 arrested on meth charges
The Blount County Sheriff’s Office says that three people were arrested Monday and charged with promoting the manufacture of methamphetamine following an investigation by the Fifth Judicial Drug Task Force. The individuals were charged are:
· Vanessa Kathryn Hicks, 38, Maple Oak Road, Maryville
· Teresa Lynn Correll, 44, Sweetwater
· Jeffery Clay Harris, 23, Greenback
All three individuals are being held in the Blount County Detention Facility. Investigators with the Fifth Judicial Drug Task Force began an investigation after receiving word that suspicious individuals were trying to purchase precursors for manufacturing meth at a local business. Investigators stopped the suspects’ vehicle on U.S. Highway 411 South near the Loudon County line. Through the course of their investigation, officers determined the trio was planning to use the precursors to make meth. In the vehicle, officers reported finding two boxes of pseudoephedrine and a small amount of methamphetamine.
CPD honors Officer of the Year, ‘Top Guns’
Sergeant Jim Campbell was recognized last week as the Clinton Police
Department's 2012/2013 Officer of The Year. This is Campbell’s second
"Officer of The Year" award, having also earned the honor in 2005.
Among several administrative duties, Sgt Campbell also serves as the
CPD's training coordinator. He has been with the department since 2003.
Chief Rick Scarbrough presented the award to
Campbell at the annual police "range day" celebration, held
Thursday (10/24). Speaking of which, the CPD's "Top Guns" were
recognized during the first annual "range day" pistol competition. Most
of the department's full time and reserve officers participated. The top
BCSO says arrests of 4 solve 17 break-ins
The Blount County Sheriff‘s Office says it has solved seventeen residential burglaries in Blount County and arrested the four people believed to be responsible. The arrests were as a result of a nearly month long joint investigation that included the Sheriff’s Office, the Maryville and Alcoa police departments, and the Knox County Sheriff’s Office. The following individuals were charged:
· Jeremy Lee Click, 27, Cold Springs Road, Walland. Click is charged with ten counts of aggravated burglary. Click is being held on bonds totaling $50,000 pending hearings in Blount County General Sessions Court at 1:30 p.m. October 30th and 9 a.m. November 5th.
· Stephen Jefferson Davis, 26, Loudon Avenue, Maryville. Davis is charged with one count of aggravated burglary and one count of theft of property. Davis is being held on bonds totaling $3,500 pending a hearing in Blount County General Sessions Court at 9 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. October 28th.
· Vanessa Leeann Hannah, 26, Cold Springs Road, Walland. Hannah is charged with one count of theft of property. She is being held on a $2,500 bond pending a hearing in Blount County General Sessions Court at 9 a.m. November 5th.
· Heaven Kindle Jenkins, 22, Loudon Avenue, Maryville. Jenkins is charged with two counts of theft of property, as well as a misdemeanor violation of probation. Jenkins is being held on bonds totaling $2,000 on the theft charges, and a “hold without bond” on the violation of probation charge.
The investigation began several weeks ago after a Maryville Police detective received information linking these four individuals to seventeen burglaries in the cities of Alcoa and Maryville, as well as in Blount County. Detectives from all four agencies worked together to develop further leads on other burglaries. Click and Hannah were taken into custody October 19th, and Davis and Jenkins were arrested October 20th. Based on the information obtained through the Blount County investigation, Knox County Sheriff’s Office obtained a search warrant for a residence on Neubert Springs Road in south Knox County, and with the assistance from detectives with the Blount County Sheriff’s Office and the Maryville Police Department they executed the search warrant Thursday evening. Additional charges from the agencies involved could be forthcoming, and the investigation is continuing. The burglaries all took place in the last two to three months. The suspects targeted jewelry and firearms. Detectives have recovered some of the stolen jewelry and one firearm at pawn shops and jewelry stores in Blount and Knox counties.
BCSO nabs fugitive
The Blount County Sheriff’s Office announced that one of Blount County’s Ten Most Wanted was captured in Knoxville on Saturday. 50-year-old Frederick Arnold McMahan of Maryville was wanted for violating his community corrections as well as two other felony warrants for failure to report to prison to serve a court-ordered sentence. In 2012, McMahan was sentenced to prison for delivery of Schedule II and IV controlled substances within a school zone, and one count of possession of a Schedule II controlled substance. McMahan eluded capture for several months until this weekend, when investigators with the Fifth Judicial Drug Task Force received intelligence that led them to McMahan’s location in the parking lot of a business on Strawberry Plains Pike in Knox County late this morning. Two women were taken into custody at that location. 64-year-old Kathleen Craig Knox of Maryville, and 54-year-old Vicki Sue Thompson of Maryville were each charged with accessory after the fact felony failure to appear, conspiracy to deliver a Schedule II controlled substance (oxycodone) in a school zone, and possession of a Schedule II controlled substance (oxycodone) with intent to resell in a school zone. Drug Task Force investigators also seized two vehicles, three firearms, and hundreds of pills. Investigators are also seeking forfeiture of approximately $20,000 in currency. Additional charges could be forthcoming. The Knox County Sheriff’s Office assisted with transporting the individuals to the Blount County Detention Facility.
OR IDB OKs TIF plan for Mall
The proposed $85 million mixed-use redevelopment of the Oak Ridge Mall received a key local endorsement Thursday when the city’s Industrial Development Board unanimously recommended a plan that would allow new property tax revenues generated at the site to be used to help pay for development costs. The tax increment financing—or TIF—agreement could be worth $13 million and last 20 years. In an 8-0 vote during a special meeting Thursday, the Board recommended the plan to the Oak Ridge City Council and Anderson County Commission, which could consider it in November. If all goes as planned, the sale of the mall to Crosland Southeast could close in the middle of next year, and demolition could then start immediately and last three to four months. Construction could last about 1.5 years, which means the redeveloped property could open in 2016. The 59-acre redevelopment in the center of the city could include 400,000 square feet of retail space and roughly 60,000 to 100,000 square feet of office space, a hotel of about 100 to 120 rooms, and up to 50 multi-family, “walkable” residential units. It could also include three to four restaurants. The developer, C4 Investments LLC of North Carolina, could spend more than $85 million converting what is now a mostly empty enclosed mall into an open-air, retail-driven, mixed-use property. Partners of Crosland Southeast are members of C4. Belk and JCPenney, the mall’s two remaining anchor stores, have to approve certain aspects of the deal as would Walmart and Tinseltown. Projections presented during a public hearing before the IDB’s special meeting said the redevelopment, which would be named Freedom Park, could create 950 to 1,000 new jobs, and increase city and county sales tax revenues by about $2.16 million. The TIF would not create any risk for the city, county, or IDB, Oak Ridge economic development consultant Ray Evans said. James L. Murphy—a Nashville attorney with Bradley, Arant, Boult, and Cummings—said the TIF still has to be approved by the Tennessee comptroller and commissioner of economic and community development. For more on yesterday’s vote and more details about the project, visit our partners at www.oakridgetoday.com.
BCSO HEAT investigation nabs one
The Blount County Sheriff’s Office says a 21-year-old Maryville man has been charged with two counts of sexual exploitation of a minor following his arrest Wednesday night. Adam William McGilvray is being held in the Blount County Detention Facility on bonds totaling $75,000 pending a hearing in Blount County General Sessions Court at 9 a.m. November 1st. McGilvray is charged with one count of sexual exploitation of a minor for possession of child pornography, and one count of aggravated sexual exploitation of a minor for distribution of child pornography. McGilvray’s arrest is the result of a three week long on-line investigation by the Sheriff’s Office HEAT (Hi-Tech Evidence and Technology) Unit, as part of ICAC –TN (Internet Crimes Against Children, Tennessee). Wednesday, HEAT Unit investigators executed a search warrant at McGilvray’s residence and seized his computer. A forensic exam of the hard drive revealed images and videos of child sexual abuse victims that McGilvray downloaded from the Internet. The investigation is ongoing.
Nolan announces run for 33rd District State House seat
Caitlin Nolan has announced her candidacy for the Republican nomination to represent State House District 33 in next year’s August primary. According to a release announcing her candidacy, Nolan is a lifelong Anderson County resident raised in Norris and currently living in Oak Ridge, where she graduated high school. While just a freshman at Oak Ridge, the release states that she successfully lobbied the State Legislature for anti-bullying legislation and has continued to work for that cause for over a decade. Those efforts garnered her national attention, including recognition from ABC’s World News Tonight. A graduate of UT, Nolan has been active in Republican causes for several years and in the release states the she “believes in the importance of keeping taxes low for families in Anderson County [and] promoting economic development.” Nolan adds that improving education is essential in creating jobs and building those economic development opportunities. Nolan is a member of St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Oak Ridge and describes herself as pro-life and a firm believer in the 2nd Amendment. To that end, she is also a member of the NRA. The 33rd District represents most of Anderson County and is currently represented by John Ragan, who has not yet announced if he will seek another term.
BCSO: 4 arrested in drug raid
Blount County Sheriff James Lee Berrong said four people were taken into custody Friday afternoon following a search warrant executed by the Fifth Judicial Drug Task Force. The following individuals were arrested:
· Dennis Tedford Willis, age 45, East Old Topside Road, Louisville is charged with possession of a firearm during a dangerous felony, conspiracy to deliver a Schedule II controlled substance (Oxycodone), possession of a Schedule II controlled substance with intent to resell (Oxycodone), and possession of a Schedule IV controlled substance with intent to resell (various).
· Lea Anne Willis, age 42. East Old Topside Road, Louisville is charged with conspiracy to deliver a Schedule II controlled substance (Oxycodone), possession of a Schedule II controlled substance with intent to resell (Oxycodone), and possession of a Schedule IV controlled substance with intent to resell (various).
· Kenneth Anthony Hurst, age 37, Happy Valley Road, Tallassee is charged with possession of a Schedule II controlled substance with intent to resell (Oxycodone), and simple possession of a Schedule II controlled substance (Opana).
· Stephanie E. Buchanan, age 35, Six Mile Road, Maryville is charged with possession of a Schedule II controlled substance (Oxycodone).
All four individuals are being held at the Blount County Detention Facility. Bond amounts and court dates have not yet been set. Earlier today, investigators with the Fifth Judicial Drug Task Force with the assistance of the Blount County Sheriff’s Office SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics) team executed the search warrant at a residence on East Old Topside Road after a month long investigation. When they arrived, they found several individuals at the residence. Due to health and safety concerns at the residence, Blount County Mayor Ed Mitchell was notified, and a Codes Enforcement Officer responded to the scene to address those issues. Investigators searched the residence and vehicles on the property and found and seized illegal Schedule II and Schedule IV narcotics, as well as three firearms. The investigation is ongoing.
ORT: Sitel ordered to pay back wages, fines
The U.S. Labor Department has recovered nearly $144,000 in back wages and penalties from Sitel Operating Corp. in Oak Ridge, federal officials said Thursday. Sitel has agreed to pay 486 employees $68,901 in back wages after an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division found violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act’s overtime and record-keeping provisions at the company’s facility in Oak Ridge, a press release said. Sitel also paid civil money penalties of $74,900, which were assessed for repeat violations of the FLSA, the release said. It said investigators from the division’s Nashville District Office found that employees who worked on one client account, United Services Automobile Association, were not paid for time spent conducting required preparatory work before their shifts started. Specifically, the company failed to pay its employees for the 28-39 minutes they were required to spend each week logging into Web applications before they could access the time clock to start their shift, the release said. Because the employees were not paid for all hours worked, they were denied overtime compensation at time and one-half their regular rates of pay for hours worked beyond 40 in a workweek, as required by the FLSA, the Labor Department said. The employer also failed to keep accurate records of the time employees spent conducting preparatory work, the release said, adding that Sitel has agreed to pay all back wages and civil money penalties and maintain compliance with the FLSA. The firm, doing business as Sitel, provides phone-based business operations support to companies that want to outsource those functions. Sitel’s employees make and receive calls on behalf of Sitel’s clients to sell products, fulfill orders, take claims, provide technical support, answer customer questions, and collect payments. The division’s Nashville office can be reached at (615) 781-5344. Information on the FLSA and other wage laws is available by calling the division’s toll-free helpline at (866) 4US-WAGE (487-9243) and at www.dol.gov/whd. For more visit www.oakridgetoday.com.
ORT: ORUUC building construction underway
(Oak Ridge Today) Construction work has started at the site of a new home for the Oak Ridge Unitarian Universalist Church near the Joe L. Evins Federal Building. Hickory Construction Inc., which has headquarters in Alcoa, announced on Thursday that it has broken ground at the 4.6-acre site. The building could be complete by next summer. The new building will give the congregation an extra 3,000 square feet, compared to the current building a few miles down Oak Ridge Turnpike. In addition to more space, features will include a single slope roof over the sanctuary to create a dramatic space lit by recessed lighting and randomly spaced pendant fixtures; wood-look ceiling tile in the sanctuary, lobby and hearth room; and polished concrete floors throughout much of the building, the release said. Outside, the grounds will have extensive landscaping and accessible paths. Congregation members broke ground at the site in July and said they plan to be in their new home by Thanksgiving 2014. For more than six decades, the congregation of 260 members has been in a heavily used church at the intersection of Oak Ridge Turnpike and Robertsville Road, but in a deal arranged by commercial developers Blanchard and Calhoun Commercial, the church agreed in September 2012 to sell that 3.6-acre site to make way for a new Kroger Marketplace shopping center in the heart of the city. The church’s current property could be used as outparcels, or small lots, at the new $30 million shopping center, which could open next summer. For more, visit www.oakridgetoday.com.
Appeals Court rules against quarry foes
The Tennessee Court of Appeals late last week ruled against a group of citizens who had sued the city of Clinton and the Rogers Group over the city’s rezoning of land near the Bethel community to allow for the road-paving company to reopen its controversial rock quarry. Citizens for Safety and Clean Air had filed the suit, alleging that the city’s rezoning of the land to M-2—or heavy industrial use—had been capricious and arbitrary and that it had constituted illegal spot zoning. Anderson County Chancellor William Lantrip ruled against the plaintiffs earlier this year and the case was appealed. Last week, the appeals court panel upheld the Chancery Court’s decision allowing the rezoning. Residents and businesses for years have fought bitterly against the Rogers Group reopening its long-dormant rock quarry and the dispute also has embroiled the governments of Clinton and Anderson County. The decision was announced on Friday and the plaintiffs have 30 days to file an appeal. No decision has been made on whether they will.
STEM grants awarded to area schools
STEMspark is pleased to announce the recipients of this year’s 11 teacher mini grants, totaling nearly $11,000. These grants enable teachers to enhance science, technology, engineering, and mathematics instruction in their classrooms. This year, the mini grants will be distributed across nine school systems in the STEMspark region, and will potentially affect more than 6,500 students K-12 students. “We were overwhelmed by the positive response to this initiative from our regional school partners,” Marilyn Roddy, director of STEMspark. “By pairing STEMspark Grant Writing 101 training with this funding opportunity, we hope to build teacher capacity and confidence around grant writing success.” STEMspark received 29 qualified grant submissions from 12 different school systems. In the application, teachers were given the opportunity to detail how the mini grants would improve STEM education in their classrooms. The winning applications included plans for improved technology, professional development for teachers, and group projects for the classroom. “STEM thinking skills such as critical thinking, collaboration and problem solving are what will distinguish our students in the job market in the coming decades,” Roddy said. “Projects such as these will prepare our students for success in higher education and the workforce.”
The recipients are as follows:
Report: Layton up for third term
According to the News-Sentinel, Anderson County General Sessions Judge Don Layton has announced that he will seek a third, eight-year term in next year’s election. Judge Layton was first elected to the seat in 1998.
Report: Lawsuit filed over deputy-involved fatal shooting
A wrongful death lawsuit has been filed against the Anderson County Sheriff’s Department over last year’s fatal shooting of a man by a volunteer reserve deputy. The News-Sentinel reports that the lawsuit was filed last week in Anderson County Circuit Court and alleges that reserve deputy Steven Williams violated the constitutional rights of Randall Wilcox in the incident that led to Wilcox’s death. The Anderson County DA’s office earlier this year said that the TBI probe into the October 13th, 2012 incident showed that Williams had not broken any laws or violated any procedures. Officials have said that Williams had tried to pull Wilcox over for an alleged seatbelt law violation and that Wilcox had tried to flee on foot after being stopped along the side of Pine Ridge Road. The DA’s office says that Wilcox had fought with Williams over the deputy’s gun and that at one point he had gained control of the weapon and pulled the trigger to shoot Williams in the chest but that the pistol had misfired. After getting the gun back and re-racking it, Williams shot Wilcox three times as Wilcox, who had a lengthy criminal history, charged at him. The lawsuit filed by Wilcox’s wife and the legal guardian of his children alleges that Wilcox did not take any aggressive action toward the deputy and that Williams had simply chased him into the woods and shot him. The lawsuit says that Williams’ actions amounted to assault, false arrest and a violation of Wilcox’s rights. The suit seeks an unspecified damages and, according to the News-Sentinel, an injunction prohibiting officers from drawing their weapons to “chase citizens for suspicion of…a misdemeanor.” Williams, Sheriff Paul White and the county are named as the defendants in the suit.
Veteran driver’s licenses now available
(State of Tennessee) Department of Safety and Homeland Security Commissioner Bill Gibbons and Department of Veterans Affairs Commissioner Many-Bears Grinder today announced that honorably discharged veterans may now visit any driver services center in the state to obtain a specially designated veteran driver license or photo identification card. Legislation authorizing the state to publicly recognize veterans’ military service was passed in 2011. The veteran designation could not be offered, however, until the latest redesign of driver licenses and photo ID cards. A newly designed card and a new process called “central issuance,” in which driver licenses and photo ID cards are mailed to citizens from a central location, are now being used in all driver services centers. Veterans must visit a driver services center and present a certified or original copy of their Department of Defense form 214 (DD-214), which is also known as discharge papers, to receive the special designation on a driver license or photo ID card. If the license or card is a renewal or duplicate of a non-commercial driver license, veterans may also visit one of the Department of Safety and Homeland Security’s county clerk partners. The standard state issuance or renewal fees apply for the transaction. If it is not time to renew a driver license or photo ID, veterans may get a duplicate to replace a current non-commercial license or ID for $8 for the first duplicate and $12 for a second duplicate. Visit www.tn.gov/safety for a list of driver services centers and county clerk partners offering this service.
Mayes announces candidacy
(Submitted) Anderson County Circuit Court Clerk, Tyler Mayes, has announced that he will seek to retain his position in the 2014 election. Mayes was appointed in 2012 to fill the term of former Circuit court clerk Barry Pellazarri. Mayes has stated that accountability to taxpayers and the courts is the number one issue for the office. During Mayes first year in office he has aggressively pursued new policies and procedures that have resulted in record collections and has made the office more efficient in its daily operations. The aggressive pursuit of bond forfeitures, the installation of new software, and the increased collection of court costs has made the Anderson County Circuit Court Clerk’s Office a standard of excellence across Tennessee. Mayes addressed the changes, “My staff understands that we are public servants and working for the citizens of Anderson County in a pleasant and professional manner is very important to me. I have strived to work with all of the judges and court officials seeking their input to better manage our resources and increase accountability. The changes we have made over the past year have had a positive impact on both our ability to serve the public and the amount of funds we have saved the taxpayers through increased collections.” Under Mayes’ administration, the Clerk’s office has increased efforts in collecting delinquent court costs and fines owed to the county. Mayes office collected nearly $400,000 over the amount projected by the county before the year started. We increased some revenue codes by nearly 300%.” In August, Mayes installed new software that allows viewable access to all public court records via the internet. “Installing the new software has increased office efficiency and transparency. The citizens of Anderson County can now view public records online. It is an honor to serve as the Circuit Court Clerk of Anderson County. A life-long resident of Anderson County, Mayes graduated from Lincoln Memorial University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Management and Leadership Studies and a Master’s Degree in Education, and a post-graduate degree in Administration and Supervision. Mayes is a member of the Tennessee Court Clerk’s Association and the County Officials Association of Tennessee. A member of Second Baptist Church in Clinton, Mayes has served on the Community Advisory Board and the Foster Care Review Board in Anderson County and is presently on the Board of Directors for ARC of Anderson County. He lives in Clinton with his wife, Rachel, and their daughter Kennedy.
Middle school leadership posts changing in OR
(ORT) Principals at Robertsville and Jefferson middle schools have been reassigned, according to Oak Ridge school officials. Robertsville Middle School Principal James Hundertmark is moving to the School Administration Building, where he will be the special projects administrator, Superintendent Bruce Borchers said. Meanwhile, Jefferson Middle School Principal Bruce Lay has been reassigned as RMS principal, Borchers said. Philip Cox, who has been JMS vice principal, will become interim principal. Borchers said the special projects administrator is a new position that will be involved in several initiatives, including data collection for a Keys to College and Career Readiness program. He will be involved in developing report cards for all buildings and departments. Hundertmark started at RMS in July, and he had previously been lead associate principal of Klein High School in Klein, Texas. He began his teaching career as a secondary mathematics teacher for Anderson County Schools and later taught mathematics in Spring, Texas. Lay has been JMS principal since 2001. He also served as Jefferson’s vice principal in 2000 and 2001. Prior to his service at Jefferson, Lay worked for Anderson County Schools, serving as principal of both Briceville Elementary and Norwood Middle schools, a press release said. Cox has been JMS vice principal since 2006. Before he came to Oak Ridge, Cox was principal of Lake City Elementary. For more, visit www.oakridgetoday.com.
THP: Watch out for deer
Tennessee Highway Patrol (THP) Colonel Tracy Trott today announced that three people were killed in crashes involving deer in 2012. Colonel Trott cautions motorists to be watchful of deer during the fall and winter seasons, as an increase in deer-related crashes are likely during the months of October through December. In Tennessee, there were 5,911 deer-related crashes in 2012. That’s an increase of 4.2 percent from the 5,670 crashes involving deer the previous year. Of the 2012 figure, 5,601 were property damage, 307 were wrecks with injury, and three resulted in fatalities. “The chances of striking deer are considerably higher during hunting and mating season, especially in November. We want to urge drivers to be aware and cautious in areas where deer are populated, and most importantly, slow down,” Colonel Trott said. THP also reports that between 2008 and 2012, 9.2 percent of deer-related crashes occurred on interstate highways. Additionally, since 2008, deer-related crashes in Tennessee have steadily increased by 13.6 percent. According to State Farm®, the nation’s leading auto insurer, there have been an estimated 1.22 million collisions between deer and vehicles in the U.S. between July 1, 2012 and June 30, 2013. That’s a 3.5 percent decline from a year ago. In the event of a deer-related crash, move the vehicle as far off the road as possible. Motorists are also encouraged to dial *THP (*847) from an available cell phone for assistance. The call will be connected to the nearest THP Communications Center and the next available State Trooper will be dispatched to the location. The Tennessee Highway Patrol and the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) suggest the following tips to help prevent deer-related crashes during peak mating and hunting seasons:
If you do collide with a deer, never approach the injured animal. They are powerful and can cause bodily harm to a human. Report any deer collision, even if the damage is minor. Tennessee law allows deer killed in a collision to be taken and used as food, as long as you contact the nearest TWRA regional office to report the accident within 48 hours. For a listing of TWRA regional offices, visit the TWRA website at www.tnwildlife.org. Additional data regarding deer-related crashes can be found at: http://tn.gov/safety/stats/CrashData/default.shtml.
AC government recognized for financial reporting
(AC Mayor’s Office) The Anderson County Government has announced that its Accounts and Budget Office has received the PAFR Award (Popular Annual Financial Report). The PAFR Report is a voluntary report that counties can choose to compile and publish in order to condense the financial position of the county. The goal of Popular Reports is to present budget information in a way that is easy to understand. “We scored an 86.7% out of 100% by the panel of 3 judges. One judge gave us a 96.8% grade. I am honored to say this now makes the 11th consecutive year we’ve won the award,” said Connie Aytes, Deputy Budget Director. “We are pleased to offer to our citizens a report that makes the county’s financial position easier to understand. It is our hope that in some way, this report reaches out to potential investors in Anderson County and shows them that our government goes above and beyond the call of duty to be a source of useful information,” stated Budget Director Christopher K. Phillips. The PAFR Award comes on the heels of the Accounts and Budget Office receiving a Certificate of Achievement for Financial Reporting from the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) back in May of this year. “Budget Director Chris Phillips and the entire accounting office deserve praise for their hard work. But Connie Aytes is the heart and spirit of the Popular Report, and she deserves additional praise for the hard work she puts into it. This report is completely voluntary, and I absolutely love the extra effort Connie makes to make sure our information is accessible and readable by the citizens of Anderson County,” said Anderson County Mayor Terry Frank. “Because of challenges stemming from the economic downturn in 2008, much more attention is turning to local governments. When industry, business, and families are considering where to locate, we’re finding increased attention on the fiscal stability and long-term outlook of our county government. We want to stay in a strong position, and the PAFR is a great method for getting the word out,” said Mayor Frank. Anderson County’s report was reviewed by an independent panel of professional governmental accountants and they determined our report meets the high standards to be awarded the Outstanding Achievement in Popular Annual Financial Reporting. Copies of the report are available in the Anderson County Mayor’s Office or in the Accounts and Budget Office.
ORT: GAO denies protest of Y-12 contract
(Oak Ridge Today) The U.S. Government Accountability Office on Tuesday denied or dismissed three elements of a protest filed in June by one of the two teams that lost a competition earlier this year to manage two nuclear weapons plants in Tennessee and Texas, a contract that could be worth up to $22.8 billion. The bid protest was filed on June 17 by Nuclear Production Partners LLC, or NP2, one of three bidding teams that sought to manage and operate the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge and the Pantex Plant near Amarillo, Texas. The decision announced Tuesday dismissed as premature allegations regarding discussions and proposal revisions, denied an assertion that the National Nuclear Security Administration had to further amend the award solicitation, and dismissed NP2’s arguments regarding the application of Federal Acquisition Regulation’s requirements for cost realism analysis because it was not filed on time. It wasn’t immediately clear what will happen next. The transition to a new contractor had originally been scheduled to be complete by May 1 of this year, but the protests have put the transition on hold. It was the second protest filed by NP2. In April, the GAO upheld one part of an earlier pair of protests filed by NP2 and Integrated Nuclear Production Solutions LLC of Oak Ridge. In that decision, the GAO raised questions about proposed savings and recommended that the procurement be re-opened and more information requested from the three bidding teams about their proposed cost savings. The GAO also recommended that the relative size of each team’s proposed cost savings be evaluated. The winning team, Consolidated Nuclear Security LLC, or CNS, had promised to save $3.27 billion during the next decade. In May, the NNSA announced that it would request more information from the three teams. The bid protests followed a January announcement by the NNSA that it had awarded a five-year extendable contract valued at up to $22.8 billion to CNS to manage and operate Y-12 and Pantex. For more, visit www.oakridgetoday.com.
ORT: OR Mall redevelopment plans unveiled
(Information from Oak Ridge Today/staff reports) The North Carolina-based company that wants to redevelop the Oak Ridge Mall unveiled its site plan today (9/25) for the 60-acre property. The $80 million project could include new retail, hotel, office, and residential properties andcould create almost 1,000 new jobs while boosting annual city and county sales tax revenues by more than $2 million, according to an estimate by a city consultant. The two remaining anchor stores at the mall, JCPenney and Belk, would stay. So would Tinseltown Theater and Walmart. Meanwhile, the existing interior space between the anchor stores would be demolished. Previous mall redevelopment plans had also called for demolishing that interior retail space. The private investment in the project would be about $80 million. Company representatives will be meeting within the next several days with the Oak Ridge Industrial Development Board to consider a tax increment financing (TIF) plan to assist in the development of the site. Following the model of the recent Aubrey’s/Panera site on S. Illinois Ave., this TIF will not put any public dollars at risk with generating funds for improvements to the site. “Our vision for this redevelopment effort is to construct a ‘new downtown’ for Oak Ridge that will restore a sense of community and has the potential to make a positive impact on the region as a whole,” said officials with Crosland Southeast. The introduction of new retailers and restaurants, offices, residences, and public spaces would differentiate the mall project from all others in the area, thus “catering to a broader constituency,” according to officials in a press release you can read in its entirety on our website.
Crosland Southeast press release: A North Carolina development firm known for turning around difficult real estate projects is preparing to lay out its vision for the old Oak Ridge mall property and doing so in a way that will put no public dollars are at risk. Charlotte-based Crosland Southeast is the firm that has been working with the City of Oak Ridge for the past several months to develop a plan to convert the once thriving mall site into a multi-use work-live-play-shop destination. “An experienced developer like Crosland has demonstrated an ability to take on challenging sites and turn them into long-term assets,” said Oak Ridge Mayor Tom Beehan. “We’ve worked hard to expand retail opportunities in our community and we are seeing very positive results from these efforts. Crosland brings credibility and experience to the table, and we look forward to working with them to create a more vibrant ‘center city’ for Oak Ridge.” Company representatives will be meeting within the next several days with the Oak Ridge Industrial Development Board to consider a tax increment financing (TIF) plan to assist in the development of the site. Following the model of the recent Aubrey’s/Panera site on S. Illinois Ave., this TIF will not put any public dollars at risk with generating funds for improvements to the site. “With the success of the S. Illinois Ave project, we are very positive about this financing approach that puts no tax-payer money at risk and requires the developer to assume all the financial risk,” said Oak Ridge City consultant Ray Evans. According to estimates made by the city’s consultant, the proposed new development would create almost 1,000 new jobs and increase annual city and county sales tax revenues by more than $2 million. The private investment in the project will be approximately $80 million. “Our vision for this redevelopment effort is to construct a ‘new downtown’ for Oak Ridge that will restore a sense of community and has the potential to make a positive impact on the region as a whole,” said Tim Sittema, partner at Crosland Southeast. Sittema said that through the introduction of new retailers and restaurants, offices, residences and public spaces, this project will differentiate itself from all others in the area, thus catering to a broader constituency. “Every community needs public places to gather and we are working hard to make this vision a reality for Oak Ridge,” said Sittema. “We are privileged to have the opportunity to work with this community on such a transformative project. We pledge to do our part in creating an attractive, economically viable project that retailers and other businesses will want to be a part of. With the support of the IDB, the city, the county and our other partners and stakeholders, we will work very hard to make this happen.” For more information about Crosland Southeast, please visit www.CroslandSoutheast.com.
OR BOE approves new budget, crisis averted
As expected on Monday night, the Oak Ridge School Board voted unanimously on first and second readings to adopt a revised budget that includes an additional $250,000 from the city. The transfer of funds was necessary after the state notified the school system last month that its budget for this year had failed a maintenance-of-effort test that requires local funding for schools to remain at least the same from year to year. State officials warned that if the shortfall was not addressed, the system would have lost about $1.87 million a month from the state, which would have necessitated a shutdown of the schools on October 1st. The City Council approved the transfer last week.
‘In God We Trust’ sign dedicated in OR
The fifth and final “In God We Trust” sign to be placed on an Anderson County building was officially dedicated Friday afternoon at the General Sessions Court building in Oak Ridge. In addition to the sign, a small granite monument paying tribute to five Anderson County soldiers who perished in Iraq and Afghanistan was dedicated and a new flagpole was erected. Earlier this year, granite signs with “In God We Trust” were placed over each of the four entrances to the Anderson County Courthouse. The sign bearing the phrase in Oak Ridge is a polymer with an aluminum finish. The signs and their installation were paid for by community donations and the flagpole for the Oak Ridge court building was donated by Atomic City Tool & Dye.
AC RAM Clinic a ‘huge success’
Organizers of last weekend’s Remote Area Medical Expedition at Clinton’s First Baptist Church say the event was a huge success. During the two-day clinic, medical, dental and visions services estimated at over $504,000 were provided to patients at no charge. Organizers say that the vast majority of the services provided were in the dental clinic to the tune of $413,505, including one patient who received over $8000 in dental care. $83,030 worth of service was provided in the vision clinic and $7634 worth of general medical services were provided. In all, over 980 patients registered and 953 received treatment. Organizers of the RAM Clinic wanted to once again express their gratitude for the community support they received, including prayers, donations of goods and money, as well as time spent working by volunteers.
Local agencies receive highway safety funds
Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam, Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) Commissioner John Schroer and the Governor’s Highway Safety Office (GHSO) Director Kendell Poole today announced $21.1 million in grants to Tennessee agencies to support highway traffic safety efforts. The funds support the mission of the GHSO. The goal is to save lives and reduce injuries on Tennessee roadways through leadership, innovation, coordination and program support in partnership with numerous public and private organizations. These grants help fund a variety of safety initiatives across the state including speed enforcement, first responder equipment, Specialized Impaired Driving prosecutors and child passenger safety training. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration provides the funding to the GHSO. The grants, totaling 434 for the 2014 funding cycle, were awarded to 370 agencies that successfully applied for funding based on a defined problem and statistical need. Each year, the GHSO accepts applications from agencies across the state for available highway safety funds. Applications are reviewed and scored by the GHSO and external highway safety advocates. The agencies that meet the criteria for funding received awards. For more information about the GHSO, visit our website at www.tntrafficsafety.org. Locally, the Anderson County Sheriff’s Department received $40,000.25 for efforts to reduce fatal accidents; the Clinton, Lake City and Norris Police Departments each received $5000 for high-visibility enforcement efforts and the Oak Ridge Police Department received $25,299.40 for alcohol saturation patrols and sobriety checkpoints. The District Attorney’s Office in Anderson County also received a $181,147.52 DUI Abatement and Prosecution Enhancement Grant. In Blount County, the Alcoa Police Department received $20,000 for traffic services; the Maryville Police Department received $69,120 for alcohol saturation patrols and sobriety checkpoints while the Blount County Sheriff’s Office received $72,248.64 for the same purpose. The BCSO also received $89,880.32 for motorcycle safety efforts on the Dragon and another $17,960 for a Network Coordinator. The Blount County DA’s office received a grant worth $158,496.56 for DUI Abatement and Prosecution. For a complete list and description of each grant, visit http://www.tdot.state.tn.us/grantinfo/ghso.htm.
Fritts, Biloski retain posts
Anderson County Commission Chair Chuck Fritts was re-appointed to a third one-year term as chairman by his fellow commissioners on Monday. Fritts received 12 votes from his fellow commissioners, former Chair Mark Alderson received three votes and Robert McKamey received one vote. The Commission also voted to reappoint Robin Biloski as vice chair. There were no other candidates for that post.
OR Library to have tax forms in January
The Oak Ridge Public Library has supplied the community with federal and state tax forms for the past several years. This year, the United States Internal Revenue Service is limiting the amount and type of forms the library and other institutions can order for the public. For the tax year 2013, the 1040, 1040A and 1040EZ forms and instruction booklets will be available after January 1, 2014, as well as Schedules A, B, C, and D and other miscellaneous individual tax forms. Most tax forms not available at the Library can be printed for the cost of 10 cents a page. Tennessee state tax forms and instructions are always available at the Library for no charge. Many Employer tax forms will not be available at the Library, including W-2, W-3, W-4 and instructions for these forms. Form 1096, Annual Summary and Transmittal of U. S. Information Returns, and Form 1099, Miscellaneous Income, will not be available at the Library. To order tax products to be mailed, visit the IRS website at www.irs.gov/formspubs. For Employer Products and Information Returns, such as, W-2, W-4, or Publication 15, select “Employer forms and instructions.” Tax forms may also be ordered by calling the IRS at 1-800-829-3676. Please visit the library’s website at www.orpl.org or call (865)425-3455 for more information.
OR company snares $24M federal deal
Information International Associates Inc. announced Monday that it has been awarded a $24 million federal contract to operate the Homeland Defense and Security Information Analysis Center, or HDIAC. IIa will operate the center for the U.S. Department of Defense’s Defense Technical Information Center, or DTIC. The work will focus on research and analysis in eight major Homeland Defense disciplines: homeland defense and security; critical infrastructure protection; weapons of mass destruction; chemical, biological, radiologic, and nuclear defense; biometrics; medical; cultural studies; and alternative energy. IIa is required through this contract to proactively and responsively provide timely and authoritative information relative to key research and development concepts and acquisition functions, results and trends, applications and processes, and assessments of HDIAC technology on military operations, and assessment of international R&D technology. Activities covered under the contract include all aspects of identified or potential military and national security-related applications of HDIAC technology. IIa currently supports the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Scientific and Technical Information, or OSTI. As part of the new contract, IIa will be responsible for developing databases of both information and human resources related to the HDIAC scope. The contract award is sponsored by the Defense Technical Information Center.
Suspect in Alcoa bathroom attack charged in Knox
A homeless man originally from Maryville who was arrested earlier this week in connection to an attempted assault on a woman in the restroom of an Alcoa business has now been charged with two crimes in Knoxville. 18-year-old Stacy Elijah Smith was charged Tuesday by Alcoa Police with attempted aggravated rape in connection to an August 31st incident at the Big Lots store there. A 53-year-old woman told police that she had been I a restroom stall at Big Lots when a man slid underneath her stall door, threatened her with a hammer and attempted to assault her. While he was being questioned by Alcoa Police, he gave investigators information that led them to believe that he may have been involved in a pair of incidents in Knoxville. The first incident occurred on Saturday when a woman told police that she had been using a restroom stall at Tyson Park when a man slid underneath her stall door, watched and threatened her before she kicked and screamed and he fled the scene. The second happened Monday morning when a woman reported that she had seen a man walking behind another woman on the Jean Teague Greenway with a knife behind his back. When the witness asked the suspect what he was doing, he ran off. KPD charged Smith Wednesday with attempted aggravated rape in connection to the Monday incident and with observation without consent and false imprisonment in connection to the Tyson Park incident. Smith is currently in custody at the Blount County Jail.
Man arrested in Alcoa bathroom attack
Police in Alcoa have arrested an 18-year-old Maryville man in connection with the attempted rape of a woman at the Big Lots last month. Stacy Elijah Smith is charged with attempted aggravated rape and as of this morning, was being held at the Blount County Jail on a $50,000 bond. Police say that on August 31st, Smith attempted to attack a woman while she was in a bathroom stall at the Alcoa Big Lots. The 53-year-old woman told police that Smith had slid underneath her stall door, threatened her with a hammer and tried to assault her. She screamed and fought back, and the suspect fled the store. Alcoa Police released footage from security cameras at the store following the incident and someone who saw it provided investigators with the tip that led to Smith’s arrest.
ORAU awards education grants
(ORAU) Oak Ridge Associated Universities awarded more than $39,000 to more than two dozen teachers in 17 schools in Oak Ridge, Clinton, Norris, and Anderson County in a recent grants ceremony. It was the 12th annual ORAU Education Grants ceremony, and 27 teachers received awards, according to a press release. The grant money can be used to buy educational materials and equipment such as microscopes, iPads, robotics kits, and computers that will help teachers “continue to meet rigorous, state-wide curriculum standards and enhance the learning experience of their students,” the release said. Anderson County Schools was one of the biggest winners. The system received a $5,000 grant to purchase a digital-based collection of books for math and science. The book collections will be shared between all eight Anderson County elementary schools and allow teachers to use more than 300 interactive titles and have unlimited users at any given time. The second largest grant of $3,100 was presented to Clinton Middle School for the purchase of 10 compound light microscopes to supplement and replace microscopes dating back to the 1950s, the release said. The new equipment will allow students in the sixth, seventh and eighth grades to examine plant and animal cells. Clinton Middle School also received a grant of $1,390 for the purchase of a clicker response system that will be made available to all of the school’s math and science teachers.
Briceville Elementary School also was granted its request for six iPads to be used throughout the school as listening hubs for students, the release said. And Grand Oaks Elementary School received six iPads to be used by students throughout the school to engage in multiple subjects, and Norwood Middle School received 15 Kindles with chargers to give students instant access to books and resources at their own individual reading level. Each grant is valued at $3,000. ORAU said it has provided more than $350,000 to area schools for projects that complement its mission of enriching science, technology, engineering, and mathematics programs since beginning this program in 2002. The other grant winners were:
The awards, based on competitive proposals submitted by the individual schools, were presented by Page, ORAU Executive Vice President Eric Abelquist, and ORAU director and Vice President of science education programs Dean Evasius. For more information about this and other ORAU-supported programs in education, visit http://www.orau.org/about-orau/community-outreach/education-support.aspx.
ORT: OR Council OKs water, sewer, electric rate hikes
(Oak Ridge Today) Monday night, the Oak Ridge City Council voted in two separate 6-1 votes to raise water and sewer rates in January 2014 and again in January 2015. The new rate hikes, which will be considered on second and final reading in October, would result in water bills that could go up by a minimum of $1.35 per month in January 2014 and then another $1.19 per month in 2015. Sewer bills would increase a minimum of $2.78 per month next year and then increase by another $2.13 per month the following year. The rates were also raised this past January. According to our partners at Oak Ridge Today, when compared to current rates, the combined minimum increase by January 2015 would be $7.44 per month. The change for a resident using 4,000 gallons per month would equal $13.64, according to information provided by the city staff. About 36 percent of the city’s utility customers are billed at the minimum rate, and 65 percent use 4,000 gallons or less per month, Oak Ridge Finance Director Janice E. McGinnis said in a memo to City Manager Mark Watson. The city staff said the increases are required to continue to operate and maintain the utilities, perform necessary improvements, and meet contractual and debt service obligations. The water rates will fund the first phases of $14.7 million worth of projects at the Water Treatment Plant through 2019. DOE, which is an Oak Ridge utility customer, will fund about half of those costs, ORT reports. The wastewater rate increases will fund debt service for capital projects required to comply with an order from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that requires the city to repair all sewer system overflows by September 2015. Complying with that order will require roughly $23 million worth of projects in the next two years. In June, Tennessee officials approved a $18 million loan for Oak Ridge under a state program that will help the city comply with the EPA order. Also Monday, Council approved an electric rate increase of about 2.63 percent that is effective starting Oct. 1. It includes a 1.5 percent increase from the city’s power generator, the Tennessee Valley Authority, and a 1.13 percent inflationary increase for the city. The monthly bill for the average residential household that uses 1,055 kilowatt-hours of electricity will increase by $3.60. The monthly bill for the average small commercial customer that uses 1,800 kilowatt-hours will go up by $5.33. For more details on these rate hikes and more from Monday’s Oak Ridge City Council meeting, visit www.oakridgetoday.com.
AC Trustee report outlines tax collections, more
(AC Trustee’s Office) Anderson County Trustee Rodney Archer released a detailed annual report this month outlining the performance of his office over the past fiscal year. The 52 page report is the Trustee’s Office effort to keep taxpayers informed on the state of the county’s finances and the impact of the local economy on the revenues of county government. The Annual Report categorizes revenues received by Anderson County over the past year. It reports on property and sales taxes collected over the past year. The report gives a breakdown on the performance of each of its offices in the county and provides a detailed accounting of revenues and expenditures for the office. The Trustee maintains offices in Oak Ridge, Clinton, and Norris to serve taxpayers across Anderson County. The Trustee’s Office has worked hard to improve services over the past six years, creating greater accessibility for senior citizens with drive through access in both Oak Ridge and Clinton offices while maintaining accountability to the taxpayers. The Report also describes the qualifications for seniors 65 and over on how to qualify for the Senior Citizen Tax Relief and Freeze Program. The Trustee’s Office awarded $195,124 in tax relief during the last year to qualified seniors. Archer states the number of taxpayers using the satellite offices and drive through services has climbed over the past six years. The growth in revenue over the past three years in the drive through operations highlights the positive reception these expanded services have received from the community. Branch revenue grew more than 26% in the past year alone. The Oak Ridge office took in close to 12 million dollars with commissions of $239,165.06. Office expenditures were only $87,601.45 returning $151,563.61 to the general fund. The Norris Office shared in the improved efficiencies, collecting $2,235,088.35 and turning over $25,305.87 to the general fund-more than half of the office’s commissions collected. All of these improvements were made while the Trustee’s Office continues to return more than 50% of the commissions earned over each of the past six years to the general fund, generating more than 3.6 million dollars in savings for taxpayers. The Report also lists the largest taxpayers, largest employers, and highlights staff qualifications. Archer added that his staff is well trained, and that most of his deputy trustees and customer service representatives are certified public administrators through the University of Tennessee. Trustee Rodney Archer commented on his effort to improve efficiencies and his desire to improve services for taxpayers across Anderson County. “Making our services more accessible is a high priority in our office. It is a goal we continually strive to meet. We are proud of the improvements we have made and the positive response we have seen from the community,” stated Archer. “We returned $690,331 to the General Fund in savings this past year. This is a 36% increase since the end of 2009. Our staff will continue to be accountable and be efficient with every tax dollar we manage,” concluded Archer. A copy of the full report is available at the Trustee’s Office in the Anderson County Courthouse or at www.ACTrustee.com.
ORT: Workers moving back in to OR fed building
(Oak Ridge Today) The asbestos-containing insulation has been removed, and U.S. Department of Energy employees and contractors started a month-long move back into the Joe L. Evins Federal Building this week, a spokesman said Wednesday. The move back into the five-story building should be complete by the end of September, according to our partners at oak Ridge Today. Office space has been modified, and the building can now house about 440 workers, an increase of about 90 employees. The light construction work has included moving walls. The telecommunications system was also upgraded while everyone was out of the building. There were roughly 350 federal employees and contractors at the Federal Building when it was shut down in June 2012 after an inspection found insulation with asbestos had fallen into heating and cooling ducts. Many of the workers had to temporarily move elsewhere while the U.S. General Services Administration, which owns the 155,000-square-foot building, removed the insulation. The office space changes will allow the local DOE Environmental Management organization, which had been in the nearby Building 2714, to move into the Federal Building. Last year, officials said air samples from the Federal Building suggested that no employees were exposed to asbestos from the loose insulation that had fallen into heating and cooling ducts. For much more on this story, visit our friends at www.oakridgetoday.com.
Ex-PCUD chief pleads to theft charges
Former Powell Clinch Utility District president and general manager Del Roberts pleaded guilty Wednesday in an Anderson County courtroom to stealing almost $94,000 from the utility. Roberts pleaded guilty to charging $93,856 on a PCUD credit card and hiding the charges in a special account between January of 2007 and May of 2010. Roberts spent the money on things like vacations, college tuition, dental care and other personal expenses. The money has been repaid to the utility district and Wednesday, Roberts pleaded guilty to theft over $60,000 and fraudulent use of a credit card in exchange for a pair of concurrent ten-year sentences. 10 days of that time will be spent behind bars with the remainder of the sentence to be served on supervised probation. He was also ordered to donate $10,000 over that period to a special fund used to help needy families pay winter heating bills and to perform 40 hours of community service each year. Utility officials said in a statement that the weaknesses in the district’s internal controls that allowed the thefts to go undiscovered for so long have been corrected and that PCUD has made significant changes to ensure that nothing like this ever happens again.
New services at OR Library
The Oak Ridge Public Library has announced a new service for the community and new online photograph collections. With Reference by Appointment, individuals can obtain one-on-one, in-depth assistance with research, résumés, or online job applications with a trained professional at no cost. Anyone may schedule an appointment to meet with a librarian for assistance in the use of the library’s many resources. A librarian can help format résumés, search census records in Heritage Quest, assist with databases searches in Tennessee Electronic Library, suggest research material for a school or work project, and help with basic computer skills. No library card is needed in order to take part in this service. Appointments last from 15-60 minutes, depending on the individual needs. Reference staff will accommodate appointments within the weekday hours of 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Staff cannot do research or write your résumé, but they can advise on research materials, on formatting documents, or give general assistance with online applications. To schedule an appointment, please call the reference section at (865) 425-3465. A librarian will be in contact quickly to set up the appointment. One of the most popular collections at the library is the U.S. Department of Energy Photograph Collection, images largely taken by Ed Westcott during his years as Atomic Energy Commission photographer. Over 1,000 photographs depict life in the “Secret City.” This entire collection is now online and accessible through the library’s website at www.orpl.org. Click on the links, Departments and Services, then Digital Collections. A website will appear with a link to the Oak Ridge Room Department of Energy Photograph Collection. Two other online photograph collections are also available for browsing, the Municipal Oak Ridge Photograph Collection and the Ruth Carey Photograph Collection. Both of these collections are in process and growing in scope. The Municipal Collection currently showcases early Oak Ridge Fire, Police, and Public Works departments. Later online additions will display the Recreation Department activities and the Army-Navy “E” Award ceremony that took place on Nov. 20, 1945, at Blankenship Field. The online Ruth Carey Collection presents only a small fraction of the images from the collection. Library staff and volunteers are digitizing more of Ms. Carey’s negatives and plan on having them online soon. Library cards are free for Oak Ridge residents of all ages and provide free access to learning and entertainment. Visit Oak Ridge Public Library at 1401 Oak Ridge Turnpike in the Civic Center. Please see our website at www.orpl.org or call (865) 425-3455 for more information.
BCSO: Deputy shot, killed homeowner
Blount County Sheriff James Berrong has identified the deputy involved with a late night shooting at a home on Mentor Road in Louisville Wednesday night as well as the man who was killed. 68-year-old Henry C. Taylor was killed at his rental home on Mentor Road in Louisville, by 22-year-old Deputy Ernest Ragland, who was doing a promised check on the property. Earlier in the evening, Ragland had been called to the property to take a report about several items that had been stolen. During that visit, he promised Taylor's wife that he would check on the property throughout the night. Sheriff Berrong says that it was the third time this week a deputy had been to the house about stolen property. On Tuesday, another deputy took a report from Taylor about missing items, including an HVAC unit. Around 10 pm Wednesday, Deputy Ragland was back at the property as promised. After the incident, Ragland told supervisors that he had seen a broken window in the garage, and went to investigate. He said he shined a flashlight inside the building and saw a man with a handgun. He said he gave verbal commands, and fired multiple shots, fatally injuring Taylor. The TBI said Friday that a handgun had been found at the scene of the shooting. Sheriff Berrong says Deputy Ragland is on paid administrative leave, which is standard procedure in an officer-involved shooting pending the outcome of the TBI investigation into the incident and the Blount County Sheriff's Office internal affairs investigation. Ragland has been employed with the Blount County Sheriff's Office since December 2012 as a patrolman. "This is a very tragic incident," Sheriff Berrong said. "Deputy Ragland was performing the promised property checks on the residence, and both individuals reacted. We are all deeply saddened by the chain of events that took place last night."
(BCSO) Blount County Sheriff James Lee Berrong said the Blount County deputy involved in the shooting death of a man while performing a property check Thursday night is on paid administrative leave (per Sheriff’s Office policy) pending the outcome of the TBI investigation into the incident and the Blount County Sheriff’s Office internal affairs investigation. Ernest Ti Ragland, 22, has been employed with the Blount County Sheriff’s Office since December 2012. He works as a patrolman. Statements Deputy Ragland gave supervisors at the scene were that he was performing a property check at a rental property on Mentor Road at around 10 p.m. Wednesday. He said he was checking a garage on the property when he saw a broken window and went to investigate it, then shined his flashlight inside the building and saw a man with a handgun. He told supervisors that he gave verbal commands, and fired multiple shots, striking Henry C. Taylor, 68, and killing him. Twice this week the Blount County Sheriff’s Office responded to the Taylor’s Mentor Road rental property to take burglary reports. On Tuesday, a deputy took a report from Henry Taylor that several items had been taken from the property, including an HVAC unit. At around 7 p.m. Wednesday, Deputy Ragland responded to the rental property and took a report of another burglary of several additional items. Deputy Ragland informed Mrs. Taylor he would do property checks at the residence throughout the night, and at around 10 p.m. he returned to conduct the property check and encountered Mr. Taylor in the garage. “This is a very tragic incident,” Sheriff Berrong said. “Deputy Ragland was performing the promised property checks on the residence, and both individuals reacted. We are all deeply saddened by the chain of events that took place last night. ”
High-speed chase nets burglary suspects
A pair of burglary suspects led officers from several law enforcement agencies on high-speed chase through several counties on Thursday afternoon. Officials from the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office notified Union County law enforcement about 4:25 p.m. that they were in pursuit of a gray Pontiac Grand Am being driven by Billy Ray Fox of Corryton, according. Fox was wanted in connection with a burglary that had occurred in Anderson County, and was fleeing deputies at speeds in excess of 100 mph. Several Union County deputies and one Maynardville Police Department officer helped stop Fox on Hickory Valley Road in Union County. In the car, officers reported finding his alleged accomplice, 27-year-old Heather Buchanan, 27 of Corryton and four children ranging in age from 5 to 8 years old. DCS took custody of the children while Fox and Buchanan were taken to the Anderson County Jail on several charges including five counts of reckless endangerment, four counts of child endangerment, a fourth offense of driving on a revoked license, felony evading, reckless driving in excess of 100 mph, failure to yield to emergency vehicles, failure to obey traffic controls and two violations of child restraint laws. Officials say additional charges will likely be filed in Union County once Anderson County is done with them.
Green ruled competent to stand trial in 2011 shooting
The man accused in the fatal shooting of a Clinton pawn shop employee in November of 2011 has been ruled competent to stand trial. 65-year-old James Allen Green is accused of shooting 59-year-old Larry Snellings after asking to see a gun at the South Clinton Pawn Shop. When Snellings handed him the gun, Green loaded it and shot him. Green was declared insane and sent to Moccasin Bend Mental Health Institute in Chattanooga in April 2012, where re-evaluations were scheduled every six months. Earlier this year doctors at Moccasin Bend determined that Green was competent and returned him to the custody of the Anderson County Sheriff's Office with specific orders regarding medication. Anderson County Judge Donald R. Elledge has ruled that Green is competent after hearing testimony earlier this year from doctors at Moccasin Bend Mental Health Institute and officials from the Anderson County Jail. Doctors have described Green's recovery as "remarkable," saying his brain had been psychotically disorganized with chronic brain failure due to mini-strokes, however, they say his condition will relapse if his medication is stopped. Green is charged with premeditated murder, assault with a deadly weapon, assault with serious bodily injury, murder during the perpetration of theft, and theft. No trial date has been set.
Teen indicted in crash that killed classmate
An Andersonville teen has been indicted on charges connected to a fatal accident in January that killed a passenger in the car he was driving. 18-year-old Evan Nathaniel Weaver was indicted by an Anderson County grand jury earlier this month and arrested Tuesday on charges of vehicular homicide by intoxication and by recklessness, two counts of reckless endangerment and one count each of reckless driving and possession of drug paraphernalia. The charges stem from a January 28th accident at the intersection of Highways 61 and 441 in Norris that killed 17-year-old Cameron Lee Sharp, a passenger in Weaver’s car. Both were seniors at Anderson County High School at the time of the crash. Investigators say that Weaver had been driving east on 61 when he tried to merge into the southbound lanes of 441. As he attempted that, however he lost control and the car crossed over a concrete island and collided with a pickup truck headed north on 441 driven by 25-year-old Daniel Osborne. A passenger in Osborne’s truck was injured and Sharp died in the crash. Officers reported finding a can of compressed gas cleaner commonly used for “huffing” to attain a buzz and a glass marijuana pipe in Weaver’s car after the wreck. Weaver is free on bond and will be arraigned on September 9th.
AC Clerk: Revenue projections exceeded
(AC Circuit Court Clerk) Anderson County Circuit Court Clerk Tyler Mayes announced that his office has exceeded budgeted revenue projections for the past fiscal 2012/2013 year ending on June 30, 2013 by nearly $400,000. The total revenues budgeted for all revenue codes within the Circuit Court Clerk’s office was $1,459,640.05, while the office realized revenues of $1,857,313.33. The bulk of these excess revenues has been returned to the General Fund and will have a positive impact on the undesignated fund balance. Some revenues have designated uses by state law and are assigned to those specific expenditures. Mayes stated that he looked at the three and five year averages for his office and set accountability goals for himself and his office staff. His focus upon taking office last year was on integrity and productivity. “I believe