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UPDATED July 28, 2015

LIVE LOCAL SPORTS ON WYSH

SATURDAY AUGUST 1ST AT 12:30 PM...NASCAR CAMPING WORLD TRUCK SERIES POCONO MOUNTAINS 150 FROM POCONO RACEWAY!

SATURDAY AUGUST 1ST AT 7:30 PM...NASCAR XFINITY SERIES US CELLULAR 250 FROM IOWA SPEEDWAY!

SUNDAY AUGUST 2ND AT 12:30 PM...NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES WINDOWS 10 400 FROM POCONO RACEWAY!

FRIDAY AUGUST 21ST AT 7 PM...CLINTON HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL RETURNS TO WYSH AS THE DRAGONS OPEN THE 2015 SEASON AT ARCHRIVALS OAK RIDGE!

 

AC Preschool information

 

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

Did you know you can WATCH Trading Time each day on Comcast Cable Ch 12 on BBB TV. If you are in Anderson or Roane County turn on your TV and watch Trading Time and Ask Your Neighbor. Plus call WYSH for advertising specials on TV

Website up and running for CHS donations

The Anderson County School Board has given officials at Clinton High School the go-ahead to start exploring the possibility of constructing a new multi-sport facility at no cost to taxpayers. As we have previously reported, the complex would measure some 12,000 square feet and be used as a practice facility for several sports as well as hosting volleyball matches and wrestling meets. The proposed project, spearheaded by CHS alumni, would also renovate the existing, but aging football fieldhouse, and include a second story with office space for coaches. A second and separate part of the proposed project would also renovate the Don Lockard Gymnasium. When the BOE gave its approval to the project, which will be funded entirely by private donations, it also gave approval to CHS to start accepting donations from the public. People can donate to either fund and that money can only be used for the specific project it is donated for. CHS was given permission by the School Board to �solicit donations, secure an architect, get bids from contractors, and return to the board to submit a final, formal proposal.� We will keep you updated on this project as it moves forward.  For more information or to donate to the multi-sport facility, visit www.cshslegacy.com.

OR Council O.K.s tax rate, increases trash fee

The Oak Ridge City Council on Monday approved the budget for the fiscal year that began on July 1st on first reading. The new state-certified (or tax-neutral) property tax rate in Oak Ridge is $2.52 per $100 of assessed value, up from the current rate of $2.39. Council members voted not to add any additional increase on to the tax rate, which increased due to the drop in property values on both Anderson and Roane counties. The certified tax rate is designed to bring in the same amount of revenue after the recently-completed reappraisal process that it did before. Council voted to increase the monthly trash collection fee for residents by $3.50, which brings the monthly cost for trash pick-up to $10.50, up from the current $7 fee. Currently the city pays $7 of each resident's $14 a month trash pickup fee and having residents pick up the additional $3.50 per month is expected to generate some $335,000 in additional revenue for the city. $260,000 of that new revenue will be set aside for capital projects involving buildings and schools. The budget that was passed provides 2% pay raises for city workers and is meant to provide 2% pay raises for school employees as well, but as our partners at Oak Ridge Today report, the exact impact of last night's vote on the school system remains to be seen. The school system is expected to see an additional $423,000 come into its coffers if the 10-cent property tax rate increase approved by the Anderson County Commission last week stands after a special called Commission meeting on Thursday. For more on last night's three-hour meeting of the Oak Ridge City Council, visit www.oakridgetoday.com.

TBI, CCSO ID man shot by deputy

The TBI and the Campbell County Sheriff's Office have identified the man who was shot by a deputy late Sunday afternoon as 41-year-old Donnie Ledford. Deputies had responded to a disturbance call at Ledford's parents' house in the White Oak community late Saturday night and when they arrived, Ledford allegedly pointed a pistol at them at the front door before running out the back and fleeing into nearby woods. Deputies reported hearing three gunshots as he fled but no officers were injured. Shortly before 5 pm Sunday, Ledford was spotted on Habersham Road and when a deputy stopped him and asked for his ID, Ledford allegedly pointed a pistol at the officer, who fired twice, hitting Ledford at least once. Ledford, who had three outstanding warrants for his arrest on assault charges from last year, was taken to UT Medical Center for treatment of his injuries. The deputy was not injured in that incident. Both incidents remain under investigation.

Missing person found dead in MMC parking lot

A person who had been reported missing over the weekend in Anderson County was found dead inside a car in the parking lot of Methodist Medical Center on Sunday afternoon. The person, whose identity has not been made public, was reported missing to the Anderson County Sheriff's Department. Investigators with the ACSD received information that the person could be in the vicinity of the hospital and asked Oak Ridge officers to check the parking lot. Shortly before 2 pm, Oak Ridge officers located the car in a parking lot at Methodist and found the missing person dead in the backseat. Authorities say that no additional information will be released at this time.

NPS, DOE seeking public comment on Historical Park

(NPS/DOE) The National Park Service and the U.S. Department of Energy are inviting the public to review and comment on the Draft Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between the National Park Service and the Department of Energy (DOE) that will guide the operation of the Manhattan Project National Historical Park.  The 2015 National Defense Authorization Act established the Manhattan Project National Historical Park and required the Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Energy to create a Memorandum of Agreement for the park by December 19, 2015.  Once signed, this agreement will formally establish the Manhattan Project National Historical Park and describe how the National Park Service and the Department of Energy will work together to preserve, protect and provide access to the historic resources associated with the Manhattan Project.

Over the past several months, a team of National Park Service and Department of Energy officials traveled to the three Manhattan Project Park locations in Oak Ridge, Tennessee; Los Alamos, New Mexico, and the Hanford Site in Washington State. The team met with local elected officials, participated in open houses, and talked with community members and area Tribes to understand local perspectives on how the new park should be managed. Building on this effort, the draft Memorandum of Agreement provides a high level framework that will guide the cooperative efforts of the National Park Service and the Department of Energy to manage the park.

The National Park Service will designate a site manager for each location who will coordinate with the local Department of Energy staff, Tribes, community members and partners in the area. The site managers will report to the Manhattan Project National Historical Park’s superintendent, who will be located in an NPS central office location, likely Denver, Colorado. Each site will have similar levels of staffing as park operations grow over the years.

The agreement will not include details about the park’s interpretive themes, visitor contact stations, staffing, management, or specifics about what eligible properties outside the Department of Energy properties should be included in the park. Those issues will be addressed in future phases of the planning efforts.  The project team recognized the importance of telling the larger story of the Manhattan Project in a cohesive manner across the three identified locations.

A draft of the agreement is available online for review, and the agencies will collect comments on the draft between July 28 and August 28, 2015.  Comments can be submitted online by clicking on the "Open for Comment" link on the left side of the page and selecting the "Comment on Document" option (Link: http://parkplanning.nps.gov/MPNHP ). Comments also can be mailed to:

NPS Denver Service Center
Attn: Tracy Atkins
Project Manager Manhattan Project National Historical Park
P.O. Box 25287
Denver, CO 80225-0287

After the comments on the document are received and reviewed, the Memorandum of Agreement will be finalized and signed by the Secretary of the Interior and Secretary of Energy. Once that document is signed, the park will become an official part of the National Park System.

ORNL kicks off United Way campaign

(ORNL) The Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory kicked off its 2015 United Way campaign with an agency fair displaying services United Way organizations provide to East Tennesseans. Jeff Smith, ORNL’s deputy director for operations, said ORNL is one of the largest contributors to United Way in the area. “It has been a part of the laboratory for a long time,” Smith said. “Our staff have been key contributors to United Way it seems forever. Our goal is not to let that history dissipate and we’d like to build on it. The people here at the laboratory are giving people. Our job as leaders of the institution are to give them that chance to give.” Smith said he hopes the agency fair will introduce new employees and others to the benefits of United Way, enhancing support for the organization. “Our goal today is just to expose people to it so that they become more familiar,” Smith said. “Ultimately, unless you give, you are not going to want to give. We hope some of the agencies can tell some stories to help people connect in such a way that they want to become a United Way giver.”

OR woman charged with running over grandmother

An Oak Ridge woman was arrested last week after allegedly running over her grandmother's leg with a car following an argument about her car keys. Oak Ridge Police say that Mattie Kelly had hidden her granddaughter's keys on Thursday because she was concerned that the younger woman was under the influence and should not be driving. 30-year-old Katherine Johnson found the keys and the two women argued as she tried to pull out of the driveway of the Hendrix Drive home they shared. Kelly tried to remove the keys from the ignition, at which time Johnson is accused of backing up with the driver's side door open and knocking Kelly to the ground, where she struck her head on the pavement. Johnson is then accused of running over her grandmother's leg and driving away from the scene. Kelly was taken to Methodist Medical Center, where she was admitted for treatment of her injuries, and Johnson was arrested Friday. As of late this morning, Johnson remained in custody at the Anderson County Jail on bonds totaling $25,000 on a charge of aggravated assault.

Dryer fire injures none

A Sunday morning fire on Sulphur Springs Road injured no one but caused significant damage to the roof and laundry room of the home. The house was fully engulfed by flames when Anderson County deputies arrived on the scene shortly after 10 am and the blaze was extinguished by crews from the Marlow and Medford Volunteer Fire Departments. Homeowner Buster Phillips told authorities that he had heard a loud pop come from the laundry room and when he went to investigate, had seen a large fire behind the dryer. He and the other occupant of the house made it out safely.

Briceville fire under investigation

A fire at a vacant home in Briceville early Saturday morning is being investigated by the Anderson County Sheriff's Department. The fire at the home on Andy's Ridge Road was reported shortly after 2 am and when deputies arrived on the scene, the structure was fully engulfed by flames and only one wall remained standing. The Briceville Volunteer Fire Department extinguished the blaze. The owner of the home and her son stated that the house had been vacant for about a year and that there were no utilities hooked up at the time of the fire. Carl Sharp Jr. told investigators that he was aware that “unknown persons” had entered the home in the past without permission but was not sure who they were or what their intent was. A neighbor across the street who called 911 said that she had heard two loud explosions and looked out to see the house on fire. Firefighters were unable to immediately determine the cause of the fire but the case has been passed along to the CID.

CPD arrests drunk man with gun

A Cookeville man was arrested by Clinton Police early Friday morning after he was accused of drunkenly firing a pistol inside an apartment where children were present. Police were called to Gate Manor Apartments shortly after midnight and when they arrived, made contact with 22-year-old Martin Francisco outside the apartments, standing next to a Ford Mustang and obviously intoxicated. As Officer Luke Hughes spoke with Francisco, one of the alleged victims, Jonathan Craft, yelled out that Francisco had a gun. At that point, officers took Francisco in to custody and found an ammunition clip in his pocket and a loaded Glock 23 pistol inside his car. Officers then spoke with another one of the alleged victims, Zachary Geoffrion, who told them that he had met Francisco at a job site Thursday and asked him to give him a ride home. When they arrived at their destination, Geoffrion and the tenant of the apartment went outside to smoke, leaving Francisco inside with three children, the youngest being six months old. After hearing what sounded like a gunshot, Geoffrion and the tenant ran back inside and found Francisco holding both the six-month-old and a pistol. Francisco said that he had been showing the kids the gun when it accidentally went off. The round went through the living room wall into the water heater closet, where it lodged in a second wall. Francisco then went outside, where he allegedly waved the gun at Craft after Craft approached and asked him why he was saying inappropriate things to his girlfriend. Francisco allegedly told Craft he didn't want any trouble, but waved the gun anyway, at which point Craft walked away and called 911. When officers tried to question Francisco, they reported he was too intoxicated to answer their questions and he was placed under arrest. In addition to the gun, officers also found several open and closed containers of alcohol in the car. Francisco was charged with aggravated assault, reckless endangerment, unlawful possession of a weapon and with public intoxication. He was released on Sunday after posting bond.

]Y-12 intruders to be re-sentenced Sept. 15th

The three anti-nuclear protesters who broke into Y-12 in July of 2012 and vandalized the Highly Enriched uranium Materials Facility will be re-sentenced on September 15th. The trio known as “Plowshares” was freed from federal prison earlier this year after an appeals court tossed their convictions on the most serious charges of sabotage. Sister Megan Rice, a Catholic nun in her 80s, was sentenced to two years and 11 months in prison while fellow activists Greg Boertje-Obed and Michael Walli were each sentenced to five years and two months behind bars. The three are not expected to head back to prison as they have already served more time than recommended on the convictions that were upheld, including damaging government property. The trio broke in to Y-12 early on the morning of July 28th, 2012 and avoided detection before spending several hours outside the nation's primary storehouse of bomb-grade uranium, spray painting slogans, hanging banners and throwing blood on the exterior wall. The incident led to wholesale changes in both security and leadership at Y-12.

2 shooting incidents in Campbell under investigation

An armed suspect wanted on outstanding charges was wounded in what the TBI described as a shootout with a Campbell County Sheriff's deputy Sunday. The incident was reported shortly before 5 p.m. on Habersham Road in the Duff community. The TBI confirmed that the suspect was shot at least once. The suspect, whose name has not been released, was taken to UT Medical Center. Authorities have not specified what the suspect was wanted for. That incident followed an incident overnight on Sledcreek Road in the nearby White Oak community. There, deputies were performing a welfare check just after midnight when an unidentified male ran out of a home and fired at least once at officers. No law enforcement personnel were injured in either incident. The gunman in the first incident fled on foot into the surrounding woods. Authorities have not said whether the two shootings are connected.

Big Clinch River Clean-Up a success

More than 100 people turned out Saturday for the third annual Big Clinch River Cleanup, described by organizers as an expansion of past efforts by the Clinch River Chapter of Trout Unlimited. Volunteers divided up into teams to remove large amounts of debris from the river's water and banks. Organizers reported volunteers collected about 68 tires and a truck load of trash.

ORT: Tax rates increase across AC

(Oak Ridge Today) Increases in the property tax rate have been approved or are anticipated in budgets that have already passed in Anderson County, Clinton, Oliver Springs, Roane County, and Rocky Top. Those increases are in addition to the increases already expected because of a drop in overall property assessments in Anderson and Roane counties. The 4 percent drop in Anderson County and 3.47 percent decline in Roane County mean the tax-neutral rate—the rate meant to bring in the same amount of revenues after a reappraisal as before—goes up. The highest tax increase, which includes a 6-cent change in the certified tax rate after five-year reappraisals, is 40 cents. That’s in Rocky Top, where the new tax rate is $2 per $100 of assessed value. The lowest so far is in Anderson County, where county commissioners have approved a 10-cent increase for 2 percent pay raises for school and county employees. That’s in addition to the roughly 16-cent increase in the tax-neutral, or certified, tax rate. Oak Ridge will be the last of those half-dozen governments to consider any changes to the tax-neutral rate. In Clinton, the new tax rate is expected to be 94 cents per $100 of assessed value after an increase in both the certified rate and a 14-cent increase on top of that. In Norris, the tax rate will remain steady. In Oliver Springs, taxes were raised by 30 cents, from $1.02 to $1.32 per $100 of assessed value. In Oak Ridge, the rate has been calculated at $2.52, up 13 cents from the current $2.39. Oak Ridge could also be the only one of those half-dozen governments that doesn’t add a tax rate increase to this year’s higher tax-neutral rate. So far, it appears that a majority of Oak Ridge City Council members could support the $2.52 rate. The Oak Ridge Council will meet Monday at 7 pm to discuss the budget. For more on this story, including a breakdown of how that money may be used, visit our partners at www.oakridgetoday.com.

Assault charge against elderly ex-judge dropped...again

An aggravated assault charge against a 95-year-old former acting Oak Ridge city judge was dismissed Friday in Anderson County General Sessions Court. Lawrence Tunnell was accused after an incident on Nov. 21, 2014, where he allegedly struck Charles Smallwood with his vehicle after Smallwood and other passersby helped him up after Tunnell fell. No arrest warrant was issued until January but prosecutors later said they were dropping the charge because they couldn’t locate Smallwood. Smallwood, who said last spring he was homeless, said he was told of a media report about the dismissal and contacted the district attorney’s office, saying he wanted to continue prosecution. Smallwood later changed his mind, resulting in Friday’s dismissal. Special Judge Darryl Edmondson, a Union County judge, was asked to hear the case after Anderson County judges recused themselves.

Tennessee Supreme Court upholds AC lawyer's suspension

(State Supreme Court/staff reports) The Tennessee Supreme Court has upheld the decision by a hearing panel of the Board of Professional Responsibility to suspend Anderson County lawyer Yarboro Sallee’s law license for one year. The Court held that the sanction was appropriate in light of the multiple ethical violations Sallee committed. According to a news release from the court issued Thursday, in 2010, Sallee was hired to file a wrongful death action connected to the death of the clients’ daughter. They agreed to pay her an hourly rate, and she estimated that the litigation would cost no more than $100,000. Less than three months later, however, Sallee claimed that she had incurred hourly fees totaling over $140,000. For this, according to the court, she had accomplished little more than filing the wrongful death complaint, filing related pleadings in probate and juvenile court, and gathering what the release describes as obvious records. When Sallee insisted that the clients agree to pay her contingency fees as well as the hourly fees, they discharged her. After the clients fired Sallee, she refused to return key items related to the wrongful death litigation, such as brain tissue slides from their daughter’s autopsy. When the former clients sued Sallee to force her to return the withheld items, Sallee threatened to file criminal charges against them. Finally, the former clients filed a complaint against Sallee with Tennessee’s Board of Professional Responsibility.  The Board investigated Sallee, who insisted that her conduct had been reasonable and ethical. She gave the Board documentation of her hourly charges, which claimed that Sallee had worked as many as 23 hours of billable time in a single day and included fees for things such as watching many hours of reality crime television shows. A hearing panel found that Ms. Sallee had violated a number of the Rules of Professional Responsibility by, among other things, charging the clients excessive fees, insisting that they agree to pay contingency fees in addition to hourly fees, failing to communicate with the clients about her fees, withholding items from the clients after they discharged her, and threatening to file criminal charges against the clients. As the sanction, the hearing panel recommended suspension of Sallee’s law license for one year.  Sallee filed for judicial review of the hearing panel’s decision, and the trial judge upheld the sanction. Sallee then appealed to the Tennessee Supreme Court. She insisted that there was no basis for finding ethical violations and that the one-year suspension was too severe a sanction.   After reviewing the record, the Supreme Court found ample support for the hearing panel’s finding that Sallee had violated multiple ethical rules.  As for the one-year suspension, the Court found that the most disturbing factor was Ms. Sallee’s continued insistence that she did nothing wrong.  At every turn in these proceedings, faced with findings at every level that her conduct breached numerous ethical rules, Attorney Sallee has been doggedly unrepentant. Indeed, her consistent response has bordered on righteous indignation,” wrote Justice Holly Kirby in the unanimous opinion.  The Court held that the one-year suspension of Sallee’s law license was well-founded and sustained the sanction.

Report: Yeager e-mails subject of August 3rd hearing

According to a report in Friday's News-Sentinel, Anderson County Law Director Jay Yeager's use of a private email server to conduct county business will be the subject of an August 3rd hearing before Knox County Chancellor Mike Moyers. During a hearing held late last month in Knox County on legal action filed against Yeager by County Mayor Terry Frank, Moyers—himself a former county law director—compared the situation to the recent controversy over then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's use of a private server in her official duties. The News-Sentinel report indicates that among the other issues in the mayor's case against Yeager, the use of a private email account was the most “troubling” aspect of the case to Chancellor Moyers, He was brought in to hear the case after all of Anderson County's judges recused themselves. Yeager has admitted to purchasing a domain name and using a Yahoo server to conduct business for the law department and Moyers says that this case could have ripple effects across the state as he is being asked if Yeager's actions are legal. The mayor's attorneys have argued that Yeager's total control over that account gives him “absolute authority” over which emails can be deleted and what can be shared with the public, as opposed to other county email accounts, which are managed by the county's IT department and can not be deleted because they are considered public records. Yeager's attorney has countered by arguing that his use of a separate and private server is possibly necessary to protect attorney-client privilege. Yeager's attorney did agree, however, that if Yeager did in fact destroy or refuse to turn over emails that are public record and not “attorney work product,” the county could be held liable. His side contends, though, that the contents of his email server are not the business of the mayor or anyone else in the county government. The August 3rd hearing could determine if Frank has grounds to pursue further legal action over the email matter and if Yeager is allowed by law to use a private server for county business.

ORT: No evidence of shots fired at OR apartment

(Oak Ridge Today) The Oak Ridge Police Department responded to a report of shots fired at apartments on Wilberforce Avenue on Wednesday, but officers found no evidence that shots had been fired, authorities said. The incident occurred at about 4:40 p.m. Wednesday at Building A of the Kareday Terrace Apartments at 99 Wilberforce Avenue. Multiple officers arrived on scene within two minutes of being dispatched and diverted traffic away from the scene. Additional officers arrived and established a perimeter around Building A, while also contacting the person who called the Dispatch Center earlier and claimed to be a victim of the shooting. The release said that tactical officers who were doing routine training in the area were summoned and soon arrived. “Further interviews of the person who claimed to be the victim and other witnesses failed to provide any corroboration of the original report of gunfire,” the release said. Tactical personnel then contacted all residents in Building A and found no evidence or additional witnesses that verified any shots were in fact fired. The reported victim was then transported to the Methodist Medical Center in Oak Ridge for evaluation.

AC Commission to meet July 30th

The Anderson County Commission has formally given notice that it will hold a public hearing on the Commission's intent to raise the property tax rate by ten cents above the state-certified tax rate that was set earlier this week. The public hearing will take place on Thursday July 30th at 6:30 pm in room 312 of the Courthouse and will be followed by a special called Commission meeting to formally adopt the budget and set the tax rate. The state-certified tax rate in Anderson County increased by 16.13 cents per $100 of assessed value because of a 4% decrease in property values in the latest assessment and commissioners on Monday voted to add 10 cents to that increase to pay for raises for county general fund employees and all county school workers.  The budget issue may not be settled, as some commissioners have raised questions this week about the legality of the way the vote on Commissioner Mark Alderson's motion to raise taxes by ten cents, with eight cents going to school worker raises and two to general fund raises, was conducted.  At issue is whether or not passing both the school and general fund budgets, including the tax increase, in the same vote is legal or if the budgets needed to be voted on in separate resolutions.  Hopefully, answers can be found before Thursday's meeting. 

3 ORHS football player hurt in crash IDed

The three Oak Ridge High School football players who were injured in a Tuesday afternoon traffic accident in Blount County have been identified. The accident happened at around 3:40 pm Tuesday on the Lamar Alexander Parkway and the Tennessee Highway Patrol says the teen driver will face charges. Injured in the crash were 17-year-old Jaylen Nickerson, who was taken by ambulance to UT Medical Center, 15-year-old Devonta Mitchell, who was flown to UT by Lifestar helicopter, and 16-year-old Davon Middleton, who was treated for a concussion at Blount Memorial Hospital and released. Nickerson and Mitchell were listed in serious condition at last report.  The THP report indicates that the driver of the 2000 Ford Taurus headed north on the Parkway veered out of his lane of travel into the center turn lane before crossing the southbound lanes of traffic. The car left the side of the road, hit a curb and continued into a grassy area where it hit what troopers called a “high spot of earth” and became airborne. The Taurus then hit a utility pole in the parking lot of a nearby business before coming to rest. None of the three young men was wearing a seatbelt. The THP says that the driver was cited for failure to maintain a lane, failure to exercise due care, not wearing a seatbelt and not having proof of insurance. The report indicates further charges could be pending. The THP report does not specifically identify the driver but did report that Middleton and Mitchell were the passengers. The three were driving to football practice in Oak Ridge after reportedly spending the night at a friend's house in Maryville. Nickerson, who will be a senior this year, is the Wildcats' leading returning running back, Middleton will also be a senior and plays defensive back and Mitchell is a receiver entering his junior year.

Driver in fatal 4th incident charged with homicide

The driver of the pickup truck that backed through the parking lot of the Midtown Community Center following the city of Oak Ridge's 4th of July fireworks show has been arrested on charges stemming from the tragic incident. 65-year-old Lee Cromwell was taken into custody Wednesday morning and booked into the Anderson County Jail on numerous charges, including one count each of vehicular homicide, criminally negligent homicide, reckless homicide, reckless endangerment and driving on a suspended or revoked license, as well as 12 counts of aggravated assault. He is being held on bonds totaling $205,500 at the Anderson County Jail and was scheduled to be arraigned earlier today. Cromwell is accused of backing his pickup through the crowded parking lot at a high rate of speed, colliding with eight vehicles and running over 37-year-old James Robinson of Knoxville as Robinson pushed his oldest daughter out of the truck's path. Robinson died from his injuries at Methodist Medical Center. Several other people were taken to several different area hospitals for treatment of injuries described as non-life-threatening. Arrest warrants indicate that Cromwell allegedly looked at a crowd of people who were shouting at him to stop backing up after he hit the first parked vehicle and “continued in reverse at a high rate of speed.” He also reportedly told police officers that the throttle on his vehicle had gotten stuck and that he had been unable to stop. Investigators found no problems with the throttle on his Dodge Ram pickup. Cromwell was not injured in the accident.

Kingston water main break inundates bank, disrupts service

A water main break in downtown Kingston Wednesday night flooded the Regions Bank building and shut off water for thousands of residents until early this morning. The break occurred under 3rd Street directly behind the bank building, and spewed thousands of gallons of water into streets and the bank parking lot. Our partners at BBB-TV report that the bank will likely be closed today while workers clean up after two inches of water was reported inside. The water main break disrupted water supplies to thousands of residents and businesses, but service was restored by around 6:45 am Thursday by crews who worked through the night.

7th annual 'Taste of AC' coming September 19th

The Seventh Annual Taste of Anderson County will be at Jackson Square on Saturday, September 19, and it will feature food and local musicians. Visitors will be able to enjoy a sampling of food from some of Anderson County’s best restaurants, which will showcase their fare in small, taste-sized portions. “This event is a great opportunity for local restaurants to share some of their favorite dishes, while proceeds will benefit the United Way of Anderson County and the Free Medical Clinic,” a press release said. “Tastes” from each vendor will be priced from $1 to $4 per item. Tickets will be available to purchase for $1 at entrances to the event. Attendees may buy as many tickets as they like; in addition, beer and wine will be available for sale. New this year is the first annual “King of the Wing,” a chicken wing competition open to both individuals and businesses. Entries may be fried, smoked, or grilled—the only rules are that the wings are prepared, seasoned, and cooked from scratch using no pre-made spice rubs or sauces. Also, there will be tastings of locally made beers, wine, and moonshine. These tastings will be open for voting, and at the end of the night, a winner will be announced in each category. The evening’s entertainment will start at 4 p.m. and continue until 9 p.m. The United Way of Anderson County provides funding, training, and technical assistance to more than 33 nonprofit agencies in Anderson County. The Free Medical Clinic of Oak Ridge serves residents of Anderson, Morgan, and Roane counties who do not have health insurance and can’t afford to pay for care. Follow the Taste of Anderson County Facebook event page for updates. For more information or to sign up as a vendor, call (865) 483-8431 or email Zina Rutherford at Zina@uwayac.org .

ORHS math teacher in running for national award

(Oak Ridge Today) Oak Ridge High School math teacher Elaine Vaughan has been named a Tennessee state finalist for the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching, or PAEMST. The PAEMST are the nation’s highest honors for teachers of mathematics and science, a press release said. Awardees serve as models for their colleagues, inspiration to their communities, and leaders in the improvement of mathematics and science education. Vaughan is one of five finalists in mathematics for the 2015 PAEMST in Tennessee. Awardees will receive a certificate signed by President Barack Obama, a trip to Washington, D.C., to attend a series of recognition events and professional development opportunities, and a $10,000 award from the National Science Foundation. In addition to her recognition through PAEMST, Vaughan has been named as a Tennessee State Educator Fellow through the Hope Street Group. Teacher Fellows will meet with local and state leaders to help create practical solutions to address public education policy issues. Also, Teacher Fellows will provide peer feedback to the Tennessee Department of Education on critical classroom education policies. Hope Street Group believes that educator input in policy-making that impacts teachers and students is one large-scale way to begin to build a public education system that works better for everyone, the press release said. Vaughan has been a math teacher at Oak Ridge High School for 20 years. She is a National Board certified teacher, a Professional Learning Communities coach, and a member of the Response to Instruction and Intervention team. Vaughan is also a member of Delta Kappa Gamma, the professional honor society of women educators.

ADFAC preparing for school

Since earlier this month, volunteers from all over Anderson County have been sorting donated school supplies for Oak Ridge and Anderson County schools, packing them in bags and backpacks that are loaded into vehicles and distributing the packed items to classrooms. Aid to Distressed Families of Appalachian Counties has been coordinating the collection, packing, and distribution of school supplies for 26 years. As a result, teachers aren’t obliged to spend their hard-earned money on items needed by their growing number of students from disadvantaged families. Last year. ADFAC provided school supplies to more than 2,500 area students from disadvantaged families. This year, the local nonprofit service organization’s staff hopes to increase the number of school supplies by 12 percent with the help of ongoing support from the community. In Anderson County, Clinton, and Oak Ridge, more than 6,600 students, or more than half of all students, live at or below 185 percent of the poverty level, qualifying them for the federal free- or reduced-lunch program. Since 1989, ADFAC’s School Supplies Program has served more than 20,000 disadvantaged students in 29 schools in Anderson County, including the Clinton and Oak Ridge city school systems. The schools identify students eligible for the donated supplies based on the free- or reduced-lunch program. They work closely with ADFAC to provide supply lists and determine distribution methods and dates. The agency purchases the appropriate supplies in bulk during summer months when prices are lowest. ADFAC’s School Supplies Program relies on funds from generous individuals and organizations, as well as grants from private and corporate foundations. More than 200 volunteers from churches, clubs, and businesses are helping ADFAC staff organize and pack supplies and distribute them to the schools through July 31. School starts August 3 in Oak Ridge and the rest of the county. How can you help? “A $50 donation will provide a backpack and necessary school supplies for one student,” Herbes said. Monetary donations can be made by PayPal (with “school supplies” on the “purpose” line) on the www.adfac.org website or by making out a check to ADFAC with “for school supplies” written on it. Please mail your check to ADFAC School Supplies, P.O. Box 5953, Oak Ridge, TN 37831-5953.

GSMNP visitation up so far in 2015

Visitation to Great Smoky Mountains National Park is up eight percent through the first six months of 2015.  Between January and June over 4.3 million visitors have enjoyed the nation’s most visited national park.  In May 2015 alone over 1 million visitors entered the park, the most ever for May since the National Park Service began tracking monthly visitation in 1979.  All major park entrances have seen increases, especially at the Oconaluftee entrance near Cherokee, North Carolina where visitation has increased 26% this year.  More visitors in the Smokies, has led to more camping in the park’s frontcountry campgrounds and in the backcountry.  Over 100,000 visitors (up 14% over 2014) have camped in one of the park’s nine campgrounds and over 55,000 (up 12% over 2014) have camped in the park’s backcountry so far this year.  The Smokies continue to be one of the best parks in the country for recreation and relaxation,” said Superintendent Cassius Cash. “I am proud of the Smokies staff who continue to provide a first class experience to an increasing number of visitors.”  Continued record setting visitation comes on the heels of the park’s busiest year in 14 years.  In 2014, 10,099,275 visitors enjoyed the national park, an 8% increase over 2013. The numbers were spurred by strong July and August visitation as well as the highest October visitation in 27 years.  For more information about visitation, please go to the National Park Service Visitor Use Statistics web page at https://irma.nps.gov/Stats/.

3 ORHS football players hurt in wreck

Three Oak Ridge High School football players were injured, two of them critically, in a Tuesday afternoon single-vehicle accident in Blount County. The names of the three players have not been released and have only been identified so far as three rising seniors. The teens had been headed to football practice in Oak Ridge after reportedly spending the night at a friend's house in Maryville when the driver lost control of his car at around 3:40 pm and struck a utility pole on the Lamar Alexander Parkway near John Helton Road. No other vehicles were involved in the crash, which shut down the Parkway for about two hours while the Tennessee Highway Patrol investigated. At least one of the injured teens was flown to UT Medical Center by Lifestar and both players admitted to UT were said to be in critical condition at last report. The third player was treated for what appears to have been a concussion at Blount Memorial Hospital and released. None of the three were wearing their seatbelts. As we learn more about Tuesday's crash, we will pass it along to you on the air, online and on Facebook.

TWRA rescues kayakers in Clinton

A Roane County couple had to be rescued by TWRA officers Tuesday after their kayak overturned and threw them into the frigid waters of the Clinch River in Clinton. TWRA says that Steve and Connie Hunter of Ten Mile had been kayaking with their teenage sons at around 5 pm when they capsized near Second Baptist Church. The boys, ages 16 and 17, tried to stay with their parents but the strong current forced them downstream, where they were able to reach shore and call 911. The water temperature at the time of the incident was 45 degrees, according to TWRA and only one member of their party was wearing a life jacket, although the release does not specify which member of the family that was. TWRA Officers responded to the scene along with Clinton Police officers, Anderson County Sheriff's deputies and crews from the Anderson County Rescue Squad and EMS. TWRA Sergeant Roy Smith and Officer Jeff Roberson located the Hunters clinging to a log overhanging the river at around 5:20 pm and brought them on board their patrol boat. Both Hunters were examined by paramedics and did not require further medical attention. Their sons were found about a mile from where their parents were located.

Shoplifting leads to birthday arrest for Michigan woman

A Michigan woman was arrested on her birthday by Clinton Police investigating a shoplifting call at Wal-Mart. Police were called to the store on Tanner Lane at around 2 pm Tuesday on a shoplifting call and when they arrived learned that the suspect, Sabrina Murphy of Morenci, Michigan, who turned 43 on Tuesday, had stolen a car from a dealership in Michigan on Monday and then allegedly stolen a license plate from a vehicle parked outside an Ohio Wal-Mart and put it on the stolen vehicle. Murphy was located at the Clinton store with her 13-year-old son, who authorities quickly determined had been reported missing from his father's house in Michigan on Sunday. The woman admitted taking her son from his father, who has custody of the boy, without his permission. The boy's father was notified and Murphy, as of late this morning, remained in custody on charges of theft from the store, and theft by possession of the stolen vehicle and stolen license plate.

Ex-deputy receives settlement despite questions

Despite questions about his claim that a February 2012 shootout in Claxton left him with post-traumatic stress disorder, a former Anderson County Sheriff's deputy has received $185,000 in a workers' compensation claim settlement. James D. Powell was off-duty on February 29th, 2012 when he came to the aid of then-Deputy Jonathan Bryant, who had pursued 32-year-old Michael Baker and 25-year-old Shanna Richardson of Indiana at high speeds following a gas drive-off in what was then Lake City. During the pursuit, Baker had fired shots at the pursuing deputy and the chase ended with a shootout during which both Baker and Richardson were killed. The suspects were later found to have been high on the synthetic drug known as “bath salts.” Powell filed a workers' compensation claim based on PTSD as a direct result of the shootout. One psychiatrist determined that Powell was indeed suffering from PTSD but a second psychiatrist said that he thought Powell had “malingered” on psychological tests, meaning that he gave incorrect answers to questions with the aim of fooling the tests into showing he had PTSD. That second psychiatrist also said that Powell gave conflicting accounts as to what had transpired during the shootout and called it very suspicious that Powell began to have panic attacks and other symptoms of PTSD only after he was placed on leave while being investigated on allegations of child sexual abuse. The District Attorney's Office later determined that there was not enough evidence to prosecute Powell over those allegations but told Sheriff Paul White that he would no longer use Powell's testimony in any sex-crime cases involving children. The “doubtful and disputed” settlement was signed by Judge Don Elledge, who indicated that it was “unlikely that Powell could prove the shootout caused PTSD.

AC Mayor critical of expected EPA standards

(AC Mayor's Office) Anderson County Mayor Terry Frank has written the White House to express concern and opposition to significantly stricter ground-level ozone limits that the EPA is currently considering. She has joined local officials across Tennessee as well as the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Tennessee Manufacturers Association in opposing the harsher ozone standards. The threat of stricter ozone limits comes just as the Knoxville area, including parts of Anderson County, has been declared in compliance with the current standards. The EPA announced Monday that the area is now in attainment, removing a number of obstacles that could hamper recruitment of businesses and jobs. “All of Anderson County is now in compliance with the current requirements,” Mayor Frank said. “Tighter standards right now could wipe out any gains we might realize from that.” The tougher requirements “could pose a significant threat to economic development and job creation,” Mayor Frank wrote to the White House. Things that make Anderson County attractive to business, such as the Oak Ridge National Laboratory and proximity to UT-Knoxville, “could be eclipsed if the EPA makes significant changes to the National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS).” A stricter NAAQS would set up substantial barriers to economic development in non-compliant, or “non-attainment” counties, and it would become difficult for many existing businesses to expand. Counties could also lose federal highway funds.  “We’ve made considerable progress that I’m proud of, but we must make sure our efforts to protect people don’t actually end up harming their ability to care for themselves and their families,” said Mayor Frank. Under the proposed changes, the ozone limit would go from the current 75 ppb (parts per billion) to as low as 65 ppb. That would, once again, make Knoxville/Knox County much more vulnerable to being labeled non-attainment. If that happened, counties in the Knoxville Combined Statistical Area – including parts of Anderson County – would run the risk of being labeled non-attainment, according to a presentation by legal experts and the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC). Tennessee stands to lose an estimated 13,575 jobs or job equivalents and $32 billion in gross state product from 2017 to 2040, according to the National Association of Manufacturers. It would cost Tennessee drivers an added $768 million to own and operate their vehicles during that same period, NAM says. Meanwhile, a new survey shows that 67% of Americans rate their local air quality as excellent or good, and more than half oppose stricter federal environmental regulations on local businesses. By a nearly three-to-one margin, Americans think that a bigger problem for their local area is “less economic growth and job opportunities caused by regulations” (66%) rather than “lower air quality caused by pollution” (23%), according to the findings released by NAM. For more information on the economic ramifications of the stricter NAAQS, visit www.nam.org/ozone.

Learn New Skills While Helping Others

COMMUNITY MEDIATION SERVICES, a local nonprofit, is offering FREE Basic Mediation training August 21st (5-9) and August 22nd ( 9-5)  in Clinton. Mediation assists people in finding their own best solutions to difficult issues.  Volunteer Mediator trainees learn valuable skills while helping others in our community. We have families in need right NOW!  Please call Community Mediation Services at 865-463-6888 for more information and to register. Check us out on the web at www.peacefulresolution.org or email us at joey@cms-tn.org.  For as little as 4 hours a week you can make a difference!

Arrangements announced for Joseph Dillman

Funeral arrangements for 10-year-old Joseph Dillman, the Clinton boy whose battle against brain cancer inspired his entire community, have been announced. Joseph's family will receive friends Tuesday afternoon (7/21) from 3 to 8 pm at Second Baptist Church in Clinton with a Celebration of his Life to follow. Family and friends will meet at 12:15 pm Wednesday July 22nd at Holley-Gamble Funeral Home in Clinton to go in procession to Woodhaven Memorial Gardens for his 1 pm graveside service. During his brave, four-year battle with two rounds of brain cancer, Joseph inspired the community with his grace, his spirit and his positive attitude in the face of the disease, and in return, the community adopted him as their own. He was named an honorary Clinton Police officer, an honorary Oak Ridge firefighter, served as grand marshal of the Clinton Christmas parade and had a lawn mower race named in his honor. Joseph Dillman will be laid to rest wearing his policeman's uniform and the funeral procession on Wednesday is expected to include as many as 100 police, fire and emergency vehicles. To view his obituary online or to donate to help pay for his funeral expenses, please visit www.holleygamble.com.

AC Commission passes 10-cent tax hike for raises

Monday the Anderson County Commission approved a 10-cent property tax rate increase to pay for raises for employees of the county and its school system. The vote was 9-5-1 with one absence. Eight cents of the increase will pay for 1.75% raises for teachers and school system employees, with the Board of Education now charged with finding an additional $165,000 in its budget to bring those up to 2% salary increases. The other two cents of the tax increase will be used for 2% pay raises for county general fund employees except for elected officials and commissioners. That 10-cent increase n the tax rate is in addition to the now-higher, state-certified—or tax-neutral rate—of $2.6903 per $100 of assessed value. The certified rate brings in the same amount of revenue from property taxes that was brought in before the reappraisals, which showed overall property value declines of 4% across the county. So, that means that in the county outside the city limits, the tax rate is now $2.7903, In Clinton, the county tax rate is now $2.7589 and in Oak Ridge, the county tax rate is $2.5945. The tax rate varies because of different school debt obligations. After the budget was adopted, commissioners voted to give pay raises above the 2% threshold to Veterans Service Officer Leon Jaquet and his assistant, two employees in Law Director Jay Yeager's office and to longtime Commission Administrative Assistant Mary Murphy.  The County Commission will meet in a special session next Thursday July 30th at 6:30 pm to hold a public hearing on the new tax rate before taking the final vote to adopt the new budget and tax rate.

Biloski announces resignation from Commission

At the end of Monday's Anderson County Commission meeting, Commissioner Robin Biloski, who has represented Oak Ridge's 8th District since 2006, announced that she is resigning effective August 3rd because she and her husband Bill are moving to Madeira Beach, Florida. Biloski was elected to her first term on the Commission representing Oak Ridge's Emory Valley, Hendrix Creek and Woodland voting precincts in 2006 and was twice re-elected, most recently in 2014. For the first eight years on Commission, Biloski was the only female commissioner and later served as vice chair of the Commission for three years and as a chair of the powerful Operations Committee. The Commission will solicit applications from residents of District 8 who are interested in serving in Biloski's seat until the next county general election in August of 2016. Commissioners will select her successor most likely next month.

3 donations totaling $25K will aid animal shelter effort

At the beginning of Monday night's meeting of the Anderson County Commission, officials learned that a local manufacturing company and two local animal welfare groups have donated a total of $25,000 to help start a county animal shelter. The first $10,000 donation came from Magna International's Eagle Bend Manufacturing facility in Clinton and was matched by longtime Anderson County animal welfare advocate Eileen Slater's NOAH Companion Animal Center in Marlow. A $5000 donation was also presented Monday by the Shelter Animals Rescue Group—or SARG—another local non profit group focused on animal welfare. The new animal shelter on Blockhouse Valley could open within the next few weeks and will be used as a temporary shelter for animals picked up by county animal control officers. Mayor Terry Frank and Commissioner Robin Biloski spearheaded the effort for a new shelter since earlier this year, citing the changing priorities and lack of room for county animals at the Oak Ridge Animal Shelter. The money donated last night will be used for supplies and operations at the shelter.

Lawsuit filed in dog attack

A Powell woman has filed a lawsuit in Anderson County Circuit Court seeking $175,000 in damages against three Powell residents. Robin Moore filed the suit earlier this month against Wayne Wells, Caroline Wells and Pauline Wells in connection to an incident that occurred in early March. Moore alleges that she had been walking on a sidewalk on Norman Street with her dogs on leashes when the Wells' dogs, who were allegedly running free, attacked her dogs. Moore's suit claims that she became tangled in the leashes and fell, injuring her left leg, ankle and foot, injuries the suit claims resulted in surgery and could be permanent. The defendants are accused of being negligent in failing to keep their dogs tied up or otherwise under control.

Clothing Giveaway

There will be a clothing giveaway at the Lake City Church of Christ on Saturday July 25th from 9 am to 1 pm. Everyone is welcome.

ETHRA taking LIHEAP applications through July

The East Tennessee Human Resource Agency (ETHRA) is distributing applications for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (or LIHEAP) for households that have not received assistance since October 1st, 2014. To receive an application call ETHRA's toll-free number at 1-800-552-0127, extension 4825, and leave your name and mailing address. Applications are also available at the local ETHRA Office on Leinart Street in Clinton or on ETHRA's website at www.ethra.org/publications/2014LIHEAPapp.pgf. The sponsor of this program is the Tennessee Housing Development Agency and its goal is to provide assistance to low-income households to help offset the high cost of home energy.

Joseph Dillman passes away at 10

Joseph Dillman, the 10-year-old Clinton boy whose courageous battle with brain cancer inspired his entire community, passed away on Saturday. Joseph's fight garnered support from near and far, as he was named an honorary Clinton police officer and an honorary Oak Ridge firefighter, had a lawn mower race named in his honor and became part of the Clinton High School football program, leading the Dragons out on to the field during a home game last season. A campaign for his birthday resulted in Joseph receiving over 100 pounds of birthday well-wishes and gifts from all over the country. Our sister station Merle FM, surprised him last year with tickets and backstage passes to a Luke Bryan concert, before which Joseph got to meet his favorite country singer. More recently, a community spearheaded candlelight prayer service was held at Second Baptist Church on July 11th and to highlight the impact he had made on his community in his all-too-brief life, when he was unable to attend due to his failing health, the Anderson County Sheriff's Department along with other municipal police and fire departments and the county EMS drove past his house with their lights and sirens on to let him know that the community “had his back.” A GoFundMe page has been established to help the family with funeral expenses and when his arrangements are announced, we will pass them along to you here on WYSH and online.

(Oak Ridge Today) Joseph Dillman, a Clinton boy who inspired the community with his battle against brain cancer, died Saturday. He was 10. Joseph had earned the love and admiration of many people from across the country. It was his second battle against brain cancer. Joseph had been made an honorary firefighter and honorary Clinton police officer. For his 10th birthday in January, he received more than 100 pounds of birthday mail and gifts from well-wishers across the country, including Peyton Manning and Johnny Majors. A GoFundMe page has been set up to help the family with funeral expenses.  There was a candlelight prayer service for Joseph on July 11 in Clinton. Joseph was unable to attend, so supporters brought the event to him. Members of the Anderson County Sheriff’s Department—along with local law enforcement, fire departments, and Emergency Medical Services—drove by Joseph’s house with lights flashing and sirens blaring. “Joseph, you have all of our love, support, and prayers!” the Anderson County Sheriff’s Department said after the prayer service. “We’ve got your back.”  Joseph led the Clinton High School football team onto the field during a home game last season, and he had received several other designations and accolades. In June, the Second Annual Joseph Dillman Lawn Mower Race was held in honor of Joseph. It was organized by Clinton Police Officer Jason Stokes.  Last year, WYSH's sister station Merle FM surprised Joseph with tickets and backstage passes to a Luke Bryan concert, before which Joseph got to meet his favorite country singer.  On the Pray for Joseph Dillman page on Facebook, the family said funeral plans have not been finalized.  “It is with a very heavy heart that we share that one of our special little students, Joseph Dillman, passed away,” Clinton City Schools said in a Facebook post on Sunday, July 16. “Please keep his family and his many friends in your thoughts and prayers as people young and old struggle with the grief of Joseph’s death.”

AC crash injures one

A single-vehicle accident early Sunday morning on Andersonville Highway east of Sportsman Lane sent one man to UT Medical Center by Lifestar. His name and condition have not been made public but the Anderson County Sheriff's Department and the Tennessee Highway Patrol are investigating the crash.

OR crash injures 3

Three people involved in a two-vehicle accident Sunday afternoon in Oak Ridge were taken to area hospitals. The crash occurred just after 4 pm on the Oak Ridge Turnpike near Athens Road. Two patients were taken to UT Medical Center while a third was taken to Methodist Medical Center. As soon as more information becomes available we will will pass it along to you.

TDOT: Highway 61 lane closures begin Wednesday

TDOT has announced that one lane will be closed in each direction on Highway 61 over I-75 in Anderson County beginning on Wednesday. Contractors will be doing bridge repair work at that location through October 31st. Visit www.wyshradio.com and check out the Norris Bulletin's handy detours for ways to avoid what could become a tricky traffic situation.

AC Community Action commodity card sign-ups

Beginning Monday July 27, 2015 Anderson County Community Action Committee will be accepting applications for the orange commodity card.  If you have an orange card you DO NOT have to sign back up.  To sign up participants must be an Anderson County resident, and provide proof of all household income, know birth dates, and social security numbers for all household members.  We will take applications Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 8 am-12 noon. The deadline to sign up will be Friday August 7th @ 12 noon  For more information on this equal opportunity program please call 865-457-5500.

Free Talk on Happy Gut = Happy Life

Are you experiencing regular fatigue, brain fog, muscle aches and pains, gas and bloating, sugar craving, food sensitivities or allergies, nail fungus, athlete’s foot, jock itch or yeast infections?  Have you taken broad-spectrum antibiotics or birth control pills?  If so, you may be interested in learning how to cleanse and revive your health with therapeutic grade essential oils and whole food based supplements in a healthy way without starving yourself.  Ryoko Suzuki will be doing a free talk on Friday, July 31st at noon at Clinton Physical Therapy at 1921 N. Charles G. Seivers Boulevard.  Ryoko has previously worked at Clinton Physical Therapy Center, but now works at Healing Spirit Bodywork in Nashville.  She is a licensed massage therapist and Svaroopa Yoga instructor.  She also works with clients on how to properly use essential oils to aid in improved health and wellbeing.  Come learn how to get your digestive system back on track, and feel good inside and out!!  For further information call 457-8237.  The seminar will be held in the upper building behind Clinton Physical Therapy Center.  Please park in the upper lot.  

State awards OR company for safety

Tennessee Department of Labor & Workforce Development Commissioner Burns Phillips announced that Manufacturing Sciences located in Oak Ridge was chosen to receive the Volunteer STAR (Safety Through Accountability and Recognition) award.  "Manufacturing Sciences Corporation has met the evaluation standards required to receive this award by proving their ability to uphold an excellent safety record," said Tennessee Department of Labor & Workforce Development Commissioner Burns Phillips, who presented the Volunteer STAR award yesterday at the company’s facility located at 804 South Illinois Avenue in Oak Ridge. “It is evident Manufacturing Sciences Corporation is extremely dedicated to maintaining a safe and healthy workplace.”  The Volunteer STAR award is the state’s highest honor for workplace safety and health and a nationally recognized program. The Volunteer STAR is patterned after the OSHA Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) and recognizes the best of the best in the area of safety and health programming and performance.  The safety culture at Manufacturing Sciences Corporation was one of the key assets considered in the GMIS acquisition of MSC. We are proud of the MSC team for receiving this honor and look forward to continuing this commitment to safety,” said Zane Wilson CEO of Global Medical Isotope Systems, parent company of MSC.  “They continue to set the standard for the rest of the company and I am happy to celebrate this achievement with them.”  Manufacturing Sciences Corporation’s Oak Ridge facility has 44 employees that manufacture various products from depleted uranium for medical, military, and other applications.  This is the site’s third time to receive the Volunteer STAR award. There are currently 37 Volunteer STAR sites in Tennessee.  A certificate of recognition is awarded to the STAR recipient, as is a flag that can be flown at the site. The company is also permitted to use the Volunteer STAR logo on its correspondence and company documents.  The standard for participation in the STAR program is the confirmation of a company’s safety and health program, which helps reduce accidents and injuries. The program also allows employers to be removed from programmed compliance inspection lists for a period of three years.  For more information on the Volunteer STAR award program and other TOSHA award programs contact the Tennessee Occupational Safety and Health Administration at (800) 325-9901.

DA: Man pleads in parking lot death

District Attorney General Russell Johnson announced today that Eric Glenn Gallaher, age 35 (dob 3-22-1980) of Harriman, pled guilty this morning in Roane County Criminal Court to the indicted charge of voluntary manslaughter in the July 23, 2011 death of David Lee Harvey (dob 2-26-1965). The incident that led to Harvey’s death occurred when the two men were involved in a ‘fender bender’ type accident in the parking lot of the notorious Big Orange Bar off of Hwy 27 just north of Harriman. According to eyewitness accounts, as Harvey was making his way towards Gallaher and three other men with Gallaher (Eric Gallaher’s twin brother and two cousins) to apologize for backing into their car, Eric Gallaher swung and hit Harvey in the head one time. There were conflicting accounts about what happened next. (A Roane County Grand Jury later ‘no billed’ a robbery account.) What is apparent from those accounts and the subsequent autopsy is that Harvey died almost immediately at the scene after the blow to his head. An autopsy performed by the UT Forensics Center released in 2012 would show that Harvey’s death resulted from a ‘ruptured cerebral arteriovenous malformation during [the] physical altercation’.  Gallaher was arrested the next day and subsequently made bond. Ultimately, he was indicted by the Roane County Grand Jury for on alternative counts for Voluntary Manslaughter and Aggravated Assault, both Class C felonies. While out on bond Gallaher was arrested and convicted of DUI in Knox County and ending up spending approximately eight months in jail for a violation of probation. He also was later charged along with his twin brother, Derek Gallaher, for felony drug charges (to which Eric Gallaher also pled guilty today).  Initially, Eric Gallaher was represented on both sets of charges (manslaughter and drug) by attorney Donice Butler of Harriman. The case had been set for jury trial several times previously. In fact, the parties: Gallaher, Butler and the Harvey family and friends, and the District Attorney General had meet for the parties to talk and come to a plea agreement similar to what was finalized today. Butler was subsequently suspended from the practice of law and remains suspended. Last year attorney Jedediah McKeehan was appointed to represent Gallaher and the plea agreement was put together.  Gallaher pled guilty to the Class C felony voluntary manslaughter as indicted and received a three year prison sentence. He also pled guilty to the drug charges and received a six year sentence for a total sentence of 9 years in prison. Gallaher has until 9 am on Monday, July 27th to report to the Roane County Jail from where he will later be transported to TDOC to begin serving his sentence.

AC Fair heads in to homestretch

The Anderson County Fair wraps up Saturday night, but between now and then, there are still two of the best six days of summer with something for everyone. General admission is $5 and kids 6 and under get in free. Armbands are available for $20 that allow you to ride the carnival rides on the midway all night long. For more, check out the schedule below, or visit www.andersoncountyfairtn.com

Friday, July 17

*Powell-Clinch Utility District Night*

5:00pm

Gates Open

5:00pm – Close

Little Ponderosa Petting Zoo

6:00pm

James Gang Amusement (POP)

6:00pm

Sheep, Lamb, & Ewe Show (Underwood-McRae Pavilion)

7:00pm

Jay Eric Band

6:00pm – 9:00pm

Living Heritage Demo: Tatting

7:00pm

Tractor Parade of Power (Ballfield)

7:00pm – 9:00pm

CASH GIVEAWAY

7:30pm

Demolition Derby

**If Demolition Derby is rained out on Friday, it will be scheduled Saturday July 18th at 7:30pm.

Saturday, July 18

*Fox Toyota Night*

5:00pm

Gates Open

5:00pm – Close

Little Ponderosa Petting Zoo

5:00pm – 8:00pm

4-H Demonstrations

6:00pm

James Gang Amusement (POP)

6:00pm

Open Beef Show (Underwood-McRae Pavilion)

7:00pm

Little Dukes Power Wheels Derby *New Event*

7:00pm

Tractor Parade of Power (Ball field)

7:30pm

Lawn Mower Derby

7:00pm – 9:00pm

CASH GIVEAWAY

7:00pm – 11:00pm

Brooke Danielle Band

ACSD responds to Chattanooga shootings

(ACSD) The Anderson County Sheriff's Department was notified by the Tennessee Highway Patrol on Thursday morning, July 16, on the unfolding events of the Chattanooga shooting incidents.  We informed all of our local police departments of this information.  Our dispatch was also in contact with the TEMA State Emergency Operations Center in Nashville. Based on the initial information, we sent deputies to provide security at the National Guard Armory in Clinton as well as to the area of the TVA facilities at Norris Dam and Bull Run Fossil Plant in Claxton.  We increased security by sending additional deputies to the Courthouse and county government buildings. This enhanced security was maintained until we were informed there did not appear to be any threat to other facilities. There are military recruitment centers and a reserve facility along with the DOE installations in Oak Ridge and the Oak Ridge Police Department provided a response for these sites.  Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of the four U.S. Marines who died and to the Marine recruiter, Navy sailor, and Chattanooga police officer who were wounded.

Sales tax holiday August 7th through 9th

Tennessee’s annual back-to-school sales tax holiday will be August 7 though August 9 this year.  The event is held each year beginning at 12:01 a.m. in the first Friday in August and ending at 11:59 p.m. the following Sunday night. During this weekend, people will not pay state or local sales tax on clothing, school or art supplies that cost $100 or less per item and computers that cost $1,500 or less.

BBB: Harriman man charged in Oakdale football trailer theft

A 31-year-old Harriman man was arrested Wednesday and charged in connection to the theft of the utility trailer containing football equipment from Oakdale School in Morgan County earlier this month. BBB-TV reports that 31-year-old Brandon lavender was arrested without incident at his home on Casey Road on Wednesday by deputies from the Roane and Morgan County Sheriff's Departments and charged with felony theft and vandalism. The stolen equipment was found a couple of days after the theft in a pile in a wooded area in nearby Cumberland County and the trailer was found at a separate location days after that. Lavender remains in custody and authorities say he is the only suspect in the theft. Anonymous tips led investigators to focus their investigation on Lavender.

Roane reappraisals complete

(Oak Ridge Today) Roane County properties showed an overall 3.47 percent drop in assessed values in the five-year reappraisal process taken over by state officials this year, and the property tax rate in the City of Oak Ridge has been calculated at $2.52, the Tennessee Comptroller’s Office announced Thursday. The calculated tax rate is up from the current $2.39 per $100 of assessed value, a 13-cent increase. The revenues collected after a reappraisal have to be the same as the revenues before, so if assessed values show an overall drop, then the tax rate certified by the state has to be raised. Separately, the Oak Ridge City Council has been asked to consider a tax rate increase of up to eight cents, with a one-cent increase requested by the municipal staff and a seven-cent increase requested by the Oak Ridge Board of Education.  The Oak Ridge City Council has not yet adopted a new budget or tax rate for the fiscal year that began July 1, primarily because city officials were waiting for the Roane County reappraisals to be completed. But Oak Ridge City Manager Mark Watson said City Council could now adopt a budget on second and final reading on July 27 and discuss the budget during a work session at 6 p.m. July 21 in the Central Services Complex on Woodbury Lane.

AC Chamber Job Fair August 4th

The Anderson County Chamber of Commerce will host a Job Fair to recruit employees for our local businesses and industries on Tuesday, August 4, 3 – 7 p.m., Anderson County High School Gymnasium, 130 Maverick Circle, Clinton. This one-day event allows job seekers to connect face-to-face with local businesses and industries seeking employees.  Job Fair exhibitors to date include: Anderson County Sheriff’s Department, CarlStar Group, Eagle Bend Manufacturing, Express Employment Professionals, HealthMarkets, Premier Solutions Intl., Randstad (for Nelson Global), Roane State Community College, SL Tennessee, Temp Systems, Inc., and TN College of Applied Technology-Knoxville. The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development will have their Career Coach, a mobile center with services similar to what you might find in a Tennessee American Job Center, at the event to provide a mobile computer lab with Internet access, a venue for résumé assistance and interviewing skills.  Attendees may submit resumes, complete applications, access company websites, schedule interviews and make contacts for future job openings. Free admission and free parking.  Space is available for employers seeking employees. An 8 x 8 space with 6 ft. table, 2 chairs will be provided. Rooms will be available for on-the-spot interviews. Early Registration: Chamber Members - $100, Non-Chamber Members -$150. Registration After July 23: Chamber Members $150, Non-Chamber Members - $200. ($50 may be applied to Chamber membership).  For a registration form or for more information contact the Anderson County Chamber of Commerce at 865-457-2559, email: accc@andersoncountychamber.org,or visit: www.andersoncountychamber.org.

AC Fair Night #4

This is night #4 for the Anderson County Fair and gates open this afternoon at 5 pm at the Fairgrounds in Clinton. Tonight is “Y-12 Federal Credit Union Night” at the Fair and general admission is $5, with kids ages six and under getting in free. An armband that will allow you to ride the rides on the midway all night is $20.  In addition to nightly events like the Little Ponderosa Petting Zoo, the Tractor Parade of Power and the cash giveaways, you will also be able to enjoy Living Heritage demonstrations of canning and two different concerts, each beginning at 7 pm. Fairgoers will be able to listen to some great Southern Gospel Music by the Joyaires and Kingsway and/or country music trio, the 40 West Band. For more information, visit www.andersoncountyfairtn.com  

*Y-12 Federal Credit Union Night*

5:00pm

Gates Open

5:00pm – Close

Little Ponderosa Petting Zoo

6:00pm

James Game Amusement

6:00pm – 9:00pm

Living Heritage Demo: Canning

7:00pm

Tractor Parade of Power (Ball field)

7:00pm – 9:00pm

CASH GIVEAWAY

7:00pm – 9:30pm

Joyaires and Kingsway Gospel Music

7:00pm – 11:00pm

40 West Band

General admission: $5...Kids 6 & under: FREE

Armband for rides on midway: $20

OR eyes park headquarters designation

Monday, the Oak Ridge City Council voted unanimously to support efforts currently underway to make the city the headquarters of the three-site Manhattan Project National Historical Park. The park, which will also have locations in Hanford, Washington and Los Alamos, New Mexico, will recognize the contributions each site made to creating the atomic bomb and helped end World War II. Three representatives of Oak Ridge are in Los Alamos taking part in discussions over where the park's headquarters will be located. Officials say that various aspects of Oak Ridge's location including its proximity to a large population in the Knoxville metro area and its proximity to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park make it the ideal spot to serve as headquarters. The Departments of Energy and the Interior are expected to have plan in place by the end of the year to manage the three-site park and the final determination of where the headquarters will be located will be made by the Department of the Interior.

Rain causes partial roof collapse at The Other One in OR

Part of the roof over the kitchen at the popular Oak Ridge deli The Other One collapsed Tuesday afternoon following that day's heavy rainfall. Two workers were in the kitchen when the roof collapsed but neither was injured and while no equipment was damaged, co-owner Amanda Caldwell told our partners at Oak Ridge Today that the incident will expedite plans to renovate and upgrade the kitchen. The roof was patched on Wednesday and the eatery could be closed for up to a week but in the meantime, the owners of Secret City Pies have agreed to loan The Other One a food truck that will allow them to serve a limited menu during the day. The seating area on the main dining room of the restaurant located in the Grove Center is open and there is also outdoor seating. The owners say to follow them on Facebook for updates as to when they will re-open.

New grocer coming to OR

A new grocery store chain will open its doors in the former Food Lion building in Oak Ridge on August 25th. This location of Hank's Grocery will be the company's second in the nation, following the spring opening of a store in Washington, Indiana. The company is currently renovating its leased 32,000-square foot building, which became available after Food Lion closed its Oak Ridge store as part of a company-wide reorganization. The new grocer will be open from 7 am to 10 pm daily and employ approximately 50 people. The store will be a full-service grocer with fresh vegetables, a butcher shop, national brands, private-label products and a good selection of organic and gluten-free products.

GSMNP holding butterfly event

(GSMNP) Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont are hosting an event on Friday, July 17, in Cades Cove to mark the return of a 14 year-old Smokies monarch butterfly tag recovered on a forest floor in Mexico. Park and Tremont staff will be joined by Outdoor Educator, Wanda DeWaard, to receive the tag from Jaimie Maussan, a journalist from Mexico, who will return the tag to the Smokies at 10:00 a.m. at the beginning of the Cades Cove Loop Road near the orientation shelter. Through the Great Smoky Mountains Monarch Watch Project led by Tremont staff and partners, hundreds of volunteers have participated in tagging monarch butterflies throughout the park since 1997. Monarch butterflies migrate up to 3,000 miles through the Smokies each fall on their journey to Mexico. On December 29, 2014, a tag from a butterfly tagged in the Smokies was discovered on the forest floor in Mexico at Santuario de la Mariposa Monarca el Rosario. The tag was placed on a female monarch butterfly in the park on October 4, 2001. The discovery of the tag allows scientists to better understand migration patterns, population status, and habitat conservation needs.  "It's really very exciting,” said reporter Jaimie Maussan. “The tag was found in the high part of the sanctuary known as El Rosario by one of the local guides just 3 or 4 minutes after we asked them to be on the lookout for the possibility of finding a tag. It was found on the forest floor covered by grass and leaves, but he saw it. It tells us an extraordinary story." The public is invited to the event on Friday, July 17 to learn more about the journey of monarch butterflies and participate in a hands-on opportunity to catch and identify butterflies in Cades Cove with DeWaard following the event. To participate, please RSVP to Heather Davis at Tremont at heather@gsmit.org.

TWRA: GSMNP not only ET location for synchronous fireflies

(TWRA) Paul Shaw, a TWRA fisheries creel agent, has taken an interest in fireflies this summer, which has led to an amazing discovery. Intrigued by the synchronous fireflies at Elkmont in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and learning that Lynn Faust, the premiere synchronous firefly researcher in the GSMNP had them on her property near his own, Shaw set out on a mission to find other populations in east Tennessee. His initial search in early June produced a healthy but isolated population on his densely forested property, which lies about a mile north of the Oak Ridge Wildlife Management Area. During the next few weeks, Shaw—along with ORWMA Manager Jim Evans, former TWRA employee Wade Gefellars, and several others—formed a group called the “Firefly Team” that began visiting sites around ORWMA with hopes of discovering other synchronous fireflies. Their research areas consisted of about 30 sites, which were not arbitrary, random locations but were carefully calculated by biological factors similar to those at Elkmont. To say that their research has been successful is an understatement. All of their predicted sites except one produced a species of synchronous fireflies called Snappy Syncs (Photuris frontalis), which are a different species than those in the GSMNP simply known as synchronous fireflies (Photinus carolinus). While not as well known to the general public as synchronous fireflies (Photinus carolinus), Snappy Syncs (Photuris frontalis) are not entirely unknown to firefly researchers, and have been found in various locations throughout the southeastern United States.  To help explain the difference between the two species, Shaw described their characteristic blink patterns. Synchronous fireflies (Photinus carolinus) blink about a half dozen times in synchrony, and then stop for a few seconds before starting again. Snappy Syncs (Photuris frontalis) blink about 30-plus times in synchrony with the rest in the group, then most will quit blinking while a few continue. After about 10 to 20 seconds, those that quit blinking will start again rejoining those that kept blinking.Shaw’s research has led him to believe ORWMA supports Snappy Syncs because it has remained relatively undisturbed since World War II. Similar to the GSMNP, preservation of the woodlands allowed them to mature into old-growth hardwood forests that are deep and dark at night. According to their research, 90 percent of the synchronous fireflies they discovered were in these deep, dark woods near a water source. Shaw said that next year’s efforts will include further exploration of the 35,000 acre Oak Ridge Reservation/WMA and that the Firefly Team will try to locate other populations of these interesting beetles. This discovery is huge in the insect world as the population in the GSMNP was once thought to be the only place where you can see synchronous fireflies in North America, although it remains the best known. In 2012, a colony of these fireflies was also found in the Allegheny National Forest in Pennsylvania, another in the Congaree National Park in South Carolina, and in the mangrove forests of Southeast Asia. While more research and density counts will be necessary in the future, there’s no doubt that this will be big news as the Elkmont population draws thousands of annual visitors to the GSMNP. However, the Oak Ridge Reservation is very secure, making it inaccessible to the public, thus prohibiting the multitudes of firefly seekers. At any rate, the fact that other synchronous firefly populations exist is encouraging making it possible for other firefly seekers to discover other populations.

Main Street OR update

(Oak Ridge Today) Pre-demolition work at the Oak Ridge City Center, the former Oak Ridge Mall, was scheduled to start late last week or early this week, and environmental remediation trucks have been at the 60-acre site this week, starting Monday. Plans call for redeveloping the former mall as Main Street Oak Ridge, a mixed-use project that would include retailers, restaurants, residential units, and a hotel. The existing space between the two remaining anchors, Belk and JCPenney, would be demolished, although those two stores would remain. The trucks that have been at the mall site this week are from Environmental Abatement Inc., a structural, demolition, and environmental contractor. There has also been an asbestos waste container at the site. A project representative said that Crosland Southeast, the company that has proposed the $80 million project, is working on pre-demolition activities and reviewing bids. The pre-demolition work includes asbestos abatement, and earlier this month, the representative said that the company hopes that that work will take place within a month. A site plan has been submitted to the Oak Ridge city staff and is under review.  In other developments announced recently, the civil design for the project has been completed along with architectural drawings for several new buildings, and all of those plans have been put out to bid along with the demolition plans. Crosland Southeast is currently reviewing those bid results. The reconstruction of East Main, West Main, and Wilson streets has also been put out to bid, and Crosland Southeast is reviewing those bids. The company’s intent is still to open Main Street Oak Ridge to retailers by Thanksgiving 2016. 

State: Roane reappraisal complete

(State Comptroller's Office) The Comptroller’s Division of Property Assessments has reached a significant milestone in its effort to ensure a fair and accurate property reappraisal for the citizens of Roane County. The Division of Property Assessments is confident that property values for tax year 2015 now meet acceptable standards. The Assessor and his staff can now begin sending new value notices to Roane County property owners, and provide taxpayers with both informal and formal opportunities to appeal individual assessments. On February 26 the State Board of Equalization directed the Division to take all steps necessary to complete the reappraisal process after serious concerns were raised about the ability of the Assessor and his staff to manage the process in a timely manner. Division staff overcame numerous challenges and corrected significant errors during their time in Roane County. To date, 12 Comptroller employees have worked nearly 2,400 hours to achieve confidence in the process. Division staff will remain available to assist in the appeal process. Comptroller staff will provide a more in depth presentation to the Roane County Commission during its scheduled meeting on August 10, 2015 at 7:00 p.m. The Division is reporting an overall decline in the assessment of Roane County property of 3.47%. The tax neutral rate for Roane County is still being calculated, however the tax neutral rate for the City of Oak Ridge has been calculated to be $2.52. “The people of Roane County deserve a fair and accurate reappraisal,” Comptroller Chief of Staff Jason Mumpower said. “I am encouraged by our progress to date, and we will remain engaged throughout the appeal process. Finally, we will continue to ensure the Roane County assessor’s office is equipped to manage the process going forward.”

Charity golf tourney August 6th

You are invited to take part in “Golf FORE Dreams & Miracles,” a golf tournament at the Woodlake Lodge Golf & Country Club in Tazewell to benefit the Dream Connection and East Tennessee Children's Hospital. The tournament will be held on Thursday August 6th with lunch and registration from 11:30 am to 12:45 pm, a shotgun start at 1 pm and a dinner and live auction at 5:30 pm. The cost to participate is $500 per foursome, which includes 18 holes with a cart, lunch and dinner. The club is located at 330 Woodlake Blvd., Tazewell, TN 37879. For more information or to register, call 423-626-6010.

AC Fair Day #3

The Anderson County fair continues into its third day on Wednesday. Gates opened at 11:30 am for the always-popular Senior Citizens' Day activities and when the gates open on the Fair proper at 5 pm, it will not only be “Kubota of Knoxville Night” but it is also “Powell-Clinch Kids' Free Night,” meaning that all kids ages 15 and under get in free. Once you go through the gates, you will be able to ride rides on the midway all night long with a $20 armband and visit the folks from the Little Ponderosa Petting Zoo. At 7 pm, the truck pulls postponed from Tuesday due to the heavy rainfall will take place, the Tractor Parade of Power will roll off and the Dixie Rose Band will take the stage. A corn-hole tournament will be contested in the Underwood-McRae Pavilion at 7:30, with registration from 6 to 7 pm. General admission is $5 and again it is “Powell-Clinch Kids Free Night,” meaning all kids ages 15 and under get in free. For more information, visit www.andersoncountyfairtn.com.

*Kubota of Knoxville Night*

Powell-Clinch Kids Free Night (admission free for 15 & under)

11:30am Gates Open/Entertainment
12:00pm – 3:00pm 4H Demonstration: Biscuit Making
12:30pm Senior Citizen Day
12:30pm Free Ice Cream provided by Fox and Farley Law office
12:30pm – 9:00pm Clinton Antique Car Club
5:00pm Gates Open
5:00pm – Close Little Ponderosa Petting Zoo
6:00pm James Gang Amusement (POP)
6:00pm – 8:00pm 4-H Demonstrations
7:00pm  Dixie Rose Band
7:00pm Tractor Parade of Power (Ball field)

Truck pulls (postponed from Tuesday night by rain)

7:30pm Corn Hole Tournament (6:00-7:00pm Registration) Underwood-McRae Pavillion (Rules)
7:00pm – 9:00pm CASH GIVEAWAY

Morgan oil tank catches fire after lightning strike

A fire likely sparked by lightning Tuesday afternoon burned an oil storage tank in the Deer Lodge community of Morgan County. Firefighters from four departments responded to the scene and were able to use foam to extinguish the blaze by around 5:45 pm. Officials believe that a lightning strike on a tank battery sparked the fire on Perkins Lane in the Glades area and say that the fire occurred in a tank used to store oil after it is pumped out of the ground. The fire was contained to just one well, no injuries were reported and no homes were threatened due to the remote location of the wells.

THP: Jacksboro woman killed in wreck

A Jacksboro woman was killed in a single-vehicle accident Tuesday evening in Campbell County. The Tennessee Highway Patrol reports that at around 7:39 pm Tuesday, 76-year-old Margaret Daugherty had been headed w1est on Gail Lane when her vehicle failed to stop at a stop sign. The car crossed Mount Paran Loop Road, went into a grass yard on the other side and traveled another 238 feet before striking a tree. Daugherty, who was alone in the vehicle, died despite wearing her seatbelt.

ORFD losing Deputy Chief to Montana

Oak Ridge Fire Department Deputy Chief Josh Waldo has accepted a new job as the Chief of the Bozeman, Montana Fire Department. Waldo has served as Deputy Chief in Oak Ridge since March of 2014 and oversees fire prevention efforts as well as training, daily operations and new building inspections. Waldo has also served as a firefighter at the East Tennessee Technology Park and was Chief of the Marlow Volunteer Fire Department from 2009 to 2014. Bozeman has a population of roughly 40,000 people, somewhat larger than Oak Ridge, but its fire department is smaller, according to our partners at Oak Ridge Today. The Bozeman FD has three fire stations and around 50 employees while Oak Ridge boasts four fire stations and 70 personnel. His first day in his new position will be August 24th. For more on Josh Waldo's career and accomplishments, visit our partners at www.oakridgetoday.com.

CFD truck damaged by manhole cover

Tuesday's strong thunderstorms caused only a few problems inside Clinton, the biggest of which is a water main break that contributed to damaging a city fire truck. Because of the water main break, likely caused in part by the runoff from Tuesday's heavy rainfall, a manhole cover came up under the railroad trestle on Main Street and ruptured the fuel tank of a Clinton fire truck on its way to a call. The truck was able to make it back to the downtown fire hall, from where it was towed for repairs. No injuries were reported on the truck. CUB responded to the water main break and the utility's insurance is expected to pay for the damage to the fire truck. The only other damage inside the city was a downed tree on North Main Street that crews had cleared before 5 am. Several trees were reported down in the county but they were also cleared overnight.

AC credit rating improves

The Anderson County Mayor's Office says that Moody's Investors Service has affirmed the county's Aa2 General Obligation rating and upgraded the county's overall credit rating by removing the “negative outlook” designation that was tacked on to the county's status a few years ago. Moody's assigned Anderson County an Aa2 “negative outlook” rating during the 2010-11 fiscal year but in its rating report issued last week, the agency says that improved financial performance that led to growth in liquidity and reserve funds led them to upgrade the county's overall rating. According to the mayor's release, Moody’s also noted that “the county’s financial position has stabilized since fiscal 2012, after recording three consecutive General Fund deficits.  With a $1.7 million surplus in fiscal 2014, the county posted its third consecutive General Fund surplus...and...the county maintains a robust formal fund balance policy.” In fiscal year 2013, the county changed its policies to require a supermajority of the County Commission to spend money from the unassigned fund balance that would take it below $3.5 million.  That threshold was increased in fiscal year 2014 to $4 million and the proposed budget for the 2015-16 fiscal year includes an increase to $4.5 million. “We are beyond thrilled to have the negative outlook removed,” Anderson County Mayor Terry Frank said in the news release.  Budget Director Chris Phillips added: “I think this rating upgrade is the culmination of staying the course with fiscally prudent leadership lighting the way...It’s all the little, but extremely important, things we as a county do every day to show that we are being good stewards of the taxpayers’ hard-earned money. Those things include doing more with less, keeping a watchful eye on cash flow, protecting fund balances and avoiding the issuance of costly tax anticipation notes. These things aren’t accomplished without tough decisions, sacrifice, and the ability to bring everyone together for a common purpose.” You can read the mayor's release on our website at www.wyshradio.com.

(AC Mayor's news release) Moody’s Investors Service announced from New York that they have affirmed the Aa2 General Obligation (GO) rating of Anderson County and have upgraded Anderson County’s rating by removing the “negative outlook.” During bond issuance for rural elementary and rural high school bonds, as well as tax anticipation notes, Moody’s assigned Anderson County an Aa2 “negative outlook” rating in the 2010/2011 budget year. Highlights from Moody’s rating report of July 9, 2015, note the company lifted the negative outlook and note that “improved financial performance” led to “reserve and liquidity growth.” 

Moody’s also notes that “the county’s financial position has stabilized since fiscal 2012, after recording three consecutive General Fund deficits.  With a $1.7 million surplus in fiscal 2014, the county posted its third consecutive General Fund surplus…” and “…the county maintains a robust formal fund balance policy.  In fiscal 2013, the county’s policy required a super majority (approval from 12 of 16 County Commission members) to spend unassigned fund balance below $3.5 million.  The threshold was increased in fiscal 2014 to $4 million and the fiscal 2016 [proposed] budget includes an increase to $4.5 million.” 

We are beyond thrilled to have the negative outlook removed,” Anderson County Mayor Terry Frank said in a news release.  “We have worked hard as a county to move in the right direction, and this rating action is evidence that hard work pays off.  We still have challenges and much work left to do, but we’re headed in the right direction,” Mayor Frank said.

I think this rating upgrade is the culmination of staying the course with fiscally prudent leadership lighting the way,” Director of Accounts and Budgets Christopher K. Phillips said. “It’s all the little, but extremely important, things we as a county do every day to show that we are being good stewards of the taxpayers’ hard-earned money. Those things include doing more with less, keeping a watchful eye on cash flow, protecting fund balances and avoiding the issuance of costly tax anticipation notes. These things aren’t accomplished without tough decisions, sacrifice, and the ability to bring everyone together for a common purpose. We are very pleased with the rating upgrade but will never stop working toward achieving the highest rating possible for our county,” said Phillips. 

Moody’s notes that Anderson County’s ratings could go up with a trend of significant growth in the county’s tax base and a significant improvement in the county’s socioeconomic indicators.  They note the ratings could go down if the county returns to operational imbalance leading to reduced reserves or liquidity or an erosion of the county’s tax base. We know ratings might not mean much in our day-to-day life, but a ratings review from Moody’s is a solid, reliable indicator to businesses, industry and families just exactly how your local government finances are being managed.  We are so proud of the progress we’ve made,” said Mayor Frank.

AC Mayor to hold budget discussions for community

(AC Mayor's Office) Anderson County Mayor Terry Frank will be hosting two special budget discussions to give the public a chance to hear and see a financial snapshot of Anderson County's health and also provide the public an opportunity to ask questions. Both an evening and a day meeting are scheduled.  The evening meeting is scheduled for Thursday, July 16, 2015 at 6:30-7:30 pm in the Club Room at the Oak Ridge Civic Center.  The day meeting is scheduled for Friday, July 17, 2015 from 12:00-1:00 pm at the Clinton Community Center.  The public is invited to attend.
"Often times it can be confusing for citizens when they watch the budget process during full commission, or when they read about it in media reports as they don't have an opportunity to see or hear a lot of the work that goes on in the lead up to final presentation at commission.  I wanted to offer the public an opportunity to hear about the process, where we stand now, some of the challenges we face, and some of the goals for the future," said Mayor Frank. "The overall financial health of Anderson County has improved, and that takes a partnership between my office, the accounting office, departments and elected officials, and county commission.  Together, we've made great strides tackling issues one at a time, but right now, the biggest issue facing us is funding of the school department in the face of declining enrollment," continued Mayor Frank.
"During the business of our regular commission meetings, we really don't have the time to discuss the overall picture or engage in lengthy question and answer, as we are tasked with conducting the business side of our meetings.  Hopefully these two opportunities will allow for a little more engagement that we're restricted from doing in the regular course of government.  I also hope to answer some of the basic questions that every citizen might ask, including questions on the reappraisal process," said Mayor Frank.

Norris Bulletin provides detour ideas over I-75

With traffic over I-75 on Highway 61 down to one lane in either direction for bridge repair work, drivers can expect delays now through October 31st but our friends at the Norris Bulletin have a couple of alternate routes you may want to consider. In today's edition, the Bulletin says westbound drivers can get to the other side of the interstate pretty quickly by taking the back route via Alley Road off the Norris Freeway and then following Hillvale Road all the way to back to Highway 61, adjacent to Harrison’s, Waffle House and WalMart. The Bulletin says that detour will work for westbound traffic trying to get to I-75 South or to Clinton but eastbound traffic probably will not get much benefit from that route due to expected backups. For eastbound drivers, the Bulletin suggests turning left onto Miller Road just before Ray Varner Ford and following that route until reaching Hillvale, where you would then turn left and proceed to Alley Road back into Norris. Another option, especially for those living in Andersonville or south on Norris Freeway is to take Mountain Road east across the interstate. To reach Mountain Road from Clinton, take Sinking Springs Road (can either turn right after crossing the Clinch River Bridge just past the soccer fields and Hammer’s or continue on to Bland Road) until reaching Irwin Mill Road. There turn right and proceed to Mountain Road. Turning left on either Bethel Road, Cross Pike or Norris Freeway will return you to Highway 61.

FMCOR benefit to feature music, dancing

The Hit Men, a Knoxville rock and pop dance band, will provide music for dancing during the FMC Bash on Saturday, August 8. It’s the annual fundraiser for the Free Medical Clinic of Oak Ridge.  The fundraiser will be held from 5 to 10 p.m. August 8 in the Parish Life Center of St. Mary’s Church at 327 Vermont Avenue. It will include a catered dinner, Celebrity Dance Contest, and live auction conducted by the entertaining Bear Stephenson.  Couples who have entered in the Celebrity Dance Contest are Sharon and Brian Annis, Naomi Asher and Jim Dodson, Tom Beehan and Kay Brookshire, David and Sandy Bradshaw, Gene Caldwell and Dottie Thompson, Keys Fillauer and Scott Hinton, Judy Gooch and Michael Shrader, Austin Keathley and a secret partner, and Nancy Stanley and Gary Riser.  Other highlights of the event will be a silent auction, the “FMC Bash Signature Drink,” and wine and beer for purchase. Dress is casual. You are encouraged to wear a new FMC Bash T-shirt, which you can buy at the FMCOR office. To learn more about the dance partners, the items available at the auction and the T-shirts, please visit www.fmcor.org (click on the FMC Bash tab and select “Our Dance Couples,” “Auction Items,” and “T-shirts”).  Tickets cost $60 and can be purchased online at FMCOR website. Or you can buy a ticket at the FMCOR office at 116 East Division Road (behind Zaxby’s restaurant) in Oak Ridge.  The third option is to make a check payable to the Free Medical Clinic of Oak Ridge, with “FMC Bash tickets” on the notation line. Then mail the check to the address above, adding Oak Ridge, TN 37830.  The Free Medical Clinic provides medical services to residents of Anderson, Roane, and Morgan counties who lack health insurance and cannot afford medical care.

AC Fair Night #2

The Anderson County Fair continues Tuesday with gates opening for “Peoples Bank of the South Night” at 5 pm. General admission is $5 and kids ages six and under get in free. A week-long pass is $20, as are armbands that will allow you to ride the rides on the midway presented by James Gang Amusements. For a complete schedule, visit www.andersoncountyfairtn.com.

*Peoples Bank of the South Night*

5:00pm

Gates Open

5:00pm – Close

Little Ponderosa Petting Zoo

6:00pm

James Gang Amusement (POP)

6:00pm – 9:00pm

Holley Gamble Kid’s Fun Night

6:00pm – 9:00pm

Living Heritage Demo: Quilting

7:00pm

Dash For Cash, Main Event
2WD Stock Truck Pull, 4WD Stock Truck Pull, & Outlaw Truck Pull

7:00pm

Tractor Parade of Power (Ballfield)

7:30pm

Tennessee Mountain Wrestling

7:00pm – 9:00pm

CASH GIVEAWAY

TWRA: Campbell man injured in boating accident

A Lafollette man remains hospitalized following a boating accident that happened on Norris Lake late Thursday night. Just before midnight,according to the TWRA, 52-year-old Jimmy Arnold was operating an open bow 24-foot Chaparral boat when the accident occurred just downstream of Shanghai Marina. According to witnesses on a nearby houseboat, Arnold, who was alone on the boat, was headed toward their location at Heatherly’s Point when the vessel ran aground, sending it about 69 feet onto the point. Witnesses on the houseboat dialed 911. Members of Campbell County EMS responded to the accident scene and brought Arnold to a rendezvous point where crews from Lifestar, airlifted him to UT Medical Center in Knoxville. The accident remains under investigation by the TWRA.

EPA says Anderson, Knox, Blount in compliance with air quality regs

The Environmental Protection Agency announced Monday that it has approved Tennessee’s request to declare Knox, Blount and Anderson counties to be in compliance with federal standards for ground-level ozone, the main component of smog. The designation is based upon air-quality monitoring data from 2011, 2012 and 2013. Under EPA rules, an area must be in compliance with air standards for three years before it can get rid of its non-attainment status. The designation should make it easier to recruit new businesses and industries to the region. In a release you can read in its entirety on our website, EPA Regional Administrator Heather McTeer Toney said: “We commend the Knoxville area for the effort it has taken toward improving air quality and reaching this accomplishment. This progress represents a commitment to hard work by the local, state and federal agencies, private partners and the many citizens who live and work in the Knoxville area.” U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Maryville, said the EPA’s decision “means more good jobs and healthier air for East Tennesseans.” The region has struggled to maintain its air quality in large part due to the topography of the area, as the Tennessee Valley is sandwiched between the Cumberlands and the Smokies, causing pollution to get trapped in what some experts described as a “bowl.” In many cases, the pollution is not even generated locally, but comes in from other areas, particularly the southwest.

(EPA release, July 13th) Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced that it is taking final action to approve the state of Tennessee’s request to redesignate the Knoxville area to attainment for the 2008 8-hour ozone standard. This action is based on air quality monitoring data for the three-year period of 2011, 2012, and 2013 that meets the standard. The area continues to attain this standard. On July 13, 2015, EPA took final action on the Knoxville Area.
“We commend the Knoxville area for the effort it has undertaken towards improving air quality and reaching this accomplishment,” said EPA Regional Administrator Heather McTeer Toney. “This progress represents a commitment to hard work by the local, state and federal agencies, private partners and the many citizens of Tennessee who live and work in the Knoxville area.”  For over 20 years, the Knoxville Metropolitan Statistical Area (KMSA) has worked collaboratively with EPA and other stakeholders to develop strategies for achieving attainment standards for ozone. The areas of Knox, Blount and a portion of Anderson counties have reached a significant milestone by attaining the 2008 8-Hour Ozone Standard in the midst of significant population growth. 
This is something that I and my staff, along with Sen. Lamar Alexander and other state and local officials have worked on for several years, and I’m happy to see our area reach attainment of EPA air quality standards,” said Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett. “Being in attainment will not only have a positive impact on the environment and public health, it also will encourage economic development by sending a signal to businesses that Knox County and East Tennessee are open for business.”  Ground level or "bad" ozone is not emitted directly into the air, but is created by chemical reactions between oxides of nitrogen (NOx) and volatile organic compounds (VOC) in the presence of sunlight. Emissions from industrial facilities and electric utilities, motor vehicle exhaust, gasoline vapors, and chemical solvents are some of the major sources of NOx and VOC. Breathing ozone can trigger a variety of health problems including chest pain, coughing, throat irritation, and congestion. It can worsen bronchitis, emphysema, and asthma. Ground level ozone also can reduce lung function and inflame the linings of the lungs. Repeated exposure may permanently scar lung tissue.  For more information on the Knoxville area final 2008 8-hour ozone redesignation, visit docket number EPA-R04-OAR-2014-0870 at www.regulations.gov.

ORT: Three escape OR fire

(Oak Ridge Today) Three people escaped without injury from a fire in a quadplex on Waddell Circle early Monday morning. The fire was reported at 151 Waddell Circle at about 2:35 a.m. Monday.  Firefighters appeared to have most of the flames extinguished relatively quickly, before 3 a.m., although smoke continued to billow out both ends of the white, two-story building. The Red Cross was on its way to help the three residents, who escaped from two units at the quadplex. Power was disconnected at the quadplex after the fire. The fire was reported to be the worst on the back side of the building. Oak Ridge Fire Department Chief Darryl Kerley said the whole back side of the quadplex was burned. Firefighters used a three-inch water line to fight the fire there. Kerley said the fire was reported to have started in the living room at 151 Waddell Circle, although firefighters haven’t confirmed that yet. They also haven’t determined a cause. Two of the units are reportedly unoccupied. Besides the ORFD, the Oak Ridge Police Department responded to the Monday morning fire, and so did Anderson County Emergency Medical Services. Emergency workers remained on the scene until at least 4 a.m. Monday.

Roane Commission passes 30-cent tax increase

Monday, the Roane County Commission approved a 30-cent property tax rate increase in an 8-7 vote. 22 cents of that increase will be used to fund the school system, according to our partners at BBB-TV. Schools Director Gary Aytes said during Monday's meeting that the additional revenue will provide the system with enough money to operate without tapping into what he described as an already-depleted fund balance. The certified tax rate has not yet been set as the state has intervened in the five-year property reappraisal process but could be set by mid-September, so the exact tax rate is not yet known. That rate could be set by the state as early as next month. When complete, the reappraisal is expected to show that property values have declined in Roane County by between 3 and 5 percent, similar to the 4 percent decrease in Anderson County. The certified tax rate is the rate that will generate the same amount of revenue for local governments as the previous tax rate. With property values down, that means that the tax rate must go up, but state law prevents governments from bringing in more revenue from property taxes based upon the re-appraisal. The delay in setting Roane County's tax rate has also caused significant problems in Oak Ridge, where tax bills are not expected to be sent out until sometime in September, about three months later than usual. Part of Oak Ridge is in Roane County and city leaders say that the delay will likely force them to use reserve funds to operate until tax payments start coming in near the end of October. The Anderson County budget process is also continuing as officials here await the certified tax rate following what have been described as large assessment appeals, primarily from businesses. The budget will be the subject of a public meeting hosted by County Mayor Terry Frank Thursday night from 6:30 to 7:30 at the Oak Ridge Civic Center and Friday from noon to 1 pm at the Clinton Community Center, during which the mayor says she will answer questions about the budget, the budgeting process and the reassessment process. The County Commission is expected to consider the budget, including a request from the school system for additional money to pay primarily for employee raises that would require the equivalent of a 22-cent tax rate increase. Mayor Frank and County Commission Chairman Robert McKamey will join us on “Ask Your Neighbor” Monday morning at 10 am to preview that night's meeting and take your questions on the air.

ORNL awarded $5 million for small businesses

Oak Ridge National Laboratory has received more than $5 million in federal funds to help small businesses specializing in clean energy get their products to market. The lab received $5.6 million as part of the U.S. Department of Energy's Small Business Vouchers Pilot program. ORNL will help small businesses that are developing clean-energy technologies in advanced manufacturing, buildings, vehicles, wind, water, bioenergy, fuel cells, geothermal and solar. The funding will be used to provide vouchers of $50,000 to $300,000 per small business to initiate collaborative research projects or get technical assistance. Resources that labs can provide include unique materials, prototyping, technology testing and validation, engineering designs and scale-up of samples. The chosen businesses must provide 20 percent of their projects' costs. Three cycles of competitions will be offered to small businesses through 2016, and DOE estimates more than 100 businesses will receive funds. The first round of competition will open later this year. Other labs participating in the pilot are National Renewable Energy Laboratory ($4.9 million), Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory ($4.2 million), Sandia National Laboratories ($2.8 million), and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory ($2.7 million). The complete release follows this story on our website.

(DOE release July 13th) Small businesses make a big impact on America’s economy, adding more than one million employees last year. They are central to developing the new clean energy technologies that are needed to cut carbon pollution and improve the environment. However, small business entrepreneurs often lack the resources necessary to move their innovative ideas from their laboratory bench to the marketplace.  Today, during the Clean Energy Manufacturing Initiative’s Southeast Regional Summit in Atlanta, Georgia, the Energy Department announced the national laboratories who will be taking the lead in implementing a new Small Business Vouchers Pilot, a public-private partnership that will connect clean energy innovators across the country with the top-notch scientists, engineers, and world-class facilities at our national laboratories. This effort, which is part of my office’s larger Lab Impact Initiative, will help small businesses bring next-generation clean energy technologies to the market faster by unleashing the vast science and engineering capabilities of the Energy Department’s national laboratories to solve small businesses’ most pressing challenges. Today, we are announcing the competitive selection of five Energy Department National Laboratories to lead the $20 million pilot, including Oak Ridge National Laboratory ($5.6 million), National Renewable Energy Laboratory ($4.9 million), Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory ($4.2 million), Sandia National Laboratories ($2.8 million), and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory ($2.7 million). With this federal funding, in total, these labs will be providing vouchers, starting later this summer, to more than 100 small businesses, so they can access considerable lab expertise and tools that can help them test, validate, and introduce new products, expand their businesses, and grow the clean energy sector. The labs chosen will focus on assisting small businesses developing specific clean energy technologies in the following areas: advanced manufacturing, buildings, vehicles, wind, water, bioenergy, fuel cells, geothermal and solar. In addition to providing vouchers to small businesses, lead labs will also be responsible for outreach, merit review coordination and match making between businesses and experts throughout the National Laboratory network. Other labs can also fulfill vouchers with small businesses.  The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy will be encouraging the lead labs to expand their core competencies and cast a wide net into the small business community. Here’s how the pilot will work:  

  • Later this summer, the Energy Department will launch the Small Business Central Assistance Platform, a web-based tool that will be used to exchange information between the labs and small businesses.

  • This Platform will be used to market the labs’ core capabilities in the topic areas of interest and will be used to accept applications from small businesses who want to participate in the program.

  • Individual vouchers will range from $50,000 to $300,000 per clean energy small business and can be used to initiate collaborative research projects or to access technical assistance with labs.

  • Three cycles of competitions will be offered to interested small businesses in the 2015 and 2016.

  • Small business leaders interested in pursuing a voucher may reach participating labs through our Lab Impact Initiative: EERELabImpact@ee.doe.gov.

America is competing to win the global clean energy race. National Laboratories, our science and engineering powerhouses, are pivotal national resources for small and large companies commercializing clean energy products and technologies. New forms of public-private partnerships, like the Small Business Vouchers Pilot, will help our nation cross the finish line first and lead on clean energy.

Clinton man killed in Saturday night wreck

Crews from the Clinton Police and Fire Departments and the Anderson County EMS responded to a Saturday night crash that claimed the life of a Clinton man. Witnesses told police that 66-year-old Johnny Sparks was driving his pick-up truck south on Clinch Ave, near Lee Road, at around 11:30 pm when he swerved into the northbound lane, barely missing an oncoming vehicle. The CPD's accident reconstruction team says the truck then ran into a concrete culvert. Sparks was ejected from the truck and pinned underneath the wreckage. There were no other passengers in Mr. Sparks' vehicle and early reports indicated that he had not been wearing a seatbelt. The exact cause of the crash remains under investigation. It is the first vehicular death inside the Clinton city limits since December 8th, 2013.

OR pharmacy robbed

An armed robbery was reported at Walgreens Pharmacy on Oak Ridge Turnpike at about 6:32 a.m. Friday. Several Oak Ridge Police officers, including a K9 unit, arrived on scene within minutes and immediately started searching for the suspect, who had fled the business on foot with a small amount of cash. The suspect was described as a white male in dark clothing and baseball cap who indicated he was armed. The suspect was not located, and the investigation is still ongoing at this time. Anyone with any information regarding this crime is encouraged to contact the Oak Ridge Police Department at (865) 425-4399 or (865) 425-3503.

AC Fair underway

The Anderson County Fair kicks off its six-night run Monday when the gates open at 5 pm on “Rusty Wallace Chevrolet Night.” General admission is $5 and kids ages six and under get in free. A weeklong pass is also available for $20. The price for an armband that will let you ride all the rides on the midway presented by James Gang Amusements is $20. For a complete look at the schedule of events for the Fair, visit www.andersoncountyfairtn.com.
 

5:00pm

Gates Open

5:00pm – 9:00pm

Extension Showcase (Underwood-McRae Pavilion)

5:00pm – Close

Little Ponderosa Petting Zoo

6:00pm

James Gang Amusement (Pay One Price for rides)

6:00pm – 9:00pm

Living Heritage Demonstration: Crocheting, Knitting, & Spinning

6:30pm

Volunteer Riding Association Barrel Racing

7:00pm

Tractor Parade of Power (Ballfield)

7:00pm

Handsome and the Humbles Band

7:00pm – 9:00pm

CASH GIVEAWAY

8:00pm

Open Poultry Show

8:00pm

Open Rabbit Show

Tiny Miss, Fairest of the Fair winners

Sunday, the Anderson County Fair celebrated its unofficial kick off with the Tiny Miss and Fairest of the Fair Pageants. Here are the winners from each of the numerous categories. In the 0-11 month category of Tiny Miss, the winner was Paislee Erica Lamb. In the Tiny Miss 1-2 year-old category, the winner was Caroline Blair Jones. In the 3-4 year-old Tiny Miss pageant, the winner was Marlee Marie Mile. In the 5-6 year-old category, the winner was Cailyn Leigh Taylor. In the 7-9 year-old category, the winner was Jazzmyn Zelia Harness. In the Fairest of the Fair Princess category, the winner was Kaylee Payne. The Junior Fairest of the Fair was Kaylee Maupin. The Senior Fairest of the Fair was Elizabeth Greer. Congratulations to all of the winners and all the runners-up. You can see a complete list of the top five in each category on our website.

2015 Winners: Tiny Miss 0-11 months Winner: Paislee Erica Lamb 1st runner up Emma Watson 2nd runner up Ariel Foust 3rd runner up November Simmons 4th Runner up Theia Siler

1-2 years winner: Caroline Blair Jones 1st runner up Emerson Jones 2nd runner up Addisyn Phillips 3rd runner up Aaliyah Booker 4th Runner up Brinleigh Gilliam

3-4 years. Winner: Marlee Marie Mile 1st runner up Hannah Brown 2nd runner up Atalee Martin 3rd runner up Eleanor Linthicum 4th Runner up Riley Alley

5-6 years. Winner: Cailyn Leigh Taylor 1st runner up Teagen Green 2nd runner up Braylen Alcorn 3rd runner up Taylor Mitchell 4th Runner up Genesis Simmons

7-9 years. Winner: Jazzmyn Zelia Harness 1st runner up Mya Phillips 2nd runner up Angela Kendall 3rd runner up Isabelle Smith 4th Runner up Kaleigh Carpenter

Princess. Winner: Kaylee Payne 1st runner up Taylor Goodman 2nd runner up Michaela Webber 3rd runner up Sophia Whitaker 4th Runner up Jayce Braden

Junior Winner: Kaylee Maupin 1st runner up Madyson Robinson 2nd runner up Shelby Rosenberger 3rd runner up Raegan Farley 4th Runner up Josie Crisp

Senior. Winner: Elizabeth Greer 1st runner up Allison Tadlock 2nd runner up Courtney Matthews 3rd runner up Morgan Phillips 4th Runner up Tessa Lollar

ORT: OR couple nabbed for suspected meth

(Oak Ridge Today) The remains of a suspected methamphetamine laboratory were found during a search of a home on West Wadsworth Circle on Wednesday, authorities said.  Items found in a trash can in the basement of the home included coffee filters, a Coleman brand camp fuel can, lithium batteries that had been cut open, and lithium strips that appeared to have been chemically reacted, Oak Ridge Police Department Officer John Thomas said in arrest warrants. He said other items included a sports drink bottle with a two-part liquid, a soda bottle with a white powdery substance and holes that appeared to have been burned through the bottle from a chemical reaction inside, and two empty boxes of Claritin-D medicine that originally each contained 2.4 grams of pseudoephedrine.  The two defendants, Arthur Wilson Jr., 50, and Julia Wilson, 49, are on probation for convictions for manufacturing methamphetamine in Morgan County, the warrants said. The two are under the supervision of the Tennessee Department of Correction, and one of the conditions of probation is that the home can be searched, Thomas said.  Thomas accompanied Tennessee Department of Correction Probation/Parole Officer Walter Cum on the home visit at 161 West Wadsworth Circle on Wednesday.  After he searched the basement, Thomas said he searched the living area of the home. He said he found a scale, clear plastic bags with corners cut off, coffee filters, aluminum, short sections of plastic straw, and aquarium tubing in a small bedroom of the house. That room was also equipped with two fire extinguishers, Thomas said.  Affiant (Thomas) believes the defendant has been using these items to manufacture methamphetamine, a Schedule II drug,” the officer said.  Also, Julia Wilson told Thomas that Arthur Wilson had been “cooking” meth in the small bedroom, according to the warrants, which were filed in Anderson County General Sessions Court in Oak Ridge.  Arthur Wilson and Julia Wilson were arrested Wednesday afternoon, and both have been charged in Anderson County with the manufacture of a Schedule II drug and possession of drug paraphernalia. They remained jailed at the Anderson County Detention Facility in Clinton on Friday evening.

FMCOR Golf Tourney August 15th

The 16th Annual Summer Golf Challenge for the Free Medical Clinic will be held on Saturday, August 15, 2015, at the Oak Ridge Country Club.  The tournament is hosted by Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority of Oak Ridge, Oak Ridge Hoofers Golf Club, and the Oak Ridge Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity and it will be a 1:30 pm shotgun start.  The Free Medical Clinic is a non-profit medical group that provides medical care at no cost to residents of Anderson, Roane, and Morgan Counties who do not have insurance or cannot afford care because of low income. The clinic is staffed primarily by volunteers and relies on donations from individuals, churches, and local organizations for financial support.  Although the number of patients seeking care has increased significantly in recent months and donations have not kept pace, the clinic continues to serve as many as possible with the resources at hand.  A portion of the proceeds from the tournament will fund scholarships for local high school seniors who pursue college or technical degrees.  More than 95 area students have benefited from these scholarships from past tournaments.  The tournament format is a four-person scramble open to all skill levels.  Registration is $90 per individual, or $360 per team, which includes greens fee, cart fee, and dinner.  After August 7th the registration fee is $100 per individual and $400 per team.  The field is limited to 96 players and is first-come, first served.   To register for this fun event, contact the tournament coordinators by e-mail at xiiotaomega@att.net  or via phone: Edwena Crowe at (865) 482-1521, Sylvester Cook at (865)482-6473, or Eric Washington at (865)384-2715.  You may also register via the internet at https://sites.google.com/site/summergolfchallenge. Registration fees are payable via PayPal from the internet site.  Registration fees may also be mailed to:  Summer Golf Challenge, c/o Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Post Office Box 5064, Oak Ridge, Tennessee 37831-5064.  Checks should be made payable to Summer Golf Challenge.

CASA has new executive director

Edward “Eddie” Harrison has been named executive director of CASA of the Tennessee Heartland, a nonprofit organization that recruits, trains, and empowers volunteers to advocate on behalf of abused and neglected children in Anderson, Scott, and Blount counties.  Harrison has dedicated his life to the empowerment and mentorship of young men and women living in disadvantaged communities and homes, and has been an advocate for East Tennessee youth for 12 years, a press release said.  Eddie brings deep experience working as an advocate for disadvantaged kids and nonprofit management to CASA,” Board President John Willis said.  Prior to his work with CASA, Harrison served as the house manager for Columbus Home and earlier as the executive director of Montgomery Village Ministry.  Harrison is a UT grad and played football under Coach Phillip Fulmer.  CASA finds good people willing to be trained as volunteers to advocate for neglected children whose cases are being worked in the court system,” Harrison said. “It is a mission that matters, and one that gets the whole team going every single morning.”  Harrison started on July 6, replacing Naomi Asher, who recently became executive director of the United Way of Anderson County.  For additional information about CASA or to book Edward to speak at an upcoming event, contact the CASA office by phone at (865) 425-0888 or by email at Edward@casatnh.org.

ORT: 2 arrested in OR robbery

(Oak Ridge Today) Two suspects in an armed robbery at a check cashing store in Oak Ridge in June were arrested in the Atlanta area on Wednesday, authorities said. The suspects have been identified as 21-year-old Kianna D. Hill of East Point, Georgia and 22-year-old Arvenzio Clyde Miles of Riverdale, Georgia. The robbery at Check Into Cash at 361 South Illinois Avenue was reported at about 3:15 p.m. Friday, June 26. The store was allegedly robbed by two suspects armed with handguns. Several Oak Ridge Police officers and detectives arrived on scene within minutes of being dispatched, and they immediately started searching for two suspects to no avail. On Wednesday, July 1, ORPD detectives traveled to the Atlanta, Georgia, metro area to follow up on information received regarding an investigative lead that positively identified one of the suspects and tentatively identified the second. Further investigative coordination between ORPD detectives and the East Point, Georgia, Police Department led to positive identification of and locations for both suspects, the release said. On Wednesday, July 8, ORPD detectives traveled to East Point, where EPPD officers and detectives arrested both suspects, identified as Hill and Miles. Both suspects are charged with three counts each of aggravated robbery and one count of especially aggravated kidnapping in Anderson County, Tennessee. Both suspects are currently being held in Georgia and are awaiting extradition back to Tennessee.

AC FFA state champions

The Anderson County Future Farmers of America (FFA) Chapter took home first place honors in the Tennessee FFA State Environmental and Natural Resources competition last month. The competition was held at Camp Clements in Doyle. Fourteen FFA chapters from each of Tennessee’s three regions participated. Anderson County FFA of the Anderson County Career and Tech Center was represented by team members: Kaylee Brown, Trevor Jordan, Ivy Massey, and Jacob Wheeler. The chapter’s advisor is Phillip Warfield. Anderson County will represent Tennessee at the National FFA Convention in October and compete against other state winning teams for the national title. The purpose of this competition is to acquaint students with the different types of natural resources that are found throughout the state and to foster skill development in each student’s chosen area of study. Environmental and Natural Resources competitors analyzed property for five environmental factors. Those factors were: living organisms, non-living components, food webs, ecological succession, and situation analysis. The winner of the Western Region was the Covington FFA Chapter and the Middle Region was won by the Cookeville FFA Chapter, which also placed second overall. To learn more about FFA visit www.tnffa.org.

Appeals court overturns Houston conviction

A federal appeals court has overturned Leon Houston’s conviction for making threats against his former attorney over the phone. Houston was sentenced in 2014 to five years in federal prison after the conviction. He was recorded in a jailhouse phone conversation with his girlfriend making threats against the life of former attorney Jim Logan. The appeals court’s decision was based on a recent Supreme Court ruling that a Pennsylvania man’s violent comments on Facebook did not constitute a legitimate threat. The judge ordered Houston’s case go back to court for further proceedings. According to court papers, Houston was upset that Logan had attempted to acquire part of Houston's land as compensation for working as his lawyer. He argued that the comments did not constitute a legitimate threat. His attorney plans to ask that he be released on bond until a new trial date is set. Houston and his brother Rocky were charged and tried, but never convicted of first degree murder of a deputy and former police officer in 2006. Rocky Houston is serving a nine-year federal prison sentence on weapons charges.

2nd person dies from injuries in Roane wreck

A second person has died from injuries suffered in a Roane County accident that state troopers say alcohol played a role in. 67-year-old Ronald Miller of Philadelphia, Tennessee died Thursday at UT Medical Center, one week after his pickup was struck by an allegedly drunk driver as Miller pulled into his driveway. The Tennessee Highway Patrol charged 41-year-old Steven Moore, also of Philadelphia, with one count of vehicular homicide and two counts of vehicular assault after the crash, which also killed Moore's passenger, 53-year-old Richard Skipworth of Etowah. The crash also injured Miller's wife Violet. At the time, the THP reported that Moore's speeding pickup crossed the center line and smashed into the driver's side of Miller's vehicle while attempting to round a curve. Both Moore and Skipworth, neither of whom were wearing seatbelts, were ejected from the vehicle. Moore remains in custody at the Roane County Jail on bonds totaling $100,000 on the original charges, but with Mr. Miller's passing on Thursday, those charges and his bond are expected to be amended.

PHWFF benefits from new beer

In its first three years, Knoxville’s Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing (PHWFF) program for injured and disabled military veterans has garnered many honors—and now, it has garnered its very own beer.  No Easy Day IPA, a new India Pale Ale that will be produced by Saw Works Brewing Co., benefits Knoxville’s PHWFF program. The can and carton for the new brew feature a painting of Josh Callihan, one of the first two members of Knoxville PHWFF—and the painting was created by the other participant, Josh’s wife Jessica. The Callihans were instrumental in selecting the style of beer to be produced.  Adam Palmer, founder and president of Saw Works Brewing, officially announced the No Easy Day IPA program on Thursday, July 9, at a meeting of the East Tennessee Military Affairs Council.  First release of No Easy Day IPA will be Saturday, Aug. 15, at BAND SAW 2015, a block party and five-year anniversary celebration for Saw Works Brewing, with live music from 2 to 10 p.m. The event, exclusively for those 21 and older, features musical acts including Jay Clark, Kelsey’s Woods, Sunshine Station, Hudson K and The Lower Caves. For details and tickets, visit http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/1587078.  Part of the proceeds from sale of No Easy Day IPA will go to PHWFF, a national nonprofit dedicated to the emotional and physical rehabilitation of wounded and disabled veterans and active military members through fly fishing (for more information, visit http://www.projecthealingwaters.org).  Saw Works Brewing, located in the old Wallace Saw Works building at 708 E. Depot Ave. in Knoxville’s Warehouse District, is the city’s oldest microbrewery and produces a variety of exceptional craft beers. More information about Saw Works—including the many locations where its products are sold—is available at http://sawworksbrewing.com/.  The Knoxville Program of PHWFF was founded in 2012 by Steve Thompson of Maynardville in cooperation with the Clinch River Chapter of Trout Unlimited. Since then, honors have piled up for the program, nationally and within the Tennessee Valley Region (Alabama, Kentucky and Tennessee). These include:

   * Tennessee Valley Participant of the Year in 2013, Josh Callihan of Maryville, and in 2015, Dan Moneymaker of Knoxville.

   * Tennessee Valley Volunteer of the Year in 2013, Buzz Buffington of Clinton, and in 2015, Wayne Nobles of Oak Ridge.

   * Winner of the 2013 Mossy Creek Invitational Fly Fishing Tournament in Bridgewater, Va., Jessica Callihan of Maryville.

   * Phil Johnson Leadership Award, a national honor bestowed on Steve Thompson in 2015 by the PHWFF board of directors—only the third time this award has ever been presented.

   Knoxville PHWFF holds regular fishing outings, fly tying classes and fly rod building classes. Among recent outings have been two hosted by the renowned Blackberry Farm luxury resort and two that included visiting veterans from the Wounded Warrior Project.  In 2014, Knoxville PHWFF inaugurated the Smoky Mountain Grand Slam Challenge, a banquet and fishing tournament benefiting the national PHWFF program. This year’s Slam is set for Oct. 16-17.   All military veterans are welcome at PHWFF meetings, the second Tuesday of each month from 4 to 5:30 p.m. at Gander Mountain in Turkey Creek; the next meeting will be July 14. No prior experience or money is required to participate.

CHS season tickets package sale dates

Here are the remaining dates for sales of Clinton High School football season ticket packages.

  • Xtreme Auto July 18th 10-2

  • Subway July 25th 10-2

  • Dragon Day at CHS August 3rd

For a complete list of what is in each $60 season ticket package, visit our website.

State: 4th of July could go down as safest on record on TN roadways

(TDSHS/staff reports) The Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security has announced preliminary figures that indicated five people were killed in traffic crashes during this year’s Fourth of July holiday period. That’s a decrease from the 12 vehicular deaths during the 2014 Fourth of July period. There were three vehicle occupants, one motorcyclist and one pedestrian killed during this year’s 72-hour holiday period. One of the traffic fatalities was alcohol-related and one was not wearing a seat belt. If this year’s preliminary figures stand, the five vehicular fatalities would rank as one of the lowest number of traffic deaths during the Fourth of July holiday period on record. In 2011, eight people died in traffic crashes in Tennessee during a 96-hour Fourth of July period. The highest number of vehicular fatalities occurred during the July 4th holiday period in 1996, when 27 people were killed in traffic crashes. Tennessee State Troopers arrested 59 individuals on suspicion of DUI and issued 1,350 seat belt citations during the Fourth of July holiday period. It should be noted that these figures do not include the death of 37-year-old James Robinson, who was killed in the parking lot of the Midtown Community Center following the Oak Ridge 4th of July fireworks show as he pushed his daughter out of the path of a pickup truck that sharply accelerated in reverse. That accident remains under investigation but indications are that it was a tragic accident. A Gofundme page set up to accept donations to offset the family's funeral expenses surpassed its goal of $7500 on Wednesday.

ASAP: Local teens join others at Tennessee Teen Institute

(ASAP news release) ASAP of Anderson County Youth Coalition members from Clinton, Anderson County and Oak Ridge High Schools joined over 400 youth leaders from across the state at the Tennessee Teen Institute. The Tennessee Teen Institute is a five-day youth leadership and prevention camp sponsored by the Jackson Area Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependency (JACOA). This year marked the 29th year of the Teen Institute Program in Tennessee. The program addresses teen issues such as bullying, violence, suicide, teen pregnancy, distracted driving, teen health and substance abuse prevention through a five-day, peer-led prevention camp designed to provide teen participants with the skills and education necessary to develop and implement alcohol and drug abuse prevention programs in their own communities. This is a comprehensive program that trains, mobilizes and empowers youth to prevent the illegal use of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs and self-destructive behaviors in themselves and their peers. TTI prepares students to not only make positive changes, but to be proud advocates of those changes. Students will have the opportunity to grow and learn as individuals, while enhancing their leadership abilities. Because TTI is peer-led, teens are given a unique opportunity to have a “voice” in addressing issues important to them. Giving youth some ownership in this type of program is one of the key factors in the success of enforcing a substance free lifestyle. Held on the Tennessee Tech University Campus, June 21-26th, TTI 2015 hosted approximately 400 teen leaders, adult advisors, and TTI staff. These participants leave motivated not only to make healthy decisions in their own lives, but also committed to work so that others are making healthy decisions as well.

OR Community Band announces August concert

On Sunday, August 2nd, the Oak Ridge Community Band will present its August Concert at 7:00 pm at A.K. Bissell Park. This is a free event but donations are welcome to offset band expenses.  Bring lawn chairs or blankets for outdoor seating and enjoy refreshments from Razzleberry's Ice Cream Lab.  The music program featuring show tunes, Broadway selections, marches, and swing will include guest vocalists the Community Band Choir, the Community Band Men's Chorus, and soloists Lettie Andrade de la Torre, Mike Cates, and Deidre Ford. For more information visit www.orcb.org or call 865-482-3568.  

ORT: CPD, ACSD defuse tense situation peacefully

(Oak Ridge Today) No one was injured, and Clinton police were able to encourage an Anderson County father to leave his home on Wednesday morning despite concerns about the welfare of his son. Authorities were concerned that the son, who is in his 30s, might be armed. Our partners at Oak Ridge Today report that the Clinton Police Department received a 911 medical call from a home on Lanes Bluff Road in Claxton at about 10 am Wednesday. The son reportedly refused to let the father leave and barricaded himself inside the home and the father was hesitant to leave because of concerns about the welfare of his son. Authorities set up a perimeter and established phone while the father was still in the house, and Clinton Police Chief Rick Scarbrough was able to get the father to leave the home. The scene was then turned over to the Anderson County Sheriff’s Department because Lanes Bluff Road is just outside the Clinton city limits in Claxton. The son emerged from the home a few minutes later without incident and unarmed. The father was taken by ambulance to a hospital for unspecified reasons, and the son was taken in a patrol car to the emergency room at Methodist Medical Center for a mental health evaluation. No charges are expected to be filed.

Feds propose new Emergency Ops Center at Y-12

Plans are moving forward for a new Emergency Operations Center at Y-12 in Oak Ridge. The National Nuclear Security Administration released a draft environmental assessment for the project and will be accepting public comments through July 30. The proposed EOC would consolidate the Plant Shift Superintendent's Office, the Emergency Command Center, the Technical Support Center and the Fire Department Alarm Room at a 17,000-square-foot facility on the east end of the national security complex. The proposed facility could cost the federal government some $22.5 million. The NNSA has proposed a facility that could house officials for 72 hours in emergency conditions at the plant.

Follow-up: Game on! Oakdale football equipment found

Following up on a story we brought you Wednesday, an anonymous tip led Morgan County Sheriff's deputies to most of the football equipment stolen from Oakdale School over the weekend. The helmets, jerseys, pads and cleats for both the middle and high school football teams were found in what was described as a “nice, neat” pile in a wooded area on private property some 30 miles from the school. The team's trailer, which was being used to store the equipment while the locker room was being renovated, was stolen over the weekend. The trailer, which is clearly marked as belonging to the Oakdale Eagles, was not recovered, and officials say they are still missing field paint, blocking dummies and some tools. The recovered items were returned to the school Wednesday afternoon by sheriff's deputies and their investigation into the theft is continuing. If you have information on the theft of the trailer, please call the Morgan County crime tip-line at 423-346-TIPS (8477).

CHS Band uniform fundraising efforts continue

The Clinton High School Band is still in the process of raising funds to purchase new uniforms. Over $50,000 is still needed to get the uniforms. Approximately 30 students could be without uniforms in the 2015 -2016 school year. You are invited to come visit the Band's dunking booth at next week's Anderson County Fair, all proceeds from which will go to the uniform fund. Tax deductible donations may also be mailed to the school at 425 Dragon Drive, Clinton, TN 37716 to the attention of Clinton Band - Uniforms or made online at www.clintonband.com. The band is also collecting bottled water to use at football games and marching competitions. With over 100 students expected to participate this year, they estimate they ill need about 300 bottles of water per game. Donations of bottled water can be dropped off at the Band Room at the school or at Rusty Wallace Chevrolet.

ORT: Changes coming to OR Farmers' Market

(Oak Ridge Today) The Oak Ridge Farmers Market will be set up differently at Jackson Square starting Saturday, July 11, and for the next six to eight weeks to provide additional parking for customers. Because both Blankenship Field and Jackson Square parking lots are closed for repaving, the City of Oak Ridge will be closing Broadway Avenue every Saturday morning from 8 a.m. to noon in front of Jackson Square until more parking becomes available. This will allow some farmers to set up on Broadway Avenue, while others will remain in a smaller area of the Farmers Market parking lot, allowing more space for customer parking. The Farmers Market will not block any sidewalks in Jackson Square, so that customers can still get to the shops and businesses there, a press release said. The market is also open Wednesdays from 3 p.m. until sellout, around 5 p.m. However, Broadway Avenue will not be closed during those hours. There are two parking lot renovations under way at Jackson Square. The first renovation started in January inside the square. The second is at the lower parking lot at Blankenship Field. The third lot in the area, the parking lot used by the Farmers Market, was renovated earlier, before renovations started inside Jackson Square. The Farmers Market lot is adjacent to the Blankenship Field lot and directly north of Jackson Square. Closing part of Broadway on Saturday mornings was one option the city had given the Oak Ridge Farmers Market now that two of those three parking lots are being renovated. The other was to temporarily move the Farmers Market to a city-owned lot on Tennessee Avenue, on the south side of Jackson Square.

CPD promotes Campbell

Earlier this week, the Clinton Police Department held a special pinning ceremony as Jim Campbell was promoted to lieutenant. The ceremony took place at Clinton City Hall and was attended by CPD officers, department employees and other guests. Campbell began his law enforcement career with the Metro-Nashville Police Department in 1993 and spent some time with the Anderson County Sheriff's Department before joining the Clinton Police Department in 2003. In a release announcing his promotion, Police Chief Rick Scarbrough called Campbell “a consummate team player.” Based on personal experience, I can say that he is one of the good guys and the promotion is well-deserved.

Man pleads in child porn case

A Rocky Top man indicted in February on three counts of aggravated sexual exploitation of a minor pleaded guilty Tuesday to a pair of reduced charges of attempted sexual exploitation. In exchange for his plea, 30-year-old Mario Luis Castilla received two suspended eight-year prison sentences which will be served on supervised probation, ordered to register as a sex offender and to perform 100 hours of community service. As part of his sentence, he is also prohibited from having a smart-phone with internet access and agreed to surrender all of the computer equipment seized during the investigation by the Anderson County Sheriff's Department and the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force that determined that he had child pornography on his computer.

Man charged in fatal Roane wreck

Following up on a story we brought you last week, the Philadelphia, Tennessee man who was driving a pickup truck that crashed into another vehicle in Roane County, killing his passenger, has been charged with one count of vehicular homicide and two counts of vehicular assault. The crash occurred on July 2nd and the Tennessee Highway Patrol report of the accident indicated that 41-year-old Steven Moore was under the influence of alcohol and that charges were pending. As of Tuesday afternoon, he was behind bars in Roane County on a $100,000 bond. Moore was driving his pickup “at a high rate of speed” when he lost control rounding a curve on State Highway 322 in the Philadelphia area of Roane County on July 2nd , crossed the center line and collided with a pickup driven by 67-year-old Ronald Miller, who was turning into his driveway in his own pickup with his wife as a passenger. The wreck sent the Millers' truck into a ditchline, where it came to rest about 100 feet away from the point of impact and caused Moore's truck to overturn, ejecting both him and his passenger, 53-year-old Richard Skipworth of Etowah, who died as a result of his injuries. Moore and both Millers were also injured in the wreck. Investigating state troopers reported that Moore smelled of alcohol and failed field sobriety tests. He is set to appear in court on August 31st.

Mark your calendars for August 15th Health Fair

A Community Summer Health Fair will be held on Saturday August 15th at the House of Worship located at 190 Manhattan Avenue in Oak Ridge. The event will be held from 10 am to 2 pm and will feature health screenings including blood pressure, glucose, cholesterol as well as eye exams. Medical, chiropractic, pediatric and nutritional consultations will be available, along with fitness classes, games and fun for the whole family. For more information, call the House of Worship at 865-272-3703 or visit www.thehouseofworship.com.

Follow-up: More info on fatal 4th of July crash

Updating a story we have been following for you, Oak Ridge Police on Monday released more information on Saturday night's fatal post-fireworks crash in Oak Ridge. As we have reported, Oak Ridge Police identified 37-year-old James Robinson of Knoxville as the man who died in the parking lot crash also injured nine others at Midtown Community Center on Saturday. Robinson was struck by a Dodge Ram pickup truck driven by 65-year-old Lee Cromwell of Oak Ridge as Cromwell backed his truck through the parking lot,  Authorities say that eight vehicles were hit by Cromwell’s truck. Robinson was critically injured in the crash, and he was taken by ambulance to Methodist Medical Center of Oak Ridge, where he later died, according to a Monday press release. A family friend said Robinson died a hero by pushing his oldest daughter out of the path of the approaching vehicle. Seven other people were taken by ambulance to area hospitals. One adult and two juvenile patients with what were described as non-life threatening injuries went to UT Medical Center, while four juveniles, also with non-life threatening injuries were taken to East Tennessee Children’s Hospital. Two adults were transported to Methodist Medical Center in personal vehicles. Cromwell was not injured. Oak Ridge police officers, assisted by Clinton police officers, reconstructed the crash scene with the use of electronic crash reconstruction equipment provided by the Clinton Police Department. The Anderson County Sheriff’s Department and the Tennessee Highway Patrol also responded to the scene to assist. The investigation remains ongoing and at this time, no charges have been filed. A gofundme page has been set up to help with Robinson’s funeral expenses. As of Tuesday morning, $5900 toward the goal of $7500 had been raised. You can donate by following this link: http://www.gofundme.com/yn5gx8.

Bridge repair project = lane closures

A bridge repair project on Highway 61 will reduce traffic to one lane in each direction on the bridge over I-75 beginning Tuesday July 14th and continuing until the project's scheduled completion date of October 31st. Mid-State Construction, based out of Livingston, sent a letter as required by TDOT to the Clinton Police, Fire and Public Works departments, the Anderson County Sheriff's Department, Anderson County EMS, the US Postal Service and both the Clinton and Anderson County school systems, all of whom could be affected by the project to inform them of the upcoming lane restrictions. Clinton Public Works Director Lynn Murphy says that a meeting with law enforcement and school officials will be held soon to discuss the impact the closures will likely have on traffic, especially around dismissal time at Anderson County High School.

Man found dead in Campbell victim of suicide

The TBI says that an 81-year-old Georgia man found dead inside his vehicle Sunday afternoon in Lafollette died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Campbell County deputies were called to the 200 block of Chapel Heights Lane Sunday afternoon on a report of a man inside a vehicle who appeared to need medical attention and when they arrived discovered the man's body. Preliminary results of an autopsy indicate that the man died from a single gunshot wound to “the midsection of his body.” The death was investigated by the TBI and the Campbell County Sheriff's Office. WYSH does not typically report the names of suicide victims.

ORHS TE commits to Sun Devils

Oak Ridge High School tight end Darel Middleton, a highly sought-after recruit, announced on Twitter Monday that he has committed to play college football at Arizona State, choosing the Sun Devils over Tennessee, Alabama, South Carolina and Oregon. Middleton will be a senior this season and will begin his senior campaign at home against Clinton on August 21st.

Ex-AC Mav RB to be honored

Recently-graduated Anderson County High School running back Matt Fox, a punishing runner who led the state in rushing each of the past two seasons, is one of six East Tennessee athletes who will be honored on August 4th during the Greater Knoxville Sports Hall of Fame induction ceremony. Fox is one of three Male Athlete of the Year honorees. Three female athletes will also be recognized. Fox will play his college football at ETSU.

Ex-CHS standouts moving on

Two recently-graduated Clinton High School athletes have announced their post-secondary education plans and both are following their dreams, albeit on completely different paths. Sean Fitzpatrick, who played both football and baseball for the Dragons, has signed to continue his academic and baseball careers at Hiwassee College. Aaron Watson, a football standout who was also an All-Academic performer, will follow in his father's footsteps and fulfill his own aspirations by enlisting in the US Air Force. Congratulations to both of these outstanding young men and good luck in your future endeavors.

Woman arrested on counterfeiting charges

Clinton Police arrested a woman on several charges related to counterfeit currency Sunday afternoon at Wal-Mart. Officers were called to the store on a report that 32-year-old Alicia Nicole Carden had tried to use counterfeit bills to pay for food at McDonald's. After making contact with Carden, Officer Josh Bunch found six counterfeit $20 bills and eight counterfeit $10 bills, and according to the arrest report, was told by Carden that she knew the money was fake. Dispatchers advised Bunch that Carden had an outstanding warrant for her arrest out of Campbell County on a DUI charge and placed her into custody. After being read her rights, Carden reportedly told Bunch that she had gotten the bogus currency from two people who were “manufacturing the money in a motel in Knoxville.” The report does not indicate which motel that might be. Carden was taken to the Anderson County Jail on the Campbell County warrant and was also charged with criminal attempt, criminal simulation and criminal conspiracy and as of this morning, remained in custody.

State, Business Bureau warn of 'familiar scam'

(TN Secretary of State) A familiar scam that continues to target Tennessee businesses is now in the spotlight of the Better Business Bureau (BBB) of Middle Tennessee.  The BBB recently added State Compliance Center, also known as SCC, to its list of "Misleading Advertising, Products and Services Middle Tennessee Consumers and Businesses Can Do Without." The company received a "D-" BBB rating. SCC is requesting businesses pay nearly $90 to obtain a Certificate of Existence/Authorization, also known as a Certificate of Good Standing. The request is being mailed out across the state on an official looking document.   The standard fee to obtain a Certificate of Existence directly from the Division of Business Services is $20.  Letters being sent by SCC make it appear as if a Certificate of Existence/Authorization is required by law, but it is important to note a certificate is not required to do business in Tennessee. Typically, a business requests a Certificate of Existence for specific business purposes, like obtaining a loan or entering into a contract.  SCC LLC is a registered business in the state of Tennessee, but is not affiliated or associated with the Division of Business Services.  Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett has been warning consumers about similar scams for years. Other companies, including Corporate Records Services and Annual Business Services, sent out official looking documents to businesses in 2013 with claims they must pay filing rates higher than what the state actually charges.  "I encourage all businesses and organizations to contact the Division of Business Services directly if they have questions regarding how to obtain a Certificate of Existence, or if they receive questionable items in the mail," Secretary Hargett said. "Business leaders should use caution anytime a third-party is seeking to file something on their behalf with the state."  Whenever the Department of State receives information about a company with questionable practices the information is sent directly to the appropriate authorities.  The Division of Business Services maintains a user-friendly online tool to obtain a Certificate of Existence. It can be found at: https://tnbear.tn.gov/Ecommerce/CertOfExistenceInstr.aspx.  Customers may also call the division at (615) 741-6488 or email TNSOS.CERT@tn.gov for more information.

Tragedy strikes after OR 4th

Oak Ridge Police are investigating after a tragic accident in a crowded parking lot following Saturday night's 4th of July fireworks. The incident occurred at around 10:30 pm Saturday in the parking lot of the Midtown Community Center at the intersection of the Turnpike and Robertsville Road. Preliminary reports indicate that a Dodge Ram pickup driven by 65-year-old Lee Cromwell of Oak Ridge that had been parked at the far east end of the parking lot sharply accelerated in reverse and backed into a crowd of people, striking several cars, injuring eight and killing one man. The victim has been identified as 37-year-old James Robinson of Knoxville. Witnesses reported that he was struck after pushing his daughter out of the truck's way. Of the eight people injured, two refused medical treatment, while the remaining six were taken to Methodist Medical Center, UT Medical Center and Children's Hospital. None of their injuries are considered life-threatening. ORPD officers remained at the scene overnight reconstructing the accident with assistance from the Clinton Police Department, which provided use of its “total station” accident reconstruction technology, which provides a 360-degree view of an accident scene and uses lasers to measure distances between vehicles. In addition to Oak Ridge Police and Fire and the CPD, emergency personnel from the Anderson County EMS, Anderson County Sheriff's Office and the Tennessee Highway Patrol responded to the scene. The first Oak Ridge responders were on the scene within about a minute as many were stationed across the street for the fireworks display at AK Bissell Park. Officials have said that alcohol does not appear to have been a factor but that sobriety tests were administered to the driver and that early indications are that this was an accident. The DA's Office will determine this week if Cromwell will face any charges. As more becomes available, we will pass it along to you.  For more information on this story, visit our partners at www.oakridgetoday.com.

TBI, CCSO investigate man's death

The TBI was called in to assist Campbell County authorities with their investigation into the apparent shooting death of a man found inside his car Sunday afternoon. Campbell County deputies received a call about a man in a car along Chapel Heights Lane and upon their arrival, found a man dead from an apparent gunshot wound. The man's name has not been released pending the notification of next of kin and autopsy has been scheduled to determine the cause of his death.

Centrus donates to ADFAC

Centrus Energy Corporation donated $2,500 to ADFAC and became the first 2015 Grand Benefactor Corporate Member, the nonprofit organization’s Corporate Committee announced last week. Centrus Energy Corporation supplies enriched uranium fuel for a growing fleet of international and domestic commercial nuclear power plants. Centrus, which has operations in Oak Ridge, is working to deploy the American Centrifuge technology for commercial needs and to support U.S. energy and national security, a press release said.

CHS football season tix on sale

Clinton High School Football Season tickets are ready for purchase! For the convenience of the community, the CHS Cheer Booster Club will be available on Tuesday, July 7 from 5:30-8 at the Clinton Community Center, Thursday, July 9 from 11-5 at the Xtreme Automotive on Hiway Drive, Thursday  July 9 from 10-2 at Hoskins and Friday July 10 from 10-2 at Hoskins for our fans to come by and pick out their seats/tickets. You will also have a chance to purchase ticket packages on Saturday July 11th from 9 am to 2 pm at Crossroads Coffee Shop next to Marathon Gas at the intersection of Highways 61 & 95.  For more information they can contact Cheerleading Booster Club at clintonhighschoolcheer@gmail.com. Remember this is what is included the CHS football season ticket packages:  This season Clinton High School is selling football season tickets in a package deal. For $60.00 you will receive 5 tickets, a parking pass, a Dragon Card, a free oil change, and a hot dog for each game, plus $2.00 off hat or visor, $20.00 off any $100.00 merchandise purchase and a free lanyard with t-shirt purchase. 1200 of these packages are available.

TBI: Morgan woman charged in husband's shooting

(TBI) Special Agents from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation have arrested and charged a Morgan County woman accused of shooting her husband on Friday. At the request of 9th District Attorney General Russell Johnson, TBI Special Agents began investigating the incident, which occurred shortly after 5:00 PM at the family’s home on Morgan County Highway in Sunbright. There, authorities found 61-year-old Leroy James Smith, Jr. suffering from a gunshot wound. During the course of the investigation, Agents, with the assistance of the Sunbright Police Department and the Morgan County Sheriff’s Office, developed information that led to Smith’s wife, Jennifer Darlene Smith, as the individual responsible for the incident. Medics subsequently transported Leroy Smith to UT Medical Center in Knoxville for treatment. On Friday evening, authorities arrested the 39-year-old and charged her with one count of Attempted Second Degree Murder. At the time of this release, Smith was being held in the Morgan County Jail on $100,000 bond.

ORT: 6 major OR employers contribute to Main Street OR project

(Oak Ridge Today) Six Oak Ridge employers have pledged $500,000 to support public infrastructure at Main Street Oak Ridge, the $80 million redevelopment of the former Oak Ridge Mall. Officials said it shows unprecedented community support for the project. The six employers are Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge Associated Universities, UCOR, Restoration Services Inc., Methodist Medical Center, and Consolidated Nuclear Security, which manages and operates Y-12 National Security Complex. “All Oak Ridgers realize the successful development of the Main Street town center project is of critical importance not only to the citizens of the City of Oak Ridge and the business community but to the region in general,” Oak Ridge Mayor Warren Gooch said. “We appreciate these great corporate citizens stepping up the plate to help make Main Street Oak Ridge a reality.” Pledge agreements from each of the six companies have been sent to the chairman of the Oak Ridge Industrial Development Board and will be presented at the IDB meeting on Monday, July 6. The IDB meets at 4 p.m. in the Oak Ridge Municipal Building Training Room. The Oak Ridge Municipal Planning Commission will also consider Main Street Oak Ridge during a work session at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, May 9. A project site plan has been submitted and so has a preliminary subdivision plat for East Main, West Main, and Wilson streets. Also this week, Oak Ridge Today learned that Crosland Southeast is working on pre-demolition activities and reviewing bids for the project.

Clinton man sued over fatal accident

A Clinton man has been sued for $2 million by the widow of a man killed in a traffic accident in Claxton that occurred last August. Carolyn Lubthisophon filed the wrongful death lawsuit in Anderson County Circuit Court against Jeremiah Justice. Her husband Kenneth Lubthisophon was killed in the wreck which occurred August 13th on Edgemoor Road in Claxton. The lawsuit states that Justice's vehicle struck the rear of Lubthisophon's motorcycle, which sent it into the path of another oncoming vehicle. The Tennessee Highway Patrol reported that a Knoxville woman had slowed down for stopped traffic in the eastbound lane of Edgemoor Road when Lubthisophon's motorcycle hit the left rear of her car. Investigators determined that Justice's Dodge pickup then struck the motorcycle, causing Lubthisophon to be thrown off the bike into the westbound lane, where a Ford pickup driven by a Clinton man struck him. The lawsuit alleges Justice was negligent in failing to use reasonable care, not keeping a proper lookout and following too closely. In addition to compensatory damages, the legal action also seeks "fair and reasonable" punitive damages.

AC receives mental health grant

Anderson County has received a five-year grant worth over $2.2 million to increase access to mental health resources in rural schools. The county will receive $442,314 each year for the next five years to pay for hiring four full-time mental health counselors to address student issues in the county's four middle schools and two high schools. The grant is coming from the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and is part of a program to expand mental health resources in rural communities across the country, where often the resources needed by parents to help their children are not available.

THP: Roane wreck kills one, alcohol a factor

One person was killed and three others injured in a Thursday evening traffic accident in Roane County that the Tennessee Highway Patrol says alcohol played a role in. The THP says that shortly before 6:15 pm on Thursday, two vehicles were headed west on State Highway 322 when Ronald Miller of the Philadelphia community executed a left turn into his driveway. A short distance behind him, troopers say that 41-year-old Steven Moore of Philadelphia was traveling at a high rate of speed when he lost control of his Chevy pickup, crossed the yellow line and slammed into the side of Miller's pickup. The impact sent Miller's vehicle into a ditchline, where it came to rest about 100 feet away. Moore's truck left the road and overturned, ejecting both Moore and his passenger, 53-year-old Richard Skipworth of Etowah. Skipworth was killed in the crash while Moore was injured, as were Miller and his passenger. Neither Moore nor Skipworth were wearing seatbelts, according to the THP, which also stated that both had been drinking. Moore will face charges in connection to the wreck but the THP report does not specify what charges.

Roane woman charged with TennCare fraud

A Kingston woman is facing TennCare fraud charges after investigators say that she sold prescription drugs paid for by the state. 29-year-old Constance Young was arrested this week after the state's Office of Inspector General, assisted by the Roane County Sheriff's Office and the Kingston Police Department, conducted an undercover operation, during which she is accused of selling the painkiller hydrocodone to an undercover informant.

ACLB headed to Rocky Top

The Anderson County Library Board will meet on Thursday, July 16, 2015 at 4 p.m. at the Rocky Top Public Library. 

ORNL reschedules “Explore ORNL” conference

Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Explore ORNL conference has been rescheduled until September 23-24 to coincide with a larger industrial outreach event at ORNL this fall. Explore ORNL was originally scheduled for July 14-15. The September event will feature capabilities in building technologies, vehicle technologies, and advanced manufacturing, and will highlight new opportunities for small businesses to gain access to national laboratories, including ORNL. Information about the September industry event will be released in the coming weeks.

OR Alternative Program renamed

The Oak Ridge Alternative Program has been renamed the Secret City Academy. The Oak Ridge Board of Education unanimously approved the name change in a voice vote during its June meeting. Staff and students had previously weighed in on the name change.

AC busy for July

Summer Train Rides – July 4th and 18th at Secret City Excursion Train
The Secret City Excursion Train is offering 1-hour excursions with narration on Saturday, July 4th and 18th. Departure times will be 11am, 1pm, and 3pm. During the ride, passengers will hear the story of the Manhattan Project, which was one of the most remarkable industrial achievements ever accomplished.  On Saturday the 18th, there will also be a dinner train ride at 6pm. Chef Andras and his staff will serve up fine cuisine in your choice of four delicious entrees. For more information, visit www.secretcityrailroad.com or call 865-241-2140.

July classes at the Appalachian Arts Craft Center
The Appalachian Arts Craft Center will be offering multiple classes throughout the month of July. Some of the classes include Pottery for Kids' and Teenagers and writing workshops. For more information on these and more, call 865-494-9854 or visit www.appalachianarts.net.


Concert on the Commons – Every Friday Night in Norris
T
he outdoor music series, Concert on the Commons, returns for its seventh season. The schedule will offer a variety of artists featuring a diverse mix of musical styles ranging from bluegrass and folk to swing and hard-charging blues. Enjoy a weekly line-up of free family entertainment each Friday night beginning at 7:00 pm at the Norris Commons. Bring a lawn chair or blanket. For more information, follow Concert on the Commons Facebook page or email concertsonthecommons@gmail.com.

“Wing Night” Every Friday Night at Sequoyah Marina
Start off your weekends on Friday night with Sequoyah’s famous "Wing Night" at the dock. Sequoyah Marina serves the best wings and coldest Corona on Norris Lake. For more information, call 865-494-7984 or visit www.sequoyahmarina.net

Sundown Saturday’s at Stardust Marina
Sundown Saturday's will feature live entertainment each Saturday from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. on the patio at Stardust Marina, voted one of the top five marinas in East Tennessee. Kick back, relax and enjoy! For more information, call 865-494-7641 or visitwww.stardustmarina.com.

The Tennessee Opry-July 11th at the Ritz Theater
Join us for the Tennessee Opry show at the Ritz Theater in Downtown Clinton! The show will feature Chris Monday, Cheyenne Graff, Lacey Snyder, John Overton, Marshal Andy, Tedd Graves and more. The show will start at 7:00 pm. Tickets are just $10 each.  For more information, visit www.TheTennesseeOpry.com.

Anderson County Fair – July 13-18
The best days of summer are here! Come and enjoy a week full of fun at the Anderson County Fair. The fair gates open at 5:00 pm daily. General admission is $5.00. Children 6 and under are free. For more information, visit www.andersoncountyfairtn.com.

21st Annual Samuel DeWitt Proctor Institute for Child Advocacy Ministry – July 20-24 at CDF Haley Farm
Join clergy, seminarians, Christian educators, young adult leaders and other faith-based advocates for children at CDF Haley Farm for five days of spiritual renewal, networking, movement-building workshops and continuing education about the urgent needs of children across the nation. For more information, call 865-457-6466 or visit http://www.childrensdefense.org.

Golden Dragon Acrobat Show – July 25 at Oak Ridge High School
The Golden Dragon Acrobats are recognized throughout the US and abroad as the premier Chinese acrobatic touring company of today. They will be performing on July 25th at 7:00 pm at Oak Ridge High School to benefit the drama department. ” Tickets are $25 for adults and $10 for children 12 and under.  Tickets are available at 865-656-4444 or online at www.knoxvilletickets.com.

Christmas in July –July 25th in Historic Downtown Clinton
The 7th Annual Christmas in July will take place in downtown Clinton from 10 am - 5 pm with town wide sales, holiday decor, a visit with Summer Santa, holiday music and festive treats. For more information, visit www.historicclintonsantiques.com.

Morgan jury convicts man on sex charges

A Wartburg man has been convicted of multiple charges in connection with sex offenses against six underage males, according to 9th Judicial District Attorney General Russell Johnson. 24-year-old Cody Ryan King was convicted by a jury Wednesday after a two-day trial on charges of child rape, attempted child rape and aggravated sexual battery among other charges. Prosecutors alleged he targeted males ages 11 to 14 years old. He would test them with horseplay, grabbing at their private area. If they didn't resist, the prosecution alleges, he would proceed further. The assaults occurred from June 2010 to December 2011. The victims testified at trial. They're now 14 to 17 years of age, according to a press release issued Wednesday by Johnson's office. Jurors deliberated for a little more than an hour before convicting him. At least three alleged victims who talked with investigators but didn't want to testify, according to Johnson, who says there may be more victims, and he's encouraging them to come forward. King was released on bond in 2012 when originally arrested. Bond was revoked, however, after he contacted victims on Facebook, according to Johnson. He faces sentencing Oct. 14. After the jury returned their verdict Criminal Court Judge E. Eugene Eblen ordered the defendant Cody King to remain in jail pending the sentencing hearing.

(Statement from DA Russell Johnson) District Attorney General Russell Johnson announced today that a Morgan County jury found Cody Ryan King, age 24 (dob - March 12, 1991) of Wartburg, guilty of seven sex offenses involving six underage male victims. The case was tried at the courthouse in Wartburg all day Tuesday and into the early afternoon on Wednesday. The prosecuting attorneys for the State were Assistant District Attorneys Alyson Kennedy and Bob Edwards. The Defendant’s attorneys were Daniel Forrester and Martin Zizek of Clinton.  The State put six male victims on the witness stand who now range in age from 14 to 17. They described how Cody King during the time frame of June 2010 through December 2011 [when the victims were approximately 11 to 14 years old] befriended them as part of his ‘grooming’ process before preying upon them as his victims. Ultimately King would ‘test’ them by grabbing their private area and saying ‘gobble, gobble’ as if her were imitating a turkey call. If the victim did not immediately fight back, then the older and larger King would ultimately proceed with his sexual assault. District Attorney Johnson stated he believes that there may still be several victims that have not come forward to report to law enforcement and, seeing that King has now been convicted, it may give them the confidence to do so. Also, he pointed out that there were at least three victims who did talk with investigators, but did not want to testify about their cases at trial.  ADA Kennedy said that she was “proud of the victims that did testify for having the courage tell the jury and a courtroom of people about what King did to them. This will show other victims of these types of crimes that there is justice in the end.”  ADA Edwards said that by coming forward all of the victims, and especially those who testified, “Played a huge role in sending King to prison for what he did to them and others like them.”The jury deliberated approximately a little over an hour before returning the verdict.  The counts for which King was convicted are:

1) child rape (Class A felony – with a mandatory minimum of 25 years up to 40 years, but it shall be served at 100%, day for day service),

2) attempted child rape (Class B felony – 8 to 12 years ),

3 & 4) two counts of aggravated sexual battery (Class B felony – 8 to 12 years, but it shall be served at 100%, with up to 15% ‘good time’ credit),

5 & 6) two counts of sexual battery (Class E felony – 1 to 6 years), and

7) attempted statutory rape (Class A misdemeanor – up to 11 months, 29 days ) .

After the jury returned their verdict Criminal Court Judge E. Eugene Eblen ordered the defendant Cody King to remain in jail pending the sentencing hearing. King initially made bond when he was arrested on these charges in 2012. Subsequently the State filed a bond revocation in September 2014 due to King contacting victims on Facebook, so he has been in jail since that revocation. The sentencing hearing has been set for October 14, 2015 in Morgan County Criminal Court at Wartburg.  This is ADA Kennedy and ADA Edward’s second jury trial wherein child sexual predators were convicted in Morgan County in the last week. On June 24th they prosecuted Michael Bolden who was also convicted by a Morgan County jury for the aggravated child rape of a two year old. His sentencing hearing is set for August 14th in Wartburg.

Tennessee Promise community service opportunity

(TDEC) Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) Commissioner Bob Martineau, in partnership with Governor Haslam’s Drive to 55 initiative, today announced Tennessee Promise Saturday, a student volunteer day to be held in all Tennessee State Parks on Saturday, July 18. The Tennessee Promise, part of Governor Haslam’s Drive to 55 initiative to increase the number of Tennesseans with a post-secondary credential to 55 percent by 2025, provides tuition-free community and technical college to recent high school graduates. All Tennessee Promise students utilizing the program this fall are required to complete eight hours of community service by August 1, 2015. This is a win-win,” Haslam said. “It’s a great way for our Tennessee Promise students to fulfill their community service requirements, while enjoying and improving our state parks and probably learning a little bit more about our state in the process.” Students can visit http://tnstateparks.com/about/special-event-cards/tn-promise-saturday and register to volunteer. Volunteer events are listed below by park and include meet up time, location, duration, activity description and point of contact. Reservations are required for all participants.

ORT: Site plan submitted for Main Street Oak Ridge

A site plan was submitted on Monday for Main Street Oak Ridge, the ambitious $80 million project to redevelop the former Oak Ridge Mall. The site plan is under review by the Oak Ridge city staff and could be discussed during an Oak Ridge Municipal Planning Commission work session on July 9 and during a regular meeting on July 16. A site plan is an engineered construction drawing that includes the layout of buildings and parking, utility plans, traffic and pedestrian circulation, and stormwater management. Building plans for the construction of each building at the 60-acre site will be submitted later. The redevelopment has been proposed by Crosland Southeast of North Carolina and would convert the former mall property into a mixed-use project that will include retailers, restaurants, residential units, and a hotel. The existing space between the two remaining anchors, Belk and JCPenney, would be demolished, although those two stores would remain. The developers are currently looking at bids to perform that demolition work. In March, developers announced they had signed their first anchor store lease. In May, they announced that Atlanta-based MDC development group, through its affiliated company Canterfield Hotel Group LLC, will build a new 120-room hotel at the site. Crosland Southeast could close on their purchase of the property by the end of this month.  For more on this story, visit www.oakridgetoday.com.

UWAC taps Dobson, Patterson as campaign chairs

The United Way of Anderson County has announced that longtime art teacher Jim Dodson and Gene Patterson, a former television anchor who now works at Y-12 National Security Complex, will co-chair the 2015-2016 fundraising campaign for United Way of Anderson County. It’s a period of transition and change, according to a press release, and Dodson and Patterson will “lead the charge as UWAC kicks off its fresh campaign to raise money for local agencies.” Patterson has been delivering local news for more than 30 years, as an anchor at both WBIR and WATE. He also served his community as deputy to the Knoxville Mayor Victor Ashe, focusing on city initiatives and facilitating community task forces. In 2015, Patterson joined the communications team at Consolidated Nuclear Security at Y-12 in Oak Ridge. Dodson has taught art in the Oak Ridge Schools system since 1987, and has been recognized as both the Tennessee Art Educator of the Year and the National Middle School Art Educator of the Year. In 2015, Dodson received the Distinguished Educator Award and was appointed to the Humanities Tennessee Board. His efforts to establish student art exhibitions all over Tennessee have earned more than $7 million in scholarships for his students. If you or your business are interested in getting involved with the United Way campaign this fall, please call the office at (865) 483-8431.

ORT: TBI, POST, feds say no violations by Akagi

(Oak Ridge Today) The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation is not investigating, two district attorneys said there was no violation, and the state agency that certifies police officers has completed its activities, officials said Wednesday. That would appear to end the inquiry started by the Tennessee Peace Officer Standards and Training Commission, or POST, this spring. POST asked three authorities, including one federal official and two state officials, whether Oak Ridge Police Chief Jim Akagi had violated state and federal laws by possessing a firearm after being issued an ex parte order of protection during divorce proceedings in Blount County three years ago. The response from all three officials has been “no,” according to letters sent to POST. Our partners at Oak Ridge Today reported on the response from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, as reported by Akagi’s attorney Tasha Blakney, on Tuesday. The two state officials—Dave Clark, district attorney general in the Seventh Judicial District in Clinton, and Mike Flynn, district attorney general in the Fifth Judicial District in Maryville—sent their response to POST on Wednesday. For more on this story, visit www.oakridgetoday.com.

Federal lawsuit filed over AC inmate death

A federal lawsuit has been filed in connection to the death of an inmate at the Anderson County Jail almost a year ago. 34-year-old Chris Sullivan was found dead inside his cell on July 4th of 2014, hours after he had been arrested by Oak Ridge Police and brought to the Jail on charges including public intoxication and drug possession. An autopsy later determined that Sullivan died as the result of a combination of alcohol and morphine. The lawsuit was filed in federal court by the guardian of Sullivan;s children and seeks an unspecified amount in damages. Following Sullivan's death, an investigation resulted earlier this year in the indictment of former jail nurse Billy Joe Brockman, on charges of filing a false report after he allegedly told investigators that the had measured and recorded Sullivan's vital signs despite not having done so. Brockman is named as a defendant, along with jail employee Jeremiah Wood, who according to the suit was supposed to check on Sullivan every 15 minutes but failed to do so. The suit also names Anderson County, Advanced Correctional Healthcare and nine other unidentified individuals. The lawsuit claims that Sullivan was booked into the jail suffering from the extreme effects of alcohol and/or drugs, but that jail and health officials failed to follow protocols that the lawsuit states could have saved his life. The lawsuit seeks a jury trial.

Novel idea dies on the vine

A novel approach to finding money to provide much-needed raises for employees in the Anderson County school system died a quiet death on Tuesday, one day after it was presented to Commissioners. County Commissioner Rick Meredith on Monday night, proposed earmarking $1.1 million in new revenue generated by industrial growth in the county for use as a one-time donation from the county government to the schools to pay for raises for all school workers. Under the proposal, which was met with a mix of skepticism and support, the money would have been given to the schools only after $1.1 million in new revenue found its way into county coffers. Monday night, law Director Jay Yeager indicated that a case in McMinn County may have set a precedent that would prevent that from occurring and after further review on Tuesday, confirmed that assertion. In McMinn County, officials wanted to give money to the schools for capital projects using payments-in-lieu-of-taxes, or PILTs (PILoTs) but after a court case that was upheld on appeal, it was determined that those PILT funds could not be used for such a purpose because it would violate the way that money is supposed to be allocated to schools operating in the county and its cities. Locally, that means the money would have to be divided between the county, Oak Ridge and Clinton school systems based on student attendance ratios and could not be used as a one-time contribution from the county government to its school system alone. No decisions about the county budget have been made as of yet and the Commission will resume its budget deliberations on July 20th. The new fiscal year begins today but with questions still swirling about the state-certified tax rate not having been set following property value reappraisals, the budget and the tax rate have not been finalized. The tax rate in the county is expected to climb by at least 14 cents due to a 4% property value decline in the most recent appraisal, but the final numbers have not been decided upon.

More delays in Corwin case

The court case for the ex-Marine accused of killing an Oak Ridge native last year in California has been delayed for a second time. The of 25-year-old Christopher Brandon Lee was originally scheduled for May 26, but the prosecution asked for a continuance, which was granted. The case was rescheduled for yesterday, but on Tuesday, a second continuance was granted. A pre-trial motions hearing is now scheduled for July 27. Lee pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder in the death of 19-year-old Erin Corwin, whose body was found at the bottom of a remote desert mine shaft after she was reported missing from the military base where she was living with her husband, also a Marine, in California. Corwin was missing for weeks before her remains were found. Sunday marked one year since Corwin’s disappearance. Investigators say that Lee killed Corwin in order to conceal from his wife that he and Corwin were having an affair.

ORPD searching for robbery suspects

Oak Ridge Police are searching for two suspects in an armed robbery at a check cashing store on Friday. The robbery at Check Into Cash at 361 South Illinois Avenue was reported about 3:15 p.m. Friday. When officers arrived, they were told that the suspects were a black man and a black woman, each armed with handguns, and had fled on foot following the robbery. Officers canvassed the area and talked with an eyewitness who told them that both suspects were last seen running between buildings at the Manhattan Apartment complex in the 200 block of North Purdue Avenue. A section of North Purdue was temporarily closed while police established containment around the three apartment buildings the suspects were believed to have fled, however, nos suspects were located. Anyone with any information about Friday's robbery is encouraged to contact the Oak Ridge Police Department at (865) 425-4399 or (865) 425-3503. The investigation remains active and ongoing.

Kingston man accused of abuse

A 21-year-old Kingston man accused of breaking a 3-year-old girl's jaw and fracturing her skull has been arrested on a four-count indictment charging him with aggravated child abuse. Dakota Cain Lamping was indicted last week by a Roane County grand jury and posted a $10,000 bond shortly after his arrest Friday. Kingston Police say that on October 11th, 2014, Lamping carried the unconscious daughter of his girlfriend into the ER at the Roane Medical Center. Lamping claimed he and the child were in the basement of their apartment wwhen the girl fell, got up and then stumbled again. The incident report stated that in addition to the skull and jaw fractures, the girl had several bruises in various stages of healing as well as a host of other old and new injuries that led investigators to suspect child abuse.

AC Committee to meet

The Anderson County Employee Insurance Board of Trustees will meet at 11 a.m. Thursday, July 16, in Room 102 (Human Resources office) at the Courthouse, 100 North Main St., Clinton.

ASAP racking up proclamations after award

(ASAP) Eight representatives from Allies for Substance Abuse Prevention (ASAP) of Anderson County joined nearly 2,700 substance abuse prevention specialists and advocates from across the country at Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America's (CADCA) 25th Annual National Leadership Forum, the nation's largest and premier training event for substance abuse prevention and treatment professionals and researchers. CADCA’s National Leadership Forum took place Feb. 2-5 in National Harbor, Md.  This year’s event was especially important for ASAP as they were honored with the CADCA’s GOT OUTCOMES! Milestones Award on February 5 at an awards luncheon. The coalition trained store clerks with certification classes to increase compliance with underage drinking laws, and distributed materials to notify shoppers of identification requirements. The coalition has successfully increased alcohol outlet compliance by 36 percent, decreased the number of youth reporting alcohol use at a friend’s home by 29 percent, decreased the number of youth being drunk or high at school by 40 percent, and decreased the number of alcohol-related school discipline events by 78 percent. Recent surveys indicate that in just a couple of years, past 30-day use of alcohol among youth has also decreased significantly and the coalition expects to sustain this long-term outcome. We were so excited to be honored with this award, but also to be able to spend several days with other similar organizations from across the country, learning and honing our prevention skills so we can continue to improve our community,” said Stephanie Strutner, Executive Director. “We came back reenergized with new strategies under our belt to tackle drug use in Anderson County.” ASAP was also honored when they returned home with proclamations from Anderson County Commission and Clinton, Norris, Oak Ridge, Oliver Springs, and Rocky Top City councils congratulating them on their award and thanking them for their dedication to the community. CADCA’s National Leadership Forum featured nearly 80 courses to help participants learn effective strategies to address drug-related problems in their communities. Training sessions addressed some of the most pressing issues facing communities today – from how to prevent prescription drug abuse and marijuana use among youth, to how to reduce tobacco use and underage drinking. ASAP staff Stephanie Strutner and Stacey Pratt along with neighboring coalition RCADC staff Sarah Harrison and Dr. Wayne Stephenson were also asked to present their recent Benefit: Cost Analysis to a session of over 100 advanced coalition workers from around the country. The analysis shows how investing dollars in prevention on the federal, state and local levels can reduce the public burden spending used to “shovel up” the consequences of failing to prevent substance abuse. The coalition also met with Representative Chuck Fleischman at the CADCA Forum’s Capitol Hill Day event on Wednesday, Feb. 4 to educate him about effective ways to reduce substance use and abuse, and about the importance of community-based prevention. Rep. Fleischman heard from all eight coalition members in a private meeting and recognized the need for substance abuse prevention in his district.  Representative John Ragan was present in Anderson County on June 29th to recognize this achievement and present ASAP with State of Tennessee House Joint Resolution No. 134 on the steps of the Anderson County Courthouse. The resolution honored ASAP for their measurable achievement in reducing underage drinking in Anderson County.

CPD arrests one after one departs early from car

Clinton Police arrested a woman Saturday after investigators determined that she had allegedly thrown her sister out of a moving car. Kimberly Stout told officers that she and her sister, Rebecca Mashburn, had been arguing in Mashburn's car and when Stout attempted to get out of the vehicle, her sister drove off, causing her to fall to the pavement. Stout was treated for injuries to her right leg at Methodist Medical Center. An eyewitness verified her story to investigators, who then made contact with Mashburn. Mashburn told officers that her sister had in fact jumped out of the car and that she had not driven off. Mashburn was arrested on charges of aggravated assault and reckless endangerment and released after posting bond.

DOE picks up UCOR option

The Department of Energy has exercised its option to extend the contract of environmental cleanup contractor UCOR. The company has managed cleanup efforts on the federal reservation since 2011 but their contract was set to expire next spring. The option exercised by the DOE this month extends that deal through mid-2020. Officials say that picking up the option early will allow UCOR to get some of the remaining cleanup work done3 ahead of schedule. Company officials say that UCOR has saved the federal government more than $122 million on cleanup projects over the past four years and is about $26 million under budget on projects still underway. UCOR is wrapping up demolition work on K-31, a former uranium-enrichment facility, and preparing for the demolition of K-27 — the last of the big buildings that once processed uranium for use in nuclear weapons and nuclear reactors. The company expects to complete the demolition of K-27 by the end of 2016 and plans to have all of the cleanup work done at the site now known as the East Tennessee Technology Park by the time the contract runs out.

Ex-teacher pleads to probation violation

Former Clinton High School teacher Megan Baumann, who was convicted in 2010 on charges that she had inappropriate relationships with students, pleaded guilty Monday to violating the terms of her probation. The violations reportedly occurred in 2014, when the now-33-year-old Baumann dated a man with a child under 18 and four times in 2014 visited public ballparks where minor children were present. Her five-year probation was extended by an additional year. Baumann pleaded guilty in November of 2010 to one count each of statutory rape by an authority figure and sexual battery by an authority figure and two counts of displaying sexually explicit material to minors. She received a three-year prison sentence, was compelled to register as a sex offender and forced to surrender her teaching license.

AC budget update

The Anderson County Commission met in a special called session Monday night to continue deliberating this year's budget. The new fiscal year starts Wednesday but no decisions were reached Monday during a three-and-a-half-hour-long meeting. Commissioner Robin Biloski proposed removing $75,000 from the Election Commission budget, targeting salaries of workers that she called “seasonal” in nature but with no Election Administrator present to defend his employees, that motion was deferred for further discussion. Election Administrator Mark Stephens was out of town. Commissioner Steve Emert questioned County Mayor Terry Frank on the seemingly doubling of her office's budget since she took office and ultimately, made a motion to eliminate the position of Chief of Staff, a position he pointed out had never been part of the mayor;'s office before. Mayor Frank said that while it appears her office's budget has doubled, she contends that she has saved the county over $161,000 by making cuts when possible and consolidating operations that were spread out over the courthouse under the mayoral umbrella. She also says that many of the savings realized though her office have come through the work of Chief of Staff Richard Burroughs. The motion received eight votes for and seven votes against with one absence but failed as nine votes were needed to approve the measure. Talk turned to employee raises for a significant portion of the meeting with the general consensus seeming to be that “if one employee gets a raise, then all employees should get raises.” Money for salary increases is not readily available so commissioners will continue to comb through the general fund budget to find cuts to fund raises for county employees. Raises for school system employees, whose pay increases of .7% over the past five years have not kept up with the rising cost of living, was also addressed. Commissioner Rick Meredith on Monday proposed using $1.1 million in anticipated new revenue from growth in the county economy to fund a one-time donation to the county school system that would be earmarked for raises for all certified and classified school employees. Meredith's proposal would provide no money to the schools, though, until the new revenue reached that $1.1 million threshold. The County Commission, as Meredith pointed out, cannot tell the School Board how to use that money but officials received assurances Monday that if they were to get this money, it would be used for raises as the BOE has set them as a priority. The proposal was deferred until the July 20th Commission meeting so that Law Director Jay Yeager can weigh in on the legality of the measure and so that other commissioners can learn more about exactly how this would work. The next scheduled meeting of the Commission is July 20th and it remains to be seen if any additional meetings will be called for between now and then.

CPTC hosting seminar

(Submitted) Will Pye is a social entrepreneur, inspirational speaker, writer, mentor, wisdom teacher and has had a successful business career in charity fundraising.  He was diagnosed with a brain tumor two years ago at the age of 31.  He was able to experience this event in complete peace and joy, and with a sense of opportunity.  He has rigorously studied human potential and personal exploration through the transformative practices of meditation, yoga, QiGong A Course in Miracles and Zen.  Through this, he developed a psychological technique, “Radical Gratitude”, inspired by the latest science to create a habit of happiness through spiritual awakening allowing love, healing and your heart’s desires.  Will has written a book, “Blessed With a Brain Tumor” which is not all about surviving cancer or escaping death, but rather about thriving in life with the richness and joy that we each have available to us at every moment. He will be at Clinton Physical Therapy Center on Thursday, July 16 to discuss his experiences and life lessons at 6:30 PM. Come join us in this wonderful opportunity to share an evening with Will Pye while he is in United States traveling from Australia.  There is a suggested donation of $10 for your attendance.  Please call Kelly Lenz at 457-1649 or email cptcklenz@aol.com for more information.  The meeting will be held in the upper building behind Clinton Physical Therapy Center. Please park in the upper lot.

AC Chamber offers team-focused seminar

(Submitted) The Anderson County Chamber of Commerce welcomes Dr. Stacy Myers, Advanced Management, Inc. who will present a seminar, “The Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team” model, based on Patrick Lencioni's NYT best seller the Five Dysfunctions of a Team, scheduled for Wednesday, July 15, 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. at the Chamber office.  The model is used to help team members learn to work together more efficiently and effectively and become a more cohesive team.  A productive high-functioning team:

  • Makes better, faster decisions

  • Taps into the skills and opinions of all members

  • Avoids wasting time and energy on politics, confusion, and destructive conflict

  • Avoids wasting time talking about the wrong issues and revisiting the same topics over and over again because of a lack of buy-in

  • Creates a competitive advantage

  • Is more fun to be on

This program will create a learning experience that helps individuals and organizations reveal what it takes to build a truly cohesive and effective team in the most approachable, competent, and effective way possible.  Focusing on trust, conflict, commitment, accountability and results, the assessment and accompanying program can take your intact work teams to the next level.  This preview of the program will explore the various components of the model and explain how participants can gain access to this remarkable tool. Stacy Myers founded Advanced Management, Inc. in 1988 and is President of the company.  He has served as a consultant and/or facilitator to over a hundred of the Fortune 500 companies. He is very active professionally in the American Society for Training & Development and the Society for Human Resources Management.  The seminar is free for Chamber members and $10 for non-Chamber members. A limited number of seats are available. Reserve your space for this valuable presentation by Tuesday, July 14. Call the Chamber at 865-457-2559 or email accc@andersoncountychamber.org to reserve.

RT woman dies after Friday wreck in Knox

A 24-year-old Rocky Top woman died over the weekend from injuries she sustained in a four-vehicle accident early Friday morning. Knoxville Police say that 24-year-old Kristin Woods of Rocky Top was driving a Ford Mustang which had slowed for the beginning of a construction zone on the off ramp to I-275 North from I-40 West just before 5 am Friday when she was rear-ended by an SUV driven by a 26-year-old man who KPD officers say was using his cell phone when the crash happened. The chain-reaction crash collected two other vehicles. All of the drivers and the passenger in Woods' car, identified as 52-year-old Lesha Massengill, were taken to UT Medical Center for treatment. Woods succumbed to her injuries late Friday afternoon. The driver of the SUV, William Jerde, is facing charges pending the completion of the KPD investigation.

4 CFD Ffs attain advanced certification

Four City of Clinton firefighters received their Advanced EMT Certification from Roane State Community College earlier this year.  Lt Daniel Adams, Fire Fighters Jeremy Bray, Bradley Bittinger and Brice Kidwell all received certification after the completion of their two semesters of college-level training.  The course consisted of two full-time college semesters with over 500 hours of classroom learning, 276 hours of ambulance clinicals, state level skills check offs and a National Registry computer-based examination. The skills included in this level of training include, but are not limited to.: advanced airway management techniques, intravenous therapy (IV), cardiac arrest management, pediatric intraosseous infusion (IO), and medication administration, among others. We are extremely proud of these firefighters and they may now provide a better service to all the citizens of Clinton.

Wells honored with Tourism Award

The Middle East Tennessee Tourism Council recently announced that Stephanie Wells, Director of the Anderson County Tourism Council, is the recipient of the 2015 Chuck Davis Tourism Award. The award is named in honor of a long-time industry professional who worked in several counties in the region and was the founding chairman of the East Tennessee Crossing Byway (Hwy. 25 E). Davis passed away in April 2006, but his legacy serves as an example of leadership to our regional Chambers and Convention and Visitors Bureaus. "Stephanie's marketing expertise and leadership has served the entire region," said, Molly Gilbert, Director of the 16-county regional non-profit marketing Council.  During Wells’ tenure with the Tourism Council, she has created numerous advertising campaigns and promotional materials that has contributed to an increase in the economic impact of tourism from $65 million to $111 million for Anderson County. Tennessee Department of Tourist Development East Tennessee Regional Director Dave Jones assisted in recognizing Wells at the 49th Annual Awards Banquet for the East Tennessee Development District and the East Tennessee Human Resource Agency. “It is a great honor to receive the Chuck Davis Award,” said Wells. “Chuck was one of my mentors and he was just as focused on seeing the region succeed as he was on seeing his county succeed. I take great pride in receiving an award given by professionals in my industry.” The Middle East Tennessee Tourism Council (METTC) was established in 1980 to jointly market tourism in Anderson, Blount, Campbell, Claiborne, Cocke, Grainger, Hamblen, Jefferson, Knox, Loudon, Monroe, Morgan, Roane, Sevier, Scott and Union Counties. Wells has served three separate terms as chairperson of METTC and has served on the board for 15 years.

Grants for 6 arts organizations in AC

Tennessee legislators announced Friday that seven arts grants worth $72,190 have been awarded to six organizations in Anderson County. The recipients include the Children's Museum of Oak Ridge, Oak Ridge Community Playhouse, Oak Ridge Civic Music Association, Oak Ridge Community Art Center, Tennessee Mountain Writers, and Appalachian Arts Craft Center. The grants include two grants with a combined total of $20,800 for the Children’s Museum of Oak Ridge in the categories of Arts Education-Community Learning and Partnership Support.

The other grants include:

  • $20,700 to the Oak Ridge Community Playhouse in the category of Partnership Support,

  • $15,750 to the Oak Ridge Civic Music Association in the category of Partnership Support,

  • $11,270 to the Oak Ridge Community Art Center in the category of Partnership Support,

  • $2,860 to the Tennessee Mountain Writers in the category of Art Project Support, and

  • $810 to the Appalachian Arts Craft Center in the category of Art Project Support.

The grants are from the Tennessee Arts Commission. They are made possible through an appropriation of state funds by the Tennessee General Assembly, federal dollars from the National Endowment for the Arts, and by Tennesseans who buy specialty license plates, a press release said. The grants were announced Friday by Tennessee Senator Randy McNally, an Oak Ridge Republican; Senator Ken Yager, a Kingston Republican; Representative John Ragan, an Oak Ridge Republican; Representative Dennis Powers, a Jacksboro Republican; and Representative Kent Calfee, a Kingston Republican. According to Tennessee Art Commission Executive Director Anne Pope, the Arts Commission will award approximately 1,000 community grants in both urban and rural areas through the 2016 fiscal year, totaling $5.3 million. The allocation process involves a review by citizen advisory panels made up of Tennesseans with expertise in appropriate disciplines and a final review by the full 15-member Commission.

ORT Follow-up: More on ouster suit appeal

(Oak Ridge Today) The Tennessee Court of Appeals on Thursday affirmed the decision of a trial court to dismiss an ouster complaint filed against Anderson County Law Director Jay Yeager.  Twenty-two Anderson County residents tried to remove Yeager, who was appointed law director in September 2006, from his office under Tennessee’s ouster law. The complaint was originally filed in Anderson County Chancery Court in May 2014 and amended the next month.  The Anderson County Chancery Court issued an order granting Yeager’s motion to dismiss on September 22, 2014, but the case was appealed. On Thursday, a three-judge panel of the court, which heard oral arguments in April, upheld the trial court’s decision to grant the motion to dismiss, which was issued by Special Judge Don R. Ash.  I deeply appreciate the County Commission and the Legal Services Advisory Committee for their continued support and confidence during these very difficult times for myself and my family,” Yeager said Thursday morning.  The debate hinged on whether the county law director is a public office subject to the ouster law or if he or she is instead a public employee. The ouster law provides a method for removing individuals from public office, but it does not apply to workers who are considered public employees.  The trial court concluded that the law director’s position is not a public office. The Tennessee Court of Appeals agreed, saying the county law director is subject to oversight by an 11-member advisory committee that may remove him or her at any time with the subsequent approval of the county legislature.  The appellate court said the purpose of the ouster law is to “rid the public of unworthy officials” and “to improve the public service, and to free the public from an unfit officer.” Certain procedures put into place by the Tennessee General Assembly demonstrate the legislature’s intent to provide a speedy method for removing unfit public officials, the court said.  Without such a mechanism, it is possible that a public official could openly engage in willful misconduct without fear of losing office prior to the expiration of his or her term,” the three-judge panel said. “Such a situation is certainly untenable. However, that possibility does not exist where, as is the case here, the position in question is subject to oversight by a committee with the power to remove its holder at any time, with or without cause.”  In this case, the judges said, the private act of 2006 that created the law director’s office created an oversight committee that is capable of removing the county law director “at any time, for any reason.”  Yeager could be removed by a two-thirds vote of the Legal Services Advisory Committee and then a two-thirds vote of the Anderson County Commission. But so far, no members of the committee or the commission have asked for him to be removed.  Though the position of county law director has some of the characteristics commonly associated with a public office, as opposed to mere employment, we conclude that because the position is subject to the oversight of an advisory committee, which may remove the individual holding the position with the approval of the county legislative body, it is not a public office under the ouster law,” the judges said. “We therefore affirm the ruling of the trial court dismissing the petitioners’ action. Costs of this appeal are taxed to the petitioners.”  Through attorney Greg Brown, Anderson County resident Lynn Byrge and his fellow petitioners said they were disappointed by the Court of Appeals ruling and have authorized their attorneys to prepare an application for rehearing by the Court of Appeals or review by the Tennessee Supreme Court. For more, including reaction from the plaintiffs, visit www.oakridgetoday.com.

(Summary of Appeals Court ruling) The petitioners filed this action seeking to remove the respondent from the position of county law director of Anderson County pursuant to Tennessee’s ouster law, found at Tennessee Code Annotated section 8-47-101. The respondent filed a motion to dismiss, which the trial court granted after concluding that the position of county law director is not a public office subject to the ouster law. On appeal, the petitioners argue that the trial court erred in concluding that the position of county law director is not a public office. Because the county law director is subject to oversight by an advisory committee that may remove him or her at any time with the subsequent approval of the county legislature, we affirm the ruling of the trial court.

ORT: Statute of limitations favors MMC

(Oak Ridge Today) A three-judge appeals court panel has ruled in favor of Covenant Health and two other defendants in five lawsuits that alleged that the absence of shielding in part of the emergency department at Methodist Medical Center exposed five X-ray and radiologic technologists, including two who were pregnant, to excessive radiation.  The unanimous opinions by the three Tennessee Court of Appeals judges were filed June 9 in Knoxville. They affirmed an order by Anderson County Circuit Court Judge Donald R. Elledge granting a summary judgement in favor of the defendants: Covenant Health, Rentenbach Engineering Company, and TEG Architects LLC.  The lawsuits were filed in January 2014 by Connie Raby, Keith Gillis, Michael Phillips, Mary Ridenour on behalf of her and her child, and Micah Noelle Lewellen on behalf of her and her child.  The lawsuits alleged that the technologists 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, which opened in February 2006 as part of a hospital remodel, were built without the required lead shielding, elevating the workers’ risk of health problems, including cancer.  But the defendants filed motions for summary judgment, and Elledge granted them. The defendants argued that a construction statute known as the statute of repose had expired.  But the plaintiffs appealed, arguing that the statute of repose did not run because the absence of the required shielding in the radiology facilities meant the project was not substantially completed on the date determined by the Anderson County Circuit Court.  The Tennessee Court of Appeals disagreed.  We hold…that the radiology facilities, while perhaps defective, were used for their intended purpose and were substantially complete as found by the trial court,” the three-judge panel said in its unanimous decision. “The construction statute of repose expired and serves to defeat plaintiffs’ claims. We affirm the trial court.” For more, visit www.oakridgetoday.com.

K-31 demolition completed

Demolition was completed Friday of the K-31 Building in Oak Ridge, the fourth of five gaseous diffusion buildings removed from the former uranium enrichment site. The East Tennessee Technology Park, once called the Oak Ridge Gaseous Diffusion Plant, was built in the 1940s as part of the Manhattan Project to enrich uranium for the atomic bombs that would end World War II. It later produced enriched uranium for commercial and defense purposes. Operations ceased in 1985 and the site was shut down in 1987. The U.S Department of Energy then began cleanup operations. Most of the hazardous materials from the K-31 building were removed in 2005. The remaining building, K-27, is projected to be demolished by next year. Under DOE’s reindustrialization program, property at ETTP is being transferred to the private sector as the agency works to make the site a private sector industrial park.

Missing Boy's body found

The body of the five-year-old boy who went missing Wednesday afternoon was found in a pond near his family’s home in Anderson County, authorities said.  Ground search teams working with K-9s tracked the missing child, Odin Elwood Fitton, to a pond in the creek near the family home on Brushy Valley Road, Anderson County Sheriff’s Department Chief Deputy Mark Lucas said.  “Our dive team was called to search the water, and sadly, the child’s body was found,” Lucas said Wednesday night.  Odin was reported missing at about 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, and ground and air searches began shortly after that. His family’s home is in the 1600 block of Brushy Valley Road near Interstate 75.  Lucas said about 100 people were involved in the search, including law enforcement officers and personnel from fire and rescue agencies from across the region.  “This not only included deputies from our agency but officers from many others, including search and rescue teams from the Knoxville Police Department, the Knox County Sheriff’s Office, and the Campbell County Sheriff’s Office,” Lucas said. “Other teams were from the Anderson County Rescue Squad, the Andersonville Fire Department, and many other fire and rescue agencies not only from Anderson County but Campbell and other counties as well.”  Lucas said the Tennessee Highway Patrol helped search Interstate 75 and nearby roads. K-9 bloodhounds from the Anderson County Sheriff’s Department, the Blount County Sheriff’s Office, and the Knoxville Police Department were used to aid the search teams.  The Knox County Sheriff’s Office provided a helicopter for air searches throughout the day.  “Our thanks to all those who came to assist,” Lucas said. “Our thanks to the community and the neighbors who came to assist as well. We also wish to thank the many others who came and were standing by, ready and willing to help if needed. It is truly a blessing to see our community come together to help others even as we are sad at the tragic ending.  Our hearts are heavy, and our thoughts and prayers are with the family in their time of sorrow.” 

Clinton OKs tax hike

The Clinton City Council approved a new city budget at its meeting Monday night, but it is still unknown how much the property tax rate will increase.  The city council passed the $11,159,716 budget on a 6-1 vote. Mayor Scott Burton was the lone dissenting vote.  The increased property rate tax cannot be decided until the county finishes a reappraisal of various homes, businesses and industries.  The city's current tax rate is 76 cents per $100 assessment.  Mayor Burton did not have an estimate for how much the current property tax rate would increase.

SECRET CITY FESTIVAL

Rumor that circulated widely this month said this was going to be the last year for the Secret City Festival.  But city officials said it’s premature to say that.  It is true that a Special Events Advisory Task Force has been studying changes to the annual festival, including moving it from June and making it into an expanded celebration in the fall, starting in October and continuing through Veterans Day (November 11). It could be renamed the Secret City Celebration, implemented by a new nonprofit expected to become self-sustaining within five years, and add events while continuing to include the Secret City Festival.  At a Wednesday evening meeting, Task Force members said many of the current festival activities could continue, including music, World War II re-enactments, historical displays, and children’s activities. But they also said there could be opportunities for new partnerships with other organizations, including Wounded Warriors and Oak Ridge Playhouse. And it’s not clear that the Secret City Festival would continue to be a two-day event.  Task Force members say they’re hoping to help create something bigger and better.  “This committee is not recommending the demise of the Secret City Festival,” Oak Ridge City Council member Trina Baughn said after the meeting. Baughn is chair of the Task Force.

Secret City Festival sets records

(Submitted) The 2015 Oak Ridge Secret City Festival drew record attendance, despite the heat, on June 12-13. Concerts by the Marshall Tucker Band and Three Dog Night attracted the highest number of spectators in festival history.  We were ecstatic with the turnout for both concerts,” says, Marc DeRose, Executive Director of the Oak Ridge Convention and Visitors Bureau, “we knew the bands would be popular but didn’t expect to see quite so many people. It was outstanding!”  Attendances for The Marshall Tucker Band and Three Dog Night were 2,200+ and 3,500+, respectively. The previous record was 2,300 for the Rick Springfield concert in 2013. “After seeing how many tickets were sold at the gate for Friday’s Marshall Tucker concert, we decided to move the concert fences back to accommodate the expected additional 1,000+ spectators for Three Dog Night.” explains DeRose.  Throughout the day on Friday and Saturday festival-goers took part in various activities, from waterslides to the TN Creates Juried Art Show, by entertainers, vendors and exhibitors. The most popular event during the day on Saturday was the World War II Battle of Normandy Reenactment.  In the extreme heat of the afternoon, WWII reenactors gave their all to portray the battle in a spectacular visual. The thunderous discharge of weaponry including tanks, artillery and the anti-aircraft weapon, Flak 88, could be heard from all over Oak Ridge.  The success of the 2015 festival was really due to the hard work of our city staff and our numerous volunteers. We are also very grateful for the generous contributions of our festival sponsors, without whom we could never have put on the festival.” Said Jon Hetrick, Director of Recreation and Parks for the City of Oak Ridge.

OS Council approves budget, 30-cent tax rate increase

The Oliver Springs Town Council met Thursday and passed their budget despite not having a Roane County certified tax rate, as much of their city is in Anderson County, and passed a 30 cent property tax rate increase. The Council approved it on a 5 to 1 vote with Alderman Robert Miller voting against it after indicating he would have supported a 15 cent increase but felt the30 cent increase was just too high. The cost of inflation and not having raised taxes in the past several years was identified by city officials as the biggest reasons why the rate will increase from its current rate of $1.02 per $100 of assessed value to $1.32, and could increase even further when the state sets the certified tax rates following five-year property value reappraisals in both Anderson and Roane counties. The budget passed Thursday will go into effect July 1st. Last Thursday the council met for a budget workshop, where they settled upon the proposal that was adopted last night and there was little discussion before the vote. Earlier this month the Oliver Springs Council in its role as the town's water board, decided to raise water rates by 15%. The Council only has to pass their budget on one reading and no citizens spoke up against it. Property values in both Anderson and Roane counties are expected to drop by about 4%, but several large appeals of business reappraisals in Anderson and problems with Roane County completing the overall reappraisal process have led to delays in the state Board of Equalization setting the certified tax rate, which is the rate that ensures that local governments bring in as much revenue from property taxes as they did before the reappraisals. With property values dropping that means that the tax rate must increase to meet that statute and in Anderson County, it appears likely that increase will be around 14 cents. The City Councils of Clinton and Oak Ridge are looking at possible tax hikes and the Anderson County school system is asking the County Commission to consider a 22-cent tax increase to pay for raises for teachers and cover the costs of state-mandated capital projects and those budget processes will play out over the next few weeks.

Claxton Principal headed to OR central office

Claxton Elementary School Principal Myles Hebrard has accepted the position of special education supervisor at Oak Ridge Schools beginning July 1. Hebrard replaces Hal Jernigan, who will retire at the end of this month. Hebrard was principal of Claxton Elementary School in Anderson County Schools for the past seven years, and spent several years at Clinton Middle School before that. He has a master's degree and education specialist degree from the University of Tennessee and is currently working on his doctorate in educational leadership.

Airport Authority budget includes OR funding

The Metropolitan Knoxville Airport Authority on Wednesday approved a 2016 fiscal year budget that will provide about $33.5 million for capital improvements at McGhee Tyson and Downtown Island airports as well as money to help in the development of a proposed airport in Oak Ridge. The capital improvement program budget includes for $31.2 million for McGhee Tyson Airport, $2.3 million for Downtown Island Airport and $722,500 toward a proposed Oak Ridge general aviation airport.

EVC Early Learning Center named “Golden Sneaker” facility

(AC Mayor's Office) The Emory Valley Early Learning Center, in Oak Ridge, recently completed all requirements to be considered a “Gold Sneaker” facility by the State of Tennessee. And, on June 10, Anderson County Mayor Terry Frank and employees of the Anderson County Health Department presented Emory Valley Learning Center with its Gold Sneaker incentives. The Gold Sneaker Initiative designation, developed by the Tennessee Department of Health, is an enhanced certification for daycares in Tennessee and requires that these centers maintain rigorous standards of physical activity, nutrition and a tobacco-free campus. “The team at Emory Valley Center was so proud of their recognition, as they should be,” Mayor Frank said. “A focus on health and wellness during the early years is assuredly an investment in a healthy adulthood. I congratulate their wonderful team’s hard work and commitment meeting the standards of the Governor and the Department of Health.” The Emory Valley Early Learning Center has completed all required trainings from the Tennessee Department of Health and the Tennessee Department of Human Services and received a Certificate of Achievement signed by Governor Bill Haslam. The Emory Valley Early Learning Center also received two “Gold Sneaker” stickers placed at the entrance to the facility; recognition on the Gold Sneaker website; and access to an electronic “Gold Sneaker” logo for use on its promotional materials. In addition, Emory Valley Early Learning Center received an incentive package of materials to help provide learning experiences for children related to physical activity, nutrition and a tobacco-free environment. Research has confirmed that early childhood is the optimal time to establish healthy lifestyle habits. Emory Valley Early Learning Center has always been in the forefront of innovative and healthy daycare programming and this newest step confirms their commitment to helping Anderson County children be the healthiest they can be.

OR basketball now a family affair

Oak Ridge High School announced Wednesday that they have hired Paige Green, the wife of boys' basketball coach Aaron Green, as the next coach of the Lady Wildcat basketball program. This will be her first head coaching job at the high school level but has an extensive basketball background, including her time as a standout player as Bradley Central High School and then later at Vanderbilt University. She will succeed David Scott, who stepped down earlier this year to spend more time with his family.

Sunday wreck in Union claims life of AC woman

The Tennessee Highway Patrol says that an Andersonville woman was killed in a single-vehicle accident early Sunday morning in Union County. According to the THP, 32-year-old Amanda Blevins had been headed east on Sharps Chapel Road near Brewer Hollow Road shortly after 1:30 am Sunday when her 2002 Volkswagen Beetle ran off the right side of the road, went into a ditch and collided with a large boulder. Blevins, who was not wearing her seatbelt, died in the accident. No other vehicles were involved and Blevins was the lone occupant of the car.

ORT: Cinder calling it a career in OR

(Oak Ridge Today) Gary Cinder, who has been Oak Ridge public works director for 24 years and interim city manager twice, is retiring September 4. Cinder has been in public service for 33 years. He could go to work in the private sector, possibly as a consultant. Besides Oak Ridge, Cinder has also worked with public utilities in the Orlando, Florida, area. Cinder served as interim city manager in 2003 and 2004 before Jim O’Connor was hired in March 2004. Cinder served as interim city manager again after O’Connor resigned in January 2010 and before current City Manager Mark Watson was hired in August 2010. Cinder’s retirement follows the retirement of Oak Ridge City Engineer Steve Byrd, who was also a Public Works Department employee. Roger Flynn is the acting city engineer.  For more on Cinder's career and accomplishments, visit our partners at www.oakridgetoday.com

Clinton, OR educators to serve on Governor's Teacher Cabinet

One teacher from Oak Ridge and one teacher from Clinton have been selected to serve on the first Governor’s Teacher Cabinet. The Clinton teacher, Abbey Kidwell, is a fourth-grade teacher at South Clinton Elementary School. The Oak Ridge teacher, Cathy Ginel, is a seventh-grade science teacher at Robertsville Middle School. Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam announced the appointment of the 18 teachers to the cabinet on Tuesday. The cabinet will meet quarterly with Haslam and Education Commissioner Candice McQueen to share real-time information from the classroom, give advice on policy considerations, and provide a direct line of communication to schools and communities. Directors of schools were asked to nominate one teacher from each of their districts, and 18 classroom teachers were selected from across the state based on the following criteria: The teachers should be focused on student achievement, encourage collaboration among colleagues, demonstrate leadership, be solutions-oriented, and relentlessly pursue excellence, according to a state press release. It said the teacher cabinet includes a diverse mix of backgrounds and experience. Members represent each of the state’s three grand divisions as well as cities, suburbs, and rural areas and have varying years of experience teaching first through 12th grades.

BBB:  Exercise turns into actual emergency response

UCOR conducted an emergency exercise at the East Tennessee Technology Park (ETTP) at 7:30  this morning but several hours into it an actual emergency took place at one of the buildings on-site that was being decommissioned, where  6 workers  were  exposed to  Hydrogen Sulphide emissions  and had to be checked out by emergency staff already on scene for the exercise. BBB confirmed at around 10.30 am that Kingston Fire personnel were sent to K-25 to assist in the hazardous leak issue.  The 6 workers received  the all-clear at around 11 am and the leak  was contained. The exercise concluded as the real emergency was taking place. The simulation was  being conducted in coordination with the Department of Energy and Tennessee Emergency Management Agency. It  involved participants from multiple state agencies; the city of Oak Ridge; and Anderson, Knox, Loudon, and Roane counties.  This full-participation exercise is conducted every three years at ETTP. These exercises are also held on alternate years at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the Y-12 National Security Complex.

AC Senior Center continues march to fruition

The Anderson County Commission approved a measure Monday night that knocks down one more hurdle in senior citizens' quest for a new senior center. Commissioners voted unanimously to ask Mayor Terry Frank to formally request, in writing, that ETHRA voluntarily end its contract to operate the Office on Aging and instead cede control to the county. That, coupled with the formality of submitting a Request for Proposals—or RFP—for vendors with a possible site, means that the Office on Aging is indeed one step closer to moving into a new and larger building. Currently, they have an offer for a lease on a building on South Seivers Boulevard in the heart of Clinton to serve as a new Senior Center and all indications are that once the bureaucratic hurdles are cleared, they could begin moving in by the end of this summer. Also on Monday, commissioners voted to start an ankle bracelet pilot program to monitor indigent, non-violent, misdemeanor offenders at a cost of roughly $7 per day. To house an inmate in the jail costs between $50 and $60 a day and this measure was recommended by the Alternatives to Incarceration Committee. No more than 20 offenders per month would have the monitoring devices and would wear them for up to 60 days at the discretion of county judges. The Commission will meet next Tuesday June 23rd at 6:30 pm to discuss this year's budget proposal. If needed, a second special called meeting would be held on Monday June 29th. In the event that the state has not certified a tax rate following reappraisals by July 1st, the start of the new fiscal year, Commissioners on Monday did adopt a continuing resolution that will keep the government funded until the tax rate can be finalized.

Bartley no longer suspected in Sunday robbery

Monday afternoon, the Anderson County DA's office rescinded its arrest warrant for convicted Campbell County school shooter Kenneth Bartley after investigators determined that he was not responsible for a Sunday morning armed robbery outside Rocky Top. Investigators had identified him as a suspect in the robbery at the Marathon gas station on Lake City Highway but after traveling to Vienna, Virginia, where authorities had picked him up on a fugitive warrant, officials determined that he was not the man seen in surveillance camera footage robbing the clerk at gunpoint, although there is a strong resemblance. Underscoring that conclusion, Bartley's attorney Greg Isaacs, on Monday produced several pieces of evidence that exonerated his client, including data from a GPS program on his cell that he says proves that it was “literally impossible” for Bartley to have robbed the store and then made the seven- or eight-hour drive back to Northern Virginia. He also produced a ticket from the Washington DC public transit system—the Metro—and a time-stamped photo of him in Tysons Corner in Northern Virginia as well as a statement from his former counselor Erin TePaske, with whom Bartley lived until the death of her 3-year-old son in an incident that authorities have so far called an accidental fall. TePaske told investigators that she and Bartley had hiked on Saturday and that he had stayed overnight at her home and hadn't woken up until Sunday afternoon. Despite a warrant for his arrest on violating his probation out of Campbell County, he was not brought back to Tennessee because the underlying charges he is on probation for are misdemeanors. Isaacs called the ACSD's decision to name Bartley as a suspect and issue an arrest warrant a “rush to judgment” and said that it could have created a dangerous situation, both to his client and to the public as an armed robbery suspect is still on the loose. Despite what Isaacs called the ACSD's “mistake,” he said he does not plan to file any legal action against the county. Meanwhile, authorities have turned their attention to a similar robbery committed on May 18th in Huntsville in Scott County, in which a man wearing the same glasses and toboggan seen worn by the suspect in Sunday's robbery robbed a convenience store. That man might be the same suspect who robbed a gas station in Kentucky on May 20th and punched and kicked a female clerk in the face before fleeing with cash. If you have any information about Sunday's robbery in Anderson County, call the ACSD at 457-2414.

OS garbage truck crash causes diesel leak

A Waste Management garbage truck overturned Monday morning as it entered Tri-County Boulevard from Windrock Road in Oliver Springs. The driver in the 6:30 am accident received only minor injuries and was taken to Methodist Medical Center for treatment. The crash became a hazardous materials incident when approximately 35 to 40 gallons of diesel fuel leaked from the truck in to nearby Indian Creek. A hazmat team joined the HazMat team from the Oak Ridge Fire Department in containing and cleaning the spill. Oliver Springs Police and Fire were also on the scene.

TWRA I.D.s drowning victim

State officials have identified the man who died in a boating accident on Norris Lake on Sunday as Roman Martin Weaver, 29, of Jonesville, Virginia. Investigators from the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency said that Weaver was killed after falling from an inner tube being towed behind a rented pontoon boat being operated by Blake Oliver, age 28, also of Jonesville. According to investigators, Weaver fell from the inner tube around 1:30 p.m. Sunday and could not be located by Oliver or bystanders who helped. TWRA and rescue crews from Union County and Paulette Rescue Squads recovered Weaver’s body at about 8:05 p.m. Sunday in 60 feet of water by using a remote operated vehicle, or ROV.

OR Community Band announces 4th plans

The Oak Ridge Community Band Independence Day Concert will be held at 7:30 pm, July 4 at A.K. Bissell Park, 1403 Oak Ridge Turnpike, Oak Ridge. This is a FREE concert but donations are gratefully accepted to help offset expenses. The concert is followed by the annual Oak Ridge City Fireworks Display. Bring lawn chairs or blankets for outdoors seating and come early to get good seats for both the concert and fireworks. The concert program will feature special guest vocalists as the band performs patriotic, swing, and show tunes. Razzleberry's Ice Cream Lab will provide refreshments. For more information, visit www.orcb.org or call 865-482-3568.

CHS football season ticket packages offered

This season Clinton High School is selling football season tickets in a package deal. For $60.00 you will receive 5 tickets, a parking pass, a Dragon Card, a free oil change,and a hot dog for each game, plus $2.00 off hat or visor, 2$0.00 off any $100.00 merchandise purchase and a free lanyard with t-shirt purchase. 1200 of these packages are available.

ACSD IDs Bartley as suspect in robbery, investigators in Virginia

The Anderson County Sheriff's Department says that its investigators traveled to Vienna, Virgina Sunday to interview convicted Campbell County school shooter Kenneth Bartley in connection to an armed robbery reported Sunday morning at the Marathon Gas Station on Lake City Highway near Rocky Top. The incident occurred at around 8 am, when a white male matching Bartley's description came in to the store and displayed a pistol before making off with an undisclosed amount of cash. Witnesses described the suspect and the investigation identified Bartley as the suspect. Anderson County authorities say they have obtained an arrest warrant for Bartley on a charge of aggravated robbery and after he was located in Virginia, sent investigators to interview him. WBIR TV reports that he is in custody in Vienna. Bartley's attorney, Greg Isaacs said Sunday that his firm has “proof” that Bartley was not in the state of Tennessee at the time of Sunday's incident. Isaacs also says that he has been in contact with his client and has continued to urge him to return to the state to face a violation of probation charge out of Campbell County stemming from his previous convictions on domestic violence charges involving his parents in separate incidents. Isaacs urged law enforcement and the public to not “rush to judgment” in this case. No one was injured in the robbery. Anderson County authorities have not disclosed what led them to pinpoint Bartley as a suspect. When more information becomes available we will pass it along to you.

CPD arrests robbery suspect in Knoxville

Clinton Police arrested a man on aggravated robbery charges early Sunday following an armed robbery at the BP gas station next to the interstate on Seivers Boulevard Saturday night. The incident occurred around 10:30 pm Saturday when a white male later identified as Wallace wade Tidwell III entered the store and used the restroom. The clerk told officers that he had come out of the bathroom, approached the counter and demanded the cash from the register. The clerk was then ordered to go in to the back and count to 500 as the suspect fled. Tidwell was located by Detective Sergeant Russell Barker with the Clinton Police Department at the Scottish Inn on Callahan Drive in Knoxville. Tidwell refused to leave his motel room for about two and a half hours, but eventually surrendered and was taken to the Anderson County Jail, where he was booked on the robbery charge at 6 am Sunday. No one was hurt in the incident.

THP: Friday Roane wreck kills 1

A wreck Friday on I-40 in Roane County killed a Knoxville woman and injured another. The Tennessee Highway Patrol says that the crash involved only one vehicle and occurred at around 11:15 am on I-40 East near mile marker 350. Troopers reported that 31-year-old Tonya Word had been driving a 2003 GMC Envoy when she lost control while negotiating a right turn and left the roadway. The SUV flipped several times and landed on the passenger side. The passenger, 52-year-old Dorothy Currie, was injured in the crash. Both women were wearing seatbelts, according to the THP.

ORT: Trio rescued after getting lost on Haw Ridge

According to our partners at Oak Ridge Today, the Oak Ridge Fire Department used cell phone signals and a search crew in a boat to rescue mountain bikers lost at Haw Ridge Park after dark on Sunday. Dispatchers received a call that the three young men were lost at about 10 p.m. Sunday. Three firefighters launched a boat stored at East Tennessee Technology Park, the former K-25 site, by about 10:45 p.m. from a boat ramp at Solway Park, which is near Haw Ridge Park. The mountain bikers were found at about 11 p.m. between an island and power lines that cross over the Clinch River to Solway. Rescuers used cell phone pings and the men’s cell phone coordinates to help find them. They were reported to be about three miles from the parking area at Haw Ridge Park on Red Shore Trail. The three were not injured, and firefighters shuttled them from a boat ramp at Solway Park back to their vehicle at Haw Ridge Park. Their identities were not immediately available.

GSMNP encourages hiking with the family

Never been hiking with your kids? Great Smoky Mountains National Park is presenting a series of programs this summer to help introduce families to hiking in the park. These ranger led programs will give you advice on how to prepare for a hike, what to take, what to watch out for, and some fun activities that you can do with children while hiking. Not sure about bringing your toddler or your 5 year old on a hike? There will be some suggestions for bringing along these young ones too! Hiking can be a “must do” family activity just like going to the pool, eating watermelon, and playing baseball. There is no better way to spend part of the day, than walking the trail discovering grasshoppers, splashing in a stream, and burning off some energy. Top that off with a lunch of PB&J sandwiches and you’ve had a fun day and some tales to relive next time you see grandma, of course, she may join you for the hike! The park is kicking off these family programs on Saturday, June 20 with a guest speaker and an opportunity to try out some family friendly camping and hiking equipment. Saturday, June 20 at 10:30 a.m. - Jeff Alt, author of Get Your Kids Hiking: How to Start Them Young and Keep It Fun, will kick off the series with a program for parents and kids. This short family stroll turns a walk in the park into a fun-filled, multi-dimensional adventure. Parents will learn how a few simple techniques and some basic equipment can turn any walk in the woods into a safe and fun hike that kids of all ages will enjoy. Those interested should meet in front of the Sugarlands Visitor Center for this short walk in the woods. All children must be accompanied by an adult caregiver.Saturday, June 20 from 10:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. – A mock campsite will be set up outside of Sugarlands Visitor Center to showcase different types of family friendly hiking and camping equipment. This program will give children an opportunity to check out a tent, sleeping bags, and some cool hiking gear. Infant backpack carriers will also be available for parents to test. The park is partnering with Nantahala Outdoor Center for this learning opportunity. If you can’t make it on Saturday, June 20, three other ranger led hikes, especially designed for families, will be held throughout the summer.  Tuesday, June 23 at 10:30 a.m. – Hike to Fern Branch Falls along Porters Creek...Join a ranger for an easy to moderate hike along beautiful Porters Creek to explore old log cabin, wildflowers, and waterfalls. Distance roundtrip is 3.6 miles and is designed for youth ages 5-8. Program will last 3 ½ hours so please bring a picnic lunch and plenty of water. Sign up at Sugarlands Visitor Center.  Tuesday, July 21 at 10:00 a.m. – Hike Hen Wallow Falls...Beat the crowds at this “hidden gem” and see a beautiful waterfall, search for salamanders and see some of the Smokies’ oldest trees with a park ranger on this moderate hike. Recommended for youth ages 7-10, the hike will cover a distance of 4.3 miles and last 4 hours. Please bring a picnic lunch, snacks and plenty of water. Sign up at Sugarlands Visitor Center.  Tuesday, August 11 at 9:30 a.m. – Hike to Chimney Tops...Get your heart pumping on this high elevation strenuous ranger-led challenge hike. If the climb doesn’t take your breath away the view from Chimney Tops surely will! Recommended for youth ages 10 and up, the hike will include some rock scrambling and will cover a distance of 4 miles round trip lasting 4 hours. Bring a picnic lunch, snacks and plenty of water. Sign up at Sugarlands Visitor Center.

For more information and to sign up for the Tuesday hikes please call (865) 436-1291.

Can't make this up: Car wrecks in driving school parking lot

From the irony department today, a Wednesday morning traffic accident in the parking lot of the Driving School at 205 Main Street in Clinton injured no one. A woman apparently lost control of her 2008 Ford Fusion in the parking lot and her car went over an embankment at around 8 am Wednesday. The woman was not injured and the car was removed from the scene. At the request of the driver, no formal accident report was filed by Clinton Police.

 

AC Senior Center needs donations

Items needed for new building

Donated or sponsored by :
2 wheelers ACOA (2)
bags : Cloth , for 2nd harvest etc .
 
Baskets for Activities supplies
 
Big screen TV Stanley Foust (1)
Bingo Game
 
bingo items
 
bingo prizes
 
board games
 
Book cases several
 
books Fiction & Non Fiction : for reading area
 
bowls : all sizes
 
Bowls : serving Size about 30 -50
 
bulletin boards: several
 
Can opener
 
chairs : Lots ETHRA,
chalk boards : 2 or Dry Erase boards
 
cleaning supplies
 
cleaning supplies for Clients in need
 
Clocks : Large
 
Coat Rack/s
 
Coffee : for senior center
 
coffee cups
 
coffee cups and Saucers for tea time
 
coffee maker large : 2 Janice Johnson : Nutrition Dept , Renee Burchfield
coffee table
 
computers for computer classes (used is fine )
 
condiments (all kinds)
 
containers with lids : all sizes
 
Cook stove
 
Cook Ware Office on Aging (1)
couch
 
craft paper
 
croc/knitting items
 
dart board Donna Medley
décor
 
Deep fryers Felicia Foust (1)
Depends
 
Desk several ETHRA, Jim Hackworth
dish towels
 
Dishes
 
Display stands several
 
Drinking Straws ACOA (2)
drinks of all kinds
 
dry erase boards
 
dry erase markers
 
ensure
 
Exercise equipment : limited area
 
extension cords
 
file cabinets several Jim Hackworth, ETHRA, ACOA
freezer
 
fridge/ more then one
 
HB products for Clients in need
 
ice machine
 
Kettles : large
 
kitchen table and chairs - Several for Sr lunches
 
knifes
 
laminator / electric one Ron Langley (1)
Laminator supplies
 
lamps : for social room
 
Large crock pots Janice Johnson : Nutrition Dept
large standing ezels at least 2
 
Large Trash Cans : about 6
 
locking cabinets : several
 
magazines : for reading area
 
markers
 
Mixer
 
Money or gift cards to purchass items
 
movies : DVD's for movie days
 
napkins
 
other cookers Renee Burchfield
other Utensils
 
Paper cups
 
paper note books for seniors for Classes
 
paper plates
 
paper products for clients in need
 
pens
 
plants : for décor
 
plastic ware
 
Plates : about 50
 
Playing Cards : Several
 
pool table Robert Phillips
popcorn : for movie day
 
popcorn machine
 
power strips
 
puzzles & puzzle books
 
Radio with tape/cd player
 
rubber bands
 
rugs for door areas
 
scissors : several
 
shelving / shelves lots
 
sign for Senior Center
 
Silver ware
 
small round tables with chairs Comfort Inn of Clinton
sponsor for Basic Cable TV
 
Stand for Sign in Center
 
standing cooler : for drinks and food items
 
storage bags : all sizes
 
tables several , folding : for activities
 
Tea Pitchers : a few
 
thumb tacks
 
tinfoil, plastic wrap etc.
 
totes : need a lot , for storage of Activities etc
 
towels : Small hand towles
 
Trays for lunches : about 50
 
walkie talkies : 4
 
wireless headphones for telephone
 

Report: AC man convicted of attempted murder

According to the News-Sentinel, a Clinton man was convicted Thursday by an Anderson County jury of attempted murder in an incident that occurred in 2011. 24-year-old Kenneth Fisher was convicted after about two hours of deliberation by the jury in Criminal Court and taken in to custody to await sentencing. He will be sentenced to between 15 and 60 years in prison by Judge Don Elledge in August. Fisher was convicted despite testifying that his plan to kill his estranged wife was merely a “terrible [and] disturbing fantasy.” Fisher was arrested by Clinton Police on August 26th, 2011 after his father and a concerned friend called 911 to report that he was headed to Lafollette to kill his estranged wife, armed with an M14 rifle, over 100 rounds of ammunition and several knives. He was dressed in military fatigues when arrested walking to the friend's home in Clinton and reportedly told then-Detective Vaughn Becker in detail of his plan to torture and murder the woman. Fisher's defense attorney argued that his plan was merely a homicidal fantasy and that while he may have started to travel to Campbell County and kill the woman, he eventually had turned around and driven back to Clinton after the concerned friend urged him to come to his house instead. He was convicted of attempted first-degree murder after a two-day trial.

Love the Clinch River? Sign up for the Big Clinch River Cleanup

The third annual Big Clinch River Cleanup starts at 8 a.m. on Saturday, July 25, with a breakfast and briefing for all registered volunteers at the Museum of Appalachia, 2819 Andersonville Highway, Norris. The cleanup will wrap up about 2 p.m.
Everyone who enjoys the river, from anglers to kayakers to wildlife watchers, is invited to help remove litter from the Clinch and its banks. The communitywide cleanup is an expansion of annual pickups run for many years by members of the Clinch River Chapter, Trout Unlimited. Last year, 105 volunteers and 28 boats marshaled by the chapter were deployed to gather tires and trash from the river.This year, the first 125 volunteers to register will qualify for the free full breakfast -- to sign up, please visit http://crctu.org and click on Big Cleanup Registration. For more information, contact Buzz Buffington at buzz.buffington@gmail.com or (865) 463-7167, or Jim Ferguson at jimferguson41@gmail.com or (865) 494-8081. The event will be held rain or shine (in case of severe weather, the breakfast will be held but volunteers will stay on shore).
Clinch River Chapter TU works to preserve and protect the Clinch River tailwater and its watershed through conservation projects and through education of children and adults in aquatic natural resources. Meetings are held the second Thursday of the month in the parish hall at St. Francis Episcopal Church, Norris, except when outdoor activities are scheduled.

WBIR: Y-12 building closed to tours

(WBIR) During a two-month period five individuals experienced throat irritation and were coughing due to possible air quality irritants upon entering Building 9731 at the Y-12 National Security Complex. Research activities in Building 9731 were suspended for a month after the second event. Public Affairs Manager Steven Wyatt with the National Nuclear Security Administration said Y-12 Industrial Hygiene has taken extensive air samples in the building to detect any unknown irritants in the building. On Feb. 27 the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board issued a report from a Feb. 12 investigation when the plant shift superintendent dispatched fire department personnel and a hazardous materials team to Building 9731. The report states, "Building 9731 is a legacy facility and not normally occupied, but a technician from the development organization was conducting a researched-related work activity in the facility that required the evaporation of lithium hydroxide solution." Since 1974, the building has been used as a "development facility" for testing of small-scale processes, two of which are going on now. It was used in World War II to help produce Uranium-235 for the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Japan, that helped end the war against Japan. It continues to house the shell remains of the original Alpha and Beta prototype calutrons used in the research and uranium production process. Tours have been conducted in the building because of its historic significance. However, no tours were led through the building during the operation of the equipment, and no visitors were exposed to the air quality irritants. Wyatt said at this time tours have been suspended.

ACSD charges man in shooting death of girlfriend's mother

The Anderson County Sheriff's department says that an Andersonville man has been arrested on murder charges in the shooting death of a 66-year-old woman early Wednesday morning. Sheriff's deputies responded to a shooting call at 4:45 am Wednesday at 460 Lone Mountain Road and, upon their arrival, found the body of 66-year-old Karen Zahrobsky, who had been shot. Investigators processed the scene and conducted interviews to determine the circumstances that led to the shooting, assisted by the TBI. The Sheriff's Department says that investigators worked throughout the day and evening before issuing arrest warrants late Wednesday night for 48-year-old William James McMillan, who has been charged with first degree murder, voluntary manslaughter and aggravated assault. He is being held at the Anderson County Jail on bonds totaling $625,000. McMillan is charged with shooting Zahrobsky, his girlfriend's mother, who lived at the Lone Mountain Road home with her daughter, 45-year-old Christin Dixon and McMillan. The investigation is continuing and no further information is being released at this time. As more details do become available, we will pass them along to you here on the air and online.

(TBI release regarding Andersonville death) A joint investigation with Special Agents with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and deputies with the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office has resulted in the arrest of an Andersonville man who is charged in the shooting death of his girlfriend’s mother.  At the request of 7th District Attorney General Dave Clark, TBI Special Agents, working alongside deputies with the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office, began investigating the death of 66-year-old Karen Zahrobsky on the morning of June 10th. The victim’s daughter called 911 to report a disturbance with her boyfriend at 460 Lone Mountain Road in Andersonville and indicated that her mother was injured. When deputies arrived at the scene, they found the victim deceased from a gunshot wound. During the course of the investigation, Agents developed information that the daughter’s boyfriend, James William McMillan, was the individual responsible for the death of Karen Zahrobsky.  On Wednesday, McMillan was taken into custody by deputies with the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office. Late last night, TBI Agents obtained warrants charging the 48-year old with one count of First Degree Murder, one count of Voluntary Manslaughter and one count of Aggravated Assault. McMillan was booked into the Anderson County Detention Facility, where he is being held on a $625,000 bond.

Clinton announces plans for the 4th

The city of Clinton's annual 4th of July event will begin at 5pm on Saturday July 4th, and end with fireworks at 10pm at Lakefront Park. Several family-friendly activities will be going on that day.   Backyard Bouncers will have a Bongo Bounce House, Bungee Run, Home Run Baseball Game, Spaceball 2000 Human Gyro, 68ft Army Boot Camp Obstacle Course, 22 ft 2 Lane Tsunami Water Slide with Slip-n-Slide, Race Car Combo with Water Slide, Human Hamster Ball  and Pirate Bounce House are available for the public. Free of charge but kids must have a wrist band to ride.  Laser Tag will be available for those kids up for the challenge, also free of charge. There will be several food vendors set up in the lower Lakefront parking lot and the parking lot by the concession area including Bojangles, Bruster’s Ice Cream, Pizza Express, Riverview Grille, Coldwater Farms and Hibachi Truck. A corn-hole tournament will get started at 7pm with registration at 6pm. Trophies will be awarded for first and second places. Live musical entertainment sponsored by WYSH will feature the Leon Thomas Band on the men's field from 7 to 9:45 pm. The Clinton Chapter of the Antique Automobile Club of America will have some antique cars displayed on the men’s field. The event is sponsored by Bojangles’, ORNL Federal Credit Union, Y-12 Federal Credit Union (Clinton Express and Clinton I-75 Branches), Holley Gamble Funeral Home, Fox Toyota Scion, Bruster’s Ice Cream, Anderson Farmers CO-OP, Parker Transport, Fox and Farley, Anderson County Chamber of Commerce, Farm Bureau-Clinton, Sellers Realty, Clinton Drug Store, Clinton Utilities Board, Herbie Clark State Farm, Regions Bank, Ameriprise Financial, Backyard Bouncers, WYSH, and the City of Clinton.

Follow-up: THP identifies driver killed in interstate wreck

Following up on a story we reported Tuesday, the Tennessee Highway Patrol has identified the man killed in a single-vehicle accident that occurred early Tuesday morning on I-75 in Anderson County as 46-year-old Scott Davis of Jacksboro. The THP says that Davis had been driving a 2001 Ford F150 pickup truck south on I-75 at around 6:45 am Tuesday when the truck left the left side of the roadway. Davis apparently over-corrected, causing the truck to flip approximately seven times, according to Trooper Stephen Barclay's report. Davis, who was not wearing a seatbelt, was ejected from the vehicle. In addition to the THP, units from the Anderson County Sheriff's Department, Anderson County EMS, Anderson County Rescue Squad and the Andersonville Volunteer Fire Department also responded to the scene.

ORPD arrests wanted man

A man wanted by Oak Ridge Police on several charges including attempted first-degree murder was arrested in Oak Ridge on Tuesday afternoon.  Oak Ridge Police say that 36-year-old Michael Q. Ray was taken into custody without incident at 101 North Walker Circle Authorities had been searching for him on charges of attempted first-degree murder, aggravated assault, and reckless endangerment with a deadly weapon stemming from a June 3 incident at the McKenzie Acres Apartments on Utica Circle in which multiple gunshots were fired,. The operation to apprehend Ray involved officers from the Criminal Investigations and Patrol Divisions as well as SWAT personnel. The investigation into the shooting at the McKenzie Acres Apartments remains ongoing, and authorities say that no further information will be released at this time.

Courier: CHS given OK to look into a new sports complex

The Anderson County School Board has given officials at Clinton High School the go-ahead to start exploring the possibility of constructing a new multi-sport facility at no cost to taxpayers. According to Sunday's Courier News, the complex would measure some 12,000 square feet and be used as a practice facility for several sports as well as hosting volleyball matches and wrestling meets. The proposed project, spearheaded by CHS alumni, would also renovate the existing, but aging football fieldhouse, and include a second story with office space for coaches. A second and separate part of the proposed project would also renovate the Don Lockard Gymnasium. According to the Courier, when the BOE gave its approval to the project, which will be funded entirely by private donations, it also gave approval to CHS to start accepting donations from the public. People can donate to either fund and that money can only be used for the specific project it is donated for. The paper reports that CHS was given permission by the School Board to “solicit donations, secure an architect, get bids from contractors, and return to the board to submit a final, formal proposal.” We will keep you updated on this project as it moves forward.  For more information, visit www.cshslegacy.com

Teen charged with BB gun robbery

A teenager reportedly armed with a BB gun robbed three people just before midnight Monday and was booked early Tuesday morning on three counts of aggravated robbery.  19-year-old Jhavon T. Parker of Oak Ridge is accused of the robbery, which occurred in the parking lot of the Holiday Inn Express on Tulsa Road. The holdup was reported at 11:49 pm and officers responding to the scene arrested Parker a short time later, reportedly finding him with a BB gun in his possession. Parker was reportedly accompanied by a juvenile at the time of his arrest but the younger individual was not arrested.

Diabetes workshop coming to AC Health Department

A partnership of UT Extension and the Anderson County Health Department is offering Take Charge of Your Diabetes, a 6 week workshop to assist diabetics as well as their families and caregivers.  The classes are free; however, you must pre-register to attend as class size is limited.  Classes will be held at the Anderson County Public Health Department on consecutive Tuesdays beginning July 7th from 4 to 6 pm.    All people with a diagnosis of diabetes or pre-diabetes along with their families and/or friends are welcome to attend.    A textbook, CD, and other materials will be provided.  Class participation and the sharing of what has worked to help you manage your diabetes are both encouraged.  Due to the amount of material covered, attendance at all 6 classes is highly recommended.  Topics covered in class include:

Techniques to deal with symptoms of diabetes, including fatigue, pain, hyper/hypoglycemia, stress, and emotions such as depression, anger, fear and frustration;

Exercises for maintaining and improving strength and endurance;

Healthy eating;

Appropriate use of medication;

Working more effectively with health care providers

Preventing or delaying complications

Designing your own effective self-management program

Getting the support you need

The Anderson County Health Department is located at 710 North Main Street in Clinton, north from downtown.   To register or if you have questions, please call either Kathy Scruggs at the Anderson County Health Department at 865 425-8768 or you can e-mail her at Kathy.Scruggs@tn.gov or Abbie Carey, UT Extension, at 865-457-6250 or acary@utk.edu 

Summer Feeding Program at NCES

The Clinton City Schools are launching a summer feeding program at North Clinton Elementary School. Director of food services for the school system Heather Byrd says that the program is designed to feed kids 18 and under a nutritious lunch that they may not normally get when school is out for the summer. It is free to anyone under 18 regardless if they attend Clinton City Schools or not. Lunches will be served on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from June 8th through June 26th and again from July 6th to July 24 from 11 am to 12 noon at North Clinton Elementary.  The program is funded by the USDA and, again, is open to all kids aged 18 and younger. For more information, contact Byrd by phone at 865-457-0159 or by email at byrdh@clintonschools.org.

ORT: Man ditches dirt bike, arrested by ORPD

According to our partners at Oak Ridge Today, an Oak Ridge man riding a dirt bike reported to be stolen from Staples lost control of the motorcycle and dropped it in front of a police patrol car before fleeing Thursday evening. Oak Ridge Police Department Officer Sherrill Selby observed two dirt bikes on South Benedict Avenue at about 7:45 p.m. Thursday, and they were “riding wheelies at a high rate of speed,” according to warrants filed in Anderson County General Sessions Court.  In the warrants, Officer Scott Carroll said the defendant, Seth Montez Davis, 19, rode toward him. When Davis saw him, Carroll said, “he locked up the brakes and slid into my lane of traffic.”  After Davis dropped the bike, he ran behind a home on South Benedict, Carroll said. The officer said he chased Davis through a field and back up to South Benedict, where he was caught.  “While chasing the defendant, I yelled for him to stop numerous times, but he kept running,” Carroll said.  After detaining Davis, Carroll said he ran the vehicle identification number on the motorcycle and learned that it had been reported stolen from the Staples parking lot.  “After hearing this, I contacted the owner of the dirt bike,” Carroll said. He said the owner came to the scene and confirmed that the bike was stolen.  Davis has been charged with theft by possession ($10,000 to $59,999), evading arrest, and reckless driving. He was released from the Anderson County Detention Facility in Clinton on Friday, and his bond has been set at $57,500, according to court records.

OR man arrested on weapons charge

Oak Ridge police arrested a convicted felon who was asleep in a bedroom with an AK-47 rifle within reach. Officers responded to a Highland View home at about 7:30 am Tuesday after receiving a report of a man in the roadway causing a disturbance and impeding traffic.  When police arrived, the man told officers that he was the victim of an armed robbery that had occurred at the home earlier. The victim identified the suspect and officers made contact with the tenant at the home and were given permission to search the premises. Officers located 22-year-old Brad Gorman of Oak Ridge asleep in a bedroom with an AK-47 rifle within reach. The victim in the alleged robbery identified Gorman as the man who robbed him and officers subsequently learned that Gorman was a convicted felon and immediately arrested him on a charge of being a felon in possession of a firearm. 

Man pleads to attempted sexual battery

An Anderson County man pleaded guilty Monday in Criminal Court to reduced charges of attempted aggravated sexual battery in connection to an incident that occurred in March of 2011. 41-year-old Armando Figueroa was arrested in 2011 after investigators determined that he had carried a then-12-year-old girl into a storage building, locked it before fondling and kissing her. On March 1st, 2011, Figueroa asked the girl—who was his neighbor--to get some trash out of the storage building and he tried to fondle her but she ran away. He chased her down and carried her, kicking and screaming, back into the shed, where the assault occurred. She did not report the incident until several weeks later when her mother noticed that she became nervous and agitated whenever Figueroa was nearby. In exchange for his plea Figueroa, who has already served over a year behind bars, received a six-year sentence that will be served on supervised probation, was added to the state sex offender registry and ordered to remain on mandatory supervision for the rest of his life.

AC Senior Center a step closer to reality

Monday night the Anderson County Operations Committee unanimously voted to approve a five-year lease with B&B Properties on a building in Clinton that will serve as the home of a new Anderson County Senior Center. The next step in the process will be consideration by the full County Commission on Monday of the $1896-a-month lease for the building at 439 South Charles Seivers Boulevard. If approved by the Commission, the Anderson County Office on Aging hopes to be in the new facility by the end of July. Supporters of a senior center have long decried the lack of adequate space to conduct activities and programs for seniors in the current home of the Office on Aging on Leinart Street. This is the same property officials thought they had an agreement to lease earlier this year that fell through due to a higher-than-expected monthly rent. The Office on Aging will be providing WYSH with a list of needed items for the new facility in the next few days and we will pass that information along to you when it becomes available.

OR Council delays budget vote

(Oak Ridge Today) Monday night the Oak Ridge City Council delayed a vote on the first reading of next year's budget due to continuing uncertainties and unanswered questions. The Council had been scheduled to consider the budget in the first of two readings on Monday and consider the budget on second and final reading on June 15. But the five-year property reappraisals in Roane County are not yet complete, and it’s not clear when they will be. Officials said property assessments there are likely to go down as they have in Anderson County, where they’ve fallen 4 percent. A drop in property values will require an increase in the tax rate because the revenues after the reappraisals have to remain the same as they were before. The state has become involved in completing the Roane County reappraisals. Mayor Warren Gooch made the motion to defer the budget vote for one week, expressing reluctance to take action until some of those questions can be answered. A few City Council members supported an in-depth or line-by-line review of the budget, so Council scheduled a work session from 5-7 p.m. on Monday, June 15. The City Council meeting will follow the work session and start at 7 p.m. The city budget presented last week includes a one-cent increase in the property tax rate. It would help maintain city services and allow for a 2 percent pay raise for city employees. City officials said there has been, roughly, a $700,000 reduction from last year’s budget in sales tax revenues from Roane County, primarily at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Meanwhile, the Oak Ridge schools budget asks for the equivalent of a seven-cent tax increase. It would help cover a deficit and add money for salaries and staff, including a 3 percent pay raise. That budget has already been approved by the Oak Ridge Board of Education. If the Council isn’t able to pass a budget by June 30 because of the Roane reappraisals, the city would continue to operate under current appropriations and the current property tax rate, which is $2.39 per $100 of assessed value. The new fiscal year starts July 1.

Fire destroys AC mobile home

A Sunday evening fire destroyed a single-wide mobile home on Cedar Grove Lane. The fire was extinguished by crews from the Marlow Volunteer Fire Department with assistance from both the Clinton and Oak Ridge fire departments and no injuries were reported. The resident of the mobile home, Michelle Turnbill, told an Anderson County Sheriff's deputy that she had grilled hot dogs on a small grill on the front porch and said that she had checked it when she was done to make sure that the coals were out and told the deputy that it appeared to be cool to the touch. After going back inside, she heard what sounded like the grill turning over and looked out to see the indoor/outdoor carpet on the front porch ablaze. She and her family made it out safely and called 911. She told investigators that there had been three dogs and a cat inside the home at the time of the fire but the report does not indicate their fate.

2 arrested in OR on drug charges

Two Oak Ridge men were arrested Friday morning on drug and weapons charges after police responded to a report of drug activity at the Days Inn on South Illinois Avenue in Oak Ridge. Police went to the motel shortly after 10 am Friday and detained 30-year-old Christopher Samuelson and 30-year-old Anthony Gallaher for questioning. Inside one of the rooms at the motel, officers reported finding meth, marijuana, drug paraphernalia, a pistol and money believed to have come from the sale of narcotics. In a car near the motel room, officers also reported finding a second handgun. A search was also conducted at a home in Oak Ridge that police say resulted in the seizure of more drugs. Both men were charged with felony possession of a firearm, possession of marijuana for resale, possession of meth and possession of drug paraphernalia as well as violating a drug-free school zone. Samuelson was also charged with possession of a legend drug while Gallaher picked up a charge of possessing Schedule IV narcotics. At last check, both men remained in custody at the Anderson County Jail.

Drink up, the water is fine

Clinton City Manager Roger Houck says an apparent mis-routing of information may be the reason at least one city resident received a “Notice of Water Advisory” this weekend.  In a post on the city's Facebook page, Houck says: “We have confirmed that the web address and phone information included in the advisory is for Clinton, Utah, not Tennessee. When you go to the Utah website.. you'll will see that they, indeed, have issued an advisory for their area.”  A Mariner Point Dr woman told officials that she received an email and a phone call saying that local water samples had tested positive for E-Coli, and customers should assume the water is unsafe to drink unless it is boiled.  So far only one Clinton, TN resident has reported getting the Utah advisory. City Manager Houck said officials do not know how the message ended up in Tennessee,  but he wants to assure all C.U.B customers that our water supply is clean and safe to drink.

GSMNP: Bear attacks sleeping teen

Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials have closed several trails and backcountry campsites in the Hazel Creek section of the park due to a bear incident occurring at approximately 10:30 p.m. on June 6. A 16-year old male from Ohio was pulled from his hammock by a bear and injured at backcountry campsite 84 which is 4.5 miles from the Fontana Lake shoreline near Hazel Creek in NC. The father was able to drive the bear off from the area.  Immediately following the incident, the young man and his father hiked to the lakeshore where they were transported across the lake to Cable Cove boat dock by campers at backcountry campsite 86 who had a boat. Graham County Rescue EMS transported them to a landing zone where the injured party was flown by Mountain Area Medical Airlift (MAMA) to Mission Hospital in Asheville, NC at approximately 3:00 a.m. this morning.  The young man received multiple injuries including lacerations to the head. He remained conscious throughout the incident and is in stable condition at this time.   Park rangers and wildlife biologists are responding to the backcountry campsite area to investigate the scene and to clear the area of other campers. Hazel Creek Trail, Jenkins Ridge Trail, Bone Valley Trail, Cold Spring Gap Trail and backcountry campsites 82, 83, 84, 85, 86, and 88 are closed until further notice. Derrick Knob shelter along the Appalachian Trail has also been closed to camping until officials can determine whether recent bear activity at the shelter may also be related to the same bear.  “While incidents with bears are rare, we ask park visitors to take necessary precautions while hiking in bear country and comply with all backcountry closures,” said Superintendent Cassius Cash. “The safety of our visitors is our number one priority.”  The father and son were on a multi-day backpacking trip in the Smokies. Both campers were sleeping in hammocks approximately 10 feet apart and had all equipment, food, and packs properly stored on aerial food storage cables.   For more information on what to do if you encounter a bear while hiking, please visit the park website at http://www.nps.gov/grsm/naturescience/black-bears.htm. To report a bear incident, please call 865-436-1230.

GSMNP: Search and rescue gear donated

Great Smoky Mountains National Park rangers were presented with 15 high-performance search and rescue jackets by donors to support field rangers in inclement weather. Rangers respond to approximately 100 search and rescue incidents annually, many of which occur during hazardous weather conditions in the backcounty.  Local community members in Sevier County led efforts to raise funds for the park’s search and rescue operations through a crossfit competition event, Mountainfit Throwdown, held at Outdoors in the Smokies in March.  In addition, recently rescued Eric Keller, and his wife Diane Petrilla, made a donation in gratitude of the care Keller received through his 36-hour rescue from Mt. Le Conte in April.  “After going through Eric’s frightening medical situation at the top of Mt. Le Conte, we were overwhelmed with appreciation for the professionalism and warmth provided by the National Park Service rangers and the Gatlinburg medic,” said Petrilla. “We are honored to give a donation in expression of our gratitude to help these very special rangers continue to do their jobs in challenging conditions.”   Through this generous donation, the park was able to secure 15 jackets specifically designed for extreme conditions including prolonged rains and extremely cold temperatures. The reflective, yellow jackets also provide high visibility to aid in air-rescue operations. The jackets are rainproof, windproof, and durable for backcountry conditions.   “Our rangers respond to assist people in need across the park in a variety of hazardous weather conditions,” said Acting Chief Ranger Steve Kloster. “We do our best to ensure our rangers have what they need to accomplish their duties safely and this gift better enables our staff to protect themselves in extreme conditions.”  The park has approximately 40 park rangers with a primary duty to aid in search and rescue operations. Many of these rangers receive additional, specialized training for technical rescues, water rescues, and air operations. These jackets are being distributed to rangers who most frequently respond to rescues during hazardous conditions throughout the year.

ORT: AC woman charged with DUI

(Oak Ridge Today) An Anderson County woman accused of striking a parked car on East Pawley Lane and a metal hand rail on Outer Drive in Oak Ridge on Wednesday now faces several charges, including driving under the influence.  Michelle E. Slaughter, 27, of Dutch Valley Road, told Oak Ridge Police Department Officer Ben Higgins that she had three shots of vodka and one beer at a friend’s house, according to warrants filed in Anderson County General Sessions Court. Slaughter said she doesn’t normally drink, and she had not eaten anything all day.  In the warrants, Higgins said ORPD Officer Ray Steakley was helping Slaughter while she walked after a stop at Outer Drive and Key Springs Road, and she appeared to be uneasy on her feet and had trouble walking on her own.  “I could smell a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from the defendant’s person, and I noticed her eyes were bloodshot and glossy,” Higgins wrote.  He said Slaughter performed poorly on standardized field sobriety tests and was not able to complete a one leg stand. She said she could not perform the one leg stand even when sober, Higgins said. He then asked her to submit to a blood test, but she refused, violating the implied consent law, according to the warrants.  Slaughter’s license was revoked on February 9 for failure to comply with financial responsibility laws, according to the warrants. She has been charged with driving under the influence, leaving the scene of an accident, violating the implied consent law, and driving on a revoked license. She has been released from the Anderson County Detention Facility in Clinton in lieu of $8,000 bond, according to records.

Hibbett Sports opening in Clinton

Hibbett Sporting Goods Inc., the national sporting goods retailer based in Birmingham, Alabama, plans to open a store in Clinton this summer.  The company announced on Tuesday that it had executed a lease for the new Hibbett Sports store at Centre Plaza, which is on North Charles G. Seivers Boulevard near the Clinch River and across the Boulevard from Hammer’s.  The company expects to employ eight full and part-time workers at the new store. Currently, Hibbett has 62 locations in the state of Tennessee, including one in Oak Ridge.  A press release forwarded by the Anderson County Chamber of Commerce said Hibbett is a fast-growing operator of more than 1,000 full-line sporting goods stores in small to mid-sized markets, predominantly in the Southeast, Mid-Atlantic, and Midwest.  Hibbett Sports stores offer a large selection of quality branded athletic equipment, footwear, and apparel, and the stores have a “long history of focusing on the needs of local teams and leagues, with a variety of services to meet the needs of coaches and players alike,” the press release said.  It said Hibbett is the only sporting goods chain committed to serving small and mid-size markets.  “This strategy has proved to be a successful one for Hibbett as the company continues to expand its number of stores across the U.S.,” the release said.

ORNL FCU to break ground on new branch

ORNL Federal Credit Union will have a groundbreaking for its new branch on South Rutgers Avenue on Tuesday, June 9.  The groundbreaking is scheduled at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday at 215 South Rutgers Avenue, the vacant property next to the Credit Union’s headquarters and main branch.  The original branch on that property was demolished in fall 2014 as part of a larger Credit Union plan that includes the remodel and redesign of its headquarters and the development of a regional center at Northshore. The former Realty Executives building was also demolished.  Those in attendance on Tuesday will include local elected officials, ORNL FCU leadership, employees and members, and community supporters, among others.  ORNL FCU announced in September that it had started demolition of its location at 215 South Rutgers Avenue. That location was the Credit Union’s sole branch between 1969 and 1987, before housing the Operations and Imaging departments for the last 27 years.  The current main branch/headquarters building at 221 South Rutgers Avenue will be remodeled and redesigned to consolidate the Credit Union’s back office operations, officials said in September.  Earlier in 2014, ORNL Federal Credit Union announced its plans to develop a three-story, 24,000-square-foot regional center at Northshore, which will become the home office for CU Community LLC, a credit union service organization. The Northshore facility will include a new “branch of the future” for ORNL FCU members and a state-of-the-art work environment for employees, the release said.

ORT: Crash knocks out power to clinic, stoplights

The driver was taken to the hospital and power was temporarily out near the Family Clinic of Oak Ridge after a van crashed into a utility pole at New York and Vermont avenues on Saturday morning.  The crash was reported at about 9:05 a.m. Saturday.  Kristin Nevius said she was driving a Chrysler Town and Country van southbound toward Oak Ridge Turnpike on New York Avenue when the other van narrowly missed her vehicle and crashed into the pole while headed north on New York Avenue. Nevius and passenger Peggy VandenBurg and Nevius’ two children were not injured, but they said they were upset by the near-miss and crash.   The driver of the crashed van, which had DEEM company lettering on its back doors and sides, was reportedly alert and talking to emergency responders when taken to the hospital.  The crash appeared to affect power to the stoplights at the intersection of New York Avenue and Oak Ridge Turnpike, among other locations.  The Oak Ridge Fire Department, Oak Ridge Police Department, and Oak Ridge Electric Department all responded to the crash. 

RT woman accused in SUV assault

A Rocky Top woman was charged with aggravated assault after she was accused of trying to run a man over in her SUV. 45-year-old Kimberly Ann Ezell’s Honda CR-V allegedly hit Justin Johnson as he was walking on Bryant Circle on Wednesday, injuring his right hand. There were marks on the right side of Ezell’s vehicle consistent with Johnson’s statement, deputies reported. Ezell denied trying to run over Johnson and instead said he punched and kicked her vehicle.

ORFD, AC EMS, Lifestar honored

The Oak Ridge Fire Department, Anderson County Emergency Medical Services, and University of Tennessee Lifestar have been honored for helping to save a cyclist after a medical emergency on Bethel Valley Road in March 2014.  Thomas Berg experienced a sudden medical emergency while on a bicycle ride on March 30, 2014, causing him to crash in the middle of Bethel Valley Road, a press release said.  David Smallwood was riding with Berg, and Smallwood called 911 and began CPR as soon as he saw the crash. Emergency crews from the Oak Ridge Fire Department and Anderson County EMS responded, and they found Berg in cardiac arrest, the release said.  Berg was flown to the University of Tennessee Medical Center by UT Lifestar.  “Today, Mr. Berg has made a full recovery and is once again enjoying cycling,” the press release said.  The ORFD, Anderson County EMS, and UT Lifestar crews were honored by Tennessee Emergency Medical Services for Children at the Seventh Annual Star of Life Awards in Nashville at Rocketown on Thursday, May 14. The ceremony recognized EMS crews who are on the frontlines of emergency care, the press release said.  The ceremony reunited the EMS personnel on stage with the patient, Thomas Berg. Smallwood was also honored during the ceremony. Below are the recipients for Region 2:

Region 2—City of Oak Ridge Fire Department, Anderson County EMS, and UT Lifestar

  • David Smallwood, Civilian Responder
  • Battalion Chief Marty Griffith, EMT-P, RN
  • Captain Eric Mocsari, EMT-P, RN
  • Firefighter Engineer Steven London, EMT-P
  • Firefighter Engineer Duane Chase, AEMT
  • Firefighter Engineer Thomas Giles, AEMT
  • Natalie Waddell, EMT-P
  • Zachary Panter, EMT-P
  • Flight Paramedic Terry Neal, EMT-P/CC
  • Flight Nurse Gary Reams, EMT-P/CC, RN
  • Jason Lewis, Pilot
  • Tim King, EMT-P
  • Fred Yahr, EMT-P

The 2015 Star of Life Awards Star Partners were Air Evac Lifeteam and Erlanger Children’s Hospital and Erlanger Health Systems.  The mission of the Tennessee Emergency Medical Services for Children Foundation, the host of the EMS Star of Life, is to ensure that every child in Tennessee receives the best pediatric emergency care in order to eliminate the effects of severe illness and injury, the press release said.  The Star of Life Awards are designed to honor Tennessee’s excellent prehospital providers for their lifesaving care.

Clinton woman indicted on charges she shot at husband

A Clinton woman who allegedly shot at her husband has been indicted on a charge of attempted first-degree murder and aggravated domestic assault. 33-year-old Cheryl Freels was indicted Tuesday and will be arraigned June 29 in Criminal Court. She is free on $100,000 bond. The incident occurred April 6, 2014, at the Freels’ home after an argument with her husband, who told deputies he saw his wife point the 9mm pistol at him while he was watching TV while in the living room. Robert Freels told investigators stood up, moved as she fired, and the round struck the wall behind him. the warrants state. He said his wife pointed the gun at him again, pulled the trigger, and the weapon jammed. The husband said he took the gun away from his wife, retrieved his son and left the home.

OS teen dies after brave cancer fight

 

An Oliver Springs teenager whose battle against cancer inspired his classmates and community has passed away.  As we reported last fall, 13-year-old Mikey Carter wanted to play football for Norwood Middle School but couldn't because of his battle with bone cancer.  Mikey’s brave battle inspired his teammates to "Fight Like Mikey," and his former elementary school renamed its football field in his honor.  His family will receive friends on Saturday from 2 to 4 p.m. at Beech Park Baptist Church in Oliver Springs. A celebration of life service will follow.

 

Follow-Up:  Baby born by roadside doing well

 

Following up on a story we first brought you on Tuesday, the baby boy delivered by the side of Seivers Boulevard by two Clinton firefighters and an Anderson County EMT is said to be doing well.  Federal privacy laws prevent us from identifying the proud parents and the baby but we have been in communication with the baby’s father and after he consults with the baby’s mother, we hope to share that information with you.  Also, Thursday morning, we will be speaking with Firefighters Josh Queener and James Blakeney, who along with EMT Lauren Gillette, helped bring the baby in to the world Monday night. 

 

OR woman sues Clinton couple over deck collapse

 

An Oak Ridge woman has filed a lawsuit against a couple whose deck collapsed while she stood on it last August for $625,000.  The lawsuit was filed by Patricia Graham against Garrett and Mary Weaver of Clinton in connection to an incident that occurred on August 10th of last year.  The lawsuit filed in Anderson County Circuit Court says that Graham had been invited to the Weavers’ home to possibly purchase a puppy, but as she stood on the deck waiting for the door to be opened, it collapsed underneath her.  She fell about six feet, injuring her head, neck and back in the fall, before a ladder fell off the remaining portion of the deck and struck her in the back of the head.  The lawsuit alleges the Weavers were negligent in failing to ensure that the deck was safe and that the accident left her with several permanent injuries. 

 

State recognized for economic development

 

(TDEC) Tennessee has once again ranked among the best states in economic development by Area Development, a leading publication focused on site selection and facility planning. Tennessee, along with Georgia, Nevada, South Carolina and Texas, were named recipients of the magazine’s 2015 Gold Shovel Awards in recognition of projects undertaken in 2014 which created a significant number of high-value-added new jobs as well as investment. The Volunteer State last received Gold Shovel awards in 2012 and 2009 and Silver Shovel awards in 2011 and 2010. 

“This award demonstrates the intense focus our state places not only on supporting existing industry growth, but also the importance of recruiting new projects which ultimately create high quality jobs for Tennesseans,” TNECD Commissioner Randy Boyd said. “I am grateful to Area Development for recognizing Tennessee’s efforts in economic development and look forward to continuing our work to build a robust pipeline of projects in the future.” 

Area Development’s annual shovel awards recognize state economic development agencies that drive significant job creation through innovative policies, infrastructure improvements, processes and promotions that attract new employers as well as investments in expanded facilities. The Gold Shovels are presented annually to the states that have achieved the most success in terms of new job creation and economic impact. 

“The states and their communities receiving 2015 Shovel Awards have proven that they understand the makings of successful economic development strategies,” Geraldine Gambale, editor of Area Development, said. “They deserve special recognition for their efforts to grow their economies and provide well-paying jobs in a time of intense competition for new investment.” 

A report on the 2015 Shovel Award winners is published in the Q2/2015 issue of Area Development and posted online at www.areadevelopment.com/shovels.

 

Two Clinton firefighters deliver baby by side of road

 

Two Clinton firefighters and an Anderson County EMT delivered a baby by the side of the road Monday night on Seivers Boulevard.  Clinton Police had pulled over a speeding car on Seivers, in front of Clinton Rental, shortly after 7 pm Monday and were told by the driver that her daughter was in labor and that the baby was coming any minute.  Clinton firefighters Josh Queener and James Blakeney responded to the scene and determined that the baby’s arrival was imminent.  As it happened, an Anderson County ambulance was returning from a public relations event and the driver—Lauren Gillette—stopped to see if she could help.  The firefighters quickly agreed and moved the pregnant woman from her car on the side of the road to the back of the ambulance, where they delivered a healthy baby boy.  While firefighters train for these sorts of situations, this is believed to be one of the first babies delivered by the Clinton FD.  Hats off to FFs Queener and Blakeney as well as EMT Gillette.

 

Woman accused of stealing from employer

 

A now-former employee of the Git N Go Markets was recently cited to General Sessions Court after admitting that she had stolen approximately $800 in cash and lottery tickets.  Company officials called Clinton Police on Friday and told them that she had noticed several shortages in the deposits made by Git-N-Go employee Morgan Leann Fowler of Clinton, and that an inventory showed several missing lottery tickets.  After Operations Manager Carol Wilshire confronted Fowler, she gave Wilshire a written statement indicating that she had stolen $25 in cash on May 17th and that she had been taking four or five lottery tickets at a time on several occasions “but not every night,” according to the report.  Fowler was not only fired, but also banned from all properties owned by Git-N-Go’s parent company, Hollingsworth Properties.  She was also cited for theft and will answer to that charge in general Sessions Court later this summer. 

 

OR budget proposals seek 8-cent tax rate increase

 

The budget proposals for the Oak Ridge government and schools were formally presented to the Oak Ridge City Council on Monday night.  The city’s budget request calls for a one-cent increase in the city’s property tax rate, which City Manager Mark Watson says will help maintain city services and provide city workers with two percent pay raises.  The school system’s budget proposal would necessitate the equivalent of a seven-cent hike in the property tax rate in Oak Ridge that would go toward covering a budget deficit and add some money for salaries and staff, including a three percent raise for school employees.  Officials estimate that if approved, the tax increase would mean an additional $29 in city taxes for the owner of a $145,000 home.  Watson told Council members Monday that while sales tax revenues from the Anderson County portion of the city have increased by about two percent, sales tax collections in the western part of the city that lies within Roane County have dropped by about $700,000 this year.  While money for capital projects is limited, the budget proposed Monday includes $150,000 for the city’s matching portion of a state-funded project to add an eighth lane at the city’s rowing course, $200,000 for roof repairs at Willow Brook Elementary School and money to hire an additional dispatcher for the city’s 911 center.  While the budget might be set later this month, it may be some time before we learn what the actual tax rates in Anderson and Roane counties and their cities might be due to the fact that both counties operate on a five-year property tax reappraisal cycle and that process is being done this year.  In Anderson County, overall property values have dropped by about four percent while Roane County’s is well behind schedule, with some appraisals not having been completed yet.  Property tax revenues for local cities and counties cannot change under state law based on the reappraisals, so with assessments dropping, the tax rate will have to be increased.  That process is still being carried out by state officials, who are in charge of setting the certified tax rate and by some estimates that may not be completed until August or even September by some accounts.  Officials in Clinton will consider a 15.5-cent property tax rate increase this month and the Anderson County school system has asked for the equivalent of a 22-cent tax increase to pay primarily for salary increases for its employees, who have not seen a significant boost in pay in the past several years.  We will follow all these budget deliberations for you.  For more on the Oak Ridge budget, visit our partners at www.oakridgetoday.com

 

ORT:  More money likely needed for parking lot redux

 

(Oak Ridge Today) The Oak Ridge City Council will consider increasing the amount of money to be used for parking lot work at Blankenship Field, and members will also consider awarding a contract for the project during a meeting tonight (Monday, June 1).

The City Council agreed in May 2014 to use $180,000 in traffic camera money for improvements to the lower parking lot at Blankenship Field, which is used for football games and high school graduation.

Council agreed to increase that amount to a maximum of $250,000 in July 2014, Oak Ridge Public Works Director Gary Cinder said in a May 26 memo to City Manager Mark Watson.

But the work could cost $264,791, according to a proposed contract from Rogers Group Inc. of Oak Ridge that the Council will consider tonight.

And the city has a $10,000 agreement with Michael Brady Inc. for project design, which leaves $240,000, Cinder said.

“With the current bid of approximately $265,000, a total authorization of $275,000 is necessary, therefore requiring the proposed amendment,” Cinder said.

Cinder said the improvements to the lower parking lot was a key item proposed by the Blankenship Revitalization Committee. The committee hopes to have the work completed before the first home football game.

The work could include resurfacing, striping, and accessibility improvements.

 

Norris Dam State Park pool open

 

The Norris Dam State Park swimming pool is now open for the season. The Norris Dam pool is open Wednesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. Admission is $5 per person ages three and older and $2.50 for park campers and cabin guests. Lounge chairs are available and there are several picnic tables nearby.

 

ORT:  Van crashes into house

 

The driver of a van that crashed into a house on Providence Road early Sunday was taken by ambulance to a hospital, authorities said.  The name and condition of the driver weren’t immediately available.  According to our partners at Oak Ridge Today, it also wasn’t clear what caused the crash, which was reported at about 1:07 a.m. Sunday. Providence Road on the north side of Oak Ridge High School. The Oak Ridge Police Department is investigating the crash.  Authorities said the driver was taken by ambulance to UT Medical Center.  The GMC van damaged the wall, siding, and porch post of the home. There were no reports of injuries to anyone inside the home.  ORT reports that the van appeared to have left the roadway and traveled through a short section of a neighboring yard before taking out a section of shrubs between the two homes and crashing into the house at 110 Providence Road.  The Oak Ridge police and fire departments both responded to the crash.

 

OR Dragon Boat Festival wrap-up

 

The second annual Oak Ridge Dragon Boat Festival on Friday and Saturday included dragon boat races, music, vendors, food trucks, a youth area for kids, Drummers’ Parade, and Lanterns on the Lake ceremony.  The Dragon Boat Festival raises money for local charities. As many as 32 dragon boat teams had registered this year. Each team has 20 paddlers and a drummer to ensure that the paddlers are propelling the boat in synchrony.

This year, the festival started on Friday evening with the Dragon Boat Beer Garden Bash at Melton Lake Park followed by a full day of boat racing on Saturday.  The festival is organized and sponsored by the three Rotary clubs of Oak Ridge.

The winners this year were:

  • Gold—Parkway Cardiology-Paddle Attack, from the Health and Wellness Division, with a time of 01:07.301;
  • Silver—Charlotte Dragon Boat Association-Charlotte Fury (the defending champions), from the Crazy about Dragon Boats Division, with a time of 01:08.278; and
  • Bronze—Glenwood Elementary School-Glenwood Gliders, from the Education Division, with a time of 01:08.759.

 

8 die in state over holiday, none in alcohol-related crashes

 

State safety officials say eight people were killed in Tennessee traffic crashes during the Memorial Day holiday period this year.  According to the preliminary reports released this week by the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security, that's one less than the number of fatalities recorded during the 2014 Memorial Day period.  Officials say five of the people killed in crashes were not wearing seat belts, while two of the traffic deaths were motorcycle riders. There were zero alcohol-related traffic fatalities.  The Tennessee Highway Patrol's "no refusal" enforcement resulted in 31 DUI arrests and 316 seat belt citations in the nine participating counties during the holiday period.  The "no refusal" law allows law enforcement officials to seek search warrants for blood samples in cases involving suspected impaired drivers.  Three people were arrested under the “No Refusal” law in Anderson County

 

THP:  Wrecks kill one each in Morgan, Campbell

 

The Tennessee Highway Patrol says that two people were killed in separate one-vehicle accidents on Thursday and that neither of the victims was wearing a seatbelt.  The first fatal accident happened in Morgan County at around 4:45 pm when 62-year-old Arthur Trail of Petros was driving south on Highway 27 in Oakdale in a 2004 Toyota Tundra pickup.  Troopers say that the right front wheel of the pickup went off the shoulder of the road and Trail overcorrected, causing the truck to cross over the opposite side of the road, where it slammed into a dirt embankment, partially ejecting the driver.  The trooper’s report indicates that a seatbelt may have saved Trail’s life had he been wearing one.  The second fatal accident occurred shortly before 11 pm Thursday in Campbell County.  The THP reports that 63-year-old Patsy Smiddy of Jellico had been headed east on Highway 90 in the White Oak community in a 2010 Chevy HHR when, while negotiating a curve, the car left the side of the road and collided with a large tree before coming to rest about 40 feet off the roadway.  She was also not wearing a seatbelt.  No other vehicles were involved in either accident and both drivers were alone in their vehicles. 

 

State launches industrial land search program

 

The Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development announced today it has launched the Select Tennessee Property Evaluation Program (PEP).  The goal of this new tool is to improve the inventory of industrial sites and buildings in Tennessee by evaluating potential properties and advising counties on where investment may be most beneficial and what steps may be needed to address issues. 

“We think of available and developable sites as product on a shelf, and through PEP, we are doubling down our efforts to keep these shelves well-stocked,” Commissioner Randy Boyd said.  “If there is no product available to sell, businesses aren’t going to grow and locate here. PEP will help us make sure our counties have product and are better prepared for economic growth.” 

Based on the principals of the department’s Select Tennessee Site Certification Program and with the assistance of site selection firm Austin Consulting, PEP will benefit counties through emphasizing the importance of and assisting with planning for the future.  This includes both readying industrial properties for near-term development as well as creating a pipeline of properties for future development. 

“Prepared and available properties are essential for a county to be competitive for industrial recruitment,” TNECD Site Development Director Leanne Cox said. “PEP will provide counties with a comprehensive assessment and professional advice to help evaluate properties under consideration for development.” 

"The Property Evaluation Program allows communities to take a fresh look at their current and potential industrial sites,” Austin Consulting Senior Location Consultant Jonathan Gemmen said.  “The process provides unbiased feedback on which sites can most quickly be readied to accommodate new industrial investment, as well as which sites offer inherent advantages for industry.  Most important, it sets the table for community leaders to develop and implement an industrial real estate strategy for the next decade or longer." 

A limited number of counties will be selected each round to participate for free through a competitive application process.  Selection will be based on the ability to demonstrate local need and market demand for industrial properties and also on the county’s ability to assemble viable properties with market potential. 

For counties selected to participate, the program includes: an educational webinar on the site selection process and PEP; a review and on-site visit by Austin Consulting; and a comprehensive assessment addressing each property’s strengths, weaknesses and recommended next steps to improve marketability. 

The application process begins with the submission of the Letter of Interest, available here.  Upon receipt of the letter, counties will be provided with the application.  Completed applications must be received by August 7 to be considered for the fall 2015 round.  Applications received after this date will be considered for the spring 2016 round. 

 

AC BOE revises budget proposal, 22-cent tax hike would be needed

 

Tuesday night the Anderson County School Board voted to approve a revised budget that, if approved as-is, would require the equivalent of a 22-cent property tax increase.  The amended proposal adopted during a special called meeting Tuesday still asks for 4% pay raises for school employees—who have not seen significant salary increases in the past six years—as well as $178,000 to pay for needed school roof repairs and state-mandated upgrades to physical education facilities and $178,000 to start a new program under which students would receive an electronic tablet.  The revised budget proposal includes several cuts to the original proposal, which would have necessitated the equivalent of a 56-cent tax increase.  School leaders say that over the past six years, system employees have seen only slight increases in their salaries, which do not keep up with the rate of inflation, hence the request for funding for raises.  The budget proposal recommended by the County Budget Committee provides no new money for the school system, keeping their funding at current levels in to the next year, and does not call for a tax increase.  The county budget will be the subject of a public hearing this evening at 6:00 in room 312 of the Courthouse in Clinton. 

 

Electrical problem blamed for house fire

 

A Tuesday morning fire destroyed a house in Andersonville but injured no one, according to the Anderson County Sheriff’s Department.  Deputies were among those who responded to a fire at 334 Brooks Gap Road shortly after 7 am Tuesday.  When deputies arrived, they found crews from the Andersonville Volunteer Fire Department battling the blaze which had completely engulfed the structure.  The home’s owner, Darryl Webber, told officials that his father had passed away last year and left him the house, which he said he checked on every day to make sure it was OK, adding that three lights were continuously left on inside the home.  The fire was called in by Webber’s aunt—who lives next door—after she went outside to have her coffee and saw smoke and fire coming from the air conditioning unit.  She, too, said that she checked on the house on a regular basis.  While firefighters were battling the blaze, several rounds of ammunition inside discharged but no one was injured.  Investigators say that faulty wiring in the 40-year-old home was to blame for the fire.

 

New exhibits at AMSE

 

(AMSE) Space exploration, supercomputing, and neutron science are featured in three new hands-on exhibits at the American Museum of Science and Energy in Oak Ridge.

The exhibits showcase national science topics with local ties to research at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

“Bringing more of the modern lab into AMSE enhances our mission,” said AMSE director David Moore. “In addition to learning about our past, we hope visitors enjoy learning about the fascinating scope of research ongoing at ORNL.”

In the supercomputing exhibit, visitors can learn about ORNL’s Titan, currently the second most powerful computer in the world, through its miniature counterpart, “Tiny Titan,” which is built with an Xbox videogame controller, Raspberry Pi processors, and a television screen.

The colorful Tiny Titan computer is designed to interactively teach the basics of parallel computing. Unlike serial computers, which only have one processor per core, parallel computers have multiple processors on each core, enabling much faster calculations.

“Tiny Titan uses an interactive, visual simulation to show how multiple computers can work together to speed up the same scientific problem,” said Robert French, Oak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility staff scientist and one of the creators of Tiny Titan.

Each of Tiny Titan’s nine cores displays a different colored light, and images on the connected monitor use the same colors to show what each processor is doing. The more colors that light up on the computers, the faster the program will run.

AMSE’s new Cassini exhibit features the pioneering spacecraft’s mission to Saturn.

Deep-space probes such as Cassini get their power through the thermoelectric effect, using heat from the decay of plutonium-238 to generate electricity. ORNL is leading DOE’s production of plutonium-238 for NASA.

ORNL also was one of several facilities that helped produce the radioisotope thermoelectric generators, or RTGs, used on Cassini. The exhibit contains models of the Cassini spacecraft and a RTG as well as videos explaining the mission’s findings.

Finally, AMSE visitors can “become a neutron” in an exhibit that guides people through a simulation of the Spallation Neutron Source, a DOE Office of Science User Facility at ORNL. The SNS is a one-of-a-kind research facility that provides the most intense pulsed neutron beams in the world for scientific research and industrial development.

The exhibit explains how non-charged particles called neutrons help scientists “see” into materials without damaging them. Neutrons are used in a wide range of research projects, from finding cracks in fighter jet wings to helping design new therapeutic drugs.

A long-time Smithsonian Affiliate Museum, AMSE became a NASA Affiliate Museum this past year and has launched a number of new public programs. The museum hosted the world premiere of Alvin Weinberg, a documentary on the nuclear scientist who was ORNL’s first laboratory director, and the museum is exploring ways to introduce cutting-edge technologies like robotics and 3D printing into exhibits and programs.

AMSE, located at 300 South Tulane Avenue in Oak Ridge, is open Monday-Saturday from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sunday from 1-5 p.m. AMSE tells the story of the World War II Manhattan Project that created the Secret City of Oak Ridge and the science that evolved. AMSE visitors can use interactive exhibits on basic science, fossil fuels, alternative energy sources, including nuclear, and participate in live demonstrations with audience participation. For more information on AMSE admission, membership, exhibits, programs and classes, go towww.amse.org. To schedule a group visit, call AMSE at (865) 576-3200.

UT-Battelle, the managing contractor of ORNL, operates AMSE on behalf of the Department of Energy.

 

CUB earns national safety award

 

(CUB/Staff reports) Clinton Utilities Board (CUB) earned second place in the American Public Power Association’s Safety Award of Excellence for safe operating practices in 2014.  CUB competed with public power utilities from across the nation with 110,000 – 249,999 worker-hours of annual worker exposure.  Kenneth Roberts, chair of the APPA Safety Committee and line supervisor, Huntsville, Alabama, Utilities, presented the award on May 18 during the association’s annual Engineering & Operations Technical Conference held in Sacramento, California to CUB’s Assistant General Manager and Director of Engineering & Operations, Ernie Bowles. 

“Working day-in and day-out with the power of electricity is not something we take lightly. We can’t afford to,” said Roberts. “The recipients of this award understand the essential nature of safety in our line of work. It’s embedded in their work culture.”

The Safety Awards have been held annually for the last 55 years.  More than 290 utilities from across the nation entered the program this year, which is the highest number of entrants in its history.  Entrants were placed in categories according to their number of worker-hours and ranked based on the most incident-free records during 2014.  The incidence rate, used to judge entries, is based on the number of work-related reportable injuries or illnesses and the number of worker-hours during 2014, as defined by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).  Locally, with 110 employees working a combined 196,132 work-hours, CUB had only one incident that caused a worker to miss any days at work, giving them an incidence rate of 1.02, good for second in the nation among utilities of a similar size. 

“We are proud of the service and reliability we provide to our customers,” said Greg Fay, CUB’s General Manager.  “But above all else, we are proud of our safety record—proud that we do everything we can to send our people home to their families day after day.”

APPA is the national public power organization representing more than 2,000 not-for-profit, community and state- owned electric utilities. 

CUB’s electric system spans six (6) counties in East Tennessee and includes some 1,500 miles of high voltage distribution lines supplying electric service to approximately 30,000 customers.

 

Follow-up:  Lost ATVers located by couple, not rescue Squad

 

Two ATV riders who went missing after a ride on Saturday evening were found by citizens and not the Anderson County Rescue Squad as we had first reported.  Family members tell our partners at Oak Ridge Today that 27-year-old Travis Lampkin of Knoxville and his 11-year-old brother Austin Turner of Andersonville left a family member’s home near Windrock Park on an ATV ride Saturday evening.  They became worried when the duo did not return home by nightfall and called authorities, who were unable to help at that time.  Relatives then organized their own search party and scoured Windrock on ATVs during the night to no avail.  The man and boy were located Sunday at around noon about six miles away from their ATV, which had apparently flipped over the night before and then run out of gas, stranding the pair.  They were able to stay warm after Travis built a fire and they were both able to sleep in the ATV.  They were found by a man and a woman in a Jeep, who brought them to another location where they were able to use their radio and call for help.  The Rescue Squad helped bring both down off the mountain.  Neither was injured. 

 

OR man arrested after wild night

 

An Oak Ridge man was arrested Friday night after Oak Ridge Police say that he deliberately swerved his vehicle while driving drunk and tried to hit pedestrians, before threatening a neighbor with a machete after the neighbor complained about his driving.  40-year-old Jonathan Stauffer is accused of crossing his vehicle into oncoming traffic Friday evening in an attempt to strike pedestrians with his car and then threatening his neighbor with a machete and a knife after they got into an argument about Stauffer’s driving.  When Oak Ridge police arrived and searched his car, they found a nearly-empty bottle of vodka, which reportedly prompted Stauffer to remark:  “Maybe I shouldn’t have drank [sic] as much as I did.”  As of this morning, Stauffer remained in custody on bonds totaling $51,500 on two charges of aggravated assault and one count of DUI.  No one was hurt in the incident. 

 

RT man facing child porn charges

 

A Rocky Top man is in custody following his arrest on an indictment charging him with five counts of sexual exploitation of a minor.  21-year-old Thomas Blake Karnuth was indicted in April and arrested on Saturday by Anderson County Sheriff’s deputies.  The indictments accuse Karnuth of downloading images of pornography, including images of a “minor engaged in sexual activity or simulated sexual activity that was patently offensive” on to his computer between August of 2013 and September of 2014.  As of this morning, he remains in custody at the Anderson County Jail on bonds totaling $25,000. 

 

Corwin’s accused killer appears in court

 

The ex-marine charged with murdering an Oak Ridge native and dumping her body at the bottom of an abandoned mine shaft in California appeared in a California court Tuesday morning.  25-year-old Christopher Brandon Lee has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder charges in the death of Erin Corwin.  Lee’s pre-trial hearing was continued to June 30th.  Corwin, the wife of a Marine stationed in California, disappeared last June. Her disappearance came after she texted a friend in Tennessee to say she thought that Lee, with whom she was having an affair, was going to propose.  Instead, after an exhaustive search of the High Desert area of Southern California, a rescue team found her body dumped at the bottom of an abandoned mine shaft in a remote corner of the desert.  Prosecutors believe Lee lured Corwin into the desert, then killed her to try and hide their affair.

 

ASAP support ‘Born Drug-Free Tennessee

 

(ASAP) Allies for Substance Abuse Prevention (ASAP) of Anderson County has collaborated with numerous community agencies across East Tennessee toward eliminating Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) diagnoses from babies born in East Tennessee.  Babies born with NAS can suffer from withdrawal symptoms such as fever, seizures, blotchy skin, continuous crying, rapid breathing, respiratory problems, and extreme sensitivity to sounds and light.  The “Born Drug-Free Tennessee” campaign was designed to provide support and resources to mothers during their pregnancies so they have the best opportunity to deliver a healthy baby and become the mother their child needs them to be. 

This project is being implemented by the East Tennessee NAS Task Force, representing agencies across the region, including: East Tennessee Children’s HospitalAllies for Substance Abuse Prevention of Anderson CountyMetropolitan Drug Commission, Blount County Substance Abuse Prevention Action Team, Rescue 180, HEAL of Sevier County, Ridgeview Behavioral Health Services, and Mary Beth West Communications

“We are thrilled to be able to roll out this important campaign in the community,” said Stephanie Strutner, Executive Director of ASAP. “NAS is 100 percent preventable and we have an opportunity to significantly improve the health of newborns in Anderson County.”

So far in 2015, 303 cases of NAS have been reported in Tennessee, but there is hope.  There are many ways to help both women of child-bearing age and expectant mothers lessen or eliminate drug withdrawal for their baby. 

Mothers, family, friends, and practitioners each have a special section on the www.BornDrugFreeTN.com website where information and resources are specifically geared toward their anticipated needs.  At this site, mothers and women of child baring age can learn what medications can cause drug withdrawal in newborns, how to prevent pregnancy until they can quit taking medications harmful to their baby, and other sensitive and legal issues. 

Practitioners can access information on guidelines, tools used to identify abuse, and treatment options.  The site also includes answers to frequently asked questions, helpful hints, and screening tools for women, which their family and friends can benefit from as well. 

ASAP is continuing to further disseminate this information by delivering posters, provider information, and patient information to doctors’ offices throughout Anderson County.  “It is our coalition’s goal to get as many doctors’ offices, pharmacies, and social service agencies to partner in this campaign as possible. We hope the community will help us spread this important message,” said Strutner.

For more information about the Born Drug-Free Tennessee campaign or to request printed materials contact Chris@ASAPofAnderson.org or call 865-457-3007. 

 

Man’s alleged peep show nets charges

 

A 60-year-old Oak Ridge man was charged earlier this month with indecent exposure after reportedly masturbating in front of five women, two of whom were juveniles.

Michael B. King, of Oak Ridge, was arrested on May 10 after a report was filed with Oak Ridge Police accusing him of repeatedly standing naked at the sliding-glass door at the rear of his home, which faces the back door of his alleged victims.  Officers reported that the females told them King intentionally engaged in sexual conduct while in view of the victims on several occasions.  Court record indicate that while an Oak Ridge police officer and a probation officer were at the scene, King allegedly walked “to his rear glass door naked and masturbated while looking at the victims.”  King was booked into the Anderson County jail for indecent exposure and later released on bond.

 

Clinton city manager rebuts newspaper article

 

Over the weekend, Clinton City manager Roger Houck issued a statement after the Courier News made an error in calculating how a 15.5-cent property tax rate increase would affect homeowners in the city.  As we reported last week, the Council passed its budget on first reading last Monday, which includes a 15.5 cent tax increase to pay for additional firefighters and police officers, among other items.  This weekend’s Courier estimated that the proposed increase would cost the owner of a $100,000 home an additional $380 on their tax bills.  Houck wrote in the statement issued Saturday on the city’s website and through its various social media platforms, that “[t]his is not correct. The homeowner would only pay an additional $37.50.”  Last week, Houck explained that part of the tax hike will be used to make up for the expiration of a FEMA grant that paid for four additional firefighters, which allowed the city to open a downtown fire hall last year.  That new fire hall cut down on emergency response times and helped the city’s fire protection rating—or ISO—improve from a “4” to a “2.”  Calling the opening of that new fire hall a “gamble,” Houck says he believes it will pay off for many homeowners, who depending on who carries their insurance could see a decrease in their homeowners’ insurance premiums.  He explained using his own home as an example:  “My homeowners’ insurance went down $230 this year because of that, so I saved $230.  On my home, a 16-cent tax increase (half-a-cent higher than what is currently being proposed) equals to $68.  Taking that $68 and subtracting it from the $230, I am still $132 to the good.”  What that new tax rate will actually be remains a mystery as officials estimate that the State Board of Equalization will not have the new certified tax rate—the rate following reappraisals that generates the same amount of revenue currently being brought in through property taxes by a municipality—until August or September.  A public hearing on the budget is set for June 28th.  You can read the entire statement from Houck on our website. 

 

(Response from City Manager Roger Houck) In response to a story that appeared in the local newspaper this weekend, Clinton City Manager Roger Houck has issued the following statement:

"I would like to make a couple of corrections to the May 23rd edition of the Courier News. It was stated, in the paper, that the Clinton City Council passed on first reading a 15 and a half to 15 percent tax increase. The article actually should have said a 15 cent ($.15) tax increase, not 'percent'. The newspaper story also stated that a house valued at $100K would pay an additional $380.00 per year in property taxes. This is not correct. The homeowner would only pay an additional $37.50. The City of Clinton is very sorry that the incorrect information was communicated through our local media. We will work with them in the future to correct the problem."

 

CFD puts out small, intentionally-set brush fire

 

The Clinton Fire Department was able to quickly extinguish a small brush fire allegedly started by what a witness described as a “small boy” at Lakefront Park on Friday afternoon.  Police and fire units responded to the park shortly before 5:30 pm after a man called 911 after seeing a small boy in an orange shirt and riding a black bike start a small fire near the riverbank.  The blaze caused minimal damage, according to the incident report filed by Officer Weston Hazelhurst. 

 

Fire destroys Clinton home

 

A fire early Friday morning destroyed an unoccupied home on Baker Avenue in Clinton.  Clinton firefighters were dispatched at 6:08 am Friday and arrived within three minutes to find heavy smoke and fire coming from the rear of the home.  Clinton Utilities Board cut off electricity to the scene as fire crews began their attack.  After gaining entry in to the house and battling flames in a back room, two firefighters were ordered back out due to the ferocity of the flames burning in the basement and the attic.  Continuing the battle from outside, crews eventually were able to get back in and finally brought the blaze under control.  Firefighters left the scene just after 8:15 am.  No injuries were reported but the house suffered extensive damage.  In addition, the owner’s son and some other family members arrived on scene and said that there were some items missing from the house and the CPD was called in to investigate. 

 

ORHS AP Chem students #3 in national competition

 

Advanced Placement Chemistry students at Oak Ridge High School placed third in the nation in chemistry in the National Science League competition, the school’s Science Department said.  The students are in the AP Chemistry class taught by Eddie Anderson at ORHS.  The test was given to all AP Chemistry students, the Science Department said.

“They all contributed to our third-place finish,” the Department said in a press release.

Here are the top scorers:

  • Stephen Singh,
  • Dmitry Petrov,
  • Gabriel Vacaliuc,
  • Gavin Warrington,
  • Tina Wong,
  • Katherine Zhang,
  • Jaipal Narula,
  • Sichen Zhang, and
  • Brach Burdick.

It is a bright end to the school year for the school’s Science Department, which has been rocked in recent weeks by the suspension of Anderson, a reported police investigation into allegations of “improper conduct with a former student” and his subsequent retirement. 

 

Area hospitals lauded for safety

 

(Covenant Health) Methodist Medical Center, Fort Loudoun Medical Center, Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center, Morristown-Hamblen Healthcare System, and Parkwest Medical Center have been recognized for their dedication to patient safety by being awarded an “A” grade in the Spring 2015 Hospital Safety Score, according to a press release.  The Safety Score rates how well hospitals protect patients from preventable medical errors, injuries, and infections within the hospital.  In addition to receiving As for the spring quarter, both Methodist Medical Center and Parkwest Medical Center received “Straight A” recognition, signifying that the hospitals have never received a grade lower than “A” from the Hospital Safety Score since the Score first launched in June 2012. They are among 182 hospitals to receive the recognition.  The Hospital Safety Score is compiled under the guidance of the nation’s leading patient safety experts and administered by The Leapfrog Group, a national nonprofit organization focused on initiating improvements in safety, quality, and health care affordability for Americans. The first and only hospital safety rating to be peer-reviewed in the Journal of Patient Safety, the Score is free to the public and designed to give consumers information they can use to protect themselves and their families when facing a hospital stay.

Developed under the guidance of Leapfrog’s Blue Ribbon Expert Panel, the Hospital Safety Score uses 28 measures of publicly available hospital safety data to produce a single A, B, C, D, or F score representing a hospital’s overall capacity to keep patients safe from preventable harm. More than 2,500 U.S. general hospitals were assigned scores in April 2015, with about 31 percent receiving an “A” grade. The Hospital Safety Score is fully transparent, offering a full analysis of the data and methodology used in determining grades on the website.

To see how Covenant hospitals compare locally and nationally, and to access consumer-friendly tips related to hospital safety, visit www.hospitalsafetyscore.org. Consumers can also follow The Hospital Safety Score on social media and download the free Hospital Safety Score app for mobile devices.

 

ORT:  OR Council OKs expanded contract with MTAS

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

TVA seeking public comments on ash storage at Bull Run

 

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

 

AC woman arrested in Knoxville assault

 

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

 

Robbery suspect nabbed in Rocky Top

 

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

 

Report:  ACHS student graduates after judge steps in

 

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

 

OR accident injures one

 

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

 

State:  Economy rebounding

 

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

 

Clinton Council OKs budget, 15.5-cent tax increase

 

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

 

Lab seizures on sharp decline

 

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

 

AC Commission moves ahead on possible Glen Alpine site

 

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

 

Lawsuit blames crash on officer

 

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

 

Report:  Man files suit against OR over fall

 

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

 

OR woman arrested after hammer attack

 

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

 

One dead in I-75 crash in Campbell

 

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

 

Campbell animal shelter gets new boss, deep cleaning

 

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

 

UCOR announces grant recipients

 

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

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

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

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

 

ORT:  Eschenberg leaving federal service

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

ORPSEF to award grants

 

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

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

The 2015 grant recipients are as follows:

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

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

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

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

 

Saturday fire injures none

 

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

 

AC Park Manager assaulted

 

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

 

Y-12 trio freed from prison

 

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

 

CCWF hosts annual Briceville field trip

 

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

 

Girl, 12, shot in leg during robbery

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

THP:  Morgan wreck kills one

 

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

 

Ethics complaint filed against AC Mayor

 

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

 

AC budget committee recommends no tax increase

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

ACSD investigating robbery

 

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

 

UT students donate 2600+ items to 12 area charities

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

ORPD officers, bystanders hailed as heroes

 

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

 

CCWF Scholarship winners announced

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

OR company celebrates milestone

 

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

 

Lock your car doors!

 

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

 

AP:  Sabotage convictions overturned against Y-12 trio

 

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

 

Campbell among counties receiving state historic preservation funds

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Campbell County:

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

 

UWAC fundraising continues wane

 

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

 

FEMA expands disaster declarations from Feb. ice storms

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Male Subject A

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

Male Subject B

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

Female subject

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

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

 

ORPD arrests man who ‘stabbed’ car

 

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

 

Roane man arrested in lighter-fluid-spraying case

 

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

 

Report:  Anderson steps down amid probe

 

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

 

ORPD arrests man after chase, shots fired

 

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

 

AC LSAC makes no progress on review

 

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

 

AC Chamber:  Job Fair a “Success”

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

ORT:  Teacher, coach on leave pending investigation

 

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

 

Larger-scale review could cost OR

 

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

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

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

Among the questions from MTAS:

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

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

 

ORT:  Hotel developer chosen for Main Street OR

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

CPD investigating bogus checks

 

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

 

Disturbance at elementary school

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

UWAC has new executive director

 

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

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

 

(Updated) Judge issues order in Rocky Top legal saga

 

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

 

GSMNP names Soehn Employee of Year

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

AC Property Assessor:  Property values decline

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2015 Reappraisal Time Line

April 24, 2015—Mail Assessment Change Notices

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

May 11, 2015—Begin reviewing appeals

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

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

Duties

Anderson County Property Assessor

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

Anderson County Commission

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

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

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

 

OR schools name new ORHS principal

 

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

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

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

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

 

ORPD probes gunfire, no witnesses

 

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

 

Clinton car lot hit by thieves

 

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

 

Sex offender indicted on 2010 charges

 

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

 

CHS academic achievement noted

 

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

 

Relay wrap-up

 

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

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

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

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

 

Roane wreck kills baby

 

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

 

ORT:  Man faces drug charges after traffic stop

 

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

 

Washington Post rates ORHS #11 most challenging HS in Tennessee

 

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

 

Audit:  Ex-building official illegally inspected 400 properties

 

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

 

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

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

Crowley.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The purpose for this audit was four-fold;

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

Man arrested after alleged break-in, threats

 

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

 

OR Council expands review of ORPD

 

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

 

ORHS student receives prestigious honor

 

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

 

Man arrested after allegedly trying to trade drugs for child sex

 

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

 

CPD investigating theft from Fox

 

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

 

Man jumps hotel counter, steals cash

 

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

 

Arrest made in botched 2013 ATM heist

 

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

 

Report:  OR traffic ordinance runs contrary to state law

 

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

 

CHS AD honored

 

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

 

Charges against elderly judge dropped

 

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

 

Alternatives to Incarceration in AC getting new life

 

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

 

AC DA steps in, appoints Yeager delinquent tax attorney

 

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

 

ORT:  State grant will allow ORRA to expand course

 

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

 

Man charged after bribery attempt

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

ORT:  Estimates for Blankenship parking lot fix in

 

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

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

 

Missing man found dead in Campbell pond

 

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

 

Fire displaces 13 in OR

 

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

 

Protomet awarded Incumbent Worker Training funds

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

ORT:  OR Electric Department shows off hybrid vehicle

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

         

OR woman convicted of abuse charge

 

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

 

AC Budget Office recognized…again

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

ORT:  Two charged with robbery

 

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

 

AC fire injures none; microwave suspected

 

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

 

ACSD reminds everyone to be safe during prom, graduation season

 

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

 

Ouster suit dismissal appeal heard Tuesday

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

2 firefighters injured in Roane wreck

 

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

 

ORNL reactor receives historical status

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

OR woman charged with TennCare, drug fraud

 

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

 

Trip to store ends with trip to jail

 

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

 

ORT:  New solar array up and running

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

Report:  OR water customers could see rate hike

 

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

 

TWRA:  Accidental gun discharge nets one-day suspension

 

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

 

CCWF:  29 assist in museum cleanup

 

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

 

Violations lead to changes in Harriman hoops

 

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

 

Knox robbery suspect nabbed in Norris

 

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

 

OR man jailed after gun incident

 

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

 

Secret City Fest honored, Merle snags award

 

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

IFEA presented the 2014 Secret City Festival with three awards:

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

SFEA presented the 2014 Secret City Festival with four awards:

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

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

 

ORT:  CVMR contact info for applicants, vendors

 

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

 

Roane deputy hurt, 4 arrested

 

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

 

Ailing OR police officer needs assistance

 

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

 

Oliver Springs’ football coach resigns

 

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

 

Morgan carbon monoxide victims IDed

 

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

 

Harris already back in custody

 

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

 

Report:  2 AC politicos switch affiliations

 

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

 

OR WWII Vet receives Bronze Star, other medals

 

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

 

WBIR:  Norfolk Southern responds to lawsuit

 

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

 

ORT:  Organizers have ambitious plans for Blankenship

 

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

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

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

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

The proposed project is split into two phases:

Phase I

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

Phase II

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

Funding sources are proposed to include:

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

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

For more, visit www.oakridgetoday.com.  

 

3 dead after apparent carbon monoxide poisoning

 

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

 

More delays for Glen Alpine suit

 

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

 

DA Dave Clark attains certification

 

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

 

2 rescued from Smokies

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

Farmers’ Markets returning to ET

 

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

 

McNally lauds area schools

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

State TU honored

 

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

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

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

 

ORPD arrests 4 in robbery, conspiracy

 

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

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

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

 

THP:  Traffic stop yields bust

 

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

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

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

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

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

She was transported to the Knox County jail without incident. 

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

 

ORT:  OR teachers, principals seek salary boost

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A presentation by Haygood said the OREA is requesting:

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

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

 

AC property values decline

 

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

 

ORAU awarded NRC contract

 

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

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

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

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

 

Tech 2020-led effort awarded grant

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

ORNL part of climate change research

 

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

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

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

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

 

ORT:  Woman escapes duplex fire

 

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

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

 

Fed fugitive arrested in OR

 

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

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

 

ORT:  Man arrested in OR shooting incident

 

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

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

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

  

UT-Battelle to continue operating ORNL

 

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

 

Ex-nurse indicted on inmate death charges

 

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

 

TDOT traffic counters swiped

 

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

 

Dog killed in Briceville fire

 

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

 

ORT:  Council OKs review of PD

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

ORFD offering Code Red In OR

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

Charges upgraded in Roane shooting

 

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

 

AC Courthouse security gets new “toys”

 

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

 

WATE:  Man arrested…for 69th time!

 

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

 

AAA:  Distracted driving huge problem among teens

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

AC fleet service department receives ASE certification

 

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

 

ORT:  OR school nurse honored

 

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

 

Ex-officer charged with aggravated assault in Saturday shooting

 

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

 

Ex-cop arrested in Roane shooting

 

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

 

OS Council takes interim tag off Campbell

 

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

 

State implements new driver license systems

 

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

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

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

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

·         Add emergency contact information;

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

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

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

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

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

 

Follow-up:  Archer explains tax attorney issue, confusion

 

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

 

3M gets permit to expand Clinton facility

 

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

 

Campbell cold case gets new life

 

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

 

Greenway project to connect Knox, OR

 

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

 

Area educators receive recognition

 

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

 

Chancellor rules no conflict on school propane deal

 

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

 

Fire destroys vacant Marlow house

 

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

 

Chemicals start fire in storage building

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Merle lands another big name

 

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

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

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

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

 

AC BOE, Foster sued

 

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

 

THP:  Man killed, boy injured in Wednesday wreck

 

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

 

Cemetery vandalized in Roane

 

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

 

ORPD arrests suspect in golf course break-in, theft

 

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

 

OR man arrested

 

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

 

Canadian company moving to OR, bringing 600+ jobs

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

ORT:  More on CVMR announcement

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Feds, others celebrate UPF site-readiness

 

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

 

Frank, Phillips review 2014, preview 2015 financial picture

 

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

 

ORPD nabs sex offender near school after theft…from church

 

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

 

ORAU awarded DOE contract

 

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

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

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

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

 

Nurse indicted in connection to AC inmate death

 

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

 

1 killed, 2 hurt in Campbell crash

 

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

 

Ex-jailer indicted for assaulting inmate

 

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

 

2 indicted on child sex abuse charges

 

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

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

 

Merle welcomes Ed Brantley to the Radio Ranch

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

Noteworthy accomplishments from 2014:

  • For the second year in a row, Anderson County